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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL Bordeaux - In Bordeaux as elsewhere, we are hungry ! (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 24 May 2020 07:34:24 +0300


A look at solidarity actions and the abandonment of public authorities during the confinement period. ---- In squats in Bordeaux, "people will starve, not Covid 19" headlined Le Monde on April 2, 2020 to show the catastrophic situation of the poorest populations in the Bordeaux metropolis. As elsewhere, the state of health emergency and containment measures have not taken into account the fate of people living in extreme poverty and subsisting in the shadow economy. ---- According to the associations, there are between 2,000 and 3,000 people in squats or makeshift camps in the Bordeaux metropolis. In the first week of confinement, the humanitarian associations which organized food distributions found themselves at a standstill or in a very degraded situation. The lack of volunteers and permanent staff on sick leave were the primary cause. To respond to this situation, many initiatives have emerged in urgency and precariousness thanks to a surge of generosity and the commitment of many people.

A state that endangers migrants and organizes the suffering of populations
Before taking stock of some initiatives, it is worth recalling that the vast majority of people living in squats are foreign nationals, many of whom are refugees awaiting status. These people are under the jurisdiction of the state. It is therefore the responsibility of the prefecture and its directorate of social cohesion policy aimed at people in socio-economic difficulties to implement solutions against exclusion and poverty. In theory, the role of the state is clear, but in practice it is a whole different story.

Since Papon, the Bordeaux region more often than inherits what is more authoritarian in the prefectural body. After having had the hand puller, Didier Lallement, we now have the disengaging of the Calais jungle, Fabienne Buccio. Guided by a smoky theory of "the air draw", the latter has never stopped slowing down all initiatives aimed at people in precarious situations on the pretext of not wanting to work with associations with which it does was not used to collaborating. The state of health emergency would enable it to regularize the number of refugees through work. But since the collective of support for refugees · es called on this subject, the prefect Buccio is absent subscribers

The local authorities of the Bordeaux Metropolitan area could have taken up the torch by ensuring the continuity of food distributions. While the subsidy valve has been opened for certain associations in the field, the communities have nonetheless demonstrated their incompetence to operate an effective public policy towards people in difficulty since the start of confinement.

The explanation of this situation is in the political domain with a prefecture which develops the "penetration of the spirits" by organizing the suffering of the populations which it does not want to see on its territory and a local line which caresses in the direction of the hair its the most reactionary electorate by acting in small numbers. This produces a state of health disaster for the populations furthest from social protection and failure to assist people in danger.

Our necessary organization
Faced with this explosive situation, relayed by humanitarian associations and social mediation professionals, the activists who supported the squats and the refugees quickly developed large-scale collections and distributions, with the means at hand. The association Les enfants de Coluche, known for a long time for supporting squats in the metropolis, provided support to the Roma populations living in the slums. The distributions organized directly in the camps are an example of the abandonment of public powers towards these populations. If we could see officials from the town hall, we can say that at no time did the community take responsibility for supporting these initiatives. Nothing to secure distributions in order to prevent the spread of the epidemic and nothing to protect activists during situations of tension with hungry and very worried people. To date, we have only a very partial vision of the situation, but we know that the State has completely deserted its responsibilities under the guise of its leitmotif: "absorption of squats". The prefect maintained her ideological position by refusing to recognize the work of the association Coluche children because the latter would promote, according to her, the development of squats. We find here the strategy of Didier Lallement of "we are not on the same side": maintain at all costs the balance of power and the weakening of what opposes the power in place.

At the same time, the Bienvenue association, a mobilization for refugees, organized jointly with activists operating in squats and social workers a food distribution for more than a thousand people living in the metropolitan squats. Thanks to its dynamic network of volunteers and its inclusive management of good wills, it has achieved a tour de force without any prior expertise in this area, drawing on its experience in cultural action. She also succeeded in making the link between her actions and the demands of the collectives for the regularization of refugees. This pooling contributed to the support and commitment of volunteers, and led to the success of this solidarity project. This distribution was carried out thanks to the logistical support of the Darwin ecosystem. It is remarkable that where there is an abandonment of public powers, the enlightened boss of the Bordeaux right bank, the hummingbird from the large distribution, offers his help. The counter-gift will be for him the access to an additional symbolic power. By promoting humanitarian actions in its ecosystem, it responds favorably to the demand of its customers with high purchasing power who are looking for fun and meaning. We can only note the capacity of this entrepreneur to position himself at the right time and in the right place to exist. We can question the networks that systematically favor Darwin at the expense of other operators in the charitable sector. The counter-gift will be for him the access to an additional symbolic power. By promoting humanitarian actions in its ecosystem, it responds favorably to the demand of its customers with high purchasing power who are looking for fun and meaning. We can only note the capacity of this entrepreneur to position himself at the right time and in the right place to exist. We can question the networks that systematically favor Darwin at the expense of other operators in the charitable sector. The counter-gift will be for him the access to an additional symbolic power. By promoting humanitarian actions in its ecosystem, it responds favorably to the demand of its customers with high purchasing power who are looking for fun and meaning. We can only note the capacity of this entrepreneur to position himself at the right time and in the right place to exist. We can question the networks that systematically favor Darwin at the expense of other operators in the charitable sector.

Citizen Oval, an association present in all the mobilizations towards refugees, has opted for another strategy by taking an institutionalist turn. It has set up a food distribution in its premises and at the same time signed agreements with the State to encourage the hiring of refugees for agricultural work, made other agreements with establishments under the supervision of the military to accompany young people, and negotiated with the majority union of agricultural holdings (FNSEA) responsible for the social and environmental degradation of agriculture in France. This desire for recognition by the institutions therefore distances this association from the militant milieu present in the struggles against the exclusion of refugees. Unfortunately for her,

New questions arise
After the emergency, the question of the day after arises. If generosity was the key word during the distribution process, the question of management, inventory of needs and populations will be on the agenda.; first to answer technical questions of supply and redistribution in order to make distributions consistent with each other and not leave anyone on the way. These questions are not only technical and pose a major political problem. People living in squats live hidden and avoid being noticed to stay as long as possible under the same roof. With this distribution, most of the squats will be referenced on lists which, no doubt, will end up on the Prefecture's Squat Resorption platform. The paradox is that the associations fight so that the populations can eat according to their needs and at the same time offer the means to the prefecture to carry out in the near future evictions and deportations to the border.

We come to the question of the sustainability of these distributions by people who, in the period of confinement, had time to give. How will the long period of deconfinement go ? It is to be hoped that the collective force will be able to reorganize by integrating the inhabitants of the squats and that the charitable associations will resume their activities.

What we must learn from this experience, which is far from over, is first of all this tremendous outpouring of generosity in forms of self-organization, which puts public authorities face to face with their responsibilities. It is the hope of seeing movements of solidarity towards migrants coordinate effectively to win struggles locally. We can see that this period of confinement also allowed many people to discover concrete forms of engagement. That said, we can ask ourselves the question of the duration and the meaning that this commitment will take. In light of the studies on the subject, the rise to power of pragmatic type commitments is of limited duration. The search for concrete results translates into an increase in initiatives aimed directly at helping others, without waiting for a political change. Let us hope that, during this period, the forms of commitment go from volunteering to activism and that concrete action translates into political commitment.

Libertarian Communist Union Bordeaux, May 3, 2020.

https://www.unioncommunistelibertaire.org/?A-Bordeaux-comme-ailleurs-on-a-faim
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