Podcast: France's lost Covid generation, 'islamo-gauchisme', the Paris Commune

Audio 26:33
Spotlight on France, episode 51
Spotlight on France, episode 51 © RFI

Young people are struggling with France's Covid restrictions, but some are pitching in to help. A sociologist talks about accusations of 'islamo-gauchisme' in universities, and why it is important for France to embrace the academic study of race and racism. And the complicated legacy of the Paris Commune, 150 years on.


Young people in France have been hard hit by Covid restrictions. Forced into remote learning and struggling to find work, some are falling prey to depression and anxiety. There's talk of a 'lost' generation. Recognising the difficulty students are having to make ends meet as part-time jobs in restaurants and bars have disappeared, the government recently lowered the cost of meals in student residences to one euro. Some restaurants are pitching in as well. Mike Woods reports from Le Reflet, in Paris, which is producing cheap, restaurant-quality, takeaway meals for students. (Listen @0'00'')

Islamo-gauchisme (Islamo-leftism) has entered, or re-entered, the French political landscape, after Higher Education Minister Fréderique Vidal called for a study to identify it in French universities. Academics studying race and racism have found themselves in the crosshairs, accused of tearing apart French universalism and importing ideas from the United States. Sociologist Sarah Mazouz (@mazouzsarah3) talks about the recent controversy around islamo-gauchisme, and what she considers an attack on anyone questioning French colourblindness. (Listen @15'50'')

The City of Paris is marking the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, founded on 18 March 1871. More a working-class insurrection than a revolution, the Commune has a complicated legacy. Among the most famous 'communards' was Louise Michel, a revolutionary feminist who became an anarchist activist. (Listen @10'00'')

This episode was mixed by Yann Bordelas.

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on rfienglish.com, iTunes (link here), Google podcasts (link here), Spotify (link here), or your favourite podcast app.

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