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The Third Position, Third Way or Third Alternative is a political position that emphasizes its opposition to both communism and capitalism. Advocates of Third Position politics typically present themselves as "beyond left and right", while syncretizing ideas from each end of the political spectrum, usually reactionary right-wing cultural views and radical left-wing economic views.
Third Positionists often seek alliances with separatists of ethnicities and races other than their own, with the goal of achieving peaceful ethnic and racial coexistence, a form of segregation emphasizing self-determination and preservation of cultural differences. They support national liberation movements in the least developed countries, and have recently embraced environmentalism.
The term Third Position was coined in early 20th century Europe, and the main precursors of Third Position politics were National Bolshevism, a synthesis of nationalism and Bolshevik communism, and Strasserism, a radical, mass-action and worker-based form of Nazism, advocated by the left-wing of the Nazi Party until it was crushed by the Night of the Long Knives.
Political scientist Roger Griffin dismisses Third Positionist claims of being "beyond left and right" as specious. He argues that Third Positionism is an ideological mutation of the far right, which rejects both Marxism and liberalism for a synthesis of palingenetic ultranationalism with either socialism, distributism, corporatism or anarchism.
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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 a Third Way political party, 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.
The Phalangist movement in Lebanon has been described as a local version of Third Position. They defended "authentic Lebanese blood and soil from a massive demographic shift via Arab Islamic immigration". This included an ideology mixing elements of radical collectivist economics with hardline cultural conservatism.
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.
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.
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revised 4/15/1994, 3 corrections 1999
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- Declaration of International Third Position
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- Southern Poverty Law Center. Third Position On The Web in Intelligence Report, Winter 2000, Issue Number: 97.