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Confusionist Red-Brown Éric Zemmour, and Michel Onfray ‘Debate’ in Paris.

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Red Brown ‘Popular Front’ Debate.

Before beginning we should shed some light on who and what Éric Zemmour is and what he has been doing in recent months.

Éric Zemmour, the will-he-or-won’t-he-run far Right French Presidential candidate has been scoring up to 15% in opinion polls, just behind the candidate of the Rassemblement National, Marine le Pen, at 16%. Both the principal possible candidates of the main right-wing party (they will only choose a Presidential runner at their Conference at the start of December) Les  Républicains – Xavier Bertrand (14%) and Valérie Pécresse (12%) are behind the far-right polemicist in the most recent surveys.  Emmanuel Macron remains at 24 to 25%. According to a recent poll no French left wing candidate has got above 10%.

As Le Monde pointed out on Saturday, this is a drop of 10 points for the leader of the “de-diabolised” far right party. Keen to rub this in her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen (kicked out of the predecessor the RN, the Front National in 2015), commented in an interview with the French daily of record, ““If Eric is the candidate of the national camp in the best position, of course, I will. support him“.

One of Zemmour’s most notorious claims is that the Vichy regime kept French Jews safe from the German occupiers. Le Pen did not lose the opportunity to remark that. It was not Pétain who was the boss, he defended the French Jews and gave up foreigners (to the camps…..) . The French police carried out a procedure in a more humane way. It is easy to say sixty years later “they should have……”  He added, “The only difference between Eric and me is that he is Jewish,” Jean-Marie Le Pen bluntly. concluded, “It’s hard to call him a Nazi or a fascist. This gives him greater freedom. “

Now for yesterday…

Yesterday an audience of 3,700 (tickets were at 24 or 44 euros) came to the Palais des congrès in Paris for a meeting of “sovereigntists from two different sides. ” Michel Onfray once a self-styled libertarian anarchist is the founder of the journal Le Front Populaire, which brings together the extreme right and nationalist ‘anti-woke’ left. He helped organise this friendly conversation-spectacle, billed as a ‘debate’. Most came, reports say, to see and listen to Zemmour.

This meeting illustrates what sociologist Philippe Corcuff describes as “blurring of political boundaries” . “Onfray’s confusionism, cobbled together from the far right to the radical left, endorses the ultraconservatism of Zemmour, which mixes xenophobia, sexism and homophobia in a nationalist framework”, judged the author of La Grande Confusion. How the far right wins the battle of ideas (2021). One could add that both share an anti-European Union position.

The Nouvel Obs estimates that the pair share 92,7% of the same opinions.

Selon notre décompte, Zemmour et Onfray sont d’accord sur 92,7 % des sujet

Both mourn the decadence of our civilisation, our lost sovereignty and the Machiavellianism of Pope Francis. They do not agree on Voltaire and fridges.

Slate magazine has gathered together what they call “the worst” of Zemmour’s statements.

Le pire des citations d’Éric Zemmour.

Were he the French President, “a Frenchman will not have the right to call his son Mohamed” .

Employers “have the right to refuse Arabs or blacks”.

“All Muslims, whether they say it or not,” regard jihadists as “good Muslims”.

Unaccompanied minors (that is, those who come as refugees) “like the rest of immigration […] have no place here: they are thieves, they are murderers, they are rapists, that’s all they are”.

“I think rap is an illiterate subculture.”

“When General Bugeaud arrived in Algeria, he began to massacre Muslims, and even some Jews. Well, today I am on the side of General Bugeaud. That’s it, being French! ”

“-Shouldn’t power remain in the hands of men?
– Of course it should, otherwise it will be wasted. “

His “humour”: The green of the Greens (ecologists) corresponds, as if by chance, to the green of Islam.”

The death penalty: ” I am philosophically in favour of it.”

Written by Andrew Coates

October 5, 2021 at 12:16 pm

How to Stop Fascism, History, Ideology, Resistance. Paul Mason. A Review.

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Paul Mason on Twitter: "How To Stop Fascism: History, Ideology, Resistance  comes out this Thursday, published by Allen Lane in ebook, audiobook and  hardback ... check my website https://t.co/6qVyE4t2Pb to preorder👇🏼…  https://t.co/8eF21dOJ2p"

How to Stop Fascism, History, Ideology, Resistance. Paul Mason. Allen Lane 2021.

Last weekend there were demonstrations across the world for “freedom”, against Health Passes and all Covid-19 restrictions. In London There was a presence of anti-vaxxers London saw one of Britain’s best known, Covid Confusionist Piers Corbyn out yelling about Vaccination centres. In France the far-right, Florian Philippot’s Patriotes and a galaxy of extreme-right groupuscules marched in many towns and cities, sometimes physically clashing with far-left protestors, also opposed to Macron’s Pass Sanitaire.

At a rally against anti-Semitism called the Réseau contre l’anti-semitisme place Baudoyer in the 4th arrondissement held by the some of the best people you could   ever wish to meet, from the Ligue des Droits de l’homme (founded after the Dreyfus Affair), moderate left-wingers, greens, civil society campaigns, the radical left, including to the anarchist federation. Speakers denounced the prevalence of anti-Semitic ideas circulating in the movement against the Health Pass. A few hundred attended. The anti-Pass movement drew fewer numbers than in previous weeks, down to around 80,000 across France – at their height in July 200,000 marched across the country.

Today “Fascism is back” writes Paul Mason (site). Right-wing populist parties have not stemmed its rise. The failures of free-market globalisation have turned established ideas to dust. Right wing populists, in power in countries like Hungary and Poland with influence across Europe, and with the (former) Donald Trump Presidency, no longer act as a “firewall” that stops the flames of fascism spreading from the more extreme right.  Fascism has grown, he says, through the “salience of its ideas” spread through social media.

Neoliberalism is broken, the “neo-liberal self” is in crisis, competitive democracy is decaying, the planet is burning, the pandemic has been a golden opportunity for extreme conspiracy movements, The “sudden ideological collapse of neo-liberalism and rapid concentration of online power into the hands of the far right” has combined with these developments. This indicates¸ How to Stop Fascism argues,  “Fascism, is “a recurrent symptom of system-failure under capitalism.”

“In the 2000s it is possible that the rules-based global order will shrive, even if a few, isolated right-wing populist regimes persist. But it is more likely that the world order will break, that we need up with competing power blocs…. that will force through the globalisation that prevailed between 1989 and 2008.” In this “fascism” – while the far right considers itself the sworn enemy of the “globalists” – will be a “willing helper.”

The appeal of modern fascists, which have “spread rapidly through social media” is to offer a “new utopia based on racism, misogyny and violence”. Their goal is “a global race war that reshapes the world into ethnic monocultures.” What the American neo-Nazis call “leaderless resistance” are one part of “movements perpetrating symbolic violence against the left, minorities and democratic institutions.” Indeed, such is their strength that there “is a non-negligible risk of a fascist breakthrough”.

Fascist Ideology.

The rallying call, based on anti-fascist ethos’ has to be, Mason argues an “alternative vision and an alternative practice” has to be axed around new forms of the Popular Front. The “mutually hostile offshoots from the Enlightenment, liberalism and Marxism, can at least now mount a joint defence operation against fascism.” This democratic front, assuming that either of these diverse sides would wish such an alliance, is probably the argument of this important book that will get the most attention.

Paul Mason offers many well-argued passages about the nature of fascism, citing writers as diverse as Hannah Arendt (totalitarianism as the “temporary alliance of the mob and the elite’, William Reich (fascism as the ‘fear of freedom), Eric Fromm (who developed this idea);) the historian John Paxton (‘stages’ of how fascism develops) and Ernest Nolte (his earlier writing, underlining fascism’s anti-Marxism). Whether these replace or add to Marxist explanations of the role of fascism in crushing and atomising working class movements, is open to debate. No doubt there will be those who wish to defend a “united front” (the Trotsky version) against Mason’s history and defence of the Popular Front in Spain and France.

The (relative) free-floating ability of fascist ideology to take ideas from all sources, including anti-democratic currents on the left, or, more directly the claim that it grew from ” a synthesis of anti-materialist socialism and nationalism” (Zeev Sternhell) is another avenue to be explore. Red-Brown movements, defending both ‘Britain’ and the “Working class, taking bits from ‘Marxism’-Leninism’ and patriotic tub-thumping have not disappeared.

The confusion between left and right, or the far-right claim to be neither right nor left, is explored in Ni droite ni gauche. L’idéologie fasciste en France (1983) and other writing by Zeev Sternhell. although his views on Georges Sorel, like Paul Mason’s, have been hotly contested in other studies of the revolutionary syndicalist , L’Illusion du politique. Shlomo Sand. 2986). Sternhell gives a much denser (if often contestable) account of ideological shifting and confusion than, say, the ‘discourse’ approach to populism and fascism of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe

Today in France many defenders of the ‘somewhere’ ‘peripheral’ real national and working class people against ‘metropolitan elites’ trace the original fault of the French left to that experience. It dates back to the late 19th century Boulangist movement, when a section of the left initially welcomed the anti-Parliamentary agitation around the ‘Charismatic’ General Boulanger, along with anti-Semites, royalists and ultra-nationalists, while others stood with republican democracy. This alliance, formal and informal, reached at a peak during the Dreyfus affair, when socialists of many stripes co-operated with the republicans and ‘bourgeois’ democratic side. This early ‘human rights left’ was incarnated in the figure of the socialist and democratic Marxist Jean Jaurès.

Populism.

Enzo Traverso has suggest that populism” is a style, not an ideology. We can see that in British P.M Boris Johnson’s bluster and British boosting, the populist identity ‘anti-woke’ politics of Spiked, and GB News. But it there more at stake? Post-fascism Traverso argues, is not ideologically as strong as that embodied in the fascist regimes of the 1930s, embodied in totalising mass parties, and, above all, states. Ethno-states are the banner of a fringe. The far right today is a machine manufacturing demands for economic protectionism, national sovereignty and the defence of “national identities. (Les nouveaux visages du fascisme, 2017)

This right is interested in  “identification” controls of the population, registering and documenting foreigners, criminals, subversives, and the control of nations imagined as if there were “living bodies “ (corps vivants). The French Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen stands for, as it has done since the days of the Front National, la préférence nationale, giving nationals preference over others. This is a realisable programme, not gestures and ways of addressing and claiming to speak for the “people” and attacking the metropolitan ‘left’ ‘liberal’ elite.

Éric Zemmour, potential candidate in the 2002 French Presidential elections to Marine Le Pen’s right, now standing at above 10% in opinion polls, talks of a rigorous policy of assimilation – extending to forenames. (1) Zemmour, who is of a North African Jewish background has promoted the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, contending that Frances population will be replaced by immigrants. Yet biological racism seems largely absent. By contrast the marginal US Richard B. Spencer, influenced by the French Nouvelle Droite, and despite this ‘culturalist’ background, says bluntly “Race is the Foundation of Identity. “ Nobody is talking of Spencer or his race-comrades, as future contenders in electoral American politics

Going into the backdrop to the support for national populism and the far right Mason tackles the ‘culture wars’. He makes many acute observations on the “new divisions in the working class”, a globally spread “reactionary ethos” and a “new kind of working class conservatism”. He offers some hope that the “new working class” in urban areas can be drawn into progressive movement- or, as those who are close by will say, often to be on “our – the left’s – side”. Put simply many do not put up with appeals to some mystical common heritage when they know and experience what being working class, always close to, if not on, benefits, has become.

But it is not just the material problems that causal, ‘flexible’, employment have brought with them that are an obstacle to the left, Parts of the left itself have contributed to the confusion that allows national populist ideas to get hold. In Britain the ‘Lexit’ supporters of Brexit imagine that national sovereignty, Parliamentary power, could break the strength of ‘neo-liberal’ EU. There is also the issue of ultra anti-Zionists, a marginal but real presence on the left, with its own Rothschild conspiracy theories.

National Neo-liberalism.

Neoliberalism, what Paul Mason has called in the past, ‘national neo-liberalism’ – the dominance of private enterprise extend right into public functions with a dose of global ‘buccaneering’ trade deals – has not gone away. The collapse of classic borderless neo-liberalism has been replaced by ‘more borders’ national populism and internal economic liberalism. It was never a ‘firewall’ against the fascist right, but a shifting ground where themes from the extreme meet up with classic conservative nationalism, the ‘rooted’ politics of the old ruling classes, the new surveillance capitalism, popular and working class conservatism, and right wing identity politics. Or, to put it simply, a bridge to a bigger political audience.

The left needs the kind of call to arms against these new forms of right and far-right politics made by Paul Mason, even if we may not agree on the details of his programme. Against the far-right and against populism alliances with democrats, socialists and progressives (which formed the basis of 1970s anti-National Front campaigning) are needed. Yet, how, people will ask, exactly can they be fought if their matrix is in the hyper-reality of cyberspace? There does not look like a systematic return to the street marches and direct confrontations of previous decades, though some kind of counter-protests at anti-vaxx events would be welcome.

There remains one issue. Is, looking at things more simply, a mass movement – even virtually – that we can call Fascism really on the march to power, or decisive influence? How far have they got? Are they really, even in the bud, headed for a ‘breakthrough’? The limited physical and electoral presence of the fascist right, even their broader identitarian fronts, and the shrinking attendance at the anti-Health pass events in France, not countered by a rise in this agitation across the world last weekend  suggests that they have some way to go.

(1) This is not a joke. Zemmour has said he would make French forenames compulsory for children: Le polémiste d’extrême droite Éric Zemmour… souhaiterait interdire en France les prénoms d’origine étrangère. There is a lot, a lot, more to say about Zemmour, from his defence of Vichy, his loathing of May 68, to his ‘masculinist’ hatred of feminism. Eric Zemmour: A French Trump or a French Farage? John Lichfield

*****

A National Populist review:

If this is ‘anti-fascism’, count me out. Brendan O’Neill.

It is hard to know where to start with How To Stop Fascism. Parts of it are just batshit crazy. 

I knew the Remain elites felt a visceral hostility towards the working-class communities that ensured a victory for Brexit, but even I did not know that it ran this deep, that it was giving rise to a new theory of fascism that views the working classes as the likely key component in the next mass panic of authoritarianism. This explains Mason’s hostility to democracy. Even in this book in which he lists the view of democracy as ‘dispensable’ as a core fascistic belief, Mr Mason cannot help but expose that his fear of populism is at root a fear of the democratic will. He slams the charismatic leaders of the new right for fetishising the ‘will of the people’.

 …this is the 21st-century Labour left summed up. It is a poisonously elitist project. If fascism were ever to return, I know who I would trust to stand against it – not Mason and the other cushioned, comfortable loathers of democracy who make up the supposedly radical left, but rather ordinary working people who oppose extremism, are wary of experts who claim to have all the answers, and who believe that national sovereignty is really worth fighting for

Written by Andrew Coates

September 21, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Human Rights Groups, Anti-Racists, Trade Unions, Students, and Left Unite in Paris to Protest Against Anti-Semitism and Conspiracy Mongering.

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May be an image of one or more people, people standing, crowd and outdoors


Condamner l’antisémitisme et combattre tous les racismes !

RAAR press release The RAAR is pleased with the success of the gathering it organised today in Paris on the Place Baudoyer (Town Hall of the 4th district).Several hundred people there demonstrated their strong determination to combat anti-Semitic propaganda. …..

The presence of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his party La France insoumise made the news:

Libération published this ‘Tribune’ on Saturday.

It begins….

“The Covid pandemic has given rise to a surge in anti-Semitism and conspiracy-mongering.  It has taken the form of the comparison between vaccination and the health pass (Vaccination ‘passport’) to the Shoah. Yellow stars have been brandished . There have been talk of the ‘Nazi Pass’ and analogies to the words written on the gates of Auschwitz.

Anti-Semitic words and acts have multiplied during and outside of recent demonstrations. There have been those who have not hesitated to blame Jewish figures for the health situation, in direct and explicit form, or through the use of the coded anti-Semitic meme Qui? “Who?” (a call on marches, as in ‘Who is to blame?” – not far off QAnon thinking).

Image

The open letter underlines the leading of the far-right in the recent anti-Macron, anti-Health Pass demonstrations.

The supporters of the far right are at the forefront of this campaign. But tolerance of anti-Semitic words and speeches goes well beyond that. 

This is a longer list of those backing the rally:

Liste des organisations signataires de l’appel au rassemblement du 19 septembre :

Juifves VNR ; Juives et juifs révolutionnaires (JJR) Mémorial 98 ; Mémorial des nomades et forains de France ; Union des juifs pour la résistance et l’entraide (Ujre) ; Une autre voix juive (UAJV) ; Ligue des droits de l’homme (LDH) ; Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples (Mrap one of the oldest anti-racist groups in France) ; Mouvement de la paix ; Fédération syndicale unitaire (FSU) (teachers’ trade union); Mouvement national lycéen (MNL) ; Union syndicale Solidaires ; Cedetim ; Collectif Collages judéités queer ; Collectif Agitations ; Collectif Cases rebelles ; Collectif Nta rajel ? ; Collectif national pour les droits des femmes (CNDF) ; Comité Vérité pour Adama (anti-fascists and anti-racists from the banlieue) ; Lallab ; Debunkers de hoax et rumeurs d’extrême droite ; Dijon antifa ; Droit au logement (DAL) ; Fédération nationale des maisons des potes ; Attac-France (linked to Le Monde Diplomatique and ‘alter-globalisation’ movements) ; Fondation Copernic (left think-tank) ; Assemblée citoyenne des originaires de Turquie (Acort) ; IBUKA-France ; SOS Racisme (known for its big anti-racist demos in the 1980s); La Horde ; La Jeune Garde ; 1 001 Lesbiennes et Queers ; Mouvement du christianisme social ; Pour une écologie populaire et sociale (Peps) ; Editions syndicalistes ;

From the radical left and the Communist Party:

Revue «Révolution prolétarienne» ; Vigilance et initiatives syndicales antifascistes (Visa) ; Gauche démocratique et sociale (GDS) ; Les jeunes écologistes ; Ensemble ! ; Fédération anarchiste ; Parti communiste français (PCF) ; Union communiste libertaire (UCL).

More backing:

Background:

French Anti-Pass Demonstrations.

By: John Barzman New Politics. September 16, 2021

Extract:

What is the role of the right in these demonstrations? Who makes up these rightwing groups?

John Barzman – Beyond the broad social and semi-political layers described above, two organized categories should be distinguished: issue-oriented groups and clearly identified ideologies and organizations.

The first category is best represented by Reinfocovid. It has appeared at various moments as denying the gravity of the pandemic, opposed to masks, or vaccinations, and now to the «pass» and to any «vaccinal obligation». It includes dissident embittered nurses, medical doctors, researchers, whose scientific credentials are often unclear. There are also parents concerned with the ability of their children to flirt. And internet influencers too. They tend to support Didier Raoult and his various proposals for alternatives to the best-known remedies, as well as guru Louis Fouché. After July 12, these networks encouraged the formation of Facebook pages titled «Anti pass sanitaire» followed by the name of a city or region, which immediately recruited hundreds of thousands of subscribers. They have equipment : sound systems, musical instruments, disguises (all-white uniforms), speakers and a hierarchy of influencers. They often admire the Trumpist movements of various kinds in the US and imitate their tactics.

The second category encompasses organized far-right groups, generally acting undercover or combining open interventions and quiet infiltration. The context is the decision of the main far right leader, Marine Le Pen, to present her party, Rassemblement national, as conventional republicans («banalisation») uninvolved in violence, and capable of uniting the French people («apaisement», «union nationale»). Her acceptance of the euro caused a split. Her number two leader, Florian Philippot, split and formed the Parti des patriotes with a more «sovereigniste» (nationalist) message. As Philipot was stagnating, he seized the opportunity of widespread social discontent, police demonstrations and the anti-pass moment to organize demonstrations in his own name, or in alliance with sections of the Gilets Jaunes. Other far-right groups known as «identitaires» have engaged in similar work. They combine this with infiltration of the broader movement promoting the actions called by their leaders, as well as the slogan «Freedom», and a ban on «corrupt» political organizations and trade unions. All of this is quite compatible with a future sudden call for unity behind the far right candidate, be it Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour, François Asselineau, or Nicolas Dupont Aignan, in exchange for prominent positions on the Marine Le Pen team. Or a far-right and right coalition, as advocated by Marion Maréchal Le Pen (Marine Le Pen’s niece).

Another strong far right current is the Catholic fundamentalist («intégrisme catholique») group Civitas. Most recently, this organization acquired a mass audience and experience with organizing demonstrations and tactical relations with middle-of-the-road allies, in demonstrations against the law extending the rights of homosexual couples to marry (the «Mariage pour tous» law) in 2012-2013, actions which were dubbed «Manif pour tous» (the demonstration for everybody). There has been a constant resistance since then to each new measure going in that direction, in the name of protecting children, a theme which reemerges today as «protect our children against the evil vaccine».”

Libération reports that week after week there have been clashes between the far left and the violent wing of this far-right, “Semaine après semaine, les affrontements opposant militants d’extrême droite et antifascistes se multiplient dans les cortèges. “

It would be a step forward in Britain if a similar united front could be shown against the anti-vaxx and their far-right allies here.

Like this lot:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 20, 2021 at 11:01 am