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The Third Position or Third Alternative is a revolutionary nationalist political position that emphasizes its opposition to both communism and capitalism. Advocates of Third Position politics typically present themselves as "beyond left and right", instead claiming to syncretize radical ideas from both ends of the political spectrum as a syncretism.
Third Positionists tend to advocate for the ownership of the means of producing goods and services to be distributed as widely as possible among the "productive members of society", seek alliances with separatists of ethnicity and race other than their own to achieve peaceful ethnic and racial segregation, support national liberation movements in the least developed countries, and have recently embraced environmentalism and reconstructionist paganism.
Political scientists such as Roger Griffin dismiss Third Positionist claims of being "beyond left and right" as specious. They argue that Third Positionism is in fact an ideological mutation of the neo-fascist right, which rejects both Marxism and liberalism for an ultranationalism that seeks to achieve a national rebirth by establishing a confederation of ethnically and racially homogeneous communities where ownership of productive property is distributed among all members. The main precursors of Third Position politics are National Bolshevism, a synthesis of nationalism and Bolshevik communism, and Strasserism, a radical, mass-action and worker-based form of pre-Hitler Nazism.
At the peak of the Cold War, the former Argentine President Juan Perón (1946–55; 1973–74) defined the international position of his doctrine (Peronism) as a Third Position between capitalism and communism, a stance which became a precedent of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Until we proclaimed our doctrine, in front of us, capitalist individualism and communist collectivism rose triumphal, the shadow of their imperial wings extending in every path open to mankind… This way, Justicialism was borned, under the supreme aspiration of a high ideal. The Justicialism, created by us and for our descendants, as a third ideological position aimed to liberate us from capitalism without making us fall into the oppressing claws of collectivism.— Juan Domingo Peron addressing the Congress in 1952.
Third Position ideology gained some support in France where, in 1985, Jean-Gilles Malliarakis set up Troisième Voie (TV). Considering its main enemies to be the United States, communism and Zionism, the group advocated radical paths to national revolution. Associated for a time with the Groupe Union Défense, TV was generally on poor terms with Front National until 1991, when Malliarakis decided to approach them. As a result, TV fell apart, and a radical splinter group under Christian Bouchet, Nouvelle Résistance, adopts national bolshevik and then eurasianist views.
Querfront ("cross-front") was the cooperation between conservative revolutionaries in Germany with the far left during the Weimar Republic of the 1920s. The term is also used today for mutual entryism or cooperation between left and right-wing groups. On the left, the Communist social fascism strategy focused against the Social Democrats, resulting in a stalemate and incidents of temporary cooperation with genuine fascist and ultranationalist forces. Ernst Niekisch and others tried to combine communist and anti-capitalist nationalist forces to overthrow the existing order of the Weimar Republic. He called this merger National Bolshevism. The Chancellor, General Kurt von Schleicher pursued a strategy of demerging the left wing of the Nazi Party as a way of gaining Adolf Hitler's support for his government. Schleicher's idea was to threaten the merger of the left-leaning Nazis and the trade unions as way of forcing Hitler to support his government, but his plan failed.
This conflict must not be allowed to cancel out all our achievements of the past eighteen years, nor, more importantly, extinguish the hope of a Third Alternative held out by Fascism to mankind fettered between the pillar of capitalist slavery and the post of Marxist chaos. The proponents of these obsolete doctrines must understand that the Fascist sword has been unsheathed twice before, in Ethiopia and in Spain, with known results.—Benito Mussolini, 1940.
In Italy, the Third Position was developed by Roberto Fiore, along with Gabriele Adinolfi and Peppe Dimitri, in the tradition of Italian neo-fascism. Third Position’s ideology is characterized by a militarist formulation, a palingenetic ultranationalism looking favourably to national liberation movements, support for racial separatism and the adherence to a soldier lifestyle.
In order to construct a cultural background for the ideology, Fiore looked to the ruralism of Julius Evola and sought to combine it with the desire for a cultural-spiritual revolution. He adopted some of the positions of the contemporary far right, notably the ethnopluralism of Alain de Benoist and the Europe-wide appeal associated with such views as the Europe a Nation campaign of Oswald Mosley (amongst others). Fiore was one of the founders of the Terza Posizione movement in 1978. Third Position ideas are now represented in Italy by Forza Nuova, led by Fiore.
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It has been suggested that the Afrikaner Nationalist cause which planted the seed of apartheid was a Third Positionist agenda, seeking to empower the Afrikaner (especially such considered "poor whites") through appeals to "race and national loyalties" predicated on the concept of Reddingsdaad (lit., "rescue action" or "rescue deed") as was expected to be, in the motto of the well-connected life insurer Sanlam, "born out of the Volk to serve the Volk."
In particular, such called for the creation of a "people-centred" capitalism (Volkskapitalisme) expected to emphasise jobs creation and training over traditional capitalist models expected to emphasise simple wealth creation, reinforced through a mass movement known as the Reddingsdaadbond ("Rescue Action League") which sought to promote Afrikaner socioeconomic empowerment through the promotion of an Afrikaner national and cultural identity.
Fiore's exile in the United Kingdom during the 1980s saw the export of Third Position to the UK, where it was taken up by a group of neo-fascists including Patrick Harrington and Derek Holland, who soon became known as the Official National Front. They called for the creation of Political Soldiers, who would be devoted to nationalism and racial separatism, also helping to clarify the economic stance of the Third Position by drawing from the early 20th century distributists, Social Creditors, guild socialists and other "radical patriots". Within the UK, the ideology was less overtly Catholic than in Italy, although Catholic social teaching remained an important aspect.
With the split of the National Front, the Third Position stance in Britain was carried on by the group Third Way, and more notably the International Third Position (ITP). Renamed England First, ITP continues to organise on a small scale and has produced a Third Position Handbook that details the aims of the movement.
In the United States, the Political Research Associates argue that Third Position politics has been promoted by some white nationalist groups, such as the National Alliance, American Front, and White Aryan Resistance, as well as some black nationalist groups, such as the Nation of Islam, since the late 20th century.
Third Position adherents in the U.S. actively seek to recruit from the left by attempting to convince progressive activists to join forces to oppose certain government policies where there is a shared critique, primarily around such issues as the use of U.S. troops in foreign military interventions, support for Israel, the problems of CIA misconduct and covert action, domestic government repression, privacy rights, and civil liberties.
In 2010, the American Third Position Party was founded, in part, to channel the right-wing populist resentment engendered by the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and the policies of the Obama administration.
- Franco Freda
- International Third Position
- Nouvelle Droite
- Syncretic politics
- Terza Posizione
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