“Eco-feminist” shocks French politics in the race for the Greens’ presidency | World news
Its radical “punk ecology” won the support of left activists and was attacked by the far right as dangerous for the French nation. But Sandrine Rousseau, figurehead of the #MeToo movement against sexual violence and self-proclaimed “eco-feminist”, shocked the political class by reaching the last round of the Greens primary to choose a presidential candidate.
Now, with a chance to run for president, Rousseau warns that France risks descending into hatred and racism unless equality and the environment come first in the April election race.
“I think we are at a crossroads of civilizations,” Rousseau said. She said either France was siding with far-right ideologue and television expert Eric Zemmour, who is preparing a potential presidential candidacy based on anti-immigration, and far-right leader Marine. Le Pen, “which would mean closing in on ourselves with macho politics, racist and anti-environmental politics,” or, she said, “we could have a political vision of respect, of inclusion and ecology – that’s what I bring. ”
Rousseau, an environmental economist and university vice-president who denounced allegations of sexual assault and harassment within the Green Party in 2016 and then formed an organization helping women file complaints of sexual violence, is went from an outsider in a denim jumpsuit to a finalist in the open primary this weekend for the presidential candidate of the Green Party (Europe Ecology-The Greens).
She sees it as a battle to become the first president of #MeToo. “I think I’m the first person to come out of the #MeToo movement and say let’s take power and transform it,” she said. “And I think it resonates beyond France.”
Internationally supported by actress and activist Jane Fonda and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler), Rousseau has been described as a dangerous radical by the French far right for what she calls her “eco-feminism”, her anti-racism and her promise that France can switch to fully renewable energy by 2050. She says that this energy transition – including ending France’s dependence on nuclear energy and pesticides – is not possible that if the state takes important social measures to help people adjust, such as increasing taxes on the rich, four weeks of work and a new form of universal basic income.
“What I mean by punk ecology is impertinence,” Rousseau said, adding that she wanted elected representatives in parliament to be so engaged on environmental issues that they would not give in. “People are aware of the climate crisis and what is at stake. – they want courage. Politicians being shy about it, it’s a mistake. It’s time for radical ecology – look at the efforts that are being made. we absolutely have to do in the next five years: we have to face the economic system and tackle its organization.If we make bland suggestions, people cannot trust us to act.
A poll conducted this month for Le Monde found that 82% of French people want swift action to protect the environment, even if it means changes in their way of life. But the historic challenge for the French Greens has always been how to translate what Rousseau calls “eco-anxiety” into party votes. The Greens increased their urban vote, taking control of key cities like Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux last year, but they failed to win any region in the June election and voted less than 10% for the first round of the presidential election – against a field crowded with left-wing candidates.
Rousseau, 49, upset the forecasts in the primary race of the Greens, which remains difficult to call. For months, Yannick Jadot, a member of the European Parliament perceived to have a more centrist position and whose polls are higher than Rousseau, was to be chosen as the presidential candidate when the results are announced next week. But his lead over Rousseau is narrower than expected. He was a candidate in 2017 but withdrew in favor of socialist Benoît Hamon, who ended up scoring only 6% in the first round.
Rousseau’s status as a hero of the #MeToo movement in France has garnered support among feminists, rights activists and cultural figures, including director Céline Sciamma. She says she can win back the disillusioned youth vote – 87% of 18-25-year-olds did not vote in this year’s regional elections.
Rousseau said a main reason for his return to politics last year was his outrage when President Emmanuel Macron – who was in office during the #MeToo movement and pledged to improve women’s rights – appointed Gerald Darmanin Minister of the Interior in charge of the police, despite the judges. continue to investigate a rape charge against him.
She said: “The only explanation was that Emmanuel Macron, and not just him but the entire political class in general, didn’t understand what had happened in #MeToo, they didn’t understand the anger. “
Darmanin publicly criticized Rousseau and denied wrongdoing. His lawyers said that “three consecutive court decisions” had “recognized the absence of an offense” and that they were now awaiting the final decision of the investigating judge following the investigation last week.
Despite Macron’s 2017 promise to “make our planet even more beautiful” – a blow to former US President Donald Trump’s denials of the climate crisis – the French High Council for the Climate has repeatedly warned that the government was not meeting its emission reduction commitments. Year yellow vests (yellow vests) the anti-government protests started out as a crisis in climate policy over plans for a carbon tax to encourage motorists to change their behavior.
Rousseau said that the yellow vests were not against the fight against climate change, but rather “they were against the fact that they were not receiving any help”.
Far-right ideas were gaining more and more space in the French political debate, she said, as the left had failed to make an impact on its key themes, “equality, l ‘school, ecology and anti-racism “. She added: “There is no political representative or presidential candidate today who puts the words ‘anti-racism’ into the political debate and I do.”
France was still “traumatized by the terrorist attacks, still in fear,” Rousseau said. “But we really need to find hope.”