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From Slime Mould to Rhizome

2,975 words

Roger Griffin, a well known researcher on fascism, published a fascinating article, “From slime mould to rhizome: an introduction to the groupuscular right,” in Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 37, no. 1, 2003. Since Griffin is, essentially, talking about us, it would be useful to take a look at what he has to say.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Griffin (Roger, not Robert!) is, of course, no friend of ours. He is a committed anti-fascist, anti-racist, and a strong proponent of multicultural liberal democracy. His analyses of fascism are from the perspective of someone who wants to “learn about the enemy in order to combat it.”

His writing on the topic is therefore subjective, abundant with snide comments, scare quotes, and liberal triumphalism—e.g., the “utopian schemes” of the right will of course “never be realized.” Of course. And he is quick to point out the “Lilliputian” nature of today’s far right against the massive “Gulliver” of reigning liberal democracy. It is preferable that Griffin and his ilk remain so supremely over-confident that their house of cards will stand forever.

However, Griffin is hypocritical in his assertion that one major threat of the tiny far-right is to promote “hate crime violence,” etc.—when it is clear that the anti-racist liberal democracy Griffin himself so cherishes increasingly finds itself requiring adoption of “fascist” repressive tactics to defend itself against the far-right. These “liberal” tactics include, but are not limited to: Orwellian “hate speech” laws, banning of popular political parties (e.g., Vlaams Blok), and thuggish action against rightist meetings (e.g., American Renaissance conferences), never mind organized pressures from “watchdog” groups. One wonders, Mr. Griffin, why a confident Gulliver needs to worry so much about the puny and powerless Lilliputians, and why the massive Gulliver, itself the major instigator of violence, projects these crimes onto the far-rightists they wish to repress. But, no matter. We can for the moment ignore Griffin’s biases and concentrate on the implications of his research; in other words, how can we leverage analyses done by our opponents to our own advantage? Can we learn from any of this?

Griffin’s essay focuses on the “groupuscular right”—groups, called groupuscules, specifically defined as fully-formed, small, and completely autonomous, with a worldview articulated more for “elite” rather than “mass” consumption. These groupuscules have negligible membership and “minimal if any public support or visibility;” rather than involvement in “politics” (i.e., electoral politics), groupuscular entities instead focus more on metapolitics. The groupuscule thus renounces a mass public following, and concerns itself with political (actually, metapolitical) education. Groupuscules are revolutionary, promoting for the most part “palingenetic” objectives, with the “ultimate goal of overcoming the decadence of the existing liberal democratic system.” Further, to be deemed worthy of analysis by students of “fascism,” such groups must be creating important, possibly novel, ideas, and exerting influence at least among fellow groupuscules. In summary, the groupuscular right is, to quote Griffin, “a constantly growing, mutating, protean counter-culture,” composed of “highly specialized and individualized grouplets.”

Thus defined, Griffin distinguishes the true groupuscular right from other groups not characteristic of his definition. Established parties of the right, including nationalist political parties (such as in Europe), are definitely not included. Centralized units, particularly those aiming at mass appeal and political power, are not groupuscular; they are in fact the opposite. Factions, sub-groups, and other spin-offs of established, formal groups are not included; after all, a prerequisite for groupuscularity is full autonomy, full independence of thought. Thus, GRECE, Pamyat, and the French New Right, all of which aim at mass support and/or are linked to “personalities and projects” of “high public profile,” or are close to being “an integral part of mainstream . . . political and intellectual culture” in a given country, are not groupuscular.

On the other hand, the Christian Identity movement, as well as Blood and Honour skinhead/White Noise subculture groups, are considered by Griffin to be groupuscular, as is Michael Walker’s periodical The Scorpion. Griffin also identifies as groupuscular the “highly specialized variants of fascism” that have filled specific metapolitical/political niches in post-Soviet Russia. Further, Troy Southgate is mentioned by Griffin as a “groupuscular ideologue,” and Griffin seems to place varieties of Third Positionism in the groupuscular category.

Closer to home, (in my opinion) certainly Counter-Currents is a groupuscular structure; other groupuscules, past and present, include Yockey’s European Liberation Front, the blog Majority Rights, and the defunct website Legion Europa. Undoubtedly, the reader can think of many others, but these examples illustrate the concept reasonably well.

Griffin states that much of what people superficially ascribe to “fascism”—particularly the manifestations of historical fascism in the interwar period—were “contingent, epiphenomenal attributes”—not inherent properties of fascism itself. Thus, in the 1920s and 30s, the mass meeting, charismatic leader, spectacle-“aesthetic” style of mass fascism was in play, but these were surface attributes due to historical context.

Today, the groupuscule is the “fascist” model; however, the inner core of palingenetic ultra-nationalism, of rebirth and redemption, and of critique of liberal democracy and ultra-rationalistic conformist “modernity” (as opposed to fascistic revolutionary futurism) remains as the truly defining characteristics of “fascist” essence.

Related to the groupuscular definition is Griffin’s distinction between the “slime mold” and “rhizome” models of “movement” structure. While traditional far-right groups have operated more like a “slime mold”—a group of cells that can come together and function as a single, unitary organism (e.g., Nazis, Italian Fascists), Griffin likens modern groupuscular rightists groups as analogous to a “rhizome”—a “tangled root system” with no defined beginning or end, “constantly producing new shoots as others die off in an unpredictable, asymmetrical pattern of growth and decay.” Thus, the rhizome structure is diffuse and leaderless, with no center, no definitive boundaries or “formal hierarchy.”

Griffin bemoans the relative invulnerability of the rhizome structure, since “the revolutionary right no longer plays into the hands of security and intelligence organizations” and can survive the suppression of particular “nodal points” of activity. The rhizome can continue to exist even with banned groups and shut down websites, and the constant variable expression of multiple points of activity “fuels the vitality and viability of the organism as a whole.”

Griffin also considers an anti-humanistic “uncivil society” to be the social context in which the groupuscular right flourishes, and he also clears up “a deep ambiguity” concerning the term “movement”—which can define loose, generalized, and fractious groups sharing broad, shared objectives, as much as it is defined by a more structured, homogenous, and hierarchic group moving toward a strictly defined set of goals. Obviously, the groupuscular right falls within the former diffuse idea of a “movement,” rather than the structured latter definition.

On a side note, Griffin amusingly talks about how the closed nature of groupuscular discourse spares the rightists the “need to debate” their ideas with others, preserving “the palingenetic mindset of the ultra-nationalist right in all its pristine extremism.” On the same page (!) the clueless Griffin offers a footnote about how one attempt by a groupuscule to organize a meeting was “cancelled due to ‘anti-fascist’ threats.” Very good, Mr. Griffin—how are the rightists supposed to debate others when their attempts at debate are shut down by government repression or by “anti-fascist threats”? Griffin himself seems to be trapped in his own liberal democratic cocoon and doesn’t realize that much of the insularity of today’s far-right is imposed by the Orwellian and repressive “custodians of democracy” that Griffin himself supports.

The groupuscular rhizome format has some advantages, although, in and of itself, it cannot over-turn the established order. These advantages include:

1. “Keeping the dream alive” in the face of the repression noted above. At the current time, the worldview of the groupuscular right, particularly in its most radical forms, is rejected by the world at large; in many societies it is actively repressed by both de jure and de facto mechanisms of control. The small and decentralized nature of the groupuscular right allows these ideas to survive; indeed, Griffin suggests that it would be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to completely eliminate memes and memetic development that utilizes the groupuscular rhizome format.

However, Griffin also notes the importance of the Internet to the groupuscular right; hence, the enthusiasm of the “liberal Gulliver” to repress “Lilliputian” freedom of thought online. In any case, a diffuse “organization” with many independent nodes is a much hardier organism in the face of repression than would be a highly centralized group, which can be more easily targeted and disrupted through elimination of prominent leaders.

2. The decentralized aspect of the current far right allows for the development of diverse, interesting, and extremely varied permutations of memes and ideology—manifestations that would not be possible in the context of a highly organized, top-down hierarchical structure imposing a common worldview. While most “movement” memes may be nonsense, some of this variety may prove useful; in all these permutations, some “correct answers” may be hit upon.

This is analogous to the biological process of mutation—most mutations are harmful or neutral, but, in the midst of the plethora of genetic variation is the occasional beneficial mutation, which confers adaptive value in specific challenging environments. Likewise, the Lilliputian far-right, subjected to stress under the repressive establishment Gulliver, undergoes varieties of memetic/ideological mutations, many useless or harmful, but several which may eventually allow the rightist organisms to flourish. Indeed, Griffin mentions a “Darwinian logic of mutation” that allowed for the survival of the far-right in the post-WWII era. While the far-right political parties tried to mainstream themselves, the more radical groups became groupuscular, eschewing mass appeal, and emphasizing intellectual activity aimed at “elites.” Connections with other such groups allow groupuscules to leverage their memes for greater impact.

3. If the age of “masses” is over (at least for now) for the far-right, change may be instituted top-down, through elites. Griffin notes that the Western masses seem to have been “immunized” against far-right nationalism; however, Griffin also notes that the groupuscular right may act as a form of metapolitical “dark matter” pulling (Western) societies in the direction of the right and away from the “equality” liberalism he so loves.

This in and of itself cannot accomplish our objectives. However, with the appropriate “mutation,” the far right may transition into a form that can directly influence elites to institute radical changes in society, and allow for the overthrow of the repressive leftist globalist regime. Thus, the groupuscular right, by its very nature, is positioned to appeal to “elites”—through both informal (mostly, today) and formal (future) ties and associations. The powerless groupuscular rightist groups may, through the process of mutation, spawn a highly effective variant that can “infect” and transform “mainstream” elites to become “us” rather than “them.”

What can we make of all this? Griffin’s work is very important. Interestingly, as a side note, it illustrates how we relatively powerless groupuscules can leverage the interest shown in us by the “custodians of democracy,” by utilizing their research in assisting us in achieving our own objectives. Given their concern with virtually any forms of dissident opinion (true to their “Big Brother” character), they must analyze “fascist” behavior in a sincere manner, and publish their findings in publicly accessible journals, all in an attempt to promote their unattainable utopian goals of “equality” and “social justice.” While we of course need to make our own analyses, and not solely depend on that of our opponents, their work can and should be exploited for our own purposes.

The important point is this: groupuscules make a virtue out of necessity. Apart from the possibilities cited in point 3 above, the current groupuscular rhizome structure is not the answer to overturning the liberal globalist system, Evolian elitist fantasies aside. Let us not be the deluded “utopian dreamers”—forever fated to fail—that Griffin believes us to be. However, for the time being, we must play the cards we are dealt, and a “counter-culture”—as Griffin describe us—in existence, can always, in the future, blossom to something more.

This is similar to one of the cardinal rules of revolutionary, insurgent warfare: as long as the insurgent army exists, and is in the field, that counts as a victory of sorts, and continued existence can, over time, wear down the will and resistance of the enemy. Thus did George Washington help forge a British strategic defeat in the American Revolutionary War, despite many tactical setbacks for the Colonial Army. Stressing survival, and keeping his army intact and in the field, engaging the enemy as often as possible on his own terms, Washington kept the dream alive until circumstances (e.g., French assistance) helped turn the tide.

The same logic applies to the role of rhizomitic groupuscules in keeping our dream alive. Therefore, the minimal objective is to maintain some sort of viable ideological memetic, metapolitical presence in the world. That is consistent with point #1, listed above.

As an integral part of that, we also need to maintain communication between groupuscules, when and where relevant, and also maintain communication and influence, again when and where relevant, to the more public areas of “the movement”—European nationalist parties, the American Third Position here in the USA, etc. With respect to point #2, we need to continue to fill a wide variety of ideological niches, to explore variants of “fascism” though memetic “Darwinian mutation,” in order to produce the ideological and metapolitical variation that can be acted on by the “natural selection” of real world activity and interaction.

Understandably, individual groupuscules may believe that their own worldview is correct, and that of other groupuscules are wrong. Certainly, there will be competition between groupuscules with respect to alternative memes and ideologies, and this is quite right and normal. However, as long as we are relatively powerless, it may be wise to resist any over-centralization. Putting all our eggs in one basket, when we are in no position to effectively defend that basket, would likely lead to Griffin’s totalitarian “custodians of democracy” smashing all our eggs to pieces. As long as circumstances make groupuscularity and the rhizome structure necessary, a significant degree of memetic heterogeneity—“diversity” if you will—can be a strength. As stated above, this does not preclude groupuscules attempting to promote their own views and to outcompete others, but this should be a natural evolution, not a conscious strategy of centralization for the sake of centralization. In our current state, a decentralized rhizome has certain advantages.

To prevent misunderstanding, I need to stress: I am not advocating the groupuscular rhizome format as any “ideal,” nor do I believe that we should accept our current limitations and not attempt to break out into broader mass appeal, if such is at all possible. And while we should not accept centralization for the sake of centralization, nor should we accept or pursue decentralization for the sake of decentralization either. I’ve been reading Faye’s Why We Fight, and I agree that we need to “unite on the basis of clear ideas against the common enemy.” And I also essentially agree with the broad points of this essay, but the (American) “movement” can’t even agree on the most elementary decisions required for group definition (e.g., “in/out”), so it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what the “fundamental points” of agreement can be. The author does acknowledge that we are still at the point at which diverse viewpoints are required, to pick out the best memes/ideas/ideologies to go forward. This is consistent with one of the themes of the current essay (i.e., groupuscular memetic mutation leading to the best “adaptive” fit).

A major point is that, at least in America, there is no unity in the “movement,” we are essentially powerless (as Griffin describes us) in the real political world, “clear ideas” have not yet been articulated to the extent to attract a “critical mass” of quality activists, and, therefore, in America at least, the groupuscular rhizome is the default position we find ourselves in, and, as stated, we need to make a virtue out of necessity.

I state this “caveat paragraph” to try and prevent a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of this essay, which is not to promote a cloistered, esoteric, abstract, purely metapolitical form of activism, but, merely, to acknowledge current realities, and to use Griffin’s work in an instrumental fashion to make the best out of our current limited circumstances. We must always have as a major goal to switch from rhizome to slime mold (using Griffin’s language). We’re just not at that point yet.

Finally, therefore, any possibility of influencing society outside of the groupuscular right must be taken advantage of. We are not groupuscular for the sake of being groupuscular; it is a means (survival), not an end. The end, our “utopian” objectives, will ultimately require growth out of groupuscularity, but there is no need for self-imposed isolation even now.

Indeed, the “elite” nature of the groupuscular right positions it to appeal to more traditional elites, and we should use any opportunity to leverage our ideas to increase our power and influence. Griffin notes Aleksandr Dugin in Russia as an example of a groupuscule who has had influence on state policy, and also notes that the marginalized Italian party MSI’s transformation to the more electable Alleanza Nazionale was prepared by “intensive groupuscular activity”—although many of us would consider the mainstreaming of the MSI to have been a form of treason against our ideals.

Nevertheless, Griffin’s concern that “the membrane between the groupuscular right’s uncivil society and orthodox party-politics can at times by highly permeable” can give us hope. We are groupuscular by necessity. Griffin may smugly assume that our “utopian” agenda will never be realized, but there is no reason we must accept this negative evaluation of our long-term prospects. As long as the groupuscular rhizome structure keeps the dream alive, we can hope. And more than hope, we can struggle to make our dream a reality—a reality which would be a nightmare for Griffin and his free speech-denying “custodians of democracy.”

Stranger things have happened.

 

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28 Comments

  1. White Republican
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    James H. Billington’s book Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith looks like it might be interesting regarding the role of groupuscles in political movements. While groupuscles are usually of no historical consequence in themselves, they can play an important role in the formation of individuals and political movements. The Czech historian Palacky reportedly said that if the roof had collapsed at a meeting of his friends, the Czech nationalist movement would have been wiped out.

    It might be worth noting that Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto for a groupuscle. At that time, it could hardly be said that “the spectre of communism” was haunting Europe. Indeed, Alfred Sudre’s Histoire du communisme, which was also published in 1848, discusses the communists of the time in terms of individual ideologues rather than movements.

    Regarding organizational models, it might be worth looking at the work of John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt on networks.

    • White Republican
      Posted November 22, 2011 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      Regarding John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, I should add that their work probably influenced John Robb, and that many of their writings are available at the website of the Rand Corporation (http://rand.org/). I’ve only started reading them. It might be that the “network” model of activism they have explored in their writings is appropriate for White nationalism. As Guillaume Faye put it, we need to prepare “for the coming storm by constituting a European network — horizontal, web-like, informal, polymorphic — of revolutionary minorities, a network of solidarity, a European international of resistance and propaganda.”

  2. Armor
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if there is something original in Roger Griffin’s paper, if this is the result of his own cogitations, or if he is simply reporting on WN thought, and turning the pro-white perspective upside down. Also, I wonder what he means by far-right, and if it is synonymous with pro-white. Most people who are called far-right by the media don’t know anything about fascism: they just oppose race-replacement.

    In spite of his comparison with mould and rhizomes, Griffin lives in the realm of pure ideas. He probably thinks there is a problem with an evil ideology carried by far-right groupuscules. But I think he should really blame human nature. Natural instinct is what makes white people want to preserve their collective existence, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    Griffin didn’t come up by himself with his unnatural anti-white perspective. He absorbed it from the school, the academia, the media and anti-white organizations. By contrast, racial solidarity with other white people in the face of institutional race-replacement occurs naturally in white people. It is encouraged by talking to other white people, but it doesn’t have to come from reading WN books.

    Our natural behavior can be inhibited by the media and government propaganda, but propaganda isn’t 100% effective. Many of us are allergic to it. So far, white nationalism is only for the minority of people who are more independently minded than the average man. But, as white people become a besieged minority, more of them will start to think straight. It will be a natural development, caused by biology more than politics. When that happens, Roger Griffin will continue to blame right-wing ideology. But if a frog is thrown into a leftist pan of boiling water and immediately jumps out, is it really driven by right-wing ideology?

  3. Ted
    Posted November 14, 2011 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    But the word “doctrine” is too restrictive in this context, for it is associated with ideas in a more or less intellectual or literary form, whereas I am thinking of the culture of a movement, which includes such things as its collective psychology, objectives, values, beliefs, priorities, media, language, imagery, arguments, methods, norms, and way of life. This is where metapolitics should meet infrapolitics.

    Agreed. This is one of the directions we need to be moving in. Counter-Currents can, hopefully, be an effective forum for discussing these issues, which are of great interest to me (and, I assume, to the general readership as well).

    • White Republican
      Posted November 17, 2011 at 3:01 am | Permalink

      Something to think about is how to best promote and conduct constructive discussion regarding these issues. This may be difficult as these issues are wide-ranging and complex, they have generally been discussed by nationalists in a superficial manner, and their discussion can become divisive.

      I think that a proper framework for discussion requires leadership, education, discipline and self-discipline, and application. It requires people who can lead discussion by framing issues and addressing them in an intelligent, informed, and civil manner. It requires people to be educated so that they can follow and participate in discussion at a high level. It requires discipline and self-discipline so that discussion is purposeful and productive. It requires practical application so that theory informs practice and practice informs theory.

      In New Culture, New Right, Michael O’Meara remarks (p. 53, n. 17): “Robert Dun . . . argues that metapolitics rests on several dubious presumptions, the most important of which is the belief that a movement against the liberal order needs to be based on a body of sophisticated ideas. Dun claims that all great revolutionary movements have been based on a small number of core ideas accessible to the common people. From this perspective, a counter-hegemonic movement has no specific need for a sophisticated ‘school of thought’ like the GRECE, but rather for revolutionaries willing to rally the opposition around its key ideas.”

      I think that metapolitics must be practiced at more than one level to be effective. Metapolitics “from above” can never appeal to or involve more than a relatively small number of people. Metapolitics “from below” can involve a relatively large number of people. While this form of metapolitics will generally not be intellectually sophisticated, it can be culturally sophisticated. But three things should be noted about such cultural sophistication: it is not a matter of sophistication for the sake of sophistication; it is created through applying metis to work and developing metis through work; and it is required for effective adaptation to particular environments and particular tasks. A lot of inventiveness, intelligence, knowledge, skill, and care must go into this work if it is be effective. Grassroots activism requires a certain cultural humus if it is to flourish.

  4. White Republican
    Posted November 13, 2011 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    I’ll try writing an article on the publicist work of François Duprat and how it might be emulated today. I’m not sure how far I can go with this. I have only a fraction of Duprat’s writings, the biography of Duprat by Nicolas Lebourg and Joseph Beauregard hasn’t been published, and I lack the metis for this particular kind of work. But I think that Duprat’s approach to the study of history and the education of nationalists warrants study and emulation.

    Nationalists sometimes say that they should study the example of other groups. Unfortunately, such statements usually have all the resolve of a New Year’s Resolution, and most nationalists are content with a smattering of knowledge.

    We need a doctrine that is, as Duprat put it, a “weapon of struggle genuinely adapted to the times we live in.” Such a doctrine should help us secure cultural and political space within our society. A synthesis of revolutionary nationalism and national populism might be ideal for this. But the word “doctrine” is too restrictive in this context, for it is associated with ideas in a more or less intellectual or literary form, whereas I am thinking of the culture of a movement, which includes such things as its collective psychology, objectives, values, beliefs, priorities, media, language, imagery, arguments, methods, norms, and way of life. This is where metapolitics should meet infrapolitics.

    I’m considering getting Jeunes nationalistes d’aujourd’hui (Young Nationalists of Today). The work is a sequel to Les nouveaux nationalistes (The New Nationalists), and includes contributions from members of the various currents of the “new wave” of the French national movement. It might be useful for considering the role of groupuscles.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 3:23 am | Permalink

      I am always interested in good new material on such subjects.

  5. Ted
    Posted November 11, 2011 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Note: I am aware that there is a current ELF, as well as Yockey’s, and, regardless of which one is the topic of Patterns of Prejudice, I would be in fact interested in all such articles on far-right groupuscules.

  6. Ted
    Posted November 11, 2011 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    White Republican,

    Unfortunately, no one has forwarded to me such articles from Patterns of Prejudice (or I have forgotten if they have). I’ll be particularly interested in Yockey’s European Liberation Front, as I’ve always been a fan of Yockey (other than his views on science and biological race).

    If anyone has access to those articles, please forward to Greg Johnson, who can then forward to me.

    I am also interested in the rest of your post, both the “infrapolitics” meme (which I strongly agree with) as well as:

    Such media should address the history and current affairs of nationalist movements in a well-informed, intellectually rigorous, and politically constructive manner. Such media should be written from the perspective of an intelligence analyst rather than that of an academic historian, journalist, or polemicist. Such media would aim to raise the level of political culture and effective activism among nationalists through historical, theoretical, and practical education.

    I see this as an excellent idea. I look forward to whatever development you may do in this sphere.

  7. White Republican
    Posted November 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Ted Sallis,

    I think it would be useful to study and write about specific groupuscles in more detail to more clearly outline what they can do and how they can do it.

    Patterns of Prejudice has published several articles on groupuscles (including ones on the European Liberation Front, the GUD, and Nouvelle Résistance) which might have been forwarded on to you last year. Have you read them?

    Of course, while “it is permissible to learn from the enemy” (Ovid), it would be much better for nationalists to have their own media to learn from, such as those published by François Duprat. Such media should address the history and current affairs of nationalist movements in a well-informed, intellectually rigorous, and politically constructive manner. Such media should be written from the perspective of an intelligence analyst rather than that of an academic historian, journalist, or polemicist. Such media would aim to raise the level of political culture and effective activism among nationalists through historical, theoretical, and practical education. Functions of such media could include such things as:

    (1) Keeping nationalists well-informed about movements in our own and other countries (we should do better than collecting news clippings or internet articles about such movements).

    (2) Properly analyzing the past and present of movements in our own and other countries, and drawing appropriate lessons as to what is possible, practical, and desirable for us (on the negative side we need to avoid dead ends and fatal errors, and on the positive side we need to study good examples with an eye upon “reverse engineering”).

    (3) Directing, animating, and moderating discussion and debate on practical matters, both big and small. Such discussion must be disciplined if it is to be fruitful.

    I intend to examine the publishing model used by Duprat and how it might be emulated today. He published several periodicals simultaneously. He effectively wanted the groupuscle he directed to act as a fascist pacemaker within the Front National.

    I also intend to examine how metapolitics might be linked with infrapolitics, of which James C. Scott writes:

    “The term infrapolitics . . . seems an appropriate shorthand to convey the idea that we are dealing with an unobtrusive realm of political struggle. For a social science attuned to the relatively open politics of liberal democracies and to loud, headline-grabbing protests, demonstrations, and rebellions, the circumspect struggle waged daily by subordinate groups is, like infrared rays, beyond the visible end of the spectrum.”

    “The term infrapolitics is . . . appropriate in still another way. When we speak of the infrastructure for commerce we have in mind the facilities that make such commerce possible: for example, transport, banking, currency, property and contract law. In the same fashion, I mean to suggest that the infrapolitics we have examined provides much of the cultural and structural underpinning of the more visible political action on which our attention has generally been focused.”

    We must begin by working at this level, and we must work effectively.

  8. Fourmyle of Ceres
    Posted November 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    THEIR GOAL IS GENOCIDE. OURS. WHAT’S YOURS?

    Nice bit of irony here. in that the remarkably successful OCCUPY Movement is using the slime to rhizome model itself, to great effect, and is preparing for the moment the rhizome model can be extended dramatically.

    The “fascists,” of course, seem to be oblivious to new organizational models, and how to apply them.

    What’s YOUR Future? Focus Northwest!

  9. Morgan
    Posted November 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Other posters have covered similar thoughts to my own regarding Griffin’s scholarship of fascism. Instead I think it instructive to explore another side of the man—Griffin as drug addled raver. http://fusionanomaly.net/rogergriffin.html

    • White Republican
      Posted November 17, 2011 at 3:10 am | Permalink

      Some of Roger Griffin’s work on fascism is interesting, but he evidently suffers from mental AIDS. Consider this excerpt from A Fascist Century: Essays by Roger Griffin (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), pp. 130-131:

      “There are many Britons deeply committed to achieving a genuinely cohesive multi-cultural society. But as long as the majority of their fellow-citizens and their elected government, whether Labour or Tory, refuse to contemplate the radical measures needed to ensure steady progress towards multi-culturalism on the lines suggested by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and the Runnymede Trust, then Britain is destined to continue to oscillate between complacency and rude awakenings to the fact that we still have a lot more to learn from a number of countries, than to teach them about how to run a culturally pluralist democracy.

      “For some citizens of this not very ‘United Kingdom’ finding themselves on the ‘wrong’ side of the largely invisible ethnic divides and racial barriers which criss-cross British society, this country is no ‘other Eden,’ whatever Shakespeare suggested so long ago. For the socially excluded, it is much more like a ‘demi-hell’ than a ‘demi-paradise.’ The British Isles may be a natural fortress militarily, but it has signally failed to prevent the infection of racism. Salman Rushdie suggests that, as Anglo-Saxon Britons have now lost their world empire, their colonial mentality has been redirected against ethnic minorities living in their own country. Whatever the structural reasons for Britain’s white racism and the counter-racism it breeds in its victims, such intolerance will not be rooted out until most Britons (of whatever background) not only tolerate the steady mongrelisation of British society, but celebrate it as the laboratory of exciting new forms of culture and human coexistence.”

      The above words express a truly utopian, paranoid, and totalitarian mindset — precisely what Griffin professes to find and condemn in fascism. Since Britain is not the utopia of “a genuinely cohesive multi-cultural society,” he thinks it must be forced to become so. He advocates turning the British Isles into the Isles of Dr. Moreau, euphemistically describing it as a “laboratory of exciting new forms of culture and human coexistence.” He thinks that the “infection” of racism is epidemic among White people and even finds it in the mainstream political parties. He thinks that “intolerance” must be “rooted out” by destroying the British people and culture. Such tolerance!

      • Posted November 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

        White Republican, I commend you for applying the term “mental AIDS,” one of Faye’s terms from “Why We Fight,” to Griffin. I agree with your assessment. While I commend his scholarship, his loyalty is unquestionably to the other side, not us.

    • Posted November 19, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Morgan, the fact that Griffin contributed to an album of rave music is one of the more curious aspects of the man. However, that essay is about 15 years old now, and when I asked him myself a few years ago if he was still a raver he said that these days, his 8-year-old gives him all the transcendence he needs. It’s not something he’s ever tried to deny, however, since it’s on his Wikipedia page now and it used to be on his own official page at Oxford, back when he had a list of publications (which now seems to be gone).

  10. Posted November 9, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I also had some academic dealings with Roger Griffin and found him accommodating and reasonable. I referred him to some errors in an article he had composed on aspects of the Australian post war Right. I assume he acted on what I had said?

    I think that Griffin’s school in the study of historical fascism was a valuable contribution to the study and basically people like A James Gregor and Stanley Payne ended up pretty much in accord with him.

    Griffin’s ‘problem’ – as the critics here say – lies in the post war Right (sic) and anything which we might choose to call neo-fascism. He has not attempted nay real project of classification of the welter of ‘racist’, nationalist, Third Position and others, although he did pass some tangential commentary in his Fascism: A Reader and in some items dealing with the neo-nazis.

    It might be better that the younger people reading this site and who have taken the option of studying history and politics in the university setting, need to be those who write a part of the history henceforward. Otherwise, most assuredly, it will remain the entire province of the liberals. And if some of the items appearing here over time are any indication, this site and related ones have also taken taken up the cudgels.

    Finally, I recommended the Griffin article here to many activists over time. The ‘secret’ may be to assure better coordination and interlinkages of this subculture that it may fuel the surface world above – and further, that the politics conducted in the open, is better informed and bonded to the ferment below.

  11. White Republican
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking that it might be worthwhile to apply ideas on open source innovation to metapolitics and small-scale activism. Properly adapting these ideas will take some work, for the literature on open source innovation that I’m acquainted with doesn’t address these things, focusing mainly on software (e.g. Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar), but also on fourth-generation warfare (e.g. John Robb’s Brave New War) and biotechnology (e.g. Janet Hope’s Biobazaar). Nevertheless, I think that some of the insights of the open source model might be applicable to metapolitics and small-scale activism, although this is more of an intuition or a hypothesis than a mature idea.

    Groupuscles should function as workshops or laboratories for developing and promoting the ideas and techniques needed by White nationalism. They should not function as ghettos or asylums. If they are to exercise a wider influence, groupuscles can’t do whatever they like by way of developing “diverse, interesting, and extremely varied permutations of memes and ideology.” A combination of “social selection” and “natural selection” should operate here. In other words, groupuscles should select ideas and techniques that appear promising, and put them to the test by working with them in the larger environment.

    We need to think both big and small. We need to think of organization in pluralistic terms. We need to think in terms of optimal forms and sizes of organization. This is very much a matter of context, and is arbitrary in that it involves value judgments, trade-offs, and uncertainties. We should not make a fetish of centralization or decentralization. Above all, we must revolt against the modern world, not retreat from it!

    • Drieu
      Posted November 9, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      De Felice wasn’t Jewish to my knowledge. His Wiki articles don’t mention it, and the American Jewish Yearbook describes him as a “non-Jewish scholar” while referring to his work on the Italian Jews.

      On a hilarious, De Felice was accused of “corrupting the Italian youth” by convincing them that Fascism wasn’t that bad after all. His work was partially blamed for the resurgence of Neo-Fascism there during the 1980s.

      • White Republican
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        I can’t remember where I picked up the idea that Renzo de Felice was a Jew (my guess is that it was Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s Leftism Revisited, which I read over a decade ago). I try to avoid such misidentifications, which are fairly common in these circles, but I didn’t bother checking in this case. One sometimes sees individuals like Werner Sombart or Friedrich von Hayek misidentified as Jews.

  12. Drieu
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Can someone get Renzo De Felice’s multivolume biography of Mussolini translated into English? It did more to make Fascism respectable again in Italy than anything else and shattered lots of the Marxist propaganda that had dominated since WWII. Unsurprisingly, he was denounced as a crypto-Fascist for daring to publish such work, but eventually even his opponents came to accept his scholarship. The first volume was published decades ago and yet not a single one has ever found its way into English, even though De Felice is recognized as one of the premier scholars on the subject.

    • Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Drieu: thanks for the suggestion. I’m sure that both my Arktos and Greg’s Counter-Currents would love to translate it, although chances are the Italian publisher would want a lot of money for the rights, plus the amount of resources involved in translating a multi-volume work such as that into English would likely be beyond what any publisher on the “true Right” is capable of at the present time. Hopefully that will change one day.

      • Greg Johnson
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly.

      • White Republican
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        I think I read somewhere that Renzo de Felice planned to write a single-volume biography of Mussolini after completing his multi-volume biography, but I don’t know if he actually did this. His work on Italian Fascism and the Jews might have been translated into English. By the way, Felice was Jewish, but this doesn’t seem to have prevented him from discussing Julius Evola’s anti-Semitism and racism in an informed and judicious manner.

        There are many books that are worthy of translation, but the market for such translations are small, as are the resources for publishing them. Relatively few people recognize how difficult it is to publish books. James Burnham remarked in The Machiavellians that intellectually serious books rarely sell more than several thousand copies. And David Bann notes in The All New Print Production Handbook that “50% of all books with an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) sell fewer than 250 copies.” Figures like these should provoke serious reflection on the function, circulation, influence, cost, and value of books, and the priorities that should be observed in selecting books for publications. In these matters, Say’s law (supply creates demand) sometimes works, but it works very slowly. Intellectual tastes are very much acquired tastes.

        The cost and the value of publishing are two different things. It might be said that publishing is hardly a profit center but is nonetheless vital to the economy of the movement. People can’t identify with, contribute to, or work for nationalism if it has no hold on their mind.

  13. Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Mr. Sallis’ conclusions in this article, both that studying the ideas of our opponents concerning what we’re doing, such as Roger Griffin’s, can be beneficial, and also about the current condition of the Right, particularly in the U.S. I think this essay dovetails nicely with the “Leader-ful Resistance” article I published here a couple of weeks ago. Until we reach the point where we are ready to begin appointing leaders and establishing more traditional groups, groupuscular formations are clearly the way to go.

    I’ve found Prof. Griffin’s writings to be particularly fascinating. Perhaps as a result of his background in the humanities (specifically literature), he often has more penetrating and unique insights into what the Right is trying to do, in spite of his misgivings, than most other scholars, who fall back onto the same repetitive tropes (such as the Right being nothing more than a tool of big business). He’s one of the few academics who specialize in the Right whose work I’d recommend.

    On a personal note, I’ll mention that I struck up a brief correspondence with Prof. Griffin a few years ago. In part it was as a “fan,” and in part it was because I’d always wondered if he was, perhaps, more sympathetic to our cause than he could let on publicly, considering how insightful his work is. He was extremely kind and willing to correspond at first, but before long he was encouraging me to abandon any active participation in the Right and instead devote myself to the academic study of the Right, as he is doing. When he realized that I had no intention of doing this, his interest in me quickly waned. I can’t really blame him, since we inhabit two separate, if linked, worlds. Still, the whole business of present-day academia, in which some professors and graduate students spend their time and earn their living from studying phenomena which they find personally reprehensible, strikes me as very odd. The “culture of critique,” indeed.

    • Drieu
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      For English-speaking audiences, I also highly recommend the work of A. James Gregor and Stanley Payne. Both write in a far more dispassionate tone than Griffin and treat Fascism as a seriously ideology.

  14. Michael O'Meara
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Like other academic students of the subject, Roger Griffin approaches ‘fascism’ (and its alleged ‘contemporary’ manifestations) with the aim ultimately of demonizing them as perverse. The French New Right and the British National Party are thus tarred with the same brush as Hitler’s NSDAP and Mussolini’s ‘totalitarianism’. In this, Griffin and the ‘school’ he has spawned (emphasizing fascism’s cultural nature and its ideal-typical expression) are no different than the prevailing liberal/Marxist schools of the last 90 years, which mainly lash out at their subject, depicting it as a reactionary capitalist movement, an irrational nihilism, a pathological barbarism, a perverse totalitarianism, etc. (It might be noted that some Marxists are wont to criticize Griffin as a ‘fascist apologist’, for ‘having taken fascism seriously’). Where he and his school break new ground (following in the footsteps of G. L. Mosse) is in trying to ‘objectively’ depict the political and organizational ‘logic’ they study – irrespective of the ideological axes they grind. In highlighting this ‘logic’ (even though still failing to see it in terms of that resurgence of faith and authority, which has contested liberalism’s reign for the last 200 years), they have indeed made a definite contribution to the study of fascism – or, better said, to anti-liberalism, which is as old as liberal modernity.

  15. rdub
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    The article may be found here: ah.brookes.ac.uk/resources/griffin/slimemould.pdf

    The reference to a “cocoon” seems more aimed at the fact that the internet, as a haven for those with unpopular views, is often reduced to an echo chamber, causing one to avoid the “reality check” the writer assumes would cause any intelligent fascist to reconsider his views.
    Sounds like projection: the halls of Oxford Brookes are undoubtedly far more insular and reciprocating than the reality we proles live in.

    “…though the highly variegated utopian schemes of the groupuscular right will never be realized…” Such hubris.
    Griffin actually imagines future studies of political extremism sifting through the detritus of today’s “slime mold.”
    I see the future a bit differently.

  16. Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    Roger Griffin was, apparently, very interested in Troy Southgate’s monograph about the British Far Right, which was published by Wermod and Wermod last year—Nazis, Fascists, or Neither?. I am told that in the end he hated Southgate’s conclusions, and furthermore that Southgate’s study was inconvenient to Griffin from a theoretical point of view, as Griffin’s theory of fascism was shown, implicitly, to be too simplistic.

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