« What is democracy but the power of the people by the people » some would say; while others following Thomas Jefferson’s conception see it as the power and dictatorship of 51% of the population over the 49% remaining. No president or representative ever got total or unanimous approval in any election; and in the deprived districts of Paris and its suburbs, this is a fact
the inhabitants are well aware of.
French Ethnic minorities often referred to in France as the youngsters of the suburbs, have always voted for the socialist Party. For some of that political party, their voice is also perceived as granted. In 1983, the first movements against racist acts and towards more equality and recognition of ethnic minorities were to be expressed through a spontaneous revolt and demonstration mainly led by the youngsters from North African backgrounds living in the suburbs of French large cities. But, what became known as “la Marche des Beurs” was finally exploited by the left for its own political interest and at the stake of the deprived and suffering ethnic minorities. This partly explains the reason why compared to Britain the fight against racism and discrimination has always been shy and ineffective in France. According to many specialists, keeping ethnic minorities in poverty and in need is a guarantee of electoral reserve for the left in general. These realities are also partly responsible for the reluctance expressed by a large number of the people living in the deprived areas of the French big cities when it comes to general elections.
Almamy Kanouté: The one who wanted to be represented by himself
However, rather than boycotting the elections or selling oneself to any
traditional political party, Almamy Kanouté, a young activist from the city of Fresnes in the suburbs of Paris, has made a different choice. In 2010 he managed to gather different people who shared the same opinion regarding the traditional political parties and he created the Emergence movement which quickly became a political party. For the legislative elections in 2012, the young man born of West African parents presented his own candidacy on the “Emergence” list. The party counted about nine candidates. There is no doubt that none of them will come first in the constituency they want to represent this year; however, their initiative is a real revolution for those who find it difficult to make their voices heard in the French society.
Almamy Kanouté is above all an experimented activist. He has been fighting against all forms of injustice for more than a decade now. He is also the one to be seen in all the fights involving housing rights for the most deprived and the homeless. With the help of some other organisations, he has also been able to get the condemnation of some celebrities such as Pascal Sevran, Guerlain, or again Fogiel, after their racist comments on public media. Unlike most youngsters of his generation, Mam, as he is known in the North East of the French capital city, has not opted for the easy way. Being independent politically also means no financial help from the major political parties and mayor’s office. But, Mam has long put all the traditional political parties in the same bag and decided to be represented by himself or people who look like him; and this is what the mark of a true revolution is.