Its radical “punk ecology” has won the support of left-wing activists and has been attacked by the far-right as dangerous to the French nation. But Sandrine Rousseau, a figure in the #MeToo movement against sexual violence and a self-described “ecofeminist,” has shocked the political class as she reached the final round of the Green primaries to elect a presidential candidate.
Now, with the possibility of running for president, Rousseau warns that France runs the risk of falling into hatred and racism unless equality and the environment take priority in the April electoral race.
“I think we are at a crossroads of civilizations,” Rousseau said. She said France was siding with far-right ideologue and television pundit Eric Zemmour, who is preparing a possible presidential candidacy based on anti-immigration, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, “which would mean getting closer to ourselves. with macho politics, racist politics and anti-environmental “, or, he said,” we could have a political vision of respect, inclusion and ecology, that is what I am bringing. “
Rousseau, an environmental economist and vice president of the university who spoke out on allegations of sexual assault and harassment within the Green Party in 2016 and later formed an organization to help women file legal complaints for sexual violence, went from being an outsider. in denim overalls to be a finalist. in this weekend’s open primary vote for the presidential candidate of the Green Party (Europa Écologie-Les Verts).
She sees it as a battle to become the first president of #MeToo. “I think I am the first person to come out of the #MeToo movement and say: let’s take power and transform,” he said. “And I think that resonates beyond France.”
Supported internationally by actress and activist Jane Fonda and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler), Rousseau has been called a dangerous radical by the French far-right for what she calls her “ecofeminism,” anti-racism, and her promise that France can do transition to fully renewable energy by 2050. She says this energy transition, including ending France’s dependence on nuclear power and pesticides, is only possible if the state takes meaningful social measures to help people adapt , like raising taxes on the rich, a four-day working week, and a new form of universal basic income.
“What I mean by punk ecology is impertinence,” Rousseau said, adding that he wanted representatives to vote in parliament who were so committed to environmental issues that they wouldn’t budge. “People are aware of the climate crisis and what is at stake – they want courage. For politicians to be shy about it is wrong. Time for radical ecology – look at the efforts we absolutely have to make in the next five years: we have to confront the economic system and address the way it is organized. If we make soft suggestions, people cannot trust us to act. “
Polling this month for The world found that 82% of the French wanted quick action to protect the environment, even if it meant changes to their way of life. But the historical challenge for the French Greens has always been how to translate what Rousseau calls “eco-anxiety” into partisan voting. The Greens have increased their urban vote, taking control of key cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux last year, but did not win a region in the June elections and have been voting less than 10% for the first presidential round, against a crowded field of leftist candidates.
Rousseau, 49, has altered predictions in the Greens’ primary race, which remains difficult to predict. For months, Yannick Jadot, a member of the European Parliament who is seen as having a more centrist stance and voting higher than Rousseau, was expected to be chosen as the presidential candidate when the results are announced next week. But his advantage over Rousseau is less than expected. He was a candidate in 2017 but withdrew in favor of the 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 earned her the support of feminists, rights activists and cultural figures, including film director Céline Sciamma. She says she can win back the vote of disillusioned youth: 87% of 18-25 year olds did not show up to vote in this year’s regional elections.
Rousseau said one of the main reasons for her return to politics last year was her outrage when President Emmanuel Macron, who was in office during the #MeToo movement and promised to improve women’s rights, appointed Gérald Darmanin as his interior minister in charge of the police, judges notwithstanding. continues to investigate a rape allegation against him.
She said: “The only explanation was that Emmanuel Macron, and not only him, but the entire political class in general, had not understood what had happened in #MeToo, they had not understood anger.”
Darmanin has publicly criticized Rousseau and denied wrongdoing. His lawyers said that “three consecutive court decisions” had “recognized the absence of a crime” and were now awaiting the final decision of the investigating judge after the investigation ended last week.
Despite Macron’s 2017 promise to “make our planet great again,” a blow to former US President Donald Trump’s denials of the climate crisis, France’s High Climate Council it has repeatedly warned that the government is falling short on promises to cut emissions. Year yellow vests The anti-government protests (yellow vests) began as a crisis in climate policy over plans for a carbon tax aimed at urging motorists to change their behavior.
Rousseau said that yellow vests they were not against the fight against climate change, but “they were against the fact that they weren’t getting help.”
Far-right ideas were taking up more and more space in French political debate, he said, because the left had failed to make an impact on its key issues, “equality, school, ecology and anti-racism.” She added: “Today there is no political representative or presidential candidate who puts the words ‘anti-racism’ in the political debate and I am doing so.”
France was still “traumatized by the terrorist attacks, still in fear,” Rousseau said. “But we really have to find hope again.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism