In France, March on Brussels, Paris on 24 September 2011 at 20:07
St. Denis, September 24

Day 61 of the March on Brussels.

Scene from Popular Assembly in St. Denis

Dear people,

I’m at fruit vendor’s stand in St. Denis. The two Moroccans behind the counter look at me suspiciously. They talk to each other in Arab. At a certain point one of them asks: ¿Hablas Español?

I confirm. And I add that I’m with the march of the indignados to Bruxelles. They smile, they fill up a bag with bananas and figs and give it to me. “Here, take this to your comrades.”

 Walking through the streets of St. Denis I realised that this is the world. A truly globalised suburb where you can encounter the colours and the odours of every continent. With it, come all of the problems. The people here fight a daily battle for survival in a society that considers them potentially dangerous outcasts. In this position, they stick together on the base of race, language, religion, but mostly family.

There is a lot of discrimination between them. They don’t trust the white establishment, but neither do they trust each other. It’s too intricate a situation to understand as an outsider, but it’s clear that making revolution here is not as easy as it sounds.

Propaganda in St. Denis

We organised an assembly of the neighbourhoods today in our squat resort, and as far as the attendance went, it was a disappointment. But many of the people who did attend were active members of local organisations fighting for the rights of the sans papiers, or members of grass root trade unions.

For the first time we explicitly reached out to them and we got a very positive response. ‘15M, linking struggles’ was the slogan. The associations are already moving to coordinate themselves, they are planning encounters between the various banlieues and they would be happy if people of the movement were present to share their experiences. This is the place were the next revolution in Paris will take place. If the banlieues rise up, peacefully, the city will be surrounded.

The children unfolding the banner of Liberty

At least once every day, the Intelligence commission gathers in a secure place to exchange internal or external information. Lately, in our effort to classify all the people who are participating in our march, we have decided to use chess pieces.

Christ is king at the moment, the role of queen is vacant since comrade Rosa left for Spain. We have two strong towers which can open a wedge, we have bishops and knights, and the rest are pawns. This goes for the white pieces. There are also black pieces in our movement. They have disintegrated after the seccession, when king Cubano left together with Jose the tower and Felix the bishop. Some of the black pieces have become white pieces. The others might be reassembling.

None of the chess classifications is fixed. Certain events and certain new entries can change the distribution of the pieces. A pawn can become a knight, the arrival of a new tower can cause a bishop to become a pawn. They can also change colour as a result of a new entry. The Intelligence commission is engaged in monitoring and updating the information about the internal situation daily.

Sunset in St. Denis

The art of politics consists in the first place in recognising the pieces on the board, in the second place in understanding how they relate to one and other and how they move, and in the third place in being able to move the right piece at the right moment.

This is how it works in our march, and I’m convinced that this is how politics works on all different levels. From the outside, you can see the pieces, but you can’t see the hand that moves them.

Selling roasted corn


French translation by Dominique Couturier

  1. I thought you were all pawns !

  2. onagrino : I mean that I thought the participants of this march (and people of 15M in general) didn´t let anybody move them on the board but decided themselves what actions (moves) to take, all together as equals (pawns).

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