A Return to Transnationalism

By: Willem Nesbitt

The topic of this week’s readings primarily focuses around the idea of the French “Nouvelle Droite,” and importantly tackles concepts within this movement such as transnationalism and the movement’s history. Tamir Bar-On’s article particularly delves into these topics, and an interesting idea emerges concerning transnationalism. This leaves me with a question – is the transnationalist undertakings of the ND in the 1970s paralleled by the transnationalist characteristics of modern-day right-wing groups?

This question was discussed at great length in week 3, reconciling with the idea of how traditionally nationalist and insular right-wing parties and movements seem to be ironically embracing transnationalist ties with other groups in other countries. A similarity, then, seems to emerge with this week’s readings and discussions, with Bar-On asserting that the ND believed “that major changes in belief systems across nations would eventually result in revolutionary political change” (p. 209). For example, by creating ties and networks with other right-wing intellectuals in Italy, Germany, England, and more, ND’s “transnational messenger” Alain de Benoist was able to put into motion the ND’s belief of how “a web of shared networks and beliefs created processes that transcended the centrality of state actors” (p. 209).

As we can see from Riccardo Marchi’s article, the ND was ultimately successful in introducing their ideas to Portugal in particular, while also demonstrating the “ways in which Portuguese radicals engaged and dealt with the ND” (p. 232). To me, while this week’s topic rests much more heavily on concepts of political science, the events and happenings of the Nouvelle Droite in the 1970s and 1980s Europe paints an interesting parallel to what we have seen unfold in the European political landscape this past decade. Through careful efforts of spreading transnationalist ideas, both the ND and the modern right-wing have seen successes in bridging across borders. Perhaps this is due to their wish for a Europe that is, while divide by borders and laws, is regardless “united” under similar political and social values?

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