Anti-Racist Groups Withdraw from Charlie Hebdo Rally As It Is Co-Opted Into Republican Grandstanding

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The hijacking of Sunday's demonstration against the assassination of journalists - by the same world leaders who are themselves responsible for censorship of the press and the jailings, murder and torture of journalists - has been well documented. What is perhaps less known is that their presence caused a number of left anti-racist organisations in France to withdraw from the protest.

One statement explaining this said:
"We deeply regret that Sunday's demonstration – initially set up by anti-racist organisations - was transformed into a « Republican march » for which Valls would like to appear as the organiser and where Sarkozy will be marching.

Fiercely opposed to this « national unity », for the reasons mentioned above, we will not participate. It is of utmost importance that all those who feel outraged by this fascist attempt and who refuse to march alongside Sarkozy and Valls, all those who are intent on resisting racism and discriminations, on opposing security policies designed to curb our liberties, regroup and recapture the initiative." (Full text at end)
 

The fake photo manufactured and uncritically reproduced by almost all mainstream media has now been widely exposed online as a manufactured PR image. Daniel Wickham prepared the following list of the attacks against journalism perpetrated by some of those in the staged leaders photograph:

1) King Abdullah of Jordan, which last year sentenced a Palestinian journalist to 15 years in prison with hard labour.
2) Prime Minister of Davutoglu of Turkey, which imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world.
3) Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, whose forced killed 7 journalists in Gaza last year (second highest after Syria).
4) Foreign Minister Shoukry of Egypt, which as well as AJ staff has detained journalist Shawkan for around 500 days.
5) Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia, which last year jailed a journalist for "insulting a government servant".
6) Foreign Minister Lamamra of Algeria, which has detained journalist Abdessami Abdelhai for 15 months without charge.
7) The Foreign Minister of the UAE, which in 2013 held a journo incommunicado for a month on suspicion of MB links.
8) Prime Minister Jomaa of Tunisia, which recently jailed blogger Yassine Ayan for 3 years for "defaming the army".
9) The PMs of Georgia and Bulgaria, both of whom have a record of attacking & beating journos.
10) The Attorney General of the US, where police in Ferguson have recently detained and assaulted WashPost reporters.
11) Prime Minister Samaras of Greece, where riot police beat & injured two journalists at a protest in June last year.
12) Sec-Gen of NATO, who is yet to be held to account for deliberately bombing and killing 16 Serbian journos in '99.
13) President Keita of Mali, where journalists are expelled for covering human rights abuses.
14) The Foreign Minister of Bahrain, 2nd biggest jailer of journos in the world per capita (they also torture them).
15) Sheikh Mohamed Ben Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, which jailed a man for 15 years for writing the Jasmine poem.
16) Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who had several journalists jailed for insulting him in 2013.
17) Prime Minister Cerar of Slovenia, which sentenced a blogger to six months in prison for "defamation" in 2013.
18) Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland, where "blasphemy" is considered a criminal offense.
19) Prime Minister Kopacz of Poland, which raided a magazine to seize recordings embarrassing for the ruling party.
20) PM Cameron of the UK, where authorities destroyed documents obtained by The Guardian and threatened prosecution.

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The full text of the statement by anti-racist organisations in France follows:

For freedom of speech, against the Sacred Union

The slaughter perpetrated at Charlie Hebdo editorial offices has caused a perfectly legitimate wave of indignation and anger, that we share. Our condemnation of this massacre, that aims at wreaking terror and silencing journalists defending freedom of speech, is total.

We condemn with equal determination the murderous antisemitic violence that has been unleashed against a kosher supermarket's customers.

Our thoughts go out to the victims' relatives to whom we wish to express our total support.

These attacks are the work of religious fascists whose dream it is to impose their deadly illusions on society. We must be very clear in denouncing unreservedly this fanaticism. We fight all fascisms, whether they thrive on nationalism or beliefs from the Dark Ages, whichever their guide or prophet. Their only wish is to spread terror, deliberately provoke horror and fear, and create situations of extreme tension. In this, they are the perfect accomplices of the National Front and the extreme right.

As we feared, this killing has become a fodder for racist speeches and a pretext to attack muslim places of worship.

You can tell the reactionary penpushers and opportunistic politicians won't be long in ranting about the so-called « Clash of Civilisations », and to use the event to renew their attacks against immigrants, foreigners and muslims.

We are not less shocked by the way it is politically exploited in particular by the Hollande Government. The call for « national unity » is just a huge smokescreen to create confusion and to justify :
- France's military interventions in Iraq, Mali, and Central Africa, whose primary goal was to preserve the imperialist interests of French companies in the area, maintain its dictators, and not to fight the jihadism that France has never hesitated to arm under other circumstances.
- A new attack on freedom. Just like in the aftermath of 9/11, governments will use anti-terrorism as an excuse for more surveillance and filing, that experience has proved to be used more often against union workers and political.
- The government's anti-social policy. By surfing on the emotional shock that has impacted each and everyone of us, Valls and Hollande want to push the current austerity policy into the background, particularly the Macron law project (discussed end of January in Parliament) that aims at weakening even more the workers means of defence, making further layoffs even more easy, reducing the amount of nightshift and sunday overtime.

Looking at it all from a broader perspective, many among the political forces that make a show of being outraged today are partly responsible for the country's poisonous atmosphere by stigmatising immigrant workers and their children, more so if they appear to be Muslim.

This exploitation is all the more outrageous that Charlie Hedo's assassinated journalists never thought twice about condemning politicians the like of Hollande, Sarkozy or Le Pen. If the PS and UMP (respectively the French socialist and right-wing parties) had had their way, the National Front would have been invited to the so-called « republican march » on Sunday. What would the murdered journalists have thought of this ?

We deeply regret that Sunday's demonstration – initially set up by antiracist organisations - was transformed into a « Republican march » for which Valls would like to appear as the organiser and where Sarkozy will be marching.

Fiercely opposed to this « national unity », for the reasons mentioned above, we will not participate. It is of utmost importance that all those who feel outraged by this fascist attempt and who refuse to march alongside Sarkozy and Valls, all those who are intent on resisting racism and discriminations, on opposing security policies designed to curb our liberties,  regroup and recapture the intiative

Signatories: Alternative Libertaire, Mouvement des Objecteurs de Croissance, Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste, Parti Communiste des Ouvriers de France

Original text in French

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Note: Alternative libertaire unlike some on the French left were not uncritical of the racist character of some Charlie Hedbo cartoons. Around this time last year they described it as an "often reactionary vehicle" that produces "racist clichés" while reproducing a long critical letter about CH racism written by an ex staffer:
Text in French
A translation into English

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