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Nuit Debout: Dawn of a Revolution?




Some call it a phenomenon, others compare it to the failed 2011 Occupy movement, but Nuit Debout has taken the largely discredited French political class, from across the bogus standard left to the far right, by surprise. Sociologically, it should not be a surprise at all. The backdrop is a sense of deep social malaise, a ras le bol et envie de redevenir vivant (a spillover and wish to be alive again). France, as a society, has been morose and depressed for decades, and the state of emergency imposed in a cowardly panicky haste by François Hollande’s administration since November 2015 has turned the country into a pressure cooker.

In the two weeks since it started on the night of March 31, 2016 at the Place de La République in Paris’ XI arrondissement, Nuit Debout has rapidly spread to other cities in France such as Lyon, Nice, Nantes, Toulouse, etc., as well as to Belgium, Germany, and Spain. It could be the remedy for France’s deep social malaise and the sense of being “hankerchiefs to be used and discarded.” An informed observer can see strong similarities with the Situationist, Anarchist and neo-Marxist groups of May 1968, when France’s last mini-revolution toppled its government. Some are already talking of a 6th Republic, which could be either wishful thinking or the dawn of a new revolution.


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