France and the identitarians

Marine Le Pen, who had succeeded her father as leader of the French FN in 2011 was amongst many Neo-Nationalist leaders in the third wave to ride the anti-Muslim wave accompanying the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Although she had made many efforts to normalise the party, making it more acceptable in society, at the height of the crisis she still set out to block all new migrants. Indeed, she rather sought to see the backs of many existing immigrants by sending them out of the country.

In March 2015, Marine Le Pen catered to the Great Replacement theory when writing on Twitter that France was under migratory submersion. She then invited her followers to read Jean Raspail’s previously mentioned novel, Le Camp des Saints (1973). As I have already discussed, Raspail’s book illustrates the demise of Western civilisation through mass immigration from India. Biological race is a key factor here in explaining the fates of societies. Previously, Marine Le Pen had said that the book painted a picture of a Europe being invaded by hordes of‘stinking’ dark-skinned migrants and ‘rat people’ flowing in a ‘river of sperm’ (Symons, 2017).

This idea of the submersion of the French culture to Islam has also been illustrated in prominent contemporary literature, most famously in Michel

Houllebecq’s (2016) novel, Soumission. In a non-fiction bestseller titled Le Suicide Français, Eric Zemmour (2014) argued that for forty years France has been in a gradual move towards becoming an Islamic country.

The Eurabia conspiracy theory has been a central feature within the Identitarian movement in Europe, which has mainly been upheld by Francophone nationalist intellectuals. Among their leaders has been French historian Dominique Venner, who promoted a return to European identity and an active struggle for reconquering what was lost to multiculturalism. In 2013, Venner killed himself in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and left a sort of manifesto behind in which he blamed societal developments for his suicide.

In this quest for some sort of a renewed European Renaissance which came more clearly to the forefront in the third wave, the Identitarians simultaneously promoted purging of Middle Eastern influences that had accompanied migrants to Europe. They also advocated for the cleansing of American influences flowing across the Atlantic alongside popular cultural imports. According to the Identitarians, Europe’s spiritual demise and cultural destruction had already gone so far that it would only be returned via radical methods. In a sense, it can be argued that this combines opposition to both capitalism and modernity as such. José Pedro Zuquete (2018) argues that identity is here applied as an ethnocentric ‘tool for exclusion, legitimising ignorance, and keeping others apart’.

In their argument, the Identitarians blame mainstream liberal democratic leaders for facilitating the dilution of European culture by opening the gates to migrants and foreign cultural influences.

 
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