The French group Amitié et Action Française ("French Friendship and Action") was founded in 2009 by Danièle Pouységur-Wilkin, and her husband Gerard Pouységur, Jean-Pierre Papadacci, Robert Saucourt, and Clément Gautier in order to uphold the legacy of Action Française ideologue Charles Maurras.
Charles Maurras joined Action française shortly after its foundation in 1899 and became its principal ideologist. Under his influence the organization developed a monarchist, Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, as well as counter-revolutionary leaning, which became known as “Maurrassien” or “integral nationalism.” The organization still exists today. Steve Bannon had reportedly spoken in favor of Maurras.1
The organization describes itself as follows:
“As nationalist royalists, we intend to lead a political, cultural, and spiritual struggle against the Republic in the best interest of the French nation, to show the French the royal road to national salvation.”2
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Action Française hero Charles Maurras, on 21 April 2018, Clément Gautier, co-founder of the organization Amitié et Action Française, hosted a conference called "Hommage à Charles Maurras."
The conference was opened with a Catholic mass, followed by several lectures of French and Belgian far-right proponents. Jean-Marie Le Pen had excused himself on the base of a viral infection. Most of the talks of the Charles Maurras conference are available on Youtube.5
The speakers and speech titles included:
- Prince Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma: “Clôture l'hommage à Charles Maurras.”6
- Élie Hatem: “L’autorité en haut, les libertés en bas."7 Élie Hatem is member of the steering committee of Action Française.8
- Marion Sigaut:9 "Charles Maurras et la Révolution Française.”10 Marion Sigaut (*1950) is a French historian and lecturer. Formerly she was involved in the Trotskyist movement of Lambertists (after Pierre Boussel/Lambert), then joined the right-wing party Debout la République,11 and now supports the political organisation Égalité et Réconciliation,12 co-founded by Alain Soral, which describes itself as cross factional, and "left nationalist.”13 Other founders were Jildaz Mahé O'Chinal and Philippe Péninque, two former activists of Groupe Union Défense (GUD), a now defunct violent extreme right-wing student group. She also has published articles for the French ultra-Catholic organization Civitas.
- Alain Escada: “Hommage des 150 ans de la naissance de Charles Maurras.”14 Alain Escada (*1970) is a Belgian far-right activist, and since 2012 chairman of Civitas, a French ultra-Catholic, and extreme right-wing organization. In June 2016, Civitas changed its status form cultural organisation to a French political party, and in 2017 Escada announced Civitas will run in the next French parliamentary elections. Escada is also president of the anti-choice Coalition pour la Vie et la Famille,15 whose status as a small European party earns it 500.000 euros a year of European funds.
- Gérard Bedel: "Maurras, poète de l'Ordre et de l’espoir.”16 Gérard Bedel is professor at the Institut Catholique d'Etudes Supérieures (ICES), and was contributor to the far-right weekly l’Action Française 2000, which appeared from 1998 to 2018. He wrote several biographies of French generals, amongst them Marshal Pétain.
- Yvan Benedetti: "Maurras ou l'espérance et l'exigence nationalistes.” Yvan Benedetti, a militant nationalist, is director of the online newspaper Jeune Nation,17 and was formerly the right hand to far-right politician Pierre Sidos. Jeune Nation was a French nationalist and neo-fascist movement originating in 1949. It was dissolved in 1958 during the Algerian War after a series of violent episodes.18 After its dissolution it merged with the Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS), a French dissident paramilitary organization during the Algerian War (1954–62), which had carried out terrorist attacks, including bombings and assassinations, in an attempt to prevent Algeria's independence from French colonial rule. The legitimate heir of the Jeune Nation movement was Œuvre française, created by Pierre Sidos during the events of May 1968. After the ban of Œuvre Française and Jeunesses nationalistes on 24 July 2013, the website Jeune Nation became active.19
- Abbé Guillaume de Tanoüarn. Abbé Guillaume de Tanoüarn (*1962) is a Catholic priest and theologian, as well as co-founder of the conservative Catholic Institute du Bon Pasteur.20 Tanoüarn calls himself a “Maurrassien”: "L'Action française is not a party. [...] To be of Action française means to be consciously French, it is to realise consciously a mental, moral and spiritual inheritance that we did not choose."21
- 1. Michael Crowley, “The Man Who Wants to Unmake the West ,” Politico Magazine, March/April 2017, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/trump-steve-bannon-destroy-eu-european-union-214889.
- 2. "About," Facebook page of Amitié et Action Française (defunct), https://www.facebook.com/pg/amitieactionfrancaise/about/?ref=page_internal.
- 3. Former website of Amitié & Action Française, http://www.amitieactionfrançaise.com/.
- 4. Defunct Facebook page of Amitié & Action Française, https://www.facebook.com/amitieactionfrancaise/.
- 5. Videos by Médias-Presse-Infos on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzkvdLzgFecbUBRdgPX3RLg/videos.
- 6. “S.A.R le Prince Sixte-Henri de Bourbon Parme clôture l’hommage à Charles Maurras,” L’ Action Française on YouTube, April 27, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXwVfX0Pydc.
- 7. “Elie Hatem ‘L’autorité en haut, les libertés en bas,’” Médias-Presse-Infos on YouTube, April 26, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiW5sG2dSi4.
- 8. “Hommage à Charles Maurras du 21 avril 2018 à Avignon,” Jungkonservative (Blog), April 30, 2018, https://philippedelbauvre.blogspot.ch/2018/04/hommage-charles-maurras-du-21-avril.html.
- 9. Website of Marion Sigaut, http://marionsigaut.com/.
- 10. “Marion Sigaut: ‘Charles Maurras et la Révolution Française,’” Médias-Presse-Infos on YouTube, April 25, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN2CuoLDLBE.
- 11. “Debout la République (DLR),” Elections Présidentielles & Législatives 2012 (Blog), https://2012elysee.wordpress.com/partis-engages/debout-la-republique-dlr/.
- 12. Égalite & Réconciliation, https://www.egaliteetreconciliation.fr/.
- 13. Alain Soral, “Du communisme au nationalisme : itinéraire d’un intellectuel français (Vénissieux - 2 mars 2007),” Égalité & Reconciliation, September 28, 2007, https://www.egaliteetreconciliation.fr/Du-communisme-au-nationalisme-itineraire-d-un-intellectuel-francais-Venissieux-2-mars-2007-2164.html.
- 14. “Hommage des 150 ans de la naissance de Charles Maurras - Alain Escada,” L' Action Française on YouTube, April 26, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvL7upKle1I&feature=share.
- 15. Coalition pour la Vie et la Famille, https://www.coalitionlifeandfamily.com/.
- 16. “Gérard Bedel ‘Maurras, poète de l'Ordre et de l’espoir,’” Médias-Presse-Infos on YouTube, April 25, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=2O16_0eSJEk.
- 17. Jeune Nation, https://www.jeune-nation.com/.
- 18. Piero Ignazi, Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe (Oxford University Press, 2006), 89.
- 19. Olivier Faye, Abel Mestre and Caroline Monnot, “Yvan Benedetti et Alexandre Gabriac réactivent ‘Jeune nation,’” Le Monde, August 7, 2013, http://droites-extremes.blog.lemonde.fr/2013/08/07/yvan-benedetti-et-alexandre-gabriac-reactivent-jeune-nation/.
- 20. Institut du Bon Pasteur, http://www.institutdubonpasteur.org/.
- 21. "Pourquoi je suis d'Action française," L'Action française hebdo, June 12, 1997.