Yvan Benedetti is the spokesman of the "Nationalist Party of France" (Parti Nationaliste Français) and director of the newspaper "Young Nation" (Jeune Nation),1 named after a neo-fascist far-right movement founded in 1949 by Pierre Sidos and his brothers, also called Jeune Nation.
Yvan Benedetti was born on September 16, 1965 in La Réunion, and already in his youth was a member of the Nouvelle Droite scout organization Europe-Jeunesse, a far-right scout movement created in 1973 by GRECE members Pierre Vial, Jean Mabire, Jean-Claude Valla and Maurice Rollet.2
After negotiations with Sidos, Jean-Marie Le Pen allowed some L'Œuvre militants, notably Benedetti, to integrate into the French far-right party Front National (FN) in 2007.45 Benedetti was elected FN Municipal Councilor in Vénissieux, and joined the central committee of FN in 2011. In 2011, he directed the electoral campaign of Bruno Gollnisch for the presidency of the FN.6
Benedetti was however expelled from the party in 2011 after he defined himself as an "anti-Zionist, anti-Semite, anti-Jew" in an interview.7 But even after that he seems to have caused trouble inside the FN, as historian Nicolas Lebourg remarked:8
"Between August 8 and 22, 2004, a delegation of young FN members led by regional representatives was officially received at the Ukrainian far-right Svoboda party’s summer camp. In 2009, the two parties signed a co-operation agreement and contributed to the Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN), recognized as a European political party in 2012 and chaired by Bruno Gollnisch, who had been in charge of international relations at the FN since 1994. Tensions arose in 2011, a few months before Marine Le Pen took the lead of the NF. When Svoboda decided to participate in the Forum Nation in France organized by Yvan Benedetti, Marine Le Pen sent an email asserting that this was counter to their agreement and breaking off relations. (Benedetti was an officer in the neo-fascist Œuvre Française who had been expelled from the FN a few months previously after stating that he was “anti-Zionist, anti- Semite, and anti-Jew.”) Svoboda fell into line and did not attend."
Subsequently, Benedetti, along with nationalist activist Alexandre Gabriac, decided to establish "Jeunesses Nationalistes" in 2011 as the youth movement and activist branch of L'Œuvre Française in order to attract militants deceived with the new FN leadership.9 The following year, Pierre Sidos, then 85, left the presidency of L'Œuvre after 44 years in office, succeeded by Benedetti.10
L'Œuvre Française was dissolved on 23 July 2013 after the issue of an official decree by the then Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls. The ban occurred in a context of street violence by far-right revolutionary groups, and followed the death of the far-left activist Clément Méric in a fight involving another nationalist association led by Serge Ayoub.11 Valls justified the dissolution by denouncing L'Œuvre as a group "organized like a private militia thanks to paramilitary-like training camps."12 He further added that the association had been "spreading a xenophobic and antisemitic ideology, diffusing racist and Holocaust-denying thesis, exalting collaboration [with the Nazis] and the Vichy regime, paying regular tribute to Pétain, Brasillach or Maurras."13
After L'Œuvre Française's dissolution, Benedetti and Alexandre Gabriac launched the newspaper Jeune Nation14 in 2013, called after its namesake, a French nationalist and neo-fascist movement originating in 1949 (Jeune Nation) that was dissolved in 1958 during the Algerian War after a series of violent episodes.
After its dissolution Jeune Nation merged with the Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS), a French dissident paramilitary organization active 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 L'Œuvre française, created by Pierre Sidos during the events of May 1968. After the dissolution of Œuvre Française and Jeunesses nationalistes on 24 July 2013, the website Jeune Nation became active.
Parti Nationaliste Français
In September 2015, Benedetti joined the ultranationalist and extreme right-wing "French Nationalist Party" (Parti Nationaliste Français), of which he is still spokesman.15 Originally established as a movement in 1983 by i.a. three former SS Division Charlemagne members (Pierre Bousquet, Jean Castrillo and Henri Simon), it had been re-activated as a party earlier in 2015 to cope with the dissolution of several far-right groups in 2013, particularly L'Œuvre française.16
On 21 April 2018, Benedetti gave a speech at a conference by the French group Amitié et Action Française, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Action Française hero Charles Maurras. The conference was organized by Clément Gautier, co-founder of the organization.17
Amitié et Action Française
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. 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.”18
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.19
The conference was opened with a Catholic mass, followed by several lectures of French and Belgian far-right proponents including Prince Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma. 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.20
In December 2018 the French press had reported on his participation in demonstrations of the Yellow Vests (YV) movement after he had pushed and shouted at Le Quotidien journalist Salhia Brakhlia during one of their demonstrations.21 Given that the YV only emerged in October 2018, it can be assumed that Benedetti was an early adept of the movement.
In February 2019 Benedetti took part in a 2019 event in Paris entitled "Yellow Vests - The Coming Revolution" that was attended by several hundred supporters. A video of the event had been translated into English and overdubbed professionally.22
On August 10, 2019, Benedetti could be spotted on a neo-Nazi conference in Lisbon, Portugal, together with other Third Positionist figures. The event was organized by Mario Machado of the Portuguese neo-Nazi movement "New Social Order" (Nova Ordem Social).23
[This article is in parts based on the Wikipedia page of Yvan Benedetti.]
- 1. "Nous contacter," Jeune Nation, https://jeune-nation.com/nous-contacter.html.
- 2. Philippe Pujol, Mon cousin le fasciste (Le Seuil, 2017), ISBN 9782021333213.
- 3. Jean-Paul Gautier, Les extrêmes droites en France: De 1945 à nos jours (Syllepse, 2017), 409–11, ISBN 9782849505700, https://books.google.fr/books?id=2yXTDgAAQBAJ&pg=PT409#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- 4. Sylvain Crépon, Les faux-semblants du Front national: Sociologie d'un parti politique (Presses de Sciences Po, 2015, 67–68. ISBN 9782724618129, https://books.google.fr/books?id=FPHTCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT67#v=onepage&q&f=false.,
- 5. Nicolas Lebourg, "L'Œuvre française, une longue marche sous le signe de la croix celtique," Slate, November 21, 2014, https://www.slate.fr/story/94893/oeuvre-francaise.
- 6. Abel Mestre, "Bruno Gollnisch lance sa campagne sur le parvis de la Basilique Saint-Denis," Le Monde, September 17, 2010, https://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2010/09/17/bruno-gollnisch-lance-sa-campagne-sur-le-parvis-de-la-basilique-saint-denis_1412471_823448.html.
- 7. "Un très proche de Gollnisch exclu du FN pour deux ans," Libération, July 10, 2011, https://www.liberation.fr/france/2011/07/10/un-tres-proche-de-gollnisch-exclu-du-fn-pour-deux-ans_748369.
- 8. Nicolas Lebourg, "The French Far-Right in Russia's Orbit," Carnegie Council, May 15, 2018, https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/publications/articles_papers_reports/the-french-far-right-in-russias-orbit/_res/id=Attachments/index=1/Lebourg-EN%20revised%203.pdf.
- 9. Maxence Knepper, "L'Oeuvre française et les Jeunesses nationalistes n'acceptent pas leur dissolution," Le Journal du Dimanche, July 24, 2013, https://www.lejdd.fr/Politique/L-Oeuvre-francaise-et-les-Jeunesses-nationalistes-n-acceptent-pas-leur-dissolution-620787-3142184.
- 10. Olivier Faye, Abel Mestre and Caroline Monnot, " Pierre Sidos quitte la présidence de l'Oeuvre française," Le Monde, February 7, 2012, https://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2012/02/07/pierre-sidos-quitte-la-presidence-de-l-oeuvre-francaise_5981831_823448.html.
- 11. "Mort de Clément Méric : cinq personnes toujours en garde à vue," France 24, June 7, 2013, https://www.france24.com/fr/20130607-mort-clement-meric-serge-ayoub-le-leader-jnr-entendu-police.
- 12. "Manuel Valls annonce la dissolution de l'Oeuvre française et des Jeunesses nationalistes," France24, July 24. 2013, https://www.france24.com/fr/20130724-manuel-valls-annonce-dissolution-oeuvre-francaise-jeunesses-nationalistes.
- 13. "Nouvelles dissolutions de structures d'extrême droite," La Croix, July 24, 2013, https://www.la-croix.com/Actualite/France/Nouvelles-dissolutions-de-structures-d-extreme-droite-2013-07-24-990394.
- 14. Jeune Nation, https://jeune-nation.com/.
- 15. "Yvan Benedetti," Libération, March 1, 2017, https://oeilsurlefront.liberation.fr/hors-les-murs/2017/03/01/yvan-benedetti_1552313.
- 16. "Œuvre Française (Œ)," france-politique.fr, https://www.france-politique.fr/wiki/%C5%92uvre_Fran%C3%A7aise_(%C5%92).
- 17. “Journée commémorative du 150e anniversaire de Charles Maurras,” Jeune Nation, April 4, 2018, https://jeune-nation.com/natio-france/hommage-a-charles-maurras-avec-yvan-benedetti-21-avril-avignon.html.
- 18. "About," Facebook page of Amitié et Action Française (defunct), https://www.facebook.com/pg/amitieactionfrancaise/about/?ref=page_internal.
- 19. 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.
- 20. Videos by Médias-Presse-Infos on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzkvdLzgFecbUBRdgPX3RLg/videos.
- 21. "'Gilets jaunes' : une équipe de 'Quotidien' a fait face à des manifestants hostiles," Paris Match, December 4, 2018, https://www.parismatch.com/Culture/Medias/Gilets-jaunes-une-equipe-de-Quotidien-a-fait-face-a-des-manifestants-hostiles-1592388.
- 22. " « Yellow Vests – The Coming Revolution » (commenté pour les anglophones par Alison Chabloz) (vidéo)," Jeune Nation, February 11, 2019, https://jeune-nation.com/vid/yellow-vests-the-coming-revolution-commente-pour-les-anglophones-par-alison-chabloz-video.html#prettyphoto/0/.
- 23. Nova Ordem Social (Blog), August 12, 2019, https://nova-ordem-social.blogspot.com/2019/08/cartaz-final-conferencia-nacionalista.html.