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An Iconography for the Alt-Right:
Fenek Solère’s The Partisan

2,547 words

ThePartisan [1]Fenek Solère
The Partisan [2]
London: Iron Sky Publishing, 2014

“How disheartening to those who uphold the myth of manhood based on muscles and metallic strength: this alone is the true man, the absolute man! He absorbs within himself the ambiguous virtue of the female. Lao-tzu talks about the invisible magic of the feminine, which in a feline fashion attracts and absorbs in itself man’s action . . .”

— Julius Evola, “Serpentine Wisdom”[1] 

“The work accomplished by women merits special mention. They came to us less because they admired some of the points in our program than for sentimental reasons. The man who had dared take a stand against the entire welter of parties around us [Hitler] had captured their fancy, and as a speaker he fascinated them.”

— Alfred Rosenberg[2]

The recent unpleasantness in France makes the appearance of this novel especially timely.[3] Indeed, we may finally have here a militant novel of the alt-Right struggle that can stand comparison to such classic Rightist works as Ernst von Salomon’s The Outlaws.[4] Rather than agitprop or solitary and brutish fantasy of societal vengeance, this is a well-written, excitingly plotted, keenly observed, and ideologically informed work of literature.

I will admit that the militant uprising, or even Tom Clancy techno-thriller, is not my favorite. The violence here, from street corner assassinations to full scale police actions, seems accurate and motivated, not an amped-up video game.

The real story here is not about the militant action as such but rather the woman behind it, Sabine D’Orlac, a young woman from the provinces who leaves an abusive relationship in Paris for Luc, a typically well-read and heavy-smoking French student, and under whose tutelage becomes La Pétroleuse,[5] a key leader of the indigenous French resistance to a “Eurabic” near-future.

The story of a woman who moves from romance to radicalism, not merely passively but in an active and eventually iconic leading role,[6] reminded me of a controversial little essay that appeared, I think, on the old Alternative Right site — and seems to have been scrubbed from the intertubes, unless I just hallucinated it — bluntly titled, I think, “Who Cares What Women Think?” The gist of which was, instead of trying to make the alt-Right “women-friendly” in order to attract more from the distaff side, we should rather concentrate on starting to win, at which point women would, naturally, start joining up.

I won’t necessarily endorse such a theory, either psychologically or tactically, but will content myself for purposes of this review in pointing out that the author (Fenek Solère, for whom I can locate no other information, at least on the Google — a pseudonym?) seems to be working along the same lines.

He pushed a copy of Anti-Oedipus across the table towards her, “You see, it is ironic, we are the one’s fighting against a unitary, paranoid mono-culture . . . we are the champions of difference over uniformity . . . we are the glamourous ones, now!”

That this feminine role is hardly one of a passive helpmeet of family-values dreams[7] is also shown by how, in our media-saturated age, when everything is being filmed, an attractive young woman like La Pétroleuses can play the essential role of the Face of the Resistance.

Her visage the perfect recruitment poster for the resistance.

Indeed it was noticeable how the lens lingered on Sabine and it forced the Resistance’s leadership to reconsider the propaganda asset they had acquired.

“Don’t you see you’ve become an icon.”

All this talk of icons and petrol fires put me in mind of a key passage in William Burroughs’ The Wild Boys,[8] where modern advertising ironically hooks up with Youth Rebellion during “the uneasy Spring of 1969 in Marrakech”:

“That Spring gasoline gangs prowled the rubbish heaps, alleys, and squares of the city dousing just anybody with gasoline and setting that person on fire. They rush in anywhere nice young couple sitting in their chintzy middle-class living room when hello yes hello the gas boys rush in douse them head to foot with a pump fire extinguisher full of gasoline, and I got some good pictures from a closet where I had prudently taken refuge. Shot of the boy who lit the match he let the rank and file slosh his couple then he lit a Swan match face young pure pitiless as the cleansing fire brought the match close enough to catch the fumes. Then he lit a Player with the same match sucked the smoke in and smiled he was listening to the screams and I thought my God what a cigarette ad. . . .

The BOY turned out to be the hottest property in advertising. Enigmatic smile on the delicate young face. Just what is the BOY looking at? We had set out to sell cigarettes or whatever else we were paid to sell. The BOY was too hot to handle. Temples were erected to the BOY and there were posters of his face seventy feet high and all the teenagers began acting like the BOY looking at you with a dreamy look, lips parted over the Wheaties. They all bought BOY shirts and BOY knives running around like wolf packs, burning looting killing it spread everywhere all that summer in Marrakech the city would light up at night human torches flickering on walls, trees, fountains all very romantic you could map the dangerous areas sitting on your balcony under the stars sipping a Scotch. I looked across the square and watched a tourist burning in blue fire they had gasoline that burned in all colors by them . . .  (He turned on the projector and stepped to the edge of the balcony) . . . Just look at them out there all those little figures dissolving in light. Rather like fairy land isn’t it except for the smell of gasoline and burning flesh.

“Well they called in a strong man Colonel Arachnid Ben Driss who cruised the city in trucks rounded up the gas boys took them outside the walls shaved their heads and machine-gunned them. Survivors went underground or took to the deserts and the mountains where they evolved different ways of life and modes of combat.”[9]

Indeed, La Petroleuse and The Boy both have the same targets, secular Arab dictators, although The Boys are in North Africa while in The Partisan the North Africans have established a beachhead in France.[10]

Speaking of Col. Arachnid, another aspect that lifts the novel from agitprop to literature is the author’s ability to create Arabs who are real, though dangerous, people. The Moslem Justice Minister nurses a plausible grievance against France, dating back to the Algerian War. While the French interrogators early on reject Col. Arachnid style methods as “not French,” the worst torturers under the Arab-ised government are also French, collaborators who “want to impress their new Berber overlords.”[11] As Burroughs would say: “Wouldn’t you?”[12]

Overall, the writing, too, is more than merely serviceable, with passages where the action is intensified by a rise in the level of writing, without that deliberate straining for a “literary” effect that so often make “Movement” literature unreadable.

. . . fat babies slipping like spinning tops in the ballet dance of bouncing bullets on bloodied tiles.

The glass infant [a cradled vodka bottle] slipped and shattered, shooting splinters. He though she looked shocked . . .

She shot hot eyes over some newcomers hustling in around the bar.

. . . the city had become mongrelized by the modernity that had poisoned the world.

They stood desolate in the misty night air. Two slim figures walking over the narrow black bridge. Above them the yellow moon was speared on the sharp cathedral spire as a fine drizzle kept falling like a grey fire curtain over the Ile Saint-Louis.

“Your France is dead, gone forever, finis!” Then dismissing her, he turned once more to the metallic menorah on the shrine in the corner of his office and began the mumbling and nodding supplications of his tribe.

The inevitable references to reading material are handled with admirable subtlety, from the obvious — Spengler, de Benoist — to what’s outré even in this milieu — such as Evola’s Yoga of Power.

And the books seem to have been read, not just cited—another flaw in most “movement” writing. An early reference to the young male lead, Luc, reading Steppenwolf pays off, Chekov-style, much later, when an older polemicist reappears with a rifle, shooting Moslems from a vantage point over the Place du Tertre: “Words are not enough anymore . . . Bullets are my new metaphors!” [13]

which clearly recalls the hallucinatory scene in Steppenwolf’s “Magic Theatre” where the narrator and an old companion take advantage of social collapse and go off “hunting for automobiles” among the upper-classes; the bookish narrator is upbraided: “We can’t kill them with philosophy. We must have ball in our barrels.”

The French is kept at a schoolboy level, enough to render a plausible atmos’ but not frighten the resolutely Anglophonic. However, there’s no need to give the title of Belmondo’s breakout movie in French, especially if you get it wrong (even I know it’s À Bout de Soufflé, not Boute de Soufflé, which seems meaningless).

And speaking of Breathless, one is struck by the amount of smoking and tobacco related gestures and paraphernalia throughout the novel, which is utterly permeated in the odor of Gitanes. The combination of smoke and political philosophizing is like that episode of Mad Men where Don Draper goes down to the Village to take in an “underground” play with his Bohemian girlfriend.

The PC paranoids like to talk about tobacco company plots to fill books and movies with smokers, but any writer knows how damn’d handy it is to have tobacco products to provide characters with something to do, go out for, or talk about, and M. Solère milks it for all it’s worth. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and it does seem very authentically French to have the leaders of the student Left and Right factions jockeying for dominance with their smoking etiquette, but it adds a kind of distancing effect (a smokescreen?) to the North American audience; even I had to laugh when near the very end a character tentatively explores a gap in their hideout — with his cigarette. But of course!

The proofreading is rather inadequate; the very first paragraph presents us with insurgents wearing “kaki,” which according to Wikipedia, “may refer to: the Japanese word for oyster, the Māori name for the Black Stilt, the Hungarian word for Feces, the Telugu word for Crow,” and perhaps “a fruit better known as Japanese persimmon or Asian persimmon.”

Seeing the Aryan word khaki so disfigured would surely have brought pained exclamation from Revilo Oliver. A few pages later reference is made to that famous foreigner “James bond,” and further along a character’s intellectual cred is established by a reference to “Wyndam Lewis.”

This is no niggling detail, as sometimes the reader’s forward momentum is halted, as when one needs to figure out if a statute “formerly adopted” was actually “formally adopted.” From time to time one encounters phrases in italics — black sun, city of light — for no apparent reason and that are never repeated, leaving one to begin to speculate that if some kind of Burroughs cut-up procedure is operating behind the scenes.

In addition, Iron Sky — or its parent, Wermod and Wermod — persists in using, for its page numbers and — more importantly, chapter titles — an ugly, unreadable font that I can only describe as Terminator Gothic. If the idea is to suggest some kind of scary Teutonic seriousness (along with “Iron Sky” itself) then may I remind them that the Führer himself disapproved of Fraktur and promoted the use of Antiqua (the house font of Counter-Currents, by the way) precisely because the former isolated Germany from the rest of the West.

These might seem trivial points, but if the idea is to get our message across, not just preach to the neo-pagan choir, we need to minimize the sorts of thing that convey an impression of intellectual slovenliness to the knowledgeable or a willful eccentricity that puts off the masses, à la Ignatius Reilly. Remember, it is we who are the true Europeans, let us present ourselves as such — the new, glamorous ones!


[1] Julius Evola, Introduction to Magic (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2001).

[2] Alfred Rosenberg, Memoirs (Ostara Publications, 2015).

[3] Perhaps it should be added to the list of Charlie Conspiracies: qui bono?

[4] Die Geächteten (1930; translated as The Outlaws; London: Arktos, 2013), a fictionalized account of his career as a Freikorps fighter.

[5] Neither the author nor publisher will clue you in, so I will here: “Pétroleuses were, according to popular rumours at the time, female supporters of the Paris Commune, accused of burning down much of Paris during the last days of the Commune in May 1871. During May, when Paris was being recaptured by loyalist Versaillais troops, rumours circulated that lower-class women were committing arson against private property and public buildings, using bottles full of petroleum or paraffin (similar to modern-day Molotov cocktails) which they threw into cellar windows, in a deliberate act of spite against the government. Many Parisian buildings, including the Hôtel de Ville, the Tuileries Palace, the Palais de Justice and many other government buildings were in fact set afire by the soldiers of the Commune during the last days of the Commune, prompting the press and Parisian public opinion to blame the pétroleuses.” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A9troleuses [3].

[6] “Dear Avid Fan, you honor me. Accept my mantle and surpass my achievements.” -– intercepted message from Dr. Hannibal Lektor to The Tooth Fairy, Manhuner (Michael Mann, 1986).

[7] Or mythical feminist pacifism. Martin van Creveld, perhaps our leading theorist of war, points out the hypocrisy of feminist claiming that “a world run by women would have no wars” by asking how many wars, from Troy onward, have not been caused by women, or fought by men hoping to impress women? See his The Culture of War (New York: Random House, 2008), chapter 20, “Feminism.” Even the neocon war councils are dominated by that troika of harpies Clinton, Nuland, and Power, hags though they be.

[8] Burroughs, of course, was quite interested in the use of media, such as tape and video recorders, to effect revolutions. See my review of The Magical Universe of William Burroughs, “Curses, Cut-Ups, & Contraptions: The “Disastrous Success” of William Burroughs’ Magick [4].”

[9] William S. Burroughs, The Wild Boys (New York: Grove Press, 1971), p. 144.

[10] Burroughs, of course, would have included all that France of Charles Martell stuff on his list of targets as well, and ironically, would have supported the pagan survivals of the Berbers, “hidden under the ragged cloak of Islam,” as Brion Gysin described the Master Musicians of Joujouka, against both France and Algeria. For Sabine, the “reedy sound of pan pipes” is a reminder of Arab domination, for Burroughs the sound of freedom, “the four thousand year old sound of the world’s oldest rock band.” See my review cited above.

[11] “I for one welcome our new insect overlords.” — Newsman Kent Brockman, The Simpsons.

[12] “Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness,” printed in various editions of Naked Lunch.

[13] Burroughs again: “The Old Writer had come to the end of words, to the end of what can be done with words,” The Western Lands (New York: Viking, 1987), as well as his “shotgun” paintings.