Beware of the Word “Macronovirus”

A text, dated March 15th, published on the conspiracy website “Egalité et Réconciliation” (Equality and Reconciliation), signed by Felix Niesche and entitled Macronovirus, delivers an attack against Macron, which is redolent of the style used in some infamous pamphlets of the interwar years, devoted to the Jewish peril. In that tradition the Jew is likened to an invisible germ which settles within the heart of civilised nations in order to destroy them.

And the writer of the text does take his inspiration from that rhetoric, perceptible at first glance. “ The great protective havens, he writes, the Hotels Dieu (general hospitals), old people’s homes, large leper-houses have been sold off to speculators, to banks, to insurance companies, to Big Pharma”, and again, about Macron: “that arrogant lackey of a senile capitalism and a decadent Bonapartist Republic (…) The macronovirus didn’t happen to us by chance (…) Some may go to the Mosque to learn how to handle spiritual weapons for the next Jihads against Russia. Others may come out of their isolation to walk to the voting booth, and choose a parasite among all those that other people have selected for them beforehand (…) Will we come out of this macropandemic decimated, enslaved, miserable?”

Born in 1955, the writer of this text is notorious for belonging to a  “red-brown” loose conglomeration. Like his friend Alain Soral, a far-right polemicist, a friend of Dieudonné’s, the founder of the Equality and Reconciliation movement and of the publishing house Kontre Kulture which publishes “the protocols of the wise men of Zion”, together with works which are hostile to Zionism, vaccines and the  “lies”of democracies, or also DVDs aimed at educating the masses against the powerful people of this world, he consequently regards Macron as the new person responsible for all the viruses that plague real France, the country of times past, the country which suffers, that France that is suffocated by mafias which have grabbed the state machinery to impose a viral terror over  the good people (“le bon peuple”) . Such is the meaning of the virus spread by Macron, his crowd, his banks, and his Big Pharma: a Macronovirus.

The trouble is that the term Macronovirus is beginning to spread. It can notably be found on the website of a local section of the CGT at the employment office Pole employ for the Grand Est Region, (General Confederation of Labour, a national trade union), in a statement made on March 20th, 2020, whose style reads like Felix Niesche’s. “Behind the coronavirus, the Macronovirus attacks our liberties and our right to work”. It can also be read that “the Republic is flouted, debates are confiscated by elected representatives who are deaf to democracy”. In short, a dictator has seized power in France. He takes advantage of the virus to send salaried people to the front. The term can also be found on the site Rouge Cerise (Cherry Red), a blog by the Oswald Calvetti local section of the French Communist Party (January 29th, 2020) about a demonstration: “suffering from macronoviruses and bossonoviruses”), the media have covered with deafening silence the preparations for the eighth day of action against a points system retirement scheme.

The theme of the Macronovirus was taken up again in a Twitter account by the same name where the following words can be read (March 6th, 2020): “Macrony is worse than a plague, it is a virus”. But the theme also moves around in private messages, through lists and blogs which circulate Niesche’s text in snatches, sometimes without understanding what it is about. Among those writers are CGT activists, far-left indignants, polemicists, psychoanalysts, sociologists, researchers, etc.

It is therefore urgent to erect a sanitary barrier against the use of that term. One may, in France, hate the character of Macron, one has the right to write anything against the government, against its handling of the sanitary crisis, one has the right to always blame “the Other” for being guilty of all the sufferings endured, one has the right to look for “scape-goats”, to take it out on one’s neighbour, to claim that France is a banana republic, run by assassins who order “selections” among the old, the rich, the poor, the young, the people, the elites, like on the ramp at Auschwitz. One has the right to be constantly looking for the donkey in La Fontaine’s fable: that is called freedom of expression and it must be defended. But I feel it is urgent to erect a sanitary barrier against some words originating from Drumont’s tradition, from opponents of Dreyfus and from “Je suis partout ” (I am everywhere)

Macronovirus is part of that tradition.


Translated from the French by Annick Besse


Elisabeth Roudinesco historian (HDR) and writer, was born in 1944. She was a member of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris (1969-1981). She is associated researcher at UFR GHES-Paris VII-Diderot, and contributor to Le Monde des Livres. She teaches at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She is Vice-president of the International Society of the History of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Her published works include: L’Inconscient et ses Lettres (Paris: Mame, 1975); Jacques Lacan & Co. A History of Psychoanalysis in France (London: Free Association, 1990; Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press, 1990); Théroigne de Méricourt. Une femme mélancolique sous la Révolution (Paris: Ed. du Seuil, 1989; Engl.transl., London: Verso 1991); Jacques Lacan. Esquisse d’ une vie, histoire d’ un système de pensée (Paris: Fayard, 1993; Engl. transl., New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1996); Généalogies (Paris: Fayard, 1994); with Michel Plon, Dictionnaire de la Psychanalyse (Paris: Fayard, 1999); For What Tomorrow… : A Dialogue with Jacques Derrida (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2004);”Psychoanalysis” in The Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought, Lawrence D. Kriztman dir. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006); Philosophy in Turbulent Times: Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008); « Lacan, The Plague », Psychoanalysis and History, ed. John Forrester (Teddington: Artesian Books, 2008); “Freudianism in France”, In Freud’s Tracks. Conversations from the Journal of European Psychoanalysis, S. Benvenuto & A. Molino eds. (New York: Aronson, 2008), pp. 47-60; “Psychoanalysis and Homosexuality”, In Freud’s Tracks, cit., pp. 227-244; “Humanity and its gods: atheism”, Psychoanalysis and History, J. Borossa & I. Ward eds., Vol. 11 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009); Our Dark Side: A History of Perversion, transl. D. Macey (Cambridge & Malden MA: Polity Press, 2009).  Her latest book, Dictionnaire amoureux de la psychanalyse, was published by Plon-Seuil in 2017.

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