How anti-fascists get dubbed 'fascists': the French far-right ploy to subvert language

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How is it that 'antifas' or anti-fascist activists are now described as “fascist” in certain quarters of the French media? Or that anti-racists have become the new racists? Lucie Delaporte looks at the way in which the French far-right have long subverted the meaning of words in a deliberate attempt to make extremist labels meaningless.

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“Collaborators! Collaborators!” These shouts, from Éric Zemmour supporters at his first political rally at Villepinte near Paris on December 5th, were aimed at journalists they accuse of being hostile to the presidential candidate. The vileness of this insult, which stems from the wartime Collaboration of the Vichy regime with the occupying Germans, is rather surprising coming from the mouths of those backing a far-right candidate who has sought to rehabilitate the reputation of Marshal Philippe Pétain, the leader of that very regime.