National-anarchism is an anti-capitalist, anti-Marxist and radical right ideology. National-anarchists advocate a post-capitalist stateless society in which homogeneous communities of different ethnic or racial groups would be free to develop separately in their own tribal communes, named "national autonomous zones", that are politically meritocratic, economically mutualistic, ecologically sustainable, and socially and culturally traditional.
Although the term "national-anarchism" dates back as far as the 1920s, the contemporary national-anarchist movement has been put forward since the late 1990s by British political activist Troy Southgate, who positions it as being "beyond left and right". The few scholars who have studied national-anarchism conclude that it represents a further evolution in the thinking of the radical right rather than an entirely new dimension on the political spectrum.
National-anarchism has elicited skepticism and outright hostility from both left-wing and far-right critics. The former accuse national-anarchists of being nothing more than white nationalists who promote a communalist form of ethnic and racial separatism, while the latter argue they want the militant chic of calling themselves "anarchists" without the historical and philosophical baggage that accompanies such a claim.
The term "national-anarchist" dates back as far as the 1920s, when Helmut Franke, a German conservative revolutionary writer, used it to describe his political stance. However, it would be the writings of other members of the conservative revolutionary movement, such as Ernst Jünger, which would later provide the philosophical foundation of the contemporary national-anarchist movement.
In the mid-1990s, Troy Southgate, a former member of the British far-right National Front and founder of the International Third Position, began to move away from Strasserism and Catholic distributism towards post-left anarchism and the primitivist green anarchism articulated in Richard Hunt's 1997 book To End Poverty: The Starvation of the Periphery by the Core. However, he fused his anarchist ideology with the radical traditionalism of Italian esotericist Julius Evola and the ethnopluralism and pan-European nationalism of French new right philosopher Alain de Benoist to create a newer form of national-anarchism.
In 1998, inspired by the concepts of the political soldier and leaderless resistance, Southgate formed the National Revolutionary Faction (NRF) as a clandestine cell system of professional revolutionaries conspiring to overthrow the British state. The NRF stressed this was a "highly militant strategy" and advised that some members may only fund the organization. Southgate claims that the NRF took part in anti-vivisection protests in August 2000 alongside hunt saboteurs and the Animal Liberation Front by following a strategy of entryism, but its only known public action under the national-anarchist name was to hold an anarchist heretics fair in October 2000 in which a number of fringe groups participated. However, after a coalition of green anarchists and anti-fascists blocked three further events from being held in 2001 Southgate and the NRF abandoned this strategy and retreated to purely disseminating their ideas in Internet forums. The NRF had long been aware of the bridging power of the Internet which provided it with a reach and influence hitherto not available to the groupuscular right. Thus, it became part of the Euro-American radical right, a virtual community of European and American right-wing extremists seeking to establish a new pan-national and ethnoreligious identity for all people they believe belong to the "Aryan race". Southgate disbanded the NRF in 2003.
Shortly after, Southgate and other NRF associates became involved with Synthesis, the online journal of a forum called Cercle de la Rose Noire, which sought a fusion of anarchism, occultism and metapolitics with the contemporary concerns of the ecological and global justice movements. Thus, through the medium of musical subcultures (black metal and neofolk music scenes) and the creation of permanent autonomous zones for neo-völkisch communes they hope to disseminate their subversive ideas throughout society in order to achieve cultural hegemony.
The national-anarchist idea has spread around the world over the Internet, assisted by groups such as the Thule-Seminar which set up web sites in the 1990s. In the United States, only a few web sites have been established, but there has been a trend towards a steady increase. National-anarchism in the United States began as a relatively obscure movement made up of probably fewer than 200 individuals led by Andrew Yeoman of the Bay Area National Anarchists (BANA) based in the San Francisco Bay Area and a couple of other groups in Northern California and Idaho. Organizations based on national-anarchist ideology have gained a foothold in Russia and have been accused of sowing turmoil in the environmental movement in Germany. There are adherents in England, Spain and Australia, among other nations.
On 8 September 2007 in Sydney, Australia, the anti-globalization movement mobilized against neoliberal economic policies by opposing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. During the street protests, national-anarchists infiltrated the left-anarchist black bloc, but the police had to protect them from being expelled by irate activists. Since then, national-anarchists have joined other marches in Australia and in the United States. In April 2008, they protested on behalf of the Tibetan independence movement against the Chinese government during the Olympic torch relay in both Canberra, Australia and San Francisco. National-anarchists in the United States are carefully studying the successes and failures of their more prominent international counterparts as they attempt to similarly win converts from the radical environmentalist and white nationalist movements in the United States.
On May Day 2010, BANA participated in the Golden Gate Minutemen's march in front of San Francisco City Hall in support of Arizona's anti-illegal immigration senate bill. The march took place during International Workers' Day demonstrations as an attempt to counter mass protest against the bill in San Francisco's Mission District. Local news media reported that Yeoman and four other national-anarchists were physically assaulted by about 10 protesters as they left the march.
The conservative revolutionary concept of the anarch, as articulated by German philosopher Ernst Jünger, is central to national-anarchism. National-anarchists stress that the "artificial nationalism" of the nation-State, which they oppose, must be distinguished from the "natural nationalism" of the people ("volk"), which they believe, in its more consistent expressions is a legitimate rejection of both foreign domination (imperialism) and internal domination (statism). National-anarchists see modernity, liberalism, materialism, consumerism, immigration, multiracialism, multiculturalism and globalization as the primary causes of the social decline of nations and cultural identity. They propose a strategic and ideological alliance of ethnic and racial nationalists and separatists around the world (especially in the Global South), neo-Eurasianists in Russia, Islamists in Muslim-majority countries and anti-Zionists everywhere to resist the New World Order—globalization viewed as an instrument of Jewish-dominated international banking and American imperialism—that is inevitably leading to global economic collapse and ecological collapse.
National-anarchism echoes most anarchist schools of thought by expressing a desire to reorganize human relationships, with an emphasis on replacing the hierarchical structures of the state and capitalism with local community decision-making. However, national-anarchists stress the restoration of the "Natural Order" and aim towards a decentralized social order where each new tribe builds and maintains a permanent autonomous zone for a self-sufficient commune, which is politically meritocratic, economically mutualistic, ecologically sustainable, and socially and culturally traditional.
Asserting the right to difference, national-anarchists publicly advocate a model of society in which communities that wish to practice racial, ethnic, religious and/or sexual separatism are able to peacefully coexist alongside mixed or integrated communities without requiring force. They claim that "national autonomous zones" (NAZs) could exist with their own rules for permanent residence without the strict ethnic divisions and violence advocated by other forms of "blood and soil" ethnic nationalism. Some leading national-anarchists, however, have stated in the past that they originally conceived the idea of establishing whites-only NAZs, which have seceded from the state's economy, — no-go areas for unwelcomed ethnic groups and state authorities — as an insurrectionary strategy to foment civil disorder and racial tensions as an essential prelude to racial civil war and the collapse of the capitalist system.
In terms of cultural and religious views, many national-anarchists are influenced by the radical traditionalism and spiritual racism of Julius Evola, who calls for a "revolt against the modern world". Thus, they have a pessimistic vision of modern Western culture yet optimistically believe that the "decline of the West" will pave the way for its materialism to be expunged and replaced by the idealism of primordial tradition. Although some national-anarchists adhere to a form of Identity Christianity, most reject Christianity because they believe it to be a Semitic religion that usurped the "Aryan" legacy of Mithraism as the historically dominant religion and moral system of the West. They therefore embrace a spiritual anarchism based on different forms of neopaganism, occultism and ethnic mysticism, especially Nordic racial paganism, which they view as genuine expressions of Western spirituality, culture and identity that can also serve as an antidote to the socially alienating effects of consumer culture. National-anarchists hold racial separatism and cultural revitalization through the establishment of confederations of autonomous neo-völkisch communes as the ultimate barrier against globalized racial mixing and cultural homogenization.
For its part, the National Anarchist Movement founded by Southgate states on its website:
Race-based politics have nearly always been the domain of Right-wing organisations. But the fact that National-Anarchists are prepared to address this thorny issue should not cause people to wrongly dismiss us as yet another Right-wing organisation committed to promoting 'white supremacy', because National-Anarchism itself transcends both Left and Right. We are not supremacist, racist, statist or totalitarian. In addition, the German National-Socialists and Italian Fascists of the twentieth century allied themselves with large banking interests and betrayed the more 'socialistic' aspects of their original programmes. We are genuine Anarchists and proud of the fact.
American panarchist Keith Preston, a fellow traveller of the national-anarchist movement who promotes anarcho-pluralism, argues that national-anarchism and classical American ideals of Jeffersonian democracy are reconcilable, despite the anti-Americanism of European national-anarchists and the patriotism of American paleoconservatives, because of their common values, namely regionalism, localism, agrarianism and traditionalism.
Position on political spectrum
While the combination of post-left anarchist opposition to statism and capitalism with right-wing support for ethnic and racial separatism makes its classification on the left–right political spectrum problematic, the following scholars who have examined national-anarchism consider it to be on the radical right.
In 2003, Roger Griffin, in his essay From slime mould to rhizome: an introduction to the groupuscular right, argued that national-anarchism is a segment of the groupuscular right which has evolved towards a "mazeway resynthesis" between "classic fascism, third positionism, neo-anarchism and new types of anti-systemic politics born of the anti-globalization movement", whose main ideological innovation is a stateless palingenetic ultranationalism.
In 2005, Graham D. Macklin, in his essay Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction, argued that the conservative revolutionary concept of the anarch provides sanction for the ideological shapeshifting and unrestrained syncretism of national-anarchism, allowing its adherents to assert they have transcended the dichotomy of conventional politics to embrace higher political forms that are "beyond left and right". Macklin further argued that despite a protean capacity for change, far-right groupuscules retain some principes which he calls core fascist values (namely palingenesis, ultranationalism, anti-liberal and anti-Marxist Third Positionism, and violent direct action). Macklin therefore concludes that national-anarchism is a synthesis of anarchism and fascism or, more precisely, of eco-communalism and the radical traditionalism of Julius Evola, in a "revolt against the modern world".
In his 2005 book The Radical Right in Britain: Social Imperialism to the BNP, Alan Sykes argued that national-anarchism represents a further evolution in the thinking of the radical right rather than an entirely new dimension, a response to the new situation of the late 20th century in which the apparent triumph of materialist capitalism on a global scale requires a greater assertion of the centrality of anti-materialist nationalism.
National-anarchism has critics on both the left and right of the political spectrum as they both look upon their politics with skepticism if not outright hostility mainly because of the multifaceted threat they conclude it represents.
Left-wing critics assert that national-anarchism is a "Trojan horse for white nationalism" and represents what many anti-fascists see as the potential new face of fascism. They argue that it is a form of crypto-fascism which hopes to avoid the stigma of classic fascism by appropriating symbols, slogans and stances of the left-wing anarchist movement while engaging in entryism to inject some core fascist values into the anti-globalization and environmental movements. They further argue that national-anarchists hope to draw members away from traditional white nationalist groups to their own synthesis of ideas which they claim are "neither left nor right". These critics warn that the danger national-anarchists represent is not in their marginal political strength, but in their potential to show an innovative way that neo-fascist groups can rebrand themselves and reset their project on a new footing in order to preempt the radical left as the main revolutionary opposition force. Even if the results are modest, this can disrupt left-wing social movements and their focus on egalitarianism and social justice, instead spreading separatist ideas based on naturalistic fallacy, racism, antisemitism, heterosexism and antifeminism amongst grassroots activists.
Some far-right critics argue that neo-Nazis joining the national-anarchist movement will lead to them losing credit for the successes of their anti-Zionist struggle if it is co-opted by left-wing anarchists. They further argue that national-anarchists want the militant chic of calling themselves "anarchists" without the historical and philosophical baggage that accompanies such a claim, namely the link with 19th-century Jewish anarchists.
- Macklin 2005.
- Sanchez 2009.
- Griffin 2003.
- Goodrick-Clarke 2003.
- Sykes 2005.
- Sunshine 2008.
- Quote taken from the NRF website. See Macklin 2005 for a discussion of the NRF's membership structure.
- Goodrick-Clarke 2003, p. 50
- Whine 1999.
- Dahl 1999, p. 92.
- The Sunday Telegraph, September 9, 2007."[Some protest groups] seemed thankful for the strong police presence. Twenty members of an anarchist movement, all wearing black hoodies with their faces covered by bandanas, were escorted away by police after marching only 20m. The group, New Right Australia and New Zealand, became a focal point for the crowd, who turned on them, accusing them of being Nazis."
- SF Weekly, May 1, 2010; KGO-TV report, May 1, 2010.
- Preston 2003.
- "PART 5: RACIAL SEPARATISM OR MIXED TRIBES?". Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- Lyons 2011.
- Books and journal articles
- Dahl, Göran (1999). Radical Conservatism and the Future of Politics. London: SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-0-7619-5414-9.
- Whine, Michael (January 1999). "Cyberspace: A New Medium for Communication, Command, and Control by Extremists". Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 22 (3): 231–245. doi:10.1080/105761099265748. Archived from the original on 2006-10-22.
- Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2003). Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-3155-0.
- Griffin, Roger (March 2003). "From slime mould to rhizome: an introduction to the groupuscular right". Patterns of Prejudice. 37 (1): 27–63. doi:10.1080/0031322022000054321.
- Macklin, Graham D. (September 2005). "Co-opting the counter culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction". Patterns of Prejudice. 39 (3): 301–326. doi:10.1080/00313220500198292.
- Sanchez, Casey (Summer 2009). "'National Anarchism': California racists claim they're Anarchists". Intelligence Report. Retrieved 2009-12-25.
- Sunshine, Spencer (Winter 2008). "Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists". The Public Eye. 23 (4): 1, 12. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- Sykes, Alan (2005). The Radical Right in Britain: Social Imperialism to the BNP (British History in Perspective). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-59923-5.
- Lyons, Matthew N. (Summer 2011). "Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston's Authoritarian Anti-Statism". New Politics. 7 (3). Retrieved 2019-07-27.
- News articles
- Gulezian, Lisa; Hollyfied, Amy (2010-05-01). "Thousands across Bay Area protest AZ immigration law". KGO-TV. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
- Mercer, Neil; Chesterton, Andrew (2007-09-09). "Scaremongering - Fears of violent demonstrations unfounded". The Sunday Telegraph. p. 14.
- Smiley, Lauren (2010-05-01). "Post-immigration march scuffle targets National Anarchists". San Francisco Weekly. Archived from the original on 2010-05-03. Retrieved 2010-05-02.