We asked Alain de Benoist for his analysis of Eric Zemmour’s breakthrough in the fight for the presidential candidacy, but also his likely confrontation with Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron.
We also took the opportunity to ask Alain de Benoist about the continuity of the Covid tyranny permanded by the authorities, but also about the role of Central Europe in saving European civilization.
Breizh-info.com : Alain de Benoist, what is your opinion on the rise of Eric Zemmour in media politics a few months before the presidential elections? Isn’t this rise a sign of the final failure of the Rassemblement National in politics?
Alain de Benoist: Every presidential election campaign in France has its unexpected events. This year it is about the phenomenon Zemmour. I look at them with curiosity – but also with distance, because I am still convinced that no election, not even a presidential election, can create the conditions for the real revolution that our people need.
Eric Zemmour is a friend whose extensive political and historical culture I know and whose recalcitrant and combative attitude I admire, but this does not prevent me from disagreeing with him on many points (his Jacobinism, his criticism of the idea of empire, his unqualified advocacy of assimilation, his hostility to regional names, not to mention the question of “Christian roots”). His rise from the “near-candidate” is remarkable, as he now seems to be able to prevent Marine Le Pen in the first round and even prevent her presence in the second round. Six months before the elections, however, there is no reason to make a forecast. Zemmour may very well evolve, like Macron did in 2017, or collapse suddenly, like Chevènement did in 2002.
Initially, Zemmour’s candidacy was supported on the one hand by Republicans who agree with Marine Le Pen on immigration but consider her positions on social issues to be too extreme, and on the other hand by a whole series of disappointed members of the Rassemblement National, who accuse her of wanting to get too involved at the risk of “trivializing” her discourse. their main goal is not to prevent Macron’s re-election, but to “get rid of the navy once and for all”. The problem, of course, is that it’s difficult to seduce people who find them too radical and others who don’t find them radical enough…
I also think it would be wrong to bury Marine Le Pen too quickly. Despite the deplorable state of the RN (but in a presidential election you vote for a person, not a party), she remains the preferred candidate of the working class. In his quest to “reinvent” the RPR, Zemmour says he wants to reconcile the working classes and the “patriotic bourgeoisie” (or bring together the sociology of manif pour tous and that of gilets jaunes), but at the moment he hardly touches the former, who hardly know him. He acknowledged this indirectly when he declared on October 22 that “Marine Le Pen has only the working class to himself, it is trapped in a kind of ghetto of workers and unemployed, who are quite respectable and important people, but it does not reach the CSP+ and the bourgeoisie.” Zemmour, on the other hand, succeeds above all with the former Fillon and Bellamy voters, with the CSP+ and the Catholics of Versailles, i.e. with that small and medium-sized bourgeoisie that fears for its future and identity because it is concerned about its cultural insecurity, but very little of the economic insecurity, which, on the contrary, is one of the main concerns of a “peripheral France”, which, as Marine Le Pen said, “will not accept being sacrificed to an ultra-liberal vision of the economy.”
There are, in fact, two very different ways of imagining the formation of a new historical bloc with hegemonic claims: the “Union of the Right” and what Christophe Guilluy or Jérôme Sainte-Marie (Bloc contre bloc, 2019, Bloc populaire, 2021) call the “people’s bloc”. The former is based on a right-left split that no longer makes much sense today, the latter on a class relationship that is becoming more and more prevalent with declining purchasing power and increasing precariousness. These two views are hardly compatible. At a time when all the institutions that used to provide approval have fallen into a systemic crisis, it is difficult to take into account the demands of the working class, which faces both social misery and uncontrollable immigration, and which knows very well that the question of national identity is inextricably linked to the social question, while at the same time trying to make promises to the bosses of the CAC 40.
So let’s wait another six months. Then we will know whether Zemmour has achieved anything other than Macron’s re-election.
Breizh-info.com: The tyrannical (officially sanitary) policy of the French authorities continues. The majority of the French population seems to have capitulated, or at least accepted, that they must present a barcode and proof of vaccination in order to go out to eat in the city, go to the cinema, etc. Does the blanket submission of a population worry you?
Alain de Benoist: They forget that in the middle of last summer, at a time of year when no union dared to organize a demonstration, but in which hundreds of thousands of French people demonstrated week after week against the health passport. This has never happened before.
On the other hand – I think we have already talked about this – it is clear that many people are willing to give up their freedoms if they believe that their safety or health is threatened. Fear is the most important engine of voluntary bondage. But what you interpret as submission can also be interpreted as resilience or adaptability without preventing anger from boiling over. Personally, I would see general submission as the acceptance by the masses of a capitalist system that is in the process of depriving them of their humanity.
Breizh-info.com: You recently published the book “Surviving disinformation”, in which you summarize and repeat your interviews with Nicolas Gauthier on the website “Boulevard Voltaire”. How can we be properly informed in an open society that produces information every second?
Alain de Benoist: There are, of course, sources of information that are better than others. There is no need to list them (Breizh-Info would of course have its place there). What is important, however, is not so much how much information you absorb, but rather how you can assess its importance. The tragedy is that today’s media, due to their structure, make it increasingly impossible to classify information and, above all, to understand its meaning and significance. Showing that the events that can have real historical significance are not necessarily (and even rarely) the ones that are most talked about is precisely one of the goals of this collection.
Breizh-info.com: After all, what is the difference between the inadequately informed person – the one who only watches the 8 o’clock news or only reads a few excerpts from a regional daily newspaper – and the one who sticks his head in the news all day so that he can no longer detach himself from it?
Alain de Benoist: Ultimately, neither. One does not know much, the other has heard of everything, but understands nothing. An excess of information is completely synonymous with the lack of information, which is due to the phenomenon of counterproductivity, for which Ivan Illich has given many other examples.
Breizh-info.com: To come to the topic of Europe and its future, how do you analyse the increasingly violent offensives of the Brussels Commissioners against the countries of Central Europe, above all Poland and Hungary? Do you think the European Union could potentially explode or split into two parts?
The Brussels Commission cannot bear what it repeatedly portrays as “violations of the rule of law”. This is not surprising, since it is one of the vectors of a ruling ideology that views the rule of law as a means of subjugation of politics to the authority of judges and popular sovereignty to the morality of “human rights”. The Eastern European countries, for their part, have discovered that the “free world” they dreamed of during the communist era is all the less a role model, as it can also pose a threat. Poland and Hungary are not isolated in the controversy you mentioned, since on 7 October no fewer than twelve Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia) tried to adopt a text providing for the Commission’s financing of the construction of walls or barbed wire fences at the Union’s external borders. This request was, of course, rejected, but it is nevertheless important.
The Visegrád Group could be seen as the beginning of a “different Europe”. This is a well-founded hope, but it should not be concealed that the countries of the group are far from agreeing on all points. In foreign policy, for example, Poland continues to blindly orient itself towards the United States and profess a Russophobia that Hungary does not share. It should also not be forgotten that Poland has a lot to lose in a showdown with the EU, as it is currently the largest recipient of EU funds. I do not believe in an explosion, but rather in an implosion of the EU, which would de facto lead to a rejection.
Breizh-info.com: In France, we would probably find ourselves in the Western camp with this hypothesis… that is, not exactly in the camp of the defenders of a civilized Europe… What can we do tomorrow to preserve the basic bridges?
Alain de Benoist: The risk of being in the “Western camp” seems to me to be considerable in the current tug-of-war between Washington and Beijing, which could very well one day lead to an armed conflict between a declining American hyperpower and an emerging Chinese power that is constantly asserting itself. The United States is already in the process of forming a “Western coalition” against China, similar to the one that sought to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the event of war, the biggest mistake of the Europeans would be to side with Washington instead of at least adopting a neutral stance. Europe is not called to wage war against the Chinese!