France

Macron's sledgehammer and the nut

CFCM has proposed, and Macron has accepted, the idea of a national register of imams run by CFCM, but how will that work given that most mosques do not recognise CFCM?

French teachers strike

School teachers in France struck on 10 November to demand better virus controls in schools. Their demands included: • Rota systems, with students in school half-time, to allow half-size classes • More staff, again to facilitate smaller classes • Better ventilation and cleaning • Free masks. (Masks are compulsory in French schools). Unions report a 45% turnout for the strike from junior high schools and 20% from primary. In some areas students blockaded senior high schools in the days before the strike as an act of solidarity. On 5 November, the government tried to deflect the strike by...

Murdered by fascists

The French socialist group Lutte Ouvrière has responded to the murder on 16 October of school teacher Samuel Paty, targeted because he let students view the famous “Mohammed cartoons” in a lesson on freedom of expression. “An 18-year-old fanatic, influenced by the fascists of the Muslim world (called Islamists), has killed a school teacher who had displayed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Because of those lowlifes who want to impose their moral order on us, Muslims will be singled out. Dividing us is their ultimate goal. These types feed on each other. Other fascists have been seen attacking...

Stand and be counted

This article by the Algerian socialist-feminist Marieme Helie Lucas, responding to the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist assailant on 16 October, was first published on the Feminist Dissent website. We republish it, with the author's permission, to promote discussion. Assassinations by decapitation or by the sword – which are highly symbolic of all Muslim extreme-right organisations (Al Qaeda, the Taliban, GIA, al-Shabab, Daesh, Boko Haram, etc.) – are not a new phenomenon in France. Several cases have already happened in recent years. It points at the will of the...

Virus: indict the Tories!

Of people who test positive for the virus and should self-isolate, only 20% or fewer are doing so fully. That’s an official estimate. No one knows what percentage of people who are identified as contacts of the infected — and may be infectious themselves, without having symptoms — are self-isolating. Most people asked to self-isolate get no or minimal isolation pay, so isolated properly is economically difficult or impossible. Of those who do self-isolate, many can do so only in overcrowded housing. However careful they are, they’re likely to infect others there. In New Zealand, the government...

The Black Jacobins: the Haitian revolution against slavery

This is a speech by Dan Davison, a labour activist and sociology PhD student at the University of Cambridge, for a talk on C.L.R. James and the Haitian Revolution held in July 2020. All page references are to C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (London: New edn., Penguin 2001). Video, text, and audio.

Nothing for nurses

On 20 July the Tory government said it would accept the recommendations of the Pay Review Boards and give teachers in England a 3.1% rise, dentists and doctors 2.8%, police and prison officers 2.5%. Nurses and junior doctors get nothing new because they are in multi-year pay deals. In France, health workers’ protests have won special pay rises for all health workers and a promise to expand government health spending. • Join health workers' demonstration on 29 July: from 5pm at St Thomas' Hospital, to march to Downing Street at 6pm. Facebook event.

French workers on streets

French workers have come out on the streets again as the virus emergency eases there. On Tuesday 16 June, 18,000 health workers demonstrated in Paris and many thousands in other cities. They were demanding a pay rise of €300 a month for low-waged health workers, increased staffing, and a moratorium on bed closures. They are calling for action from president Emmanuel Macron on his promise, made during the emergency, of a great renovation of French health care. Macron has also promised a referendum to amend France’s constitution by inserting a reference to ecological values, but is fending off...

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