Thursday, August 22, 2013

From The Kind And Gentle Fascist

The following is an excerpt from The Kind and Gentle Fascist by Stewart Arthur Ravelin. For more on the book, see the previous posting in this blog.

From Chapter Two

It all happened because our club…the "Thursday Discussion Circle," we call it, because that's when we meet. Anyway, our club tried to sponsor a conference of Left- and Right-wing Radicals in one of the years toward the middle of the 1990s. Grey was one of the many, many people we'd invited.

I had seen his byline in some of the little political journals I read. We'd exchanged email once or twice. He'd come across a couple of my articles on my web site – specifically "Eurasian Unity and Social Destiny" and "Towards a Nationalist Revolutionary North American Ideology: Beyond Liberal and Conservative" — and he wrote me a very nice note about them. I must confess, I was rather flattered.

So, about a year later, when we . . . that is, the Discussion Circle, we've run it from of my house ever since my wife moved out . . . when we decided to hold a conference on the works of Maurice Bard├Ęche, I emailed him an invitation.

I didn't hear back from him. But that, alas, did not make him unique. Our conference was a bit of a disaster, I'm afraid. We mailed or emailed, or phoned, nearly a thousand different organizations on the Revolutionary Right and the Revolutionary Left all over the world. We, or rather I (it was on my Visa card. I was supposed to be reimbursed by the Club. But I never was) had rented a conference room at a downtown hotel. We put up fliers around the schools — Harvard, MIT, BU, BC.  We promoted things as best we could.

But, for all that, we got hardly any response. The Europeans were the worst.  No one from the National Alliance, the former Italian Social Movement, came.  No one from the French Front National, that is, Le Pen's people, came. There was some faint interest from some German fans of the Conservative Revolutionaries, but they could come only if we could pay for the plane tickets, and we couldn't. We did get a couple of gentlemen who said they were Dutch Third Positionists, but later I wasn't sure what group they were really with. If any. Except maybe the S&M Liberation Front. They came to the meetings wearing enough black leather to start their own motorcycle gang.

 We did better among the Anglos. We had two Brits who said they were followers of Mosley, and one who said he was a member of the Black Front. A few Scots separatists showed up, and we had one fellow who said he was an Ulster Nationalist . . . in other words, a Northern Ireland independent of both the U.K. and the South.

Then there were our fellow Americans. We had some National Bolsheviks from Arizona and California and an Integralist from New York City. There was a man who said he was a Falangist from Alabama, but I think he was really more of a Francoist or Social Catholic. He spent most of his time passing out anti-Abortion pamphlets in the back of the hall. And urging everyone to Pray the Rosary.

And we had some Communists. We'd invited members of the Russian Party, but none of them came. And we'd tried to get a speaker from the CPUSA, but they didn't answer. But we had six or seven Maoists and Trotskyites. Mostly they were academics from the schools.

All total, I think we got about one hundred people. That is, bodies in the room. Unfortunately, not all of them were real Radicals, either Right or Left. I'd say maybe half were. The rest? Ah. I'm afraid I have to quote my friend Theo, who said to me later, "A crock pot potato soup of warmed over Ku Kluxers and Latter Day Nazis poured over a base of Ronald Reaganoids, Ayn Randies, and Laissez Fairies."

Alas, he was woefully correct. We were up to our up lower lips in Libertarians. With the typical willful stupidity of their block-headed breed, they'd misread our flyers and posters. They seemed not to realize that we were the NON-Capitalist Right. They showed up in full fledged Ayn Rand drag . . . that is, the men trying to be John Galt with steely jaws, the women in capes and being very, very serious behind cigarette holders the length of knitting needles.

But it was amusing to watch their eyes goggle when they got to the conference room and found we'd decorated it with posters of Che and Trotsky. So I suppose they were worth something.

Oh, and we had a large number of Radical Traditionalists — John Birch types. Bloody fools, the lot. But you can deal with them, easily. Just make some off-hand remarks about international conspiracies and Illuminati, and they're perfect lambs.

The other problem we had was far worse. That is, the Racists. Quoting Theo again (he so damn quotable), "they killed Fascism the first time, they're doing their best to do it again." 

In fact, on the third day of the conference, I thought they were going to slaughter us right then and there. Among the people who'd showed up, uninvited, was a prize fool who called himself "Colonel Junker." He really had been in the military. He'd been a corporal or something in the National Guard while he was avoiding the draft in the '60s. Anyway, he showed up wearing a sort of fatigue uniform outfit. And he came with a flotilla of six teenage skinheads in tow. All white skinny punks in boots with white shoelaces . . . which, of course, meant they were racist skinheads, red laces mean revolutionary skinheads . . .  and black jackets decorated with Celtic and arrow crosses.

He made a speech on the third day. He got up, put in a monocle (No. Honestly. He had one), and launched off into an incoherent rant about Zionist oppression of the Palestinians. Which is fine enough, I suppose. You have to admit the Israelis have done their share of that. But then from there, he got to the "Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG)" of the United States, and the "Jew-Ridden Congress, "and finally to the ATF as a "Jewish Front Organization."

We were all sitting there feeling horribly embarrassed because that's exactly the kind of thing we don't need. It gives Fascism a bad name. But finally he came cranking to a finish, removed his monocle (I think it was simply unground glass, not a lens, just for display), and goose-stepped back to his seat. We were absolutely silent. Then, his skinheads started applauding wildly and yelling at the top of their lungs. I clapped a little, to be polite, but didn't really put my heart into it.

His pimple-faced juvenile delinquents, however, were ecstatic. One of them got up on his chair and started bellowing "White Power! White Power!" and giving the straight-arm salute. Another, a nasty looking little brute with a wispy beard, unfurled a flag on a staff and began waving it about. It was red, with a white disk in the center, and in the disk a black "werewolf" symbol . . . that is, a kind of half a swastika. Swedish and Dutch Neo-Nazis use it a lot.

I saw them eyeing us and noticing that we weren't really giving their Maximum Leader the attention they felt he deserved. I saw fists starting to clinch and in their eyes the delighted, feral, bloody-minded look you see when Hitler Youth think they're going to get the chance to beat the crap out of somebody.

Then, in the back of the room, there was an awful bang. Everybody spun around. A youngish man  in the very last row of seats had stood up suddenly and knocked his chair over in the process. It had made a dreadful noise. I realized later he'd done it quite deliberately.

"Sorry," he said.

He was tall, wrapped in a long, black overcoat. It was wet, I remember. It had been raining and sleeting that day. He removed the coat and put it across another chair. Under it, he was green and black. He had a black sport coat over a green knit sweater. Black tie. White shirt. The clothing looked old, somehow. A little worn. And he was very pale and very thin. He had a long, pale delicately featured face. It was almost feminine, I can remember. There was a womanliness about it.

He walked slowly, deliberately to the front of the room, where we had a little podium. I remember he passed under the werewolf flag. Then, the skinhead who'd been saluting jumped off his chair and stood in front of him. The thin man paused . . . stared at him . . . reached into a pocket, extracted an ice pick. He held it up, almost elegantly, the way the Randian women held their cigarette holders.

The kid slowly sank back into his seat.

The man went forward, still with his ice pick, to the podium. He came to the podium, then stood for a moment, looking down at it . . . at the podium, I mean . . . as though there were notes there, and he was refreshing his memory before launching into a prepared text. But, it was empty. He read nothing but the varnished wood. And he had the pick raised in one hand, like a conductor with a baton.

Then . . . down! Down came the pick. With enormous force . . . strength far beyond what I thought him capable . . . he slammed the ice pick into the podium. His whole body twisted to place his total weight into the blow. It sank deep and remained in the wood.

Then, slowly, silently, he raised his gaze until he look at each of us. It was like  …  I don't know … like being cold. Like being caught in the beams of, say, some powerful microwave source. You cannot see it. You cannot feel it. But you know, somehow, that you are being damaged. Burned.

"I am," he said, "Jerusalem."


The Kind and Gentle Fascist, by Stewart Arthur Revelin is now on Amazon here:

The Kind And Gentle Fascist

This month we have a new and very transgressive novel to offer—The Kind And Gentle Fascist by Stewart Arthur Ravelin.

The title alone will tip you off that we've got something that treads rather heavily on thin ice here. A kind Fascist? A gentle Fascist?

Yet, that's what this novel about—a modern American who has become a "fascist," although he'd probably prefer the term "Revolutionary Nationalist," or "man of the New Right." Mr. Burnell, as our hero is named, is a true gentleman, kind and wise, who hates racism and anti-Semitism, and would die for world peace and social justice.

Yet, his political ideology is derived from the Radical Right.

A contradiction? Maybe not as much as you might think. "Fascism" is a complicated word. For most us it means simply Hitler and Mussolini and death camps and war and bloody-minded horror.

Yet, as the great historian Zeev Sternhell has pointed out, this has not always been the case. (See his Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France.) At one time, prior to the 1930s, there were currents within radical right-wing thought that were neither racist nor anti-Semitic, that opposed imperialism and militarism, and that were far less authoritarian than (for example) what was happening in militant socialism at the same time—i.e., Communism, as made manifest by Lenin, Trotsky, and, later, Stalin.

Indeed, at one time, there was a "Fascism" or "Nationalistic Socialism" (not to be confused Hitler's National Socialism, Nazism, despite the similarity of the names) that was a genuine competitor with Communism for the hearts and minds of the European workingman and woman. 

Alas, that all changed with the rise first of Mussolini and then of Hitler. "Fascism" became (with Mussolini) a tool with which the wealthy and the powerful could corrupt, control, and repress the lower class. Then (with Hitler) it became as well an obscenity…the destroyer of whole peoples, the author of genocide and terror.

And, with Burnell, author Stewart Arthur Ravelin gives us a man who is desperately attempting bring that other Radical Right back, and to bring the Right as a whole to the inclusive socialism of men like Henri De Man and the organicism of men like G.K. Chesterton.

Does he succeed? We will provide no spoilers. But we will mention that here is an additional complication.

To wit, there is a viper at his breast.


For a bit more on this remarkable new book, check out the next posting in this blog. It will be an excerpt the book.

As for the book itself, you can see it here: The Kind and Gentle Fascist