For Lefties too Stubborn to Quit
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Irish Left Review >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
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The Forgotten Constituency: The Majority and The Irish Economic Crisis Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:49
Callejera á la Francaise
Friday November 04, 2005 17:54 by iosaf the ipsiphi
The Spanish have a word for it, they call it "callejera", it means street violence which includes arson, houses, businesses and cars get burnt.
The Basque term is "kale borroka", its thought of as the lowest level of sustained urban unrest.
The French today, look at their newspapers and see photos which usually they see in Iraq of cars in flames. But this time its "their cars", as their prime minister De Villepin assured the national assembly from the floor.
They must be very re-assured.
Even though he was never elected.
One might have heard an artistocratic taunt hanging in the gilded air, "let them buy cars!".
Let them own Cars! be Equal & Free! & vote for their rulers. let us call it democracy!
De Villepin "the tall and lean's" premiership began on the 31st of may 2005 when he replaced Raffarin "the short and stout". He asked for 100 days before he be judged by the public on June 1 2005. In short they could come back and ask him about 10% unemployment and slum housing around September 11th.
There was a certain concensus in the chattering political classes that had chosen to interpret the defeat of the EU constitution as a sign of "discontent" which they felt was mirrored by the difficulties of the German partner to the French rights EU project - Schroeder. It was the week the German CDU chose Angela Merckel to lead them.
De Villepin was widely regarded as "dauphin" to Chirac, a biographer of Napoleon his appeal for 100 days had a certain resonance, the intellectual poet and protegé of the most elite academic and diplomatic education (école national d'administration) available in France, DeV chose Sarkozy as minister of the interior. Sarkozy being his main rival for the eventual leadership of the French right and the job of president, the man had earned in the earlier stronger days of Chirac's regime a certain reputation for investing in mosque building in the periphery.
DeV has never been elected, because he has never stood for election and his career through democratic politics from French embassy to the USA, to the UN voicing opposition to the war on Iraq, to the gaunt politician who this week chose to answer questions properly put to the ministry of the interior from the floor of the assembly of deputies rather than the podium _has never been voted for_.
His cabinet of 31 ministers, of whom only 6 are women and only 2 come from ethnic minorities was heralded by an inordinate amount of televised speeches by Chirac to "the metropolitan and overseas departments". I recall joking at the time that Chirac's reaction to the Non! vote almost put him in the bizarre role of imitating Chavez with nightly "hola presidente!" tv shows.
Chirac's personal vision of "the republic" has slowly collapsed and his final appeals to a frankly dead sense of national pride in the televised addresses to a "global francophony" seemed strangely ridiculous and a prelude to the deterioration of his health through the summer.
On June 6th less than a week after taking office DeV met with representatives of the main trade unions in france to discuss a "social pact". It had been less than 6 weeks since the french left had as part of international may day celebrations taken on board the concept of "precarity" and the political agenda of those who oppose it. The unions proposed a social pact on four priorities-
prospects for youth.
«et enfin. la lutte contre la pauvreté » ="& finally the struggle against poverty". It can not be said that the French government have improved their performance on any of these 4 points. Rather economic indicators have shown that poverty has got worse. The summer saw an upheavel in Europe follow the failure of the EU constitution votes (where only one state Spain, had ratified with only 52% electorate participation and a slender majority of that). The germans voted for neither CDU or SPD to rule them, and then got an impossible coalition of both. The french watched their non-elected prime minister fête Condoleenza Rice, but he began to lose his global élan as the distance between his richman's government and the reality of life amongst the poor of France kicked in. Chirac was to appear on television only once more before this week, in a heartfelt appeal for solidarity with African migrants who died when the slum house they were housed in burned to the ground. DeV met with the Ukraine's Julia Tymoshenko, ironically he seemed completely unaware of her impending "resignation". The whole global stage changing, the faces we had come to know leaving one by one. Sarkozy's response to the fire in August in which 14 children and 3 adults died was to concur with DeV that a census of unfit housing was needed. The main campaign group (droit a logement) for the most poorly housed (migrants in the main) agreed.
There were and are 50,000 migrants in slum houses they suggested, as well as a further 2,000,000 unemployed, 2,500,000 precarious workers and 6 million others living on social benefits "at or about" the poverty line. But they had said as much when a fire had killed similar hostel housed migrants in April of 2005.
Sarkozy sent in the police in the weeks which followed to forceably evict the poorest he found on the census. Great play was made on the international stage of the DeV government's deportations of "salafist" and "jihadist" suspects. But the majority of "poorest of the poor" are not so political or religious, and they have simply "dis-appeared" into the migration internment camp return system. The incidents at Ceuta and Melilla through the months of August and September when many thousands of migrants were found to either jump the border into Europe or be "waiting" in the desert to do so, was accompanied in Paris by another fire and yet more sabre rattling against migrants by the right wing. By this time Chirac had found that his televised adresses to the republic from metropolitan to overseas departments were as useless as napoleon's one hundred days.
This summer a certain rather quaint notion of "european statehood" and "european leadership" and "european prosperity" died. Oddly one could almost say in the UK sense, "prosperity" had grown up in marginalised urban areas, learnt the language, worn the hoodie, got the jobs, gone to the state built mosque, and then decided to blow itself up. Yet the spontanous reactions which typify "unrest" have not died. Though they may be given new "labels", or explained using "ethnic" or "religious" cliché rather than class analysis. But the riots in the UK's birmingham and the banlieu of Paris must be understood in the same way as the protests on precarity in Merchant shipping, the "old-fashioned" lefist blockading of Spain's motorways by the agricultural industry soon followed by the blockading of Spain's ports by its fishermen and at time of writing the blockading of Spain's northern provinces by miners.
De Villepin has still not been elected.
& the "non voters" of tomorrow's France
are burning cars.
& throughout Europe the proletariat [sic]
is awakening and its claim to be a proletariat is good, for these people's great grandparents were equally excluded from "Europe's prosperity".
De Villepin gets the job-
Social Pact for France?
Paris Housing Hell (1)
Paris Housing Hell (2)
Europe reacts to the "urban guerilla warfare"
I have used one of Banksy's art works as illustration
"say it with flowers" you can visit his site @ http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/