A short FB post from “Le blog de João” subtitled, “Reflections from an Afro-descendant on colonialism, gender, neo-liberalism and social movements. It is a response to the racist-nationalist dog whistles in Macron’s recent speech. Their website can be found here. This has been translated for us by our resolute collaborator, Otto Mattick (we just made the graphic & edited a bit really).
References to “secularism”, “national identity” or “immigration” by Macron are not a mere “diversion” to from the supposed “real problems” put on the table by the #giletsjaunes movement.
Racism is never a diversion, but a class strategy that has both material and ideological foundations and whose goal is to maintain the hierarchical social order. Despite the undeniable heterogeneity of the movement, the yellow vests mostly express anger as FRENCH people who WORK but can’t make ends meet. This would not be unfair in itself, but precisely because they WORK, a lot, and they are at home, in their country. These two points are important and carry with them signs of distinction. Distinction between those who work VS the so-called assisted; distinction between those who are fully legitimate and those who are not, referring to their belonging of the “nation”.
It is to this segmentation of society that Macron is responding to. Because it works, because class societies are racialized in their foundation. It is important to realize this, because to say again and again that opening a racist debate instead of satisfying social requirements is a “diversion” is giving the impression that racism is not a pillar of this system but a simple tool that can be used from time to time to fool people.
No, people are not deceived. Whites, even the proletariat, have real interests in racism (finding work is less difficult, even if unemployment remains high, but it is less so for them than for non-whites; finding housing is less difficult, not being concerned by ID-control stop and their sometimes fatal outcomes, not being the target of continuous media stigmatization, etc). We must realize that racism is a social relationship. When we prevent Doe of African origin from having such a job or housing it is because we give it to Doe, a white Frenchman. So yes, racism gives advantages to whites, in varying proportions depending on their class: crumbs for the proletarians, cake for the bourgeoisie. But it always seems better to have crumbs than nothing at all.
So when Macron proposes to talk about secularism, immigration etc., he is notevadint the issue and misleading anyone, he implicitly reminds some, the whites, even proletarian ones, that if they will not indeed have a real fare share of wealth, they will at least have the assurance not to fall as low as the The wretched of the Earth, namely populations of post-colonial backgrounds.”