Saturday, 1 January 2011

Middle Earth -> Middle Class

From Matthias Gardell's Gods of the Blood, an account of racist and fascist Aryan paganism.

Apart from the idiosyncratic casting of those who had "run their own business" as "the educated working class" when they are clearly middle class this strikes me as a useful corrective to assumptions about the class basis of modern racism and particularly fascism.

"Who is attracted to the Aryan counter-culture? The stereotypical image recycled in the media paints a picture of the generic national socialist or Aryan activit as a barely literate young man from a poor working class family with an absent or alcoholic father and traumatic childhood experiences ... While people fitting this stereotype certainly do exist on the scene there were remarkably few of them in the circles of activists that I encountered.

To undertake a class analysis of the revolutionary white racist milieu it would be beneficial to differentiate between leaders and the rank and file ... A class background typology for the leaders of the Aryan counter-culture ideologues presents a picture at odds with the stereotypical white trash thesis. Most leaders come from unbroken middle class families. A minority was raised in the upper middle class, all sons of affluent businessmen. A smaller minority came from the educated working class most of whom were children to families where the father had run his own business as, say, a radio or TV repairman or a mechanic. The second largest category comprised those who had an agrarian background and were brought up on farms. Another common background was to have been raised in a family in which the father was a small but independent businessman or manager of a small company. Some leaders came from families where the fathers had been university professors or policemen, and the remainder had fathers who worked as physicians, lawyers or pastors. All but a small minority came from non-broken families, and only one had been adopted. Very few of the up-and-coming leaders of the radical white-racist milieu had been raised in a big city. The overwhelming majority had been bought up in small town or rural surroundings, or, to a lesser extent, in suburbia. White-trash backgrounds were virtually non-existent.

When it comes to the rank and file activists, the picture is slightly different. The majority were raised in families in which the father was a military man, policeman, pastor, farmer, businessman or middle- to low-white-collar or skilled worker like an electrician, carpenter, plumber or mechanic; most of these fathers were either self-employed or worked for a small enterprise. Relative to the leaders, the number coming from skilled working-class backgrounds was higher, and the number coming from  families of high-ranking military officers was lower. As with the leaders, few had grown up in a big city ...

While the above characterisation of the typical Aryan activist might be surprising to readers accustomed to the white-trash stereotype, it is probably less astonishing to the historian of fascism. The German NSDAP mobilised strong electoral support among small but independent businessmen. artisans, farmers and military offices — that is exactly the same classes that the Aryan activists are coming from. Interpretations have suggested that these classes felt 'displaced' between big business and the working class of proletarians and have pointed at agrarian resentment against 'degenerate' metropolitan life. A comparable feeling of having been 'declassed' nurtures the emotional state of the Aryan activist."

Matthias Gardell, Gods of the Blood, Duke University Press, Durham and London 2003 pp 328-332.

8 comments:

  1. All the above is probably true. Just as the leftist who claim to know what's best for everyone (not least the working classes) tend to come from very affluent backgrounds.

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  2. The leftists I know are mostly working class trade unionists. Have you any evidence for what you say other than tabloid prejudice?

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  3. Let's start with Lawyers son Karl Marx.

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  4. Don't be silly. Marx's social origins hardly bear on the class composition of the left today which is what we are discussing. Of course there are individuals from various classes who have become socialists. That is quite a different matter from looking at the class basis of the left as a whole. The point is that according to someone who has studied it, the Aryan pagan movement has an overwhelmingly middle class / small business / agrarian character just as the Fascist movements of the past have had. This is significant.

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  5. I work in the agricultural sector in rural Yorkshire and occasionally have the dubious pleasure of going to the pub with Countryside Alliance types. Vitriolic, undisguised racism, homophobia and anti-urban bigotry is ubiquitous in everyday conversation amongst these people. They also perceive themselves to be persecuted by a 'liberal townie establishment', despite benefiting from huge public subsidies. This milieu has great political influence in the UK and I find that far more worrying than a few ageing goths listening to Death In June records.

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  6. "Just as the leftist who claim to know what's best for everyone (not least the working classes) tend to come from very affluent backgrounds."

    In America this tends to be the case with the majority of white leftists, though I've seen in Southern California, specifically in LA, a community of strictly working class Hispanic Far-Leftists/Anarchists that was very different in content and vibe to white punk types I've been used to. America is spiritual and cultural void and as such many people often tend to cling to subcultural norms with religious intensity as they are trying to prop up their subculture as a means of placating that spiritual void.

    Its a square peg in a round gaping wound.

    I don't think the above fits everybody I know personally that identify with the racialist aspects of post-industrial culture, or even most of them. In America the majority of people into this stuff are post-punk/post- squatter types, though the above would often fit with people into this area of culture from a goth-industrial background.

    Waldteufel, A minority of one & blood axis all have members that were in crash worship, a squatter culture band.The main editor of Hex magazine (who I should point out though doesn't think of herself as right wing or racialist just heathen) Arrowyn comes from a punk/crusty/DIY background.

    I myself was raised in gay and urban environment, so I fit neither expectations. I know the guys from Strong Survive records (a NSBM label) who've I've met a few times are all Lithuanian immigrants who live in Chicago.

    I can't speak about what goes on in Europe, but over here the racialist element of post-industrial culture isn't quite what you're thinking. I have read Gods of the Blood as well, and having met some of the people it touches on its fairly honest and objective.

    I liked that it gave Mcnallen and Flowers a fair shake. Also I should mention the American neo-folk related project Awen is done by a member of Stephen Flowers' rune guild. So the ideas of these people are sprouting outward.

    Though not in a coherent or unified way. My efforts to work with more conventional traditionally right types didn't work so well for me. Even my friend Justin Ordnung who does Genocide Lolita who tries to appeal more to classically right minded people isn't so well received by that end of things and oddly enough probably has more non-white fans then he does fans amongst old school racists and skin head types.



    -Oneiric Imperium

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  7. "over here the racialist element of post-industrial culture isn't quite what you're thinking. "

    It isn't? Well I THINK it's a bunch of frustrated, simpleminded middle class white boys full of rage and boredom who think they are doing something important by masturbating with runes and playing dress up. Oh wait no, I don't just THINK that, I know it from firsthand experience.

    Only thing grosser than a Nazi is a Nazi who dresses up his bullshit as some kind of 'elite" cultural movement, when it just a base and boneheaded as well...boneheads, only arguably even more cowardly!

    Terrible fucking music too.

    Here i'll give myself a play name too:

    -Scary Spookhammer Doomsmith

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  8. It may arise aberrant to apprehend or apprehend for the aboriginal time what I call as the actuality of Judas. We all apperceive or accept heard about the man alleged Judas. The Bible declared him as a traitor; the one who betrayed his adept Jesus, and awash Him out to the Jews for a paltry sum. As animal and abhorrent as the adventure of Judas is, no one accepted that he would accept a duke in the autograph of the gospel. Therefore, the "gospel of Judas" alleged is the abominable analysis of how adulation for one addition and account are sacrificed on the chantry of bread-and-butter value.

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Please at least use a pseudonym so it's possible to follow your argument if you make multiple posts