Soseki’s “Kokoro” and Japan’s Modernization – Nguyen

Kokoro (1914) by Natsume Soseki: The Question of Japanese Modernity

By Hoang Nguyen

 

Introductory Remarks: The following article is primarily a review of the novel Kokoro, considered the most important work written by the famous Japanese author Natsume Soseki (1867-1916). Soseki is highly regarded in his native Japan; his works are considered one of the nation’s cultural treasures, his books are required reading in Japanese schools, and his portrait even appears on Japan’s currency. His book Kokoro, in particular, is seen as one of the best representations of the traditional Japanese soul, and as Nguyen’s review reveals, was important in warning the Japanese people against excessive Westernisation. We should note to our readers that another, similar but more in-depth academic analysis of Kokoro was made by Koji Nakamura in his article “Soseki’s Kokoro as a Cross-Cultural Study for Exchange Students from North America and Europe” (alt.), and it will be useful to read that as well to gain a fuller understanding. However, as is evident from most studies on Soseki’s critiques of and warnings against Westernisation, Soseki’s view was limited by his time period (the Meiji era) and preceded the process of true “modernisation without Westernisation,” which manifested itself most clearly over a decade after his death (although it is clear that Westernisation had many limitations even during the Meiji period).

By the 1930’s, Japan began to reassert its ethno-cultural and religious identity and combined it with economic and scientific modernisation, and although this process was disrupted by their defeat in World War II and the ensuing troubling time period (the late 1940s up to the early 1970s), by the later 20th Century (the late 1970s and beyond) they began reasserting their cultural identity once again in a new way. Essentially, despite still facing some cultural problems today which need to be overcome, modernisation without Westernisation is mostly successful in Japan, as Nguyen notes in the beginning of her review, and as Alexander Dugin had also observed in his article “In the Country of the Rising ‘Do’.” However, even if some of Natsume Soseki’s approaches or statements are outdated, this doesn’t mean that Soseki’s literature is irrelevant today. Quite the contrary, by being so ingrained into the culture, Soseki’s works help constantly remind the Japanese to defend their ethno-cultural identity against disintegration by globalisation. Europeans would do well to learn from this. – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)

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“Perhaps you will not understand clearly why I am about to die, no more than I can fully understand why General Nogi killed himself. You and I belong to different eras, and so we think differently. There is nothing we can do to bridge the gap between us.” (Sensei from Kokoro)

Japanese Modernity has often been equated with Westernization. The significance of this equation is that it constructs an assumption that modernity is solely based on the Western values. As Japan became a modern nation, assertions were made that the process of modernization was actually the process of Westernization. However, Natsume Soseki, in his most accomplished novel Kokoro, criticized this equation by exposing the modern Japan in conflict with Western values. However, it failed to give a satisfactory alternative solution to the concept of Japanese modernity.

Modernization is by definition a technological process. Although modernity is the result of modernization, modernity necessarily includes not only technological but also social and economic factors. The definition of modernization can be derived from the results of industrial evolution and technological advances which were prevailing in Europe one time in history. However, the definition of modernity should in no way be connected to Western influence since not all countries should follow the same path of economic and social development as the West did.  Therefore, it is obvious that Japan has modernized based on the technological achievements of the West but it is still open to debate whether the modernity of Japan should be the modernity represented by Western countries. Japanese modernity is equal to Western modernity in terms of technological developments, but not necessarily so in social and economic realms.

In KokoroNatsume Soseki told a story happening at the time Japan was modernizing and mentioned a variety of Western influences which were alienating to the Japanese society, at least the society of the Meiji Era. In doing this, Soseki showed us the short-comings of the Western modernity equation, which tries to predetermine a model for the modernity of Japan without any concerns for Japanese long history of traditionsJapanese modernity is a complicated concept and reducing it to a simple Western modernity equation is an eliminating process that sets aside important social and cultural factors.

There are various factors of Western modernity that were criticized in the text. Modern education and capitalism were the two major factors that surfaced in the story. Viewed from a Western modernity viewpoint, these are the necessary factors of modernity. However, throughout the text, Soseki made it clear that trying to attach these factors to Japanese society and the Japanese spectrum of modernity will only create social alienation and miscommunication. Incorporating all these factors into the contrasts between the past and the present, the old and the new, the traditional and the non-traditional, and finally, the dead and the alive, Soseki  drew a spectacular picture of the Japanese society struggling in vain to adapt to Western modernity.

In “Kokoro,” modern education was not helpful in dealing with the reality of life. At this point in history, the Japanese school system had been westernized; therefore, studying activities, especially in higher education, followed strictly the Western model of education. Both the character “I” and Sensei were involved in intellectual activities. However, they do not find any significance value in their studies.

I opened the window of my room, which was on the second floor and, pretending that my diploma was a telescope, I surveyed as much of the world as I could see… Then I threw the diploma down on the desk… In that position, I thought back over my past and tried to imagine what my future would be. I thought about my diploma lying on the desk and, though it seemed to have some significance as a kind of symbol of the beginning of a new life, I could not help feeling that it was a meaningless scrap of paper too.

The diploma, a thing that represents the honor of intellectual activities, has been a symbol of education and reason. The act of “pretending my diploma was a telescope” can be interpreted as the author’s attempt at viewing the world through the knowledge he acquired from school, from the lectures and from his professors. However, that was a failed attempt since he himself admitted that “I could not help feeling that it was a meaningless scrap of paper…” He found no use in the kind of knowledge he acquired. That is why he “threw the diploma down on the desk…” Besides the author who was doubtful about the usefulness of his study, other characters in the story also expressed disbelief in the significance of modern education. Both Sensei and his wife did not know where Sensei’s diploma was even though a diploma is supposed to be important for an intellectual person like Sensei.  For Sensei, at a point of great depression in his life, he felt that “the professors who stood on the platforms seemed very far away, and their voices faint.” That was his disappointment in modern education which is far away from the reality of life. When Sensei sought to be guided in life by the knowledge he acquired from school, he found nothing but faint voices from far-away professors. Modern education based its teachings on Western thoughts; therefore, it does not speak truth to the Japanese society.

As a result, those who received modern education were lost in the gap between the Japanese world and the Western world. Sensei’s wife commented, “I see that higher education has made you adept at empty rationalization.” Ojosan spoke this sentence when she was explaining to the author about her relationship with Sensei. The author kept using his modern reasoning to analyze the relationship between Ojosan and Sensei while Ojosan seemed to insist that “empty rationalization” does not help when it comes to explaining people’s motives.

But sometimes I was inclined to regard his reserve unfavorably. I liked then to think that his reluctance to discuss such a matter was due to timidity born of the conventions of a generation ago. I thought myself more free, in this respect, and more open-minded, than either Sensei or his wife.

The author assumed that his education has made him “more free” and “more open-minded” than Sensei who had the “timidity born of the conventions of a generation ago.” This goes to show that “empty rationalization,” the kind of modern reasoning that the author studied at school, was actually at odds with the Japanese traditional way of thinking, which values human passion more than cold unbiased reason. Reason, in the Japanese way of thinking, is inferior to passion, as Sensei asserted, “I believe that words uttered in passion contain a greater living truth than do those words which express thoughts rationally conceived.” Throughout the whole story, the author kept on analyzing people’s behavior by his modern reasoning. However, as Sensei pointed out, there is something else that the author does not know. “”You have never thought seriously of the reality of death, have you?” I became silent.” Only people of the previous generation could understand “the reality of death.” Both Sensei and the author’s father reacted in a melancholic manner to the death of Meiji Emperor. The author himself could only understand the news as the death of an influential figure. For Sensei and the author’s father, death has a special meaning. Equipped with university knowledge, the author may be good at his field of study but he could never understand the people. However much he studied, he could not understand the spirit of the previous generations (Sensei, Ojosan, his father…). The author’s brother, who also had a university degree, also did not understand Sensei. He said, “That’s the trouble with egoists … They are brazen enough to think they have the right to live idly. It’s a crime not to make the best use of whatever ability one has.”

Obviously, his reasoning was fair. Nevertheless, it is not persuasive because he could not understand that people like Sensei could have a reasonable motive behind their behaviors. It is not what education can teach him. Education could not bridge the gap between different generations. That is also the gap between a traditional Japan and a Westernized Japan that modern education could never fill. Even though Japan has begun to Westernize, to begin “a new life,” the author kept wondering what identity he would absorb in that new life: “… I thought back over my past and tried to imagine what my future would be.” The author thought that with his diploma, he could be sure about his future. However, modern education did not give him the answer to his identity. What will the modern Japanese society? And what is the significance of modern education in shaping such a society and the individuals in that society? These questions remained unanswered to the author as he threw his diploma on the desk and wondered about the future of the society he was living in.

Alienation is the effect of forcing Western modernity on Japanese society. Individualism, originally not associated with modernity, has become so popular in European societies that it entered the spectrum of Western modernity. However, as Japan modernizes, it is not suitable to assume that Japan will absorb individualism the way the West did. When Sensei commented that “… loneliness is the price we have to pay for being born in this modern age, so full of freedom, independence, and our own egoistical selves,” the author “could not think of anything to say.” Members of the modern society enjoy the benefits of individualism. However, the traditional Japanese society itself upholds strong values of communal relationships and several aspects of individualism like independence and self-reliance clash with these values. Therefore, the loneliness that both Sensei and the narrator experienced is the alienation that resulted from the rapid development from the Japanese communal space to a modern individualistic society. K, who acquired many aspects of Western modernity like education and intellectual thoughts, had the same fate. K was alienated from his own society. He did not have any close friends since no one could understand his modern thoughts, which he diligently studied from Western texts. By following his study without concerning his family’s opinions, he became the representative of Western individualism. It was his individualistic tendency that drove him away from his own family and society.

Alienation was described more clearly through the miscommunications of the characters in the story. Western societies value the voice of the individual and encourage conversations in constructing a relationship. However, there are things that cannot be conveyed by words and those belong to the traditional sphere that Western ideals seemed to interfere with. Conversations seemed to only disturb the understanding between people. “It was wrong of me. I had intended to make you aware of certain truths. Instead, I have only succeeded in irritating you.”

When the Sensei tried to explain to the narrator his idea about love, he did not manage to express himself clearly. The narrator only got more confused after listening to Sensei’s explanation.“I was trying to explain my earlier remarks because I thought they had irritated you. But in trying to explain, I find that I have upset you once more.”

The constant misunderstanding and miscommunications between the author and Sensei throughout the first two chapters of the story revealed how far people of different generations were from each other. The author belonged to the modern world while Sensei is forever associated with the past. Sensei always lived haunted by his past. Therefore, not understanding the past, the author could not figure out the meaning of Sensei’s behaviors. Western modernity, the kind of “borrowed” modernity, was not valued by Sensei:“True, my ethics may be different from those of the young men of today. But they are at least my own. I did not borrow them for the sake of convenience as a man might a dress suit.”

Western modernity was not meant forJapan. It was like a suit that Japanese people put on in order to modernize but it will never fit. Sensei valued his own ethics even though it is “different from those of young men of today.” It is that difference that forever separated the traditional, the past and the modern, the present. The title of the story is “Kokoro,” which can be translated as “feeling,” the kind of feeling that words cannot easily convey. The story, then, can be interpreted as the author’s journey to understand “kokoro,” to grasp the deepest feelings of Sensei who, to him, was a “half-hidden figure.” At the same time, it is a journey to understand the past and to figure out what is the meaning of the past to the future of his society. In the Japanese spirit, “kokoro” is a sacred realm and a key element of a communal space. Western modernity, whatever benefits it may bring, did not suffice to become the future of Japan simply because it neglects “kokoro.” Miscommunication between Sensei and the narrator was just one example of the many miscommunications between Japanese traditional spirit and Western modernity spirit.

The unsuitability of Western modernity for Japanese society was emphasized by the difference between different generations and between the past and the present.

But you must not think that K’s inability to discard his old ways and begin his life anew was due to his lack of modern concepts. You must understand that to K, his own past seemed too sacred a thing to be thrown away like an old suit of clothes. One might say that his past was his life, and to deny it would have meant that his life thus far had been without purpose… he was forced to look back and remind himself of what his past had meant. And in doing so he could not but continue along the path that he had so far followed.

The influence of the past on K was so great and so “sacred” that even though K has been immersed in modern concepts in his intellectual activities, he could not help but continue his “old ways.” This is the dilemma of Japan. Wanting to move on and to modernize,Japan has adopted Western ideas. However, the shadow of the past and the traditions are still there and Western modernity provided no means to overcome that shadow.

Perhaps you will not understand clearly why I am about to die, no more than I can fully understand why General Nogi killed himself. You and I belong to different eras, and so we think differently. There is nothing we can do to bridge the gap between us.

Both Sensei and the author were helpless in their attempts to understand each other. It is not only the gap between generations. Even though they are living in the same society, Sensei and the author each belonged to a world of his own. Sensei’s world is the Japan of Meiji emperor and General Nogi. The author’s world is the modern, individualistic and capitalistic Japan. Western modernity assumed that those two worlds can coexist peacefully at the same time within Japanese society.  However, that was a misconception. Japan can modernize technologically but it does not necessarily absorb all the social aspects of a Western modern society. Western modernity forced onto Japanese communal space only created clashes and conflicts which cannot be solved.

One example of those conflicts is the negative effect of capitalism on Japanese society.

If there is any property in your family, then I do think you should see to it that your inheritance is properly settled now… But don’t you think that, while your father is alive, you should make sure that you will receive your proper share? When a man dies suddenly, his estate causes more trouble than anything else.

Sensei saw “estate” as troublesome. And he was honest. Inheritance is a highly valued concept in Japanese society. It is through inheritance that traditions can be passed down from generation to generation, and the glory of the past, as a result, would be preserved. However, capitalism attached monetary value to inheritance, thus turning it into a troublesome thing. In a capitalistic world, money and capital are favored over relationships and humans themselves.  It was money that ruined the relationship between Sensei and his uncle. It was also money that exacerbates K’s relationship with both his foster family and his real family. K’s only connection with his foster family is the money he received for his study. When they stopped offering to sponsor his study, K’s relationship with them also ended. All the relationships that were abandoned in the story were due to material conflicts. Money and capital has grown to become so important in that modern society that people could not but give in to its power and neglect their relationships.  K had no time to worry about his family problems because he had to worry about money matters first:

Whether he should return to his original family because of the unhappy incident, or whether he should consider some way of compromise and remain with his adopted family, was a problem for the future, but what required his immediate attention was the question of how he was to pay for his education.

Moreover, money has been described by Sensei as something “evil.” Sensei expressed his contempt for money, “Give a gentleman money, and he will soon turn into a rogue.” Those people who got controlled by money became, in Sensei’s mind, “the personification of all those things in this world which make it unworthy of trust.” The goal of modernity is not, and should not be, a society where people cannot trust each other. The Japanese spirit that has always valued honor and trust will not be able to wholly accept the concept of capitalism and materialism.

Soseki tried to give an alternative to the problem by using the concept of a hybrid. In other words, he wanted the modern Japanese people to inherit the traditions and the social spirit of the past while still moving on with the technological developments introduced by the West. In this solution, He focused on the tradition of inheritance as the key to defining Japanese modernity. Inheritance was used as a means to transporting the social spirit from generation to generation. A series of inheritance were broken in the story all due to the intervention of Western modernity. Sensei lost part of his inheritance because of his capitalistic uncle. K lost his “inheritance” from the foster family because he decided to follow his individualistic dream. However, those were cases of inheritance defined by money value. The kind of inheritance that is more important in the story is the sacred inheritance of the social spirit, which helps to create the hybrid of traditional values and modern tendencies. K is the perfect example of such a social hybrid. He was born in a temple and seemed to embody the important part of Japanese social spirit, the “concentration of mind.” However, at the same time, he was interested in studying the Bible and the Koran. He also likes to talk about subjects like religion and philosophy, which were obviously full of Western thoughts. K kept on living with his “concentration of mind” while constantly updating himself with Western intellectual knowledge through modern education. He succeeded in keeping the Japanese traditional attitude and the Western modern tendencies in dealing with life. His death has a big influence on Sensei. After K’s death, Sensei became another “K.” In this case, death is a kind of sacred inheritance, as the story unfolded.

The kind of social hybrid that K represented was passed down to Sensei when K died, and at the end of the story, it was passed down to the narrator when Sensei committed suicide. Such was Soseki’s approach to the problem of Japanese modernity. However, it was not a perfect solution. K’s reason for studying the Bible is because “one should read a book so highly valued by others.” This explanation somehow hinted that Japan is adopting Western modernity just because this model has been accepted as universal in the Western world. By making this statement, K lost his own identity. Moreover, when he was struck by the Western platonic love for Ojosan, K could not keep his traditional “concentration of mind” anymore and eventually committed suicide. This clash between Western modernity and Japanese traditions has remained unsolved and there was no answer to it other than death.

The novel Kokoro criticized Western modernity by depicting modern education and capitalism in a negative tone. It also showed us the social alienation resulted from the act of forcing a Western model of modernity onto Japanese society. The story itself was filled with darkness and helplessness, which appropriately reflects the atmosphere of a society gradually losing its own identity. The answer given was death, and only hopeless death could end the tension brought about by the clash between Western and Japanese values.

 

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Nguyen, Hoang. “Kokoro (1914) by Natsume Soseki: The Question of Japanese Modernity.” East Asian Pop Culture, 27 March 2012. <http://easdiary.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/kokoro-by-natsume-soseki-the-question-of-japanese-modernity/ >.

 

Notes on Further Reading: A great deal of Natsume Soseki’s works – mostly novels – have been translated into English (and numerous other languages). His most significant works are I Am A Cat, Botchan, Kusamakura/The Three-Cornered World, Sanshiro, Sorekara/And Then, The Gate, and Kokoro.

For those interested in reading and studying other Japanese literature (which is also useful for the study of Japan’s culture, history, and religious attitudes), we recommend the following two anthologies which were edited by Donald Keene: Anthology of Japanese Literature from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century (New York: Grove Press, 1955), and Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day (New York: Grove Press, 1956).

Concerning important modern classic Japanese authors (other than Natsume Soseki) whose works have been translated, we can note the following for readers who are interested: Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Kyoka Izumi, Osamu Dazai, Junichiro Tanizaki, Eiji Yoshikawa, Edogawa Rampo, Yukio Mishima, Yasunari Kawabata, Fumiko Enchi, Yasushi Inoue, Shuhei Fujisawa, and Hisashi Inoue.

 

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Jünger’s Gurus and Contemporaries – Svensson

Ernst Jünger: His German Gurus, Contemporaries etc.

By Lennart Svensson

 

Author’s Note: Ernst Jünger lived between the years 1895 and 1998. As you all know he was a German writer. Personally I’d say that he was the greatest German novelist, essayist and diarist of the 20th century. In trying to portrait him you could look at some of his mentors and contemporaries. 

 

Ernst Jünger was a German. And it’s no secret that he in some way or another was influenced by other German writers and thinkers. Below I elaborate on this. The survey is by no means complete. I’d say it’s just ”some informal remarks”.

1. Goethe

Ernst Jünger had some similarities with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Some would say that Goethe was Jüngers chief guru and inspiration. However, that’s a bit hard to prove since Jünger seldom or never even mentions Goethe by name in his works. The only passage I’ve detected is when Jünger quotes, in ”Eumeswil”, the Weimar Apollo’s ”nur was sich nie und nirgends hat begeben, das allein ist war” (”only that which hasn’t happened anywhere, is true”).

Now then, ”Eumeswil”. In this novel Jünger speaks a lot about the Urbild and other Plotinic dealings, about plants receiving their shape from a transcendent idea (= Urbild), and that’s kind of Goethean. Like Goethe Jünger was enchanted by nature, by plants and animals, and both had the esoteric terminology to express that.

2. Hugo Fischer

Hugo Fischer (1897-1975) was Jünger’s friend, at least before the Second World War. They shared an interest in idealistic philosophy, in nature observation and in seeing the traces of God in the creation. In Leipzig in the 20s they both studied philosophy, and in the 30s Fischer accompanied Jünger on a Norwegian trip (q.v. ”Myrdun”, 1943).

In that book Fischer’s alter ego is Der Doktor. In another Jünger book, ”Das abenteuerliche Herz”, Fischer is said to figure as Nigromantanus, an eccentric scholar with a house full of iridizing materials, Vexierbilder and metamorphosing decorations. I’d say that this Nigromontanus may be 30% Fischer; the rest of his persona is Jünger with a tinge of Goethe, the name ”Nigromontanus” being for example purloined from a Goethe text.

3. Spengler

Jünger was a free-form writer and novelist, Spengler on the other hand was a systemizer. Jünger dreamed about techno landscapes devoid of farmland, Spengler for his part was a devout farmer idolizer.

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) once received a free copy of Jünger’s ”Der Arbeiter”. Spengler wrote and said that he wasn’t overly impressed. Why? Because Jünger had forgotten to lift the role of the farmer in his book. — On the farmer depends a nation’s welfare. That was Spengler’s view and Jünger’s vision wasn’t in sync with that.

That said, to me as a youngster, having read a Golo Mann’s essay about Germany in the 20s, the names of Spengler and Jünger almost seemed to merge. Writers writing about war, the decline of the west and all that, how alluring. Further on Jünger’s creed  to me seemed more varied and balanced, however, the Spengler attitude has in some way affected me too. In ”The Decline of the West” and in his late ”Man and Technology” Spengler has a lot of interesting material, looking at things from a fresh perspective.

4. Walter Benjamin

If Jünger differs from Spengler in not being a common systemizer, then in Walter Benjamin Jünger has a kindred spirit. Looking at odd subjects, studying the modern world from abstruse angles (like in the ontology of shops, the metaphysics of stamps). Certain pages in ”Das abenteuerliche Herz” and Benjamin’s ”Einbahnstrasse” (1928) are very similar in spirit. Walter Benjamin’s (1892-1940) most famous work is”Die Passagenarbeit”, a study of 19th century Paris.

5. Nietzsche

Jünger didn’t quite like Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). However, in his youth Jünger seems to have been affected by him. Maybe Jünger mellowed through the years and got fed up with the nihilism of Der Pulverkopf. Then again, Nietzsche, whether liked or disliked, is always there in Jünger’s works. He is referred to more or less directly in ”Heliopolis” and ”Eumeswil” for example.

6. C. G. Jung

Finally, a look at Carl Gustaf Jung (1875-1961). Jung contributed to Jünger’s and Eliade’s magazine Antaios. That said, I can’t trace the name ”Jung”, or references to his works, in Jünger’s books proper. However, Jung and Jünger were kindred spirits in that both were proficient in dreaming. They also preferred ancient authors to 20th century contemporaries. These Germans were both ”old in the land of dreams, myths and legends”…

 

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Svensson, Lennart. “Ernst Jünger: His German Gurus, Contemporaries etc.” Tankesmedjan Motpol, 10 July 2014. <http://www.motpol.nu/princip/2014/07/10/ernst-junger-his-german-gurus-contemporaries-etc/ >.

 

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On Verner von Heidenstam – Svensson

Verner von Heidenstam: An Overview

By Lennart Svensson

 

Author’s Note: Verner von Heidenstam is well known in Sweden. And some of his books are available in English too. When he won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1916 some titles were translated. — Hereby an overview of Heidenstam’s life and works.

 

1.

There are many ways of treating the Swedish author and Nobel Prize winner Verner von Heidenstam (1859-1940). One of them is to look at the nationalist strain in his writings. It’s not so far-fetched, not even in a 21st century setting. The newly published biography by Per I. Gedin (Verner von Heidenstam – ett liv, Bonniers 2006) also notes this and makes a fair evaluation of it, particularly of what nationalism meant in the mid 19th century, before it became en vogue. It’s true that Heidenstam didn’t make his debut in 1888 as a model nationalist, this feature becoming more prominent in him around 1900. However, the positive, affirmative trait in which nationalism thrives was definitely part of Heidenstam’s condition when he put his unforgettable mark on Swedish literature at the dawn of the 1890’s.

The mid 19th century Nordic variety of nationalism, Gedin says, was a populist movement, driven by liberals, and only eventually the movement came to include both workers and the elite, the latter in the form of high society, aristocracy and the royal family. This was indeed the case: in the early 1800’s no royal family, including the Swedish, was what we would call nationalists. For example, the elite sentiment that prevailed in Sweden around 1830 was the Russian-friendly; Tsar Nicholas I was seen as the guarantor of order. Nationalism for the then elite was equal to lawless rebellion, as had been seen in France and Poland.

The same was the case in Germany. The year 1848, for example, saw efforts of German unification: the small, separate kingdoms should merge and form a unified Vaterland, the liberal insurgents meant. But all these aspirations were crushed by the forces of reaction. Only in 1871, when Prussia had become Germany’s leading power, was German nationalism also embraced by the elite in question, by the current right-wing.

We saw the same here in Sweden: not until the 1870’s was nationalism adopted by the pillars of society. Still, nationalism wasn’t even by then a Leitkultur in Sweden. It took some time to be more firmly anchored, to be adopted even by the artistic elite, and Heidenstam was instrumental in this. Gedin for his part describes Heidenstam’s debut, Pilgrimage and Journeyman Years from 1888, as something of a boost to the Swedish soul. At the time the Swedish cultural scene was steeped in nihilism and ”grey weather prose”, 1880’s literature being occupied with naturalistic depictions of urban misery. Typical book titles at this time were Greycold and Poverty (= GråkalltFattigdom). This was thought to attract the audience. Realism prevailed and the poetry was harmless versifications. Now all this, with Heidenstams’s example, was replaced by imagination, colour and dance. Heidenstam paved the way for writers like Selma Lagerlöf, Fröding, Karlfeldt and Ellen Key, and for a renewal in painting, indeed, for nationalism in general. As for literature proper Heidenstam gave the Swedish language a new poetic feeling with influences from Byron, Heine and Turgenev. By this a more freeform verse was established in Swedish.

Heidenstam quickly became No. 1, becoming the colour-bearer for the new literature, Gedin says. With his debut in 1888 Heidenstam had won a clear-cut victory: he triumphed over a worn out, dilapidated literary scene. Heidenstam himself said in a letter to Ellen Key, in 1897: ”The constant painting of grey on grey I killed in this country in two years.”

Bold words, but true…! Heidenstam at the time of his debut was something of a force of nature, yet playful and human.

 

2.

In the subject of Heidenstam I’ve also read Kring Verner von Heidenstam (= About Verner vonHeidenstam) by Gudmund Fröberg (editor; Carlsson bokförlag, 1993). The book counteracts the devaluation the Swedish left made of Heidenstam in the period 1910-1990. Essays by Staffan Björk, Olle Holmberg, Magnus von Platen and Pär Lagerkvist sketches a broad, sympathetic portrait of the author. As for the person Heidenstam we find quoted on page 270 the words of John Landquist:

He had blue, kindly inquiring eyes but they also had a mysterious depth. He had a dark voice with a soft sound (…) He was genteel but without mannerisms. He sported a quiet kindness. He listened to what you said. His own speech was effortlessly improvised but then, out of the blue, there came a fitting poetic image, this being the natural movement of his though. You felt at ease with him.

Heidenstam, then, had his sympathetic traits. At the same time he could, in official contexts, be rather pompous. He liked playing the role of poet laurate. This backfired on him in the Strindberg feud in 1910, when Strindberg attacked Heidenstam for a few things. And the assaults found their target, even though Heidenstam kept a brave face and declined to answer the slights. You can say: Heidenstam in this process became a victim of the role he created for himself.

 

3.

Gedin depicts this Strindberg feud in his bio. Plus everything else like Heidenstam’s upbringing, his women and his career, in all its variations. Gedin as intimated does a good job and his book can be recommended for those who like cradle-to-grave, life-and-letters-biographies. If you can handle the book’s physical weight, that is…! This 672 pages book can hardly be read lying down, as I prefer. It should be read at a table.

Inspired by Gedin’s book, and of Fröbergs anthology, I now feel like going through Heidenstam’s important works. I begin with novels and prose and end with poems, in the form of New Poems from 1915. Then I round it off by talking about a few additional things.

 

Hans Alienus (1892)

This is a novel with some essential passages in verse. The overall setting is bold and compelling, mixing realism with fantasy. The hero, Hans Alienus, lives in Rome as an official to the pope. Then Alienus ventures out on a journey through the East and then under the earth, all the time experiencing a few things. It’s like a Swedish version of Dante’s Inferno and Goethe’s Faust; Heidenstam broke some new ground with this book, ”Going boldly where no man has gone before” as we had it in Star Trek. For example Swedish literary scholars have always loved this book; there’s much to deliberate on here. I myself am a little skeptical of the conceptual content. It’s lacking something. Heidenstam was a great poet but not so profound when it came to ontology and spiritual essence. He was like, go and meet the devil, talk to angels, then go home; there’s only a semblance of depth in this book, to be sure. Its style and atmosphere is great but it doesn’t really convince you on a formal level. Then again, even Dante wasn’t always so profound.

A figure that Alienus encounters in his cosmic journey is a haggard lady, Her Archaic Holiness (= Den Gamla Heliga; Den Gamla Människan). This is, as Gedin suggests, a Jungian ”shadow”, this horrifying witch who is sorrow and misery whereas Alienus’ dandy lifestyle is all about beauty and joy.

This could lead somewhere. But Heidenstam is incapable, as Jung advocates, to integrate this shadow with his own essence. The shadows haunt him all the way, until the final scene in Sweden. But Alienus have no defense against this voice from the deep. The novel culminates in sentimental lines of reconciliation with the father. Heidenstam as I said was never profound as thinker; he never reached the esoteric levels that Viktor Rydberg, Per Atterbom or Stagnelius reached. But Heidenstam at least had a feeling of what life had to offer, he understood that it is a mystery. And he could show it in his novels and poems. ”Mystery, fairytale, light of day, your depth no one can fathom” as he wrote in the late poem If I Were A Child.

 

A King and His Campaigners (1897, in English 1902)

This is a living classic, a still readable exposé of characters during the Great Northern War 1700-1718. Many of the texts are like short stories with protagonists only appearing once, but we also have Charles XII appearing in fateful circumstances throughout the book.

This is not a naturalistic novel. Many of the texts has a touch of theater. It’s not always stories we get, sometimes we’re only given static scenes. And the lines sound a little unnatural; all speak in the same fashion, from coachmen to generals. That said, the book has power and color, motion and verve. The book’s merit is the width; you become fascinated even by minor characters such as Mazeppa’s ambassador, Lina Andersdotter, Måns Fransyske and others. And that is the sign of a masterpiece, how even the supporting roles are well cast.

 

The Tree of the Folkungs (1905, in English 1925)

This is a romance set in the 11th century, sporting scenes from both the archaic farmer’s life, the life of early medieval Swedish kings and of Swedes serving in the imperial guard in Constantinople. I here refer to the first part, Folke Filbyter; the second part, about the 13th century, is a tinge bit more ordinary, more Walter Scottish.

There is archaic feeling here; we meet the last remnants of Asatru and we meet nature religion and shamanism. Heidenstam had a keen eye for life in the woods, for the yearning of the Swede to venture out in the forest and feel the presence of brownies, fairies and nixes. As a poet Heidenstam filled this novel with many a poetic prose passage. But it’s still eminently readable as a novel, the first part that is, beginning as it does with Folke returning from a Viking raid, approaching Swedish land on the east coast and, having landed, marching off into the Ostrogotian woods in order to stake out a farm for himself. This was Heidenstam’s image of the founding father of the Folkung dynasty, who ruled Sweden 1250-1319.

 

The Swedes and Their Chieftains (1908, in English 1925)

Here we are given many alluring stories out of Swedish history and myth, such as Ura Kaippa, The Shield MaidenThe Watchdog of the Greekking and others from the early middle ages. They are unsought tales about norsemen- and women, clear-cut images of a vital era, the era of Asatru, archaic climes and heroism. But also from the high and late Middle ages we get good narratives, like Karl Knutsson and the Piper. This is almost Shakespearean: the rise and fall of a king, mirrored in the role of a beggar-cum-piper who watches it all from his corner of the world.

In all this is an absolutely incomparable book about Swedish history, on the border between fact and fiction. Intended as a school book it can be read by everyone. Gedin in his bio denigrates it but he’s wrong.

 

Nya dikter (= New Poems, 1915)

Heidenstam as intimated began his career as a poet. In his debut in 1888 (Pilgrimage and Journeyman Years), he painted with variegated colors, he told tales, he discussed, he drew pictures, all in the form of poems, short and long. So that one is still worth reading. But his NewPoems from 1915 in my opinion is the epitome of his writings; here we get the eternal existensial questions treated in a tighter, more succinct fashion.

The prospect of death is treated with open eyes, as in Begun Journey. It depicts a dead man, a departed soul that looks back on the ground he has left: ”I already wander on the bridge, leading / from the Earth to the unknown / and what used to be near becomes distant”… He’s free, he throws away his shoes and his staff, and when he sees himself buried down on the distant earth, then he can barely recognize the name they mumble around the coffin. – This is visionary powers: to see oneself as dead, the soul wandering off into the unknown.

When New Poems was published Heidenstam was 55. He would live for another 25 years. Yet he speaks of himself as ”an old man, sitting by the fire brooding”. It’s in If I Were A Child, about what you would do if you were a child again; the poet sits and remembers, noting that most of his friends are dead. It ends:

Mystery, fairytale, light of day,

your depth no one can fathom.

Yet the same child am I still

and bliss is here to stay.

This demonstrates a heartwarming, everyday piety which is always viable. This poem sports my overall aesthetic ideal: simple but not simplistic. A similar everyday esoterism we meet in We Human Beings. It says that we’ll all die one day, it is what ”we human beings” have in common. Some kind of kitchen-sink wisdom, really; I’m lacking a more spiritual outlook. Still, I like the opening lines of this poem, having etched themselves into my being,

We, who meet for a few brief moments,

children of the same soil and the same wonder,

on the storm-ridden ness of life!

Another poignant poem is The Burial of Gustaf Fröding. It’s written in memory of the Swedish poet colleague who lived from 1860 to 1911. The poem portrays how Fröding, while he lived, was sitting at his Bible while his hair turned white. From this the poem becomes universal in scope, ”wondrously large is a human fate,” but man is like a reed in the wind: ”Die, die, this he constantly hears / when creating, asking, searching for truth.” Then the key changes in the following lines: ”All is vain, / all things earthly die, die, / but he himself becomes the work that he fashions.”

Speaking about dying Heidenstam for his own grave created this epitaph, being congenial and saying everything about la condition humaine: ”Here lies the dust of an old man. Gratefully, he praised the incomprehensible fact, that it was granted him to live a life on earth as a man.” Truly majestic, simple but not simplistic.

4.

Heidenstam practically stopped writing after New Poems. Authors who thus ”retire” are said to be uncommon. But Heidenstam admitted to acquaintances that his creative powers simply had run out. With all due respect you could say that he became senile. He built himself an estate at Lake Vättern, Övralid, not far from Motala. It looks like a cross between a 17th century Swedish mansion and Goethe’s house in Weimar. The immediate model was the estate Odinshöj in Denmark, where he lived for a while with his partner Kate Bang. Övralid is very stylish, bordering on the sterile. No park or garden would surround it; the lawn would imperceptibly blend into wilderness and the view of the water would be free and unhindered. Only a so-called ornamental tree would provide shade.

The critic Klara Johanson said that Heidenstam’s role in life was the same as the reindeers at Skansen: to offer an easily recognizable profile against the sky. And certainly Heidenstam was a little vain, indeed he liked to pose. He liked, as indicated, to play the role of poet laurate. However, he was also well-liked. Maybe Selma Lagerlöf (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils,1907) was more beloved by the people but Heidenstam could also tell tales and spin yarns. His historical reader for the elementary school, The Swedes and Their Chieftains, as I’ve said, has many witty stories. Astrid Lindgren, for example, testified how she was arrested by the introductory short story about Ura Kaipa and the Stone Age. Heidenstam could paint evocative scenes, as in the story of Ura Kaipa, in the poem ”Tiveden” and the excursions in the archaic forests of The Tree of the Folkungs.

Lagerlöf and Heidenstam died the same year, in 1940. This was commemorated by an anthology called Mårbacka and Övralid, the writers’ respective mansions symbolizing them in the title. Here is given a suggestive anecdote from Heidenstam’s actual writing of A King and His Campaigners. To say that he met the ghost of Charles XII when he composed the chapter on the death of the king may sound unbelievable, but this is what this memory book says. In case it’s worth telling it was like this: in 1897 Heidenstam lived as a guest of the mansion Nor in Uppland, south of Uppsala. He was in the final stages of the Charles XII book. One particular night he stayed up late, working with quill in the lamplight. Just as he had portrayed how Charles XII had fallen by Fredrikshald he heard a sound – the rattle of a bunch of keys. Then he heard the clink of spurs. Then steps coming up the stairs.

The steps approached the den. Finally he stood there, Charles XII, and eyed the author. The king sat down on a chair with his sword resting on his knee. And then he said, ”Remember, I prayed to God the last night I was alive!”

Heidenstam noted all this. Becoming dazed he bowed his head, with his hand to his eyes. When he looked up the figure was gone. No sounds were heard of steps withdrawing. There was a sepulchral silence. Heidenstam remained seated at the table, confused. In the morning he was taken care of by servants. He was bedridden for several days. Then he got up and decided to change his script of the Charles XII book he was writing, A King and His Campaigners. A little research brought him to a certain ”Charles’s prayer before the battle at Narva”. This he edited slightly and inserted in the portrayal of the king’s last days. A few more additions were made in the book so that the religious element in Charles’s life better would come into its own.

Coda

I’m a nationalist of sorts. I savour books about the traditional ways of Sweden, my native country. Then the books may also be artistically high standing as well. And this is readily achieved with Heidenstam’s writings. We live today in a time when the ”elite” of my land often is hostile against all things traditionally Swedish, when it bashes the customary image of Sweden. In this fight, you can’t always, as a defense, offer up ”high-class, immortal works of art” – but with Heidenstam on board you get this. So if you see a book by Heidenstam, buy it. I have an inkling that his books in English are rare and hard to find but they definitely exist. He got the Nobel Prize in 1916 and after that there were some translations made, some of them mentioned above.

 

—————

Svensson, Lennart. “Verner von Heidenstam — An Overview.” Tankesmedjan Motpol, 9 January 2015. <http://www.motpol.nu/princip/2015/01/09/verner-von-heidenstam-an-overview/ >.

 

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The Rule of Money – Benoist

On the Rule of Money: Interview with Alain de Benoist by Nicolas Gauthier

 

Note: This interview was first posted in French on the Boulevard Voltaire Website on 13 September 2015. Nicolas Gauthier was the interviewer. It was translated by Ann Sterzinger.

Nicolas Gauthier: Chinese tradition tells us that money makes a good servant but a poor master. Doesn’t it depend on how you use it? And anyway, doesn’t everyone need it?

Alain de Benoist: We also need toilet paper every day, but we don’t consider it sacred! People who fancy that money is ‘neutral’ are the same people who think language is nothing but a system of communication (when its main function is to instill a conception of the world) and that technology is good or bad depending on how we use it (when in reality, no matter what use you put it to, it makes you relate to the world on its terms).

Stripped to its essence, money can be defined as the universal equivalent. It’s what allows us to reduce everything to a quantity, that is to say a price. It shows the way that everything can be thought of as being similar to everything else. On the other hand, money is a social mediation, in which individual liberty is identified with the objectification of the relationships of exchange (which is to say, the individual projects himself onto his monetary benefits), as Georg Simmel effectively showed in his Philosophy of Money. Currency itself is never just a currency. The euro, for example, is also a subtle form of governance; by liquidating the gains that labour has made over the last century, it helps to render the workers as nothing more than a commodity.

People have been thundering against money throughout European history, from Aristotle’s critique of chrematistics—that is, the accumulation of money for its own sake—to Pope Francis, who, in The Joy of the Gospel (2013), denounced the ‘money-fetish’ and the ‘dictatorship of the faceless economy’. Didn’t Thomas Aquinas write that ‘business, when you look at it, is a bit shameful’ (Summa Theologica)?

NG: But the ‘reign of money’—what does that mean, exactly?

AdB: The reign of money is the transformation of each thing into its monetary equivalent, in other words its price. It’s also the substitution of commercial riches for the raw riches offered by nature. Finally, it’s the institution of a world where all practical ends are considered interchangeable, a world that detaches itself from ends to concentrate on rationalising the means. All of this goes on in the name of the ‘laws of the market’.

The market, in the modern sense of the term, obviously has nothing to do with the old village markets. It describes a system that’s assumed to be self-regulating and self-enclosed, but which is in reality embedded in history, and has made itself the paradigm of all human activities, public and private: there’s a marriage market, a political market, a health market, and so on.

The founders of economic liberalism (Adam Smith, Quesnay, Mandeville, etc.) all assure us that the market is our natural form of exchange, since man is fundamentally a homo œconomicus, always naturally inclined to seek his own utility (his optimal material interests); in other words, an autonomous, rational agent whose every act obeys the logic of the market. Thus social virtue is discredited, and private vices are supposed to support the general good (this is the idea of ‘the natural harmony of selfishness’ under the effects of the ‘invisible hand’ of ‘free and fair competition’, the new avatar of Providence). Nothing must be allowed to obstruct the quest for profit. Economic activity justifies excess and becomes our very reason to live.

With this as a springboard, it’s not hard to understand how capitalism has penetrated every aspect of our lives and subjugated them all to the rule of ‘always more’: making merchandise seem infinite makes our desires infinite, and instantly turns them into needs. Money serves to produce goods which produce even more money. Exchange value is more important than the value we get from using anything, and the ‘law of the market’ imposes itself everywhere: there’s a market for athletes, a market for contemporary art, a real estate market, a labour market, a market for internal organs, for stem cells, for embryos, for surrogate mothers, and so on. And the peasants, who’ve in turn become farmers—then been turned into ‘agricultural producers’—weren’t the last to fall victim to this law of profit that leaves them with nothing but the liberty to keel over.

NG: Capitalism used to be mostly industrial; hasn’t it today become fundamentally financial? Is that why we are, to paraphrase the Vatican, changing from a market economy into a market society?

AdB: In his recent book, What Money Can’t Buy, Michael Sandel examines a society where everything that used to be free from the rules of the market (land, art, culture, basic relationships) is now prostrate before them. He asks whether we might as well admit that we pay the unemployed to stand in queues in our place, that social security pays smokers and fat people to get help, that children get money from schools for doing well academically, and that prisoners can pay to have better cells. (In his book, Sandel cites actual examples of instances in which unemployed people have been paid to stand in a queue in someone else’s place, cash incentives were offered to cause people to give up smoking or to lose weight [unsuccessfully] or to do better in school, and in which convicts in Santa Ana, California can pay to have better cells.—Ed.) These are some of the bizarre but fundamental questions that the expansion of the market into all aspects of life forces upon us. Sandel then demonstrates that, since money mediates all social transactions, financial incentives can have the opposite effect of what we expected, since money erodes the value of all the goods to which it purchases access (paying a child to go to school eats away at the very idea of education).

A society which no longer consists of anything but legal contracts and market exchanges is simply not viable, because contracts and trades are never enough by themselves, and thus can never be the foundation for a society. If the system lives by money, it will die by money, and we’ll find this out all too soon.

 

——————-

De Benoist, Alain. “On the Rule of Money: Interview with Alain de Benoist.” Interview by Nicolas Gauthier. Right On, 6 October 2015. <http://www.righton.net/2015/10/06/on-the-rule-of-money/ >.

 

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Foundations of Eurasianism – Dugin

Foundations of Eurasianism

By Alexander Dugin

 

Introductory Note: This page presents the combined republication of two separate articles by Alexander Dugin, titled “Milestones of Eurasianism” and “The Eurasian Idea.” They have been published together because we believe that these two together give a more complete view of Eurasianist theories and their philosophical roots. However, our audience should be aware that these two texts by themselves are not entirely satisfactory for understanding Eurasianism, and may lead to misunderstandings if read without reference to other key texts. We urge our audience to read the other articles by or about Alexander Dugin and also articles about the subject Eurasianism on this site for a more complete view of Eurasianist theory.  – Daniel Macek (Editor of the “New European Conservative”)

 

Milestones of Eurasism

 

Eurasism is an ideological and social-political current born within the environment of the first wave of Russian emigration, united by the concept of Russian culture as a non-European phenomenon, presenting–among the varied world cultures–an original combination of western and eastern features; as a consequence, the Russian culture belongs to both East and West, and at the same time cannot be reduced either to the former or to the latter.

The founders of Eurasism:

  • S. Trubetskoy(1890–1938)–philologist and linguist.
  • N. Savitsky (1895–1965)–geographer, economist.
  • V. Florovsky(1893–1979)–historian of culture, theologian and patriot.
  • V. Vernadsky(1877–1973)–historian and geopolitician.
  • N. Alekseev– jurist and politologist.
  • N. Ilin– historian of culture, literary scholar and theologian.

Eurasism’s main value consisted in ideas born out of the depth of the tradition of Russian history and statehood. Eurasism looked at the Russian culture not as to a simple component of the European civilization, as to an original civilization, summarizing the experience not only of the West as also–to the same extent–of the East. The Russian people, in this perspective, must not be placed neither among the European nor among the Asian peoples; it belongs to a fully original Eurasian ethnic community. Such originality of the Russian culture and statehood (showing at the same time European and Asian features) also defines the peculiar historical path of Russia, her national-state program, not coinciding with the Western-European tradition. 

Foundations

Civilization concept

The Roman-German civilization has worked out its own system of principles and values, and promoted it to the rank of universal system. This Roman-German system has been imposed on the other peoples and cultures by force and ruse. The Western spiritual and material colonization of the rest of mankind is a negative phenomenon. Each people and culture has its own intrinsic right to evolve according to its own logic. Russia is an original civilization. She is called not only to counter the West, fully safeguarding its own road, but also to stand at the vanguard of the other peoples and countries on Earth defending their own freedom as civilizations. 

Criticism of the Roman-German civilization

The Western civilization built its own system on the basis of the secularisation of Western Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), bringing to the fore such values like individualism, egoism, competition, technical progress, consumption, economic exploitation. The Roman-German civilization founds its right to globality not upon spiritual greatness, as upon rough material force. Even the spirituality and strength of the other peoples are evaluated only on the basis of its own image of the supremacy of rationalism and technical progress.

The space factor

There are no universal patterns of development. The plurality of landscapes on Earth produces a plurality of cultures, each one having its own cycles, internal criteria and logics. Geographical space has a huge (sometimes decisive) influence on peoples’ culture and national history. Every people, as long as it develops within some given geographical environment, elaborates its own national, ethical, juridical, linguistic, ritual, economic and political forms. The “place” where any people or state “development” happens predetermines to a great extent the path and sense of this “development”–up to the point when the two elements became one. It is impossible to separate history from spatial conditions, and the analysis of civilizations must proceed not only along the temporal axis (“before,” “after,” “development” or “non-development,” and so on) as also along the spatial axis (“east,” “west,” “steppe,” “mountains,” and so on). No single state or region has the right to pretend to be the standard for all the rest. Every people has its own pattern of development, its own “times,” its own “rationality,” and deserves to be understood and evaluated according to its own internal criteria.

The climate of Europe, the small extension of its spaces, the influence of its landscapes generated the peculiarity of the European civilization, where the influences of the wood (northern Europe) and of the coast (Mediterraneum) prevail. Different landscapes generated different kinds of civilizations: the boundless steppes generated the nomad empires (from the Scythians to the Turks), the loess lands the Chinese one, the mountain islands the Japanese one, the union of steppe and woods the Russian-Eurasian one. The mark of landscape lives in the whole history of each one of these civilizations, and cannot be either separated form them or suppressed.

State and nation

The first Russian slavophiles in the 19th century (Khomyakov, Aksakov, Kirevsky) insisted upon the uniqueness and originality of the Russian (Slav, Orthodox) civilization. This must be defended, preserved and strengthened against the West, on the one hand, and against liberal modernism (which also proceeds from the West), on the other. The slavophiles proclaimed the value of tradition, the greatness of the ancient times, the love for the Russian past, and warned against the inevitable dangers of progress and about the extraneousness of Russia to many aspects of the Western pattern.

From this school the eurasists inherited the positions of the latest slavophiles and further developed their theses in the sense of a positive evaluation of the Eastern influences.

The Muscovite Empire represents the highest development of the Russian statehood. The national idea achieves a new status; after Moscow’s refusal to recognize the Florentine Unia (arrest and proscription of the metropolitan Isidore) and the rapid decay, the Tsargrad Rus’ inherits the flag of the Orthodox empire. 

Political platform

Wealth and prosperity, a strong state and an efficient economy, a powerful army and the development of production must be the instruments for the achievement of high ideals. The sense of the state and of the nation can be conferred only through the existence of a “leading idea.” That political regime, which supposes the establishment of a “leading idea” as a supreme value, was called by the Eurasists as “ideocracy”–from the Greek “idea” and “kratos,” power. Russia is always thought of as the Sacred Rus’, as a power [derzhava] fulfilling its own peculiar historical mission. The Eurasist world-view must also be the national idea of the forthcoming Russia, its “leading idea.”

The Eurasist choice

Russia-Eurasia, being the expression of a steppe and woods empire of continental dimensions, requires her own pattern of leadership. This means, first of all, the ethics of collective responsibility, disinterest, reciprocal help, ascetism, will and tenaciousness. Only such qualities can allow keeping under control the wide and scarcely populated lands of the steppe-woodland Eurasian zone. The ruling class of Eurasia was formed on the basis of collectivism, asceticism, warlike virtue and rigid hierarchy.

Western democracy was formed in the particular conditions of ancient Athens and through the centuries-old history of insular England. Such democracy mirrors the peculiar features of the “local European development.” Such democracy does not represent a universal standard. Imitating the rules of the European “liberal-democracy” is senseless, impossible and dangerous for Russia-Eurasia. The participation of the Russian people to the political rule must be defined by a different term: “demotia,” from the Greek “demos,” people. Such participation does not reject hierarchy and must not be formalized into party-parliamentary structures. “Demotia” supposes a system of land council, district governments or national governments (in the case of peoples of small dimensions). It is developed on the basis of social self-government, of the “peasant” world. An example of “demotia” is the elective nature of church hierarchies on behalf of the parishioners in the Muscovite Rus’. 

The work of L. N. Gumilev as a development of the Eurasist thinking

Lev Nikolaevic Gumilev (1912–1992), son of the Russian poet N. Gumilev and of the poetess A. Akhmatova, was an ethnographer, historian and philosopher. He was profoundly influenced by the book of the Kalmuck Eurasist E. Khara-Vadan “Gengis-Khan as an army leader” and by the works of Savitsky. In its own works Gumilev developed the fundamental Eurasist theses. Towards the end of his life he used to call himself “the last of the Eurasists.” 

Basic elements of Gumilev’s theory

  • The theory of passionarity [passionarnost’] as a development of the Eurasist idealism;
  • The essence of which, in his own view, lays in the fact that every ethnos, as a natural formation, is subject to the influence of some “energetic drives,” born out of the cosmos and causing the “passionarity effect,” that is an extreme activity and intensity of life. In such conditions the ethnos undergoes a “genetic mutation,” which leads to the birth of the “passionaries”–individuals of a special temper and talent. And those become the creators of new ethnoi, cultures, and states;
  • Drawing the scientific attention upon the proto-history of the “nomad empires” of the East and the discovery of the colossal ethnic and cultural heritage of the autochthone ancient Asian peoples, which was wholly passed to the great culture of the ancient epoch, but afterwards fell into oblivion (Huns, Turks, Mongols, and so on);
  • The development of a turkophile attitude in the theory of “ethnic complementarity.”

An ethnos is in general any set of individuals, any “collective”: people, population, nation, tribe, family clan, based on a common historical destiny. “Our Great-Russian ancestors–wrote Gumilev–in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries easily and rather quickly mixed with the Volga, Don and Obi Tatars and with the Buriates, who assimilated the Russian culture. The same Great-Russian easily mixed with the Yakuts, absorbing their identity and gradually coming into friendly contact with Kazakhs and Kalmucks. Through marriage links they pacifically coexisted with the Mongols in Central Asia, as the Mongols themselves and the Turks between the 14th and 16th centuries were fused with the Russians in Central Russia.” Therefore the history of the Muscovite Rus’ cannot be understood without the framework of the ethnic contacts between Russians and Tatars and the history of the Eurasian continent.

The advent of Neo-Eurasism: historical and social context

The crisis of the Soviet paradigm

In the mid-1980s the Soviet society began to lose its connection and ability to adequately reflect upon the external environment and itself. The Soviet models of self-understanding were showing their cracks. The society had lost its sense of orientation. Everybody felt the need for change, yet this was but a confused feeling, as no-one could tell the way the change would come from. In that time a rather unconvincing divide began to form: “forces of progress” and “forces of reaction,” “reformers” and “conservators of the past,” “partisans of reforms” and “enemies of reforms.” 

Infatuation for the western models

In that situation the term “reform” became in itself a synonym of “liberal-democracy.” A hasty conclusion was inferred, from the objective fact of the crisis of the Soviet system, about the superiority of the western model and the necessity to copy it. At the theoretical level this was all but self-evident, since the “ideological map” offers a sharply more diversified system of choices than the primitive dualism: socialism vs. capitalism, Warsaw Pact vs. NATO. Yet it was just that primitive logic that prevailed: the “partisans of reform” became the unconditional apologists of the West, whose structure and logic they were ready to assimilate, while the “enemies of reform” proved to be the inertial preservers of the late Soviet system, whose structure and logic they grasped less and less. In such condition of lack of balance, the reformers/pro-westerners had on their side a potential of energy, novelty, expectations of change, creative drive, perspectives, while the “reactionaries” had nothing left but inertness, immobilism, the appeal to the customary and already-known. In just this psychological and aesthetic garb, liberal-democratic policy prevailed in the Russia of the 1990s, although nobody had been allowed to make a clear and conscious choice.

The collapse of the state unity

The result of “reforms” was the collapse of the Soviet state unity and the beginning of the fall of Russia as the heir of the USSR. The destruction of the Soviet system and “rationality” was not accompanied by the creation of a new system and a new rationality in conformity to national and historical conditions. There gradually prevailed a peculiar attitude toward Russia and her national history: the past, present and future of Russia began to be seen from the point of view of the West, to be evaluated as something stranger, transcending, alien (“this country” was the “reformers’” typical expression). That was not the Russian view of the West, as the Western view of Russia. No wonder that in such condition the adoption of the western schemes even in the “reformers’” theory was invoked not in order to create and strengthen the structure of the national state unity, but in order to destroy its remains. The destruction of the state was not a casual outcome of the “reforms”; as a matter of fact, it was among their strategic aims.

The birth of an anti-western (anti-liberal) opposition in the post-Soviet environment

In the course of the “reforms” and their “deepening,” the inadequacy of the simple reaction began to be clear to everyone. In that period (1989–90) began the formation of a “national-patriotic opposition,” in which there was the confluence of part of the “Soviet conservatives” (ready to a minimal level of reflection), groups of “reformers” disappointed with “reforms” or “having become conscious of their anti-state direction,” and groups of representatives of the patriotic movements, which had already formed during the perestroika and tried to shape the sentiment of “state power” [derzhava] in a non-communist (orthodox-monarchic, nationalist, etc.) context. With a severe delay, and despite the complete absence of external strategic, intellectual and material support, the conceptual model of post-Soviet patriotism began to vaguely take shape.

Neo-Eurasism

Neo-Eurasism arose in this framework as an ideological and political phenomenon, gradually turning into one of the main directions of the post-Soviet Russian patriotic self-consciousness. 

Stages of development of the Neo-Eurasist ideology

1st stage (1985–90)

  • Dugin’s seminars and lectures to various groups of the new-born conservative-patriotic movement. Criticism of the Soviet paradigm as lacking the spiritual and national qualitative element.
  • In 1989 first publications on the review Sovetskaya literatura[Soviet Literature]. Dugin’s books are issued in Italy (Continente Russia [Continent Russia], 1989) and in Spain (Rusia Misterio de Eurasia [Russia, Mystery of Eurasia], 1990).
  • In 1990 issue of René Guénon’s Crisis of the Modern Worldwith comments by Dugin, and of Dugin’s Puti Absoljuta [The Paths of the Absolute], with the exposition of the foundations of the traditionalist philosophy.

In these years Eurasism shows “right-wing conservative” features, close to historical traditionalism, with orthodox-monarchic, “ethnic-pochevennik” [i.e., linked to the ideas of soil and land] elements, sharply critical of “Left-wing” ideologies.

2nd stage (1991–93)

  • Begins the revision of anti-communism, typical of the first stage of Neo-Eurasism. Revaluation of the Soviet period in the spirit of “national-bolshevism” and “Left-wing Eurasism.”
  • Journey to Moscow of the main representatives of the “New Right” (Alain de Benoist, Robert Steuckers, Carlo Terracciano, Marco Battarra, Claudio Mutti and others).
  • Eurasism becomes popular among the patriotic opposition and the intellectuals. On the basis of terminological affinity, A. Sakharov already speaks about Eurasia, though only in a strictly geographic–instead of political and geopolitical–sense (and without ever making use of Eurasism in itself, like he was before a convinced atlantist); a group of “democrats” tries to start a project of “democratic Eurasism” (G. Popov, S. Stankevic, L. Ponomarev).
  • Lobov, O. Soskovets, S. Baburin also speak about their own Eurasism.
  • In 1992–93 is issued the first number of Elements: Eurasist Review. Lectures on geopolitics and the foundations of Eurasism in high schools and universities. Many translations, articles, seminars.

3rd stage (1994–98): theoretical development of the Neo-Eurasist orthodoxy

  • Issue of Dugin’s main works Misterii Evrazii[Mysteries of Eurasia] (1996),Konspirologija [Conspirology] (1994), Osnovy Geopolitiki [Foundations of geopolitics] (1996), Konservativnaja revoljutsija [The conservative revolution] (1994), Tampliery proletariata [Knight Templars of the Proletariat] (1997). Works of Trubetskoy, Vernadsky, Alekseev and Savitsky are issued by “Agraf” editions (1995–98).
  • Creation of the “Arctogaia” web-site (1996) – arctogaia.com.
  • Direct and indirect references to Eurasism appear in the programs of the KPFR (Communist Party], LDPR [Liberal-Democratic Party], NDR [New Democratic Russia] (that is left, right, and centre). Growing number of publications on Eurasist themes. Issue of many Eurasist digests.
  • Criticism of Eurasism from Russian nationalists, religious fundamentalists and orthodox communists, and also from the liberals.
  • Manifestations of an academic “weak” version of Eurasism (Prof. A. S. Panarin, V. Ya. Paschenko, F.Girenok and others) – with elements of the illuminist paradigm, denied by the Eurasist orthodoxy – then evolving towards more radically anti-western, anti-liberal and anti-gobalist positions.
  • Inauguration of a university dedicated to L. Gumilev in Astan [Kazakhstan].

4th stage (1998–2001)

  • Gradual de-identification of Neo-Eurasism vis-à-visthe collateral political-cultural and party manifestations; turning to the autonomous direction (“Arctogaia,” “New University,” “Irruption” [Vtorzhenie]) outside the opposition and the extreme Left and Right-wing movements.
  • Apology of staroobrjadchestvo[Old Rite].
  • Shift to centrist political positions, supporting Primakov as the new premier. Dugin becomes the adviser to the Duma speaker G. N. Seleznev.
  • Issue of the Eurasist booklet Nash put’[Our Path] (1998).
  • Issue of Evraziikoe Vtorzhenie[Eurasist Irruption] as a supplement to Zavtra. Growing distance from the opposition and shift closer to the government’s positions.
  • Theoretical researches, elaborations, issue of “The Russian Thing” [Russkaja vesch’] (2001), publications in Nezavisimaja GazetaMoskovskij Novosti, radio broadcasts about “Finis Mundi” on Radio 101, radio broadcasts on geopolitical subjects and Neo-Eurasism on Radio “Svobodnaja Rossija” (1998–2000).

5th stage (2001–2002)

  • Foundation of the Pan-Russian Political Social Movement EURASIA on “radical centre” positions; declaration of full support to the President of the Russian Federation V. V. Putin (April 21, 2001).
  • The leader of the Centre of Spiritual Management of the Russian Muslims, sheik-ul-islam Talgat Tadjuddin, adheres to EURASIA.
  • Issue of the periodical Evraziizkoe obozrenie[Eurasist Review].
  • Appearance of Jewish Neo-Eurasism (A. Eskin, A. Shmulevic, V. Bukarsky).
  • Creation of the web-site of the Movement EURASIA: eurasia.com.ru
  • Conference on “Islamic Threat or Threat to Islam?.” Intervention by H. A. Noukhaev, Chechen theorist of “Islamic eurasism” (“Vedeno or Washington?,” Moscow, 2001].
  • Issue of books by E. Khara-Davan and Ya. Bromberg (2002).
  • Process of transformation of the Movement EURASIA into a party (2002).

Basic philosophical positions of Neo-Eurasism

At the theoretical level Neo-Eurasism consists of the revival of the classic principles of the movement in a qualitatively new historical phase, and of the transformation of such principles into the foundations of an ideological and political program and a world-view. The heritage of the classic eurasists was accepted as the fundamental world-view for the ideal (political) struggle in the post-Soviet period, as the spiritual-political platform of “total patriotism.”

The Neo-Eurasists took over the basic positions of classical Eurasism, chose them as a platform, as starting points, as the main theoretical bases and foundations for the future development and practical use. In the theoretical field, Neo-Eurasists consciously developed the main principles of classical Eurasism taking into account the wide philosophical, cultural and political framework of the ideas of the 20th century.

Each one of the main positions of the classical Eurasists (see the chapter on the “Foundations of classical Eurasism”) revived its own conceptual development.

Civilization concept

Criticism of the western bourgeois society from “Left-wing” (social) positions was superimposed to the criticism of the same society from “Right-wing” (civilizational) positions. The Eurasist idea about “rejecting the West” is reinforced by the rich weaponry of the “criticism of the West” by the same representatives of the West who disagree with the logic of its development (at least in the last centuries). The Eurasist came only gradually, since the end of the 1980s to the mid-1990s, to this idea of the fusion of the most different (and often politically contradictory) concepts denying the “normative” character of the Western civilization.

The “criticism of the Roman-German civilization” was thoroughly stressed, being based on the prioritary analysis of the Anglo-Saxon world, of the US. According to the spirit of the German Conservative Revolution and of the European “New Right,” the “Western world” was differentiated into an Atlantic component (the US and England) and into a continental European component (properly speaking, a Roman-German component). Continental Europe is seen here as a neutral phenomenon, liable to be integrated–on some given conditions–in the Eurasist project.

The spatial factor

Neo-Eurasism is moved by the idea of the complete revision of the history of philosophy according to spatial positions. Here we find its trait-d’union in the most varied models of the cyclical vision of history, from Danilevsky to Spengler, from Toynbee to Gumilev.

Such a principle finds its most pregnant expression in traditionalist philosophy, which denies the ideas of evolution and progress and founds this denial upon detailed metaphysical calculations. Hence the traditional theory of “cosmic cycles,” of the “multiple states of Being,” of “sacred geography,” and so on. The basic principles of the theory of cycles are illustrated in detail by the works of Guénon (and his followers G. Georgel, T. Burckhardt, M. Eliade, H. Corbin). A full rehabilitation has been given to the concept of “traditional society,” either knowing no history at all, or realizing it according to the rites and myths of the “eternal return.” The history of Russia is seen not simply as one of the many local developments, but as the vanguard of the spatial system (East) opposed to the “temporal” one (West). 

State and nation

Dialectics of national history

It is led up to its final, “dogmatical” formulation, including the historiosophic paradigm of “national-bolshevism” (N. Ustryalov) and its interpretation (M. Agursky). The pattern is as follows:

  • The Kiev period as the announcement of the forthcoming national mission (IX-XIII centuries);
  • Mongolian-Tatar invasion as a scud against the levelling European trends, the geopolitical and administrative push of the Horde is handed over to the Russians, division of the Russians between western and eastern Russians, differentiation among cultural kinds, formation of the Great-Russians on the basis of the “eastern Russians” under the Horde’s control (13th–15th centuries);
  • The Muscovite Empire as the climax of the national-religious mission of Rus’ (Third Rome) (15th–end of the 17th century);
  • Roman-German yoke (Romanov), collapse of national unity, separation between a pro-western elite and the national mass (end of the 17th-beginning of the 20th century);
  • Soviet period, revenge of the national mass, period of the “Soviet messianism,” re-establishment of the basic parameters of the main muscovite line (20th century);
  • Phase of troubles, that must end with a new Eurasist push (beginning of the 21st century).

Political platform

Neo-Eurasism owns the methodology of Vilfrido Pareto’s school, moves within the logic of the rehabilitation of “organic hierarchy,” gathers some Nietzschean motives, develops the doctrine of the “ontology of power,” of the Christian Orthodox concept of power as “kat’echon.” The idea of “elite” completes the constructions of the European traditionalists, authors of researches about the system of castes in the ancient society and of their ontology and sociology (R. Guénon, J. Evola, G. Dumézil, L. Dumont). Gumilev’s theory of “passionarity” lies at the roots of the concept of “new Eurasist elite.”

The thesis of “demotia is the continuation of the political theories of the “organic democracy” from J.-J. Rousseau to C. Schmitt, J. Freund, A. de Benoist and A. Mueller van der Bruck. Definition of the Eurasist concept of “democracy” (“demotia”) as the “participation of the people to its own destiny.”

The thesis of “ideocracy” gives a foundation to the call to the ideas of “conservative revolution” and “third way,” in the light of the experience of Soviet, Israeli and Islamic ideocracies, analyses the reason of their historical failure. The critical reflection upon the qualitative content of the 20th century ideocracy brings to the consequent criticism of the Soviet period (supremacy of quantitative concepts and secular theories, disproportionate weight of the classist conception).

The following elements contribute to the development of the ideas of the classical Eurasists:

The philosophy of traditionalism (Guénon, Evola, Burckhardt, Corbin), the idea of the radical decay of the “modern world,” profound teaching of the Tradition. The global concept of “modern world” (negative category) as the antithesis of the “world of Tradition” (positive category) gives the criticism of the Western civilization a basic metaphysic character, defining the eschatological, critical, fatal content of the fundamental (intellectual, technological, political and economic) processes having their origin in the West. The intuitions of the Russian conservatives, from the slavophiles to the classical Eurasists, are completed by a fundamental theoretical base. (see A. Dugin, Absoljutnaja Rodina [The Absolute Homeland], Moscow 1999; Konets Sveta[The End of the World], Moscow 1997; Julius Evola et le conservatisme russe, Rome 1997).

The investigation on the origins of sacredness (M. Eliade, C. G. Jung, C. Levi-Strauss), the representations of the archaic consciousness as the paradigmatic complex manifestation laying at the roots of culture. The reduction of the many-sided human thinking, of culture, to ancient psychic layers, where fragments of archaic initiatic rites, myths, originary sacral complexes are concentrated. Interpretation of the content of rational culture through the system of the ancient, pre-rational beliefs (A. Dugin, “The evolution of the paradigmatic foundations of science” [Evoljutsija paradigmal’nyh osnovanij nauki], Moscow 2002).

The search for the symbolic paradigms of the space-time matrix, which lays at the roots of rites, languages and symbols (H. Wirth, paleo-epigraphic investigations). This attempt to give a foundation to the linguistic (Svityc-Illic), epigraphic (runology), mythological, folkloric, ritual and different monuments allows to rebuild an original map of the “sacred concept of the world” common to all the ancient Eurasian peoples, the existence of common roots (see A. Dugin Giperborejskaja Teorija [Hyperborean Theory], Moscow 1993.

A reassessment of the development of geopolitical ideas in the West (Mackinder, Haushofer, Lohhausen, Spykman, Brzeszinski, Thiriart and others). Since Mackinder’s epoch, geopolitical science has sharply evolved. The role of geopolitical constants in 20th century history appeared so clear as to make geopolitics an autonomous discipline. Within the geopolitical framework, the concept itself of “Eurasism” and “Eurasia” acquired a new, wider meaning.

From some time onwards, Eurasism, in a geopolitical sense, began to indicate the continental configuration of a strategic (existing or potential) bloc, created around Russia or its enlarged base, and as an antagonist (either actively or passively) to the strategic initiatives of the opposed geopolitical pole–“Atlantism,” at the head of which at the mid-20th century the US came to replace England.

The philosophy and the political idea of the Russian classics of Eurasism in this situation have been considered as the most consequent and powerful expression (fulfilment) of Eurasism in its strategic and geopolitical meaning. Thanks to the development of geopolitical investigations (A. Dugin, Osnovye geopolitiki [Foundations of geopolitics], Moscow 1997) Neo-Eurasism becomes a methodologically evolved phenomenon. Especially remarkable is the meaning of the Land – Sea pair (according to Carl Schmitt), the projection of this pair upon a plurality of phenomena – from the history of religions to economics.

The search for a global alternative to globalism, as an ultra-modern phenomenon, summarizing everything that is evaluated by Eurasism (and Neo-Eurasism) as negative. Eurasism in a wider meaning becomes the conceptual platform of anti-globalism, or of the alternative globalism. “Eurasism” gathers all contemporary trends denying globalism any objective (let alone positive) content; it offers the anti-globalist intuition a new character of doctrinal generalization.

The assimilation of the social criticism of the “New Left” into a “conservative right-wing interpretation” (reflection upon the heritage of M. Foucault, G. Deleuze, A. Artaud, G. Debord). Assimilation of the critical thinking of the opponents of the bourgeois western system from the positions of anarchism, neo-marxism and so on. This conceptual pole represents a new stage of development of the “Left-wing” (national-bolshevik) tendencies existing also among the first Eurasists (Suvchinskij, Karsavin, Efron), and also a method for the mutual understanding with the “left” wing of anti-globalism.

“Third way” economics, “autarchy of the great spaces.” Application of heterodox economic models to the post-Soviet Russian reality. Application of F. List’s theory of the “custom unions.” Actualization of the theories of S. Gesell. F. Schumpeter, F. Leroux, new Eurasist reading of Keynes.

 

The Eurasian Idea

 

Changes in the Original Meaning of Eurasianism

Different terms lose their original meaning through their daily use over the course of many years. Such fundamental notions as socialism, capitalism, democracy, fascism, have changed profoundly. In fact, they have turned banal.

The terms “Eurasianism” and “Eurasia” also have some uncertainties because they are new, they belong to a new political language and intellectual context that is only being created today. The Eurasian Idea mirrors a very active dynamic process. Its meaning has become clearer throughout history but needs to be further developed.

Eurasianism as a Philosophical Struggle

The Eurasian Idea represents a fundamental revision of the political, ideological, ethnic, and religious history of mankind, and it offers a new system of classification and categories that will overcome standard clichés. The Eurasian theory went through two stages—a formative period of classical Eurasianism at the beginning of the 20th century by Russian emigrant intellectuals (Trubeckoy, Savickiy, Alekseev, Suvchinckiy, Iljin, Bromberg, Hara-Davan, et al.) followed by the historical works of Lev Gumilev and, finally, the constitution of neo-Eurasianism (second half of the 1980s to the present).

Towards Neo-Eurasianism

Classical Eurasian theory undoubtedly belongs to the past and can be correctly classified within the framework of the ideologies of the 20th century. Classical Eurasianism might have passed, but neo-Eurasianism has given it a second birth, a new sense, scale, and meaning. When the Eurasian Idea arose from its ashes, it became less obvious, but has since revealed its hidden potential. Through neo-Eurasianism, the entire Eurasian theory has received a new dimension. Today we cannot ignore the large historical period of neo-Eurasianism and must try to comprehend it in it modern context. Furthermore, we will describe the various aspects of this notion.

Eurasianism as a Global Trend; Globalization as the Main Body of Modern History

In the broad sense the Eurasian Idea and even the Eurasian concept do not strictly correspond to the geographical boundaries of the Eurasian continent. The Eurasian Idea is a global-scale strategy that acknowledges the objectivity of globalization and the termination of nation-states (Etats-Nations), but at the same time offers a different scenario of globalization, which entails no unipolar world or united global government. Instead, it offers several global zones (poles). The Eurasian Idea is an alternative or multipolar version of globalization, but globalization is the currently major fundamental world process that is deciding the main vector of modern history.

Paradigm of Globalization—Paradigm of Atlantism

Today’s nation-state is being transformed into a global state; we are facing the constitution of planetary governmental system within a single administrative-economic system. To believe that all nations, social classes, and economic models might suddenly begin to cooperate on the basis of this new planet-wide logic is wrong. Globalization is a one-dimensional, one victor phenomenon that tries to universalize the Western (Anglo-Saxon, American) point of view of how to best manage human history. It is (very often connected with suppression and violence) the unification of different social-political, ethnic religious, and national structures into one system. It is a Western European historical trend that has reached its peak through its domination of the USA.

Globalization is the imposing of the Atlantic paradigm. Globalization as Atlantism absolutely tries to avoid this definition. Proponents of globalization argue that when there will be no alternative to Atlantism that it will stop being Atlantism. The American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama writes about the “end of History,” which actually mean the end of geopolitical history and of the conflict between Atlantism and Eurasianism. This means a new architecture of a world system with no opposition and with only one pole—the pole of Atlantism. We may also refer to this as the New World Order. The model of opposition between the two poles (East-West, North-South) transforms to the center-outskirt model (center—West, “rich North”; outskirt—South). This variant of world architecture is completely at odds with the concept of Eurasianism.

Unipolar Globalization Has an Alternative

Today the New World Order is nothing more than a project, plan or trend. It is very serious, but it is not fatal. Adherents of globalization deny any alternative plan of the future, but today we are experiencing a large-scale phenomenon—contra-globalism, and the Eurasian Idea coordinates all opponents of unipolar globalization in a constructive way. Moreover, it offers the competing idea of multipolar globalization (or alter-globalization).

Eurasianism as Pluriversum

Eurasianism rejects the center-outskirt model of the world. Instead, the Eurasian Idea suggests that the planet consists of a constellation of autonomous living spaces partially open to each other. These areas are not nation-states but a coalition of states, reorganized into continental federations or “democratic empires” with a large degree of inner self-government. Each of these areas is multipolar, including a complicated system of ethnic, cultural, religious and administrative factors.

In this global sense, Eurasianism is open to everyone, regardless of one’s place of birth, residence, nationality and citizenship. Eurasianism provides an opportunity to choose a future different from the cliché of Atlantism and one value system for all mankind. Eurasianism does not merely seek the past or to preserve the current status quo, but strives for the future, acknowledging that the world’s current structure needs radical change, that nation-states and industrial society have exhausted all their resources. The Eurasian Idea does not see the creation of a world government on the basis of the liberal-democratic values as the one and only path for mankind. In its most basic sense, Eurasianism in the 21st century is defined as the adherence to alter-globalization, synonymous with a multipolar world.

Atlantism is not Universal

Eurasianism absolutely rejects the universalism of Atlantism and Americanism. The pattern of Western-Europe and America has many attractive features that can be adopted and praised, but as whole it is merely a cultural system that has the right to exist in its own historical context along with other civilizations and cultural systems.

The Eurasian Idea protects not only anti-Atlantic value systems, but the diversity of value structures. It is a kind of “poliversum” that provides living space for everyone, including the USA and Atlantism, along with other civilizations, because Eurasianism also defends the civilizations of Africa, both American continents, and the Pacific area parallel to the Eurasian Motherland.

The Eurasian Idea Promotes a Global Revolutionary Idea

The Eurasian Idea on a global scale is a global revolutionary concept, called upon to be a new platform for mutual understanding and cooperation for a large conglomerate of different powers: states, nations, cultures, and religions that reject the Atlantic version of globalization.

If we analyze the declaration and statements of various politicians, philosophers, and intellectuals we will see that the majority of them are adherents (sometimes unaware) of the Eurasian Idea.

If we think about all of those who disagree with the “end of history” our spirits will be raised and the failure of the American concept of strategic security for the 21st century connected with constituting the unipolar world, will be much more realistic.

Eurasianism is the sum of the natural, artificial, objective, and subjective obstacles on the path of unipolar globalization; it offers a constructive, positive opposition to globalism instead of a simple negation.

These obstacles, however, remain uncoordinated in the meantime, and proponents of Atlantism are able to manage them easily. Yet, if these obstacles can somehow be integrated into a united force, they will be integrated into something united and the likelihood of victory will become much more serious.

Eurasianism as the Old World (Continent)

The New World is part of the Second Old World or a more specific and narrow sense of the word Eurasianism applicable to what we call the Old World. The Notion of the Old World (traditionally regarding Europe) can be considered in a much wider context. It is multi-civilizational super space, inhabited by nations, states, cultures, ethnicities, and religions connected to each other historically and geographically by dialectic destiny. The Old World is an organic product of human history.

The Old World is often opposed to the New World, the American continent, discovered by Europeans and transformed into a platform for an artificial civilization, where European projects of modernism were created. It was built upon human-produced ideologies as a purified civilization of modernism.

The United States was the successful creation of the “perfect society,” formed by intellectuals from England, Ireland, and France, while the countries of South and Central America remained colonies of the Old World, and Germany and Eastern Europe were less influenced by this idea of a “perfect society.”

In the terms of Oswald Spengler, dualism between Old and New world can be brought to opposites: culture-civilization, organic-artificial, historical-clinical. 

The New World as Messiah

As a historical product of Western Europe during its evolution, the New World very early on realized its “messiah” destiny, where the liberal-democratic ideals of the Enlightenment were combined with the eschatological ideas of radical protestant sects. This was called the theory of Manifest Destiny, which became the new symbol of belief for generations of Americans. According to this theory, American civilization overtook all cultures and civilizations of the Old World and in its current universal form, it is obligatory for all nations of the planet.

With time, this theory directly confronted not only the cultures of the East and Asia, but came into conflict with Europe, which seemed to the Americans to be archaic and full of prejudice and antiquated traditions.

In turn, the New World turned away from the heritage of the Old World. Directly following World War II the New World became the indisputable leader in Europe itself with the “criteria of verity” of others. This inspired a corresponding wave of American dominance and at a parallel time the beginning of a movement that seeks geopolitical liberation from the brutal, transoceanic, strategic, economic and political control of the “elder Brother.”

Integration of the Eurasian Continent

In the 20th century, Europe became aware of its common identity, and step-by-step started to move towards the integration of all its nations into a common union, able to guarantee full sovereignty, security, and freedom to itself and all members.

The creation of the European Union became the most important event that helped Europe restore its status as a world power alongside the USA. This was the response of the Old World to the excessive challenge of the New World.

If we consider the alliance of the USA and Western Europe as the Atlantic vector of European development, European integration under the aegis of the continental countries (Germany, France) may be called European Eurasianism. This becomes more and more obvious if we take into consideration the theory of Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to the Urals (de Gaulle) or even to Vladivostok. In other words the integration of the Old World includes the vast territory of the Russian Federation.

Thus, Eurasianism in this context may be defined as a project of the strategic, geopolitical, and economic integration of the north of the Eurasian continent, considered the cradle of European history and the matrix of European nations.

Parallel with Turkey, Russia (both ancestors of the Europeans) is historically connected with the Turkic, Mongolian, and Caucasus nations. Russia gives the integration of Europe a Eurasian dimension in both the symbolic and geographic senses (identification of Eurasianism with continentalism).

During the last few centuries, the idea of European integration has been proposed by the revolutionary faction of European elites. In ancient times, similar attempts were made by Alexander the Great (integration of the Eurasian continent) and Genghis Khan (founder of history’s largest empire).

Eurasia as Three Great Living-Spaces, Integrated across the Meridian; Three Eurasian Belts (Meridian Zones)

The horizontal vector of integration is followed by a vertical, vector.

Eurasian plans for the future presume the division of the planet into four vertical geographical belts (meridian zones) from North to South.

Both American continents will form one common space oriented on and controlled by the USA within the framework of the Monroe Doctrine. This is the Atlantic meridian zone.

In addition to the above zone, three others are planned. They are the following:

  • Euro-Africa, with the European Union as its center.
  • Russian-Central Asian zone.
  • Pacific zone.

Within these zones, the regional division of labor and the creation of developmental areas and corridors of growth will take place.

Each of these belts (meridian zones) counterbalance each other and all of them together counterbalance the Atlantic meridian zone. In the future, these belts might be the foundation upon which to build a multipolar world: the number of poles will be more than two; however, the number will be much less than the number of current nation-states. The Eurasian model proposes that the number of poles must be four.

The Meridian zones of the Eurasian project consist of several “Great Spaces” or “democratic empires.” Each possesses relative freedom and independence but are strategically integrated into a corresponding meridian zone.

The Great Spaces correspond to the boundaries of civilizations and include several nation-states or unions of states.

The European Union and the Arab Great Space, which integrates North, Trans-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, for Euro-Africa.

The Russian-Central Asian zone is formed by three Great Spaces that sometimes overlap each other. The first is the Russian Federation along with several countries of the CIS—members of the Eurasian Union. Second is the Great Space of continental Islam (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan). The Asian countries of the CIS intersect this zone.

The third Great Space is Hindustan, which is a self-dependent civilization sector.

The Pacific meridian zone is determined by a condominium of two great spaces (China and Japan) and also includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia (some researchers connect Australia with the American Meridian zone). The geopolitical region is very mosaic and can be differentiated by many criteria.

The American meridian zone consists of the American-Canadian, Central and North American Great Spaces.

Importance of the Fourth Zone

The structure of the world based upon meridian zones is accepted by most American geopoliticians who seek the creation of a New World Order and unipolar globalization. However, a stumbling block is the existence of the Russian-Central Asian meridian space: the presence or absence of this belt radically changes the geopolitical picture of the world.

Atlantic futurologists divide the world into the three following zones:

  • American pole, with the European Union as its close-range periphery (Euro-Africa as an exemption) and
  • The Asian and Pacific regions as its long-range periphery.
  • Russia and Central Asia as fractional, but without it as an independent meridian zone, our world is unipolar.

This last meridian zone counterbalances American pressure and provides the European and Pacific zones ability to act like self-dependent civilization poles.

Real multipolar balance, freedom and the independence of meridian belts, Great Spaces, and nation-states depend upon the successful creation of a fourth zone. Moreover, it’s not enough to be one pole in a two-pole model of the world: the rapid progress of the USA can be counterbalanced only by the synergy of all three meridian zones. The Eurasian project proposes this four-zone project on a geopolitical strategic level.

Eurasianism as Russian-Central Asian Integration; Moscow-Tehran Axis; Fourth Meridian Zone – Russian-Asian Meridian Integration

The central issue of this process is the implementation of a Moscow-Tehran axis. The whole process of integration depends on the successful establishment of a strategic middle and long-term partnership with Iran. Iranian and Russian economic, military, and political potential together will increase the process of zone integration, making the zone irreversible and autonomous. The Moscow-Tehran axis will be the basis for further integration. Both Moscow and Iran are self-sufficient powers, able to create their own organizational strategic model of the region.

Eurasian plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan

The integration vector with Iran is vitally important for Russia to gain access to warm-water ports as well as for the political-religious reorganization of Central Asia (Asian countries of CIS, Afghanistan and Pakistan). Close cooperation with Iran presumes the transformation of the Afghani-Pakistani area into a free Islamic confederation, loyal both to Moscow and to Iran. The reason this is necessary is that the independent states of Afghanistan and Pakistan will be the continuing source of destabilization, that being neighboring countries. The geopolitical struggle will provide the ability to implement a new Central-Asian federation and transform this complicated region into one of cooperation and a prosperity area.

Moscow-Delhi Axis

Russian-Indian cooperation is the second most important meridian axis in integration on the Eurasian continent and the Eurasian collective security systems. Moscow will play an important role, decreasing the tensions between Delhi and Islamabad (Kashmir). The Eurasian plan for India, sponsored by Moscow, is the creation of a federation that will mirror the diversity of Indian security with its numerous ethnic and religious minorities, including Sikhs and Muslims.

Moscow-Ankara

The main regional partner in the integration process of Central Asia is Turkey. The Eurasian Idea is already becoming rather popular there today because of western trends interlaced with Eastern. Turkey acknowledges its civilization differences with the European Union, its regional goals and interests, the threat of globalization, and further loss of sovereignty.

It is strategically imperative for Turkey to establish a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation and Iran. Turkey will be able to maintain its traditions only within the framework of a multipolar world. Certain factions of Turkish society understand this situation—from politicians and socialists to religious and military elites. Thus, the Moscow-Ankara axis can become geopolitical reality despite a long-term period of mutual estrangement.

Caucasus

The Caucasus is the most problematic region to Eurasian integration because its mosaic of cultures and ethnicities easily leads to tensions between nations. This is one of the main weapons used by those who seek to stop integration processes across the Eurasian continent. The Caucasus is inhabited by nations belonging to different states and civilization areas. This region must be a polygon for testing different methods of cooperation between peoples, because what can succeed there can succeed across the Eurasian continent. The Eurasian solution to this problem lies not in the creation of ethnic-based states or assigning one nation strictly to one state, but in the development of a flexible federation on the basis of ethnic and cultural differences within the common strategic context of the meridian zone.

The result of this plan is a system of a half-axis between Moscow and the Caucasian centers (Moscow-Baku, Moscow-Yerevan, Moscow-Mahachkala, Moscow-Grozny, etc.) and between the Caucasian centers and Russia’s allies within the Eurasian project (Baku-Ankara, Erevan-Teheran, etc.).

Eurasian Plan for Central Asia

Central Asia must move toward integration into a united, strategic, and economic bloc with the Russian Federation within the framework of the Eurasian Union, the successor of the CIS. The main function of this specific area is the rapprochement of Russia with the countries of continental Islam (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan). From the very beginning, the Central-Asia sector must have various vectors of integration. One plan will make the Russian federation the main partner (similarities of culture, economic and energy interests, a common security system). The alternate plan is to place the accent on ethnic and religious resemblance: Turkic, Iranian, and Islamic worlds.

Eurasian Integration of Post-Soviet Territories; Eurasian Union

A more specific meaning of Eurasianism, partially similar to the definitions of the Eurasian intellectuals of the 1920s and 1930s is connected with the process of the local integration of post-Soviet territories. Different forms of similar integration can be seen in history: from the Huns and other (Mongol Turkic, Indo-European) nomad empires to the empire of Genghis Khan and his successors. More recent integration was led by the Russian Romanov Empire and, later, by the USSR. Today, the Eurasian Union is continuing these traditions of integration through an unquiet ideological model that takes into consideration democratic procedures; respects the rights of nations; and pays attention to the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic features of all union members.             Eurasianism is the philosophy of integration of the post-Soviet territory on democratic, non-violent, and voluntary basis without the domination of any one religious or ethnic group.

Astana, Dushanbe, and Bishkek as the Main Force of Integration

Different Asian republics of the CIS treat the process of post-Soviet integration unequally. The most active adherent to integration is Kazakhstan. The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is a staunch supporter of the Eurasian Idea. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan similarly support the process of integration, though their support is less tangible in comparison with Kazakhstan.

Tashkent and Ashabad

Uzbekistan and especially Turkmenistan oppose the integration process, trying again to gain the maximum positive results from their recently achieved national sovereignty. However, very soon, due to the increasing rate of globalization, both states will face a dilemma: to lose sovereignty and melt into a unified global world with its domination by American liberal values or to preserve cultural and religious identity in the context of the Eurasian Union. In our opinion, an unbiased comparison of these two options will lead to the second one, naturally sequential for both countries and their history.

Trans-Caucasian States

Armenia continues to gravitate towards the Eurasian Union and considers the Russian Federation an important supporter and conciliator that helps it to manage relations with its Muslim neighbors. It is notable that Tehran prefers to establish a partnership with ethnically close Armenia. This fact allows us to consider two half-axis—Moscow-Yerevan and Yerevan-Tehran—as positive prerequisites for integration.

Baku remains neutral, but its situation will drastically change with the continued movement of Ankara towards Eurasianism (it will immediately affect Azerbaijan). Analysis of the Azerbaijani cultural system shows that this state is closer to the Russian Federation and post-Soviet republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia than to religious Iran and even moderate Turkey.

Georgia is the key problem of the region. The mosaic character of the Georgian state is the cause of serious problems during the construction of a new national state that is strongly rejected by its ethnic minorities: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Adjaria, etc. Furthermore, the Georgian state does not have any strong partners is the region and is forced to seek a partnership with the USA and NATO to counterbalance Russian influence. Georgia is a major threat, able to sabotage the very process of Eurasian integration. The solution to this problem is found in the Orthodox culture of Georgia, with its Eurasian features and traditions.

Ukraine and Belarus—Slavic Countries of the CIS

It is enough to gain the support of Kazakhstan and Ukraine to succeed in the creation of the Eurasian Union. The Moscow-Astana-Kiev triangle is a frame able to guarantee the stability of the Eurasian Union, which is why negotiations with Kiev are urgent like never before. Russia and Ukraine have very much in common: culture, language, religious, and ethnic similarities. These aspects need to be highlighted because from the beginning of Ukraine’s recent sovereignty Russophobia and disintegration have been promoted. Many countries of the EU can positively influence the Ukrainian government, because they are interested in political harmony in Eastern Europe. The cooperation of Moscow and Kiev will demonstrate the pan-European attitudes of both Slavic countries.

The above-mentioned factors pertain to Belarus, where integration intentions are much more evident. However, the strategic and economic status of Belarus is less important to Moscow that those of Kiev and Astana. Moreover, the domination of a Moscow-Minsk axis will harm integration with Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which is why integration with Belarus must proceed fluently and without any sudden incidents—along with other vectors of the Eurasian integration process.

Eurasianism as Weltanschauung

The last definition of Eurasianism characterizes a specific Weltanschauung: a political philosophy combing tradition, modernity, and even elements of postmodernism. This philosophy has as its priority traditional society, acknowledges the imperative of technical and social modernization (without separating from traditional culture); and strives for the adaptation of its ideological program to post-industrial, informational society, which is called postmodernism. Postmodernism formally removes the counter positions of tradition and modernism, disenfranchising and making them equal. Eurasian postmodernism, on the contrary, promotes an alliance of tradition and modernism as a constructive, optimistic, energetic impulse towards creation and growth. Eurasian philosophy does not deny the realities discovered by the Enlightenment: religion, nation, empire, culture, etc. At the same time, the best achievements of modernism are used widely: technological and economic advances, social guarantees, freedom of labor. Extremes meet each other, melting into a unifying harmonic and original theory, inspiring fresh thinking and new solutions for the eternal problems people have faced throughout history.

Eurasianism is an Open Philosophy

Eurasianism is an open, non-dogmatic philosophy that can be enriched with new content: religion, sociological and ethnological discoveries, geopolitics, economics, national geography, culture, strategic and political research etc. Moreover, Eurasian philosophy offers original solutions in specific cultural and lingual contexts: Russian Eurasianism will not be the same as French, German, or Iranian versions. However, the main framework of the philosophy will remain invariable.

Principles of Eurasianism

The basic principles of Eurasianism are the following:

  • Differentialism, the pluralism of values systems versus the conventional obligatory domination of one ideology (American liberal-democracy first and foremost);
  • Tradition versus suppression of cultures, dogmas, and discoveries of traditional society;
  • Rights of nations versus the “gold billions” and neo-colonial hegemony of the “rich North”;
  • Ethnicities as values and subjects of history versus the depersonalisation of nations, imprisoned into artificial social constructions;
  • Social fairness and human solidarity versus exploitation and humiliation of man by man.

 

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Dugin, Alexander. “Milestones of Eurasianism.” Ab Aeterno, No. 3, (June 2010). Retrieved from: < http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/12/milestones-of-eurasism/ >.

Dugin, Alexander. “The Eurasian Idea.” Ab Aeterno, No. 1, (November 2009). Retrieved from: < http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/11/the-eurasian-idea/ >.

 

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Ethical Theories of Nishitani, Watsuji, & Berdyaev – Sevilla

“Ethics of Emptiness East and West: Examining Nishitani, Watsuji, and Berdyaev” by Anton Luis Sevilla (PDF – 604 KB):

Ethics of Nishitani, Watsuji, and Berdyaev – Sevilla

“The Communality of Creativity and the Creativity of Communality: A Comparison of the Ethics of Nikolai Berdyaev and Watsuji Tetsuro” by Anton Luis Sevilla (PDF – 308 KB):

Comparison of Berdyaev’s and Watsuji’s Ethics – Sevilla

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Sevilla, Anton Luis. “Ethics of Emptiness East and West: Examining Nishitani, Watsuji, and Berdyaev.” In Questioning Oriental Aesthetics and Thinking: Conflicting Visions of “Asia” Under the Colonial Empires, edited by Shigemi Inaga. Kyoto: International Research Center for Japanese Studies, 2010. Retrieved from: <http://publications.nichibun.ac.jp/region/d/NSH/series/kosh/2011-03-31/s001/s026/pdf/article.pdf >.

Sevilla, Anton Luis. “The Communality of Creativity and the Creativity of Communality: A Comparison of the Ethics of Nikolai Berdyaev and Watsuji Tetsuro.” Kritika Kultura, No. 15 (2010), pp. 226-253. Retrieved from: <http://philpapers.org/archive/SEVTCO-2.pdf >.

 

Notes on other resources: See also the article about the debate on Kitaro Nishida’s philosophical positions, a Japanese philosopher who was a significant influence on Tetsuro Watsuji and Keiji Nishitani: “The Nishida Enigma: ‘The Principle of the New World Order’” by Yoko Arisaka. However, we should note to our audience that Arisaka’s article deals mostly with Nishida’s political and cultural philosophy, and only briefly mentions his philosophy in the fields of religion, ontology, science, and ethics. Likewise, Sevilla’s articles above mostly deal with the ethical philosophies and (to a lesser extent) religious philosophies of Watsuji and Nishitani, but neglect the philosophy of culture and climate which Watsuji is well-known for.

More information on all of these thinkers can be found in various books and journals, including for example at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (see Kyoto School, Nishida, Watsuji). Another good reference for external resources on Japanese philosophers is the Japanese Philosophy Blog (see categories of Kyoto School, Nishida, Watsuji) and Nichibunken (see publications search). However, we should warn our readers that the majority of academic resources on these philosophers in English contain anti-Right-wing or anti-Conservative bias and commentaries (especially the Stanford Encyclopedia), and thus must be compared and balanced with alternative explanations for a better understanding. A more neutral, although somewhat limited, discussion of Watsuji’s political (and ethical-social) philosophy can be found in “Watsuji Tetsuro’s Contributions to Political Philosophy” by Kazuhiko Okuda (Paper delivered to the XVIIth World Congress of International Political Science Association (IPSA), Seoul, Korea, August 17·21, 1997. Originally published online at: <http://nirr.lib.niigata-u.ac.jp/bitstream/10623/31224/1/2011_2_iuj1_019.pdf >. ).

 

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Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism – Yoshino

“From Ethnie to Nation: Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism” by Kosaku Yoshino (PDF – 7.12 MB):

Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism – Yoshino

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Yoshino, Kosaku. “From Ethnie to Nation: Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism.” In Japan in Comparative Perspective, edited by Hidehiro Sonoda and S.N. Eisenstadt. Kyoto: International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, 1999. Retrieved from: <http://publications.nichibun.ac.jp/region/d/NSH/series/kosh/1999-11-30-2/s001/s012/pdf/article.pdf >.

 

Note: See also Alain de Benoist’s critical analysis of nationalism, its historical origins, and pre-modern forms of state and ethnic relations in his articles “Nationalism: Phenomenology and Critique” and “The Idea of Empire”.

 

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Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism – Grego

Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism

By Antonio Grego

Committee for the project «Eurasia»

 

The staff of the Committee for the project «Eurasia» is organized within three different structures, separated and independent, but all of them are interdependent. Two of them contribute to the scientific and academic work of our Group: «Eurasia», a quarterly of Geopolitical Studies, born in 2004. Since that, «Eurasia» has published many analysis and studies focused on Geostrategy and International Relations. Our second structure is the CESEM Institution («Centro Studi Eurasia-Mediterraneo», a think-tank focused on the Eurasian-Mediterranean partnership).

A brand new organization, it has established ties with many Italian universities, aimed at the training and the apprenticeship of our young collaborators. During these eight years our quarterly has organised many open meetings, conventions and workshops with foreign institutions. Our goal is focused on the knowledge of foreign countries, on the introduction of new books of geopolitics and the explanation of Multipolarism and its trends for a mainstream Italian audience.

Furthermore, we have a web journal called «Stato e Potenza» («State and Power»); it has a definitely more political and militant approach to the global situation. It has been created to reach more people with our analysis focused on issues like Eurasianism and the Multipolar system. In this case our analysis is oriented to a daily examination of capitalism and imperialism. Its style is less scientific than «Eurasia» and «CESEM», but the goal is the same: a strategic and economical analysis of the global system we live in.

We cannot forget that we operate and we organize our public initiatives in a difficult country like Italy. You certainly know that the Ministry of Defense and the Italian Armed Forces have been part of NATO since 1949 (its establishment), and our internal policy has always been influenced (if not directed) by Washington D.C. and London. For almost fifty years the chances for criticizing this situation with independent studies have been restrained, despite the activity of the most important Communist Party of Western Europe. However, the communist forces gradually changed their political field, first joining the Euro-Communist project (created by CIA to divide the leftist parties in Western Europe from the USSR) and finally becoming in the Nineties one of the most pro-American political forces in the Italian politics. Let’s make it clear: the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi raised many doubts before joining the U.S.-led campaign against Gaddafi’s Lybia, while the Democratic Party (the post-Communist and social-democratic formation) was quick in asking for a military intervention.

You can easily understand the Italian scenario within we have to move: a country whose culture has been totally destroyed by Liberalism, nowadays organized in a «left» and a «right». The extreme liberal capitalism was introduced in Italy after the end of the so-called «First Republic» (1948-1992), and it was presented like a panacea for the corruption of the State institutions. It won after the so-called «Mani Pulite» («Clear Hands»), a judicial operation led by Washington D.C. that erased a whole political system and led to the total destruction of the Italian economy based on State industries and the public intervention in the economic field.

Our country was enslaved to the ultra-capitalist era of the unipolar world, with the absolute power of the global finance; in a few years Italy lost most of its industrial assets, bought by Anglo-American societies thanks to deregulated privatizations and denationalizations. Now it seems we are back to those years: after the financial crisis our economy fell into a deep crisis due to its huge debt and the progressive strategic decline of Italy during the Nineties.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Euopean Union decided to impose on Italy a political transition with a so-called «technical government» under Giorgio Napolitano’s supervision. Napolitano is another former Communist who became pro-American during the Seventies. The new Italian Prime Minister is Mario Monti, former president of the European branch of the Trilateral Commission, former commissioner of the European Union and international advisory for Goldman Sachs; the new minister of Defense is admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, member of the NATO General Command, while the new Foreign minister is Giulio Terzi di SantAgata, former Italian ambassador in the United States of America and in Israel. These facts make you clear the political and strategic lines that the new Italian government (not chosen by the Italian people) is going to follow.

Social protests in Italy rise day after day, and in a long period this could benefit our publishing activity. However the pressure and the open hostility by mainstream media toward critic voices is still high, especially in relation with the international politics. In Italy four different reviews of geopolitics are currently published, but on the other hand televisions and other medias ignore these topics; their approach to geopolitics is very superficial and mainly based on the American propaganda. We try to challenge mainstream cultural elites with an activity which relies only on our own economical resources, with many sacrifices but always aiming at the higher dignity and professionalism.

The international situation

The current world order is the result of two main events, happened during the last decade of the past century: the liberal and capitalist counter-revolution in the USSR and the birth of a common market and monetary free area in the European Union. These two events resulted in a stronger influence of the Transatlantic partnership, because of the expansion of the American power in Eastern Europe, from the Baltic countries to the Balkans; moreover, we saw the victory of capitalism in the geopolitical European space, an important event as described in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s publications. The Warsaw’s Pact quick decline and the geopolitical weakening of Russia have been other important factors.

The European Union is currently paying a high price for its military and economical dependance on the American superpower: in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal workers and small factories are going to be wiped out due to the financial crisis and the financial measures. Brussel’s solutions are focused to help only the private banking system, forgetting the people. This is a complete non-sense because that’s the same sector that led to the current crisis through speculation and the sub-prime derivates market. Meanwhile our countries keep on spending billions to support military campaigns ordered by the United States of America and Great Britain.

The situation we are witnessing is a clear example of the skill of capitalism to perpetuate itself through Space and Time, showing the inadequacy of the optimistic and dogmatist views of the Marxist ideology. Capitalism has never been in danger of its own existence, it can’t destroy itself without the presence of another factor: the political force of a party and a State and its army, the Socialism in a powerful country. At the same time this can be considered like a realist prevision of the Marxist theory: capitalism could contain the seeds for its own destruction.

Globalization has shown two different faces: the worst one consisting in the violent will of expansion of the American power all over the world, the other has seen the spreading of new technologies and economical development in different parts of the planet. This process of modernization is without any doubt positive from the perspective of countries like China, Pakistan, Brazil and India, and could lead to a global change that could create the preconditions for a multipolar order. This can have other effects, like the beginning of a self-destruction of capitalism: in its moment of biggest success, the capital system doesn’t represent only a «division of workforce», but even a «world division» in areas of influence and direct conquer.

Carl Schmitt’s idea of «Great Spaces» has been confirmed in the past years: these constructions exist in a midway between the global order and the single National States. It became reality with the return of Russia as a power after Eltsin’s dark age, and it has been proved when States like China, India, Iran, Turkey and Brazil gained more and more influence. This process was not a simple «Westernization» of the world, but something more and deeper.

On the political side, the idea of «Westernization» isn’t enough to fully understand what’s happening in the world; it could be seen as a part of a bigger process which also includes modernization, a slide from modernity to post-modernity and a general analysis of what we consider as the «West». Every «political resistance» that the unipolarism is now meeting in different part of the world relies on peculiar histories and traditions which capitalism hasn’t been able to defeat. Political and social struggle must rely on these cultures.

The American imperialism represents a brand new structure of global will of power, something we had never seen before in history: a process aimed at the expansion of its influence worldwide, but still different from the old European colonialism. If we consider the world as we know we should infer that the Anglo-American power and its influence have won.

However this conclusion (as Samuel Huntington wrote) has been an illusion for the cultural and political elites in the White House since 1992: the global spreading of the so-called «American Way of life» (its subculture, its movies, its food) cannot lead to a decisive victory. In his famous book «The Clash of Civilizations», Huntington wrote about the Japanese «Wakon-Sai» and the Chinese «Ty-Jong», eras of technical modernization without any Western influence.

The president of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Hu Jintao, recently claimed that China seeks to defend its own tradition from any foreign (Western, we can add) influence. Non-Western cultures have three different paths on their way: defending their cultural identity while achieving modernization (like Hu Jintao said), rejecting both «Westernization» and modernization (just like some Islamic movements and Lin Biao’s Chinese school) or a mid-way of what we can call an inclusive «Westernization», like that we are witnessing now in Turkey.

We believe that the first step to reject imperialism and to seek a real multipolar system can be chosen only by the first way: modernization without «Westernization». In our view the other two way of thinking modernity aren’t winning strategies: on the contrary, they are going to strengthen global capitalism. We can observe this in many cases: Tukey’s Neo-Ottomanism is directed by the USA in organizing

Middle East after the so-called «Arab Spring», and so it is the same for many political and religious groups in Middle East and Asia. The United States of America are seeking a strategy of containment for every possible global competitor, spreading chaos and poverty to weaken them: this can be reached in many different ways, even using some ideologies like a certain radical Ecologism and reactionary ideologies (often with some kind of a religious background) in non-Western parts of the world. At the same time, even some ultra-nationalist movements can be used for their goals, as we can see in some parts of Eastern Europe.

The strategic and technological power will be the key for all those countries willing to increase their influence.

Nowadays, Russia and China are America’s most influential global competitors. The People’s Republic of China has a stronger political system than the Russian; it is based on a Communist and patriotic system and it is seeking an intelligent approach to the global market to improve its own social and technical development. Beijing still relies on the strategy called «non-intromission» in States’ internal affairs (Zhou Enlai explained this at the Bandung Conference), but is studying new tactics to contain Western aggressive policies in Asia.

We are going to see some kind of a new «Cold War» in Africa very soon. Libya and Sudan have been two preliminary examples of that (although Beijing’s reaction to Western aggressions hasn’t been strong). Russia and China are the only non-Western global powers, they are Permanent Members in the United Nations Security Council, they have got nuclear weapons and important military industries. Plus, Russia has got another very important weapon: the world’s biggest resources in oil and gas, and many other raw materials like coal, steel and uranium.

The Soviet defeat marked a dark era not only for its political meaning, but even more for geopolitics: Russia lost its «Great Space», which Vladimir Putin is trying to build again within the Eurasian Union. Without its strategic routes to the South and the East (Central Asia, Ukraine, Belarus), Russia would lose a huge part of its potential.

A new multipolar order would not automatically lead to the defeat of imperialism, to a fair world and an era of peace. This could lead incited to a global conflict and many regional wars, especially in Northern and Central Africa, in the Middle East and in South-Western Asia. The Cold War ended years ago, but the nuclear power still exists and the multipolar order will be a challenge between nuclear superpowers. Multipolarism has already existed in history: for example during the Thirties, after the end of the British imperial power. It resulted in a terrible conflict between the West and the Tripartite Pact, and a subsequent war against the USSR.

The nuclear power was officially born during the days of May 1945. The criminal attack on Japan was a clear message to Moscow: «Now we can fully destroy you». From that moment, Stalin planned how to defend his country from the American imperialist madness. The Russian answer was the very beginning of the Cold War with the Mutual Assured Destruction era.

Now nine Nations have nuclear weapons: the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Israel, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Four of them are NATO members or part of the Western sphere, five of them joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and share partnerships with Russia and China. Of course nobody will declare war on the counterpart (this would be a suicide) with a first strike, so we can assume that conventional weapons will still be used in the future wars, adding some new high-technology and ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) systems. We think that future wars will be fought in the most underveloped areas of the world, where the superpowers strategies and interests will collide.

The Italian case

As we wrote in the beginning of this analysis, Italy is currently in a very difficult position. After the recent regime change, our new government includes a former Goldman Sachs and Trilateral Commission associated member as a Prime Minister, a NATO personality as minister of Defense and a former ambassador to Washington D.C. and Israel is our Foreign minister. This is enough for you to understand the real nature of this «technical government», collecting military, political and economical personnel from Atlantic structures.

The social situation of Italy is worsening day after day: this system is literally crushing every social conquer that Italian workers won during the past decades. Young people have no perspective for their future but in-occupation and unemployment; the State has no chance to get back its sovereignty and independence. The War on Libya marked a milestone. Sivlio Berlusconi’s government, with all its political faults, was still a strict ally of Russia’s Putin and Libya’s Gaddafi. Our State-run oil and gas company, ENI, launched cooperation projects with its Russian and Libyan counterparts like we had never seen before.

Italy is a kind of bridge in the Mediterranean Sea which links Europe to Northern Africa and Middle East. For this reason Italy has been like a NATO aircraft carrier since the end of the Second World War. We have had more than one hundred American and NATO military bases and facilities on our soil since the beginning of the Cold War. More or less every American aggression in the past decades was launched from Italy: the first Gulf War, the War on Serbia, the invasion of Afghanistan, the second Gulf War and the latest War on Libya. We have been forced to a war against an allied country and its people only to follow Western orders (those coming from the nuclear Western powers, France, Great Britain and the USA). If Italy had a different government and a sovereign political system, our country could play an important role to improve a strategic partnership between the Arab countries and Europe and in defending peace and security in areas like the Balkans and Syria.

Fernand Braudel thought the Mediterranean Sea to be an independent economical space that could be totally independent because of its culture, its economy and its political balance. With its internal differences, the Mediterranean Space has been a beacon of light for centuries in the past. Despite some weird interpretations that we totally reject, the example of Roma and its Empire are totally different from the modern American imperialism: Rome’s institutions still today are some of the highest examples that the word has ever known in fields like administrative law, politics and the State system. This model was melted with the Greek one, able to improve and grow up throughout the centuries, and it was translated to other historical experiences like those of Constantinople (during the long era of the Byzantine peace and harmony) and Moscow, the headquarters of a great empire which is the center of the international balance.

Unfortunately it seems that Italy today has forgotten its own lessons and its rich heritage (political, historical and cultural); our country is living in a condition of extreme ethic, political and social decadence.

Because of that, the American influence found the ground to establish its «cultural» model meeting light or no resistance at all in our society and cultural life. One of our main problems is the historical fragmentation of the Italian political and geographical condition; Italy is united by its culture and literature, but sadly divided by its economical internal conditions. The division of Italy (North, Center and South) is shown by two different phenomena: the Northern League, struggling from more than twenty years for the political independence of Northern Italy, and crime organizations based in the Southern regions, like the Mafia.

The economical scenario of modern Italy is based on small and medium-sized factories. In some cases these industries exploit workers, but more often they suffer from the policies of big companies like Agnelli’s FIAT, Pirelli (tires), Benetton (clothing production), linked to the biggest global lobbies and oligopolies. Every year the Italian State supply these big companies with public money, but workers have never seen the results of these operations, which benefit only super managers like FIAT’s Marchionne and Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, whose policies often lead to serious mistakes and damages for our public interests.

Recently Italy has reformed the Article n. 18 of the Workers’ Statute (originally written in 1970), so it is now possible to fire workers without any right cause. Only a judge could decide if the workers has been fired on the basis of a right cause, but even if the worker wins the lawsuit (and that’s not sure) he couldn’t take back his former workplace. Italian banks have shown the same cynical approach: they aren’t funding anymore small factories nor citizens who want to buy houses; their variable rates of interests are too high and their bonds aren’t sustainable for the middle class.

Tens of Italian workers, small businessmen and traders fell into a deep crisis with their own families and the rates of suicides for economical reasons is increasing day after day. Thousands of Italians are losing their job, unemployed young people rate has never been so high (36%), and the public sector and retirement pensions are being targeted by new taxes, while bonus for super managers and big assets were left untouched. Some isolated cases (controls on the fiscal renditions of celebrities) in the last two months must be considered as pure forms of propaganda by an ultra-capitalist government which considers public money more important than a worker’s life.

The same for the European Union: this is a political construction built on economical basis decided by bureaucrats that the people of Europe have never chosen nor elected. Southern Europe is now paying the price for the guidelines that the Brussels-Paris-Berlin alliance implemented under the direction of the White House and London. It can be viewed as a giant octopus ruled by lobbies struggling to keep Europe under NATO’s control.

If the present scenario is dark, our perspectives are brighter: the current system known as the so-called «Second Republic», the main responsible for the triumph of the Anglo-Saxon model in Italy (a majority election system based on a duopoly that Italian never truly accepted) has failed and corruption is creating a deep lack of confidence towards all the political parties. After years of fierce struggle, the two main parties (Bersani’s Democratic Party and Berlusconi’s «Popolo della Libertà») support Mario Monti’s government. The opposition (the Northern League, recently stricken by judiciary scandals and the only movement of the Italian parliament opposing Brussel’s policies) has never been so weak.

The Italian people are going to face serious challenge now and in the next future; the liberal guidelines ordered by Brussels are likely to be implemented until the end of the term of office and next elections (May 2013). We must not ignore that some analysts are saying that the elections could be delayed, allowing Mr. Monti’s government to operate for some additional months. The social situation in the country, the conditions of workers, families and retirees will be something to focus on during the next twelve months. May’s administrative elections will be an interesting test to understand what Italians really think of this situation. The lack of credibility that politics, parties and the parliamentary system is suffering could bring a low turnout as a result. As a paradox, this discredit could lead to an increased support for «non-political» personnel, like the current government itself, but people see and know what this government is doing. This is not a «technical government», but the cynical result of the influence shared by Western lobbies, banking system, big private monopolies, NATO, the High Finance and it embodies the extreme and worst trends of the two main political parties.

 

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Grego, Antonio. “Modernization without westernization is the first step to reject imperialism.” Евразия: Международное Евразийское Движение, 18 May 2012. <http://evrazia.org/article/1985 >.

 

Notes on further reading: The concept in the above article has also been expressed by Alexander Dugin in his article “The Multipolar World and the Postmodern”. An academic study over-viewing the theory and development of the process called “modernization without westernization” in Asia can be found in “Modernization without Westernization: Comparative Observations on the Cases of Japan and China and their Relevance to the Development of the Pacific Rim” by Stuart D.B. Picken (NUCB Journal of Economics and Information Science, Vol. 48, No. 2 (2004), pp. 171-179, <http://www.nucba.ac.jp/themes/s_cic@cic@nucba/pdf/njeis482/14PICKEN.pdf > [Alternative download from our website: Modernization without Westernization – Picken]).

An example of a book written from a specifically Chinese perspective on this topic and focusing almost entirely on China (thus it is not a good resource for studies of developments outside of China) is Between Tradition and Modernity: Philosophical Reflections on the Modernization of Chinese Culture by Li Zonggui (Oxford: Chartridge Books Oxford, 2015). A collection of studies and perspectives on this process in various Asian countries can be found in Cultural Identity and Modernization in Asian Countries: Proceedings of Kokugakuin University Centennial Symposium (Tokyo: Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, 1983. <http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cimac/index.html >.)

 

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Discussion of Kitaro Nishida’s Philosophy – Arisaka

“The Nishida Enigma: ‘The Principle of the New World Order’” by Yoko Arisaka (PDF – 189 KB):

The Nishida Enigma – Yoko Arisaka

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Arisaka, Yoko. “The Nishida Enigma: ‘The Principle of the New World Order’.” Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 51, No. 1 (Spring 1996): pp. 81-99. Retrieved from: <http://www.arisaka.org/mnipponica.pdf >.

 

Notes on further reading: Studies of Japanese philosophy can be found by researching the website known as The Japanese Philosophy Blog and also the official website of Nichibunken (see publications search), The International Research Center for Japanese Studies, which can be used for research to find numerous resources in Japanese history, culture, religion, society, etc.

In particular, we should mention that Arisaka’s article above deals primarily with Nishida’s cultural and political philosophy, and only briefly mentions his philosophy in the fields of religion, ontology, science, and ethics. For more complete information on Kitaro Nishida’s philosophy, see for example the resources listed at the Japanese Philosophy Blog: Category Nishida Kitaro.

Other posts on the New European Conservative related to Japan and Japanese thought include the following: Alexander Dugin’s “In the Country of the Rising ‘Do’,” Riki Rei’s Review of Naoki Inose’s Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima, Justin Raimondo’s biographical sketch “Mishima: Paleocon as Samurai”, Hoang Nguyen’s review of Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, Kosaku Yoshino’s “Theoretical Reflections on Nationalism”, Anton L. Sevilla’s discussions of Tetsuro Watsuji’s and Nikolai Berdyaev’s ethical theories, and Alexander Dugin’s speech at Tokyo University titled “New Paradigm of Science.”

 

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What is Wrong with Europe? – Dugin

What is wrong with Europe?

By Alexander Dugin

Edited by Daniel Macek

 

In order to understand correctly the nature of the present crisis we need to make short analysis of situation. I suggest three levels:

  • Ideologically,
  • Economically,
  • Geopolitically.

Liberal ideology is the source of problem

Ideologically the problem is liberalism as the unique and only ideology imposed on the Europe and the rest of humanity by the Anglo-Saxon world. Liberalism affirms only individual identity and prohibits any kind of collective or organic identity. So liberalism step by step refuses religion, nation and gender belongingness in order to set individual completely free from any kind of holism. Gender is the core political problem because the liberals insists on the optional nature of gender, a gender as individual choice (before the struggle was around religion as individual choice or nation as individual choice). The other crucial point is immigration. The liberalism refuses to acknowledge religious or cultural identities as well as the gender one: so the immigrant is not considered as the bearer of different identity but as one numerical atomic individual more. Thus liberalism destroys any collective identity. Logically liberalism destroys European identity (with so-called tolerance and human rights theories). Together with intensive destruction of sexual identity it accelerates the end of society as such. The end of Europe is granted by the very fact of acceptance the liberalism as mainstream ideology.

The last step in developing liberalism will be negate human identity as collective one. So welcome to trans-humanism. That is the liberal agenda for tomorrow.

Liberalism is nihilist ideology. It insists on liberty from any kind of collective identity but never suggests something positive. In the past competing wit the totalitarian ideologies – communism or fascism – the liberalism was concrete and attractive because it negated the concrete totalitarianism positing itself as alternative. It was a real alternative. But when the totalitarianisms were overcome, the nihilistic nature of liberalism was revealed. It can only negate. It cannot affirm anything. It is not the ideology of positive freedom, it is ideology of negative liberty. Yesterday it wasn’t so explicit. Now it is.

Liberalismhas turned totalitarian. You do not have  the liberty to be non-liberal. You must be liberal. You can choose to be left liberal or right liberal or centre liberal. You can be – in the extreme case – be far left liberal or far right liberal. But always liberal. If you are judged illiberal by liberals you are finished – labelled as extremist, terrorist and so on. The liberals can tolerate only tolerant people. If you are not tolerant (in liberal sense) you are intolerable.

What can we oppose to liberalism? In XX century there were two options: communism (socialism) and fascism. Both failed historically – politically, philosophically, military, economically. They exist now as simulacra. They are hyper marginal or are manipulated by liberalism: hence the liberal-communism of post-modernists, anarchists and trotskistes, or liberal-fascists serving the liberals to promote their cause exactly as Islamic fundamentalism is used as weapon of USA. So my idea is to oppose to liberalism (first political theory) not second political theory (Marxism), nor third (fascism), but the fourth. I have developed this idea in book The Fourth Political Theory, translated in many languages – in German as well. We need combat liberalism, refusing it and deconstructing it totally. At the same time we need to do so not in the name of the class (as in Marxism) or in the name of nation or race (as in fascism), but in the name of the organic unity of People, social justice and real democracy. Liberals interpret democracy as the rule of minorities. We need to restore the original meaning of the term: the democracy is the rule of the majority, of the organic majority, a majority sharing a common identity – that is the rule of the People as the historic and cultural unity.

Financial capitalism is a catastrophe

Economically the problem is in financial capitalism pretending to overcome the real sector of industry in favour of financial markets technology. Such capitalism is monopolistic and creates bubbles instead of the development of the economic infrastructure. Such economy is based on financial speculations (of the G. Soros type) and cherishes the illusion of infinite growth. That contradicts the reality check. The middle class is not growing anymore. The growth of the financial markets doesn’t correspond to the growth of the real sector. Putting all the attention to financial institutions, promoting the delocalization of the real sector to the Third World countries in the course of the globalization, is the way to the abyss. The first waves of the crisis have already passed, but new waves will be here soon. The economic collapse of the Southern European countries such as Greece, and in the near future Italy and Spain, is only the visible peak of the immense catastrophe. The European unity is based on the full acceptance of the financial capitalism logistic. Only Germany struggles now in order to keep the economy in touch with industrial realities, refusing embark on the train into the nothingness. That is the reason for anti-German hysterics in Europe and in USA. German economy is may be the last real economy, the rest is already virtual economy.

So we need to reconstruct Europe on an alternative economic basis.

The infinite growth is but a liberal illusion. The fall of the middle class is the severe reality. The way out of this is complete revision of the myths of the financial capitalism.

Atlanticism is wrong

Geopolitically, Europe is today an Atlanticist entity. The geopolitics imagined by the Englishman Sir H. Mackinder declares that there are two types of civilizations – the civilization of the Sea (Seapower) and the civilization of the Land (Landpower). They are constructed on opposite systems of values. Seapower is purely mercantile, modernist and materialist. The Landpower is traditionalist, spiritual and heroic. That dualism corresponds to the pair of Werner Sombart’s concept – Händlers (Traders) and Helden (Heroes). Modern European society is fully integrated in the Civilization of the Sea [Seapower]. That is manifested in the North-American strategic hegemony and in NATO.

This situation prevents Europe from becoming an independent geopolitical entity. More profoundly it perverts the geopolitical nature of Europe as a continental entity – a Landpower.

So there is a need to change the situation and to restore the Landpower strategy based on the real European sovereignty. Instead of Atlanticism, Europe needs to become a continental strategic power.

Europa and Russia

If we summarize the points, we can logically deduce where we are in European-Russia relations. The Present Russia is

  • Relatively hostile towards liberalism (more traditionalist and conservatively inclined);
  • Economically trying to free itself from the dictatorship of the World Bank and WMF;
  • Geopolitically continental and anti-Atlanticist.

That is the reason why Russia is under attack – in Ukraine, in Moscow, everywhere. The recent killing of the liberal Boris Nemstsov was a provocation that serves to demonize Russia more and more in the eyes of the West. The liberals, the global financial oligarchy and the Atlanticists (the USA and the financial elite) try to provoke hostility between Russia and Europe, as well as trying to save their shaking rule by promoting ethnic conflicts. The war in Ukraine is the first step in a series of ethnic conflicts on European soil. The global liberal elite plans the ethnic war not only in Ukraine or Russia, but in Germany, France, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. The liberal Empire tries to save their hegemony from falling apart by dividing us.

We need to resist in order to construct better Europe, the truly European Europe. And in such situation, Russia is the friend and the USA is the enemy. We have to work on a Russian-European alliance not because Europeans love Russia or Russians love Europeans. The reason is different; we need to be together in order to save each one of us before the danger that menaces everyone.

I wish you gathering all the best and I would like to add that I appreciate very much the impact of the Zuerst magazine led by the brave Manuel Ochsenreiter and its struggle for a better Germany promoting real European case.

 

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Dugin, Alexander. “What is Wrong with Europe?” The Fourth Political Theory, August 2015. <http://www.4pt.su/en/content/what-wrong-europe >.

 

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