The following call to action emerged from the first Yellow Vest “Assembly of Assemblies” held near Commercy, France, in late January 2019. We recommend checking out this statement issued by the Montreuil Yellow Vests in the lead-up to the assembly, if only for the plain-spoken beauty with which they express a revolutionary disposition toward the present. Lastly, although the present text was initially translated into English by others as a call for a ‘general strike’, let it be noted that the wording of the Commercy assembly is more down to earth, and consciously steers clear of this arch-syndicalist mythologeme. -I.W.
A call to action proposed by the Assembly of Assemblies at Commercy. Offered for adoption to every local assembly.
We, Yellow Vests in the roundabouts, parking lots, squares, assemblies, marches, came together on the 26th and 27th of January 2019. Our “Assembly of Assemblies” gathered one hundred delegations who replied to the call from the Commercy Yellow Vests.
Since November 17th, from the smallest hamlet to the greatest city, we have risen up against this violent, unjust, and impossible society. We won’t let each other go! We revolt against a life too expensive to live, against precarity and misery. We want dignified lives for our friends, family, and the next generation. It’s unacceptable that 26 billionaires hold as much wealth as half of humanity. Let’s spread this wealth instead of misery! We must end social inequality! We say everyone should have raises: wages, welfare, and pensions should all pay more. Everyone has the inalienable right to decent housing, education, and free public services.
It’s for all these rights that we daily occupy the roundabouts, that we organize collective action, protests, and debate everywhere. With our yellow vests, we reclaim the right to speak, we who have never before had it.
And how has the government responded? Repression, contempt, and insults. Deaths, as well as thousands wounded by the massive deployment of weapons designed to mutilate, eviscerate, wound and traumatize. Over a thousand people have been arbitrarily condemned and imprisoned. Now a proposed “anti-riot” law aims to bar us from protesting. We condemn all violence against protesters from police and violent gangs. None of this will stop us! Protest is a basic right. End impunity for the forces of order! Amnesty for all the victims of repression!
And what a sham is this ‘great national debate’, which is in fact nothing but a media campaign of the government designed to co-opt our will to debate and decide! True democracy is what we practice in our assemblies, on our roundabouts, it is neither on TV-sets nor in the pseudo-roundtables organized by Macron.
After degrading and deploring us, they spin us as a hateful, xenophobic, fascist mob. But we are the exact opposite. We’re not “racist, sexist, anti-gay.” We are proud to come together with our differences to build a solidarity society.
We are strong in our diverse discussions. Even now, some assemblies are proposing new and sweeping demands. They speak to real democracy, social and economic justice, working conditions, climate and ecological justice, and the end of discrimination. Among the demands debated and strategies contested, we find: the end of all misery, the transformation of institutions (plebiscites, new constitutional assembly, end of elected privileges, etc.), ecological transition (energy insecurity, industrial pollution, etc.), the equality and respect for everyone regardless of nationality (dignity for the disabled, equality of the sexes, restoration of working-class neighborhoods, rural life, and overseas territories).
We, the Yellow Vests, invite everyone to join us with their skills and abilities. We call for the Acts to continue, (Act 12 against police violence will take place in front of their stations, Acts 13 and 14, etc.), for the roundabout occupations and economic blockades to continue, and to build toward a massive, renewable strike on February 5th. We call on everyone to form committees where they work, study, and everywhere else, to ensure that the strike is built up from the base by the strikers themselves. Let’s take matters into our own hands! Don’t remain alone, join us!
Let’s get organized in true democratic fashion, autonomously, and independently! This Assembly of Assemblies is an important step that allows us to discuss our demands and actions. Let’s federate together and transform society!
We ask all Yellow Vests to share this call. If it suits your group, send us your signature to Commercy (email@example.com). Don’t hesitate to discuss and prepare proposals for the next Assembly of Assemblies that we’re already preparing.
MACRON MUST GO! ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, AND BY THE PEOPLE.
Translated by Ill Will