Riots in France pushed the government to retreat on a fuel tax rise this week. The furious protests showed the power that ordinary people can have when they take action.
Mainstream politicians are outraged but they are also scared.
They try to demonise rioters as mindless, violent criminals on the edges of society because they are terrified of the truth.
It isn’t some fringe minority that riots, it is ordinary people. They often feel they have no other way to make their voices heard—and they have a point.
Time after time, people campaign only to be ignored by those at the top.
For all the talk of “violent” rioters, it’s the cops who meted out the violence.
And while politicians denounce riots, they preside over a violent system. When riots happen, ordinary people take action for themselves.
They can win important gains. The Poll Tax riot in 1990 marked the end of hated Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher for example.
But the state will organise in the aftermath to punish those who take part and to ramp up repressive measures.
Socialist Worker is on the side of ordinary people fighting back. We need more people taking action against the system, not fewer.
And we also need to fight to end a system where ordinary people’s voices are usually unheard.