THE WORLD OR NOTHING
Translated from the French by L.A. ONDA from here:
It is from Lundi Matin, a French anti-state communist website, re-publishing a leaflet handed out during the recent struggles against a proposed new labor law. A summation of the law goes as followed:
"France has among the world's most stringent workers rights laws. The government and businesses want the changes to make hiring and laying off workers easier.
The proposal technically maintains the 35-hour workweek, but allows companies to organize alternative working times without following industry-wide deals, up to a 48-hour workweek and 12 hours per day." 1
L.A. ONDA publishes it here because much of the content of this leaflet resonates with us and we find that it also says much that will resonate with the current moment in the U.S.A.
We had received a leaflet from Comité d’Action overnight. The exception doesn’t necessarily break the rule and being that this call comes directly from the demonstrations that took place on Tuesday (3/15/16), we have chosen to not wait until our next edition to publish it.
Classes cancelled, savage demonstrations, graffiti, breakage, tear gas, a government under stress and a faculty on strike. Something is on its way to be born. “We” are on our way to be born. To name what is on its way by a name of that which has preceded it is to try to kill it. It would be a process of neutralization to attempt to bring together all that we have seen in the streets since last Wednesday, that which has been bubbling for weeks, the rage that growls all over in the "shadow of the CPE" and all the howls. What could be the relation between the words of the unions and the school kids who tagged "the world or nothing" just before methodically attacking the banks? None. Or just perhaps a miserable attempt at recuperation performed by zombies. Never have the unions or the politicians been so visibly trailing behind a movement. If they are so feverish in their desire to frame everything to their liking it is because everything could very well escape their control. It's quite simple what has happened: a group of YouYubers have added their 'likes,' they've spoken outside of this framing, outside of any sort of desire to be 'representative' and have taken to the streets; a women who represents no one but herself has launched a petition against the proposed labor law; and because what she said sounded right and came upon a diffused sentiment, a general disgust, we have taken to the streets and we have been numerous. The organizations have followed us. The risk of not coming on board was too great for them. If they were to stay behind, their mandate would be null and void. Those which they pretend to represent would have taken to the streets without them, without being able to put their banners at the front, without being able to cover our voices with their terrible soundsystems, their boorish slogans or their dead & buried discourse. They would have been been bared naked. The leaders thus have followed us, as always.
THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE LABOR LAW BUT A WHOLE SOCIETY ON ITS WAY OUT
We are the youth. But youth is not just youth, but something more than that. In every society, the youth are the image of that which is disposable. The youth are an image of general dispensability. The young are nothing. They are those which are not yet taken. They are not yet taken on by a boss, by debt or by a CV. They are not yet taken, or in other words chained, by a whole social machine unless that machine would cease to operate. The media while talking about the threat of a "youth movement," seek to counter a real threat, and the real threat is that the whole of those which are seen as disposable in this society would join those that those who see that the problem is more than just this labor law; that the whole of society on its way out will join us. That they will join us and become a mass. Because these days the incredulous are legion. The social lie, the farce of politics no longer takes. That is the big problem that the government currently faces. And not just that: who could be as stupid to still vote for the Left, for the Left of the Left, for the Left of the Left of the Left when we see what that gave Greece last summer? A radical left government that is above all implementing austerity.
AND YOU OLD TIMERS! YOU HAVE NOT BEEN BETRAYED. YOU HAVE JUST LET YOURSELF BE FOOLED
To our old timers. You say that you feel betrayed. That you have voted for a Left party and that the current state of politics is not what you expected. You talk about "being denied." But where were you in 1983? The 80s, the decade of money, Tapie in government, Libération declaring "Long live the crisis!"...didn't that say anything to you? We weren't there but since then your defeats have become part of history courses. And when he hear this history we tell ourselves that Emmanuel Macron is just finishing the job that begun in 1983. It's the same program as back then. It has not changed at bit. You have not been betrayed. You just let yourself be fooled. You preferred to cultivate your illusions. These are just the words that have served, at every election, to bring you out to the polls so that the same program can be continued to be put into place, to continue with the same offensive. An offensive for 35 years now, rigidly carried out on at every level at once: economic, security, social, cultural, existential, etc.
WE SHALL NOT DISCUSS THIS LAW
That which is on its way to be born has little to do with the labor law. This law is just the point of upheaval. It's one attack too many. An attack much too arrogant, flagrant and humiliating. The Bill on Intelligence, the Macron Law, the state of emergency, the threat of loss of citizenship for state undesirables, the anti-terrorist laws, the penal reform project and the labor law all make up this system. It's a single enterprise bringing to heel the whole population. The El Khomri Law is just the cherry on top. That is why things are happening now and why things were not happening under the Macron Law. Ultimately, if we take to the streets against the labor law, it's because it has to do with work. It is because the question of work is the question of how we use our lives; and as we see it work is the negation of life, life made into shit. We are no longer in the 60s, your Glorious Years, keep them to yourself because we never knew them. No one among us believes we will reach "self-realization" at some job. That which we defend ourselves against is the that the bit of life we have after work, outside of work, does not get reduced to nothing. The little games of the unions and parties to limit the terrain of conflict to a question of the labor law, or negotiation with the government, is just a way to contain our desire to live, to lock up all that escapes their stifling sphere of scheming. You do not have to be a soothsayer to see that the unions and parties, then and now, will throw us to the ground at the decisive moment. We don't hold it against them. That's their role. Likewise, do not ask us to trust in them. Just because we are young does not mean that we were born yesterday. And another thing, stop haranguing us with your old tricks that don't work: whether "massification," the "convergence of struggles" that don't exist, the People's Mic and the pseudo-feminism that only serves to stifle the general assemblies, to monopolize who gets to speak, forever repeating the same things. Really, it's too much. The question is not one of massification, it's one of being right and of determination. The only thing that makes a government back off is not the number of people in the streets, but their determination. The only thing that makes a government back off is the specter of an uprising, the possibility of the loss of total control. Even if we just wanted the labor law repealed, we would still have to aim for an insurrection: strike hard, take on the means to gain respect by force from the police, blockade the normal functioning of this society and attack targets that would make the government shake. The "question" of violence is a false question. That which the media describes as "violence" is felt as determination, as rage, as seriousness and yet also joyfulness for those of us in the streets. This is what we felt last Wednesday and which has given the government a few reasons to freak out: we showed courage, our fear dissipated and we were sure in ourselves. Sure of wanting to march on the heads of those who govern. On the heads of those who, all year long, have marched all over us.
STRIKE HARD! STRIKE TRUE! #BatailleDeSolferino
Counter to what the bureaucrats of the UNEF (French Student Union) or the NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) say, striking hard is not what is going to "isolate us from the masses," if the targets are true. On the contrary this is what is going to make all of those tired of all this to come and join us and that's quite a lot of people. The question that the labor law poses is that of the politics that the Socialist Party has undertaken for the last 35 years and of knowing whether or not they're going to be able to complete their decades-long campaign. It's also a question of politics in general. Here we have a movement that rises a year after a presidential campaign, which generally imposes silence and waiting among everyone, as many speak at length of profound indifference and yet just look at the hostility that it has already set off. We know that the upcoming elections are not the solution, but rather form part of the problem. It is not by some random chance that spontaneously, last Wednesday, the students of Lyon had sought out the Socialist Party HQ and had clashed with the police to make this happen. And it is not by random chance that the HQs of the Socialist Party in Paris and Rouen were defaced. This is what the movement seeks for itself. Rather than to get locked into foolish trapdoor negotiations, that what must be done is attack, all over France, starting next Thursday, all the HQs of the Socialist Party. In Paris, it will have to be the Battle of Solférino. Next up, we'll see. We're gonna have to play this one out very well. But the stakes are colossal.