1. The delayed definition
The term “national-bolshevism” can mean several quite different things. It emerged practically simultaneously in Russia and Germany to signify some political thinkers` guess about a national character of bolshevik revolution of 1917, hidden in orthodox Marxism internationalist phraseology. In Russian context “national-bolsheviks” was a usual name for those communists, who tried to secure the integrity of state and (either consciously or not) continued the Great Russian historical mission geo-political policy. Those Russian national-bolsheviks were both among “whites” (Ustrialov, smenovekhovtsy, left Eurasians) and among “reds” (Lenin, Stalin, Radek, Lezhnev etc.) In Germany the analogous phenomenon was associated with extremely left forms of nationalism of 20s-30s, in which the ideas of non-orthodox socialism, the national idea and positive attitude to Soviet Russia were combined. Among German national-bolsheviks Ernst Niekiesch was undoubtedly the most consistent and radical, though some conservative revolutionaries may also be referred to this movement, such as Ernst Juenger, Ernst von Salamon, August Winnig, Karl Petel, Harro Schultzen-Beysen, Hans Zehrera, communists Laufenberg and Wolffheim, and even some extremely left National-socialists, such as Strasser and, within a certain period, Josef Hoebbels.
In fact, the term “national-bolshevism” is much more extended and profound, than the listed political trends` ideas. But in order to adequately comprehend it, we should examine the more global theoretical and philosophical problems, regarding the defining of the “right” and the “left”, the “national” and the “social”. The word national-bolshevism contains a deliberate paradox. How can two mutually exclusive notions be combined in one and the same name?
Independently on how far did the reflections of historical national-bolsheviks go, which were certainly limited by the surrounding specificity, the idea of approach to nationalism from the left, and to bolshevism from the right is amazingly fruitful and unexpected, opening absolutely new horizons of comprehension of history logic, social development, political thought.
We should not start from some concrete political facts` collection: Niekiesch wrote this, Ustrialov evaluated some phenomenon as such, Savitskiy adduced such argument as, etc., but try to look at the phenomenon from an unexpected point of view, which exactly made it possible, the “national-bolshevism” combination existence itself. Then we will be able not only to describe this phenomenon, but also comprehend it and, with its help, many other aspects of our paradoxical time.
2. Karl Popper’s inestimable contribution
It’s difficult to imagine anything better for a difficult task of defining the essence of “national-bolshevism”, than a reference to the sociological researches of Karl Popper, and especially to his fundamental work – “Open Society and its Enemies”. In this bulky work Popper proposes a rather convincing model, according to which all the types of a society are roughly divided into two main kinds – “Open Society” and “Non – Open Society” or “Open Society Enemies’ Society”. According to Popper, “Open Society” is based on central role of an individual and its basic characteristic features: rationality, step-type behavior (being discrete), absence of global teleology in actions etc. The sense of an “Open Society” is that it rejects all the forms of an Absolute, which are non-comparable with individuality and its nature. Such society is “open” just because of the simple fact that the combinations’ varieties of individual atoms do not have a limit (as well as no purpose or sense), and theoretically such a society should be aimed at the achievement of an ideal dynamic balance. Popper also considers himself as a convinced adherent of an “open society”.
The second type of a society is defined by Popper as a “hostile to open society”. He does not call it “closed”, foreseeing possible objections, but frequently uses the term “totalitarian”. However, according to Popper, just basing on the acceptance or rejection of an “open society” concept all political, social and philosophical teachings are classified.
The enemies of an “Open Society” are those, who advance (proclaim, put forward) variable (different) theoretical models based on the Absolute against the individual and his/her central role. The Absolute, even being instituted spontaneously and voluntaristically, instantly intrudes into the individual sphere, sharply changes the process of its evolution, violates (exercises coercion over) the individual’s atomistic integrity, submitting it to some outer individual impulse. The individual is immediately limited by the Absolute, therefore the people’s society loses its quality of the “exposure (openness)” and the perspective of free development in all directions. The Absolute dictates the aims and tasks, establishes dogmata and norms, violates (coerces) an individual, as (like) a sculptor coerces his material (stuff).
Popper starts the genealogy of the “Open Society” enemies from Plato, whom he regards as a founder of the philosophy of totalitarianism and as a father of “obscurantism”. Further, he proceeds to Schlegel, Schelling, Hegel, Marx, Spengler and other modern thinkers. All of them are unified in his classification by one indication, which is the introduction of metaphysics, ethics, sociology and economy, based on the principles, denying the “open society” and individual’s central role. Popper is absolutely right in this point.
The most important in Popper’s analysis is the point that thinkers and politicians are put in the category of the “enemies of an open society” irrespectively of, whether their convictions are “right” or “left”, “reactionary” or “progressive”. He accentuates some other, more substantial, more fundamental criterion, unifying on both poles the ideas and philosophies which at the first sight seem to be the most heterogeneous and opposite to each other. Marxists as well as conservatives and fascists, and even some social-democrats can be reckoned among the “enemies of an open society”. At the same time, liberals like Voltaire or reactionary pessimists like Schopenhauer can turn to be among the friends of open society.
So, Popper’s formula is as such: either “open society”, or “its enemies”.
3. The sacred alliance of the objective
The most felicitous and full definition of national-bolshevism will be as follows: “National-bolshevism is a superideology, common for all open society enemies”. Not just one of the hostile to such society ideologies, but it is exactly its full conscious, total and natural antithesis. The national-bolshevism is a kind of an ideology, which is built on the full and radical denial of the individual and his central role; also, the Absolute, in which name the individual is denied, has the most extended and common sense. It could be dared to say that the national-bolshevism is for any version of the Absolute, for any “open society” rejection justification. In the national-bolshevism there is an obvious trend to universalize the Absolute at any cost, to advance such kind of an ideology and such kind of a philosophical program, which would be the embodiment of all the intellectual forms, hostile to the “open society”, brought to a common denominator and integrated into the indivisible conceptual and political bloc.
Of course, throughout the history the different trends, which were hostile to open society, were also hostile to each other. The communists indignantly denied their resemblance to fascists, and conservatives refused to have anything to do with both the abovementioned trends. Practically, noone from “open society enemies” admitted their relation to the analogous ideologies, considering such comparisons as the pejorative criticism. At the same time the different versions of “open society” itself were developed jointly with one another, being clearly conscious of their ideological and philosophical relation. The individualism principle could have united the English Protestant monarchy with the democratic parliamentarianism of Northern America, where the liberalism at first was nicely combined with the slave-owning.
The national-bolsheviks were exactly the first to try grouping the different ideologies, hostile to “open society”, they revealed, as well as their ideological opponents, some common axis, uniting round itself all possible alternatives to individualism and to the individualism based society.
On that profound and scarcely fully realized impulse the first historical national-bolsheviks based their theories, using the “double criticism” strategy. The aim of that national-bolshevik criticism was the individualism, both in the “rights” and the “lefts”. (In the rights it was expressed in economics, “market theory”; in the lefts it was expressed in the political liberalism: “legal society”, “human rights” and so forth).
In other words, the national-bolsheviks grasped beyond the ideologies the essence of both the opposite and their own metaphysical position.
In philosophical language the “individualism” is practically identified with the “subjectivism”. If we apply the national-bolshevik strategy on that level, it can be asserted that the national-bolshevism is strongly against the “subjective” and strongly for the “objective”. It is not the question: materialism or idealism? The question is: the objective idealism and objective materialism (on one side!) or subjective idealism and also subjective materialism (on the other!).
So, the philosophical policy of the national-bolshevism affirms the natural unity of the ideologies, which are based on the statement of the central position of the objective, which is conferred the same status as the Absolute, without dependence on how this objective character (outness) is interpreted. It could be said that the supreme national-bolshevism metaphysical maxim is the Hinduist formula “Atman is Brahman”. In Hinduism “Atman” is the supreme, transcendent human’s “Ego”, being regardless of the individual “ego”, but inside this “ego” as its most intimate and mysterious part, slipping the immanent grasp. The “Atman” is the internal Spirit, but the objective and over-individual one. “Brahman” is the absolute reality, embracing the individual from without, the outer objective character, elevated to its supreme primary source. The identity of “Atman” and “Brahman” in the transcendent unity is the Hinduist metaphysics crown and, what is above all, it is the base for the way of spiritual becoming. This is the point, common for all the sacred doctrines, without any exception. In all of them the question is about the main aim of human’s existence, that is the self-overcoming, expanding beyond the bounds of the small individual “ego”; the way away from that “ego” either outside or inside brings to the same victorious outcome. Hence follows the traditional initiatic paradox, expressed in the famous gospel phrase: “who ruins his soul in my name, that one saves his soul”. The same sense is contained in Nietzsche`s genius statement: “The human is what should be overcome”. The philosophical dualism between the “subjective” and the “objective” affected throughout the history the more concrete sphere, the ideology, and then the politics and social order specificity. The varied versions of the “individualist” philosophy has gradually concentrated in the ideological camp of the liberals and liberal-democratic policy. This is exactly the “open society” macro-model, which Karl Popper wrote about. The “open society” is the final and the most complete individualism fruit, turned to the ideology and being fulfilled in the concrete policy. It is appropriate then to raise the problem of the maximum common ideological model for the “objective” approach adherents, of the universal political and social program for the “open society enemies”. As a result we will acquire none other than the national-bolshevism ideology.
Together with the radical novelty of that philosophical division, made in this situation vertically toward the usual schemes (such as idealism-materialism), the national-bolsheviks mark the new boundary in the politics. Both the lefts and the rights are themselves divided into two sectors. The utterly left, communists, bolsheviks, all Hegel*s successors “from the left” are combined in the national-bolshevik synthesis with the utter nationalists, estatists, “New Middle Ages” idea supporters, in short, with all Hegel`s successors “from the right”.
The open society enemies return onto their metaphysical ground, common for all of them
4. The Metaphysics of Bolshevism (Marx, look “from the right”)
Now we will refer to the clarification of how we should interpret both parts of the term “national-bolshevism” in a exclusively metaphysical sense.
The term “bolshevism” has at first appeared, as it is well known, during the discussions in RSDRP (Russian Social Democratic Labour (Worker’s) Party) as a definition for the fraction, which took the part of Lenin. Let us remind, that Lenin’s policy in Russian Social Democracy consisted in the unlimited radicalism orientation, compromise refusal, accentage on the elite character of the party and on “Blankism” (the theory of a “revolutionary conspiracy”). Later the people who did the October Revolution and seized the power in Russia were called “bolsheviks”. Almost immediately after the revolution the term “bolshevism” has lost it’s limited meaning and has become to be perceived as a synonym for the “majority”, “all-national policy”, “national integration” (“bolshevik” can be approximately translated from Russian as a ‘representative of the majority’) . At a certain stage the “bolshevism” was perceived as purely Russian, national version of communism and socialism, opposed to the abstract dogmatics of the abstract Marxists and, simultaneously, to the conformist tactics of other social-democratic trends). Such interpretation of “bolshevism” was, at large degree, characteristical for Russia and almost exclusively dominated in the West. However the mentioning of “bolshevism” in a combination with a term “national-bolshevism” is not limited to these historical sense. The question is about a certain policy, which is common for all the radical left tendencies of the socialist and communist nature. We may call this policy “radical”, “revolutionary”, “anti-liberal”. The aspect of the left teachings, which Popper reckons in the “totalitarian ideologies” or in the teachings of the “enemies of the open society” is meant here. Thus, “bolshevism” is not just a consequence of the Russian mentality influence on a social-democratic doctrine. It’s a certain component which is constantly present in all the leftist philosophy, which could develop freely and openly only in Russian conditions.
In these latter days the most objective historians more and more often raise a question: “And whether the fascist ideology is really “right”? And the presence of such a doubt, naturally, points to an opportunity of interpretation of “fascism” as a more complex phenomenon, possessing a great deal of typically “left” features. As far as we know, the symmetric question – “And whether the communist ideology is really a “left” one?” – is not raised yet. But this question is more and more urgent. It is necessary to raise it.
It’s difficult to deny the authentically “left” features in communism – such as the appeal to rationality, progress, humanism, equalitarianism and etc. But alongside with it, it has the aspects, which unequivocally drop out of a framework of the “left”, and are associated with a sphere of irrational (surd ?), mythological, archaic, anti-humanist and totalitarian. It is this set of “right” components in the communist ideology is what should be named “bolshevism” in the most common sense. Already in Marxism itself its two ingredient parts looked like rather doubtful, from the authentically “left” progressivist thinking point of view. It’s the heritage of the utopian socialists and Hegelianism. Only the Feyerbach`s ethics drops out of this “bolshevik” in its essence Marx’s ideological construction, giving to all the discourse a certain terminological coloring of humanism and progressivism.
The utopian socialists, which were undoubtedly included by Marx in a number of his predecessors and teachers, are the representatives of a specific mystical messianism and forerunners of the “Golden Age” return. Practically, all of them were the members of esoterical societies, inside which an atmosphere of radical mysticism, Eschatology and apocaliptical apticipations prevailed. This world was a mix of some sectant, occult and religious motives, the sense of which was reduced to the following scheme: “The modern world is hopelessly bad, it has lost it’s sacred dimension. Religious institutes have degraded and have lost God’s blessing (the theme which is common for extreme Protestant sects, “Anabaptists” and Russian old-believers). The world is ruled by evil, materialism, deception, lies, selfishness. But the initiated ones do know about a soon upcoming of a new golden age and promote this upcoming with the enigmatic rituals and occult actions.”
The utopia socialists reproduced this common for western messianist esoterism motive on the social reality and gave to a coming gold century the social and political features. Certainly, there was a point of the eschatological myth rationalization in it, but at the same time, the supernatural character of the coming Kingdom, Regnum, is obviously seen in their social programs and manifestos, in which one could easily detect a mention of future communist society wonders( navigation on dolphins, weather operation, common wives, peoples flights in air etc. ). Absolutely obvious, that this policy has almost traditional character; and such radical eschatological mysticism, idea of return to the Beginning, makes it absolutely logic to name this not just a “right“ component, but even “extremely right“.
Now what regards Hegel and his dialectics. It’s widely known that the political beliefs of the philosopher himself were extremely reactionary. But this is not the point. If we study Hegel’s dialectics more closely, to his philosophy base method (and it was the dialectical method what Marx borrowed from Hegel at a greater degree), we shall see a concrete exactly traditionalist and also eschatological doctrine, using some specific terminology. Moreover, this methodology reflects a structure of the initiatic, esoterical approach to the gnoseological problems, apart from just profane, every day logic of Decart and Kant, who relied on “common sense”, gnoseological specifications of a “every day consciousness”, which, as we notice a propos, all the liberals and Karl Popper in particular are the apologets of.
Hegel`s philosophy of a history is a traditional myth version, integrated with purely Christian teleology. The Absolute Idea is alienated from itself and becomes the world (Let’s recollect Koranic formula: “Allah was a hidden treasure, which has wished to be learned”.).
Being incarnated throughout the history, the Absolute Idea affects the people from the outside, as a “ruse of the World Intellect“, predetermining the providential character of tissue of events. But finally, by means of Lord’s Son advent, the apocaliptical perspective of the Absolute Idea total realization unveils itself on the subjective level, which due to this becomes “objective” instead of “subjective”. “The Being and the Idea become one.“. Atman coincides with Brahman. And it takes place in a certain chosen Kingdom, in an empire of the End, which German nationalist Hegel identified with Prussia.
The Absolute Idea is the thesis; its alienation throughout the history is the antithesis; its realization in the eschatological Kingdom is the synthesis.
The Hegel`s gnoseology is based on such vision of the ontology. Apart from the usual rationality, based on the laws of the formal logic, operating only with the positive statements, limited by the actual cause-and-result relations, Hegel`s “new logic “, takes into account the special ontological dimension, integrated with potential aspect of a thing, inaccessible to “every day consciousness “, but actively used by mystical schools of Paracels, Boehme, Hermetists and Rosicrucians. The fact of a subject or statement (to which Kantian “every day” gnoseology is reduced)is for Hegel just one of three hypostacies. The Second Hypostacy is the “denying” of this fact, and interpreted not as pure nothing (as the formal logic sees it), but as a special superintellectual modality of existence of a thing or a statement. The First Hypostacy is Ding fuer uns ( “a thing for us “ ); The Second is Ding an sich ( “ a thing in self “ ). But apart from Kant`s vision, “the thing in self “ is interpreted not as something transcendent and purely apophatic, not as gnoseological non-being, but as the gnoseological in-other-way-being. And both these relative Hypostacies result in the Third one, which is the synthesis, embracing both statement and denying, the thesis and antithesis. Thus if one considers the process of thinking consistently, the synthesis occurs after “denying”, as the second denying, i.e. “ Denying of denying “. In synthesis both the statement and denial are taken. The thing co-exists in it with its own death, which is evaluated in special ontological and gnoseological view not as emptiness, but as the in-other-way-being of life, as the soul. The Kantian gnoseological pessimism, the root of liberal meta-ideology, overturns, unveils as “thoughtlessness”, and Ding an sich ( “ the thing in self “ ) becomes Ding fuer sich ( “ a thing for self “ ). The reason of the world and the world itself are combined in the eschatological synthesis, where existence and non-existance are both present, without excepting one another. The Earthly Kingdom of the End, ruled by the initiated ones` cast ( the ideal Prussia), is integrated with the descending New Jerusalem. The end of a history and era of Holy Spirit comes.
This eschatological messianist scenario, having been borrowed by Marx, was applied to a little bit different sphere, to the sphere of the industrial relations. Interesting, why he did so? The usual “rights” explain it “by the lack of the idealism“ or “his rough nature“ ( if not by the subversive intentions). Surprisingly foolish explanation, which, nevertheless, is popular with several generations of reactionaries. What is most likely, Marx , who used to closely study English political economics, was shocked by similarities between the liberal theories of Adam Smith, who saw the history as progressive movement towards the open market society and universalization of a material monetary common denominator and Hegel*s concepts concerning the historical antithesis, i.e. the Absolute Idea alienation throughout the history. Marx has genially identified the maximum Absolute self-alienation with Capital, the social formation, which actively submitted the Europe, contemporary to him.
The capitalism structure analysis, its development history gave Marx the knowledge of the alienation mechanics, the alchemical formula of its functioning rules. And this mechanics comprehension, the “formulas of the antithesis “ were just the first and necessary condition for the Great Restoration or the Last Revolution. For Marx the Kingdom of coming communism was not just the progress, but the result the turn-over, “revolution” in the etimological sense of this word. Not accident, that he calls the initial stage of the humankind development the “cave communism“. The thesis is the “cave communism“, the antithesis is the Capital, the synthesis is the world communism. The communism is synonymous to the End of History, the era of the Holy Spirit. The materialism and accentuating the economy and industrial relations, testify not about Marx’s interests practicism, but about his aspiration to the magical transformation of the reality and radical refusal from compensatory dreams of those irresponsible dreamers, who just aggravate the element of alienation by their inactiveness. According to such a logic, the medieval alchemists could be reproached with the “materialism” and hunger for profit, if one does not take into account the deeply spiritual and initiatic symbolism, hidden behind their discourses about the urine distillation, obtaining gold, conversion of minerals into metals etc.
It is this Gnostic tendency of Marx and his predecessors was applied by the Russian bolsheviks, who were raised up in an environment, where the enigmatic forces of Russian sects, mysticism, national messiaism, secret societies and passionate romantic characters of Russian rebels were being summoned against the alienated, temporal, degraded monarchic regime. “Moscow – Third Rome, Russian people is the God carrier, the nation of the All-man. Russia is destined to rescue the world. All those ideas impregnated Russian life, which had it in common with the esoterical plots incorporated in the Marxism. But apart from purely spititualistic formulas, the Marxism offered economic, social and political strategy, which clear and concrete, clear even to the simple person and giving basis for social and political measures.
It was just the “right Marxism“ that triumphed in Russia, which obtained the name of “bolshevism”. But it does not mean, that only in Russia the matter was as such. The similar tendency is present in all communist parties and movements all over the world, if, certainly, they do not degrade to the parliamentary Social Democracy, conforming to the liberal spirit. Thus, it is not surprising, that socialist revolutions have taken place except Russia only in the East: in China, Korea, Vietnam etc.. It emphasizes once again, that just traditional, non-progressive, the least “modern” (“alienated from the Spirit“) and, correspondingly, the most “conservative”, the most “right” peoples and nations, have recognized the mystical, spiritual, “bolshevik” essence in the communism.
The national-bolshevism takes turn of just such bolshevik tradition, the policy of the “ right communism “, which was originated by the ancient initiatic societies and spiritual doctrines in remote ages. Thus the economic aspect of communism is not diminished, is not denied, but is considered as a gear of the teurgic, magic practice, as a particular tool of a reality transformation. The only thing that should be rejected here is an inadequate, historically exhausted Marxism discourse in which the accidental, inherent to the past epoch, humanist and progressist themes are often present.
The Marxism of the national-bolsheviks means Marx minus Feurbach, i. e. minus evolutionism and sometimes appearing inertial humanism.