NICE: Sorrow, disgust, anger

Note kindly tranlated by Anne-Marie de Grazia

The Nice terrorist attack is the one too many. Of course, one can only be struck with horror, as we have been now time and again since January 2015 and the massacre perpetrated at Charlie Hebdo[1]. We have already expressed our thoughts on this. One is seized with sorrow, disgust, but also with anger.

The very repetition of these acts is a fact in itself. It also points out the faulty and ill-adapted reaction of the President of the Republic and of the government. Have the latter really done all that was in their might to try to prevent a repetition of these atrocious acts? Have they done what was mandatory in order to re-establish civil concord in our country? We must fear the answer is negative. However, these two tasks, to assure the security of all and to maintain the civil peace are the two tasks which are at the foundation of the legitimacy of rulers. Any failing on this point opens up a crisis of legitimacy.

The return of the state of emergency

The President decided to invoke the state of emergency during the tragic night of November 13. This act constituted an act of sovereignty [2] and it should not have been squandered. But it was diverted from its function and transformed into a machine for social control by a power which is indeed prompt to display compassion and eternal regrets but not justice and even less a decisiveness to act. None of this should surprise us coming from a power which reveals itself incapable of naming the enemy [3]. For the state of emergency, in the context of November 13 and of the attacks that followed, could take on a meaning only if one finally decided to clearly give the enemy its name [4].

We must therefore fall back to the pretext ideology of “djihadist terrorism” having declared war on us, for it is structuring the behaviors which we must fight against. It is not Islam in general which in question, but the present rise of Salafist and Wahhabi ideas, which constitute a very particular current in Islam, a literal reading, and which are financed by some countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And it is mandatory to raise the question of our foreign policy in regard to these countries.

The state of emergency could have been used to take rapidly some simple measures such as the ban on the direct financing of cultic places or of cultic associations, measures which it would have been easy to pass by decree. This measure does not forbid external financing, but imposes that the sums be placed into a common fund, under the control of the Ministry of the Interior and of the Ministry of Finances, which then would deal out these funds after having assured themselves of the political innocuousness of the organizations so financed. But, in order to impose this, there should have at least existed a state, in France.

Measures of public sanity and a political capitulation.

Similarly, one could have imposed the control of the preaches by the Ministry of the Interior, and the expulsion of the preachers refusing the principles expressed in the preamble to the Constitution, in particular Article One, taken over from the preamble of the Constitution of 1946, written at the end of the war against Nazism[5], as well as the expulsion of the hate-preachers. This is being done only very timidly and imperfectly at present. For our good souls of the well-meaning “left” refuse to undertake this task, or they do so with repugnance.

In its place, they keep a discourse of “let’s not mix everything up, let’s not fall into “islamophobia”.” What is this about? If it means to say that not all Muslims are terrorists, it’s self-evident. It is good and healthy to go on repeating it, but it doesn’t bring the debate ahead in any way. Yet the discourse on islamophobia can also have another meaning, much more questionable. That in wanting to fight against a so-called « islamophobia, » we are preparing the ground for putting Islam and all religions out of the reach of any debate at all. This is a grave error, the consequences of which could be terrible. It signals intellectual capitulation in regard to our founding principles, principles which go well beyond a particular religion. It is an intellectual capitulation before the enemy. That where we’re at.

What use has the state of emergency?

In the same way, the state of emergency could have allowed a generalized control at the borders, assorted with a ban keeping French citizens having been combatants in terrorist and genocidal organizations from returning to the national territory. The President preferred initiating a debate on the forfeiture of nationality, knowing full-well the polemics which this would provoke [6]. He was forced to declare on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 that he was giving up on his project of having the “forfeiture of nationality” and the state of emergency written into the Constitution. Through this declaration, he revealed his incapacity to manage the situation created by the attacks of November 13, 2015. With this declaration he acknowledged what we had known already for several months: he is no longer but a political corpse.

The ban of a return to the national territory, which is only a modern form of the ancient banishment, would have been easier to implement and would have caused less problems. But, caught in the contradictions of his ideology, and more than anything submissive to the Diktats of the European Union, he got himself trapped in a debate with no way out.

To sum up. The state of emergency is conceived by the legislator in order to face an exceptional situation which prevents institutions from functioning, or which at the very least renders their functioning problematic. It was justified in the tragic night of November 13-14, but it should then have been accompanied by rapid and exceptional measures, with the aim of bringing France back to a normal situation. However, what we are witnessing today is a dragging out of this state of emergency, which is becoming confused with a “state of war.” But, if we are in a war, then we must remember these words spoken by Georges Clémenceau before the Chamber of Deputies on March 8, 1918, and which have remained in the annals : « … I say that republicans should not be afraid of the power of the press. Not to be afraid of the power of the press, means to know that can it be excessive. This is why there are laws against defamation in all free countries, laws protecting the citizens against the excesses of this freedom. I do no prevent you from using them. Better: these are laws of freedom which you can use as well as your adversaries; nothing goes against that; the roads of liberty are open to you; you may write, others have free access to this tribune… ;(…). »


This failure of the President only reveals the absolute yet self-satisfied amateurism which characterize his action, and have done so for many months. After the attacks of January 2015, the government and the President were incapable of taking the necessary measures. Today they are talking loudly but doing little. This failure reveals to the face of the world the pathological incapacity of the President to rise to the height of his function. It translates his deep lack of understanding of his function and of its demands. He should draw the conclusions himself.


[1] One may reread my note « Les leçons d’un massacre », 8/01/2015,

[2] See « Etat d’urgence et souveraineté », note publiée le 16/11/2015,

[3] See : « Les salafistes et la République (recension of « Silence Coupable ») », note of 28/04/2016,

[4] « Désigner l’ennemi », note published 19/06/2016,

[5] The text is the following : « Following the victory of free peoples over regimes which have attempted to enslave and degrade the human person, the people of French declares once more that any human being, without distinction of race, religion or creed, possesses inalienable and sacred rights. It solemnly reaffirms the rights and liberties of man and of the citizen consecrated within the Declaration of Rights of 1789 and the founding principles recognized by the laws of the Republic ».

[6] See, « Déchéance et déchéances », note published on 25/12/2015, and « Déchéance et retrait » published on 30/03/2016,

Jacques Sapir

Ses travaux de chercheur se sont orientés dans trois dimensions, l’étude de l’économie russe et de la transition, l’analyse des crises financières et des recherches théoriques sur les institutions économiques et les interactions entre les comportements individuels. Il a poursuivi ses recherches à partir de 2000 sur les interactions entre les régimes de change, la structuration des systèmes financiers et les instabilités macroéconomiques. Depuis 2007 il s'est impliqué dans l’analyse de la crise financière actuelle, et en particulier dans la crise de la zone Euro.

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