Identity and Politics: Organic Democracy
(Excerpt from “The Philosophy of Identity”)
By Lucian Tudor
Identitarians distinguish between different forms of democracy, some of which can be said to be more validly democratic than others. Alain de Benoist has distinguished between three forms of democracy corresponding to the French Revolutionary motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” The first, “liberal democracy,” is based on liberal, egalitarian, and individualist ideology; it is focused on the individual as a self-interested being, is inseparable from the individualist ideology of human rights, and is characterized by the principle of “one person, one vote.” The second form is “egalitarian democracy” or “popular democracy,” based on the principle of equality and manifested itself in the totalitarian regimes of the nationalist or socialist (particularly Marxist) type. The third form of democracy is based on the principle of fraternity and is known as “organic democracy,” which, as we shall see, is regarded by Identitarians as being the only true democracy.
Organic democracy is primarily defined not by fraternity as a “universal brotherhood” (which is impossible and is based on a false, egalitarian notion of humanity), but on fraternity in the sense of ethnic solidarity and a sense of collective meaning grounded in a shared heritage: “The only ‘families’ in which genuinely ‘fraternal’ relations may be entertained are cultures, peoples and nations. Fraternity, therefore, can serve as the basis for both solidarity and social justice, for both patriotism and democratic participation.” Because true democracy is essentially non-totalitarian and is based on respecting the principle of liberty, it is also, in a sense, pluralistic, allowing the existence of groups representing differing opinions and ideas. However, as Benoist points out, this does not at all justify the notion of establishing a “pluralist” society in the ethnic sense (the liberal multiculturalists’ conclusion):
The way in which the political rights assigned as a guarantee to the opposition are commonly assimilated to the rights from which social minorities wish to benefit is itself problematic: for political categories cannot always be transposed on a social level. This may lead to a serious failure to distinguish between citizen minorities and non-citizen groups installed—whether temporarily or not—in the same land as the former. “Pluralism” may here be used as a rather specious argument to justify the establishment of a “multicultural” society that severely threatens national and folk identity, while stripping the notion of the people of its essential meaning.
Alongside the foundation in ethnic community, organic democracy is also defined by participation: “Democracy is a people’s [Volkes] participation in its own destiny,” to reference Arthur Moeller van den Bruck’s words. For that reason, a purely representative democracy is regarded as an incomplete democracy: only a participatory democracy in which the entire citizenry can take part in decision-making is a true democracy. Finally, addressing the anti-democratic arguments made by most Traditionalists, Benoist has also pointed out that democracy does not necessarily reject hierarchy. Political equality among citizens of a state does not mean regarding each of them as equal in any other sense, and organic democracy, at its essence, is perfectly reconcilable with the values of hierarchy, aristocracy, and authority, although in a unique manner differing from absolute monarchies.
To support their advocacy of democracy and to counter the claim that democracy is a modern invention, a common theme in Identitarian and New Right works is the reference to ancient democracy, which has taken on participatory, representative, and various mixed forms. It is typical for Identitarians to reference examples of democracy specifically from Western European history, such as that of the ancient Germans or Greeks, although historical examples could also be found in many Eastern societies, even in entirely non-European societies (ancient Asiatic, Native American, etc.). Democracy clearly has a solid historical basis, for, to quote Benoist once more,
Democratic regimes or tendencies can be found throughout history. . . . Whether in Rome, in the Iliad, in Vedic India or among the Hittites, already at a very early date we find the existence of popular assemblies for both military and civil organisation. Moreover, in Indo-European society the King was generally elected.
Alexander Dugin has also cited the history of organic democracy in Russian and “Eurasian” history, including the examples of the ancient Slavic Veche (equivalent to the Germanic Thing) and Orthodox priestly democracy. Whatever the example, ancient democracy has almost always taken on organic forms based on respect for ethnic differences. Thus, Benoist rightly denounces liberal and egalitarian democracies as being only pseudo-democratic or entirely undemocratic:
Democracy means the power of the people, which is to say the power of an organic community that has historically developed in the context of one or more given political structures—for instance a city, nation, or empire. . . . Every political system which requires the disintegration or levelling of peoples in order to operate—or the erosion of individuals’ awareness of belonging to an organic folk community—is to be regarded as undemocratic.
 Alain de Benoist, The Problem of Democracy (London: Arktos, 2011), 99.
 Ibid., 66.
 See Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Germany’s Third Empire (London: Arktos, 2012), 15.
 See Benoist, The Problem of Democracy, 17. See also the chapter “A Defence of Democracy” in this same work.
 Ibid., 14–15.
 See the chapter “Органическая демократия” in Alexander Dugin, Консервативная революция (Moscow: Арктогея, 1994). We have especially relied on the online version for this research, published at Арктогея, December 1, 2002 (http://www.arcto.ru/article/38; accessed September 1, 2014). We could add to these examples the democratic practices of many of the ancient peoples of the Baltic, including the Scythians, the Sarmatians, and the Dacians (in modern-day Romania); see Ion Grumeza, Dacia: Land of Transylvania, Cornerstone of Ancient Eastern Europe (Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, 2009), 46, 129, 132.
 Benoist, The Problem of Democracy, 103.
Excerpt from: Tudor, Lucian. “The Philosophy of Identity: Ethnicity, Culture, and Race in Identitarian Thought.” The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Fall 2014), pp. 106-108. This essay was also republished in Lucian Tudor’s book, From the German Conservative Revolution to the New Right: A Collection of Essays on Identitarian Philosophy (Santiago, Chile: Círculo de Investigaciones PanCriollistas, 2015).