As the Channel migrant crisis deepens, and one half-baked scheme after another bites the dust, our thoughts turn more and more to Jean Raspail and his prophetic Camp of the Saints (1973), in which the first of an armada of a hundred ships arrives off the Mediterranean coast of France from India, a decrepit old British steamer carrying some 50,000 of the destitute seeking a new life in the land of plenty.
Raspail’s fictional migrants came from India, but his warning to France concerned the ‘vanguard’ of hundreds of millions of North Africans, predominantly Muslims, on the opposite shores of the Mediterranean. The choice of India, he commented later, was merely to avoid exacerbating racial tensions in France with existing North African migrants. There is talk among some of the novel’s protagonists of repelling the invasion by force, but credulous virtue-signalling liberal sentiments predominate, and the migrants are welcomed. The floodgates are opened, and soon the West is overwhelmed.
Raspail’s message was simple. A few hundred million white and aging Europeans, the last bearers of Western civilization, would inevitably be submerged in a tidal flow of billions of impoverished Africans and Asians, from countries unable to feed their exponentially rising populations. The problem was not primarily that there was a disparity in population and wealth. It was, wrote Raspail in 1985, that the West ‘had no soul left’, no sense of self-belief in its cultural inheritance, its values, its destiny. He says of his own people, the French, that, ‘they are no longer in solidarity with anything, or even cognizant of anything that would constitute the essential commonalities of a people’. And without a soul, the ‘decisive battles’ involving ‘nations, races, cultures, as well as individuals’, are lost.
One shudders to think what Raspail would make of today’s self-flagellating cult of diversity and inclusion, the active deconstruction of our cultural inheritance in the name of decolonization, the witch hunts to root out ‘whiteness’ in all its forms from our society.
It would be nice to imagine that race had nothing to do with the battle. There is no necessary connection between race and culture – because culture is not transmitted in our genes. One could be Black or Asian, or even Chinese, and incorrigibly English in one’s attitudes and sensibilities. It all depends on upbringing and education – on the culture or civilization one is initiated into. Unfortunately, mass migration makes assimilation highly unlikely; the desire of the migrant not to integrate but to live apart, who despises the West and all it stands for, makes it even more improbable; and the refusal of the host nation even to attempt to assimilate newcomers out of an ideological attachment to post-Marxist deconstructive multicultural theory – what Raspail terms ‘an aggravated utopian humanism’ – makes it downright impossible. So it is that the battle lines are drawn, as Raspail foretold.
Did Raspail see any hope for the West? In the case of France, the most likely scenario was that it would soon be peopled ‘by hermit crabs’ who ‘live in the shells left behind by the representatives of a species gone forever which was called the French species’, and that ‘will have been clothed with this name’. Indeed, the process had ‘already started’. But there was another possibility, one which Raspail, writing in 2004, notes ‘I could not formulate otherwise than privately, and which would require that I consult my lawyer beforehand’. This was ‘that the last isolates resist until initiating a kind of reconquest, undoubtedly different from the Spanish, but taking as its starting point the same reasons’.
Some of us thought that France would at last bite the bullet in the recent presidential election. The feisty Eric Zemmour campaigned on Raspail’s platform, even naming his new party ‘Reconquest!’ But it was not to be, and the French people returned Macron. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine cannot have helped matters, as Zemmour had previously expressed admiration for the Russian leader, even confiding ‘I dream of a French Poutine’. But at least in France the great existential issue of our time is being openly debated – and so there is still hope. Here in Britain, there is silence.
There is no solution to the Channel migrant crisis, for wedded as we are to the dogma of multi-culture, diversity, and inclusion, we have no will or soul to resist. As the crossings become more frequent and the dinghies get larger – as dinghies turn into boats and boats into ships – it is only a matter of time before the floodgates are fully opened. We might as well institute a ferry service for migrants now and have done with it. For ‘Global Britain’ is a tolerant, open, diverse, and welcoming society.
As for the English, the bearers of the old civilization of England, and of the West, they must decide where, and how, the last stand is to be made.