Anthroposophy: the Nef, a bank created by this esoteric current, sows discord at the town hall of Lyon

Does the green majority of Lyon flirt with an esoteric current? In recent days, the opposition group “For Lyon” has alerted the press to a loan of 3 million euros contracted a year ago by the municipality with an ethical bank, the Nef (for New fraternal economy) . This same bank is cited in the 2022 report of the Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and the Fight against Sectarian Abuses (Miviludes) for its links with a spiritual movement monitored for sectarian excesses, anthroposophywho exercises, according to the institution, “ a preponderant influence on certain “ethical” banking establishments with extremely significant financial power such as Triodos, GLS or, in France, the New Fraternal Economy (Nef) “. Asked by Mariannethe Nave assumes its history linked to anthroposophy but affirms it: We are no longer anthroposophists! »

I started wondering about the Nave when I became interested in Lyon’s local currency, the gonette explain to Marianne the elected opposition Ludovic Hernandez. When these gonettes are changed into euros, they are placed in a guarantee fund managed by the Nef. I alerted the city council by saying: “Attention, we are not against local currencies, but the Nave is an emanation of anthroposophy.” Anthroposophy? A spirituality new-age developed by an Austrian occultist, Rudolf Steiner who claimed to want to put man back at the center of the cosmos by advocating beliefs such as karma, the existence of a “cosmic Christ” or elementary beings such as sylphs and gnomes. The historian of ideas and far-right specialist Stéphane François also writes: Anthroposophy has a discourse on race, Steiner was a child of his century, he considered race to be an engine of history. Anthroposophists were persecuted by the Nazis, but there are also Nazis who were fascinated by anthroposophy, and not the least: Rudolf Hess, Walther Darré, Himmler… »

Created by anthroposophists

Anthroposophy, born in the first half of the 20th century, has spread in three main sectors: education, through its network of so-called Steiner-Waldorf schools, in agriculture, with the development of so-called “biodynamic” rituals and in pseudo-medicine advocating antivaccinism. But, as rightly remarked by Ludovic Hernandez, this current actually led to the creation of the Nave. In 1978, two anthroposophists, who subscribed to the teachings of Rudolf Steiner therefore, founded this “New fraternal economy”: Jean-Pierre Bideau, teacher in a Steiner-Waldorf school, and Henri Nouyrit, parent of a Steiner student and biodynamic farmer. From the beginning of the 2000s, Miviludes mentioned anthroposophy and its various emanations as currents presenting a risk of sectarian aberrations. Already at the time, the Nave was identified as anthroposophist.

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When the Nef was created, they mobilized all anthroposophical networks to obtain the starting funds remember for Marianne Grégoire Perra, himself a former anthroposophist and today the main whistleblower in the field. They did a big campaign in Steiner schools in 1986 and toured all anthroposophical societies. According to him, the project is then exposed without ambiguity: It involved financing anthroposophical structures, schools and biodynamic farms. But, in accordance with the doctrine of Rudolf Steiner, who advocates dissimulation and discretion, the founders of the Nef also aspired to ” finance alternative structures, in particular ecologists, which are not anthroposophical, in order totrain and place people who will make the link between their objectives and those of the organization of Anthroposophical society and its offshoots “.

Invited to the town hall

So many elements that worried Ludovic Hernandez: “ Ten or twelve years ago, hardly anyone knew what anthroposophy was. Today, the information exists, books have been published, certain media have taken an interest in the subject. We can no longer say that we do not know. For the elected official, the relationship between the town hall of Lyon and the Nave has been strengthened in three stages: the first is the promotion of the local currency, the second, the loan taken out by the municipality with this ethical bank , for an amount of 3 million euros. The third, “ is that on the occasion of the week of ethical finance organized by the town hall, the Nef was invited to the round table. The Miviludes report had come out a fortnight before and I had reported the situation. For me, we should have at least put our relations with the Nef on hold, the time to check all this. »

A situation all the more strange, according to the elected official, when Miviludes points to the sectarian excesses present in another movement, “the new Acropolis”, the municipal majority intervenes without hesitation to cancel its invitation to participate inThe Night of Philosophy. ” Why in this case do we react normally, and in the case of the Nave, we do not answer my questions and we even avoid using the word “anthroposophy” during municipal councils? he wonders. On the side of the majority, it is indicated to Marianne have ” writes to the president of Miviludes to request clarification on the grounds for the accusation, in order to allow appropriate measures to be taken “. And to recall: This is Greater Lyon, under the aegis of Gérard Collomb [ancien maire de Lyon N.D.L.R.]which contracted the first time with La Nef to diversify its financing and find an ethical and local bank – 3.3 million euros in 2012 and 2014. »

“We are no longer anthroposophists! »

Asked by Mariannethe chairman of the Nef management board, Bernard Horenbeek, does not deny the anthroposophist origins of ethical banking: “ It’s true, anthroposophists were behind the creation of the Nave, but when I hear the criticisms that are addressed to us today, I have the impression that I am being told about the Nave of 25 years ago. ” This Belgian, who presents himself as “ an old secular activist in a country where things are not self-evident ensures that today, the only objectives carried by the Nave are to promote ethical finance, in particular with the public authorities. “ We are an ethical bank, that is to say that we collect savings and we use them in credit, mainly citizen savings that we use to make credit in three major sectors: environmental, social and cultural “, continues the leader. Anthroposophist, him? ” It’s no, categorically no. I’ve never read Steiner, that doesn’t interest me. »

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However, even today, at least two important members of the Supervisory Board of the Nef are notorious anthroposophists. ” Indeed, there are still anthroposophists in our bodies, but they do not represent anthroposophy to us. There are also Catholics, Protestants… It’s everyone’s business and it doesn’t concern me », sweeps Bernard Horenbeek. Otherwise, “ it is a supervisory board, not a management board. It intervenes in monitoring what we do, more than in operations. The Supervisory Board will never intervene in credit decisions. The banker insists: It’s not a crime to be an anthroposophist. I never identified them as representatives of anthroposophy, they have no influence on me in what we decide. They effectively embody the history of the Nave, but they are completely in the minority. »

A ship against the apocalypse

So why worry about it? If Miviludes monitors anthroposophical currents, it is because its other emanations show significant deviations. Steiner pedagogy has already been singled out in several reports, in particular for rituals and conditioning “and a risk” subjection » of students enrolled in these establishments. Asked about this, the president of La Nef assures us that the ethical bank “ no longer funds Steiner-Waldorf schools since 2019 “. As for biodynamic crops, which compile astral calendar and esoteric rituals without any scientific basis, Bernard Horenbeek assumes here to finance an agriculture “ which is at least organic and does no harm. We do not differentiate between different biological approaches “.

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At the origin of the creation of the Nef, there is the idea that one day a global monetary collapse will occur, like the crisis of 29 but much more serious. At that time, civilization will collapse and only islands of culture will survive it. Among them: companies, biodynamic farms and Steiner schools. This is also where the name “Nave” comes from, it is the ship that will survive the flood. “, analyzes Grégoire Perra, who qualifies Steiner’s doctrine “ apocalyptic “. ” I had no ideapoints out Bernard Horenbeek, rather amused by Grégoire Perra’s explanation. All I know is that we need a transition, especially an ecological one, but we don’t have the solution. La Nef is there to serve as a financial tool for those who seek and build businesses or projects that go towards these solutions. »

Anthroposophy: the Nef, a bank created by this esoteric current, sows discord at the town hall of Lyon