France | 05/20/2022

France 2022 May

National developments

In the aftermath of the presidential elections, parliamentary elections will take place in June. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Debout la France) and Florian Philippot (Les Pratriotes), two Frexiters who have surfed the anti-vax wave, will maintain their alliance for the upcoming ballot, among other candidates who are bringing brown-tainted covid-conspiracies to the electoral arena (on the close overlap between conspiracists and the far right, see this detailed investigation from Extracteur). Unsurprisingly, Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National’s candidates are still not “de-evilised” nor “normalised” as planned; rather, they are still spreading hateful and racist messages, conspiracy theories and/or are known for violent behaviours and/or an Identitarian past. More of these profiles are to be found among Reconquête’s candidates, which have at least no intention to hide it. Marion Maréchal (ex-Le Pen), after joining Éric Zemmour’s ranks in early March this year and becoming an executive vice-president of the party, is now campaigning for the legislative elections, together with Stanislas Rigault, head of the youth branch of the party, in an area where she was elected as an MP in the past, and where Reconquête had reached higher scores than the national average at the first round of the presidential elections. Marion Maréchal has therefore announced that she will leave the direction of her graduate school ISSEP in Lyon, in order not to keep the “impartial” – a clear hoax as her successor, Thibaut Monnier, has a long personal and professional history of being connected to Front National and more recently with Zemmour.

In the extra-parliamentary scene, the far-right continues to be present and violent in the streets. Antifascist groups report several violent events for example 1st May demonstrations in several cities, or at a pro-migrant demonstration in Angers, or simply attacking a migrant-help organisation in Paris. On this note, Street Press has shown how the far right has violently tried to gain terrain at the universities through student organisations in the last years. May is also the yearly occasion to commemorate the death of a far-right activist Sébastien Deyzieu, who died in unclear circumstances after a heated unauthorised demonstration organised by far-right groups on May 7th 1994 to protest against the 50th anniversary of American troops landing in Normandy. He died from his injuries two days later, on May 9th, which led to the creation of a May 9th Committee, “C9M”. This commemoration is still symbolically organised by a few (newer) groups in Paris. May 8th sees another type of yearly commemoration, the one of Joan of Arc by traditionalist Catholics, such as Action Française or Civitas.

Transnational Political and Financial Cooperation

Meanwhile, in Budapest, which has become a hub for far-right gatherings, two conservative conferences took place. First the “CPAC Hungary 2022” on May 19-20. This Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is an offspring of the American Conservative Union (ACU) and was co-organised by the Hungarian organisation Center for Fundamental Rights. It was advertised as the following: “the first occasion that this major American political franchise arrives on the Continent. The American Conservative Union has for some time been looking for ways to bring CPAC to Europe, and over recent years, the conviction grew that Hungary, as one of the engines of Conservative resistance to the woke revolution, was the natural place for it.” It testifies to a rising influence of American conservatism and its entry into the European conservative spheres, for which Viktor Orban’s Hungary is a symbol. The program of the two days was organised around these 8 themes: Western civilisation under attack; In God we trust; Culture wars in the media; The father is a man, the mother is a woman; Conservative revival; Homeland, Security; CPACs all around the world; United we stand, divided we fall. A variety of speakers from the Americas and several European countries participated, including Viktor Orban, Eduardo Bolsonaro, and Tucker Carlson… For France, Jordan Bardella, temporary president of Rassemblement National (RN) gave a speech, as well as Gregor Puppinck, director of the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an international Christian conservative non-governmental organisation founded in 1998 in Strasbourg by Jay Alan Sekulow and Thomas Patrick Monaghan. Jay Sekulow was one of Donald Trump’s lawyers and has been a central person in the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a Christian ultra-conservative organisation, from which the ECLJ was born. The ACLJ is reportedly a key organisation financing the European far right, and, as investigated by Le Monde, the ECLJ and its director Gregor Puppinck have strongly supported the anti-LGBT+ rights and pro-life movement Manif pour tous.

Gregor Puppinck makes the perfect transition to the second conservative event that took place on May 26-27, as he also participated as the director and representative of ECLJ: the Transatlantic summit IV, organised by the Political Network for Values, an “a transcontinental platform in favour of life, family and fundamental freedoms as a space of encounter and exchange of reflections and best practices.” Citizen Go is part of the sponsoring organisation. The conference focused on the themes of Life, Family and Freedom.

Transnational Activities & Group Interactions

Insitut iliade co-organised together with the think tank Cercle Aristote and the Spanish student organisation Revolutio, an event on the theme of Sovereignty and Reconquest, on the occasion of the commemoration of the battle of Covadonga in 722, a symbol of the Reconquista. The event took place on May 27th in Ovideo, Spain. The main speakers were Philippe Conrad (president of the Institute), Pierre Yves Rougeyron (Cercle Aristote) for the French side, and José Javier Esparza and Eduardo Arroyo for the Spanish side. In November 2021, José Javier Esparza and Philippe Conrad already jointly participated in a presentation of the Institut Iliade event in Madrid. Lastly on Institut Iliade, despite a supposedly intellectual presentable façade, they openly chose the French white supremacist Daniel Conversano living in Romania’s Youtube show “Vive l’Europe” for the presentation and promotion of the Institute.

Back to France. On May 6th, Auctorum Social, the neofascist catholic-identitarian organisation in Versailles, organised a conference with members of the Italian Blocco Studentesco, the neofascist “student block” born from Casa Pound in 2006. Some Italian activists were there to present the “history and objectives” of the organisation. More generally on Italy-France relationships, Mediapart published an article on the historical influence of the Italian far right on the French one.

On May 7th, Yvan Benedetti’s Jeune Nation and Les Nationalistes organised a one-day event “Forum of Nation and Europe – NATO – out of Europe” in Paris. The event was organised under the sponsorship of Alliance Fortress Europe and Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF). Participants included representatives from Germany, Romania, Spain, Hungary, Bulgaria, Portugal, the UK, Greece, Italy and Belgium. This event takes place only a week after the Fortress Europe congress in Dortmund, Germany, on April 30 and May 1st, where they all demonstrated together.