(Eng) Under the pavement (Fr)

neil birrell (neil@lds.co.uk)
Mon, 22 Jan 1996 02:20:14 +0100


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>E-C-N PARIS/FRANCE
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UNDER THE PAVING STONES, NOTHING...

Like everyone else we had learnt that a social movement was forming in
France that folk were opposed to the Juppe' plan and the general daily
misery... We wanted very much to shout out our rebellion and our concern as
unemployed people who will never benefit from a few pension points.

We even believed that some were waiting to see the reemergence of May '68
with it's barricades, its riots, its riot police and its paving stones...
and we wondered if it would change anything. So we decided to demonstrate
with the railway workers and the government employees who would surely get
less turkey and stuffing this year given that they had less money.

So in a Dunkerque that had been seized by the winter cold, amidst a crowd of
more than 10,000 demonstrators we had wanted to shout our rage against that
bastard Juppe'. So that day we came along with our fellow workers...

Soon we found ourself between the group from the nuclear power station at
Gravelines and the CFDT customs officers section, for sure we weren't in the
right place! We dropped back looking for our anticapitalist, antispecist,
libertarian anarchopunk comrades. Nothing. Not even a black flag flapping in
the winds of revolt.

So we followed this long procession of union folk with the ever so
revolutionary slogan: 'Bastard Juppe', the people want your head'. (In fact
he has nothing to worry about he can sleep easy old Juppe').

We were disappointed, no May '68 on the horizon, not even a riot cop, not
even a paving stone, not even a clenched fist just a few insanities shouted
at the French Prime Minister, stupid teachers acting like it was the school
fete, a few crackers and some whistles for a carnival atmosphere and a nice
little song from Michel Fugain (Is he in the CGT?): 'Pin a red ribbon to
your heart/a flower of a bloody colour/if you really want things to
change/get up now is the time'.

Those few students who were present didn't seem impressed it's hardly gonna
appeal down at the NRJ mega-dance.

And then we walked a few kilometres, as you do, in a very 'behave yourself'
atmosphere, our comrades from the CGT-SNCF up front and our firefighting
comrades all in red but not necessarily with the CGT bringing up the rear.
And then we went home coz it was getting dark and we had to put the supper on.

There were three big demos like that, a good 10,000 sung the jolly 'red
ribbon' song and put about stickers of their favourite unions. The rubbish
piled up in the streets and according to the local baker a few rats have
been seen in the local primary school... what a disappointment, there will
be no May '68, no barricades, no clenched fists.

Well, so that folk could try to make sense of it all, we had a concert
evening down at the Rues du Monde Association. After the concert given by
Roodcoool and Ko, political songs with a smashing bazouki we had a debate
entitled: 'What now?'. It was then that we learnt from the few militants
from the LO and the CGT who had squatted the debate that we were gonna get
the bosses, take over the factories have a big revolution and get rid of
imperialist, liberal, right wing capitalism.

Well after all that we were beginning to wonder if we really wanted a May
'68 coz with unionists like that it wasn't gonna be much fun.

After the turkey and the stuffing and best wishes from the President of the
French Republic and the cake at epiphany there was still no revolution. Well
of course we are not in any great hurry but we have no plans to wait for the
year 2017 so we decided to set up a collective against exclusion. And the
next social movement: we'll do it all ourselves.

>January 95 (sic)
>Sandrine et Laurent.
>Les Rues du Monde 77, rue Soubise 59140 Dunkerque
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