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Posts Tagged ‘Gilets Jaunes

On the Anti-Semitism of Certain Gilets Jaunes against Alain Finkielkraut.

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Unity Against Anti-Semitism.

Yellow-vest protests: Macron condemns anti-Semitic abuse

BBC.

French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned anti-Semitic abuse directed at a prominent intellectual by a group of “yellow vest” protesters in Paris.

Police stepped in to protect the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut after he was bombarded with insults and anti-Jewish taunts in the French capital.

President Macron said it was an “absolute negation” of what made France great and would not be tolerated.

Tens of thousands took part in anti-government protests on Saturday.

Prosecutors have now opened an investigation into the incident, and France’s interior minister said on Sunday that a suspect alleged to be the “main perpetrator” had been identified by the authorities.

It is significant that the French Communist Party was one of the first to react:

Ian Brossat, chief French Communist Party candidate for the European Parliament, said “We can hate Finkielkraut’s ideas”, but “nothing can justify attacking him as a Jew”.

The Local.

The anti-Semitic insults hurled at Alain Finkielkraut by certain Gilets Jaunes in Paris on Saturday continue to make waves in France.

This was on Europe 1 this morning.

Bernard-Henri Lévy : “On est dans un moment qui me fait penser à l’époque de l’affaire Dreyfus”

BHL’s scattergun polemics will leave many people cold.

But in some respects he is completely to the point.

In le Monde Diplomatique this month Serge Halimi & Pierre Rimbert defend the Gilet Jaunes as a manifestation of class war.

They cite an episode from the history of French socialism. In the debate, known widely as the “Two methods” held in the Hippodrome of Lille in 1900, Jules Guesde defended the sectarian ‘class against class’ against those socialists who had defended Dreyfus and no backed a government to ‘defend the republic’ against the far-right ‘reactionary’ threat

In Lille in 1900, the socialist leader Jules Guesde had already seen through this political game to which the capitalist class owed its longevity in power: ‘It is divided into progressive bourgeoisie and republican bourgeoisie, clerical bourgeoisie and free-thinking bourgeoisie, in such a way that a defeated faction can always be replaced in power by another faction from the same class, which is also [our] enemy. It’s a ship with watertight partitions which can take in water on one side without being any less unsinkable.’ But sometimes the sea gets rough and the vessel’s stability is threatened. In such a situation, squabbles need to be set aside to present a united front and keep it afloat.

The authors do not cite Guesde’s opponent, Jean Jaurès.

The exchange hinged on the participation of a socialist, Millerand, in the bourgeois (republican) government of René Waldeck-Rousseau. For  Jaurès defending Millerand was a matter of being against Nationalism and Reaction (“contre le nationalisme, contre la réaction”).

The disagreement,as mentioned, went back to Dreyfus.

Guesde refused to back the Jewish victim of anti-semitism on the grounds that the affair was “un conflit interne à la bourgeoisie “(an internal squabble within the bourgeoisie).

Comrade Jaurès replied to these arguments by asserting that the human rights at stake with the injustice against Dreyfus were a matter for socialists.

There are two parts to capitalist and bourgeois legality: There are a whole mass of laws aimed at protecting the fundamental iniquity of our society, and there are laws that consecrate the privileges of capitalist property, the exploitation of the wage earner by the owner. We want to smash these laws, and even by revolution if necessary abolish capitalist legality in order to bring forth a new order. But alongside these laws of privilege and rapine, made by a class and for it, there are others that sum up the pitiful progress of humanity, the modest guarantees that it has little by little conquered through a centuries-long effort and a long series of revolutions.

And among these laws the one that doesn’t allow the condemnation of a man, whoever he might be, without discussion with him is perhaps the most essential. Contrary to the nationalists who want to keep of bourgeois legality all that protects capital and turn over to generals all that protects man, we revolutionary socialists want, within today’s legality, to abolish the capitalist portion and save the human portion. We defend legal guarantees against the braided judges who smash them, just as, if the need arises, we will defend republican legality against generals in a coup d’etat.

Jean Jaurès 1898. The Dreyfus Affair

That  tradition, which sees the fight against anti-Semitism as part of the wider struggle for human rights, and socialism, is quiet but is now becoming more and more alive.

Yves Colman, one of many on the radical French left,  stands against this latest manifestation of anti-Semitism,

Quand des Gilets jaunes lancent des insultes antisémites et xénophobes contre Alain Finkielkraut ils ne font que suivre les traces de leurs prédécesseurs de Nuits debout

The fact that Finkielkraut is reactionary, hostile to Muslim immigration, is indeed an excellent reason to fight it politically. The fact that he does not understand the difference between Islam and Islamism, or between political Islam and jihadist terrorism, the fact that he defends Renaud Camus, the theoretician of the “great replacement”, does not make him particularly attractive.

But there is a wide margin between this and making antisemitic and xenophobic remarks about him when you come across him in the street. This is the step  that yellow vests made today.

Yves continues, comparing this incident to the outpouring of hatred that occurred when Finkielkraut made an equally provocative visit to the Nuit Debout movement’s spectacle at the Place de la Bastille in 2016.

The extreme left, denouncing Finkielkraut’s slightest gesture and systematically associating him with Zionism, could only have facilitated the creation of the current anti-Semitic climate. From this climate left and extreme left who claim to be “anti-Zionists” are partly responsible.

Anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim racism go hand in hand. And we can not pretend to fight the second without fighting the first. Otherwise we play the game of the extreme right

 

Here

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Gilets Jaunes (smaller) Demonstrations Continue, as Gilets Jaunes Lists for European Elections Splinter and Fragment.

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End of the World, End of the Month: the Same Struggle.

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Photos from PR.

The moblisation for Act IV of the Gilets Jaunes was in delcine;

10,200 demonstrators in France, including 3,000 in Paris, according to the Ministry of the Interior

For the first time a majority of French people polled have supported to an end to the movement:

SONDAGE. 56% des Français demandent l’arrêt du mouvement des Gilets jaunes

(14th of February).

Despite criticisms from prominent figures in the movement, Eric Drouet , who are opposed to electoral participation on traditional lines, there are three Gilets Jaunes Lists for this year’s European Elections in France:

The “Rassemblement des Gilets jaunes citoyens“.

The “liste baptisée “Union Jaune”.”

And, the first, and best known, “Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne” (RIC),”

The latter has already suffered its own split. Two days ago their leading figure Ingrid Lavavasseur left the list. (Ingrid Levavasseur quitte la liste “RIC” des Gilets jaunes.

The presence of people using the election for their own political ends, and those who’ve been associated with Macron’s party on the slate is said to be as one of the reasons.

It is said that they are rapidly approaching the kind of divisions marking the French left, who have – at least – 7 different lists,  Lutte ouvrière, Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste,  Parti communiste français, La France insoumise, Parti Socialiste, Europe Écologie Les Verts, Génération·s : le mouvement commun.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 16, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Rise in anti-Semitic Acts in France.

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2018, 69 % increase of  anti-semitic acts in France.(Plantu)

(To underline this the Plantu FB page where this cartoon comes from, is already full of racist, and anti-semite, comments.

eg, “Pourquoi la France serait-elle à l’abri d’actes antisémites provoqués par l’attitude des Juifs”).)

Number of antisemitic attacks in France rise by 74% in one year

Independent.

‘These acts are revolting,’ prime minister says

Portraits of a Holocaust survivor stained with swastikas. A memorial in honour of a Jewish man vandalised. A bagel shop with the German word “Juden” sprayed on its front window.

These are just a few of the hundreds of antisemitic acts that have been committed in recent months in France, home to the world’s largest Jewish population outside Israel and the United States.

According to French authorities, registered incidents of antisemitism rose to 541 last year from 311 in 2017, an increase of 74 per cent.

“These acts are revolting,” prime minister Edouard Philippe said at the French parliament on Tuesday. “Day after day I’m noticing scandalous degradation and inscriptions. Day after day, I’m noticing that symbols and venues our country cherishes are attacked.”

The French left daily, l’Humanité talks of a foul stench from the 1930s.

The FSU says:

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Libération leads on a wave of anti-Semitic acts sweeping across Europe;

L’Europe menacée par une «déferlante» d’antisémitisme.

Opinion polls and statistics show a worsening of anti-Semitic incidents and the growing concern of the Jewish community. A third of European Jews have considered emigrating.

….

 the upward trend observed in France is confirmed elsewhere. And especially in Britain, where the second largest Jewish community in Europe after France lives.

According to the Jewish Community Security Trust (CST), which has been tracking antisemitic incidents in the United Kingdom since 1984 and has just published its 2018 report , these acts increased by 16% last year, from 1420 to 1652. the third consecutive year, the level of  incidents rose again, which confirms,  the CSE highlighted , the existence of a strong trend.  In detail, the organisation has recorded 122 violent attacks, 78 cases of vanadalism or desecration, 109 physical or verbal threats and about 1,300 cases of “abusive behaviour”, a category encompassing both verbal attacks, hate e-mails, graffiti and antisemitic messages on social networks.

In another article in Libération Antisémitisme : un fléau sans finBernadette Sauvaget) this point is made,

..it is too early to put forward any definitive explanations for this recent increase anti-Jewish acts.  “We are witnessing a resurgence of traditional anti-Semitism,” said Marc Knobel. The historian noted the return of themes such as the supposed link between Jews and money, typical of 1930s anti-Semitism. “If Macron had been the director of Crédit Agricole, nobody would have said anything about it, explains Marc Knobel. The fact that he worked at the Rothschild bank fueled a lot of rumours. ” There appears to be a convergence  between the propagation of conspiracy theories (which take up the theme of the supposed hidden power of the Jews), their widespread dissemination on social networks, the influence of the ultra-right and the generalization of a climate of violence in society .

The Times leads on this:

Yellow vests fuel surge in antisemitism across France

But the following comment has been made, by Business Day,

the rise in anti-Semitic acts in France predates the “yellow vest” movement and there was no evidence on Tuesday tying the latest incidents to the movement.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner said anti-Jewish offences reported to the police surged 74% in 2018 to 541 from 311 in 2017. Castaner said 183 involved assaults and at least one murder, while 358 were anti-Semitic threats or insults.

“Anti-Semitism is spreading like poison,” Castaner said while visiting a memorial site outside Paris for a young Jewish man who was tortured to death in 2006.

A tree planted at the site where 23-year-old Ilan Halimi’s body was found had been chopped down, and a second tree was partly sawed through.

The following has been announced: (Europe 1)

Une manifestation contre l’antisémitisme ? Ce serait “une très belle initiative”, selon ces “gilets jaunes

A demonstration against anti-Semitism? It would be “a very good initiative”, according to these “yellow vests”

Pourquoi en appeler ainsi aux “gilets jaunes” ? Pour l’heure, aucune des enquêtes sur des actes récents d’antisémitisme n’impute la responsabilité aux “gilets jaunes”. Pourtant, plusieurs voix établissent un lien entre ces actes et les agissements d’une minorité radicalisée se réclamant du mouvement qui agite la France depuis le 17 novembre. La présence de certains groupuscules violents d’extrême droite au sein des cortèges, elle aussi, inquiète.

Why call so on “yellow vests”? For the moment, none of the investigations into recent acts of anti-Semitism impute liability to the “gilets Jaunes.” However, several voices link these acts to the actions of a radicalized minority claiming the movement that has agitated France since 17 November. The presence of certain violent groups of extreme right within the Gilets Jaunes marches, is equally worrying.

As in:

And this:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 13, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Violent Clash Between Far Right Gilets Jaunes and Anti-Fascists on March in Lyon.

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Far-Right Gilets Jaunes Confronted by Anti-Fascists at Lyon.

Affrontement entre groupes d’ultra-droite et d’extrême gauche à Lyon.

Lors de la manifestation des Gilets jaunes à Lyon ce samedi, des membres de groupuscules d’ultra-droite et des « antifascistes » se sont affrontés violemment.

Le Parisien.

The outbreak of  violence lasted a maximum of ten minutes, but left a deep impression. This Saturday, in Lyon, a clash between “yellow jackets” of the ultra-right and far left took place on the sidelines of Act 13 of Gilets Jaunes protests , in the city of Gérard Collombe (Socialist Mayor of the Metropolis of Lyon).

Lyon is well-known as the home for a number of far-right organisations, identitarians and the classic extreme right, Génération Identitaire, Bastion Social,  Jeunesses nationaliste, and the ex-Oeuvre française. It was a stronghold of l’Action Française during the Second World War.

LYON, CARREFOUR DES DROITES EXTRÊMES (2018)

 

More here:

This is how one far-rightist spun it:

VIDEO: Pitched battle between opposing ‘yellow vests’ in Lyon

There is a problem about the presence of the far-right at Gilets Jaunes protests which cannot be wished away by classing them as “fake” Yellow Jackets.

Gilets Jaunes is not a registered trademark.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm

Between 18,000 and 30, 000 marchers in Paris for ‘Day of Action’ called by Union Federation CGT, and some of the Gilets Jaunes.

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Radical Left Says: neither Macron nor (Gilet Jaune Leader) Drouet.

Today,  following the appeal, principally by the left-wing trade union federation, the CGT (Confédération générale du travail), a Day of Action was held in France.

A response the “pseudo” national debate launched by President Macron work stoppages and marches have been held demanding (for the CGT),

  •  an increase in the minimum wage, the Smic of 20% (1800 euros gross),  and all wages and pensions as well as social minima (that is social security payments).
  •  equal pay for women and men.
  • a tax reform with a more progressive income tax and reduced VAT on basic necessities, the restoration of wealth tax and greater taxation of higher incomes and capital ownership.
  • control and conditions of public aid to large companies.
  •  the development of public services.
  •  respect for public freedoms, such as the right to protest challenged by the government.
  •  strengthening collective rights and guarantees, unemployment rights, social security, including retirement.
  • fair and supportive plans for ‘ecological transition’ (measures to make reduce carbon emissions and other green policies).

Entre 18 000 et 30 000 manifestants à Paris.

Le Monde reports:

For the “mardi de l’urgence sociale” called by la Confédération générale du travail (CGT), Solidaires, Force ouvrière (FO) and some representatives of the Gilets Jaunes there were 160 marches across France. There were a few work stoppages (a small number of railway services were affected, 5% of teachers went on strike), some Radio France programmes were disrupted and two to three hundred drivers of VTS (a category of taxis, véhicules de tourisme avec chauffeur) joined the day of action. Groups of students and lycéens also responded. Despite a call for airport workers to follow the movement the Aéroports de Paris maintained aeroplane flights.

Gilets jaunes, étudiants, retraités... Plusieurs milliers de manifestants ont défilé ce mardi à Paris à l'appel de la CGT. / © Alain Jocard / AFP

France Info. 

Across the county a number of roundabouts and roads were blocked by Gilets Jaunes and trade union activists.

A number of tens, though minor, confrontations with the police took place across France.

More details of the effects here: Les autres secteurs touchés

Left parties and groups joined the appeal for the protest, Attac, the fondation Copernic, the banlieue collective La Vérité pour Adama, former Socialist Party Presidential candidate, Benoït Hamon’s Génération·s, Jean Luc Mélenchon’s  La France insoumise,  the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste )NPA_ and….. Mélenchon’s  personal faction, the Parti de gauche.

Libération states that Philippe Martinez, the secretary general of the left CGT union federation, emphasised the convergences at work between the unions and the Gilets Jaunes, at least in in certain areas. He remains nevertheless very cautious when it comes to engaging the CGT in a rapprochement on a national scale, pointing in particular to the presence of the extreme right in the demonstrations. “This movement has allowed us to build collective action, and has moved in the right direction” he has recently declared ( Gilets jaunes, gauche et syndicats : «On a intérêt que ça prenne» )

 

The Politics of the Gilets Jaunes and the Far-Right.

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Les Zouaves Paris après l'attaque du cortège du NPA dans une manifestation des Gilets jaunes.

“…the fact that the far right is present in this violence puts them off quite a bit. But it doesn’t bother me.” Verso Author, Éric Hazan.

The group who attacked the Nouveau Parti capitaliste during Acte XI of the Gilets Jaunes march turns out to have been created by former members of the violent far-right organisation, GUD, and (its continuing counterpart outside of Paris) ” Bastion social”.

Zouaves Paris: la résurgence de l’extrême droite radicale violente dans la capitale

France Soir, today.

And here:

“Je songe à ces méthodes qui consistent à violer l’intelligence révolutionnaire des militants (nombreux en France) qui ont l’habitude de se faire eux-mêmes leur opinion et qui se mettent loyalement à la dure école des faits.”

1939 Lettre à Trotsky [Marceau Pivert)

I refer to those methods which consist in violating and brutalizing the revolutionary intelligence of those militants – numerous in France – who are accustomed to making up their own minds and who put themselves loyally to the school of hard facts.

Pivert Answers Trotsky 1939

To read English language left-wing commentary on the Gilets Jaunes is to enter a world in which the far-right appears in the movement only from the outside. They are not the “real Gilets Jaunes”. The US left publication Jacobin has published an article that claims that criticism comes from supporters of Macron, and snobbish attitudes towards the “working classes (who) have been neglected and ridiculed” (IMEN NEFFATI). This academic defender of Gammon is not alone. Just translated into English is the contentious ‘sociology’ of Christopher Guilluy’s book, (Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France). Jacobin’s co-thinkers in Spiked recently interviewed Guilluy, who said,

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.

‘The gilets jaunes are unstoppable’

Christophe Guilluy on the cultural divide driving the yellow vests.

I have not read the translation but the book was published a couple of years ago and is now in a cheap paperback (on the shelf…). It  is not a work of sociological investigation: it is an illustration of a thesis. That is, that the left has dropped the working class, the ‘popular classes’. It has succumbed to ‘globalisation’ and is now based on urban ‘people from nowhere’, the ‘elite’. The rest of society, the “periphery” is left to rot.  This view, shared by the former radical leftist,  Jean-Claude Michéa (who has also written on George Orwell’s concept of ‘common decency’), is that French society has become Americanised, “ inégalitaire et multiculturelle ” – unequal and multicultural. 

The last word should set alarm bells ringing.

The book will merit a fuller discussion but for the moment one can see the opening that the idea of a popular revolt against the globalised elite by the ‘real’ French (as the Gilets Jaunes call themselves, as, for example in the “Gaulois de Calais)” gives to the far right. Marine Le Pen, like the British extreme-right, is a strong critic of “globalism”. The infinitely flexible picture of the “people”, the left-behind, the “somewheres” is ready-made for their use. The below illustrates one effort at being humorous about the brave little Gauls standing up to the arrogant cosmopolitans.

Some of the French left, and not only those in la France insoumise who wish to channel this fight against the “elites” into their Rally’s strategy to “federate the people” behind Jean-Luc Mélenchon, see in the Gilets Jaunes a social movement in which they can intervene.

Some of those “accustomed to making up their own minds” have been a lot more sceptical..

Facebook sert l’extrême droite. Et l’extrême droite pilote les Gilets jaunes depuis Facebook.

There are large numbers of leftist activists, often from the most radical parts of the left, who, like the highly regarded comrades of  patrie ni frontières who have produced their own independent – often highly critical – assessments of the Gilets Jaunes.

And of the police violence:

This Blog, which shares a common political origin in the self-management (autogestion) current, considers that these voices need hearing.

From André Y.

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Written by Andrew Coates

January 29, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Gilets Jaunes, Foulards Rouges, Polarisation in France as Violence continues.

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Gilets Jaunes: “Bum Boy – you work for the Jews.”

France’s Yellow Vest protesters hit the streets again

Police fired tear gas and water cannon to push back protesters at Place de la Bastille in Paris, one of the regular protest sites, as some demonstrators threw stones from a building site.

The local prefecture reported 223 arrests in Paris.

Interior ministry estimated at 2pm (1300 GMT) numbers for the 11th week of protests were at 22,000 across France, compared to 27,000 at the same time last Saturday.

During the violent demonstrations Jérôme Rodrigues, a leading figure of the Gilets Jaunes, was seriously injured in the eye by a “sting-ball grenade” (grenade de désencerclement) launched by the police. (« Gilets jaunes » : blessé à l’œil, Jérôme Rodrigues annonce qu’il va porter plainte )

Amongst the police repression, and the violence of some of the Gilets Jaunes, activists behind the banners of the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste were attacked by a far-right squad.

Ce samedi, lors de l’acte XI des Gilets jaunes à Paris, le cortège du NPA a été attaqué à deux reprises par une cinquantaine d’individus d’extrême droite. Organisé et ultra-violent, le groupuscule fasciste « les Zouaves » (qui a revendiqué les agressions) a ciblé délibérément notre cortège, blessant plusieurs de nos camarades.

This Saturday, during Act XI of the Gilets Jaunes in Paris, the of the NPA was attacked twice by fifty individuals from extreme right. Organised and ultra-violent, the fascist groupuscule  “the Zouaves” * (who claimed responsibility for the attacks) deliberately targeted our section of the march, wounding many of our comrades.

Cortège du NPA agressé par l’extrême droite : nous ne nous laisserons pas intimider !

On the origin of the term Zouve in the French colonial army see here.

The NPA claim that the fascists were not “real” Gilets Jaunes.

Yet they also say that the presence of the far right on the Gilets Jaunes marches is a “poison”.

This is some real Gilets Jaunes at work.

Un journaliste agressé à Paris par un gilet jaune : “Enculé, tu travailles pour les Juifs !

Le Monde.

This could be freely translated as “Bum Boy – you work for the Jews.”

The incident took place near to the  place de la Bastille.

Nor is far-right involvement marginal.

To cite one case;

Un milicien du Donbass au service d’ordre des gilets jaunes

Amongst others, Victor Lenta, who has a long history of activism on the  extreme right (former Parachutist, former member of the Bloc identitaire and Jeunesses nationalistes, who had participated in the Donbass militias to defend the Putin backed ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’,  and his friends, were part of the Service d’ordre’, stewards, for Paris.

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Divisions over the Gilets Jaunes list for the European Elections, revulsion at the racism, violence and anti-Semitism of some of the Gilets Jaunes, have grown.

Now there is another challenge.

Today will see a demonstration against the Gilets Jaunes.

Pro-Emmanuel Macron or anti-gilets jaunes (yellow vests)? A march in response to the French gilets jaunes movement was held in Paris on Sunday.

Dubbed the “Republican march for the liberties“, it brings together three groups that have since December voiced their opposition to the lasting social movement: the ‘foulards rouges‘, the ‘gilets bleus’ and the collective “Stop, maintenant ca suffit” (“Stop, that’s enough now”).

Who are the ‘foulards rouges’? The group protesting against the gilets jaunes

The poster for the 'foulards rouges' march

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 27, 2019 at 12:43 pm