GILETS JAUNES’ APPEAL IN SAINT NAZAIRE:

The second ‘Assembly of the Assemblies’ of the Gilets Jaunes was held in St-Nazaire [1] from the 5th to the 7th of April 2019. The two hundred delegations that attended had come from all over France. The first Assembly – which had been held in Commercy [2] in December 2018 – had called for the setting up of popular assemblies all over the country. Not to remove anything from direct democracy, they had not wanted regional representatives.

This second Assembly launched a new appeal that we publish below. It shows how an important sector of the movement views itself politically as belonging to a collective social struggle against the capitalist system; for the creation of a new social, ecological and popular movement through united action.

“ We, the Gilets jaunes, organised in local assemblies and meeting in Saint-Nazaire on these 5, 6 and 7th of April 2019, send this address to the people as a whole. Following our first assembly in Commercy, around 200 delegations have come today to continue the struggle against liberal extremism, on behalf of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Rights and liberties are being destroyed by escalating government repression and the build-up of laws constantly worsening the conditions of life for everyone. In spite of this however, what grows roots is the mobilisation to change the system that Macron incarnates. Faced with the Gilets jaunes and other means of struggle, the sole response of the government has been to panic and oppose with authoritarian drifts.

In the last five months, we never stopped debating and combatting all forms of inequality and injustice. We fought in pursuit of solidarity and dignity throughout the country, on the roundabouts, the toll-roads, the parkings and the squares, as well as in our demonstrations and our own assemblies.

We demand a general raise in the wages, the pensions and all the social basics. Public services for everyone, men and women! Our special solidarity goes to the nine millions persons who live today below the poverty line in France. Conscious of the environment emergency, we say: End of the world, End of the month, Same logic, Same combat.

Faced as we are with the ‘Great Debate’ [3] masquerade and a non-representative government serving a privileged minority, we are creating new forms of direct democracy. We organise concretely so that this Assembly of the assemblies can receive the proposals of the local assemblies and produce orientations. We then submit these orientations systematically to the local groups, as was done by the first Assembly of the assemblies in Commercy.

The Assembly of the assemblies reiterates that it is independent of the political parties and of the trade union organisations; and that it recognises no self-proclaimed leader.

We spent three days in plenary assembly and thematic workshops. All of us debated and elaborated the proposals for our demands, actions, means of communication and coordination. Because we are in this for the long-term, we decided that our next Assembly of assemblies will be in June.

To help put the citizens on a fight-footing against this system [4], the Assembly of the assemblies will soon communicate its plan of action electronically.

The Assembly of assemblies calls on the sovereign assemblies of citizens to expand, grow stronger and create new ones. We call on the Gilet jaunes to share this appeal and the conclusions of our plenary to feed the actions and reflections of assemblies.

We have aimed several of our appeals to the European elections and the local citizens’ assemblies: Down with the repression! For the retraction of the penalties against those of our movement who are in prison or condemned!

We shall now spend three weeks to mobilise all the Gilets jaunes and convince more women and men to join their ranks. We call for a Yellow Week of action starting on the First of May.

In front of the relentless misappropriation of all the means of life, we invite all persons wanting to end this to endorse the conflict that this signifies with the system. The aim being to create together, and by all the necessary means, a new social, ecological and popular movement. The multiplication of the struggles begs for unity in action.

We call on all the echelons of society to struggle collectively for the satisfaction to all our demands – social, fiscal, ecological and democratic. Conscious that we face a global system, we consider that one will have to get out of capitalism. This is why we build collectively around the famous slogan “Women and Men All Together” that we chant [5] in all our demos to make everything possible. Women and men, we build together at every level on the territory.

Power to the people, by the people, for the people. Don’t gawk at us, join us!”.

[1] Saint Nazaire, town not far from Nantes, North West of France, ‘departement’ of la Loire Atlantique.

[2] Commercy, town in the North East of France, ‘departement’ of la Meuse.

[3] Emanuel Macron organised ‘Great Debates’ in France to whip up support against the demands of the Gilets jaunes. This failed because the Gilets have a lot of support.

[4] The capitalist system, as mentioned later in the text.

[5] “Toutes et Tous Ensemble”. This slogan was used by Nuits Debout, as well as in the mobilisations against Macron’s anti-Trade Union Laws, by the railway workers and now by the movements for Planet and Climate.