Whatever angle you look at it from, there's no escape from the present. That's not the least of its virtues. For those who want absolutely to have hope, it knocks down every support. Those who claim to have solutions are proven wrong almost immediately. It's understood that now everything can only go from bad to worse. "There's no future for the future" is the wisdom behind an era that for all its appearances of extreme normalcy has come to have about the consciousness level of the first punks.
The sphere of political representation is closed. From left to right, it's the same nothingness acting by turns either as the big shots or the virgins, the same sales shelf heads, changing up their discourse according to the latest dispatches from the information service. Those who still vote give one the impression that their only intention is to knock out the polling booths by voting as a pure act of protest. And we've started to understand that in fact it’s only against the vote itself that people go on voting. Nothing we've seen can come up to the heights of the present situation; not by far. By its very silence, the populace seems infinitely more 'grown up' than all those squabbling amongst themselves to govern it do. Any Belleville chibani is wiser in his chats than in all of those puppets’ grand declarations put together. The lid of the social kettle is triple-tight, and the pressure inside won’t stop building. The ghost of Argentina’s Que Se Vayan Todos is seriously starting to haunt the ruling heads.
The fires of November 2005 will never cease to cast their shadow on all consciences. Those first joyous fires were the baptism of a whole decade full of promises. The media’s “suburbs vs. the Republic” myth, if it’s not inefficient, is certainly not true. The fatherland was ablaze all the way to downtown everywhere, with fires that were methodically snuffed out. Whole streets went up in flames of solidarity in Barcelona and no one but the people who lived there even found out about it. And the country hasn’t stopped burning since. Among the accused we find diverse profiles, without much in common besides a hatred for existing society; not united by class, race, or even by neighborhood. What was new wasn’t the “suburban revolt,” since that was already happening in the 80s, but the rupture with its established forms. The assailants weren’t listening to anybody at all anymore, not their big brothers, not the local associations assigned to help return things to normal. No “SOS Racism ” could sink its cancerous roots into that event, one to which only fatigue, falsification, and media omertà could feign putting an end. The whole series of nocturnal strikes, anonymous attacks, wordless destruction, had the merit of busting wide open the split between politics and the political. No one can honestly deny the obvious weight of this assault which made no demands, and had no message other than a threat which had nothing to do with politics. But you’d have to be blind not to see what is purely political about this resolute negation of politics, and you’d certainly have to know absolutely nothing about the autonomous youth movements of the last 30 years. Like abandoned children we burned the first baby toys of a society that deserves no more respect than the monuments of Paris did at the end of Bloody Week -- and knows it.
There’s no social solution to the present situation. First off because the vague aggregate of social groupings, institutions, and individual bubbles that we designate by the anti-phrase “society” has no substance, because there’s no language left to express common experiences with. It took a half-century of fighting by the Lumières to thaw out the possibility of a French Revolution, and a century of fighting by work to give birth to the fearful “Welfare State.” Struggles creating the language in which the new order expresses itself. Nothing like today. Europe is now a de-monied continent that sneaks off to make a run to the Lidl and has to fly with the low-cost airlines to be able to keep on flying. None of the “problems” formulated in the social language are resolvable. The “retirement pensions issue,” the issues of “precariousness,” the “youth” and their “violence” can only be kept in suspense as long as the ever more surprising “acting out” they thinly cover gets managed away police-like. No one’s going to be happy to see old people being wiped out at a knockdown price, abandoned by their own and with nothing to say. And those who’ve found less humiliation and more benefit in a life of crime than in sweeping floors will not give up their weapons, and prison won’t make them love society. The rage to enjoy of the hordes of the retired will not take the somber cuts to their monthly income on an empty stomach, and will get only too excited about the refusal to work among a large sector of the youth. And to conclude, no guaranteed income granted the day after a quasi-uprising will lay the foundations for a new New Deal, a new pact, and a new peace. The social sentiment is rather too evaporated for all that. As their solution, they’ll just never stop putting on the pressure, to make sure nothing happens, and with it we’ll have more and more police chases all over the neighborhood. The drone that even according to the police indeed did fly over Seine-Saint-Denis last July 14th is a picture of the future in much more straight-forward colors than all the hazy images we get from the humanists. That they took the time to clarify that it was not armed shows pretty clearly the kind of road we’re headed down. The country is going to be cut up into ever more air-tight zones. Highways built along the border of the “sensitive neighborhoods” already form walls that are invisible and yet able to cut them off from the private subdivisions. Whatever good patriotic souls may think about it, the management of neighborhoods “by community” is most effective just by its notoriety. The purely metropolitan portions of the country, the main downtowns, lead their luxurious lives in an ever more calculating, ever more sophisticated, ever more shimmering deconstruction. They light up the whole planet with their whorehouse red lights, while the BAC and the private security companies’ -- read: militias’ -- patrols multiply infinitely, all the while benefiting from being able to hide behind an ever more disrespectful judicial front.
The catch-22 of the present, though perceptible everywhere, is denied everywhere. Never have so many psychologists, sociologists, and literary people devoted themselves to it, each with their own special jargon, and each with their own specially missing solution. It’s enough just to listen to the songs that come out these days, the trifling “new French music,” where the petty-bourgeoisie dissects the states of its soul and the K’1Fry mafia makes its declarations of war, to know that this coexistence will come to an end soon and that a decision is about to be made.
This book is signed in the name of an imaginary collective. Its editors are not its authors. They are merely content to do a little clean-up of what’s scattered around the era’s common areas, around the murmurings at bar-tables, behind closed bedroom doors. They’ve only determined a few necessary truths, whose universal repression fills up the psychiatric hospitals and the painful gazes. They’ve made themselves scribes of the situation. It’s the privilege of radical circumstances that justice leads them quite logically to revolution. It’s enough just to say what we can see and not avoid the conclusions to be drawn from it.