This is the Editor’s Preface to North American New Right, vol. 1, which will be published in June 2012. I wish to thank F. Roger Devlin, Derek Hawthorne, and Matthew Peters for their helpful comments.
To plant a field or build a house, one must first clear a space. The same is true of an intellectual movement. North American New Right was created as a space for dialogue in which a new intellectual movement, a North American New Right, might emerge.
This journal began on June 11, 2010, as the “webzine” of Counter-Currents Publishing Limited (http://www.counter-currents.com). But from the very beginning, we also planned a print publication, an annual volume showcasing the best of the online journal as well as new material in a format better suited for appreciating our longer, more scholarly pieces. With this, the first volume of North American New Right, that project has now come to fruition.
Our entire project is motivated by consciousness of an existential threat. European peoples, both in our mother continent and scattered around the globe, now live under a cultural, political, and economic system that has set our race on the path to cultural decadence and demographic decline. If these trends are not reversed, whites will disappear as a distinct race. The incomparable light we bring to the world will be extinguished, and the greatness of our achievements will be preserved only in fragments, like the scraps of literature, shards of pottery, and shattered artworks that survived the wreck of pagan antiquity.
We aim to halt and reverse that process here in North America, but we also wish to learn from and contribute to the struggle of our comrades for white homelands around the globe.
The North American New Right is a “metapolitical” movement modeled on the European New Right, but adapted to our own circumstances. The goal of the North American New Right is to lay the metapolitical foundations for the emergence of a White Republic (or republics) in North America.
“Metapolitics” refers to what comes before the political, i.e., the foundations of politics, including (1) the intellectual case for a new political order, and (2) a concrete community that embodies those ideas in the present and will serve as the seed of a new political order to emerge in the future. As a journal of ideas, North American New Right naturally focuses on the intellectual dimension of metapolitics, which centers around three issues: identity, morality, and practicality.
If we are to defend the idea of a White Republic, we must first answer the question of identity: Who are we? Then we must turn to the moral question: Is it right to create a society for our people alone? And if so, we face the question of practicality: How might a White Republic be feasible?
The question of identity includes such topics as: the inadequacy of “propositional” forms of identity, e.g., the dedication of a society to abstract principles like liberty and equality; existing European regional and national identities; the problem of petty nationalism; the deep roots of our common European identity, including biological race, European history and prehistory, and the cultural diffusions revealed by comparative linguistics and mythology; the concept of collective destiny; occasions for collective pride or self-criticism, i.e., the strengths and weaknesses of our people; the Traditionalism of René Guénon and Julius Evola; the problem of identity in colonial societies like the United States and Canada, where the blending of European stocks is almost universal; and the relationship of the North American New Right to the Western political, philosophical, and cultural tradition.
A corollary of the question of who we are is the question of who we are not: the “others.” Unavoidably, this includes the Jewish question. In an ideal world, it would be possible to be for oneself without being against anybody else; but as Carl Schmitt so cogently argues, the political realm is constituted by the friend/enemy distinction, rooted in the potential for existential conflicts between groups.
Yet who and what we are for must take priority over the question of who and what we are against. Some would prefer to avoid discussion of our own identity as “divisive,” but no successful political movement can base itself exclusively on opposition to other groups.
The key moral question is whether it is right to prefer one’s own kin over others. Whites, and only whites, have become convinced otherwise. Strict ethnic impartiality would not be destructive of our race if all other races abided by the same principle, but they do not. Moreover, all contemporary Western governments reward non-white appeals to ethnic solidarity. This puts whites at a systematic disadvantage which in time will be sufficient to dispossess us of our homelands.
Indeed, our situation is far worse, for many whites consider it virtuous to prefer other groups to their own. They practice what Guillaume Faye calls “ethnomasochism” or “xenophilia.” Such attitudes, of course, accelerate white dispossession.
When whites no longer control homelands of our own, our destiny will pass into the hands of other groups, many of which have deep-seated grudges against us. We will, in effect, be a conquered people, and we will share the fates of conquered peoples, most of whom disappear from the pages of history.
Note that the question of ethnic partiality is not the issue of moral “universalism.” Partiality to one’s own people is a completely universalizable principle. So is ethnic impartiality. So are ethnomasochism and xenophilia. The reason that ethnic impartiality and ethnomasochism/xenophilia are destructive to whites is simply that they are not practiced universally and reciprocally.
Another moral issue is the question of utopia. Whites are willing to maintain racially destructive moral attitudes like ethnic impartiality or ethnomasochism/xenophilia because they believe that they are making sacrifices to bring about a better world, a world without ethnic enmity and conflict. We have to destroy this illusion before it destroys us. We need to establish that enmity and conflict are ineradicable.
But we also need to advance our own, more realistic vision of utopia: a peaceful world in which the causes of quarrel are not eliminated, but simply managed. Ethnic diversity in and of itself need not cause conflicts. Ethnic strife is, however, inevitable when diverse groups try to occupy the same living spaces. Therefore, the best way to avoid ethnic hatred and conflict is universal nationalism, i.e., giving every distinct people a country or countries of its own. A durable foundation for world peace is the recognition that all peoples have an interest in preserving the principle of national self-determination. (There is also a common interest in preserving our planetary environment.)
Dream and Reality
Before the White Republic can become reality, it must first exist as a dream, a vision of a possible world. Yet to be realizable, even a vision must be realistic. So the North American New Right has the dual task of encouraging both visionaries and realists.
To cultivate our vision, we maintain a strong focus on the arts. Art is an indispensable tool of communicating ideals, for it can reach more people, and stir them more deeply, than mere rational argument. Indeed, imagination is the fundamental source of our ideals themselves.
To encourage contemporary artists, we seek to reconnect them with our tradition. Many of the greatest artists of the last century were men of the Right, and one does not have to go back too far in history before the principles we defend were the common sense of virtually every great creative genius. We also seek to offer contemporary artists constructive criticism, publicity, and opportunities to network and collaborate.
To cultivate realism, we explore the questions of whether a White Republic is feasible and how we might get there from here. These questions can be approached from two complementary angles: theoretical and historical. Philosophy and the human sciences can tell us a good deal about what is possible or impossible, likely or unlikely. History, by contrast, is based on the actual. And if something has actually happened, it is ipso facto possible.
The examples of the Irish and the Spanish, for example, show us that European peoples who have been conquered and colonized for centuries can preserve their identities and reconquer their homelands. More recent history also gives us examples of how large, multinational, multiracial empires have collapsed, allowing their constituent nations to free themselves and create ethnically homogeneous states. History thus provides us with a vast store of examples and analogies that can help us shape our ideas and guide them toward realization.
Theory and Practice
To achieve our political aims, the North American New Right must understand the proper relationship of social theory to social change, metapolitics to politics, theory to practice. We must avoid drifting either into inactive intellectualism or unintelligent and thus possibly counterproductive activism.
Guillaume Faye’s Archeofuturism offers many important lessons for our project. Chapter 1, “An Assessment of the Nouvelle Droite,” is Faye’s settling of accounts with the French New Right. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Faye was among their leading thinkers and polemicists before quitting in disillusionment. After twelve years, he returned to the battle of ideas with Archeofuturism (1998), which begins with an explanation of his departure and return
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Nouvelle Droite, led by Alain de Benoist, was a highly visible and influential intellectual movement. It published books and periodicals like Nouvelle École and Éléments; it sponsored lectures, conferences, and debates; it engaged the intellectual and cultural mainstreams. The Nouvelle Droite did more than receive mainstream press coverage, it often set the terms of debates to which the mainstream responded.
The Nouvelle Droite was deep; it was highbrow; it was radical; it was relevant; and, above all, it was exciting. It was based on the axiom that ideas shape the world. Bad ideas are destroying it, and only better ideas will save it. It had the right ideas, and it was increasingly influential. Its metapolitical strategy was a “Gramscianism” of the Right, i.e., an attempt to shape the ideas and ultimately the actions of the elites—academics, journalists, businessmen, politicians, etc.—as envisioned in the writings of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci.
However, according to Faye, as the 1980s came to a close, the Nouvelle Droite became less influential: “Regrettably, it has turned into an ideological ghetto. It no longer sees itself as a powerhouse for the diffusion of energies with the ultimate aim of acquiring power, but rather as a publishing enterprise that also organizes conferences but has limited ambitions” (pp. 24–25). The causes of this decline were based partly on objective conditions, partly on the movement’s own weaknesses.
Whether fair to the Nouvelle Droite or not, two of Faye’s criticisms contain universal truths that seem particularly relevant to our project in North America.
(1) The rise of the Front National of Jean-Marie Le Pen caused a decline in the visibility and influence of the Nouvelle Droite, whereas one might have expected the Front National’s good fortunes to magnify those of the Nouvelle Droite. After all, the two movements share much in common, and there can be little doubt that the Nouvelle Droite influenced the Front National and brought new people into its orbit.
Faye laments the “airlocks” sealing off different circles of the French Right. In particular, he claims that the Nouvelle Droite never engaged the Front National, because its members fundamentally misunderstood Gramsci, whose cultural battle was organically connected with the economic and political struggle of the Italian Communist Party.
The Nouvelle Droite, however, treated the battle as entirely cultural and intellectual. Thus they were not really Gramscians. They were actually followers of Augustin Cochin’s theory of the role of intellectual salons in paving the way for the French Revolution. Unlike the men of the old regime, however, we do not enjoy the luxury of ignoring party and electoral politics.
The North American New Right aims to change the political landscape. To do that, we must influence people who have power, or who can attain it. That means we must engage organized political parties and movements. No, in the end, white people are not going to vote ourselves out of the present mess. But we are not in the endgame yet, and it may still be possible to influence policy through the existing system. Moreover, parties do not exist merely for the sake of elections. They provide a nucleus for the new order they advocate. Finally, there are other ways to attain power besides elections. Just look at the Bolsheviks.
We know that the present system is unsustainable, and although we cannot predict when and how it will collapse, we know that collapse will come. It is far more likely that whites can turn that collapse to our benefit if we already have functioning political organizations that aim at becoming the nucleus of a new society. Yet we will not have such political organizations unless we engage the presently existing political institutions, corrupt, sclerotic, and boring though they may be.
(2) Even though the Nouvelle Droite did not engage with organized politics, it was organized according to “an outdated ‘apparatus logic’ of the type to be found in political parties, which was not appropriate for a movement and school of thought . . . which led cadres to flee on account of ‘problems with the apparatus’” (p. 27). By an “apparatus logic,” Faye seems to mean a hierarchical organization in which an intellectual and editorial “party line” is promulgated.
Although Faye does not say so, the inability of the Nouvelle Droite to interface with the Front National may in fact be based on the fact that they shared the same structure and thus naturally perceived each other as rivals promulgating slightly different “party lines” and competing for the adherence of the same constituency. If this is true, then the North American New Right can avoid this problem by configuring itself not as a hierarchical apparatus with a party line but as a lateral network that cultivates dialogue on a common set of questions from various viewpoints.
A Pluralistic Movement
The North American New Right is an intellectual movement with a political agenda, but it is not a hierarchical intellectual sect or a political party. Instead, it is a network of independent authors and activists. We do not have a rigorous and detailed party line, but we do share certain basic premises, questions, and aims. These leave a great deal of latitude for interpretation and application. But that is good.
As an intellectual movement, we embrace a variety of opinions and encourage civil debate. We believe that this is the best way to attract talented and creative people who will advance our agenda. We also believe that debating different perspectives on these issues is the best way to arrive at the truth, or a workable approximation of it.
We collaborate where collaboration is possible. Where differences exist, we seek to build consensus through dialogue and debate. Where differences persist, we agree to disagree and either change the subject or part ways. Because we are a loose network, we can overlap and interface with any number of hierarchical organizations without competing against them.
Just as we reject “apparatus logic,” we also reject “representation logic.” Because we are a pluralistic movement, there should be no presumption that a given author speaks for me or any other authors who are published here. Every author speaks only for himself.
This is important to understand, because part of every issue of North American New Right will be devoted to translations of articles from European New Right thinkers whose positions and aims differ from one another and also from those of the North American New Right. These works are offered for discussion and debate. In their breadth, depth, and originality, they are also exemplars of the kind of work we wish to cultivate in North America.
Even though the North American New Right is a metapolitical movement, and everything we do bears in some way on politics, there will be times when the connections will seem remote and tenuous. Thus we will surely be mocked as pointy-headed, ivory-tower intellectuals or apolitical dandies and poseurs. That is fine. A vibrant and effective intellectual movement has to be exciting to intellectuals, and intellectuals get excited by the oddest things. Besides, bullet-headed pragmatists who see no value in ideas that do not cause an immediate change in poll numbers tend to give up or sell out anyway.
What does that mean for the editorial policy of Counter-Currents Publishing and the journal North American New Right? It means, first of all, that those of you who share our concerns but may be holding back because you imagine you diverge from an unstated party line can relax. There is no party line beyond the questions and concerns outlined above. Second, it means that we encourage civil debate and commentary on our articles, interviews, and reviews, including this one. We welcome the challenge.
1. The rest of this article is adapted from Greg Johnson “Theory and Practice,” Counter-Currents/North American New Right, September 30, 2010, http://www.counter-currents.com/2010/09/theory-practice/
2. Guillaume Faye, Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age, trans. Sergio Knipe (London: Arktos, 2010).
3. On Cochin, see F. Roger Devlin, “From Salon to Guillotine: Augustin Cochin’s Organizing the Revolution,” The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 63–90.