From Paris with Love and Lessons
“To celebrate and imagine together”
“To look at each other and smile”
“No parties, no barriers, no labels”
“Take Squares and rediscover hope”
Quotes taken from interviews in this film, done by the Nuit Debout TV group.
Thousands gather every evening in the Place de la République, and even more during the days and nights of the weekends. Assemblies are held every evening at 6pm, with a wide diversity of ages and social classes. The plaza begins to fill around 5pm with circles of people standing and sitting, talking under cardboard signs to identify the theme of their discussion, including groups such as: comision de l’economie, commision de l’educacion,
facilitation, feminism, housing and ecology. Then, around 5:30pm high school students march in together, chanting and singing behind sheets painted with their school names. By assembly time there are always medical, legal, media, library and kitchen areas. And,
somehow, as with every occupation I have witnessed, there is a meditation circle a few meters from the drummers. Everything is so wonderfully familiar, having participated in similar assemblies and plaza occupations, from New York to California, Athens to
Thessaloniki, Madrid to Barcelona, Buenos Aires to Cordoba and on and on …
Paris is alive with democracy. Real democracy. Overflowing the plazas and streets.
People speaking and hearing one another in assembly after assembly. Growing in number, geography and diversity. The movement that began first with High School students rebelling against the police killing of a student, and then mass resistance to a potential
turning back of long held labor protections, spread to people speaking in plazas, trying to occupy them at night, being repressed, and coming back the next day, and the next, and the next. They are not a protest. They are creating something different. They are not making
one demand – they are speaking to one another insisting on “real democracy”, meaning face to face discussions about their own lives and things that matter most to them. And when and if they do come up with demands, it will have been out of these sorts of discussions – decided horizontally and together. There are now dozens of plazas holding
assemblies nightly in France alone. ....'