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The Case for the Nation

Claude Monet, The Rue Montorgueil, Paris, 1878

Claude Monet, The Rue Montorgueil, Paris, 1878

1,500 words

Translated by Guillaume Durocher

Translator’s Note:

This speech was given by Alain Soral in Lille at the Front National’s February 2007 presidential convention. The title is editorial. Translated from Alain Soral, Anthologie (2003–2013) (Éditions Kontre Kulture: 2013), “Communautés et communautarismes,” pp. 215–18.

Before talking about communitarianism[1] we need to talk about community and put this word in historical perspective. 

Man is a social animal; he exists and has only ever existed within a community. The individual, Descartes’ ego, is a false abstraction, a robinsonade.

From this individualism, at the heart of Enlightenment ideology, comes a large part of our current problems.

First there is not the one, but the couple, the smallest of communities.

Because in reality one needs first a man and a woman for a human being to exist. The aporia of the chicken and the egg is resolved through evolution . . .

This original couple produces the smallest and first community: the family.

The family, which produces children, produces in turn the extended family community: the clan then the tribe, through the joining of families according to kinship structures: endogamy and exogamy, monogamy and polygamy . . .

Our society has expanded according to the so-called exogamous-monogamous model, by far the best performing.

We therefore see over time – If History has a direction, in the sense of a structure’s direction over time – a dynamic of enlargement of the community whose goal is intrinsically progressive: Grouping individuals in a pacified organization, in order to reach higher and higher goals compared to what man alone could achieve.

This heightened power has a price to pay, the acceptance – necessarily limiting the unrestrained power [toute-puissance] of the individual – of the Law. Acceptance of the Law which is always group discipline over individual impulses and desires.

Thus civilization can be defined as the attempt to peacefully increase the size of the human community, by stemming the two threats of disorganization which are always lurking around it, and which always exist: violence and chaos.

In terms of scale, the biggest freely-consented community reached by man was achieved in our lands: After the clan, the tribe, the fiefdom, the kingdom . . . this community was the Nation.

The Empire[2] must be considered, not as a community in the strict sense, but as an imperial power which controls under its yolk a collection of disparate communities which always threaten to fall apart: the Austro-Hungarian Empire was the perfect example of this.

The Nation is then, throughout History, the greatest freely-consented community, tens of millions of men living within a commonly accepted and pacified organization, for a common destiny.

The problem is that these great units, born in Europe through the imitation of France – which has often been a pioneer in Western history – fought each other to the point of mutual destruction from the Napoleonic adventure onwards.

The paradox of a nation transformed into an Empire which attempted to impose the national model on neighboring empires! Another paradox of the Nation: being the biggest and most productive peaceful community within its borders, the nation proved to also be the most warlike and destructive outside its borders: the two World Wars – of which the second led to Europe’s decline and the United States of America’s preeminence – also led to the discrediting of the Nation in the eyes of the ruling elites. To avoid this kind of repeated traumas, two paths were proposed to overcome this chauvinistic national communitarianism: [Firstly] the solution of proletarian internationalism, which appeals to internationalism and to the community of exploited social classes.

A community of class which was also belligerent on another level: Not nation against nation, but class against class . . .

An internationalism (also called antifascism since 1945) also taken up by Stalinism: [actually] both the failure of socialism in “really-existing socialism” and the return, in fact, of an imperialist Russo-Slavic nationalism which merely went from the white to the red.

The second alternative solution, as against this proletarian internationalism: The globalist (so-called universalist) solution, of Free-Masonic inspiration.

This is the solution which our national elites opted for after 1945, notably through [Robert] Schuman, [Jean] Monnet, [René] Cassin . . . and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man.

From that time on, European ruling elites decided therefore to kill the nations and to meld them into a universal super-communitarianism.

Yet this universal super-communitarianism does not correspond to any deep movement of History, nor is it consented to by the peoples (either according to Maurras or to Marx), but is an elite, abstract decision, in large part determined by moneyed powers.

The first Europe was that of steel, iron, and coal . . .

Moneyed powers whose logic, at the same time – and it is not a coincidence – have also become supra-state (after having been State imperialist . . .).

Thus we can understand that this moneyed anti-nationalism, draped in universalist virtues, has not led to universal brotherhood and to the world citizen speaking Esperanto, but to frittering away, to fragmentation, to the weakening of historical, cultural, religious, and moral communities . . . into communitarianisms.

No longer the communitarianism of hope and of a willful march forward, but the whining and entitled communitarianisms because of lack of transcendental bonds: sectarian communitarianism, societal communitarianism . . . So many communities who reject both the old national community and the communities of class in a mechanism again linked to the Market:

  • Sexual communities of women, gays . . . age-based communities of youths, seniors . . .
  • Often idealized and caricatured ethnic communities . . . which constitute, in reality, so many captive markets and market segments . . .

A communitarianism of division, founded by and upon victimary communitarianism, where the ex-Nation is no more than an aggregate of minorities eternally victimized by a supposed silent majority, which is blamed for all wrongs.

A victimary communitarianism which is, in practice, a destruction of the former national community founded on collaboration and production, becoming a parasitic communitarianism of hateful demands and reparations, in the name of a mythologized past.

A communitarianism which is at once absurd morally and ultimately unlivable practically.

Pseudo-oppressed minorities which are, in reality, so many acting minorities [minorités agissantes] demanding, as reparations, privileges in a dynamic of ever-greater parasitism and fragmentation, the opposite of the original communitarian dynamic whose goal was, I state again, to peacefully unite as many individuals as possible in a goal of cooperation . . .

That is our situation in France today, where the hatred of the national, in a climate of economic recession, also worsens class relations. A climate of social injustice in addition masked, in a very immoral way, by communitarian demands emanating in reality from the privileged.

From, in reality, communitarian elites who have access to the media.

These are terrible injustices and terrible lies which in themselves form perfectly fertile ground for civil war . . . The blame falls not upon the actual communities, insofar as they exist, given that communitarian representatives, the most often self-proclaimed, are nothing but influence-peddling networks who speak in the name of communities whose existence is questionable and problematic, and, what’s more, who have not mandated them to speak in their name.

In the face of this effort to destroy the French community, I therefore think that it is urgent to return to the largest-scale community to have ever existed: the Nation.

Not a warlike and expansionist nation, but a Nation of culture and peace oriented towards collaboration between Nations . . .

The danger of war between great Nations being non-existent in Europe, it is indeed against the danger of civil war, due to exacerbated communitarianism, which we must fight against today, by returning to the model which we, Frenchmen, invented and which we gave the world: the Nation.

The Nation which is one and indivisible, which recognizes no communities and no lobbies, but only citizens equal in rights, and which has as its goal the public interest.

We must therefore notably oppose the pernicious importation into France of the “clash of civilizations,” a neoconservative American idea and project which, you understand, uses communitarian conflict, and whose wicked goal is to divide and rule.

Those who have understood this argument will therefore also understand my political positions and how their only aim is the salvation of France . . .

I thank you for your attention.


1. In French political discourse, “communitarianism” (communautarisme) refers to placing any sectional identity/interests (sexual, ethnic, religious . . .) above the interests of the Nation, hence it is typically used as a term of abuse, although some have tried to rehabilitate it. (E.g. Julien Rochedy, “The Case Against ‘Assimilation,’” Counter-Currents, April 24, 2015: Here Soral uses the term “communitarianism” for all processes of identity- and community-building, contrasting sectarian sub-national communitarianism with desirable national communitarianism.

2. Typically Soral uses the term “the Empire” to designate the current hegemonic power in the world, which he more specifically terms the “Americano-Zionist Empire,” an evil Judeo-bourgeois force which rules by deceit, violence, and sinfulness, and seeks to destroy all nations, for only a coalition of free nations might resist its hegemony. Here Soral uses “Empire” in a more general sense.


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  1. Triptolemus
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I agree with much of what Soral says, especially concerning “pseudo-oppressed minorities.” However, it struck me upon reading his essay that he side-stepped a crucial issue.

    If I understand Alain Soral correctly, the nation is an extended family:

    “The family, which produces children, produces in turn the extended family community: the clan then the tribe, through the joining of families according to kinship structures [exogamy and monogamy] (…) After the clan, the tribe, the fiefdom, the kingdom . . . this community was the Nation.”

    Confusingly, Soral makes this definition, then goes on to use the word “nation” to refer to a state and “community” to refer to people. But, the state is ultimately based on the values of the people that founded it–however aberrant a state becomes.

    Immigrants have no kinship ties to a country’s founding nation, unless they marry into it and conform to its practices (and not the other way around). So, then, by Soral’s definition, unassimilated immigrants cannot be part of the nation, but rather must constitute their own transplanted nations (“communities”).

    If immigrant communities remain apart from the founding nation, in order to preserve their own traditions, such as kinship structures and religion (which often differ from that of the founding nation, as in the case of endogamous polygyny and Islam in France) then they cannot become part of the nation, since the nation is formed “through the joining of families according to kinship structures.”

    But, if immigrants abandon their traditions in order to assimilate to the “Nation”, what are they assimilating *to*? Some kind of agnostic citizenship? Or, to the traditions of the founding nation (i.e., exogamous monogamy, Christianity)?

    If the nation was formed by the “joining of families”, this original joining consisted not merely of legal contracts but was done in accordance with the traditions of the nation, i.e., marriage vows, oaths of loyalty, and so on. So, then, the nation is inseparable from not only its “kinship structures” but also from the traditional foundation of those structures, which is composed of myth, religion, custom, aesthetics, and many other dimensions.

    A regime may claim to recognize “no communities” according to its doctrine. However, immigrant communities certainly recognize themselves, which in turn makes it necessary for the founding nation to recognize itself as a community. Otherwise, it will only be the founding nation that fails to recognize (or is prevented from recognizing) its own identity, leaving a secular vacuum which can never sustain a nation. The structures of a nation must be based on something longstanding, not on rationalistic doctrine from the 17th Century, which is a passing fad on the time-scale of civilizations.

    It is the Enlightenment doctrine of the ‘proposition nation’ which, by refusing to recognize communities, refuses to recognize even the founding nation which gave birth to the Enlightenment project in the first place, and without which it will be extinguished, leaving hollow secular regimes to be dismantled and replaced by new regimes founded on the traditions of new settlers.

    It is true that an Enlightenment-based ‘proposition nation’ formed by European settlers displaced native north Americans. However, it did this *in spite of* its supposed doctrine, since if it had been a true proposition nation it would have welcomed the Indians as fellow citizens. As it turned out, diaspora Europeans are still European, and the Indians proved to be unassimilable for the most part, because of kinship structures and other incompatible cultural practices. Conversion to Christianity was not sufficient, because the structures of European civilization are much older than Christianity (especially Protestantism). So, within a dozen generations, native Americans have supposedly ‘assimilated’, yet they constantly re-assert their identities, through protests over land use, religious ceremonies, and secession movements. In fact, they were never assimilated, only marginalized.

    On the other hand, southern European families that emigrated in the early twentieth century, and which were met with resistance at the time, have by now become mainstream Americans–which is to say, they remain European. Many assert their ethnic identity, mainly through religion (which they share not just with co-ethnics but with other transplanted Europeans), but this expression is largely superficial. Most Italian-Americans don’t speak Italian and don’t know Italian history, though they may be able to name a few important Italian artists, explorers, and astronomers, and they still root for Italy in the World Cup. Perhaps this cultural anemia is to be bemoaned. However, my point is to say that the reason southern and eastern Europeans could assimilate to northwestern European culture in North America is that they still share a deep, archaic, affinity with all Europeans–through blood-ties and shared culture.

    Europeans are genetically closer to each other than to any other race. Of course, one can easily complicate this fact by pointing out that some Europeans have considerable Asian or Middle Eastern admixture. And this is why one should avoid biologistic myopia. The “kinship structures” Soral refers to exist because they were successful over an extremely long period of time, and they remain in place in spite of periodic invasions.

    Countries of Europe and the European diaspora should recognize that all of their institutions–art, architecture, music, religion, law, government, and education (to name a few)–share a common genesis. Even breakaway philosophies (universalism, humanism, and so on) cannot change this fact, as they, too, are products of this genius—which is capable of destroying its own body. [Or, perhaps these ideas are more like retroviruses which have merged with our cultural DNA, to overextend the metaphor…]

    Altruism is beneficial when applied to an extended family (a nation in the proper sense), but it cannot be scaled up to include people who do not share those intrinsic values, which ultimately derive from deep, archaic structures.

    If his call is to support the regime because it still represents the interests of the founding nation, this must be qualified by its policy. Conflating criticism of mass immigration, with the neoconservative “conflict of civilizations” is misleading. The “conflict of civilizations” doctrine is used to push a pro-Zionist war policy. But this abuse does not mean there is no conflict (i.e., between Muslims and Christians), which we have seen play itself out in our streets. Similarly, the desire for recognition, and self-recognition, by authentic communities needs no justification as this desire is inherent to communities by definition. However, the issue of compatibility remains. What kind of co-existence is possible, given the degree of difference between natives and non-European immigrants?

    • Leon
      Posted July 16, 2015 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      Very good comment. I agree with everything that’s written here.

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