Decivilisation is the new buzzword. Emmanuel Macron uses it to describe workers who take to the streets, young people in the suburbs or environmental activists. All of Europe’s right-wing parties use the same word to say that Europe is losing its civilisation and is being replaced by barbaric migrants. “By using the term “decivilisation” to describe the increase in violence in France in recent months, Emmanuel Macron is using controversial and contradictory notions to designate what he considers to be a political reality today”.
The word decivilisation is a concept coined by a German sociologist, Norbert Elias, in 1939 to explain how fascists called into question science, intelligence and civilisation in order to appeal solely to people’s emotions and destroy democracy. Fascists burn books and persecute intellectuals with the pseudo-Darwinist argument that we must favour the strong and stop protecting the weak because it is unnatural.
In France, there has been a deliberate effort to decivilise since the 1990s. In 1991, Jacques Chirac justified violence against immigrants because of the noise and smell. (https://www.ina.fr/ina-eclaire-actu/video/s1152333_001/le-bruit-et-l-odeur-de-jacques-chirac). For the first time, a political leader justified behaving like a bully instead of using the rules of society, and he was elected in 1995. In 2005, Nicolas Sarkozy and the kärcher (https://www.ina.fr/ina-eclaire-actu/nicolas-sarkozy-en-2005-le-terme-nettoyer-au-karcher-est-un-terme-qui-s-impose) reduced the inhabitants of the suburbs to filth. It’s dehumanising part of the population. In 2018, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, says that all you have to do to find a job is cross the street (https://www.rtbf.be/article/je-traverse-la-rue-et-je-vous-trouve-du-travail-jonathan-chomeur-a-mal-digere-les-conseils-de-macron-10022373). When leaders speak in these terms, they are the actors of decivilisation. When they set up illegitimate authorities where the people have no means of expressing themselves, all that’s left is ecoterrorism or street violence. Debate is no longer possible.
There have never been so many disciplinary sanctions in the National Assembly as under Emmanuel Macron’s term of office. Instead of having manners and dignity, elected representatives, from France Insoumise among others, are behaving like savages. The barbarians are those who cry decivilisation. (https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2023/07/21/a-l-assemblee-nationale-un-nombre-record-de-sanctions-depuis-la-reelection-d-emmanuel-macron_6182897_4355770.html). The first to encourage the process of decivilisation come from those who are supposed to set an example and implement ways of organising debates to settle differences non-violently. The same thing is happening in all Western democracies. Elected representatives compete in outrageousness and the extreme right applauds and wins the elections. When you set an example of brutality, you restore fear in people, who then look for a protector. Giorgia Meloni claims to protect the people like a mother protects her children (How are women transforming the modern far right? | ARTE Kreatur: https://youtu.be/Z4OUjrHDlQI). In Sweden, the authorities accepted a demonstration by people burning a Koran (https://www.tdg.ch/la-police-autorise-un-rassemblement-qui-prevoit-de-bruler-le-coran-434500290221). In parliaments, members of parliament get into fistfights, make noise to prevent others from speaking, and so on.
If there is no justice and no police to defend him, the citizen must look for a protector who will use force. Politicians have set society on fire by endorsing violence. The first arsonists are those in positions of responsibility. We need rules to protect citizens and not leave it up to the bullies to decide, and we need to put the means in place to achieve this. It is the absence of civilisation that puts us in danger. We need to keep up the barriers that prevent people from behaving like bullies.
“It’s our society, in its toxic relationship with nature and the Other, that is profoundly violent. We spend gigantic sums of money to kill the soil, poison people, impoverish the countries of the South, slaughter billions of animals and drive migrants back into the sea. The Cameroonian historian Achille Mbembe uses the term “necropolitics” to evoke this modern civilisation littered with corpses, where the “methodical administration of death” mobilises science, the army, industry and technology”.(https://reporterre.net/La-decivilisation-est-une-chance).
Decivilisation”: the history of violence (and its political recuperation): https://www.radiofrance.fr/franceculture/podcasts/l-invite-e-des-matins/decivilisation-histoire-de-la-violence-et-de-sa-recuperation-politique-8351283
Decivilisation: where are the barbarians: https://www.radiofrance.fr/franceculture/podcasts/le-billet-politique/le-billet-politique-du-mardi-30-mai-2023-4923294