by Tom Stanwell, written with the direction and assistance of Welf Herfurth
In past articles, we have discussed mass movements and how important mass mobilisation is for building a political base and eventually achieving political power. This really is the question of all politics: how to get a sufficient majority on one's side in order to carry out one's political agenda. All politicians, no matter their affiliation or ideology, have to struggle with this. Nationalists are no different. Nationalism, I think, is even more mass-based than conventional liberal-democratic ideologies. It relies on mass force, mass mobilisation, and is democratic (by Carl Schmitt's definition of democracy). Through people power, and the dictatorship of the democratic mass, nationalists can overturn existing laws and bring about radical constitutional change.
I have often heard other nationalist activists complain that 'We don't have the numbers' that our European comrades are blessed with, and that we lack their organisational élan. Here I say no, it is not the case at all: we do have the numbers in Australia, and we do have grounds for optimism - it is that we are going about it the wrong way. Fortunately for us, the solutions are simple, and easy to apply.
2. The problem
The Freie Kameradschaften/Freie Nationalisten are movements that developed among German nationalists to shield nationalists from repression at the hands of the State and harassment from neo-anarchist/neo-communist 'Antifascist' ('Antifa') activists. These problems are faced by nationalists all over Western Europe, and in Australia as well, but they are especially acute in Germany.
For instance, the German government can, at will, deny nationalists their right to freedom of association. Suppose that a group of nationalist activists form a group (for the sake of the example, we shall call it the 'German Pigeon Keepers League'). If the German government judges the GPKL to be 'Neo-Nazi' (and therefore contrary to the Allied-imposed Grundgesetz, or Basic Law), it can ban it. In practice, this means that more than two members can never meet one another, or even telephone one another, ever again. This ban not only extends to meetings at political gatherings, but meetings over a cup of coffee as well. This exacts a heavy toll, socially and emotionally, on the nationalists concerned, particularly if they were close friends before the formation of the group. (As well as that, the activists may live in the same neighbourhood, or work at the same workplace, and so may have to change their place of residence, or job, accordingly). In our example, the police can easily enforce the ban because it has seized the party records for the GPKL - including membership lists (containing names, mobile phone numbers, addresses), financial records of party contributions and the like.
The other source of harassment is the Antifa. Let us transpose our example to the Australian scene. Suppose, at a prestigious Australian university, two or three nationalist activists form a group - 'Aussie White Pride Party'. They plaster a few spots around the universities with stickers and posters, and even set up a table, with pamphlets, badges, and copies of a party newspaper, in the main square of the university. The goal is, of course, to gain publicity for their cause, and hopefully attract and recruit some new members. Some of the members of the group even run for elections in the student council. Which is all well and fine. But, as anyone who has been to a university in the past forty years, communist and anarchist groups play a big part in campus politics, are very active, have set up their own stands, and are busy running, every year, for the student council. Inevitably, the communists and anarchist groups, along with the local Antifa (and it should be kept in mind that the three groups are three different things) declare war against the AWPP. The members in the main square are assaulted, and their table overturned. Party literature is seized and torn up or thrown into a rubbish bin. Posters and stickers are torn down, and certain politically-correct lobby groups in the community place enormous pressure on the Chancellor to get the group banned. A politically-correct MP starts making noises in parliament...
Without a doubt, this is all too familiar to the nationalist activist. He will have experienced something like this himself, or he will know someone who has. After the likes of this has happened, he sees that the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, etc., apply only to some privileged groups in the community - and certainly not to nationalists. He will, after a few experiences of this type, become somewhat disillusioned with activism, at least activism in the open.
This is the situation in Australia. In Europe, particularly in Germany, it is much worse. So how to get around it?
The solution involves a basic understanding of group psychology and interpersonal relations. It lies in the formation of trust and friendship among nationalist activists, and through that, the gradual build-up in numbers. After that, comes the activism, the publicity-seeking, and the carrying out of what the anarchist Kropotkin called the 'propaganda of the deed' (which I will explain later).
3. The solution
I think it is fair to say, that, in the present decade, most nationalists become acquainted with nationalism, and other activists, through the medium of the Internet. E-mail, and the online forum, has revolutionised modern day political activism. Nationalists can build up a relationship with others online, and, if they happen to live nearby, eventually meet. Most people, over 40 or so, tend to be, in my experience, Internet-illiterate, or at least, unwilling to exploit it to its fullest extent; and it is the young who tend to be the heaviest users of the Internet, and the least intimidated by the new technology. So nationalism, as a result, is growing, especially among the young, for that reason.
All people from all ideological groupings are welcome, but if there is one rule, it is this. Any grouping that tries to dominate the others, and make their ideology the pre-eminent one, will be banned.
At the end of the night, the nationalist will not have gotten the chance to speak to everyone present. But he will have met one or two new people. He then departs, shakes hands with the other people there, and, if he trusts them enough by now, gives them his card with his contact details. He makes arrangements with the night's organiser to do the same thing again in four to six weeks time or so. Attendance is not compulsory. If he has unavoidable other commitments at that future date, the key person will change it. (It is advisable, for security reasons, that no-one know that the particular key person is, in fact, the one who is responsible for phoning the people and getting them to attend).
The next time the nationalists meet up, at the same bar, they may bring in one or two new faces. But there is no pressure to continually bring in new people: 'Here, next time you show up, bring two new nationalists, or else'. (Nationalism should not be like commission sales). And, again, the evening proceeds just like the last. This goes on, throughout the course of the year. There is no party, no membership roster, no fees, no general secretary, no party program, not even a name. (If there is a name, it is something like: 'The movement without a name', or 'Every fourth week of the month movement'). There is only face to face contact, which is what New Right Australia advocates.
A number of things happen. Over the course of time, the people who are drinking together on this purely social basis tend to like and trust one another more. Outside of politics, the same process occurs at one's local bar. You may exchange a few words, in the course of the evening, with another of the patrons. Over the next three or four visits, you may see one another again and again, and talk for longer periods of time - and eventually end up becoming friends. (Alcohol, of course, plays a part in breaking down the social barriers). Now, over the time period that these 'meetings' among nationalists are taking place in the bar, the same thing happens. The nationalist comes to know the other nationalist as a person, and regard him as being, personally, not a bad fellow - certainly someone he can invite to his house for dinner.
The other thing that happens is that the nationalists who attend these bar 'meetings' swell in numbers. Depending on the number of nationalist activists in the city, the number can reach a few dozen. The proprietors of the bar will notice that there has been a change in the clientele - that this group of patrons seems to be quite large, and growing. It is unlikely that he will suspect that they have a nationalist orientation (it is difficult to overhear conversations in a crowded, noisy bar). Perhaps he will be pleased that this particular group is showing up, with such a frequency, to the place - simply because they happen to spend money.
At this point, the reader may well ask: 'Well, all this drinking and socialising is all very fine; but I don't see how it leads to anything political'. But it does. Suppose that, through our methods, our student activist from the now-banned AWWP meets other nationalists on the same campus. But, where he knew only two or three nationalists from that campus (with which he formed the AWWP) before, he now knows a few dozen. He now has the basis of a network - that is, an informal grouping of nationalists who know each other, and happen to like each other on a personal basis or at least trust one another. He uses that movement to form a new student nationalist organisation on campus, plasters a few stickers and posters around the place, and sets up his table in the main square with the pamphlets and other propaganda material. The communist and anarchist Antifa are still there. But the difference is: before, he had only two or three nationalists standing with him by the table; now, he has organised two or three dozen to be in attendance. If the Antifa present try to assault him (with only four or five other Antifa), the result is inevitable.
What of the Chancellor, and the politically correct groups? By now, the nationalist student activist should be smart enough not to form a group with a provocative name, or publish propaganda material which is not provocative. In the end, though, the opponents of nationalism at that campus, particularly the politically correct groups, will get wind of what the new nationalist organisation is about. (To quote the American 'Nazi' George Lincoln Rockwell, 'You can't out-Jew the Jew' by being deceptive). They will start to complain about the 'Neo-Nazis' on campus. Perhaps, then, the Chancellor will ban the new organisation. And so what: next week, the nationalist movement has formed a new group, with a new name, and new stickers, posters, etc. The old group has been liquidated, like a failed business enterprise, and a new one has been started up in its place.
4. The propaganda of the deed
The point of organising on campus is the same as that of organising a demonstration or rally: the propaganda of the deed. Recently in Australia, for instance, Australia's trade union movement, in combination with the Australian Labor Party, has organised a series of large and well-attended rallies and concerts, and paid for TV and newspaper commercials, against new industrial relations legislation. One would never guess, from the number of people present at these rallies, and the amounts of money spent on these commercials, that the union movement in Australia has declined (to where only 17% of the workforce is unionised) and can be described as moribund. The average Australian, watching all the union activism on the nightly television news, thinks to himself: 'Well, I may not be concerned with the new legislation, and I may even support it. But who am I? Just one person. I couldn't organise tomorrow with a few hundred people'. The rally is, in effect, propaganda through action: it says, 'We are here, we are organised, we are loud, we are numerous, we have genuine concerns and we are making them felt'.
This is precisely what the communist and anarchist groups on the campuses, for instance, are trying to achieve. I once remarked, to a nationalist acquaintance of mine, that the communists on campus have little to no support among the student populace, or the populace as a whole; so their efforts in plastering the walls of the university buildings with posters of Lenin, Marx and Trotsky were exercises in futility. His reply was: it doesn't matter whether their ideas have support or not, or whether their ideas are even correct; what matters is the message of their posters (and other activities) which says, simply, that 'We dominate the campus; no-one else does'. Another case of propaganda of the deed.
This is why the German nationalists undertake the social activities described in a previous essay at this site, 'On Kameradschaft'. (I am referring to the 'soup kitchen strategy' of the NPD). The German media, and the Western media, not to mention the German government, strive to present German nationalists as 'Neo-Nazis' who want to gas the Jews all over again, etc., and presumably this time around gas the Turkish immigrants as well. The German nationalists, in particular the Freie Nationalisten/Freie Kameradschaften, seek to overturn this impression by organising activities like organising singing performances in old people's retirement homes, for example. This serves as propaganda of the deed, showing the average German that nationalism in Germany today is, among other things, a social movement. And it is pretty hard for the German media and the government to stir up hatred against a nationalist group which, unlike other groups in the community, pays attention to neglected and socially isolated senior citizens.
If there is one important thing for the nationalist activist to keep in mind, it is this: be positive. The communists on campus, for instance, always frame their message in terms of a positive task or accomplishment. 'Free refugees - it's humane'; 'Solidarity with the Palestinians, who are being butchered daily by the Israelis'; 'Stop the war in Iraq'; 'Save the environment'; 'Protect workers' rights'; 'More funding for education'. Whereas most nationalist propanda in Australia and America, at least, emphasises negative characteristics of certain ethnic groups, with the purpose of fomenting hostility and antagonism towards them. They lose by not using a more positive message, and more positive imagery.
As an example of a positive image, take the following. I recently saw an advertisement, from a German women's magazine (non-nationalist), of a beautiful blonde woman, in her late thirties, hosing her young children and their friends, as they played in a swimming pool on a beautiful summer day. That would be a perfect image to use in a piece of nationalist propaganda. A nationalist poster could use the image, and put one simple heading above it: 'Protect them', with the name of the group down the bottom.
An example of a positive message would be something like: 'Concerned about the water shortage? Then you should be concerned about immigration, which places a strain on Australia's resources and environment', etc., etc.
5. Nationalism and Anarchism
I should point out that there is a link between the Freie Nationalisten and National Anarchism, not only in the symbols and dress of the Freie Nationalisten in Germany, but in the theory as well. The easiest way to explain that theory is as follows. Recently, a local government in town in Europe has undertaken an experience in traffic control. It will abolish traffic signs and road rules, and drivers and pedestrians will instead co-operate with another by hand-signs (e.g., drivers will wave pedestrians to cross the road instead of waiting for a traffic light), driving slowly, and so forth. The local government claims that this will reduce traffic accidents, and has statistics to prove it. Why? The answer is that when drivers are told what to do by a government which imposes a large and complex set of traffic rules, they become more aggressive, impatient and defiant. That, in turn, increases traffic accidents and road rage. But, remove those rules, and a 'natural order' emerges. That is, a natural harmony between driver and driver, and driver and pedestrian, occurs, without being imposed from the top down by government. This is classical anarchist/libertarian theory.
I think one can see how parallels can be drawn between this theory and the Freie Nationalist approach. By telling nationalists that they have to join a group, be present at a meeting, give donations to a group treasurer, recruit new members and bring them along to the next meeting, feel loyalty to the leadership and the fellow members, and sacrifice a great deal of time - you end up causing a natural resistance. Once they are under no such compulsion, however, things are free to develop naturally and at their own pace. A 'natural' leadership will emerge, and that leadership will have been earned.
At the governmental level, I think, nationalists need to be authoritarian. That is, the nationalist leadership of the masses to lead them. But at the level of small unit organisation, nationalists should be anarchist as much as possible.
6. How not to do it
The nationalist organiser has to keep in mind, at all times, security. A nationalist friend of mine once organised a meeting of nationalists through the Internet. Half a dozen would meet each other, some for the first time, at a barbeque in a public park. The event was publicised in an online chat forum for nationalists - including the place where the barbeque was to take place, and the time. The actual meeting went ahead well enough, and the nationalists in attendance, all young men, got along.
Naturally, an Antifa activist managed showed up and managed to pass himself off as a nationalist and infiltrate the group. He took photos, as did an Antifa pair standing some distance away. The photographs, and even some footage of the gathering, were splashed across an Antifa website in the next few days, along with mocking commentary. Understandably, the nationalists in attendance were mortified, and some of the more inexperienced ones went underground and never came back to the scene.
This sort of thing can be avoided quite easily. The nationalist organiser of a 'movement without a name' will not publicise the event over the Internet. He will have met all, or most, of the attendees in person beforehand, one on one, built up trust, and have taken down their numbers or e-mail addresses. He then contacts them all individually with the details of the venue, and the time, through phone call or text or e-mail (but preferably by phone). He may have the phone number of a comrade who then goes on to ring or text one or two of his friends as well. No fliers announcing the 'event' are printed up and distributed, and no announcements are posted on the online forum or mailing list. That takes care of security.
Another, related problem is gossip. Specifically, nationalists have the tendency to say these sorts of things to each other: 'Oh, hi John, Dave Smith said to me in a conversation two months ago that you're a Nutzi. Or a bum. Or a loser. Or all three'. This is especially divisive when both John and Dave Smith happen to be there at the same night. (And often, these second-hand comments about other nationalists are meant lightly anyway. In the retelling, they become deadly serious).
I can say, from my own experience, that the Freie Kameradschaft methods do work. Nationalists in my capital city are in the process of forming a 'movement without a name'. It is early days yet, and possibly it will be a long time, if ever, that we have a movement of fifty or a hundred people. (We are a long way, of course, from engaging in propaganda of the deed). Perhaps, if the numbers do swell to that level, we may have to break into smaller groups (of around a dozen or two) to make it more manageable.
But the point is: there are plenty of nationalists out there, on the Internet, and eventually the non-confrontational, 'comradely' approach of the Freie Nationalisten will persuade them to come out from behind their computer screens and engage in face to face contact. After sufficient trust has been built up, through drinking, eating and socialising, fellow nationalists can do things for each other that friends would do normally. I.e., they can offer to fix one anothers' cars, or help each other move furniture in their houses, or do a desktop printing job, attend each others' weddings, and so on. This is how it is done: this is how a social group, a social association, of any sort, is formed - whether it be a Seventh Day Adventist or Islamic group, or a trade union activist group, or a chess or kayaking group. I would add, too, it is how a political party, with a genuine mass base, is formed as well.
I will conclude with a Freie Nationalist slogan which nationalist activists should keep in mind. 'Was meinem Volk nutzt, ist recht!' ('What my people needs, is right!').