The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism today released a report profiling hateful and extremist groups in France.
The report, Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups, France (also available in French), details 43 far-right groups some with dozens of chapters in France that GPAHE identifies as embracing beliefs and activities that demean, harass, and inspire violence against people based on their identity traits including race, religion, ethnicity, language, national or social origin, caste, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The report was released after French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne launched the National Plan Combating Racism, Antisemitism and Discrimination Linked to Origin 2023-2026.
According to the report, the majority of the groups adhere to at least two extremist ideologies, with the majority of groups being some combination of white nationalist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim. Belief in the terrorist-connected, white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory is widespread on the far right. The report also identified more than ten anti-LGBTQ+ groups — for example Academia Christiana, which was founded in 2013 during the anti-LGBTQ+ Manif pour Tous movement opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage — and a handful of groups pushing religious nationalism, antisemitism, neo-Nazism, anti-Roma beliefs, and conspiracy theories.
See list of groups by ideology.
“The sheer number of far-right groups and the prominence of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant beliefs in France was shocking, especially given the population size of France,” said GPAHE co-founder Heidi Beirich. “When you look at the increasing level of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric among politicians and others over the last few years, there is absolutely no doubt that these extremist groups ideas have infiltrated their hateful rhetoric into the mainstream and unfortunately have an influence.”
According to the report, the groups are throughout France, although most are located (or have a headquarters) in Paris or Lyon, the largest and third largest cities in the country. Twelve groups are either a political party or a faction of a political party, including Éric Zemmour’s rabidly anti-Muslim Reconquête! founded in 2022, and the oldest far-right party, the Rassemblement National (RN), formerly known as Front National (FN), founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972.
Numerous extremist groups publicly support far-right political parties and leaders, as well as other hate and extremist groups in the country. In addition to political parties, GPAHE named numerous smaller Identitarian groups that cropped up since the French government banned Génération Identitaire in 2021. Because of the ban, these groups are extremely hard to track, and the report doesn’t cover all of them. Other groups include a network of neo-Nazis that are connected to US groups (for example Accion Club France and Luminus have been visited by the American-based Patriot Front), think tanks, a far-right private university “to train the leaders of tomorrow,” and a legal group whose work concentrates around representing far-right individuals in court.
The list also includes groups claiming traditional leftist ideas, such as “feminism,” as a guise to spread their hate. One such organization claims immigration is the real threat to women’s rights and gender equality.
“France has a problem with hate groups,” said Beirich. “When candidates for office and hate groups ranging from neo-Nazi street fighters, to racists in suits, to far-right political parties have all adopted the Great Replacement conspiracy theory as fact and target non-white immigrants and refugees as destroying France and French culture and society, we’ve got a real problem.”
Far-right Hate and Extremist Groups, France is the third of a series of country reports released by GPAHE. The group released a report on Ireland in August and a report on Australia in October. A report on hate and extremist groups in Italy will be released in the coming months, followed by additional countries later in the year.
“Far-right extremist movements inspire terrorism, mass killings, and rights-restricting policies around the world, and the various movements are increasingly interconnected,” said Wendy Via, GPAHE co-founder. “Community safety and democracies are at risk. It’s critical that people, locally and globally, understand the far-right extremist landscape, how it operates, and how the dots are connected within countries and transnationally in order to counter the threats from these groups so we can get ahead of it. We hope these reports will help advocates and policymakers do that.”