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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #259 - Interview, "A really popular movement" (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 16 Apr 2016 09:44:30 +0300

Mathilde (AL Rennes) and Jon (AL Angers) studied in 2006. They fought against the law called for equal opportunities and CPE respectively Rennes and Angers. Jon was active in South-Student and Alternative Libertaire, while Mathilde is unionized and politically organized after the movement. They tell their strike. ---- Alternative Libertaire : How was organized the fight against the law called for equal opportunities in your city? ---- Matilda : The first AG where I went, it was decided a demo, with a share at the end, and then went back to college, we talked and we said that it was necessary to climb 'a notch. Someone suggested to block the university and courses force students to come AG. So here it is all gone by the groups empty lecture halls. We started stacking tables and chairs at the entrances. We do not know for the most part but we laughed a lot. The next day there was again an AG and there, thousands, it was decided to strike and blockade. It was on 7 February.

Jon : In Angers the fight was organized initially mainly on the faculty of humanities. It then spread to the faculty of sciences, but also to high schools, etc. From the outset this are unitary committees made up of student unions (mainly South-Student, my union at the time, and to a lesser extent the UNEF), youth political organizations and many individuals. Fairly quickly the facs were on strike with occupation, and this for almost a month.

Mathilde : From there, it was necessary to organize the daily struggle and occupation with commissions. Internal to organize the occupation and the fight (pickets, strike fund, preparing AG). External (mostly propaganda, writing leaflets, media relations, the strike newspaper, 69.3, in reference to Villepin force passage with Article 49.3 of the Constitution, but also communication with other facs fighting). And an action committee which, on behalf of the AG, preparing the demonstrations and actions (occupations Medef or town hall). I mostly invested in internal commission.

Jon : The strike was passed in general meeting once a week. A strike committee, open to everyone, was set up to manage the strike day. We have initiated activities to sustain our college: film screenings, discussions with teachers, trade unionists, etc., let no one say that the university had died during the strike. To expand and popularize the strike towards wage earners we associate es to trade unions to take action, fliers broadcasts, etc. We participated as a student union and as strike committee in the organization of inter-union demonstrations, as well as the wage earners' unions to which we have imposed a number of actions (blocks of the train station, major traffic routes, etc.). The demonstrations were huge, it was unheard-city almost. Of course, as in other cities, we experienced a particularly strong repression. But that has not dented the determination of the movement.

Matilda : The fight at the University Rennes 2, it was mostly a place, hall B. AG took place on its exterior steps because there were several thousand people. It was also and above all the place of life where we slept and party we did, where we discussed, we trailed after finishing our round peg but we did not want to go home. There was workshops posters, we inquired about what was happening elsewhere. The unions were very present but not omnipotent, the movement was really accessible to all.

What were the highlights for you of the movement? Your best memories? Are there things you do again differently?

Mathilde : In terms of strengths, of course, is the collective dimension. Although it was not the ideal and perfect democratic, in the sense that the union members are often better trained es including the speech, it remains that the movement was very open and all the world could find its place. Occupation is another force, as it strengthens solidarity between the strikers even if it's not always easy to agree on the rules to follow us.

Jon : It was a truly popular movement, we received a lot of support from people you could come across in our actions. We also managed to bridge the gap between "radical" actions like the occupation of the rail station and most traditional events. My best memory is probably the day we deployed a huge banner on the castle of Angers, the passage of the Inter event with a strong slogan: "General strike against insecurity." It's not every day that stormed a castle! I do not know if I would do things differently, that's part of the moves to make mistakes.

Matilda : There are many better memories. There are votes in AG, the silence in the statement of the vote and then hand wave that rises and finally the joy when the strike is voted. It's exhilarating to be part of this collective energy.

What this movement has changed for you?

Jon : A lot has changed for me. I confronted for the first time my ideas and practices, a strong social movement. I met many people who are still my friend-es today, my friends. I learned to speak in public, in front of students AG 2 000 to 3 000 people, the media, the administration of the university, making inter-union and unit meetings, writing leaflets, yelling slogans through megaphones, etc.

Matilda : What has changed is my report to the collective. I had already strikes in high school, I will demo since I was a kid with my parents. But when it voted to end the strike I could not go back to normal. That's why I unionized. I wanted to keep this collective dynamic, build with others, discuss, share, build new struggles.

By Julie (AL Saint-Denis)

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