Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘French Left

French left daily, L’Humanité, fights for survival

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Back  l’Humanité!

Introducing this article I will make one reference.

During the siege of Kobani, in 2014, when all seemed lost, and the Kurds stood alone against the genociders of ISIS, the French Communist Daily had a reporter and a photographer on the spot. 

Vendredi, 12 Décembre, 2014

Dans l’Humanité Dimanche : Notre envoyé spécial, Pierre Barbancey, et le photographe Frédéric Lafargue ont passé 10 jours à Kobané avec les combattants kurdes qui défendent cette ville stratégique du Kurdistan de Syrie contre les assauts de Daesh. Ils racontent le quotidien de la guerre et la résistance farouche de ces femmes et de ces hommes qui a suscité un élan de solidarité international obligeant, malgré le jeu trouble de la Turquie, la coalition anti-Daesh à intervenir pour bombarder les positions islamistes. Mais les combattants kurdes ont encore besoin d’aide pour l’emporter.

Our special correspondent, Pierre Barbancey, and the photographer Frédéric Lafargue spent 10 days in Kobané with the Kurdish fighters who defend this strategic city of Kurdistan of Syria against the assaults of Daesh. They recount the daily life of the war and the fierce resistance of these women and men, which has given rise to a surge of international solidarity that, despite Turkey’s troubled game, compels the anti-Daesh coalition to intervene to bomb Islamist positions. But Kurdish fighters still need help to win.

Like many this writer was deeply affected by the front-line reports.

Today the Guardian has this excellent article:

Hard-left newspaper issues plea to subscribers with court to rule in insolvency case.

The venerable French communist newspaper L’Humanité is fighting bankruptcy, with even rightwing politicians taking out subscriptions to help keep it afloat.

The 114-year-old daily has appealed to readers to support its “great battle” to continue publishing as a court prepares to rule next week on whether it can be saved.

The paper was founded in 1904 by the French socialist leader Jean Jaurès and became the official paper of the French Communist party after 1920. It was an important player in the French press after the second world war, but daily sales have fallen from hundreds of thousands of copies at its height to about 30,000 copies today.

The French government’s system of giving direct and indirect state subsidies to all press titles has benefited L’Humanité, and successive French presidents have sought to ensure the title kept going until now. Its Italian equivalent, L’Unità, folded two years ago.

But the paper’s falling advertising revenue and declining sales have pushed it into crisis. With insolvency proceedings under way, the title is struggling to find solutions.

L’Humanité’s editor, Patrick Le Hyaric, told the Guardian the paper had “an extremely heavy cash-flow problem” because of production costs, falling advertising and subscriptions that do not plug the gap.

He told a court hearing last week it was important to find a way for the paper to continue publishing even if the receivers were called in.

…..

The paper, which employs 200 people, has made an urgent appeal for subscriber support in recent weeks and high-profile supporters from the arts and politics will gather at an event in Paris next month.

Julien Dive, a Picardy politician from the rightwing Les Républicains party, was one of several figures on the right who made a donation and subscribed. He argued it was important to protect a variety of views in media and what he called a “monument of the French media landscape”. He said the paper’s coverage was always “impassioned and different” and it was important for people to read views they didn’t necessarily agree with.

«Laisser mourir “l’Humanité” reviendrait à affaiblir la presse de qualité.» Jérôme Lefilliâtre.

It is not just that the daily was founded by Jean Jaurès.

It is not just that they stood with the Kurds against the Islamist genociders.

This is an issue of press pluralism, the continued presence of a real newspaper of the left.

Back l’Humanité !

LA MOBILISATION POUR SAUVEGARDER L’HUMANITÉ PREND CORPS

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 4, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Gilets Jaunes Menace Rape and Beat up Journalists.

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Gilets jaunes : de nombreux journalistes agressés dans plusieurs villes

Comrade Journalist Attacked by the Gilets Jaunes. 

As the Gilets Jaunes movement is in its death throes, they have turned on the media.

The Local reports.

Reporters Without Borders on Sunday called on those who speak for France’s “yellow vest” protesters to condemn numerous attacks and threats against journalists across the country during the latest round of anti-government demonstrations.

“A turning point has been reached,” Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the Paris-based media rights watchdog, told the BFM television channel.

“We are facing a very serious situation which is threatening to get worse,” he said, after reporters were beaten, kicked and threatened with rape during Saturday’s rallies.

“We call on the spokespersons of the ‘Yellow Vests’ to solemnly condemn increasing violence against journalists during demonstrations,” he tweeted.

Threats of rape:

This is one of their acts, a journalist put in serious danger.

 

Here is the worst, which is described as an attempted lynching.

Those in the UK who wish to imitate this movement have made a serious error.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Anti-Semites and Racists take the lead in Gilets Jaunes Protests.

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Gilets Jaunes preparing to the do the racist “quenelle” on the steps of Montmartre.

Background:

Anti-semitic and hard-right “entryism” has been obvious from the beginning. Dieudonné, a serially convicted anti-semite, appeared beside, Mathieu Seurot, one of the principle figures of the movement in the south west, as early as November 19th. A placard which appeared briefly last week on a gilet jaune held roundabout in the south was stuffed with anti-semitic and anti-masonic references including the letters “SS”.

..

One of the leaders of this group of yellow vests, Eric Drouet, a 33 years old truck driver from Melun east of Paris, was arrested in Paris yesterday. He is accused of carrying a concealed weapon, a cosh or truncheon. His supporters say that the weapon was planted by police.

The yellow vests have wide public support. This is already receding and could begin to collapse after the disgraceful incidents on Saturday. Anti-semitism exists in France on both the right and left but holocaust denial and Jew-baiting rings loud alarm bells in the majority of the population.

I think readers of this blog, who know that I lived in Montmartre , and hold the place and the people very deeply in my heart, will realise just how obscene I find this:

Les manifestants ont chanté ce samedi matin à Montmartre ce signe de ralliement antisystème mais aussi antisémite, popularisé par Dieudonné. L’humoriste antisémite peut jubiler

(Thanks to the French comrades who signalled this)

It is not alone.

 

Un camion bulgare caillassé puis poursuivi pendant 12 kilomètres par des Gilets jaunes à Rouen

 

You can guarantee that supporters of the Gilets Jaunes, in the UK do not register this.

French Yellow Vests fight on, and new forces join the movement

by Charlie Kimber.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Macron, Faced with Gilets Jaunes, “état d’urgence social”; Mélenchon calls for “Citizens’ Insurrection.”

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No automatic alt text available.

Point 24. Immigration: stem migratory fluxes.

Macron raises minimum wage to appease Yellow Vest protesters

He said people on the minimum wage would see their salaries increase by €100 a month from 2019 without extra costs to employers. Pensioners earning less than €2,000 would see the recent increase in social security taxes scrapped. Other measures promised include the abolition of taxes on overtime pay in 2019 and asking profit-making companies to give workers tax-free year-end bonuses

However, he also said he would stick to his reform agenda and refused to reinstate a wealth tax.

“We will respond to the economic and social urgency with strong measures, by cutting taxes more rapidly, by keeping our spending under control, but not with U-turns,” Macron said.

Let us go into the details:

PAULINE BOCK New Statesman.

He promised an additional €100 for workers on minimum wage “without it costing a cent to employers” – because it’s not a new raise, just the re-evaluation of a specific allowance that was already planned. (Le Parisien has calculated that the levelled system will negatively impact around 30,000 of the most precarious households). He said that a tax on pensioners “earning less than €2,000” would be cancelled – without making clear that “€2,000” included all earnings, not solely their pension, and would therefore impact less people than his rhetoric implied. He announced an annual tax-free bonus for workers – “whose employers can afford it”, so at a boss’s discretion. Mere hours before Macron’s speech, the Senate also adopted a freeze of welfare payments for 2019. Macron is a bit like a sneaky character in a Disney film: if you don’t negotiate precise terms in the contract, chances are you’re losing out in the agreement as a whole.

Bock’s excellent article misses nevertheless, one thing from this, the overtime tax break.

Le Monde: 

Les heures supplémentaires seront « versées sans impôts ni charges dès 2019 » alors qu’elles devaient initialement être « désocialisées »(pas de cotisations) en septembre 2019. Cette mesure avait déjà été mise en place sous le quinquennat de Nicolas Sarkozy, avant d’être abrogée par François Hollande.

Les heures supplémentaires correspondent au temps travaillé au-delà de la durée légale des 35 heures, et sont rémunérées davantage. Cette majoration de salaire est généralement de 25 %, mais peut être réduite à 10 % par un accord d’entreprise.

Overtime will be “paid without taxes or charges from 2019” when they were initially to be “unsocialised” (no contributions) in September 2019. This measure had already been implemented under the five-year term of Nicolas Sarkozy,  and was  repealed by François Hollande.

Overtime is the time worked beyond the statutory 35-hour period, and is paid more. This salary increase is usually 25%, but can be reduced to 10% by a company agreement.

So, in effect, Macron has not just tried to appeal to the lowest paid, but to the ‘hard-working’ middle earners who can do overtime.

Bock comments that, “These “crumbs” are unlikely to convince the gilets jaunes to cancel their “Act V”, planned for 15 December.”

I would not underestimate the effect of the latter measure on their constituency, as those interviewed on RTL this morning illustrated.

Nevertheless the refusal to reinstate the wealth tax, the  l’impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) irks many (Piketty : « S’il veut sauver son quinquennat, Macron doit immédiatement rétablir l’ISF » )

There is also the lycéen movement which the left can support unreservedly, not only because of the scenes of police brutality and efforts to humiliate school pupils, but because their protests against education “reform” are right.

Mouvement des lycéens et Gilets jaunes : “On espère faire converger nos luttes”

Update:

Whether they will find an echo in the Gilets Jaunes remains to be seen.

In the meantime the self-appointed leader of the Citizens’ Revolution announced that the Gilets Jaunes protests must continue.

Français encore un effort si vous voulez être révolutionnaires!

The obvious thing to say about Macron’s actions is that he is trying to “reculer pour mieux sauter”.

This can mean either, make a tactical retreat in order to leap back when the time is ripe, or to put off the inevitable.

Unfortunately having had that thought I noticed that  somebody has already made that comment (Pour Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron “recule pour mieux sauter” ). The leader of the far-right notes that the President is putting off the need to face up to globalisation, free trade, AND …..”‘immigration de masse et ses conséquences sociales et culturelles.”

As in:

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Some enthusiasts for the Gilets Jaunes have got so carried away that they ignore the issues this raises.

Verso, apparently a left-wing publisher, has this translated interview (“Paris is not an actor, but a battlefield”) Eric Hazan interviewed about the Gilets Jaunes protests.

Hazan is already notorious for saying, of Jews (he does not bother with the word ‘Zionist’) on the ultra-left  insurrectionist’ site, Lundi Matin, recalling a Paris and a time when ” les juifs n’étaient pas du côté du manche. ” figuratively meaning “près du pouvoir “, that is, to translate. “when the Jews were not on the side of those wielding power.” (EN DESCENDANT LA RUE RAMPONEAU)

This is his latest, on why many intellectuals are reluctant to give unreserved support for the Gilets Jaunes.

A whole range of intellectuals see violence is evil. For those who do not stick to this position and may sometimes consider it legitimate, the fact that the far right is present in this violence puts them off quite a bit. But it doesn’t bother me.

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Amongst many reactions is this one:

Convalescence difficile pour Éric Hazan

Interrogé par Mediapart à propos des «Gilets jaunes», Éric Hazan a fait – notamment – la déclaration confuse et confusionniste ci-après.

On voudra bien considérer le fait que l’éditeur du Comité invisible a connu de graves soucis de santé l’été dernier, qu’il est encore très fatigué, et par suite ne tenir aucun compte de ce qu’il dit.

The following (thanks Paul) from a World to Win News Service  puts some thoughts together not far from those of this Blog, and shared by others, notably French leftists, both from the far left, and more mainstream.

However mad the political origins of the WWNS these points are far from off-beam.

France: “The house is on fire”

…the Yellow Vest movement cannot be evaluated as an isolated phenomenon. Le Pen’s fascist party has been a major force on France’s political scene for over a generation; not only did she make it to the run-offs for President 18 months ago, but her party is leading in the polls for the upcoming European Parliament elections. Le Pen has played a major role in shifting the whole political process to the right. As the mainstream of traditional French politics collapses, as it has in growing numbers of other Western countries, there is an increasing basis for major sections of the ruling class to support her bid for power. Macron is hoping that cancelling the fuel price hike will divide the Yellow Vests and cut off the most determined among them from those among the middle classes whose greatest concern is order, and undoubtedly to use an iron fist on hard-core elements who persist. But stepping up repression against a popular protest risks losing the support among those who look to him as a rampart against the fascists, even as this paves the way for the even more clearly authoritarian Le Pen.

The most important thing is not whether Le Pen is “behind” this movement organizationally. Consider the example of Italy’s Five Star movement. For years it declared itself apolitical and opposed to all parties in the name of “horizontal democracy” by means of social media and Internet referendums, but it ended up in a fascist coalition government alongside openly terroristic thugs who dominate despite the fact that Five Star won far more votes. Again and again mass movements that focus on fighting to turn back the clock and bring back the promises of the past social welfare state have been eaten alive by forces with very clearly defined reactionary political projects – in this case installing a fascist regime as part of defending and advancing France’s position among the bloodthirsty rival thieves of the imperialist world.

How to go beyond the inevitably temporary intersection of different interest groups and unite the people against their enemy, the capitalist-imperialist ruling class and its state? Not like Mélenchon, trying to unite different parts of the masses on the basis of nationalism and futile dreams of reviving the social-democratic welfare state. And not like the anarchists trying to prove that the character of the Yellow Vest movement can be changed and the movement led by proving to be the best street fighters against the police. The people can’t be united spontaneously. Revolutionaries can’t tail after anyone..

For those, by contrast. who wish to dream of the Gilets Jaunes as “une nouvelle construction démocratique” “une respiration démocratique ”  with their ” parlements locaux” and “l’expérience d’une communauté” the following E-pamphlet is recommended:

GILETS JAUNES. Des clés pour comprendre.

Cloud Cuckoo Land Publications is said to be preparing a translation.

 

Gilets jaunes L'actualité

The Gilets Jaunes: some details on the political composition of Saturday’s events in Paris.

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Au pied de l’Arc de triomphe, des manifestants arborent un drapeau avec le blason de Jeanne d'Arc.

 

Quel mythe! dit Hussonnet. Voilà le peuple souverain!

Sarpolotte! Comme il chaloupe! Le vaisseau de l’État est ballotté sur une mer orageuse!”

L’Éducation sentimentale. Gustave Flaubert. 

Who hasn’t taken an active part in a political riot?

I have a friend, a close friend, who recalls chucking bricks at fascists, and bank windows. He tells me that back in the day he got caught up in some protests in the Quartier Latin that ended with a luxury shop being pillaged. He still dislikes the taste of fruit flavoured tea bags.

Last Saturday saw a much more serious series of confrontations across France.

Eyes turned to those that took place in Paris.

Le Monde offers what, by all accounts, is an accurate report on the events around the ChampsÉlysées.

The article says that at the start, at the Place de l’Étoile, there were 2,000 to 3,000 militants prepared for a fight. Amongst them was a strong contingent from the far-right, including Bastion social (ex-GUD), and Action française. They called themselves ‘nationalists’. Harder to find were those responding to the call of the site Lundi Matin, the latest incarnation of the Comité invisible. At another rallying point, there were also a people from the anti-fascist Comité Adama (Le comité antiraciste appelle les quartiers populaires à manifester samedi aux côtés des gilets jaunes.)The latter groups were involved with a few clashes with far right, one of whose leaders, the anti-semite, Yvan Benedetti was hurt. The vandalism at the Arc de Triomphe involved Gilets Jaunes. Many ordinary Gilets Jaunes were caught up by their anger and enthusiasm in the violence. The first rioters likely to be arrested were the less experienced, that is neither from the far right nor the fringes of the left. A third group, involved in the pillage of shops, had young people from the banlieue taking advantage of the opportunity.

Violences de samedi à Paris : quel a été le rôle des ultras ?

Lundi Matin has a theory to justify their involvement: that this kind of action is a challenge to the infrastructure  of society, and a step on the way to destabilising  the state. This idea can be traced to the text  Introduction à la guerre civileThe epigraph, which calls for a permanent effort to conjure up stasis, unrest, is their loadstone. They celebrate the violence over the weekend and blame the CRS and Police (Contrairement à tout ce que l’on peut entendre, le mystère, ce n’est pas que nous nous révoltions, mais que nous ne l’ayons pas fait avant.)

The strategic geniuses published a text recently  saying that the victory of the extreme right in Brazil was not too bad at all, it’s the occasion to get rid of illusions in democracy, the left, and to prepare better things in future: “En réalité, l’arrivée du fascisme n’est jamais aussi mauvaise qu’elle ne paraît à première vue. Au moins est-elle l’occasion de déchanter, de mûrir et de faire un peu mieux à l’avenir.”   LE PROLÉTARIAT BRÉSILIEN N’A PAS ÉTÉ VAINCU PAR LA DICTATURE MAIS PAR LA DÉMOCRATIE

By contrast, les quartiers en gilets jaunes, that is, the initiative of the Comité Adama, attracted several hundred people. It ended caught up in the chaos of the main march (Reportage à la manifestation des “quartiers en gilets jaunes” à Paris). It was and is a democratic and open initiative. These are good people who should be supported. How far they come from the banlieue is not clear.

Image result for quartiers en gilets jaunes a paris

 

In the meantime one of the – all too representative – figures of French conspiracy thinking, who is very active in the Gilets Jaunes, has a secret hoard pf documents  which involve  the imminent start of the Third World War:

(1) “La politique fut une de ces évidences, une invention grecque qui se condensait en une équation : tenir une position, c’est prendre parti, et prendre parti, c’est déclencher la guerre civile. Guerre civile, position, parti, c’était un seul mot en grec, stasis. Et la politique, c’était l’art de conjurer la stasis.”

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

8 Official Spokespersons “Elected” for Gilets Jaunes, One already booted out for belonging to a Trade Union.

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Image result for Des "gilets jaunes" une "délégation" officielle

Macron, t’est foutu, la TaxPayers Alliance est dans la rue!

After a meeting of regional representatives the Gilets Jaunes now how Spokespeople and an Official Delegation.

Des “gilets jaunes” créent une “délégation” officielle

They have issued these demands,

After consulting  supporters on Facebook, the delegation addressed “two main proposals” to the government  : “reduce  all taxes” and  “create of citizens’ assembly” to discuss the themes of ecological transition, “taking in account of the voice of the citizens “, the increase of the purchasing power and insecurity (i.e. crime), the text announced.  They also ask to be received at the Élysée Palace by the Head of State.

Some local groups have not reacted favourably to the initiative, reports  Laure-Hélène de Vriendt for RTL Paul Mara,  spokesperson for Marseille compared the Macron’s Paris centred decison-making. 

A peine nommés, les 8 porte-parole des gilets jaunes réfléchissent… à virer l’un d’entre eux.

The appointment of the eight spokespeople was made “in a hurry” this Sunday, during a procedure restricted to 44 regional representatives of the movement.

After examining their credentials, for any political or trade union affiliations, one of them, Jason Herbert, a former journalist, now in charge of communication as a member of the National Council of journalists of the CFDT-Journalists was found out. He had also a ‘past’ as a representative for workers at employment tribunals,  (Conseils de prud’hommes.)

France Info reports more divisions inside the movement with more and more local groups refusing to recognise these people’s legitimacy:

“Pour qui se prennent-ils ?” : les huit porte-parole officiels des “gilets jaunes” ne font pas l’unanimité

 

There’s even a new Yellow Party:

Those on the British left who have reported on the Gilets Jaunes have so far studiously ignored the far-right element at the head of the march chanting the Identitarian slogan “on est Chez Nous on Saturday on the  Champs-Elysées.

The French government is not so forgiving:

“Gilets jaunes” : le slogan “on est chez nous” rappelle “furieusement la peste brune”, juge à son tour Benjamin Griveaux.

Today President Macron is making a speech on his “Green” “Transition énergétique.”

Faced with violent anti-government protests, French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday will announce a 10-year blueprint for France’s transition to cleaner energy.

France 24.

Update: It’s just emerged that one of the 8 national Spokesperson of the Gilets Jaunes, Thomas Miralles, stood for the Front National (now Rassemblement National) of Marine le Pen in 2014, and before that a Republican list backed by the Parti Socialiste (2010). Both apparently were “youthful  mistakes”.

RTL played this song today: And Me and Me and Me, to celebrate the Gilets Jaunes’ demand for lower taxes and, no doubt, more, better, public services.

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 27, 2018 at 11:41 am

Gilets Jaunes: the Ultra-Right Accused of Creating Saturday’s Violence.

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Image result for ultra-droite aux champs elysees on est chez nous!

Ultra-Right Accused of Leading Violent Protest on the  Champs-Élysées.

According to initial reports, (the violence) was in the majority created by members of the ultra-right, who infiltrated the movement with the sole intention of smashing everything up. These rioters were largely said to be young men, who came from the regions.

“D’après les premiers éléments, il s’agirait en grande majorité de membres de l’ultra-droite, qui se seraient infiltrés au mouvement avec l’unique ambition de tout ravager. Ces casseurs seraient des hommes plutôt jeunes, venus de province.” BFM

The historian of social movements Sylvain Boulouque  evoked the “political colouring” behind the flags carried on the Champs-Elysées, some of which held sympbols of the Sacred Heart and the  fleur de lys. “Calls were spread on the all the web sites of the radical right calling for people to pour into the Champs-Elysees and to storm the Elysée, or at least to get close to it.”

“une coloration politique” des drapeaux représentés sur les Champs-Elysées, parfois frappés du Sacré-Cœur ou de la fleur de lys. “Des appels fleurissent également sur tous les sites de le droite radicale pour descendre les Champs-Elysées et prendre d’assaut l’Elysée, ou du moins s’en rapprocher”,

France Info

In this interview Boulouque notes that the ultra-right were at the head of the march.

 

Here is a broader report:

Anti-government protesters clashed with French police on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Saturday, leaving the area cloaked in tear gas and smoke from fires on a fresh day of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

France 24.

Demonstrators wearing the yellow, high-visibility vests that symbolise their movement threw projectiles at police preventing them from moving along the famed shopping avenue, which was decked out in twinkling Christmas lights.

They also built barricades in some spots, and tore down traffic lights and street signs, creating riotous scenes reminiscent of France’s 1968 civil unrest, or street insurrections in the mid-19th century immortalised in paintings and movies.

Police arrested 130 people, 69 of those in Paris, and 24 people were injured, five of them police officers including one who suffered burns to his groin, the city police department and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

The interior ministry counted 106,000 protesters across France on Saturday, with 8,000 in Paris, of whom around 5,000 were on the Champs-Elysees.

That was far less than the national tally of 282,000 in the November 17 protests.

Castaner said after the tumult died down that damage on the Champs-Elysees was “small”.

The French government cast blame for the unruly protests on far-right politician Marine Le Pen,claiming she egged them on.

But Le Pen rejected that accusation saying she had “never called for any violence whatsoever” and in turn accused the government of “organising the tension” and seeking to make her a scapegoat.

Meanwhile, opposition parties on both the right and left accused the government of trying to reduce the protests to just the sporadic scenes of violence, and turning a deaf ear to the demonstrators’ grievances.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the radical left France Unbowed party who attended a separate march Saturday protesting violence against women, tweeted that the action on the streets was “a mass protest of the people” which signalled “the end for [interior minister] Castaner”.

There is no doubt that there were ultra-right protesters on the Champs-Élysées.

That, is, apart from the Front National, who in French political language are just far-right…

Amongst those present on Saturday was prolific anti-semitic far-right writer, Hervé Ryssen, originally an anarchist, then a holocaust denier, and obsessed with Jewish ‘plots’ Ryssen recently rendered homage to   Robert Faurisson after his death.

Violences aux Champs-Élysées: une centaine de membres de l’ultra-droite parmi les gilets jaunes

Here is a video of them chanting “On est chez Nous” – that is, “It’s our Homeland”

 

This is another picture of them.

 

There is an issue as to why the Police let these demonstrators erect barricades, something, to say the least, unusual  in the posh 8th arrondissement.

Mélenchon of the rally La France insoumise (LI) claims that the protests were part of the great French revolutionary tradition of refusing to pay taxes for the rich.

The far-right Sovereigntist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, leader of Debout la France, who has very publicly backed the protest.,accused the government of seizing on a few idiots to discredit the movement, the honest folk behind the Gilets Jaunes movement.

The Gilets Jaunes protests could be called “populism in the streets”, an upsurge against the government by a very mixed group of people.

It is hard to not to sympathise with those, trapped into using their cars in many parts of France without proper public transport (as is the case in many areas of Britain) are the first to suffer from tax rises on the diesel they were  encouraged to use.

But it is hard to claim that this this protest is ‘floating signifier’ which the left  can ‘hegemonise”  (“Le gilet jaune comme signifiant flottant.  ) There is a case for addressing the issues of the “peripheral” parts of France, which, as in the rest of Europe, suffer from poor transport and a shrinking number of public services. But how exactly can any left, the “composantes progressistes du champ social” convince those who, to put it simply, correspond to the “petrol heads” of Top Gear. Clearly the far-right have not been able to work within the Gilets Jaunes so easily without a reason. Any Green measure is likely to be fought by these people.

It does not take a Doctorate in the behaviour of the far-left to see something of an opportunist running after any form of popular unrest here.

Macron and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner have not just been able to accuse Marine Le Pen and the   Rassemblement National of fomenting disorder.

They have (with transparent logic) posed a real problem for those parts of the French left which have shown sympathy with the Gilets Jaunes.

It is fortunate, helped by support for the march against sexual violence at the same time,  that none have said, “No, it was not the ultra-right – we were there too!”

and Ligne rouge et gilets jaunes  by  & 

and: Classes d’encadrement et prolétaires dans le « mouvement des gilets jaunes »

 

Notably, 

Cet agrégat informe d’individualismes, qui ne veut pas payer pour les autres, s’insère dans un fond idéologique d’extrême-droite. Au delà de la présence plus que problématique de l’extrême droite parlementaire et extraparlementaire, un discours, qui revient comme une rengaine : contre les « parasites » dits du haut (Macron, les bobos, le gouvernement, mais pas la classe capitaliste) et du bas (les précaires, les immigrés, les chômeurs, etc) qui profiteraient de la redistribution. Cela s’est traduit concrètement par des attaques physiques sur une femme voilée, un reporter asiatique, un couple homosexuel, des migrants cachés dans un camion et livrés à la gendarmerie, un camarade noir, etc.