Call to trade unions adopted by the Lille regional assembly of the Gilets Jaunes
(One participant estimated 350 Gilets Jaunes present, but another eyewitness called that figure "exaggerated")
Communiqué from the Gilets Jaunes of Hauts de France region to trade union organisations
It's been seven weeks and the "Gilets Jaunes" mobilisation has seen no let-up. We are on the roundabouts every day, on the motorways, and in the streets every Saturday, facing ever-more-violent repression! Some imagined that our movement would come to an end with the holidays. But we are still here, determined to concede nothing!
This movement is without precedent, it is cross-sector, it has an international significance, and it is independent of all traditional political structures. But we are still doing politics, every day. We have finally realised that we don't need anyone to do our thinking for us. And certainly no professional politicians who take decisions in our name without knowing anything about our daily lives.
We are fighting against the exploitation that the great majority of people undergo, for the benefit of a rich minority that's getting richer. While dividends to shareholders have never been bigger, the France of ordinary people is at its wit's end with poverty pay!
To block the economy and win a good life at last, we need a general strike. Today we are calling on trade union organisations to take a clear stand on the side of the exploited, to support our struggle, and to take part by calling an open-ended general strike from January 2019, to allow all workers to exercise their right to strike and join the struggle.
SECOND CALL FROM COMMERCY: THE ASSEMBLY OF ASSEMBLIES!
4 January 2019
Our second call is addressed:
To all Gilets Jaunes To all those who aren't wearing the yellow jacket yet, but who have rage in their bellies all the same.
For more than six weeks, we have been occupying the roundabouts, the toll booths, the public squares, the roads and we are present in everyone's minds and everyone's conversations.
We're staying the course!
It's been a long time since a struggle was so well-supported or so heartening!
• It's heartening because our rulers have trembled, and are still trembling, on their pedestals.
• It's heartening because they have started to concede a few crumbs.
• It's heartening because we won't be bought by crumbs any more.
• It's heartening because we are all learning to respect, to understand, and to appreciate ourselves and each other, in our diversity. Links are being made. Ways of working are being tried out. And they can't take these things away from us.
• This movement is also heartening because we have learned to remain united in the face of adversity. We have learned that our real enemies are those who hold vast riches that they refuse to share: the 500 richest people in France have tripled their wealth since the 2008 financial crash, and now hold 650 billion Euros!!! The financial and social presents handed out to the biggest companies reaped them hundreds of billions a year. It's intolerable!
• And finally, our movement is heartening because we have learned that we are able to represent ourselves by ourselves, without a middleman between the powerful and the people, without parties that channel ideas for their own advantage, without go-betweens that are designed to soften the impacts and grease the gears instead of defending us.
We are crying today for all the victims of repression, the several who have died and the dozens who are seriously injured. We curse those who allowed that to happen, but they should know: our determination is intact!
We are proud of how far we have come, and how quickly, and of all the things that we have learned, which are also victories over their crushing system.
And we know full well that this pride is shared by many, many people.
How could it be otherwise, when this system and this government that represents it are constantly destroying the social services and rights we have won, destroying links between people, and our precious planet?
So we have to carry on: it's vital. We have to trumpet what we have won so far, without haste, without wearing ourselves out, but without losing heart either. We'll take time, and reflect as we act.
And so we call on everyone who shares our rage and our need for change, to go on proudly wearing the yellow jacket, or to put one on without fear.
And so from now we need to meet everywhere, to form citizens' assemblies, of the people, on a human scale, where the rule is talking and listening.
Assemblies where, like here in Commercy, every decision can be taken collectively, where delegates are chosen to apply and organise the things we decide. Not the other way around! Not like in the system we have now. These assemblies will carry our popular, egalitarian, social and ecological demands.
Some people are declaring themselves national representatives or putting together lists for upcoming elections. We think that isn't the right way to go. Everyone knows that this way, that our words will be lost in a maze, or else they'll be twisted, as in the system we have now.
We say it again: we absolutely must not let our words be taken hold of by anyone.
Once these democratic assemblies have been created, in as many places as possible, they will open up registers of demands.
The government has asked mayors to open registers of grievances in town halls. We fear that by playing along with that our demands will be recuperated, and switched around to suit them, and in the end, they won't reflect our true diversity. We must not let go of means by which the people can express themselves! And so we demand that these registers of grievances should be opened up, and drawn up by people's assemblies!
They should be drawn up by the people and for the people!
From Commercy, we call now for a national meeting of local people's committees.
Following the success of our first call, we propose that there be a meeting, organised democratically, in January, here in Commercy, with delegates from all over France, to draw up registers of demands and to share them out.
We also propose that we all debate the future of our movement, together.
Finally, we propose that we decide on a form of collective organisation for the Gilets Jaunes, one which is really democratic, coming from the people, which respects the principle of delegation.
Together, we will create an assembly of assemblies: a Commune of communes.
That's the way History is going: that is our proposal.
LONG LIVE POWER TO THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE!