Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne
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The Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne ("Research and Study Group for European Civilization"), also known by its French acronym GRECE (French for "Greece"), is an ethnonationalist think-tank, founded in 1968 by the journalist and writer Alain de Benoist.
GRECE distinguishes itself from other traditionalist conservative organizations in displaying specific interest for Germanic and Nordic cultures, rejection of Christianity and monotheism, and advocating neopaganism.
GRECE was created in January 1968 by forty nationalist activists coming from movements such as Europe-Action, the review and the circle organized around Dominique Venner and Jean Mabire, the Federation of Nationalist Students (FEN), the National Movement of Progress (MNP) and the Rassemblement européen pour la liberté (REL). Alain de Benoist was among the founders, who intended to create an intellectual think-tank to influence French conservative politics. A number of journalists were members or sympathisers of the GRECE (such as the Italian journalist Giorgio Locchi), writing in the reviews Éléments and Nouvelle École.
Several GRECE members founded the éditions Copernic in September 1976, which published writings of authors seen as "precursors", such as Louis Rougier, Oswald Spengler or Julius Evola. GRECE favorized contact with elite circles by organizing conferences and meetings. It also partly funded circles which revolved around itself, such as the Pareto circle at Sciences-Po, the Galilei circle in Dijon, the Jean Médecin circle in Nice, the Henry de Montherlant circle in Bordeaux, CLOSOR (Comité de liaison des officiers et sous-officiers de réserve, a military circle), GENE (Groupe d'études pour une nouvelle éducation, Study Group For a New Education), etc. GRECE members entered in Valeurs Actuelles and Le Spectacle du monde, French magazines owned by Raymond Bourgine, a conservative reporter and politician.
Several members of GRECE, including Benoist himself, joined the redaction of the Le Figaro Magazine, created in 1978 by Louis Pauwels, who had just arrived at the head of this magazine produced by the conservative newspaper Le Figaro and was the chief of Le Figaro's cultural pages. Louis Pauwels invited Patrice de Plunkett (who was named vice-editor), Jean-Claude Valla, Yves Christen, Christian Durante, Michel Marmin, who were all members of GRECE. GRECE maintained its strong influence on Le Figaro Magazine until 1981. It claims that it had close to 4,000 members at the end of the 1970s, although this number is probably overestimated.
Among its patrons were members of the Academie Francaise (Pierre Gavotte, Rene Huyghe, Thierry Maulnier), the Nobel Prize writer Konrad Lorenz, and internationally renowned figures like Hungarian-British author and journalist Arthur Koestler. It attracted contributions from other famous names like Jacques Monod. By the late 1970s, it has supporters and contacts in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Grece, Spain, Britain, the United States, Canada, South Africa and South America.
GRECE and the Club de l'Horloge were targets of a hostile press campaign in 1979, denouncing the resurgence of a "new far right" elements in the cluster of the French New Right (Nouvelle Droite). GRECE and the Club de l'Horloge, though, had different aims, and few members in common, though the president of the Club de l'Horloge, Yvan Blot, was a member of GRECE for some time. The Nouvelle Droite was targeted later on, by newspapers including Le Monde, the satirical publication Le Canard Enchaîné and Libération.
In the 1980s, Benoist notably displayed an interest in Third World countries, but he also professed anti-liberal and anti-American ideas. Several notable members quit GRECE at this point, notably Pierre Vial, who joined the Front national, and Guillaume Faye, who pursued a career in journalism before coming back to politics in 1998, with radical ideas clashing with the more consensual theses now defended by Benoist. In spite of these resignations, most members do not have a high opinion of the Front National, which contains Catholic traditionalists whose views are incompatible with the pagan intellectuals of the GRECE.
The publication of GRECE feature many articles on political philosophy, taking a lead from such authors as Carl Schmitt, Julien Freund, Vilfredo Pareto, Ernst Jünger, and ideologies such as communism, nationalism and liberalism. Other topics regularly discussed are on identity and culture, religion, racism and anti-racism, physics, biology, and economics.
In the last years, GRECE has developed an idea of a politically powerful Europe, which wouldn't suffer from the influences of "neoliberalism" and the United States, seen as the "representant of the dominant ideology of Modernity", trying to work on such ideas of localism, environmentalism and communitarianism. In 1999, GRECE published a manifesto by Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier, the Manifeste pour une nouvelle culture, that was a synthesis of some of its work.
GRECE edits two journals: Éléments and Nouvelle École, published by Éditions du Labyrinthe. It also publishes a report on its annual conference.
William H. Tucker described Nouvelle École as the "French version of the Mankind Quarterly"— an analogy also supported by Bruce Lincoln and historian J.G. Shields, who also compared it with the German Neue Anthropologie.
- See Ghislaine Desbuissons, La "Nouvelle Droite" (1968-1974). Contribution à l'étude des idées de droite en France, thèse de doctorat en sciences politiques, IEP de Grenoble, 1984. (in French)
- Shields, James (2007-05-07). The Extreme Right in France: From Pétain to Le Pen. Routledge. ISBN 9781134861118.
- Jan Herman Brinks; Stella Rock; Edward Timms (2005). Nationalist Myths and Modern Media: Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalisation. I.B.Tauris. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-84511-038-3.
- William H. Tucker (2009). The Cattell Controversy: Race, Science, and Ideology. University of Illinois Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-252-03400-8.
- Bruce Lincoln (2000). Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship. University of Chicago Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-226-48201-9.
- J.G. Shields (2007). The Extreme Right in France. Taylor & Francis. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-415-09755-0.
- J.G. Shields (2007). The Extreme Right in France. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-09755-0.
- Luciano Cheles; Ronnie Ferguson; Michalina Vaughan (1995). The far right in western and eastern Europe. Longman.
- (in French) Official site