Paris. France. December 13. 2020. While the LDH had called to demonstrate all over France except Paris, while Attac, Solidaires and the CGT had withdrawn from the call for a demonstration against the Separatism Law launched by the November 10 Collective, while the left put repression and popular self-defense on an equal level, the March for basic rights brought together more than 10,000 people this afternoon between the Place du Châtelet and the Place de la République, under a pouring rain.
Originally published by Acta Zone. Translated by Enough 14.
From the start and in an almost non-stop manner, the demonstration, which featured many Yellow Vests, was attacked by the police, whose tactics for maintaining order were today of an aggressiveness rarely seen in Paris. The CRS, assisted by BRAV units, charged on countless occasions, tearing down banners, randomly arresting people, making unfounded incursions into the demonstration, indiscriminately beating up people, while the demonstration did not show the slightest signs of offensiveness.
The cops flanked the demonstration on both sides all along. In short, it was a German-style tactic, with recurrent “offensive leaps” (to use the police terminology adopted by the media, meaning: charging into the crowd), batons and flashball grenades substituting punches. The bloc of the Popular Solidarity Brigades, for example, was savagely attacked and suffered several arrests in its ranks.
The media reports nearly 150 arrests at the time of writing. Whereas two weeks ago, faced with the numerical balance of power and in the wake of the video of Michel Zecler’s beating, which reintroduced the issue of police violence into the public debate, the FDO had kept its distance, it is clear that today the FDO have implemented orders for systematic intervention with the aim of pure communication, seeking to boost the figures as much as possible.
In spite of this constant repressive harassment, the demonstration, led in particular by the November 10 Collective and Urgence Notre Police Assassine, managed to reach the Place de la République, where new tensions arose as several water cannons were deployed. Speakers recalled the islamophobic swing that crystallizes the Separatism Law and the need to articulate a common path of struggle against state authoritarianism. Indeed, the Global Security Law is a direct political response to the intensification of social conflict that characterized the last sequence (2016-2020); it is also more deeply symptomatic of the crisis of legitimacy of a French state incapable of producing consensus. However, it cannot be envisaged without considering its combination with the Separatism Law, whose obvious objective is to prevent any convergence between the boiling point experienced by the white working classes and the revolt of the non-white proletariat.
In such a context, the left – with Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the lead – shows, once again, its blindness to the actual reality of the authoritarian shift and its disconnection with real movement. Its inability to grasp its dynamics leads it to a position of objective complicity with the government. The repression that has taken place today is also the fruit of this complicity, and of the defection of the traditional organizations of the workers’ movement. In the face of this, we rejoice that the encounters between political anti-racism, the yellow vests and the various forms of self-organization of the youth that emerged from the front bloc of the demonstration are able to take to the streets and not slide into the grave that the left is digging for us.
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