France: “En Marche” to a military-security state

Issue: 170

Claude Serfati

The following article by the French author Claude Serfati first appeared online on the A l’encontre website in December 2020.1 It deals with two laws that were moving through the French legislature as International Socialism went to press. The first, the so-called global security law, would restrict the rights of citizens to film and photograph the police. The second bill, against “separatism”, targets Muslims in France. Here we present a translation of the original article with minor amendments by the author.

The “global security” law and the law “against separatism”—decrees that generalise the grounds for holding files on citizens—are two measures taken by the French government to deal with the new stage in the social crisis opened by the pandemic. However, in the event of a worsening crisis, the army, the armoured outer shell of the Fifth Republic, becomes responsible not just for defence against external enemies but for maintaining order against internal threats.

Macron’s global security law

The global security law constitutes a serious infringement of civil freedoms. The real fear of the government is that the devastating effects of the economic crisis will lead to a socially explosive and politically uncontrollable situation. At the beginning of the lockdown, President Emmanuel Macron declared: “I shall take the necessary measures whatever the cost”; what he really meant was, “whatever the cost to wage earners and the young”. By the end of 2020, the pandemic-fuelled economic crisis had added hundred of thousand lay-offs, driving the unemployment rate up to 5 million (including the 2.1 million part-time workers seeking a full-time job) at the end of 2020. This is a huge structural crisis; in 2010, the unemployment rate had reached only 4.350 million.2 These same wage earners, and others, will also foot the bill for the interest charges on the public debt (some €37 billion by 2021), which make up part of the 2021 budget that must be paid to satisfy the financial investors. With finance minister Bruno Le Maire stating that he will not raise taxes on capital and individuals with high incomes, the likelihood is that reductions in public spending will be achieved through cuts to public service jobs. As this will not be enough, the government is therefore preparing, when political conditions are right, to push through the pension reform that had been suspended under pressure from mass mobilisations and during the pandemic. However, none of these measures will prevent the continuing deterioration of the position of French industry within world markets.

This is the context for the government’s assessment of the political importance of the demonstration against the global security bill on 28 November 2020. This event mobilised hundreds of thousands of people, despite social life being stifled by the state of emergency resulting from the pandemic and by media and governmental propaganda about “safety”. The demonstration was one further link in the diverse forms of mass mobilisation that the social movement and youth have undertaken in recent years. These include the demonstrations against the El Khomri employment law in 2016, the protests against pension reforms in 2019-20, the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement that began in November 2018, and the rally called by the Adama Traoré Family Support Committee, but banned by the police prefecture, at which tens of thousands of young people gathered outside the Palais de Justice in Paris on 2 June 2020.3 Their demands vary but all these movements reveal the state of social exasperation, as do the hundreds of campaigns among workers against job losses and factory closures. This activity is all the more impressive since, for half of the five years from 2015 to 2020, France has been subjected to a state of emergency.

A further twist of the screw on civil freedoms is therefore seen as necessary. The new liberticidal laws aim to terrorise and repress those who are victims of the crisis but refuse to be cowed. The government no longer even hides its objectives: three decrees were published in December 2020 allowing the documenting of people for their “political opinions, philosophical and religious convictions or trade union affiliation”.4 The global security law truly is the law of Macron and of his party, La République en Marche. The relationship between Macron and the repressive arm of the state was laid bare by the rapporteur for the global security law, a former head of the police’s elite tactical RAID unit, who explained that “the police unions were received at the highest level by the president of the republic”.5 The personal calculations of the president—to get himself re-elected in 2022 by courting the electoral base of the extreme right—are entirely compatible with safeguarding the political and social regime. As in any period of economic crisis, xenophobia and racism can be used to divide the ranks of the exploited, both where they work and where they live. Thus, beyond article 24, which cracks down on photos that identify police officers, Macron’s global security law seeks to equip the police to deal with the “continuum” of security threats arising from the social movements and the predictable explosions of anger in the banlieues.6 In these areas where, according to the minister of the interior, “a certain section of society is experiencing what can be called descent into savagery (‘ensauvagement’)”, the global security law will not suffice.7 The law against separatism, which has since become the law to “strengthen republican principles”, will apply. These are the areas which, along with “the visible minorities” that often inhabit them, are already most affected by police violence.

In October, education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer declared that “Islamo-leftism…is wreaking havoc in universities”, and 100 scholars published a manifesto shortly afterwards denouncing the “indigenist, racialist and ‘postcolonial’ ideologies imported from campuses in the United States”.8 Two parliamentarians of the neo-Gaullist Republican Party asked for the establishment of “a mission to enquire into the intellectual and ideological aberrations in university milieus”.9 The term “islamo-leftist” parallels sinister formulations about “Judeo-Bolshevik” plots that were a far-right rallying point in the years between the wars, extending way beyond the Nazis in French society. We might ask: when will there be a Ministry of Ideology in France?10

Let us note that the social categories now suspected of separatism by Macron are not the same as those accused of this by former president Charles de Gaulle. In his analysis of the strikes of 1950, de Gaulle denounced the “separatists” who “have captured a large part of the unions. They exploit professional demands for their politics”.11


The lockdown months in France have been accompanied by extremely harsh police behaviour. Several studies have demonstrated that the lockdown has done more than reveal social divisions—it has aggravated them.12 In contrast to the infantilising threats uttered by the government, the general respect shown for the lockdown measures is striking, testifying to the efforts made by the population. These are efforts all the more commendable for having been at odds with the absurd and arbitrary measures taken by the state apparatus. It was senior civil servants who decided, for example, which services are “essential” (for instance, churches) and which are not (for instance, cultural locations such as theatres, cinemas, and museums), and whose decisions were then enforced by the police. The easing of the lockdown from 28 November 2020 onwards did not mean any loosening of the bureaucratic grip. The regional press, which provides its readers with practical information, lists the documents you must have whenever you leave the house: “proof of address”, “text messages or mail” confirming “consultations, examinations and care that cannot be provided at a distance”, “prescriptions to purchase medicines”, “a family record book to prove kinship with the person to whom you are bringing assistance” and so on.13 This obsession with “papers” is one of the distinctive features of the French administrative model, at least among the “liberal democracies”.

It is well known in political sociology that state bureaucracies have powerful means of self-reinforcement. In this respect France is a textbook case, as noted by observers as different as Alexis de Tocqueville and Karl Marx.14 France’s national administration was born with the absolutist monarchy and it has long sought to perfect the repressive legislative and police apparatus.

During the 19th century, police control of populations was improved by using the most efficient technical tools available at the time—photography, anthropometry, fingerprinting. Under the Third Republic, it was the Roma who served as the experimental basis for “a legislative and police system that can be summarised as follows: surveillance, identification, control”.15 The law of 1912 required them to keep an anthropometric notebook, 208 pages thick and regularly checked by a police commissioner, which kept track of their movements on the national territory (repealed in 1969). The French regulation of 1912 is the only one in Europe to have imposed the disciplinary system of the anthropometric notebook on nomadic populations.

In the inter-war period, the administration continued to innovate. The dossiers multiplied: on the eve of the Second World War, the Le Service Central du Fichier des Étrangers (The Central Dossier Service for Foreigners) managed four million dossiers and seven million files.16 These files listed foreigners, especially those described as “undesirable” at that time—Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and Eastern Europe, along with Spanish and Italian anti-fascists. These dossiers were refined under the Vichy regime, sometimes by the same high-ranking civil servants such as André Tulard and René Bousquet.17 According to historian Gérard Noiriel, Philippe Pétain’s collaborationist regime used the identity tools invented by the Third Republic for totalitarian purposes.18 One gets some idea of the “memory” of the state machine when one realises that the Vichy files on the Jews escaped destruction in 1946 and were rediscovered by the Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld as late as 1991.

Today, the French state has access to the latest technological tools with which to intensify population control. The global security law will subject people to tighter screening thanks to the operation of drones and cameras and the extensive use of facial recognition technologies. The White Paper on Homeland Security, published when the global security law was being debated, calls for surveillance technologies to be generalised. The words “technologies” and “technological” are repeated more than 150 times in this 332 page document. This report’s style is reminiscent of the Big Brother terminology in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, intermixed with the communications language taught to future senior officials.19 One example of this Newspeak is the proposal that the Ministry of the Interior “crosses the technological wall in order to protect and support a connected society”.20

Technopolicing is becoming the driving force behind “global security”.21 The population living on French territory, especially in the banlieues, must now face the disturbing convergence of sophisticated surveillance technologies and a bureaucratic apparatus with long experience in repression. United Nations commissioners, who usually deal with human rights violations in authoritarian regimes, have declared the bill “incompatible with international human rights law”.22 The plan was recently described as “illiberal” by the Financial Times, which has long praised Macron for his determination to “reform” (or rather, destroy) social rights.23 With the authoritarian trajectory followed in recent years in the European Union, France, next to Hungary and Poland, is undoubtedly the weakest link in European democracy.

In truth, the second lockdown has more clearly outlined the ideal type of a society founded on “Commute, Work, Commute, Sleep”, the slogan of French students in 1968. This is a society that strictly limits people’s rights of movement and assembly and leaves employees defenceless in the face of post-pandemic working conditions.

Army operations

The multiplication of repressive measures and the use of advanced technologies are aimed at facilitating the activities of the police. However, they are not sufficient to guarantee the protection of the existing social order. As history shows, the use of the army becomes indispensable when tensions rise too high. The historian Michel Winock reminds us that “each of the four parliamentary republics, from the Directorate to the Fourth Republic, ended with a supreme saviour gaining the upper hand, slaying the parliamentary regime, and then going on to establish a Bonapartist regime” (he includes the Vichy regime in this category).24

Since the Defence Council of 29 April 2015, chaired by the then president François Hollande, the army has expanded its functions to include operations of direct law enforcement on national territory. Operation Sentinelle, which mobilised 10,000 soldiers to keep order on French territory, has become permanent since 2015. This should not come as a surprise since the then minister of defence Jean-Yves Le Drian declared as early as 2016 that “Operation Sentinelle is destined to last.” Operation Sentinelle has also given a foretaste of the role of the army in keeping order in France. One MP expressed the wish that the military in metropolitan France should be equipped with armoured vehicles, like those used in Central Africa, for a possible response on home territory. Le Drian replied, “We have to think about future equipment, including that needed for internal operations—operations that are not of secondary importance”.25

From the very beginning of the pandemic, Macron made the Defence Council, originally created by previous president Nicolas Sarkozy, the political leadership body for crisis management and transformed the Council of Ministers into a ­registration chamber.26 This stance had been foreshadowed. During the presidential campaign, Macron had laid claim to a “Jupiterian” leadership and from this drew the following conclusions a few months after the start of the Yellow Vest movement in October 2018, “The president has the soul of a general… He has turned the Defence Council into a tool for crisis management”.27 As early as 4 March 2020, a government spokesperson declared, “Faced with coronavirus, the President of the Republic has convened a Defence Council, followed by a Council of Ministers, in order to mobilise all means to protect the French.” France is the only Western democracy to “militarise” the management of the crisis. The military inclinations of French governments requires explanation.28 We should recall that, although the army is constitutive of French socio-political relations, understanding the position of France in the “world space” also provides an important explanatory key.

France’s position in the world space

It is essential to understand that the policy of a government is profoundly influenced by the position its country occupies in the “world space”.29 This formulation, which is preferable to “globalisation”, designates a whole whose evolution is determined by the interaction of economic dynamics and the international state system. This was the case in the era of “classical” imperialism at the beginning of the 20th century and, even today, the rank a country occupies in the world hierarchy is a determining element in its politics (economically, militarily and so on). For instance, the US does not suffer the same type of external constraint as Mexico.

Next, the specific way in which economic performance and military capabilities—two key attributes in the global hierarchy—combine in a given country needs analysing. In this respect, France has the peculiarity, along with the US, of being the Western country in which the interdependencies between its world economic influence and its military power are the strongest. The fact that these two countries do not compete in the same league obviously makes French policy more constrained by the spatial transformations of the world.

The proximity of the economy and the military in France’s international positioning is part of the genetic code of the Fifth Republic and explains the centrality of the military establishment. General de Gaulle believed economic competitiveness and the “projection of power” were inseparable parts of maintaining France’s “rank” in the world. The embeddedness of the military establishment in the France of the Fifth Republic rests on three pillars that are simultaneously geopolitical and economic. The first pillar is nuclear deterrence, which allows France to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. In addition, nuclear deterrence is the backbone of the civilian nuclear industry and thus extends the “sovereign domain” far beyond the military. The interactions between military and civilian activities are so intense that they make it impossible—barring radical changes in the balance of power in France—to abandon civilian nuclear power.

The expeditionary corps forms the second pillar. Heir to a long colonial experience, this corps has become a highly seasoned force since the 1960s, thanks to more than 100 operations, mainly in Africa, aimed at both defending the interests of the major national financial groups and protecting France’s geopolitical position. More concretely, these operations offer an unequalled basis for “feedback”, since the army benefits from training and toughening up in conditions that cannot be found in mainland France. Military activism reinforces the legitimacy of the army in France since it goes “to war for the common good”. It also justifies France’s seat as a permanent member of the Security Council, since it acts as a guardian of international order and its military operations are validated by the UN.30

Finally, in line with what happened in the US and Britain after the Second World War, De Gaulle made the development of a powerful arms industry, on which hundreds of thousands of employees today depend, the economic pillar of the military establishment. The arms dealers, who prospered in France in the 19th century, were replaced by a system of arms production thickly structured around the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (“Directorate General of Armaments”), whose mission has been to develop weapons systems that both ensure military supremacy and stimulate the development of industries that are competitive on world markets. For six decades, the “mesosystem of armament” has been at the heart of France’s technology policy, and the eight major military production groups still account for more than one-fifth of the research and development spending of all French companies.

De Gaulle’s successors tried to manage this legacy in a global context over which they had no control. However, since the end of the 2000s, the world system has been undergoing profound economic and geopolitical transformations: an economic crisis in 2008 that had not yet been overcome at the time of the pandemic, the decline of US leadership (which favoured the return of Russia and the ambitions of regional powers), the geo-economic emergence of China, and finally the popular insurgencies in North Africa and the Middle East (the “Arab Springs”) that have shaken authoritarian regimes that are subject to the great powers.

These epochal changes, which I call the “2008 moment”, have resulted in two major modifications. On the one hand, within the world system, the distance separating economic competition and geopolitical rivalries has shrunk considerably. This explains, in particular, the sharp rise of protectionism in international economic exchanges, reminiscent, according to economists, of the inter-war period. On the other hand, on the domestic front in developed countries, 2008 has accelerated a process that has actually been underway since the 1990s: the rise of the concept of national security, which goes beyond defence to encompass military and civil threats and establish a strong relationship between external and internal enemies.31 The new historical situation at the end of the first decade of the new millennium shook France’s position in the world. Geopolitical upheavals (for example, Turkey’s ambitions in the Mediterranean) and the Arab Spring weakened its grip on its African strongholds. On the economic front, the 2008 crisis accelerated the decline in the performance of French industry on world markets. The continuous weakening of French industry on world markets since the early 2000s has made the arms and aeronautics industry one of France’s last zones of international competitiveness, belying the myth repeated for decades by defence ministers that the arms industry is a driving force for the competitiveness of civilian industries.32

In fact, the profound transformations of the world economy underline the limits of the French model led by the “capital-functionaries”—those members of the ruling class who move back and forth between managing the big financial and industrial institutions and managing the state apparatus. Civil servant capitalists have developed a “herd immunity” that protects them from ever being held accountable for industrial disasters or serious dysfunctions of the state apparatus.

In this new historical context, French governments have chosen to strengthen the military component of the state’s international status. The 2011 war in Libya, led by Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, aggravated the chaos created by the arrival of the “2008 moment” and was followed by a series of French military operations in sub-Saharan African countries such as Mali and the Central African Republic. As a result, the political and social crisis that is tearing apart the countries of the Sahel is mainly treated by French governments as a security issue. Between 2008 and 2017, spending on military operations in the Sahel was 2.4 times higher than France’s official development assistance for education and health. The divergent evolution between the two types of expenditure has been particularly spectacular since 2012 and the launch of Operation Barkhane in 2014 (see figure 1).33 These operations, which should continue until there is a “decisive victory over terrorism” according to Hollande and Macron, highlight the proactive position taken by France in managing global disorder. This can also be seen in the efforts made by French governments, in particular Macron, to boost the militiarisation of the EU.34

Figure 1: French military and social spending in the Sahel region

Source: Author. Based on parliamentary reports and the OECD database.

An international positioning such as this has direct repercussions at the domestic level. Since the end of the 2000s, military and security budgets have increased in proportions that far exceed those for domestic social purposes (see figure 2). The subordination of French diplomacy to arms sales has intensified despite the undeniable evidence of the use of French weapons in conflict zones and client countries’ presumed responsibility for serious and repeated violations of international humanitarian law, particularly in Yemen. The increased economic weight of the military goes alongside the decisive place that the army occupies in the preparation and execution of France’s military operations. For all that, it is possible to see more than merely the hand of the military in these external operations. After all, a country possesses the military establishment that corresponds to its national policy and international positioning.

Figure 2: Percentage change in French military-security and social budgetary expenditures (2007-2018)

Source: Author. Based on information from National Accounting Data.

From Bamako to Saint-Denis

The French governments quickly took stock, we must recognise, of the upheavals of the 2000s and adapted their defence strategy to the new realities.35 In 2008, for the first time, the terms defence and national security were joined together in the title of the White Paper. This document strongly emphasised “the continuity between internal and external security”, declaring “the traditional distinction” between the two “no longer relevant”.36 The White Paper commissioned by President Hollande and the preparatory report for the new White Paper requested by Macron confirmed this orientation.37 The former prime minister, Manuel Valls, expressed the corollary of these changes in 2016 by saying, “There is a continuum between internal and external security; we face what I have called an external enemy and an internal enemy”.38 The figure of the internal enemy has changed in the course of French history.39 Nevertheless, the colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria led to its resurfacing in French society over recent decades.40

The Macron government has taken advantage of the state of emergency and the anguish felt by workers and young people at losing their jobs—or by the millions who are unemployed, at not finding jobs—to take liberticidal measures. The laws and decrees adopted thus confirm what two researchers have concluded from surveys carried out over the last twenty years—in a context of increased social tensions, urban violence and terrorism, the maintenance of order has become militarised.41

We must, however, add to this that the arrangements giving the army powers to keep order on national territory have been perpetuated in a way that complements the militarisation of the police.

The police, the army—the differences seem to be blurring as the borders between internal and external enemies become porous. Yet it is the military establishment that forms the backbone of the Fifth Republic, for the reasons already mentioned. The constitution can easily be used to worsen the state of emergency in which France has been living for more or less the past five years. Article 16 of the constitution, which establishes “a presidential dictatorship”—and Article 35 concerning the state of siege, from which the state of emergency is differentiated “only by the maintenance of police powers in the hands of the civil authorities”—are the sole responsibility of the president, “the head of the armed forces” (Article 15).42 Constitutionalists note first the vagueness of the grounds on which the president can decide in sovereign fashion to exercise these powers, then the very insufficient control exercised by parliament and finally the imprecise duration of these exceptional measures. In all cases, the activation of these exceptional measures, which suspend civil liberties, puts the army at the centre of the operation. The experts note in this connection that “one may search in vain for an elucidation in the constitution of the conditions under which the armed forces intervene on national territory”.43 This leads them to question the degree to which the military establishment—as personified by the Chief of Defence Staff—has autonomy in relation to the political authorities (the president) in the context of a state of emergency. The answer to the question of who will take the initiative, the president or the military, is not to be found in the supposedly skilfully crafted constitution. It will depend on the state of social relations, which are determined by a set of hierarchical and interdependent factors: the extent of the economic crisis, the degree of tension between social classes, the level of mistrust among the population towards political leaders, and, of course, the solidity of the material and ideological base of the military establishment in society. In addition, a fortuitous or contingent event will be needed to provide the opportunity to worsen the state of emergency.

It is already clear that the rise in the power of the army in recent years, both in its operations abroad and in its presence on metropolitan and overseas territory—there are 7,150 soldiers in French oversea territories, including 1,450 in New Caledonia—is changing the balance of forces between the political authorities and the military hierarchy.44 The latter is making this known. General Pierre de Villiers, the former Chief of Defence Staff, took the view that Operation Sentinelle introduced “a strategic break because the internal security forces need substantial and lasting reinforcement from the armed forces”.45 Over and above the personal ambitions of a soldier with solid media support, his dramatic resignation in July 2017 pointed to a fundamental question: the respective responsibilities of the political authorities and the army in maintaining internal order.46 In more muted, but equally significant terms, this was the issue addressed by General François Lecointre, who replaced De Villiers. Lecointre stressed that the general staff has no intention of letting France get bogged down politically and militarily in the Sahel; France, he asserted, was faced with terrorists over whom “we will never have a definitive victory”.47 He then expressed surprise at not having been informed that soldiers from the Sentinelle force had been mobilised at the time of a “Yellow Vests” demonstration in March 2019. Finally, he drew attention to the massive financial needs of the army—thus making a plea for further increases in the military budget—so as to prepare the army for the possibility of “high intensity” conflict, that is to say, a conflict with other powerful states.

France is a country where, over the past two centuries, democratic functioning and the eruption of the army into the political arena have been constantly intertwined. In the current situation of a serious social crisis and of a gradually established state of exception in France, the Bonapartist nature of presidential power and its relations with those of the army are vital issues that should not be debated only at the very top of the state.

Claude Serfati is an economist and member of the scientific council of ATTAC-France. His recent publications include “Finance Capital and Militarism as Pillars of Contemporary Capitalism” in Judith Dellheim and Frieder Otto Wolf (eds), Rudolf Hilferding: What Do We Still Have to Learn From His Legacy? (Springer International, 2020).

1 Serfati, 2020a. Thanks to Gareth Jenkins for his translation of the article.

2 Pôle emploi is the French government agency that registers jobless people and administers unemployment benefits.

3 The 2016 employment reform was named after labour minister Myriam El Khomri, who proposed to make it easier to make workers redundant. Adama Traoré was 24 year old man of Malian descent who died in police custody in July 2016. Pinned down to the ground by three gendarmes, his last words were, “I can’t breathe.” The Palais de Justice is an important couthouse in the centre of Paris.

4 La Quadrature du Net, 2020a.

5 RAID is an abbreviation of Recherche, Assistance, Intervention, Dissuasion (“Search, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence”).

6 The report presented to parliament is entitled, “D’un continuum de sécurité, vers une sécurité globale” (From Security Continuum to Global Security). The banlieues are suburbs of large cities, often synonymous with racial and social exclusion.

8 See Pietrandrea, 2020.

9 Bertho, 2020.

10 See Bantigny and Palheta, 2020.

11 Quoted in Lachaise, 1980.

12 See INSEE, 2020.

13 La Dépêche, 2020.

14 Marx described the state apparatus under Napoleon III as an “enormous bureaucratic and military organisation…with a host of officials numbering half a million, beside an army of another half million. This appalling parasitic growth…enmeshes the body of French society like a net and chokes all its pores.”—Marx, 1978, p606.

15 Filhol, 2007.

16 About, 2007.

17 These figures were notorious for their collaboration with the Nazis in the deportation of Jewish people.

18 See Noiriel, 1999.

19 The authors of the White Paper did not, however, appropriate the following phrase, written by an enemy of Big Brother: “And even technological progress only happens when its products can in some way be used for the diminution of human liberty.”—Orwell, 1983, p169.

20 Ministry of the Interior, 2020.

21 La Quadrature du Net, 2020b.

22 United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2020.

23 Financial Times, 2020.

24 Winock,1989. There have been five republics in the history of France. The First Republic, established during the Great French Revolution, was headed by the Directory, until this committee was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. The current Fifth Republic was established by de Gaulle in 1958.

25 From a hearing of the Commission for National Defence at the National Assembly.

26 In other words, a parliamentary chamber that rubber stamps decisions made elsewhere.

27 Guibert, 2019. The term “Jupiterian” refers to the supreme Roman god, Jupiter.

28 Serfati, 2017.

29 Serfati, 2019.

30 They are never called “wars” as this would require authorisation by the French parliament.

31 I looked at this question at length in Serfati, 2001.

32 For a recent examination of this question, see Serfati, 2020b.

33 Operation Barkhane is a French-led anti-insurgency campaign in the so-called G5 Sahel countries: Burkino Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. These are all former French colonies.

34 Serfati, 2021.

35 Bamako is the capital of Mali. Saint-Denis is a large town close to Paris and emblematic of the banlieues.

36 Mallet, 2008, p57.

37 Ministry of Armed Forces, 2017, p71.

39 See Serfati, 2017, chapter 5.

40 Rigouste, 2007.

41 Fillieule and Jobard, 2020.

42 Rousseau, 2006, p21.

43 Landais and Ferran, 2016.

44 New Caledonia is a French-administered archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean.

45 From a hearing of the National Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the National Assembly on 15 October 2015.

46 Sturm and Perrenot, 2020.

47 From a closed hearing of the Commission for Foreign Affairs in the National Assembly on 6 November 2019.


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