Tuesday, April 11, 2006

THE PROS AND CONS OF THE NOUVELLE DROITE

by Welf Herfurth*

I.

Recently, the New Right Australia-New Zealand blog (http://www.newrightausnz.blogspot.com/) published a lengthy criticism of Alain De Benoist's ideas by Michael O'Meara. I thought it would be opportune to write a similar piece, one which will look at the possibility of applying De Benoist's ideas to the Australian nationalist scene and the wider political spectrum in general.

Anyone who has read De Benoist books and articles will know that one of the advantages of De Benoist's work is that it is purely social political. That is, it is political philosophy - it discusses the State and how it works, or how it should work. It is not restricted to rantings against Jews, Muslims and Negroes, or other immigrant groups foreign to the Western societies. This is a refreshing change - to read a nationalist who is an intellectual first and foremost, like Evola or Yockey, and who is not simply some person writing emotive diatribes against people of foreign races.

At the centre of De Benoist's work lies the concept of the organic community. By 'organic community', I mean a community that has sprung up naturally, and developed over a long period of time, with a natural degree of cohesiveness. Each of the members feel a sense of belonging to an organic community, and the community does not contain elements that are radically different from it. The majority of the Western countries, before the mass immigration explosion of the 1970s and 1980s, could be considered organic in this sense (even if their official ideologies were liberal and hence individualist). It is this 'organicism' which has drawn accusations of racism from De Benoist's opponents, although an organic community may not be necessarily based on race - one has to think of Islam, for example (the Muslims consider themselves first and foremost Muslims in a religious sense and racial differences are overlooked as long as they are Muslims).

De Benoist's politics owes a great deal to Evola (at least in his later work), who writes at length on empire and how subject peoples exist in an autonomous relationship to the centre of an empire. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, for instance, consisted of a large number of ethnically homogenous, independent communities (including the Serbs, Czechs, Slovenes, et al.) which maintained a sense of identity and separateness despite their being the subjects of the same empire. The parts existed independently of the whole. That system - which could be described as a system of ethnic federalism - is one that De Benoist regards as ideal.

The danger to any ethnic federalism comes from two ideologies. The first is nationalism: paradoxically, De Benoist is anti-nationalist in the traditional Far Right sense. The First World War broke out when one ethnic group - the Serbs – demanded that their community constitute itself as a nation, with a sovereign state, flag, currency, army, and everything that belongs to an independent country, and the right to ethnically purge citizens from that nation's territory. The collapse of the Empire, and Woodrow Wilson's insistence on granting nationhood to those ethnic groups, hastened the swing towards nationalism in Eastern and Central Europe and the destruction of a traditionalist order.

The second danger is multiculturalism. Again, the example of South-Eastern Europe applies. After the Second World War, the various ethnic groups that made up part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire were forcibly amalgamated into an artificial entity called Yugoslavia by the communist Tito. Anyone who continued to identify themselves as Serb, Croat, Slovene, et al., was shot. And this is typical: the feeling of belonging to a long-established, organic community is so strong that only totalitarian violence can repress it. Ethnic structures and their identity are suppressed and destroyed by the might of the gun, with brutal force and/or with unnatural laws.

Again, this is one of the themes of Evola's work. Totalitarianism is the natural outcome of the decline of empires (a good example is the French revolution and the rise of Napoleon). Under totalitarianism, the parts of the whole can no longer exist in an autonomous relationship to the center, the government. Instead, the government must impose itself, by force, upon the parts. Bureaucracy and repression crushes any individuality, and wipes out any autonomy. Along the way, distinguishing characteristics of ethnic groups are removed. Everyone becomes like everyone else, and organic communities are artificially merged into one, giant inorganic and artificial community.

II.

Much of this applies to the Australian case. Non-white immigrants, upon arriving in Australia, are told that they must renounce their identity - whether it be Arab, Turks, Vietnamese, Chinese or lately the Sudanese– and 'become Australian'. This sense of 'Australianism' is rather artificial: it is certainly not based on race. The 'old' Australia, before multiculturalism and unrestricted non-white immigration, was Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Celt in terms of its ethnicity. Even the immigrants from Europe, especially Eastern and Southern Europe, who came here after the Second World War, did not alter this. But now anyone can become Australian - all one needs is an Australian passport. Australians today are defined by a piece of paper that states what they are and not by ethnicity, culture or race.

The same applies, too, in Britain, where the official State ideology is that Indians and coloured immigrants are 'British' (even though they and their descendants only arrived thirty years ago) as Shakespeare and Dickens. In Germany, Germans are told to consider the Turkish communities as German as Schiller, Goethe and Bach. And if any organisation or political party like the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) refused to accept them as Germans and argue against their inclusion as Germans, they are labelled as racists, Neo-Nazis and misguided haters.

Paradoxically, however, the immigrant groups in the West refuse to 'assimilate', i.e., renounce their cultural heritage and ethnic origins. One only has to take a walk through the Vietnamese or Chinese diaspora communities in Sydney or Melbourne to see that that process of 'Australianisation' is not occurring. These communities stubbornly cling to their sense of identity; they mostly live in their own ghettoes, visit their own restaurants and shops and pray in their own churches or mosques.

And indeed, Vietnam has a great history, as does China. Both were, in their respective distant pasts, traditionalist societies. Australia, on the other hand, has never been traditionalist: it is a product of liberalism, capitalism and British colonialism. So why would anyone want to become 'Australian' and forgo being Vietnamese or Chinese? Why trade your traditional values in and assimilate for being a “Paper Australian”?

But multiculturalism is as much a danger to the immigrant communities as it is to their host populations, as the Muslims in Australia are finding out. Multiculturalism insists that peoples assimilate to an artificial, inorganic type of community. Hence the State campaign in Australia to 'educate' Muslims in 'Australian values', i.e., pro-multiculturalist, and pro-Israel, values.

III.

If one takes a nationalist approach of De Benoist's sense, one will say that Australia is a nation and that that nationhood is based, on the whole, on race, and that anyone not belonging to the Anglo-Celtic or European races should be purged. It may be desirable, to someone of this ideology, for a Balkanisation of Australia to take place, where some parts of Australia which are ethnically homogenous and white cede from the parts that are not, and purge themselves of non-white elements.

Organisations and certain individuals on the Far Right tend to speculate that a scenario like the latter will occur and dream about the coming ‘Race War’. Many of them (including the fans of The Turner Diaries) want to bring it on. And when in December 2005 the people in Cronulla stood up against the Lebanese gangs that terrorised ‘their shire’ the hopes of a full blown ‘Race War’ was high in certain groups like the web based forum “Stormfront”.

And, of course, nationalists in other parts of the Western world envisage the same scenario for their own countries. De Benoist's ideas, which are opposed to this sort of nationalism, may not appeal to too many on the Far Right.

It must be admitted that De Benoist can be accused of shilly-shallying on the immigrant question. In contrast, Guillaume Faye seems to take the standard view. The Faye position, so far as I can make out, is that the North African and Arab communities in France must be expelled and repatriated, or segregated.

Benoist, on the other hand, has no clear cut solution to offer. He, of course, regards the immigrant presence as a blight and a burden, calling immigration a 'disaster'. He recognises that the immigrants are as badly off under the existing multicultural arrangement as the host population. But he seems to think that nothing can be done, or should be done.

Faye's position has the advantage of clarity and firmness - qualities that will always appeal to the Far Right. He names the enemy (Islam), concentrates all his resources on one single enemy, and attacks. He is a philo-Semite, or at least, prefers not to acknowledge the role that the Zionists - and the ideology of the Holocaust - have played in spreading the virus of multiculturalism throughout the West. But he is not evasive like De Benoist, who counsels 'realism' in the face of the immigrant problem, which some may say is a formula for inaction.

What would be a solution which is in keeping with De Benoist's ideas? The answer is, I think, ethnic federalism, or at least the spirit of ethnic federalism. Governments in the West should give the diaspora communities of Asians, Muslims, Black, Indians, Kurds, Turks and others more autonomy, more freedom. They should be given more political power, and not have power taken away from them (which is what the white nationalist, bent on Turner Diaries-style ethnic cleansing, seeks to do). The immigrant communities tend to be self-segregating anyway. It is merely a matter, then, of granting them sovereignty and jurisdiction to make them fully independent. By that means, the system of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire can be recreated on our doorstep.

Now before I will get a barrage of e-mails from people accusing me of giving up Australia as we know it, or want to remember it, I certainly don’t agree fully with this solution. This is just one possible application of De Benoist ideologies and ideas.

IV.

Something that is unique in De Benoist's theory is his approach to democracy. To De Benoist, democracy is to be defined as the participation of the community in the running of its own affairs. (He means, of course, organic communities).

Unlike thinkers such as Evola and Yockey, De Benoist places a high value on democracy. One of his theses is that democracy is compatible with Traditionalism – that parliaments have existed, in one form or another, in traditionalist societies like, for example, in the old Greek or Roman empires. One of the drawbacks of modern liberal democracy is, so De Benoist claims, that it is not democratic enough. That is, it does not allow the community to order and rule its own life but is ruled by a political and business elite. Multiculturalism insists on amalgamating organic communities into inorganic and artificial ones, therefore denying them any meaningful democracy.

De Benoist views freedom as being something more or less the same thing as democracy. Following Aristotle, he defines freedom as the capacity to participate in one's cultural life, in the life of one's community. By participating in the day to day business of the organic community, one transcends one's own individualism - the sphere of one's private life. To De Benoist, the individual's private life, his means of making a living and the rest, is the sphere of necessity. It is only one's actions in the sphere of one's ethnic group, one's race and community that can be said to be free.

De Benoist, naturally enough, has some sympathy for communitarianism. The mainstream of communitarian thought, however, is not nationalist (in the sense of belonging to the traditional Far Right). De Benoist's ideas could be described, then, as 'nationalist' (in our sense) communitarianism.

Such a political philosophy is much more positive than the standard white nationalism/Nutzism/Far Right nationalism, which is geared towards kicking the Negroes, the Hispanics, the Muslims, ect. out of one's country. But you have to ask yourself the question what happens after that goal is achieved? Does ethnic cleansing create a homogenic racial society as some of the Far Right organisations speculate? It seems to me that the white nationalists never seem to have an answer - they think strictly in terms of the short term goals, but forget to see the long term effects of such a move.

Even a thorough-going ethnic cleansing of non-whites will not overcome social alienation. Much of the social pathologies in the West can be traced back to the individual's isolation and alienation from his community. But 'nationalist communitarianism' will give him true democracy, true freedom, i.e., a sense of belonging to his own culture. Once he feels responsibility to his own culture, he will be less inclined to engage in destructive activities against it.

It is true that white nationalism, and Far Right populism, claim to stand for roughly the same things as De Benoist. That is, they want to overcome the individual's social isolation by encouraging to feel a sense of belonging to one's race or nation. But there have been many white societies where individuals still felt that social alienation - one has to look at the all white societies of the West in the 1950s and 1960s. On top of that, the conventional Far Right ideologies seem to attract individuals who are not the most upstanding examples of their race or nation - white nationalism, bluntly, often ends up attracting white trash.

Many of the Far Right populist politicians in Europe, the USA and Australia seem to want a return to the bourgeois, halycon days of the 1950s, which were whiter, cleaner and safer, but hardly communitarian. After all, if Britain or West Germany in the 1950s and 1960s did possess a real sense of communal identity and purpose, they wouldn't have let in all the immigrants in the first place.

So it could be that De Benoist's ideas are superior to the conventional Far Right ideologies existing in present. It cannot be said that De Benoist-ism has been tried and found wanting. Perhaps 'ethnic federalism' will attract more people to the Far Right in the West - the right sort of people, too.

The unique thing about De Benoist's philosophy is that it is neither white nationalist nor multiculturalists – it stands in between. As such, it represents a third position. Certainly, the enemies of the Far Right will not be ready to deal with such a stance; the old white nationalism is very familiar to them, but De Benoist is something new.

That is another reason why he is to be recommended.


*Welf Herfurth is a political activist who lives in Sydney / Australia. He was born and raised in Germany. He can be contacted on herfurth@iinet.net.au

5 comments:

Thinking outside the square said...

I really liked this article.


Some parts I agreed with and other parts I disagreed with.

Anonymous said...

Incisive and truthful.

A good article indeed.

James said...

Excellent article Welf, There's some grey areas that I disagree on but over all a good piece.

Anonymous said...

The critique by Michael O'Meara deserves proper sourcing: it was originally published at The Occidental Quarterly.

http://www.theoccidentalquarterly.com/vol5no3/53-mo-pluriversum.pdf

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