mardi 14 octobre 2008

No to national unity!

The desperate national-all-in-this-together talk has already started to filter into French political discourse. The irrelevant Prime Minister Francois Fillion has called for the French Parliament to rally round the measures aimed at supporting the banks. Sarkozy himself used the idea to urge all French to be strong in the face of this crisis for the good of the country. It will crop up again if things turn ugly in the markets. There is no need for discussion why nationalist ideas are just rotten and historically bankrupt at this point, surely.

At the same time as calls for national unity are trumpeted in the media, the government attacks on working people get more aggressive, open and brutal. So it is clear to what sections of society these calls are made. The Figaro, Daily Mail, Tribune Telegraph types, indistinguishable in either France or Britain for their arrogance, sense of entightlement and hatred of us 'lower orders'. The 'nation', then, is not a geographical entity nor an imagined community but the speech of an aggressive section of the bourgeoise aimed at unifying class interest in times of extreme urgency.

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