When riots erupted last month across France in response to the slaying of a French teenager by a police officer, Europe’s far right wasted no time capitalising on the unrest.
Now entering its third month, the French workers’ movement against the government’s pension changes continues to gather steam. On 25 March, 2 million workers around the country took part in the tenth national day of protest called by the coalition of trade unions leading the fight.
“Work. Metro. Grave.” Macabre but astute, the slogan has adorned banners and placards carried by millions of French workers demonstrating against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to increase the official retirement age from 62 to 64. The slogan distils into three words how French workers feel about having two years of rest and leisure stolen from them and handed over to the bosses.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, following the shameful passage of the Religious Discrimination Bill through the lower house with ALP support, Labor leader Anthony Albanese tweeted the “breaking” news that Labor had “been successful in protecting LGBTQI school children from discrimination”.
I’m a socialist gay activist, so I’m used to being attacked for my politics. You learn to take it in your stride. But one of the most dumbfounding denunciations I ever received was issued by a few other apparently progressive queer activists, who slammed me in May 2017 for the heinous crime of speaking at a protest against the Liberal Party.
As French politicians and parties swing into campaign mode a year out from the 2022 presidential elections, polls strongly suggest that the final round runoff will be between current President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader of Rassemblement National (National Rally, RN) Marine Le Pen. Compared to the last time these candidates faced each other, the margin between them has narrowed significantly: in 2017, Macron defeated Le Pen 66-34; a recent poll by Harris has Macron winning 53-47.