5PT – Nationalism, “Tribalism” or …?

As identitarian movements grow in strength in the Eurosphere, the question of goals in general and of nationalism in particular becomes increasingly important but seems to receive little really serious discussion.  And so I was extremely interested to read several articles by a certain Titus Quintus at Thermidor Magazine (along with a response by PT Carlo – Trouble in the European Diaspora) and even went on to read some additional pieces at Mr. Quintus’s own web site: “5PT – The Fifth Political Theory – Non-Nationalist Approaches to Western Civilization.”

The gist of Mr. Quintus’s argument is that the European peoples, regardless of whether they live in Europe or in the any of the various settler colonies, can no longer hope to maintain or re-establish ethno-states because too many of us, corrupted by modernity, have irretrievably lost the will to do so.

Rejecting nationalist options – whether in the Old World or the New (although he seems to hold out a small amount of hope for certain Eastern European lands) – he has constructed an alternative scheme which he calls the Fifth Political Theory (5PT).  This theory

… seeks to conceptualize a non-nationalist approach to the perpetuity of Western people(s) and their cultures in our world. When completed, it is my hope to have formed a sound theory aimed at reconciling our heritage and the legacy of our empires and nation-states with our most viable future prospect, which is  becoming a stateless diaspora people or peoples. – About

Elsewhere he tells us that  “5PT means fully embracing de-nationalization…”

For the most part, Western nations are over. There will only be the diaspora, or there will be nothing at all. We are faced with the choice of being absorbed into a materialistic, multicultural mess, or becoming who we are, that is to say, exiles of a defunct world.

Claiming that there is “too much focus on metapolitics (changing ideas) and politics (changing governments) and not nearly enough on changing one’s social environment…” he argues that we should instead:

… work towards becoming a diasporic tribe rather than focusing on state-level nationalism(s). In other words, we can only “save” European and Eurocolonial peoples who want to be saved by bringing them into a networked tribal community, not converting the de-nationalized masses to an increasingly occult worldview of ethnocentrism, race realism, gender norms, nativism, reactionary politics, etc.

Titus’s examination of these questions is welcome, especially since so much of the alt.x movement seems to be afflicted with a reflexive white nationalism. A discussion of alternatives is very much in order, however I do have a number of differences with Mr. Quintus’s analysis:

    • He is unclear as to what all this looks like in real life and in his first effort to be somewhat concrete (Tribal Praxis Versus National Praxis) he sounds like he’s just advocating a version of Rod Dreher’s essentially apolitical “Benedict option” for white people(1).
    • In an effort to create an all-encompassing theory he essentially equates conditions throughout the white world, arguing that the prospects (or, more accurately, the lack of prospects) for ethno-nationalism are generally the same from the US and Canada to Germany and France, allowing only a possible exception for certain parts of Eastern Europe. In doing so he clearly exaggerates the weakness of nationalist sentiments in Europe and ignores the strength of implicit and even unconscious whiteness in the US – something without which Trump’s victory is simply inexplicable.
    • His approach is static, assuming that the current order is politically and economically stable and that things will proceed more or less as they are. Internationally this is far from obvious. Internally the political crisis of the political order is clear, as Brexit, the Trump election and the collapse of the traditional party system in France all show.

      Within the US itself there are increasing signs of racial conflict and the uneasy racial truce dating back to the Nixon years seems to be breaking down. As far as white ethno-consciousness is concerned, while this may be generally weak at the moment, the fact that whites may not be much interested in race does not mean that race is not interested in them (pace comrade Trotsky).

      The strength of the people-as-nation is not something that exists in a vacuum. It is in a large part a product of that people’s real-world struggles. As middle American whites face an increasingly aggressive bloc of the globalist ruling class and its multiculturalist troops, there is every reason that our sense of ourselves as a people bound by common interests and commitments will intensify.

    • He treats nationalism purely from the perspective of the creation of an ethno-state.  While it is true that this is what is often meant by the term, during the Twentieth Century especially certain intermediate forms of nationalist thought arose, including non-territorial nationalisms along the lines of Simon Dubnow‘s “Diaspora nationalism”/”Autonomism” or the Austro-Marxists’ National Personal Autonomy(2).  Similarly, in the US certain schools of Black and Chicano nationalism have embraced their respective people’s identity as a nation without any serious intent of forming an actual independent ethno-state.
    • Like many others, Quintus erroneously treats civic nationalism as something necessarily in conflict with ethno-nationalism, rather than recognizing that the two forms are often overlapping.
    • Again, like many others in the anti-system right, he has a narrowly electoral view of “politics” and incorrectly sees “metapolitics” as something distinct.  In fact, anti-system politics is better understood as a process of movement building, of grassroots mobilization and radicalization which culminates (and only possibly) in electoral success at a much more mature phase.  (Otherwise, at best one winds up with such disappointments as our current president.)  As for “metapolitics” – the struggle for Gramscian hegemony – this can only be inextricably bound to the process of real-life political struggle.  What better example of all of this than the rise of the new left?
    • Most significantly, his discussion of nationalism treats it one-dimensionally – simply as a concrete goal (creation of the nation-state) which he believes cannot be realized.  In doing so, he misses its more profound political (and metapolitical) role as myth(3).

      This is not to say that nationalism is always useful as such a myth.  In the current conjuncture in Europe it clearly is, however, and I think that Quintus is completely incorrect in believing that it makes sense to discard it at present.

      I agree with him, on the other hand, in considering the case of the United States, which, with the demographic changes of the past half-century, can only be understood as an irreversibly multi-national political entity.  Here the white nationalist fantasy of establishing an ethno-state is not merely unrealistic – it is also extremely unappealing.  The image of the blood and chaos inevitably involved in such an enterprise, while perhaps, as Quintus discretely puts it, “appealing to some identitarian adrenaline junkies” is one that could hardly motivate any sane person.  Thus, white nationalism fails here not only as a reasonably achievable goal, but, more importantly, as a mobilizing myth.

      Where I must once again diverge from Mr. Quintus, however, is in his alternative – “tribalism” – especially as he develops it. Simply put, as myth it reeks of defeatism and defeatism has never mobilized anyone. Even if our ultimate endgame is the sort of separatism envisioned by 5PT, getting there will be via the experience of struggle, not as a substitute for it.

In any case, picking Mr. Quintus’s efforts apart is one thing and providing a viable alternative is another. At the moment, rejecting both white nationalism and 5PT’s vision of tribalism, I don’t have an alternative to present. My points above are meant as contributions to a discussion which should be underway, rather than as the resolution to it.

Notes:

(1) I realize that in certain circles – Thermidor‘s especially – comparing someone to Rod Dreher is close to the ultimate insult.  I wish to assure Mr. Quintus that this is not intended as such, but see, for example, Dreher’s Life Among the Bruderhof.

(2) For example: “Nations should organize, not according to territorial units but as associations of persons, not as States but as peoples …” – Karl Renner, quoted in Andres Nin’s (hostile) Austro-Marxism and the National Question.

(3) “… myths are not descriptions of things, but expressions of a determination to act….” – Georges Sorel – Reflections on Violence

Don’t Trust Anyone Over 53?

The task to be accomplished is not the conservation of the past, but the redemption of the hopes of the past. – Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer – Dialectic of Enlightenment

In a couple of recent posts Vanishing American II has justly chastised those modern-day Jack Weinbergs of the right who seek to blame baby-boomers as a group for our current woes. Denouncing the “nasty rhetoric, based… on some kind of visceral resentment and animus” of one anti-boomer commentator, in his post Dear Boomer-bashers Mr. American II ably rebuts the notion of our generation as the prime source of all political and cultural evil.

Unfortunately, VA II then proceeds to fall into a similar stance of generational finger-pointing, now, however, directed against the boomers’ parents. Thus:

… this PC nonsense wasn’t started by the Boomers. It was started by the previous generation. You know, the ones who elected LBJ. The ones who pushed the Civil Rights movement. The ones who took over academia for the Left. The ones who gave the Cultural Left a stranglehold on the media. All of these things were achieved by the generation born in the 1925-1945 period.

If you want a generation to hate then the generation born 1925-1945 is well worthy of your hatred.

While I’m reluctant to lump VA II in with the anti-boomers, unfortunately all of their comments seem to reflect the same ignorance of the history of American populist identitarian struggle over the course of much of the 20th Century and, worse than that, echo the left’s version of the history of that period in which the massive defensive struggles of the white working and middle classes largely disappear.

The decades from World War II until the 1980s saw intense social conflict over the transformation of the United States.  Not surprisingly, this process is now portrayed as one in which only the “progressives” – the civil rights movements, the new left and liberalism in general – had any real agency.   At best, the defenders of the traditional American nation end up portrayed as a mob of faceless, mindless “deplorables” when they are noticed at all.

While these struggles were overwhelmingly locally-focused – over neighborhood and school boundaries, public recreational spaces, urban re-development, busing, property taxes, crime, and school books – all directly resisted in one way or another the processes through which America was re-made.  (These intensely local roots were at once the source of their strengths and eventual failure.)

Looking back, the breadth and militance of these struggles is almost hard to believe – from what Arnold Hirsch calls a state of “chronic urban guerilla warfare” in Chicago in the 1940s to the inspiring mass mobilizations, boycotts and riots of Boston’s “Southies” (and “Easties”) against busing in the 1970s.

So, when saboteur365 says regarding the baby-boomers: “Not all of us were left wing, hypocritical zealots. Just most of us” he is not simply wrong but also complicit in the left’s re-writing of history – privileging the new left (mainly drawn from the youth of the elite and upper strata of the white middle classes) over the populist right which represented a far larger segment of our people.

My objection to the alt movement’s historical amnesia is not, however, simply motivated by self-defensiveness (as a boomer myself) by an abstract desire for historical accuracy or even by the recognition of the respect we owe our forbears.  In fact, we have a tremendous amount to learn from the rise, the at least partial successes and the ultimate disappearance of these movements.

The general failure of the anti-system right to orient toward and learn from the movements of the past is a sign of its apolitical (or at best, pre-political) nature.  Up to now, we have functioned mainly as cheerleaders and scolds rather that real participants, often hiding behind a fundamentally abstentionist understanding of “metapolitics”.

By far the most valuable thing about Trump’s rise is not what he will accomplish as president (as we are coming to see more and more each day) but the re-emergence of a mass populist movement of the right.  Understanding the experiences of our past is a necessary element in determining how we orient toward this movement, working to build it and, at the same time, to radicalize it.

So… here’s some homework:

While books on the movements of the left vastly outnumber those on the populist right, there are a number of important studies of this period which are worthwhile correctives to the dominant narrative (although one often has to read around the authors’ leftism).  Here are a few things to start with:
Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s – Ronald Formisano
Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn Against Liberalism – Jonathan Rieder
Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960 – Arnold R. Hirsch
Behind the Backlash: White Working-Class Politics in Baltimore, 1940-1980 – Kenneth D. Dur
Philadelphia Divided: Race and Politics in the City of Brotherly Love – James Wolfinger
The Slaughter of Cities: Urban Renewal as Ethnic Cleansing – E. Michael Jones –  This is an important book and one of the few on the topic that doesn’t require a “subversive reading”.  As interesting as it is however, it desperately needs a merciless editing and would be far more useful at half its almost 700 page length.
Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters: The Struggle over Segregated Recreation in America – Victoria W. Wolcott
Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation – Matthew F. Delmont

A Note on the South: One will notice that I’ve largely ignored the experience of the struggle in the South during this period. This is partly due to my rejection of the apartheid order, but also to the fact that its political lessons seem much less relevant today than those drawn from the rest of the country. That said, the story of “massive resistance” is not without interest. Here are a couple of things to start with:

Massive Resistance: The White Response to the Civil Rights Movement – George Lewis
Massive Resistance: Southern Opposition to the Second Reconstruction – Cliff Webb

On the Alt Right and the 59 Missiles

I’m not giving up on the God-Emperor yet…. But this is a very good reminder that he wasn’t ever anything more than a long shot. – Vox Day – Blunder or complete debacle?

Many of us, myself included, were willing to give working with the system a try to see what would happen. A dismal Trump failure will only mean that we will revert to the position we were in prior to 2015, when we were encouraging people to think outside the establishment and business as usual. – John Morgan – Trump’s Red Line . . . & Ours

The national bourgeoisie is a class which is politically very weak and vacillating…. They are part of the broad masses of the people but not the main body, nor are they a force that determines the character of the revolution. – Mao Tse-Tung – On the Question of the National Bourgeoisie and the Enlightened Gentry (1)

Not surprisingly, the Trump administration’s attack on Syria has caused consternation and anger across the spectrum of opinion of the nationalist right, especially given the on-going and apparently successful efforts of the military, financial and mainstream GOP to marginalize the Bannon wing of the Trump administration.

While much of the alt right and especially the alt lite blogosphere continues to (correctly) support the Trump regime at least critically, it is safe to say that the honeymoon is over.

Trumps reversion to a Clintonian foreign policy is, of course, disappointing but the response within the alt circles is also rather a let-down. Comments like Mr. Morgan’s reflect the fundamentally naive and apolitical nature of most of this movement – its inability to understand that the system and the elites behind it are fundamentally committed to globalism and multiculturalism and that only a mass, radical and independent movement of our nation’s working and middle classes will be able to challenge the current trajectory of development of 21st century capitalism in any meaningful way. Further, Mr. Morgan’s implication that the creation of such a movement is counter-posed to electoral work misses the point that, approached correctly, there is an important synergy between the two strategies.

Trump’s campaign, as important as it was in stimulating this movement, was too successful too quickly. Consequently, with no real political power base to counter the pressure on him from the political-military-economic establishment, the nationalist elements of his program are being blocked or dropped. And so, the recent events in Syria, however unfortunate, are no surprise and should be seen as a reminder that the hard work of real-world organizing lies ahead.

(1)See my previous post, Trump as National Bourgeois.

Wishful Thinking?

Yes, I’m afraid so, but the article is still worth reading:

… the single possible alternative to the bourgeois world can only occur through the sacred union of reactionaries and progressives. A union of reactionaries, whether monarchists, Catholics, Hellenists, Muslims, but all attached to a certain classical order, with the progressives, all enemies of the bourgeois world, whether they come from the PCF of Marchais, today’s Worker’s Party, the Serbian resistance, or Venezuelan Chavismo. A union of reactionaries who are often right and progressives who have often been screwed over, against the liberals who dominate the world today and who have always divided in order to rule. Against this empire engaged headlong in the destruction of our human societies and nature. Against this world singularly devoted to the cult of Mammon and increasingly causing problems of overproduction, pollution, inequalities, which lead to catastrophe. – Alain Soral What Alternative to the Bourgeois World?

More on all of this is coming up soon…. I promise.

(Thanks to the Institute for National Revolutionary Studies for the translation of the 2007 speech which appeared on Soral’s website Egalite et Reconciliation.)

The Civil War Left

sumnerattackedbypreston1No, not that Civil War… And, OK, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic but, on the other hand, maybe not.  After all, it’s true that the antifa violence at Berkeley a few nights ago was not really so shocking in itself.

There’s always been that part of the left which claims that the government is “fascist” regardless of who is in office.  Thus, the so-called “Refuse Fascism,” about which much is being made by commentators on the right, looks and sounds just like the same old Revolutionary Communist Party “coalition”, complete with the usual apoplectic rhetoric: it’s “Refuse and Resist,” “Not in Our Name” and “The World Can’t Wait” re-branded for the Trump presidency.

Similarly, for decades before they became the “black bloc” at anti-globalization actions, obnoxious anarchist provocateurs were an annoying presence at Bay Area demonstrations.

And so we know that, like the poor, the ultra-left will always be with us and, when they get the chance, they will act out in all of their usual infantile ways.

Up until recently, however, ultra-left antifa violence was directed at extremely marginal types – the Klan, the National Socialist Movement, etc.  Now everything has changed since, after all, if Trump is Hitler, then all of his supporters must be fascists (“little Eichmanns”?) against whom any violence is permitted. Consequently the usual attempts at shouting down speakers or otherwise disrupting events(1) have progressed to vicious physical assaults on ordinary individuals guilty of no more that wearing a MAGA hat or merely having a ticket to an offending program.

Of even greater concern is the tacit connivance in this on the part of elected officials, as well as the support for it expressed by sectors of the relatively moderate left.(2) Meanwhile, even among the left critics of the Berkeley riot there has been much rejection of the violence on pragmatic grounds but deafening silence when it comes to acknowledging that it might be simply wrong to intimidate and physically attack those with whom you disagree.(3)

Ominously, the bitterness of the current political climate is reaching deep into people’s daily lives. The notion of civil political discourse seems to have vanished, at least among leftists and politics has become a topic raised at one’s own risk, at least if one didn’t vote Hillary. (See, for example, Bay Area Conservatives Keep Meetups Secret Fearing For Their Safety.)

(In my own experience, the hostility of the other side is so intense that any political conversation among our small group of Trump supporters at the office now feels more like a clandestine meeting of the Communist Party workplace cell than a group of friends just shooting the shit in the break room.)

And so we have reached a point at which half of the country is considered not only merely wrong but actually evil by the other. We are the enemy to be intimidated and silenced – there can be no co-existence and no peace. We are obviously nowhere near there quite yet, but ultimately this is the mentality of civil war.(4)

Notes:
(1) Certain sectors of the left have a penchant for “no platforming” and have been all too willing to use it against dissenters in their own ranks, as the TERF’s (“Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”) have found out. Still, this is a far cry from the physical violence now celebrated by much of the left when it is directed at opponents to the right.
(2) See Prominent Leftists Celebrate Anti-Milo Yiannopoulos Violence at Berkeley.  One hardly needs to re-visit the story of the repeated attempts to prevent Trump rallies during the campaign, but if you do, see Moveon.Org Vows to Continue to Disrupt Trump Rallies or What’s the Use in Disrupting Donald Trump?.
(3) A good example of this is an article at Huffington Post, The Debacle At Berkeley in which the author ably argues that the black bloc’s actions were counterproductive, but goes on to say

I am not interested here in having a moral argument about violence in the abstract, or the line between destruction of property and assaults on people. Let’s save that for another time…

(Unlike many others, he at least acknowledges that this is an issue.)
(4) There is an worthwhile post in this regard at the interesting and well-written blog Delayed Mail mainly reflecting on the editorial response of pro-slavery newspapers to the dawn of the new year in 1861 and the prospect of a Lincoln presidency – New Year’s and the Superficiality of Secession. While I suspect that I disagree deeply with its author, it is well worth a read.

Berkeley – Antifas Gone Wild

As was to be expected in the Bay Area, in addition to the usual protesters a contingent of black-bloc-type antifas showed up at Milo Yanniapoulos’ scheduled UC Berkeley speech last night. Made up of the typical collection of adventurists, sociopaths, posuers and, no doubt, police agents, this anarchist contingent turned a rowdy protest into a riot.

According to the official UC press statement:

The masked agitators came to campus eastbound on Bancroft Way, and fire damage and other destruction to the Stiles Hall construction site, where a new residence hall is planned, was reported. The group entered campus and immediately began throwing rocks at officers…. Agitators also attacked some members of the crowd who were rescued by police. UCPD reported no major injuries and about a half dozen minor injuries.

Once Yiannopoulos’s event had be oh-so-reluctantly cancelled by the administration, the “anti-fascists” marauded through downtown Berkeley, breaking windows, attacking motorists, setting fires, etc.

UC Berkeley was, of course, quick to deplore the violence:

Campus officials said they condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics now overshadow the efforts of the majority to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence at Berkeley and his perspectives.

Since the number of violent antifa is put at only 150-200 people and in any case anyone with the most minimal familiarity with the East Bay political scene would have known that these types would be arriving, one reasonably wonders how things got so out of hand.

The short answer is that the police apparently did little or nothing to actually defend Yiannopooulos’ right to speak – in spite of the UC administration’s pious protestations of a commitment to allowing all voices to be heard. Thus, the UC press release tells us:

In an effort to avoid injuries to innocent members of the surrounding crowd who might have been caught in the middle, police officers exercised restraint and did not respond with force…. No arrests had been made by UCPD as of 9:30 p.m.[Emphasis added]

In fact, the University’s lack of adequate preparation and the UCPD’s inaction at the event reflected the administration’s sympathy with those committed to preventing Yiannopooulos’ speech.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course – it is just business as usual on American campuses. Still though, call me old-fashioned, but there’s something especially revolting in seeing the way the “radical left” of today so willingly and mindlessly serves as the elite’s boots on the ground when it comes to stifling dissent.

Love Your Enemy

Jean Hyppolite – If you are right, Mr. Freund, and the friend-enemy category determines politics, all that’s left for me is to just tend my garden.

Julien Freund – Mr. Hyppolite, as with all pacifists, you believe that you can choose your enemy, but that is incorrect. You believe that if you don’t want to have enemies, you will not have them. But it is the enemy who chooses you. If he wants you to be his enemy, so you will be. Your fine protests of friendship will be for naught. You will not even be allowed to just tend your garden. – From El ManifiestoJulien Freund o la imaginación del desastre. (1)

For decades middle American whites, having fled to the suburbs, hoped to “all just get along” – with disastrous results. Especially after the election of Ronald Reagan, the grassroots resistance of the 1950s-1970s quickly faded away and the MARs phenomenon celebrated by the late Sam Francis largely disappeared. Focused on “tending our gardens” we lived in a state of denial, naively trusting “our” elites to protect our interests. Decades passed and, with only a few exceptions, we slept while the transformation of the country continued around us.

With the economic crisis which began almost 10 years ago we began to wake back up, initially leading to the false start known as the Tea Party.  It has been, however, the increased aggressiveness of the our enemies and the overt betrayal by our “friends” under Obama which created the basis for the Trump revolt at the grassroots.

There was no better example of this than the campaign of Hillary Clinton, a campaign that reflected almost explicitly the belief that a new hegemonic block had successfully been consolidated based in a large part on the identification of white middle America as its “enemy”.

As it turned out, HRC’s approach was premature and she has been roundly criticized for her over-confidence.  Much of this criticism, however, has been of her strategy and tactics rather than the neo-liberal core of her politics(2) and there is always some danger that the Democrats will adopt a more subtle approach until the balance of power has shifted further in their direction.

Thus, the risk of course is that, as was the case following Reagan’s election, the MARs 2.0 movement that brought us victory in November will dissipate.  And so we should be grateful for the completely unconcealed and unrelenting hostility of the other side.  Fortunately, as much as we might wish that our enemies would just leave us alone, it is clear that there is no returning to tending our gardens in peace.

 

Notes: (1) For Spanish speakers, a useful collection of articles on Freund can be found in issue #84 of Elementos which in turn can be found at the unfortunately now-inactive New European Conservative.

(2) For example, see the widely-discussed essay by Mark Lilla The End of Identity Liberalism, which, after denouncing the “repugnant outcome” of the presidential election, rejects the bludgeoning approach involved in the identity strategy which mobilizes minority constituencies in a direct assault on whiteness.  Instead, Lilla advocates a liberalism based on a more gradual and inclusive “hearts and minds” approach, advising the avoidance of unnecessarily direct conflict:

As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale.

And:

A post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion. And it would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans about the major forces shaping world politics, especially their historical dimension.

In other words, to Lilla it’s still more about boiling frogs than breaking eggs.