22 March 2010

Book: Where Have All The Fascists Gone?

Tamir Bar-On, "Where Have All The Fascists Gone?" (Ashgate, 2007), with a foreword by Roger Griffin (Professor in Modern History, Oxford Brookes University):


Publisher's description: "The Intellectual European New Right (ENR), also known as the nouvelle droite, is a cultural school of thought with origins in the revolutionary Right and neo-fascist milieux. Born in France in 1968, it situated itself in a Gramscian mould exclusively on the cultural terrain of political contestation in order to challenge the apparent ideological hegemony of dominant liberal and leftist elites. It also sought to escape the ghetto status of a revolutionary Right milieu wedded to violent extra-parliamentary politics and battered by the legacies of Fascism and Nazism. This study traces the cultural, philosophical, political and historical trajectories of the French nouvelle droite in particular and the ENR in general. It examines the ENR worldview as an ambiguous synthesis of the ideals of the revolutionary Right and New Left. ENR themes related to the loss of cultural identity and immigration have appealed to anti-immigrant political parties throughout Europe. In a post 9/11 climate, as well as an age of rising economic globalization and cultural homogenization, its anti-capitalist ideas embedded within the framework of cultural preservation might make further political inroads into the Europe of the future."

Reviews: "Post-war right-wing extremist movements come in a bewildering variety of shapes and forms, but this book provides a well-written and masterly guide (the first one in the English language) to the evolution of one particularly influential variety known as the European New Right. It deserves to be read by all who care about the future of Europe." (Cyprian Blamires, editor of "World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia")

The book is fully searchable on Google Book Search (including table of contents):


Also of interest may be a recent article by Bar-On, "Understanding Political Conversion and Mimetic Rivalry" ("Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions", 10 [3-4], December 2009: pp. 241-64):


From the abstract: "In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the French nouvelle droite under its doyen Alain de Benoist claimed that it had made a political 'conversion' from the revolutionary Right (or conservative revolutionary) milieu to 'democracy' and that it had created a 'post-fascist' political synthesis. The paper under consideration will argue that the nouvelle droite's political 'conversion' process was only exoteric in nature by mimicking the ideas of the New Left and that its esoteric orientation was of 'true believers' who never left a political pantheon of conservative revolutionary ideas with roots largely in the 1920s and 1930s. Using the model of the nouvelle droite, as well as the ideas of René Girard and Emilio Gentile [...], I trace a model of political conversion for the twentieth century and new millennium, with particular emphasis on conversionary prerequisites and processes, as well as the mimetic symbiosis and rivalry between Right and Left."

Excerpts: "It is no accident that the nouvelle droite leader in France, Alain de Benoist, argues [...] that his fundamental quarrel is with egalitarianism, which he argues in a Nietzschean vein produced the mass 'slave' ideologies of the Judeo-Christian tradition and its secular derivatives, namely, liberalism, social democracy, socialism, communism and Marxism. [...] Furthermore, in ideologically diverse journals, de Benoist never tires of pointing out that the shifting sands of the political landscape might dictate if he converts towards the Right or Left. This calculation will presumably be based on whether extreme radicals of the Right or Left can better assist in the destruction of liberal democracy. [...] [H]is conversion to 'democracy' is circumscribed, as it must be direct democracy in the ancient Athenian or Icelandic mould. It [...] bypasses his vehement rejection of liberal and socialist variants of democracy."

Israeli-born Tamir Bar-On is Professor of Humanities and International Relations at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education.

No comments:

Post a Comment