A veil is used to conceal. In principle. One of Maryam Pougetoux will be used especially to reveal. Reveal these debates on secularism, communalism, multiculturalism, etc. -, these lines of fractures that work the left into its depths and gradually make it explode. It will be sufficient that the head of the Unef at the university of Paris-IV, 19-year-old to appear in front of the camera to the news of M6, a veil covering his hair and neck, in order that these contentious issues come to the surface. Like the lava of a volcano erupting. Several weeks after, at a time when the students pass the bac, and where the students, themselves, feel already on holiday or are in remedial -, remains a desolate landscape, burned by the controversy.
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Rest is also a kind of amazement at the ex-trade union officials. "In my time, there was a republican ideal to the Unef, a perfect progressive. There was no room for communalism or the signs related to religion. When was the Unef, it was in defence of secularism. For a generation who believed in these ideals, this image of Maryam Pougetoux is a little disturbing," admits the very measured, Harlem Désir, member of the national board of the structure, a student in the early 80's. Before "the case Pougetoux", beginning 2018, a jerk to the Paris-Diderot university had already waved the seismographs and annoyed the old : the union was opposed to the holding of a show drawn from the texts of Charb, the cartoonist of Charlie Hebdo who was assassinated in 2015 by the brothers Kouachi.
Lilâ The Bottom, the current president, assumes the discrepancy with his elders on the issue of the display of religious signs. It defends a secularism "incluante," she said, away from the "exclusionary" which would contain its predecessors. A secularism adjectivée who would tolerate so the wearing of the veil as long as the person was a representative of association - does not pay in proselytizing. "What we advocate is that every young person can have access to the Unef of the time he is defending our values. The Unef is not neutral, it is not an association of the state. It is not atheist (sic)."Moult ideological
But then arises the question of the fight of a feminist, and long worn as a standard by the organization. Can we defend the emancipation of women when you wear the veil ? For The Bottom, 25 years old, and as many ideas at the minute, no doubt about it : "feminism is not a fight to the variable geometry. We support all women who struggle to claim equality. It is necessary to allow women to make their own choice, to dress as they wish."
Except that some believe that the principle of freedom - to wear a veil or not - in competition with a principle which should be regarded as superior, especially when one is left : that of equality, in this case between men and women. A former part of the organization, preferring to remain anonymous, goes further still : "The veil, to me, is a testimony that the religion can impose on women. However, the vocation to the emancipatory power of the Unef, it is also to liberate people from their own shackles, moral, and religious. For those of today, say this is experienced as something extremely violent. It means that we can impose things on people," growls our ex, all the while wondering how the former first student union was able to get there.
Maryam Pougetoux, president of the section Unef Paris-IV, may 2, 2018
to tell the truth, the causes of this metamorphosis ideological are multiple. Some evoke first a simple penchant generational : younger activists steeped in multiculturalism and globalization would not the wearing of the veil, in particular, and religion, in general, with the same reluctance that the activists before. Others see it as a phenomenon that is more insidious : strength of rock, the ship union would have lost his cape and turned to port. "All it seems to me quite gauchisant", laments, for example, a former president, making him also masked. For the latter, the Unef would have just simply forgot his first vocation : to defend the interests of the students. And would have captured all of the political battles of the moment.
the Same analysis on the side of Julien Dray, vice-president at the beginning of the 80's. For him also, the union is no longer audible on the historic messages that he defended : "no to the increase of the registration fee", the "non-selection", the fight "for a better social security system"... it would have slowly given way to a wider beam of claim comprising the anti-racism and the fight against discrimination. And it is - mind you-that the founder of SOS-Racism which dare to say it. An association that, in extolling the right to difference, has participated in its scale to install the idea in the opinion of the merits of the difference of rights.Meetings of non-mixed racial and prayer rooms
For Emmanuel Maurel, a candidate defeated for the leadership of the PS, same diagnosis : away from his fights, the originals, the Unef has taken the wrong road. And to assimilate, in the manner of Lenin, the new generation of leaders of the union of the "useful idiots" of the "liberal-communitarianism". "Sometimes you do something thinking that it's going in the right direction, but it serves thebreasts of its ideological adversaries", argues the former of the Sorbonne, and denouncing an "over-emphasis on diversity" and "the exaltation of multiculturalism".
In sum, the fight against racism, however legitimate it may be, would be dropped in the identitarisme against which he was supposed to fight. On the ground, this translates into the multiplication of meetings non-mixed, "racial ", sometimes even within the same national office. Last year, the students ' union had also expressed its support for Mwasi, a collective of black women who want to organize a festival that is forbidden to the whites. The orga youth had even arrested Anne Hidalgo, claiming that the non-diversity was not a discrimination in his eyes. A year and a half earlier, the episode of the prayer room revealed by The World had already made a lot of noise.
October 2016, at the university of Nanterre. At the national meeting to bid farewell to president William Swift, some muslim activists require a space to pray. A piece is released to respond to this unusual request. But the decision baffled by former "comrades". Some of us lament in private, in the image of this former president who explains to have "never had the guilt of the white neo-colonial". He retorted while he is "nice", but that in his day, the headquarters of the Unef was composed of"white men". Except that since that time, the situation has changed. "In recent years, it is true that there has been a recruitment, a decision-responsibilities most important of people from visible minorities. It has expanded to people from the immigration of african and north-african", analyzes the historian Robi Bite, a specialist in student movements."They are more than wrong!"
beyond this change in the workforce, they are many to identify behind the mutations of the Unef of the reasons electoral. This would be the first by calculation that the union would have entered into a strategic alliance with the muslim Students of France (EMF). "If this is it, they are more than wrong ! Seriously !, died the same former officer. It does not organize the public space function of religions in our country. There, they are close to people who gather and organize themselves according to their religious affiliation..." Of his time - a few decades ago already - the Unef was lists of student associations, algerians, tunisians, mauritanians, etc., The idea : to facilitate the home and everyday life not always obvious to these young people who have come to follow a training course away from home. And scratch also the passage - it must be said - some ballots in the elections of the students.
But there was no question of confession or claims of religious, assure-t-on : "Never of the life we have made a list with the Union of muslim students of Bordeaux and Besançon ! Never, never, never !" Eyebrows of the current leader, disgusted by the topic : "Stop caricaturing and take up the story of the Unef. She has always worked with the YCW, the MRJC [youth movement of christians], it was never a debate. I don't see how it "communautarise" anything to drop off some lists ? Unless the real issue is islamophobia room ?"
during election periods, student, Julien Dray understood the logic catch-all. This little game of influence was common when it was inserted. He readily admits. The students ' union took to its account the requests of associations. "Except that there, they are deported. You don't have to wear claims of worship in the context of the university." If the union rakes in a little more lately, maybe it's also because he isn't doing better in the polls. Unless the cause and effect relationship is the reverse ? However, in February 2017, affront supreme, he was outstripped for the first time by the Federation of associations on the general student (FAGE) elections to university. "It was a blow to morale," observes Robi Bite. Their defence today, that is to say : "The elections, this is not representative. There are only 10 % of the students that vote." Of course, but it was already the same thing before."
The result is in any case obvious : the union centenary weighs as much anymore. In the hubbub of the recent occupations of lecture halls when the anti-Parcoursup, he struggled to be heard. Except when one of its representatives to Paris-I reported a fake news and ensured that a student molested by the CRS was in a coma. A shame for an organization that was at its peak twelve years ago, during the fight against the CPE, and then against the law of autonomy of universities, Valérie Pécresse."They have not recovered from the Hollande presidency"
at the time, the students ' union is not only a majority in the elections, but also in the first line in the mobilizations. Its president Bruno Julliard negotiates directly with the prime minister. Students are to fold the government Villepin, without knowing that they are going to live a crossing of the desert. "I think they have not recovered from the Hollande presidency, analysis Jean-Philippe Legois, historian and president of the City of the memories of the students. Because the law Fioraso on higher education and research, passed from the time of the ruling socialists, is not back to back against the loi Pécresse". On the contrary, the liberal orientation of the transformation of the university system has been maintained by a government of the left and the Unef could not be as critical as if it had been a right-wing government."
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Without the adversary, the national Union of students has seen his odds tumble in concert with that of the socialist Party. From 36 000 members in 2005, to 30 000 still claimed today, it has entered into a period of uncertainty. Politically, this translates into a entrisme of the extreme left more and more pronounced, especially under the presidency of William Swift (2013-2016). From the national office, at the forefront in the fight against right-wing extremism, homophobia and sexism, it is "islamophobia" one of the main thrusts of its mandate. Now an activist of the France Insubordinate, he is also the one who has cut the cord with Solferino, in which the union was a nursery historical (Cambadélis, Hamon, Hollande, Jospin, Lang, Le Drian, Rocard, Valls -to name only a few - there are past). With him, some comrades close to the NPA or BIA pose little by little their napkin in the instances, this is sometimes squeak a few teeth. Then to say that the Unef, as recently, the association Act-Up, would have been a entrisme of political activists mindset of the former, there is a step that nobody crosses. On the other hand, as we have seen, there is a convergence of ideological fact.
Lilia Down, and William Swift (Unef) to their arrival on the 11th of April 2016 at Matignon in Paris
anyway, last summer, eight members of the management have been hunted down, suspected of fomenting a coup. Their wrong : having encounters with the Unruly who would have tried to put the grappling hook on the organization. "The political battle has taken on the battle of association, laments Julien Dray, who knows a thing or two on the subject. A part of the management has been influenced by the campaign of Mélenchon, dépitée by Hamon. The other, in return, reacted in an authoritarian manner", and finished off by mark their independence vis-à-vis BIA, but also the PS and the Movement of young socialists (MJS). "We do not take our orders and our demands for a party, plague still Down. Young people that engage and reflect may not have a brain ? They must necessarily engage with an old man who was seventy years of policy ? It infuriates me."no guardian figure
So who cornaque now the Unef ? "The more person, that is the problem, laments Emmanuel Maurel, nostalgic of the year 1993. For a long time it has been controlled by leaders of the PS. Today, this is no longer the case at all. It may be that there is a training concern activist." Some speak bluntly of organizational crisis, denounced the end of the votes in a secret ballot, the control of too large of local chapters by national leaders, or even the lack of "the work of confrontation" of ideas, according to a former adherent, embarrassed to entournures. In this period of turbulence, the young guard would have no more guides, no more tutelary figure. Where this self-centredness and a functioning autocratic, denounced by the former president, always incognito : "It is a phenomenon of a sect in the true sense of the term. After the euphoria of the CPE, the people in charge of the monitoring of the general assemblies of students (AGES) in the various territories have occupied a place of gurus." "It is the union education", removes the current direction.
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Many old-timers speak of a the direction all-powerful, deified by the base. It would require activists, monks-soldiers, dedicated to the cause, stakhanovistes in their action. A total involvement that would make the privacy on the second plan. With the excesses that we know now. Liberation revealed in the beginning of the year the system of sexual predation put in place by some men sitting at the top of the Unef, including the era, Jean-Baptiste Prévost, from 2007 to 2011. At least sixteen victims do not report cases of harassment and, for some, sexual assault and rape. The organization has grown, at this time, in hunting ground, where there was the law of silence. Speak, it was to betray it, because it could mean to put in question "a comrade of value," or because, in this small world crazily paranoid, suspected to always be a "combination policy". In silence also to avoid being perceived as weak. Is armour to advance in the hierarchy, where men squattent the positions of first plan. "There's also this idea that if one is not able to take a hit to right-to-left, it is not really free, dare the ex-president to be hidden. I am convinced that it is one of the elements explaining that it has been able to last so long."the coat of arms, to bestow
With the benefit of hindsight, Lilâ The Bottom does not want to "blame the organization." It refers to "individual cases". To avoid such scandal in the future, steps have been taken : distribution of a video about consent, discourse, alternating between women and men, implementation of the "night Elves" - watchmen, sober, pointing out the gestures in the evenings - and the creation of the famous meetings non-mixed.
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In terms of image, nevertheless, it is a disaster,says another former president, definitely angry with Unef since this episode. In addition, he would not join a union that defends now the occupations in the facs, as was the case at Tolbiac. "The idea to devastate a building during a strike we crossed overall not the spirit. Asking for money for the universities, and at the same time cut with the cutter projection screens video... Not need to have level + 12 to see that there is a slight contradiction in the way to protest", glisse-t-il with the air of one who would like to put a little order into this old house - 111-year-old all the same. The case seems difficult. There is an alumni association, but its role is purely symbolic, is to commemorate the key dates of the trade union. Not to solve the existential crises that he has been able to cross. The most optimistic note that it is always pointed out, leaving the generation in place to cope with it. Here, more than elsewhere, it does not make up of Unef with the old.
Publish Date : 03 Kasım 2018 Cumartesi 21:29
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