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From Dieudonné to French-bashing, here are our authors' takes on the current debates in and about France.


The French art world is on strike - why aren't we?

The fight to defend the artists' wage is raging across France, yet today in the UK we believe the arts should be a market-driven competition. A living wage for performers feels a long way off.

Sarkozy strikes back: implications for the French political landscape

What will the much talked about return of Nicolas Sarkozy mean for the French political landscape?

The EAF is dead! Long live the MENL!

The Front National has long been at the centre of pan-European party initiatives, which were always dominated by former FN leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen. The EAF was founded without FN-involvement, however.

The attractions of jihadism, and a generational nihilism stretching far beyond the Muslim sphere

French Muslims are protesting against the conflation of Islam with jihadism, and about France's engagement in the coalition. If the French government really wants to steer young people away from terrorism, here's what it should be doing instead. Interview with specialist on Islam, Olivier Roy.

After the Scottish referendum: Corsican contagion?

In the wake of the Scottish vote, Corsicans are trying to gain publicity for their own, often neglected, struggle for self-determination. Could we soon see an independence referendum on this small, Mediterranean island?

A gloomy, rudderless France

It seems a hopeless task, as we see President François Hollande slide lower and lower in this slippery slope of unpopularity, now around 13% in opinion polls. But he is not alone.

French local elections on suburban housing estates

It is, in a sense, a good sign for racial integration to see that the “new French” are voting just like the old ones.

France and Islamic feminism: intersectionality in the Republic

The fact is that Islamic feminists in western countries, and especially in France, struggle with identity affiliations and fight against multiple forms of oppression that bind them to post-colonial and anti-racist movements.

A French style “Tea Party”?

Every conceivable attempt to mobilise all the extremes has been used to beef up recent French demos. With some success.

The politics of French-bashing

Bashing everything French is in fashion these days, but one would be better advised to take these attacks by the US and UK media with a pinch of salt.

The conspiratorial mindset in Europe

Scepticism is healthy for democracy, but not when it degenerates into belief in conspiracy theories. Dieudonné and Jobbik are but two recent examples that the conspiratorial mindset is alive and well in Europe.

France and the European balance of power

Hollande holds historic responsibility as the French president who, for lack of political courage, marked the end of the balance that has governed Europe for sixty years. And maybe even for being the gravedigger of the Parti Socialiste and French social democracy.

France's European spleen

As is now common in France, the biggest shock in the Euro elections will come from the far-right Front National, emboldened by a change in perception towards the party from many French voters. Euro elections landscape, 2014.

The demophobes and the great fear of populism

One might note that the less represented the ‘popular’ classes are in political parties, in parliament or in government, the more ‘populism’ is branded a threat.

The Front National’s new clothes

Last year, Marine Le Pen came third in the French presidential elections, following a campaign seeking to de-demonise the party and make it more attractive to a broader electorate. While it is arguable whether her strategy was entirely successful, the changes made may well have long-term consequences.

The return of the state to the Parisian banlieue

Eight years since the 2005 Parisian riots and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announces a ‘return of the state’ to the banlieues. The recent resistance to this ‘return’ has marked an end to its short-lived political consensus and has forced a revaluation of what it truly means to be a citizen of France’s so-called ‘abandoned’ suburbs.

France is a universal nation: Mélenchon speaks out

In London last month to speak on a progressive alternative to the austerity policies which are being implemented across Europe (at the European Institute of UCL), France’s Left Front leader gave a follow-up interview to openDemocracy on the politics of the media, the evolving image of Marine Le Pen, colonialism, laicité, ideological hegemony, France and Europe.

France and the veil – the dark side of the law

French anti-veil laws are steeped in racism and have opened the door to abuse against Muslims, argues Valeria Costa-Kostritsky .

The Roma rights dilemma of the French left

On the Roma issue, the French left must choose: whether to align itself with the forces of progress to combat anti-Roma racism and exclusion; or persist with evictions and expulsions, and find itself bedded down with Europe’s forces of reactionary populism.

The long haul of solitary death: Michel Houellebecq and the decline of western sexuality

A prophet-provacateur faithful to French traditions of lucidity, sensuality, and alienation, Houellebecq believes we are all doomed. The Map and the Territory continues his great project of exposing the limits of individualism.

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