“One must work in solitude as a man who opens a clearing in virgin forest, sustained by the unique hope that somewhere in its depths, others are working to the same end.” – Jünger
Today, to be Western is synonymous with being liberal. The general political consensus in the West accepts individualism, capitalism, and liberal democracy. However, this does not necessarily mean that the people of the West are satisfied with liberalism. There is a yearning for communal identity, protection from the atomizing forces of the market, and greater participation in the government than occasionally submitting a ballot, a yearning that has yet to be fully expressed in the political arena. As the forces of “progress” turn more and more regions of the West into de-industrialized hinterlands populated by people who have been completely abandoned by the political system, the bromides of the political elites will no longer serve to quell their unease. Yet, the ability to express this new political will has not yet developed. The people of the West have lived with liberalism so long their everyday attitudes and experiences are shaped by it. It becomes an all-encompassing and totalitarian system. All aspects of culture, language, religion are touched along with politics and economics. Not only is this a political struggle, but a cultural one as well, a struggle against liberal mentalities in all facets of life. It will be long, arduous, viewed with suspicion by both the elites and certain elements of the common people who have yet to be roused from their slumber.
First we must understand the penetration of liberal ideology in the West. There is not a uniform acceptance of liberalism in the West. We can understand the West today to be the developed nations of the world accepting the “Washington consensus,” by which we mean in general neo-liberalism, along with liberal democracy, and individualism in social matter. This West is fluid and not geographically bound, we can count South Korea and Japan as parts of the West as they generally accept American norms of governance. However, these nations have not been liberal for the entirety of their history, they may have long histories of anti-liberal political movements extending centuries. Even the history of the United States, the strongest bastion of liberalism, cannot be reduced to mere liberalism, as there existed older political traditions before the emergence of Enlightenment liberalism enshrined in the constitution, and communities living by old ways essentially untouched by the anything resembling free market capitalism. The West is quite heterogeneous. In France, there is a vast history of opposition to liberalism, on both the left and the right, encompassing movements as varied as monarchists and communists. Even Gaullism demonstrated a certain critique of liberalism, with its dirigiste economics and desire for a foreign policy independent of the United States. Moreover, the rise of nationalist forces in recent elections demonstrates a growing skepticism of liberalism. It will be necessary to engage these extant forces and the vast heritage to defeat liberalism. However, in the Anglosphere, the illiberal political tradition is much smaller. Therefore, the struggle against liberalism will be much more difficult in this context. Yet ultimately, the historical presence of anti-liberal movements, no matter how small, should be used to further today’s resistance to liberalism.
The purpose of understanding this history is to awaken the latent attachments to traditions outside of liberalism. To create a collective identity, outside of the forces of consumerism and individualism. Regional and local identities that have been threatened by globalization should be encouraged. Local arts and music that have been swamped by the mass produced pseudo-culture of Hollywood should be defended. Regional dialects that have escaped the homogenization and Americanization of language wrought by mass media should be revived. However, this cultural struggle cannot be won by turning these local things into hobbies for academics to be displayed like dinosaur bones at a museum. It must be living, omnipresent in the daily discourse of society. It would be futile to have a folk music performance at school, only to have the kids go back home to download the latest American rap music. This culture cannot be turned into a stale piece of history. This will be a very difficult task. In areas where local culture is vibrant, true to its historical roots, the people tend to be rustic, their livelihoods threatened by the rise of mass capitalist society, their children learn different ways and move to pursue careers. Traditional culture is seen as the domain of the elderly, who are living in the past, it is not seen as trendy to live with it. This is connected to economics. Wealth and power, as advertised in the media is possessed by those who reject traditions, thus the market serves to seduce people wishing to be economically successful into rejecting their own heritage. The fight against capitalism is therefore necessarily an essential component of the fight to preserve this heritage, as the market draws men away from their roots to pursue wealth anywhere across the face of the earth.
However, the defense of the small pockets of traditional, pre-liberal culture is a small task compared to the fight needed to reintroduce some semblance of anti-liberal culture to places where it is totally dominant. Firstly, it must avoid becoming another commercialized counter-culture, a collection of goods to be marketed at alienated youth who want to assert their discontent with their parents and peers. It must become a replacement for mass produced, capitalist culture. In many ways we can look at how the Irish language was reintroduced in Ireland by Irish nationalists, after years of marginalization and repression everywhere outside the most remote rural reaches of the nation, as a useful example. The establishment of schools of national culture, youth organizations, athletic groups to immerse the people in their true national culture is imperative. These must not be fringe cultural activities, but things that are open to people from all walks of life. They mustn’t be elite clubs. The goal of recreating national culture can only be achieved by the direct involvement of the people of the nation.
In addition to defensive measures to preserve and promote national culture, there must be offensive measures against the organs of culture industry. The reputation of corporate media must be blackened. The representatives of the corporate press dismissed as liars. The bearers of national culture must bring the fight to the agents of corporate culture. Campaigns of propaganda against the media should be launched. Active measures should be used to discourage people from consuming it. Protests, strikes, and occupations are all measures that can break the back of the corporate media. Those considering careers in the media should be guided towards alternatives. The vast masses working under the media moguls should be mobilized against them. We must always reiterate that the struggle for national culture is also a struggle for economic justice.
And economic justice will come, slowly and surely. The vast jungle of capitalism that has swallowed the soil of Western nations is rotting. It is leaving large openings of fertile ground. In the de-industrialized hinterlands the people are increasingly left with nothing but what they can build themselves. Now throughout the West, people have been indoctrinated into believing that socialism means total state control and central planning. This ideological hurdle will have to be overcome. There are many variants of socialism. What socialism means varies from place to place, North Korean socialism doesn’t mean the same thing as French or American socialism. For the people of the West, it will take a few determined organizers to show a path to their own unique variety of socialism. It should begin with small scale cooperatives, producing basic foodstuffs and handicrafts. They can be democratically organized in line with the democratic traditions of the West, the workers decide collectively how to manage the operation. Ironically, this direct democracy would be more democratic than the liberal democracy currently in place, where the people are only involved once every election cycle to mark a ballot. The workers can occupy disused farmland, squat housing, and production facilities. It may be necessary to organize some form of self defense to stop agents of capitalism, such as repossession agents from seizing the property taken by cooperatives. Once several cooperatives are established, they should work cooperatively among each other, rather than competing. Very importantly, for the emergence of larger cooperative industries, forming cooperatives in the area of raw material extraction, such as timber, oil, or mining should be the next line of attack. In the United States, there is a long history of radical labor agitation in the mining and mineral extraction industries that should be consulted as a guide. Wildcat strikes, sporadic leaderless actions to seize control of enterprises are an important tool. After small scale industry has been formed, to take care of the basic necessities, larger scale cooperatives focused on heavy industry can arise. They can repossess shuttered factories, and place orders for raw materials with cooperative mining, farming, timber producing enterprises.
Now certainly this will not be easy, it will be long and arduous task. The smaller scale industries, bakeries, restaurants, farms will be easier to organize cooperatively, they face less competition from oligarchic or monopolist capital that dominates in the heavier industries. They will emerge sporadically, like clearings in a forest. They must not be disheartened that they find themselves isolated or alone, but instead be filled with the home that others are working towards the same end, and that they can unite in common struggle. Next, the seizure of raw material production will be a very crucial line of attack, if that fails, there is no hope for heavy industry. In the worst case scenario, military style action, along the lines of sending the National Guard to crush strikers may take place. To prevent this, the workers should seek to undermine the loyalty of the police and military, and bring them to their side. In the past, we have seen policeman’s unions go on strike, it is a certainly an open possibility that they can be swayed. Also, in the United States, much of the military is made of men from the dispossessed regions of the nation, as the military is the only one offering a stable career. Once they recognize that they will be firing on their own hometown compatriots, it is quite likely they will refuse to do so or even join them. When faced with a choice between the empty lies of politicians and organizations based on true democracy, their faith in the former will certainly be shaken. Of course, the government need not rely on its military, it can employ mercenaries, private military contractors armed with the same weapons. Facing government mercenaries will likely be the greatest threat. Small organizations with commercially available armaments have failed, disastrously, time and time again when they have holed themselves up for a last stand against government special ops. One only need to look at Waco or Bundy Ranch for relevant examples. In this case, preparing for a last stand will only result in a very bloody and futile last stand. In contrast to this strategy, hit and run tactics, emphasizing limited, surprise engagements, playing the defender’s knowledge of the territory and a supportive population should be employed. We can look at numerous example of how guerrilla tactics by relatively poorly armed units have brought much stronger forces to their knees. However, admittedly this may required a protracted struggle lasting for years. The embryonic socialist movement may face an incredibly fierce challenge. It should be an imperative matter to recruit well armed police and military to the side of cooperatives for self defense, hopefully with enough speed and in enough numbers to dissuade the capitalist government from making war upon its own citizens. In a more positive scenario, a town can become entirely cooperative as the local government takes the side of the cooperatives, encouraging surrounding ones to follow its path, to form a region dominated by a confederacy of local cooperatives, thus a greater clearing came be made in the rotting jungle of capitalism until the entire nation has been organized in a cooperative form. Realistically, there may be long term division in the nation as the centers dominated by capitalism resist the growing cooperative movement rising in the hinterlands.
In the hinterlands, the national struggle is quite evidently linked with the social struggle. Local culture is obliterated or marginalized, profits are carted off to distant cities, the capitalist class is far away, appearing as a race of aliens. In the centers, outside of the periphery, the traditional national culture has been replaced by urban alienation. The penetration of pre-liberal culture will be slow. However, in the urban center, we can make resort to basic theses of class struggle, not necessarily linked to spatial or national concerns. Austerity means that the workers cannot be bought off, as their lot worsens, increased agitation to overthrow the capitalist class will emerge. And this will look towards the growing cooperative movement in the periphery as an ally and a model. They will welcome their admission to the growing confederacy of free local cooperatives. There will emerge the bond between the national struggle and the old class struggle as they look towards the people of the periphery, not as backwards peasants, but as bearers of liberation.
The liberation of the West will be a long and arduous journey. The deep roots of liberalism must be torn up slowly, methodically. The souls of Western men must be liberated from the consumerist culture industry. From the farthest reaches of the abandoned hinterland, the march must begin, and must continue with a stubborn determination, the faint echoes of an ancient world before commercial exploitation must be carefully amplified into a thunderclap that shakes the foundations of liberalism. The ways of local cooperation and brotherhood must be recovered. The men of the West are faced with a final choice: national unity or destruction.