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On Metapolitics

1,115 words

I think that many nationalists regard metapolitics with incomprehension, skepticism, and hostility because it is presented in terms they cannot visualize, comprehend, or practice:

1. The medium of metapolitics is culture. Culture is a complex, mysterious, and mercurial thing. The work involved in changing culture at a societal, civilizational, and historical level is so difficult, uncertain, and slow that it may be difficult for nationalists to see how it can be done and to believe that they can do it. Trying to change the Zeitgeist might appear to be like trying to change the weather or reverse the tide.

2. Metapolitics is presented in terms that are too large, grandiose, and vague. In order to make metapolitics visible, credible, and practical, it is necessary to present it in terms that people can visualize. It is necessary to define metapolitics in terms of the big and the small, the long term and the short term, and the potential and the actual, so that it appears as a work in progress rather than a pipe-dream.

3. Metapolitics is presented in terms that are too intellectual, literary, and abstract. It appears to lack a definite purpose or direction. It appears to be concerned with ideas as if these are sufficient by themselves and to treat ideas as toys rather than tools. Richard M. Weaver famously said that ideas have consequences. Samuel Francis less famously said that some ideas are more consequential than others. Metapolitics should be concerned with consequential ideas and with making ideas consequential.

4. Metapolitics is presented in terms that suggest that it is independent of and even hostile to other forms of activism. Metapolitics should be seen as a part of what the National Democratic Party of Germany calls the “three tiers strategy” of cultural, community, and electoral activism. Each form of activism should complement and reinforce the others.

5. Metapolitics appears to be restricted to professional wordsmiths such as scholars, intellectuals, writers, editors, and publishers. This places metapolitics beyond the position and the capacity of most nationalists. Relatively few nationalists can write books and articles worth publishing or reading. The number of regular contributors for nationalist publications is very small. Metapolitics does not appear to provide most nationalists with meaningful work and useful tools.

These are my impressions concerning how metapolitics is presented and perceived by many nationalists. They are largely subjective and I have stated them in simple and dogmatic terms for brevity. I could expand this list, and better define and explain particular points, but I cannot do this right now and I would like to reply to the comments while they are still recent. (Perhaps there is the basis of an article here.) My use of terms such as professional wordsmiths may suggest that I have anti-intellectual leanings that I do not have. But if I did, I would be ignorant of the authors and publications that I habitually refer to and cite in my comments.

As metapolitics involves the struggle for cultural hegemony, it should be conducted in many areas, and at many levels. We cannot establish cultural hegemony overnight, but we can carve out “autonomous zones” from which we can practice counter-hegemony, and we can prepare the cultural groundwork for challenging the system.

The front is everywhere. Whether we want it or not, we are in a total war. We must put everyone to work where they are and as they are.

I advocate metapolitics that is directed towards and practiced by nationalists who are not necessarily professional wordsmiths. There is a need for “think tanks” such as Counter-Currents/North American New Right and The Occidental Quarterly concerned with developing nationalist ideas at a high level. There is also a need for “irrigation systems” concerned with popularizing nationalist ideas. Metapolitics should equip militants with the “mighty arsenal of intellectual ammunition” that Greg Johnson writes of. We need an armory as well as a logistics system.

I should note several things regarding the “ground level Gramscianism” that I envisage:

1. It would involve the doctrinal and practical formation of average nationalists. Nationalists need to know what they are fighting for and how to fight. Nationalists need to improve their skill in formulating and presenting their ideas. They need not be professional writers or speakers to present their ideas effectively within their sphere of influence.

2. It would involve developing nationalist discourse to make it as presentable and persuasive as possible in relation to the audiences to which it is addressed. This work would involve carefully selecting and molding the ideas, arguments, examples, language, imagery, tone, and style of nationalist discourse for optimal effectiveness.

Nationalists need to develop their powers of observation and judgment so that they can accurately determine what works in these matters and what does not. Perhaps nationalist discourse should be developed in a manner akin to open source software, such as described in Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar. As Wendell Berry remarked: “Cultural solutions are organisms, not machines, and they cannot be invented deliberately or imposed by prescription.”

I would like to see authors such as Michael J. Polignano do more work in this area. As has been noted, Polignano makes “the most radical positions seductively reasonable.” Authors like him can do much to fashion a nationalist discourse that is credible, assimilable, and communicable. Average nationalists should be able to pick up his ideas and pass them on to others. That is how traditions are created.

3. It would not involve mainstreaming. Indeed, the doctrinal and practical formation of average nationalists I advocate would be oriented towards preventing mainstreaming. Nationalists should have the ideas and the skills that will enable them to stand by themselves. It should be impossible for opportunists such as Gianfranco Fini or Nick Griffin to hijack nationalist organizations.

4. It requires greater self-discipline from nationalists. Nationalists should think before they speak, and they should not say everything they think. Nationalists should not think they are free to do what they like. (Readers who have a copy of Julius Evola’s Men Among the Ruins might like to read and ponder Evola’s comments on the “Mediterranean” and the “Roman” character. They are too lengthy to be cited here. Nationalists should have a “Roman” character.)

5. The ideas above are very rough. For me, they are like an invention which is promising, but which will take a long time to become a marketable product.

If the ideas in this comment have any value, they might also serve as an object lesson of what the commentators here are saying. These ideas are not necessarily obvious, it took me a long time to put them together, and it will take a lot of work to make them truly practical. They could easily be forgotten.

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  1. Wandrin
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Excellent. I’d just add there’s no need for everyone to agree that this has value. The NPD are correct,

    “the National Democratic Party of Germany calls the “three tiers strategy” of cultural, community, and electoral activism. Each form of activism should complement and reinforce the others.”

    Different people have different temperaments and it is possible for strands to complement and reinforce each other even if they’re not officially on the same team – or even speaking terms.

  2. LEW
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    This article resolved most of my questions. I am still a bit unclear, however, on point 3 in the Gramsci on the ground section. Why is mainstreaming inconsistent with metapolitics? In this context, do you define mainstreaming as the rejection of the need for a metapolitical struggle? If so, I can see how that definition makes sense. I’m still not clear on the accepted definitions of mainstream and vanguard in a WN context, however.

    • White Republican
      Posted November 17, 2010 at 3:03 am | Permalink

      I wrote this item as a post to Greg Johnson’s article “White Nationalism and the ‘Political Mainstream,'” and Johnson decided to publish it as a separate article. As Johnson adequately defined and debunked mainstreaming, I saw no need to do this myself. However, I thought that some readers might equate a concern with making White nationalist views presentable and persuasive with mainstreaming, and I wanted to avoid this. Mainstreamers advocate self-censorship, soft-pedaling or abandoning controversial issues, and avoiding explicitly asserting our racial interests. I advocate the precise opposite. This is why I advocate doctrinal and practical formation among White nationalists. White nationalists in general need to be articulate about their cause. They therefore need to have sound ideas and good communication skills.

      I should note that progress in making our ideas more presentable and persuasive must be measured in relative rather than absolute terms. We have no magic formula that will make our ideas popular, but we can formulate and present our ideas with greater skill and effectiveness, relative to what we are doing now. We must work at these things diligently and conscientiously to make progress.

      You’re quite correct in saying that mainstreaming neglects the need for metapolitical struggle. Mainstreamers do not fundamentally challenge the cultural hegemony of the system. They might criticise various aspects of the system, but they do not challenge the system itself.

      • LEW
        Posted November 17, 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        I looked back at Greg’s article and realized the whole section on mainstream fantasy was essentially one long definition. The pithy version you gave is also helpful. Your article and comment have really cleared up a lot of my confusion on this topic. Thanks.

  3. Dr. Jim Saleam
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    This article is well thought out, although the author considers it rough. It implies much.

    A metapolitics provides a big picture element that puts fire into the politics of the mundane and the routine. Was it not the vision of the socialist construction and the ultimate classless utopia that inspired the communist activist to perform arduous labour? Are we not in need of a similar core vision?

    Wandrin has identified a difficulty for the ‘three tier method party’ as it applies its metapolitics. He suggests that other groups which practise any one or more of the tiers may not exist in the same structure. Indeed.

    There are three problems for a nationalist party from that position.

    First: those who practise only the community activist tier may criticise electoral participation as a concession to bourgeois politics and they may castigate those who are active in cultural/ideological work as effete. Second: those involved only in cultural/ideological work may view activism or electoral work as processes that contaminate their projects. Third a group which practises only electoral work (ignorant as they may be of the functions of the other tiers which in fact deepen any electoral success or participation) will compete with the nationalist party in a way that will cause a public damage.

    The strength in having a disconnected three tier movement is simply that the properly constituted party may connect its appropriate tentacle into a larger milieu and roll in tandem with it. That increases potential and power. Indeed, the party may re-craft the others into fellow-travellers and position the party as a vital sun around which they may securely orbit and gain benefits themselves. Such a political solar system gains permanency.

    A metapolitics (albeit which is expressed in comprehensible slogans and forms) gives to a party on the ground the quality of being in the vanguard and permits it to challenge the morality, the probity and the normalcy of establishment politics.

    Indeed, the front is everywhere and the war is total!

  4. Andrew Hamilton
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Great contribution. I liked this.

    Thanks for writing it and (to Greg) for publishing it.

  5. White Republican
    Posted November 21, 2010 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    I’m thinking of writing on metapolitics in greater detail in the future. Possible subjects for writing or translation relating to metapolitics that I’m thinking of addressing include:

    1. A more detailed examination of the definition, perception, and practice of metapolitics in the English-speaking world.

    2. Guillaume Faye’s ideas on metapolitics. A comprehensive overview of Faye’s ideas on these matters might be useful for those who can only read Archeofuturism.

    3. The “three tiers strategy” of cultural, community, and electoral activism. I should examine the synergies and tensions between these forms of activism in detail.

    4. Political myths. There are three things I should address here. First, I should analyze and synthesize the ideas of Georges Sorel and Gustave Le Bon on myth. Second, I should examine the role of myth in political movements with historical and contemporary examples. Third, I should examine the mythemes that could crystallize into the myth of the White Republic or a comparable myth.

    5. A more detailed examination of what I have called “ground-level Gramscianism.” I should examine why I believe this is necessary and what it might entail by way of structures, methods, and developmental strategies. This might involve something like the Revolutionary Nationalist Groups of François Duprat.

    6. A translation of an article by Duprat on culture and politics.

    7. The development and dissemination of the ideas and practices that underpin “ground-level Gramscianism.” This might involve adapting various ideas from Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar and Everett M. Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations. The ideas on metis in James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State might also be relevant. I’m inclined to favor an innovative, flexible, and decentralized approach to activism. I would reject the Taylorist approach that insists that there is one best way to do things, as well as the laissez-faire approach that anything goes.

    8. The outlines of what might be called an “open orthodoxy”: a doctrine and culture among nationalists that is firm where firmness is needed and flexible where flexibility is needed.

    9. A review of James C. Scott’s Domination and the Arts of Resistance.

    All this will entail plenty of work, and I’ll need to carefully consider how to best do it. In these matters, it is necessary to have an inquisitive, imaginative, and open mind; to diligently study relevant examples; and to constantly ponder these issues. Ideas should be treated as working hypotheses rather than iron dogmas. I should be explicit about my objectives, assumptions, and biases so that readers can critically review and revise my ideas. My ideas are conditioned and limited by my temperament, interests, experiences, and environment. (For example, I will have little to say concerning the electoral tier of the “three tiers strategy.” Although I think that electoral activity has its place in nationalist activism, I’m not particularly interested in it, and any treatment of it on my part will be short and superficial.) I have my blind spots and will not pretend that my ideas are complete and perfect. I will invite questions and criticisms from readers.

  6. LEW
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    White Republican: I’m thinking of writing on metapolitics in greater detail in the future.”

    I would read it, especially part one. Good luck.

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