Edwy Plenel, author of For the Muslims, calls for a vote against Le Pen and for Macron on May 7, not in order to endorse his programme, but for the sake of defending democracy as a space of free contestation, including in the face of the En Marche! candidate’s own policies. First published in Mediapart, which Plenel founded.
Marine and Jean-Marie Le Pen lead an FN march, 2014.
To vote against Le Pen by voting for Macron is not to vote for this latter’s programme. It is to vote to defend democracy as a conflictual space, traversed by divergent interests and competing causes. A space where its contradictions, its pluralism, its diversity, its claims and its hopes can freely express themselves — including faced with the policies of a Macron presidency.
This essay by Jacques Rancière was published in Libération in January 2011, and then heavily revised for its Spanish publication in the multi-author volume ¿Qué es el pueblo?. Translated from the Spanish version, with reference to the French original, by David Broder.
via Wikimedia Commons.
Not a day goes by without someone in Europe denouncing the risks of populism. But it is not easy to grasp what exactly this word means. In the Latin America of the 1930s and 1940s, it served to designate a certain mode of government, passing over parliamentary forms of representation in favour of a relationship whereby a people was directly embodied by its leader.
John McDonald's conversation with Clément Petitjean — doctoral candidate in American civilization in Paris and a member of Ensemble! — on the French presidential election was first published on the Haymarket Books blog.
John McDonald: I’m hoping that you can start by giving a little bit of context. What were the driving forces of this election, what were people thinking about, and what led people to support the candidates they did?
Clément Petitjean: I would say what’s most striking about the election is that nothing happened the way it should have. The first sign of something strange was in December when the incumbent, François Hollande, who was elected in 2012 against Sarkozy, decided to step aside and not run for reelection. This is unprecedented since the foundation of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
First published in Le Monde. Translated by Loren Balhorn.
via Wikimedia Commons.
Seen from Germany, it is possible to envy, admire, and feel sorry for France all at the same time. One can envy their freewheeling public debates on topics like “globalisation” and Americanisation, Europeanisation and Germanisation, capitalism, neoliberalism, “competitiveness,” and “structural reforms." This is because, in France, it is still allowed to publicly ask what words like “cosmopolitanism” really mean; what societies have to accept in exchange for this cosmopolitanism, how much thereof a society really needs or wants and, moreover, what sorts of compromises societies must make in a global market characterised by a universalistically diluted form of constitutional patriotism. In Germany, by contrast, those who neglect to drink from society’s daily dose of the cosmopolitan nectar tend to be excommunicated from public discourse. There is no legitimate public discussion of the French questions — not in literature, not in the social sciences, not in the media, and not in the parliament (here, as an institution driven by allegedly eternal and unchanging “Western values," least of all). Such questions are shunned, pushed into the far-right corner. Maybe it has to be this way in Germany, and maybe German expectations that it should be this way in other countries as well are merely an expression of envy.
This post first appeared on Christine Delphy's blog. Translated by David Broder.
Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon.
Neither Jean-Luc Mélenchon nor Emmanuel Macron know what laïcité [French state secularism] is. So Mélenchon believes that "schooling" is subject to "laïcité." No: the teachers are, because they are state employees; but not the service users, the students themselves. Which is why the 2004 law banning the headscarf does not conform to the 1905 laïcité law. Macron seems to be unaware that the State Council declared the "anti-burkini" decrees issued by certain mayors last summer to be invalid; he claims that "some of these decrees are justified" since they "target not any cultural issue, but a matter of public order." What "public order" is this? Do the women who wear a burkini disturb public order? No. Rather, the men and women who insult them are disturbing public order; it is not the victims who ought to be penalised.