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.