Nouvelle Droite

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Nouvelle Droite (English: New Right) is a school of political thought founded largely on the works of Alain de Benoist and GRECE (Research and Study Group on European Civilization).

Etymology and history[edit]

The term Nouvelle Droite was first mentioned in the French media in 1979, in a media campaign against GRECE and the Club de l'Horloge[citation needed]. Some authors have traced it to Le Figaro editor and GRECE member Louis Pauwels, who wrote in the France Soir of March 29, 1979: "My positions are those of what we can call the 'new right', and have nothing to do with the bourgeois, conservative, and reactionary right."[1]

Louis Pauwels, former director of the fantastic realist magazine Planète, entered in September 1977 the cultural services of Le Figaro, and became in October 1978 the director of the newly created weekly Le Figaro Magazine. The latter would become one of the main means of dissemination of the ideas of the Nouvelle Droite, including GRECE member Patrice de Plunkett as deputy chief editor, as well as fellow GRECE members Alain de Benoist, Jean-Claude Valla, Yves Christen, Christian Durante and Michel Marmin. Although other currents were represented in Le Figaro Magazine, the weekly remained one of the main mouthpieces of the Nouvelle Droite until 1981 and the election of François Mitterrand.

Some of the prominent names that have collaborated with GRECE include Arthur Koestler, Hans Eysenck, Konrad Lorenz, Mircea Eliade, Raymond Abellio. Thierry Maulnier, Jean Parvulesco, and Anthony Burgess.[2]

Ideology[edit]

According to Tamir Bar-On, the arguments and the positions of the Nouvelle Droite can not be easily positioned in the traditional Left-Right dichotomy, noting that it is some sort of ideological synthesis of ideas of the Weimar Revolutionary Right (such as Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler and Ernst Jünger) and the New Left.[1] Paul Piccone, editor and founder of the New Left journal Telos wrote in 1993: "What makes the French New Right particularly interesting is that is does not propose a bizarre reversal of positions, but the end of the traditional contraposition of Left and Right in favour of a new political paradigm."[1]

De Benoist has claimed that:

We are a theoretical and cultural movement...it is accepted in France as a part of the cultural-political landscape. ... it is because the New Right has taken up particular themes that particular debates have taken place at all. I refer, for example, to discussions about the Indo-European legacy in Europe, the Conservative Revolution in Germany, about polytheism and monotheism, or about I.Q. — heredity or environment (which is partly a rather false dichotomy), participatory democracy, federalism and communitarian ideas, criticism of the market ideology, and so forth. Well, we were involved in all these issues.[3]

Critics identify the Nouvelle Droite as a new or sanitized form of neo-fascism, or an ideology of the extreme right that significantly draws from fascism (Laqueur, 1996; Lee, 1997).

Broader European New Right[edit]

Nouvelle Droite arguments can be found in the rhetoric of many major radical right and far-right parties in Europe such as the National Front in France, the Freedom Party in Austria and Vlaams Belang in Flanders (Belgium). This, despite the fact that Alain de Benoist and certain other ideologues of the Nouvelle Droite, since the late 80s, had issued statements against some populist far-right movements.[citation needed]

Although mostly known in France, according to Minkenberg, the Nouvelle Droite borders to other European "New Right" movements, such as Neue Rechte in Germany, New Right in the United Kingdom, Nieuw Rechts in the Netherlands and Flanders, Forza Nuova in Italy, Imperium Europa in Malta, Nova Hrvatska Desnica in Croatia, Noua Dreapta in Romania and the New Right of Paul Weyrich and the Free Congress Foundation in the United States.[4]

This claim is disputed by most other scholars, who argue that the European New Right has some superficial similarities to certain sectors of the New Right in the United States, but not the entire New Right coalition. The European New Right is similar to the Cultural Conservatism movement led by Paul Weyrich and the Free Congress Foundation, and to the related traditionalism of paleoconservatives such as Pat Buchanan and the Chronicles (magazine) of the Rockford Institute (Diamond, Himmelstein, Berlet and Lyons). However these subgroups of the New Right coalition in the United States are closely tied to Christianity, which the Nouvelle Droite rejects, describing itself as a pagan movement.[5] Both Jonathan Marcus, Martin Lee and Alain de Benoist himself have highlighted these important differences with the US New Right coalition[6]

As Martin Lee explains,

By rejecting Christianity as an alien ideology that was forced upon the Indo-European peoples two millennia ago, French New Rightists distinguished themselves from the so-called New Right that emerged in the United States during the 1970s. Ideologically, [the European new Right group] GRECE had little in common with the American New Right, which [the European new Right ideologue] de Benoist dismissed as a puritanical, moralistic crusade that clung pathetically to Christianity as the be-all and end-all of Western civilization.[7]

Neopaganism[edit]

The political ideology of the New Right has affinities with some ethnocentric currents of neopaganism.[citation needed] Some proponents[citation needed] go as far as describing the Nouvelle Droite as an essentially pagan movement. The philosophical background uniting Neopaganism and the Nouvelle Droite was originally related to the literature of "Integral Traditionalism" of René Guénon, Julius Evola and others.[citation needed] A Belgian proponent of "Integral Traditionalist" Asatru is Belgian high priest Koenraad Logghe.[verification needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bar-On, Tamir (2001). "The Ambiguities of the Nouvelle Droite, 1968-1999". The European Legacy 6 (3): 333–351. 
  2. ^ Bar-On, Tamir (2007). Where Have All The Fascists Gone?. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 7. 
  3. ^ Ian B. Warren. "Charting Europe's Future in the 'Post Postwar' Era: The 'European New Right': Defining and Defending Europe's Heritage. An Interview with Alain de Benoist". The Journal of Historical Review 14 (2): 28. 
  4. ^ Minkenberg, Michael (2000). "The Renewal of the Radical Right: Between Modernity and Anti-modernity". Government and Opposition 35 (2): 170–188. doi:10.1111/1477-7053.00022. 
  5. ^ Lee[page needed]
  6. ^ Marcus: "the label 'New Right' is potentially misleading. For the French nouvelle droite has little in common with the political New Right that emerged in the English-speaking world at around the same time." (Marcus, p.23)
    • Alain de Benoist: "Based on everything I know about it, the so-called New Right in America is completely different from ours. I don't see even a single point with which I could agree with this so-called New Right. Unfortunately, the name we now have gives rise to many misunderstandings." (quoted in Ian B. Warren. "Charting Europe's Future in the 'Post Postwar' Era: The 'European New Right': Defining and Defending Europe's Heritage. An Interview with Alain de Benoist" in The Journal of Historical Review 14 (2): 28.
  7. ^ Lee, p. 211

Further reading[edit]

  • Tamir Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone?, Hampshire and Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2007.
  • Tamir Bar-On, "Fascism to the Nouvelle Droite: The Dream of Pan-European Empire", Journal of Contemporary European Studies 16/3 (2008).
  • Pierre-André Taguieff, Sur la Nouvelle Droite: Jalons d'une analyse critique (1994) ISBN 2-910301-02-8
  • Roger Griffin, "Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite's Strategy for Conserving the Fascist Vision in the 'Interregnum'", Modern & Contemporary France 8/1, 2000.
  • Alberto Spektorowski, "The New Right: Ethno-regionalism, Ethno-pluralism and the Emergence of a Neo-fascist 'Third Way'", Journal of Political Ideologies 8/1, 2003.
  • Walter Laqueur, Fascism: Past, Present, Future, New York: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1997, pp. 209–211.
  • Jonathan Marcus, The National Front and French Politics, New York: New York University Press, 1995.
  • Sara Diamond, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, New York: Guilford, 1995. ISBN 0-89862-864-4.
  • Jerome L. Himmelstein, To The Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.
  • Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, New York: Guilford Press, 2000. ISBN 1-57230-568-1, ISBN 1-57230-562-2
  • Miro Jennerjahn, Neue Rechte und Heidentum ("New Right and Paganism"), Peter Lang (2006), ISBN 3-631-54826-5 [1]
  • J.G. Shields (2007). The Extreme Right in France. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-09755-0.