The following article was first published as the editorial of workplace bulletins distributed by members of Convergences Révolutionnaires, the monthly journal of the L’Etincelle (The Spark) faction active in France.


No doubt that a huge wave of shock and protests swept over the country, after the attack with automatic weapons against Charlie Hebdo, followed by the bloody hostage-taking in a kosher supermarket. The attacks aimed at journalists for what they had written and drawn, and at the supermarket customers for their religious background, real or supposed. Against this obscurantism, within a few days, millions of people demonstrated in the streets. To show they shared the same emotion, many have said “I am Charlie”, even though this does not come close to represent the full spectrum of the feelings expressed by the people.

Charlie is “dying of laughter”, but ridicule never killed any head of state

On Sunday, Hollande and his government were at the head of a giant human tide, and no less gigantic operation of political exploitation. The Charlie Hebdo team would have died a second time, of anger, if they had found themselves among this collection of French politicians and heads of state from 50 countries.

Is he “Charlie”, Ali-Omar Bongo, son of the dictator who for 40 years had served the French capitalists, including Total, the oil company that controls close to a third of the country’s oil production?

Are they “Charlie”, the top Russian diplomat Serguei Lavrov (say that to the Russian journalist who was murdered for denouncing the war in Chechnya), the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban who uses fascist groups to smother the media and impose austerity plans, the Spanish head of government Mariano Rajoy who just had a law voted to ban demonstrations, or the representative of the Turkish government that jails and murders opponents and journalists?

Is he “Charlie”, the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, whose latest accomplishment was the massacre of over 2,000 Palestinians last summer?

Is he “Charlie”, the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who reacted to the attacks by immediately implicating immigrants and calling for borders closing?

As Willem, a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist who is still alive, said: “We vomit on all those people who suddenly pretend to be our friends”. And his colleague Luz added: “This unanimity of thought is useful to Hollande to unite the nation. It is useful to Marine le Pen to ask for the death penalty. Charb, Tignous, Cabu, Honoré, Wolinski would have loathed that kind of attitude”.

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The national unity myth, to make us forget the class war here …

Hollande, who invited this collection of dreadful people, hopes to distort the aspirations of millions of demonstrators. This operation is all the more hypocrite since it is conducted by a government that did not hesitate to limit “freedom of speech”, when it prohibited a demonstration for Gaza last summer or with the murder of the young demonstrator Remi Fraisse by cops in October. Nevertheless, all the political parties, more or less voluntarily, have joined the “national unity”. Only the far left, with the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (New Anti-capitalist Party), Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ fight) and a few other groups, have clearly denounced it.

But apparently the bigger the trick, the easier it goes through? Macron, the Banker-Minister who recently advised young people to “have the desire to become billionaires” while working on a new way to restrict labor laws, now cries over Charlie on live TV. But he is the new symbol of the anti-worker policy that’s been going on for decades and has resulted in decrepit working class suburbs, where fundamentalist Muslims have an easy time recruiting young people.

Hollande, with the help of Sarkozy’s team – and maybe later Marine le Pen – will try to use his newfound credibility to increase the attacks against workers and silence the voices of dissent.

People of immigrant origin fear that the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket will aggravate the racist atmosphere. This is unfortunately true, as evidenced by the dozen of attacks against mosques that occurred since the events. But don’t count on the champions of national unity to fight racism. On the contrary, from Sarkozy to Valls, they encourage racism with their constant demagogy aimed at immigrant workers, Roma people, Blacks, or North-Africans.

The confusion between terrorists and immigrants has already started, at the top: at a reunion held this Sunday, the government announced that the first measure would be to reinforce “Frontex”, the European border police, whose job is to push away the Mediterranean boat-people … As if terrorists were aboard those makeshift crafts that cause thousands of dead, each year, among the immigrant hopefuls! As if the problem was caused by immigration, even though the three jihadists were born in France!

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… and to pursue the wars abroad

Bush had used the 9/11 attacks to justify invading Afghanistan, then Iraq. Hollande does the same and, as soon as January 7, announced he is determined to intensify the so-called “war on terror”. The truth is that these continuous wars only aim at maintaining the supremacy of multinational corporations and their right to pillage natural resources. The chaos resulting from the occupation of Afghanistan since 2001, the occupation of Iraq since 2003, or the bombings in Libya in 2011 did not weaken the Islamists, on the contrary, it provided them a fertile breeding ground.

So the people of these Muslim countries suffer doubly: from the Western military interventions and from the Islamic terrorists. The attacks set off by these terrorists, including the very few in Europe or the US, aim at supporting their dictatorship over the areas they control in the Middle East and Africa. Algerian people who lived the civil war of the 90’s, directly or through their families, still have the painful memories.

And the armed groups that manage to durably keep control of an area and its people sometimes get recognized by the Western powers, like Libya’s Gadhafi before his fall or the Iranian ayatollahs today. Maybe one of them will be invited by Hollande for the next demonstration in Paris?

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What now?

The trap hasn’t closed yet. Hollande and his team, always there to serve the bosses, expect to use their newly found popularity to worsen their anti-worker policy: more stick, less carrot! Many of those who demonstrated on Sunday on the other hand hope that tomorrow will be different. But there is no god watching over the workers. They always have to defend themselves. To find solutions themselves, in their number – we saw this weekend it is large –, in their organization, but NOT in silent demonstrations – as big as they can be – marching behind the heads of state of a system that takes from the poor, gives to the rich, discriminates and bombs.