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Patrice Lumumba (1925–1961)
56 years ago today, Congolese prime minister and anticolonial leader Patrice Lumumba was assassinated.
by Sean Jacobs
Patrice Lumumba (center) in 1960.
On June 30, 1960, Independence Day, Lumumba gave what is now considered a timeless speech. The Belgian king, Boudewijn, opened proceedings by praising the murderous regime of his grandfather, Leopold (eight million Congolese died during his reign from 1885 to 1908), as benevolent, highlighted the supposed benefits of colonialism, and warned the Congolese: “Don’t compromise the future with hasty reforms.” Kasavubu, predictably, thanked the king.
Then Lumumba, unscheduled, took the podium. What happened next has become one of the most recognizable statements of anticolonial defiance and a postcolonial political program. As the Belgian writer and literary critic Joris Note later pointed out, the original French text consisted of no more than 1,167 words. But it covered a lot of ground.
The first half of the speech traced an arc from past to future: the oppression Congolese had to endure together, the end of suffering and colonialism. The second half mapped out a broad vision and called on Congolese to unite at the task ahead.
Most importantly, Congo’s natural resources would benefit its people first: “We shall see to it that the lands of our native country truly benefit its children,” said Lumumba, adding that the challenge was “creating a national economy and ensuring our economic independence.” Political rights would be reconceived: “We shall revise all the old laws and make them into new ones that will be just and noble.”
Congolese congressmen and those listening by radio broke out in applause. But the speech did not sit well with the former colonizers, Western journalists, nor with multinational mining interests, local comprador elites (especially Kasavubu and separatist elements in the east of the country), the United States government (which rejected Lumumba’s entreaties for help against the reactionary Belgians and the secessionists, forcing him to turn to the Soviet Union), and even the United Nations.
These interests found a willing accomplice in Lumumba’s comrade: former journalist and now head of the army Joseph Mobutu. Together they worked to foment rebellion in the army, stoke unrest, exploit attacks on whites, create an economic crisis — and eventually kidnap and execute Lumumba.
The CIA had tried to poison him, but eventually settled on local politicians (and Belgian killers) to do the job. He was captured by Mobutu’s mutinous army and flown to the secessionist province of Katanga, where he was tortured, shot, and killed.
In the wake of his murder, some of Lumumba’s comrades — most notably Pierre Mulele, Lumumba’s minister of education — controlled part of the country and fought on bravely, but was finally crushed by American and South African mercenaries. (At one point Che Guevara traveled to Congo on a failed military mission to aid Mulele’s army.)
That left Mobutu, under the guise of anticommunism, to declare a one-party, repressive, and kleptomanic state, and govern, with the consent of the United States and Western governments, for the next thirty-odd years.
Gambling With Our Planet
Inspired by his taming of the French left-wing newspaper L’Express (which he had purchased in March 1977), in January 1979 Sir James announced the creation of a new magazine Now! which was to be edited by the former political editor of the Daily Mail, Anthony Shrimsley. Upon its launch, one of their regular columnists was Brian Crozier, who “preached the dangers of left-wing infiltration even more fervently than Goldsmith”. Another Now! contributor of extreme far-right pedigree whose connections are worth drawing attention to is Michael Ledeen, whose articles in both Now! and L’Express, aimed to discredit Jimmy Carter’s 1980 presidential campaign, contributing to what became known as the ‘Billygate’ affair. Not to be outdone by such servility to great power, yet another master of disinformation who was more than capable of injecting “black propaganda” into Now! was Brian Crozier’s protege Robert Moss. Amalgamating all his and others paranoid anti-communist conspiracy theories in one place, in 1980 Moss published an international best-selling novel titled The Spike. His coauthor on this vicious propaganda tract was the Newsweek journalist, Arnaud de Borchgrave. Considering the mystical proclivities of the Goldsmith brothers, it is interesting to note that both of these writers somehow managed to take their obsessions with disinformation one step beyond. Moss has now reinvented himself as a shamanic counselor and dream teacher (an issue upon which he has written numerous books), and since 1985 de Borchgrave has spent all his time editing newspapers and magazines belonging to Sun Myung Moon’s cultish Unification Church.
Not long after founding Now! Sir James was invited to join a host of right-wing elites to support “Project Democracy,” a covert propaganda effort dedicated to weakening democratic institutions abroad. Sir James was thus just one of a gaggle of powerful businessmen who met President Reagan (in March 1983) to support his war on popular democracy; other members of the group included Rupert Murdoch and self-help guru W. Clement Stone. Bolstering his efforts to bolster neoconservative networking across the Atlantic, Sir James was also counted as a member of the Committee for a Free World. A group which was founded in 1981 by Midge Decter, who is the spouse of another prime neoconservative mover, Norman Podhoretz. As late as 1989 the chairman of this group was Donald Rumsfeld, while other board members sitting alongside Sir James were the president of the misnamed National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gerschman, and the author Jacqueline Wheldon, who headed the British branch of the Committee for a Free World.
No surprise then that in November 1990, Sir James was in attendance at a dinner hosted by his good buddy Aspinall whose guest of honour was the reactionary head of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Mangosuthu Buthelezi; with another notable diner being Marc Gordon, the Director of the London office of the International Freedom Foundation — a right-wing think-tank with close links to Inkatha. This so-called International Freedom Foundation had been founded in 1985 by former Republican “superlobbyist”/convicted and sentenced felon, Jack Abramoff, growing out of an initial meeting Abramoff had organized (known as the Democratic International) which took place at the headquarters of Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. The meeting was “attended by a who’s who of the extreme Right: members of the Oliver North group, Laotian guerrillas, Nicaraguan Contras, Afghan mujahideen and South African security police”. As it turned out, the International Freedom Foundation was a South African military intelligence front formed to campaign against the ANC, financed to the tune of up to $1.5 million a year by the apartheid regime; funding that was maintained until 1992. When the underhand activities of the Foundation were finally wound down in 1993 their activists went on to join other right-wing causes, with Marc Gordon moving smoothly on to serve as the field organiser for Sir James’ Referendum Party.
As luck would have it, Sir James’ stellar contacts in the conservative media world provided exactly the type of propaganda that the Inkatha Freedom Party needed in the West. One of Sir James’ well-placed acquaintances being former Now! contributor, Frank Johnson, who acted as the editor of The Spectator between 1995 and 1999. Sir James and Aspinall’s good friend, Taki Theodoracopulos, then used his longstanding column in The Spectator to good effect, and along with Carla Powell (the wife of Mrs Thatcher’s former private secretary) the deadly duo “led the campaign in the British right-wing press to canonise Buthulezi”. Here it is significant that Carla’s husband, Lord Powell, until recently worked under the supervision of Rothschild banker, Sir Henry Keswick, a powerful individual whom some years earlier had actually been the proprietor of The Spectator (1975-81). Natural history and elitist conservation measures having long provided useful sources of entertainment for the ruling class, with Sir Henry himself being a former president of the Royal Highland Agriculture Society, and current trustee of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In addition, the CEO of Caterpillar (the world’s largest maker of earthmoving machinery) also resides on the board of the ‘big green’ wannabe, the World Resources Institute, which is significant because the aforementioned Lord Powell is one of Caterpillar’s current board members. Here one would do well to recognize that green connections among the earth excavation business are not exceptional, and billionaire industrialist and head of the JCB Group, Sir Anthony Bamford, is a patron of the eco-mystically inclined Resurgence magazine. In addition, Bamford is the proud owner of an organic farm, whose shop is patronized by David Cameron; and Bamford even counts organic anti-modernist, Prince Charles, among his green circle of friends. Prince Charles was of course also close to the Goldsmiths, and Sir James’ wife, Annabel, became a trusted confidante of the Princess of Wales in the early 1980s.
Gambling With Our Planet
A dedication to popularizing ancient traditions and primitive spiritual practices is for the ‘Goldsmith brothers grim’ (and for their friend Aspinall), therefore seen as the ideal way to reverse the secularizing and democratic trends of the Enlightenment. Speaking to these concerns, in 1989 Teddy argued (within the pages of the Financial Times) that as a traditionalist he sought to oppose “the holocaust of modernisation”. The reactionary and conservative nature of such a belief system is clear, and in a later interview Teddy traced the intellectual origins of his traditionalism to his interest in the perennial philosophy, saying:It this interest has basically been cultivated, and promoted, by a group of people, perhaps the most famous was Molander Gumalaswami, but there are others — Europeans, like René Guenon, and, Lord Northborne in this country — all sorts of people. And they are really interested in the wisdom which underlies all your traditional societies, and there is such a wisdom. They call it The Perennial Philosophy, and of course, it is based largely on tradition.
The Traditionalist scholars mentioned here are critical to the Goldsmith story, as the right-wing Soil Association activist Lord Northbourne (1896-1982) had translated Rene Guenon’s The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times. Lord Northbourne who was one of the cofounders of the Soil Association was “a frequent contributor” to the British periodical Studies in Comparative Religion, which was a major source of Traditionalist scholarship and has been described by E.F. Schumacher “as one of the two most important journals to read”. Indeed, it was Traditionalism that actually served as “one of the main sources of Schumacher’s anti-modernism”; a philosophical trend which combined neatly with the leading role he assumed within the anthrosopically-inspired Soil Association, which happened to provide the initial staff for The Ecologist.
One infamous writer situated with Traditionalism whose influence is relevant here is the prolific fascist writer and activist Julius Evola, whose vile work has been revived in the work of French Nouvelle Droite (New Right) ideologues like Alain de Benoist. De Benoist is best-known for founding an ethnonationalist and neopagan think-tank known as the Groupement de recherche et d’études pour la civilisation européenne (“Research and Study Group for European Civilization” or GRECE). Formed in 1968, an early member of GRECE was Louis Pauwels, coauthor of the 1960 irrationalist, Romantic treatise, Les matin des magiciens, which was published in the United States as Morning of the Magicians in 1964, and has the dubious distinction of helping launch a revival of interest in the occult and Traditionalist ideas more generally. In recent years, the extreme-right-wing GRECE has sought out and made connections to green Traditionalists like Teddy Goldsmith, who in 1994 accepted their invitation to address its 25th Anniversary Meeting. Here one person who has been particularly forthright in his criticism of Teddy’s propensity to embrace such authoritarian forms of cultural essentialism has been Nicholas Hildyard, who had worked at The Ecologist from 1972-1997, and had assumed the journal’s editorship (with others) from 1990-97. Having spent much of the 1990s advising Sir James on environmental affairs, he recalls that “political differences” with Teddy “over ethnicity and gender issues” eventually led him and the rest of the editorial team to quit The Ecologist.
Considering these fascist connections, it is intriguing to observe that when Sir James purchased the left-wing L’Express in 1977, which he identified as “the source of intellectual sickness of France”, he recalled that: “When I appointed Raymond Aron — he came from Figaro — I had a strike because I was imposing a fascist!” A strike, and accusation, that arose for good reasons because the prestigious French daily Le Figaro was at the time playing a key role in dispensing the ideas of the Nouvelle Droite, counting Louis Pauwels as one of their editors. Later Aron was remembers as being one of only a few scholars “willing to engage in dialogue” with the Nouvelle Droite.
Unfortunately Teddy’s embrace of the French New Right as suitable allies in his bid to save the planet was not a passing fad, and was very much in keeping with his own, and his brothers, explicit conservatism and elitism. In subsequent years Teddy kept in contact with de Benoist and his GRECE comrades, and when challenged about the reactionary nature of their work he pleads that GRECE “have changed very much these last dozen years”. This is not the case, GRECE and their politics of green Traditionalism mesh perfectly with Teddy’s political orientation. Either way, in late 1997 Teddy was the main guest on the third TeKoS colloquium in Antwerp, Belgium: TeKoS being a sister organisation of GRECE. The following year Teddy then gave a lecture in Paris at the first colloquium of the New-Right ecology organisation Le recours aux forêts, which was headed by Laurent Ozon, the head of GRECE’s ecology branch. Other lecturers in attendance included Alain de Benoist and members of the French extreme-right party Mouvement Pour la France, which had been founded in 1994 by none other than Sir James Goldsmith. Working in collaboration with Ozon, Teddy then agreed to stand in the June 1999 elections for the right-wing ecological party Mouvement ecologiste independante (MEI). Teddy even convinced Ozon to allow his friend Antoine Waechter to head the party — Waechter having founded the French Green Party in 1973. But before Teddy’s electoral bid ever got off the ground he dropped the project when the French media decided to cause a ruckus about Waechter’s obviously extreme right-wing ideas.
The European New Right
Yockey would become the ideological predecessor of the Third Position and the European New Right, among whose prominent members are Jean-Francois Thiriart, Alain de Benoist and Aleksandr Dugin. A main feature of the European New Right is its criticism of American imperialism and of the “economism” of liberalism and its attempt to form alliances or infiltrate far-left opponents of Western imperialism and globalization.
Jean-Francois Thiriart was briefly a leftist in high school before joining the National Legion and the Association of the Friends of the German Reich, two far-right organizations, later serving in the Waffen-SS for which he would be imprisoned after WWII. After his imprisonment he would retire from political life until the 1960s when he re-entered politics due to his belief that Europe was losing its status as a cultural center, especially after the independence of the Congo and the Algerian Revolution during which he organized in favor of Belgian settlers who wanted Belgium to reconquer the Congo as well as support for the French Secret Army Organization seeking to maintain Algeria as a French colony through a brutal and bloody campaign of massacring Algerians.
Thiriart saw the Belgian and French loss of the Congo and Algeria as pan-European affairs rather than in purely nationalist terms and he founded the organization Jeune Europe with the aim of creating a united Europe which would have its own nuclear arsenal and would be independent of the USA and the USSR whom he considered were dominating Europe and had turned it into a battlefield, thus echoing Yockey in his pre-1952 days, though Thiriart himself had never apparently known or read Yockey. Like Yockey, Thiriart also despised parliamentary democracy and instead advocated for an anti-egalitarian totalitarian state.
Thiriart would also try denying being a fascist and distancing himself from his Nazi past, instead calling the Left-Right division as outdated (in typical fascist rhetoric) and advancing a philosophy called Communitarianism which claimed to transcend the division between the Left and the Right though Jeune Europe had open ties with Nazis and used openly fascist imagery. Thiriart from then on advocated for a union of Europe and the Soviet Union, which he considered to be more Russian than Communist as from the early 50s, into a “massive white power bloc from Brest to Vladivostok”. Here he was echoing Yockey again.
Following the Sino-Soviet Split, Thiriart started advocating for supporting China against the Soviets in an attempt to make the latter lose its grip on Europe to pave the way for a rapprochement between Europe and Russia, as well as supporting revolutionaries in Latin America and the Black Power movement in the Unites States to end American hegemony on Western Europe. He would further restructure Jeune Europe along the line of a Leninist vanguard party, drop the open Nazi imagery of his organization and repudiate his earlier positions on Algeria and the Congo.
From then on, Thiriart moved towards a “National-Communist” perspective which was significantly influenced by Nicolae Ceaușescu’s adoption of an ultra-nationalist National Communism as state ideology, no doubt the result of Romania’s inclusion of former Iron Guard fascists within its intelligence apparatus, and Romania’s break with the Soviet Union and shift towards the People’s Republic of China. In 1966, Thiriart himself met Ceaușescu who contributed an article to Thiriart’s publication and would then help Thiriart met Zhou Enlai, from whom Thiriart attempted in vain to obtain Chinese support for Jeune Europe.
Thiriart worked with Argentine politician Juan Perón, who saw his own views of Latin American unity and integration as tied to Thiriart’s ones on European unity and who saw Fidel Castro and Che Guevara as heroes just like Thiriart did (for which obviously neither Castro nor Che themselves should be blamed), during Perón’s exile in Madrid where he also courted many members of the European far-right (Norberto Ceresole, who was for a time a close advisor of Hugo Chavez, was an associate of Perón. This red-brown tendency of Ceresole was also reflected by his association with Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and with Roger Garaudy, a Holocaust denying Communist who was himself praised by Hassan Nasrallah and Muammar Gaddafi).
Thiriart would adopt a policy of forming ties with the Left from now on, praising Ho Chi Minh’s struggle against America which he saw as an inspiration, and visited many Arab states trying to obtain support for a potential armed organization who would fight “American occupation” in Europe, and speaking at a Ba’ath party conference and meeting with Saddam Hussein, who was then only a colonel in the army. However receptive the Ba’ath party was to Thiriart’s proposal, it scrapped this project following the Soviet Union’s refusal to support it. He also attempted to form ties with Palestinian resistance organizations during this period. Thiriart retired again from public life after his failure to obtain significant support, though his few public appearances would keep on being vehicles for his anti-Americanism.
[Note: During Thiriart’s retirement, one of his followers, Renato Curcio, would go on to found the Red Brigades radical leftist organization which was active in the 70s and 80s in Italy. Another disciple of Thiriart, Claudio Mutti, would form the Italian-Libyan Friendship Organization after Muammar Gaddafi took power in Libya and later took part in organizing a “Nazi-Maoism” movement with the help of pro-China student groups, forming the Lotta Di Popolo organization, and would later meet Aleksandr Dugin in the 90s before arranging for Thiriart to visit Russia. Some Italian militants influenced by Thiriart would even adopt Hitler, Mao, Gaddafi and Juan Perón as heroes, and had slogans supporting a “fascist dictatorship of the proletariat” and praised both Hitler and Mao together.]
The collapse of the Soviet Union encouraged him to start working with the National-European Communitarian Party (PCN) a small party made up of former Maoists and neo-fascists, and run by Luc Michel, who identified himself as a National-Communist and acted as Thiriart’s secretary. In 1992, Thiriart would lead a PCN delegation of National-Communists to Russia to meet fascists who were now able to operate openly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thiriart met Yegor Ligachyov, who was receptive to Thiriart’s idea of a union between Europe and Russia against America. Ligachyov suggested it should be in the form of a revived Soviet Union, which Thiriart accepted, paralleling Yockey’s post-1952 National-Bolshevik positions.
Thiriart died from a heart failure in late 1992, his followers setting up a second European Liberation Front to continue Thiriart’s project. The European Liberation Front kept contacts with the Russian coalition of the National Salvation Front and supported the National Salvation Front during the 1993 crisis opposing it to Boris Yeltsin in Russia.
Alain de Benoist
Among the neo-fascists to come out of Thiriart’s ideological orbit is Alain de Benoist, who has exerted a substantial influence on the New Right. In his teenage years, De Benoist joined Thiriart’s Jeune Europe out of sympathy for the French occupation of Algeria in the late 50s and would later be a member of the editorial board of Europe-Action, a successor organization of Jeune Europe after the latter was banned by the French government.
During this period De Benoist was a standard mainstream neo-fascist opposed to Communism, defending apartheid and supporting the American imperialist war in Vietnam. Dissatisfied with the then state of the far-right and its inability to challenge the Gaullist French state, De Benoist would instead opt for giving up on the biological racism and conspiracy theories of the far-right and instead favor a more intellectual approach, and in reaction to the radical leftist movement of May 1968 he founded the think tank GRECE (which is the acronym for Groupement pour Recherches et Etudes pour la Civilisation Europeenne, the French translation of Research and Study Group for the European Civilization). Inspired by the theories of Italian Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci on cultural hegemony (for which the by-then long deceased Gramsci should not be blamed), De Benoist would advocate for fighting an ideological war to influence mass culture as foundation for political change, a theory called “metapolitics”. GRECE consequently published material rehabilitating fascists such as ideologues of the Conservative Revolution and supporters of National-Bolshevism such as Ernst Niekisch.
De Benoist’s ideological evolution was also marked by a shift towards hostility to Christianity, which in his view had “colonized” Indo-Europeans by force, and support for a revival of pre-Christian European polytheism, which echoed Julius Evola. Accompanying this shift was an increasing anti-Americanism of De Benoist, who hated the “American way of life” and “it’s inane TV serials, chronic mobility, ubiquitous fast food, admiration of the almighty dollar and its quiescent, depoliticized populace”. He opposed free-market capitalism, appropriating left-wing critiques of liberalism by decrying it as an ideology reducing every aspect of human life to purely economic value, thus producing a totalizing consumer society which was inescapably totalitarian.
Paralleling Yockey and Thiriart before him, De Benoist came to consider American imperialism and liberal democracy as more dangerous than Soviet Communism, writing “Better to wear the helmet of a Red Army soldier than to live on a diet of hamburgers in Brooklyn” in 1982 (which would be repeated in 2017 by Richard Spencer, a prominent figure of the American fascist “Alt-Right” movement), supporting Third World struggles while condemning NATO and voting for the Communist Party in the French elections of 1984.
Against accusations from other neo-fascists of having defected to the New Left, De Benoist would just like Thiriart before him claim he was out of the Left-Right spectrum and instead supported “a plural world grounded in the diversity of cultures” against a “one-dimensional world”. This concept, called “ethnopluralism”, meant that De Benoist had gone from a white supremacist to a supporter of separate ethnic and cultural identities and regionalism against what he was as a “homogenizing global market”, putting him at odds with the vision of a pan-European superstate of Thiriart.
This concept of “ethnopluralism” would find its way among wider far-right circles, with Jean-Marie Le Pen re-using it in his xenophobic declarations and neo-fascists adopting it to ‘soften’ their racist rhetoric.
The end of the Cold War signified the end of the Left-Right divide for De Benoist and following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he would visit Russia in 1992, months before Thiriart’s own delegation, where he would meet many figures of the opposition to Boris Yeltsin and proclaim that politics consisted of anti-system forces against the “establishmentarian center”, effectively advocating for a Left-Right coalition against liberal democracy.
An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, And The Western Left
The Workers’ Party of Belgium
Out of the student movement of the 1960s was born the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA), initially led by former Flemish nationalist Ludo Martens and organized around a publication named Alle macht aan de arbeiders (“All Power to the Workers”) during which it adhered to a crude form of “Mao-Stalinism”, supported the Khmer Rouge and the UNITA movement, and had an anti-union policy according to which it called on workers to leave unions and join autonomous red workers’ groups instead. This was only the start of a number of ideological zigzags the PTB-PVDA went through; after Mao’s death, it tried to transform into a more “mainstream” communist party and in 1979 it held its first congress where it adopted a program oriented towards Maoism, changed its name to The Workers’ Party of Belgium, adopted more flexible policies, especially towards unions, while denouncing the Soviet Union’s social imperialism and calling Cuba a “fifth column”. This changed when the PTB-PVDA threw its support behind Romania’s National-Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and supported the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests, and later supported Radovan Karadzic. Martens, who was chairman of the PTB-PVDA from 1971 until he fell ill in 2008, and was ideologue of the party until his death in 2011, was a major Stalin apologist and wrote Another View of Stalin, meant to rehabilitate Stalin, and founded the International Communist Seminar (annually attended by the FRSO and occasionally by the WWP) in 1992 with the intention of uniting what he considered to be the four tendencies (pro-Soviet, pro-China, pro-Cuba, pro-Albania) of the Marxist-Leninist movement. In 1994 Martens met Kim Il-Sung, the PTB-PVDA back then bragging about Martens being the last foreigner to have met Kim il-Sung.
Another prominent member of the PTB-PVDA is Michel Collon, whose position on the War in Yugoslavia was not limited to mere opposition to NATO’s bombing but instead went to the extent of denying the crimes of Serbian nationalists in the Yugoslav War and working with the WWP to defend Milosevic [archive] (after which the WWP has regularly associated [archive] with Collon). Collon seems to have become a member of the red-brown network from then on, attending Thierry Meyssan’s Axis For Peace conference in 2005 [archive] while claiming to be a member of the Consultative Council of TeleSUR (a claim by him that cannot be independently verified). Collon’s own website, Investig’Action, claims to fight against disinformation by the mainstream media while in fact being a confusionnist and conspiracist outlet which counts on its List of Authors [archive] some left-wing personalities (including figures like Sara Flounders and the Workers World Party, and Bosnian Genocide denier Michael Parenti) as well as a large number of far-right and conspiracist authors such as 21st Century Wire (see below), Le Cercle de Volontaires, Gilad Atzmon [archive], Tony Cartalucci, Leonid Ivashov, Alison Weir, Michel Chossudovsky, Thierry Meyssan, Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, William Engdahl, Whitney Webb (a writer for Mint Press News who promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories), South Front, and James Petras, among others, and Collon himself promotes [archive] Le Cercle des Volontaires on Twitter.
In 2011, Collon’s website promoted pro-Gaddafi protests [archive] organized by [archive] the Entre le Marteau et l’Enclume organization run by Maria Poumier (a Holocaust denier and an associate of Dieudonné and of Israel Shamir [archive]), and La Pierre et l’Olivier, whose president is Ginnette Skandrani [archive] (a former member of the French Green Party from which she was expelled because of her proximity to Holocaust deniers and fascists – Skandrani is a close associate of Dieudonné). Collon’s website was at one point listed as a friendly site by Soral’s and Dieudonné’s Egalite et Réconciliation, and while Collon publicly maintains a certain distance from Soral, he has himself defended Soral’s associate Dieudonné [archive], was hosted by Croah.fr administrated by anti-Semitic cartoonist Joe Le Corbeau (who is also close to Dieudonné and Soral) and called for a debate with Soral after the latter verbally attacked Collon and his associate Jean Bricmont in 2011 [archive].
In February 2012, a conference at the Paris Labor Council where Michel Collon was scheduled to speak was cancelled after mobilization by local anti-fascists.
On the 31st of March 2012, Collon participated [archive] in a conference on Syria organized by Le Collectif Pour la Syrie, the Afamia association (its president is Ayssar Midani), L’Appel Franco-Arabe and the French-Near East Association. The honorary chairman of Le Collectif Pour la Syrie, Michel Raimbaud, is a former French ambassador and has more recently spoken at a conference by LaRouche in July 2016 [archive], and one of its delegate administrators is Michel Lelong (see below). The conference was attended Ginnette Skandrani, by members of the Syrian shabiha, members of the Comité Valmy (see below), and members of Égalité et Réconciliation, and its participants included:
Samir Amin (see below)
Jean Bricmont, an associate of Collon and anti-imperialist leftist turned red-brown activist who participated in Meyssan’s Axis for Peace [archive], more recently defended Gilad Atzmon and wrote a preface for the French translation of his book [archive], was an initial endorser [archive] and signatory (together with a large number of fascists [archive]) of a petition in support of Holocaust denier Vincent Reynouard, and attended protests on the 30th of October 2012 in support for Assad together with Ginnette Skandrani, Edouard Klein of the GUD, Yahia Gouasmi and members of his “Antizionist” Party, and Frédéric Chatillon
Bahar Kimyongür (see below)
Michel Lelong, a Catholic priest who has expressed public support for Roger Garaudy, supports a reconciliation between the Catholic Church and Lefebvrist fundamentalists, participated in a protest in support of Bashar al-Assad by Civitas, has been hosted on Alain Soral’s Bistrot Flash [archive], and supports Maurice Papon, a Vichy regime official who was condemned for Crimes Against Humanity for his participation in the deportation of French Jews during the Nazi occupation of France
Bruno Drweski, a former member of the French Communist Party who was expelled from the Recherches Internationales journal of which he was the editor for being a collaborator of [archive] Holocaust denier Claude Karnoouh [archive], and participated in Meyssan’s Axis for Peace. Drweski is also a member of the editorial team of sovereignist publication Ruptures [archive] of Pierre Lévy, ex-member of the French Communist Party, and whose staff includes Laurent Dauré of the right-wing Union Populaire Républicaine (see below)
Komnen Becirovic, a friend of Collon, contributor to BI, formerly Balkans Info, a defunct far-right pro-Milosevic outlet ran by former Trotskyist militant Louis Delmas [archive])
Ayssar Midani, who animated the conference and is collaborates with the Cercle des Volontaires [archive], submits regular reports to Eveil France TV [archive] (a conspiracist YouTube channel promoting Bilderberg conspiracy theories [archive]), has given interviews to [archive] and was hosted by Soral’s Egalite et Reconciliation [archive], and in February 2013 was present at an “anti-imperialist” manifestation by fascist Serge Ayoub‘s Troisieme Voie and Jeunesse Nationaliste Révolutionnaire (which was banned in 2014 after its members were involved in the murder of an anti-fascist activist) notorious for its participants brandishing the portraits of Bashar al-Assad, Aleksand Lukashenko, Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and Draga Mihailovič.
As noted by anti-fascist media, one of the “surprise” participants of the conference was Julien Teil, a contributor to the Voltaire Network [archive], who was present in Libya in 2011 as member of the Voltaire Network’s team [archive], together with Mahdi Nazemroaya [archive] and Thierry Meyssan [archive], and later gave a conference with Nazemroaya [archive]. Teil once ran Mecanopolis, a now defunct far-right website, and he has unsurprisingly appeared on Global Research [archive], the Corbett Report [archive] and regularly [archive] on RT [archive]
Two weeks before, the Collectif Pour la Syrie and Afamia had organized another event in support of Bashar al-Assad [archive], where the main speaker was Julien Teil.
This proximity to red-brown networks by Collon reflects itself in his defense of RT [archive] and in how sympathetic to Bashar al-Assad the coverage of the war in Syria by the Workers’ Party of Belgium is, despite the PTB-PVDA’s attempt at rebranding as a less sectarian and more open party since 2008. And as result, in 2013 anti-fascists in the French city of Lille called to mobilize against an event hosting Collon organized by the Communist Coordination, affiliated to the Stalinist Rassemblement des Cercles Communistes, and by the Left Front, the left-wing nationalist coalition headed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
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