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A Week of Rebellion Against Social Injustice

category france / belgium / luxemburg | community struggles | press release author Monday November 07, 2005 18:43author by Alternative Libertaire - ALauthor email international at alternativelibertaire dot org Report this post to the editors

Statement by the Federal Secretariat of Alternative Libertaire on the events in Paris

A Week of Rebellion Against Social Injustice

Within a week the riots that started in Clichy-sous-Bois as a result of the deaths of Ziad and Banou have spread to other suburbs around Paris, and now throughout the country. This is the unavoidable result of five years of Sarko-show [a reference to Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy], eight years of security legislation, and thirty years of social decline. Ziad and Banou died of electrical burns in a power sub-station, and a third youth is in serious condition. They thought they were being chased by the police. Will we ever know whether this was the case, whether the police are guilty of non-assistance of persons in danger? Whatever the exact details of how these two teenagers died, their death was the spark. Young people in the suburbs already hated the State which for years has only appeared as police, courts, and (increasingly) prisons.

People in working class neighbourhoods live in constant fear, both for themselves and for their children. They are afraid of humiliating identity checks, arbitrary arrests, unpunished police violence, and spurious convictions for “outrage and rebellion,” all in order to meet some police quota. Even recent official reports have called attention to this increasing lawlessness on the part of the police.

And what can one say about provocations of the Minister of the Interior, and even worst about the policy which sees the suburbs as territory that needs to be reconquered, all of which increasingly resembles colonial and military “peacekeeping.”

And so yes, we are sorry that this violence – this answer to the illegitimate violence of those in power – is so often paradoxically directed against the very people who are forced to live in these neighbourhoods, who already have to deal with State and ruling class violence. The logic of this spontaneous rebellion is somewhat understood by the population, but its legitimacy is hurt by the destruction of cars, schools and buses.

But at the same time, we must remember how the State responds when these young people and their families do choose other methods, such as filing complaints against the police which hardly ever result in convictions (remember the work of the Bouge qui Bouge group in Dammarie-les-Lys*). Or the Arabs’ march in 1980, which was broken by the Socialists who were in power at the time and recuperated by SOS Racism.

We support the rebellion against injustice, the sense of mass solidarity, the elements of political awareness amongst most young people. As such, we understand and are in solidarity with both the necessity and the reasons behind the direct action now taking place throughout the working class areas.

This week or riots expresses the hopelessness of the most marginalized section of a generation with no future. Yet it should also be seen as being connected to the government’s strategy of tension and current repression of the social movements (transportation, postal workers, students, anti-GMO activists…). All of these struggles bear witness to the same social insecurity.

We are not going to demand a return to “community policing” or building new sports centers so that young people can work out their frustrations in silence. Does anyone seriously believe that this will solve the social tension caused by the political and social violence of those in power?

We are not even going to demand that the Minister of the Interior resign, as has a section of the left. This is a side-issue, a politician’s issue, and it is scandalous when we remember that the Plural Left [1] also passed security legislation and even today has not broken with the dominant liberal-security model.**

There are certain to be more explosions of anger unless there is a redistribution of work and wealth, all the more certainly so if social regression, inequality, racism and marginalization continue unchecked.

“Prevention,” religious recuperation and repression will all be useless. Only justice and social and economic equality can solve things.

Federal Secretariat of Alternative Libertaire,
November 5th 2005


(*) Alternative libertaire n°110, septembre 2002 : “Dammarie-les-Lys, Cité en deuil, cité en résistance” (to view the article in French, click HERE)

[translator's note: this 2002 article details an association against police abuse in the suburb of Dammarie-les-Lys, a group which came about specifically following the deaths of two men, one during a police chase and one shot in the head by the police]

(**) For instance, in the National Assembly on July 16th 2002 the [Socialist] deputy Julien Dray addressed the Minister of the Interior, who was at the time implementing a whole series of repressive laws. Dray said: “Sociey […] has no solution other than repression […] For the good of our country, I can only wish you success […] Your plan is in many ways in line with the strategy prepared by the previous [“Plural Left”] government.”

[1] Translator's note: The “Plural Left” (later renamed “United Left”) formed the government in France between 1997 and 2002. It was a Socialist Party government with ministers from four smaller left parties: the Communist Party, the Greens, the MDC, and the Left Radicals.

Translated by kersplebedeb -

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author by Nilpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anyone know anything about "Alternative Libertaire" they want to share? Who are they?

author by Andrewpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 18:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They are a French libertarian communist group - their origins are mentioned at the end of the article at They publish a monthly magazine (Alternative Libertaire).

author by Con Carroll - Class-Warpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 21:56author address Dublinauthor phone Report this post to the editors

solidarity greetings ton African Arab youth in Struggle on the streets of France.
without a doubt this is a race struggle.
it is a pity that we couldn't have the same in Dublin giving the minister for justice views and policys towards people who are asylum seekers.

author by Anarkismo Editorial Group - Anarkismopublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 22:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For those seeking more information on what is happening in France here is how to find relevant articles on

Articles from an anarchist communist perspective and some other class struggle anarchist articles will be posted on the main newswire so they are easy to see. You can quickly find all for the region going to .

But we are also getting a lot of articles from other sources - these do not appear on the main newswire. Depending on the source these will either appear in the Other Libertarian Press box or the Non-Anarchist Press box in the left hand column. You can also get a page that lists all such articles and even filter these for region and topic.

Other Libertarian Press - this will list articles from anarchists, libertarian communists and often eyewitness stuff posted to indymedia. It is at

Non-Anarchist Press - this will include articles from the mainstream press, some indymedia articles and articles from other sources. It is at

We would encourage all readers to sumit articles to any of these but where they are not from an anarchist communist source please select as the type either Other Libertarian Press or Non-Anarchist Press. With Non-Anarchist Press you should just provide a summary or extract of the article and a link to the rest of it rather than pasting the entire text of the article onto

author by Paddy savage - consistent life ethic(inc animals)publication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 22:34author email achorusline19 at hotmail dot comauthor address Dublin,Irelandauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I am in toal solidarity with the youth,this clearly is a race/class war.I wonder that if some community full of homos in paris came under attack by state forces(hypothetically speaking)for demanding Gay Marriage or adoption rights,and rioted,would the predominantly Arab/African/Muslin youth join in solidarity with us as the anarchists would????I think not,maybe even the most extreme of Muslim leaders would be delighted to see us Homos burn in riot fires.And as for the lady set on fire trying to get off a hijacked bus,?????wot on earth???Reminds me of when the silly mss universe
went to Nigeria and "cristians"And"Muslims"put tyres around each others necks and set them alight,is their any hope for the world if people claiming to be HUMAN" still act in such animalistic ways.Check out and see why these riots may have really started.

Peace and Love,Homo Paddy!

author by Joe - WSM (personal cap)publication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 22:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm aways wary of conspiracy theories as at the end of the day they tend to leave every one powerless.

The following extract of an interview from the Observer with a rioter called HB suggest the pigeon holes that people are being stuffed into may not be very accurate

"HB he likes his estate and the unity he feels between people with Caribbean parents, black Africans, a few people of standard French descent and first, second and third-generation Moroccans and Algerians who have made up the majority of Aulnay-sous-Bois's population for the past 30 years. HB feels a 'tremendous togetherness' at Mille-Mille, but he does not feel 'French'. When asked if he considers himself integrated in France, HB claims that is not his aspiration. 'I am not sure what the word means. I am part of Mille-Mille and Seine-Saint-Denis, but I am not part of Sarkozy's France, or even the France of our local mayor whom we never see. At the same time, I realise I am French, because when I visit my parents' village in Algeria that doesn't feel like home either.'"

author by Ben - NAF (personal capacity)publication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 06:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are good things and bad things about this unrest. I'm sure that a significant number of cars that are being lit on fire are probably not cars that belong to the mayor, or Chirac, or the cops. However, these youth are operating in what appear to be decentralized affinity cells. They're communicating with cell phones and moving quickly from one place to another with vehicles.

Something we can learn from the past, Paris '68, the youth drove the police out for a substantial amount of time until de Gaulle (and the socialist weasels) were able to co-opt the movement and "restore order" (see some of the WSM pamplets). They made a lot of false promises that things are gonna get better, just like promises are being made now to these communities for more jobs, welfare, schooling, etc. (

Anyway, a key lesson to be learned is to go on the offensive. Even if these riots are quelled, there will still be plenty of unsatisfied people on the streets and in the prisons. As anarchists we have a vision of a better world and how to get there. However we can't let ourselves sit on the sidelines and wait for a "pure" movement to devolop. We have to be active in developing and implementing a praxis. With a combination of theory and tactics we can work with the youth, and whoever else that wants, to make major advances towards a libertarian communist society.

author by Anarkismo Editorial Group - Anarkismopublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 22:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The discussion of editorial policy has been moved to the thread for such discussions at

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author by JAZZ NLFLICAILLE 77190 - B A Fpublication date Sat Nov 04, 2006 02:50author email jazzfunk190 at hotmail dot frauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors


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