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(en) Czech, AFED: Black vests and the fight for the rights of migrants [machine translation]

Date Thu, 27 Feb 2020 10:01:25 +0200


Gast arbeiters in France organize themselves in the fight for their rights ---- On November 23, 2018, the National Center for the History of Immigration was occupied in Paris. Between 300 and 400 people heard calls for a General Assembly due to the oppression of migrants in France. This gathering gave rise to the political organization we now know as Gilets Noirs. The organization reunites both migrants without work permits, who are mostly politically active for the first time in their lives, as well as experienced La Chapelle Debout activists who have long been protesting against the disgusting business and appalling conditions in gastarbeit hostels in France known as "foyers". Reports on the activities of Black Vests spread very quickly both on social networks and orally in hostels, and a few weeks later the 700 Black Vests were occupied by the Comédie-Française National Theater,

So we are talking mainly about gastarbeiters without papers facing unenviable conditions in the black sector of the labor market, but also about refugees without any papers who do serf work in detention centers under state supervision. Technically, employers can provide their employees with a work permit, but that would mean paying much higher wages and paying social security contributions. The situation is not even helped by a monstrous bureaucratic apparatus. Officers are constantly postponed or completely abolished at security meetings, corrupt officials suggest that for a few hundred euros it would be quicker if you ask your employer for support in the process, you will at most be fired. Some workers even sleep in tents all winter, others end up in hostels, where four or five people are cramped in one-room flats. Workers are constantly exposed to the threat of detention, placement in a deportation camp, and eventually deportation. Their wages are poor and work mostly on construction sites without any safety regulations. Black vests are the last embodiment of the fight against this closed circle of barbarism. The Migration Rights Movement has a long history in France and over the years it has adopted a wide range of practices and tactics. However, many activists feel purposefully excluded from the wider left-wing movement, although it is clear that this is a fight for decent housing and labor law, issues that also burden workers with all the appropriate documents. Their wages are poor and work mostly on construction sites without any safety regulations. Black vests are the last embodiment of the fight against this closed circle of barbarism. The Migration Rights Movement has a long history in France and over the years it has adopted a wide range of practices and tactics. However, many activists feel purposefully excluded from the wider left-wing movement, although it is clear that this is a fight for decent housing and labor law, issues that also burden workers with all the appropriate documents. Their wages are poor and work mostly on construction sites without any safety regulations. Black vests are the last embodiment of the fight against this closed circle of barbarism. The Migration Rights Movement has a long history in France and over the years it has adopted a wide range of practices and tactics. However, many activists feel purposefully excluded from the wider left-wing movement, although it is clear that this is a fight for decent housing and labor law, issues that also burden workers with all relevant documents.

The name Black Vests originated during the occupation of the National Theater and the intention was to identify with the nascent Yellow Vests movement. Although Yellow Vests are not characterized by direct expression of solidarity with migrants, and some of the initial activities were evidently supported by the far right, several successful intersections, highways and airports have helped many migrants temporarily immobilize the deportation apparatus.

The sequence of events took a momentum from the beginning. On December 16, 2018, the prefecture agreed to a meeting of 1,500 people. The prefecture closed the building and called the heavy-handed. The practices of bosses and bureaucrats to deal with protests and strikes are known to all of us: "We will be happy to discuss the problem and find a solution, but one by one." In other words: "It's easier to break you as an individual the movement for migrants' rights has already faced a similar approach by authorities. When migrants were finally released from the prefecture, officials agreed to issue papers to 30 people each month (about 1,000 are active in the organization). A single case has not yet been resolved.

Black vests attack big business that profits from the exploitation of paperless workers or participates in the deportation machinery, also targeting public infrastructure. For example, black vests staged an "invasion" of Charles de Gaulle airport. The motto of the protest was clear: "We have not come to clean, but to fight!" It was the first in a series of events in the "Black Vests Chasing the Prime Minister" campaign directed at the highest authorities responsible for the injustice of the immigration system. Then Black Vests began to target the business actively benefiting from the ongoing insecurity and oppression of paperless migrants, such as the Elior catering and cleaning corporation, which uses paperless migrants as chefs and cleaners directly in detention centers. Elior is also the largest school canteen supplier, owning seven Louvre restaurants and Jules Verne restaurant on the Eifell Tower. Last summer 12. On June 1, 2019, Elior's offices were occupied by hundreds of paperless migrants who demanded to help them obtain work permits. The occupation was terminated only after the migrants were given written assurances that they would be met by the representatives of the society and would solve the problem. So far, Elior has helped to obtain ten of its migrant employees (out of two hundred) only the confirmation required for further work permit procedures, three more have been released. Since the requirements of the Black Vests were not met, on December 3, 2019, in cooperation with the anarcho-syndicalists of the Confédération nationale du travail (CNT), another event was held in Paris, another prestigious customer of Elior. Activists, especially those without papers, face severe repression by the state.

Yet Black Vests are continuing their efforts to secure paper for all migrants in France. Their organizational structure is horizontal and works with the political, cultural and linguistic diversity of their members rather than combating differences. Everything does not go smoothly every time, but all members are expected to respect the strategic decisions and tactics agreed at the General Assembly. The result is that people without papers are no longer afraid of political activities because of arrests and deportations, they go out hundreds and confront the authorities and bureaucracy responsible for their repression.

Source: https://freedomnews.org.uk/whos-afraid-of-the-black-vests-the-gilets-noirs-and-the-struggle-for-migrant-rights-in-france/

https://www.afed.cz/text/7121/cerne-vesty-a-boj-za-prava-migrantu
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