New right seduces the left to sign anti-war declaration
"The Europeans want peace", heads the petition written by
the French anti-war committee "Non à la guerre". Although originating
from the extreme right, the committee managed to get a lot of signatures
from left-wing intellectuals. The New Right hopes to gain credibility by
being involved in projects together with progressive intellectuals. The
Dutch new-right Voorpost leader Marcel Rüter was also interested.
On 20 April 1999 he sent 2 articles on the petition against
the Kosovo war to the e-mail subscribers of the Dutch radical-left discussion
magazine Konfrontatie. Through a small technical failure by the editors,
Rüter was able to get a hold of the list of subscribers to the digital
The first piece was a press report sent out by the French
committee, in which they boast to already have received the signatures
of 400 prominent figures and 40,000 others. Also, supposedly more than
50 local branches were initiated and the committee announced the first
street manifestations. According to the committee, only the Americans really
wanted the war, making the peaceful Europeans very angry. We are the only
force against the war now, the committee writes, now that all right-wing
and left-wing parties turn out to be pro-war.
The petition and the press report are written by Laurent
Ozon. Ozon is director of Nouvelle Écologie, the ecology branch
of the French new-right think tank GRECE, which is closely connected to
the Front National. By way of the ecology movement, GRECE tries to make
Blut-und-Boden (blood-and-soil) theories popular once again. Ozon works
closely together with the English millionaire Goldsmith, whose ultra-conservative
ecological ideas have an enormous influence in new-right circles. In some
cases Ozon has acted as a spokesperson for Goldsmith in France.
Biggest enemy America
Along with Ozons press report, Rüter sent an article
by Luc Pauwels. Pauwels is a co-founder of the extreme-right Vlaams Blok
and nowadays director of the Delta foundation, the Belgian daughter of
GRECE. Just like his French colleagues, Pauwels sees the "American military
colonialism that comes hand in hand with their cultural and economic imperialism"
as the biggest enemy. NATO is no more than an "American instrument" to
"keep Europe under control", Pauwels says. But he is not signing the French
petition. On the contrary, he supports the NATO-war against the "communist
Not a word in the petition is spent on European imperialism.
Nationalism, so abundant in the post-Yugoslavian wars, is not seen as a
problem by the committee. On the contrary, they themselves argue solely
using nationalist concepts. The petition does not incorporate anti-racism,
feminism and workers' struggle, as would be the case in a genuinely left-wing
analysis. The whole of the European New Right signed Ozons petition, but
also many prominent left-wing intellectuals like the British playwrite
Harold Pinter and film director Ken Loach ("Land and Freedom"). On the
list are also communists, anarchists and greens. Some didn't know about
the origins of the petition and immediately withdrew their signature once
they heard. But others didn't mind. Worse, they seemed to agree with the
extreme-right analysis offered in the petition.
Refusing to co-operate
Already back in 1993, a group of 40 prominent European intellectuals,
among them Umberto Eco, spoke up against getting involved in new-right
projects. "For some time now ideologists of the Far Right have undertaken
steps to make us believe they have changed. In order to do so, they have
led a big seduction campaign targeting democratic personalities and intellectuals,
some of whom are known as Leftists. Badly informed about this activity
or completely unaware of it, the latter have agreed to sign articles in
some journals run by these ideologists. Once snared, these signatures apparently
lend credence to the idea that the supposed change is a reality." To avoid
being used in this way, the authors of the letter announced that, in the
future, they would "refuse all collaboration in journals, collective works,
radio and television programmes, as well as colloquia directed or organised
by people whose connections with the Far Right have been demonstrated."
Recently, the anti-war committee has published a nation-wide
newspaper, with a circulation of some 80,000 copies. It contains articles
written by Ozon and his extreme-right comrades, but surprisingly also some
by left-wing intellectuals. The most famous of them being Noam Chomsky.
According to the editors, Chomsky himself agreed to the publication. Fortunately,
now the new-right petition is followed by a left-wing counter-petition,
issued by intellectuals who want to halt the New Right.
De Fabel van de illegaal
Some editing of the English translation by Alain
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Last updated 1999-07-30