France: Kanaky (New Caledonia): The flame of revolt is not extinguished

We publish an unofficial translation on the article of Cause du Peuple.

A week after the announcement of the suspension of the reform of the electoral body, following the dissolution of the National Assembly, the State finally hopes to ward off the crisis in Kanaky (New Caledonia). This June 17, Nouméa international airport reopens after a month of closure, blocked by Kanak independentists, then filtered by the authorities, since May 14; the same day, the State shifts the curfew on site which is now imposed from 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.; it is also the start of the school year after a month of school closures.

The toll of the riots since May 13 is very heavy: Nine people were killed and hundreds of others injured, 200 houses burned or looted and nearly 900 businesses closed. A first estimation raises the “damage” to 1.5 billion euros. More than 3,000 soldiers, gendarmes and police were deployed there by the colonial State. Great victory for the Kanak people: hundreds of French families made the decision to pack their bags and leave the colony for good.

The recent “European” elections, Sunday June 9, further illustrate the distrust vis-à-vis French imperialism and its European project: 87% abstention on the archipelago. Counting the blank and invalid votes, the rate of votes cast amounts to only 8.6% of the total registered, the settlers placing the Macronist party in the lead, then the fascists of the RN and Reconquête.

The flame of revolt is not extinguished, while the State considers guardianship

This Wednesday, June 19, the situation has not returned to normal. Territories are still beyond the control of the authorities and many roadblocks are still in place. The opposition between French militias and colonial forces on the one hand and Kanak insurgents on the other is not over. The bourgeois press is worried about this, as Le Figaro noted this Monday: “As soon as they were removed by the armored vehicles of the gendarmes (Centaure and VBRG) which were the target of fire from large caliber weapons and hunting rifles, these barricades were raised to obstruct or completely block traffic. Proof that the violent actions have not stopped, three security agents were shot and injured while securing a shopping center in Mont-Dore, a town bordering Nouméa, on Friday evening.

The revolt of the Kanak people is mainly coordinated by the CCAT (Cellule for Coordination of Ground Actions), an independence platform launched in 2023 by several unions and Parties, including the Caledonian Union (member of the FLNKS), the Labor Party and the USTKE (the Trade Union of Kanak and Exploited Workers). Within the independence movement, there is a struggle crystallizing here between the CCAT, targeted by the French imperialist state, and the leadership of the local government, led by the Palika Party (also a member of the FLNKS). This struggle thus animates calls for more radicalism or “pacification” on both sides. Very early on, however, Kanak youth largely took responsibility for overflowing the dams, attacking businesses and settler houses, setting up self-defense groups and sometimes arming themselves against the militias, then the troops of the French State.

This Friday, Yannick Slamet, member of the local government in charge of health and social accounts, declared that “We no longer have the means to assume the functioning of New Caledonia as I speak to you, given the losses tax and social security contributions.” Such a situation could then open up an avenue for the French State to place the territory under supervision, as recently requested by the Federation of Industries of New Caledonia (FINC). This would not only allow the State to take control of the nickel sector on the archipelago, regularly blocked by strikes or blockades, but also by the recent rejection of the “nickel pact” by the independentist authorities, providing for management of the more direct channel by the French imperialist state.

Postponement of the FLNKS annual congress and new arrests

The Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), which was to gather for its 43rd congress last Saturday, had to postpone the event to better anticipate the debates, as the internal distrust is so great between an institutional line that is running out of steam and the growing role of the CCAT in the mobilization of Kanaks at the grassroots.

This Wednesday, June 19, while the CCAT was to hold a press conference on the situation and upcoming deadlines, the French imperialist state arrested nine Kanak activists, including Christian Tein, leader of the CCAT. Two other activists were subsequently arrested. The State accuses them of participation in “organized crime” activities after the opening of an investigation by the prosecution on May 17 for criminal conspiracy, targeting alleged “sponsors” of the riots, including “certain members of the CCAT”. The CCAT, which denounces abusive arrests, also recalls that its activists were prepared for this eventuality and that “this is part of the commitment of each of us”.

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