The Murky World of Neofolk Politics

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 16, 2010 — 263 Comments

When it comes to politically transgressive art, where does the line get drawn between exploration and endorsement? If you sing about fascists, does it make you a fascist? Does such art empower and fuel extremism? The post-industrial musical genre known as “neofolk” has long dealt with these questions, with many artists having to issue position statements due to past collaborations or friendships with various infamous individuals. The whole issue gets progressively murkier the more individual bands and artists are put under the microscope by music critics and various “antifa” (anti-fascist) activists. Why does this matter to the modern Pagan community? Because there is a significant overlap between neofolk and various Pagan, Heathen, and occult groups, and we should be alert and educated to how these conflicts may affect us.

The reason I’m bringing this up now, is that Rose City Antifascists, the Portland, Oregon chapter of the Anti-Racist Action Network, has put out an alert about the Austrian band Allerseelen (who broadly affiliate themselves with Paganism), who are touring the West Coast and Pacific Northwest this month, and opening for the popular metal band Agalloch on certain dates.

“This December, the Austrian far-Right “post-industrial” and martial music project Allerseelen is set togive a series of performances on the US West Coast. Allerseelen is the project of Gerhard Petak (AKAKadmon and Gerhard Hallstatt) who also incorporates other performers into the act when playing live. Several of the Allerseelen shows are scheduled to take place in larger venues supporting the prominentPortland, Oregon “dark metal” group Agalloch, who will be touring to promote their new album. Thehitching of Allerseelen onto the tour of a larger heavy metal act will provide new outlets for Petak’sextreme-Right messages. Agalloch, the group which Allerseelen will support, is at present crossing overfrom underground cult status to something nearer the mainstream, the group’s latest album even beingpromoted with a write-up and “exclusive first listen” on National Public Radio’s music webpage. It istroubling that the act Agalloch chose to expose to its growing audiences has a long history of far-Rightinvolvement and propaganda, and is attempting to make aspects of fascist discourse acceptable.Agalloch’s decision to further link itself to Petak / Allerseelen by appearing on a new compilation CDreleased by Petak’s label is likewise of concern to anti-fascists and is of similar poor judgment.”

Nathan Carson, owner of the booking agency Nanotear, denies any fascist intentions in putting the tour together, and  claims he’s being harassed by anonymous individuals spurred on by the Rose City Antifascists.

“Anti-fascist bloggers calling me out for booking an Allerseelen tour. I guess they don’t know about my Jewish blood (and big nose). [...] they phoned me from a blocked number at 10:30 this morning to get a statement from me. I refused to be quoted on 6 hours of sleep but told them I was entirely unaware of any fascist connections and that I’d make a personal decision myself after spending a week in the van with Allerseelen (who are also staying at my house.) [...] they’ve posted my private cel # on some sort of site or list. I’m fielding blocked calls from uppity college students that are demanding to know why I’m promoting a fascist band in Portland. When I ask them their names and why they are calling from a blocked #, they invariably hang up. I’m anti-fascist in principle too, of course. But I don’t see a smoking gun or a strong case in this instance.”

So how fascist, or neo-fascist, is Allerseelen and frontman Gerhard “Kadmon” Petak? They cite his admiration of traditionalist philosopher, and Nazi/fascist sympathizer, Julius Evola, his links to European New Right publications, and song lyrics that seem to praise various Nazi figures. All of which seems to make him a politically unsavory individual that I would prefer to avoid, but the report gets murkier when they start digging into his ties with “right wing occultism,” his admiration of Leni Riefenstahl, and connections to figures like musician/publisher Michael Moynihan (who also edits the “radical traditionalist” journal Tyr). As for Petak himself, he claims to have no political motivations (and denies fascist affiliations), something the Rose City Antifascists refute.

“What is the meaning of Petak’s denial of any politics or political motivation? While not referring explicitly to Allerseelen, Anton Shekhovtsov’s article “Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and ‘Metapolitical Fascism’” points to an answer by discussing Evola’s concept of apoliteia as well as European New Right influence in relation to certain sectors of the post-industrial scene. 91 From a stance of apoliteia, Petak is able to claim detachment from worldly politics, yet apoliteia far from the same as pure political apathy. Rather, Petak appears to be active in a metapolitical “invisible order” engaged in anti-Enlightenment culture wars, along the lines of the European New Right and its Right-Gramscian project. While Petak does not dirty his hands in Right-wing Party-building, he nevertheless contributes to a climate favorable to fascist politics, through fighting for the hearts and minds of countercultural audiences. He knows what he is doing.”

So is Petak a stealth neo-fascist softening the underground for traditionalist takeover, or is he more of a dilettante engaging with transgressive politics and figures in order to gain attention? I personally find bands who recklessly/cynically dabble in Nazi/fascist imagery and themes tiresome and wouldn’t support them with my time or money, but I’m not sure enough of a case has been built here to tar Agalloch, or the tour promoter, as neo-fascist supporters/sympathizers by working with this band. I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide whether Allerseelen are a pernicious influence, or just creatively bankrupt.

As I said at the beginning of this piece, politics in neofolk can get murky, especially when you are dealing with terms like “radical traditionalism”, which might mean different things to different groups. Make no mistake, there are racist and neo-fascist bands within genres like neofolk, metal, and punk, and they should be opposed when they try to increase their audience by infiltrating Pagan or Heathen communities, but we should also be careful to thoroughly investigate for ourselves before acting. Whether this is such a case, is up to each individual to decide.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • brynneth

    I'm wary of a culture in which it is not ok to be enthusiastically positive about something. Now, there are many things I wouldn't want to see people being passioantely enthusiastic about, but increasingly in the UK to celebrate being british is seen as being fascist, and that serves no one. Many pagan traditions, with their roots in older cultures, have that scope for passionate engagement with a specific group of people. Where that's entirely about the positives, and not about bashing someone, where's the problem? I share your twitch over 'radical traditionalism' as a term used to mean fascist, that feels profoundly uncomfortable to me. How long before someone drops the 'radical' and starts equating 'traditionalist' with fascist?

  • http://www.facebook.com/OberonWhitethorn James Russell Rusty Broach

    The PC police are at it again it seems. At this right being proud of ones ancestry will make one a racist. I take that back it already IS considered racist to do so.

    • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

      Don't mistake this for an accusation that you're a bigot, but if you cannot see how claiming pride in your White ancestry could come off as having racist implications if you aren't careful, then I'd encourage you to think about it a little more.

      • http://chrysalis1witchesjourney.wordpress.com/ Pax

        Jonathan, on the one hand I can very much dig where you are coming from, on the other at what point does Black Pride or Black Power become racism? At what point does Pagan or Christian Pride become religious bigotry?

  • http://www.eternalhavestwicca.org Lady GreenFlame

    A couple of years ago, I came across "radical traditionalism" and found that many of its values mirrored my own — but that some of them were identified (rightly or wrongly) with the "New Right" and fascism. Even yesterday, researching about Old Europe and rune history, I ran into an obvious neofascist site — but it had great information.

    Why can't we value cultural preservation without linking it to racism or fascism? I am not trying to be naive, but it seems so simple and obvious to me. I fear that the groups (as cited in the article) that issues such stringent warnings about "neofascists" may actually drive non-fascist people right into that fold. No one likes being told that celebrating their own culture and heritage is wrong.

    • Crystal7431

      I agree with you to an extent. I recently put in some search terms about a subject I thought interesting (I don't even remember what now) and was immediately directed to a neo-Nazi website. That was extremely disturbing. I felt like I needed a bath afterward. I don't necessarily believe that these Anti-Fascist groups are in the wrong, though. What I dislike most is these hateful groups parading under the guise of cultural and historical interest. It ruins it for anyone who enjoys cultural studies. It dirties our intellectual studies and makes us all look bad. I say get rid of the haters. Then the anti-fascist groups will have nothing to worry about.

      • Crystal7431

        Of course, I tend to stay away from any party or group affiliation that involves the word "radical", unless it has something to do with food ; )

  • http://www.eternalhavestwicca.org Lady GreenFlame

    Pardon for the typos; coffee not yet fully imbibed.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    Why not, instead, raise an alarm about naive Pagans who associate with these pseudo-leftist thugs who call themselves "anti-fascists"?

    Being "right-wing" doesn't make a person a fascist, although it has become an article of faith among many progressives that Republican=Nazi. Nothing, absolute nothing, provided in the original post lends any credence whatsoever to any allegations of "fascist" sympathies on the part of any of the people or bands named.

    If a person is a leftist, that does not make him or her a supporter of Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao. But precisely such unsubstantiated illogical leaps are being very carelessly bandied about here.

    Pagans do not need our own thought-police.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      "If a person is a leftist, that does not make him or her a supporter of Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao."

      It used to be thought thus by the likes of J Edgar Hoover 50 years ago and more. That's what curdles my milk, that people who would have been crucified by this kind of thinking back in the day, are now wielding the hammer and nails themselves.

    • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

      Actually, yes we do. Maybe we don't actually need "police" but I think Pagans in general need to raise their critical assessment of ideas and history and become much more conversant in genuine politics and philosophy. And you are also incorrect about the lack of fascist sympathies on the part of some of these bands, they are absolutely there. It's just that most people don't understand the history and trajectory of fascism and instead use a popular understanding of what fascism means.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

        We already have plenty of vague accusations, Amy. What is lacking here is evidence.

        No one is denying that fascist bands exist. As Lori Drake already pointed out, they are actually quite easy to spot. They are the ones waving Nazi flags while their fans shout Sieg Heil. Also, they are the ones whose shows are advertised at stormfront.org.

        But is there any evidence that the individuals or bands named in the original post have any fascist sympathies?

        • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

          Yes, there is. Lots of it, and they are much harder to spot than you think because these people are smart. Fascism today is not about waving a Nazi flag or being anti Semetic, it's not just about aesthetics. See my response below.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            Well-said.

  • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

    Oh pu-leeze! People need to stop taking things at face value.

    Whenever something comes on cable about Hitler et al, especially when it's about the batshit occult tie-ins, I click over. (The History Channel just had a two-part, 2-hour airing of the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich from the average folks' POV that was really enlightening!) Because I watch that, does that make me a (fill in the blank)-ist? No. I just hope to get a new spin on the why's!

    I <3 Slayer, especially their older stuff. Because I have a shirt like this, does that mean I promote Nazi shit? http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSsRbLO1L… No, it doesn't. What about the fact Angel of Death is my favorite song by them? http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/angel-of-d… Yes, it's unfortunate skinheads like Slayer for those *specific* reasons, but I do not share their sentiments on anything other than the fact they're a really good band. (And I always wonder how they justify they like that band as the Tom Araya is uhhh… "not white". Why do they get a pass?)

    I understand too Portland is sensitive to racist/fascist bands, due to a high concentration of neo-nazis in the area. I get it. Germany as a whole is very sensitive, because their people are tired of all being lumped together. But does that sensitivity mean they need to go overboard and whitewash everything even remotely *off-limits*? History should not be buried; it should be learned from.

    And as far as being sensitive over Pagan folk music, again, I think people need to stop taking things at face value. Yes, it's unfortunate neo-nazis zoom in on anything even remotely similar to their whacked out views, but if we look close enough, eventually, some topics and issues will blur lines. After all, we are all human. Doesn't that fact alone blur a very big line?

    Just me thinking again. I know it gets me into trouble, but ah well. :P

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I would like to see, say, four lines of sample lyrics as evidence for the charge of fascist sympathy. Chatter about how Uglypuss supports Farenough and Farenough supports Toejam, etc, is guilt by association on stilts.

    • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

      And even with a repeated chorus in one song, it still does not mean the band is sympathetic to fascists. It may just very well be pointing out a moment in history or telling a story from a perpetrator's POV. If that were the case, some of the world's most popular bands would be in deep doo-doo with the Southern Poverty folks! "Run to the Hills" by Iron Maiden is about the atrocities against the Native Americans from the POV of Custer and Company. Does that mean Iron Maiden believes "the only good 'Injuns' are tame"? Of course not!

      As a music retailer online, I have to be exceedingly careful what CDs we list, and in which countries. (Again, Germany is hyper-sensitive, though I can most certainly understand why.) Certain sites will not provide a list they deem as hateful or discriminatory; we're just supposed to know, but we get flagged big-time if we mistakenly screw up. Some of the releases they've objected to are most decidedly NOT hateful or discriminatory – just pointing out ugly history (which sells albums!). And what's very contradictory is we can sell t-shirts which promote said CDs. Why is one thing good and the other is not? It doesn't make much sense to me.

      Emperor, for example, is a very popular black metal band, which is a genre popular among some of us Pagans, but yet some of their albums are banned. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net… I understand Burzum, because that guy really does believe and promote that stuff, but not Emperor. And if the stance is against violence in general, well by golly, a huge chunk of the metal and rap releases, including popular ones, should be banned.

      Anyway…
      I'm going to have to look into this band a lot further before I make a judgment call one way or the other. For now, I'm just going to take the stance there is a huge misunderstanding going on, and I take that stance because unfortunately, it's all too common. :( I understand people in the area are sensitive to these matters, hyper-sensitive perhaps, and I can most certainly understand why. However, I staunchly disagree every band that uses runes in their artwork/retells stories of battles/promotes northern Pagan roots and ancestry is to be lumped together with bands like Rahowa. &gt;:(

      • caraschulz

        OK. I read the whole thing and I'm still confused. But I'm not a music person, so perhaps….?

      • http://www.thorncoyle.com T. Thorn Coyle

        To give more information for those asking about lyrics:

        Allerseelen has a whole album out based on the writings of Karl Maria Wiligut, who was oft considered to be a "Nazi occultist". Read more here: http://monkeyhouse-recordings.co.uk/JK2CMS/index….
        or here: http://www.discogs.com/Allerseelen-GotosKalanda/m
        and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Maria_Wiligut

        Did Allerseelen just use the lyrics and picture of the Black Sun from the Obergruppenführersaal for shock value? Perhaps.

        Also, when I speak with German Pagans, they have very real worries about fascism, racialism etc in Paganism there. Here in the US, we are fairly sheltered from it.

        As a metal lover, I comprehend that sometimes bands just want to be in-your-face with taboo subjects and iconography (I've had people ask me if, for example, Rammstein were fascists or Nazi sympathizers, when they have nothing to do with either). I also know that there are still fascists in the world. Not saying which Allerseelen are, but I also am not going to their show when they hit San Francisco.

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

          Wiligut was a Christian. He believed that Jesus was an Aryan, and that Christianity needed to be cleansed of both Semitic and also Greco-Roman elements. He had no interest in returning to pre-Christian Germanic Paganism, which he explicitly rejected.

          Wiligut's ideas about Aryan Christianity, btw, were not very different from the "positive" Christianity promoted by many "liberal" Protestant theologians in Germany at the time. The most prominent such theologian was Adolf von Harnack, who was a lifelong friend of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an ardent Christian whose writings were praised by the Nazi press as "the gospel of National Socialism".

          The only concrete accusation against Allerseelen in the monkeyhouse-recordings link is that they used a "Nazi image" on one of their album covers. The image, however, is actually of an early 17th century mosaic in the Wewelsburg Castle. This mosaic, in turn, was based on a motif found in artwork going back to the early 5th century AD. Nazism, on the other hand, did not exist until many centuries after the Wewelsburg Castle was built.

        • Bogomil

          I've been a fan of Allerseelen since the early '90's. I find this sort of alarmism disappointing.

          Allerseelen put out an album with a cover featuring a photograph by Man Ray. Does this make them supporters of Surrealism, Dadaism, etartete Kunst, and Judaism?

          Allerseelen collaborated on an album dedicated to wine with the Portuguese band Sangre Cavallum. Does this make them shills for the Portuguese wine industry?

          Allerseelen released an album inspired by the painted skulls in the Beinhaus in Halstatt, Austria. Does this make them Catholic?

          Allerseelen released an album with a picture of a Mithraic altar on the cover. Does this make them Mithraists?

          In the early '90's Gerhard Petak, then operating as "Kadmon," published Aorta, a small 'zine that covered topics varying as widely as the Cathar heresy, the art of Joseph Beuys, Kenneth Anger, Leonora Carrington, and even the anti-Nazi magic of English witches during the early parts of WWII. The common thread seems to be an interest in forgotten or obscure parts of European intellectual and spiritual history, especially those that occurred in the 20th century but may be thought of as having atavistic elements. None of what I have seen by him indicates to me anything so banal as some kind of dedication to fascist politics or any kind of racism. On the other hand, his interest in these hidden and obscure things does not seem to be merely an attempt at sensationalism either. He seems to be genuinely interested in understanding on some kind of fundamental level much of the hidden side of European heritage and expressing this kind of understanding in his art. Like it or not, I do not think that this can be thought of as making him a fascist.

          On the other hand, attempting to stop speech one does not like by use of intimidation and violence is a hall mark of fascism. The antifa seems a lot closer to fascist than Allerseelen to me.

          • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

            Rose City has made a more systematic case than you suggest, and they are employing neither intimitation nor violence in an effort to stop speech.

          • http://sari0009.xanga.com/603410074/imagination-and-virtues-of-equality/ KarenAScofield

            Could you support your argument, please?

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    This same type of unsupported McCarthyite innuendo has been directed against many other bands as well. Here is an excellent response to this kind of crap from ille Sorvali of Moonsorrow and Heri Joensen of Týr (from 2008): http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=uk&amp;…

    Runes, Ravens, Viking ships, etc, are not Nazi symbols!! You want Nazi imagery? Check out Lady GaGa's Alejandro video!

    • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

      Thank you for providing this link. I've met a lot of these guys backstage, after shows and in their buses and vans, and believe me, my hate-ar would have gone up, especially when a little truth serum gets involved. ;) Vending at underground metal shows, I've seen *more* than my fair share of genuine fascists and racists. And because they're typically "sausage fests", anyone with that new-fangled indoor plumbing in attendance tend to garner a lot of attention. Needless to say, I do a lot of nodding a smiling while ringing people up. *I* am not a hater; I sell to anyone LOL!

      Besides, guys who really are da haters in the music world are proud of it and glamorize the hell out if it, because:

      1) It sells albums.

      2) It's the easiest and most productive way to get their message across.

      3) It riles up groups of isolated and misunderstood people, usually kids, and that creates a loyal following. It's the whole "I get you" thing. And, kids are the biggest supporters of angry music. (Let's face it, us "old folks" tend to mellow a bit on buying music, if for any other reason, we'z gotz bills to pay!)

      4) It pisses off kids' parents, which helps fuel that loyalty. Whatever the 'rents like is uncool, and whatever they can't stand is awesome! Heh.

      They may have to go through the /underground/ Underground channels, but that just makes the value of their releases and merch go up. Nothing sells better than stuff you're told you can't have and can't easily find. It's little wonder why so many record labels *like* the warning stickers on their releases.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        "4) It pisses off kids' parents, which helps fuel that loyalty. Whatever the 'rents like is uncool, and whatever they can't stand is awesome! Heh."

        Stuff your parents hate has been the operative definition of youth-popular music since the 1950s, as I personally recall. I pity kids today; so many of their parents grew up with and still like various flavors of rock that the kids have to reach for the ever more extreme to fit this definition.

        • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

          Heh ;) We told our son there isn't much out there he can get away with or offend us with, because we've "been there, done that". There really isn't anywhere for him to go! LOL! Needless to say, outside of not keeping up with his chores and acting rather spoiled, we think he's a pretty good kid.

    • Mhaoil Lain

      Really? I love that video! Felt more like Franco's regime to me, though. The "Cabaret" feel was very well done… and, as a bonus, the Rosary-swallowing scene pissed off the Catholic League.

      • Sharon Knight

        Wow, interesting discussion. Gives me some pause about using the term Neo-Folk to describe my current acoustic musical tendencies…bummer. I always have a hard time fitting myself into genres and this one seems so ready-made.

        Ultimately, I will probably not back away from this description, however, and this is why: I believe we can celebrate our own ancestral traditions without diminishing those of others, can we not? We needn't feel superior in order to celebrate our own folk-soul.

        While I don't doubt that there are some bands actively promoting a sense of cultural superiority, it is my hope that this mindset does not overtake this musical genre entirely. It is my hope that the music of each individual artist will speak for itself.

        • Kat

          Sharon, right on!!! This – "I believe we can celebrate our own ancestral traditions without diminishing those of others, can we not? We needn't feel superior in order to celebrate our own folk-soul" – agreed 100%. I hope you will keep the "Neo-Folk" moniker. It describes a style of music, not a political inclination. This style of music, and its name, should not be usurped by those who mean to do ill with it. Most black metal musicians are not church burners nor shallow satanists; and most neo-folk musicians are not Nazi sympathizers. The way to make the "few bad seeds" insignificant is to flood the public consciousness with the good ones, like yourself!

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

        Personally I thought both the song and the video were pretty weak. But the Prayer Candles that she came out with as part of the promotion of Alejandro were an extremely cool idea.

        • Mhaoil Lain

          Lady Gaga "virgin" image… Love it!
          Look, my point is this… just because I call myself Pagan, doesn't mean I want to listen to Damh the Bard all day!
          I love Metal, and I believe that most fans are mature enough to know that the message is meant to convey a feeling, not an action. To assume otherwise would be to accuse music fans of being soft in the head.
          To call Metal fans fascists would be like calling BDSMers misogynists. Those who do, are only taking it for how it appears.

    • Sharon Knight

      Yeah I've seen that video before. Love both those bands and it never would have occurred to me that someone could find fascism in either band's music. Hopefully someday Heathenism will be able to lose the specter of Hitler's interest in old Germanic Paganism and simply be able to honor their traditions in peace.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

        There is a small army of academics and members of the "professional left" that are dedicated to perpetuating the myth of an intrinsic affinity between Paganism and Fascism.

        The media are a major part of the problem because if you have a story with the word "Nazi" in it, you get a lot of attention and if you have a story about "Nazi Pagans" you get even more attention.

        There are, of course, such things as Nazi Pagans. Just as there do exist rich Jews in Hollywood and New York City. But a canard is still a canard is still a canard.

  • Don

    Ah, antifa. A bunch of spoiled college-aged white kids who need to fight some epic battle to fill that void of meaning in their lives, even if the opponent is made up.

    I am tiring of reading about this nonexistent problem of pagan fascism, racialism, rising right-wing etc. that is so clearly fabricated by left-wing thugs, as Apulieus put it.

  • http://blog.chasclifton.com Chas S. Clifton

    " When I ask them their names and why they are calling from a blocked #, they invariably hang up."

    What brave little souls!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1008131810 Chelsea Rose

    A lot of European industrial music can be classified as "military pop" but that doesn't mean it's pro anything. It just means the culture (particularly the German culture) is still influenced by the wars. European music is, in general, very different from American music. (Big surprise, I know.) Something that someone seems to have missed in their rush to be hipster up here. -sigh-

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1008131810 Chelsea Rose

      Well, I guess I should say "NECESSARILY pro anything". There are definitely pro-fascist and anti-fascist "military pop" songs out there. Look up And One for a good example of the latter. To an outside listener (particularly one that doesn't understand German) many of their lyrics can seem alarming … until you realize that And One is pretty strongly anti-war in general.

  • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

    I actually think that the Rose City Antifascists have it just right. These groups ARE espousing many views that are totally consistent with both traditional fascist and new fascist ideologies. OF COURSE these artists aren't going to come right out and say "Yeah, I'm a fascist". They are, however, absolutely building a climate and preparing a base for the dissemination of fascist and New Right ideas, and being quite successful at it. If you look at the ideologies of fascism historically many themes addressed by these groups are right there, and they might surprise you. Racism or Antisemitism may be there, but frequently they aren't top of the list and they certainly aren't overt. When I am evaluating groups or individuals for fascist affiliation I look first for 1. Dislike of multiculturalism and advocating cultural separation 2. Dislike of the modern and a lack of belief in progress 3. Anti democratic 3. emphasis on the non rational or pre rational 4. The belief in a golden age to which we will be returning 5. a belief in "natural" hierarchies and social divisions 6. proponents of Divine right of kings and theocracy 6. emphasis on virile, masculine leadership. There are other characteristics as well, but this is my starting place. Many of these characteristics may seem nice and cozy, especially to Pagans, but I can assure you the logical extensions of these theories are frightening. We need to be able to spot the cultural, economic and social conditions that lead to fascism, because they are right on top of us. As for why there are problems with "loving and preserving our cultural heritage" that's another essay. I'm a folklorist and I think we have a lot to answer for in that regard.

    • Tlachtga

      Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      (Not really snarking; I think you're right.)

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

      Amy, I think you have done an excellent job of clarifying this issue.

      Citizens! Be on the alert for anyone who matches any of these criteria:

      (1) anyone who criticizes multiculturalism.
      (2) anyone who rejects the Whig Interpretation of History.
      (3) anyone who distrusts democracy (which was the path by which both Hitler and Mussolini came to power).
      (4) anyone who believes in a "golden age" in the past (all you matriarchal feminist types, this means you!)
      (5) those who believe in "natural" hierarchies (as opposed to, I suppose, "unnatural" hierarchies?)
      (6) proponents of the divine right of kings.
      (7) those who emphasize virile masculine qualities in leadership.

      If you suspect anyone of harboring any of these fascistic tendencies, report them immediately to your friendly local antifa paramilitary squad. That is all.

      • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

        Damnit you owe me a keyboard!

      • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

        Apuleus, I don't understand why you are wary of nuanced or critical discussion of these issues. I noted that these are ideas associated with fascism, which they are. You seem to be more interested in shutting down discussion and replacing it with polemic.

        • Don

          Except you aren't being nuanced. Suspicion of the progress myth or being critical of modernity are embraced by many political, cultural, and religious movements for a variety of reasons, and are in no way unique to fascism Same thing with being anti-democratic or critical of multiculturalism. In fact, all of these things together do not a fascist make. Many communist-nationalist groups in Africa and South America or Islamic fundamentalist parties in the Middle East embrace most of your seven characteristics. Some even have a basis in paganism (anti-democratic thought, golden age myth, divine right of kings*, natural hierarchies).

          *I am not aware of any fascist movement that advocated divine right of kings. Fascists were typically anti-traditional-monarchy. And, on another matter, fascists had a mixed response to modernity, not always anti-.

          • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

            No, they are not. In order to know what I'm discussing it requires a good understanding of historical and contemporary fascist movements, how they work, what they propose (it isn't monolithic). It's about context. Fascism is tricky , multifaceted, and doesn't always label well. Look at Evola and his views on Kingship for a starting place. Not quite divine right of kings, but it does provide an interesting theocratic view on the relationship between the divine and monarchy, as does De Benoist. I am happy to provide you with a bibliography if you are genuinely interested in looking into this material.

          • Don

            But Evola was not a fascist or a Nazi. In fact, he was critical of both for being materialistic and progressive. Though he did see an opportunity in fascism to bring about the pagan revival he pined for, he wasn't holding his breath. Evola's theocratic-aristocratic and monarchic society was inspired by pre-Christian sources.

            As far as I know, Benoist has never advocated divine-right monarchy. At some points he seems open to ethnic democracy and at other times to federal empire.

          • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

            I actually disagree that Evola was a fascist. He wasn't a Mussolini fascist, but he was very classically a fascist and he actively supported and was involved with the SS. And just because he was inspired by pre Christian sources does not exclude it from being divine right. It's the same principle. de Benoist is trickier in this respect. I think that while he does not advocate direct divine right monarchy, his views on the nature of how the federal empire would be established do embed a link between the divine order and rulership. In my view the defining features revolve about the nature of the "divine order" and its implication for social division and rulership. I also believe that his view of democracy is still a limited one.

          • Don

            "but he was very classically a fascist"

            What does that even mean?

            "And just because he was inspired by pre Christian sources does not exclude it from being divine right."

            My point was that his notion of divine right/ sanction came from pre-Christian sources.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Amy, I strongly object to some things you are doing here. One is to harbor your own, scholarly definition of fascism while using the word "fascist" in the full knowledge that it will trigger in the reader a reaction based on the simpler, common meaning of the term. Another, related, is to insist that one must become a scholar of fascism before attempting to rebut your ideas. These are both well known sleights-of-hand in debate.

            Getting into those ideas per se, humans do not live by rationality alone. That's not just my opinion, it's been deduced by studies of brain-damage patients who retained all their rationality but lost the rudders of their lives. People need an emotionally based context for their lives, and the idea that finding that context in the past is fascist is simply ludicrous.

            I was born in 1941. I met your kind of thinking in the New Left of the Sixties and the anti-male feminists of the Seventies. Been there, done that. (Amazingly, I'm still a liberal.)

          • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

            I disagree, Baruch. I always use the term fascist in a very specific way to refer to political and social movements. I think precision in these areas is important. I do not use fascist to mean "stuff I don't like". I do think that if people are going to discuss fascism that they SHOULD know what it means. If you are going to tell me something is not fascism, I want you to be really specific about why. This is not a rhetorical sleight of hand, this is about being clear and precise about history and politics.

          • http://sari0009.xanga.com/603410074/imagination-and-virtues-of-equality/ KarenAScofield

            Right. My understanding of fascism goes something like this:

            Uber authoritarian autocratic/dictatorial nationalistic/racist ideology/philogosphy/regime that abuses and contorts a strong central authority/government to its whims. Key enabling dysfunctions are forcible suppression of opposition and severe regimentation of economy/finances as well as society. Because it tends to be very materialistic, fascism is likely to be tied to corporatism and financialization (not that all corporatism and financialization is automatically and undeniably equal fascism).

      • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

        Since there are no antifa paramilitary squads, much less thought police calling on you to report people to them, what is your critique here?

        What we have here is simply online dialogue about ideas. And looking at the list of ideas you've presented, I would certainly hope that the pagan community would express concern.

        Rejection of cultural pluralism? Distrust of democracy? Yearning for a lost "golden age"? Assertion that hierarchies of power are right and natural? Monarchism? The right to leadership springing from "virile, masculine" qualities?

        Even a modest understanding of history to gives us cause to find those ideas suspect, worthy of our criticism and questioning, does it not?

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Jonathon, I can't tell whether you don't know Apuleius is kidding, or are kidding him back even harder.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            I am probably not kidding as much as you might think I am, Baruch. Or something like that.

            Also, anyone familiar with antifa up close and personal knows that "paramilitary" is a very appropriate adjective. See, for example, the book Beating the Fascists.

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

          1. "Multiculturalism" is a crock. It has become nothing more than thinly-disguised (if that) Islamic apologetics.

          2. Distrust of democracy is why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.

          3. "Yearning for a lost golden age" really means nothing more than seeing through the racist lie of the mystical ideology of "progress" that was invented by the British at the height of their Imperial power to rationalize and justify their supposedly inherent superiority over the non-white people they now ruled over.

          4. Monarchism is part of the system of government found today in such fascistic states as the UK, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, etc.

          5. The importance of virile leaders? This is why I backed Hillary over Obama.

          • Robin Artisson

            Superb posts, Apuleius! You're at your finest with these. I agree 100% with your every point. As a Radical Traditionalist, I've seen the "antifa" gush close up… and it isn't pretty.

            Some of my first public writings made a critique of the "myth of progress", and you wouldn't believe the backlash I got from inside the Pagan world. I am very sympathetic to monarchism, even if I slant socialist and secular. I despise democracy, historical and modern. Multiculturalism is like a bad word to me and mine, for good reasons.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Apuleius, I'm definintely in your corner on the gist of this but I balk at your #3. Do you know people who define "progress" this way? I don't. Pressed to do so most people I know would mention things like the eradication of slavery and the enfranchisement of women, with the progressives noting that it's incomplete globally.

            It's possible to doubt progress on grounds neither fascist nor British-Imperialist. The basic idea of progress is that the state of humankind can be improved. The progress-skeptic might say that people simply invent newer and more terrible troubles as they conquer old ones. That's certainly not the basis for a fascist polity.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            I am talking about "progress" as an ideological marker (or shibboleth), which is the sense that Amy Hale is using it.

            More generally I am using "progress" as a synonym for what is often called, in all seriousness, The Whig Interpretation of History, as that term was used by Herbert Butterfield in his book titled, The Whig Interpretation of History.

            The mythical/mystical notion of Progress (as a natural and unstoppable Force) is not that things can improve, but that there is an ineluctable tendency toward improvement in human history. This was Marx's view, for example, but also that of Whig historians such as Thomas Macaulay, who was also one of the architects of British colonial policy in India (there is even a nasty pejorative term in his honor, Macaulayism).

            The "progressive" view of human history is actually deeply rooted in Christianity. It's origins are in early Christian apologetics which sought to recast all of ancient human history as simply "preparation for the gospel", with all history subsequent to Jesus then being seen as the accomplishment of the work of the Church on earth. This, obviously, is a linear view of history, while prior to the arrival and ascendency of Christianity a cyclic view of time and history had generally prevailed.

          • Bookhousegal

            There's been probably as much damage done in the name of 'progress' as is presently being done in the name of 'return to 'traditional' (ie right-wing Golden Age,) it's true.

            But that doesn't mean progress or stagnation/regression are two inexorable forces that define the universe (see Manichaeanism) … both things named so are necessary and operative. We can choose and manage, rather than take sides in blindly-pulling in some ideological tug-of-war.

            Especially if we believe in a diverse world that regenerates. And benefits from maturity, change, and invention and progress, and which also doesn't have to crash down blind alleys to find it out, either.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            I have a strong personal inclination toward anti-modernism, but of course I pick and choose when it comes to specifics! Old does not automatically always mean good, and new does not always automatically mean bad. But my default is "the older, the better."

            The greatest irony is that both fascism and national socialism were enthusiastically and thoroughly modernist and progressive, which is why they both completely rejected any association with those who advocated a spiritual return to Paganism.

            For me, though, the real issue is not at all one of going back or going forward, but rather a rejection of the linear view of history according to which we are "going" somewhere in the first place. Of course it cannot be denied that this is a self-consciously reactionary, in the objective sense, point of view, since it is modeled on what we know of the ancient view of cyclic time and history.

          • Bookhousegal

            One of the first things I consider to have been taught by the Gods from a young age is that civilization and tech, as they were then and are now, most certainly have to mature to some kind of balance or die.

            I've always been something of both a futurist and anachronist. And I see modern Paganism as a *carrying what's left forward,* *not* a going back. Going back's for crazy shamans, not living worlds. Embracing change, but *never* wanting to ditch the backups. That's where a lot of things overreach, and rose-goggled nostalgia for things that have passed (or never were) as 'revealed Gospel' can be actively-dangerous.

            A lot of people can program PC's and scoff at flint knives, but if someone hits an off switch, they can do neither.

            I consider myself one of Lady's little backup drives on some things. It's not the big conceptual stuff, sometimes. It's the little stuff and how you use it.

          • caraschulz

            Well no – I'm saying that when you perceive someone is being an asshole to you – there could be many reasons for that perception. One being, that the person is, in fact, an asshole. But there could be other reasons, too – anything from hosed up communication to your own behavior. Most probably, knowing how complex humans are, a mix of reasons.

            So that would be the opposite of absolutes and I make no claim to being 'pristine' although the thought is amusing.

            Serious question(s):
            what does the post have to do with fascism?
            and
            what is this 'more' that people allude to when talking about fascism if it isn't about one-party, authoritarian governments who use excessive nationalism to gain/keep power and repress their own citizens using force?

          • Bookhousegal

            The 'more' is about how people get there when they think they're doing the opposite.

            As for the rest, yeah, a lot's about presentation and perception.

          • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

            Absolutely.

            This is one of the reasons that the Amish will survive no matter what (well, ok, plague might get them) – they can make by hand everything their society requires to function from local materials.

          • Bookhousegal

            Yeah. Of course in terms of the sudden collapses many talk about, they'd kinda have to hope the people with the guns figure that out before they get croaked over someone wanting the seed grain for lunch tomorrow. It may not look it, but they're as dependent as anyone on this modern civilization thing working out.

            Stuff this big don't go down easy. But it's not to say the expertise won't be precious.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            The Amish tend to get vaccinated, like the rest of us. They tend to adopt only what technology is absolutely necessary. While all the food is still made from scratch, Amish homes in this century tend to have refrigerators, for example, because it saves what *does* need to be purchased from spoilage.

            My step-brother used to work for an Amish dairy farm, I've been to a local Amish colony.

          • Nick_Ritter

            "And I see modern Paganism as a *carrying what's left forward,* *not* a going back. Going back's for crazy shamans, not living worlds."

            These sorts of statements always confuse me. Given what Apuleius just said about rejecting a view of history in which we are "going" anywhere, this suggests that there is no "back" or "forward"; there's just "here."

          • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

            I have my own hesitations about the identity politics embedded in multiculturalism, but I would hope that most Pagans have a deep sympathy for the commitment to pluralism which motivates it. Suggesting that a movement to give appropriate respect to cultural minorities is "nothing more" than apologetics for a single group is both offensive and nonsense, as is the implication that the West has a problem with *too much* respect for Islam.

            Distrust of direct democracy as an effective institutional solution to the problems of effective democratic governance — addressing the needs of *all* of the people without producing a tyranny of the majority — is why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.

            Considering the role that rhetoric about a lost golden era played in the European fascist movements that succeeded in Germany, Italy, and Spain (and were mercifully less successful in places like the UK) I think it's fair to say that this means a great deal more than a debunking of British imperialist rhetoric. When they surface in politics, these myths can be very dangerous indeed.

            The constitutional monarchies of Europe are now long on the constitutional and short on the monarchy. Anyone who suggests that this should be reversed deserves the most vigorous opposition.

            Your joke about Hillary Clinton's "virility," and President Obama's lack of it, is in politically-significant poor taste. The psychosexual implications of American conservatives' routine implicit accusations that the left is made up of unmanly men and unwomanly women are unsavoury indeed.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            Let's just focus on the "golden age" thing for now. Was Ovid a fascist? His Metamorphoses provides one of the classical, if you will, statements of the idea of a past Golden Age.

            For that matter, Ovid's Metamorphoses is also basically a poetic statement of Pythagorean philosophy, so Pythagoras has to be put on the antifa watch-list too.

            Also, it turns out that Erasmus Darwin, Charles' grandfather, developed his own theory of evolution and the kinship of all beings, and these ideas of Erasmus Darwin were explicitly based on the Pythagorean ideas found in Ovid's Metamorphoses.

            Charles Darwin's father, Robert Darwin, supported his father's notion of evolution. And Charles Darwin in his autobiography admits that he was from a very early age exposed to these evolutionary ideas of his father and grandfather, and this obviously influenced his later development of what he liked to call his theory of "descent with modification" (he actually did not like the term "evolution" because it was too closely associated with the idea of …. progress.)

            So, Charles Darwin was a fascist.

            This is all true. Except for the part about Darwin being a fascist.

          • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

            If Ovid or Darwin were modern people AND argued against democracy AND who argued for a return to a golden age AND argued for apartheid between peoples, then I'd be arguing that they'd need to answer for whether they were spokesmen for fascist ideas.

            But unlike you, they aren't.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            So now anyone who disagrees with you needs "to answer for whether they are spokesmen for fascist ideas" or not?

            Thank you very much demonstrating what I have been trying to say far more effectively than I ever could myself. Please, feel free to expand further on your methods for determining who "needs to answer" to you.

          • Crystal7431

            Jonathan, bravo! You said everything I was thinking to the letter.

          • caraschulz

            I'm a big fan of pluralism, but not so much a fan of 'multiculturalism' or 'diversity' as it is practiced in the USA today.

          • Bookhousegal

            And how is that?

            I didn't realize it was complete and presented for inspection so long.

          • caraschulz

            See conversation between Sannion, Apuleuis, and Thriceraven below.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            The more I read your comments, the more I love you. Thanks for this shred of sanity on this post.

    • sarenth

      Amy, you wrote: "Many of these characteristics may seem nice and cozy, especially to Pagans"

      That is a huge assumption for such a broad brush. You just lumped Wiccan, Neo-Wiccan, Reconstructionist, Reconstructionist-derived, Eclectic and other varying forms of Paganism into one category, whether or not you meant to.

      1. Why would Pagans be especially nice or cozy with a dislike of multiculturalism in a time where more of us are being out and inviting regarding our faith than ever before?

      2. Why would we dislike the modern world and have a belief in the lack of progress, when both in so much of the world have enabled us to practice our religion freely, network, share ideas, and debate our varying philosophies, theologies, and other topics?

      3. Why would we be anti-democratic when democratic nations are where most of us are based, and through that democracy, our rights to practice our faith, assemble for our faith, etc. are protected?

      4. How would we be returning to non-rationality? There are many Pagans who deeply and richly explore cultural heritage, history, archaeology, psychology, counseling, etc. in their pursuit of furthering their understanding and practice of their faith.

      5. A belief in 'natural hierarchies' in what meaning? Do you mean the idea espoused by many of the first eugenicists, anthropologists, theologians, etc. in the colonial periods that white people were superior to 'savages' and 'primitives'? In what ways are you seeing these 'natural hierarchy' thoughts expressed?

      6. Where have you seen in modern Paganism a desire to go back to the Divine Right of kings, which gave us such savory figures as Constantine and Theodosius?

      • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

        Well, Sarenth, I actually do have issues with many of the underlying assumptions of some Wiccans and Reconstructionist groups, but that doesn't not mean I think they are fascists, I just think that some of the underlying assumptions are not particularly useful or correct or based on how cultural transmission actually works. There are some Pagans who really are against multiculturalism in that they believe we should stick to our own kind. A lot of Pagans also reject modernity and rationality. You and I may not, but I assure you, this is a rising trend.

        As for natural hierarchies, writers like Evola and De Benoist who inform a lot of the New Pagan Right believe that there are natural divisions in society, made up of warrior priest kings and an underclass. Their ideal forms of society propose that leadership should be held by those who are in the elite and rule by virtue of their divine connection. It is a new form of theocratic aristocracy. There are other political forms this takes, however, which appear to be a bit more murky, such as anarcho monarchism and right wing neo tribalism. I'm seriously not making this up, do a search on De Benoist and the New Right. I have a good bibliography of this material if you would like to contact me, I will share some of it with you.

        Honestly, though, exploring cultural heritage is actually deeply non rational. It is done on the assumption that first, culture provides a "natural" form of social division (it doesn't) and that "tradition" carries some form of authority (it doesn't). People will frequently invoke tradition to justify all sorts of behavior and practice which is inherently a non rational stance. You take action or hold beliefs because you have reasoned through it and believe it to be the right thing to do, not because "tradition" tells you to do so.

        • sarenth

          Exploring cultural heritage can help give indicators to practices, providing different understandings and dimensions to our spiritual lives. To me, exploring my cultural heritage provides me more information, more backdrop upon which to understand both myself, my practice and where a good chunk of my spirituality may come from. Hearkening back to why some things are the way they are, or exploring where practices came from, can give us a better foundation upon which to understand our current spirituality. It can, alternatively, be used like a crutch.

          I'm always happy to learn, so I'm interested in your bibliography.

          don't think all Pagans would be cozy with all, if not most of the ideas you put forth. Then again, I could be wrong. However, I think that it is a leaping assumption you're trying to make and I still don't understand your logic for doing so. I don't agree with your assertions that "a lot" of modern Pagans reject modernity or rationality. I have no clue as to where you're pulling this from.

        • kauko

          Well, I'm sure that all of the world's ethnic minorities will be glad to know that they can just give up on trying to preserve their cultural heritage and just assimilate to the politically dominant cultural/ ethnic group in their countries because Amy Hale has declared that caring about cultural heritage is irrational. And we would never want to be non rational cause that would make us really bad Vulcans….. umm… I mean humans.

          • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

            This is just funny. Actually I have been deeply and intimately involved with cultural preservation efforts both personally and professionally for almost 20 years.

          • kauko

            I'd imagine its hard to encourage any people to preserve their culture when you're so busy looking down at anyone who explores their cultural heritage as the comment by you to which I was responding seems to indicate.

          • Jeff Flagg

            Perhaps your experience of this contradiction should indicate something to you.

          • kauko

            You'll have to forgive me, I'm not feeling very well today and so you'll have to explain that rather vague statement to me.

          • Jeff Flagg

            So, you have someone who's been personally and professionally involved in cultural preservation efforts for nearly 20 years. You say her comments are deriding people for exploring their cultural heritage. You are correct that this would appear contradictory to the efforts of her career.

            So, I'm challenging you to keep going on your own line of thought. What possible conclusions would you draw from this? You might uncover a miscommunication, something she misstated, something that needs clarifying, or an inference you drew that wasn't intended.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jbosklopper Jeroen Bosklopper

          So what are you saying , Amy? Should each and every pagan give up his or her paganism? Or stop exploring cultural heritage? I am an anarchist AND a pagan myself, I certainly do not believe in divine right of kings, as a matter of fact I do not believe in someone ruling over another at all.

          Oh yes, and, most alarming, I DO dream of an golden age, namely an age of rulers being overturned, because we the people see everything they say and do for what they are, namely lies. An age of people of all races living harmoniously together, living their life without someone telling them how to do that…

    • thehouseofvines

      The only one of your points that I vehemently oppose is dislike of multiculturalism. It'd be damn hypocritical of me on that count, seeing as I'm a Greco-Egyptian polytheist with a deep passion for Alexandria, the melting pot of the ancient world. (Plus I'm a total Grade-A American mutt.) Other than that, though, all of your statements directly apply to me. Of course, I've never been opposed to the label of Fascist so your name-calling doesn't really bother me. But I do wonder why it is you think all of us bundled-stick-and-ax-loving types pose such a scary threat?

      • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

        Because I kinda dig democracy and am a big fan of the Enlightenment and free will. I think that promoting a non rational approach to things makes us even more stupid. Good for you, though for coming out and being honest about your beliefs. Refreshing! And I am very careful NOT to use fascist in a name calling way. It's a technical term like Socialist.

        • Don

          But "reason" does not exhaust the human experience or our understanding of the world. Nor does the Enlightenment exhaust our understanding, use, and application of reason. In some ways, the Englightenment obscured reason and rationality.

          • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

            Of course it doesn't, but when I vote or make other big decisions I engage my rational faculties, I don't do a tarot reading. When I evaluate information I am convinced by argument, not by truthyness, polemic or good looks. I think part of the problem with this discussion is that you are taking my statements as inclusive and total. They are not.

          • thehouseofvines

            You may not, but I'm guessing a vast majority of the American voting public (which, of course, is just a fraction of the total populace) do. Yay democracy, rule by the rabble!

          • Crystal7431

            You do realize that as you are part of the voting public you are included in that rabble, right? If democracy were to end tomorrow, I don't think any of us- romantics or rationalists alike- would get a say in the running of the state.

          • thehouseofvines

            I don't have a problem with that. I've long argued, in fact, that in a truly just system I'd be one of the first disenfranchised. I'm not qualified to make important decisions about economics and foreign policy. You want to know about the culture, religion and history of Hellenistic Egypt, I'm your man. Anything beyond that and I've got a sketchy knowledge at best. I intentionally don't have a television, listen to the radio, read the news or converse with folks who keep abreast of what's going on in the world today. That means that when I vote my knowledge is pretty much limited to the information packet they send along with the ballot and whatever I'm able to glean about the issues and candidates from our local papers which I pick up at that time pretty much for that purpose alone, skipping everything else. And yet, inexplicably, my vote is regarded as equal to everyone else's.

          • Crystal7431

            Well, feel free not to vote. Democracy certainly isn't compulsory. I, however, enjoy voting and do keep up with current events.

          • thehouseofvines

            I'm sure you do. You're probably on Twitter and MyFaceBookPlace as well, aren't you?

          • sarenth

            Most people do less than make a Tarot reading. They don't think, they just pull the lever. They pull that lever for whatever political party promises them in campaign ads their golden dream or pandering lines. Most people don't bother to read past campaigning slogans even. They don't understand their candidates, their positions, their platform, or anything.

            I'm not about to say "decide on a candidate solely based on a card flip" but inform yourself. If tarot is part of informing yourself, fine. I doubt that is all a tarot user does when it comes to such important decisions, but it is their vote I suppose.

            I don't know, personally or out there in the myriad of Pagan ways, that decide anything based on a single Tarot draw or Rune flip. Not even me, and I work with the Runes every day.

          • thehouseofvines

            I know folks who vote for candidates based entirely on their gender or ethnic identity or because they like the sound of the person's name. Sadly, such people are probably more thoughtful and honest about it than the rest of the population who have even vaguer criteria.

        • thehouseofvines

          I like the idea of democracy, but the problem is that if everyone gets a right to vote then that means that everyone gets a right to vote. No matter how ignorant, venal, or just plain evil they happen to be. In fact, these days with corporations granted the same rights as individuals (but without any of the consequences) it's pretty clear that our system is broken and corrupt, power and influence determined solely by the almighty dollar. I believe that a society needs to be governed according to a set of sacred principles and that it's best if those who rule are properly trained (from childhood) for this vocation. Further, I believe that an important function of that rule is to serve as an intercessor between the community and the community's gods, and especially to perform the rituals that maintain and bring prosperity to the land.

          As for rationality, it has its place, to be sure, but as Don said below it hardly exhausts the totality of human experience. Indeed, many of the most important things in life are decidedly irrational phenomena. Further, I think it's pretty clear that although most people pride themselves on being intelligent and rational creatures many of their decisions are shaped by emotional impulses and a great deal of the time their conclusions are ill thought out, contradictory, and frankly not even in their own best interests.

          • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

            Rule by the rabble? Yep. Absolutely. This is why we need to make education a priority. Democratic participation is a right and a responsibility. People should be up to the task.

          • Robin Artisson

            The naivety in this statement is oppressive. Not trying to insult you personally, Amy, but the perfect world and perfect system you're talking about here won't ever be realized. You say "people SHOULD be up to the task"- but clearly, if history is any indication, they are not. What you're doing is "shoulding" all over people. You're talking about what "should" be, ignoring what is. In short, you are putting ideals in the place of realistic appraisals and actions.

          • sarenth

            Rule by the rabble? If that was the case there wouldn't be much of our rights guaranteed by the Constitution left. Look at the panic that happened during 9/11, the near-unanimous passing of the PATRIOT Act and all the pieces of legislation like it.

            This quote is apt to what I'm getting at:
            "I brought him down to our level. It wasn't hard. You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!" -Joker, The Dark Knight

          • thehouseofvines

            Tell you what. When the rabble is educated and reasonable and considers voting not just a right but a responsibility – then I'll believe they're qualified to govern themselves. Don't hold your breath though, cause it ain't gonna be happening any time soon.

            As I mentioned* in my blog a while back:

            - There has been a steady increase among Americans who reject evolution and accept Biblical literalism in the last 10 years.
            - Two-thirds of Americans can’t name a single Supreme Court Justice.
            - More Americans can name the Three Stooges than can name the three branches of government.
            - Only 51% of Americans believe climate change is real.
            - 22% of Americans view Sarah Palin “favorably”
            - One-fifth of Americans believe that President Obama is actually a Moslem.
            - 4.8 million people watch Jersey Shore.
            - 11 million people play World of Warcraft.
            - 27 million people eat at McDonalds every day.
            - Stephenie Meyer has sold over 100 million copies of her books.

            And these people are allowed to vote.

            * http://thehouseofvines.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/t

          • caraschulz

            The most damning in the list is this one: – Stephenie Meyer has sold over 100 million copies of her books.

            And if you also feel that way – you may enjoy this site: http://reasoningwithvampires.tumblr.com/ – where a grammar Nazi rips the books apart in a most amusing way.

          • Don

            Meyer is a literary genius, rivaling Shakespeare, Proust, and Austen. She should be added to Western civilization's Great Books canon.

          • sarenth

            I play World of Warcraft. Should I not be allowed to vote?

          • Bokhousegal

            If ever, only for cause you connected the concepts? :)

          • thehouseofvines

            Sorry, but no. That immediately disqualifies you as far as I'm concerned.

            It's probably a good thing I have no political power nor any interest in acquiring it. I have a lot of ideas I'm sure folks wouldn't want to see implemented.

          • http://xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

            thehouseofvines wrote:
            those who rule

            Found your problem.

          • thehouseofvines

            Yup. We've had a decided lack of that lately.

        • Robin Artisson

          Logic and Rationality are the two biggest false gods invoked by people like Amy Hale today. I hope you see through the myth of "rationality", as much as any of the other myths you enjoy. And "free will"? Come on. Have you ever experienced the Unseen side of life? Spiritual compulsion is the way of things. We fool ourselves into thinking that we have some absolute free will- and the further from the Unseen and the web of reality we get, mentally, the more we think we're alone and "creating" our own destinies all on our own free will accord.

          • Bookhousegal

            Ye Gods, man. All you claim to see and you think this is about absolutes? 'False Gods?' 'Free Will/predestination?'

            'Spiritual compulsion?' Of what?

            To quote an old song, 'If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.'

            Or in other words, what the *Hel* do the webs of Fate have to do with any of this, never mind absolutes?

            It's not about 'free will' *vs* fate, as if things were that deterministic: it's about *accord.* Compulsion has little place in that accord. Fate does not absolve us of participating in our choices, nor does it endorse proclaiming either helplessness or some kind of authority.

            If you *experience* it, it's not "Unseen." And the job of a seer isn't to pronounce things Unseen. That'd be bloody pointless, wouldn't it? It's to *see.* Do, strive, seek, say, and, yeah, find accord, not try and enforce 'destiny.'

          • Bokhousegal

            Sometimes, you know, Robin, the hardest thing about it all is that, yes, sometimes you see things you can't stop. It being 'Unseen' doesn't necessarily enter into it. Just cause you see a train wreck in that manner doesn't mean you could *stop* it if you were standing right there, any more than it means the whole universe is arranged around that train wreck having always been inevitable.

            Dig?

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

        "The only one of your points that I vehemently oppose is dislike of multiculturalism."

        In my opinion, the luxuriant cosmopolitanism of the great ancient Pagan civilizations has nothing to do with the contrived "multiculturalism" of the modern West.

        • thehouseofvines

          You are undoubtedly correct.

        • Robin Artisson

          Absolutely correct.

        • Thriceraven

          In what ways was it different? I'm not saying you are wrong — I'm just interested by the distinction. I live in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and I love it. To me, it's mostly an aesthetic love — a dozen different languages to listen to on the subway as I get to work, fascinating food to explore and an intense diversity of faces and dress to take in as I make my way around. I've always called that 'multiculturalism'. Is there a reason I shouldn't? Or is what I am experiencing what you are against?

          Maybe its the fact I have not grown up with the horrible American idea of the 'melting pot', which always sounded so insulting to me I couldn't believe some people use it in a positive sense. But 'multiculturalism' has never been a bad word to me.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            The most important way that they are different is in terms of historical context. "Multiculturalism" is a modern, western reaction against the deeply rooted racism that pervaded modern western societies for many centuries (and still does to a very great extent). It is, in particular, marked by revulsion against slavery, the Holocaust, Jim Crow, colonialism, and the genocidal conquest of the Americas. This makes multiculturalism guilt-ridden and self-conscious. It also makes it contrived, insincere, pedantic, ineffective and patronizing.

            Ancient cosmopolitanism just happened. It was a simple and mostly unconscious manifestation of the natural ability that human beings have to recognize one other as human beings. It is based on a very deep assumption of commonality among human individuals and human societies. Of course in practice it was very messy and did not produce anything like egalitarian utopias. But it did produce societies that completely baffle the modern mind which is still hobbled by race-consciousness and obsessed with identity-politics.

          • Thriceraven

            Thanks for the distinction. I definitely see what you mean. Too much self-consciousness can ruin so much of natural human experience.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            There is one thing that I glossed over that's actually quite important, in my opinion. "Multiculturalism" treats racism (and bigotry generally) as the default, as innate. We can only not be bigots if we receive the proper ideological re-education. That is obviously what really galls people about multiculturalism (well, that and covering up for the brutal homophobia and sexism of Muslim dominated cultures).

          • Thriceraven

            Interesting — also makes sense. In my experience children are fascinated by diversity in everything, including people, and often mention it. I remember by three year old son at his swimming lessons saying excitedly "Mom! Look at those different colour people!" I expect that makes them primed to absorb racism and hatred if those around them show it though they are certainly not racist innately.

            Multiculturalism as I have absorbed it has been "Hey! Look at the diverse expression of human experience! Isn't it fascinating?" It certainly doesn't mean condoning the vile behaviour of any culture nor about battling inherently evil human nature.

          • http://www.facebook.com/jbosklopper Jeroen Bosklopper

            Hear, hear! Absolutely right!

          • Bookhousegal

            I'd say no to that, actually, Apuleius.

            Whatever straw-man 'multiculturalism' you're referring to, if it acknowledges that there was, is, and remains a certain notion of bigotry around, the essential point is that it is *not* natural and that more contact means people can say this.

            The idea is that *bigotry* needs to be taught and that that happens to be what a lot of forces do, but that real human contact is *beneficial,* not something people inherently need to be like 'trained for.'

          • Don

            "The idea is that *bigotry* needs to be taught"

            Is there any sociological or psychological evidence for that? Not that I think bigotry is an inherent human disposition, but neither do I think equality or cooperation is an inherent disposition. Not that I have evidence for it, but I take both to be brought about by lived experiences.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            I am not using "multiculturalism" as a straw man. It is a very real and tangible phenomenon. And it's proponents very actively defend it, so it is definitely not a straw man.

            I will use Amy Hale as my star witness. I said "Pagans do not need our own thought police." She replied, "Actually, yes we do."

            Of course she then proceeded to try to qualify her endorsement of policing peoples thoughts to make it appear as if well, policing peoples thoughts is OK. Which, of course, it is in her mind.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            Also now see Jonathan Korman's insistence above that I am forthwith to be considered guilty until proven innocent of being a "spokesman for fascism"!

          • Don

            "But it did produce societies that completely baffle the modern mind which is still hobbled by race-consciousness and obsessed with identity-politics."

            And, unfortunately, these things make reclaiming any genuine cosmopolitanism truly difficult.

    • Finnchuill

      Is this like one of those questionnaires where marking 3 or 4 choices supposedly means you are an alcoholic or a manic-depressive? Really these brush strokes are incredibly broad and blurry. What pagan or heathen would not answer yes for one or two of these?

      Number Two is completely confused as fascism was a modernist ideology. Not believing in the dogma of progress makes for a fascist!? Then most of us environmentalists fall under your brush, as do those who critique the belief system of human exceptionalism.

      Number Four: There goes most of the artists, poets, and musicians of the world. This would even make the Romantics out as proto-fascists. Actually, is hard to see how one could practice paganism (or just about any religion, something like Deism excepted) without an interest in the pre-rational, non-rational.

      Number Six certainly was not a characteristic of traditional fascism; kings were exiled by fascist dictators like Franco. I know that some neo-fascists, especially in Europe, are monarchicists but that cannot be fairly said to be a trait of fascists.

    • caraschulz

      Amy,

      I've heard you are going to be a Pantheacon – this conversation (fascism) seems to be one that would be best done f2f. Hopefully i will see you there and perhaps you could answer some questions for me?

      • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

        I'd be happy to talk to you Cara, as long as it stays civil ;)

        • MertvayaRuka

          "I might add that what leads to fascism in mass terms isn't everyone 'deciding' Let's Be Fascist, …it's yielding to the temptation to blame the 'Other' for everything that's going on: it's more mainstream ways where racism, homophobia, and ideological fear of 'The Left' as if there were Bolsheviks all over the government if anyone doesn't toe the party lines. "

          Indeed. Fascists don't call themselves fascists because fascism has been almost inextricably linked to one of the most horrific campaigns of brutality in human memory. So now it becomes an exercise in public relations and how to make the ideas of racial and "moral" purity, militarism, rabid nationalism and eventually the level of violence it's going to take to back up those ideas.

          "One thing that was bloody clear for most of the white power thugs, and has always been clear when people appropriate Pagan and Heathen religious stuff, it's like, 'You know you're tools, right, and you'd be the first against the wall when your 'side' needs to purge, right?' "

          The "pure" group never gets bigger. It always gets smaller. Only the people at the top of the "pure" group are indispensable; everyone else, there's always a way to redefine them as "impure" once they're no longer useful or they become a threat to the people running the show.

          "It's where people start thinking things associated with it are 'acceptable,' and that doesn't usually wear a convenient uniform. It usually buys media and politicians, etc. "

          Hence the problem with defining "fascist" as "wears snazzy black uniforms and speaks with a German accent". The white power thugs and their ilk are just the most obvious problem, but they are the ones that will most readily do violence so it doesn't bother me much if people are making it clear to them that they won't be able to do violence without it costing them dearly.

        • caraschulz

          Cool! I'm always civil conversing – especially over a cocktail.

    • Auto Da Fe

      Amy. We can also turn this around and regard you as an aggressive left-wing ideologue. More and more in connection with unrelated subjects on the internet I see inquisitors like you springing up. You are a modern expression of an old aberration.

      • Jeff Flagg

        You may wish to see a doctor about that jerking knee of yours. Either that, or you need to see a history teacher about what the Inquisition was.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    "Make no mistake, there are racist and neo-fascist bands within genres like neofolk, metal, and punk, and they should be opposed when they try to increase their audience by infiltrating Pagan or Heathen communities, but we should also be careful to thoroughly investigate for ourselves before acting. Whether this is such a case, is up to each individual to decide."

    Jason, when will be hearing from you about where you come down on this? Since you have dredged this up and named names, you really can't stop at just asking questions while scratching your head at the "murkiness" of it all.

    Or will you be like those right-wingers who won't come right out and say that Obama is not really an American citizen, or that he is a Muslim, but who, instead, say that these are "open questions" that need to be investigated more fully?

    • Don

      I would like to know myself. I really enjoy this blog, but it is disappointing that it continues to report on these contrived alarmist stories and, by extention but probably not intention, perpetuate that alarmism. I would rather that the author himself find conclusive evidence one way or the other before reporting than just report on something like a rumor and just ask questions.

      • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org/ DanMiller

        In this internet age, if one doesn't like something or it fails to meet a person's expectations, then thanks to the diy nature of the web, one can rectify this displeasure by starting their own website/blog.

        • Don

          Why reinvent the wheel when the current existent one can be slightly perfected?

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Don, tribulations are not all Jason serves up. This is a news blog, about Pagan news, and Jason has put some amazing efforts here and elsewhere to create a Pagan journalism more or less de novo.

        As to the tribulations, they are real. Pagans, at least in the US, are burdened with a nealy ubiquitous Christian supremacism, very thick in some parts of the county. It's arguably our job as Pagan citizens to be aware of where the latest head of that particular hydra has risen recently. Perhaps institutional response will be evoked.

        I agree with Dan; the cure for a disappointing blog is one of your own.

        • Don

          Baruch, I agree with you here. Jason's blog is invaluable and I do appreciate his efforts. I do not not find this blog disappointing in the least, but only that the series of post about pagan fascism and the pagan far-right serve to perpetuate a false narrative and fabricated alarmism that originates with far-left pagans and anti-pagan outsiders.

          And, for the record, I find the spectre of Christian supremacism to be a bogeyman as well.

          • Bookhousegal

            "Nothing happening, here, it's all the lies and widespread influence of a far-left minority religion…."

            Sound familiar?

          • Don

            Except I am not a far-right anti-pagan Christian or whaever, but a practicing pagan with fairly liberal politics who is not adverse to criticizing his own. Gods forbid anyone does that!

            Tell me, where else do you find this pagan fascist nonsense anywhere other than anti-pagan Christians or far-left pagans? Where are the right or far-right pagans harping about the impending and absolutely evil pagan communism, and who scrutinize every activist group for their Marxist tendencies and connections, etc? You only find that among, who else, anti-pagan Christians.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            No, you really don't. Just because you haven't experienced it doesn't mean it's not real. It's like those people, ten years ago, proclaiming the economy was "just fine" and "not in danger", in spite of warnings and trending statistics from economists, because they were doing "just fine" — ignoring the problem in favour of what's in front of oneself because it's what one prefers to see doesn't make the problem go away.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stenobauer Cathryn Bauer

            Thanks Don, this is exactly what I think. I continue to read this blog faithfully and donate because I do appreciate Jason's efforts despite what I see as the overemphasis on threats to Pagans and our civil rights.

            I did, however, appreciate the overall tone of this particular article: be aware, think, consider all possibilities, and decide for yourself. It's a fact that very often, things are not what they seem. I myself had a nasty shock this year with regard to a Pagan group that publicly presents itself as egalitarian in spirit, but at its heart is far more ego-driven and authoritarian in nature than I could even have imagined. This article was a good reminder that we do need to watch and evaluate and use critical thinking in choosing where we will put our hearts, minds, and dollars.

            I would add to that aura of caution by reminding Pagans that yes, we do have rights, and we can learn to assert them. I occasionally have to work with folks who can barely disguise their shuddering horror at my Pagan leanings (word got out; I'm not a broom closet type). They don't harass or "share faith" with me because they know there will be serious repercussions for them should they do so. I would be very interested indeed in reading more about how others manage this, how individuals and groups stand up for themselves.

            I would consider myself one of Jason's biggest fans. But I often want to say to him, "Is it really so bad?" even as I acknowledge that yes, sometimes it is.

    • Jason Pitzl-Waters

      My jury is still out on the band, though I do make it clear that I don't think Agalloch or the promoter are in any way fascist. I thought it important to raise this particular issue now since its been spreading around the Internet and deals with an individual, and a musical genre that often invokes or claims participation with Pagan/Heathen/occult groups. I will do follow-ups as needed.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

      Here are some "news items" and "opinion pieces" I found by searching for "murky" and "obama" on google:
      On Obama's Murky Origins:
      http://conservativetimes.org/?p=4796
      A Further Inquiry Into Obama's Origins:
      http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/a_further_
      Obama's Murky Faith:
      http://www.westsiderepublicans.com/OBAMA-s-MURKY-
      Obama's Murky Connections With Muslim Extremists
      http://thelibertysphere.blogspot.com/2008/06/obam
      Birth Records Get Murky When When Adoptions Involved:
      http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=104602

      I think this gives a good idea of what this kind of reportage, in which vague insinuations are perpetuated in the guise of "just raising questions" or "just reporting on what is going around on teh interwebs" looks like from the outside looking in (unless you happen to be a birther and/or tea-partier).

      • Jason Pitzl-Waters

        Nice. I make a post you don't like and now I'm on the level of a birther conspiracy theorist.

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

          What basis is there for supposing that either Allerseelen or Gerhard Petak harbor any fascistic tendencies or sympathies?

          Your post gives legitimacy to the allegations against the band and the individual, as does your later statement that "the jury is still out". This is especially so since you have in the past called foul against other instances where groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center have made even broader smears against Heathens and Pagans.

          The jury isn't out. The trial never started because there is no evidence.

          • Jason Pitzl-Waters

            "What basis is there for supposing that either Allerseelen or Gerhard Petak harbor any fascistic tendencies or sympathies?"

            A long history of following, listening, and exploring the post-industrial/neofolk subculture has taught me to recognize certain signifiers and themes. Gerhard Petak isn't unique, or isolated in what he does. As I said in the post, he could just be a dilettante, but from what I've seen there is certainly more than "no" evidence that he might hold to some neo-fascist views. The antifa document is flawed, but that doesn't mean it's 100% wrong. So yes, the jury is out.

  • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org/ DanMiller

    I am thoroughly enjoying the commentary by Amy Hale. Think she is right (no pun intended) on in her analysis. Then watching the apologists scatter in the wind. This blog sure brings together a wide variety of ideas and people, right (still, no pun intended) or wrong, or somewhere in between. Cheers to Jason for bringing this up.

  • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org/ DanMiller

    No, I'm more referring to the counter-commentary. That is the sense I get and why I choose to use that phrase.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

      "Scattered" would more accurately describe Amy's attempts at defining what she means by fascism, which apparently ranges from anyone who supports monarchism (like Tony Blair, who helped to literally Save the Queen, and Nelson Mandela, who is a member of the Xhosa royalty), to anyone who is distrustful of the tyranny of the majority (like the Founding Fathers), to anyone who believes in a previous time in human history when there was less inequality and oppression (like Marxists and radical feminists and many of the key figures of the Enlightenment like Jean Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Paine), etc.

      • Robin Artisson

        Apuleius is correct again, with this observation. Amy has defined me and nearly every Pagan I know and respect as "fascist".

        • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

          I have not. That is a completely ridiculous assertion. However, given what you have said about your views and stances, I well might, if your beliefs and positions fit a certain set of criteria. As for Apuleius, with all due respect, I don't think he knows what he talking about here. Are you saying that you have no criteria for identifying people of a particular political proclivity? Do you know, for example, the basic precepts of Marxism and Neo Marxism? Can you identify an argument as Marxist? I would expect you could, even if the arguer doesn't know that she or he is making a Marxist argument, or doesn't identify as a Marxist personally.

          • Rombald

            I don't think it's a good idea to throw around words like "Nazi" and "Fascist". I actually don't think "-ism" words are all that helpful unless clearly defined, or involving actual party or church membership.

            Nazism and Fascism were quite different ideologies. Fascism, which started in Italy, but had influences elsewhere, was essentially belief in an authoritarian state, in which the collective good takes precedence over all individual concerns. Nazism was less authoritarian, was specifically German, and had little content other than hatred of Jews and Gypsies, and the need for Germany to expand to the east.

            Racism is different again. The USA has one of the world's most racist histories, but has never had much Fascist or Nazi influence.

            As for you, Amy, why not just go and join some Christian group and burn Pagans at the stake? Your views are far more offensive than anything dreamt up by sad-sack Nazi fantasisers in East Germany. Look – I'm about as much of a woolly liberal (US sense) European as you could get (Green, soft-left economics, mixed-race kids), yet I would be caught by your vile thought police on about half of your charges.

          • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

            To say that Amy's effort to articulate a more thoughtful, sophisticated understanding of the word "fascism" qualifies her as the "vile thought police" because her language is too inflamatory is an impressive feat of irony.

          • Jeff Flagg

            "Nazism was less authoritarian, was specifically German, and had little content other than hatred of Jews and Gypsies, and the need for Germany to expand to the east."

            No.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi#Ideology

          • Crystal7431

            And why is it that it always has to come down to being Christian sympathizers if Pagans criticize their own? I love being Pagan, but I am not blind to its faults. That certainly doesn't mean I'm going to go join the Baptist Church out on the corner. I hope I'm always able to see the folly from my own "side".

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            Obviously an argument is Marxist if it is made by a person who identifies as a Marxist and who bases the argument on Marxist writings and thought. Marxism is as well defined as any school of thought or philosophy that has a clear "head" or "founder".

            More importantly, and more problematically if you want to analogize from Marxism to Fascism, people openly and proudly proclaim themselves to be Marxist. Going around accusing people of being Marxist when they insist otherwise, however, brings us to another ism: McCarthyism.

            More specifically on identifying fascists: Although I don't completely agree with his explicit definition of Fascism, I do agree with the general methodology of Michael Mann in his work "Fascists." Mann takes the very practical approach of looking at the actual fascist movements of Europe that arose during the interwar period and says, in effect, this is fascism.

            I also like Robert Paxton's book "Anatomy of Fascism", and I especially like the fact that he identifies the Ku Klux Klan as possibly "the earliest phenomenon that can be functionally related to fascism."

            I have also always thought that Leon Trotsky had a great deal of insight into the phenomenon of Fascism (see the anthology, "The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany"), and I also think that Daniel Guerin's masterpiece "Fascism and Big Business" is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this beast.

            A modern day fascist would have to be one of three things:
            (1) those who consciously and explicitly emulate the fascists of the interwar period.
            (2) those who can be shown to be modern day "descendants" of those movements.
            (3) those who can be shown to be the same kind of social/political phenomenon as the the interwar fascists.

            But there is no getting around the fact that if one wants to understand fascism, one has to start with the concrete examples of the mass fascist movements of the interwar period.

          • Crystal7431

            I'm sorry, but I find this to be a whole lot of rhetorical nonsense that dances around the main issue. Trotsky, Paxton, and Mann are immaterial in real world scenarios when confronting bigotry fashioned as politics.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            The whole point of this discussion is whether or not allegation of fascist and/or nazi sympathies against certain individuals and bands have any merit. The meaning of these words "nazi" and "fascist" is, therefore, the opposite of "immaterial" "rhetorical nonsense". Unless you are willing to admit that those who wish to make these allegations simply use those words to suit their own purposes and without any attempt to relate them to the actual socio-political-historical phenomena of fascism and nazism.

          • Crystal7431

            I believe thinking people have the ability to determine whether a person (or persons) fit a certain descriptor with a fairly basic understanding of the terms being used, and no, I'm not referring to people of certain factions who throw around words like Nazi or fascist as if they have no meaning other than having negative connotations. In my opinion trying to argue descriptive details from every authority on the subject of fascism is beside the point, not particularly helpful in any direction to the situation, and does indeed seem like argument for the sake of argument. Besides, the library Pagan here will be the first to admit that sometimes knowledge is not the same as wisdom.

          • Robin Artisson

            Are these "criteria" you might judge me by published by the official world body that decides what criteria can be used to identify fascists, racists, imperialists, collectivists, communists, and the like?

            Or are they criteria that you have internalized and assembled from sources you've read and people you've listened to?

            Fair question. Because my rejection of modernism, capitalism, the myth of progress, the "multiculturalism" agenda, and my distrust/despise of democracy as I have seen it used and abused doesn't make me anything other than a guy that holds those positions. I can't see how that would qualify me as any sort of fascist or any other "ist" you can think of, beyond a "Robinist" or a "Meist" or a "Personal opinionist".

            You're trying hard to tar and feather people, to paint people into easy categories. Sometimes- just sometimes- it can be done, but it's risky business at most points.

            What my opinions and stances DO make me, and as I have identified myself, is a Radical Traditionalist. And yet, even that term calls to mind instant allegations- made by people like yourself, perhaps not in any intentional or mean-spirited conspiratorial sort of way, but made by people like you, eager to generalize- of racism and some species of new fascism.

            I seek for balances in things; unrestrained collectivism leads to distorted communism and fascism, and unrestrained individualism leads to capitalism. I don't like either outcome. Only in a smaller community- of minds or persons- can one strike the balance between collectivism and individualism. When the population is too large, the pendulum swings to one extreme or the other.

            There's no place in this world for a person like me, because I was born well out of my natural time. I believe in the small community. I believe in the extended family. I believe in LOTS of space between groups of people. I don't believe that we can all just "get along". I don't think we should be forced to. Race has nothing to do with this, and culture has everything to do with it. I don't like to see smaller cultures consumed by the greedy jaws of prestigious and powerful cultures. I hate to see any unique expression of man's quest consumed by another that has grown from healthy proportions into giantish proportions, and in so doing, become a malignancy to man.

            What I believe in is the protection of all cultures, and in protecting them the only way they can be protected- by giving them each their own unique sphere of life and operation, and maintaining the boundaries. This arrangement worked for human beings for a very, very long time. Cultural boundaries will always be permeable, and influences from the outside of any system will always penetrate and cause changes- but to cast away boundaries completely, and invite any change to explode inside at random, without a hint of discrimination towards the needs of a cultural entity, is a disaster. It's the real source of man's inhumanity to man.

            I embrace Radical Traditionalism because it creates for me, and those like me, a sovereign space "inside" where the boundaries of who I am are not needlessly mucked with and torn down by certain collectivist social forces that aren't satisfied to let me be who I am. They want to create a false identity for all of us, but that sort of creation is a contrivance. And it's a tactic of control- control of minds, control of history, and ultimately, control of everything.

            I am proud of who I am, and who my ancestors were. Their cultures were amazing things, things that shaped this world in profound ways once- and anything good we have now, is because of them. And I'll go on honoring them for that, and proudly deriving identity from them, in the here and now, happy to be part of their culture/cultus. No one else but me and people like me can do this to the full spiritual extent that I and we do. That's not racism; that's simple math. Others can reach back to the honor and glories to which they are rightful heirs, and create much greatness in the future. I wish them well. But I'll never _be_ them, nor them me.

            Melting pot? No. It's a sour, lumpy stew. None of this is motivated by race, but by a deep and introspective knowledge of culture and the history of cultures, and the shorter, more shallow history of the last few centuries in which collectivist forces have arisen, greedy and malevolent, intent on re-writing history and establishing their dominance over all spheres. No person of honor can stand for this. And being called "racist" or "fascist" for it is just the tip of the nasty-tactics iceberg.

          • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

            If you call for cultural purity and apartheid, but your only argument that you're not advocating racism is just to flatly assert that it's not, you're not presenting a terribly convincing argument. Putting it kindly.

            Likewise, the only distinction I've seen you draw here between your Radical Traditionalism and fascist ideology is that you argue that RT is good, so it cannot be fascist since everyone knows that fascism is bad.

          • Robin Artisson

            I didn't call for cultural purity and apartheid; that's you misreading those words into my comment. In fact, I specifically stated that there were no pure cultures, and apartheid is forced isolation, not respectful sovereignty of cultures.

          • Crystal7431

            So, a racist is only someone who self-identifies as such? Good to know. I guess there are only five then in the whole world.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            Robin was responding to very specific, and completely baseless, allegations that Jonathan made. If you or Jonathan have some reason for believing that Robin, or anyone else, is a crypto-racist, then you should state what those reasons are. Otherwise you are just engaging in the most obvious kind of defamation.

          • Crystal7431

            I wasn't suggesting he is. I was simply pointing out the absurdity of the argument that people only fit the description of fascists, imperialists, racists, what have you if they identify as such. If I choose not to identify myself as a redhead, it wouldn't change the fact that I am, would it?

          • Robin Artisson

            Your genetically-influenced phenotype is not in the same category as a philosophical position that you can claim or identify with, so that comparison does not follow.

            Apuleius wasn't saying what you're attacking him for saying. You're taking his point and broadening it to an extent where it no longer matches what he originally said. Fascism as a broad political philosophy and general position, imperialism is a stance one can be sympathetic toward, or not; these things are not labels you can "give" others in the strict, objective sense. You CAN, but until those people self-identify with them, it's just you battering them with your assumptions and labels- assumptions and labels that may be based on observed behavior, true.

            But there's more to life than what meets the eye. Racism is a different phenomenon from the other two because it isn't a political philosophy. Racism is an internalized way (often deeply unconscious) of thinking and feeling about the other people in this world. Very few racist people consciously realize they are racist, or if they do, they have their own perspective on what "racism" means- and for them, it isn't the PC evil boogeyman that crusaders against racism toss about.

            White supremists, for instance, proudly claim to be "racist", but for them, racism is a focus on the good of their race, not a groundless discriminatory hatred for other races. Their self-identification is as far as you can honestly go. YOU, of course, belonging to the anti-racism good guy brigade, will say "Those bitches are racist." And you'd be right according to your own definition (And the general negative-connotation definition).

            But who's really right here? Can we know? You think you are. I think you're not seeing how your perspective is not the only one on the planet. And I think you're oversimplifying a lot of things to divide the world up into easy categories.

          • Crystal7431

            "Your genetically-influenced phenotype is not in the same category as a philosophical position that you can claim or identify with, so that comparison does not follow." Wow, I knew you were going to say that, but I still think it an apt comparison, given that both physical traits and political sympathies are directly observable. I'll give you, one may be more immediately observable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1195241145 Aisling Kelledia

    Crap, I'm so glad my kids are into 80's glam-rock and IAMX!

  • chuck_cosimano

    If the music is good, if the show is entertaining, they can be Catholic priests for all I care.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

      "If a musician writes such awesome music as Nergal does he can copulate with a goat for all I care.”

      A fan of the band Behemoth (whose frontman is Nergal, aka Adam Darski), from their new Evangelia Heretika DVD set. http://www.decibelmagazine.com/listen/slaying-the

    • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

      To a certain extent, I have to agree, but after some point, I recognise the fact that humans, being the social creatures they are, tend to see the company one keeps and the tastes one has as a reflection on oneself and one's views. Maybe this is unfair, but if I were to learn that, say, Paul Weller was a Neo-Nazi, I may keep the few albums of his solo work and with The Jam and Style Council that I have, if only cos he's predominantly apolitical, but I wouldn't be able to bring myself to practise continued support of his work — I wouldn't buy any more albums, and I wouldn't go to any more concerts. If I can turn a blind eye to some-one who hates in such a way just so that I can have another enjoyable record, then that says something about my own ideals that I neither like nor agree with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

    Thank you very much for this comment. I like to hope that the Pagan communities I'm involved with are a lot more welcoming to PoCs than the ones you've encountered … but I suspect that they're probably not.

    • http://www.amyhale.weatherlight.com Amy Hale

      I am very grateful for and appreciative of your viewpoint. Thank you for sharing it.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Amy, I understand from the chatter here that you have gone to bat for Pagans with the ilk of the Southern Poverty Law Center versus their simplistic Pagan=Racist misequation. As someone who sees through that misequation and has the antifa cachet that SPLC listens when you speak, you serve a valuable function on behalf of all Pagans. I thank you and hope, even as one of your critics here, that you will continue to do so. What I criticize in your thinking and expression are probably accepted paradigms in antifa theory, and it's much more valuable to have someone talk to SPLC out of that frame than have, say, Apuleius do it.

  • Alex Pendragon

    Is it just me, or are "big, complex words and convoluted sentences" the "in" thing these days? I got the gist of the subject but their sentax was taxing to say the least. They really did risk the average bear not actually having a clue as to what they were complaining about. Instead of "capitalist bourgous running dogs", maybe we could just say "bad, mean people"? Call me simple, but, sheesh, my brain works alot better on plain english……..(and no, I do not consider that Palin creature to be Ivy league……)

    • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

      That *is* plain English. "Bad, mean people" is too vague to be meaningful, frankly, and gives the listener no reason to think the same.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    Kylenne, what symbols are you talking about? The only allegation regarding the symbolism that this band has used involves a work of art that turns out to have been made during the Renaissance.

  • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

    So lemme get the gist of what you're saying here:

    Because there are indeed Heathens who are skinheads, all Heathens should expect to be looked upon as bigots and apologize accordingly. Maybe that's not what you said, but that's what it sure sounds like to me. Amirite? Wow, they sure do have a lot to account for. Must suck to be them! Maybe they need to change their beliefs, even though that's their true calling. Maybe they're all -ists without even knowing it. Wow!

    Let's take that a bit further:

    Should I apologize for liking bands who have fans who quote Hitler? Let me know, so I can prepare something for you and everyone who thinks that way. I'm sure some of the bands on our label have fans who are nutjobs. Maybe I should have them write up a public speech or something. Maybe too, I should have people sign something that says they're not haters when they buy our products. But wouldn't that make *me* some kind of -ist for refusing to sell to certain types of people? Lemme think about that.

    And to go even further…

    My mom, a Catholic, and several of my friends and other family members, should apologize for some freaky priests.

    My husband's who was baptized by his uncle, a Major in the Salvation Army, should apologize due to some sort of guilt by association, even though he never attended church. His family should apologize even more so. (I still don't get what's wrong with SA, but some folks have called me out on my continued support by dropping a few coins in the pails.)

    My son, who enlisted with the US Army as an Infantryman, should apologize for all the dishonorable Soldiers out there and in the past. Perhaps he should also apologize to everyone who believes the military in general is bad. This is in spite of the fact he was given an ELS before he as even injured and never got the chance to defend his country. He's going back in a few months, so I better have him write up his apologizes now while he has time. And maybe because we support him, we should throw in a few lines as well.

    My father was indeed a bigot who could make Archie Bunker cry. Should my brother and I apologize for him? Maybe my mom should too; she married him and bore his children. He can't apologize himself, as he died from lymphoma six years ago, though I doubt he would anyway.

    Or maybe I should just apologize for being white, even though my family came in off the boat well after slavery was abolished and have been Northerners at least five generations back. Although, my son's birth father and his family were here damn near back since Plymouth Rock. Maybe he should apologize (for something), even though he's never really met his father. Or maybe I should apologize for getting pregnant by him back when I was a stupid kid.

    Really, please, let me know what we should be apologizing for and who we need to disassociate ourselves from. It'll save me a lot of trouble. My husband's German. I'm sure there's *somebody* in his tree who wasn't a good guy. There just has to be, right?

    Nah, screw that. I don't apologize for anything I do or have done, just as I've done away with worrying. Neither really solves problems in the here and now. Perhaps instead, we should simply use our heads a little and treat each person as an individual based on his and her deeds, merits and values. But that takes work, I know.

    • http://www.facebook.com/minivercheevy Jonathan Korman

      kylenne posted a very measured comment about specific manifestations of disrespect they have encountered in the Pagan community, taking care to say that this does not mark all White Pagans as bigots but does raise the question of what White Pagans can and should do to show appropriate respect to PoCs.

      It's not easy to talk about these things. It's not easy to take a measured tone when doing it. But kylenne did just that, as an act of generosity to the community, to help us make ourselves better.

      And you responded with a slew of straw man demands you have invented, claiming that kylenne has demanded of you, entirely ignoring and dismissing the actual content of the post. Which is, you know, disrespectful.

      So you could start by apologizing for *that*.

      • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

        No, I'm not apologizing for anything, because quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of having to walk on eggshells every time someone gets offended over *something*.

        Your definition of making ourselves better is not mine, because I refuse to throw softballs to some people and not others. Life isn't meant to be fair nor easy – we just have to roll with it. There are genuinely evil people in the world, and there are truly good, but most fall into various shades of gray, and that's what we have to roll with.

        I show respect to people who have extended the same to me, but yet – but yet! – there is always that lingering guilt trip out there that dictates I am expected to extend a bit /more/ to certain people, be they black/native American/what have you, because because someone else has wronged them. I didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not apologizing for something I didn't do. Why should I? Why should anyone else?

        If I wanted to be guilt-tripped and feel obligated to walk gingerly around sensitive people, I'd still be Catholic. If that's what my mom wants to do, hey fine, that's her choice, her beliefs, and I respect that. But me, naaah… I'd rather put in the extra effort to scrutinize each person on an individual basis.

        • http://sari0009.xanga.com/603410074/imagination-and-virtues-of-equality/ KarenAScofield

          First, let it be noted that pointing out the greater concern does **not** relieve any party from their accountability in any matter.

          Both the all-or-nothing thinking that the Rose City Antifascists exhibit and the historic paradigmatic potential of racism and fascism are intrinsically oppositional to equality.

          I hold both responsible for tainting overlapping communities (all communities have overlaps with people and things undesirable) with not one toxic brew but two, something that can translate into compound damages.

          Jason said:

          "So is Petak a stealth neo-fascist softening the underground for traditionalist takeover, or is he more of a dilettante engaging with transgressive politics and figures in order to gain attention? … increase their audience by infiltrating Pagan or Heathen communities"

          To put things in perspective however, even if an artist is somewhat associated with things/people that are somewhat associated with fascism and/or racism (very murky), it's things like the 'trap of the anti' phenomenon and stinkin' thinkin' that can **saturate** a society and snowball into prejudice and worse (including fascism and racism). Therefore, it's not the music act that's the greater concern (understatement), it's the poor thinking.

          And the fact that most people aren't going to dig and read at length to untangle the tiresome mess regarding a music group…that doesn't help matters.

          • Bookhousegal

            Yeah, that's the real thing about it: sometimes the truth, whatever it is, is really just so *boring* compared to the opinions. Last night the BBC world service ran a special on like 'Magic And Murder in Venezuela,' trying to connect a popular syncretic practice with the big murder rate: the piece was more balanced than the headlines and promotions, and even the piece totally missed the point that a lot of gangers embracing (presumably-redeemed gangers as protective spirits is little different causally than all the thugs in the US with big crucifixes for ink, and that the popular practice involves trying to *stop* the bloodletting, not increase it. )

            However clueless someone misbehaving and being called 'Pagan' may be, it's really those who want to keep people in the usual folds who are *really* wanting to make the association. People ready to be bigoted aren't known for considering the 'fine print.'

        • Jeff Flagg

          "No, I'm not apologizing for anything, because quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of having to walk on eggshells every time someone gets offended over *something*. "

          Learning some basic social skills can really help with that kind of neurosis. Most well-socialized people are quite capable of balancing personal authenticity, empathy for others' position, boundaries, and etiquette. It is, in fact, one of the fundamental parts of human experience.

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            Actually, I think people need the opposite: too much empathy espoused handicaps people to the point where they no longer have to take personal responsibility and let fools be fools. "It's X's fault I'm this way!" Too much coddling!!

            As far as boundaries, what have I been saying? – To ignore people ya don't like and to NOT expect everyone in the same group to be the same. Each person is his/her own.

            Etiquette: your definition is obviously not mine. Each person, again, is scrutinized, within a matter of a moment or two, if they're worth getting to know better. First impressions and all that. I believe in open honesty, which is a peg down from brutal truth, as I feel adults should be at that level. Most kids need to be stroked a bit/explained things simply/whatever, but adults should be able to accept bullet-point facts in debates.

          • Crystal7431

            Wow, this is getting nasty. This subject has sure brought out the ugly. Lori, there is a huge difference between empathizing and coddling, and one doesn't necessarily lead to the other. That's a giant leap you've made.

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            Not as much of a leap as you think.

            Empathy: "That's terrible she treated you that way. Don't let it get to you; maybe she was having a bad day/wasn't raised right/mental. I'm sure not all X are like that."

            Coddling: "That's terrible she treated you that way. For now on, just don't associate with anyone like her. They're all the same anyway."

            See the difference?

          • Jeff Flagg
          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            That was *my* interpretation. For talking down to me…

            Randal: And I hope it feels good.

            Video Store Customer: You hope what feels good?

            Randal: I hope it feels so good to be right. There's nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?

          • Jeff Flagg

            Your interpretation was wrong, and that was the point. In response to your quote from "Clerks," this may further be of help to you:
            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/irony

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            Just because you say it is doesn't make it so. It may not be a direct definition, but to me, it's the same thing.

          • Jeff Flagg

            You clearly didn't click the third link I gave you.

          • Crystal7431

            No, more like:
            Empathy: Oh, wow. She was treated terribly. I would hate to be treated that way myself. I understand how that would feel. I'll be sure not to treat anyone like that in future.

            And your second example is not coddling which is synonymous to spoiling. Your second example is called stereotyping but empathy does not necessarily lead one to stereotype others. Also, there is a bit of difference between stereotyping and asking critical questions. Lets put this shoe on the other foot. Say, for instance, I was a white minority at a gathering where people were walking around using New Black Panther Party buzzwords, wearing NBPP garb, etc. Would I then be stereotyping by keeping my eyes peeled and asking a few questions?

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            And that's how *you* see it. Me, I just figure people who are being jerks as having a bad day, because I like to give the benefit of the doubt. I also like to take into account maybe, just maybe, *I* took something wrong the wrong way, that maybe *I* was being too sensitive, perhaps due to being coddled by my family and/or peers. As I said, not everything is black and white… lots of gray areas, especially when it's from people you don't know personally.

            And yes, coddling is often due to spoiling from extending or expecting way too much empathy or sympathy. It's a handicap to play the victim card. That does *NOT* mean I believe everyone who feels they are a victim of something is playing the card, but quite honestly, it happens so much it's become my pet peeve.

            Very few people in the world of six+ billion are out to get me/you. Men aren't inherently evil. Neither are white people. Nor are black people. Or Muslims. Or Christians. Or Heathens. Or… Nor is it wrong to celebrate one's history and culture.

            And as for feeling uneasy around a group of extremists… well, were you personally invited? If you were, hang out with your friend who invited you. And no matter where you are, you should be keeping your eyes peeled. Most crimes are committed by people you know, or by friends of friends.

          • Crystal7431

            "And as for feeling uneasy around a group of extremists… well, were you personally invited?"
            I can't even imagine how this is relevant to the hypothetical situation I proposed. Are you saying that it they weren't extremists if I was invited? I personally know of two incidents where friends were lured into dangerous situations by bigots. So, yeah, it happens.
            "hang out with your friend who invited you."
            Why are you giving me survival advice? I asked whether I would be out of line to be vigilant.
            "And no matter where you are, you should be keeping your eyes peeled."
            So you are vigilant, then, during trips to the grocery store because they could be as dangerous as accidentally walking into a NBPP gathering?
            "Most crimes are committed by people you know, or by friends of friends."
            No, that's date rape and kidnapping, not your typical hate crimes.
            "Very few people in the world of six+ billion are out to get me/you. Men aren't inherently evil. Neither are white people. Nor are black people. Or Muslims. Or Christians. Or Heathens. Or… Nor is it wrong to celebrate one's history and culture."
            That's all very true, but do I see hatred and bigotry around every corner but I'm not going to ignore it when I do see it or turn a blind eye to it when it exists. You're equating pointing out bigotry when it does exist with paranoia. Shark attacks happen but rarely but I still wouldn't go into the ocean when I'm bleeding heavily. It's just being cautious.

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            Well, as I said before, I attend and vend at a lot of shows where there are indeed fascists and/or racists – the very proud and open variety. I just nod and smile, waiting for them to finish their one-sided chats, while sticking with my own company. I don't get up in their face about how my feelings and opinions differ from theirs, nor do I run and hide. I just mind my Ps and Qs.

            And yes, I do keep a sharp eye at the grocery store, in the parking lots, at the post office… be it in the inner city or the north shore (that's the super wealthy suburbs around here). Bad things happen anywhere and everywhere, even among friends. And, certain parts of the north shore are where the bulk of the hate crimes occur, as that's where the wealthy Jews live, which is of course where their synagogues are. The other half or the hate crimes occur in the gay district, which is also a pretty wealthy area.

            Also too, it's unfortunate the most popular place to see some of the most popular Metal bands is the Aragon Ballroom in Uptown, aka Scaragon Brawlroom. It's a very rough neighborhood, in spite of the real estate agents telling the transplants it's "up and coming". And once inside, the "brawlroom" part more than earns its name. Not as much anymore, but it's still there. Does that keep me away? Hell no! I want to see the band!

            So yes, that's why I asked if you were invited, and that's why I also asked if you were watching what was up. I don't scare easily, though I am ever watchful; I go where I want to go, even if there is an element.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            [both thumbs up]

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            You know, words mean things for a reason. You can't just slap your own definition onto something and declare yourself "right" and expect to get taken seriously.

          • Jeff Flagg

            Indeed. It's not your problem at all. It's other people's problems. You're just the one who needed to parade a long list of straw men (not bullet-point facts) through this conversation and knee-jerk over your mother's Catholicism twice. It's also you who react with exasperation over "having to walk on eggshells," while a number of civil adults could at least say "Hey…thanks for sharing a perspective I'd otherwise not hear!" Your complete investiture in this thread has been an all-means-necessary attempt to shut down what was nothing more than one person talking about where she's been, which you yourself admit is because you feel exhausted every time someone "gets offended" by your own personal definition.

            Clearly, the problem is everyone else.

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            You say tomato, I say tomahto.

            I would never use that comment; I'd just not post if I didn't care about something. If I post something, there's a reason for it, with the reason this time being I feel too many people blame somebody(ies) else for their problems/insecurities/issues. And I don't blame everyone else, quite the opposite. I said I'm sick and tired of

            Am I cynical? You bet. Blind faith doesn't get anyone anywhere.

            Am I jaded? Probably. But at least it keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground.

            Am I a total bitch. Not /total/, and it depends on who you ask. Actually, quite a few people consider me a good friend. If I was such a heartless person, why would so many allow me to hang out with their kids, especially when they get to know me first?

          • Jeff Flagg

            There's not much else I can say to what you've said here except to, again, reiterate my original remarks in this thread. I'll kindly note you're the one who brought the word "bitch" into this and that I did not call you heartless, either. I certainly don't know your IRL behavior, nor the company you keep, so it's really hard for me to say anything about who considers you a friend and who lets you around their kids, and it actually doesn't matter at all. I've worked solely with statements you've made in this conversation and the assumption that you have professed them honestly. If you're seeing "hearless person" and "bitch" in those remarks, and feel that you need to try and prove yourself in the scope of this conversation (and you are, since you posit your claims of your IRL relationships as evidence), perhaps you should ask yourself why.

            I'll also kindly note that there is a difference between being cynical and possessing blind faith and there is a difference between being jaded and being grounded. Again, most adults I have had the pleasure to know can make these distinctions.

          • Jeff Flagg

            Excuse my imprecise wording. I meant to say "there is a difference between being cynical and rejecting blind faith."

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            Oh puh-leeze. It's a common reaction to refer to a woman with my opinions to be heartless and/or a bitch. I'm not naive. And people can think that about me. I don't pretend to be Ms Popularity, because I refuse to feel sorry for people who take a few (or even a lot of) negative experiences and not use them to their own benefit. No hand outs here. But a leg up? No problem.

            *MY* interpretation of cynical, since you like to play things on the literal side: to not take ANYTHING as fact, as there are no black and white answers. (Except for math problems.) Everything needs to be proven, and the more polarizing an issue, the more proof I need.

            Jaded: to expect the worst and hope for a surprise best. That's reality. It's even Murphy's Law. That's also called being prepared. It's better for me to expect a show is going to be a low turn-out, because at least then I won't be let down when only 20 people show up. "Meh, at least I ran into so-and-so, and the sound was surprisingly good." I learn from bad experiences much more than good ones, because I will be better prepared next time.

          • Jeff Flagg

            Oh, I'm not literal. I just have command of my vocabulary. Here, you confuse cynicism and skepticism and you confuse pessimism with being jaded. This isn't the land through the looking glass and you're not Humpty Dumpty, so it isn't others' fault when you fail to communicate effectively.

            Again, I don't personally know you one way or another. You're the one using words like "heartless" and "bitch" here. Proudly assert your sense of identity all you want, but you're incorrectly projecting if you're putting those judgments on me. Most civil adults can remark on the things a person is saying or doing without immediately jumping to such severe judgments of character.

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            Yeah okay professor. Is that all you have, to zoom in on one's interpretation of a word other than the heart of the matter? Wow, you sure schooled me! I see where your values lie.

          • Bookhousegal

            Well, frankly, Lori, I don't agree with the dude going after you, but I've taken a lot of sides on a lot of issues and been called a lot of things, but 'heartless' isn't one of them, and claiming that handicapped people are too 'coddled' and lack 'incentive' by apparently not being treated badly enough to just get up and walk or whatever… Probably isn't something that's just an 'ad hominem' at you cause of those 'ideas,' either.

            As for the rest of the back-and-forth.

            Goddess. People.

            Breathe. Ground. Center.

            If some band we never heard of can do this, what are you fighting about?

            Corners. Ding ding. :)

          • http://military.pagannewswirecollective.com Lori Dake

            No, you misunderstood. I said that when someone is coddled, they /become/ handicapped. Not physically, like paraplegic, but mentally, as in being held back. Just because a dog bit me before doesn't mean I now avoid all dogs; I just have a physical reminder in scar form they have teeth. It doesn't even mean I don't like dogs anymore. :) I prefer cats, but dogs are cool, too. ;)

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            If you don't know what the words you're using actually mean, that is nobody's fault but YOUR OWN.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            I wish I could "Thumbs Up" your comment more than once. — or at least pick the number of thumbs to put up for it.

    • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

      This is why many people refuse to support the Salvation Army: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation_army#Contr

      …followed by people who simply find the fact that they're basically a church with a military model inherently creepy and/or otherwise objectionable. If you still don't get it, then I really can't help you. The information is VERY easy to find.

  • MertvayaRuka

    This is one of the problems of focusing the history of fascism mainly on the Nazis. Now unless someone shows up wearing an SS uniform while goose-stepping to the Horst Wessel Lied, you're not allowed to refer to them as fascist without the political correctness police of the Right screaming at you that you're trying to silence freedom of expression and that Leftists are the REAL Nazis because national SOCIALISM and shut up that's why. Either that or we get this "So if I had a second cousin twice removed who had a great grandfather who once sat at the same bar with a guy who was a private in the German army during WWII, I guess that makes me HITLER, right?" routine when nobody's making any such convoluted associations.

    Lemme break this down for our thin-skinned traditionalists, "I'm not a racist, I'm just proud of my heritage" folks and people who seem to think "multiculturalism" is a code word for "destroy all traces of white European culture". If you're espousing the same core ideals as fascists, looking back on fascist figures from history with anything that looks like admiration or adorning yourselves in recognizably fascist trappings, chances are people are going to call you a fascist. Whining about it isn't going to change that, it's just going to make you look like a particularly whiny fascist.

    Also, FYI, freedom of speech and expression doesn't mean freedom from criticism. You're free to espouse whatever you want. You don't need to apologize for anything if you don't feel like it. However, the rest of us are neither required nor inclined to remain silent in deference. Deal with it. Crying about the "thought police" because someone criticized you on the internet is not just laughable but it's an insult to anyone currently forced to live under regimes where the wrong post on the internet can get them arrested, imprisoned, tortured and murdered. You risk nothing besides harsh language, where those "anti-fascist thugs" you so deride are actually out in the real world where they run the risk of being either assaulted by police or tracked down and murdered by the fascists they oppose. Your own fantasies of persecution by the PC police are just as ridiculous as some anonymous would-be anti-fascist crank calling a venue host so they can feel like they're "part of the struggle".

    Rose City Antifascists have been doing the good work of trying to keep boneheads from re-establishing the same foothold in the Portland area that they had when Mulugeta Seraw was murdered (among others). They're opposing ACTUAL thugs, people who believe in committing violence against others because of unimportant secondary genetic characteristics or because of consensual sexual activity. Do they use force sometimes? Absolutely. But when they do, they're not jumping out of a van on a dark street, brandishing baseball bats at a vastly outnumbered target who MIGHT be a Nazi because he's got a shaved head. No, they're out in broad daylight getting right in the face of people who proudly wear the SS lightning bolts and throw out Nazi salutes and "Heil Hitler" every five seconds. So you'll excuse me if the naked thuggery of Rose City Antifa doesn't exactly give me the vapors.

    • Crystal7431

      Hear, hear! The more comments I read the more in danger my eyes are of getting stuck back in my skull with all the eye rolling I've been doing. Thanks for injecting a bit of reality and common sense into the dialog.

  • Crystal7431

    Can we please stop being so naive please? Pagan apologists are just as bad and dangerous as Christian fundies.

    • Crystal7431

      And please actually read what Kylenne stated and try to imagine yourself in her shoes. That's a huge part of the real problem here. No one seems to have the ability to empathize with anyone else these days.

      • Bookhousegal

        Also, in doing so, everyone ought to realize that peoples' *experiences* can be real without meaning their conclusions are absolutes, either. This is harder to remember in text than to necessarily work out in person.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

      Who are these Pagan apologists, where are their "apologies", and what precisely do you find so troublesome about them?

      • Robin Artisson

        Yeah, Gods forbid that darned "apologists" step up and try to defend themselves! They're just as bad as people who culturally destroy other people's ancestral ways and scream "UR ALL GONNA GO TO HALE" at people with hoarse voices and crazed looks in their eyes. No difference between them at all.

        • Crystal7431

          I respect your opinion but we have many commentors constantly harping about Pagan superiority but if we deny we have our own set of issues to take care of it makes us a wee bit hypocritical and we become in danger of becoming what we loathe.

  • Bookhousegal

    When it comes to this sort of thing, Kylenne, I think it's important for everyone to understand that 'the race thing' regarding modern Paganism actually isn't defined by a bunch of racist death-metal types or whatever, or wherever.

    There are very real factors involved, of course, pretty prominent among them being the fact that much of Paganism *does* actually involve the ethnic heritages of 'white people,' even if that notion intrinsically-involves no longer seeing that heritage in imperialistic or colonialistic terms: as some exceptional 'White race,' for instance. Those things actually *took* our heritage, in order to *make* that racial division.

    To my general observation, people's comfort with, say, Pagans of African-American extraction, has a *lot* more to do with how those divisions are seen outside the Circle than within it. Cause we're not the freaking majority, either. This is something that can be forgotten, not only by some recons, but is also an assumption that colors people accustomed to such divisions before they even get involved. I've lived in places where daily life is pretty race-blind, and I've lived in places where there's a lot of idealism but a history of racial and ethnic tension, I've lived in places that just plain don't have a lot of racial minorities cause there was never a draw, (funny enough, they also seem to react pretty race-blindly, too probably from TV, if they don't go out of their way to do otherwise) and I've lived in places like where I am in a town in the South where there's actually a lot of *amity* despite *tons* of discrimination and near-as-no-mention segregation: interpersonally, very friendly, but it's Very Self-Conscious even then.

    White Pagans are in a funny position regarding a lot of this: to us, we're actually in a minority status, usually embracing one, and sometimes we may feel a little funny if someone who's in the outside world an 'outsider' is wanting to come along and join in on what's left of that heritage: it's more like what it may look like to Native Americans or African diaspora people when a white person comes along as a seeker. (Or, occasionally walks in with that 'White people never knew nothing about spirits and the like,' with that kind of attitude about even what they're new to,) This is no less about the heritage of white people than similar things are for others: it doesn't mean it has to be or necessarily *is* unwelcoming, and if someone tries to *make* it about that, it's bad for everyone.

    • Bookhousegal

      (continued)

      But, we're not immune to everything in the world: I recall an instance when a new Wiccan priestess in town was coming to meet a group in one of those places where race wasn't thought much of: I went out to greet her and who she was with, and despite there being what on reflection was a well-mixed group inside, she saw my wariness at someone who pulled up in sorta-business clothes and what might have been one of those church vans as something *racial,* when it was really just kinda Suit+van+coming here=Could Be Those Missionaries Again.

      From some point of view, she may have been just dressing nice, when it was just meeting people who'd usually only see the hippies, Goths, rustics, and tweed-and-suede-elbow-pads sets, but you could see where it hit a lot of the usual race-related buttons just in that moment. Fact is, sometimes even the most diversity-positive and casual folks can seem insensitive or worse once in a while, just cause we're not thinking that way.

      That's before anything actually racist or separatist gets involved, not to say there isn't any of that around, either.

      It's one place where it's very bad for all if some *racists* use any notion of European culture for bigoted purposes, too. The approach and conclusions may be wrong and destructive, but the sense of lack and loss about heritage is often *real.* For many Pagans we're the first generation in our own families to stand up for something noble in what's left of our heritage, and that don't come easy. I may have been raised Irish-American, but I was the first one of anyone I knew in my family to so much as breathe the name Cuchulain.

      I know it meant a whole lot to me and estranged raised-Catholic relatives to be able to say after a lot of effort, 'This isn't me being some crazy queer sinner with some 'divil' thing going on, this is part of the same heritage that means this and this and this. My father wasn't exactly raised to be proud of a little of the old filideacht, but there were important moments about that, even if there are doubtless people classified as 'Black' out there who'd have more claim to 'purer blood of the Milesian Gael' than I if you ran their genomes.

      It's not an argument for being exclusionary, …and certainly not white-supremacist, but it *is* one that says not everyone's negotiated the idea *of* white people having heritage yet.

      There are other factors, like how in many ways a non-white professing Christianity is actually a lot less disenfranchised on matters of culture and religion than someone following either their Old ways or *ours.*

      There's the factor that anyone just looking for magic might actually have an easier time of it in 'non-white' traditions, too, and for European Pagans a lot of 'outreach' sounds too much like 'proselytizing' and 'colonialism,' to begin with. And I think a lot of white Pagans also think, 'If there were traditional cunning folk in *my* old neighborhood, I'd have started right there to begin with.'

      How that's perceived in terms of 'black and white' is …complicated. In progress, I dare say. One effect I notice from all this is that the 'congregation' may look pretty white on the numbers, but if you start counting clergy and people who enjoy esteem and respect, it'd seem being an ethnic or racial minority is no impediment to going far. There are demographic things that don't parse out in accustomed terms and aren't actually about the religion or dogma or sense of heritage, after all: some of those demographics tend to be self-reinforcing, is all.

      Consider Wicca: if any religion *actually* puts heterosexuality up on an altar and worships it, it's Wicca. But Wiccan-ey Paganism probably has more queer folks like me than anyone else out there. And that includes a lot of 'non-white' traditions, indeed.

      Rumors of our inherent 'intolerance' are greatly-exaggerated. Notions of there being a lot to do on the topic… Probably aren't. But we're all still people in this.

      • Bookhousegal

        Actually, come to think of it, regarding LGBT issues: as a minority in that way, myself, I know well how a lot of *perceptions* garnered in that regard from books, the Internet, and inference, actually kept me away from a lot of people and groups that would have been well-worth knowing at the time.

        Being a Pagan, I can consider it a life-lesson if you know what kind of thing makes an ass of you. :) Right, Apuleius? :) But still. Different framework. Most of all this. That's a good thing. :)

  • caraschulz

    Thank you for relating your experiences.

    However – how does this relate to fascism?

    I get that fascism is about extremely authoritarian government and emotionally uses nationalism as a unifying tactic – AND is willing to use violence and repression on its own people to maintain power.

    But what you are talking about is…well…I call them assholes. They may be an asshole to you because of your color, because you like Coke instead of Pepsi, because you are a higher or lower class, different gender, a 'townie' or a 'hick', whatever. They aren't assholes because they are white Heathens, they are assholes because they are assholes.

    But then again, maybe not all of them were assholes. Or they weren't an asshole for the reason you were thinking.

    But I also want to point out that "Why are you X Pagan instead of Y Pagan?" is our community's equivalent to "Hey, baby, what's your sign?" -but in non-dating way. My last name is Schulz. Want to guess how many times I get asked why I'm a Hellenic and not a Heathen? All. The. Time. All the time. And people try to convince me that I really should be a Heathen. I mean…what's my connection the Greece? When people are asking this question, they have varying levels of skill in doing so without sounding like a nosy, condescending jerk. Some of them are just intensely curious and have no sense of personal boundaries.

    I worked with a lady and a group of us went out for drinks. After a few cocktails she asked me if my problem with her was because she was [insert minority status here] and she accused me of being racist. I told that no, I didn't care, I just thought she was an insufferable bitch and told her that many in our happy little group also thought she was an insufferable bitch but they acted like they liked her because they didn't want to appear racist. After that we got along much better although we still didn't like one another. But I can't say that the same could be said between her and the rest of our lovely co-workers. I may have been an ass to her, but I was an ass to *her* – not her race – and she could appreciate the difference.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you may perceive 20 people to be racist/fascists. Could be that 5 really are and the other 15 are a combination of misunderstandings, bad days, bad manners, poor communication, run-of-the-mill I-know-better-than-you jerks, etc.

  • http://sari0009.xanga.com/603410074/imagination-and-virtues-of-equality/ KarenAScofield

    kylenne said:

    "What does any of this have to do with the article? None of these things happen in a vacuum, is what I'm trying to say. At some point, it has to stop being about being defensive and distancing yourself from what those "others" are doing, and there has to be some kind of accountability. The racists and the fascists might very well "only" be a loud minority making you look bad, but to me this sounds a lot like the excuses I hear from mainstream Christians about the antics of their Dominionist cousins. If these "bad eggs" are claiming the mantle of your belief system, it IS your problem."

    Directional force…an arrow goes where it's pointed…the best thing is to teach people how to think well as we keep a fierce focus on building equality (while at the same time understanding prejudice and other abuses). So that's first and foremost. E.g. http://sari0009.xanga.com/603410074/imagination-a

    Not to overshadow the need for such a focus, but it's problematic to fail to differentiate guilt by association from group accountability with amazing clarity because while that amazing clarity is crucial anytime, it is even more so when discussing overlapping communities that don't necessarily have a perception/reality of belonging to greater (meta) Pagan, Heathen or Pagan-Heathen "other" communities.

    If you mean we (meaning everyone) have accountability to think better think about (critical thinking) and focus on equality and the political systems that support it, that's fine, but it is perhaps unfortunate to talk about bad eggs claiming entire belief systems. No religion should have to precede any presence or mention of them with disclaimers…not unless the abuse was paradigmatic and the abusers were systematically protected…or something like that. (E.g. pedophile Catholic priests and the Catholic Church'es enabling culpable response to their crimes.)

    Additionally, it makes me squirm when anyone paints anything and everything that's not concrete and/or specific as "abstract" and divorced from compassion, empathy, and the like…a mere tool of denial and passive evils (like racism and/or fascism). Seeing the greater patterns and anatomy of things, as it were, is absolutely crucial to human intelligence in general and to promoting equality while decreasing abuses (racial prejudice, fascism, whatever the case may be), keeping them in check (a job never done, it seems).

    • Don

      Except racist and fascist pagans aren't a loud or vocal minority. I wonder if we would really know much about them if it weren't for non-racist and non-fascist pagans making a big deal about racist and fascist pagans. Really, how often do we hear anything from actual racist and fascist pagans?

      • http://sari0009.xanga.com/603410074/imagination-and-virtues-of-equality/ KarenAScofield

        Not so fast. With prejudice so thick, is the public even interested in actual racist and fascist Pagans?

        There's a whole "academic" trend of painting the root of all things Nazi as having to do with things Pagan/folk/heathen (and most people couldn't differentiate any of these or conveniently don't care to).

        There's also a trend of focusing on Pagans and Heathens in jail, when they ask to be able to practice their religion…and things drift off to mention the few racist Heathens.

        The public also goes gaga for anything that even remotely appears to cross the streams of anything minority with anything Nazi/fascist/socialist **or thought to be,** thanks to a rather triumphalistic Reductio ad Liberalum.

        Too many cannot or will not pick that all apart, define socialism or fascism, let alone differentiate…

        • Bookhousegal

          Well, yes. They also say 'The Nazis Were Gay Even Though They Executed People For It In Concentration Camps And Used The Notion To Purge the Leadership Of The SA Thugs That Were Now Inconvenient…'

          Rove's tactics are self-describedly of accusing someone else of what you're doing yourself… calling …well, Democrats 'fascists' while using the same tactics with the same targets for the same ends onesself.

      • thehouseofvines

        Agreed. I'm a proud Fascist and yet I doubt most of the folks who read my blog have any inclination of that because my primary focus is religion instead of politics. I have no interest in proselytizing or beating people over the head with my views. In fact, at this point I'm pretty jaded and apathetic about humanity in general, so I don't much care what others get up to, provided it doesn't negatively impact my own life.

        • Don

          Just curious–by Fascist, which are movement you referring to? The Italian variety or one of its derivatives?

          • thehouseofvines

            I don't have any affiliation with any current parties or the historical movements out of which they emerged. It's more that I find myself in agreement with many of the traditional Fascist ideals and goals. Certainly not all of them, however, which is what prevents me from being more involved with any of the contemporary groups. Probably the biggest thing I disagree with is the emphasis on race that so many of them have had in the past and so often continue to have today. I find it an utterly meaningless concept, especially the mistaken notion that desirable and inferior traits are passed down through the blood. Even if that were true I think it matters a great deal more how a person uses what they've got as opposed to relying on what they've inherited. Further, I believe that social conditioning is far more of a factor in shaping our characters and determining how successful we'll be in life than mere genetics. Sadly, however, a lot of folks drawn to Fascist ideals do not share this view. Indeed, part of what appeals to them about such philosophies is that it offers an explanation for why they are such failures without putting the blame squarely on their own shoulders and it offers them a chance to belong to something bigger than they are when the rest of their society justifiably rejects them. The need to belong is, indeed, a strong one, and an important part of what makes us human, but it should inspire us to better ourselves in the service of that higher ideal – truth, tradition, the group, state or whatever you wish to call it – instead of merely being a coping mechanism, a pitiful excuse for our ineptitude. When a people come together it is a powerful thing indeed, especially when their coming together unites them with the land, the gods, and their traditions. Very often the people need a leader, someone to rally around, to give them guidance, who is the image and representative of the gods, the steward of the land and the protector of the sacred traditions. Such a person unites within him or herself the offices of king, priest and sage. Sadly, I do not believe that such a person walks the earth today and even if they did it wouldn't make much difference. The people aren't ready or worthy for a ruler like Ptolemy Soter or Kleopatra Philopator, not in this degenerate age.

            And really the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Every group that I've been involved with that has had strong leadership and strong guiding principles has flourished. When those are lacking you inevitably find stagnation and implosion. The okhlos simply cannot accomplish anything meaningful on its own. Nor is a leader of much worth without a people to govern and inspire. It is best when the two are united, like the bundle of sticks and the axe.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            Sorry, but being a Fascist without being a racist, or at least an ethno-centrist nationalist, just doesn't add up. That would be like saying you are a Socialist, but you don't support labor unions.

            Supporting specific ideas that are commonly found in fascist ideology does not make one a fascist. Most fascist groups espouse a kind of "third-campist" style socialism which supports workers rights and social programs, but which also rejects class warfare. But that doesn't make Tony Blair a fascist.

          • Don

            That's not necessarily true. Italian Fascism and fascism in Latin America were not racist.* The Italian Fascist state didn't adopt racialist policies until Nazi pressure forced them to, and even then there was much debate about the meaning and value–if any–of race within the Italian fascist party. It's hard to be racist when most of Europe considers you racially deficient and your country is composed of muts.

            *At this time, of course, a degree of anti-semitism and white superiority were socially acceptable across the West, which we today would call racist, but by racist here I am meaning an explicit and articulate policy of the superiority and inferiority of races based on biological criteria, with real legislative consequences.

          • thehouseofvines

            Amen to that! Especially since my people are Sicilian, which is pretty much the mutts-of-the-mutts.

          • Bookhousegal

            I suppose I'd have to see what Houseofvines is actually talking about, though they say it'd be hard to see from their blog: I suspect it's possible: I don't mind saying that I find a lot of the right-wing demagoguery and hate and fearmongering out there in the country now alarmingly fascist (with a small f, perhaps) in structure: what hatreds and divisions those may be may not be so relevant when it comes to such bids for power: certainly the bigots in government like to have various women and minorities for Judas horses, (as long as those minorities are obeying right wing Christianity and the women are aggressively not-too-smart and agreeing with the misogynist platforms: these minorities are both in the long run unthreatening and even 'allowed' to say boldly things that would be clearly called bald-faced bigotry from old white guys, but they're still effectively telling women and minorities to 'get back in their place,' Remember fascism doesn't require majority support, just majority *compliance.* That's part of why fascism claims to represent an 'oppressed majority.'

            Basically, I think it's quite possible to have 'multicolored fascism:' fascism just needs *enemies* (scapegoats to blame for all that's wrong, and to get people invested in whatever abuse they end up participating in: it puts people in a situation where they have to believe that abuse is 'righteous' to avoid feeling shame or admitting error. The long con depends greatly on getting the fact that people don't like to admit they've been fooled and will go to great lengths to avoid it, even if it means getting deeper and throwing good money/support after bad) …and it seems right-wing Christianity always does fine at that.

            The real 'enemy' of course, is 'socialism,' …unions, anything that actually empowers people and the individual. Fascism depends on aligning the moneyed elites and the government totally, the how of manipulating the masses is fairly secondary: the techniques are very similar regardless of the individual branding/targets/whatever structure fills the nationalist space.

            What I think are the really dangerous fascist elements are already in play and a lot further along than people think, cause they're kind of trained to watch out for like Maximum Leaders and goose-stepping rallies. Theocratic versions of fascism learned that bad Emperors can be assassinated, but equally-authoritarian, omni-righteous, but totally-unaccountable King-Gods are much more unassailable. The actual strongman leader is probably irrelevant in this day and age, when it's as easy to spin an abstract one over the corporate-owned media.

            The idea of people just being unified under a strong authoritarian leader who hopefully lives up to the ideals once in a while isn't anything new: it's also got a history of not lasting much beyond one succession.

            When democracy's so troubled, especially *by* rising fascistic/theocratic tides and all the screwups and unrests that tend to come with those, it's tempting indeed to want a strongman leader: but the problem is of course that seat's a magnet for greed, corruption, and ambition from day one.

            I think civilization as we know it, and our Republic, however, really may have to rethink how we go about our voting: the world's so complex that bundling the people we elect to represent us with the issues themselves leads to something that doesn't end up working so well except for certain moneyed and militaristic elites.

            I can't believe someone who grew up on Star Trek is saying this, but I think we may eventually need to use computers. Vote on desired outcomes and priorities rather than party platforms, and see what comes out of a bank of redundant AIs. Have representative government be about ways and means and other things that take the human element and stop trying to use various ideological hammers to fight over *management.*

            The big problem with our Republic right now is that particularly in the persons of the lockstep Republicans (and the psuedo-populist Tea Party demanding More Of The Same But We're DIfferent From What We're Doing Which Is The Same Or Worse) …government's become another engine of *manufacturing consent,* not *representing it.*

          • Don

            Fascism didn't need a scapegoat or someone to blame, the socialists and communists really were their enemy and the fate of government in both Germany and Italy really was either Fascism or Socialism/Communism. While the Nazis were certainly anti-Semitic and racist and let that be known, their anti-Semitism was very much downplayed until they monopolized power because they knew that virulent, biological racism would not win as many votes.

            "The real 'enemy' of course, is 'socialism,' …unions, anything that actually empowers people and the individual."

            It's not just socialism, but socialism that denies the primacy of the state and nation. Fascist states allowed unions to exist–state-operated unions that is.

            "Fascism depends on aligning the moneyed elites and the government totally"

            This is just not true, and is typical socialist propaganda. The Nazis had a hard time getting funding and support from big business and monied interest because of their perceived socialism. Same with Italian fascists.

          • thehouseofvines

            Well, stop on by. I'd love to see what you think of the blog. :D

          • Crystal7431

            "What I think are the really dangerous fascist elements are already in play and a lot further along than people think, cause they're kind of trained to watch out for like Maximum Leaders and goose-stepping rallies." I totally agree. That's why this conversation has been so irksome. Totalitarian ideologies don't come conveniently packaged for identification.

          • thehouseofvines

            First off, don't be idiotic. Of course there are non-racist Fascists. You're telling me that every single person in Mussolini's Italy was a die-hard racist? None of them were in the party because they agreed with the principles and goals and what they had managed to accomplish? But may have thought all that race talk was stupid or just to get in with the Germans? You can't conceive of anyone in all the time since who has been drawn to this cluster of ideas but rejects racism? Really? I thought you were smarter than that.

            Secondly, FUCK YOU. If I tell you that I am a non-racist Fascist your only response is to nod your head and say, "My, that's interesting." I define who and what I am. Not you. Doesn't need to make sense to you, you certainly don't have to agree with it, but you don't get any say in the matter, you Christ-loving, Sarah Palin-worshiping, crypto-Jihadi. :)

          • Robin Artisson

            I would guess that if you walked up to 99.99% of any Italian man in Mussolini's Italy and asked their opinion about Africans, they would have demonstrated fierce "racism" as we call it today. And I think their opinion of 99% of all foreigners would have been a bit less nice than you would like.

            I think that racism and fascism go together like bullets and guns.

          • thehouseofvines

            Funny thing about that though – I am Italian, and I've talked with family and others who were there at the time. And they'll go on and on about how much better it was under Mussolini etc. etc. even if they kinda thought he was a buffoon, especially because of that dumb race talk. Now, granted, I may have had the singular luck of finding the only 4 or 5 non-racist Italians from that period or alternately they may have been flat-out lying to me or changed their minds over the years or maybe their memories just aren't what they used to be. (I talked with the last of these just 2 years ago – quite a bit of time has passed.) But, honestly, I think it's more likely that there were just some folks who didn't agree 100% with the party line. Granted, the vast majority did – but not your absurd 99.99%.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            Except Mussolini didn't actually do shit for the trains running on time. People tend to romanticise the recent past, especially if they were, say, fifteen years of age or younger when certain periods ended — that's why Glenn Beck thinks the 1970s were some idyllic time, when he has the same ability as any-one else to go to the library and read the microfiche and see otherwise; that's why so many people about my age or a little older seem to be under the impression that the 1980s were so happy-go-lucky.

            Additionally, you yourself have admitted that people do change their minds; this can often create embarrassment of past ideals that they may whitewash, gloss over, or just conveniently forget to mention. While I'll agree that an "assessment" of "99.99%" is more than a bit absurd (you simply can't get that much of a significant population, since as 1930s Italy, to agree on any one thing), I think you're looking at this through the rose-coloured glasses of a separation of several decades. I also find a severe dissonance in the idea of one very openly dedicated to an Eleutherios deity while also claiming at least partial alignment to a political school that is the very antithesis of eleutheros — but then, I'm sure you've managed to reconcile this rather ironic juxtaposition in your own way.

          • thehouseofvines

            Absolutely. The reason I'm a Fascist is because I'm a Dionysian. You haven't bothered to read anything I've written about sacred kingship, have you? Of course, Dionysos being so wonderfully complex and contradictory his spirit is equally to be found among the monarchists as it is the democrats. Indeed, any time there is a popular uprising full of collective frenzy, destroying the old to usher in the new (which is how all Fascists come to power) Dionysos is there. In time, of course, he shifts his allegiance, siding with the ones who would depose those he put in place originally … but such is the nature of the world we live in, beautiful and savage at once.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            I totally agree with your post here. In fact, I'd say the worst comments in this thread (the ones making me, at the very least, long for the days this blog had the "Thumbs Down" button active) are those all but outright saying "racist/fascist pagans don't actually exist" "racist/fascist pagans? a Christian lie!" Such willingness to turn a blind eve to even the most overt racists in the extended pagan community is, at the very least, worrisome, and at most, is evidence of a great problem.

          • Crystal7431

            "Such willingness to turn a blind eve to even the most overt racists in the extended pagan community is, at the very least, worrisome, and at most, is evidence of a great problem."
            Ditto. That sort of attitude is enabling to say the least.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            thehouseofvines: "FUCK YOU. If I tell you that I am a non-racist Fascist …."

            Sorry, but you do not get to define what Fascism is. You can call yourself whatever you want, of course, but by itself that does not effect the realities of what fascism is and is not.

            There were some non-racists who allied with fascism in Italy and elsewhere. They were, of course, abject fools. (On the other hand, they were probably little, if any, more foolish than non-racists who allied themselves with Communism.) There were also Jews who were members of the Dutch National Socialist movement. Also fools, and even more obviously so.

            I think what you are failing to see is the close connection between modern European "nationalism" and racism. The kind of mystical nationalism that is an integral part of fascism is inseparable from the ideas of so-called scientific racism.

          • thehouseofvines

            And just because you have some arbitrary definition, which wasn't devised by the Fascists themselves, doesn't mean you are the final arbiter of who is and isn't a Fascist.

            I think what you are failing to see is the close connection between modern European "nationalism" and racism.

            Really? When was that? Perhaps when I said, "Certainly not all of them, however, which is what prevents me from being more involved with any of the contemporary groups. Probably the biggest thing I disagree with is the emphasis on race that so many of them have had in the past and so often continue to have today. I find it an utterly meaningless concept, especially the mistaken notion that desirable and inferior traits are passed down through the blood."

            Or the half-dozen similar statements I've made.

            Yes, I'm well aware that historically and especially among the modern manifestations of Fascism there is a strong connection to racism. Indeed, for many it's the primary appeal. What I'm arguing is that it doesn't necessarily have to be that way.

          • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

            (On the other hand, they were probably little, if any, more foolish than non-racists who allied themselves with Communism.)

            Except for the fact that anybody who's actually sat down and read Marx can tell you that "National Socialism" /= "Socialism" nor "Communism", in any way, shape, or form — but then, I'm kind of used to these ridiculous and grandiose claims of complete nonsense from you.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

            That's why I capitalized Communism. I was referring specifically to the political parties that aligned themselves with Stalin. I wasn't talking about socialism or Marxism generically.

          • thehouseofvines

            Oh, and just to clarify I don't really have a problem with ethno-centrist nationalism which is by no means the same thing as racism. I think one of the supreme goals of the state has to be the instilling of a sense of pride in its people, fostering a rebirth and renewal of its culture and inspiring the people to bold and heroic acts of future greatness. There is nothing wrong with loving one's own – indeed according to Hierokles it is the most universal and natural trait possible, found among animals and humans alike. Failure to accomplish this is failure in the worst possible way. Nothing else the state accomplishes has any meaning at that point. Where I part ways with most, however, is the notion that greatness is finite and singular. Every nation, every people, every group and every individual is capable of greatness. Granted, they may possess different degrees of arete or demonstrate it in different areas. But there is none that is completely without it.

          • caraschulz

            "supreme goals of the state has to be the instilling of a sense of pride in its people, fostering a rebirth and renewal of its culture and inspiring the people to bold and heroic acts of future greatness."

            PLUS

            "Where I part ways with most, however, is the notion that greatness is finite and singular. Every nation, every people, every group and every individual is capable of greatness. "

            That pretty much sums up my feelings on nationalism. Yes it can be misdirected and turned into something ugly, but Nationalism in and of itself is a very positive thing.

          • bodlon

            How do you justify a position which embraces ethno-centrist nationalism as "not racist" when preferencing one class of persons over another automatically disenfranchises the non-preferenced class, and separate-but-equal doesn't work?

            I can sort of see how you think this might work, but "greatness" built on a monoculture is regressive, and is precisely the thing many of us are trying to subvert in order to learn to build greatness in a plural culture.

          • thehouseofvines

            There will always be superior and inferior classes of people. How such are determined is dependent on the situation, of course. No one is capable of being exceptional in all things, equally. Indeed, being great in one thing may necessitate your deficiency in other regards. This is an immutable law of nature. Equality is an illusion, albeit a noble one. I have no problem with a society compensating its members differently, according to their contributions. It is an idiotic society that only looks to race in determining such matters. The best reward the best and ablest and most useful, regardless of where they came from. So, for instance, in Ptolemaic Egypt while the Greco-Makedonian strain represented the elite within society the government, the military, the arts and sciences and above all the temples were open to anyone, be they native Egyptian, Jew, African, Levantine or even the hated Persian. All these different groups came together in service of the crown, created a glorious multicultural society, which excelled in every arena they put their mind to. And the crown awarded them according to their contributions and virtue, as it should be.

      • http://www.hellenistai.com Ruadhán

        That's actually kind of a fallacious argument; the Pagan circles you keep may be very down on racism and fascism, and you may personally know of very few, if any racist and/or fascist pagans. This does not hold true for other pagan groups. Reconstructionist groups are kind of lousy with racism and fascism, especially Germanic/Norse reconstructionism, to the point that actually many non-pagans tend to characterise Asatruar as Neo-Nazis. The next runners up would be Keltic recons, and while Hellenes and Romans seem to have the fewest racists and/or fascists, they're still around, sometimes covert, sometimes overt.

        So, yeah, depending on what pagan circles you run in, the racists and fascists can be very loud, and very vocal. Your own lack of experience with said doesn't mean they aren't.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    As long as we are warning people about dangerous musicians ….

    James Brown was an admitted member of the Republican party and a vocal advocate for the cultivation of racial pride.

    In the 1970's, Eric Clapton openly expressed racist ideas and once led an audience in chanting the British National Front slogan, "Keep Britain White!"

    Also in the 70's David Bowie made openly racist and pro-fascist statements to a number of media outlets (including Playboy magazine).

    In 1978 Lou Reed wrote a song called "I Wanna Be Black", with what many believe to be blatanly racist lyrics. Earlier he had done the song "Walk On The Wild Side" in which he famously says, "and the colored girls sing", just as the back up singers come in with "doo, deedoo, deedoo, deedoodeedoo …..".

    The Band Rush makes heavy use of uber-right-wing "philosopher" Ayn Rand in their lyrics.

    Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter worked for the CIA in the early 60's helping them in their research on techniques for "enhanced interrogation" (like those currently employed at CIA "black sites" and at Guantanamo). Robert Hunter is known to admire the openly fascist poet Ezra Pound.

    The fascist poet Ezra Pound has also been a significant influence on Bob Dylan.

    The group "Better Than Ezra" refuses to disclose the secret meaning of the name of the band, but they do have a song titled "Ezra Pound".

    Arlo Guthrie is a born-again Christian, a registered Republican, and a supporter of Ron Paul.

    • Robin Artisson

      Ahahahahah!

  • Bookhousegal

    Key word: "Othering."

  • Bookhousegal

    To wit, that's why we say 'Web,' not 'Line.'

  • Tea

    kylenne- Thank you for sharing your perspective. It makes me very sad that other Pagans would treat you that way (questioning your choice of pantheons etc.). What the hell is wrong with people sometimes????

    • Bookousegal

      Not to make light of poor behavior, but isn't questioning each others' choice of pantheons and practices (Or mixtures thereof) pretty common in the Pagan community, regardless of race?

      It doesn't necessarily have to constitute questioning anyone's right or worthiness to be there. We're kind of in a broader cultural context which claims 'Inclusiveness means telling everyone they can/must worship *our* God,' whereas in most Pagan ones, a large number of groups and communities are made up of people with different pantheons anyway. It's common and 'normal,' for there to be a difference between 'Who your Gods are' and 'Are you welcome here.'

      When I encounter seekers looking for 'OK, where do I start looking,' I often actually suggest 'Try starting with your own ancestry, they may have a lot to say.' (To me, that's no abstraction, or just a choice of books to read, it's something that I think can be a real asset, especially where so many people actually feel such a loss of their ancestral connections: for most white people, these ancestries are actively-denied and scorned, subsumed by Christianity and called 'barbaric' 'unspiritual,' and/or 'benighted superstition' …it's similar for a lot of African-Americans, actually, who may have no idea what parts of the continent their ancestors may have come from. In many ways, those diasporic traditions were born of responding to rather similar problems such as many Pagans are doing these days.

      The sundering of so many of us from our ancestry, or sense of alienation from them, is one of the prime tools monotheist religion and attending dynamics has *used* to take their control. No one says that reclaiming some of that, and hopefully carrying it forward in relevant and interactive ways, has to constitute divisions or rejections.

      Simply having different ancestors doesn't have to be inherently divisive or any of those other things: in many ways, coming together can help *heal* some of those old rifts and what might be outstanding grudges, and I think that's a real part of all this. Not rejecting ancestry, but reclaiming it. Otftentimes reconciling it.

      I, for one, have multiple heritages, in large measure between a couple of ethnicities that didn't get along so well when my grandparents got together. Finding ways to embrace both those heritages and a more pluralistic community is in part, hopefully my way of both honoring their struggles and making good perhaps, on a few of their hopes. It can be the same among us as within us.

      • Tea

        Sure, maybe the people who asked her why she is "Pagan as opposed to a practitioner of Vodoun" were genuinely curious and not at all influenced by the deep, insidious racism which permeates our culture. I am open to that possibility.

      • Jeff Flagg

        Actually, no, questioning someone else's practices and pantheons isn't particularly common. ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT them is common, but QUESTIONING them isn't, or hasn't been in my experience. There's a huge difference between "What attracts you to X?" and "Why do X instead of your-ancestry-thing?" One leaves room for the response to be personal; the other requires a defense of one's choices.

        It's a fair question to ask why someone should start with his or her "heritage" when starting out. I tell newbies to cast as wide a net as possible and to be aware and open to the things that he or she finds moving, and to pursue his/her own psyche. Heritage, ultimately, is just another story we tell ourselves, and there are lots of stories we can tell ourselves.

        I've seen this "heritage" nonsense taken to a point that I'd consider problematic, too. I once knew a teacher of a "Celtic traditionalist" group who said he would not accept a person of color as a student unless that person could prove to him that s/he had already explored his/her "traditional religion" and rejected it. Absurd.

  • Openeye44

    I attended the show in Portland last night. I am responding to this threat out of anger. I am pissed at RCAF's unprofessional harassment of Agalloch's touring manager.

    I arrived at the venue early and kept an open eye for anything that might justify the outrageous hype and fear mongering that "witch hunt" fascist watch organizations have feared. I did not witness even the slightest signs of racist, fascist, or blatantly offensive behavior. In fact, all I witnessed was four hours of beautiful music that glorified the beauty of the natural world and provided a politically neutral assessment of the human condition.

    Allerseelen performed that evening with absolutely no political message. No stage imagery was used, and the lyrics were sung in Austrian. A friend who attended with me, who could make out most of the vocals, told me that the lyrics largely dealed with naturalistic themes and were difficult to make sense of. No fascist literature was passed out. In fact, the band members of Allerseelen appeared content with shaking the hands of fans after the show and briefly saying "thank you very much" in strained accents.

    Agalloch performed flawlessly despite the fear-mongering and intolerance campaign launched by "fascist watch dog groups." Fascism can be a real problem when it is actually a threat, but fascist watch dog groups in Portland equate to a bunch of self-righteous hipsters who fail to address the city's real problems: unemployment, poverty, petty crime, and homelessness. If Allerseelen is the "arch fascist" nemesis feared by these groups, they might as well be afraid of their own shadows.

    Here's a real tip: Get a life fear-mongers, and direct your concerns at real problems. Agalloch deserves your respect and reverence for bringing the Pacific Northwest top-quality music.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luke-Thywalker/796574011 Luke Thywalker

    i'm very anti-racist but i believe in true equality not "white man kisses everyone else's rear." i'm scandinavian and very proud of it and i'm constantly accused of being racist. this rose city anti fascist crap looks alot like trying to silence free speech to me and they sound like the type that seem to believe white men are the only people who aren't aloud to be proud of their cultural identity.