Blog post

In Solidarity with the Students at Nanterre

The Mouvement du 22 mars, founded on 22 March 1968, was a Nanterre-based movement decisive to catalysing the student revolt that sparked the France-wide general strike of May–June 1968. Fifty years later, in this text former M22M militants express their solidarity with the students today under attack on this same campus.

Verso Books12 April 2018

via Paris-Luttes.

First published at Paris-Luttes. Translated by David Broder. 

On 26 January 1968, the dean of the Nanterre faculty, Pierre Grappin — a man whose name now adorns a lecture theatre — was the first in France to violate the traditional freedom of the universities. He called the police onto the campus in order to subdue a handful of anarchist demonstrators. But Grappin did not have much force at his disposal: a few old duffers from the police came along, only to get a good hiding.

The current president of the same university, Jean-François Balaudé, apparently felt duty-bound to celebrate the anniversary of May ’68 in quite different fashion! Commemorating what happened before was not enough: revenge had to be taken for his illustrious predecessor, and a grand spectacle arranged.

On 9 April 2018 the CRS riot police intervened on campus twice. First, they came to stop the students occupying the E building in opposition to "Parcoursup," the new university selection and admissions system. Then they burst into a general assembly, laying their truncheons into the 150 students who were discussing this same topic. They made seven arrests.

This time it was not bobbies in quaint hats but armed CRS robocops who hunted through the corridors of the old alma mater, in pursuit of more modern "troublemakers." We should not have to wait fifty years for Balaudé to get a lecture theatre with his own name.

At the very moment that the forces of disorder are intervening at the [occupied, abandoned airport site at] Notre-Dame-des-Landes, forcibly attacking workers’ demonstrations, beating up and expelling migrants, we would suggest that the words "Police everywhere, police nowhere" be written in gold letters above the lecture theatre in question, the new "Jean-François Balaudé lecture theatre." Or if the naming committee prefers, they could always write "Everyone hates the police."

Signed by former members of the Mouvement du 22 mars, including
Alain Lenfant, Jean-Pierre Duteuil, Sonia Fayman, Pierre Ploix, Thierry Lancien, Jacques Rémy, Olivier Dumont, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Hélène Arnold, Daniel Blanchard, Jacques Barda, Anne Querrien, Marino Stourdzé-Giraud, Dominique Gougenheim, Francis Zamponi, Georges Goldman, Isabelle Saint-Saens, Herta Alvarez, Florence Prudhomme, Harry Jancovici, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Jean-Luc Le Douarec, Sylviane Failla, etc.

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Filed under: 1968, education, france, policing