Islamophobia, secularism and the French left

Nick Riemer writes on how Islamophobia has become shockingly acceptable in France, even on the left, in the wake of efforts to ban Muslim women wearing burkinis from French beaches.


For as long as Muslim people have been living in modern France, they have endured violence and exploitation at the hands of French capital and the French state. The intensity of this violence has varied in different periods, but it has intensified since the jihadist attacks in Paris in January and November of last year. Muslims have been harassed, intimidated, spied on and brutalized by the state. Over 3500 raids have been conducted; just six of them have led to any terrorism investigation. Mosques have been violently ransacked by the police. No effort has been spared to humiliate and degrade worshippers, for instance through the deliberate use of police dogs. Around twenty mosques have simply been closed; more closures are being prepared. Children have looked on as their parents are handcuffed or dragged from their beds by heavily armed police. In the first three months of the state of emergency following the Bataclan attack last year, 274 people were placed under house arrest, the vast majority of them from the Muslim community. Simply being Muslim is enough to place you at a real risk of state violence: in December, the authorities in the department of the Eure et Loire admitted that they were carrying out raids against practising Muslims on a purely ‘preventive’ basis, without holding any specific evidence against them. Political organisations with Muslim links have been threatened with closure; demonstrations, including pro-Palestinian ones, have been banned; BDS has been made illegal.

These measures have been justified by a ferocious escalation of Islamophobic propaganda from all quarters of French culture and politics. According to the sociologists Abdellali Hajjat and Marwan Mohammed, “the construction of the ‘Muslim problem’ constitutes one of the main vectors for French and even European elites’ unification”, on both left and right. Islamophobia has become, they say “the very ground on which the organisational and ideological future of the French Right is most directly played out”.[1]

Even more vulnerable than Muslim citizens of France are Muslims appealing to the state for protection as refugees. At the same time that it delivers anti-Islamic broadsides, the government has been busy destroying refugee encampments in Calais and elsewhere, while, with French blessing, the EU has signed an Australian-style refoulement deal with Turkey.

In pursuing these policies, French politicians have knowingly closed their eyes to the fact that, along with French military activity in Muslim countries, state-sponsored Islamophobia over a long period is what has made France a jihadist target of choice. The political classes have also shown little willingness to recognize the role of their own economic and social policies in fuelling the kinds of alienation that drive people into the hands of ISIS. But when it comes to defending the rights of France’s Muslim population, the Left, even much of the radical Left, has been singularly missing in action. Reluctance to defend Muslims’ religious freedom seriously undermines the solidarity the Left can express to Muslim refugees. As a result, Islamophobia strikes at the heart of one of the most urgent political projects for European progressives.

Muslims in France

There are somewhere around five million Muslims living in France today (a more accurate figure is unavailable since a law of 1872 prohibits census questions about religion or ethnicity: people’s creed and background is invisible to the state even at the level of basic information-gathering). At roughly 7.5 per cent of the population, France has the highest proportion of Muslims in Europe. Only about a third say they actually practice religion, a proportion that has risen in recent decades.[2]

Historically, Muslims came to France in numbers in the wake of French colonialism in North Africa from the 1830s. The relation that exists today between the French state and its Muslim population—many of them better described as an underclass—has been conditioned by the legacies of imperial history as much as by economic exploitation. Unlike other French colonies, Algeria was officially considered a part of France. That meant that Algerian Muslims were able to come freely to France to live. Once there, however, they were they objects of systematic and often brutal repression. It’s important to appreciate how the very political structure of contemporary France was cemented in the state crisis provoked by Muslim resistance to colonialism. When General De Gaulle inaugurated the Fifth Republic in 1958, he did so precisely in order to shore up presidential authority, weakened by the upheavals of the Algerian war of independence.[3] Repression of Muslims by the French state was especially intense at the height of the Algerian independence movement in the 1950s, during which Algerians inflicted real damage on France. Perhaps the most disruptive attack came in 1958, when the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) set a fuel depot near Marseille alight. It burned for days. In the best known repressive response, in 1961—the year before Algeria gained its independence—at least 100 Algerians were brutally massacred by the police in Paris after they protested against the curfew-orders that had been placed on them.[4] Conflict of this intensity is not easily forgotten. After independence was gained, the Algerian community in France often showed a strong resistance to its members assuming French nationality, since doing so would have meant identifying as citizens of the very nation which had persecuted them implacably. Even today, support for colonialism is still an identifiable strain on the right of politics. Many pieds-noirs—‘black -feet’, former French colonists—and veterans of French colonial forces in Algeria live in south-east France. It’s no coincidence that this is one of the strongholds of the far right, and a region characterized by a history of violent racist crime.[5] Nationally, studies show that over 50 per cent of police and armed forces members voted FN in 2015 regional elections.

As well as the postcolonial context, the political history of Muslims in France can’t be understood fully without an appreciation of their economic position and their relation with the labour movement. In 1904 there already were 5000 Muslims working in French industry and mining. In light of current attitudes, it’s striking to note that Islamic observance was not infrequently fostered by the French government and employers in the first decades of the twentieth century, despite the newly enacted separation of church and state. The political establishment saw religion as a useful counterbalance to the influence of labour unions on North African immigrant workers. As a result, firms sometimes made prayer rooms available to their employees—in diametric contrast to today, when the private sector is joining the state in moves to eradicate manifestations of Islam from every sphere outside the home.

Allowing capitalism’s slum-dwelling Muslim workforce to pray was a tokenistic measure that did nothing to alleviate the workers’ massive poverty and ill health. As a result, many Muslims participated in the Front Populaire, the communist-socialist alliance under which the labour movement achieved major social progress in the 1930s. Political activity provided one of the earliest vectors through which Muslims began to be integrated into French society: the first mixed marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims happened in left radical circles. Today, still, Muslims have progressive views on most social questions (social welfare, redistribution, racism, xenophobia).[6]

In 1982, Islam was thrust to the front of the political scene in the context of strikes against mass redundancies in the car industry. Immigrant workers initiated a major industrial conflict when they occupied the Citroën and Talbot factories in Aulnay and Poissy, more or less with the unions’ backing.[7] The factories’ management saw the immigrant workers as manipulated by unions, and pressed for police intervention against the strike and the expulsion of the workers. This was the first occasion on which ‘Muslim’ supplanted ‘worker’ as the standard way to refer to the strikers, a confessionalization sometimes seen as concomitant with the arrival of neoliberal political ideas in France. Unions in this period were sympathetic to their Muslim members’ demands for religious freedom, and supported their calls for the construction of mosques—though they sometimes also served to hold back political initiatives that were becoming too radical.

Contemporary wisdom often explains anti-immigrant sentiment in France as the result of the spread of racist ideas in society—a development supposedly responsible for the mounting electoral success of the far-right National Front from the 1980s. According to Hajjat and Mohammed, that narrative gets things wrong by ignoring the extent to which it was the state itself, rather than independent trends in society, that fuelled Islamophobic political impulses. For Hajjat and Mohammed, the late 1960s saw the development in French government of a new orientation towards the control of immigration in the aftermath of Algerian independence. This was embodied in the creation in 1966 of a new agency, the Directorate of Population and Migration, charged with policies like the limitation of Algerian migration to France, restrictions on family reunion migration, and the enhanced bureaucratic tracking of immigrants. Under the presidency of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, elected in 1974, immigration from outside Europe was suspended from 1974 to 1977. Between 1978 and 1980, amid rising unemployment, Giscard tried to pass legislation mandating the forcible return of hundreds of thousands of Algerians (and their French citizen children), a scheme which was blocked by parliament. Hajjat and Mohammed comment that the government’s hostility to immigration:

was not a reaction by the government to the 1973 oil crisis. It was first and foremost the result of the initiative of administrators convinced that immigration was a problem that had to be controlled. … Suspending immigration was justified not principally by unemployment or the economic situation, but by demographic imbalances with third world countries (French society was supposedly threatened by ‘anarchic immigration’), the risk of a possible new May 68 supported by a mass of foreign workers…[8]

as well as by other factors. The authors conclude that it’s hard to see the rise of Islamophobia in France as the result of any organic commitment to racism within the French public: in a familiar pattern, it was an ideological development rooted in the dynamics of the ruling class.

Republicanism, secularism and Islam

Repression of Muslims is justified by a concerted ideological assault grounded in three linked key-words: ‘secularism’ (laïcité), ‘Republicanism’ and—the most potent of the levers used to win French progressives over to anti-Muslim racism—‘feminism’ (this last a category which I will not dwell on, since the arguments deployed in its favour are largely familiar, notwithstanding the many differences between Gallic and Anglo-Saxon movements for women.)

The secularist flavour of French politics, codified in the famous 1905 law separating church and state, calls for more commentary. Secularism is a deep-seated axiom of French political life, with its origins in the post-1789 struggles of the emerging bourgeois order against the reactionary power of entrenched Catholicism. Anticlericalism—hostility to Catholic priests—is an ongoing feature of French culture, now often seen as providing a licence for anti-Muslim tirades. When Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly paper, publishes racist cartoons trolling Muslims and Islam, as it regularly does, these are predictably justified—and , in fact, celebrated—as manifestations of a distinctively French secularism and anticlericalism. The right to ridicule Muslims and their religion, one could validly conclude, has become a de facto symbol of the Republic itself.

Secularism is one facet of Republicanism, the ideology of the 1789 revolution and its liberal ideals of freedom and equality. Distinguishing Republicanism à la française from the ideology of other bourgeois democracies is its harnessing to a strong central state, and its strong ideological investment in the progressive politics of the original revolutionaries—for whom, of course, Islam as a political issue was hardly on the horizon. As the current French constitution expresses it, “France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic.  It guarantees the equality before the law of all citizens without distinction of origin, race or religion. It respects all beliefs.” When French politicians invoke Republicanism today, they often do so to assert the classical liberal ideal of the state’s neutrality in the face of individual differences, of background, gender, origin, or religion, and to affirm the universality of the founding revolutionary principles. State neutrality is justified on the grounds that it leads to the ‘equal’ treatment of everyone as simply a citizen. In practice, however, its function is rather different: disguising and consolidating social inequities. In serving this purpose, it rationalizes the dominance of the French ruling class, by providing its members with a made-to-measure justification for whatever policies they want to implement. Manuel Valls, the current Prime Minister, is a past master at just this kind of trickery.

What secularism and Republicanism have concretely meant naturally depends on what religion you are. In the past, secularism has been fully compatible with priests being elected to parliament and attending it in their religious dress.[9] At the moment the 1905 law was passed, parliament rejected an amendment that would have banned priests from wearing religious clothing in public. In recent decades, however, secularism has undergone a repressive reinterpretation: now, France’s ‘Republican’ character increasingly means that the state can strip citizens of their outward cultural or religious identity. The consequence for Muslims is that abjuration of a central element of their identity becomes a condition of their very public visibility.[10]

The best known example of this exclusion of Islam from public spaces is a 2004 law on the ‘secular character of schools’, which prohibits school students from wearing any ‘conspicuous’ religious signs. It goes without saying that this law is not applied equally: young Muslim women, banned from wearing headscarves to school, are the principal target. During discussion of an earlier, unsuccessful proposal along the same lines in 1994, the then Prime Minister, Edouard Balladur, reassured France’s peak Jewish representative body that the measure wasn’t intended to have anything to do with the Jewish kippah.

More than ten years after it was introduced, the law is still being enforced. In a direct echo of the public unveilings of Muslim women organised by the French in Algeria, 130 cases were reported of schoolgirls being excluded from school for wearing a headscarf in 2014. Even long skirts have been interpreted as religious symbols, and girls excluded for wearing them. The hypocrisy of the law, and its status as an instrument of anti-Muslim repression are glaring: separation of church and state doesn’t even exist in the Eastern departments of Alsace and Moselle, which were still part of Germany in 1905 and so escaped the law that introduced it. In those departments, priests are paid by the government—but a schoolgirl can still be removed from a public school because of what she chooses to wear on her head. Alsace-Moselle’s exceptionalism is not just tolerated as an anomaly: it is openly celebrated. Opening the Strasbourg mosque in September 2012, Valls stated that “the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the Government are attached to the specificity of the existing arrangements in Alsace-Moselle”. This is far from the only state-sanctioned violation of secularism in contemporary France. In Marseille, a National Front mayor set up a nativity scene in the town hall at Christmas in 2013, in direct violation of the law, but suffered no penalty. Only Muslim women, it would seem, are made responsible for enforcing the separation of church and ‘state’.

How school students can constitute the ‘state’ and therefore threaten secularism has never been adequately explained. As many critics have pointed out, the effect of the 2004 law is to exclude certain members of the public—adolescent Muslim girls—from public education—a discriminatory treatment which would be patently nonsensical if the real goal of the Éducation Nationale was to treat all young people equally. In the guise of combatting ‘communitarianism’, French public authorities have imposed ‘Republicanism’ as the one-size-fits-all ideological template for French citizenship—a gambit intended, and understood, as an enactment of the establishment’s ideological hegemony over the rest of a necessarily diverse society.[11] When, after the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical paper in 2015,[12] the government instructed school teachers to report students who showed signs of support for Islamism, it was activating the same repressive capacities of the educational apparatus that the headscarf law had normalized. In his famous 1959 book on the Algerian revolution, Frantz Fanon wrote that:

Converting [Algerian] women, winning them over to values that are alien to them, wresting them away from their social status means both gaining a real power over men and holding the practical, effective means to destructure Algerian culture.[13]

A similar point applies to contemporary France.

The school has, then, become a key instrument of state control of Muslim women. But we would be missing something not to recognize the extent to which the real repression to which female Muslim pupils are subject is continuous with the ‘symbolic’ repression associated with the centralizing and authoritarian character of French public education generally. No one who has experienced the French school and university system can deny the extent to which it serves to ‘format’ students according to rigid norms. In doing so, it reinforces a central plank of Republican ideology: the notion that, in the words of Joan Wallach Scott, equality must be grounded in sameness.[14] The school’s status as the preeminent site of cultural uniformization is most obvious with respect to the way children have been taught to use language. Historically, school has served as the mechanism of the linguistic integration of the French population, imposing the norms of ‘correct’ French and levelling out the dialectal and social variation that is still a feature of the country. As the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu put it, the role of the school is to destroy the instruments of expression natively held by its subject populations.[15] The effect of schooling, according to one researcher, is still to make many French people ashamed, in one way or another, of the way they speak.[16] Rather than emancipating students to release their individual potentials for the common good, the centre of gravity of French school education has been moulding them as acceptable citizens—a process which just as often consists in alienating students from their intrinsic social and intellectual capacities, as it does in fostering them. The brazen self-assurance of this ideology shines through in an 1989 open letter to the Education Minister, initiated by the well-known feminist intellectual, Elizabeth Badinter, urging the removal from school of headscarf-wearing schoolgirls:

You say, Minister, that excluding people [i.e. from school, for wearing the headscarf] is unacceptable. We’re touched by your kindness, but our reply to you… is that forbidding things is acceptable. An exclusion is only discriminatory if it targets a pupil who obeys a school’s rules. When it affects a pupil who has broken the rules, it is of a disciplinary character. The current confusion between discipline and discrimination ruins discipline. And if discipline is no longer possible, how can the disciplines be taught? If the law only applies to those who are willing to comply with it, how can a teacher practice their profession?[17]

For Badinter and her cosignatories, then, state authoritarianism and control are part and parcel of the very mission of public education. It was no surprise when in January of this year, Badinter disgusted anti-racists by telling a radio interviewer that people just shouldn’t be scared of being called Islamophobic.

The Left and Islamophobia

It’s greatly to their discredit that it was leading members of the main national revolutionary organisations (Lutte Ouvrière—Workers’ Struggle – and the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR)—the Revolutionary Communist League) who triggered the sequence of events leading to the anti-headscarf law of 2004. They did so by pushing for the expulsion of two headscarf-wearing young adults from the school in which both party members taught. This expulsion soon snowballed to become the defining political moment in France’s pre-ISIS relation to Islam.

It’s not widely enough known that Alma and Lila Lévy, the girls in question, were very far from exemplifying the stereotype of the ‘problems’ of Muslim integration in contemporary France, as was frequently assumed. They did not grow up in a strongly Muslim household: their mother, a teacher, certainly was of Muslim background, but had been baptised a Catholic, and their father was a Jewish left-wing lawyer. No one in the family practised any religion, and the girls’ decision to wear the headscarf was the result of a personal decision. The national controversy in which this decision plunged them is in many ways still alive.

As Alma and Lila’s father, Laurent Lévy, emphasizes in his important book on the subject, the question of Islamophobia, and specifically that of the admissibility of headscarves in school, cuts across the usual political divides within the Left.[18] The Lévy sisters’ expulsion was supported by the Communist mayor of Aubervilliers, the Parisian suburb in which they lived—the very mayor who, around the same time, called the police on African migrants in a squat. Trying to outlaw the clothes Muslims wear is something of a tradition in the Communist Party: a 2010 law banning the wearing of the niqab (the full face veil) in public in France was sponsored by a communist deputy (André Gerin) working in concert with a right-wing MP who has been repeatedly caught up in allegations of sexual harassment or domestic violence. The debate over the headscarf-ban continues: in the wake of the recent Nice attack, a number of figures on the right have called for the outright banning of the headscarf from public spaces in France.

If some prominent members of left-wing organisations led the charge to ban the headscarf, opinion among their comrades was far from unanimous: all left-wing groupings, as well as civil-society anti-racist organisations, were split between headscarf-prohibitionists and anti-prohibitionists. This tension came to a head in 2010 in the fledgling New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), the broader successor-organisation to the LCR, when the party ran a headscarf-wearing candidate, Ilham Moussaïd, in the March regional elections.

The divisions that Moussaïd’s candidacy revealed in the NPA are still unresolved today. Differences over Islam have been an important factor—perhaps even the most important—in the striking disintegration of the NPA as a vibrant force on the French far left. Writing in the party’s activist journal as the debate raged in 2010, leading NPA member Denis Godard criticized the dogmatism of the headscarf opponents, for whom “the collective energy of the NPA is oriented more to general programmatic debates and a propagandistic profile than towards practical and political intervention in the movement”.[19]

Those activists for whom a woman’s head-covering disqualifies her forever from membership of a revolutionary party were ignoring the clearest politics of the Marxist-Leninist tradition. Rosa Luxemburg, to quote just one of many possible figures, was unequivocal that religion is a decoy from social struggles, and that bourgeois anticlericalism is to be opposed, not supported:

The Socialists have to fight against the Church which is an anti-Republican and reactionary power, not to agree with middle class anti-clericalism, but to get rid of it. The incessant guerrilla warfare waged for the last ten years against the priests is for French middle-class Republicans one of the best ways of turning away the attention of the working-class from social questions, and of weakening the class struggle.[20]

Luxemburg has, apparently, been more thoroughly studied by mainstream politicians cocooned in the gilt of the Palais Bourbon than she has by some revolutionaries. At various points, the political focus on Islam has served to divert attention from neoliberal reforms. This was certainly the case during the headscarf affair in 2003, which accompanied the Raffarin government’s contentious reforms to pension laws.[21] It also came in the wake of France’s spectacular refusal to take part in the US ‘coalition of the willing’ and invade Iraq. As the feminist Christine Delphy asked a few years later, “wasn’t the headscarf affair, in [President] Chirac’s head, a little Iraq war – waged on a French scale, against unarmed high school girls?”[22]

If the far Left has acquitted itself dismally in relation to Islamophobia, further to the centre, things are even worse. The well-known Left Party figure and Left Front presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has sustained a strongly Republican and nationalist position, going so far as to call, in 2011, for the banning of street prayers. He therefore lacks the political resources needed to offer any real opposition to attacks on Muslims. As far as the gangrenous Socialist party is concerned, the normalization of anti-Muslim policies is just one element of its longstanding ideological decomposition. As for the ‘official’ anti-racist movement, the Socialists’ ideological—or , perhaps, actual—control over much of it has meant that it has offered virtually no support to Muslims.[23]

Frustration with the ambient racism of the liberal feminist left specifically led in 2003 to the founding of a new group, the movement—later the Party—of the Indigènes de la République, the ‘Republic’s Indigenous People’ (PIR). The PIR sets out to “struggle against all the forms of imperial, colonial and Zionist domination which ground white supremacy” in France and internationally. It describes its main goal as:

bringing about, within a single antiracist and decolonizing dynamic, the convergence of all spaces of resistance created by immigrants and their children, people who live in working-class areas, and the populations originally from the dominions and territories. Our aim is to construct an autonomous indigenous political force with the ability to influence the development of French society and public policy.

Autonomy from the existing forces of the left is one of the founding principles of the PIR. How great a challenge it is to influence other left political actors from an explicitly anti-racist position was starkly exposed this year, during the surprising outbreak of sustained national protest in the ‘Nuit Debout’ movement. For several months, nightly assemblies in Paris and around the country drew thousands of people for open debates centred around people’s alienation from politics and thirst to end corporate control over democracy. For a short but dynamic period, Nuit Debout constituted a prominent pole of opposition to both the Socialist government and the entire business-as-usual of French politics.

It’s symptomatic of the political divides crossing France that Nuit Debout never succeeded in appealing to the immigrant-origin populations from whom PIR draw their base. The PIR commented in these terms:

Nuit Debout had urged the “areas”, the “suburbs”, and “racialized” people to join the social movement. Nuit Debout wanted to organise marches to the suburbs, so that, finally, the dream of the union of workers, the oppressed, and the under-oppressed would be made real. We replied: the general convergence can’t be decreed; it will happen when you come to join our struggles.

The immediate catalyst for Nuit Debout was the repressive new labour law that the Socialist government has now succeeded in implementing. Article L.1321-2-1 of this law allows the private sector to impose discriminatory practices like the headscarf-ban in its own workforce, thereby opening up the newest front in the ongoing assault of the French governing classes against Muslims.

Since the passage of the law, Islamophobic repression has escalated: in July, the mayor of Cannes even banned the ‘burkini’ from his town’s beaches, a decision copied in several other parts of the country, and vocally defended by the Prime Minister. Both Ensemble, a component of the Left Front with a number of revolutionary activists, and the Poitiers-Vienne NPA branch have denounced this ban.

How far French elites will be prepared to extend their attacks on Muslims from here is an open question. What is certain is that the Left’s deeply checkered record in combatting the State’s assault on its most victimized subjects will come back to haunt it.


[1] Abdellali Hajjat and Marwan Mohammed, Islamophobie. Paris, La Découverte, 2016, pp. 134, 141.

[2] According to Hajjat and Marwan (op. cit.), a 1998 report for the government on French nationality found that only 5% of Muslims were practising; children’s main knowledge of Islam comes from the image of the religion they get in school.

[3] See Charles Sowerwine France since 1870, 2ed., Palgrave, 2009, and Alice L. Conklin et al., France and its empire since 1870, Oxford, OUP, 2011, for details.

[4] The prefect of police at the time, Maurice Papon, had been instrumental in deporting Jewish children during the war.

[5] In 1973 in Marseille 12 Algerians were killed in just a few days.

[6] See Pierre Tevanian, La haine de la religion, Paris, La Découverte, 2013, p.67.

[7]  See Hajjat and Mohammed, op. cit. p. 105-6, and Vincent Gay 2013, Des grèves de la dignité aux luttes contre les licenciements : les travailleurs immigrés de Citroën et Talbot, 1982-1984.

[8] Hajjat and Mohammed, op. cit., pp. 104-5.

[9] See Tevanian, op. cit., p. 109.

[10] See Ismahane Chouder, Malika Larèche and Pierre Tevanian, Les filles voilées parlent. Paris, La Fabrique, 2008.

[11] This is not, of course, limited to France : Mahamdallie compares ‘David Cameron’s watershed speech to the annual Munich security conference in 2011 in which he criticised “the doctrine of state multiculturalism”, saying that we need “a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism”.’

[12] See Mark Brown, ‘Socialism, satire and Charlie Hebdo’, International Socialism 2015.

[13] “L’Algérie se dévoile”, in L’An V de la révolution algérienne, Paris, La Découverte, 20-21. Cited by

[14] Joan Wallach Scott, The politics of the veil, Princeton, 2007.

[15] Pierre Bourdieu, Language and symbolic power. Oxford, Blackwell, 1991.

[16] R. Anthony Lodge. French: from dialect to standard. London, Routledge, 1993, p.3

[17] Elisabeth  Badinter, Régis Debray, Alain Finkielkraut, Elisabeth  de Fontenay, Catherine Kintzler, “Profs, ne capitulons pas!”. Le Nouvel Observateur, 2 au 8 novembre 1989.

[18] Laurent Lévy, “La gauche”, les Noirs et les Arabes. Paris, La Fabrique, 2010.

[19] Denis Godard, Editorial, ‘S’il ne s’agissait pas de la religion ?’, Que faire ? mars-avril 2010, p. 2


[21] Specifically, the loi Fillon. See Christine Delphy, Classer, dominer. Qui sont les « autres » ? Paris, La Fabrique, 2008, p. 49.

[22] Delphy op. cit., p. 49.

[23] According to Delphy (op. cit., p. 147-8), the Marche pour l’égalité in the 1980s was coopted by the PS who created SOS Racisme to ‘defuse the contestation’.


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