Home News France is playing with fire – Paul B. Preciado

France is playing with fire – Paul B. Preciado

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France is playing with fire – Paul B. Preciado

April 23, 2022 9:12 am

I arrived in France at the beginning of the new millennium, and since then I have seen you do the same thing twice in two different elections: load the election gun with a bullet of hate and a bullet of indifference, spin the drum, point the barrel at your temple and pull the trigger. Democracy, when practiced through the exploitation of data, the glorification of nationalist sentiments, the exclusion of sexual and racial minorities and the control of the press, can become a deadly game.

Some, such as the less acclaimed parties (the Socialist Party or the Communist Party), have played to recover the money they have staked on democratic Russian roulette, without realizing that this game will sooner or later cancel the very possibility of their parliamentary participation. . Others, like Emmanuel Macron today, are happy to play with the bullet of hatred because they believe risk can bring them a petty victory.

I saw you grit your teeth (more or less) holding the loaded revolver aimed at your head and voting for something and someone you no longer believed in but that seemed to you the lesser evil or a solution to “stop Le Pen”. The separation between desire and vote, between utopia and participation in the polls, occurs every time the far-right party enters the second round and inevitably leads to a progressive erosion of democratic processes. Sooner or later (hopefully not next Sunday) this destruction of hope will lead to a disengagement of Democratic voters, who will renounce the right to vote and will, by omission, bring the far right into power. At that point the bullet will explode in the heart of democratic institutions and it will do so thanks to your depoliticization and your cynicism.

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Each of us puts a little gunpowder in the media, in social networks, in political propaganda

I wonder when you will stop playing Russian Roulette (the name never made as much sense as it does today) with your collective political future. Do you really believe that the day will not come when the bullet of a far-right candidate will come out of the drum? Do you really believe that France is so different from the United States, Poland, Turkey or Hungary? Do you think that renouncing the freedom of education and freedom of expression, waging a fratricidal war with our migrant citizens subjected to racism and losing reproductive rights, religious freedom and what little sexual and gender freedom we have fought for in recent times Wouldn’t years be so different from what we already know?

The weapon is not loaded by the devil. Each of us puts a little gunpowder in the media, in social networks, in political propaganda. But now, in the middle of the game, the only one who can empty the magazine and put the gun on the table is Emmanuel Macron. He can do this through an inflection of his program that can bring him closer to the voters of France insoumise, who otherwise, by voting for him, would not only have to dissociate themselves from their own desire but also deny their very existence. Faced with Marine Le Pen, Macron has the obligation and the responsibility to democratize his own neoliberal and authoritarian political program. A refusal on his part to reposition himself on the left would sanction a de facto complicity with the far right and the replacement of democracy with Russian roulette.

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Maybe there really is a French cultural exception, but for sure there is no French fascist exception: you have your beautiful traditions of hatred towards the other, of misogyny and xenophobia … and you feed them year after year with public money, transforming any election in a gamble with fascism, participating with fear but always flirting with the stupid exaltation of the French nation and the excitement of death, the death of democracy.


The moderate and polyamorous Bertrand Russell said that, if democracy does not ensure good governance, at least it allows us to avoid “the most terrible of tigers”: tyranny and fascism, ethnic nationalism, and we could add racial supremacism, sexual and gender. A democratic system, according to Russell, is not defined by its excellence, but by the ease with which it can get rid of an ineffective or corrupt leader without resorting to violence.

Perhaps some might think that letting Rassemblement national rule isn’t such a bad idea, considering Macron’s neoliberal brutality. But the truth is that when an authoritarian and nationalist party, which openly admits its racist, homophobic and transphobic positions, accesses the management of democratic institutions and gains the power to legitimately use violence, then it becomes impossible to stop. In this situation the only (crucial) advantage of the vote for Macron is that we can continue organizing to get rid of him too, as quickly and peacefully as possible.

(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

This article was published by the French newspaper Libératiom

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