A spectre is haunting Europe

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

(Bob Dylan (1963). His anthem for the American Freedom Movement of the 60’s!)

Class societies thrive on racial discriminations. And Europe provides the recent most glaring example.

In November 2005, when a huge number of young people from the minority communities protested in France, it was being called a riot. The race-blindness that afflicts the privileged French exhibited its true color when the Blacks and the Muslims were being systematically deprived of what has been their overdue.

Of course the skepticism was thus because the protestors were immigrant youths who took to the street to register their discomfort against mass-scale discriminations. Although it continued for weeks, there were no signs of organized violence or even sporadic assaults. They could not yet be termed as the so-called “terrorists” for acts they never committed. But they were treated as just short of it. The French government did not care a franc for their demands. The elite people of the mainland France turned their cheeks to the “Other France”—the France which we rarely read about, the France that is suppressed beneath the sleaze and neon of perfumes and Eiffel Tower.

In November, the official statements coming from France dismissed the protests as riots that needed to be controlled by the police state. And control they did. Towing the democratic norms, the country went back to business as normally as possible. The resisting voices were silenced. The media changed headlines and the protestors were detained mass-scale.

I talked to some of my friends from Europe who professed complete ignorance regarding consequences of such vandalism. They claimed it was just a minority work and is probably a race thing, but since the government says France has no race issues, then it must be just some kind of agitation. It will be over very soon, just like the strikes at Charles de Gaulle.

Well, undermining the race factor came easy for the administration the last time. But the embarrassing fact is that Muslims still constitute the largest proportion of unemployed youth in that color-blind country.

This time, more than a million French youths are on the streets! They have actively and vociferously supported the just demands of the “immigrant youths” who took to the streets last November. Not only that, a huge majority of French youths, of all colors have decided to follow the examples of the minority protestors. This must be really awkward for the administrators to know, but historically, every race based conflict has culminated into a larger class warfare where majority of working class people have always lent their support to the discriminated social minorities.

The elites, who are elites both in terms of their inherited race privileges and acquired class privileges must be on guard now, because they are now going to combat not just some small group of disciplined protestors who are too scared to harm anyone, but a huge majority of disenchanted, alienated organized youths who are not scared to topple the power structure.

Hundreds of youths have already been involved in violence that saw bottles and rocks hurled at the police and journalists and left at least two cars burned, three others overturned and dozens damaged. Railways have been blockaded, airports disrupted, and up to two thirds of France’s universities and schools have been occupied or disrupted. Clashes with police have been occurring throughout the country.
Some of the Indymedia pics demonstrate the facets that the mainstream media is gleefully ignoring: That it is a united effort by people of all races who are affected economically. This is a large scale Class war, and it can happen anywhere in today’s world!

The so-called democratic state will obviously not wake up. It has proven what a zilch it cares for labor laws when it proclaims that young people can be fired anytime without any reason! The Union-bias of French administration sounds as shallow as the Liberal-bias of American media. The lip-service has been done for way too long now. The reality is that no law in the world has ever been passed in favor of the working people anywhere until and unless the people have taken to mass demonstration to demand for fair treatment. The French students, just like the American students in the times of Dylan in the 60’s, are demanding for social justice, anti-war stances, pro-minority treatments, and secured pro-labor laws. France is reeling under huge unemployment rates, starting from 10% for the Whites to 50% for the minorities. 80% of all education institutes are under-funded and in even worse shape than the equally less-talked about public schools in Washington DC. Only a small elite population, just like in the days of the royals (not that it has withered away anywhere from the enlightened Europe), keep enjoying the privileges of secured life.

Vilgot Sjöman had created I am Curious-Blue and Yellow, to showcase the class society of Sweden even at the prime of its so-called claim to petty bourgeois socialism. And the film revealed in multi-layers the utter hypocrisy that exists among Swedish society that claims to have socialist pro-labor stances and yet thrives only upon a class society assumption. People everywhere in Swedent were shown justifying why manual workers need to get paid much less than the thinking elites.

In France of today, the situation is no different. All these underfed schools are producing students in an atmosphere that does not respect manual labor works. French government not only projects its elitist biases in promoting the cultures of France as that of a monolithic sophistication, it even looks at the societal unrest issues from that very lens (of elitism). Unfortunately, the governments in such hoax democracies that do not give two hoots even to its future (the young insecure students) will always be run by the elites, for the elites.

Race war, it could have avoided despite Algerian crisis, but the class war is one the whole of Europe will need to watch out for; for the crisis rests not in Africa, its actually nearer home. Right outside the windows.

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Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

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