The Pox Populi Guide to Creating Dissident Nationalist ArtPox Populi
Any power struggle is preceded by a verification of images and iconoclasm. This is why we need poets — they initiate the overthrow, even that of titans. — Ernst Jünger, The Forest Passage
Generations of dissident nationalists and their work have cultivated a thriving philosophical and intellectual ecosystem both online and in print. The Internet in particular has provided fertile terrain for countless blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and more. As the consequences of policies such as open borders and the forced integration of disparate peoples ravages what once were stable and healthy societies, dissident nationalist ideas, while still censored and some still considered taboo, grow in popularity. More and more public figures flirt with explicitly pro-white sentiments. In the political arena, the last seven years saw a white glove smack the face of the “global order” of so-called liberal democracy, which in turn has provoked said “global order” into revealing its true despotic and twisted nature. Most of the gains in the political realm have been fruitless, however, or at least not taken advantage of to their full extent. This is mostly due to treachery and the fact that the political mainstream is irreparably corrupt and unreachably off-limits to a genuine opposition such as that represented by dissident nationalists.
Most of our attention and our progress has therefore been in the realm of metapolitics. We refer again to all those videos, blogs, articles, books, and podcasts which have served to lay the foundations of dissident nationalist doctrine and shift modes of thinking away from the status quo. It has not been perfect nor easy, but neither has it been for naught. Nevertheless, one important part of the metapolitical realm has remained largely unexplored by dissident nationalists: the realm of art.
Dissident nationalism is a counter-culture, yet dissident nationalists have not created much culture to speak of. For all of our blogs, vlogs, debates, and podcasts, there is a lack of the romantic element. We cannot expect to wage a culture war or ignite a revolution without inspiring people to want those things. While a podcast or a blog serve their own purposes, they cannot reach the souls of men the way a great work of art can. All of history is full of political movements which understood the importance of the romantic element. Our opponents and archenemies understand this. Our political movement must understand this, too. The power of narrative, of mythos, is immeasurable. Feelings are more potent than facts and logic.
At a time when the current culture is a like a shallow pond of putrid, stagnant water, we cannot expect it or the artists who swim in it to provide us with the meaningful, edifying, and vital art we crave. While the establishment culture subverts, antagonizes, and insults us, it is more important than ever that dissident nationalists step onto the stage and create a genuine counter-culture which uplifts us. We cannot wait for others to do this. We must stop waiting for someone else to do our work for us. If we want art that promotes our values, that inspires our people, that calls attention to our struggle and our cause, and that honors and preserves our heritage, then we must make it ourselves.
The past few years have shown us that The System is corrupt and malevolent, and perhaps even unsustainable. Many have therefore decided that the best course of action is to make oneself as independent of The System as possible. There are many ways of doing this. It’s not only a matter of going to live deep in the woods or high in the mountains. Along with living “off grid,” there is much to be said about the merits of creating an “alternative grid.” In some respects, dissidents have already undertaken this endeavor. We have our own alternative publishing houses, social media platforms, and small businesses. It is time to cultivate our own music, novels, films, and more.
Why has the so-called “dissident Right” been so feeble in its artistic exploits? Why has the artistic terrain been left unexplored? There are several reasons. The first is that the dissident movement is comprised of a great many people who come from a “conservative” background, and may even consider themselves “conservatives” to this day. This presents a problem when it comes to creating art. Conservatives are not, generally, creative types. The very word “conserve” implies not creation, but maintenance of what has already been created. Conservatives don’t think of themselves as revolutionaries, iconoclasts, or avant-garde. They want things to stay the same, or if things must change, to change slowly. This is a sickly position. It’s why conservatives never really win and cannot truly create. Indeed, once a culture or an ideology is intent on “conserving” that which preceded it, that culture or ideology is already dying. Conservative ideals are not entirely worthless. They have their place. But they are not, as a rule, inspiring or provocative.
Dissidents need to realize that we are not conservatives. There is little about our contemporary culture that is worth conserving. To be brutally honest, there is little about our culture for the past 50 years at least that is worth conserving. In fact, outside of the Anglosphere, “conservatives” and “conservatism” are usually considered to be enemies of the nationalist “Right.” We are revolutionaries, but revolutionaries in the true sense. We desire a full re-vo-lu-tion, a complete turn away from the current world order and the superficial, mercantile zeitgeist and towards the natural, the hierarchical, and the divine. As Julius Evola put it, a true revolutionary does not seek merely to subvert and destroy, but seeks to “return to a point of departure and ordinary motion around a center.”
We are revolutionaries and we are radicals, again in the true sense of the word. We strike at the roots of the rotten tree that is the modern world order, and at the same our own ideas shoot upwards from the deep soil of European tradition. We are not conservatives, and indeed, we must excise conservative tendencies from our spirit, especially when it comes to creating art.
Dissidents must see themselves as iconoclasts and as subversive agents. This should not be difficult. If a great many dissidents are “conservative” types, it can also be said that the dissident movement has attracted a number of personalities who could be described as “anti-social,” “rebellious,” and “irreverent.” Putting aside matters of behavior, these characteristics can in fact be transformed into positive qualities when applied to creating a counter-culture. We should be anti-social in today’s society. We should be rebellious. And we most certainly should be irreverent and disrespectful towards the ruling class fools and their quasi-religious dogmas. We live in an age of inversion. Good is called evil. Evil is called good. Institutions designed to serve and protect us now exploit and endanger us. The “Left wing” versus “Right wing” paradigm has also been inverted. The “Left” is in total control, full of wealth and power. The “Right” is the underdog, standing on the side of the downtrodden. The “Left” is easily offended and sanctimonious. The “Right” is cheeky and insubordinate. Dissidents must appreciate this and embrace it.
Another reason that dissidents haven’t made much of an effort to cultivate the romantic element is that, frankly, there aren’t many good examples to follow. When people “on the Right” make art, it is often cringe=inducing. The political message is too obvious and uninspiring. Dissident nationalists should learn from the errors of “woke Hollywood.” Years and years of laying on “The Message” so thick that it became noxious has left Hollywood facing an existential threat and losses of billions of dollars. Dissident art should not strive for mainstream success. Those avenues are closed off to us. Dissident art should be a counter- and sub-culture, made by us and for us. However, dissident art should appeal to the mainstream public. All art is propaganda, but we must avoid making our “message” so overbearing that it causes our art to be awkward and embarrassing — and off-putting to those outside of our counter-culture. One of the objectives of dissident nationalist art should be that it supplants establishment art just as alternative media has supplanted mainstream media. This does not mean that we will make blockbuster films with million-dollar budgets. It means that over time and by employing skill and style, the counter-culture will have more appeal than the mainstream culture.
In order to assist in the realization of this counte- culture and the formation of a dissident artistic movement, here are some general guidelines and advice that artists on our side of things may find useful.
Although this matter was already addressed in the preamble, it’s worth repeating again: Dissident art should try to resist indulging in overt and cringe-inducing political messaging. This is a delicate business. There are certainly occasions when a piece of art can and even must express a clear political message, and do it well. However, if we think of all those famous protest songs or films with “something to say” from the 1960s and ’70s, for example, we must remember that many of the artists behind them were given institutional backing and promotion. Instead of the protest song being left on the cultural margins, organizations with significant influence made sure that the protest song became a cultural fixture. They primed the public to be receptive to the protest song. Dissidents will not enjoy the backing of institutional power and wealthy benefactors. We won’t have the luxury of promoters putting our artists in the spotlight. The matrix of government agencies, corporations, media organizations, and the entertainment industry will not work in concert to prime the public for our message.
We must therefore seek alternative methods of making our message seen and heard. Subtlety is the watchword for the dissident artist. He shouldn’t try to bash his audience over the head with activist commentary. The artist shouldn’t force the audience to receive his message, but instead make use of subliminal signals which compel his audience and evoke the desired response from the audience. The “Right” can learn a lot from our enemies here, but our nationalist predecessors provide us with many examples to learn from as well.
It’s important that dissident artists see themselves as part of a collective artistic movement. Each individual artist makes his own contribution to the ecumenical body of dissident art. This means that rather than focusing on a message, artists of the movement can explore various themes. When viewed disparately, each artist’s work should be able to stand on its own merit and be pleasing to both dissidents and the wider public. When all the artists’ works are viewed as a whole, however, their unified message should be revealed and discernible. An example of this could be Italian neorealismo films. Each film told a distinct story, yet all of them were united by specific themes and a recognizable style. One can watch The Bicycle Thief on its own and appreciate it for what it is. When put alongside the other neorealist films of its time, the message of the neorealist movement reveals itself. This is something we will explore further in a moment.
Stories for us, by us
The primary purpose of dissident nationalist art should ultimately be to tell stories for us, by us. Our heritage — and this includes our stories — is being stolen, distorted, and literally disfigured before our eyes in order to please and reflect the values of “modern audiences.” Whether or not the bastardized versions of our stories have succeeded in pleasing audiences is up for debate. By attempting to appeal to everyone, or at least everyone who isn’t white and heterosexual, Hollywood and the print industry have ended up appealing to almost no one these days. The reality is that stories about a particular people set in a particular time and/or a particular place can, and often do, have universal appeal.
The dissident nationalist artist should think first and foremost about the story he wishes to tell. This is especially important for the writer or the filmmaker, but it is also important for the singer-songwriter and the painter. And what stories should the dissident artist tell? Our stories.
Let me provide some examples of what I mean. The Swedish metal band Sabaton dedicates nearly all of their songs to dramatic moments of European martial history. I don’t know if the members of Sabaton are “Right wing” or dissidents or nationalists. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were none of those things. To my knowledge, the members of the band don’t make statements or give their opinion on political matters, and neither do their songs. And yet, Sabaton’s music can easily be thought of as nationalistic. Whether they are singing about Vikings, Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, or King Charles XII of Sweden, they are telling the national history of European peoples and doing it with pride and vril. At no point do these songs express anything political. They are metapolitical songs. In an age of popular music dominated by third-world sounds and third-world sentiments, the songs of Sabaton are, whether intentionally or not, songs for dissidents. They are counter-cultural songs.
Sabaton’s music is also fun. It’s vitalistic. With their bombastic recounting of heroic warriors and pivotal moments from history, Sabaton inspires the listener and even educates him. A few moments of scrolling through the comments section of any Sabaton track posted on YouTube will, without fail, reveal more than one comment thanking the band for teaching history (almost exclusively European history) in such an exciting way.
I’m making no judgments on the quality of Sabaton’s music. Metal is not to everyone’s taste, and for those who do like metal, Sabaton might not be to their taste. But in this author’s opinion, Sabaton sets an example of what dissident art can and should be like. The dissident nationalist artist should take inspiration by looking to our forgotten and besmirched past, but without indulging in nostalgia. Sabaton does this in an exemplary way.
The dissident as artist
We are conditioned to think of the artist as a brooding, troubled man. We think of the writer and we see a bespectacled bookworm. We think of the poet and we imagine a weak, hopeless romantic. These are modern distortions, rotten fruits from the rotten tree of modernity. The dissident artist must subvert and attack these misconceptions, these distortions. His art must do so, too.
There is much to lament and many reasons to be dreary, angry, bleak, and brooding. But the dissident artist movement must be vitalistic. Let us refer back to the notion of a collective artistic movement. An individual artist may wish to sing, write, or paint about the degeneracy of the modern world and the suffering of his people, or even just his own suffering, but if there is no vitality to the dissident artist’s work, then he will do nothing but contribute the very malaise of modernity which he himself despises. Thus, while the individual artist may wish to tell a particular story which delves into the themes of degeneracy or suffering, the story should form a part of the broader edifying and vitalistic body of dissident art. If contemporary art is a stagnant pond, dissident art should be a lake of fresh water — and each dissident artist a ripple upon it. These ripples must flow together with a purpose, towards a shared destiny. If the dissident artist desires to cast out his personal demons through artistic creation, it should be done within the framework of an attack on today’s culture or as a signal raising the alarm of European man’s existential plight. Mere self-indulgence is not the dissident artist’s objective.
When considering what art that speaks of our struggle might look like, we find another example in music with the song “Bonfire of Teenagers” by Morrissey. Here we have a dirge for the children slain by the Manchester Arena bomber, another on the endless list of bloody episodes of violence against Europeans carried out by the foreign invaders living amongst us. Morrissey laments the deaths of all those innocent children, as well he should. This is the song those children deserved, not vacuous pop stars exploiting their murders to sing “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and further promote “no borders” and multiculturalism. But more importantly, “Bonfire of Teenagers” is not simply a lament. It is an attack on the status quo. It is attack on the twisted “liberal” values of tolerance and openness. Morrissey is not simply saddened by the suffering of those girls and their families. He is righteously angry. These are the types of songs that radicals and revolutionaries sing. Not surprisingly, “Bonfire of Teenagers” and the album which shares its title remain unreleased, as no record label will bid for it.
The dissident artist must see himself as an ancient bard. His duty is to guide, to warn, to advise, to preserve the wisdom and heritage of the tribe, and to inspire great deeds. The time is up for the self-indulgent “troubled” artist. That artist is both a creation of the decadent modern age and also partly responsible for creating the decadent modern age. The dissident artist must lift his people up and out of these marshlands of malaise and mediocrity.
The dissident artist as iconoclast
As we mentioned earlier, the dissident artist must reject conservatism and the preoccupations and inhibitions inherent therein. The definition of “iconoclast” offered by the Oxford Dictionary is “a person who attacks or criticizes cherished beliefs or institutions.” Think of today’s cherished beliefs: diversity is our strength, as is inclusion and equality. The dissident artist’s role is to attack these beliefs, mock them, subvert them, and ultimately replace them, just as the enemies of European civilization subverted our ancestors’ cherished beliefs and replaced them. Here we have need for the jester, the buffoon, the comedian. Again, let us turn to the words of Julius Evola:
For the authentic revolutionary conservative, what really counts is to be faithful not to past forms and institutions, but rather to principles of which such forms and institutions have been particular expressions.
The dissident artist must laugh in the face of the establishment. He must be an iconoclast attacking the institutions of the ruling class. The conservative instinct to adhere to decorum, uphold codes of conduct, and avoid blasphemy is an impediment here — and it’s one of the reasons why conservatives can’t make decent art or wage a culture war. The dissident must step over these hang-ups. Yes, he must also blaspheme. He must blaspheme the names of Saint George Floyd and His Holiness Martin Luther King. He must blaspheme the sacred texts, such as the Civil Rights Act and the Equalities Act and La Legge Mancino. He must be irreverent. No regime can withstand mockery. Once authority has been made into a laughingstock, the wheels of authority’s demise begin to turn. And there is no stopping them.
An artistic Movement for our time
The dissident nationalist who undertakes artistic endeavors will probably not achieve fame and renown. The starving artist is a trope in any time, and in our day and age a dissident artist will be the hungriest of them all. The established artistic community is opposed to him. There are few wealthy benefactors who are willing to sponsor him.
Thus, the dissident artist must see himself as but one part of a greater whole. Once more we turn to the idea of a collective artistic movement. Individual glory is not the goal here. Rather, the dissident artist should see himself as someone at the service of his tribe. Much in the way that folk songs are passed from generation to generation — modified and tweaked, but never attributed to a single songwriter –the works of a dissident artist should be considered as an offering to posterity rather than a means to attain individual recognition. Not that the artist cannot aspire for such recognition, nor would it be wrong for him to receive it — but creating great art is arduous labor, and an artist with no benefactors or audience will find himself asking, “Who am I doing this for, if no one is going to see or hear it?” Any serious artist who says that he is content to make art just for himself is, to be blunt, lying. An artist does not spend years and years of his life mastering the techniques of his art only to amuse himself with works meant for his own satisfaction. A vitalistic artist, a revolutionary artist in particular should feel a burning desire for his works to be seen and lauded by the public in a sign of affection and appreciation for his edifying gifts unto them. Even the ancient Greeks, who so wisely understood the balance and dynamic between the individual and the collective, celebrated their great sculptors, painters, and playwrights.
But our current culture is not likely to celebrate the genuinely politically incorrect artist. The institutions are not likely to accept him. Moreover, the dissident artist isn’t just seeking recognition, but he is engaged in the creation of metapolitics and cultural transformation. This is a higher calling.
It is my hope that fellow dissident artists will find one another and form schools of style and develop thematic motifs which unite all of their oeuvres into a defining — and defined — movement for our time. Imagine a future where dissident podcasters and livestreamers interview the growing number of artists in our sphere and help promote their work, rather than holding forth on the latest travesties of our benighted era. This is the “alt grid”: the parallel society.
To conclude, here is to all the musicians, singers, painters, novelists, actors, poets, sculptors, and jesters. Arise and come forth! The overthrow awaits.
* * *
Counter-Currents has extended special privileges to those who donate at least $10/month or $120/year.
- Donors will have immediate access to all Counter-Currents posts. Everyone else will find that one post a day, five posts a week will be behind a “paywall” and will be available to the general public after 30 days. Naturally, we do not grant permission to other websites to repost paywall content before 30 days have passed.
- Paywall member comments will appear immediately instead of waiting in a moderation queue. (People who abuse this privilege will lose it.)
- Paywall members have the option of editing their comments.
- Paywall members get an Badge badge on their comments.
- Paywall members can “like” comments.
- Paywall members can “commission” a yearly article from Counter-Currents. Just send a question that you’d like to have discussed to [email protected]. (Obviously, the topics must be suitable to Counter-Currents and its broader project, as well as the interests and expertise of our writers.)
To get full access to all content behind the paywall, please visit our redesigned Paywall page.
Neema Parvini’s Prophets of Doom: Cyclical History as Alternative to Liberal Progressivism
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 554 How Often Does Pox Think About the Roman Empire? . . . & Other Matters
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 553 Endeavour & Pox Populi on the Latest Migrant Invasion & More
The Metapolitics of “Woke”
Bad to the Spone: Charles Krafft’s An Artist of the Right
Remembering Charles Krafft: September 19, 1947–June 12, 2020
The Counter-Currents 2023 Fundraiser: Idealism Alone Can’t Last Forever
There Is a Political Solution: A Review of Guido Taietti’s Political Witchcraft