Kairos N°40


It will take « a lot of work to understand and respond to the motivations of the extremist and populist vote, » said L’Écho in an article entitled « Marée noire ». While the media are surprised by the results on this post-election Monday morning, evoking a « tsunami » (« Deux Belgique », in Le Soir), the maritime metaphor repeats the same litany, which will produce the same effects. For the extremist vote, the consequence of decades of « extremist » policies of the center, of these traditional parties more concerned with assuring their support to the big fortunes, to the employers and to the multinationals, turns out to be the consequence of the organized pauperization of the working classes. Do we still need to say it? Yes, it seems, because the media, supplicants of the status quo, once again pretend not to understand. 

Where politicians have worked, supported by anti-racist associations, to make xenophobia the sole result of an individual maladjustment, decontextualized, the fear of the other has become, in the minds of those who have not suffered the throes of globalization, something totally independent of the economic conditions of existence: « Don’t touch my buddy. It was necessary to love one’s neighbor, even if the socio-economic policies were working to create precariousness, and therefore hatred. And while the local misery saw in the immigrant misery the cause of its situation, the capital was assured that it would be left alone. Win-win as they say. It could therefore continue to spread, attacking the last areas of resistance to the cult of profit, individualism andhubris. No more second ways, only one future. No agreement? No escape. It was no longer possible to see or to say that the far-right vote was above all a vote of opposition to a system that no longer knew how to prevent it from doing harm. Invoking images of the Second World War reduced the population of the extreme right-wing vote to those Nazis, shaven heads and Combat Shoes, for whom, of course, it must be said, we have no empathy or respect. 

So we are again playing the game of  » all united against … ». Not long ago it was terrorism, now it will be the extreme right. Principle of war propaganda. This, if one has some knowledge of the fundamentals of intergroup relations, will have some effect on the ways of thinking about coalitions, of defining what is extreme, and therefore of perceiving oneself, one’s group and the other. For  » to unite against  » is always to define oneself under features that are meant to be similar, if only in terms of what brings us together, namely the common opposition to another. Homogenization of our group (the endogroup: the « anti-fachos ») and the other group (the exogroup: « the fachos »), where each entity would be identical in its composition, but both very different from each other. Now, we can perfectly well be against fascism, while being opposed to individuals or capitalist groups who claim to be anti-fascist; conversely, we cannot systematically close all dialogue to an individual who votes for the extreme right, under the pretext that this necessarily identifies him or her with a racist. The question, more complex, is frozen by this stereotyped reality, where the social strata most able to understand the relationship with the other, are perhaps not those that we think:  » The upper strata, protected by social status, income and/or their residential and educational choices [those who can afford the border with « the other », as Christophe Guilluy says], Are they likely to hear the complexity of the relationship with the « other »? It is the working classes who are concretely taking charge of the question of the relationship with the other, they do not need a history lesson and even less a moral lesson to understand that violence must be avoided. The working classes, whatever their origin, know that the relationship with the other is ambivalent: fraternal but also conflicting. They know that you can be racist in the morning and fraternal in the afternoon. In this context, the moralizing discourse of the upper classes, which aims to put the « beast » back on the right track, proves to be inoperative. This will to create a multicultural society in which the « new man » would not recognize any origin, is felt in an especially hurtful way by individuals who try to manage daily a thousand and one ethno-cultural questions while trying not to fall into hatred and violence. In reality, it is the working classes who are building, in adversity, alone and without instructions, this multicultural society « .(1)

Cynicism also dictates that parties win the contract of repairing the damage they have helped to create, since they are now they are going to tell us how to think well and do the barrage of « anti-democrats ». The Reform Movement (MR), demonizing without arguments the Belgian Labour Party (PTB), will be of those who will explain to us what democracy is, while their the « socialist » party and other reformers, has finished destroying the working classes and is causing the ongoing devastation of the middle class. Their cordon sanitaire is only a screen for their unhealthy policies. In sum, the traditional parties, whether they the extreme right or not, need it, playing as if it were a a negative reflection of what they are. 

It would therefore be appropriate to rethink the notion of extreme, as Alain Deneault told us in an interview:  » Extremism in politics has been wrongly associated with the position of the cursor on the left-right axis. Whereas extremism, in the moral sense, refers much more to an attitude that consists in being intolerant to what is not oneself. The extreme center consists of being intolerant of anything that does not fit into this ultimately very narrow setting of the agenda of the oligarchic program I mentioned. It is a center that has little to do with the left-right political axis, in the sense that it is a center that aims less at being on that axis than at abolishing it, and at presenting a vision of things as the only valid one. The extreme center is thus to tolerate nothing else than this discourse that arbitrarily presents itself as belonging to the center. Why the center? Because it will not present itself as radical, destructive, imperialist, basically violent in many ways. On the contrary, it presents itself as balanced, as pragmatic, as normal, as true, as fair, as balanced, as reasonable, as rational and so on « .(2)

Therefore, under the pretext of combating the extreme right, forget the real enemy. 

Alexandre Penasse

Notes et références
  1. Christophe Guilluy, La France périphérique, comment on a sacrifié les classes populaires, Flammarion, 2014, p. 77–78.
  2. Kairos avril-mai 2017.

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