227 years ago today the people of Paris stormed the gates of the Bastille and in doing so starting one of the most momentous occasions of the French Revolution. To celebrate Bastille day, we bring you this short extract from Eric Hazan's People's History of the French Revolution in which Eric discusses the events of July 14th 1789.
A statement published in Libération on 17 June: Five dozen intellectuals, activists, and trade unionists call for resistance against the government and for continuing strikes, blockades and occupations. Translated by David Broder.
So here we see it. Their great fear, and their great efforts to try and hide it by playing the tough guy who won’t give in. We’ve been expecting it for months, and here it is: they’re waving around the threat of banning demonstrations. The height of the unacceptable? With this government, something worse might always be around the corner. This is the same government that cynically commemorates the 1936 strikes of the Popular Front era. It may well defend its own interests, the interests of the powerful, the interests of profits and money. That makes sense — that’s the fight it’s waging. But if only it’d rein in its celebrations and recuperation of a past it never stops trampling underfoot.
This editorial was first published in Libération. Translated by David Broder.
According to [French prime minister] Manuel Valls, "anti-Zionism is quite simply synonymous with anti-Semitism." This argument is no surprise coming from a politician for whom "the state of emergency is the state of the rule of law" and who wants to combat unemployment by making it easier to sack people. But seriously, now — what exactly is "anti-Zionism"?
There are two possible answers. The first one depends on two assertions, one built on the other: the state of Israel speaks in the name of all Jews worldwide; consequently, to be an "anti-Zionist," criticising Israeli policy, is to denigrate not only the Israeli government but the country’s population and indeed all Jews — and this is anti-Semitism. Such is the claim at the galas hosted by the CRIF [council of French Jewish "community leaders"]
As the British Labour Party leadership is once again the subject of a crisis over its alleged tolerance of anti-semitism, we present an extract from Alain Badiou, Eric Hazan, and Ivan Segré's Reflections on Anti-Semitism. The book dissects the various ways false accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle opposition to the Israeli state and to facilitate the subjugation of the Palestinian people. In this extract the authors consider the role of anti-Semitism in contemporary France.
This interview with Eric Hazan was conducted by Kévin Victoire for Le Comptoir. Translated by David Broder.
Le Comptoir: Opponents of the El Khomri bill [Labour Law] have been occupying Paris’s Place de la République for a week now [this interview was conducted on 7 April]. The movement has spread to a number of towns and cities. Is the insurrection finally coming?
Éric Hazan: I don’t think that this movement can result in anything resembling the insurrection, such as we’re thinking about. The goal seems to be that of forming a type of Podemos à la française — that is, anything but an insurrection. That said, there are a lot of different positions among the people there. But if you think an insurrection is being prepared in Place de la République, I’d have to tell you that’s not the case.