The world of “Prosper” on Twitter

Opened in March 2015, the Twitter account which conveys the image of the first president of the Assembly of Corsica on social networks has become the scratching hair of the political world, among others. Corse-Matin met the one who tweets anonymously, for nearly 9,000 followers.

What would Prosper Alfonsi * have thought, after all, this first president of the Assembly of Corsica who could not count on social networks to get his messages across? No one will ever know, but his face is nevertheless authoritative, 31 years after his death, on a Twitter thread where the anonymous person fires all wood by conveying in his own way the image of the one he speaks of with respect. “I chose him for the symbolic side, for his personality too, then because he was from Niolu, where I am also from by my father.” The “Prosper Alfonsi” of the time of social networks also has his roots on the side of Venaco… He really didn’t do it on purpose…

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We met him. It was Thursday, in a cafe somewhere in Corsica. We were early to the appointment, with in mind the few names that the rumor has been circulating for a long time. Punctual, one of these names but also a face presented itself to us, offering a warm handshake, confident about the preservation of his anonymity and happy to share an experience in which he delights, almost eight years after having opened this famous account scrutinized from all sides, first by leading political figures who are his favorite targets. “Prosper Alfonsi” is now part of the media sphere, using and abusing the lethal weapon of 280 characters. For an often enlightened and sharp look, with humor or irony, of a macagna, “which can sometimes be mean, it’s true”.

On the Twitter thread at that time, he had remained with the evocation of his “soap operas”. Season 1 of “Autonomia” for the episode “Historical discussions and useless chatter”, or even season 2 of “Jean-Félix in Paris” who would have confessed: “I almost swallowed the San Giuliano clementine the wrong way.” We left him at midday, kicking off a series of five or six tweets until the evening, including a tasty “Fà popoulu tutti ensemble” to accompany the news of the demographic boom in Corsica . But who are you “Prosper Alfonsi”? We of course asked him the question, knowing in advance that his answer would have its limits. But to tell the truth, we had estimated them below the threshold that his end of “coming out” spontaneously set.

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“I am a territorial civil servant of the Community of Corsica which I joined in February 1991 after having passed the competition for attaché. I have known all the presidents of the executive council. Today I have the rank of director territorial and I am on the list of aptitude to access that of territorial administrator.” Hunt humor through the detail of a CV, and it comes back at a gallop. “I am counting on this interview to move forward in this direction. In any case, I hope that my CEO and my president will appoint me before I retire.” At this moment, we say to ourselves that the anonymity who writes the legend of a fake Twitter account will take a hit. “You’re kidding! At the CdC, we are 500 territorial directors, and 200 on the aptitude list. It’s the Mexican army”, exclaims the one who is not tender with the management of human resources of the institution. His recent tweet on the next recruitments attests to this, as does his view of the workforce: “5,000 agents, including 4,000 who do nothing. Myself, I spend much more time taking care of the Prosper Alfonsi account than working for the CdC”, confesses the civil servant who evokes a turning point in his professional career, during the year 2017. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was put on hold, rather pushed aside. Since then, I have time.”

In the lair of the Collectivity of Corsica, he considers that he is “in the heart of the reactor” to collect and crack down on an account he opened in March 2015, between a municipal election and the territorial campaign that would bring the nationalists to power. “I had followed with interest the fake Twitter accounts opened by some relatives of Gilles Simeoni to attack Jean Zuccarelli. I then said to myself: ”Why not me ?” Keen on politics, I launched myself, starting by attacking Paul Giacobbi and Mimi Viola. This is why the nationalists initially found me sympathetic. I very quickly rose in audience, up to 1,000 subscribers during the 2015 campaign during which I also presented my “list”. I had put everyone and anyone there. Up to Parisian journalists or even influential figures on Twitter. As a framework of the territorial administration, he had previously lived behind the scenes of the major political turning points, those of the alternation as much as the countless episodes of the complicated relationship with the State. An experience that he considers as the foundation of the firing point where he sends his scuds, on an account at the antipodes of the partisan approach. “Apart from my unconditional support for Sporting, of which I am an ‘accanitu’, I resolutely subscribe to the criticism that targets everyone because everyone is open to criticism in this country.” His main detractors are surely not of this opinion. He identifies them in the camp of the president of the executive. “It’s Gilles Simeoni’s fan club, not Femu’s elected officials.” False, “Prosper Alfonsi” lifts the veil a little more. “I have always been an autonomist. I voted Edmond Simeoni in 1992, the man who really made me vibrate. That year, I did all the meetings. In 2015, I voted Gilles. Nobody cannot tax me with anti-nationalism”, hammers the one who finds, despite everything, in the policy of the CdC, all the ammunition of the sulfateuse stamped Prosper Alfonsi.

Today a collective work

The maritime file, a classic in the tweets of the one who hides behind the name of the first president of the Assembly of Corsica.  - Twitter screenshot

Gilles Simeoni? “It is not the man who poses a problem for me, on the contrary, it is his way of inhabiting the function. There are two Gilles Simeoni: the tribune, the campaign manager, but also the president of the lost executive. He also became a clan leader, but in his defense, it is Corsican society which is clan-like, which has always needed to recognize itself in this kind of character. There were some before him, he there will be later.”

Territorial policy, he castigates “the absence of a project. This perpetual communication which is never followed by the facts”, too much faith in autonomy. “I would like someone to explain to me how the Corsicans will be happier with a status of autonomy. In my opinion, there are two areas in which we would need autonomy: housing and town planning. But for that, no need for a new statute, it is enough to modify a law in Paris. He has never been kind either on the management of the maritime transport file, and promises some rejoicing. “Let the air DSP come, you’ll see…” He also says he is on the left, but close to a Mitterrandian left extended by the Jospin years. “Especially not that of François Hollande.” As for Emmanuel Macron… “The spiritual son of Jean-Pierre Chevènement.” Hence the target “State” that “Prosper Alfonsi” has never spared. “The State in Corsica is an eternal ignorance of the file. Since the dispatch of 2,000 gendarmes to fight 15 men in Aleria, in 1975. Only two statesmen have tried to understand Corsica: Nicolas Sarkozy and Lionel Jospin. But in the end, the state never reacted until it was confronted with violence. We were never able to take advantage of a normal discussion framework.” He evokes the recent remark of a relative towards him. “He did not understand how I had been able to parade the day after the assassination of the prefect Erignac and be angry after that of Yvan Colonna in prison. For me, the assassination of the prefect was the most abject act that was committed in Corsica, but that does not give the State the right to take revenge beyond justice and law.” The process ? “Darmanin, when is he coming? If at the end of January, the decision concerning Pierre Alessandri is unfavorable, what do we do? It’s all over?”

Looks that are only reminder shots towards the almost 9,000 followers that “Prosper Alfonsi” has been able to retain. A success that does not fail to feed the private messaging of the account, where politicians often go to engage in the exchange that the author of the tweets never refuses. “I could also be wrong, and I am ready to read that I have gone too far, to take cognizance of a counter-argument following what I publish.”

Bring a false account to life in the media sphere and establish it permanently in the political debate. Lack of courage ? Lack of fair play? The interested party answers without embarrassment. “First of all, it’s easy. In a micro-society where everyone knows each other, saying what I’m saying openly and without being a public figure would have had less significance. I would have been put in a camp, but as I type on everyone, the anonymity gives me total freedom of tone and I have fun like crazy.” He also admits that he is no longer alone, that “in the reactor core”, “Prosper Alfonsi” has become a collective work over time.

Two good hours that he talks to us. We listen to him, we observe him, and we wonder if the anonymous is still one in the microsociety that he himself evokes. The interested party believes in it. “My real name has been circulating for a long time, along with others. Doubt exists, but…” He hesitated before accepting the principle of a meeting, but he is now inquiring about the publication of the paper in our columns. “You will not forget to wish on my behalf, to all your readers, a very happy new year… By right and by full exercise.”

“Prosper” definitely does not miss one.

* The radical left chaired the institution between 1982 and 1984, before requesting its dissolution from the government, considering that the voting system made it ungovernable. Prosper Alfonsi died on March 15, 1991.

The world of “Prosper” on Twitter