French students and youth hit the streets demanding ‘right to the future’

Mobilizations were held across France by student and youth groups seeking concrete solutions to the problems affecting them as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the demands was a 1.5 billion euro emergency plan

March 18, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
French youth stage a protest on Tuesday. Photo: MJCF

On Tuesday, March 16, thousands of students and youth demonstrated across cities in France demanding the ‘right to the future’ and an emergency plan for support to young people during the COVID-19 crisis. Under the banner “We are not a sacrificed generation,” youth organized mobilizations in Paris and other cities. The call for the mobilization was given by various groups, including the Young Communist Movement of France (MJCF), Movement of Young Socialists (MJS), Union of Communist Students (UEC), Young Rebels, Open University, UNEF Students Union, National High Schools Union(UNEL), FSE-Student Union Federation, Student Solidarity,  L’ Alternative, Young Generations etc.

The COVID-19 crisis has had a severe impact on the youth in France with many losing jobs and other part-time employment and facing uncertainty over the completion of these degrees. In this context, progressive youth and student groups in France have been asking for a special support package from the government and an income for the students. During the mobilization, protesters demanded an emergency plan worth 1.5 billion euros to address these issues. They also demanded an end to elitist admission criteria in colleges and universities, safety measures in schools and the reopening of universities.

Ahead of the mobilization, Leon Deffontaines, Secretary General of the Young Communist Movement of France (MJCF), said, “For almost a year, the situation of young people has deteriorated considerably. The arrival of the pandemic and the economic crisis is crushing the dreams and aspirations of an entire generation. Young people have never had so few prospects for their future. Precariousness has become our daily life – precariousness of our income, employment and even our training.”

“Youth should not be the problem but the solution. Our generation wants to be formed, to realize itself, to be useful to society. But in the end, it is the dignity of all of us that is wasted and sacrificed on the altar of profit by the capitalists. But today, we say there is enough. Enough unemployment and precariousness.. Enough of liberal policies,” he added. Over the past year, French university students and school students, as well as  teachers, have hit the streets seeking the safe reopening of the universities and schools, and also demanding government interventions to redress their grievances during the COVID-19 crisis.