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France

Putchist generals and sorcerer’s apprentices

Wednesday 28 April 2021, by Julien Salingue

"If nothing is done, laxity will continue to spread inexorably in society, ultimately provoking an explosion and the intervention of our comrades on active duty in a perilous mission of protecting our civilizational values and safeguarding our compatriots on national territory.”

This was the statement of twenty retired generals, claiming the support of “[a] hundred or so high-ranking officers and more than a thousand other military personnel” on 21 April on the website of the rightwing rag Valeurs actuelles. Sixty years to the day after the generals’ putsch in Algiers, a quarteron of officers are threatening a military coup to confront, in their words, “a certain anti-racism”, “Islamism” and “hordes from the banlieues”. [1]

Macron and his government can be proud, as they have largely contributed to the dissemination of racist and Islamophobic campaigns, when they did not initiate them, notably around the “separatism” law and the pathetic polemic on “Islamo-Gauchism”. The embarrassed silences of the government in the face of the generals’ tribune were noticed, and it took four days for the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly to come out of her reserve. But on the side of the Macronie, it’s “Move along, nothing to see,” like the former Secretary of State and now “national coordinator of intelligence and the fight against terrorism“ Laurent Nuñez: “I don’t have to give my opinion on this tribune”.

The same people who see “fascism” in internal meetings between racialized people have therefore found little or nothing to say about a call for a putsch made by generals who may be retired but who obviously still have links in the army. Not much to say either about the fact that Marine Le Pen greeted the generals’ tribune and invited them to join her: “Like you, I believe that it is the duty of all French patriots, wherever they come from, to stand up for the recovery and even, let’s say it, the salvation of the country.”

We are certainly not on the eve of a military putsch, but this tribune and the reactions - or lack of reactions - it has provoked unfortunately say a lot about the zeitgeist. Macron and his followers, both sorcerer’s apprentices and pyromaniac firemen, are playing a particularly dangerous game, against which the construction of a radical and massive political and social opposition is more than ever on the agenda.

Translated by International Viewpoint from L’Anticapitaliste.

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Footnotes

[1In 1961 four generals (a quarteron or quartet) of generals tried to organize a coup against President Charles de Gaulle to force him not to abandon French Algeria. See wikipedia. The banlieue are the working class areas around Paris and other big cities with a high immigrant descendant population.