The following is a translation of a leaflet produced and distributed, last weekend, in France, by Gauche révolutionnaire (CWI France), in response to the current riots in Paris and across France.
Right wing Interior Minister Sarkozy insults youth on estates
On 27 October, two young people from Clichy, one 15 year old and one 17 year old, were electrocuted and died after fleeing into an electricity sub-station. They were on their way home after a football game but ran into a police identity control. Like so many have witnessed before, this is one of the only ‘rights’ you have when you live in one of the poorest neighbourhoods: identity checks when the police come to where you live. This drama took place just when Interior Minster Sarkozy intensified a campaign of insults against the young people who live in these estates, calling them names like "scum", "rabble" and appealing for the estates to "be cleaned with a Kärcher" (a high powered hose).
That the majority of the events [riots] over the last few days took place in impoverished estates, like Seine-Saint-Denis, Yvelinnes etc) is not a coincidence. Sarkozy and Villepin [French Prime Minister] have abandoned these places and increased racist and discriminatory measures. They are responsible for the high level of unemployment, for the lack of decent housing, for the closure of local post offices or local bus routes, for the ever increasing cost of living. The anger the inhabitants of these districts feel is normal and justified. It is anger against the system that creates misery, exclusion and violence.
What Sarkozy and Villepin want is a society where the rich and the bosses can continue to conspire to fill their coffers, while the workers and youth slave to survive. It is precisely to seek acceptance of their ultra-liberal policies that they [the government] implement anti-youth, racist and repressive policies. Their aim it to divide us and in doing so be able to exploit us more.
Against Chirac-Villepin-Sarkozy: Youth, workers, unemployed, French or immigrants, men or women, all together!
But workers and inhabitants of the poorest neighbourhoods cannot be targets of the violence. They are just as much victims of this system and the policies of the government. The same goes for the fire fighters or emergency services staff. It is not by burning cars and workplaces that an efficient fight against the Sarkozy government and the police force is possible. This will reinforce racist and reactionary ideas. This will be used a pretext by the government to increase repression.
The real responsibility lies with the government and the system this government defends. To confront this we need a collective and organised response. It is the task of the inhabitants of the poor boroughs to organise themselves with a view to re-establish calm, organising borough meetings, where everyone can express themselves [and] by organising demonstrations against the provocations of the police.
Organising to change the system
What we need is real employment, decent housing and free and good public services. Evidently this is not the policy of the present government. They are privatising our public services, they send in the CRS (riot police) against the inhabitants of neighbourhoods or against striking workers to defend the profits of the bosses.
These are the policies of capitalism, a system that obeys only one law - the law of profit. When the government has succeeded to implementing its policies it is only because the collective struggle of the workers has not been big and determined enough. We have to take to the streets to show that those who oppose these policies are more numerous.
We need a party of struggle. A party for workers and youth that would allow us to launch an effective struggle against capitalism, against the misery, racism and exclusion capitalism brings.
Gauche révolutionnaire (CWI) fights for the construction of such a party. We fight to end capitalism and replace it with genuine socialism: a society where the economy will be under democratic control of workers to satisfy the needs of everyone and not the profits of a few.