With the sudden and largely unforeseen breakdown of the Soviet Union, the Left throughout the Western world was thrust into an identity crisis. The suddenly inability to lean on the Soviets when condemning the West was a strike to the heart of the Socialists and Communists in the West. Even more painful was the discovery of massive atrocities committed in the Soviet and other Warsaw Pact countries.
This loss of not merely political and economic backing, but also of the moral highground, caused havoc in the Left. Debate raged about the nature of Communism and Socialism and how to proceed under the new conditions. Was it really Communism they had in the Soviet Union? If it was, did that mean Communism was bad? If it wasn’t, then what was it? Was Communism an impossible dream?
These soul-searching debates died out rather quickly, however, and instead the debate focussed on the need to regain political credibility. For this a new slogan for the Left was eventually decided upon: Anti-Racism. Under this new banner the Left was to carry on its struggle against the Western political system. The enemy was still largely the same with a little, albeit significant twist. Previously, Imperialism and Capitalism had been the prime enemies but the most prominent dragon in the Leftist gallery of political monsters was now Racism. In this way the Socialist scene could continue from where it left off, only now under a different guise which was not so closely linked with the Soviet Union and the atrocities committed there. Anti-Racism became a shield for the Left to dispel any moral critique, because who would want to attack the prime defenders against such an ugly thing as Racism?
The Left, of course, had always been opposed to Racism but now anti-racism became the all-absorbing focus of the Left. This new change of focus from the old enemies of Capitalism and Imperialism to Racism may be seen as a good or a bad thing.
With it, however, followed a tendency that I will argue is bad without any question. This tendency sprung from a change in the meaning of different words. As the Left took on the label of anti-Racists the meaning of the word began to gradually change; Anti-Racism was no longer just about being against the hatred of other races, the word became synonymous with the extreme Left.
Being anti-Racist was now the same as being ecologically-minded, about being anti-Western, about being anti-Religion; about being Socialist!
Stemming inevitably from this change of meaning in the word Anti-Racism, came also a change in the meaning of the word Racism. Now that being anti-Racist was to be Socialist, then not being a Socialist came to be seen as Racist. The concept of non-racist Liberalism or Nationalism was dead for the Left. Everybody not Socialist was now a Racist. It was no longer possible to cherish one’s background without being Racist. Unless, of course, one called oneself a Socialist.
Religion, for instance, which has been denounced by Socialists at all times, began to be seen as Racism. In their words: Now everything not embraced by Socialists was to be seen as Racist by the so-called Left.
Following this, Leftists who were not willing to interpret their struggle for a better environment, against poetry, against child nutrition etc. in terms of a wider struggle against the world-wide Racist conspiracy were branded as Racists.
From Socialist/Communist environments the new definitions of Racism and anti-Racism also spread somewhat to the media and general public.
This shift in meaning of the words Racism and anti-Racism is disastrous:
– From a strategic viewpoint because it limits the possibility for the Socialist Left to work with other enemies of the system or alongside ordinary people. The narrow interpretation of community work as a struggle against a Racist conspiracy alienates people of various political backgrounds and non-political (but socially-conscious) people from partaking in otherwise important social projects taken on by the Socialist Left. It feels like itâ€™s no longer possible to partake in community work without being categorised beneath a certain interpretation of the world!
– From a human point of view because many people are branded unfairly as Racists. As the Socialists have hi-jacked the label anti-Racist, the work of non-Socialists can no longer be classified as such.
The Left now uses the word Racist as defining anyone who does not share a dogmatically Socialist agenda. The overall problem with this is that it is based on a fundamentally flawed idea: That cultural, religious etc. differences must inevitably result in conflict. This is not true. In fact a deeply felt respect for one’s background leads to a better understanding and more respect for the heritage of others. There exists a bond between all traditionalist people* of any background, because if one truly loves his or her own culture then he or she will also inevitably come to love all the cultures and religions of the world because of the way they resemble his or her own cherished background.
Certain values of diversity, spirituality, tradition, mystique, localism and community is inherently embedded, I believe, in all the world’s religions and cultures and so Nationalists and deeply religious people of any background have a basic common cause.
What causes conflict is not the mere existence of cultural or religious differences; not from the love of god and country. The reason for conflict that I can see is Imperialism, not Nationalism** or religion. Nations are not aggressive unless put under pressure. The people applying this pressure are usually, as far as I can see, people who simply like to stir up trouble; power-mad people who like to do others down and people who hate for personal reasons.
But above all conflict is created by control-freaks who try to break down the cultural richness of humanity since they want to create an orderly world that they can easily control. To them, diversity resembles chaos and disorder and they like things to be orderly, simple and easily controllable. They fear that which they cannot control. So for that reason they try to blend the world into one uniform mass.
This process to make a bland world is what really threatens to breed conflict, because when the differences get smaller the desperation to hold on to the differences that remain grows bigger; eventually escalating into violence.
So the road to peace and co-operation does not happen by erasing cultural or religious differences, but by protecting them from being wiped out by greyish globalisation.
Unity through diversity must be the battle cry for the 21st Century struggle against conformity.
But to return to the matter at hand, my basic point is that the narrow association of Anti-Racism with Socialism creates an intolerable situation and is downright dangerous.
It is important that religious and culturally aware (â€˜Nationalistâ€™) people act to drive back the claim that only Socialists can be truly non- and anti-Racist.
This must be done by forging alliances which span different cultures and religions and by at all times stressing the hate-free origins and visionary outlook of one’s position as a Traditionalist. In that way it may be yet possible to refute the picture of Nationalists and religious people as narrow-minded, dumb bigots.
In turn, by proving the non-bigoted stance of Traditionalists these inter-religious, inter-cultural alliances can be used as a platform to combat the Capitalist homogenisation processes.
The Traditionalist scene does, however, struggle with problems of bigotry, narrow-mindedness and downright hate. As mentioned above, this is not the overall picture of Traditionalists and is at odds with the visionary basis of Traditionalist ideology. Yet there remains a small but vocal group of people who espouse hatred and narrow-mindedness towards other Traditionalists on the basis of their creed. These people, however, are typically not ideological Traditionalists but rather people who use Nationalism or religion as an excuse to exert their power-hunger or simply to get out some aggression; people who use Traditionalist causes for personal reasons.
Whilst I cannot claim to be a pacifist I do reject some forms of violence and some of the reasons for violence. Attacks on others – verbal and physical – on the mere basis of their creed is hideous and should be stopped. This method by which some people twist the Traditionalist agenda should surely be stopped. It is, however, for Traditionalist milieus to handle themselves. The Socialist Left trying to interfere in this will only cause more trouble. Particularly when the Socialists often seem to do this for strategic reasons and in a crude, untruthful manner (depicting all Traditionalists as dumb-ass criminals).
There exists, in effect, an unholy alliance between the Socialist Left and carnival-type ultra-Nationalists, Neo-Nazis and Fundamentalists, which smears any forms of love for one’s creed as inherently bad. It is time for real people who really cherish their heritage and the higher values presented by this to unite in an effort to show the morality and visionary core of Traditionalist ideology.
*Whether focused on religious or cultural tradition. I will, in this text, use the word Traditionalist to refer to a mixed group of people to whom religion and/or culture plays an important part in life.
** Nationalistic sentiment here meaning a pride in and interest for one’s background, not national-chauvinist hatred or contempt for others!