Nuit Debout in Ireland – Levons-nous!


Deirdre Lane – en route to the huge GlobalDebout event in Paris this weekend – sings the praises of a new French-inspired rising

#NuitDebout – A convergence of struggles as suddenly people wake-up

What happened in Dublin on May 1st was the birth of Paris NuitDebout’s little sister. A wave with common ground met in the notion that there is more to human life than that in store for us according to those supposed to govern us. In Ireland, at a time when our elected representatives couldn’t decide how to set up the government and when faith in the banking system and the Catholic Church still stinks, #DubDebout hailed forth

Our French friends are renowned and well versed in rallies, revolutions and protests, yet this is new – not improved – but self propagated:

Pierre Klein (l) at the Nuit Debout gathering

Pierre Klein (l) at the Nuit Debout gathering

“There’s something here that I’ve never seen before in France – all these people converge here each night of their own accord to talk and debate ideas – from housing to the universal wages, refugees… any topic they like. No one has told them to, no unions are pushing them on – they’re coming of their own accord.”

Echoes of Ireland’s 1916 poet-led revolution ripple from the poet who raised a poetry committee to document and create the movement’s slogans announced – “Every movement needs its artistic and literary element,” “This must be a perfect mini-society,” a member of the gardening committee shared with the Paris NuitDebout crowd.

It was a gathering; not of the Fáilte Ireland-branded type, but of the left political movement in all its anti-fascist, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist glory. They met under the statue of Jim Larkin, the trade union and social activist, fittingly on Mayday. The rendezvous point displayed these words at the base of the Larkin statue. They were first used in the 18th century French radical paper Révolutions de Paris and latterly, in a rousing speech by Jim Larkin:

073“The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise.
Ní uasal aon uasal ach sinne bheith íseal: Éirímis.
Les grands ne sont grands que parce que nous sommes à genoux: Levons-nous.”

Pierre Klein , All Together in Dignity – ATD Fourth World Ireland, champion of the homeless and poorest in our community took the ball and made this event happen. Recycled banners, tea – the fuel of Irish revolutions- blankets and working mikes at the ready.

Mel MacGiobúin, Dublin Inner City and Heritage campaigner read a poet from

Bikram took the freely available mick and passionately shared his dismay at the Rule of Industry in his home in India and the distinct lack of social justice.
Mikel would rather be marching in his mother land but expressed his delighted to be part of the “petit nuit debout”

Mel MacGiobúin reading at the DubDebout event in Dublin on May 1st

Mel MacGiobúin reading at the DubDebout event in Dublin on May 1st

What brought together this convergences? In France, anxiety from French Labour law reform and the bleak future for unions and student unions as the reality of simplified French labour laws dawned. They marched. They simply did not return home and occupied Place de la République in Paris on March 31st. Each day after became March 32, soon March 74 as Anonymous calls for a GlobalDebout on May 15

So where is this going? How can the impetuous continue? Where next? The police crack down and media coverage – initially on the positive ethos of sharing now tends to firmly focus on negative dynamics of such demonstrations.

These citizen conversations between the well established and the squatters, between the young and the vintage continue in the streets of Dublin, soon Galway and a shout out to Cork – Cork Abu!

Confused but excited? Follow a new Irish trend with French roots in a political movement that matters. Keep an eye out for DubDebout. Will you be part of history?

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