Following part --- Preceding Part
At the same time, a discussion continues at Liberation, even though it did not appear in its columns. At the same time that Brunn handed in his article to the newspaper, Pierre Guillaume submitted the letter reproduced below. It revealed some unexpected aspects of the affair, especially the fact that the text published on March 7th, "What do the French people know about the Setif massacres?," was actually co-authored by Faurisson. This would have made possible the hypothesis that Faurisson was not crazy -- a plunge Liberation could not obviously take at that moment. So this letter was never published:
I thank you for publishing my article on the "opinion page." I regret a little the fact that you did not keep the title I had given it: Madness deconstructed or Atrocities: How To. This article is a story. And it is not finished. It exposes in a very cursory manner the classical theses of the revolutionary movement on war, war propaganda and Nazism. But it was not calmly written by a director of conscience who prescribes what one should think. It was written in a concrete and particularly tragic situation in order to find a practical solution for this situation.
I had met Professor Faurisson at the end of November. I found him a desperate man on the verge of sinking into a paranoid, though understandable, madness. I also found a man in complete possession of his subject (200 kg. of working documents, the result of going through several tons of texts) and whose work went far beyond, but in the same direction as, the theses of La Vieille Taupe (briefly, since 1970, La Vieille Taupe shares essentially the theses of Paul Rassinier).
Consequently, it was imperative to run the risk of a new, almost irreversible, defeat by proclaiming:
1. The right to hypothesis and error in scientific work;
2. The right to be mad, so long as this madness does not concretely harm anybody else, and this, even if Faurisson had been crazy, antisemite or Nazi.
Fortunately, he is neither.
Yet, the less radical (in my opinion) faction of La Vieille Taupe was reluctant to cast its lot in a lost cause. The point was not to defend Faurisson but rather to defend our principles, in practice.
My energies are no longer enough for the job, especially my emotional powers (I was on the verge of a break down), it became crucial for the development of the situation to get the support and hence the agreement of everybody on the same text, without any concession or ambivalence.
So this text had to include the famous phrase which seemed to make Faurisson indefensible: "Hitler never ordered the execution of a single Jew because of the single fact that he was a Jew," showing that it was true, even if Hitler could not care less about what happened to the Jews.
In practice, this proved that I was ready to follow Faurisson to the end, and it proved that I would show him that we had reached the point where he could no longer be disinterested in the human significance of these scientific truths.
Incidentally, it was about proving to everybody that Pierre Vidal-Naquet, who led the anti-Faurisson crusade of historians in Le Monde of February 21, 1979, was not a crook, but that our long term objectives were the same as his.
This text was read and approved by La Vieille Taupe. It was subsequently read and corrected by Faurisson (the original version lacked sufficiently supporting figures) and approved without any reservation.
Feeling supported, Faurisson began to eat normally and his paranoid symptoms disappeared completely.
The text that you published is therefore a common text of Faurisson and La Vieille Taupe. It is the practical affirmation of what would allow a practical revolutionary theory: "Never reject what is true in the propositions of an adversary in the name of what is false in these same propositions." "Every man is right, in a certain way." (Reich, Introduction to La Fonction de l'orgasme, cited from memory.)
It is by going deeper and beyond partial truths that we can reach universality, and not by denying what is annoying or by making (political) compromises. I hope that I have not irritated you by my rigorous requirements.
P.S. La Vieille Taupe was a book shop, of which I was the founder. It was closed in 1972.
Historically, La Vieille Taupe belongs to nobody and is not a formal group. It is the movement that transforms existing conditions; this group includes all those who participate individually, under their own personal responsibility, in the development of a situation. The idea of a "faction" more or less "radical" is nothing but a joke, but not lacking in meaning.
Liberation refused to publish this letter, which showed that the newspaper had published Faurisson without knowing it, a situation that created some turmoil such as the discreet departure of Pierre Goldmann, who claimed that he could no longer collaborate, even sporadically, with an organ where "antisemites" write. Then Pierre Guilllaume and Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit submitted the text that follows to the "classified ads" service of Liberation, which refused it right away. Le Monde accepted to run it as an advertisement (1500 F), then changed its mind under pressure from the editorial board:
The support of Professor Faurisson by Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit and La Vieille Taupe has traumatized many people and created a situation with potentially incalculable developments. LICA accuses Professor Faurisson of being a falsifier. If anyone proves that Professor Faurisson stated one single falsehood, Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit and La Vieille Taupe undertake to immediately break off with Professor Faurisson and to dedicate as much effort to let this be known as the ones they exerted in his support
This offer of March, 1979, is, as far as we know, still valid.
It's finally somewhere else that this clarification enterprise continues, carried out by some elements of what may be called the ultra-left. A leaflet entitled, "Are the gas chambers essential for our happiness?" appeared in March in Lyons. After summarizing the beginning of the affair, it goes on like this:
Are the gas chambers essential for our happiness?
Professor Faurisson is a man alone.
No group, no organization, supports or has supported him. Among those who voiced their opinion in his favor, through various means such as letters to the press or testimonies, are antifascists or convinced antiracists (such as Jacob Assous, José Benhamou, J.-P. Carasso, J.-P. Chambon, J.-G. Cohn-Bendit, H. Denès, P. Guillaume, C. Martineau, V. Monteil, J.-L. Redlinski, etc.)
Isn't it time to think?
All those who took the trouble to inquire discovered that Professor Faurisson is virulently anti-totalitarian. They also know that he did nothing but to pursue the work of rumor deconstruction started by Paul Rassinier (an irreproachable resistant) on the Buchenwald and Dora camps, where he was himself deported for 19 months (arrested in October 1943, tortured by the Gestapo for 11 days, returned 95% invalid) and by J. Ginsburg, on the Majdanek camp, where he was himself a racial deportee with his family.
All those who took the trouble to inquire know that Faurisson is genuine, and that he is convinced, like Rassinier and Ginsberg, that with or without gas chambers, the Hitlerian concentration camps reached the paroxysm of horror, a different horror, possibly a more basic, more radical horror than its sensational representation.
Then, if "the womb that gave birth to the foul beast is still fertile," does anybody really believe that the fight against the "return of the worst" consists in waging a risk-free fight against one man or desperately trying to unearth a fantasized Nazism, rather than attacking the womb itself, which has been destroyed nowhere on the planet and which continues to generate horrors and atrocities, obviously different from the fantasized or real Nazism, which will never be reborn in the same form.
In fact ... one atrocity may serve to hide another. Did the spectacular show of absolute horror serve to mask all other horrors?
There can be no official truth in history.
The principle of banning somebody from practicing his profession is worse than the evil alleged to be destroyed.
Persons Without Quality
Another leaflet was circulating: "Ultimate suggestion from the house of the dead following a long debate among Galileo, P. Rassinier, Jesus-Christ, K. Marx and C. von Clausewitz":
I, Robert Faurisson, son of the late Robert Faurisson, fifty years old, appear in person before this court and in front of you, most eminent and revered judges, assigned by Saint LICA and the Very Saint Associations of deportees and victims, the Great Inquisitors of all Humanity against Nazi perversity, the eyes on the Gerstein Report that I touch with my own hands.
I swear that I always believed, that I believe now and, with the Grace of Antifascism, I will continue to believe in the future that the apostolic and resistant Saint LICA holds true, preaches and teaches.
But because -- after the Saint Television had notified me of the order to no longer believe in the false opinion that the existence of gas chambers to exterminate Jews is a simple conjecture based on rumors and contradictory confessions, some of which have been identified as false by Saint LICA herself; and not to maintain, defend, or teach, either orally or in writing this false doctrine; after having been notified that the said doctrine is contrary to official Saint Thesis; because I have written and published several texts in which I exposed the condemned doctrine by presenting very convincing arguments in its defense, without a definitive solution; for this, I have been vehemently suspected of heresy, which means maintaining and believing that the gas chambers conceived expressly as industrial human slaughter-houses, have never existed.
Thus, wanting to erase from the mind of the Inquisitors and of every faithful Antifascist, this vehement suspicion, justly conceived against me, I recant from the bottom of my heart, and with sincere Antifascist faith, the errors, heresies, and in general any other error or heresy or enterprise contrary to the Saint Resistance; I swear that in the future, I will say nothing orally or in writing that will lead to similar suspicions about me, and if I will happen to meet a heretic or presumed as such, I will denounce him to this Tribunal, to Saint LICA, or to the Police of the resistance in my area.
I also swear to do and to strictly observe the penance imposed on me by this Tribunal, and if I contravene any of my promises or sermons, I will submit to all penalties and punishments imposed and promulgated by the Sacred Resistance and the other general and particular Constitutions against similar delinquents.
With the help of Saint Television and the original Gerstein document that I touch with my hands.
I, the undersigned Robert Faurisson, I recanted, swore, promised, and committed myself as above; and to vouch in good faith for the truth, I signed the present copy of my recantation with my own hand and I recited it word for word in Paris at the Palace of Justice, the....
The Bordiguists [Radical Communists] of the Communist Program reissue a 1960 article, "Auschwitz ou le grand alibi," with this prefatory note (48):
The article we are reproducing exposes the real roots of the extermination of the Jews, roots that have to be searched not in the domain of "ideas" but in the functioning of the capitalist economy and the social antagonisms it generates. And it also shows that if the German state was the butcher of the Jews, all bourgeois states share in the responsibility for their deaths, over which they now shed crocodile tears.
The foot soldiers of La Guerre sociale print a poster-tract with extensive excerpts from an article (49) preceded by a presentation for distribution in Lyons, in June 1979. Delving into the question, it is entitled:
Who is the Jew?
A few decades ago, Europe had fallen prey to a wave of antisemitism. Prior to the Nazis deportation of a part of the Jewish population, the Jews were threatened in their property and jobs. Jewish professors were prevented from teaching. If today everybody deplores these persecutions, at the time, there weren't so many people opposed to them.
Times seem to have changed. Any resurgence of antisemitism in Europe will quickly clash with the left, the academic circles, and the state. Thus, it is sufficient to hear that Professor Robert Faurisson of Lyons 2 University may share ideas similar to those of Darquier de Pellepoix, former Vichy Commissar for Jewish Affairs, for the schedule of his classes to be published in the press, for folks of good will to prevent him from giving his lectures on French literature, and for the university administration to suspend his teaching in order to preserve academic peace. Doubtless, he will end up being pushed out of the university this year or next year. Faurisson is not only attacked in his professional life, but also in his personal life, through his family, as a "dirty Nazi." Some find these methods deplorable, but after all, every opinion can't be defended with complete impunity. It is well known where this could lead. Fascism and racism passed once. They will not pass anymore. The Maginot lines will hold.
And if, as it is in their nature, the Maginot lines were turned around?
And if Faurisson had become the Jew?
Darquier de Pellepoix, who is spending the rest of his days quietly in Spain, organized the deportation of Jews. Robert Faurisson would be an emulator of Darquier de Pellepoix, but after all, had Faurisson recommended the deportation of anybody? No, Faurisson's crime is to maintain that, strictly speaking, there was no genocide, and that the "gas chambers" are a legend. This is, in fact, close to statements made by Darquier to a journalist of L'Express. But what should Darquier be blamed for: making statements like these or participating in the deportation of Jews? Faurisson and Darquier de Pellepoix may agree on some points, but this is not sufficient to make Faurisson an accomplice of Darquier.
At the root of all of this, there is the premise that the existence of "gas chambers" is an absolutely irrefutable fact. Any questioning of this absolutely irrefutable fact cannot have, directly or indirectly, other than a Nazi or an antisemitic origin. So Faurisson falls in behind Darquier, and if he is not more or less a disguised antisemite, it is because he is an oddball, and in any case, a dangerous oddball. From the start, they push aside the idea of questioning the existence of "gas chambers" may have at its origin, not the desire to hide atrocities and to vindicate oneself as is the case of Darquier, but rather the desire to find the truth.
Yet, it suffices to have a liking for the truth and to look into this question in order to know that the existence of gas chambers is a much less obvious fact than we have been told. The study of the technical requirements of such an operation and the contradictions in the S.S. confessions yield rather fragile "proofs." Those who set themselves up as specialists and are supported by the media, know it, and that's why they try to prevent any debate.
The doubt about the existence of "gas chambers" did not originate in the extreme right. It was first expressed by Rassinier, who joined the Resistance early on, was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo, then deported to Buchenwald. The transition from the Darquier de Pellepoix affair to the Faurisson affair is instructive about the functioning of the mass media but not about the process of questioning the existence of "gas chambers." Darquier uses Rassinier to vindicate himself and the press uses Darquier to better discredit the truth rather than confront Rassinier's positions.
The legend of the "gas chambers" was given an official status by the Nuremberg Tribunal where Nazis were judged by the victors. Its primary function was to allow the Stalin democratic camp to clearly set itself apart from that of the Nazis and their allies. Antifascism and antinazism allowed them to justify their own acts of war and have since continued to justify many dreadful things by those who could have succeeded in protecting the world from barbarism.
The anguished times we are living through are similar in some ways to the prewar situation, and lacking the power to really confront the causes of the problems, there is a need to find scapegoats and acquire legitimacy. First, as a pretext for protection against a resumption, the war propaganda is revived against the old defeated barbaric enemy. But as capital sunk deeper in crises and felt the revolutionary danger, it tried to give people more concrete enemies and focus the responsibilities on certain internal and external groups.
Our position is to prevent as much as possible the conduct of stress tests and the installation of hate mechanisms. We have only one enemy: the capitalist relations of production that dominate the whole planet and not this or that social group. The bourgeois or bureaucrats themselves must not be attacked personally but only as they identify themselves with their function and their profit and defend class society.
Some wondered about who is manipulating Faurisson, and the extreme right was suspected. In any case, we who are revolutionaries plan to support him. And this is certainly not because of some general right to free expression. And neither because of some reflex of human solidarity, but because Faurisson is attacked for having tried to advance the truth.
But supporting Faurisson and his research, is not this allowing antisemitism to rekindle? The first imperative remains that of knowing the truth. And should this truth be left as a monopoly for the antisemite, in order to prevent a rise of antisemitism? These are suspicious and dangerous games. Truth or its pursuit could not be antisemitic.
Were it only for rumors in the press, the question of the existence of "gas chambers" could not be suppressed for a long time, and the doubt concerning the official truth would inevitably take hold. Concerning this situation, we believe that we have to get things going. Evolution does not happen gently, from readjustment to rectification of details, as this has already started a few years ago, by smoothing over the lies of some, the good intentions of others, and allowing yet others to harbor some new philosophy. The issue is not really some particular lie but rather the functioning of its outcome that evolves and replaces untruths as they exhaust their usefulness. Then they have to prevent this from feeding antisemitism. The best lesson is not to leave it to the extreme right to show that Jews, too, defend what seems to them to be the truth, even if it infringes on the Holocaust mythology. We have to explain the real social mechanisms that produced antisemitism, deportation and the decimation in the concentration camps of Jewish and non-Jewish internees. We have to show that the struggle against any racism will quickly exhaust itself and remain superficial if it is not a direct struggle against capital.
Out of about fifty books on Germany in an ordinary public library, thirty deal with the 1939-1945 period, of which twenty are about deportation. The vision of the camps projected to the public is that of horror in its pure form, guided by a single logic, that of terror. It is based on an apocalyptic description of life in the camps and on historical analyses affirming that the Nazis planned the extermination of millions of people, in particular six million Jews. Some authors, like David Rousset, go even further: The Nazis wanted not only to kill, but also to degrade, to make "subhumans" aware of their condition by a measured degradation, and of their sub-humanity by and organized degeneration[...]
The main function of highlighting Nazi crimes is to justify the Second World War and more generally, the defense of democracy against fascism: The Second World War would not be so much a conflict among nations or imperialisms as a struggle between humanity on one side and barbarism on the other; the Nazi leaders, we are told, were monsters and criminals who seized power. Those who were captured after their defeat were judged by the victors at Nuremberg. It is crucial for this vision to show that the Nazis were bent on massacre. Surely, there are killings in all wars, but the Nazis wanted to kill. This is the worst and it is precisely what they are blamed for. With the help of moralism, they are not blamed for having made war, for any respectable state can do that, but for having been sadistic. The intense lethal bombardments of Hamburg, Tokyo, Dresden, the two A bombs, all those dead are justified as a necessary evil in order to avoid other massacres whose horror would have resulted from the fact that they would have been systematic. There is no possible comparison between the Nazi war crimes and the practices of the victors. To intimate the contrary is tantamount to being a conscious or unconscious accomplice in these crimes, and to allowing that they be repeated. The justification of 39-45 is no small affair. The unequal slaughter that resulted in tens of millions of victims had to be made some sense of: for could it be admitted that it was in order to absorb the economic crisis of 1929 and allow capitalism to rebound on a good footing? This justification stands for the antifascism of today and of tomorrow and so the left feeds on it as an excuse for its participation in the system.[...]
The victims of deportation are put forward to the detriment of millions of people who die of hunger every year throughout the world. Nannen, the chief editor of the German magazine, Stern, speaking of antisemitic persecutions, declares: "Yes, I knew and I was too much of a coward to oppose them." He tells us that, after seeing the images of Holocaust, his wife cried, remembering that she was barely twenty years old when she was served ahead of Jewish women standing in line. Today, there are still those who are served ahead of others and we can't avoid knowing it. Recently, Jean Ziegler in presenting René Dumont's book, Paysans écrasés, Terres massacrées, told us that "The world crop of cereal of 1977 -- one billion four hundred million tons -- would be sufficient to correctly feed five to six billion human beings. Yet, we are actually a little over four billion on earth, and everyday twelve thousand of us die of hunger."
We reproach the Nazis for having organized death in a scientific manner and for having killed in the name of science by conducting medical experiments on human guinea pigs, but these practices are not their monopoly. The day after Hiroshima, the headline in the newspaper Le Monde read: "A Scientific Revolution."
But ideology is not only about putting forward some facts in order to support the victors against the vanquished, past suffering against present suffering. The underlying concept of these justifications is the outcome of capitalist social relations, which tend to mystify their nature. This concept is quite common to democrats and to fascists. It reduces social divisions to a question of power and considers crimes as the cause of misery and horror. It is systematized by antifascist, antitotalitarian, but primarily counter-revolutionary ideas. More than the currently weak Nazi or fascist danger, it is the nonexistence of a revolutionary proletariat, which gives this ideology its force and allows it to reconstruct history to its own benefit. In fact, the staging and falsification of history are not a Stalinist monopoly. They, too, flourish in a democratic atmosphere of freedom of thought and expression.
Our problem is not to readjust, in a spirit of justice, the mistakes and the number of corpses and to blame everybody for Nazi crimes, which are really crimes of capital, the list of which is infinitely long, in the hope of better condemning the system. And neither is it an excuse for the crimes of the State, in the name of some socioeconomic fatality, so that perpetrators are accountable to nobody. We can't get out of this politico-judiciary vision by repeating that the main culprit is society, which means everybody and nobody. We have to show that the system, which also means politicians and intellectuals, uses the misery and horror it produces in order to defend itself against real criticism of this misery and this horror.[...]
To Read Rassinier:
The camps are a product of capitalism, not only in their origin but also in their functioning. The benefit of Paul Rassinier's books, and especially The Lies of Ulysses, is to provide a materialist conception of life, and hence of death, inside these camps.
Paul Rassinier (1906-1967) joined the communist party in 1922. He rallied the left opposition and was expelled in 1932. He was a militant to the left of the CP, then joined SFIO in order to take part in the Revolutionary Left, an organization led by Marceau Pivert. As the dangers increased, he defended pacifist theses. But as soon as the war started, he joined the resistance. Arrested by the Gestapo in 1943, tortured then deported to Buchenwald and Dora for nineteen months, he returned an invalid. After the war, Rassinier wrote in pacifist and libertarian publications, but also in extreme right magazines. His works on the concentration camps were published at the author's expense or by extreme right publishers. Those who use this as an argument against him, would have liked to see him never published. Most of Rassinier's books are out of print. La Vieille Taupe (POBox 98, 75224 Paris cedex 05) has just reissued Le Mensonge d'Ulysse.
In 1962, in the Introduction to Le Veritable Procès Eichmann, P. Rassinier wrote: "At the end of the hostilities, if there weren't at that moment but a few people who thought it necessary to sift through the horrors and responsibilities of the Second World War, it is remarkable that these people were mainly from the right and that their attitude was based on principles in whose name leftist intellectuals had refused Versailles twenty-five years earlier. The overwhelming majority of leftist intellectuals approved of and were elated by Nuremberg in the name of principles which they reproached, at the time of Versailles, for having the reactionary character of the right which had adopted them; this phenomenon is no less remarkable. In any case, there is here a rather curious interchange in the sector of principles and it is in this interchange that my personal drama lies." And he explained his approach: "Everything had to start again from point zero: take the facts one by one, study them in reality and finally place them back correctly in their historical context. I therefore started with a historical fact about which I thought I was the best informed, for the simple reason of having lived it: the concentration camp phenomenon. And since it was in the forefront of current affairs and since all the public debates led to it, I will be forgiven if I thought that the occasion will not be more favorable. So the Lies of Ulysses was my first faithful act to the principles of the left of 1919."[...]
The "gas chambers":
Rassinier is first of all known, or rather attacked, for having dared to deny that the "gas chambers" had not been the instrument of mass murder. It's out of the question to take up all the arguments here in order to definitively settle the question. Like everybody else, we took as an established fact the use of "gas chambers" for an industrial scale massacre. No matter how anti-establishment and how suspicious we might have been, the idea that such a bluff could have been organized on such a scale and about such a macabre subject did not come to us spontaneously. Yet, we were badly shaken by the reading of Rassinier. And we were shaken, too, by the debate that has recently taken place in the press, or rather by the manner in which it was prevented from taking place.[...]
They play on the respect of the dead and the suffering of the survivors. And on the fear of all to find themselves on the side of the killers. Some are even ready to kill in order not to cover up crimes. Common sense, in the words of Lenin, tells us that a lot of people can't be fooled for a long time. Is this common sense ready to admit that it may have been fooled by this affair of "gas chambers"? This is "too much" for either good or bad conscience.
But don't we have testimonies of deportees and confessions of executioners? Many people have "seen" "gas chambers," even where it is recognized that none existed. In fact, they mostly heard of them. The confessions, in themselves, are not sufficient. The S.S. were defeated, their illusions and their cause collapsed. A threat of execution weighed on them, and they tried to vindicate themselves by invoking orders that can't be found and a project that exceeded their power. Their indulgence toward their interrogators proved to be worthwhile in several cases. Yet, torture may not be sufficient to break men who still believe in their cause. But when this cause has collapsed, minor physical or moral pressures are sufficient to crush those for whom nothing is left but identification with the victors and the instinct of survival. What is accepted concerning Boukharine may very well be the case for Hoess, commander of Auschwitz, prisoner in Poland, and who was executed in 1947.
Rassinier took great care to show that the documents on which the faith in the existence of "gas chambers" and their extermination function rests, were suspect because of their origin and their contradictions. The most serious contradictions appear in their descriptions of "gassing" and the real contingencies of such an operation.
The rumor of "gas chambers" originated inside the concentration camps. It is understandable due to the extraordinarily high mortality rate, the frequent transfers from camp to camp, the practice of selection aimed at separating those unfit to work from the rest of the prisoners, and the confusion between crematoria and "gas chambers." Thinking that people were gassed because the location of showers had changed or because they were forced to go to the infirmary, prisoners' testimonies prove nothing. Then, this is confronted with the obviously shocking argument that those who had really been gassed are no longer here to testify. This rumor was systematically circulated after the war mainly for the members of the H.-Fuehrung to vindicate themselves and to conceal its role [This is the body administering the internees, largely composed of prisonners].
But the ideological function of the "gas chambers" exceeds by far the particular interests of some people. And it is here that it may be useful to abandon the petty field of historical research in order to rise with Jean Daniel to the level of political philosophy.
According to the director of Le Nouvel Observateur in its editorial of November 6, 1978, L'oubli interdit ("Forgetting is forbidden"): "The campaign started in the 1950's with the meticulous book of Paul Rassinier, a French socialist member of parliament who spent -- oh yes! -- a short time in a camp." The style of J. Daniel is not burdened by meticulousness. It is rather lyrical. And J. Daniel does not care about refuting Rassinier. It is enough to denounce the "crusaders of racism" who use Rassinier's arguments. Moreover, Rassinier is hard to refute, because, and this is what makes all the horror of the thing, the Nazis had succeeded in committing a perfect crime: "Devilish dream if there was one, conceived by a technocratic Lucifer in the highest scientific hysteria. The gathering of the damned, their transportation, the organization of the camps, the selection for extermination: nothing was left to improvisation. Nothing will leave a trace: It's the infernal process of the perfect crime. Its specificity is its perfection; its essence is its radicality; its magic horror is its aptitude to evoke nothingness and infinity. Racists have every reason to be afraid to be accused of it. It's an act without a precedent, born of nothing and going nowhere."
But, to believe J. Daniel, we were lucky, for France recovered its salvation: "There was in the mysterious collective unconscious an obscure feeling that no sooner did the belief in genocide crumble and torrential currents would be liberated not only of antisemitism but also of latent racism, whose victims may be any minorities, a racism which would plunge the spirit into darkness with the irrepressible movement of the black tides of the ocean." The poet, or better yet, the albatross, whose wings are still full of tar, transforms, through a daring reversal, the pollution that covers the mass media into a sudden burst from the depths of the social being.
A journalist, short of copy and of celebrity, interviewed, camera and microphone hidden, an old crass who had more or less succeeded in becoming forgotten. All the media got hold of the affair under the pretext of discussing the pedagogical benefit or harm from publicizing the racism of Darquier de Pellepoix. They obviously prefer to thrive on Darquier's statements rather than to seriously discuss Rassinier's positions. But, anyway, it is not clear where, in all these banalities, we can find the mysterious collective unconscious.
Jean Daniel's inversion buttresses another feather brain of his kind, Louis Martin-Chauffier, quoted by the archbishop of Marseille in his All-Saints homily -- maybe to make people forget the Vatican's silence about Nazism. The archbishop tells us that Martin-Chauffier is the "author of one of the most beautiful meditations on the deportation: 'We must not respond to violence with hatred. But forgetfulness would amount to resignation. Forgetfulness is forbidden. We can't forget all that had been committed, for we run the risk of seeing it happen again.'"
For the understanding of economic and social conditions that led to the destruction of human beings on such a scale, they substitute the myth of a premeditated demonic plan. For the struggle against these economic and social conditions, they substitute the necessity to remember. It is enough to forget, for everything to start all over again. The collective unconscious, alias the mass media, would therefore be the guardians of this nightmare. The legitimization of this spectacle of horror, far from preventing anything, serves to only banalize the atrocity and to give the public the feeling of the impossibility of any intervention. It is past and it is far away, and anyway, everything takes place behind the television screen. But this is not simply passivity and distance, there is also a complacency and a fascination with horror which are not completely devoid of good reasons.
This is because horror does not only exist on the periphery of our world and behind barbed wire where it is concentrated, it oozes out of our lifestyle through the images of a happy tranquility to gush out, at times, in the form of crime, from the stupid accident to pathological behavior. And this vaguely felt horror must be contained, given a meaning, and made into a spectacle in order to be controlled. Dismissing it as a death impulse, the fundamental expression of the collective or individual unconscious, will only serve to hide how this precise mode of production threatens men with permanent destruction. And we are not talking about nuclear weapons or any other more limited death threat but only of a vague feeling in people, who are cut off from humanity and reduced to a precarious social integration (the couple, the company) and are at risk of always being more or less superfluous. The crisis accentuates the economic and affective insecurity. Attempts are made to get rid of those who are supposed to assume positions of responsibility and to shift the blame to scapegoats.
If an unfortunate situation similar to that of Germany, which found itself in a paroxysm of crisis with seven million unemployed, were to happen again without the possibility of bringing down the capitalist relations of production, there is a great chance for a rebirth of a strong racism and even state racism. There is a great chance, too, that most of today's anti-Nazi intellectuals would be ready to look for and to find justification for this racism.
Hitlerian antisemitism is and must be presented as a unique fact of history, and then serve to make people forget and, especially, to mystify all the other horrors that our world produces. The particular conditions which presided over the advent of Nazism, are mentioned only to be better dismissed in the quest for the universal. Raymond Aron says (France-Soir, newspaper of the ex-antisemite Hersant, of February 15, 1979): "If we want to avoid barbarization, we have to insist on the fact that Nazism was unique. It alone conceived of the extermination of an entire population by the decisions of a few people. Maybe Stalin sacrificed more people. But it has been since the Hitlerian exterminations that we are frightened of men. We are all still terrified that this thing was possible. That is why, rather than trivializing, we must say that to some extent, we have all participated in this."
Jean Daniel tells us that this extermination has something Satanic about it. Raymond Aron says that since then, we are frightened of men, and that each one of us participated. Satan is inside each one of us: it's the return to original sin.[...]
History is itself historically produced. The image we have of the past is the result of the selection and of the interpretation of facts according to the nature of the opposing forces and the successive stages of the balance of power that was established. Thus, in France, history schoolbooks, from Vercingetorix to de Gaulle, emphasize the national character at the expense of the class struggle. General conventionality maintains that the historical science of today has really broken away from the legend of origins in order to form a chronological sequence of established facts. But if the reconstitution of the past takes a scientific appearance, it also takes place more than ever before under the aegis of the state.
The vision of the Second World War and of the concentration camps projected by the full force of the mass media is there to legitimize the present, as this presence of capital tends also to immediately legitimize itself by the representation it constantly gives of itself through the mechanism of news production. This vision is rather likely to change. Capital will yield to the truth when it no longer needs a particular lie. A revelation that brings its "authors" serious trouble today, may be accepted by others, or posthumously when the time is ripe. But the problem for revolutionary theory is not only to denounce such and such a particular lie, but to dismantle the mechanisms that insure the production and the reproduction of the ideology and of its madness.
3. --LICA is what?
"The league against antisemitism brands as antisemites all those who utter the word "Jew" (unless it be in ritual speech to the dead). Does the league refuse any public debate, and does it reserve the right to decide without any explanation what is or is not antisemite?"
"Le Juif riche" (The rich Jew), Le Monde, February 18, 1977, p. 26.
The LICA hounds Faurisson for falsification of history. One has to have a very high moral authority in order to set oneself up as the jealous guardian of the truth. Having participated in 1963 in setting up an anti-apartheid committee, I subsequently found myself during several years in "working" relation with antiracist organizations. I have no recollection of having met on these occasions any of the people of LICA. But we were sometimes in contact with MRAP and I understand that relations between MRAP and LICA are not exactly those of honest camaraderie. This may explain the weakness of LICA during public actions against apartheid. I ignore the why of these antagonisms, and it doesn't matter. To learn more about them, I couldn't find a better way than to go through some issues of its monthly, Le Droit de Vivre (the right to live).
I winced at the review of the film, The Deer Hunter of M. Cimino, certainly not because the critic takes Ukrainians for Poles, but because he calls it "more than an excellent film. A monument!" (50) To me, it's a monument to stupidity and to racism. There's surely no need to have roved around in the Vietnamese rice field to realize it. The unbearable caricature of these shouting Asiatics, these "robotized and inhuman yellows," as the critic says, did not exactly escape him: "Michael Cimino does not take the trouble to understand the Vietnamese. Lack of interest? Outside of the topic? Racism?" It is not settled. This question mark is breathtaking. That the mass media says stupid things about these falsifications, that it flatters the good old idea of "yellow peril" revived by the fact that those yellows are reds, is quite normal. But that a journal, whose raison d'etre is antiracism, is unable to identify and denounce the very explicit racism of this super production, makes me really wonder. The critic even wishes that a film of the same kind be made about the Algerian war. We can predict racial attacks at movie theaters.
Second surprise, and this one is very important, is the presence on the staff of Le droit de vivre of Paul Giniewski, in charge of literary criticism. He is a fervent Zionist whose ideas seem to agree quite well with the views expressed in this journal. That he is happy with books which want to prove that "antisemitism is consubstantial with leftist ideology," by making anarchists the precursors of Hitler and by claiming, against daily evidence, that "the left is anti Zionist by nature" (51), all this reflects political positions at least conservative. But there is another thing. I have already seen the writing of this scourge of the left about South Africa and I have had the occasion to take him to task for some treasures in one of his books (52). It must be said that the defenders of Apartheid are rare in France. At that time, other than a few extreme right militants, Giniewski was the only propagandist for Pretoria way before Jacques Soustelle. "We must help South Africa instead of attacking it" (p. 131 of the book cited in a footnote) for to him, apartheid (how everything falls together!) is a sort of "compulsory Zionism" for the return of "Bantus" to "national homes," these Bantustans for which he is a rabid partisan. South African supporters, like Mssrs. Soustelle and Giniewski, certainly will refuse the label of "racists." But who will deny that the politics they support is the most complete expression of contemporary racism and that one of its roots goes precisely back to Hitler's politics? That a journal whose raison d'etre is antiracism accepts on its staff a writer who puts his pen in the service of apartheid is a paradox beyond my understanding.
But if their antiracism is to be eclipsed, maybe the people of LICA are fussy historians, strict guardians of objectivity. Certainly, when mentioning the fall of Idi Amin (53) described as a "worthy model of racist Nazism," it is not serious to forget to mention that he got to power with the active support of Israeli services, and that this support and help lasted for a long time. The same for Bokassa. Doubtless a simple oversight.
But when I saw a photo showing Arabs with the following caption, "Some of the 500,000 non-Jews who live in Israel under conditions of perfect civic equality," I thought that the enthusiasm for the truth gave way to other preoccupations. In the article that accompanied the photo, I read the following (54): "To oppose to Zionism a political message of similar nature, they invented the myth of Panarabism founded on a supposed unity of the most diverse countries," and further on that the illusory notion of "Arab world is an insidious or declared racism." Then I realized that this is a Zionist propaganda organization, indifferent about historical truth. Yet we may conceive of a Zionism that would not need such crude propaganda. But, like all doctrinaires, these people of L.I.C.A. use history when it suits them, otherwise they deform it brutally. It's strange that this journal could call itself Le Droit de vivre (the Right to Live) and burn with such violent hatred toward the Palestinians who, after all, are only asking for the "right to live" at home.
This hate towards its enemies pushes L.I.C..A. beyond the limits imposed by laws. For example, this: "Francois Brigneau is harmful to a civilized society. Out of ecological concerns, it would be useful to deprive him of his right to write insanities" (55), which would obviously justify the aforementioned Brigneau, who writes in Minute, to formulate the same wishes towards L.I.C.A. They went even further: "Those who follow his footsteps [those of Darquier de Pellepoix] will never make old bones" (56). And it is L.I.C.A. who assumes the right to designate those who follow Darquier's footsteps. I think that this is called death threats. It seems to me that the courts should crack down on this kind of offense.
As for me, I see very well what qualifies L.I.C.A. to set itself up as guardian of historic truth. It confuses it too much with political propaganda, and this mixture is certainly very unfortunate.
48. Programme Communiste no. 11, 19 pp. reprinted as a brochure in 1979.
49. De l'exploitation dans les camps à l'exploitation des camps ("From exploitation in the camps to exploitation of the camps"), La Guerre Sociale, no. 3, June 1979, pp. 9-31.
50. May 1979, p. 13
51. April 1979, "L'antisémitisme socialiste," p. 32.
52. In 1967, I wrote, "It may be appropriate to point out, for whatever it is worth, the recent production of Paul Guinewski, apartheid's accredited eulogist in France: Livre noir-Livre blanc, presented as the "South-West African file." Some books are pleasing because we find in them what we expect: such is the display of ignorance and of stupidity in front of history and anthropology (the true people are the "chosen people" p. 26, "Nazism is as forgotten in Windhock as it is in Bonn," p. 46. The author makes sure to point out that he is not racist: the proof? He protests against racial stereotypes by explaining that "the large, flattened nose of the Bantou is not "uglier" than the pointed European nose. It is the means supplied by nature to breathe correctly in the swamps and humid undergrowth of his ancestors" (p. 185). M. Giniewski persists: in a recent article, "Esquisse d'une réponse Juive à la nouvelle droite" (outline of a Jewish reply to the new right) (Le Monde, November 3, 1979, p. 2), he repeats the same phrase word for word. In thirteen years, the Bantou has become black and "nature" has become "evolution." Cf. Aletheia, No 6, April 1967, pp. 144-5. See also by the same Giniewski, "L'economie sud-africaine," Le mois en Afrique, July 1967 and Bantoustans, Le Cap, Human and Rousseau, 1961; Une autre Afrique du Sud, Berger-Levrault, 1962; The Two Faces of Apartheid, Chicago, Regnery, 1965; Livre noir-Livre blanc, Berger-Levrault, 1966; L'An prochain à Umtata, Berger-Levrault, 1975.
53. May 1979.
54. Albert Staroi, "Le racisme contre la paix," March, 1979, p. 15.
55. May 1979, p. 4.
56. A column by Raphael Jerusalmy, December 1978, p. 23.
This text is the fourth chapter of the second part of the unpublished English translation of Verite historique ou verite politique / Le dossier de l'affaire Faurisson / La question des chambres à gaz, published in Paris in April 1980 by the publishing house La Vieille Taupe (= the Old Mole). ISBN 2-903279-02-0. Copyright © 1978 by La Vieille Taupe. The book is still on sale and may be ordered from the publisher, BP 98-05, 75224 Paris cedex 05, France. We believe it costs 150 F (around 30-35 US$)
The original French text is available
ARTICLE 19. <Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.>The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, in Paris.
You downloaded this document from <http://aaargh-international.org/engl/thion/SThtpt5-2.html>