See, earlier, by Martin Witkerk: The Relevance Of Raspail—Visionary French Novelist Saw It Coming, Published Just Before Censorship Crackdown
The Social Contract Press has just brought out a sixth edition of Jean Raspail’s prophetic novel Camp Of The Saints, including for the first time an English-language translation of the substantial foreword that the author added to the 2011 French edition. He’s not backing down.
Raspail describes the original inspiration for the novel. One day in 1971, he looked out his window on France’s Mediterranean coast and a thought occurred to him: “What if they came?”
I didn’t know who these they were, but to me it seemed bound to happen that the innumerable poor from the south, in the manner of a tidal wave, were one day going to set out for this opulent shore.
He sat down to write.
I had no plan and not the slightest idea of how things would go, nor of the characters who were going to populate my tale. I used to stop for the night without knowing what would take place the day after, and to my great surprise, the next day my pencil raced across the paper without a snag. It went like that all the way to the end.
Camp Of The Saints was first published in France in 1973. The French publisher, Robert Laffont, expecting a bestseller, took a personal interest in the novel and contacted all the major booksellers of France personally to promote it. But the initial results were disappointing: 15,000 sold out of an initial print run of 20,000. The Leftist press ignored the book; it was panned by France’s leading “conservative” daily, Le Figaro (actually it’s moved to the Left—very like National Review).
In 1975, however, the American publisher Charles Scribner brought out an English translation that sold better and attracted more favorable attention than the French original. Readers included Ronald Reagan and Samuel Huntington; Jeffrey Hart praised the novel in National Review (those were the days!). The rest of the world began to pay attention: translations followed in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Czech, and even Afrikaans.
Not long after that first English edition, Laffont Publishers noted what Raspail describes as “a slight stirring in orders that, as weeks went by, kept gaining volume and asserting itself until becoming a steady stream.”
The novel was spreading by word of mouth. The mayor of one French city kept a stack on his desk and handed them out to visitors. One cabdriver told his fares about it, managing to sell about ten copies a day. An hôtelier in Burgundy gave out free copies to his guests.
The plot of Camp Of The Saints is simple: a flotilla of ships arrives on France’s Mediterranean coast. The passengers are countless thousands of desperately poor people from the Third World. Raspail writes:
They’re weak; they’re unarmed; they inspire pity. What to do? Send them back home, but how? Pen them up in camps, behind barbed wire? Send our sailors and soldiers at them? Fire into the crowd? We ask ourselves these questions, but too late….
The white French flee helplessly to the north. As the news spreads, further flotillas set sail.
The idea, of course, is to concentrate into a single event a demographic shift occurring over decades. As Raspail put it 2011,
an ongoing submersion whose catastrophic fullness won’t register on us until the watershed of 2045-50, when the passing of the final demographic tipping-point will be under way: in the urbanized zones where two-thirds of the population live, 50 percent of the inhabitants below the age of 55 will be of non-European extraction. After which, this percentage will only keep climbing. That’s something anyone can read in the press, treated in the manner of banal information, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Every year, a number of technically well-researched books on the subject appear, but their authors take great care not to yell that the house is on fire. They make a show of approaching the matter solely from a professional angle, like a conscientious entomologist discoursing on a massive migration of ants.
The only alternative, Raspail writes, is “the unthinkable”—viz., the forced mass migration of non-Europeans back to their lands of origin, or at least out of Europe.
But, as Raspail also notes, this “unthinkable” solution has already been implemented against Europeans plenty of times in history, including several times within the last century. We have just decided to forget about it. For example:
…the transplanting of millions of Germans in 1945-46 to make space for Russians and Poles, and still other millions of Poles constrained to forsake their lands and their possessions to as many million Ukrainians and Byelorussians. Or again the million expellees boarding ships back to France from Algeria with nothing but their suitcases in March-June 1962. Brutal exoduses that the world never got excited about.
A novel such as Camp of the Saints could not be published today. Even before it appeared, in July 1972, France’s National Assembly unanimously passed the Pleven Law against “incitation to racial hatred.” But in those early days, this novel law was not rigorously enforced, and Raspail’s book got in under the wire. Every few years, the scope of the Pleven Law is expanded or its penalties increased—usually by unanimous vote of the Assembly.
Out of curiosity, Raspail separately consulted two lawyers who specialize in such matters, and they each found more than 300 lines spread over several chapters that would likely be found in violation of the law if newly published today.
Raspail gave his new foreword the English-language title “Big Other”—a pun on Big Brother, the Stalinesque dictator figure in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
Raspail is not referring to the millions of alien non-European immigrants already living in France. He regards them as mere pawns in a game being played by a far more sinister set of people of largely European ancestry but stridently universalist, anti-French, anti-Western convictions. The top priority of such people is, in Raspail’s words, “to wring the neck of the ‘core-stock Frenchman,’ in order to clear the ground once and for all.”
For example, Big Other and his way of thinking are well-represented by Eric Besson, a ranking French government official whose full title reads “Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Mutually-Supportive Development.” In 2010, M. Besson declared:
France is not one people, not one language, not one territory, not one religion, it’s a conglomerate of peoples who want to live together. There are no core French, there’s one cross-bred France and that is all.
To be French, Gavin Hewitt, BBC, January 6, 2010
These immigration enthusiasts point to the gradual crossing of native European stocks over thousands of years—Basques, Celts, Franks—to create the illusion that the flooding of France by Algerians and Congolese within the past half century is a natural continuation of French history rather than the dangerous revolution that it actually is.
Declarations such as Besson’s, and they are by no means uncommon, encouraged Raspail to research his own genealogy back to the time of Louis XIV and beyond:
No name ever slips in that could make you suspect any exotic ancestry whatsoever. I’m not a crossbreed. A rough count would probably say that for the moment there are still close to 40 million of us in the same column: core stock French and glad of it….
Back in 1973, Raspail sent copies of his novel to many prominent Frenchmen, including Leftist politicians. He comments
Those are the folks who should have shamed me and smothered me beneath their silence and disdain. Not at all! They responded courteously, starting with François Mitterrand. They in no way took it ill that I thought to send them such a book, and a personalized and signed one at that! If they didn’t agree with it, they let me know plainly, but closed with “cordially” (Lionel Jospin) or “with faithful regards” (Jean-Pierre Chevènement). Some letters are warm and deeply reflective, well outside the mainstream rut and knee-jerk reactions of the Prevailing Orthodoxy.
Raspail found this quite encouraging:
All these folks who are or were participating in the country’s government or the molding of opinion, practice a double way of talking: one that’s for public consumption, and another that’s personal and kept hidden. If they ever came right out and bucked the tide, faced with that whole pack—media, show biz, artists, human-rights types, sociologists, academics, activist groups, bishops, technocrats, humanitarians, community organizers, and I could keep right on going—they’d be signing their civil death warrants.
But would this happen now? Or has life-long indoctrination and Political Correctness conditioning reached the point where the Left actually believes its own propaganda—and feels entitled to react with rage when challenged?
The newly expanded sixth edition of Camp of the Saints can be ordered from US, Inc. for $13.50.