dinsdag, november 08, 2005

Profitting from the riots

Most people when they see Paris and, as of last night, 300 other cities, burning on the news, they see a riot. The UMP, the France's conservative party and the party of Sarkozy, de Villepin and Chirac, however, see a marketing opportunity.

If you type in the word 'émeute' (French for 'riot') into the Google.fr search engine, the first link that appears is entitled 'Violences en Banlieues' ('Violence in the suburbs') and is a sponsored link to http://www.u-m-p.org/. Underneath, the tag reads: 'Soutenez la politique de N. Sarkozy pour rétablir l'ordre républicain' ('Support the policies of N. Sarkozy to re-establish the republican order'). Refresh the page, and the tag changes to 'Soutenez la politique de N. Sarkozy pour faire respecter la loi' ('Support the policies of N. Sarkozy to ensure respect for the law').

Reuters is reporting that Franck Louvrier, Sarkozy's spokesman, said the company hired by the UMP to run the website paid for the link as a way to respond to the 'thousands' of voters who were e-mailing messages of support.

Right...take out an ad on Google that is to appear whenever anyone looks up the word 'émeute' to tell the people who have sent a message of support to send another message of support?


Meanwhile, elsewhere internautical, three French bloggers have been arrested for allegedly 'inciting violence' by using their blogs to encourage people to join the riots, justice minister Pascal Clement told a media conference yesterday. The bloggers, all aged 16 and from Aix-en-Provence in the south, 'called for riots and an attack on police stations'. Their blogs were hosted by a site owned by a youth radio station, Skyrock, which has since shut them down.

I wonder if Reporters Sans Frontieres will rally to their defence. Hmm. No, they're not funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, so probably not.


Wikipedia already has a page up on the rebellion, and the full, unedited version of Naima Bouteldja's piece for the Guardian yesterday is now up on the Radical Activist Network website. If you can read French, Indymedia Paris is doing what the Indymedia network is best at - offering up-to-the-minute coverage of large-scale protests. (Understandably, the loading time takes ages)

The Bethune Audomarois branch of Attac, the France-based altermondialiste network, has issued a communiqué expressing solidarity with the 'poor of the suburbs' (hat tip to Kersplebedeb, a Montréal anarchist who is maintaining a very useful blog, Sketchy Thoughts, translating key articles from the French press into English):

Communiqué de attac Béthune

"attac Béthune Audomarois" exprime clairement et publiquement sa solidarité avec les exclus des banlieues victimes du système de Messieurs Sarkozy et consorts. La logique Ultra-Libérale conduit toujours au mensonge,à la misère, à l'exclusion et à la violence. Nous en voyons aujourd'hui les résultats.


Communiqué from ATTAC Béthune

ATTAC Béthune Audomarois publicly and unambiguously declares its solidarity with the people in the poor suburbs, victims of the system of Mr Sarkozy and his friends. The logic of ultra-liberalism always leads to lies, suffering, marginalization and violence. Today we are seeing the results.


Lenny at the Tomb has a rather good analysis of the commentary on the French riots by Tech Central Station's resident Hitchens-fartcatcher, Michael J. Totten, an atrocious writer who exemplifies the rarely disguised racism that is at the very belly-button of liberal-hawkdom:

Here, then, is the authentic white supremacist posing as a connoisseur of cosmopolitanism, cross-cultural understanding. The fixtures of Orientalist and outright racist discourse are harnessed to the cause of liberal internationalism.

Talking of little shits who write as well as a toothbrush, anyone else who thought that Emma Brockes 'interview' with Noam Chomsky in the Guardian last week was as vomitous as a banana Gorgonzola milkshake might want to meander over to Counterpunch, where they compare Brockes' glib fabrications about Chomsky with her brownnosing Ariel 'Sabra and Shatila' Sharon in another interview (and have dug out a quote from another interview where the little thickie admits that she finds Chomsky hard to understand).

I completely forgot about this, but a couple of months ago, UK radical charity War on Want put up a short video clip of Belle and Sebastian's visit to the occupied territories, with some great Palestinian hip-hop on the soundtrack. Ch-ch-check it out.

This one's just for shits and giggles:

That's Republican activist Matthew Glavin, who preached upstanding, God-fearing family values until he was caught masturbating in public and fondling an undercover park ranger. He is just one example in a seemingly boundless list of Republican hypocrisy you can find at the 'Stop Republican Paedophilia' site from the Armchair Subversive.

And here is everyone's favourite creative-writing-undergraduates-who-decided-to-start-a-band band, the Decemberists, in a 40-odd-minute live session at KCRW, the campus station of Santa Monica College. Why? Because they're the Decemberists, d'uh.

UPDATE: (Via Dead Men Left) The LCR's 2002 presidential candidate and one of France's most popular politicians, Olivier Besancenot, has called for demonstrations defying the curfews. From DML's translation of the announcement:
... the LCR calls for demonstrations against the curfew in communes or quartiers, at night if necessary, where it would be instituted by the prefect. The LCR invites all organisations of the left and of democracy to organise these demonstrations together.