If history has taught us anything, it is that paralysis by analysis is the bane of man’s experience in social change.
We see many willing to discuss theory, but very few willing to join a vanguard organization where there will be discipline and organized action.
Perhaps an irony – in discussing theories about the problems of modernity and liberalism, people are entertaining highly individualized theories. In doing so, they continue to exhibit and promote a kind of liberalism in itself. A thousand and one ‘unique’ analyses and criticisms of the present order are a symptom of the present order itself.
Believing that there should exist an organization which fits perfectly in line with the intricate and specific ideas, tastes, proclivities, nuanced ideological turns, and so forth, of oneself is a symptom of the solipsistic, narcissism of the modern liberal framework itself.
Therefore, a strong vanguard organization does not impose too many doctrines and dogmas in places where nuance and range should be allowed. And likewise, a good candidate for a vanguard organization quickly learns how to prioritize their values and aims – create a hierarchy of these – and then join an organization which is closest.
In subordinating oneself to organization and infusing your energies into it, becoming a force multiplier and a political soldier – only here and then does one put their money where their mouths or typing hands are.
This is also chiefly important: the role of an organization is not to satisfy your needs, but your desire to join an organization like NR ought to be based on your conviction that you can satisfy its needs.
In continuing to treat revolutionary ideas as the subject of normal discussion, the nominal subject of ‘revolution’ is not the real subject – rather it is the entertainment value, the interest value, its ability to pass time, or display one’s knowledge in some area of minutia. In reality, the subject could be cloud formations or the years and models of various train production. The essence is not the subject, but that it is abstracted into the subject of discussion.
Of course it is important to talk about things before doing them – commitment is something that has a deep and profound meaning, and obliges one to carry it out.
But in the final analysis, a person must recruit themselves to the idea that no one will make this fight for you.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara wrote “Notes for the Study of Socialism and Man in Cuba” in the form of a letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of La Marcha, an independent radical weekly published in Montevideo, Uruguay. It bore the dateline “Havana, 1965.” It was also printed by Verde Olivo, the magazine of the Cuban armed forces.
NR-E focuses particularly on Che’s concepts of New Man in the 21st Century.
* * * Socialism and Man in Cuba
Though belatedly, I am completing these notes in the course of my trip through Africa, hoping in this way to keep my promise. I would like to do so by dealing with the theme set forth in the above title. I think it may be of interest to Uruguayan readers.
A common argument from the mouths of capitalist spokesmen, in the ideological struggle against socialism, is that socialism, or the period of building socialism into which we have entered, is characterized by the subordination of the individual to the state. I will not try to refute this argument solely on theoretical grounds, but I will try to establish the facts as they exist in Cuba and then add comments of a general nature. Let me begin by sketching the history of our revolutionary struggle before and after the taking of power:
As is well known, the exact date on which the revolutionary struggle began – which would culminate January 1st, 1959 – was the 26th of July, 1953. A group of men commanded by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada barracks in Oriente Province on the morning of that day. The attack was a failure; the failure became a disaster; and the survivors ended up in prison, beginning the revolutionary struggle again after they were freed by an amnesty.
In this stage, in which there was only the germ of socialism, man was the basic factor. We put our trust in him – individual, specific, with a first and last name – and the triumph or failure of the mission entrusted to him depended on his capacity for action.
Then came the stage of guerrilla struggle. It developed in two distinct elements: the people, the still sleeping mass which it was necessary to mobilize; and its vanguard, the guerrillas, the motor force of the movement, the generator of revolutionary consciousness and militant enthusiasm. It was this vanguard, this catalyzing agent, which created the subjective conditions necessary for victory.
Here again, in the course of the process of proletarianizing our thinking, in this revolution which took place in our habits and our minds, the individual was the basic factor. Every one of the fighters of the Sierra Maestra who reached an upper rank in the revolutionary forces has a record of outstanding deeds to his credit. They attained their rank on this basis. It was the first heroic period and in it they contended for the heaviest responsibilities, for the greatest dangers, with no other satisfaction than fulfilling a duty.
In our work of revolutionary education we frequently return to this instructive theme. In the attitude of our fighters could be glimpsed the man of the future.
On other occasions in our history the act of total dedication to the revolutionary cause was repeated. During the October crisis and in the days of Hurricane Flora we saw exceptional deeds of valor and sacrifice performed by an entire people. Finding the formula to perpetuate this heroic attitude in daily life is, from the ideological standpoint, one of our fundamental tasks.
In January, 1959, the Revolutionary Government was established with the participation of various members of the treacherous bourgeoisie. The existence of the Rebel Army as the basic factor of force constituted the guarantee of power.
Serious contradictions developed subsequently. In the first instance, in February, 1959, these were resolved when Fidel Castro assumed leadership of the government with the post of Prime Minister. This stage culminated in July of the same year with the resignation under mass pressure of President Urrutia.
There now appeared in the history of the Cuban Revolution a force with well-defined characteristics which would systematically reappear – the mass.
This many-faceted agency is not, as is claimed, the sum of units of the self-same type, behaving like a tame flock of sheep, and reduced, moreover, to that type by the system imposed from above. It is true that it follows its leaders, basically Fidel Castro, without hesitation; but the degree to which he won this trust corresponds precisely to the degree that he interpreted the people’s desires and aspirations correctly, and to the degree that he made a sincere effort to fulfill the promises he made.
The mass participated in the agrarian reform and in the difficult task of the administration of state enterprises; it went through the heroic experience of Playa Giron; it was hardened in the battles against various bands of bandits armed by the CIA; it lived through one of the most important decisions of modern times during .the October crisis; and today it continues to work for the building of socialism.
Viewed superficially, it might appear that those who speak of the subordination of the individual to the state are right. The mass carries out with matchless enthusiasm and discipline the tasks set by the government, whether economic in character, cultural, defensive, athletic, or whatever.
The initiative generally comes from Fidel or from the Revolutionary High Command, and is explained to the people who adopt it as theirs. In some cases the party and government utilize a local experience which may be of general value to the people, and follow the same procedure.
Nevertheless, the state sometimes makes mistakes. When one of these mistakes occurs, a decline in collective enthusiasm is reflected by a resulting quantitative decrease of the contribution of each individual, each of the elements forming the whole of the masses. Work is so paralyzed that insignificant quantities are produced. It is time to make a correction. That is what happened in March, 1962, as a result of the sectarian policy imposed on the party by Annal Escalante.
Clearly this mechanism is not adequate for insuring a succession of judicious measures. A more structured connection with the masses is needed and we must improve it in the course of the next years. But as far as initiatives originating in the upper strata of the government are concerned, we are presently utilizing the almost intuitive method of sounding out general reactions to the great problems we confront. In this Fidel is a master, whose own special way of fusing himself with the people can be appreciated only by seeing him in action. At the great public mass meetings one can observe something like a counterpoint between two musical melodies whose vibrations provoke still newer notes. Fidel and the mass begin to vibrate together in a dialogue of growing intensity until they reach the climax in an abrupt conclusion culminating in our cry of struggle and victory.
The difficult thing for someone not living the experience of the revolution to understand is this close dialectical unity between the individual and the mass, in which the mass, as an aggregate of individuals, is interconnected with its leaders.
Some phenomena of this kind can be seen under capitalism, when politicians capable of mobilizing popular opinion appear, but these phenomena are not really genuine social movements. (If they were, it would not be entirely correct to call them capitalist.) These movements only live as long as the persons who inspire them, or until the harshness of capitalist society puts an end to the popular illusions which made them possible.
Under capitalism man is controlled by a pitiless code of laws which is usually beyond his comprehension. The alienated human individual is tied to society in its aggregate by an invisible umbilical cord – the law of value. It is operative in all aspects of his life, shaping its course and destiny.
The laws of capitalism, blind and invisible to the majority, act upon the individual without his thinking about it. He sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon before him. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller – whether or not it is true – about the possibilities of success.
The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Rockefeller, and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude entails, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this.
(A discussion of how the workers in the imperialist countries are losing the spirit of working-class internationalism due to a certain degree of complicity in the exploitation of the dependent countries, and how this weakens the combativity of the masses in the imperialist countries, would be appropriate here; but that is a theme which goes beyond the aim of these notes.)
In any case the road to success is pictured as one beset with perils but which, it would seem, an individual with the proper qualities can overcome to attain the goal. The reward is seen in the distance; the way is lonely. Further on it is a route for wolves; one can succeed only at the cost of the failure of others.
I would now like to try to define the individual, the actor in this strange and moving drama of the building of socialism, in his dual existence as a unique being and as a member of society.
I think it makes the most sense to recognize his quality of incompleteness, of being an unfinished product. The sermons of the past have been transposed to the present in the individual consciousness, and a continual labor is necessary to eradicate them. The process is two-sided: On the one side, society acts through direct and indirect education; on the other, the individual subjects himself to a process of conscious self-education.
The new society being formed has to compete fiercely with the past. The latter makes itself felt in the consciousness in which the residue of an education systematically oriented towards isolating the individual still weighs heavily, and also through the very character of the transitional period in which the market relationships of the past still persist. The commodity is the economic cell of capitalist society; so long as it exists its effects will make themselves felt in the organization of production and, consequently, in consciousness.
Marx outlined the period of transition as a period which results from the explosive transformation of the capitalist system of a country destroyed by its own contradictions. However in historical reality we have seen that some countries, which were weak limbs of the tree of imperialism, were torn off first – a phenomenon foreseen by Lenin.
In these countries capitalism had developed to a degree sufficient to make its effects felt by the people in one way or another; but, having exhausted all its possibilities, it was not its internal contradictions which caused these systems to explode. The struggle for liberation from a foreign oppressor, the misery caused by external events like war whose consequences make the privileged classes bear down more heavily on the oppressed, liberation movements aimed at the overthrow of neo-colonial regimes – these are the usual factors in this kind of explosion. Conscious action does the rest.
In these countries a complete education for social labor has not yet taken place, and wealth is far from being within the reach of the masses simply through the process of appropriation. Underdevelopment on the one hand, and the inevitable flight of capital on the other, make a rapid transition impossible without sacrifices. There remains a long way to go in constructing the economic base, and the temptation to follow the beaten track of material interest as the moving lever of accelerated development is very great.
There is the danger that the forest won’t be seen for the trees. Following the will-o’-the-wisp method of achieving socialism with the help of the dull instruments which link us to capitalism (the commodity as the economic cell, profitability, individual material interest as a lever, etc.) can lead into a blind alley.
Further, you get there after having traveled a long distance in which there were many crossroads and it is hard to figure out just where it was that you took the wrong turn. The economic foundation which has been armed has already done its work of undermining the development of consciousness. To build communism, you must build new men as well as the new economic base.
Hence it is very important to choose correctly the instrument for mobilizing the masses. Basically, this instrument must be moral in character, without neglecting, however, a correct utilization of the material stimulus – especially of a social character.
As I have already said, in moments of great peril it is easy to muster a powerful response to moral stimuli; but for them to retain their effect requires the development of a consciousness in which there is a new priority of values. Society as a whole must be converted into a gigantic school.
In rough outline this phenomenon is similar to the process by which capitalist consciousness was formed in its initial epoch. Capitalism uses force but it also educates the people to its system. Direct propaganda is carried out by those entrusted with explaining the inevitability of class society, either through some theory of divine origin or through a mechanical theory of natural selection.
This lulls the masses since they see themselves as being oppressed by an evil against which it is impossible to struggle. Immediately following comes hope of improvement – and in this, capitalism differed from the preceding caste systems which offered no possibilities for advancement.
For some people, the ideology of the caste system will remain in effect: The reward for the obedient after death is to be transported to some fabulous other-world where, in accordance with the old belief, good people are rewarded. For other people there is this innovation: The division of society is predestined, but through work, initiative, etc., individuals can rise out of the class to which they belong.
These two ideologies and the myth of the self-made man have to be profoundly hypocritical: They consist in self- interested demonstrations that the lie of the permanence of class divisions is a truth.
In our case direct education acquires a much greater importance. The explanation is convincing because it is true; no subterfuge is needed. It is carried on by the state’s educational apparatus as a function of general, technical and ideological culture through such agencies as the Ministry of Education and the party’s informational apparatus.
Education takes hold of the masses and the new attitude tends to become a habit; the masses continue to absorb it and to influence those who have not yet educated themselves. This is the indirect form of educating the masses, as powerful as the other.
But the process is a conscious one; the individual continually feels the impact of the new social power and perceives that he does not entirely measure up to its standards. Under the pressure of indirect education, he tries to adjust himself to a norm which he feels is just and which his own lack of development had prevented him from reaching theretofore. He educates himself.
In this period of the building of socialism we can see the new man being born. His image is not yet completely finished – it never could be – since the process goes forward hand in hand with the development of new economic forms.
Leaving out of consideration those whose lack of education makes them take the solitary road toward satisfying their own personal ambitions, there are those, even within this new panorama of a unified march forward, who have a tendency to remain isolated from the masses accompanying them. But what is important is that everyday men are continuing to acquire more consciousness of the need for their incorporation into society and, at the same time, of their importance as the movers of society.
They no longer travel completely alone over trackless routes toward distant desires. They follow their vanguard, consisting of the party, the advanced workers, the advanced men who walk in unity with the masses and in close communion with them. The vanguard has its eyes fixed on the future and its rewards, but this is not seen as something personal. The reward is the new society in which men will have attained new features: the society of communist man.
The road is long and full of difficulties. At times we wander from the path and must turn back; at other times we go too fast and separate ourselves from the masses; on occasions we go too slow and feel the hot breath of those treading on our heels. In our zeal as revolutionists we try to move ahead as fast as possible, clearing the way, but knowing we must draw our sustenance from the mass and that it can advance more rapidly only if we inspire it by our example.
The fact that there remains a division into two main groups (excluding, of course, that minority not participating for one reason or another in the building of socialism), despite the importance given to moral stimuli, indicates the relative lack of development of social consciousness.
The vanguard group is ideologically more advanced than the mass; the latter understands the new values, but not sufficiently. While among the former there has been a qualitative change which enables them to make sacrifices to carry out their function as an advance guard, the latter go only half way and must be subjected to stimuli and pressures of a certain intensity. That is the dictatorship of the proletariat operating not only on the defeated class but also on individuals of the victorious class.
All of this means that for total success a series of mechanisms, of revolutionary institutions, is needed. Fitted into the pattern of the multitudes marching towards the future is the concept of a harmonious aggregate of channels, steps, restraints, and smoothly working mechanisms which would facilitate that advance by ensuring the efficient selection of those destined to march in the vanguard which, itself, bestows rewards on those who fulfill their duties, and punishments on those who attempt to obstruct the development of the new society.
This institutionalization of the revolution has not yet been achieved. We are looking for something which will permit a perfect identification between the government and the community in its entirety, something appropriate to the special conditions of the building of socialism, while avoiding to the maximum degree a mere transplanting of the commonplaces of bourgeois democracy – like legislative chambers – into the society in formation.
Some experiments aimed at the gradual development of institutionalized forms of the revolution have been made, but without undue haste. The greatest obstacle has been our fear lest any appearance of formality might separate us from the masses and from the individual, might make us lose sight of the ultimate and most important revolutionary aspiration, which is to see man liberated from his alienation.
Despite the lack of institutions, which must be corrected gradually, the masses are now making history as a conscious aggregate of individuals fighting for the same cause. Man under socialism, despite his apparent standardization, is more complete; despite the lack of perfect machinery for it, his opportunities for expressing himself and making himself felt in the social organism are infinitely greater. It is still necessary to strengthen his conscious participation, individual and collective, in all the mechanisms of management and production, and to link it to the idea of the need for technical and ideological education, so that he sees how closely interdependent these processes are and how their advancement is parallel. In this way he will reach total consciousness of his social function, which is equivalent to his full realization as a human being, once the chains of alienation are broken.
This will be translated concretely into the regaining of his true nature through liberated labor, and the expression of his proper human condition through culture and art.
In order for him to develop in the first of the above categories, labor must acquire a new status. Man dominated by commodity relationships will cease to exist, and a system will be created which establishes a quota for the fulfillment of his social duty. The means of production belong to society, and the machine will merely be the trench where duty is fulfilled. Man will begin to see himself mirrored in his work and to realize his full stature as a human being through the object created, through the work accomplished. Work will no longer entail surrendering a part of his being in the form of labor-power sold, which no longer belongs to him, but will represent an emanation of himself reflecting his contribution to the common life, the fulfillment of his social duty. We are doing everything possible to give labor this new status of social duty and to link it on the one side with the development of a technology which will create the conditions for greater freedom, and on the other side with voluntary work based on a Marxist appreciation of the fact that man truly reaches a full human condition when he produces without being driven by the physical need to sell his labor as a commodity.
Of course there are other factors involved even when labor is voluntary: Man has not transformed all the coercive factors around him into conditioned reflexes of a social character, and he still produces under the pressures of his society. (Fidel calls this moral compulsion.)
Man still needs to undergo a complete spiritual rebirth in his attitude towards his work, freed from the direct pressure of his social environment, though linked to it by his new habits. That will be communism.
The change in consciousness will not take place automatically, just as it doesn’t take place automatically in the economy. The alterations are slow and are not harmonious; there are periods of acceleration, pauses and even retrogressions.
Furthermore we must take into account, as I pointed out before, that we are not dealing with a period of pure transition, as Marx envisaged it in his Critique of the Gotha Program, but rather with a new phase unforeseen by him: an initial period of the transition to communism, or the construction of socialism. It is taking place in the midst of violent class struggles and with elements of capitalism within it which obscure a complete understanding of its essence.
If we add to this the scholasticism which has hindered the development of Marxist philosophy and impeded the systematic development of the theory of the transition period, we must agree that we are still in diapers and that it is necessary to devote ourselves to investigating all the principal characteristics of this period before elaborating an economic and political theory of greater scope.
The resulting theory will, no doubt, put great stress on the two pillars of the construction of socialism: the education of the new man and the development of technology. There is much for us to do in regard to both, but delay is least excusable in regard to the concepts of technology, since here it is not a question of going forward blindly but of following over a long stretch of road already opened up by the world’s more advanced countries. This is why Fidel pounds away with such insistence on the need for the technological training of our people and especially of its vanguard.
In the field of ideas not involving productive activities it is easier to distinguish the division between material and spiritual necessity. For a long time man has been trying to free himself from alienation through culture and art. While he dies every day during the eight or more hours that he sells his labor, he comes to life afterwards in his spiritual activities.
But this remedy bears the germs of the same sickness; it is as a solitary individual that he seeks communion with his environment. He defends his oppressed individuality through the artistic medium and reacts to aesthetic ideas as a unique being whose aspiration is to remain untarnished.
All that he is doing, however, is attempting to escape. The law of value is not simply a naked reflection of productive relations: The monopoly capitalists – even while employing purely empirical methods – weave around art a complicated web which converts it into a willing tool. The superstructure of society ordains the type of art in which the artist has to be educated. Rebels are subdued by its machinery and only rare talents may create their own work. The rest become shameless hacks or are crushed.
A school of artistic “freedom” is created, but its values also have limits even if they are imperceptible until we come into conflict with them – that is to say, until the real problem of man and his alienation arises. Meaningless anguish and vulgar amusement thus become convenient safety valves for human anxiety. The idea of using art as a weapon of protest is combated. If one plays by the rules, he gets all the honors – such honors as a monkey might get for performing pirouettes. The condition that has been imposed is that one cannot try to escape from the invisible cage.
When the revolution took power there was an exodus of those who had been completely housebroken; the rest – whether they were revolutionaries or not – saw a new road open to them. Artistic inquiry experienced a new impulse. The paths, however, had already been more or less laid out and the escapist concept hid itself behind the word “freedom.” This attitude was often found even among the revolutionaries themselves, reflecting the bourgeois idealism still in their consciousness.
In those countries which had gone through a similar process they tried to combat such tendencies by an exaggerated dogmatism. General culture was virtually tabooed, and it was declared that the acme of cultural aspiration was the formally exact representation of nature. This was later transformed into a mechanical representation of the social reality they wanted to show: the ideal society almost without conflicts or contradictions which they sought to create.
Socialism is young and has made errors. Many times revolutionaries lack the knowledge and intellectual courage needed to meet the task of developing the new man with methods different from the conventional ones – and the conventional methods suffer from the influences of the society which created them.
(Again we raise the theme of the relationship between form and content.)
Disorientation is widespread, and the problems of material construction preoccupy us. There are no artists of great authority who at the same time have great revolutionary authority. The men of the party must take this task to hand and seek attainment of the main goal, the education of the people.
But then they sought simplification. They sought an art that would be understood by everyone – the kind of “art” functionaries understand. True artistic values were disregarded, and the problem of general culture was reduced to taking some things from the socialist present and some from the dead past (since dead, not dangerous). Thus Socialist Realism arose upon the foundations of the art of the last century.
But the realistic art of the nineteenth century is also a class art, more purely capitalist perhaps than this decadent art of the twentieth century which reveals the anguish of alienated man. In the field of culture capitalism has given all that it had to give, and nothing of it remains but the offensive stench of a decaying corpse, today’s decadence in art.
Why then should we try to find the only valid prescription for art in the frozen forms of Socialist Realism? We cannot counterpoise the concept of Socialist Realism to that of freedom because the latter does not yet exist and will not exist until the complete development of the new society. Let us not attempt, from the pontifical throne of realism- at-any-cost, to condemn all the art forms which have evolved since the first half of the nineteenth century for we would then fall into the Proudhonian mistake of returning to the past, of putting a straitjacket on the artistic expression of the man who is being born and is in the process of making himself.
What is needed is the development of an ideological- cultural mechanism which permits both free inquiry and the uprooting of the weeds which multiply so easily in the fertile soil of state subsidies.
In our country we don’t find the error of mechanical realism, but rather its opposite, and that is so because the need for the creation of a new man has not been understood, a new man who would represent neither the ideas of the nineteenth century nor those of our own decadent and morbid century.
What we must create is the man of the twenty-first century, although this is still a subjective and not a realized aspiration. It is precisely this man of the next century who is one of the fundamental objectives of our work; and to the extent that we achieve concrete successes on a theoretical plane – or, vice versa, to the extent we draw theoretical conclusions of a broad character on the basis of our concrete research – we shall have made an important contribution to Marxism-Leninism, to the cause of humanity.Reaction against the man of the nineteenth century has brought us a relapse into the decadence of the twentieth century; it is not a fatal error, but we must overcome it lest we open a breach for revisionism.
The great multitudes continue to develop; the new ideas continue to attain their proper force within society; the material possibilities for the full development of all members of society make the task much more fruitful. The present is a time for struggle; the future is ours.
To sum up, the fault of our artists and intellectuals lies in their original sin: They are not truly revolutionary. We can try to graft the elm tree so that it will bear pears, but at the same time we must plant pear trees. New generations will come who will be free of the original sin. The probabilities that great artists will appear will be greater to the degree that the field of culture and the possibilities for expression are broadened.
Our task is to prevent the present generation, torn asunder by its conflicts, from becoming perverted and from perverting new generations. We must not bring into being either docile servants of official thought, or scholarship students who live at the expense of the state – practicing “freedom.” Already there are revolutionaries coming who will sing the song of the new man in the true voice of the people. This is a process which takes time.
In our society the youth and the party play an important role.
The former is especially important because it is the malleable clay from which the new man can be shaped without any of the old faults. The youth is treated in accordance with our aspirations. Its education steadily grows more full, and we are not forgetting about its integration into the labor force from the beginning. Our scholarship students do physical work during their vacations or along with their studying. Work is a reward in some cases, a means of education in others, but it is never a punishment. A new generation is being born.
The party is a vanguard organization. The best workers are proposed by their fellow workers for admission into it. It is a minority, but it has great authority because of the quality of its cadres. Our aspiration is that the party will become a mass party, but only when the masses have reached the level of the vanguard, that is, when they are educated for communism.
Our work constantly aims at this education. The party is the living example; its cadres should be teachers of hard work and sacrifice. They should lead the masses by their deeds to the completion of the revolutionary task which involves years of hard struggle against the difficulties of construction, class enemies, the sicknesses of the past, imperialism…
Now, I would like to explain the role played by personality, by man as the individual leader of the masses which make history. This has been our experience; it is not a prescription.
Fidel gave the revolution its impulse in the first years, and also its leadership. He always strengthened it; but there is a good group who are developing in the same way as the outstanding leader, and there is a great mass which follows its leaders because it has faith in them, and it has faith in them because they have been able to interpret its desires.
This is not a matter of how many pounds of meat one might be able to eat, nor of how many times a year someone can go to the beach, nor how many ornaments from abroad you might be able to buy with present salaries. What is really involved is that the individual feels more complete, with much more internal richness and much more responsibility.
The individual in our country knows that the illustrious epoch in which it was determined that he live is one of sacrifice; he is familiar with sacrifice. The first came to know it in the Sierra Maestra and wherever else they fought; afterwards all of Cuba came to know it. Cuba is the vanguard of the Americas and must make sacrifices because it occupies the post of advance guard, because it shows the road to full freedom to the masses of Latin America.
Within the country the leadership has to carry out its vanguard role, and it must be said with all sincerity that in a real revolution, to which one gives himself entirely and from which he expects no material remuneration, the task of the revolutionary vanguard is at one and the same time glorious and agonizing.
At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without contracting a muscle. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, the most sacred cause, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary men put their love into practice.
The leaders of the revolution have children just beginning to talk, who are not learning to call their fathers by name; wives, from whom they have to be separated as part of the general sacrifice of their lives to bring the revolution to its fulfillment; the circle of their friends is limited strictly to the number of fellow revolutionists. There is no life outside of the revolution
In these circumstances one must have a great deal of humanity and a strong sense of justice and truth in order not to fall into extreme dogmatism and cold scholasticism, into an isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.
The revolutionary, the ideological motor force of the revolution, is consumed by his uninterrupted activity which can come to an end only with death until the building of socialism on a world scale has been accomplished. If his revolutionary zeal is blunted when the most urgent tasks are being accomplished on a local scale and he forgets his proletarian internationalism, the revolution which he leads will cease to be an inspiring force, and he will sink into a comfortable lethargy which imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize well. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. So we educate our people.
Of course there are dangers in the present situation, and not only that of dogmatism, not only that of weakening the ties with the masses midway in the great task. There is also the danger of weaknesses. If a man thinks that dedicating his entire life to the revolution means that in return he should not have such worries as that his son lacks certain things, or that his children’s shoes are worn out, or that his family lacks some necessity, then he is entering into rationalizations which open his mind to infection by the seeds of future corruption.
In our case we have maintained that our children should have or should go without those things that the children of the average man have or go without, and that our families should understand this and strive to uphold this standard. The revolution is made through man, but man must forge his revolutionary spirit day by day.
Thus we march on. At the head of the immense column – we are neither afraid nor ashamed to say it – is Fidel. After him come the best cadres of the party, and immediately behind them, so close that we feel its tremendous force, comes the people in its entirety, a solid mass of individualities moving toward a common goal, individuals who have attained consciousness of what must be done, men who fight to escape from the realm of necessity and to enter that of freedom.
This great throng becomes organized; its clarity of program corresponds to its consciousness of the necessity of organization. It is no longer a dispersed force, divisible into thousands of fragments thrown into space like splinters from a hand grenade, trying by any means to achieve some protection against an uncertain future, in desperate struggle with their fellows.
We know that sacrifices lie before us and that we must pay a price for the heroic act of being a vanguard nation. We leaders know that we must pay a price for the right to say that we are at the head of a people which is at the head of the Americas. Each and every one of us must pay his exact quota of sacrifice, conscious that he will get his reward in the satisfaction of fulfilling a duty, conscious that he will advance with all toward the image of the new man dimly visible on the horizon.
Let me attempt some conclusions: We socialists are freer because we are more complete; we are more complete because we are freer. The skeleton of our complete freedom is already formed. The flesh and the clothing are lacking. We will create them. Our freedom and its daily maintenance are paid for in blood and sacrifice.
Our sacrifice is conscious: an installment payment on the freedom that we are building.
The road is long and in part unknown. We understand our- limitations. We will create the man of the twenty-first century – we, ourselves.
We will forge ourselves in daily action, creating a new man with a new technology.
Individual personality plays a role in mobilizing and leading the masses insofar as it embodies the highest virtues and aspirations of the people and does not wander from the path.
It is the vanguard group which clears the way, the best among the good, the party.
The basic clay of our work is the youth. We place our hope in them and prepare them to take the banner from our hands.
In Ernst Jünger’s writings, four great Figures appear in succession, each corresponds to quite a distinct period of the author’s life. They are, in order of time: the Front Soldier, the Worker, the Rebel, and the Anarch. Through these Figures one can divine the passionate interest Jünger has always held toward the world of forms. Forms for him cannot result from chance occurrences in the sensible world. Rather, forms guide, on various levels, the ways sensible beings express themselves: the “history” of the world is above all morphogenesis. As an entomologist, moreover, Jünger was naturally inclined to classifications. Beyond the individual, he identifies the species or the kind. One can see here a subtle sort of challenge to individualism: “The unique and the typical exclude one another,” he writes. Thus, as Jünger sees it, the universe is one where Figures give epochs their metaphysical significance. In this brief esposition, I would like to compare and contrast the great Figures identified by Jünger.
* * *
The Front Soldier (Frontsoldat) is first of all a witness to the end of classical wars: wars that gave priority to the chivalrous gesture, that were organized around the concepts of glory and honor, that generally spared civilians, and that distinguished clearly between the Front and the Rear. “Though once we crouched in bomb craters, we still believed,” Jünger said, “that man was stronger than material. That proved to be an error.” Indeed, from then on, the “material” counted more than the human factor. This material factor signifies the irruption and dominion of technology. Technology imposes its own law, the law of impersonality and total war—a war simultaneously massive and abstract in its cruelty. At the same time, the Soldier becomes an impersonal actor. His very heroism is impersonal, because what counts most for him is no longer the goal or outcome of combat. It is not to win or lose, live or die. What counts is the spiritual disposition that leads him to accept his anonymous sacrifice. In this sense, the Front Soldier is by definition an Unknown Soldier, who forms a body, in all senses of the term, with the unit to which he belongs, like a tree which is not only a part but an exemplary incarnation of the forest.
The same applies to the Worker, who appears in 1932, in the famous book of that name, whose subtitle is: “Dominion and Figure.”(1) The common element of the Soldier and Worker is active impersonnality.
They too are children of technology. Because the same technology that transformed war into monotonous “work,” drowning the chivalrous spirit in the mud of the trenches, has also transformed the world into a vast workshop where man is henceforth completely enthralled (2) by the imperatives of productivity. Soldier and Worker, finally, have the same enemy: the contemptible bourgeois liberal, the “last man” announced by Nietzsche, who venerates moral order, utility, and profit. Also the Worker and the Soldier back from the Front both want to destroy in order to create, to give up the last shreds of individualism in order to found a new world on the ruins of the old “petrified form of life.”
However, while the Soldier was only the passive object of the reign of technology, the Worker aims actively to identify himself with it. Far from being its object, or submitting to its manifestations, the Worker, on the contrary, seeks in all conscience to endorse the power of technology that he thinks will abolish the differences between the classes, as well as between peace and war, civilian and military. The Worker is no longer one who is “sacrificed to carry the burdens in the great deserts of fire,” as Jünger still put it in the The Forest Path,(3) but a being entirely devoted to “total mobilization.”(4) Thus the Figure of the Worker goes far beyond the Type of the Front Soldier. For the Worker—who dreams all the while of a Spartan, Prussian, or Bolshevik life, where the individual would be definitively outclassed by the Type—the Great War was only the anvil where another way of being in the world was forged. The Front Soldier limited himself in order to embody new norms of collective existence. The Worker, for his part, intends to transplant them into civilian life, to make them the law of the whole society.
The Worker is thus not merely the man who works (the most common meaning), any more than he is the man of a social class, i.e., of a given economic category (the historical meaning). He is the Worker in a metaphysical sense: the one who reveals Work as the general law of a world that devotes itself entirely to efficiency and productivity, even in leisure and rest.
The elements of Jünger’s worldview—his aesthetic and voluntarist conception of technology, his decisionism of every moment, the opposition of the Worker to the bourgeois, the Nietzschean will “to transvalue all values” which already underlay Jünger’s “soldatic nationalism” of the Twenties—are sometimes summarized with the phrase “heroic realism.” However, under the influence of events, Jünger’s reflection would soon undergo a decisive inflection, which took it in another direction.
The turn corresponds to the novel On the Marble Cliffs,(5) published in 1939. The heroes of the story, two brothers, herbalists from the Great Marina who recoil in horror at the inexorable outcome of the Great Forester’s enterprise, discover that there are weapons stronger than those that pierce and kill.
Jünger, at that time, was not only informed by the rise of Nazism, he was influenced by his brother, Friedrich Georg Jünger, who in a famous book (6) was one of the first to work out a radical critique of the technological framework.(7) As children of technology, the Soldier and especially the Worker were on the side of the Titans. Yet Ernst Jünger came to see that the Titanic reign of the elemental leads straight to nihilism. He understood that the world should be neither interpreted nor changed, but viewed as the very source of the unveiling of truth (aletheia). He understood that technology is not necessarily antagonistic to bourgeois values, and that it transforms the world only by globalizing the desert.
He understood that, behind history, timelessness returns to more essential categories, and that human time, marked off by the wheels of the watch, is an “imaginary time,” founded on an artifice that made men forgetful of their belonging to the world, a time that fixes the nature of their projects instead of being fixed by them, unlike the hourglass, the “elementary clock” whose flow obeys natural laws—a cyclic not a linear time. Jünger, in other words, realized that the outburst of the Titans is first and foremost a revolt against the gods. This is why he dismissed Prometheus. The collective Figures were succeeded by personal ones.
Against totalitarian despotism, the heroes of On the Marble Cliffs chose withdrawal, taking a distance. By this, they already announced the attitude of the Rebel, of whom Jünger would write: “The Rebel is . . . whoever the law of his nature puts in relation to freedom, a relation that in time brings him to a revolt against automatism and a refusal to accept its ethical consequence, fatalism.”
One sees by this that the Figure of the Rebel is directly connected to a meditation on freedom—and also on exclusion, since the Rebel is equally an outlaw. The Rebel is still a combatant, like the Front Soldier, but he is a combatant who repudiates active impersonality, because he intends to preserve his freedom with respect to the cause he defends.
In this sense, the Rebel cannot be identified with one system or another, even the one for which he fights. He is not at ease in any them. If the Rebel chooses marginalization, it is above all to guard against the forces of destruction, to break the encirclement, one might say, using a military metaphor that Jünger himself employs when he writes:
“The incredible encirclement of man was prepared long ago by the theories that aim at giving a flawless logical explanation of the world and that march in lockstep with the development of technology.”
“The mysterious way goes towards the interior,” said Novalis. The Rebel is an emigrant to the interior, who seeks to preserve his freedom in the heart of the forests where “paths that go nowhere” intersect.
This refuge, however, is ambiguous, because this sanctuary of organic life not yet absorbed by the mechanization of the world, represents— to the precise extent that it constitutes a universe foreign to human norms—the “great house of death, the very seat of the destructive danger.” Hence the position of the Rebel can only be provisional.
The last Figure, whom Jünger calls the Anarch, first appeared in 1977 in Eumeswil,(8) a “postmodern” novel intended as a sequel to Heliopolis (9) and set in the third millennium. Venator, the hero, no longer needs to resort to the forest to remain untouched by the ambient nihilism. It is enough for him to have reached an elevation that allows him to observe everything from a distance without needing to move away. Typical in this respect is his attitude toward power.
Whereas the anarchist wants to abolish power, the Anarch is content to break all ties to it. The Anarch is not the enemy of power or authority, but he does not seek them, because he does not need them to become who he is. The Anarch is sovereign of himself—which amounts to saying that he shows the distance that exists between sovereignty, which does not require power, and power, which never confers sovereignty.
“The Anarch,” Jünger writes, “is not the partner of the monarch, but his antipode, the man that power cannot grasp but is also dangerous to it. He is not the adversary of the monarch, but his opposite.” A true chameleon, the Anarch adapts to all things, because nothing reaches him. He is in service of history while being beyond it. He lives in all times at once, present, past, and future. Having crossed “the wall of time,” he is in the position of the pole star, which remains fixed while the whole starry vault turns around it, the central axis or hub, the “center of the wheel where time is abolished.” Thus, he can watch over the “clearing” which represents the place and occasion for the return of the gods. From this, one can see, as Claude Lavaud writes regarding Heidegger, that salvation lies “in hanging back, rather than crossing over; in contemplation, not in calculation; in the commemorative piety that opens thought to the revealing and concealing that together are the essence of aletheia.”(10)
What distinguishes the Rebel from the Anarch, is thus the quality of their voluntary marginalization: horizontal withdrawal for the first, vertical withdrawal for the second. The Rebel needs to take refuge in the forest, because he is a man without power or sovereignty, and because it is only there that he retains the conditions of his freedom. The Anarch himself is also without power, but it is precisely because he is without power that he is sovereign. The Rebel is still in revolt, while the Anarch is beyond revolt. The Rebel carries on in secret—he hides in the shadows—while the Anarch remains in plain sight. Finally, whereas the Rebel is banished by society, the Anarch banishes himself. He is not excluded; he is emancipated.
* * *
The advent of the Rebel and Anarch relegated the memory of the Front Soldier to the background, but it did not end the reign of the Worker. Admittedly, Jünger changed his opinion of what we should expect, but the conviction that this Figure really dominates today’s world was never abandoned. The Worker, defined as the “chief Titan who traverses the scene of our time,” is really the son of the Earth, the child of Prometheus. He incarnates this “telluric” power of which modern technology is the instrument. He is also a metaphysical Figure, because modern technology is nothing other than the realized essence of a metaphysics that sets man up as the master of a world transformed into an object. And with man, the Worker maintains a dialectic of possession: the Worker possesses man to the very extent that man believes he possesses the world by identifying himself with the Worker.
However, to the precise extent that they are the representatives of the elementary and telluric powers, the Titans continue to carry a message whose meaning orders our existence. Jünger no longer regards them as allies, but neither does he regard them as enemies. As is his habit, Jünger is a seismograph: he has a presentiment that the reign of the Titans announces the return of the gods, and that nihilism is a necessary part of the passage towards the regeneration of the world. To finish with nihilism, we must live it to its end—“passing the line” which corresponds to the “meridian zero”—because, as Heidegger says, the technological framework (11) (Gestell) is still a mode of being, not merely of its oblivion. This is why, if Jünger sees the Worker as a danger, he also says that this danger can be our salvation, because it is by it and through it, that it will be possible to exhaust the danger.
* * *
It is easy to see what differentiates the two couples formed, on the one hand, by the Front Soldier and the Worker, and on the other, by the Rebel and the Anarch. But one would be wrong to conclude from this that the “second Jünger,” of On the Marble Cliffs, is the antithesis of the first. Rather, this “second Jünger” actually represents a development, which was given a free course, of an inclination present from the beginning but obscured by the work of the writer-soldier and the nationalist polemicist. In Jünger’s first books, as well as in Battle as Inner Experience (12) and Storm,(13) one actually sees, between the lines of the narrative, an undeniable tendency toward the vita contemplativa. From the beginning, Jünger expresses a yearning for meditative reflection that descriptions of combat or calls to action cannot mask. This yearning is particularly evident in the first version of The Adventurous Heart,(14) where one can read not only a concern for a certain literary poetry, but also a reflection—that one could describe as both mineral and crystalline—on the immutability of things and on that which, in the very heart of the present, raises us up to cosmic signs and a recognition of the infinite, thus nurturing the “stereoscopic vision” in which two flat images merge into a single image to reveal the dimension of depth.
There is thus no contradiction between the four Figures, but only a progressive deepening, a kind of increasingly fine sketch that led Jünger, initially an actor of his time, then a judge and critic of his time, to place himself finally above his time in order to testify to what came before his century and what will come after him.
In The Worker, one already reads: “The more we dedicate ourselves to change, the more we must be intimately persuaded that behind it hides a calm being.” Throughout his life, Jünger never ceased approaching this “calm being.” While passing from manifest action to apparent non-action—while going, one might say, from beings to Being— he achieved an existential progression that finally allowed him to occupy the place of the Anarch, the unmoving center, the “central point of the turning wheel” from which all movement proceeds.
APPENDIX: ON FIGURE AND TYPE15
In 1963, in his book entitled Type—Name—Figure,(16) Jünger writes: “Figure and Type are higher forms of vision. The conception of Figures confers a metaphysical power, the apprehension of Types an intellectual power.” We will reconsider this distinction between Figure and Type. But let us note immediately that Jünger connects the ability to distinguish them with a higher form of vision, i.e., with a vision that goes beyond immediate appearances to seek and identify archetypes.
Moreover, he implies that this higher form of vision merges with its object, i.e., with the Figure and the Type. Furthermore, he specifies: “The Type does not appear in nature, or the Figure in the universe. Both must be deciphered in the phenomena, like a force in its effects or a text in its characters.” Finally, he affirms that there exists a “typifying power of the universe,” which “seeks to pierce through the undifferentiated,” and which “acts directly on vision,” causing an “ineffable knowledge: intuition,” then conferring a name:
“The things do not bear a name, names are conferred upon them.”
This concern with transcending immediate appearances should not be misinterpreted. Jünger does not offer us a new version of the Platonic myth of the cave. He does not suggest seeking the traces of another world in this world. On the contrary, in The Worker, he already denounced “the dualism of the world and its systems.” Likewise, in his Paris Diaries,(17) he wrote: “The visible contains all the signs that lead to the invisible. And the existence of the latter must be demonstrable in the visible model.” Thus for Jünger, there is transcendence only in immanence. And when he intends to seek the “things that are behind things,” to use the expression he employs in his “Letter to the Man in the Moon,” it is while being convinced, like Novalis, that “the real is just as magical as the magical is real.”(18) One would also err gravely by comparing the Type to a “concept” and the Figure to an “idea.” “A Type,” Jünger writes, “is always stronger than an idea, even more so than a concept.” Indeed, the Type is apprehended by vision, i.e., as image, whereas the concept can be grasped only by thought. Thus to apprehend the Figure or the Type is not to leave the sensible world for some other world that constitutes its first cause, but to seek in the sensible world the invisible dimension that constitutes the “typifying power”: “We recognize individuals: the Type acts as the matrix of our vision. . . . That really shows that it is not so much the Type that we perceive but, in it and behind it, the power of the typifying source.”
The German word for Figure is Gestalt, which one generally translates as “form.”(19) The nuance is not unimportant, because it confirms that the Figure is anchored in the world of forms, i.e., in the sensible world, instead of being a Platonic idea, which would find in this world only its mediocre and deformed reflection. Goethe, in his time, was dismayed to learn that Schiller thought that his Ur-Plant (Urpflanze) (archetype) was an idea. The Figure is often misunderstood in the very same way, as Jünger himself emphasized. The Figure is on the side of vision as it is on the side of Being, which is consubstantial with the world. It is not on the side of verum, but of certum.
Let us now see what distinguishes the Figure and the Type. Compared to the Figure, which is more inclusive but also fuzzier, the Type is more limited. Its contours are relatively neat, which makes it a kind of intermediary between the phenomenon and the Figure: “It is,” says Jünger, “the model image of the phenomenon and the guarantor image of the Figure.” The Figure has a greater extension than the Type. It exceeds the Type, as the matrix that gives the form exceeds the form.
In addition, if the Type qualifies a group, the Figure tends rather to qualify a reign or an epoch. Different Types can coexist alongside each other in the same time and place, but there is room for only one Figure.
From this point of view, the relationship between the Figure and the Type is comparable to that of the One and the many. (This is why Jünger writes: “Monotheism can know, strictly speaking, only one Figure. That is why it demotes the gods to the rank of Types.”) That amounts to saying that the Figure is not only a more extensive Type, but that there is also a difference in nature between the Figure and the Type. The Figure can also give rise to Types, assigning them a mission and a meaning. Jünger gives the example of the ocean as an expanse distinct from all the specific seas: “The Ocean is formative of Types; it does not have a Type, it is a Figure.”
Can man set up a Figure like he does a Type? Jünger says that there is no single answer to this question, but nevertheless he tends to the negative. “The Figure,” he writes, “can be sustained, but not set up.” This means that the Figure can be neither conjured by words nor confined by thought. Whereas man can easily name Types, it is much more difficult to do anything with a Figure: “The risk is more significant, because one approaches the undifferentiated to a greater extent than in naming Types.” The Type depends on man, who adapts it by naming it, whereas the Figure cannot be made our own. “The naming of Types,” Jünger stresses, “depends on man taking possession. On the other hand, when a Figure is named, we are right to suppose that it first takes possession of man.” Man has no access to the “homeland of Figures”: “What is conceived as a Figure is already configured.”
Insofar as it is of the metaphysical order, a Figure appears suddenly. It gives man a sign, leaving him free to ignore or recognize it. But man cannot grasp it by intuition alone. To know or to recognize a Figure implies a more profound contact, comparable to the grasp of kinship. Jünger does not hesitate here to speak about “divination.” A Figure is unveiled, released from oblivion, in the Heideggerian sense—released from the deepest levels of the undifferentiated, says Jünger—by the presence of Being. But at the same time, as it reveals itself, as it rises to appearance and effective power, it “loses its essence”— like a god who chooses to incarnate himself in human form.
Only this “devaluation” of its ontological status makes it possible for man to know what connects him to a Figure that he cannot grasp by thought or by name. Thus the Figure is the “highest representation that man can make of the ineffable and its power.”
In light of the preceeding, can one say that the four Jüngerian Figures are really Figures and not Types? In all rigor, only the Worker fully answers the definition of a Figure insofar as he describes an epoch.
The Soldier, the Rebel, and the Anarch would instead be Types. Jünger writes that, for man, the ability to set up Types proceeds from a “magic power.” He also notes that nowadays this human aptitude is declining and suggests that we are seeing the rise of the undifferentiated, i.e., a “deterioration of Types,” the most visible sign that the old world is giving way to a new one, whose Types have not yet appeared and thus still cannot be named. “To manage to conceive new Types,” he writes, “the spirit must melt the old ones. . . . It is only in the glimmer of the dawn that the undifferentiated can receive new names.” This is why, in the end, he wants to be confident: “It is foreseeable that man will recover his aptitude to set up Types and will thus return to his supreme competence.”
1 Ernst Jünger, Der Arbeiter: Herrschaft und Gestalt [The Worker: Dominion and Figure ]
(Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, 1932).
2 The French is “arraisonne.” Here the verb arraisonner has the sense of “to enthrall,”
with the dual sense of “to capture” and “to captivate.” Later in this essay,
Benoist uses “arraisonnement” as equivalent to Heidegger’s “Gestell” or “Ge-stell,”
which is usually translated into English as “enframing.” According to Heidegger,
the Gestell is the view of the world as a stockpile (Bestand ) of resources for human
manipulation. Heidegger calls the Gestell the “essence” of technology, because it is
the worldview that makes modern technological civilization possible. See Martin
Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology,” trans. William Lovitt, in Martin
Heidegger, Basic Writings , ed. David Farrell Krell, 2nd ed. (New York: Harper,
3 Ernst Jünger, Der Waldgang [The Forest Path ] (Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann,
4 Ernst Jünger, Die totale Mobilmachung (Berlin: Verlag der Zeitkritik, 1931); English
translation: “Total Mobilization,” trans. Joel Golb and Richard Wolin, in Richard
Wolin, ed., The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader (New York: Columbia University
5 Ernst Jünger, Auf den Marmorklippen (Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt,
1939); English translation: On the Marble Cliffs: A Novel , trans. Stuart Hood (London:
John Lehman, 1947).
6 Friedrich Georg Jünger, Die Perfektion der Technik [The Perfection of Technology ]
(Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1946); English translation: The Failure of Technology:
Perfection Without Purpose, trans. F. D. Wieck (Hinsdale, Ill.: Henry Regnery,
7 “l’arraisonnement technicien” —TOQ.
8 Ernst Jünger, Eumeswil (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1977); English translation:
Eumeswil , trans. Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Marsilio, 1993).
9 Ernst Jünger, Heliopolis: Rückblick auf eine Stadt [Heliopolis: Review of a City ]
(Tübingen: Heliopolis, 1949)—TOQ.
10 “‘Жber die Linie’: Penser l’Рtre dans l’ombre du nihilisme” [“‘Over the Line’:
Thinking of Being in the Shadow of Nihilism”], in Les Carnets Ernst Jünger 1 (1996),
11 “l’arraisonnement” —TOQ.
12 Ernst Jünger, Der Kampf als inneres Erlebnis [Battle as Inner Experience ] (Berlin:
13 Ernst Jünger, Sturm [Storm ] (written 1923) (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett, 1978)—TOQ.
14 Ernst Jünger, Das Abenteuerliche Herz: Aufzeichnungen bei Tag und Nacht [The
Adventurous Heart: Sketches by Day and Night ] (Berlin: Frundsberg, 1929).
15 The following Appendix is section one of the original lecture, followed by the
last paragraph of section three—TOQ.
16 Ernst Jünger, Typus—Name—Gestalt (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett, 1963).
17 In Ernst Jünger, Strahlungen [Emanations ] (Tübingen: Heliopolis, 1949). In English:
The Paris Diaries: 1941 –1942 , trans. M. Hulse (London: Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
18 Ernst Jünger, “Sizilischer Brief an den Mann im Mond” [“Sicilian Letter to the
Man in the Moon”], in BlКtter und Steine [Leaves and Stones ] (Hamburg: Hanseatische
19 The first volume of Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West (1916) already bore
the subtitle: Gestalt und Wirklichkeit [Form and Reality ]. “Gestalt ,” writes Gilbert Merlio,
“is the Form of forms, what ‘informs’ reality in the manner of the Aristotelian
entelechy ; it is the morphological unity that one perceives beneath the diversity of
historical reality, the formative idea (or Urpflanze !) that gives it coherence and direction”
(“Les images du guerrier chez Ernst Jünger” [“The Images of the Warrior in
Ernst Jünger”], in DaniПle Beltran-Vidal, ed., Images d’Ernst Jünger [Images of Ernst Jünger], [Berne: Peter Lang, 1996], 35).
ACTION – Only the most rigorous and hard-hitting movement can overturn the wretched prevailing order. New Resistance calls on people of Action to resist the temptation of idleness and procrastination. On the Streets, in the Church, in the Labor Unions, in the Arts, and in the Schools!
Propaganda of the deed, and victory through victory. Tomorrow is built today!
SOCIALISM – New Resistance will win the fight for Public Ownership of the Mass Production Corporations through elected Worker-Shareholder Councils, and for Interest-Free Social Credit for the Entrepreneurs, Craftsmen, and Small Enterprises. We fight for a revolution in Labor and Management, and to Win to our Vision anyone of any class, towards an Organic Vanguard. The productive forces of modernity contain inherent contradictions, containing both the potential for further enslavement, or freedom for Europeans.
We strive towards a New Beginning, away from the alienating and disastrously flawed focus on Society as he political subject. New Resistance looks to the future, and to the past – only to find what is in the eternal and invincible present – in the heart, in the spirit – the Logos of Eurasia!
New Resistance understands that the proper subject is the people itself. A fresh and contemporary vision for Socialism is developed through a new Fourth Political Theory. In the traditions of both Spartacus and Julius Caesar; of the Communards and Blanquists; of the Pirate and the Adventurer; the Worker and the Soldier of Fortune – a new Populares; New Resistance is the sum total of the entire transformative human experience, the eternal return, and triumph of the myth.
New Resistance builds New Man – worker and soldier, builder and dreamer, lover and fighter, merciful and brutal.
Towards a Horizontal and Vertical, revolutionary organization of society, and publicly shared corporations; the totalizing unity of the sacred and secular.
LAOCRACY – New Resistance uniquely understands that it is the People – or Laos – who are the proper political subject. In a terminological bait-and-switch, a total fraud, has been perpetrated upon people, to believe in a lie called ‘Democracy’ as the rule by, for, and of the people. In European antiquity, this ‘Democracy’ was little more than Republican-Oligarchic rule of the landed citizenry. The proletarian struggle then, as now was for Laocracy. Only a people brought in Action for Socialism by total dedication, victory of the higher self, and infused with indomitable spirit, can win the fight for Socialism – A Laocracy!
– New Resistance Evropa supports the struggles of all indigenous peoples around the world in their right to self-determination.
Inter-continental stability, global co-habitation, peace, mutual respect, and self determination of peoples are among New Resistance Evropa’s key tenets. NR Evropa can only act within Europe and has no desire or need to interfere in the inner workings of other civilizational spheres.
Old Europeans are the indigenous people of Europe, and form the main cluster of genotypes of Armenoids, Alpines, Scytho-slavs, Nordics, and Afro-Semito-Mediterraneanoids, among others, which have informed European history, art, and culture for millennia.
In Europe’s long history of exchanges and intercourse with the world, there have been many individuals who have come to Europe from lands far and wide, brought beautiful things to Europe, vibrant productive endeavors, and new ideas both practical and philosophical.
These men, sometimes with family in tow, became Europeans and embraced the ultimate foundation of European identity – Christian humility and good works, Nordic Steadfastness, Greco-Roman and Levantine Statecraft, technical sciences, and humanities.
The Crisis of Capitalism, Imperialism, and the Two Colonialisms
The only constant is change, but as we enter past the realm of late modernity and into post-modernity, the technical and scientific capacity for mankind to intentionally construct and direct changes has been arrived at. And with these tools comes the potential of weaponization. If the people themselves are not disposed to employ these tools in a reasonable and safe way, we are left only at the mercy of those who possess them. Then, who possesses them, and how are they used?
It appears increasingly evident that these tools of sociology and social-psychology, of economics and political-economy, have been weaponized by a globalist, Atlanticist elite against the best interests of the people of Europe. Among their aims seems to be a desire to provoke a reaction of Europeans to justify yet another fratricidal war within Eurasia, with profound and horrific consequences upon the region of Eastasia and the continent of Africa as well.
NR Evropa rejects such manipulation of the reactionary sentiments, and exposes them outright for being so obviously constructed precisely towards that end.
It was Capitalism, growing out of Imperialism and Colonialism, the embracing of the Thalassocratic Leviathan, made from earth and water together – mud – this Golem, an aberration, came first to take control the Northern, Western-most parts of Europe.
A lie was told to these Europeans, a lie based in superiority, progress, and destiny – a lie which was effective because it contained elements of truth. Europe had been engaged in an internal discourse, and was becoming a superior version of its own self – more – it appeared destined to do so progressively. Improvement, innovation, understanding the mind of god, the workings of the universe and its physical properties, this hermetic quest, found successes. And hitherto, Europe had prospered for it.
The truth was transformed into lies, as all the best lies are based in truths. The first lie was that by understanding the mind of god, god had been ‘disproven’ and ‘killed’, the second lie, that Europeans were not only superior to their own prior iterations, but to all other people in the world whom they would encounter, and third, that this was their destiny – to replace god, to progress indefinitely and unchecked, and to create a single world order of hierarchy, of a Thalassocratic order, only apparently based in what appeared as Eurocentricity; and of conquest, of one people over others.
To make this ethnocentric conquest palpable, the old Christian and civilization-building trope, long abused and distorted into a condition of finally being more or less reviled by most on all sides – it was replaced towards the same goal under the new-found label of ‘Human Rights’, and Atlanticist conceptions of ‘democracy’.
The first victim of all this was the common European himself, the second victim was the Eastern European, the Slav. The Slavic realm became the ‘first’ of the ‘third world’, and it would take a resistance to this Thalassocratic slavery by way of a new Telluric Order.
But the concept of ‘victim’ and its framework within the master-slave dialectic were all hallmarks of modernity, and a defect in man’s understanding of any possible course of liberation from it.
These lies were only veils to cover a rising capitalist Atlanticism.
For coming centuries this would cause growing enmity and anti-European sentiments around the world, a ‘reverse racism’ or a mirrored reaction in thoughts and words, to the colonial-imperial system that Europeans were tricked into endeavoring. The Thalassocratic Leviathan, a golem made of land and water – and made of the land, but upon the water – extended the rule of the elites upon many corners of the world, in the name of Europeans.
And some better-to-do Europeans, in the narrow material and ephemeral sense, believed themselves to have benefited from this Atlanticist order, though in truth they did not. But most Europeans in any of these senses, did not.
And so here arose a contradiction, these global nomadic elites and their Thalassocratic Leviathan lured the Europeans using lies based on truths, flattery in the form of hierarchical racism and a sense of civilizational superiority, destiny, to become the foot soldiers in service of the Leviathan. The Europeans came to identify themselves with the Leviathan, and to identify the successes of the Leviathan golem as their own.
When this age came into bloom, the Thalassocratic Leviathan also came to be known as Liberalism. It championed a form of civilizational racism, chauvinism, but more critical even still, hyper-individualism and atomization of all spheres of life.
The New Resistance – Periphery to Core
But what arose in the periphery of the Thalassocratic Empire was a growing, and nearly successful, movement based in their own righteous self-determination on the one hand, and yet with a victimological, reverse racist ‘resentiment’, on the other.
While nominally this was based in a rejection of the Thalassoratic leviathan, it was for some time was still under the spell of the Leviathan’s own spell. And so the first generation of resistance took place within the language and discourse of the Leviathan itself. Therefor within this resistance contained a contradiction, one that ultimately will find negation.
In the course of this negation, the people of the world successfully manifested a Behemoth, summoned from the unseeable desert East of Eden, to fight the Leviathan.
First in the Slavic world the Behemoth would be summoned, that world which which before had been first to be enslaved by the Leviathan. Then, shortly after, in the Far East lands of Eastasia, and in Central and Southern Europe. These peoples summoned Behemoths and one might have supposed that these would join forces and go to combat the Leviathan. But they did not.
Instead, the Leviathan found success, dividing the powers of the Behemoth, using the substance it had also been created of, to infect the other. Both the behemoth and the leviathan are beasts, both arose in contradictions, and these contradictions will be negated.
The Leviathan succeeds, and now provokes the world enmity of the world’s sufferers against the first alleged victim of the Leviathan – the Europeans.
New Resistance Evropa as such opposes both the provocation and the provocateurs. European man has no mutual interest with the Atlanticist Leviathan, and in this sense finds common cause with legitimate anti-colonialists and anti-imperialists.
But to overcome this, is also to reject outright the entire framework of victimhood, for victimhood is the mentality of slavery that extends beyond the need for such a mentality, especially so when such a condition of slavery needs no longer to exist, and in fact is half destroyed when the spell is spoken to break it. To be a victim is to reify back into existence the condition of slavery. To reject victimhood is to go halfway to break the condition of slavery itself.
Liberalism and Victimhood – The Leviathan’s tools to Maintain Global Capitalism and to Destroy Europe
The answer to imperialism isn’t reverse-imperialism, the answer to racism isn’t reverse-racism, the answer to colonialism isn’t reverse-colonialism. All these reversals are victimological in nature and consequence.
The answers are – anti-imperialism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism. But only the destruction of the Capitalist, Atlanticist, Thalassocratic, Mercantile, Liberal, Individualist, Leviathan – a beast known by the mark of its many names – will achieve mankind’s harmony with his natural and holy self.
Hence, European man opposes the reverse-colonialist efforts of the Leviathan wherein, man again – this time man of Africa, Asia and Eastasia – is seduced again by the Leviathan, using once again the trickery of righteousness of mission. This time the righteousness is not the lie of superiority of culture, but of superiority by way of the right of the victim to retributive justice.
And so the magicians seeking to stoke inter-continental tensions do so by manipulating real injustices into a righteous mission, of ideologizing and creating ‘victim-culture’ cover for what are in fact multitudes of self-interested atomized individuals seduced by the false-European promise of material wealth and the ‘easier life’.
Instead, NR Evropa knows that these injustices are those which can be solved by the destruction of Atlanticism and its capitalism, modernity, liberalism, speculative economy and the like.
For the entire capitalist paradigm is that which is used to necessitate wars, investment speculation after conquest, and with those overturned, so too are these wars for speculation which are only, and falsely, being delivered as a clash of civilizations. A clash which does not need to exist and must not exist, and whose existence only benefits the very Atlanticist ruling elites themselves, who care not for Europe, because they can flee from castle to castle, anywhere in the world, with digital fiat accounts in place of gold, mercenary armies and armored caravans, secret flights and private jets.
There will be no justice until they are stopped. Europe’s enemies are not the hoards set upon them, but those Capitalists who have set those hoards upon them.
And what of the invading hordes?
All throughout time, among any people are those with a wandering spirit, a mercantile or intellectual endeavor, and from these spring reasons to travel and make a new homeland. These people know and have known that to do so successfully, they worked to ingratiate themselves with the indigenous local inhabitants, to participate in their societies along the terms previously established, and to gain acceptance, along a course of ultimate assimilation into that culture. This is the same story in any land, and among any people, Europe not an exception.
But never was there a policy in the history of Europe, which so-called European leaders themselves approved of, over the heads of Europeans themselves, that saw the programmatic displacement and replacement of populations of Europeans with other groups – until today.
On what grounds is this justified, ideologically, intellectually, morally, and culturally?
The development of Colonialism and imperialism beyond Europe’s traditional areas – from the Urals to the Atlantic, from the Baltic and North Seas to the Mediterranean and Northern Shores of Africa – once this moved beyond these realms, we saw a disastrous historical development.
This development created institutionalized racism which only modernity and secularism can produce, and a type of hierarchical organization of the various world’s peoples, ethnicities, and their cultures from ‘greatest’ to ‘poorest’, with the greatest having some civilizing right to lord over and ‘improve’ the poorest.
Within the rubric of modernity is the concept of the victim. And the victim in his course for justice is allowed somehow to violate the rights of others in their vigilant quest for retributive justice.
NR Evropa takes chiefly from the experience of Europe, understanding that all of modernity has been a disaster. The experience of the periphery, those subjected to imperialism and colonialism and their fight against it, is an invaluable and worthy experience to learn from and extol.
The 2nd Political Theory and the 3rd Political theory both suffer from the blemish of being contingent upon and within modernity, however, as these were adapted as the legitimating ideologies of the periphery against the Atlanticist core, and represent Telluric power of the behemoth against the leviathan, we can also understand that while in the apparent trappings of the 2nd and 3rd Political Theory, they rather instead point directly to, in fact pierce the otherwise hard to find outer layer of, the Fourth Political theory.