The movement “Jeune Europe,” under the direction of Jean Thiriart (1922-1992), was the most successful attempt at the creation of an authentically transnational and European movement. Thiriart defended the idea of the Historical Party, “the little enlightened group, the vanguard group, the group capable of giving birth to a nation.” The party prefigures the nation (or community of destiny) to construct, the European nation. Since 1962, Jeune Europe scattered everywhere in Europe and even beyond it. At the time, the influence of Jeune Europe was rather marginal, the numerical weakness of its networks was not unknown to it. Thus, “JE” was forbidden in France because of its active support of the OAS. Only the Belgian and Italian networks would know their hour of glory.
Regarding the Italian organization of “Jeune Europe,” we can legitimately speak of relative success on the level of the action and organization of its structures and the originality of themes. Also, the success of longevity because the Italian branch was the last to disappear in 1970.
The study that follows on “Giovane Europa” essentially dates from 1980 except for some modifications and new elements that have since appeared.
THE GENESIS OF GIOVANE EUROPA-CONTINENTE
The genesis of “Giovane Europa” was on “the right,” it was indeed from “Giovane Nazione” that “Jeune Europe” would be born. The reference to the French organization “Jeune Nation” and its founders, the brothers Jacques and Pierre Sidos, is evident, as their popularity was large on the other side of the Alps.
“Giovane Nazione” was from the start a student organization founded by Pierfranco Bruschi (born in 1940) and Renato Cinquemani. Its first internal bulletin was published in November 1962 and would be followed by a dozen other issues until November 1963.
We note, and its anecdotal, the laudatory references to “Comrade Renato Curcio,” who was in charge of “Giovane Nazione” as can be seen in the internal bulletins of the movement (issues 4 and 5 of February and March 1963, who would become the leader of the “Red Brigades” some years later. Renato Curcio was then part of the group of Albenga and the directors of Giovane Nazione did not fail to praise him for the perfect organization and distribution of tasks within various federations, and also for completing the work of “translation from our European press.”1
At the time, the Italian organization existed principally in Milan, Bresica, Bologna, Turin, Genoa, and more generally, essentially in the North of Italy.
The Italian organization followed the same evolution as the Belgian network. Activism of the right ended in 1962 with a police repression that struck the principle Italian leaders.
“A bit after, Bruschi and Cinquemani were convinced of the necessity to organize the struggle on the European scale, tightening their links with Jeune Europe by adopting the Celtic cross and printing the manifesto of the European Nation.”2
THE BIRTH OF GIOVANE EUROPA
The first assembly of “Giovane Nazione” was held in Bologna, the 4th and 5th of May 1963, which reunited 60 delegates coming from all of Italy.
At this meeting Jean Thiriart, Oswald Mosley, and Pierfranco Bruschi, President of “Giovane Nazione” spoke. Renato Cinquemani retraced the worked accomplished in these three years of activity by “Giovane Nazione.” It was at the start of these works that Bruschi announced to the Italian militants the creation of an autonomous network “Alto-Adige,” independent of both the Italian and Austrian networks.
Immediately after, in June 1963, the release of the first issue of “Europa Combattente,” which featured the account of the meeting in Bologna, under the signature of Antonino de Bono. In this same issue, a supplement, “ MANIFESTO ALLA NAZIONE EUROPEA” was inserted.
It was at the same time that the “National-Revolutionary Alliance” was created on the initiative of “Giovane Nazione,” this alliance federated a certain number of groups including “Giovane Nazione,” “Giovane Europa,” “Giovani Italiani” of the FNCRSI, Gruppo San Marco of the “National Youth Front,” and other student groups. In fact, it is worth saying, the alliance, whose evident goal was to constitute a pole in opposition to the MSI, hardly served its goal. The principal political force, essentially revolutionary nationalist, that of Pino Rauti and Antonio Lombardo of “Ordine Nuovo,” remained separate.
Antonio Lombardo, who had assisted at the first meeting of the “National-Revolutionary Alliance”, did not cease to denigrate the action of this same “National-Revolutionary Alliance” afterwards.
Anyway, Giovane Nazione” underlined:
“The various organizations joining the National-Revolutionary Alliance have a common ideological origin with those working today in Italy and Europe that expresses itself in a common conception of the world and life and in a common vision of solutions to the contingent problems, ‘Giovane Nazione’ proposes the fusion of all member organizations of the National-Revolutionary Alliance into a new unitary organ.”3
That would be object of the meeting held in Bologna the 27th of October 1963 with the participation of Bruschi, Cinquemani, De Bono (Giovane Nazione), Cesarini, Smantelli, Gigliarelli (Ordine Nuovo Perugia), Pintus (FNG La Spezia), Paganini (Gruppo V Catullo de Verona), Andrioni (FISN Naples) and other friends of Grosseto, Catania, Reggio Calabria, and Messina.
At the end of this meeting, the National-Revolutionary Alliance was dissolved and some of the members joined Giovane Nazione and gave birth to Giovane Europa. Among these groups, we must mention those of Ordine Nuovo of Perugia lead by Cesarini and the student groups Gruppo V Catullo of Verona and FNG La Spezia directed respectively by Paganini and Pintus. Significantly, issue 4 of “ Europa Combattente” (February 1964) became the organ of “Giovane Europa,” no longer of Giovane Nazione.
“The Program of the new organization is the manifesto of the European Nation”4
The leadership of the national council returned to Gianfranco Bruschi while Doctor Rinaldo Barbesino of the FNCRSI was invited to accept the presidency of Giovane Europa. Besides Bruschi, we find: Ugo Cesarini, Eros Perugini, Antonio de Bono, Renato Cinquemani.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ITALIAN NETWORK
The periodical “Europa Combattente” became the organ of the movement5, henceforth, the Italian network would closely model its actions and its structures on the Belgian central organization, thus witnessed by the example of “communications” that perfectly inform us of the activity of “Giovane Europa” 6.
In these years 64-65-66, Giovane Europa deployed intensive propaganda, the groups multiplied, in the period from June 1963 to June 1964, the strongest groups were those in Bologna, Verona, Perugia, and Genoa 7. Numerous bulletins emerged, most often each federation had its own bulletin, like Bologna (GIOVANEUROPA), Naples (GIOVANTU’EUROPEA), Verona (NUOVA EUROPA), Turin (TORINO EUROPA-CONTINENTE), Milan (EUROFRONT), High Tuscany (GIOVANE EUROPA – CROCE EUROPEA), Ferrara (IL PRIMATO D’EUROPA ), Parma (BATAGLIA EUROPEA).
Thus, by its vigor, the Italian network showed that a political breakthrough was possible, from Bolzano to Reggio di Calabria, from Venice to Imperia.
Its originality also appeared in the ideological scheme, and in particular, it stands out from the right wing space from which it originated. Regarding the Italian Social Movement: “The MSI is a party of a deeply parliamentary essence with some nostalgic tendencies. Its entire political discourse is centered on the illusory hope of power to be utilized in a center or center right government.”
The MSI was burdened with a reactionary and conservative anti-communism: “The MSI follows Western, Atlanticist, and Nationalist politics…” The judgment was also severe regarding “Ordine Nuovo,” accused of only living to serve MSI: “In ON, we find indifferently ‘Nazis’, traditionalist Catholics, neo-pagans, republican Fascists, monarchists, nationalists, ‘Europeans,’ conservatives, socialists …”
The deep difference between Giovane Europa and these other movements is fundamental in the eyes of the leaders of Giovane Europa, each has a clear, revolutionary political discourse, the others must renounce Occidentalism and nationalism.”8
Following the example of the Belgian Central organization, the Italian network showed a great intransigence from both the militant and doctrinal points of view. The communications give numerous examples of praise and blame towards the militants and leaders … This is “due to the courage and the sacrifice of many of our members … Balzano, Bersacchi, Cerati, Cinquemani, Colucci, Costanzo, Fiori, Giubilo, Leone, Martelli, Moglia, Mutti, Orsi, Papalia, Ruocco, Smorto, Vella.”
Another example of the intense activity and the strength of its representation within the structure of Jeune Europe is given to us by both its intellectual and active participation:
- In Issue 0 of La Nation Européenne (October – December 1965), there were 42 people of all nationalities launching an appeal “to unite in the great combat for European Unity.” Among them 8 came from the Italian peninsula: Bruschi, Cinquemani, Costanzo, Destefanis, Martelli, Mutti, Orsi, Smorto.
- At the Madrid Congress in 1967, of the 58 directors from seven European countries, ten can from Italy, namely, Barsachi, Bruschi, Cinquemani, Fiori, Grandi, Magni, Maranelli, Martelli, Salis, Smorto.
THE STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION OF GIOVANE EUROPA
The Italian network was constituted on the model of the Belgian Central organization. At its head, we find from the start Pierfranco Bruschi, who would remain the leader of the organization practically until the end. We hereafter give the composition of the national leadership, we will notice on one hand strong representation from Northern Italy and on another substantial modifications in the composition of this leadership, except the continuous presence of P. Bruschi and C. Orsi.
The Organizational Scheme, copied from the Belgian Central Organization, is as follows:
- First Seat: Political Education
- Second Seat: Administration
- Third Seat: Propaganda
- Fourth Seat: Action
- Fifth Seat: Intelligence
30 November 1965 :
President : Pierfranco BRUSCHI (MILAN)
1st Seat : Massimo COSTANZO (ROME)
2nd Seat : Eros PERUGINI (MILAN)
3rd Seat : Claudio ORSI (FERRARA)
4th Seat : Renato CINQUEMANI (MILAN)
20 January 1967 :
President : BRUSCHI
1st Seat : CINQUEMANI
2nd Seat CINQUEMANI
3rd Seat : ORSI
4th Seat: Claudio DESTEFANIS
27 October 1968 :
Prssident : BRUSCHI
1st Seat : ORSI
2nd Seat : DESTEFANIS (provisoirement)
3rd Seat : Leonardo FIORI
4th Seat : DESTEFANIS
30 January 1969 :
Identical composition except
3rd Seat : Claudio MUTTI (PARMA)
25 October 1969 :
National Secretary : Claudio ORSI (FERRARA)
1st Seat : Pierfranco BRUSCHI (MILAN)
2nd Seat : Claudio DESTEFANIS (GENES)
3rd Seat : Pino BALZANO (TORRE ANNUNZIATA)
4th Seat : Claudio MUTTI (PARMA)
Giovane Europa was rather traditional in its actions, namely, public and private gatherings, tracts, displays, graffiti, journals, and communiques.
The original character of this propaganda resides essentially in its density of specifically Italian publications as well as the will to Italianize Jeune Europe to the maximum, the book by Thiriart was translated into Italian and sold.10
Two printed publications marked the life of Giovane Europa: EUROPA COMBATTENTE, publishing three issues in 1963, three in 1964, five in 1965, nine in 1966. By the end of 1966 this latter publication ceased to exist and was replaced by LA NAZIONE EUROPEA11, a fine publication averaging about eight pages. However, it was less fancy than LA NATION EUROPEENNE. The average circulation of the Italian journal was about 5,000 copies.
Its editorship included the principle leaders of “GE,” namely Pino Balzano, Pierfranco Bruschi, Renato Cinquemani, Francesco Egon Colucci, Leonardo Fiori, Claudio Mutti, Claudio Orsi.
In its form but also by its adaptation to the local context, LA NAZIONE EUROPEA adopted a very militant tone that made it more a broadsheet than a magazine. The themes are very anti-American, nay Third Worldist. The titles are revelatory of this state of mind: “NATO: Instrument of Servitude,” “The American Strategy in the Mediterranean,” an appeal to Vietnam, “Italy: An American Colony,” support for the black revolt in the USA, etc.
THE EVOLUTION OF GIOVANE EUROPA
Unlike the Francophone branch, the apogee of Giovane Europa occurred in 1969, while 1967 marked the height of activity in France and Belgium. Actually, it seems to have had the possibility of exploiting the Italian situation in the sense of a radicalization of the national liberation struggle (understood in the European sense). 1969, it’s the year of a flood of student struggle in Italy, struggles that Giovane Europa would attempt to channel and take into account. “Today in Italy, about fourteen spontaneous groups are nearly in complete agreement with our positions. We need to introduce the spontaneous groups to GE …” … “The idea of doing something new with the spontaneous groups must be fought as a romantic proposition. Thus we should use the spontaneous groups as a mass to direct, to guide without hesitation to the objectives proper to “GE,” namely doctrinal, political objectives and the plan of organization.” 12
It was in this spirit that the “ MOVIEMENTO STUDENSCO EUROPEO” (MSE) was launched on the initiative of “GE.” However, it appeared very quickly that it was very difficult if not impossible to do anything with the spontaneous movements. Thus, a meeting of the MSE, which would have been held in Florence on the 26th and 27th of April 1969 was canceled. The spontaneous groups were actually accused of lacking political homogeneity and doing activism for the sake of activism. Consequently, “GE” proposed beforehand, a true “Political debate to verify and deepen a unitary political discourse,” establishing LA NAZIONE EUROPEA as the platform. 13
“GE” noted firstly that it had two enemies to fight: the MSI and the National-Revolutionaries, both of whom tried to recoup the spontaneous movement (for opposite reasons). The seems that as it happened, the National-Revolutionaries – including Ugo Gaudenzi – were fought more for personal reasons rather than ideological motivations.
Thus, the struggle’s center of gravity was displaced towards the South so that “GE” could no longer control the situation.
THE END OF GIOVANE EUROPA
The second and last congress of Giovane Europa was held on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of June 1970. In the meantime, the editorship of “LNE” had passed to Naples, but the movement was running out of breath, no longer having the vitality of the beautiful years. The discouragement was strong among the militants who believed without a doubt, for the most part, that “the great night” was near. Alas, some resigned, others joined Christian Democracy (CD), the extreme left 14, or the ranks of “Lotta di Popolo” (E.M. Dantini & Ugo Gaudenzi) in Rome, Naples, Milan, and Imperia.
However, it is suitable to relativize the importance and success of Giovane Europa because by the admission of even Claudio Mutti, the movement hardly counted more than a hundred in its ranks during its best period.
It remains that the Italian network was better developed than other countries – Belgium excluded – why? Among the many explanations, we can evoke the history of Italy. Unlike France, Spain, or England, Italy had a recent national past, its unity was hardly more than a hundred years old. Nationalism had less meaning there than in France and it was easier for it to transcend to European nationalism. We can also put forward the greater politicization of Italy in relation to other European countries – France included. All the parties in Italy had proportionally many more members than the similar parties in Frances.
Beyond the historical record, it is noteworthy that the intellectual influence of the ideas developed by Giovane Europa, and more generally by Thiriart, remained very present in Italy, even if the interpretation of some left much to be desired.
Yannick Sauveur – July 1980