Occidental Dissent has a problem. Are we an emerging media center for original content and reporting targeted at and reporting on white advocates? Are we an activist and networking organization? Are we an online journal of ideas, fearlessly exploring the taboos of our age and paving the way for a new intellectual vanguard? Or are we simply a WN blog collective that comments on the passing scene?
Some would say “all four,” and that is probably closest to the truth, at least for now. This is part of what makes this a great site, but also part of the problem. The role of the intellectual and the role of the activist are very different. While it is possible for one person to combine them, it requires a split personality.
The job of an intellectual qua intellectual is to follow the truth as he or she sees it, wherever it leads. It means blasting apart taboos, aggressively pointing out contradictions, and fearlessly exploring new ideas. Occasionally, it means picking fights. The truth does not depend on the opinions of others or the realities of power, nor is the true intellectual bound by the bourgeois conventions of his time, status, or culture. For this reason, reading the work of a great thinker can be an exhilarating experience.
The job of an activist is different. An activist must accept the world as it is and approach a constituency in terms that they understand, with symbols and metaphors that they can relate to. An activist functions in the realm of politics, which is to say, the realm of social relations and balances of power between individuals, groups, or institutions. You necessarily are dealing with considerations other than truth.
If you don’t believe me, try talking to your boss the same way you would talk to your college roommate. Right around the time you are picking up your pink slip for telling him that he is full of shit, you’ll realize that you practice politics and deal with differences of power in your everyday life. The realities of activism are consensus, compromise, and conflicts chosen only when it is for political advantage.
One of the most important aspects of activism is the problem of communication. Except when telling war stories, it is difficult for an activist to write as compellingly as an intellectual because his language must be carefully couched. This is especially true on the Internet where a culture of “condemnation by quotation” has arisen, particularly in regard to white nationalists. This is practically the $PLC’s entire modus operandi at this point.
Now a lot of this is simply just the nature of the beast and there is nothing you can do about it. At the same time, this is especially harmful to white advocates because, as we all know, even mentioning subjects like race, IQ, or the Jewish question is enough to be cast into the outer darkness. Even showing awareness that such debates exist, even if you specifically denounce them, is enough for you to be shunned like the evil Nazi that you are.
For white advocates then, even more than other political actors, how we choose to present ourselves is critical as to whether we get a hearing at all. For that reason, this site has been consciously adopting traditional American symbols (such as the Gadsden flag and the battle at the Alamo) to better communicate our message.
At the same time, because of the control of the mass media and academia by a hostile elite, our position in public debate is marginal. Therefore, of necessity and simply because of considerations of truth, we explore revisionist ideas that shed light on how we got to this point and what we can do about it. These ideas are important but would not communicate well to normal white Americans. Even mentioning them would scare many away. It’s probably true of most white advocates that they are simply bored with the normal rhetoric of American conservatism or simply more “extreme” versions of the kind of thing you would see on Foxnews or libertarian websites.
Which brings me to National Bolshevism.
Obviously, I consider National Bolshevism interesting and do believe it offers some insights and is worth studying. I think that Nazbol in Russia has some important lessons for white advocates here in America and also provides context for the seemingly never ending debate on Francis Parker Yockey and anti-Americanism.
At the same time, National Bolshevism only has a real world following of any size in one country, Russia. It has this following only because it appeals to symbols and traditions that resonate in the imagination of the Russian people. From a political standpoint, trying to start a “National Bolshevik Front — North America” would be ludicrous.
Of course, many topics are interesting and have valuable insights to offer us, including Ayn Rand, Communism, or more obscure topics like Esoteric National Socialism. We could write a great deal about all of these things, even though mentioning them shouldn’t imply total agreement or even sympathy.
The problem is, especially on a website that is trying to do some stuff in the real world, even mentioning certain things sets off red flags (heh) in our readers. Dropping the term “National Bolshevism” made some people immediately roll their eyes and declare this website is going to the dogs by writing about esoterica, even though the intent was to show why it does make a certain amount of sense in a Russian context.
Richard Hoste took a shot at me today over this issue, calling the National Bolshevism article “insane.” I really appreciate Matt leaping to my defense even before I had a chance to say something and obviously, I don’t think Hoste really read it. Nonetheless, I don’t take it personally and will continue to read and profit from Richard Hoste’s writings, even when I disagree with them. Besides, the Internet has a way of making arguments seem bigger than they actually are.
Nonetheless, this kind of attack is typical on the Intertubes. Hoste himself has suffered from the same kind of attacks from Lawrence Auster. Specifically, Auster charged Hoste with hating America because he gave some faint praise to Fred Phelps for standing against the ridiculous circus that is modern American culture. Such a charge is a silly cheap shot of course, as Hoste was making a larger point, not declaring “God Hates Fags — A Message Brought to You by HBD Books.”
This isn’t fair, but it is simply reality. It is almost a truism that politicians or even major media figures have to be boring or at least avoid certain topics in order to have any credibility whatsoever. Radical ideas usually have to be cast in traditional terms in order get some leverage. The great lesson of David Duke was his sudden electoral appeal after he took off the Klan robes and put on a suit.
Similarly, when it comes to activism, I think most WN’s in America should utilize traditional American symbols and couch our demands in traditional American terms. This doesn’t mean compromising our aims or even our tactics. However, the objective is a message that normal Americans can understand at a glance rather than something that needs to be explained to them.
Notice I say “most” and not “all” — there will be a place for both a political and intellectual vanguard, which in the long run, may be even more effective. We will need both. Winning this battle will take many tribes and many approaches, even ones that seemingly contradict each other.
As for Occidental Dissent, we will continue to serve many disparate functions — activist and networking organization, WN media wing, intellectual discussion group, and entertaining blog. In the end, it probably hinders our activism potential and makes it easier to criticize us, like we saw today. At the same time, I think it is more interesting this way and more enjoyable for both our readers and ourselves.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball, help this community grow, and think seriously about how we take this stuff into the real world.