After the murder of Samuel Paty, No the National Union! No the Defence of the “values of the Republic”!
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 17; Spring 2021)
The sordid murder of Samuel Paty, a professor killed and decapitated by a fanatic because he had showed a caricature of Muhammad in a course on “Moral and Civic Education”, has aroused general horror and indignation. This reaction has been relayed and amplified by all of the media. In a few hours, a veritable media and political campaign of great extent has seen daylight, orientating the tensions and frustrations born of the present situation, not against an invisible enemy but against an enemy very visible in the flesh and bones: the Islamist terrorist.
This murder is just in time to relay governmental propaganda against the “separatism” which, in the well established tradition of state racism, makes Arab proletarians, usually Muslim, and more generally immigrants, scapegoats for the crisis, presenting them as dangers to the peace and security of good citizens. At the moment where the social crisis is going to express itself and already expresses itself through a frontal attack against the living and working conditions of proletarians, it is of crucial importance for the bourgeoisie to diminish the possibility of proletarians fighting back by accentuating religious and national divisions.
On the topic of paralyzing the proletariat, the ongoing campaign looks to cement the national union between classes. “They will not divide us,” Macron declared, calling for unity. This theme is repeated without hesitation by the left –for example by Melenchon who went even further on national unity, saying on October 10th: “It is evident that the goal of Islamist terrorists is to succeed in dividing the French. (...) Therefore, I call first and foremost for this unity”– as well as that of the defence of the “values of the Republic.”
But the French – and the non French – are in this society divided into opposed social classes, between exploiters and exploited. Unity between the exploiters and the exploited happens always to the detriment of the latter.
And the Republic (the bourgeois Republic!) has as its fundamental values, behind the embellishments destined to abuse the exploited, the law of profit and the defence of the capitalist mode of production. It built itself against proletarians whose revolts have been crushed in blood and who have been sent to the slaughterhouse where it wages wars again and again, and against populations reduced to slavery or colonised in the countries it has invaded.
This hideous and bloody Republic must not be supported but battled against by proletarians, with the prospect of erecting on its ruins their own dictatorial power, indispensable for the destruction of capitalism.
Regarding the so vaunted secularism, which is to say neutrality with regard to religions (1), it has become more and more a tool for stigmatising those of Islamic faith, as the religion of the part of the French proletariat of Arab origin. The struggle against the reactionary grip of religious cannot succeed through education or anti-clerical propaganda, and even less through state coercion; it can only be accomplished, as the history of the workers’ movement has demonstrated, by the union of proletarians of all faiths in the struggle against oppression and exploitation.
If it is the role of the police to arrest murders, it would be a grave error for proletarians to have confidence in the government and the bourgeois state in order to protect themselves from the murderous fanaticism of the extreme right, Islamist or not.
Not only because the forces of the extreme right are born and prosper on the terrain of capitalism in crisis, but above all because it is this government and this state who led the recent attacks against workers and who will lead those to come. The authorities speak trembling in a voice of intangible respect for freedom of expression and assure everyone of their love for teachers; but they are the very same people who repress teachers on strike, while having violently repressed the gilets jaunes, workers in struggle and the most diverse sorts of protests.
There is no other way to defend themselves against the horrors of capitalism, against the forces of official repression as well as against the forces of far-right Islamist fanaticism, against the “democratic” and “civilised” bourgeoisie as against their fascistic colleagues, against the bourgeois state under every regime, than that of the return to the orientations, to the positions and to the perspectives of the international class struggle.
All collaboration with the ruling class and their many political organizations can only lead to disaster.
The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains! They have a world to win!
(1) For the republicans of old, secularism was a weapon for wresting control over the education of youth from the Catholic Church and transferring it to the bourgeois state, but not a weapon against religion. As Jules Ferry expressly stated, the schoolteacher should take care not to be opposed to the religious beliefs of students’ parents.
International Communist Party