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Journal of Contemporary European Studies


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Fascism to the Nouvelle Droite: The Dream of PanEuropean Empire


Tamir Bar-On

Wilfrid Laurier University , Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


Published online: 02 Dec 2008.

To cite this article: Tamir Bar-On (2008) Fascism to the Nouvelle Droite: The Dream of Pan-European Empire, Journal of
Contemporary European Studies, 16:3, 327-345, DOI: 10.1080/14782800802500981
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14782800802500981

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Journal of Contemporary European Studies


Vol. 16, No. 3, 327345, December 2008

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Fascism to the Nouvelle Droite:


The Dream of Pan-European Empire
TAMIR BAR-ON
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT The purpose of this paper is to trace continuity in the attachment of the nouvelle droite
to a homogeneous notion of pan-European identity since its birth in 1968. Like the nouvelle droite,
early post-war neo-fascism and significant fascist elements in Italy were similarly obsessed with the
decline of homogeneous pan-European or Western identities. Despite the ultra-nationalistic origins
of historical fascism, early post-war neo-fascism and the nouvelle droite in different historical
periods, the thread tying them together is the notion of a strong, unified, homogeneous,
pan-European empire regenerated in defense against the dominant materialist ideologies such as
liberalism, conservatism, social democracy, socialism, capitalism and communism.
KEY WORDS: nouvelle droite, neo-fascism, fascism, conservative revolution, New Left,
pan-Europeanism, empire

Introduction
A quick glance at the official Internet site of the French nouvelle droite or European New
Right (ENR) leader Alain de Benoist (born 1943) shows that you can view his selected
works in seven different languages: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and
Polish.1 The nouvelle droites intention is to send the message that it is not a narrow ultranationalistic, right-wing French movement, but rather a collection of think-tanks with a
pan-European vocation. As will become clear in the course of this paper, the pan-European
dimension has increasingly taken a central position in the nouvelle droite worldview in the
new millennium. Moreover, there were always strains on the right that were pan-European
from the monarchical, counter-revolutionary tradition of Joseph de Maistre (1753 1821)
and Donoso Cortes (1809 1853) (Schmitt, 2002, pp. 100 115) in the late 18th and early
19th centuries to elements within the Italian Fascist Party (Ledeen, 1972, pp. 104 132;
Griffiths, 2005, pp. 72 88).
The goal of this paper is to trace continuity in the nouvelle droites primordial
attachment to a homogeneous notion of pan-European identity. This has been a constant in
the nouvelle droite worldview in the 40 year period of its existence, from its birth in 1968
to 2008. More interestingly, early post-war neo-fascism and significant fascist elements
were similarly obsessed with the decline of homogeneous pan-European or Western
identities. It is my thesis that despite the ultra-nationalistic origins of historical fascism,
early post-war neo-fascism and the nouvelle droite in different historical periods, the
thread tying them together is the notion of a strong, unified, homogeneous, pan-European
empire regenerated in defense against the dominant materialist ideologies such as
1478-2804 Print/1478-2790 Online/08/030327-19 q 2008 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/14782800802500981

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liberalism, conservatism, social democracy, socialism and communism. All three political
formations insist that superpowers such as the former Marxist Leninist Soviet Union and
liberal democratic USA contain a common egalitarian, materialist and decadent
ideological framework which seeks to impose itself globally to the detriment of
homogeneous, rooted European cultures. Fascism and neo-fascisms ultra-nationalism or
the French nouvelle droites origins in defense of French Algeria obscures the
Europeanizing thrust of these political projects.
The point of rupture between historical fascism and early post-war neo-fascism and the
nouvelle droite is that the latter two schools of thought turned more explicitly
pan-European due to the defeat of fascism in 1945 and the lack of significant popular
support for post-war fascist movements.2 That is, while there were important currents of
pan-Europeanism from diverse sources such as the Italian Fascist Party, British fascist
Oswald Mosley or Pierre Drieu La Rochelle in France, it is in the early post-war period
that the pan-European orientation of fascist thought clearly supersedes the traditional
ultra-nationalistic framework.
Right, Left, Nouvelle Droite
For the purpose of this paper I am using the right as defined by Norberto Bobbio (1996,
pp. 60 79). The pole star separating the left from the right, argues Bobbio, is equality for
the former versus inequality for the latter. The other point of rupture between the left and
right is that the left generally connotes liberty versus the greater authoritarianism of the
right. This second dividing line is more problematic, particularly on the extreme edges of
the political spectrum. The totalitarianism of the left-wing, Stalinist, Marxist Leninist
Soviet Union perhaps superseded its ideological counterpart in right-wing Fascist Italy
from 1922 to 1943 where totalitarianism was more conflicted and less successful in its
implementation (Roberts, 2006).
Nouvelle droite positions in the 1990s appeared to have more in common with the left
rather than right. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the official demise of the
MarxistLeninist Soviet Union in 1991 the nouvelle droite appealed to disgruntled leftists in
North America and the ecological movement (De Benoist, 1993/1994, 1999, 2007).
With roots in the Frankfurt School and New Left, the New York-based journal Telos stunned
some when its former editor claimed that the nouvelle droite was essentially a New Left
movement and it sought a new political paradigm with all those opposed to unrestrained
global capitalism (Piccone, 1993/1994, pp. 323). After the shock of 1989 and the
triumphalism associated with liberal capitalisms victory, the nouvelle droite rejected what
Francis Fukuyama (1989) called the arrival of the universal homogeneous state.
Nouvelle droite positions today are consistent with insights about the ideological
framework of fascism. A number of prominent historians of fascism have stressed the
union of ultra-nationalism and left-wing socialist revisionism or fascisms revolutionary
syndicalist, corporatist or non-conformist thrust in the context of regenerated national
grandeur (Sternhell, 1986, 1994; Gregor, 2005). If we examine nouvelle droite ideas more
closely, like many fascists of the past it attacks the inequalities associated with global
capitalism that tear asunder national or regional communities (De Benoist, 1996, 1998),
yet it also rejects administratively enforced equality (Piccone, 1993/1994, p. 19). Its
leader, Alain de Benoist, has argued that egalitarianism is the major ill of the modern
world and he looks for inspiration to organic, hierarchical, roots-based, Indo-European

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societies of the pagan period (De Benoist, 1979a, pp. 16, 25). For de Benoist
egalitarianism is rejected because it undermines diversity, arguably a codeword for
inequality, as the fundamental principal of the right. Egalitarianism, de Benoist posits
along Nietzschean lines, produced all subsequent decadent and materialist ideologies,
including the Judeo-Christian tradition and its secular derivativesliberalism, socialism,
social democracy and communism (De Benoist, 1979a, p. 16). The nouvelle droite, then, is
a right-wing movement that insists on the necessity of inequalities between people and is
opposed to formal, juridical equality in the context of a liberal, multicultural society.
Yet, while a right-wing movement, the nouvelle droite mimetically borrows from its
competitors on the left and New Left in order to survive and stay faithful to an inter-war,
conservative revolutionary right-wing tradition (Bar-On, 2001, pp. 331 351, 2007b).
Despite extensive linkages with the anti-immigrant Front National (FN), with the
nouvelle droite acting as one important party faction (McCulloch, 2006, pp. 158 178),
nouvelle droite leader de Benoist made a declaration of war against FN leader JeanMarie Le Pen in 1990 by rejecting the latters excessive moralism, integralism, racism and
liberalism (De Benoist, 1990). De Benoist increasingly turned more pan-European,
federalist, regionalist, environmentalist and leftist by praising 1968 icons such as Che
Guevara, Herbert Marcuse and Daniel Cohn-Bendit in the new millennium [Groupement
de Recherche et dEtudes pour la Civilisation Europeene (GRECE), 1998; Bar-On, 2007b,
pp. 57 77].
Rejecting parliamentary and extra-parliamentary politics alike, the nouvelle droite
sought to spread its ideas in a metapolitical framework throughout the European continent.
Since its birth in 1968 with the creation of GRECE the nouvelle droite has sought to move
beyond the narrow worlds of French neo-fascism and ultra-nationalism, as exemplified by the
pro-colonial struggle for French Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s, towards an embrace of
pan-European ultra-regionalism (Bastow, 2006, p. 88; Spektorowski, 2000, pp. 352361).
Its links with Italian, Belgian, Spanish, Romanian and other European think-tanks, journals
and organizations further cemented its pan-European rather than explicitly French identity
(Griffin, 1993, pp. 2125; Bar-On, 2007b, pp. 142144).
The nouvelle droite is increasingly pan-European in its dissemination strategies and
areas of major concern, from preserving cultural communities against uncontrolled
immigration to the notion of an empire that would safeguard sovereignty for the European
continent (De Benoist, 1993/1994). The preservation of an organic, pan-European
conception of identity best encapsulated in the nouvelle droite slogan homogeneous
communities in the context of a heterogeneous world is central to understanding the
nouvelle droite worldview (Bar-On, 2007b, pp. 6 7).
If the nouvelle droite is today pan-European, it is also a case study of ideological
diversity on the right. It attacks the egalitarian thrust of 1789 and simultaneously embodies
a radical rejection of reactionary conservatism (Bellamy, 2003, pp. 58 61). The nouvelle
droite harkens back to an anti-Jacobin, anti-capitalist and regionalist right-wing tradition.
It is a right that, as one nouvelle droite fellow traveler has argued, is indebted to diverse
right-wing traditions: liberal, radical and ultra-nationalist rights (Sunic, 1990, p. 6). Yet it
is also a right that has been shaped by the defining moments of the left and New Left, such
as the events of May 1968. The nouvelle droite worldview, then, can best be summarized
in the ambiguous synthesis of revolutionary right or conservative revolution (CR)3 and
New Left (NL) ideals (Bar-On, 2007b, pp. 1 19). Or, more to the point, in the equation:
CR NL nouvelle droite.

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The nouvelle droite appeals to both revolutionary right and New Left is an attempt to
create a new political synthesis suited for the new millennium. By reconciling the ideas of
the antagonistic poles of right and left the nouvelle droite hopes to attract a constituency of
supporters around issues that transcend the materialist left right divide. These issues
include the pace of immigration, the nature of European identity, the political direction of
the European Union (EU), environmental catastrophe, regionalism and the corruption of
established party and political systems along populist lines (Taggart, 2000). These
transversal issues are what the nouvelle droite has in mind when it claims to transcend
outmoded, imbecile categories such as right and left (De Benoist, 1995b, p. 89).
If conflicts are no longer strictly material or class-based in the post-communist age, then
presumably they might be cultural or civilizational. De Benoist officially rejects the notion
of a clash of civilizations (De Benoist, 2001; Huntington, 1998), yet echoes the
Huntingtonian thesis in the nouvelle droites official manifesto written at the beginning of
the new century (De Benoist & Champetier, 1999, pp. 11 23).
A Common Link: For an Elitist, Hierarchical, Sovereign Europe
Whereas the nouvelle droite today is pro-European, regionalist and federalist, it rejects the
technocratic, pro-capitalist, pro-globalization thrust of the EU. Like contemporary
extreme right-wing political parties, the nouvelle droite criticizes the distant, procapitalist, bureaucratized EU of the politicians that undermines the voices of the
European heartland in a spirit of direct democracy on issues such as immigration
(De Benoist & Champetier, 1999, pp. 11 23). As Cass Mudde (2004, p. 14) correctly
pointed out, Most right-wing extremists are not against European cooperation per se, they
are against the form of cooperation that the EU stands for. Put in Habermasian terms, the
nouvelle droite and other right-wing extremists favour technological modernity yet reject
the effects of cultural modernityliberalism, egalitarianism, multiculturalism and
pluralism (Woods, 2007, p. 132).
Similarly, early post-war fascists such as Maurice Barde`che (1907 1998) were
adamant that Europes historic role was as a united, sovereign, independent political
force, which obeyed neither the dictates of Washington nor Moscow (Barde`che, 1970,
pp. 176 178). Yet Barde`che was also clear that a reborn fascism would be a third way,
which did not follow the liberal or communist political models, but instead harkened
back to movement fascism or the Italian Salo` Republic (1943 1945) (Barde`che, 1970,
pp. 17 19). Like the nouvelle droite, Barde`che does not reject European unity and even
prefers it, provided it is a hierarchical, elitist, authoritarian, fascist pan-European unity.
If we turn the clock back to historical fascism we often forget that Mussolinis claim that
fascism was not for export contradicted the attempts of Italian fascists to Europeanize
the movement, as early as 1925 until the Berlin Rome Axis in 1936 (Ledeen, 1972;
De Caprariis, 2000, pp. 151 183). Fascists in power in Italy were troubled by differing
ideological tendencies and the tensions between narrow nationalists and pan-Europeanists,
not to mention the compromises they needed to make with capitalists, landowners, the
monarchy, Church and army (De Grand, 1995, pp. 83 84; Paxton, 2004, pp. 13 14).
On the question of Europe, it was Julius Evola, author of the Fascist regimes manifesto
of spiritual racism, who best embodied the notion of an elitist, hierarchical, sovereign
Europe. Evola called for pro-Europeanism in public affairs, as well as a unity of fighters
that would combat the liberal and communist enemies within (Griffin, 1993, p. 1).

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He supported a united Europe that must not be a stage towards the Westernization of the
world, but a move against it, in fact a revolt against the modern world in favour of what is
nobler, higher, more truly human (Griffin, 1993, p. 1). That is, a Europe that Evola argued
would be spiritually distinct vis-a`-vis other powers such as the USA (Griffin, 1993, p. 1).
In short, a more revolutionary, fascist, spiritual, elitist, hierarchical European empire that
longs for the golden age before the Enlightenment and its egalitarian principles
destroyed the European continent and its collective cultural heritage. Although they
work from different right-wing traditions, de Benoists anti-Western, pan-European turn in
the 1980s echoed Evolas anti-Western, pro-European unity orientation (De Benoist,
1982, 1986).
A Revolutionary Right-wing International?
It is my contention that in three historical periods three different revolutionary right-wing
forces shared a pan-European perspective that was nonetheless critical of either liberal or
proposed socialist European integration schemes. Does this mean that there is a European
right-wing international from the fascist epoch of the inter-war years to the contemporary
period? The pan-European, ultra-regionalist rather than explicitly nationalist perspective
of the nouvelle droite today has created tensions with sectors of the ultra-nationalistic
revolutionary and extreme right milieux. De Benoist was simultaneously called a cryptocommunist by sectors of the ultra-nationalist right and a crypto-fascist by liberal and
left-wing movements (Taguieff, 1993). His neo-regionalist turn has found a voice in the
federalist Lega Nord (Northern League) in Italy (Spektorowski, 2003, pp. 55 70), while
nouvelle droite ideas and slogans such as anti-French racism, the right to difference and
one-worldism have been co-opted by extreme right-wing political parties such as the
French FN and Lega Nord (Mudde, 2004, pp. 10 13; Betz, 2002, pp. 193 210).
The nouvelle droite is incapable of creating a united, organizationally mobilized,
revolutionary right-wing international. Tensions between the nouvelle droites panEuropean regionalism and old-style ultra-nationalism cannot be fully reconciled.
Traditional counter-revolutionaries and Europeanist conservative revolutionaries
represent radically different right-wing traditions (Taguieff, 1993/1994a, pp. 99 125).
If we add to this the diversity of national variations on the revolutionary right in numerous
countries from France to Russia, including Third Positionists, neo-Nazi biological racists,
Catholic integralists, Evolians, National Anarchists and National Syndicalists, we indeed
have many rights (Macklin, 2005, pp. 301 325; Steuckers, 2001).
Nonetheless, these diverse revolutionary right-wing tendencies from fascism to the
nouvelle droite and the National Anarchists share a long list of negations: anti-liberalism,
anti-materialism, anti-capitalism, anti-parliamentarism, anti-communism, anti-Marxism,
anti-conservatism, anti-egalitarianism and anti-Americanism. As a historical comparison,
Ernst Nolte (1965) stressed that fascisms negations included anti-Marxism, antiliberalism and anti-conservatism. Stanley Paynes fascist negations consist of antiliberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism (Payne, 1995, p. 7).
We might add anti-Semitism to the nouvelle droite negations, but this negation is
severely downplayed for obvious historical reasons related to the infamous race laws in
Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Vichy France. Also, there was a fascist tradition that was
not anti-Semitic in Italy before 1938. Prominent Jewish fascists like Ettore Ovazza
participated in the March on Rome and there was significant Jewish membership in the

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Italian Fascist Party, estimated at one-third of the small Jewish community of 47,000 in the
mid 1930s (Blamires, 2006, p. 47). Yet, although nouvelle droite leader de Benoist makes
a serious effort to attack racism and downplay anti-Semitism, even the nouvelle droite has
been mired in a welter of controversy surrounding Holocaust negationist circles (Bar-On,
2007b, p. 51).
The right-wing international might not be practicable, particularly if we add splits
between the pro-capitalist Anglo-American New Right (ANNR) and anti-capitalist
nouvelle droite. Despite the heterogeneity even on the revolutionary edges of the right,
certainly enough cooperation is possible against ideological enemies. We have the broad
outlines of a revolutionary right-wing spiritual family which rejects Bobbios left-wing
egalitarian tenets, such as legal equality, equality of opportunity for all cultural groups or
the redistributive, communist notion of equality of condition.
Fascisms European Identity: The Fascist International
When we think of internationalism, our gaze normally turns towards the left: the two
Internationals, the Paris Commune, the expansionist internationalism of Soviet Marxism
Leninism, the International Brigades of communists and anarchists in the Spainish Civil
War (Jackson, 1994; Stradling, 2002), the left-wing anti-colonialist struggles in Africa and
Asia, the New Left student and worker protests or the contemporary anti-globalization,
anti-corporate left (Klein, 2000). Rarely do we conceive of an internationalism on the
right.
Few are aware of concrete attempts by Italian fascists in the late 1920s and 1930s to
Europeanize and internationalize fascism. For Italian fascists fascism represented a novel,
ultra-nationalist, socialist revisionist and authoritarian synthesis, which could be applied
across Europe. Seen in this light, fascism was a fourth way that rejected conservative,
liberal and communist solutions for Europes inter-war ills.
A.J. Gregor has argued that Italian Fascist intellectuals such as Enrico Corradini, Ugo
Spirito and Sergio Pannunzio proposed a rational, coherent body of thought that rivaled
any on the left and sought to provide concrete solutions to Italys late modernization
development woes through corporatist, national syndicalist ideals in the context of a
fascist developmental dictatorship (Gregor, 1979, 2000, 2001, 2005). Corradini, for
example, saw Italy as a proletarian nation, in contrast to other plutocratic European
colonial powers, and Italy too required its place in the sun among the community of
nations (Gregor, 2005, pp. 18 37). This place in the sun would be achieved under the
developmental, modernizing aegis of the Italian Fascist Party. This was a right-wing
internationalism that rejected left-wing, communist internationalism in favour of an
international struggle between nations rather than classes.
The attempt to create universal fascism finds its first expression in Fascist Italy in the
mid 1920s in sections of fascist, spiritual youth culture that sought to radicalize fascism,
give it greater coherence in the context of a genuine transformation of the European
continent and restore the revolutionary legacy of 1919 inherent in the birth of the Italian
Fascist Party. In short, one generation had been responsible for animating the first phase of
fascism leading to the March on Rome, but this generation had now lost its youthful vigour
and institutionalized an excessively bureaucratized Fascist state where young positionseekers came to make their fortunes (Ledeen, 1972, p. 36). In this context the doctrine
of universal fascism signified a generational revolt, an attempt to transform fascist

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institutions and a desire to find comprehensive European-wide solutions to the crisis of


civilization plaguing the continent.
Despite tensions within the Fascist Party over the notion of universal fascism,
particularly with leading Fascist ideologue Giovanni Gentile, on 7 October 1930
Mussolini declared his support for universal fascism: Today I affirm that Fascism, as
idea, doctrine, and realization, is universal: Italian in its particular institutions, and
universal in spirit (quoted in Ledeen, 1972, p. 63). It was at this point that universal
fascism became official state orthodoxy in Italy and was directed by the Fascist state.
Fascist leader Benito Mussolini sponsored the International Conference of Fascist
Parties, also known as the Volta Conference, in 1932 as a rival to the Soviet Unions
erection of the Comintern. The theme of the conference was On Europe. Only the Soviet
Union and Britain did not have official delegates at the conference. Yet this was
purposeful, as the conference was a kind of spiritual geopolitics which saw Europe
menaced by a Soviet-led Africa and Asia on the one hand, and America and England, on
the other hand (Ledeen, 1972, p. 83). Evola and de Benoist have both called for a
spiritual geopolitics to fight materialist superpowers like the Soviet Union and USA.
Conference delegates ranged from corporatist fascists to racist neo-Nazis: Daniel Halevy
from France to more ominously Werner Sombart, Hermann Goering and Alfred Rosenberg
from Germany. The conference stressed Italian guidance of the new universal, European
fascism, as well as Mussolinis defeat of the Bolshevik menace, which could serve as an
example for the continent (Ledeen, 1972, p. 83). In Italy the conference was received with
intoxicating delight by younger fascist circles and led to a fascist Young Europe movement
in 1933, which deplored the biological, racial anti-Semitism of Nazism and warned of Hitlers
desire for an expansionist, homogeneous German state (Ledeen, 1972, p. 84).
The 1934 Fascist International Congress at Montreux in Switzerland, which included
among the participants fascist notables such as Marcel Bucard, Vidkun Quisling and
General Eoin ODuffy, was the heyday of universal fascism. Thirteen countries were
represented. A fascist Englishman, James Strachey Barnes, led the International Congress,
although Italian Fascist authorities financed it. Barnes wrote a book entitled The Universal
Aspects of Fascism in 1928 in which he argued that youth was the essence of the fascist
Weltanschauung (Barnes, 1929, p. 164). His Centre International dEtudes sur le
Fascisme (CINEF) was based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was a largely academic affair
and its primary goal was to distribute fascist propaganda throughout the European
continent and to encourage fascist solutions as a legitimate antidote to prevailing liberal,
conservative and communist solutions (Griffiths, 2006, pp. 339 340). One such solution
was the corporate state as the panacea for the European financial crisis of the period.
The other universal solution was to reject the overt biological racism and anti-Semitism
of the Nazi type, although not all delegates could agree on this central point. Due to Italian
fears of revolt in the ranks no open declaration of a rejection of anti-Semitism occurred at
the congress.
It is also true that Mussolinis regime spent plenty of money financing foreign fascist
regimes, including the Austrian Heimwehr and the Belgian Rexists (Ledeen, 1972,
pp. 99 100). In addition, Mussolini created the Comitati dAzione per lUniversalita` di
Roma (CAUR) in 1933 to bring independent groups pining for universal fascism under
tighter official state control. CAUR would guarantee the independence of local European
fascisms while seeking to loosely unite European-wide fascist organizations that would
pay lip-service to the greatness of Mussolini and Italian Fascism as the leader of the fascist

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struggle (Ledeen, 1972, pp. 109-110). When Nolte speaks of the fascist epoch between
the two world wars he has in mind that fascism was a truly European phenomenon and
CAUR was a concrete reflection of fascisms pan-European pull.
Yet from the beginning the Italian proponents of universal fascism branded the Nazis
as pagan, racist heretics and rejected the Hitlerian notion of an expansionist German
Reich. The second problem was that fascism never resolved the problem of what
constitutes fascism and which movements ought to be included in the erection of
universal fascism. The Spanish Falange did not brand itself as fascist, yet the Italian
proponents of universal fascism called it fascist. Should anti-Semitism, as many Italian
fascists including Mussolini believed before the adoption of race laws in 1938, disqualify
you from the fascist movement?
For Richard Griffiths the apogee of universal fascism was between 1933 and 1936
(Griffiths, 2005, pp. 72 90). It included the fascist European brigades to counter the
Socialist International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War (Griffiths, 2005, pp. 59 60).
There would later be European-wide brigades among the Nazi SS during World War II,
which saw themselves as living out the heroic, soldierly, revolutionary, elitist adventure
of fascism in the pan-European realm (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 35 40).
Yet there were problems looming on the horizon for universal fascism, especially the
ascendancy of Nazi Germany on the international stage. This meant that the notion of
universal fascism would become a dead letter; an incomplete revolution. By 1936
Mussolini was working towards a rapprochement with Nazi Germany. Giuseppe Bottai,
Fascist Minister of Education during the racist period beginning in 1938, seems to have
embraced anti-Semitism as a genuinely effective way of bringing about change within the
heart of fascism (Ledeen, 1972, p. 146). Anti-Semitism was for Bottai a way to revitalize
Italian Fascism from within along radical, youthful lines akin to the spirit of 1919. For
De Felice racism and anti-Semitism were reactions to the sterile direction of Italian
Fascism in power in the name of new values (Ledeen, 1972, p. 149).
Universal fascism also implied that fascist movements throughout Europe called for
similar ultra-nationalistic, authoritarian and corporatist solutions. By 1933 they had
different fascist models in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The former model appeared
more vigorous, youthful, virile and soldierly for many younger fascists, and certainly more
anti-Semitic at its core. The pan-European SS Brigades also underscore the ascendancy of
the Nazi model in an international fascist movement that once saw Rome as opposed to
Berlin as its model.
Yet the only viable, concrete and serious attempts to create a pan-European fascist
framework came in Fascist Italy from the mid 1920s to mid 1930s. This is not to say that others
in Europe did not share in the pan-European fascist dream (Griffin, 1995, pp. 6668,
200 202). Hermann Goering in Nazi Germany penned a piece called The Third Reich as
Saviour of the West?, while the British fascist Oswald Mosley wrote Towards A Fascist
Europe? In addition, the French fascist Marcel Deat called for a European revolution.
As a footnote to our story of universal fascism Roger Griffin pointed out that potent
fascist movements existed in Brazil, Chile, South Africa and Japan in the inter-war years
(Griffin, 1995, pp. 228 244). The eminent historian of fascism Stanley Payne argued that
the fascist epoch ended in 1945 and it is true that in the post-1945 period it is very difficult
to find a fascist movement that recreates all the characteristics of historical fascism along
the lines of ideology and goals, the fascist negations and style and organizational
framework (Payne, 1995, pp. 3 23, 495 522). Yet Payne argued that Peronism

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in Argentina had some, though not all, of the prerequisites of fascism. He insisted that
outside Europe Baathist Iraq under Saddam Hussein came closest to mimicking a fullfledged, European-style fascist regime in the inter-war years (Payne, 1995, p. 516).

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The Centrality of European Identity in Early Post-war Fascism


If pan-European identity was important to historical fascism, it increasingly shaped the
worldview of early post-war fascism. The nouvelle droites European turn was presaged
by the neo-fascist French thinker Maurice Barde`che (1907 1998), the brother-in-law of
executed fascist writer Robert Brasillach (1909 1945). In the late 1950s and early 1960s
Barde`che argued that for the revolutionary right to reinvigorate itself in the context of the
official defeats of Fascism and Nazism in 1945 it would have to turn more European rather
than strictly nationalistic. It would look for inspiration to the short-lived Italian Social
Republic based in Salo` (1943 1945). For post-war neo-fascists like Barde`che the Italian
Social Republic represented a purportedly radical, left-wing thrust, which resembled
Mussolinis movement fascism as opposed to the more corrupt regime fascism of the
Italian Fascist Party. In his classic neo-fascist text Quest-ce que le Fascisme (What is
Fascism?), written in 1961, Barde`che also urged a radically new tactical approach to
fascism: the dropping of the leadership principle, the single party, the secret police and the
fascist style consisting of military uniforms and parades (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 175 176).
In the post-1968 period the nouvelle droite under de Benoist would learn its lessons from
Barde`ches metapolitical, pro-European fascist turn.
Yet Barde`ches pro-Europeanism began even earlier than 1961. At the Congress of
Malmo in 1951 Barde`che led a French delegation that sought to Europeanize fascism by
erecting a pan-European fascist movement. This conference brought together fascists from
14 countries and founded the Malmo International or European Social Movement, which
included 16 national movements (Griffin, 1995, p. 342). Like the historical, universal
fascist movement, the conference disagreed about issues such as anti-Semitism or the
degree of racism necessary for post-war fascism, but there was unanimous agreement by
delegates about the idea of a regenerated Europe battling against the two materialist
superpowers. That is, the Malmo Manifesto enshrined the idea of Eurofascism as opposed
to narrow, insular nationalisms (Griffin, 1995, p. 342). In Clause 2 it called for the erection
of a European Empire. In Clause 3 prices and salaries were to be controlled and regulated
by the European Empire. In Clause 4 the armed forces of all the nations of Europe were
to be put under the control of the central government of the Empire. Finally, Clause 5
argued for the right of colonial peoples to enter the Empire once they have attained a
certain educational and economic level. What is stunning in the Malmo Manifesto is the
degree to which the contemporary EU project has similar pan-European goals, although
the ideological framework is distinctively different from the post-war neo-fascists. What is
also illuminating is that the Malmo Manifesto helped to shape the pan-European rather
than nationalist orientation of the nouvelle droite under de Benoist.
Yet it is Barde`ches Queest-ce que le Fascisme which most explored the European and
even international dimensions of post-war neo-fascism. Despite his early warning on the
first page that he was a fascist writer (Barde`che, 1970, p. 9), Barde`ches text might not be
recognizable to a Mussolini or Hitler because it focused on revising the fascist methods
of the past and jettisoning outdated language such as extreme racism or anti-Semitism.
If fascism will be reborn, insisted Barde`che, it would be pan-European and its face might

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no longer be recognizable. A similar argument has been made by contemporary antifascist thinkers such as Umberto Eco (1995) and Christopher Hedges (2007). In his 13
explanatory interpretations for fascism Payne posited one as the metapolitical model
utilized by Barde`che and later de Benoist (Payne, 1995, pp. 441 461). Nolte insisted that
fascism entailed a resistance to transcendence, in contrast to liberal and communist
progressive, egalitarian frameworks (Nolte, 1965, pp. 429 430). This resistance to
transcendence would take a pan-Europeean, metapolitical dimension among post-war
neo-fascists.
For Barde`che Italian fascism strayed from its syndicalist socialist roots, best embodied
in The Charter of Work (1919), DAnnunzios Constitution of Fiume (1920) and the
Verona Charter (1944) of the Salo` Republic (OSullivan, 1983, pp. 193 206). It is in the
Verona Charter, argued Barde`che, that lay the true fascism, which Mussolini should
have struggled for 20 years earlier in the course of Italian fascism (Barde`che, 1970, p. 20).
This true fascism, Barde`che added, has a European-wide destiny.
Barde`che held the Salo` Republic under Mussolini as his model fascism, but went further
to argue that the Nazi SS represented a permanent preoccupation of fascism: a warrior elite
that lives and incarnates the national socialist ideal (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 3537). At the
same time Barde`che claimed that the SS should have been more regulated by the state,
which allowed him to make the outlandish claim that fascism was not responsible for the
extermination of the Jews, in the same way that nuclear physics as a theoretical construct
was not the cause of Hiroshima (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 5354). The implication being
that fascism made some errors, but the real fascism of the people will be reborn under a
pan-European sky.
Barde`ches entire work was designed to weed out the good from bad fascisms of the
inter-war years in order to allow fascism to be reborn on a different, pan-European path.
Fascism is not extermination camps or racial legislation, Barde`che insisted, but a
legitimate national socialist project with concrete solutions to the ills of post-war Europe
(Barde`che, 1970, pp. 87 88). Yet, as he put it, We search in vain for the book of fascism:
This Bible does not exist (Barde`che, 1970, p. 89). If the doctrine of fascism does not exist,
it must be continuously made and revised. He lamented that there were too many fascist
tendencies in his era and that they were too exclusive in their narrow nationalisms.
Neo-fascism will find a distinctive doctrine once it finds its legitimate leader; its man
sent to stamp his authority on the world from providence. This God-kissed fascist leader
will need to be pan-European and socialist in outlook and lead Europeans to an essential
feature of fascism: the thirst for adventure. He will need to exercise real independence
and power against the banks, corporations and foreign power blocs and respect the popular
will of the people and national interests (Barde`che, 1970, p. 109). The European nations of
today are no longer sovereign and only a fascist Europe will restore their real
independence and vindicate the superior interest of the nation (Barde`che, 1970, p. 110).
In line with the thesis of universal fascism Barde`che evoked Nasserism as a type of
authentic fascism and considered Castroism, but then decided it was not sufficiently fascist
in its style and ethos (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 123 148).
Barde`ches idea of a European path to early post-war fascism was unambiguous in the
final chapter of his book What is Fascism? (Barde`che, 1970). If fascism is reborn it will be
out of crisis, where the nation or Europe is in existential danger and authoritarian solutions
are necessary even after the crisis is resolved (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 174 175). He argued
that Hitlers government spoke of Europe rather than strictly Germany as the future

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destiny of the continent (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 175 176). And this European fascism,
Barde`che insisted, will seek to establish a third order against both the materialism of
the USA and the Soviet Union (Barde`che, 1970, p. 177). In a precursor to the theses of
European and international-wide Holocaust revisionists Barde`che pointed out that the
real face of fascism is not the propaganda of its enemies and is not responsible for racism
or the extermination camps (Barde`che, 1970, pp. 178 179).
Most importantly, the European fascism of the future will jettison all the characteristics
of historical fascism. It will drop the cult of the leader, racism, anti-Semitism, narrow
nationalism and totalitarianism. In a key orientation that would influence the nouvelle
droites metapolitical turn, Barde`che pointed out that the famous fascist methods are
constantly revised (Barde`che, 1970, p. 182). And in an argument that would influence the
nouvelle droites anti-multicultural orientation into the new century, Barde`che rejected the
mixing of blood and the creation of an adulterous race, which is the real genocide of
modern democracies (Barde`che, 1970, p. 185). Barde`che cryptically ended his neo-fascist
text by arguing that fascism will return with another name, another face (Barde`che, 1970,
p. 195). It will certainly be a more European fascism and might even be a fascism that
waves the post-fascist or even anti-fascist banners (Bar-On, 2007b, p. 20).
Barde`che was not alone in shifting the discourse of post-war neo-fascism on the
European continent. The Belgian Jean-Francois Thiriart founded Jeune Europe in 1960,
with branches in numerous European countries from Italy and Spain to France and
Belgium. Thiriarts orientation was pan-European communitarian rather than strictly
national (Macklin, 2005, pp. 320 321). Although he claimed to be of the political centre,
Thiriart sought to create political alliances with radical ultra-nationalist and left-wing
movements and regimes, and even espoused a revolutionary, National-Bolshevik
orientation with committed European political soldiers. In 1962 he launched the
unsuccessful National Party of Europe in conjunction with the British fascist Oswald
Mosley, which sought to create a European parliament, an alternative economic system to
capitalism and communism and to get rid of both Soviet and American influences on the
European continent.
The Nouvelle Droites Pan-European Revisionism
When Barde`che said that fascism would return to the European continent with another
name, another face he found a welcome ear in nouvelle droite leader Alain de Benoist.
Although the latter did not explicitly work from the fascist tradition and favoured a slow
transformation of hearts and minds, his long list of negations certainly echoed historical
fascism, and so did his pan-European framework. From a Paris university student militant
that embraced French Algerian colonialism in the early 1960s, de Benoist moved towards
radical ethnic pluralism and the defense of particular cultures worldwide in the late 1970s
and 1980s. He was for yellow, black, red and white power with equal ardour; for an
Algeria for the Algerians, as well as a France for the French (De Benoist, 1979b, p. 156).
By the new century de Benoist defended the right of Muslim schoolgirls to wear the hijab
in the liberal, secular French school system against what he called the ayatollahs of the
assimilationist, French Republican tradition (De Benoist, n.d.). Echoing a tradition on the
conservative right in favour of regionalism, he also longed for a Europe of a Hundred
Flags against the assimilationist, homogenization processes inherent in state and
corporate engineering (Fouere, 1968). Like Barde`che, de Benoist sought for the revival

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of the nouvelle droite along pan-European lines, while claiming to be anti-racist, antitotalitarian and anti-fascist. Some critics asked the question whether de Benoist
had resurrected a fascism with another name, another face (Griffin in the Foreword to
Bar-On, 2007b).
With Barde`ches fascist revisionism as an inspiration, the nouvelle droite has made
major attempts since its birth in 1968 to distance itself from official variants of fascism,
overt racism and anti-Semitism and the charismatic leadership principal that animated
both Italian Fascism and, especially, German Nazism. Nonetheless, French scholar PierreAndre Taguieff has demonstrated how a defense of cultural particularism has been a
consistent thread of the nouvelle droites worldview, from a defense of French colonialism
and the white race in the 1960s, biological conceptions of race in the 1970s and cultural
formulations revolving around the notion of the right to difference in the 1980s
(Taguieff, 1990, 1994). The right to difference, as Taguieff eloquently argued, can be
used for diametrically opposed purposes: both liberal, republican anti-racism and racist
separatism (Taguieff, 1993/1994b, p. 160).
In seeking to escape the ghetto milieu of the revolutionary right the nouvelle droite has
been successful due to the following factors: the passage of time from the fascist epoch, its
pan-European intellectual dissemination networks, the increasing acceptance of issues
such as immigration across political formations and the end of the taboo of cooperating
with far right-wing political parties, as evidenced by coalition governments in Austria and
Italy in the late 1990s and new millennium. As a result of its obsessive defense of
homogeneous cultural communities the nouvelle droite cannot escape its links to the
revolutionary right-wing milieu of the past, or charges of fascism and racism. It has
refused to sever its links with the conservative revolutionary milieu, which nourished
Fascist and Nazi regimes of the past (Taguieff, 1993/1994b, p. 160).
What was more clear for de Benoist was the metapolitical vocation of the nouvelle
droite against the other two post-war neo-fascist trends: parliamentary politics and extraparliamentary groups like Pino Rautis Italian-based Ordine Nuovo (ON) in the 1960s.
This did not mean that there was no cooperation between these different tendencies.
Rautis ON was clearly influenced by Evola, a young Rauti was involved with Evola in the
radical review Imperium and many Imperium collaborators were involved in neo-fascist
terrorism (Mammone, 2007, pp. 282 303). ON echoed the violent Fascist squadristi
(blackshirts) and the German Freikorps (Free Corps) of the inter-war years. The nouvelle
droite officially repudiated the ONs extra-parliamentary violence in favour of a
metapolitical project that was explicitly pan-European, with think-tanks throughout
Europe. These think-tanks, in conjunction with many other concrete factors, such as the
rise of anti-immigrant political parties like the Front National in France and the Vlaams
Blok in Belgium, have had an impact in shifting Europes entire cultural landscape in
favour of restricting immigration and erecting a more homogeneous conception of
regional, national and European identities.
One scholar has demonstrated how the French nouvelle droite worldview influenced
diverse European and even international movements: the New Right in the UK, Neue
Rechte in Germany, Nieuw Rechts in The Netherlands and Belgium, Nuova Destra in
Italy, Imperium Europa in Malta, and the New Right of Paul Weyrich and the Free
Congress Foundation of the USA (Minkenberg, 2000, pp. 170 188). Another has
meticulously highlighted the multinational character of the nouvelle droites major
think-tank GRECE (Duranton-Crabol, 1991, pp. 68 73). The German Neue Rechte

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is modelled after GRECE and its first journal, Elemente, is named after its French sister
publication Elements. Franco Sacchi pointed out that the Italian Nuova Destra was born in
1974 after contacts were established and guidance given from the French nouvelle droite
(Sacchi, 1993/1994, p. 73). The French nouvelle droite and GRECEs influence can also
be felt on diverse publications such as Punto y Coma and Hesperides in Spain and Michael
Walkers The Scorpion in England. Tekos, Vouloir and Orientations mimic the concerns of
the French nouvelle droite in Holland and Belgium, respectively. In 1998 Bogdan
Radulescu started a Romanian New Right journal, Maiastra, which maintained informal
links with the French nouvelle droite. Most controversially, Alexander Dugins Russian
New Right journal Elementy is modelled on its French counterpart Elements and de
Benoist briefly served on its editorial board. He likely left because of Dugins openly
nationalistic and anti-Semitic sentiments, as well as the latters idiosyncratic notion of
Euriasianism: an attempt to fuse Russian Orthodox Christianity and Islam in a struggle
against USA-led Westernization and homogenization of the planet.4 In contrast to Dugin,
de Benoist was attempting to avoid outdated vocabulary, in line with a secret 1969
GRECE memorandum which was later to be destroyed,5 as well as steer the nouvelle
droite away from overt manifestations of fascism, ultra-nationalism, racism and antiSemitism.
Yet we need to more closely investigate de Benoists conception of European identity.
What does de Benoist mean by contemporary European identity? Whereas in the 1960s de
Benoist defended the white man and the Western world, in the new millennium he could
say the following: I am not an Occidental, but a European (Sylvain, 2005, p. 27).
Following a question posed about whether the Western world still exists, de Benoist argued
that the Occident is today led by the USA as a global superpower and its model of society is
nihilistic and seeks to erase all deeply rooted, collectivist cultures, including those in
Europe (Sylvain, 2005, p. 27). He further added that there is an increasing geopolitical
struggle between the USA as a maritime power and Europe as a continental power and that
globalization is exacerbating competition between the USA/Occident and the European
model of civilization. In a post-9/11 climate this had led de Benoist to champion a
pan-European military force capable of challenging US unilateralism (De Benoist, 2001) and
support all sorts of anti-American, anti-Western alliances to defeat the dominant liberal
model represented by the USA. The geopolitical stance is an extension of Barde`ches call for
a pan-European military force as an antidote to the power blocs of his day.
The Nouvelle Droites Pan-Europeanism of Many Flags
If we move outside the realm of geopolitics, the internal model de Benoist has in mind
for Europe is hundreds of independent regions under the ambit of an independent,
respiritualized, secular, hierarchical, pan-European framework. Yet the communities he
longed for are homogeneous communities in which the real Europe becomes a living
reality of popular, direct democracy against the imposition of abstract liberalism and
multiculturalism, which are seen as genocidal for rooted cultural communities
(De Benoist, 1982).6 Despite de Benoists vindication of inequality and support for elitist,
hierarchical, organic societies, there is a hint of populism in his desire to appeal to the
white majority heartland or silent majority, which rejects multiculturalism and would
vote in referenda to block immigration and preserve local, European cultures against the
homogenized steamrollers of Americanization, Westernization and globalization.

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Yet the nouvelle droite democratic turn from the 1980s and into the new millennium
can be interpreted as merely a by-product of its primordial desire to return to a world of
relatively stable homogeneous, European ethnic communities within the context of a
heterogeneous world. Moreover, the nouvelle droites ultimate goal was the union of
homogeneous ethnic community belonging (ethnos) and rule by the people (demos) in a
framework that masked a more exclusionary political project (Bar-On, 2007b). One astute
observer of the nouvelle droite has not taken de Benoists pro-democracy, intellectual
makeover in recent years at face value and has insisted the nouvelle droite promotes
ethnic diversity within a federation of European ethnicities, banned to non-Europeans
(Spektorowski, 2003, p. 61).
The nouvelle droites pan-European project connects it to both elements in historical
fascism and early post-war neo-fascism. Yet what is unique about the nouvelle droites
pan-Europeanism is its regional thrust, that longs for hundreds of homogeneous, regional
communities in the context of a sovereign, independent, hierarchical, united Europe. In a
spirit akin to modern populist discourse that pits the people against elites, the nouvelle droite
sought to cause a rupture between the people and leaders and cultural elites on questions
related to cultural identity, immigration and notions of belonging. It also attempted to
undermine liberal multicultural notions of community and assist in the collapse of a blocked,
totalitarian system (De Benoist, 1979b, pp. 250259). These people that de Benoist is
largely concerned with are the silent majority of white Europeans that face supposed
cultural extinction as a result of uncontrolled immigration and the multicultural, egalitarian
politics of a Europe dominated by the ethos of the liberal left.7
Despite de Benoists opening to the left in the 1990s, even his writings in a former
New Left journal like Telos demonstrated his primordial commitment to a pan-European
political project based on the centrality of a homogeneous ethnos within the context of an
ancient Athenian demos in which cultural cohesion and a clear sense of shared heritage
prevailed (De Benoist, 1995, p. 75).
The aim of de Benoists logic was to distance the people from their leaders and cultural
representatives in the context of support for a liberal, multicultural Europe. This trend
continued in La nouvelle droite de lan 2000, the nouvelle droite manifesto published in
Elements (De Benoist & Champetier, 1999). This is indeed the most comprehensive
nouvelle droite manifesto since its foundation in 1968. What is striking about the
manifesto is its concern for a pan-European political framework and obsessive desire for
rooted, homogeneous communities. For the nouvelle droite the only authentic demos is
one that is representative of the majority ethnos within a given state or region.
I want to complete the picture of the pan-European, regional and homogeneous
conception of the nouvelle droite with a few examples from the aforementioned manifesto.
The authors, Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier, argued for a multipolar civilizationbased, global cultural and political model rather than a strictly national or regional
framework to counter US superpower hegemony (De Benoist & Champetier, 1999).
In short, the nouvelle droite continues the pan-European project of Barde`che and Italian
Fascists sympathetic to universal fascism from the mid 1920s to mid 1930s. In an age of
global telecommunications when increasingly corporations rule the world (Korten, 2001),
to use the language of one popular anti-corporate tract, nation states and nationalism
increasingly become irrelevant. The nation state so valorized by fascists from George Valois
to Giovanni Gentile is rejected as outmoded by the nouvelle droite in Section 3 of its
manifesto: The nation state is now too big to manage little problems and too small to address

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big ones. The nouvelle droite clearly understands that a pan-European framework will be
necessary because historical fascism was too narrowly conceived and a failure, while
changes in global economic and technological structures, ideological possibilities and
mentalities necessitates a novel right-wing framework. Section 2, Clause 8 of the manifesto
argued that belonging will be more European in nature, as well as federal and regional, but
ultimately rest on ethno-cultural foundations of common origins.
Like extreme right-wing political parties, the nouvelle droites other major panEuropean concern is the inability of Europeans to control their borders from inassimilable
immigrants, particularly from the Muslim world. The restrictive immigration calls in the
manifesto are similar to the FN in that they combine an anti-capitalist mantra with a desire
to curtail non-European immigration to the continent. In Section 3, Clause 3, like the FN,
the nouvelle droite argued that restricting immigration will benefit immigrant and host
societies alike, since both will be able to maintain traditional homogeneous ethnic
communities and ways of life.
The nouvelle droite is realistic. Immigrants throughout Europe will not all of a sudden
leave. Instead, the nouvelle droite calls for a dissociation of citizenship from nationality.
This eerily mimics Vichy or Fascist Italys race laws. It represents the ultimate triumph of
homogeneous, populist ethnic belonging over democratic rights-based considerations of a
liberal multicultural society.
It is significant that Europe as a federalized, sovereign power bloc would be tied with
Russia against the USA, the key representative of liberalism. The latter is viewed by the
nouvelle droite as the main enemy. This is certainly part of a larger attempt to weaken the
USA as a global superpower, while the alliance with Russia has historical echoes of
the Nazi Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939 and the National Bolshevist tendency in
Germany led by Ernst Niekisch (1889 1967) that sought to unite a respiritualized,
worker-centred Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union in order to destroy the materialism
of Western civilization.
In what is arguably the key line of the entire manifesto, in Section 3, Clause 7, the
authors unite ethnos and demos in a political potion that synthesizes totalitarian
democracy8 with an ethnic conception of belonging that closely mimics fascism:
The essential idea of democracy is neither that of the individual nor of humanity, but
rather the idea of a body of citizens politically united into a people. And this people is not
all of the people or entire demos along liberal or left-wing egalitarian lines, but a
circumscribed, homogeneous people along rooted, pan-European, ethnic lines.
Conclusion
It has been my central argument that despite the apparently narrow, exclusivist, ultranationalist model offered by historical fascism, it also had a pan-European dimension.
The attempt to create universal fascism within the Italian Fascist Party was a concrete
expression of the pan-European dimension of fascism. Fascism was also viewed by some
as a rational, continental solution to Europes political, socio-economic and spiritual ills
against prevailing liberal, conservative and communist models. Gregor (2000, 2001, 2005)
argued that fascisms solutions were no more nor less rational than other ideologies of the
age. Right-wing authoritarian and fascist solutions impregnated the continent in the 1930s
and 1940s, from Francos Spain to Nazi Germany. Fascism can be viewed as a drastic,
total, synthetic, totalitarian and largely pan-European response to an epoch of multiple

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crises: World War I and the explosion of ultra-nationalism, national defeats or humiliation,
the rise of the Bolshevik Soviet Union, mass strikes and unemployment, the spectre of
leftist takeovers of governments from Italy to Germany, the impotence of liberal or
conservative institutions, and the crisis of European culture or civilization, which acted
as the intellectual incubator of fascist ideas.
When fascism came crashing down in 1945 Maurice Barde`che reinforced the panEuropean dimension of fascism. He was an early post-war neo-fascist who organized fascists
from many different countries in the Malmo Conference in 1951 and argued for a
Europeanized fascism to combat both the Soviet Union and the USA. Barde`ches successor
was the nouvelle droite leader Alain de Benoist. His major innovation was the Gramscian,
metapolitical struggle that borrowed from the ideas of the New Left. Yet I argue that in his
rejection of egalitarianism de Benoist remained more on the right than left. De Benoist
further cemented the pan-European turn of the nouvelle droite by building think-tanks
throughout Europe designed to change hearts and minds on crucial issues such as
immigration, cultural identity, nationalism and regionalism. His distance from extreme rightwing parliamentary forces and violent extra-parliamentary politics gave his movement some
legitimacy, although most were not convinced of de Benoists left turn beginning in the late
1980s and continued to harken back to how his ideas imitated the fascist synthesis.
What is fascinating about historical fascism, early post-war neo-fascism and the
nouvelle droite is how they remained true to the pan-European task of saving the
continent from the materialist ideologies of the day. All three forces rejected the liberal,
conservative or communist alternatives for Europe, while seeking a reborn, pan-European
empire to liberate the continent from the cultural decadence or genocide of its rooted,
homogeneous ethnicities. De Benoist, like Barde`che and Evola before him, rejected the
Europe of the politicians and the liberal elites. Like far right-wing political forces from
the Austrian Freedom Party to the French FN, de Benoist rejected the EU because it was an
anti-Europe Europe. That is, the EU does not represent the desire of the majority of white
Europeans for an independent, strong, hierarchical Europe free of superpowers and one
that is internally homogeneous in the contexts of many different flags.
Our travels through the revolutionary right-wing milieu in three epochs raises questions
of definitional issues over what constitutes fascism, whether it was epochal and whether
fascism is about core ideological goals, a set of negations and a specific tactical and
organizational framework. The nouvelle droite, in combination with anti-immigrant
parties like the FN, has been instrumental in shifting the European discourse against
immigration, immigrants, minorities, multiculturalism and liberalism. This is especially
true about non-European immigration, as the discourse of even conservative right-wing
parties demonstrated in respect of Turkeys proposed entry into the EU. The nouvelle
droite sought to create a new rights framework in which the collective rights of European
ethnic groups trumps individual rights, as well as the rights of the demos as a whole. Had
Barde`che or the Italian activists of universal fascism been alive today they might have
found a spiritual home in the nouvelle droite.

Notes
1
2

Les Amis dAlain de Benoist, available online at http://www.alaindebenoist.com.


The glaring exception was the neo-fascist Movimento Sociale Italaliano (MSI, Italian Social
Movement). Founded in 1946, it gained between 5 and 8% of the national vote until 1992. It reached its

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high mark of 8.7% in 1972. In 1995 the MSI dissolved and was replaced by the allegedly post-fascist
Alleanza Nazionale (AN, National Alliance). (See Ignazi, 1997, pp. 47 64).
The CR connotes a school of non-Nazi German cultural pessimism in the inter-war years, best
represented by thinkers such as Oswald Spengler, Moeller van den Bruck and Ernst Junger. They united
an elitist ultra-nationalism, a rejection of reactionary conservatism and a revolutionary conservatism
dedicated to total state mobilization of workers and owners in a military framework. Armin Mohler
dubbed them the healthy Trotskyites of German revolutionary nationalism, in contrast to the Hitlerian
travesty. (See Griffin, 1995, pp. 104114).
For a comprehensive Russian site with English translations of Alexander Dugins works, see Arctogaia,
available online at http://www.my.arcto.ru/public/eng/.
The 1969 memorandum, which was reprinted in the May 1969 issue of Elements, stated that it is
necessary to be prudent in the vocabulary used. It is necessary to abandon an outdated vocabulary
(quoted in Bar-On, 2007b, p. 36).
There are tensions within the nouvelle droite around the cause of peoples slogan, with Guillaume Faye
arguing that de Benoists radical, cultural ethnopluralism has led him to neglect Europes traditional
racial homogeneity and thus become complicit with existing liberal, pro-multicultural elites (see Faye,
2003). Also, in the same issue, see An interview With Alain de Benoist.
For a more unambiguous defense of this racialist position see Raspail (2004) or his politically incorrect,
anti-immigrant novel The Camp of the Saints (Raspail, 1994).
For J.L. Talmon liberal and totalitarian variants of democracy can be traced to the French Revolution,
with the latter embodied in figures like Robespierre and Saint-Just, who combined dictatorship based on
mass enthusiasm with a liberal, perfectionist ideology (see Talmon, 1952).

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