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Letter to my Family




Published 28 June 2024

Dear All of You,

Our family, not being a mafia one, comprises in general people with diverse opinions, free to think, to act, to abstain or to vote according to their understanding. Besides, I know that my age - recently reaching 80 - confers on me no particular right to give instructions, for voting or other things. Nevertheless, allow me to express a grave concern that I have in the current situation where the National Assembly has been dissolved for a new election.

It is possible that on July 8 the Extreme Right may be in a position (if not full power) to rule France. Note that I was born in a Paris then occupied by the Germans, and had a father and grandfather who each had to go to a war and who convinced me that peace is a crucial issue - and so right-wing rule would sound the knell for a life dedicated to defending the values of the French Republic - which for me are Liberties, Equity, Solidarity - and (for 40 years) the abolition of nuclear weapons.

I know well that RN (the right-wing National Rally) is not the Nazi party, and that one may have reasons to vote RN without necessarily holding extreme-right ideas. But however much things may seem different, to "try out" putting the extreme right in power is what the German voters did in 1933. You know what followed.

Personally, on June 30, I cannot vote in the S. Electorate for the new Popular Front’s candidate who has committed, as I requested, to say in this statement of faith that he "will work for peace in Europe and in the world calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons." But in the D. Electorate where I’m enrolled I will still vote for the Popular Front candidate.

Its programme devotes two pages (6-7) to the "Urgent need for peace", "Promoting French diplomacy in the service of peace", "Defending Ukraine and peace on the European continent", "Acting for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and for a just and durable peace", and one whole page (p11) to "Struggling against all forms of racism, antisemitism and islamophobia" (which makes the accusation of anti-semitism a scandalous slander and shameful manipulation, something that numerous Jews have denounced in an article in Libération.)

It’s not just that. The programme of the new Popular Front is good overall. Good for the most humble of us, as was the Popular Front of 1935, with among other things the paid holidays we still enjoy, and is good for almost everyone, except powerful men like Arnault, Bolloré, Lagardère or Dassault, who will not die from seeing their huge profits reduced.

So that is my choice, not necessarily yours. Vote for who you wish, but please, not for a candidate of the Extreme Right.

Concerning education, some forty heads of schools and education inspectors have warned that if the Extreme Right rules, they will resist.

« As servants of the State, our consciences and responsibility mean that we will not obey.

We are men and women and men who head educational estabilshments, the schools, colleges, and lycées of France. We are inspectors of the National Education. We are managers of the National Education, with the duty of appyling the government’s directions.

We have done this for years, sometimes decades. We have done it loyally, seriously, impartially and rigorously. We have done it under governments of the left, the right and the centre. We act under the authority of ministers of the right, the left and the centre. We act as officials, as servants of the State.

On July 8 2024 the Extreme Right may be in power. Tomorrow, perhaps, our next minister, appointed from its ranks, may require officials to apply directives, implement policies, and organise teaching in opposition to the republican values that underpin our professions and justify our commitments. We will not accept this. Our consciences and responsibility mean that we will not obey.

Because we serve the State, we are declaring today that none of us will implement measures that contravene the values of the French Republic. We will not execute policies contrary to the principles that underpin our commitment to public service education. We are saying this now before it is too late, before our School Systen is derailed and instrumentalised to serve a sinister political project."

Cadres de l’Education Nationale pour la République - France

Their petition, which I have not signed because I have never been the head of a schooling estabilshment (though I founded one) has by the present count received over 200 signatures.

As a former teacher, I approve their resistance. So understand that this letter from me is my very familial way of joining with them ... as a preventive step.

Heed this call, please!

Kisses to everyone,

Jean-Marie