France

France: Amid debates, left gives solidarity to Greece

In the aftermath of the harsh deal for brutal austerity and mass privatisation imposed on Greece in the early hours of July 13, both Berlin and Paris are floating alternative “solutions” to the euro problem.

Germany, on the one hand, wants greater fiscal integration, whereas France is calling for the creation of a eurozone government as well as a dedicated finance minister.

The mainstream press is talking up the divisions between the two nations as fundamentally different perspectives on the euro — or even differences in political “culture”.

French racism and super-exploitation tackled in Samba

Samba
Co-written & directed by Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano
In cinemas now

Nobody could say that French film makers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano — and their actor of choice, Omar Sy — shy away from heavy subjects.

In their 2012 international hit The Intouchables, they dived straight into questions of disability, racism and class. Now in Samba they have tackled the question of illegal migrants struggling to survive without papers in contemporary France.

France ignores key renewables report

The French government has joined the Australian government in ignoring its own reports that say a transition to 100% renewable energy is feasible and involves little extra cost.

Mediapart obtained a report from the French government’s environment and energy agency body ADEME that showed shifting to 100% renewable energy by 2050 is materially and technologically feasible. The report found it would cost relatively little more than the existing electricity supply, which is 75% nuclear.

Marshall Islands challenges nuclear powers


In April last year, the government of the Marshall Islands announced it would be taking nine nations — China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Britain and the US — to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague over their possession of nuclear weapons.

The Marshallese have paid a heavy price for other countries’ nuclear weapons. After World War II, they were incorporated into the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands administered by the US.

France: Right makes gains in local votes, left considers regroupment

French politics further confirmed its rightward trajectory after the second round of departmental elections on March 29.

There are 101 departments and 4108 councillor positions across the country. Departments are in charge of local roads, school buildings and buses, welfare allowances and various other local issues. But the elections also represent a barometer of the political situation in the country.

The governing nominally centre-left Socialist Party (PS) suffered a humiliating defeat against a right-wing united front headed by the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Students resist neoliberalism: global roundup

Spain: Education sector strikes against privatisation

Professors and students in more than 40 Spanish cities went on strike on March 24 against the government’s education reform aimed at privatising the public sector.

According to the unions who organised the strike, there was an 85% participation rate. High schools reached 90% participation around the country, according to a statement by Workers Commissions, FETE-UGT, the Independent Central of State Officials and Students of Spain in Movement.

SYRIZA win provokes new confrontations

What does the victory of radical left party SYRIZA in Greece's January 25 elections mean for politics in Europe, at Europe-wide and national levels? Both levels are closely intertwined, and since SYRIZA’s win have been having rapid feedback effects on each another.

Across Europe, the reverberations of SYRIZA’s win are being felt with rising force, both in “peripheral” Europe, but also in the German-led European Union “core”.

Western Sahara caught in human rights nightmare

Western Sahara is recognised by the United Nations as the last non-self-governing territory in Africa. Between 1973 and 1991 it was at war, as the pro-independence Polisario Front fought first against colonial rulers Spain, and after 1975, against Morocco, which invaded with Spanish encouragement.

In 1991, a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire was supposed to bring peace, based on a referendum on independence. However, the UN-promised referendum has never been held. Overt support from France, and more tacit support from the US, has enabled Morocco to have it indefinitely postponed.

Western Sahara: West's resource theft prolongs occupation

Offshore oil drilling operations off Western Sahara, carried out by the US firm Kosmos Energy, were denounced by Western Sahara Resources Watch (WSRW) on March 2.

“Kosmos Energy did nothing to obtain the consent of the people of Western Sahara,” said WSRW chair Erik Hagen.

The Dallas-based company said its exploration well had not yielded a commercial find and would be plugged, Associated Press said on March 2.

Spinning terror to fuel racism

When 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein murdered two people in Copenhagen on February 15, and was killed in a shoot-out with police, the media and politicians across the world did not hesitate to declare that an act of terrorism had taken place.

US President Barack Obama immediately phoned Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to offer condolences and invited Denmark to take part in a February 18 summit in Washington to counter violent extremism, Reuters reported on February 16.

Other Western leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, responded similarly.

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