The Nouvelle Droite and Western Europe’s Far-Right Alliance

By Austin Pellizzer

This week looked at the political phenomena of far-right student movements, specifically the Nouvelle Droite of France. Roger Griffin’s article, Between Metapolitics and Apoliteia: The Nouvelle Droite’s Strategy in the ‘Interregnum’discusses the movement founded in 1968 as an influential cultural and social movement for the nation’s young adults (35). The author notes that it is problematic to oversimplify and use interwar outlines of fascism to characterize the resurgence of fascist ideologies in the post-war era (38-39). However, one idea stuck out concerning contemporary fascist movements in a pan-European lens. When it comes to newly democratic and transitioning states, Portugal comes to mind. 

In the 1970s, Portugal became one of the latest states to democratize after decades of authoritarian rule. Riccardo Marchi’s 2016 article, The Nouvelle Droite in Portugal: A New Strategy for the Radical Right in the Tradition from Authoritarianism to Democracy,  elegantly discusses this exact phenomenon. When the Salazar dictatorship came to an end in 1974 (236), this French political movement which was considered a ‘re-brand’ of far-right politics became adopted in Portugal among its students and citizens (234). With these unique fascist parties being a counter-movement to the growing threat of communism and Marxism concerning the newly independent African nations of ex-Portuguese colonies (243) and the threat to democracy in Western Europe from the Soviet-controlled East, one overarching theme kept coming to mind. 

In Western Europe, many far-right political parties associated themselves with the ND to some capacity to fight against the threat of socialism. Keeping this in mind, would it be possible to see far-right political parties today like AfD or Front National join forces to combat and counter the threats they see like globalization, supranational organizations and migration? Or was this phenomenon of multi-national movements under one name simply to combat the threat of communism and at the same time to re-brand their far-right ideologies?

Works Cited

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

2 Replies to “The Nouvelle Droite and Western Europe’s Far-Right Alliance”

  1. Hi Austin! I appreciated the emphasis on the possibility of a counter-movement against the communist East. Regarding your questions, I would like to venture and say that at first it was probably just a sort of alliance to promote several right ideas under one banner, as it would be simpler. But then as perceived threats such as immigration grew bigger, especially after the fall of communism, it now looks like a bigger combat against common enemies.

  2. Hi Austin, thank you for your reflection this week. I am intrigued by the question you propose in the last paragraph and I think this week suits it well for a return back to that transnational idea of the contemporary far-right groups in Western Europe. If I were to add to it a bit, I think the ND has led to a bit more of a more coopted and connected far-right today simply for this new idea of making it mainstream through cultural hegemonic ideas. While the readings showed how Portugal’s New Right differed from France’s New Right, the two found it necessary to bring the New Right ideology into a more “politically correct” mainstream. As Morgane said with the fall of communism, I could see the far-right groups finding benefits of working together now more than ever to push a new mainstream political and cultural idea onto the world that claims to be separate from fascism but still holds a critique to liberalism in the current day. While the groups do not need to agree on everything, this shared acceptance of ND as a metapolitical school of thought becomes necessary, through a Gramscian lens, to push to a transnational alliance ultimately.

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