Nuit Debout- A French Social Movement

Image Source: Photo by Albert Facelly

Countries around the world are having all sorts of issues, ranging from public space to labor reforms. On the date, March 31, 2016, France became another country with an issue that concerns its citizens around the country. Starting on the date of February 23,2016, protests started to ignite against labor reforms called El Khomri law or Loi travail. The movement was organized by François Ruffin. François Ruffin is well known for being the founder of the left-wing journal Fakir. He also directed the documentary film, Merci patron! The El Khomri law or Loi travail gave working class in France a tough time. This law allows companies to lay off workers, reduce overtime payment beyond thirty-five hours, and not giving severance packages.

Companies clearly take full advantage of this and keep their money. For the employees, they should be allowed to keep their jobs unless they do not do an excellent job. The fact that the employees do not receive extra pay from working hours exceeding thirty-five hours is devastating. These people who work hard plus working extra hours deserve the extra money that is not coming their way. It is truly unfortunate that when a member of the company doesn’t obtain a severance package after being dismissed is a massive predicament. Finding another job is harder than it is, not giving a severance package that can support the fired employee until they attain another job, is going to make it even harder for that person.

The first destination that the protesters gathered in Paris’s Place de la Republique. The protestors would meet at a specific time and in massive numbers. The protests gathered further support in other locations in France. Even camps have been formed in Belgium, Germany, and Spain to expand its power to withstand the government. This shows that the people are truly not satisfied with these laws and increasingly gaining recognition because of this. I think it is great that the people are uniting to fight against an injustice by the hands of the French government. With all this support that the people are getting, a change needs to occur from the government.

Important words have been said by the group of people who are giving their all to gain what they want. Written by Josh Lowe of Newsweek, “Politics is not something for professionals, it is for everybody,” as it is said by the French people. This statement is relevant to all countries around the world. Each member of society should play an important role in their countries politics.  The fact that the government was voted by the French people is shocking to hear considering what they are doing. American anthropologist, David Graeber, exclaimed that, ““There seems to be this sense of betrayal… these are the people that voted for them… [that] assumed that such a government would somehow speak for their concerns. They’re just really pissed off.” It is understandable why the French people are angry at the government. If this was a scenario in any other country, the reaction would be identical.


Further Reading:

“What is France’s Nuit Debout Movement?”:

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  1. As a college student, reading that people do not get paid what they deserve “just because” is super frustrating. I understand what it’s like to work so hard but get so little, and I can only imagine what these people, who have to earn for their families and to survive must be feeling. It’s also insane how companies have ways of twisting around laws and getting more than what they should be by doing so. To me, it doesn’t make sense to treat employees like garbage because without them, there is no one to work for you! Sure there are always replacements, but eventually once the news comes out that the company mistreats employees, no one will apply and the business is done for. Mistreatment of employees and underpaying them is ridiculous and needs to stop.

  2. It is important to see how public space plays such an important role in this movement. Sometimes we have to remember that if there was no public space, our concerns wouldn’t be heard and therefore change would be almost impossible. I agree, it is completely debating what these companies are doing to their citizens, and the fact that they won’t get any financial support after losing there job may really put them in a lower economic living standard. What we must remember is that they are all united and fighting together in order to achieve their goal, they are all able to be together, this is all thanks to the public space where they can unite as a group and discuss ways to make a stand, and hopefully there could be a true change in the french labor force.

  3. I’m glad that they could protest, it is so unjust and they do not deserve that. People have every right to speak their mind and these public spaces are everything for these situations where the people are standing up for what they believe for. Its so sad to see that companies would do something like that and could treat humans so low. Its amazing that never thought of public space was so important.

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