From Débat Militant 80, 10 November 2005
Today the youth [in the riot-hit districts] usually see no chance of finding a job. They live in districts where unemployment is 40%, where the public services have been shut down, where there are no more social services, hardly any teachers, and almost no activity for the youth outside the stairwells of their blocks of flats.
The youth, deprived of any hope of change, facing daily disdain, express their rebellions as best they can. The fact that they chose the wrong targets - burning their neighbours’ cars, schools, gyms, and nurseries - reveals the depths of their disarray and the scale of the attacks that the working class has suffered over 20 years.
What other choice have these youth to have their rebellion heard? The workers’ movement is unable to call for a real across-the-board movement including the public sector, the private sector, and those who are excluded, surviving on bits and pieces of work.
The trade-union leaders fear real struggle because they fear its consequences and For sure, this expression of the anger and disarray of the poor also turns against their own interests, when it attacks schools, public facilities, or their neighbours’ cars.
But the question is not to condemn the young people who explode in despair, but to understand in order to try to bring answers where that is possible. Understanding the youth does not mean ignoring the feelings of the other inhabitants of the suburbs. On the contrary, it is only together that they will be able to build links of solidarity, mutual aid, respect, and dignity, across the generations.
We need to build a democratic class consciousness which defends collective facilities and interests, in opposition to the government’s “republican order” which destroys families, closes factories, inflicts unemployment and casualisation on a large scale, and sells off public services.