In the video games industry, physical violence is often regarded as nothing more than an element of fiction, a gameplay mechanic and a marketing argument. But in other contexts, violence is anything but fictional: in working-class neighbourhoods in mainland France or in the French colonies, cold-blooded murders, along with racist attacks, insults and humiliations, are a daily reality, inflicted by representatives of the state over generations and in total impunity.
The recent murder of Nahel, a 17-year-old, by a police officer in Nanterre comes as a shock because its violence was captured on video, and the intention to kill cannot be questioned. But this murder is not an isolated incident, and the demonstrations that followed are a reaction proportionate to the policies of police repression, segregation and abandonment of the suburbs put in place by successive governments.
We can’t be fooled: such discrimination is part of a strategy to suppress the proletariat as a whole, and the non-white proletariat in particular. Even if at the moment, among video game workers, few of us come from working-class neighbourhoods, overseas territories or isolated regions, we are all affected. As workers, we have far more in common with the “suburban youth” than with the ruling class our bosses belong to.
We must not allow ourselves to be distracted by a government that is trying to make people forget about the murder and racism by fabricating other excuses for the problems, including when it is talking about video games. If we choose to look the other way, to focus on images of anger rather than on its roots and meaning, we are contributing to the fragmentation of our social class and allowing the most marginalised among us to be oppressed. Without solidarity, the state will continue to reinforce discrimination, undermine our rights and impoverish entire populations.
The impunity must end. Justice has to be delivered, not just for Nahel but also for all those we have never heard of. The people arrested in recent days during the demonstrations and sentenced by the justice system must be granted amnesty.
The STJV calls on all workers to always support the families of victims murdered by the police, to be aware of and relay the demands of marginalised communities and to help local organisations to the best of their ability. As a union, we will continue to fight for the replacement of policing with social policies, and for public money to be channelled to those who need it, rather than to the police and corporations as is currently the case.