Subject: Occupy Grenoble - 15 October 2011.
16 October 2011
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Yesterday, Saturday October 15, at 2:00 o'clock some 400 of us met at Grenoble's la place Victor Hugo. There were no long speeches; we met and discussed issues among ourselves, and then at around 2:45 p.m. we walked to la place Saint Andr, in front of the old Palais de justice de Grenoble and chanted slogans against the 1% who wish to be our masters, "Nous sommes les indigns." On the way to this location, we effectively blocked the tram service, and stopped momentarily in front of a bank to express our demands that the rich pay taxes, and that capitalism be abolished in the name of humanism.
At about 3:30 we left la place Saint André and continued our march to place Notre-Dame. Standing in front of the Cathedral, several people spoke about the new global movement for economic equality and political justice. There were loud cheers and strong feelings of solidarity when several Americans spoke about the OWS movement and its rapid expansion across North America. "Not too soon!" was one chant heard in the crowd. There was mention of the effectiveness of the "human amplification" at Liberty Plaza, the technique used necessarily in place of electric amplifiers the use of which has been outlawed by the pro-Wall Street political authorities.
It was after 4:00 o'clock when the demonstrators, joined by new supporters, began to move toward the la préfecture de l'Isère, again blocking the city's tram service with solidarity expressed by many tram drivers and passengers along the way. We also encountered a large group of people demonstrating against the application of a Ministerial decree authorizing the use of the new powerful insecticide, Cruiser, that is devastating the honey bee population in the Grenoble region. Our cause is the same, cried many demonstrators, and we later joined the apicultures in front of the Palais de la préfecture:
But before demonstrating in solidarity with the French beekeepers we sat down on the lawn of the Park in front of the Palais and began to participate in our own General Assembly, speaking to one another on the grass with the help of an electric hand-held amplifier. About a dozen people expressed their concerns over our problematic collective future in Grenoble, and a skepticism that any self-appointed elite could be willing or able to redirect current social trends away from the looming disasters. Increasing impoverishment in Grenoble and the tightening of authoritarianism within workplaces were among the topics discussed. It was suggested by one speaker that we were on the cusp of a new "social order," which was part of a global strategy to "de-skill" the labor force and thereby increase rates of profit for future capital investors in Grenoble, via the further division of labor designed to replace expensive technology with unskilled human labor, and produce greater profits by intensifying the exploitation of a large pool of part-time, temporary, unskilled and low-paid interchangeable workers, who are so financially desperate that they would accept employment under any conditions.
One speaker reported that pressure was now being asserted in music schools in the Grenoble region to force the already low-paid teachers to work without additional pay in the summer months, the creation of a forced "pro bono" professional activity among the lowest paid.
Before yesterday's meeting was adjourned, we voted to return next Saturday (22 October) --same time, same place-- to continue this conversation and to seek solutions on behalf of "The Other 99 Percent."
It was approaching 5:00 p.m. when we walked across the street and joined more than 100 beekeepers in front of the Palais de la prfecture, signing their petitions and exchanging information about the degradation of our environment at the hands of the corporate elite and their political representatives who attempt to rule us.