La fabrique réactionnaire
Antisémitisme, spoliations et corporatisme dans le cuir (1930-1950)
Preface by Michel Margairaz
The Political Reactionary Factory
Anti-Semitism, pillage, and corporatism of leather (1930-1950)
During the Vichy government, anti-Semitic raids impacted approximately 50,000 implicating the involvement of the French administration as well as that of French society as a whole. How does a society establish a policy of exclusion? How does it develop the mechanisms for rejection of the other, whether this other be Jewish, foreign, or an economic competitor ? More important, which ties can be established between economic crises and political crises ? What role did the business-owning middle class play ?
A reactionary process develops itself, builds itself, establishes itself. To describe the steps, the subtleties, the interpretation of facts in relation to this phenomenon, Florent le Bot delves into the world of the leather industry. He reaches into an official report of the involvement of a group of professionals in the pillage of their Jewish counterparts, taking part in a rejection more ancient and more profound than the variations of the economy, attributed since the 1930s to a few large groups designated as "Jews" (the Hunters of André), stigmatized as foreigners (the Bata group), or Jewish artisans of Eastern European origin.
Protectionist demands, xenophobic and anti-Semitic in tone, and the reactionary positions of opposition to industrial modernization, create a line of continuity drawn from the 1930s to the 1950s, this despite restitutions of stolen goods after the war.
Combining political, economic, and social history, this book explains the movements at the very foundation of French society on the eve of the Trente Glorieuses.
Florent Le Bot is a researcher with l'IDHE-CNRS, in charge of the program the University of Évry. His thesis, from which this work came, won the Académie François-Bourdon, Foundation of Arts and Sciences History Prize in 2005.