Nicolas Lebourg: Associate Researcher at Montpellier University, Perpignan,  is the author of Les Nazis ont-ils survécu? Enquête sur les Internationales fascistes et les croisés de la race blanche (Seuil, 2019). He also co-authored The Extreme Rights in Europe (Harvard University Press, 2017) with Jean-Yves Camus. 


Long limited to the US context, White nationalism has now become an international issue following Anders Breivik’s 2011 terror attack in Norway and the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting by Brenton Harrison Tarrant. While French author Renaud Camus’ expression le grand remplacement (the great replacement)[1] has travelled the globe, René Binet (1913–1957), also a Frenchman, fathered the concept earlier. Binet remains a totally unrecognized figure, even though he can be presented as the European equivalent of the American Francis-Parker Yockey (1917–1960)—whom he met.[2] Binet’s militant life of a monk-soldier was entirely devoted after 1945 to the production of a transnational racist political project sanctifying the unity of the white world.

From Trotskyism to Nazism, a Life of an Underground Militant

Binet’s political engagement over the first 16 years of his career saw him traverse the political spectrum. He joined the Communist Party in 1930, then went to the Soviet Union in 1931. He was expelled in 1934 from the Communist Youth for showing sympathy with the arguments of Jacques Doriot and of Leon Trotsky.[3] Binet was one of the founders of the Trotskyist Internationalist Communist Party (ICP) in 1936 along with Pierre Frank and Raymond Molinier—both future pillars of the Unified Secretariat of the Fourth International.[4]

The Trotskyist newspaper that Binet was running at that time, Le Prolétaire, which he linked to American and European antifascist periodicals, had “Proletarians have no Fatherland” as its motto. With war looming, it boldly declared: “The bourgeois homeland is in danger? May it die!”[5] Binet was arrested in August 1939 for distributing pacifist propaganda. Enlisted in May 1940, he was soon taken prisoner. In 1943, he enrolled in Germany’s Compulsory Work Service.

In February 1944, Binet joined the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism (LVF), a French unit of the Wehrmacht, and then of the Waffen-SS, formed by collaborationist volunteers from the Vichy regime to participate in the  invasion of the Soviet Union.

On May 3, 1945, disguised as a civilian, he surrendered to the Americans. With the help of his military papers from 1940, Binet claimed to be an escapee. Repatriated to France, he joined the Quaker Relief until 1946.[6]

His wife Marie-Angèle Lamisse, also a former member of the ICP and a Quaker employee, actively assisted Binet. She created a support structure for former prisoners which served as a basis for the first group her husband founded in 1945: the Republican Party for Popular Unity (PRUP—Parti républicain d’unité populaire), which, like all the groups founded by Binet at the time, tried to enlist from on the left on radical nationalist slogans.[7]  The party engaged against “Slavic and American imperialism,” and denounced the cultural influence of the Vatican and of the United States. At the same time, Binet launched an isolated organization in January 1946 that clandestinely resumed the publication of the LVF newspaper, Le Combattant européen. This generated conflict with other networks of former Nazis which sought to infiltrate the anti-communist movements.

To finance the Socialist Movement for French Unity (MSUF—Mouvement socialiste d’unité française), founded in 1948, Binet and Lamisse acquired aid from the Argentinian embassy, sounded out Spain and Yugoslavia (Binet describes Tito as a “Slavic Doriot”),[8] and maintained excellent relations with the spokesmen of the Egyptian embassy and the Arab League.[9] Binet was also connected with the Bruderschaft, an association of former SS members founded in 1949 to influence Germany’s post-war nationalist parties.[10]

Binet’s overt neo-Nazism landed him in prison several times. Afterwards, he tried to engage in a more mainstream newspaper, Le Nouveau Prométhée, but continued to publish figures known for their collaborationism such as the famous writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline.[11] The paper invented the self-designation national-progressist, a positive and original formulation (the French extreme right wanted to avoid the word progress), which was further developed with the 1951 launch of Nation and Progress, a group that later inspired the future leaders of the New Right when they founded the Nationalist Movement of Progress in 1966.

From Binet’s writings the New Right similarly took up the expression biological realism.

For the remainder of his life, Binet was less committed to running a sustainable national organization than to launching transnational structures, which were more in line with his pan-European racial conceptions. The neofascist Italian Social Movement(MSI—Movimento Sociale Italiano) welcomed him at the 1950 European meetings to prepare the launch of the European Social Movement (ESM) in Malmö the following year, a movement intended to bring together nationalists from all over Europe. Binet would have even met with a close collaborator of Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy in Italy in 1952, if the MSI had not cancelled it.[12]

The Theoretician of Transnational Racism

Binet’s main newspaper, Le Combattant européen, presented itself as a fighter defending against “a new occupation,” combatting the “colonization of Europe” by “negroes” and “Mongols,” and calling for the union of former communist resistance fighters and the Waffen-SS in order to build “the European nation.”[13]

While the PRUP militated “against the massive arrival of North African workers,”[14] the MSUF shifted its language to proclaim the need for “a Franco-German union, which is alone capable of saving the white race from the invasion of the Negroes.” [15] Binet’s obsession over the presence of Afro-American soldiers did not arise from American segregationist conceptions; during the interwar period, discourses from the German propaganda agency Fichte Bund targeted the use of French colonial troops to occupy German soil. Mein Kampf’s narrative of Whites more than Germans or Aryans was also based on that memory.[16] Binet largely reproduced a similar line of argument: “We accuse the Zionists and anti-racists of the crime of genocide because they claim to be imposing on us a crossbreeding that would be the death and destruction of our race and civilization.”[17] 

Binet led a long guerrilla war against the writer Mauriche Bardèche, the European Social Movement theoretician in charge of unifying French nationalists.

Contrary to Bardèche, Binet demanded a maximalist program: the defense of the “Aryan-Christian civilization” able to enjoy its “necessary vital space” in Africa.[18]

In 1951, Binet convened a meeting in Zurich that gave birth to a European Liaison Bureau, renamed the New European Order (NEO) in 1954. The NEO was an International led by the first negationist in history: the Swiss Gaston-Armand Amaudruz. For the NEO, Europe should extend “from Brest to Vladivostok”—an expression also found later in the Belgian Jean Thiriart’s work—although Binet never went so far in terms of integration. Indeed, he always positioned himself as a virulent anti-Soviet figure, accusing the Soviet government to be dominated by Zionists who “[want] us to become the slaves of a bastard minority of Judeo-Negroids”[19] and denouncing a Russia made up of “Turko-Mongols” and “Finno-Ugrians.”[20] With the NEO’s pan-European claims, Binet had to compromise; the Slavs were recognized as members of the “white world” and the claim was made that “the hierarchy of races can only be based on their confrontation and subsequently on respect for the particularities and traditions of each one.”[21]

The NEO took a hard stance on colonization: Europe should renounce its colonial domination but also send the “non-native groups” back to the decolonized countries and ally itself with South America, the Middle East, and India.[22] In the name of race purity and the need to decolonize, Binet denounced the atrocities the French army committed in Madagascar and accused France of being at the service of “American imperialism” in Indochina.[23]

The NEO virulently defended the idea of a new world order based on racial hierarchy, in which “white humanity,” by federating its nations, will see the birth of “the new man within the new race” through a totalitarian party-state.[24]

Binet thus argued that he was fighting a globalist and hybridizing capitalism aimed at “uniform barbarity,” and instead promoted “scientific (national, NL) socialism,” to be put at the service of “all white nations.” The ultimate objective here was to establish “absolute segregation at the world level as well as at the level of the nation.”[25] Killed in a car accident in 1957, Binet was buried in a mass grave until one of his followers provided him a burial place in 1971.

Conclusion

Binet bridged the national fascism of the interwar period and the age of global white nationalism. Because of his openly Nazi ideology, his influence was only tenuous, although the New Right of the 1960s is very much indebted to him. Nevertheless, he contributed to producing what the NEO called “neo-racism,”[26] an expression that scholars took up again 30 years later to qualify the pseudo-Third Worldism of the New Right, which claims to seek alliances with the extra-European territories to achieve a better separation between native Europeans and colonized people/migrants.

Bidet’s openly advertised racialism has paved the way to an anti-colonialist and anti-immigrant ethnopluralism celebrated by the New Right and then the Identitarians.

Abandoning classic nationalism and Aryanism for the notion of a “white world,” Binet clearly outlined the forthcoming themes of “white genocide” and the ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government). This discourse was to undergo a number of reincarnations and transmutations, gradually becoming today’s white nationalist narrative about the right to defend one’s “cultural identity” and the fear of a biological replacement of populations. Binet had few heirs, but a real posterity.


[1] See the occurrence of Google searches for the notion of “great replacement”: “Grand remplacement,” Google Trends, Google, accessed October 29, 2020, https://trends.google.fr/trends/explore?date=all&q=%2Fg%2F11bbsws11q.

[2] Maurice Bardèche, Suzanne et le taudis (Paris: Plon, 1957) 128–129.

[3] See Jean-Michel Brabant and Rudolph Prager, “BINET René, Valentin,” Le Maitron, updated May 2, 2013, https://maitron.fr/spip.php?article16745.

[4] Le Prolétaire, February 4, 1939; La Vérité, March 15, 1939.

[5] Le Prolétaire, April 1939.

[6] Direction des Renseignements généraux (DRG – Directorate of General Intelligence), “A/S de l’association dite Mouvement socialiste d’unité française,” February 15, 1949, pp. 7–10, AN/20030515.

[7] Notes by the General Secretariat of the Elysée (SGE) from June 1949 and March 1951 (AN/4AG/77).

[8] L’Unité, November 6, 1948.

[9] Notes of the RG, August 1950 September 1951, AN/19980419/15/4007; note of the General Directorate of National Safety (DGSN) from November 26, 1948, AN/4AG/76.

[10] Note from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from August 15, 1950, FOIA CIA-RDP78-01617A000900120001-8.

[11] Le Nouveau Prométhée, July 1950.

[12] Note from the SGE, October 24, 1952, AN/4AG76.

[13] Le Combattant européen, March 1946 to July 1946.

[14] Renseignements généraux de la Préfecture de Police (RGPP), note from March 24, 1950, p. 3.

[15] Notes from the DGSN from December 15, 1949, AN/4AG/76.

[16] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Sentry Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1962), 325.

[17] L’Unité, December 18, 1948.

[18] Note from the DRG, December 30, 1952, AN/20030515/1/DP705.

[19]Droit et liberté, January 1, 1949.

[20] René Binet, Socialisme nationaliste contre marxisme (1950; reis., Montréal: Éditions celtiques, 1978), 53.

[21] Binet, Socialisme nationaliste contre marxisme.

[22] Déclaration de Zürich, Déclarations du Nouvel Ordre Européen, 1958, 1–3.

[23] Note from SGE, April 22, 1952, AN/4AG/76.

[24] René Binet, Contribution à une éthique raciste (1946; reis., Montréal : Éditions celtiques, 1975), 24–62.

[25] René Binet, Théorie du racisme (Paris: Les Wikings, 1950) 16–35.

[26] Maurice Bardèche, Le Racisme, cet inconnu (1960; reis., Waterloo: Le Javelot, 1992), 3–8.