Alain Soral, identified in the civil registry as Alain Bonnet, and frequently also named using the full family name as Alain Bonnet de Soral (French: [alɛ̃ sɔʁal]; born 2 October 1958), is a Franco-Swiss author, journalist, essayist, and film maker.[18][19] He is the brother of the actress Agnès Soral, who first used the simplified "Soral" pseudonym, which his sister now also uses. Soral lives in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques. Since June 2004, he has been a boxing coach. Soral was originally a communist and later worked for the far-right National Front before leaving in 2009. In July 2015 he co-founded his own party, Réconciliation Nationale (National Reconciliation) with Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, a French comedian of French and Camerounien origin. Soral has attracted controversy for alleged antisemitism and alleged 'incitement of racial hatred', including being convicted in court for incitement for saying about Hitler, "[t]his is what happens when you don’t finish the job" in relation to Jews.[20]

Life and career

Soral was born in Aix-les-Bains, Savoie and grew up in the suburbs of Annemasse (department of Haute-Savoie), where he attended a local primary school. When Soral was about 12, his family moved to Meudon la Forêt so that he could go to a reputable private Catholic high school, the Collège Stanislas de Paris.[2] Soral spent two years doing small jobs before being accepted into the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts at 20, where he studied for two years. Soral was then taken in by a family of academics, who encouraged him to enroll at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, where he attended lectures given by Cornelius Castoriadis.

Following his studies, and working with Hector Obalk and Alexandre Pasche, Soral wrote a book on the sociology of trendiness, Les mouvements de mode expliqués aux parents, as well as a fictionalised autobiography, Le Jour et la nuit ou la vie d'un vaurien. The latter work sold badly, and this led Soral to turn away from writing for a time.

Soral then focused on cinematic techniques, and after 2 promotional films, wrote and directed his first short film, Chouabadaballet, une dispute amoureuse entre deux essuie-glaces. After a stint as a reporter in Zimbabwe, Soral wrote and directed his second short film, Les Rameurs, misère affective et culture physique à Carrière-sur-Seine.

Around that time, Soral had joined the French Communist Party. He became interested in the works of Karl Marx and other Marxist thinkers such as Georg Lukács, Henri Wallon, Lucien Goldmann and Michel Clouscard. He published Sociologie du dragueur ("Sociology of the womaniser"), his most successful sociological essay to date. This book was later turned into a feature-length film, Confession d'un Dragueur in 2001 starring Said Taghmaoui, Thomas Dutronc, Catherine Lachens, Francois Levantal and Cloe Lambert[3]

Soral performed in Catherine Breillat's 1996 film Parfait Amour! in the role of Philippe.

He then published another polemical essay, Vers la féminisation? – Démontage d'un complot antidémocratique ("Towards feminisation? – Analysis of an antidemocratic plot"), and spent the following couple of years writing and directing his first full-length movie, Confession d'un dragueur ("Confessions of a womaniser"), which was a commercial and critical failure.[3] Disgusted by what he called "a lynching", Soral gave up cinema altogether and returned to writing. He published Jusqu'où va-t-on descendre? – Abécédaire de la bêtise ambiante ("How far down are we going? – ABC's of ambient stupidity"), followed by Socrate à Saint-Tropez (2003) and Misères du désir (2004).

In the 2007 he became part of the central committee of Front National, trying to place social issues in the program of the party. He left the party in 2009.

His latest book Comprendre l'Empire: Demain la gouvernance mondiale ou la Révolte des nations (Understanding the Empire: Tomorrow global governance or an uprising of nations) was published in France on 10 February 2011, and is a best-seller in France despite being ostracized by the mainstream media.

Views

Besides the sociological Marxist analysis of the modern-day society, Soral's books tend to focus on seven main themes:

  • criticism of communitarianism
  • criticism of feminism
  • criticism of the media and the society of spectacle in general and of neoliberal capitalism
  • criticism of capitalism and US imperialism
  • criticism of Zionism and Jewish lobbying
  • criticism of mainstream vulgarity
  • the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • the dismantling of Yugoslavia, and possibly of France
  • the dismantling of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine

Notably, Soral has written:

Soral's analysis of society focuses on what he terms "desire society", promoted by the media and the cult of celebrity. He has especially criticised monthly women's publications, which he believes alter the conscience and relegate women to the status of "objects" (femme-objet).

As part of the debate on 'laïcité' in French schools, Soral claimed to prefer the Muslim veil to thong underwear.[18]

Soral defined himself as a Marxist, and was a member of the French Communist Party in the early 1990s. He left the PCF because of his opposition to the party's renunciation of revolutionary content. Soral supported left-wing dissident candidate Jean-Pierre Chevènement during the 2002 presidential election.

In 2005, Soral turned to the far-right, joining the National Front's campaign committee; he was given responsibility for social issues and for the suburbs under the authority of Marine Le Pen. Soral's personal journey has led some to compare him with Jacques Doriot, one of the neo-socialists in the early 1930s and Collaborationist under Pétain.[6] He supported the Bloc identitaire's distribution of food in January 2006.[6]

On 18 November 2007, Soral joined the central committee of the National Front, which he left in early 2009 because of some ideas he was in conflict with—especially the "menace of Islam", which he does not believe to be a genuine threat. He considers that this supposed threat is instrumentalized by capitalist interests for the purpose of fostering animosity between social groups to manipulate them within the model of identity politics, possibly resulting in a 'clash of civilizations', and of looting other countries—Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria—and that the fundamental values of moderate Islam are perfectly compatible with French moderate Catholic ones.

In 2007, he founded the group Égalité et Réconciliation,[18] a think tank led by the ideas he developed in his books and his several interviews (an innovative mix between social and economic ideas from the Left, and values like family, nation, morality from the Right).

Controversy

Alain Soral and "gay communitarianism"

Alain Soral has denounced communitarianism as a "poison".[18] He has been especially critical of the rise of communitarianism in the gay community, a term that he has sharply criticised, arguing that many homosexuals have nothing to do with Gay Pride ideology. For Soral, Gay Pride involves promotion of the "Gorgeous Guy" model, youth, parties, drag queens, etc., and obscures homosexuality as experienced by older or working-class homosexuals. However, Soral is currently supporting the homosexual community Fistinière directed by French sociologists Brice and Alexis.

The association Act Up rounded on his publisher, Éditions Blanche.[18] Act Up stated that through books like those of Alain Soral or Éric Rémès, Éditions Blanche spreads negative feelings and even hatred towards homosexuals. Act Up asked the director of publication at Éditions Blanche to stop publishing books by Soral and Rémès, and vandalised Éditions Blanche's offices. The head of Éditions Blanche claimed that members of Act Up physically assaulted his executive assistant, and threatened to press charges. Act Up denied those accusations.[18] No legal action has so far been pursued.

Alain Soral and feminism

In his book Vers la féminisation? Démontage d'un complot antidémocratique, Alain Soral argues that women have always worked (in trade or agriculture, for example). To him, feminism was invented by women tiring of their role as mothers. Soral distinguishes two types of feminism: that of the "flippées" ("freaked-outs") such as Simone de Beauvoir, and that of the "pétasses" ("bitches") like Élisabeth Badinter. Soral claims that the most problematic inequality is not between men and women, but between rich and poor, and that feminists, who generally come from the upper classes of society, attempt to distract attention from this struggle.[18]

Accusations of anti-Semitism

In a report on the television programme Complément d'enquête (in its episode devoted to the controversial French humorist Dieudonné M'bala M'bala), broadcast on the French television channel France 2 on 20 September 2004, Alain Soral said:

These comments sparked much controversy, and Soral estranged himself from his showbiz friends like Thierry Ardisson, a French TV host and producer, though they knew each other for more than 25 years.[18] Anti-Semitism is the subject of Soral's book CHUTe! Éloge de la disgrâce ("HUSH! In praise of disgrace"). The title of the book is a play on words. Chut means "hush" in French, while Chute means "fall". Soral defended his comments some days later on the website oumma.com, claiming that his words had been taken out of context.

In a 2005 interview given to the magazine VSD, Soral announced his intellectual support for the equally controversial Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, with whom he worked on the Euro-Palestine list for the European elections of 2004, before his withdrawal led Dieudonné to do likewise. During the France 2 programme mentioned above, Dieudonné is visible in the background, listening to Soral.

Soral has attracted controversy for alleged antisemitism and alleged 'incitement of racial hatred', including being sentenced for saying "Hitler should have finished the job" in relation to Jews.[18]

Break-up of Yugoslavia and France

Alain Soral believes that Yugoslavia was dismembered by the USA, which saw an opportunity to gain political ground and influence in South-Eastern Europe by arming Albanian separatist movements in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Soral believes that communitarianism in France could have a similar effect, if the French Republic fails to apply its prestigious 1905 Law of Separation of Church and State, which is enshrined in the French constitution.[14] According to a recent TV interview (Direct 8 / 88 minutes), Alain Soral stated: "Today, no one was surprised to see French presidents, prime ministers and other high French political figures meet elusively with the Jewish representing body every year in Paris, meetings that go against the laws of France and send mixed signals to the Republic."[14]

Soral finished by stating that such a course could only push other minorities to form political religious movements in order to be heard.[14] According to Soral, this would be a step likely to divide France into its various religious communities, which would then weaken the independence of the country.