Published the 16 June 2016 in Struggles
Irrespective of the use and abuse of "Up All Night", this phenomenon is a sign of a subterranean journey of some reflection and of the need to struggle against the seriousness of the political, economic, social, ecological, and other situations within sections of the working class, including unemployed youth in the process of proletarianization etc ...
Whatever manoeuvrings orchestrated around Ruffin, the anti-globalisation economist, Lordon and others, who have driven and continue to sustain the street rallies, the continued existence and content of the concerns expressed there show that "Up All Night" is situated (not always, but often) on the terrain of authentic discussions about class issues that are just as fruitful as those that take place during demonstrations and in strikes, occupations, or blockades.
We should not, of course, overestimate this "phenomenon" but due to a number of features, it has become a point of support and reference for present and future struggles in:
Its quest for a way to fight and oppose the new attacks against workers;
Being the first action for a long time that is trying to stop the widespread offensive of the bourgeoisie against the workers that has lasted for at least twenty years and, in this sense, it is the first attempt to regain the initiative in the streets against the steamroller of the all-conquering capitalist class;
The existence of a extraordinary storm against all the political, economic powers-that-be, etc .. including the media and the false democracy that is imposed on us;.
The beginning of a challenge to the political manoeuvrings of the various hidden elements within the "Up All Night" movement itself. This is quite apparent and shared in many debates especially in some of the "popular education" forums. There is disappointment, mistrust, hatred and some also against "false friends" who are trying to push it down blind alleys;
The quality of discussions on issues as diverse as the lessons of the Paris Commune (in connection with issues in the current mobilizations), feminism, nonviolence, violence, the labor law, what post-capitalist society would be like, etc. ...
Dispelling the leaden atmosphere on the streets of Paris after the terrorist attacks. These assemblies have so far given a response and have rejected in action "the false democracy that has been imposed on us", at the same time undermining in action the false “national unity” against terrorism which has been burning in our ears since the attacks in January and November, 2015.
What are the lessons we can draw from this movement and the mobilizations that will certainly continue and go on in other forms?
Social struggles are returning to the top of the agenda (something we have not seen since 2010 in France) and a halt to the atmosphere of "national unity" against "terrorism".
The development of "public speaking" by everyone, and the widening of concerns beyond the “Labor” law alone to that of wider social perspectives. Although "public speaking" is not enough in itself it allows the collective to find ways to understand and act. This is absolutely necessary for any perspective for struggle and extension of struggles.
The highlighting of the issue of the occupation of the streets, squares, etc .. beside the fight for general and popular assemblies, committees of struggle, strikes and co- ordinations. The question of street assemblies is just as important for the fight as mass meetings in "places of production". Just as the unions are not the same as the general assemblies of workers, even if it is them who formally convene them, the organizers of "Up All Night" are not the same as the street rallies ...
In the sense that they develop our thinking and open political discussions about our situation, we must use even the limited opportunity, imposed and well policed by ‘Up All Night’, or it would be just like calling for the abandonment of the limited framework of the imposed and restricted assemblies of the unions in workplaces ...
Contrary to those who think that the assemblies that have resurfaced several times in recent years (you could say "the movements of the Squares" - Taksim, Tahir, Wall Street, Indignados ...) are mainly the expression of "democratic illusions" and of "manoeuvrings against the working class" or that they are "interclassist" places, they are the product of the needs of the struggles and for debate in the working class. They are particularly important in a context of massive unemployment and the current globalization, which has so badly pulverized previous conditions of class struggles, especially in the "places of production" of the working class. The composition of the participants in "Up All Night" is not the "petty bourgeois wage workers" (as certain groups now theorize) but mainly elements of the working class, even though its protagonists do not conceive of themselves as such. And this type of gathering will also have had the merit, relative to the terrain of the enterprises, to express a questioning of sectionalism and corporatism, giving encouragement for us to go beyond them, and to develop solidarity.
Even if, for all these reason, these mobilizations will eventually dissolve in the coming days, they deserve to already draw some lessons from them for the future struggles.
Pool, 3 June 2016