From Paris: C'est...

Les Pennies!

It’s time once again for the Pennies, the prestigious award in Protest Signage! Following up on the Global Women’s March of January 21, the Impartial Jury has attentively read the MSMsplanations: protesters had no clear focus; these marches lead nowhere without strong leadership; and murtherfore, marches never change anyone’s mind anyhow.

Whatever. The winners are:


The People’s Veto Award:

Named after the well-documented fact that popular movements, marches and riots rarely define their goals: historically, people have been more likely to march/riot in order to signal their opposition to any one person or situation than in support of another. In the recent words of Indivisible, “No is a complete sentence.”


The Solidarity Prize:

Kant, Max Weber, Freud have all addressed the fact that the epistemology of Capitalism is structured to define the monadic self as the source of all will, excluding group will as no more than an accumulation of self-interested monads, mulier economica multiplied a thousand-fold:

All those relations which until now have been the primary objective of psycho-analytic research have a claim to be considered as social phenomena; therefore they may be contrasted with certain other processes described by us as ‘narcissistic.’

[Alle die Beziehungen, welche bisher vorzugsweise Gegenstand der psychoanalytischen Untersuchung geworden sind, können den Anspruch erheben, als soziale Phänomene gewürdigt zu werden, und stellen sich dann zu gewissen anderen, von uns narzißtischen genannten Vorgängen.]

Which is Freud’s way of suggesting that it’s the turning away from group behavior that’s abnormal and potentially pathological: narcissistic, in other terms. In which case, rather than expressing a narrow interest, self-directed or otherwise, the implicit and most powerful message of this gathering (as of many others) was the call for solidarity itself. The medium is the message.


The Merci pour Trying Award:

There were, of course, may Americans at the march, with varying degrees of integration or French language skills. (One French TV station managed to find an American Trump supporter to provide Fair and Balanced; they threw her off the set after ten minutes of racist rantings.) And by the way: I still don’t know what this means:


The So’s-Your-Dad Prize:

To the person holding Shepard Fairey’s portrait of Munira Ahmed (free download from A reminder that Trump has nothing on the French State when it comes to legalized discrimination against Muslims.



The Déjà vu Prize:


By a curious coincidence the march ended up in front of the École Militaire, at the same spot to which, on May 13 1968, Daniel Cohn-Bendit led a breakaway march from a massive demonstration that was expected to disband without accomplishing anything. Better luck this time.


The Democratic Leadership Award:

To those Party leaders who, in their tireless efforts to stir things down, worried that the international marches might not be “positive”— by which they meant that no hostility should be shown, that neither Trump nor concerns about the legitimacy of the American electoral process should be mentioned, and that participants should avoid “political messaging.” I heard the same message at an earlier rally in Vienna, at which the only anger expressed came from an autistic teenager (so described by his embarassed and apolegetic mother). I'd think, if you are unable to express anger at what's happening now, it's you that needs help; it's you that's autistic in Freud's (or rather, Bleuler's) sense.

All together now!:




Et remembrez : The Pennies... mightier than the sword!


Hoipolloi Cassidy

February 23, 2017; last revised February 24, 2017.