Neither “national union”, nor racist amalgams: our anger, our solidarity

The NPA learned with horror on Friday 16 October of the murder by beheading of Samuel Paty, a teacher in a collège [school for 11-15 year olds] in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. All our thoughts turned to his family, friends, students and colleagues, and more broadly to all education personnel, obviously shaken by this atrocious crime.

The NPA obviously condemned this despicable act and insisted that nothing could justify such an assassination. This horrible crime reminds us that the increasinglyviolent world in which we live, made up of wars, oppression, inequality and misery, is an ever more favourable breeding ground for the most reactionary and deadly ideas, such as the jihadist ideology. We are just as opposed as this project for society as we are to that of the extreme right-wing West.

“Enemies of the republic”

As was unfortunately to be expected, particularly in view of the experience of the attacks of 2015, it was a discourse of hatred and division that immediately flooded the public space, propelled by the extreme right and the far right as well as by the members of the Macron-Castex government. Indeed, the latter chose to participate in the Islamophobic outburst, establishing from day one a link between, on the one hand, the tragedy of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and, on the other hand, its bill on “separatism”, whose logic is to further reinforce the amalgamation between Muslims, fundamentalists and terrorists.

Warlike declarations are multiplying, notably with Gérald Darmanin [minister of the Interior], omnipresent in the media, whose many statements are on the same level as the abjections of the extreme right. More than words, the first acts of the Minister of the Interior also go in the direction of an Islamophobic radicalization: proposal to dissolve associations such as the Collectif contre l'islamophobie en France (CCIF), police raids in mosques and imams’ homes which, according to Darmanin himself, are “not necessarily related to the investigation” but to whom it is a question of “giving a message”, etc. The Minister of the Interior has also taken a number of measures to promote Islamophobia.

“Not a minute's respite for the enemies of the Republic,” said Darmanin about these raids or the campaign groups that he would like to see dissolved, throwing collective opprobrium on many individuals and bodies that have nothing to do with the crime of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, and preparing the ground for a more comprehensive offensive against all those who refuse to fit into their “republican” mould. Far from going against the outburst of Islamophobic hatred that we have been witnessing since last Friday, the authorities are contributing to it by mixing up Muslims, fundamentalists and terrorists, reinforcing the divisions on which haters and ultra-reactionary ideologies thrive, at the risk of encouraging more attacks.

Against their national unity, our solidarity

Since the tragedy, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Michel Blanquer have also been outbidding each other, notably by multiplying declarations of love for teachers – for whom they have only contempt the rest of the time – and praising the essential role of schools, which they have not stopped destroying in recent years. It is therefore difficult not to be outraged at the hypocrisy of a white man defending the freedom of expression of teachers when we know to what extent the hunt for recalcitrant teachers is organised in the National Education system, like the case of the four teachers in Melle who were punished for having mobilized against the baccalaureate reform.

We reiterate our unwavering commitment to the freedom of expression and the pedagogical freedom of teachers, and our total solidarity with the family, friends and colleagues of Samuel Paty, and more generally with the entire teaching staff, who have been affected by this assassination. This is why the NPA has joined, and will continue to join initiatives to express mourning, anger and solidarity following this tragedy, while refusing any logic of national unity with the false friends of teachers and those who advocate a headlong rush to repression and increased stigmatization of Muslims.-

If the legitimate emotion and anger over the death of Samuel Paty is not to be exploited, it must be accompanied by a demand for greater solidarity, equality and social justice, as well as a rejection of all forms of amalgamation. The racist and security “answers” will only reinforce the divisions within our class, and thus give the fanatics of all sides something to grind. And beyond that, against a rotten, violent system which sends us, collectively, a little further each day into barbarism, it is the question of the construction of another world which is posed, free from oppression, from exploitation, and all those who feed on that.

22 October 2020


Julien Salingue