Smash the banks! Be unruly!

Forfatter: Lundi Matin 
Forlag: Éditions La Découverte (Frankrike)
The old world can neither be reformed nor revolutionized; a total settlement must take place before the new can break out.


Not since 1968 has France been the scene of such large-scale protests as those that have recently taken place on the streets of the country's major cities, in response to the so-called El Khomri law. During the six month long period from 17. February to 8. August 2016 – from Prime Minister Myriam El Khomri's first presentation of the Socialist government's labor reform in parliament to its final adoption – overturned a wave of mass demonstrations, strikes, occupations, protests and more or less violent clashes with the rule of law across the Fifth Republic. Throughout France, the echo of the rebel's "new Marseillaise" reverberates: a martial song with the buzzing title Tout le mode de teste la police, "Everyone hates the police".

Those who have had the opportunity to visit exceptional France within the last year can tell about walls that have again received "votes" and about the poetry of the broken windows. Among the many spray-painted slogans that do not leave behind the 68's in neither radicality nor ingenuity, calls for radicalize themselves, be unruly or more confrontational that smash the banks again and again, often accompanied by the anonymous signature Lisez, "Read".

Against the stream. Every Monday morning since 2014, all interested parties have been able to follow the internet sequel Lundi Matin – "Monday morning" – a ultra-left-inclined portal, which has apparently appealed a lot wider than you might expect. In any case, a readership of up to 500 monthly seems difficult to compare with the notion of a "handful of radicalized youth", which the media and police routinely try to attribute to all the "ballad" of such violent demonstrations. The "000 autonomous stone-throwing psychopaths from hell" (which the Youth House in Copenhagen self-proclaimed on their "For Sale" sign a decade ago, when the house was being sold to a Christian indemnity sect) have grown exponentially in France – and they all read

Powerlessness, fear and politician fatigue paved the way for Emmanuel Macron's questionable post-political project, allegedly raised above the right / left distinction.

The good news for book fetishists and others who prefer to read offline is that the editors behind the site have now published a selection of articles in the Internet magazine in print. It happened in April with the launch of Lundimatin # 0. Number 0 because it is a retrospective view of the protests against Labor law, as the El-Khomri law is most commonly referred to, and number 0 because it is thought to be an occasion for an uplifting strategic reflection. We are dealing with a preamble to the upcoming confrontations, rather than an attempt to catch up with the progress of events, as has otherwise excelled in with their massive weekly updates. As the otherwise anonymous editorial collective writes in their scarce remark: «These pages are about swimming against the flow of the news flow, abandoning the cadence of the newsletters in order to extract the most important articles from it. To reverse the quasi-immediate accumulation, overwhelm and redundancy logic of the Internet. Compose archives that illuminate the contemporary. ”

All ages revolt. The article committee thus covers only a fraction of what is available on the internet, but the curation of the content according to six main themes (high school mobilizations, social movements, Nuit Debout, blockades and occupations, the issue of maintaining order, continuing after the uprising) provides an excellent overview over one of the most turbulent periods in recent French history. Among the articles that have found their way to the print are a statement of support for "the young people" protest actions, written by leading French left-wing intellectuals. The authors challenge the media's image of a youth movement and emphasize that the fight against Labor Law rather, it is a "transgenerational revolt" towards a more comprehensive "civilian crisis", the solution of which cannot be solved in "classical politics."

By "classical politics" is meant, first and foremost, the socialist parliamentarism that has been in a severe crisis of legitimization since the reign of François Mitterand. What we are experiencing in France is a crisis not only for "socialist" politics, but for politics at all, where a growing anti-political resentment has given way to the sails of the right-wing Front Nationalist, with leading candidate Marine Le Pen frighteningly close to come to power at the presidential election just over. Thus, a combination of powerlessness, fear, and politicians effectively paved the way for Emmanuel Macron's dubious post-political project, allegedly raised above the right / left distinction.

Settlement in progress. Macron's stated agenda Revolution (which is also the title of his bestselling autobiography) no longer signifies an upheaval of the existing order, but rather signals a willingness to move on the spot: Walking!, as his party powerfully calls itself, well to feel without explaining any direction. Among other things in that light, one must understand that word revolution is largely absent in the texts appearing in Lundimatin # 0, where we instead find the call for dismissal, which can be translated into "marketing": Destination is on the way – "The sale is underway" – is, with the ironic wordplay on Macron's "revolutionary" party, thus one of the more ingenious titles encountered in the book.

The work, as we see it around us today, is nothing more than the negation of life, life in a third version.

But this is not a story of French socialist policy's kneeling for neoliberalist government techniques, as Lundi Matin's new paper archive first and foremost offers – however, an insight into some far more fundamental lines of breach that have become increasingly evident in the protests against El Khomri law. For the battles against Labor law can be badly reduced to one overall offensive, but on the contrary has clarified the conflict between the old left-wing government, represented on the one hand by the traditional labor unions and syndicates, and on the other the new mobilizations from ultra-left, as Lundi Matin has done to the preferred voice tube for. The dividing line runs between those who consider Labor Law as an unprecedented "deception" of the working class by a socialist government, and who therefore marched in neat columns to push the government to withdraw the bill, and those who, on the contrary, consider the law as just the latest chapter in a long history of the socialist parties out there .

The negation of life. The pamphlet The world or nothing calls, in line with the spirit of 1968, for a broader rejection or dismissal, not only of recent labor market reform under El Khomri, but of "work" as a social institution and life-defining factor: "The El Khom-ri law is just cherry on top Kagen. […] Ultimately, if we walk on the street toward Labor Law, it is not because this law concerns work as such, but because the question of work concerns the use of life more generally; and the work, as we see it around us today, is nothing but the negation of life, the life of a shit version. "

In other words, what young people (of all ages) seem to signal is that the old world and its fossilized institutions can no longer be reformed or revolutionized; it is the Left's false dilemma. There is nothing to be "taken over" or "criticized", no dictatorship of the proletariat to be instituted, only a number of conditions to be destroyed. It is in the settlement of the old that the new emerges. As some have written in capital letters over an escalator to the subway: Fin du travail vie magique – «After work, the magical life».

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