Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The Wave of the Future
Vice has published an article on the 'Fashwave' music phenomenon, which is essential reading for anyone to understand the Alt-Right. It illustrates why the Far Right today is winning the battle against the Far Left. The Alt-Right has put old wine in new bottles; it has given the old white nationalism and neofascism a makeover, and applied a new coat of paint which comes in bright and shiny, and pastel, colours. In contrast, the Left, in its imagery, appears rather dour and drab; the Antifa, for instance, dress like medieval penitents...
Many conservatives believe that the decade of the 1960s constitutes the point from which we can chart the decline of Western civilisation. The New Left emerged in that decade and took the Western world by storm: how? The answer is that they - using Herbert Marcuse, Wilhelm Reich and others as a theoretical justification - promulgated a doctrine of self-indulgence (under the guise of self-actualisation and spiritual liberation) and quite cleverly latched on to the popular culture trends of the time. They made Leftism fun and equated having fun with making rebellion. We all know how it turned out, of course, but it can't be denied that the New Left succeeded in its object.
One can find fault with the Alt-Right - it has now become suborned to Trump and the Trump Republican Party - but we should regard its reinvention of Far Right aesthetics as one of its successes. The fact of the matter is that the old white nationalism and Neo-Nazism of the 1990s and 2000s - of William Pierce and Tom Metzger, of skinheads and goths - couldn't abide; on an aesthetic level alone, it had become as gloomy and dour as the Left it fought against. Nationalists began wearing too much black, in imitation - conscious or unconscious - of the Antifa; google Thor Steinar or Doberman's Aggressive and you'll see what I mean... The rather myopic skinhead and black metal scene - two genres of music hardly renowned for their colour and light - played a part in all this. But, by the 2010s, the popular culture and people's appetites changed; synthwave and vaporwave, and eighties nostalgia, took off. Full credit must go to the Alt-Right for recognising this. Just as the New Left had done in the sixties, the Alt Right in the 2010s has seen the potential in the new music and fashions, and exploited them to the hilt.
Having said that: the Old Left survived the sixties and the seventies, the New Left didn't. The old Trotskyite, Stalinist and Maoist formations weathered the fall of the Soviet Union - and the restoration of capitalism in China - and continue to exist, and flourish (to a certain extent) today, whereas the New Left had went the way of all ideological fads by 1980. This should be a warning for us - to not be hasty, jump on the Alt Right bandwagon and put all our eggs in the one basket. The tried and true doctrine and organisation of the Old Left gave it an edge that the New Left lacked. Likewise, I suspect that the 'Old' Right will prove its worth and be around long after this Alt Right trend has faded.