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Shouldn’t we finally launch a neighborhood general assembly? »

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In the heart of Auvergne, the former industrial city of Clermont-Ferrand has not escaped the urban uprisings that have rocked the country since the murder of young Nahil by a policeman in Nanterre on June 27. Socialist Mayor Olivier Bianchi admitted from his office in the town hall that he had known “Several hard nights” In a few days, a school and a community center were burnt down. And if there is relative calm, it is, according to his opinion, “ from the interface.

Yesterday, Emmanuel Macron received the mayors of cities affected by the uprisings. Clermont-Ferrand is one of them, but you refused her invitation. Why ?

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In Clermont-Ferrand, we have already witnessed similar riots after the death of one of our young men, Wissam El-Yamani, after being arrested by a police officer. That was in 2012…over ten years ago. Uprisings, there will still be as long as we do not deal with the matter in depth. We got Emmanuel Macron’s call Monday at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at 11 a.m. When in Seine-Saint-Denis, go there. When you’re in Clermont… I won’t get on the plane for an hour to a meeting at the Elysee. Claremont is a metropolis with major city problems: poverty, missing school attractions, and drug trafficking. What we have been able to see in the major French cities in recent days, we have also seen in Clermont without surprise.

In Nanterre, with angry parents of young people: “No matter how high they teach, they pull each other out among themselves”

What do you think are the causes of these failures, and how do we stop them?

We must look for the causes of our failures in the history of public policy. It’s funny how everyone is talking about the failure of city policy right now, while no one is talking about community policing reform… The abolition of community policing is a tragedy we haven’t finished paying for. The workforce is down, and the RGPP [révision générale des politiques publiques] Decided by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, it is still a shame, it must be said! Those who bother us today about security, the LRs, are the heirs of those who cut the ruse. There is a kind of reversal of views and it is a massive hallucination!

Claremont, January 1, 2013, honoring Wissam Al-Yamani who died after being arrested by a police officer. (Thierry Zucculan/AFP)

What soothing procedures do you recommend?

I wonder if we should finally launch a Provincial General Assembly, which will not only deal with urban renewal… This General Assembly could be a place for a great discussion of public policy at the provincial level. But in all sectors! For example, is there a mobilization of economic circles to stop the stigmatization of children in resumes and addresses? Is there an educational mobilization beyond REP+ [Réseau d’éducation prioritaire] ? And what about health? Where are we today in these neighborhoods? We can put everything on the table.

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In your opinion, what are the priority avenues for exploration?

First of all, I think we should think politically about the police. Police violence must be addressed through recruitment and training of police officers, review of intervention principles and re-establishment of local policing. I don’t think the police are structurally racist. But the police are in the image of our society as it is. And as she encounters more and more incredible situations, it doesn’t help that she is more peaceful.

Nael’s Death in Nanterre: How the IGPN Investigated the Fatal Shooting of Police

What about education? You told me that Clermont’s school burned down…

You’re right, the second problem is educational success. I’m not saying we didn’t do anything about it, I’m saying we failed. Social reproduction, as Bourdieu hypothesized, remains unchanged. It’s kind of brutal sociology, but when I notice what’s being burned, I get the impression that subliminal messages are being sent. Schools, targeted everywhere in France, point, I believe, to the place of scholastic failure, to the fact that school no longer offers the possibility of extricating one from the social environment. In Claremont, a few days ago we held the EuropaVox rock festival, there were a lot of young white people (I’m a caricaturist), and on the other side in the neighborhoods there was the World Cup of Neighborhoods which went really well. I see a division in my city between the young whites who go dancing at the EuropaVox rock festival and those from the neighborhoods who these days participated in the Neighborhood World Cup.


I can clearly see that I have two towns, they don’t mix, and in the school system, you see each other less and less. There are integrated children who pass the baccalaureate. Then there are children who are failing in school and we don’t have an answer for them. It is clear that the school map is more and more uneven. The urbanization and the school is amazing, and we see it with IPS [L’indice de position sociale permet d’appréhender le statut social des élèves à partir des professions et catégories sociales de leurs parents, NDLR].

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The riots of the past few days have also affected medium-sized towns…

Yes, that’s right… I see for example the impoverishment of a city like Sens (Yonne), where I lived as a teenager… I realize we are in the fifth cycle, that is, people who have to travel 100 km by train every day to go to work in Paris ! Those who have less money become poor and sometimes vote for the front. These are major geo-urban movements that we should probably analyze. We’ve often argued between France in the capitals and France in rural areas, but I’m not sure it’s relevant to this topic. Urban expansion, peri-urban expansion, France Nicolas Mathieu: This is what we need to look at.

From Lille to Marseille, why did revolutions spread to all urban areas?

Finally, you are calling for an overhaul of the Social Pact. What do you mean by that ?

There is a more meta-topic, which I call the social contract, the values ​​of the republic. Those kids who pretend these days when they come from fifth generation immigrants, they can’t extricate themselves from the colonial gaze sometimes still thrown at them… We explain to them all day long that they are potential enemies… And the honks make life hell for them during the presidential campaign. We have to stop this.

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As mayor, I can tell you the reality is much more complex. Two-thirds of young people in working-class neighborhoods are studying. They are in higher education. On the other hand, when they send a resume or when they call, the title is stigmatized, the name is stigmatized, the photo is stigmatized… It cannot go on like this. That a group of minor minority petty criminals deserve punishment, yes. But for 10 like that, I have 70 or 100 who have values ​​and are unified and integrated. But those, we included them in a group. Instead of punishing them further, the social pact should be rewritten.

With a bit of hindsight, what message was to be taken from the uprising of a portion of French youth?

We could almost do a good geography, looking for city by city that was affected. Here, the city council and the mayor are not specific enemies. Neighborhood homes, more, because those are places where we’re having a hard time today. The popular educational shows of yesteryear are no longer running. I think it will be interesting, in the coming months to do a geography of the fires and we’ll see subtle questions pop up on the letters, wording the riots. There are people who are very upset by this talk, and who say to themselves: Ah, but then we excuse everything? The excuse is lack of understanding. We live in a society that refuses to understand. It would be nice to get out of the little word, the little phrase and witness the return of political intelligence …

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