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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #282 - Essay: Pattieu, "Beauty Parade" (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 7 May 2018 08:43:56 +0300

Beauty parade is the story of a struggle that took place in 2014 and had then experienced some media coverage for its originality. At 57, rue de Strasbourg, Château-d'Eau district in Paris, the owner of a hairdressing and manicure salon disappears overnight with the cash register. He leaves fifteen women workers on the floor, only two of whom have papers. Two months that the boss did not pay wages. One of the workers then decides to contact the CGT who answers the call: the occupation of the salon begins. Of the 15 hairdressers in the show, 7 will stay: 2 Cameroonians, 4 Chinese and Gang, the only man in the show, China also. ---- The boss is already far away and it is futile to hope to recover the two months of stolen wages. Objective of the struggle: to obtain the regularization of those who have remained and who have chosen to fight.

Sylvain Pattieu chronicles this fight: 75 days to turn the salon to pay ; 75 days of occupation of the living room, night and day, including Sunday Sundays.

No big speeches, contextual analyzes or sociological interviews: only the day-to-day narrative of the struggle and the reported words of those who are bound to it: workers, trade unionists, customers, bosses of other salons ... thread of discussions in the living room, we discover the life trajectories of West Africa or China. Sometimes, the choice to try one's luck elsewhere, the adventure, sometimes the obligation to leave, to get out the head of water, unemployment, debts. Still, the hope of a better life but always, there as here, be subject to the vagaries of the capitalist economy.

Beauty Parade is an informative and inspiring read. Among others, the role that unionism can play in the struggles of undocumented migrants. Far from being unsuited to these forms of work precarious to the extreme, because unrecognized unionism provides logistics, broad support to avoid isolation and especially the experience gained in similar struggles. As Raymond, a CGT unionist, explains: " The only way to take things is not from people's personal files, but from their place in society. There, you make the connection with other workers, with a common social identity.[...]The strike[undocumented workers]is a fact, it forces to recognize what is not supposed to exist. "

A very well written story, moving, funny and warm. A story of courageous women, struggling and winning. In short, a reading that makes you want to fight !

Benjamin (AL Nantes)

Sylvain Pattieu, Beauty parade, The paperback, 256 pages, 6.60 euros.

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