Today’s nationalists are more directly inspired by a late 19th-century French line of thinking. Photo: Twitter/Nigel Farage
If the contradictory informal, yet powerful alliances among nationalists today are to be challenged, the working mechanics of New Right ideas must be understood, say Pablo de Orellana and Nicholas Michelsen.
Dressed in pastel-coloured Sunday best, Charles does not look like your typical far-right extremist. Yet he is a member of Génération Identitaire, a militant French youth group keen to overcome the thuggish reputation of the far right. Génération Identitaire is a key example of contemporary nationalist movements and has become particularly notorious after the attack perpetrated by one of its members in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Génération Identitaire’s rallies in the suburbs of French cities feature speeches lamenting the replacement of Europeans by Muslims, “métissage imposé” (forced inter-breeding), chanting “La France est à nous” (“France is ours”), and provocative marches through areas inhabited by minorities, that often descend into beatings. These young nationalists told us that they march to reclaim Europe from foreign invasion by migrants that destroy French culture, stifle their aspirations, steal their jobs, their cities, and even their women.
They also seek to demonstrate the kindness of their ideas by assisting homeless people with food, clothes and hot drinks – but only if the people they help are French and, more specifically, “français de souche”, which usually refers to having white French ancestors.
As we march through the Parisian streets, Charles explains that Génération Identitaire is fuelled by love for the “real” French. For him, it is natural that patriotism should produce love for “his” people, as we saw with the beggars, as well as hatred and violence towards foreigners and feminists. Charles, following the example of Identitarian leaders, believes that nature has already produced a perfectly functional Western culture based around white race, Christianity and a “proper” social order.