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      Banned Comedian and Incendiary Essayist Form Controversial New Political Party in France

      Banned Comedian and Incendiary Essayist Form Controversial New Political Party in France Banned Comedian and Incendiary Essayist Form Controversial New Political Party in France Banned Comedian and Incendiary Essayist Form Controversial New Political Party in France
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      Banned Comedian and Incendiary Essayist Form Controversial New Political Party in France

      By Etienne Rouillon

      Former comedian Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala, whose shows were banned in France earlier this year, and incendiary essayist Alain Soral, who is currently under investigation for publishing anti-Semitic texts, have joined forces to launch a new French political party, according to information published on Tuesday on Mediapart, an online French investigative and opinion journal.

      According to Mediapart, which obtained a copy of the organization's bylaws, the new party is to be named Réconciliation Nationale (National Reconciliation) and will be jointly headed by M'Bala M'Bala and Soral. The party will be based in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, where it will share an address with Kontre Kulture, the publishing houseSoral founded, which was convicted in 2013 of publishing anti-Semitic pamphlets. Also housed at this address is Soral's political association, Égalité et Réconciliation (Equality and Reconciliation), created in 2007, and originally a puppet for the Front National (NF), France's far-right nationalist party, before distancing itself from NF to pursue its own anti-Zionist agenda.

      An article published Tuesday on Égalité et Réconciliation's website does not refute Mediapart's claims, but stresses that the organization's bylaws had "not yet been filed," and that the party is still "in development." The article also takes the opportunity to accuse Mediapart and French intelligence of collaborating to "optimize the power of oppression of the powers [that be]."

      Sources close to M'Bala M'Bala and Soral declined to provide VICE News with comments, stating that all forthcoming information would be disseminated by Égalité et Réconciliation's website and other channels.

      As with all political parties in France, the proposed new party could have access to public funding, provided it passes the threshold of 1 percent of votes and presents candidates in at least 50 electoral districts. Financing could be made available as early as the next legislative elections in 2017, or sooner, in the event of a premature dissolution of the National Assembly.

      The two men, who come from very different backgrounds, had previously attempted a joint foray into politics in 2009, when they presented an anti-Zionist list for the European elections, collecting 1.3 percent of the total votes. Soral's political association, Égalité et Réconciliation, claims officially to be "on the Left for the workers and on the Right for values."

      According to the biography on his website, M'Bala M'bala, who is also known by his first name, Dieudonné, or Dieudo, was born in France in 1966 to a Breton mother and a Cameroonian father. The comedian launched a successful career playing alongside Jewish comedian Elie Semoun. A skit from December 2003 on French television Channel France 3 first sparked controversy around his character. He has since created several shows, one of which was banned by a ministerial order in January 2014.

      According to his biography, Soral is a past member of the Communist Party, which he joined in 1990. He then joined the National Front in 2007, only to leave in 2009 to start an anti-Zionist list with Dieudonné. He has since appeared in videos posted online, which he uses as a growing platform for his controversial ideas. According to Mediapart, Soral's political organization today counts over 12,000 members.

      Mediapart's article also makes public the "recruitment protocol for new Égalité et Réconciliation militants," a series of guidelines that are allegedly distributed to the group's regional directors. One of the recommendations states that, "It is unnecessary to integrate members who are mere ideological consumers, and who have come to mingle for two hours before returning to their computers." The protocol also describes the organization's goal to instate "a series of networking activities that allow [one] to step out of the traditional system […] such as bulk purchases, French lessons or boxing lessons." The group is also very cautious: "an infiltrator can always slip through the nets. Therefore the leader will need to be on his guard at all times."

      VICE News' Virgile Dall'Armelina also contributed to this report. 

      Topics: europe, france, dieudonné, alain soral, new french political party, anti-zionist, réconciliation nationale, anti-semitism in france, french politics

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