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The extreme right, they made the bitter experience of it

It’s a remake whose end is not written in advance. In 2017, with 66.1% of the vote for Emmanuel Macron, the second round duel against Marine Le Pen ended in a final score. Admittedly already far from the 82.2% of Jacques Chirac in 2002. But, after five additional years of trivialization, the ballot promises to be even tighter this time. According to the polls, the far-right candidate collects, for the time being, from 43.5 to 46% of the voting intentions. Abstention could be higher on Sunday than on April 10, particularly in the left-wing electorate (see pages 10 and 11). The slogan “Neither Macron nor Le Pen” flourishes in mobilizations or on social networks. Even more, for some, the temptation to vote RN on the pretext “that we haven’t tried” or “it would kick the anthill” is great as the outgoing president, with his anti-social and repressive policy, arouses rejection. Both his second-round campaign through which he hopes to create the illusion of support for his project is counterproductive.

However, with the far right at the Élysée, the veil thrown by Marine Le Pen on her social imposture (see page 6) would not only end up being torn – she has, in reality, little to envy the walker on this terrain – but would be compounded by a surge of hatred, division and undermining of the rule of law. Nothing less than the questioning of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution is written, black on white, on its program. Not to mention that, behind Marine Le Pen’s “soft” packaging, it is Éric Zemmour and his friends, as well as the whole fachosphere, who would feel freer than ever. In Hayange, Hénin-Beaumont, Villers-Cotterêts, Mantes-la-Ville, Lyon… some have already experienced it. They witness.

“Identitarians sow terror in Lyon”

Aline Guitard Head of the local PCF, deputy mayor of the 4th arrondissement of Lyon

“Identity groups are spreading terror in Lyon. We see them breaking up the premises of the CGT, the PCF, the CNT, an anarchist bookstore, a committed radio station. Violence, breaking windows, throwing stones, but also attempted intrusion, theft of equipment, anti-migrant or anti-communist tags… Their misdeeds follow and resemble each other. Since 2020, they have been innovating by filming themselves hooded in the streets or on public transport, on the pretext of protecting ladies from attacks for which they systematically blame immigrants. It took a long time for the communities and the state to finally react. In 2021, Génération identitaire was finally dissolved, but we can’t see the difference: they changed their name and renamed their premises Les Remparts. With the far-right vigilance committee, we are still asking for the closure of the premises and the dissolution of all these far-right groups. It has to stop. »

“In Lyon-III, the far right feels at home”

Manon Moret Secretary General of Unef in Lyon

“At the Lyon-III university, many students feel abandoned in the face of the progression of far-right ideas, particularly at the undergraduate level. In history, there are many militants of the Student Cockade, an extreme right-wing organization, who unrestrainedly display their racist, sexist and Islamophobic ideas, with total impunity. Sometimes, it even goes as far as negationism… And, faced with this, the administration does nothing, evoking freedom of expression. What will it be if Marine Le Pen has to win on April 24! In Lyon-III, the extreme right feels at home.

Recently, a student who wears the veil was humiliated in front of an auditorium of 400 people. We have cases of intimidation, insults, harassment, within the confines of the university or on social networks. We found a conversation in which a student proclaimed horrors, such as “Heil Hitler” or “Fuck the Jews”.

On Monday, we launched a campaign to warn about these abuses and recover the evidence of these remarks. Unfortunately, many have since been erased. What we are asking above all is that the university administration react so that these activists do not feel allowed to do anything. We must stop this trivialization of hatred. »

“It’s skillful, heavy, dark, with constant pressure”

Jeremy Zorzer-Pepi CGT animator of the Moselle public services

“Hayange, I was born there, I live there, it’s my whole life. But, in 2014, my life changed. Fabien Engelmann, member of the National Rally, takes the town hall. After two months, the pressure is exerted. The mayor announces that he wants to eliminate 70 civil servant positions, counting on the non-replacement of retirements and transfers. Responsible for the road service, with three agents under my responsibility, trade unionist at the CGT, elected, I was quickly transferred to the cleaning service. Armed with pliers, a garbage bag, I find myself forced to sweep the sidewalk, with the desire to humiliate myself. The work assistant visits me almost every day to give me instructions. Faced with my refusal to receive direct orders from an elected official, he summons my boss, who repeats what the deputy dictates to him. Small daily gestures that lead to mistakes or to leaving. It’s hard to describe. It’s never clearly said. It’s skillful, heavy, dark, with constant pressure. The grip is terrible. The officers are scared. Which leads them to denunciation so as not to suffer. Even good buddies don’t want to testify or raise their heads. After three years of daily humiliations, I had negative ideas about certain people, with the desire to come to blows. One day, I broke down, insulted my foreman by asking him if he was paid to piss me off. This was followed by a layoff and the loss of an annual bonus. I saw a shrink for two years. Nothing helped. I didn’t want to leave my town. When the former human resources officer offered me a job as a technical assistant at the water union, I ended up accepting. Since then, I have campaigned within the federal collective of the CGT against far-right ideas. Despite my mandates, departmental and federal, which authorize me to visit the union members, the mayor has let it be known that he refuses me access to the union premises of the town hall. »

“A threat to women’s rights”

“The threat posed by the far right to women’s rights is something that we feel very strongly on the ground. Especially since March 8th. Whether nationally or locally, it is increasingly present at our rallies or demonstrations. This creates pressure on our activists, no doubt linked to the legitimization of homophobic, transphobic or sexist remarks that we have heard from far-right candidates on television channels. Words that do not constitute an “opinion”, let us remember, but fall under the law. There is a heavy atmosphere, which can encourage far-right activists to come to our demonstrations to carry out their own actions, sometimes violent, in addition to the attacks we suffer on social networks. Clearly, if Marine Le Pen were to win, they would feel even more legitimized, uninhibited, encouraged to attack feminist or LGBTQI+ activists. As a feminist, political and popular education association, it is obvious that a victory for the National Rally would make Planning a target, with the risk of losing funding. However, there are still many battles to be fought. We saw during the debates on the bill to extend the legal time limit for abortion that anti-abortion speech still existed in France. »

“In Hénin-Beaumont, the law of harassment”

Marine Tondelier Opposition municipal councilor (EELV)

“In Hénin-Beaumont, a city led since 2014 by Steeve Briois (RN), the municipal councils are stormy, sexist comments are rife, harassment continues on social networks. They smear my image by saying, for example, that I hate the city, its inhabitants and that I prefer the Afghans or the Roma because that “excites me more” than the French. In short, everything is done to eradicate political opposition. The attacks focus on elected officials, municipal employees, trade unionists, journalists, migrants. Just after the publication in 2017 of my book News from the front, where I criticized the management of the municipality, Steeve Briois and the two former directors general of the services of the town hall Bruno Bilde and Laurent Morel filed a complaint for defamation. I won at first instance and on appeal all the trials, except that it took five years. And it’s not over yet since they have decided to appeal in cassation. The goal is that it costs us time and money. Clearly, if Marine Le Pen won the presidential election, it would be a disaster. This absolutely must be prevented. »