- Patrick Crusius, the author of the El Paso massacre, explained that he was attacking Hispanics after reading The Great Substitution
- The book is by the French right-wing author Renaud Camus and is about a conspiracy and supremacist theory recently reformulated in the Gallic country
- Renowned media have turned to this intellectual, who recently wondered how his book had caused that “atrocity.”
“Actually, the Hispanic community was not my goal until I read The Great Substitution .” Those words of the manifesto attributed to Patrick Crusius, the murderer of the supremacist attack in El Paso, point to the writer Renaud Camus, considered one of the leading intellectuals of the French extreme right. His book Le Grand Remplacement, or The Great Substitution, deals with the replacement of a population – supposedly original from France – by another of diverse origins, the result of immigration.
“One has a population and, suddenly, in a generation, one finds that there are, instead of that town, another or several,” according to Camus. The insane crusade against the Hispanic population in El Paso de Crusius, which left 22 people dead and dozens injured, would have been inspired by the alarm signals Camus has been formulating for years. The first edition of The Great Substitution dates from 2011.
Camus is known for his current militancy in the French extreme right. He presides over the National Council of the European Resistance (CNRE), an organization destined, among other things, to “oppose the phenomenon of the substitution of the peoples that are currently taking place in our continent, including its Islamic dimension”. It is made up of a group of essayists, writers, ex-military historians and once ideologically chosen political leaders on the right. For example, its members include Philippe Martel, who has been chief of staff of Marine Le Pen, leader of the French right-wing National Agrupation (RN) party.
As Eldiario.es reminds Stéphane François, a historian specializing in the extreme right of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), “Camus has not invented anything.” In his opinion, the author “has retaken a theme” that the French extreme right has been using for decades. “In Europe, the first to formulate this idea is a former French member of the German SS, René Binet. He developed in the 1950s the idea that a great racial and ethnic substitution would be taking place in Europe,” explains François.
That belief emerged in the fifties, which Camus now defends as a “phenomenon that is taking place” and not as a theory, has remained alive in France for decades thanks to far-right organizations such as Action-Europe but also by the ideological current of the New Right, as François recalls.
For him, now talk about Camus as the main inspirer of the El Paso attack has to do with the fact that Le Grand Remplacement has become a work that has a great diffusion, especially within what is called in the United States. right or alternative right, a nationalist movement with racist ideological philias. “Camus is known in France, his work is translated into English in publishers in the field of alt-right, ” says the historian of the CNRS. Thus, his work would benefit from an ideological “fashion” obviously dangerous in view of the type of actions it can inspire.
However, Camus in France and also outside the Gallic territory, enjoy a certain “respectability”, according to François. Otherwise, the conservative newspaper Die Welt would not have dedicated a great interview to him this week. “How could my book have caused such atrocities?”, Asked this ideologist in his statements to Die Welt.
The media presence of Camus in the French media is not negligible. Homosexual and former militant of the French Socialist Party (PS), his intellectual journey seems, although paradoxical, more attractive to those who make a career in the extreme right gala than those old French authors linked to National Socialism. “Part of the New Right’s strategy is to retake that theme of the great substitution but not with publicly recognized authors as bad, but with authors recognized as more respectable in the public debate,” says François.
This circumstance also seems to be benefiting Camus in the United States. Prestigious media such as The New York Times or Foreign Affairs magazine have alluded to the name of Camus to realize what is the ‘The Great Substitution’ referred to by the murderer of El Paso. Little importance is being given in the United States, however, to the fact that “the American ideological tradition has that more entrenched idea than in France,” according to François. “It seems strange to me to see the newspapers in the United States talk about Camus these days,” says this scholar of the extreme right.
The radicalization of the extreme right
“In the United States, this idea of the great substitution is even older. It dates even from the beginning of the 20th century or the end of the 19th century, it is in the idea of the famous WASP [acronym for Protestant Anglo-Saxon whites], who once decided to set quotas to prevent people from coming from the United States from the ‘good religion’ or the ‘good skin color’, “the historian abounds.
The racist beliefs of the WASPs have been inspiring radicals of the American extreme right for decades. They drink from them from the successive versions of the Ku Klux Klan that have existed to neo-Nazi groups, through skinheads and other forms of white supremacism.
From these small groups books have emerged whose theme and vision does not differ, in essence, from the one Camus is reformulating in France. For example, they were Americans Madison Grant, author of the early last century who signed the book ‘The Passing of The Great Race’, something like “The decline of the great race”, or the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of ‘The Rising Tide of Color: The Threat Against White World-Supremacy ‘, that is,’ The rising tide against white world supremacy. ‘
These works, although old, seem not to have been overcome. At least even in present-day France, marked by the rise and influence of Marine Le Pen and its RN. “There is currently a radicalization of the extreme right. Those works are being reissued here,” says François. “In France, they are macerating these ideas, which circulate even if they are dangerous,” he concludes.