Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Resistance in France - suppressed, but not broken

It has been a very long while since I have written about the popular resistance movement in France embodied by the philosopher Alain Soral and the humorist Dieudonne.  
[Sidebar: for those who have missed these articles, they can be found here:
These are just a few examples, use the search option for more]
My purpose today is to update you on what has been happening to the only meaningful anti-system Resistance movement in France.

Soral and Dieudonne
The first thing to say is that the state repression against Dieudonne got much more vicious: both of them are now being sued for huge amounts of money. The list of lawsuits filed against Alain Soral now takes a full page on his website and the total sum for which he is being used is a stunning 489 292 Euros.  I don't know the exact figures for Dieudonne, but I do know that attempts are being made at seizing both his home and his theater in Paris.

Next to that financial repression, the "minutes of hate" against Dieudonne and Soral have now become a quasi-permanent fixture in the French media and the doubleplusgoodthing blogosphere: they are accused of Nazis, anti-Semites, homophobes and, of course, the inspiration of various terrorist movements.  Dieudo is also accused of being a crook.  Some individuals do not shy away from overtly racist slurs like the Rabbi Rav Dymovisz who said that Dieudonne proves that Darwin was right and he is the living proof that some humans are descendants from monkeys "most probably a gorilla".

There have been even numerous attempts to censor both Soral's books and Dieudo's shows, including efforts in the French State Court, but these have run into that pesky problem that French law does not foresee political censorship.  Hence the two tricks most used have been the standard accusation of anti-Semitism and "risk of trouble to the public order".  In reality, of course, both Soral and Dieudo are completely non-violent and their ideology is one of reconciliation and equality, not hatred.  They, however, have been attacked physically many times, but the police has always denied them any protection and their aggressors have walked away with, at most, a gentle little slap on the wrist.  Since Soral and Dieudo are, of course, losing most of their lawsuits, it appears inevitable that prison sentences will inevitably replace fines because they will be tried as "repeat offenders".

And yet, for all these efforts by the French 1%ers to crush them, the popularity of both men has continued to steadily grow, but mostly in the disenfranchised classes and the immigrant communities.  Diedo only plays to full theaters while Soral's books are best-sellers.  As for their websites, they have more viewers than the national TV channels.  The French elites, however, including the putatively freedom-loving intelligentsia, prefer to look away as if not noticing what is taking place or, worse, then join into the chorus of the 'official' ideological lynchmob.

Still, Diedo and Soral are not giving up the struggle.  They have even decided to form a Equality and Reconciliation (E&R) party.  These men are smart and they know that they cannot win, but what they can do is get two things which the state desperately tires to deny them: a platform and money.  Becoming a party can get them both.

In the past Soral and Dieudo have supported the short-lived Anti-Zionist Party which did remarkably well considering the political reality in France, but make no mistake, in this case "remarkably well" means single digit figures or less.  There is absolutely no reason to believe that their new party will do any better, at least visibly.  This is why:

There are really two "Frances" today: one, the official, visible one, appears to be one of consensus, of democracy, of relative well-being.  The other, the "invisible one", is one of deep alienation, of rage, of despair and of revolt.  And these two Frances are not always were one would expect them to be found.  For example, in the very same French police which is used by the state to persecute Dieudonne and Soral the popularity of both men is very high.  The same goes for the military, the fire departments, and a host of other government agencies.  Likewise, even though neither Dieudo or Soral are Muslim (both are Christian Latins, though in the case of Soral this is more of a cultural affinity), they get a great deal of support from the Muslim immigres in France who understand and respect their message.

As for the French "Far Right", it mostly dislikes them, often with no less intensity then the rest of the Establishment.  The problem here is a generational one.  If Dieudo and Soral both respect Jean-Marie LePen and if both of them are still close to him both ideologically, they both have accused the National Front of having basically joined the Establishment, of having been co-opted and corrupted, and they have strongly criticized the anti-Muslim stance of Marine LePen.

The second ideological struggle which is taking place is that Dieudo and Soral are also on the offensive against a French author named Eric Zemmour whom they accuse of being a fake dissident.  Zemmour recently wrote a book entitled "The French Suicide" in which is strongly criticizes almost all French policies and politicians since 1968 and in which he, a French Jew, openly criticized the use for petty political purpose of the Nazi persecutions of Jews.  He even went as far as to declare on national prime time TV that Petain had saved French Jewry.  Among his many theories, Zemmour is also known for declaring that Islam is not compatible with the French republic and that immigrants should be assimilated.  This is were he enters into a direct conflict with Dieudo and Soral.

They accuse him of being the new "Bernard Henri Levi", the new "official ideologue" who is now in charge of Islam-bashing in the name of French patriotism. Their proof? That Zemmour is constantly invited to all the major talkshows on French radio and TV whereas they are quasi officially blacklisted.

Eric Zemmour
Frankly, I think that in this case they are simply wrong.  First, I do not agree with Zemmour's view of Islam at all, but to say that he is simply wrong or mistaken does not imply that he is being used.  There is a very simple explanation of why he is being invited everywhere: he is not Soral or Dieudo.  Really, his views are very similar to the ones of Soral on many topics, you can think of him as a "Soral light", and that is precisely why to invite him to the official media makes sense for the Establishment: it is a safe(r) way to "prove" that there still is freedom of speech in France and that even a "quasi-Soral" gets airtime.

Zemmour is a brilliant man and speaker, he is also a formidable debater who, unless he is shouted down, usually makes minced meat of his opponents while keeping a smile all along.  Zemmour is also very direct and, in my opinion, intellectually honest man, and I don't see him at all as the next "BHL" or somebody who is corrupted by the system.  However, I also think that Zemmour is completely wrong about Islam and, even more importantly, wrong about France.  The France which is would like to see is one which is gone forever and though he does not really deny that, he also does not want to accept it.  In a way, he reminds me of Strelkov, many of whose views I share, but who appears to me to lack the realism needed to get things done in the modern world and the reality of today's Russia.  Whatever may be the case, Zemmour, who is usually associated with the French far Right, is also a target of Dieudo and Soral.

Thus it is completely wrong to classify them with the "Right".  In fact, both of them admire Jean Marine LePen and Georges Marchais, the charismatic leader of the French Communist Party until 1994.  The issue for them is not one of "Right vs Left" but one of real opposition versus selling out to the system.

Neither Soral or Dieudo have ever endorsed the political program of the National Front or the Communist Party.  What they did do is praise these two forces for being truly revolutionary (in the literal meaning of the word - wanting change) and not a fake opposition.  But if under Marchais and Jean-Marie LePen the Communist Party and the National Front were truly speaking "for the masses", then after their retirement both parties turned into tools for the elites.  I fully agree with that analysis.  This is why I say that today the only real opposition in France is E&R.

As for Zemmour, he is a nostalgic of the past and therefore neither a revolutionary nor a supporter of the current system which his views can only mildly annoy, but not threaten.

Can Dieudo and Soral, unlike Zemmour, threaten the system?

I strongly believe so.  But in the long run only.

For one thing, they are appealing to the disenfranchised masses which are, by definition, the majority.  The rest of the political scene in France only appeals to the elites.  Second, while the Establishment tries as hard as it can to create fake non-issues (homosexual marriages) while obfuscating the vital ones (poverty and exploitation), E&R brings the real problems to the forefront of its discourse.  Furthermore, while the official (Masonic) French ideology is both anti-Christian and anti-Muslim E&R is pro-Islam and pro-Christian.  This is why the key slogan of E&R is "la gauche du travail la droite des valeurs" (the Left of Labor and the Right of Values) meaning that its economics are very similar to those of traditional Socialist parties whereas its ethics and morals are more typical of the ones of religious conservatives (Zemmour, by the way, would disagree with both, even though he likes to quote Marx and defends Christian ethics).  In fact, I would argue that the ideas of Soral, Dieudo and E&R appeal to moral categories taken straight out of Christian, Islamic and Marxist traditions and that they recombine and adapt them to modern realities.  This is, I think, very, very interesting stuff, especially for me since this is also what I see happening in Russia.

Solzhenitsyn and Putin
Resistance to Empire can take many forms. Sometimes, this resistance is armed, as in the case of Hezbollah.  Sometimes this resistance is purely ideological, as was the case with Gandhi.  But sometimes, it begins on the purely ideological level and eventually becomes incarnate in a very material way.  For example, I would argue that today's continuator of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's ideas is Vladimir Putin.  And yet, Solzhenitsyn will be remembered as possibly the biggest foe of the KGB whereas Putin was an officer in that organization.  These are the amazing paradoxes of history which show over and over again that the power of ideas is far stronger than the power of the state and its institutions.

Today, Soral and Dieudo are in a position very similar to the one of opponents in the former Soviet Union.  Sure, the methods have changed, and there is no GULag in France (for the time being), but the French courts are now clearly used to silence dissent.  How long until they begin being used to sent thought-criminals to jail?

Soral, Dieudo are typically French phenomena and so is their resistance.  But they are also part of a much larger planetary Resistance to Empire.  They are part of the same struggle as Evo Morales, Ali Khamenei, Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping.  Just like these men, they are not always right, and we don't have to endorse all of their views.  But I think that is is vital to recognize them as fellow resistants and, therefore, comrades.

The Saker