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Why France’s Victory Matters Liberalism triumphed over a history of ethno-nationalism

As a long-time fan of Les Bleus, I was rooting for France right from the start of this year’s World Cup. But it wasn’t until I saw Emmanuel Macron jump on a table in the VIP section at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium that I realized the importance of France’s victory. This was no mere football match. This was a Jesse Owens-in-Munich moment in sports history.

As a Canadian of largely French descent and a lifelong Francophile, France has always been an easy team for me to get behind. Though my ancestry is at least as much English as French, I could never quite get fully behind the St. George squad because their fans are so historically awful. Come World Cup time, I invariably cheer for the breakthrough underdog (this year it was Iceland), Japan (my second home), and France. The French always put on an electrifying show — think Brazilian-style soccer without the gratuitous dives.

But there’s another reason for my longstanding love of Les Bleus. For American readers who don’t follow soccer, a useful analogy could be made between the French team and baseball’s Brooklyn/LA Dodgers. France fielded its first ever black player back in 1931 (the legendary French Guiana-born defender Raoul Diagne), more than half a century before Viv Anderson would break the English national team’s color barrier in 1978.

The French side consistently stands out from the rest of Europe for its diverse lineups. Many of its greatest white players have even had decidedly un-Gallic-sounding names: Griezmann, Lloris, Guivarc’h, Lizarazu, Cantona, and of course the great Platini. France’s biggest recent football stars have almost all been of immigrant descent, most notably the star of the country’s last World Cup-winning squad in 1998 (and captain of the 2006 runners-up) Zinedine Zidane.

Of the 23 players who represented France at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a full 17 were non-white — of whom the vast majority were French-born children of immigrant parents from sub-Saharan Africa and the former French colonies of North Africa.

With Macron as President, What to Expect? By Isabelle Métral June 15, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Two quotes from a related article in l’Humanité, by Lionel Venturini

Macron is supported by the banks. They are the ones who are installed in power.

The violence of the program of Emmanuel Macron will not take long to open the eyes of our fellow citizens. The timeline and pattern of “reforms” reveal the haste involved in getting them passed without any real debate across the country, or with trade unions, through the expeditious means of "ordinances" (a procedure authorised by the Constitution “under certain conditions”), which are likely to be adopted by the end of September.

These "reforms" are primarily concerned with labor law, which until now has been governed by a labor code already severely damaged under Holland by the traitorous law called the El Khomri law. Now it is a question of finishing the demolition of the law that guarantees employees protection of the law against the arbitrariness of the employers, the law according to which agreements by industrial sector have precedence over the unequal balance of power between capital and labor at the level of a single firm.



"France faces a challenge of reform too, but on significantly different issues. Its problems are its persistently high unemployment, which has never fallen below 8% in Jacques Chirac's 11 years in the Elysée; its rigidly unionised public sector; and its collective fear of change. All these features came together in the middle-class defensive revolt against Dominique de Villepin's quite modest attempts to tackle France's 22% youth unemployment, which were humiliatingly withdrawn last week after weeks of street protests and strikes" ("Europe: Turning away from reform." Guardian Weekly, April 21, 2006: 3).

Colby Glass, MLIS