Friday, January 31, 2014

The Visible Minorities and the Extreme Right

Médiapart has a fascinating story about Farida Belghoul, une transfuge from the Left to the Extreme Right. In 1983, she was one of the organizers of the Marche des Beurs, but in recent years she has become an ally of Alain Soral and Dieudonné:
Toute la presse tente de percer l’énigme de cette figure oubliée de la mal nommée Marche des beurs de 1983, militante des droits des immigrés, passée avec armes et bagages à l’extrême droite. Mais la dame qui a longtemps hurlé sa rage dans le désert ne répond plus aux médias, « tous vendus ».
Sur Internet, Farida Belghoul est en revanche des plus prolixes. Aux côtés de l’essayiste antisémite Alain Soral, compagnon de route de Dieudonné, elle a appris l’impact déflagratoire de ces vidéos vite montées, vite postées et diffusées sous le label « télé libre » – entendre indépendante des médias « dominants et menteurs ». Depuis plusieurs mois, elle y déverse sa bile sur ses sujets fétiches : la faillite de l’éducation nationale, le parti socialiste « allié aux homosexuels » ou les complots des étudiants juifs de France derrière SOS Racisme. L’extrême droite lui a offert une tribune inespérée. Elle y a pris goût. Comme une renaissance pour cette fille d’immigrés algériens, venue de l’extrême gauche, qui n’a jamais digéré la récupération socialiste de Convergence 1984, la deuxième marche pour l’égalité et contre le racisme, un an après celle de 1983.
...
À écouter ses élucubrations sur le rôle des étudiants juifs de France, responsables selon elle d’avoir importé le rap en banlieue « dans une opération de destruction de la jeunesse » ou sa folklorique promotion d’une « année de la robe » sur Radio Courtoisie, « puisque la théorie du genre veut de manière définitive nous faire porter le pantalon ! », aucun doute n’est permis. Celle qui fut la porte-drapeau de la Marche pour l’égalité en 1983, étudiante communiste, est aujourd’hui totalement en phase avec sa nouvelle famille. Dans la nébuleuse d’extrême droite, qui a toujours prisé les transfuges, on jubile. Il faut voir avec quelle gourmandise Alain Soral, dont le mouvement Égalité et réconciliation a été créé pour jeter des ponts entre l’extrême droite et les Français issus de l’immigration, présente sa prise de guerre, bien conscient de la prouesse d’avoir rallié cette militante de l’égalité des années 80 dans une alliance contre nature.
The article suggests that the Left, and in particular the Socialist Party, failed to avail itself of the opportunity to integrate minority militants in the 1980s and 1990s, creating resentments that have now erupted in a movement of protest that has joined hands with elements of the extreme right. A worrisome development.

7 comments:

bernard said...

This lady is, I suspect, quite simply a typical product of the anti-semitic mutation of the French ultra-left in the nineties. This was due to a pure and unprincipled confusion between the Mideast and France and the risk of confusing hatred of Israelis with support for the rights of Palestinians, often outlined, actually materialised.

Then the pants-to-dress thing is, I'll bet you, a prelude to the Hijab for all.

As for the failure to integrate minority militants in the Socialist Part, just off the top of my mind, the First Secretary, several Parliamentarians, some Ministers, some top advisers of the President, belong to so-called minorities. Hey, one the most popular Minister is from Guyana and is a woman!

Now, this may have taken place later than it should have, but I do believe the Party is now colour-blind.

This lady must have attempted some political career that failed - and rightly so, we don't need this kind of opportunist in the Party - and became bitter and spiteful.

Boris said...

I am always struck by the fact that no one seems to think of a large number of the previous immigrants. Having just succeeded their integration, after a lot of hard work, they are not necessary pleased to see the arrival of so many other new immigrants, who are often not respectful as they were of the rules and customs of French society, and competing with them for jobs and housing.
It seems completely logical that a number of them would be seduced by the Front National, now that it has (even though yet partly) got rid of its racism. And the margin of progression there is probably huge.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the real problem that the identity of the marginalised immigrants from the Maghreb and elsewhere is tied up with religious and family conceptions that fit a lot better with the ideologies of the right than with those of the left?

For the humiliated, the rationality of humanism offers no balm for the insult dealt to them by history.

Ceux qui n’ont inventé ni la poudre ni la boussole
Ceux qui n’ont jamais su dompter la vapeur ni l’électricité
Ceux qui n’ont exploré ni les mers ni le ciel
Mais ils savent en ses moindres recoins le pays de souffrance
Ceux qui n’ont connu de voyages que de déracinements
Ceux qui se sont assouplis aux agenouillements
Ceux qu’on domestiqua et christianisa
Ceux qu’on inocula d’abâtardissement
Tam-tams de mains vides
Tam-tams inanes de plaies sonores
Tam-tams burlesques de trahison tabide

Tiède petit matin de chaleurs et de peurs ancestrales

Par-dessus bord mes richesses pérégrines
Par-dessus bord mes faussetés authentiques

Mais quel étrange orgueil tout soudain m’illumine ?

Aimé CÉSAIRE had it right long ago. But what he had to offer simply isn't available dans la banlieue. Eldridge Cleaver and Nasser also failed, they too were humiliated. What is left now, except Gangsta crap, Islam and obsession with sexual roles? It's the same sad, attempt to be some one other than the culturally defeated.

Boris said...

@ anonymous : great post! I really empathize.
It is true that not enough is available in the banlieues to uplift and offer a culture that could enlight and help assimilate. However, many people do try hard, and I'm appalled when I see some discarding occidental culture on the grounds that we should give to the population what they want, i.e. the culture of the countries they come from. But who knows what they want, and even though it is a good thing to keep a link with their culture of origin, isn't the majority on the contrary highly in demand of assimilation ? Who are we to keep them from access to our culture ?
For example, why are classics like Victor Hugo no longer studied in French classes in the banlieues ?

kathryn.kleppinger said...

Thanks for the link, Art, I hadn't seen this yet but it is a compelling analysis. I interviewed Belghoul a few years ago for a book project on so-called beur literature, and she was already quite harsh (not surprisingly). What came through to me most was the disappointment that the early generation of activists felt, that they tried so hard but felt instrumentalized by the PS and other authorities. Admittedly she's a tough cookie (and a difficult interviewee), I remember reading an article about her from the late 80s in which she makes a comment that she prefers the FN to other political parties because Le Pen at least says what he thinks. At the time she made it clear that she didn't necessarily agree with him but at least she knew where he stood. To be continued!

Now to figure out what I can do with this interview, it wasn't my best (I was still a graduate student at the time, and she was one of the early interviews I conducted), but it might still be of interest somewhere...?

Art Goldhammer said...

Kathryn, Yes, I think someone might well be interested. And I think your response is also a response to Bernard's contention that the PS has integrated plenty of minority representatives. Yes, it has, but they have been too well integrated, becoming cadres of the PS rather than representatives of their "communities," which of course aren't supposed to exist in France. But until you have representation of minorities qua minorities, you are going to have reactions like Belghoul's, that the activists who "make it" have simply been co-opted by the apparatus. Of course you will always have such accusations, but I think an organization needs some independence to remain credible with its "base."

Anonymous said...

I am quite surprised by the assumptions that culture is unavailable in the banlieues. All the banlieues I know of have at least one m"mdiathèque" and one library. Municipal cinemas project different types of films (from arthouse to commercial productions) at €3 (the price in Paris is of €10, €7 for students). This doesn't even include the theaters. Gerard Philippe in Saint Denis, MC 93 in Bobigny, Opéra de Massy. I am sure there are others.

Culture is available in the banlieues.