Rather than taking to the streets, they play, and it's for the same cause. Since nine in the morning, Thursday, January 9, while the opponents of the pension reform demonstrate again, the troop of the “Stream renewable” resumes its initiative, born in December and interrupted during the holidays: a video game marathon to raise funds in support of the strikers. From December 6 to 20, at the price of more than two hundred hours of direct, more than 110,000 euros had been collected.
The idea was born on Twitter. “Someone made the suggestion, he mentioned me and Bolchegeek, noting that Z Event [un autre marathon de jeu vidéo] raise cash for charity, so why not for the strike? I said banco “, relates Usul, videographer for Jeuxvideo.com then Mediapart, behind the project. On Discord, a social network widely used by players, he contacts acquaintances, who make the word go. In barely a day and a half, the channel “The Renewable Stream” is launched on Twitch, the live video game broadcasting platform. “The idea was simple: speak on Twitch to raise funds for a strike fund, like the charity events taking place on this platform”, relates videographer Camille, alias Quineapple, one of the streamers who got involved in the project and notably manages its communication.
“There has never been a Twitch channel launched to support a strike fund, it's a world first”, Usul says. An original way of reaching an audience that is not spontaneously associated with social movements. “The idea is also to occupy space with these questions, which are not necessarily much, if ever, dealt with on Twitch! “, Quineapple abounds.
” We bring the strike and its reasons for being to people who might not be aware, who cannot necessarily demonstrate, or who feel alone in their entourage in relation to their positions, etc. “
Games to illustrate social and political violence
Videographers, technicians, moderators … At the peak, up to a hundred people mobilized in December for the first fortnight of the marathon. Facing the camera, some streamers are content to play their favorite titles by calling Internet users to give. Others choose committed productions, such as Tropico, satirical management game on a banana republic, or Papers, Please, who talks about administrative violence and border control. The most creative have fun personalizing fantastic productions, for example by playing a precarious elderly person in life simulation The Sims 4, like The Sunday Developer did.
“Streamers are free to offer the content they like, knowing that we are always trying to keep a link with the strike or social demands”explains Camille. On the chat, Internet users show themselves to be extremely politicized and aware of societal issues, and even push certain participants out of their comfort zone. Like one of the designers of Heave Ho, multiplayer game as hilarious as harmless, questioned on the transsexual characters of its previous production, Mother Russia Bleed.
The organizers, on the other hand, have refrained from inviting political figures, for fear of cracking their unity: their sensitivities, details the videographer, range from Benoît Hamon to Philippe Poutou via anarchism. “We clearly all have left-wing affinities, recognizes Camille. But I cannot say who votes what and we are not associated with a party. On the other hand, what brings us together is above all the rejection of this reform, and of this government in general! “
A support “tool” that could be reused
About 90,000 euros have already been paid into the CGT-Infocom fund, which pre-existed the initiative, said Usul. SOn the advice of the donation collection platform, Utip, the rest is temporarily kept in case internet users claim their right to cancel their payment. The objective of this takeover is to raise even more funds, even if Usul does not set a quantified goal. It is above all for him to show his solidarity over time with the movement.
“As long as the spirit of the strike is still there and there are mobilized employees, we will continue to be there from Thursday to Saturday; and every time there is a big national demonstration “, he promises, until the movement obtains satisfaction. But “The Renewable Stream” could also establish itself as a longer-term support, and resume its activity to support other social movements, other struggles. “It’s a floating idea, recognizes it. But for now, as we say, there is a sequence. We organized to be able to hold on if it lasts. We know we have a method that can be reused. It's a possibility. We built this tool, there is only … “