10 remarks about my experience at the Fête de l'Humanité
Today I went to the Fête de l'Huma, a big festival hosted in large part by France's communist parties that brings together informative stands, food, and concerts. I've heard a lot about this festival, which happens every year, and I'm glad my friends were going so that I had the occasion to go. Here are a few of my observations.
1. Seeing people with sincere beliefs moves me
I was impressed with the sincerity of the some of the folks I saw today. I feel that I've become a bit cynical about politics in the past few years, so it was inspiring to see people with what looked to be genuine passion and conviction.
2. I am a house cat
...when it comes to festivals, at least. Today's was held outside, and it started raining. There was mud everywhere and the bathrooms were port-a-potties. I am 0% cut-out for this kind of environment.
3. There's a lot of ideological diversity among French communists
For some reason, I had always thought there was just one communist party. In reality, there are several, and their beliefs, although adjacent, don't really overlap.
4. The crowd was mostly white, which surprised me
Talking about race in France... am I looking for trouble?
This is something I remarked almost immediately, and then again and again. I would have thought a far-left festival would be more racially diverse, but that might be my American anchoring slipping in. I also wonder whether the festival was truly representative of the party's supporters.
5. Political parties can have associated songs and chants
I suppose I knew about the chants, but I can't really think of any songs I'd associate with either of the two major political parties in the U.S.
6. Festivals can be for people of all ages
I guess I had thought the festival would be mostly for younger people and students. I was surprised to see that, in fact, it was very much a family event. There were plenty of children around, and some older folks as well.
7. I find myself permanently vigilant about the possibility of some sort of attack
This is probably a reaction to the misfortunes of our era when it comes to large-scale attacks on gatherings. I enjoyed myself, but never without somewhat of a watchful eye in the back of my mind at all times.
8. People who master rhetoric can wield a lot of power
I saw several great orators today. It seemed like they had reduced the art of giving speeches to a science, between the precision of their words; the clarity, pace, and tone of their voices; and their associated body language. I was impressed and found myself drawn in by the charisma, irrespective of the ideas themselves.
9. It's possible to imagine a world with less consumerism and materialism
I didn't agree with many of the ideas I came across today, but I found the idea that each individual can choose to be less materialistic compelling. This is something I would like to apply in my own life.
10. The communist parties' electorates are rapidly changing
While the electorate used to be workers in factories, or those who performed manual labor, today's electorate includes many college-educated leftists from families that are at least somewhat well-off. It's funny how this mirrors the reality the U.S. democratic party is facing.