MAINTENANCE - The author of Republic Lost Territories (Fayard) andA submissive France (Albin Michel) revisits the presidential campaign. Social fracture, territorial fracture, cultural fracture, identity disarray: for the historian, the questions that feed French anxiety have been left aside.
In 2002, Georges Bensoussan published The Lost Territories of the Republic, a collection of testimonies from suburban teachers which revealed anti-Semitism, Francophobia and the ordeal of women in so-called sensitive neighborhoods. "A book that blew up the wall of denial of French reality", recalls Alain Finkielkraut , one of the few defenders of the book at the time.
A Submissive France, published this year, showed that in the last fifteen years everything had gotten worse. The presidential election had to respond to this malaise. But, for Georges Bensoussan, nothing happened. A veil has been thrown over the angry questions. A symbol of this blindness? The murder of Sarah Halimi, defenestrated during the campaign to cries of "Allah Akbar" without any major media echoing it. A media, intellectual and political screed which, according to the historian, increasingly evokes the universe of George Orwell's famous novel, 1984.
According to a survey of JDD published this week, the decline of radical Islam is the priority expectation of the French (61%), far ahead of pensions (43%), school (36%), employment (36%) or purchasing power (30%). According to another study, 65% of respondents consider that “there are too many foreigners in France” and 74% that Islam wishes to “impose its mode of operation on others”.
LE FIGARO. – Results out of step with the priorities announced by the new power: moralization of political life, labor law, European construction… Were the major issues of our time addressed during the presidential campaign?
Georges BENSOUSSAN. – Part of the country felt that the campaign had been diverted from its meaning and monopolized, on purpose, by the "affairs" that we know, the press having become in this matter less a counter-power than an anti -power, in the words of Marcel Gauchet. This new political force sins by its derisory representativeness, coupled with an illusory sociological renewal, when 75% of the candidates of En Marche belong to the category "executives and higher intellectual professions". The only real renewal is generational, with the coming to power of a younger age group ousting the last supporters of the “baby boom”.
For a "disappeared", the class struggle is doing well. However, it has rarely been so hidden. Because this victory is first of all that of the inter-self of a bourgeoisie which does not assume itself as such and takes refuge in the moral posture (the famous blackmail of fascism which has become, as Christophe Guilluy, a "class weapon" against working-class circles). Social fracture, territorial fracture, cultural fracture, identity disarray, the questions that feed French anxiety have been left aside for the same reasons that so-called "new" anti-Semitism remains unspeakable.
This is where we must see one of the causes of the collective depression of the country, when the majority feels its destiny confiscated by an oligarchy of birth, diploma and money. A kind of high media, university, technocratic and culturally above-ground clergy.
However, what strikes me most is how cultural leftism has made an ally of a financial bourgeoisie which advocated the man without roots, the nomad reduced to his function of producer and consumer. A globalized financial capitalism that needs open borders but of which neither he nor his people, however, entrenched in their midst, will experience the consequences.
This cultural leftism is less the “useful idiot” of Islamism than that of this dehumanized capitalism which, by making democratic integration into the nation an unthought, prevents us from analyzing the confrontation which agitates our society underground. Moreover, the future of the French nation is not unrelated to the demography of neighboring worlds when the machine for assimilation, as is the case today, works less well.
In another order of ideas, can we disconnect the constant progression of the rate of abstention and the evolution of our society towards a form of anomie, withdrawal into oneself and sad individualism? As if the rehashed exaltation of “living together” said precisely the opposite. This evolution, too, is not unrelated to this reversal of the class divide which sees part of the moral left engulfed in an ethos contemptuous of the working classes, which it relegates to the domain of the wicked “beauferie” of the “Dupont Lajoie”. Some analysts have already clearly shown (I am thinking of Julliard, Le Goff, Michéa, Guilluy, Bouvet and a few others), how the social movement had been gradually abandoned by a left focused on the transformation of morals.
The France you describe seems on the verge of explosion. So how do you explain the persistent denial of some of the elites?
By the refusal of the war that we are made when we decided that there was no more war (“You will not have my hatred” ) forgetting, in the words of Julien Freund, that “it is the enemy who designates you”. By favoring this doxa inhabited by the gregarious concern for "progress" and the permanent desire to "be on the left", this concern of which Charles Péguy said that we will never be able to measure enough how much he has made us commit cowardice. Finally, in experiencing, it's normal, all the difficulties in the world to recognize that we were wrong, sometimes even throughout a lifetime. How can we forget in this respect the collapsed Communists of 1956?
As for those who play an active role in the make-up of reality, they are primarily concerned with maintaining a privileged social position. The perpetuation of the doxa is inseparable from this social order of which they are the beneficiaries and which earns them recognition, consideration and material advantages.
The media-university magisterium of this moral bourgeoisie (Jean-Claude Michéa spoke recently in the Revue des deux mondes, (April 2017) of a “neocolonial representation of the working classes […] by the postmodern university elites”, weakens the intellectual contests Everyone knows that he will have to remain within the narrow limits of the so-called doxa of “openness to the Other". Hence an interior censorship which prevents our doubts from rising to the surface of consciousness and which relegates the facts behind the "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep," noted American writer Saul Bellow.
With 16 other intellectuals, including Alain Finkielkraut, Jacques Julliard, Elisabeth Badinter, Michel Onfray or Marcel Gauchet, you have signed a forum so that the truth be said about the murder of Sarah Halimi. Is this case a symptom of this denial that you denounce?
The leaden screed that weighs on public expression diverts the meaning of words to bring us into an Orwellian universe where white is black and truth is lies. We signed this platform to try to get this case out of the silence that surrounded it, like the one that had welcomed, in 2002, the publication of the Lost Territories of the Republic.
It was fifteen years ago and you were already warning about the rise of a so-called "new" anti-Semitism...
Should we speak of a "new anti-Semitism"? I do not believe that. Not only because the first signs of it had been detected at the end of the 1980s. But even more so because it is also, and in part, an imported anti-Judaism. Just think of the Maghreb, where it constitutes an ancient cultural background that predates colonial history. Cultural anthropology allows the decryption of the symbolic base of any culture, the highlighting of an imaginary which underlies a representation of the world.
But, for the doxa of misguided anti-racism, cultural analysis would only be racism in disguise. In September 2016, Algerian playwright Karim Akouche said: “Do you want to become a star in the Arabic-speaking Algerian press? It's easy. Preach hatred of the Jews […]. I am a survivor of the Algerian school. I was taught there to hate Jews. Hitler was a hero there. Professors praised it. After the Koran, Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are the most read books in the Muslim world. In July 2016, Abdelghani Merah (Mohamed's brother) told journalist Isabelle Kersimon that when Mohamed's body was returned to the family, neighbors came on a mourning visit to congratulate his parents, only regretting, they said, that Mohamed "did not kill more Jewish children" (sic).
This anti-Semitism is at best shrouded in mythologies, at worst denied. It would, for example, be correlated with a low level of education, whereas it often remains high despite a high level of education. It is wrongly made the prerogative of Islamism alone. However, Ben Ali's Tunisia, long presented as a model of "openness to others", discreetly cultivated its anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism (cf.Our friend Ben Ali, by Beau et Turquoi, Editions La Découverte). And what about the Syria of Bashar al-Assad, both violently anti-Islamist and anti-Semitic, like the regime of the Algerian generals? Or, in France, of the somewhat ambiguous attitude of the Indigenous Peoples of the Republic on the subject, like that of these other small groups which, with no direct link to Islamism, racialize the social debate and revive racism under the guise of " postcolonial deconstruction”?
Precisely, on June 19, a group of intellectuals published in Le Monde a text of support for Houria Bouteldja, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of the Republic.
What to think of the societal evolution of part of the French elites when the same daily gives voice to the detractors of Kamel Daoud, to the apologists of Houria Bouteldja and offers a platform to Marwan Muhammad, of the Collective against Islamophobia in France ( CCIF), also described as a "combative spokesperson for Muslims"?
The signatory academics and intellectuals are doing in indigenism as their predecessors did in the past in workerism. The same mimicry, the same renunciation of reason, the same arrogance to the aid of a pretentious intellectual logorrhea (it is the party of intelligence, contrary to the simplisms and clichés of the "fachosphere"). A discourse that ignores all reality, like the workerist discourse of the PCF in the 1950s, calmly explaining the “pauperization of the working class”. Of this “racist speech which claims apartheid”, as the Committee for secularism and the republic writes about Houria Bouteldja, the authors of this forum in defense speak without batting an eyelid about him of “his attachment to the Maghreb […] linked to the Jews who lived there, whose absence henceforth created a void impossible to fill”. An absence, they add, which makes the author “inconsolable”. This postcolonial form of stupidity, rooted in compassionate guilt, proves George Orwell right, who believed that the intellectuals were those who, tomorrow, would offer the weakest resistance to totalitarianism, too busy admiring the force that would crush them. And to prefer their vision of the world to the disenchanting reality. Here we are.
You found yourself in the dock for having denounced the anti-Semitism of the suburbs in the program “Replicas” on France Culture. All it took was one report from the CCIF for the prosecution to decide to prosecute you five months after the incident. Against all expectations, SOS-Racisme, the LDH, the Mrap but also the Licra had joined in the prosecution.
Despite the acquittal pronounced on March 7, and even brilliantly pronounced, the damage is done: this trial should never have been held. Because, for the CCIF, the objective has been achieved: to intimidate and silence. After my affair, as after that of so many others, one can bet that the will to speak will be attenuated. Have we noticed, moreover, that since the attack on Charlie Hebdo, we have not seen a single caricature of the Prophet in the Western press?
Radical Islam uses the law to impose silence. This we already knew. But my trial has exposed another force of intimidation, that of this "moral left" which sees in any opponent an enemy against whom no process can be considered unworthy. Not even the call for dismissal, as in my case. A moral order that hunts down bad thoughts and unworthy feelings, that plays on bad conscience and guilt to pillory. And will demand (like the Licra to me) repentance and “public apologies”, like an exorcism ceremony like in a XNUMXth century “witch hunt”.
How to understand the disproportion between the avalanche of condemnations that overwhelmed me and the words I had used at the microphone of France Culture? I had entered straight away, I believe, into the domain of a massive unsaid, that of an anti-Semitism which, implicitly, raises the question of integration and assimilation. Even, in the background, that of the rejection of France. By showing itself incapable of seeing the danger aimed at the Jews, part of French public opinion refuses to see the danger which threatens it itself.
Source: © Le Figaro Premium – Georges Bensoussan: “We are entering an Orwellian universe where truth is lies”