Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups

France

France has a very long history of far-right movements stretching back to the late 1800s motivated predominantly by antisemitism, ethnic nationalism, and religious—meaning Catholic–nationalism. Rooted in France’s history of generally conservative Catholicism, these movements portrayed Jews as a threat to Catholicism, an idea formerly enshrined in Catholic doctrine that is now officially rejected.

Other movements also historically viewed as enemies of the Church, specifically Freemasons, Protestants, and those in support of Republican forms of government, were targeted by the far right. In more recent years, immigrants, and particularly Muslims, have become anathema to the far right’s vision for the French people, which has become more overtly white supremacist and driven by propaganda rooted in the racist Great Replacement conspiracy theory.

One of the most seminal events in the rise of French antisemitism and far-right nationalism was the Dreyfus Affair in 1894. A Jewish military officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was arrested on false accusations of treason and sharing intelligence with the German Empire and was eventually sentenced to life in prison for espionage. After serving five years in prison and suffering through another trial and other complications, Dreyfus was finally pardoned, and then ultimately exonerated in 1906 and reinstated as an army officer. The case caused a rift in France between those in support of Dreyfus and antisemites, conservatives, and monarchists who were never convinced of his innocence.

The Affair, as it is known in France, engendered numerous antisemitic demonstrations and the rise of organized entities who disparaged Jews. Within France, Dreyfus’ treatment was called out by intellectuals, most notably in the novelist Émile Zola’s “J’Accuse,” an essay addressed to the French president that charged his government with antisemitism in Dreyfus’ unlawful prosecution.

Also in the late 1800s, the rise of General Georges Boulanger, known for his rabidly nationalistic, militaristic, and irredentist attitudes towards Germany fed the early emergence of a radical right movement in France. Boulanger, who brought together a hodgepodge support base of Bonapartists, urban radicals, and antisemites in rural areas, used radically populist language to chastise the mainstream republican parties in parliament and nearly provoked a coup d’état against the French Third Republic. Though ultimately disgraced, the elements Boulanger brought together would be active on the far right for decades, and his political strategy employing of populist and exclusionary rhetoric in the early days of mass politics would become a common fixture among the French far right for over a century.

The Dreyfus Affair also led to movements that still influence radical-right thought in France. For example, Charles Maurras (1868–1952) founded the “integralism” movement and defined the enemies of France in a way that still resonates today, though the radical right also now targets Muslims and others. He created the term “Anti-France” to stigmatize “internal foreigners,” or what he called the “four confederate states of Protestants, Jews, Freemasons and foreigners.”

He joined the monarchist Action Française (AF) in 1898 and led a monarchist and Catholic revival. Most French Catholics at the time were monarchists opposed to and alienated by the Republican view, stretching back to the French Revolution, that state secularism was needed to avoid wars fought over religion. Catholic priests were seen as a major reactionary force by the Republicans, among whom anti-clericalism became common. In 1905, a law was passed separating church and state in France and others were passed to root out religious influence in public education.

In addition to Action Française, several far-right “leagues” were created. Mostly antisemitic, they advocated for other far-right ideas including anti-Republicanism, militarism, nationalism, and often engaged in street violence. In 1882, the nationalist poet Paul Déroulède created the antisemitic League of Patriots (Ligue des patriotes). In 1889, the antisemitic and anti-Masonic League of France was founded.

Action Française was emblematic of France’s pro-Catholic and antidemocratic far right, and continues to exist today. AF spawned a youth organization, Camelots du Roi, in 1908 and remained influential in the 1930s, when the youth wing engaged in street violence. The Camelots du Roi included such figures as the duc d’Orléans (1869–1926), the Orleanist heir to the throne of France.

During the interwar period, additional far-right leagues were formed, such as the Jeunesses Patriotes established in 1924. In 1925, Georges Valois created Le Faisceau, heavily inspired by Benito Mussolini’s fascist movement in Italy. In 1933, when Adolf Hitler rose to power, Solidarité française was founded and Marcel Bucard formed Francisme, which was subsidized by Mussolini. There were many other such groups, inspired by Mussolini, who was much more popular than Hitler in French far-right circles due to the latter’s repression of dissident German conservatives and Catholics in the early 1930s.

July 1940 to August 1944 marked the Nazi collaborationist period of Vichy France, headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain. During this period, many parts of France were occupied by the Nazis and France was administered by the collaborationist regime established in Vichy, where Pétain led an authoritarian government that placed conservative Catholics in prominent positions, tightly controlled the media, and promoted antisemitism as official state policy. The legacy of the Pétain government, and whether it was really “French” given the country’s occupation and prominent resistance movement against the Nazis, is a sensitive issue on the far right in France to this day.

After the war, various far-right extremist movements continued to emerge. The Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS) was created in Madrid by French military officials opposed to the independence of Algeria. A terrorist group, the OAS advocated for monarchism and colonialism. Maurras’ personal secretary created the Catholic fundamentalist organization Cité Catholique, which included OAS members, and founded a branch in Argentina in the 1960s. Neo-Nazi groups including FANE (Fédération d’action nationaliste et européenne or the Nationalist and European Action Federation), which had extensive European contacts, also established themselves in the 1960s.

In the modern era, the most influential far-right political party, the Front National (FN), was founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972. Within a decade, the FN began winning seats. During the 1980s, FN managed to consolidate most rival far-right groups and movements and saw its strength at the ballot box increase. Also influential in the 1980s was Alain de Benoist, who became chief theorist of the Nouvelle Droite (New Right) movement. He created the think-tank GRECE (Groupement de Recherche et d’Études pour la Civilisation Européenne, or the Group for Research and Study of European Civilization) in 1968, whose viewpoints continue to be shared in magazines and publications as well as through copycats in other countries. GRECE advocated an ethno-nationalist position advancing the idea that Europe must remain white and immigrants, particularly from Africa and the Middle East, are incapable of assimilation and thus should remain in their home countries. Benoist occasionally contributed to the American Mankind Quarterly review, a race science publication that was associated with the American foundation the Pioneer Fund, now defunct, which provided grants to race scientists around the world. GRECE and the Pioneer Fund both argued that certain races were inferior intellectually.

The FN saw considerable gains at the ballot box in the 2000s, as its message focused more on anti-immigrant positions, particularly attacking the Muslim community as not belonging in France. By 2022 Marine Le Pen, Jean-Marie’s daughter and leader since 2011 of the now renamed National Rally (RN), came second in the first round of presidential voting, scoring 23 percent – the best showing ever for the RN. Le Pen then came in second again in the second round, scoring nearly 42 percent of the vote – again, the best showing ever for the RN or for a far-right candidate. That year the far-right vote was 32 percent, the highest vote ever in a French election partly because another far-right candidate, Éric Zemmour, who is rabidly anti-Muslim and pushes the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory, achieved seven percent of the presidential vote in the first round. As of 2023, a far-right candidate winning the presidency in the near future is not out of the question.

In more recent decades, anti-Muslim hate has come to the fore as a driver of far right organizing and activities. France continues to have white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that are antisemitic, but many have either added to their antisemitic views or shifted their ideological positioning to emphasize that immigrants, particularly Muslims, are destroying French society and culture.

Two of the most influential books inspiring white supremacists worldwide and whose focus is on denigrating immigrants as a threat to “traditionally” white countries were produced by Frenchmen. The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail, published in 1973, depicts a dystopian France overrun, pillaged, and sexually assaulted by South Asian immigrants. The book was republished in the U.S. by John Tanton, the now deceased founder of several anti-immigrant hate groups including the Federation for Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies, both of which have unfortunately had considerable policy sway in American immigration policy. The book is very popular in neo-Nazi and white supremacist circles. Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon has said it is one of his favorites.

The other book that holds wide sway among white supremacists worldwide is Renaud Camus’ 2011 tome, Le Grand Remplacement, or The Great Replacement. The book encapsulates ideas, such as “white genocide” and similar terms, long popular in neo-Nazi and white supremacist circles, and makes the argument that a Great Replacement is being orchestrated to replace white people in their home countries with people of color, usually immigrants or refugees and almost always Muslims in the European context. Other similar tomes argue that Europe is becoming “Eurabia,” because, they claim, it is being overrun by Muslim immigrants. This idea spawned the growth of the white nationalist Identitarian movement, led by Les Identitaires and Génération Identitaire, first in France and Germany, then across Europe and transnationally, including in the U.S. The Great Replacement conspiracy theory has inspired many recent terrorist attacks including those in Christchurch, N.Z, Pittsburgh, Pa., Hanau, Germany, El Paso, Texas, and in May 2022 in Buffalo, N.Y., among others. Especially in its antisemitic form, where Jews are blamed for orchestrating this replacement, it is the deadliest white supremacist idea today.

In recent years, the notion of Muslim immigrants creating a dystopian “Eurabia” in France and Europe has become widespread on the far right. In that vein, candidates for office and hate groups, ranging from neo-Nazis to racists in suits to far-right political parties, have adopted the Great Replacement conspiracy theory as fact and targeted non-white immigrants and refugees as destroying France and French culture and society. These far-right groups have also been involved in considerable criminality, including violence against immigrants and people of color as well as plots to assassinate elected officials, including President Emmanuel Macron.

France has in recent years been highly protective of LGBTQ+ rights, legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption in 2013. But similar to developments in the U.S. and other countries that have expanded LGBTQ+ equality, these human rights advances have been met with a backlash. In 2013, the French organization La Manif pour Tous, meaning “protest for all,” mocking the “marriage for all” slogan, became active against policies supportive of expansions of rights for same-sex couples. They organized major protests in which American-affiliated organizations, specifically the European Center for Law and Justice, were involved. Other far-right organizations, including those in the Identitarian movement, have followed suit and taken up the anti-LGBTQ+ banner. More recently, new factions within the French far right claiming to support liberal democratic issues, such as support for freedom of speech, LGBTQ+ rights, feminism, and secularism, have sought to co-opt these issues solely in an effort to demonize Muslims, whose faith they deem to be incompatible with Republican values.

What follows most certainly does not cover all extremist groups operating in France, especially those that have gone underground after being banned by the government. For example, the white supremacist group, Génération Identitaire (Generation Identity, GI), which in 2020 had at least 67 chapter Twitter accounts in 14 countries with nearly 140,000 followers, was banned by the French government in March 2021. As a result, just this group alone is now hard to track though it has a website and its members are clearly still active, whether in GI or in other white supremacist groups. The French government has also banned neo-Nazi groups recently that have moved underground, such as the smaller Identitarian group Alvarium.

This list also does not include far-right media outlets such as TV Libertés, which was created by a former member of GRECE and Les Identitaires and has the backing of prominent proponents of the white nationalist Great Replacement conspiracy theory such as Renaud Camus and Jean Raspail. Nor does it include other institutions, like the far-right book store and publisher Le Nouvelle Librairie, which was founded in Paris’ Latin Quarter where the antisemitic Action Française’s headquarters were, and is affiliated with the GRECE publication, Éléments, and with the Iliade Institute.

France Group Descriptions

Academia Christiana [Christian Academy]

Location: Paris

Ideology: Anti-Muslim, Anti-LGBTQ+, Religious Nationalist

Academia Christiana (AC) is a far-right, traditionalist Catholic youth movement, think tank, and educational center, founded in 2013 during the anti-LGBTQ+ Manif pour Tous movement that was opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage. AC organizes conferences and holds an annual summer school for young people, among other events. AC is run by Victor Aubert, a professor of philosophy at the Institut de la Croix des Vents, a small private school in the Orne that is unrecognized by the state. It has adherents from other far-right Catholic movements such as Civitas among its membership. AC promotes a far-right Catholic nationalism that opposes the multiculturalism and secularism of the French Fifth Republic and is strongly anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Muslim. For example, AC publications have falsely connected homosexuality to pedophilia, a longstanding tactic for defaming gay men and made other disparaging comments such as “a quick look at the covers of LGBT magazines suggests a particular attraction for young, beardless bodies.” 

AC’s opposition to abortion is not simply a pro-life position, but rather a racist one rooted in the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory concerned with the “murder” of French, non-immigrant children: “To march for life is to defend one’s identity, it is to prefer the protection of the embryo to the migratory invasion.” In interviews with France TV Info, AC members have stated that while the group has antisemitic members in their ranks, they are “not the majority,” also adding that the “best political regime that we had in France in the 20th century was Vichy, notwithstanding the anti-Jewish laws and the collaboration.” Certain members have also called for others to train with firearms. Aubert denies accusations of extremism, though among the group’s prominent members are Julien Langella, founder of Les Jeunesses Identitaires of Aix-en-Provence and Génération Identitaire. AC also has discriminatory views of women, believing work outside the home is “harmful” and responsible for “the deterioration of family life.”

Action Française/Amitié et Action Française Faction [Action France/Friendship and Action France]

Location: Languedoc, Provence, Montpellier, Dijon, Paris

Ideology: Anti-Muslim, Anti-LGBTQ+, Antisemitic, Religious Nationalist

Action Française/Le Centre Royaliste d’Action Française Faction [Action France/Royalist Center for French Action]

Location: Arras, Limoges, Mulhouse, Paris,* Pau, Rouen, Montpellier

Ideology: Anti-Muslim, Anti-LGBTQ+, Antisemitic, Religious Nationalist

Action Française, which recently split into two factions, is a French far-right group that traces its lineage to its nineteenth century antisemitic forerunner that was founded as a journal and movement in 1899 and is most closely associated with Charles Maurras. Both factions uphold the far-right extremism of Maurras and others driven by antisemitism who believed Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer who was convicted of treason, imprisoned and eventually cleared, was a traitor. Both factions are nationalist, anti-democratic, and monarchist, advocating for the restoration of the royal Orléans family to the French throne. Throughout the early 20th century, Action Française was a virulently antisemitic, anti-Protestant, and anti-Masonic organization and publication, advocating for an “antisemitism of the state.” 

The group was banned in the post-WWII era for collaboration with the Nazi-allied Vichy regime and for its vocal opposition to the French resistance. Re-established in the late 1940s, the organization has used several names over the years until recently reclaiming its original name. The modern-day AF primarily engages in street activism and advocates for the restoration of the monarchy and traditional Catholic values. Its tagline is “all that is national is ours” and describes itself as nationalist and royalist. In line with its far-right Catholic beliefs, the group rejects LGBTQ+ rights and a right to abortion. But it is also vehemently anti-Muslim and antisemitic, and rejects democracy. Action Française has been supported by several far-right politicians, including Robert Ménard, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen and recent presidential candidate, Éric Zemmour. 

The movement split into two factions sometime in 2021, the Amitié et Action Française, which upholds the ideological tenets of Maurras and has embraced open antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and pro-Petain figures at their conferences, and the Le Centre Royaliste d’Action française (CRAF), which isn’t as blatantly extreme, but still scapegoats immigrants and spreads the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory. Regardless of the split, both factions still claim to be the inheritors of Action Française. Generally, CRAF is seen as more influential. They have a significant street presence, frequently organize protests and confront anti-fascists. The head of Amitié et Action française, Elie Hatem, is close to the Le Pen family and ran for office on the Front National ticket in the Paris municipal elections in 2014, and on the Civitas ticket in the legislative elections in the Var in 2017, as well as with other prominent figures of the antisemitic far right, such as Alain Soral. 

Generally, Action Française has had a significant street presence and its adherents engage in clashes with counter-protesters, often working alongside other far-right groups such as Némésis and the Cocarde Etudiant. In March 2021, Action Française members broke into the Regional Council of Occitanie during a plenary session, carrying signs denouncing “Islamo-leftists” and “Traitors to France,” and violently clashed with security officials, Resulting in officials bringing charges against four members of the group. In December 2021, a demonstration by left-wing groups in Aix-en-Provence was interrupted after Action Française members attacked them with batons, while in November 2021, Action Française attacked feminist and pro-LGBTQ+ activists during a large protest called by the Nous Toutes (All of Us) collective in Paris. 

Following the elections, in April 2022, Action Française adherents assaulted several protesters at the university Sciences Po in Paris after left-wing protesters blocked the entrance to the university while protesting the results of the first round of the presidential election.

Active Club France

Location: Bordeaux, Briançon, Franche-Comté, Grenoble, Nîmes, Normandie, Occitanie, Paris, Rouen, Saône-et-Loire, Valence

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist

Active Club France is a network of neo-Nazis across France that may be connected to the American Active Clubs that began popping up in 2021 and were reportedly started by Robert Rundo, one of the leaders of the infamous Rise Above Movement neo-Nazi organization, known for encouraging fellow extremists to engage in martial arts training. There are Active Clubs in several countries which are described on the French Telegram channel. The clubs are dedicated to white supremacist propaganda, particularly posting stickers, but more to physical fitness and boxing and MMA competitions.

Active Club France chapters publicize their materials through a Telegram channel featuring loads of videos of members working out or engaging in various physical activities. They share materials from the Ouest Casual network of neo-Nazi groups as well as from other neo-Nazi groups abroad. The network is well known abroad with the American Proud Boys Telegram channel, Western Chauvinist, advertising their locations and activities. In December 2022, members of the American white nationalist Patriot Front traveled to France and met with Active Club members.

Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l’identité française et chrétienne [The General Alliance against Racism and for Respect of French and Christian Identity]

Location: Paris

Ideology: Anti-Muslim

The Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l’identité française et chrétienne (AGRIF) is a far-right organization that claims it is fighting “racism” through legal actions that it argues protect those of French and Christian identity from defamation by others. The main thrust of the organization’s work has been to defend prominent far-right figures in court, file suit against Muslim defendants, and make claims against those who supposedly “insult” French and Christian identities. The organization has been closely linked for years with the Front National (FN) but has moved away with the rise of Marine Le Pen, more recently choosing to support the overtly anti-Muslim Éric Zemmour in the 2022 presidential campaigns. AGRIF is chaired by Catholic fundamentalist and former MEP Bernard Antony.

Among its prominent associates are Wallerand de Saint-Just, a lawyer who has defended Jean-Marie Le Pen, far-right and former National Front MEP Bruno Gollnisch, and the actress Brigitte Bardot, who has been fined for making racist comments. While AGRIF claims to defend against racism of all kinds, the first quote on their main page is telling: “Struggling against the so-called anti-racism is nothing but racism in the opposite direction.” AGRIF is primarily concerned with left-wing activists and Muslims, whom they view as harming French society. Anthony has written that the “The burqini is simply disgusting!,” that the French are being subjected to a “genocide” in the name of anti-racism, and that AGRIF “simply defends the traditions of the French identity.” AGRIF is anti-Muslim, against minarets and Islamic calls to prayer (which “sounds like a battle cry”) and believes the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory.

Alsace d’abord/Jeune Alsace [Alsace First/Young Alsace]

Location: Strasbourg

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim

Alsace d’abord is a French regionalist party that advocates for Alsatian autonomy. Founded in 1989 by former Front National deputy Robert Spieler and Jacques Cordonnier, it is part of the broader Identitarian movement, but with an emphasis on Alsatian identity. Its youth wing is Jeune Alsace. The party seeks decentralized decision-making to reduce Brussels’ and Paris’ powers over the region. Aside from regional issues, the party is anti-Muslim and much of the group’s attention is focused on Muslims and Muslim cultural practices in Alsace. Alsace d’Abord President Robert Spieler considers Islam to be a “totalitarian religion” that should not have any official recognition. The party’s program reads, “Islam is not and never will be a European religion; as such, we refuse, like the vast majority of Alsatians, the extension of [official] status to Islam.

We do not accept the introduction of the uses, customs and constraints of Islam into the public sphere.” Alsace d’Abord is against halal food and in 2010, Jacques Cordonnier and Alsace d’Abord filed a complaint for “discrimination” against the fast-food chain Quick for introducing an “all halal” menu. The construction of a “grand mosque” in Strasbourg has been given considerable negative attention in the party’s social media accounts and in petitions against the mosque. In response to the mosque plan, Cordonnier launched the “non aux minarets” movement. The party was supportive of the anti-minaret proposal put forth by the far-right Swiss People’s Party in 2009. During debates over whether Turkey should become an EU member-state, Alsace d’Abord strongly campaigned against it. For them, allowing Turkey, with a “vocation for emigration,” to become a member-state means “the arrival of 75 million Muslims in a European whole of 400 million inhabitants.” Alsace d’Abord sees “non-European immigration” as a particular problem and unsurprisingly supported Éric Zemmour in the last presidential election. A 2019 report alleged that Jeune Alsace had overlapping members with that of the neo-Nazi street-fighting gang Groupe Union Défense (GUD).

Animus Fortis [A Strong Mind]

Location: Bourges

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Conspiracy

Animus Fortis is a small local activist group rabidly against immigration, which they believe is harming the French people; capitalism, which they blame for immigration; and measures taken to address the COVID pandemic. Its slogan is “Faced with immigration, rejoin your people.” The group travels across the country putting up stickers, distributing pamphlets, and holding protests against immigration.

They stage events celebrating traditional French and European culture and blame immigration for its demise. Recent Telegram posts published by the group include nativist demands, such as “Afghans Out” and rants about “Rothchild bankers,” a common antisemitic reference. The group’s social media accounts are linked with other similar far-right groups, such as Tenesoun and Alvarium.

Auctorum [Authors]

Location: Versailles

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant

Auctorum is a local Identitarian group whose slogan is “Identity, Community and Social Justice,” the latter presumably only for what they consider the native French population, whom they often depict helping on the streets of Versailles. The group rails against “unbridled immigration,” “general acculturation,” and “the abandonment of our traditions.” In November, the group retweeted an Iliade Institute post that read, “It is urgent that Europeans relearn how to defend their particular identity and their own space. Not all cultures are created equal. Our homelands are not open cities.”

The group works closely with Identitarian groups across the country, particularly in sports events, and features many pictures of sports activities by members on its social media accounts. The group has also participated in events abroad, including a January 2023 protest in Rome called Acca Larenzia for “nationalist militants” they allege were killed by communists and the Italian state in 1978. In December 2022, they held a reading circle devoted to Belgian Nazi collaborator Leon DeGrelle. In October 2022, they hosted a talk by Front National activist Bruno Gollnisch. They described the importance of their “weekly workouts” on Twitter as, “a radical right-wing political activist must be strong” [so as to be able] “to fight against his opponents.”

Audace Lyon [Audacity Lyon]

Location: Lyon

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant

Audace is a small, Lyon-based Identitarian group with no discernible online presence formed after the dissolution of Social Bastion, a fascist organization patterned on the Italian CasaPound, which led to its fragmentation into a series of local groups. Their activities center around asserting Lyonnaise identity, along with larger concerns over French immigrants.

These new groups do not exist to engage in street battles, unlike the more violent Ouest Casual network, but sometimes are connected to violence. Tristan Conchon, the treasurer and a former leader of Social Bastion, was a key activist in creating Audace Lyon. In 2022, despite his formerly clean record, Conchon was sentenced to six months in prison, as well as a five-year ban on carrying weapons, after engaging violently with anti-fascists.

Civitas [Community]

Location: Etroussat

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Religious Nationalist, Conspiracy

Formed in 1999, Civitas, whose youth branch is Jeunesse Civitas, began as the lobbying arm of Institut Civitas with the goal of “re-Christianizing France,” and have described themselves as a “Traditionalist Catholic lobby group.” They were formerly associated with the far-right Society of St. Pius X, an organization that until 2019 was in schism with the Catholic Church due to its extremist teachings, but since 2017 has been affiliated with the Capuchin Friars of Morgon. Ideologically, they rally traditional Catholics that hold anti-secular political values and have been an influential force on the French far right.

The group became more prominent after the appointment of its current president, Alain Escada, a far-right Belgian activist with a background of Traditionalist Catholicism and Belgian nationalism, and former member of the New Belgian Front, which expelled him in 1997. In 2012, he replaced François de Penfentenyo as president of Civitas. That same year, in June, Civitas released an anti-LGBTQ+ tract with the slogan “Confieriez-vous des enfants à ces gens-là? (“Would you trust your children with these men?”) which included a photo from a gay pride parade with two naked men.

In November 2012, they held a protest against legalizing same-sex marriage and “homofolie” (gay madness). In 2014, Civitas backed Farida Belghoul, who had initiated “journées de retrait de l’école” (“stay away from school days”) in protest against the supposed teaching of what she called “gender theory” in public schools. Civitas was criticized for a photo series on its website showing a sex education teacher in compromising sexual positions, disingenuously claiming that they were taken in France, when in reality they were taken in Canada. Civitas advocates for the “annulment of homosexual ‘marriages,’” a ban on abortion, which they consider a “crime against humanity,” and the prohibition of assisted reproduction and surrogacy. In schools, they propose removing any teachings that “pervert the morality of children” and contain “principles totally contrary to natural laws (gender ideology, the fight against ‘homophobia,’ selective memory laws, etc.).”

They also are against the Masons and believe in the Great Reset and New World Order conspiracy theories. In 2016, Civitas announced a status change, and became an official French political party that advocates against laïcité (French secularism), abortion, and same-sex marriage. In 2017, an electoral alliance was formed between the Comités Jeanne, Civitas, and Parti de la France. They have chapters in Switzerland and Belgium and a user-created map shows chapters across France, but the map’s accuracy is unclear.

La Cocarde Etudiante [Student Cockade]

Location: Aix-en-Provence, Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont, Ile de France, Lille, Lorraine, Lyon, Paris,* Poitiers, Orleans, Reims, Rennes, Savoie, Toulouse

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

La Cocarde Etudiante presents itself as an anti-left, nationalist student organization, formed in 2015 following a split with another right-wing student union, that seeks to unite far-right leaning students in universities across France. They propose limits on immigration, resistance against American cultural influences, and a return to the traditional family and heritage. The Cocarde Etudiante organizes conferences and classes, takes positions on student councils, and distributes tracts and propaganda, all in the spirit of organizing a sort of polished, educated counter-left intellectual movement.

At the same time, they have engaged in street fights with other far-right groups against leftists and antifascists. The organization made a name for itself when it violently opposed the left-leaning university blockade of the University of Nanterre. In April 2022, they gathered with members of Génération Zemmour in violent protests to dislodge a barricade at Sciences Po university in Paris constructed by protesters angered by the available choices in the second round of the 2022 presidential election. There is some evidence that neo-Nazi street groups have allied with certain Cocarde Etudiante chapters when participating in street demonstrations such as the Vandal Besak in Besançon, the Bordeaux Nationalistes in Bordeaux, and Bourgogne Nationaliste in Dijon.

Two members of La Cocarde Etudiante face up to ten years in prison for causing “serious damage, in a meeting, to the detriment of a good of public utility, and with a racist purpose” after they damaged the statue of Victor Hugo in Besançon for having “too dark” a face. Ideologically, Cocarde Etudiante is rabidly anti-immigrant and pushes white supremacist conspiracy theories, such as the Great Replacement. They supported the now-banned Génération Identitaire and publicly opposed their dissolution.

On their website, they refer to the “peril of migration from the South,” a “conquering religion,” and the “colonization of our continent by America.”  Their current president is Vianney Vonderscher and they were led in the past by Limongi Quentin and Maxime Duvauchelle.

Collectif Némésis [Nemesis Collective]

Location: Aix-en-Provence, Paris*

Ideology: Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant

Founded in 2019, Collectif Némésis is a far-right “feminist” collective that claims women’s rights, and particularly their safety, is being undermined by increased immigration from Muslim countries. They argue that immigration is the real threat to gender equality and individual rights. The group’s motto is “we are a feminist collective, identitarian and non-comformist.” They call themselves Generation Cologne, referring to dozens of sexual assaults by immigrants that occurred in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve 2015 which white supremacists have used these events as a justification for denigrating immigrants and refugees. The Collective argues that traditional and leftist feminist movements are complicit in creating an environment where women are vulnerable in terms of physical safety and their rights.

Némésis is known for attending feminist demonstrations and attempting to subvert their cause by redirecting the events to attack immigrants and Muslims. Their manifesto is clear that they represent “Western women,” and their objectives are to “denounce the dangerous impact of mass immigration on Western women so that this subject becomes a public debate” and to “promote European civilization, not as having reduced women to the role of objects, but as the cradle of their development.” They describe Muslims as seeing “French women…as an enemy, on whom anything can be inflicted. On a daily basis, this translates into open hatred towards women… And they don’t hesitate to tell us what they think sometimes going as far as insults, spitting, rape. Facts that we list every day on our social networks.” Némésis’ site hosts selectively chosen crime statistics to make the argument that Muslims are dangerous. European, meaning white, immigrants receive preferential support from Némésis.

Ukrainian refugees, for example, receive their sympathy because they share a common European culture, not because they are displaced people deserving of human rights: “We feel particularly united with the victims of this war, indeed these women, these old people and these children are European and have a similar culture of ours. Ukrainian men are at the front to defend their land, we will be there to support their families.” Anti-Muslim protests they have engaged in include those against Valérie Pécresse and her appearance at a Muslim school, a demonstration against Afghans at a Nous Toutes rally, and a demonstration against “mass immigration” on International Women’s Day.

Comités Jeanne [Joan of Arc Committees]

Location: Nanterre

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Roma

The political party Comités Jeanne (CJ) was founded in 2016 by Jean-Marie Le Pen after he was removed from the Front National (FN) by his daughter Marine Le Pen (now Rassemblement National). The intention was to use the CJ to influence the FN from the outside. The party’s name is a reference to the Patron Saint of France and warrior Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc), who is a heroic historical figure particularly to those on the far right.

The Comités Jaunne have supported the candidacy of Marine Le Pen in presidential elections, but in legislative elections they have formed electoral alliances with other small parties ideologically to the right of the FN, including Parti de la France, Civitas, Ligue du Sud, and SIEL. Comités Jaunne is almost exclusively a personal vessel for the political ambitions of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has attempted reconciliation with the RN to no avail, but also includes many other candidates that have been excluded from the RN.

Le Pen, who has a long criminal history for his many controversial public statements, serves as president. He has been fined for incitement to hatred, discrimination and racial violence for stating on the show l’heure de vérité the “mortal danger” of “the demographic explosion of the third world and in particular the Islamo-Arab world that currently penetrates our country, and is progressively colonizing it.” In March 1991 he was found guilty of minimizing a crime against humanity for referring to the gas chambers of the Holocaust as a “detail of history.” He was found guilty of the same crime after continuing to maintain this view about the Holocaust in 1999.

In 2005, an appeals court upheld a guilty verdict for incitement to racial hatred for Le Pen saying, “the day when we will have in France, not simply 5 million but 25 million Muslims, it will be them who will command us.” He has also defended German actions during the Nazi occupation of France.

In 2017, Le Pen was found guilty of provocation of hatred and discrimination for statements against the Roma population in Nice. Le Pen remains sympathetic to the Nazi collaborationist Pétain regime. Like many on the French far right today, Jean-Marie Le Pen believes in the Great Replacement conspiracy. The CJ exists to perpetuate these views.

Debout La France [France Stand Up]

Location: Yerres

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Conspiracy

Debout La France (DLF) is a political party founded in 1999 and led by Nicolas Dupont-Aignan. It started as a faction within the center-right Rally for the Republic and then became a fully independent party in 2007. The party is ideologically “sovereignist,” and promotes nationalist, protectionist, and anti-immigrant policies. At times, the party has promoted populist, conspiracist, and anti-government ideas as well. In recent years, DLF has moved further to the right and formed electoral alliances with far right groups such as the Front National, Ligue du Sud, les Patriotes, and others. Dupont-Aignan often speaks of the clash between “globalists” and “nationalists” and alludes to secret elite elements plotting against the French. 

He is known for other conspiracy theories, such as that the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in 2019 was not an accident, but purposefully set. He was the only elected official to make such claims in a documentary for RT, the Russian propaganda channel, saying “Everything was done to make it look like an accident…And, like all French people, I found this haste and this thesis implausible.” Dupont-Aignan has also claimed that Americans were responsible for the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, has shared conspiratorial material claiming that the government intends to return Alsace and Lorraine to Germany, and made the false argument that the European Court of Human Rights accepts the “[application of sharia] in Europe under certain conditions.” 

Dupont-Aignan was one of the primary opponents of the measures put in place during the pandemic to counter the spread of the coronavirus and has defended bogus treatments for COVID such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. He refers to the state as a “sanitary dictatorship” and a “vaccine dictatorship” and made “resistance” to this “dictatorship” a key party platform. Dupont-Aignan spreads lies that the 2022 presidential elections were “rigged” and that Macron stole the election. He has also supported the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory. Though he has publicly denounced the label “great replacement,” much of his rhetoric concerning immigration in recent years reiterates the same content: “In 2016, the socialists compensated for the fall in birth with a migratory invasion. 

The changing of the population is now.” In 2017, he warned of migration from Africa, “I am not for zero immigration, but for the consideration of this creeping replacement.” Other party members also dabble in conspiracy theories. In August 2022, Secretary General Frédéric Guyard attended a protest against the use of watches in a school sports program, claiming it could lead to the establishment of a “Chinese-style social credit.” The party is supported by prominent conspiracy theorist and founder of Voltaire Network Alain Benajam and the anti-vaxers Fabrice Di Vizio and Serge Radar.

A Droite! [To the Right!]

Location: Nice

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim

A Droite! is a far-right faction within the party Les Républicains. The group aligns with the party’s economic liberalism, but differs in its support for far-right positions on the ethnic makeup of French society, Islam and immigration. The group was organized by Eric Ciotti, also the current president of Les Républicains, and an advocate of the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory.

Unlike some on the far-right, Ciotti is not antisemitic, viewing French Jews as also suffering from demographic change in France. A Droite! is the primary faction advocating to stop the “Great Replacement” in the party, claiming, “Cultural and identity insecurity has never been so strong in France. Under the onslaught of mass immigration, our identity, our roots, our values ​​and our laws are today attacked and called into question by communitarianism, by Islamism but also by a so-called ‘woke’ culture with attacks on the family and the school, pillars of our Nation.

Whole neighborhoods no longer live according to the French way of life, women are banned from cafes, separate hours are imposed in swimming pools, people refuse to be treated in hospital by a doctor of the opposite sex, people veil children, and refuse the teaching of the Holocaust.” In 2021, Ciotti said during a party primary debate: “Yes our society is changing, if we have to talk about major replacement, I am talking about replacement!” For Ciotti, “So that tomorrow France remains France, it is urgent to stop mass immigration.” These anti-immigrant positions lead the faction to support harsh and discriminatory policies for immigrants including abolishing medical services for non-citizens, removing the right to family reunification, deporting foreigners who have committed any offense (including misdemeanors), and, for juvenile offenders, he proposes to remove financial support for parents whose children do not “respect the values ​​of the Republic” and “make criminally liable the parents of minors who commit offenses.”

Following the release of the video of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of American police in 2020, Ciotti proposed a law banning the filming of police officers. In 2021, Ciotti also claimed that he would like to have a “Guantanamo à la française” to fight against terrorism. He views Muslims as a threat, the faction proposing, for example, to “inscribe our Judeo-Christian roots in the Constitution,” “prohibit the Islamic veil for minors and those accompanying them to school, in public services, at universities and in polling stations,” and “ban the burkini in public swimming pools and on beaches.”

Edelweiss Pay de Savoie [Edelweiss Country of Savoy]

Location: Alsace

Ideology: White Nationalist, Neo-Nazi

Edelweiss-Savoie is a far-right Identitatian group with fascist and neo-Nazi beliefs that existed prior to the formation of Social Bastion. It joined the neo-fascist Social Bastion movement and then reorganized following Social Bastion’s dissolution. Edelweiss-Savoie’s motto is “Social, National, Radical.” The group engages in propaganda efforts, such as flyering and stickering, which it publicizes on its social media channels. They also put on small cultural events, such as celebrations of the solstice, and boxing matches. And they often work hand-in-hand with other identitarian groups, such as Bordeaux Nationaliste.

Égalité et Réconciliation/Kontre Kulture [Equality and Reconciliation/Counter Culture]

Location: Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Dijon,* Dom-Tom, Franche-Compté, Île-de-France, International, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrénées, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Normandie, Paca, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Rhône-Alpes

Ideology: Antisemitic, Conspiracy

Égalité et Réconciliation (E&R) is an antisemitic and far-right organization founded in 2007 by conspiracist Alain Soral and two former members of the Groupe Union Défense (GUD), Jildaz Mahé O’Chinal and Philippe Péninque. The group serves as a vessel to promote the “left-nationalist” ideas of its founder Soral, and seeks to fight against “globalism,” “Zionism,” and other perceived conspiratorial threats. Soral and E&R have claimed to be on the left, however, they have had a relationship with members of the Front National since their founding. Political observers have pointed out that the organization serves as a recruitment vehicle for young people into the Front National and holds an entryism strategy that aims to gain more influence within the party. 

Leaks from the organization in 2015 indicated that E&R had more than 4,000 members, chapters throughout France, and ties to prominent National Front members close to Marine Le Pen, including Philippe Péninque and Frédéric Chatillon (also formerly Groupe Union Défense). E&R was at one time supported by comedian and antisemite Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, and with Soral led a party called the Liste antisioniste (Anti-Zionist List). Soral has published several videos that deny the Holocaust. According to an analysis by ConspiracyWatch and SimilarWeb, E&R’s website was the second most visited conspiratorial site in France in 2021. Kontre Kulture is an online store where Soral sells his and other close sympathizers’ (such as Putin ally and Russian fascist Alexander Dugin, who vehemently supported the invasion of Ukraine and demonizes Ukranians) literature. 

ConspiracyWatch describes the site’s wares as rabidly antisemitic and featuring prominent fascists and other far-right authors: “The catalog of Kontre Kulture, an online bookstore founded by Soral and accessible from E&R, includes Jewish France, by Edouard Drumont, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, and The Green Book of Muammar Gaddafi.” The site sells other works by Joseph Goebbels, Robert Faurisson, Julius Evola, and a host of other extremist writers. Soral has been convicted of inciting racial hatred three times since 2008, using racial slurs seven times since 2014, provoking hatred five times since 2014, and justifying war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2016. Most recently, Soral was found guilty of anti-gay defamation by a Swiss court in December 2022. E&R’s antisemitism is clear as it describes Jews as “globalists” and “Zionists” and refers to other Jews, such as liberal philanthropist George Soros, as part of various antisemitic plots. 

Articles put out by the group lay out these plots. For example, the “New World Order” is linked to the founding of Israel. Another claims the “Great Reset” conspiracy is a globalist plot. There are even attempts to link Jews to the death of Princess Diana and the sex crimes of Jeffrey Epstein. Another article claims that the Holocaust was nothing compared to a “Holocaust” that the Jews carried out in the 2nd century. Another supports former presidential candidate Éric Zemmour’s comments that Pétain “protected French Jews” during WWII.

La Famille Gallicane [The French Catholic Family]

Location: Brittany

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, Anti-Immigrant

La Famille Gallicane is a group described as “neo-Nazi” by the magazine Marriane and estimated to have approximately 50 members as of April 2021. The group is overtly Catholic and their name was chosen to reference “the religion of the kings of France.” One of the group’s leaders was quoted saying its goal is to “to bring together the networks of the nationalist right.”

They organize through private social media channels and the group advocates gun training and survivalism in case of “a great racial civil war.” They also advocate the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory. In terms of ideology, the group does not have a clear doctrine, preferring to use a hodgepodge of racist and antisemitic symbols and ideas to communicate hatred of non-white and Jewish French people.

During the recent presidential election, the group were open advocates for Éric Zemmour and participated in marches against pandemic safety measures. The group also organizes target practices. One such recent event showed the group using racist caricatures of Muslims, Blacks, and Jews as shooting targets during a training in the forests of Western France.

Furie Française [French Fury]

Location: Toulouse

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Furie Française, previously “La Meute (The Pack),” is a small Identitarian group based in Toulouse that engages in street protests against immigrants and pandemic measures and other forms of activism, including protests and flyering. They describe themselves as a locally-rooted youth movement. Their pinned tweet shows the group protesting what it claims to be an anti-Christian climate in France, as well as “Islamisation” in front of the Toulouse Cathedral.

In 2023, the group began protesting drag shows, an anti-LGBTQ+ tactic increasingly popular among far-right groups in many countries, posting a petition against one such event in Toulouse. Pierre Lacaze, an opposition representative in Toulouse, claims the group is close to the anti-LGBTQ+ rights group, La Manif pour Tous.

Génération Identitaire [Generation Identity]

Location: Lyon

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim

Génération Identitaire (GI) is a now shuttered white nationalist and anti-Muslim movement, founded in 2012 as the youth wing of Les Identitaires and best known for the use of stunts to attract attention to their cause. Founded in 2012 by Julien Langella, Benoît Vardon, Guillaume Jannuzzi, Damien Rieu, Arnaud Delrieux, Alban Ferrari, and Pierre Larti, its first major action was in October 2012 when members hung anti-Muslim banners on a mosque in Poitiers. Since then, the group has taken over additional mosques and placed anti-immigration banners on them, and placed anti-immigrant messaging in public spaces and areas with high numbers of immigrants. 

The group emphasized youth and propaganda stunts in order to distance itself from the traditional far right and was a prominent early propagandist of the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory in France. While the group was banned in March 2021 for incitement of hatred, local groups remain somewhat active in movement-owned facilities including Les Remparts in Lyon and La Citadelle in Lille. Many activists from Génération Identitaire have gone on to run for political office under the banner of the Front National (now Rassemblement National) and Reconquête!, or joined other far-right networks online. 

Despite the shut-down, their website continues to function, though they have no social media except for a lapsed YouTube channel and a WhatsApp number. Since the dissolution of Génération Identitaire, Damien Lefèvre joined Zemmour’s Reconquête! in 2022 and became the candidate for the 4th district of the Alpes-Maritimes. Ex-spokesperson Jérémie Piano represented Reconquête! in the 11th district of Bouches-du-Rhône during the legislative elections. Thaïs d’Escufon supported Reconquête during the most recent elections, but has turned her attention to Youtube and social media. 

GI chapters continue to be active in multiple European countries. The Austrian chapter infamously received a donation from the Christchurch, N.Z., mosque shooter, who was heavily influenced by GI thinking, in particular its promotion of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory.

Génération Zemmour, Génération Z  [Generation Zemmour]

Location: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bretagne, Bourgogne-France-Comte, Centre-Val de Loire, Grand Est, Hautes-Pyrénées, Île-de-France, Normandie, Paris,* Pays de la Loire, Yvelines

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim

Génération Zemmour is the official youth wing of the party Reconquête!. The organization is led by Stanislas Rigault, the young spokesperson for the Éric Zemmour campaign in 2022. The group supports Zemmour and his anti-Muslim politics, including his belief in the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory, and claims to have a membership of around 20,000. The group has engaged in violent behavior at times. In Montpellier, members of Génération Z were accused of having attacked students with blunt weapons during a confrontation with student unions and antifascist organizations. 

In Nancy, members started a fight in a bar with adherents of the left-wing party La France Insoumise (LFI) following the results of the first round of the 2022 presidential election. In addition, while it’s unclear whether they do so in an official or unofficial manner, activists from Génération Z have participated in street actions with other far-right groups. In April 2020, for example, they were present in the mob of far-right activists that assaulted and intimidated left-wing protesters into abandoning their protest at Sciences Po University

Les Identitaires [The Identitarians] 

Location: Nice

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant

Launched in 2003, Les Identitaires, also Bloc Identitaire, is a far-right political party advocating “Identitarianism,” a white supremacist belief that seeks to defend French and European civilization against perceived threats from non-European immigration, Muslims, and the “Great Replacement.” On their website, they write, “The fight against immigration, Islamization and insecurity is of course at the heart of our commitments and concerns. The dangerousness of the threat requires it. The flooding that France and Europe are suffering endangers the survival of our civilization.” 

They are nativist, support regional decentralization and Catholic social teaching and view the U.S. and Islam as threats to Europe. Unlike the traditional far right, Les Identitaires claim to reject antisemitism and “anti-Zionism.” They are opposed to what they see as “ethnocide” and “invasion” of their country by immigrants who they claim do not assimilate and see “re-migration” of immigrants to their home countries as the primary policy solution. They also oppose what they call “anti-French racism.” Their notoriety began with stunts including intentionally distributing popular soups containing pork in order to exclude religious Jews or Muslims from eating them in Strasbourg, Nice, Paris, and in Antwerp with the association Antwerpse Solidariteit. 

These so-called “identity soups” (“soupes identitaires”) were banned in 2006 in Strasbourg for being “discriminatory and xenophobic.” In 2010, they staged a protest in “resistance to the Islamization of France” at the Arc de Triomphe where people ate pork and drank wine. In electoral politics, Les Identitaires have only had very limited success since becoming a fully-fledged party in 2009. However, as they are strongly influenced by GRECE and the New Right, Les Identitaires have mostly pursued a propaganda strategy since 2016. The group was led by Fabrice Robert and Philippe Vardon from 2003 until 2016. 

Robert and Jean-David Cattin ran the group from 2016 to 2017 and the current President is Philippe Vardon. Vardon has since become a member of Reconquête! Novopress is the publishing arm of Les Identitaires.

The Institut des sciences sociales, économiques et politiques [The Institute for Social Sciences, Economics and Politics]

Location: Lyon

Ideology: Religious Nationalist, Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Immigrant

The Institut des sciences sociales, économiques et politiques (ISSEP) is a private, non-accredited university based in Lyon (with a branch in Madrid, Spain) founded by Marion Maréchal Le Pen and Thibaut Monnier in 2018 that issues MA degrees in business and political science. The diplomas awarded by the institution are not recognized by the state, and it receives no public funding, relying heavily instead on tuition fees and private donations. While from all outward appearances, the organization has the appearance of a normal university, Maréchal-Le Pen has described the university as a “metapolitical” project to train conservative intellectuals and counter alleged left-wing influence in French higher education. 

During a convention of the American far-right group CPAC, Le Pen made clear her goals for the university saying, “Our combat can not only be electoral: we have to spread our ideas in the media, the culture, and education system, in order to stop the domination of the liberals and socialists. That’s why I recently launched a school of management and political science. The goal? To train the leaders of tomorrow.” ISSEP makes it clear that although it is technically an institution of higher education, it embraces far-right political positions. It is explicitly anti-Muslim; the school’s site states, for example, that, “Any possible criticism of Islam is now perceived as an attack on Muslims and therefore equated with racism…This is how the ‘intersectional’ battles of neo-feminists, gender activists, Islamists and leftists take shape against the common enemy: the heterosexual white Christian male.” 

Le Pen and ISSEP consider subjects concerning LGBTQ+ studies, gender studies, the climate, and multiculturalism to be forms of indoctrination. ISSEP also condemns so-called “cancel” culture for leading to “the destruction of language, the death of intelligence and reason. With it, it is not only culture that will be ‘canceled’ but our whole civilization.” Other pieces on the site include titles such as “Can reforming the Constitution be enough to control immigration?,” “The temptation to import Communist China’s methods into Europe: revelation by the health crisis,” and “Second impeachment proceedings: Chronicle of Donald Trump’s acquittal,” where the author defends the former president in the wake of the January 6 insurrection. 

It is also highly supportive of former presidential candidate Éric Zemmour. The university has the capacity to train between 30-60 students per year and the 35 students that enrolled in the class of 2021 were reportedly all either close associates of Le Pen, candidates of the Rassemblement National, or members of far-right activist groups such as Génération Identitaire. Since its founding, ISSEP has been in financial trouble; some staff members are not paid and a great many are essentially volunteering. In 2020, ISSEP opened another campus in Madrid that reportedly recruits students who support the far-right party VOX and sympathizers of the former Franco fascist regime. Nearly the entire organization rallied around the candidacy of Éric Zemmour in 2022. 

Le Pen recently announced she would be stepping down as the head of the university to be replaced by Thibaut Monnier, who is also head of the territorial network of Reconquête! Other staff include Thibaud Collin, aide to Marine Le Pen and member of the editorial committee of L’Incorrect; Raheem Kassam, editor of Breitbart in London and former advisor to Brexit advocate Nigel Farage, and member of the scientific committee; Pascal Gauchon, ex-general secretary of the neo-fascist Parti des Forces Nouvelles; Patrick Louis, professor of economy and geopolitics at Université Lyon 3 and general secretary of Mouvement pour la France; Yves-Marie Adeline, founder of the political party Alliance Royale; and Paul Gottfried, an American white nationalist who helped coin the term “alt-right” and the U.S. correspondent of Nouvelle Ecole (journal of GRECE).

Institut Iliade [Iliad Institute]

Location: Paris

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim

The Iliade Institute for Long European Memory is a far-right think tank founded in 2014 by its President Philippe Conrad, Jean-Yves Le Gallou, and Bernard Lugan. It is aligned with the broader white supremacist Identitarian movement. Its tag line on Twitter is “The Iliad Institute rejects the Great Replacement and calls for the defense of our civilization.” The institute advocates for a “European awakening” to the threats to European civilization, primarily the “Great Replacement.” Each year, they hold an annual conference in which a select group of far-right speakers attends, many former members of the Nouvelle Droit primarily from the organizations GRECE and the far-right think tank Club de l’Horloge as well as far right activists from abroad. Iliade has hosted conferences every year at the Maison de la Chimie, across from the national parliament, where efforts to lobby the government normally take place. 

Prominent speakers have included Carlomanno Adinolfi (Italy’s far-right CasaPound), Alain de Benoist (founder Nouvelle Droite), Renaud Camus (author of Le Grand Remplacement), Paul-Marie Couteaux (ex-SIEL), Romain Espino (Génération Identitaire), Thomas Hennetier (éléments), Julien Langella (Génération Identitaire and Academia Christiana), Marion Maréchal (ISSEP), Jean Raspail (author Camp of the Saints), and Adriano Scianca (CasaPound). The institute claims to protect the identity of European civilization and the main threat to it in the form of the Great Replacement. To respond to this threat, they propose to “awaken the consciousness” of Europeans by pursuing a strategy of metapolitics, meaning to “incite the European peoples to a ‘great healing,’ to a reconquest of the pride of their origins, of their roots, in a word, of their identity, in order to refuse their exit from history, their great obliteration – a prelude to their ‘great replacement’ by other populations on the soil of their ancestors.” 

They want to “share the history and memory of European civilization with as many people as possible.” An article on the site mocks EU efforts to tackle racism and structural racism, calling it a “woke” imposition of censorship. It goes on to cite “statistics” that demonstrate the significant problems non-white immigration supposedly poses for European society and argue that the conspiracy to prevent this information from being publicized is “authoritarian.” The institute is blatantly anti-Muslim, writing in an article titled, “Islam Against Europe,” that “The important thing is to know that there is practically nothing that these different types of Muslims do that are not already part of their religion and their heritage. For example, all the depravities the Islamic State has indulged in – enslaving, selling and buying infidel ‘sex slaves;’ beheading, crucifying and even burning alive infidels; destroying or turning churches into mosques – have been committed countless times over the centuries by Muslims, always in the name of jihad.”

Jeunesse Saint-Roch [Saint Roch Youth]

Location: Montpellier

Ideology: White Nationalist

Jeunesse Saint-Roch (a reference to Montpellier’s patron saint) is an Identitarian group based in Montpellier and established by students from the area after a split in the Ligue du Midi. There are influences of Nazism in the group and connections to the neo-Nazi network Ouest Casual, which organizes violent actions against left-wing groups. Some members have been identified as being ex-racist Skinheads, Catholic traditionalists, and hooligans., and they have engaged violently with antifa groups. Shortly after the brutal murder of school teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamic extremist, members sent messages accusing various teachers of being accomplices of Islamism.

Ligue du Sud [Southern League]

Location: Paris,* Orange

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Anti-LGBTQ

The Ligue du Sud is a French far right, regional political party founded in 2010 by Jacques Bompard and other ex-members of the Front National (FN). The party primarily seeks to protect the interests and culture of those living in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur administrative region, having as its tagline, “Identity, Tradition, Localism.” Despite being a small regionalist party, the Ligue du Sud has formed electoral alliances with other smaller parties to the right of the Front National such as Comités Jeanne, Civitas, Parti de la France, and SIEL. 

Most of the league’s success has come in Vaucluse, where Bompard was elected in the 2012 and 2017 legislative elections. Ideologically, Bompard and the party are overtly anti-Muslim and believe that the Great Replacement is happening and must be countered. The Ligue du Sud believes there is a process of “Islamicization” and invited Renaud Camus, author of Le Grand Remplacement, to speak on the subject at a party conference. As a policy solution, Bompard is in favor of “remigration” and ending the “foreigner preference” in the welfare system. 

Bompard is also against same-sex marriage and other rights for LGBTQ+ people, and is known as a provocateur in the National Assembly on this topic. During the debate over passage of a same-sex marriage law in 2013, Bompard proposed a handful of outrageous amendments specifically intended to derail the effort, such as opening marriages to polygamy, incest, and pedophilia. Bompard had been mayor of Orange for 26 years but was forced to resign in 2021 after he was declared ineligible to run for five years after being found guilty of using public resources for his private use while in office. For this, he received a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 30,000 euros.

Luminis [Lighted]

Location: Paris

Ideology: White Nationalist

Luminis is a white nationalist group involved in propagandizing, holding meetings and interacting with other extremist groups. Their slogan is a “militant community rooted in Paris.”  In the past, the group was involved in protests against pandemic measures and much of the group’s activities are detailed on its Telegram channel, where videos of activities are posted and which is filled with neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbols. Their group is close to members of the neo-Nazi network Ouest Casual and often repost their materials. Members of the group have met with the American white nationalist Patriot Front and often interact with neo-Nazi Active Clubs.

Lyon Populaire [Popular Lyon]

Location: Lyon

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Anti-LGBTQ

Established in 2019, Lyon Populaire rose out of the banned, neo-fascist Social Bastion and is reportedly led by Eliot Bertin, who has been involved in street clashes alongside members of other white nationalist groups including the now banned Génération Identitaire. Bertin posed in 2020 in an online photo with Identitarians Adrien Lasalle and colleague Anthony Renaud to promote the Identitarian boxing gym “L’Agogé” in Old Lyon.

Lyon Populaire also maintains links with the Manif pour Tous, the anti-same-sex marriage movement, as well as with neo-Nazi groups. Despite their activism, the group is relatively unknown. Lyon Populaire is openly anti-immigrant, claims an invasion is occurring by “jihadists,” and demands the expulsion of migrants to their home countries. The group is also anti-capitalist, blaming economic structures for impoverishing the French people.

Les Natifs [The Natives]

Location: Paris

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant

Les Natifs is an Identitarian group based in Paris that protests against immigration, and posts its activities on its Telegram channel. It was founded by former members of Génération Identitaire after the group was shut by the French state. Through street art in 2021, the group announced its creation as a “youth, proud and rooted movement” and denounced “the ransacking of our city” and “a globalized Paris.” Within days, the group had thousands of followers on its now defunct Instagram account, including a leader of the Belgian nationalist party Vlaams Belang. Other followers included the president of the “Generation Zemmour” movement, Stanislas Rigault. Les Natifs works with other far right groups such as Les Remparts. Like other small identitarian movements, they propagandize through stickering and flyering campaigns.

Les Nationalistes [The Nationalists]

Location: Lyon

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Antisemitic, Conspiracy

Les Nationalists, also Parti Nationaliste Français, is a white nationalist, antisemitic and anti-immigrant movement originally founded in 1983 and then re-established in 2015. The original party was a neo-Nazi splinter from the Front National (FN) by members who had come to view FN as “too conservative” and “Zionist.” The group became inactive in the 1990s. Following the dissolution of the pro-Pétain party L’Œuvre Française in 2013, the head of the party, Yvan Benedetti, reactivated Les Nationalists. Benedetti is an ex-Front National partisan who helped Pierre Sidos lead the L’Œuvre Française in the 1990s, which was ordered dissolved by the French government for antisemitism and racism, and was permitted to rejoin the FN by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2007. 

Benedetti has now brought his antisemitism and pro-Pétain sympathies to Les Nationalists. In 2019, Benedetti was sentenced to eight months in prison for non-dissolution of L’Œuvre Française and in September 2022, Benedetti was convicted of Holocaust denial after calling figures of the death toll “Zionist propaganda.” Les Nationalistes are strong believers in antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jewish domination and blame Jews for orchestrating a “great replacement” of white people in France by immigrants. The Nationalistes are anti-Muslim and blame all Muslims for terrorism. As an example, the group has written, “While some in our camp still raise the idea of ​​a faith front with Muslims to fight against the moral decay of society, it should be remembered that we do not need them in this fight. 

Moreover, where were these ‘patriotic’ Muslims during the demonstrations in defense of the family? Nowhere. They have nothing to do with the future of France.” Clearly hostile towards Muslims, their attacks on Jews are even more extreme. From the group: “it is always Jewish ‘intellectuals’ who are found at the forefront of anti-racist struggles to promote the migratory invasion. Well protected in their community residences, they impose diversity and interbreeding on others… If there is indeed ethnic genocide in France, it does not concern the Jews but the whites. 

With widespread abortion and the migratory invasion always promoted by the same people, the French people will soon no longer be the majority on their own soil.” In 2021, Bendetti used a slur to describe a Black Frenchman appearing on the popular TV show Touche Pas à Mon Poste (TPMP) and mocked Éric Zemmour for not being extreme enough: “Those who expect a stoppage of the great replacement with Zemmour are going to be disappointed. But with the Nationalists, the line is clear: with or without a tie, remigration!”

Ouest Casual [West Casual]

Location: Arras (Arras Nationaliste), Besançon (Vandal Besak), Bourg-en-Bresse (Bourg-en-Bresse Nationaliste), Clermont-Ferrand (Clermont-Ferrand Nationalists), Dijon (Infréquentables Dijon), Lyon (Mob Guignol Squad), Nice (Zoulous Nice), Orléans (Aurelianorum Corda, Orléans Nationaliste), Paris (Groupe Union Défense; Division Martel), Reims (Mesos Reims), Toulouse (Alliance Scandale), Unknown Location (La Cagoule)

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, Anti-LGBTQ

Ouest Casual is a decentralized network of about a dozen individually named small neo-Nazi groups. All but La Cagoule, which doesn’t name its location, identify with a particular city or region as noted above. The group serves as a platform to communicate and spread news about the actions of its network, as well as those of similar groups in other European countries. These groups are generally white nationalist and neo-Nazi and work hand-in-hand with members from Génération Identitaire, La Citadelle, and Action Française, which helps to mask their identity and thus avoid culpability for their organizations when engaging in violent street battles with their opponents, often antifascist organizations. 

For example, during a May Day rally in 2022, the Vandal Besak were spotted in Besançon near a group of Cocarde Etudiant and Génération Z counter-protesters, likely in an effort to protect them in the event of a fight with protesters. Three of them tried to infiltrate the rally but were removed. These groups regularly chant white supremacist slogans and vandalize property with neo-Nazi hate symbols. In July 2020, Vandal Besak members left Nazi rune graffiti along a wall in La Rodia in Besançon. In August 2022, a group of about 15 Vandal Besak members walked through downtown Besançon, looking to find antifascists, singing German military songs, posting SS stickers, giving Nazi salutes, and shouting “Sieg Heil.” In 2021, members of the group attacked the feminist Collective 25 Novembre in Dijon and the next day, members assaulted a local businessman due to his ethnicity. In February 2022, about seven members of the Clermont-Ferrand Nationalists and Orléans Nationalists engaged in street fights with a dozen left-wing protesters at a demonstration in downtown Clermont-Ferrand. 

In March 2022, Clermont-Ferrand Nationalists attacked left-wing protesters during a march against the far right. In June 2022, members of Bourg-en-Bresse Nationaliste harassed people participating in a gay pride event. In September 2021, members of Alliance Scandale engaged in street battles with antifascists in Toulouse. Members celebrated on Telegram that 23 antifascists were injured. Other than these street battles, each group also trains for physical fitness, engages in boxing matches with other neo-Nazis groups, and provides support for neo-Nazi groups abroad. Unlike other Identitarian movements, they do not engage in traditional protests and activism, such as conferences or political events. 

They function more like small gangs, and each gang operates autonomously from the others, though they often participate in events together as well in physical competitions between the groups. Some recent social media posts indicate, or at least imply, that some individuals from this network are currently fighting in Ukraine. Several posts on the Telegram channel are highly supportive of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, which has links to neo-Nazis. La Cagoule, meaning ‘the hood’, inspired by the French clandestine terrorist group of the same name from the 1930s, is also a small gang, but focuses primarily on the production of neo-Nazi graffiti art. 

More recently there are reports that the infamous Groupe Union Défense (GUD), which existed from 1968 to 2002, and is known for its street violence, was reactivated in 2022. At times, the now disbanded group Les Zouaves have been associated with Ouest Casual. Ouest’s Telegram channel also connects its network to American neo-Nazis, having posted pictures in December from a visit by members of the American white nationalist group Patriot Front.

Le Parti de la France [The Party of France]

Location: Paris

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-immigrant, Anti-Muslim

Le Parti de la France (PDF) is a small far-right political party founded by Carl Lang, the ex-second-in-command of the Front National (FN), and several other former Front National members (Martine Lehideux, Bernard Antony, Martial Bild, Fernand Le Rachinel) in 2009, after a party split over Marine Le Pen becoming FN leader. Following the split, the leaders of the new PDF sought to remain loyal to the ideology of Jean-Marie Le Pen. The organization currently runs candidates and has formed electoral alliances with other smaller parties to the right of the Front National, such as Comités Jeanne, Civitas, the Ligue du Sud, and the SIEL. 

The party is strongly anti-immigrant and advocates for the repatriation and deportation of foreign populations from France. In 2019, Lang resigned from the party and handed the leadership over to Thomas Joly. In the most recent presidential election, the Parti de la France called for supporters to vote for Éric Zemmour in the first round, Marine Le Pen in the second, and candidates of the Reconquête! in legislative elections. In 2017, Joly was sentenced to a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of €2,000 for disseminating a violent message accessible to a minor after he posted a video of ISIS terrorists beheading opponents in an effort to denounce “Islamist barbarism.” 

The party is sympathetic to the politics of Nazi collaborator Pétain. Joly wrote on Telegram, “For several days, scribes, left-wing militants and the head of the Rassemblement National have become excited over a photo where I am wearing a t-shirt to the glory of Marchal Pétain. In fact, it is a secret for no one, I have more admiration for Pétain than I do for De Gaulle.” The party also pushes the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory, portrays immigrants as violent and dangerous, and works to end their supposed “threat.” 

It supports the “the mass inversion of the migratory flows [into France] and the de-Islamization of our country…Party of France makes immigration the central point of its program of national recovery.” It sees itself as “the tool of the reconquest” to “liberate France and give it back to the French.” The party would give preferential treatment to white French people “in the domains of employment, housing, access to medical care, and reserve social aid for only the French.” It is also known to have some neo-Nazi members.

Patria Albigès [Albi Homeland]

Location: Albi

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Patria Albigès is a small, far-right group that arose out of the ashes of the white nationalist Génération Identitaire (GI) when it was forcibly dissolved in 2021 and was founded by Identitarian and neo-fascist militants in the city of Albi. Patria Albigès is interested in returning to a more traditional society based on the Catholic Church and “traditional values.” They are fiercely against social justice movements, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and the “woke agenda.” Much like GI, the group organizes physical training sessions, depicting them on its Telegram channel, and engages in street violence. The group is responsible for a number of attacks on individuals in leftist movements. 

In late 2021, members attacked two students affiliated with the Confédération générale du travail (CGT) labor union, and on other occasions, individuals were assaulted by members for attempting to peel off anti-LGBTQ+ stickers left by the group. It has a particular animus to the LGBTQ+ community, having written, “the government has set up a propaganda campaign dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community on bus stops in Albi as well as throughout France. These woke campaigns have no place in our streets, our children do not have to suffer, in addition to mass immigration and Islamization, their madness that they would like to instill in us.” As a result of such attacks, as well as other acts of intimidation and leaving Nazi graffiti, Patria Albigès has been threatened by the state with dissolution

Rassemblement National [National Rally]

Location: Paris* (104 regional chapters across the country)

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim

The Rassemblement National (RN), formerly known as Front National (FN), is a far-right political party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972. Le Pen unified the neo-fascist Ordre Nouveau (New Order) with other far-right movements including Pétainists, neo-Nazis, Poujadists, and followers of Charles Maurras, and later, far-right Catholic traditionalists. By the 1980s, the party succeeded in unifying much of the far right and began to make gains in electoral politics, eventually making it to the second round of the presidential election in 2002. Jean Marie Le Pen is known for denying the severity of the Holocaust, and France’s role in it, as well as other anti-Muslim, xenophobic, and racist beliefs. After making some electoral progress, his daughter Marine rebranded the party between 2004 and 2017, renaming it the RN, in order to make it appear less extremist and supposedly more focused on republican values. 

The FN has served as an important conduit for many far-right individuals since its inception, and some party officials have also been members of much more radical groups. Examples include Wallerand de Saint Just, formerly GUD; Philippe Olivier, EU deputy and former member of GRECE; Bruno Gollnisch, former deputy and EU deputy who led the presidential campaign of Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002, lost to Marine Le Pen in the leadership vote in 2011, and has been convicted of contesting a crime against humanity, and Jean-Lin Lacapelle, former GUD and EU deputy. While the FN has seen a number of party splits, most prominently in 1998, the traditional party cadre was transformed by Marine Le Pen, who sought out a policy of “de-demonization” that saw some extremists jettisoned from the party ranks. The party discourse became less extreme and more accepting of feminism and secularism, much to the chagrin of the party’s far-right wing. 

These purged and exiled factions, including Identitarians, fascists, and antisemites, remained fragmented for the better part of a decade until the arrival of Éric Zemmour’s Reconquête! in late 2021. In 2022, Marine Le Pen came in second in the first round of presidential voting, scoring 23 percent, and again in second place during the second round, scoring nearly 42 percent of the vote – the best showing ever for the RN or for a far-right candidate in the history of the French Fifth Republic. Today, the party remains anti-immigrant in its positions and discourse, presenting immigrants (usually Arabs and Africans) and Islam as being at odds with widely held French norms and values such as secularism, women’s equality, and freedom of expression. While the party has sought to widen its policy proposals to include a traditionally leftist protectionist economic policy, its anti-immigrant positions and Euroscepticism predominate its messaging. 

Marine Le Pen once predicted that the increase in immigration would lead to “the whole of France” becoming “a gigantic no-go zone” and said “We are being submerged by a flood of immigrants that are sweeping all before them. There are prayers in the street, cafes that ban women and young women who get threatening looks if they wear a skirt. I will say when I become president that this is not the French way.” Muslims and Islam are viewed as the foremost threats to French identity, secularism, feminism, and individual freedoms. While Marine Le Pen has stated that she does see a difference between Muslims and extremist Islamic movements, her rhetoric often does not reflect this. In a 2017 presidential debate with Emmanuel Macron, she stated that France had become a “university for Jihadists,” that Muslims are to blame for antisemitism in France, which she lays at the feet of “Islamists,” and has compared Muslims to Nazi occupiers. 

The RN is also in favor of “national preference,” whereby French citizens would have priority in certain services, rights, and social benefits over non-citizens, a position in conflict with the French constitution. In 2019, Marine Le Pen was photographed making the white supremacist OK sign with a racist supporter. Even after removing many extremists, there are still several instances in which far-right individuals have been allowed to run for office for RN, as evidenced by the candidacies of Damien Rieu (Génération Identitaire) and Philippe Vardon (Bloc Identitaire and Nissa Rebela). Some members of the party were also members of Génération Identitaire. In November 2021, Quentin le Derout, an ex-deputy head of the RN youth group and candidate for the departmental elections admitted to desecrating three mosques.

Reconquête! [Reconquest]

Location: Paris

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, White Nationalist, Anti-LGBTQ

Reconquête! was created to serve as a personal vehicle for Éric Zemmour’s presidential run in 2022, and has since served to unite broad swaths of the far right deemed too extreme for the Front National. Reconquête!, which translates to “reconquest,” makes clear the party’s deeply held belief that non-white immigration is causing the native French population to be replaced by a Muslim majority population. In other words, the party explicitly endorses the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory. Zemmour has long held anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views, and has twice been convicted of incitement of religious hatred for statements he made in broadcasts during his time as a TV commentator. 

He has advocated for returning to naming children according to the French tradition of taking them from the calendar of saints, and started a scandal when insisting to Hapsatou Sy, a Black actress and entrepreneur, that her mother name her Corinne. Zemmour is well known for being one of the most popular believers of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory in France. In a 2019 interview, he said, “Will young French people accept to live as a minority on the land of their ancestors? If so, they deserve their colonization. If not, they will have to fight for their release.” In the official video launching his 2022 presidential campaign, Zemmour relied heavily on Great Replacement theory themes and fear-mongering about not belonging in one’s own country anymore. 

In his books, speeches, and discourse, Muslims are described as “colonizers” incapable of assimilating. In a tweet, he compared Muslim immigration to an existential struggle for the existence of the country: “For 5 years with Emmanuel Macron, there will be 2 million more immigrants, still more violence, Islamization, and more and more territories conquered by Islam, and more and more veils in the streets.” Zemmour said he would create a Ministry of “Re-Immigration” to deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants, and seize the assets of African leaders if they failed to take back immigrants in France from Africa. 

He is on record advocating that Ukrainian refugees should be allowed to obtain French visas, but those fleeing wars in Arab states should not. Zemmour has a strong following among the international far right. In September 2019, he shared the stage with Donald Trump supporter Candace Owens, along with other French radicals, during the Convention of the Right. Far-right American “journalist” Andy Ngo frequently tweets support for Zemmour. Trump is believed to have encouraged Zemmour to run for president. 

Zemmour is fond of Putin’s regime, has argued in favor of a “Russian alliance,” and stated in 2018 that he “would dream of a French Putin but there is none.” Zemmour has faced several accusations from political opponents and other critics of harboring far-right, and even neo-Nazi supporters, in his party. There is some truth to this claim. At a rally in Toulon, an attendee was caught on film making a Nazi salute. He was denounced by Zemmour when asked about it by a TV news anchor. Critics have pointed to his support from leaders of the Parti de la France, Carl Lang and Thomas Joly, a party strongly influenced by neo-Nazism and reverence for Pétain. 

The Zouaves of Paris, a neo-Nazi street gang, have been present at several of Zemmour’s rallies and have started fights with counter-protesters,including the rally held for the formal launch of the party, which resulted in multiple altercations against activists from the SOS Racisme organization and members of the press.

Les Remparts [The Walls]

Location: Lyon

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-LGBTQ+

Les Remparts is an Identitarian group based in Lyon that gathers regularly at the Identitarian bar La Traboule for meetings, classes, presentations, and soirées, and engages in protests alongside other far-right groups. Besides its white supremacy, the group is also vehemently anti-LGBTQ+. One of its posts reads, “No to pride month, our only pride is that of being Lyonnais!” In June 2022, the group posted its own slogans on the route of a Gay Pride parade, claiming on Telegram the action “is an act of resistance against this demonstration and the deconstruction of our traditional European way of life. We stand up against state-sponsored LGBT and woke ideology and will fight it wherever it manifests itself. 

These inscriptions are symbols of our resistance. It is the red line that we defend: homeland, freedom, family and natural sexual identity. Decadence has no future. Your time will soon be up.” In 2022, after Lyon’s mayor participated in an Iftar instead of a local Christian ceremony, Les Remparts protested the mayor. In late September 2022, Les Remparts held an “Italian night” at La Traboule to celebrate the victory of Italian neo-fascist candidate Georgia Meloni. The mayor of Lyon has publicly appealed to the president to dissolve the group and close La Traboule.

Riposte Laïque/Résistance Républicaine [Secular Response/Republican Resistance]

Location: Paris

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Conspiracy

Founded in 2007, Riposte Laïque is a far-right, anti-Muslim website with an affiliated organization, Résistance Républicaine, that works in tandem with other far-right groups and presents itself as defending republican and French secular (laïcité) values against Islam. Résistance Républicaine is the political wing of the Riposte Laïque and serves to organize protests in support of their goals. Ex-socialist party member and then-member of Debout La France, Christine Tasin helped found the publication and left in 2013 after editorial disagreements. Pierre Cassen, formerly of the French Communist Party, the Revolutionary Communist League, and Union of Secular Families, is the other founder of the publication and owner of the site. 

The current editor is Guy Sebag. Riposte Laïque’s primary target in its publications and protests is Islam in France and Europe which they believe to be the primary danger to French republican values, and advocate against Muslim immigration. Riposte Laïque have been proponents of the Eurabia conspiracy theory that asserts a secret plot on the part of French and Arabic “globalists” to colonize and Islamize Europe. The site is also known for publishing conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 pandemic, a supposed New World Order, and the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Around 2010, collaboration with the anti-Muslim Bloc Identitaire, which had consisted of coordinated protests, deepened in the form of the organization Assises internationales contre l’islamisation de l’Europe [The International Congress Against the Islamization of Europe]. 

In 2016, Tasin, with help from Renaud Camus, author of Le Gran Remplacement, attempted without success to create the French version of the German anti-Muslim group PEGIDA. The group’s anti-Muslim beliefs run deep; Alain Jean-Mairet, director of Riposte laïque in 2014, was charged with racial injury and incitement of hatred after publishing an article titled, “And if Islam was the cult of moral perversion,” wherein the author describes Muslims to be born as “sexual deviants,” and further demonizes Muslims. In July 2014, Tasin was found guilty for incitement to racial hatred after stating “I am Islamophobic, so what? I am proud of the hatred of Islam. Islam is bullshit.” In recent years, they have pushed the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory. Riposte Laïque considers the elected leaders of France to be “traitors” and “collaborators” in the “Islamization” of the country. 

Riposte Laïque has published (and republished) articles, videos, and interviews of many French and international far-right activists such as Jean Raspail, Guillaume Faye, and Renaud Camus, as well as anti-Muslim activists and politicians abroad including Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bat Ye’or, and Geert Wilders, among others. Riposte Laïque and Résistance Républicaine supported Éric Zemmour in the 2022 election cycle.

Souveraineté, Identité et Libertés [Sovereignty, Identity and Freedom]

Location: Paris

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim

Founded in 2011 by Paul-Marie Coûteaux, Souveraineté, Identité et Libertés (SEIL), is a small far-right party that is part of the broader Identitarian movement. SIEL acts as a “satellite party” for the Rassemblement National (formerly Front National) that is ideologically more extreme, and has supported the RN since their creation. SIEL has also formed alliances in legislative elections with other small parties to the right of the Front National such as the Parti de la France, Civitas, and Ligue du Sud. Karim Ouchikh, who has had previous ties to the Action Française and Bloc Identitaire, replaced Coûteaux as president in 2014 after the latter made controversial comments about putting Roma people in camps and the Front National, under the leadership of Marine le Pen, refused to work with them. 

In 2022, a number of candidates left to join the anti-Muslim Reconquête!, and it is not clear how active SIEL will continue to be. Ouchikh and other SIEL members believe in the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory, with Ouchikh writing in Riposte Laïque, “I aspire to the advent of the Austrian model in France, namely the lasting alliance between the conservative forces and the populist forces in our country. This scenario is the only one, in my opinion, to allow the spiritual, moral and cultural recovery of France and, above all, to thwart the two great dangers that threaten our country: the great replacement and Islamization. 

Although the task is not easy to achieve, far from it, I do not stop working daily towards this political objective.” Ouchikh proposes a program of “de-Islamization” which calls for discriminatory practices against Muslims including such things as differential treatment for Muslims, moratoriums on mosque building, ending of financing to Muslim institutions and state appointments of imams. Ouchikh is close to Renaud Camus, the author of Le Grand Remplacement, and participates in many events with him promoting his ideas.

Tenesoun

Location: Aix-en-Provence, Orange

Ideology: White Nationalist

Tenesoun is an Identitarian group based in Aix-en-Provence that attends fundamentalist Catholic events and holds street protests, boxing matches, and engages in other forms of activism including distributing propaganda, promoting the Provençal language, and publishing an eponymous magazine. They have connections to far-right organizations abroad and push the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which is central to Identitarian beliefs. Their website reads, “[We are] against the Great Replacement and the Great Erasure which jeopardize the carnal existence of our people, we affirm the autochthony of European populations and we defend an identity based on the following triptych: Provence, France, Europe.”

Terre et Peuple [Earth and People]

Location: Alsace, Arverne, Ile de France, Feurs, Lyon

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant

Terre et Peuple (T&P) is a French far-right organization founded by the historian Pierre Vial in 1994. Ideologically, T&P supports Identitarian thinking, but in a twist, seeks to affect cultural and political change through activism that will lead Celtic and European people to rediscover their pagan roots. T&P is strongly opposed to immigration and immigrants, which they refer to as an “invasion,” often one that is “planned” as part of a “substitution,” which is a restatement of the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory. The group publishes a magazine Terre et Peuple and organizes annual “Round Tables,” where prominent members give speeches. T&P believes in race science, the idea that separate “races” exist, can be identified, and should be separate: “The diversity of species and races is an essential aspect of the harmony of creation. The restrictions on interracial marriages make it possible to avoid the bastardization of species, to maintain each in its nobility and its beauty. 

The caste system aims to allow the coexistence of different races in the same society by ensuring that each social group has a reserved profession and distinct privileges.” They have a unique take on these ideas, arguing that, “the evolution of man passes through four stages, which correspond to the four races of the Hindus. These four stages are symbolized by four colors: white, red, yellow, and black. The four races of men which correspond to it successively play a predominant role in the various ages through which humanity passes…In societies that are not multiracial, castes have a tendency to be established based on one’s abilities, as they are an essential aspect of society.” 

T&P views multiculturalism as “anti-white” propaganda and racism and those who promote it as “collaborators,” and believes there is a preference for immigrants over “native” French people in the current political system. The group also shares racist content; on its website, an article selectively chooses data from American FBI crime statistics to allege high levels of crime by Black people in the US, which it blames on their race. Another article talks of a “race war” in Baltimore, and another praises American former Klansman David Duke. Many others refer to an ongoing “genocide” of European people. 

There are international chapters or versions of the group, including Renaissance Européenne (European Renaissance) in the Wallonian region of Belgium, Tierra y Pueblo in Spain, and Terra e Povo in Portugal. They also claim to have allies in many other countries, including the US.

Des Tours et des Lys [Towers and Lilies]

Location: Tours

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant

Des Tours et des Lys is an Identitarian militant group based in Tours that engages in activism, street protests, conferences such as their Cercle Prométhées (Prometheus Circle) meetings, hikes, and physical training, such as boxing practice. Its motto is “identity, community, action” and it protests regularly against immigration. The group provides clothing and other services to French citizens it argues have been abandoned by the state in favor of immigrants. Rather than engaging in street battles, the group is involved in clean up activities of rivers and cultural sites and works with other similar far-right groups like Luminis and Lyon Populaire.

Vent d’Est [East Wind]

Location: Strasbourg

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant

Vent d’Est is an Identitarian militant group with neo-fascist influences based in Strasbourg that emerged when the neo-fascist Social Bastion was dissolved in January 2021. This group’s now defunct Instagram account was simply a renamed account from Social Bastion. It is unclear when, but their Facebook page was banned. They organize hiking trips, classes, and engage in other forms of activism, and frequent the L’Arcadia in the Esplanade district of Strasbourg, where Social Bastion had its headquarters. The group has been described as “xenophobic” and “antisemitic” and predominantly rages against immigration.

Les Zouaves Paris [The Clowns]

Location: Strasbourg

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant

Les Zouaves Paris (ZVP) is a violent group of neo-Nazis that emerged from other far-right organizations such as Groupe Union Défense (GUD) and Génération Identitaire. The group of about 20 is known for walking through the streets with baseball bats, expandable batons, pepper spray, and other items that could be used in violence. Their slogans include “Paris c’est nous” (Paris is Ours) and “On est chez nous” (This is our home). Following the collapse of the notorious extreme right street gang GUD, most chapters transformed into chapters of the Bastion Social, except in Paris where they formed Les Zouaves. 

They are known to disseminate Nazi imagery and racist tracts as well as engage in street violence and hooliganism, including during the Gilets Jaunes protests and Éric Zemmour’s rallies in 2021. Their track record of violence is long. During the 2018 World Cup games in Russia, Zouaves were suspected of being behind several acts of violence against Algerian football supporters. Also that year, members of the Zouaves committed violent acts during the riot that occurred at the Place de l’Etoile during Act III of the Gilet Jaunes protests, leading to six members being sentenced to three months in prison. In January 2019, during a protest organized by Génération Identitaire for Sainte-Geneviève, the night of the fire at Notre-Dame, Zouaves engaged in street fights with antifa. In November 2019, Zouaves members assaulted a student of Moroccan origin at the University of Nanterre for wearing a shirt with the colors of the Moroccan flag. Their full rap sheet is much longer. 

They were officially dissolved in January 2022 and their presumed leader is currently incarcerated for failing to respect a ban on participating in rallies that was imposed after he was involved in violent activities in a bar in 2021. They have no clear hierarchy, but Marc de Cacqueray-Valmenier, while imprisoned, is still considered the de-facto leader. They were officially dissolved after the Council of Ministers, at the direction of the president, decided that the combination of overt violence and appeals to neo-Nazism, the Ku Klux Klan, and racist anti-immigration sentiment warranted the action.

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