France – End of an Era

Paris ‘night communes’ springing up all over the city and the country, and across the border in Belgium.

“This government, which is supposed to be socialist, has come up with a raft of things I don’t agree with, while failing to deal with the real problems like unemployment, climate change and a society heading for disaster. Many in the crowd said that after four years of Hollande’s Socialist party in power, they left felt betrayed and their anger was beginning to bubble over.” Various committees have sprung up to debate a new constitution, society, work, and how to occupy the square with more permanent wooden structures on a nightly basis. Whiteboards list the evening’s discussions and activities – from debates on economics to media training for the demonstrators.


Read some interesting articles about the  ‘NUIT DEBOUT’ movement:

Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change

As night fell over Paris, thousands of people sat cross-legged in the vast square at Place de la République, taking turns to pass round a microphone and denounce everything from the dominance of Google to tax evasion or inequality on housing estates.

The debating continued into the early hours of the morning, with soup and sandwiches on hand in the canteen tent and a protest choir singing revolutionary songs. A handful of protesters in tents then bedded down to “occupy” the square for the night before being asked to move on by police just before dawn. But the next morning they returned to set up their protest camp again.

Read the full article here:


New Paris protest has no plans and no leaders… but still 1,000 protesters turn up every night to call for change

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The world started anew last Thursday week, on the evening of 31 March 2016. On that night, a few hundred young people, and some not so young, came together on the Place de la République in Paris.

They are still there – or at least they turn up at 6pm each day and leave at midnight. Their numbers are growing, although not as fast as they claim. There are 1,000 present on most evenings.

Read the full article here:



The Nuit Debout (“Up All Night”) protest movement that is sweeping France has grown far faster than its ideological cousin, the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to one of the original organizers of that 2011 protest.

“What’s remarkable is how fast it happened, just how many people got involved so quickly, it almost has potential for a real social explosion,” says  , an American anthropologist who was heavily involved with Occupy and is currently visiting the Nuit Debout camp in Paris.

Read the full article here:


France: The Movement against the El Khomri Labour Law – How to Move Forward?

…In a March 31st press release the leadership of the CGT (one of the five main French trade unions) states: “The government must withdraw this proposed law. It will prove futile to persist stubbornly for several weeks as was done in trying to make constitutional the revoking of citizenship and the state of emergency measures. The proposals this government offers alongside the MEDEF [the largest bosses’ “union” in France] are outdated; it’s been over thirty years that France, as well as Europe, has been experiencing a decline in workers’ rights and wages with the only consequences being rising unemployment and an increase in dividends paid to shareholders (25% in 2015).”

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Who are the CGT leadership trying to convince here? It’s not clear. They ask the government not to be stubborn and then come up with the idea that the government’s policies favor “an increase in dividends paid to shareholders.” Do they not understand that that is precisely the point – the point of this proposed labor law and all other government policies? The government is being stubborn and has been since 2012 because they want to ensure that there is “an increase in dividends paid to shareholders.” Moreover, the references to the “revoking of citizenship” and the “state of emergency” are not at all relevant. Hollande did not acquiesce on the question of revoking citizenship due to pressure from the streets, but because it threatened to bring about a parliamentary fiasco, especially thanks to right-wing deputies and senators. As for the state of emergency, it has yet to be lifted.

“It will prove futile to persist stubbornly for several weeks . . .” the leadership of the CGT says to the government. But “La loi Travail” is not some kind of temper tantrum based on a mistake. Again, this is a counter-reform tailor-made to serve the fundamental interests of the ruling class. The government is therefore determined to hold on for “several weeks”, especially if it only has to deal with scheduled “days of action,” no matter how massive they may be. This is what the CGT leaders should be explaining to all young people and workers, all while indicating the way to lead a victorious struggle – and while organizing this very struggle.

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The statement of the CGT ends with the following paragraph: “With all the trade union organizations behind the struggle of March 31, we will propose to continue and intensify the action, strikes and demonstrations, especially on April 5 towards parliamentarians and on Saturday, April 9 and afterwards until the withdrawal of this bill and the gain of new social rights.” The leadership of the CGT proposes to protest, on April 5, a parliament in which we already know the majority strongly supports “La loi Travail”. What’s the point? One has to wonder. The workers are not willing to lose a day’s pay for nothing, so there will be little to no strikes on April 5. As to April 9, a Saturday, again, there will be few strikes. These days will end up being days of protests. The CGT’s press release refers to an intensification of action, including “strikes”, but it does not foresee any truly massive strike. It is possible – and desirable – that April 9 ends up being a bigger day for the movement than March 31. But will it be this “day of action” itself that will make the government back down? That seems out of the question for us…

Read the full article here: