Because There Is Only One Human Species

“Liberation” (Rebonds), June 12, 2006

by Etienne BALIBAR, professor of political and moral philosophy at Paris-X Nanterre; Marie DESPLECHIN, writer; Gérard NOIRIEL, director of studies at EHESS; and Bertrand OGILVIE, associate professor of philosophy at Paris-X Nanterre

We – artists and creators of all kinds, intellectuals – have taken the measure of the slow work of cultures in history so that the idea of ​​the unity and indivisibility of humanity is difficult to hatch.

We want to keep constantly in mind this judgment of Robert Antelme who, on leaving the concentration camp in which he had been exposed to death, wrote: ”  The variety of relationships between men, their color, their customs, their training in classes hide a truth that appears here [in German concentration camps]dazzling, at the edge of nature, approaching our limits: there are no human species, there is a human species. It is because we are men like them that the SS will ultimately be powerless before us. It is because they will have tried to question the unity of this species that they will finally be crushed. But their behavior and our situation are only the magnification, the extreme caricature – where no one wants, nor can undoubtedly recognize himself – of behaviors, of situations which are in the world and which are even this old “real world” to which we dream. Everything happens there as if there were species – or more exactly as if the membership of the species was not certain, as if one could enter and leave it, not be there. only half or fully achieve it, “[ 1 ].

Faithful to Antelme’s call for vigilance and many others, we have decided never to let pass the “  behaviors  ” and “  situations  ” of the “  real world  ” – our own – which create the conditions so that “  Everything happens effectively as if there were human species  ”.

We consider that the current choices of the French government distinguishing between a “  chosen immigration  ” and an “  undergone immigration  ” belong to an economic policy which, while developing its own logic, against which we are protesting, is moreover deliberately based on guidelines. racists, of which none of our governments, from whatever side, has unfortunately never attempted to completely rid our institutions. These tendencies, whatever the echo they receive in certain layers of the population, and the demagogic temptations they entail, can in no way be identified with the will of the French people.

We affirm once again that it is of the utmost importance to consider that “all people are like us” and that this principle should not be questioned.

From this intangible principle, we solemnly call on public opinion to oppose the ongoing reform of French immigration policy. We invite political groups, trade unions and associations, churches and all organized citizens to mobilize against this reform. We demand that the government urgently pull itself together.

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