Furthest Right

Synergies Européennes: An Interview with Robert Steuckers (Pieter Van Damme)

Questions to Robert Steuckers: In order to precise the positions of Synergies Europénnes

Interview by Pieter Van Damme, for an end of course dissertation

The following is a translation of an interview with Robert Steuckers founder of Synergies Européennes. S.E. is an excellent pan European organization with a very fine history of activism that was born as a result of a split from Alain DeBenoist’s GRECE quite some time back.

Q: To what extent can “national-bolshevism” be included in the “third way”, between liberalism and Marxism?

RS : National-bolshevism does not refer to any economic theory or project of society: this is too often forgotten. This composed term has been used to denominate the (temporary, indeed) alliance between the traditional cadres of German diplomacy, eager to release the Reich defeated in 1918 from the Western enterprise, and the leading elements of German communism, eager to find a weight ally in the West for the new-born USSR. With Niekisch – ancient cadre of the Council Republic of Monaco, crushed by the nationalist Freikorps [Franc Corps] under the mandate of Noske‘s social-democrat power – national-bolshevism assumes a more political shade, but in the majority of cases its self-denomination chooses the “national-revolutionary” label. The concept of national-bolshevism becomes a polemical concept, used by journalists to indicate the alliance between the extreme wings on the political chessboard. Niekisch, in the times when he was considered as a leading figure of national-bolshevism, was no more politically active, strictly speaking; he was the editor of newspapers appealing to the fusion of the national and communist extreme wings (the extremities of the political “horse-shoe”, said Jean-Pierre Faye, author of the book Les langages totalitaires [Totalitarian languages]. The notion of “Third Way” made its appearance within this literature. It had different avatars, as a matter of fact mixing nationalism to communism, or some libertarian elements in the nationalism of the young people of Wandervogel to some communitarian options elaborated by the left, as it is the case, for instance, of Gustav Landauer. [1]

These ideological mixes were initially elaborated within the internal debate of then existing national-revolutionary factions; then after 1945, when there was hope that that some third way would become the way of Germany, torn between East and West, and when such Germany would be no more the place of the European divide, as on the contrary the bridge between the two worlds, managed by a political model combining the best qualities of the two systems, ensuring both freedom and social justice at a time. On a different level, the name of “third way” was sometimes used to called the German techniques of economic management which differed from Anglo-saxon techniques, although from within the same market liberalism. The latter techniques are considered to bee to much speculative in their progress, too little careful of the social continuum structured by non-market sectors (health and social welfare, teaching and university). In this German view of the 1950s and 1960s, market liberalism must be consolidated by respect and support to the “concrete orders” of the society, as to become an “order-liberalism”. Its functioning will be optimal once the sectors of welfare and education do not limp, do not engender social misguidance due to the negligence of the non-market sectors by a political power too much subdued to banking and financial circuits.

The French economist Michel Albert, in his famous work Capitalisme contre capitalisme [Capitalism against capitalism], translated in many languages, opposes indeed such order-liberalism to the neo-liberalism en vogue after the coming to power of Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Reagan in the United States. Albert calls order-liberalism as the “Rhenish-model”, defining it as a model loath to stock market speculation as a way to maximise profits without structural investments, and as a model attentive to the preservation of education “structures” and a social welfare apparatus, sustained by a solid hospitalising network. Albert, order-liberal follower of the German way, re-evaluates non-market sectors under attack after the coming of neo-liberalism. The French “nouvelle droite” [ND, new right], preferably working within a dream-like framework, though masked by the adjective “cultural”, did not take into account this fundamental distinction made by Albert in a book nevertheless hugely diffused through all European countries. If the ND had to opt for an economic strategy, it should have started with the defence of existing structures (that are also cultural achievements), in concert with gaullists, socialists and ecologists struggling to defend them, and should have criticised those politicians who – following the neo-liberal and Anglo-Saxon fashion – give speculative trends a free rein. Neo-liberalism dislocates non-market achievements (that is cultural practical achievements) and any ND, claiming the supremacy of culture, should act in defence of such non-market structures. Due to the mediocrity of the leading personnel of the Parisian ND, this work was not undertaken. [2]

Perroux, Veblen, Schumpeter and the heterodoxes

Anyway, economics in France operates – with Albertini, Silem and Perroux – a distinction between “orthodoxy” and “heterodoxy”. As “orthodoxies” (plural) it means the economic techniques applied by European powers: 1) Marxist Soviet-style planned economy, 2) free, unrestrained market economy, the Anglo-Saxon fashion (pure liberalism or classic liberalism, deriving from Adam Smith, present neo-liberalism being but an avatar of the former), 3) economics offering some mix between the two former techniques, such as it was theoretically expressed by Keynes at the beginning of the XX century and adopted by most social-democrat governments (British labourites, the German SPD, the Austrian SPÖ, Scandinavian socialists). As heterodoxy the French political science means every economic theory not deriving from pure principles, that is from disembodied rationality, as on the contrary from peculiar, real and concrete political histories. In this perspective, heterodoxes are the heirs of the famous German “historical school” of the XIX century, of Thorstein Veblen‘s institutionalism and of Schumpeter‘s doctrines. Heterodoxes do not believe in universal models, as against the three dominating forms of orthodoxy. They think that there exist as many economics and economic systems as national and local histories. Together with Perroux and beyond their particular differences and divergences, the heterodoxes think that the historical character of structures is in itself worth being given due respect, and that economic problems must be solved respecting such structures’ own dynamics.

More recently, the notion of “Third Way” was brought again to the fore with the coming to power of Tony Blair in the United Kingdom, after about twenty years of thatcherian neo-liberalism. Apparently, as a principle, Blair comes closer to the German third way; as a matter of fact, he is but trying to make the British working class accept the achievements of liberalism. His “third way” is a placebo, a set of buffer measures and devices against the unpleasant social effects of neo-liberalism, but it does not reach the core of the matter: it is only a timid shift towards some keynesian position, that is towards one more orthodoxy, already practised by labourites but presented to the voters through a much more “workerist” and muscular language. Blair would have really launched a third way had he centred his policies on a deeper defence of the non-market sectors of the British society and on some forms of protectionism (once already favoured by a more muscular keynesism, a keynesism oriented to order-liberal – or order-socialist, order-labourite – trends). [3]

Q: What is the role of Marxism, or bolshevism, in this framework?

RS : Soviet-style Marxism failed everywhere, its role is finally brought to nothing, even in the countries that experienced the market economy. The sole nostalgia left, that comes to the light in every discussion with people emigrated from those countries, goes to the excellence of the educational system, able to communicate a classical corpus, and to the schools of music and dance, local expressions of the Bolshoy; this nostalgia can be found even in the smallest villages. The ideal thing would be to couple such education network, impermeable to the spirit of 1968, to an heterodox economic system, clearing the way to cultural variety, without the control of a rigid ideology preventing the blossoming of the new, both on the cultural and economic plan.

Q : Did Synergy then quit organic solidarism or not?

RS : No, it did not. Since it is just heterodoxies – plural, so that they can answer to the imperatives of the autonomous contexts – that represent ipso facto organic reflexes. Heterodox theories and practices stem from an organic humus, as against orthodoxies elaborated in the test-tube, indoor, outside of any concrete context. Because of their defence of dynamic structures engendered by the peoples and their own institutions, and of the non-market and welfare sectors, heterodoxies immediately imply solidarity among the members of a political community. The third way brought forward by heterodox doctrines is forcedly an organic and solidarist third way. The problem you seem to rise here is that a good number of right-wing groups and small couches wrongly used and equivocated the terms “organic” and “solidarist”, or “community”, never making reference to the complex corpus of heterodox economic science. It was easy then for Marxist critics, for instance, to label the militants of those movements as jokers or cheaters, manipulating empty words without any real and concrete meaning.

Participation et interest in the times of De Gaulle

The concrete and actual example to which the ND could have made reference was the set of reform attempts in De Gaulle‘s France during the 1960s, with the “participation” of the workers in the enterprises and their “interest” to the reaped benefits. Participation and interest are the two pillars of the gaullian reform of the market liberal economy. Such reform does not go in the direction of Soviet-style rigid planning, although a Planning Office was forecast, as in the direction of the anchorage of the economy within a given population, in this case the French population. In parallel, this orientation of the French economy towards participation and interest is coupled with the reform of the representative system, where the national assembly (i.e. the French parliament) should be sided until the end of its term by a Senate where would sit not only the elected representatives of the political parties, but also the representatives of the professional associations and the regions, directly chosen by the people without the parties acting as a go-between. In this sense De Gaulle spoke about a “Senate of the professions and the regions”.

For minute history, this reform by De Gaulle was by no means taken into account by the French right-wing and by the ND, partly coming from them, since those right-wings found themselves in the camp of the partisans of a French Algeria and therefore rejected, altogether irrationally, every manifestation of the gaullian power. This undoubtedly explains the total absence of any reflection upon these gaullian social projects in the ND literature. [4]

Q : The economic visions of the conservative revolutionaries seem to me to be rather confused, and apparently have but one common denominator, the rejection of classical liberalism!

RS : Economic ideas in general, and introductory manuals to the history of economic doctrines give a very small room to heterodox currents. These manuals – that are imposed to the students in their first years, and that are destined to give them a sort of Ariadne’s thread to keep their way through the succession of economic ideas – almost do not include anymore the theories of the German historical school and their many avatars in Germany and elsewhere (in Belgium at the end of the XIX century Emile de Laveleye, genial scholar and vulgariser of the theses of the German historical school). The only notable exception are the manuals of Albertini and Silem, quoted above. From Sismondi to List, from Rodbertus to Schumpeter, a different vision of economics is developed, focusing on the context and accepting the infinite variety of the ways of realising the political economy. These doctrines do not reject so much liberalism, since some of their bearers qualify themselves as “liberals”, as the refusal of acknowledging the contextual and circumstantial differences in which economic policy must concretise. Pure “liberalism”, rejected by the conservative revolutionaries, because is a kind of universalism. It believes that it can find application everywhere in the world without taking into account the variable factors of the climate, the population, its history, the kinds of cultivation that are traditionally practised, etc. This universalist illusion is shared by the other two pillars (Soviet-Marxist and Keynesian-socialdemocratic) of economic orthodoxy. The universalist illusions of orthodoxy notably led to neglecting food cultivation in the Third World, to the spreading of monocultures (which exhaust the soil and do not cover the whole of food and vital requirements of a single population) and, ipso facto, to famines, among which those of Sahel and Ethiopia stay printed in memory. In the corpus of the ND, the interest to the context in economics produced a series of studies on the works of the MAUSS (Anti-Utilitarian Movement in Social Sciences), whose leading figures, labelled as “leftists”, explored a range of interesting problematics and analysed in deep the notion of “gift” (that is, the forms of traditional economy not based on the axioms of interest and profit). Promoters of this institute were notably Serge Latouche and Alain Caillé. Within the framework of the ND, it was especially Charles Champetier who dealt with such themes. And with an incontestable vivacity. Anyway, despite the congratulations he deserved for his exploratory work, it must be said that the simple transplant of the corpus of the MAUSS into that of the ND was impossible, and rightly so, since the ND did not prepare any clear-cut study about the contextualist approaches in economics, both from right-wing and left-wing labelled doctrines. Notably no documentary search, aimed at reinserting into the debate the historical (hence contextualist) process, had been realised upon the German historical schools and their avatars, true economic valve of a conservative revolution that is not limited, obviously, to the time-space running from 1918 to 1932 (to which Armin Mohler had confined himself, in order not to sink into some unmastered exhaustiveness).

The roots of the conservative revolution trace back to German romanticism, to the extent that it was a reaction against the universalist “geometricism” of Enlightment and the French Revolution: they nevertheless encompassed all the works of the XIX century philologists who widened our knowledge about antiquity and the so-called «barbarian» worlds (as the Persian, German, Dacian and Maurian peripheries of the Roman Empire by Franz Altheim), the historical school in economics and the sociologists related to it, the aesthetic revolution started by the English pre-Raphaelites, by John Ruskin, by the Arts & Crafts movement in England, by Pernstorfer in Austria, by Horta‘s architecture and the Van de Velde furniture-makers in Belgium, etc. The mistake of the Parisian journalists, who spoke at random about the “conservative revolution” without possessing a true German culture, without really sharing the competence of the Northern European soul (and neither those of the Iberian or Italian soul), was to reduce this revolution to its sole German expressions during the tragic, hard and exhausting years after 1918. In this sense the ND lacked cultural and temporal depth, it did not have enough reach in order to magisterially impose itself upon the dominant non-culture. [5]

Coming straight back to economic issues, let us say that a conservative revolution is revolutionary to the extent that it aims at defeating the universalist models copied from revolutionary geometricism (according to Gusdorf‘s expression); and it is conservative to the extent that it aims at returning to the contexts, to the history that let them emerge and made them dynamic. In the domain of urbanism as well, every conservative revolution aims at erasing the filth of industrialism (the project of the English pre-Raphaelites and of their Austrian disciples around Pernerstorfer) or geometrical modernism, in order to rejoin the traditions of the past (Arts & Crafts) to make new unheard-of forms blossom (MacIntosh, Horta, Van de Velde).

The context in which an economy develops is not exclusively determined by the economy itself, as by a lot of different factors. Hence the new-right criticism to economicism, or to “all-economism”. Unfortunately this criticism did not remark the philosophical relationship of the non-economic (artistic, cultural, literary) process with the economic process of the historical school.

Q : Is it correct to say that Synergon, as against the GRECE, gives less attention to purely cultural activity, to the benefit of concrete political events?

RS : We do not give less attention to cultural activity. We give as much. But as you remarked, we do give a heightened attention to the events of the world. Two weeks before his death, the spiritual leader of Briton independentist, Olier Mordrel, who followed our work, called me on the phone, knowing his death was near, in order to sum up things, to hear one last time the voice of someone whom he felt intellectually close to – though never mentioning at all his state of health, because it was not the case either to pity himself or let himself be pitied. He told me: «What makes your reviews indispensable is your constant reference to real life». I was much enticed by this homage from an elder man, who had been anyway very niggard of praises and regards. Your question indicates that you undoubtedly felt – sixteen years later and through the readings concerning the themes of your dissertation – the same state of things as Olier Mordrel did at the eve of his passing. The judgement of Olier Mordrel seemed to me to be all the more interesting, in retrospect, since he is a privileged witness: having returned from his long exile in Argentine and Spain, he became rather soon accustomed to the ND, just before this came under the lights of the media. Then he saw its apogee and the beginning of its decline. And he attributed this decline to its incapacity of learning the real, the living, and the dynamics operating in our societies and in history.

Resorting to Heidegger

This will of learning or, in Heidegger‘s words, to reason in order to operate the unveiling of the Being and thus get out of nihilism (of the oblivion of Being), immediately implies to indefatigably review the facts of the present and past worlds (the latter being always able to come back again on the front, potentially, despite their temporary sleep), but also to encourage them in a thousand new ways in order to arouse new ideological and political constellations, to mobilise and strumentalise them in order to destroy and erase the heaviness stemming from institutionalised geometricism. Our path clearly proceeds from the will to add concreteness to the philosophical visions of Heidegger, whose language, too complex, has not yet engendered any revolutionary (and conservative!) ideology or praxis. [6]

Q : Is it correct to affirm that Synergies Européennes represents the actual avatar of the national-revolutionary doctrinal corpus (of which national-bolshevism is a form)?

RS : I feel there is in your question, in some way, too mechanic a vision of the ideological path leading from the conservative revolution and its national-revolutionary currents (since the Weimar epoch) and the present action of European Synergies. You seem to perceive in our movement a simple transposition of Weimar national-revolutionary corpus in our times. Such transposition would be anachronistic, and stupid as such. Anyway, within this corpus, Niekisch ideas are interesting to analyse, as well as his personal path and memories.

Nevertheless, the most interesting text of this movement stays that co-signed by the Jünger brothers, Ernst and most of all Friedrich-Georg, titled Aufstieg des Nationalismus [The Rise of Nationalism]. For the Jünger brothers, in this work as in other important articles or letters of that time, “nationalism” is a synonymous of “peculiarity” or “originality” – peculiarity and originality which must stay as such, never allowing to be obliterated by some universalist scheme or by some empty phraseology which its users pretend to be progressive or superior, valid for every time and place, a discourse destined to replace all languages and poetries, all epopees and histories. Being a poet himself, Friedrich-Georg Jünger, in this text-manifesto of the national-revolutionaries of the Weimar years, opposes the straight lines, the rigid geometries typical of the liberal-positivist phraseology, to the windings, meanders, labyrinths and serpent-like layouts of the natural, organic data. In this sense, this a sort of prefiguration of the thinking of Gilles Deleuze, with his rhizome creeping everywhere in the territorial plan, in the space, which is the Earth. Similarly, the hostility of nationalism, as it was conceived by the Jünger brothers, to the dead and petrified forms of liberal and industrial societies can be understood only in parallel to the analogous criticism by Heidegger and Simmel.

In the majority of cases, the present so-called national-revolutionary circles – often led by false wise men (very conceited), big tasteless faces or frustrated people who seek an uncommon way to emerge – as a matter of fact limited themselves to reproduce, like xerographers, the phraseology of the Weimar era. This is at the same time insufficient and clownish. This discourse must be used as an instrument, as a material – but together with more scientific philosophical or sociological materials, more generally admitted into scientific institutions – and obviously compared to moving reality, to marching actuality. The small couches of false sages and frustrated people, ill with acute “fuehreritis”, were clearly unable to perform such task.

Beyond Aufstieg des Nationalismus

As a consequence, it seems to me impossible today to uncritically reconnect to the ideas of Aufstieg des Nationalismus and to the many reviews of the times of the Weimar Republic (Die Kommenden, Widerstand d’Ernst Niekisch, Der Aufbruch, Die Standarte, Arminius, Der Vormarsch, Der Anmarsch, Die deutsche Freiheit, Der deutsche Sozialist, Entscheidung by Niekisch, Der Firn, also by Niekisch, Junge Politik, Politische Post, Das Reich by Friedrich Hielscher, Die sozialistische Nation by Karl Otto Paetel, Der Vorkämpfer, Der Wehrwolf, etc.).

When I say “uncritically” I do not mean that this doctrinal corpus should be treated by a dissolving criticism, that it should be rejected as immoral or anachronistic, as it is done by those who try to change the colour of their skin or “bypass the customs”. I mean that we must attentively read them again, but carefully taking into account the further evolution of their authors and the dynamics they aroused in other camps than that of close revolutionary nationalism. An example: Friedrich Georg Jünger publishes in 1942 the final version of his Die Perfektion der Technik [The perfection of Technique], which lays the foundations of the whole post-war German ecological thinking, at least in its non-political aspects – being as such depreciated and stupidly caricature-like. Later Friedrich Georg launches the review of ecological reflection Scheidewege, which continues to be published after his death in 1977. Aufstieg des Nationalismus must be therefore read again in the light of those later publications, and the national-revolutionary and soldiery message of the 1929s (already containing some ecological intuitions) must be coupled to the biologizing, ecological and organic corpus extensively commented on the pages of Scheidewege. In 1958 Ernst Jünger – together with Mircea Eliade and with the collaboration of Julius Evola and the German traditionalist Leopold Ziegler – founds the review Antaios, whose aim is to dive the readers into the great religious traditions of the world. Later, Martin Mayer studied Jünger‘s works in all these aspects and clearly showed the links connecting this thinking – covering a whole century – to a quantity of different intellectual worlds, such as surrealism – always forgotten by the national-revolutionaries of Nantes and elsewhere and by the Parisian ND, who consider themselves as infallible oracles but do not seem to know very much, once one takes the trouble to scratch a little the surface of things! Because of their Parisian coquetry, they try to have a German look, a “prussian helmet” look, that suits all those “zigomars” as a London bowler-hat to an orang-outang! Meyer thus recalls the painting work of Kubin, the close relation between Jünger and Walter Benjamin, the esthetical distance and nonchalance connecting Jünger to the dandies, to the aesthetes and to a great number of romantics, the influence of Léon Bloy upon that German writer who died at the age of 102, the contribution of Carl Schmitt to his progress, the capital dialogue with Heidegger started in the second post-war period, the impact of Gustav Theodor Fechner‘s philosophy of nature, etc.

In France the national-revolutionaries and the anachronistic and caricature-like NDs should equally remember the closeness of Drieu La Rochelle to Breton’s surrealists, notably when Drieu took part into the famous “Barrès trial” staged in Paris during the first world war. The uncritical transfer of the German national-revolutionary discourse of the 1920a in nowadays reality is misguided , often ridiculous device, deliberately ignoring the immeasurable extent of the post-national-revolutionary path of the Jünger brothers, of the worlds they explored, elaborated, interiorised. The same remark is valid notably for the ill reception of Julius Evola, solicited in the same misguided and caricature-like way by those neurotic pseudo-activists, those sectarian of the satano-sodomistic saturnalias based in the mouths of the Loire, or those pataphysical and porno-videomaniac metapolitologists, generally coming to nothing else but jest or parody. [7]

Q : Why does Synergies give so much attention to Russia, apart from the fact that this country belongs to the Eurasian ensemble?

RS : The attention we give to Russia proceeds from the geopolitical analysis of European history. The first intuition that moved our efforts for about a quarter of century was that the Europe where we were born, the Europe of the division sanctioned by the conferences of Teheran, Yalta and Postdam, was no place to live; it condemned our peoples to exit from history, to live into an historical, economic and political stagnation, which in time means death. Blocking Europe at the height of the Austrian-Hungarian border, cutting the Elba at the height of Wittenberg, depriving Hamburg of its Brandenburger, Saxon and Bohemian hinterland – all these are strangling strategies. The Iron Curtain divided industrial Europe from complementary territories and from that Russia which, at the end of the XIX had become the supplier of commodities to Europe, the extension of its territories towards the Pacific Ocean, the indispensable fortress locking up the European territory from the assaults it had to suffer until the XVI century from the peoples of the steppe. The English propaganda painted the Tsar as a monster in 1905 at the time of the Russian-Japanese war, it encouraged sedition in Russia in order to put the brake to this pre-communism European-Russian synergy.

Communism, financed by New York bankers as it had been the case of the Japanese fleet in 1905, served to build chaos in Russia and to hinder optimal economic relations between Europe and the Russian-Siberian space. Exactly as the French revolution, supported by London (see Olivier Blanc, Les hommes de Londres [London’s Men], Albin Michel), ruined France, annihilated all its efforts to create its own Atlantic fleet and turn outwards instead of turning to our own territories, made of the mass of French (and Northern African) recruits cannon fodder for the City during the Crimean war, in 1914-1918 and in 1940-45. An outward-oriented France, as Louis XVI wished indeed, would have reaped immense benefits, would have ensured itself a solid presence in the New World and Africa since the XVIII century, and probably would not have lost its Indian agencies. A France turned towards the blue line of he Vosges provoked its own demographic implosion, committed a biological suicide. The worm was in the fruit: after the loss of Canada in 1763, a mistress elevated to the rank of marquise said: «Phoow! Why care about some square miles of snow!» and «After us, the Flood». Great political foresight! It could be compared to that of a meta-politiologist of the 11th arrondissement, who looks down on the few reflections by Guillaume Faye about “Eurosiberia”! At the same time, this declining French monarchy clang to our imperial Lorraine, snatched it from its natural imperial family, a scandal to which the governor of the Austrian Netherlands, Charles de Lorraine, had no time to find remedies; Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, he wanted to finance its re-conquest paying on his own money a well-trained and equipped army of 70,000 men, accurately chosen. His death put an end to this project. This prevented the European armies from disposing of the Lorraine fortress to put an end, some years later, to the revolutionary comedy that blooded Paris and was about to commit the Vandean genocide. Everything to the great benefit of Pitt’s services!

At the present stage of our researches, we realise in the first place that the project of recasting and indefectible Euro-Russian alliance is not an anomaly, a whim or an original idea. On the contrary! It is a recurring imperial care since Charles the Great and Otto I! Forty years of Cold War, European division and mediatic dejection tele-guided by the United States made two or three generations of Europeans forget about the achievements of their history.

The roman limes on the Danube

Afterwards, our readings led us to realise that Europe, since the Carolingian era, wanted itself as the heir of the Roman empire and aspired to reconstruct the latter all along the ancient Danubian limes. Rome had the Danube under check from its source to its mouth in the Black Sea by deploying a major and strictly organised river fleet, by building works of art (among which bridges of colossal dimension in those times, with pillars 45 meters high above the bed of the river), improving the technique of boat-bridges for its assaulting legions to cross, by concentrating to the Pannonian pass many well trained legions armed with advanced materials, as well as in the province of Scythia, corresponding to Doubroudja south of the Danube. The aim was to contain the invasions coming from the steppes mostly at the level of the two passage points with no important relieves, that is the Hungarian plain (the “puszta”) and the mentioned Doubroudja, at the junction between present Romania and Bulgaria. No empire could blossom in Europe, in the ancient times and in the high Middle Ages, if those passage points were not locked for the non-European peoples of the steppe. Consequently, within the framework of the Holy Alliance of Prince Eugene (see below), it was necessary to get rid of the Turkish Ottoman enterprise, an irruption alien to Europeanness come from the South-East. After the studies of the American Edward Luttwak on the military strategy of the Roman Empire, we realise this one was not simply a circum-Mediterranean empire, centred around the Mare Nostrum, as also a Danubian, or Rhenish-Danubian empire, with a river crossing the whole Europe, where not only a military fleet but also a civilian and commercial fleet cruised, allowing exchanges with the German, Dacian or Slavic tribes of Northern Europe. The coming of the Huns to the Pannonian pass upsets this order in the ancient world. The alien character of the Huns does not allow to turn them into Foederati, as it was the case of the German and Dacian peoples.

The Carolingians wanted to restore the free circulation on the Danube by advancing their pawns in the direction of Pannonia, occupied first by the Avars, then by the Magiars. Charles the Great starts the excavation of the Rhine-Danube channel later called as Fossa Carolina. It is thought that it was used, for a very short time, to envoy troops and materials towards the Noricum and the Pannonia. Charles the Great, in spite of its privileged links with the Roman Pope, ardently looked for being recognised by the Byzantine Basileus and even thought about giving him one of his daughters as a wife. Aix-la-Chapelle, the capital of the German Empire, is built as a cast of Byzantium. His marriage project failed, with no other apparent reason than the personal attachment of Charles to his daughters, whom he wanted to keep with himself by making them abbesses of the great Carolingian abbeys, without the least demureness. This fatherly attachment, then, did not allow to seal a dynastic alliance between the Western German Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. The Carolingian era finally closed with a check, because of an ill-omened constellation of powers: the French kings, then the Carolingians (and the Pipinides before them) became allied (sometimes unconditionally) to the Roman Pope, enemy of the Irish-Scottish Christianism that sends missions in Danubian southern Germany, and to Byzantium, legal heir of the Roman imperiality. The Papacy would later use the energies of Germany and France against Byzantium, having no other goal than to assert his own supremacy. On the contrary, it should have persisted in the work of peaceful penetration of the Irish-Scottish into the Danubian east, from Bregenz and Salzburg, favouring the peaceful transition from paganism to Irish Christianism instead of giving free hand to zealots payed by Rome like Boniface, since the Irish-Scottish variant of Christianism was not opposed to Byzantine orthodoxy and thus a modus vivendi could be arranged from Ireland to Caucasus. This synthesis would have allowed an optimal setting of the European continent, which would make impossible the return of the Mongolian peoples and the Turkish invasions of the X and XI centuries. Then the Spanish reconquista would have been advanced by six centuries! [8]

After Lechfeld in 955, the organisation of the Pannonian pass

These reflections upon the check of the Carolingians, exemplified by the sterile and criminal bigotry of his descendent Lois the Pious, show that there can be no consistent European civilisation bloc without mastering and organising the territory at the mouths of the Rhine in the Black Sea. Besides, what is absolutely significant, Otto I rises to imperial dignity after the battle of Lechfeld in 955, that allows to regain access to Pannonia after the elimination of the partisans of the Magyar kahn Horka Bulcsu and the rise of the Arpads, who promise to lock up the Pannonian pass as it was done by the Roman legions in the time of the glorious Urbs. Thanks to the German army of emperor Otto I and to the loyalty of the Hungarians to the Arpads’ promise, the Danube becomes again either German-Roman or Byzantine (eastward of the “cataracts” of the Iron Door). If Pannonia is no more a passage for the Asian nomads who can dislocate the whole continental political organisation in Europe, ipso facto, imperiality is geographically restored.

Otto I, married to Adelaide, the heiress of the Lombard kingdom in Italy, means to reorganise the Empire by ensuring his check upon the Italian peninsula and negotiating with the Byzantines, despite all the reticence of the Papacy. In 967, twelve years after Lechfeld, five years after his crowning, Otto receives a message from the Byzantine Basileus, Nicephore Phocas, and proposes a joint alliance against the Saracens. This will be tacitly realised with Nicephore’s successor, more pliant and far-sighted, Ioannes Tzimisces, who authorises the Byzantine Princess Theophana to marry the son of Otto I, the future Otto II, in 972. Otto II will not be up the task, undergoing a terrible defeat by the Saracens in Calabria in 983. Otto III, son of Theophana who becomes regent awaiting for his majority, will not get to consolidate his double German and Byzantine heritage

The forthcoming reign of Konrad II will be exemplar under this perspective. This salic emperor lives in good relations with Byzantium, whose lands east of Anatolia begin to be dangerously harassed by the Seljuchides raids and the Arabs inroads. The Ottonian heritage in Pannonia and Italy, together with peace with Byzantium, allowed a veritable renaissance in Europe, accompanied by a remarkable economic expansion. Thanks to the victory of Otto I and the inclusion of Arpads’ Pannonia in the European imperial dynamics, our continent’s economy knew a phase of expansion, demographic growth continued (population increased by 40% between the year 1000 and 1150), the tillage of forests goes at full speed ahead, Europe progressively gains weight on the northern Mediterranean shores and the Italian cities start their formidable process of expansions, while the Rhenish towns become important metropolis (Cologne, Magonza, Worms with its superb roman cathedral).

This expansion and the quiet yet strong reign of Konrad II show that Europe cannot know economic prosperity and cultural expansion unless the space between Moravia and the Adriatic is secured. Otherwise, it is decline and marasmus. Such is the capital historical lesson learnt by Europe’s gravediggers: in 1919 at Versailles they want to segment the course of the Danube into as many antagonist states as possible; in 1945, they want to establish a divide on the Danube at the height of the ancient border between Noricum and Pannonia; between 1989 and 2000 they want to set a zone of permanent troubles in the European south-east in order to prevent the East-West suture and they invent the notion of an insuperable civilisation gap between the Protestant-Catholic West and the Orthodox-Byzantine East (see the theses of Samuel Huntington).

In the Middle Ages it is the Rome of Papacy which sinks this expansion by contesting the temporal power of the German Emperors and by weakening thus the European building altogether, deprived of a powerful and well articulated secular arm. The care of the Emperors is to co-operate in harmony and reciprocity with Byzantium, in order to restore the strategic unity of the Roman Empire before the East-West divide. But Rome is the enemy of Byzantium, even before being the enemy of the Muslims. To the tacit but very badly articulated alliance between the German Emperor and the Byzantine Basileus, the Papacy will oppose the alliance between the Holy Siege, the Norman kingdom of Sicily and the kings of France, an alliance which also supports all the seditious movements and the particular and lowly material interests in Europe, once they sabotage the imperial projects.

The imperial dream of the German Emperors

The Italian dream of the Emperors, from Otto III to Frederick II Hohenstaufen, aims at uniting under the same supreme authority the two great communication waterways in Europe: the Danube at the centre of the lands and the Mediterranean at the junction of three continents. Against the national-socialist or folkist (“völkisch”) interpretations of Kurt Breysig and Adolf Hitler himself, who never ceased to criticise the Italian orientation of the Middle Age German Emperors, one is forced to realise that the space between Budapest (the ancient Aquincum of the Romans) and Trieste on the Adriatic, having the Italian peninsula and Sicily as their extension, allows – if these territories are united by the same political will – to master the continent and face any external invasion: those of the nomads from the steppe and from the Arabian desert. The Popes contested the Emperors the right to manage for the sake of the continent the Italian and Sicilian affairs, which they deemed to be their own personal apanages, subtracted from any continental, political and strategic logic: by acting this way, and with the complicity of the Normans of Sicily, they weakened their enemy, Byzantium, but at the same time Europe altogether, which could neither gain its foothold in Africa nor sooner free the Iberian peninsula, nor defend Anatolia against the Seljukides, nor help Russia facing the Mongolian invasions. The situation demanded the federation of all forces into a common project.

Because of the seditious plots of the Popes, French kings, Lombard rioters, scrupleless feudals, our continent could not be “membered” from the Baltic to the Adriatic, from Denmark to Sicily (as it was equally wished by another far-sighted spirit of the XIII century, The King of Bohemia Ottokar II Premysl). Since then Europe has not been able to finish any great design in the Mediterranean (hence the slowness of the reconquista, left to the sole Hispanic peoples, and the failure of the Crusades). Europe was so frail on its eastern side that it has been in danger, after the disasters of Liegnitz and Mohi in 1241, to be completely conquered by the Mongols. This fragility – that could have been fatal – was the result of the weakening of the imperial institute due to the intrigues of the Papacy.

About the necessary alliance of the two European imperialities

In 1389 the Serbs are crushed by the Turks in the famous battle of Blackbirds Field [Kosovo Polje], dramatic prelude to the definitive fall of Constantinople in 1453. Europe then gets repelled, its back against the Atlantic and the Arctic. The sole reaction of the continent comes from Russia, a country thus inheriting ipso facto the Byzantine imperiality since the very moment the latter ceases to exist. Moscow becomes then the “Third Rome”; it inherits from Byzantium the title of the Eastern imperiality. There were two empires in Europe, the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire; and again there are two, despite the fall of Constantinople: the Sacred Roman-German Empire and the Russian Empire. The latter goes directly to the offensive, bite the lands conquered by the Mongols, destroys the Tatar kingdoms of the Volga, pushing ahead towards the Caspian. As a consequence, tradition and geopolitics are compelling: the alliance wanted by the German Emperors after Charles the Great between Aix-la-Chapelle and Byzantium must be pursued – but from now on by an imperial German-Russian alliance. The Western (German) Emperor and the Eastern (Russian) Emperor must act de concert in order to push back the enemies of Europe (the two-headed strategic space, as the bicephalous eagle is) and free our lands from the Ottoman and Muslim encircling, with the support of the local kings: kings of Spain, Hungary, etc. Here is the historical, metaphysical and geopolitical reason of every German-Russian alliance.

This alliance will work, despite the French betrayal. France was hostile to Byzantium on behalf of the anti-imperial Popes of Rome. It will take part to the destruction of the fortresses of the Empire in the West and will ally with the Turks against the rest of Europe. Hence the irresolvable contradictions of the French “nationalists”: they simultaneously appeal to Charles Martel (an Austrasian of our countries between the Mose and the Rhein, invoked to save ill-organised Neustria and Aquitaine, which – decaying and prey to any kind of dissent – could not withstand the Arab invasion); and those same French nationalists validate the crimes of betrayal of felon kings, cardinals and ministers: Francis I, Henry II, Richelieu, Louis XIV, Turenne – that is, zealots of the Revolution, as if the Austrasian Charles Martel had never existed!

The Austrian-Russian alliance works with the Holy Alliance erected at the end of the XVII century by Eugene of Savoy, who pushes back the Ottomans on all borders, from Bosnia to the Caucasus. The geopolitical intent is to consolidate the Pannonian pass, to activate a Danubian river fleet, to organise a deep defence of the border by units of Croatian, Serbian and Rumanian peasant-soldiers supported by German and Lorrainian colons, to free the Balkans and, in Russia, to take back Crimea and put under check the northern shores of the Black Sea, in order to enlarge the European space to its full Pontian territory. In the XVIII century Leibniz will reiterate this necessity to include Russia into a great European alliance against the Ottoman push. Later, the Holy Alliance of 1815 and the Pentarchy of the beginning of the XIX century will be an extension of the same logic. Bismarck‘s alliance of the three emperors and his concerted policy with Saint Petersburg, which he never abandoned, are but modern applications of the views of Charles the Great (never realised) and of Otto I, the veritable founder of Europe. Since these alliances ceased to operate, Europe entered a new phase of decline, notably to the benefit of the United States. The Versailles Treaty in 1919 aims at the neutralisation of Germany, while its pendant, the Trianon Treaty, sanctions the partition of Hungary, deprived of its extension in the Tatra mountains (Slovakia) and of its union with Croatia created by king Tomislav, a union later established by the Pacta Conventa in 1102, under the leadership of the Hungarian king Koloman Könyves (“The one who had a crazy love for books”). Versailles destroyed what the Romans had united, restores what the troubles of the dark centuries had imposed on the continent, destroys the work of the Crown of Saint-Etienne who had harmoniously restored the Roman order while respecting the Croatian and Dalmatian peculiarities.

Versailles was above all a crime against Europe since that necessary Hungarian-Croatian harmony in this key geographical zone was destroyed, thus precipitating Europe into a new era of idle troubles to which a new emperor, one day, must necessarily put an end. Wilson, Clemenceau and Poincaré, France and the United States bear the responsibility of this crime in the face of history, as well as the brainless bearers of this ethics of conviction (and consequently of irresponsibility) brought by this laicism of French-revolutionary rehash. Beyond its professed exterior hostility to the Catholic religion, this pernicious ideology acted exactly in the same way as the simoniac Popes of the Middle Ages: it destroyed the optimal organising principle of our Europe, its adepts being blinded by smoky principles and filthy interests, deprived of any historical and temporal depth. Their principles and interest were completely unfit for providing the assizes of a political organisation, let alone an empire.

In the face of this disaster, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, leading figure of the conservative revolution, launches the idea of a new alliance with Russia, despite the establishment in power of Leninist bolshevism, since the principle of the alliance between the two emperors must stand up and against the desacralisation, horizontalisation and profanation of politics. Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau will apply this diplomacy, what shall lead to the German-Soviet anti-Versailles: the Rapallo agreement signed by Rathenau and Chicherin in 1922. From there we come back to the problematic of “national-bolshevism”, that I already evoked in the course of this interview.

In the 1980s, when the development of military strategies, armaments and most of all inter-continental ballistic missiles leads to the acknowledgement that no nuclear war is possible in Europe without the total destruction of the conflicting countries, there appeared the necessity to get out of the impasse and to negotiate in order to bring Russia back into European concerted policy. After perestroika, started in 1985 by Gorbachev, the thaw is announced, hope revives: but it will be soon followed by delusion. The succession of inter-Yugoslav conflicts will block Europe again between the Pannonian pass and the Adriatic, while the mediatic propaganda offices, led by CNN, invent a thousand reasons to deepen the gap between Europeans and Russians.

Block of the European dynamics between Bratislav and Trieste

These historical explanations must lead us to understand who the self-nominated defenders of an Europe without Russia (or against Russia) really are – the papist or masonic gravediggers of Europe, and that their action condemns our continent to stagnation, decline and death, as it did stagnate, decline and waste away from the Huns invasions to the restauratio imperii by Otto I, after the battle of Lechfeld in 955. After the reorganisation of the Hungarian plain and its inclusion in the European orbit, the economic and demographic growth of Europe followed soon. A similar renaissance is what they wanted to prevent after the thaw which followed Gorbachev‘s perestroika, since this geopolitical rule granting prosperity is always valid (for instance, the Austrian economy tripled its commercial turnover in a few years after the dismantling of the Iron Curtain along the Austrian-Hungarian border in 1989). Our enemies know very well the ways of European history. Much better than our own coward and decaying political personnel. They know the point to strike us, block us, strangle us is always there – between Bratislava and Trieste. In order to prevent the reunion of the two Empires and a new period of peace and prosperity, which would make Europe shine from thousands lights and would condemn our competitors to a second-rank role, simply because they do not possess the wide rage of our potentialities, the fruit of our differences and our peculiarities.

Q : What are the concrete positions of European Synergies concerning institutions like the parliament, people’s representation, etc. ?

RS : The vision of European Synergies is democratic albeit hostile to all forms of partitocracy – since partitocracy, supposedly “democratic” is in fact the perfect denial of democracy. At the theoretical level European Synergies makes reference to a Russian liberal of the beginning of the century, militant of the Cadet party: Moshe Ostrogovsky. The analysis left by this Russian liberal in the face of the bolshevist revolution lays on an obvious acknowledgement: every democracy should be a system imitating the movement of things in the City. Electoral mechanisms logically aim at giving representation to the effervescences acting within the society, day by day, without subverting anyway the immutable order of politics. As a consequence, the instruments of representations, that is the political parties, must too represent the passing effervescences and never aim to eternity. The malfunctioning of parliamentary democracy stems from the fact that political parties become a rigidly permanent presence within the society, enrolling more and more mediocre people in their ranks. In order to put a remedy to this inconvenient, Ostrogovski suggest that democracy laid on “ad hoc” parties, timely requesting urgent reforms or precise amendments, then proclaiming their dissolution in order to free their personnel, which could the forge new petitioner movements – thus allowing to redistribute the cards and to share the militants into new (similarly provisional) formations. Parliaments would then gather citizens who never would get encrusted in political professionalism. Legislative periods would be shorter, or – as in the beginning of Belgian History or in the United Kingdom of Netherlands from 1815 to 1830 – a third of the assembly would be changed every third part of the legislative period, thus allowing an accelerated circulation of political personnel and the elimination (sanctioned by the urns) of those who proved incompetent; this circulation today exists no more, which – apart from the issue of census vote – gives us a less perfect democracy than in those times. The problem is to prevent the political careers of individuals who would end by knowing no more of real public life.

Weber & Minghetti: for maintaining the separation of the three powers

Max Weber too made some pertinent observations: he noted that the socialist and christian-democrat parties (the German Zentrum) install incompetent figures into the key positions; those take their decision in spite of any good sense, are animated by the ethics of conviction instead of responsibility, and demand the division of political or civil servant posts according to the simple pro-rata of votes, without having to prove their real competence in exercising their functions. The Italian XIX century liberal minister Minghetti very soon perceived how this system would put an end to the separation of the three powers, since the parties and their militants, armed by the ethics of conviction, source of all demagogies, wanted to control and manipulate justice and destroyed every compartimentation between the legislative and the executive powers. The democratic equilibrium among the three powers – originally put as water-tight compartments in order to warrant the citizens’ freedom, as devised by Montesquieu – can neither work nor exist anymore, in such a context of hysteria and demagogy. Here we stand today.

European Synergies does not therefore criticise the parliamentary institution in itself, but clearly displays its aversion to any malfunctioning, to any private intervention (parties are private associations, as a matter of facts and as Ostrogovsy recalls) in the recruitment of political personnel, civil servants, etc., to any kind of nepotism (co-optations of the members of the family of a political man or civil servant to a political or administrative post). Only the examination by a totally neutral jury should allow the access to a charge. Any other means of recruitment should be treated as a grave offence.

We also believe that parliaments should not be the simple representative chambers where would sit the chosen members of political parties (that is, of private associations, demanding discipline without authorising any right to tendencies or any personal initiatives by the deputy). Not very citizen is the member of a party, as a matter of fact the majority of them does not own any affiliation card. As a consequence, parties generally represent no more than 8-10% of the people, and 100% of the parliament! The excessive weight of the parties should be corrected by the representation of professional associations and unions, as it was envisaged by De Gaulle and his team when they spoke about the “senate of professions and regions”.

The constitutional pattern that Professor Bernard Willms (1931-1991) favoured lays on a three chambers assembly (Parliament, Senate, Economic Chamber). Half the Parliament would be recruited among candidates chosen by the parties and personally elected (no votes for the lists); the other half would be formed by the representatives of the corporative and professional councils. The Senate would be essentially a regional representative organ (like the German or Austrian Bundesrat). The Economic Chamber, similarly organised on a regional basis, would represent the social bodies, including the unions.

The problem is to consolidate a democracy leaning upon the “concrete bodies” of society, and not only upon private associations of ideological and arbitrary nature, as the parties. This idea is close to the definition of “concrete bodies” given by Carl Schmitt. However, every political entity lays on a cultural heritage, which must be taken into account, according to the analysis of Ernst Rudolf Huber, disciple of Carl Schmitt. For Huber a consistent State is always a Kulturstaat, and the state apparatus has the duty to preserve this culture, expression of a Sittlichkeit [ethicity] exceeding the simple limits of ethics to include a wide range of artistic, cultural, structural, agricultural and industrial productions, whose fecundity must be preserved. A more diversified representation, going beyond that 8-10% of party members, allows indeed to better guarantee this fecundity, spread through the whole social body of the nation. The defence of the “concrete bodies” implies the trilogy “community, solidarity, subsidiarity” – the conservative answer, in the XVIII century, to the project of Bodin, aimed at destroying the “intermediate bodies” of the society, i.e. the “concrete bodies” leaving but the individual-citizen alone against the state Leviathan. The ideas of Bodin have been realised by the French revolution and its ghost of the geometrical society – a realisation that started just from the uprooting of professional associations by the Le Chapelier law of 1791. Nowadays the updated resort to the trilogy “community, solidarity, subsidiarity implies giving the maximum of representativity to the professional associations, to the real masses, and to reduce the absolute power of parties and functionaries. In the same way, Professor Erwin Scheuch (Cologne) proposes today a set of concrete measures in order to free the parliamentary democracy from all misguidings and corruption that suffocate it. [9]

Bibliographical notes

[1] More on this subject: see 1) Thierry MUDRY, Le ‘socialisme allemand’: analyse du télescopage entre nationalisme et socialisme de 1900 à 1933 en Allemagne, in: Orientations, n 7, 1986; 2) Thierry MUDRY, L’itinéraire d’Ernst Niekisch, in: Orientations, n 7, 1986.

[2] More on this subject: 1) Robert STEUCKERS, “Repères pour une histoire alternative de l’économie”, in: Orientations, n 5, 1984; 2) Thierry MUDRY, “Friedrich List: une alternative au libéralisme”, in: Orientations, n 5, 1984; 3) Robert STEUCKERS, “Orientations générales pour une histoire alternative de la pensée économique”, in: Vouloir, n 83/86, 1991; 4) Guillaume d’EREBE, “L’Ecole de la Régulation: une hétérodoxie féconde?”, in: Vouloir, n 83/86, 1991; 5) Robert STEUCKERS, L’ennemi américain, Synergies, Forest, 1996/2ième éd. (. (contains some reflections on the ideas of Michel Albert); 6) Robert STEUCKERS, “Tony Blair et sa ‘Troisième Voie’ répressive et thérapeutique”, in: Nouvelles de Synergies européennes, n 44, 2000; 7) Aldo DI LELLO, “La ‘Troisième Voie’ de Tony Blair: une impasse idéologique. Ou de l’impossibilité de repenser le ‘Welfare State’ tout en revenant au libéralisme”, in: Nouvelles de Synergies eruopéennes, n 44, 2000.

[3] More on this subject: Guillaume FAYE, “A la découverte de Thorstein Veblen”, in: Orientations, n 6, 1985.

[4] More on this subject: Ange SAMPIERU, “La participation: une idée neuve?”, in: Orientations, n 12, 1990-91.

[5] More on this subject: Charles CHAMPETIER, “Alain Caillé et le MAUSS: critique de la raison utilitaire”, in: Vouloir, n 65/67, 1990.

[6] More on this subject: Robert STEUCKERS, “La philosophie de l’argent et la philosophie de la Vie chez Georg Simmel (1858-1918)”, in: Vouloir, n 11, 1999.

[7] More on this subject: 1) Robert STEUCKERS, “L’itinéraire philosophique et poétique de Friedrich-Georg Jünger”, in: Vouloir, n 45/46, 1988; 2) Robert STEUCKERS, Friedrich-Georg Jünger, Synergies, Forest, 1996.

[8] More on this subject: Robert STEUCKERS, “Mystères pontiques et panthéisme celtique à la source de la spiritualité européenne”, in: Nouvelles de Synergies européennes, n 39, 1999.

[9] More on this subject: 1) Ange SAMPIERU, “Démocratie et représentation”, in: Orientations, n 10, 1988; 2) Robert STEUCKERS, “Fondements de la démocratie organique”, in: Orientations, n 10, 1988; 3) Robert STEUCKERS, Bernard Willms (1931-1991): Hobbes, la nation allemande, l’idéalisme, la critique politique des ‘Lumières’, Synergies, Forest, 1996; 4) Robert STEUCKERS, “Du déclin des ours politiques”, in: Nouvelles de Synergies européennes, n 25, 1997 (on the theses of Prof. Erwin Scheuch); 5) Robert STEUCKERS, “Propositions pour un renouveau politique”, in: Nouvelles de Synergies européennes, n 33, 1998 (at the end of the article, about the theses of Ernst Rudolf Huber); 6) Robert STEUCKERS, “Des effets pervers de la partitocratie”, in: Nouvelles de Synergies européennes, n 41, 1999.


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