Thursday, July 05, 2007



by Welf Herfurth

1. Introduction
This is an article which explores questions of tactics and propaganda, building on previous articles such as On Kameradschaft and The power of the people. Most of its suggestions - regarding demos, leaflets, posters, etc. - are not easily put into practice straight away. Simply put, at the present stage we do not have the numbers, in Australia, at least, to carry out large demonstrations, and we do not possess all the requisite materials and equipment for making posters, and the rest, on the scale that the Left in this country does (and what is more, of the same quality). Having said that, I think it is important that we nationalists, at this early stage, start considering these things. This article, like previous ones in this vein, will be drawing upon the example of certain German nationalist movements - the Freie Kameradschaften, the Freie Nationalisten, and the Autonome Nationalisten - as well as the NPD itself.

It should be noted that throughout the essay, I will be using the terms 'left', 'right' in their conventional sense. Which is not to say that I do not recognise their limitations. (For instance, most nationalists are characterised by mainstream analysts as 'Far Right', which is I think is woefully inaccurate). What is more, I consider a good many political issues (especially ones relevant to nationalism) to be 'beyond left and right'.

Unlike many, I tend to characterise the German nationalism of the NPD and the Freie Nationalisten groups as 'left-wing' and 'socialist'. I also think that, to a great extent, the nationalist movement is left-wing and socialist. What I am advocating here is that we place those 'socialist', anti-globalist and anti-capitalist elements to the forefront of our doctrine, and that we repackage certain parts of our image (as it is conveyed in our visual propaganda (posters, symbols, leaflets, banners, etc.) and our slogans to get that across. By doing that, we will appeal to a wider cross-section of the political thinking conscious community which is left-leaning, anti-globalist and anti-capitalist. We will then manage to compete, successfully, with the mainstream Left (the anarchists, communists, social democrats and liberals, plus the trade unionists and environmentalists). The mainstream Left was able to claim a monopoly on political issues like anti-globalisation and the environment. That is, anyone who was concerned with these things was naturally on the (mainstream) Left. Nationalism has to work to break that monopoly.

As well as that, the Left seems to have a monopoly on the young - it is easier to attract a young person into the folds of the Left than it is into the nationalist 'Far Right'. The reason for that is that the Left are politically active, forming groups and holding demonstrations; but they also portray themselves, in their propaganda, as rebels and underdogs - something which is appealing to the young. But the 'underdog' and 'rebel' status can easily be appropriated for nationalism, and for the most part, it is a question of adopting the Left's symbolism and imagery (which I will discuss later).

2. What is Left and what is socialist?

On one level, socialism is about redistributing wealth. Under the market system, some people are rich, and others are poor, most are in between. The socialist view is that certain distributions of wealth are unjust - that is, certain groups deserve more than they are allocated by the market system - and so the government, and collective action, has to step in and redistribute it. Hugo Chavez is a typical socialist. His followers, the slum dwellers of Caracas and other parts of Venezuela, deserve more, in Chavez' view, than they have received under previous neo-liberal governments. His intention, then, is to redistribute wealth. He does this by, among other things, nationalising American-owned oil refineries: the profits are to no longer go to Yanqui, gringo shareholders, but to 'the people' - Venezuelans, or at least, the neediest, who happen to be Chavez' followers. Nationalisation and welfarism are the two main tools of 'government' socialism.

Other socialisms, however, need not be as extreme, polarising and confrontational as Chavez'. Indeed, socialism can exist within a mainstream liberal democratic context. Mainstream social democrat or liberal-socialist parties can and do use the tools of nationalisation and welfarism (more the latter than the former) to redistribute wealth. Even the conservative-leaning National Party in Australia is an agrarian socialist party, redistributing taxpayer's money to 'rural and regional Australia'. (One of the great ironies of Australian politics is that the Nationals are in a coalition with the free-market conservative Liberal Party). Indigenous groups in Australia, and Afro-American groups in America, likewise seek a share of taxpayer's money - in the name of 'social justice', redressing inequality and compensating for past injustices (e.g., slavery, or the theft, by white settlers, of indigenous land).

There are, of course, the Marxist socialisms. Socialism in Marx's time, and for many decades afterwards, had its roots in the working classes, who were exploited by capitalism. Like Dickens, Marx viewed Victorian capitalism as gloomy, degrading, soul-destroying; Marx was outraged over practices like child labour, for instance. The solution proffered by the communists, and other advocates of working-class socialism, was nationalisation, welfare and legislation against exploitative practices.

Over time, 'working-class socialism' filtered through to mainstream liberal socialist parties, like the German SPD and the British Labour Party, but not necessarily through Marx (Britain, for instance, has a strong, non-Marxist Fabian socialist tradition).

After the war, 'national' communisms sprang up in the Third World; but, for Cuban, Vietnamese and Chinese communism, the peasantry, and not the blue-collar proletariat of the cities, were the agents of revolutionary change. Marx's theory, by this point, had been twisted beyond recognition, but the Third World communists still insisted on categorising themselves as Marxist.

What of nationalism - Western nationalism? It has been argued elsewhere on this site that the German National Socialist and Italian Fascist movements and their imitators were socialist and left-wing in their orientation. Their membership included many disgruntled ex-communists and sympathisers or members from the mainstream liberal democratic socialist parties. Likewise, the NPD's ideology has a socialist tone. Its party program implies that the existing neo-liberal order is unfair to the indigenous Germans, and that wealth should be redistributed - not to Kurdish or Turkish immigrants, but to indigenous German families, particularly in the depressed areas of the East.

But there are additional reasons to characterise nationalism as socialist. For one thing, nationalists are naturally against globalisation, specifically the globalisation of people. In the neo-liberal and capitalist order, all human beings are interchangeable labour units, without any defining ethnic, racial or cultural characteristics. Or, if they have those characteristics, they hardly matter. So, if a few hundred thousand immigrants arrive from a Third World country to France, Germany, Australia or America, it will make no difference to the economy. Indeed, immigrants are 'good for' the economy, because, among other things, immigrants are quite generously prepared to work hard enough to pay for not only their social security pensions but the rest of the population's as well. For these reasons, according to business, we should ignore any effect immigration, and the corresponding changes in demographics, has on the existing culture. Big business is globalist, and supports immigration in order to obtain cheap labour. But ironically, the Left supports this side of globalisation, and welcomes immigration as well (albeit for different reasons).

Sectors of the community other than business are prepared to welcome immigration for quite selfish and stupid reasons. Recently, the CFMEU (the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Engineering Union, one of Australia's largest) has undertaken a campaign to have immigrant workers naturalised - in the hope that they will vote against the incumbent anti-union Liberal Party. Such a mentality betrays a selfish, short-term outlook - an outlook which is more associated, in leftist polemics, with capitalism than anything else. That view is 'Only my economic interests matter, no-one else's'. We nationalists reject that, considering that to be destructive to the community and the common good.

Then there are the economists, who are always cobbling together good sound 'economic' reasons for immigration. They claim that the ageing population in the West will place a strain on our social security systems, so we will need immigrants to pay for tax money for those pensions, but to replenish our numbers. As well as that, economists think that the addition of consumers (most economists today think in terms of demand-side economics, which places the consumer at the center) will likewise be 'good for the economy'.

But all these are rationalisations. There are plenty of other good economic reasons for rejecting immigration: for one, Australia does not have an unlimited supply of natural resources (like water); some studies show immigration to be bad for the environment; and so on.

The main reason why nationalists reject immigration is that we place a high value on the homogenous, and harmonious, community. And it is this concern with community and solidarity which we share with the mainstream Left. In ‘An infantile disorder? Crisis and decline of the New Left’ (1977), Nigel Young writes (of the New Left in America):

The 'myth' of community was a central one for the [New Left] movement; Georges Sorel had once used the notion of myth to depict something that was not necessarily untrue or impossible, but an image of the future which guided effective action in the present; a truth becoming rather than existing. Such was the idea of community in the growth of the NL and the counter-culture, reflecting the influence of anarchist and utopian socialist ideas, and filtered through writers like Fromm and Goodman; but it also reflected a general popular and sociological concern with a 'loss of community'; in the words of the Port Huron Statement itself, the task was 'bringing people out of isolation and into community'. That was a function of politics. For Mills, 'mass society' described an atomized, amorphous social situation in which individuation had replaced true individualism: conformity replaced autonomy, leaving only the alienation of 'pseudo-gemeinschaft', a phoney community of status-striving, the success ethic and the rat-race. This society elevated individualism as an ideal, but undermined its social basis. Both the cult of organizational belongingness and the quite contradictory myth of competitive individualism are cultivated to disguise the real nature of the corporate conveyor belt. (p. 57).

These are some of the key tenets of Leftism and Socialism: the isolating, alienating effects of capitalism and liberal individualism; and the need to increase community bonds, a sense of fellow-feeling and shared destiny, and have members of the community work, at least in part, for the good of the whole instead of their own selfish benefit. That can be accomplished through a number of ways: Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Castro, Gamel Nasser, Huey Long, Juan Peron, each have their different answers to the question. And these are only the 'government' socialisms: there are the 'libertarian' socialisms as well - the anarchists and the counter-culture dropouts who formed their own communes.

It is reasonable to say that many of the ideologists of early socialism and anarchism would certainly be "racist" by today's standards. Marx and Engels intended communism for industrial societies in the First World like England and Germany. Had they, and other socialists of Germany in the 19th century, been told that future communists would support mass immigration into the West with a view to making Germans a minority, they would have been appalled, not to mention astounded.

3. The New Left and its relevance to nationalism

In view of this, it is worth recounting the history of the New Left, which has lessons for nationalists. The New Left was a mass, left-wing radical movement in the West which began in the 1950s but gained prominence in the 1960s, and died sometime in the 1970s. The New Left championed women's rights, desegregation, environmentalism, gay rights, mass non-white immigration, nuclear disarmament, and campaigned for an end to the war in Vietnam. It looked to communists like Che, Mao, Ho Chi Minh as heroes, but represented a break from the 'old' Left (Leninism, Trotskyism, Maoism, Castroism). Unlike the 'old' Left, it had its membership base, not in the working-class trade union movement, or in Leninist 'revolutionary vanguards' (small groups of communist activists, often working undercover and infiltrating mainstream political groups), but in students and youth (mostly white and middle class). Culturally, its roots were deep within the sixties Hippie counter-culture of the time.

The movement burned out for a number of reasons: its use of violence, culminating, among the more radical groups (like the Weathermen and the Red Army Faction), in a campaign of urban guerrilla warfare against the State; infiltration by the 'old' Left groups who steered the movement in a more pro-Moscow, pro-Beijing direction; psychological strains imposed by drugs, communal living, sexual promiscuity and other elements of drop-out counter-culture life; organisational problems; and changing political and economic circumstances.

Perhaps most important of all, they failed to win over the support of the working classes and other significant groups in the community. Partially this was because of the natural conservatism and apathy in sections of the Western working classes of that time, and the generation gap between the old, working-class, trade union types and the young radicals. But it was also due to the fact that, as the seventies progressed, the behaviour of the New Left alienated people who could have been the New Left's natural supporters.

While nationalists may find large parts of their program noxious, there is much we can learn from it. On a close examination, it becomes clear that New Leftism has much in common with National Anarchism and the Freie Nationalisten/Freie Kameradschaften/ Autonome Nationalisten movements. The New Left doctrine emphasised spontaneous 'organisation without disorganisation'; activism over theory; activism directed towards the concerns of today rather than tomorrow; extra-parliamentarism; a non-hierarchical, amorphous structure (meaning that there were no strict membership rules and no leadership which imposes orders and rules from the top down); the creation of parallel society and 'counter-institutions' (i.e. community activist groups which to a certain extent usurp the functions of the State - 'We visualise and then build structures to counter those which we oppose', in the words of Tom Hayden). All in all, it preferred to be a 'movement' over a 'party'. The New Left groups were decentralised and difficult for an outside agency (like the government) to infiltrate and control.

All of this had its basis on anarchist theory. As Young writes:

The NL's version of pluralism sought the representation of all social groups regardless of their power or literacy or degree of organisation... Mills's 'publics', Goodman's and Fromm's 'community', Lynd's and Hayden's 'participatory democracy', all point towards a recreation of a genuine and 'socialist' pluralism. Such concepts also provide a base for a more utopian and anarchistic sociology; populist, eclectic and experimental, 'from the bottom-upwards' - in tune with decentralised movement projects, and making possible, in contrast, a sociology of the structures of unfreedom, of war, the State, and revolutionary limitation and possibility.

Thus these libertarian radicals of the 1960s largely accepted an end to doctrinaire solutions and closed utopias, endorsing the sort of pluralism and flexibility that had been characteristic of much anarchist thought. The projection of a single historical sequence, the single blueprint for a new society, the unified and reductionist theory of man or history, [all the elements of Marxist theory], was replaced by an insistence on the need for different groups, a range of solutions. (Young, pp. 22-23).

Part of this came about with a disillusionment with party politics, and elections. Left-wing activists had placed great faith in mainstream liberal or social democratic politicians, only to be burned each time. (The nationalist in Australia who reads of this cannot help but be reminded of the Pauline Hanson-One Nation experience). As well as that, the Old Left tactic of infiltrating mainstream center-left parties and institutions, and gradually turning them towards a communist party line, was not working; neither were the communist parties which competed in elections (an option available to them after the McCarthyite anti-communist phase of American political life had ceased).

More than that, however, was a desire, on the part of the many impetuous young activists who made up the New Left, to do something now. In an ideal left-wing world, a communist party would come to power through the ballot box and start expropriating the capitalist class and redistributing wealth. But clearly that was not possible in Europe and America in the 1960s, at least in the short term. Which raised the question: given that the Left lacked the political power to do what it wanted, how could it go about building a socialist community today? How could one bring about an order where one can feel a sense of solidarity, kinship and community, and work for the well-being of the whole (instead of the individual)? How could one escape the confines of the liberal capitalist order straight away?

The simple truth was that the institutions of communism were designed to benefit the people - not the other way around. Forced collectivisations, expropriation without compensation, rationing, price controls, currency controls, hierarchical state management of state-owned enterprises, the abolition of profit, interest, competition - all the techniques of communism - were intended to increase man's well-being. Obviously, this was not apparent from the way the communist regimes of China, Russia, Cuba and Vietnam worked: to the anti-Marxist New Leftist, these regimes were 'anti-people'. Communism had lost sight of the truths of socialism, and persisted in treating people like objects - a carry-over from capitalism. Under a business-friendly liberal democratic regime, business manipulates the government in order to serve business; while under communism, the government manipulates the people in order to serve the government.

So New Leftism sought to create socialism on the ground. 'The underground society grows out of the ground now, and it begins - independent of the still ruling authorities - to live its life and to rule itself' (Young, p.93).
All of this is relevant to nationalism for a number of reasons. Populists and nationalists tend to wait for the big electoral breakthrough, for the messiah who, at the head of a party, will take control of the government, in a Leninist-style, Bolshevik revolution (or Hitler-style, National Socialist revolution) and do all the things that they have wanted: expel immigrants; cut ties to Israel; begin expropriating the assets (particularly media and entertainment assets) of capitalists who are antipathetic to nationalism. But all these policies are intended to bring about a sense of unification and solidarity among peoples of European descent in the West. They aim to replace the old, deracinated, neo-liberal consumer order with one which could be described as 'socialist', or at least communitarian. Given that we cannot achieve this, at present, through the ballot box, how can we work towards it now?

Part of the answer, I feel, lies in the formation of small, decentralised groups of 'autonomous nationalists', as detailed in ‘The power of the people’. Capitalist, consumerist society is isolating and alienating (even without large numbers of non-white immigrants); we can break that down, in the nationalist community, by encouraging nationalists to associate with one another, in a 'disorganised' manner, without coercion. That is the first step. One of the benefits of that approach is that it makes the individual nationalist realise that he is not alone - and that he can draw strength, in an individualist, anti-racial world, from being in a group.

This has relevance, too, for non-white groups. Recently, the conservative Australian government has unveiled a raft of policies designed to assist isolated, squalid indigenous communities, which, like indigenous communities in North America, suffer from alcoholism, drug abuse, poverty, low life expectancy. In these communities, which are tantamount to reservations, social pathologies, like child abuse, and spousal abuse, are rampant. Over the past few decades, a large industry of welfare and social workers has sprung up to tend to the needs of the indigenous, but can not have said to have helped them much at all. So the government is looking for other solutions, and is, with its latest policies, for the most part winning the applause of conservatives in the press, and the qualified support of the opposition Labor Party.

But in the 'debate' on how to 'save' the indigenous people of Australia from themselves, no-one has looked at the possible solution of mutual aid. That is, the indigenous people in these communities could form activist groups and concentrate on improving their lives, without control and direction from the government and the indigenous welfare agencies. They could do simple things like clean up graffiti, carry out renovations of run-down government-owned properties, and prevent the supply of liquor.

The conservatives like to preach the value of 'self-help'; their belief is that indigenous people should lift themselves up by the bootstraps and leave their fellows behind. But a far better approach, in my view, is mutual aid - people co-operating in groups to benefit their community. And what can work for the indigenous people can work for the whites.

4. The revolutionary agency

In Marxist theory of the 'imminent' communist revolution and the downfall of capitalism, the working-class plays the central part - or rather, the working-class organised into a mass communist party. After receiving a proper political education in the truths of Marxism and dialectical materialism, the proletarian will see the truth of 'scientific socialism', develop class consciousness, and feel a radical antipathy towards capitalism. The revolution comes about through a violent overthrow of capitalism, the bourgeoisie, liberal democracy; or it comes about when the masses come to see the good sense of communist practice and then simply vote the pro-capitalist political parties out.

This side of Marxism presented a problem for the New Left. For one, the working classes in the West in the 1960s were not revolutionary, but, through the massive trade union movement (e.g., the AFL-CIO) were very much part of the liberal democratic order. As well as that, the trade unionists were racist, nationalist and very much opposed to desegregation, civil rights for Negroes. They were antipathetic to the pro-Hanoi, anti-colonialist foreign orientation of the New Left as well.

It was this lack of revolutionary potential in the working classes that led the theorists of the New Left to scout around for a new 'revolutionary agency'. Accordingly, the New Left made a fetish of Negroes struggling for civil rights, or the 'peasants' of Indochina waging an anti-colonialist war against the Americans and their puppets; some New Leftists even made a cult of the lumpenproletarian, following a strand in early anarchist thought.

These social or racial groups were said to have the dynamic potential which would bring about the revolution against capitalism. But, in the end, the New Leftists had to face up to the obvious: most of their membership were (mostly) white middle-class students. Speaking of C. Wright Mills, one of the leading New Left intellectuals, Young writes:

Mills... having written off the disorganised poor, the co-opted blacks and working-class leadership, the accommodated unions and the middle class dominated by consumerism and bureaucratism, continued his search for the 'insurgent impulse' where it could be found... [It] led usually back to the radical young and the activist students. By the early 1960s, they had already taken a leading part in European peace movements; students also played a continuing role in internal change (such as the overthrow of Menderes in Turkey, and Synghman Rhee in Korea) and after 1960, their role in Japan and Latin America became a constant echo of actions taken in North America and Europe. (Young, p. 110).
At once, the critic can see that a movement which has its base located in students and youth would experience severe problems. They could not be said to exist as a unified group, a class, or have much in the way of political clout. As Young writes:

How could seven million students, mostly white, mostly middle class, ever be a class in themselves? Student culture, despite the enormous impact of the New Left as a movement, was by no means solidary. External ties, training differentiation, seniority, size of student community, living situations, and finally sex and race, were all factors that could cut across the solidarity of students. As in the development of all classes, occupational and interest differentiation will be the most stubborn obstacle to the development of communal identity. Engineers versus humanities students, those whose first priority is exam-taking against those whose objective is the humanisation of the university environment, is paralleled by the opposition between craft and industrial unionism, between different racial groups, between the individual striver and the collective solidarist, which has characterised the history of classes in modern societies...

On behalf of the concept of a student class, it could be argued that this student interlude was at least a time of maximum volatility when the purchase of society was less strong. But for all this, the likelihood that students could organise effectively on a national scale as a political force, was small...

Perhaps the most telling opposition to the use of the class label for the student community came from those who stressed the evanescent quality of the status. Even if a majority of twenty million high-school leavers in the USA went through university, it remained an interim time for most of them; rarely lasting more than four years, the stakes in it are not that high. (Young, p.111).
Despite such dire prognostications, the student movement was spectacularly successful - gaining numbers, in America, at least, that American nationalists can at present only dream about:

By 1968, student support in America may have stood at around a million sympathisers, of whom probably 150,000 were actively linked to the movement or its organisations (e.g. by membership), over half of these were linked to SDS [Students for a Democratic Society], locally or nationally. Certainly, by 1968 and 1969, SDS itself was undeniably numerically larger than ever, and with 60,000-100,000 members of local chapters, by far the largest organisation on the Left...
A movement which had begun with a few thousands on a few major campuses (the large and prestigious, usually state, universities) had, after the Columbia rebellion, spread to literally every campus in America down to the smallest junior college; and even in black colleges in the South, where a new wave of militancy was apparent in1968, comparable movements existed. (Young, p.188).

5. We need students and youth

I will now advance a thesis that most nationalists will find controversial: in order for a nationalist revolution to succeed, we must target the students. It is an axiom of modern political life that no revolution has ever succeeded without the support of the students - whether it be in Weimar Germany or Batista's Cuba. It is almost certain that, once the universities go, the rest of a country's institutions go. Which is why reactionaries, like the Pinochet Junta in Chile, made it a point to target the universities first: in order to get rid of communism, and nip any revolution in the bud, they had to invade the universities and purge them of left-wing students, who, in Allende's Chile, were quite numerous.

In contemporary times, the communist groups in Australia manage to recruit among the students with great success. At the least, the memberships of the two main groups - Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative - respectively run into the hundreds. After the communist student members graduate, they go on take jobs in the public service (of course) and plough money back into their parties. The same phenomenon occurred in the New Left: the post-graduates employed in the capitalist system would even form groups with names like 'Radicals in the Professions'.

Nationalists, I know, will object to targeting students because a good many nationalists, or potential supporters of nationalism in the community, are not middle-class and not university-educated. For one, they may be afraid of the better education of students, or at least, afraid of the unknown quantity that these people represent.

To this I respond that we do not want to reject people who do not fit in the student or ex-student category: merely that we want to pitch our propaganda, our approach, to the levels of the student. Hollywood marketers today aim their blockbuster films at audiences with a mental age of 13 (which is one of the reasons why so many Hollywood films are awful). People who are older than 13, or are smarter than a 13 year old, will still go and see a piece of rubbish like Shrek 4 or whatever; but the target audience is someone with the intelligence of the 13 year old. Likewise, we nationalists should be trying to appeal with someone with the tastes and intelligence of the modern college student. Certainly, we do not want to attract people only from the student class: we want to (unlike the New Left) attract the parents of these students - the white middle-classes (see a previous essay at New Right Australia, The radicalisation of the middle classes). But we need a base which is already, to an extent, radicalised; has a lot of time on its hands for activism (and most people in the professions are simply too busy); and is aware of, and concerned with, the problems of the world. Students and youth fit the bill perfectly.

We should not underestimate the radical potential of the student body. It surprised and upset quite a few Marxist theorists when (especially during the uprising in France in May 1968) it was shown that it was the middle-class student who was the radical socialist, and not the proletarian. But the (non-Marxist), New Left anarchist Murray Bookchin understood. Speaking of the 'non-revolutionary' characteristics of the working class, he wrote:

The worker becomes a revolutionary not by becoming more of a worker but by undoing his "workerness"... His "workerness" is the disease he is suffering from, the social affliction telescoped to individual dimensions... The worker begins to become a revolutionary when he undoes his "workerness", when he comes to detest his class status here and now, when he begins to disgorge exactly those features which the Marxists most prize in him: his work ethic, his characterology derived from industrial discipline, his respect for hierarchy, his obedience to leaders, his consumerism, his vestiges of puritanism. In this sense, the worker becomes a revolutionary to the degree that he sheds his class status and achieves an un-class consciousness. He degenerates - and he degenerates magnificently. What he is shedding are precisely those class shackles that bind him to all systems of domination. He abandons those class interests that enslave him to consumerism, suburbia and a bookkeeping conception of life... (Bookchin, 'Listen, Marxist!' in "All we are saying..." : the philosophy of the New Left, ed. Arthur Lothstein, p.105).

What happens is a process of hippie-fication or bohemianisation:

The most promising development in the factories today is the emergence of young workers who smoke pot, f*ck-off on their jobs, drift into and out of factories, grow long or longish hair, demand more leisure time than more pay, steal, harass all authority figures, go on wildcats, and turn on their fellow workers. Even more promising is the emergence of this human type in trade schools and high schools, the reservoir of the industrial working class to come. To the degree that workers, vocational students, and high school students link their life-styles to various aspects of the anarchic youth culture, to that degree will the proletariat be transformed from a force for the conservation of the established order into a force for revolution. (Bookchin, p.105).
The fact of the matter is that the blue-collar working classes are a conservative bunch, and working-class culture is, at its worse, coarse and brutal. A hundred years ago, working-class people in Britain attended night classes to receive an education in arts, culture, the humanities, or read popularisations of science and philosophy in order to 'better' themselves. In other words, they were striving to achieve (what they perceived to be) the refinement and sophistication of the middle-classes, who had the leisure and the income to cultivate themselves. Now, however, in Britain, the working-class ethic reins supreme, in the media, popular culture, but, apparently, in the social life of Britons itself: even people of 'good', respectable middle-class backgrounds affect coarse, crude mannerisms and working-class accents in order to fit in and appear 'working class'. (The reason is that the middle classes, over the past few decades, have been demonised in British popular culture: television, film. Whereas the working-classes are portrayed as having warmth, humanity, and integrity. Needless to say, the average British scriptwriters tend to be members of the politically correct master race in terms of their political sympathies).

So a certain amount of education and cultivation, no matter how small, is essential to make someone less self-centered, more cognisant of the problems of the world - aware of what globalisation is, for example, or what Zionism is, or the fact that there are wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going on right now (and the reasons why there are these wars). This is necessary for an individual to reach his or her revolutionary potential. And this is the point that Bookchin is trying to make. (The same process of education occurs in nationalism. The average nationalist, in my view, often possesses more knowledge of political theory and history, and the history of the European peoples, than the average person - certainly more than the average blue-collar). Even the proletarian who goes on to become an active socialist in a social democratic party must, to a certain extent, educate himself, refine himself and overcome his 'workerness'.

In the student class, fortunately, we have ready-made radicals: people who are more than ready to 'smash the system'.

I am not suggesting that nationalists campaign on campus on student issues - e.g., more funding for better student services and the like (although if activists want to do that, they should go ahead). What I am suggesting is that we nationalists do not put, in our propaganda, anything which will make the average student run a mile. It should be a general rule of thumb that, if a piece of propaganda scares students, white, middle-class, and left-leaning youth, and fails to appeal to them, then it won't appeal to anyone.

As a concrete example, take Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance website, with its online racist computer games (where one has to shoot as many illegal Mexican immigrants before they cross the border, and so on). I am not being puritanical and politically-correct about such games - I personally find them amusing, as do quite a few other nationalists. But the average non-nationalist student, for instance, finds them shocking and horrifying, and will have his worst impressions of nationalism confirmed by them. For that reason, most of what is on Metzger's site should be rejected, and certainly we can find things more important and relevant to the nationalist cause than silly online racist computer games, or racist cartoons.

5. Symbols and slogans

The other thing we have to do is become more and more left-wing in our appearance. To achieve this, we merely have to change the form, not the content. The German nationalist groups, especially the Freie Nationalisten, in my opinion show us the way. They use Che, Hugo Chavez, Castro; quote left-wing notables like Friedrich Engels and Ernst Thälmann (the former German communist party leader); wear the standard anarchist 'uniform' (sunglasses, black baseball cap, black hoodie, and even black scarves wrapped around their faces) at demonstrations; and they demonstrate against globalisation (at G-20 meetings, for instance) or against Zionism (some even wear Arab headscarves to show their solidarity with the Palestinians). In their posters, slogans, badges, banners, and their look, they replicate the feel of the Left, particularly the anti-globalisation 'black bloc' Left.

The approach has a number of advantages. Firstly, their look (and politics is as much about the visual as it is about theory) fits in with the 'student' Left', the bohemian 'youth', and so has that edge of hipness about it. Secondly, the posters, fliers, badges, etc., are radical and socialist enough, but innocuous enough to be displayed anywhere - at a campus, on a street corner, even in an office (I know this from experience): when people see them, their first reaction, after digesting the message, is to consider it to be standard left-wing propaganda - not "Nazi" or "racist" at all. Third, the Antifa at demonstrations against nationalism wear the anarchist 'uniform' as well - dressing like them acts as camouflage confuses not only them but the police. Fourth, using "left"-type visual propaganda annoys the (conventional Marxist and anarchist) Left intensely, which is its own reward. (One anti-nationalist writer on the Internet even accuses the Freie Nationalisten of trying to appropriate the power of the Left as if all the badges, slogans, clothing, etc., of the Left were the sources of shamanic, mystical power. The Freie Nationalisten often use a two-flag symbol which has the reverse colours of the German Antifa; the militant Anti-Antifa uses for its symbol a parody of the Antifa 'Good night white pride' symbol and logo - 'Good night Left side'). The fifth advantage is that it breaks down conventional Left-Right thinking among non-nationalists, who previously thought that boycotting McDonald's and Starbucks was a 'Left' concern.

The most important thing is image. One only has to compare an anti-Semitic cartoon image produced by the likes of Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance (which has specialised in cartoons of that kind for a while) with a "left"-looking anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian poster. The nationalist who is anti-Zionist could either come up with a poster depicting a Jew as a rat, or pointing how many Jews are involved in the American pornography industry, or how many media assets are owned by Jews, etc.; or he could use a photo of a Palestinian boy throwing stones at an Israeli tank, and place, across the top, a slogan like 'Defy Israel!'. The latter is not "Nazi", not "racially offensive" and can be plastered on walls of buildings in the city centre, or on campus, without attracting media attention.

And what of all the symbols associated with nationalism: Celtic crosses, '1488' symbols, swastikas, variants on the NSDAP flag, SS symbols, Thor hammers, and Nordic-looking runes? These stick out like a sore thumb, and brand one as "Nazi" or "white supremacist" straight away. Far better to subvert an existing left-wing symbol: for instance, a common Frei Nationalist badge has the Antifa 'two flags' symbol with the slogan 'Nationale Sozialisten - Bundesweite Aktion' logo or the slogan 'Frei, Sozial and National' against a plain black "anarchist" backdrop. A black t-shirt will have, in German, the slogan 'No war for Israel! Against Zionism!' with the 'two flags' symbol. A banner will read, 'Against globalisation and capitalism' - a slogan not out of keeping with German National Socialism or Italian Fascism, but one which is contemporary Left as well.

Anarchist symbols often show men in masks and beanies, or men (or boys) using slingshots, or men about to throw molotov cocktails. The symbols have a message; they signify a number of things - defiance; radicalism; a war, waged by the little people, using the weapons of the weak. They are anti-authoritarian, and have the benefit of evoking the underdog, which is a big psychological advantage in propaganda. They are also radical and edgy enough to attract the youth, students and those who want to look different from the crowd (and who, paradoxically, want to fit in with their student or bohemian peer group). As well as that, anarchist visual propaganda uses images of masked people - which symbolises that anarchism is anonymous, that anyone can be an anarchist.

In contrast, the Metzger cartoons, for instance, represent ugliness and hate (which, again, is not to say that they cannot be amusing). And the white pride/Neo-Nazi symbols have disadvantages which are obvious.

Having said that: it is a matter of externals. If a nationalist wants to wear white pride, etc., tattoos on his body, or festoon swastikas and other symbols around his home, he should feel free to do so. But, at rallies, and in designing propaganda posters, websites and the like, it is more advantageous to adopt the Left look (especially the clothing, which preserves one identity - sunglasses, hoods and caps do obscure one's features remarkably in photos).

Ironically, much of modern nationalism uses imagery and symbols which are at least seventy to eighty years out of date. The original fascist movements of the 1920s and 1930s stood on the cutting edge when they first appeared - politically, intellectually, culturally. They were avant-garde (which was one of the reasons why they appealed to so many of Europe's intellectuals, and artists). But today's nationalist movements look back to the past - using old National Socialist symbols, posters, flags, and even uniforms (if one is a Nutzi). (Italian and British Fascist imagery is recycled too, to a certain extent). Australian nationalists use Eureka Stockade flags, and make a cult of old Australian national icons, like Ned Kelly and Henry Lawson - who were antiquated even before the onset of the fascist and Bolshevist era. Nationalists, it seems, cannot help living in the past.

Readers of Hitler's ‘Mein Kampf’ will recall Hitler's impressions of the first time he experienced Marxist visual propaganda in a German city - great red banners, parades, rallies, and the like - and the feelings of awe it gave him. He quickly realised that he had to appropriate the visual style of the Left, because that was a big part of the Left's appeal. For the same reasons, Mussolini's Fascists copied the Left's style. Supposing that these two men were alive today, and sought to imitate the Left - how would they go about it? Certainly, leftism has changed since the 1920s. The face of today's leftism is not the hammer and sickle, and the proletarian working-man in overalls and a cap, but the black outfits of the anarchist radicals at the 1999 WTO conference in Seattle (the 'Battle of Seattle') or the demonstrations against the G-20 summit Rostock, Germany in 2007. The icons of left-wing iconography are not Marx, Engels, Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin, but Hugo Chavez, Subcomandante Marcos of the Mexican Chiapas movement, and Che, whose appeal continues to endure. The Left has moved on; it has even moved on from the days of the New Left in the sixties (whose icons were Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Che and the Black Panthers).

But it is not merely a matter of a nationalist "Far Right" appropriating the outer trappings of leftism. One of the slogans of the student uprising in May, 1968 was, 'The consumer society must perish a violent death. The society of alienation must disappear from history. We are inventing a new and original world'. That is what we nationalists are trying to achieve: an overcoming of the alienation the members of the white race, the peoples of the West, feel towards one another, brought about by the neo-liberalist ideology, which substitutes the satisfactions of consumerism for racial and national belonging.

Having said that, there are quite a few genuinely right-wing people in the nationalist movement. The American nationalist movement has plenty of small-government; classical liberal types who would ordinarily vote Republican; likewise, many of the Far Right populist parties in Europe are that - Far Right, ultraconservative and reactionary.

This, in my view, has to be discarded. We nationalists have to change - by becoming more youthful and forward-looking. The British National Party campaigns heavily in parts of Britain which are disadvantaged; they pitch their appeal at white Britons who feel, not unjustly, that non-white immigrants get better government services than they do, simply because of the reverse racism of a succession of PC governments which values immigrants more than indigenous Britons. One of the BNP's slogans is, 'We're the Labour Party your granddad used to vote for'. I sympathise with that sentiment; had I been a Briton in 1960, or even in 1970, I would have voted Labour. But I would much prefer it if the BNP changed their slogan to, 'We're the radicals who rioted at Seattle in 1999'.

6. Objections

If I have persuaded 50 or more nationalists to follow the Freie Nationalist lead, and put together a demonstration at an anti-globalisation (or anti-Iraq war, or anti-Israel) march, and dress as "anarchists", and carry "left-seeming" banners, and cover up any Nordic rune tattoos - then I have accomplished my purpose here.

But there are potential pitfalls, which I will now point out. Part of the downfall of the New Left was its embrace of violence. It preached the doctrine of 'direct action', which at first translated into civil disobedience, peaceful protest and draft-dodging and then became a rationale for rioting, the 'occupation' of university classrooms, 'trashing' of rooms and the like, before winding up in guerrilla violence - bombings, kidnappings, hijackings, assassinations. Likewise, the anti-globalisation movement has a reputation for mindless violence. The violence at the 1999 WTO conference, and the publicity given to it, was unprecedented. In my experience, many people who observed it on the television felt, at the time, that the anti-globalisation demonstrators did have a genuine grievance (which justified to a certain extent the violence and destruction of property). But, by the time of the 2006 G-20 summit in Melbourne last year - which included assaults on police and police vehicles by protestors - the general public, in my view, had become somewhat impatient with the violent anti-globalisation crowd, characterising it as nihilistic violence and destruction of property for its own sake. The average violent anti-globalisation protestor is perceived to be a 'demo tourist', a 'groupie' who follows these events around the world for the purpose of disrupting them: it is seen to be a lifestyle as well as a political choice.

The trouble is that the mainstream media, politicians, academics, as well as the Antifa, attempt to associate nationalism with extreme violence, especially against immigrants. (To read the German newspapers, one could be forgiven for thinking that nationalists are responsible for all the crime in Germany). We have a long way to go to reversing that image problem. So any of our demonstrations must be peaceful - despite any provocations by any Antifa or police.

Inevitably, some nationalists will object that students, youth, etc., are too narrow a sub-section of the population, that they are a minority; and that the views of the radical Left (especially the anti-globalisation Left) are likewise the views of a minority - the communists, anarchists and the like do not have large numbers on their side.

To respond to the last objection first. As noted before, the communist groups in Australia are not nearly as big as the mainstream political parties. But, compared to the nationalist groups, they are enormous. We nationalists have trouble filling a room with 10 people - and yet we make declarations about taking the country over, expelling all the migrants, etc. The outdated Trotskyists, who go the party-political route and bomb out at every election, and who conduct boring weekly lectures on Marx's Kapital, have more numbers and a more solid following than we do. They succeed in gaining this following because they target students, and their propaganda (their posters, badges, their newspaper (the Green Left Weekly)) is better than anything we can do at the present time - it is hip, trendy, progressive, in touch with today's political culture.

Secondly, in a liberal democracy, it is minorities, not majorities, that acquire a real following and accumulate the real power. Here I will quote John T. Flynn, an American conservative and author of ‘As we go marching’ (1944), on the appeal of Mussolini:

I must be careful not to infer that Mussolini did what a majority of the Italian people wanted. He had made one important discovery — a principle that most successful politicians in a parliamentary state understand and that is perceived by few of their intellectual critics. It is that parliamentary societies are not governed by majorities but by combinations of minorities. “Majorities are inert,” Mussolini said to his faithful Boswella, Signora Sarfatti, “but minorities are dynamic.” He had perceived that society is composed of groups profoundly concerned about their several group interests. They are all minorities. Each minority is far more interested in its special minority objective than in those vague, general subjects that concern the state as a whole. It comes about, therefore, that two seemingly hostile minorities can be induced to unite upon a third proposal of a general nature provided they are each rewarded with a promise of fulfilment of their own special desires.
I can point out plenty of examples from modern politics where this rule applies. For instance, there is the National Party, Australia's agrarian socialist party, which represents a minority economic class which is fast becoming irrelevant, and which, at the same time, has state and federal representation in every state and territory. And then there is the New Left itself - which, in America, recruited enormous numbers among a student class which was, at the time, only 15% of the American population.

I will end by saying that, by veering leftward, at least in terms of our appearance at demonstrations, and in our propaganda, we are staying true to the roots of nationalism. I think it is no exaggeration to say that, were Hitler, Mosley, Mussolini and Degrelle alive today, they would be Freie Nationalisten, or something very much like them.

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


Anonymous said...

Excellent essay, I agree with all of your conclusions.

I dont see a need to acquire all of the lefts heros or icons like window dressing but there is a large number of situationist material that can be interpreted in a nationalist sense.

Anonymous said...

A very interesting and informative article.

It fully explains that we need to take positives from what our "opponents" have done and use those tactics to our own advantage.

Western Values said...

I don't believe the individualist, or even free market, position is incompatible with Nationalism.

The left has moved to a position where their dogma requires them to embrace values that are destructive to themselves. An example would be feminism and islam. Feminism might be one of their old mainstays, but even though islam might treat women like animals the lefties won't criticise it (even in matters like female genital mutilation aka female circumcision). That would be saying Western Eurpoean values are better than islamic ones, and no lefty could ever do that!

The individualistic perspective simply means forming relationships and living by values that are beneficial to yourself. This is normal, sensible behaviour (in contrast to the illogical left wing position, as illustrated in the example above). Most people, perhaps a majority, would prefer to have relationships and business dealings with people like themselves. (As one fellow Nationalist put it, no one hates themselves!) People are getting 'over' the left wing doctrine and political correctness of the last few decades and admitting that multiculturalism has failed and destroyed social cohesian (eg. Cronulla); that aboriginals have serious problems like pedophilia and it's not the White man's fault; that some other value systems like islam are simply not compatible with the Western way of life regardless of how we whitewash them; and the list goes on. A person who has come to this point in their thinking may do so from a completely individualist perspective, but see Nationalism as a logical way forward. To give a personal example, I have chosen not to maintain relationships with people not of my ethnicity. I work with quite a few professional Indian and Asian people. There is no real reason to believe they are bad people. However I don't cultivate relationships with these people as I do with 'my own', and I believe this generally leads to me having higher quality relationships. From a completely individualist perspective I have chosen a more 'Nationalistic' community to be part of, as a way of improving my own life.

Even in a free market context I don't think there needs to be excessive laws put in place to bring about Nationalist goals. It's more of a cultural thing. To use the example of my own life: I've recently moved from a professional financial service provider because the guy was a leb. I used his company for nearly two years and I have come to conclusion over this time that you can't deal with them as they are naturally slimey, dishonest people. I'm not the only one who feels this way. I made sure his replacement was a more appropriate ethnicity, and needless to say, it appears I've made a good decision. (It's amazing how true the stereotypes are). I'm replacing one of my cars and I'm limiting my choices to either an Australian built or European model, and this is probably what I'm going to do from now on. When I shop I drive the extra distance to areas full of 'my own', even if they are not as well off as where I live. I even choose my service stations where I buy petrol based on the ethnicity of the owner and the attendants they employ. I'm making choices in a free market based on what I like. What I like is basically 'Nationalistic'.

What I'm saying is that as globalisation brings both good and bad into our lives, a totally individualistic approach to improving your own circumstances and building a better 'world' for yourself can be to make Nationalistic choices. The key to spreading Nationalism is to spread this message.

I also agree with you that Nationalism looks backwards too often to certain periods in history where Nationalist ideas were fresh and 'avante garde' and seen as part of the solution. We need to return Nationalist thought to this level, rather than it's current image as a bunch of people who are afraid of change and looking for protection from a big, bad, modern world in which they can't cope. I think promoting Nationalism as an individualist choice is one way of doing this.

Anonymous said...

you are racist. no one on the left will tolerate you at their demos. fuck off