by Alexander Reid Ross
That Southgate posted a rejoinder to my latest article in Vice’s Noisey publication, which has now been translated into French, Italian, and Malay, may mean that I pushed all the right buttons. Southgate has always supported a disingenuous approach to ideology, openly championing infiltration, or “entryism,” as a means of manipulating or destroying autonomous political groups. Why he thinks anyone believes him now is beyond me.
First a few basics about Southgate. He is a Brit who joined one of England’s fascist parties, the National Front, in the mid-1980s. From there, he split off and joined an international network of “national revolutionary” and “national-bolshevik” groups inclusive of the US’s fascist skinhead group, American Front, and the French fascists of Nouvelle Resistance. Following this, he helped set up what he calls the New Right, an ideological school of thought linked to a transnational fascist project called the European New Right (ENR). In each case we find him advancing the global fascist movement by using the rhetoric of the left to gain entry into the anarchist milieu in an effort to disseminate fascist ideology.
Violence of the National Front
In his post about me, Southgate insists, “Ross wants people to believe that there is a wide-ranging fascist conspiracy to both infiltrate and take over Anarchist groups and certain music circles. This is completely untrue.” In the next sentence, however, Southgate confesses: “Groups such as the National Front (NF), mentioned in this article, certainly made an attempt to seize control of skinhead subculture back in the early-1980s, which is precisely how—as a teenage Labour voter—I found my way into the organisation[.]” So he joined the NF due to the same concentrated effort that he now denies as existing at all. Fascinating.
Southgate’s admission is impressive, considering he maintains that he joined the NF not out of racism but interest in their economic program. For the record, the NF’s economic program, such as it has been over the decades, is profoundly racist. Ranging from syncretic notions of distributism to a contradictory hatred of the welfare state that rests on a cynical idealization of self-sufficiency, the economic ideas bandied about in the English fascist movement maintain the incessant drone of xenophobia and Islamophobia.
Regardless, by the mid-1980s when Southgate joined, everyone in England understood that the NF was linked to mass violence, beatings, and even murders, especially of South Asian and Caribbean immigrants, LGBT folks, and leftists. Southgate admits he was incarcerated for 18 months for “Affray” during a 1988 skinhead event in Brighton. His claims that he was framed for being a successful “Regional Organizer” of a “very effective political unit” are dubious for an array of reasons.
The NF’s pathetic numbers at the polls led party leaders to adopt two crucial and often intertwined paths (1) the “political soldiers,” and (2) ideological apologetics. The first was generally associated with knots of Nazi skinhead brutes, while the latter, which Southgate became more associated with, included neo-folk and industrial music.
The New Right and “Anti-Fascist Fascism”
To begin, I did not claim that Southgate had “infiltrated” the neo-folk scene, as he implies, but that his presence in the scene holds significant implications. Through neo-folk, fascists attempted to port important ideological distortions developed by the ENR into subcultures. These sorts of apologetics framed racism and anti-racism as mutually ignominious, where racists fail to understand the importance of distinct ethnic groups and anti-racists attempt to level all ethnic differences to a lowest common, multicultural denominator. Instead, the ENR insists that an apartheid-like ethno-separatism excluding cultural minorities from a “Europe for Europeans” would only further the “right to difference” and the ethic of “diversity.”
Led by a French group known as the Nouvelle Droite, the ENR co-opts the liberal rhetoric of diversity and pluralism in order to argue for ethno-cultural exclusion of immigrants and “non-Europeans.” Southgate’s own brand of supposedly “anti-racist” ideology is also informed by the ideology of Alexander Dugin, the ENR’s representative in Russia. Hoping for a conservative revolution to bring about a federation of ethno-states across Europe and Asia under a single Traditionalist empire, Dugin attempts to obscure his ideological link to fascism while simultaneously insisting upon “norms of ethno-cultural hygiene” (“Нам необходимо просто вводить нормы этнокультурной гигиены”). Despite having written an essay in favor of “Fascism—Borderless and Red,” Dugin now claims to have overcome fascist ideology through a conservative revolutionary Traditionalism that appears by the accounts of scholars like Shekhovtsov and Griffin to be identical to fascism.
Dugin and the Nouvelle Droit mask their fascism in antifascist rhetoric to organize publicly in a world that largely rejects their core ideas. In the words of Tamir Bar-On, “Cultural exclusionism is ultimately accepted by the [Nouvelle Droit] and Dugin by rejecting ‘race mixing’ and multiculturalism within Europe or Russia, while upholding worldwide cultural and ethnic pluralism in an apparently liberal spirit.” Evoking the New Left in calls to restore ethnos through Herrenvolk direct democracy, the ENR’s assertions that a recognized elite can carry out what Richard Wolin calls “parliamentary ethnic cleansing” run parallel to the Alt Right. Although Southgate, himself, has disavowed the Alt Right on the basis of their attachment to Trump, members of the National Anarchist Tribal Alliance have thrown in their lot with the fad and its Proud Boy fellow travelers.
Inspired by Dugin and the Nouvelle Droit, Southgate set up the “New Right” (NR) group in England in the mid-2000s, cloaking his ideology in some antiracist and antifascist rhetoric in attempts to disseminate in a more-or-less antiracist context. As Macklin records in his essay on the group, the NR gravitates toward the legacy of the so-called “left-wing of the Nazi Party,” known as Strasserists or Third Positionists, as well as some occult and völkisch tendencies. They often follow the ideas of non-conformist Vichy collaborators like Gaston Bergery and Alexandre Marc in pronouncing a kind of “anti-fascist fascism,” or a cultural fascism beyond the political. However, NR’s lecture themes give them away: Aryan Futurism, the Solar Race, Imperium Europa, and the psychology of national revolution are only a few.
Blood and Soil
Southgate takes me to task for forgetting to mention Alternative Green editor Richard Hunt, whom he claims influenced his turn toward what he considers anarchy. Perhaps because he could find no true fault with my article, he retreats to his critiques of my book. The most obscure contradiction, perhaps, is that Richard Hunt did not believe in a kind of “Blood and Soil” ecological milieu.
Hunt associated himself with Southgate’s English Nationalist Movement, which in Macklin’s words, “formed the Greenshirts and a uniformed Iron Youth to re-establish the ‘eternal’ principles of blood and soil through cross-country hikes and camping.” Southgate likes blood and soil so much that he published a text by the Nazi theorist of blood and soil, Richard Walther Darrè. Either Hunt and Southgate differed on perhaps the most crucial aspect of Southgate’s ideology, or Southgate’s omission speaks to the tactics of obscurantism that mark the ENR in general.
In an interview with the National Anarchist Movement, Hunt lamented that “in Britain there is little bond between Blood and Soil nor will it have any significance in the emergence of the Natural Society,” but buoyantly added, “It will have great significance in its continuation[.]” For Hunt, the attachment to blood and soil would not successfully draw committed followers from modern multicultural society, but the emergence of a “Natural Society” would absolutely rely on the re-establishment of a kind of “bond between Blood and Soil.” Hence, Hunt’s Alternative Green published articles calling for strict immigration controls and deportations, while insisting on chopping the population down by 75 percent. Their shared assessment of the situation is the reason that Southgate contributed so frequently to Alternative Green, and why Hunt turned the journal over to Southgate after falling ill.
Southgate further cavils that I am wrong in associating him with something like “third-position anarchism,” insisting that he distinguished between the third positionism and national-anarchism in an overwrought essay painfully titled “Transcending the Beyond,” published by Pravda.ru. In fact, this is what he wrote for Pravda: “Given that ideologies such as National-Socialism, National Communism and National Bolshevism have each attempted to combine two seemingly diverse and contradictory opposites, the arrival of National-Anarchism always seemed inevitable. But what distinguishes the [National Revolutionary Faction] from its counterparts within the prevailing left-right spectrum, however, is the fact that it is seeking to create a synthesis” (my emphasis). Hence, my initial prescription stands, since “third-position anarchism” implies precisely the synthesis Southgate claimed to produce. I looked it up and it appears the term has also been used by Macklin in the past—sorry for not footnoting it in the book.
Lastly, Southgate takes exception with another part of the same sentence where I state that “‘third-position anarchism’ continues to see the individual locked in a Darwinian struggle against multicultural society[.]” Although Southgate claims that his movement repudiates Darwin, issue three of his New Imperium magazine published these impressive words: “whilst men and women are each powerful in their own right, balanced cooperation will actually enhance and deepen those inherent forces which create, sustain and evolve life by proudly working to restore the true and holy nature of the male and female polarities in proper relationship to each other, so our folk will be restored to their rightful strength.” If Southgate’s own syncretic ideas veer this way or that, his “movement” surely advocates an idea of Natural Order that seeks an evolution of the “folk” through the refutation of multiculturalism and exclusion of gender and sexual diversity, among other things.
Hopefully I have answered all of Mr. Southgate’s claims as to the veracity of the information provided in both my article and my book. As ash falls on Portland from the forest fires burning to our east and a biblical hurricane descends on the Caribbean, it now appears more vital than ever to abandon the haze of ideological deception that Southgate promotes. Enough with the games and tricks. Let’s have honesty and clarity in political discourse.