The Clichy Rebellion:
Does it show the need for self-defense, or for people’s war?
October 31st 2005
There is a rebellion in Clichy Sous bois.
A rebellion that has as its moral basis revenge, after two teenagers died
of electrical burns in a power substation.
A night of rioting, “another one” as Sarkozy said.
The socialists say that this “is proof of the climate of tension that reigns
and of the escalation of violence.”
According to [former Socialist President Laurent] Fabius “the government
and its right-wing predecessor seem to be far less interested in prevention
than repression, whereas both are needed.”
And [former Socialist Minister] Dominique Strauss-Kahn complained on channel
one that “There are less police in the suburbs, there is no more community
policing, prevention programmes have been dismantled (…) The results are there
to see: more violence than we have ever see before.”
According to some people, who firmly oppose the racist policies of the French
State, this is one more argument in favour of community self-defense in popular
areas, to protect against State attacks.
But “self-defense” makes no sense, as it is not a minority but all the popular
classes that are targeted by State violence.
If you think in terms of self-defense, you are thinking in the same way
(but inverted) as Joaquin Masanet, the spokesperson of UNSA-Police, the trade
union of the majority of riot police, who has stated that the live ammunition
fired against the riot police is “very serious” because it is aimed at a “symbol
of the Republic” and proves that firearms “continue to circulate in the suburbs.”
All of which is just a way of “relativizing” the violence, of saying that
it is qualitatively different in different areas… whereas it is only quantitatively
The massive police presence in the suburbs is in no way different from the
repression of the « free partys » organized by young people who
want to listen to music without going to commercial discos; it is in no way
different from the little bosses’ surveillance in the workplace.
Capitalist social violence is the primary aspect.
“Of the two aspects of a contradiction, one is necessarily primary, the
other secondary. The primary aspect is that which plays the dominant role
in the contradiction. The characteristics of things and phenomena are mainly
determined by this primary aspect of the contradiction, which holds the dominant
position. But this situation is not static; the primary aspect and the secondary
aspect of the contradiction change into one another and the characteristics
of things change as a consequence.”
- (Mao Tse-Tung)
[translators note: i could not find the exact text of this quote in English,
so i translated it myself – my apologies to Mao!]
This is the reason why the fires of revolution spread so quickly in the
For it is these neighbourhoods that the most exploited sections of the proletariat
are brought together, many of whom are victims of racism.
A racism that is widespread throughout French society with “second class
citizens” and a criminalized population accused of every evil.
Even young teenagers are prevented from going to school because of their
This is why the masses who have nothing to lose but their chains are joining
the revolutionary rebellion.
How else does one explain the fact that every night in France dozens of
cars are set on fire?
How else does one explain how quickly the “violence” spread to neighbouring
communities and the city of Montfermeil?
How else does one explain the fact that the Action police CFTC trade union
requested that the army be sent into Clichy-sous-Bois?
The truth is that a single spark can start a praire fire.
And the rulers are all afraid.
Summing up a report released by Le Figaro [a very right-wing French magazine]
on Thursday October 27th, the director general of the national guard (DGGN)
lists “high-risk suburbs” where the guard is called to intervene, which shows
that some medium-size cities can also be sparks (such as Rillieux-la-Pape
in Rhône, Vitry-le-François in Marne, Villefontaine in Isère,
Méru in l'Oise, etc.)
The entire bourgeoisie is trembling with fear because it knows that this
is the calm that comes before the storm.
The masses want revolution, and every day they dare to go more and more
in this direction, against the daily capitalist barbarism.
Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist Maoist) October 2005
Please note that the above text about the past week’s
riots in Clichy-Sous-Bois come from the website of the Communist Party
(Marxist-Leninist Maoist) in France and translated by yours truly. I have
a “fast and loose” translation philosophy, meaning that when there is a choice
between readability and the original phraseology i tend to favour the former,
provided that the meaning stays the same. The original document can be seen in French.
This originally came from my blog - Sketchy Thoughts
- and is one of a number of pieces i wrote or translated regarding the
riots that rocked France in October and November 2005. To see the a complete
list of such posts, i suggest you check out the 2005 Riots In France page on the Kersplebedeb