- Date published:
11:57 am, April 9th, 2016 - 62 comments
Categories: activism, class war, community democracy, democratic participation, Europe, Globalisation, International, political alternatives, Politics, Social issues, socialism - Tags: democracy, france, Occupy, organising, people, protest
At first blush the basic, and perhaps only, criticism I’d make of the nightly gatherings taking place across France are the same I had of ‘Occupy’- having gatherings where one person is given the ability to talk to (at) hundreds of others, is inimical to developing meaningful forms of democracy. That scenario will inevitably become bogged down in the inertia of interminable discussions over minutiae. And then people get bored or frustrated and go home.
That aside, the launching of ‘Nuit Debout‘ is exciting and came off the back of devastatingly simple thought.
There were about 300 or 400 of us at a public meeting in February and we were wondering how can we really scare the government?. We had an idea: at the next big street protest, we simply wouldn’t go home
Hugely heartening too, that people are apparently refusing to be led, organised or informed by any group, committee, organisation or party. It would seem, at least for the time being, that the concept of many people, many voices has been embraced across France.
The concept behind the movement is a “convergence of struggles” with no one leader. There are no union banners or flags of specific groups decorating the protest in the square – a rarity in France.
Back in NZ and with winter coming on it’s not so much an option to simply ‘not go home’ after a protest. But there is no reason why a follow-up gathering can’t be broadcast – one where people actually talk to and with one another; where we share ideas and concerns; where we build networks, explore potentials and hatch future for action – a space with no marshals, no ‘steering’ committees and no top down imposition of boundaries by this, that or the other entity.
I’ve said the last bit at protest planning meetings often enough in the past. But NZ seems to be comprised of nothing but stony ground though…or is the ground fertile enough with the real problem being a preponderance of gatekeepers and carpet layers?
Whatever any accurate analysis of the above might be, I’ve been getting a feeling of late that some seismic shift is taking place across the world.
Mainstream or corporate media seem to be losing their grip on our thoughts and perceptions (eg – you don’t have to go more than one step side-ways from mainstream outlets on ‘the web’ to find a convincing counter narrative to their Clinton/Sanders coverage). I strongly suspect, that rather than seeking to convince us on major issues or events, the corporate or mainstream media is retreating, or has retreated, into a space that would have us accept that bar their jagged shouting, there is no need for thought; that beyond the trivial, there is nothing to be seen, heard or spoken about.
Meanwhile. Climate change, TTPA, stolen water, tax dodging, poverty, privatisation, housing…either we agree that none of these things really matter – or we tiresomely tackle them one by one by one – or we bring them (and much more) together in a rolling maul of discontent that then gives rise to a multiplicity of demands. I’m not up for either option one or option two.