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An odd way to go about rebranding the French far right March 11, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Anyone else think the news in regard to the National Front and its various woes this weekend is oddly contradictory. There’s Bannon popping up saying they should wear criticisms that they are xenophobic and racist as a badge of pride – hardly the most emollient message, and then there’s the curious name change proposal… 

…to Rassemblement National (National Rally), saying it must serve as a rallying call to new voters.

Le Pen said FN had moved from its roots as a protest group into opposition and was now ready to govern under a new name.

“I have thought and consulted long and hard on the name. It must carry a political message and clearly indicate our political project for France. It must imperatively include the word ‘national’,” she told the party’s conference.

Perhaps she thought long but not well.

For a political leader whose primary objective in recent years has been to soften FN’s image and shed its antisemitic, jack-boot image, the proposed name had unfortunate echoes of the Rassemblement National Populaire (RNP), an extreme-right collaborationist group set up by Marcel Déat, a “neo-Socialist, during the German occupation of France between 1941 and 1944.

Ooops.

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1. Tomboktu - March 12, 2018

Oopps indeed.

(Here’s a Wiki ‘en anglais‘: “Rassemblement national populaire, RNP, 1941–1944) was a French party, and one of the main collaborationist parties under the Vichy regime of World War II.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Rally)

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2. EWI - March 12, 2018

I entirely doubt that it’s an accident. The fascist method is to be in your face, forcing your submission.

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3. Gearóid Clár - March 12, 2018

Strange coincidence. I was killing time in a bookshop yesterday and picked up Black Wind, White Snow about the rise of nationalism in Russia. The chapter I flicked open on was about the influence Alain de Benoist had on this.

I’d never heard of him before, but it seems he rejects a lot of the traits of the far-right in France (at least ostensibly). Anybody have any suggested reading on him or the Nouvelle Droite?

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WorldbyStorm - March 12, 2018

Yeah he’s an odd one, sort of dancing with but not quite of the far right. Still easy to see why some would see his approaches attractive in regard to separatism

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Jim Monaghan - March 12, 2018

Benoist “Alain de Benoist
Among the neo-fascists to come out of Thiriart’s ideological orbit is Alain de Benoist, who has exerted a substantial influence on the New Right. In his teenage years, De Benoist joined Thiriart’s Jeune Europe out of sympathy for the French occupation of Algeria in the late 50s and would later be a member of the editorial board of Europe-Action, a successor organization of Jeune Europe after the latter was banned by the French government.

During this period De Benoist was a standard mainstream neo-fascist opposed to Communism, defending apartheid and supporting the American imperialist war in Vietnam. Dissatisfied with the then state of the far-right and its inability to challenge the Gaullist French state, De Benoist would instead opt for giving up on the biological racism and conspiracy theories of the far-right and instead favor a more intellectual approach, and in reaction to the radical leftist movement of May 1968 he founded the think tank GRECE (which is the acronym for Groupement pour Recherches et Etudes pour la Civilisation Europeenne, the French translation of Research and Study Group for the European Civilization). Inspired by the theories of Italian Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci on cultural hegemony (for which the by-then long deceased Gramsci should not be blamed), De Benoist would advocate for fighting an ideological war to influence mass culture as foundation for political change, a theory called “metapolitics”. GRECE consequently published material rehabilitating fascists such as ideologues of the Conservative Revolution and supporters of National-Bolshevism such as Ernst Niekisch.

De Benoist’s ideological evolution was also marked by a shift towards hostility to Christianity, which in his view had “colonized” Indo-Europeans by force, and support for a revival of pre-Christian European polytheism, which echoed Julius Evola. Accompanying this shift was an increasing anti-Americanism of De Benoist, who hated the “American way of life” and “it’s inane TV serials, chronic mobility, ubiquitous fast food, admiration of the almighty dollar and its quiescent, depoliticized populace”. He opposed free-market capitalism, appropriating left-wing critiques of liberalism by decrying it as an ideology reducing every aspect of human life to purely economic value, thus producing a totalizing consumer society which was inescapably totalitarian.

Paralleling Yockey and Thiriart before him, De Benoist came to consider American imperialism and liberal democracy as more dangerous than Soviet Communism, writing “Better to wear the helmet of a Red Army soldier than to live on a diet of hamburgers in Brooklyn” in 1982 (which would be repeated in 2017 by Richard Spencer, a prominent figure of the American fascist “Alt-Right” movement), supporting Third World struggles while condemning NATO and voting for the Communist Party in the French elections of 1984.

Against accusations from other neo-fascists of having defected to the New Left, De Benoist would just like Thiriart before him claim he was out of the Left-Right spectrum and instead supported “a plural world grounded in the diversity of cultures” against a “one-dimensional world”. This concept, called “ethnopluralism”, meant that De Benoist had gone from a white supremacist to a supporter of separate ethnic and cultural identities and regionalism against what he was as a “homogenizing global market”, putting him at odds with the vision of a pan-European superstate of Thiriart.

This concept of “ethnopluralism” would find its way among wider far-right circles, with Jean-Marie Le Pen re-using it in his xenophobic declarations and neo-fascists adopting it to ‘soften’ their racist rhetoric.

The end of the Cold War signified the end of the Left-Right divide for De Benoist and following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he would visit Russia in 1992, months before Thiriart’s own delegation, where he would meet many figures of the opposition to Boris Yeltsin and proclaim that politics consisted of anti-system forces against the “establishmentarian center”, effectively advocating for a Left-Right coalition against liberal democracy.” from https://ravingsofaradicalvagabond.noblogs.org/post/2018/01/15/an-investigation-into-red-brown-alliances/

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Jim Monaghan - March 12, 2018
4. Gearóid Clár - March 13, 2018

Thanks for this!

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