Renaud Camus is a controversial figure in France. He is both a prolific author and a maverick in the French political landscape. Unfortunately he is not very well-known in English-speaking circles. This interview hopes to change that fact and give English speakers exposure to his ideas. I’ve had the pleasure to converse with him on a broad range of questions covering his own political views, his idea of Le Grand Remplacement (or Great Replacement) as well as his perspective on the current political success of the Front Nationale and the Generation Identitaire movement.
In part one of this interview, we talk about Mr. Camus’ background, his concept of the great replacement, and the terror attacks in Paris on November 13 of this year.
Please give English readers a brief background of yourself for those who may not have heard of you or your work.
I am sixty-nine, a writer. I have published about one hundred books of all kinds: essays, novels, travel books, elegies, eclogues, diaries. I am much of an anglophile, and also scotophile, and two of my travel books, in a series called Demeures de l’esprit (Places of the Mind), are devoted to artists’ and writers’ houses in Britain. I am not chauvinistic in the least degree, I like English poetry as much as French, German music as much as French, Italian architecture as much if not better than French. I think the English countryside is probably the highest and certainly the most exquisite achievement of civilisation. I spent a good part of my life not giving one thought about being French, about identity, patriotism, and those kind of things. They became important only when I realised they were being prohibited, that I could not be this or that should I want to. I think the task of any writer is to transport oneself to those regions in any given society and in language where something is absolutely not to be said, mentioned, observed, or described: where there is a blank in the pattern. Some people are surprised that I might have written a book called Tricks when I was thirty, which described in the most off-hand manner, exactly as they had happened, forty-five homosexual encounters; and forty years later write about the change of people and of civilisation as it is happening in France, and indeed in all of Europe. But it is exactly the same process, the same requirement: trying to deal simply with the simple, obviously with the obvious, and matter of factly with the facts, especially when, for diverse reasons, they are not supposed to be dealt with.
You are most famous in political circles for the concept of the ‘Great Replacement’. Please expand upon this idea. Are the causes of the maintenance of vast European welfare programs, cheap labour for European multi-national companies, or all of these factors combined rooted, as some say, in cultural Marxism and Critical Theory? Describe the process of the replacement as you see it and what you see as the result.
The Great Replacement is not a concept, it is not a notion, and it is not a theory: it is only the coining of a name for the most important phenomenon to affect Europe in the last fifteen centuries: namely, the replacement of its population and the changing of people. If they are not blind, anybody who drives fifty miles from the south to the north of Greater London will perfectly understand what I mean; for it is of course a very low moral and ontological conception of what men are, women, nations, civilisations, to expect that you can still have the same nation, the same civilisation, the same identity for a country with different peoples. One has only to think here of the immortal question of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg concerning the knife: if you change the handle, and then change the blade, will it still be the same knife? To keep on with German thinkers and writers, let us say that what has happened is the turning into a nightmarish reality of what was a joke in Brecht’s words:
If the government is not pleased with the people, all he has to do is change people.
But of course it is not just the government, which has exchanged one people for one or several others. It is a much larger process. You mentioned a few possible causes. They are all perfectly correct, but even they have to be inscribed in a larger and more complex structure. I like to say that what I call ‘replacism’ — the ideology which promotes and imposes the Great Replacement — is the monstrous offspring of the Industrial Revolution in its ultimate, post-Fordian, post-Taylorist phase; and anti-racism, also in its senile phase. In the very apt words of Alain Finkielkraut, which have become the title of one of my essays, anti-racism is The Communism of the Twenty-First Century. Anti-racists play the same part in the present conquest of Europe by the Third World as pacifists did in the conquest of Europe by the Third Reich in the 1930s and early ’40s. They pave the way; they are the great facilitators and the great stiflers of resistance. Anti-racism is racism which hits you and then stops and goes into reverse in order to insult you as you’re lying in the road. What racism failed to achieve in 1945, anti-racism succeeds in doing in Europe now: getting rid of its civilisation. Racism and anti-racism alike have the same stupid, pseudo-scientifical, and incredibly limited definition of the word race: racism takes advantage of it to try and get rid of one or two races of which it does not approve; anti-racism takes advantage of it to decide that all races must disappear, under the pretext that, scientifically, they do not exist. The non-existence of races, like the non-existence of classes, is indispensable for the industrial production of l’homme remplaçable: replaceable man; exchangeable man; decultivated, decivilised, denationalised, and unrooted, such as needed by and for generalised exchange: of man with man, of man with woman, of people with people, of animals with things, of man with machines, with prosthesis and with objects — the post-human condition.
Replacism is a whole, a complete matter, a general conception of the world: if one does not understand that, one does not understand anything about what is going on: the Great Replacement. Replacism is just as present in huge chicken factories which produce chicken by the millions, which will never see grass or sky and are treated exactly as if they were things, as it is present in the Great Replacement, the ethnical and cultural substitution. It all amounts to a big thingification, if you’ll forgive my French, of the living. The paradox is that the power behind replacism, the one which promotes and imposes the Big Replacement, is displacing a people which has already been rendered highly replaceable by the teachings of oblivion and mass imbecilisation (what I call the Industry of Hebetude) by a highly identitarian community, namely the Muslims. By doing so, the power of replacism is digging its own grave, since he will be the first to be replaced, when its protégés won’t need it anymore (and those times are near). But that is a very meagre consolation.
The movement ‘Generation Identitaire’, in France, Austria, Germany, and elsewhere, uses your idea of the Great Replacement as one of their central philosophical pillars. What is your opinion of their movement? Do they understand your ideas correctly and do you think their efforts are a step in the right direction?
They may not have read me very deeply, and they certainly have other sources of inspiration of which I am not necessarily aware. I do not know whether or not they have my ideas correct, but they certainly are courageous and ingenious, well-formed, and deeply European, and they have a very good sense for the emblematic and non-violent gesture. I certainly do think their efforts are a step in the right direction and I have great admiration and sympathy for them. More generally, I think that in the tragic situation in which we find ourselves, with the colonisation of Europe going on steadily, there is only one line of separation which really matters, and that is the line between replacists, the champions and promoters of the Great Replacement, and anti-replacists, those who are prepared to do anything to prevent it. Inside the anti-replacist camp, we should all stick together and be united. The only ones we can’t have for companions are neo-Nazis, revisionists, and the like, because there is no point in fighting against one or two totalitarianisms, namely replacism and Islam, by promoting another, namely fascism. Winston Churchill and Enoch Powell, whom I deeply admire, are my limits on the Right side. All my efforts tend to unite European anti-replacists, which is why I founded the NON: NO to the Change of People and Civilisation, a regrouping of individuals and movements, independent from political parties but allied with those who show anti-replacist dispositions. There are times in the life of nations, as in the life of individuals, where a great refusal, a big NO, is the supreme affirmation.
Islamic terrorism struck Paris on November 13. Do you think that the media focus on terrorist activities is narrow-minded and that the greater instances of rape, assault, and harassment by Muslims against native Europeans is just as important and accomplishes the same sort of terror ? Do you think this narrow reporting is because such terrorist events force the media to report them, even though they are just the tip of a much larger spear ?
Here we are at the heart of my trouble with the French courts of justice. I have been twice condemned, and am now in third degree justice [Cour de Cassation], for having promulgated the view that what I call nocence — the state and attitude of which innocence is the opposite: delinquency light and heavy, the making of oneself a general nuisance, ‘incivilities’, common law violence and overt violence, and so on — is, along with demography, the principal instrument of the conquest now taking part. Don’t let yourself be fooled. I could have said that these hooligans are soldiers. They are indeed hooligans, but they are the ways and means of territorial conquest.’ There is no break in continuity between rape, assault, and permanent harassment on the one side, and terrorism on the other. It is one and the same thing. And it is not policemen and cameras and judges who can deal with it. It is politics, history, and armies. This is what I have been condemned for saying and this is exactly what has been proven right by the recent massacres: all terrorists without exception have begun their careers in bank robberies, petty larceny, or drug trafficking.
To be continued