French politician Macron wants forced military conscription back

This video says about itself:

Veterans: The French in Algeria

20 December 2010

Al Jazeera examines the bitterness still provoked by France’s colonial war in Algeria and how it fuels resentment between France and its Muslim community.

After Sweden, militarism forced down young people’s throats in France?

By Alex Lantier in France:

Presidential front-runner Macron pledges to bring back the draft in France

21 March 2017

In a public meeting Saturday in Paris, Emmanuel Macron, the preferred presidential candidate of President François Hollande and of the majority of the ruling Socialist Party (PS), pledged to bring back the draft and accelerate the rearming of the French armed forces. Macron indicated his goal was to prepare the army not only to carry out large-scale foreign wars, but also massive interventions inside France itself.

This statement by the candidate whom polls currently favor to win the presidential election is a warning to workers and youth in France and across the world. It comes barely two weeks after Sweden re-established the draft, openly declaring it was needed to obtain enough troops to combat Russia. After two devastating world wars in the 20th century, the European ruling classes are preparing for a new war between the major powers and a frontal assault on living standards and democratic rights of workers at home.

Macron said, “We have entered an epoch in international relations where war is again a possible outcome of politics.” He demanded that France maintain independent capacities “to conceive, decide upon, and execute” military action.

To prepare for the wars planned by Macron and his supporters in the state machine, the army would mobilize entire age brackets. “Universal national service, in the army and the national gendarmerie [paramilitary police] will [include] all young men and women born in the same year, that is, about 600,000 youth per year,” Macron declared. “The period of universal military service will take place in the three years following each person’s 18th birthday.”

The fact that Macron justified bringing back the draft by claiming that humanity is entering an epoch of major wars exposes his cynical attempts to provide a “democratic” and “progressive” veneer for his proposal to force people into the army. He stated this would only be for one month: “Each French youth will meet his or her fellow citizens, mix with different social layers and experience the cohesion of the Republic for a month.” However, preparing for major wars would require far more than a month of military service.

Press reports suggested that setting up the draft would require an initial expenditure of €15 billion, and then a regular yearly expenditure of €3 billion, roughly the budget of France’s nuclear arsenal. Macron already plans to impose tens of billions in austerity measures. Financing the military rearmament he is planning would entail vicious social attacks against the working class.

As Washington spends $1 trillion on upgrading its nuclear arsenal, and German media discuss how Berlin could get its own nuclear bomb, Macron also insisted on reinforcing French nuclear weapons. “Our strategic deterrent is a critical element of our independence and our strategic autonomy for decision and action,” he said. “We cannot allow it to be weakened.”

Macron indicated a large number of potential targets of military action, both in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. “We cannot stay out of the game,” he said about Syria … He also raised Russia, declaring that “only firmness and unity among European countries will allow us to maintain the open dialog with Russia that is necessary.”

One of the most important targets of Macron’s military build-up would be the French population itself, and above all the working class. He proposed to create “a center of planning and operations dedicated to internal operations,” connecting different ministries (including defense, the interior, and foreign affairs) involved in military operations inside France, and a pooling of data of France’s different intelligence services.

This would supplement the existing state of emergency imposed by the PS, which it has already seized upon as a pretext to justify brutal repression of mass protests of youth and workers last year, against the PS’ socially regressive labor law. European Union (EU) strategists do not hesitate to cite the repression of the class struggle as the central goal of their interior military planning.

In 2014, reviewing a book published by the EU Institute for Security Studies titled “Perspectives for European Defense 2020,” German radio Deutschlandfunk wrote that, “Within the framework of the joint foreign and security policy, the responsibilities of the police and armed forces are increasingly being merged, and the capacities to tackle social protest built up. … [U]nder article 222 of the Lisbon Treaty, a legal basis has been created for the deployment of military and paramilitary units within EU states in crisis.”

One of the authors of the book, Professor Tomas Ries, wrote that the main menace to European security was the “conflict of unequal socio-economic classes in world society.”

Macron’s proposals testify to the bankruptcy of capitalism on a global scale. In one country after another, the financial aristocracy is concluding that it needs more cannon fodder to profit from the massive plundering that it foresees would emerge from wars that would involve millions or tens of millions of soldiers at the European level. After the announcement of the massive re-militarization of Germany in 2014, Washington also announced a 10 percent increase of its gargantuan military budget after the election of Donald Trump.

By carrying out the military escalation proposed by Macron, Paris would itself become a driving force in the downward spiral leading, as in 1914 or 1939, towards world war. If France begins to prepare a major military mobilization of its population, this will only step up pressure on other countries in Europe and beyond to do the same.

The draft and the arms race Macron is calling for are not simply the product of NATO’s massive troop deployments along Russia’s western borders under Obama and Hollande, who admitted in 2015 that there was a danger of “total war” between NATO and Russia.

Relations between the major powers are the most unstable than they have been since World War II. Germany, which Macron wants to make France’s major ally, is being threatened with trade war by Trump, who is also threatening North Korea and so implicitly its neighbor, China, with war.

No one asked Macron how many millions or billions of people would die in the wars between the world’s major nuclear powers into which Paris is preparing to send France’s youth. How would the death rates suffered by these youth compare with those suffered by the European generations that fought and died at Verdun during World War I, or Stalingrad during World War II?

Macron’s statement also underscores the dead end of the French presidential election, in which the population is faced with the choice between neo-fascist candidate Marine Le Pen and a series of reactionary Gaullist or PS-linked candidates like Macron. This choice is no choice at all. France under Macron—constantly ready for war, and monitored by a dense network of cops, special forces, spies, and stool pigeons—would be all but indistinguishable from the standpoint of broad masses of workers from a neo-fascist state run by Le Pen.

Late Monday night, some 9.8 million people watched a televised, three-hour debate between the five leading candidates–François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Marine Le Pen and Benoit Hamon–in the French presidential elections: here.

French teenage anti-rape protester saves little girl’s life

This 12 February 2017 French video is called (translated) [Anti-rape-by-police teeenage protester] Emmanuel saved a little girl from the flames in Bobigny yesterday; not the riot police.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 15 February 2017


”I”M NO HERO,’ insisted 16-year-old Emmanuel Toula after he rescued a child from a burning car set alight during last Saturday night’s youth uprising in the Bobigny suburb of Paris.

Nightly youth uprisings and anti-brutality protests have spread in Parisian suburbs since a young black man, identified only as Theo, suffered a brutal attack by a group of four police officers following an ID check in Aulnay-sous-Bois, with one officer allegedly using his truncheon to rape him, on 2nd February.

On Saturday 11th February, as protesters gathered in the northern suburb near Aulnay-sous-Bois to express their anger, 16-year-old Emmanuel Toula was protesting for the first time.

He spotted a small car being surrounded by young people who had started a fire in a garbage can nearby.

A terrified woman jumped out of the car, taking her young son with her. ‘At that moment, I approached the car and I saw a little girl,’ Emmanuel said. ‘She was terrorised. I was afraid because I imagined the car could explode at any moment. I have four little brothers and two little sisters and I thought I could not leave a little girl like that.’

No one seemed to have noticed the child as the rioters started rocking the car and putting burning garbage next to it, so Emmanuel decided to ‘take my courage in both hands’. With the fire creeping up the hood, he approached the car and opened the door. The little girl looked shocked but was not crying.

‘I tried to remove her belt, my hands and arms still trembling,’ Emmanuel said. ‘Then I took her in my arms and I tried to run. But that wasn’t the end of it, as police started firing tear gas canisters in our direction. I started to pick up speed and I felt the tear gas. Deafening grenades fell two metres from us.’

Emmanuel looked for the girl’s mother and watched as the car burned up and exploded. He left the child with a policeman and continued to search for the mother, but never found her and lost both the policeman and the girl. Paris police later appeared to claim in a report that they ‘had to intervene’ to help a girl from a burning car, but Emmanuel and three witnesses, including one policeman, confirmed it was the teenager who rescued the child, the Bondy Blog reports.

‘It was a young black man who came to help a child who was still in the car while the trash was burning beside it,’ a police officer confirmed. Once the occupants evacuated, the car was turned over by rioters and ended up charred by the flames.’

Police then clarified that the phrase may have been a miscommunication at the time of the report’s publication, saying that at no time had they wished to misrepresent the role of Emmanuel Toula in the drama. A police tweet then saluted his courage – #manifestation#bobigny La préfecture de police salue le courage du jeune homme qui a sorti, hier, la fillette de la voiture en feu. – Préfecture de police (@prefpolice) February 12, 2017.

Last weekend’s protests, which had been flaring up in suburban Paris communities since February 2nd, had initially been peaceful but later several vehicles were set alight and shop windows were smashed as police and protesters clashed and police fired tear gas.

‘I identified myself with Theo because I thought that what happened to him could have happened to me,’ Toula said, explaining his reason for joining the protests. For me, it was a civic duty to be there, I had to bring my stone to the building.’ …

High unemployment and racial tension blight several struggling neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Paris – commonly called the ‘banlieues’.

Police have been accused of heavy-handed methods in areas with large immigrant populations.

Theo, a 22-year-old youth worker, said that he left his house in Aulnay-sous-Bois on Thursday 2nd February and found himself in the middle of a police identity check, targeting drug dealers. He said the police operation quickly turned violent and he was set upon by four officers.

He struggled to make sure he was in the view of CCTV cameras, and asked the officers why they were doing this to him. He said one officer proceeded to pull his trousers down and rape him with a truncheon. ‘I fell on to my stomach, I had no strength left,’ he said. He was then sprayed with tear gas around the head and in the mouth and hit over the head, he said. He said he was then sodomised with a truncheon, as well as racially abused, spat at and beaten around his genitals.

Theo was then taken to a police station where he said a ‘much friendlier’ police officer saw his condition and sent him to hospital. He has undergone emergency surgery for severe injuries, which included anal tearing, and has been declared unfit for work for 60 days. …

‘The feeling of humiliation is felt by people,’ Abdallah Benjana, a former deputy mayor who lives in the neighbourhood said. ‘What are (the police officers) seeking? To provoke a spark? Isn’t there enough gunpowder in those neighbourhoods? Unemployment, insecurity, high rents… no perspectives for future. They do that to a young man, it can only explode.’

Protests against police violence have spread across France, three weeks after the sexual assault of Théo, a 22-year-old youth, by police in Aulnay-sous-Bois, a working class suburb of Paris. Théo was hospitalised with a 10-cm wound to his rectum inflicted by a police baton: here.

French protests after rape by police

This video says about itself:

Protests Continue in Paris Against Police Abuse of Black Man

9 February 2017

Protesters took to the streets to call for justice after French police were charged with the rape and abuse of a young Black man. The victim and his family have asked protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

French police mobilize against protests by youth in Aulnay: here.