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Curfew in France – Whatever it takes: Produce

France. By announcing a #Curfew (#CouvreFeu) that starts at 6:00 pm throughout the territory, the #LREM government is once again demonstrating its preference for an authoritarian management of the current health crisis. Rather than rethinking social organization to make it more protective, we are prevented from seeing each other, from going out, from getting fresh air. In order to maintain the profit rates of a deadly capitalism, a police discipline is imposed on us that is rooted in both our colonial and war history.

Originally published by Acta Zone. Translated by Riot Turtle for Enough 14.

Banning movement outside working hours no longer has anything to do with sensible health protection. It is a new form of infantilization, which totally ignores our capacities for self-defense and self-organization in the face of contagion. For months now, we have all learned to protect ourselves and others, but it is only through fines and police repression that the State intends to re-educate us.

More than the #virus itself, it is the state management that has mutated to become more and more dangerous. Whereas the first confinement had been marked by a slowing down of the production sphere (“whatever it costs” said #Macron), by putting work in the background or the symbolic revaluation of essential workers, this curfew has reduced all of us solely to our productive function. It limits our lives to a series of creepy round trips between work and home. In his speech, the Prime Minister was careful to specify that companies will be able to vary working hours, eliminate lunch breaks or extend Sunday work. The only social function allowed in #Covid19‘s time is that of exploitation.

At a time when we need solidarity, mutual aid and self-organization, the government imposes its individualistic and punitive logic on us. Along with work and fatherland, it is also the family that is honored by this curfew, as if this is a truly protective instrument. As if, for many of us, the family is not a straitjacket whose exits, whether temporary or permanent, are sometimes life-saving. For those who live alone, or living in cramped or unhealthy housing, the curfew increases precariousness, loneliness and psychological damage.

In a Pavlovian reflex, the ministers also announced increased border controls, with tests imposed for entry and exit, differentiated according to whether one is moving within or outside the European Union. As if virality took into account national administrative criteria. The appearance of the English mutation of the virus had already resulted in this kind of absurdity, leading to the closure of the French-English border, according to the ridiculous fantasy of a mutation that would not have crossed the English Channel ( later it was discovered that it had been present in France for weeks, but that it had not been detected until now). Added to the ridiculous worldwide competition for vaccination, these measures feed the development of a sanitary patriotism, completely in line with the hardening of Western nationalisms.

Apart from repressive measures, no viable alternatives are proposed. Speaking to students, the Minister of Higher Education merely reminded them of the gadgets and toll-free numbers, pretending to announce a possible return to university for License 1, which was already planned. While mid-term blocks, a fire in an exam room in Nantes and a multiplication of alerts on student distress have dominated the news in recent days, the government continues to ignore calls for a plan to help and support young people (particularly through the opening of the RSA to 18-25 year olds) [1]. The Minister of the Economy has also clearly stated his priorities by announcing that the fixed costs of closed companies will be covered… but only those with a revenue of more than one million euros per month.

The pretext of the scientific validation of these measures will not fool anyone. The Scientific Council, which is supposed to deliver recommendations, is only a legitimizing tool at the service of #Macronie. The real decisions are made by a handful of people and approved by a Defense Council, outside of any democratic or pseudo-democratic principle. The strategic orientation of their decisions is clear: it is a question of the State seizing the monopoly of sanitary protection, of reducing our existence to work and consumption, annihilating all possibilities of self-organization and self-defense. It is up to us to respond to this…


[1] The Revenu de solidarité active (RSA) is a French form of in work welfare benefit aimed at reducing the barrier to return to work. It was implemented on 1 June 2009 by the French government.

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