By Ericka Schiche for Occupy - The banlieues, suburbs existing beyond the Périphérique on the outskirts of Paris, are part of a complex socioeconomic and cultural world which is seldom viewed outside the context of its issues and problems. It is a place only its working class residents truly know, and their stories often do not mirror the scenes in La Haine. With his 1960 black and white short film "L'Amour existe," referenced by Luc Sante in his book The Other Paris, Maurice Pialat introduced the banlieue not as the regressive dystopian zone it is frequently described as these days, but simply as a place to live and enjoy life.
By Laurie Wdowiak for LSE - Since March, France has known a wave of opposition against a labour law reform. The reform plans to further deregulate labour and decentralize bargaining, among other things; it will dispose of decades of social gains. 74% of French people oppose it. It has brought more than a million people on the street for the last 2 months, and led to heated confrontations between the police and participants. Public squares have been occupied under the name Nuit Debout (meaning “standing up night” or “awoken night”).
By Clotilde Bigot for AlterNet. France is a far more rebellious country than the United States. People march in the streets and go on strike for the smallest reasons. But this time, there is evidence of a major revolt as hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting against a new labor law for weeks. High school and university students were the first to join the protest, to block their schools and to demand the withdrawal of the law, quickly joined by trade unions, and by the youth, in general. The grassroots movement called Nuit Debout ("Night on Our Feet") has been protesting virtually nonstop. With unemployment high in France, the nominally Socialist government of François Hollande has aggressively pushed through a new law. In the face of hostility Hollande has chosen to bypass a vote in the National Assembly using a rarely used executive power, which has sparked the most recent of a series of massive protests. In the meantime, Hollande has been unsuccessful overall in gaining consensus on the labor plan, failing to unite the Socialists in his own party, which the conservatives are strongly against as well.
By Gabriel Rockhill for Counterpunch. One of the fastest growing social and political movements in recent history has been sweeping across France, spreading through Europe and now developing in North America and elsewhere. In the space of just over a month, it has transformed countless public and private spaces, in nearly 300 cities, by making them into dynamic centers of non-violent protest and political experimentation. Although the future is unpredictable, it has the potential to significantly transform the horizons of social and political possibility. This is probably news to anyone watching the mass media in the Anglophone world. In spite of the fact that the movement, aptly named Nuit Debout (‘Night on Your Feet’ or ‘Night Uprising’), aims at reclaiming the night hours by standing up 24/7 against the non-stop global onslaught of neoliberal capitalism, it has been kept in the shadows by the major news outlets.
By Raphael Godechot for thekashmirwalla.com. On 24 February 2016, journalist François Ruffin released his first film, ‘Merci Patron’ (Thanks Boss). A refreshing documentary in which he takes on the challenge to bring financial reparation to a couple of factory workers from North of France. Both were dismissed after the textile factory they were working for got relocated to Poland, in order to find cheap labour. His plan is to get the CEO of the group, the billionaire Bernard Arnault, who owns the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy textile company, to compensate them. The film takes a comic tone to a sadly common issue of exploited and easily replaceable under-qualified low-paid labour. After numerous upheaval, the couple wins. The company agrees to give them 40,000 euros and a permanent contract is even offered at a supermarket to the man of the couple. However, there is a special condition.
By Paolo Gerbaudo for ROAR Magazine - I think that the Labor Law is what made people join this movement. But in a way it was just the initial pretext for the mobilization to begin. Most people are coming here because they think there is a problem of democracy in France. There are two reasons for this feeling. First, the el-Khormi bill shows that there is no difference between the parties of the left and the right. It has been made by the Socialist Party but it is essentially a right-wing law.
By Jonah Birch for Jacobin Magazine - A new movement against labor market deregulation is taking shape in France. Since February, when the Socialist Party (PS) government of François Hollande and Manuel Valls announced a proposed reform of the French labor code (code du travail), a wave of protestshas swept across the country. On March 9, 500,000 people participated in a national day of action; an additional 1.2 million joined trade union demonstrations on March 31; and on April 9, tens of thousands more marched in Paris and other French cities against the law.
By Gilbert Mercier and Dady Chery for News Junkie Post - Some call it a phenomenon, others compare it to the failed 2011 Occupy movement, but Nuit Debout has taken the largely discredited French political class, from across the bogus standard left to the far right, by surprise. Sociologically, it should not be a surprise at all. The backdrop is a sense of deep social malaise, a ras le bol et envie de redevenir vivant (a spillover and wish to be alive again). France, as a society, has been morose and depressed for decades, and the state of emergency imposed in a cowardly panicky haste by François Hollande’s administration since November 2015 has turned the country into a pressure cooker.
By Marina Sitrin for ROAR Magazine - Thousands gather every evening in the Place de la République, and even more during the days and nights of the weekends. Assemblies are held every evening at 6pm, with people of a wide diversity of ages and social classes taking part. The plaza begins to fill around 5pm with circles of people standing and sitting, talking under cardboard signs to identify the theme of their discussion, including groups on economics, education, facilitation, feminism, housing and ecology.
By David Graeber for Le Monde - What we have been seeing in the news, this week, with the juxtaposition of the Panama paper revelations, and the emergence of Nuit Debout in the streets of Paris and other French cities, is the struggle between two different forms of solidarity, two global cultures—the first, all too developed, the second, still in the process of being born. The first is the solidarity of the wealthy and powerful, or, more precisely, those whose wealth is founded on their power; the other, is the emergence of new forms of revolutionary democracy that are taking, increasingly, planetary form.
By Roar Collective. In what may turn out to become a very hot spring, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in major European capitals to protest against their governments, call for the resignation of their political leaders and take back control of their lives. In Reykjavik, mass protests have already brought down the Prime Minister over the rapidly expanding #PanamaPapers scandal, and in London similar demonstrations took place on Saturday to demand the resignation of David Cameron, who was forced to admit this week that he personally profited from his father’s offshore fund, mentioned in the leaks. In Athens, refugees marched to demand open borders and respect for the human right to asylum, while in France a budding indignados-style movement has been building in the squares in opposition to a new labor law, the state of emergency and the growing unresponsiveness of the Socialist government to popular concerns.
By Angelique Chrisafis for the Guardian. Nuit debout, which loosely means “rise up at night”, the protest movement is increasingly being likened to the Occupy initiative that mobilised hundreds of thousands of people in 2011 or Spain’s Indignados. Cherifa, a French student at Paris’ Louis-le-Grand high school, who is taking part in the night-time protests. Cherifa, a French student at Paris’ Louis-le-Grand high school, who is taking part in the night-time protests. Photograph: Elliott Verdier/AFP/Getty Images Despite France’s long history of youth protest movements – from May 1968 to vast rallies against pension changes – Nuit debout, which has spread to cities such as Toulouse, Lyon and Nantes and even over the border to Brussels, is seen as a new phenomenon. It began on 31 March with a night-time sit-in in Paris after the latest street demonstrations by students and unions critical of President François Hollande’s proposed changes to labour laws. But the movement and its radical nocturnal action had been dreamed up months earlier at a Paris meeting of leftwing activists.