The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

France:
Social Violence from a Barbaric System

Feb 20, 2017

This article follows from the previous one; it is from an editorial in the February 17th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

The attack on young Theo is disgusting. His rape by four officers at a tobacco shop, when they pushed a truncheon into him, was an unbelievable racist assault.

And the injustice goes on: the courts ruled a tear in his anus of four inches was “unintentional.” Young people who threw stones at the police attackers were put in prison while the four officers were let go free. Are they supposed to be innocent? And what is Theo supposed to be accused of? In the eyes of the police, any young man passing them as they leave their homes is presumed guilty of something, they are “bamboulas” [the French equivalent of nigger??], as if that justifies it, according to the police union.

Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon claimed, “The police ... didn’t do anything there.” Really! In acting as torturers against their victim, the police perform their role as defenders of the capitalist social order. Le Pen, leader of the far right party, also defends the police, calling Theo a scumbag.

Theo survived and could testify. But young Adama Traore, dead on July 19 at the hands of the police in Beaumont sur Oise, what of him? The incident in Aulnay is not an isolated case. Each year, youth, and some not so young, are killed following police intervention. And the subsequent investigations never go well for the victims, because some police act as though they are entering enemy territory in these suburbs. That’s what people protested on Saturday at the downtown rally.

Certainly the police are the first line to face the violence of our society which is falling apart. But reinforcing police powers is not going to improve anything....

What’s needed is a fight against inequality and the mass unemployment that is like a gangrene of this society, denying any future prospects to the young in the working class neighborhoods.

Theo, at 22 years of age, was unemployed, whereas Charles Fillon, son of the former prime minister, also 22 years old, is a law student, with a job helping his father when he was a senator, earning almost 5,000 euros a month, for work which left not the slightest trace. Likewise his sister Marie has a job paying 3,800 euros a month. Today Fillon’s son is a business lawyer who earns in a year what Theo will not earn in his whole life.

That’s our society: racism, rejection, repression for all working class young people, with rights and privileges for the son of a senator.

This injustice, with youth like Theo crushed and children of the privileged guaranteed golden lives, is only an example showing that our entire society offers no life or work to some while considering others invaluable. For those with money, what they get in dividends each day is more than a working class family can see in a year, or even in a lifetime. The owner of L’Oreal luxury products gets more than a million euros a week in dividends from one of the largest fortunes in France, and doesn’t even pay taxes on it.

This business with Theo shows this lesson: the rich have all the rights, the poor have none. The police, the justice system, the entire apparatus of the state serves only the rich against the poor. This demonstration, like those last spring against the changes in the work laws, must be continued. The life of the youth in the neighborhoods is another aspect of an unjust social order.

We must be numerous at protests in the days and weeks to come, to express our anger against the bourgeois social order. We must be numerous and we must not accept these inequalities, the exploitation and racism which is a part of this social order. We must grow the numbers of those who take the side of those who no matter their race, religion, color or nationality, fight the domination of the rich in society, fight against all the violence it carries within it.