What is the ‘New Right?’
The New Right is a Anglo-European intellectual, political, social, and cultural movement gaining influence within Paganism, Polytheism, Heathenism, and the Occult communities. Generally called either ‘proto-fascists’ or ‘crypto-fascists,’ their ideology mirrors many aspects of what we might call ‘traditional’ Fascists, though only a few on the New Right claim that identity.
What does the New Right stand for?
The New Right is difficult to define precisely, which has been one of their greatest strengths. But here are some core ideas that are common in most New Right thinkers:
Our Decadent Society: New Right theorists criticise modern civilization as being in a state of ‘decay.’ They tend to be heavily anti-Modern and sometimes anti-civilisationist, believing that society needs to return to a more noble, healthy, and ‘natural’ order.
Our Scattered Peoples: The New Right is pro-European and pro-white, though these ideas are rarely well-defined. They tend to see European peoples as part of a coherent racial, ethnic, and/or cultural group whose fates are tied together and are separate from other peoples. Though many are overtly racist, some (including Stephen McNallen of AFA) claim they are working for the liberation of all separate people groups. The key word here is separate.
Our Sacred Traditions: The New Right advocates a return to ‘older relationships’ between humans and the Sacred. As part of their critique of modern civilisation, they believe that the sacred order of the world has been disrupted (through Democracy, or Marxism, or Monotheism) and humanity must embrace pre-modern traditions, be those Christian, Pagan, Polytheist, or Heathen.
Our Lost and Despoiled Lands: “Blood and Soil” is a crucial aspect of New Right thought, though this takes many forms. Regarding ‘soil,’ there is a tendency towards Nationalist identity through relationship to land (European lands, primarily) and the desire to protect it from foreigners. Also, they tend to co-opt Indigenous and First Nations language regarding sovereignty without actual alliance with post-colonial and anti-colonial politics.
Our Great Threat: The New Right creates group identity and coherence through focusing on external human threats. Immigrants and particularly Muslims are the primary ‘enemy at the gates’ in European New Right movements, as in North America. Another shared enemy is ‘Radical Leftists,’ be they Communists, Anarchists, Post-Modernists, Social Justice Warriors, or “Cultural Marxists.”
Who are the primary figures of the New Right?
Currently, there are no ‘leaders’ of the New Right. However, there are many notable figures—both living and dead—along with several groups who comprise the bulk of New Right intellectual and cultural support.
- Arktos Media: Based in the UK, Arktos is a clearinghouse for many New Right and Traditionalist writers, as well as many bands.
- Black Front Press: Also based in the UK, but much smaller.
- Stephen McNallen: The founder of AFA and published author with Counter-Currents. Has repeatedly made anti-Muslim statements and advocated for Traditionalism, Tribalism, and racial separatism
- Counter-Currents: The largest New Right publisher in the United States.
- Radix Journal: the publishing imprint of the National Policy Insititute, “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States, and around the world.”
- Jack Donovan: Formerly “Jack Malabranche,” author of “Androphilia” and “The Way of Men.” Advocates a hyper-masculine archetype to combat ‘Feminism,’ particularly hates transwomen.
- Julius Evola: an ‘esoteric fascist’ writer and critic of civilization. Advocated for the return of hierarchical and patriarchal societies to combat the influence of Jewish and Marxist politics.
- Alain de Benoist: founder of the New Right in Europe, also author of “On Being a Pagan,” a book which claims Pagan and Polytheist values are inherently and justifiably anti-democratic.
- Michael Moynihan: Co-Founder of Tyr, a racist Heathen Journal. Also, musician.
- TYR: A self-styled ‘radical traditionalist’ journal.
What is the New Right’s influence on Paganism?
Before continuing, it is important to note that the presence of New Right ideas in any Pagan or Magical Tradition does not mean the tradition itself is part of the New Right. Often times the adoption of these ideas is unconscious, particularly since many advocates of New Right ideology do not present their ideas as part of a political stance. In fact, many ideas are presented as overtly ‘apolitical,’ deriving from common sense, tradition, lore, or the will of the gods.
- Dianic and Goddess Spirituality: Most adherents of Dianic Witchcraft and goddess spirituality are fiercely feminist and egalitarian. There is some danger of potential crossover with the New Right through ‘essentialist’ ideas of gender—and the ‘sacred’ right of people to exclude transpeople from their circles.’
- Druidry: While groups such as the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids are fiercely egalitarian, smaller groups (including the ADF and AoDA) sometimes have overlaps with Traditionalist and Tribalist thought, particularly in ADF’s focus on Indo-European ‘hearth cultures.’ Also, the ideas of Oswald Spengler (a favorite amongst many New Right theorists) have gained popularity through some “Long Descent” druids.
- Reconstructionism: One of the more significant places where the New Right intersects with Pagan beliefs. Emphasis on returning to ‘reconstructed’ traditions, older (and poorly understood) social forms and hierarchical structures, as well as an emphasis on recovering European heritage are often problematic. Further, nationalistic and racial exclusionist tendencies are often justified as being part of ‘the lore.’
- Devotional Polytheism: Similar to the problems in Reconstructionism, but with an extra dimension. Because some Devotional Polytheists place final authority in ‘the gods’ and emphasise hierarchical relationships (between human and god, priest and devotee), ethical questions cannot be challenged by concerned people because ‘the gods will it.’
- Heathenism, Asatru, and ‘Northern Traditions’: while generally considered the most problematic, Heathenism is one of the few large Pagan traditions which also has a vibrant opposition against New Right ideology. Also, because of the constant media attention white nationalists within Heathenism garner, non-racist Heathens can draw on greater support from the communities around them.
- Occult/Witch/High Magic Traditions: Because of their emphasis on obscurantism and secret mysteries, it is often difficult to discern the political leanings of leaders within occult traditions. Here, ‘association’ tends to be much more useful. Mentions of Evola or other ‘esoteric fascists’ should be considered warning signs.
Again, it should be noted that none of these traditions are inherently aligned with the New Right. There are also many traditions which, because of their emphasis on egalitarianism and non-hierarchy (OBOD, Reclaiming, Feri, for instance) are much more immune to the New Right’s influence.
How Do We Resist The New Right?
One of the reasons why Gods&Radicals exists is to give support to Pagan, Polytheist, Heathen, and Magical traditions who stand against racism, exploitation, hierarchy, and authoritarianism. In fact, specifically because we are anti-capitalist Pagans, we are often seen as ‘the enemy at the gates’ for many New Right aligned Pagans.
There are several primary antagonisms between us and the New Right, and we’re quite proud of these. What we stand for is quite often a threat to their influence, and we intend to keep it that way.
And while we don’t believe that every Pagan needs to believe the same way we do (that’d be really fascist of us!), we think there are some important values that any resistance to Fascism (Pagan or otherwise) should consider embracing. These are some of them:
Hierarchy vs. Egalitarianism
The New Right believes that there are ‘natural’ human hierarchies, and that attempting to change that sacred order is part of the reason society is a mess. In the words of one New Right writer:
“The true Right, in both its Old and New versions, is founded on the rejection of human equality as a fact and as a norm. The true right embraces the idea that mankind is and ought to be unequal, i.e., differentiated. Men are different from women. Adults are different from children. The wise are different from the foolish, the smart from the stupid, the strong from the weak, the beautiful from the ugly. We are differentiated by race, history, language, religion, nation, tribe, and culture. These differences matter, and because they matter, all of life is governed by real hierarchies of fact and value, not by the chimera of equality.”
Many New Right theorists believe in ideas such as ‘sacred kingship’ (that is, ‘Divine Right of Kings’), and even that unequal relations between race, caste, and class are the way Nature intended.
Gods&Radicals stands for something completely different. Hierarchies are artificial: for instance, what’s the hierarchy of a forest? The notion of natural hierarchies is very problematic, and it hides the fact that hierarchies are created through power and political process. Human relationships should always be egalitarian, or as egalitarian as possible, and every assumption about innate and natural authority or position must be dismantled.
Neo-Tribalism versus Interconnection
New Right writers appropriate the tribal structures of First Nations and other indigenous peoples in order to construct a vision of society where loyalty run in concentric circles from a kinship group. One of the primary problems with this, however, is their vision of ‘kin’ and their need to have external enemies to create group coherence. On a large scale, this kinship-first structure becomes Nationalist and Fascist. “Aryan,” for instance, was a (false) kinship group, and it led to some really horrific slaughter.
As anarchists, Marxists, Feminists, Post-Colonialists and Pagans, we at Gods&Radicals insist on the fact that the dichotomy of who’s in and who’s out is always dangerous. Instead, we insist on the fact that humanity is interconnected, and not just to each other. Individual actions in one place affect the lives of people we’ve never met across the planet (like Climate Change, or Nuclear fallout). In fact, it’s exactly Capitalism’s denial of interconnectedness which has helped us ignore the relationship between human actions and the health of ecosystems.
Even though a society might be insulated from others, it can (and is) affected by the decisions of others. And so every political decision must take into consideration many more people than just our ‘chosen kin group.’
Cultural War vs. Class War
The narrative of the New Right suggests that civilization is in a state of decay because of the destruction of European ‘Traditions’ (whether that be because of Monotheism, Immigration, or Leftism) and the forced mixing of cultures. Though many of them espouse the idea that every group should have their own cultural, religious, and ethnic identity, they don’t actually mean self-determination for all peoples. Further, they tend to hold the struggles of indigenous and colonized peoples ‘hostage’ by saying, ‘if they can do it, so can Europeans.’ Tribal identities, sovereignty struggles, and religious forms (including animal sacrifice) are all cynically used to justify their narrative of white, European oppression.
We, on the other hand, see Capitalism and Imperialism as the primary causes of cultural destruction. First Nations peoples did not have to defend their lands from another ‘culture,’ they had to defend their lands from soldiers, settlers, and the greed of Capitalists. Similarly in every other colonized place and every colonized people, the engine of destruction was the desire for profit. In fact, this very process started in Europe, and is why European peoples ‘lost their traditions,’ as well as their lands. Even under the much-hated Christianity, many cultural forms survived, and Moorish Spain–ruled by Muslims!–still stands as one of the shining examples of multi-cultural civilization where Jews, Christians, Pagans, and Muslims lived in relative peace.
Capitalism is also the primary cause of climate change, environmental destruction, and the destruction of cultures, and it’s sustained by the same ‘natural’ hierarchies (Patriarchy, Anthropocentrism, Race) that the New Right cherishes.
What Else Can We Do?
Ask Uncomfortable Questions: The New Right aren’t called ‘crypto-fascists’ without reason. Often times, people espousing their ideas remain unclear about their ultimate motives, often hiding their political goals behind claims that they are ‘apolitical.’ Often times when pushed, however, they’ll reveal more of their true ideology.
Demand clear stances from leaders: If a leader of any Pagan tradition seems to equivocate on questions of race, identity, or politics, or if they seem to have odd associations with New Right figures, ask them to clarify their stance, especially if they are ‘your’ leader. Just because they are older or more experienced doesn’t mean they are beyond question; in fact, claiming ‘authority’ as an ‘elder’ or ‘priest’ leads to all manner of abuses, including spiritual abuse.
Build strong connections across traditions: Beware the tendency of many Pagan groups to create us vs. them dichotomies. In fact, if another group is ‘the enemy,’ consider asking why. Isolation is an essential part of authoritarian cults, and a great way to ensure group-think. Even people with apparently opposite theological stances have much more in common than they first appear.
Challenge divine proclamations: While it’s certainly possible that a god may have told someone to do something awful, that’s hardly an excuse to do something awful. The sacred has long been used by violent people to justify violence, by hateful people to justify hatred, and by authoritarian people to justify authoritarianism. Just because someone is a ‘professional’ priest or diviner or witch doesn’t mean that their statements about the gods are true. Especially question commands that might grant the giver of the message power over you, or lead you to see a group of people as ‘an enemy.’
- Scarlet Imprint’s strong statement against the inroads of the New Right into Occult and Esoteric communities.
- Jason Pitzl-Water’s report on Fascism, the New Right, and Esotericism.
- Searchlight Magazine, which regularly tracks New Right and Fascist groups.
- Heathens United Against Racism, a strong anti-racist Heathen group.
- “Marketing ‘Rad Trad’: ‘The Growing Co-influence Between Paganism and the New Right by Amy Hale is highly recommended, as well as much of her other work
For an elaboration on this page and rebuttal to some criticisms, see this post: [offsite]