Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘French Politics

AntiFa: Right-Wing Cancel Culture loses as Anti-Fascist Board Game back on FNAC shelves.

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“Simulation and management game in which you run a local antifascist group.”

The FNAC is a famous institution, best known for its large bookshops/multi-media outlets. One of its best known stores is in the Forum des Halles, opened in 1979. Les Halles (former wholesale flower, fruit, vegetable, and meat markets) is a kind of Covent Garden with a few places (FNAC) where you would actually want to buy things in.

The origins of the FNAC go back to 1954. The chain was created as a purchasing co-operative, or ‘buyers’-club’. While it had became a public limited company decades ago few forget its founders’ socialist principles.

Joint FNAC founder Max Théret (1913 – 2009), was an activist in the 1930s Socialist Party, Jeunes socialistes. With strong ties to Spain he participated in the Frente Popular, fighting in a Republican regiment until 1938. He acted as Trotsky’s secretary and bodyguard when he visited France between 1933 -35. During the War Théret joined the Resistance while remaining close to Trotskyism. Later he became a supporter of the Parti Socialiste and gave financial backing to François Mitterrand before he won the Presidency in 1981. His friend, and co-founder, André Essel  (1918 – 2005) an anti-fascist  activist. During the Second World War he was a member of the Trotskyist Parti communiste internationaliste-Section française de la Quatrième Internationale (PCI-SFQI). Essel also participated in the Resistance, receiving La croix de guerre 1939-1945 in recognition. By the mid-1950s he had ceased any political activity.

With this background it is mot hard to imagine that this news went down badly.

Retailer FNAC withdraws game created by anti-fascist group.


The large French retail chain FNAC has announced the withdrawal from its shelves of a board game ‘Antifa – Le Jeu’ – a strategy game to fight the extreme right – created by an anti-fascist website. It did so after criticism on Twitter from a police union and several elected members of the far-right political party Rassemblement National (RN) – formerly the National Front.

“We understand that the marketing of this game may have offended some of our public. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that it is no longer available in the next few hours,” FNAC wrote on its official Twitter account in response to the national police commissioners’ union (SCPN).

The Antifa game was designed by the anti-fascist collective La Horde as a “training tool.” The Montreuil-based publisher Libertalia published it for the general public in 2021.

On its website, the publisher presents ‘Antifa – Le Jeu’ as “a simulation and management game in which you run a local antifascist group” by setting up “actions that will require time, resources, and a little organisation.”

Each player takes on the role of an antifascist activist charged with fighting the far-right, racism or sexism.

Libertalia denounced “false allegations from the far-right and then from the forces of repression” that led to the withdrawal of the game.

“You will not silence us!” the publisher added on Twitter.

Nicolas Norrito, co-founder of Libertalia, said he was “bruised” by the decision, according to French newspaper Le Monde.

That didn’t last long:

“Antifa”: Fnac resumes the sale of the controversial game Huff Post.

The game, first withdrawn from sale after criticism from the far right, ultimately contains “nothing likely to justify a refusal to market it,” said the brand.

Après deux jours de bad buzz, la Fnac remet en vente «Antifa, le jeu» Libération.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 30, 2022 at 12:29 pm

France: Attempt to get Marine Le Pen’s Party to head a National Assembly Group Studying Anti-Semitism.

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An attempt is underway by the far-right Rassemblement National to head a ‘study group’ into anti-Semitism in the French National Assembly.

National Assembly: controversy surrounding the proposal of the Rassemblement National to chair a study group on anti-Semitism France Info.

It all started with a letter addressed to the deputies. The RN group in the Assembly has offered to chair a study group on anti-Semitism, prompting an outcry from mainstream and left-wing groups.

Outside Parliament Jewish groups have reacted with anger:

Libération covers the story:

A group of Green MPs have just issued this open letter in protest against the move:

“The French right-wing party Rassemblement National has just reached a decisive stage: fifty years after its foundation by Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party has for the first time elected a president from outside the Le Pen family, Jordan Bardella.” writes in praise and awe Hélène de Lauzun for The European Conservative (a journal whose creators include the late Roger Scruton, and that to nobody’s surprise has published Frank Ferudi, The Culture War Against the Past.)

Results of the election, conducted online between September 30th and November 3rd, were announced on Saturday, November 5th, during the party’s 18th annual congress in Paris at the Maison de la Mutualité. Bardella won with a crushing 84.84% of the votes, while his competitor, the mayor of Perpignan Louis Aliot, received only 15.16%. The 27-year-old MEP thus becomes the head of the Rassemblement National, and the first party president not to bear the Le Pen name. 

Bardella, a long-time activist, joined the party at the age of 16 when he was still in high school. He then successfully climbed the ranks, first as regional councillor of Ile-de-France, then as head of the party list for the European elections in 2019. A winning choice, since the list led by the young sovereignist, then almost unknown to the public, came out on top, ahead of the list supported by President Emmanuel Macron. During the presidential campaign of 2022, he distinguished himself by successful television appearances opposing the eminent members of government.

 His campaign relied entirely on the theme of continuity and loyalty with Marine Le Pen. In his inaugural speech, Bardella focused on the traditional themes of the Rassemblement National, emphasising migration and civilisational issues. “With us, eternal France, this legacy from the depths of the ages, this magnificent human, linguistic, cultural, and civilisational odyssey will never end,” he declared at the podium—themes perfectly compatible with Éric Zemmour’s electorate, to whom Jordan Bardella has sent clear signals on numerous occasions in recent months.


Reports from the non-Conservative media show that Bardella’s power is more that of a National Secretary than leader of the RN, whose leadership is now focusing on the Assemblée National, where the Parliamentary group is head ed by Marine Le Pen. With his own links to the ‘identitarian’ far right (Après les accusations de Jordan Bardella et Marion Maréchal, Facebook rétorque que tout contenu pro-Génération identitaire est supprimé lorsqu’il est identifié) and, as the above indicates, sympathy for Zemmour’s ideas, Bardella is still trying to make the party respectable by a campaign of “dédiabolisation.”

Bardella’s partner Jordan is the niece of Marine Le Pen, and granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

He is already having trouble as racist tweets have been found by the RN deputy Grégoire de Fournas, excluded from Parliament for calling for a left MP to go back to Africa.

Despite having got rid – he thought – of them, “virulent publications on the theme of immigration, targeting Africa or its inhabitants, are however still public on his Facebook and Twitter account. In December 2021, Grégoire de Fournas proposed, for example, to “send the Algerians back to Algeria” if Marine Le Pen was elected President of the Republic.”


Written by Andrew Coates

November 10, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Outrage, as, while Marine Le Pen’s Party is choosing a new leader, the RN is embroiled in racist row in the National Assembly.

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Mélenchon, standing next to NUPES deputy Carlos Martens Bilongo , with Clementine Autain, “”Lui, il n’est pas né en Afrique, moi j’y suis né, et personne ne m’a jamais dit d’y retourner” He, the Deputy, was not born in Africa, me, I was born there and nobody has ever told me to go back there.” The leader of La France insoumise called for the heaviest form of ‘sanction’, that is suspension of the far-right Deputy Grégoire de Fournas, from the Rassemblement National, who called for Bilongo to “get back to Africa.”

Jean-Luc Mélenchon was born in the International Zone of Tangier in 1951.

‘Go back to Africa’: outrage at MP’s racist outburst in French parliament. Guardian.

France’s Assemblée Nationale is investigating a racist outburst after a far-right MP yelled “go back to Africa” as a black member of the lower house was speaking about migrants.

Grégoire de Fournas, a member of the far-right Rassemblement National (RN), or National Rally, is now threatened with temporary suspension from the house and a possible loss of pay. He said he was not referring to the MP but to migrants.

The parliamentary speaker said the investigation would focus on whether De Fournas said “he” or “they”, to establish whether the comment was directed at Bilongo or the migrants, before deciding on what punishment was appropriate.(Note that is, “Qu’il(s) retourne(nt) en Afrique”, sound the same, the bracketed words are not pronounced, though this hardly makes for a non-racial comment).

Afterwards, De Fournas apologised to Bilongo for “any misunderstanding”, saying he was referring to migrants arriving in France from Africa. He rejected calls to resign.

The house erupted with outrage after his interjection on Thursday evening. The speaker, Yaël Braun-Pivet, immediately halted proceedings and demanded to know who had made the comment, which came as Carlos Martens Bilongo, of the far-left La France Insoumise (LFI), was questioning the government.

Le Monde now reports that De Forunas has been suspended from the French lower house for a fortnight.

This is particularly embarrassing for the party of Marine Le Pen because this Saturday will see the results announced of an internal election to secure the new Presidency of the Rassemblement National. This morning on France-Inter the outcome of this vote was discussed at length, under the shadow of yesterday’s events.

Élection du président RN : Bardella ou Aliot, qui remplacera Le Pen ?

This Saturday, November 5, Louis Aliot or Jordan Bardella will take over from Marine Le Pen as president of the National Rally. The latter is the big favourite in this election.

For the first time since the creation of the Front National in 1972, which became the Rassemblement National (RN) in 2018, a member of the Le Pen family will not be at the head of the movement, this Saturday, November the 5th. After three months of campaigning, members of the far-right party had until Thursday, November 3, 2022 to designate whether either Louis Aliot or Jordan Bardella will take over from Marine Le Pen as president of the RN. The latter is currently the interim president of the party, as of September 13, 2021.

Nevertheless, even if a new face will take the head of the RN, the influence of Marine Le Pen is still omnipresent. Indeed, the two candidates present themselves as defending the same line as the leader of the RN deputies in the Assembly. Also, even if it is still far from being official, it is probably she who will play the leading role for the oarty during the presidential election in 2027.Th

The campaign that took place without many clashes between the two candidates, who respect each other, even if the mayor of Perpignan, Louis Aliot, criticised his opponent, at the beginning of October, for being closer to the concept of the Great Replacement, supported by Eric Zemmour.

From what has been said Jordan Bardella, 27 years old, is a bit more than a sympathiser of the Great Replacement ideology. It is claimed he is close to organised « identitaires » and relatively forgiving to those on the far-right who attempted a rival Presidential candidacy to Marine Le Pen under the leadership of Éric Zemmour. how far this translates into a “governing culture”, perhaps represented by the Mayor of Perpignan, and former partner of Marine le Pen, Aliot, remains to be seen.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 4, 2022 at 6:22 pm