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Patterns of Prejudice

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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) 'Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and 'metapolitical fascism'',
Patterns of Prejudice, 43: 5, 431 — 457
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Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 43, No. 5, 2009

Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and


‘metapolitical fascism’

ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV

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 of
sound, 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.
Shekhovtsov’s 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
traditions.

KEYWORDS apoliteic music, Eurofascism, fascism, Martial Industrial, metapolitical


fascism, 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.2

I would like to thank the musicians Ivan Napreenko and Eric Roger, who advised me and
commented on a draft of this article. I am also grateful to the anonymous reviewers, as
well 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, and
Politics (New York: Routledge 2005), 65/86 (68).
2 Folkstorm, Victory or Death (Northampton: Cold Spring Records 2000). The name of the
band is a translation of the German Volkssturm, which was the name of the Nazi militia
founded by Adolf Hitler in October 1944.
ISSN 0031-322X print/ISSN 1461-7331 online/09/050431-27 # 2009 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/00313220903338990
432 Patterns of Prejudice

The CD contained ten tracks of harsh Industrial music and the disc was
decorated with a Nazi-style Reichsadler atop an empty oak wreath.3 The back
cover was ornamented with runes and listed the tracks ‘Feldgeschrei’ (Field
Turmoil), ‘Harsh Discipline’, ‘Propaganda’, ‘We Are the Resistance’, ‘Social
Surgery’, to name but a few. The words of the songs were inaudible, due to
the highly distorted vocals, but everything else vaguely suggested the
radical right-wing nature of Folkstorm’s ‘ideology’. Surprisingly, the band
promised ‘No politics. No religion. No standard’, a prudent statement
written on the disc itself.
If the band disclaims any reference to politics while these signs suggest the
opposite, what type of ‘propaganda’ is it? Folkstorm’s message has little to
do with that of some of its compatriots like Totenkopf, whose track ‘Can’t Be
Beaten’ unreservedly proclaims: ‘Show them where you stand and feel no
remorse, my Aryan brother, it’s time for race war.’4 Neither is Folkstorm’s
message a provocation similar to the late Punk Rocker Sid Vicious’s
notorious posing in a t-shirt with a swastika on it. If the message is not
the 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 outright
violence, is not related to the activities of political organizations or parties,
and is not a means of recruitment to any political tendency. Therefore, I take
Folkstorm’s ‘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 term
explained 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 apoliteic
message. 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 genres
are first and foremost typological constructs that embrace particular kinds of
combined 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 Nazis
introduced the image of an eagle atop an oak wreath with a swastika at its centre.
4 Totenkopf, ‘Can’t 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 early
1980s. This type of music is explicitly designed to inspire racially or politically
motivated violence.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 433

to receive*due to their extensive use of fascist imagery*attention from left-


/ /

wing journalists as well as attacks by anti-fascist groups. On several


occasions, anti-fascist protests, petitions and pickets were supported by
the authorities who banned performances of particular Neo-Folk/Martial
Industrial bands. In 2004 the major Austrian Martial Industrial act, Der
Blutharsch, had to cancel a performance in Israel due to protests by, among
others, the Israeli cabinet member Natan Sharansky, the Knesset member
Yossi Sarid, the mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai and the Anti-Defamation
League. 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 an
investigation conducted by the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende
Medien (BPjM, Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young People).6
Neither of these bands is part of the White Noise scene, but both
embrace*as I shall argue below*explicit elements of the fascist
/ /

Weltanschauung.

Major terms and concepts

There are several terms that journalists, public officials and scholars use to
refer to artists or bands that*from the observers’ point of view*perform
/ /

music impregnated with fascist or extreme right-wing ideas. Some of these


are 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 Skrewdriver’s single ‘White Power’ in 1983. Skrewdriver was a
British band that openly promoted revolutionary ultra-nationalism through
their records, and their performances sometimes turned into riots of neo-
Nazi skinheads. Screwdriver’s late leader Ian Stuart was a member of the
British National Front (NF), while the band itself was closely associated with
both 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, Stuart
founded 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). The
BPjM found that the title song from the album cast doubt on the occurrence of the
Holocaust. The lyrics in question are as follows: ‘Rose clouds of Holocaust/ Rose
clouds of lies/ Rose clouds of bitter/ Bitter, bitter lies’. Although in his explanatory
memorandum 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?storyid70 (viewed 8 August 2009).
434 Patterns of Prejudice

skinheads in Europe and the United States.7 Since Skrewdriver played a type
of Punk Rock music known as Street Punk or Oi!,8 the term ‘White Noise’
originally referred to Punk Rock acts that propagated extreme right-wing
ideas.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 that
is 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 the
bands’ names*not to mention the albums and song titles*speak for
/ /

themselves: Race War, Totenkopf, Final Solution, Jew Slaughter, Legion 88,
Konkwista 88, Angry Aryans, Brigada NS, RaHoWa etc.10 Second, White
Noise is associated with either direct violence against an Other or the
political 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 electoral
parties. As mentioned above, Skrewdriver worked alongside the NF, while
the Romanian band Brigada de Asalt (The Assault Brigade) is an integral
part of the neo-Nazi organization Noua Dreaptă (New Right), presumably
backed by the Romanian radical right-wing Partidul Noua Generatie (New
Generation Party). A large number of White Noise bands appear on the so-
called ‘schoolyard’ CDs compiled and released by the radical right-wing
Nationaldemokratische 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 Stuart’s death in a car crash in 1993, the network was taken over by Combat 18, a
neo-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-wing
populism, 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 Nazi
Skinhead Scene (London: Searchlight 1998); John M. Cotter, ‘Sounds of hate: White
Power rock and roll and the neo-Nazi skinhead subculture’, Terrorism and Political
Violence, vol. 11, no. 2, 1999, 111/40. Due to the similarity in form and content, the term
‘White Noise’ is synonymous with the term ‘White Power’ and they are generally
used interchangeably. See also Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, ch. 10 (‘White Noise and
Black Metal’), 193/212; Robert Futrell, Pete Simi and Simon Gottschalk,
‘Understanding music in movements: the White Power music scene’, Sociological
Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 2, 2006, 275/304; and Ugo Corte and Bob Edwards, ‘White Power
music 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’.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 435

scholars use the term ‘National Socialist Black Metal’ (or simply NSBM) to
refer to the same White Noise socio-political message when it is disseminated
by 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-wing
activists, scholars and government institutions such as the Bundesamt für
Verfassungsschutz (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 is
no musical genre that is not infiltrated by right-wing extremist organizations
and is not a medium for extreme right-wing content’.14 It lists eight musical
genres that are collectively identified as Rechtsrock (Right-Wing Rock):
skinhead bands (obviously not a genre, but apparently the BPjM meant
White Noise here), NSBM, Hatecore, Techno Music, Hip-Hop, Folk, singer-
songwriters (again, not a genre, but individuals who compose and perform
their own works, usually accompanied solely by acoustic guitar) and Neo-
Folk. According to the German office, it is these genres that are commonly
used by musicians who promote ‘the glorification of National Socialism, the
representation of Adolf Hitler and his party comrades as role models (or
tragic heroes)’, and who seek to ‘instil racial hatred, [or] call for violence
against foreigners, Jews or those who disagree with them’.15 Such an
analysis suffers from one grave shortcoming. ‘Right-Wing Rock’ per se is an
over-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-winger
or 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.), Soundtracks
to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Subcultures (Chicago: Center
for New Community 1999), 49/64; and Keith Kahn-Harris, Extreme Metal: Music and
Culture 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 (Münster: Unrast 2002); Mahmut Kural,
Rechtsrock*Einstiegsdroge
/ in rechtsextremes Gedankengut? (Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag
2007); Bundesministerium des Innern (ed.), Verfassungsschutzbericht 2006 (Berlin:
Bundesministerium des Innern 2007); and Georg Brunner, ‘Rezeption und Wirkung
von Rechtsrock’, in BPjM Aktuell, no. 1, 2007, 3/18.
13 See Michael Wade, ‘Johnny Rebel and the Cajun roots of Right-Wing Rock’, Popular
Music and Society, vol. 30, no. 4, 2007, 493/512; Thomas Irmer, ‘Out with the right! Or,
let’s 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: Oxford
University Press 1996), 134.
14 BPjM, ‘Jugendgefährdung: Lesemedien & Hörmedien’, Bundesprüfstelle für
jugendgefährdende 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.
15 Ibid.
436 Patterns of Prejudice

instil racial hatred. The BPjM obviously hits its target with White Noise and
NSBM, but by including Neo-Folk*even if we assume it is only right-wing
/

Neo-Folk acts*within a narrow definition of Rechtsrock, it risks missing the


/

mark.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 within
‘fascist studies’ that posits fascist ideology as a form of revolutionary ultra-
nationalism.17 This approach is most extensively elaborated by Roger Griffin
who 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 nation


that is not necessarily equated with the nationstate or its existing
/

boundaries, and which is indebted to the modern notion of the sovereignty


of the ‘‘people’’ as a discrete supra-individual historical entity and actor’.19
The excessive mythologization of the nation as well as the impetuous thrust
towards its palingenesis result in fascism having the appearance of a
political religion. As such, fascism generates its own culturally defined
collective behaviour that possesses specific characteristics, among which
‘adventure, 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 of


capitalism, and fundamental doubts about the structure of Germany’s economic and
social order are perceived as radical but not extremist. In its turn, extremism is
identified 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 in
Germany’s pluralistic society. See Heinz Fromm (ed.), Aufgaben, Befugnisse, Grenzen
(Cologne: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit 2002),
25. The distinction between extremism and radicalism can help explain why the BPjM
‘extremizes’ 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 and
Hitler (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2007), 181.
19 Roger Griffin, ‘Grey cats, blue cows, and wide awake groundhogs: notes towards the
development of a ‘‘deliberative ethos’’’, in Roger Griffin, Werner Loh and Andreas
Umland (eds), Fascism Past and Present, West and East: An International Debate on
Concepts and Cases in the Comparative Study of the Extreme Right (Stuttgart and Hanover:
ibidem 2006), 428.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 437

prominent.20 These features are by no means the sine qua non of fascism but
they are indicative of fascism’s commitment to the aestheticization of
political life, extreme activism and spectacular politics, and hence directly
linked 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 Mussolini’s and Hitler’s regimes. After
the joint forces of the Soviet Union and the western liberal democracies had
crushed fascism’s war machine, it was forced to evolve or, rather, mutate into
three distinct forms. The groups that still wanted to participate in the
political process had to dampen their revolutionary ardour rather drama-
tically and translate it ‘as far as possible into the language of liberal
democracy’.21 This strategy gave birth to new radical right-wing parties that
have 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 groupuscules
that kept alive ‘the illusory prospect of having a revolutionary impact on
society’.22 The third form of post-war fascism was conceptualized in the
teachings of two fascist philosophers, Armin Mohler and Julius Evola. In Die
konservative Revolution in Deutschland 19181932, published in 1950,23 Mohler
/

argued that, since fascist revolution was indefinitely postponed due to the
political domination of liberal democracy, true ‘conservative revolutionaries’
found themselves in an ‘interregnum’ that would, however, spontaneously
give 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 ‘the
true State, the hierarchical and organic State’, lay in ruins, there was ‘no one
party or movement with which one can unreservedly agree and for which
one can fight with absolute devotion, in defence of some higher idea’. Thus,
l’uomo differenziato should practise ‘disinterest, detachment from everything
that today constitutes ‘‘politics’’’, and this was exactly the principle that

20 Emilio Gentile, ‘Fascism, totalitarianism and political religion: definitions and critical
reflections 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 to
normalize fascism*/whether as a regime or just a movement*/or downplay the
atrocities committed by fascists in their mission to renew ‘the organic national
community’. The inhuman terror unleashed by fascism is straightforwardly depicted
in*/among others*/the 1985 Soviet film Idi i smotri (Come and See), which I urge
concerned readers to see.
21 Roger Griffin, ‘From slime mould to rhizome: an introduction to the groupuscular
right’, 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: All’insegna del pesce d’oro 1961). All references
here are to a later edition: Julius Evola, Cavalcare la tigre: orientamenti esistenziali per
un’epoca della dissoluzione (Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee 2004).
438 Patterns of Prejudice

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 Evola’s 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 the
2003 English translation, which also translates l’uomo differenziato literally as ‘the
differenziated man’: Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger: A Survival Manual for the Aristocrats of
the 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 Droite’s strategy
for 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 or
endgame? 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-André Taguieff, ‘The new
cultural racism in France’, Telos, no. 83, 1990, 109/22; Pierre-André Taguieff, ‘From
race to culture: the New Right’s view of European identity’, Telos, no. 98/9, 1993/4,
99/125; Etienne Balibar, ‘Is there a ‘‘new racism’’?’, in Etienne Balibar and Immanuel
Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (London and New York: Verso
1991), 17/28.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 439

ultra-nationalism ‘in the name of a Europe restored to the (essentially


mythic) homogeneity of its component primordial cultures’.31
How do fascism’s 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 the
revolutionary 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 spiritually
impoverished, 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
Evola’s largely pessimistic Cavalcare la tigre, Ernst Jünger published the essay
Der Waldgang,33 which anticipated Evola’s reflections on apoliteia.34 Jünger,
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, ‘Fascism’s new faces (and new facelessness) in the ‘‘post-fascist’’
epoch’, in Griffin, Loh and Umland (eds), Fascism Past and Present, 51.
32 One should distinguish between common fans who appreciate the actual musical side
of the art under scrutiny, while rejecting or simply ignoring its ideological message (if
any), and conscientious fans who are drawn both by the art and its ideological
message, enthusiastically embraced.
33 Ernst Jünger, Der Waldgang (Frankfurt on Main: Klostermann 1951). References here are
to the abridged English translation: Ernst Jünger, ‘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 Jünger, and his reflections on the latter’s Der Arbeiter were
published as Julius Evola, L’ ‘Operaio’ nel pensiero di Ernst Jünger (Rome: Armando
Armando Editore 1960). It is debatable whether Evola’s speculations on apoliteia were
actually inspired by Jünger’s Der Waldgang, but the Italian baron was known for
apparently hijacking (plagiarizing?) the ideas of other authors. For example, Evola’s
1928 work Imperialismo pagano drew heavily on Reghini’s 1914 essay of the same
name: Arturo Reghini, ‘Imperialismo pagano’, Salamandra, no. 14, 1914. A year after
Evola had published his Imperialismo pagano, he accused Reghini of being a member of
a Masonic lodge (Mussolini dissolved and banned Freemasonry in Italy in 1925), and
tried to sue him on those grounds.
440 Patterns of Prejudice

new civilization.35 He therefore sympathized with the Nazi regime, which


seemed to be the embodied instrument for setting such a process in motion.
However, as Griffin notes, Jünger ‘stayed aloof from politics, reluctant to
abandon the heights of his metapolitical outposts’,36 although the regime
actually benefitted from his literary works that legitimated fascism in the
cultural sphere. In his post-war Der Waldgang, Jünger severely criticized the
spiritually deprived Titanic that was the modern age, seized by ‘liquidations,
rationalizations, socializations, electrifications and pulverizations’ that
required ‘neither culture nor character’.37 Nonetheless, he urged free
individuals to ‘stay on shipboard [sic]’ (that is, to use technological progress
to 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’ (Waldgänger) could resist
the moral corruption of the interregnum.38 Confronted with ‘demoniac
forces of our civilization’, l’uomo differenziato rejects the apparent choice
(‘either howl with the wolves or fight them’) and finds an alternative in ‘his
existence as an individual, in his own Being which remains unshaken’.39
Remarkably, Jünger 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 and
in the magic circle of extreme danger.40

35 Jünger experienced war firsthand: during the First World War he served in the
Imperial German army and returned from the battlefield decorated with the Iron
Cross First Class and the Pour le Mérite, which was the highest military order of the
German empire.
36 Griffin, Modernism and Fascism, 165.
37 Jünger, ‘Retreat into the forest’, 129. For Griffin’s extensive use of the metaphor of the
Titanic to evoke the modernist sense of a ‘new beginning’ or Aufbruch in history, see
his introduction to Modernism and Fascism.
38 Jünger, ‘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 of
Jünger’s concept of the Waldgang. On Heidegger, in the context of the current study,
see Matthew Feldman, ‘Between Geist and Zeitgeist: Martin Heidegger as ideologue of
‘‘metapolitical 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 a
moment of danger is reminiscent of Walter Benjamin’s statement in his ‘Theses on the
philosophy of history. VI’ (unpublished when Jünger 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 the
philosophy of history’, in Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans.
from the German by Harry Zohn (London: Fontana 1992), 247.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 441

While the concept of the Waldgang is clearly another aspect of apoliteia (or
perhaps the reverse of it), apoliteic artists perceive themselves as ‘wanderers
in the forest’. They necessarily allude to myths*whether pagan or, less
/

often, Christian*but such allusions do not represent an attempt to return to


/

a mythologized past. Nor can the positions of these artists be construed as


anti-modern, let alone anti-technological. On the contrary, they choose ‘both
the forest and the ship’,41 as they oppose the decadent interregnum with their
inner commitment to a re-enchanted alternative modernity of the reborn
nation, heroic individualism and a subjectively interpreted ethic of military
honour.

Neo-Folk and Martial Industrial: the origins

Arguably the most obvious examples of apoliteic music*which reveals itself


/

through music, lyrics, band names, album and song titles, cover art, style of
dress as well as being subtly articulated in live performances*can be found /

in certain Neo-Folk and Martial Industrial works.42 From a ‘technical’ point


of view, the two genres may seem musically different. The typical Neo-Folk
artists sing melancholic ‘folkish’ songs to the accompaniment of acoustic
guitars, violins and piano, while typical Martial Industrial acts create dark
bombastic collages that usually feature various samples of military marches,
battle noises or war-oriented speeches. The genres correlate*hardly /

surprisingly*with Evola’s interpretation of the idealized origin of now


/

desacralized modern western music. From his point of view, as expounded


in 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 is
typically represented by Wagnerism), and the tragic-pathetic line (we need
only refer to Beethoven’s principal ideas)’.43 Although it’s unlikely that
Evola himself would have enjoyed most extreme samples of Martial
Industrial 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 cultural
traditions. While Martial Industrial clearly descends from Industrial music,
Peter Webb and Stéphane François correctly assert that Neo-Folk, too, is an

41 Jünger, ‘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 the
two 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, while
‘metapolitical fascists’ can find other musical means to communicate their message.
43 Evola, Cavalcare la tigre, 139.
442 Patterns of Prejudice

emanation of Industrial music.44 Industrial can be briefly and inevitably


inadequately 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 term
‘industrial’ as applied to music back to the preface of Francesco Balilla
Pratella’s Musica Futurista of 1912.46 Luigi Russolo, another Futurist
musician and Pratella’s colleague, was the author of a 1913 manifesto
entitled L’Art 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 Russolo’s Futurism did not draw him
to Italian Fascism, Pratella and Filippo Marinetti did become*like many /

other Futurists*ardent supporters of Mussolini’s regime.48 Obviously,


/

modern Industrial music has been influenced by other cultural and musical
trends (Dadaism, musique concrète, 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 a
few 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 (London
and New York: Routledge 2007), 60; Stéphane François, La Musique europaı¨enne:
ethnographie politique d’une subculture de droite (Paris: Harmattan 2006).
45 The history of Industrial music is well described in three non-academic books: Simon
Ford, 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,
England’s Hidden Reverse: Coil, Current 93, Nurse with Wound: A Secret History of the
Esoteric Underground (London: SAF Publishing 2003). For a scholarly view of the
history of Industrial music, see Karen E. Collins, ‘‘‘The Future Is Happening Already’’:
Industrial Music, Dystopia and the Aesthetic of the Machine’, Ph.D. thesis, University
of Liverpool, 2002; and Paul Hegarty, Noise/Music: A History (New York: Continuum
2007).
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. L’Art 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.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 443

adaptation of folk music to modern musical genres, especially to Rock and


Pop; and, third, the politicization of folk music. As Britta Sweers argues, ‘in
the 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 to
popular (i.e., commercial) music’.49 Politically, most folk bands and singer-
songwriters were influenced by left-wing ideas while ‘the events of May
1968’ had a strong impact on the development of roots revivals. The left-
wing orientation of folk artists was particularly evident in Germany, where
the roots revival encountered a problem of legitimacy since Volkmusik was
‘destroyed’ by ‘the ‘‘kurzbehoste’’ [those dressed in short trousers] of the
German youth groups and the armies of National Socialist soldiers and
supporters’ through their ‘aggressive usage of the songs and the tradition’.50
Although the US and European roots revivals have*to a certain /

degree* triggered the emergence of Neo-Folk in the 1980s, apoliteic Neo-


/

Folk bands apparently draw inspiration not from the 1970s left-wing protest
folk songs, but rather from the previous folk revivals that took place at the
end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. These
revivals 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’ a


/

distinctively English folk tradition.51 In Germany, the roots revival unfolded


within various clubs and movements such as Der Wandervogel (the bird of
passage). This movement began in 1896 ‘in reaction to aspects of bourgeois
life and music aesthetics and presented a counterculture to the ubiquitous,
harmony-singing Männergesangsvereine (‘‘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 collectors
was none other than Francesco Balilla Pratella, who withdrew from the
Futurist movement after the First World War and dedicated the rest of his
life to the traditional music of his native Romagna, ‘much to Marinetti’s

49 Britta Sweers, Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music (Oxford and
New York: Oxford University Press 2005), 25.
50 Kirsten Kearney, ‘Constructing the Nation: The Role of the Ballad in Twentieth
Century 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, see
also 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, The
Imagined 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.
444 Patterns of Prejudice

disgust’.54 Revealingly, by moving from Futurist music to Italian traditional


folk, Pratella anticipated the 1980s rise of Neo-Folk out of the Industrial
milieu.

* *
‘Europe is dead’ ‘Looking for Europe’ ‘Europe, awake!’
/ /

Europe*or rather a highly mythologized and idealized concept of


/

Europe*is central to the ethos of apoliteic music. In fact, Europe has long
/

been a popular object of mythologization.55 A modernist statue in front of


the European Parliament in Strasbourg features Europa as a woman sitting
on a bull. The statue represents the ancient Greek myth of the abduction of
Europa by lascivious Zeus disguised as a white bull. Over the centuries the
myth 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 of
Christianity, a part of the Free World, a vanguard of civilization, a place torn
between the capitalist and socialist powers or, most recently, one divided by
former US President George W. Bush into the Iraq-war-friendly ‘new
Europe’ and the ‘old Europe’ that doubted the validity of the military
campaign. These are mythological constructs applied to one and the same
geographical region. Fascists, or Eurofascists, have constructed their own
mythological Europe as a ‘homogeneous cultural entity or primordial racial
community’.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 Waldgänger, there are several causes of
Europe’s death. It was, first of all, a consequence of the establishment of the
New World Order, marked by the domination of liberal democratic values
and the rejection of the fascist European myths. In an interview with the
Anglo-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 of
the Twentieth-century Avant-garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, CT: Greenwood
Press 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, What’s in a
Name (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 Fascist
Century: Essays by Roger Griffin, ed. Matthew Feldman (Basingstoke and New York:
Palgrave Macmillan 2008), 132/80.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 445

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 Europe
Was Slaughtered.58

Europe’s death (or, perhaps, its ‘mere’ decline) is also linked to the
growing multiculturalism of European states. In his analysis of ‘the Euro-
Pagan scene’, Stéphane François 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), 4
March 2005, at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story20050304171250371
(viewed 12 August 2009). On Troy Southgate, see Graham D. Macklin, ‘Co-opting
the 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 the
Trumpet Call and Sagittarius.
58 Death in June, ‘Sons of Europe’, on Burial (London: Leprosy Discs 1984).
59 Stéphane François, ‘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 François’s
‘Euro-Pagan’ music, characterized by ‘praise of an ethnic European paganism, often
marked by conservative revolutionary ideas’ (37). I don’t use François’s term (even
inevitably redefined) in this article because not all apoliteic musicians and bands are
adherents 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 considerable
degree.
446 Patterns of Prejudice

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 Klumb’s concern for
Europe’s cultural integrity. While he maintains that he likes ‘neither
communism, nor Nazism, nor modern Jewish democracy’, Kolerov openly
admits: ‘Maybe, I’m racist partly. I don’t want Moscow to be an Asian city. I
want to see pure French or British on the streets of London or Paris.’61
Kolerov’s 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. Björkk’s bands (apart from the now defunct
Folkstorm), musically elaborates another explanation for Europe’s death in
the European Trilogy. In an interview conducted by the British magazine
Compulsion Online following the release of Europe Is Dead, the second part of
the trilogy, Björkk 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?story
20051207145142661 (viewed 12 August 2009).
61 Malahki Thorn, ‘Wolfsblood interview: spiritual death’, Heathen Harvest (webzine), 15
February 2005, at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story20050215151635652
(viewed 12 August 2009).
62 Anton Shekhovtsov, ‘Aleksandr Dugin’s neo-Eurasianism: the New Right à 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 of
rebirth in Aleksandr Dugin’s worldview’, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions,
vol. 9, no. 4, 2008, 491/506; Andreas Umland, ‘Der ‘‘Neoeurasismus’’ des Aleksandr
Dugin. Zur Rolle des integralen Traditionalismus und der Orthodoxie für die
russische ‘‘Neue Rechte’’’, in Margarete Jäger and Jürgen Link (eds),
Macht*R / eligion*P / olitik: Zur Renaissance religiöser Praktiken und Mentalitäten
(Münster: 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.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 447

new, and that passed away with the Second World War.’65 Björkk is
presumably raising the spectre of the Eurofascist view of the lost ‘European
civil war’ of the twentieth century, lost not to one European country or
another but to non-fascists. In any case, Björkk’s ‘dream of a united Europe’
clearly has nothing to do with either the European Economic Community or
the European Union but is, rather, of a united fascist Europe, a notion that
was extremely popular within certain Italian Fascist and Nazi circles.66
The vision of a dead Europe is articulated not only in lyrics, song titles and
artists’ interviews, but is also graphically expressed in album covers and
artwork. In most cases the theme of Europe’s death is represented in
mournful images of cemetery sculptures, doleful people with bent heads,
dead soldiers and their personal belongings, abandoned battlefields and
trenches. Of course, the featured images do not imply that a given album
will*either musically or lyrically*focus exclusively on Europe’s death.
/ /

Most apoliteic bands combine the three Europe-centred themes, although


each theme does have its specific graphic representation.
The German band Darkwood has its own trilogy that deals with the
‘struggle of Europe’ (see Figure 1). The first part is entitled In the Fields,67 and
its 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 second
part, Heimat & Jugend (Homeland and Youth),68 features an image from a
Belgian graveyard. The third part, Flammende Welt (World in Flames),69 has
on 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’, which
undoubtedly alludes to Evola’s work Gli uomini e le rovine (literally ‘the
men and the ruins’, but usually translated into English as Men among the
Ruins), published in 1953,70 thus anticipating his 1961 Cavalcare la tigre.
Henryk Vogel, the man behind Darkwood, comments: ‘the open end ‘‘In
Ruins’’ is not just a state after the struggle of Europe but also a dark
premonition of what is to come. . . . In the last song [In Ruinen], whispered
vocals announce that there is to be a cultural resistance*which is necessary
/

not only for Europe.’71 In another commentary on the song, Vogel ponders
the 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 dell’Ascia 1953).
71 ‘Darkwood*/interview with Henryk Vogel’, Heimdallr (webzine), January 2002, at www.
heimdallr.ch/Interviews/2002/darkwoodinterview.html (viewed 12 August 2009).
448 Patterns of Prejudice

Figure 1 Covers of Darkwood’s trilogy on the ‘struggle of Europe’: In the Fields, Heimat &
Jugend and Flammende Welt (reproduced with the kind permission of Henryk Vogel)

Marshall plan and bought our souls with gold. But some souls cannot be
bought, 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 he
still believes in Europe: ‘The whole world is rapidly becoming all the same and
this is painfully obvious in Europe which is rapidly losing any essence it had
of 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 the
Europe of the ‘deadly’ liberal democratic order and of ‘homogenizing’
multicultural society triumphs. Those who feel devastated by the alleged
loss of an old Europe of aristocratic hierarchy, organic ethnic-cultural
community, 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 wolf


Said: ‘I’m looking for Europe, I’ll tell you the truth.’
Some find it in a flag, some in the beat of a drum
Some with a book, and some with a gun
Some in a kiss, and some on the march
But if you’re looking for Europe, best look in your heart.74

References to Ernst Jünger are everywhere in the texts and images of


apoliteic music. At least two Neo-Folk bands dedicated their albums to the
German writer: Sagittarius (Die Große Marina),75 and Lady Morphia (Recitals
to Renewal).76 The latter album features a track called ‘The Retreat into the

72 Malahki Thorn, ‘Darkwood interview: the dusk draws near’, Heathen Harvest
(webzine), 22 December 2005, at www.heathenharvest.com/article.php?story
20051222124738204 (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) (emphasis
added).
74 Sol Invictus, ‘Looking for Europe’, on Trees in Winter (London: Tursa 1990).
75 Sagittarius, Die Große Marina (Wittenberg: Neo-Form 2005).
76 Lady Morphia, Recitals to Renewal (Little Walden, Essex: Surgery 2000).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 449

Forest’ in which a male singer recites an extract from the English translation
of Jünger’s Der Waldgang. In 2001 the German label Thaglasz, which evolved
from a Death in June fan club, released the truly pan-European three-LP
compilation entitled Der Waldgänger.77 As might be expected, most of the
tracks are named after Jünger’s novels and essays, and some have titles that
reflect a certain elaboration of the ideas expressed in his above-mentioned
essay: This Morn’ Omina’s ‘Innere Emigration’ (inner emigration), Luft-
waffe’s ‘A Solitary Order’ and Von Thronstahl’s thought-provoking ‘Wald-
gang & Apoliteia’.
Von Thronstahl, whose music, in Klumb’s own words, ‘reflects the longing
for the true European identity and soul’, ‘our secret home that is Europa’,78
demonstrates the most acute perspicacity regarding ‘metapolitical fascism’.
One of the band’s tracks is called ‘Interregnum’ and it is featured on the split
album Pessoa/Cioran,79 dedicated to Fernando Pessoa and Emil Cioran.
Pessoa was a Portuguese modernist poet who blended ‘an elite nationalistic
sentiment, which favoured authoritarian leaders, with certain strains of
avant-garde poetics and anticlerical mysticism’.80 Although sometimes
sarcastically critical of Salazar’s Estado Novo (especially after it outlawed
secret organizations like the Freemasons and Rosicrucians), Pessoa actually
embraced it and, in 1936, a year after his death, the government republished
some poems from his Mensagem (Message) (1933) to celebrate the anniver-
sary of the regime.81 Cioran was a Romanian-born philosopher who, in the
course of the 1930s, sympathized with both the Italian and German fascist
regimes, as well as being close to the Romanian fascist movement Iron
Guard, also known as the Legion of the Archangel Michael.82 The leader of
the Iron Guard, Corneliu Codreanu, was also honoured with a special
double-CD compilation, Codreanu: Eine Erinnerung an den Kampf (Codreanu:
a reminiscence of the struggle),83 that featured many Neo-Folk and Martial
Industrial artists.
Thematic compilations are important media for the expression of the
idea of Europe in the interregnum. Musical tributes to individuals (often

77 Various Artists, Der Waldgänger (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 Raymond
Plummer.
80 Darlene J. Sadlier, An Introduction to Fernando Pessoa: Modernism and the Paradoxes of
Authorship (Gainesville: University Press of Florida 1998), 46.
81 Ibid., 151. See also José Barreto, ‘Salazar and the New State in the writings of Fernando
Pessoa’, Portuguese Studies, vol. 24, no. 2, 2008, 168/214; and Jim Hicks, ‘The fascist
imaginary 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: Oktagön
2001).
450 Patterns of Prejudice

genuine icons for both neo-fascists and ‘metapolitical fascists’), such as


Ernst Jünger, 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 artists


reconfirm their allegiance to the principles of ‘organic Europa’. The
sentiment and perception of the interregnum is, perhaps, best described
in Death in June’s ‘Runes and Men’ (another allusion to Evola’s 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 Europe’s death, it seems more reasonable*given Evola’s 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 rootedness
and/or voluntary dissociation from modernity’s stunning decadence and
decay. Both explanations are legitimate and most likely correct in many
cases. However, the legacy of Jünger, 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 his
work the ‘mighty momentum and will power’ (Wucht und Willenhaftigkeit) of the new
era. See Caroline Fetscher, ‘Why mention Arno Breker today? The work of the Nazi
sculptor is on exhibit’, The Atlantic Times, August 2006, available online at
www.atlantic-times.com/archive_detail.php?recordID602 (viewed 13 August 2009).
87 Various Artists, Wir Rufen deine Wölfe (St Koloman, Austria: Ahnstern 2007). Friedrich
Hielscher was a German poet and philosopher who formulated a mystical concept of
the German nation in Das Reich (1931). Although he sympathized with the Nazis in
the 1920s, he moved to an explicitly anti-Nazi (though not anti-fascist) position prior
to Hitler’s ‘seizure of power’.
88 Death in June, ‘Runes and Men’, on Brown Book (London: New European Recordings
1987).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 451

very well be alluding to the idea of the ‘retreat into the forest’ that signifies
existence during the interregnum.
The idea of the rebirth (palingenesis) of Europe is an important integral
element of Europe-centred apoliteic music. This notion implies that, despite
Europe’s death, followed by an indefinite interregnum during which the
‘aristocrats of the soul’ are forced to undertake the Waldgang, a fairy (or,
rather, eerie) Europe of ‘metapolitical fascists’ will inevitably be reborn. The
German band Belborn inserted this idea in metaphorical form into a song
called ‘Phoenix’:

In dieser kalten Welt aus Eis In this cold world of ice


Sind wir das Feuer das bewahrt We are the fire that keeps
Die Wahrheit in des Wesens Kern The truth in the essential seed
Den Schöpfungsgeist in Wort und Tat. The creative spirit in word and
deed.
Vogel aus der Götter Hand Bird from the gods’ own hands
Hebe uns empor Raises us upwards
Setze die Welt in Brand.89 Sets the world on fire.

Reflecting on Europe’s ‘spiritual rebirth’ in an interview with the


Romanian magazine Letters from the Nuovo Europae, Belborn, however,
denied Europe’s death, maintaining that she was only sleeping: ‘No need
to give birth to something again that was never dead! Europa is only
sleeping at the moment because the sandman was and is too busy. EUROPE
90
AWAKE!!!’ In any case, both ideas*Europe’s rebirth and her awake-
/

ning*are mythological metaphors that reveal the palingenetic thrust of


/

apoliteic music. Troy Southgate’s band Seelenlicht conveys this by quoting


Hermann Hesse’s Demian (1960) on the inlay cover of their album Gods and
Devils: ‘The bird struggles out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever
wants to be born, must first destroy a world.’91 Besides the similarity of the
bird metaphors in these texts from Belborn’s and Seelenlicht’s albums, both
of 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 present
‘McWorld’ of liberal democracy. This connotation of the notion of palingen-
esis is effectively articulated by Howard Williams in his article on Immanuel
Kant’s employment of the terms ‘metamorphosis’ and ‘palingenesis’: ‘Where
a palingenetic change takes place, the existing structure takes on a wholly

89 Belborn, ‘Phoenix’, on Seelenruhe/Phoenix (London: World Serpent 2000). The English


translation is by Belborn.
90 ‘New heroic times ask for new heroic models’ (interview with Holger Fiala of
Belborn), Letters from the Nuovo Europae, October 2000, previously on the Belborn
website at www.belborn.de/INTRODUCTION/INTERVIEWS/DAN/dan.html (no
longer available).
91 Quoted on Seelenlicht, Gods and Devils (Northampton: Cold Spring 2008).
452 Patterns of Prejudice

inappropriate guise, which is out of keeping with the true nature of the
organism. Here the birth of a new structure can only take place with the
completed 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 the
present age (Kali Yuga) of decadence and decay, in ‘Kalki’s Army’:

We’ll tear this world to shreds


We’ll rip your world to shreds
Your corporations will burn
Your institutions will burn
Your churches will burn
Your flag will burn
You will burn!. . .
Within the Meta-Kronosphere
This moment is decried
You would have thought
Your actions were your own
But history has moved your hand
Now history has given us this day
The dark ages are over
Our age is come93

The association of palingenesis with Kalki can be traced back to the writings
of the French Nazi mystic Maximini Portaz, better known as Savitri Devi.
During the years of the Third Reich she actively propagated a belief that
Hitler was an avatar of Kalki, destined to crush ‘the combined dark age
forces of Jewry, Marxism, and international capitalism’.94 The impact of
Devi’s writings on neo-Nazism as well as ‘metapolitical fascism’ is
considerable. The German apoliteic band Turbund Sturmwerk cites her The
Lightning 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 . . .’95
This ‘leitmotif’*of course, not always a result of the adoption of Devi’s
/

(c)ravings*recurs repeatedly in the lyrics and interviews of apoliteic artists.


/

Henryk Vogel, for instance, assumes that ‘it’s possible that everything will

92 Howard Williams, ‘Metamorphosis or palingenesis? Political change in Kant’, Review


of Politics, vol. 63, no. 4, 2001, 693/ 722 (700).
93 Luftwaffe, ‘Kalki’s Army’, on Trephanus Uhr (Chicago: Lupine Arts 2004).
94 Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Hitler’s 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 extended
passage is cited on the cover of Turbund Sturmwerk, Turbund Sturmwerk (Leipzig:
Loki Foundation 2003).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 453

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 Europe’s rebirth also reveals itself
through the names of the labels that release*almost exclusively*apoliteic
/ /

music. In 1981 Douglas Pearce founded New European Recordings, whose


discography includes the albums of his band (Death in June), as well as other
acts like Boyd Rice and Friends, FireIce, TeHÔM and Strength through
Joy.97 In 2002 the Belgian label Neuropa Records was established to release
albums by such bands as Toroidh, Horologium, Un Défi d’Honneur (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


New Rome’:

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 libertà’, Darkroom Magazine (webzine), 19 April 2008, at


www.darkroom-magazine.it/ita/105/Intervista.php?r627 (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?story20050427093041822 (viewed 13
August 2009).
454 Patterns of Prejudice

We failed in the past


But 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, Dernière Volonté, Les Joyaux de la Princesse and Krepulec dress
in military or quasi-military uniforms for performances or promotional
photographs, they emphasize their musical and lyrical image as ‘cultural
soldiers’ who keep the flag flying in the fight against ‘the age of decay and
democrazy [sic]’, as the title of one of Von Thronstahl’s songs has it.

Eschewing profane politics for spiritual warfare

In 1996 the German New Right weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit published a
short 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 youth
culture, the aesthetic consensus of the West will be broken.100

This article was possibly the very first attempt to get Neo-Folk/Martial
Industrial artists involved in the ‘right-wing Gramscian’ struggle for cultural
hegemony. From then on, Junge Freiheit has been publishing interviews with
apoliteic artists and enthusiastic album reviews. In France, however, the
reception of Neo-Folk/Martial Industrial music by New Right thinkers has
been ambivalent. For example, the leader of the French New Right, Alain de
Benoist, who actually enjoys folk music, finds it disturbing when folk artists
(like Death in June) add ‘elements of Nazi subculture’ to their music, and
considers them provocateurs. In his turn, Christian Bouchet, the founder of
Nouvelle Résistance (New Resistance), embraces what I am calling apoliteic
music, as opposed to White Noise.101 The Russian New Right, associated
first and foremost with Aleksandr Dugin’s 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 Tölz: Tilsner 2001), 15.
101 See interviews with de Benoist and Bouchet in François, La Musique europaı̈enne.
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 455

branch in Kazan even owns a small company (Arcto Promo) that organizes
music festivals*called ‘Finis Mundi’102*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 journal
Synthesis: 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 can’t 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 Sol
Invictus songs, namely ‘Against the Modern World’ and ‘Amongst the Ruins’,
directly allude to Evola’s works Rivolta contro il mondo moderno and Gli uomini e le
rovine), or explain why his ongoing musical project L’Orchestre Noir was named
after the 1985 documentary film on the Belgian paramilitary extreme right-wing
groups Vlaamse Militanten Orde (Flemish Militant Order) and Front de la Jeunesse
(Youth Front). See also Stewart Home, ‘Danger! Neo-Folk ‘‘musician’’ Tony Wakeford
of Sol Invictus is still a fascist creep!’, 28 July 2008, available online at
www.stewarthomesociety.org/wakeford.html (viewed 14 August 2009).
456 Patterns of Prejudice

‘spiritual warfare’ and ‘profane politics’. For instance, members of the


Russian Neo-Folk act Ritual Front, who define the concept of the band as
‘Tradition, antiquity, modernity, Gods, death, life, war, struggle, warrior’s
path’, at the same time disdainfully state: ‘We are neither an Oi-band nor
participants in the skinhead underground who are engaged in politics
directly!’106 Both radical right-wing political parties and racist/neo-Nazi
groupuscules also seem contemptuous of ‘spiritual revivalists’, who would
most likely refuse to play at campaigning concerts or to call for getting rid of
‘racial enemies’.
The question, however, remains as to whether apoliteic bands can function
as instruments for popularizing and promoting genuine fascist ideas, the
adoption of which can eventually lead their listeners to contribute to the
political cause, even if such bands*perhaps honestly*do not mean to. The
/ /

answer, beyond any doubt, is ‘yes’. Music is a powerful instrument of


(mis)education: the idealization of fascism, while over-emphasizing its
‘values’ and deliberately concealing (and even normalizing) its crimes and
genocidal practices throughout the interwar period and the Second World
War, effectively contributes to a misreading of modern history, especially by
conscientious fans. We can only conjecture as to whether an individual will
be satisfied with just ‘drifting in dreams of other lives and greater times’ or
will eventually become involved in attempts at the practical implementation
of those ‘dreams’.
Censoring or banning apoliteic music, however, is undesirable in a
democratic society as well as ultimately impossible. ‘Metapolitical fascists’
are keen on using cryptic language and codified symbolic metaphors. On
what 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 the
other hand, how effective are civil society protests or boycotts? Apparently
these activities only make martyrs of apoliteic artists and strengthen*if only /

in the eyes of their fans*their image as righteous fighters for an ‘organic


/

Europe’.
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 the
popular French band Gaë 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’, they’re just
interested in music and don’t 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).
ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV 457

of witch-hunting!) and the ‘unclean’, if you don’t 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, isn’t it nonsense? Isn’t it better to stay in order to affirm our opposition?
But if I say that, isn’t it somewhat hypocritical? Isn’t it a sort of compromising?
Isn’t 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 it’s important that we stay and
that we don’t leave an empty place to the right-wingers.107

Anton Shekhovtsov is a Ph.D. student in political science at Sevastopol


National Technical University in the Ukraine. His thesis is an examination of
new radical right-wing parties in Europe. He has published articles in
Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, Religion Compass, Russian
Review, Politologychnyi visnyk and Naukovyi visnyk ‘Gileya’. He is also a co-
author of the Russian-language book Radikal’nyi 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 via
e-mail, 26/31 March 2009.