France: The True Face of Macron’s Republic

July 31, 2023, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), Translated from French

In Marseille on the night of July 1 and 2, the life of Hedi, a quiet 21-year-old worker, was turned upside down. During the riots that followed Nahel’s murder in Nanterre, repression raged, resulting in one death from police gunfire, two people in comas, five people with damaged eyelids, one hand torn off, dozens injured (not counted for fear of reprisals), 3,400 arrests, 95% convictions and 600 people in prison. Hedi, who was not involved in the uprising, had the misfortune to come across the infamous BAC anti-crime squad. After being shot in the head with an LBD (rubber bullet launcher), helpless and on the ground, he was beaten by Darmanin’s zealous police officers, who literally lashed out at him. They dragged him into a corner, without ever questioning him, without even carrying out an identity check – so common in the cities. After unleashing their fury, Macron’s henchmen left him for dead, without alerting emergency services. It makes you want to call them dogs, but dogs don’t torture. Hedi’s testimony, after weeks of resuscitation with part of his skull missing, has been viewed over 12 million times on social networks. His courage in bearing witness to his shattered life exposes the Republic of the Rich, which has only violence, mutilation and misery to offer.

A society devoured by a minority of profiteers

Hedi could have been a neighbor, a colleague, a friend, a son. But he lived in a working-class neighborhood and, although French, his family was not “Gallic.” A poor Arab – how easy for racists who wouldn’t have acted like this in a posh neighborhood. And now the police are outraged that those responsible risk criminal sanctions! Their far-right unions, with the support of the Director General of the National Police and the Prefect of Paris, are demanding impunity for these thugs and murderers.

Their indecency knows no bounds. But if these police officers are responsible, where are the people who gave the orders? French President Macron and Prime Minister Borne look the other way, while Darmanin, after a complicit silence, offers his support to the police officers. None of them had a word for the victim or the family. What contempt! A contempt that doesn’t hide how apart they are from the rest of us.

It’s true that the unpopularity of French President Macron and his team no longer needs to be proven, and finding their supporters at work or in working-class neighborhoods has become a sport for those with time to waste. But Macron and his government are doing the job for their true masters: the rich are richer, the poor are more numerous, and the exploitation of workers has never been more profitable. These politicians hypocritically complain about violence in society. But even if money – it seems – has no smell, this staggering accumulation of wealth on the one hand, and misery on the other, ends up exasperating people. It’s these growing inequalities that produce the violence, this social conflagration. So, class contempt is not enough, the truncheon becomes indispensable for the social arsonists that are Macron and the bosses behind him, with the added bonus of racism to divide the exploited and oppressed.

Cold anger won’t do

And all these politicians want us to move on? Ripping off a piece of skull so they can’t criticize this society, that’s their plan for young people? Leaving an innocent young man of immigrant origin for dead after beating him to death, that’s their justice? This cannot and must not go on. So, it’s true, Macron, the bully, defends the interests of the 1% tiny minority, but the workers are much more numerous numbering in the millions. And without the working class, their society, a veritable profit factory, cannot function. The strength of the working class lies in the sum of its organization, solidarity and determination to impose protection for our neighborhoods against police violence, to defend our rights in the workplace, and to demand justice for Hedi and all the other victims.