France is socially divided (e.g. suburbs in 2005, yellow vests in 2018) and politically divided, as the last presidential election still proves. France has become polarized: the slightest controversial issue inflames society, struggle prevails over discussion, aggression over empathy.
France is “tribalising”: the algorithms of social networks, the job and real estate markets lock us in the middle of like-minded people who think and live alike in distrust of others. For 6 out of 10 French, 10% more than in 2012, “we never suspect others enough” (Credoc). France isolating: Loneliness has been exploding for 10 years, especially among the elderly and young people new to Covid; According to the Fondation de France, 1 in 4 French people are in isolation! Finally, France freezes: It takes 6 generations to break out of poverty, one of the OECD’s worst scores.
So there is urgency. The urgency to rebuild the common, re-weave a national “We”, thread by thread… How? By activating the hand, heart and head at the same time.
The “hand” of action: paradoxically, there have never been so many initiatives on the ground that create social bonds. They connect different social backgrounds, connect generations, break loneliness, open spaces… They bring people together through mentoring, inclusive living spaces with vulnerable people, third places, mutual aid communities, open and “augmented” schools, nursing homes “abroad”. walls” and many more innovations that benefit everyone.
These unifying forces, enormous today but marginal, may be majority and banal tomorrow… This is also socially desirable, economically efficient and technically feasible, subject to a dual political and civic will.
The “heart” that makes you tremble: what still keeps us moving together beyond great sporting victories or, unfortunately, terrorist attacks? Let’s formulate a hypothesis here: we can find common emotion in the act of devotion to others; Giving some of your time, money, network, skills, or quite simply, human warmth to people in need.
We are sensitive beings, interdependent and ‘indebted’ to one another, with duties of mutual attention. Especially, thanks to the magic of brotherhood, one receives so much more when one is committed! So let’s reconnect emotionally through altruism. So tomorrow, devotion becomes a French reflex that is accessible and desirable to all.
Finally, the “head” that produces and defends ideas: we “progressives” are what we would have to oppose to the “great substitution”, “migration” and all these tales of division, if it weren’t for them. Winning at the ballot box still got a place in people’s minds?
Let’s be sane and accept that “our” words – coexistence, diversity, integration… – no longer work. They look overused and out of breath. Let’s take this beautiful challenge of reinventing the narrative! From these new stories will also come new public policy proposals that can make a difference.
In a weary France with a thousand fractures, national unity cannot be decided, it is a daily struggle and “for all”.
This “All of Us” project, besides the ecological planning described earlier, constitutes the other major challenge of the five-year period. It is also intended to be worn at the highest level of government, the Prime Minister, and embodied by the President.
It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity: we must learn to mingle or we’re doomed to bother each other.
Tariq Ghezali is 44 years old and lives in Marseille. As an entrepreneur for the common good, he has co-founded and co-developed several initiatives devoted to the general interest: the Social Entrepreneurs Movement (now Impact France), a network of leaders affiliated with their respective regions; Social and Solidarity Economics Laboratory (think tank); Marseille Solutions, regional innovation accelerator. And recently, La Fabrique du Nous has been generating ideas and projects for a more fraternal society. Tariq Ghezali, a trained engineer (Centrale Paris), co-author of Democratizing the Economy (Grasset, 2010), also a 2013 member of the German marshall fund of the USA and a national knight of merit (2018).