by Milena Uhlmann
Terrorism isn’t new to the country; in its history, France has experienced a significant number of attacks. In 1995, the GIA-affiliated terrorist network of which Khaled Kelkal was part conducted several attacks, as did the Al Qaida-affiliated gang de Roubaix one year later; but until Mohammed Merah’s murders in 2012 in Toulouse and Montauban, terrorist attacks were treated as political violence in the context of anti-colonial struggles or connected to other kinds of violent conflicts abroad, such as the Bosnian War, rather than as religiously inspired or connected to social, societal and/or political issues within the country, or as some sort of atypical pathology. Terrorist perpetrators, their networks and milieus were met with repressive instruments – a wider angle of analysis which would have allowed to tackle the threat from a more holistic perspective had not been incorporated in a counter-terrorism policy design.
by Samuel Bouron
French far right activism experienced tremendous changes in recent years. Besides traditional far right party politics, new patterns of street-based mobilization attract especially action-oriented youths. This trend is epitomized by the growing popularity of the Bloc Identitaire (official name; shortened to “Identitaires”). Its ideology rests on the idea that there exists a struggle between different political families in order to become the legitimate representative of the people, and that the extreme right is winning this struggle. Behind the scenes, the recurring idea of the Bloc Identitaires is to occupy a cultural and “meta-political” territory that was once the monopoly of the left. Their aim is that they are gradually associated with the only possible alternative to change the world. They try to frame a maximum of popular needs and present themselves as substitutes for when the economy and the state will be bankrupt. So you can eat the food of the Identitaires, drink their beer (the “Desouchière”), buy their clothes, listen to their music or read their books and thus participate in financing the movement.
by Tamir Bar-On
I am the author of two books about the French nouvelle droite (ND – New Right): Where Have All The Fascists Gone? and Rethinking the French New Right: Alternatives to modernity. In 2014, I published a piece entitled „The French New Right Neither Right, nor Left?“. Surprisingly, the French ND leader Alain de Benoist responded with a polemical and largely ad hominem article in the same journal. I must stress that I neither identify with a political party, nor a political movement. I do not support any ideological current. De Benoist does. He is self-described as a man of the right. Hence, he cannot even claim intellectual objectivity.
In this piece, I want to offer some comments on my debate with de Benoist. I argue that while we should strive towards intellectual objectivity, we cannot be silent in the face of falsehoods. In this respect, the ND plays a dishonest game. Its leader and other ND intellectuals feign intellectual objectivity and the platitudes of transcending right and left, but they want cultural hegemony and the triumph of their decidedly radical right-wing ideals.