INTERVIEW - The author of Lost territories of the Republic (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 out.
In 2002, Georges Bensoussan published The Lost Territories of the Republic, a collection of testimonials from suburban teachers that revealed anti-Semitism, Francophobia and the plight of women in so-called sensitive neighborhoods "A book that blew the wall of denial of the French reality," recalls Alain Finkielkraut , one of the few defenders of the book at the time.
A submissive France, published this year, showed that during the last fifteen years everything had been aggravated. The presidential election had to respond to this malaise. But, for Georges Bensoussan, it has not been anything. A veil has been cast on the questions that annoy. A symbol of this blindness? The murder of Sarah Halimi, defenseless during the campaign cries of "Allah Akbar" without any major media does echo. A lead media, intellectual and political that, according to the historian, evokes more and more the universe of George Orwell's famous novel, 1984.
According to a survey of JDD this week, the decline in 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 wants "to impose its mode of operation to others".
LE FIGARO. - Results out of step with the priorities displayed by the new power: moralization of political life, labor law, European construction ... The major issues of our time were they addressed during the presidential campaign?
Georges BENSOUSSAN. - Part of the country felt that the campaign had been diverted from its meaning and purposely taken over by the "business" that is known, the press having become in this respect less a counter-power than an anti -Power, according to the word of Marcel Gauchet. This new political force is peachy because of its derisory representativeness, coupled with an illusory sociological renewal, when 75% of En Marche's candidates belong to the category "cadres and higher intellectual professions". The only real renewal is generational, with the coming into power of a younger age group burying the last tenants of the baby boom.
For a "disappeared", the class struggle is doing well. However, it has rarely been so obscured. For this victory is first of all that of the middle-class of a bourgeoisie that does not assume itself as such and takes refuge in the moral posture (the famous blackmail to fascism that has become, as Christophe Guilluy, a "class weapon" against popular circles). Social fracture, territorial divide, cultural divide, identity disorder, the questions that feed the French anxiety have been left aside for the same reasons that anti-Semitism, said "new", 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 clergy media, academic, technocratic and culturally groundless.
However, the most striking remains in my eyes the way in which cultural leftism has become the ally of a financial bourgeoisie who preached the man without roots, the nomad reduced to its function of producer and consumer. A globalized financial capitalism that needs open borders but of which neither it nor its own, however, entrenched in their between-ones, will live the consequences.
This cultural leftism is less the "useful idiot" of Islamism than that of this dehumanized capitalism which, by making the democratic integration to the nation an unthought, prevents to analyze the confrontation which agitates underground our society. Moreover, the future of the nation France is not unrelated to the demography of neighboring worlds when the machine to assimilate, 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 and sad individualism? As if the rehearsed exaltation of "living together" said precisely the opposite. This evolution, too, is not unrelated to this reversal of the class division which sees part of the moral left engulfing itself in a despising ethos towards the popular classes, which it relegates to the field of the nasty "beautify" of "Dupont Lajoie". Some analysts have already shown brightly (I think Julliard, 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 since we decided that there was no more war ("You will not have my hate" ) forgetting, in the words of Julien Freund, that "it is the enemy who designates you". By privileging this doxa inhabited by the gregarious concern of "progress" and the permanent desire to "be of the left", this concern that Charles Peguy said that one can never measure enough how he made us commit cowardice. Finally, in it is normal, it is normal, all the difficulties of the world to recognize that one has been mistaken, sometimes even throughout a life. How to forget in this respect the collapsed Communists of 1956?
As for those who play an active role in the make-up of reality, they have, first and foremost, the desire to maintain a privileged social position. The perpetuation of the doxa is inseparable from that social order of which they are the beneficiaries and which gives them recognition, consideration and material advantages.
The media-academic magisterium of this moral bourgeoisie (Jean-Claude Michéa recently spoke in the Revue des deux mondes (April 2017) of a "neocolonial representation of the popular classes [...] by postmodern university elites", weakens the intellectual jousting Everyone knows that he will have to stay within the narrow limits of the so-called doxa of "openness to the Other." Hence, an inner censure that prevents our doubts from reaching the consciousness and that relegates the facts behind the "A lot of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep," wrote American writer Saul Bellow.
With 16 other intellectuals, including Alain Finkielkraut, Jacques Julliard, Elisabeth Badinter, Michel Onfray or Marcel Gauchet, you have signed a tribune for the truth be told about the murder of Sarah Halimi. Is this case a symptom of this denial that you denounce?
The lead screed that weighs on the public expression Diverts the meaning of words to get us into an Orwellian universe where white is black and truth lies. We signed this forum to try to get this matter out of the silence that surrounded it, like the one that hosted, in 2002, the publication of the Lost Territories of the Republic.
It was fifteen years ago and you already warned 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 were detected as early as the end of the 1980s. But even more so because it is also, and partly, an anti-Jew of import. Just think of the Maghreb, where it is an ancient cultural background and anterior to colonial history. Cultural anthropology allows the deciphering of the symbolic underpinning of any culture, the illumination of an imaginary that underlies a representation of the world.
But, for the doxa anti-racismcultural analysis would be nothing but disguised racism. In September 2016, Algerian playwright Karim Akouche declared: "Do you want to become a star in the Algerian Arabic-language press? It's easy. Preach hatred of the Jews [...]. I am a survivor of the Algerian school. I was taught to hate Jews. Hitler was a hero. Professors praised it. After the Koran, Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Sages of Sion are the most widely 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, the neighbors had come 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 surrounded by mythologies, at worst denied. It would, for example, be correlated with a low level of education, whereas it is often high despite a high level of education. It is wrongly the prerogative of Islamism alone. However, Ben Ali's Tunisia, long presented as a model of "openness to others," quietly cultivated its anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism (cf.Our friend Ben Ali, Beau and Turquoi, Editions La Découverte). And what about the Syria of Bashar al-Assad, both violently anti-Islamist and anti-Semitic, like the Algerian regime of generals? Or, in France, of the at least ambiguous attitude of the Indigenes of the Republic on the subject like that of these other small groups which, without a direct link to Islamism, racialize the social debate and give life back to racism under cover of " postcolonial deconstruction?
On June 19, a collective of intellectuals published in The world a text of support to Houria Bouteldja, the leader of the Indigenous people of the Republic.
What to think of the societal evolution of a part of the French elites when the same daily gives the floor to the critics of Kamel Daoud, the apologists of Houria Bouteldja and offers a platform to Marwan Muhammad, the Collective against Islamophobia in France ( CCIF), also described as a "fighting spokesperson for Muslims"?
Signatory academics and intellectuals do in indigenism as their predecessors once did in workerism. Even mimicry, even renunciation of reason, even morgue to the aid of a pretentious intellectual logorrhea (this is the party of intelligence, in contrast to the simplisms and clichés of the "fachosphere"). A discourse that ignores all reality, like the PCF's laborist discourse of the 1950s, clearly explaining the "impoverishment of the working class". From this "racist word claiming apartheid", as the Committee laïcité republic writes about Houria Bouteldja, the authors of this forum in defense speak without blinking about it "its attachment to the Maghreb [...] related to Jews who lived there, whose absence now created a void impossible to fill. "An absence, they add, which makes the author" inconsolable ". This postcolonial form of stupidity, entailed by compassionate guilt, gives reason to George Orwell, who thought that the intellectuals were the ones who would, tomorrow, offer the weakest resistance to totalitarianism, too busy admiring the force that will crush them. And to prefer their vision of the world to the disenchanting reality. Here we are.
You found yourself on the bench accused of denouncing the anti-Semitism of the suburbs in the show "Replicas" on France Culture. It was enough of a report of the CCIF so that the parquet floor decides to pursue you five months after the facts. Against all odds, SOS-Racisme, the LDH, the Mrap but also the Licra had joined the prosecution.
Despite the release pronounced last March 7, and brilliantly pronounced even, the harm is done: this trial should never have held. Because, for the CCIF, the goal is achieved: to intimidate and to silence. After my business, as after so many others, we can bet that the will to speak will be lessening. Have we noticed that, since the Charlie Hebdo attack, we have not seen a single caricature of the Prophet in the Western press?
Radical Islam uses the right to impose silence. This we already knew. But my trial has highlighted another force of intimidationthat of the "moral left" which sees in every 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 tracks bad thoughts and feelings, which plays on the bad conscience and the guilt to nail the pillory. And will require (like the Licra for me) repentance and "public apology", like a ceremony of exorcism as in a "witch hunt" of the seventeenth century.
How to hear the disproportion between the avalanche of convictions that has overwhelmed me and the words I used at the microphone of France Culture? I had entered the ground, I believe, in the field of a non-massive saying, that of an anti-Semitism which, in filigree, raises the question of integration and assimilation. In the background, that of the rejection of France. By failing to see the danger to the Jews, part of the French public refuses to see the danger that threatens them.