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Le Ballon rouge, 1956
Albert Lamorisse

Read the Politically Incorrect Memo that Triggered McMaster

BACKGROUND. The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and ultimately remove the President. Possibly confusing these attacks with an elevated interplay of otherwise normal D.C. partisan infighting and adversarial media relations, the White House response to these campaigns reflects a political advocacy mindset that it is intensely reactive, severely under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat. If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure from the White House.
This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle. It must be recognized on its own terms so that immediate action can be taken. At its core, these campaigns run on multiple lines of effort, serve as the non-violent line of effort of a wider movement, and execute political warfare agendas that reflect cultural Marxist outcomes. The campaigns operate through narratives.
Because the hard left is aligned with Islamist organizations at local (ANTIFA working with Muslim Brotherhood doing business as MSA and CAIR), national (ACLU and BLM working with CAIR and MPAC) and international levels (OIC working with OSCE and the UN), recognition must given to the fact that they seamlessly interoperate at the narrative level as well. In candidate Trump, the opposition saw a threat to the “politically correct” enforcement narratives they’ve meticulously laid in over the past few decades. In President Trump, they see a latent threat to continue that effort to ruinous effect and their retaliatory response reflects this fear.
INTRODUCTION. Responding to relentless personal assaults on his character, candidate Trump identified the players and the strategy:
  • “The establishment and their media enablers will control over this nation through means that are very well known. Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe, and morally deformed.” — President Trump, Oct 2016
Culturally conditioned to limit responses to such attacks as yet another round in the on-going drone from diversity and multicultural malcontents, these broadsides are discounted as political correctness run amuck. However, political correctness is a weapon against reason and critical thinking. This weapon functions as the enforcement mechanism of diversity narratives that seek to implement cultural Marxism. Candidate Trump’s rhetoric in the campaign not only cut through the Marxist narrative, he did so in ways that were viscerally comprehensible to a voting bloc that then made candidate Trump the president; making that bloc self-aware in the process. President Trump is either the candidate he ran as, or he is nothing.
Recognizing in candidate Trump an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative, those that benefit recognize the threat he poses and seek his destruction. For this cabal, Trump must be destroyed. Far from politics as usual, this is a political warfare effort that seeks the destruction of a sitting president. Since Trump took office, the situation has intensified to crisis level proportions. For those engaged in the effort, especially those from within the “deep state” or permanent government apparatus, this raises clear Title 18 (legal) concerns.
The Opposition. While opposition to President Trump manifests itself through political warfare memes centered on cultural Marxist narratives, this hardly means that opposition is limited to Marxists as conventionally understood. Having become the dominant cultural meme, some benefit from it while others are captured by it; including “deep state” actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans. Through the campaign, candidate Trump tapped into a deep vein of concern among many citizens that America is at risk and is slipping away. Globalists and Islamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed. Atomization of society must also occur at the individual level; with attacks directed against all levels of group and personal identity. Hence the sexism, racism and xenophobia memes. As a Judeo-Christian culture, forced inclusion of post-modern notions of tolerance is designed to induce nihilistic contradictions that reduce all thought, all faith, all loyalties to meaninglessness. Group rights based on sex or ethnicity are a direct assault on the very idea of individual human rights and natural law around which the Constitution was framed. “Transgender acceptance” memes attack at the most basic level by denying a person the right to declare the biological fact of one’s sex. When a population has 2 + 2 = 5 imposed on it, there are many that benefit:
  • Mainstream Media — The principle mechanism for implementing narratives.
  • The Academy — Academia has served as a principle counter-state node for some time and remains a key conduit for creating future adherents to cultural Marxist narratives and their derivative worldview.
  • The Deep State — The successful outcome of cultural Marxism is a bureaucratic state beholden to no one, certainly not the American people. With no rule of law considerations outside those that further deep state power, the deep state truly becomes, as Hegel advocated, god bestriding the earth.
  • Global Corporatists & Bankers — Exploitation of populations, unfettered by national protections and notions of personal morality and piety.
  • Democratic Leadership — The democratic leadership has been a counter-state enabler that executes, sustains, and protects cultural Marxist programs of action and facilitates the relentless expansion of the deep state.
  • Republican Leadership — More afraid of being accused of being called a racist, sexist, homophobe or Islamophobe than of failing to enforce their oaths to “support and defend the Constitution,” the Republican Establishment accepts and enforces cultural Marxist memes within its own sphere of operations. In doing so, knowingly or not, it becomes an agent of that. These “conservatives” become increasingly indistinguishable from their democratic counter-parts save that they misrepresent themselves to their constituents. Lacking the discernment to recognize their situation, they will work with globalists, corporatists, and the international financial interests and will likewise service the deep state. These establishment Republicans are the hard left’s designated defeat mechanism in the destruction of the old regime as well as the American ideal. Because candidate Trump publicly exposed them for their duplicitous activities, they are at risk as long as Trump can turn on them and are, therefore, bitter foes. Candidate Trump’s success remains an ongoing existential threat to establishment Republicans.
  • Islamists — Islamists ally with cultural Marxist because, as far back as the 1980s, they properly assessed that the hard left has a strong chance of reducing Western civilization to its benefit. Having co-opted post-modern narratives as critical points, Islamists deploy these narrative to strategically blind and then control US decision makers. This is by design and purposeful. “By their own hands!” has been the declared strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood since 1991. This strategy seeks to divide American society against itself with the forced imposition of Islamist objectives on one half of American society by the other half. Once a society has been effectively atomized, the population will have lost its faith in the old order, detest those who reduced it, and divide along the lines of narrative adherence. This is the intended outcome of hostile information cum political warfare campaigns and today we see their effects on American society.
Complicating the current situation, many close to the president have pushed him off his message when he was candidate Trump thus alienating him from his base thereby isolating him in the process. When President Trump is not candidate Trump, he becomes dangerously exposed. While the base that elected candidate Trump identified with his vision, they are only Trump’s insofar as he holds to the vision that made him president.
Political Warfare Attacks — A Primer. As used here, “political warfare” does not concern activities associated with the American political process but rather exclusively refers to political warfare as understood by the Maoist Insurgency model. Political warfare is one of the five components of a Maoist insurgency. Maoist methodologies employ synchronized violent and non-violent actions that focus on mobilization of individuals and groups to action. This approach envisions the direct use of non-violent operational arts and tactics as elements of combat power. In Maoist insurgencies, the formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power. Functioning as a hostile competing state acting within an existing state, it has an alternate infrastructure. Political warfare operates as one of the activities of the “counter-state” and is primarily focused on the resourcing and mobilization of the counter state or the exhaustion and demobilization of the targeted political movement. Political warfare methods can be implemented at strategic, operational, or tactical levels of operation.
Political warfare is warfare. Strategic information campaigns designed to delegitimize through disinformation arise out of non-violent lines of effort in political warfare regimes. They principally operate through narratives. Because the left is aligned with Islamist organizations at local, national and international levels, recognition should be given to the fact that they seamlessly interoperate through coordinated synchronized interactive narratives.
Cultural Marxism — A Primer. While the attacks on President Trump arise out of political warfare considerations based on non-kinetic lines of effort (as discussed below), they operate in a battle-space prepared, informed and conditioned by cultural Marxist drivers. In practical terms, the political warfare assault on President Trump cannot be separated from the cultural Marxist narratives that drive them. From an operational preparation of the environment perspective, President Trump is operating in a battle-space that reflects the left’s vision.
As used in this discussion, cultural Marxism relates to programs and activities that arise out of Gramsci Marxism, Fabian Socialism and most directly from the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt strategy deconstructs societies through attacks on culture by imposing a dialectic that forces unresolvable contradictions under the rubric of critical theory. The result is induced nihilism, a belief in everything that is actually the belief in nothing.
That post-modern (diversity/multiculturalism) narratives seeks to implement cultural Marxist objectives can be demonstrated by reference to founding Frankfurt School theorist Herbert Marcuse’s repurposing of the term tolerance. In a 1965 paper, Marcuse defined tolerance as intolerance; said it can be implemented through undemocratic means to stop chauvinism (xenophobia), racism, discrimination; and should be extended to the left while denied to the right:
  • “The realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed.”
  • “Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.” (8–9)
  • “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: … it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word.” (12)
It is through such post-modern constructs that interoperable narratives are established among various left-wing groups as well as between them and Islamist groups at all levels. For example, from the 2001 Conference of Foreign Ministers at Bamako, Mali, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) declared its commitment to fight racism and xenophobia and then declared Islamophobia a “contemporary form of racism”:
  • In this context, the World Conference urges all states . . . take all necessary measures to combat hatred, discrimination, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance particularly against Islam
  • Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance which display an increasing trend, in their most subtle and contemporary forms, constitute a violation of human rights. 3. Contemporary forms of racism are based on discrimination and disparagement on a cultural, rather than biological basis. In this content, the increasing trend of Islamophobia, as a distinct form of xenophobia in non-Muslim societies is very alarming.
That the OIC made these claims as part of its planned inputs to the United Nation’s “Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance” further demonstrates the coordinated and interoperable nature of these narratives at international levels in international forums.

As cultural Marxist narratives intensify, they are to be further operationalized in the form of hate speech narratives. Hate speech narratives are non-random, coordinated, and fully interoperable escalations of cultural Marxist memes. Key international players include the European Union, the UN, and the OSCE, the OIC and the International Muslim Brotherhood. Hate speech memes are structured, coordinated, and implemented through these same international forums. They involve close coordination with media and social media and include the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) narratives. David Shipler’s book Freedom of Speechprovides a road map for how hate speech narratives are to be structured, deployed and enforced.
Battlespace. These attack narratives are pervasive, full spectrum and institutionalized at all levels. They operate in social media, television, the 24-hour news cycle in all media, and are entrenched at the upper levels of the bureaucracies and within the foreign policy establishment. They inform the entertainment industry from late night monologues, to situation comedies, to television series memes, to movie themes. The effort required to direct this capacity at President Trump is little more than a programming decision to do so. The cultural Marxist narrative is fully deployed, pervasive, full spectrum and ongoing. Regarding the president, attacks have become a relentless 24/7 effort.
While there is certainly a Marxist agenda and even Islamist motivations that must be seriously addressed in their own right, these motivations alone seem inadequate to explain the scope and magnitude of the effort directed against the president. The economic drivers behind the Marxist and Islamist ideologues are enormously influential and seek to leverage these ideological movements for their own self interests. While beyond the actual scope of this document, the benefactors of these political movements include; Urban Real Estate who depend greatly on immigrant tenants, International Banking who seeks to maintain US debtor status so as to control the application of American power, and elements of the business sector that depend upon immigrant labor or government infrastructure. The overall objective of these economic forces is the forced urbanization of the populace, thereby necessitating a larger, more powerful government. In summary, this is a form of population control by certain business cartels in league with cultural Marxists/corporatists/Islamists who will leverage Islamic terrorism threats to justify the creation of a police state.
Adversary Campaign Plan. Political Warfare has been described as “propaganda in battledress.” The effort directed at President Trump is executed along one overt, as well as two covert, lines of effort:
  • The overt line of effort is PUBLICITY. Publicity is the straightforward projection of a case that builds a picture in the audience’s mind designed to garner support. It is facts without context and information the adversary wants the audience to possess that creates an impression and sets conditions. It seeks to establish good will and receptiveness to additional inputs.
  • There are two covert lines of effort: PROPOGANDA and INFILTRATION/SUBVERSION.
  • Propaganda is the deliberate direction, even manipulation, of information to secure a definite outcome. It is an attempt to direct the thinking of the recipient, without his conscious collaboration, into predetermined channels that are established in the Publicity line of effort. It is the unwitting conditioning of the recipient by devious methods with an ulterior motive that seeks to move them incrementally over time into greater belief and acceptance of message transmitted in the Publicity line of effort.
  • Infiltration and subversion operate internal to the targeted organization in order to inform, target, coordinate, and amplify the effects of the publicity and propaganda. Both operate to gather intelligence, obstruct legitimate courses of action, provide inside information, and leak sensitive information that undermines the leadership and suppresses the morale of friendly elements.
  • Infiltration of political and social groups within a target state is done for the purpose of extending counter-state influence and control. The endgame is concealed and may involve illicit activities.
  • Subversion undermines or detaches the loyalties of significant political and social groups within the target state and transfers political and/or ideological loyalties to the counter-state. As the counter-state forms, a counter-elite of influential individual and key leaders within the target state will later facilitate the legitimacy and permanency of the new regime.
Political warfare employs both publicity and propaganda. It recognizes no intrinsic virtue in the news but rather envisions it as a mechanism to exploit and build up support. From a political warfare perspective, control of the news cycle is the most potent means of attracting and building up a favorable audience. As it relates to the news cycle, publicity and propaganda can be merged to form a “pseudo-publicity” that is presented as news in furtherance of sustaining pseudo-realities maintained by cultural Marxist memes. Pseudo-publicity treatment of President Trump dominates the news cycle. The current campaign against President Trump operates in the following manner:
The Meta Narrative. Meta narratives seeks to delegitimize President Trump, his administration, and the vision of America he projected as a candidate. With cultural Marxist memes serving as the backdrop, President Trump is to be relentlessly characterized as unfit through the use of supporting narratives acting to move unwitting populations to belief in the meta narrative. Hence:
  • “President Trump is illegitimate”
  • “President Trump is corrupt”
  • “President Trump is dishonest”
Note that the twitter accounts and mainstream media personalities pushing this narrative have seen their audience numbers rise greatly in the past 6 months. This is a direct result of the supporting and backdrop narratives channeling individuals to this meta-narrative.
Supporting Narratives. Meta-narratives are supported by an ongoing series supporting-narratives that can be swapped out as circumstances warrant. It is important to recognize that these stories do not have to be true, valid or accurate to serve their purpose. Over time, deserved or not, the cumulative effect of these supporting narratives will result in a Trump fatigue. From a political warfare perspective, President Trump’s inability to meet this challenge will cast him as a weak failed leader. The current list of supporting narratives include:
  • “Russia hacked the election” — illegitimate
  • “Obstruction of Justice” — corrupt
  • “Hiding Collusion” — dishonest
  • “Putin Puppet” — treasonous
Backdrop Narratives. The backdrop to the meta and supporting narratives are cultural Marxist memes designed to sustain a general sense of loathing of President Trump and the America that elected him. Hence:
  • “[meta] President Trump is illegitimate, [supporting] he was elected because of Russian hacking, [backdrop] and besides, he a racist, sexist xenophobe.”
Adversaries utilize these interlocking narratives as a defensive political and information warfare screen that silences critics and smears supporters of President Trump. When people in the media question the behavior, actions and decisions of the Trump Administration’s opponents, they are immediately said to be “working for the Russians” or “supporting Russian propaganda.” Individual Americans who support the President are deemed “deplorable” and “racist.”
End StateAttacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead to his electionThose individuals and groups seeking the destruction of President Trump actually seek to suffocate the vision of America that made him president. Hence, the end state is not just a delegitimized, destabilized, immobilized and possibly destroyed presidency; but also demoralized movement composed of a large enough bloc to elect a president that subsequently become self-aware of its own disenfranchisement.
The recent turn of events give rise to the observation that the defense of President Trump is the defense of America. In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump. Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic. The administration has been maneuvered into a constant back-pedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.

— — —

White House Aide Forced Out After Claim of Leftist Conspiracy

Julie Hirschfeld Davis

President Trump and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster in June. Al Drago/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A cabal of leftist “deep state” government workers, “globalists,” bankers, adherents to Islamic fundamentalism and establishment Republicans are conspiring to remove President Trump and impose cultural Marxism in the United States, according to a former White House aide whose darkly worded memo detailing the alleged conspiracy got him removed last month from the National Security Council.
The seven-page memo by Rich Higgins, who had been a director for strategic planning at the council, is a manifesto against multiculturalism and political correctness, and a call, using apocalyptic language, for the president to return to the message that animated his campaign.
While it is not clear the document ever reached Mr. Trump’s desk, its emergence highlights the deep divide within the White House between Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, and harder-line officials aligned with Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, over the administration’s direction.
With its highly charged language and overtly political tone, the memo, which Mr. Higgins drafted on his White House computer and circulated to colleagues, set off alarm bells inside the West Wing. Most documents emanating from the National Security Council amount to dryly worded policy dissertations and intricate planning documents.
“This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” Mr. Higgins wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Foreign Policy and published on Thursday. “Recognizing in candidate Trump an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative, those that benefit recognize the threat he poses and seek his destruction.”
Among those threatened by Mr. Trump is the “hard left,” Mr. Higgins wrote. He said it was “aligned with lslamist organizations,” including the Muslim Brotherhood and the Council on American-Islamic Relations; the American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter; and the United Nations.
“Complicating the current situation, many close to the president have pushed him off his message when he was candidate Trump thus alienating him from his base thereby isolating him in the process,” Mr. Higgins wrote. He was echoing the concerns of some of Mr. Trump’s earliest supporters, who have recently stepped up a public campaign to press for General McMaster’s ouster. “When President Trump is not candidate Trump, he becomes dangerously exposed.”
Mr. Higgins did not respond to messages requesting comment on Friday. A White House spokesman also declined to comment.
But two administration officials with knowledge of the situation said that after Mr. Higgins had circulated the document, which was widely viewed as inappropriate, he was ordered to resign. His resignation was demanded by Maj. Gen. Ricky Waddell, the deputy national security adviser, after consulting with General McMaster, according to the two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it.
The episode came to light during what appears to be General McMaster’s slow-rolling purge against hard-line aides on his staff who were close to Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, and shared Mr. Bannon’s antiglobalist views. General McMaster succeeded Mr. Flynn after he resigned in February after the revelation that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about a telephone call with Russia’s ambassador.
Last week, Mr. McMaster dismissed Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who ran the council’s intelligence division and whose ouster had been opposed by Mr. Bannon and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Derek Harvey, the top Middle East adviser, and Tera Dahl, the deputy chief of staff and a former writer for Breitbart News, which Mr. Bannon once ran, also resigned last month. The departure of Mr. Higgins as a result of his memo was first reported by The Atlantic.
The housecleaning has inflamed conservatives who have long been wary of General McMaster. Frank Gaffney Jr., the president of the Center for Security Policy and the architect of a public campaign to lobby for the general’s firing, has singled out Mr. Higgins, a former Department of Defense employee, as a cause célèbre and on Friday called his memo “required reading.”
“The document’s alarming depiction of a multidimensional campaign to take down the president of the United States, backed by rigorous analysis, makes clear that the man deserving termination is not Rich Higgins, but the general who punished him — and, thereby, tried to suppress his warning,” Mr. Gaffney said in a statement on Friday.
Paul Nehlen, who is mounting his second Republican primary challenge against Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, posted a message on Twitter last week urging activists to call the White House and tell Mr. Trump “we want #McMaster fired for exiting Rich Higgins and other warriors fighting the Islamists.”
Yet Mr. Trump has appeared to be unmoved by the campaign to remove his national security adviser. On Thursday, the president said he “absolutely” had full confidence in General McMaster, adding: “He’s our friend. He’s my friend. And he’s a very talented man. I like him and I respect him.”
Before arriving at the White House, Mr. Higgins had been outspoken. He appeared on Sean Hannity’s talk radio show and on other conservative news outlets last year to share his views, including that the Muslim Brotherhood had taken over the decision-making in the White House during the Obama administration, and that the concept of Islamophobia had been invented by terrorists to squelch critical thinking in the West.
In a video posted on Friday by the liberal-leaning group Right Wing Watch, Mr. Higgins is seen giving a talk in which he said administrations of both parties were to blame for the failure of the United States to curb terrorism.
“You’d sit in these meetings in the Bush administration, and the Muslim Brotherhood guys — they’d be in the meetings, at the table with you; in the Obama administration, they’re running the meetings,” Mr. Higgins said in the video, which appeared to have been recorded last year. “You don’t have to hate all Muslims — all right, I have Muslim friends — but you have to hate Islam.”

La civilisation de la tomate

Le capitalisme raconté par le ketchup

La force d’un système économique tient à sa capacité à s’insinuer dans les moindres replis de l’existence, et en particulier dans nos assiettes. Une banale boîte de concentré de tomate contient ainsi deux siècles d’histoire du capitalisme. Pour son nouvel ouvrage, Jean-Baptiste Malet a mené une enquête au long cours sur quatre continents. Une géopolitique de la « malbouffe » dont il présente ici un tour d’horizon inédit.

Dans la salle d’un restaurant décorée d’ours et de cobras empaillés, au cœur de la vallée de Sacramento, en Californie, un homme mord dans son hamburger face à une bouteille de ketchup. M. Chris Rufer, patron de la Morning Star Company, règne sur la filière mondiale de la tomate d’industrie. Avec trois usines seulement, les plus grandes du monde, son entreprise produit 12 % du concentré de tomate consommé sur la planète.

« Je suis une sorte d’anarchiste, explique M. Rufer entre deux bouchées. C’est pourquoi il n’y a plus de chef dans mon entreprise. Nous avons adopté l’autogestion » — une « autogestion » où l’informatique remplace les cadres, mais qui ne prévoit pas que les travailleurs contrôlent le capital de l’entreprise. Mécène du Parti libertarien (1), M. Rufer laisse aux employés le soin de se répartir les tâches qui échoient encore à des êtres humains. Dans les ateliers de la ville de Williams, la Morning Star transforme chaque heure 1 350 tonnes de tomates fraîches en concentré. Lavage, broyage et évaporation sous pression sont entièrement automatisés.

Traversé continuellement d’un essaim de camions tractant des doubles bennes de fruits rouges, l’établissement est le plus compétitif du monde. Il fonctionne en trois-huit et n’emploie que soixante-dix travailleurs par rotation. L’essentiel des ouvriers et des cadres ont été éliminés, remplacés par des machines et des ordinateurs. De ce traitement de « première transformation » sortent de grandes caisses contenant différentes qualités de concentré.

Mises en conteneurs, elles circuleront sur tous les océans du globe. On les retrouvera, aux côtés de barils de concentré chinois, dans les mégaconserveries napolitaines qui produisent l’essentiel des petites boîtes de concentré vendues par la grande distribution européenne. Les usines dites « de seconde transformation » des pays scandinaves, d’Europe de l’Est, des îles Britanniques ou de Provence emploieront également du concentré importé comme ingrédient dans leur nourriture industrielle — ratatouille, pizzas surgelées, lasagnes... Ailleurs, ce produit pourpre et visqueux, mélangé à de la semoule ou à du riz, entre dans les recettes populaires et les mets traditionnels, du mafé à la paella en passant par la chorba. Le concentré de tomate est le produit industriel le plus accessible de l’ère capitaliste : on le trouve sur la table des restaurants branchés de San Francisco comme sur les étals des villages les plus pauvres d’Afrique, où il se vend parfois à la cuillère, comme dans le nord du Ghana, pour l’équivalent de quelques centimes d’euro (lire « Des produits chinois frelatés pour l’Afrique »).

Toute l’humanité mange de la tomate d’industrie. En 2016, 38 millions de tonnes de ce légume-fruit (2), soit environ un quart de la production totale, ont été transformés ou mis en conserves. L’année précédente, chaque Terrien avait en moyenne absorbé 5,2 kilos de tomates transformées (3). Ingrédient central de la « malbouffe » (4) autant que de la diète méditerranéenne, la tomate transcende les clivages culturels et alimentaires. Elle n’est soumise à aucun interdit. Les civilisations du blé, du riz et du maïs décrites par l’historien Fernand Braudel ont aujourd’hui cédé la place à une seule et même civilisation de la tomate.
Lorsqu’il presse le flacon Heinz pour couvrir ses frites d’une nouvelle giclée de ketchup, produisant ce bruit caractéristique que des milliards d’oreilles ont appris à reconnaître depuis l’enfance, M. Rufer n’a sans doute en tête ni la composition de la sauce ni son histoire mouvementée. Si, malgré sa couleur rouge, le « tomato ketchup » n’a pas le goût de la tomate, c’est que sa teneur en concentré varie entre 30 % et... 6 % selon les fabricants, pour 25 % de sucre en moyenne. Aux États-Unis, il s’agit de sirop de maïs (génétiquement modifié, la plupart du temps). Mis en cause dans l’épidémie d’obésité qui frappe le pays, omniprésent dans l’alimentation industrielle des Américains, ce « glucose-fructose » coûte moins cher que les sucres de canne ou de betterave. Dopés à l’amidon modifié, aux épaississants et aux gélifiants comme la gomme xanthane (E415) ou la gomme de guar (E412), les pires ketchups représentent l’aboutissement d’un siècle de « progrès » agroalimentaire.

Dans les usines de M. Rufer comme dans toutes les installations de transformation du globe, l’essentiel de la technologie vient d’Italie. Née au XIXe siècle en Émilie-Romagne, l’industrie de la tomate a connu une expansion planétaire. C’est en émigrant, à la fin du XIXe siècle, que des millions d’Italiens diffusent l’usage culinaire de la tomate transformée et stimulent les exportations de conserves tricolores vers l’Argentine, le Brésil, les États-Unis. En Italie, durant la période fasciste, la boîte en fer symbolise la « révolution culturelle » inspirée du futurisme qui exalte la civilisation urbaine, les machines et la guerre. La tomate en conserves, nourriture de l’« homme nouveau », conjugue ingénierie scientifique, production industrielle et conservation de ce qui a été cultivé sur la terre de la patrie. En 1940 se tient à Parme la première « Exposition autarcique des boîtes et emballages de conserve », un événement qui fait la fierté des hiérarques du régime. La couverture de son catalogue montre une boîte de conserve frappée des lettres AUTARCHIA. L’autarcie verte, la voie économique suivie par le fascisme, rationalise et développe l’industrie rouge. « De nos jours, deux aliments globalisés de la restauration rapide, le plat de pâtes et la pizza, contiennent de la tomate. C’est là, en partie, l’héritage de cette industrie structurée, développée, encouragée et financée par le régime fasciste », souligne l’historien de la gastronomie Alberto Capatti.
Commerce international de concentré de tomate

La civilisation de la tomate

Agnès Stienne, juin 2017
Apparues au XIXe siècle aux États-Unis, la boîte de soupe à la tomate Campbell’s et le flacon rouge Heinz — dont il se vend annuellement 650 millions d’unités à travers le monde — rivalisent avec la bouteille de Coca-Cola pour le titre de symbole du capitalisme. Fait méconnu, ces deux marchandises ont précédé l’automobile dans l’histoire de la production de masse. Avant que Ford n’assemble des automobiles sur des chaînes de montage, les usines Heinz de Pittsburgh, en Pennsylvanie, fabriquaient déjà des conserves de haricots à la sauce tomate sur des lignes de production où des tâches telles que le sertissage des boîtes étaient automatisées. Des photographies de 1904 montrent des ouvrières en uniforme Heinz travaillant sur des lignes de production : les bouteilles de ketchup s’y déplacent sur un rail. Un an plus tard, Heinz vend un million de bouteilles de ketchup. En 1910, il produit quarante millions de boîtes de conserve et vingt millions de bouteilles de verre. L’entreprise est alors la plus importante multinationale américaine (5).

Dans le sillage de la vague néolibérale des années 1980, et grâce à l’invention des conditionnements aseptiques (traités pour empêcher le développement de micro-organismes), qui ouvrent la voie aux flux intercontinentaux de produits alimentaires, les géants tels que Heinz ou Unilever sous-traitent progressivement leurs activités de transformation de tomates. Désormais, les multinationales du ketchup, de la soupe ou de la pizza se fournissent directement auprès de « premiers transformateurs » capables de fournir du concentré industriel à très bas coût et en très grande quantité. En Californie, en Chine et en Italie, quelques mastodontes transforment à eux seuls la moitié des tomates d’industrie de la planète. « Si les Pays-Bas, où s’est implantée une usine Heinz gigantesque, sont le premier exportateur de sauces et de ketchup en Europe, ils ne produisent pas de tomates d’industrie, précise le trader uruguayen Juan José Amézaga. Tout le concentré employé dans les sauces qu’exportent les Pays-Bas ou l’Allemagne est produit à partir de concentré d’importation en provenance de diverses parties du monde. Les fournisseurs peuvent se trouver en Californie, en Europe ou en Chine. Cela fluctue en fonction des périodes de l’année, des taux de change, de l’état des stocks et des récoltes. »

Premier producteur mondial de concentré de tomate, la Californie ne compte que douze usines de transformation. Toutes sont titanesques. Elles fournissent à elles seules la quasi-totalité du marché intérieur nord-américain et exportent vers l’Europe des concentrés vendus parfois moins cher que les concentrés italiens ou espagnols. À la différence des « tomates de bouche », destinées au marché de frais, les variétés buissonnantes de « tomates d’industrie » ne sont pas tuteurées. Parce que le soleil dispense une énergie abondante et gratuite, elles poussent exclusivement en plein champ, contrairement aux cultures sous serre qui alimentent les étals toute l’année. En Californie, les récoltes débutent parfois dès le printemps et s’achèvent, comme en Provence, à l’automne.

« Améliorées » depuis les années 1960 par des généticiens, les tomates de l’agro-industrie sont conçues d’emblée pour faciliter leur transformation ultérieure. La science qui guide l’organisation du travail intervient aussi en amont, au cœur même du produit.

L’introduction d’un gène a par exemple permis d’accélérer les cueillettes manuelles et rendu possibles les récoltes mécaniques. Tous les fruits de la filière mondiale se détachent de leur pédoncule d’une simple secousse. Bien qu’aujourd’hui les tomates d’industrie du marché mondial soient majoritairement de variétés dites « hybrides », la purée de tomates est entrée dans l’histoire comme le tout premier aliment OGM commercialisé en Europe (6).

Avec sa peau épaisse qui craque sous la dent, la tomate d’industrie supporte les cahots des voyages en camion et le maniement brutal par les machines. Même placée au fond d’une benne sous la masse de ses congénères, elle n’éclate pas. Les grands semenciers ont veillé à ce qu’elle contienne le moins d’eau possible, contrairement aux variétés de supermarché, aqueuses et donc inadaptées à la production de concentré. L’industrie rouge se résume au fond à un cycle hydrique perpétuel et absurde : d’un côté, on irrigue massivement les champs dans des régions où l’eau est rare, comme la Californie ; de l’autre, on transporte les fruits dans des usines pour évaporer l’eau qu’ils contiennent afin de produire une pâte riche en matière sèche.

Jean-Baptiste Malet
Journaliste. Auteur de L’Empire de l’or rouge. Enquête mondiale sur la tomate d’industrie, Fayard, Paris, 2017. 
(1) M. Rufer a financé à hauteur de 1 million de dollars la campagne de M. Gary Johnson, le candidat libertarien arrivé troisième lors de l’élection présidentielle américaine de 2016 avec 4,4 millions de voix — 3,29 % des suffrages.
(2) Pour les botanistes, la tomate est un fruit. Pour les douaniers, c’est un légume.
(3) Tomato News, Suresnes, décembre 2016.
(4) Lire Aurel et Pierre Daum, « Et pour quelques tomates de plus », Le Monde diplomatique, mars 2010.
(5) Quentin R. Skrabec, H. J. Heinz : A Biography, McFarland & Company, Jefferson (Caroline du Nord), 2009.
(6) De février 1996 à juillet 1999, la chaîne de supermarchés Sainsbury’s a commercialisé au Royaume-Uni des conserves de purée de tomates OGM vendues à bas coût et promues par une communication agressive. L’opération s’est interrompue durant la « crise de la vache folle ».