Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

France: President Hollande Gives in to Right-wing Hysteria on Family Law.

with 14 comments

French and British Bigots Unite Last Year.

(Reuters) – France’s Socialist government dropped plans on Monday to update family law this year after huge weekend protests by conservatives against gay-friendly reforms they say harm traditional families.

The government tried on Monday to reassure the protesters, who numbered over 100,000 in Paris and Lyon on Sunday, that the new law would not legalise assisted procreation for lesbian couples or surrogate motherhood for gay men who wanted children.

But when Socialist lawmakers insisted they would amend the planned bill to include those reforms, the government announced the draft law – which would also define the legal rights of step-parents in second marriages – needed more work.

“The government will not submit a family reform bill before the end of the year,” the prime minister’s office said.

Sunday’s protesters, many of the Catholics but also some Muslims, tapped continued resentment against the legalization of gay marriage last year to pressure the government not to go further and allow ways to help gays have their own children.

Reactions have not been slow in coming.

Le Parisien reports (freely  adapted),

Ludovine the Rochère, (the ultra-Catholic leader of the Manif pour tous), was glad, “”What stood out in this bill was that it was not conducive to the best interests of children and the family.”

For Yannick Moreau, UMP (main right-wing oppositon)  : “It’s a great victory for the popular mobilisation, quiet and peaceful (…) But we must remain vigilant: there are still ambiguities on the LDCs, the GPA with the circular Taubira which is still not repealed, or  the experiment with ‘gender’ (theory) in 600 of our schools with the  ABCD of equality. “

Christian Jacob, the leader of UMP deputies quipped: “In government, we went from cock up to panic. That said, the real victory will be for us when the government has abandoned its family policy.”

The left has denounced the betrayal of the government in yielding to “extremists.”

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Co-President of  the  Parti de Gauche (PG) , said that the left was “deceived, repudiated” because “with the PS, the right is cajoled, the bosses’ association, the MEDEFis  admired the church is blessed (…) Our time will come. I call for a severe punishment on the government in (this year’s) elections.

The National Secretary of Europe Ecologie-Les Verts (EELV – part of the government) Emmanuelle Cosse, said, “The day after the mobilisation of the reactionary camp this decision is of great concern. WE hope the government will go back on its decision.

For Inter-LGBT, which represents lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals, the announcement came as an unpleasant surprise. The association stated late on Monday that the Hollande government was “no longer fulfilling their commitments: this follows a row of  setbacks and betrayals over the last months.” Here.

By contrast the ruling Parti Socialiste saluted this as a “good decision”.

Reports indicate that the government considers that this dispute diverts attention from its ‘pact of responsibility’ with employers.

An Ideology of Fear and Loathing.

The Manif pour tous, the Day of Rage, have, in just two weeks, shown that the French far-right is able to get people out in the streets. They come after a year of growing extreme rightist protest.

In some respects there are similarities with the last right-wing popular movement in France, the 1950s Poujadism. In 1956 his Union de Defense Commercants et Artisans (4000,000 members)  won  51 Parliamentary seats with  11% of the vote.

He stood up for rural France, opposed “Americanisation”, stood for maintaining the French Empire (above all,  in North Africa) but above all railed without end against taxation and the malfeasance of the French state.

Poujade’s movement attracted anti-Semites and the far-right, but was not itself fascist.

The Bonnets rouges have denounced taxation, and ecological taxes in particular. The conspiracy theorists of the  followers of Dieudonné echo the “anti-politics”  the Poujadists. His racism, under the name of ‘anti-Zionism’ has attracted traditional Catholic right and some touched by Islamist ideology.

There is a widespread disaffection with politics and the “system”.

There is however little sign of the organised anti-Parliamentarianism that Ian Birchall (hat-tip Paul Flewers) describes as a mark of Poujadism.

A better comparison perhaps would be with the mouvement de l’École libre in 1984.

This was organised by the state-subsidised French Catholic schools (École libre), in defence of attempts by the education Minister Savary to bring them under some kind of public control (Projet de loi Savary). The Law envisaged the creation of ” « grand service public unifié et laïc de l’éducation nationale » – a national secular education service.

That year, after demonstrations across the country,  in June, these movement attracted between 2 million and 850,000 supporters to a Paris march.

Apart from the mainstream French right-wing the Front National was prominent in the ranks of protesters.

A key aspect of its campaign  was opposition to French secularism (laïcité).

Soon afterwards President  François Mitterrand withdrew the proposals.

The latest Manif pour Tous stems from another  religious origin: the defence of the ‘family’ against “la théorie du genre” and LGBT rights.

If anybody is in any doubt about the religious basis of the hysteria against this, and against LGBT rights they should look at this site, famille chriétienne.

It is no coincidence they also rant against the alleged  secularism of the present Education Minister,  La laïcité de combat de Vincent Peillon

An Islamic site, Islam & Info, equals the Christians in broadcasting hatred of sexual equality and gay rights.

They post a video showing little boys being educated into being “good mothers” (“a vidéo montre que les petits garçons apprennent à être de bonnes “mères”).

President Hollande’s capitulation to these forces is unlikely to go down well with one core constituency of his party, teachers.

14 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. A weak move indeed by Hollande.

    Your penchant for continually linking the far right with Muslims is thoroughly insidious and mendacious, and particularly repugnant coming from the drone supporting left. I mean can anyone really tell the difference between the decent view of Muslims and that of Geert Wilders, for example? Once you strip away all the left bullshit posturing.

    Can anyone seriously claim that the main pre-occupation of the far right is Muslim immigration into Europe?

    Anyone reading your site would imagine the far right and Muslims are in league. You should join a few more anti fascist demos to get the truth of the matter.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    February 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm

  2. Report from Sunday’s demonstration at Lyon,

    Were a leading presence:

    “l’archevêque de Lyon, le cardinal Philippe Barbarin, ainsi que par le recteur de la Grande Mosquée de Lyon, Kamel Kabtane, et celui de Villeurbanne (Rhône), Azzedine Gac.”

    “”Les enfants sont notre vie privée, laissez-nous les éduquer”, “on veut du boulot, pas de mariage homo”, criaient aussi des membres du collectif Musulmans pour l’enfance.”

    2.2.2014.

    http://www.lepoint.fr/societe/manif-pour-tous-de-20-000-a-40-000-manifestants-a-lyon-02-02-2014-1787179_23.php

    Andrew Coates

    February 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm

  3. […] Andrew Coates blogs at Tendance Coatesy […]

  4. […] Andrew Coates blogs at Tendance Coatesy […]

  5. Now this is the kind of comment I like (from the Spam folder):

    “Aracelis”

    I do agree with all the ideas you’ve presented to your post.
    They are really convincing and can certainly work.

    Andrew Coates

    February 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm

  6. Socialism in One Bedroom:

    I think you really need to stop regarding Muslims as one indivisible group. Apart from the splits between religious tendencies there are also differences in religious commitment and in how much belief transfers to political positions. Just as there are far-right Christians, there are far-right Muslims. Political Islam does share many of the ideas and positions of the ‘European’ far-right, that should be obvious.

    Igor Belanov

    February 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm

  7. I agree Igor.

    An underlying point of these posts on Gender Theory and the movement for the Family in France has been to show that the hysteria about the ‘threat’ to the family has, in general, a religious origin.

    This is mainly from conservative Catholics, but some Muslims have also been involved.

    But your observation about Islam as a whole: well the new Constitution of Tunisia guarantees freedom of thought and expression -a fist reports indicate – in any country with a majority Muslim population.

    This has been backed, after very strong debate, not just by secularists (many of whom consider themselves Muslims in any case), but by the larger Islamist parties.

    That said there remain problems with the Constitution’s wording, as Human Rights Watch observes,
    “The State is the guardian of religion. It guarantees liberty of conscience and of belief, the free exercise of religious worship and the neutrality of the mosques and of the places of worship from all partisan instrumentalization.

    The State commits itself to the dissemination of the values of moderation and tolerance and to the protection of the sacred and the prohibition of any offense thereto. It commits itself, equally, to the prohibition of, and the fight against, appeals to Takfir [charges of apostasy] and incitement to violence and hatred.”

    These paragraphs, overloaded with meaning and references, are filled with contradictions. More disturbing, however, is how vague they are. The clauses allow for the most repressive of interpretations in the name of offence against the sacred. Citing the constitution, lawyers, judges and politicians could interpret Article 6 however they see fit. This ambivalence could hold grave consequences for the country.

    I remember only too well the 10-year battle in the international arena to avoid the criminalization of actions that could be considered “offense(s) to the sacred.” The United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, adopted by consensus in March 2011, eventually ruled out any idea that accusations of defamation of religion could be used to limit freedom of expression. The wording of Article 6 goes against this ruling, thus breaking with international human rights statutes.

    Twists and Turns of Article 6
    The events that accompanied the approval of this article in Tunisia show the extent to which the religious sphere, as it gives rise to passion and conflict, must be handled with extreme finesse. The original wording contained neither the criminalization of charges of apostasy nor the prohibition of offences against the sacred. It simply stated that the State is the “guarantor of religion, of freedom of belief, of conscience and of worship. It protects the sacred.”

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/02/03/problem-tunisia-s-new-constitution

    Andrew Coates

    February 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

  8. “I think you really need to stop regarding Muslims as one indivisible group.”

    I don’t but the far right do!

    “Political Islam does share many of the ideas and positions of the ‘European’ far-right, that should be obvious.”

    So do the left decents. It should also be obvious to anyone with even a slight social awareness that the picture portrayed on this site, far right and Muslims in league and threatening our progress, is totally opposite to the actual reality. Muslims are the main victime of the far right. You would never believe that from the output of this site.

    I am not against a criticism of all religion btw, and I believe that the left should fight for the rights of gay people, women etc etc etc.

    But if you are sensitive to these things, i.e. insidious racism, then you begin to see the pattern of this site and the general sort of people who lap up its output. It is the balance of the output and the framing of the criticism that I cannot abide.

    So let us cut through the bullshit, filter out the token liberalism and leftist posturing and give it straight:

    For the anti Muslim (e.g themadmullahofbricklane) the story goes something like this – in the terrible and anti democratic Muslim nations bookshops are filled with the protocols of the elders of Zion. These anti Semites just lap it up. They are anti Semites by nature. Israel is correct to massacre people in Gaza for this reason. We must defend Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, because they really are surrounded by Barbarians. Letting these people into Europe is a huge mistake, just look at where they have come from, and with their migration they bring with them all the anti Semitism, anti gay and anti women beliefs their bookshops are teaching them.

    These people should be stopped, feared, spied on, and monitored. Snowden and Assange are our bitterest enemies because they prevent the state spying on these barbarians and therefore threaten the Jews of Europe, plus the gays and others also. It is Hitler all over again, and we know very well that every Muslim is a Nazi, underneath it all.

    The likes of John Pilger are scum for defending these people from genocide and oppression, genocide and oppression is too good for these people.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    February 5, 2014 at 7:12 pm

  9. Your point of view is very inconvenient for anyone who is against the spread of religious ideology and practice into everyday politics. If we criticise a Muslim group or individual for attacking the rights of women, gays, etc, we are in fact advocating genocide! What if I criticise the BNP? Am I proposing the oppression of white, English people?

    Igor Belanov

    February 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

  10. “Your point of view is very inconvenient for anyone who is against the spread of religious ideology and practice into everyday politics. ”

    The fact is that we are becoming less religious and more atheistic, so there is no spread to fight against. No leftist organisation should make religion part of its program of action and people of faith should be aware of that. My problem is the perspective and slant of this site that is the issue. It is distorted and conspiratorial.

    “If we criticise a Muslim group or individual for attacking the rights of women, gays, etc, we are in fact advocating genocide!”

    In the case of the drone supporting left, yes it usually amounts to apology for genocide at best.

    “What if I criticise the BNP? Am I proposing the oppression of white, English people?”

    You sound like a BNP supporting cousin of mine! He says that you can criticise WASP’s (white anglo saxon protestants) but not these ethnics!

    You cannot equate the experience of ‘white’ people and Muslims. Going into the reasons for that would require giving a detailed history lesson with a touch of philosophy.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    February 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm

  11. Give me this ‘detailed history lesson’ that proves that Muslims are a special case.

    And try to explain how, when I am criticising the BNP, I’m really supporting them.

    Igor Belanov

    February 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm

  12. To your first point, no thanks. Try reading a book or something.

    I find it incredible that leftists cannot see the problem with equating whites with an ethnic group who are the number one preoccupation of the far right. It shows a staggering lack of historical and social consciousness. Stewart Lee did a joke about Jimmy Hill, who compared the mocking of his chin with racism.:

    http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2004/aug/12/comedy.edinburghfestival2004

    It may help your understanding a little if you can find the footage.

    To your second point, this is not what I said. Far rights are in the habit of equating the plight of whites and the major oppressed groups. So they make arguments along the lines of, if you can criticise us then we can criticise them. You comment was just another version of this.

    ***I of course you whites and non whites in the way the far right view the world***

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    February 6, 2014 at 8:50 pm

  13. Your confusion of identities is shocking. ‘White’ is a racial concept, which covers people of different religions and nationalities. ‘Muslim’ is an expression of religious belief, held by people of many different races and nationalities, and is subdivided into different sects, which frequently murder each other’s followers. You seem to regard ‘white’ and ‘Muslim’ as exclusive entities, one of which oppresses the other. Yet many other non-white people of different religions and nationalities have also been the victims of racism in the ‘West’. How do they fit into your scheme? It is largely due to the rise of extremist Political Islam in recent times that this section of the community has been unfairly focused on. But according to your attitude that ‘Muslims’ are one entity, with one set of interests, then from the point of view of the far-right it makes sense to persecute them. Not until we stop reducing people to one identity will this type of persecution stop.

    Igor Belanov

    February 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm

  14. I think we can see where Socialism in One Bedroom draws his inspiration. Standup comedians. The point for socialists is that class oppression and racial oppression are part of the same phenomenon. Look, stop trolling, it’s not big and it’s not clever. Also, learn to write clear English. Remedial classes may help you.

    Sue R

    February 6, 2014 at 11:51 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: