STUDENTS – The Sorbonne, symbol of the student protest of May 68, blocked, evacuated and closed , “Tolbiac the red” busy for three weeks and in the process of become a new Notre-Dame-des-Landes university presidents “under extreme pressure”: the social movement of students hardens day by day but does not expand. Four universities (about 70 in total) are completely blocked or closed and a dozen academic sites (out of 400) are experiencing serious disturbances (blockages, occupations etc.), according to a count of the Ministry of Higher Education. A fluctuating situation but that seems part to settle.
It is a long time ago when student mobilization went under media and political radars. From now on, trade union and political supports pour in, some dreaming of a big social evening that would constrain Emmanuel Macron to give way. Yes but on what? As you can see in our video at the head of the article the Parcoursup reform, starting point of the sling, has given way to other slogans, largely inspired by the ambient electrical social climate.
The “selection” and all that flows from it
Initially, however, the student movement focused on the challenge of the law “Orientation and Student Success” (ORE) carried by the Minister Frédérique Vidal and better known as Parcoursup . Promised by Emmanuel Macron to end the draw that previously awarded the last places available in university, this reform is accused by students strikers, but also a non-negligible number of teachers and some university presidents to introduce a “selection” at the university, contrary to the principle of equality that theoretically prevailed until then.
The Parcoursup algorithm, which produces a ranking of priorities based on a complex notation, “allows to sort the graduates and students reorientation according to their type of baccalaureate, their baccalaureate, their CV or their cover letter “, accuses the president of Unef Lila Le Bas, for whom,” with his baccalaureate, one must be able to have access to the sector of his choice, like previous generations “.
As with the CPE battle, however, the mobilization has struggled to take off, particularly because of the support given to the reform by the first student union, the Fage. President Jimmy Losfeld denounced an “instrumentalisation” of the student movement , believing to note “a real dichotomy between the demands proposed in the general assemblies and what emerges from the democratic student expression”.
The detonator of violence
The real detonator of the movement does not have much to do with the reform itself. While the protest vegetated and remained confined to a few sites, the violent expulsion of students and activists from the law school of Montpellier , at the end of March, by masked individuals involving a teacher and the dean had the effect of an electroshock.
“In Montpellier, physically attacking student bodies, the presumed indirect violence of professors and the dean, with the complicity of right-wing activists, has reached the student body as a whole,” analyzes student movement specialist Robi Morder for whom these “events played a catalytic role, achieving student dignity”. In the wake, the main demand for abandonment Parcoursup has doubled, sporadically in France, a challenge to violence, whether the fact of “militias” or police forces.
On the blocked Tolbiac site, where several violent incidents have helped to radicalize the positions of the strikers, the criticism of Parcoursup by the “Free Commune” gave way to demands far more ambitious, since the request for a “resignation of Macron” to support the Kurdish people.
“Even Macron, same fight”
The prevailing social climate, marked by a combination of sectoral struggles (the strikes of railwaymen against the reform of the SNCF, the anger of the officials and then the paramilitary expulsion of the militants of Notre-Dame-des-Landes) , all just weeks before the fiftieth anniversary of the events of May ’68, has itself participated in extending the spectrum of demands, imposing more and more a slogan of “convergence of struggles”.
“Today, not only in the facs but also in the workplaces, one blows up all those who raise the head.This is today fighting the anti-social policy of the government, it is to take the baton and the sparkling gas, “a young man was singing on Thursday at the Tolbiac tribune in front of an audience gathering student strikers, railway workers and political supporters. “What scares the government is that the blockage of the facs becomes blocking stations, becomes the blockage of post offices, becomes the blockage of airports, become a big general strike,” he warned in front of a banner where we could read “Even Macron, same fight”.
Since, in processions, all the concerns are rubbing shoulders: main common denominator, the protection of school public services (with the reform of the baccalaureate), university (Parcoursup), hospital (with the crisis of the Epahd), railway (reform of the SNCF ), humanitarian workers (Asylum and Immigration Law) and civil servants who depend on it.
Will all these socio-professional categories manage to federate their anger and their agendas to obtain a general renunciation of the executive? Where will they disassociate with the first concession? The ball is in the executive’s court.
See also on The HuffPost :
• Prevented from holding their MA, students decide to live in the Sorbonne
• 425 university professors support students on strike and denounce “hypocritical” reform
• How students will be ranked on Parcoursup by higher institutions
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