Tuesday, November 29, 2005

European New Right?

Random surfing today, Wonker encountered a most interesting and somewhat peculiar blog discussing what the blogger calls the "European New Right" or ENR. Employing a sort of reverse Gramscianism, the movement is allegedly attempting to resurrect Europe's sclerotic politics and culture.
A large sector in the ENR subscribes to what they call le Gramscisme de Droite. The ENR (like Gramsci) reverses Marx's idea of base and superstructure. It believes that changes in the ideological superstructure among the cultural and elite opinion-forming groups determine social change. Gramsci called on intellectuals to change society in a socialist direction. The ENR adopts this approach to their own programs. This is called metapolitics. The ENR also identifies with the appeal to populism in Gramsci, although it rejects the rest of the Marxist apparatus.
Well, we're not so sure. As the author describes it, the so-called ENR seems more like warmed-over Marxism than it does a new kind of conservative philosophy. The ENR, such as it may be, is tinged with paganism, and spiced with anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, and (of course) anti-Americanism. The portrait of Noam Chomsky on the blog's index page is sort of a dead giveaway that blogger Mark Wegierski is not exactly in Pat Buchanan's pocket. And he isn't exactly forthcoming in his bio either.

Rather than embodying anything that Americans would recognize as ideas of the "right," the ENR, as described in this piece, seems, in the end, yet another way of resurrecting Marxism via the manipulation of words—here disguising the nature of the experiment by insisting that it comes from the "right." Additionally, its restatement of dialectical materialism is what is really meant by the term "metapolitics" employed in the quote above.

This kind of socio-political chicanery is a little like putting a circa-1968 hippie into a Brooks Brothers suit—you can change his appearance, but you can't alter his nature no matter how you try to disguise it.

Nonetheless, as an extended exercise in rationalization, the piece is well written and well worth reading, shedding light on the nature of a left that has now grown so pathetic and devoid of new ideas that it tires to recycle old ones under a "conservative" banner. A visual caution: as with many blogs, this one employs thin white text on a black background, which is virtually unreadable on many monitors. To make things easier, highlight the text you're reading, which will turn the immediate background gray and the text black which is easier to deal with.

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