Nuit Debout: Ballast Debout

We continue to share voices from Nuit Debout.

The french journal Ballast is one of the most lucid, eloquent and critical voices on the country’s left.  The members of the collective responsible for the journal have been involved individually in Nuit Debout since its first days and on the “44 of March” , as a group, distributed freely a paper edition, Ballast Debout, in support of the movement. Below, in translation, is the opening statement of the “newspaper” … 

The king is naked and it is not a pleasant sight.  But we thank François Hollande and his government for what they make evident: the right and the left argue with each other over the colour of napkins but eat at the same table.  Power speaks alone, but we are millions. We are the number without names, the people who make history without entering its books.  We are neither “utopians” nor dreamers: our language is not made from the wood of their desks, but of the realities that we live.  They fill their pockets when we fill the squares – of France, of Germany, of Spain, of Belgium or of Quebec.

They? The oligarchy.  The white collars, the well nourished, the ones rolling in money. Even their reflection barely “represents” them: they are ministers, councilors, financiers, bankers, stock holders, big bosses, experts, specialists, they occupy the powerful media and sleep on the seats of the Assembly.

We? The students who works in a fast-food to pay for her/his studies; the unionist under police custody; the farmer who asks how s/he can pay her/his debts; the caretaker of the common spaces of a hospital; the restaurant owner searched under the provisions of the state of emergency; the unemployed mother who surveys the price of pasta; the young person of a poor neighbourhood revolted by constant police searches; the worker fired for reasons of “competition; state welfare recipients who would like to take a week’s vacation; the militant ecologist giving way to tear gas; the high school student attacked when he does nothing more than protest.

We already know the divisions and tensions that run through our “we”: let us look rather for what we have to say – and above all do – together.  Let us write the missing chapters of the collective narrative.  Let us find the words, the new and the old, able to be understood and taken up again by the great many – with neither folklore nor vain tensions, with neither jargon nor heavy schemes.  We have lost enough time playing spot the differences: let us look at the image which gathers us.  Details are the passion of the privileged.

Us, against their false political changeovers; us, against their reign that makes itself up as democracy; us, against the liberal butchers of Europe and of the world.  To occupy the squares will not be enough, evidently, but each person, in rising up, discovers a long obstructed path: we can live without them.  The projected reform of the labour law should end up in the rubbish dump – and with it, then the system that made it possible.

Ballast Debout, Week of the 42nd of March, Hors-série n° 1 (A full copy of the newspaper in pdf format is available on site).

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