Nationalism & Class Struggle
Today, the Right finds itself in a revolutionary situation. All of the mechanisms of power have been seized by a hostile elite. The economy, government, and academia are solely in the hands of corporate internationalists or full scale multiculturalists.
In its economic dimension, capital is aligned against the interests of nationalists, the traditionally religious, and the workers. Capital is international, the common people are patriotic. The capitalist has no country. He can move to whatever location suits him and take his wealth with him. He has no need to develop any loyalty to a nation. As Alain Soral notes in the essay “Class Struggle Within Socialism,” “internationalism which is, on the contrary, the main characteristic of the traveling elites and the nomadic manipulators, doing their businesses above the people’s head, who, due to their Praxis, are fairly immobile and rooted.”
Thus the war of classes is also a war of cultures. Cultural globalization and economic globalization go hand in hand. The sole beneficiary of both is capital. The battle lines are forming: liberal, capitalist internationalists versus conservative, populist nationalists. Of course, at the moment the latter has yet to organize to the extent that the former has.
Much has been written about the failure of the Right to transcend the capitalists versus communists dialectic of the Cold War. It will suffice to say that this failure has hampered the development of a truly nationalist Right since the fall of the Soviet Union. The Left has adapted well to the global realignment, internationalist Trotskyites simply became neo-conservatives or found fruitful employment in the advertising departments of global fashion corporations.
One ray of hope on the Right has been the recalibration of the Front National’s economic policies from neoliberalism in the late 1970s and 1980s to protectionism. In doing so, they have developed a new appeal to the patriotic workers of France. Today a significant group of major Left-wing union members support the Front National. French Leftist journal L’Humanité published a poll showing that one third of Force Ouvrière supported Front National, closely followed by the l’Union Syndicale Solidaires at 27%, and the Confédération Générale du Travail at 22%.
While this move can be attributed to the reconciliation between labor and the Front National, the Left’s betrayal of the class struggle cannot be downplayed. The French Communist Party under Georges Marchais opposed mass immigration, and Marchais himself had little time for New Leftists like Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Today the French Communist party supports immigration, gay marriage, and other concerns of the chattering classes, it is mostly indistinguishable from the other socially liberal parties in the country. In this rare instance, the French Right has acclimated to the new political realities better than the French Left. They have reached out to abandoned French workers with a nationalist economic theory, one the fights the global plutocracy.
There is still much to be done. The alliance between patriots and labor is still fairly embryonic at this time. Moreover, much of the fault still lies with the Right. The Left has done everything in their power to show that they no longer care about the common man. They spit on his faith, his country, his family, and everything he held sacred. They have become embroiled in concerns about race or sexuality that have zero bearing on the average life of a transit worker.
In a eulogy to the union leader Bob Crow, Spectator columnist Ed West said, “it’s funny that most people who consider themselves vaguely leftie or at least holding the ‘correct’ views have zero sympathy for the Tube strikers . . . That’s the curious thing; judging by the world of commentary, most Left-wing people are basically more interested in debating intersectionality or microaggressions or their own genitals, irrelevant and meaningless twaddle that future generations will laugh at.”
In truth, today’s Leftist elites are just as alienated from the working class as their putative enemies the plutocrats, and just as willing to replace them with more grateful peasants from the Third World.
In the face of this immense betrayal, the Right has thus far failed to seize an opportunity, out of what appears to be little more than mere snobbery. Even in “alternative” Right-wing circles, the intellectuals imagine themselves as aristocrats of the pen who refuse to consort with plebeians.
But history provides many examples of genuine aristocrats fighting alongside workers and peasants. In French Revolution, workers and peasants were underrepresented among the bloodthirsty Jacobins and bankers and lawyers overrepresented. The aristocrat Henri de la Rochejaquelein rallied an army of peasants in the Vendée to resist the bourgeois revolutionaries who fattened themselves off the seizure of church property, much of which had been devoted to helping the poor.
The past has seen many movements that fought greed with patriotism. While these ended in defeat, there is much to be learned from their struggles. The National Revolutionaries in Weimar Germany are a fruitful case study. Like the nationalists of today, they found their country dominated by a hostile, foreign elite. The old conservatism of the Kaiserreich was insufficient for their purposes. Seeing that the Communists were stepping into the power vacuum, they sought to offer a new nationalism to the workers, one that would turn the revolution of 1918 towards a higher ideal. Arthur Moeller Van Den Bruck reached out to the workers in his 1923 book Germany’s Third Empire:
In its need the proletariat is seeking new leaders. It is beginning to realize that these can only be found amongst men who have no mind to be proletarians. We cannot ask that the proletariat accept the leadership of that generation which lost the war and against whom the radicals carried out the revolution; but a new generation is coming on. The men of the new generation will not endorse the revolution, but they will accept the mental revolution that has taken place. They owe no loyalty to the age of William II, whose greatest crime was that it allowed conservative forms to fall into decay. No barrier severs the new generation from the proletariat.
The German working man must recognize that he, who was said to possess no fatherland, today possesses nothing else.
Arthur Moeller Van Den Bruck sought to seize the opportunity presented by the defeat of Germany and fall of the monarchy to realize a national revolution. He stated, “Even the world revolution can only be realized nationally. Each nation has its own particular mission. We believe that it is the mission of the German nation to translate the world revolution into the salvation of Europe.” Rather than accepting the class politics of the Marxists and the failed monarchy, he realized that the workers were a part of the nation, and therefore part of the national mission. He correctly identified liberalism, synonymous for all practical purposes with capitalism, as the death of nations. Van Den Bruck’s basic criticisms of capitalism and conservatism, infused with a nationalist spirit, laid the foundations for a rich body of Conservative Revolutionary thought.
Within this milieu the worker was given a transformed, indeed a transcendent meaning in Ernst Jünger’s treatises, Der Arbeiter [The Worker] and Total Mobilization. While Der Arbeiter has not been translated into English, there is commentary available which allows us to grasp the essence of the piece. The worker is a heroic figure, a new titan. His actions are as much metaphysical as they are material. The worker is essential to the process overcoming the industrial bourgeois society to reach a state of total mobilization. He is the builder of the new civilization with a higher ideal, a warrior of industry. His worker stands in direct contrast with the bürger type, who seeks tranquility and security above all. He stated, “Our belief is that the rise of the worker is synonymous with a new ascent of Germany.”
This fusion of labor and nationalism was developed further by Ernst Jünger’s friend and colleague Ernst Niekisch, founder of the journal Widerstand [Resistance], to which Jünger contributed. Niekisch is considered the founding father of National Bolshevism, merging nationalism with radical anti-capitalism and socialism. He saw the German bourgeoisie and their political mainstream as treasonous, working with the victors of World War I for their own financial gain. He viewed the resistance of German nationalists as a resistance against international capitalism, and favored withdrawal from the international Western economy and turning towards an alliance with the Soviet Union.
The alliance of pro-labor politics and nationalism had an influence on the National Socialists as well, most prominently with Strasserism and Ernst Röhm’s calls for a “Second Revolution” to sweep the pre-war financial elite from power. However, the ossification of National Socialism after Hitler’s centralization of power resulted in the end of Conservative Revolutionary Movement. The Strasser brothers and Röhm were purged from the Nazi party. Niekisch was imprisoned. Germany went on to defeat in World War II, and the literature of the Conservative Revolutionary Movement was viewed with much suspicion in the postwar era.
It is not unreasonable to say that proletarian nationalism was a major faction of the interwar Right. Even in America anti-capitalist nationalism found expression in the mass audience of Father Coughlin’s radio broadcasts and his periodical Social Justice.
With the end of the Cold War, there is really no more reason for nationalists to pay tribute to capitalism. The capitalists have no interest in faith, family, tradition, or anything that speaks to the soul of common man. It is time for the nationalist Right to develop ties with labor unions and syndicates, to join hands with fighters against globalization, privatization, and plundering of the environment. To fight the forces of evil.
As Ezra Pound said, “No! it is not money that is the root of the evil. The root is greed, the lust for monopoly. ‘CAPTANS ANNONAM, MALEDICTUS IN PLEBE SIT!’ thundered St. Ambrose—’Hoggers of harvest, cursed among the people!’” It is time for the people to break the curse of finance.
1. Arthur Moeller Van Den Bruck, Germany’s Third Empire (London: Arktos, 2012), pp. 148–49.
2. From p. 122 of Der Arbeiter, cited in Jeffrey Herf, Reactionary Modernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), p. 103.