Reflections on Paris, Climate Resistance, and the Threat of the Police State

  VERNON YOUNG & FA'SEYE AINA SUNNY GONZALEZ, AT THE HUMAN CHAIN ACTION WITH OVER 10,000 PEOPLE WHO DEFIED THE PROTEST BAN IN ORDER TO STAND UP FOR PEACE AND CLIMATE JUSTICE.

VERNON YOUNG & FA'SEYE AINA SUNNY GONZALEZ, AT THE HUMAN CHAIN ACTION WITH OVER 10,000 PEOPLE WHO DEFIED THE PROTEST BAN IN ORDER TO STAND UP FOR PEACE AND CLIMATE JUSTICE.

By Vernon Dessalines Young

I wanna start off giving the supporters who helped us to get here and the ones who will continue to help while we are in Paris, a big thank you from Cooperation Jackson. Paris definitely lives up to the hype as tourist attraction, but there is a dark gloomy cloud that over shadows the abuse of authority and the targeting of certain groups under the present “state of emergency” that has been declared in France. 

Early Saturday, November 28th our “Freedom Road from Jackson to Paris” contingent met with members from the larger “It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm” delegation to discuss how and if we should participate in the “human chain” demonstration that was called for Sunday, November 29th in the wake of cancelled mass mobilization that had been planned for that date for well over a year. In the course of the meeting we heard first hand reports from local Parisian activists about how migrant and refugee communities have moved from being constantly harassed and discriminated against, to being outright terrorized by the local authorities and security forces under the “state of emergency”. 

We heard first hand about the police raids on activist’s homes and putting people under house arrest and how that has disrupted the months of planning and mobilization that the Climate Coalition 21 has been doing in the lead up to COP21. One of the key lawyers supporting the actions of the global climate movement here in Paris was placed under house arrest 48 hours before the planned events on November 29th. The sole aim of this detention appears to have been to prevent any legal help if any one was to get accosted. In light of this interruption by the state, other members of the local coalition had to scramble to get us other legal representation to help us. 

Local organizations are being targeted and attacked due to there opposition to the false carbon reduction solutions being negotiated and sanctioned at the COP (Conference of Parties), their opposition to the elimination of civil liberties, and oppressive treatment being received by African, Arab and Roma communities here in France. I know it is tough because when I landed in the airport coming into the country, I was followed by military soldiers watching my every move – so I can only imagine what its like for Africans and Arabs living here now. 

On Sunday, November 29th our contingent participated in the human chain action, which was broadcast around the world. The action was going well for a little while until I spotted the police putting on riot gear and bringing in 20 additional paddy wagons, to add on to the 15 that were already stationed around La Republic square. I saw them at one point pushing protesters out of the street with deliberate force. That’s when my friends and me said it was time to go. A lot of our allies stayed at the square and were direct witnesses to violence perpetrated by the police against the climate change protesters. I watched the tragedy on the news, and looked on in disgust as I watched the police beating up, dragging, tear gassing and arresting over 200 peaceful protesters. The abuse of power by the French government shows a tyrannical, wicked imperialist regime that will do anything to suppress the will of the people. 

I am worried about the people of France, particularly the Africans, Arabs, migrants and refugees living here. I am concerned because the most powerful thing that has been done to the people is the disarming of its citizens. No one has guns, the security guards for business wear a red patch on their jackets, but they are unarmed. As African history demonstrated worldwide over the last 500 dreadful years, an unarmed people are a defenseless people. So, I’m worried about where this “state of emergency” will lead and what time precedence it sets not only for France, but many countries throughout the world. 

We have to fight to change the world we live in for ourselves and our future generations, because the way we are going now could spell doom for all of mankind. We cannot allow the capitalist usurpers of our Mother Earth to kill us. So family, we as Cooperation Jackson want you to stand with us and join us in this fight for our very survival as a species on our precious Mother Earth which requires that we do everything we can dismantle the systems of white supremacy, colonialism, imperialism and capitalism at their roots before they totally extinguish life on our planet.

“When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred.”
~Niccolo Machiavelli

“When only cops have guns, it's called a "police state.”
~Claire Wolfe, "101 Things To Do Until The Revolution"