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France

After the dreadful attack on Charlie Hebdo national unity is a trap: let’s unite for democracy and solidarity against racism

Sunday 11 January 2015, by NPA

The NPA will not be participating in the "national unity" demonstration in Paris on Sunday 11 January alongside François Hollande’s Socialist Party in government, Nicolas Sarkoyzy’s UMP and the vast majority of French political parties, as well as many heads and representatives of government.

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 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 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.

Translation by Socialist Resistance.