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Posts Tagged ‘French Politics

Marine le Pen: Presidential “first Choice” for French 25 to 34 Year olds.

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France's Le Pen, at record high in polls, proposes hijab ban | Arab News

Marine le Pen: Presidential “first Choice” for 25 to 34 Year olds,

Le Monde has this story “If abstention remains officially the first choice of “first-time voters”, the voting intentions for young people in their late twenties and early thirties are for Marine Le Pen vote while 18-24 year olds lean more towards Emmanuel Macron.”

While the intention to abstain remains strong amongst those in the 25 to 34 cohort, “only 20% want to vote for Macron. Marine Le Pen has increased her backing from 23% in 2017 to 29% today.

“What is very striking,” says the deputy director of the polling institue Ipsos, “is that these young people, even more than the wider population, have deserted the traditional parties that were the Socialist Party and the Republicans (conservative right wing . They are looking for something else, something radical.  In 2017, it was Mélenchon and partly Macron, today it is still a little Mélenchon and much more the greens, but support for the Rassemblement National has grown significantly.

The historical links between Marine Le Pen’s party and its extreme right violent founders, illustrated by her father Jean Marie Le Pen’s comments on the gas chambers as a “detail of history”, no longer appear to repel large numbers of voters.

46% of young people believe that the RN is an honest party, that it is “capable of having a vision of the future for France” (45% among RN voters, 49% among 18-30 year olds).

An accompanying interview with the sociologist Anne Muxel is headlined: 

« Le clivage gauche-droite a perdu de sa pertinence chez les jeunes.”The left-right divide has lost its relevance among young people.

In effect that while backing the Greens or La France insoumise could channel the same anti-system protest vote casting a ballot for the far right, Muxel draws a parallel between the protest, radical vote, on the extreme right is and support for La France insoumise,  She argues that Jean-Luc Mélenchon had known how to attract a a section of young people unhappy with the with the in-government official left. He also had a very good campaign aimed at young people, using their channels and vectors of expression.

The RN has also, it is widely reported, largely succeeded in a process of “detoxification” or “de-demonisation” of its brand which began with Marine Le Pen’s ascension to leadership of the Front National, name change to the Rassemblent National, (‘re-branding’) in 2017 and continues with her (formal) resignation of Party leader to stand for next year’s Presidential elections as the candidate for  “all French people,” 

One of the most important reasons for this development is that the French left is fragmented, Mélenchon is not a unifying figure, and people, young or old, cannot see a an alternative ‘bloc de gauche’ as a serious contender in the Presidential elections against either Macron or Le Pen.

The FT has the story today:

French politics: Macron faces test of character as Le Pen’s popularity grows

Victor Mallet

It would be a political earthquake as disruptive as the UK referendum vote for Brexit in 2016 and the election of Donald Trump as US president later that year. Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s extreme right Rassemblement National party, is doing so well in the polls that she threatens to foil Emmanuel Macron’s re-election bid and could win next year’s presidential vote to become the country’s first far-right leader since the second world war.

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The latest opinion polls suggest Le Pen has a real chance of winning, representing a significant threat to the French establishment and the unity of the EU.

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Next year, according to the latest opinion polls, Le Pen could lead in the first round and therefore be assured of a place in the final, and if it is Macron that makes it through as well then he is currently forecast to win by as little as 53 per cent to 47 per cent, according to a Harris Interactive-L’Opinion poll in March. The front républicain system is crumbling because many leftwing voters say they will abstain. Some may even vote for Le Pen, whose strongholds are in the industrial towns of the north once dominated by communists.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 5, 2021 at 1:10 pm

The Paris Commune Commemorated Amidst Controversy.

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La Maire de Paris Anne Hidalgo (centre) pose aux côtés de silhouettes de communards, en face de la basilique du Sacré-Coeur, le 18 mars 2021, pour commémorer les 150 ans de la Commune de Paris.

Thursday, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (centre) “la Commune n’est pas morte ! 

 

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune there have been events, exhibitions and many excellent documentaries and radio programmes. There are so many articles, newly published, or re-issued books, that one risks being overwhelmed by the quantity.

This Blog strongly recommends this, from Arte (you can see it on Arte directly through Smart Televisions in the UK).

 

 

On the English speaking left worth signalling are:

The Paris Commune of 1871, Banks and Debt.

And from the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

 

Kelly Rogers.

2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune; the moment that the working class seized political power for the first time, and held it for 72 days. Thousands of women took part in the events of the Commune and, against a backdrop of deep-rooted sexism, championed a revolutionary vision for the transformation of working class women’s lives.

Also available at Shiraz.

There have also been intense arguments over the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune in France.

Streets named after Thiers, who led the crushing of the Commune, have been the centre of calls to have them renamed, or  ‘re-baptised’.

Nowhere have the controversies more intense than in Paris itself. The right wing on the City council refused point blank the proposed celebrations of the Commune.

Yesterday,

A Paris, Mairie et manifestants célèbrent la mémoire de la Commune

Le Monde.

This Thursday, March 18, the socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo and a handful of elected officials from the left are celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune on Place Louise-Michel, at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur.

Fifty Parisians wore as many colourful silhouettes representing anonymous people and a few celebrities such as Louise Michel, Jules Vallès or Arthur Rimbaud, while a narrator told of the unfolding of the events and their heritage: “One hundred and fifty years later, the Commune is not dead! “

Radical leftists protested at the spectacle,

Below, blocked behind the gates, some demonstrators waved red flags and protest. “From Versailles to Paris and Hidalgo, always the same!” They shouted. ‘Down with Macron, down with Castex! “ Their voices disturbed a little the official show, but the accordion amplified by the PA is more powerful. Especially when the singer sang the Internationale, “Arise ye wretched of the earth…”, and continued with Le Temps des cerises, and selected people recited lyrics. “I know my classics” laughed Anne Hidalgo.

Earlier this year there had been a violent debate in the  City Council Chamber.

On February the 3rd, at the municipal council, Anne Hidalgo and her rosé (Socialist)-red-green team received violent criticism from the right, very hostile to the idea of ​​glorifying the event, “this sad moment of civil war “. For the right-wing party Les Républicaines there should have been no question of transforming the Communards into into heroes ” who took hostage and murdered” religious figures, and killed gendarmes, or  for “those who chose to burn the Tuileries, the Palais-Royal, the Palais d’Orsay , the synagogues and our City hall ”.

Here is a detailed article on that row: « Légende noire » contre « légende rouge » : la difficile commémoration des 150 ans de la Commune de Paris.

There is a video to accompany it:

 

 

The BBC also reports on the issues,

A century and a half on, the Commune continues to divide.

For three months from today, Paris’s left-run city hall has prepared commemorations focusing on what it sees as the movement’s great social advances: equality for the sexes, disempowering the Church, participative democracy.

But the right-wing opposition says that Socialist mayor and presidential hopeful Anne Hidalgo is “instrumentalising history” for political ends.

“You can summarise the Commune in one word: violence,” says Rudolph Granier, a member of the centre-right Les Républicains (LR) on the city council.

“It was a populist movement. And in the current state of France and the world – when in Paris we have the yellow vests and in Washington they’re storming the Capitol – I do not think we should be celebrating people who burned down our city hall.”

or another LR councillor, Antoine Beauquier, “the left-wing majority is doing its usual thing of mixing up history and politics”.

“Of course there was an event called the Commune which we should remember. But we should remember what it actually was – not the fantasy of the Communist Party (PC). They think every Communard was a hero. But many were also killers.”

According to the right, by allowing them to run the Commune commemorations Anne Hidalgo is throwing her PC allies a bone in the hope that they’ll support her in the race for the French presidency next year.

The left has retorted by accusing the right of being “sectarian” and failing to see the justice behind the Communards’ cause.

“It is a sign of the times – the French right is getting more and more hardline,” says Laurence Patrice, Communist deputy mayor of Paris.

“They never used to care that much about the Commune. But now with Emmanuel Macron, the French have a president who has abandoned his centrism and is in fact more and more right-wing.

“And that is forcing the traditional right into positions that are ever closer to the extreme.”

BBC.

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 19, 2021 at 11:49 am

France, Minister Launches Investigation into “Islamo-Leftism’ in University Research.

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Islamo-Leftism is not a scientific reality – Centre national de la recherche scientifique

In a counterpart to the UK government’s sudden interest in academia this story has been at the top of French news for the last week.

Minister orders probe into ‘Islamo-leftism’ in French academic research

Speaking on French TV on Sunday, Vidal alluded to Islamo-leftism, which she said was “eating away” at society in general, and that the universities were not immune.

“What you notice in universities is that there is a minority of people who use their academic aura and qualifications…to advance radical or militant ideas.”

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In a statement in reaction to the proposed probe, the Confederation of University Presidents expressed its “astonishment in the face of another pointless row about Islamo-leftism in universities”.

“If the government needs analysis, argument, scientific back-up to help it rise above its grotesque caricatures and petty nit-picking, then universities are ready and waiting,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, MP Julien Aubert, of the mainstream right wing LR party, welcomed Vidal’s move. He declared that the creation of such a fact-finding mission was urgent, so that parliament might address the issue.

The minister also announced that among the issues to be examined by the CNRS is research into post-colonialism.

She said it was “essential” that France’s social science and humanities departments study such such subjects.

French academics blast minister’s warning on ‘Islamo-leftism’

French Higher Education, Research and Innovation Minister Frederique Vidal addresses the National Assembly in Paris on January 12, 2021. © Christophe Archambault, AFP

The French minister for higher education has sparked a backlash from university heads after warning about the spread of “Islamo-leftism” in the country’s academic institutions.

The term “Islamo-leftism” is often used in France by far-right politicians to discredit left-wing opponents they accuse of being blind to the dangers of Islamist extremism and overly worried about racism and identity.

“I think that Islamo-leftism is eating away at our society as a whole, and universities are not immune and are part of our society,” Minister for Higher Education Frederique Vidal told CNews television on Sunday.

The comments came amid a divisive debate in France about what President Emmanuel Macron has termed “Islamist separatism,” in which Islamists are said to be flouting French laws in closed-off Muslim communities and fuelling terror attacks on French soil.

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Vidal also announced that she would order an investigation into the problem of researchers “looking at everything through the prism of wanting to fracture and divide”, which she said included those focused on colonialism and race.

The National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the research body Vidal charged with the study, has already hit back.

Although it agreed to carry out the investigation, the CNRS condemned “attempts to delegitimise different fields of research such as post-colonial studies”.

Asked to comment further in parliament on Tuesday, Vidal said the investigation would determine “what is academic research and what is activism and opinion”.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal appeared to distance himself from the idea on Wednesday when asked for Macron’s views on the issue at a news briefing.

The president has an “absolute commitment to the independence of academic researchers”, Attal said, adding that it was “a fundamental guarantee of our republic”.

In further responses academics have protested at the claims:

 

More protests:

 

As this tweet says, Le monde has an excellent article on the background (I have a sub to the on-line paper). It even mentions our dear old SWP and Chris Harman’s The Prophet and the Proletariat (1994)  – though not the Respect Coalition which was a bloc between right-wing Islamists. softer Islamists, and left groups, like the SWP, and, latterly Counterfire, behind George Galloway. This illustrates that there have indeed been political alliances which could be said to be Islamo-leftists, though few would class Galloway as left-wing these days.

« Islamo-gauchisme » : histoire tortueuse d’une expression devenue une invective

 

Part of the radical left took  another path. In 1994, British journalist Chris Harman, a member of the Socialist Workers Party central committee, theorised, in an article called “The Prophet and the Proletariat”, “the need for a strategic alliance with the Islamists”. “In the past,” he writes, “ the left made the mistake of seeing Islamists as fascists, with whom we have nothing in common. “ But Islamism, he adds, ” has emerged in societies traumatized by the impact of capitalism. ” It is therefore strategically useful and possible to convert these young people to a different approach, that is to say “socialist, independent and revolutionary”.If he did  not use the term Islamo-leftism, the idea of ​​an alliance in the face of a common enemy – capitalist, Zionist, American – is clearly stated here. In France, the text was reproduced in a book, Islamisme et Révolution, by the small group Socialisme par en bas (SPEB), which would go onto  join the LCR.

Islamo-leftism

Essays in Libération and France 24 on the history of this term do not claim to find the definitive origin of this term, rather, both publications trace the term as far back as a 2002 use in New Judeophobia, a book by Pierre-André Taguieff, historian of ideas, who describes Islamo-fascism as a type of anti-Zionism popular among “the new third-worldist, neo-communist and neo-leftist configuration, better known as the ‘anti-globalisation movement“.[3][4] Interviewed in 2016 by Liberation journalists Sonya Faure and Frantz Durupt, Taguieff is not certain whether he coined it or had heard it used, but he points out that the phrases Islamo-progressives and in the 1980s Palestino-progressives were used as self-descriptions by the French left.[3]

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The fact is that a large section of the British left opposed Respect and any alliance with Islamists.

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2021 at 4:43 pm