The Unwelcome Arrival of the Quenelle

30 Jan 2014 by CST

CST's Dave Rich has an article in the forthcoming edition of Fathom journal that discusses the new type of politics represented by Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala and the quenelle salute:

Originally from the political left, [Dieudonné] has moved via anti-Israel rhetoric and the fascist Front National (FN) to the establishment of his own Parti Anti Sioniste (PAS, or Anti-Zionist Party). Alongside him in the PAS is essayist and filmmaker Alain Soral, who underwent a similar journey from the Marxist left to the FN before finding a political home with Dieudonné.

There are not many political movements that can embrace the neo-fascist right, the anti-capitalist left, and Iranian revolutionary Islamism. Dieudonné is close to FN leaders—Jean Marie Le Pen is godfather to one of his children—while also attracting fans who consider themselves to be left-wing radicals. He was a guest in Tehran of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and received Iranian funding for a film project. Historically, movements that successfully pulled off this kind of balancing act have tended to rely on anti-Semitism as their glue, expressed through the lingua franca of conspiracist anti-Zionism, and PAS is no different.

Strikingly, for a party that calls itself anti-Zionist, PAS’s political program makes no direct mention of Israel or Palestine. This is parochial, patriotic anti-Zionism, in which Zionism is portrayed primarily as a subversive, corrupting presence in French society. Zionist influence, domination, pressure, and advocacy must all be eliminated from “la Nation,” in order to establish a society of justice, progress, and tolerance. Only then can  French power be restored at home and abroad. In 2009 PAS contested the European Elections on the slogan, to “Keep Europe free from censorship, communalism, speculators, and NATO.” In 2010 Dieudonné told Iran’s Press TV that France has been taken hostage by “the Zionist lobby.”

Dieudonné’s political vision could be mistaken for belonging to Europe’s radical right, but for the omission of immigration as a grievance. He could sit easily on the populist left, but for his friendship with the FN. His views carry echoes of the Third Positionist ideas developed by Nick Griffin and Roberto Fiore—who have both sat in the European Parliament—in the 1980s. He is emblematic of the a new, post–Cold War, post-9/11 radical politics, described by David Aaronovitch as “a loose coalition of impulses: anti-globalisation, broadly anti-modernist and anti-imperialist,”’ and bound together by an “anti-Israel tinge.’”

The article can be read in full here on the website of Dissent magazine.

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