Czech translation here
I met Yann Vallerie the President of Jeune Bretagne, a group associated with the Mouvement Identitaire, in the Chaos du Moulin in Huelgoat. As we talked and walked among the boulders and along the stream I had the recurring feeling that the Wizard Merlin’s hut must be around the next corner. In getting to know the natural beauty of this region it became obvious why the most vibrant movement of rooted white people has such an Arthurian heroic feel to it and is rooted in an identity that is deeper and older than the Ancien Régime or Ultramontanisme.
My initial impression was that Yann came across more like a welterweight martial artist than a political organizer. He has a quietly self-confident demeanor that hides the intense energy and passion he brings to his work. He does not have the personality of the showman that one finds in the South of France or the flashiness of a Parisian. Yann is definitely a man of his region.
I found out later that he was going to a court case immediately after our meeting, and it was clear he was already getting psyched up to do battle again for our cause.
He ran for office as a Breton Autonomist with the Jeune Bretagne linked party in the Cantonale and Legislative Elections in 2011 and 2012, respectively, but he is essentially a Community Organizer.
This interview took place before the action at the mosque of Poitiers on October 20, 2012. Yann did not take part in this, but there is a strong crackdown being carried out against Identitarian Groups across France, which delayed the submission of this article. Follow up to the Poitiers action and subsequent developments will be covered in the future. Below is the translation of our discussion.
Patrick Le Brun: Yann, thanks for taking the time to talk about Jeune Bretagne and to tell your story to our American comrades. So what is the short version of what Jeune Bretagne is?
Yann Vallerie: Jeune Bretagne is a group of Breton Patriots focused on winning autonomy for our region and continuing our culture. It is not a strictly “political” association. It is focused on metapolitics, therefore more concerned with the greater culture and not focused on electoral politics.
PL: How did you get involved in this movement and what is your background?
YV: Well, I can say that I was born to be a Breton Nationalist. My father and grandfather were both very proud Bretons, they fought to preserve our culture and to eventually regain self-determination for our people. Probably many generations before them felt the same way, but both of these men influenced me directly and raised me.
They were both Breton nationalists of the left. You can see when you look around that this is socialist and communist country from the posters in the store windows. I was involved in Far Left movements from the age of 14 to 17. We Bretons, particularly those of us who have no reason to go to the cities, are very protected from seeing what is happening across Europe. Once I found out and saw the effects of this invasion, I knew that the Left could no longer provide the policies that Bretagne needs to survive. It really is one of the greatest threats we have faced in our history.
PL: I would agree that it is less of a change to go from the far Left in a homogeneous community to being a far Right Nationalist, as opposed to converting to some Free Market ideology. Is that how others perceive it here, that your values have remained consistent?
YV: The youth understand, but there are very few older, experienced activists who have made the switch. I don’t blame this older generation, out here in the country for sticking with the Socialists and Communists because they came of age in a different time. What I am fighting against is so different and more complex than what they were fighting against. So many times when I am out in the country or in these villages, I’ll talk with the older folks about Islamicization, the creation of no-go zones in the ghettos, and crime and they totally agree with us. In fact they say things I never would. Part of the problem is when they see the news from Paris or Brest, it is like another planet to them. They don’t feel like this effects them, and they don’t know how big the problem is because it’s illegal to gather demographic data on race and the media avoids sounding the alarm. And when it comes to turning their opinions into action, they will never leave the Socialists and Communists. The only thing we can do is wait for them to die. I don’t mean any disrespect, but there is nothing to be done with them, and it’s only when they stop voting that we will start to see a big shift.
But like I said, young people, for the most part get it.
PL: One thing that is of concern in the US is the failure to attract women to the Movement there. Do you have any thoughts on that?
YV: Look, political activism always attracts more men than women, regardless of the affiliation, so we can’t expect parity. But women know what Sharia will do with them. So we have many female activists and many more who support the men who are active.
You know, the first activity I did when I became President of Jeune Bretagne was post bumper stickers on light posts in villages. It was about stopping the Islamicization of France, and my phone number was posted on the bottom. The first call I got was from a woman. Well, our daughter just turned two, so I’m not the guy to talk to about how our Movement alienates women.
PL: That’s a great story I had no idea . . . Congratulations! So it sounds like the problem of Islam and the clash of Civilizations is really effective at waking people up.
YV: European women see how Arab and Black women are treated in the Ghetto and that eventually this will touch their lives as well. They don’t want to become property for other men and they don’t want to be forced into wearing garbage bags whenever they go outside. But you know there are already a handful of women converting to Islam.
PL: I’ve heard that that is happening in the ghettos, why do you think that is?
YV: There are two things that draw French women to Islam today. The first one is that French women in the ghettos of Brest and Rennes are converting to Islam just to stop the men from harassing and even grabbing them in the streets. These thugs don’t treat veiled women that way, so European women are starting to veil themselves. The second reason is that the Culture of Consumption has nothing to offer them. It only values them on their superficiality and materialism. Islam is the only thing that they are aware of addressing the more profound issues of their lives.
Other women see this happening and they know that if immigration isn’t stopped, then that is coming to their neighborhood next, starting with the least wealthy.
PL: There has to be a social cost to activism, I think that is a big reason why American women won’t consider dating a man who expresses non-PC views, let alone is an activist.
YV: I have definitely paid the price for my activism. Just recently I was hired by a local university to work in their IT department. When they discovered I ran for office as an Identitarian they fired me before my first day. Ironically, they also hired a guy who ran in the same race at the head of the Front de Gauche (far Left) list. We are taking them to court now because, at this stage of the struggle, we have to claw back our basic civil rights.
We have had some activists who have left because their girlfriends or wives were afraid that their livelihood was endangered, but they should decide to act like men, because this is far too important a struggle. To quit over such petty concerns is really pathetic. There wouldn’t be any Bretons left if this was how our forefathers acted.
Maybe part of the problem, that you described in America also is that women don’t want to listen to a guy complain about the same thing all the time, especially if there are no actions to back it up. Whether it is alone or in a group, as a known activist or providing underground support, there is always something to be done. But if you are just whining or saying controversial things at social gatherings, no one wants to put up with that, male or female.
PL: So is Jeune Bretagne a youth movement as the name indicates?
YV: No, we have members of all ages. There are a lot of groups that divide activities between age groups, but the focus should be on what each activist is passionate about. For example, we have one activist in his mid-40s who loves to pass out tracts and hang posters. He has no interest in the lecture series or any other activity. As you know, this is usually teenagers who do this, and if we did divide by age we would lose this guy who is so reliable and inspiring to the teenagers he works with.
PL: How many members are there?
YV: We have about 250 Adherents, but our Activist Members number 60 to 80. When we put on a cultural event we usually attract about 150 people, which may include non-Adherents since these are open events. When we do more politically oriented events we can expect 30 to 40 to participate.
PL: Tell me more about these different activities.
YV: Well, as you know, we have a farmhouse not too far from here. We have a monthly lecture series on cultural and metapolitical issues. We regularly pass out tracts and hang posters both to promote the group and to get out certain messages or draw attention to certain issues. We have a “summer university”; our Activist Members camp here and we do all the things we normally do but more intensively. We have affiliated groups focused on sports and physical development. Also in all our events we really work at promoting Leadership Development and Strategic Thinking. This last part is very important. Our greatest value is as an educational group. We give people the strength to continue the fight through the cultural and metapolitical work and the means to effect change in other groups through leadership development and strategic thinking.
PL: So you mean you are like the Trotskyites of the Right trying to turn other organizations to your interest?
YV: Not exactly, we are different in that the leaders of Jeune Bretagne are not getting our hands dirty in the business of other groups. We simply provide a formation to those who come to us and trust that they will do the right thing in their other engagements that they are passionate about. So in that way we are more like Antonio Gramsci or the Frankfurt School. The Left has been doing this for 50 years so it is about time we start to. What makes this work is not one providential, charismatic leader. It is the fact that we have a lot of people who are willing to make an effort in the areas where they are passionate.
PL: What are some of the areas where some of your members have been active?
YV: The one that is at the top of my mind right now is everything that has to do with Halal. We have a couple members who are vegetarians and are very active in the Animal Rights milieu. Since, as we recently found out, most beef that comes to our tables in France is Halal, but it is not marked as such. This is because it is cheaper to have a low paid North African slitting the throat of live animals than to pay for a Stun Bolt cartridge to make each animal unconscious before slaughter. This is a subject that Jeune Bretagne has attracted attention to and these members I have in mind have moved their own organizations to be focused on this.
PL: One thing that they are very advanced on in the US is the development of skills and preparation for crisis through crossover with the Survivalist milieu. Do you incorporate any of that into your work?
YV: I have heard that before, that there are many survivalists in the US and that in some rural areas it is the norm to be a survivalist. Well, the French State has always been very concerned about paramilitary organizations, and so we have to be careful not to draw the wrong kind of attention or to invite the wrong people to join us. If we were to do anything touching on survivalism, we would limit it to our core of trusted Members so they would understand the difference between what we are doing and any kind of stupid fantasy about solving our problems with violence.
PL: Speaking of problems with the State, there are many things that we have to worry about in France, or Europe in general, that is not a concern in the US. You know the kind of subject that I’m referring to that are above being questioned. Now you are a real non-profit organization, a registered group with property like this farm. How do you keep from having some rogue member start shooting off his mouth and bringing down the State to take away your farm?
YV: That is a very serious issue. Earlier I was talking about Members and Adherents and non-Adherents. By having different levels of affiliation with the organization that provides some buffer. It is an open organization so anyone can come.
But we have had guys who arrive and every other time they open their mouths they are talking about the Holocaust. We have had to take these guys aside and say, “look, if this is your thing, there are others out there sticking their neck out on this issues, and you are better off joining them.”
At the same time we have had people join who are with us on the vast majority of issues, but will say “you know guys, I like being French, I don’t think it’s such a good idea for Bretagne to be autonomous.” Again, it’s like, what can I say, this is Jeune Bretagne, sorry but this is pretty important.
Also, by the time someone becomes a Member, they have been trained in how to speak for the group, they have proven their discipline in staying on message, so we can be sure they won’t damage the organization.
You know when it comes to the political protests we do we are quite confrontational and underline the differences between ourselves and our vision from the direction Europe is heading in now, but in our metapolitical events and in our formation of activists it is 90% about us. This is true for all of the successful groups now.
PL: You know the other night I went to a Fest Noz (traditional Breton outdoor dance party). First of all I was really struck by the fact that all of the dance troupes who were competing mostly had members in their 20s. Breton culture is definitely celebrated by the youth and clearly has a great future. But while there I saw a guy in an anti-fa shirt. . . . I thought it is a bit ironic that he was at an event that is rooted in your cultural history as Bretons, also I have to say he wasn’t a very threatening character . . .
YV: That’s a great example of what Jeune Bretagne can’t become. What are anti-fa for? Who knows! What are they against, Fascists? The 1930s was a long time ago, and making the connection to us is a little ridiculous, particularly if the problem with the fascists of old was their tactics.
PL: There are some people on the Nationalist Right who are too focused on the past too.
YV: This is also something I have said to the guys we asked to leave, “We are not hear to discuss the history of the 20th century, we are here to make cultural and political change in the 21st century.” This has been something that has held back the Right but not anymore.
YV: People in the movement realize that it is about construction not destruction.
PL: When it comes to creating a counter-culture though, I think that the Traditionalist Catholics have really done more that anyone. They have their own publishing houses, schools, and even a dress code that is immediately recognizable without being folkloric.
YV: Yes, well, they began much earlier, and they have been very well-funded by a handful of families early on who set up these things.
Well, like I said earlier, I was raised by Breton nationalists of the Left so I was not raised in the Church. I was invited by an activist I know not long ago to a Mass and saw that the women there had their heads covered.
When I fight against the Sharia, I mean it. With these folks, the problem with Muslims is they worship the wrong God. They are both Integrists, and I don’t think they have much to offer France, nor Europe nor Bretagne; that is just my opinion.
PL: We’ve spoken a lot about Sharia and fighting Islam, there is some concern generally in the US, and this was voiced recently by Nick Griffin of the BNP, that the Counter-Jihad Movement is simply a Jewish-controlled false opposition to divert energy away from a true Nationalist Renaissance in Europe. What are your thoughts on all that?
YV: Well, I actually spoke on behalf of the Bloc Identitaire at the big EDL rally after the Luton riots. I mean at one point they had a Rabbi up there talking, and all the English hooligans waving Israeli flags, and you have to ask yourself “when does this start to be ridiculous?” But in France and in Europe as a whole, Islam is the heart of the problem and something that the vast majority of the public can relate to. This is the jumping off point. But it can’t be just anti-Islam, which is what the counter-jihad is offering. That is one reason we are lucky to be Breton because we have such a rich culture and it is our duty to protect it.
PL: So do you have any parting words of advice to the Americans reading this regarding their efforts?
YV: First of all it is great to hear that there are people on our side in the US, because normally we think of the US as being the spearhead of Globalization.
But at the same time, it doesn’t seem right that they aren’t as developed as us. In the US they are used to fundraising for all sorts of things and they have tons of charitable organizations and clubs, whereas here the State eliminated the need for that long ago and there isn’t this culture of fundraising. Also they have the right to arm themselves in the US.
In the US they are only held back by Social pressures, but here we have the pressures of the State against us too. This afternoon I am heading off to a court date to defend myself against a charge of defamation. I called a local mayor an “Old Owl,” and she is suing me. In the US they have Freedom of Speech, and they should make the most of this as long as it is still around.
PL: Well, best of luck with your case this afternoon, and thanks for sharing this with the readers of Counter-Currents.
I would invite our readers to check out the videos on Jeune Bretagne’s site (http://www.jeune-bretagne.com/videos/) for ideas on creating effective protests with a small group of activists. And please do send words of encouragement to Yann and the rest of the Identitarians in French or in English at http://www.jeune-bretagne.com/nous-ecrire/ . It takes a few moments to write, but I know it will mean a lot to them in these difficult times.