Home Politics Casserolades, an old tradition of protest resurfacing

Casserolades, an old tradition of protest resurfacing

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You may have heard them ringing on Monday night… When Emmanuel Macron was trying to break out of the trap with his televised speech, opponents of pension reform succumbed to concerts across the country to cover his voice. It was the Attack Association that launched the “Casseroles” call to the town halls.

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The result: at 8 p.m., in Paris, Marseille, Toulouse or Strasbourg, at “more than 300 gatherings”, According to the anti-globalization NGO, thousands of protesters, including activists from La France insoumise, paraded around knocking on their pots… A more festive way to express your anger, when pension reform has just been enacted? It’s actually an old tradition that’s starting to pop up. Because casseroles come from far…

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Charivaris and the Revolution…

In France they go back rather, in their politicized form, to the beginnings of the July Monarchy in 1830. At that time it was the Republicans, opposed to the regime of Louis-Philippe, who beat their pots and pans. They borrowed, as historian Emmanuel Forex said in a fascinating interview on French culture, from a popular medieval tradition: the charivari. This meant a concert of pots, rattles, shrieks, and whistles, which it was customary to stage to express one’s disapproval of a bad marriage.

Under Louis-Philippe, it was the target of political defeat “Deputies close to the government at that time, a government that returned to order, then also rulers, and thus the state apparatus,” writes researcher. Adolphe Thiers, accused of betraying the ideals of the Trois Glorieuses (the days of the revolution of July 27, 28, 29, 1830), will struggle for several days in a row with concerts of cauldrons and pots of all kinds. At a time when there are only 200,000 voters in the country, the casserole is the way of expression for those without a voice in the matter. Fate is a tonal instrument. tool to control its representatives. In the recent past, pieds noir was a tool favorable to French Algeria against the policy of General de Gaulle: at the end of the fifties, it was the supporters of the Organization of American States who organized the casseroles.

Chile, Iceland, Quebec…

In Latin America, too, the casserole has its own history. In Chile, at the beginning of the 70s, it was at first the opponents of Salvador Allende who opened the parties of fate. Then the bourgeoisie of the upscale neighborhoods protested the socialist government’s tax increases. Parties of the same kind would take place under the dictatorship of General Pinochet in the 1980s, this time in the favelas.

Since those years, the casserole has been exported almost everywhere and very easily. It was echoed in Argentina, when the economic crisis hit in 2001. When Iceland saw its major banks go bankrupt at the end of 2008, Icelanders found themselves handcuffed every Saturday in front of their parliament: it was the Icelandic Revolution, too. It is called “Pan Revolution”. After four years in Quebec, the same pots would be the music of Maple Spring, a student movement against higher tuition fees. In 2019, they were still out during an uprising by Chilean students against a metro fare hike.

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