Montpellier - reaction to the withdrawal, and events this week

Our correspondent in Montpellier reacts to the withdrawal of the CPE and gives a run down of events there this past week.

Submitted by libcom on April 10, 2006

So Chirac's withdrawn the CPE? Remember - when Windscale nuke power station had a bad leak in the 1950s and there were protests, they closed it down and re-opened it under a different name - Sellafield. Most of those involved in this struggle are not so gullible, but some of the student leaders anxious for a place in the more moderate wing of bourgeois democracy will hail it as a victory - that way those who want to lift the blockades will be encouraged. Already a nicey nicey smiling student leader from the Confederation of Students, that have played hardly any part in all this, gave a long tv interview calling for the lifting of the strike, and not calling out students for the demo tomorrow.

Expect lots of fights between "We've won - let's pack it in" students/lycéens and the more radical wing - even on national news, most said there's nothing new in the withdrawal other than a sign of weakness. Not that the left wing is really that much better - but they do want to represent struggle, even if they often put a dampner on it: for example, at Paul Valery in Montpellier, some of these creeps from SUD student union put forward a motion to ban outsiders from sleeping on the premises, though they didn't say whether this would apply to those sleeping during their interminable meetings. Many support the French CP or Trot LCR, whilst some just like the limelight, just like to play a classical role of saying the obvious - and only the obvious - in order to make themselves popular.

Now comes the big repression probably - and, above all, a breathing space for the ruling class to think how they can put the lid back on Pandora's box. The fear that workers - might take the intiative outside the union cops has prompted this decision. How relieved the Unions and the Socialist party are. But there'll be loads more struggles bublling up - particularly against the CNE, which the unions, surprise surprise, did fuck all about, even though it effects their members far more than the CPE.

This news from Montpellier area
27/3/06: 150 stink bombs dropped in the Polygone shopping precinct as some kind of revenge for the tear gas and flashball of just over a week before.

2/4/06: a demo for those imprisoned outside the big Maguelone prison where Bove and Riesel had been banged up, smashed some of the CCTV cameras with stones - with gendarmes looking on but making no arrests.

4/4/06: again, about 40 to 50 thousand people demonstrate in Montpellier (between 15 and 20% of greater Montp. area). Graffiti against work and against democracy, against the temp agencies, against prisons etc. put up during the demo. Busy road intersection blocked for half hour towards evening, CRS called and became threatening, 3 or 4 arrests, all released without charge.

5/4/06 the governing party offices were sacked in Montpellier (and elsewhere as well, but I'm not sure if they were on the same day).

6/4/06: a biggish demo outside the courtroom where a guy charged with incitement to riot was appearing. A big banner facing the courtroom and the line of cops behind their large grills was put up, saying to the cops and the courtroom "Down with the 'Security' State" (not quite sure how to translate "securitaire" because no English equivalent), but on the other side facing the demo whilst the cops were behind their fencing - "Warning: Do Not Feed the Animals. Thank You - The Management" Cops didn''t notice, as they only had a one-sided view, which is implicit in their social function.

7/4/06: Attempt to block the railway tracks at Montpellier, with tv cameras filming the cops beating people back, commentary fairly anti-cop (unusual).

In Paris, heard of a gang of banlieue kids on a demo, some of whom tried to steal money, mobiles etc, but were pulled off by the majority who told them they were well out of order, and then they joined with students and other kids in attacking various businesses. No date for this, but within last week.

More analysis and news from Montpellier at