The Great Replacement (French: grand remplacement), also known as the replacement theory, is a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory which states that, with the complicity or cooperation of "replacist" elites,[a] the white French population—as well as white European population at large—is being progressively replaced with non-European peoples—specifically Arab, Berber and sub-Saharan Muslim populations from Africa and the Middle East—through mass migration, demographic growth and a European drop in the birth rate.
While similar themes have characterized various far-right theories, the term "Great Replacement" was popularized by the French author Renaud Camus's 2011 book Le Grand Remplacement (English: The Great Replacement). It specifically associated the presence of Muslims in France with potential danger and destruction of French culture and civilization. Camus and other conspiracy theorists attribute this process to intentional policies advanced by global and liberal elites (i.e., the "replacists") from within the Government of France and the European Union, and describe it as a "genocide by substitution".
The "Great Replacement" is included in a larger white genocide conspiracy theory that has spread in Western far-right movements since the late 20th century. Despite their common reference to a "genocide" of indigenous white peoples and a global plan led by a conspiring power, Camus's theory does not include an antisemitic Jewish plot, which is, according to political scientist Jean-Yves Camus and historian Nicolas Lebourg, a reason for its broader appeal.
The "Great Replacement” theory was developed by French author Renaud Camus, initially in a 2010 book titled L'Abécédaire de l'in-nocence ("Abecedarium of no-harm"), and the following year in an eponymous book, Le Grand Remplacement (introduction au remplacisme global).[b] According to him, the "Great Replacement" has been nourished by "industrialisation", "despiritualisation" and "deculturation";[c] the materialistic society and globalism having created a "replaceable human, without any national, ethnic or cultural specificity", what he labels "global replacism". Camus claims that "the great replacement does not need a definition," as the term is not, in his views, a "concept" but rather a "phenomenon":
A people was here, stable, had been occupying the same territory for fifteen or twenty centuries. And suddenly, very quickly, in one or two generations, one or several other peoples substitute themselves for him. He is replaced, it is not him anymore.
In Camus's theory, the indigenous French people ("Français de souche") is described as being demographically replaced by non-European peoples—mainly coming from Africa or the Middle East, and labeled by Camus "colonizers" or "Occupiers"[d]—in a process of "peopling immigration" encouraged by a "replacist power".[a] According to French philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff, the validity for using the term "conspiracy theory" to define Camus's concept indeed lies in the second part of the proposition:
To [the theory of a replacement through mass immigration], that claims itself to be an observation or a description, is added in the "anti-replacist" vision a conspiracy theory which attributes to the "replacist" elites the desire to achieve the "Great Replacement". From the ideas of "peopling colonisation" and "mass immigration", "anti-replacists" went to that of a genocide by ethnic, racial and cultural substitution, involving the completion of a programme or an action plan.
Renaud Camus developed his conspiracy theory in two books published in 2010 and 2011, in the context of an increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric in public discourse during the previous decade. Europe also experienced an escalation in Islamic terrorist attacks during the 2000s-2010s and a migrant crisis that began in 2015, which participated in exacerbating tensions and preparing the public opinion for the reception of Camus's conspiracy theory. As the latter depicts a population replacement said to occur in a short time lapse of one or two generations, the migrant crisis was particularly conducive to the spread of Camus's ideas—even though France was not the main European country concerned with the migration flows—while the terrorist attacks accelerated the construction of immigrants as an existential threat among those who share such a worldview.
Camus's theme of a future demise of European culture and civilization also parallels a "cultural pessimistic" and anti-Islam trend among European intellectuals of the period, illustrated in several best-selling and straightforwardly titled books released during the 2010s: Thilo Sarrazin's Germany Abolishes Itself (2010), Éric Zemmour's The French Suicide (2014) or Michel Houellebecq's Submission (2015).
Renaud Camus cites two influential figures in the epilogue of his 2011 book The Great Replacement: British politician Enoch Powell's apocalyptic vision of future race relations—expressed in his 1968 "Rivers of Blood" speech—and French author Jean Raspail's depiction of the collapse of the West from an overwhelming "tidal wave" of Third World immigration, featured in his 1973 novel Le Camp des Saints.
Camus also declared to British magazine The Spectator in 2016 that a key to understanding the "Great Replacement" can be found in his 2002 book Du Sens. In the latter he wrote that the words "France" and "French" equal a natural and physical reality rather than a legal one, in a cratylism similar to Charles Maurras's distinction between the "legal" and the "real country".[e] During the same interview, Camus mentioned that he began to imagine his conspiracy theory back in 1996, during the redaction of a guidebook on the department of Hérault, in the South of France: "I suddenly realized that in very old villages [...] the population had totally changed too [...] this is when I began to write like that."
Despite its own singularities and concepts, the "Great Replacement" is encompassed in a larger and older "white genocide" conspiracy theory, popularized in the US by neo-Nazi David Lane in his 1995 White Genocide Manifesto, where he asserted that governments in Western countries were intending to turn white people into "extinct species". The idea of a "replacement" of indigenous white people under the guidance of a hostile elite can be further traced back in pre-WWII antisemitic conspiracy theories which posited the existence of a Jewish plot to destroy Europe through miscegenation, especially in Édouard Drumont's La France juive (1886). Commenting on this resemblance, historian Nicolas Lebourg and political scientist Jean-Yves Camus suggest that Camus's contribution was to replace the antisemitic elements with a clash of civilizations between Muslims and Europeans.
To succeed in their attack on Christian civilization, Jews in France had to deceive, lie, and take the disguises of free thinkers. If they had said frankly: "We want to destroy this ancient France, which was so glorious and beautiful, to replace it with the domination of a handful of Hebrews from all countries", our fathers, who were less softened than us, would not have let themselves be taken in.
Maurice Barrès's nationalist writings of that period have also been noted in the ideological genealogy of the "Great Replacement", Barrès contending both in 1889 and in 1900 that a replacement of the native population under the combined effect of immigration and a decline in the birth rate was happening in France. Scholars also highlight a modern similarity to European neo-fascist and neo-Nazi thinkers from the immediate post-war, especially Maurice Bardèche, René Binet and Gaston-Armand Amaudruz. Influenced by Binet's 1950 Théorie du Racisme—with its idea of an "interbreeding capitalism" aiming at creating a "uniform inhumanity"—French 1960s far-right movements such as Europe-Action used terms that echo Camus's concepts, labeling the Algerian immigration an "invasion", arguing that "systematic race mixing is nothing more than a slow genocide", and fearing a future France "occupied by twenty million Maghrebi Arabs and twenty million Negro-Africans":
In France, the significant immigration of colored elements is a grave issue […]. We also know the size of the North African population [...]. What is serious for the future: we know that the basis of European settlement, which allowed for civilizing expansion, was that of a white ethnic group. The destruction of this balance, which can be quick, will lead to our disappearance and that of our civilization.— Dominique Venner, Europe-Action, nº 38, February 1966, p. 8.
The associated and more recent conspiracy theory of "Eurabia", published by British author Bat Ye'or in her 2005 eponymous book, is often cited as a probable inspiration for Camus's "Great Replacement". Eurabia theory likewise involves globalist entities, that time led by both French and Arab powers, conspiring to Islamize Europe, with Muslims submerging the continent through immigration and higher birth rates. The conspiracy theory also depicts immigrants as invaders or as a fifth column, invited to the continent by a corrupt political elite. Scholars generally agree that, although he did not father the theme, Camus indeed coined the term "Great Replacement" as a slogan and concept, and eventually led it to its fame in the 2010s.
The simplicity and use of catch-all slogans in Camus's formulations—"you have one people, and in the space of a generation you have a different people"— as well as his removal of antisemitism from the original neo-Nazi "white genocide" conspiracy theory, have been cited as conducive to the popularity of the "Great Replacement".
In a survey led by Ifop in December 2018, 25% of the French subscribed to the conspiracy theory; as well as 46% of the responders who defined themselves as "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Vest protesters). The theory has also become influential in far-right and white nationalist circles outside of France.
The conspiracy theory has been cited by Canadian far-right political activist Lauren Southern in a YouTube video of the same name released in July 2017. Southern's video had attracted in 2019 more than 670,000 viewers and is credited with helping to popularize the conspiracy theory. Counter-jihad Norwegian blogger Fjordman has also participated in spreading the theory.
Prominent right-wing websites such as Gates of Vienna, Politically Incorrect, and Fdesouche have provided a platform for bloggers to diffuse and popularize the theory of the "Great Replacement". Among its main promoters are also a wide-ranging network of loosely connected white nationalist movements, especially the Identitarian movement in Europe, and other groups like PEGIDA in Germany.
Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (IBÖ), the Austrian branch of the Identitarian movement, promotes this theory, citing a "great exchange"[f] or replacement of the population that supposedly needs to be reversed. In April 2019, Heinz-Christian Strache campaigning for his FPÖ party ahead of the 2019 European Parliament election endorsed the conspiracy theory. Claiming that "population replacement" in Austria was a real threat, he stated that "We don’t want to become a minority in our own country". Compatriot Martin Sellner, who also supports the theory, celebrated Strache's political use of the Great Replacement.
In September 2018, Schild & Vrienden, an extremist Flemish youth organization, were reported to be endorsing the conspiracy theory. The group, claiming that "native" populations of North America and Europe (meaning white people) were being displaced by migrants; they proposed an end to all immigration, "remigration", or forced deportation of non-whites, and the founding of ethnostates. The following month, VRT detailed how the organization was discussing the Great Replacement on secretive chat channels, and using the conspiracy theory to promote Flemish ethnic identity.
In March 2019, Flemish nationalist Dries Van Langenhove of the Vlaams Belang party, repeatedly stated that the Flemish people were "being replaced" in Belgium, posting claims on social media which endorsed the Great Replacement theory.
Use of the Great Replacement (Danish: Store Udskiftning) conspiracy theory has become common in right-wing Danish political rhetoric. In April 2019, Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Hard Line party, which is widely associated with the Great Replacement, claimed that by the year 2040 ethnic Danish people would be a minority in Denmark, having been outnumbered by Muslims and their descendants. During a debate for the 2019 European Parliament elections, Rasmus used the concept to justify a proposal to ban Muslim immigration and deport all Islamic residents from the country, in what Le Monde described as Rasmus "preaching the 'great replacement theory'".
In June 2019, Pia Kjærsgaard invoked the conspiracy theory while serving as Speaker of the Danish Parliament. After the alleged encouragement of Muslim communities to "vote red", for the Social Democrats; Kjærsgaard asked "What will happen? A replacement of the Danish people?".
Much of the European spread of the Great Replacement (French: Grand Remplacement) conspiracy theory rhetoric is due to its prevalence in French national discourse and media. Nationalist right-wing groups in France have asserted that there is an ongoing "Islamo-substitution" of the indigenous French population, associating the presence of Muslims in France with potential danger and destruction of French culture and civilization.
In 2011, Marine Le Pen evoked the theory, claiming that France's "adversaries" were waging a moral and economic war on the country, apparently "to deliver it to submersion by an organized replacement of our population". In 2013, historian Dominique Venner's suicide in Notre-Dame de Paris, in which he left a note outlining the "crime of the replacement of our people" is reported to have inspired the far-right Iliade Institute's main ideological tenet of the Great Replacement. Referring to the conspiracy theory, Marine Le Pen publicly praised Venner, claiming that his "last gesture, eminently political, was to try to awaken the French people".
In 2015, Guillaume Faye gave a speech at the Swedish Army Museum in Stockholm, in which he claimed there were three societal things being used against Europeans to carry out a supposed Great Replacement: abortion, homosexuality and immigration. He asserted that Muslims were replacing white people by using birthrates as a demographic weapon.
In June 2017, a BuzzFeed investigation revealed three National Front candidates subscribing to the conspiracy theory ahead of the legislative elections. These included Senator Stéphane Ravier's personal assistant, who claimed the Great Replacement had already started in France. Publishing an image of blonde girl next to the caption "Say no to white genocide", Ravier's aide politically charged the concept further, writing "the National Front or the invasion".
By September 2018, in a meeting at Fréjus, Marine Le Pen closely echoed Great Replacement rhetoric. Speaking of France, she declared that "never in the history of mankind, have we seen a society that organizes an irreversible submersion" that would eventually cause French society to "disappear by dilution or substitution, its culture and way of life". Former National Assembly delegate Marion Maréchal, who is a junior member of the political Le Pen family, is also a proponent of the theory. In March 2019, in a trip to the U.S., Maréchal evoked the theory, stating "I don’t want France to become a land of Islam". Insisting that the Great Replacement was "not absurd", she declared the "indigenous French" people, apparently in danger of being a minority by 2040, now wanted their "country back".
National Rally's serving president Marine Le Pen, who is the aunt of Maréchal, has been heavily influenced by the Great Replacement. FAZ newspaper has described the conspiracy theory creator Renaud Camus as Le Pen's "whisperer". In May 2019, National Rally spokesman Jordan Bardella was reported to use the conspiracy theory during a televised debate with Nathalie Loiseau, after he argued that France must "turn off the tap" from the demographic bomb of African immigration into the country.
In June 2019, Éric Zemmour pushed the concept in comparison to the Kosovo War, claiming "In 1900, there were 90% Serbs and 10% Muslims in Kosovo, in 1990 there were 90% Muslims and 10% Serbs, then there was war and the independence of Kosovo". Zemmour, author of The French Suicide, has repeatedly described "the progressive replacement, over a few decades, of the historic population of our country by immigrants, the vast majority of them non-European". Later that month, Marion Maréchal joined Zemmour in invoking the Great Replacement in relation to the Balkan region, stating "I do not want my France to become Kosovo" and declared that the changing demographics of France "threatens us" ("nous menace") and that this threat was becoming increasingly clear.
SPD politician Thilo Sarrazin is reported to be one of the most influential promoters of the Great Replacement, having published several books on the subject, some of which, such as Germany Abolishes Itself, are in high circulation. Sarrazin has proposed that there are too many immigrants in Germany, and that they supposedly have lower IQs than Germans. Regarding the demographics of Germany, he has claimed that in a century ethnic Germans will drop in number to 25 million, in 200 years to eight million and in 300 years: three million.
In May 2016, Alternative for Germany (German: Alternative für Deutschland, AfD) deputy leader Beatrix von Storch co-opted and distorted the meaning of a 2001 United Nations report titled "Replacement migration", which focused on how to manage the replenishment of the population of eight low-fertility countries (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, U.K. and U.S.), in order to push the theory. Storch claimed that a mass population exchange ("Massenaustausch der Bevölkerung") had been planned by the UN since the publication of the report.
In April 2017, a few months before he assumed the leadership of the AfD, Alexander Gauland released a press statement regarding the issue of family reunification for refugees, in which he claimed that "Population exchange in Germany is running at full speed". In October 2018, following Beatrix von Storch's lead, Bundestag member Petr Bystron said the Global Compact for Migration was part of the conspiracy to bring about systemic population change in Germany.
In March 2019, Vice Germany reported how AfD MP Harald Laatsch attempted to justify and assign blame for the Christchurch mosque shootings, in relation to his "The Great Exchange"[f] theory, by asserting that the shooter's actions were driven by "overpopulation" from immigrants and "climate protection" against them. Laatsch also claimed that the climate movement, who he labelled "climate panic propagators", had a "shared responsibility" for the massacre, and singled out child activist Greta Thunberg.
Similarly, right-wing publicist Martin Lichtmesz denied that either Anders Breivik's 2011 manifesto, which referred to the Eurabia variant of the "white genocide" narrative, or Brenton Tarrant's 2019 The Great Replacement manifesto, had any connection to the theory. Claiming that it was, in fact, not a conspiracy theory at all, Lichtmesz said both Breivik and Tarrant were reacting to a real phenomenon; a "historically unique experiment" of a "Great Exchange"[f] of people.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his political party Fidesz in Hungary have been associated with the conspiracy theory over the course of several years. The Sydney Morning Herald detailed Orbán's belief in and promotion of the Great Replacement as being central to the modern right-wing politics of Europe. In December 2018, he claimed the "Christian identity of Europe" needed saving, and labelled refugees traveling to Europe as "Muslim invaders".
He has stated: "In all of Europe there are fewer and fewer children, and the answer of the West is migration," concluding that "We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children." ThinkProgress described the comments as pushing a version of the theory. In April 2019, Radio New Zealand published insight that Orban's plans to cut taxes for large Hungarian families could be linked with fears of the Great Replacement.
Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of Italy has repeatedly adopted the theme of the Great Replacement. In May 2016, two years before his election to office, he claimed "ethnic replacement is underway" in Italy in an interview with Sky TG24. Accusing nameless, well-funded organizations for importing workers that he named "farm slaves", he stated that there was a "lucrative attempt at genocide" of Italians.
In April 2015, writing on the publishing website GeenStijl, scholar of Islam Hans Jansen used Great Replacement rhetoric, suggesting that it was an "undisputed" fact that among the European Union's governing elite there was a common consensus that Europeans were "no good and can be better replaced". In May 2015, Martin Bosma a Dutch parliament Representative for the Party for Freedom (PVV), released his book Minority in their own land. Invoking the conspiracy theory, Bosma wrote about a growing 'a new population' of immigrants which lent itself to an apparently 'post-racial Multicultural State of Salvation'.
By September 2015, it was reported that the two right-wing political parties Christian Democratic Appeal and the Reformed Political Party had distanced themselves from the ideology of the Great Replacement. In March 2017, Thierry Baudet, founder and leader of the right wing Forum for Democracy (FvD) party, was said to promote the theory after he claimed that the country's so-called elite were deliberately "homeopathically diluting" the Dutch population, in a speech about "national self-hatred". He said there was a plot to racially mix the ethnic Dutch with "all the people of the world", so that there would "never be a Dutchman again".
In January 2018, PVV Representative Martin Bosma endorsed the Great Replacement theory, and one of its key propagators, after meeting with Renaud Camus at a PVV demonstration in Rotterdam and tweeting his support. Filip Dewinter, a leading member of the Flemish secessionist Vlaams Belang party, who had traveled to the Netherlands on the day of the protest to meet with Camus, named him as a "visionary man" to the media.
Party for Freedom politician Geert Wilders of the Netherlands strongly supports the notion of a Great Replacement occurring in Europe. In October 2018, Wilders invoked the conspiracy theory, claiming the Netherlands was "being replaced with mass immigration from non-western Islamic countries" and Rotterdam being "the port of Eurabia". He claimed 77 million, mainly Islamic immigrants would attempt to enter Europe over the course of half a century, and that white Europeans would cease to exist unless they were stopped. In 2019, The New York Times reported how Camus's demographic-based alarmist theories help fuel Wilders and his Party for Freedom's nativist campaigning.
In September 2018, Dutch author Paul Scheffer analyzed the Great Replacement and its political developments, suggesting that Forum for Democracy and Party for Freedom were forming policy regarding the demography of the Netherlands through the lens of the conspiracy theory.
In July 2019, English musician Billy Bragg criticized the Great Replacement, calling it a "racist creed" that was "being promoted so effectively by the far right that it is entering mainstream political discourse". Releasing a public statement which accused fellow singer-songwriter Morrissey of endorsing the theory, he drew attention to an Institute for Strategic Dialogue report on far-right extremism. Bragg suggested "that Morrissey is helping to spread this idea—which inspired the Christchurch mosque murderer—is beyond doubt". He proposed that fans of Morrissey, attempting to separate his music from his political views, were potentially "helping propagate" the conspiracy theory further. Bragg included American musician Brandon Flowers in his assertions, who had days before said Morrissey was "still a king" in spite of his public support for the far right For Britain Movement.
YouTuber Lauren Southern of Canada is an advocate of the conspiracy theory. In 2017, Southern dedicated a video to the Great Replacement, gaining over half a million views on her channel. 2018 mayoral candidate for Toronto Faith Goldy has publicly embraced the replacement theory. In 2019, in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, Vice accused Goldy of routinely pushing the same ideas of birthrate declines and the population replacement of whites, found in the gunman's The Great Replacement manifesto. Long-time white nationalist Paul Fromm when he co-opted the pre-1967 Red Ensign flag of Canada referred to it as "the flag of the true Canada, the European Canada before the treasonous European replacement schemes brought in by the 1965 immigration policies".
In August 2018, People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier was reported to have invoked the Great Replacement after he claimed that the nation's immigration policy "should not aim to forcibly change the cultural character and social fabric of Canada, as radical proponents of multiculturalism want".
In June 2019, columnist Lindsay Shepherd claimed that "whites are becoming a minority" in the West, describing her assertion as "population replacement". She was criticized by Canadian MP Colin Fraser at a House of Commons justice committee for not denouncing the concept, while Nathaniel Erskine-Smith accused Shepherd of openly embracing the conspiracy theory.
In 2017, white supremacist protesters at the Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia used slogans that alluded to similar ideas of ethnic replacement, such as "You will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us". After that event, Camus told Vox that he did not support violence, and disputed any association between his ideas and neo-Nazis; however, he said he approved of the feeling behind the chant.
In October 2018, Republican congressman Steve King endorsed the conspiracy theory, stating: "Great replacement, yes," referring to the European migrant crisis that "these people walking into Europe by ethnic migration, 80 percent are young men." King presents the Great Replacement as a shared concern of Europe and the United States, claiming that "if we continue to abort our babies and import a replacement for them in the form of young violent men, we are supplanting our culture, our civilization." He has blamed George Soros as an alleged perpetrator behind the conspiracy.
In May 2019, Florida State Senator Dennis Baxley was reported to use the replacement theory in relation to the abortion debate in the United States. Speaking of Western European birthrates as a warning to Americans, he said: "When you get a birth rate less than 2 percent, that society is disappearing, and it’s being replaced by folks that come behind them and immigrate, don’t wish to assimilate into that society and they do believe in having children." The following month, Nick Isgro, deputy leader of the Maine Republican Party endorsed the conspiracy theory after claiming financial subsidies were promoted for abortions in the U.S. to "kill our own people", and that asylum seekers were "human pawns who are being played in a game by global elites and their partners here in Augusta." Greg Kesich, a writer for the Portland Press Herald, reported that the current Mayor of Waterville's speech displayed the sentiment of the Great Replacement.
In July 2019, Keith Ellison, the Attorney General of Minnesota, stated how increasing and varied hate crime, exacerbated by the 2016 Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump, was "united by so-called "replacement" theory", and that communities needed to "vigilantly and consistently counter each of these acts of violence and expressions of hate". At the same time, Mick Davis, the Chief Executive and Treasurer of the Conservative Party, published his outrage of the concept. Writing in The Jewish Chronicle, Davis named the Great Replacement, "a driving force behind far right terror", as worse than merely a conspiracy theory, in that it was "profoundly antisemitic".
The same month, media covered how US president Donald Trump had become one of the most influential proponents of the conspiracy theory. Reporting the Institute for Strategic Dialogue's findings that Trump consistently referenced the Great Replacement, the president's Twitter account was identified as one of the top ten promoters of the ideology. His history of describing Muslims and migrants as "invaders", according to SBS News, closely mirrors the language of explicit supporters of the theory.
The media in Australia have covered Senator Fraser Anning of Queensland and his endorsement of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory. In April 2019, Reuters reported how Anning was amplifying replacement theory by suggesting that Muslims would "out-breed us very quickly". In May 2019, Anning alleged that White Australians would "fast become a minority" if they did not defend their "ethno-cultural identity".
Camus's use of strong terms like "colonization" and "Occupiers"[d] to label non-European immigrants and their children have been described as implicit calls to violence. Scholars state that the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory closely parallels the concept of "remigration", or forced deportation of non-white migrants. "We shall not leave Europe, we shall make Africa leave Europe," Camus wrote in 2019 to define his political agenda for the European parliament elections. He has also used the equivalent term of "Great Repatriation" to refer to remigration.[g]
According to historians Nicolas Bancel and Pascal Blanchard, along with sociologist Ahmed Boubeker, "the announcement of a civil war is implicit in the theory of the 'great replacement' [...] This thesis is extreme—and so simplistic that it can be understood by anyone—because it validates a racial definition of the nation." Sceptical of Camus's description of second or third generation immigrants as being itself a contradiction in terms—"they do not migrate anymore, they are French"—demographer Hervé Le Bras is also critical of their designation as a fifth column in France or an "internal enemy".
Fears of the white race's extinction, and replacement theory in particular, have been cited by several accused perpetrators of mass shootings between 2018 and 2019. While Camus has stated his own philosophy is a nonviolent one, analysts including Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center say the idea of white genocide has "undoubtedly influenced" American white supremacists, potentially leading to violence.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the Australia-born terrorist responsible for the Christchurch mosque shootings at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15 March 2019, that killed 51 people and injured 49, named his manifesto The Great Replacement, a reference to Camus's book. In response, Camus condemned violence while reaffirming his desire for a "counter-revolt" against an increase in nonwhite populations.
In 2019, research by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue showed over 24,000 social media mentions of the Great Replacement in the month before the Christchurch shootings, in comparison to just 3,431 mentions in April 2012. The use of the term spiked in April 2019 after the Christchurch mosque shootings.
Patrick Crusius, the suspect in the 2019 El Paso shooting, posted an online manifesto titled The Inconvenient Truth alluding to the "great replacement" and expressing support for "the Christchurch shooter" minutes before the attack; it alluded to a "Hispanic invasion of Texas" and "simply trying to defend my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion" as justifications for the shooting.
In May 2019, Nick Cohen argued that the Great Replacement is a form of racism and propaganda, alongside a fear European men are not virile enough. The same month, Anne Applebaum wrote that the conspiracy theory was used as a gateway from discussing the effects of immigration and Islam's compatibility with the Western world to forms of extremism, such as advocating for the "remigration" or the murder of migrants.
In German discourse, Austrian political scientist Rainer Bauböck questioned the conspiracy theorists' use of the terms "population replacement" or "exchange" ("Bevölkerungsaustausch"). Using Ruth Wodak's analysis that the slogan needs to be viewed in its historical context, Bauböck has concluded that the conspiracy theory is a reemergence of the Nazi ideology of Umvolkung ("ethnicity inversion").
Camus frequently uses terms and concepts related to the period of Nazi-occupied France (1940-1945). He for instance labels "colonizers" or "Occupiers"[d] people of non-European descent who reside in Europe, and dismisses what he calls the "replacist elites" as "collaborationist". Camus founded in 2017 an organization named the National Council of European Resistance, in a self-evident reference to the WWII National Council of the Resistance (1943-1945). This analogy to the French resistance against Nazism has been described as an implicit call to hatred, direct action or even violence against what Camus labels the "Occupiers; i.e. the immigrants":
The occupation provoked among the French, and especially among the resisters, a very intense feeling of hatred [...] Moreover this occupation was made of persons in uniforms [...] How could you not provoke, with such an analogy, a hatred that some will judge salutary towards all immigrants they will meet [...]? It appears to me contradictory on your side to say that you condemn hatred, while at the same time drawing inspiration from that incendiary analogy to describe our times.— Alain Finkielkraut, 2017.
Scholars have generally dismissed the claims of a "great replacement" as being rooted in a misreading of immigration statistics and unscientific, racially prejudiced views. Demographer Landis MacKellar has said that, as of 2016, around 5-10% of French residents were Muslims, making a "replacement" unlikely, and criticized Camus's thesis for assuming "that third- and fourth- generation 'immigrants' are somehow not French."
French journalist Laurent Joffrin has questioned the integrity behind the theory. Although proposing that the "fertility rate of immigrant women is higher than that of 'native' women", he detailed how mothers born outside France accounted for only 10% of the population. He argued that while "this difference in fertility will ultimately increase the percentage of children of immigrant origin in the population"; it was nonsense to discuss this as a "Great Replacement".
Behind the idea is a racist conspiracy theory known as 'the replacement theory,' which was popularized by a right-wing French philosopher.
...this narrative is highly compatible with concrete conspiracy narratives about how this replacement is desired and planned, either by 'the politicians' or 'the elite,' which-ever connotes Jewishness more effectively.
This conspiracy theory, which was first articulated by the French philosopher Renaud Camus, has gained a lot of traction in Europe since 2015.
[transl. from French] This theory states that the indigenous French ("Français de souche") could soon be demographically replaced by non-European peoples, especially from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.
This notion of replacement, or of white genocide, has echoed throughout the rhetoric of many anti-migrant far-right movements in the West— such as by neo-racist protestors in Charlottesville in the USA in 2017
The success of that umpteenth incarnation of a theme launched immediately after World War II (Camus has personally declared his indebtedness to Enoch Powell) can be explained by the fact that he subtracted anti-Semitism from the argument
Ceci étant, le mot ne peut être compris sans référence à la théorie du «grand remplacement», élaborée par l'écrivain Renaud Camus en 2010 dans son Abécédaire de l'In-nocence
'L'Europe, il ne faut pas en sortir, il faut en sortir l'Afrique' [...] 'Jamais une occupation n'a pris fin sans le départ de l'occupant. Jamais une colonisation ne s'est achevée sans le retrait des colonisateurs et des colons. La Ligne claire, et seule à l'être, c'est celle qui mène du ferme constat du grand remplacement (...) à l'exigence de la remigration', ajoutent-ils.
Such political rhetoric has been effective in the past decade, as more and more individuals in the US and Europe are less accepting of Muslims, particularly Muslim immigrants (Abbas, 2007; Croucher, 2008; Gonzalez et al., 2008).
The manifesto itself was soon reduced to the simple phrase 'white genocide', which proliferated at the start of the 21st century and has become the overwhelmingly dominant meme of modern white nationalism.
Although it's difficult to date precisely, white supremacist publishing houses being somewhat less reliable than Simon & Schuster, that honor probably belongs to the late David Lane, terrorist, white supremacist, and author of an execrable little essay called 'White Genocide Manifesto'.
It was the transition from French nationalism ("hexagonal") to the promotion of European identity, theorised by the Europe-Action movement in the mid-1960s, that disrupted the references of the French far-right by producing a gap that has not yet been repaired.
Valérie Igounet: 'certaines personnes ont cité cette théorie avant Camus mais c'est bien lui qui l'a popularisée. L'association de ces deux mots a fait mouche dans un contexte français particulier, et ce de manière très récente'
...claims it represents "indigenous Europeans" and propagates the far-right conspiracy theory that white people are becoming a minority in what it calls the "Great Replacement"
...and spread the 'great replacement' conspiracy theory – the idea that white Europeans will be replaced by people from the Middle East and Africa through immigration. The theory is based on inflated statistics and un-substantiated demographic projections. Right now, only 4 percent of the European Union is made up of non-EU nationals.
...the conspiracy theory of the Grand remplacement (Great replacement) positing the 'Islamo-substitution' of biologically autochthonous populations in the French metropolitan territory, by Muslim minorities mostly coming from sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb
...le " grand remplacement ", une théorie de type conspirationniste selon laquelle il existerait un processus de remplacement des Français sur leur sol par des non-Européens.
Marion Maréchal — pegged as the heir apparent to the Le Pen dynasty and a possible presidential contender in 2022 — is a proponent of the "Great Replacement" theory embraced by the man accused of the Christchurch killings in New Zealand.
Zemmour flirted with a far-right conspiracy theory; the Grand remplacement (Great Replacement)
A recurrent Salvini theme is what is known as the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, which he described this way in an interview with Italy's Sky TG24 news
[T]he 'Unite the Right', white nationalist, neo-fascist rally chanted 'you will not replace us' and 'the Jews will not replace us,' echoing the 'Great Replacement' claim, with a sharper anti-Semitic edge than is currently deployed publicly in Europe.
Last month, Senator Anning’s party made a Facebook post endorsing The Great Replacement, "We need to preserve our ethno-cultural identity, or we will fast become a minority," Senator Anning’s post said.
Camus, now 72, told The Washington Post that he condemns the Christchurch attacks and has always condemned similar violence. [...] Camus added that he still hopes that the desire for a 'counterrevolt' against 'colonization in Europe today' will grow, a reference to increases in nonwhite populations.
[audio; transl. from French] - Alain Finkielkraut: [23:05] 'The occupation provoked among the French, and especially among the resisters, a very intense feeling of hatred [...] Moreover this occupation was made of persons in uniforms [...] How could you not provoke, with such an analogy, a hatred that some will judge salutary towards all immigrants they will meet [...]? It appears to me contradictory on your side to say that you condemn hatred, while at the same time drawing inspiration from that incendiary analogy to describe our times.'
Il n’est d’autre chance de retour à la paix civile et à la dignité que la libération du sol national et le retour chez eux des colonisateurs : remigration, Grand Rapatriement.
As for the grand replacement, this has been widely seen as a paranoid fantasy, which plays fast and loose with the statistics, is racist in that it classes as immigrants people actually born in France, glosses over the fact that around half of immigrants are from other European countries, and suggests that declining indigenous France will be outbred by Muslim newcomers when in fact it has the highest fertility rate in Western Europe, and not because of immigration.