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(en) avtonom: "Yellow vests", acts 19, 20, 21: "quietly, peacefully, but threateningly" [machine translation]

Date Mon, 15 Apr 2019 09:14:40 +0300

Well-known social activist, co-chairman of the Teacher trade union, Andrei Demidov about the 21st round of opposition to the French state and the Yellow Vests movement on Saturday, April 6, 2019. ---- The Saturday action of "yellow vests" in France on April 6 was the smallest since the beginning of the movement - November 17, 22.3 thousand people took part in demonstrations across the country, in Paris - 3.5 thousand, according to media reports referring to the French Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the police union "Police in a rage," the number of demonstrators was 110 thousand. At the same time, as stressed in the trade union, they take into account all forms of protest: demonstrations, blockades, pickets at roundabouts. Continue to count in the union and the number of police suicides. Since January 1, 23 employees have died, an average of one every 4 days, "the government is completely satisfied with this situation", they are indignant at the trade union and poisonously notice that even in undemocratic regimes, as in Algeria, mass protest leads to changes in government policies,

Since the Champs Elysées, the square in front of the National Assembly and a number of other places are still banned for the protest, the yellow vests in Paris decided to visit La Défense, the business center of Paris. The choice of this place was to symbolically demonstrate the conflict between France of the rich and France of labor.

By 1.00 pm, yellow vests filled the Republic Square. The police cordoned off the square, but they did not obstruct the passage of people. For 21 weeks around the movement has grown a whole industry of fast food. Several tents smoke on the square, where you can eat fried sausages, kebabs or vegetarian dishes. A pink van with food and drinks accompanies the protesters at each action and is perceived simply as a member of the family.

At the monument in the center of the square, some activists conducted, apparently in spite of the "great debate" initiated by Macron, their own "people's" poll. Among the questions, do you consider it necessary to create a normal movement with governing bodies on the LJ base, whether you need to form your list at elections of different levels ... It was also suggested to name five topics for a future referendum (the requirement of a "public initiative referendum" is one of ) and three priority economic measures. The people actively filled out questionnaires, which were then thrown into a transparent ballot box.

The total distrust of the "yellow vests" in relation to the "big national blah blah blah", in general, is shared by the great majority of the French. According to a poll conducted by the sociological service ELABE on April 3, 79% of French people are convinced that "the big national debate" will not solve the political crisis that the country is experiencing (+9 points compared to March), 68%, that the opinions expressed in it will not be taken into account (+5 points). At the same time, 62% believe that the participation of citizens in the discussion of the future of the country is good in itself. Summarizing, the French are ready to give their proposals, but they do not consider that the current president is the addressee suitable for them. The greatest skepticism regarding the dialogue with the authorities is shown by people aged 35 to 64, representatives of mass professions and workers.

The validity of these concerns was confirmed on Monday by Prime Minister Edward Philip, who undertook to present the results of the "big debate" to the public. The prime minister called the main demand that the French put forward to the authorities for three months of consultations - "reducing the tax burden", without explaining, however, who this reduction will affect. However, the next phrase - "the French also understood - having shown greater maturity than even some politicians - that we cannot cut taxes if we do not reduce the expenses of the state budget" explained everything. It is supposed to reduce taxes for all, but the relief that ordinary French will receive will be negatively compensated by cuts in social assistance measures and public goods. Obviously, the government simply chose from the whole set of measures proposed during the debates that it likes more, not at all caring about the actual rating of this or that requirement. E. Phillip indirectly acknowledged this, declaring that "it is obviously difficult to summarize in a few words or through speech tens of millions of words and hundreds of thousands of ideas that were voiced by our fellow citizens."

At the same time, polls of the population following the results of the "big national discussion" show that 60% of French people expect from the executive power, first of all, actions to increase the purchasing power of the population. 50% of the French (32% of them indicated this task as a top priority) want the authorities to react to the social crisis, 42% (of which 20% are in the 1st place) require measures to revive the economy. And even this point is obvious in the representation of citizens is not limited to a simple reduction of taxes on business, but requires targeted efforts by the state to create jobs. Reducing taxes on business and the richest is already happening since the arrival of Macron in the presidency. Corporate income tax is gradually reduced from 33.3% to 25%; which originally should have been canceled only for those who earn below a certain level, as a result they will also cancel for the richest. Macron also abolished the large estate tax (ISF). The return of this tax is one of the principal requirements of LJ, supported by two thirds of the French.

If we consider the pension reform - another stated by Macron, then when asked how to ensure the future of the pension system, 63% of French people are for raising taxes or taxes for the most wealthy families and only 28% are for raising the retirement age, no more than 7 % agree to reduce the size of pensions.

"The authorities say that the soup is too salty, and they are responsible - change the spoon" - ironically comment on the results of the "big debate" on the Internet. Demonstrators carry posters ridiculing Macron and his policies. Shouting calls for his resignation. They sing a song in which they call him "the president of the bosses." The dislike of "yellow jackets" for the president is well known, but how much do ordinary citizens share it?

On Wednesday, April 3, the data of the next poll, devoted to the measurement of the level of approval of the president's actions by citizens, was published. It turned out that the positive effect of the "national debate" was exhausted and the ratings of the president and the prime minister continued to fall after two months of some growth. Moreover, this fall was simultaneously recorded by various sociological services.

Only according to Ifop / Fiducial, the actions of President Emmanuel Macron are approved by 29%. "Everything goes as if the national debate is increasingly perceived as a fraud in order to gain time," one of the sociologists told Paris Match magazine about the survey results.

According to the ELABE Institute, the current president's rating is even lower - only 28% of respondents answered affirmatively to the question "can Macron effectively cope with the problems facing the country"? It should be noted that Macron's trust rating is growing among managers (51%), but it is falling more and more deeply among workers. This proves that the demonstrators already know - Macron is the president of the rich, they are his audience and the real beneficiaries of his policies. Choosing the purpose of the Saturday demonstration, the financial center of the capital, the protesters want to show these people the real people and their anger.

It is curious that the confidence ratings of several ministers also plummeted this month: Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner and Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanker are particularly strong among them. If the fall in confidence in the first can be interpreted differently (maybe someone is not happy that he is not tough enough to fight protests), then the low rating of the Minister of Education is a direct consequence of the struggle of teachers and students against the education reform he initiated.

On Thursday, the second national strike of teachers and students in two weeks, banners demanding the abolition of the "Blanker's Law" still hang on the walls of educational institutions and even kindergartens. After large-scale demonstrations at the end of last week and the current one, in which, along with the trade unions, the new network movement "Red Hands" was taking part, officials of the Ministry of Education agreed to negotiate with delegates from the movement. The meeting took place on Friday and did not lead to a result. The Red Pens have already announced that they will continue to put pressure on the government and are preparing a new mobilization. Requirements include: a salary increase of 40% (compensation for inflation over 10 years without indexation), the abandonment of temporary contracts, the hiring of additional workers to normalize the workload, a reduction in the number of students in a class ...

Quite often, "yellow jackets" are reproached for "protest for the sake of protest", for wanting to "return to the blessed 70s" and reject the inevitable changes.
Let us leave aside the question of how much the progressive impoverishment of the majority of the population with the growth of incomes of the super-rich minority is "necessary" or even "inevitable", but in the political sphere, direct democracy promoted by "vests" is obviously a step forward compared to traditional representative democracy, where citizens forced to hand over the mandate to guide their lives in essence to an unfamiliar person for a long time without the ability to adjust something before the end of this period.

One of the forms of such a more flexible "Soviet" democracy is the General Assemblies, which take place at regular intervals in every city where there are protest groups. They act on the principle of "one person - one vote" and before making a decision, allow everyone to speak. Sometimes this action is delayed for several hours, but people appreciate being able to be heard and be subjects, not objects of decisions. In Paris, for example, assemblies are held on a territorial basis, or on a professional basis, when educators, students or other categories meet.
A logical continuation of this practice was the General Assembly of the French Assemblies, which met for the first time in February of this year in Commerce (Lorraine). Anyone who wishes has the right to speak here, but the decisive vote is given only to delegates elected at local assemblies.

The second Assembly assemblies convened this weekend in San Nazaire, in western France. While in Paris, demonstrators threatened with their fists to the glittering skyscrapers of the local City, 800 Assembly participants representing 250 local assemblies tried to determine the principles of coordination and plans for the future. The list of working groups makes it possible to understand which topics are discussed in the movement: "internal and external communication", "fighting repression", "which short-term strategy?", "How to organize coordinated actions?", "Elections to the European Parliament" and "ecology".

"The main goal is to get together, work together, discuss, see what we have done together. And, from there, try to have common structures, proposals, requirements, "the RFI journalist conveys the words of one of the participants.

Others do not believe that the Assembly should be the governing body, but only a platform for discussion, exchange of experience and coordination.
In any case, delegates are optimistic, although they admit that at the moment the movement is looking for new, more efficient methods. "We should not reduce the presence on Saturday marches. We need to supplement these marches with blockades of roads and enterprises on weekdays, "one of the delegates acknowledged. She also expressed the hope that the decisions taken at the Assembly will be able to increase the number of protesters.

Indeed, as a result of the Assembly in San Nazaire, a protest action was announced on May 1. The International Day of Workers' Solidarity, traditionally perceived as a left and trade union day, is clearly not accidental for the start of this campaign. It seems that this decision reflects a growing understanding among the "LJ" that without an alliance with trade unions and political opposition to force the authorities to change their policies will not work.

Sometimes this union is expressed in unexpected forms. On April 3, a film devoted to yellow vests "I want to see the sun" (J'veux du soleil) started in the French box office. The genre of the film is documentary, but there are examples in the French box office when documentary films make a cashier and therefore cinemas take it. At least the first shows show full halls, a considerable part of the audience is dressed in yellow vests, and the most exciting scenes are met with shouts and applause.

The film director Francois Rueffen is a remarkable person. A journalist by profession, he made a name for himself on social topics and criticized growing inequality. In the elections to the National Assembly in 2017, he became a candidate from the left-wing radical and anti-capitalist movement Picardy Standing and won with the support of leftists and environmentalists. After this film, this leftist has every chance of becoming a favorite of the yellow masses (and given the scale of rentals, more than a hundred cinemas across the country are not only among them). Will this push the masses left? Quite possible. Times change and the work "What to do" may well find a video format)).

And the Saturday rally in Paris ended peacefully. Without collisions and broken storefronts. Someone sees this as demobilization, someone - restructuring.

Yellow vests, act 20: around and around
With some delay, I publish a summary of events around the regular, 20th Saturday action of the "yellow vests" on March 30. Brief summary. Slightly ebbing yellow wave allows you to see other waves of protest activity, for some time caught in its media shadow. According to the country's Ministry of the Interior, 33,700 demonstrators took to the streets throughout France, including 4,000 in Paris. 120 thousand protesters according to the police police union in a rage. Two weeks ago, the same trade union estimated the number of protesters at 230,000.

A quantitative decline is quite likely. On the one hand, the leaders of yellow vests have been announcing a certain cyclical nature in conducting demonstrations for several weeks. Once a month, yellow vests from the province are mobilized to take part in the action in Paris; at all other times, everyone protests at their place of residence. Cheap and angry.

On the other hand, eyewitness accounts on the Internet and their own impressions speak of an increase in police pressure on demonstrators. For example, the LJ group formed in our district, before going on a general manifestation, always campaigns with the distribution of leaflets in the nearest market. Due to their purely peaceful nature, this activity has never attracted the attention of the police. But this time, the police tried to prevent agitation on the pretext that it was not agreed with the authorities.

Such an aggressive line of conduct, no doubt lowered from above, annoys some policemen. One of them, responding to the questions and outrage of the activists, even allowed himself to complain about the tiresomeness of continuous reinforcements. This fatigue is expressed not only in the mass sabotage of the Sabbath duty, but also in the increasing cases of suicide. According to the same union, Policemen in Anger, since the beginning of the year, almost two dozen police officers have made up for life.

The trade union on its website directly accuses the authorities that instead of having a dialogue with the protesters, they chose to isolate themselves from the police and call their comrades hostage the "racketeering of France" policy pursued by President Macron and his government. Perhaps for many policemen such agitation is "too left", but it definitely gets into pain points and as fatigue and irritation grows, it can be claimed. The first demonstration of protest by the police against the "police" solution of a political problem took place in early March and gathered several hundred participants. Now any resonant history can become a detonator.

On Friday, new data was published on the progress of the investigation into the incident in Nice on Saturday, where a 73-year-old activist suffered at the hands of the police. She received several fractures of the skull bones and was in serious condition. At first, the prosecutor's office leading the investigation completely denied the guilt of the police, and then nevertheless admitted that the police pushed the woman, allegedly going beyond the instructions. Guilty face up to 7 years in prison. The prosecutors' statement about the "initiative" nature of the policeman's actions has already provoked an angry rebuff from the trade union, which demands recognition of the responsibility of the country's leadership, the ministry of internal affairs and the prefect for decisions that led to escalation. The development of this story, which is closely monitored for its part by both police and Protestants,

One of the explosions with his statement here has already been made by Emanuel Macron. Responding to the wound of the activist, he wished her recovery, as well as "wisdom", saying, among other things, that if you are ill (due to age) you are standing on your feet, nothing goes to places where it is forbidden. Thereby, both the elderly and the activists were offended, actually removing the responsibility from the police. As a result, already on the next tribute in Nice, Paris and a number of other cities mass protests took place, at which fine old women with the slogans "I am 71 years old and I protest. And this is not the end, young idiot! " And according to the results of the action, the creation of the movement "Pensioners in Anger" was announced.

Higher and higher wave of protests in the field of education. The trade unions together with the "Red Pens" movement, recently created in the likeness of the LiveJournal of teachers, demand that the reform carried out by the Minister of Education at ZHM be canceled. Blanker. According to the trade unions of teachers and students, it provokes a growing inequality in access to quality education, deprives students of vocational lyceums of general courses and thereby narrows their opportunities in the future. Educators are not satisfied with rate cuts and the massive replacement of permanent contracts with temporary ones.

According to the "Red Pens" movement, 50,000 people all over France came out on demonstrations against the education reform on Saturday. Here two events have become a catalyst. The first - on March 19 in Toulouse, the police beat and poured teachers with tear gas, who chained themselves to the gates of the university administration. The disgraceful price has got on video and widely sold on a network. The second is the recent suicide of a teacher from Versailles Jean Villaud, who left a suicide note in which he explained his decision with a protest against the arrogance of education managers. As a result, all week France was shaken by protests of workers and students.

In Lille, a high-ranking official insulted the protesters: "You can't imagine anyone! You are a disgrace to the education system," etc. The authorities 'anger can be easily explained. Lilsk activists of the" red pens "blocked their administration as a sign of solidarity with the teachers of Toulouse. Versailles went through a memorial march in honor of the deceased teacher.

A general assembly was held on Wednesday in Montpellier with the participation of teachers, students and parents. Practically in all regions there are special events to inform parents about the reform being carried out by the authorities and the requirements of teachers. Two assemblies took place in Grenoble: the inter-union union and the red pens themselves.

From March 24 to March 30, teachers held various events in Normandy, from leaflet distribution to demonstrations. In Marseille, teachers passed through the city, holding 300 chairs in their hands, symbolizing 300 reduced rates. In Toulouse on Tuesday, March 26, the occupation of the Toulouse Business School took place.
On March 25, an operation "dead schools" took place in Amiens. The goal is to temporarily paralyze the work of schools through a strike. In Paris, we also experienced a one-day teacher's strike on March 28. Since my friends in Russia have such an unfamiliar experience, I'll tell you about the teacher's strike through the eyes of a parent. The news that tomorrow will not learn, the child brought the day before. There are no Russian requirements to notify the employer about a strike in a week in France. Parents get out as they can. They mobilize grandmothers, grouped in twos or threes, asking for leave from work for a few hours. We shared the day with the family of our daughter's classmate, looking after the children for half a day.

In Limoges, the "red pens" held a joint action with yellow vests. And this is how it is now fashionable to say - a new "trend." The movement of the Kyrgyz Republic, created as a kind of alternative to trade unions and "yellow vests", is driven by the logic of struggle and common goals to the need for joint actions.

Housing movement
On Saturday in Paris, a large LJ demonstration was formed from two streams. One started from the North Station and consisted of LJ activists themselves, and the second, coming from Chatelet, was formed by marchers for the right to housing. LJ and the Association for the Right to Housing (DAL) jointly addressed the call for this march. This Sunday, March 31, the seasonal moratorium on eviction ends. Social activists are sounding the alarm, the number of homeless people in France only in 2018 increased by 23%.

In 2017, 126,000 eviction decisions were made, including more than 120,000 for unpaid rent (+ 49% by 2001). In the same year, 15,547 households were evicted with the assistance of law enforcement agencies, which is a historical record and testifies to the desperate situation these people are in.

Condemning the "surge in rent," "real estate speculation," "energy instability," "lower purchasing power of the lower and middle classes," associations require that there be no more evictions without a resettlement solution. low-income strata of the population, and require rent restrictions in large metropolitan areas. By the way, one of the first Macron activities was the removal of existing restrictions on rent increases and housing. The connection is usually moderate ZHILISCHNIK with LJ shows that public figures have exhausted the possibility of a positive dialogue with the authorities and is now ready to support the slogans of the resignation of the president and the government.

In general, it seems that Macron has set himself the task of consistently quarreling with all categories of the population, "from pioneers to pensioners." Now civil servants are next in line - the seemingly natural support of the president-technocrat. According to the reform announced by the government, of five million civil servants it is expected to cut 120,000. Temporary contracts are being introduced, as is already done in education.

The trade unions opposed the bill, accusing the government of a "bookkeeping approach" to reform with the sole purpose of reducing budget expenditures. The expansion of the number of "contract workers" is considered by trade unions as an attempt on the special status of a civil servant and its independence from changing political power. On May 9, trade unions scheduled a nationwide protest against reform.

The 19th act of "yellow vests": everything is calm in Paris, which cannot be said about the country
After the last hot Saturday all week, the parties prepared for the continuation of the struggle. Authorities in every way demonstrated their determination with an "iron hand" to restore order and suppress unauthorized actions. The centers of 15 major cities were closed for shares, a law hastily been adopted against "thugs", under which the fine for participation in an unauthorized action was raised from 40 to 140 euros and other austerities.

Macron also fired the prefect (police chief) of Paris. The new prefect, who previously headed the police in Aquitaine, is considered a supporter of tough measures. Appearance appropriate - withered ascetic with an unyielding look. After an emergency meeting of the president who hastily returned from the ski resort with the cabinet of ministers, it was announced that they would strengthen the police with army patrols. This news immediately turned into a public figure commander of the Paris military district. The brave general, who had not yet mastered the new quality, immediately promised to open fire whenever the military considered that their lives or constitutional order were in danger. What made a lot of noise in the press and clearly confirmed - the use of army units to suppress protests is fraught with unpredictable consequences - from casualties among civilians to the demoralization of the soldiers themselves. In short, skillfully caught up with horror. However, as it happened more than once, the answer of the LJ was some kind of asymmetric.

First, despite all the severity and intimidation of the people on the streets even more than a week ago. According to the French Ministry of Internal Affairs, forty-five thousand protesters took to the streets in France, a week ago, again according to police, there were only 32 thousand. Secondly, in spite of all measures of reinforcement, clashes with the police did occur in Nice, Lyon, Toulouse, Montpellier ...

Moreover, there is a feeling that the police were seriously wounded by the proddings of the president and the profile minister were afraid to "pry" (no prefect does not want to repeat the fate of Paris and in turn pushes those below) and, unlike the protesters, they were all grave. The Internet has been flooded with videos, in which the police are felting and beating at all not pogrom-masters in masks, in which they themselves are peaceful citizens who show no signs of aggression. The incident in Nice thundered, where a police special forces dumped a 73-year-old woman on the pavement, demonstrating with a flag that read "Peace". The result - a few fractures of the skull and placement in a hospital in critical condition.

In Paris, signs that "yellow vests" do not intend to repeat the script of last Saturday appeared literally immediately, when protester Eric Drouet, one of the leaders, answered a question from a journalist about what would happen next week, but we'll do without demonstration. tired, let rest (obviously meaning not the police).

Indeed, this time the Saturday rally was held in a chamber format, almost a picnic. Several thousand people in yellow vests gathered in Montmartre, at the highest point of Paris, at the foot of the snow-white church of Sacré Coeur. The church itself was blocked by the police, a police helicopter circled over the heads of the crowd, but on the whole the situation on this sunny and warm day was surprisingly calm and the "yellow vests" peacefully coexisted with the tourists, who are always very much in this place.

In the absence of movement, people talked a lot, around activists with megaphones spontaneous platforms were created for speeches and debates. Almost all the famous faces of the movement were present here, any "yellow vest" could communicate with them directly if desired, and this created an almost intimate atmosphere of fraternity and joint contemplation of Paris spread out below.

As a result, the new prefect of Paris could not fully demonstrate his talents to the rebels of the rioters, because of his colorful appearance he immediately became a favorite character of amateur caricaturists who photographed and so large for a small face a general's cap even several sizes larger.

Laugh laughter, and the grindstones of the repressive machine revolve with increasing speed. Just on the eve of Saturday, statistics of the Ministry of Justice appeared, according to which for all the time of the protests, more than 8,000 protesters were detained. About 2 thousand of them have already been convicted. According to the Minister of Justice, 40% of those found guilty were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment - from one month to three years. The remaining 60% were sentenced to correctional labor, fines or other forms of sanctions. According to the minister, in the cases of another 1,800 detainees during the demonstrations, the decision has not yet been made.

It is obvious that now, after the adoption of new amendments to the legislation, tougher penalties for participation in actions, there will be even more people arrested and convicted. The only question is what effect can be achieved.

On the one hand, it is clear that tougher penalties and a general increase in police violence will deter some of the current Protestants from participating in demonstrations. On the other hand, the movement of "yellow jackets" with its own methods only corresponds to the expectations of society (at least, its significant part). And these expectations are consistently bad.

Thus, according to a recent study by the French Public Opinion Institute, commissioned by the French edition of Atlantis, 39% of French people are convinced that a revolution would be required to change the situation in the country. Those who believe that the existing problems can be solved through reforms, while more - 50%, but how many of them believe that the current ruling class is capable of such reforms is unknown. The truth of another poll, conducted shortly before the end of the Great Debate, revealed that 70% of French people do not believe that the "big debate" will allow them to get out of the current political and social crisis, and 63% do not believe that the President will at least somehow accept their results into account.

That is, we have the classical scheme of an overheated boiler, which the authorities stubbornly clog up, at best, reducing the response to the demands of large-scale reforms to minor concessions and cosmetic reforms. "The only answer that we received within a few months is the brutal violence of state authorities. The only weapon we carry is an opinion that contradicts the government, "the Alpes Maritimes statement said in a statement from the" yellow vests "of the region, which activists from all other territories could probably subscribe to.

If one delves into the social structure of the "yellow vests" movement, it becomes clear that this movement, not being a party, essentially claims to fulfill the main function of political parties that they have lost in the eyes of so many people - to represent the interests of a significant, significant part of society.
Recently, the results of a large-scale survey (10 thousand respondents) conducted by the sociological service ELABE at the end of the past - the beginning of this year were published. From the data obtained, it follows that there are 9% more workers in the movement than their share in society as a whole, and there are also more employees - 4%. Among them, almost 2 times more unemployed than they are in society (11% versus 6%), but in general, workers make up a confident majority - 72%. Another category represented in the movement disproportionately to its weight in society is single women with children (12% versus 6%).


65% of "yellow jackets" have difficult months (+17 percent compared with the average Frenchman)

69% detained or refused medical assistance over the past twelve months (+18)

51% found themselves in a situation of insecurity regularly in the past twelve months (+17);

55% believe that their financial situation has deteriorated over the past twelve months (+12).

In addition, half of the "yellow vests" are systematically looking for the lowest prices for food purchases and two-thirds when buying clothes and shoes, which in both cases is significantly higher than the average French level (+ 15%).

Thus, we can conclude that the "yellow vests" (and at the peak of the movement 20% of adult French men considered themselves to be themselves) have nowhere to retreat. They do not see prospects, believing that their parents lived better, and their children will live worse and do not trust the existing institutions of representation, relying only on the revolutionary breakdown of the system. To oppose these sentiments with something other than police batons and prison sentences, the authorities are not yet ready, which means that the number of those who no longer believe in reforms will only grow.

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