Thoughts On The State Of The Right
There’s no sense in mincing words anymore: the Alt-Right has hit a wall, and is faced with the hard task of pulling back and searching for a new course. The enemy media are (prematurely) claiming victory. Many progressives are hastening to vindicate the ‘antifa’ domestic terrorist movement, discarding the pretence that liberal misgivings about organised political violence hinge on anything more than crass utilitarianism.
My purpose here is to offer some thoughts on what has happened and how our side can hope to recover its ground. I do not wish to exaggerate the present difficulties, nor blame people in the Alt-Right for suffering a form of outsourced government repression. However, repression by those in power is a constant for us; what has changed is the effectiveness of this repression, which used to meet with a fluid, agile and durable target, and now increasingly enjoys a sluggish, clumsy and brittle one. One major reason for this is that prominent figures in the Alt-Right, protected by a widespread culture of hooting down internal dissent, took strategic and aesthetic decisions that have ended up transforming an antifragile movement into a destructible one.
Where the Alt-Right was once proudly decentralised, it now seeks unification (and is, of course, more divided than ever). Where it once contained a constellation of anti-progressive elements, it is now reduced to an isolated ethno-nationalist core spitting fire at everything else around it. Where it once employed intellectual quality and transgressive trolling to equally great effect, these polar opposites have lately been merged into a dull and stagnant rehash of Rockwellian neo-Nazism.
As many of these changes were made precisely so that certain individuals could enjoy leadership, it would be perverse to deny them a corresponding responsibility for the results. That said, I am not accusing anyone of deliberate sabotage. Those who employed these methods almost certainly believed that they would work. This is why a true analysis of the present state of affairs must look beyond mere personalities and decisions, and identify the deeper fault lines in the ideological fundament of our movement.
Your Brain On Liberalism
To understand why the Alt-Right is failing, we can start by asking a simple question: how do most people in it envisage the movement succeeding? I would anticipate receiving three basic answers: 1) a mass white awakening provoked by anti-white depradations; 2) the rise of a reactionary post-Millennial youth wave; and 3) a collapse of modern Western civilisation that will destroy the ruling power structure.
None of these scenarios correspond to reality. Anti-white depradations that would have seemed unimaginable a few decades ago have not induced ordinary people in the West to rise up. ‘Generation Zyklon’ might be fairly conservative, but let’s not forget how little social power they have, or how many cradles in the West have already been filled by the imported neo-proletariat loyal to the Left. And a civilisational collapse, even assuming that it would happen, would likely favour those who already possess disproportionate resources and entrenched power structures. The big winners of the Western Roman collapse were the barbarian invaders, the Christian Church, and (sometimes) the late Roman landholding elites who got to merge with the invaders; all that the bagaudae received was merciless suppression by old and new elites alike.
All of these Alt-Right fantasies of victory bear a common stamp of origin. They are liberal fantasies. This fact that should not surprise us in the least, given that liberalism enjoys near-complete intellectual hegemony in the West, and forms the common ideological bedrock of progressivism and post-1945 conservatism.
One of the fundamental pillars of liberalism is what we might call a democentric view of things. In this view, men are born free, but choose to enter into a ‘social contract’ and set up a ruling authority in order to secure their interests. This implies not only that the ruling authority is the servant of the people, but that the initative to drive history is in the hands of the people, while those in power can only choose to carry out or deny the popular will. Although the ruling elites may disregard their obligations and repress popular demands, this can only prove ineffective in the long run, as the will of the people inevitably takes the course of insurrection to restore the original social contract.
Contrast this with the anti-liberal view, which we can call cratocentric or ‘rule-centred’. In this view, all men are born into subjection (i.e. as children); society arises from the expansion and agglomeration of families; and the authority of the ruler is no more dependent on popular consent than is the rule of a father over his children. The people do not and cannot take the initative to change society; all that they can do is either assent to the commands of the ruling authority, or negate them. Repression in the latter case usually works just fine, and where insurrections do take place, they do not spring from a spontaneous popular will but from the power schemes of a rival authority.
Although democentrism may possess ideological hegemony over the modern West, cratocentrism still possesses its ancient hegemony over human nature. And when we apply the cratocentric view to the democentric one, we understand that democentrism is not really a popular ‘anti-elitist’ viewpoint, but an ideological weapon to serve the long struggle of liberal elites against the traditional elites of the West. Democentrism is toxic to the legitimacy of an aristocracy, and hazardous to that of a monarchy; but it is a useful smokescreen for anonymous bourgeois plutocrats, and a positive elixir of health for the managerial elites whose business it is to control society in the name of the people.
What does all of this have to do with the present state of the Alt-Right? Well, I’ll state it plainly: the liberal managerial class ruling the West preserves its own legitimacy, as well as the illegitimacy of all possible rivals, by using manipulation and patronage to construct a democratic facade for its own exercise of power. When it wants to destabilise a foreign government, it funds a colour revolution, or encourages an internal rebellion. When it wants to impeach a renegade U.S. President, and anticipates the need to disarm his conservative supporters, it comes up with a media-constructed assault on public opinion masquerading as a spontaneous protest by school shooting survivors. When it wants to strengthen that impeachment effort by getting hold of some juicy photos of brown children being shot dead by border guards, it whips up a caravan of illegal migrants to storm the U.S. border and crosses its collective fingers in hope.
As these examples suggest, this manipulation does not always lead to direct success. But it has created a strong illusion of unlimited popular agency that influences even the self-described enemies of liberalism, infecting them with a false picture of how power is achieved and exercised. The tactics pursued by the Alt-Right since Heilgate can be compared to a cargo cult, in the sense that they rely on recreating the democentric facade of liberal astroturf movements: protest marchers chanting racialist slogans are our Black Lives Matter, street brawlers are our antifa, and neo-Nazis are our trannies and homosexuals demanding public acceptance for their shocking private fetishes. Everything is in place – except for, alas, the decisive factor, which is the patronage and toleration of those in power. And when these tactics fail, the Alt-Righters start to blame their own people for not spontaneously rising up in defence of their own interests.
The Fascist Path To Power
In light of this, it is worth taking a brief look at how the fascist movements of the early twentieth century achieved power. Many of those pushing liberal cargo-cult tactics in the Alt-Right believe that they are imitating fascism, and they hold out hope for ‘white awakenings’ because they know that Hitler and Mussolini rose to power on the back of popular movements. However, a closer look at the history of these movements refutes the popular myth of fascists taking power by a pure mass revolution.
Robert O. Paxton’s Anatomy Of Fascism is of great use here, as it discusses not only the successful fascist movements in Italy and Germany but also the unsuccessful ones elsewhere, and distinguishes all of these from conservative authoritarian regimes that did not rely on the same radical and populist methods. It also separates out the stages through which a fascist movement must cycle in order to assume power, and it is clear that the aid of already established power is needed at several points on the way.
The first stage begins long before the fascist movement is founded, and consists of the social, intellectual and political developments that contribute to making it a possibility. As everyone knows, the Great War and the rise of Communism in Russia were the most important preconditions for the original fascist movements. Less often appreciated is the role of what we would now call ‘metapolitics’: a longer process of mental preparation going back decades, in which the failings of liberalism and democracy were exposed and the decline of Western civilisation was discussed. This smoothed the way for the creation of fascist movements in the wake of the Great War, but it did not guarantee their success: for example, fascism did not take power in France, although the French had experienced the longest period of mental preparation for it.
The next stage, starting once the fascist movement is founded, consists of the process by which it roots itself in the social and political system – or fails to do so. Initially, the fascist movement seeks to maximise its popular appeal by creating a loose and amorphous ‘antiparty’, which serves to attract all sorts of people possessing wildly divergent interests but united by a vague discontent. Later, although the movement continues to rally the people, many of these early followers end up being pruned off as alliances are made with existing social and political interests. In Mussolini’s case, this was achieved when the squadristi in rural Italy made themselves indispensible to the big landowners, who were being squeezed between the laissez-faire liberal state and the socialists agitating their workforce. In Germany, Hitler managed to attract small businessmen and a few large ones to his cause, although most of these stuck with traditional conservatives (and certainly did not bankroll the NSDAP to the extent claimed by the Left). It is important to emphasise the toleration of both fascisms by elements of central power: local police forces often sided with Mussolini’s squadristi, and Brownshirt toughs enjoyed lenient treatment by the conservative Weimar judiciary.
The third stage, and the final one as far as we are concerned, involves the “seizure of power” by which the fascist movement achieves unrestrained rule. But in order to achieve this, the fascist leaders must first be appointed into government by conservative elites, who typically wish to make use of their popular following in order to bolster their own legitimacy. The 1922 March on Rome was nearly thwarted by the Italian government – trains carrying the majority of Blackshirts were stopped by police, and there was military force available to repulse the nine thousand who turned up at the gates of the city – but King Victor Emmanuel III, fearing the consequences of open bloodshed, declined to impose martial law and instead offered the prime ministry to Mussolini. Hitler – having tried and failed to imitate this gambit in 1923 – sought power through the political system instead, and was eventually appointed to the chancellorship by a conservative elite that had been ruling without a parliamentary majority and wished to return to popular rule. Had the intention been to block him out at all costs, this could have been managed quite feasibly, as the NSDAP’s large electoral support was beginning to drop off at the time.
In summary, successful fascist movements must cultivate not only the masses but also the vested interests of society. They must be encouraged, or at least tolerated, by an established ruling elite focused on the greater threat from leftist revolution. Eventually, they must make a bid for power, and find conservative patrons who are both willing to cooperate with them and obliged by their own crisis of legitimacy to do so. Where no such opportunities existed, fascism got nowhere; and where it confronted conservative authoritarian regimes, it typically ended up being repressed.
The fascist experience can teach us many things. It illustrates the importance, but also the limitations, of metapolitical action. It tells us that anyone attempting to follow the route to power walked by the fascists must appeal to a vast array of classes and interests, and must work with national sentiment instead of offending it, which rules out anyone who chooses to marginalise himself by waving the flag of a defeated foreign enemy. It also reminds intellectuals that the angry young men attracted to the Right, who often egg each other on into unwise patterns of behaviour, are in fact indispensible – what matters is to put them to a positive use defending the people being bullied by the Left, instead of wasting them in pointless street parading or bitter infighting.
However, the main thing that fascism teaches us is that it cannot be recreated in an era that was founded on its defeat. The modern manifestation of leftist revolution is not a threat from beyond the frontier, but the crux of the ruling power structure, and it is now the antifa and SJWs who enjoy judicial leniency and official patronage. The managerial revolution in industry, and the abandonment of white proletarians in favour of foreign immigrants by the Left, has neutralised the old opposition between Bolshevism and big business. The West is no longer a collection of sovereign states based on the rights of a warrior-citizenry, but a de facto U.S. Empire that seeks to achieve its expansionist goals by manipulation and subversion. And while there are still ‘conservatives’ in office, these are no longer the anti-liberal traditionalists who used that name before 1945, but right-liberal loyal oppositionists who pride themselves on keeping “fascists” out of power.
Of the three stages of fascist pathbreaking, the only one available to us right now is metapolitics. Thanks to the internet, the hypocrisy and savagery of the liberal oligarchy sponsoring the foreign colonisation of the West can be communicated every day to masses of people outside the official media structure. Our assault on the legitimacy of the present system will never induce the masses to rise up and replace it, but it can ensure that they become unwilling to react strongly against threats to liberal authority, and that is the first step from which all others follow.
From Fourth to Second Generation Warfare
As regards political action, in a situation where previous roads to power have been closed to us, there is only one model that can promise any success. This is the guerrilla war – or, more precisely, the Fourth Generation War (4GW) described by William S. Lind.
Of course, I am not suggesting a physical war with the managerial state, and anyone who does so is either a moron or an enemy shill. But it should be clear to us by now that politics is war by other means, and that we are in the strategic position of ‘non-state actors’, prohibited from fighting in the open against those who possess official patronage and legal impunity. Non-state actors are no exception to the rules of cratocentrism – they tend to fare best when backed up by financial patronage from sympathetic states – but foreign funding is not required for the inception of a political guerrilla movement.
In its original form, the Alt-Right was a promising example of guerrilla methods applied to political warfare. As a diverse collection of autonomous Rightist groups operating under a single brand name, it presented no single target for the enemy to attack. The movement had no leader to be vilified, co-opted, hyped up as Hitler-Of-The-Week, or made to look an idiot in public; in his absence, Hillary Clinton was reduced to declaring war on a cartoon frog. Alt-Right trolls used Nazi imagery to flout social restrictions on thoughtcrime, and to turn the enemy’s hallowed justification for neo-imperialist wars and domestic repression campaigns into a big stupid joke. But this was done by rank-and-filers sniping from the undergrowth of anonymity, and when the shrieking volunteer commissars wanted to hit back at Alt-Right public figures, they found none who were fool enough to present themselves as targets by endorsing Nazi imagery.
By extending its branding to milder strains of conservatism as well as ethnonationalists and reactionaries, the original Alt-Right conformed to the 4GW principle of ‘hugging the civilians’, forcing the enemy to infuriate and radicalise ordinary people by attacking them in order to get to the guerrillas. Clinton again fell into this trap, responding to the rise of the Alt-Right by smearing half the American population as ‘deplorables’; and persecutions like the Count Dankula trial have much to do with elite paranoia about the spread of Nazi sentiments among the white working class. When this sort of thing happens, and the guerrillas (Alt-Right) shoot back while the client-rulers (cuckservatives) wring their hands, the loyalties of the people begin to shift in a new direction.
After finding a patron in Donald Trump, the Alt-Right acquired the ability to go on the offensive. Properly understood, the election of Trump was the first step towards reopening a long-closed road to patronage and power for radical Rightists, by overthrowing the right-liberal professional losers and restoring a true conservative elite in their place. However, it was merely the capture of a bridgehead, whereas many people in the Alt-Right at the time seemed to think that it was the crowning victory of a war. Alt-Right people in the U.S. actually started to say things like “we are the establishment now”. They had Cast Their Votes, Thrown The Bastards Out, and Put Their Man Into Office – thus they could safely forget about sham democracy and guerrilla tactics and revert to the liberal faith of their hearts, discarding hard-won knowledge under the pretext of taking action.
This set the stage for the regression of the Alt-Right into conventional tactics, or Second Generation War (2GW), which began with Richard Spencer’s Heilgate stunt in November 2016. Spencer, who had created the original Alternative Right website in 2010 and shut it down three years later, almost certainly regretted publicly discarding the Alt-Right brand just before it exploded in popularity. In the old Rockwellian tradition, he decided to raise his name by using Nazi symbolism to play the enemy media – forgetting that this strategy always entails being played right back. By sparking a media outcry, and winning over the large audiences flocking to the increasingly Nazi-themed outlets of Andrew Anglin and Mike Enoch, Heilgate succeeded in presenting Spencer as the leader of the Alt-Right.
However, the wider effect of the stunt was to drive a wedge into the loose alliance between radical ethnonationalists and civic nationalist populists, negating the 4GW strategy of ‘hugging the citizens’ and allowing the radical core of the movement to be isolated as a target. The Alt-Right ended up as a smaller alliance of edgy white-nat groups revolving around Spencer, and promptly began to isolate itself further by declaring war on the ‘Alt-Liters’ who had broken off to form the New Right. Simultanously, a plan was unveiled to redefine the new Alt-Right as a centralised coalition, commanded by an eponymous corporate entity under Spencer’s leadership. This threatened the organic unity of the original Alt-Right, by making it harder for diverse groups to coexist within the movement – and sure enough, the change from rhizome to tree has yielded a bitter fruit of endless internal crusades against homosexuals, ‘tradthots’ and other targets.
If the methods of the decentralised Alt-Right can be compared to guerrilla warfare, centralisation was equivalent to crawling out from the undergrowth and forming up as conventional battalions in the open field. At Charlottesville, the Alt-Right marched directly into one of the strongpoints of the enemy, with no plan other than to triumph by muscle and will. Although the men present showed great bravery against the antifa scum and politicised police sent against them, they could not have hoped to win in the long term against the weight of media, judicial, corporate and political power stacked against them. And the failure of the Alt-Right to keep up these costly frontal attacks has brought us to the present state of affairs, in which the enemy media is gloating over the humiliation of the Spencers and Heimbachs they themselves elevated into place.
How, in retrospect, could things have been done differently? And how can things yet be done differently?
We have to admit that that the pre-Heilgate structure of the movement could not have survived forever, and certainly not outside of cyberspace. The fact that people in the Alt-Right felt the need to out-edgelord each other so as to gain status is proof enough of the need for a degree of leadership and hierarchy. But if the contours of the original movement had been respected, the natural development would have been towards the creation of several real-life organisations within the overarching brand of the Alt-Right, which would have tried out various approaches until one of them gained the strength and momentum to absorb the others.
Ideally, these organisations would have carried the guerrilla tactics of the online movement into real life: harrying the enemy, and luring the Left into multiplying its enemies in society by overplaying its hand, instead of multiplying our own enemies by allowing ourselves to be presented as a threat to social order. Instead of rushing to usurp the brand name of the entire movement, the leaders would have been wise enough to maintain a degree of plausible deniability between real-life activity and online discourse, making it less likely for political action to backfire on metapolitical work by inviting corporate censorship.
Although spent political capital cannot be recovered, there is nothing stopping us from taking this course in the present day. Organisations like Identity Europa in the U.S., apparently modelled on Generation Identity in Europe, are using sustainable political guerrilla tactics such as flash demos and leaflet bombing. Antifa, who feel vindicated by recent events, continue to push conservatives towards radicalisation by making life intolerable for them. The political bridgehead in the U.S. established by the Trump election is still intact, though much beleagured, and the upcoming fight against impeachment offers an opportunity to reunite the Rightist elements sundered by Heilgate.
If we must drop the brand name of the original movement in order to recover its ethos, then so be it. The centralised Alt-Right exists mainly as an idea, which probably serves to funnel donation money up to the handful of outlets that follow its rigid orthodoxy, but exacts an intolerable price in strategic cackhandedness and internal friction. Distancing ourselves from the name cannot make it go away – we are stuck with it for the foreseeable future – but it can dispel the illusion of unification, and allow the decentralised substance of the movement to reassert itself. And if we should require another catch-all brand name that can be used to the purpose of ‘hugging the civilians’, there is always the New Right brand currently being used by civic nationalists, who would be powerless to prevent its repossession by ethnonationalists and reactionaries.
Perhaps the long-term success of our struggle will have to wait for a powerful patron. However, at least we can reject the patronage of the only established power willing to support bad strategy and neo-Nazi idiocy: the enemy media. As Greg Johnson has observed, the media and certain Jewish organisations exert a great deal of control over the selection of leaders in the radical Right, by hyping up anyone who confirms their stereotypes as a serious threat and channelling credibility in his direction. It is no accident that the cautionary tale of ‘WN 1.0’ began when George Rockwell thought he could play the enemy media, and has returned with a venegeance now that Richard Spencer has fallen into the same trap; the fact that both men were, in my estimation, generally sincere in their motives did not prevent the media from making use of them.
Those of us disposed to constructive criticism must always keep in mind the maxim: no enemies to the Right. But this can only hold true in the context of no alliances with the Left. Those who want to lead this movement to victory have no serious choice other than to pursue steady, organic growth through meritorious action – and give the Fake News nothing except the savour of a door in the face.