The Nouvelle Droite and its Cultural Strategy

by Jackie Howell

The post-war period left the far-right in a transitioning state. It is easy to associate the far-right with fascism or Nazism. As discussed previously, there are various definitions of these groups that go beyond the Third Reich. Griffin reiterates this perspective when examining the conceptual foundations of the Nouvelle Droite. The post-war transition period presented an opportunity for the far-right to rebrand itself. Although the Nouvelle Droite’s ideological position is unclear, its leader Alain de Benoist repeatedly emphasized the Nouvelle Droite’s opposition to traditional forms of fascism (anti-Semitism, racism, imperialism, colonialism, etc.). Instead, de Benoist argued that the Nouvelle Droite is a metapolitical movement aiming to provide cultural space for far-right intellectuals and politicians. However, Griffin provides evidence that de Benoist’s Nouvelle Droite is not as far removed from the far-right space as de Benoist portrayed. Given the fresh wounds of WWII, it was a clever tactic for de Benoist to remove the Nouvelle Droite as far as possible from fascism. Alain de Benoist directed attention to protecting Europe’s diversity and culture instead of the Nouvelle Droite’s connections with fascism.

Magazines, speeches, and traditional press are tools of the political elite to spread their cultural strategy. Magazines and print can disseminate information and influence the public on cultural, social, or political issues. Riccardo Marchi highlights the cultural strategy of the Nouvelle Droite and focuses on the role of various magazines, including Futuro Presente. Futuro Presente published analyses of Portugal’s political situation and the consequences for the far-right, texts on the new sciences, and studies of classical themes of the extreme far-right. Futuro Presente also translated texts of far-right thinkers and advertised similar European magazines. These magazines provide the cultural space for far-right intellectuals to share ideas between sister associations, creating this transnational network of far-right thinkers.

The idea of transnationalism resurfaces in this week’s readings. Tamir Bar-On examines the French Nouvelle Droite’s approach as a cultural school of thought, referring to the movement as the “European New Right.” Bar-On argues that the Nouvelle Droite was shaped by transnational influences, and in turn, the Nouvelle Droite itself shaped a right-wing culture throughout Europe. The Nouvelle Droite leader Alain de Benoist proved the movement’s transnational reach, as various leaders and intellectuals in other European countries looked to Alain de Benoist for inspiration. Riccardo Marchi further expands on this transnational approach. The political and cultural group, the Associação de Estudos e Intervenção Política Impulso (i.e., “Impulso”), built relations with liberal-conservative actors in other Western European countries and hosted a conference to reinforce links with sister associations. While these meetings and conferences occurred in the late 1970s, they are reminiscent of the congresses that anti-colonial nationalists attended in Berlin during the Third Reich. These conferences reinforced the New Right’s cultural strategy by creating a web of shared networks and beliefs.

References

Bar-On, T. (2011). Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite. Patterns of Prejudice, 45(3), 199-223. DOI: 10.1080/0031322X.2011.585013

Griffin, R. (2000). Between metapolitics and apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite’s strategy for conserving the fascist vision in the ‘interregnum.’ Modern & Contemporary France, 8(1), 35-53. DOI: 10.1080/096394800113349

Marchi, R. (2016). The Nouvelle Droite in Portugal: A new strategy for the radical right in the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. Patterns of Prejudice, 50(3), 232-252. DOI: 10.1080/0031322X.2016.1207924

One Reply to “The Nouvelle Droite and its Cultural Strategy”

  1. Hello Jackie, thank you for an insightful and interesting take on this weeks readings. My question is as follows, do you think modern far-right movements such as AfD and Front National would ever unit under one name and movement as much of their causes are very ideologically related? Or are contemporary far-right political movements to set on their own nationalism to join forces with other fellow nations?
    Thank so much!

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