Civilization as Political Concept
Interview with the leader of the International “Eurasian Movement”, a philosopher, and a professor at Moscow State University Alexander Dugin.
Interviewed by the Global Revolutionary Alliance’s own Natella Speranskaja (Natella Speranskaya).
Natella Speranskaja: The crisis of identity, with which we faced after the Cold War and the collapse of the communist world, is still relevant. What do you think is capable of lifting us out of this crisis – a religious revival or creation of a new political ideology? Which of the options are you inclined to yourself?
Alexander Dugin: After the collapse of communism came the phase of the “unipolar moment” (as Charles Krauthammer called it). In geopolitics, this meant the victory of unilateralism and Atlanticism, and because the pole was left alone, the West has become a global phenomenon. Accordingly, the ideology of liberalism (or more accurately, neo-liberalism) is firmly in place crushing the two alternative political theories that existed in the twentieth century – communism and fascism. The Global liberal West has now defined culture, economics, information and technology, and politics. The West’s claims to the universalism of its values, the values of Western modernity and the Postmodern era, has reached its climax.
Problems stemming from the West during the “unipolar moment” has led many to say that this “moment” is over, that he could not yet be a “destiny” of humanity. That is, a “unipolar moment” should be interpreted very broadly – not only geopolitical, but also ideologically, economically, axiologically, civilization wide. The crisis of identity, about which you ask, has scrapped all previous identities – civilizational, historical, national, political, ethnic, religious, cultural, in favor of a universal planetary Western-style identity – with its concept of individualism, secularism, representative democracy, economic and political liberalism, cosmopolitanism and the ideology of human rights. Instead of a hierarchy of identities, which have traditionally played a large role in sets of collective identities, the “unipolar moment” affirmed a flat one-dimensional identity, with the absolutization of the individual singularity. One individual = one identity, and any forms of the collective identity (for example, individual as the part of the religious community, nation, ethnic group, race, or even sex) underwent dismantling and overthrowing. Hence the hatred of globalists for different kind of “majorities” and protection of minorities, up to the individual.
The Uni-polar Democracy of our moment – this is a democracy, which unambiguously protects the minority before the face of the majority and the individual before face of the group. This is the crisis of identity for those of non-Western or non-modern (or even not “postmodern”) societies, since this is where customary models are scrapped and liquidated. The postmodern West with optimism, on the contrary, asserts individualism and hyper-liberalism in its space and zealously exports it on the planetary scale.
However, it’s not painless, and has caused at all levels its own growing rejection. The problems, which have appeared in the West in the course of this “uni-polar moment”, forced many to speak, that this “moment’s” conclusion, has not succeeded in becoming “the fate” of humanity. This, therefore, was the cost of the possibility of passage to some other paradigm…
So, we can think about an alternative to the “unipolar moment” and, therefore, an alternative to liberalism, Americanism, Atlanticism, Western Postmodernism, globalization, individualism, etc. That is, we can, and I think should, work out plans and strategies for a “post-uni polar world”, at all levels – the ideological and political, the economic, and religious, and the philosophical and geo-political, the cultural and civilizational, and technology, and value.
In fact, this is what I call multi-polarity. As in the case of uni-polarity it is not only about the political and strategic map of the world, but also the paradigmatic philosophical foundations of the future world order. We cannot exactly say that the “uni-polar moment” has finally been completed. No, it is still continuing, but it faces a growing number of problems. We must put an end to it – eradicate it. This is a global revolution, since the existing domination of the West, liberalism and globalism completely controls the world oligarchy, financial and political elites.
So they just will not simply give up their positions. We must prepare for a serious and intense battle. Multi-polarity will be recaptured by the conquered peoples of the world in combat and it will be able to arise only on the smoking ruins of the global West. While the West is still dictating his will to the rest, to talk about early multipolarity – you must first destroy the Western domination on the ground. Crisis – this is much, but far from all.
Natella Speranskaja: If we accept the thesis of the paradigmatic transition from the current unipolar world order model to a new multi-polar model, where the actors are not nation-states, but entire civilizations, can it be said that this move would entail a radical change in the very human identity?
Alexander Dugin: Yes, of course. With the end of the unipolar moment, we are entering a whole new world. And it is not simply a reverse or a step back, but it is a step forward to some unprecedented future, however, different from the digital project of “lonely crowds”, which is reserved for humanity by globalism. Multi-polar identity will be the complex nonlinear collection of different identities – both individual and collective, that is varied for each civilization (or even inside each civilization).
This is something completely new that will be created.
And the changes will be radical. We cannot exclude that, along with known identities, civilizations, and offering of new ways … It is possible that one of these new identities will become the identity of “Superman” – in the Nietzschean sense or otherwise (for example, traditionalist) … In the “open society” of globalism the individual is, on the contrary, closed and strictly self-identical.
The multi-polar world’s anthropological map will be, however, extremely open, although the boundaries of civilizations will be defined clearly. Man will again re-open the measurement of inner freedom – “freedom for”, in spite of the flat and purely external liberal freedom – “freedom from” (as in John Mill), which is actually, not freedom, but its simulacrum, imposed for a more efficient operation of the planetary masses by a small group of global oligarchs.
Natella Speranskaja: Alexander Gelevich Dugin, you are the creator of the theory of a multi-polar world, which laid the foundation from which we can begin a new historical stage. Your book The Theory of a Multi-polar World (Теория многополярного мира) has been and is being translated into other languages. The transition to a new model of world order means a radical change in the foreign policy of nation-states, and in today’s global economy, in fact, you have created all the prerequisites for the emergence of a new diplomatic language. Of course, this is a challenge of the global hegemony of the West. What do you think will be the reaction of your political opponents when they realize the seriousness of the threat posed?
Alexander Dugin: As always in the vanguard of philosophical and ideological ideas, we first have the effect of bewilderment, the desire to silence or marginalize them. Then comes the phase of severe criticism and rejection. Then they begin to consider. Then they become commonplace and a truism. So it was with many of my ideas and concepts in the past 30 years. Traditionalism, geopolitics, Sociology of imagination , Ethnosociology, Conservative Revolution , National Bolshevism, Eurasianism, the Fourth Political Theory, National-structuralism, Russian Schmittianism, the concept of the three paradigms, the eschatological gnosis, New Metaphysics and Radical Theory of the Subject, Conspiracy theories, Russian Heideggerianism, a post-modern alternative, and so on – perceived first with hostility, then partially assimilated, and finally became part of mainstream discourse in academia and politics of Russia, and in part, beyond.
Each of these directions has their fate, but the diagram of their mastering is approximately identical. So it will be also with the theory of a multipolar world It will be hushed up, and then demonized and fiercely criticized, and then they will begin to look at it closely, and then accepted. But for all this it is necessary to pay for it and to defend it in the fight. Arthur Rimbaud said that “the spiritual battle as fierce and hard, as the battle of armies.” For this we will have to struggle violently and desperately. As for everything else.
Natella Speranskaja: In the “Theory of a multipolar world,” you write that in the dialogue between civilizations the responsibility is born by the elite of civilization. Do I understand correctly, it should be a “trained” elite, that is, the elite, which has a broad knowledge and capabilities, rather than the present “elite”? Tell me, what is the main difference between these elites?
Alexander Dugin: Civilizational elite – is a new concept. Thus far it does not exist. It is a combination of two qualities – deep assimilation of the particular civilizational culture (in the philosophical, religious, value levels) and the presence of a high degree of “drive,” persistently pushing people to the heights of power, prestige, and influence. Modern liberalism channels passion exclusively in the area of economics and business, creating a preference for a particular social elevator and it is a particular type of personality (which is an American sociologist Yuri Slezkine called the “mercurial type”).
The Mercurial elite of globalism, “aviakochevniki” mondialist nomadism, sung by Jacques Attali, should be overthrown in favor of radically different types of elites. Each civilization can dominate, and other “worlds”, not only thievish, mercurial shopkeepers and cosmopolitans. Islamic elite is clearly another – an example of this we see in today’s Iran, where the policy (Mars) and economics (Mercury) are subject to spiritual authority, of the Ayatollah (Saturn).
But the “world” is only a metaphor. Different civilizations are based on different codes. The main thing is that the elite must be reflected in the codes themselves, whatever they may be. This is the most important condition. The will to power inherent in any elite, shall be interfaced with the will to knowledge; that is, intellectualism and activism in such a multipolar elite should be wedded. Technological efficiency and value (often religious) content should be combined in such an elite. Only such an elite will be able to fully and responsibly participate in the dialogue of civilizations, embodying the principles of their traditions and engaging in interaction with other civilizations of the worlds.
Natella Speranskaja: How can you comment on the hypothesis that the return to a bipolar model is still possible?
Alexander Dugin: I think not, practically or theoretically. In practice, because today there is no country that is comparable to the basic parameters of the U.S. and the West in general. The U.S. broke away from the rest of the world so that no one on their own can compete with them. Theoretically, only the West now has a claim to universality of its values, whereas previously Marxism was regarded as an alternative. After the collapse of the Soviet Union it became clear that universalism is only liberal, capitalist. To resist Western imperialism there can only be a coalition of large spaces – not the second pole, but immediately multiple poles, each of them with its own strategic infrastructure and with a particular civilizational, cultural and ideological content.
Natella Speranskaja: How real is the sudden transition to a non-polar model? What are the main disadvantages of this model?
Alexander Dugin: Passage to a non-polar model, about which leaders are increasingly talking of in the Council on Foreign Relations (Richard Haass, George Soros, etc.), means the replacement of the facade of a uni-polar hegemony, the transition from the domination based on military and strategic power of the United States and NATO (hardware) to dispersed domination of the West as a whole (software). These are two versions – hard-hegemony and soft-hegemony. But in both cases the West, its civilization, its culture, its philosophy, its technologies, its political and economic institutes and procedures come out as the standard universal model. Over the long term, this will indicate the transfer of power to a “world government”, which will be dominated by all the same Western elites, the global oligarchy. It will then discard its mask and will act directly on behalf of the transnational forces. In some sense, non-polarity is worse than uni-polarity, though it would seem hard to believe.
Non-polarity itself, and even more sharply and rapidly, will not yet begin. For this, the world must go through the turmoil and trials until a desperate humanity itself cries for the world elite with a prayer for salvation. Prior to that, to weaken the power of the United States, world disasters occur, and war. Non-polar world under the control of a world government, consisting of direct representatives of the global oligarchy, is expected by many religious circles as the coming “of the kingdom of the Antichrist.”
As for the “shortcomings” of such a model, I believe that it is just “a great parody of” the sacred world empire, which Rene Guenon warned of in his work The Reign of Quantity and The Signs of the Times. This will be a global simulacrum. To recognize these “deficiencies” will not be so easy, otherwise opposition to “the Antichrist” would be too simple a matter, and the depth of his temptation would be insignificant.
The true alternative is a multi-polar world. Everything else – evil in the truest sense of the word.
Natella Speranskaja: The “counter-hegemony” by Robert Cox, who you mention in your book aims to expose the existing order in international relations and raise the rebellion against it. To do this, Cox called for the creation of counter-hegemonic bloc, which will include political actors who reject the existing hegemony. Have you developed the Fourth Political Theory as a kind of counter-hegemonic doctrine that could unite the rebels against the hegemony of the West?
Alexander Dugin: I am convinced that the Fourth Political Theory fits into the logic of building counter-hegemony, which Cox spoke of. By the way, also in the proximity of critical theory in the MO theory, and multi-polar world is a wonderful text by Alexandra Bovdunova, voiced at the Conference on the Theory of a Multipolar World in Moscow, Moscow State University on 25-26 April 2012.
4PT is not a complete doctrine, this is still the first steps toward the exit from the conceptual impasse in which we find ourselves in the face of liberalism, today rejected by more and more people around the world, in the collapse of the old anti-liberal political theories – Communism and Fascism. In a sense, the need for 4PT – is a sign of the times, and really cannot be disputed by anyone. Another matter, what will be 4PT in its final form. The temptation appears to build it as a syncretic combination of elements of previous anti-liberal doctrines and ideologies …
I am convinced that we should go another way. It is necessary to understand the root of the current hegemony. This coincides with the root of modernity as such, and it grows from the roots of modernity in all three pillars of political theories – liberalism, communism and fascism. To manipulate them to find an alternative to modernity and liberalism, respectively, and of the liberal hegemony of the West, is in my view, pointless. We must move beyond modernity in general, beyond the range of its political actors – individual, class, nation, state, etc.
Therefore 4PT as the basis of a counter-hegemonic planetary front should be constructed quite differently. Like the theory of a multipolar world 4PT operates with a new concept – “civilization”, but 4PT puts special emphasis on the existential aspect of it. Hence the most important, the central thesis of 4PT that its subject is the actor – Dasein. Every civilization, its Dasein, which means that it describes a specific set of existentials. On their basis, should be raised a new political theory generalized at the following level into a “multipolar federation of Dasein” as the concrete structure of counter-hegemony. In other words, the very counter-hegemony must be conceived existentially, as a field of war between the inauthentic globalization (global alienation) and the horizon of authentic peoples and societies in a multipolar world (the possibility of overcoming the alienation of civilizations).
Natella Speranskaja: When we talk about cognitive uprising, however, first of all, should our actions be aimed at the overthrow of the dictatorship of the West?
Alexander Dugin: The most important step is the beginning of the systematic preparation of a global revolutionary elite-oriented to multi-polarity 4PT. This elite must perform a critical function – to be a link between the local and global. At the local level we are talking about the masses and the clearest exponents of their local culture (religious leaders, philosophers, etc.). Often, these communities do not have a planetary perspective and simply defend their conservative identity before the onset of toxic globalization and Western imperialism.
Raising the masses and the traditionalist-conservatives to a realized uprising in the context of a complex union of a counter-hegemonistic block is extremely difficult. Simple conservatives and their supportive mass, for example, of the Islamic or Orthodox persuasion are unlikely to realize the necessity of alliances with the Hindus or the Chinese. This will be the play (and they are already actively playing it) of the globalists and their principle of “divide and conquer!” But the revolutionary elite, which is the elite, even within a particular traditionalist elite of society, should take the heartfelt deep and deliberate feelings of local identity and correlate it within a total horizon of multi-polarity, and the 4PT.
Without the formation of such an elite, the revolt against the post-modern world and the overthrow of the dictatorship of the West will not take place. Every time and everywhere the West has a problem, he will come to the aid of anti-Western forces, which, however, will be motivated by narrow bills to specific civilizational neighbors – most often, just as anti-Western as they are. So it will be and already is the instrumentalization of globalists of various conservative fundamentalist and nationalist movements. Islamic fundamentalists to help the West is one. European nationalists – is another. So a “unipolar moment” extends not only to exist in itself, but also playing the antagonistic forces against him. The overthrow of the dictatorship of the West will become possible only if this strategy will be sufficient enough to create or make appear a new counter-hegemonic elite. An initiative like Global Revolutionary Alliance – the unique example of really revolutionary and effective opposition to hegemony.
Natella Speranskaja: You have repeatedly said that Eurasianism is a strategic, philosophical, cultural and civilizational choice. Can we hope that the political course chosen by Vladimir Putin (establishment of a Eurasian Union) Is the first step towards a multipolar model?
Alexander Dugin: This is a difficult question. By himself, Putin and, especially, his environment, they act more out of inertia, without calling into question the legitimacy of the existing planetary status quo. Their goal – to win his and Russia’s rather appropriate place within the existing world order. But that is the problem: a truly acceptable place for Russia is not and cannot exist, because the “uni-polar moment”, as well as the globalists, stand for the de-sovereignization of Russia, eliminating it as an independent civilization and strategic pole.
This self-destruction seems to suit Dmitry Medvedev and his entourage (INSOR), for he was ready to reboot and go for almost all of it. Putin clearly understands the situation somewhat differently, and his criteria of “acceptability” is also different. He would most of all psychologically arrange a priority partnership with the West while maintaining the sovereignty of Russia. But this is something unacceptable under any circumstances to the unipolar globalists – practically or theoretically.
So Putin is torn between multipolarity – where he leads the orientation of sovereignty – and Atlanticism – where he leads the inertia and the tireless work of a huge network of influence that permeates all of the structure of Russian society. Here is the dilemma. Putin makes moves in both directions – he proclaims multi-polarity, the Eurasian Union, to protect the sovereignty of Russia, even spoke of the peculiarities of Russian civilization, strengthening vertical power, shows respect (if not more) to Orthodoxy, but on the other hand, surrounds himself with pro-American experts (eg, “Valdai Club”), rebuilds education and culture under the globalistic Western models, has a liberal economic policy and suffers comprador oligarchs, etc.
The field for maneuver Putin is constantly shrinking. The logic of the circumstances pushes him to a more unambiguous choice. Inside the country this uncertainty of course causes growing hostility, and his legitimacy falls.
Outside the country, the West only increases the pressure on Putin to persuade him towards globalism and the recognition of “unilateralism”, specifically – to cede his post to the Westerner Medvedev. So Putin, while continuing to fluctuate between multipolarity and Westernism, loses ground and support here and there.
The new period of his presidency will be very difficult. We will do everything we can to move it to a multipolar world, the Eurasian Union and 4PT. But we are not alone in Russian politics – against us for influence in Putin’s circles we have an army of liberals, agents of Western influence and the staff of the global oligarchy. For us, though, we have the People and the Truth. But behind them – a global oligarchy, money, lies, and, apparently, the father of lies. Nevertheless, vincit omnia veritas. That I have no doubt.
Dugin, Alexander. “Civilization as Political Concept.” Interview by Natella Speranskaja. Euro-Synergies, 13 June 2012. <http://euro-synergies.hautetfort.com/archive/2012/06/09/civilization-as-political-concept.html >. The text of this interview was also found at the official Fourth Political Theory website: <http://www.4pt.su/en/content/civilization-political-concept >. (See this article in PDF format here: Civilization as Political Concept).
Notes on further reading: On the topics discussed in the above interview, one of Aleksandr Dugin’s most well-known books is Четвёртая политическая теория (Санкт-Петербург & Москва: Амфора, 2009), which is available in English translation as The Fourth Political Theory (London: Arktos, 2012), in Spanish translation as La Cuarta Teoría Política (Molins de Rei, Barcelona: Nueva República, 2013), in German translation as Die Vierte Politische Theorie (London: Arktos, 2013), in French translation as La Quatrième Théorie Politique (Nantes: Éditions Ars Magna, 2012), in Portuguese translation as A Quarta Teoria Política (Curitiba: Editora Austral, 2012), in Romanian translation as A Patra Teorie Politică (Chișinău: Editura Universitatea Populară, 2014), in Greek translation as Η τέταρτη πολιτική θεωρία (Αθήνα: Έσοπτρον, 2013), and in Serbian translation as Четврта политичка теорија (Београд: MIR Publishing, 2013).
Also of note in English is Dugin’s book Eurasian Mission: Program Materials (Moscow: International Eurasian Movement, 2005 [2nd edition: London: Arktos, 2015]). For those who know French, an important book by Alexander Dugin has been published as Pour une théorie du monde multipolaire (Nantes: Éditions Ars Magna, 2013), the French translation of the Russian original: теория многополярного мира (Москва: Евразийское движение, 2012). There is also a Portuguese translation of this work known as Teoria do Mundo Multipolar (Iaeg, 2012). On the theory of the multi-polar world in German, see Dugin’s Konflikte der Zukunft: Die Rückkehr der Geopolitik (Kiel: Arndt-Verlag, 2014). Also worth noting in French is Dugin’s books Le prophète de l’eurasisme (Paris: Avatar Éditions, 2006) and L’appel de L’Eurasie (Paris: Avatar Éditions, 2013). A Spanish version of the latter has been published as ¿Qué es el eurasismo? Una conversación de Alain de Benoist con Alexander Dugin (Tarragona: Ediciones Fides, 2014). It should also be noted that a deeper clarification of the Fourth Political Theory has also been published by Dugin (in Russian), titled Четвертый Путь (Москва: Академический проект, 2014).
A good introduction to Dugin and his ideas in the Spanish language can be found in Sebastian J. Lorenz’s Elementos, N° 70, “Alexander Dugin y la Cuarta Teoría Política: La Nueva Derecha Rusa Eurasiática” (Mayo 2014), <http://urkultur-imperium-europa.blogspot.com/2014/05/elementos-n-70-alexander-dugin-y-la.html >. (We have made Elementos Nº 70 available for download from our site here: Elementos Nº 70 – Dugin). For Spanish readers, the book ¿Qué es el eurasismo? (previously cited) also serves as a good introduction to Dugin’s thought, which augments the Elementos publication.
For more information, see the official Fourth Political Theory website: <http://www.4pt.su/ >.