Posted on Apr 01, 2021
French left-wing parties have spiralled into a bitter fight over whether white people should be asked to shut up – or be banned outright – during meetings about minority issues, according to POLITICO.
The controversy erupted after revelations that a left-wing student union, called UNEF, organises meetings that are off-limits to white members.
Anne Hidalgo, Paris mayor and Socialist presidential hopeful, stepped in Wednesday after a candidate from the same party, Audrey Pulvar, failed to condemn such meetings.
“The field of politics is not a therapy session, it’s the domain of the universal, where we seek unity, and defend our secularist values,” she said on BFMTV.
Pulvar, a black former news anchor running under the Socialist banner in the upcoming regional elections, said on Sunday that white people should not be banned from discussion groups on minority issues, but that “they can however be asked to keep quiet and be silent spectators.”
Asked whether she would have said the same thing, Hidalgo said “obviously not.”
The clash over non-white discussion groups has reignited a debate in France about the growing influence of U.S.-style identity politics, and how it challenges the country’s existing political traditions.
Pulvar’s comments incensed the far right and the right, with Valérie Pecresse, a rival at right-leaning Les Républicains, accusing Pulvar of promoting “an ‘acceptable’ shade of racism”.
But they also sparked anger among the old guard of the Socialist Party, which is seeking to rebuild itself after a stunning defeat at the 2017 elections.
The Greens, the Socialists and France Unbowed stand little chance of making it to the second round in next year’s presidential election if they don’t present a united front, recent polls suggest.
Green leader Yannick Jadot called on left-wing leaders to unite and discuss a common left-wing project to fight President Emmanuel Macron, “who doesn’t protect us from the far right, nor from climate change.”
The main left-wing parties have agreed to meet while signaling that it might be difficult to find common ground.
“The problem of the left is that it keeps shooting itself in the foot,” said the researcher Morin.
Image: Lionel Allorge via Wikipedia
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