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NATIONAL ANARCHISM: TROJAN HORSE FOR WHITE NATIONALISM
No.19 (Spring 2005)
Recently a man who hung out in Eugene around green anarchists started promoting the idea of National Anarchism. A few years ago he had written a well-known essay from a green anarchist perspective, and he was a familiar face to many. [2007 note: “Chris” wrote the article “Against Mass Society”, which can be found on the cover of Green Anarchy #6 (Summer 2001) and is reprinted in Our Enemy Civilization: An Anthology Against Modernity.] His new belief system advocated that people of different ethnic backgrounds should live in different villages, and he later wrote a letter to Green Anarchy in an attempt to propagate his views about supposedly “natural” hierarchies. [GA note: We were going to print his letter, but it is almost as long as this article, and we did not want to provide a forum for his ideas on “natural hierarchies” and “National Anarchism”. If people are interested in the letter, and who wrote it, you can contact us.] Fortunately his attempt to spread this racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic (so-called) “anarchism” were quickly unveiled. But what is National Anarchism? How did it arise, and what does it stand for, and why are these racist Right-wingers attempting to recruit anarchists?
Radical politics of all kinds took a new turn after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and this accelerated after the demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle in 1999. Decentralized and networked political forms started becoming the predominant types of resistance. In the last few years, we have seen anarchism replace marxism as the dominant radical movement in the U.S., but changes have also occurred elsewhere. Parts of the white power movement started advocating “leaderless resistance” as early as the 1980s; the Islamic jihadists Al Qaeda are a state-less, transnational entity; and even marxist groups like Left Turn have rejected the tight “vanguard party” model in favor of a more network-based structure.
But anarchism itself has also became a magnet for the racist radical right, and a tiny fringe group in the UK called the National Revolutionary Faction has re-christened itself as National Anarchists. They are attempting to use anarchist symbolism and rhetoric to recruit both “White Nationalists” (WN, a catch-all term for the various kinds of white racists) as well as anarchists – especially green anarchists – to their strange belief system. They advocate a decentralized economic and political system which features ethnically-pure villages which are defined by racial separatism, anti-semitism and homophobia.
Most National Anarchists (NA) tend to be long-time participants in the Nazi or other racist movements (ie Klan, Christian Identity) who are looking for a new “hook” to use to break-out of the ghettoized White Nationalist scene. Many are former skinheads who retain their interests in racist Oi!, metal and goth bands, European football (soccer), and sci-fi. They also tend to be interested in occult or pagan religions, although the proprietor of the sole NA-affiliated website in the U.S. is a Christian. Sometimes they are interested in the ecology movement or animal rights, although this seems mostly to be lip service to attract anarchists to their ideas. Their real interests are clearly racism against non-white people and a hatred of Jews.
Unfortunately, their bait has seemed to hook a few from the anarchist scene, mostly mystical anarchists, individualists, and green anarchists – including the aforementioned Eugene hanger-on. There has always been a small Left-Right crossover point, especially where the politics involve a mixture of anti-capitalism, mysticism, environmentalism and questions of technology. (Although skewed in its conclusions, Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience by Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier offers a detailed historical account of this, and many of the racists have read this and taken it as a guide.)
In Germany, there is also a similar phenomena afoot. There is a wave of fascist groups that are attempting to cross-recruit by sporting Che t-shirts and Palestinian scarves, even marching in Black Blocs! Sometimes calling themselves Autonomous Nationalists, they – just like the National Anarchists – are attempting to pull people from anarchist and left movements into the white racist milieu.
NA guru Troy Southgate claims that NA is a “Third Way” between Capitalism and Communism, and has nothing to do with “fascism”. But he can only do this by falsifying history; for it is fascism that has always been called the Third Way. Southgate attempts to mobilize various philosophies in defense of his project, but he can only do it by distorting their messages. For example, in an essay on National Anarchist history, Southgate cites Gautama (the first Buddha) in support of his own work – but the Buddha was an opponent of the racist caste system. Southgate invokes Hakim Bey, a queer man who would be horrified at this usage of his ideas. Southgate also misattributes Fichte’s trinitarian concept to Hegel, whose dialectic is not triadic at all, but rather involves a more complicated process of double negations (the negation of the object and then the negation of the negation). Southgate’s attempts at constructing a NA lineage are bullshit to anyone who has read their references.
But besides the details, Southgate’s general claims are historical revisions and obfuscations which only serve to cover up NA’s function as an attempt to recruit people to the same sour old racist right under a new label. Nationalists have even been known to call themselves “anti-fascists” by attempting to redefine Socialists like the PDS (a German left-wing party) as “fascists”. Nonetheless, Southgate quite openly proclaims NA’s intellectual forefathers to be the “left-wing” of the original German Nazi party. Under the leadership of Otto Strasser, these “left-wing fascists” advocated a racist, anti-semitic, ecological, anti-capitalism before being thrown out of the party by Hitler in 1930, several years before his rise to power. A long discussion on the Stormfront site (a kind of bizarro-world Infoshop.org for racists) will confirm that racist “White Nationalists” themselves look to NA to recruit anarchists and others to their cause, much the same way that Marxist-Leninists utilize the strategy of front groups. Here is an excerpt from that page, in a post by Pan Zagloba:
- How can National Anarchism recruit people to our cause?
It speaks to these kids [anarchists] in a language they understand, which draws them closer to our side, and makes them more open to our ideas.
It plays upon their distrust of Marxism, Zionism, and ZOG [the “Zionist-Occupied Government”].
It demonstrates to them something that they probably don’t realize now – that many WN values are often the same as theirs. These include concern for the environment, distrust of globalization and the NWO, and a desire to preserve the rights of indigenous peoples (in our case, Europeans).
Websites and other media that support National Anarchism expose them to quotes from prominent Anarchist thinkers which actually support WN, such as Bakunin’s and Bookchin’s writings on nationalism.
It can show them that the mainstream Left’s version of “diversity” doesn’t leave room for Whites. This can be very instrumental, as a large portion of the Anarchist movement is made up of disaffected White youth.
Once they become more interested in National Anarchism, they are more open to the influence of other nationalist and WN ideas, up to and including National Socialism.
How can we be sure this is the case?
Well, this is purely anecdotal, but: It worked on me, and I have the feeling that I’m not the only one here on Stormfront who may have been attracted to WN due to exposure to National Anarchist ideas.
NA itself has a complicated history. Its origins are in a ‘70s UK racist right-wing party called the National Front, who are probably best known to U.S. anarchists as the object of hatred in many ’77 punk songs. The group adopted a “Third Positionist” stance in the ‘80s, attempting to meld elements of communist and fascist political systems. They embraced racial separatism (as opposed to White Supremacy, which often advocates racial genocide) and started to work with black and Asian racial nationalist groups to promote their common ends of ethnic separatism. In the early ‘90s these politics were later copied by Florida Klan leader (and former SDS member) John Baumgardner, which led to the spectacle of joint Klan and Black nationalist demonstrations, held in conjunction with Chief Osiris Akkebala’s Pan-African Internationalist Movement (PAIN).
Originally a two-tone Ska skin, Southgate ‘crossed-over’ into the white power Oi! scene and became a teenage National Front organizer. He later navigated several splits in the party-turned-movement, first entering the International Third Position (who tried to recruit the far-right Roman Catholics of the Society of St. Pious X), and then the English Nationalist Movement (ENM). In 1998 the National Revolutionary Faction came out of the ENM, and then in turn morphed into the National Anarchist movement in 2003. NA is friendly with groups such as the National Bolsheviks in Russia, who mix their Stalinism with German fascism, and NA cites influences as diverse as occult philosopher Julius Evola, Libyan leader Colonel Qathafi and former UK Green Anarchist editor Richard Hunt. Hunt quit the magazine to form the eco-fascist Alternative Green group, which Southgate says NRF was “heavily influenced by” and which helped prompt their transition to so-called “anarchism”.
NAs also frequently cite anarchist founders Proudhon and Bakunin as influences, supposedly for their advocacy of an economically decentralized society. Actually, they are more interested in their anti-semitism, an unfortunate attribute that both thinkers shared but which all anarchists since have repudiated. If this wasn’t the case, why are NAs reluctant to mention other decentralists such as Alexander Berkman or Emma Goldman? The answer is because of their clear opposition to nationalism, and their progressive politics and Jewish backgrounds. Jews were always a vital part of the European anarchist movement, and no amount of NA historical revisionism can change this.
Southgate sometimes makes feeble attempts to avoid answering if NA is anti-semitic, lest its true nature as a White Nationalist front group be revealed and potential recruits be put off. However, in a Stormfront discussion, the man who posts as “Faith & Folk” calls for fellow-travelling National Bolsheviks to be “more folk centered and dare I say anti-Zionist and Judaic”. In a 2001 interview (www.rosenoire.org/interviews/southgate.php), after a rant about “International Zionism” and the banking industry, Southgate is asked point-blank if he is an anti-semite. He responds by reciting a bizarre story about Israeli Jews actually being not Jewish but being members of another ethnic group, while at no point repudiating anti-semitism. In the same interview he says that he is not a fascist “because the main tenets of this creed – bureaucracy, centralisation, the police state, the cult of personality, the mass movement etc. – are contrary to our objectives”. Naturally, the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews represents no problem to Southgate. Only organizational issues separate him from the Hitler cultists.
In the end, since there is so little that is anarchist in National Anarchism, they will probably have limited success in recruiting anarchists. Anarchists seek the abolition of all hierarchies on the basis of our common humanity – not a separatism based on ethnic, religious or sexual identity. In any event, most NAs seem obsessed with watching and deprecating the more orthodox racist factions, as if they were somehow not just as much a part of the white power circus. But if people appear in your scene sporting the National Anarchist symbol (a purple star with an NA in the middle), or attempt to promote the setting up of separate ethnic villages, know that these people are not talking about a new kind of anarchism, but just a very old and obscure style of fascism. If you encounter these people, don’t be fooled by the surface similarities; treat them as if they were Klan members or Nazis. The only difference is that this time, instead of pointy hats and braces, their racist ideas come dressed in a hoodie and patches.
“National anarchism” is an oxymoron.
“National anarchists” — such as Scott Harrison (above) — claim to have something to do with anarchism.
This is a lie.
“National anarchism” is, in reality, a recent ideological development on the far right. Its chief protagonist in the English-speaking world is Troy Southgate (UK). On Southgate, see: ‘Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’, Graham D. Macklin, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol.39, No.3, September 2005.
Two more recent articles which address ‘national anarchism’ are ‘Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists’, Spencer Sunshine, Public Eye, Vol.23, No.4, Winter 2008 and ‘National Anarchism: California Racists Claim They’re Anarchists’, Casey Sanchez, Intelligence Report, Summer 2009.
In brief, ‘national anarchism’ has evolved as a response by elements of the far right to the apparent popularity of anarchism among yoof — especially in terms of opposition to ‘globalisation’ — and signifies an attempt by white racists and fascists to appropriate elements of anarchist ideology, organisational modes and symbology in order to advance their own cause. In this context, it should be remembered that fascism has always been a syncretic ideology and movement. That is, fascists are happy to attempt to incorporate seemingly contradictory impulses within the one ideology/movement — such as anarchism and nationalism — if this is thought to bring about political advantage.
The most successful example of this form of cultural appropriation may be found within the German far right. On this subject, see: ‘When Nazis go Pop… New strategies of the extreme right in Germany’, RAGGACORE, LFO DEMON, November 12, 2004.
The vast majority of ‘national anarchists’ come from the far right. In Australia, their chief ideologue is Welf Herfurth, a German-born Australian resident, former member of the NPD, and a range of other far right political formations. He is a Holocaust denialist, and a close comrade of Frederick Toben, a revisionist historian. Herfurth has stated that his chief ideological inspiration is Troy Southgate and, like Southgate, he has established a front group, known as the ‘New Right’. Some indication of the nature of the ‘New Right’ (UK) may be found by examining the list of speakers it has invited to address its meetings.
In 2008, Herfurth, together with a local (Australian) bonehead named Douglas Schott (who is a member of the neo-Nazi RAC band ‘Blood Red Eagle’), attempted to form the Australian franchise of US-based bonehead organisation ‘Volksfront’; both Herfurth and Schott have previously been organisers for ‘Blood & Honour’.
In 2009, Andrew Yeoman, the leader of BANANAs in the Bay Area, is scheduled to speak at the Sydney Forum (September 26/27).
BANANAs and other ‘national anarchist’ groupuscules attempt to attach themselves to anything, and anyone, they believe might prove useful — the point is not to protest any ‘issue’, but to be public, and visible. That said, their general preference is to attach themselves to ‘progressive’ causes.
The number of adherents ‘national anarchism’ can call upon is tiny — in Australia, they number no more than a few dozen.
Clearly indicating to ‘national anarchists’ that they are not welcome at public events is a worthwhile tactic — how this can or should be communicated to them is of course up to those concerned. In Australia, a quiet word has sufficed.
‘National anarchists’ are deeply implicated in other fascist, racist, and white supremacist projects. Their political potential is very limited. However, such attempts to dress fascism in anarchist drag are provocative (to put it mildly), and to the extent that anarchists, in particular, allow fascists to do so, they will thoroughly deserve it when members of the general public come to identify anarchism with racism. Or to put it another way: lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.
Future posts will provide profiles on groups and individuals who have attached themselves to ‘national anarchism’…