“ Even the moralistic criticisms that accuse the gilets jaunes of materialism and selfishness can be called into question. Was not the increase in the price of bread the main factor pushing the women of Paris to mount their furious march on Versailles in October 1789? The history of social struggles is peppered with movements arising from an exasperation that owed to the material conditions of the popular classes, movements that can give rise to greater awareness, bring out wider demands, and which can converge with other struggles. Or not.”
The or not here is well taken. Predicting social revolutions is a fool’s game. Whether this nascent leaderless movement becomes part of a force for social and economic revolution depends in part on the contributions of French unions and in turn the support Yellow Vests might give to a host of current union efforts to quash neoliberal austerity and privatization initiative.
The protesters seem wholly uninterested in party politics,” Poirier wrote in the New York Times last week. “But they do have something in common with the extreme right and the radical left: a profound dislike of Mr. Macron.”
While only a few hundred thousand people have physically taken part in the movement so far, Le Figaro and Franceinfo reported late last month that 77 percent of French people support the Yellow Vests’ protests.
“The Yellow Vests seem to be the face of a deep malaise in French society,” wrote Poirier.
By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – – While she is highly unlikely to win the run-off presidential election …
Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen shocks France by announcing she is stepping down as leader of her party.
They walked hand-in-hand into the victory rally, embraced and kissed on stage: Emmanuel Macron, winner of the first round of the French presidential election, and his elegant blonde wife Brigitte.
What does Geert Wilders’ loss mean for Marine Le Pen?
French president calls on European countries to stand ‘stand together’ at meeting of leaders in Lisbon
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Government ministers are speaking to Muslim leaders about conforming to the French secular system.
I’ve been putting off writing this post. I was hoping I wouldn’t need to, hoping I wouldn’t bother. Hoping that I’d see outrage fill people’s timelines and all the usual feminist social media spaces so I wouldn’t feel forced to write something, anything, explaining my outrage. But here I am. Here I am writing about feminism and Muslim women again and namely responding to the deafening, choking, claustrophobic silence from White Feminists.
One group of Muslims held a banner reading: “Love for all. Hate for none.”
Society should focus on cultivating understanding and empathy, not peace.
“I knew as soon as it happened that they would blame Muslims, say terrorists are behind it, we are used to that now; we expect nothing else from the authorities here,” declared Rachid, standing at a street corner with a group of young men. “They humiliate us and then they are surprised when there is violence.” There were nods and murmurs of agreement among his friends gathered in a circle. Young Frenchmen, Muslims, who see the French state as an enemy, feel alienated from the rest of French society and see nothing but a bleak future of strife ahead.
A photograph has been emerged showing the inside of the flat where the man who killed 84 people in an attack in Nice lived.
Here are the latest updates:
France has a long history of protest and terror attacks from a range of different groups.
The killing of a police officer and his partner in the town of Magnanville, 50km from Paris, on Monday evening was “a terrorist attack,” French government said. Earlier media reports suggested that the attacker was sentenced on terrorism-related charges in 2013.
You can take the French flag filters off of your profile pics now, they’ve gone full fascist.
Like so many of France’s mega-estates, this one was mind-numbingly ugly, a forest of ’60s social housing blocks on the outskirts of a large post-industrial town. My friends and I all knew to avoid the local cite, as the French call these tragic enclaves.
The West should take the horrific occasion of the Paris attacks to reconsider its acquiescence in Saudi priorities for Syria and the Middle East. From the vantage point of Riyadh, the great danger emanating from the Middle East is the spread of Iranian influence.
France has a special relationship with terrorism. It is the only country to draw specific, rather than general, threats from ISIS. It is the only country to take on a terrorist organisation and expel it from a country, and it is the only country to brag recently about having none of its citizens in the hands of hostage-takers.
The United States and its allies, including Australia, have taken a fairly laissez-faire approach towards ISIS, aimed at containing rather than expelling it. Even during my visit to neighbouring Iran in November last year, the general feeling was that the government there did not seriously intend to eradicate ISIS, because it wasn’t in its interest to do so. However, France demonstrated in 2013 that with the right coalition, a great degree of confidence and a certain amount of belief, terrorist armies can be defeated even in remote, hard-to-reach places.
France’s engagement in its former West African colony Mali, alongside Malian and African Union troops, engendered a tremendous amount of hatred against it in the world of Islamist radicalism. At the time, al-Qaeda-linked militants had hijacked a local ethnic rebellion in an attempt to form a state in one of the more remote and poorly governed parts of Africa. The fact that France, a former colonial ruler with a history of brutality in the region, was invited to assist by Mali’s military dictatorship and achieved its aim quickly placed a large dent in the morale and self-belief of those who have faith in radical religious-nationalist ideology.
In the past year, ISIS has shocked the world with its speed and brutality. A neo-colonialist army with soldiers drawn from all corners of the globe, this previously obscure group has managed to dominate many parts of Iraq and Syria through military success, as well as by exploiting its reputation for causing fear and sectarian division. France refers to ISIS by the Arabic acronym “Da’ish”, rather than Islamic State, so as to disassociate the group from Islam. That is something ISIS hates and for this reason it has declared that the “filthy” French hold a special place among its enemies.
While some have considered the attack in Paris to be aimed at Europe, the result of foreign fighters returning from the Middle East or of poor integration policies, the question that remains unanswered is why has France specifically drawn such attention from terrorists? Anti-Muslim groups held huge rallies in Germany at the weekend but it was France that dealt with three impromptu terrorist attacks in December.
Even the target itself, Charlie Hebdo, which had published satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, is a specifically French target. After all, these cartoons were published originally in Denmark in 2005, where the main reaction was protests from the Danish Muslim population, who felt they were being unfairly treated by mainstream Danish society. It was only a few months later, when Charlie Hebdo published these cartoons in a special issue, that outrage boiled in many Muslim countries.
Muslim attitudes towards blasphemy are the same as other religious groups. Additionally, the accusation of blasphemy, particularly insulting the prophet, has a long history of being the result of ulterior motives. The 17th century Armenian chronicler, Arakel of Tabriz, documented a dozen or so Christian “martyrs” in his lifetime in the Ottoman and Iranian empires, the majority of whom were executed when a disgruntled neighbour accused them of insulting the prophet. Similarly, several blasphemy trials in Pakistan over the past decade have boiled down to disputes over land between the accuser and the accused. The fact that a French publisher is the target of this well-organised attack and not the original Danish publisher demonstrates that this justification is window dressing for a deeper dispute between the French and Islamic militants.
Ultimately, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be dragged into pointless debates about whether Islam or Western culture are responsible, since these debates serve the interests of those who benefit from division. As the response to the Martin Place attack last month demonstrated, people are drawn together by their common humanity. Attacks like these are not aimed only at the West, but at anyone who doesn’t accept the ideology of the attackers, whether Muslim or not. Let us not forget that ISIS’s primary aim is to first “purify” Muslims.
Dr James Barry is an Associate Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, researching the role of Islam in Iranian foreign policy.