Six months ago, if asked what they understood by “woke”, most French people would have assumed it had something to do with Chinese cooking. And yet today in Paris, the notion of “le wokisme” is suddenly all the rage. The government warns of a new cultural totalitarianism creeping in from the “Anglosphere”. The education minister has set up a Laboratory of the Republic, dubbed an “anti-woke think tank”, to co-ordinate the fightback. And everywhere the precursors of what might be to come are being reported in the media: a new gender-neutral pronoun, a threatened statue of a dead statesman or a meeting on campus only for black students. For the French, these signifiers of what critics in the UK and US have termed “woke” are all very new and unfamiliar.
Well, good. In Spain, too, there’s a movement to resist this Anglo-inspired garbage. The Spanish government is in thrall to the woke mania but there’s a whole intellectual and artistic movement by the young artists and scholars to oppose it.