Alain Chevarin Former teacher, specialist in extreme rights
Why does Lyon occupy a special place in the far right in France?
Alain Chevarin This is the central question of my book and the answers are complex. Lyon has long had this special place with regard to the far right, with an amplification for fifteen years. The first reason may seem paradoxical: the FN-RN has never been in a strong position here. However, each time it is in difficulty or weakened, small groups develop. In regions where it is strong, these small groups are gradually integrated. On the other hand, Lyon has a key figure for the far right: Bruno Gollnisch. He and the historic Lyon FN are rather open to identities, to the French Work, including Yvan Benedetti, also based in Lyon, who had been its campaign manager. The second reason is that the city has been dominated for a very long time by a center-right who has never been concerned with the far right, even who was ready to make an alliance with the FN, like Charles Millon in 1998. Lyon. is therefore a particular breeding ground for the extreme rights, because they are diverse.
Does their common point stem in part from the sociology of Lyon and in particular from a deeply rooted traditional Catholicism?
Alain Chevarin Yes, this is probably the third aspect. For years, Gay Pride was not allowed to pass through the 5th arrondissement (where the far right is very established – Editor’s note). In fact, it is the extreme right that won… In Lyon, there is the presence of a traditionalist Catholicism, the city is also consecrated to the Virgin Mary every December by the mayor in person; Grégory Doucet is the first mayor not to have done so. Even the identitarians, rather neopaians, felt that it was interesting and fired their cuti: they organize a procession to the Virgin in December – moreover almost always allowed. The Manif pour tous episode also served as a catalyst. Despite their violence and their positions, small groups can sometimes pass for “Good, somewhat unruly Christians…“
Action Française is also present: were the three people convicted of the attack on the PCF premises members?
Alain Chevarin Lyon counts absolutely everything that exists in France as extreme rights, it’s quite impressive! The breeding ground of religion, Pétainism, identities… Another important point: in the years 1980-2000, the University of Lyon-III served as an ideological matrix, which brought weight and credibility to the far right.
Is that why Marion Maréchal set up her school, Issep, in Lyon?
Alain Chevarin Yes, totally. Marion Maréchal is on the double line of cultural hegemony and the union of the rights, from the center to the identities.
Are there any links between these small groups and the FN-RN?
Alain Chevarin They are numerous, even if they are not often public and institutional. Bruno Gollnisch, already, frequented the identitarians “on a personal basis” when he was n ° 2 of the FN. With Marion Maréchal, it’s the same thing, people like Damien Rieu gravitate from one small group to another … There are perhaps a little less with the RN, because Marine Le Pen wants to hide them, but links are frequent and constant.