Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Angry Youth, People from the Neighbourhood: Together Against the Government!

Chirac and the government are not budging. Far from responding to the crisis by emergency social measures, those in power have decided to increase the repression. Sarkozy continues his provocations. Revolted by the tragedy in Clichy, where two teenagers died, young people from dozens of housing estates across the country have been fighting the police for several nights. The anger of these young people – who are unskilled, unemployed (Citroën Aulnay just laid off 700 young temporary workers), victims of racism and discrimination – is understandable, but they are attacking the wrong targets when they set fire to their neighbours’ cars, schools, sports centers and day cares. The enemy is the government’s policies, and it is all together – angry youth and people from the neighbourhood – that we must struggle against Sarkozy and all of the policies that have destroyed the neighbourhoods over the past twenty years.

The Government Created This Situation

The policies of [Prime Minister] de Villepin and [Minister of the Interior] Sarkozy lead to mass unemployment and poverty which feed into the ever-growing misery. On the boundaries of the large cities, the creation of actual ghettos goes along with ever-worsening discrimination. The public school system has been dismantled, which increases the rate of student failure. According to the logic of deregulation, social services in the community are left in pieces. More and more they whittle away at the budgets related to prevention. Everywhere social housing is sacrificed. This is the daily reality of large portion of this country’s population. And at the same time, in the National Assembly, the majority votes to reduce taxes on private fortunes and to give stockholders a tax break.

Sarkozy, the Pyromaniac Fireman, Must Go!

The daily police checks are becoming more vicious and violent, which is completely consistent with the government’s shameless class politics. Racism is spreading like a toxin, encouraged by Sarkozy’s provocations. Carried away by his desire to criminalize all young people, the Minister of the Interior has gone so far as to insult them, calling them “trash” and “gangrene.” In permanent election mode, hoping to attract some of Le Pen’s supporters, he has declared that every week he will visit a different suburb. The only effect this will have will be to increase the level of police repression in these areas and to make the situation even more explosive. And this climate of violence, which the people find intolerable, will only increase the number of problems people have to face every day. Definitely, Sarkozy, the arsonist of the suburbs, must go!

A popular mobilization is necessary! All together against the government!

It is not the out of control intervention of the police that will solve things, but rather the intervention of the people. The mobilization of progressive forces is key. The police provocations must stop; what we need instead are immediate measures to encourage solidarity within our neighbourhoods and our housing estates. Faced with the social disasters of years of neo-liberalism, we must demand that priority be given to long-term job creation, public services, schools, housing, and prevention. This government’s actions sow misery and hopelessness. The most important thing is to put a stop to it. This is what we of the LCR [Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, or “Revolutionary Communist League” – France’s largest Trotskyist organization – translator] are calling for.

Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, November 7th 2005

Please note that the above text about the past week’s riots in Clichy-Sous-Bois comes from the website of the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, the largest Trotskyist group in France. It has been translated by yours truly. I have a “fast and loose” translation philosophy, meaning that when there is a choice between readability and the original phraseology i tend to favour the former, provided that the meaning stays the same. The original document can be seen in French.

Please also note that i am translating this as i have not been able to find any radical accounts of the riots or the police racism that provoked them in English… i do not necessarily agree with the LCR’s point of view, nor do they necessarily agree with mine. Si quelqu’un a un meilleur texte à suggérer, svp envoyez-moi le!

For background to the riots, including a timeline, check out the Wikipedia entry.

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