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by Émilien Urbach

L’Humanité on the Airwaves

Translated Tuesday 29 March 2016, by Arwen Dewey

On Thursday the team from France Culture’s podcast, Matins, showed its support for l’Humanité by broadcasting directly from the newspaper’s headquarters. The episode focused on youth activism against France’s newly proposed labor law. It was a moment of brotherhood in the fight.

Photo : Magali Bragard

Have you ever heard a press review where only l’Humanité is mentioned? Where its insistence on remaining independent from large financial and industrial powers is praised? Where the focus is placed on its daily coverage of youth and activists working to make the world a better place? Is it possible that a press review could exist that would call Jaures’ newspaper a globally minded "breeding ground for the Left"? Where its journalists would be praised for their scathing critiques of the social movement’s detractors? That press review is real. It happened on March 17th, on the airwaves of France Culture. The public radio station decided to mobilize in response to “Printemps pour L’Humanité” (Springtime for Humanity), our open call for support. For the morning broadcast, France Culture set up its microphones on the same table where we set down our notepads every day to hold editorial meetings.

None of the guests mince words

The Matins team, led by Guillaume Erner, arrives before sunrise, sets up, and settles in. At 6:30am, our guest announces to his listeners, "We are broadcasting live from l’Humanité." Fifteen minutes later, just after the first news bulletin, he hands the microphone to Marie Viennot for the last segment of her economic series on the El Khomri law. The journalist explains that the main goal of the current labor law reform is actually to strengthen the markets, and closes with, "Gattaz is not the Minister of Labor." The microphone light blinks off for another news update. An excited commotion begins. One by one, l’Humanité’s editors and reporters start to arrive somewhat earlier than usual.

Around 7:15am, Patrick Le Hyaric takes the microphone to defend a newspaper that "helps promote change in society" but has had to deal with reduced governmental support without the financial backing of advertisers. The room fills with more and more people. Guillaume Erner’s special guests arrive: Diana Filippova, the young co-founder of the start-up OuiShare; Vincent Laurent of the collective Génération Précaire; Camille Lainé, the new secretary general of the Mouvement Jeunes Communistes de France; and journalist Nassira El Moaddem of the Bondy Blog. With the help of l’Humanité’s Sylvie Ducatteau and Sébastien Crépel, Erner wants to explore what young people think about the so-called "labor law."

"Ten years ago, we were demonstrating against the CPE (First Employment Contract) and the cheap contracts it represented," states Vincent Laurent. "This new bill is based on the same philosophy. It’s a concept of work based on suffering and subservience." None of the guests mince words. L’Humanité’s editorial team listens attentively. Tomorrow, the newspaper will dedicate seven pages to the high school and college student movement against this government project. "What we need is a renewed political vision that guarantees the security of our career paths while remaining consistently flexible," Diana Filippova insists. Following this rich exchange, rock music fills the room. The teams from France Culture and l’Humanité tap their feet to part of the Iggy Pop concert at the 2007 Fête de l’Humanité. Then, just before 9:00am, Nicolas Martin gives his brotherly "…press review with only one newspaper: l’Humanité. At l’Humanité. In front of the entire editorial staff of l’Humanité."

Editor-in-chief Maud Vergnol gets the last word. Eloquently, she denounces the anti-grass roots position of the FN (Front National) towards the growing movement against the El Khomri law. Guillaume Erner closes the broadcast. It’s 9 o’clock am. The Humanité team gets to work. In a short time, youth will be taking to the streets.

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