Thursday April 28 will be a crunch day for French rebels

Young protesters defy the cops in Montpellier, France

Thursday April 28 is shaping up to being an important day in the current French uprising against capitalism (see Acorn 23).

A general strike has been called and demonstrations have been called across the country as the rebellion against the El Khomri labour law spirals into outright resistance to the system.

While “Nuit Debout” public assemblies continue to flourish each night all over France – and in a significantly less passive form than their past equivalents elsewhere – constant battles between protesters and police are taking place, notably in Paris, Nantes, Rennes, Lyons, Montpellier and Marseilles.

The French state seems to have taken a decision to try and break the protest movement by sheer brute force and thuggish riot cops have unleashed unprecedented violence on young rebels.

But this has only further radicalised the youngest generation and they have responded with admirable physical and mental defiance.

“If there are a lot of us, we can do what we want”, is the sub-heading on a call-out issued by anti-capitalist activists in Marseilles.

This states: “In Marseilles, in recent weeks, demos have broken free from authorised routes and on several occasions have become wildcat protests, directly targeting the offices of the [ruling] Socialist Party, Medef [employers’ federation] and CFDT [sell-out trade union], blocking the motorway and traffic in the streets of Marseilles, disrupting everyday life.

“On April 28, the demonstration will be our chance to experiment with new kinds of action and a new dynamism, so that the movement can take on a new scope and impetus. Wildcat protest are no longer enough for us: we want more.

“We want an end to the authoritarianism and capitalism of which the El Khomri law and related repression are just one expression. We want struggle and society. We want this day to be long remembered.

“Meet on April 28, 10.30am, at the Vieux Port (Old Port) in Marseilles for a young, free and wild protest.”

Full text in French:

And the Mili (Mouvement Inter Luttes Indépendant) has put out a call for protests in Paris on Thursday April 28 and again on Sunday May 1.

This says: “For several weeks now, we have been opposing the labour law, because we are opposed to work and its alienation, and to exploitation. We are not content to criticise the labour law and work as isolated facts. On the contrary, we have stressed in our writing and in our action our will to refuse capitalist society and its neoliberal form, whose object is to divide us into individuals.

“We are not stupid and we have fought the ‘security’ measures brought in under the cover of a fight against terrorism and which are in fact being used to stigmatise Muslim and migrant populations and people acting in the so-called ‘political’ sphere. Even as we write, the state of emergency is going to extended for another two months.

“The movement has been built on an autonomous basis, that’s to say in rupture with all institutions. The trade unions who think they represent the youth have been completely left behind, preferring to negotiate and dine with ministers rather than establishing a powerful presence in the streets or occupations – the youth have created a responsive revolutionary organisation. We have to take the streets and hold them.”

Thursday April 28, 2pm: Denfert-Rochereau, towards Nation.
Sunday May 1, 3pm: Bastille, towards Nation.

Full text in French:

Meanwhile, a new text on the lundi matin website describes what has been happening in France since March as being not so much a “social movement” but a series of “débordements“, a constant overflowing and breaking-free of existing political frameworks.

The protests against the El Khomri law began with a débordement of trade union passivity by youngsters using the internet. On every protest since then there was been a débordement of A to B leftist marches by young protesters ready to confront the cops.

The Nuit Debout occupations are themselves a débordement of French political traditions and the wildcat protests around the la place de la République in Paris are in turn a débordement of Nuit Debout. Says the article: “We’ve got to keep on with the débordements, keep on moving, keep on surprising“.

Pschit Pschit Banque Banque – Rouen contre la loi “travail” et son monde – 20/04/16 from Rouen dans la rue TV on Vimeo.