On May 8, the citizens of France celebrated the end of World War II in 1945; however, left-wing activists were also celebrating Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the bitterly contested presidential election. Macron’s opponent, the far-right Marine Le Pen, denounced open borders and immigration, while Macron favors a borderless European Union.
None other than Elie Buzyn, a survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, singled out Avaaz, a civic organization largely consisting of left wing, liberal activists, during the celebration. While Le Pen did not make any anti-Semitic remarks during her campaign, minorities in France worried that she might have ignored racial intolerance if she won the election. Urging caution against extremists, Buzyn told Avaaz’s supporters gathered at the Eiffel Tower to continue their support for Macron beyond the election. If Macron’s political opponents do well in the legislative elections, he may have difficulty keeping his promises.
Avaaz has a history of fighting extremism and other global and national issues, including climate change, animal cruelty and corruption. By collecting signatures on online petitions, creating disruptive media campaigns and demonstrating in person, the five year-old organization reaches decision makers.
With over 40 million members worldwide, Avaaz is jubilant that their campaign against right-wing extremists scored a victory in France. Taking precious little time to savor their victory, Avaaz is making extremist policies in Chechnya a priority now. While Avaaz may work on numerous causes at once, members vote on which issues are a priority. Typically, a person joins because of one cause that is important to them, then after a resolution, they adopt another worthy cause.