The New Right in writings

One thing that struck me during each reading is the attention given to newspapers, books or just any publication that had to do with the spreading of the New Right’s ideas. There was the book Vu de droite that comprises written work from Alain de Benoist, the French leader of the movement. Given his importance and how his opinion reached Western Europe, it may well be the basis of other writings on the subject (more details on this book and its place among the New Right literature would have been appreciated). Other examples were particularly numerous in Marchi’s article on Portugal. The magazine Futuro Presente was seemingly the biggest vector of the movement, along with other daily newspapers like Journal de Notícias that would report on its cultural activities.

What is interesting is that publications on the New Right could also be used to criticize it, so the written spreading was not necessarily positive or only in favor of the movement. For example, the Portuguese magazine Patuleia critically presented its counterpart Futuro Presente as the “cultural journal of the ultra-reactionnary right”. And since the articles published in this journal, and other similar that were inspired by the movement (Terceiro Milénio, Universidade e Cultura), were talking about the New Right and to a certain extent promoting it, by writers and publishers associated with it, I think that the observation rightly so put these magazines as tools of the movement. The particular critic that the New Right is associated with fascism, racism and the Nazi regime (mentioned in Bar-On’s article) was formulated through writing (the petition An Appeal to Vigilance printed in the magazine Le Monde). In short, publications brought the New Right to the front, by either promoting, informing or criticizing it. Magazines were therefore a key tool associated to the movement.

In the same vein of writing, the choice of words when talking about the New Right appears to have been particularly weighty. Given the fact that the movement faced different critics about its association, writers could attack it by naming it “neofascist” or other permutations of the term fascism, as outlined by Griffin’s article. This might have led to misconceptions or misunderstanding of the New Right. Writers that wished to promote it, on the contrary, might have emphasized a distance with such terms. For example, as stated by Bar-On, the New Right journal Nouvelle École created by Alain de Benoist avoided vocabulary “associated with fascism, racism, colonialism and antisemitism in order to restore the right’s credibility.” The focus was rather put on other themes like the defense of culture and the protection of Europe’s diversity.

I found interesting to note that the movement originated from France before being spread across Western Europe mainly, through writing. It is also mentioned that it even reached East European countries such as Croatia and Romania. It reminded me of the cultural and political influence that France had in Europe, from the Louis XIV period until the 19th century, where French Institutes and Alliances where established all over Europe. In this way, France appears to be a cradle for political ideas, and a special attention is given to spreading them. The 20th century’s New Right found its vector in writings.

One Reply to “The New Right in writings”

  1. Morgane – I think you make a really important and compelling point here. The way in which writing unified this transnational movement was also intriguing to me. While there were ideological differences and shifts contained within the ND, the common thread appears to be the way in which writing served as a means to both flesh out and popularize the ideological foundations of the movement.

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