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Youth Revolt in France

UPML Union Prolétarienne Marxiste-Léniniste (Marxist-Leninist Proletarian Union), France, Contribution to the United Front webinar on 30.7.2023


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Hello comrades, I'd like to talk to you about the youth revolt in France:

With regard to this revolt, the mass media have flooded the world with images of burnt-out cars and buildings, looted shops etc. criminalising everything. The UPML first declared its solidarity with the youth revolt.
This revolt exploded at the end of June after the murder of Nahel, aged 17, coldly killed by the police during a road check. In 2021 and 2022, 44 people were killed in similar circumstances, and in the last year, including Nahel, 13 people! Most of them were young non-white men from proletarian families.
The youth revolt in the Paris suburbs and in many other large cities (Lyon, Marseille, etc.) lasted around ten days. The participants were very young, aged 12 - 15 - 17 - 20, who used fireworks. By setting fire to public buildings, police stations, cars, etc., the young people gave battle to the police.
A week after Nahel's murder, the annual demonstration in tribute to young Adama Traoré, who died during a police stop in 2016, was due to take place. It was banned because state order had to be re-established at all costs. The solidarity committee managed to organise the demonstration despite the ban. Its slogan "without justice, no peace" demands punishment and expresses the will to put an end to the oppression of proletarian youth by the state apparatus, which is now prosecuting the organisers.
The youth revolt reflects the whole crisis of capitalist society, which offers no prospects to the mass of young people, which treats them racistly and like second-class people. The situation of working-class families is deteriorating, and in some working-class neighbourhoods 60% of young people are unemployed. In France, 10 million people go hungry. - rebellion is justified a thousand times over!
But to find a solution, we need a class-based approach, targeting the exploitation and multi-faceted oppression of state monopoly capitalism. This revolt receives only limited support because of the useless destruction of private and public property, and we condemn this too. Part of the youth is under the influence of the bourgeoisie, the thirst for easy money symbolised by drug trafficking, which distracts them from the class struggle.
The state has hit back hard! More than a thousand young people have been arrested every day, nearly 600 have been identified thanks to their mobile phones, and sentences of unprecedented severity have been handed down in summary trials, whether they are minors or not. The parents (often single-parent families) were presented as irresponsible and also threatened with prison, heavy fines or withdrawal of family allowances.
In France, political polarisation has intensified. Confrontations in the various struggles are increasingly violent. Various institutions such as Amnesty International, Human Right Watch, the UN and even the European Commission are criticising the systematic and disproportionate police violence in France, with the use of weapons such as LBD grenades. As other people were seriously injured by riot police during the youth revolt, a police officer was remanded in custody in Marseille - a rare occurrence! This triggered a reactionary resistance in the police. The ultra-right and fascists, including in the state apparatus, are organising themselves and openly supporting Nahel's killer with a fund-raising campaign of 1.6 million euros and demonstrations outside the court.
After the struggles against the government's pension reform, the young people's revolt once again raises the question of how to continue.
Young and old alike must help to resolve this question. The UPML, the genuinely communist organisations and every conscious person must assume their responsibilities: Let's get organised against fascisation and fascism! A future for young people! Let's put an end to capitalism-imperialism - for real socialism!

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