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Arriba Eurasia? The Difficult Establishment of Neo-Eurasianism in Spain

Première parution : Nicolas Lebourg, « Arriba Eurasia ? The difficult establishment of eurasianism in Spain », dans Marlène Laruelle dir., Eurasianism and european far right : reshaping the Europe-Russia relationship, Lanham, Lexington books, 2015, pp. 125-142.

As a movement, neo-Eurasianism is far removed from the nationalist traditions of Spanish politics. It was imported as part of the long quest for separate ideas and references that followed the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, who ruled from 1939 to 1975. Neo-Eurasianism is one of the ideological products patched together in the hope of resolving a political impasse—the far right has been limited to around 1 percent of the vote since the return to representative democracy in 1977. In addition to electoral impotence, the Spanish extreme right is characterized by exceptional fragmentation and powerful heteronomy compared with its European counterparts, especially in France and Italy.

Aleksandr Dugin nevertheless conducts regular conferences in Spain. He has always been hosted by the same small group led by Juan Antonio Llopart, through its various iterations (Alternativa Europea in Barcelona in 1994, the Movimiento Social Republicano in Madrid in 2013). This group grafted element’s of Dugin’s theories to pre-existing European nationalist contributions in Spain, while also following an electoral strategy modeled on Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France. The relations with French nationalist-revolutionaries (NRs) that he claimed to have in 1996 were less about two activist communities than a single movement established in two countries.[1] This made for a heterogeneous mix, the coherence of which existed within the Spanish radical extreme right, but probably little for the masses. Understanding this gap requires understanding the upheavals of the Hispanic nationalist space within the European context. Within this substratum, Eurasianist theses were imported as part of a global reorganization of the European radical right. Hence the Movimiento Social Republicano (Republican Social Movement—MSR) arose to take a fragile place in the country’s political landscape, which in 2014 experienced a split led by Llopart.

The Import of European Nationalist References

With Franco in power, the margins of the Spanish radical extreme right often opted for a type of nationalism that differentiated it from the autarkic national-Catholicism of the regime. To exist, the extreme radical right continued to look to Europe and transnational relations. The prestigious Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset already was able to express his Europeanism in La Jeune Europe, a journal the Third Reich published in 1942 to promote “European liberation” through the participation of European intellectuals and collaborators such as the Italian Julius Evola or the French Marcel Déat.[2] However, neo-paganism and esotericism were weaker in Spain as compared to many other European countries; even the most radical often retained an attachment to the Roman Catholic Church, which partly explains the profound difficulties the New Right experienced in establishing itself. In 1951, Spaniards participating in the Malmö meeting gave rise to the European Social Movement (MSE). But the two essential experiences were those of Young Europe (YE) and the Círculo Español de Amigos de Europa (Spanish Circle of the Friends of Europe—CEDADE). It was on the basis of the national communalism of YE and the European nationalism derived from CEDADE that neo-Eurasianism made its contributions in the 1990s.

Founded in 1961, YE is a European party. Its national staff, led by a European headquarters and subdivided into thematic offices with six-person “action cells,” ensures a cohesive agenda.[3] In 1964, after the split between the Belgians Jean Thiriart and Emile Lecerf, the latter of whom possessed neo-Nazi elements favorable toward a Europe of ethnic groups, Thiriart and YE advocated for a single, Jacobin, and secular European state “from Reykjavik to Vladivostok.” The Spanish YE group managed the organization’s European summer camp in 1966 and translated Thiriart’s book, An Empire of 400 Million: Europe, under the evocative title ¡Arriba Europa! Una Europa Unida: a imperio 400 millones de hombres.[4] Thecamp mixed sports activities with debates and organized a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of Falange Española. Songs of the Falange, Afrika Korps, French resistance, and Italian partisans were sung around the campfires.[5]

 However, YE quickly fell into trouble in Spain. In March 1967, the authorities banned a nine-country YE conference in Madrid at the last minute. Thiriart saw in this move signs of US influence on the Francoist state.[6] Ernesto Milá suggested more prosaically that, despite YE’s good contacts in the Franco regime, Thiriart had no way of understanding Spain’s pro-US geopolitical position and that YE Spain would have to awkwardly address the European group’s fiery anti-American discourse with the Spanish authorities.[7] Thiriart exited Hispanic nationalist political culture until the French New Resistance rediscovered him in 1991. Meanwhile, only Ernesto Milá tried to carry on this legacy, but he insisted that Spain should play an interfacing role in the new Europe because of its role in the Spanish-American space.

By working with Spaniard José Cudadrado Costa, Thiriart came around to the idea that only Russia could build a greater Europe. In 1984, in the journal of the National European Community Party (PCN), Cuadrado Costa introduced references to the Russian Eurasianist movement of the 1960s. He believed the Soviet Union would be well advised theses ideas as their owns. Citing Ortega y Gasset, the Falangist Ramiro Ledesma Ramos, Stalin, and Thiriart, he stuck to the idea of a pan-European space that was closed to China and India, among others, a view corresponding to that of a Europe “from Dublin to Vladivostok.”[8]

The CEDADE was founded in 1962 by members of the Young Europe group in Madrid and became a “cultural association” in Barcelona in 1966.[9] For CEDADE, the fundamental flaw of Thiriart is his materialism.[10] The movement experienced a rapid ideological evolution, leading to a neo-Nazi position in 1969, demonstrating an unprecedented degree of racialism and anti-Semitism in the Spanish extreme right (only 0.05 percent of the population is Jewish; however, hostility to Israel is common).[11] It thus maintained relationships with the New European Order (NEO), founded in 1951 when the ex-communist, ex-Trotskyite, and ex-Waffen SS Frenchman René Binet split from the MSE (from its beginning, NEO defended decolonization and advocated the return of migrants to Africa in order to preserve each continent from biological and cultural mixing). NEO held its congresses in Barcelona in 1969, 1979, and 1981.[12] In particular, CEDADE is linked to the French neo-Nazis of the National and European Action Federation (FANE). A neo-Nazi sensibility exists, especially in Catalonia. This is not the völkisch (“Blood and Soul”) conception of Catalan nationalism, with strong-arm tactics instead being deployed against Catalanists.Among these groups linked to CEDADE are the National Socialist Party of Spain (Partido Nacional Socialista Español—PENS), with its bulletins Nuevo Orden and Joven Europa, and groups Asociación Juvenil Jaime I (Youth Association Jaime I) for young people, the Movimiento Nacional Revolucionario (National Revolutionary Movement), and Movimiento Social Español (Spanish Social Movement). External references are apparent in these names, and PENS maintains ties with the Italian Stefano della Chiae, who leads the Avanguardia Nazionale (National Vanguard), which was deeply involved in terrorism in Italy. CEDADE formed its own party in 1979 (the Partido Revolucionario Nacional Europeo / European National Revolutionary Party), but primarily dedicated itself to publishing anti-Semitic and revisionist texts.[13] This status of relative importance allowed for the translation in 1977 of Imperium by the American Francis Parker Yockey, the CEDADE’s racial-Europeanist reference.[14] Fragmentation and ideological ferment were even more present since the Spanish extreme right did not have the militant training or electoral power to make itself an influential group. Multiple factions claimed to be the authentic Falange, and the Fuerza Nueva (New Force) party founded by Blas Pinar failed to win despite its participation on the Euro-right list in the 1979 European elections.[15]

The “revolutionary traditionalism” of Franco Freda (improperly called “Nazi-Maoism” by the Italian press) also resonated. The French of the People’s Fight Organization announced, after a similar statement by the Italian Lotta di Popolo and French People’s Fight Organization  that with their arrival on the peninsula, the European Revolutionary Liaison Committee should see the “underground” birth of a Lucha del Pueblo section, built by members of PENS and Movimiento Social Español.[16] The operation collapsed, as the Spaniards preferred to work with the Avanguardia Nazionale militants.[17] Finally, the nationalist-revolutionary movement emerged through two distinct dynamics, which together formed the basis of the whole history of the Spanish NR movement. The first is the founding in 1976 of the Falange Española de las Juntas de Auténtica Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (Authentic Assemblies of National-Syndicalist Offensive) . This included the West European neofascist postures that considered the first fascist movement to embody the original and genuine fascism, and therefore put forward subversive and social dimensions that had been constrained by the Franco dictatorship. The second came from a CEDADE split, which in 1978 gave way to the Juventud Revolucionaria Nacional (National Revolutionary Youth.

In 1983, some of its members founded las Bases Autonomas (Autonomous Bases BA), not a group in itself but a grassroots network like those in Germany and France. Although mainly located in Madrid’s universities, BA became the Spanish NR reference. They played on ideological oscillation. Thus they claimed the mythical figure of the Spanish anarchist Durruti, an anti-fascist fighter in the Spanish Civil War, foreshadowing the dialectology that Troy Southgate developed fifteen years later. Their international contacts should not be underestimated. On April 3, 1987, the BA and the Falange de las JONS (Phalanx of Assemblies of National-Syndicalist Offensive) attended a meeting in Paris convened by the French group Third Way (TV), along with the Belgian New Forces Party and the Portuguese Movimiento de Accao Nacional. The ideological charter that they put together was the work of TV. TV started publishing its Manifesto of the Europe Nation in 1986, then approved organization-by-organization (starting with the Falange Española°;After this meeting, the Italians of Terza Posizione and the Swiss Third Way joined the network. Thiriart aptly described the loose form of contacts among the organizations, dubbed the “March 12 Group,” as “the International mailboxes.”[18]

The stylistic influence gave rise to the Spanish Third Way, which integrated the March 12 Group. It was led by Alberto Torresano and published the newsletter Revolucion europea, the title of which was taken from the French Third Way newspaper.[19] In 1989, it joined with the Coordinadora Alternativa Solidarista (founded in 1988 by a host of small groups) to create Tercera Via Solidarista (Solidarist Third Way) . At the helm of the organization were Secretary-General Juan Antonio Llopart (from the Juventudes del Frente Nacional of Barcelona) and President Alberto Torresano. In 1992, it merged with the Vanguardia group, whose youth section took the name Joven Europa). Vanguardia was clearly neofascist, as evidenced by their use of the double ax of the Italian Ordien Nuovo. Denouncing Vanguardia’s “right turn,” Llopart his allies kept their newspaper, Tribuna de Europa, and, following a European meeting, organized the first group to invite Aleksandr Dugin to Spain.[20]

The National Bolshevik Era

Many extreme-right Spanish movements have sought to copy Le Pen in France, particularly in their anti-immigration sentiment—a tough bet in a country with 300,000 Roma, but where only 0.9 percent of the population were immigrants, of whom only 0.4 percent came from outside the European Union.[21] Tribuna de Europa simply recognized the impossibility of maintaining neo-Francoism in para-Le Penism.

The evolution of the Spanish NR passed through France. In 1989, Third Way Secretary-General Christian Bouchet said his organization had two choices: either form a movement within the National Front (FN) or break with the reactionary space and try to work within others dealing with ecological or regional issues, such as Islam.[22] His central idea was to challenge the FN from the left, imposing on Jean-Marie Le Pen an NR movement that only existed in the FN in 1974–1978. The FN president rejected this faction; the head of TV, Jean-Gilles Malliarakis, rallied individuals. Led by Bouchet and André-Yves Beck, the rest of TV was forced to hide their defeat. In 1991, they founded New Resistance, an organization dedicated to rejecting the FN, operating in the style of Ernst Niekisch it’s national-bolchevism, word after, National Bolshevism, and the union of the periphery against the center.[23] Their promotion of a united antisystem front clearly influenced Alain de Benoist, the leader of the Research and Study Group for European Civilization (GRECE), the main organization of the New Right.[24]

Members of the New Right and French NR were interacting constantly, and the to Dugin for the November 24, 1991, GRECE colloquium showed that this space was searching for post-Soviet ideological reconstruction. In order to make itself credible to Malliarakis, who stayed with TV, New Resistance contacted the March 12 organizations to propose a new international, the European Liberation Front—FEL (the name taken from Parker Yockey). It was implemented much faster than had been expected, since the New Resistance founding congress gave itself the objective of creating a “representative European secretariat” in two years. The organization stipulated that all groups linked to TV would choose it.[25]

Also uniting the diverse nationalities in the FEL were the organizational icons as explained in its first Secretary-General: all the cadres were influenced by the examples of Thiriart’s YE, Otto Strasser’s European Popular Movement, and Yockey’s FEL, and fascinated by the example of the Fourth Unified International Secretariat.[26] Taken together, the diverse national publications also demonstrate Evola’s strong influence (as could those of “Nazi-Maoist” Claudio Mutti in the FEL), but the ideological attitude was postmodern. The groups did their work with Evola or Thiriart, borrowing from them along the way as needed. This nondogmatic Evolism was palpable in the FEL and likely contributed to the adaptation of Dugin’s theses, which also were influenced, but not determined, by Evola. Moreover, when Dugin sponsored a conference in Madrid in 2013, he opened it with a long summary of Il Fascismo visto dalla Destra and voiced a radical antimodernism more than a conservative-revolutionary critique.[27] The “new convergences” he advocated led to the import into Western Europe of the Russian “red-brown” label. But they did not correspond to a real alliance between and “communists” and “nationalists.” Within the FEL, as within the groups that composed the “red-brown” alliance, it was actually an alliance of the “right” wing (völkisch cultural European nationalism) and “left” wing (the NR) of the radical extreme-right. Thus the Tribuna de Europa published articles by Ramón Bau, the former CEDADE secretary-general who led Mundo NS (National-Socialist Earth).[28]

While not blocked by a powerful national-populist party, Vangardia also was experiencing the difficulties of small groups. Its participation in the FEL led it to adapt to its intellectual ancestors new references. This included the denunciation of the “System,” which the French extreme-right itself had used since the 1950s, having borrowed it from the German conservative revolution of the 1920s. The National Bolshevik eagle, which the New Resistance took back from Niekisch’s Widerstand, was presented as the emblem of the French NR[29] before being adopted, while it also was a marker of National Bolshevism. They translated and distributed a French pamphlet against the globalization of McDonald’s. The FEL also seemed to implement common strategies: in a coordinated move the groups tried to infiltrate environmentalist parties in Spain and France, as well as in Germany, Poland, Great Britain, and Italy.[30] The connection with Russia was becoming increasingly comfortable before the Western European radicals took a trip to Moscow in the summer of 1992.[31] In France, Edward Limonov contributed to the International Idiot, an anti-American periodical that supported rapprochement between the French Communist Party and the National Front, as well as the Chock of the Month, a journal that interfaced between the RN and the radical extreme right.[32]

In Spain, the European nationalist circles first noticed Dugin’s work. In 1992, even before it was published in Russia, Rusia, El Misterio de Eurasia was released in Madrid by the publisher Grupo Libro 88, whose director was a former member of CEDADE, which explains the neo-Nazi reference to 88. When it voluntarily dissolved the following year, CEDADE orphaned the organization’s militants, but hybridized politics and esotericism. However, the ethnic obsession led them to participate more in Democracia Nacional (founded in 1995, as Islamophobic, populist, and Spanish nationalist) than from a neo-Eurasianist perspective.[33]

The reconfiguration of the European radical extreme right continued in 1993. While the Franco-Belgian New Right was full of tension and the Spanish New Right had just produced Hespérides, in Lourmarin in southwestern France there was a “summer university” of the Community Activities Federation in Europe, a nonexistent structure that served to dress up a European neo-rightist university that was not convened by GRECE and brought together people in conflict with Alain de Benoist. Two members of GRECE set it up: Thierry Mudry, who associated with NR and neo-rightist circles in France with völkisch leanings (European Partisan, Nationalism and Republic, the Provence Forum, and the New Resistance) and his wife Christiane Pignacé (also a member of the Scientific Council of the FN). At the European level, the confluence ended in 1994, with the birth of European Synergies; Belgian Robert Steuckers managed the separation from GRECE.[34] It promoted a differentiated neo-Eurasianism by devising a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis. The Russian angle first was promoted in France the circle that came from the People’s Fight Organization, in particular Jean Parvulesco,[35] now a member of European Synergies and significantly inspired by Dugin’s thinking (which, beginning in 1992, also was being diffused in Russia through the works of Robert Steuckers, Jean Thiriart, and so on).[36]

At the same time, another Franco-Belgian crisis appeared, which resulted in the transformation of the FEL. In October 1993, the FEL excluded the PCN because, as the FEL explained, of the reactionary slide of the PCN. This included contacts with the Vlaams Blok and the Belgian National Front, and the proposed adoption of an Islamophobic campaign (under the slogan, “Europe will not be an Islamic republic”) while the FEL wished to move forward in conjunction with radical Muslim groups. European Synergies and the PCN collaborated and, without knowing it, PCN members filed the statusof the FEL with the French authorities.[37] The PCN launched a new journal in which it claimed to be the European partner of the Russian National Communist Front, while Dugin still was participating in the FEL and opting for a line affirming that Islamism was a tool of the American order and that Europe and Islam were irreconcilable.[38] In the aftermath of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the PCN introduced, via Yves Bataille, the Serbian argument.[39] According to it, Serbs were defending Europe from the menace posed by the creation of an Islamic state in Europe, which would benefit US objectives that sought to destabilize the continent.[40] The break between the FEL and European Synergies was less severe. In an internal note, the secretary-general of the FEL and New Resistance stated that although the structure was excellent in Spain and Portugal, “in France and Belgium it is a small extreme right group on the margins of the FN.”[41]

On the Spanish side, upon return to Lourmarin, Juan Antonio Llopart and his allies launched Alternativa Europea (AE), which was fully consistent with the orientations of the FEL. As its logo the organization adopted the five-pointed star commonly used by the New Resistance, which claimed that it was the symbol of “diverse anti-Yankee guerilla movements.”[42] In reality it is the emblem of the Tupamaros (left-wing movement of Uruguay) which the Red Brigade had introduced to Europe.[43] The ideological hybridization was accomplished in the fourth issue of Tribuna de Europa, with the publication of an interview withDugin.[44] On the summer solstice, Barcelona was one of the destinations of the Russian theoretician, while the FEL invited him to tour Western Europe (Grenoble, Milan, and Paris) from June 16 to July 1, 1994. Alternativa Europea deemed it a successful “full house,” even though published photographs show more modest crowds.[45] The following spring, Tribuna de Europa clearly marked a new inclination by publishing the entire transcript of a Dugin conference on Evola and a dossier on Eurasianism translated in Wanting (the journal of European Synergies).[46] While the French envisaged their transition into party politics by transforming the New Resistance into the Party of the People, Alternativa Europea also held a seminar on the opportunity to transform into the Partido Nacional Republicano.[47] To do so, AE borrowed wording from the French on the concept of “identity.”[48] It is true that AE was growing and did not have any enemies on the right. AE was discussed favorably in Eléments, de Benoist’s review, and worked with Mundo NS. Highlighting an international affiliation allowed AE to extract itself from the infighting that had overtaken the Falangist space. Alternativa Europea also moved from being a Barcelona bastion to opening sections in Madrid, Valencia, La Coruna, Vigo, Zaragoz, León, and Almeria.[49]

The idea of the organization was to bring together all radical extreme-right movements under its PNR, along the ideological lines of the FEL. However, discussions with other groups brought with them the byzantine quarrels of which the extreme Spanish right was fond, leading AE to quit the PNR project. The Spaniards, French, and Germans of the FEL then held a joint meeting in Paris. They decided to: (1) draft an ideological manifesto that each group had to accept in order to be members of the FEL; (2) launch a coordinated agitprop campaign against NATO; and (3) work patiently to found a European party.[50]

Nevertheless, the Spanish projects were affected by Franco-Belgian enmity. New Resistance was shaken by turbulence following the reconciliation of part of its leadership with the FN, especially by the fact that André-Yves Beck joined the FN mayor of Orange. Certain members did not like the signals given to the former  National and European Action Federation -Nazi Michel Caignet, organizer of the review Gaie France. Soon after Caignet was arrested for organizing a pedophilia network. This apparent combination of juvenile pederasty and the New Right was controversial. Faced with attacks, Christian Bouchet resigned and announced that he would manage affairs until a congress could be convened on November 30, 1996.[51] The PCN took the opportunity to go on the offensive and revoked the status of New Resistance.[52] It announced that the militants of New Resistance would be excluded from management for their “collaboration with the Le Penist reaction” and with Satanist-pedophile militants and then voted to merge with PCN structures, putting the FEL under a Black-Red-Green front.[53] Alternativa Europa and FEL groups unanimously rejected this organization and maintained their relationship with the remnants of the former organization, which renamed itself Resistance Circles.[54]

The New Resistance congress carried on. Their constitution was decided on the margins of the FN, along the lines of that of the NR and based on publicity committees of the Voice of the People (the new name of the Struggle of the People), calling for unity among nationalists above all else. The ideological line was synthesized in the following terms: “In short, ‘Less leftism, more fascism!’” The internal bulletin informed its subscribers that all FEL groups had renewed their confidence in the leadership team and conveyed the difficulty of managing an international NR. Thus the result of the congress was rightward shift, from which a logical conclusion could be drawn: it is necessary to break with foreign groups aligned with the “left.”[55] 

In Great Britain, the FEL was displaced, with the general-secretary post passing to Troy Southgate. The primacy in the community of references to ideological coherence was evidenced in the title of the European journal, which at the time the second FEL thought to produce in four or five languages, for a total of about 1,000 copies: Young Europe.[56] However, for AE, the French path could not be replicated in Spain, since no party there had absolute hegemony over the liberal-conservative right.[57] AE held its own congress in July 1997, opened with a message from Dugin, and featured presentations from the Frenchmen Christian Bouchet and Gregory Ombruck (Napalm Rock[58]). The movement decided to found only the NR party, a subversive matter of reputation since in this country with a Christian, Atlanticist, centrist, and monarchist right, the party was named Alternativa Europa-Liga Social Republicana (Alternative Europe-Social Republican League, AE-LSR) and promoted federalism as much in “the Spains” as in the rest of Europe. This would be a Europe that included Russia, more than a Eurasia, along with many other Western FEL groups. Although the notion of empire was cultivated, ethno-nationalist worries prevented the full adoption of neo-Eurasianist theses.[59]

At the end of 1997, the FEL merged with the Committee for a Nationalist-Revolutionary League, which was based in England. There it came into constant contact with the Liaison Committee of the Nationalist-Revolutionaries, the structure of which comprised of movements situated in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. It was a clear departure from European thinking and a move toward white affirmation. The ideological shift was made whitout difficultes. The September 19, 1998, meeting that established the new FEL was part of the annual festival of the FN, hitherto the supposed sworn enemy.[60] Tribuna de Europa published the list of member groups of the new FEL, which included the Russian National Bolshevik party.[61] In 1999, Southgate published a manifesto for the organization,[62] centered around the idea of defending the white race against a Zionist plot that supposedly sought to bastardize the white race in order to assure global control (along the lines of a classic NOE theme, but notable for its diffusion of the American acronym ZOG —Zionist Occupation Government––in Europe at the end of the decade, under the influence of the US magazine Resistance.[63]) AE expresses interest in anti-Semitism but has never exhibited much of it. The group did not publicize this text, and the second FEL slowly collapsed.

Between Radicalism and Populism

The most important issues to AE-LSR were support for the extension of autonomy, violent rejection of the monarchy, socialist references (extending to references to the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo and German councilism[64]), and European claims. This stood in sharp contrast to mainstream Spanish political life, which long had been dominated by José María Aznar (Partido Popular), head of government from 1996 to 2004, who aligned Madrid’s policies with those of Washington. Faced with the triumph of a renewed right, the MSR sought to combine traditionalist ideology and subversive values. 

Bi-national contacts were maintained. By transforming itself in 1999 into the MSR, AE-LSR mimicked the metamorphosis of New Resistance into Radical Unity, a so far near-perfect imitation of its skinhead magazine to a youth destination. This work to reach young skinheads appears to have produced results starting in 2010, when eighteen members of Blood and Honor were judged for acts of violence, and seventeen of them ran on the MSR ticket in elections.[65] Militants from the two sides of the Pyrenees’s border met regularly and, in 2001, jointly produced an anti-Zionist bumper sticker in the Catalan language.[66] The group also tried move beyond the interior Spanish enclave. For the 2000 general elections, the MSR joined with three other nationalist movements to form the España 2000 platform. Despite support from Jean-Marie Le Pen, the platform obtained only 0.04 percent of the vote.

The FEL disintegrated in 2002, with the departure of Radical Unity’s Christian Bouchet followed by the dissolution of this movement by the French public authorities. This led to the establishment in France of the Social European Identity Movement Bloc in tandem with the MSR. According to Philippe Vardon, one of the Identity leaders, the titular reference is to the MSR, not the MSE. The Identity Block (BI), MSR, and Nation of Belgians moved closer together, but BI put forward the Identity reinvention (abandoning all fascist references, converting radical anti-Zionism to Islamophobia, leaving aside the Greater Europe of regions project in favor of the articulation of French-European regions, zero references to Eurasia, Dugin, and esotericism), leading to the separation. In retrospect, Vardon thought that the socialist and European references fell under an “NR convalescence” : the difficult end of national-revolutionary reflexes.Young Catalans pushed the MSR to conform to the French line, but it was in vain.[67] The MSR and Nation only began to represent a new international partnership when the Italian group Movimento Sociale Europeo joined them in 2011.

In addition, the MSR maintained ties with the American Front, which had participated in the second FEL (and was renamed Open Revolt).[68] Having mounted the Radical Network in France, Bouchet launched with the Italian Sinistra Nazionale (publishers of the daily Rinascita) a Eurasian Geopolitics Network that attempted to follow the FEL and published the Eurasian Nation review. Nation, the Radical Network, and the Italians of the Democratici Egalitari d’Azione participated in a meeting in Barcelona on February 15, 2003, which the MSR convened in opposition to the war in Iraq. However, the MSR did not participate in the “voluntary human shields for Iraq” operation that Nation, Rinascita, the Radical Network, and the Party of French Muslims were undertaking.[69]

Although anti-Zionism remained a part of the MSR, Islamophobia was not totally ignored.[70] However, its adoption was difficult, given the pro-Arab tradition in the Spanish radical extreme right;[71] Islamophobia was present mostly in groups with völkisch identities. Still the 2002 summer solstice was celebrated with the French Land and People, a völkisch and Islamophobic movement defending a “Eurosiberia” to specify its racialist discrepancy with the neo-Eurasianist project. In a sign that Islamophobia was not well-established, the MSR initially reacted to the March 11, 2004, Islamist attack in Madrid (191 dead and 1,400 injured) by essentially blaming it on Prime Minister Aznar’s opposition to Euskadi Ta Askatasuna  (ETA), the Basque terrorist organization.[72] Nevertheless, in 2009, the MSR made a common European election list with the identity movement Partit per Catalunya (obtaining 0.04 percent of votes). At the same time it signed stillborn agreements with other small groups of various ideological persuasions.

However, its participation in European elections allowed it to make contact with small groups. The MSR was part of the foundation of the European Alliance of National Movements (AEMN), chaired by the vice president of the FN, Bruno Gollnisch. In addition to the FN and the MSR, the group brought together Jobbik  (Hungary), the Movimento Sociale Italiano-Fiamma Tricolore (Italy), British National Party, National Front (Belgium), and National Demokraterna (Sweden). Various associative statuses then joined, including Svoboda  (Ukraine), the Partido Nacional Renovador (Portugal), Bălgarksa Nacionalna-Patriotična Partija  (Bulgaria), and Vlaams Belang (the Flemish nationalist party in Belgium). Hence, the AEMN has no ideological or programmatic coherence, given that it encompassed movements with totally divergent conceptions on both the nationality issue and on European projects. However, its members recognized their differences in worldview. The MSR was able to participate in the AEMN through social ties with the Briton Nick Griffin, but his electoral weakness and inability to unite the Spanish factions led the parties represented in the European Parliament to no longer want to fund him. According to Ernesto Milá, Bruno Gollnisch was annoyed by the incapacity of his Spanish partners to unite. Early in 2013, Marine Le Pen decided to end all ties with Spanish organizations, as they could not fall in line.[73] Some months later, in order to avoid being accused of cooperating with radicals, the FN removed itself from the AEMN. In the European 2014 elections, the MSR won only 0.05 percent of votes (the five-party Spanish extreme-right list shared a total of 0.38 percent of votes).

Yet the shadow of the FN still hangs over the MSR. Although the MSR symbol is the flame of the Movimento Sociale Italiano, it was made popular by the FN. Its emblem changes as the French model changes, but remains in the black-red-white color scheme that is dear to the NR and to Falangism. It also gave a place of pride to the red and gold Spanish flag stripped of its coat of arms, which does not fit with the classic symbols of Spanish republicans (the purple, yellow, and red flag), but rather those of the nationalists of 1936. Some flags with chasospheres (spiked globes) were used during Dugin’s 2013 conference. Although the symbol is customary in the International Eurasian Movement, most observers likely associate it with pop culture, not politics.[74]

One of the satellites of the MSR, the Círculo de Estudios La Emboscadura (Study Circle La Emboscadura) (CELE), officially organized this conference. The CELE organized the annual “days of dissidence” that brought together the elite of the European radical extreme right,[75] during which anti-Semitic speakers and Holocaust deniers have the spotlight. Thus Dugin took part in 2007, the Frenchman Alain Soral was in attendance, and in 2013 it was the German Ernst Zündel. Dugin has not been the only member of the International Eurasian Movement to be present, as Aleksandr Kuznetsov represented the organization in 2008.

Other satellite structures exist, such as the Unión Sindical de Trabajadores (Workers’s national union), Unión Sindical de Estudiantes (Students’s national union), and Alternativa Joven (for young people who are not students). Infiltration into environmental groups varied, with work in animal rights and anti-speciesism circles and the creation of dedicated structures such as Patriotas Españoles Contra la Tortura Animal (Spanish Patriots Against Animal Torture) and Hispania Verde (Green Spain). Circulo Atenea (Circle Athena) was founded in 2013, inspiring the French Antigones, who are “anti-FEMEN.” Nueva República editions spread the ideological material. This led the Barcelona provincial court to sentence Juan Antonio Llopart in 2009 to two-and-a-half years in prison for the diffusion of ideas that support genocide (whereas Ramón Bau, who in 1997 founded a Círculo de Estudios Indoeuropeos, Circle of indo-european studies, to succeed CEDADE, was sentenced to three years). This judgment was overturned in 2011 by the Supreme Tribunal, which found that while anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying materials were disseminated, they included no direct appeal to perpetrate massacres. 

All of these difficulties led the MSR to have a tense congress in 2014. Fifty delegates were supposed to represent the 300 militants who officially comprise the party.[76] The number seems excessive, twice what was represented by movements such as New Resistance and Radical Unity, despite the smaller population of Spain and the balkinization of its nationalist scene. Tensions were strong enough to cause a confusing split. Llopart and his allies founded a new faction, Soberanía y Libertad, inspired by the Identity Bloc and using as its symbol the Greek lambda, which also represents its youth movement, Generation Identity.

Conclusion

The extreme Spanish right has been in disarray since the end of Francoism. The importation of nationalist-European, neo-Eurasian, and other references has not succeeded in resuscitating it. It remains crushed by the power of the Partido Popular, which has recycled old Francoists while adopting essential basics from the liberal-conservative right and maintaining a pro-US foreign policy stance. Worse still, the neo-Eurasianism overhaul attempts labeled the MSR as a neo-Nazi movement in the mainstream media and among most of the right.

 Aleksandr Dugin’s presence at various times in Spain thus highlights the particular impossibility of finding individuals with social and political pull. In twenty years of contact, he has passed from circles concerned with the breakdown of neo-Nazism to the hodgepodge of neofascism. Even the high tension that Catalan separatism created among the state’s repressive sectors has not provided any dynamism. In addition, during his 2013 Madrid conference, Dugin mentioned neither these separatist tensions nor the economic crisis that has devastated the country (the unemployment rate among young people reached 53.8 percent in 2014). Instead, his ideas concentrated on the agitation France experienced during the seemingly endless protests against opening marriage to same-sex couples. His discourse seemed to be much more geared toward Paris than Madrid. The absence of a mass electoral party is clearly detrimental to the development of a pro-Eurasian influence in Spain.


Notes

[1]          Tribuna de Europa 2, no. 6 (Summer 1996).

[2]          José Ortega y Gasset, “La Vocation de la Jeune Europe,” La Jeune Europe (1942), 4–6.

[3]          Directorate of Military Security, Hiérarchie du mouvement néo-nazi Jeune Europe, May 7, 1963, Archives of the Préfecture de Police of Paris GAJ4.

[4]          Jean Thiriart, book,¡Arriba Europa! Una Europa Unida: a imperio 400 millones de hombres (Barcelona: Mateu, 1965). “Arriba España” was the most famous slogan of the Franco regime, thus Thiriart offers a substitute ideology.

[5]          La Nation européenne, September 15–October 15, 1966.

[6]          Le Monde, March 23,1967.

[7]          Ernesto Milá, “La Nation européenne, el ultimo proyecto de Jean Thiriart,” Revista de Historia del Fascismo, no. 2 (December 2010–January 2011): 152–174. Having known Thiriart, Ernesto Milá is a figure of the new Spanish right. During this period, he was a member (successively) of the PENS, Frente Nacional de la Juventud, and Frente de la Juventud.

[8]          José Cuadrado Costa, Insuffisance et dépassement du concept marxiste-léniniste de nationalité, Conscience européenne, no. 9, (October 1984). Founded in 1984 in Belgium, the PCN claimed to be the pro-European integration party based on Thiriart’s ideas.

[9]          Rosario Jabardo and Fernando Reinares, “Démobilisation de l’extrême droite en Espagne,” L’Extrême droite en Europe, Pouvoirs, no. 87 (November 1998): 116.

[10]         CEDADE, Thule, la Cultura de la Otra Europa (Barcelona: Ediciones Wetlaschauung, 1979), 235–237.

[11]               Gustavo D. Perednik, “Naïve spanish judeophobia,” Jewish Political Studies Review 15 (2003): 87–110.

[12]         See, for example, Les Peuples blancs survivront-ils? déclarations du Nouvel Ordre Européen de 1967 à 1985 présentés par G-A. Amaudruz (Montreal: Editions celtiques, 1987).

[13]         José Rodríguez Jiménez, “Anti-Semitism and the Extreme Right in Spain (1962–1997),” Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism (1999). Accessed January 22, 2015, http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/15spain.html

[14]         Christian Bouchet, “Yockey, le précurseur,” La Revue d’histoire du nationalisme-révolutionnaire, no. 1 (December 1998); Michael Whine, Mapping the Extreme Right in Contemporary Europe (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2012), 319.

[15]         After having obtained 2.1 percent in the 1979 European elections, Fuerza Nueva slipped to just 0.5 percent in 1982.

[16]         La Flamme, January, March, and September 1972.

[17]         Selon Yves Bataille (leader of the French OLP), interview, June 21, 2004.

[18]         Third Way, TV Rapport d’activités mai 1986 (internal document). Also see two pamphlets published by Third Way: “Pour la France (1986) and “Pour l’Europe (1987); Christophe Boutin, “L’Extrême droite française au-delà du nationalisme 1958–1996,” Revue Française d’histoire des idées politiques, no. 3 (1996): 153.

[19]         This was also the title of Emilie Lecerf’s newspaper after his falling out with Thiriart. Alberto Torresano is a member of Madrid’s Falange and a Francophile who frequents the leadership of the FN. He is also an admirer of Français Duprat, the French nationalist revolutionary who was assassinated in 1978 while he was second-in-command of the FN.

[20]         Collectivo Karl-Otto Paetel, Fascismo Rojo (Valencia, 1998), p. 95.

[21]         Moreno Feliu, “La Herencia desgraciada: racismo y heterofobia en Europa,” Estudios Sociológicos 12 (1994): 54.

[22]         Christian Bouchet, Troisième voie-Année zéro, 1989 (internal document).

[23]         Christian Bouchet, discussion, August 12, 2002. The former has now joined the FN, the latter is the head of the cabinet of the Le Penist mayor of Béziers.

[24]         Thus in the Eléments of May 1992, Alain de Benoist seems to use elements from the editorials of the Lutte du peuple, the NR’s organ.

[25]         TV Circulaire SG-8, September 4, 1991; Nouvelle Résistance SG-9, September 23, 1991 (internal documents).

[26]         Christian Bouchet, Les Nouveaux nationalists (Paris: Déterna, 2001), 57. Before the war the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista were in contact with Otto Straser.

[27]         See, for example, Anton Shekhovtsov and Andreas Umland, “Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist? Neo-Eurasianism and Perennial Philosophy,” Russian Review 68 (2009): 662–678 and Aleksandr Dugin, “La Cuarta teoria politica,” Madrid, November 12, 2013. Accessed January 22, 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-N7fnST5t4

[28]         Tribuna de Europa, no. 5 (May 1994).

[29]         Tribuna de Europa, no. 2 (May 1993).

[30]         L’Europe combattante Note d’orientation no. 3 du secrétariat général de Nouvelle Résistance, no. 2, 1992 (internal document).

[31]         There was as much space for the New Right as the NR: de Benoist, Battara, Bouchet, Michel (PCN), Schneider, Steuckers, Terraciano, and Thiriart. There was none for Spain. Michel Schneider’s presence testified that the FEL was not excluded vis-à-vis neo-populist parties, since this part of the FN founded Nationalisme & République (which involved many FEL members) to try to displace Jean-Marie Le Pen in favor of Marie-France Stirbois, the widow of the former Front secretary-general Jean-Pierre Stirbois (Michel Schneider, letter dated March 27, 1990, addressed to several members of the French extreme right, in author’s possession). Launched in 1991, Nationalisme & République promulgated a strongly anti-American and “anti-Zionist” line and called for the convergence of the sovereigntist left, environmentalists, and the extreme right.

[32]         The international stakes of hybridization was intense and multidirectional. When Limonov and Dugin launched the Bolshevik National Front in Russia, they used the logo of Otto Strasser’s Scharwze Front. The FEL was already using the logo following its adoption by the youth section of the New Resistance. Fabrice Robert led this group (he is now president of the Identity Bloc). Coming from the skinhead musical scene, he borrowed it from the clearly neo-Nazi musical label European Rebels (founded in 1987 in France).

[33]         Xavier Casals Meseguer, La Tentación neofascista en España (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1998), 132–133.

[34]         Robert Steuckers, email, May 30, 2014.

[35]         In the review that he led with Yves Bataille, he took up the spatial conceptions of Mackinder and Evola on cyclical time, in order to affirm that Stalinism sought “Eurasian continental unity, occult goals of ‘global revolution at the center of the earth,’ the same great polar goals in the trans-historic pursuit of the Heartland at the end of a ‘final obscure cycle’.” According to him, Eurasia would be built to become a place of dialectic confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, resulting in “the final assumption of all toward a new united civilization [within] a same community of civilization, of being and destiny.” (De l’Atlantique au Pacifique, February 1976). Thus here there is a Nordic racial thinker using the concept of Eurasia, resulting in more closeness to the concepts of Europe Action, which was renamed Septentrion, in identity circles during the late twentieth century.

[36]         See, for example, Alexandre Dugin, La Grande guerre des continents (Paris: Avatar, 2006).

[37]         Declaration No. 9253, November 10, 1993. Archives of the Valenciennes sub-prefecture.

[38]         Nation Europe February/March 1994 and June/July 1994.

[39]         Xavier Bougarel, “Travailler sur l’islam dans la Bosnie en guerre,” Cultures et Conflits, no. 47 (2002): 49–80; Jacques Sémelin, Purifier et détruire. Usages politiques des massacres et genocides (Paris: Le Seuil, 2005), 33.

[40]         Yves Bataille became a resident of Yugoslavia, where his wife was colleague of Radovan Karadzic, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs. See, for example, Yves Bataille, “Chronique d’un embrasement annoncé,” Nation Europe, no. 3 (January/March 1995); Luc Michel, “Ni République islamique ni colonie yankee …  l’Europe aux Européens,” Nation Europe, no. 4–5 (February/April 1996).

[41]         Christian Bouchet, letter dated October 7, 1994 (internal document).

[42]         Pour la Cause du peuple. Manifeste de Nouvelle Résistance (Nantes: Ars Magna, 1997). The text takes its title and some of its ideas from the 1974 German “Nazi-Maoist” manifesto, Nationalrevolutionäre Aufbauorganisation—Sache des Volkes.

[43]         Renato Curcio, A Visage découvert, Lieu Commun, Paris, 1993, pp. 1 2–13.

[44]         Cited in Lutte du Peuple, no. 19 (December 1993/January 1994).

[45]         Tribuna de Europa 1 (October/December 1994); Lutte du Peuple, no. 23 (September/October 1994).

[46]         Tribuna de Europa 2 (May/June 1995).

[47]         Lutte du Peuple, no. 28 (September/October 1995).

[48]         The concept came from German nationalism. Postwar radicals used it to circumvent the antiracist constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. In this context, the OLP introduced it to France following a vote on new antiracist legislation in 1972.

[49]         La Voix du Peuple, no. 35 (February/March 1997). This is still the organ of the Nouvelle Résistance.

[50]         Tribuna de Europa 2 (February/March 1996) and (April/May 1996). The project on a European party was already on the agenda during the European meeting in Venice in 1962 (with Mosley, Thiriart, and others).

[51]         Christian Bouchet, Lettre ouverte aux cadres de Nouvelle Résistance, August 16, 1996 (internal document).

[52]         “Statuts de l’Association Nouvelle Résistance,” September 2,1996, 3 p., archives of the Raincy sub-prefecture.

[53]         See, for example, “A propos du Front Européen de Libération et du PCN” and “Communiqué de presse de Nouvelle Résistance – November 10, 1996.” Accessed January 22, 2015, http://fel.nr.free.fr/propos.htm.

[54]         L’Europe combattante, October 1996 (internal letter); Tribuna de Europa 2 (December 1996). 

[55]         3° congrès de Nouvelle Résistance Motion présentée par le secrétariat général de l’organisation, p. 4; L’Europe combattante, November 1996, pp. 1–2 (internal documents).

[56]         L’Europe combattante, Summer 1997 (internal document).

[57]         Tribuna de Europa 2 (May/June 1997).

[58]         Napalm Rock is one of a number of peripheral fanzines of New Resistance, de Nouvelle Résistance, conforming to its strategy of aggregation at the margins. Dedicated to metal music, the title is violently pagan and Thelemic.

[59]         Tribuna de Europa 2 (October/November 1997).

[60]         La Lettre du Réseau, November/December 1997 and November/December 1998 (internal documents). Meanwhile, the French founded Radical Unity, which the state dissolved in 2002 following an assassination attempt on President Jacques Chirac by a UR militant who claimed that he was an “agent of ZOG.” 

[61]         Tribuna de Europa 2 (October/November 1998).

[62]         Troy Southgate, “Manifesto of the European Liberation Front,” 1999, reproduced in his Tradition and Revolution (London: Arktos, 2010), 125–132.

[63]         Martin Durham, “From Imperium To Internet: The National Alliance and the American Extreme Right,” in The “Groupouscular Right”: A Neglected Political Genus, ed. Roger Griffin. Special issue of Patterns of Prejudice 36 (2002): 50–61. Radical Unity also founded a journal called Résistance that had an equivalent in Spain: Resistancia.

[64]         See Tribuna de Europa 2 (December 1997) and (June 1998).

[65]         Frauke Büttner, “Right-Wing Extremism in Spain: Between parliamentary Insignificance, Far-Right Populism and Racist Violence,” in Is Europe on the “Right” Path? Right-Wing Extremism and Right-Wing Populism in Europe, ed. Nora Langenbacher and Britta Schellenberg. (Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2011), 185.

[66]         Since the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), the part of Catalonia situated north of the Pyrenees has belonged to France.

[67]         Philippe Vardon, email, May 29, 2014.

[68]         The site Open Revolt offers texts written (and translated) by Aleksandr Dugin.

[69]         Actualité Juive, February13, 2003.

[70]         SOS Racismo, Informe anual 2007: sobre el racismo en el Estado español (Barcelona: Icaria, 2007), 196;  “Los ultras celebran la Hispanidad con actos xenófobos en Barcelona,” El Pais, October 13, 2010.

[71]           Xavier Casals Meseguer, El fascismo, entre el legado de Franco y la modernidad de Le Pen, (Barcelona: Destino, 1998), 67–70.

[72]         Secretaría de Prensa del MSR, “El Movimiento Scial Republicano (MSR) exige medidas excepcionales y responsabilidades políticas tras el genocidio cometido en Madrid ” March 11, 2004.

[73]         Ernesto Milá, “DOSSIER |La extrema-derecha ante las elecciones europeas. Lectura crítica (i),”  Minuto digital, March 24, 2014. Accessed January 22, 2015, http://www.minutodigital.com/2014/03/21/dossier-la-extrema-derecha-ante-las-elecciones-europeas-lectura-critica-i/. After participating in DN, Ernesto Milá began writing profusely.

[74]         On the chasosphere, see Stéphane François, “Un Occultisme postmoderne: la magie du Chaos,” Fragments sur les temps présents, October 10, 2009. Accessed January 22, 2015, https://tempspresents.com/2009/08/10/stephane-francois-occultisme-postmoderne-magie-du-chaos/.

[75]         The website of the official French FN newspaper announced these days only once, in 2008, when Christian Bouchet attended them. He supported Marine Le Pen over Bruno Gollnisch to succeed Jean-Marie le Pen in 2011.

[76]         Xavier Rius Sant, “Mapa incompleto de la extrema derecha (3) MSR, Juan Antonio Llopart,” Xavier Rius Blog, July 29, 2014. Accessed January 22, 2015, http://xavier-rius.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/mapa-incompleto-de-la-extrema-derecha-3.html. After his departure, Juan Antonio Llopart said that the MSR had €2,500 for its European elections campaign, which should give an idea of its militant status. See “Juan Antonio Llopart sobre la ruptura con el MSR,” Tribuna de Europa, August 20, 2014, http://www.tribunadeeuropa.com/2014/08/20/juan-antonio-llopart-sobre-la-ruptura-con-el-msr/.