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In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Dominique Venner’s passing, we present this excerpt from For a Positive Critique (Arktos, 2015).

Before we attempt to define a constructive solution, a critique of “nationalist” flaws is indispensable. Some, for lack of political maturity, will not be able to comprehend it. Those who have drawn upon the lessons of their own experience, however, will understand this necessity.

It is always easy to act, it is less easy to succeed. This is especially true of revolutionary struggles.

Revolution is not just the violence that is sometimes involved in a political takeover. Nor is it a simple change of institutions or political cliques. Revolution is not the seizure of power, it is the use of power to construct a new society.

Such a task is unimaginable in the face of disordered thought and action. It requires immense preparation and training. The “nationalist” struggle is stuck in the same ruts it was a half-century ago. Before anything else can be done, a new revolutionary theory must be developed.

There are no Spontaneous Revolutions

It is always easy to act, it is less easy to succeed. This is especially true of revolutionary struggles, in a fight to the death against an all-powerful, cunning, and experienced enemy, which must be fought with ideas and with cunning before it can be fought with force. It is common for some, however, to pit thought against action. To do so is to believe in the spontaneity of revolutionary action. The example of the Fascist revolution in Italy is cited. One forgets that when the “fascios” were formed in 1919, Mussolini had been fighting for more than twelve years as an agitator and journalist. One also forgets that the conditions of the struggle in Italy after the armistice of 1918, are nothing like the conditions in France today.

The communists of the West have become gentrified, they are simply a part of the scenery and they are the firmest defenders of the regime.

In Italy, like many other European Nations, the power of the State was extremely weak and totally incapable of imposing its law on the armed factions which were fighting over the country. The State had to deal with each of these veritable political armies as they cropped up. In October 1922, the blackshirts were the strongest and thus managed to assume control of the state. Today, the “liberal regimes” of the West are characterized by a large privileged caste, which serves as an agent of financial groups, who control all the political, administrative, and economic levers, united in their complicity. They can rely on gigantic administrative devices that rigorously oversees the population, especially through the social services sector. They hold a monopoly over political and economic power. They control most of the media and are the masters of thought. They are protected by vast police forces. They have turned their people into obedient little sheep. Only controlled opposition is tolerated.

At the end of the First World War, communist revolution was an immediate threat to all of Europe. The nature of a threat determines how one responds: fascist movements saw a chance and took it. Being the only force capable of opposing Red violence, fascism received powerful support and the adherence of a large number of partisans. Today, the factory Soviets, the Chekas, belong to the past. The communists of the West have become gentrified, they are simply a part of the scenery and they are the firmest defenders of the regime. “The man with a knife between his teeth” is no longer the communist but the activist. As for Russia, capitalists see nothing but new markets there.

Unlike the first half of the twentieth century, basic material needs are within the reach of all. The soup kitchens and the wildcat strikes are forgotten. Save a few threatened minorities, the vast majority of wage-earners are convinced that they have more to lose than to gain by violently taking what peaceful demands and time will inevitably give them. The yoke of social laws and blackmail by credit keep the rest from causing a ruckus.

These days, the greater good, as well as civic and political courage are limited to a small minority, whose legal means of expression have been systematically reduced. This is leagues away from Italy in the 1920s. The personal genius of Mussolini was sufficient to gather and mobilize a passionate mass and to conquer a State incapable of defending itself. The situation in Europe and in France is no longer conducive to this type of action. Since power belongs to the adversary, a superior cunning is required. Since the “great man” (besides being nonexistent) has greatly depreciated, one must rely on his team. That is, the quality of comrades and methodical, well-reasoned struggle. In this, education and doctrine are essential.

Since 1947, France has fought to defend its overseas territories, was victorious in the field, but was forced into successive capitulations by the political and economic forces that constitute the regime. It was not until the month of April 1961, fourteen years, that a few small cadres of men were able to discern their true enemies. An enemy who was not so much in the field, under the guise of a Viet or of a fellagha, but rather in France itself, in the boards of directors, the banks, the editorial offices, the assemblies, and the ministerial offices. Once again, this hostility was directed against the mythical decadent Metropolitan France rather than the reality of the regime.

To conquer, it is important to understand the reality of the regime, to learn its methods, to flush out its accomplices, especially those camouflaged as patriots. We must find positive solutions that will allow for the construction of a new society. This necessitates a thorough self-scrutiny, a thorough review of accepted truths, in short, a revolutionary consciousness.

A Revolutionary Consciousness

Superficial changes will not strike at the heart of the evil. Nothing will change until the weeds of this regime are extirpated down to the last root.

There is nothing less spontaneous than a revolutionary consciousness. The revolutionary is wholly conscious of the struggle between Nationalism, bearer of the creative and spiritual values of the West, and Materialism under its liberal or Marxist forms. He is free of the prejudices, falsehoods, and the conditioned reflexes with which the regime defends itself. The political education with which one frees himself of these is obtained through personal experience, of course, but especially through the kind learning that one can only acquire through study. Without such an education, even the most courageous and most audacious man becomes a puppet manipulated by the regime. As circumstances dictate, the regime pulls the strings that regulate his behavior: patriotism, blind anti-communism, the fascist menace, legalism, the unity of the army, etc. Using the permanent one-way propaganda, to which everybody is subjected from childhood, the regime, in all its forms, has progressively intoxicated the French people. This is true of all democratic nations at this point. Any critical thought, any personal opinion is destroyed. The moment those keywords that trigger their conditioned reflex are uttered, all reason is thrown out the window.

Spontaneity feeds this conditioned reflex. It leads only to revolts, which are very easy to defuse or to divert with only a few superficial concessions, a few bones to chew on, or a few changes of scenery. And so it was time and time again with the French Algerians, the army, and the “nationalists.”

In the face of mortal danger, it is possible to set up a defensive front. Both the Resistance at the end of the last war and the OAS are perfect examples. The outcome of the fight was a question of life or death; the physical struggle against a very tangible adversary is often a pitiless one. Supposing that a revolt were to triumph, as soon as the enemy is vanquished, the once united front explodes into multiple clans, and the mass of partisans, having no more reason to fight, returns to its everyday life, demobilizes, and entrusts the city they have liberated to those who lost it in the first place.

France and Europe must accomplish their nationalist revolution in order to survive. Superficial changes will not strike at the heart of the evil. Nothing will change until the weeds of this regime are extirpated down to the last root. To achieve this, we must destroy its political organization, overthrow its idols and dogmas, eliminate both its official and secret masters, and show the people the extent to which they have been deceived and exploited. Then, reconstruction can begin. Not based on paper tigers, but on a young and revolutionary elite, imbued with a new conception of the world. Is such revolutionary action conceivable without the direction of a sound revolutionary doctrine? Certainly not. How can you oppose an adversary armed with a well-tested dialectic, rich with long experience, that is powerfully organized, and without ideology or method?

No Revolutionary Doctrine, no Revolution!

Even at the military stage, the revolutionary struggle is above all psychological. How is it to be conducted, how are partisans to be converted and inspired without a clear definition of the new ideology, without doctrine? A doctrine understood, not as ideological abstractions, but as a rudder for thought and action.

Maintaining the moral offensive among its own partisans and communicating its convictions to waverers, are two indispensable conditions for the development of Nationalism. It has been proven that in action or in prison, when demoralization is close at hand and the adversary seems to have won, the educated militants, whose faith is fueled by coherent thinking, have superior powers of resistance.

Nationalism is the heir to an infinitely rich body of thought, but it is too diverse, incomplete, and tainted by archaism. The time has come to synthesize this body of work, and to supplement it with qualifying statements required to explain new problems.

The development of new doctrine is the only answer to the divisions between activists. There is no doubt about the unifying value of action. But this unification lasting nor practical without ideological unification around a sound doctrine. The editor of France-Observateur, SFIO officials, and communists, all share the same ideology: Marxism. Their ideological reference is therefore the same, their worldview is similar. The words they use have the same meaning. They belong to the same family. Despite the profound differences in their methods, they all apply the same ideology. This is not true of their nationalist opposition. Our activists do not share any common ancestors. Some are fascistic, others are Maurrasians, others still are Integrists, and all these categories contain many variants. Their only point of unity is what they are against: communism, Gaullism, etc. They do not understand each other. The words that they use — revolution, counter-revolution, nationalism, Europe, etc. — have different, indeed opposite meanings. How can they not oppose each other? How can they stand united with such differences in worldview? Revolutionary unity is impossible without unity of doctrine.

The works of Marx are immense, unreadable, and obscure. A Lenin was needed to extract a clear doctrine and to transform this enormous hotchpotch into an effective weapon of political war. Nationalism has its own collective Marx, just as obscure and unsuitable as Engels’ partner was for Russia in 1903. It is imperative that we create our own Lenin.

Nationalism is the heir to an infinitely rich body of thought, but it is too diverse, incomplete, and tainted by archaism. The time has come to synthesize this body of work, and to supplement it with qualifying statements required to explain new problems. For example, a documented analysis of High Finance, or of the Doctrines of Nationalism, are excellent examples of syntheses that respond to this need.

The causes that precipitated, the birth of Nationalism as a political ideology (and not simply the awakening of the national consciousness in a narrow sense) at the end of the nineteenth century, have not varied much from that time. Nationalism was born from the critique of liberal society in the nineteenth century. Later on, it fought against Marxism, the illegitimate child of liberalism.

Nationalism, coming after the counter-Encyclopédistes, after the Positivists, after Taine and Renan, whose teachings remain a part of Nationalist doctrine, Drumont and Barrès outlined the permanent characteristics of this ideology, to which Charles Maurras, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, Robert Brasillach, Alexis Carrel, and many others in Europe contributed their own ideas and genius. Founded on a heroic conception of life, Nationalism, which is a return to the source of popular community, intends to create new social relationships based on community and to build a political order based on the hierarchy of merit and value. Stripped from the narrow envelope imposed by a particular era, Nationalism has become a new political philosophy. European in its conceptions and its perspectives, it brings a universal solution to the problems facing mankind as a result of the technical revolution.

The Arktos Restoration Initiative

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IArcheofuturism (Limited Edition)
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Racial Civil War (Limited Edition)
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Translated by Aodren Guillermou

Dominique Venner

Dominique Venner (1935–2013) was a French writer and historian. He wrote over fifty books about history, specialising in the history of weapons and hunting. He served as a paratrooper during the Algerian War, and was jailed for 18 months for his involvement with the Organisation of the Secret Army, which sought to retain French Algeria through armed insurrection. He was subsequently involved in a decade of intense political activism, and also worked with Alain de Benoist’s ‘New Right’ organisation, GRECE. Before his decision to publicly end his life in 2013, the goal of which was to awaken the minds of his European compatriots, he was in charge of the Nouvelle Revue de l'Histoire. His last book, Un Samouraï d'Occident, was published shortly after his death.

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Alexander Reynor
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Alexander Reynor
1 year ago

For a Positive Critique is a nice, short manifesto that sums up what must be done. It must truly be revolutionary in the sense that it moves away from anachronistic, retrograde ideologies of the past. It has to be of this time and in this moment. We can always learn from thinkers of the past and borrow their ideas but wearing the various labels of dated political movements of the past just removes you from the Zeitgeist. You just end up restricting yourself to a label and being more of a hobbyist historian than an actual revolutionary.

Jason Rogers
Member
Jason Rogers
1 year ago

Excellent excerpt from Venner. This is very relevant right now; the conservative Right – in the U.S. at least – is in precisely this position: lacking unity and still addicted to the consumerism that the Left champions.
Venner rightly points out that military action alone never succeeds spontaneously; years of thought and preparation are necessary.

EuroNat
Member
1 year ago

A good writer but not really accurate. The only way the right will take power is if they have a massive capability of violence. Our enemies will never give power up without a real, literal fight.

This also means seizing control of the instruments of the state: the media, schools, etc. The masses are sheep, and these are the means to change their course, as difficult as it sounds.

Wagnerian
Member
1 year ago

Added to my immediate reading list. This is a little negative, I am interested in seeing his recommendations on building a revolutionary movement.

What was the circumstance surrounding his suicide?

EuroNat
Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Wagnerian

I recall it being in a Church and he had written a statement but not sure if it was ever published in English.

Atlantean
Member
1 year ago

There are no Spontaneous Revolutions

This can’t be stressed enough.

Even when revolutions may seem spontaneous it is always later reveals there were long periods of work behind the scenes.

Wait for a revolution to manifest on its own and you will wait forever.

Wagnerian
Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Atlantean

I have seen this with my own eyes and confirm it’s true!

EuroNat
Member
1 year ago
Reply to  Atlantean

Yes, this is true. We need to create our own luck through sacrifice and hard work.

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