"The far right is not as intellectually poor as one might say"


Stephane Francois.

Stéphane François, historian of ideas and specialist in radical rights, in France and abroad, publish a Far-right vanguard (Editions de La Lanterne, 160 pages, 17 euros), a book in which he approaches this political family with multiple nuances from a cultural angle. The professor of political science at the University of Mons (Belgium) deciphers the multiple influences: he underlines the importance of esotericism or certain myths such as that of the Vikings.

In your book, you approach the extreme right from a cultural point of view, through historical or religious references, music or even books. Can we speak of a counter-culture?

Yes, absolutely, even if it is still very complex. As a movement, it appeared in the United States in the 1960s, in opposition to the Vietnam War. A true non-conservative, non-militarist counter-culture was thus developed, mixing various elements, both scholarly and popular, spiritual as well as political or musical. The extreme right will do the same, with a slight shift. From the 1970s, we will see the appearance, especially in Italy, of references to popular culture. Activists, especially neofascists, will use these elements to make them a marker of their ideology. This was the case of the Hobbit camps in Italy [organisé alors par la section jeunesse du Mouvement social italien, néofasciste] with an explicit link to Tolkien. Subsequently, several books of counter-cultural alphabet types will come out. With references to Sparta, the film 300, nods to bands or singers like Joy Division, Morrissey and the Smiths. There is a desire to mix different elements that give intellectual and cultural coherence to the movement.

Is this a coherent thought?

Yes, although this far-right counter-culture feeds on pre-existing elements, in particular the religious margins, the attraction for paganism, for the conservative avant-gardes. The common point is the desire to create a common culture to overthrow the dominant culture. If this culture is closed, it is nevertheless internally diverse with several very different currents – such as neopagans, traditionalist Catholics, far-right skinheads. The lowest common denominator is the idea of ​​creating a “white” counter-culture, of values ​​specific to Europeans and descendants of Europeans.

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