The Nouvelle Droite – a unification of means above values

Michaela Bax-Leaney

In the explorations of the French and Portuguese iterations of the Nouvelle Droite, Marchi and Bar-On touch on overlapping themes, but there is one in particular which they approach, but don’t necessarily flesh out in full. Both articles suggest that while the ND had many ideological, value based similarities as it crossed European borders, what can in particular be seen as a unifying theme of the ND was the means in which those ideological foundations were built and spread across Europe.

Marchi in particular explores how writings and media were used to popularize the messaging of the ND, despite differences from within – for example, ideological divisions within the Portuguese ND over the return to Africa.

Yet despite internal divisions, the ND remained united in its ideological journey, a journey which is indeed rather unique, as Bar-On notes.

Marchi writes that “the radical right had to expand its analysis across all the fields of human knowledge…these tools would allow the right to achieve the cultural hegemony previously enjoyed by the extreme left.” Again, the ND here is united in its methodology as a means of achieving the goal of hegemony, and a reinvention of the right.

Even the act of compiling these values into a cohesive movement is a particular strategy, despite the potential differences contained within these value sets and intellectual movements. In particular, the strategic point of co-opting the ideas of the left in order to beat the left.

This is represented in the formation of the GRECE (Research and Study Group for European Civilization) a transnational entity focussed on creating a hegemony of the right. However, there were numerous and sometimes contradictory ideas represented within that body, both due to ideological shifts over the passage of time as well as simultaneous internal divisions, as Bar-On explores.

Bar-On also writes that the rejection by the ND of nationalist narratives – what he calls one of the “time-honoured pillars of the right” – is one of the more shocking elements. Yet as we’ve seen in previous weeks (Motadel, Ben-Ghiat), perhaps we should not be so shocked. Motadel, Ben-Ghiat, and others have made a compelling case that the right, despite rhetoric to the contrary, is far more transnational than they would have others believe them to be.

Again, a significant takeaway from these articles is that while the rhetorical points of the right, the ND included, can be debated, what is arguably more significant are the unifying means by which that rhetoric becomes popularized.

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