France: We Don’t Want their Social Order

July 10, 2023, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party, Translated from French

Their Police Who Kill and Maim…

All the politicians, from the RN (far-right party) to the SP (center-left Socialist Party) and FCP (French Communist Party), via the LR (liberal-conservative party) and the majority are closing ranks around the police. “The order of the republic must be restored,” declared Gérard Larcher (President of the Senate). “I am in solidarity with and support for the forces of law and order, from the municipal to the national police forces, as well as the gendarmes,” he added.

This is something the families of victims of police violence will appreciate! After Nahel’s death on June 27, the list has grown even longer. In Marseille, Mohamed B. was killed by a flash-ball while riding his scooter. In Mont-Saint Martin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Aimène Bahouh, who has been in a coma since June 29, was shot with a “bean bag” – a bag filled with lead pellets ­– while driving his car.

Not to mention Alhoussein Camara, a 19-year-old delivery boy from Guinea, who was shot in the chest by a police officer on his way to work. It wasn’t until Nahel’s death two weeks later, and the ensuing uprising in France, that the police officer who killed him was even charged.

Their Anti-Poor Justice

For some the wheels of justice turn swiftly! Since the beginning of the riots, an expeditious and punitive justice system has aimed to terrorize all those who would rebel. Over 1,300 people have been arrested. The people arrested are very young, most of them between 13 and 18 years of age, and are being given very harsh sentences for minor offenses. Six months, ten months, a year in prison, or even more for young people who, for the most part, have no criminal record. Prime Minister Borne declared that the rioters should “demonstrate peacefully.” But when political organizations, unions and associations organize demonstrations, the authorities ban them immediately. Last Saturday they banned the march in memory of Adama Traoré, killed by the police in 2016. Despite this, several thousand people defied the ban. Behind their hypocrisy lies the fear that the protest will become more widespread, stronger and more politicized.

Their Hypocritical Morality

The government needs to mystify, divide and frighten. In the media, it’s a festival of racism and reactionary statements. Ciotti (President of the Republican Party) and Zemmour (extreme-right politician) called for the “suspension of family benefits” to parents of young people convicted during the riots. Socialist Party Deputy in the National Assembly Philippe Brun called for the creation of “a school for parents.” This proposal echoes Emmanuel Macron’s preoccupation with “Making national education more strict.”

These politicians preach, but when most of them talk about “education,” you have to look at their own children: those of Zemmour, Dupond-Moretti (Minister of Justice), Morano (European Parliament) and others, charged with offenses great and small, such as drunk-driving and a hit-and-run… But these rich kids are rarely convicted.

Their Capitalist Order

Education? For years, schools in the neighborhoods have been falling into disrepair. There are no substitutes for sick teachers, because of a lack of staff. The same goes for maintenance workers, who are chronically understaffed. At SNCF (Railroad Co.) and RATP (public transport), working conditions have deteriorated to such an extent that these companies can no longer recruit, resulting in bus, streetcar and train cancellations. This is what’s degrading the lives of workers in working-class neighborhoods on a daily basis!

They want a return to “order,” but what is their order if not a license to kill for their cops, the destruction of public services, inflation and, more broadly, inequality, worker exploitation and oppression? Their social order is to kill yourself at work to enrich the shareholders.

No, we don’t want a return to “order.” We want to fight against it, with the same determination as all the young people who have revolted in recent weeks. This order will only be challenged when workers offer a perspective to all the exploited, as part of a conscious struggle against the capitalist society.