Transnational Movements of Ideas in The Late 1960s

1968 has been a pivotal year for many European countries. The “Red” tide that was threatening Western Europe became the detonator for the rise of neo-fascist movements both in Italy and France. This transnational event which expansion all over Western Europe transformed the political landscape, found its origins in universities and youth movements.

In Italy, the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) which transitionally associated with the communists, broke away after 1968 and set itself as an all right-wing party with the intention to be more attractive and national. However, the association with the Destra Nazionale (DN) and its attraction to revive the fascist party, led to violence and terrorism in the 1970s.

In France, the newly decolonization of Algeria was resented as a failure and partisans of French Algeria favoured the creation of neo-fascist and anti-communist movements such as Occident and la Féderation des Etudiants Nationalistes (FEN). The creation of the New Order (Ordre Nouveau) and the influence of Alain de Benoist and the GRECE collaboration (Groupement de Recherche et d’Etudes pour la Civilisation Européenne) contributed to the creation of a new rightist culture.

The similarity of thoughts that was in France and Italy spread to Portugal during the aftermath of the Carnation Revolution. The influence of De Benoist was visible with the participation of intellectuals and the publication of numerous magazines and books which used scientific methods to demonstrate the inadequacy of egalitarian Marxist societies.

What Portugal and France had in common was a struggle to overcome post-colonialism and the creation of a New Right allowed a more powerful political presence that rejected the two superpowers in place at that time in order to favour a European path. Using immigration as a scapegoat, the idea of nationality and traditions laid the path for a transnational movement that substantiates itself through ideas and culture.

What transpires from these readings is the departure from rigid and old-fashioned regimes toward the creation of political movements that foster on deception and protests to present an alternative path that supports traditional values and which goal is to appeal to mass population. But, is there really a new path with new ideas or are these ideas more the antithesis of older ones ? Can the New Right rally enough people without digging too deep in a dark past ?

Works cited :

Tamir Bar-On, “Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite.” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 45, no. 3 (July 2011): 199–223.

Andrea Mammon, “The Transnational Reaction to 1968: Neo-Fascist Fronts and Political Cultures in France and Italy.” Contemporary European History, vol. 17, no. 2 (May 2008): 213–236.

Riccard Marchi, “The Nouvelle Droite in Portugal: A New Strategy for the Radical Right in the Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy.” Patterns of Prejudice vol. 50, no. 3 (July 2016): 232–52.

2 Replies to “Transnational Movements of Ideas in The Late 1960s”

  1. Through out these readings I couldn’t help but feel a lurking sense of dread, a dark spot in the corner of the room so to speak. While the ND reads as anti fascist in its makeup, many of its origins stem from the dark past of fascist ww2 era germany and italy. Is the ND a new political stance born from the aftermath of these ideas and concepts given a realistic and more moderate stance, or are they simply the same rhetoric hidden beneath a new layer of deception?

  2. One element that you highlight which I found the readings overlooked is the role that decolonization played in defining the ND. Especially considering the strong stance that ND movements take in regards to immigration, it is important to consider the role that decolonization and migration played. In the Portuguese case, decolonization was a driving force in the Carnation Revolution both from the colonies and the Portuguese soldiers who perpetuated Portuguese colonization. This was due to abysmal living and fighting conditions in the colonies. Alongside colonization and decolonization was widespread migration. To establish a colonial stronghold in countries like Angola and Mozambique sent several Portuguese people and families to establish life, evocative of the plantation setting, as sort of representatives of the colonial government. After the Carnation Revolution, these people had to return to Portugal. At the same time, many people from these colonies migrated to other countries including Portugal. We have to consider this context when addressing the problematic stance that ND movements have taken on immigration. Does the movement of their own people influence the ND position on immigration?

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