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Centre royaliste d'Action française (France)

Last modified: 2016-11-20 by ivan sache
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Flag of the CRAF, three versions - Images by Tomislav Todorović, 20 July 2016


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Presentation of the CRAF

The Centre royaliste d'Action française (CRAF, website) was established in 1988 as "a royalist and nationalist movement heir to Charles Maurras' ideology". Accordingly, the CRAF claims to be the natural heir of Action française, a movement of political significance in the first half of the 20th century.

Action française was founded in 1898 by Henri Vaugeois and Maurice Pujo during the Dreyfus affair. Under the influence of the integralism theorized by Charles Maurras (1868-1952), the Action française soon adopted a nationalist, anti-republican and anti-Semitic ideology. Joined by several intellectuals, such as the writers Léon Daudet (1867-1942) and Paul Bourget (1852-1935), the historian Jacques Bainville (1879-1936) and the critic Jules Lemaître (1853-1914), the Action française was of great political significance during the interbellum. The daily newspaper L'Action française had a circulation of 100,000 in 1926.
The movement established an Institute, a League and a paramilitary group (Camelots du Roi), which were involved in anti-Semitic provocations and street demonstrations. The Action française, together with other extreme-rightist groups, contributed to the aborted anti-parliamentary coup of 6 February 1934. After the aggression of Léon Blum during the funeral of Jacques Bainville on 9 February 1936, the groups connected to the Action française were dissolved. The daily L'Action française organized, together with Gringoire, the defamation campaign that led to the suicide of the Ministry of the Interior, Roger Salengro, on 18 November 1936.
Most of the members and partisans of Action française were conservative Roman Catholics. On 29 December 1926, the Holy See condemned the Action française, because Maurras, a blatant agnostic, considered the Catholic religion only as a tool towards integralism; in spite of the lift of the ban in 1939, the Action française never recovered its original audience. The Second World War definitively discredited the movement; in spite of its official anti-German posture, Maurras rallied Pétain's National Revolution without supporting collaboration with Germany, followed by his most orthodox partisans. Other became Maurras' strong opponents, rallying either active collaboration or anti-German resistance. Maurras was sentenced on 28 January 1945 to life imprisonment and loss of civil rights for "high treason and intelligence with the enemy", commenting the verdict as "Dreyfus' revenge", and eventually pardoned in 1952, for medical reasons, by President Vincent Auriol. During his imprisonment, he still contributed to the newspaper Aspects de la France, established after the ban of"L'Action française (keeping he same initials).

After the Liberation, the continuity and name of Action française were claimed by different movements, all of them remaining very marginal. Restauration nationale, established in 1955, was the only monarchist movement of significance until 1971, when the anti-fascist splinter, Nouvelle Action française, subsequently renamed Nouvelle Action royaliste, was founded; its leader, Bertrand Renouvin, obtained 0.17% of the votes at the 1974 presidential election. As a reaction, the fascist Comité royaliste pour un Ordre nouveau (CRON) was founded, which soon joined Ordre Nouveau, an ultranationalist movement. Restauration nationale re-emerged in the late 1980s with the "Maurras generation", taking advantage of the celebrations of historical events connected with the monarchy; the millenary of the enthroning of Hugh Capet (1987), the bicentenary of the French Revolution (1989), and the bicentenary of the death of Louis XVI (1993). Another split resulted in the establishment of the Centre royaliste d'Action française in 1998 by Pierre Pujo (1929-2007), the son of the co-founder of the original Action française.
The political and ideological legacy of Charles Maurras is therefore claimed both by Restauration nationale and the Centre royaliste d'Action française. The two movements have been actively seeking for reconciliation since 2010.

According to its manifesto, the CRAF "prepares the restoration of the monarchy, and, while waiting for the return of the king, works for the defence of the national interest." Monarchy would confer unity, continuity, independence, responsibility and legitimacy to France. The king expected to return is Henri VII (b. 1933), Count of Paris and Duke of France, "heir of 40 kings who, for 1,000 years, built France".

Ivan Sache, 14 May 2016


Flag of the CRAF

The CRAF uses, often together, three different flags:
- a yellow flag with the movement's emblem in the middle (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo);
- a similar, yellow flag with the movement's emblem in the middle, surrounded with a yellow ring, separated by a blue fimbriation from the yellow field (photo, photo, photo, photo);
- a blue flag with the movement's emblem surrounded by a yellow ring (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo).

The emblem of the CRAF is a blue disc charged with a stylized fleur-de-lis surrounded by the letters "A" and "F", all in yellow.
The fleur-de-lis is a reference to the emblem of the original Action française. The yellow fleur-de-lis on a blue background is also a straightforward reference to the French royal arms.

Ivan Sache, Esteban Rivera & Tomislav Todorović, 20 July 2016


Former flag of the CRAF

An earlier version of the flag (photo, 2008), was yellow with the former emblem of the movement, a blue disk charged with big yellow letters "AF".
An older version of the flag, from the 1990s, was yellow with the emblem of the time (photo).

Ivan Sache, 14 May 2016