INTERVIEW with TROY SOUTHGATE for KINOVAR (Russia)
By Miron FYODORAV
Troy, you are now one of England’s most influential and radical ideologists. How did your political views develop, and, more generally, how did a young South London lad get in touch with rather abstract philosophical and political concepts?
As a child I always had a strong social conscience, something I inherited from my father. As a result, therefore, I was constantly aware of the great disparity between the immense wealth and riches enjoyed by the West and the comparative poverty in so-called ‘Third World’ countries like Ethiopia and India. In my final two years at school I became very interested in the six main bands from the Two Tone scene that were releasing protest songs in opposition to Margaret Thacher’s Conservative Government. These included The Beat, The Specials and The Selecter. The deeper message behind Two Tone, apart from promoting racial harmony, was centred on urban decay and the effects that Capitalism was having on ordinary people’s lives. In my teenage years we moved from a council estate in Crystal Palace, South London, to a small bungalow in the country town of Crowborough, in East Sussex. When I was eighteen I decided to vote Labour in the General Election, following my father’s example. By this time, the rest of my family were becoming Conservatives and involving themselves in the expanding housing market. Despite the fact that I was very mistaken to believe that the Labour Party was anti-Capitalist, the fact that my father was virtually the last person to stick to his working class roots inspired me a great deal. Meanwhile, the fact that I now found myself in such a rural environment meant that I had to travel up to London on a regular basis to see the rest of my family or to buy clothes and records. The fact that I always kept in touch with my South London roots, therefore, eventually led to me discovering the National Front (NF). I had heard of the NF on various occasons, not least because they were regularly denounced at many of the Two Tone and ‘Rock against Racism’ events that I was attending several years earlier. But there was a great deal of crossover between the skinheads of the Ska movement and those who attached themselves to racialist causes, so during a visit to East Croydon to watch Bad Manners in 1984 a chance meeting with an old friend led to me accompanying him to the ‘NF pub’ across the road. Consequently, I ended up buying a copy of ‘NF News’ and reading it on the train home. The first thing that struck me was how incredibly anti-Capitalist and pro-socialist the Movement was, particularly the articles about the Mondragon Co-operative in Northern Spain, the distributist views of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, and Otto Strasser’s defiant struggle against Hitler and Big Business. Before long, I found myself travelling up to South London twice a week in order to socialise with members of Croydon NF like Chris Marchant, Gavin Hall and John Merritt. They were a few years older than I was and, in between pints of ale, I spent the evening picking their brains about the history of the NF and various ideological issues. I was astonished to discover that the stereotypical media image relating to a group of alleged race-hating, neo-nazi thugs was complete and utter hogwash. Eventually I was made East Sussex Regional Organiser, given the role of taking ‘NF News’ to the printers and joining the likes of Derek Holland, Nick Griffin, Graham Williamson and Patrick Harrington in the Movement hierarchy. It was a very exciting and formulative period and I look back on that period with a good degree of fondness and nostalgia.
What, exactly, was the NATIONAL REVOLUTIONARY FACTION and why was it disbanded in 2003?
In 1990, the NF changed its name to Third Way after a bitter personality clash had driven a wedge between those in the leadership. Many of us left to form the International Third Position (ITP), but by 1992 a large group of us became disenchanted with the fact that certain individuals like Roberto Fiore (now Forza Nuova) and Derek Holland had betrayed the genuinely anti-fascist principles of the late-80’s NF by forming alliances with conter-revolutionary elements in the Catholic Church and neo-fascist groups overseas. As someone who has always been extremely suspicious of Right-wing reaction, this was not what I wanted at all. Consequently, when it emerged that Fiore and Company had also stolen thousands of pounds from a very close friend of mine who had invested money in their abortive ‘farm’ project in Northern France, we formed the English Nationalist Movement (ENM) and took most of the ITP’s regional units and publications with us. One of our more senior members, on the other hand, had spent over twenty-five years in Gerry Healey’s Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) and taught me a great deal about strategy and organisation. The ENM restored the old socialist values that had come to the fore in the 1980’s NF and produced a barrage of printed material about Robert Blatchford, William Morris, the Strasser brothers, Robert Owen and others. The ENM was fairly successful and earned itself quite a reputation, but in 1998 we decided to take things one step further by establishing the National Revolutionary Faction (NRF). The NRF was a hardline revolutionary organisation based on an underground cell-structure similar to that used by both the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the IRA. Our main centre of operations was in West Yorkshire, where we established a system of ‘leaderless resistance’ and worked alongside local resident groups concerned at the large number of Asian attacks in the area. This was not designed to affect innocent people, but to counter the increasing violence against the indigenous White community. Eventually, however, a combination of State repression and half-heartedness on behalf of some of our cadres led to us having to scale down the whole operation. The fact that we had been greatly inspired by the work of Richard Hunt and Alternative Green and were also in the process of changing the NRF into an Anarchist organisation also took its toll. In 2003 we finally decided that it was futile to portray ourselves as a ‘movement’ when, in fact, there were never more than 20-25 people involved at any one time. These days, we simply refer to ourselves as ‘the National-Anarchists’ and believe that we represent a current rather than an actual organisation of any kind. What is also quite fascinating, however, is that National-Anarchism developed in several different countries at the same time. Hans Cany (France), Peter Topfer (Germany) and myself are each part of a simultaneous phenomenon that developed as a logical antithesis to the ideological bankruptcy that characterised the end of the Twentieth Century. It is with this new platform in mind that we now enter the next century and attempt to overcome the difficulties and tribulations that dominated the last.
The idea of National-Anarchism is certainly very attractive, but its critics seem to be justified in claiming that it can make a territory - we are consciously avoiding words like “state” and “country” - extremely vulnerable to foreign intervention. How can a society based on National-Anarchist principles defend itself against a centralised, totalitarian agressor? Surely the principle of “blood and soil” would make it impossible to be loyal to a greater entity than one’s local community, and thus to successfully oppose globalisation, foreign economic domination and cultural imperialism?
We all know what happened to the innocent children of Waco, the family of Randy Weaver and the anti-tax rebels of the Michigan Militia, so in order to be as successful as possible it is crucial that National-Anarchist communities do not seek to maintain a high profile or invite confrontation with the State. There are peaceful Anarchist and secessionist communities all over the world, let alone tribal societies that have existed for many thousands of years. It’s just a question of keeping one’s head beneath the parapet. Large-scale immigration and socio-economic decay has meant that countries like England have become totally irretrievable, and therefore it may even be necessary to create these communities abroad. Given that Indo-Europeans have migrated on countless occasions before and, indeed, in the case of people emigrating to New Zealand and Spain are continuing to do so in great numbers today, this is not as drastic as it sounds. As the West continues its inevitable decline and fall, National-Anarchists will continue to investigate those socio-economic alternatives which can provide a real alternative to the system that is crumbling around our ears. In many ways, the real struggle against Capitalism will take place on the periphery, rather than at the centre. We must remember that the West can only retain it’s privileged lifestyle by exploiting the so-called ‘Third World’, and this is precisely why revolution on the periphery is a far more feasible option than attempting to fight the Capitalists on their own turf in Europe or North America. In fact the very same process brought about the collapse of the imperialistic Roman Empire. It is also vital to view National-Anarchism as part of a long-term strategy and understand that it could take many decades before these ideas really begin to swing into action. One thing we do have on our side, however, is that every time the system weakens we actually get that little bit stronger. As more and more people turn their backs on mass consumerism, the concept of living in small, decentralised communities with others of like-mind will become more realistic and attractive.
What are your views on natural rights? Is there such a thing as a right to life?
I don’t believe that anyone, man or beast, has a specific ‘right’ to life. That is not to suggest, on the other hand, that we shouldn’t continue to resist those who seek to exploit our labour in the factories and the fields, attempt to bleed us dry through the machinations of the international banking system, or cruelly torture innocent animals in the name of fashion or medical science. We hear a lot about ‘rights’, but never enough about duties. What about our responsibility to the environment, for example, or our duty to ensure the well-being of our children and not leave them vulnerable to the corrosive effects of the liberal ‘education’ system? But in short, nobody has a ‘right’ to anything. ‘Rights’ are purely contractual and can only be drawn up superficially. We know from experience, however, that just as weeds will overrun a beautiful garden, basic human nature ensures that even the best intentions inevitably come to nothing. This may sound very pessimistic, but these utopian liberal bubbles are there to be pricked.
What are the links between your vision of National Anarchism and JULIUS EVOLA’S writings? How can his concept of the Empire co-exist with that of anarchism? In this context, what is your view of FRANCIS PARKER YOCKEY’S ideology?
National-Anarchism and Julius Evola do not necessarily go hand in hand. As a former student of Theology & Religious Issues, I have a personal interest in Evola because his seminal work, ‘Revolt Against The Modern World’, taught me a great deal about the irreconcilable differences between tradition and modernity. That obviously has great implications for the development of traditional communities that have rejected the contemporary world. And, like the German novelist Ernst Junger, Evola also adhered to the concept of the Anarch or Sovereign Individual. The man or woman that has learnt to ‘ride the tiger’ and retain both their sanity and dignity in the face of cosmological decline. But as far as Evola’s belief in a European Imperium is concerned, whilst I agree with a transcendental and unitary vision to which people can give their allegiance, I still support political, social and economic decentralisation right down to the lowest possible unit. This may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it is possible to give one’s allegiance to a higher ideal and still retain a sense of localised autonomy and self-determination. I don’t find Yockey’s work that inspiring, to be perfectly honest, and a centralised European superstate has no appeal for me whatsoever. On the other hand, he did understand the threat that America and its Zionist allies present to the world and proved himself to be a brave and competant liaison officer.
It seems that, while the best men devote their lives to the development of conservative-revolutionary ideas, the worst men succeed in putting them into practice. One can easily sympathise with MOELLER VAN DEN BRUCK’s heroic vision of the Third Reich, but not with Hitler’s regime. The same is true of other great thinkers when compared to the brutal and bureaucratic regimes their works indirectly helped to establish. This, in fact, has led to great pessimism among those who felt their ideas were betrayed. GOTTFRIED BENN or JUNGER for example. Does this mean the conservative revolution is a largely utopian concept, more romantic than it is practical?
I certainly don’t believe that it is possible for Revolutionary Conservatives to take control of a national government, if that’s what you mean. At least not in Europe. Here in England, for example, the New Right is confined to small fringe groups like the Conservative Democratic Alliance, Monday Club, Freedom Party and Right Now magazine. Meanwhile, of course, working on the fringes does not present a problem for National-Anarchists, in fact that’s the whole point of our opposition to the centre. The Gramscian method can work on the Left, it seems, but not on the Right.
What is your opinion of SIR OSWALD MOSLEY, and of other “homegrown” fascist ideologists?
I am opposed to all totalitarian doctrines, be they Fascist or Communist. But whilst Mosley himself was a thoroughly dislikable character, I do believe that he was a geniune and principled individual and to a certain extent I have respect for what he tried to achieve. He went the wrong way about it, of course, but if the British Union of Fascists (BUF) had not made the mistakes that it did we would have to go through the whole process again.
As a patriot, how do you view of the Right-wing of England’s politics? What are the main problems you have with nationalist groups like the British Nationalist Party (BNP), or the even more moderate United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)?
I’m not sure I would describe myself as a ‘patriot’. As I’ve already explained, the whole notion of England as representing both a geographical area and a people is becoming increasingly hard to substantiate. The only way England can ’survive’ is by being constantly redefined. Using ridiculous and contrived phrases like Tony Blair’s ‘Cool Brittania’, for example. But let’s face it, the main towns and cities of modern-day England have become multi-racial hellholes and despite the flag-waving that accompanies any major football tournament, it’s quite ridiculoius to cling to the belief that we can somehow restore our nationhood by repatriating all immigrants and their descendants. It won’t happen. Ever. Parties like the BNP are merely postponing the inevitable decline. Furthermore, of course, the fact that they continune to tread the discredited boards of parliamentary politics simply perpetuates the whole charade. We need people to become disillusioned with the ballot box, not to cling to the mistaken belief that voting for the BNP can solve all of our problems. One way in which it is possible to have some kind of influence, on the other hand, is by using UKIP as a vehicle to disrupt the European Union. Besides, whilst UKIP itself is comprised of bankers and industrialists worried about the threat of the single currency, the fact that it remains a single-issue pressure group means that it is still possible to upset the federalist applecart without compromising one’s own principles. Voting for parties, therefore, is futile, but UKIP MEPS only seek election in order to interfere with the very process itself. This, perhaps, would be a worthy target for the attentions of the New Right.
What about the Left? Are there any forces associated with Left politics that you are prepared to ally with? Have you been influenced by Left-wing authors and ideas?
Certainly been far more influenced by the Left than the Right, if that’s what you mean. The so-called ‘anti-fascists’ on the Left appear to have trouble with the fact that I cut my political teeth, so to speak, in the NF. But this is quite irrelevant. I’ve never considered myself to be Right-wing and when I joined the Movement it had progressed beyond the stage of being a Right-wing organisation. Furthermore, the terms ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ each have their origins in the build up to the 1789 French Revolution, anyway, and my lifelong opposition to the established order must surely put me on the Left. Not that I even consider this to be a valid description of my beliefs, of course. National-Anarchists are prepared to form alliances with anyone and have attended many protests and demonstrations in order to express our solidarity with the wider opposition to International Capitalism. To paraphrase Lenin, ‘we must march separately but strike together’. Indeed, when a young Palestinian miltant throws a petrol bomb at an Israeli tank, he speaks for us just as we speak for him. My own ‘Left-wing’ influences include George Orwell, Mikhail Bakunin, Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Gerard Winstanley, Max Stirner, Nestor Makhno, Che Guevara, Sergei Nechayev, Hakim Bey, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the Angry Brigade, and the Red Army Faction.
Generally, how flexible is your movement when it comes to strategic alliances? What would you say is the political common denominator, the decisive streak a group or a party must have in order to become your ally? Is it anti-Americanism, anti-globalism, anti-liberalism, Third Positionism?
I don’t think there are any common denominators. Useful opportunities come in all shapes and sizes and world history is full of surprising alliances that have taken place between seemingly opposed groups. Realpolitik is necessary whenever and wherever the need arises. Much of what we do has to be covert, because the groups that direct the anti-Capitalist movement are usually controlled by Left-wing dogmatists who believe that we National-Anarchists are trying to subvert Anarchism for our own sinister ends. But this is false. As we’ve said elsewhere time and time again, we are not ‘racists’ or ’supremacists’ with some kind of secret agenda, we are seeking our own space in which to live according to our own principles. Sadly, however, most people on the Left want more than that and will not rest until they can organise every minute aspect of people’s lives. It’s a self-perpetuating disease. This is why they talk of the ‘right to work’, when - as Bob Black rightly points out - the real problem is work itself. The Left, just like the totalitarian Right, refuses to tolerate anyone who tries to opt out of its vision of an all-inclusive society. Some of us, however, want no part of this and will only be ’socialists’ among ourselves and with our own kind.
A somewhat provocative question: do you sometimes feel that radicalism and marginal politics have grotesque and ridiculous sides, as famously described in STUART HOME’S novel “Blowjob”? Ideologists switching from left to right and back again within an hour, supposedly dangerous parties consisting of just a few members - doesn’t all this this sometimes remind you of a poltical carnival rather than realpolitik?
Despite being regarded by Stuart Home and his friends as some kind of ‘anarcho-fascist’, I can’t say I’ve actually read his book. But I do understand the point you’re trying to make. The ITP accused me of being fickle once I had left the Catholic Church and began exploring paganism and the Occult, but I think it’s a question of personal development. Some people will always be political opportunists, of course, but in my case it was a question of gravitating slowly over the course of several years. Without being arrogant, I believe that intelligent people tend to think their way out of the party. And it you look at my track record, it does actually make sense. I’ve always tried to be as genuine and open-minded as possible, doing the research and exploring the options available to me instead of following blindly like those who decided to remain in the ITP rather than try to put things back on track. National-Anarchism isn’t some kind of middle-class adventurism designed to shock, it’s what I like to describe as a form of ‘realistic escapism’.
What about using the enemy’s weapons instead of fighting with guerilla tactics from the underground? I’m talking about unorthodox means such as using the style of glamour mass-media together with aggressive propaganda of a “trendy revolution” aimed at the youth. We know that the System has so far managed to digest the most marginal and revolutionary elements of counter-culture and make them harmless, so surely the adequate response to this is to position oneself as “mainstream” right from the start, thus preventing the ruthless market from exploiting one’s “non-conformity”? Can you accept this position, or do you see the process of “reclaiming the streets” as the only effective tactic?
I don’t believe in reclaiming the streets at all. We tried that in the ENM and failed. But I do make a distinction between politics and culture, so therefore I support these forms of counter-culture because the political struggle can only make progress if there is a cultural struggle to accompany it. This was how the NSDAP managed to achieve so much progress in 1930’s Germany, it simply tapped into an existing cultural vein and rode it all the way to the Reichstag (with more than a little help from wealthy German industrialists, of course). I’m not suggesting that it’s still possible to gain control of the national state in this way, but it’s all a question of identity. An individual can empower his or herself by joining together with like-minded people. If this relates to an ideal that is connected with music or fashion, for example, then all the better. I think the strategy currently being deployed by KINOVAR is the right path to take.
How strong is your link with the Russian “International Eurasia Movement”? You are, after all, the man behind the “Eurasian Movement” which stresses the importance of “the geopolitical vision” of “contemporaries like ALEXANDER DUGIN”, and you could therefore easily be seen as Dugin’s man in England. And yet his approach to politics seems to differ greatly from yours. Can you share all of his views and accept his strategies?
I won’t pretend that the Eurasian Movement (EM) in England is making any real progress at the present time, because Eurasianism in general is still a fairly new concept in Western Europe. More than anything, I think, the EM is simply a convenient rallying point for those familiar with Dugin’s ideas and who are gravitating towards such concepts. But we are part of the Eurasianist international, if you like, and recently sent a message of support to the annual Eurasianist gathering in Moscow. Dugin is not a National-Anarchist by any stretch of the imagination, but as an advisor to Vladimir Putin he is in a position to influence Russian affairs and policy-making at the very highest level. In many respects this is similar to the role of UKIP, referred to above. Eurasianism is important to National-Anarchists because it puts our struggle into a wider perspective. Indeed, whilst we are primarily concerned with what goes on at the level of the village or on our own doorstep, so to speak, we still believe that we can export our ideas by offering support to a new ‘dissident’ alliance against Western interests. But we are not interested in the formation of a new Eastern imperialism, by which Russia can then dominate her immediate neighbours for her own narrow interests. We want to help create a network of decentralised allies all striving towards a similar ideal, but each retaining their own unique character. The best - despite being a fairly simplistic - example that I can think of in this regard, is the collaboration that takes place between Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Men against a common totalitarian enemy in Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Instead of creating a counter-imperialism, of course, when the battle is finally won the Fellowship gradually subsides and the various races get on with their own lives in their own peculiar way. This kind of loose defence structure is completely in tune with National-Anarchism and its opposition to large standing armies and militaristic autocracy in general.
What is your vision of the European and English future in 50-100 years’ time?
To some extent I dealt with this issue in Question 8. But let me give you an example. Imagine if you had a glass of clean water and then began to add several drops of another liquid, such as ink, for example. At first, the water would become rather cloudy, but as more and more ink is added the water then begins to lose its original appearence altogether. Eventually, of course, it would be ridiculous to refer to it as ‘water’ at all. This is how I see the future of both England and Europe. The fact that our continent is changing at such an alarming rate means that it can no longer be seen as representing a homeland for people of Indo-European stock. Coupled with the fact that thousands of Europeans are emigrating abroad to places like Australia and New Zealand, the future of Europe is beginning to look very precarious indeed. Many will stay and fight, of course, but the most sensible option in this increasingly tenuous situation - I believe - is to create new homelands on the periphery. But just how far we will have to go in order to avoid the wrathful clutches of the West remains to be seen.
One has the impression that a number of our contemporaries identified with the conservative revolution were inspired by Russian culture. For example, DAVID TIBET has mentioned SOLOVYEV among his spiritual influences, while your friend and ally, the radical Christian and conspiracy theorist WAYNE JOHN STURGEON, seems to be inspired by BERDYAEV. We know you are interested in TARKOVSKY, who is, in fact, extremely popular with the European intellectuals (his name has practically become a cliche), but apart from him, who were the other Russian thinkers to influence you?
David Tibet has many influences and Solovyev merely relates to his interest in revelation and apolocalyptic matters in general. Wayne John Sturgeon, on the other hand, who is a good friend of mine, is probably more interested in the remarkable English mystic, William Blake, who was convinced that a new Jerusalem could be constructed in the British Isles. The main Russian thinkers that have inspired me, however, include Mikhail Bakunin and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The former, for his defiant opposition to Marxist dogmatism and state socialism, and the latter, for his deep and profound insights into Russian poverty and the latent power of the human spirit. Sergei Nechayev is also very interesting, because he describes the uncompromising attitude that must be adopted by the serious revolutionary.
What about ALEXANDER BLOK? I recall you quoting from “The Scythians” at some point.
Reliable information about Alexander Blok is often hard to come by in English, but I do admire his melancholic attitude, his poetic romanticism and the undisguised hostility that he expressed towards civilisation and materialism. He also believed in the idea of messianic revolution, something clearly at odds with his initial support for the events of 1917 and the Soviet regime’s bitter campaign against both orthodox and unorthodox religion.
Let’s return to England. If asked to name five Englishmen whose works you have learnt from, who would you include in the list?
This is a very difficult question, not least because it is so confined. But if I had to name just five individuals, I would choose William Cobbett for introducing a city boy to the joys of self-sufficiency and the countryside, Richard Burton for epitomising the indomitable hero and for awakening my interest in Africa and the Middle-East, Charles Dickens for bringing the misery of working-class life to the educated public mind for the first time, George Orwell for having the courage to share with us his shattered dreams and illusions about International Socialism, and Hilaire Belloc for teaching me what it means to be English in the first place. Apologies to Morris, Reed, Chesterton, Blatchford, Lawrence and several others!
You seem to be a music lover and an expert, especially when it comes to Neofolk and Industrial music. Which bands do you value most, and why?
I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve always had a deep love of music from a very young age. I also enjoy Traditional Folk (Shirley Collins, Planxty, Dubliners, Steeleye Span, Yetties), Bluegrass (Bill Monroe, Stanley Brothers, Country Gentlemen, Merle Travis, Doc Watson), Classical (Strauss, Bach, Chopin, Vivaldi), Metal (Iron Maiden, Rammstein, Cradle of Filth, Marilyn Manson, Black Sabbath), Psychedelic (Bevis Frond, Hawkwind) and Electronic (Kraftwerk), but the reason so many Neofolk and Industrial groups have fired my interest in recent years is due to the way in which, unlike the contemporary mush of the musical mainstream, they have an ability to convey thoughts and ideas in a less well known but extremely powerful manner. Rather like the way symbols and archetypes can work on the human subconcious. It would be unfair of me to single out a mere handful of groups or individuals when there are clearly so many talented examples out there, but the more professional and significant of them emanate from labels such as Cold Spring, Dark Holler, Mute, Tesco, World Serpent, Eis & Licht, Athanor, Somnambulant Corpse, Tursa, Fluttering Dragon, Svartvintras, and Cynfeirdd. But the reason these artists stand out, at least for me, is due to their unwillingness to compromise or to popularise themselves in the name of profit. It’s also a fact that several of our main influences - Junger and Codreanu, for example - feature in many of the songs.
Have you ever been in a band yourself? Ever written lyrics or poetry?
Yes. I used to write fiction and poetry as child, winning minor prizes at school and colege, and then as a teenager I was a vocalist in several Ska and Oi! bands and played gigs in and around London and the southern counties. I also play Folk and Bluegrass songs on acoustic guitar and a close friend of mine often joins me on the mandolin for long jamming sessions. These days, however, I’m a writer and vocalist with the mainly Dutch group, HERR, and have written and recorded for the harsh Swedish electronic outfit, Survival Unit.
What are your views on the importance of music for the revolutionary struggle?
I believe that music can act as a true voice in the quest for revolutionary change. We’ve all seen the immense power and influence that can be produced by certain genre, the musical categories mentioned above being testimony to that fact. Music can be far more than a pleasurable experience, however, it can also function as a means of anger, self-expression and experimentation. This has been going on ever since the Teddy Boys of the 1950’s, or the Mods and Rockers a decade later. Music and its accompanying lifestyles can inspire real belief. Once that power is shackled to a political current it can become a dynamic cocktail.
The majority of the industrial/neofolk scene is highly sceptical of “sellout” musicians, rejecting an artist’s work as soon as he becomes accepted by MTV. You don’t seem to judge according to the same criteria, your praise of MARILYN MANSON’S performance in London being just one example. In today’s totalitarian “society of the spectacle”, can anyone be accepted by the masses but still remain an inspirational and great artist?
I think that a lot of this talk about ’selling out’ completely misses the point. Moreover, it’s often something alluded to by the more pretentious or superficial music fan. As long as the central or unifying idea of a particular form of music is not compromised or watered-down, it can actually help to spread these ideas to a far larger number of people. Surely the whole point is to reach as many people as possible? Besides, I would rather see young teenagers wearing corpse paint and painting their nails black than going out to night clubs and listening to the manufactured pap of the music industry. The very nature of most Industrial and Neofolk artists, however, usually precludes them from ever being accepted by the masses. They are necessarily elitist and often deal with misanthropic or deeply philosophical themes.
What is your opinion of the vague concept of “postmodernism”? Is postmodernism merely another step down the slope of kali-yugian degradation, or is it a bizarre but fascinating cultural period in which ancient values and traditional rites suddenly re-appear? Does it possess a positive side, in the way that it is anti-modernist?
In some respects, yes. I think this is particularly true of the way it presents a more fractured and fluid interpretation of the world in stark contrast to the modernist tendency to centralise or internationalise everything. I haven’t quite decided whether postmodernism offers a real alternative to modernism, but we can learn a lot from the way it has sought to dissect and analyse both the period in question and that which now follows in its wake. Postmodernism also appears to harbour a distaste of science and technology, something I find easy to identify with. However, the problem with postmodernism in general is that it seems to encompass a vast array of thought and has no real direction of its own.
When and how did you come into contact with the internet? What are views on the web from a political and cultural perspective?
I first came into contact with the Internet in the mid-1990’s, whilst at university, and finally got online myself around 1995. But I have very mixed feelings about it. Whilst I can see the wonderful advantages it offers in terms of being able to spread ideas or make oneself heard, I also feel that it leads to a greater dependence upon technology. In some respects this is a good thing, because it makes the System even more fragile than it is, but the Internet can also act as a huge distraction from the true realities of our existence. The best thing about it, of course, is being able to have all this incredible knowledge at your fingertips, but that’s no good if you can’t even drag yourself out of the chair to act upon it all.
Your SYNTHESIS magazine only exists online, and yet we know that you have been actively involved in a variety of printed magazines. Do you see the printing press as inferior to the internet when it comes to cultural and political warfare in today’s world?
Yes, very much so. In fact the very people that we have always sought to target through the medium of print, those already involved to some extent or another, are all on the Internet already. On the other hand, you can’t beat a proper magazine or newspaper in terms of giving people a tangible and living example of your work, but the results are often very minimal when compared to the expenditure that is necessary to produce them. The stationary industry in this country has become a vast racket, not to mention the amount of trees that have to be felled for human consumption.
Have you ever thought about writing for big magazines and thus making your ideas reach a greater and more diverse audience? If, hypothetically, you would be offered a weekly column in a broadsheet on the condition of making your views slightly more moderate, would you compromise or reject the proposal?
I would certainly relish the opportunity of promoting National-Anarchism in this way, but I wouldn’t be prepared to actually change my views to that extent. It may be possible, on the other hand, to stick within certain limits rather than raise the more inflammatory subjects like Race or Zionism.
Do you fear governmental action against you or your movement? Have you ever had serious troubles with the police due to your political activity?
I don’t fear it, but the possibility is always there in the back of my mind. National-Anarchists like Peter Topfer, on the other hand, have experienced almost constant repression by the State and he has been persecuted many times. I have been arrested many times for stickering and flyposting, as well as on Anarchist demonstrations, but the worst case scenario occurred in 1987 when I was charged with Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) & Affray and eventually consigned to Lewes Prison for eighteen months the following year. Apparently, the very fact that I and a handful of others were trying to defend ourselves against 200 violent Communists was neither here nor there. But the British State got what it wanted and, by throwing me in jail, managed to disrupt the steady growth of the NF in one of its newest areas.
Please excuse our curiosity, but do you have a job besides being engaged in various National-Anarchist related activities? May we know something about your family?
It’s impossible for me to work full-time because I teach my four children at home. This takes up a great deal of my time and can be extremely hard work, not least because of the differing age levels, the lack of State-funding for home-schooled families in this country and the fact that we often have to rely on self-help organisations like Education Otherwise. I’ve been married for over fourteen years now and we have two girls and two boys. We don’t have a car for environmental reasons and therefore a lot of our time is spent exploring local parks or hiking through the countryside. The children are very artistic and enjoy making their own collages and fantasy comic strips, whilst my wife - originally from Tunbridge Wells, in Kent - has a strong interest in Punk Noir, psychology and basset hounds. I spend my spare time reading and discussing Theology, forcing people to eat my attempts at Italian and Indian cookery, enjoying the fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock, and organising football matches with the other kids in the area.
Your Iron Youth internet site, giving advice on how to bring your kids up as National-Anarchists, features a reading list of childrens’ literature: SWIFT, POE, WILDE, STEVENSON… Most of these classical authors are now being read at university level by literature students only. Why do you think is the current state of English education so poor, and do see a way out of this crisis?
The reason the educational standards are so awful in this country, is because the mass media is continuously dominating every aspect of people’s lives. The last few years has seen the growth of a huge social underclass, which seems to be comprised of promiscuous girls and violent males. But it’s futile to completely blame this on poverty. Many of these people have managed to acquire a certain degree of wealth and affluence, but they can’t seem to escape the debilitating peer pressure which encourages people to live in a world of fast cars, fast sex and fast food. There is also a severe identity crisis in England, which has been caused by Americanisation on the one hand, and multi-racialism on the other. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that a culture which prides itself on drunken thuggery and so-called ‘reality TV’ has no interest whatsoever in academic matters or the intellectual development of the individual. The only solution to this crisis is home-schooling. Once you take your children out of this detrimental environment, they are free to develop naturally without the constraints imposed by their peers. In South London, for example, most white schoolchildren have incorporated black slang into their vocabulary, blurring the distinctions between the races and creating a uniform monoculture. To be an individual in modern England, therefore, is to become a virtual outcast.
What is your opinion of elitist educational institutions like Eton, Oxford or Cambridge? On the one hand, you support elitist meritocracy, but on the other, you reject centralised education. In a National-Anarchist society, would the likes of Oxford and Cambridge have a chance to survive?
Firstly, National-Anarchists do not recognise nation-states and, secondly, given that we expect the internationalist system to decline to the extent that it leads to a full-blown technological crisis, it would be impossible for universities to continue as they are at the present time. At the village level, on the other hand, I would expect children to be educated naturally and in accordance with their abilities. Egalitarianism is a myth and some children will always be slower than others, that’s life. But this should take place in a community setting, rather than at a privileged institution, because it is possible to learn from those around you without ever having to establish schools or education systems in the first place.
Do you sympathise with the anti-copyright movement, and if so, have any steps been made to unite your forces with those of prominent anti-copyright fighters? After all, their ideology, though far less complicated and metaphysical than yours, has striking similaritites with National-Anarchism.
We haven’t formerly approached the anti-copyright movement at this stage, but it’s certainly an interesting idea and worth considering in the future. Personally, I oppose all forms of copyright and believe that, rather than seek to protect the artist concerned, copyright laws are simply there to take advantage of that which has been produced. This is achieved by taking it away from the artist altogether and limiting creative output in order to control the amount of alternative material that gets into the mainstream. As an Anarchist, I also believe that it’s impossible to ‘own’ intellectual ideas because they are part of our common development. I’m sure Pierre-Joseph Proudhon would have understood the logical connotations of this process, despite the fact that people often confuse his famous ‘property is theft’ statement with the denial of individual - rather than private - property.
Let us turn to the spiritual and esoteric side of your teaching. You have taken the long path from agnosticism and extreme Catholicism to heathen cults like Mithraism. How did your beliefs evolve, and what is your current spiritual system? Does your movement have an official religious position? Can a Christian or Hindu possibly join?
I have never been an agnostic and always believed in some kind of god or higher intelligence. These days I would describe myself as a student of Primordial Tradition and don’t embrace any kind of religious system. At the present time I am examining the work of Alan Watts, who was chiefly responsible for introducing Eastern philosophy to the West for the very first time. I have a lot of time for Hinduism, too, but at the moment I feel a growing affinity with Zen Buddhism. I don’t care what spiritual outlook people have, I believe that it’s a relatively private matter and National-Anarchism is about banding together with people of like mind and therefore I would find it far more conducive to spend my time with someone interested in Spirituality or the Occult than in material things.
Did you ever have a teacher, a guru who taught you any of the spiritual doctrines you were interested in, or did you pick them up in literary sources?
I have never been under the guidance of a guru or holy man, although I do try to meet as many interesting and intelligent people as possible. I studied Theology & Religious Issues at university, so that helped put things into an historical and cultural perspective to some extent, but I do feel that I’ve reached the stage of my life where a more strenuous and disciplined approach is necessary for my own personal development. I have spent several years examining the various Occult groups and weighing up the possibilities, but I’m not really the kind of person who would respect an authority unless I was convinced that it was tied in to an initiatory source.
Much of the spiritual energy of the Twentieth Century has been hijacked by rather distasteful New Age movements. How can one objectively distinguish a GUENON from a BLAVATSKY, and is there a actually a line separating true mysticism from Occult parodies? If so, which cathegory would you place STEINER, GURDJIEFF and SERRANO in?
I have studied the personalities you mention above, as well as many others to whom people have given their spiritual allegiance, but I happen to believe that it’s a case of gathering all the fragments together until we get a broad picture of the truth. I suppose it’s the National-Anarchist in me. I have always been very suspicious of those who attempt to form personality cults around either themselves or others, in fact I prefer to observe from a distance and explore the information that is available. I do have a lot of respect for some of the main Occult societies but, like most things in the twilight age of the Kali Yaga, many have become corrupt or detached from their origins. One development that interests me is the ongoing fusion of the New Right with various esoteric and Right-wing Anarchist groups on the Continent. There seems to be a genuine attempt to regather the lost wisdom of the past and then use this knowledge to cross the threshold between this world and the beginning of the next Cycle. As the Visnu Purana explains: ‘[They] will then establish righteousness upon earth; and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be as pellucid as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that particular time shall be as the seeds of [new] human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita, or primordial age.’
Finally, please tell us how you view the possibilities of future co-operation between Russia and England in terms of revolutionary politics and culture. Do you think that our individualistic interests could be overcome in order to combine forces against a common enemy?
Following obediently behind the coat-tails of her American ally, the British State will no doubt continue on her journey towards oblivion. But it remans to be seen whether this country will alienate itself from the rest of Europe or seek to unite Europe in the next logical step towards world goverment. This is why England plays such a vital role for American interests, a fifth column within Europe for the intended subjugation of the whole globe. Eurasianists rarely include Western Europe in their vision of a new future, unless, of course, it’s in a very minor or peripheral role. But the Russia of the past, like France, was always known for her warm attitude towards political outcasts and revolutionaries, so perhaps Eurasianism will bring about a new alliance of minds and become the springboard for salvation. I have always deeply admired the long-suffering peoples of Russia, but I do find it rather unusual that National-Anarchism has yet to appear in the country which spawned the likes of Georgy Chulkov and Viacheslav Ivanov. Hopefully, this interview will go some way to changing that fact.
Thanks for listening.