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19 January in Russia will be held a rally in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, who were gunned down a member of the neo-Nazi underground group. It is a sad and important date that reminds us that fascism in Russia – not just a pale Ghost lost in the pages of a history textbook. A year ago, openDemocracy published my extensive interview with Stanislav Markelov 2006, where he talks about his amazing experience in the student and trade Union movement, beginning with the unimaginable 1990s.
Current events in France reminded of this interview. On the streets of French cities continuing protests that began in December 2019. First strike was announced by the transport workers who are protesting against the reduction of pensions when moving to a point system. As summed up by our conversation tube driver, soon retiring: “I'm forty years worked to have the opportunity to enjoy retirement and to finally do what you want. What is happening now, the government simply will not allow me to do that. With their points they want to deprive me of decent pensions, to condemn austerity, in fact – on poverty.” Then the movement was joined by teachers and scientists to block the impending “Darwinian” law (for the Frank expression of one of high scientific officials), which aims to increase competition in education and science, making non-permanent employment and short contracts of the underlying form of employment.
how in France over the last three or four years, increased the pressure “from above” and social pressure “from below”, allows you to judge the symbols of the shares. Just as it happens in “creative” the Russian protests in December 2011, the focus of the protest sarcasm more and more often get the higher political figures. On each demonstration – the many masks, dozens of posters and several effigies of President of Macron into frightening or comical faces.
Three key terms that are heard these days in a bundle on the many discussions, meetings and demonstrations: precarity, civil service, pensions. Current reforms are aimed at dismantling permanent employment in the public sector, which inevitably leads to the trivialization shit jobs and overtime, and those in turn – to lower pensions, which no longer meet the higher prices and underlying costs. In this sense, the French government imposes a familiar Russian scenario – a flat diagram of the universal competition. In France perceive the resistance of the current phase of the reforms as the “final frontier”, the surrender means fatal difficulties in organizing any peaceful counter-power and the subsequent institutional negotiations. Be conducted because such negotiations are notoriously weak positions. Then as now the status of the civil servant (unlike the Russian “state”) is still quite protected economically and legally, to stay an Outpost of organized resistance. The meaning of “the last frontier” in the fact that 11 years ago in France, a law was passed about the “autonomy” of universities, the analogue of the Russian Federal law 83, which caused a wave of mass protests and a long University strike. Then the reform has been partially slowed down, although not to cancel. Over the years, neoliberal reformers have implemented part of the plan, introducing the scheduled action in small doses. But at the end of 2019 the government of Macron tried again to impose drastic measures volume one legislative package.
this is Why today the core of the activists ' calls for a General and interprofessional unlimited strike, which meant – no more and no less – to block the country and forcing the government persistently ignoring dissenting, to abandon the reforms and forced to resign. This call resonates directly with program Yellow jackets waves of civil disobedience, which originated in November 2018 with its impressive sequence of attempts to block the economy. Today part of the Yellow jackets joined the interprofessional protest, remain “their” in the planned protests, although many off the street, under pressure from police and judicial repression, as well as because of the elementary financial difficulties. From December 2019, with more and more loudly sounding the word “strike”, the symbol of the new protest began voluntary Fund and Fund of solidarity that already by the beginning of January had collected almost three million euros.
In the week the police accompanied by a massively large demonstrations “at the edges”: a cordon of armored astronauts, dozens of police vehicles on parallel streets, cumbersome, angular cars with water cannons, which demonstratively at a strategic crossroads. In the case of Yellow jackets, provoking the intervention of the police before the procession and throughout the process, along with revealing the cruelty of operations, become something familiar. In contrast, at Union demonstrations, the police often keeps your Arsenal at some distance and provokes more point. And the mainstream media react to episodes of police violence is much sharper. It highlights police operations and media judgments of class markers that reinforce the boundary between “wild” Yellow jackets and constructive trade unions. Although the line of protest was the same, and strikers of the transport sector to confidently admit it.
With the release of the police barriers the city almost immediately sounds different. The hollowness of the empty streets in the past few weeks, especially in the congested center of the city, as tangible as the pressure differential at the points marking the transition from agitation to protest muted commercial routine. Already at nine o'clock in the evening on the Central streets suddenly fell silent, the hum of cars, the archipelagos lit Cavenago recovery compressed to separate Islands, the fence of wishy-washy blinds, dims the Windows, and the whole city is cooled down, slowly as if somewhere in her nightgown through the dark corridor.
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