Strasbourg, the Gilets Jaunes, and Macron’s Hostile Environment

In the wake of the Strasbourg shooting the French government have been demanding a truce with the gilets jaunes movement. This demand is also being put forth in the liberal media, with the Guardian choosing to run with an article entitled “The French far right is hijacking the Strasbourg shooting to sow division” (December 13), which concludes that “the country needs to come together more than ever and heal our divisions.”

The author of this harmony-seeking article, Cécile Guerin, is correct to acknowledge that the far-right are quite happy to promote racist anti-immigrant conspiracy theories about the shooting. But this does mean that the gilets jaunes should take a break from protesting against their own divisive government, whose anti-working-class policies are actively fuelling racism.

Needless to say, Guerin is well aware of the French government’s relentless contribution to anti-immigrant propaganda — promoting lies and policies that only benefit the far-right — and this summer he tweeted about Macon’s deliberate “attempt at creating a hostile legal environment for migrants.”

Guerin tweet

Indeed, for those with a good memory, just the day before the Strasbourg shooting, Macron — during his televised speech that marked his unrequited capitulation to the defiant gilets jaunes — made sure to inflame far-right sentiments within French society by explicitly highlighting the issue of immigration. As the Guardian’s Paris correspondent, Angelique Chrisafis, pointed out in her article on this speech, “Gilets jaunes protests continue despite Macron concessions” (December 11):

“Some on the left attacked Macron for what were deemed dog-whistle tactics by referring to immigration and French secularism in his speech. Macron had said in his speech that ‘the question of immigration’ must be dealt with.”

Following the tragic shooting, the gilets jaunes movement is correct to ignore Macron’s call for them to desist from protesting.

The protests should continue and Macron must resign.

A new government must be brought to power which will desist from using racism and immigration to divide the working-class, and will instead strive to unite the working-class in their ongoing struggle to create a democratic and socialist alternative to Macron’s capitalist lunacy.

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