The mission against sectarian aberrations warns of a philosophy festival

The Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and the Fight against sectarian excesses (Miviludes) was warned “by several reports” she specifies, this Wednesday, of the holding of a festival called ” night of philosophy », from November 14 to 19, 2022in seven major French cities (Avignon, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Lyons, Paris, Rouen, Strasbourg). The New Acropolis, presented as a cultural association, would play the role of both participant and organizer.

The festival aims to be “an original initiative to share with as many people as possible varied access to the wisdom contained in philosophy” through conferences, practical philosophy workshops, philosophy café, etc. Last year around 400 people took part in the first edition, in Lyon.

“Self Training”

This movement is already known to government services and “has been the subject of 27 referrals since 2020”. “Founded in 1957 in Argentina, it was established in France in 1973 in the form of an association law 1901”, specifies to 20 minutes the communication department of the interministerial committee for the prevention of delinquency and radicalization (CIPDR), which oversees Miviludes. The New Acropolis defines itself on its website as “a global network that offers self-training and projects to facilitate the transition to a new and better world”, in particular through philosophy courses and sports and artistic activities.

Many testimonials give a very positive image of the association, insists Andréa Torré, in charge of social networks at the New Acropolis Bordeaux, who was difficult to reach this Thursday. “I am aware of the rumors about New Acropolis which already took part last year in Lyon in a colloquium of philosophers which was very successful. The various contacts and information that I had gave me a very positive feedback on this association, far from the negative description that is made of it”, reacts to 20 minutes Laleh Tavassoli, coordinator of La Nuit de la Philosophie in Bordeaux.

The New Acropolis en bloc denies

By offering courses and a perspective of awakening to spirituality, the group seems to be targeting student circles in particular, believes the CIPDR. “Practices inspired by fascism and esoteric beliefs would also be put forward. The history of humanity would, for example, be divided into five key stages, the ultimate being the advent of the “white race”. These notions of race and spiritual levels of the New Acropolis would be hidden behind the humanist and secular rhetoric of the movement”, specifies the CIPDR, in the light of several testimonies.

“The New Acropolis promotes an ideal of fraternity based on respect for human dignity beyond differences of sex, culture, beliefs, social origin, skin color, etc. New Acropolis has been firmly and constantly expressed for 50 years against all forms of racism and colonialism, defends Vincent Bourcier, president of the New Acropolis Bordeaux, in a press release this Saturday. It exists on five continents through more than 60 different nationalities which are an example of cooperation, tolerance and enviable diversity in our societies undermined by the dangers of fracture of all kinds. He adds to counter the arguments of Miviludes that “the eclectic philosophy proposed by our association is respectful of human dignity and promotes openness and critical thinking. In this, it is a bulwark against fascist, even totalitarian ideologies, and the grips of all kinds that New Acropolis has fought relentlessly since its creation, particularly in its reviews and works. »

Some former followers speak of highly hierarchical organization, manipulation techniques, the process of breaking with relatives who do not share the group’s ideology, professional disengagement and aggressive proselytism. “Fragile personalities have been targeted and made dependent with the aim of taking advantage of their resources (services, money, availability, etc.)”, reports the CIPDR.

Sects are not prohibited in France but Miviludes calls for great vigilance with regard to the activities offered by this “association”.

The mission against sectarian aberrations warns of a philosophy festival