“The far right is not as intellectually poor as one might say”

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), book in which he intervenes from the cultural angle of this political family with multiple nuances. 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 would appear 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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