anton shekhovtsov: apoliteic music: neo-folk, martial industrial and "metapolitical fascism"
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Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and 'metapolitical fascism'Anton Shekhovtsov
Online publication date: 10 November 2009
To cite this Article Shekhovtsov, Anton(2009) 'Apoliteicmusic: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and 'metapolitical fascism'',Patterns of Prejudice, 43: 5, 431 457
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8/8/2019 Anton Shekhovtsov: Apoliteic Music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and "Metapolitical Fascism"
Apoliteicmusic: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and
ABSTRACT Shekhovtsov suggests that there are two types of radical right-wing
music that are cultural reflections of the two different political strategies that fascism
was forced to adopt in the hostile conditions of the post-war period. While White
Noise music is explicitly designed to inspire racially or politically motivated violence
and is seen as part and parcel of the revolutionary ultra-nationalist subculture, he
suggests that metapolitical fascism has its own cultural reflection in the domain ofsound, namely, apoliteic music. This is a type of music whose ideological message
contains obvious or veiled references to the core elements of fascism but is
simultaneously detached from any practical attempts to realize these elements
through political activity. Apoliteic music neither promotes outright violence nor is
publicly related to the activities of radical right-wing political organizations or
parties. Nor can it be seen as a means of direct recruitment to any political tendency.
Shekhovtsovs article focuses on this type of music, and the thesis is tested by
examining bands and artists that work in such musical genres as Neo-Folk and
Martial Industrial, whose roots lie in cultural revolutionary and national folk
KEYWORDS apoliteic music, Eurofascism, fascism, Martial Industrial, metapoliticalfascism, Neo-Folk, racism, ultra-nationalism, White Noise
New war sorrows, new national storm tides will spawn new folk songs as well.
*/Hans Breuer, 19131
I n 2000, when I was the editor of a small self-published musical magazine,I received a CD entitled Victory or Death by the Swedish band Folkstorm.2I would like to thank the musicians Ivan Napreenko and Eric Roger, who advised me andcommented on a draft of this article. I am also grateful to the anonymous reviewers, aswell as to Anna Melyantsev and Vickie Hudson, who were kind enough to proofread.Mistakes, however, are solely my own.1 Translated and quoted in Britta Sweers, The power to influence minds: German folk
music during the Nazi era and after, in Annie Janeiro Randall (ed.), Music, Power, andPolitics (New York: Routledge 2005), 65/86 (68).
2 Folkstorm, Victory or Death (Northampton: Cold Spring Records 2000). The name of theband is a translation of the German Volkssturm, which was the name of the Nazi militiafounded by Adolf Hitler in October 1944.
Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 43, No. 5, 2009
ISSN 0031-322X print/ISSN 1461-7331 online/09/050431-27 # 2009 Taylor & Francis
8/8/2019 Anton Shekhovtsov: Apoliteic Music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and "Metapolitical Fascism"
The CD contained ten tracks of harsh Industrial music and the disc wasdecorated with a Nazi-style Reichsadler atop an empty oak wreath.3 The back
cover was ornamented with runes and listed the tracks Feldgeschrei (FieldTurmoil), Harsh Discipline, Propaganda, We Are the Resistance, Social
Surgery, to name but a few. The words of the songs were inaudible, due tothe highly distorted vocals, but everything else vaguely suggested the
radical right-wing nature of Folkstorms ideology. Surprisingly, the band
promised No politics. No religion. No standard, a prudent statementwritten on the disc itself.
If the band disclaims any reference to politics while these signs suggest theopposite, what type of propaganda is it? Folkstorms message has little todo with that of some of its compatriots like Totenkopf, whose track Cant Be
Beaten unreservedly proclaims: Show them where you stand and feel no
remorse, my Aryan brother, its time for race war.4 Neither is Folkstorms
message a provocation similar to the late Punk Rocker Sid Vicioussnotorious posing in a t-shirt with a swastika on it. If the message is notthe White Noise broadcast of racial hatred,5 or the spit in the face of
bourgeois society, then what is it? In this article, I argue that there exists a
particular kind of radical right-wing music that does not promote outrightviolence, is not related to the activities of political organizations or parties,
and is not a means of recruitment to any political tendency. Therefore, I takeFolkstorms No politics statement seriously, although I hope to reconcep-
tualize it in a way that avoids any futile attempt to drain the clearly right-
wing message of its essence. I refer to this music as apoliteic (a termexplained below), and this article will analyse its nature and significance by
considering two musical genres, namely Neo-Folk and Martial Industrial,that are most often used by bands and artists for disseminating an apoliteicmessage. I hope to demonstrate that apoliteic music and White Noise are
cultural reflections of the two different political strategies that fascism was
forced to follow in the hostile conditions of the post-war period.Before I proceed, it must be noted that neither Neo-Folk nor Martial
Industrial can be considered fascist musical genres. Unlike White Noise,
which refers specifically to ideologically motivated music, these two genresare first and foremost typological constructs that embrace particular kinds ofcombined sounds. Indeed, whether or not Neo-Folk or Martial Industrial can
be equated with fascist or neo-Nazi propaganda has been hotly debated
since the mid-1990s when a number of bands playing in these genres started
3 The Reichsadler (imperial eagle) is a German national insignia. In 1933 the Nazisintroduced the image of an eagle atop an oak wreath with a swastika at its centre.
4 Totenkopf, Cant Be Beaten, on Various Artists, White Pride World Wide III(Stockholm:Nordland Records 1996).
5 White Noise is the term that has been used for neo-Nazi rock music since the early1980s. This type of music is explicitly designed to inspire racially or politicallymotivated violence.
432 Patterns of Prejudice
to receive*/due to their extensive use of fascist imagery*/attention from left-wing journalists as well as attacks by anti-fascist groups. On severaloccasions, anti-fascist protests, petitions and pickets were supported bythe authorities who banned performances of particular Neo-Folk/Martial
Industrial bands. In 2004 the major Austrian Martial Industrial act, DerBlutharsch, had to cancel a performance in Israel due to protests by, amongothers, the Israeli cabinet member Natan Sharansky, the Knesset memberYossi Sarid, the mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai and the Anti-DefamationLeague. The following year, the most famous Neo-Folk band, Death in June,lost the right to sell its album Rose Clouds of Holocaust in Germany after aninvestigation conducted by the Bundesprufstelle fur jugendgefahrdendeMedien (BPjM, Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young People).6
Neither of these bands is part of the White Noise scene, but bothembrace*/as I shall argue below*/explicit elements of the fascist
Major terms and concepts
There are several terms that journalists, public officials and scholars use torefer to artists or bands that*/from the observers point of view*/performmusic impregnated with fascist or extreme right-wing ideas. Some of theseare umbrella terms that encompass different musical genres, while others
refer to specific ones.The term White Noise originates from White Noise Records, a label that
released Skrewdrivers single White Power in 1983. Skrewdriver was aBritish band that openly promoted revolutionary ultra-nationalism throughtheir records, and their performances sometimes turned into riots of neo-Nazi skinheads. Screwdriver s late leader Ian Stuart was a member of theBritish National Front (NF), while the band itself was closely associated withboth the NF and the British National Party (BNP). In fact, Skrewdriver might be considered the musical wing of the NF, as it raised funds for the
organization and helped recruit new members. Moreover, in 1987, Stuartfounded the Blood & Honour network that promoted ultra-nationalist bands, organized their concerts and served as a nexus for neo-Nazi
6 Death in June, Rose Clouds of Holocaust (London: New European Recordings 1995). TheBPjM found that the title song from the album cast doubt on the occurrence of theHolocaust. The lyrics in question are as follows: Rose clouds of Holocaust/ Roseclouds of lies/ Rose clouds of bitter/ Bitter, bitter lies. Although in his explanatorymemorandum Douglas Pearce, the man behind Death in June, stated that he [did] not
deny the existence of The Holocaust, the record was banned: posted on the Death in June website, 14 February 2006, at www.deathinjune.org/modules/news/article.php?storyid070 (viewed 8 August 2009).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 433
skinheads in Europe and the United States.7 Since Skrewdriver played a typeof Punk Rock music known as Street Punk or Oi!,8 the term White Noiseoriginally referred to Punk Rock acts that propagated extreme right-wingideas.9 Currently, due to the generic variety of bands that play at Blood &
Honour concerts, one can apply this term to any aggressive rock music thatis imbued with an openly fascist or racist message.It is crucially important to highlight two features of White Noise. First, this
type of music is characterized by overt racism or revolutionary ultra-nationalism. White Noise bands do not veil their messages and some of thebands names*/not to mention the albums and song titles*/speak forthemselves: Race War, Totenkopf, Final Solution, Jew Slaughter, Legion 88,Konkwista 88, Angry Aryans, Brigada NS, RaHoWa etc.10 Second, WhiteNoise is associated with either direct violence against an Other or thepolitical cause, however marginal, that inspires it. It is quite often the case
that White Noise musicians do not conceal their membership in revolu-tionary ultra-nationalist groupuscules, larger organizations or even electoralparties. As mentioned above, Skrewdriver worked alongside the NF, whilethe Romanian band Brigada de Asalt (The Assault Brigade) is an integralpart of the neo-Nazi organization Noua Dreapta (New Right), presumablybacked by the Romanian radical right-wing Partidul Noua Generatie (NewGeneration Party). A large number of White Noise bands appear on the so-called schoolyard CDs compiled and released by the radical right-wingNationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (National Democratic Party of
Germany) for free distribution among German youth.Surprisingly, the term White Noise does not seem to cover Black Metal bands that promote ultra-nationalist ideas. In this case, journalists and
7 After Stuarts death in a car crash in 1993, the network was taken over by Combat 18, aneo-Nazi paramilitary group. See Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan Cults,Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity (New York: New York University Press 2002),195.
8 It is important to note that Oi! was originally associated with working-class left-wingpopulism, but later was taken up by ideologically diverse bands, ranging from anti-fascist and radical left-wing to fascist and racist ones.
9 See Nick Lowles and Steve Silver (eds), White Noise: Inside the International NaziSkinhead Scene (London: Searchlight 1998); John M. Cotter, Sounds of hate: WhitePower rock and roll and the neo-Nazi skinhead subculture, Terrorism and PoliticalViolence, vol. 11, no. 2, 1999, 111/40. Due to the similarity in form and content, the termWhite Noise is synonymous with the term White Power and they are generallyused interchangeably. See also Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, ch. 10 (White Noise andBlack Metal), 193/212; Robert Futrell, Pete Simi and Simon Gottschalk,Understanding music in movements: the White Power music scene, SociologicalQuarterly, vol. 47, no. 2, 2006, 275/304; and Ugo Corte and Bob Edwards, White Powermusic and the mobilization of racist social movements, Music and Arts in Action(online journal), vol. 1, no. 1, 2008, 4/20, at www.musicandartsinaction.net/
index.php/maia/article/view/whitepowermusic/9 (viewed 8 August 2009).10 88 stands for Heil Hitler, as H is the eighth letter in the Latin alphabet, NS is an
acronym for National Socialism, and RaHoWa stands for racial holy war.
434 Patterns of Prejudice
scholars use the term National Socialist Black Metal (or simply NSBM) torefer to the same White Noise socio-political message when it is disseminatedby Black Metal music.11
Another umbrella term for radical right-wing music is simply Right-Wing
Rock. This term gained currency in Germany (Rechtsrock) among left-wingactivists, scholars and government institutions such as the Bundesamt furVerfassungsschutz (BfV, Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution)and the BPjM,12 but is used in English-language academic works as well.13
The BPjM states that, with the exception of jazz and classical music, there isno musical genre that is not infiltrated by right-wing extremist organizationsand is not a medium for extreme right-wing content.14 It lists eight musicalgenres that are collectively identified as Rechtsrock (Right-Wing Rock):skinhead bands (obviously not a genre, but apparently the BPjM meantWhite Noise here), NSBM, Hatecore, Techno Music, Hip-Hop, Folk, singer-
songwriters (again, not a genre, but individuals who compose and performtheir own works, usually accompanied solely by acoustic guitar) and Neo-Folk. According to the German office, it is these genres that are commonlyused by musicians who promote the glorification of National Socialism, therepresentation of Adolf Hitler and his party comrades as role models (ortragic heroes), and who seek to instil racial hatred, [or] call for violenceagainst foreigners, Jews or those who disagree with them.15 Such ananalysis suffers from one grave shortcoming. Right-Wing Rock per se is anover-extended term, and the BPjM interprets it too narrowly for it to be
applied to the wide range of genuine right-wing music. To be a right-wingeror even a fascist one does not necessarily have to glorify Nazism or seek to
11 On NSBM, see Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, 193/212; Justin Massa, Unholy alliance:the National Socialist Black Metal underground, in Devin Burghart (ed.), Soundtracksto the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Subcultures (Chicago: Centerfor New Community 1999), 49/64; and Keith Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music andCulture on the Edge (Oxford and New York: Berg 2007).
12 On Right-Wing Rock in German, see Christian Dornbusch and Jan Raabe, RechtsRock:Bestandsaufnahme und Gegenstrategien (Munster: Unrast 2002); Mahmut Kural,Rechtsrock*/Einstiegsdroge in rechtsextremes Gedankengut? (Saarbrucken: VDM Verlag
2007); Bundesministerium des Innern (ed.), Verfassungsschutzbericht 2006 (Berlin:Bundesministerium des Innern 2007); and Georg Brunner, Rezeption und Wirkungvon Rechtsrock, in BPjM Aktuell, no. 1, 2007, 3/18.
13 See Michael Wade, Johnny Rebel and the Cajun roots of Right-Wing Rock, PopularMusic and Society, vol. 30, no. 4, 2007, 493/512; Thomas Irmer, Out with the right! Or,lets not let them in again, trans. from the German by Claudia Wilsch, Theater, vol. 32,no. 3, 2002, 61/7; and Walter Laqueur, Fascism: Past, Present, Future (New York: OxfordUniversity Press 1996), 134.
14 BPjM, Jugendgefahrdung: Lesemedien & Hormedien, Bundespru fstelle furjugendgefa hrdende Medien, available on the BPjM website at www.bundespruefstelle.de/bmfsfj/generator/bpjm/Jugendmedienschutz-Medienerziehung/Lese-Hoermedien/
jugendgefaehrdung.html (viewed 8 August 2009). Translations, unless otherwise stated,are by the author.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 435
instil racial hatred. The BPjM obviously hits its target with White Noise andNSBM, but by including Neo-Folk*/even if we assume it is only right-wingNeo-Folk acts*/within a narrow definition of Rechtsrock, it risks missing themark.16 In order to explain this crucial distinction, we need to consider two
major concepts: fascism and apoliteia.In this article, I subscribe, methodologically, to a dominant school withinfascist studies that posits fascist ideology as a form of revolutionary ultra-nationalism.17 This approach is most extensively elaborated by Roger Griffinwho defines fascism as
a revolutionary species of political modernism originating in the early twentieth
century whose mission is to combat the allegedly degenerative forces of
contemporary history (decadence) by bringing about an alternative modernity
and temporality (a new order and a new era) based on the rebirth, or
palingenesis, of the nation.18
This interpretation of fascism implies an organic conception of the nationthat is not necessarily equated with the nation/state or its existingboundaries, and which is indebted to the modern notion of the sovereigntyof the people as a discrete supra-individual historical entity and actor .19
The excessive mythologization of the nation as well as the impetuous thrusttowards its palingenesis result in fascism having the appearance of apolitical religion. As such, fascism generates its own culturally defined
collective behaviour that possesses specific characteristics, among whichadventure, heroism, the spirit of sacrifice, mass rituals, the cult of martyrs,the ideals of war and sports [and] fanatical devotion to the leader are most
16 There is a distinction in German law between extremism and radicalism. Criticism ofcapitalism, and fundamental doubts about the structure of Germanys economic andsocial order are perceived as radical but not extremist. In its turn, extremism isidentified as an attempt to undermine the foundations of the German Basic Law,namely, the liberal democratic order. While extremism*/whether right-wing or left-
wing*/is unlawful in Germany, radical political beliefs have a legitimate place inGermanys pluralistic society. See Heinz Fromm (ed.), Aufgaben, Befugnisse, Grenzen(Cologne: Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz, Presse- und Offentlichkeitsarbeit 2002),25. The distinction between extremism and radicalism can help explain why the BPjMextremizes Rechtsrock.
17 See Roger Griffin (ed.), International Fascism: Theories, Causes and the New Consensus(London: Arnold 1998).
18 Roger Griffin, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini andHitler (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2007), 181.
19 Roger Griffin, Grey cats, blue cows, and wide awake groundhogs: notes towards thedevelopment of a deliberative ethos, in Roger Griffin, Werner Loh and Andreas
Umland (eds), Fascism Past and Present, West and East: An International Debate onConcepts and Cases in the Comparative Study of the Extreme Right (Stuttgart and Hanover:ibidem 2006), 428.
436 Patterns of Prejudice
prominent.20 These features are by no means the sine qua non of fascism butthey are indicative of fascisms commitment to the aestheticization ofpolitical life, extreme activism and spectacular politics, and hence directlylinked to its tendency to manifest itself as a form of political religion.
Although fascism is an enfant terrible of the twentieth century, its socio-political lifespan is not bounded by Mussolinis and Hitlers regimes. Afterthe joint forces of the Soviet Union and the western liberal democracies hadcrushed fascisms war machine, it was forced to evolve or, rather, mutate intothree distinct forms. The groups that still wanted to participate in thepolitical process had to dampen their revolutionary ardour rather drama-tically and translate it as far as possible into the language of liberaldemocracy.21 This strategy gave birth to new radical right-wing parties thathave become electorally successful in several countries over the last twenty-five years. Revolutionary ultra-nationalists, on the other hand, retreated to
the margins of socio-political life and took the form of small groupusculesthat kept alive the illusory prospect of having a revolutionary impact onsociety.22 The third form of post-war fascism was conceptualized in theteachings of two fascist philosophers, Armin Mohler and Julius Evola. In Diekonservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918/1932, published in 1950,23 Mohlerargued that, since fascist revolution was indefinitely postponed due to thepolitical domination of liberal democracy, true conservative revolutionariesfound themselves in an interregnum that would, however, spontaneouslygive way to the spiritual grandeur of national reawakening. This theme of
right-wing inner emigration was echoed by Evola in his Cavalcare la tigre(Ride the Tiger), published in 1961.24 Evola acknowledged that, while thetrue State, the hierarchical and organic State, lay in ruins, there was no oneparty or movement with which one can unreservedly agree and for whichone can fight with absolute devotion, in defence of some higher idea. Thus,luomo differenziato should practise disinterest, detachment from everythingthat today constitutes politics, and this was exactly the principle that
20 Emilio Gentile, Fascism, totalitarianism and political religion: definitions and criticalreflections on criticism of an interpretation, Totalitarian Movements and Political
Religions, vol. 5, no. 3, 2004, 326/75 (338/9). On no account is this an attempt tonormalize fascism*/whether as a regime or just a movement*/or downplay theatrocities committed by fascists in their mission to renew the organic nationalcommunity. The inhuman terror unleashed by fascism is straightforwardly depictedin*/among others*/the 1985 Soviet film Idi i smotri (Come and See), which I urgeconcerned readers to see.
21 Roger Griffin, From slime mould to rhizome: an introduction to the groupuscularright, Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 37, no. 1, 2003, 38.
22 Ibid.23 Armin Mohler, Die konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918/1932: Grundriss ihrer
Weltanschauungen (Stuttgart: F. Vorwerk 1950).
24 Julius Evola, Cavalcare la tigre (Milan: Allinsegna del pesce doro 1961). All referenceshere are to a later edition: Julius Evola, Cavalcare la tigre: orientamenti esistenziali perunepoca della dissoluzione (Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee 2004).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 437
Evola called apoliteia. While apoliteia does not necessarily imply abstention
from socio-political activities, an apoliteic individual, an aristocrat of the
soul (to cite the subtitle of the English translation of Cavalcare la tigre),
should always embody an irrevocable internal distance from this [modern]
society and its values.25
The concepts of interregnum and apoliteia had a major impact on the
development of the metapolitical fascism of the European New Right
(ENR),26 a movement that consists of clusters of think tanks, conferences,
journals, institutes and publishing houses that try*/following the strategy of
so-called right-wing Gramscism*/to modify the dominant political culture
and make it more susceptible to a non-democratic mode of politics.27 Like
Mohler and Evola, the adherents of the ENR believe that one day the
allegedly decadent era of egalitarianism and cosmopolitanism will give way
to an entirely new culture based on organic, hierarchical, supra-individual,
heroic values.28 It is important to emphasize, however, that metapolitical
fascism focuses*/almost exclusively*/on the battle for hearts and minds
rather than for immediate political power. Following Evolas precepts, the
ENR tries to distance itself from both historical and contemporary fascist
parties and regimes. As biological racism became totally discredited in the
post-war period, and it was no longer possible to speak publicly of
perceived difference through the language of old racism,29 ENR thinkers
pointed to the insurmountable differences between peoples, not in biological
or ethnic terms but rather in terms of culture.30 They abandoned overt fascist
25 Evola, Cavalcare la tigre, 150/2. The source of the phrase aristocrat of the soul is the2003 English translation, which also translates luomo differenziato literally as thedifferenziated man: Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats ofthe Soul, trans. from the Italian by Joscelyn Godwin and Constance Fontana(Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions 2003).
26 See Roger Griffin, Between metapolitics and apoliteia: the Nouvelle Droites strategyfor conserving the fascist vision in the interregnum, Modern & Contemporary France,vol. 8, no. 1, 2000, 35/53.
27 On the ENR, see Tamir Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone? (Aldershot,
Hampshire: Ashgate 2007); Alberto Spektorowski, The New Right: ethno-regionalism, ethno-pluralism and the emergence of a neo-fascist Third Way,
Journal of Political Ideologies, vol. 8, no. 1, 2003, 111/30; Roger Griffin, Interregnum orendgame? The radical right in the post-fascist era, Journal of Political Ideologies, vol.5, no. 2, 2000, 163/78; and Griffin, Between metapolitics and apoliteia.
28 Spektorowski, The New Right, 120.29 Ralph D. Grillo, Cultural essentialism and cultural anxiety, Anthropological Theory,
vol. 3, no. 2, 2003, 157/73 (163).30 On this new (cultural) racism, see first and foremost Pierre-Andre Taguieff, The new
cultural racism in France, Telos, no. 83, 1990, 109/22; Pierre-Andre Taguieff, Fromrace to culture: the New Rights view of European identity, Telos, no. 98/9, 1993/4,
99/125; Etienne Balibar, Is there a new racism?, in Etienne Balibar and ImmanuelWallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (London and New York: Verso1991), 17/28.
438 Patterns of Prejudice
ultra-nationalism in the name of a Europe restored to the (essentially
mythic) homogeneity of its component primordial cultures.31
How do fascisms strategies in the hostile post-war environment relate to
music? While there can be no purely musical reflection of right-wing party
politics, White Noise has nonetheless become part and parcel of therevolutionary ultra-nationalist subculture. And I suggest that metapolitical
fascism has its own cultural manifestation in the domain of sound, namely,apoliteic music. This is a type of music in which the ideological message
contains obvious or veiled references to the core elements of fascism but is
simultaneously detached from any practical attempt to implement that
message through political activity. Apoliteic music is characterized by highly
elitist stances and disdain for banal petty materialism. Both apoliteic artists
and their conscientious fans appear to be self-styled aristocrats of the
soul,32 united in their implicit knowledge that the imperium internum is the
reflection of a forthcoming new era of national and spiritual palingenesis.
Lost in contemplation of this utopian future, they perceive the current
situation as the interregnum. Regardless of the extent to which the
contemporary Europeanized world is actually decadent or spirituallyimpoverished, it will always pale beside the imaginary fascist brave new
world.The concept of apoliteia correlates with one more important, indeed
crucial, notion, namely, the Waldgang. Ten years before the appearance of
Evolas largely pessimistic Cavalcare la tigre, Ernst Junger published the essay
Der Waldgang,33 which anticipated Evolas reflections on apoliteia.34 Junger,the author of the critically acclaimed In Stahlgewittern (1920)*/translated into
English as Storm of Steel*/and Der Arbeiter (The Worker) (1932), celebrated
war, in which he saw embedded the metaphysical process of the forging of a
31 Roger Griffin, Fascisms new faces (and new facelessness) in the post-fascistepoch, in Griffin, Loh and Umland (eds), Fascism Past and Present, 51.
32 One should distinguish between common fans who appreciate the actual musical sideof the art under scrutiny, while rejecting or simply ignoring its ideological message (ifany), and conscientious fans who are drawn both by the art and its ideological
message, enthusiastically embraced.33 Ernst Junger, Der Waldgang (Frankfurt on Main: Klostermann 1951). References here are
to the abridged English translation: Ernst Junger, Retreat into the forest, Confluence,vol. 3, no. 2, 1954, 127/42 (Confluence was edited in 1954 by its founder Henry Kissinger).
34 Evola was an admirer of Junger, and his reflections on the latter s Der Arbeiter werepublished as Julius Evola, L Operaio nel pensiero di Ernst Junger (Rome: ArmandoArmando Editore 1960). It is debatable whether Evolas speculations on apoliteia wereactually inspired by Jungers Der Waldgang, but the Italian baron was known forapparently hijacking (plagiarizing?) the ideas of other authors. For example, Evolas1928 work Imperialismo pagano drew heavily on Reghinis 1914 essay of the samename: Arturo Reghini, Imperialismo pagano, Salamandra, no. 14, 1914. A year after
Evola had published his Imperialismo pagano, he accused Reghini of being a member ofa Masonic lodge (Mussolini dissolved and banned Freemasonry in Italy in 1925), andtried to sue him on those grounds.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 439
new civilization.35 He therefore sympathized with the Nazi regime, whichseemed to be the embodied instrument for setting such a process in motion.However, as Griffin notes, Junger stayed aloof from politics, reluctant toabandon the heights of his metapolitical outposts,36 although the regime
actually benefitted from his literary works that legitimated fascism in thecultural sphere. In his post-war Der Waldgang, Junger severely criticized thespiritually deprived Titanic that was the modern age, seized by liquidations,rationalizations, socializations, electrifications and pulverizations thatrequired neither culture nor character.37 Nonetheless, he urged freeindividuals to stay on shipboard [sic] (that is, to use technological progressto their advantage) and, at the same time, retreat into the forest (Waldgang).For him, the forest was a symbol of supratemporal Being or the Ego and,by retreating into it, the wanderer in the forest (Waldganger) could resistthe moral corruption of the interregnum.38 Confronted with demoniac
forces of our civilization, luomo differenziato rejects the apparent choice(either howl with the wolves or fight them) and finds an alternative in hisexistence as an individual, in his own Being which remains unshaken.39
Remarkably, Junger argued that the
retreat into the forest (Waldgang) is not . . . directed against the world of
technology, although this is a temptation, particularly for those who strive to
regain a myth. Undoubtedly, mythology will appear again. It is always present
and arises in a propitious hour like a treasure coming to the surface. But man does
not return to the realm of myth, he re-encounters it when the age is out of joint andin the magic circle of extreme danger.40
35 Junger experienced war firsthand: during the First World War he served in theImperial German army and returned from the battlefield decorated with the IronCross First Class and the Pour le Merite, which was the highest military order of theGerman empire.
36 Griffin, Modernism and Fascism, 165.37 Junger, Retreat into the forest, 129. For Griffins extensive use of the metaphor of the
Titanic to evoke the modernist sense of a new beginning or Aufbruch in history, seehis introduction to Modernism and Fascism.
38 Junger, Retreat into the forest, 141.39 Ibid., 135. Here one may want to consider the possible influence of Martin Heidegger,
Holzwege (Woodpaths) (Frankfurt on Main: Klostermann 1950) on the development ofJungers concept of the Waldgang. On Heidegger, in the context of the current study,see Matthew Feldman, Between Geist and Zeitgeist: Martin Heidegger as ideologue ofmetapolitical fascism, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, vol. 6, no. 2,2005, 175/98.
40 Ibid., 132 (emphasis in the original). This vision of redemptive myth resurfacing in amoment of danger is reminiscent of Walter Benjamins statement in his Theses on thephilosophy of history. VI (unpublished when Junger was writing) that the truly and,hence, redemptive historical engagement with reality means to seize hold of a
memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger : Walter Benjamin, Theses on thephilosophy of history, in Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans.from the German by Harry Zohn (London: Fontana 1992), 247.
440 Patterns of Prejudice
While the concept of the Waldgang is clearly another aspect of apoliteia (orperhaps the reverse of it), apoliteic artists perceive themselves as wanderersin the forest. They necessarily allude to myths*/whether pagan or, lessoften, Christian*/but such allusions do not represent an attempt to return to
a mythologized past. Nor can the positions of these artists be construed asanti-modern, let alone anti-technological. On the contrary, they choose boththe forest and the ship,41 as they oppose the decadent interregnum with theirinner commitment to a re-enchanted alternative modernity of the rebornnation, heroic individualism and a subjectively interpreted ethic of militaryhonour.
Neo-Folk and Martial Industrial: the origins
Arguably the most obvious examples ofapoliteic music*/which reveals itselfthrough music, lyrics, band names, album and song titles, cover art, style ofdress as well as being subtly articulated in live performances*/can be foundin certain Neo-Folk and Martial Industrial works.42 From a technical pointof view, the two genres may seem musically different. The typical Neo-Folkartists sing melancholic folkish songs to the accompaniment of acousticguitars, violins and piano, while typical Martial Industrial acts create darkbombastic collages that usually feature various samples of military marches, battle noises or war-oriented speeches. The genres correlate*/hardlysurprisingly*/with Evolas interpretation of the idealized origin of nowdesacralized modern western music. From his point of view, as expoundedin Cavalcare la tigre, the most modern western music has been characterized by increasing estrangement from its lineage, both the melodramatic,melodic, heroically romantic and pretentious line (the last of which istypically represented by Wagnerism), and the tragic-pathetic line (we needonly refer to Beethovens principal ideas).43 Although its unlikely thatEvola himself would have enjoyed most extreme samples of MartialIndustrial music, it is significant that both genres*/no matter how techni-
cally different they are*/fit his description.Apoliteic music is organically accommodated within Neo-Folk and Martial
Industrial since their roots lie in revolutionary and national culturaltraditions. While Martial Industrial clearly descends from Industrial music,Peter Webb and Stephane Francois correctly assert that Neo-Folk, too, is an
41 Junger, Retreat into the forest, 132 (emphasis in the original).42 Again, it should be stressed that I neither equate apoliteic music with Neo-Folk and
Martial Industrial nor identify them as fascist genres. Metapolitical fascism and thetwo genres, as musical styles, do overlap*/to a lesser extent in the case of Neo-
Folk*/ but Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial artists can create non-apoliteic art, whilemetapolitical fascists can find other musical means to communicate their message.
43 Evola, Cavalcare la tigre, 139.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 441
emanation of Industrial music.44 Industrial can be briefly and inevitablyinadequately characterized as a fusion of Rock and Electronic music, mixed
with avant-garde experiments and Punk provocation.45 Although the genre
was genetically born in the mid-1970s with the establishment of the
Industrial Records label, Karen Collins has traced the first usage of the termindustrial as applied to music back to the preface of Francesco BalillaPratellas Musica Futurista of 1912.46 Luigi Russolo, another Futurist
musician and Pratellas colleague, was the author of a 1913 manifesto
entitled LArt des bruits (The art of noises) in which one apparently finds the
first conceptualization of Martial Industrial. Considering the variety of
natural and artificial noises that could be employed for the projected
revolution of music, Russolo wrote: And we must not forget the very new
noises of Modern Warfare. The poet Marinetti, in a letter from the Bulgarian
trenches of Ariadnople described to me . . . in his new futurist style, the
orchestra of a great battle.47 Although Russolos Futurism did not draw him
to Italian Fascism, Pratella and Filippo Marinetti did become*/like many
other Futurists*/ardent supporters of Mussolinis regime.48 Obviously,
modern Industrial music has been influenced by other cultural and musicaltrends (Dadaism, musique concrete, Pop, Rock, Electronic and Post-Punk), but
its emergence (or rather re-emergence) in the mid-1970s was a result of the
spiritual evolution of Futurist music.Apart from general influences that shaped Industrial music, Neo-Folk
draws heavily on national folk traditions. The first point of reference is a
wave of the so-called roots revivals that swept the Europeanized world afew decades after the Second World War, reaching their apogee in the 1960s
and 1970s. Several major features characterized roots revivals: first, the
revitalization and imitation of national traditional music; second, the
44 Peter Webb, Exploring the Networked Worlds of Popular Music: Milieu Cultures (Londonand New York: Routledge 2007), 60; Stephane Francois, La Musique europa enne:ethnographie politique dune subculture de droite (Paris: Harmattan 2006).
45 The history of Industrial music is well described in three non-academic books: SimonFord, Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of Coum Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle
(London: Black Dog 1999); Vivian Vale and Andrea Juno (eds), Re/Search #6/7:Industrial Culture Handbook (San Francisco: V/Search 1983); and David Keenan,Englands Hidden Reverse: Coil, Current 93, Nurse with Wound: A Secret History of theEsoteric Underground (London: SAF Publishing 2003). For a scholarly view of thehistory of Industrial music, see Karen E. Collins, The Future Is Happening Already:Industrial Music, Dystopia and the Aesthetic of the Machine, Ph.D. thesis, Universityof Liverpool, 2002; and Paul Hegarty, Noise/Music: A History (New York: Continuum2007).
46 Collins, The Future Is Happening Already, 9.47 Luigi Russolo, The Art of Noise (Futurist Manifesto, 1913), trans. from the Italian by
Robert Filliou (New York: Ubu Classics 2004), 7. LArt des bruits was written in the
form of a letter to Balilla Pratella, great futurist musician.48 The ideological correlation between Futurism and Fascism is the subject of a thorough
analysis in Griffin, Modernism and Fascism.
442 Patterns of Prejudice
adaptation of folk music to modern musical genres, especially to Rock andPop; and, third, the politicization of folk music. As Britta Sweers argues, inthe context of the various twentieth-century folk revivals, the terminology[folk music] was always combined with political or ideological meanings, in
particular with the idea of traditional or folk music as a counterpoint topopular (i.e., commercial) music.49 Politically, most folk bands and singer-
songwriters were influenced by left-wing ideas while the events of May1968 had a strong impact on the development of roots revivals. The left-
wing orientation of folk artists was particularly evident in Germany, wherethe roots revival encountered a problem of legitimacy since Volkmusik wasdestroyed by the kurzbehoste [those dressed in short trousers] of theGerman youth groups and the armies of National Socialist soldiers andsupporters through their aggressive usage of the songs and the tradition.50
Although the US and European roots revivals have*/to a certaindegree*/triggered the emergence of Neo-Folk in the 1980s, apoliteic Neo-Folk bands apparently draw inspiration not from the 1970s left-wing protestfolk songs, but rather from the previous folk revivals that took place at theend of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. Theserevivals varied throughout European countries. In Britain, for example, the
phenomenon was associated with folk song collectors such as Cecil Sharp,Ralph Vaughan Williams and Lucy Broadwood, who endeavoured*/quite
successfully*/to raise public appreciation of folk music and to secure adistinctively English folk tradition.51 In Germany, the roots revival unfolded
within various clubs and movements such as Der Wandervogel (the bird ofpassage). This movement began in 1896 in reaction to aspects of bourgeoislife and music aesthetics and presented a counterculture to the ubiquitous,
harmony-singing Mannergesangsvereine (male choral societies) of the late-nineteenth century;52 it aimed to reclaim a national identity for Germany,
based upon its songs.53 In Italy, one of the most famous folk song collectorswas none other than Francesco Balilla Pratella, who withdrew from theFuturist movement after the First World War and dedicated the rest of hislife to the traditional music of his native Romagna, much to Marinettis
49 Britta Sweers, Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music (Oxford andNew York: Oxford University Press 2005), 25.
50 Kirsten Kearney, Constructing the Nation: The Role of the Ballad in TwentiethCentury German National Identity with Special Reference to Scotland, Ph.D. thesis,University of Stirling, 2007, 194. On the use of German folk music by the Nazis, seealso Sweers, The power to influence minds.
51 See Richard Sykes, The evolution of Englishness in the English folksong revival,1890/1914, Folk Music Journal, vol. 6, no. 4, 1993, 446/90; and Georgina Boyes, TheImagined Village: Culture, Ideology, and the English Folk Revival (Manchester and New
York: Manchester University Press 1993).52 Sweers, The power to influence minds, 67.53 Kearney, Constructing the Nation, 140.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 443
disgust.54 Revealingly, by moving from Futurist music to Italian traditionalfolk, Pratella anticipated the 1980s rise of Neo-Folk out of the Industrialmilieu.
Europe is dead*
/Looking for Europe*
Europe*/or rather a highly mythologized and idealized concept ofEurope*/is central to the ethos of apoliteic music. In fact, Europe has longbeen a popular object of mythologization.55 A modernist statue in front ofthe European Parliament in Strasbourg features Europa as a woman sittingon a bull. The statue represents the ancient Greek myth of the abduction ofEuropa by lascivious Zeus disguised as a white bull. Over the centuries themyth has been the subject of thousands of works of art, but in modern times
the idea of Europe has spawned even more interpretations: a bastion ofChristianity, a part of the Free World, a vanguard of civilization, a place tornbetween the capitalist and socialist powers or, most recently, one divided byformer US President George W. Bush into the Iraq-war-friendly newEurope and the old Europe that doubted the validity of the militarycampaign. These are mythological constructs applied to one and the samegeographical region. Fascists, or Eurofascists, have constructed their ownmythological Europe as a homogeneous cultural entity or primordial racialcommunity.56 With regard to radical right-wing music, one can distinguish
the three main lyrical and artistic themes alluded to in the title of this section:the death of Europe; Europe in the interregnum; and the rebirth of Europe.Seen from the point of view of the Waldganger, there are several causes of
Europes death. It was, first of all, a consequence of the establishment of theNew World Order, marked by the domination of liberal democratic valuesand the rejection of the fascist European myths. In an interview with theAnglo-Dutch apoliteic band H.E.R.R., one of the vocalists, Troy Southgate,who is also a prolific New Right author, states:
In Europe . . . the twin profanities of Americanisation and liberal democracy are
eating away at the very soul of our civilisation. Individualism has replaced
54 Benjamin Thorn, Francesco Balilla Pratella (1880/1955), in Larry Sitsky (ed.), Music ofthe Twentieth-century Avant-garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, CT: GreenwoodPress 2002), 380.
55 See Kevin Wilson and Jan van der Dussen (eds), The History of the Idea of Europe(London and New York: Routledge 1995); and Peter H. Gommers, Europe, Whats in aName (Leuven: Leuven University Press 2001).
56 On the Eurofascists idea of Europe, see Roger Griffin, Europe for the Europeans:
fascist myths of the European new order 1922/1992, in Roger Griffin, A FascistCentury: Essays by Roger Griffin, ed. Matthew Feldman (Basingstoke and New York:Palgrave Macmillan 2008), 132/80.
444 Patterns of Prejudice
individuality, economics are taking priority over ideas, and the mass consumer
society rides roughshod over polytheism, identity and diversity.57
If liberal democracy is the enemy of European cultural identity, interpreted
in fascist terms, then the 1945 Yalta conference*/
where the leaders of Britain,the United States and the USSR discussed the post-war reorganization of
Europe*/was clearly the time-point of the funeral march. Death in June
makes this message clear:
Sons of Europe
Sick with liberalism
Sons of Europe
Chained with capitalism . . .
On a marble slab in Yalta
Mother EuropeWas Slaughtered.58
Europes death (or, perhaps, its mere decline) is also linked to the
growing multiculturalism of European states. In his analysis of the Euro-
Pagan scene, Stephane Francois argues that such bands condemn multi-
cultural society, seen as the manifestation of the decline of European values
and the victory of corrupting Western universalism.59 Josef Maria Klumb of
Von Thronstahl, one of the most influential and prolific apoliteic bands,
unambiguously corroborates this notion:
The so-called multi-culturalism . . . creates a mixed population without any real
culture. . . . the clash of cultures has already caused a lot of damage in big
57 Malahki Thorn, H.E.R.R. interview: hopes die in winter, Heathen Harvest (webzine), 4March 2005, at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story020050304171250371(viewed 12 August 2009). On Troy Southgate, see Graham D. Macklin, Co-optingthe counter culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction, Patterns
of Prejudice, vol. 39, no. 3, 2005, 301/26. Southgate frequently contributes vocals and/or lyrics to various apoliteic bands, including Seelenlicht, Horologium, The Days of theTrumpet Call and Sagittarius.
58 Death in June, Sons of Europe, on Burial (London: Leprosy Discs 1984).59 Stephane Francois, The Euro-Pagan scene: between paganism and radical right,
trans. from the French by Ariel Godwin, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, vol. 1, no. 2,2007, 35/54 (48). Actually, my concept of apoliteic music is very close to FrancoissEuro-Pagan music, characterized by praise of an ethnic European paganism, oftenmarked by conservative revolutionary ideas (37). I dont use Francoiss term (eveninevitably redefined) in this article because not all apoliteic musicians and bands areadherents of heathen cults. Some have declared themselves to be Christians, while
others are followers of the esoteric teaching of integral Traditionalism or atheists.However, the musical acts mentioned in both articles coincide to a considerabledegree.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 445
German cities, where you can see and feel the spenglerian decline of the west
simply by taking a walk through some streets.60
The Russian musician Ilya Kolerov (Wolfsblood) echoes Klumbs concern for
Europes cultural integrity. While he maintains that he likes neithercommunism, nor Nazism, nor modern Jewish democracy, Kolerov openly
admits: Maybe, Im racist partly. I dont want Moscow to be an Asian city. I
want to see pure French or British on the streets of London or Paris.61
Kolerovs argument draws on the new racist theories of ethnopluralism
advanced by the European New Right and propagated in Russia by the
metapolitical fascist philosopher Aleksandr Dugin.62 The ethnopluralist
theory champions ethno-cultural pluralism globally but is critical of cultural
pluralism (multiculturalism) in any given society. By distorting a democratic
call for the right of all peoples and cultures to be different,63 the theory
thereby attempts to legitimize European exclusionism and the rejection of
miscegenation. In ethnopluralist terms, the mixing of cultures and the
suppression of cultural differences would correspond to the intellectual
death of humanity and would perhaps even endanger the control mechan-
isms that ensure its biological survival.64
Toroidh, one of Henrik N. Bjorkks bands (apart from the now defunct
Folkstorm), musically elaborates another explanation for Europes death in
the European Trilogy. In an interview conducted by the British magazine
Compulsion Online following the release ofEurope Is Dead, the second part of
the trilogy, Bjorkk tells readers: The European Trilogy is all based upon the
chaotic 20th century*/the world wars, the ethnic conflicts and the dream of a
united Europe. The Europe that conquered the old world, and colonized the
60 Malahki Thorn, Von Thronstahl interview: the search for truth, Heathen Harvest(webzine), 7 December 2005, at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story020051207145142661 (viewed 12 August 2009).
61 Malahki Thorn, Wolfsblood interview: spiritual death, Heathen Harvest (webzine), 15February 2005, at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story020050215151635652(viewed 12 August 2009).
62 Anton Shekhovtsov, Aleksandr Dugins neo-Eurasianism: the New Right a la Russe,Religion Compass (online journal), vol. 3, no. 4, 2009, 696/716, at www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1749-8171.2009.00158.x (viewed 1 September 2009);Anton Shekhovtsov, The palingenetic thrust of Russian neo-Eurasianism: ideas ofrebirth in Aleksandr Dugins worldview, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions,vol. 9, no. 4, 2008, 491/506; Andreas Umland, Der Neoeurasismus des AleksandrDugin. Zur Rolle des integralen Traditionalismus und der Orthodoxie fur dierussische Neue Rechte , i n M ar ga re te J ager and J urgen Link (eds),
Macht*/Religion*/Politik: Zur Renaissance religioser Praktiken und Mentalitaten(Munster: Unrast 2006), 141/57.
63 See United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (New York: United
Nations 2008), 1/2, available on the UN website at www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf (viewed 12 August 2009).
64 Balibar, Is there a new racism?, 22.
446 Patterns of Prejudice
new, and that passed away with the Second World War.65 Bjorkk ispresumably raising the spectre of the Eurofascist view of the lost Europeancivil war of the twentieth century, lost not to one European country oranother but to non-fascists. In any case, Bjorkks dream of a united Europe
clearly has nothing to do with either the European Economic Community orthe European Union but is, rather, of a united fascist Europe, a notion thatwas extremely popular within certain Italian Fascist and Nazi circles.66
The vision of a dead Europe is articulated not only in lyrics, song titles andartists interviews, but is also graphically expressed in album covers andartwork. In most cases the theme of Europes death is represented inmournful images of cemetery sculptures, doleful people with bent heads,dead soldiers and their personal belongings, abandoned battlefields andtrenches. Of course, the featured images do not imply that a given albumwill*/either musically or lyrically*/focus exclusively on Europes death.
Most apoliteic bands combine the three Europe-centred themes, althougheach theme does have its specific graphic representation.
The German band Darkwood has its own trilogy that deals with thestruggle of Europe (see Figure 1). The first part is entitled In the Fields,67 andits cover features a bas-relief of a sorrowful woman kneeling on one knee,her bent head in one hand and a flower in the other. The cover of the secondpart, Heimat & Jugend (Homeland and Youth),68 features an image from aBelgian graveyard. The third part, Flammende Welt (World in Flames),69 hason its cover another bas-relief, this one depicting a military medic
presumably serving with the Axis forces (he wears a steel M35 helmet)holding his fallen or badly injured comrade.Flammende Welt opens with the solemnly ominous instrumental track For
Europe, and eventually concludes with the song In Ruinen, whichundoubtedly alludes to Evolas work Gli uomini e le rovine (literally themen and the ruins, but usually translated into English as Men among theRuins), published in 1953,70 thus anticipating his 1961 Cavalcare la tigre.Henryk Vogel, the man behind Darkwood, comments: the open end InRuins is not just a state after the struggle of Europe but also a darkpremonition of what is to come. . . . In the last song [In Ruinen], whispered
vocals announce that there is to be a cultural resistance*/which is necessarynot only for Europe.71 In another commentary on the song, Vogel pondersthe post-war development of Europe and argues that they decided for the
65 Toroidh*/Europe Is Dead, Compulsion Online, n.d., at www.compulsiononline.com/falbum6.htm (viewed 12 August 2009).
66 See Griffin, Europe for the Europeans.67 Darkwood, In the Fields (Dresden: Heidenvolk 1999).68 Darkwood, Heimat & Jugend (Dresden: Heidenvolk 2000).69 Darkwood, Flammende Welt (Dresden: Heidenvolk 2001).
70 Julius Evola, Gli uomini e le rovine (Roma: Edizioni dellAscia 1953).71 Darkwood*/interview with Henryk Vogel,Heimdallr (webzine), January 2002, at www.
heimdallr.ch/Interviews/2002/darkwoodinterview.html (viewed 12 August 2009).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 447
Marshall plan and bought our souls with gold. But some souls cannot bebought, and a secret Europe lives on*/as expressed in In Ruinen.72 Similarly,
Ian Read of the British band Fire ' Ice replies to the question of whether hestill believes in Europe: The whole world is rapidly becoming all the same andthis is painfully obvious in Europe which is rapidly losing any essence it hadof old. In fact, this spirit only remains in certain special people who foster it .73
For fascists, a secret Europe is hidden in the interregnum, while theEurope of the deadly liberal democratic order and of homogenizingmulticultural society triumphs. Those who feel devastated by the allegedloss of an old Europe of aristocratic hierarchy, organic ethnic-culturalcommunity, sacrifice and heroism have nothing for it but to retreat into
the forest and find the answer to the current situation there.
He walked to the forest, to the lair of the wolfSaid: Im looking for Europe, Ill tell you the truth.Some find it in a flag, some in the beat of a drumSome with a book, and some with a gunSome in a kiss, and some on the marchBut if youre looking for Europe, best look in your heart.74
References to Ernst Junger are everywhere in the texts and images of
apoliteic music. At least two Neo-Folk bands dedicated their albums to theGerman writer: Sagittarius (Die Groe Marina),75 and Lady Morphia (Recitalsto Renewal).76 The latter album features a track called The Retreat into the
Figure 1 Covers of Darkwoods trilogy on the struggle of Europe: In the Fields, Heimat &
Jugend and Flammende Welt (reproduced with the kind permission of Henryk Vogel)
72 Malahki Thorn, Darkwood interview: the dusk draws near, Heathen Harvest(webzine), 22 December 2005, at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story020051222124738204 (viewed 12 August 2009) (emphasis added).
73 Miguel Do Vale, An interview with Ian Read, Heimdallr (webzine), November 2001,at www.heimdallr.ch/Interviews/2001/fire.html (viewed 12 August 2009) (emphasisadded).
74 Sol Invictus, Looking for Europe, on Trees in Winter (London: Tursa 1990).75 Sagittarius, Die Groe Marina (Wittenberg: Neo-Form 2005).76 Lady Morphia, Recitals to Renewal (Little Walden, Essex: Surgery 2000).
448 Patterns of Prejudice
Forest in which a male singer recites an extract from the English translationof Jungers Der Waldgang. In 2001 the German label Thaglasz, which evolvedfrom a Death in June fan club, released the truly pan-European three-LPcompilation entitled Der Waldganger.77 As might be expected, most of the
tracks are named after Jungers novels and essays, and some have titles thatreflect a certain elaboration of the ideas expressed in his above-mentionedessay: This Morn Ominas Innere Emigration (inner emigration), Luft-waffes A Solitary Order and Von Thronstahls thought-provoking Wald-gang & Apoliteia.
Von Thronstahl, whose music, in Klumbs own words, reflects the longingfor the true European identity and soul, our secret home that is Europa,78
demonstrates the most acute perspicacity regarding metapolitical fascism.One of the bands tracks is called Interregnum and it is featured on the splitalbum Pessoa/Cioran,79 dedicated to Fernando Pessoa and Emil Cioran.
Pessoa was a Portuguese modernist poet who blended an elite nationalisticsentiment, which favoured authoritarian leaders, with certain strains ofavant-garde poetics and anticlerical mysticism.80 Although sometimessarcastically critical of Salazar s Estado Novo (especially after it outlawedsecret organizations like the Freemasons and Rosicrucians), Pessoa actuallyembraced it and, in 1936, a year after his death, the government republishedsome poems from his Mensagem (Message) (1933) to celebrate the anniver-sary of the regime.81 Cioran was a Romanian-born philosopher who, in thecourse of the 1930s, sympathized with both the Italian and German fascist
regimes, as well as being close to the Romanian fascist movement IronGuard, also known as the Legion of the Archangel Michael.82 The leader ofthe Iron Guard, Corneliu Codreanu, was also honoured with a specialdouble-CD compilation, Codreanu: Eine Erinnerung an den Kampf (Codreanu:a reminiscence of the struggle),83 that featured many Neo-Folk and MartialIndustrial artists.
Thematic compilations are important media for the expression of theidea of Europe in the interregnum. Musical tributes to individuals (often
77 Various Artists, Der Waldganger (Hanover: Thaglasz 2001).
78 Thorn, Von Thronstahl interview.79 Von Thronstahl/The Days of the Trumpet Call, Pessoa/Cioran (Sintra: Terra Fria 2004).
The Days of the Trumpet Call is a side project of Von Thronstahl member RaymondPlummer.
80 Darlene J. Sadlier, An Introduction to Fernando Pessoa: Modernism and the Paradoxes ofAuthorship (Gainesville: University Press of Florida 1998), 46.
81 Ibid., 151. See also Jose Barreto, Salazar and the New State in the writings of FernandoPessoa, Portuguese Studies, vol. 24, no. 2, 2008, 168/214; and Jim Hicks, The fascistimaginary in Pessoa and Pirandello, Centennial Review, vol. 42, no. 2, 1998, 309/32.
82 Marta Petreu, An Infamous Past: E. M. Cioran and the Rise of Fascism in Romania(Chicago: Ivan R. Dee 2005). It should be noted, however, that Cioran later repented
his fascist past.83 Various Artists, Codreanu: Eine Erinnerung an den Kampf (Andria, Puglia: Oktagon
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 449
genuine icons for both neo-fascists and metapolitical fascists), such as
Ernst Junger, Corneliu Codreanu, Julius Evola,84 Leni Riefenstahl,85 Arno
Breker,86 and Friedrich Hielscher,87 reveal that these figures*/in one way or
another associated with fascism*/are true exponents of the Europe now
dead and, by contributing their pieces to these compilations, apoliteic artistsreconfirm their allegiance to the principles of organic Europa. The
sentiment and perception of the interregnum is, perhaps, best described
in Death in Junes Runes and Men (another allusion to Evolas Gli uomini
e le rovine):
Then my loneliness closes in
So, I drink a German wine
And drift in dreams of other lives
And greater times.88
The specific stylistic expression of the theme of the interregnum lies
outside the realm of music itself. While one may rightfully consider that the
images of ruins featured on album covers and/or booklets refer to the theme
of Europes death, it seems more reasonable*/given Evolas overwhelming
popularity among apoliteic artists*/to link such images to the theme of the
interregnum. The same applies to images of forests. Of course, when artists
illustrate their albums with such images (sometimes the artists themselves
are portrayed on them), it is possible to conclude that they simply like forests.
One can also interpret forests as symbols of enduring organic rootednessand/or voluntary dissociation from modernitys stunning decadence and
decay. Both explanations are legitimate and most likely correct in many
cases. However, the legacy of Junger, whose ghost haunts the Neo-Folk/
Martial Industrial scene, cannot be ignored; thus, the images of forests may
84 Various Artists, Cavalcare la Tigre (Dresden: Eis und Licht 1998).85 Various Artists, Riefenstahl (Duisberg: Verlag und Agentur Werner Symanek 1996).
Verlag und Agentur Werner Symanek (VAWS) is also a publishing house known for
producing radical right-wing and historical (revisionist) books.86 Various Artists, Breker (Duisberg: Verlag und Agentur Werner Symanek 2002). Arno
Breker was a German sculptor who, according to Alfred Rosenberg, realized in hiswork the mighty momentum and will power (Wucht und Willenhaftigkeit) of the newera. See Caroline Fetscher, Why mention Arno Breker today? The work of the Nazisculptor is on exhibit, The Atlantic Times, August 2006, available online atwww.atlantic-times.com/archive_detail.php?recordID0602 (viewed 13 August 2009).
87 Various Artists, Wir Rufen deine Wolfe (St Koloman, Austria: Ahnstern 2007). FriedrichHielscher was a German poet and philosopher who formulated a mystical concept ofthe German nation in Das Reich (1931). Although he sympathized with the Nazis inthe 1920s, he moved to an explicitly anti-Nazi (though not anti-fascist) position prior
to Hitlers seizure of power.88 Death in June, Runes and Men, on Brown Book (London: New European Recordings
450 Patterns of Prejudice
very well be alluding to the idea of the retreat into the forest that signifiesexistence during the interregnum.
The idea of the rebirth (palingenesis) of Europe is an important integralelement of Europe-centred apoliteic music. This notion implies that, despite
Europes death, followed by an indefinite interregnum during which thearistocrats of the soul are forced to undertake the Waldgang, a fairy (or,rather, eerie) Europe of metapolitical fascists will inevitably be reborn. TheGerman band Belborn inserted this idea in metaphorical form into a songcalled Phoenix:
In dieser kalten Welt aus Eis In this cold world of iceSind wir das Feuer das bewahrt We are the fire that keepsDie Wahrheit in des Wesens Kern The truth in the essential seedDen Schopfungsgeist in Wort und Tat. The creative spirit in word and
deed.Vogel aus der Gotter Hand Bird from the gods own handsHebe uns empor Raises us upwardsSetze die Welt in Brand.89 Sets the world on fire.
Reflecting on Europes spiritual rebirth in an interview with theRomanian magazine Letters from the Nuovo Europae, Belborn, however,denied Europes death, maintaining that she was only sleeping: No needto give birth to something again that was never dead! Europa is onlysleeping at the moment because the sandman was and is too busy. EUROPEAWAKE!!!90 In any case, both ideas*/Europes rebirth and her awake-ning*/are mythological metaphors that reveal the palingenetic thrust ofapoliteic music. Troy Southgates band Seelenlicht conveys this by quotingHermann Hesses Demian (1960) on the inlay cover of their album Gods andDevils: The bird struggles out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoeverwants to be born, must first destroy a world.91 Besides the similarity of thebird metaphors in these texts from Belborns and Seelenlichts albums, bothof them point to the death of the actual order that will usher in a new one. In
this context, the required demise is not of organic Europa but of the presentMcWorld of liberal democracy. This connotation of the notion of palingen-esis is effectively articulated by Howard Williams in his article on ImmanuelKants employment of the terms metamorphosis and palingenesis: Wherea palingenetic change takes place, the existing structure takes on a wholly
89 Belborn, Phoenix, on Seelenruhe/Phoenix (London: World Serpent 2000). The Englishtranslation is by Belborn.
90 New heroic times ask for new heroic models (interview with Holger Fiala ofBelborn), Letters from the Nuovo Europae, October 2000, previously on the Belborn
website at www.belborn.de/INTRODUCTION/INTERVIEWS/DAN/dan.html (nolonger available).
91 Quoted on Seelenlicht, Gods and Devils (Northampton: Cold Spring 2008).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 451
inappropriate guise, which is out of keeping with the true nature of theorganism. Here the birth of a new structure can only take place with thecompleted death of the old.92
Thus, it is not a coincidence that, for example, the US band Luftwaffe
associates palingenesis with Kalki, a Hindu goddess who is to end thepresent age (Kali Yuga) of decadence and decay, in Kalkis Army:
Well tear this world to shredsWell rip your world to shredsYour corporations will burnYour institutions will burnYour churches will burnYour flag will burnYou will burn! . . .
Within the Meta-KronosphereThis moment is decriedYou would have thoughtYour actions were your ownBut history has moved your handNow history has given us this dayThe dark ages are overOur age is come93
The association of palingenesis with Kalki can be traced back to the writingsof the French Nazi mystic Maximini Portaz, better known as Savitri Devi.During the years of the Third Reich she actively propagated a belief thatHitler was an avatar of Kalki, destined to crush the combined dark ageforces of Jewry, Marxism, and international capitalism.94 The impact ofDevis writings on neo-Nazism as well as metapolitical fascism isconsiderable. The German apoliteic band Turbund Sturmwerk cites her TheLightning and the Sun (1958) on the back cover of their eponymous album:Never mind how bloody the final crash may be! . . . We are waiting for it[and for] the triumph of all those men who, throughout centuries and today,
have never lost the vision of the everlasting Order, decreed by the Sun. . .
This leitmotif*/of course, not always a result of the adoption of Devis(c)ravings*/recurs repeatedly in the lyrics and interviews of apoliteic artists.Henryk Vogel, for instance, assumes that its possible that everything will
92 Howard Williams, Metamorphosis or palingenesis? Political change in Kant, Reviewof Politics, vol. 63, no. 4, 2001, 693/ 722 (700).
93 Luftwaffe, Kalkis Army, on Trephanus Uhr (Chicago: Lupine Arts 2004).94 Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Hitlers Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth, and
Neo-Nazism (New York: New York University Press 1998), 124/5.
95 Savitri Devi, The Lightning and the Sun (Buffalo, NY: Samisdat 1958), 18. The extendedpassage is cited on the cover of Turbund Sturmwerk, Turbund Sturmwerk (Leipzig:Loki Foundation 2003).
452 Patterns of Prejudice
crumble to dust and a new generation will rise from the ashes of the
materialistic system to install a new order of splendour and light.96
Interestingly enough, the idea of Europes rebirth also reveals itself
through the names of the labels that release*/almost exclusively*/apoliteic
music. In 1981 Douglas Pearce founded New European Recordings, whosediscography includes the albums of his band (Death in June), as well as other
acts like Boyd Rice and Friends, Fire'Ice, TeHOM and Strength through
Joy.97 In 2002 the Belgian label Neuropa Records was established to release
albums by such bands as Toroidh, Horologium, Un Defi dHonneur (also
known as A Challenge of Honour), Levoi Pravoi, Oda Relicta and others.It is worth noting that the word palingenesis itself gained currency in the
apoliteic milieu. What is even more important is that it is interpreted by
conscientious fans in a metapolitical fascist sense, even if the term does not
actually appear. See, for example, a review of the instrumental track
Palingenesis, composed by the Swedish Martial Industrial band Arditi,
for the flavour both of this kind of intuitive apoliteic interpretation and of
Martial Industrial music:
Palingenesis begins with bombastic drumming that immediately ignites the
soul. The drums echo forth from the speakers with incredible definition and
depth. A snare drum joins the thundering kettle drums adding dimension and
lends a definitive martial tone to the song. Solemn synths contribute a sense of
atmosphere that is quite cold and resigned. Palingenesis paints a mental picture
of soldiers lined up ready to march forth into battle, resigned to their fates, and
bound by honor and blood.98
H.E.R.R. reproduces almost the same mental picture in their song A
Marching through the rain
We are soldiers again
We are raised from the fields
With our swords and our shields. . .A city to win
With the sun on our skin
96 Darkwood: patria e liberta, Darkroom Magazine (webzine), 19 April 2008, atwww.darkroom-magazine.it/ita/105/Intervista.php?r0627 (viewed 13 August 2009).
97 Strength through Joy in German is Kraft durch Freude, the name of the Nazis state-controlled leisure organization. See Shelley Baranowski, Strength through Joy:Consumerism and Mass Tourism in the Third Reich (Cambridge and New York:Cambridge University Press 2004).
98 Malahki Thorn, Arditi*/spirit of sacrifice, Heathen Harvest (webzine), 27 April 2005,at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story020050427093041822 (viewed 13August 2009).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 453
We failed in the pastBut today she will last.99
Military imagery is unsurprisingly one of the most widely employed stylistic
elements of apoliteic music. When such acts and artists as Death in June,Boyd Rice, Derniere Volonte, Les Joyaux de la Princesse and Krepulec dressin military or quasi-military uniforms for performances or promotionalphotographs, they emphasize their musical and lyrical image as culturalsoldiers who keep the flag flying in the fight against the age of decay anddemocrazy [sic], as the title of one of Von Thronstahls songs has it.
Eschewing profane politics for spiritual warfare
In 1996 the German New Right weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit published ashort article on new musical trends.
Germany became the centre of a musical culture rooted in the anti-modern
currents of the Gothic . . . scene. Romanticizing pathos and archaic might
(archaische Gewalt), the music ranges from, at one end, classically inflected
melodies to, at the other, rough Industrial. This mixture contains an explosive
force, of which those in the musical mainstream who stand guard over the old
tradition should beware. If the mythical and irrational, as well as the desire for
anti-Enlightenment introspection and living transcendence, find a voice in youthculture, the aesthetic consensus of the West will be broken.100
This article was possibly the very first attempt to get Neo-Folk/MartialIndustrial artists involved in the right-wing Gramscian struggle for culturalhegemony. From then on, Junge Freiheit has been publishing interviews withapoliteic artists and enthusiastic album reviews. In France, however, thereception of Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial music by New Right thinkers hasbeen ambivalent. For example, the leader of the French New Right, Alain deBenoist, who actually enjoys folk music, finds it disturbing when folk artists(like Death in June) add elements of Nazi subculture to their music, andconsiders them provocateurs. In his turn, Christian Bouchet, the founder ofNouvelle Resistance (New Resistance), embraces what I am calling apoliteicmusic, as opposed to White Noise.101 The Russian New Right, associatedfirst and foremost with Aleksandr Dugins neo-Eurasianist organizations,especially the Evraziiskii Soyuz Molodezhi (ESM, Eurasian Youth Union),takes a favourable view of apoliteic music, and a leader of the local ESM
99 H.E.R.R., A New Rome, on The Winter of Constantinople (Northampton: Cold Spring
2005).100 Quoted in Klaus Farin, Die Gothics: Interviews, Fotografien (Bad Tolz: Tilsner 2001), 15.101 See interviews with de Benoist and Bouchet in Francois, La Musique europaenne.
454 Patterns of Prejudice
branch in Kazan even owns a small company (Arcto Promo) that organizes
music festivals*/called Finis Mundi102*/that sometimes feature apoliteic
bands. The British case is more straightforward as Troy Southgate, the leader
of the British New Right and the founder of the National Anarchist group, is
an apoliteic artist himself. He is also the editor of the New Right journalSynthesis: Journal du Cercle de la Rose Noire,103 in which he publishes, inter alia,
his reviews of Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial albums.Significantly, all the movements and groups that, in one way or another,
turn to Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial bands in an attempt to infiltrate certain
youth subcultures are metapolitical, rather than political. These organiza-
tions then eventually find they have more in common with the musical
bands than with genuinely political parties, movements or even violent neo-
fascist groups. Similar to the apoliteic musicians, who function as a kind of
metapolitical reference point for those people who find themselves disillu-
sioned with the state of the modern world,104 these New Right groups focus
on the cultural terrain in their attempt to influence society and make it more
susceptible to undemocratic and authoritarian ways of thinking.Of course, there are exceptions. Troy Southgate was once a member of the
NF, but he left the organization long before he started participating in
musical metapolitical fascist projects. Anthony (Tony) Wakeford of Sol
Invictus was also a member of the NF and, in 2007, he wrote a repentant
message for his website stating that he had had no interest in or sympathy
for the ideas of the NF for about twenty years, and that joining the
organization had probably been the worse decision of [his] life and one [he]very much regret[ted].105 Furthermore, the possibility that a few apoliteic
musicians are members of radical or extreme right-wing political organiza-
tions cant be ruled out, but it is crucial that such membership be kept secret
and not paraded.The reason why apoliteic artists avoid involvement in outright right-wing
political activities does not so much reflect concern for their reputations
(although they do value them), as the lack of correspondence between
102 For Arcto Promo, see its website at http://retro-future.ru (viewed 14 August 2009).103 For Synthesis, see its website at www.rosenoire.org (viewed 14 August 2009).104 Thorn, H.E.R.R. interview.105 Tony Wakeford, A message from Tony, 14 February 2007, available on the Tursa
website at www.tursa.com/message.html (viewed 14 August 2009). Nowhere,however, does Wakeford repudiate his homage to Evola (the titles of two SolInvictus songs, namely Against the Modern World and Amongst the Ruins,directly allude to Evolas works Rivolta contro il mondo moderno and Gli uomini e lerovine), or explain why his ongoing musical project LOrchestre Noir was namedafter the 1985 documentary film on the Belgian paramilitary extreme right-winggroups Vlaamse Militanten Orde (Flemish Militant Order) and Front de la Jeunesse
(Youth Front). See also Stewart Home, Danger! Neo-Folk musician Tony Wakefordof Sol Invictus is still a fascist creep!, 28 July 2008, available online atwww.stewarthomesociety.org/wakeford.html (viewed 14 August 2009).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 455
spiritual warfare and profane politics. For instance, members of theRussian Neo-Folk act Ritual Front, who define the concept of the band asTradition, antiquity, modernity, Gods, death, life, war, struggle, warrior spath, at the same time disdainfully state: We are neither an Oi-band nor
participants in the skinhead underground who are engaged in politicsdirectly!106 Both radical right-wing political parties and racist/neo-Nazigroupuscules also seem contemptuous of spiritual revivalists, who wouldmost likely refuse to play at campaigning concerts or to call for getting rid ofracial enemies.
The question, however, remains as to whether apoliteic bands can functionas instruments for popularizing and promoting genuine fascist ideas, theadoption of which can eventually lead their listeners to contribute to thepolitical cause, even if such bands*/perhaps honestly*/do not mean to. Theanswer, beyond any doubt, is yes. Music is a powerful instrument of
(mis)education: the idealization of fascism, while over-emphasizing itsvalues and deliberately concealing (and even normalizing) its crimes andgenocidal practices throughout the interwar period and the Second WorldWar, effectively contributes to a misreading of modern history, especially byconscientious fans. We can only conjecture as to whether an individual willbe satisfied with just drifting in dreams of other lives and greater times orwill eventually become involved in attempts at the practical implementationof those dreams.
Censoring or banning apoliteic music, however, is undesirable in a
democratic society as well as ultimately impossible. Metapolitical fascistsare keen on using cryptic language and codified symbolic metaphors. Onwhat grounds could one ban artists for using the words like apoliteia,Waldgang, interregnum or palingenesis? Or pictures of runes/ruins?The sounds of the orchestra of a great battle? Eurocentric imagery? On theother hand, how effective are civil society protests or boycotts? Apparentlythese activities only make martyrs ofapoliteic artists and strengthen*/if onlyin the eyes of their fans*/their image as righteous fighters for an organicEurope.
In the context of this problem, which itself requires its own discussion, it
may be interesting and informative to learn the opinion of Eric Roger of thepopular French band Gae Bolg, which is seen as part of the Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial scene, but cannot be considered apoliteic.
Most of the promoters in the [Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial] scene have organized,
or continue to organize, concerts of the right-wing bands. Some of these
promoters are dodgy, while the others are completely clean, theyre just
interested in music and dont care about political issues. How is it possible to
distinguish between clean people (oh, I hate the word clean, it has a bad smell
106 Intervyu s Ritual Front, Mashinnoe otdelenie (webzine), Summer 2003, at http://machine.radionoise.ru/texts/rf.html (viewed 14 August 2009).
456 Patterns of Prejudice
of witch-hunting!) and the unclean, if you dont know people personally? Or
should we refuse all the concerts organized by people who have ever organised
bad concerts in their life?
If we (I mean the bands who are against the right-wing ideology) categorically
refuse to play at the festivals that feature right-wing bands, don t we give them
more space? In this case, our withdrawal would only help them propagate their
ideology, isnt it nonsense? Isnt it better to stay in order to affirm our opposition?
But if I say that, isnt it somewhat hypocritical? Isnt it a sort of compromising?
Isnt it an excuse we find to accept our tolerance, the same tolerance we loudly
condemn in other cases?
At the same time, I really and deeply think that its important that we stay and
that we dont leave an empty place to the right-wingers.107
Anton Shekhovtsov is a Ph.D. student in political science at SevastopolNational Technical University in the Ukraine. His thesis is an examination ofnew radical right-wing parties in Europe. He has published articles inTotalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Religion Compass, RussianReview, Politologychnyi visnyk and Naukovyi visnyk Gileya. He is also a co-author of the Russian-language book Radikalnyi russkii natsionalizm: struk-tury, idei, litsa (Moscow: Sova 2009) (Radical Russian nationalism: structures,ideas, persons).
107 This extract is a small part of an interview that I conducted with Eric Roger viae-mail, 26/31 March 2009.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 457