Identitarian is a term used to refer to a European New Right movement and its sympathizers. It holds the preservation and development of ethnic and cultural identity as its central ideological principle, and criticises the state of the contemporary West. Identitarianism has its roots in France, but has also spread to Germany, Scandinavia and other parts of Europe.
Identitarianism is based on a number of different political modes of thought, even if variations between different individuals and groups abound. The most central influences are:
- 1) The European New Right. The think-tank of Alain de Benoist, GRECE (Groupement de recherche et d'études pour la civilisation européenne), and movements and individuals connected to them arguably make up the core influences on Identitarianism. Many central terms and viewpoints are drawn from, or influenced by, this French New Right.
- 2) Traditionalism. The so-called Traditionalist School has had great impact on Identitarianism. Partly because many of its theroeticians are or have been influenced by thinkers such as René Guénon and perhaps mainly Julius Evola. In certain cases, the influence is obvious - many Scandinavian Identitarians adopt traditionalism explicitly - but more often it is a matter of a more limited inspiration. One example of the latter is the main GRECE theoretician Alain de Benoist, but there are numerous other examples of purely political, secular or neo-pagan Identitarians.
- 3) Archeofuturism. Former GRECE member Guillaume Faye has developed the notion of Archeofuturism to describe an ideal synthesis of what he calls "archaic values" on the one hand, and modern or futurist technology and civilisational/social development on the other. The term is frequently used, especially among Scandinavian Identitarians.
- 4) Metapolitics. In accordance with the views of Antonio Gramsci (as well as GRECE) Identitarians hold that any change to society is impossible as long as its culture and language remain unchanged. Activities such as creating culture and influencing public opinion in fields not normally considered part of the political sphere have therefore become an essential part of the Identitarian project.
Identitarianism rests on the assumption that ethnic-cultural factors have a central role in human welfare and the functioning of society. Man is viewed as a combination of inherited and environmentally acquired traits, and the need of ethnic Europeans to defend and develop themselves as distinct peoples is emphasized. Accordingly, Identitarians oppose large-scale extra-European immigration to Europe, regardless of its possible economic utility. This standpoint has caused it to be viewed as racist. At the same time, it has been heavily criticized by certain nationalist groups, since it has (among other things) clearly distanced itself from National Socialism.
Identitarians claim to view the nation state through a pragmatic lense, and points out that it is only one of several possible historical forms of organisation for ethnic groups and peoples. Many Identitarian theoreticians, such as Guillaume Faye, have championed an almost imperial ideal, where hundreds of local and regional communities, with a high degree of autonomy, would be organised into a "Eurasian" federation, the latter working to defend the peoples and interests of Europe as a totality on a global scale. This is a natural consequence of the Identitarian interest both in Europe and Europeans as a totality, and in local, regional and traditional expressions of culture, which are viewed as positive sources of community and cultural development.
Regarding economy, the sole general Identitarian viewpoint is that the economy always must be subjected to other, more vital, interests. Identitarians contend that the well-being of the people always must trump economic growth and similar considerations, and criticises globalisation as ecologically and socially destructive. No comprehensive Identitarian theory of economics exists as of yet, and theories ranging from corporatism and distributism, over libertarianism, to socialism, are frequently discussed in Identitarian circles. This is fully in line with the Identitarian ambition to be non-dogmatic and flexible, but could also be understood as a serious flaw.
Geography of Identitarianism
In France, Identitarianism is represented by groups such as Jeunesses Identitaires, Bloc Identitaire and Terre et Peuple, all of which have made various marks on the French political landscape. Bloc Identitaire, an activist group, is well known for controversial and original activities. Among other things, they have been known to set up soup kitchens, from which they have distributed soup containing pork to homeless Frenchmen (something that has been interpreted as Islamophobic and antisemitic). Terre et Peuple, a group and journal active since 1944, also have kindred groups in other countries, such as Tierre y Pueblo in Spain.
In Scandinavia, Identitarianism was introduced by the now non-active organisation Nordiska förbundet (Nordic Alliance). It then mobilised a number of "independent activist groups" similar to their French counterparts, among which could be mentioned Reaktion Östergötland and Identitet Väst, who performed a number of spectacular political actions, marked by a certain degree of civil disobedience. A first manifesto, aimed at defining the Identitarian movement in Northern Europe, was also published.
Today Scandinavian Identitarianism is mainly represented by writers active in the think-tank Motpol and its weblog portal, as well as by projects and individuals connected therewith. The second installment of the annual seminar Identitarian Ideas was held in February 2011, and the publisher Arktos has begun its project to translate literature connected with Identitarianism and the New Right into English and Swedish. Smaller gatherings and events are also being arranged with increasing frequency. The focal point is influencing public opinion and creating debate.
- Denmark: Identitær
- France: Génération Identitaire
- Germany: Identitäre Bewegung
- Italy: Generazione Identitaria
- United Kingdom and Ireland: Generation Identity
- United States of America: Identity Evropa