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"Raspail Appeal" - English translation - Paris student protests

Students occupying EHESS Paris | 30.03.2006 20:07 | French CPE uprising 2006 | Globalisation | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements

FRENCH ANTI - CPE PROTESTS: Last week, the Sorbonne Students joined the EHESS (School of Higher Social Science Studies Paris), students on Monday 20th to occupy their school and were evicted on Friday 24th. Before being evicted, they issued a "Raspail Appeal" (see bellow) calling for a wider opposition to capitalism and industrialism. The evicted student protesters have now joined the Tolbiac students for the occupation of this University.

Although this text is several days old, it has only now been translated into English and is a concise critique of the CPE protests.


To the students, the unemployed, the more or less casual workers, of France and Navarre, to all those who are struggling these days against the CPE, and maybe much more than that…

Since we can more and more precisely foresee the time when the Earth will be entirely consumed by our way of life, Since scientists are reduced to promises of colonising others planets to consume,

We, stable or casual workers and students, from the Paris region or elsewhere, occupying the CEMI (1) on the 4th floor of the EHESS (2) on this first day of spring, want to have a reflection on what could be a sustainable and desirable life in a finite world.

It seems impossible to us to raise the issue of the precariousness of work and money income without raising that of the precariousness of global human survival. In these times of very advanced ecological disaster, we think that no political position and no demand not taking into account that economic development and growth is a dead-end can have any value.

We are both fantastically utopian and radically pragmatic, much more pragmatic in fact than all the “credible” managers of capitalism and social movements (UNEF rhyming with MEDEF…).

We want to destroy the worship of wealth and job creators, restored with the help of the left in the 80s. No talk of exploitation and casualisation has any sense and usefulness if it refrains itself from criticising these “benefactors of the community” the way they deserve.

We also want to put an end the anti-CPE movement taboo: the prospect of full employment, which underlies most demands and claims, is neither realistic nor desirable.

Human labour, in the Western world, has been massively cut down by machines and computers for many decades. It has indeed never been anything else than a commodity for the capital, but there has been a change in that in the current stage of technological "progress" money accumulation requires less humans to be exploited than before. It has to be kept in mind that capitalism can no longer generate enough jobs for all. And it has to be admitted that in addition to that, the jobs it still struggles to create are more and more meaningless and disconnected from our fundamental needs.

In this system, material production is delocalised to "developing" countries, where the ecological disaster is thus concentrated (although we are not so far behind…), while at home, in our supposedly immaterial services economy, menial jobs are flourishing: slaves to robotic rates, “personal services" domestics (see the recent Borloo plan) (3), soldiers of business management.

This movement will only be strong and have a future if a lucid criticism of modern labour can get through and if it can definitely be acknowledged that there will be no exit from the crisis. Far from letting it wear us down, we want to view this as a chance. We think that a consistent social movement should aim at helping the economy collapse. There is no outside to current world, no hope of escaping from it. We thus have to patiently build living spaces within where we can support our lives without the help of the industrial machinery, places freed from it where new human relationships can emerge. In parallel, the dismantling of whole useless or harmful sections of the existing production apparatus has to be undertaken. Of course all this requires, in both our speeches and practices, a determined rejection of the state and its representatives, as they are almost always obstacles to our plans for autonomy.

Let us not demand a stable job for everyone any more! (even though we all occasionally look for work or money)

Let the crisis get worse !

Let life prevail !

The CEMI occupiers (at the EHESS, on Raspail Blvd in Paris), constituted in a Committee for World Deindustrialisation (4), between the dawn of March 21st 2006 and the middle of the following night.


(1) CEMI = Centre d’étude des modes d’industrialisation (Centre for the Study of Industrialisation Modes)
(2) EHESS = Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (School of Higher Social Science Studies)
(3) The Borloo plan is yet another recent French law creating further casualisation.
(4) Comité pour la désindustrialisation du monde.

Students occupying EHESS Paris