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Left Wing “Division”: Caroline Fourest’s “double discourse”

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The presenter of the Prochoix association and journalist for the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Caroline Fourest, published in Ediciones Grasset La Tentation obscurantiste [The obscurantist temptation]. In such essay, she further continued to denounce the French anti-imperialist left wing movements, which are to blame, in her opinion, of indulgence with “Islamics”. We had already described in our columns how Prochoix, through the reports of its main presenters, Caroline Fourest and Fiammetta Venner, and Charlie Hebdo, especially through Philippe Val editorials, had broadened the definition of “Islamism” to finally include most of the anti-imperialist movements of Muslim inspiration [1].
By labeling the Muslim organizations as satanic, due to repeated amalgams, Caroline Fourest, Fiammetta Venner and Philippe Val are part of a broader movement orchestrated by journalists, political leaders and heads of associations who want to prevent, due to different reasons, the establishment of a vast anti-imperialist cluster that includes Muslim and rebellious organizations. However, in order to be effective, the discourse to foul Muslim organizations in the eyes of rebellious groups should be delivered by people with an aura of prestige or by those who have at least a substantive audience in such movements. But the image of Prochoix and that of Charlie Hebdo was tarnished in the eyes of those movements due to the explanation and critical analysis of the associations. [2] or publications [3] which are aimed at pointing out the hypothesis and distortion of reality upon which the reports of the presenter of Prochoix and director of Charlie Hebdo are based.

La Tentation obscurantiste barely provides the readers of the previous works of Caroline Fourest or Fiammetta Venner with just a few new elements. In their books against Tariq Ramadan [4], the UOIF [5] or Thierry Meyssan [6], they always wrote chapters about the networks, sort of fantasizing, of the targeted opponents. The “dangerous minds” that this book intends to show publicly are based a great deal on these chapters. Innovation is found on the theory pertaining to a division of the French left wing into two poles: an “anti-totalitarian” one and the “developing world”. For the author, left wing is split into two areas: “Perspective A (mainly anti-totalitarian): When it comes to Nazism, this area is very much related to the concept of freedom and is always seeking the threat of a new totalitarian and / or genocidal danger.” [7] and the “Perspective B (mainly the developing world): Regarding colonialism, this area is very much related to the right to self-determination and is always seeking manifestations of colonialism and imperialism” [8].
Nevertheless, according to C. Fourest, while “Perspective A” is also sensitive to issues of colonialism, part of “Perspective B” is totally blind to deviation from reality as to the freedom that the “Islamic movement” might weigh, in her opinion, in “Western” societies. Even, some organizations such as Voltaire Network, would be “active collaborators” of “Islamism” [9]. Therefore, there would be a responsible left wing that would be willing not only to relief poverty in the world but also to protect individual’s freedom and another one which , blindly, would open the doors of the “West” to Islamism.

This distinction between the two left wings, a virtuous one, the other, blind or accomplice, is not isolated from the current media field. C. Fourest does not keep it totally in secret since she presents as a reference the editorial of Philippe Val of Charlie Hebdo dated August 31, 2005, entitled “Traîtres et Crétins” [10]. However, she failed to mention that Philippe Val’s argumentation was not something isolated and the following day after his publication, Bernard Henri Lévy in Le Point and Jacques Julliard in Le Nouvel Observateur came up with an identical argumentation, taking up the argument that contradicts the left wing inspired in Jules Guesde and the other one inspired in Jean Jaurès [11]. Although the author failed to mention this element, she does not forget, in turn, to cite Bernard Henri Lévy (also eminent member of Grasset Editorial House which has published it) and Jean Daniel (cofounder and chief-editor of the Nouvel Observateur) among the intellectual sources of “Perspective A”. Hence, it may be seen in this distinction between two left wing positions, the reactivation of the old division between communist and anti-communist left wing by a small group of influential editorialists, which was rewritten at the mold of the “Clash of Civilizations”.
On the other hand, C. Fourest is not the only one that has expressed this idea since Le Point on November 3, 2005, placed at the same level the essays recently published and which have in common, according to the weekly paper, the denunciations against the “alliances with Islamics” in the left wing [12]: La Tentation obscurantiste of Caroline Fourest, SOS Antiracisme [13] that is under Dominique Sopo (president of SOS Racisme whose positions are praised by C. Fourest in her essay, as well as that of his predecessor Malek Boutih, today member of the Socialist Party) and the Socialisme des Imbéciles [14] by Alexis Lacroix. This article which praises the three books that appeared a week after Le Point published a great dossier that said “the Islamic threat” [15].

The essay of Caroline Fourest, within its editorial and media context, came up as a new episode of the strategy aimed at breaking off the anti-imperialist alliances. This does not prevent the author from trying to present the image of a sincere left wing advocate, qualifying the aggressive tone that characterized her previous works or articles and outrage for the fate of Palestinians who suffer the Israel policy, something that is not common in her.

Yet, what credits could this sudden manifestation of concern take, which was ignored earlier? In fact, we can raise the question of whether Caroline Fourest used a “double language”, utilizing words for the French-speaking left wing opinion or whether she had given assurances to Atlantist or neoconservative circles. While C. Fourest insists on stating that Tariq Ramadan maintains a “double discourse” based on the texts of the author and his alleged intentions [This matter is worked out together with Antoine Sfeir, another reference of “Perspective A” under La Tentation Obscurantiste.]]; is easy to prove the “double discourse” of Caroline Fourest, if we take her latest book and compare it to what was written in the European edition of the Wall Street Journal dated February 2, 2005.
In La Tentation Obscurantiste, C. Fourest said about “Islamism”: “When [Nazis demons and Stalinism seem to be far, we receive the foam of the third wave, from the third ongoing totalitarianism.[…] Youssef al-Qaradhawi believes in the possibility of conquering Europe through proselytism.[…]Personally, I do not believe in such a risk. It is not like Islamization. Fundamentalist Muslim groups are a minority among Muslims in Europe. The risk does not come from the French of Maghrebi origin, mostly secular, but rather from obscurantist left wing that is willing to provide the political commissioners and few soldiers that fundamentalists lack.” [16]. While the beginning of our cite is alarmist, the conclusion calms the paranoid image and presents the author as an advocate who is only concerned about the deviations of “Perspective B” and not about the behavior of Muslims in Europe. In a forum entitled “The war for Eurabia” and published in the super-neoconservative Wall Street Journal, the tone is very different: “As a result of its aborted attempts to take power in Egypt, and even more since it lost the civil war in Algeria, Europe has become the main priority: the third round of the Islamics”. Here it is not about the author’s questions regarding the risk of Islamization of Europe. Later, C. Fourest stated the reasons of the “danger” she believes to see: “In Europe, they take advantage of freedom of speech and democracy as well as from the failure of the Arabs to integrate. Here, they recruit the way they like best.[…]The West is used as a remarkable basic camp to recruit new troops. With them, the Islamics hope to take revenge in the East”. [17]. Now, it is not about the resistance of the French of Maghrebi origin, profoundly secular, but about an important recruiting spot, therefore, of a threat, and especially of a fundamentally exogenous threat since it is “the Arabs” who are unable to integrate; the issue of discrimination is not mentioned. The author concluded her forum requesting measures to restrict freedom of speech so that the “Islamics” cannot use the democratic instruments for their “propaganda”.
Strange conclusion for an author that, as a good representative of “Perspective A” is “very much identified with the concept of freedom”. It is true that we do not write for the same public when we write for Charlie Hebdo and the Wall Street Journal; the latter can use as title the term “Eurabia”, a racist concept invented by the Zionist advocate Bat Ye’or and which is to describe the next annexation of Europe by the Islamic world.

Similarly, what could be interpreted from the words of Caroline Fourest that condemned the invasion of Iraq when Fiammetta Venner, colleague of C. Fourest and co-presenter of Prochoix, felt that the Iraqi resistance was a group of “Jihadist” and the support of the Iraqi resistance a proof of “Islamism”? That is what could be drawn from a forum written by F. Venner and also in the European edition of the Wall Street Journal [18].

Finally, remember that La Tentation Obscurantiste was published by the Grasset, editorial house whose literary chief-editor is Manuel Carcassonne, member of the French-American Foundation, organization previously chaired by John Negroponte, today U.S. intelligence director after being U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad to control the occupation, and responsible for the organization of death squads in Central America during the 80’s.
Could Negroponte also be considered an inspirer of “Perspective A”, mainly “anti-totalitarian”?

[1] “Vendre le “ choc des civilizations” à la gauche”, by Cedric Housez, Voltaire, August 30, 2005.

[2] For doing this job, Les Mots sont importants, Une École pour Tous, ACRIMED or Voltaire Network are experiencing irritating insults from Caroline Fourest in La Tentation obscurantiste and are usually denigrated in Blog de Prochoix

[3] CQFD, Voltaire or PLPL, for example. Particularly in the PLPL n° 26 we learned the Forums of Caroline Fourest and Fiammetta Venner in the Wall Street Journal that we will quote later

[4] Frère Tariq, discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan, Caroline Fourest, Grasset, October 2004

[5] OPA sur l’islam de France, les ambitions de l’UOIF, Fiammetta Venner, Calmann-Lévy, April 2005

[6] L’Effroyable Imposteur, Fiammetta Venner, Grasset, February 2005

[7] La Tentation Obscurantiste, Caroline Fourest, Grasset, p. 48.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “There is also a certain degree of additional collaboration: the active collaboration, which means taking openly the Islamic Party against the United States. The success of a book likeThe Big Lie[…] in view of some circles , is very symptomatic of the option taken by some progressive people without confessing it. C. Fourest, op. cit. p. 29, 30.

[10] “Read about this topic, the editorial of Philippe Val, «Traites et Crétins» in which he explains that this matter is symptomatic of the gap that still exists: the gap between the revolutionaries, symbolized by Guesde –“the number-one idiot”– and the social-democrats, symbolized by Jaurès –“the number-one traitor”.”, C. Fourest, op. cit., note at the end of the editorial, reference page 54.

[11] Similarities underlined: “Marketing : trois journaux différents pour un même éditorial”, Voltaire, September 13, 2005.

[12] Sus à l’ “obscurantisme de gauche !”, Le Point, November 3, 2005.

[13] SOS Antiracisme, Dominique Sopo, Denoël, October 2005. Let’s point out that the title SOS Antiracisme is also the title of an editorial by Philippe Val in Charlie Hebdo dated November 3, 2004. This editorial urged the left wing advocates not to participate in the anti-racist unitary rally organized by a great number of anti-racist French organizations except for SOS Racisme, which refused to join

[14] Le Socialisme des Imbéciles, Alexis Lacroix, Table ronde, April 2004

[15] “ Les islamistes et Nous”, Le Point, October 20, 2005. This issue was analyzed in our section “Tricky headlines”: ““Le Point” and Islam, by Ossama Lotfy, Voltaire, November 2, 2005.

[16] C. Fourest, op. cit. p. 150, 151.

[17] “The War For Eurabia”, by Caroline Fourest, Wall Street Journal Europe, February 2, 2005.

[18] “Dangerous Liaisons”, by F. Venner, Wall Street Journal Europe, July 15, 2005. In that forum published a week after the London attacks, it is stated that the attacks put an end to an agreement between “Islamics” and the British intelligence that enabled Islamics to perform activities in London in exchange for British immunity to the attacks. In that case, it is a comparable analysis to the theoretical racist Daniel Pipes.(soon to be available in English)

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