Why We Fight
London: Arktos, 2011
This unusual 2001 book is Guillaume Faye’s attempt at a manifesto for the European resistance, now finally available in English thanks to Arktos Media. It is also a manifesto for European rebirth, as otherwise it would not be called a manifesto.
As I stated in my review of Guillaume Faye’s other, recently translated book, Archeofuturism, and echoing Why We Fight translator Michael O’Meara’s own assessment, Guillaume Faye is one of the most creative proponents of the European New Right. He is also visibly more radical than Alain de Benoist, nevertheless a uniquely erudite and incisive mind (see here). And this is immediately apparent in the way in which this book has been organised: it begins with an assessment of the current situation in the West, with short and penetrating chapters rapidly discussing various features of European society (bureaucratism, Islamisation, museological conservatism, etc.); but then the narrative breaks and is followed by a dictionary of 177 essential terms (plus two additions by German translator Pierre Krebs), each meant as a tool or a weapon for the metapolitical warrior and political soldier. This in is turn followed by a concluding chapter, where Faye answers the question implicit in the title, and outlines—in general terms—his tactical and strategic recommendations.
Faye communicates his thinking in a direct, high-velocity prose, which, in spite of its evident erudition, and much to O'Meara's credit in the English edition, is energetic, angry, and intense. The latter, however, owes in no small measure to the fact that, while Faye may be intellectual heir to a tradition of cultural pessimism, best exemplified by the Weimar-era Conservative Revolutionary writers, he is far from yet another purveyor of doom and gloom. On the contrary: for Faye, nothing is set in stone; history for him is an open, dynamic field where anything is possible, where the unthinkable may well become thinkable and the impossible possible, if the will is there to make it so. Similarly, we must credit Faye’s rejection of antiquarianism, folklorism, and museological traditionalism: blood memory, Tradition, and race are essential for the vitality of European culture, but for him a culture condemns itself to rigor mortis when it allows tradition to degenerate into traditionalism, into a cult of the past, into conservatism; a vibrant European culture is faustian, constantly renewing, futuristic, even if necessarily rooted in archaic values and ancestral heritage. Moreover, Faye is openly contemptuous of academicism and pretentious intellectual masturbation and stresses that any metapolitical discourse that is produced must serve a concrete purpose in the real world, must find translation into action, and must aim to produce meaningful political gains.
Readers of Archeofuturism will recognise here many of the themes occurring in the aforementioned book: the fact that the modern world created by the egalitarian liberals is doomed to perish, having generated through its design a convergence of catastrophes; the fact that the liberal conception of history as a process of continuous development and endless economic progress is a myth, not to mention environmentally unsustainable; the fact that many of the regionalist movements are nevertheless part of the problem, being Leftist, egalitarian, antiquarian, and aracial; the fact that Europe is being aggressively colonised by the poor peoples of the South (the Third World), and particularly by Islam; the fact that Islam is—as far as he is concerned—Europe’s principal enemy, with ambitions to conquer the continent; the fact that (in his mind) the United States is Europe’s main adversary; the fact that our present establishment leaders are active if not complicit in the destruction of Europe, and have made a virtue of just about everything—political correctness, xenophilia, devirilisation, homosexuality, materialism—that spells the death of European culture; his vision of a Eurosiberian imperium, purged of Third World colonisers, and comprising a hundred or more autonomous regions; his vision of a multi-tier world economy; his vision of a hierarchical, aristocratic society that is nevertheless fluid and non-totalitarian, with each man being master of his own destiny; his vision of an economically and technologically advanced imperium, where both the politics and technology serve the Volk, rather than being determined purely by economic factors; and so on.
Mention here of an European ‘imperium’ may remind American readers of Francis Parker Yockey, who used the term. There is, however, a fundamental difference between the two thinkers with regard to the age of absolute politics: for Yockey, the United States was a European outpost, and the Jews the arch-enemy of European civilisation; for Faye, the arch-enemy is Islam and the United States is Europe’s prodigal son, but nevertheless an adversary because of its will to impose on Europe its system of materialist economism and its tactical alliance with Islam to weaken Europe as a rival superpower. It may seem perplexing for some to see Faye speak of the United States as pursuing an alliance with Islam, given the former’s pro-Zionist Middle-East policy, but Faye is thinking about initiatives such as the United States’ backing of Turkey’s entry into the European Union—in other words, the alliance is tactical, not sincere, and purely about perpetuating its power.
This is where I diverge from Faye, with whom I find much to concur: like Yockey, I see the United States as a far-flung European outpost. The country was founded, organised, and Europeans; its culture is European, even if distinct from that of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Poland, or Spain—even if it has superficially incorporated some West African elements, and even if somewhat forgetful of the Ancient and Mediaeval tradition and thus primarily a growth of Enlightenment-era English and French philosophy. The latter was instrumental in the creation of the American system that Faye scorns, but this is not to say that, where it matters, the United States, like Canada, is to be considered part of Europe, part of a European imperium. By contrast, Yockey saw Russians as non-Europeans; and this is here where, in terms of where the European space begins and ends, I diverge from the American.
What is most refreshing, and what makes this book especially important, despite Faye’s errors, is the fact that it rejects conservatism: for Faye, there is nothing left to conserve, firstly because what we have today is corrupt and not worth conserving, and secondly because conservatism equals exhaustion, stasis, and therefore death. Following an organic view of history, Faye believes in moving inexorably forward, loyal to our traditions and blood memory but also constantly renewing ourselves, rather than being paralysed by nostalgia. Faye is not yet another critic of modernity with an in-depth knowledge of what is wrong, yet without solutions; for Faye, a diagnosis is about finding a cure, not a cathartic reaction or a theoretical exercise. Faye also leaves the field open to possibilities (‘anything is possible’, and ‘where there is a will, there is a way’, he says); he is by no means a determinist: race is important, but not enough; there needs also to be a will to power, the will to fulfil the collective destiny. Those who get lazy, or get tired, disappear. Leaving out chance, survival is in the hands of the deserving. And not everybody deserves to survive. Therefore, it is up to us to determine whether our future is in a museum or in the stars, a discredited race of losers in the enemy’s textbooks or the masterful authors of universal history.
Overall this is a fairly successful attempt at crafting a manifesto for European rebirth in the 21st century, if probably a bit too long and too crammed with ideas to be immediately digestible. However, Faye envisions a multi-pronged strategy, with many actors occupying many niches and waging the revolutionary war in many different ways, some overtly, some covertly, each according to his interests and abilities. Therefore, he would most likely see this book not as a total solution, but as a necessary yet not sufficient contribution to the struggle. Certainly, readers of all levels will profit from it.