End of jus soli in Mayotte: one more advance in the reactionarization of the State

Featured image: Demonstrations in front of the French Embassy in the Comoros in 2018.

We publish this unofficial translation of an article of La Cause du Peuple.

In February 2024, the Interior Minister Darmanin announced that Emmanuel Macron wanted it to “be no longer possible to become French if you are not a child of French parents” if one was born on Mayotte.

In the general context of the immigration law, where jus soli [latin for right of the soil, a bourgeois principle according to which nationality is determined by the place of birth] was already called into question before the censorship of the Constitutional Council (for technical and non -political reasons), it is necessary to look at this decision to draw consequences on the reactionarization of the bourgeois State (see our previous issue).

Jus soli, a principle that has become important for the French bourgeoisie

With regard to nationality, the French bourgeoisie has evolved over time, following the development of French capitalism.

The great French revolution of 1789 installed the bourgeoisie in control. With the first constitutional monarchy (1791), there is a form ofjus soliwhich is confirmed after the end of the revolution in the Napoleon code of 1804. But this jus soliis conditional, it cannot be said that it is particularly a principle established by the French bourgeoisie, it is rarely used.

It was in 1851, then in 1889 that the legislation fixed the jus soli strongly in French law. Why? This is the time when French capitalism needs workforce and cannot rely only on the ancient peasants, who do not arrive quickly enough in the cities or died in successive wars. It is therefore necessary to get immigrants that will be sought in Italy, Spain, Belgium… Thus we note for example that in 1889, when the new law arrives, it was almost 20 years since 1870-71, time of the Franco-Prussian war and the Commune; There will therefore necessarily be absence in the age groups which must perform military service, because their potential parents died in war. The law of that year will reflect this reality to force the majority of young children of foreigners to do military service.

Thus, in the turning point towards imperialism which happens around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, France became the main country of immigration in Europe while restricting nationality in its new colonies where one does not become French as in mainland France (Indigennat’s code of 1881). This will continue with the infamous example of the name “French Muslims” in Algeria, which accompanies so many massacres and persecutions. You have to keep it in mind to always remember how French imperialism is used to treating those it designates foreign on “its” soil.

We can thus say that from the beginning of its contemporary history (because it also existed in another way under the old regime), the jus solievolved in France (and elsewhere in the colonies) according to the necessities of capitalism, and then of French imperialism. It opened when there was a need for workforce, and then closed. But it has become a general principle of the law of the French bourgeoisie, an instrument by which it could control its population in all the bourgeois regimes to follow since the 1st Republic. Consequently, it’s worth noting that its questioning in Mayotte, and then in France in general (which is the position of Ciotti’s Republicans and has been the historic position of the RN since Le Pen’s father) is met with almost no complaints. On the contrary, this “solution” is sold to masses as a solution to the problems of Mayotte. It is a sign of the reactionarization of the State, because the long-standing legal tradition of bourgeois democracy in France is called into question for the first time in an intense way since the so-called “decolonization” and since the regime of Vichy, who had returned to the naturalization obtained “by the soil” with his fascist government of deportations.

The negation of French bourgeois democratic principles beyond jus soli

The French bourgeoisie has always boasted of being the heir of the Enlightenment, of the great Ideas, traditions of freedom and human rights. All of this nonsense has taken a life of its own when we see the ferocious exploitation and inhuman measures taken over the last 175 years by the bourgeois State, which has become the greatest oppressor after having made people believe it would set them free.

As explained above, it is very important to link this current development to the history of French imperialism. It is therefore necessary to recognize to this extent to Mayotte an open and deliberate violation of the principle inscribed in the “Principles of the Republic”: “The Republic is one and indivisible”.

Indivisible, really? However, the questioning the right of nationality over a part of the territory (Mayotte) completely breaks this principle.

The reactionarization of the bourgeois State of which we are talking about is not an abstraction, it is achieved in concrete measures, where the principles of the bourgeois republic (democratic-liberal) are called into question by the government at its very head. It is not surprising that the forces flirting most openly with fascism support the extension of such measures and claim “ideological victories” when they are introduced.

It is a necessity for the bourgeoisie to move forward with such weapons even if it means disowning its thinkers and the original writers of its major laws, such as the Constitution of the 5th Republic. It absolutely must restructure the State to ward off the crisis and keep the revolts in check, these are tasks that all go together. Nothing progressive can come from the bourgeoisie. Imperialism is parasitic and French imperialism is a luxurious, hungry parasite, which cannot support its weight without sucking the blood of the proletarians in France and the oppressed peoples abroad. It tries to train us in its fall of its laws, its wars and its delusional projects, and the opportunists of the Parliament try to make us believe that it is possible to save it, not to make reactionary reforms but a “left” program.

But it is a hard time, the reactionarization of the French bourgeois State has continued frantically in recent years. The only class capable of changing the situation is the proletariat, for it bears the task of bringing down the bourgeois state and, with it, reaction all across the line.

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