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Why French anti-fascists took to the streets last weekend

Thousands marched in Paris and other cities in France last weekend to protest against  violence by far right groups which claimed the life of Clément Méric, a student union and anti-fascist activist. Below is a joint statement by the organisers and supporters of the demonstrations:

Fascism kills. Together, we can fight it!

On 5 June, right-wing militants killed Clément Méric, the student union and anti-fascist activist. This outrageous murder angers and horrifies us: it follows numerous assaults in recent months by far-right groups. The situation calls for a strong response, to put a halt to the spread of these ideas and foul practices.

Recognising our differences, the undersigned organisations call for unity to pay tribute to Clement and to eliminate fascist hatred.

Encouraged by parties who borrow the words and practices of the extreme right, fascist groups have resurfaced. The latest actions against marriage for all was an opportunity for them to take centre stage. We denounce the trivialisation of the Front National (FN) and its xenophobic and racist ideas.

Exclusion, rejection of the other, the closing of borders, the scapegoating, the denunciation of immigration as responsible for all the evils, are attitudes which – history shows – a precursors to the worse. The [French] state is creating a poisonous atmosphere by organising mass expulsions, leading to the stigmatisation of immigrants and Roma. Instead, it is necessary to act decisively against the fascist commandos.

Odious and unacceptable in itself, the murder of Clément goes beyond the individual drama. Attacks against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, against immigrants, Muslims and anti-Semitic acts of violence against antifascist activists and progressive organisations , have multiplied throughout France and across Europe. Lies, hatred, violence, death is what the far right brings, at all times and in all places.

This is not a moral issue; fascism feeds on fears about the future: [in France] there are 5 million unemployed, 8 million people living below the poverty line, 3.5 million are ill-housed, there is an increase of job insecurity, poor working conditions, layoffs, plant closures … With the explosion of inequality and austerity policies, it is necessary to rebuild the collective hope for a more just society. The question of the distribution of wealth we produce is fundamental. The far right is the opposite of these values.

To use the death of Clément would be despicable. To the contrary, we are honouring his memory by championing publicly all his trade union and anti-fascist commitments and by pursuing with more vigorhis struggle for freedom and another type of society.

Unity against fascism and the extreme right! Demonstrations will be held in Paris, Sunday, June 23 at 15,00h and also organised in other cities.

Our organizations will meet again after the event: to eradicate the fascist threat requires sustained work and the organization of local groups. Our organizations are different, but they have one thing in common: the rejection of intolerance, nationalism, hatred and exclusion, the opposite of what the extreme right aims to impose!

Fascism and the far right are not political movements with which one can enter into dialogue. They are based on physical violence, hatred and the enslavement of peoples.

Initial signatories

AC !, Act Up Paris, Action antifasciste Paris Banlieue, Alternative Libertaire, APEIS, ATTAC France, CADAC, CEDETIM/IPAM, CGT Educ’action Versailles, CGT Educ’action Créteil, CNDF, CNT, Collectif Antifasciste Paris Banlieue, Collectif CIVG Tenon, CONEX (Coordination nationale contre l’extrême droite), Collectif de Saint Denis contre le FN et l’extrême droite, Confédération paysanne, Convergence et Alternative, DAL, DIDF, EELV, FA, FASE, FASTI , Fédération Anarchiste, FIDL, FSU, Fondation Copernic, Gauche Anticapitaliste, Gauche Unitaire, GISTI, Jeudi Noir, Justice et Libertés, L’appel et la pioche, La Horde, La LMDE, Les Alternatifs, Lesbian and Gay Pride Lyon, Les Debunkers, Marche Mondiale des femmes, Marches européennes contre le chômage, MRAP, Mémorial 98, MJCF, MNCP, M’PEP, NPA, PCF, PCOF, PG, Pink Bloc Paris, Ras l’Front Marne-la-Vallée, Ras l’Front 38, République et Socialisme, Réseau pour un avenir sans fascisme, SGEN-CFDT Académie de Versailles, SLU (Sauvons l’université), SNESUP-FSU, Solidaires Etudiant-Es, SOS Racisme, Sortir du colonialisme, Syndicat des avocats de France, Syndicat de la magistrature, UNEF, Union syndicale Solidaires, UNSP, VISA (Vigilance et initiatives syndicales antifascistes)…

Appeal in original language (French) 

One Comment

  1. David Ellis says:

    Fascism uses violence to impress the impressionable. The Nazis and their fore runners killed almost 30,000 even before they came to power. In the absence of a radical policy, as opposed to a load of platitudinous crap, and the guts and determination to follow it through to the bitter end on the part of the left then of course the impressive actions of the far right will win the increasingly desparate middle classes to its dark banner. So no amount of moralising or hand wringing about fascist violence will do the trick. In fact that just helps the fascists to prove their determination against an impotent left. Also the identification of nationalism with fascism in this piece is a foolish own goal along with the suggestion that what’s needed to fight the far right is a popular front which even the not quite far right feel able to join i.e. the people who are causing the immiseration of the people the fascists are trying to attract by `feeding on their fears’.

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