An Introduction to the European New Right

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

When Ash Milton first came upon Neoreaction, his only experience with the non-libertarian, non-conservative Right had come from the Nouvelle Droite, or the European New Right:

The ENR was birthed in 1968, the year of the student uprisings which became iconic in French political culture. The term “68ers” is used to describe the generation which led the social, sexual, and cultural revolutions of these last few decades. Its intellectual core was in the Research and Study Group for European Civilization (Groupement de recherche et d’études pour la civilisation européenne, or GRECE), founded by Alain de Benoist and others. These thinkers shared a broad intellectual heritage, including the German Conservative Revolutionaries, Oswald Spengler’s cyclical and organic vision of history, the Italian traditionalist Julius Evola, and other intellectual currents. It distinguished itself from the mainstream right by levelling critiques against not just communism, but also free market capitalism and American cultural hegemony, considering them two sides of the same materialist coin. This led to a renewed focus on political theory and the role of culture in the realm of politics.

Specifically, the ENR aimed to promote a “Gramscianism of the Right“, adapting the theories of Antonio Gramsci that political change goes hand in hand with — and usually follows — cultural and social change. In the words of Het Vlaams Blok leader Filip Dewinter, “the ideological majority is more important than the parliamentary majority.” Prior to 1968, reactionaries had taken the line that, even with cultural decline, the common people were still inherently conservative in their temperaments even if they were sometimes enticed to revolutionary causes. We can see this echoed today in the “silent majority” and “Main Street” rhetoric of modern conservatives. The ENR’s aim was to break with what can be called the time-machine reactionary view: that defeat of revolutionary elites would enable to restoration of a traditional order. 1968 and its era were a proof to the ENR that the culture itself would have to be retaken before change could come at the political level. This led it to pursue a project of “metapolitics”; its thinkers scorned party and even “radical” activism, preferring to rethink philosophical foundations and create cultural memes to counter the ’68er ideology of Social Progress.


  1. Rod says:

    I like the idea that it would probably attract some athletes who are only in university to prepare for the NFL. They make a mockery of the student/athlete concept. But I don’t think they could attract a paying audience.

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