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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #284 - Tolbiac: When the occupation is not at the party (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 14 Jun 2018 09:22:10 +0300

During the mobilization sequence against Parcoursup and the ORE law, occupations were one of the main tactics employed by struggling students. That of Tolbiac, Paris 13 th , was particularly publicized. Critical assessment, seen from the inside, by a militant communist libertarian. ---- It is not a question here of going back over all the details of this occupation which, from the 26th of March to the 20th of April, made Tolbiac one of the leading spots of the student protest in France, alongside Toulouse or Montpellier. The experience was beautiful, rich in new encounters, thrills and moments of joy and sharing. ---- Between enthusiasm and disappointment ---- The Free Commune of Tolbiac became a crucible in which new militant individuals were formed, now determined to carry their enthusiasm in new battles. Nevertheless, she also suffered from many problems, sometimes very serious ones.

The first and most fundamental was the general unpreparedness of the occupants. In Paris-I, the activists of the self-management were notably grouped within Solidaires étudiant.es which was one of the main forces at the origin of the project of occupation. Recently created, the union was a structure that was too fragile, which was shattered from the beginning of the business. The occupation project had been mentioned in the weeks preceding its implementation, but without really being prepared all the logistical elements necessary for its proper functioning. In addition, these activists had little or no concrete experience of community life and self-management.

This lack of preparation and inexperience largely resulted from the inability of the occupiers and occupants to establish a lasting collective framework to organize the occupation. After a few days, they decided to hold a daily meeting to discuss the day-to-day management of the occupation. Unfortunately, because of lack of time and a lack of organization, it took place only irregularly. In addition, she was constantly parasitized by issues outside the management of the site, often led by activists who were not themselves occupiers. In addition, the distribution of tasks within the occupation was done through large tables where everyone enrolled at his pleasure. The notion of mandate, however central, was completely sidelined.

Heavy tensions to manage
This lack of a collective framework resulted in the general inability of the occupiers to enforce the rules they had tried to develop together. Faced with the almost mafia-like methods of several autonomous or antifascist groups who, under the pretext of offering the occupation a " protection That this one did not claim, sowed the disorder, they were incapable of coping. Degradation and aggression were therefore committed without the occupants being able to do anything about it. Their lack of cohesion and their fluctuating number, often too small, prevented them from establishing durably the balance of power necessary to maintain security in Tolbiac. Another source of tensions during the occupation was the complicated relationship of the occupants with the youths of the city opposite. Arriving in Tolbiac towards the end of the second week of occupation, they met the mistrust of the occupants and occupants. They quickly became aware of their inability to cope, and thus ignored most of the rules of the place. Nevertheless, in the last days, a dialogue was established as best they could, and some of these young people showed a growing desire to participate in the occupation and to integrate fully. Who knows what could have been done over the long term in this nascent convergence ?

All of this ended up burdening the occupants with a stifling sense of urgency and panic. Their small numbers, organizational problems and threats of fascist or police attacks all contributed to their exhaustion, both mentally and physically. In a self-management without mandates, the few individuals who mechanically found themselves at the center of all the management of the occupation were criticized for their supposed authoritarianism, while they were overwhelmed by fatigue and stress. It was on this basis that the feeling among many occupants and occupants that Tolbiac developed was an area to be defended, even to the detriment of the mobilization as a whole.

Several balance sheet documents say that it is mainly because of the political convictions of the occupiers and the occupiers that the occupation has finally fallen back on itself. This ideological element could play, and the imagination of the Zad was indeed very present in Tolbiac. Nevertheless, these ideas could only develop because they found a fertile ground in this sense of urgency whose causes were very concrete.

A necessity in the face of closure
As soon as the university administration decided to administratively close Tolbiac to prevent students from regrouping, the occupation became a necessity for the movement. All the political components present in the mobilization finally agreed and supported this idea. Nevertheless, not all of them seemed aware of the practical constraints that the use of this tactic would impose on the movement. It is wrong to oppose, as NPA members have for example, the idea of an occupation conceived as a " place of life " to that of an occupation which would be a simple tactic in the service of the struggle. If there is occupation, there is necessarily creation of a place of life and necessity of its daily management.

Therefore, rather than criticizing by far the supposed mistrust of the occupiers vis-à-vis the outside, playing astonished as soon as they heard about the problems of the occupation, political activists would have had to become more involved in the occupation. Thus, their participation could have undermined the material bases of this beleaguered fortress mentality, a mentality that their perpetual criticisms ultimately only strengthened. Meanwhile, the occupiers gradually succumbed to exhaustion or discouragement, and it was easy for the police to come and put an end to the occupation.

Guillaume (AL Paris North East)

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