Macron once promised to turn the French State mechanism into a “start-up” State, and this is exactly what he delivers: an authoritarian entity that doesn’t shy at murdering 17 year olds, criminalising ecological activism, and abolishing labour rights, when any of these stands in the way of its plans. Macron’s authoritarian project is not a deviation from representative institutions. Political representation is based on the logic of professionalising politics and closing off the grassroots from directly participating in decision-making processes. Following the logic of technocracy, Macron’s “start-up” state continues down the same path, turning the politician into the absolute professional, following entirely with the principles of the company model where the boss is always right.
Macron’s rising authoritarianism is also exemplary for the untrustworthiness of political representation. In May 2022, he was re-elected with the support of many on the Left who had not endorsed him in the first round, but were urged to vote in the second round to keep out his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen. In his victory speech, he acknowledged this, saying that the result “obliges me”. It is clear that he wasn’t voted to implement such an authoritarian project, and he knows this perfectly well himself, but he is proceeding anyway, ready to trample over any resistance.
As a result police brutality has peaked, leading to the point that 77% of people in France now say they regard Macron as “authoritarian”.
But his authoritarianism has been met with new forms of popular resistance in the forms of series of decentralised rallies — it is important to note the promotion and organisation of these rallies often takes place on social media and outside of traditional political and trade union networks. And often these old bureaucratic organizations come at odds with the new uprisings and resistance movements, as is the case with the French Communist Party that condemns the latest violent protests over the deadly police shooting of a 17 year old boy.
And since the movement of the gilets jaunes, where with every new day a new action and a new location came along, there is a tendency of demonstrators to form small groups, which then roam the city playing cat and mouse with the police, and dispersing before reappearing in different locations.
It is very important that we all support the popular uprising of the people in France, as authoritarianism seems to be rising all over Europe and beyond. And that we quickly move beyond the imaginary of representative and reinvent direct democracy, so that we can de-professionalise politics and let societies speak for themselves and institute their lives in common in accordance to their shared interests and desires, and not for the profits and hunger for power of the elites.
~ Yavor Tarinski
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