Nuit Debout: From protest to rebellious creation in france


Zalez Respublica

In the wake of ongoing mass protests in france against proposed reforms to the labour code in the country, promising only more work and more precariousness for the benefit of Capital, a call was made by numerous collectives and associations, and circulated by the newspaper Fakir, to not return home after the protests scheduled for the 31st of March (in which well over a million people took part).

With the day coming to a close, anonymous thousands without party flags occupy the Place de la Republique in Paris, with calls for occupations elsewhere.  The occupation is organised around assemblies, working groups, together providing for those gathered and creating a new political reality.

We are fighting on our own and yet, going back to the root of our ills, we all point the same enemy: the oligarchy, firmly established for 30 years, which is concerned only to protect the interests of the ruling class. It is not complicated to understand as soon as we see the unequal distribution of wealth in the world! According to a study of the Observatory of inequality, the world’s richest 10% have 86% of global wealth, while half of the world population has only 0.5% of this wealth. Billionaire Warren Buffett is right to say: “There is indeed a class war but it’s my class, the rich, who made this war and we are winning it!” Opposed to their privileges, our voices and our actions, but also our dreams, it is the challenge that is launched for Night Stand. If we can join determination and number, we can block the country and force the government to hear our voice. We can scare the elite in taking street together. It is by coming together that we will reverse the balance of power; it is then for us “to make class”!

For us, the Nuit Debout (the night awake/standing) is not the end of something but the beginning of a movement; it is above all this, the convergence.  We want to assemble as broadly as possible among those who identify with our understanding of … and move forward together through a new way of doing: that is to make meaning/direction and to make common.

(From an interview with the collective Convergences des luttes posted on the site Ballast)

We do not demand anything, “to demand is already to have subitted, to demand is to address oneself to a a friendly tutelary power, a debonair benefactor. Children ask for, and when grown up, they demand.

“But who needs whom? Between the owners of capital and workers, who needs the other more? (…) It is more than question, it is a spearhead, it is a criterion, that is, it is a weapon to make the decision. Unfortunately, for those who believe to be on the winning side, the test does not rule in their favor. And the day when everyone will have a clear conscience of this, I would not wager much for their skin.

(From a radio interview with Frédérick Lordon, for Là-bas si j’y suis, 31/03/2016)

To gather together, to not go home, to not make demands: in effect, a concentrate of disturbing strangeness for administrators.

And it’s true that even if we do not yet know well our strength, what may just be beginning here has everything of the nightmare for the State, which sees its grand fears aline in the worst astral conjuncture worst: the obsessive fear of convergence, abandonment of demands, their replacement by affirmations.

It could indeed be that we are on the verge of one of those blessed moments in history when ordinarily separate groups rediscover what they profoundly have in common, the massive commonality established by capitalism itself: the salaried condition. Employees abused today, pupils and students, abused tomorrow, the precarious of all kinds, but also all the other indirect victims of the general logic of capital: objectors to absurd development projects, inadequate housing, undocumented bonded labour without limit, etc.

But what can a minister or his chief of staff do for all those people who have had enough of demands? Nothing, absolutely nothing, and they also know it, and that is what makes them afraid. That is, when they abandon the infantile registry of demands, people immediately rediscover the taste of affirmative deployment – fear of the State that has reserved foritself the monopoly of affirmation. Unfortunately for it, the El Khomri law [the proposed new labour legislation] may have been the abuse gone too far, that which passed the point of scandalous and produced in the people’s mind an overhaul of the vision of things, places and roles. We have no intention of fighting for codicils: we want to affirm new forms of activity and of politics.

(Frédérick Lordon, “Nous ne revendiquons rien”, Le monde diplomatique, 29/03/2016)

The occupation continues, as well as the broader protests.  In in waves of information, we will endeavour to see, to understand …