Hurricane Katrina underscored many aspects of the U.S. social reality. The wave of violence in Paris and other cities tells a lot about French society. We cannot speak of a people’s uprising if we take into account the limited number of people involved in acts of violence in comparison with the amount of people in suburban communities. Only the spectacular nature of the acts of violence, reinforced by televised images, make us think of an urban guerrilla. However, there were Motolov cocktails fabricated almost professionally, and the possibility that drug-dealing gangs might become interested in adopting the tension strategy cannot be excluded.
Nevertheless, these mafia-like phenomena cannot hide that violent acts have their origin in the outrage triggered by neo-liberal policies which have pushed the poor people and immigrants into urban areas where there is no public infrastructure or it is scarce. This situation has put the French government in an awkward predicament and tarnished the image of the “French social model”.
France at the moment needs a “Marshall Plan” for suburban communities. But three years ago the government started to reduce the credits for these neighborhoods and reserves them for electoral purposes. These riots are a blow to the European and French neo-liberal policies after the “no” to the referendum on May 29 and strikes on October 4.

El Periodico (Spain)

El Katrina Francés”, by Bernard Cassen, El Periodico, November 8, 2005.