The radical right in 1987

A blast from the past, discovered in my archives, something that I probably wrote for CIS Policy a few years ago. A review of The Radical Right: A World Directory. A Keesing’s Reference Publication, Longman, 1987. 500 pp.

This compilation is a companion volume to such titles as Revolutionary and Dissident Movements of the World and State Economic Agencies of the World. Intellectually it is on a par with the Guinness Book of Records or the Courage Book of Victorian Football League Scores. Its fundamental weakness is revealed by following up the question “What does it mean to be ‘right’ or ‘radical right’ in this book?”

The introduction specifies but does not define three “broad and overlapping strands” of thought which qualify for admission. These are “ultraconservatism”, “anti-communism” and “right-wing extremism”. Also listed are fifteen attitudes or attributes which are supposed to be “commonly but not exclusively” found among the radical right. These range from support for violence as a political tactic, white supremacy and national xenophobia, to admiration for heroism, rejection of class conflict and anti-communism. Economic issues do not rate a mention.

Some of these stances, notably anti-communism and rejection of class conflict, would appear to be fairly respectable and so organisations which espouse them could reasonably wonder why they are listed among fascist or quasi-fascist groups. It is hard to avoid the impression that this is a thoroughly muddle-headed venture, showing yet again the unhelpful nature of the one-dimensional ‘left – right’ map of ideological space.

With this limitation in mind the directory makes interesting reading. There are over 3000 entries in 85 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Upper Volta and North Korea are missing but the USSR is not, with 25 groups, almost all based in the US.

At first sight this catalogue appears to be a depressing reminder of the continued appeal of racism, violence and xenophobic nationalism. However on closer inspection it shows the transitory nature of many organizations devoted to these causes. In Australia the list of 33 defunct organizations is much longer than the list of six active groups, which includes the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties. One of the reasons for the demise of these groups would appear to be the wastage rate of leaders in violent clashes with police and rival factions. We are informed that one Thomas Messenger, leader of a Melbourne neo-nazi group, was killed in a shootout with police in 1985. Numerous similar episodes are reported overseas.

The UK has 53 active organizations, of which the National Front is probably the best known, with 78 defunct organizations and some dozens of “minor groups active in recent years”. France is better served with 69 active groups. Belgium, with a smaller population than Australia, has a hefty 29 active groups. Nicaragua does even better on a per capita basis with 19 groups for 3 million people, though none are based on home soil. Belize with practically no people (163,000) has none, though two groups are listed as defunct. There are some surprises. The US National Agricultural Press Association is on the list and one of the three organisations listed in Uraguay is the British Schools Old Boys Society.

The US appears to be the stronghold of this activity with 170 substantial groups and a similar number of fringe organizations, from the Aaronic Order to a publication called World War Three Battlecry. However this tally is inflated by entries such as the Republican Party, The Public Interest and Reason Foundation. In the UK we find Salisbury Review (edited by Roger Scruton), the Conservative Party and the Libertarian Alliance.

Given the non-fascist inclusions overseas, one would expect to find among the Australian entries the Institute for Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies, and the National Party. [2017 Strangely this review only named The Victorian Council for Civil Liberties and none of the other five active groups noted above]. There is a mention, without any names, of “employer groupings engaged in sophisticated union-busting activities”. This will be news to the employer groupings because the most strenuous efforts to the abuses of union power (not union busting) have been isolated campaigns such as Mudginberri and Dollar Sweets which did not really involve employer groupings at all.

One hopes that if this exercise is repeated the nonsense entries will be eliminated and more of the organizations will be in the “defunct” category.

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23 Responses to The radical right in 1987

  1. History

    what have Nazis got to do with the right? Nazis are socialists and socialists are leftists. Leftism, like islam, has 2 broad competing factions. In the case of leftism there is national socialists/fascists vs. communists, but in the end they’re all just totalitarians. Perdition be upon them all.

  2. stackja

    Who is right? Who is radical?
    Right: morally good, justified, or acceptable. That is me.
    Radical: characterized by departure from tradition; innovative or progressive. That is me.

  3. zyconoclast

    what have Nazis got to do with the right? Nazis are socialists and socialists are leftists. Leftism, like islam, has 2 broad competing factions. In the case of leftism there is national socialists/fascists vs. communists, but in the end they’re all just totalitarians. Perdition be upon them all.

    Agree.
    Describing Nazis as right is using the language of the enemy.

    I believe that Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler are plants used to discredit the right.

    “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

    The British government had infiltrated the IRA and the Irish Communists in the 1920s

  4. test pattern

    The Australian radical right of that time included Rural Action. Rural Action in the northern wheatbelt of WA were terrorists who sabotaged the rail. Jump to 2017 and their fellow extreme rightwingers AQ are promoting the same tactics in the new edition of Inspire

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DHFmfpLWsAAi3y3.jpg

  5. Warty

    It’s perverse, but sometimes we allow terms of abuse to skid past us without giving them serious thought, when really they ought to take a moment, and better still need to be challenged.
    I was reading this article by Rafe, and he mentioned, amongst others, the term ‘White Supremacist’, and I must admit, I had allowed the term to do the damage it was always intended to do: conjure up an image of someone very unlike me, with a tendency to unrestrained violence.
    I don’t know why, but I stopped to think about it today, but worse . . . in relation to myself, yeah, me, and the outcome was not pretty. So let me pull my pants down and reveal a few things I’ve never done in public before.
    I married two girls (thank goodness) indeed three if one considers de facto relationships and everyone of them was white. I have seen black models, black beauty queens and I’ve lived in a country where the majority of women were black, and yet I’ve never imagined planting a kiss, feeling a breast, let alone marrying one: just not a preference. So that’s one point.
    I’ve spoken to blacks (having been brought up in a predominantly black country, I couldn’t help not do so) but here too in Australia, but all of my friends are white. Actually my best friend was born and brought up in Mauritius, and he is a mix of French, Creole with a bit of Indian thrown in, but he speaks with the most exquisite French accent, knows his reds and his cognacs, loves philosophy, but he’s a bloke . . . so again, I wouldn’t consider . . . but he’s a mate and I’d do anything for him.
    So, with regards to White Suprematism, I’m happy being in my skin, have no trace of guilt about being white, mixing whites, marrying whites and content to know non whites at a distant (as I now live in Australian, dwell in a predominantly white suburb etc).
    Considering all of that, particularly my disgusting lack of guilt, I must be a white supremacist, and I had no idea I was.

  6. History

    It doesn’t matter what colour a man’s skin is, Warty. Or that of his wife or his friends. Nor what sort of woman turns him on. We’re all victims of our circumstances and inherited predispositions. What matters is the colour of one’s heart. And a man who holds that some inate human trait unconnected with actual character, such as skin colour, determines a persons worth, is dark-hearted, indeed.

  7. test pattern

    ‘What matters is the colour of one’s heart.’

    Close. What matters is the colour of a man’s soul. Brown on the outside and pink on the inside.

  8. jupes

    Describing Nazis as right is using the language of the enemy.

    Maybe it’s the enemy who wrote the book.

  9. jupes

    Considering all of that, particularly my disgusting lack of guilt, I must be a white supremacist, and I had no idea I was.

    That’s nothing. My mum was born in England so after watching the farce in parliament unfold, I think I might be a Pom!

    Aaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhh!

  10. Warty

    Esteemed History and test pattern, what I actually feel is another matter: the point was more to explode the tags people tend to use.
    We read of a group of people being tagged by the MSM as being ‘white supremacists’ and this takes us down a path somewhat antagonistic towards a group of people we’ve never actually met, and worse, whom the MSM has never met and we entirely dismiss them as being this or that. As I said, ‘we allow terms of abuse to skid past us without giving them serious thought’. So ‘far right’ and ‘far left’ play to our respective leanings (I won’t use ‘prejudice’ because this too is a loaded human rights term) and in truth the terms may or may not have anything to do with what the people are actually like.
    The truth is I haven’t sucked on the PC teat as much as many others have, and I do see the colour of a person’s skin, but I make every effort to put this aside when speaking to them. When meeting someone of the same skin colour, I find I have to put different things aside, like the possibility the male neighbour likes to wear a dress when going out, and yet remains married to the woman who gave him two sons. I’m afraid that does leave me scratching my head (a genuine example).

  11. Yes Max, let them speak let us speak …
    Free Speech!

  12. max

    Neither the Marxians nor the racists nor the supporters of any other brand of polylogism ever went further than to declare that the logical structure of mind is different with various classes, races, or nations. They never ventured to demonstrate precisely in what the logic of the proletarians differs from the logic of the bourgeois, or in what the logic of the Aryans differs from the logic of the non-Aryans, or the logic of the Germans from the logic of the French or the British.

    By denying the existence of a universal logic, polylogism also attempts to deny economics. Specifically, racism and similar doctrines deny the benefits of the division of labor and peaceful social cooperation. Instead, they hold that conflict and even war between groups is inevitable

    According to such views, the good of one racial group can only come at the harm of another, and consequently, there can never be peace among peoples

    Theory and history have demonstrated time and again that peace and free trade between peoples enriches all participants and undermines prejudice and conflict. Thus economics offers a solution to racism: the knowledge that the interests of all racial groups are advanced by social cooperation, and harmed by conflict. Racism is self-defeating because the refusal to peacefully interact with other groups must ultimately damage the welfare of all, even the racists themselves

    Yet Mises did not stop at this critique. He also attacked the conceptual basis for drawing economic distinctions between races. He observed that efforts to divide races by their physical characteristics, and to use these distinctions to analyse and predict economic success or failure, were based on pseudoscience that had failed to provide any biological evidence to support its claims.

    Instead, they were used to promote illiberal philosophies like the eugenics-laced Malthusianism of Keynes, which Mises criticized in the 1920s.

    Moreover, the idea of racial conflict is often fostered by anti-liberal political movements. Mises even suggests that race is a collectivist concept invented to replace individualism (1919 [1983], pp. 35, 41). For example, race membership can be falsely conflated with national identity (1919 [1983], pp. 34-35) and thereby used to advance nationalist ideology at the expense of peaceful liberalism.

    To that end, race is used as a tool for establishing caste systems and granting legal privileges (1944, p. 172). It thus becomes a means for breeding class conflict in the classical liberal sense. In fact, racist ideology helps drive much larger political movements: the idea that different racial groups must inevitably clash leads naturally to support for militarism (1951, pp. 326-327) and imperialism, with the latter both encouraging and being encouraged by racism (1919 [1983], p. 106; 1951, p. 50).

    https://mises.org/blog/mises-battle-between-liberalism-and-racism

  13. We read of a group of people being tagged by the MSM as being ‘white supremacists’ and this takes us down a path somewhat antagonistic towards a group of people we’ve never actually met, and worse, whom the MSM has never met and we entirely dismiss them as being this or that.

    Mmyes Warty, God forbid we should draw conclusions about torch-wielding Nazis who chant anti-Semitic slogans like “Blood & Soil” and “J*ws will never replace us”. Those people could be quite nice once you sit down with them for mint juleps.

  14. What exactly is wrong with ‘blood and soil’?
    Isn’t that exactly the concepts we think of in relation to Pozieres and Gallipoli?

  15. It is a German phrase adopted by the Nazis to express their desire for eugenics, Henry. It is part of their ideology.

  16. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The Australian radical right of that time included Rural Action. Rural Action in the northern wheatbelt of WA were terrorists who sabotaged the rail

    What the fvck are you on about now? A link, or something to prove this post, or is this just more “stories my Nanna told me?”

  17. Ellen of Tasmania

    “There is a difference, and not a small one either, between answering an argument and responding to a tantrum. When you try to make the tantrum stop through appeasement, all you are actually doing is purchasing the next tantrum. “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: For if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again” (Prov. 19:19). It is a most unfruitful way of paying it forward.

    This is why the removal of Confederate symbols and statues is a big deal. A people can decide to put up statues, and a people through their elected representatives can decide to take them down again. It might be a shame or not, depending on the symbol. But because it would be a function of debate and deliberation, what is at stake is the subject under discussion—the statue or symbol itself.

    But there is another way of conducting public affairs, where the impetus to do something is because somebody is pitching a fit. And that means that if you capitulate, you are not just capitulating on that subject. The issue is not what decision you are making, but rather how you make decisions. If a surly two-year-old boy is throwing down in the toy aisle at Walmart, you are not just negotiating with him about the particular toy he wants. You are actually talking about everything in the store.

    Because we are living in a time when any attempt at rational discourse will get you branded as a racist, and then shouted down, this means that we are talking about every toy in the store. We are talking about Stone Mountain, the American flag, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, Mt. Rushmore, the name of Washington D.C., the name of Washington State, the name of Washington State University, the name of the Washington Redskins (how about the Beltway Indigenous Peoples?), and so on. There is no logical stopping point because we are not dealing with logic. We are dealing with what the Left wants, with what the Left demands, with what the Left is drumming its heels on the floor about.

    As we respond to the tantrum, it does not need to be reasoned discourse. It should be a simple no. Deal with it, buttercup. There is no need for argument in response because no arguments are being offered. There has been far too much appeasement already, and so the appeasement should skid to stop at the very next thing that is demanded. Sorry, kids. Moscow, Idaho will continue to have streets running north and south with names like Washington, Jackson, Jefferson, Grant, et al.

    Of course, in the meantime, we do have to take some account of the losers on the bent-Right who want to make paper mache shields with stark and frightening lightning-bolty thingies on them. But these are people who live on the margins, and are not likely to be able to run anything larger than a convenience store. They are a bugbear—they are not a real threat. They can overrun a comments thread on a blog like nobody’s business, but the only big thing they can successfully do is besmirch the reputation of honorable men like Robert E. Lee. And the only thing real conservatives actually have to do with regard to them is to make it absolutely clear how much we genuinely detest their venomous posturing.

    Meantime, the antifa types are a genuine threat because they do have backing of the actual commies who run places like Illinois, say, or California. These people can’t even run a convenience store, but they can take anything, however large, and run it into the ground. They can do that, and have done, many times.”

    (https://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/so-deal-with-it-buttercup.html)

  18. Tel

    What exactly is wrong with ‘blood and soil’?
    Isn’t that exactly the concepts we think of in relation to Pozieres and Gallipoli?

    Kind of the same, but because “blood and soil” has been used by Nazis, it carries that connotation when anyone else uses it now.

    Also the original concept of “blood and soil” was the polar opposite to multiculturalism. The theory is that families with a long history of living in the same place are intrinsically better somehow than families who are nomadic, or who come from dispersed origins. You can see why it is highly politically incorrect to even mention such a thing.

  19. Up The Workers!

    If there really are two types of people in this world, they are not ‘right-wing people’ and ‘left-wing people’; they are ‘good people’ and ‘evil people’.

    A terrorist atrocity committed by a so-called right-winger is not inherently better or worse than a terrorist atrocity committed by a left winger.

    All terrorist atrocities are committed by evil people.

    Squabbles between left and right-wing activists, as happened in the U.S.A. recently, are merely a more physical form of the factional rivalry we see amongst evil thugs, as happens at A.L.P. National conferences between Socialist Left contenders for corrupt advantage and the Dishonest Eddie Obeid/NSW Right-wing types.

    No matter how much communists try to pretend that Nazis are the ‘boogey-man’, the fact remains that communism has slaughtered vastly more innocent people around the globe than Naziism, and BOTH Nazis and Communists are evil Socialists and fought as allies in the early part of World War II, until Hitler saw advantage for his Socialist faction by turning on his Socialist ally.

    Fortunately the A.L.P. recognises this fact, which is why their membership incorporates BOTH kinds of people – the RANK and the VILE.

    All are evil.

  20. test pattern

    ‘A link, or something to prove this post’

    oh cokebottle cokebottle

    I remember the sabotage well, and I come from the NT. That u don’t, or don’t want to, is of a par with ur ignorance of Hedland’s spelling and lunatic desire to deny that Broome was a predominantly Asian town for much of it’s history. It don’t think u suffer fetal alcohol syndrome, it wouldn’t account for ur lies and fantasies, but I’m in no doubt u have other psychological issues.

    ‘The ‘Rural Action Movement’ (RAM) appeared in two states (Victoria and Western Australia) in 1991; it sabotaged rail lines, organized radio protest discussions and truck-convoy demonstrations.[63] RAM leaflets proclaimed the value of direct action outside of parliamentary parties.[64] The group attracted a ‘protest’ membership, but the leadership was more radical.’

    http://home.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/otherradicalism/08.html

    ‘Just an hour along the railway at Morawa, regular meetings are held of the Rural Action Movement, a militant farmers group that, at the height of the rural downturn in 1991, blockaded the inner streets of Perth with hired trucks.

    At that time, RAM members also cut railway lines and stormed the office a leading bank to “draw the attention of city people to the plight of the man on the land”.

    Some had wider political aims. The self-styled founder of RAM, a flaxen-haired wheat farmer named Max Johnson, was a devotee of the American ideologue Lyndon LaRouche.

    Members of RAM, like many in the Australian right-wing, adopted LaRouche’s bizarre conspiracy theories and strident anti-Semitism’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ALyndon_LaRouche%2FAustralian_media_coverage

  21. Warty

    What an excellent response Ellen of Tasmania, and well supported.

    Stepping outside the ambit of the MSM, Monty, how many of the Right, and I’m talking about the actual day, when the conservative protestors clashed with the AntiFa and BLM guys who were ringing them, how many of those were torch-wielding Nazis chanting anti Semitic slogans? The earlier night shots of the procession showed a river of torches, which looked rather impressive, but even there, how many of those were Nazis chanting anti Semitic slogans?
    As others with the technical skills have pointed out the MSM is very adept at manipulating images and creating fire-storm impressions. I have a rule of thumb: the bigger the fuss, the more one needs to tread warily. There is more truth in what the MSM omit to say than the condemnations they actually print. I don’t want to be rude, but I suspect you may have been manipulated a little.

  22. .

    Also the original concept of “blood and soil” was the polar opposite to multiculturalism. The theory is that families with a long history of living in the same place are intrinsically better somehow than families who are nomadic, or who come from dispersed origins. You can see why it is highly politically incorrect to even mention such a thing.

    Taken to the extreme it would support Aboriginal supremacists!

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