Nuit Debout: Dawn of a Revolution?

by Gilbert Mercier and Dady Chery, News Junkie Post

Some call it a phenomenon, others compare it to the failed 2011 Occupy movement, but Nuit Debout has taken the largely discredited French political class, from across the bogus standard left to the far right, by surprise. Sociologically, it should not be a surprise at all. The backdrop is a sense of deep social malaise, a ras le bol et envie de redevenir vivant (a spillover and wish to be alive again). France, as a society, has been morose and depressed for decades, and the state of emergency imposed in a cowardly panicky haste by François Hollande’s administration since November 2015 has turned the country into a pressure cooker.

In the two weeks since it started on the night of March 31, 2016 at the Place de La République in Paris’ XI arrondissement, Nuit Debout has rapidly spread to other cities in France such as Lyon, Nice, Nantes, Toulouse, etc., as well as to Belgium, Germany, and Spain. It could be the remedy for France’s deep social malaise and the sense of being “hankerchiefs to be used and discarded.” An informed observer can see strong similarities with the Situationist, Anarchist and neo-Marxist groups of May 1968, when France’s last mini-revolution toppled its government. Some are already talking of a 6th Republic, which could be either wishful thinking or the dawn of a new revolution.

The French political class is reacting with a mixture of understanding for the protesters and threats of a brutal police crackdown on Nuit Debout’s activists. The Socialist Party, more simply identified in France by its acronym PS, is ironically labeled the Parti Scélerat (Scoundrel Party) by the Nuit Debout activists, in reference to the party’s sell out of all leftist ideals. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, personifies the hypocrisy of this ruling party. In a statement to the newspaper Le Monde on April 11, 2016, Mayor Hidalgo did not condemn the movement itself but what she qualified as its excesses: “If it is legitimate to dream of another world, it is not so to degrade this one,” said Hidalgo. She delivered almost immediately on her rhetoric by ordering the evacuation of the Place de la République on the same day. The new and improved French police-state apparatus was eager to execute the order and clear up the square. Elsewhere in Paris, five brutal arrests were made, and people were detained without the proper charges, in accordance with the state of emergency’s extraordinary powers, including arrests without probable cause. The repression has not stopped the momentum of the movement.

Most of the mainstream media in France and elsewhere are drawing an analogy between Nuit Debout and the Occupy movement of late 2011, as well as the Indignados actions in Spain. This is certainly not a coincidence, considering that Occupy largely fizzled and failed for lack of organization and radicalization, just like the Arab spring in the Middle East was hijacked by the West, under United States leadership, to implement regime change policies through fake revolutions in Libya and Syria. The Occupy movement was infiltrated by informants, neutered and more or less dismantled between early December 2011 and late spring 2012 under the instigation of George Soros’ countless little helpers who were paid to hijack the movement. If the Nuit Debout activists follow the tracks of their predecessors of Occupy, the outcome will be the same.

Since 2011, however, throughout the world some elements have greatly changed: the connection between the political class and citizens has reached a breaking point; the notion of elections being a farce has become widespread; wealth concentration and social inequality have reached an unprecedented and unsustainable level; and conflicts and the business of warfare have reached an apex. These factors are fertile ground for the collective quantum leap that is a revolution. As an indication of this shift, a Nuit Debout activist interviewed by the French daily newspaper Liberation said that the movement should consider “a more muscular struggle.”

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