Two Dichotomies

By: Hannah Long

Image : georgelmosseprogram. “Confrontation: Paris, 1968.” YouTube. 5:45, November 1, 2012. 

The intriguing aspect of post-war politics has to be the extreme shift and impact the left and right had democratically, so much so that I believe we can still feel the effects today. Each of this week’s readings seamlessly flowed over one another to provide a detailed perspective of both the historical events and thoughts of societies who were looking to reestablish themselves. Bar-On’s work delves into this matter by discussing the birth of Nouvelle Droite and many French national’s subsequent scramble to defend cultural identity. The need for a cemented identity in France took two turns, one in a liberal standoff for the emerging adolescent portion of the population in the 1968 student riots, and the other form of cultural homogeneity. 

The riots challenged the democratic foundation to change traditional institutions as well as a contempt for leftover imperialist attitudes that were embedded in the conservative system (Confrontation Paris, 1968). This far-left movement wanted to uproot the seemingly unchanging right wing to move to a new era that better represented the rapidly growing interconnectedness more youths were feeling that the access of post-secondary education was allowing them. This unprecedented confrontation between the state and students changed the cycle of conservatism, shutting down the Gaullist Regime and the economy. 

In a measure of opposition Alain de Benoist (founding member of the Nouvelle Droite) sought to annihilate the far-left as it was up-rooting societies across Europe. There was a belief that hierarchy was key in maintaining a functional and secular society away from international influence. The founding of the ND provided “new spaces” for other far-right wing political parties to emerge (217, Bar-On). Benoist provided growth for the extreme right wing in Europe that can still be seen to this today, which circles back to the present day facist movements that were discussed two weeks ago, which I believe further shows how widespread and rooted the ND has become since its inception more than fifty years ago. 

As I stated prior, when anlyazing each of the readings closely the remnants and more so the influence WWll has had can be easily spotted when looking at the actions and beliefs of those around this time. On one hand we see a part of society who wanted to permanently get as far away as possible from the past, seeking to change it and move their nation into the then “global/modern” liberal concepts. On the other there is a seeking out of fascist concepts, masquerading them as traditionalism, to focus on internal matters such as recementing ideas of hierarchies, ethnic identity, and Judaeo-Christian world-view. All of which are straight from Nazi rhetoric. What is interesting to me as a final thought is the internal struggle that comes up each week with these readings, there is a present “need” to hang onto the past however it seems that when it comes to discussing the past and pulling back the layers of the rationale and history behind these concepts there is almost a denial of fascists to state that what they are doing is derived from Nazism.

The Paris Review - May '68: Posters of the Revolution
Image: The Paris Review. “May ’68: Posters of the Revolution.” The Paris Review, May 1, 2018.


georgelmosseprogram. “Confrontation: Paris, 1968.” YouTube. YouTube, November 1, 2012. 

Tamir Bar-On, “Transnationalism and the French Nouvelle Droite.” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 45, no. 3 (July 2011): 199–223.

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