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The following text is the transcription by V.S. of Greg Johnson’s interview with Paul Waggener. To listen in a player, click here. To download the mp3, right-click here and choose “save link as” or “save target as.” To subscribe to our podcasts, click here.
Greg Johnson: I’m Greg Johnson. Welcome to Counter-Currents Radio. My guest today is Paul Waggener. Paul is a writer, a musician, a founding member of the Wolves of Vinland, and the head of Operation Werewolf.
So, Paul, welcome to the show!
Paul Waggener: Thank you, Greg. I appreciate it.
GJ: So, I just want to get to know you better. We have mutual friends; you’re always popping up in my Facebook feed; Juleigh Hobson reviewed an e-book of yours recently. And so I just figured it was about time to get acquainted. Can you just tell me and tell the audience a bit about yourself? Where you’re from, where you went to school, that kind of stuff.
PW: Well, I’m from all over the place sort of, but I was raised for most of my early teenage years in Wyoming. From there I’ve lived in California, all through the South, back to the Midwest, and currently I reside in central Virginia. I’m 31 years old.
As far as schooling goes, I was homeschooled until about 15 and then I joined the American workforce and pretty much stopped all formal education after that.
GJ: So, clearly you’re self-educated then.
PW: Sure. I would consider myself to be that.
GJ: Are you single, married?
PW: I’m married currently.
GJ: Is it true that your father is an Orthodox priest?
PW: That is true. Yeah. He’s an Orthodox priest here in Virginia.
GJ: So, were you raised in the Orthodox Church?
PW: No, I was not raised in the Orthodox Church. Certainly I was raised with a very conservative Christian upbringing, but when I was young my father was actually an Anglican priest and he moved to Orthodoxy later on as a reaction to some of the . . . I think he would probably consider it to be creeping liberalism finding its way into the Anglican Church. He believes that Orthodoxy is a sort of last bastion of true Christianity left in the world. So, that’s what he does now. He’s a priest at an Orthodox mission in central Virginia as well.
GJ: OK. That’s interesting. And obviously you have diverged from Christianity as a path to Nordic neo-paganism.
PW: I wouldn’t call it Nordic neo-paganism, though that was certainly one step on the road. That’s not how I would express my spirituality now. I think that would be far too limiting a category to put it in. But yes, I certainly diverged from Christianity, and that was certainly one step along the way.
GJ: OK. So, how do you describe your outlook now and can you describe the Wolves? Tell us a little bit about them.
PW: As far as spiritual outlook, I would say that my spiritual outlook is tribal, in that my expression of spirituality now is organic, and it’s grown as the tribal organization of the Wolves, which I am a member of, has grown. And I think that it’s become a tribally-serving expression now rather than taking something from without and modeling a tribe after that. So, after the tribe took wings and has become more of a self-developed entity, the spirituality developed along with it. It serves the tribe rather than the other way around.
As far as the Wolves go, it’s a tribal organization run by myself, my brother Matthias, two other brothers, Sam and Nathan Carnes, for about 10 years now. The simple explanation is that we wanted an organization that had a specific outside and a specific inside and it was built up in order to increase and pressure and develop the idea that can probably be best described now by Jack’s four pillars of masculinity, which is strength, courage, mastery, and honor. Especially after meeting Jack and becoming familiar with his writings, those are sort of the core of what we do.
GJ: So, you’re referring to Jack Donovan.
PW. Yeah, absolutely. Jack Donovan is a member of the Wolves as well.
GJ: How many people are involved in the Wolves and what kind of community is it? Is it a guy thing? Are there wives and families and kids? What’s the demographic, what’s the profile, what’s the background of the typical Wolf?
PW: Well, we have three main chapters, which sort of serve the East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast. Certainly, there are children and families in the tribe. The future of a tribe is based on the idea of family and offspring, so that’s absolutely one aspect of what we do.
It’s seen probably from the outside — and we’ve heard a lot of criticism and stuff — that it’s a guy thing, but I think it’s because we take a traditional approach, I think, to gender roles. And I know that’s seen as an evil in today’s society. Our women are females, they’re females, and our males are masculine, and we don’t look for sameness between sexes, although I would say we look for equality between sexes. But not sameness, which is how I think it’s sort of starting to become in the modern world. Our males lift weights, the fight, they box, they do all these things. A lot of the guys work in construction, traditionally manly jobs of that nature. Some are artists and writers. There’s really no criteria for a member of the Wolves as far as background. But the criteria are more based on the qualities that they have and qualities that they’re interested in developing. Again, the entire function of our tribe is to develop males and females along classical, and especially Germanic, hero aesthetics.
GJ: That’s interesting. So, who are some of the writers and musicians, who are some of the people who influenced your thinking on these matters?
PW: You could say it’s too long of a list to even go down, but the older I get the less new stuff I want to listen to. So I mostly listen to the really classic, incredibly depressing country music. And I listen to a lot of black metal still. But as far as writers go, it’s such a hard thing to choose as well, because everything has influenced me maybe at different parts of the road, whether that was Julius Evola or Friedrich Nietzsche or anything from Robert E. Howard to H. P. Lovecraft to the Bible to Mircea Eliade to any of these guys. I would be really hard-pressed to say what came when. Everything I’ve ever read has probably influenced my thinking in one way or another. I try to keep reading and keep informed. I try to read at least four or five books a month, and I try to stay informed. I try to keep my mind limber enough to apply new information and not to become too rigid and to get too stuck in one way of thinking or another.
I try to be stuck in ways of conduct and in ways I carry myself, but not necessarily in the ways that I think or the ways that I see the world around me, if that makes any sense.
GJ: So, what kind of rituals are part of your community? I know that you have an emphasis on being practical. Getting together, doing things in community. One of those things that binds community together is ritual, so can you talk about your ritual year? Things like that?
PW: I can talk about some of it, certainly. The function of ritual for us, I think, is when you are out in the world and you are out among the world — and you have to be, because that’s the nature of the life that we live, one foot in, one foot out — the world out there, their world, as we consider it, is made up of almost this vampiric element of sheep-like people who drain you and drain your essence. So, I think that ritual is important for two reasons: It’s important to recharge yourself, and it’s important to hear things that you already know but that reinforce tribal truths and things that you are already aware of but often times you need to hear many times over in order to continue to adhere to them and continue to keep the faith and to not lose heart, to not become what this world produces, which is ironic, apathetic characters.
I see it so many times in modern society. People turn into these hungry, hollow ghost-like people, and they have no core, no roots. So, ritual is to remind us of where our roots are, and where our tribal roots are as well as our primal ones.
For us, that takes the expression of ecstatic ritual: fire, blood, frenzy. Sacrifice is something that we still do, which we also have caught plenty of flak for talking about, but we believe that there are certain things that exist and have always existed for a reason, and political correctness or the fact that we live in the modern world is not a reason to stop doing them but is in fact more of a reason to continue to do them. So, we draw our vitality from many places, but wherever we draw it from we are not afraid to draw it from there.
Our rituals look different from chapter to chapter. They are incredibly regional. They’re very based on the bioregion that the chapter is in. So, if I go from here, from Virginia, all the way out to Cascadia the ritual is going to look different there, and the expression will be different because it is organic. It’s very important for us that it remains natural and that it remains growing within each tribe, each chapter, each expression. So, it can be difficult to say exactly what a ritual looks like, but suffice it to say it is designed to be a wildly inspiring event, every single ritual, every month that we perform it, that everyone walks away changed and that that ritual that we undergo is a contract that we make with ourselves of truth, of honor, of victory, and of wildness, which keeps us who we are.
GJ: So, you have monthly meetings then?
PW: Absolutely. Rain or shine. Without fail. No matter what. I’ve never missed one monthly meeting of the Wolves in 10 years. That’s when we hold rituals. The first Saturday of every month. Every chapter does the same thing. It happens no matter what. No matter what the weather is like, inclement, anything. It always happens.
GJ: So, do you celebrate, say, the solstices, the equinoxes, things like that?
PW: Certainly that. That definitely informs part of what we do. The natural rhythm of things. We believe that certainly at the heart of paganism, because we do still consider ourselves to be pagan in the basic sense of the word meaning “not Christian,” is the land and blood and soil. So, a lot of what we do is absolutely informed by the seasonal changes, equinox, and solstice. Yes.
GJ: About how many members of the group are there currently?
PW: Well, that would depend on who you ask. According to our detractors, I think we have somewhere around 3,000, but the answer is much smaller than that. Closer to between 50 and 100, and some prospective members in each chapter, who are not considered full members. One is not considered a full member of the Wolves until they have been an associate for a long time, a prospect for a long time, and then finally you’re a patch member. So, exact numbers of membership can be hard to determine as well depending on how many prospects or whatever are in an area.
GJ: The language you’re using is not so much associated with religious groups as it is with motorcycle gangs.
GJ: Is that a kind of organizational model that you adhere to?
PW: In a way, yes. The reason that a lot of groups, even within the motorcycle club world — and I have a lot of friends within that world as well — the reason that they’ve maintained that process is because it actually works. Some of these groups have been around now for almost 100 years. The reason for that is because the joining process is incredibly rigorous. It’s very difficult. It’s hard to even become an associate. It’s much harder to become a prospect, and then once you’re a prospect it’s . . . I wouldn’t say “nearly impossible” are the words that I would use, but it’s very difficult to become a member of our organization. Once you are a member of the organization that’s sort of just where the journey begins, because within the organization there are also further steps that one has to take if they want to continue their journey towards that inward core of tribe.
It’s definitely informed in some ways by the One Percenter world and certainly we’ve used that to great success.
GJ: Well, if it works then you adapt it.
GJ: Makes perfect sense. So, to form a tribe is to reject the existing society. What is your beef, basically, with America today?
PW: God, everything it’s become. And to say “America” would be unfair. It’s worldwide. It’s global. America only exists in the minds of the people who still believe that national entities are really a thing. Everything is moving rapidly more and more towards a corporate monoculture that turns every single citizen into a set of statistics and money and breaks everything down into the cogs of one great big mighty machine that knows no national boundaries.
What it produces and what it wants to produce and what it feeds its populace is distraction from the nobler things in life, the realer things in life. It mediates all activity through television, through the internet. Everything has become mediated like pornography.
I think pornography is one of those things we can look at the easiest in order to understand the modern pre-packaged dream. You don’t do anything. You watch somebody do the things that you would like to do while you sit there mediated through a screen watching it happen. Professional sports is another great example. What it does is it sets the individual up for a life of observation rather than, say, emulation or anything else.
The modern world in general, not just America, but certainly because that’s where we live we take an expression against that as well, it creates hollow people. It creates incomplete, broken, shattered, individuals who have no sense of community, who have no sense of roots, who have no sense of tribe, and we feel that that is a sad and ineffective and very unfulfilling way to live and so what we’ve done is decided that something needed to be done about that. And we had to create it, because as far as we knew it did not exist.
Everything about the modern world is slanted against those ideas of honor, strength, mastery, and courage and especially, especially for people of Caucasian descent. So, we needed to provide something that on the one hand was not some sort of group of ignoramus, fucking shaven-headed morons who are screaming Nazi slogans or whatever while marching and doing super ineffective things like that because we despise that crowd, but we also despise the crowds of people who are either apathetic and don’t care anymore, and we also despise those people who tell us that we cannot be proud of our roots and we cannot have an expression of our roots because the type of people that we were born as. We celebrate the fact that right now what we exist as . . . We’re the spearhead, we’re the absolute tip of a waterfall of blood of millions of years of our ancestors who have come before us, and it’s up to us to make that expression a powerful one or we do them a disservice.
GJ: That’s really well said. Let’s talk about then your detractors, because you mentioned them earlier. You also mentioned that you are certainly ethnically aware, but you reject the sort of skinhead culture and stuff like that.
GJ: So, can you give us more details about how you think you fit into today’s map of racially-aware or identity-concerned White people in North America?
PW: I think that’s very difficult to explain and for people to understand, because obviously people who are against any form of cultural expression from Caucasian people of any kind they’re going to be against it, and they’re going to qualify you as whatever they qualify you as. They’re going to call you a racist, they’re going to say this and this. Then the other extreme of people consider us to be not enough, and so we sort of have this bizarre stance with all these different groups where the Right doesn’t think we’re Right enough and the Left thinks that we’re completely far to the Right. For us, I think that means that you’re probably doing something right. And a lot of people detracting means that it appeals to a smaller amount, which also probably means that you’re not appealing to a massive common denominator, which is also probably a positive thing.
So, I don’t know where we fall. We fall wherever we are. We’re tribalists, certainly, and we’re absolutely proud of who we are and where we come from, but not to the point where I’m interested in starting some kind of race war or doing something else crazy or wasting all my time talking about how supreme I am while I smash my way through another can of watery, shitty beer and get fatter and postpone the South rising again because there’s a barbecue across the street. Those are the sort of groups that people think of when they hear the word “racially-aware” or whatever that means.
What we do has much less to do with race and “white identity” and it has more to do with being in the Wolves. We attract a certain type of people and our criteria for membership are very extreme, but it’s more based on how you are than what you are. We’re not sitting here measuring people’s skulls and noses with devices that determine whether or not they can be members of the group.
GJ: That’s funny. You don’t whip out your calipers when some new person shows up.
PW: Not unless we’re fucking around.
GJ: What is your vision of a transformed world, of a better world?
PW: For us, I think that — using a funny term — our eschaton is immanentized. Our version of a transformed world is sort of already what we’re doing. There are a lot of people who never take the first steps towards tribalism, towards changing their own world, because they have this idea, they always say, “Oh well, they won’t let us. They’re never going to let us do that. They’re never going to let us get away with that.” Whatever that means, my first question to these people is always, “Have you tried it? Have you actually attempted living in the way that you say they wouldn’t allow you to live? Do you really want to live that way or do you just want to be a person who is perceived as wanting to live that way?”
Because in this world there are a lot of people out there who want people to perceive them as being a thing, but they really don’t want to do the work that it takes to really be that thing. So, in the Wolves, people always say, “What’s your idea of a world transformed? Where would you take this?” And the answer is that we’ve taken it there. We are doing exactly what we want to do, which is creating strong communities, purchasing land, having guys who run businesses within the group, keeping finances inside. You know, tribalism. Helping out the people who are involved with what you do on both a mental, physical, spiritual level and making sure that you operate at a higher function not only within your own world but, as I said before, we also have to still operate in theirs because that’s the way it goes. So, being able to operate at a high level within their world as well by being successful individuals, hopefully, who are well-adapted to whatever situation they might be faced with.
There’s a term in the Old Norse mythology about werewolves about people who are considered what they call shapeshifters, which is hamrammr, and the idea is that our seeming is something that we drape over who we really are in order to face the world with that and that that’s the part of us that the world interacts with. For the Wolves, this is an extremely important idea that whoever you need to be in their world is who you are. When you come back and you’re with tribe, you are who you really are.
And so we are doing what we want to do right now and we’re getting better at it and things are moving forward exactly as planned.
GJ: So, let’s talk about the businesses and economics of the tribe? What do you guys do to make a living?
GJ: And are you oriented towards being self-employed or do you work for other people? What’s the ideal model for sustaining yourself?
PW: Self-employment is definitely the desired outcome of whatever you’re doing, and so some of our younger guys are still in trade work and stuff like that, but they’re encouraged to learn that trade inside and outside while they work within it so that they can eventually do it for themselves. Freelance maybe for starters until they can hustle up their own business.
A lot of the guys who do have their own businesses . . . You know, who are you going to work for? You’re going to work for one of these guys. You need work? Cool. Go work for this guy. He’s already got this going on.
Some of the guys are entrepreneurs on different levels. We’ve got a lot of individuals in the group who do work as freelance writers. I work for myself on a lot of different levels. Sometimes you’ve got to put multiple things together in order to make it work. So, I write, I do apparel, and I do personal training as well. I run a small gym here in Virginia.
So, yeah, certainly it’s desirous that you’re self-employed. And that should be desirous for anybody. Who out there in the world wants to work for some asshole who’s getting rich off them while they get paid $9/hour to either sit in a fucking cubicle all day or go break their back with a sledgehammer, which I’ve done for most of my life, for somebody else who’s making a killing off you, when all it takes is a little bit of charisma, a little bit of know-how intelligence, and to add 1 + 1 to realize that you could really do this for yourself if you wanted to. So, I think that that’s not even a Wolves-oriented idea as it is that everybody should be working towards being emotionally . . . I’m sorry, financially stable. Emotionally stable as well. Being financially independent. And I think that’s a great goal for anybody to have, but certainly within the Wolves we try to encourage that, we try to foster it wherever we can, and anywhere we can we keep money inside the group, too. If somebody wants their car worked on, why the fuck am I going to give it to somebody I don’t know when I can give it to one of my buddies who’s gone through mechanic school. It keeps the money inside. You vote with your dollar, so I’m going to give my money to my friends if I can rather than somebody else, right?
GJ: Yeah, that makes total sense, and working for yourself allows you to be authentic. It allows you to be who you are instead of going into an office and having to put on a mask all day long and having to hide your views that are different from your boss or the people who run the corporation.
PW: No doubt.
GJ: I hear what you’re talking about with the Wolves is it’s a place where you can be authentic, where you can be who you are, get in touch with who you really are, your roots, your identity as a person of European descent and as an individual.
Before we started the interview you mentioned Jack Donovan as somebody who really has a great model.
PW: Who I utterly despise! (Laughs)
GJ: Yeah, tell me about Jack and your friendship with him? The way you put it was really cool. It was like, “Look, he’s got all these black marks against him in the minds of your average sort of bourgeois conservative person, and yet he’s making a living being exactly who he is.” That’s a great job to have: being yourself.
PW: Absolutely. Yeah. I remember when I met Jack. He had got in touch with me over the internet to do a little article on a project that I had been working on at the time. It sort of blossomed into Operation Werewolf as it is now. We shot the shit a little bit. I had never heard of him before. I didn’t know who he was. He sent me a couple copies of his book The Way of Men. I read it and I kind of looked around, “Man, has this guy been following us or what?” So, I started corresponding with him a little bit from there, and he came out to meet us to do an article a while back, and everybody met him. The thing that really struck me about Jack and what I still really like about the guy to this day is exactly what you said. He’s authentic. Because of who he is and because of how he’s able to live he’s sort of transformed more and more. The more free he’s gotten to do what he wants the more, I think, he’s transformed into being the best version of himself and the most Jack Donovan version of himself that he can be, which is fantastic because what that really means is that he’s a guy who absolutely practices what he preaches. The guy is completely authentic, he’s completely down to earth, and a guy who I absolutely consider myself lucky to count as a close friend.
He’s been able to do that not because he got lucky, not because of this or that, but because he busted his ass on honing his skills, honing his abilities, his talents and being able to make that a living for himself. Not to mention, like you said, black marks . . . To a bourgeois guy, the guy’s covered in tats, there’s a lot of other stuff about Jack that’s really controversial, especially on the Right, which is another thing for us. You keep people off balance with this kind of stuff, and Jack is a guy who definitely keeps people off balance with the way that he is and what he’s been able to do.
GJ: Yeah, that’s really well said. I agree completely. Not only does he write stuff that I think is really, really valuable and highly intelligent, but there’s an added bonus that he’s like kryptonite to certain people.
GJ: I kind of like to watch them scream occasionally, and I think he probably gets a bit of entertainment out of that too.
PW: Oh yeah, you know he does. He’s really self-aware. To just touch on that one more time, one of the things that’s most important about Jack’s writing is that in the world that we live in now people are totally armored with irony and sarcasm and all these shitty, nitpicky ways. All you have to do is go to any comment section of anything on the internet. It could be anything and it’s just filled with these fucking nobodies who have nothing better to do than to bitch and nitpick and tear down great things that people are trying to create.
What Jack is doing is he’s talking about things like honor without a hint of irony. I really respect that, and I think it’s absolutely necessary, because in our world people don’t even know what that word means. They have no concept of what that word means and in order to reclaim something you have to understand it, you have to know what it is and so that’s why I think his work is probably the most valuable. He’s really reminding people what that word means.
GJ: Right. One of the things that I think is a clear sign of cultural decadence is a predominately ironic stance towards everything, because irony basically means that you don’t participate in things, you don’t allow things to claim you, you’re not part of anything, you’re one foot in, one foot out, you’re enacting things in scare quotes rather than actually doing it.
Umberto Eco has an essay on post-modernism where he talks about how post-modernism is ironic, basically, and he says, look, in today’s world, nobody falls in love, nobody just falls in love. What they do is they enact it in scare quotes.” No one will say, “I love you madly!” They’ll say, “As Barbara Cartland might say, ‘I love you madly!’” Right?
PW: Right. And what a terrible fucking world to live in!
GJ: It’s a cowardly stance towards the world as well, because you’re not really taking the risks of actually being and believing and doing something. You’re always trying to maintain a little bit of distance from yourself and what you do.
PW: Correct. Yeah, I fully agree and it is cowardly like you say. There are two kinds of people who I really despise and that’s those people who are totally ironic, like you said, who live everything through the little quotation marks and the other type I hate is the non-joiner. Jack talks about this too. The guy who always says, “I’d never be part of a group that would allow me as a member.” And you go, “Oh yeah, because you’re so fucking special. You’re such a snowflake.”
One of the things that we talk about in our group all the time is that you’ve got a bunch of people who are working as hard as they can with no scare quotes around it to be heroic, to be larger than life, to be villains really to the modern world, and what that means is they’re breaking their asses to be the strongest they can be, the toughest they can be, the smartest they can be, all these things, and in a group like that you have to work five times as hard in order to be an “individual.”
PW: Groups like ours actually create and promote massive individuality, but what they don’t promote is they don’t allow the mediocre individual to stand out from the crowd. You have to work hard to stand out from the crowd in our group, because we’ve surrounded ourselves with some of the best people that we’ve been able to find in this world, and then we’ve pressured them to become much greater representations and much greater versions of themselves. So, it’s a constant battle everyday to say, “So-and-so is doing this today. I have to do this. I have to try to outdo him. I have to try to do this better.” And that creates real motherfuckers, you know?
GJ: There’s a whole lot of people in this society who are sick of being fed values that are adulterated with irony. So, they want something that seems real. Even if it’s kind of pastel and candy-floss real, it’s still real and they respond to that. There’s a latent idealism in everybody. Everybody wants something serious to come up against and measure themselves against in life. Healthy people do. That’s a sign of health.
GJ: Sick people, when they see standards, they want to flee from them or they want to tear them down.
GJ: They just want to feel better about themselves rather than try to measure up.
PW: Absolutely, and I’m sure if this interview has a comments section we’ll be able to see a perfect example of that. There will probably be plenty of perfect examples of that.
But yeah, the way that we try to live — and exactly what you’re talking about here — is a “put your money where your mouth is” kind of situation. It’s so easy to sit on your fat ass and talk about people while you’re behind a computer screen, but the simple thing it comes down to is that number one: I don’t have time to listen to you prattle about what you don’t like about what I do, because I could give a fuck whether you like what I do or not and the question is, what are you doing? You’re doing something of value and power? Then, you know what, you kind of do have the right to tear down or attack what I do, but do it like a man, you know? Come on. Everybody knows where I live.
PW: Don’t try to tear something down like a bitch on the internet or whatever, you know. Come actually try to tear it down, because we would love that. That would be a ball for us.
GJ: My attitude about critics is basically that the best form of criticism is to do something better.
GJ: If you think you can do what I’m doing better than me then do it and I will bow down and worship you and learn from you and steal from you if necessary, but I don’t want to hear people whose only contribution so far has been to post snarky comments under anonymous names on internet forums about what I’m doing wrong.
GJ: So, look, I love to improve, right? And I’m always trying to improve by my own lights as I feel my way forward in life, and if somebody can really help me improve that’s great, but generally the best critique is to see somebody who outstrips you and does it better.
PW: Yeah. And, you know, another gentleman who I have a lot of respect for whose stuff is fantastic is a gentleman named Marcus Follin or The Golden One as he is referred to as by his legions of glorious true friends, but he’s got a great video talking about dealing with that kind of bitchy critique. It’s free criticism. It’s free stuff to look out and say, “This is how the world perceives me,” so you can either let it raise your blood pressure or you can say, “Look, put my ego aside. Does any of this have any truth to it? Is it founded?” And if it’s founded great. You just got some free advice. If it’s not, ignore it and move on with your life. You’re doing cooler things anyway.
GJ: Exactly. One of the best signs of a true friend is that they are willing to tell you things that don’t flatter you that you need to hear.
PW: No doubt.
GJ: One of the things I hate about modern society, especially about modern American society and it’s true to an extent in Canada and Australia too, they’re culturally very similar, is that everybody feels like they have to be really nicey nice, and no one can be frank. Even your friends can’t be frank with you.
Aristotle makes the distinction between a flatterer and a friend. A flatterer tells you what you’d like to hear and a friend tells you what you need to hear.
PW: That’s right.
GJ: Friendship is really rare in this world. We live in a world where all of the values are commercial and politicians pander to you, advertisers pander to you, no matter how fat or out of shape or silly you are there’s always somebody who is going to market to your little niche and make you feel better about yourself.
PW: Yeah. Tell you how special you are.
GJ: Yeah, how special you are. Confirm you in your vices.
PW: Yes. Fat acceptance.
GJ: Oh yeah!
PW: One of my favorite things. I’m very passionate about that. I’m very supportive.
Yeah, it’s so funny, because it can be hard sometimes to confront your friends. Not because you want to be polite, but because they’re your friends it can be difficult to do that. But it made me laugh while you were talking about that because I just had a dispute. I was visiting another chapter and had a dispute with one of the guys in the other Wolves chapter, and I told him how I felt about what he had done, and he told me how he felt about what I had done, but we didn’t tell each other with words we told each other with our fists, and after we both told each other how we felt we had a wonderful time, and we talked a lot with our words, and it was a fantastic evening. I came away with something, and he came away with a black eye, and it was a good time.
Sometimes you have to confront each other the hard way and, like I’ve said to Justin Garcia on his podcast, it doesn’t matter that I’m a founder of this group, I’m one of the founding members, I’ve been sat down and told by guys that I’ve just patched into the group 6 months before, “Look, this behavior is not acceptable. It’s not productive and we’re not going to stand for it. We’re not going to allow it. Here’s how much time you’ve got to change, and here’s how much time you’ve got to think about that.” And that’s a fantastic friend base, because if four of them are telling you that, and you think, “Oh well, they’re wrong. I’m right, because I’m me” and you say, “Yeah, but these are four guys you voiced your utter respect and utter approval for, and they’re all telling you you’re wrong?” You’re fucking wrong, and you need to fix that. You need to find a way to fix that.
So, I agree with you. Confrontation between friends is one of the most valuable things you can have.
GJ: Well, let’s talk about Operation Werewolf. What is that?
PW: Operation Werewolf is an outcropping of a lot of those ideas. Basically, how Operation Werewolf began was almost a propaganda arm. I wanted an outlet for the stuff that I was writing, and I wanted an outlet for my artwork and all these sort of things. So, it started out that way, but the people who are involved with it have really sort of taken it into hand have been forming their own little groups of guys that get together and lift weights and box and all this kind of stuff.
There are Operation Werewolf crews everywhere now from the United States to Canada to Serbia, in a couple of the Asian countries. There are groups all over the place down into South America. What it’s become is a sort of unifying banner that people who believe in I would say 90% or 99% of all the things that we’ve just discussed. It’s a banner under which they can sort of gather and fly a flag and say, “OK, you are like me enough that I know we agree on a lot of these common principles. We should get together in person if we’re in the same area and get together to pressure each other to greater elements of strength and greater stuff.” So, basically, what it’s been is for guys who maybe who would be sought out or who would seek out the Wolves but perhaps they can’t because of locational difficulties and things of that nature it’s been a way for those guys and gals to get together with each other on that level and maybe some of them will end up in our organization at one point in time or whatever, but it’s not a support group, it’s really just a rallying cry. It’s a rallying cry that’s been heard loud and clear and continues to grow exponentially, which in some way gives me a great deal more hope for the world than before I began it.
GJ: So, tell us about your music. You’re a musician.
PW: Yes, sir.
GJ: What kind of stuff do you do?
PW: I used to play heavy stuff when I was younger and through my 20s I was in a black metal band called Hunter’s Ground. We were releasing stuff. I was in a few other projects.
But on my own for a really long time I’ve had an appreciation for classic rockabilly, classic country, Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, all the old classic guys and that sort of stuff. So, I played that just for my own enjoyment for a long time, and then I started playing out and toured a little bit with it. Released a couple records. I’m pretty busy this year, so I haven’t been doing a whole lot musically. I get out and I’ll play some local stuff here and there or a few one-off dates.
I’ve got a tentative plan to start recording another record, I hope, this spring if I have the time for it. I’d like to do that some more, but the Wolves and Operation Werewolf and all that stuff keeps me very busy. I train a lot as well. I lift weights and I’m learning Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. Sometimes that takes up 3 to 4 hours of my day, not to mention all the other stuff I’ve got going on, so it will be challenge to find the time.
GJ: So, you run a gym? Is that a business of yours?
PW: I would say that the gym itself is less of a business and more of a humanitarian effort. I have a downtown space where I live and I sort of open it up to people who want to come down and lift weights, guys who are inside and outside of the organization who want to get fit and want to do some training, maybe some boxing. So, you know, the windows are covered up and everything like that and we also use it for club events and things of that nature. So, the gym is less of a business endeavor for me and more something that’s good to have and I do some personal training out of there as well on a business level. It’s sort of business and enjoyment at the same time.
GJ: Well, that’s the best kind of business, right?
PW: No doubt.
GJ: To do the stuff you enjoy and make a living being yourself.
PW: No doubt. Yes, sir.
GJ: So, you’re a writer as well. Tell us a little about your work as a writer.
PW: I was just doing a blog. I had been living out on the Wolves’ property for a while. I built with my brother and a couple of these guys from the Wolves a small cabin with no power or running water in it and moved in there. I think I wound up being out there for a year, a year and a half total, and so I started writing about some of those experiences and writing about some of the experiences of being in the Wolves. I did some zines, and everything was received pretty well, and I kept writing, and I think I improved and kept getting better as a writer, and it serves me now a lot better. It’s a little bit more directed, and most of what I do now is under the Operation Werewolf moniker. It’s all this kind of stuff which we’re talking about. Things that I’m interested in and what I like to talk about. I do some interviews here and there, but mostly the things I do now are for Operation Werewolf’s official projects and things of that nature.
But, you know, people say, “Oh, you’re a writer,” and yeah I enjoy to write, but I don’t have any formal training or anything, and I read a lot of my friends’ stuff, and I hope it inspires me to become better than I am right now. So, I’m like a writer in training I hope.
GJ: Well, look, I’ve been writing for a long time, and I’m always trying to get better at it, so I think that’s really the attitude that makes you a writer. If you realize there’s a curve here and you can always keep improving.
PW: Sure. No matter how good you get at something there’s always somebody way better than you who views you as a beginner anyway.
GJ: Yeah, exactly. Paul, this has been a really, really good conversation.
GJ: What I’d like to do is just have you give some contact information, information for people who want to go on the web and find out more about the work that you do.
PW: The best way to do that is just to go to operationwerewolf.com. It’s all one word. Pretty much everything I do is under that house or you can find it that way. I don’t use monikers. I don’t hide behind fake names online. My name’s Paul Waggener. So, if you do that on YouTube or Google or anything you’ll probably find a bunch of crazy shit out there about me that may or may not be true, but you can also find links to my music and a lot of my written stuff and projects like that. You can find me on Facebook that way.
I always love to hear from people. You can look up Operation Werewolf on Facebook too and shoot a message through that way, and if you’re interested if there’s people or crews or anybody to get up with in your area, I can almost guarantee you if you’re in the US or a lot of European countries there is. So, if this sounds like something you’d be interested in quit being a pussy and come find us and track us down and figure out what it is you want to do and if you want to do it with us let’s get going. Nobody’s getting any younger.
GJ: This is true. So, any last words for the audience.
PW: Just I appreciate you having me on here. It’s been a good conversation, and it was a good conversation before the interview. Much respect to you for what you’re doing over there. Counter-Currents has a lot of good things on it. I respect a lot of the writers over there even if I don’t agree with everything, and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today.
GJ: Yeah, well, you’d have to be schizophrenic to agree with everything that I publish, because there are a lot of different perspectives that go up on the site.
This has been great. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you a little better. Like I said, you’ve been a familiar stranger for long enough, and I thought I just need to get in touch and sort of piece together all the different things that I’ve seen of you: Operation Werewolf, the music, Wolves of Vinland, and so forth.
GJ: So, thank you very much, and I hope this is just the first of many conversations.
PW: Hey, thank you, Greg! I appreciate it.
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