Memory against History: Black Lives Matter, Identity and the Revolution


We had the pleasure to meet Leo Jubault, as well as other remarkable social ecologists, at the 5th TRISE Conference (Transnational Institute of Social Ecology) that took place in Athens last October. We remember the impression he made with his clear and radical presentation on the project of autonomy in Chiapas and Rojava. Today Jubault writes for aftoleksi and shares with us the libertarian thinking of a young French author about nationalism, memory, and history. Also available in Greek here.

2020, the Season of War

On the 14th of June 2020, Emmanuel Macron went to war – again. After Islamism, COVID-19, and before Lebanon, the French President answered to the decolonial movement as any head of any nationalistic and authoritarian regime would have: by demonizing the question that was asked, changing its sense, and dismissing any critical perspective[1]. After economics and sociology in the past decades, it is now time for France to reaffirm that History is not up for debate.

The purpose of this article is to take a look at the reaction of the French government to the demands of Black Lives Matter (BLM), and from there, to take a step back and elaborate on nationalism, History, colonialism, identity politics, and the revolutionary power of BLM.

Introduction: a short presentation of BLM in France

First of all, there is no defined movement or organization called BLM in France. The main representative of decolonialism, anti-racism, and black activism is the movement Justice for Adama. It was created following the assassination of a black man called Adama Traoré by three French ‘gendarmes’ — militarized police — on the 19th of July 2016. For years it has been fighting against police violence, racism and colonialism, hence it very naturally became associated with BLM. Through Justice for Adama, the killing of Georges Floyd found a relatively important echo in France, and several demonstrations were held right after the end of COVID-19 confinement.

It is important to understand that, before the confinement, France was experiencing massive protests against the now traditional retirement reform, as well as anti-government Yellow Jacket demonstrations that had been continuously held every week for more than a year, and Justice For Adama demonstrations against police violence. All those movements expressed solidarity with each other, finding common ground on the subject of police repression, if not on social issues. By organizing the first demonstration in months, capitalizing on the Black Lives Matter’s rise in the US, and with the difficulties for other movements to regain their pre-COVID-19 momentum, Justice for Adama has become the most active anti-government force in France, rallying a significant part of urban Yellow Jackets[2].

Macron’s Got a Gun: National Reality Versus Separatism

Similarly to the US, the main question raised by the demonstrations was the racist nature of the police. From there, it rapidly expanded to a decolonial critic of France’s national memory display, especially the statues of figures of colonialism and slavery. The reactions were diverse but unsurprising. The conservative right and its war dogs condemned the movement and praised a far-right group that tried to disrupt a demonstration using the white supremacist slogan ‘white lives matter’. On the left, anarchists and communists were mostly sympathetic to the movement, whereas social democrats and hard-left representatives such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon and its troops described the demonstrations as useless attempts to do identity politics, defending, therefore, a classic Republican position. They are close in their discourse to the liberal right position, as embodied by Macron’s speech, which in itself leans towards the conservative and far-right point of view.

From this speech, on this particular subject, I want to outline two intertwined elements:

  1. First, Macron accuses BLM to deny historical truth in the profit of a « hateful or false » version of History, and then he affirms that the Republic will not « erase any trace of its past, forget any of its masterpieces, unbolt any of its statues ». To him, History, the past, and statues are the same things, which means that BLM, by taking a critical look at the commemorations of the past, preaches false History. After all, what would a solemn political speech be without a manipulative conflation of terms?
  1. Through this rhetorical tactic, the President manages to put BLM outside of historical truth, and opposes them to a desired and necessary « national unity ». Everything is in place and decolonial protesters are now designated as « separatists ». This word is not chosen randomly. On the one hand, instead of hearing the arguments that we make Macron puts us out of the national debate, separated from the rest of the opinion which, in his framework, has a choice: following the national historical truth as French citizens, or join the enemy, outside of national unity, reason and, in a way, citizenship. On the other hand, by using the idea of separatism Macron creates an echo with another war speech that he gave on February the 18th 2020, in which he stated the urge to fight against « Islamist separatists ». This attempt to regain legitimacy through the reaffirmation of the War against Terror was cut short by COVID-19 — to which he declared war against in his March 16th speech. Nevertheless, in July, as the pandemic seemed to be under control, he was able to play the separatist card again. At this time, however, decolonial movements had become the main subject covered — or rather attacked — by the media, and it was therefore far more interesting for him to join the shit show rather than trying to shift the focus on a forgotten one. Separatism apparently lies wherever the news goes. This idea seems to be confirmed by the late-August and early-September statements made by a government official to fight against « all separatisms », which includes Islamism, BLM and the new trend within French politics: the racist depiction of a process of the savagery of society — « ensauvagement »[3].

On an important side note, this analysis supports two already much-discussed claims relative to the state of modern regimes and the War on Terror: the nation has to permanently be at war, and the enemies of the State are interchangeable depending on the circumstances — we could make a lot more collateral notes but it would require another article on Macron’s discourse.

History and Memory under the National Narrative

Macron’s conflation between the notions of past, memory, and History is a consequence of the permanence of the national narrative within the Nation-State. Nowadays, what we generally call History is perceived as a science that studies and analyses the past through a wide range of research fields, and that claims to reach certain neutrality, a certain idea of scientific truth tempered by hypothesis and new findings. Memory, on the other hand, is more personal, intimate and eventually emotional, it belongs to a person or a group and ends up inhabiting this person or this group. It is essentially internal and passed on through forms of storytelling.

The particularity of a national narrative is that it is situated in between History and memory, as it is presented by the State as a scientific recollection of facts that explains the origins and development of a defined nation while organizing emotional and personal connections between people — usually citizens but not necessarily — and this History. In a sense, the national narrative is neither true nor false. Even though it presents itself to be the truth, its untold claim is rather more to impose a historical story than anything else, in order to shape identity and sense of belonging for its citizens — which inherently implies the opposite for identified ‘foreigners’. In fact, it uses a wide variety of systematic and external memory displays as constant reminders of this identity, such as national Days, statues, street names, or monuments for instance. Once internalized by individuals or groups, those memory displays suggest and reinforce the emotional reactions of these individuals towards the national narrative or any nationalistic elements — the national anthem is one of the best examples in my opinion. However, this attachment varies from citizen to citizen and group to group. Some families have flags in their homes, some don’t; some base their whole identity on their nationality, some don’t; etc. By being external, the strength of the national narrative on someone will depend on its personal connections to it at school, in its neighborhood, or its family; in sum, the internal aspect of the national narrative depends on its interpersonal relays around the individual.

Consequently, the inherent externality of a national narrative creates an important fragility within the space of memory. First, the grip of national memory seems very poor compared to all the memories experienced within a family or a group of friends for instance. The constant display of national memory items within public and private spaces is a constant reminder of the necessity for the nation to reaffirm itself everywhere and at all times, in order to compete with non-national individual and collective memories. Without statues, flags, monuments, and national calendar, we might actually forget that we are part of a nation. Second, because the strength of the national narrative over someone’s memory depends on interpersonal relays, it, therefore, leads to an important memorial heterogeneity among the national population. At a basic level, with a somewhat homogeneous group of citizens, it at least depends on the family or the school. But when you consider all levels of specific internal individual and collective memories, such as region or country of origin, skin color, class, gender, etc. imposing a homogeneous memory becomes an impossible task.

In fact, the impossibility to resolve this issue comes from the necessary homogeneity of the national framework. The contemporary existence of Racism, Patriarchy, Class War, etc. as systemic elements are overlooked by the nation because of its structural incapacity to postulate a homogeneous memory and specific lived experiences at the same time. France cannot both commemorates its colonial empire and its atrocities at the same level. When it tries to do so, there is always a sense of either reduction — ‘it was for the greater good’ or ‘it was not that bad’ — or contextualization — ‘we are not responsible for our ancestors’ mistakes’ or ‘different times different customs’ — of the latter. Recognizing the specificity of the lived experience of certain citizens would indeed come to challenge the very structure of the Nation-State, as the nation was precisely built on the formation of a centralized and uniform national identity — contained within the concept of citizenship while repressing and destroying ‘regional’ cultures in the process. Hence, within the nation, the sufferings and joys of the citizens must be uniform, from World Wars to World Cups passing by pandemics, and marginalized citizens are often refused any normal debates on their condition under the ‘we are all on the same boat’ universalist syndrome. Either your suffering is also mine even though I do not experience it, or your suffering does not exist because I do not experience it, or you deserve to suffer because you or your group are not respecting your citizenship. If those three general examples ring a bell it is perfectly normal, they are permanently used against communities marginalized because of their skin color, faith, economic background, neighborhood…

Hence, decolonial protesters are indeed separatists, but not because they choose to be, it is the very homogeneous and uniform nature of our conception of national identity, citizenship and memory that sets the impossibility for contradiction, critics or debates. The vast majority of citizens, mainly due to a conflation with their suppose legal equality, are against racism, sexism or economic inequality. However, any attempt to acknowledge the systematic and structural aspects of those discriminations is cut short by the very limits of the national debate. If all citizens are equals, how can some of them be oppressed and exploited by the rest and inversely? Because the debate is closed, the only option is to protest and make our voices heard in the margins of the public debate, where they put us in the first place. Here, I believe that one can clearly perceive the interconnections that inherently exist between radical anti-racism, feminism, or economic equality movements, as they all break the uniform block of citizenship and national identity from the margins of the debate. One can also understand the interconnections that inevitably exist between conservatives and reactionary forces. In France, the far-right police union ‘Alliance’ was successful in its demand to disfigure the commemorative fresco representing Adama Traoré and George Floyd, which echoes last year’s destruction of the Yellow Jacket’s fresco decided by the administration of the 13th Parisian borough, and a small white supremacist gathering that unsuccessfully tried to disrupt a BLM protest in May was extensively relayed on every channel. This unholy alliance of mixed interests has one common denominator, the implicit necessity to keep the national narrative clear of any criticism, as the national narrative is the receptacle and representative of History, memory, and, in the end, identity: the phantasmagorical conflation on which the very idea of the nation tries to keep its balance, the protector of our self-represented greatness, the eternally shrinking pillar of a homogeneous working population.

Beyond History

In the previous section, I tried to demonstrate how the nation is inherently external to the individual, and how a national narrative conflating History and memory is used to create and shape identity. This national identity eventually enters in conflict with the personal lived experience of the individual, in the process of creating a homogeneous population of national citizens. I believe that this process is in essence similar for every nation-state, though its extent depends on a wide variety of factors such as political will, identitarian movements, war on terror, regionalism, etc. From this perspective, each nation-state is inherently and permanently at war against its population, and the more marginalized your specific lived experience is, the more targeted you are.

I believe that the opposition between national and personal/collective memory is part of the opposition between History and Tradition as analyzed by Agustin Garcia Lorca[4]. In short, for him, the evolution of humanity towards modernity is divided into different phases that led to the triumph of the idea and the conceptualization of the object over the object itself, the development of our capacity to objectify our production, our surroundings, and, most importantly, time — with the invention of writing being one important point for instance. In fact, according to Lorca, the development of History is the development of the conceptualization of time, with the emergence of a division between past, present, and future, and nowadays, the capacity to situate ourselves within an era. To illustrate what this means, Agustin Garcia Lorca explains that under Tradition the calendar was a consequence of the collective experience of the group within their specific conditions, there was no announced date of celebration in a year, it was dependent on something else than a comprehensive timing. With the development of History, however, the calendar came to define specific celebration rather than being defined by them. For Lorca, this process of objectification, along with its development, was naturally applied to every aspect of life and life itself. Another example that he gives is the inscription of common justice into Laws, passing from a justice that existed because an alleged crime was committed, to a pre-existing justice system that therefore had the capacity to identify crimes before they had been committed.

Regarding this perspective, I would argue that, in the same way, that national identity and citizenship are to a certain extent external to the individual, History is to a certain extent external to time. A consequence of the objectification of time is the objectification of oneself within time. Our capacity to identify our life as a point within time inevitably leads us to conceptualize our life according to this temporality. Life becomes a projection of itself through our historicization of it. We are pushed to perceive ourselves as points in History, with a past, a present, and a future, and therefore to accomplish or realize ourselves through honor, career, property, etc.; life has become an empty container that we have to fill. In sum, we are implicitly pushed to do everything but to live.

Walter Benjamin[5] illustrates this push towards a future in which we are forced to (not) live in with Klee’s painting: Angelus Novus. For Benjamin, the ‘Angel of History’ is trapped in a storm that pushes him towards the future — the sky — while he unsuccessfully tries to look at the past — the earth; the storm is called progress. Against the imperial and unstoppable march of History, Walter Benjamin opposes what he calls ‘the tradition of the oppressed’ — which echoes Lorca’s idea of History against Tradition. The tradition of the oppressed is, in a word, the memory of the oppressed, a memory that can be contained within stories, souvenirs, and practices. In fact, with its constant capacity to resurface, to escape in part the scientific and temporal division of society, to be passed between people and felt regardless of the eras as a timeless story, memory, as opposed to History, is the raw receptacle of our lived experience. If History is written by the victors, constructing an external reality marching towards an unattainable future, the tradition of the oppressed remains, with the possibility to crack the historical continuum with an unmovable truth, to erupt with a constant and timeless sense of justice.

Regarding decolonial movements and social movements in general, the concept of the tradition of the oppressed is interesting in the sense that, while it varies from one individual or group to another, as it is specific to the memory of their lived experience, it creates a certain commonality between these experiences through their opposition to History, giving them the potential to be negatively organized as a common front. This conception finds echoes in different theories and practices such as Murray Bookchin’s ‘unity in diversity’[6] in the case of Social Ecology, or the Zapatista’s motto « un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos » — a world that can contain many worlds. Here, it is through their common negation of the conquering historical continuum that those traditions can find common ground, rather than through a positivity towards progress, which is often defended by universalists and reformists. Following this perspective, Walter Benjamin states that optimism towards the future is the work of the dominants and that the work of the oppressed is to recover the lost fragments of their tradition, repressed and erased by a universal narrative of progress, that took the form of colonization and Westernization in our contemporary times. In his work on violence, Benjamin already defended the idea that we had lost our capacity or will to fight on negative emotions, even though, according to him, they are the true strength of revolutionary power.

Towards a Revolution

To me, Black Lives Matter is the manifestation of a form of tradition of the oppressed, never forgotten nor silent, but whose revolutionary potential got activated by the murders of Black people by the police. When taking this perspective, it is easy to understand why one act such as George Floyd’s murder created such a reaction in the United States and the world, and why the death of Adama Traoré in similar circumstances led to the emergence of Justice for Adama. In fact, the act of killing is not isolated, it is part of structural, systematic, and historical oppression, and bears within itself this History that crushes the specific lived experiences of individuals and groups. One murder of a Black person by a policeman in all the murders of Black people by policemen, all the inequalities and oppression lived by the Black community; it is part of a specific memory that, at some point, can neither be contained nor contain itself. Hence, when demanding justice for Adama or George Floyd, the collectives do not only seek a juridical decision on one specific case, they demand justice for all the previous and following murders, they question the very role of the police, systematic racism, and colonial history. In here lies true revolutionary power. We have seen how rapidly the revolt spread and how steadily it stood. This is because the negativity towards History is its inherent fuel, not the positivity of a vote or never-ending hope in never-coming reforms. When a memory of oppression cannot be contained, only a spark is needed to light the whole world on fire.

The desire to defund the police could not be expressed within the US public debate one year ago, and now the idea is discussed and even approved by people who would not have even thought this was a possibility before[7]. Here, the memory of Black oppression transcends its own specificity, because police brutality does not concern only Black people. Conservatives use this as an argument to defend the idea that Black people are not targeted by the police any more than White people are. Even a part of the left tries to silence the specificity of the black experience, stating that working-class people overall are targeted regardless of race. What they fail to understand is that through their specific experience, Black Lives Matter activists actually reach further than their own racial identity and that the political consequence of defunding the police is not concerned with race at all. Did the politics that critic Black Lives Matter for dividing the working class brought the idea to defund the police within the public debate? The answer is no. This is a concrete contemporary example of how a specific lived memory, when erupting, brings revolutionary ideas for every marginalized groups because in the end, it is Tradition versus History. It is no surprise in this case to see a convergence between Justice for Adama and the leftist wing of the Yellow Jackets in France and to see both movements merge during protests, black tee-shirt and yellow jackets forming a natural raging patchwork on Place de la République.

That said, I want to dismiss right away a possible misunderstanding. There is a risk, following this analysis, to perceive the specific lived experiences of each person, each group, as interchangeable. They are not, it is their political consequences and negativity towards History that brings them within a common space, as against the historical continuum there is no other exit than a revolutionary change. In order to elaborate on this statement, and following the previous demonstrations, I will argue that working-class white people do not want white History and that though different, our memory bears the same consequences as Black Lives Matter regarding the national narrative, its names, and statues. And that it is not through a repetitive affirmation of a false universalist experience of oppression, but through the activation of the potential power of specific memories that we can achieve transformative change, if not a Revolution.

White Identity as National Identity

People who are outraged at the idea of bringing statues down are trapped within the conflation of History and memory produced by the national narrative. Hence, while defending what they perceive as their identity they actually defend what shapes this identity, the imperial march of History and its institutions. They defend a certain idea of life imposed by the triumph of progress, led under the banner of Westernisation, where cultures are homogenized following the model of the victors, and where life is nothing more than its abstraction, its representation in History. It is not surprising in this framework to see one’s identity becoming more important than one’s own life. National identity and citizenship are the predatory representation of self and the collective, self within a collective, as well as self and the collective separated from an imagined rest.

Allowing to take a critical look at History is admitting that it is uncertain, and therefore that our identities are uncertain and plastic. Removing statues honoring colonizers and slavers does not simply means making justice or doing a memorial inventory, it may also mean escaping History as individuals, putting ourselves outside of History’s temporality, its never-ending progress, its imperial march, and hence, the possibility to collectively redefine our relations to each other. In sum, constructing a commune that lives more than it represents itself living, that is more than it represents itself being. From the immediate relationships that it creates, this perspective paradoxically leads to a gateway from historic positivity, from the charge towards a fantasized future rooted in the present and the past, and to the possibility to make an inventory of our relations of exploitation and oppression.

First, we have to recognize that the whiteness has been the image of progress in the modern era; and the white male the agent of capitalism and value, while women and colonized people were and are still in part dissociated from the market, trapped into low-valued or non-valued work, which transpired even more during the COVID-19 pandemic — domestic tasks, cleaning, etc. This subject has been extensively studied, but the latest one that I have read comes from the Krisis Group’s Manifesto Against Labour[8]. Hence, the white proletariat being the primary subject of the worker-citizen model of modern nation-states is unconsciously pushed to attach itself to a History that states its superiority over others. One defends his identity, his victories, his nation’s conquests, slavery, and colonization because he defends his History. One defends his History because he defends his national pride. One defends his national pride because it is all that is left when working 40 hours a week for minimum wage, or when being unemployed for years while hearing that it is your fault, or that foreigners steal your jobs and taxes, and that in this austerity ‘period’ the wealth of the richest grows at a faster rate than at any point in History. One’s national pride is nothing more than an emotional illusion, built by an artificial conflation of memory and History, that erupts from the misery of being the privileged face of the worker-citizen model actually losing in the representation of one’s own life within society.

Removing the statues of colonizers means liberating oneself from a History that entraps us in hearing that we are part of a formidable nation and a superior race, even though the infinite endpoint of History is our exploitation, always more technical and efficient; a sort of exploited-privileged position encrusted in the worker-citizen paradigm.

The globally integrated metropolis, which is the form of modern capitalism, emerged from Western colonialism and its insatiable will to reorganize territories and time towards value creation. The colonization process outside of national territory was preceded and accompanied by a colonization process within its territory, through the violent formation of a homogeneous identity within the worker-citizen framework How many workers died at the end of the police and the army? To believe that, because we are at the center of this historical project as its agents of progress, us whites (males mostly) escape consequences from colonization as privileged metropolitan from miserable or deserving others is completely wrong. It is as stupid as a Yellow Jacket who, having lost an eye during a protest, would defend with all its willpower the action of the police in Non-White neighborhoods — even though this type of cognitive dissonance is very common on Facebook groups. Non-White neighborhoods have been predominantly targeted by policing and social control through police violence. Recently people were outraged by the kidnapping of BLM protesters in Portland by an unlawful police corps, but some have rightfully pointed out that this is how the ICE has behaved for years now towards refugees. In France, many discovered the true face of police violence during recent protests, while the same violence has been exercised for decades in poor suburbs — les « quartiers ».

Any white person that thinks that the police is violent has to understand that this violence is first exerted on a much wider and systematic scale in predominantly Non-White neighborhoods, which is itself an inheritance from the colonies. In fact, the « Brigade Anti-Criminalité » for instance, one of French police most critiqued brigade, directly originated from Algeria under colonial rule, as showed by Mathieu Rigouste his book La Domination Policière. There is no misplaced conflation between police, violence, and racism, but culture and history of racism and violence within the police; in our society, the exception is the rule, we live in a permanent state of emergency, crisis, austerity, and police blunders. Analyzing colonization as the laboratory for police violence and repression, later exerted within the metropolitan territory on poor neighborhoods — especially against non-white, goes even further. In fact, the Nazi’s concentration camps model comes from those used by the United Kingdom in India in the 19th century, and then by the Germans themselves in Namibia, during the genocide of Hereros and Namas at the beginning of the 20th century. This could be perceived as a dramatization on my part, but it is in fact a direct consequence of the question raised on the subject of identity in this article. As an abstract and unattainable object, the worker-citizen identity is trapped within a never-ending cycle of searching for homogeneity and purity, opening the way to fascism, cleansing, and genocides.

Conclusion: A Note to the Left

I want to conclude this article by the perspective of a choice to make addressed to the universalist left. Either it continues to confine BLM and such movements as identity politics; or it understands that identity politics is actually within our own structures and individuality and that it is with those movements that lie any possibility for transformative change, and even a Revolution. Do we stick to History or do we find and activate our tradition?

In France, even the supposedly radical left led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon once again proved its attachment to the conflation made by the national narrative, by stating that bringing statues down was the same as erasing History and that it was anti-Republican. Many social democrats and even revolutionaries on the left confine BLM to identity politics, therefore reducing its scope to a non-revolutionary perspective because it would derail the people from class struggle. As previously shown in this article, this is a great misunderstanding. In fact, BLM transcends identity politics, because its core demands, ideas and questions are at the core of the whole social structure. They do not just want to tamper with the police for instance, trying to make it less racist; because the police is a racist institution, we need to defund it. They do not just want to acknowledge an oppressed past; they want to tear down the national celebration of oppressors and make the public space a space of remembrance of the oppressed past. Defund the police gains mainstream visibility thanks to BLM, without BLM this would not even be in question, now we can discuss it; this is the most revolutionary moment the US has experienced in decades.

From the previous analysis, we can see that if there is identity politics at play, it does not come from BLM, but from the national construction itself, through its homogenization process centered around a white worker-citizen model. While BLM demands to put a stop to the celebration of the colonial past, the universalist left answers with the same voice as the right and the State, by putting them out of our sphere of the nation — they are separatists, and by saying things like « you can’t erase the past » or « you can’t change History ». They put themselves on another level of discussion than BLM, changing the questions asked by activists and the meanings of their actions. And for what? In the end, to defend the status quo of citizenship, the affirmation and celebration of an identity engraved in History: our colonial, Western, and white. Hence, identity politics is not in the words, actions, and texts of BLM activists; the incapacity to acknowledge the past, to take a critical and unpassionate perspective on it, to understand without any polemics that colonial statues are not even themselves colonial History but its celebration, all of this proves that identity politics lies precisely in the words, actions and texts, of those who pretend to despise it. Defending the status quo is defending white supremacy, precisely because it is incrusted in our national institutions, in our social structure, and in our identity, precisely because it defines us without us even noticing it.

Finally, to some of our anticapitalists friends who on the one hand despise identity politics, and who on the other repeat that capitalism is the system, that it is embedded in the social structure and in our bodies, and who laugh at people organizing along decolonial movements saying they are in the wrong; I would like you to understand that, we laugh at you in the same way when you think that you are not doing identity politics defending the racial status quo in the name of the prioritization of the struggles. We laugh at you in the same way when we see that in the US and France in a smaller scale, BLM has brought up more revolutionary subjects on the public debate in three months than we have in decades, and not just for Blacks, but also for the working-class as a whole. We laugh at you when you say that identity politics protects the State, even though the State does everything in discourse and actions to stop BLM protests, turning towards its ill-hidden fascist instincts. We laugh at you with sincere sadness, because you should be our allies and you should be us, while the only thing you want is us to be your allies, us to be you.

Following the riots after George Floyd’s murder, and at different points during the summer, strikes were organized by a coalition of labour unions in the US[9]. Now, the idea of a general strike has made its way. One can only imagine the potential strength that this general strike would have in the insurrectional moment developed through Black Lives Matter protests[10]. This is a revolutionary moment; one that needed no parties or state, one that comes, as it often does, from the eruption of the memory of the oppressed. A memory that lies within specific lived experiences, but whose truth and call for justice transcends those specificities. From Rojava to Chiapas, from Yellow Jackets to Black Lives Matter.


[1] See the speech in French:

[2] For a more thorough analysis of the movement read:

[3] and

[4] In his book: History against Tradition. Tradition Against History

[5] In his book: On the concept of History

[6] In his book: What is Social Ecology ?

[7] See the work of Kristian William, and his interview in French

[8] See



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