ENTRETIEN. Un an chez les « wokes » : « juifs privilégiés », « débat lunaire », « contradiction totale »… une journaliste raconte son infiltration

l’essentielInvestigative journalist and columnist for Le Point, Nora Bussigny has written an investigative book about the « woke » circles after a year-long immersion in Paris and the provinces. Her book, titled « The New Inquisitors, » tells the story of a movement that, in the name of progressivism, sometimes veers into intolerance and sectarian rejection.

La Dépêche du Midi : Vous vous êtes infiltrée pendant un an, sous une fausse identité, dans les milieux « woke ». Qu’est-ce qui vous a poussé à enquêter sur ce sujet ?

Nora Bussigny: The starting point of this book is primarily the testimonies of former activists, particularly those from the LGBT and anti-racist movements, who explained to me that they no longer identified with the extremes of this activism. For example, some were asked to leave certain movements because they were white or cisgender [a person whose gender identity corresponds to the sex they were assigned at birth], which left them feeling bitter. In any case, they all told me about the increasing radicalism they had witnessed over the past few years, which inspired me to document this situation.

Qu’est-ce que vous concluez de cette enquête ?

First, some positive things: for example, when I infiltrated the Colleuses, these activists who paste posters to denounce – among other things – violence against women, I found that there was a very « concrete » aspect of activism. But on the other hand, I was able to observe that this communitarianism actually separated us from each other instead of uniting us to fight together against inequalities.

Comment décririez-vous le concept de « wokisme » ? Vous conviendrez probablement qu’il s’agit d’un terme assez vague et difficile à définir.

I try to be cautious with this term and prefer the notion of « progressivism ». I would say that « wokism », which comes from the United States, is a movement that refers to people who consider themselves « woke », meaning they are aware of the discriminations and oppressions around them. In theory, this concept is highly commendable, but the problem with these so-called « woke » activists is their extreme way of thinking, sometimes bordering on identity politics. Just the idea of considering themselves « woke » already puts them in a flattering position, implying that those who are not « woke » are somehow blind to discrimination. It is this radicalism that I have tried to explore and report.

What is your opinion on the future of these militant groups? Do you think their radicalism is likely to increase?

I am quite divided on the issue. On one hand, I see more and more activists becoming overwhelmed by this situation. But on the other hand, we also witness a widespread propagation of this « dictatorship » of political correctness. Ultimately, I feel like the social divide will continue to deepen, with those who have had enough on one side and those who blame them on the other.

Why did you choose this immersion mode?

Si les études et autres mémoires sur le « wokisme » existent, je trouvais qu’il y avait un réel manque de travail de terrain sur le sujet. D’autre part, je suis d’abord une journaliste d’investigation, et j’ai besoin pour cela d’être au plus près du réel, tout simplement.

Comment avez-vous réagi face aux critiques, en particulier sur les réseaux sociaux ?

I was initially surprised to find that many people from the socialist and universalist left had warmly welcomed my project. However, on the contrary, I did face numerous criticisms, particularly from the far left. Naively, I had thought that these individuals who constantly fought against cyberbullying would not attack me as much on social media. I was indeed very naive: I received a huge wave of hateful messages, which even led Le Point to open a kind of « cyberbullying unit » to support me. It was at that moment that I realized these activists were completely contradictory to their beliefs.

Comment justifiez-vous ces critiques ?

I think that my approach may have been misunderstood. For example, some people believed that Le Point had paid me for a year to investigate these activist circles, which is certainly not the case. Then, I was blamed for everything: being homophobic, transphobic, biphobic… essentially wanting to undermine people’s well-being. It was even more difficult because I couldn’t respond to any of these attacks as the book was under embargo. I would like to clarify here that I consider myself progressive and I am obviously not « at war » with anyone.

Dans la partie de votre livre révélée par Le Point, la question de l’exclusion des personnes qui ne sont pas racisées est souvent abordée. Avez-vous remarqué d’autres exemples de dérives ?

I have numerous examples in mind, but I can mention this one: during the Radical Pride (a type of Pride March that opposes the traditional Gay Pride, aiming to be more anti-racist and anti-imperialist, Editor’s note), I witnessed activists seriously questioning whether Jews should be considered privileged or oppressed. It was a perplexing debate.

Dans votre livre, vous décrivez avoir vécu une situation de conflit intérieur, où vous étiez partagé entre vos valeurs personnelles et le personnage que vous représentiez…

Indeed, I have sometimes found myself getting frustrated when white individuals, whom I asked to leave a procession, refused to go. I also carried a sense of guilt throughout this immersion, blaming myself for being heterosexual, for being privileged… In fact, since these activists see the world in an extremely black-and-white manner, it inevitably leads to feelings of guilt.

Bussigny N., (2023, 13 septembre). Les Nouveaux Inquisiteurs, Albin Michel