French AntiCapitalists denounce the racist offensive and support Aya Nakamura

Dave Kellaway of Anti*Capitalist Resistance has translated the NPA - L’Anticapitaliste statement and added footnotes to explain some references people may not be aware of.

 

Readers may have seen the article in Saturday’s Guardian (16 March) drawing attention to the way the right wing and racists have started a backlash against the proposal that the most popular French pop star, Aya Nakamura, of Malian heritage, should perform at the Paris Olympics opening ceremony this July. You can listen to one of her most popular hits below.

New Anti-Capitalist Party statement

The NPA strongly condemns the racist attacks and controversy orchestrated by the extreme right against singer Aya Nakamura.

Aya Nakamura’s harassment is reminiscent of that suffered by Jessye Norman1 for the bicentenary of the French Revolution, Christiane Taubira2 for her appointment as Minister of Justice, Black M3 for the centenary of the Battle of Verdun, and more recently Omar Sy4 for his role in the Lupin series. What the extreme right rejects is the possibility of black people representing France on the international stage.

It is scandalous that the government, which has put her in this position, should remain silent in the face of such blatant racism and misogyny, showing tacit complicity with extremist forces. We are not fooled by the silence of President Emmanuel Macron, who talks positively about Aya Nakamura’s performance, then leaves her alone to face the dogs of the extreme right. This is the same person who, with one hand, is proud to put Joséphine Baker5 in the Pantheon6 and, with the other, calls Zemmour7[7] to show his support. The latter, along with several extreme right-wing groups, fuels the controversy targeting Aya Nakamura. We are mindful that this reaction is taking place a month and a half after the promulgation of the Asylum and Immigration Act, which was adopted thanks in no small part to the parliamentary extreme right.

We also denounce the fact that the media invites far-right representatives to spew their racist venom at Aya Nakamura with impunity. TV shows should not be a platform for propagating hatred and racism.

We would like to express our full support for Aya Nakamura in this ordeal. We offer her our unwavering solidarity in the face of these racist attacks and call for a collective mobilisation to fight racism and fascism in all its forms. The NPA remains committed to the anti-racist and anti-fascist struggle and will continue to defend the dignity and rights of all people, regardless of race, religion, or origin.

Montreuil, Friday, March 15, 2024

Footnotes

  1. Norman (1945-2019) was a renowned international Opera Soprano who sang La Marseillaise at the celebrations for the Bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989. ↩︎
  2. Taubira was the Justice Minister in Hollande’s Socialist Party government. She suffered disgusting racist abuse in 2013. The right wing Minute publication put her photo and the racist statement: Crafty as a monkey – Taubira gets her banana back on its front page. ↩︎
  3. Black M is a black rapper who was invited to perform at the Battle of Verdun anniversary events in 2016 but was then de-invited by the Socialist mayor of Verdun. ↩︎
  4. Sy is a leading French actor who took on the role Arsene Lupin in the classic French TV Drama (very good and available to watch on Netflix) – racists questioned his right as a black to portray a character who was originally conceived as a white man. ↩︎
  5. Baker was a successful jazz artist and dancer before the Second World War who also helped the anti-fascist resistance. ↩︎
  6. Pantheon, where the heros/heroines of French history are buried. ↩︎
  7. Éric Zemmour, a candidate at the last Presidential elections who was even more far right that Marine Le Pen. He got 7.7% and his movement has since floundered. ↩︎

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Dave Kellaway is on the Editorial Board of Anti*Capitalist Resistance, a member of Socialist Resistance, and Hackney and Stoke Newington Labour Party, a contributor to International Viewpoint and Europe Solidaire Sans Frontieres.

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