Day 55 of the March on Brussels. Paris.
Our attempt to camp in Paris has failed. After our retreat from the Bastille we have settled along the Marne in a suburban sports facility. And today we lost the occasion to make a rebound.
The rain was a serious blow to morale. We are disoriented and divided. We had long been planning actions and thematical assemblies for today, the French had been preparing something as well, supposedly. But the march got up late, and spent the greater part of the afternoon in the metro, surrounded by police after they had been passing the gates of the station without paying. In the end, they took the gates, and police let them go. It’s a positive point in an otherwise disappointing weekend. If we all stick together we can be civily disobedient, and get away with it. Even in Paris.
I went off on my own, to upload information, and to meet my mum, who has come over here as a proud mother to see her revolutionary son arrive at the Bastille. We walk the streets of Paris, and it’s not a pleasant experience. The people here have the air of being suspicous, unfriendly and snob. No wonder our arrival here can hardly be called a triumph.
It could have been though. The same day we were parading through the streets, there was also a Tecno Parade which attracted many more people than our march, and there was the “Fête de l’Humanité”, organised by France’s major communist newspaper. More than enough occasion to join up into one big manifestation and exchange of ideas.
I don’t think there’s any reason why we couldn’t have coordinated something. The lack of this happening can be accounted to the Paris indignados and the people from our march who have spent weeks in Paris to organise things that never materialised.
But this doesn’t mean that the 17S Day against the Banks has not become a succes. It only goes to show that Paris is no longer a revolutionary capital.
After we had walked straight into the trap of the Bastille and were shivering away under the rain, some news dripped through of tens of thousands of people protesting in New York and hundreds of people camping near Wall Street. There was a report that even in Amsterdam there was an acampada in front of the stock exchange. In Barcelona people were camping in Paseo de la Gracia out of solidarity with us.
Worldwide, things are moving. Encouraging news comes from all over the West. Massive demonstrations in Italy, renewed actions and initiatives in Greece, oceanic protests of Arabs and Jews together, all over Israel.
Our march is an inspiration to many, but we are not the spearhead of the revolution any more. The seeds have already spread over the continents. It’s everywhere. Paris used to be the avanguarde, but now, in 2011, she missed out on what is going to be the Big One. If there is any revolutionary spirit left in this city, it must have emigrated to the suburbs.
I leave you today without photos, but with a message from the General Assembly of New York City, dated 11 September 2011.
We are the citizens and non-citizens of the General Assembly of New York City. We come from every walk of life, a variety of cultural, political, and religious backgrounds. Yet we share the same indignation for the common wealth that has been pillaged by the global institutions of finance with the complacency of the world’s governments — a looting that has led to massive unemployment, generalized cuts to public services, despair and resignation.
It is the same indignation that has prompted the people of Greece and Spain to occupy streets and squares on a permanent basis, the people of Egypt and Tunisia to overthrow their governments, the people of Iceland to nationalize their bank system and rewrite the constitution.
Over the past few weeks we have begun to share this indignation and listen to each other in a series of public meetings open to everyone. Freely inspired by the general assemblies that are mushrooming in every corner of the planet we have begun to bring our differences together through a consensual decision-making process. Such process does not aim at erasing differences. On the contrary it wants to multiply them so that we may begin to rebuild this nation and this world anew.
One of the first concrete steps we have decided to take is to participate in a global day of action against financial capital on September 17, 2011. We invite you to join us in this action by peacefully occupying the streets and squares surrounding the Wall Street area in New York City beginning on September 17. At the moment we do not have a specific list of demands. However, the Assembly initiated a conversation through which a number of proposals and perspectives unfolded.
Some of us think that the imposition of a Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions, tax increases on capital gains, and the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act are three essential measures to reestablish a minimum of fiscal sanity in the United States and abroad.
Some of us think that true autonomy and independence cannot be achieved through fiscal reform.
Some of us believe that we ought to reboot the system, rewrite the constitution, recuse a system of government employed by the rich for the
Many of us think that what truly matters at this stage is to create a shared framework which may enable everyone to speak out, be heard, co-evolve and advance with others. If you look through this framework you may not see one defined picture. If you walk through it you will be amazed at the strange world on the other side. It is time to take back our lives. We ask you to join us now in New York City or to start your own General Assembly in your own town.
In solidarity and struggle,
The General Assembly of New York City