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(en) Europe, Prol-position* 7 now out

Date Tue, 05 Dec 2006 17:59:03 +0200

- CPE and labour contracts in France
- The anti-CPE struggle and what remains of the anti CPE movement
- Anti-CPE leaflets:
- It is as workers that we are attacked and not as students! and Why pass exams?
- A brief outline of the student movement in Greece, June 2006
- Leaflet from Greek students movement: Occupation, not democracy!
- Introduction to debate on the new 'underclasses', Germany
- Cologne: 'Barmer housing estate' occupied; The feeling of great potentials.
- Daily work in Delhi's Call Centre Cluster

CPE and labour contracts in France
Friends from France wrote a short summary about what the CPE is and how its attempted introduction differs from previous labour law reforms. It can serve as a background introduction to the following articles about the movement against the CPE which took place in spring 2006.

A lovely spring in France
Comrades from the French group Mouvement Communiste published a detailed and chronological article on the anti-CPE movement. They emphasise that the protagonists of this movements were not the usual suspects but a new generation of high school students.
We also include two leaflets, the first was distributed during the week beginning 27 March, by some students in Jussieu to the building workers directly employed by this university in Paris. The second one was distributed in a student General Assembly, a little after the end of the movement.

The anti-CPE struggle
We summarise a text by Theorie Communiste which focusses on the internal contradictions and partly symbolic democratic character of the movement. It questions the artificial generalisation of the movement by mass demonstrations organised by the official representative bodies which finally weakened the autonomous activities and demands to put the anti-CPE protests in context with the riots of suburbian youth. “No comprehension of the anti-CPE movement is possible if one separates this struggle from the November riots. This is precisely where the problem lies. The middle class saw the social elevator being blocked, the 'excluded' know that they will never be able to climb in it and had announced in November that their own situation, in all its aspects, had become unbearable and was a target. The widening of the movement could not be the result of an addition of situations, but of their conflictive encounter”.

What remains of the anti CPE movement
A retrospective written by friends from Echanges et Mouvement. The text criticises the movement on a rather general level, e.g. of not being able to go beyond the boundaries of its student character and provides some overview of past student mobilisations in France.

A brief outline of the student movement in Greece
“The publication of the planned reform was the sparkle that ignited students mobilizations which started in the end of May and spread quickly all over the country. In the beginning of June, at the culmination of the movement, more than 2/3s of university departments were occupied and continuous mass protests and demos disrupted the city centres of Athens and Thessaloniki. The government was obliged to 'freeze' the reform, postponing it, possibly for next autumn”.

Occupation, not democracy!
This leaflet was written by the group Blaumachen from Thessaloniki together with other comrades during the early days of the students movement. “It was distributed during the second week of the occupations and in the 10, 000 people demonstration in Thessaloniki. Its content was determined by what we saw then as the major weaknesses of the movement, i.e. the adherence to democratic procedures and generally to a democratist ideology along with the absence of any critique of schoolwork and of the media’s mediating role”.

Introduction to debate on the new 'under-classes'
An article published in the German magazine Wildcat in summer 2006. Having a historical look at labour migration and welfare policies in Germany the article criticises the current attempt of those in power to create the picture of the dangerous under-classes opposed to the good class of working people. “The income disparity in Germany aggravates, the rate of long-term and youth unemployment consolidates, the majority of workers have to face real income losses, particularly in the low wage sector: the number of working poor increases, people who work but cannot make ends meet… “Of course there are under-classes in Germany”, says the conservative historician Paul Nolte and he refers to people who are “unwilling to work and integrate…." People who eat too much fast-food, they watch telly all day (and the wrong programms!), make too many children to whom they cannot serve as role-models. These 'underclasses' themselves are responsible for their situation, therefore it is wrong for the welfare state to grant them a livelyhood. This is the ideological background music for the enforcement of the Hartz IV welfare reform which first of all aims at extending the low wage sector. In order to do that the 'superfluous' and 'delinquent' parts of the working class are captured as caricatures and put on stage for public bashing. This picture of the 'underclass' is an offer to other parts of the working class to draw a clear line between them and those 'on the bottom' by showing self-initiative and proper behaviour. In times of social upheavels similar pictures served for the legitimation of 'security' measures and repression'.

Cologne: Barmer Block occupied; The feeling of great potentials...
Text published in Wildcat in summer 2006 reporting on the internal dynamics of a major housing estate occupation in Cologne in Spring 2006. “For over three months in the Barmer Block housing estate an unusual squatting experiment took place. Unusual not only in its duration and size, but mainly because of its social composition. The space which had been opened by some lefties was taken over by 'the street'. This created an explosive mixture which not only troubled the city council administration but also created major internal conflicts. Most lefties proved themselves to be unable or unwilling to deal with the contradictions of actual social movements”.

Working life, Interviews and Leaflets in Delhi's Call Centre Cluster
Longer report written after three months of work as foreign call centre worker in Delhi and collective political intervention in the area. The text looks at the composition of foreign workers in Indian call centres and documents interviews with workers from international companies such as HP or Citibank which relocated call centre work to the industrial outskirts of Delhi. It concludes “Like in Europe or the US the particularly labour force demanding boom time of call centres encourages rather individual solutions for dealing with problems: people change jobs frequently. The difference in India is the relatively high wage level and level of education of call centre workers on one hand and the additional alienation (night-shifts, racism, dead-end for academic career etc) on the other. Another big difference, which might have an impact on future conflicts or struggles is the fact that in India there is a kind of call centre workers' culture and net which also organises the repr
oduction, e.g. the living arrangements. Connected with this culture is an erosion of certain gender roles or the hierarchical relation between generations. At least in and around Delhi the call centres are situated in areas of massive new industrialisation, with struggles of first generation factory workers in world market companies, which might influence potential conflicts. Call Centre workers who do not live at home anymore realise that the wages are only relatively high and not as glorious as promised. This material constraint, plus the dim outlook for finding other academic jobs, plus the daily alienation and first signs of the finite of the boom might trigger some outbreaks. Interesting would be if these outbreaks will happen while the struggles in call centres in the western world are still going on..”

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