Alain de Benoist

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Alain de Benoist
Benoist with pen and paper in front of his computer.

Alain de Benoist, (born December 11, 1943) is a French academic, journalist and philosopher, mostly known as the founder of the GRECE and the larger cultural movement European New Right (see also ethnopluralism).

Biography

Born in Saint-Symphorien (Indre-et-Loire), upon graduating from the lycées Montaigne and Louis-le-Grand, Alain de Benoist commenced study at the Paris Law Faculty; he later studied philosophy, sociology, and the history of religions at the Sorbonne.

For four years he was editor of the weekly magazine, L'Observateur européen; following this he was briefly L'Echo de la presse et de la publicité's editor, before assuming in 1969 the role of editor for Nouvelle Ecole, a position he has since held. Since 1988, he has also been editor of Krisis.

In 1968, Benoist and some forty other right-wing activists established the Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne ("Research and Study Group for European Civilization"), or GRECE. This was (in the words of Michael O'Meara) intended 'not as a political organisation concerned with la politique politicienne, but as a school of thought to contest the regnant ideology and redeem the fundaments of European culture and identity.' Since then, GRECE has exercised significant influence on the wider European right-wing.

A prolific writer, literate in English, German, Italian and Spanish, Benoist has contributed articles on a range of topics to many French and European publications, including Valeurs actuelles, Le Spectacle du monde, Magazine-Hebdo, Le Figaro-Magazine, Telos, and Junge Freiheit. He has also published psuedonymously as Robert de Herte and Fabrice Laroche. Benoist's core works are (in the original French): Vu de Droite, Les Idées à l'Endroit, Comment peut-on être Païen?, Démocratie: le problème, Critiques - Théoriques, Au-delà des Droits de l’Homme, Nous et les autres, and Manifeste pour une Renaissance Européenne.

He is married, and has two children.

Political Philosophy

According to the website Les Amis d'Alain de Benoist [1], for over thirty years he has methodically undertaken a work of analysis and reflection in the world of ideas, largely in the domains of political philosophy and intellectual history:

Indifferent to contemporary ideological models or fashions, and rejecting all forms of intolerance and extremism, Alain de Benoist also rejects any « restorationist » nostalgia. When he criticizes modernity, it is less in the name of an idealized past than a preoccupation with postmodern concerns.

His thought focuses on four principal themes:

1) The interrelated critique of individualism, universalism and nationalism (or ethnocentrism) as different forms of the same « metaphysics of subjectivity »;

2) The systematic deconstruction of market-minded reason, the conceptual basis of self-interest, as well as the multiple influences of Capital, whose global reach constitutes, in his eyes, the primary threat weighing on the world today;

3) The struggle to sustain local autonomy, linked to the defense of differences and collective identities; and

4) The clear preference for integral federalism, based on the principle of subsidiarity and the practical need for extending participatory democracy.


Despite his self-avowedly ambiguous relationship with GRECE, Benoist is nonetheless regarded as the leading Gréciste, thanks to his prolific output and erudition. Given this, his writings have been seen to constitute 'the sole axis' around which gather five distinct (even divergent) currents of thought within GRECE:

  • An anti-modern traditionalism, associated with René Guénon or Julius Evola.
  • A communitarian focus, emphasising "European nationalism".
  • A Pagan current that opposes Europe's recent Judeo-Christian heritage.
  • A postmodern one that celebrates the breakdown of modernity's "totalizing structures".
  • A scientistic current oriented to the ideological and eugenic implications of the life sciences.

To this O'Meara would add a sixth - geopolitics and a continental tradition of geopolitics - and offers a powerful summation of the New Right alternative so profoundly shaped by Benoist: "a democratic imperium of organic communities" that by subsuming various anti-liberal principles "anticipates a radical identitarian order faithful to its peoples biocultural heritage."

Influence and Repute

The influence of Benoist's work, particularly through the various organs of GRECE, on the French and wider European New Right has been profound. Naturally, his writings have from the outset provoked the ire of the Left. However, criticism has also been levelled from the Right, notably regarding GRECE's shift from a stance opposed to multiculturalism to one favouring the recognition of immigrant non-French communities. However, it is notable that Alain de Benoist, despite holding reservations about quickly immigration problems can be solved, still criticizes immigration, which signifies that his critics are clearly biased in their protrayal of his position. He has clearly declared in his Manifesto for a European Renaissance (originally, "Manifesto of the French New Right in the Year 2000") that "immigration such as one sees today in Europe constitutes an undeniably negative phenomenon" and that "the New Right favors policies restrictive of immigration, coupled with increased cooperation with Third World countries where organic interdependence and traditional ways of life still survive, in order to overcome imbalances resulting from globalization." Also, recently one writer has remarked that "it seems clear from several of his works... (such as his 'Manifesto of the New Right,' 'Immigration: Reserve Army of Capital,' 'What is Racism?', and American Renaissance’s Interview with Alain de Benoist) that Alain de Benoist does believe that maintaining the separateness of the various cultural, ethnic, and racial groups is very important and he certainly does not accept the permanent re-settlement of Europe by racially foreign immigrants (as O'Meara claims); rather, he believes taking a less radical procedure to solve the matter." (Quoted from: Link).

It must be recognised that Benoist has, for the most part, not significantly impacted upon the ruling liberal political and social elites within Europe. However, his influence has been significant for a growing number of radical, revolutionary nationalist organisations and movements across Europe. Through his writings, Benoist has deepened the intellectual and conceptual resources available to those on the Right, whatever their immediate allegiance or strategy. In so doing, he has effectively rearmed right-wing thought, and provided the means to challenge the intellectual hegemony enjoyed by the Left since the end of the Second World War.

Bibliography (Major Works)

  • Nietzsche: morale et "grande politique" (Paris: GRECE, 1973)
  • Vu de Droite: Anthologie critique des idées contemporaines (Paris: Copernic, 1977)
    • German translation: Aus Rechter Sicht: Eine kritische Anthologie zeitgenössischer Ideen (Tübingen: Grabert, 1983-1984)
    • Italian translation: Visito da Destra: antologia critica delle idee contemporanee (Napoli: Akropolis, 1981)
    • Portugese translation: Nova Direita, Nova Cultura: antologia critica das ideias contemporaneas (Lisboa: Afrodite 1981)
    • Romanian translation: O perspectivâ de dreapta. Anthologie criticâ a ideilor contemporane (coll. « Dreapta europeanâ », 2, Anastasia, Bucarest 1998)
  • Les idées à l'endroit (Paris: Libres-Hallier, 1979)
    • German translation: Kulturrevolution von rechts: Gramsci und die Nouvelle Droite ( Krefeld : Sinus-Verl., 1985)
    • Spanish translation: La Nueva Derecha: Una respuesta clara, profunda e inteligente (Barcelona : Planeta, 1982)
    • Italian translation: Le idee a posto (Napoli: Akropolis, 1983)
    • Greek translation: Oi idees sta ortha (Eleutheri Skepsis, Athinai s.d. 1982)
  • Comment peut-on être païen? (Paris: A. Michel, 1981)
    • German translation: Heide sein zu einem neuen Anfang: Die europäische Glaubensalternative (Tübingen: Grabert, 1982)
    • English translation: On Being A Pagan (Atlanta: Ultra, 2004)
    • Spanish translation: ¿Cómo se puede ser pagano? (Molins de Rei: Nueva República, 2004)
    • Italian translation: Come si può essere pagani? (Roma: Basaia, 1984)
    • Dutch translation: Heiden zijn vandaag de dag (Monnickendam: Stichting Deltapers, 1985)
    • Russian translation: Как можно быть язычником (Moskva: Russkaïa Pravda, 2004)
  • Les Traditions d'Europe (Paris: Labyrinthe, 1982)
  • Orientations pour des années décisives (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1982)
    • German translation: Die entscheidenden Jahre: Zur Erkennung des Hauptfeindes (Tübingen: Grabert, 1982)
    • Italian translation: Il nemico principale : considerazioni per anni decisivi (Firenze: La Roccia di Erec, 1983)
    • Greek translation: O prosdiorismos tou kuriôterou ekthrou. Prosanatolismoi giá tá ápophrasistiká khronia (Eleutheri Skepsis, Athinai 1987)
  • Démocratie: le problème (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1985)
    • German translation: Demokratie: das Problem (Tübingen & Zürich: Hohenrain-Verl., 1986)
    • English translation: The Problem of Democracy (London: Arktos, 2011)
    • Italian translation: Democrazia: il problema (Firenze: Arnaud, 1985)
    • Spanish translation: ¿Es un Problema la Democracia? (Barcelona: Nueva República, 2013)
  • (in collaboration with Andre Béjin & Julien Freund) Racismes, Antiracismes (Paris: Librairie des Méridiens, 1986)
    • Italian translation: Razzismo e antirazzismo (Firenze: La roccia di Erec, 1992)
  • Spanish only: (with Guillaume Faye) Las Ideas de la “Nueva Derecha” (Barcelona: Nuevo Arte Thor, 1986)
  • (with Thomas Molnar) L'éclipse du sacré: discours et réponses (Paris: Table ronde, 1986)
    • Italian translation: L'eclisse del sacro (Vibo Valentia: Edizioni settecolori, 1992)
  • Europe, Tiers monde, même combat (Paris: R. Laffont, 1986)
  • Le Grain de Sable: Jalons pour une fin de siècle (Paris & Arpajon: le Labyrinthe, 1994)
  • L'Empire intérieur (Saint-Clément-la-Rivière: Fata Morgana, 1995)
    • Italian translation: L'impero interiore (Firenze: Ponte Alle Grazie, 1996)
  • La ligne de mire: discours aux citoyens européens, Tome I, 1972-1987 (Paris: La Labyrinthe, 1995)
  • La ligne de mire: discours aux citoyens européens, Tome 2, 1988-1995 (Arpajon: Le Labyrinthe, 1996)
  • Communisme et nazisme: 25 réflexions sur le totalitarisme au XXe siècle, 1917-1989 (Paris: Labyrinthe, 1998)
    • German translation: Totalitarismus: Kommunismus und Nationalsozialismus - die andere Moderne, 1917-1989 (Berlin: Junge Freiheit, 2001)
    • Portuguese translation: Comunismo e Nazismo: 25 reflexões sobre o totalitarismo no século XX, 1917—1989 (Lisboã: Hugin Editores, 1999)
    • Italian translation: Comunismo e Nazismo: 25 riflessioni sul totalitarismo nel 20. secolo, 1917-1989 (Casalecchio: Arianna, 2000)
    • Spanish translation: Comunismo y Nazismo: 25 reflexiones sobre el totalitarismo en el siglo XX, 1917-1989 (Barcelona: Áltera, 2005)
    • Hungarian translation: Kommunizmus és nácizmus. Gondolatok a XX. Századi totalitarizmusokról (Budapest: Europa Authentica, 2000)
    • Dutch translation: Totalitarisme. Communisme en nationaal-socialisme: die andere moderniteit, 1917-1989 (coll. « TeKos-reeks », 13, Delta-Stichting, Wijnegem, 2001)
    • Croatian translation: Komunizam i nacizam. 25 ogleda o totalitarizmu u XX. Stoljecu (1917-1989) (Zagreb: Zlatko Hasanbegovic, 2005)
  • (With Charles Champetier) "Manifeste: la Nouvelle Droite de l'an 2000" (Eléments, No. 94, February 1999, pp. 11-23)
    • Second French Edition: Manifeste pour une renaissance européenne (Paris: GRECE, 2000)
    • English translation: "Manifesto of the French New Right in the Year 2000" (Telos, Vol. 1999, No. 115, March-May 1999, pp. 117-144)
    • Second English Version: "Manifesto for a European Renaissance" (London: Arktos, 2012)
    • Spanish translation: "Manifiesto: la Nueva Derecha del ano 2000" (Hespérides, Vol. IV, No. 19, March-May 1999, pp. 13-47)
    • Second Spanish Version: Manifiesto para un renacimiento europeo (Mollet del Vallès, Barcelona: Grup de recerca i estudi de la cultura europea, 2000)
    • German translation: Aufstand der Kulturen: Europäisches Manifest für das 21. Jahrhundert (Berlin: Edition Junge Freiheit, 1999)
    • Italian translation: "La Nuova Destra del 2000" (Diorama letterario, Firenze, 229-230, October-November 1999)
    • Second Italian Version: Manifesto per una rinascita europea (Rome: Nuove Idee editore, 2005)
    • Czech translation: "Manifest: Nova pravice v roce 2000" (Tradice budoucnosti. Ed. Orientace 1/2008)
    • Dutch translation: "Manifest voor Europees herstel en vernieuwing" (TeKos, Wijnegem, 95, octobre-décembre 1999)
    • Hungarian translation: "Manifesztum az európai újjászületésért" (A51 [2002], pp. 239-285)
    • Danish translation: Manifest. Det nye højre år 2000 (Nomos, Valby, III, 2005, 1)
    • Croatian translation: "Manifest za Europsku Obnovu, Nova Desnica u 21. Stoljeću" (appendix in: Tomislav Sunic, Europska Nova Desnica [Zagreb, Croatia: Hasanbegović, 2009])
    • Portuguese translation: Manifesto Para Um Renascimento Europeu (USA & EU: Editora Contra Corrente, 2014)
    • Ukrainian translation: Маніфест Нових Правих (published online: Національний альянс, 2009, http://nation.org.ua/)
    • Polish translation: Manifest Grupy Badań i Studiόw nad Cywilizacją Europejską (GRECE) (published online: Konserwatyzm.pl, 2013)
  • L'écume et les galets, 1991-1999 (Paris: Labyrinthe, 2000)
  • Dernière année (Lausanne, Suisse: Age d'homme, 2001)
  • German only: Schöne Vernetzte Welt: Eine Antwort auf die Globalisierung (Tübingen: Hohenrain, 2001)
  • German only: Die Wurzeln des Hasses: Ein Essay zu den Ursachen des globalisierten Terrorismus (Berlin: Ed. JF, 2002)
  • German only: Carl Schmitt: Bibliographie seiner Schriften und Korrespondenzen (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2003)
  • Critiques - Théoriques (Lausanne & Paris: l'Âge d'Homme, 2003)
  • German only: Die Schlacht um den Irak: Die wahren Motive der USA bei ihrem Kampf um Vorherrschaft (Berlin: Junge-Freiheit-Verl. 2003)
  • Italian only: Le sfide della postmodernità (Casalecchio: Arianna, 2003)
  • Au-delà des droits de l’homme: Pour défendre les libertés (Paris: Krisis, 2004)
    • German translation: Kritik der Menschenrechte: Warum Universalismus und Globalisierung die Freiheit bedrohen (Berlin: Junge Freiheit, 2004)
    • Italian translation: Oltre i diritti dell'uomo. Per difendire le libertà (Roma: Settimo Sigillo, 2004)
    • English translation: Beyond Human Rights: Defending Freedoms (London: Arktos, 2011)
  • C'est-à-dire: entretiens, témoignages, explications (Paris: Les Amis d'Alain de Benoist, 2006)
  • Carl Schmitt actuel (Paris: Krisis, 2007)
  • English translation: Carl Schmitt Today (London: Arktos, 2013)
  • Nous et les autres. Problématique de l’identité (Paris: Krisis, 2007)
    • English translation: "On Identity" (Telos, Vol. 2004, No. 128 [Summer 2004])
    • German translation: Wir und die anderen (Berlin Ed. JF 2008)
  • Russian only: Против либерализма: к четвертой политической теории (Санкт-Петербург: Амфора, 2009)
  • Cartouches (Paris: Les Amis d'Alain de Benoist, 2010)
  • Des animaux et des hommes: la place de l'homme dans la nature (Billère: Alexipharmaque, 2010)
    • Italian translation: Uomini e animali - Il posto dell'uomo nella natura (Diana Edizioni, 2014)
  • Au bord du gouffre: la faillite annoncée du système de l'argent (Paris: Krisis, 2011)
    • English translation: On the Brink of the Abyss: The Imminent Bankruptcy of the Financial System (London: Arktos, 2015)
  • Mémoire vive (Paris: Éditions de Fallois, 2012)
  • (with Alexander Dugin) L’appel de L’Eurasie (Paris: Avatar Éditions, 2013)
    • Spanish translation: ¿Qué es el eurasismo? Una conversación de Alain de Benoist con Alexander Dugin (Tarragona: Ediciones Fides, 2014).

Secondary Sources

  • Agulló, Rodrigo. Disidencia Perfecta: La Nueva Derecha y la batalla de las ideas. Barcelona & Madrid: Altera, 2011.
  • Béjin, Andre & Freund, Julien, eds. Racismes, Antiracismes. Paris: Librairie des Méridiens, 1986.
  • Cestafe, Carlos Pinedo. Introducción a De Benoist, Alain & Faye, Guillaume. Las Ideas de la “Nueva Derecha”: Una respuesta al colonialismo cultural. Barcelona: Nuevo Arte Thor, 1986.
  • Faye, Guillaume. Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age. London: Arktos Media, 2010.
  • Faye, Guillaume. Why We Fight: Manifesto for the European Resistance. London: Arktos Media, 2011.
  • Lorenz, Sebastian J., et al. Elementos: Revista de Metapolítica para una Civilización Europea, No. 5, 'El Debate Sobre la “Nouvelle Droite”' (8 February 2011). <http://urkultur-imperium-europa.blogspot.com/2011/02/urkultur-n-5-el-debate-sobre-la.html>.
  • Mohler, Armin. Im Gespräch mit Alain de Benoist. Freiburg: Junge-Freiheit, 1993.
  • Mohler, Armin. Vergangenheitsbewältigung: Oder wie man den Krieg nochmals verliert. Krefeld: Sinus-Verlag, 1980.
  • O’Meara, Michael. New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe. 2nd Edition. London: Arktos, 2013.
  • Sunic, Tomislav. Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right. Third Edition. London: Arktos, 2011.
  • Sunic, Tomislav. Chroniques des Temps Postmodernes. Étampes, France: Avatar Éditions, 2014.
  • Sunic, Tomislav. Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age. USA: Book Surge Publishing, 2007.
  • Sunic, Tomislav. Postmortem Report: Cultural Examinations from Postmodernity (Collected Essays). Shamley Green, UK: The Paligenesis Project, 2010.
  • Tudor, Lucian. "Race, Identity, Community". Counter-Currents.com, 6 August 2013. <http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/08/race-identity-community/>. (See Spanish translation: "Raza, Identidad, Comunidad")
  • Tudor, Lucian. "Ethnic & Racial Relations: Ethnic States, Separatism, & Mixing". Counter-Currents.com, 20 March 2014. <http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/03/ethnic-and-racial-relations/>. (See Spanish translation: "Relaciones Etnicas y Raciales"
  • Tudor, Lucian. “The Philosophy of Identity: Ethnicity, Culture, and Race in Identitarian Thought.” The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 83-112.
  • Tudor, Lucian. From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right. Santiago, Chile: Círculo de Investigaciones PanCriollistas, 2015.
  • Vial, Pierre. Pour une Renaissance Culturelle: le G.R.E.C.E. prend la parole. Paris: Copernic, 1979.

See Also

External links