(( Update April 28: call for action in France))
This is what I understand has happened the last 12 days in Paris and many other cities in France. (Note: has now spread to Belgium, Spain and Greece too).
1. Hundreds of thousands of young French have demonstrated in non violent way by discussing a number of issues they are angry about and which they want to change. Direct trigger was a proposed job “flexibility law’ by one of the cabinet ministers, which would make it easier to fire young people. That hurts since jobs are hard to get and pay is minimised by cuts and efficiency. During the demonstrations and discussions other issue groups joined in with demand and strike proposals. The young state that they have had it with the present hierarchical bureaucracy and its neo-liberal market drive.
2. There is no central organizing leadership group and everybody is allowed P2P horizontaly to bring forward their idea spread by loudspeakers. To give feedback from the audience they have introduced a number of arm/handsigns, which are silent so they are not disturbed by applause or shouts.
3. Students and intellectuals have an advantage since they can put the feelings of the street better into words, but there are also artists, painters and music intermezzo’s. The economist Frédéric Lordon is proposing a fundamentaly different socio-economic system in France. He and others do refer to philosophers of the Enlightenment, like for instance Spinosa !
4. It is rather remarkable that the young in France who have been always very obeying their parents, teachers and bosses, suddenly show they no longer respect the elite. Even contradicting older people was rather not done cause it could hurt their career path, hard fought through a process of years and years of selections in education.The way to protest in a clever way is to do it after hours. That is why it is called “Nuit Debout“, which means something like “Allnight Upright” (we not go home to sleep).
5. Each night the demonstrations grow and spread further into other cities and even abroad.
The interactive map can be loaded from: https://framacarte.org/fr/map/nuitdebout_2186#5/48.049/14.326
6. Yes they make use of FB, Twitter, Instagram and I guess the FirechatApp to coordinate and spread the words. See for instance also the Google images for #nuitdebout .Her is a map of tweets , colored by language, so you can see that it is not French exclusive.
7. Countermeasures of law and order up to now where the destruction of the camp stands and some mace spraying to disperse people in certain places. But this only attracts couverage by the media who love violence (memes). The authorities do realise I hope that students are usually early warning systems for feelings which are shaping in the general population. The young simply have better antennae than most and are not yet numbed by the system.
6. Is interesting to read the following analysis by David Graeber of similar historic events and the changes that followed: http://thebaffler.com/salvos/a-practical-utopians-guide-to-the-coming-collapse They did indeed succeed in changing the structures of economic and political activities all over the globe at about the same time. It is apparent than gov’ts and ruling classes DO respond to public demonstrations of discontent although the lenght of their time in power of tyrants is shortening , see the book “the End of Power”. This is important to know for the candidate and new emperors that are appearing. They better listen to what the students say !!
Update April 17: A similar basic article for this movement is by George Monbiot http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot “Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems”.
7. Yes it has gone global today (April 16, 2016)
You can follow this on Twitter: @globalDebout
jaap van till, theconnectivist