By Felix Nicol
Perhaps a bit on the nose considering Professor Evans directly addressed this last week, but I thought it interesting to ponder the meaning of a reading on the New Left in a week called “1968 and the New Right.” Though the obvious conclusion might be that contrast, I believe the readings instead showed us the superfluous reality of the post-Nazi era. Ideologies associated with the far Right were present in Leftist movements, like in the November 9th 1969 bombing of the Berlin Jewish Community Center (Biess 210). On the other hand, Benoist’s ideology under the Nouvelle Droite shows us that though a clear path between the Fascist past and New Right present exists, there is a clear separation on many fronts. In particular, the transnationalist angle inciting a Euro-centric approach rather than a national one is in stark contrast with the previous Nazi regime. In this regard, I believe the important takeaway from the readings is the revolutionary nature of the post-1960s, where both sides tried (and perhaps struggled) to separate themselves from their problematic past.
To me, this was especially present in the New Left reading, which underlined that both sides pinned the other as “fascist,” which meant “they had no chance for meaningful dialogue or reform” (Biess 236). In the same vein, Benoist’s assessment that liberalism was also totalitarian (Bar-On 206) shows us that this criticism was not uniquely for the opposing side, but also against the status-quo. As was the case with the attempted shift away from the Fascist ideas of the past, I believe this shows the desire of these movements to validate themselves in an era where they felt it was necessary to create distance between themselves and the recent atrocities of the past.