Jean-Luc Mélenchon has regained his verve, at the risk of playing rot. The day after the death of young Nahel, killed by a police officer after a refusal to comply and after two nights of urban riots, the leader of France Insoumise (LFI) is not on an appeat line. In a first tweet, he vilified the “watchdogs [qui] order us to call for calm”. In a second published Thursday, he attacked the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who had launched “Shame on those who did not call for calm” the day after the second night of riots.
“Shameful political recovery of Darmanin who discards his responsibilities in the drift of the police by accusing the Insoumis. Miserable, incapable, irresponsible politician,” he wrote.
“I’m not calling for calm, I’m calling for justice”
Jean-Luc Mélenchon leads a whole line in his wake, particularly within the young guard of LFI, at the risk of playing one-upmanship. “I’m not calling for calm, I’m calling for justice. That’s what’s at stake, it’s Justice. Calls for calm are easy,” MP David Guiraud said on BFMTV on Wednesday. Another LFI deputy, David Léaument, felt that “there was no question of calling for calm”.
These radical positions have aroused the anger of the majority, attacked from another angle by the right and the extreme right who are demanding the establishment of a state of emergency, as during the riots of 2005. They are also denounced by the right. While claiming establishment of the state of emergency the boss of the Republicans, Eric Ciotti, considered that “the extreme left bears a very heavy responsibility because it has clearly called for a riot”.
“To call for calm because an investigation is underway for Nahel is to ignore the problem. This is the 13th death in 1 year for refusing to comply. If there had been no video there would have been no investigation. If the government wants appeat, it must take general measures,” said MP LFI Alma Dufour.
But this radicalism, customary within LFI, is far from unanimous on the left. Both Olivier Faure, the first secretary of the Socialist Party, and Fabien Roussel, the national secretary of the Communist Party denounced the violence and, for the second, explicitly called for calm.
“My responsibility as an elected official is obviously to call for calm, because nothing is resolved by violence, but my responsibility as an elected official is also to understand anger and to call for truth and justice for Nahel,” said estimated for his part Stéphane Troussel, the socialist president of the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, where many cities have been the scene of violence.
Agree on the goal, not on the means
If the members of Nupes, the left-wing alliance set up for the 2022 legislative elections bringing together the Insoumis, socialists, environmentalists and communists, are on the same line to denounce police violence and review the 2017 law which has relaxed the legal framework for the use of their weapons by the police, they are divided, once again, on the attitude to adopt.
Supporter of a Sixth Republic, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is regularly accused of wanting to “marsh” political life to bring down the Fifth Republic which he despises. If they are not hostile to profound institutional changes, the other left-wing parties play by the rules of the current Republic without wanting to destabilize it. The goal is shared – in this case, a top-to-bottom review of police methods – but the way to achieve it is far from unanimous.
This fracture had already been noted during the protest against the pension reform , the radicalism of LFI making the other left-wing parties wince even if all campaigned for the withdrawal of the bill. After having treated “in”, the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, the deputy LFI Aurélien Saintoul had been criticized within the benches of the left. Ditto when the deputy LFI Thomas Portes had published a photo where he put his foot on a ball with the effigy of the same Olivier Dussopt. The radicalism maintained by LFI does not involve the other members of Nupes and gives angles of attack to the government and the right against the party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, accused of wanting to sow chaos.