National unity is a trap say French socialists

The French government has called national unity demonstrations on Sunday 11 January in response to the murders in Paris. In its statement the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste explains why it won’t be taking part.

The attack with heavy weapons which left twelve people dead in the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo aroused sympathy, indignation, anger and revulsion in the whole country. This terrorist attack is completely unacceptable. The killings of the staff and cartoonists is a crime which is directed at all of us, a crime against democracy and freedom of expression. We offer our full solidarity to the victims of this bloody madness.

The people who have committed these crimes want to terrorise and to deliberately provoke fear and horror. They want to create a situation of extreme tension, to bring about confrontation and radicalisation. There is a huge danger that we will see a surge of racism and Islamophobia. We’ve already seen anti-Muslim activity such as attacks against mosques and people. We must resist this without making any concessions. More than ever, we must fight against all forms of stigmatisation of communities and every sort of discrimination. We must also reject all measures which give more power to the security services or restrict civil liberties.

Hollande is appealing for national unity. His Socialist Party and Sarkozy’s UMP are organising national unity demonstrations to which the Front National, whom Hollande met on January 9th, are asking to be invited. That is how they are all trying to conceal their responsibility for the social and political deterioration and the noxious climate in which we are living. While pretending otherwise, they are cultivating a xenophobic and racist atmosphere, fear of foreigners and people who are different. It is a breeding ground for hatred. They want to divide working people and subordinate them to their politics and to their social order which causes the barbarism they claim to oppose. The epitome of cynicism is Marine Le Pen whose main business is xenophobia and the targetting immigrants and foreigners.

Despair and barbarism

This murderous violence comes from somewhere. It’s created in the heart of the social and moral violence which is very familiar to large numbers of the young people who live on the working class estates. It’s the violence of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and the violence of unemployment and exploitation. This barbarous violence is the monstrous child of the social war that the right and the left are waging in the service of finance. On top of this there are the wars they have started against Iraq, in Afghanistan, Libya, Africa and Syria. There is also the decades long war against the Palestinian people. These are wars, the only purpose of which is to maintain the dominance of the multi-nationals and their right to plunder while empowering the most reactionary fundamentalists. This barbarous military violence creates another sort of barbarous violence. There is no answer to the social decomposition of which the crime against Charlie Hebdo is a dramatic expression unless we fight the politics which make it possible.

Solidarity between workers and peoples.

Our solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, and with the victims of this hateful terrorist crime, some of whom often participated in our struggles, is a fight against all the reactionary stupidities which set peoples or individual men and women against each other and against all backward looking prejudices. Democracy and freedom of expression are indivisible, as much as respect for peoples or human life.

That is why, in our workplaces, homes or colleges we can discuss, meet and demonstrate to make democracy and freedom come alive, completely independent of reactionaries and the government.



  1. This seems a bit ultra left to me. NPA says: ‘ our workplaces, homes or colleges we can discuss meet and demonstrate to make democracy and freedom come alive, completely independent of reactionaries and the government.’ Since the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo there have been demonstration after demonstration in France but tomorrow millions will be out on the streets of France waving Je suis Charlie, Je suis anti racist…there maybe a squabble over banners and the like but to ignore this opportunity to ‘meet, demonstrate, make freedom and democracy come alive…’
    Paris will be no doubt be carefully stage managed but demonstrations are taking place everywhere. I live near the small town of Redon in southern Brittany. A town of perhaps 10000 and all the local working, social and cultural organisations have organised a manifestation against racism, to live in harmony…very liberal viewpoints but an opportunity to meet a few people who may see beyond President Hollande’s appeal for ‘national unity!’

  2. Yes, it is a trap.
    But the NPA has misjudged the character of the demonstrations.
    The vast majority of the people participating aren’t motivated by Islamophobia or racism, nor are they raising reactionary slogans.
    If anything, Hollande was forced to call people on to the streets because the PCF and PdG did first.
    This has prevented the right from taking the initiative and the FN are a no-show.

    But the message being put out by the PCF and FdG is very hard to distinguish from Hollande’s message.
    Which provides an ideal opportunity to reach millions of people with leaflets and papers denouncing French military interventions, racism and state repression.
    Unfortunately the NPA seem to have spurned it.

  3. Btw, the possibility that the 4 victims at the “Hyper-Cacher” supermarket were collateral damage of police gunfire shouldn’t be discounted.
    Press reports initially spoke of an “unidentified accomplice”

    Not much has been written about them, but I note that at least two were Sephardi-looking (as are the majority of French Jews)
    One of them, Yoav Hattab is the son of a Tunisian rabbi.

    Would the armed French cops, ordered to storm the building have been able to tell the difference?

  4. Think the NPA should have taken part and raised slogans and demands. Also worth noting that many of Charlie’s cartoons would have resulted in hate crimes and charges in UK.

    This is a response by Ensemble!, the anticapitalist regroupment in the Front de Gauche, which calls for participation in the broad mobilisations on the basis of strengthening the forces which wish to fight racism and intolerance, but the statement also distances itself from Hollande’s agenda (that’s what I got from it after a quick read through). This ties in,,I think, with what Jeff West and Prianikoff were saying.

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