History of France, Brexit, dictatorship: three comics that can be read this month

Once a month, Economic alternatives offers a selection of comics about economic and social news.

1 / History of France from below

“Until the rabbits have historians, the story will be told by hunters”famously said Howard Zinn, author more than twenty years ago People’s History of the United States. This is the same belief that revived historian Gerard Noiriel when he in 2018. popular history of France (Agone, second edition 2019), which screenwriters Lisa Lugrin and Clement Xavier, accompanied by designer Alain Gaston Remy, adapted in this comic in two volumes.

Forget about your chronology of monarchs and the date of the Battle of Marignan: this is a double story – in every sense of the word – “overpopulated”, focused on the ordinary lives of the predominant – serfs, artisans, workers. – and the way in which, from the Middle Ages to the Yellow Vests, they were able to mobilize to resist, as far as possible, the prohibitions and violence of the authorities.

The possibility of discovering, for example, the figure of Erasmus Gerber, a tanner who was the leader of the 1525 Rusto uprising, during which Alsatian peasants protested against insulting serfs – before the uprising was brutally suppressed. “People never did such a show of force before 1789”, assures Gerard Noiriel. However, this main episode remains ignored by history textbooks …

Popular but not populist, focusing on the fate of immigrants, slaves and other colonized people, this French history obviously does not ignore the leading role in the historical dynamics of political power and the struggle between dominant actors (lords, aristocracy). , the bourgeoisie, etc.). Nor is it that popular categories are often instrumentalized in this struggle – and repressed as soon as their demands become independent.

© Delcourt

Compressing on almost 500 drawn pages 800 pages of the text of the original opus, these two volumes remain dense. Fortunately, humor serves as a red thread to enlighten the history of social struggle, which, dotted with defeats, despite some great victories, pours out any naive belief in a bright future.

Analyzing the mobilization of yellow vests on the spot, Gerard Noiriel notes that “As was the case in all the great social struggles, this movement has shown the ingenuity and creativity of the people, when solidarity makes it possible to resist the collective resistance to class domination.”.

It is enough to revive hope for the next mobilization!

Xavier Molena

Popular history of France, Gerard Noiriel, Clement Xavier, Lisa Lugrin and Alain Gaston Remy, Delcourt. Volume 1: From the Royal State to the Commune, 2021, 256 pp., 21.90 euros. Volume 2: from black faces to yellow vests, 2022, 248 pp., 21.90 euros.

2 / Brexit British Finance

Comic Magazine, each quarter more than 200 pages of investigations and reports in comics. This summer’s bookstore offers a look at Brexit and the British financial community, among other things. Because it is presented first of all as a result of voting “ ordinary people againstinstitution »Exit from the European Union was also defended by wealthy financiers, who saw this as an opportunity to deregulate the sector and did not hesitate to take up the wallet to win their business.

These rich defenders of the campaign ” leave They represent the heirs of the sulfur Franco-British billionaire James Goldsmith (who died in 1997), a financier who was involved in politics in the 1990s in a European sovereign environment with Philip de Ville, in particular.

© La Revue Dessinée

They spread their ideas through different analytical centers radical right-wingers gathered at 55 Tafton Street, just steps from the British Parliament.

“Many ministers in Boris Johnson’s government are involved. This ideological bubble is characterized by its unbridled liberalism (…), its rejection of the European Union and its climatoscepticism. “more Kyle Mendel, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the British Investigative Media.

And in France? The links between financial circles and the far right are less strong than across the English Channel, but are evolving rapidly. “During this year’s presidential campaign, many of these far-right financiers, for example, banded together for Eric Zemmour, whose ultraliberal and authoritarian agenda they value.”can we read in a report based on the work of two sociologists, Theo Bourgeois and Marlene Benke, co-authors of a book published in 2021 on authoritarian finance.

Also in this issue is a report prepared in De Sevres, where the construction of water intakes for agricultural irrigation is stressful. And about the mobilization against the Lyon-Turin high-speed line, developed in cooperation with Comic Magazine Italian to understand what is happening on both sides of the Alps. And more ! As always, a very rich figure.

From Martin

Comic Magazine № 36, summer 2022, 224 pp., 18 euros.

3 / The absurdity of dictatorship

“Poet, clown, loser student, cleaner and me, secretary … It doesn’t make sense, does it?” We would be dissidents or protesters, I would understand, but here we are ordinary people without interest … “, wonders one of the seven characters we will follow Ceausescu’s bear. And yet this group is entrusted with a very special mission…

© Steinkis Editions

After Goodbye, Ceausescu, A documentary trip to post-communist Romania, published in 2021, this work by Aurelien Ducudre, which covers the period 1967-1989, when the dictator was in power in Bucharest, confirms the interest of Steinkis’ publications in the Romanian situation. Inspired by real events, the author uses a tragicomic register here to depict a portrait of a dictatorship in a series of stories that is both horrific and absurd.


Ceausescu’s bearAurelien Ducudre, Gael Henri and Paul Bona, Steinkis, April 2022, 135 pages, 20 euros.