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L'Œuvre française (Ultranationalist movement, France)

Last modified: 2023-09-17 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: oeuvre francaise | jeunesses nationalistes | caryatides | parti nationaliste français | lorraine nationaliste | alsace nationaliste |
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Standard of L'Œuvre française - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 June 2011

See also:

Presentation of L'Œuvre française

L'Œuvre française (The French work) is an ultranationalist movement, founded on 6 February 1968 by Pierre Sidos. According to its registration, published on 2 March 1968 in the French official gazette, its aim is "To group the French who want the set up a state that would be nationalist, traditional in its principles and modern in its institutions".

Pierre Sidos (b. 1927) is still the mentor of the group. The son of a high-rank officer of the French Militia shot in 1946, Sidos founded, together with his brothers Jacques and François, Jeune Nation (Young Nation), a movement forbidden in 1958 and recreated the next year as the Parti nationaliste (Nationalist Party), forbidden the same year. Member of the Mouvement populaire du 13 Mai (MP-13, 13 May People's Movement) supporting French Algeria, Sidos was subsequently jailed for his support to the Organisation de l'armée secrète (OAS, Organization of the Secrete Army), a more successful successor of the MP-13. Sidos founded L'Œuvre française after his expelling from Occident, a movement founded in April 1964.
Sidos' motto is "Nationalism is an ethics". The statements available on the movement's website unambiguously express the orientation of the movement (for instance, "A 100%-French can be only physically Indo-European, politically Gallo-Roman and spiritually Greco-Latin"), as well as the numerous references to Maurras, Bardèche, Brasillach, Coston, Carrel and other rabid anti-semitic theoreticians who supported Pétain's État français. Rejecting all kind of "compromission" with democracy for the sake of "intransigent nationalism", L'Œuvre française has remained quite marginal in the political debate, in spite of attempts of rapprochement with extreme-right parties accepting the electoral system; the movement called to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen in the 2007 presidential election.

L'Œuvre française, while aiming at suppressing the French Republic for a monarchy, recognizes the French national flag. Article 20 (and last) of the movement's charter (text), adopted during the 7th Congress held on 30 September - 1 October 2000 in Fontainebleau says: "The French flag made of three colors, blue, white, red, in their traditional placement, shall be imposed as the only official emblem of France in its historic role and civilizing mission".

Marine Le Pen was elected President of the Front National on 15 January 2011, defeating the "historical" branch of the party that still supported her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. As part of her strategy of "de-demonization" of the party and improvement of its public image, Marine Le Pen decided to sever the connections between the FN and ultra-nationalist groups,specifically targeting L'Œuvre française. Yvan Benedetti(b. 1965) and others with "double membership" (FN and L'Œuvre française) were excluded in June 2011 from the FN.
Yvan Benedetti was elected President of L'Œuvre française during the 8th Congress of the movement, held on 4 and 5 February 2012. In the presidential elections organized the same year, L'Œuvre française supported Carl Lang, who had founded on 23 February 2009 the Parti de la France with "historical" members of the FN. Carl Lang could not obtain the support of 500 elected representatives required to register for the presidential election.

On 5 June 2013, a violent street fighting opposed in Paris two groups of antifas and untra-nationalists. The antifa militant Clément Méric died the next day, which stirred general indignation. The instruction of the case ended on 22 March 2016: four skinheads were indicted for "deliberate violence having resulted in death without intention to kill" and of another two were indicted for "violence". In the aftermath of the Clément Méric affair, the government announced the dissolution of several ultra-nationalist groups. The dissolution of L'Œuvre française "for reasons inherent to law and order" (detailed in the text) was prescribed by a Decree signed by the President of the Republic on 25 July 2013 and published on 27 July 2013 in the French official gazette, No. 173, p. 12,617 (text).

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2016

Flags of L'Œuvre française

Standard of L'Œuvre française

The standard of L'Œuvre française (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is "made of a square panel of 1 m x 1 m, showing on both sides the arms of L'Œuvre française, covering the whole panel and without any writing. The standard is tied to a 2.10 m staff made of dark-colored wood, topped by a ball of the same material, of 4 cm in diameter. Two tricolor ribbons of 1 m on length on 6 cm in width are tied to the base of the ball. During informal stop, the standard shall be borne with the staff on soil, on the bearer's right. During formal stop and when marching, the standard shall be borne vertically on the body's right side, hold only by the right hand at the head's height, the left arm remaining stretched out".
[Movement's website]
The use of a similar design as the fuselage marking by the Air Force of the Dominican Republic is a mere coincidence.

Ivan Sache, 26 June 2011

Variant of the standard of L'Œuvre française


Variant of the standard of L'Œuvre française - Image by Ivan Sache & Tomislav Todorović, 12 May 2016

A variant of the flag (photo, 24 May 2008) is derived from the ordinary standard of the movement by repainting the blue and red areas within the Celtic cross into gold.

Tomislav Todorović, 12 May 2016

Emblem of L'Œuvre française

The Celtic Cross is the emblem of L'Œuvre française. Quoting the movement's website:

It units the crown and the cross, associating them with the traditional national colors of France. The stylized Celtic Cross was introduced in politics after the Second World War by Pierre Sidos. The name of "Celtic Cross" applied to the symbolic design made of a circle and a cross (the cross' branches going beyond the circle's border) comes from the current use of such monuments in old Breton cemeteries, and, mostly, in Irish cemeteries and everywhere in the Irish countryside. Much long ago, the crossed circle symbol was used by the Celts and other Europeans of the time, as one of the representations of the sun, the main visible origin of life, warmth, day, light, authority and everything radiating.
Aesthetic considerations on the Celtic Cross of L'Œuvre française impose that all its parts are of equal length, the ends being of square shape. The Celtic Cross of L'Œuvre française is white. This whiteness is yet another distinctive mark. However, the yellow color, being associated with the sun, can also be used for decorative purpose.
The well-known relation of the Celtic Cross with the activities of nationalist opinion inspired by Pierre Sidos, without discontinuity from Jeune Nation to L'Œuvre française cannot justify a legal protection of the use of the symbol; accordingly, it was not possible to prevent its abusive use by individuals or political groups, in France or abroad, being sometimes an unfortunate source of confusion for the public.
The resemblance, partially necessary, of the Celtic Cross with any other of the some 40 existing heraldic crosses is sometimes emphasized by opponents to the French modern nationalism as a matter of polemic, in order to discredit it by excessive hotchpotch with other specific crosses, used in politics, and inspiring today some reluctance. The modern French, referring to their Gaul ancestors, can rightfully consider the Celtic Cross as their oldest national emblem, without fearing any kind of comparison.

The cross "inspiring today some reluctance" must be the swastika, as used by the German Third Reich.

Ivan Sache, 26 June 2011

Four-Quartered (Quatre-Quartiers) flag

[Movement flag]

Four-Quartered flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 June 2011

The Four-Quartered flag is used "as the emblem of the Secretariat in the central siege of L'Œuvre française. Quarterly shield, 1. Tierced per pale azure argent and gules (blue, white, red, placed vertically), 2. and 3. Argent (white), 4. See the description of the arms of L'Œuvre française, which are said to be counter-quarterly when considering the whole shield. White, the main color, is the symbol of authority".
[Movement website]
This flag was shown on photos taken during the Nationalist Congress (Congrès nationaliste, website no longer available).

Ivan Sache, 26 June 2011

Triple Ensign (Triple Enseigne)

The Triple Ensign is made of three square flags, "placed, borne or hoisted side-by-side in the order of the colors, that is blue on the viewer's left".
[Movement's website]

Ivan Sache, 26 June 2011

Alsace Nationaliste


Flag of Alsace Nationaliste - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 13 November 2021

Alsace Nationaliste was the local branch of L'Œuvre française in Alsace. After the dissolution of L'Œuvre française in 2013, the group has continued its activities as an independent organization until 2015, when it merged with other such local groups into the re-established Parti Nationaliste Français.

Flag of Alsace Nationaliste was derived from that of L'Œuvre française by replacing the blue-red quartered field with the pattern of the flag of the then Region Alsace. The flag seems not to have been widely used; only two photos (photo, photo) dating from March 2015, can be found online. It was also used on the stickers (photo, photo).

Tomislav Todorović, 13 November 2021

Lorraine Nationaliste


Flag of Lorraine Nationaliste - Image by Ivan Sache, 11 May 2016

Lorraine Nationaliste was established on 16 December 2012 in Lorraine, as the local branch of L'Œuvre française. Following the dissolution of L'Œuvre française in July 2015, Lorraine Nationaliste rallied on 27 September 2015 the re-established Parti Nationaliste Français (PNF), as the PNF Lorraine.

The flag of Lorraine Nationaliste / PNF Lorraine (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is a red and yellow version of the flag of L'Œuvre française, with an alerion added in each red quarter. The arrangement of the colours and the alerions are a straightforward reference to the traditional flag of Lorraine.

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2016

Jeunesses Nationalistes


Flag of the Jeunesses Nationalistes - Image by Ivan Sache, 1 May 2016

The Jeunesses Nationalistes (Nationalist Youth) were established, as the youth branch of L'Œuvre française, on 15 October 2011 during the 14th Forum of the Nation, organised in Lyon by Yvan Benedetti and Alexandre Gabriac. Like Benedetti, Gabriac is a "purged" member of the FN, expelled from the party in 2011 after the publication of photos showing him addressing a Nazi salute to a Nazi flag.
The Statutes of the Jeunesses Nationalistes were registered on 19 October 2011 and published on 5 November 2011 in the French official gazette. The dissolution of the Jeunesses Nationalistes "for reasons inherent to law and order" (detailed in the text) was prescribed by a Decree signed by the President of the Republic on 25 July 2013 and published on 27 July 2013 in the French official gazette, No. 173, p. 12,616 (text).

On 29 September 2012, the Jeunesses Nationalistes gathered their supporters on the square in front of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral; the demonstration, targeted to alleged "no-go areas" and "anti-white racism", had been forbidden by the authorities. Arrested, Garbiac was imposed on 19 March 2015 a two-month sentence and a fine of 4,000 euros.
[Le Figaro, 19 March 2015]

The flag of the Jeunesses Nationalistes (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with the movement emblem. The emblem is made of a golden eagle, of fascist inspiration, holding fasces in its claws and surrounded by a wreath of laurel. The eagle holds a black scroll inscribed with the name of the movement in yellow letters.

The laurel branches are, most probably, modelled on the emblem of the Fred Perry sportswear brand. Fred Perry shirts are equally prized by the skinheads and the antifas; the riot that caused the death of Clément Méric indeed started because of the unexpected meeting of the two rival groups at a Fred Perry private sale.
Fred Perry shirts were originally adopted in the 1960s by the early mods of northern England. Those mods who subsequently turned to street violence were called "skinheads" in September 1969 by the Daily Mirror; like most other youth groups of the times, they wore customized Fred Perry shirts. In the early 1980s, Fred Perry opened shops in France, the Fred Perry shirts were first adopted by the skingays of the Fantasia night-club, but the Fred Perry subculture soon propagated to several youth groups of diverse political orientations. [GQ Magazine, 7 June 2013]

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2016

Les Caryatides


Flag of Les Caryatides - Image by Tomislav Todorović, 2 May 2016

Les Caryatides (website) is the women's branch of L'Œuvre française, which was dissolved in July 2013. Not dissolved, Les Caryatides rallied to the refounded Parti Nationaliste Français in October 2015.
The movement is named for the statues (caryatids) supporting the southern porch of the Erechteion on the Acropolis at Athens. Like them, "the nationalist women should proudly stand, the head raised and full of firm belief for a true intellectual and moral reform".

The flag of Les Caryatides (photo, photo, photo) is blue with a white Celtic cross, superimposed with a yellow cross whose arms end with a yellow fleur-de-lis. In the middle is placed a white orchid flower.

Ivan Sache & Tomislav Todorović, 2 May 2016

Parti Nationaliste Français


Flag of the PNF - Image by Ivan Sache, 2 May 2016

The Parti Nationaliste Français (PNF) was refounded on 31 November - 1 October 2015, as the successor of L'Œuvre française, the historic group dissolved in July 2013.
The PNF was originally established in 1983 by members of the editorial committee of the review Militant, created in 1967. Representing the extreme, anti-zionist wing of the Front National, they had been excluded from the FN in 1980-1981.
In July 2015, André Gandillon, editor in chief of Militant since 2012, called for the "union of nationalists" and the reactivation of the dormant PNF. On 3 September 2015, Yvan Benedetti, former President of L'Œuvre française, called the members of the dissolved movement to rally the PNF. The following groups, which had locally emerged after the dissolution of L'Œuvre française, rallied to the PNF: Anjou Nationaliste, Picardie Nationaliste, Échirolles Fait Front, Haute-Savoie Nationaliste, Toulouse Nationaliste, Saint-Étienne Nationaliste, Ain Nationaliste, Haute-Loire Nationaliste, Vénissieux Fait Front (led by Yvan Benedetti and Alexandre Gabriac), Lyon Nationaliste, Roanne Nationaliste, Lorraine Nationaliste, Alsace Nationaliste, Isère Nationaliste, Franche-Comté Nationaliste, Les Caryatides, Paris Nationaliste and Var Nationaliste.
[iPolitique, 22 October 2015]

The PNF obtained the written support of Jean-Marie Le Pen, former President of the Front National, who insisted on the past connections between the FN and L'Œuvre française; these connections were severed by her daughter, Marine Le Pen, after she had been elected President of the party in January 2011.
[Europe 1, 2 November 2015]

The PNF has its own emblem, made on a yellow fleur-de-lis surrounded by two branches of laurel on a blue background. The emblem, however, does not seem to have been put on a flag yet.
Rather, the PNF uses a more "classical" ultranationalist flag (photo, photo), made of a French tricolor flag charged in the center with a black Celtic cross outlined in white and black.

Ivan Sache, 2 May 2016

Parti Nationaliste Français et Européen

[Flag]         [Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of the PNFE, three versions - Images by Tomislav Todorović, 18 October 2018

The PNFE was founded in 1987 as a splinter of the PNF and disbanded in 2000.
The PNFE used a French tricolour charged with a black Celtic cross on the white field (photo, taken on 8 May 1988 in Paris, during a rally organized by the Front National; photo; photo). The PNFE also used a black flag charged with a white solid (no fimbriations) Celtic cross (photo), indeed a variant of the flag used by the GUD. They also use a red flag wth a white Celtic cross (photo, photo, photo).

Tomislav Todorović, 18 October 2018