Call from France’s first yellow vest assembly

Even as it sinks out of sight in the British media, France’s popular rebellion is continuing and gaining momentum.

Yellow Vests

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The following text was issued by the first yellow vest assembly, which took place in Commercy at the end of January.

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We, the yellow vests of the roundabouts, of the parking lots, of the squares, of the assemblies, rallies and demonstrations, have gathered on 26 and 27 January 2019 as an ‘assembly of assemblies’, bringing together a hundred delegations in response to a call by the yellow vests of Commercy.

Since 17 November, from the smallest village in the rural world to the largest city, we have risen up against this deeply violent, unjust and unbearable society. We will no longer let ourselves be pushed around!

We are rebelling against the high cost of living, precariousness and poverty; for our loved ones, our families and our children. We want only to live in dignity. It’s unacceptable that 26 billionaires own as much as half of humanity. Let’s share the wealth and not the poverty; let’s put an end to social inequality!

We demand an immediate increase in wages, social minima, allowances and pensions; the unconditional right to housing and healthcare, to education, and free public services for all.

It is for all these rights that we are occupying roundabouts on a daily basis, that we organise actions and demonstrations, that we discuss everywhere. With our yellow vests we retake the floor; we who have never had it.

And how has the government responded? With repression, contempt, denigration. Many dead and thousands wounded; massive use of firearms that mutilate, blind, injure and traumatise.

More than a thousand individuals have been arbitrarily detained and sentenced, and now the new ‘anti-wrecker’ law is being applied to stop us from demonstrating.

We condemn all such violence against protesters, whether from the police or violent gangs. None of this will stop us! To demonstrate is a fundamental right. End impunity for the police! Amnesty for all the victims of repression!

And what a dirty trick is the so-called great national debate – in fact, it’s just a government propaganda campaign that manipulates our desire to debate and decide. True democracy, as we practice it in our assemblies, on our roundabouts, is neither on television nor in the fake roundtables organised by Macron.

After having insulted us and treated us as less than nothing, now he points to us as a hateful fascistic and xenophobic mob. But we are quite the opposite: neither racist, nor sexist, nor homophobic – we are proud to come together with our differences to build a society of solidarity.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our discussions. At this very moment, hundreds of assemblies are developing and proposing their own demands. These concern real democracy, social and tax justice, working conditions, ecological and climate justice, and the end of discrimination.

Among the claims and strategic proposals that are the most debated, we find: the eradication of poverty in all its forms, the transformation of institutions (citizen’s initiative referenda, constituent assembly, abolition of the privileges of elected officials), ecological transition (energy injustice, industrial pollution), equality, and the taking into account of all regardless of their nationality (people with disabilities, male/female equality, an end to the neglect of popular neighbourhoods, the rural world and the DOM-TOM [overseas territories]).

We, the yellow vests, invite everyone to join us with their own means and abilities. We call for continuation of the acts of protest (act 12, against police violence at the police stations; acts 13, 14 …), of the occupations of the roundabouts and the economic blockades, and for a massive
strike starting on 5 February.

We call for committees to be formed at workplaces, at schools and everywhere else so that this strike can be built from the bottom up by the strikers themselves. Let’s take things into our own hands!

Do not remain alone – join us!

Let’s organise ourselves in a democratic, autonomous and independent way. This assembly of assemblies is an important step that enables us to discuss our demands and our means of action. Let us federate to transform society!

We urge all yellow vests to circulate this call. If as a group of yellow vests you agree, add your signature and send it to Commercy. Do not hesitate to discuss and formulate proposals for the next assembly of the assemblies, which we are preparing for right now.

Down with Macron – power to the people, for the people and by the people!