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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - press release: Confinement, between class contempt and state racism (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 6 Apr 2020 07:41:40 +0300

Since the start of confinement, a real contempt for class has appeared everywhere. In the media, on social networks and in the statements of politicians, those responsible seem to be the obvious choice: Residents of working class neighborhoods. ---- It is in these districts that the controls are more intense: 10% of the verbalizations and the police custody concern the Seine-Saint-Denis for the first day of confinement [1]. The control zones are "targeted" according to the police, there have been numerous reports of racists and numerous police attacks on racialized persons during the controls have already been reported. The validity or not of the reason for displacement left to the discretion of the police tends to favor the unequal treatment of non-confinement between privileged or working class neighborhoods.

If the media seem to show a certain benevolence towards people belonging to the middle class and the bourgeoisie, it is not the case for people living in precariousness. As always, and in an even more visible manner in the period, it is the racialized people and inhabitants of working-class neighborhoods that are most affected by the repression. If controls, fines and police violence were already the norm before the onset of the pandemic, now, the coronavirus gives more justification to these practices, pushing the vice to place in police custody of people on simple suspicion of distrust and increasing even more the health risks for the locked up people.

The romanticism of confinement, a class privilege
If the confinement is lived without too much difficulty for the more affluent, having been able to leave their apartments for second homes (potentially transporting the virus to places where it was not yet), it is a completely different matter for those who already lived in precariousness. Indeed, how not to be moved by the life locked up for families living in groups in substandard and / or small accommodation, without balcony or garden, when others explain to us the "luck" that can represent such period to take stock of their lives ?

It is therefore not surprising to come across people on the streets. The state, by its contradictory injunctions, only reinforces this state of affairs. On the one hand, confinement is imposed and, on the other, the government is increasing the calls not to stop economic activity and encouraging to maintain production in non-essential sectors in times of crisis. In the working-class neighborhoods, among the populations of immigrant and colonization, many are precarious workers, smicard · es, who continue to work and put their health and that of their families in danger, sacrificed · On the altar of capitalism (without forgetting those who have been laid off and who will lose part of their income further degrading the conditions of existence).

The scapegoats change, but the logic remains the same.
If we were able to observe an explosion of anti-Asian racism in the early days of the crisis, today it is all those considered outside the national and republican consensus who are affected by these logics. The State registers its management of the epidemic in the districts of "republican reconquest" in a postcolonial logic. Indeed, current events refer us to episodes of colonial history where the "indigenous" populations were considered to be "unruly " And for whom confinement was more severe. Also, the media and political figures, from the LREM to the far right, construct and disseminate a discourse which aims to blame and designate as responsible a part of the population, racialized and belonging to the working classes, described as "undisciplined" and "unconscious". For them, it is a question of opposing racialized populations - suspected of spreading the virus - to "real French people "»Likely to be contaminated, sick or bereaved. This rhetoric is all the more abject since it seeks to dehumanize a part of the population by denying the reality of their experience during this crisis, and in passing the reality of the even more glaring health difficulties of hospitals in certain poor cities, as in Seine-Saint-Denis.

Increasing police violence
The multiplication of coercive practices, warlike speeches and a return to order (see the statements of the prefect Lallement [2]) are a pretext for more repression and open the way to arbitrariness and police violence against people during the certification checks in our neighborhoods. This racist violence serves to mask the failings of power, both from the point of view of the failure of past urban and anti-social policies, as well as its catastrophic management of the health crisis. It is also in a context of long-standing tensions and a certain distrust of the populations towards a power and a police force which despise them, exclude them and brutalize them for years, that police violence is exacerbated. This situation only highlights even more the successive bankruptcies of the State and the municipalities before that.

While we are experiencing an unprecedented and violent health crisis, the UCL denounces the double punishment suffered by the populations of working-class neighborhoods: to the risks incurred for their health, is added class, gender-based and racist violence, accompanied by a speech contemptuous and disciplinary ideology. No situation, even exceptional, will justify the repression and the designation of a category of the population, because of its class or its origins, as responsible. Faced with this, make no mistake about enemies, only self-organization and solidarity between precarious people will allow us to get out of it, whether in the face of repression or isolation.

As a reminder: to combat police violence, videos allow you to testify. The "Police Violence Emergency " applicationnotably allows these videos to be saved on a server in order to keep evidence. March 24: following an update on our app you must delete the old version and install the new version of UVP

Libertarian Communist Union, March 28, 2020


[1] https://www.20minutes.fr/societe/2744839-20200320-coronavirus-policiers-gendarmes-encore-mal-faire-respecter-confinement

http://www.leparisien.fr/seine-saint-denis-93/coronavirus-en-seine-saint-denis-un-nombres-record-d-amendes-police-et-justice-durcissent-le-ton- 19-03-2020-8284008.php

[2] http://www.leparisien.fr/societe/coronavirus-je-vais-faire-comprendre-assez-vite-les-consignes-previent-didier-lallement-17-03-2020-8282037.php

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