Apropos of . . .
Mon Programme: Un programme révolutionnaire ne vise pas à changer les règles du jeu mais à changer de jeu
Chevaigné: Les Éditions du Lore, 2012
Following quickly on the heels of Sexe et dévoiement (2011), which examined the social-sexual roots of the present European demographic crisis, Faye’s latest is a much different kind of work, addressing quite another, though not entirely unrelated problem.
Theory and Practice
When dealing with political ideas in the largest sense (i.e., as they bear on the life or death of the polis), there comes a time, he argues, when critical and analytical thought, with its commentaries and opinions, has to pass from the abstract to the concrete. The most brilliant medical diagnosis, to give an analogy, is worth little if it does not eventually lead to a curative therapy.
In this vein, his Programme represents an effort to pass from the theoretical to the practical, as it proposes certain concrete policies (political therapies) to treat the ills presently afflicting the French state – and by extension, other European states. The details of this program make little reference to the American situation, but its general principles speak to the malignancy infecting all states of the Americanosphere.
Reform and Revolution
Faye’s program is not, ostensibly, about reforming the existing state. That would only “improve” a political system, whose corruptions, vices, and totalitarian powers are increasing immune to correction. The state’s lack of authority and democratic legitimacy, combined with the entrenchment of the New Class interests controlling it, means that such a system cannot actually be changed in any significant way. Hence the claim of Faye’s subtitle: A revolutionary program (i.e., one that attacks the existing disorder at its roots) “does not aim at changing the rules of the game but at changing the game itself.” The “game” here is the existing political system, which has become an obvious catastrophe for European peoples. For every patriot, this system needs not to be changed, but to be razed and rebuilt – from the ground up and according to an entirely different paradigm.
There is, though, a certain terminological confusion in the way Faye describes his program. He realizes it is something of a pipe dream. No state or party is likely to embrace it — though, of course, this does not lessen the value of its exercise nor does it mean it will not fertilize future projects of a similar sort. We also do not know what is coming and perhaps there will be a moment of breakdown — Joseph Tainter’s “Collapse” — making possible a revolutionary transition. If “we” should ever, then, have the occasion to assume power and restructure the state: how would we go about it?
Faye’s Programme is an effort to start thinking about such an alternative in a situation where a regime-threatening crisis of one sort or another brings a “new majority” to power. He doesn’t specifically spell out what such a crisis might entail, but it is easily imaginable. In 2017, for example, if the present society-destroying problems of unemployment, deindustrialization, massive indebtedness, uncontrolled Third World immigration, etc., are not fixed, and nothing suggests that they will, an anti-system party, like the National Front, could conceivably be voted into power. (Think of what is happening in Greece today.) In such a situation a new majority might submit something like his Programme to a referendum, calling on the “people” to authorize a radical re-structurization of the political system.
I can think of at least two national revolutions that came to power in a similar institutional (legal) way: the Sinn Féin MPs of December 1918 who refused to sit at Westminster and the NSDAP coalition that got a chance to form a government in January 1933.
The Programme anticipates a less catastrophic situation than foreseen in his Convergence des castastrophes (2004) or implied in Avant-Guerre (2002). Perhaps he is suggesting that this scenario is more realistic or likely now; I’m not certain. But it is strange to see so little of his convergence theory — what Tainter calls the ever mounting costliness of complexity — in his program, especially while positing a crisis as the program’s premise.
In any case, his Programme assumes its political remediation is to be administered before the present system collapses, at a moment when a new majority gets a chance to form a government from the debris of the old. For this reason, I think it is better characterized as “transitional” (in the Trotskyist sense).
Unlike a revolutionary program that outlines a strategy for overturning the existing order and seizing state power, a transitional program addresses a crisis in terms of the existing institutional parameters, but does so in ways that reach beyond their limits and are unacceptable to the ruling powers — challenging the system’s logic and thus posing a threat to its “order.” (See Leon Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International .)
In The Politics, Aristotle conceives of the state almost organically: the head of a body (the polis) — the political system that rules the City and ensures order within its measured boundaries.
In his self-consciously Aristotelian approach — which favors individual liberty, responsibility, hierarchy, and ethno-cultural homogeneity — Faye’s program aims at lessening the state’s costly, inefficient administrative functions, enhancing its sovereign powers, and abandoning its appropriation of functions that properly belong to the family and society.
This entails freeing the French state from the present European Union (whose Orwellian stranglehold on continental life is objectively anti-European). He does not actually advocate withdrawing from it, but rather refusing to cooperate with it until its rules are redesigned and national sovereignty is restored. Given that France is the most politically significant of the European states and is pivotal the EU’s existence, it has the power to force a major revamping of its policies and restore the European Idea that inspired the Treaty of Rome (1958).
If achieved, this restoration of national sovereignty would give the French state the freedom to remodel its institutions — not for the sake of undermining the primacy of the state, as our libertarians would have it, but of excising its cancers and enhancing its “regalian” will to “re-establish, preserve, and develop the identity, the prosperity, the security, and the power of France and Europe.”
Faye is not a traditional French nationalist, but a Europeanist favoring continental unity (an imperial family of nations rather than a global marketplace). He believes both the French state and the EU have a liberal-socialist concept of the political, which makes them unable to distinguish between their friends and enemies — given that the individualist, universalistic, and pluralist postulates of their ideology views the world in market and moralist terms, holding that only individualistic matters of ethics and economics are primary. (In traditional, organic civilizations it is the Holy that is primary.)
A restoration of sovereignty would give the French state the freedom to restructure and rebuild itself.
Globally, he proposes measures that would control the nation’s borders, re-vitalize its national economy, improve its efficiency, reduce its costs, amputate its nomenclature, streamline its functions, and concentrate on the national interest, and not, like now, on the special interests. But there is nothing in the Programme that would mobilize the French themselves for the transition. It is strictly a top-down project that ignores what Patrick Pearse called “the sovereign people,” who are vital to the success of every revolutionary movement.
The state, in any case, is too large — which is true almost everywhere. At its top and bottom: its functions and personnel need to be greatly reduced — cabinet positions should fall to six (Defense, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Economy, and Instruction/Patrimony) and the number of state functionaries cut by at least 50 percent. Faye’s proposals would remove cumbersome, over-regulating, and counter-productive state agencies for the sake of freeing up funds for more worthwhile investments in the private economy.
Toward these ends, he proposes overturning the anti-democratic role of judges, who in the name of the Constitution thwart the popular will (constitutional questions would be left to the Senate); introducing referendums that give the electorate a greater say in major policy decisions; restoring popular liberties, like the right to free speech; introducing “positive” law that judges the crime and not the criminal; abolishing the privileges of higher state functionaries (now greater than those of the 18th-century aristocracy); and eliminating the present confusion of state powers.
In the modern world, the power (in a material sense) of a nation-state is in its economy. (The health and longevity of the nation — in the spiritual sense — is another thing, dependent on its demography, the preservation of it genetic heritage, the quality of its culture, and the culture’s transmission.)
Though conscious of the dangers posed by economism, Faye believes “prosperity” is necessary (though not sufficient) for social harmony and national defense. State and economy for him are different realms, operating according to different logics. But he rejects both the Marxist contention that the state’s political economy can do anything it wishes in the market and the liberal-conservative position that it can do nothing. Straddling the two, he advocates a political economy whose guiding principles are non-ideological and pragmatic. “What counts is what works — not what conforms to a dogma.” Sound economic practice is based on experience, not theory.
The great financial crisis of 2008, whose ravages are still evident, was not, he claims, a crisis of capitalism, but a crisis of the welfare-state — and thus a crisis of “statism” (étatisme). The crippling state debt allegedly at the root of this crisis stems, he argues, from the state’s profligate spending, its ever-growing number of functionaries, its bureaucratic mismanagement and cronyism, and its unsupportable social charges, like the Afro-Arab hordes occupying its banlieues. Left-wing talk of ultra-liberalism is delusional in economic systems as regulated as those of Europe. In living beyond its means, the state has acquired debts it cannot afford and now blames it on others.
Faye dismisses those who claim the crisis was created by a conspiracy of banksters and vampire capitalists. Targeting solely the failures of the present political system, he does not see or think it is important that there is something of a revolving door (perhaps greater in the US than France) between the state and the corporations, that the crimes of the money powers are intricately linked to state policies, and thus that the economic interests have a corrupting and distorting effect on the state.
In his anti-Marxism, Faye is wont to stress the primacy of the “superstructure,” rather than the economic “base” (which, most of the time, is probably a reliable rule of thumb). Similarly, he does not relate the current crisis to globalization, which has everywhere undermined the existing models of governance, nor does he consider the often nefarious role played by the IMF, the WTO, and the new global oligarchs.
He blames the crisis solely on the state’s incompetent and spendthrift policies, leaving blameless the money-lenders and criminals, whose bail-out caused the national debt to escalate beyond any imaginable repayment. The state may be primary to a people’s existence, but in the neo-liberal regimes of the West, it is clearly attentive, if not subordinated to the dominant economic interests. The two (state and economy) seem hardly understandable today except in relation to one another — though he wants us to believe the cause of the crisis was purely political. (In my mind, it is civilizational.)
In any case, the French state is over-administrated, “socialist” in effect; it has too many workers (almost 25 percent of the workforce); it pursues social-engineering domestically and economy-destroying free-trade policies internationally, the most self-destroying policies conceivable. Given capitalism’s quantitative logic, its globalist free-trade policies are also destroying Europe’s ability to compete with low-wage Third World economies, like China, and are thus devastating the productive capacity of its economies.
France and Europe, Faye argues, need to protect themselves from the ravages of global free trade by creating a Eurasian autarkic economic zone, from Galway to Vladivostok (what he once called “Eurosiberia,” though there’s no mention of it), and at the same time by liberalizing the domestic economy, throwing off excessive regulations and social charges for the sake of unleashing European initiative and enterprise. He calls thus for changes in the EU that focus on stimulating the European market rather than allowing it to succumb to America’s global market, which is turning the continent’s advanced economies into financialized and tertiarized economies, unable to provide decent paying jobs. The emphasis of his program is thus on national economic growth.
The present policy of budget austerity, he argues, is compounding the crisis, causing state revenues to decline and forcing the economy into depression. Growth alone will generate the wealth needed to get out of debt. To this end, the state needs to radically cut costs, but do so without imposing austerity measures. This entails not just simplifying and rationalizing public functions, but changing the paradigm. The state should not, therefore, indiscriminately reduce public expenses, but rather suppress useless, unproductive charges, while augmenting wealth-creating ones.
Basically, he wants the state to withdraw from the economy, but without abandoning its role in protecting the public and national interests. For those key sectors vital to the nation’s economy and security — energy, armaments, aerospace, and high tech — the state should exercise a certain strategic control over them, but without interfering in their management.
He also calls for a tax revolution that will unburden the middle class, while expanding the tax base. Similarly, he wants the state to encourage enterprise by relieving business of costly social charges, especially on small and middle-size enterprises that create employment; he wants the French to work more — increasing the workweek from 35 hours to 40, and decreasing annual vacations from five weeks to four; he wants a liberalization of the labor market, with a system of national preferences favoring French workers over immigrants; he wants a different system of unemployment benefits that encourages work and rationalizes job placements; he wants a cap on executive salaries and an end to golden parachutes; and he wants state subventions of public worker unions discontinued, along with their right to strike.
As a general principle, he claims the state should not grant rights it cannot afford, that those who can work should, that foreigners have no right to public services (including education), that quotas imposing artificial forms of sexual and racial equality are intolerable, and that only natives unable to work should be entitled to assistance. Social justice, he observes, is not a matter of socialist redistribution, but of a system whose pragmatic efficiencies and competitive industries are able to provide for the nation’s needs. There are, however, no proposals in his program for re-industrialization, state economic planning, or an alternative form of economy based on something other than capitalism’s incessant need to grow and consume.
Closely related to the country’s economic problems is that of the state’s failed politique familiale. The state needs to adopt measures to offset the social problems created by explosive divorce rates and non-reproducing birthrates. The aging of the population is also going to require increased medical services, which need to be expanded and improved.
As for the rising generation, he calls for a revamping of the national education system, which has become a “cretin-producing factory.” France’s Third Republic had one of the finest educational systems in the world, that of the Fifth Republic has been an utter disaster, due largely to Left-wing egalitarian policies catering to the lowest common denominator (the Barbarians at the Gates). The state, moreover, has no right to ‘educate’ youth — that is the role of the family (and, I would add, the Church). The state should instead provide schools that instruct — that convey knowledge and its methods — not inculcate the reigning Left ideologies. Discipline must also be restored; all violence and disorder in schools must be severely punished. Immigrants and non-natives ought to be excluded. Obligatory schooling should end at age 14, and a system of apprenticeship (like in Germany) should be made available to those who do not pursue academic degrees.
The universities also need to be revamped, with more rigorous forms of instruction, dress codes, tracking, and the elimination of such frivolous disciplines as psychology, sociology, communications, business, etc.
There are, though, no proposed measures in his program to strengthen the nation’s ethno-cultural identity, resist the audio-visual imperialism of America’s entertainment industry, or outlaw the NGOs funded by the CIA.
The present soft-totalitarian ideology of the French state, like states throughout the Americanosphere, portrays immigration as an “enrichment,” though obviously it is everywhere and in all ways a disaster, threatening the nation’s ethnic fundament, its way of life, and its cultural integrity. Immigration is also code for Third World colonization and Islamization.
Against those claiming it is impossible to stem the immigrant tide, Faye contends that what is needed is a will to do so — a will to eliminate the “pull” factors (like welfare) that attract the immigrant invaders. He proposes zero immigration, the deportation of illegals, the expulsion of unemployed legal ones, the end to family regroupments, the strict policing of student and tourist visas, the abolition of exile rights, visa controls on international transportation links, the elimination of state-funded social assistance to foreigners, national preference in employment, and the replacement of jus soli by jus sanguinis.
Given that Muslims are a special threat, Faye proposes abolishing all state-supported Muslim associations, prohibiting mosque building and halal practices, imposing heavy fines on veiled women, eliminating Muslim chaplains from the military and the prison system, and implementing a general policy of restrictive legislation toward Islam. Surprisingly, he proposes no measures to break up the non-European ghettos presently sponging off French tax-payers and constituting a highly destabilizing factor within the body politic (perhaps because the above measures would prevent these ghettos from continuing to exist).
Even these relatively moderate measures, he realizes, are likely to stir up trouble, for every positive action inevitably comes with its negative effects. But unless measures aimed at stopping the “pull” factors promoting the immigrant invasion are taken, Faye warns, it may be too late for France, in which case more drastic measures will have to be taken later — and Plan B will have no pity.
The state’s defense of the nation and its relationship with other states are two of its defining functions.
To those familiar with Faye’s earlier thoughts on these subjects, they will find the same general orientation — a rejection of Atlanticism, a realignment with Russia, neutrality to the US, withdrawal from the Third World, and an armed vigilance toward Islam. His stance on NATO, the US, and Russia, though, is more “moderate” than those taken in the past.
The Programme depicts the present EU as objectively anti-European, but does not call for an outright withdrawal from it. It similarly recognizes that NATO subordinates Europe to America’s destructive crusades and alliances (impinging on the basic principle of sovereignty: the right to declare war) and again does not call for a withdrawal, only a strategy to diminish its significance. And, finally, though he thinks Russia should be the axis of French policy (which is indeed her only viable geopolitical option), there is little in his program that would advance the prospects of such a realignment or re-align France against the surreptitious war of encirclement presently being waged by the US against Russia. There is also nothing on the present “unipolar-to-multipolar phase” of international politics, brought on by America’s imperial decline — as it goes about threatening war and international havoc, all the while supremely indifferent to the collapse of its own economic fundamentals. On these key policies related to France’s position in the world, he stands to the “right” of Marine Le Pen.
Faye’s program aims at restoring French sovereignty, but, as suggested, on issues relevant to its restoration, his position would greatly modify France’s submission to the anti-sovereign powers, not break with them. At the root of this apparent irresolution, I suspect, is his understanding of Islam. Faye has long designated it as Europe’s principal enemy. And there is no question that Islam, as a civilization, is objectively and threateningly anti-European, and that Muslim immigrants pose a dire threat to France’s future.
But his half-right position has taken him down a wayward path: to an alliance with Islam’s great enemy, Israel, and to an accommodation with Israel’s Guardian Angel, the United States, the world’s foremost anti-white power. For it is the American system (in arming and abetting jihadists to destabilize regimes it seeks to control) that has made Islam such a world threat and it is the American system (in the blight of its leveling commercialism and the poisonous vapors of its human rights ideology) that poses the greatest, most profound threat to European existence.
Faye’s questionable position on these issues seems, more generally, to come from ignoring the nature of the post-1945 nomos imposed by New York-Washington on defeated Europe and the rest of the non-Communist world after the Second World War. America has always had an ambivalent relationship to Europe — being both an offshoot of European Christian civilization and a Puritan (in effect, Bolshevik) opponent of it. Since the end of the last world war — when it formally threw off the Christian moral foundations of the last thousand years of European civilization by morally sanctioning “the destruction of residential areas and the mass killing of civilians as a routine method of warfare” — a new counter-civilization, an empire of liberty and chaos, has come to rule the world (even if during the 45 years of the Cold War the US encouraged the illusion that it was a bastion of Western values and Christianity). (See Desmond Fennell, The Postwestern Condition: Between Chaos and Civilization ; Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth [1950/2003].)
Not just the devastated Germans and Italians, but all Europeans were subsequently integrated into the predatory empire of this counter-civilization — and subjected to its transvaluation of values (consumerism, permissiveness, abortion, the elimination of sex differences, the death of God, the end of art, anti-racism, and the “newspeak” whose inversions hold that “war is peace,” “dictatorship is democracy,” “ignorance is culture,” etc.). European elites have since become not just a comprador bourgeoisie, but home-grown exemplars of the moral and cultural void (the Thanatos principles) animating the American system. It is this system and its poisons that have made Europeans indifferent to their survival as a people and accounts for the increasing dysfunctionality of their established institutions — not the mass influx of Third World immigrants, who are a (prominent and very unpleasant) symptom, though not the source, of the reigning inversions.
Without acknowledging this, Faye can argue that America is only an adversary of Europe — a power that might exploit Europeans, but not one posing a life and death threat to their existence, like a true enemy. He forgets, accordingly, that America and America’s special friend, Britain, rather consciously destroyed historic Europe — that civilization born from the “medieval” alliance of Charlemagne and the Papacy. In the course of its anti-fascist crusade, the imperial leviathan headquartered in New York-Washington threw off the values and forms of Europe’s ancient and venerable Christian civilization for ones based on the sanctioning of mass murder.
Such premises have since inspired on-going campaigns “to abolish and demolish and derange” the world. It is this system that endangers white people today — for it wars on everything refusing to bend to its “liberal democratic” (i.e., money-driven) colonization, standardization, and demeaning of private and social life — as it breaks up traditional communities, isolates the individual within an increasingly indifferent “global world” dismissive of history, culture, and nature, rejects historically and religiously established sources of meaning, and leaves in their stead innumerable worthless consumer items and a whorl of fabricated electronic simulacra that situate all life within its hyperreal bubble. Even in an indirect or transitional way, Faye does not address this most eminent of the anti-European forces, offering no real alternative to the US/EU consumer paradise, whose present breakdown will be recuperated only by a resistance whose political vision transcends the underlying tenets of the existing one.
As an exercise, Faye’s Programme displays much of its author’s characteristic intelligence and creativity, and it stands as a respectable complement to the numerous interpretative and analytical works he has written on various aspects of European life over the last decade and a half — works written with verve and an imagination rich in imagery, lucidity, and urgency. As a brief programmatic redefinition of the French state system, his program is, admittedly, impressive. It is not, however, revolutionary. In some respects, it is not transitional. Above all, it does not get at the roots of the existing disorder: the satanic system that is presently destroying both Europe and the remnants of European civilization in America.
If Faye continues to speak for the rising forces of European identitarianism and populism, he will need to invent a better “game” than his program — for what seems most needed in this period of transition is a worldview premised on the overthrow of the existing nomos.