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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #282 - Roman: Huet, "The Rioters" (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Fri, 11 May 2018 09:32:12 +0300

In the previous issue of Alternative Libertaire, you were advised to read Philippe Huet's Quays of Wrath , the first issue of a trilogy of novels about the labor struggles of Le Havre. The Rioters, second in the saga, reveals the terrible struggle of the steelworkers of 1922, twelve years after the affair of unionist coalman Jules Durand. ---- In the meantime, the butchery of 14-18 has passed and the capitalists have benefited from it. But if peace has returned, the social war is in full swing. Patrons arbitrarily impose a 10 % of the salary of the steelworkers, they are then nearly 20 000 in Le Havre. In fact, the employers seek to provoke the revolt that they can then crush, thus breaking the workers' organizations, CGTU in mind. The strike then goes off as planned, the bosses refuse any negotiation. Except that the strike lasts and does not weaken. Children who are struggling to feed are sent to other families of comrades, some strikers are sent to hire other factories on strike time to feed the solidarity funds, the leaders of the CGTU come back up the morale of the troops during daily meetings. But the strike of the steelworkers must come out of its isolation to be at the height. To crush the movement, the bosses seek to degenerate, old recipe.

Once again, it is difficult to distinguish the real facts from the novel as Huet's work is historically sourced and accurate. The writing, simple and direct, describes well the working condition and keeps us in suspense. In addition to paying tribute to this struggle and to those who led it, Les Émeutiers is an informative historical presentation, where the collusion of economic and political interests is well illustrated. A novel that also shows how the capitalists know how to organize and think to lead the struggle against the proletariat and maintain its privileges. The role of the bourgeois press is thus brought to light through one of the main characters, a young journalist already present in Les Quais de la colère.Finally, the reader confronts questions that still arise today: how to convince of the usefulness of the struggle ? How to know if the moment to put all its forces in the battle is the good one ?

Benjamin (AL Nantes)

Philippe Huet, The Rioters, Rivages, 287 pages, 18,50 euros

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