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Drieu, Céline: French Fascism, Scapegoating, and the Price of Revelation Richard J. Golsan Texas A &M University Although the Girardian concept of the scapegoat and its attendant phenomena have a number of obvious implications for the study of fascism, to date the connection has been addressed only in broadly theoretical terms. In Des Choses cachées and in subsequent works, René Girard has alluded to modern political scapegoating such as the Nazi persecution of the Jews as examples of mass victimizations where the enormous number of victims represents an effort to compensate for the failure of the scapegoating process itself in the wake of Christian revelation.1 While the victims are initially vilified, they are not sacralized after their sacrifice, and order is maintained only so long as a steady stream of victims is forthcoming. As Andrew McKenna explains in Violence and Difference, "with the passing of the sacred order, of the sacred tout court, sacrifice becomes less and less capable of uniting the community and therefore demands more and more victims . . . the decline of symbolic violence brings an increase of real victims; their quantity mounts in inverse proportion to the ritual efficacy of sacrifice, and victimage appears more and more gratuitous" (159-60). Moreover, McKenna continues, victimage of this sort becomes increasingly untraceable, rootless, and it is this aspect of official Nazi anti-Semitism, for example, which allowed many Nazis in their postwar trials to proclaim their innocence for their roles in the Final Solution by insisting that they were "only following orders" (162-3). 1 See Things Hidden 128-9. For a more general discussion of the persecution of ethnic minorities as a source of social cohesiveness, see the essays "Violence and Representation" and "Generative Scapegoating." Drieu, Céline: French Fascism173 These observations certainly help to illuminate the role of scapegoating in Nazi racial politics and in the Holocaust in particular. They are less helpful, however, in understanding other paradigms of fascism in which antiSemitism did not play as central a role or in cases in which fascist ideology was not synonymous with government policy or political hegemony. The role of scapegoating in Italian Fascism, for example, is more difficult to ascertain than it is in Nazism because anti-Semitism was less crucial as a means of establishing social cohesiveness, at least until Nazi influence became predominant during World War II (Soucy xviii). In France, the presence of a number of fascist movements from the twenties through the end of the Occupation, and the absence of an autonomous fascist state during the same period, make the task of assessing the role of scapegoating even more difficult. This is especially true in light of the fact that a number of French fascist movements were not anti-Semitic, at least until it became expedient to be so to curry favor with the Nazis. In French Fascism: The First Wave, Robert Soucy notes that during the interwar years, fascist groups including "the Jeunesse Patriotes, the Croix de Feu and the Faisceau . . . welcomed Jews into their ranks" (xviii). The lack of a consistent attitude towards the Jews is, in fact, just one of several points of divergence among French fascists and fascist groups prior to World War Two. As a result, historians and political theorists who have studied French fascism have strongly disagreed as to its origins as well as its basic ideology. In Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France, Zeev Sternhell argues that "the history of fascism can be described as a continuous attempt to revise marxism and create a national form of socialism" (20). Soucy, on the other hand, insists that on many of the most important social and political issues, including "taxation, government spending, nationalization , property rights, class conflict, religion, education, and foreign policy, French Fascism was overwhelmingly conservative" (xi). Other historians, especially among the French themselves, have gone so far as to insist that there is no such thing as French fascism, that such a creature, if it existed at all, was merely an import, a watered-down version of Nazism or Italian Fascism.2 If no consensus as to the nature or even the existence of French fascism can be reached by analyzing the programs...