Previous statements and leaflets

HomeVersion imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

Revolts and riots in French cities

We reproduce here the position taken in leaflet form by the International Communist Party, which publishes Le prolétaire in France (, on the riots that have just broken out in the French suburbs and cities following the police murder of a 17-year-old youth. We agree with its gist. Just one political interrogation: the leaflet ends with the assessment that “by at least temporarily tearing apart the asphyxiating social peace, the current spontaneous revolt contributes objectively to bringing this perspective closer”, the one of the revolutionary struggle against capital. Of course, it’s undeniable that it’s breaking the “social peace” and expressing the dramatic and inevitable exacerbation of social antagonisms and the historical impasse of capitalism. However, it is not certain that the current revolt is a favorable moment, even “objectively”, for the development of proletarian and revolutionary struggle. If only because of the political and ideological use that the entire bourgeois state apparatus is beginning to make of it, to better divide between those, the proletarians, who “understand” and sympathize with the young and those who “worry” about the nihilism, aimless violence and destruction that the latter are causing out of despair, rage and impotence.

Only a specific workers’ mobilization could present and give a collective and unitary, i.e. class-based, perspective to the revolt itself, and enable the young people in revolt to glimpse the possibility of another society and the need to join in this revolutionary fight for communism. In this sense, the ICP leaflet itself is a moment or factor in the alternative that revolutionaries must defend and present today to rebels of all ages. That is why we are taking it up and reproducing it here.

The IGCL, July 1st 2023

France : Revolt in proletarian neighborhoods
Capitalism is Responsible for Police Crimes, Oppression and Misery: It is the One to Fight, the One to Destroy!

A third night of rioting has shaken the country. Confrontations of varying degrees of violence took place in practically every town in the Paris region (and in Paris itself), and spread to many large and medium-sized provincial cities: Lille, Roubaix, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Lyon, Saint Etienne, Marseille, Bordeaux Toulouse, Tours, Rennes, Rouen, Nantes, Nancy, Nice, Brest, Pau, Amiens ,Annecy, Macon... the list is too long to mention them all. The massive mobilization of various police forces (40,000 policemen and gendarmes according to official figures), the stoppage of public transport and the curfews sometimes decreed failed to maintain order in the proletarian neighborhoods. Dozens of public buildings and police stations were attacked by youths with molotov cocktails and firecrackers, stores were looted and vehicles set on fire, while the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the rioters; almost 900 people were arrested...

The cause of this outburst of anger is well known: young Nahel (17) shot at point-blank range during a car check in Nanterre by a policeman who claimed “self-defense”; but an amateur video showed that the policeman was not threatened and that his teammate was shouting “shoot him!” so it was a crime. Subsequent reports from police sources claimed that Nahel had a criminal record (even “as long as your arm”, according to a far-right C. News journalist), implying that he was a petty thug who got what he deserved: these “reports” were false. When the police lie was proven, the government, remembering the 3 weeks of rioting during the 2005 “suburb revolt”, tried to calm things down. Macron described the police officer’s act as “inexplicable and unjustifiable”, arousing the anger of the far-right and the “Alliance” police union, and organized a minute’s silence in the Assembly. But these play-acting had no effect on the anger of the inhabitants.


Such is the reaction of many proletarians from these neighborhoods who testified before the cameras [1]. After the first riots, Macron declared that they had been “marked by scenes of violence (...) against institutions and the Republic” that are “unjustifiable”. But for proletarians young and old, what is unjustifiable and increasingly unbearable is the situation in which they find themselves, imposed in the final analysis by these bourgeois institutions and Republic! Over and above police crime, it is this situation that gives rise to revolt. The democrats incriminate a Socialist government law passed in 2017 to facilitate the use of weapons by the police during roadside checks, and they plead, without laughing, for better “training of police officers in the defense of Human Rights.” While it’s true that since then an average of one person has been killed by the police every month in France in such circumstances (compared to one in 10 years in Germany!), police crimes didn’t wait for this law to be passed: witness the numerous cases of police violence that regularly hit the headlines, most of which end in the acquittal of the police officers. Talk of a “police force at the service of citizens” is nothing more than empty rhetoric: the fundamental role of the police is to defend the bourgeois order through violence, potential or overt, and they are at the service of the violence of capitalist social relations based on exploitation.

The fight against police violence is inseparable from the fight against capitalism. The powerful outburst of revolt by young people in proletarian neighborhoods is a resounding disavowal of the legalistic, pacifist policies of the reformist trade unions and political organizations, which are committed to class collaboration. These policies, which have been the cause of all working-class defeats, are responsible for the proletariat’s powerlessness in the face of the bourgeoisie and its state.

But if the revolt is to be anything more than a flash in the pan, a momentary explosion of anger, it will have to find its way into organized revolutionary struggle, into the class struggle against the whole system of misery, oppression and repression, which alone can avenge all its victims. This won’t happen overnight; repression aside, there will be many obstacles to overcome, political appropriation to avoid, false “left” or “democratic” friends to discard; but by at least temporarily tearing apart the asphyxiating social peace, the current spontaneous revolt is objectively helping to bring this perspective closer.

International Communist Party-Le Prolétaire ( , 30 juin 2023