A statement by one of the participants in the occupation of the Paris university EHESS, which was broken by police this morning.
Friday morning, the Graduate Center for Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris was cleared by riot police at 6am and left "ransacked." 72 people were taken into custody, asked for identification, questioned and released. By 11am, most of those detained were released and thus far, no charges have been filed.
Toppling the Crumbling World
There is no such thing as a gratuitous act of destruction or violence. Granted certain acts are stupid or non-strategic but all of them express a rage and a determination, which had disappeared for many years. These acts give us hope, but we can’t stop here. We want to talk, we want to expand and give depth to the current movement. We don’t want to repeat the condition and the errors of previous movements that have failed. We won’t separate ourselves from the world that surrounds us, we won’t try to establish an impossible connection between us and employees, we won’t hide the world we bring in our hearts, we won’t allow the media and the public to stigmatize the violent minority. We should not let executive orders and special measures play against us. To do this we need to clarify the positions and sides we’ve taken.
So what if Villepin does not retract his law, let him. Let him persist today, tomorrow, for weeks – that is want we all desire: to keep the struggle alive, to develop and amplify the discussions we’ve started… and to make everyone finally take a position for or against this world that we’re being offered, a world that brings suffering to those most vulnerable, those who can’t stand any longer their jobs, their bosses, their lives. Everywhere we feel support for our cause, in the air and in the words, we feel an inquiry, and a secret desire to blow it all up.
We are searching for a place (or multiple places) that would become a rallying point, a place of convergence where everyone – strikers, vulnerable, activists, and all others could meet and share their experiences, their suffering, their hopes, and leave with the desire to persevere, to push further the struggle that has begun.
The EHESS (Graduate Center for Social Studies) could be that place for a while, but other places, empty and unassailable by small groups, would allow us to stay for the long haul.
We want a general strike, the machine must stop, the routine must be broken. We already see the smiles and the joy beaming on the faces of those who just can’t take it anymore, those who are already in struggle. We see the hatred of the union leaders who are proposing yet another day of symbolic strike. We also see the disgust they provoke in those most angry be them union members or not.
We recognize each other in the streets without knowing each other. We are not anonymous anymore. Without turning the riot into myth, the concrete expression of our strength binds us together more and more with each confrontation.
We don’t want leaders or spokes-persons. We don’t recognize the ones that exist. Those who sit at the table with the government will be disavowed. We have nothing to negotiate and everything to take. We know this now better than ever.
Chirac was elected against Le Pen, his majority took over because the voters from the left abstained. All the laws, decrees, and ordinances applied since are illegitimate as is the succession of governments.
Everything is passed: the policies that attack the weakest, the most oppressed (the un-papered, the unemployed, those on public assistance). Yet these policies generated real opposition movements – retirees, the reform Fillon – the exceptional police measures became a rule. We lived through the state of emergency and the repression of the October-November 2005 riots. We were passive. It won’t happen again.
We want more that just putting a stop to things this one time. We oppose the values of this world and its realities. We condemn school and education, wage slavery, industrial society, growth, “full employment”, progress and its trail of destruction. We reject the roles society wants to make us play: we won’t be heartless cynics, winners ready to crush everyone else, passive consumers or slaves.
We are fighting not only against economic and social instability, we are fighting against exploitation and forced work. We know that there are many who don’t dare opposing these conditions anymore. They don’t have a CPE (First Employment Law), nor a CNE (New Employment Law) to protect them as workers, only an insecure contract. The multiplication of means to put us to work such as the CPE, CNE, RMA, the monthly controls of the unemployed underline an ideological attack in favor of the “value of work”, the provoke a resistance to being enslaved, to the daily humiliation of those who work or don’t work for a company be it public or private.
We shouldn’t let them bend us!
We are fighting for our dignity, trampled and shattered on the altar of capitalist competition and productivism. The hardship in making ends meet each month, the impossibility to plan for the future are material experiences of those most vulnerable that many of us share. These hardships are the direct consequence of a continuous reorganization of labor.
We know that there isn’t a left alternative for 2007, we know that the ballot boxes will only bring us new disappointments, we know that it’s all happening right here and now, autonomously without relying on unions or political parties.
We have absolutely no confidence in the media and we will do everything we can to expose the lies that they spread. It is by speaking out, by writing on the walls and in the subways, by word of mouth, and by the alternative media that we want to validate the truth, to make real connections and convergence. We will use our actions, be them property destruction or fighting the cops, to prove that we have matured.
The movement that we have launched should not stop: the arrested and charged of the last few days, of November, and of all the social movements in recent years need our total support so that an amnesty would be possible. By continuing the struggle today we will keep up the fight against repression. The cops sent a union member into a coma. We are thinking of him and his community and we are all calling for vengeance.
We will not abandon anything or anyone!
Solidarity with all insurgents whatever their methods of action or participation!
By one of the occupiers of the EHESS, March 21, 2006