France commune

Retired French army generals threaten coup

On April 21, the 60th anniversary of the attempted French military coup in Algiers in 1961, 23 retired generals published an open letter to the government on the neofascist site Valeurs Actuelles . The letter is an extraordinary intervention by the army in political life. One hundred and fifty years after the Paris Commune of 1871 and the massacre of the Communards by the army in the Bloody week, the letter alludes to a military intervention and a bloody civil war in the country, supposedly caused by the “complacency” of the French.

French President Emmanuel Macron and French Armed Forces General François Lecointre stand in the command car, center, as they review the troops before the start of the Bastille Day military parade, Tuesday July 14, 2020 in Paris. (AP Photo / François Mori)

The link between these fascist threats and the growth of the working class struggle is obvious. In 2019, faced with the “yellow vests” and the strike of the railway workers against the cuts in pensions, the retired general Pierre de Villiers called for more “firmness” in the police repression of the demonstrators. As workers’ anger mounts at the European Union’s “herd immunity” policy, which has claimed more than a million lives on the continent, a clique of officers is trying to intimidate workers by raising the specter of mass murder.

Addressing Macron and the parliament, the former generals demanded more patriotism and affirmed: “France is in peril, several mortal dangers threaten it. … Know that we are ready to support policies aimed at safeguarding the nation.

The letter exudes hatred of working-class suburbs and denounces Islamism and postcolonial theories as divisive and in need of bloody repression.

Echoing Macron’s fascist bill targeting so-called Islamic “separatism”, they denounce “the disintegration which, along with Islamism and the suburban hordes, leads to the separation of many parts of the country, turning them into territories subjected to dogmas contrary to our constitution ”, they add:“ Today, some speak of racism, indigenous nationalism and decolonial theories, but through these terms, it is the racial war that these hateful partisans want and fanatics. “

However, the intensity and scale of the massacre the officers describe refutes the idea that their target is a team of postmodernist university researchers, or even a small network of Islamists threatening terrorist attacks. Their target is a larger uprising. Indeed, they write in conclusion:

If nothing is done, laxity will continue to spread inexorably in society, eventually causing an explosion and the intervention of our comrades active in a perilous mission to protect our civilizational values ​​and safeguard our compatriots on the national territory. We see that it is no longer time to procrastinate, otherwise tomorrow the civil war will put an end to this growing chaos, and the deaths, for which you will be responsible, will number in the thousands.

Growing anger among workers at the politically criminal mismanagement of the pandemic by ruling elites terrifies the military. While teachers’ strikes multiplied last November against the reopening of schools in the midst of the pandemic, de Villiers warned in Valeurs Actuelles against the “profound changes” and the political crisis he feared on an international scale the next day. of the pandemic.

“Today, in addition to the security crisis, there is the pandemic, all against a background of economic, social and political crisis with a lack of confidence in the leaders,” he said. “When you add up these threats, there is every cause for concern in the short term. I fear that this repressed anger will explode suddenly “, he continued, before adding:” We must think the unthinkable. … The rule of law is obviously respectable, but at some point, we must also develop strategic thinking.

Although de Villiers did not sign the letter of April 21, it is nevertheless clear that cliques of the military staff are actively working on precisely such a “reflection” of the alternative to a parliamentary regime. that is to say a dictatorship. This is clear from the identity of the signatories. Foreign Legion General Christian Piquemal, the letter’s first signatory and supporter of the dissolved far-right group Génération Identitaire, was arrested and removed from the army after wearing his uniform during an anti-migrant demonstration in Calais in 2016.

Another, General Dominique Delawarde is campaigning against social distancing measures against the coronavirus, arguing that it “is not as deadly as people want to believe”. Two other signatories, Generals Emmanuel de Richoufftz and Philippe Desrousseaux de Médrano, are members of the “surviving families of the French nobility”, that is to say aristocratic families whose feudal property was expropriated in France during the revolution. from 1789.

The meaning of this letter cannot be understood outside the international context of the collapse of capitalist democracy. Undermined by three decades of growing social inequalities, austerity measures and imperialist wars in Europe following the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, it gave way under the shock of the pandemic. Terrified of the anger of the masses and defending the immense fortunes it has accumulated during the pandemic, the ruling class turns to fascist politics.

This trend is accelerating internationally. In the United States, Trump attempted a coup in Washington DC on January 6 to occupy the Capitol and overturn the presidential election result. Spain’s retired senior officials have declared their fascist sympathies over strikes to stop non-essential production during the pandemic and have called for the murder of “26 million” Spaniards.

In France, it is increasingly clear that the capitalist class will use the election of 2022, whatever its outcome, to install an even more authoritarian regime. On April 23, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally, responded in a forum at Valeurs Actuelles, welcoming the fascist generals and calling on them to support his candidacy in 2022.

Le Pen noted the “degree of concern you have in the face of the worrying deterioration of the situation in our country”. She added that their concern “requires, in a democracy, the search for a political solution, materialized by a project of change which must be confirmed by the vote of the French. This is the object of my campaign and my candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic, with a view to a government of National Union.

Its decision to salute the generals planning the massacre of thousands of people in France, with a clumsy attempt to teach them a lesson in “democracy”, confirms that a “National Union” regime led by Le Pen would be violently reactionary and bloodthirsty . The current government, which passes fascist laws and whose coronavirus policy has killed more than 100,000 people during the pandemic, does not however represent a democratic alternative to Le Pen.

The Minister of the Armed Forces of the Macron government, Florence Parly, reacted last night on Twitter by first trying to downplay the whole affair. “The irresponsible column published in Current values is only signed by retired soldiers, who no longer have any function in our armies and only represent themselves, ”she wrote.

Parly also posed as a more responsible militarist than Le Pen: “Madame Le Pen’s words reflect a serious lack of knowledge of the military institution, which is worrying for someone who wants to become head of the armed forces. … The politicization of the armed forces suggested by Madame Le Pen would weaken our military tool and therefore France.

While pursuing “collective immunity” and anti-Muslim policies, the government is incubating fascist tendencies in the military. This justifies the warnings of the Socialist Equality Party in the 2017 elections: Macron is not an alternative to Le Pen. The SEP called for an active boycott of the second round of the elections and the building of an independent movement in the working class against the winning candidate. The pandemic has highlighted the need for such a movement on a global scale, to fight against the dictatorship and the policy of “collective immunity” of the ruling class.