Commercy (Meuse), France
by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
Commercy is a small town in Lorraine, France. Here is the “deep France”, the deepest of all. Here people have understood before the others that they have nothing to lose by revolting. Commercy is not far from the place where Joan of Arc was born and from where she saw her visions, which led her to lead the historic battle for saving France from the British invasion, as a local Yellow Vest reminds me. One of the reasons she appeared was because the King of France was unable to defend his country and his people.
Now it is not Britain, but European and international neo-liberal capitalism which is threatening the French people (and all European nations). As for the King of France, Emmanuel Macron does not even pretend to defend his country and his people. On the contrary, this young Rothschild banker was until recently, and quite openly, claiming to represent the perfect tool of the international and French financial oligarchy, able to end the “French exception”, imposing neo-totalitarian order on the country of the French Revolution, of the Paris Commune and of May 1968.
There is no Joan of Arc around Commercy nowadays. What does exist is an “Assembly of Citizens” of Commercy, created by the local Yellow Vests. Τhey have taken the initiative to convey, for the first time since the beginning of this movement eleven weeks ago, a first “Assembly of the Assemblies” from all over France.
Last week-end 300 delegates (or, in some cases, “observers”) from one hundred assemblies, created all over the country, convened here, in the small village of Sorcy-Saint-Martin, next to Commercy, to examine ways to continue their struggle and to discuss their demands. The “Assembly of the Assemblies” has adopted an Appeal, which explains the reasons of their revolt: it summarizes the main strategic demands of the Yellow Vests, economic, ecological and political, it calls for Macron’s resignation, for a “renewable” general strike on Tuesday 5 February, and for the creation of “citizens’ strike committees” in workplaces to help the strikers direct the strikes themselves. The leadership of one of the French labour confederations, the CGT, has already launched an appeal of a strike on the same day, under strong pressure from its membership, followed by some other smaller trade unions. Up to now, the French trade union bureaucracies had adopted either a pro-Macron or a passive stance towards the Yellow Vests movement.
The Appeal, which is the first somehow “official” and all-national document of the Yellow Vests, insists in particular on adopting immediate measures for the improvement of the social situation in the country and to the need for deep democratic political transformations, including the convening of a Constitutional Assembly, the recognition of the right of the citizens to provoke referendums and the abolition of the privileges of the elected representatives.
The Yellow Vests condemn both the Police and the violence by “groupuscules”. They ask the authorities to stop massive repression of peaceful demonstrations and issue an amnesty for those arrested and persecuted.
We should remind at that point that police repression in France has adopted an unprecedented quasi-terrorist form against demonstrators. There are already 11 people dead, thousands seriously injured, arrested and persecuted. Police is using chemicals in a way that mutilates people, who lose their eyes and hands, in an obvious effort to terrorize the population. Now, the government is planning the adoption of new strict regulations, practically all but forbidding demonstrations, for the first time since the Nazi occupation of the country during WWII.
We publish the whole of this historic appeal at the end of our article in both English and French. You can also see here the Yellow Vests themselves reading it here, a different person each paragraph, as a principle of their movement is the strictest possible application of the principles of direct democracy and of equality.