Sorbonne report - 9th March

An eyewitness report from the occupied Sorbonne university.

Translation of original text by Asterix deux Gaulles (au moins), edited and corrected by libcom.org - 09.03.06

Yesterday evening, the Sorbonne, located on the Boulevard Saint Germain, was occupied. This hasn't only happened before, the last time it happened it actually triggered a cultural revolution [May '68 revolts in France].

Not everyone can afford to study in the vicinity of the jardin du Luxembourg. Recently, Ronalde, a friend of '68, told me that "the really cool thing then was that the rich kids went crazy: In spite of posh clothes and gluttony, the tried to throw cobblestones at their parents - so..." The Sorbonne is famous ever since. Not as Elite-University (as it is now), but because it was turned into a "people's university". The university was in a sense the centre of protests that would radically change Central European society. [...]

Anyway, back to unemotional fact-based journalism:). For about 6 weeks now, protests have erupted all over France against the attacks on working rights. Trade Unionists, "normal" workers, Students and school pupils are uniting to prevent this egg. But it is only an egg. If the protests are used decently, this egg can be stopped, but it is essentially about more, it is about the chicken pen, the factories -the whole bakery!

In France, for several weeks now, people have been gathering support and last Tuesday, almost a million people protested against CPE [the law about work rights] etc. Approximately 20 universities are on strike or occupied presently. The movement is expanding...now even to the Sorbonne. 2 weeks ago, a few voices from Sorbonne were posting on the French Indymedias: "we are 5 and are trying to form a movement..." Yesterday evening about 80 students stayed in the rooms of the Richelieu and others [the Sorbonne]. Even though a big number of CRS and other "forces of order" stopped any support from outside, the number of occupiers doubled over the night. They couldn't be evicted, because the Sorbonne is to hard to break open and student reinforcements enter through the windows...

This Afternoon, police presence in the Latin Quarter was shifted towards the Sorbonne. A general meeting was called in the Sorbonne, to which one had to carry one's student ID to (to show to Security - to stop non-elite-students, external "autonome" and other evil scum...). Strangely, the students of the qt. Latin who are often called lemmings, managed to get more than 500 students to their general meeting. They voted for Blockades and Occupations in the university (Yep, this is normal in France...) and for free and unchecked access to the university. This incredible, even though left-wing instigated event (Elite-students, Yusties...they voted for occupations!!!) could fill the protests in France with new Dynamism. Let's see what'll happen in the course of the day. It would be stupid to continue present repression against the students (as it has been happening in Tours, Lille, Toulouse and in other Towns). About 38 years ago the Sorbonne was surrounded and evicted. 600 arrests and 3 months of street fighting (rioting) in the whole of Europe...Sarkozy - Think!

Bob