After the ‘end of the movement’

As the national and international media lines up with Sarkozy in announcing the movement over after the main CGT strikes wound up (in the refineries and ports), we’d like to offer a few obstinate declarations from the last couple of days. Not to prejudge anything, naturally.

In this post, a communique from an assembly in Toulouse on the 28th [Nous sommes lies a ce mouvement] and a statement from the journalist’s union brance at Ouest-France denouncing their own paper’s collaboration with the state’s preferred narrative of the movement.[Enrayer la declin editorial] After the break.

We’re bound up with this movement. – AG of intermittent and precarious ones, Toulouse, thursday the 28th of October.

Yesterday’s day of action once again saw 100,000 demonstrators in Toulouse! Which the media didn’t like much: they’d visibly received orders to entomb the movement as quickly as possible (symptomatic: in Toulouse we got the same treatment as in Marseille: the number of participants was estimated at 15,000!) and this after multiple efforts to discredit us: the casseurs, the shortages, the blockaders, the battle of estimates, the cost of the strike…

All week there were economic blockades, of which three took place simultaneously yesterday in Toulouse: 1000 people got together just before the blockade of the Eurocentre distribution facility at 3 in the morning!

This movement is a historic opportunity to organise a collective resistance to this anti-social, racist, autistic and arrogant governement which week after week grows more and more revolting, and leaves us too often quite impotent. Today it’s possible to speak and to act.

This movement’s working itself out around three “rhythms” [temps]: the demos, the general assemblies, the actions. And these three rhythms have their importance, their effectiveness in the battle, they constitute the struggle, a struggle which isn’t wearing itself out.

The general assembly of intermittent and precarious ones calls:

– for participation in the interprofessional blockade actions throughout the next week. A first meeting-place offers itself: Monday the first of November at 16:45 at the M.I.N [National Interest Market , state-run mass commercial markets] on United States Avenue in Toulouse (an inter-professional and inter-syndical action.) This meet-up shall also be an opportunity to put up an info-point to publicise the actions coming up, to display a banner etc…

– The other parts of the cultural sector…: just as it’s necessary to act, it’s important today to to position ourselves. That’s why the general assembly made an appeal to the structures (COUAC [actor’s association], SYNAVI [union of live arts]) the collectives, companies, artists, and technicians to join the social movement and to popularise it by calling for participation in the actions (economic blockades, etc…) and interprofessional demonstrations. We also propose that each event should wind up with announcements publicising the existence of strike funds.

– To continue to support the strikers: there’s a strike fund organised by this general assembly, cheques in the name of FEDERCIES (account of the Co-ordination) may be addressed to “Federcies”, La Ferme en Puntis, 3170 AURIN (they’re still collecting). After our appeal, 23 cheques were collected, mainly yesterday during the demo, making 2110 euros. (A big thank-you to those who showed their solidarity with the donations.”

Stop the editorial decline. –
Syndicat national des Journalistes Ouest-France, 25th October 2010.

Too much, it’s far too much! In these times of a social movement of such strength, our editors are steadily releasing themselves from the very principles on which the paper founds its culture, its image and the confidence of its readers. Each morning, or nearly, to fly to the aid of Sarkozy and of his politics, the front pages display a singularly ideological line.

When, at Ouest-France, editorial line and ideology are so thoroughly run together, the pension-reform project is presented as something beyond question which must any sane and reasonably spirit must accept. Its prolonged and resolute contestation is an irresponsibility which will harm future generations. The radicalisation of the social movement imperils the economic equilibrium and saps the foundations of our democracy. The government, in its steely tranquillity, incarnates order and firmness. The opponents, they, for all that they have the support of the majority of the French, are presented as divided and without serious projects.

What’s happened to the pluralism, the defense of democracy, the respect for the reader that Ouest-France brandishes at the first possible occasion, like its battle-standard? The instructions given to the editorial offices by the hierarchy are unambiguous: it’s necessary to restrain the coverage of the demonstrations “to avoid losing” the reader; to place the emphasis on the disturbances – blocked lycees, dried-up service stations … – and to give prominence above all “to guys whose activities are starting to be disrupted by the movement.”

On this terrain, numerous journalists have been waylaid by shocked readers who feel betrayed. In our ranks, too, the feeling of anger’s expressed; as it was during the general assembly of the Ouest-France section of the SNJ: “They’ve got to stop making us pass off ideological stuff for journalism…”, announced a furious Sister [consoeur]. “No, the guys who are against this social movement won’t create an event to cover under the same headline as those who demonstrate.”

“They’ve got to stop trying to minimise the size of the movement by demanding of us that we allow everyone to speak up” another, outraged, said. “And the editor of the Saturday paper, who’ll he give voice to?”

The SNJ isn’t opposed to the expression of the opinions affirmed in the editorials. On condition that divergent points of view may be expressed in the same place. On condition that the treatment of what’s happening remains in the area it should never have to leave: honest and balanced information for the readers.

That’s why the SNJ is leading a struggle for the recognition, by the law, of the independence of the editorial teams, permitting them to oppose themselves collectively to practice which risks damaging the professional conscience of journalists.

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