Out with the Old

Mirroring the militarisation of society seen in Britain, and further revealing his true political persuasion, Emanuel Macron has reintroduced national service in France. Rory Steel reports.

Macron has managed to see through plans to reintroduce national service in France for 16 year olds with the aim to promote civic duty and social cohesion – an authoritarian prospect.

Young adults will be forced to do one month placement focusing on civic culture followed by three months to a year of work related to heritage, social care or linked to “defence and security”. Essentially teaching 16 year olds how to handle deadly weapons in defence of the French state.

If anyone followed the Young Scots for Independence campaign on armed forces recruitment, they will know the full dangers – both physical and psychological – of putting impressionable young people through rigorous armed forces training. The fact that the aim of this mandatory training is to promote ‘cohesion and duty’ makes the prospect all the scarier. It serves to instil in young people the idea to lay down their lives in defence of the French Republic and its President without question. I reckon Orwell would shiver.

And while young people can ‘opt’ for non-defence related work, it does not escape the fact that work is work. Anyone who uses their labour should be paid for it. The use of what is essentially slave labour to provide social services only undermines those services and workers currently in place.

These plans are a shadow of what Macron had intended. His vision was for full military service for a minimum of one month for 18 to 21 year olds with no option for civic or social activities in their stead.

It’s no secret that Macron fancies himself a modern day Napoleon – a highly militaristic and arrogant individual – who has elevated himself above the people to benevolently rule over them indicated by his belief that he believes he knows what’s best for the young people of today. Ironically, Macron just missed the French draft before it was abolished.

The social cohesion and unity Macron envisages cannot be forced. If it is, it is the mere illusion of unity. A unity that serves the few through the ignorance of the many. Unity is earned through the collectivisation of our ideals, resources, struggles, and actions – not in service of and in allegiance to a state and the few people who inhabit it. The young people of France have demonstrated that in the past with the 1968 student revolt against capitalism and traditional values resulting President Charles de Gaulle fleeing the country. The state is an instrument of the nation – not an ideal.

Young people are more than capable of making decisions for themselves that will benefit them, their communities and society. They do not need the ideals of an outdated ideology forced upon them to advance the ideals of the state. Nor should young people be obliged to give something back. They do through the labour they provide for the rest of their lives.

The young people of France have a history of knowing when something isn’t in their, but the state’s interest. Those ideologies of Napoleon, de Gaulle and now Macron are outdated and nearing their end. The young people of France must oppose Macron through civil disobedience and refuse to cooperate with his regime of forced labour and indoctrination. Younger people are moving forward and we’re taking the world – and everyone in it – with us.

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  1. Jamsie says:

    Eh?
    Mr Ed I know you must be struggling to find something positive to say about the SNP and Indy given all the recent contradictions but this article is possibly the most nonsensical I have come across on here.
    Militarisation of our society!!???
    Where, when?
    Absolute nonsense!
    And as for the young Scots for independence being an experiment in militarism this beggars belief.
    I am pretty sure the SNP still oppose NATO and the militarism which attaches to defensive policy.
    France unlike here still fosters national and civic pride which all generations actively promote even with their political differences.
    Whilst I am not sure that Macron’s scheme is the right way of engendering this I very much doubt that the majority of French people including their youth will oppose it.
    There maybe some criticism but very little direct defiance.
    History matters a lot in France and politics is secondary when the country demands that it’s populace steps up.
    The writer really does not understand the French if he thinks any of his suggestions will hold any water.
    At best there will be superficial protest. It most likely simply acceptance.

    1. Nobody said that the Young Scots for Indy was an experiment in militarism.

      I suggest you use the extraordinary amount of time you spend on this website to trawl through our coverage of the militarisation process in Scotland and wider Britain over the past decade.

      1. Jamsie says:

        Mr Ed
        “If anyone followed etc”
        Is it not the writer who is suggesting this?
        I am a bit lost with the suggestion that society in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK has become militarised.
        Ok maybe in the last century by necessity but here we are or should I say you are that this has been occurring in the last ten years.
        Where and to whom?

  2. Josef Ó Luain says:

    “Militarisation of our society!! ??? “Where, when?” When the French, German and Russian armies mutinied at the end of WW1, Tommy Atkins looked the other way and kept on soldiering. Based on that well documented fact, you may draw your own conclusions regarding the depth of militarisation in our society.

  3. mince'n'tatties says:

    Macron the ex- investment banker, could well be playing with fire here. Nothing poisons compulsory military service more than ‘deferrals’ or our auld pal the draft-dodger.
    Much loved by American Presidents, like little else this opt [cop] out throws into stark relief societies fissures.
    Those of wealth and influence are unable to hide their actions as opposed to empty words. France for all its egalitarian noise is a class ridden society on a par or worse than the UK’s.
    Maybe all French youth will view this as their patriotic duty, but somehow I doubt it.
    If not then Marine Le Pen will have a field day.

  4. Graeme Purves says:

    Emanuel Macron’s Napoleonic delusions gave BBC Shortbread the excuse to make “should we bring back National Service?” the topic for discussion on its morning drivel spot – with predictable results.

    National Service was phased out across Europe because those who had experienced it recognised that it was a farcical waste of time.

  5. SleepingDog says:

    Child soldiers are particularly vulnerable to indoctrination and bullying, less well equipped to defy illegal orders or report abuse, and may be unable to function to the level demanded by international laws of war.

    One investigator of British army war crimes is quoted in a recent Guardian article as saying:
    “Some of the British soldiers he interviewed were functionally illiterate”
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jun/07/british-troops-war-crimes-iraq-historic-allegations-team

    It cannot bode well for a nation’s democratic pretensions if someone is pressed into military or other service before they can vote.

    What kind of oath would the French conscripts have to make? It would be interesting to contrast it with the one British child soldiers make.

  6. w.b.robertson says:

    how dare someone suggest that National Service was a waste of time for youth in the UK. I can remember many nights on guard duty in Aldershot with snow ankle deep on the ground…and watching crowds of civilians streaming out of the cinema on the other side of the perimeter fence.

  7. David Robins says:

    The trolls may be blind to it but I see the militarisation very clearly. The ‘Armed Forces Covenant’ (2000 and counting) has since been followed by ‘Armed Forces Day’ (2006 and counting). We managed very well without either of these bids to metaphorically dip everyone’s hands in the blood.

    One of my friends served in WWII and nothing appalls him more than the change in the political climate from ‘we need defence but we should work tirelessly to need it less and less’ to ‘a love of lethal violence and mindless obedience is character-building’.

  8. Me Bungo Pony says:

    It’s not that the UK has become militarised, it’s that the lionisation of the armed forces is being used as both a distraction from the decisions to put them in harms way in the first place and a way of promoting British nationalism in an increasingly fractured union.

    The armed forces deserve our support in terms of ensuring they are well equipped to do their job while ensuring casualties are kept to an absolute minimum and given the best medical treatment available. However, it would be best if they weren’t in other people’s countries in the first place.

    However, the paradox is that while the Westminster govt is happy to use the military as a distraction and a tool for “nation building”, they refuse to give it the financial support it needs for the tasks they assign them and have overseen the shrinking of the services to a level not seen in over 200 years. That is hypocrisy taken to a literally lethal level.

    One of the first “black lies” I heard Ruth (stranger to the truth) Davidson utter as leader of the Scottish (sic) Tories during the indyref was in a televised debate where she strode to the front of the stage and then, in all seriousness, stated the British Army was 200,000 strong (contrasting it with an iScotland army she claimed would be only a few hundred soldiers). Of course, the army is only a fraction of that size but, hey, it’s wee Ruthie, she can make up whatever she likes and we are all just supposed to take it as gospel without the msm giving it even the most cursory of scrutinies.

    1. Jamsie says:

      Would that be a bit like the fracking “ban” peddled so ludicrously by wee Nicola?
      The truth is a total stranger in that camp eh?
      Of course it is all the Press’s fault for reporting the failures.
      Obviously it is a conspiracy to blacken her ratings!
      Oh I forgot they are already negative aren’t they?

      1. Me Bungo Pony says:

        Fracking is effectively banned at the moment in Scotland due to the denial of planning permission, with that being strengthened in the future by its inclusion in the next National Planning Framework. MSPs of all parties, bar the Tories, voted in favour of this in 2017 and, indeed, welcomed it.

        Ineos got it laughably wrong when they challenged this effective ban incompetently in the courts. I had a wee laugh myself when I heard the verdict and the reasons for it. That you’ve been reduced to semantics and latching on to the bleatings of a rapacious multinational in order to try and score a point against the FM is itself laughable.

        1. Jamsie says:

          So wee Nicola did not lie?
          Who is semantising now?
          Unbelievable!

        2. Me Bungo Pony says:

          No she didn’t for the reasons given above. If you believe the FM lied then you must believe the entire Scottish Parliament lied as they voted for it, including a Labour amendment. Everyone of them referred to it as a “ban” including the Tories who voted against it. After all, it does mean fracking is prevented from going ahead in Scotland due to govt policy …. ie “banned”. Is everyone who referred to as a “ban” a liar?

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-41722485

          1. Jo says:

            Well argued in all your posts MBP.

  9. barakabe says:

    why do people keep feeding this guy Jamsie? Can we all just agree to starve him of the attention he so desperately pines for?

    1. mince'n'tatties says:

      Eh naw, as someone who has a considered regard for independence, but without the slaistering obesquiouness demanded by the SNP politburo….let the man speak.
      You want the National, it’s there , go but don’t try and ‘uck free speech. Sieg Heil on this blog has never cut the mustard pal.

      1. barakabe says:

        Are you for real pal? Immediate accusations of fascism are a tad hysterical. What I am saying is don’t take the bait. How is that the same as shutting someone down like a fascist ya total roaster. Even anarchists reserve the right to refuse someone the oxygen of self regard by ignoring them- starving someone of attention is not the same as curtailing free speech- Wee Jamsie can scream and rant and rave on the blog like the rocket but we shouldn’t encourage him by feeding his mania. Maybe he comes on here as an unloading process and if we ignore it he will eventually exhaust himself- its just an idea, its not Nazism as you seem to infer.

  10. Willie says:

    I think the SG have played the cards well and have left Ineos flat footed and red faced.

    What not to like.

  11. w.b.robertson says:

    the SG`s ban that was not a ban has cost the taxpayer in legal costs and public esteem. It has not endeared the SNP hierarchy in the eyes of Scotland`s richest industrialist. There is no mileage (particularly for politicians)in making unnecessary enemies when trying to show how clever you are.

  12. Jamsie says:

    I believe the SG have also offered to pay Ineos legal fees.
    More taxpayers money wasted.
    However I fully expect to see Ineos now go through the planning process which ultimately leads to a decision by the reporter who is a representative of the SG.
    The rejection of a planning application appeal by the reporter will ultimately lead to a decision having to be taken by Scottish ministers who in the absence of a legal statute for a ban will be left to defend the indefensible.
    More taxpayers money wasted.
    This has a long way to run yet and I don’t see Ineos backing off as they would like to be able to maximise the use of the production facility at Grangemouth.
    The SG may have won on a technicality where they have not actually instigated a ban as they declared but have now left themselves open to challenges from several directions.
    The ban which is not a ban is not worth the paper it is not written on!

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      Foaming again Jimbo!! We are running out of bibs

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