The Youth Movement and National Revolutionary Ideology Under the Weimar Republic – Thierry Mudry –  Vouloir n°43/44 – 1987

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From the years 1924-25 until the legislative elections which, in short, would propel the National Socialist party into the first rank, nationalist militancy was principally represented in Germany by the paramilitary groups (Wehrverbände), the heirs of the Freikorps, and the youth leagues (Bünde). Due to the economic crisis, the most radical elements of these groups and leagues would evolve towards revolutionary national socialism (the Strasser tendency) or National Bolshevism while others (that is to say the majority of the league members and leaders) would seek an accommodation with the system for a time and rally to new parties, like the German State Party (arising from the merger of the Democratic Party and the Young German Order of Artur Mahraun) and the Conservative People’s Party (formed by the Social Christians and elements coming from the extreme right DNVP), trying in vain, to make them instruments of German revival.

 

 

Bündisch Socialism

 

 

The members of the youth leagues were inflamed with passion for “Bündisch socialism,” a variant of the “German socialism” to which numerous socio-professional milieus and political groups in Weimar Germany rallied. “Bündisch socialism” was very close to the “soldierly socialism” professed by their elders in the paramilitary groups. In both cases, the accent of this socialism was put on the group, not only on the Bund or the militarized group, but also the Volksgemeinschaft (the Community of the People) served by Bund or group, into which it was integrated. While the “soldierly socialism” of the elders was based on the experience of the war and the comradeship of the front, the “Bündisch socialism” of the youth rested on the experiences of hikes throughout Germany, the contact with the German people, and the communitarian experience of the Bund, the comradeship experienced within the Bund. With the crisis and the increasing radicalization of the youth leagues, “Bündisch socialism” became more concrete and transformed into a national-revolutionary socialism favorable to the total or partial nationalization of the means of production, a planned economy, and German or Central European autarky.

 

 

The Hitlerian Challenge

 

 

After Hitler’s accession to power, the principal youth leagues (except the “Mendicants”, the most moderate, notably the important Deutsche Freischar) united in March 1933 into the Grossdeutsche Jugendbund under the sponsorship of Admiral von Trotha, a close associate of Reich President Hindenburg. Thus they hoped to escape the “synchronization” (Gleichschaltung), meaning dissolution and the integration of their members into the Hitler Youth. On their side, the “hardest” leagues, the most Völkisch (for which Volk was often synonymous with Rasse) and the most critical regarding Hitlerism at the same time (they judged it from a revolutionary national socialist or National Bolshevik point of view) regrouped into a Bündische Front für Wehr-, Arbeits- und Grenzdienst ( Bündische Front for the service of defense, labor, and border security), under the presidency of a “Trotskyite of National Socialism,” Dr Kleo Pleyer.

The youth leagues were, despite their desperate efforts, dissolved during the summer of 1933. Their members then entered into the Hitler Youth and especially in the cadre of the Deutsche Jungvolk (which gathered the youngest elements of the Hitler Youth) in order to continue their activities and promote the Bündisch spirit there. The others, older, (the associates of Friedrich Hielscher) entered into the SS and the Ahnenerbe (“Heritage of the Ancestors”, the sector of the SS specializing in scientific research, particularly historical and prehistoric research). Yet others (the Strasserists under the direction of Heinz Gruber) chose to enter into the Labor Front in order to accentuate its socialist orientation. Finally, Dr. Werner Haverbeck tried to regroup the youth of Bündisch spirit into an organization, Reichsbund Volkstum und Heimat, a satellite association KdF (Kraft durch Freude, “Strength Through Joy”) – this organization would soon count nearly a million members.

 

 

The Repression Begins

 

 

But under the notable pressure of Baldur von Schirach, leader of the Hitler Youth, who feared seeing his authority over the German youth contested, repression struck the former Bündisch leader from 1934 onward: some were excluded from the Hitler Jugend [Werner Lass, founder and leader of the “Freischar Schill” and the secret organization of the Eidgenoßen (Confederates)], others were arrested [Heinz Gruber, founder and leader of the Schwarze Jungmannschaft, the social-revolutionary dissidence from the Hitler Youth, which became part of Otto Strasser’s Black Front; Robert Oelbermann, founder and leader of the Nerother Wandervogel] or forced into exile [Eberhard Köbel, nicknamed “tusk”, founder and leader of the “Deutsche Jungenschaft vom 1.11.1929”, dissident movement from the important Deutsche Freischar; Fritz Borinski, social democrat and one of the leaders of the Deutsche Freischar; Hans Ebeling, founder and leader of the Jungnationaler Bund, deutsche Jungenschaft; Karl-Otto Paetel, founder and leader of the Gruppe Sozialrevolutionärer Nationalisten], others were ultimately assassinated [Karl Lämmermann, one of the leaders of the Deutsche Freischar, assassinated during the Night of the Long Knives]. Haverback’s Reichsbund was dissolved.

Despite four successive bans (in 1933, 1934, February 6th 1936, and May 13th 1937) and the mandatory incorporation of the German youth into the Hitler Youth, mandated in 1936, and applied in practice in 1939, certain leagues would continue their activities in Germany clandestinely and illegally. That was the case of:

1) The “Deutsche Jungenschaft vom 1.11.1929”, founded by “tusk”, the alias of Eberhard Köbel, in 1931, in liaison with the exiled Karl-Otto Paetel and Otto Strasser (Helmut Hirsch, member of the “d.j. 1.11” and correspondent of Strasser, condemned to death on June 4th 1937, would be hanged at Plötzensee).

2) The Nerother Wandervogel

3) The Jungnationaler-Bund, deutsche Jungenschaft, dismantled in 1937, whose leaders would be heavily condemned during the trial in Essen.

If certain leagues could survive clandestinely, with limited effective membership, new groups appeared, bands of adolescents who refused integration into the Hitler Youth and the militarization of the youth. Some of these bands imitated Western fashions and prefigured the postwar groups, others professed a moralizing Christianity and constituted the continuation of the Christian youth organizations, yet others renewed the romantic ideal of the Wandervögel. Among these new groups, the most well known was, without contest, Die Weisse Rose, in which some of the oldest belonged to youth leagues.

The Bündisch youth, and their imitators, were not the only ones to resist Hitlerian “Fascism”: we must also mention the young communists in the labor milieu and the young Catholics in the Rhineland and Bavaria. While the first relied on the clandestine infrastructure of the German Communist Party, the second sheltered themselves behind the Concordat signed between Hitler and the Pope in 1933.

 

 

The Bündisch Ideal in Exile

 

 

The Bündisch ideal, progressively smothered in Germany, was maintained abroad in exile. Otto Strasser sparked the creation of a Ring bündischer Jugend, which was integrated into his Deutsche Front gegen das Hitlersystem (German Front against the Hitlerian System). An anti-fascist magazine, controlled by the communists, emerged in Paris under the title Freie deutsche Jugend (this phrase denoted a faction of the independent youth movement between 1913 and 1923 and would denote the East German youth organization after the Second World War). Karl-Otto Paetel edited in Stockholm, then in Brussels and finally in Paris, the Schriften der jungen Nation and the Blätter des sozialistischen Nation (disseminated in Germany by the Siliava sisters, members of the “Deutsche Jungenschaft vom 1.11.1929” in Berlin). Finally in 1935, Hans Ebeling and Theo Hespers would establish the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bündischer Jugend in Belgium, which Paetel and Tusk joined, which would give rise to the Deutsche Jugendfront. This youth front was linked to Dutch, Belgian, and British groups. It was born from the desire to regroup the entire German youth opposition. But this attempt failed due to communist maneuvers and these young resistants’ lack of cohesion. Ebeling and Hespers, who were not discouraged, then published the magazine Kameradschaft (Comradeship) from 1937 to 1940.

 

 

Hans Ebeling and Theo Hespers

 

 

Ebeling and Hespers’ magazine Kameradschaft dreamed of uniting all the youth animated by the Bündisch ideal beyond the conventional political divides. Their will to struggle against the uniformity of organization introduced by the NSDAP preceded from a desire to exclude no Volksgenosse [member of the folk] from the future community being constructed. In light of the passions that animated the political scene of the era, this project and this hope was utopian, which the communists perfectly perceived. A heavy suspicion of treason would weigh on their leaders, in contact with people who actually plotted against Germany for the benefit of foreign services. The poor Hespers would pay dearly for his idealistic commitment: he would be hanged at Berlin-Plötzensee.

The magazine Kameradschaft constitutes an important testimony to the resistance of the Bündisch youth to the Hitlerian state and to its social and political project against Fascism. This German language magazine, edited in Belgium, was clandestinely disseminated in Germany. Its founders, Hans Ebeling and Theo Hespers, were both former youth league leaders in exile. The first, born in 1897 in Krefeld, had taken part in the First World War (he finished it with the rank of lieutenant), the combat of 1920 (in the Rhineland) in the ranks of the provisional Reichswehr and the resistance against the French occupation troops in the Ruhr. He joined the Jungnationaler Bund shortly after, from which he separated in 1924 to found the more activist and more radical Jungnationaler Bund, deutsche Jungenschaft, which evolved towards National Bolshevism. Starting from the end of 1929 until January 1933, Ebeling directed, with Professor Lenz, the magazine Der Vorkämpfer.

In the company of other Bündisch leaders (notably Werners Lass and Karl-Otto Paetel) Hans Ebeling participated in international meetings in Freusburg (August 1927) and in Ommen in Holland (August 1928), destined to prepare the foundation for a global league for peace. These international meetings, during which the young Bündisch leaders established contacts with the representatives of the extreme left and the colonized peoples, accelerated the radicalization of the youth leagues (note that Ebeling, Lass, and Paetel, who participated in them, consequently became figures of National Bolshevism) and would inspire Ebeling to found, with Prof. Lenz, a few months later, in January 1930, the magazine Vorkämpfer, with a ultra-nationalist, anti-capitalist (Vorkämpfer adopted elements of Marxist analysis) and anti-imperialist (and pro-Soviet) orientation.

Theo Hespers, born in 1903, joined the Catholic youth organization Quickborn at the age of 14, to which he belonged until 1927. He also participated in the passive resistance against the Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr. He then joined the Vitus-Heller-Bewegung and directed the Pfadfinderschaft Westmark, which constituted, with Ebeling’s league, Werner Lass’ Freischar Schill, and the Young Prussian League of Jupp Hoven, the “Combat Committee of the National Revolutionary Groups in the Western March” in the Rhineland.

The Vitus Heller movement to which Theo Hespers belonged was the only Christian National Bolshevik movement (the other movements of this type affected indifference to religious matters, even an aggressive atheism, or spoke in favor of a Germanic neopaganism) and actually implanted itself in the Catholic milieu (National Bolshevism was, as L. Dupeux demonstrated, a very majority “Protestant” phenomenon – unsurprising since National Bolshevism attached itself to the German protestant tradition of Arminius, Widukind, and Luther – which did not prevent the Catholic Rhineland, a frontier region receptive to German nationalist theses, from being, with Berlin and Franconia, one of the strongholds of National-Bolshevism).

 

 

The Bund, Alternative to the Parties and the Single Party

 

 

Kameradschaft wanted to be the tribune of the young opponents of Hitlerism. The Young Nationalists, Young Socialists, Young Catholics, and Young Protestants who expressed themselves in Kameradschaft affirmed themselves as Bündisch, völkisch and great German nationalists, Christians, Democrats, and Socialists at the same time.

For them, the Bund constituted a political mode, the model of a “German democracy,” founded on the Führer / Gefolgschaft pair (the charismatic Führer, in the service of the idea, freely chosen and subjected to the permanent approbation of the group, was only a first among equals here). They contrasted the Bund to the bankrupt parties of the Weimar democracy and the single party of the Hitlerian dictatorship. The Bund was also a social model founded upon comradeship (Kameradschaft) – contrasted to Hitlerian Schadenfreude – and a model of individual integration and socialization based on enthusiasm; a model of political education and even a model of the revolutionary community of combat formed by the activist German youth, enemy of Weimar and then Hitlerism.

For the collaborators of Kameradschaft, who particularly insisted on the role played by the Bund in the matter of political education and for whom the Bündisch man was the political man par excellence, entirely devoted to the service of the state and the people, the Hitlerian state appeared as a dictatorship of apolitical petty bourgeois elements (associated with a politicized Reichswehr but avoiding all political responsibility). Under the Third Reich, the political, indeed physical liquidation, of nationalist activism considered dangerous by the new masters of Germany (paramilitary groups and youth leagues) seems revelatory in this regard. Kameradschaft devoted two large articles to the judicial proceedings against the Jungnationaler Bund, deutsche Jungenschaft, and against Niekisch and the “ Eberhard comradeships.”

 

 

Redefining Volksgemeinschaft

 

 

The völkisch nationalists took up the defense of the Volk and the Volkstum but refused the “neo-German imperialism” of the Hitlerians. In the spirit of the collaborators of Kameradschaft, völkisch nationalism attached itself to the defense of the independence and Volkstum of all peoples. They also took up the defense of the Volksgenossen, against the continuing capitalist exploitation and against the arbitrariness of the Hitlerian state; they advocated the constitution of a true Volksgemeinschaft (community of the people) unrelated to the so-called Volksgemeinschaft, product of the police state and Hitlerian mass politics; in their eyes the constitution of this “true” Volksgemeinschaft constituted a new socio-economic order (socialists), which would put an end to the class order arising from capitalism, and a spiritual reorientation (völkisch) with a Christian essence, which would combat the materialist disarray of the epoch. The “revolutionary national socialists” of Otto Strasser and the “social-revolutionary nationalists” of K.O. Paetel defended the same point of view (with the nuance that the spiritual reorientation envisioned by Paetel and his friends would be most German pagan than Christian).

Like Otto Strasser, they contrasted the greater German tradition, based on the refusal of the Austro-Prussian dualism, in which they situated themselves, to Pan-Germanism. They rejected the capitalist economy founded on profit as well as the war economy and “bureaucratic anarchy” (of Hitlerian Germany realized the symbiosis), to which they substituted a Plan (a German, then European Plan). They prefigured, in the framework of this plan, an economy destined to satisfy the needs of the people, the nationalization of key industries which would break the power of big capital, and the sharing of large landed properties, and finally the constitution of cooperatives in all domains of economic activity.

 

 

In fact, the editorship of Kameradschaft posed as the heir of two traditions:

 

 

1) The Libertarian Tradition of the Wandervogel

 

 

The tradition of the independent youth movement, notably the Free German Youth emerging during the meeting at Hohe Meißner in 1913. Against the paternal / paternalist world (Väterwelt), the youth movement affirmed its fidelity to the forefathers, the ancestors (Vorväter). Against the tutelage of institutions (school, church, family) and bourgeois society, they claimed independence and chose young leaders for themselves. Against the Wilhelmine state and bourgeois chauvinism, they affirmed their love for the Volk and their allegiance to the Volk. Against the big city, the movement proposed the Wandern, hiking across the German countryside (“the deep Germany”) in contact with the authentic German Volk. Against revealed religion, they encouraged Germanic religiosity. Against the use of tobacco and condemning alcoholism, against physical degeneration, they exalted physical strength and Nordic beauty (depicted by the artist Fidus), and practiced gymnastics and nudism.

Finally, after the test of the Great War, the youth movement lead to the emergence of youth leagues in 1924-25 arising from the merger of the dissident scout groups and the Wandervögel.

 

 

2) The “Freikorps” Tradition

 

 

The tradition of the Freikorps, which had formed the provisional Reichswehr in 1919 before becoming enemies of the Reichswehr issuing from the military clauses of the Treaty of Versailles (which had reestablished the aristocratic traditions of the Imperial Army, thus putting an end to the democratization of the army, and notably the officers corps, provoked by the Great War and its consequences), and the tradition of the national-revolutionary paramilitary groups that succeeded the Freikorps, who attacked the reaction embodied by the industrialists and planters, the generals of the Reichswehr and the right wing politicians.

Despite the originality of the Hitlerian phenomenon and the originality of the magazine’s interpretation of it (an interpretation which approached the ‘theory of totalitarianism’ in certain regards), Kameradschaft reprised certain critiques against Hitlerism that had been formulated beforehand by its predecessors in the youth movement regarding Wilhelminism, and by its predecessors in the Freikorps or paramilitary groups regarding Weimar and reaction (notably the Reichswehr associated with Hitlerian power) in the Weimar era.

 

 

Links between the Bündische in exile with the French “Non-Conformists” and “Planistes”

 

 

Beyond the bond of evident shared lineage between the German Youth, the Freikorps and paramilitary groups, and Kameradschaft, one notes an astonishing relation between the ideas of the Bündisch youth, as expressed in Kameradschaft, and those of the young French Non-Conformists of the 1930s who adhered to patriotic, federalist, personalist, communitarian, planist, corporatist or syndicalist watchwords.

Contacts existed between the representatives of the German youth leagues and the French Non-Conformist groups: thus Harro Schulze-Boysen (veteran militant of the Young German Order, who would later play a first rank role in the Red Orchestra, and director of Planer, the German equivalent of the French magazine Plans, directed by Philippe Lamour), was, with Otto Abetz, one of the German delegates to the Front unique de la Jeunesse Européenne, created on the initiative of the French groups Plans and Ordre Nouveau. Consequently, Ordre Nouveau entertained close contacts with Otto Strasser, the group formed around the magazine Die Tat, and especially the magazine Der Gegner (The Adversary) – to which Louis Dupeux devoted a chapter of his thesis on National-Bolshevism – directed by Harro Schulze-Boysen and Fred Schmid, founder and leader of the Grey Corps league, a split from Deutsche Freischar.

But personal contacts alone cannot explain such a convergence: what linked the best elements of the German and French youth was a common refusal of liberalism and totalitarianism, from which they emerged, and a common aspiration to a spiritual (or if one prefers: cultural), political, and socioeconomic revolution.

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Ernst Jünger: A Mythic Existence – Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner –  Nouvelle École – n°48 – 1996.

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The idea that he could not have lived and wrote sends chills down the spine. There are few figures in the history of the 20th century German literature to whom this affirmation could apply. Ernst Jünger is one of them.

Born in 1895, the year of the discovery of X rays by Röntgen, Ernst Jünger is indeed the writer – thinker of Strahlungen [German: Radiations]. This doesn’t solely apply to the biographical writings that bear this title either. One couldn’t better qualify the impression produced by his immense body of work, which spans more than 60 years, than through a concept of modern physics, precisely the concept of radiance (Strahlung). On such heights, matter, light, and knowledge are one. Spiritual and chthonic elements, Antaeus and Plotinus, meet in a perfect “union of opposites” (coincidentia oppositorum). Poetry and the spirit of precision, mysticism and science lose their antithetical character there:

“Thus we tirelessly strive to give direction and harmony to floods of light, to radiant sheaves, to raise them to the rank of images. In all honestly, to live is nothing else. In the supreme order, cosmic and terrestrial radiations are so inextricably linked that they reveal significant motifs.”

In these lines, Jünger condensed his spiritual itinerary into a revelatory formula.

Jünger is the great loner of German literature – at least in Germany. He is as isolated as Nietzsche was during the Wilhelmine era, when they esteemed Dühring and Eduard von Hartmann as great thinkers, and Rudolf Baumbach and Emanuel Geibel as great writers. But unlike Nietzsche, create period of Jünger lasted longer than Goethe’s. He started as the chronicler of the First World War, wrote of essays like “On Pain,” narratives like “African Games” of “Visit to Godenholm,” novels with autobiographical connotations like “The Slingshot”, works with Utopian orientations like “Heliopolis,” “The Glass Bees,” and “Eumeswil.” He composed “figures and cappriccios” – to re-use his own expression – that one can salute as first rank contributions to the surrealist poetry of our century. He surprised the public through his works discussing the philosophy of history and pronouncing a diagnosis on the contemporary era, as well as by his visionary and premonitory sketches: “The Peace,” “Uber die Linie,” “Treatise on the Rebel,” “The Wall of Time,” and “The Universal State.” He noted lived experiences with countries, insects, drugs, adventures, impressions and reflections of his numerous journeys which lead him to France to Norway, from the Mediterranean isles to Africa, from Brazil to Singapore. These autobiographical writings and essays take up the most space in his body of work.

 

A Work With Multiple Faces

 

Ernst Jünger wrote a great deal, even at an advanced age. Those who know how to read him often interpret him in strongly divergent ways, depending on the book that firstly seduced them in the deepest manner. The reason why it is so difficult to come to an agreement on Jünger comes from the fact that every one of his readers prefers a different work, a different period. There is the combatant and the militarist, the pacifist and the humanist, the observer and the visionary, the physiognomist and the allegorist, and finally: the aesthete, the dandy, the existentialist, the morphologist, the skeptic, and the Homo religiosus, the hobbyist who meditates on minerals, plants, and insects, the man who delight in s seeking treasures and collecting the customs and traditions of faraway countries, the lucid critic of civilization, the magisterial experimenter and explorer of the most varied forms of life and cultural models, the player and the maker of myths. The judgments of certain admirers of Jünger, this exceptional author – who say he is the greatest since the death of Gottfried Benn and Rudolf Pannwitz -often differ to the point where one could ask if they’re addressing one and the same author. But these disagreements find their justification in the polymorphy of the Jüngerian body of work and in the subjectivity – inescapable, shaped by the era, the generation and the historic kairos [the crucial instance] – of he who encounters Jünger through his books and what he extracts from them.

For those who lived through Hitler, National Socialist totalitarianism, and the Second World War with open eyes, the impression that the little book “On the Marble Cliffs” produced remains ineffable. Karl Korn confided in 1974: “We were trapped, it must not be forgotten. Suddenly this grand poem surged forth like a light in our prisons. Certainly, this vision of the apocalypse confirmed the horror of our situation, but it was a message coming from a another universe at the same time. What courage the first lines of the book gave to us:

“You all know this intractable melancholy that seizes us when we remember happy times and free this emotional capacity that drives away the oppressive feeling of our imprisonment in the belly of the Leviathan! The sorrowful elegiac tone bound to the interludes where the erasmic ambiance of the herbarium and library of the hermitage imposes itself, all that annihilates the despair and anguish that oppresses us. Ancient fascination transports us.”

Likewise, Dolf Sternberger:

“This is the boldest literature produced in the era of the Third Reich in Germany. It was like a beacon that suddenly illuminated the shadows and cleared the country. It was the coded verdict condemning our miserable rulers. We rubbed our eyes: we could hardly conceive that such a thing was possible.”

On the other hand, for others, the two – very different – versions of the essay “The Adventurous Heart” constitute the most exciting, intense, and fascinating writings of Jünger.

 

The Reign of Titans

 

In my opinion, Ernst Jünger is primarily and above all the author of the book “Der Arbeiter: Figure and Domination.” It’s one of these rare works makes you grasp reality with a new look upon reading it. I do not know a single work, except maybe that of his brother Friedrich Georg on technology (Maschine und Eigentum), that makes all that the Marxists offer on the subject look like pure and simple verbiage, a mixture of prolix humanitarianism and doctrinaire economism. All these socialisms that incense and flatter the worker as a social factor seem terribly insipid, wordy, conformist, and sectarian compared to what Ernst Jünger says, for whom the worker is firstly a titan, not an exploited being deserving pity, but a planetary exploiter, not an economic agent but a power on the metaphysical level.

What book is as stimulating, immense, and full of fury as Der Arbeiter! The grand lucid diagnostic of his epoch, putting it into perspective in the framework of the history of philosophy, and at the same time, an apocalyptic evocation of events to come, it’s an assemblage of extremes, composed of ice and fire, a work whose ambition, radicalism, and expressive power can only be compared to the late writings of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.

At the time Der Arbeiter’s publication, Jünger was 37 years old. He held neither a university degree nor an official post, and hadn’t earned literary prizes; but he had received the highest military distinction in Germany, the “Pour le Mérite” medal, created by Frederick the Great. Adventurer, front line soldier, nationalist and writer, anti-bourgeois and bellicose even after his de-mobilization, a loner, an original, whose war books “Storms of Steel,” “Copse 125,” and “Fire and Blood,” accurately expressed the experience of an entire generation in a cold and brutal, but also excitable and impassioned, language. This Jünger was neither a democrat nor a liberal, he was never one thereafter; but he was no longer a monarchist, nor a national-conservative, nor a reactionary whose ambition was to re-establish the old regime. In his book published in 1929, “The Adventurous Heart,” one finds on the other hand, a reference to “the Prussian anarchist” who “armed with sole categorical imperative of the heart and referring only to it, searches the chaos of unleashed forces seeking the foundations of new orders.”

As Nietzsche remarked, Cataline was the figure that prefigured Ceasar. The Prussian anarchist is the adolescent form of the post-bourgeois modern conservative, who is no longer preoccupied with preserving existing situations bequeathed by tradition. Armin Mohler, who was once Jünger’s secretary, referred to “the crucial conservative period.” Once this latter period was crossed, conservatism radically transformed. If until then it had turned towards the past, sacrificing itself to traditionalism and restorationism, it henceforth looked towards the future – it became revolutionary. It became so at the moment where it discovers that its commitment no longer applies to a faith defined by its content (“God, Emperor, Country,”), but by a formal attitude: “The essential thing is not knowing why, but knowing how we fight.” The essential thing is henceforth fundamentally formal values, aesthetic in the limited sense of the word – even if that mean a merciless aesthetic of technocratic samurai. Opinions, ideologies, programs are only hollow concepts: form and attitude, that’s what counts.

The conservative metamorphoses into a “heroic realist” subjected to the dynamic of technical – industrial processes. He doesn’t consider himself as a brake on it in any way. In full cognizance, body and soul, he pushes himself to fuse with it. The dynamic of universal technical revolution cannot nor should not be decelerated, all the more reason to ask: does that posit a reactionary romanticism, a sterile and powerless nostalgia. Moreover, the anarchy that results from the emergence of modern technological processes and which has opposed, victoriously, every attempt by the conservatives to bring it to heel or domesticate it, should radically grow to reach an extreme stage and spread the new order that already pre-exists in itself, now hidden there: “There is no escape, in any direction, rather it acts to reinforce the efficiency and the speed of the processes we are enmeshed in. It is good, however, to sense a stable nucleus behind the excesses of the dynamism of our times.”

 

A New Cosmic Order

 

In the exacerbated – to fullest brightness – dynamism of the technical process which has henceforth been unleashed, stupefying progressive humanists, a new cosmic order reveals itself. We are lead to a new advent of extinct religions. Thanks to a limitless zeal in the service of technological processes (an attraction nothing can resist), thanks to an attitude of fatalism, aggressive so to speak, the new Nomos of the earth will be revealed. The ancient thought of a divine magic constraint appears again in the age of the total disenchantment of the world. The Arbeiter is the one who realizes a theurgic transubstantiation, a phenomenon which has a cosmogonic character in the strict sense of the world: he creates a universe. The work he accomplishes does not belong to an economic category, nor is it the object of sociological observation or socio-political measures: it’s a “new principle” which “mightily surpasses the economic in all its forms.” Labor becomes a cosmological category, indeed ontological. In the new era which is now opening, being itself reveals itself as work: all is one. It is not Divine love that puts the sun and stars in motion, as Dante sang, but work. The anonymous and universal demiurge. There is nothing that could not be conceived as work:

“Work is the rhythm of the hand, thoughts, heart, life, day and night, science, love, art, faith, religion, war; work is the vibration of the atom and the energy which sets the stars and solar systems in motion.”

Work is the totalizing principle par excellence, it experiences no contradictions beyond itself. There is no Sabbath where God and men rest; the workplace is limitless – and likewise, the workday is 24 hours. Even rest, play, distractions, festivals demonstrate, in Jünger’s piercing look, a character that fully integrates this new fully principle, and he presents striking documentation and the results of inquiries which evidently illustrate the increasing absurdity, not only of the old system and Sundays and holidays, but also of bourgeois culture as a whole, whose practice is separated from the universe of work in an artificial fashion.

The Jüngerian Arbeiter no long carries the odor of proletarian misery, of slave uprisings, of the appeal to social emancipatory pity. He no longer is part of the humiliations and outrages of the dispossessed and exploited. He personifies the elite of the technological era. He’s an aristocrat, a lord, and a “Super-Prussian.” He rules by serving and exercising his function. Representative of the technical universe, he implements a mobilization of telluric dimensions, just as he entertains a particularly intimate relation with the sphere of the elementary, unlike the bourgeois. The Arbeiter is a metaphysical figure, or, to reprise Kant, the transcendental schema according to which Jünger experiences a new age of the world: the eon of planetary technological revolution. Technology is “the mode under the which the figure of the Arbeiter mobilizes and revolutionizes the world.”

Mobilization and Revolution signify the disappearance of the individual; he dies like the old rambler or drawing room. The Arbeiter is a uniformed soldier of enterprise, the Prussian exercising a function as a part of a machine. This role tailor made for the German, more than the representatives of other nations, “because he lacks, deep within himself, any form of relation to individual liberty and thus to bourgeois society.” Nevertheless, Jünger didn’t intend to say that the Arbeiter is a specifically German figure: he is an imperial figure, who ignores national consciousness and dissolves all patriotic bonds.

In this context, it is important to underline the concept of “organic construction,” which comprises many levels of meaning. The term “organic construction” firstly integrates the idea that metaphysical power, which mobilizes the material world under the form of technology, subjects not only inanimate matter, but also organic units. The organic world and mechanical universe become elements of a globalizing ensemble that Jünger, if he had written his book fifteen year later, would have probably christened “cybernetic.”

Moreover, the term “organic construction” signifies that “technology attains the same ultimate degree of autonomy that one finds among plants and animals.” Pushing his logic to its conclusion, “organic construction” aims, via technology, to abolish the dichotomy between nature and civilization. It’s a profound mutation, indeed a global recreation of the earth which realizes the fusion of the elementary and the sublime, of instinct and intellect, of reflection and vision. This recalls Kleist’s motif of dialogue in the marionette theater. There is no longer a possible return to the vitality, security, and grace of the time before technology: we only have the choice of tracing our route across the infinity of modern technology in order to reach a new innocence, an intimate fusion, freed from all contradiction, of life with its tools and artifacts.

But what guarantees the success of this “organic construction?” Could the telluric process of the global revolution also fail? Jünger doesn’t have an explicit response to this question. The latter question, nevertheless, would it not only be a new expression of the “bourgeois” point of view, which always and everywhere desires “results” from an enterprise? In Jünger’s eyes, Marxism is still a bourgeois ideology in this regard. The supreme good for man doesn’t consist of the realization of such or such utopia, but in the “sacrifice of one’s self.” At least it’s the attitude proper to the iron race of the Arbeiter, “who knows the offensive as much as the lost position, but for whom it matters little to know if the situation is improving or deteriorating.”

The only appropriate attitude is the refusal of compromise and once one adopts it, there is no longer any “lost post.” In this context Jünger speaks of “heroic realism,” which doesn’t allow itself to be shaken by the prospect of total annihilation and the knowledge of the uselessness of one’s efforts. The “Arbeiter represents heroic realism” and is capable of choosing death with pleasure and furthermore seeing in this act a confirmation of order. The privilege of rediscovering, after the disappearance of the old beliefs, the essential truth according to which “life and cult are identical” is reserved to him. Ernst Jünger’s book ends with these lines: “One is seized by emotion when one beholds man, in the midst of chaotic zones, occupied with the forging of weapons and hearts, and when one sees how he renounces the expedient of happiness. To take part and to serve: that is the task that is expected of us.”

Ernst Niekisch interpreted the spirit in which this book was written as a type of “German Bolshevism” and the Jesuit Friedrich Muckermann, editor of the magazine Der Gral, famous at the time, wrote an open letter to the author: “You know I haven’t stopped seeing the face of Lenin between your lines?” The Völkischer Beobachter published a critique which lambasted the book: they reproached it for abstract intellectualism, of being distant from life, and blind to the primitive forces of “blood and soil.” The era that was supposed to begin was not the era of the Arbeiter, but the era of People and Race …

In October 1932, just after the publication of the book, the first 5,000 copies were sold out in a few days. There would be three new editions in the same year; the fourth, 15 to 20,000, was present in libraries until the war, to the moment where the dreamlike work, “On the Marble Cliffs,” read as a coded condemnation of the Hitlerian Reich, made its mark in Germany. Martin Heidegger commented on the book in a small group during the winter of 1939-1940; this attempt to interpret the present situation in the light of Jünger’s Arbeiter was secretly monitored by the Nazis, and ultimately forbidden. Heidegger was not surprised, “as it is in the very nature of the will to power to forbid the real to which it subjects itself to from appearing in reality.” Later after the war, Heidegger encouraged Jünger to re-edit The Arbeiter. After having hesitated, Jünger followed the advice of the philosopher from Freiburg and reissued the text from 1932 in the sixth volume of his works, with Klett publishing, in Stuttgart.

 

Victim and Sacrificial Priest

 

In the era where The Arbeiter was written, he was fascinated by the experience of collectivist planning in Russia. The eastern empire where Lenin lead his revolution seemed to be “one of the great destinations for travelers in our time.” At the time where the millenarian Ernst Bloch had the impression to assist with the beginnings of the celestial Jerusalem on earth, the old combatant Ernst Jünger wrote, not without a ferocious satisfaction: “There are countries where you can be shot for sabotage in the workplace like a soldier who abandons his post and where foodstuffs have been rationed for fifteen years like in a besieged city – and these are the countries where socialism was been implemented in the most undeniable fashion.”

The Arbeiter whose outline he traces is a secularized crusader and monk. He is the victim, sacrificial priest, and even the Moloch to whom one offers sacrifices, at the same time: “The more the style of life is cynical, Spartan, Prussian, or Bolshevik, the better.” Nevertheless, “the warrior skepticism” that Jünger proclaims, like Sorel, the admirer of Lenin, before him, is not a leftist ideology. Alfred Andersch aroused false expectations when he affirmed in 1973 that the reader capable of really deciphering The Arbeiter could discover anything else than a man of the right there. In a very precise sense, the book is right wing, just like Ernst Bloch’s “The Principle of Hope” represents a left wing gnosis. The Arbeiter who renounces the frivolity of happiness is another race than the proletarian of the class struggle, as the theorists of emancipation on the left present him to us.

Jünger’s master isn’t Marx, but Nietzsche. The iron age of the Arbeiter that he prophesizes is not the unconstrained reign of freedom, but a profane and technocratic empire of planetary dimensions. It is probably without classes – if only because the aforementioned is a phenomenon inherited from bourgeois society. But it is neither egalitarian nor liberal. Freedoms exclusively present themselves under the form of the right to work: it’s the organization of work that takes the place of the social contract. The State of Labor (Arbeitsstaat) is super state of the technocratic and collectivist type, which presents a militarist – elitist structure.

Assuming that, we will not disagree, adherence to the idea of hierarchical power, attachment to authority, discipline and constraint, the primacy of the imperial virtues of heroism and elitism, are part of the essential constants of the thought and attitude of “the right,” then The Arbeiter of Jünger is a right wing book, and to a very high degree. We’ll immediately add that chasms separate it from all the right wing movements of the clerical, feudal, corporatist, völkisch, or racist type. It has nothing in common with old style conservatism, agrarian romanticism, or Kulturpessimismus. However, the absence of any retrograde, restorationist, or nostalgic ingredient, changes nothing regarding the fact that the institution announced by Jünger’s imperial figure of Der Arbeiter – ascetic, technician, and soldier at once – would signify a redeployment of conservatism on the planetary scale.

 

The Creator of Myths

 

The Arbeiter has lost none of its provocative power. One cannot throw it into oblivion by considering it only as an illustration of philosophy and thought in the era of the Weimar Republic’s last spasms. It contains a mass of observations, reflections, and disturbing hypotheses that are only not outdated, but are stronger than ever after 50 years. The author, we recall, considered himself as a seismograph; anyone who has read The Arbeiter would accord Ernst Jünger the right to affirm it: “Concerning historical realities, I’m in the position of a lookout, in the sense that I perceive things in advance, before they present themselves.”

Jünger did not content himself with coldly registering what he observed: he also represented what we could call a “mythic existence.” One could give to his book, in a more appropriate manner than the prolix and pathetic work of the same title, the name of “The Myth of the 20th Century” – as one cannot deny that it is. One can contrast another myth to it, which would have its roots in the absolute without appeal to a sentiment of life differing in essence. What fundamental disposition could be further opposed to the thunderous universe of the factory than the melancholic memory of idyllic life “in our little communities, under a peaceful roof, with benign discussions and friendly greetings day and night?” The singular certitude that there still exists gardens “inaccessible to the Leviathan” in our days? If Ernst Jünger predicted the irresistible irruption of the Arbeiter, his own existence and life style were ultimately in contradiction with this globalizing technocratic vision. He did not disown his myth of the Arbeiter, but he re-imagined it, like the myth of the Rebel and the Anarch (which is nearly the opposite of the anarchist). In 1978, at the age of 83, placed in the role of “Mexican” (in the sense that Alexander von Humboldt gave to the term), he confessed in an interview with Jean-Louis de Rambures that he preferred “what Germans called Heimat or what is the island for those who live there.” to the global technocratic state. Thus in his manner, he confirmed the words of Eugen Gottlob Winkler: “Jünger cannot be refuted, he can only be surpassed.” He devoted his whole life to this principle.

The Magic Cancellation of Crisis and the “Physiognomic Method” of Ernst Jünger – Robert Steuckers – Vouloir n°123/125 – 1995.

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Jünger saw in the figure of the Arbeiter the central category around which the modern world, subjected to the planetary domination of technology, was called to organize itself, in “total mobilization” though and in labor. More precisely, a response adapted to the rise of nihilism in the modern era could be deployed through the technological mobilization of the world. With it, he salutes the advent of a new figure of man, modeled on the Nietzschean superman.

Among the adepts of Marxist ideology, very few have analyzed the thought of those they call “pre-fascist”, or outright “fascist”, including Ernst Jünger, who would evidently be one of the figureheads. Armin Steil is one of the rare Marxist ideologues who has analyzed the paths of Georges Sorel, Carl Schmitt, and Ernst Jünger with pertinence, depth, and especially clarity in his work Die imaginäre Revolte : Untersuchungen zur faschistischen Ideologie und ihrer theoretischen Vorbereitung bei Georges Sorel, Carl Schmitt und Ernst Jünger (The Imaginary Revolt: Inquiries on Fascist Ideology and its Preparation with Georges Sorel, Carl Schmitt, and Ernst Jünger).

Focusing on Der Arbeiter, Steil notes that Jünger’s logic, starting from his “fascism” or more precisely his “revolutionary conservatism,” is not a theoretical logic, a constructed logic, based on the observation of causes and effects, but a metaphorical, poetic, imagistic logic and language. Facing a chaotic socio-economic and political reality, facing the crisis of German society and culture, Jünger wanted to master its perverse effects, its dysfunctions through aesthetics: so his “fascism,” his “revolutionary conservatism,” would essentially be aesthetic in nature, contrary to Marxism, which molds itself on material realities and resolves crises by operating on socio-economic matters themselves, without idealist recourse, without recourse to transcendence or to an aesthetic. Steil very justly concludes: “The book [Der Arbeiter] wants to teach [men] to have a sovereign attitude in the face of social attitudes.” Cold, dispassionate, microscopic observation thus forms the “magic key” that would permit an elite to master the crises, to put an end to chaos and the corrosive disparities that hinder the proper functioning of societies that are subject to them.

To be Hyper-Perceptive Eyes

The willing spirits that thus desire “to take the bull by the horns,” to act on the political terrain, to fight against crises and their effects, should not bind themselves to building a mechanical system of ready made ideas that perfectly match and fit together, but should be hyper-perceptive “eyes,” capable of describing the phenomena of everyday life: what Jünger calls the “physiognomic method.” It allows one to see the essence of a thing in its simple appearance, grasping the unity of essence and appearance, which is the “form” (Gestalt), invisible to all inattentive, distracted observers, not used to wielding the “physiognomic method” with the desired dexterity. All valuable, fruitful phenomena thus bear in themselves a “form,” more or less hidden, a potential force that it captures and puts in the service of a political or historic project. On the other hand, every phenomenon that only appears as “normal” is consequently a phenomenon without further “form”, without “force.” Such a phenomenon would be an early warning sign of decadence, a sign indicating a reshuffling of the cards, forms die, thus obeying a hidden logic, which prepares the advent of new forms, of unbroken forces.

The observation of the phenomena of everyday life, of the details of our daily settings, gives a glimpse of where the fall and death of forms manifest themselves: neon, garish lights, loud and artificial modern cities, are a patent indication of this fading of forces, masked by colors and intensities without real life. Modern traffic in the big cities burdens the pedestrian, the only physical being in this universe of concrete, asphalt, and metal, on the barely tolerated margins are the sidewalks, tracks reserved for the “least speedy.”

The “Arbeiter” uses the “Physiognomic Method”

So the “Arbeiter” is the figure that makes use of the “physiognomic method,” observes, deciphers, plunges into this universe of artifice to seek buried forces, in order to mobilize them for a purely imagined project, “Utopian” in the Marxian and Engelsian sense of the term, Steil explains. This recourse to the imaginary, as the Marxist Steil explains, proceeds from a logic of doubt, which aims to give meaning to that which does not have it, at any cost. It aims to convince us that behind the phenomena of decline, of de-vitalization, an “Order” and laws emerge, which are avatars of the one God refused by the advocates of historical materialism. This “Order”, this Gestalt, this “form”, integrates the infinite diversity of observations posed by people, but it is not, like in the case of historical materialism, a reflection of social relations, but rather a total vision, intuitive, going directly to the essence, that is to say the original form. It is not the objective and positive enumeration of causes and effects that allows one to decide and act, but, on the contrary, a piercing look what allows one to see and grasp the world as the theater where forms confront or cooperate with each other.

The “Arbeiter” is precisely the one who possesses such a “piercing look”, and who replaces the bourgeois, who reasons strictly in simple cause and effect. Steil notes the gap between this vision of the “Arbeiter” and the Marxist and empirical vision of the “Proletarian”: the figure forged by Jünger places himself high above socio-economic contingencies; while the proletarian conscious of his dereliction operates at the heart of these contingencies, without taking any distance, without detachment. The “high flight” of the Arbeiter, his aquiline perspective, gives him a mask: metallic or cosmetic, the gas mask of the combatant, the drivers helmet with the men, makeup with the women. Individual traits disappear behind these masks, as should individual human, all too human, imperfections disappear. The figures of the Arbeiter are certainly imaginary figures, excessively idealized, de-individualized and examined: they act like Prussian soldiers in the Frederician era of practice. Following their leaders, these lesser (but nevertheless necessary) avatars of the Arbeiter and the Prussian soldiers from the “war in lace” [Translator’s note: referring to the ornate uniforms worn by soldiers of the 17th and 18th century] certainly lose the imperfections of their individuality, but also abandon their doubts and disorientation: rules and Order are safety anchors offered by the new elite community of “Arbeiters,” virtuosi of the “physiognomic method.”

The Apparent Independence of the Proletarian

Steil protests that Order, as an imaginary projection, and the “physiognomic method” are instruments against the empirical and Marxist notion of “class struggle,” before clearly giving Jünger’s version: to leave the laborer, the worker, in the grasp of socio-economic contingencies is to leave him in a world entirely determined by the bourgeoisie, arising from the bourgeoisie and ultimately controlled by the bourgeoisie. By occupying a designated place in the bourgeois order, the worker only enjoys an apparent independence, he has no autonomy. Every attack launched against the bourgeois order from this apparent position is also only apparent, destined to be recollected and reinforce the establishment. “Theoretically, every move takes place in the context of an outdated social and human utopia; practically, each brings to dominion, time and again, the figure of the clever business man, whose art consists in bargaining and mediating,” writes Jünger. For Steil, this definition radicalizes the Sorelian vision of socialism, which desires to transform politics into pure means, without a limiting objective, inscribed in contingencies.

To Restore “Auratic” Work

A Marxist will see, in this idealism and in this purification of politics as pure means, an eliminations of politics, a will to put an end to the destructive violence of politics, which is only, in the Marxist view, “class struggle.” But technology operates to sweep away the dead forms in order to establish new forms following a planetary confrontation of extant forms, still endowed with more or less intact forces. So technology destroys residual or obsolete forms, it makes the permanent war of forms planetary and gigantic, but the “Arbeiter,” by coldly instrumentalizing the “physiognomic method,” gives a final form to technology (a desire that is never realized!). This final form will be artistic and the beauty emerging from it will have a magic and “sacral” function, like in so-called “primitive” societies. The restoration of these forms, writes Steil, will be achieved through the restoration of “auratic” work, eclipsed by technological standardization. The Aura, the impalpable expression of form, of the essence of represented phenomenon, restores the sacred dimension, proclaims the return of the cult of beauty, by qualitative replacement of the dead religiosity from the bourgeois era.

“Heroic realism,” the foundation of the new socio-political Order, will be carried by a dominant caste simultaneously exercising three functions: that of retainer of knowledge, that of new warrior forged during the battles of material in the Great War, and that of producer of a new aesthetic, a medium integrating social differences.

Armin Steil, in his Marxist critique of the “pre-fascism” of Sorel, Jünger and Schmitt, clearly lays out the essence of a work as capital as Der Arbeiter, where the mania for fabricating systems is refused in favor of great idealist affirmations, disengaged from the overly heavy contingencies of bourgeois society and proletarian misery. The Jüngerian path, in this view, appears as a disengagement from the yoke of the concrete, as a haughty retreat ultimately leading to a total but external domination of this concreteness. But in the piercing look, demanded by the physiognomic method, is there not, on the contrary, an instrument to penetrate concreteness, much more subtle than simple surface considerations of phenomena?

Reference: : Armin STEIL, Die imaginäre Revolte. Untersuchungen zur faschistischen Ideologie und ihrer theoretischen Vorbereitung bei Georges Sorel, Carl Schmitt und Ernst Jünger, Verlag Arbeiterbewegung und Gesellschaftswissenschaft, Marburg, 1984

Chisinau Manifesto – “To Realize The Great Europe” – Geopolitical Propositions for a Resolutely Multipolar World – Sans Frontières, July – August 2017

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We, the participants of the International Conference “From the Atlantic to the Pacific: For a common destiny of Eurasian peoples,” intellectuals from Moldavia, Romania, Russia, Greece, France, Italy, Serbia, Georgia, and Belgian, adopt the following Manifesto:

1) After the decline and disappearance of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe at the end of the last century, a new geopolitical vision of the Old World, notably in its relations with the Americas, has urgently become necessary. Because the inertia of political thought and the lack of historical imagination of today’s Western elites has led us to a simplistic conclusion, namely that the conceptual basis of Western style liberal democracy, the market economy, and the strategic domination of the United States, has become the only solution to emerging challenges. This model, held as universal, must imperatively be the model for all of humanity.

2) This new visage of the world is imposed on all: the reality of a world entirely organized according to the Euro-Atlantic paradigm. An influential neo-conservative think tank in Washington hasn’t hesitated to use the formula which best expresses their point of view: “the global empire,” unipolar and naturally extending in concentric circles. In the center “the rich North” and the Westernized sphere, which includes external territories such as the Japanese archipelago, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. The rest of the world, made of “under developed” or “developing” zones is considered as a vast periphery destined to evolve in the same direction, but at a slower pace.

3) In accordance with this unipolar vision, Europe is perceived as a North American satellite zone and the continental bridgehead of the Anglo-Saxon sphere unfolding into the Eurasian space. Europe, though partly integrated into the rich North, cannot pretend to assume any leadership in it. Europe, in the light of such a project, is perceived as an instrument of history guided by the American World, and not as an autonomous subject, that is to say as a geopolitical entity deprived of all specific identity and authentic sovereignty. The vast majority of its cultural, confessional, ethno-historical singularities, its Greco-Latin heritage and its Christian roots, are henceforth considered obsolete. The parts of these past legacies considered useful have already been integrated into the global project; the rest is consigned to uselessness without recourse. Europe has been decreed geopolitically negligible, emptied of its own substance and deprived of all real independence.

4) The economic crisis has become quasi-permanent, accompanied by disastrous austerity policies, and ineffective plans which always find their justification among economic elites characterized by a decreasingly hidden contempt for the people and the democratic expression of their will. The absurd destiny reserved for Greece and the alarming accumulation of Western arms and troops on the borders of Russia are also symptoms of this nullification of Europe, and of the lie that liberal globalization represents, promising peace and prosperity, but ultimately only bringing war, poverty, and instability.

5) We underline that democracy and the free market are only one aspect of the historical European contribution among many others. In matters of political and social organization, many other ways have been opened by great Europeans, scientists, politicians, thinkers, and artists. The identity of Europe is much bigger and deeper than what Anglo-Saxon dogmas present it as, a caricatured mixture of ultra-liberalism and market fetishism.

6) Today’s Europe has its own strategic interests, which are discernibly different from the dominant thalassocratic interests, as well as from the very distinct needs of the project of liberal globalization. Thus the real Europe (which has nothing to do with Brussels) cannot have its policies or its choices towards its Southern or Eastern neighbors dictated to it.

7) These considerations lead us, the intellectuals of the Eurasian continent, deeply preoccupied with our collective destiny, to the conclusion we now uphold, with urgency, an imperative need to construct and militate in favor of an alternative vision of the world to come. A world where the place, the role, and the mission of Europe and European civilization will be better, more secure, and freed from the asphyxiating ideological tutelage inherent to the imperialist project of the thalassocratic empire.

8) The only viable alternative in today’s circumstances seems to be defined in the framework of a multipolar world. Multipolarity actually accords to all countries and civilizational spheres the right and the liberty to organize themselves, to develop themselves, and to construct their futures in accordance with their own identity and history. This foundation of freedom in evolutionary choices and access to modernity constitutes the only reliable basis for the establishment of just and equitable international relations. Technical progress and increasing openness between countries should favor dialogue and prosperity between peoples and nations without harming their respective identities. Differences between great cultures and civilizations should not necessarily result in disagreement between them. Contrary to the simplistic and logomachic rhetoric of some theorists with imperialist aims such as Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington. Dialogue with multiple voices will become the privileged vector for the creation of a new world order built on cooperation and reconciliation between cultures, religions, and nations.

9) Concerning Europe, we propose, as the concrete manifestation of the multipolar approach, a balanced and open vision of a “Greater Europe” as an innovative concept for the future development of our civilization in its strategic, social, cultural, economic, and geopolitical dimensions.

10) Greater Europe concerns the geopolitical space determined by the limits of European civilization. This model of borders derives from a completely new concept, the idea of the civilization-state. The revolutionary nature of these limes implies progressive transformations, unlike the brutal delimitations that peoples subjected to the arbitrary whims of conquerors have experienced during their divisions of the world. Consequently: this Greater Europe will naturally be politically and geographically open to interactions that will proliferate with its neighbors in the West, East, and South.

11) European civilization has Christianity as its historical foundation, which is itself grafted onto the grand Greco-Latin heritage. Christianity, under its various forms, must guarantee in reciprocal respect and tolerance, in the civilizational space of the Greater Europe, the material and spiritual serenity of the different confessions historically present on the continent.

12) This Greater Europe, in the context of a multipolar world, is of course surrounded by other large territories, each basing its homogeneity, indeed unity, on cultural affinities existing between the various nations populating its territory. We can thus predict the appearance of a great North America, a great Eurasia, a similar sphere in the Asia – Pacific region and in the Middle and Near East, and in a more distant future a great South America and a great Africa.

13) We imagine this Greater Europe as a sovereign geopolitical power, the retainer of a firm cultural identity, cultivating its own social and political models (based on the principles of the ancient European democratic tradition and the moral values of Christianity), with its own defense capabilities (including nuclear), and its own strategic access to fossil fuels and new energy sources, as well as organic and mineral resources. For this reason, we enjoin the European states that are members of the Atlantic Alliance, the essentially Anglo-Saxon and non – European warmongering coalition, to withdraw from NATO. Leave NATO to enter into bilateral and multilateral alliances with France and Russia, the historical military guarantors of European independence, in order to satisfy the needs of regional and international security. In order for Greater Europe, meaning the constituent states, to fully recover the regal right of issuing currency, we demand withdrawal from any treaty or organization limiting their sovereignty in the monetary domain.

14) The first threat we must face is the threat of the standardization of the world, which implies the unspoken law of unlimited growth, unleashed greed and crime against the independence of people as the ordinary operating mode of predatory financiers. It is time to make a new appeal to the Non-Aligned Countries for a new Bandung Conference with the goal of constructing a multipolar world.

15) Private enterprises as well as public institutions now find themselves confronted with the obligation to comply with coercive norms whose sole goal is to undermine national sovereignty and the peoples will. We should establish, enact, and announce for humanity, sets of non-binding norms whose conception will be uniquely guided by the general principle of conformity to national identity, to the laws, traditions, and collective choices of each nation.

16) The more the financial system and the global markets are integrated, unified according to the same rules, the more the next crisis will be destructive and global. In order to avoid a massive destruction of wealth and a total collapse of human activity, the surest method is to construct market organizations, systems of compensation, regulation, and information beyond the reach of global Anglo-Saxon finance, the almighty dollar, and the banking network of high finance whose epicenter is located in Basel within the Bank for International Settlements. The Shanghai Treaty Organization, as well as other international organs of the same order of magnitude, are invited to design the basis of a truly multipolar system effective and stable, for finance, commerce, and the exchange of goods, services, and currency.

17) Finally, with the goal of promoting the project of a Greater Europe and the concept of dynamic multipolarity, we make an appeal to the various political forces of Western and Eastern Europe, as well as to the Russians, to their American, Asian, or other partners, asking them to bring, beyond their political options and religious and cultural differences, an active support to this initiative. We call for the creation of Committees for a Greater Europe. These committees should reject unipolarity, recognize the growing danger of Anglo-Saxon imperialism, and especially, in the case of extra-European committees, elaborate similar concepts for each of the other civilizations composing humanity. By working together, strongly affirming our specific identities, we can achieve the establishment of a balanced, just and potentially better world. A peaceful world where every culture, faith, tradition, or creation will find its legitimate place.

May 27th, 2017, Chișinău, Republic of Moldova

Source:  http://sf.donntu.org/pdf/sf0717.pdf

Homage to Henning Eichberg (1942-2017) – August 2017

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“Wer trägt die schwarze Fahne heut’ durch die gespalt’ne Nation?
Who carries the black flag today in the divided nation?
Wer sprengt die Ketten, wer haut darein und kämpft für die Revolution?
Who breaks the chains, who strikes forward and struggles for the revolution?
Bist du dabei, bin ich dabei, heut’ oder morgen schon?
Do you, do I, today or maybe tomorrow?
Wann stürzt im Lande die Fremdherrschaft vor der deutschen Revolution?
When will foreign domination in this country fall before the blows of the German revolution?
Hervor, Leute, hervor – hervor!
Onward, lads, onward – onward!
Die schwarze Fahne empor!
Hold high the black flag!
Denn überall wo das Unrecht herrscht, geht die Fahne der Freiheit empor!
Everywhere where unrighteousness rules, raise high the flag of freedom!”

Every nationalist militant knew the words of this third stanza of the song: it was the unofficial anthem of the entire movement, so to speak. Henning Eichberg, who composed its text, was the principal thinker of the German national-revolutionary movement in West Germany, during the 60s and 70s. This theorist ended up emigrating to Denmark to become a member of the Socialistisk Folkeparti (Socialist People’s Party). At the end of his life, one could say that he belonged entirely to the political left of his new country. Despite this astonishing transition in the political landscape of Germany and Scandinavia, the key concepts of the “Nation” and “People” (“Nation” and “Volk”) remained cornerstones of his scientific and political interests.

These two key concepts came directly from his idiosyncratic past, his biographical itinerary. Henning Eichberg was born on December 1st 1942 in Schweidnitz in Silesia. His family left the region before the end of the war and settled in Saxony. Even when Eichberg began his political mutation and fully and entirely became a man of the left, he never stopped considering himself as a Silesian, as he recalls elsewhere in an interview accorded to the magazine Ökologie in 1998: “At the start of the project of modernity, peoples rose and sought to make themselves subjects of history, they marched in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity … but this third value was forgotten: precisely, brotherhood, sisterhood, the communitarian feeling, or to mark it in red letters, solidarity … That’s why we must restart the project of modernity from zero. The preceding project lead to the murder of entire peoples, ethnic cleansing. Genocide and ethnocide are diametrically opposed to fraternity. That’s why I hold onto my Silesian identity, so that it is not forgotten. Silesia will not die with the old generation. The American Indian didn’t die at Wounded Knee either.”

From Adenauer’s CDU to Pure Nationalism

In 1950, the family of the young Henning Eichberg moved to Hamburg. In a retrospective interview given in 2010, he reminded his readers that he never felt at home in West Germany. In the 1950s, the young man Eichberg sought to become involved in the Adenauer era. He joined the Christian democratic CDU and obtained the rank of reserve officer in the Bundeswehr. Yet his reflections and observations made him realize one thing: the parties of the CDU only envisioned German reunification from an entirely theoretical point of view; moreover the increasing Americanization of the country particularly disturbed him. At the start of the 1960s, Eichberg reoriented himself politically bit by bit. This labor of reflection lead him to call himself a “national revolutionary.” His character attracted attention as he produced an enormous amount of work as publicist in these years, notably writing in the magazines Nation Europa, Deutscher Studenten-Anzeiger, Deutsche National-Zeitung und Soldatenzeitung and for a very important theoretical organ despite its niche style: Junges Forum. He quite justly acquired the reputation of being the principal theorist of the national-revolutionary movement in West Germany. In a work devoted to this movement, the very attentive observer of German extra-parliamentary movements Günter Bartsch vividly describes him as the “Rudi Dutschke of the right,” in his reference work “Revolution von rechts? Ideologie und Organisation der Neuen Rechte.” Some of his texts, written under the pseudonym Hartwig Singer were truly the foundational texts of a new political theory at the time. He then had the ambition to develop a theoretical corpus for German nationalism that could stay the course and endure. This corpus must, in his opinion, answer all the great questions of the moment and enter into serious competition with the ideas proposed by the “new left.”

The Western Characteristic

Happy are those who still posses the little black books entitled Junge Kritik, which Eichberg edited at the time, today the younger people have enormous difficulty finding them even in specialized bookstores! The owners of these precious booklets can measure the quality of Eichberg’s thoughts, unequaled in Germany in the 1950s and 60s. There Eichberg raised nationalism to a very respectable theoretical level: in his proofs, he starts from the postulate of a “Western characteristic,” the origin of the psychology and mores of the peoples of Europe, from which one could also deduce the emergence of typically European / Western phenomena like technology. Eichberg sought to deploy his political efforts to keep these traits of the European psyche intact in the framework of industrial societies, which all need to renew themselves from their identitarian origins.

But even while he was becoming the principal theoretical innovator of the nationalist camp in Germany at the time, Eichberg had already branched out into certain circles of the “new left” in Hamburg, who were also fighting against imperialism, especially American imperialism. These circles were “Club Lynx” and Arie Goral’s Galerie. Though Eichberg portrayed himself as a radical anticommunist in the 1960s, that didn’t prevent him from finding many positive ideas in the emerging 68er movement, because they raised a “revolt against the establishment.” He said an authentic right would never defend this establishment. Consequently, he made the watchword of this new anarchic left his own: “Disorder is the first duty!” However at the same time, Eichberg rejected conventional “socialism” and argued for a “European socialism” which was simultaneously a modern nationalism. He then referred to the left wing of the NSDAP in the 1920s.

Another revealing discovery by Eichberg in 1966: his participation in the summer camp of the French youth who militated within the “Fédération des Etudiants Nationalistes” (FEN). He was impressed by the revolutionary determination of French militant but also their will to reconnect with the socialist and syndicalist traditions of their country. Eichberg saw a “new socialism for the Europeans of tomorrow” emerging. These years saw the emergence of the ideal of a “European Nation” among French and German nationalists.

Observers of Eichberg’s path will remark with interest that he had not entirely passed to the new left by the end of the 1960s. He had good reasons not to take the plunge. In principle, he saluted the merits of the left-wing revolt, which had shaken the political edifice of West Germany, but he also criticized the indifference the leftists displayed to the position of their own people. Eichberg thought that that leftist students militated in “diversions” when they rose up for Mao’s China or Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam instead of fighting firstly or at least simultaneously for the reunification of Germany, itself an emblematic victim of Soviet and American imperialism. Eichberg deplored the fact that the left wing opposition didn’t harmonize its struggle for the liberation of Vietnam with the struggle for the liberation of Germany. So at first Eichberg retained his basic opinions: create a “new right” in parallel (and not necessarily in opposition) to the “new left” but a new right where militants must be both “nationalists” and “socialists,” as Günter Bartsch recounts in the book I just mentioned. Thus Eichberg held his distance in the 1960s and 70s.

The Magazine “Wir Selbst” as a new tribune for Eichberg

Among the mythic actions that one mentions regarding Eichberg in the framework of his “new right,” there is a protest against the conferences held by Willy Brandt with the DDR’s Prime Minister Willi Stroph in Kassel in 1970. The group assembled by Eichberg distributed tracts entitled: “The division of Germany is the division of the German proletariat.” Two years later, Eichberg drafted the founding program of a movement, Aktion Neue Rechte, whose first principle would be “the nationalism of liberation” (Befreiungsnationalismus). This “nationalism of liberation” would spread in a Europe and a world divided into two blocs, one communist, the other capitalist. This incapacitating and humiliating division thus demanded the German people’s unconditional solidarity with the combat of all ethnic minorities within states, with all the peoples deprived of their national sovereignty by the American and Soviet superpowers, also victims of this duopoly. In 1974, the militants around Eichberg founded Sache des Volkes/ Nationalrevolutionäre Aufbauorganisation (Cause of the People/National Revolutionary Construction Organization – SdV/NRAO). Eichberg clearly intended to pursue one goal: encourage the political left to take the national question into consideration. Starting from this moment, he was a persona grata in certain circles of the left. He could publish his articles in some of their organs like Pflasterstrand, das da and Ästhetik & Kommunikation. He participated in the inaugural congress of the Green Party in 1979 in Baden – Wurttemberg. He then cultivated the hope of seeing a “third way” emerge from the ecological movement, distant from the fixed ideas of the right and left. But alas, he rapidly had to note that it was an error: henceforth, he would consider the Green Party as a new bourgeois party.

Eichberg was fascinated by Rudi Dutschke’s evolution. In his last years and especially before his death, the late leader of the Berlin student protesters increasingly emphasized the idea of German national self-determination in his political thought. In 1979, Siegfried Bublies founded the magazine Wir Selbst, with a national-revolutionary inspiration as Eichberg intended. Bublies had been a permanent fixture of the “Young National Democrats” in Rhineland – Palatinate. This well organized organ would become Eichberg’s principal tribune from where he would spread his non-conformist ideas.

In this magazine, Eichberg could display his always innovative ideas, which challenged and provoked but also forced the reader to reflect, to review his unrefined convictions. Eichberg’s thought was a thought in motion, nothing frozen in immobile concepts. He didn’t affirm a concept of “nation,” but he sought, with his readers, to define something organic and living: national identity. He probed every approach to re-root the people despite the deracinating context of late capitalist industrial society, in order to relieve the loss of countries and regions under the blows of globalization and Americanization.
Ultimately, Eichberg gave up seeking to influence the German political scene. In 1982, he definitively emigrated to Denmark where he received a professorship at the university of Odense. In his Danish exile, he clearly broke more and more with right wing milieus. Much later, his former disciples would learn with stupefaction that he argued for a multicultural society in his own way. From his Danish professorship, Eichberg would acquire an international scientific renown. He became specialist in “body culture” and sport. All that was distant from the theories he professed in the columns of Wir Selbst or Volkslust. His theories on sport and body culture are very interesting but their very acute scientific character obviously doesn’t electrify militants like the innovative and pioneering texts of the national-revolutionary faction he boldly drafted in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

Henning Eichberg passed away in Odense in Denmark on April 22nd, 2017.

Wer trägt die schwarze Fahne
Wolf in Lieder

1. Wer trägt die schwarze Fahne dort durch Schleswig und Holsteiner Land?
Das sind die Bauern, das ist Claus Heim, der trägt sie in der Hand.
Sie pfändeten ihnen die Höfe weg, da bombten sie die Behörden entzwei.
Im Jahr achtundzwanzig erhoben sie sich gegen Zinsdruck und Ausbeuterei.
/ : Hervor, Leute hervor, hervor! Die schwarze Fahne empor! Denn überall,
wo das Unrecht herrscht, geht die schwarze Fahne empor.

(Who carries the black flag in the lands of Schleswig and Holstein?
It’s the peasants, Claus Heim carries it in hand.
Their farms mortgaged and taken, they blew up the government agencies!
In the year of 28, they rose against interest and exploitation)

2. Wer trägt die schwarze Fahne dort durch das Westfalenland?
Das ist der Kumpel von der Ruhr, er trägt sie in der Hand.
Sie schlossen ihnen die Zechen zu, das war das letzte mal;
im Jahr sechsundsechzig erhoben sie sich gegen Bonn und das Kapital.
/ : Hervor, Leute hervor, hervor! Die schwarze Fahne empor! Denn überall,
wo das Unrecht herrscht, geht die schwarze Fahne empor.

(Who carries the black flag in the land of Westphalia?
It’s the coal-miner of the Ruhr, he carries it in hand.
They’ve closed his mines, it’s the last time;
In the year of 66 they rose against Bonn and Capital.)

3. Wer trägt die schwarze Fahne heut` durch die gespalt`ne Nation?
Wer sprengt die Ketten, wer haut darein und kämpft für die Revolution?
Bist du dabei, bin ich dabei, heut` oder morgen schon?
Wann stürzt im Land die Fremdherrschaft vor der deutschen Revolution?
/ : Hervor, Leute hervor, hervor! Die schwarze Fahne empor! Denn überall,
wo das Unrecht herrscht, geht die Fahne der Freiheit empor.

Source: http://euro-synergies.hautetfort.com/archive/2017/08/17/hommage-a-henning-eichberg-1942-2017.html

Interview on the Thought of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon – Françoise – July 27th 2017

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Françoise: Hello Thibault Isabel, last June you released a book about Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Could you present and explain the reasons for this book?

 
Thibault Isabel: Since the collapse of communism, the modern world lives with the idea that there no longer exists a viable alternative to liberalism. “There is no alternative,” as Margaret Thatcher already said. But, we quite simply forget that alternatives have always existed, provided that they return to pre-Marxist socialism, which has nothing to do with Stalinist collectivism. Proudhon offers a contesting vision with a human face, incompatible with the Gulag and the dictatorship of the proletariat. It allows us to rethink the present in the light of the forgotten ideas of the past. That’s why he’s useful.

Françoise: Proudhon came from a modest background and, throughout his life, he had to work in order to survive: he became a worker, and then became an independent worker managing his own publishing house… How did that influence his thoughts?

 
Thibault Isabel: Proudhon was horrified by wage labor. He found having to work for a boss, not having the power to conduct his own professional activity, humiliating. In his eyes, the cardinal virtue was responsibility, autonomy. Every man should become master of his own acts and destiny. That’s why the philosopher from Besançon nourished a boundless love for independent labor. His entire political and economic doctrine aimed to make labor freer, in order to liberate individuals from the domination of the powerful.

Françoise: Proudhon – the thinker of balance – is a reference for intellectuals coming from very diverse perspectives. Could one say he crosses political currents, a non conformist? What were his influences? And his heirs?

Thibault Isabel: Proudhon was neither capitalist nor communist. But, all the political thought of the 20th century was structured around this opposition. Henceforth, Proudhonian thought seems unclassifiable today, because it isn’t reducible to a clear and well defined camp on the left-right axis as we conceive it. The majority of Proudhon’s heirs themselves escape this divide, the non-conformists of the 1930s show very well, notably the young personalist intellectuals gathered around Alexandre Marc at the time. As for the authors that influenced Proudhon, we must in fact cite all the pioneers of socialism: Cabet, Owen, Leroux, Fourier, etc. We have the tendency to forget that he existed in a vast nebula of very talented intellectuals.

Françoise: Long after his death, the Catholic writer Georges Bernanos could say of modern civilization that it was before “a universal conspiracy against any form of spiritual life”. What was Proudhon’s point of view on Modernity and the philosophy of Progress?
Thibault Isabel: Proudhon defended social progress, but he didn’t believe in the linear progress of civilization. He was even convinced that progressivism took on a Utopian and chimeric character. That’s why he simultaneously called himself a partisan of progress and conservation, because in reality we need both in order to make a healthy society flourish.

Françoise: Proudhon made particularly virulent statements regarding ecclesiastical institutions but in parallel he was also very conservative in regards to morality. What was his relation to the religious question?
Thibault Isabel: Proudhon was inspired by religion. Raised firstly in Catholicism by his mother, he progressively freed himself from theist mysticism in order to orient himself towards a sort of pantheism, under the notable influence of traditional Freemasonry (not secular Freemasonry of course). Proudhon felt very close to the old pagan religions, and was particularly interested in Taoism, even Amerindian religion, even if he had a very limited knowledge of it.

Françoise: De la justice dans la révolution et dans l’ Église, then La pornocratie (published incomplete and posthumously), earned Proudhon a reputation as a misogynist…. Are his visions of the Woman and his critique of the feminization of society essential to his economic and political thought?
Thibault Isabel: No, frankly I don’t think so. The Proudhon’s statements on women, while rather lamentable from my point of view, had no effect on his deep philosophical thought. I will ever go as far as saying that he didn’t succeed in extending his philosophical principles to the question of the sexes, which would have allowed him to prefigure the idea of “equality in difference,” dear to many contemporary differentialist feminists. Proudhon remained stuck to biological inferiority of women, which he only nuanced on rare occasions in his books.

Françoise: Proudhonian thoughts on property are particularly cliched today … Could you clarify his famous phrase “Property is theft?”
Thibault Isabel: Essentially Proudhon was a stubborn defender of small private property, which seemed to constitute a restraint on the development of big capital. When Proudhon affirms that “property is theft,” he only denounces the accumulation of capital, that is to say the fact that small independent property owners have increasingly been replaced by big capitalist property owners. The first works of Proudhon remain a bit ambiguous about this distinction, but the later works will set the record straight in a very explicit manner.

Françoise: One calls Proudhon an anarchist or socialist, but could one also consider him as a precursor of ‘de-growth.?’

Thibault Isabel: In the strict sense, no, as in the 19th century there was little sense in calling for more frugality in order to fight ecological devastation, the effects of which were not as visible as they are today. On the other hand, Proudhon was incontestably one of the great precursors of ‘de-growth’ through his general philosophy. He questioned the accumulation of wealth for its own sake and privileged the qualitative over the quantitative. One also finds a quasi-religious relation to nature with him.

Françoise: Could the Paris Commune, which occurred a few years after his death, be seen as an attempt (consciously or unconsciously) to put some of his ideas into practice?

Thibault Isabel: Of course, especially since the majority of the Communards were Proudhonians! Don’t forget that, at this time, Proudhon was more famous than Marx … On the other hand, the defeat of the Commune put a sudden halt to the expansion of Proudhonian thought in France: many Proudhonians lost their lives in the course of events in this period.

Françoise: Proudhon was a socialist deputy and he affirmed that “One must have lived in this voting booth called the National Assembly in order to understand how the men who are the most completely ignorant of the state of the country are nearly always those who represent it.” What was his general vision of democracy and politics?

Thibault Isabel: Proudhon didn’t like parliamentary democracy, which he judged to be technocratic and potentially dictatorial. He would have had no liking for “Jupiterian presidents,” for example. Instead Proudhon defended local and decentralized democracies, where the people express themselves in a much more direct manner and participate in politics.

Françoise: Proudhon considered France as the “country of the happy medium and stability … despite its rebellious spirit, its taste for novelty, and its indiscipline” and that “a conservative and a revolutionary” slumbers in each Frenchman. What relationship did Proudhon, proud native of the Franche-Comté region, defender of federalism and the principle of subsidarity, entertain with the French nation? And the French state?
Thibault Isabel: Proudhon didn’t like France very much, which he associated with Jacobinism, centralization, and contempt for local particularities. Rather he was a regionalist. But his federalism implied the coexistence of different scales of power, where France could serve as a intermediate stratum between the region and Europe. Proudhon believed that French nationality was an abstraction and that it didn’t correspond to any physical fatherland. Only the regions found favor in his eyes, because they were closer to man. The soil is what immediately surrounds us and concretely shapes our way of seeing the world.

Françoise: What books by Proudhon should be read first?

Thibault Isabel: It’s rather difficult to say. Proudhon wrote a lot, and he had the annoying habit of diluting his thought with interminable digressions which haven’t aged well. His later works are the best in my opinion, and the most synthetic. I especially recommend The Federative Principle, which condenses his principal political thoughts regarding democracy.

Source: http://leblogdethibaultisabel.blogspot.com/2017/07/entretien-Pierre-Joseph-Proudhon.html

Ernst von Salomon – Revolutionary, Conservative, Lover – Philitt – October 7th 2016

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In The Outlaws (1930), Ernst von Salomon retraces his madcap political adventure shortly after the Great War. His literary persona became emblematic of the German Conservative Revolution and the work became a prophecy for the lost generations. His lesson: nihilism can be conquered by a passion stronger than the torments of History. The outlaw thus finds his salvation in the warrior experience that precedes the elevation of the spirit.

The Outlaws opens with a quote by Franz Schauweker: “In life, blood and knowledge must agree. Then the spirit rises.” That is the entire lesson of the work, which contrasts knowledge and experience and concludes by discovering that these two opposites inevitably attract. Then a question is posed: must we let these two attractions cancel each other, striking and destroying each other, and the one who experiences them as well; or must the tension be resolved in creation and thought.

A lover distraught by a Germany in tatters, spurned by history at the twilight of the First World War in which he was too young to participate, Ernst von Salomon embodied the Revolutionary Conservative passion in action when he chose to participate within the Freikorps in order to continue the fight. But if Dominique Venner could describe this mythic epic as a nihilistic adventure, the irrational stubbornness of Salomon appeared as an authentic quest for meaning which he pursued throughout his entire journey as warrior and then militant. Despite the surrounding disarray and the lack of purpose from which some hot heads seemed to suffer, the dropout Salomon always expressed the instinct to reconquer a cherished nation. In his eyes, only revolution could return Germany’s former splendor, which he had been taught to die for.

The Troubled Revolutionary

Ernst von Salomon was just 16 years old when the armistice was signed on November 11th 1918, an age of razor sharp follies, ideas, and passions which prevent resignation. If confusion is the first feeling that the author confesses at the start of The Outlaws, hope soon follows and it’s this permanent tension between these two contrary inclinations that creates the relentless struggle between reason and life. As the life of the author, at the start of his work, seems to only sustain the pursuit of his ideal, which he doubtlessly already perceived as a mirage even though he refused to abandon it. Thus he admits: “We were ready to act under the impulse of our feelings alone; and it didn’t matter if we could prove the righteousness of our acts. The accomplishment of the act is what matters these days.” It’s not reason, it’s not ideas that guide the enamored lover of Germany, vexed by a humiliating peace, but a sentimental rage that he cannot control. Thus the revolutionary instinct arises, the essentially destructive instinct whose sole objective is to overthrow the established order, including the internal, spiritual, and moral order of the one guided by it. He challenges the world by challenging himself to test himself before pretending to know.

Movement before anything else, action from every angle appeared as the only way of salvation, the sole conviction of this frustrated generation was that nothing good could arise in the era of parliamentarianism and the ruling bourgeoisie. Maybe he doesn’t understand it yet, but what matters is the struggle against the immobility of systematic thought, whether liberal or Marxist. And if we speak of salvation, it doesn’t solely mean collective salvation through the restoration of German grandeur. War, then defeat and the conditions of the peace are morally destroyed the individual as well. So movement is the condition for the survival of everyone, a vital attempt to rediscover meaning: “In the attack we hope to find deliverance, a supreme exaltation of our forces; we hope to be firm in the conviction of being up to our destiny, we hope to feel the true values of the world in us. We march, nourished by no other certitudes than those that could be worthy for our country.” Lines that join those from Battle as an Inner Experience by Ernst Jünger and show the extent of the spirit of revenge that motivated and shaped warrior instead of soldiers, free men rather than replaceable parts.

It’s the expression of an impatient folly, a lover’s folly. Refusing immobility, ceaselessly putting oneself in peril as one questions himself, is the sign that the nationalist revolution rejects the Platonic love of an idea. Because the beloved nation has been lost, it should be conquered again, by occupying the borders, not by seducing it. Yet a moment comes where action no longer suffices to nourish hope. Exalted violence can destroy the one who endures it and the once who exercises it alike. The author avows, “We have ignited a pyre that not only burns inanimate objects, it burns our hopes, our aspirations, but also the laws of the bourgeoisie, the values of the civilized world, it burns everything, the last remnants of the vocabulary and beliefs in the things and ideas of this time, all this dusty junk that still lingered in our hearts.” The ideal annihilates, the idealist tends towards nihilism. Fate is increasingly obvious, obligating the warrior to reconsider his aspirations, or to die from having used up all that resided in his heart. In order to survive, it is necessary to project a new ideal, to cut an alternative from the tarnished banner that one brandishes without believing in it. Movement becomes an empty shell that demands only to be filled by a production of the spirit, experience is useless without knowledge. It is no longer a question of moving to survive, but of knowing how to move, towards what goal. Then, revolutionary passion, remembering that it was born from reaction, proposes an audacious conservative goal.

Intellectual and Violent: The Outpouring of the Spirit

The permanent tangle of individual and collective considerations in the work creates the perfect psychological portrait of the revolutionary, of the militant in the strict sense (ie military methods). But in the political struggle of the immediate after war era, the young Ernst von Salomon firstly revealed himself to himself, intellectual and violent, rather than advancing an idea. From the start, the political will of the author and his accomplices was at best a quest, a will to find points of reference in the fog of the surrounding crisis, more than a real inclination. But if simple reflection was not the beginning of this quest, it’s a sign that the German ideal of the nascent Conservative Revolution was not purely philosophical. It was more encompassing, more total: it’s a “worldview” (Weltanschauung), certainly impregnated with philosophy, guided by intellect, but also concretely experienced, visceral. This worldview nourishes will as much as thought and expresses itself sentimentally in lyrical, dreamlike, suggestive, or allegorical terms that defy jargon and rationalist concepts. The emblematic style of the German Conservative Revolution that we find in the prose of Ernst Jünger or Carl Schmitt aims to suggest, touch, project rather than simply expose. The outlaw that Salomon embodies is not a man of the drawing room. With him, experience comes before knowledge. The young man’s feelings precede his intellectual formation and metapolitical consciousness. It’s only through writing that he seeks the truth of eternal values in the extremes of lived experience, in order to transform experience into knowledge. Thus the work takes its meaning in order to raise it to another level, to raise it to the rank of a tool accessible to all.

Here one finds a magnificent expression of the paradox of Revolutionary Conservative thought, modern among the anti-moderns in that it proposes to turn modernity against itself, but also and especially in that it can seem to accord priority to action, the driving impulse comes from the domain of the senses, and not from the domain of ideas. What is not experienced is only bourgeois equivocation, as one of Ernst von Salomon’s comrades says about a book by Walter Rathenau – assassinated with the complicity of our author by Organization Consul- entitled In Days To Come, inspiring this terse comment: “So many sparks and so little dynamite.” Salomon himself admits to feeling shipwrecked, when he swears with spite that the considerations of high politics have made the Freikorps useful idiots in the service of foreign interests. And the will to act towards and against everything in a permanent headlong rush only seems to spare those who, like von Salomon, are capable of sublimating action into thought and extracting a little truth from it, clarifying a worldview, proposing a goal. Revolutionary folly, the irrational and anarchic impulse, channeled like so, moderated by conservative instinct, calls for a much greater wisdom and an indispensable effort of conceptualization.

But Salomon would not find this equilibrium, though he had the intuition, until his release from prison. Still too fevered, too extreme in his will to act at any price, until the crime, until a damnation that he didn’t even seem to fear. The outlaws were the outcasts thrown into the arms of the devil by the blows of history, exclusion would destroy the weakest of them, and reinforce the others in a besieged citadel. A bit before his death, more than 40 years after the publication of the Outlaws, he confessed to having really questioned the meaning of his action during his second imprisonment, after which he fully espoused the Conservative Revolutionary Movement by initiating the “revolution of the spirit,” already mentioned and presented in his work in embryonic form. Namely a task of redefining concepts, like the French encyclopédistes of the 18th century, presumed precursors of the French Revolution. But as if the tension between knowledge and experience was fundamentally insurmountable, history would confront this task, this knowledge, with the experience of politics and cause to it languish through the ideological and political deviation of National-Socialism.

Source: https://philitt.fr/2016/10/07/ernst-von-salomon-revolutionnaire-conservateur-amoureux/

Considerations on Optimism and Pessimism in Politics – Georges Sorel

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“In politics, the optimist is an unreliable or even dangerous man, because he doesn’t take the great difficulties that his projects present into account; they seem to possess a self confidence leading them to the effortless realization that they are destined, in their mind, to produce more happiness.”

To him, little reforms, made through constitutional policy and especially by governmental staff, seem sufficient to guide the social movement in such a way to lessen what frightens sensitive souls in the contemporary world. Since his friends are in power, he declares that we must let them have a free hand in things, that we must not rush, and content ourselves with what their good will suggests; it is not always solely self interest that dictates his satisfied words; as often believed: self interest is strongly aided by self-love and insipid philosophical illusions. The optimist passes from revolutionary anger to the most ridiculous social pacifism with remarkable ease.

If he has an impassioned temperament and if, unfortunately, he finds himself armed with power, permitting him to realize a ideal that he has forged, the optimist can lead his country to the worst catastrophes. Actually, he soon realizes that social transformations don’t happen as easily as he expected; he brings his woes to his contemporaries, instead of explaining the progression of things through historical necessity; he tries to make the people whose ill will seems dangerous to him disappear for the good of all. During the Terror, the men who caused the most bloodshed were those who had the strongest desire to make their countrymen realize the golden age they dreamed of, who had the most sympathy for human misery: optimists, idealists, sensitive people, they proved themselves to be all the more implacable because they had a greater thirst for universal happiness.

Pessimism is an entirely different thing than what the caricatures most often present it as: it’s a metaphysics of mores rather than a theory of the world; it’s a concept of a route towards deliverance strictly linked to: on one hand, experimental knowledge that we have acquired from the obstacles that oppose the satisfaction of our imaginations (or, if one wants, linked to the feeling of social determinism), – on the other hand, to the deep conviction of our natural weakness. We must never separate these three aspects of pessimism, although their close connection is hardly taken into account in practice.

1 – The name pessimism derives from the fact that the complaints made by the great ancient poets on the subject of the miseries that constantly threaten man made a great impression on historians of literature. There are few people to whom good luck has never presented itself at least once; but we are surrounded by harmful forces that are always ready to emerge from ambush, in order to fall upon us and crush us; hence very real suffering arises which provokes the sympathy of nearly all men, even those who have been treated favorably by fortune; moreover sorrowful literature has been successful across nearly all of history. But one would only have a very imperfect idea of pessimism by taking this type of literary production into consideration; in general, in order to appreciate a doctrine, it doesn’t suffice to study it in an abstract manner, nor among isolated personalities, one must research how it manifests in historical groups; thus we are lead to add the two elements mentioned above.

2 – The pessimist sees social conditions as forming a system bound by an established truth given in full, imposed by necessity, which would only disappear through a catastrophe that sweeps it away entirely. So it would be absurd, when we accept this theory, to make a few evil men bear responsibility for the evils from which society suffers; the pessimist doesn’t have any of the sanguinary follies of the optimist, distraught by the unforeseen resistance his projects encounter; he doesn’t contemplate creating happiness for future generations by butchering the selfish today.

3 – The way of conceiving the route to deliverance is the most profound thing in pessimism. Man would not endure the test, either from the laws of misery or fate, which shock our naive pride so much, if he didn’t have the hope of overcoming these tyrannies through an effort that he would attempt with a group of companions. The Christians would not have reasoned so much about original sin if they didn’t feel the need to justify deliverance (which must result from Jesus’ death), by supposing that this sacrifice had been made necessary by an appalling crime attributable to humanity. If the Western Christians were much more concerned with original sin than the Eastern Christians, that is not due to the influence Roman law alone, as Taine thought, but also to the fact that the Latins had a more elevated feeling of imperial majesty than the Greeks, considering the sacrifice of God’s Son as the realization of an extraordinarily marvelous deliverance; hence the necessity of deepening the mysteries of human misery and destiny.

Source: http://www.voxnr.com/841/considerations-loptimisme-pessimisme-politique-georges-sorel

Michel Clouscard, The Capitalism of Seduction – Rébellion 46 – February 2011

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At the end of the 1970s, Michel Clouscard debuted an analysis of the phenomena arising from triumphant liberalism. His approach was clearly a response to the PCF’s (then locked into a dogmatic “orthodoxy”) lack of comprehension regarding mutating capitalist society. Faced with serious leftist ideological drifting after Mai 68, he proposed updating theory and revolutionary strategies by taking the mutation of the dominant system into account.

That lead him to unearth the root of what he named “the capitalism of seduction.” He makes it the heart of capitalism’s praxis, that is to say the whole of the dominant class’ maneuvers to transform social relations and expel the class struggle from history. The discourse of seduction rests on the destruction of Being by seeming, of Truth by representation, of Intelligence by conditioning. Reinforcing the already existing exploitation and alienation in capitalism, it even destroys the consciousness of the working classes.

A Genealogy of the Transformation of French Society

In the work of Michel Clouscard, and especially in “The Capitalism of Seduction,” we find a complete critical review of post 1968 society. Aymeric Monville recalls the context this book was written in: “At the time where ‘The Capitalism of Seduction’ was released for the first time, in 1981 from Editions Sociales, this decryption of this new society’s initiatic rituals (pinball, jukebox, posters, jeans, long hair, hash, motorcycles, rock) seemed like an event. Structuralism had barely emerged and the ‘human sciences’ only seemed interested in the (otherwise exciting) initiatic rituals of the Bororos [Translator’s Note: A Brazilian tribe] If it suited some to update a few of these rituals, on the other hand, let us admit that the Zeitgeist, the collective unconsciousness, had not changed. At best, the spectrum of ‘protesting innocence’ had expanded.”

Through this exercise in the anthropology of mores, he showed that the pseudo-rebel postures of the bourgeois youth had become included in a global system. They are initiation rites into the consumer society that “libertarian liberalism” had established to assure the reproduction of the capitalist model. I must desire what everyone desires, normality reached through the integration of the false values of merchant society.

Michel Clouscard traces the origin of the Capitalism of Seduction to the Marshall Plan. This plan to aid reconstruction was a “gift” to Europe made through the economic force of the United States at the start of the Cold War France, after Great Britain, was the principal beneficiary of this totally disinterested manna from heaven.

The penetration of the American model was the start of the death of old traditional French society. The working classes, peasants and workers alike, put thrifty and rigorous values into practice, the basis of a strong communitarian consciousness, “the alliance of an ethic of necessity and a morality of thrift.” But the openness to the American economic and cultural model would overwhelm this society with the complicity of the national bourgeoisie. Michel Clouscard didn’t idealize this society of necessity, but he thought that socialism could inherit values from it.

The conquest of French consciousness was rapid, consumer society predicated the disappearance of traditional values. They were replaced by frivolity and mercantile attitudes. At the start of the 1960s, this marginal cultural model of ludic, libidinal consumption tended to become the model of the elements who were the least involved in the life of traditional society: youth and women. Note that it was not antipathy towards the youth or latent misogyny that lead Michel Clouscard to make this observation, but a study of the social structures of the era and the processes of production.

On the contrary, capitalism gave birth to a new category with veritable ferocity: parasitic non-productive jobs (a large category extending from the false artists of “modern art” to the intellectual sell-outs to the system, passing through publicists and other dealers).

The Reign of the Savage Beast

With Mai 68, the culture of seduction, selective and marginal until then, would stretch to cover global society. The sociologist then mentions the role of libertarian-liberalism in breaking down the last moral and cultural locks against the capitalist tidal wave.

According to Clouscard, “libertarian-liberalism” is not libertarian for everyone all the time. On the contrary, it’s a strategy that permits the reciprocal begetting of the permissive and the repressive, putting in place a system that presents itself, as Clouscard said, with the elliptical thoroughness that we often find in his prose, as “permissive regarding the consumer and repressive regarding the producer” (A. Monville).

In appearance, capitalism is the system that offers greatest chance to satiate ones’ basest passions. Impulses of every type are exalted by the ideology of “always more.” Henceforth, in the field of merchandise, every desire must be immediately satisfied as a need, through possession. Desire is placed on the level of vital needs. We exist according to what we consume and not through what we construct ourselves. The experience of a relationship to another is enclosed in the desire to possess the same attributes of success and individual performance. The dynamic of desire is manipulated in the service of capital’s development.

This social process aims for the atomization of the social body, which would be the end of the Political, everything will be available to the market of desire. Michel Clouscard wrote, “The savage beast, unbridled and insatiable, is the image chosen by Hegel to designate civil society when it’s merely a marketplace, when the hegemony of liberalism of liberalism (or neo-liberalism) is realized … Then capitalist conditioning becomes all powerful…”

Social classes must experience a break with their origins, with the historical culture that begot them. This rupture must be forgotten. Thus an increasing availability to other values appears and permits their integration into the system. The negation of the reality of class struggle is the priority of capitalism, it allows the negative consequences of its domination to be denied.

Capitalism leads to “the impoverishment of history.” Michel Clouscard remarks that “crisis has become a strategy for the management of crisis.” Society is perfectly frozen and blocked, “The more it rots, the better it holds! This stalemate that no longer allows any momentum is the impoverishment of history.” Society falls into depression and the individual closes up on himself. “Everything is permitted, but nothing is possible. The harsh reality of prohibition in crisis follows the permissiveness of mass consumption,” he wrote at the start of “Trentes calamiteuses” [Translator’s note: referring to the 30 years of stagnation following the economic boom of “Trentes glorieuses” of the post-World War 2 era].

Mad Love Against Every Simulacrum of Capitalism

How to escape this blocked situation? Michel Clouscard responds that it’s necessary to return to fundamentals. At the end of his life, he reaffirmed the importance of re-founding a collective destiny. “I defend the organic essence as such of this social body. It’s the substance of the state. It belongs to history and not to some survival instinct inspired by nature, collective interests transcend local divisions in the face of a common external peril … It already acts to combat the moral peril created trough the collaboration of internal reaction and external imperialism.” Faced with the globalization of capital, he affirms the necessity of the idea of the nation in a clearly revolutionary sense, “The state was the super-structural instance of capitalist repression. That’s why Marx denounces it. But today, with globalization, it’s totally the opposite. While the nation state could be the means of oppression of one class by another, it became the means to resist globalization. It’s a dialectical game.”

He also endeavored to respond to the Capitalism of Seduction with a much stronger notion. His “Treatise on Mad Love” address the myth of Tristan and Yseult at length. In its medieval and Wagnerian versions, it would be a response to the evil that devours our society. For him, the interpretation of the myth reprises the Platonic conception of love. The Platonic reminiscence – that of lost unity, the reconciliation of opposites – is also the recognition of the Other, and the support, the means of looking forward, of the couple’s journey. Love is made from these tender moments which cannot be separated: retrospection and looking forward, attachment to the past and the quest for the future, obsession and seeking.

The transient agitation of desire is not love, it only leads to frustration. It’s only a simulacrum of souls eaten down by the spirit of the era. A quest towards the void that only leads to depression.

Michel Clouscard revisits the importance of this double anchoring in the ideal and reality that love offers. In Greek mythology, “Love visits Aphrodite in the day and spends the night with Psyche. Sharing the body and soul: structure. Libertarian liberalism tramples on what the human consciousness produces, its intimate debates, its freedom. Transgressive consumption erodes the Psyche. I propose conjugal life and the Psyche as a progressive foundation. They are the two loves of man, and his great grief, the double pursuit of the Eternal Feminine.”

Who was Michel Clouscard?

He was born in 1928, in a very modest peasant family from Tarn. “He crystallizes the course of a worker’s world, which, by seizing the means of intellectual expression, accesses consciousness for itself,” writes Aymeric Monville, who continues the re-edition of his principal works with éditions Delga.

After his philosophy studies (his thesis director was Henri Lefeuvre), he became the professor of sociology at the University of Poitiers from 1975 to 1990. From the start of the 1970s, Michel Clouscard developed a critique of “liberal-libertarian” capitalism and social-democracy. He proposed the ‘de-dogmatization’ of Marxism, without abandoning the theoretical work of Marx: “we must update the sociological schema of the class struggle, reconstitute the terms of the workers’ economic oppression in the context of the mode of serial production, analyze the anthropological and political-cultural mediation of the passage from use value to exchange value, address the social initiations to capitalist civilization, challenge theoretical subjectivism or economism in order to allow for a joint analysis of the market of desire and the new exploitation.”

Close to the Parti Communiste Français, he refused its reformist orientation in a radical manner: “We must change strategy and philosophy. No longer ape the PS and the third way. We must be those who endure, proposing serious issues. That’s what people expect. When I saw them have a fiesta at the Central Committee (Prada and others), I found that derisory. Communism means taking charge of the world’s misfortunes, without pathos. We aren’t here for conviviality. That’s what Jack Lang is for. What we must do, is to rediscover praxis. We must reshape a world where ‘action will be the sister of dreams’, to cite Baudelaire. To make an alliance between Prometheus and Psyche. The adversaries of Marxism have gotten a grip on psyche; we must take it back from them.” Retiring to Gaillac, Michel Clouscard passed away on February 21st 2009.

Published in Rébellion 46 (February 2011)

Source: http://rebellion-sre.fr/michel-clouscard/

Neo-Nationalism and the “Neue Rechte” in West Germany from 1946 to 1988 – Robert Steuckers – Vouloir n°45/46, 1988.

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A critical reading of : Margret FEIT, Die “Neue Rechte” in der Bundesrepublik : Organisation – Ideologie – Strategie, Campus, Frankfurt a.M., 1987, 242 p.

To place the German “New Right” under the magnifying glass is not an easy thing; firstly because term was neither used nor claimed by the men and groups that journalists arbitrarily pigeonholed under this label. Actually, the term “Neue Rechte” is a creation of journalists, a lazy verbal convenience that designates attempts at ideological and practical innovation which occurred in the “nationalist” camp in West Germany. Recently, Margret Feit tried to investigate this rarefied world and released a book, a dense 244 pages abounding with useful information, but, alas, also incongruous commentary and erroneous simplifications.

The reason for these derailments is simple: M. Feit is a professional anti-fascist militant, one of these Don Quixotes who, forty years after the spectacular collapse of Hitler’s Reich, spends their time harassing increasingly antiquated phantoms. But the variant of her Don Quixotism diverges a bit from that of her Francophone colleagues in the vein of Article 31 (Paris) or Celsius (Brussels); who get completely befuddled, fabricating incredible plots where we see, for example, the Belgian Justice Minister Jean Gol, liberal and Israeli, plan the emergence of a gigantic paramilitary network with the former leader of the movement Jeune Europe, Jean Thiriart, and a representative of Zaire’s president, Mobutu Sese Seko in the backroom of a Brussels restaurant! M. Feit doesn’t take the joke that far.

Why Read This Book

If the “who’s who” of Article 31, Celsius, their Flemish buddy who rages in Morgen and the no less unerring Maurice Sarfatti, alias Serge Dumont, scribbler at Vif / L’Express, whose colleagues privately scoff at him, politely saying, “he’s still a big adolescent…”, all sink into charming fantasy, the incurable childishness from son to father of the Golden Sixties, M. Feit accomplishes a more serious task; she’s from the masochist variant, which (poorly) stalks its own phantoms but also collects authentic documents in order to denounce, what she believes to be, a veritable network, infested with wickedness and ready leap upon poor democracy like the wolf does to the tender little lamb in the fables. But Dame Feit is an archivist, she cites her sources and that’s why her book is noteworthy, even if it doesn’t contain an index and the outline of its chapters, which intends to be an analysis of the intellectual content of the “Neue Rechte”, is purely and simply taken from the useful and well written book published in 1975 from the pen of Günter Bartsch (1).

It’s worth more than a note if we rid ourselves of her fantasies, which return to every paragraph at a full gallop, in order to be constantly repelled by the terrible energy displayed by M. Feit’s quasi-neurotic desire to acquire a shred of scientific respectability. Let us therefore consider that this book has a certain value, which remains hidden behind an undergrowth of fantasies, and one must know how to read it with the dexterity of a professional pathfinder.

The Nationalist Camp Before the Advent of the “Neue Rechte”

In 1946, the DReP (Deutsche Rechts-Partei ; German Right Party) appeared, a fusion of the DKoP (Deutsche Konservative Partei) and the DAP (Deutsche Aufbau-Partei ; German Reconstruction Party), two groups formed in 1945. The DReP, lead by Fritz Dorls and Fritz Rößler, was too heterogeneous to endure; the conservative wing separated from the socialist wing which, with two party leaders, formed the SRP (Sozialistische Reichs-Partei) in 1949. In October 1952, the government banned this party, under the pressure of the allies, who were disturbed because it demonstrated a certain dynamism (1951: 11% of the vote in Basse-Saxe and 16 seats). The party was opposed to the pro-Western policy of Adenauer, fighting for a unified neutral Germany and seriously competing with the “left” thanks to its audacious social program. M. Feit doesn’t utter a word about this resolutely non-right-wing engagement … The ban forced its militants to change their symbols and modify their style of propaganda. The DRP (Deutsche Reichs-Partei) would take over from it, again registering a certain success in Basse-Saxe (8.1%, more than the liberals from the FDP). However economic recovery played in favor of the confessional parties and the SPD.

From Statist Nationalism to Plebiscitary Nationalism and “Basisdemokratisch”

Following the failure and ban of the SRP and the stagnation of the DRP, nationalist milieus turned upon themselves. The most audacious rejected all forms of pro-Occidentalism and chose neutralism or a German form of Gaullism. But the criticisms essentially focused on the relics of Bismarckian statism passed on by the “old nationalist” leaders of the SRP and DRP. The organizational nucleus of this hostile revision to centralizing statism was the DG (Deutsche Gemeinschaft ; German Community) of August Haußleiter, who came from the Bavarian CSU. This DG was nationalist, neutralist and anti-liberal, in the sense intended by the principal protagonists of the Weimar era “konservative Revolution.” This group aspired to legitimize the state on the basis of popular will, the generator of popular harmony and conviviality, not on the power of the party that won the elections. From the start, with such a program declared for the 2 German republics and Austria, the militants of the DG took the side of colonized peoples fighting to acquire independence (Nasserist Egypt, the Algerian FLN, etc) as these fights were aligned with the German will to gain self-determination.

In May 1965, while the remnants of the DRP reassembled with a new formation, the NPD (National-Demokratische Partei Deutschlands), founded in November 1964, the DG, with the DFP (Deutsche Freiheits-Partei ; German Freedom Party) and the VDNV (Vereinigung Deutsche National-Versammlung ; Association for A German-National Rally), evolved into the AUD (Aktionsgemeinschaft Unabhängiger Deutsche ; Action Community of German Independents). A divide arose immediately: the old, statist nationalists found themselves in the NPD, while the left wing of the nationalists, with its principal intellectuals, found themselves in the AUS.

From the AUD to the Opening to Left Wing Movements and Ecologism

We note that the VDNV counted Wolf Schenke, founder of a “third way” concept and a partisan of neutrality, and the historian Wolfgang Venohr (cf. Orientations n°3), in its ranks. The AUD, faithful to its populist and organic will and its refusal of the old statist and quasi-fascist formulas, opened itself to the leftist APO (Außerparlamentarische Opposition ; Extra-parliamentary Opposition) and made a number of pacifist and neo-democratic (whose objective is the erection of a democracy beyond parties and traditional ideological family) arguments. The negotiations with the APO would fail (although many leaders of the APO and the SDS, its student organization, would find themselves in the neo-nationalist camp in the 1980s) and the militants of the AUD would establish ecological circles, in the name of an organic ideology, a very romantic and Germanic tradition: the protection of Life (Lebensschutz). Many of its militants would create, with the most left wing elements, the famous “Green Party” that we know today.

The Strasserists: “Third Way,” European Solidarism

The Strasserists, grouped around Otto Strasser, constituted a supplementary component of neo-nationalism after 1945. After the collapse of the Third Reich, Otto Strasser, then in Canadian exile, sent Rundbriefe für Deutschlands Erneuerung (Circulars for German Renewal) to his sympathizers in mass quantities. These circulars mentioned German unification on the basis of a “European third way,” centered around a solidarism that dismissed both Western liberal capitalism and Soviet style socialism. This solidarism would abolish class distinction, by forming a new leading elite. German unity, as seen by Strasser, implied armed neutralism, the future military nucleus of an independent Europe that should become an equal, if not superior, political power to the USA and USSR. This Europe would ally with the Third World, as Third World countries would furnish raw materials to the “European Federation” during its gestation.

In order to support and spread this program, the West German Strasserists founded the DSU (Deutsche Soziale Union) in 1954. Many national-revolutionary militants made their first commitments there, notably Henning Eichberg between 1956 and 1959. In 1961, he passed to the VDNV of Venohr and Schenke (cf. supra). This passage implied an abandonment of the neo-Strasserists’ statism and centralism and an adherence to populist democracy, which the AUD championed.

Worker’s Self Management and the Nationalism of Liberation

In this same movement, the “Vötokalisten” grouped around E. Kliese appeared. This political circle elaborated an new theory of worker’s self-management, derived from the principles of “German socialism” (cf. Orientations n°7 and Trasgressioni n°4), the only true revision of Marxism in this century. This theory of worker’s self-management formed the nucleus of the social doctrine of the UAP (Unabhängige Arbeiter Partei), another group created at the start of the 1960s which desired to be “the combat group for a libertarian and democratic socialism of the German nation.” Vötokalisten and the militants of UAP laid claim to Ferdinand Lassalle, founder of German social democracy and admirer of Bismarck’s work. Here the French reader will note how close social democracy is to the different variants of German neo-nationalism.

This German socialism, with Lassallian connotations, opposed the NPD, judged to be excessively right wing, as much as the communists and the SPD, judged to be traitors to the socialist ideal. An important personality appeared in this movement: Wolfgang Strauss, former militant from the East German Liberal Party (LDPD) and former convict in Vorkuta. Strauss was the advocate of a popular socialism and a nationalism of liberation, whose model was derived from the Ukrainian resistance, Russian solidarism, and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, among others. In this view, nationalism is conceived as the emotional yeast that gives rise to a socialism close to the people, resolutely anti-imperialist, hostile to large scale entities, ethno-pluralist.

The Decline of the NPD

Despite a few initial successes in the Länder elections, the NPD never surpassed the score of 4.3% (in 1969) for the federal vote. The party was divided between idealists and opportunists, while the movement for democratic, neo-socialist and proto-ecological nationalism attracted more intellectuals and students. This sociological stratification effectively lead to the principal ideological innovations of German neo-nationalism on the eve of the agitations of 68. If one is interested in this constant germination rather than fixed structures, an analysis of the student organizations that were created on the margins of the NPD (and often in direct opposition to it) will be very useful.

Many initiatives happened in quick succession in the academic world. Among them, the BNS (Bund Nationaler Studenten ; National Student’s League) in 1956, on the impetus of Peter Dehoust, currently the director of the magazine Nation Europa (Coburg). Dehoust and his companions wanted to base the political combat of the nationalists on an engagement in the domain of culture from every angle, which, in the German political language, calls for the start of a new Kulturkampf. The disciplines favored by this “Kulturkampf” were of course history and biopolitics. The BNS assuredly constituted a well conceived organizational model, but its ideological message was, in many aspects, more conservative than the program and the intentions of the DG, which later became the AUD.

The organizations that took over in the 1960s, between the development of the NPD and the agitation of 67-68, were more faithful to revolutionary populism and quite hostile to the last strains of statism. In October 1964, Sven Thomas Frank, Bodo Blum and Fred Mohlau founded the IDJ (Initiative der Jugend ; Youth Initiative) in Berlin, which in 1968, would merge with a few other militant organizations to form the APM (Außerparlamentarische Mitarbeit ; Extra-Parliamentary Cooperation); this new initiative was clearly modeled on the leftist APO (Außerparlamentarische Opposition). The APM aimed to bring together, with the nationalists, those who didn’t renounce the idea of German reunification, and who hadn’t stopped considering Berlin to be the sole capital of all Germany.

Rudi Dutschke and Bernd Rabehl Slide Towards A Form of Nationalism

Günther Bartsch relevantly underlines, contrary to M. Feit, that, despite the initial divide caused by the national question, all the student groups, leftists as well as nationalists, slid towards a new, militant nationalism of protest. Bartsch recalls that the 2 leftist leaders in Berlin in 68, Rudi Dutschke and Bernd Rabehl, didn’t raise the stale equation: “nationalism = fascism” at all. On the contrary, quite early on, Rabehl insisted that nationalist motivations had played a first rank role in the French, Russian, Yugoslav, and Chinese Revolutions in many theoretical texts.

According to Rabehl, nationalism dialectically receives a progressive utility; it catalyzes the process of history and provokes the acceleration of class conflicts, from which socialist revolutions unfold. National ideology can give a unifying discourse to the different components of the working class. Rabehl continues, on the global scale, a German neo-nationalism, carried by the working class, can undermine the American-Soviet condominium, the embodiment of reaction and stagnation in the 20th century, just like the “Metternich system,” arising from the Congress of Vienna, was at the start of the 19th.

Dutschke, with all his charisma, supported this slide initiated by his comrade Rabehl. He even went further: he wrote that in the 20th century Germany had experienced 3 forms of revolutionary worker’s socialism: the socialist SPD, the communist KPD, and … Hitler’s NSDAP (which he nevertheless criticized for certain compromises and diplomatic orientations). This (very) partial rehabilitation of the historic role of the NSDAP shows that Manichean anti-fascism, which rages today, no longer dominated the discourse among the serious leftist theorists of the 1960s. Margret Feit evidently doesn’t utter a word about this slide towards nationalism and dogmatically avoids looking into the theoretical value of this common argument of the “New Left” and the “New Right.” Bartsch notes that the militants of the left and the young nationalists had a good number of shared ideas, notably:

  • The refusal of the establishment
  • Criticism of consumer society
  • Hostility to media manipulations
  • The refusal of hyper-specialization
  • An anti-technocratic attitude with ecological connotations
  • Anti-capitalism and the will to form a new socialism
  • The myth of the revivifying youth
  • An anti-bourgeois attitude where Marxism and Nietzscheanism closely mingle
  • The will to question absolutely everything

Why didn’t nationalists and leftists march together against the system, if their positions were so close? Bartsch thinks it’s because nationalists still conveyed the images and references of the past in an overly stereotypical manner, while the left wielded “critical theory” with a remarkable dexterity and benefited from the resounding impact of Marcuse’s book, The One-Dimensional Man, [cf. The critical analysis of M. Haar, L’Homme unidimensionnel, Hatier/Profil d’une œuvre, 1975]. The gap between their “styles” was still insurmountable.

Junges Forum” and “Junge Kritik” : a laboratory of ideas in Hamburg

The magazine Junges Forum, founded in 1964 in Hamburg, envisioned “laying the theoretical bases of a new thought” from the outset. The will that guided this intention, was motivated by the desire leave the strictly political ghetto, where it saw total stagnation regarding the recruitment of new militants, and suggest a new message to depoliticized citizens, capable of gaining their interest and rousing them from their torpor. Those who were named by M. Feit as the “head thinkers” of the “ Neue Rechte” published articles and manifestos in the columns of Junges Forum. Among them: Wolfgang Strauss, Lothar Penz, Hans Amhoff, Henning Eichberg and Fritz Joß. The themes addressed concerned: intellectual renewal, the search for a more satisfactory form of democracy, the elaboration of an organic socialism, German reunification, European unity, outlining an international order based on organic principles, ecology, regionalism, solidarism, etc.

In 1972, the editorial committee of the magazine published a 36 point manifesto, whose stated objective was to propose the basis for a popular and organic socialism, capable of constituting a coherent alternative to the dominant liberal and Marxist ideologies (the text, without notes, is reproduced in full in the appendix to Bartsch’s book). This manifesto exercised a relatively modest influence among us, notable in certain circles close to the Volksunie, among Flemish solidarists, regionalists, some neo-socialists and solidarists in Brussels, notably in the youth magazine Vecteurs (1981) which only published a single issue, where an adapted translation of the program of Junges Forum was reproduced, by Christian Lepetit, militant of the quasi-Maoist AIB (Anti-Imperialistische Bond ; Anti-Imperialist League). Robert Steuckers spread this message into the orbit of the magazine Pour une renaissance européenne, the organ of GRECE-Bruxelles, directed by Georges Hupin.

European Nationalism, The New Economic Order, Philosophy and Policy

In parallel with the magazine, a collection of paperback books appeared, under the title Junge Kritik. More than notebooks of Junges Forum, the treatises bound into the 3 volumes of Junge Kritik constituted the essential basis for a total revolution of nationalist thought at the dawn of the 1970s (the publication of the first 3 booklets extended from 1970 to 1973). Margret Feit, evidently not interested in the evolution of the ideas, prefers to fabricate a puzzle from real or imaginary connections to underpin her latest conspiracy theory.

Objectivity obliges us to directly refer to the texts. In Volume 1 (Nationalismus Heute; Nationalism Today), the young leaders Hartwig Singer (pseudonym of Henning Eichberg), Gert Waldmann and Michael Meinrad argued for a Europeanization of nationalism, and, consequently, for a liberation of our entire continent from American and Soviet tutelage. The revised nationalism would be progressive thenceforth because it would imply the liberation of our peoples from economic and political oppression, operating at two speeds (Western and Soviet), as the “dutschkistes” in Berlin had envisioned, not the conservation of dead structures (as the old liberal/ Marxist historiography suggests).

In the second volume of Junge Kritik, entitled Leistungsgemeinschaft (community of service), Meinrad, Joß and Bronner developed the economic program of neo-nationalism: solidarity of the working classes of all nations, ownership of means of production by all who worked, drastic limitation of capitalist concentrations of wealth. Hartwig Singer, for his part, published a Manifest Neue Rationalität (Manifesto for a new rationality), where the parallel with the efforts of Alain de Benoist at the same time is glaringly obvious. Singer and Benoist, in effect, wanted to launch an offensive against the essentialism of the dominant ideologies of the era, through the interpretation of Anglo-Saxon empiricism given by Français Louis Rougier. However, Singer also added the lessons of Marx, for whom all ideology conceals interests, and Max Weber, theorist of the process of rationalization in the West, to this empiricist and Rougierian message. Singer, writing in a German context totally more revolutionary than the Franco-Parisian context, struck by an overly literary anti-Marxism, dared to mobilize Marx, the hard realist, against the abstract and false Marx of the neo-moralists. Which allowed him to correct Rougier’s apolitical stance that lead to a socially respectable conservatism incapable of smashing the practical incoherence of the ambient liberalism of the West.

Neo-Nationalism is “Progressive”

In the third volume, which was entitled Europäischer Nationalismus ist Fortschritt (European Nationalism is Progress!), Meinrad, Waldmann, and Joß reiterated and completed their theses, while Singer, in his contribution (“Logischer Empirismus), accentuated the conceptual modernism of Junge Kritik; the proximity of its approach to Alain de Benoist’s in Nouvelle École from 1972-1973 appeared even more evident in the text Manifest Neue Rationalität. Singer not only cited Nouvelle École abundantly but encouraged his comrades to read Monod, Russell, Rougier, and Heisenberg, 4 authors studied by Nouvelle École. Singer added that, from this four way reading, it is possible to deduce a new type of socialism (Monod and Russell), neo-nationalism (Heisenberg), and a new “European consciousness” (Rougier). In effect, Rougier had demonstrated that the European spirit was the only spirit open to progress, capable of innovation and adaptation. European rationality, according to Rougier, Benoist, and Singer, largely transcended contemplative oriental ideas that the hippy vogue had injected into public opinion, in the wake of 68 and the protest against the American war in Vietnam. Neo-nationalism henceforth appeared progressive, open to modern sciences, just like it appeared progressive in the eyes of Dutschke and Rabehl because its energy could break the oppression represented by a macro-political alienation: the alienation established at Yalta.

This German-French philosophical pairing didn’t endure: a few years later, Éléments, the organ of GRECE and Alain de Benoist, attacked the ecological movement, which the Germans felt directly committed to. In the scheme of national defense, the French supported a national nuclear arms program, an approach that the Germans didn’t care about. It was only in 1982, when A. de Benoist decided completely in favor of German neutralism, that the respective positions of the Germans and the French joined together once again.

The Flemish Contribution

In Flanders, where Junges Forum had its most subscribers outside of Germany, the solidarism and regionalism of the Hamburg magazine had roused much interest, so much that a good number of Flemish (meta)political writers contributed to the effort of Junges Forum. We cite, in no particular order: Jos Vinks (Le nationalisme flamand, 1977 ; Le pacifisme du mouvement flamand, 1981; La langue afrikaans, 1987), Roeland Raes (Le régionalisme en Europe, 1979), Willy Cobbaut (L’alternative solidariste, 1981), Frans de Hoon (Approche positive de l’anarchisme, 1982), Piet Tommissen (Le concept de “métapolitique” chez Alain de Benoist, 1984), Robert Steuckers (Henri De Man, 1986). On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Belgian independence, in 1980, Jos Vinks, Edwin Truyens, Johan van Herreweghe and Pieter Moerman explained the historical roots and situation of the linguistic quarrel in Belgium, from the Flemish point of view. The French contribution was limited to a text by Alain de Benoist defining the “Nouvelle Droite” and an essay by Jacques Marlaud on the Gramscian theory of meta-politics and its practical application by the “Nouvelle Droite” in 1984.

One imagines what would have been a fusion of “dutschkisme”, neo-Europeanism, and Gramscian praxis in Europe – that’s what a few Francophone high school students in Brussels, grouped around Christian Lepetit and Éric Delaan, hoped for, before academic scattering and military service separated them … The furtive misadventure of Lepetit and Delaan deserves attention as it shows that neo-socialist and regionalist neo-nationalism, prefigured by the Germans, had the ability to seduce boys who militated in the Maoist anti-imperialist movement, then in full collapse, beyond Germany’s borders.

The National-Revolutionary “Basis Groups”

In parallel with the Junges Forum enterprise, which continues today and will celebrate 24 years in 1988, the German neo-nationalist movement constituted “basis groups” (Basisgruppen). The term came from the vocabulary of leftist protest. The student organizations of the left spilled over from the universities and invaded the high schools and factories. The emergence of the “basis groups” signified that, henceforth, there existed a national-revolutionary presence in all layers of society. This diversification implied a decentralization and relative autonomy of local groups who should be ready to intervene very quickly at any moment in their city, their high school, their factory, without needing to refer to a central body.

Agitation in Bochum

The strategy of the “basis group” demonstrated itself in the most spectacular fashion at the University of the Ruhr in Bochum. A group of neo-nationalist activists militated effectively there and founded a journal, the Ruhr-Studenten-Anzeiger. Around this militant newspaper, a Republikanischer Studentenbund (RSB ; League of Republican Students) organized in 1968, which aimed to become a counterweight to the leftist SDS. Conflict would soon follow: the militants of the RSB criticized the SDS for organizing pointless strikes in order to consolidate their power over the student masses. In the course of a blockade organized by the leftists, the RSB took the university of Bochum by storm and proclaimed, in a populist-Marxist language, their hostility to the “exploiters” and “bonzes” of the SDS, having become stakeholders in the new establishment, where leftists had henceforth been accorded a place. The proclamations of the RSB, drafted by Singer, were stuffed with citations from Lenin, Marx, and Mao. Singer also referred to the rhetoric of the German workers in Berlin against Ulbricht’s communist functionaries, during the June 1953 uprising. The revolting RSB students insulted the East German functionaries of the SED, calling them marionettes of the Soviets, “monkeys in glasses,” “fat cats,” and “paper-pushing reactionaries.” This appropriation of the Marxist vocabulary and style of Berlin Uprising of 1953 irritated the leftists as, ipso facto, they had lost the monopoly on militant shock-language and foresaw a possible intrusion of national-revolutionaries into their own milieus, with the evident risk of poaching and counter-attraction.

The scuffles of 1968 and the nationalists’ adoption of a language drawn from Marxist ideology, though surprising the SDS, hardly had an echo beyond the Ruhr and it was confronted with a conspiracy of silence. The RSB and the Ruhr-Studenten-Anzeiger disappeared, which didn’t necessarily entail the total disappearance of left-wing nationalist agitation in Bochum. Thus, at the start of the 1970s, the nationalists participated in left wing demonstrations against property speculation and rent increases and they appropriated the slogan of Trotskyite groups: “The division of Germany is the division of the German proletariat!” In itself, the adventure of the RBS is significant for the further evolution of German neo-nationalism (which M. Feit erroneously calls “Neue Rechte”), it marked its definitive transition to the left, its exit from the quasi-rightist microcosm in which it was encrusted, due to the existence of the NPD. The historical weakness and sterility of “rightism” were proclaimed there and the emphasis was resolutely placed on socialism, critical reasoning, militant atheism, and futurism.

Munich and Bielefeld

After Bochum, other “basis groups” were established and each developed its own originality. Thus in Munich, Wolfgang Strauss formed a committee of young workers, high school students, and students, whose objective was to give them militant culture based on literature and political science. Strauss named his group Club Symonenko, from the name of a Ukrainian poet, Wasyl Symonenko, who died in 1963, after enduring Soviet repression. This committee demanded the liberation of the Ukrainian historian Valentin Moro, organized soirees with the exiled Polish writer Zygmunt Jablonski and held rallies on June 17th, in memory of the Berlin Workers’ Uprising of 1953, distributed bilingual tracts in favor the IRA and founded a James Connolly “labor circle”, in honor of the militant union leader and Irish nationalist, who drew his arguments from Celtic mythology. Its German references were the poet Georg Büchner, founder of the Society for the Rights of Man in the 19th century, and the Romantic poet Theodor Körner, who fought with the Lützow Free Corps (referenced in the music of Weber) in order to drive the Bonapartist oppressor and his pillaging troops out of Germany. Strauss succeeded in laying the basis for an original political culture on the eve of the 1970s, drawing from the corpus of popular and libertarian Slavic and Celtic nationalist thought, and reawakening the enthusiasm of young Germans for their nationalist, libertarian, anarchist, and radically anti-bourgeois poets at the start of the 19th century. This corpus would be upheld as such in the columns of the magazine Wir Selbst, at the start of the 80s.

If in Sarre and North Rhine-Westphalia, the “basis groups” ended up choosing subservience to the NPD – which never stopped being problematic and causing grave ideological conflicts – in Bielefeld, the NJ-Stadtverband group (Urban Group of Nationalist Youth), close to the Berliners of the APM, managed to organize a modern agitation, with records of protest songs composed by Singer, and printed 4,500 copies of a paper, Wendepunkt! Never before seen! The editorial strategy was to gather a maximum of texts and dispatches, coming directly from the militants, and align them in the columns of the paper; other “basis groups” followed the same strategy, which allowed them to form a solid cadre, thanks to a good division of labor and a concentrated mass of militant dispatches. Militancy thus become lively and profitable.

Five Types of Action

Meinrad thought coordination between groups should extend to the national scale, and eliminate the right wing and outmoded NPD. Groups should number from 15 to 20 local activists self-financed from relatively high contributions, and regularly conduct 5 types of action, as Bartsch explains:

1 – Commemorations, notably of June 17th 1953 and August 13th 1961, the date the Berlin Wall was erected.

2 – Ecological actions: The group Junges Forum in Hamburg excelled there. It organized Bürgerinitiativen (Citizen’s Initiatives) against the construction of a highway in the middle of the city. In this perspective, nationalism meant protecting the natural integrity of the popular biotope.

3 – Social actions: They were essentially directed against property speculation, rent increases, and increases in the price of public transport. These actions also aimed to expose the irrationality of the functioning of the machinery of the state, which pretended to be a perfect democracy.

4 – Solidarity actions: they aimed to support Eastern European nationalist protests, as during the 1970s the West German neo-nationalist activists thought that German unity could only be realized through a major upheaval in Eastern Europe.

5 – Resistance actions: especially rowdy protests against the visit of East German personalities to the West in the framework of Wily Brandt’s Ostpolitik.

Towards Unity: The NRAO (Nationalrevolutionäre Aufbauorganisation)

The ensemble of “basis groups” didn’t form a party, structured in a rigid manner, but a dynamic movement that ceaselessly integrated new information and facts. Its non-rigidity and diversity set a contemporary tone and prevented all stagnation, any collapse into itself or into a fixed corpus of thought. Politics doesn’t only come into play during elections, or in furtive moments, but it constantly extends into and pervades daily life. Better: it is ingrained into the consciousness due to constant agitation, which means that each militant takes to heart the task of personally disciplining himself every day though reading newspapers and books, especially those written by his adversaries, which challenge his essential and untaught cultural references, in order to better understand the ideological divides that are articulated in the country.

In order to amplify the actions of these “basis groups” implanted in German cities and universities, many of figureheads of this neo-nationalist (or national-revolutionary) movement decided to create a “coordination organization” in March 1974, which took the name NRAO or Nationalrevolutionäre Aufbauorganisation (Organization for National-Revolutionary Development). Many meetings would be necessary to establish a common strategy. During the first, which took place on March 2nd and 3rd 1974 at Würzburg, three orators laid the bases for renewal: Alexander Epstein (alias Sven Thomas Frank), Lothar Penz and Hans Amhoff.

Epstein’s Speech

Epstein’s speech revealed, among other things, a willingness to fight “the enemies on the inside,” refusing ersatz Western European patriotism (integration into the European Community sold as a panacea by Adenauer’s friends), and to play the Chinese card against the two superpowers in international politics. In this manner, Epstein integrated the Maoist theory of “three worlds” into the national-revolutionary doctrinal corpus. Moreover, he proposed that the national-revolutionary movement was the only authentically national movement, because the East German SED and the West German DKP had sold out to the USSR, while the bourgeois parties, the SPD, FDP, and the CDU/ CSU were the guarantors of the American presence, despite the left wing of the SPD, favorable to a conciliatory Ostpolitik. In this scheme, the NPD placed itself to the right of the Bavarian CSU through its incurable rightism. Only the little Berlin Maoist microcosm, publisher of the prestigious magazine Befreiung, found favor with Epstein, who thus became the advocate of tacit and courteous cooperation between the Maoists and the national-revolutionaries.

Epstein, like Penz and Amhoff, thought that the strategy to follow couldn’t be clandestine or illegal in any way; as the national-revolutionaries were the only ones to claim the reunification of the country in a coherent fashion, their program conformed to the watchword inscribed in the preamble to the democratic constitution of West Germany, the watchword that asked the citizens to mobilize all their efforts to restore freedom and unity to Germany. Consequently, during this meeting in Würzburg, Penz articulated his “biohumanist” social vision and Amhoff explained his revised definition of modern national liberation, essentially anti-imperialist.

The Creation of Sache des Volkes”

The geographic dispersion of groups, the different styles of work that each one had, and some ideological divergences ensured that no centralism could coordinate the diversity proper to the national-revolutionary movement. On August 31st 1974, Epstein (S.T. Frank), Waldmann and Amhoff gathered a thousand national-revolutionary militants for new projects: to engage in ecological protest because the massacre of the countryside is the work of a rootless capitalism without a fatherland; outline a solidarist, rooted, popular socialism, in the style of the socialism adopted by the oppressed peoples of the third world; construct workers’ self-management in the Yugoslav style, etc. The movement Sache des Volkes (SdV; Cause of the People), which emerged from this meeting, intended to be a part of a diffuse global moment which fought against capitalism and Soviet state socialism everywhere in the world.

Hartwig would flesh out this double refusal, to which the French national-revolutionary militants also adhered (notably those in Lutte du Peuple and the Provençal militants of the CDPU), as well as the Italian and Belgians of Jeune Europe and its various incarnations. In the speech he sent to the congress of Sache de Volkes, which would be read to them, he reminded them it was elementary to refuse Moscow like Washington, but he also explained that it was necessary to take new facts into account: the principal enemy was no longer local, nationally based, capitalism but multinational capitalism which made US and Red Army its police throughout the world. Singer then designated a more precise, unique enemy: multinational capital, of which the classical imperialisms established at Yalta were only instruments. In this view, the policy of detente only aimed open markets in the East for Western multinational capitalism.

SdV expressed itself from 1978 to 1988 in the magazine Neue Zeit, which continues to be published in Berlin, while a series of pamphlets punctuated the militant life of the movement like Laser(Düsseldorf), Ideologie und Strategie, Rebell et Der Nationalrevolutionär in Vienna; the latter is still published under the direction of Helmut Müller. 

Solidaristische Volksbewegung (SVB)

While the youngest element of the national-revolutionary movement modeled their offensive strategy on the left’s, the Hamburg militants, gathered around the magazine Junges Forum and the figure of Lothar Penz, opted for a “solidarism” more positive than the critical, offensive, and revolutionary discourse of SdV. From this practical disagreement, a parallel movement was born, the Solidaristische Volksbewegung (Solidarist Folk Movement), whose press organ would be SOL. In 1980, the SVB became the BDS (Bund Deutscher Solidaristen ; League of German Solidarists), after having directed the ecological GLU (Grüne Liste Umweltschutz ; Green List for the Protection of the Environment). In January 1981, SOL merged with Neue Zeit, which became ipso facto the collective organ of SdV and BDS.

Wir Selbst” and the NRKA

At the start of the 80s the two groups lost their monopoly on the national-revolutionary press, due to the appearance of two new factors: the creation of the prestigious magazine Wir Selbst (Colbenz) by Siegfried Bublies, and the emergence of a new coordinating network, the NKRA (National-revolutionärer Koordinationsausschuß ; National Revolutionary Coordination Committee), supported by the magazine Aufbruch. Created in Düsseldorf in the wake of the magazine Laser, previously controlled by SdV, from the start, the NKRA wanted to break with Neue Zeit in order to address social questions in a more “progressive” perspective and further accentuate the national-revolutionary movement’s anti-capitalist critique.

This evolution arose from the fact that the new members of the Düsseldorf cell no longer came exclusively from the classical post-war neo-nationalist network, but often from Marxist-Leninism. These new elements intended to remain faithful to the “quintuple revolution” advocated by SdV in the manifesto in 1974. The quintuple revolution should operate on national, social, ecological, democratic, and cultural levels. The critique launched by the militants of the NKRA was the creation of the “second generation” of national-revolutionaries, whose recent militancy prevented them from falling back into the “errors” of right wing paleo-nationalism.

New phrases and concepts appeared, notably those of an autogestionary “democracy of councils” (Rätedemokratie) and a “disconnection” in the style of Albania and North Korea. There were also new figures who directed the circles and magazines of this “second generation”: H.J. Ackermann, S. Fadinger, P. Bahn, Armin Krebs (not to be confused with the Frenchman Pierre Krebs, who founded the magazine Elemente, the twin sister of GRECE’s magazine, Éléments).

At the end of 1979, the young nationalist activist Siegfried Bublies founded the magazine Wir Selbst (We Ourselves; the German translation of the Irish Gaelic Sinn Fein) where, very soon, the influence of Henning Eichberg (Hartwig Singer) would make itself felt. He would take up the pen again to demand, from the viewpoint of revolutionary restoration shared by the Greens, “basis democracy” (Basisdemokratie), cultural revolution, the establishment of a decentralized economic order, socialism with a human face (based on the theses of the Czech economist of “Prague Spring”, Ota Sik), an approach to life in accordance with ecology, and ethno-pluralism, the cornerstone of the anthropological vision of German neo-nationalism. Moreover, Bublies found a formulation that succinctly explained the meaning of its fight: Für nationale Identität und internationale Solidarität, that is to say for national identity and international solidarity. Thus Bublies sought to preserve the identities of all peoples and unite all those who fought for the preservation of their essence across the world, beyond ideological, racial, or religious divides.

Wir Selbst” : A Forum Noted For German Political Debates

But political-philosophical essays remained in the minority in the magazine, which rapidly became a forum for all who sought to address the German question, never resolved, in a new manner. Wir Selbst thus opened its columns to personalities who never belonged to the nationalist movement in the strict sense: the urbanist and ecologist Konrad Buchwald, the historian Helmut Diwald, the former high ranking East German official Wolfgang Seiffert, the television producer Wolfgang Venohr (formerly of the VDNV), the journalist Sebastian Haffner (an anti-Hitler emigre to New York during the war who returned to nationalism in the 1980s), the artist-provocateur Joseph Beuys (formerly of the AUD), professor Schweißfurth (influential member of the SPD), etc. More recently, the generals Löser and Kießling (cf. Vouloir n°30) addressed the problems of territorial defense and the reorganization of the armed forces in a democratic and populist perspective in the columns of Wir Selbst.

Bublies’ magazine, whose style and presentation were generally high quality, thus succeeded in positioning itself as a forum where men from various perspectives could freely debate. The year 1987 saw a slackening in the pace of publication, due to the fact that the magazine sought to give itself a definitive tone, which would be neither the activist militancy of SdV or a pale copy of Marxist militancy. As for the NRKA, it first evolved in to the NRKB ( NR-Koordinationsbüro; National-Revolutionary Coordination Bureau), before calling itself more simply, Politische Offensive. It is certain that the militants of the “second generation” of national-revolutionaries were torn between, on one hand a fidelity to the heritage of SdV, and on the other, a will to burn all bridges with the anti-Marxist “rightism” of national-revolutionaries in 1968. It seems that the “national-Marxists,” behind Stefan Fadinger, wanted to separate the “second generation” from traditional national-revolutionaries, grouped behind Markus Bauer, editor of Aufbruch. Other figures like Peter Bahn, Karlheinz Pröhuber and Werner Olles, preferred to remain neutral in this internal debate and expressed themselves in Wir Selbst.

The NR Movement Between Surfers and Militants

Twenty years after 68, militancy experienced a low tide across Europe, Guy Hocquenghem said that “Mao suits” were being recycled in Paris; Lévy and Glücksmann quickly denied their former commitments, etc. In Germany, the Marxist left experienced a real crisis, just like the national-revolutionaries. All the hyper-politicized movements had to face increasing de-politicization and the hemorrhaging of militants. Protest, the will to construct alternatives gave way to sunbathing and surfing, barricades gave way to the seductions of “sea, sex, and sun,” at least until the day where the stock market crash could no longer be avoided or stopped.

The national-revolutionaries and the Sixty-Eighter Marxists exploited a universe of values that, whether we want it to or no, remains immortal, even if that seems like a disturbing assumption today. That’s why global perspectives, which restore the guiding principles of a movement, are useful: they prepare the way for the next offensive which will inevitably happen.

Some Conclusions

The books of Günter Bartsch and M. Feit allow us to grasp the evolution of German neo-nationalism since 1945. They also allow us to identify the broad philosophical options of this political movement; which we’ll cite, in no particular order: a theory of scientific and Eurocentric knowledge (at least in the initial phase which valued European rationality and science, supplemented by logical empiricism and the works of Rougier, Monod and Heisenberg; the French and Germans shared the same concerns at this moment), biohumanism oscillating between organic / vitalist anthropology and biological materialism, ethno-pluralism, national and rooted socialism (the Irish model of James Connolly and Slavic populism), national liberation, and the idea of a European space.

A Heterogeneity that Margret Feit Doesn’t Want To Notice

The label “Neue Rechte” gives the impression that the German movements qualified as such by M. Feit are the twin brothers of the French “Nouvelle Droite.” Yet the serious researcher willnotice the heterogeneity of these two worlds very quickly, despite evident overlaps, overlaps one could also notice between Dutschke and Eichberg (alias Singer) or GRECE and the socialist CERES of Chevènement. The German pseudo-“Neue Rechte” appeared in a more militant situation, less metapolitical, and drew from different intellectual domains than those Benoist and his friends in France utilized. If we must find a direct and clear influence from GRECE in Germany, it’s found with Pierre Krebs, director of Elemente, with Armin Mohler who revealed the existence of the French “Nouvelle Droite” to the readership of Criticon, or in the scattered translations of French neo-rightist texts.

In the doctrinal scheme, the Germans were not very insistent about egalitarianism, the warhorse of the French “Nouvelle Droite”; only Lothar Penz, the theorist of national-revolutionary biohumanist solidarism, included a few thoughts on biological hierarchies in his vision of man and the city. Consequently, the impact of aesthetic, Hellenic, even Celtic paganism was quite reduced in Germany, thought many of the national-revolutionary activists were adherents of the “unitarism” of Sigrid Hunke, whose book The True Religion of Europe, was translated in France by éditions Le Labyrinthe in 1985, under Alain de Benoist’s auspices.

If Bartsch had objectively limited his investigation of the national-revolutionary movement and demonstrated his desire to avoid any obfuscation, M. Feit mixes types and includes organizations or magazine belonging to the classical nationalist right, like Mut, Bernhard Wintzek’s magazine, or the monthly Nation Europa of Peter Dehoust, in her analysis of the “Neue Rechte” (an improper term for the least). She presses this obfuscation even further by including the conservative Bavarian magazine Criticon of Caspar von Schrenk-Notzing, close to the Bavarian CSU in certain respects, in what she believes to be a conspiracy. Reading these various magazines reveals that the selected themes and philosophical choices made by each were different, despite intersections quite evidently due to literary, philosophical, or political current events. Every magazine possesses its originality and doesn’t want to lose it.

The Brief Venture of the ANR

The confusion between the national-revolutionary movement and the classical nationalist right maintained by M. Feit arises the partial observation of a phenomenon from 1972. In January of that year, dissidence arose within the Bavarian NPD, inspired by a certain Dr. Pöhlmann. He asked for a few meetings with Singer, while not endorsing his anti-Americanism at all. From this dissidence an activist grouping, the ANR (Aktion Neue Rechte ; Action for a New Right) emerged, which rallied youth discontent with the NPD, criticizing their party for being too politically and socially conservative. The venture would last until November 1973 when the ANR split into many groups:

1 – The national conservatives, who would form the AJR (Aktion Junge Rechte ; Action for a Young Right)

2 – The “Hitlermaniacs” (who came, in part, from wacky fans in brown and black uniforms, with leather and studs, who were sometimes heard chanting slogans, especially in Dixmunde and the shady restaurants of big cities, and who, in certain cases, proclaimed a ridiculous homosexuality where “Aryan” and juvenile bodies were erected as objects of veneration)

3 – Those who returned to the cradle, the NPD

4 – Those who evolved towards national-revolutionary ideology

The presence of a few compromising idiots in the ANR, perpetually drunk and quickly expelled, allowed the drawing room moralists to infer “Nazism” from a school of thought that ultimately conveyed an ideology of synthesis, exercising a real seduction on the free spirits of the militant left. The phrase “Neue Rechte” is thus erroneously applied to the national-revolutionary sphere. M. Feit’s tactic is crude: the part is taken for the whole. The fringe of the ANR that evolved towards revolutionary nationalism ended up giving its name to all contemporaneous nationalist movements, even left-wing ones. The objective of this obfuscation is evident: associate the brawlers in boots (who can attract media attention) with the modernist intellectuals, so they cannot influence the broad and free minds of the dutschkiste and para-dutschkiste left, or bind together the analyses of GRECE and CERES into a useful ideological bloc in France.

One evidently notices, in light of these facts, the tactical error committed by certain leaders of GRECE in accepting and claiming the “Nouvelle Droite” label that the provocateur journalists of the Parisian left bourgeoisie accorded them. The M. Feit’s diversion operation found itself reinforced: the pseudo-“Neue Rechte” is crudely obfuscated with the “Nouvelle Droite” although they are quite different movements.

Impacts in Flanders and Wallonie

In Flanders, Pol Van Caeneghem and Christian Dutoit’s attempt at synthesis, notably with the group Arbeid and the magazines Meervoud and De Wesp, unfortunately turned into sterile leftism, just like the brilliant syntheses of Mark Cels-Decorte and Freddy Seghers (close to Wir Selbst for a time) within the Volksunie and the VUJOs (Cf. volumes of propaganda entitled Integraal Federalisme — 1976 — and Integraal Federalisme 2 — 1980). While in Wallonie, Jeune Europe – whose leader Jean Thiriart had outlined an excellent project of alliances with the non-aligned states of the Third World, with China and Black American militants – remained the prisoner of rigid Latin political thought unsuited to inspire revivifying dynamism, its embryonic and dissident union USCE (Union des Syndicats Communautaires Européens), under the leadership of Jean Van den Broeck, Claude Lenoir and Pierre Verhas, opted for a regionalist organization of our continent and officially distanced itself from “everything right-wing.”

USCE firstly published Syndicats Européens and then L’Europe Combat, which would be published until 1978. This experience was the only serious national-revolutionary attempt in Wallonie after the failure of Jeune Europe, when Thiriart failed to spread his anti-Americanism to his right wing audience, which hastened to betray him. Today, a sympathetic synthesis is emerging on the left, close to the ecologist ideology, in the columns of the magazine Wallons-nous.

From “Jeune Europe” to Nothingness

An incarnation of Jeune Europe which evolved towards a useless philo-Sovietism, the PCN of the Charleroi native Luc Michel, unfortunately emerged from the most bizarre extreme-right and neo-nazi groupuscules, it didn’t manage to take off politically (and for good reason!) and its editorial enterprise, very instructive for specialists and historians (Cf. Vouloir n°32/34), stagnated because it didn’t address problems that directly interest a militant audience. The magazine Conscience Européenne, which recently devoted several issues to the economic war between the USA and Europe and the illusion of detente, suffered from dissension in 1984, which lead to the establishment of Volonté Européenne and Cercle Copernic, directed by Roland Pirard, a somewhat bizarre individual who frequently changes pseudonyms (Bertrand Thomé, Roland Van Hertendaele, Roland Brabant, etc.) and naively dreams of founding a neo-Teutonic “order of chivalry!” If Luc Michel performs useful documentary work and furnishes very interesting analyses, despite his cliched language, the dissident Pirard sinks into complete caricature, reinforced by appallingly neglected editorial standards and confoundingly mediocre analyses, where Hitermaniac outbreaks occasionally re-surge, crossbred with a neo-Stalinism and pro-Khomeinism so ponderous that Soviet cliches seem hyper-lyrical in comparison. So there’s no hope for the rebirth of the dynamism of Jeune Europe and its French heir, the CIPRE of Yannick Sauveur and Henri Castelferrus, in Brussels or Wallonie.

In Conclusion

In conclusion we can say that the German national-revolutionary movement constituted a synthesis that situated itself at the crux of leftism and nationalism and that it still harbors much potential for sincere militants, those who truly care about social life. Moreover, when one observes the synthesis realized by Cels-Decorte and Seghers within the Volksunieentre from 1975 et 1981, we see that a comparable synthesis is still possible in our countries, apart from any marginal position. We have to reflect on it.

Article published under the pseudonym “René Lauwers”, in: Vouloir n°45/46, 1988.

◘ Supplementary Bibliography:

  • Günter Bartsch, Revolution von rechts ? Ideologie und Organisation der Neuen Rechten, Herder-bücherei, Freiburg i.B., 1975.
  • Karl-Heinz Pröhuber, Die nationalirevolutionäre Bewegung in Westdeutschland, Verlag deutsch-europäischer Studien, Hamburg, 1980.

Source: http://robertsteuckers.blogspot.com/2014/12/neo-nationalisme-et-neue-rechte-en-rfa.html