Renaud Camus

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Renaud Camus
Autoportrait de Renaud Camus (mars 2019).jpg
BornJean Renaud Gabriel Camus
(1946-08-10) 10 August 1946 (age 73)
Chamalières, France
NationalityFrench
Education
Notable works
  • Tricks (1979)
  • Le Grand Remplacement (2011)
Notable awards

Jean Renaud Gabriel Camus (/kæˈm/; French: [ʁəno kamy]; born 10 August 1946) is a French writer and white nationalist conspiracy theorist.[1][2]

He is known for the theory of the "Great Replacement", a conspiracy theory that claims a global elite is colluding against the European white populations to replace them with non-European peoples.[1]

Camus' views on "the great replacement" have been translated by far-right websites and used to reinforce the thesis that there is a "white genocide" at work.[3]

Early life and career as a fiction writer[edit]

Family and education: 1946-1977[edit]

Renaud Camus was born on 10 August 1946 in Chamalières, Auvergne,[4] from a bourgeois family.[5] His parents cut him from their will after he revealed his homosexuality. At 21, then a left-winger, he participated in pro-LGBT marches during the May 1968 events in Paris.[6]

Camus earned a baccalauréat in philosophy in Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne, in 1963. He studied law at a non-university college, St Clare's, Oxford (1965-1966), earned a bachelor in literature at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a master in philosophy at Sciences Po in 1970.[4][7] He taught French literature at the Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas in 1971-1972, then was redactor in political sciences for the Canadian encyclopedia publisher Grolier from 1972 to 1976. He was also a professional reader and literature advisor at French book publisher Denoël from 1970 to 1976.[4]

Influential “gay writer:” 1978-1995[edit]

After settling back in Paris in 1978, Camus quickly began to circulate among writers and artists the likes of Roland Barthes, Andy Warhol, or Gilbert & George.[5] Known exclusively as a novelist and poet until the late-1990s, Camus received the Prix Fénéon in 1977 for his novel Échange;[8] and in 1996 the Prix Amic from the Académie Française for his previous novels and elegies.[9][10] This period of Camus' life has led American magazine The Nation in 2019 to label him a "gay icon" who "became the ideologue of white supremacy,”[10] although Camus had rejected the concept of "homosexual writer" by 1982.[11]

Called retrospectively by some English-language media an “edgy gay writer,”[5][10] Camus published in 1979 Tricks, a “chronicle” consisting of over-detailed descriptions of homosexual encounters in France and elsewhere, with a preface by philosopher Roland Barthes. The book, along with the publication of his Buena Vista Park in 1980, were deemed influential in the LGBT community at that time;[12][13][10] Camus also occupying the position of columnist in the French gay magazine Gai Pied.[13][5]

Camus had been during the 1970-80s a member of the Socialist Party and voted for François Mitterrand in 1981, winner of the French presidential election.[14] Thirty-one years later, during the 2012 presidential campaign, he dismissed the party in those terms: “The Socialist Party has published a political program titled Pour changer de civilisation ("to change civilization"). We are among those who, to the contrary, refuse to change civilization.”[15]

The “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory[edit]

Development: 1996-2011[edit]

The castle of Plieux, built in 1340 and Camus' home in Occitanie, southern France.

In 1992 at 46, Camus left Paris to settle in the castle of Plieux, a village in Occitanie, where he still lives in 2019.[5][10] Camus has stated[a] that he began to imagine his conspiracy theory in 1996, while editing a guidebook about the department of Hérault.[5] He claimed that he “suddenly realised that in very old villages [...], the population had totally changed too,” and added, “this is when I began to write like that.”[5]

Camus voted for the ecologist candidate Noël Mamère in the 2002 presidential election.[14] The same year, he founded his own racialist political party,[16] Parti de l’In-nocence ("party of no-harm"); although not publicly launched before the 2012 presidential election.[5]

He also declared[a] that a key to understand his "Great Replacement" theory can be found in a book about aesthetics he published in 2002, titled Du Sens.[5] In the latter, inspired by a dialog between Plato and Cratylus, he wrote that the words "France" and "French" equal a natural and physical reality, not a legal one; in a cratylism similar to Charles Maurras' distinction between the “legal country” and the “real country.”[b][17]

Since his 2010 and 2011 books L'Abécédaire de l'in-nocence ("Abecedarium of no-harm") and The Great Replacement, Camus has been warning of the purported danger of the "Great Replacement". The conspiracy theory[18][19] supposes that “replacist elites”[c] are colluding against the White French and Europeans in order to replace them with non-European peoples—specifically Muslim populations from Africa and the Middle East—through mass migration, demographic growth and a drop in the European birth rate; a supposed process he labeled “genocide by substitution.”[20][21]

Political activism: 2012-present[edit]

In 2012, Camus was a candidate in the French presidential elections, with a program going from "serious proposals, such as the repatriation of foreign-born criminals", to unusual themes in French politics the likes of "the right to silence, abolishing wind-farms, banning roadside ads, making sanctuaries of remaining unspoiled places, stopping the production of cars that can go faster than the speed limit, and recognising Israel, Palestine and a Greater Lebanon for Christians in the Middle East."[5] He nonetheless failed to gain enough grands électeurs votes to be able to run for president, and eventually decided to support Marine Le Pen.[22][23]

Camus' tract for his 2014 "day of anger" manifestation against the "great replacement": "No to the change of people and of civilization, no to antisemitism"

In 2017, French essayist Alain Finkielkraut caused controversy after he invited Camus to debate the "Great Replacement" on the literary talk show Répliques at the public radio France Culture.[24] Finkielkraut justified his choice by arguing that Camus, who “is heard and seen nowhere, has shaped an expression that we hear everywhere.”[25]

On 9 November 2017, Camus founded with Karim Ouchikh the National Council of European Resistance by analogy to the WWII French National Council of the Resistance.[26] The pan-European movement—with other members the likes of Jean-Yves Le Gallou, Bernard Lugan, Václav Klaus, Filip Dewinter or Janice Atkinson[27]—aim at opposing the "Great Replacement", immigration to Europe, and to defeat “replacist totalitarianism.”[28][29]

After white supremacist protesters at the 2017 Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia were heard chanting “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us,”[30] Camus stated that he did not support Nazis or violence, but that he could understand why white Americans felt angry about being replaced, and that he approved of the sentiment.[31] On November 2018, he released a book directly written in English and intended for an international public, titled You Will Not Replace Us![17]

In May 2019, Camus ran, along with Karim Ouchikh, for the European parliament elections: “we shall not leave Europe, we shall make Africa leave Europe,” as they wrote to define their agenda.[32][33] During the campaign, a photograph of a candidate on his ticket kneeling before a giant swastika drawn on a beach re-emerged on social media. Camus decided to withdraw from the election, claiming that the swastika was “the opposite of everything [he had] fought for [his] whole life.”[10][34] As of August 2019, he still defends his "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory on his Twitter account,[35] where he is very active[5] and has more than 30,000 followers.

Views[edit]

On white nationalist terrorism[edit]

Camus has repeatedly said to condemn violent attacks and terrorism,[36][37] dismissing them as “Occupier's [i.e. immigrant's] practices.”[38] However, his use of strong terms like “colonization” and “Occupiers”[d] to label non-European immigrants and their children,[36][39] has been described as implicit calls to violence.[40] In 2014, Camus was fined 4,000€ in Paris for referring to some Muslims as “hooligans” and that they were “the armed wing of a group intent on conquering French territory,” a case which he appealed.[5]

Historians Nicolas Bancel and Pascal Blanchard, along with sociologist Ahmed Boubeker, state that “the announcement of a civil war is implicit in the theory of the 'great replacement' [...] This thesis is extreme—and so simplistic that it can be understood by anyone—because it validates a racial definition of the nation.”[41]

While he denies stigmatizing all Muslims, Camus believes in an unbroken line between petty crime and Islamic terrorism: “all the terrorists are known by the police, not for terrorist acts or for religious extremism, but by petty larceny and bank attacks, or even by very small things like attacking old ladies in suburban trains, or conflicts between neighbours.”[5]

Allegations of antisemitism[edit]

In his diary of 1994—published in 2000 under the title La campagne de France—, Renaud Camus commented on the fact that the membership of a regular panel of literary critics on the public radio France Culture comprised a majority of Jewish members; who, in his views, tended to exclusively focus discussion on Jewish authors and community-centered issues.[42][10] This accusation drew much criticism from observers like French journalists Marc Weitzmann or Jean Daniel,[43] denouncing Camus' remarks as anti-Semitic.[10]

Camus has since gained a number of defenders among French-Jewish conservative thinkers, most notably Alain Finkielkraut, who has taken his side from the controversy of 2000 onward. “Demographic substitution,” Finkielkraut said to The Nation in 2019, is “not a conspiracy theory,” but dismissed Camus' frequent talk of “genocide by substitution.”[10] On public radio France Culture in 2017, Finkielkraut stated that Éric Zemmour, a French conservative journalist from Sefardi Jewish descent, was one of the most prominent mainstream representatives of Camus' ideology.[25]

Political scientist Jean-Yves Camus and historian Nicolas Lebourg have noted that, contrary to its parent the white genocide conspiracy theory, Renaud Camus' "Great Replacement" does not include an anti-antisemitic Jewish plot; which is, according to them, a reason for its success.[44] French journalist Yann Moix, who had accused Camus to be an anti-Semite in 2017, was fined 3,000€ by a French Court of Appeal for libel on 13 March 2019.[45]

LGBT rights[edit]

Camus is openly gay and in favour of same-sex marriage.[13]

Influence[edit]

In a survey led by Ifop in December 2018, 25% of the French subscribed to the theory of the "Great Replacement"; as well as 46% of the responders who defined themselves as "Gilets Jaunes".[46] The conspiracy theory has been cited by Canadian far-right political activist Lauren Southern in a Youtube video of the same name released in July 2017.[47] Southern's video had attracted in 2019 more than 670,000 viewers[48] and is credited with helping to popularize the conspiracy theory.[49]

The "Great Replacement" theory is a key ideological component of Identitarianism, a strand of white nationalism that originated in France and has since spread to Europe and the rest of the Western world.[50] It was also the name of a manifesto by terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the Australia-born perpetrator of the Christchurch mosque shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 51 people and injured 50 others. Likewise, the manifesto of Brenton Harrison Tarrant and The Great Replacement theory were also cited in The Inconvient Truth by Patrick Crusius the perpetrator of the 2019 El Paso shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, United States that killed 22 people and injured 24 others [51][52]

Selected works[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Passage. Flammarion (1975) ISBN 978-2080607829
  • Échange. Flammarion (1976) ISBN 978-2080608925
  • Roman roi. P.O.L. (1983) ISBN 978-2867440052
  • Roman furieux (Roman roi II). P.O.L. (1987) ISBN 978-2867440762
  • Voyageur en automne. P.O.L. (1992) ISBN 978-2867443022
  • Le Chasseur de lumières. P.O.L. (1993) ISBN 978-2867443725
  • L'épuisant désir de ces choses. P.O.L. (1995) ISBN 978-2867444494
  • L'Inauguration de la salle des Vents. Fayard (2003) ISBN 978-2213616643
  • Loin. P.O.L. (2009) ISBN 978-2846823524

Chronicles[edit]

Political writings[edit]

Further readings[edit]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b in a 2016 interview with British magazine The Spectator
  2. ^ French: “pays légal” and “pays réel”
  3. ^ French: “élites remplacistes.”
  4. ^ French: “colonisateurs/colonisation” and “Occupants.”

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Taguieff, Pierre-André (18 March 2015). La revanche du nationalisme: Néopopulistes et xénophobes à l'assaut de l'Europe (in French). Presses Universitaires de France. p. 71. ISBN 9782130729501. To [the theory of a replacement through mass immigration], that claims itself to be an observation or a description, is added in the "anti-replacist" vision a conspiracy theory which attributes to the "replacist" elites the desire to achieve the "Great Replacement".
  2. ^ Korte, Barbara; Wendt, Simon; Falkenhayner, Nicole (27 March 2019). Heroism as a Global Phenomenon in Contemporary Culture. Routledge. ISBN 9780429557842. This conspiracy theory, which was first articulated by the French philosopher Renaud Camus, has gained a lot of traction in Europe since 2015.
  3. ^ "To understand the far right, look to their bookshelves". The Guardian. 1 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Editions P.O.L - Les auteurs - Renaud Camus". www.pol-editeur.com. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sexton, David (3 November 2016). "Non!". The Spectator. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  6. ^ Mahrane, Saïd (14 October 2013). "Ce Camus qui n'aime pas l'étranger". Le Point (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019. Parce qu'il assume son homosexualité, après avoir tenté en vain de la refouler, il rompt avec ses parents, stricts et vindicatifs. Si bien qu'il n'apparaît pas dans le testament familial : une maison devait lui revenir ; elle finira en ruine. [...] En Mai 68, de gauche, il défile au sein de la "composante homosexuelle" des cortèges [...] Plus tard, ce disciple de Roland Barthes prend sa carte au PS et vote, en 1981, pour François Mitterrand.
  7. ^ "l'Association des Sciences-Po - Fiche profil". www.sciences-po.asso.fr. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  8. ^ Baetens, Jan (2000). Etudes camusiennes (in French). Rodopi. p. 61. ISBN 9789042007789.
  9. ^ "Renaud Camus". www.fayard.fr (in French). 4 June 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i McAuley, James (17 June 2019). "How Gay Icon Renaud Camus Became the Ideologue of White Supremacy". ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  11. ^ Vercier, Bruno; Porter, Charles A.; Sarkonak, Ralph (1996). "An Interview With Renaud Camus". Yale French Studies (90): 7–21. doi:10.2307/2930355. ISSN 0044-0078. JSTOR 2930355.
  12. ^ "Je suis trop longtemps resté fidèle à Renaud Camus, ce traître homosexuel". Slate.fr (in French). 4 April 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  13. ^ a b c "Renaud Camus, des backrooms gays au "grand remplacement"". L'Obs (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  14. ^ a b Mahrane, Saïd (14 October 2013). "Ce Camus qui n'aime pas l'étranger". Le Point (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019. Parce qu'il assume son homosexualité, après avoir tenté en vain de la refouler, il rompt avec ses parents, stricts et vindicatifs. Si bien qu'il n'apparaît pas dans le testament familial : une maison devait lui revenir ; elle finira en ruine. [...] En Mai 68, de gauche, il défile au sein de la "composante homosexuelle" des cortèges [...] Plus tard, ce disciple de Roland Barthes prend sa carte au PS et vote, en 1981, pour François Mitterrand.
  15. ^ "Nous refusons de changer de civilisation" (in French). 19 April 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Parti de l'In-nocence (PI) — France Politique". www.france-politique.fr. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  17. ^ a b "TRIBUNE. La littérature, c'est le grand remplacement du monde". Le Point (in French). 18 March 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  18. ^ Wildman, Sarah (15 August 2017). ""You will not replace us": a French philosopher explains the Charlottesville chant". Vox. Retrieved 20 August 2018. I think the replacement is, in general, a phenomenon. Islam [and Muslim migration] is just the form it takes in Occidental Europe especially, and especially in France probably. And it does make the matter worse because it is very strong, it’s a very strong culture and civilization with its own language and its own religion. But it's not essential to the very idea of replacement. And for instance, in Western Europe, the replacement is just as much by black Africa as it is by Northern Islamic Africans.
  19. ^ Chatterton Williams, Thomas (4 December 2017). "The French Origins of "You Will Not Replace Us"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 August 2018. Camus's problem was not, as it might be for many French citizens, that the religious symbolism of the veil clashed with some of the country’s most cherished secularist principles; it was that the veil wearers were permanent interlopers in Camus's homeland. He became obsessed with the diminishing ethnic purity of Western Europe.
  20. ^ Taguieff, Pierre-André (18 March 2015). La revanche du nationalisme: Néopopulistes et xénophobes à l'assaut de l'Europe (in French). Presses Universitaires de France. p. 71. ISBN 9782130729501.
  21. ^ Verstraet, Antoine (2017). "C'est ça que tu veux ? !". Savoirs et Clinique (in French). 23 (2): 55. doi:10.3917/sc.023.0055. ISSN 1634-3298. [transl. from French] This theory states that the indigenous French ("Français de souche") could soon be demographically replaced by non-European peoples, especially from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.
  22. ^ "Nous refusons de changer de civilisation" (in French). 19 April 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  23. ^ François Bousquet, Qui veut lyncher les dissidents ?, Valeurs Actuelles, 06/09/2012
  24. ^ "New Zealand attacks offer the latest evidence of a web of supremacist extremism". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Opinion | French Islamophobia goes global". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  26. ^ Camus, Renaud (13 November 2017). "Macron est l'incarnation parfaite du remplacisme global". Boulevard Voltaire (in French). Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  27. ^ "À propos". Conseil National de la Résistance Européenne (in French). 29 November 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  28. ^ "Charte constitutive". Conseil National de la Résistance Européenne (in French). 3 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  29. ^ Ouchikh, Karim (11 December 2017). "Pour défendre notre civilisation, j'appelle à un rassemblement devant le Conseil d'Etat". Association pour la Fondation de Service politique [fr] (in French). Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  30. ^ Weitzmann, Marc (1 April 2019). "The Global Language of Hatred Is French". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  31. ^ Wildman, Sarah (15 August 2017). ""You will not replace us": a French philosopher explains the Charlottesville chant". Vox. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  32. ^ "Européennes: l'écrivain Renaud Camus en tête de liste". FIGARO. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019. «L'Europe, il ne faut pas en sortir, il faut en sortir l'Afrique» [...] «Jamais une occupation n'a pris fin sans le départ de l'occupant. Jamais une colonisation ne s'est achevée sans le retrait des colonisateurs et des colons. La Ligne claire, et seule à l'être, c'est celle qui mène du ferme constat du grand remplacement (...) à l'exigence de la remigration», ajoutent-ils.
  33. ^ à 17h36, Par Le ParisienLe 9 avril 2019 (9 April 2019). "Renaud Camus, le chantre du "grand remplacement", tête de liste aux européennes". leparisien.fr (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  34. ^ "Européennes : Renaud Camus "n'assume plus" sa liste à cause d'une co-listière". LExpress.fr (in French). 22 May 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  35. ^ Camus, Renaud (4 August 2019). "Renaud Camus - Twitter - 3:01PM, 4 Aug 2019". @RenaudCamus (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019. [transl. from French] I do call for an anti-colonial revolt, for decolonization, for territorial liberation, for the Occupier's departure, for its Great Repatriation which alone can protect us from violence—, certainly not for terrorism and mass massacres, those are Occupier's practices.
  36. ^ a b "New Zealand attacks offer the latest evidence of a web of supremacist extremism". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 August 2019. Camus, now 72, told The Washington Post that he condemns the Christchurch attacks and has always condemned similar violence. [...] Camus added that he still hopes that the desire for a “counterrevolt” against “colonization in Europe today” will grow, a reference to increases in nonwhite populations.
  37. ^ Wildman, Sarah (15 August 2017). ""You will not replace us": a French philosopher explains the Charlottesville chant". Vox. Retrieved 4 August 2019. He seemed surprised by the notion that his ideas could in any way be associated with the white nationalists marching in Charlottesville. He condemned the violence and insisted he has no connection to Nazism [...]
  38. ^ Camus, Renaud (4 August 2019). "Renaud Camus - Twitter - 3:01PM, 4 Aug 2019". @RenaudCamus (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019. [transl. from French] I do call for an anti-colonial revolt, for decolonization, for territorial liberation, for the Occupier's departure, for its Great Repatriation which alone can protect us from violence—, certainly not for terrorism and mass massacres, those are Occupier's practices.
  39. ^ "Européennes: l'écrivain Renaud Camus en tête de liste". FIGARO. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2019. «L'Europe, il ne faut pas en sortir, il faut en sortir l'Afrique» [...] «Jamais une occupation n'a pris fin sans le départ de l'occupant. Jamais une colonisation ne s'est achevée sans le retrait des colonisateurs et des colons. La Ligne claire, et seule à l'être, c'est celle qui mène du ferme constat du grand remplacement (...) à l'exigence de la remigration», ajoutent-ils.
  40. ^ "Le grand déménagement du monde". France Culture (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019. [audio; transl. from French] - Alain Finkielkraut: [23:05] 'The occupation [by Nazi Germany in 1940] provoked among the French, and especially among the resisters, a strong feeling of hatred [...]' - followed by - [23:05] 'How could you not provoke, with such an analogy, a hatred [...] towards all immigrants [...]? It appears to me contradictory on your side to say that you condemn hatred, while at the same time drawing inspiration [...] from that incendiary analogy [...]'
  41. ^ Boubeker, Ahmed; Bancel, Nicolas; Blanchard, Pascal (24 September 2015). Le grand repli (in French). La Découverte. pp. 141–52. ISBN 9782707188229.
  42. ^ "Fragments du " Journal de 1994 "" (in French). 1 June 2000. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  43. ^ Cf. Le royaume de Sobrarbe. Journal 2005.
  44. ^ Jean-Yves Camus; Nicolas Lebourg (20 March 2017). Far-Right Politics in Europe. Harvard University Press. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-0-674-97153-0. The success of that umpteenth incarnation of a theme launched immediately after World War II (Camus has personally declared his indebtedness to Enoch Powell) can be explained by the fact that he subtracted anti-Semitism from the argument
  45. ^ "Yann Moix condamné pour avoir qualifié d'"antisémite" Renaud Camus". RTL.fr (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  46. ^ JDD, Le. "Sondage : les Gilets jaunes sont plus sensibles aux théories du complot". lejdd.fr (in French). Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  47. ^ "The French Origins of "You Will Not Replace Us"". The New Yorker. 4 December 2017.
  48. ^ The Great Replacement, retrieved 4 August 2019
  49. ^ Miller, Nick (19 March 2019). "'The Great Replacement': an idea now at the heart of Europe's politics". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  50. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (9 November 2017). "Generation Identity: Far-right group sending UK recruits to military-style training camps in Europe". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018. ...claims it represents "indigenous Europeans" and propagates the far-right conspiracy theory that white people are becoming a minority in what it calls the "Great Replacement"
  51. ^ McAuley, James (15 March 2019). "Renaud Camus's ideas may have inspired the Christchurch mosque slayings in New Zealand". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 16 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  52. ^ Weill, Kelly (4 August 2019). "From Christchurch to El Paso, a Racist Lie is Fueling Terrorist Attacks". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 5 August 2019.

External links[edit]