Saturday, 30 October 2010

Admit You're Shit

Guest Post by Morbid Symptoms

In considering the vexed question of possible fascist involvement in the mid-1980s anarcho-punk scene, one person in particular needs to be considered. John ‘Weeny’ Cato was the lead singer in AYS (or ‘Admit You’re Shit’) - a fairly obscure London-based band, but one highly-rated by scene insiders. He was also a close personal friend of arguably the most influential figure in London anarcho-punk at that time. Yet within a few years he was to become a prominent figure in some of the most notorious UK neo-Nazi circles. Is this case the smoking gun of attempted far right infiltration of anarcho-punk, or of an early effort at fascist Third Positionist led 'convergence' with historically non-fascist anti-establishment forces? Not quite, but it does pose some interesting questions.

John Cato is not your run of the mill punk who had a youthful flirtation with racism. By his own account, he is a life-long National Socialist. During the 1990s, he was a prominent ideologue in Combat 18, the wannabe paramilitary group blamed for violent attacks on its opponents before it imploded in a murderous feud. Cato's particular contribution was his apparent enthusiasm for the US Nazi William Pierce, whose ideas famously influenced Timothy McVeigh to murder 168 people in the 1995 Oaklahoma Bombing. Cato drew on Pierce's ideas in his writings for C18-linked publications, as summarized by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke:
"In The Order, the magazine named after the US terrorist group, editor John Cato paid fulsome tribute to its martyred leader, Robert Jay Mathews. It quoted Mathews's "declaration of war" against a "Jewish controlled mongrelized society, which is depriving White Aryans of their existence and homeland'...  In the pages of Putsch, Cato exults in Pierce's advocacy of individual acts of violence against blacks and Jews. After fleeing from Kent to Spalding in Lincolnshire, Cato started a new magazine, The Oak, which reprinted many of Pierce's articles. Paul Jeffries set up Life Rune Books in Leeds as the UK distributor for William Pierce's National Alliance. In June 1994 Cato and Jeffries formed the National Socialist Alliance as a federation of C18, several rebel BNSM sections with their magazines Sigrun and Europe Awake, and the Blood and Honour groups in a British version of Pierce's American organisation." [NGC]

But at the time The Order were launching their short lived race war in the US, including killing the Jewish radio presenter Alan Berg in 1984, Cato was hanging round squats in London with a load of punks, anarchists and animal liberationists. Just the kind of ‘race traitors’ who William Pierce’s fantasy warriors in his novel The Turner Diaries would wipe out without a second thought.

AYS formed in mid-1984, and played their first gig at the Metropolitan in Farringdon in October of that year. They split up later in 1986, having released the 7” EP Expect No Mercy (1985) and the 12" Someplace Special (1986). In 2004 Mortarhate re- released Someplace Special with six bonus tracks

Cato was apparently involved with the British Movement before being in the band. The BM’s membership was dominated by racist boneheads, famous for launching violent attacks at punk gigs, so it would have been quite a move from this to fronting a band playing just the kind of gigs that his former associates sought to disrupt. Nevertheless he now claims to have been a hardcore racist all along. In an interview published in 2006, Cato declared: ‘“Ask me if I’m racist now, and was I back then? And I’ll tell you, fucking right I am! And damn right I was back then too. Like I said I haven’t changed in  twenty years”.

If this is true, it was not something that seemed to feature in the band’s activities. At the time AYS were playing, there was a scene of explicitly racist punk bands like Skrewdriver playing White Noise / Rock Against Communism gigs for the converted. AYS steered clear of this and seemed to have played live exclusively on the anarcho-punk/squat gig circuit, in venues like the Ambulance Station on the Old Kent Road in London.

Equally the band's lyrics don't seem to reflect any particular extreme right-wing agenda. Their stance, like their hard and fast sound, seems to have been influenced by US hardcore bands.  Indeed their first EP included a cover of Minor Threat's In my Eyes, and Cato says that he was in touch with singer Ian MacKaye by phone, letter and occasionally in person during that period. There’s plenty of cynicism, nihilism and rage but very little in the way of explicit political comment in their output, as shown by their song titles - Expect No Mercy ('don't fuck with me'), Keep your mouth shut, You're just a jerk… AYS clearly didn’t buy into the predominant anarchist protest politics of the bands they played alongside, but neither did they seem to articulate an alternative political viewpoint.

In short, Cato doesn't seem to have used AYS as a platform tor spout fascist ideas, or to try and link up racist and anarcho-punk music scenes. If he did hold racist views at the time he seems to have kept them to himself, so it could be argued that they are immaterial to his involvement in punk.

With hindsight it is possible to find a few clues that could be taken as evidence of fascist sympathies. Most obvious is the fact that on the sleeve of the band's debut EP, Expect No Mercy - If You Cross Your Real Friends (1985) on Mortarhate, there is a cross in a circle symbol. The Celtic Cross is not an exclusively fascist symbol, but it was the main symbol of the British Movement. But many people who came across Cato at the time, such as bands who played with AYS, seem to have been both unaware of any dubious leanings and horrified by his later development (see for instance comments by Nic from Napalm Death at Kill Your Pet Puppy). I saw AYS play myself and went to lots of anarcho-punk gigs, but never heard a whisper about Cato and Fascism.

It is of course possible that Cato has exaggerated the consistency of his views over his lifetime. After all if it is embarrassing for anarchists to admit that they had a Nazi in their midst, it is equally embarrassing for a figure like Cato to admit to hanging around with a bunch of vegan pacifists. A charitable interpretation might be that after a teenage involvement with the British Movement (which fell apart in 1983), Cato moved away from the far right before re-engaging with them in the early 1990s.

If Cato did hold extreme right views at the time, it certainly wasn't widely known, but then again it is hard to believe that it would not have been known to those closest to him, such as band-mates and personal friends. Which brings us on to Colin Jerwood, lead singer with Conflict. Following the demise of Crass, Conflict were by far the biggest of the anarcho-punk bands in the London area. They were also responsible for Mortarhate Records, which released material by many of the other punk bands in that scene, including AYS. And by all accounts, Cato and Jerwood were very close at this time and shared a flat at some point. According to Cato: "I have probably been closer to Colin, friend-wise, than I have been to anyone else, whether it was twenty years ago or not. And even further still, when Colin used to tell everyone we were brothers, I don't recall a single person not believing it".

It is actually not that surprising that Colin, or indeed many other working class punks in that period, would have personally known people who had been involved with the far right. According to Mark Wallis from Liberty (another SE London anarcho-punk band) "In the early days, Colin was an anarchist living on an estate in Eltham [the Coldharbour estate] with John and Paco, surrounded by NF skinheads". In those days, different punk factions were polarised with anarchists at one end and the White Noise bands like Skrewdriver at the other. In the middle were a whole lot of punk bands, such as those associated with the Oi scene, which featured people with a wide range of political positions.  All of these were rooted in predominately white working class youth scenes disaffected from the mainstream.

So even the most anti-fascist of punks might well have gone to school, lived on estates, drunk in the same pubs, or even played in bands with people who either had been, were, or went on to become involved with the far right. This doesn’t mean there was any sense of mutual tolerance – as people got more politically involved, violent conflicts could erupt. Indeed Conflict earned a reputation as a band prepared to deal very forcibly with fascists who turned up at gigs, and indeed to take the fight to them outside of gigs.

For instance, Ian Glasper’s book includes an account of Jerwood physically standing up to fascists at the seminal 1982 anarcho-punk gig at the Zig Zag squat in Westbourne Park, where Crass, The Mob and other bands played. According to Andy Martin from The Apostles, who also played that day, a group of right wing skinheads turned up with the result that; "this Asian lad – he was probably the only audience member not of white Caucasian origin – was being brutally kicked and punched by all these fascist thugs… that’s right five onto one. And what were the other members of the 500-strong audience doing while this was happening? They had formed a wide circle around the scene and watched in play out… that’s right, these anarchist pacifist rat-bags stood and watched five fascists beat up a 15-year-old Asian boy… In case you’re wondering what happened next, yes, we did surge forward to come to the lad’s aid, but before we could involve ourselves, both Penny and Andy (yes, from Crass) had jumped between us and grabbed the two biggest skinheads, and shoved them to one side of the hall. Colin Jerwood of Conflict confronted the others with less reasonable force, and threatened to put them all in hospital. Those three fascists virtually wet their knickers at the prospect".

Still, not everyone followed the advice of The Specials, in their 1984 single, that "if you have a racist friend, now is the time for your friendship to end". Perhap Jerwood believed that at this time Cato was moving away from his former mates in the British Movement – if not, you would certainly have to wonder why he actively promoted his musical efforts with AYS. More curious is why, according to accounts at the Collective Zine forum, Cato was spotted hanging out at a Conflict gig after he was publically exposed as a Nazi (he was on the front cover of Searchlight magazine in October 1994, Conflict reformed in 2000). And why did Mortarhate release a CD of old AYS material as recently as 2005? OK, so the music wasn’t fascist, but putting out the CD would presumably have involved some co-operation with Cato.

Morbid Symptoms

All quotes (except Goodrick-Clarke) are  from  Ian Glasper, 2006, The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho-Punk 1980-10984, Cherry Red Books, London; an exhaustive overview of the many bands in that scene which includes an interview with Cato. Glasper does state that he finds Cato’s politics ‘repugnant’ but he gives him a remarkably easy ride in the interview, allowing him to state that his "racism is rooted in love – of my own kind – and not in hatred on anyone else" and that "National Socialism, is borne of positive and profound ideals". Cato may be telling the truth that he had never personally participated in a racist attack, but a cursory glance over his record shows that he certainly wasn’t pushing peace and love with Combat 18!

NGC: Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, 2002, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity, New York University Press, NY.

In the discussion at ‘Kill Your Pet Puppy’, ‘Chris’ states: "Strange John Cato’s membership of the BM (BNP didn’t formally exist at the time AYS were going) wasn’t better known. He didn’t exactly hide it, In fact Andy Martin ‘commended’ him on this on one of the Apostles EP covers at the time this stating that however loathsome his views he had more respect for him admitting to it than the supine anarcho punk wankers who just ignored like a flatulent grandparent at a Christmas dinner". I have been unable to find this Apostles reference.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Just Say Non: Nazism, Narcissism and Boyd Rice

"Boyd's rather unimaginative sadism used to embarrass me, but then he explained it using words like 'Weltanshauung'"
Lisa Crystal-Carver, Drugs are Nice [LC, p215]

I last saw Boyd Rice play (as 'Non') back in August 1981, alongside Throbbing Gristle (TG), Z'ev, Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA as part of the 'Industrial Night Out' at the Lyceum, London, which brought together the big cheeses of Industrial Music in what was to be something of a coming out party for the scene but turned out also to be its swansong (it was TG's last UK concert; they broke up a few months later). At the time Rice presented himself as a Dadaist and prankster though his aesthetic was actually closer to the sub-Futurist 'instant karma for kids' noise-racket that Merzbow has since successfully appropriated and turned into a brand / 'racket' of his own. While TG boasted of making music from ugly noise, Rice tried to outflank them by serving up the ugliness directly, unfiltered by any obvious concern for form. In fairness Boyd Rice could be said to be among the key players of early Industrial Music, and as a result he perhaps has a shade more kudos than some of the complete musical non-entities we're generally concerned with around here (Wakeford, Pearce, Moynihan, et al). Rice has declared his Fascism in a number of statements, in his art, and through public actions such as appearing in full Fascist regalia and holding a dagger in a photograph alongside Bob Heick, taken in 1989 to promote the latter's organisation, the neo-Nazi skinhead party, American Front. He has also appeared on White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger's cable TV show Race and Reason, where he declared that his friends in Current 93 and Death in June were promoting a 'racialist' agenda and emphasised the importance of Industrial and Neo-Folk music for building the 'Aryan youth movement'.

Since the 80s Rice has continued to release records as well as dabbling ineptly in other media (photography, painting) and playing a leading role in the Church of Satan (he has recently been installed as its leader and 'High Priest') as well as getting involved with Grail mythology, Tiki culture, alcoholism and various other similarly moronic pastimes. Along the way he's written essays and articles outlining his evolving concerns and hobbies for a string of publications, which are collected here along with some previously unpublished writings in the book Standing in Two Circles: The Collected Works of Boyd Rice, edited by Michael Clark and published in 2008 by Creation Books. This collection offers an opportunity to pin down the peculiarly slippery Rice; 'slippery' because his defenders claim that he sets out essentially to 'provoke', which lends him a degree of insulation from the charges of Fascism that would be trivially obvious in any other context. The way this works is that Rice can openly declaim and publish Fascist and racist ideas, and yet confused fans and commentators - who have bought into the mistaken idea that provocation in and of itself is the ne plus ultra of artistic radicalism - still refuse to accept that by buying his records and attending his gigs they are financing a Fascist propagandist since, after all, he is 'merely' trying to provoke. Perhaps these people are by now so utterly stupefied that they're just grateful to anyone who can still manage to wring a response out of them - even if it's by promoting ideas that threaten themselves and everyone they know. This was brought home to me earlier this year when a photographer friend attended Rice's gig in New York to record it for a local paper. Despite the fact that this person has a background as an anti-Fascist, having watched an entire evening of Rice dressed in Fascist military gear, surrounded on stage by Sieg Heil'ing Nazi goons while projecting images of the Swastika and Wolfsangel (the SS symbol Rice used for years as his logo) and reading selections from racist, Social Darwinist tracts, and with the support groups being open White Suprematists, the best he could come up with at the end was that Boyd might perhaps be "a little dodgy". I mean, what does a Fascist have to do these days to get the recognition they deserve?

One reason that Rice's ideology is difficult to get to grips with is that he is patently stupid, meaning that people are loath to take him seriously in case it reflects poorly on their sense of humour or proportion. But that is to miss the fact that condescending to Rice's idiocy by not taking him seriously also makes it easier for him to sell his ideas. While Fascist ideology is by its very nature irrational and essentially incoherent - it doesn't seek to understand the social world in order to place it under collective human control but rather to justify post hoc the Fascist's pre-existing drive to annihilate large parts of society in the name of racial and spiritual 'purity' - this is made worse in Rice's case due to his inability to grapple in even the slightest way with history, politics or anything else requiring a modicum of intellectual focus. His arguments are confused and contradictory, and on top of this he shares the Fascist-occult regard for portents and symbols, for 'mysterious forces', innate biological imperatives, occult machinations and Chthonic powers as the determinants of history, which means that his thought necessarily has the chaotic, cobbled-together quality of childhood obsessions and superstitions.

Despite the fact that there is very little logic or sense in his thought there is nevertheless another kind of coherence at work to the extent that his obsessions cohere with those of his comrades, overlapping neatly with those of the other players in the Fascist-occult 'Apoliteic' counter-culture. Their ideas may well be an incoherent mess when considered purely as ideas, but they share them in common in practical terms as they thrust their hands into the lucky-dip bowl of Fascist esoteric idiocy to pluck out those notions they like they sound of and dole them out among their peers. So it's no surprise that in these essays Rice touches on many of the core themes that tie him to the likes of Michael Moynihan, Doug Pearce and other musicians he has collaborated with over the years (both Moynihan and Pearce provide blurb texts promoting the book; Pearce even providing a rare dash of humour when he salutes Rice as an "inspirational genius"). These people may be in different stages of denial or employing different degrees of deception when it comes to admitting their Fascist allegiances, but they all draw from the same pool of half-baked atavistic notions and gladly share what they find, disagreeing only in points of detail (and then largely only on the basis of minor variations in taste or as a matter of mutual brand positioning). Among Fascist ideologues ideas are essentially fuel for the creation of a mobilising myth, so coherence doesn't matter that much. But while it is impossible to take Boyd Rice seriously as a man or a thinker it would be irresponsible not to register the threat his ideas represent.

Balding alcoholic Boyd Rice
(Photo by Brian Clark)
A good place to start into this mess of a book is Michael Clark's 'Introduction', which runs through a few of the set-piece arguments the Fascists and their supporters use in their defence. First up is Clark's defence of Rice's use of Fascist motifs;
"To conform to the edicts of contemporary Western social mores one must totally accept or reject controversial taboo subjects... In considering the issue of Nazism, for example, there can be no grey area, no possibility whatsoever that certain facets of such a subject might hold a kernel of merit or glimmer or redemptive worth... The use of Fascistic or Nazi aesthetics and symbolism is resolutely - aggressively - forbidden in all but the most comedic of contexts, while... the Hammer and the Sickle and The Red Star are so ubiquitous as to verge on countercultural corporate branding... Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini are unilaterally and universally anathematised, while their despotic Communist counterparts Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung and regularly given a pass - despite the fact that the latter wrested exponentially more human life from the planet than did the former." [38]
The first thing to note about this is that it skirts the fact that Rice not only uses Fascist 'aesthetics and symbolism' but promotes Fascism itself (in the very book Clark is introducing, for example): Clark presumably hopes that the reader is as stupid as his author and won't notice his equivocation. More importantly, this line of argument exemplifies one of the defining characteristics of the book as a whole since it remains trapped entirely within the framework of a bourgeois thought. To put it bluntly, Rice and his friends repeatedly accept a liberal perception of the world and then simply reverse its particular judgements (Fascism is taboo <-> Fascism is grand). This does not allow the individual to escape bourgeois thought in the way that is promised to the consumer, but rather keeps them entirely within its clutches, albeit perhaps looking a little racier now they sport Totenkopf patches and worship Satan.

Stalinism did indeed pile up the bodies of its victims, slaughtering millions on the road to conquering and then consolidating its social power. But Stalinism and Fascism do not represent political antitheses in the way that both Clark and Fascist thought like to pretend. They are simply different forms of rule peculiar to different stages and conditions of capitalism. Both Stalinism and Fascism murdered Jews, homosexuals, national minorities,'revisionists' and backsliders, trade unionists and socialists. The difference is that Stalinism in both Russia and China did so as part of a process of primitive (state-) capitalist accumulation similar to that by which Britain, for example, achieved much the same ends at a corresponding stage of development through, eg., the slave trade and Highland Clearances (though Stalinism appears bloodier because it compressed the same phase of development into a far shorter period of time). This does not justify Stalinist violence in any way, but it begins to explain it. Fascism serves a different end and achieves it differently. It is essentially a form of emergency rule at a time of extraordinary capitalist crisis in which the working class is terrorised into submission by unleashing waves of destructive violence against any and all perceived enemies of the state, internal and external. Fascism has its ideological dimensions, of course, but in practice they are ultimately subordinate to its self-appointed task of integrating and stabilising capitalist society at times of danger to the state by liquidating it's enemies, both real (the class conscious working class) and imagined (any and all impure and degenerate elements as defined by whatever myth or prejudice inspires the particular strand of Fascism under consideration and mobilises the masses behind it). This is done in order to create an 'organic' / integral society where all the parts are subordinated to the social totality, existing only to serve it.

All of this is opaque to Clark, who talks instead like a consumer in the shopping mall of history, choosing between competing brands of totalitarianism on the basis of which is less fattening for his notional conscience. He wants to pile up the bodies and count them rather than understand the ideas that coordinated their destruction. Instead of considering the politics of Rice's Fascism he likes to present Rice simply as someone 'brave' enough to challenge the 'taboo' against Fascism, as if he might shake bourgeois society to its core merely by invoking the negative theology it shrouds itself in. But this taboo is, after all, only the socially constructed fetish of a particular epoch and doesn't mean that crisis-ridden capitalism won't reach toward Fascism again in future (there are faint indications of this already in Europe). And this turn will be made easier to the extent that ideologues and propagandists, even feeble ones like Boyd Rice, have helped clear the route back to Fascism by normalising it's anti-democratic, mythic values.

A similar logic is apparent in Clark's defence of Satanism;
"The Church of Satan is often dismissed outright as illegitimate by practitioners of more established belief systems... it's difficult to deny that conventional organised religion has been responsible for scores of large scale wars, genocides, inquisitions, witch hunts, crusades and other varieties of human strife over the centuries, but one would be hard pressed to find so much as a single example of a major conflict undertaken in the name of Satan." [39]
Once again, the ignorance of basic historical processes (if it isn't entirely feigned) is astonishing. Does he really imagine that the Crusades were simply an expression of Christian values, as opposed to social and political struggles for which the language of religion served merely as a smokescreen and ideology? Clark takes religious ideology at its own word and assigns to it a primordial power over events, as if religion created man rather than the other way about. Worse than this, in treating Satanism as merely an abstract negation of Christianity he ignores the positive content that modern Satanism has developed, which is rooted in racist and proto-Fascist ideas. Modern Satanism begins with the work of Howard Stanton Levey (aka Anton LaVey) and his Church of Satan. As is well known, the key text of his church, The Satanic Bible, which has influenced all of the main Satanist cults since, plagiarises the 19th Century Social Darwinist tract Might is Right, by Arthur Desmond (aka Ragnar Redbeard), a work brimming with violent anti-Semitism and racism. Partly as a result of LaVey's promotion of it, Desmond's book has become a favourite of modern racists, right-wing Libertarians and Fascists, and was even republished by 14 Words Press, the company founded by David Lane, the notorious Klan member who also helped lead the armed Fascist group, The Order, and who died in prison after being convicted of conspiring in the murder of Denver Radio talk show host (and Jewish anti-Fascist) Alan Berg. Entire sections of Might is Right are simply transferred wholesale into Levey's Bible. If Satanism has not yet proved as practically malevolent as Christianity in Clark's estimation it is certainly not for the want of effort on the part of those who have taken the core of Levey's teaching to its logical conclusion, such as Lane and, eg., the members of The Order of Nine Angles and other Nazi-Satanic cults.

As a collection of occasional pieces it's hard to get to grips with Rice's book as a whole. Large parts of it document his obsession with all kinds of ephemera: over the course of the book he discusses things such as novelty soaps, The Lawrence Whelk Retirement Home and Museum, bumper stickers and campaign ribbons, Disneyland, Tiny Tim, 'Leave it to Beaver', Martin Denny and Tiki bars, Mondo films, bubblegum pop and similar avowedly lightweight culture. I've heard it argued that Rice's love of trivia shows that he can't really be a Fascist since he clearly doesn't take anything that seriously (whereas Fascists are presumably permanently dour, focussed solely on their destiny and the tasks of history). But that is to seriously overestimate the Fascist mind which, in reality, feels quite at home with the banal, the kitsch and the maudlin. Rice's debunking attitude is represented as a levelling, critical iconoclasm, but in fact it expresses a much more systematic and thoroughgoing narcissism and cynicism which ultimately sees everything (other than his own übermensch ego) as essentially worthless. This conception perhaps represents the point at which Fascist narcissism blends into post-modern affectlessness. For the Fascist the social world (as opposed to nature) really is a meaningless pit. In Boyd Rice's mind a bar of novelty soap might well be the perfect symbol of the supposed vacuity of existence. The twist in his case is only that he revels in this vacuousness; "it is my view that the best way to inoculate oneself against the prevailing dystopia is to simply decide to love it" [144]. Boyd celebrates the trivial because, as Terry Eagleton put it, "Nihilists and buffoons are allergic to the slightest hint of significance" [TE, 87].

In 'Burning the Ice' (1989) Rice recalls "one of the pivotal episodes of my youth", in which he watches through a picture window as an anonymous man within irons his shirt then makes himself a sandwich and packs his lunch before setting off in his car for work. "I was horrified", says Rice [56]. This experience leads him into a life of desperate opposition to conventional morality, which expresses itself through his stealing money from purses he finds in the cloakroom at parties and breaking into his neighbour's flats through open windows in order to have a sniff around. Terrifying stuff. In 'Sin in the Suburbs' (1994) Rice details his early sexual experiences, including an unintentionally hilarious story about how he was told as a youngster that every time he masturbated he was destroying the millions of potential souls contained in his sperm. This naturally led him to embark on a prolonged course of intense wanking. The image of the red-faced Rice furiously pulling on his cock while fantasising impotently about annihilating non-existent Christian souls seems somehow a fitting tribute to the man and his career.

Things start to take a more genuinely sinister turn when, as the next stage in the planned development of his psychopathy, he decides to stalk a waitress from a local restaurant. He follows her around to learn about her daily movements and then engineers a 'chance' meeting with her on her way home from work. This leads to a date after which, back at the woman's flat, he talks her into letting him tie her up for some S&M fun. Once she is bound he goes into the kitchen to fetch a carving knife then convinces the woman that he is going to cut her open. He then suddenly departs, leaving his victim terrified. Such violent misogyny would become a staple of Rice's life. In 1994's 'Revolt Against Penis Envy' (notice the acronym) he works himself up into a fever of hatred and contempt for women;
"At one time all was right with the world. It was lorded over by men who imposed their will by force. Women kept their mouths shut, underlings knew their place... In a once glorious past, woman was a creature without rights; a second class citizen... She was part cook, part whore, part servant and all child... Woman must be put in her place... These days the only way to restore balance between the sexes is by fear and pain... Rape is the act by which fear and pain are united in love... Now is the time to subjugate. Now is the time to dominate. Now is the time to rape. Let the RAPE commence. Go forth! Rise up! Rape, rape, rape!" [81-83]
Clearly this was written as a provocation and, according to the reasoning usually applied to Rice, can't be taken entirely seriously. But why not? If the ideas conform to his practice we can assume that for all that these opinions are expressed so as to 'provoke', they nevertheless also represent his thinking. In her book, Drugs are Nice, Lisa Crystal Carver (aka Lisa Suckdog) details the long-term mental and physical abuse she suffered as Rice's partner and the mother of their child, leading to a brutal attack which saw her badly injured and Rice imprisoned ("Boyd strangled me and threw me against walls and bashed my head against the futon frame, [finally he] released his hands from my neck and stood up, dazed, like a big, stupid oaf and smacked his lips with the satisfaction of having given in to impulse" [LC, 309]).

Other parts of Rice's book concern individuals who have become icons for the Fascist counter-culture; Anton LaVey, Savitri Devi and Charles Manson. In 'I'll Call You Abraxas' (1994) Rice details his various meetings and interviews with Manson. Indeed, Manson gave this book it's title, having said to Rice, "I'll call you Abraxas, because you stand in two circles at once" [100] (Abraxas being a Gnostic deity which Rice believes, after Jung, is "the ultimate archetype", being beyond all dualities - and therefore 'beyond good and evil'). Rice claims to have been a fan of Manson since his teenage years. He also claims that it was him who took Throbbing Gristle out to Manson's old base at Spahn Ranch to have the photographs taken which appeared in Re:Search's early feature on TG, and which cemented the association between them and Manson. Naturally, Manson is a hero to Rice, and a font of tremendous wisdom;
"... he seemed to be an expert in many things... He knew about ancient history and current history, and the forces that shaped both. He seemed to posses a comprehensive overview of the history of the whole world; not just the events as they are presented, but all the unseen factors that preceded and resulted from those events." [97]
Even Rice cannot fail to notice that Manson is a fantasist (at one point he tells Rice that his supporters have hijacked a fleet of nuclear submarines and are holding the leaders of the world to ransom while negotiating his release). He also notices the disparity between Manson's supposed omniscience and the fact that, apart from anything else, he is by normal standards a hopeless loser. But that only leads Rice to conclude that Manson is "a far more complex and multi-faceted character than even I'd imagined" [100]. What binds Rice and Manson together is a titanic narcissism which leads them to take for granted their own effortless superiority to the general run of worthless mankind (an impression which strikes me as incredible, given the poverty of the human material in question). Rice certainly approves of Manson's violent misanthropy, which mirrors the attitude expressed in LaVey's Satanic Bible and Redbeard's Might is Right. At one point Rice encourages Manson to attempt to get people to understand his point of view, to which Manson responds;
"People? Understand? People don't understand a fucking thing. They have lower awareness than turds. If this table were the world, and it was covered with turds representing humans, and you exercised complete control over them... You could move the turds from here to there... and it wouldn't make a bit of difference. Not one bit. They have no souls. No intelligence. You could flush three fourths of them down the toilet and the planet would never miss them." [99]
"When the person finally comes along to restore the balance in this world... There will be more blood, more death, more destruction and more suffering than there has been in the history of life on Earth. And I don't say that just because it's what all the worthless fuckers out there deserve... but because that is what will be necessary." [99]
A love of Manson's systematic misanthropy ties Rice squarely to James Mason and The Universal Order, a Nazi group dedicated to promoting Manson as a Fascist icon. Mason's book, Siege, celebrates Manson's vicious alienation and was published by Rice's friend and collaborator Michael Moynihan (and discussed in a earlier post). In the early nineties Rice appeared alongside Mason and Moynihan on radio evangelist Bob Larson's show, during which Moynihan and Rice not only defended Manson but even taunted the mother of Sharon Tate (one of the victims of the Manson Family's killing spree), who had called in to protest. Mason famously has even defended the murder of Tate's unborn baby, saying that "it was, after all, a Jew" [JM, 328].

Rice also has essays here on Anton LaVey and Savitri Devi. Both are important figures in the Fascist-occult underground; LaVey as the fantasist who founded The Church of Satan, and Devi as an obscurantist who tried to combine Fascism with ideas drawn from Vedic culture, arguing that Hinduism is the nearest thing we have today to the Pagan religion of the original Aryans. In her book The Lightning and the Sun she argues that Hitler is 'Kalik', an incarnation of Vishnu destined, according to the Vedas, to end the current cycle of world history and initiate a new age (she was clearly wrong about that, but that doesn't bother her followers). Devi was also an active Fascist, imprisoned by Allied Forces in 1949 for spreading Nazi propaganda in post-War Germany. Her work has been praised by such conspicuously un-diverse figures as repeat-offending aspirant British Führer Colin Jordan, James Mason, and 'Squeaky' Fromme from the Manson Family. As it happens Rice has little of interest to say about either LaVey or Devi, except inasmuch as he gives away aspects of his own mindset. Apart from celebrating LaVey's misanthropy ("He would often speak at great length (and in great detail) of unspeakable acts of cruelty and violence" [133]) he is also impressed because LaVey normally "only deals with millionaires and movie stars" [ 131]. In Devi's case he notes that "she tested as having genius level IQ" [152]. Reified wealth, celebrity and intelligence are all equally attractive to Rice's banal mind.

A number of essays in the book deal with the weighty matter of Rice's 'philosophy' and world-view. In them he touches on ideas that are common currency among his Fascist peers. Rice's 'big' idea, which he returns to over and again, consists of a reactionary-romantic elevation of nature over culture. It is not so much that his view is reductive (in which case culture would be a mere epiphenomenon of nature); he sees everything that is specifically human as an unnatural and arbitrary excrescence on top of nature. His train of thought starts with an idea he quotes from the German naturalist and artist (and Social Darwinist racist) Ernst Haeckel; "Man is not above nature, but in nature" [89]. As far as it goes, this is true. The problem is that Rice's rigidly mechanical mind cannot grasp the thought dialectically, so he draws the mistaken conclusion that "man is synonymous with nature" [65]. But this is a very different argument, and it leads to the conclusion that that part of man which is not strictly natural is abstract to the point of unreality. This is clearly a self-cancelling and redundant philosophy: to see this you need only ask yourself why somebody who believes that nature is everything, and ideas are airless distractions, would bother publishing a book at all. The point is that man, while wholly part of nature, is at the same time distinguished from it by culture, and that this culture is every bit as real and effective as nature.

To see what this implies, consider the next stage of Rice's argument, which involves pointing out that nature has no sense of right and wrong, good or bad; "Nature, unlike man, is utterly indifferent to subjective judgements such as 'good' and 'bad'" [142]. The obvious response is to point out that the converse is equally true - that man, unlike nature, simply is not indifferent to subjective judgements. If that were not true then Rice would have nothing to rant about, and his attempts to persuade you of anything at all would be pointless. In fact, the distinction between nature and culture which Rice's entire 'philosophy' turns on is itself cultural and unnatural (but nonetheless real). It is culture that generates the dialectical distinction between ourselves and the nature that is the 'other' we transform in production: Rice's mistake is to reify this distinction and make it absolute, rather than relative.

Rice claims that "Nature adheres to an immutable order" [63], but in fact nature is very much mutable and has a substantial history of its own. One thing we know with absolute certainty is that nature at some point gave rise to culture. This mechanical idea of an unchanging nature is also at the root of traditional religious metaphysics. If nature was immutable then you might ask; where did humans and their culture - where did 'spirit' - suddenly arise from? The traditional answer is that God breathed spirit into matter as part of his creation, and yet this spirit is still separate from matter and exists in its own right, being 'unnatural'. In this way the crude materialism Rice advocates inevitably gives rise to religiosity and occultism ('spiritualism'), as it does with Rice himself: his book is littered with tales of ghosts (autonomous 'spirits'), uncanny happenings, mysterious portents and other such occult banalities: stupid materialism (mechanical and biological determinism) and stupid spirituality (occultism) are conjoined twins.

While Rice's explanation of his ontology and 'spirituality' are a nothing more than jumble of 19th Century solecisms, they nevertheless form the basis for the further development of his boneheaded narcissistic resentment. Having separated nature and culture his next trick is to argue that nature itself knows nothing of equality or human rights;
"In truth, the concept of natural equality is not natural at all - and in fact contradicts every dictate of nature." [63]

"Nature adheres to an immutable order; humanity to an ever increasing chaos. Nature recognises no equality at any level of its order; humanity preaches an all-pervasive equality and freely hands out unearned 'rights'... In short: humanity is Democratic, nature is Fascist." [63]
This naturally allows him to launch into a series of bitter tirades against 'inferiors' of every kind, who he believes have no rights and should expect no mercy, since talk of 'rights', 'equality' and so on is rooted in the unreality of culture and out of step with natural law. In an act of extraordinary special pleading he argues that the intellect is nothing to be proud of anyway, and not to be taken seriously because it is out of kilter with 'reality'. Instead he argues that man should rely on instinct alone;
"Man follows his intellect, employing logic and reason, and yet in so doing he betrays his most primal, basic desires." [88]

"Man's instincts will always and forever reflect the will of the natural order. Conversely, man's intellect has become divorced from the hard realities of life on earth, having instead become lost in a nebulous realm of ideas, theories, beliefs and opinions, which largely have no basis in tangible fact. Unless man's intellect comes to reflect his instinctual, soul-oriented values it will always place him at odds with himself." [61]
His trick here is to try to divide the human being schematically in two, one part (ideas and values) corresponding to culture, the other (instincts) corresponding to nature. Once again he makes absolute what is in reality only a relative distinction. Of course some human responses are more deeply wired into the physical, biological and genetic 'nature' of man than others, but certainly the 'instincts' that Boyd is covertly trying to justify (racism, misogyny, etc.) are in fact very much cultural products, as can be seen by anyone who spends any time at all considering their long development and the way that different societies have taken different attitudes towards them.

Morality too has nothing to do with nature in Rice's estimation, and so he's against it and wants you to slough it off. He believes that "a true understanding of natural law would render conventional morality obsolete." [87]. What Rice advocates is an eternal feeding frenzy in which the strong annihilate the weak in a totally amoral struggle for domination, for "higher men disdain the lives of the weak and cowardly - slave types" [61]. You might call this 'unprogrammatic Fascism', as he doesn't believe that things could ever be otherwise and criticises his Nazi heroes because they "still harboured the naively romantic dream that they could somehow turn the tide around" [141]. So that is Rice's philosophy in a nutshell: Fascism without its noble ideals (like the old joke about Hitler returning to Earth and declaring "this time - no more Mr. Nice Guy").

The only remaining thing to say about Rice's cod-philosophy is how neatly it mirrors that of his hard-core Nazi friend James Mason. Both fetishise extreme alienation and violent misanthropy: Mason's Universal Order has adopted Manson as the ideal Nazi icon because of a combination of this and the fact that he has counter-cultural clout. Both believe that that the process of social 'degeneration'  (from a fascist point of view: multiculturalism, democracy, etc.) is so advanced that they will support any and all violence against it. Both prioritise 'instinct' (their prejudice) over reason. And both, in different ways, are finding an audience.

This utterly stupid and offensive book should be warning enough that Boyd Rice is not a prankster and certainly not someone who should be lauded for 'pushing the envelope', but rather a Nazi who uses the cover provided by slack-jawed concepts of what constitutes radical art in order to promote - and create a focus for - the violence and hatred of a small but growing section of the Fascist movement internationally. As such he should be opposed in every possible way in order to stop his operation in its tracks, precisely as we would with any other Fascist shithead.

Unless noted otherwise, references are to Boyd Rice, Brian M Clark (ed), 2008, Standing in Two Circles: The Collected Works of Boyd Rice, Creation Books, London.

LC: Lisa Crystal Carver, 2005, Drugs are Nice, Snowbooks, London.
TE: Terry Eagleton, On Evil, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.
JM: James Mason, 2010, Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason, edited by Michael M. Jenkins (Michael Moynihan), introduction by Ryan Schuster, Black Sun Publications, Bozeman, MT.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Shekhovtsov on Metapolitical Fascist Music in England

Sorry for the short notice, but Anton Shekhovtsov, author of the essay on 'Apoliteic Music' I've referred to a number of times on this blog, is giving this talk at Lancaster University at 16:30 this coming Monday 25th Oct for their Language, Ideology and Power Research Group. Anton will be talking about the 'apoliteic' turn of groups of Fascists towards music and cultural production generally, intended to normalise their anti-democratic and racist ideas. All welcome.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Dragon, IONA and Wakeford

Here's a scan of the front page of the first issue of Dragon, from 1987, the one and, I believe, the only periodical that IONA (Islands of the North Atlantic) published before it transformed itself into the Transeuropa Collective. IONA was formed in the mid-80s by Wakeford associate (and, I believe, mentor) Richard Lawson. Lawson had been the Student Organiser of the National Front (NF), he was involved in the Strasserite wing of the party around John Kingsley Read that split from the NF in 1976 to form the National Party,(though he later drifted back toward the NF and in the 80s was associated with the Official National Front / Political Soldier faction around Nick Griffin, Patrick Harrington and Derek Holland, where he will have first met Tony Wakeford, as he too was a supporter of this wing of the NF), and he has operated over a long period of time as a Fascist ideologue and organiser. IONA was formed as a think-tank for intellectuals on the radical right and was closely associated with Michael Walker's similarly inclined Scorpion magazine, with whom IONA co-operated. In 1989 Lawson set up the Transeuropa Collective, which published the journal Perspectives to discuss "European identities, autonomies and initiatives". Transeuropa replaced IONA organisationally but embodied the same political orientation. Alongside their anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism and their promotion of ethnic regionalism, both Dragon and Perspectives also discussed environmental issues, British Folk culture and history and other topics designed to orient this wing of Fascism toward the Greens, to 'de-Nazify' them and generally give them a Left face. As such it was part of a wider contemporary European strategy of Fascist realignment ('convergence') toward, and infiltration of, Left and Green campaigns and organisations. Perspectives was criticised by Searchlight for its anti-Semitism and for infiltrating the Green movement. Others commented that Perspectives "says 'Green' but means 'White'". In 1995 Lawson launched Fluxeuropa, a website producing 'postmodern' cultural reviews and exploring "the creative tension between tradition and modernity". Lawson was also later involved in Alternative Green alongside ex-NF, ex-ITP (International Third Position) and now 'National-Anarchist' (and leader of the neo-classical martial group, H.E.R.R), Troy Southgate.

At the bottom of this page of Dragon you'll notice an article written by Wakeford, about whom I've already posted a series of articles detailing his involvement in Fascism (and I can guarantee there will be more of these in future). The reason I'm posting this page now is simply to note Wakeford's active participation in Lawson's project of the time. The relationship between Wakeford and Lawson continued (as detailed by Stewart Home) and has coloured Wakeford's thinking ever since (notice IONA and Transeuropa's concern for 'British Folk culture'). One of the main claims of this site is that there is an essential continuity between Wakeford's early overt political engagement with Fascism and his later involvement with what Anton Shekhovtsov, in an excellent article, called 'Apoliteic Music'. This continuity is driven by Wakeford's acceptance of the ideas promoted by Richard Lawson in his various guises. Wakeford's article here about Henry Williamson - the author of Tarka the Otter but also an admirer of Hitler and member of the British Union of Fascists - is itself probably of little intrinsic interest, though it does tend to confirm the old observation that authoritarians are commonly also drawn to the maudlin, the kitsch and the banal.

Hat-tip to Anton Shekhovtsov for the use of the scan.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Boyd Rice Meets Nazi Tom Metzger

Maybe you've already seen this but, if not, here's Boyd Rice being interviewed by Tom Metzger on the latter's cable TV show. Metzger is a White separatist, former Ku Klux Klan member and Democratic Party Senatorial Primary candidate, and founder of the White Aryan Resistance (WAR) party. He's notorious among other things for his comments on the death of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian studying at college in the US, murdered in 1988 by WAR supporters. Metzger announced that his men had simply done their "civic duty" by killing Seraw. A court found that Metzger and WAR had encouraged racial violence and imposed the largest civil verdict in Oregon history at the time—$12.5 million—against Metzger and WAR.

The interview is interesting because it shows that Rice is explicit about the fact that music can be used as a "propaganda art form" for encouraging the growth of an "Aryan Youth Movement" - presumably the kind of movement that will go out and murder more Ethiopian students and other "racial enemies". He calls Current 93 and Death in June "racialist bands", and can hardly be said to be slurring them since he was close friends with the key members of both, having toured and recorded with them over a long period of time, and even appearing alongside Death in June's Doug Pearce in the film Pearls Before Swine: there's a cosy picture of them (Rice, Tibet, Wakeford and Pearce) on tour together elsewhere on this blog.

I'll be writing more about Rice soon as I'm currently plowing through his collected essays. In the meantime it's good to be reminded that, whatever half-witted fanboys and apologists say about how the use of fascist iconography by Neo-Folk and Industrial bands is merely aesthetic, some of the musicians concerned know perfectly well that it's also political.

Hat tip to Commando Bruno

Monday, 11 October 2010

Peter Webb: Statement on Neo-Folk and Post-Industrial Music

Peter Webb has made this statement in response to criticisms made on this blog and elsewhere (presumably Stewart Home's site). It is good to see him start to clarify his position at last since, even if unintentional, the absence of criticism in his book surely lent some credibility to the guilty parties. I'm happy to be able to post his statement here on his behalf as the basis for further discussion and clarification. This statement has also been published on the ICRN blog by Alexei Monroe - Strelnikov, 11/10/10

Boyd Rice, Dave Tibet, Tony Wakeford,
Doug Pearce and Michael Moynihan
I have been alerted to the contents of this blog Who Makes the Nazis? and one other website and feel that I have to respond to the criticism and confusion that seems to link my work to some kind of support or covert agreement with some of the ideas that are discussed here in the Fascist, Conservative Revolutionary or Traditionalist sphere. I firstly want to make clear that my work in Exploring the Networked Worlds of Popular Music (2007) is partial and a discussion and description of some elements of the Neo Folk/post-industrial music scene in amongst chapters on hip-hop, Bristol’s music culture, the Independent music production of Crass and a variety of house music labels and musicians dealing with each other, writing credits and the wider music industry. Therefore it is not exhaustive or comprehensive and does not fulfill the remit of discussing the ideological/political implications of this scene (Webb, p105) in much detail, this is something I had always intended to fulfill in other pieces of work. Sites like Who Makes the Nazis? are one set of views on the political implications of this scene and whilst I feel my work and reputation are being crudely represented within them they do have a place in presenting information on this scene. My position politically is one of opposition to many of the political/ideological elements of this scene and below I present some comments on that.

Christopher Browning in his book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (1992) describes the events that led to the deaths and deportations of tens of thousands of Jews from Poland in 1942. The focus of the book is on the German order police (Ordnungspolizei), battalions of drafted middle-aged reservists who couldn’t fight on the frontline and who were used to police Polish cities and also to round up and kill Jews en masse. This group who had no particular affiliation with Nazism (but had nationalist ideas) were attached to units led by SS men. The executions were carried out by large groups of officers, mainly by shooting their Jewish victims one by one in the neck after they had been forced to lie down in forest areas used for the killings. Browning tries to examine how this group of men who came from ordinary backgrounds and jobs had been turned into mass executioners able to kill tens of thousand of Jews in cold blood day after day whilst in Poland. His explanation suggests that a combination of Nazi Ideology, peer pressure, the situation of the war (even though these individuals had not experienced any fighting before their part in the killings), conformity and indoctrination were responsible. Only a minority refused to take part in the acts and as they developed they became routine and were even joked about. The point of Browning’s book, if we accept its thesis, is that ordinary men and women can become detached killers and brutal racists through a mixture of ideological leadership (in this case from those who had gone through SS training) and the power of group conformity. The reason I discuss this is that, like Stanley Milgram’s obedience and authority experiments or Phillip Zimbardo’s Prison experiment, Browning alerts us to the importance of group dynamics and conformity or obedience to a dominant set of ideas or norms that are pushed to the foreground in a group (either politically, socially or culturally) and often followed uncritically and obediently by the majority of the social group involved.

Browning’s work is useful here as it gives an insight into how strong ideological elements within a social grouping can heavily influence the way that grouping continues to act and think. Even though there is clearly no direct comparison to the events that Browning describes and a small music scene (Neo Folk/ post industrial), the idea of dominant figures in a social situation gaining peoples obedience and shaping their actions through ideological hegemony is important for this discussion. Both situations, do however, contain ideological positions that foreground elitism and disgust, demonization and contempt for an 'other' group (e.g. Jews, gypsies, the ignorant mass population). The chapter I wrote describes elements of this milieu as accounted for by some of its members and through some of my engagement with it over a number of years; it focused particularly on the three musicians of the band Death In June and their various musical projects since two of them (Tony Wakeford and Patrick Leagas) left and Douglas Pearce continued the project to the present day. The chapter does not delve consistently into the various ideological elements of the scene and I suggested that it was beyond the remit of this particular piece of work as I think it would require a book or series of articles in their own right to really discuss the full extent of the ideologies that are referenced by this milieu. That said however it is an omission that needs rectifying. I wish to state clearly that within the milieu there is a clear timeline that runs from the incarnation of Death In June through to the current output of bands like Von Thronstahl, Allerseelen, Orplid, Blood Axis etc that leads its audience to look at thinkers from the three ideological and philosophical areas previously mentioned i.e. Fascism, Revolutionary Conservatism and Traditionalism. The artists themselves have clearly explored and would subscribe in some cases to elements of the worldview of Julius Evola, Savitri Devi, Ernst Junger, Moeller Van Den Bruck, Armin Mohler, Oswald Spengler, Rene Guenon, Francis Parker Yockey, The Strasser brothers and particularly in the present configuration of the milieu, the European New Right and the work of Alain De Benoist and associated thinkers around him.

Douglas Pearce stated in an interview with Zillo magazine (1992) that:

“At the start of the eighties Tony and I were involved in radical left politics and beneath it history students. In search of a political view for the future we came across National Bolshevism, which is closely connected to the SA hierarchy. People like Gregor Strasser and Ernst Rohm who were later known as `second revolutionaries, attracted our attention” (Forbes, p.15)

He has not discussed this topic in great detail again, never wishing to publically account for his political or ideological position, but it is prophetic and telling in its indication of ideas that are still referenced and linked to by leading artists and fans of these bands and some of the various webzines and magazines that have given space to them (e.g Heathen Harvest, Occidental Congress etc). It also seems clear that these were the ideas that DIJ were engaging with around the period of 1981 – 1984 when Tony Wakeford was a member of the National Front and part of the group who were being referred to as Strasserites and Third positionists. The milieu of neo-folk is littered with references to these thinkers, to the political project of the New Right and the third positionists that came out of the fracture of the (UK) National Front in the early 1980s. DIJ, in name, referenced the `night of the long knives’ and the culling of the leadership of the SA and also in the dates put on the first two releases: SA 29 6 34 and SA 30 6 34, Tony Wakefords post DIJ band Above the Ruins were a direct reference to Evola and contained lyrics that echoed the third positionist direction of the NF, the title of the first Sol Invictus album was `Against the Modern World’ a reference to Evola’s work `Revolt against the Modern World’ (1996), Current 93 referenced Francis Parker Yockey’s `Imperium’ (1969) work on the album of the same name in 1987 and Savitri Devi on the album `Thunder Perfect Mind’ (1992). As the scene develops many bands reference and provide links to this range of thinkers maybe most clearly in the compilations Cavalcare El Tigre (Eis Und Licht, 1998 a reference to Evolas work of the same name) featuring Von Thronsthal, Alerseelen, Orplid, Blood Axis, Waldteufel, Camerata Mediolanense and Ain Soph amongst others and more recently the Von Thronstahl album `Sacrificare’ which alerts readers of the CD liner notes to look at the work of Moeller Van Den Bruck and Joseph-Marie Comte De Maestre one of the founders of a European Conservatism that put its trust in emotional allegiance to an unquestioned authority; usually a form of hereditary monarchy.

From Boyd Rice’s continuous references to Ragnar Redbeard's Social Darwinist `Might is Right’ text and his appearance on Tom Metzger’s Race and Reason Cable TV show (where he discusses White Nationalist/power music mentioning DIJ, C93 and Above the Ruins) to Tesco distribution (Neo-Folk and Marital Industrial distributor) selling books such as De Benoist’s `On being a Pagan’, John Michell’s `Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist’ and the Evola inspired `Handbook for Traditional Living’ published by Artkos (who also publish work by Troy Southgate the National Anarchist/3rd Positionist and racial separatist), through to Michael Moynihan’s publishing of Seige (1992)  the work of James Mason the American National Socialist Mansonite, there are continuous and clear signposts to writing and work in the fascist, traditionalist and conservative revolutionary tradition. There are many other examples of this tendency within this scene and to clearly outline and discuss these specific elements of this milieu would need a fairly exhaustive work, which, I am sure, will be produced by many different writers and commentators. I am currently finishing a piece that deals with some of these elements but my intention here is to state clearly that I have no political, ideological or philosophical sympathy with any of the ideas of Fascism, traditionalism or conservative revolutionary thought. My interest in this milieu stems from my own immersion and interest in anarchist punk, post-punk, gothic music and various dance music scenes that provided clear links to sets of ideas, artistic practice, political activism and lifestyles – my own politics has come partly out of these types of engagement and could be described as a type of humanism derived from a combination of post Marxism, anarchism and libertarian thought but clearly driven by non-elitist, democratic and egalitarian principles all of which are clearly totally oppositional to the ideas presented by some of the key members of this musical milieu and in fact openly despised by some of them.

The reason for starting this piece with reference to Browning’s work is that although the neo-folk and post-industrial milieu is inhabited by a variety of different political, philosophical, spiritual and lifestyle ideas, practices and supporters there is a clearly significant and dominant use of the ideas of some of the most elitist, racist, conservative and traditionalist thinkers from the 19th, 20th and now 21st centuries, those ideas can lead to and provide a strong conformist group dynamic. Some people will be drawn to these ideas through their engagement with this milieu and some will take these ideas forward to develop a type of political engagement. I would hope that further discussion of these ideas and illumination of their potential social and cultural impact will break many individuals from that engagement and get them to look to develop their own work with a different set of reference points. So even though I think that this blog has taken my work completely out of context in terms of what it suggests should have been the focus of my chapter and of some fairly crude slurs on my reputation I would suggest that `some’ of the material here is useful. Whether individuals in this milieu are active politically or not the main point here is that the use of these thinkers in the forefront of the reference points used by the main bands as they have developed over the years leads to the creation of a group dynamic and conformity to this type of thinking amongst a significant section of the audience and new bands that emerge. This element of the milieu is one that I feel is highly problematic and one that needs opposing critically within the scene as well as from outside.

Peter Webb, October 2010

Bibliographic References
Browning, Christopher (1992) Ordinary Men : Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, New York : HarperCollins
Devi, Savitri (2000) The Lightning and the Sun.
De Benoist, Alain. (2004) On Being a Pagan. Ultra Press.
Evola, Julius (1996) Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion and Social Order in the Kali Yuga. Inner Traditions Bear and Company
Evola, Julius (2002) Men among the ruins: Post-war reflections of a radical traditionalist. Inner Traditions, Bear and Company 
Forbes, Robert (1995) Death In June: Misery and Purity. Jara Press 
Goddrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2000) Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism. New York University Press
Silfen, Paul Harrison (1973) The Volkisch ideology and the roots of Nazism; The early writings of Arthur Moeller van den Bruck. Exposition.
Southgate, Tory. (2010) Tradition & Revolution: Collected Writings of Troy Southgate. Arktos Press.
Spengler, Oswald. (2007) Decline of the West. Open University Press
Yockey, Francis Parker (1969) Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics. Noontide Press

From Anarcho-Punk to Fascism


Gary Smith / Decadent Few
I've spoken in a previous post of Gary Smith's involvement in Above the Ruins and Sol Invictus (Tony Wakeford's bands after leaving Death in June). Smith was simultaneously a Combat 18 and BNP supporter as well as a member of hardcore Nazi skinhead group No Remorse.

One aspect of the situation that deserves having more light thrown on it is the extent of overlap or continuity between the anarcho-punk and Fascist milieus in the early 80s. On the left is a picture of Gary Smith around the time that he was a member of his first band The Decadent Few. According to their mySpace pages; "Formed in East London,1984 by Kaya, Mike, Bernie and Mark of YOUTH IN ASIA, plus Steph of HAGAR THE WOMB briefly, Decadent Few’s first gig was at Studio One in Slough, June 1984. Mark and Steph had stepped out by this point and a friend, Gary, was taught Bass by Mike in vintage Paul Simenon-style, i.e. coloured stickers on the frets to denote where to play which note which song. Luckily, Gary learnt fast and this line up played regularly across London with bands like FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN, TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN, STIGMA, ANDY LOVEBUG & THE TENDERHEARTS and the WET PAINT THEATRE, a Punk Theatre Company".

The t-shirt he's wearing here is a bit of a giveaway, of course, since it features the Celtic Cross symbol beloved by Nazi skinheads and others. While anarcho-punks could be extremely militant against, and were often in the forefront of, physical opposition to, racism, Fascism, etc., at the same time there was an ambivalence in their ideas that could also make (some of) them in some circumstances susceptible to accepting Fascists in their midst. In his autobiography Crass founder Penny Rimbaud talks about how the group initially had a sizeable contingent of NF / British Movement (BM) supporters among their fans, and first adopted the anarchist symbol merely as a way of keeping both the NF and SWP at bay by taking up a position that was neither Fascist nor Socialist but independent of both (the SWP and RCP apparently had the cheek to ask Crass to play anti-Nazi gigs). This, of course, is to duck the issues rather than taking a clear anti-fascist stance. There are even rumors that Steve Ignorant (Crass vocalist) may have played on some Above the Ruins recordings alongside active Fascists such as Ian Read and Smith.

One of the interesting things about the list of bands The Decadent Few played with is the way that it overlaps with groups associated with pro-Fascist fan Dev, of While Angels Watch. According to Dev; "During the early 1980's I also played in: PERSONS UNKNOWN (Guitar and Vocals), YOUTH IN ASIA (Drums), FLOWERS IN THE DUSTBIN (first Drums then Guitar), TOMS MIDNIGHT GARDEN (Vocals and Guitar), HYPERACTIVE (Guitar and Vocas) and SIXTH COMM (Guitar)." This raises the idea that some parts of the anarcho-squat-punk scene overlapped and co-mingled with various Fascist and pro-Nazi ideologues. The mySpace pages for Tom's Midnight Garden explicitly mention Smith and Patrick Leagas (of Death in June) as members, and of course Sixth Comm was Leagas's band after leaving Death in June. All of which is further evidence of the many threads that tie Death in June to Fascism and Fascist musicians. But it also raises the question of to what extent Fascists were able to operate on the fringes of the anarcho milieu. No doubt we'll talk more of Dev in future, but for now I just want to register this issue and say that if you have more information about this murky territory I'd be happy to hear about it.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Michael Moynihan's Seige Mentality

"Nihilists and buffoons are allergic to the slightest hint of significance"
Terry Eagleton, 'On Evil'

Photo: Jimmy Sime/Getty Images
Michael Moynihan (of Non, Blood Axis, Coup de Grace and Sleep Chamber, and a regular collaborator with other pro-Fascist musicians in the neo-folk, martial industrial and noise milieus) has miraculously acquired a reputation as something of a Fascist intellectual, as he is also a writer, editor and publisher of a range of books, magazines and journals. Moynihan was a member of the Abraxas foundation, which co-founder Boyd Rice hoped would attract "a new demographic of people who are into the occult, Fascism, and Social Darwinism". Along with Didrik Søderlind he authored the commercially successful Lords of Chaos:  The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground, which glamorised the Norwegian Black Metal scene while analysing it within the framework of his own occult Fascist concerns. He is also an associate of Adam Parfrey, whose Feral Press has established itself as a major source of Fascist esoterica. Moynihan's journal, Tyr, promotes a range of Fascist thinkers as well as corresponding pagan and occult notions, publishing pseudo-scientific articles and clunky political, cultural and music reviews aimed largely at promoting the  works of his co-thinkers in the Fascist and pagan underground. Having read a fair amount of his work I think it's safe to say that Moynihan's reputation as an intellectual is more an index of the intellectual poverty of the radical right rather than proof of any substantial talent on his part.

Nevertheless it is perhaps not so surprising that Moynihan should posses at least the rudiments of literary and intellectual skills since he is the product of a wealthy Boston family that could afford to send him to the elite Buckingham Browne & Nichols private school then prop him up long enough for him to get a (similarly elite) Fulbright scholarship to fund his further 'research'. Perhaps he even belongs to one of those Boston Moynihan clans that have provided so many members of the American ruling class, including the current CEO of the Bank of America (and who are known about town as 'the Brahmins'). In any case Moynihan seems to be one of that species of budding aristo-Führers who offer themselves up as mentors to the mass of lumpen Nazis, offering them a veneer of 'posh' and gravitas while seeking to harness them to their own peculiar occult, racist and anti-democratic fantasies of power and violence ('Baron' Julius Evola was a similar type).

Confusion about what constitutes contemporary fascist ideology means that Moynihan and his friends have been able to fool some into thinking he is something other than a dyed-in-the-wool Fascist just because his ideas are eccentric and differ somewhat from historical National Socialism and Fascism: he has been variously described as an extreme Rightist, an extreme Leftist, a Nazi and an Anarchist. Moynihan has tried to sow such confusion himself, hoping it will obscure his real agenda. Despite this, at times he has also been disarmingly clear about his orientation; for instance, arguing against what he considers merely 'aesthetic fascism' (in an argument probably aimed at Boyd Rice, with whom he'd had a falling out around this time): "I'm sick of people saying they're 'not political' as I think this is a cop-out... If you're going to espouse fascist ideas, then I believe you have to accept some of the responsibility for their application in the real world; otherwise what is the point of espousing them in the first place?"1

(Cover of Black Sun Edition)
I'll write about some of Moynihan's other publishing and literary efforts in future. Here I want to focus on one book he has played a central role in bringing to the public's attention - Siege, by James Mason. While I think it's easy to show that Moynihan is indeed a fascist there's no reason why we shouldn't take time off from teasing away at the usual dreary existential question ("what does he really think?") and look instead at what he publishes, on the grounds that it's perfectly appropriate to judge someone by what they do as much as by what they say about it. Moynihan can argue what he likes about his own politics but what he chooses to publish speaks for itself: and in the case of James Mason it is difficult to understand why anyone would want to publish his work unless they sought to promote a particular type of racial and 'political' violence.

Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason collects together articles from the Nazi journal of the same name, written by Mason between 1980 and 1986. The collection was edited and first published in 1992 by Moynihan, who also wrote an introduction under the pseudonym Michael M. Jenkins, on his own 'Storm' imprint. It was reprinted and republished by Black Sun Press in 2003 without Moynihan's introduction but with a new preface by Mason and additional historical material in the appendices. Since I've only been able to find a copy of the later Black Sun edition online I don't know what Moynihan had to say in the original introduction, but the rest of the material, at least as far as Mason's essays are concerned, is identical. It seems reasonable to ask; who is James Mason, and why would Moynihan be prepared to spend his own time and money editing and publishing a deluxe edition of his collected ravings?

Mason posing at the site of 
Rockwell's 1967 murder
James Mason is maybe as close as anyone could get to being a genuine lifelong Nazi. Having started out as a teenage supporter of Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater and George Wallace, in 1966 his life changed forever when he was loaned a book about extremist politics (Extremism USA) and liked what he read there about the Nazis. At the age of only 14 he joined the miniscule American Nazi Party (ANP). Sometime after that, still aged only 16, he ran away from his home in Ohio to join the ANP headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. There he lived for a number of years, working alongside the Ku Klux Klan to organise attacks on leftists and civil rights and anti-war protesters as well as helping with the general running of America's main (albeit tiny) Fascist party. He was admitted into full membership of the party on his eighteenth birthday. Here it was too that he was introduced to the ideas of one of his great heroes, George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder and leader of the ANP who had defiantly spurned bourgeois opinion by openly embracing Nazism and the Swastika (thus, in Rockwell's words crossing "the threshold of anger"2). Shortly after renaming the party the National Socialist White People's Party (NSWPP) and adopting the slogan 'White Power', Rockwell was killed by a fellow Nazi in 1967 and the ANP was taken over by Matt Koehl, after which it splintered into a number of groups amidst of the usual welter of denunciations, accusations and counter-accusations familiar to any student of the extreme right.

Thus far Mason's career had been unremarkable for a hard-core Nazi of the time. Overflowing with racist hatred for Jews and Blacks, he worshiped Adolf Hitler as his ideal and saw in Rockwell a 'strong man' and potential Führer who could lead the American people into their racial utopia. Mason was from the beginning a super-militant Nazi. Regarding the Jews he seems almost disappointed at one point to find himself toeing the Nazi line on holocaust denial, being keener himself on an open policy of annihilation: "it was indeed a damnable shame that Hitler did not, in fact, kill at least six million Jews during the war. We... know what the Jews were and are all about and we can shed no tears for any of them"3. Mason's line from the mid-70s on was that such violence should be extended not only to Jews, Blacks and Socialists, but also to most of the rest of the American people, believing that "the masses... live only to produce and consume; to masticate and defecate. Wasted exercises in protoplasm. Here only to breathe the air and take up space. No really valid reason for living"4. And Mason doesn't leave much to the imagination when it comes to his preferred solution to this mess: "for the United States there will be no need for concentration camps of any kind, for not a single transgressor will survive long enough to make it to that kind of haven"5.

The acrimonious collapse of the NSWPP and the descent of the US Nazi movement into a nest of squabbling sects was a blow for Mason, but he soon found another strong man to look up to and admire in the form of Joseph Tommasi ("the first of a new breed. A hero and martyr to the cause"6). Like Mason, Tommasi was an ultra-radical NSWPP hothead. Both were close to senior NSWPP member William Pierce, who had personally encouraged and helped organise Mason's original flight from school to ANP headquarters. Pierce went on to write The Turner Diaries, a novel which imagines a successful Nazi revolution precipitated by a 'lone wolf' killer, and which has inspired a number of Nazi psychopaths over the years, including 'London Nail Bomber' David Copeland, who targeted the city's Black, Asian and Gay communities in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho respectively, killing 3 people and injuring 129.

Tommasi's contribution to the cause was to create a new, underground Nazi group, the National Socialist Liberation Front (NSLF). The NSLF was originally formed, with encouragement from Pierce, as the youth wing of the NSWPP, and set out to work on college campuses (one early recruit was a young student in Louisiana, David Duke, later to become Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan). From the start the NSLF represented a significant break with traditional US Nazism, which remained rooted in the social mores and attitudes (and even much of the Cold War, McCarthyite politics) of the 40s and 50s. Tommasi himself looked more like a drop-out than the kind of starched, collar-and-tie conservative favoured by the party leadership. He was concerned to bring National Socialism up to date by borrowing widely from the symbols, attitudes and language of the New Left so as to connect with a new generation. Thus the name of the group itself was borrowed from the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the name of the NSLF journal, Siege, later taken over by Mason, was also borrowed, this time from The Weathermen. The NSLF favoured the pop visual imagery, iconoclasm and sometimes even the actual ideas of the far left, adopting such typically Maoist slogans as 'Political Power Grows Out of the Barrel of a Gun' and 'The Future Belongs to the Few of Us Willing to Get Our Hands Dirty. Political Terror: It's the Only Thing They Understand'. It is this modernising aspect of Tommasi's legacy, along with the fetishising of revolutionary violence, that explains his appeal to counter-cultural Fascists today.

The NSLF was not established as a separate organisation until Tommasi, despite years of personal loyalty, was expelled from the NSWPP in one of Koehl's episodic purges simply for smoking marijuana, drinking and 'entertaining women' in the party's offices. The inaugral meeting of the newly independent group took place on March 2nd 1974 in El Monte, California and attracted 43 supporters.  This formal break with the NSWPP radicalised Tommasi even further, or allowed his radicalism full expression, and the meeting adopted a set of theses which broke definitively with the 'mass strategy' of the Nazi mainstream in favour of armed revolution and 'leaderless resistance';

"No longer could we think in terms of obtaining political power through the electorate but, instead, of hurting the enemy through force and violence. We would build the armed struggle.
We have abandoned petit-bourgeois, bureaucratic hang-ups and have developed the idea that the ends justifies the means. What works is good.
We recognise the fact that the masses of Whites will never rally around radical parties... The Whites... don't have the guts to shed their bourgeois hang-ups.
We view armed struggle as the only effective means of forcing political change."7

Joseph Tommasi
Mason himself didn't join the NSLF, remaining a member of the NSWPP for sometime before finally tiring of it, and as a practical organisation the new grouping fell flat on it's face almost immediately: Tommasi was murdered only a year later by another Nazi in a brawl outside the NSWPP's LA offices, and his two key lieutenants were arrested shortly after for firearms violations. The NSLF underground effectively died with Tommasi except as a beacon to other ultra-radicals such as Mason. What is significant about Tommasi is not anything concrete he might have achieved (from a Fascist point of view) but simply the idea, which he is identified with, of finally breaking with overground political activity aimed at persuasion or acceptance of any kind (other than making propaganda in support of NSLF terrorism) in favour of amoral, unconstrained violence directed against 'racial enemies' (Jews and anyone not certifiably white, and especially mixed couples), leftists, anti-racists and civil rights campaigners of any description, the 'Zionist Occupation Government' (ZOG) and its servants (anyone with any kind of role or job with the state, from elected representatives and the police down to the lowliest of state employees; "from President to dogcatcher", as Mason put it8), drug users, homosexuals, perverts, feminists, deviants and so on (ie. anyone 'impure'). Tommasi has become a pinup boy for every Fascist who ever fantasised about unleashing their violence directly on their neighbours.

The NSLF represented to Mason the apotheosis of Fascist narcissism, its point of orgasm, allowing him psychically to unshackle his rage from any remaining grounding in political calculation or moral propriety, or any compunction or limitation at all, allowing it instead (in his mind, at least) to be applied without mediation: the only practical consideration from now on was trying to make sure you didn't get caught. In Mason's typically fascist-occult mind reality itself is a wasteland, fatally riddled with impurity, corruption and decay; the cities are "death zones" in which "the lowest common denominator genetic miasma has you badly outnumbered". He concludes; "Let the cities go to HELL, right where they came from! If the Russians don't get 'em and if crime, famine and disease don't get 'em, then WE'LL have to later on"9. He is even able to blithely consider the nuclear annihilation of the population; "If atomic warfare destroyed all human life on earth on earth but two Aryan specimens... we could begin again. I've often stated that the conditions... of [US cities] make a positively ATTRACTIVE case for atomic warfare"10.

Being of an essentially petit-bourgeois frame of mind himself Mason fetishises bourgeois morality by focussing obsessively on the need to overcome it. This idea runs like a mantra through his writing (basically, "anything is allowed"11). This ties Mason's ideology neatly to that of the contemporary esoteric-Fascism as practiced by Moynihan. The symmetry is expressed in a shared admiration for Anton LaVey and The Church of Satan. Mason's book reproduces the title page of his copy of LaVey's Satanic Bible, signed by the author, which he says he acquired in 1969 and "has cherished ever since"12. Mason strongly approves of LaVey's rejection of 'moralism' in favour of unbridled self-interest (a pseudo-philosophy LaVey defends in turn with a lot of pseudo-science based on Social Darwinism and 'the survival of the fittest'). While Mason has never been a Satanist (he considers himself an atheist; but then LaVey's Hollywood Satanism was itself essentially a-theistic) he shares with LaVey a tedious petit-bourgeois contempt for 'the masses' and a philosophy which says it is acceptable to treat them as you like as long as you can get away with it. Michael Moynihan, of course, was for a while a leading member of the Church of Satan before aligning himself instead with racist Paganism. Despite minor theological differences Moynihan and Mason share a common approach which prioritises (their) racist instincts above any truth or reality. Their victims are simply worthless, disposable matter. While Moynihan argues in his book on Black Metal that the racist killer is a Beserker channeling the Pagan Divinity woven into the genes of all Aryans, Mason emphasises genetic, animal irrationality directly: "No one has got his feet on the ground if he is not tuned into himself, if he cannot or will not... allow his brain to accept and articulate his animal instincts"13. In the end, though, this comes down to the same conflation of divinity and animality as in Moynihan; "In talking with people I use terms like 'Spiritual' but, more precisely, I mean gut INSTINCT as dictated by millions of years of genetic development... being in abidance with one's true Gods would also come under this heading. Noble thoughts and ideals. Irrational as Hell"14. It may be worth noting in passing that it is remarkable how the Fascist mentality, which loves to boast of it's 'spiritual ideals', actually bases this spirituality on the most banal kind of biological materialism (genetic determinism).

Unable even to begin to grasp the social and political complexity of the unfolding capitalist system the occult mind sees everything instead in terms of a rigid dualism in which it pits itself (as unsullied 'spirit' / genetic racial purity) against the filthy occult forces of materialism, cosmopolitanism and sedition - aka the Jews who work eternally to pollute and overwhelm the forces of order. In Mason's formulation practically everyone beyond a tiny circle of armed Nazi activists is actively or passively helping to sustain a hellish, corrupt 'Jew System', and he therefore sees practically everyone as a legitimate target. Mason increasingly regarded violence against 'the System' and everyone involved in it as his summum bonum - so much so that he began to adopt some unusual positions for a Nazi. Not only was he ceasing to care much about who the violence was directed against, he became increasingly catholic about who could legitimately inflict it. For example, while traditional Nazis bemoaned 'Black Crime' and 'Communist Sedition' in their headlines Mason eventually welcomed both, arguing that "If a bunch of Black Nationalists rob a Brinks truck, if they kill some System Pigs, WHO CARES??!!.. Any Pig killed by a Black or Communist Revolutionary is one Pig you may be sure will not come after YOU one night with a nice, neat Federal warrant. It's a dirty, rotten shame that it has to be left up to the likes of Blacks and bow-legged Jewish agitators to hit the Pig System but, damn it, SOMEBODY'S GOT TO DO IT! So wish 'em lots o' luck... twenty years of bitter experience has shown that all the piety and all the law and order bullshit of the past has gotten us nowhere"15. This tactical acceptance of any and all violence against a common enemy ('the System') is all that lies behind Mason's talk of having transcended the traditional political division between 'Left' and 'Right' ("classic notions of 'Left' and 'Right'... certainly are by now obsolete and meaningless"16). This does not make either Mason or Moynihan, who makes similar noises, any less of a Fascist. On the contrary, it merely makes manifest the essence of Fascism as an ideology that attempts to unleash a bad infinity of destruction.

This, however, is all a little too abstract, dealing as it does with only the general form and structure of Mason's attitude to violence. In theory Mason may be an equal opportunity sociopath, but when it comes to the praxis of actual killings and mayhem his clear preference is for the racist murderers who are treated as heroes throughout his book. The clear winner in this regard is Joseph Franklin, another of William Pierce's neophytes back when he was a member of the NSWPP, who robbed a series of banks and went on a private killing spree in which he murdered as many as 20 people, most of them Jews or Blacks killed at random, though his preferred targets were mixed race couples. Other racists celebrated in the book include Frank Spisak, the 'Cleveland University Killer', a cross-dressing Nazi who in 1982 made attempts on the lives of five 'racial enemies', killing three of them (and who later in court blamed his own transvestism on Jews who had 'taken over his mind'); Michael Pearch, who shot seven Black men at random in Wheaton, Maryland in 1975, killing two of them; and Joseph Christopher, who killed three Blacks at random and wounded at least another four. All of these, and more in the same vein, are held up as people to be admired and, more alarming still, models to be imitated.

After Tommasi's death the NSLF continued low key operations for a while and even built local cells in a number of areas (being well aware that the Nazi movement is riddled with informers and police agents the NSLF adopted a cell structure in which no one knows any members of the group other than the two or three individuals in their own unit). But after a few years of this, during which time he edited Siege as an NSLF publication, Mason began to develop a new infatuation and new ideas that would eventually gift him his brand identity as a Nazi so extreme that even most Fascists began to consider him untouchable. Typically for Mason his new direction turned around the discovery of another 'strong' man he could look up to and adore. This is how he introduces his ultimate hero;

"There is a great leader / philosopher in our midst, alive and involved today... with a name and a reputation world renowned and a following of his own"17

"He is a product of the American heartland... Personally gifted, selfless, fearless - both morally and physically - and absolutely dedicated to Life, to Earth and to Truth"18

Manson 2009
Even if you have followed the argument about Mason this far you may still be a little surprised to discover that he is talking here about Charles Manson, the leader of the cult responsible for the Tate-La Bianca killings in LA in 1969. Manson, of course, is already something of a counter-cultural success story, being seen by some as the epitome of the romantic outsider; a shaman and magician, beyond Good and Evil - a more condensed and extreme version of a Brian Jones or Jim Morrison, perhaps. Mason is able to shoehorn Manson into his scheme of things because the latter shared something of the Nazi world-view, also believing that America was headed for an apocalyptic race war. Manson may have been unorthodox in thinking that the Blacks would win this war (though he anticipated that they would soon invite him and his accomplices to take over when they realised they were incapable of running society themselves, the Family having spent the meantime hiding out in a cave in Death Valley waiting for the storm to blow over), but predictably Mason was prepared to cut Charlie some slack and overlook his small-time heterodoxy as long as the core belief in the use of fear and unconstrained violence was kept intact - which, in Manson's case, it certainly was.

Having found his new avatar, in around 1982 Mason split amicably from the remnants of the NSLF in a deal that saw him keep control of Siege as the mouthpiece for his new, pro-Manson organisation, The Universal Order, while Karl Hand retained control of the rest of the NSLF's assets. For Mason the justification for choosing Charles Manson as the true leader of American Nazism had several components. First, as already mentioned, Manson shared something of the Nazi outlook on race. Second, his actual killings could all be justified even though they didn't primarily target Blacks: the Manson victims were 'drug dealers' and 'perverts', etc. (though Mason conspicuously overlooks the fact that so too were the Manson Family). Even the murder of Sharon Tate's unborn baby was perfectly acceptable as far as Mason is concerned, "it was, after all, a Jew"19. And finally, Manson's interest in environmentalism (expressed through his organisation 'Air, Trees, Water and Animals' - ATWA), fitted in neatly with the Nazi's own obsession with cleanliness and 'the natural life' (an extension of their mania for 'purity'). But the key reason's for Mason's conversion were twofold. First, he believed that Manson embodied a new and higher level of social alienation, which invited a corresponding extremism; "Manson represents the great divide between those persons who imagine there still are choices to be made casually on the basis of Establishment mores and those who have a profound, individual sense of 'no going back'"20. In other words, his significance is symbolic: just as Rockwell was a hero for crossing the "threshold of anger" when he adopted the Swastika, Manson in turn represents "the threshold of alienation"21, and identifying with him means crossing the line that takes you beyond any moral compunction.

The final reason for Mason's attachment to Manson is particularly interesting. Essentially he thinks that Manson is hip and appeals to the young, and so can rally people to Fascism in a way that would be impossible for previous Nazi leaders, with their crew cuts and corny shoes (Tomassi aside). And Manson doesn't have the disadvantage of being associated in the first instance with Nazism. In Mason's mind (and, I'm prepared to bet, Moynihan's too) Manson works as a kind of 'gateway Fascist' that might draw new layers of (primarily) young people to the cause;  

"From direct personal experience I tell you that the name of Manson can be used for the same purposes the name of Hitler can be used... MINUS 90% of the usual hassles which immediately follow due to the huge job of conditioning that the Jews have done on people over the last forty or fifty years. Most of you in the Movement have not considered the way Manson is at first taken by average people. Young, wild, American, anti-establishment, and finally, yes, a criminal type but certainly not of the order of what they have whipped up regarding Hitler. Manson scares people but he does so in the way that they LIKE to be scared... After a time, once people have been brought sufficiently around, you may introduce them to Hitler without much risk of losing them"22.

Manson symbolises for Mason an ideal combination of distilled amorality and perfected alienation, plus brand recognition among young people looking for nihilistic thrills. His hope is that such people might eventually find in Fascism and racism an ideology that responds to their own sense of social alienation, confirms their narcissistic sense of innate superiority and provides them with obvious targets and easy solutions. In that case, James Mason will have made another recruit.

But what's in it for Michael Moynihan? Why would he work so hard to put this sort of material in front of the public? The simplest explanation is that he simply agrees with and approves of it: certainly it concords with most of what we know about his own approach and his stated positions. Just like Mason Moynihan is drawn to sensational immorality, and just like him he has the lowest possible opinion of most of humanity. Crucially though, also like Mason Moynihan is a racist and a Fascist, and he believes that creating a culture accepting of Manson's nihilism is half way to making it also amenable to Fascism. The publication of this book seems clearly intended as a contribution to the creation of such a culture.

Jeffrey Kaplan (ed), 2000, Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook of the Radical, Racist Right, Altamira Press, Walnut Creek, CA.
Jeffrey Kaplan and Heléne Lööw (eds), 2002, The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in the Age of Globalisation, Altamira Press, Walnut Creek, CA.
James Mason, 2010, Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason, edited by Michael M. Jenkins (Michael Moynihan), introduction by Ryan Schuster, Black Sun Publications, Bozeman, MT.

01. Michael Moynihan, Interview, Momentum Magazine
02. George Rockwell, quoted in Mason, 2010, p310
03. ibid, p326 
04. ibid, p258 
05. ibid, p57 
06. ibid, p20 
07. Joseph Tommasi, Strategy for Revolution, 1974, in Mason,ibid, p379 
08. ibid, p115
09. ibid, p76
10. ibid, p140
11. ibid, p276
12. ibid, p362
13. ibid, p363
14. ibid, p234
15. ibid, p164
16. ibid, p333
17. ibid, p312
18. ibid, p310
19. ibid, p328
20. ibid, p234
21. ibid, p233 
22. ibid, p344