Laurent Obertone is a French journalist and essayist who made a name for himself in 2013 with the publication of a shocking monograph, La France Orange mécanique, which unambiguously denounced the ruination of France through uncontrolled immigration. He has become the bête noire of left-wing journalism through his rigorous investigative work and his obstinate refusal to hide the reality of the violence now afflicting French society. From 2016 to 2022, he published a three-volume trilogy, Guerilla, which imagines a day when the country finally descends into total chaos. Obertone is also one of the co-founders of the politically incorrect quarterly magazine La Furia, which was conceived by its creators as an instrument of cultural combat designed to awaken the French from their comfortable and apathetic torpor—before they face death.
What inspired you to write the trilogy Guerilla? Are there previous works of dystopian fiction that guided your creative efforts? Or was it the grim realities of everyday life in urban France that provoked you into setting your own thoughts, observations, and worries down on paper?
This project is an old idea of mine. I have always liked dystopian stories, being of a profoundly counter-utopian nature. But in recent years, as the official discourse denied the appalling failure of what it calls ‘living together,’ the more it criminalized our concerns, I began to see that we literally live in a dystopia. In this respect, Guerilla is not really an anticipation but rather a harsh light thrown on a reality that is [already] present, but consciously ignored and hidden by the mainstream media.
The country is socially and economically in agony, insecurity is at an all-time high, and the French are fragmented as never before by politics and mass immigration. To sum up: France is a gas can, and all that’s missing is a spark. The great public success of this book, particularly among the police and despite the media omertà, shows that it hits the nail on the head.
You began by writing La France Orange Mécanique (France: A Clockwork Orange), a long non-fiction essay published in 2013, before embarking on writing this novel. Did you feel that writing an essay limited your expression in a way that a novel would not? Did this fictional trilogy flow naturally out of your research in non-fiction fields? How would you describe the relationship between these works?
Yes, the novel allows us a freedom that has no place in the essay, where we have to identify every single source. Fiction allows us to go much further in our exploration and perhaps to reach an audience that is reluctant to read simple data and statistics. Fiction also allows us to portray the most archetypal characters of our time, from the refractory Gaul to the social vigilante, from the cynical politician to the young thug. It is interesting to confront this bestiary with the collapse of the world, which in Guerilla occurs in a matter of days, a scenario that was once unthinkable, but is now plausible, and more likely every day. It is becoming difficult to anticipate our times, as everything is moving so fast.
The readers of La France Orange Mécanique who shared my observations wanted to know what could happen to us next, with what kind of sauce we dependent and domesticated citizens could be eaten. And since I was wondering the same thing, I wanted to write the most complete answer possible with the three volumes of Guerilla.
It seems we are entering a very dangerous time. The message and tone of your trilogy appears to be finding resonance in other parts of Europe. Increasingly we are hearing of journals, publications, books, and groups focusing on dissent, disruption, and civil disobedience, on resistance. What is going on? And what is your prediction of where all this is leading us?
After observations and anticipation, I turned to the question of what to do, which is also my readers’ question and which is obviously fundamental. This is the theme of my book Eloge de la force (In Praise of Strength). If the Westerner wants to remain free, he must break with progressive morality—this new religious, quasi-sectarian ideal—just as he must break with conditioning, with screens, and with the bandit states and international organisations that are its powerful vectors.
In the end, the first secession is against ourselves—[rebelling against] our renunciation, our wait-and-see attitude, and our domestic passivity. Many lucid citizens rely totally on politics, on states, and on others, as long as they can just watch the game on TV. This is not a responsible and reasonable way to exist.
It is time for individuals to take their destiny in hand, to learn not to follow, and to make themselves respected. Otherwise, our future is the slaughterhouse—through ideology, population change, and domestication.
Given the near total dominance of the mainstream media by the Left, are fiction and art the best tools for conservatives, reactionaries, right-wing anarchists— whatever you want to call them—to use today in order to transmit the realities of our decline and reach more people? Should conservatives be doing more creative work in literature, the arts, filmmaking?
Yes, I think it is vital to offer our youth an alternative culture that is credible and powerful. This is the only way to attract and create vocations, talents, and therefore a real driving force. It is not enough to criticise the other side’s offer on social media or with boring and dogmatic books. I therefore recommend going everywhere, fighting on all fronts, reinvesting in and renewing fields that have been neglected for so long: culture, the arts, media, etc. The reconquest of our countries depends above all on the reconquest of our minds.
Today, the media and social networks encourage us to live ‘in the moment’ in a sick way. Don’t we need to radically change our relationship with time? Don’t we need to be clear, at least with ourselves, that we are working to save the West—even if it is not reborn for decades or even centuries?
Indeed, this constant bludgeoning destroys both memory and attention. It takes a great deal of discipline and willpower to distance oneself from it and to find a climate conducive to hindsight and reflection. The problem is also that we have to compete with this alienating and overpowering media machine, so the temptation is great to resort to the spectacular, to [give in to] excess, to seduction. And then, if we want the future to exist, we have little time left. The population is changing rapidly; in France all the indicators are in the red. The later the reaction, the more painful the consequences. And if we just philosophize, soon no one will be able to do so.
The pages of Guerilla are dark, very dark. On many occasions, we read in your writing— and this is the main thrust of the novel—that a ‘point of no return’ has been reached and that there is no longer any possibility of reconciliation. Is this your personal conviction or is it a terribly effective literary device? If you are convinced of this, how can you avoid sinking into nihilism or depression? Where can the light come from?
I don’t feel like a pessimist. Of course, the cowards are in the majority, well settled in their collective suicide, which they hope will be painless. But my observation is increasingly shared by those who have not given up, by individuals determined to avert our perils and reverse history. If this book has a depressing effect, it is because deep down the reader has already lost. For me, it has more of a whiplash quality.
Everyone has to question themselves, to look within themselves for resources and solutions. As long as we are here and can do better, nothing is lost. In other words: to start our revolt, let’s not wait for an event that will trigger chaos. The problem is first within us. If the situation is so serious, why do we resist so little? We know we could do so much more. So it’s up to us. Let’s stop complaining and set an example.