Annie Ernault (Le Monde Diplomatique)

Sophie Tauber-Arp’s “Ascend, Descend, Hold, Flight” (1934).

as As usual, no one saw it coming. It was 1995 and Jacques Chirac had just won the French presidential election by denouncing “social division”. He embodied a right-wing ethic that was at least concerned with working-class voters. His 1995 plan to cut social welfare and align public and private pensions, unlike the current Macron government’s pension reform plan, has been tracked or prepared through debate alongside other reforms. It wasn’t done.

So in November it was a complete surprise and it took people a while to realize what was going on. But there is the arrogance of the plan’s creator, Prime Minister Alain Juppe, who makes him sound like someone he thinks he knows best, telling anyone listening to him that he is clearly stupid. It gives people a humiliating sense of belonging to a big crowd.

The first significant day of the strike against Giuppe’s plan, November 24, 1995, marked the beginning of a campaign involving all state sectors. There are no trains, no subways, no schools. It was very cold. I remember the exhilarating sense of uncertainty, like I was experiencing one of those rare moments when history was made, because it used to be the working people taking action.

I remember the exhilarating sense of uncertainty, like I was experiencing one of those rare moments when history was made, because it used to be the working people taking action.

I must not have been the only one during that week who thought we were living in pre-revolutionary times. Unlike May 1968, the entire nation supported the strike. Private sector workers who are not on strike will tell public sector workers, “You are on strike for us, for us.” We were suddenly out of the post-1983 tunnel and coming to the end of much-touted politics. Railway workers, the EDF (Électricité de France) and the postal system opposed the hitherto inevitable economic order by defending their rights. They defied the world order.

new realization

I don’t remember if I heard the slogan “Other worlds are possible” in the Porto Alegre Forum or in the streets of Seattle and Genoa a little later. But it wasn’t until December 1995 that the French realized that the markets, the globalization of trade, and the building of a liberal Europe dominated their lives. They began to associate the building of Europe with the destruction of social rights, or rather denounce the reforms as a concession to the European Commission in Brussels. In 1992, like many others, I voted NO in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty. François Mitterrand’s plan for European integration was carried out to a narrow margin, with everything necessary regarding the dismantling of competition and public services.

We expected that when the Socialists (PS) came to power, life would change as they promised. In fact, 1981 saw a number of significant social measures, including five weeks of paid vacation and a new retirement age of 60 for him. Tournant de la rigueur (the turn to austerity), which was really a turn to neoliberalism, a far cry from the Popular Front-style government of 1936. The Gulf War of 1991, Mitterrand’s Ice Age majesty, created an inevitable disconnect with my own Left. (“The Guns Speak”), French involvement with Americans, thousands killed in bombings in Baghdad, and media enthusiasm for US-led Operation Desert Storm.

In 1995, a disgruntled section of leftists, journalists and “experts” all rallied behind Juppe. supported. Her Nicole Notat, general secretary of the CFDT trade union, went so far as to call on the government to impose a minimum service level on public transport. was taken). Mainstream media, including public service media such as France’s Intel, have all endorsed the government’s action.

At that point, a schism appeared in the intellectual left. Some of them signed petitions in favor of reform, among them the philosopher Paul Ricoeur, the sociologist Alain Touraine, the political scientist Pierre Rosenvallon, and the then influential magazine It included Joël Romain and Olivier Mongan from the editorial board. EspritI had some admiration for Ricoeur’s work, but basically I think there is an elite endowed with a ‘rational understanding of the world’ on the one hand, and a multitude of people who are slaves to their passions on the other. I was appalled to read… , anger and desire. This is what Pierre Bourdieu said in his wonderfully memorable speech at the Gare de Lyon to the striking railway workers, and it still applies to his 2023. People or their representatives epitomize reactionary thinking in any country at any time.

Pierre Bourdieu’s political involvement in the strike made me consider it my duty as a writer not to remain a passive bystander in public life.

Bourdieu was one of the key players behind other petitions by intellectuals in support of the strikers.I signed because it was clearly on this side (1)It was my intellectual liberation and the opportunity to engage with someone who helped me become a was after i finished reading Les Heritiers In 1971, I felt given permission to write Les Armoires videos, published in 1974. I have continued to read Bourdieu ever since. La Distinction, La Noblesse Dataand a book (published two years before Project Juppe) that is both a portrait and an analysis of French society, La Misère du MondeBourdieu’s political commitment to the strike made me consider it my duty as a writer not to remain a passive bystander in public. It was an immense pleasure and liberation to see and hear this internationally recognized sociologist embroiled in social conflict. He cheered us up when we tried to let him go.

act of memory

Long, hard strikes always break the habitual rhythm of the day. The situation in 1995 was unique as part of the population still had to go to factories and offices and had no means of transportation other than a car. There was a lot of solidarity, a lot of wit. We held a carpool. Bike sales have gone through the roof. I remember my son had to buy his mountain bike to commute from Paris to the suburbs. In the hypermarket he went to, Raymond, his cyclist, Pro Racing, and his Pridor himself, advertised the model. But we all walked a lot in unison on the usually empty sidewalks, such as between the neighborhoods around La Défense and the Via Grande Armé across the Pont Neuilly. It was freezing cold. there was snow.of YearsI have described these winter marches as acts of remembrance. It seemed to contain an ambiguous myth of

I remember the strange feeling when I read Le Monde, evenings, as if newspaper articles were pale representations of events and the present, it is the emotions evoked by social upheaval. In general, newspapers and radio were filled with editorials claiming rationality and hatred of struggling workers. Years later I found his PLPL (2) The “chew and escape newspaper” was born.

As people roamed cities without buses or subways, their bodies somehow seemed to contain obscure myths of old mass strikes we didn’t necessarily know about.

Two union leaders were instrumental in bringing about such swift and strong protests against government projects. Marc Blondel of the FO (Force Ouvrière) and Bernard Thibault of his CGT (General Confederation of Labour), dissidents of the CFDT and trade unions SUD (Solidaires, Unitaires, Démocratiques) – since 1995, of the workers’ struggle became a major movement. But it is difficult to understand the protests without understanding the impact that Project Juppe had on French society. It threatened even the most basic and essential, such as the social security system and pensions acquired shortly after the liberation of France.

It didn’t matter that the reform was aimed at civil servants and employees of public enterprises. People realized that by attacking civil servants, the state was indirectly attacking everyone’s way of life. Today we see that this is what actually happened 20 years later.The 1995 protesters understood this all too well. They sang “Together!” In defense of hard-won “social progress” – I think the expression was coined at the time.

We don’t hear it much today. Decades of economic neoliberalism have made us feel ashamed and guilty of using it. Everything is done to remove the idea from people’s heads and lives, but the interests of the richest are now seen as legitimate. It is And that is what is at stake today: the recognition that the state has a right to the life of its citizens and can postpone the moment when citizens are finally free to enjoy life.

The reforms that President Macron wanted are aimed at our hopes of rest, freedom and joy. Therefore, opposition was encountered from all active sections of the population, young and old. On the one hand, the president can certainly count on the support of wealthy retirees (his electoral base from the start) for reforms that have no impact on their lives.

What a joy it was to turn on the radio that morning and hear the unbroken music of the day of the strike instead of the disingenuous questions of the morning show host, and the song instead of the disaster report. Did you

The memory of 1995 is that of the last victorious (or rather semi-victory) union mobilization. The Jupe government gave up on adjusting public sector pensions, but passed measures to govern other parts of the law, namely social security. about it. After 25 years of unbridled neoliberalism, we live in a country where public services (schools, universities, hospitals) have been dismantled, despite the strife over hospitals, schools and universities.

We are all seeing unprecedented levels of frustration growing in a workforce that can no longer tolerate precarious contracts and absurd jobs. We should not despair of young people everywhere who once blocked high schools and colleges against the commodification of education and now fight for useless flagship projects and climate. Feminism since #MeToo in 2017 regained tremendous power. Above all there is contempt for the working class, or what I call ‘my race’ (which I have been maligned for wanting revenge), and another wave of anger will surely rise again. right.

Already on January 19th there was an extraordinary mobilization. That morning I was able to turn on the radio and hear the unbroken music of the day of the strike instead of the disingenuous questions of the morning show host, and the song instead of the disaster report. I was overwhelmed to learn that two million people took to the streets that night across France, refusing the government’s plans.

Despite our defeat, and even if the memory of the winter of 1995 and its cold nights sometimes seems fading like a distant dream, the January 2023 protesters will be very numerous and the Republic I had a hard time getting out of the square. – I am reminded of Paul Eluard’s line again. I would like to thank them. Don’t keep your head down. Annie Ernault (Le Monde Diplomatique)

Back to top button