France: "Young Rebels, People Around the World are Watching You and Supporting You!"
Revolution #024, November 27, 2005, posted at revcom.us
This is addressed to you, youth of the cités, all of you whom Sarkozy calls racaille, and to others in France as well, especially those who are listening to you.
Some people say you are going "too far." How far is "too far" in responding to the state's top cop when he announces his intention to "clean out with a high-pressure hose" a whole section of the people?
This is addressed to you, the children of immigrant workers and the lower section of workers of all nationalities, especially the people of the cites,whose fathers carried concrete sacks to build the France we know today and whose mothers' tireless mops and brooms kept this country clean. This is addressed to you who are called "hoodlums" no matter what you do, whether working or kept out of work, and either way condemned to a life not much better than that of your parents, who endured so much hardship and humiliation in the hope that you would have it better.
We salute you who will never be content with the best the system has to offer you - like Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's plan to allow you to leave school at 14 and work as "apprentices" for practically nothing in jobs no one wants. That would only officialize what exists today, when middle school, for most kids, is not a place for advancement but a place of selection, where 14-year-olds are told their dreams are over? How far is "too far" in demanding that people be treated like human beings and allowed to develop all that they are capable of, individually and collectively?
The truth is that France has seen far too many years of "calm" in the face of injustice and the kind of "peace" that comes from the oppressed accepting their fate. What's so good about quietly accepting the kind of life imposed on the great majority of people in France? The whole "political class" (ruling class and politicians) breathes easily when youth fight one another or take drugs and sink into hopelessness. In this rebellion the youth for the most part have not deliberately targeted ordinary people in the cités or anywhere else. Right now violence among the people is at a low point and the spirit of the youth is soaring. Youth are in revolt - not mindlessly or aimlessly, as official society charges, but against a very clear target, Sarkozy and the state he represents, the police and anything seen as representative of the prevailing social order. They are punching holes in the prison walls, bringing the whole country fresh air.
The youth deserve the support of all those who are crushed by the system and its republic, all those who tolerate the life they are given only because they see no alternative. This government has launched attack after attack on many sections of the people, including immigrants, the unemployed, strikers and many others. There has been opposition, but not strong and bold enough. By standing up against the way things are and those who enforce this order, the youth show their potential as a revolutionary force in society if they stand together with all the people who hate that order - all the exploited, those determined to end the oppression of women, those who truly hate the Iraq war and other imperialist crimes in the world and who really want to save the earth from the profit system. The youth are creating the conditions for a different kind of thinking, where people don't accept things as they are, in France and the world, and a social movement different to any that we have seen here in a long time. People all over the world are watching and finding encouragement for their own struggles to liberate themselves.
Not only Sarkozy, and not only the government, but the whole state and political class considers what the youth are doing a "disaster" and an intolerable challenge. They have declared curfews in a few places and imposed undeclared curfews against men young and not so young in whole towns and departements. They are issuing all kinds of threats against the people while hoping that rubber bullets ("flash balls"), the clubs of the CRS riot police and the threat of mass deportations will be enough to make the youth lose heart. At the same time, they are educating the youth and everyone with eyes to see in a basic truth: the French republic is, in the end, a dictatorship that rests on the clubs of the police and ultimately, if necessary, on the guns of the army. France is run by those who own everything, the big capitalist class. They have the final say about everything, and in the end none of the people have any rights that can't be taken away.
To all of you others who share so much of what these youth feel, the working people of all nationalities and people of all walks of life, right now is the time to stand up for them and stop the government's attempts to encircle these youth with a reactionary consensus. Speak out for the youth and the justice of their cause - stop the government's attempts to crush them. Further, many millions of people in France will not tolerate mass deportations of people to punish them for rebelling. The government must not be allowed to carry through on this threat. Finally, wouldn't it be fine if the "high-pressure hose" of the people's anger cleaned out Sarkozy and all he has come to represent right now!
North, south, east, west, unite the people's struggles!