Le Prolétaire – New Attacks against “Auschwitz or the Great Alibi”

A two-part defence of “Auschwitz or the Great Alibi” against critics, published over the course of three issues of “Le Prolétaire”.

PDF-Version: Le Prolétaire – New Attacks against “Auschwitz or the Great Alibi”

Our brochure “Auschwitz or the Great Alibi” is again the target of various attacks. In this first article, we will deal with the antifascist organisation “Ras l’Front”[*]. We will discuss in a second article a recent book that claims to cover the “History of Negationism”.

During the last festival of Lutte Ouvrière, “Ras l’Front” once again attacked our brochure and its distribution. Already in 1998 the same organisation, during the L.O. festival, had worked to pit the Trotskyists of “Jeunes contre le Racisme en Europe” (split from the LCR youth organisation) against us: see our article on this subject in issue 446 of this journal. The following year, “Ras l’Front” had asked the organisers to ban the distribution of our brochure. L.O., not wanting to take a position on a very delicate issue, had avoided it with the argument that it did not engage in political control of the texts and positions defended by the organisations present, under their sole responsibility. As a result of this refusal, “Ras l’Front” had boasted that they would forbid the presence of the horrible brochure themselves.

Thus, from the first day of the 1999 festival, these brave anti-fascists had sent young people to our stand to make a commotion. Then, after the hasty flight of these people, who, unaware of our positions, were unable to hold their ground in discussion, it was the turn of two strong men to come and intimidate us. Alas, it’s the hallmark of a big shot to have a bird’s brain! Unable to let their muscles speak because of the small crowd caused by the first intervention of their young friends, they were forced to try to argue their criticism and justify their attitude. Faced with such a dreadful ordeal, all they could do was pitifully retreat.

Perhaps because of having burned their fingers by their disappointment the previous year, Ras l’Front this year did not try to attack us directly, but chose to increase the pressure to forbid the distribution of our brochure, by distributing a leaflet calling on “all organisations and activists to demand from L.O. that this brochure no longer be sold at the festival“.

In this leaflet, entitled “Revisionists at the festival of LO… Karl Marx, the Great Alibi?”, one can read: “For years, the International Communist Party has been running a stand at the festival of Lutte Ouvrière. This group comes from the current founded by Amadeo Bordiga. Not very active, they seem to devote themselves mainly to the publication of texts [Chief, it’s suspicious! What are they really doing?]. In 1960, this current published an anonymous article [Anonymous? More and more suspicious!] in its journal Programme Communiste: ‘Auschwitz or the Great Alibi’. Reissued in brochure form, it has been on sale for years at the LO festival. However, this text is one of the founding texts of revisionist theses. In particular, it was distributed in the 1970s by La Vieille Taupe, a bookshop that became a publishing house and the headquarters of the deniers of the extermination of Jews during the war [Chief, this time we have them! La Vieille Taupe, after having been one of the most popular leftist bookshops in the Latin Quarter, having become a negationist centre 15 years later, all those who were distributed by it in its first period are therefore negationists, or I eat my kepi! Moreover, chief, this Karl Marx, he must have had his brochures in this bookstore?]. Despite repeated demands and protests from Ras l’Front, Lutte Ouvrière has always refused to intervene to prevent the sale [Were they complicit?], on the grounds that they do not want to control what the groups present at the festival sell. Yet we believe that revisionist lies are not part of the internal debates of the far left, but of another logic (…)”[1].

And after having specified that: “even if we discuss about revisionists, analysing their lies, dismantling their reasoning, we refuse to discuss with them, whether they are from the far right or, as here, ultra-left. We have nothing to tell them and we will not answer their delusions[2], the leaflet of Ras l’Front, however, tries to answer what it peremptorily claims to be our “revisionist lies“.

Ras l’Front of Falsifiers

Our first lie would be to deny the “singularity” of the massacre of the Jews, and even to make fun of this massacre, according to quotations produced by the leaflet to arouse indignation towards us: “According to the authors of the brochure, ‘if one makes such a fuss’ (sic) about the genocide, (…). The massacre of the Jews would thus be ‘a smokescreen’ (…)”.

Ras l’Front uses the practice of forgery (which the Stalinists had developed to the extreme), which consists in quoting parts of a sentence out of context. Indeed, the introduction to the brochure clearly explains why “such a fuss is being made”, not about the massacre of the Jews as the falsifiers of Ras l’Front have made us say, but about the interview with Darquier de Pellepoix, former Commissioner for Jewish Questions, in “l’Express” in 1978: this interview was the occasion for launching a huge propaganda campaign for bourgeois democracy, allegedly threatened by a supposed resurgence of fascism and antisemitism. The “smokescreen” we were talking about was not the massacre of the Jews as the liars of Ras l’Front claim, but “The Smokescreen of the Current Campaign” (title of a paragraph truncated by our forgers), a grotesque and hypocritical campaign that served to hide the resurgence of racism, discrimination, attacks and police intimidations against millions of immigrant workers and their families. This was spelled out and explained in the length of pages: it was impossible for any honest reader to misunderstand, even if he was stupid[3].

Ras l’Front of Negationists

But for our accusers, it was necessary to exaggerate so that our capital sin would appear in all its horror: “Now, if the authors of the brochure do not deny the genocide, they pretend that its singularity would be fictitious“.

Indeed, it is true, we deny that “the crimes of Nazism remain unique in history” – a disgraceful affirmation of “Ras l’Front” to whom the reality of this capitalist world in recent decades has unfortunately brought new and bloody denials in addition to those recalled more than twenty years ago in the introduction to the brochure: just think of the massacres of Tutsis in Rwanda, bearing in mind the criminal complicity of French imperialism in preparing the massacres. But it is true that French imperialism is a democracy that is as democratic as it gets. Yet, says thought leader Vidal-Naquet in a book from which the leaflet copies entire passages: “This crime alone [the extermination of the Jews – Editor’s note] increases the distance that separates the democrat from the fascist. But, according to the Bordigists, this is not the case. One must give the antisemitism of the imperialist era the socioeconomic explanation it calls for.[4]

To put it briefly, the intellectual of the democratic left has defined the issue: the crime committed against the Jews is enough to radically distinguish fascism from democracy (we say: it is the alibi of the latter) which are therefore not two different forms of the same reality (two forms of political domination of the bourgeois class and capitalism), but two antagonistic systems between which one must choose; any attempt at a materialistic explanation of Nazi crimes must therefore be rejected vehemently because it leads precisely to the elimination of this qualitative difference of democracy and thus the justification of support for democracy, by demonstrating that the roots of such crimes are to be found in the capitalist system itself.

But that is not enough yet; for the reasoning of the democrats to hold, the uniqueness of Nazi crimes must not be called into question: it is therefore mandatory to make people forget that the bourgeois democracies helped or at least watched without displeasure Hitler’s rise to power, that during the war the allied democracies stubbornly refused to help the Jews[5], that they are therefore at least partly co-responsible for the massacres; it is indispensable to exonerate the democratic states of all their crimes, their massacres, their genocides, to deny them or at least to banalise them, to relativise them: What can be said of these democrats, other than that they too, like all the ideologues of the bourgeoisie, are authentic negationists?

Ras l’Front in Embarrassment

The second “lie” of which Ras l’Front accuse us is to affirm that “there was no premeditation to the extermination”.

The reader must know that this question has long divided bourgeois historians; some, called “intentionalists”, argued that Hitler and the Nazis from the beginning had the intention of massacring the Jews and that they had only followed a plan premeditated since the time of “Mein Kampf”. Practically no one among serious historians today adheres to this conception. In this regard, we have already had the occasion to cite the recent work of an Israeli professor – not in the slightest Bordigist or Marxist – who claims that the emigration of Jews was the primary objective of the Nazi regime until autumn ’41, and that it was only when this emigration proved impossible that the regime turned to their massacre.[6] Another liar?

In fact, Ras l’Front themselves find themselves very much embarrassed to support what they profess to be a “stubborn and annoying fact“; the little evidence they provide indeed turns against them: “The concern for productivity will gradually appear (1941: First agreement between the SS and German industries such as IG Farben to have deportees as a workforce)“; “But Majdanek and especially Auschwitz, huge industrial centres, proved that extermination could go hand in hand with the exploitation of forced labour: the elimination of the weak, the elderly, women and children would only leave the labour force to subsist“. The least that can be said is that this famous premeditation of the extermination, realised “according to a scientifically established plan and following an industrial procedure“, takes very long to be implemented and its realisation is very chaotic (the first deportations of Jews date back to 1938, while, according to the leaflet, the first massacres do not begin until 3 years later in a first camp, their beginning in other camps phasing in until June ’44).

Not knowing how to extricate themselves from these contradictions, “Ras l’Front” copy – badly – a passage where Vidal-Naquet, responding to another polemic, explains that “a totalitarian system (…) is not an organism functioning entirely and solely (sic!) under the guidance of a leader in Nazi Germany, the Gestapo, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Occupied Territories formed many clans who neither had the same interests, nor the same politics (…)”. Vidal-Naquet’s remark is not false, with the exception that he only cites a few “clans” of the state apparatus, without identifying the decisive economic interests which, in a democratic system as well as in a totalitarian system, are at the origin of these various clans and which are, in the final analysis, the real determinants of the actions of the state. In any case, whoever could explain how this passage can support the thesis of the premeditation of the massacre of the Jews by the Nazis, is very clever…

Ras l’Front of Defenders of Capitalism

Let us now come to our third “lie”, which is to provide “an allegedly ‘materialistic’ and economist explanation of the genocide“. We put the following sentence in bold, since we cannot enframe it, because in a few words it perfectly defines what radically distinguishes Marxism from all ideologies, whatever they may be: “In other words, according to the brochure, the roots of genocide should not be sought in the realm of ideas, but in the functioning of the capitalist economy and the evils it generates“.

For once, “Ras l’Front” have perfectly grasped what we are saying! And they immediately became indignant: “It is clear that this theory is dangerous. It (?) amounts to denying the racist and antisemitic nature of the genocide and therefore its exceptional nature as a crime against humanity. Racism, the ideas of the far right and the hatred of Jews are given short shrift. Genocide is in no way the expression of an ideology. The argument is pernicious. It is not about denying the facts, that is, the extermination, but about the racist and antisemitic explanation of the genocide. It would be nothing more than a consequence of capitalist functioning, a means of regulation of capitalism. However, none of these arguments make sense.[7]

We do not doubt that the petty-bourgeois democrats of “Ras l’Front” have well understood, as they assure themselves, the danger of a position so pernicious as to designate as guilty of crimes committed by the Nazis, not ideas, an ideology, but capitalism itself: because capitalism is the economic system which assures their existence and their social status. That is why they declare it not guilty; it is because they fear above all a genuine struggle against capitalism, against its functioning and against the evils it generates, that they call for a simple struggle against ideas, against ideologies: these idealistic antifascists, like all ideologues, are nothing more than defenders of capitalism!

Antifascism and Anticapitalist Struggle

To conclude, “Ras l’Front” is calling for the fight against fascism, “a major danger for workers, women, as well as for the excluded, minorities (immigrants…) and the workers’ movement. They are the first to suffer from it” whereas we would denounce falsely, in antifascism, “a trap for all those who fight“: “The more far-reaching consequences of this theory being of course that there is no point in fighting against fascism, against the ideas of the extreme right. Fascism as a programme (?) would not exist, would not correspond to any determinate political form (?). The Nazis would therefore be nothing but a ‘detail’ of the history of capitalism and imperialism…. All these arguments imply, in fact, a banalisation of this period of history and the political categories (sic) which constitute these regimes“.

All these arguments are inventions of “Ras l’Front”. Explaining that fascism is one of the forms of the domination of capital – the form of open dictatorship, the unrestrained struggle of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat – evidently does not imply that there would be no point in fighting fascism, especially if by fascism we mean not only “extreme right-wing ideas” but political forces organised by the bourgeoisie to tackle proletarian organisations, break strikes and terrorise workers in collaboration with legal forces of repression. But this implies that the fight against fascism cannot be fought with the objective of maintaining and consolidating another form of capital domination – democracy – and in alliance with its supporters. If it is not to be illusory, the struggle against fascism must be a struggle against capitalism and must be conducted on a class basis.

Democratic antifascism, which presents itself as a struggle common to all, that is, an inter-classist struggle, around the defence of the democratic form of the state and the bourgeois regime, is indeed a death trap for the proletarians in fight. It is precisely because, unlike “Ras l’Front” and the like, we do not trivialise what fascism represented (which was not a programme, but a political movement in the service of social conservation), because we try not to forget the terrible lessons of fascism and the struggle against it, that we have not been shouting every morning for 50 years about the fascist danger and that we denounce those who for 15 years have been working to get the proletarians even more involved in democratism in the name of a struggle – essentially electoral and of “ideas” – against the Front National.

No, today, the major danger for workers, women, the excluded, minorities, etc. – let’s say: proletarians, is not fascism! It is not the Front National that is deporting immigrant proletarians, sacking them, attacking pensions, lowering real wages, strengthening the police and covering its crimes, but the democratic friends of “Ras l’Front”!

The major danger is capitalism, its democratic state and the political forces, large or small, in or out of government, parliamentary or extra-parliamentary, who take on the task of serving it and deceiving the workers! The major danger is the persistence of class collaboration, fuelled by the joint action of political and trade union opportunism and the capillary network of democratic institutions, which paralyses the proletariat and prevents it from reacting effectively to the continued worsening of its exploitation and the growing deterioration of its situation.

“Ras l’Front” and company contribute to the maintenance of this asphyxiating class collaboration, by striving to keep the old trap of democratic anti-fascism up and running. That is why they fight those who denounce this scam and try to prevent the spread of their positions. Behind what may still appear to be a simple and obscure struggle of “ideas”, there are in reality irreconcilable class positions at stake, which are destined to be resolved tomorrow in open social clashes.

Then all the proletarians will see Ras l’Front on the other side of the barricade, on the side of the bourgeois, “fascists” and “democrats” united at last…

***

In issue no. 454 (July-August-September 2000) of this journal we responded to the attacks of Ras l’Front against our brochure. Around the same time that this organisation was publishing its leaflet, a work by Valérie Igounet appeared in the bookshops: “Histoire du négationnisme en France”[8]. It is the commercial version of a doctoral thesis, therefore a university work supposed to offer all the guarantees of seriousness, objectivity and scientific rigour that would characterise the noble institution of university. Furthermore, our learned professor boasts in her introduction about the interest of her study, which “lies in uncovering the history and evolution of negationism. It helps to understand how former militants of the ultra-left, where one finds the most ardent defenders of the anti-colonialist struggle, were seduced by an antisemitic discourse and were able to join with a neo-Nazi extremist right-wing. It reflects the French exception of the Faurisson affair (…). It shows the true ideological stakes of negationism [and its use by the Front National]. Finally, it undermines a method of negation aimed at making people in good faith perplexed“, etc. Valérie Igounet therefore claims not only to write the history of a particular conception, which she prefers to call “negationism” rather than “revisionism” because it is “an ideology and not a scientific or even critical approach“: “the negation of the Nazi policy of extermination against the Jews of Europe” (which means both the “negation of the will of extermination of the Third Reich” and the “negation of the systematic, massive and industrial annihilation of the Jewish community“), but also to explain the impact of this conception in France and to reveal its real stakes, with a particular emphasis on the role of the “ultra-left”.

We have no intention of making a detailed criticism of this book, which does not have the value attributed to it by its author. For the most part, in conformity with vulgar bourgeois historiography, it is an inevitably superficial and therefore tedious history of some individuals[9], which does not allow us to understand the true reasons and stakes of the ideas and positions adopted by the different parties. Not that Igounet does not give an explanation of negationism, and does not indicate the political orientations that have governed her work; but, and this is what interests us to highlight, this explanation and these orientations, which are obviously not specific to this historian alone, have the function of contributing to the smokescreen of the dominant ideology, in the form of the false alternative: fascism against democracy. More precisely, this book, which aims to be a reference, has as an implicit aim to demonstrate the existence of an opponent of democracy, at work in an almost uninterrupted manner since the end of the World War and the defeat of the Nazis: negationism, bringing together the extreme right and ultra-left in France. The attacks against our brochure and our movement occupy a prominent place in it.

Defence of Israel

On the back cover of the book one can read that “one of the political goals [of negationism] soon reveals itself: it is a question, in France as in the other countries where negationism has spread, of denying the historical foundations of the Israeli state“. In the introduction, Igounet explains: “Being a contemporary of the birth of Israel, negationism from its origins represents true ideological issues“. Namely: “Negationism wants to deliver a fundamental message: the Jews lied in order to make the West feel guilty and allow the creation of their state“.

More precisely, antisemitism, anti-Zionism and anti-communism constitute “the political meanings of extreme right-wing negationism“. If, on their side, the negationists of the ultra-left claim to fight against the illusion of an “opposition between democracies and totalitarian regimes“, “they add a fight, shared with the extreme right, to their struggle against the lie of Capital: the struggle against the ‘Zionist imperialist’ state. The international context participates in this denunciation (…) [PLO charter of 1964 whose objective is the destruction of the state of Israel, UN resolution of 1975 which equates Zionism with racism]. In the name of anti-imperialism and anti-racism, some claim to be anti-Zionists and revolt against ‘Jewish nationalism’ while rejecting any idea of antisemitism. The negationist core of the ultra-left will follow this ideological path and will explain that the sacralisation of the Shoah results in a new sovereign state, Israel, which, since its foundation, has used the reference to the genocide as an excuse for its transgressions. (…) On several occasions the shift from anti-Zionism to antisemitism will be real“.

It is therefore the opposition to the state of Israel, which, according to our historian, would be the source and main cause of negationism, it would be anti-Zionism – the opposition to Israeli colonialism and expansionism, of which Zionism is the ideology and programme – which would explain the convergence between the extreme right and this ultra-left.

What is this but the old and hackneyed argument of the supporters of the Hebrew state that anti-Zionism is only a variety of antisemitism in order to discredit it? Igounet provides no prima facie evidence to this argument that she destroys herself without realising it by writing, in the following sentence, that “contemporary negationist propaganda thinks it legitimises its discourse by resorting to anti-Zionism. (…) This ‘anti-Zionism’ specific to two ideologies [extreme right and ultra-left – Editor’s note] is taking on a cause, the defence of the Palestinians, which becomes its alibi, its stamp of anti-racism“: In other words, true anti-Zionism, without quotation marks, is indeed anti-racism, a legitimate cause, and that is why some antisemites may try to hide behind a specific variety of it![10]

In an attempt to make her claim, Igounet is forced to “forget” that the extreme right is much more characterised by anti-Arab racism than by anti-Zionism or support for the Palestinians; she is obliged to “forget” that it is this anti-Arab racism that has been the driving force behind the progress of the Front National, particularly among the Pieds-Noirs[11] – including among the Jewish Pieds-Noirs; to “forget” that Le Pen was proud to call himself a “friend of Israel” or that, in the mid-1980s, the vice-president of the France-Israel Parliamentary Association was an elected Jewish member of the F.N.

The creation of the state of Israel was not caused by any feeling of guilt on the part of the West (!) or by a sacralisation of the Shoah, because it is not feelings or ideas that determine the actions of states (and a fortiori that govern their creation and constitute their historical basis), but very specific material interests, whether directly economic or political. The creation of Israel met the needs of imperialism: on the one hand, in the context of the gigantic population transfers that the victorious imperialists carried out in Europe after 1945 (forced ethnic cleansing which saw the deportation of millions of people), by solving the “Jewish problem” through the departure of this remaining population to a non-European territory (something the Western imperialisms had denied the Nazis before the war); on the other hand by constituting a state in the Middle East of which the Zionists would give the assurance that it would defend the imperialist interests in the region[12].

If Jewish populations voluntarily flocked to Israel, it was not because they were convinced by Zionist ideology, or even because of the terrible ordeal of Nazism, but simply because they had nowhere else to go! We also know that to accelerate this movement, Zionist terrorists did not hesitate to detonate bombs in synagogues in order to make Jews from Arab countries immigrate to Israel. Nevertheless, ideology plays a considerable role in the mobilisation of individuals and the bourgeoisie cannot do without it. Each ruling class therefore uses all the resources of its institutions (church, school, media, etc.) to elaborate and constantly disseminate propaganda among the exploited and the entire population in order to make them accept and “spontaneously” defend the established order. The official ideology of the Israeli state is obviously based, in addition to religion, on the Nazi genocide, on the “sacralisation of the Shoah”, from which it derives not only its legitimacy on the international scene, but that it also uses to cement the internal union between classes, to make its population accept a permanent state of war and an omnipresent militarism. This is why the defenders of the Israeli state, whether ideologues or historians (bourgeois historians are always ideologues), do not want and cannot see in the revisions or negations of the massacre of Jews anything other than a threatening attack against this state.

Anti-Materialism and Democracy

Igounet devotes several chapters to a group of the ultra-left (around the Parisian bookshop “La Vieille Taupe”) which, according to her, rallied to negationism under the particularly pernicious influence of the “theses of Amadeo Bordiga[13], in particular the rejection of antifascism. These elements indeed went as far as to reproduce and put on sale at the beginning of the 70s our article of 1960 “Auschwitz or the Great Alibi”. Now this “booklet is at the origin of the hypermaterialist interpretation of the Jewish genocide and, therefore [sic], of the relativist interpretation that the militants of La Vieille Taupe made of it[14].

What is in fact the prohibitive sin of this text, according to our historian? – Its materialism: “Without questioning the reality of the Jewish genocide, [the disciples of Amadeo Bordiga] adopt a purely materialistic conception of the event” (The horror!): “Capital is the cause of the elimination of the Jews. It massacred the Jewish people and then justified the Second World War by the horror of that massacre. Auschwitz is therefore nothing more than an alibi, useful to capitalism, to justify its exploitation of the proletarian class“. “(…) Capitalism is the only one responsible for the death of the Jews. (…) The genocide no longer relates to antisemitism but to the calculation of Capital. Hitler’s willingness for extermination, determined by the ferocity of his hatred towards the Jewish people, is undeniably obscured, because his emphasis on it contributes to the mystification. One of the consequences of this conception is that Auschwitz is no longer considered an unimaginable event [?] (…) The Hitlerian system was incomparable [sic] because of its racist, premeditated and industrial massacre. The Bordigist analysis deliberately conceals this triple character and accuses the victorious powers of the Second World War of exploiting the Manichean interpretation of the entirely fictitious genocide, born as a result of the Nuremberg trial. (…)”.

If the consequence of our conception is that Auschwitz (that is, the massacre of the Jews) is not an unimaginable event (Igounet probably means: exceptional, extraordinary, without example, etc.), how is it possible to see in this conception a basis of negationism, according to which it is precisely an unimaginable, unreal, fictitious event?

It should be noted that the last accusation that is attributed to us, which includes the curious notion of an “entirely fictitious Manichean interpretation, born as a result of the Nuremberg Trial“, is added by Igounet for the purposes of her case: contrary to the nostalgics of fascism with which the historian would like to equate us, our analysis does not aim to exonerate one (German) imperialism by blaming another (“the winning powers”) for the invention of entirely fictitious crimes, but to explain that the capitalist system is responsible for these unfortunately too real crimes; unlike democrats, our analysis accuses all imperialisms, be they fascist or democratic. This is where the problem lies, as we see from the quotation: “Auschwitz, the cement of antifascism, because it is the incarnation of absolute horror, represents a radical cut in the history of the 20th century and makes an irreducible distinction between democracies and the Nazi regime. By trivialising Auschwitz with such a reductive discourse, some ultra-leftists manage to put bourgeois democracies and totalitarian regimes on the same level“.

Here we go! It is Auschwitz that proves the fundamental distinction between democracy and Nazism, it is Auschwitz that is indeed the alibi for democracy in concrete (or in cement)!

Our text seeks to refute this alibi, on the one hand in terms of theoretical analysis by showing that Auschwitz is the product of the capitalist mode of production of which fascism and democracy are only two modes of government interchangeable by the bourgeoisie according to the evolution of political and social situations; on the other hand, in terms of facts, by recalling, in addition to the many other massacres and genocides committed by capitalism, including French even recently, that Western democratic imperialism, in full knowledge of the facts, had allowed the Nazis to massacre the Jews (and others), had refused to welcome them, had refused to move their little fingers to save them! The historian has read our brochure, she has read these pages, but since she cannot contest them, she prefers to remain silent, she prefers to hide that part of history which bothers her: no matter how laden they are with university diplomas – or rather the more they are laden with these diplomas – democrats are forced to deform, deny history to defend the bourgeois system, and their place in that system.

Moreover, the danger is more serious than it may seem, the historian warns: “This interpretation is not confined to the French extreme left. In the aftermath of the Six-Day War [war between Israel and Egypt], we can read in the communist press [sic!: in reality in the columns of “L’Humanité”] thatracial discrimination, antisemitism are the result of the reaction of the exploiting social classes – and not the result of one people or another as such (…). The massacres in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, etc., were the result of fascism, that is, the most bestial form of capitalism.’ For a long time, Marxism has avoided the problem of racism by analysing it from the economic angle – the class struggle – rather than from the historical-cultural angle [?]. It is this evolution, specific to the discourse of a certain extreme French left, that the militants of La Vieille Taupe have undertaken [?]. By considering Auschwitz as an alibi, some find a guarantee for their ideological survival. In their view, capitalism bears the entire responsibility for the Second World War. It has minimised, masked, repressed its crimes by the fictitious introduction, in history, of the gas chamber.

According to Igounet, the evil is thus Marxism – at least until it has renounced the class struggle, that is, ceased to be Marxism – because it holds capitalism entirely responsible for war, fascism (instead of seeing it as the fault of a people, a culture, bad ideas or the evilness of leaders, in short everything but this system), Marxism which, in the anti-Israeli periods, manages to infect the PCF! By (falsely) blaming capitalism for the massacres and war, “this hyperrationalist discourse” [sic] would thus have the function of guaranteeing and legitimising revolutionary, anti-capitalist positions, while at the same time leading to the negation of the gas chambers, i.e. the negation of the unimaginable and incomparable crimes of fascism (considered something that is alien to capitalism).

As soon as she moves beyond the narrow scope of the simple chronicle of the actions of individuals to set out general political conclusions, our historian does not bother at all to substantiate her assertions or interpretations, which constitute the most banal bourgeois democratic propaganda. The reason is simple: behind the objective appearance, all her work is nothing more than a rather crude contribution to the consolidation of the dominant ideology in the service of the defence of capitalism. However, as she herself points out, ideology is by definition the opposite of a “scientific or even critical approach“. This is the reason why the mortal opponent of all ideologies and ideologues is materialism.

Perversity of “Bordigism”

Valérie Igounet thinks that a French specificity exists and that it consists in the Faurisson affair: the support given in the 1980s to this professor passing as reactionary, who denies the existence of gas chambers and finds excuses for Hitler in the hostile attitude of the Jews towards him, by elements she says were influenced by “Bordigism”. The bourgeois, be they historians or not, cannot help but personify political positions because they see in events nothing but the action of a few Great Men imposing their all-powerful will on human herds. The “theses of Bordiga” are nothing more than the true classical positions, positions that go beyond particular individuals who express them at one time or another in history. But making a historian understand this is beyond the power of human beings!

As for the idea that these negationists are or have been more or less close to us, it is refuted by the interested parties themselves; what, and this is not by chance, had seduced some in the movement from which they came, is much more the intellectualist and anti-party deviation represented by the magazine “Invariance” whose leaders had broken with our organisation in the mid-1960’s[15].

Igounet reluctantly acknowledges that, in the environment she describes as ultra-left, some criticism has been levelled against Faurisson and the “small groups” (“La Guerre Sociale”, mainly) that support him. On this point she writes that “the criticism of the International Communist Party [against them] must be clarified[16], and she even goes as far as to quote a few sentences from articles of “Prolétaire”, admitting – it would be difficult to do otherwise – that there was no “integration of Faurissonian theses“. But she does so in such a way that our criticism seems to be summed up in the seemingly abstract and short-sighted accusation that “La Guerre Sociale” was as anti-materialist as the democrats: in fact, instead of clarifying our position, she conceals it.

In order to clarify our criticism, we will quote one of these articles a little more extensively; it seems to have been written expressly to refute twenty years in advance the hateful stupidities of our historian and of the whole brotherhood of denouncers of “Bordigism”.

It was a criticism of a leaflet of the above-mentioned group which, claiming to fight democratic antifascism, actually posed the problem backwards:

instead of denouncing the real content of democracy and awakening the workers’ revolt against all forms of capitalist domination, they apply themselves to the idea that fascism is no worse than democracy, which ultimately banalises all bourgeois exploitation and oppression. Instead of accusing democracy, they almost excuse fascism, and blame democrats for inventing the crimes of the open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

This absurdity is due to the fact that, even if they sometimes copy Marxist phrases, these people are idealists who have the same anti-materialist conception of history as the vulgar bourgeois democrat. Hence their stupid, otherwise inexplicable stubbornness to rush to the existence of gas chambers in extermination camps. Why do they want it so badly that it is almost a matter of principle?

For the democratic philistine, the extermination of Jews is the inexplicable horror by its very nature, the gratuitous crime of Nazi monsters. Our brave anarchists and anarchoids do not understand any more than they do, they see the facts the same way. And since they disturb them, they deny that they took place.

[…]

In reality, no one needs to invent horrors and it is difficult to exaggerate: capitalism produces much more than imagination can. The important thing is to know what attitude we have in the face of these horrors.

[…]

The proletariat does not deny the reality of torture, massacres and exterminations, even if it is not alone in suffering them. It does not deny the countless horrors perpetrated by the bourgeoisie, but it shows their real cause. Which – careful! does not mean that it absolves the executing agents. These horrors do not leave it indifferent, they arouse its hatred and its will to fight them. But it can only really fight them by placing itself on its class field, with its class perspective and its class weapons, and not by allying itself with forces that actually aim to paralyse it and subjugate it to the bourgeois order.[17]

Obviously Igounet cannot mention our analysis, which is unequivocal, because otherwise it would be impossible for her to continue to accuse us. She could not peremptorily claim: “these few criticisms must not conceal an attraction of the ultra- and extreme French left-wing to the negation of the Jewish genocide“, an attraction she wants to see proven, among other things, in our presence and the sale of our brochure during the festivities of Lutte Ouvrière, despite the protests of “Ras l’Front”[18]. In the face of such blatant dishonesty, the reader will appreciate the historian’s melancholic reflection spicing things up: “the initial criticisms of the Marxist left, with regard to the history of the Second World War, could have been more effective if they had not been perverted by two systems of thought: Bordigism and negationism[19].

Somebody ought to get a kick in the ass for this mess…[20]

Negationists, Alibi of Democrats

We agree on one point with our accuser who pretends to sigh for a very kind Marxism, not perverted by the materialists attached to the class struggle: there is indeed a certain “French specificity” (although in truth it is only relative). While a small number of negationists exist in different countries (they are the most numerous in the United States), it is only in France, or almost only in France, that they periodically come to the forefront of the media scene, it is only in France where they provoke some resounding affairs – and it is only in France that one can forge a career by writing large books about them.

If the media regularly highlight the negationists, if they make a big fuss about them, surely not to approve of them but to be outraged by their activities, it is because they are useful to the French bourgeoisie, because they fulfil a necessary function in its political system, to the point that if they did not exist they would have to be invented – and moreover they were established as a current by the very same media which made them known to the general public! Democratic antifascism, this interclassist union to defend a form of the bourgeois state, to make the proletariat renounce its class interests and enlist itself for the imperialist war, is indeed, to this day, a fundamental element of the official ideology in France.

But as the era of the war fades and with it the memory of Nazism, democratic antifascism needs to be reactivated through periodic opinion campaigns that must make people believe that there is a fascist threat and a resurgence of antisemitism. This was what happened the moment the article “Auschwitz…” appeared in Programme Communiste, it was what happened when it was first published in a brochure (in the latter case it was the publication of an interview with the former Commissioner for Jewish Questions by “l’Express”, which had triggered an opinion campaign). Since then, these ideological mobilisations have grown under the pretext of the electoral surge of the Front National, to the point that organisations have been formed whose sole objective is to spread democratic antifascism (“Ras l’Front”).

Moreover, and this is perhaps where the French specificity resides, this ideology is also used by the French bourgeoisie in the sphere of foreign policy, vis-à-vis the eternal German rival. The myth of antifascist France and, consequently, the “anti-national” nature of the Pétainist regime, was spectacularly reaffirmed once again during the Papon trial; the latter was convicted of complicity in the crime of genocide – complicity with the Germans – because, by definition, a high-ranking French official cannot be charged with genocide, as this would be acknowledging the historic responsibility of the French state (and of the dominant class). Only Germany is eternally responsible for this imprescriptible crime and, in order to redeem itself, it must pay the greatest attention to the interests of the virtuous France, an innocent victim of Germanic barbarism.

The aim of recurrent democratic campaigns against an alleged fascist threat, against a resurgence of antisemitism, is also to trivialise or conceal the spread, by bourgeois institutions, of anti-immigrant racism and, more generally, of xenophobia and racial divisions among the proletarians and the exploited masses: this daily racism does not make the headlines of the media, except when it comes to denouncing violent reactions of young proletarians or diverting a possible mobilisation to harmless democratic territory, because, by provoking the division and thus the paralysis of the working class, it is one of the major pillars of bourgeois domination over the proletariat.

Under these conditions, the “negationists”, those who deny the crimes of Nazi Germany, come at the right time to constitute new proof of the ever-emerging threat of fascism (and the German threat) that justifies the interclassist mobilisation in the defence of French democracy. The presence of “ultra-left” elements among them, which refer very vaguely to the Marxist criticism of democratic antifascism made by our current, represents an additional godsend to the bourgeoisie’s ideological watchdogs.

What better opportunity, indeed, to make people believe in a convergence of anti-democratic extremists of both sides, in the inevitable fall of intransigent Marxism into totalitarian perversions, what better opportunity for a preventive campaign against the class independence of the proletariat, its struggles and its organisations?

Shoah Business

There is another aspect that gives a unique perspective on Igounet’s work: it is what some historians call the “Shoah business”, the genocide business that is particularly active in the United States, but which also exists in Europe. Recent American works, written by authors who are neither antisemitic negationists nor Marxists perverted by reading our publications, have studied the history of the commemoration of the Jewish genocide. Drawing also on Israeli “new historians” who describe how the state’s leaders “used the Shoah to strengthen the Jewish state”, they show that Holocaust remembrance is an “ideological construction”[21] and that in the early 1970s a “Holocaust industry” was created in the United States, one of whose pillars is the supposed uniqueness of the massacre of the Jews by the Nazis.

Finkelstein, son of survivors of the Warsaw ghetto – whom it is therefore difficult to accuse of antisemitism – states in his book that “the place of the Jewish genocide in the public discourse of American Jewish leaders is historically determined, not by the interests of the surviving victims, but by loyalty towards the American government[22]. According to him: “The Holocaust system is based on two central dogmas: 1) the Holocaust is a unique historical event; 2) the Holocaust constitutes the highest point of irrational hatred (…) towards the Jews.” “(…) Uniqueness is a primary factor in the Holocaust system. The designated task [of those who write on this subject – Editor’s note] is to provide proof of it, whereas the expression of doubt is equivalent to negationism. (…) From the Holocaust being a unique phenomenon to the conception that the Holocaust that cannot be rationally understood, there is only a small step. If the Holocaust is unprecedented in history, its place is above history and it is therefore not possible to understand it through history. (…) According to this vision, a rational understanding of the Holocaust is equivalent to its negation. For rationality leads to the denial of the uniqueness and mystery of the Holocaust.[23]

One thus better understands the origin of the attacks of Igounet and others (from Ras l’Front to Mouvement Communiste) against the “hyper-rationalism” of our conception, against our effort to explain in a materialistic way these tragic events, and the bizarre accusation that this would lead to Auschwitz no longer being an “unimaginable” event: it is the echo here of the powerful propaganda developed there.

Finkelstein is not mistaken in asserting that the concept of “uniqueness of the Shoah” is a “mystification“, “intellectually empty and morally unworthy“, because it prohibits, for example, making any connection between Auschwitz and Hiroshima, or between the massacre of the Jews and that of Armenians. According to him, this concept is the basis of a veritable business (an industry, he writes) that not only benefits renowned intellectuals engaged in a veritable “intellectual fraud“, but above all allows American Jewish organisations to engage in a veritable “racket” to obtain reparations from various European countries and institutions. The sums thus obtained are mainly kept by these organisations instead of being distributed to the victims’ families (what he calls “double extortion“). Finally, the ideological exploitation of the memory of the genocide is used by “a country with one of the most fearsome military powers, with a disastrous human rights record” – Israel – to present itself as a victim state.

By questioning the unique character of the mass massacre of the Jews by the Nazis and by virulently denouncing the hypocritical use and “sacralisation” of this massacre over the past few decades, these authors – whose works have caused a fine scandal but have not been refuted – completely undermine two of the pillars of our historian’s ideological construction and thus the accusation she and all the democrats make against us and against Marxism.

It is not necessary to dig very deep to see the last pillar and the entire building collapse.

Appendix: And what about the gas chambers?

Valérie Igounet published the full text of an interview with a certain J.C. Pressac, whose archives she used, as an appendix to her book. Initially a collaborator of Faurisson, this former negationist convinced himself during his research of Faurisson’s error. He then published a technical book that was hailed by the press as providing, for the first time, irrefutable proof of the existence of gas chambers in Nazi camps. However, Pressac, studying the plans for the Auschwitz facilities, concludes that their irrefutable transformation for homicide was carried out after their construction and commissioning: “The first results obtained were two points. Concerning the history of the camp, the demonstration that the crematoria had been designed as normal sanitary facilities and then converted into liquidation centres for ‘Jews unfit for labour’, that is, women, children and the elderly. (…) The criminal transformation was undertaken at the end of November 1942“.

Pressac thus establishes that there is no evidence of an exterminatory intent that would have characterised the Nazi regime from its origins (or even before, since the foundation of the Nazi party), since the “homicidal gas chambers” where they exist (their date of commissioning is phased between the camps) were the result of a modification of previous installations, intended for another use (disinfection). He also revises downward the estimates of the real number of victims in concentration camps and argues that “the emotional multiplier [of previous estimates compared to reality] varies from 2 to 7 and is on average from 4 to 5“. Summarising the conclusions of this work, he writes “As for the massacre of the Jews, several fundamental notions must be fully reiterated. The figures put forward need to be reviewed in full. The term ‘genocide’ is no longer suitable (…). The concept of systematic extermination programmed from the outset must be abandoned. Rather, there was a gradual radicalisation, imposed by the war, which itself exacerbated the violent antisemitism of Hitler and his immediate entourage. Increasingly coercive and drastic measures were developed and applied, leading to the ‘mass massacre’ in April 1942.[24]

If this is not, in a way, the confirmation of one of the points that has led us to be accused of being at the origin of negationism (the fact that the massacre of the Jews was not the consequence, planned long in advance, of the Nazis’ bad ideas, but the consequence of the situation in which German capitalism found itself), what is it? And if, on the other hand, our opponents accuse us of revising official history by applying Marxist reductionism that would open the way to the negation of the genocide, what shouldn’t they say about this Pressac?

But it is true that he is not a Marxist, but a conservative bourgeois: his words are perhaps disturbing, they are not dangerous…

***

Of all disciplines, history is probably the one that can least claim to be above society and its class and state conflicts, if only because it cannot simply collect and gather “raw facts”, but must order them and interpret them according to a very precise analysis. Marxism, that is to say historical materialism, is the only one who can make a correct analysis of events, the only one who can pierce the fog of ideologies that veils and distorts the causes and meaning of human actions in societies divided into antagonistic classes. This does not mean that its role is to make the truth prevail over the lies of bourgeois ideology, for we do not expect this triumph from the clash of ideas, but from the class confrontation pushed to its ultimate conclusion, the overthrow of bourgeois states and the establishment of the international dictatorship of the proletariat, an essential step in uprooting capitalism and opening the way to communist society. But by dispelling the smokescreens of bourgeois ideology, Marxism allows the proletarian vanguard, organised in its class party, to lead this confrontation by avoiding all the traps set by the enemy class, thanks to the lessons of past battles, victories and defeats.

The polemic against the diverse series of our opponents on this crucial issue that diverted the communist movement – the struggle against fascism and the attitude to have towards bourgeois democracy – is therefore nothing academic or literary: it is nothing less than the defence of the cardinal positions of Marxism, the defence of the absolute necessity of the class independence of the proletariat, the defence of the antidemocratic position of the proletarian struggle. This polemic is being conducted today with leaflets, articles or books, so on a level, it seems, disembodied, on the level of ideas alone. Do not be mistaken: tomorrow the adversary will use more “material” means in addition to his “ideological” and political means, to fight the Marxists and prevent them from “perverting” the proletarians. The working class must also respond with the full range of means at its disposal, without shying away from the use of force, without missing the “happy” time when the bourgeoisie exploited and dominated it democratically.

And it is on this ground, on the ground of open force, class against class, that the outcome of the polemic – and the future of humanity – will finally be decided!

Source: Le Prolétaire, No. 454 July-August-September 2000, No. 456 January-February-March 2001 and No. 457 April-May-June 2001.

[*] The name of the group is derived from the French expression “ras-le-bol”, which means to be annoyed or fed up with something: here the far-right party Front National.

[1] Leaflet “rédigé par des militants de Ras l’Front 18”. All the following passages in the first part of the article are taken from this leaflet, unless stated otherwise.

[2] This curious clarification is not made by chance: its purpose is not to deny us a democratic discussion that we have never considered proposing to them, but to discourage the militants and supporters of “Ras l’Front” from becoming aware of our positions and discussing them, in the same way that the Stalinists called the revolutionaries “Hitlerians”, “fascist provocateurs”, etc., in order to prevent any contact with them and justify an expedient disregard for them. One could quote the proud reply of an activist from Ras l’Front in a Parisian meeting to the question of whether he had read the brochure he had just denounced in his speech: “I don’t read shitty literature!”

[3] Using the expression “bas du front” to pun on “Ras l’Front”.

[4] cf. Vidal-Naquet, “Les assassins de la mémoire”, La Découverte, 1995. A historian specialised in Greek antiquity, Vidal-Naquet, who is also director of the Jewish Archives of Paris, is a famous left-wing intellectual.

[5] The brochure recounts the case of Joel Brandt who, with Himmler’s agreement, had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the Allied authorities to save Jews (it was a matter of negotiating the exile of a million Jews). Vidal-Naquet tries to put this case into perspective by simply seeing it as a manoeuvre by the SS leader who felt the war was lost. If it is obvious that there was a manoeuvre, it is just as obvious that the Allies coldly refused to accept any of these Jews! We refer to our article on No. 440 of this newspaper where other facts of the same kind are described, damning for the “democracies”.

[6] Yehuda Bauer, “Juifs à vendre?”, Ed. Liana Levi, 1996. Cited in “Prolétaire” No. 440. The professor also added, as did our brochure, that even after the massacre had begun, the Nazis could have changed their policies and made contacts with the Allies to make Jews emigrate in exchange for other compensation; but if the Jews were for sale by the Nazis, nobody, over there, in the camp of democracies, wanted them.

[7] The leaflet goes on to put forward the following arguments to refute our analysis in terms of classes: 1) “most [Jews] were workers or employees“. We have already responded to such an assertion, put forward by the group “Mouvement Communiste”, by showing that it is contrary to the truth: see “Le Prolétaire” n° 444; 2) Gypsies, homosexuals and disabled people did not belong to the petty bourgeoisie, yet they were persecuted and massacred. But that is why, in our opinion, hostility towards these groups has never grown on the scale, social weight and political role of antisemitism. Moreover, what happens with this observation to Ras l’Front’s assertion that antisemitic ideology plays an exclusive role in the massacres of the Nazis? 3) One may wonder why big capital did not take advantage of this to eliminate the whole petty bourgeoisie (!). Well, quite simply because eliminating the whole petty bourgeoisie, assuming that it would have been possible (who would have done it?), would have left the big bourgeoisie alone, without any buffer layer against the proletariat. Big capital needed to use the petty bourgeoisie, after having diverted its anger to the ideal scapegoat of the Jewish competitor, as a shock troop against the disoriented but still organised proletariat (to motivate those enraged petty bourgeois, so fearful of being declassed, who were Nazi militants, class struggle, Marxism, etc., were denounced as Jewish inventions); then to use it to oversee the general mobilisation, in the war economy and in the war itself, of the working class and the working masses in the name of the fatherland and, beyond the fatherland, since the Reich included several nations, in the name of the German race. This is why antisemitism continued to play the role of ideological mobilisation during the war, which had served big capital so well in the previous period. The war was presented by the Nazi propaganda machine as a vital defensive action for the German race against the hostile actions of the Jewish race: it was an explanation that perfectly satisfied the base and cadres of the Nazi apparatus.

[8] cf. “Histoire du négationnisme en France”, Ed. du Seuil, March 2000.

[9] Igounet describes several “ages”, several generations of negationists corresponding to a few individuals, from authentic fascists at first to the literature teacher Faurisson in the early 1980s, up to the former deported resistance fighter Rassinier, an ex-social democrat turned libertarian who was messing around with the extreme right. She devotes a significant part of her time to “ultra-left” negationism, the source of which she sees in our brochure and in our criticism of democratic antifascism.

[10] There is no doubt that there is an antisemitic strand in the extreme right, closely linked to the fundamentalist Catholic current and to the nostalgics of Pétainism, but which no longer has, by far, the importance it once had, nor the current importance of anti-immigrant racism. It was this traditionalist current that finally prevailed in the Front National, provoking the departure of the Jews who were there in the mid-1980s.

[11] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pied-Noir

[12] Since its inception, Zionism has always sought an imperialist patron to achieve its aims (the creation of a Jewish state). It did not even hesitate to enter into agreements with Nazi Germany to facilitate Jewish emigration and transfers of Jewish capital to Palestine in exchange for the promise to purchase German commodities (the Haavara agreement). Despite the hostility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, among others, which feared complications with Great Britain, this Haavara was maintained on Hitler’s own instructions almost until the war. For a detailed description, see Yehuda Bauer “Juifs à vendre”, Ed. Liana Levi, p. 21-54.

[13] The anarchoid, anti-Leninist and anti-party dilettante group of La Vieille Taupe could only be fundamentally hostile to these positions, even and especially when it pretended, out of intellectual snobbery, to find interesting some writings by the individual Bordiga. It was the magazine “Invariance” – a deviation of intellectualist origin – that emerged from a split of the party in the mid-1960s, which, according to their own words, had a certain influence in this field.

[14] cf. “Histoire du négationnisme…”, p.188.

[15] According to Igounet: “(…) Pierre Guillaume insisted on the importance of the journal Invariance, taking up the theses of Amadeo Bordiga. (…) They recognise themselves in Bordiga in an essential point: the rejection of antifascism. (…) Pierre Guillaume considers Auschwitz or the Great Alibi an essential text, a text that gives an even more solid theoretical point of view on the interpretation of genocide than that of Paul Rassinier” [sic! This former resistance fighter and social-democrat deputy who passed to anarchism, still foreign to Marxism, was quite incapable of giving any theoretical point of view on any subject whatsoever!]. cf. “Histoire du négationnisme…”, p. 186. In fact, the true political nature and thus the irreducible hostility of these people towards our current can be easily deduced from a testimony that describes them as “visceral anti-Bolsheviks“, cf. op. cit., p. 184, note 8. For a critique of “Invariance”, see “Programme Communiste” No. 67 (July 1975): “Clarification regarding some ‘Surpassers of Marxism’“. Later on, Igounet classifies a group like the P.I.C. (“Pour une Intervention Communiste”) existing in the 1980s when they published “La jeune taupe”, which defended negationist theses, among those who used “the deforming prism of Bordigism“, because they criticised “‘bourgeois and capitalist’ democracies“!… This was an anarchoid group that emerged from the ICC.

[16] cf. “Histoire du négationnisme en France”, p. 708.

[17] cf. “Infantile Anti-Anti-Fascism“, Le Prolétaire No. 322.

[18] She reveals to her readers that “in 1998, at the festival of Lutte Ouvrière, Auschwitz or the Great Alibi was distributed on the stand of the ICP. Despite the insistence of the anti-racist organisation Ras l’Front, which demanded the withdrawal of this work, the festival management did not wish to intervene“. Ras l’Front tells her that this brochure was already on sale “4 years ago”, see “History…”, p. 602. See on this subject “Le Prolétaire” number 446. We can inform her that we have been distributing this brochure on this occasion for more than twenty years… In the final paragraph of her conclusion, devoted to the international extension of negationism, she cites the case of Italy where, as in France, elements of a “Bordigist tendency” would disseminate these positions. It should therefore be noted that, contrary to what she writes, the Genoese Publishing House “Graphos” (targeted because it published Garaudy’s book “The Foundations of Israel’s Foreign Policy” in Italian) is not run by “former friends of Amadeo Bordiga” and is not linked, to our knowledge, to the “Gruppo Comunista Internazionalista”, a group created by a split from the party in 1965. It is a Publishing House publishing marginal works and authors from various sources – including Bordiga texts – on a purely commercial basis.

[19] cf. “Histoire…”, p. 309.

[20] French: “Il y a des coups de pied au cul qui se perdent…”, literally: “There are kicks in the ass that get lost…”, meaning that one or more persons who behave or say something unbearable with impunity should be put in their place.

[21] cf. Peter Novick, “The Holocaust in American Life”, quoted in “Libération”, 15/2/1. According to this author: “To claim that the Holocaust is part of American history is a moral alibi” that allows “to relieve responsibilities that, in reality, fall to Americans faced with their past, present and future“, quoted in Norman G. Finkelstein, “L’industrie de l’Holocauste. Réflexions sur l’exploitation de la souffrance des Juifs”, Ed. La Fabrique, p. 138. Finkelstein recalls not only that the reference to the Holocaust is used as an excuse by Israeli leaders, but he also points out that, taken up by American leaders to vilify their opponents of the moment, the reference to Nazi massacres also serves as an alibi to relativise, hide or deny the very crimes and genocides committed by the United States or its allies.

[22] cf. “Brouillage sur l’Holocauste”, “Libération”, 8/3/1.

[23] cf. N. Finkelstein, “L’industrie de l’Holocauste…”, op. cit. The presenter of the work is careful to explain that the author’s theses cannot be applied to France, where a “duty to remember” would be necessary because of an upsurge in antisemitism and the role of Pétainism (this precaution did not prevent legal action from being taken against this book for “incitement to racial hatred”!). In an interview, the author points out that he does not find this “duty to remember” absurd, but – and this but destroys everything that one would like him to say – “provided that one does not only consider the Nazi Holocaust [this is precisely what all our adversaries want] (…). American Jewish organisations have transformed this duty of remembrance into a Holocaust industry. They stole and defiled what happened in Europe” cf. “Liberation”, 15/2/1.

[24] cf. “Histoire…” p. 454 and 641. If the press and historians have almost unanimously praised Pressac’s work, it was first necessary for him to publish in the United States to circumvent the reticence of certain notabilities in France (such as that of the president of the Centre de Documentation Juive); his iconoclastic conclusions have indeed led him to be accused by some of “moral fault” or “invisible revisionism” and Igounet herself considers it more prudent to write that his position is “ambiguous“. cf. “Histoire…” 447-456.

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