Opinions

  • Questions over curious intervention of French state as luxury firm LVMH breaks deal with Tiffany

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    LVMH boss Bernard Arnault and Emmanuel Macron in June 2017. © Martin BUREAU / AFP LVMH boss Bernard Arnault and Emmanuel Macron in June 2017. © Martin BUREAU / AFP

    France's foreign minister has written an extraordinary letter that provides 'cover' for the French luxury goods group LVMH to pull out of an expensive deal to buy famous American jewellery firm Tiffany it no longer wanted to complete. That letter came after LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault reportedly asked foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for help. The affair is now likely to lead to a long and bitter legal battle, one that could even end up with the French state facing claims for compensation from disgruntled shareholders. Mediapart's Martine Orange argues in this op-ed article that no French government has ever gone out on such a limb to support a private company.

  • Why France's new interior minister must go

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    Newly appointed French interior minister Gérald Darmanin. © NurPhoto via AFP Newly appointed French interior minister Gérald Darmanin. © NurPhoto via AFP

    In a French government reshuffle earlier this month, former junior budget minister Gérald Darmanin, under investigation over rape allegations, was given the senior post of interior minister. Darmanin, 37, a loyal ally of former president Nicolas Sarkozy who has been sent for future trial on separate counts of corruption and illegal election campaign spending, has since caused widespread outrage with his comments on the issue of police violence and racial and religious tensions. In this op-ed article, Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel argues why not only Darmanin’s appointment should never have taken place, but why he should now be dismissed in the name of the morality required of public office.

  • French presidentialism and the impoverishment of democracy

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    Emmanuel Macron at the G5 Sahel summit in Mauritania, June 30th 2020. © Ludovic Marin/Pool/AFP Emmanuel Macron at the G5 Sahel summit in Mauritania, June 30th 2020. © Ludovic Marin/Pool/AFP

    President Emmanuel Macron on Friday replaced Édouard Philippe as his prime minister with the appointment of a senior civil servant, Jean Castex. It is yet another example of the excesses of the all-powerful presidential system in France, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this op-ed article, whereby a demonetized president can, alone, change a government for his own political convenience. In an intelligent and adult democracy, he argues, such changes would come about through the debate and collective choices of a parliamentary majority.

  • Racism is suffocating us

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    This week has been marked by numerous demonstrations, both in the US and across the globe, in protest at police violence following the killing of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Afro-American who was suffocated to death by an officer in Minneapolis. In this op-ed article, Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel argues why, when the police is gangrened by racism, it is because the powers in place, a ruling class and its elites, hold a silent hate of democracy, the people and equality – and that this applies as much to France as it does to the United States.

  • How virus crisis is changing the face - and politics - of French society

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    People in Bordeaux, south-west France, applauding health sector workers from their balconies on May 6th 2020. © AFP/Hans Lucas People in Bordeaux, south-west France, applauding health sector workers from their balconies on May 6th 2020. © AFP/Hans Lucas

    The ongoing Coronavirus health crisis facing France is leading to unprecedented political change. Large sections of society are on the march: taking charge of their own professions themselves and setting up numerous support structures and initiatives. And as François Bonnet argues in this op-ed article, this sudden land grab of some very political arenas by new groups has left society's traditional  institutions and political forces flat-footed.

  • Sanofi vaccine row: a patent betrayal of the common good

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    Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson. © ERIC PIERMONT / AFP Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson. © ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

    The chief executive of French pharma giant Sanofi sparked outrage this week when he declared that the US would be first in line for a vaccine his group was developing against the Covid-19 virus. In this op-ed article, Martine Orange argues the move by Sanofi reveals the immoral reality of the pharma business which, instead of serving the common good, has embarked on a profit-seeking commercial war over the coronavirus.

  • The coronavirus crisis and the 'dethroning' of Emmanuel Macron

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    French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address on April 13th 2020. © Hans Lucas via AFP French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address on April 13th 2020. © Hans Lucas via AFP

    In face of the Covid-19 virus crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron has failed in his mission, presiding over disorder, a sore lack of means to fight the epidemic and a ‘communications’ campaign of lies, argues Mediapart publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel. In this op-ed article, he urges the dismissal of an antiquated presidential system and the establishment of a truly democratic republic in France.

  • Why social solidarity is a defence against the virus epidemic

    By Jedediah Britton-Purdy (Jacobin)

    The Covid-19 coronavirus is now spreading in the US, where if you have wealth or a salary, and enough space at home, you might be able to pull off the absurd trick of isolating yourself for a few months, writes Columbia Law School professor and essayist Jedediah Britton-Purdy, but for half the population with no savings, living paycheck to paycheck, which has to hustle every day to find work, this is simply impossible.

  • In support of Julian Assange and in defence of journalism

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    Protests in London in support of Julian Assange. © Jérome Hourdeaux Protests in London in support of Julian Assange. © Jérome Hourdeaux

    Journalism itself is on trial in the proceedings against Julian Assange that opened in London on Monday February 24th 2020 and in which the United States is seeking to extradite him from Great Britain over charges that include espionage. The founder of WikiLeaks is not a spy but an activist working on behalf of a fundamental right: the right to know everything that is in the public interest. That is why we are supporting him, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article.

  • Why an international investigation into Haiti aid scandal is urgent

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    A camp for Haitians made homeless by the 2010 quake. © Reuters A camp for Haitians made homeless by the 2010 quake. © Reuters

    This week marked ten years since a devastating earthquake hit the impoverished Caribbean state of Haiti, when up to 300,000 people were killed and 1.5 million others were left homeless. The ensuing reconstruction programme drew billions of dollars in aid, but also led to massive corruption. Mediapart co-founder and former editor François Bonnet, who has regularly reported on the tragedy in Haiti, details the fiasco and argues here why a thorough investigation into the gigantic scams must be led under the auspices of the UN, and those found responsible must be prosecuted. Nothing less can restore confidence in international institutions – beginning with the UN itself.