If you’re even mildly familiar with ‘patriotic’ circles throughout Europe, and the Western world, you’ve probably encountered the term ‘Identitarian’. It’s quite likely that despite this, you’d be hard-pressed to offer anything remotely resembling a proper definition. This confusion is ironically a product of the success of Identitarian movements throughout Europe. Sensing their discipline, professionalism, and reach, large swathes of patriots, nationalists, and dispossessed radicals are drawn to the word itself. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it raises the profile of the expression and the movements that use it; on the other, it can and often does lead to improper use and undesirable personalities using it to delineate profoundly non-Identitarian ideas and strategies.
Online definitions often look something like this… ‘Relating to or supporting the political interests of a particular racial, ethnic, or national group, typically one composed of Europeans or white people.’ Such a definition is so vague as to be useless. In this case, ‘Identitarian’ can be swapped with all sorts of terminology. After all, what sort of political ideology or doctrine doesn’t claim to be in the interests of a particular group (whatever its origins and nature)? To understand Identitarianism, and who actually is Identitarian, we need to consider the fundamental content of its ideas, theories and objectives. Let’s look at these in brief…
All Identitarians are democrats by nature. But they are fierce opponents of liberal democracy. All throughout the world, Europeans are governed by a representative form of democracy that essentially sees them surrender their political rights to a class of ‘experts’. The result is, in effect, their political abdication as a people and an ethno-culture. All political considerations are reduced to individualism, which largely takes the form of economic considerations. The broader community ceases to matter, participation nosedives, and the power of globalists is consolidated. In place of representative forms of democracy, Identitarians strive to achieve direct forms of democracy, radical forms of localism, and subsidiarity. Europeans know their communities better than their cosmopolitan masters.
Much of the traditional ‘Right’ is critical of democratic thought, usually out of a misguided form of elitism. Ancient Athens, the birthplace of authentic democracy, found itself led by a great man in the form of Pericles. They saw no contradiction in this. They also understood themselves to be a distinct people via the idea of autochthon; that they had originated in their territory and shared a common destiny. As the revolutionary conservative Arthur Moeller van den Bruck said, ‘democracy is a people’s participation in its own destiny.’
Theory in Place of Conspiracy
What we call the ‘Right’ has for close to a century been dominated by conspiracy theories. In place of theory, it has attributed global affairs to the idea that small, select groups are at the heart of Europe’s decline. The most obvious of these are antisemitic by nature. This almost Manichean thinking, imbecilic as it is, satisfies its advocates by offering easy and holistic ways of explaining global affairs. The result is an anti-intellectualism (which prevents formulating any mature response) and a form of self-pardoning; that is to say, it justifies a lack of activity, as the ‘system’ is too strong and powerful to be properly challenged.
Identitarians reject conspiracy theories or the idea that the situation Europeans have found themselves in is a product of conspiratorial plots and schemes. Instead, they seek to understand the situation intellectually and theoretically. In essence, they want answers and not a devil. That said, there are clearly all sorts of tendencies that very much do wish to bring about a state of affairs that washes away all the very many distinct ways of being human. All of these tendencies, for the most part, are produced, represented and led by ethnic Europeans.
Communitarianism in Place of Individualism
Throughout the English-speaking world, Individualism is regarded as an almost holy cow, something inherently good and noble. In fact, most conservatives and patriotic organisations praise it incessantly. Identitarians do not. Individualism, which is almost certainly a product of free-market capitalism (and earlier tendencies still), is at the heart of the present crisis. Fundamental to globalisation, it reduces all concerns to man as a disconnected social atom, without roots, responsibilities and obligations. In essence, it saps and destroys all of the moral and social objectives conservatives claim to be advocating. Fears of a critique of Individualism are usually based on the idea that the only alternative is a North Korean-style collectivism. This is nonsense.
Individualism (note the capitalisation) is an exceptionally young idea that probably has roots dating back to no earlier than the late 17th century. It’s not simply a question of having a personality or character, it’s an organising philosophy and principle. Its legacy is the erosion of culture, borders, and environmental catastrophes all over the word. In its place, Identitarians advocate community, one’s place within it, and the social nature of human beings. In the Indo-European tradition, we idolise heroes, not individuals.
European New Right thinker Alain de Benoist wrote, ‘the true wealth of the world is first and foremost the diversity of its cultures and peoples.’ The ‘diversity’ lauded over by globalists and multiculturalists is a fig leaf, a justification for globalism and the omnipresent marching of consumerism. The system they advocate entails secularisation (the destruction of religion), Individualism and the erosion of ethnocentrism. The result is an inchoate mass of people, depoliticised, atomised, and devoid of any historic identity. As a result, globalism threatens all peoples and cultures. When Muslims in Britain protest against the teaching of LGBT texts in schools or the banning of the burqa, their sentiments are the same as Europeans seeking to challenge replacement-level migration; they feel threatened, that their way of life is at risk.
Identitarians don’t believe their culture is superior, or inferior, to any other. They recognise that there is no singular way of being a human being. That being alive is so worthwhile precisely because of ethnic and cultural differences. They wish to protect and promote these differences.
Beyond the Nation State
Identitarians aren’t nationalists. England existed before the Battle of Brunanburh in 937, as did Germany before unification in 1871. A nation isn’t a parliament or flag. England can be seen as much in the Mercian Cross of Alban as it can in the Cross of St George. Nationalism is a modern, romantic ideology that sprung up largely in the 19th century. Mostly abstract, it relies on institutions, chauvinistic rivalries between Europeans, and state-sponsored imagery to survive. In building their vision of France, the Jacobins ruthlessly destroyed dozens of languages, regional cultures, and ways of life throughout the country. Europe was greatly reduced by their centralising habits and their ‘nation-building.’ For Identitarians, Europe will only live when our rivalries are set aside, whether it’s Germans and Poles, Serbs and Croats, or Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.
In place of the nation state, most Identitarians embrace Yann Fouéré’s notion of a ‘Europe of 100 Flags.’ This would see Europe redrawn along authentic and historic regional and ethnocultural lines, all while pursuing a broader European civilisational project.
The Old Right, which consists of the likes of Fascists and National Socialists, glorify violence. Despite this, these tendencies have produced a remarkably small number of violent actions across the world. Breivik and Christchurch stand out precisely because they’re so novel and rare. From this, we can infer a few things. First of all, those that preach endlessly about strife, combat and violence are unwilling to participate in it themselves. Secondly, their unwillingness is a product of the fact that they don’t really believe in its effectiveness. One only has to look at the complete failure of Islamic terrorism to see how misguided violent acts often are. Muslims have begun to turn on Islamists, whom they’d largely embraced in the face of the failure of Arab nationalism.
Identitarians reject violence on both ethical and strategic grounds. Instead, they believe in the power of metapolitics, activism, and peaceful agitation in the real world. It’s these methods that have seen populist and patriotic parties soar throughout much of Europe. They speak for themselves. That said, we aren’t pacifists. We recognise the hostility we often face from our political opposition, and will defend ourselves to the full extent of the law in the countries we operate in. In addition, in an Aristotelian sense, we accept the inevitability of strife and discord in a heterogeneous society. That is to say, the multicultural project fundamentally leads to the breakdown of relations between the communities within them.
These are the broad ideological strokes of Identitarianism. Each could be expanded upon with enormous tomes and tracts. Hopefully, however, they will have provided a clearer understanding of who is, and isn’t, Identitarian.