Opinions

  • French MPs' absence in key debate is parliament's weakness

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    At the end of four days of debates, French MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of the socialist government’s package of proposed amendments to the country’s constitution, which include stripping French nationality from convicted terrorists and giving temporary state of emergency powers a permanent legal basis. The measures are highly controversial and have opened deep divisions both on the Left and Right, yet when the crucial voting of the reforms began on Monday, just 136 MPs out of a total 577 were present. Mediapart political affairs commentator Hubert Huertas argues here that the decried absenteeism reveals above all an inherent weakness of the French parliamentary system.

  • How plan to remove French nationality has become a farce

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    Caught in their own trap? President François Hollande and prime minister Manuel Valls. Caught in their own trap? President François Hollande and prime minister Manuel Valls.

    On Friday February 5th, 2016, the National Assembly began debating plans to alter the French Constitution, including adding the power to strip convicted terrorists of their French nationality. It was supposed to be President François Hollande's grand response to the Paris terror attacks of 2015. Instead, amid general confusion, the government has become bogged down and endlessly changed its mind over the issue. To the point, argues Mediapart's Mathieu Magnaudeix, where the entire affair has become a national farce.

  • The shameful container camp for Calais migrants

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    The container camp in Calais. © Reuters The container camp in Calais. © Reuters

    Most of the estimated 6,000 migrants gathered in the French port of Calais in the hope of crossing the Channel to Britain live in dire conditions in a sprawling makeshift camp commonly called 'the Jungle'. As part of a longterm plan to raze the makeshift shacks and tents, the authorities have begun evacuating part of the site to build a camp with living quarters made out of containers that have no water or cooking facilities. Many migrants are refusing to move in to what resembles a prison, surrounded by fencing, watched over by video surveillance cameras, access to which is controlled by biometric readers. In this opinion article, singer and songwriter La Parisienne Libérée, who regularly commentates on current affairs for Mediapart in music and images, denounces a "shameful" project that has cost 20 million euros of public money.

  • François Mitterrand and the gangrene of power

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    This month marked the 20th anniversary of the death, on January 8th 1996 at the age of 79, of François Mitterrand, the first socialist president to be elected under France’s Fifth Republic. He served two successive terms in office from 1981 until 1995, during which time current president, François Hollande, and other leading Socialist Party figures received their political schooling. Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel takes stock of Mitterrand’s legacy of which, he argues here, the socialists now in power have retained only the dark side.

  • Removing French nationality: the slippery slope

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    Prime minister Manuel Valls presented the reform on December 23rd, 2015. © Reuters Prime minister Manuel Valls presented the reform on December 23rd, 2015. © Reuters

    President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls are forging ahead with plans to strip French nationality from anyone with dual nationality who commits terrorist acts against the country. This is despite strong opposition from many on the Left, including senior figures in the ruling Socialist Party. Here Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel argues that in following this path the socialist government is removing traditional political and historical reference points from its supporters. In particular, he says, the authorities have forgotten the warnings set out in philosopher Hannah Arendt's masterpiece 'The Origins of Totalitarianism'.

  • What the success of Podemos says about the French Left

    Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. © Reuters Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. © Reuters

    Last Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Spain saw the newly-founded left-wing Podemos party take third place with just under 21% of votes cast, right behind the PSOE socialist party (22%) and the conservative PP (28.72%). Mediapart editor François Bonnet and political correspondent Stéphane Alliès argue here that this groundbreaking victory for Podemos, a new left-wing alternative that was founded only last year, provides the French Left with major lessons to learn. But, they conclude, old habits die hard.

  • 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.