France: The desire for revolution

Every revolution begins when Society has outgrown the view of life on which the existing forms of social life were founded, when the contradictions between life such as it is, and life as it should be, and might be, become so evident to the majority that they feel the impossibility of continuing existence under former conditions. The revolution begins in that nation wherein the majority of men become conscious of this contradiction. As to the revolutionary methods these depend on the object towards which the revolution tends.

Leo Tolstoy, The End of the Age (1906)

April 6th marks another day of protest in france (, against the proposed pension reform, against Macron, against … the reign of those who or that which would reduce all that is to disposable commodities.

From (04/04/2023), a call to be ungovernable …

Let us be ungovernable

The truly revolutionary tendencies that express themselves are only asking to meet, and to acquire an autonomous voice to express, everywhere, a permanent antagonism.

Power aims to gag millions who simply want to speak, to make their existence and their desire for revolution heard. The risk of seeing so many voices explode into a single cry of rage is intolerable to it.

The strategy of decay seems to have given way to that of terror. The era is one of police ultraviolence, excessive judicialisation and the multiplication of grotesque prefectural decrees. But as the truncheon begins to wear out, the judges to tire and the prefects to lack imagination, Macron has decided to receive the intersyndicale, but not before giving an interview to Pif Gadget, of course.

The truly revolutionary tendencies expressed today do not need any political sect or trade union Leviathan. They only ask to meet, and to acquire an autonomous voice to express, everywhere, a permanent antagonism.

The invitation launched by Élisabeth Borne comes in a particular context: cancellation of ministerial trips, concealment of the agenda of the Élysée and the president, targeted MPs belonging to or having voted with the parliamentary majority on extended duty, intensification of roadblocks in the west of the country, spontaneous riots at night, the exhaustion of the police, the general desire for a radicalising and progressive legitimisation of political violence … The State is fearful, and it is looking to its social partners for the gentlest way out of the crisis possible. By reaching out to the labour unions, the government hopes to see them succeed where it failed: to restore order. That is to say, reduce the content of the protest to harmless demands, reduce the pressure by regaining control over the temporality of the movement; in short, to domesticate revolt, to exercise organic control over it in order to bring it back to the stage of a “social movement”.

Faced with the expected impotence of the parliamentary left, street protests gained in momentum after the use of article 49-3. No doubt it will again be necessary to go even further in the face of the labour unions, which will try to negotiate social peace and vouch for a return to normality. We don’t want it. We refuse to close the parenthesis and leave behind us the moments of joy and life shared in the struggle. We no longer want to negotiate: we want to win the social war.

The stifling of the rebellious voices will be done either in a bloodbath – the relentlessness of Sainte-Soline sets the tone – or by the action of the old legal labor movement. The latter now hopes to regain, thanks to its privileged relations with power, its institutional monopoly of the class struggle. Whatever happens, we must be prepared for both eventualities.

We must accomplish by ourselves the hardening that we call for; escalate conflict by spreading insubordination. Cities must bear the scars of our anger. The pickets must continue to overflow the unions by offering something other than weekly parades. We must conquer places, even ephemeral ones, to share our experiences and serve as a crucible for the continuation of the revolt. We need to tire law enforcement and help legitimise a tit-for-tat response. We must act so that any negotiation, any mediation, is forced to assume itself for what it is: a betrayal.

Everywhere, radical subjectivities are flourishing, coming together and associating. Five years ago, starting from the roundabouts on the outskirts, they stormed the sky and poured out by the thousands to strike the filthy beast in the heart. On March 16, the cities lit up with thousands of filthy infernos. The 49-3 had just triggered a new wave. In the following days, people hastened to say that the youth had just started to move. Age had nothing to do with this story: what brought them together was their desire to change the world.

An uprising against the dominance of economics over life is underway. The conflict spreads and draws ever larger segments of the population into an antagonistic, irreversible opposition. Fronts are opening up everywhere, outside of the places and times provided for this purpose. The assemblies of strikers make their law; the “conscious” and organized segments of the working class become autonomous from the labour unions and their bureaucratic ecumenism. The “yellow vesting” of the movement, so feared by the intelligence services, is underway.

Faced with the double threat of crushing or disarming the revolt by state terror and social dialogue, it seems to us essential to work to anchor in time and space an antagonistic communication, affirming clearly and without concession: that any continuation of the movement rests on our ability to provoke its radicalisation, and that the only way to prevent the recuperation of our rage is through our ability to remain ungovernable.

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