Opinions

  • Naomi Klein on the "mixed day" of COP 21 climate deal

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    Vidéo dans l'article Vidéo dans l'article

    Naomi Klein is a Canadian social activist and author and a director of climate activist group 350.org, whose 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate became her third major international bestseller. Klein has been in Paris throughout the two-week United Nations climate conference COP 21 which began on November 30th, and kept a regular video blog in English published on Mediapart, a project in partnership with US weekly magazine The Nation. In her final contribution (all six blogs are on this same page), she comments on the end of the summit on Saturday, “a mixed day” and an agreement Klein says “does not leave us safe”.

  • France: a government outside the law, a state out of control

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    Two weeks after the November 13th terror attacks, France's Fifth Republic is gripped by fear, a clamour for war and the spectacle of a government that is out of control. This headlong rush towards security at all costs – including the arrest of climate activists ahead of the Paris climate summit - is storing up new crises for the future. The fact that it is a socialist government that has taken France down this route recalls the bad old days of the discredited Fourth Republic, writes Mediapart editor François Bonnet.

  • Democracy is not war

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    The French parliament this week approved a three-month prolongation of the state of emergency introduced in the country immediately after the November 13th terrorist attacks in and around Paris which have left 130 people dead. The debate over the state of emergency powers is about its effectiveness, writes Mediapart editor in chief Edwy Plenel who argues here that the emphasis on security alone is a short-term response driven by an immediate political agenda which hands the perpetrators a symbolic victory, and which disarms French society as much as it protects it.

  • Why fear is our enemy

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    The terrorist attack in Paris and at the Stade de France on Friday November 13th targeted the whole of society; our society, our France, a France made up of diversity, plurality, of people coming together and mixing, argues Mediapart's editor-in-chief, Edwy Plenel. It is that open society that the terror wants to shut down, to silence through fear, to make disappear through horror. And it is this society, he says, that we must defend because it is our most secure and lasting protection against terrorism.

  • Journalism on trial in absurd closing act of the Bettencourt saga

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    Liliane Bettencourt, le 29 mars 2012 © Reuters Liliane Bettencourt, le 29 mars 2012 © Reuters

    This week, five journalists, including Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel and Mediapart investigative reporter Fabrice Arfi, stand trial in Bordeaux on charges relating to the violation of personal privacy. The case centres on the publication by Mediapart in 2010 of extracts of secretly recorded conversations between L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and her entourage of advisors which revealed a catalogue of corruption and manipulation surrounding the ageing billionaire and which led to the convictions of eight people earlier this year. Here, Fabrice Arfi denounces a trial that flouts press freedom laws and threatens the fundamental 'right to know'.

  • The attempted coup by France's 'deep state'

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    Last month, just before Mediapart broke the WikiLeaks revelations about US spying on France, a last-minute amendment was discreetly made to the French government’s highly-controversial snooping bill shortly before it was due to become law. The change would have given the country's secret services complete freedom to spy on any individual who was not “French or a person habitually residing in the country”. A French Parliamentary committee accepted the amendment, though the eventual outcry when details of it later emerged forced the government to remove the measure. However, argues Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel, in an article written before the WikiLeaks spying disclosures, the episode shows just how much the French government kowtows to the anti-democratic tendencies of a whole panoply of non-elected technocrats and officials - France's 'state within a state' or 'deep state'.

  • Mediapart launches operation '#OpenEurope'

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    Mediapart is launching a special project called “#OpenEurope” in partnership with seven Tunisian and European news outlets plus associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This operation is a direct response to the miserable selfishness shown by European leaders, and aims to tell the real stories of how people are coming together to help migrants in Europe. The objective, too, is to defend a vision of Europe that stays true to its values of welcome, asylum and openness. Mediapart reporter Carine Fouteau and editor François Bonnet explain how it will work – and how people can get involved.

  • In defence of France's examining magistrates

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    Last Friday a French court acquitted former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of aggravated pimping charges, relating to his regular participation in group sex orgies with prostitutes. It followed on the acquittal in May, in an unrelated case, of former conservative minister Éric Woerth of charges that he manipulated senile L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt to obtain cash sums, and of influence peddling to obtain a job for his wife in exchange for awarding Bettencourt’s wealth investment manager with the Légion d’honneur. The unsuccessful prosecutions prompted some conservatives, and their allies, to call – and not for the first time - for an end to the French system of examining magistrates, the independent judges who lead major crime investigations carried out in the field by police, and who alone have the ultimate decision on whether to press charges. But in this op-ed article, Mediapart’s legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan argues that such calls are a recurrent knee-jerk reaction on the part of those whose distaste for investigating judges is rooted in the latter’s independence in face of the rich and powerful, as demonstrated over several decades of French judicial history.   

  • After Bettencourt – why France's justice system urgently needs reform

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    One of the greatest political-financial scandals of France's Fifth Republic has been reduced to the level of just another human interest story of money and greed. The verdicts handed down by the courts in the Bettencourt affair on Thursday – in particular the acquittals of former budget minister Éric Woerth – have stripped the scandal of its powerful political dimension. In doing so, argues Mediapart's editor François Bonnet, France's malfunctioning justice system, dependant as it is on its political masters, has shown yet again that it is suffering from a profound malaise.

  • France's 'spirit of January 11' or the ghost of a unity that passed

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    Manifestation du 11 janvier 2015 à Paris. © Thomas Haley Manifestation du 11 janvier 2015 à Paris. © Thomas Haley

    Following the January 2015 terror attacks in and around Paris which left 20 people dead, including the three gunmen, there were huge marches held across France to express public outrage over the events. On Sunday January 11th, an estimated four million people took to the streets of the country’s major towns and cities, with an estimated two million in Paris alone. The French government, and in particular Prime Minister Manuel Valls, has since coined the phrase ‘the spirit of January 11’, using it repeatedly as a rallying call for national unity, notably as it drove through its recent law to introduce mass surveillance powers for the security services. But the recurrent references to what was a remarkable day have now turned sour, amid a heightening debate, as critics on the Right and Left accuse the government of attempting to invent a false conception for cynical political gain. One of them is Christian Salmon, a writer and researcher with the Paris-based Centre for Research in the Arts and Language. In this opinion article he argues that the ‘spirit of January 11’ has “evolved into a confusing scrum, a macabre dance with a cortege of grimacing masks, heroic posturing and denunciations”.