Jean Thiriart: Prophet and Militant – Carlo Terracciano

“I write for a species of man that does not yet exist, for the Masters of the Earth…” (F. Nietzsche, The Will to Power)

The sudden disappearance of Jean Thiriart was for us like a thunder strike in a serene sky, for us, European militants who, in the course of many successive decades, learned to appreciate this thinker of action, especially since his return to active politics, after a good number of years in “interior exile” where he meditated and reformulated his previous positions. Even more so, his death surprised us, his Italian friends that he had known personally during his trip to Moscow in August 1992, where we formed together a Western European delegation close to the most representative personalities of the National Salvation Front. This front, thanks to the work of the indefatigable Alexander Dugin, mystic and geopolitical leader of the magazine Den (Day), came to know and value a good number of the aspects of the thought of Thiriart and spread them in the countries of the ex-USSR and Eastern Europe. Personally, I have the intention, in the following lines, of honoring the memory of Jean Thiriart by underlining the importance that his thought had and always has in our country, Italy, in the 60s and 70s in the domain of geopolitics. In Italy, his reputation essentially rested on his book, the only one that had truly given an organic coherence to his thought in the domain of international politics: “Europe: An Empire of 400 Million,” edited by Giovanni Volpe in 1965, nearly been 30 years ago.

Only three years had passed since the end of the French experience in Algeria. This dramatic event was the last great mobilization of the nationalist right, not only on French soil, but in the other countries of Europe, including Italy. The profound reasons of the Algerian tragedy were not understood by the anti-Gaullists who who fought for French Algeria. They did not understand what were the geopolitical stakes of the affair and that the victorious powers of the Second World War intended to redraw the maps to their advantage, above all the United States. How many of these militants of French Algeria understood, in their time, what was the principal enemy of France and Europe? How many of these men intuitively understood that, in the historical scheme, the loss of Algeria, proceeded by the loss of Indochina, as the collapse of the whole European veteran-colonial system, were the direct consequences of the European military defeat in 1945? It was actually not only a defeat of Germany and Italy, but also of Europe entirely, Great Britain and France included. Not a single colony of the old colonial system which in turn became subject to a new form, more modern and subtle, of neo-colonialist imperialism.

By pondering the events of Suez (1956) and Algeria, the “National Revolutionaries,” as they called themselves, concluded by formulating various considerations and analyses on the consequences of these two tragic affairs, considerations and analyses that still more differentiate them from the “classic right” of the post-war, animated by a visceral anti-communism and by the slogan of the defense of the West, white and Christian, against the simultaneous assault of Soviet communism and the movements of national liberation of the colored peoples of the Third World. In a certain sense, the cultural and political shock of Algeria can be compared to what was, for the left, the whole of events in Indochina, before and after 1975. The old vision of international politics perfectly integrated into the economic, global, and geopolitical strategy of American thalassocracy, the fascists as the post-fascists (or at least pretending so), according to its geo-strategic project global domination. All to arrive today at the “New World Order,” likewise already aborted and which seems to be the inverse and satanic caricature of the Eurocentric “New Order” of Hitlerian creation.

The French New Right, to give only one example, began its path at the moment of the events in Algeria to embark upon a long march of political and ideological revision, that resulted in the recent voyage of Alain de Benoist to Moscow, an obligatory step for all the opposing revolutionaries of Europe to the globalist system. The approach was thus made by Benoist, despite his relapses and subsequent denials, supported by some of his most seedy henchmen, who have not yet evidently fully understood the real bearing of this meetings between Western Europeans and Russians on the planetary level and prefer to lose themselves in sterile barnyard quarrels, who have no motivations other than personal ones, revealing petty hatreds and idiosyncratic spites. In this domain as in others, Thiriart had already given the example, by contrasting to the natural differences existing between men and interested schools of thought, the supreme interest of struggle against American imperialism and Zionism.

To return to Italy, we must recall the situation that reigned in this distant year 1965, when the work of Thiriart was published: the national-revolutionary forces, then integrated into the Italian Social Movement (MSI), were then victims of an antique-fascist provincialism, provincialism cynically utilized by the political hierarchy of the MSI, completely subservient to the strategy of the United States and NATO (a political line that will subsequently be faithfully followed, even in the course of the brief parenthesis of “Rautist” management, supposedly inspired by the national-revolutionary theses of Pino Rauti, management that supported the intervention of Italian troops in Iraq, on the side of the US Army.) The leaders of this collaborationist right used revolutionary groups at the base, essentially composed of very young people, to create designated militants destined, ultimately, to gather the necessary votes to send “entryist” deputies to parliament, to serve as support for reactionary center-right governments. And all that, certainly, was not in the interest of Italy or Europe, but only in that of the occupying power, the United States. And once again, we were dealt centralizing and chauvinist petty nationalism, used to the benefit of foreign and cosmopolitan interests!

It was also the time where the extreme right was still capable of mobilizing on the streets of Italy thousands of youth who proclaimed that Trent and Triest were and remain Italian, or to commemorate each year the events in Hungary in 1956! May 68 was still far way, it seemed light-years in the distance! The Italian right, in its prospects, didn’t see that this revolution was promised. In such a human and political context, antique-nationalist, provincial, and, in practice, philo-American (that would then open into the pseudo-putschist farce of 1970, that would consequently lead to, in the course of the entire decade, the sadly famous “years of lead,” with their cortege of state crimes), the work of Jean Thiriart had for a great number of nationalists, the effect of a bomb; a salutary electric shock that made nationalist extremism face problems, that, certainly, were not new, but were forgotten or had fallen into disuse. Today, we cannot even take count of the practical political effects that unfolded from the thought of Thiriart, even if these effects, firstly, were very modest. We say that from the publication of Thiriart’s book, the European theme became bit by bit the ideal patrimony of an entire sphere that, in the following years, wold develop today’s anti-globalist themes.

Without exaggeration we can affirm that it’s in this epoch that the themes of the Nation-Europe, of an anti-imperialist struggle that wasn’t of the “left,” of the geostrategic alliance with the revolutionaries of the third world were developed. The adoption of this theme is even more astonishing and significant when we know that the adventure of Jeune Europe began with a struggle against the Algerian FLN. Thiriart had, in this scheme, completely changed camp, without for all that substantially changing his vision of the world, he who had, some decades before, left the ranks of the Belgian extreme left to join in collaboration with the Germanic Third Reich, without losing sight of the Soviet factor. These political-ideological acrobatics earned him accusations of “double agent,” always at the order of Moscow!

In Italy, the Italian section of Jeune Europe (Giovane Europa) was rapidly established. Despite the political origin of the majority of its militants, Giovane Europa had no direct affiliation with Giovane Italia, the student organization of the MSI (copied in turn from the Giovine Italia of Mazzini in the 19th century); on the contrary, Giovane Europa was practically the antithesis, the opposite alternative. Once the militant experience of Giovane Europa ended, the majority of its militants found themselves in Movimento Politico Ordine Nuovo (MPON), opposed to the political line extolling parliamentary participation, as the partisans of Pino Rauti wanted, who had returned to the ranks of the MSI of Almirante.

If we account for the unique role that the thought of Julius Evola played in the cultural and ideological scheme in Italy, we must not forget that Jean Thiriart drove, for his part, a unique attempt to renovate the national forces in these years and in the years to come. Even one Giorgio Freda himself recognized his debts, in the scheme of ideas, towards the Belgian militant and thinker.

Another particular and very important aspect of the book “Europe: An Empire of 400 Million”, it’s to have anticipated, in many decades, a fundamental theme, recently coming into the debate, notably in Russia, thanks the initiatives of Alexander Dugin and the magazine Den, and in Italy, thanks to the magazines Orion and Aurora: geopolitics. The first phrase of Thiriart’s book, in the Italian version, is exactly dedicated to this essential science that has as its objects peoples and their governments, a science that was submitted, in our after war period, to a very long ostracism, under the pretext of having been the instrument of Nazi expansion! An accusation at least incongruous as we know that at Yalta the victors shared the spoils of Europe and the rest of the world on the basis of properly geopolitical and geostrategic considerations. Thiriart was perfectly aware, in writing his first chapter, significantly entitled “From Brest to Bucharest. Erase Yalta”: “In the context of geopolitics and common civilization, as will be shown later, the unitary and communitarian Europe extends from Brest to Bucharest.” By writing this phrase, Thiriart posed the geographical and ideal limits of his Europe, but later he would surpass these limits, to arrive at a unitary conception of the geopolitical great space that is Eurasia. One more time, Thiriart demonstrated that he was a lucid anticipator of political themes that only matured slowly among his readers, at least some of them …

But it is not only that! Conjointly with the great ideal of the Europe-Nation and the rediscovery of geopolitics, the reader is obliged to look anew on the great spaces of the planet. It was another merit of Thiriart to have surpassed the European trauma of the era of decolonization and to have found, for European nationalism, a global strategic alliance with the governments of the third world, not subservient to imperialism, in particular in the Arab Islamic zone, in North Africa and the Middle East. It is true that those who discovered geopolitics, could do nothing other than see the events of the world under a new light, a new perspective. And it’s in such a context, for example, that we must understand the numerous voyages of Thiriart to Egypt, Romania, etc, just as with his meetings with Chou Enlai and Ceaucescu or with the Palestinian leaders. Everywhere where it was possible to do something, Thiriart sought to weave a network of planetary information and alliances in an anti-imperialist perspective. Moreover, we note all the same that the Cuban revolution, with its originality, exercised on from own side its own influence. With this synthetic style, almost telescopic, Thiriart himself traced in his texts the essential lines of foreign policy of the united future Europe:

“The directive lines of the unitary Europe:

with Africa: symbiosis

with Latin America: alliance

with the Arab world: amity

with the United States: relations based on equality”

Apart from the utopia that was his hope with equal relations with the United States, we will would note that his geopolitical vision was perfectly clear: he wanted great continental blocs and was very distant in his entire vision from a little “occidental and Atlantic” Europe that, like today, is only an Eastern appendix of Yankee thalassocracy, having the Atlantic ocean for a center of gravity, reduced to the function of “internal lake” of the United States. Certainly, today, after the political adventure of Thiriart, some of these geopolitical opinions, in the “national” milieu, could seem evident, banal, for each, simplistic and integrable to the others. But apart from the fact that all that was hardly clear for the ensemble of “nationalists” (it suffices to think of certain racist/ biological and anti-Islamic resurgences of pseudo-Nazism, utilized and instrumentalized by American and Zionist propaganda in an anti-European goal), we do not tire of repeating that in thirty years, this purely geopolitical opinion of Thiriart, spotless of all racist connotations, was very original and courageous, in a bipolar world, apparently opposing two antagonist military and ideological blocs, in a “horizontal” perspective of conflict between East and West and under the menace of mutual nuclear annihilation, above all for the “allies” of the two major powers in Europe.

We can affirm today that if many among us, in Italy, have progressively happened to surpass this false dichotomous vision of planetary conflict, and well before the collapse of the USSR and the Soviet bloc, it’s due for the most part to the fascination that the theses propagated by Thiriart exercised in the epoch, with his brilliant intuitions. Effectively, we can speak of “brilliance,” in politics as in all other domains of human knowledge, when they predicted and exposed (from the Latin exponere, to outwardly ask, to highlight) the facts or the events that were still hidden, unknown, unclear for others and only gradually emerged from their hidden state to clearly happen to the world in a more or less distant future. On this chapter, we want simply to recall the assertions of Thiriart relative to the geopolitical dimensions of the future European state, contained in the chapter (10, §1) entitled “The dimensions of the European state. The Europe from Brest to Vladivostok” (pp. 28 to 31 of the French edition):

“Europe enjoys a great historical maturity, it henceforth knows the vanity of Crusades and wars of conquest towards the East. After Charles XII, Bonaparte and Hitler, it could measure the risks of similar enterprises and their price. If the USSR wants to keep Siberia, it must make peace with Europe – with the Europe from Brest to Bucharest, I repeat. The USSR does not have and will have less and less force to keep both Warsaw and Budapest on one hand, and Chita and Khabarovsk on the other. It should choose or risk losing all”

Further:

“Our politics differed from that of General de Gaulle because he committed or commits three errors:

Putting the border of Europe at Marseilles and not at Algiers;

Putting the border of the Soviet Bloc / Europe at the Urals and not at Siberia;

Finally, wanting to deal with Moscow before the liberation of Bucharest” (pg. 31)

To the read of these two brief extracts, we cannot say that Jean Thiriart lacked perspicacity and foresight. But these phrases were written, we repeat, in an epoch where sincerely European militants, even the most audacious, just barely managed to conceive of a European unity from Brest to Bucharest, that is to say a Europe limited to the Western peninsula of Eurasia; for Thiriart, already it only represented a step, a springboard to launch, for a much vaster project, that of imperial continental unity. Do not speak, therefore, of nationalist rights, including those of today, which only infinitely repeat their provincialism, under the watchful eye of their their American patron. It already has been thirty years, Thiriart goes further: he denounced all the geopolitical absurdity of the Gaullist project (De Gaulle was another directly responsible for the defeat of Europe, in the name of the antique-nationalist chauvinism of the Hexagon) of a Europe extending from the Atlantic to the Urals, endorsing, this absurd continental vision, proper for geography professors, that traces on paper maps of an imaginary frontier to the peaks of the Urals, that never stopped anyone, neither the Huns nor the Mongols nor the Russians.

Europe defends itself on the banks of the Amur and Ussuri, that is to say, Europe plus Russia, a destiny clearly drawn by the history and the geopolitics of the Orient, in Siberia, in the Far East of European culture, and this destiny opposes to the West the American civilization of the Bible and Business. As for the history of encounters and confrontations between peoples, it’s nothing other than geopolitics acting, as geopolitics is nothing other than the historical destinies of peoples, nations, ethnicities, and empires, even religions, in power. In passing, we should add that the conception of Jean Thiriart, given that it was still linked to “nationalist” models influenced by revolutionary France, was finally more “imperial” than imperialist. He always refused, until the end, the definitive hegemony of one people over all the others. The Eurasia of tomorrow will not be any more Russian than it will be Mongol, Turk, French or Germanic: as when all these peoples have exercised sole hegemony, they failed. Failures that should serve as lessons.

Who could, thirty years ago, have predicted with such precision the intrinsic weakness of this military-industrial colossus that was the USSR, that seemed at the time always thrown into the conquest of more new spaces, on all the continents, in bitter competition with the United States that would later surpass it? With time, finally, all that was revealed as a gigantic bluff, a historic mirage probably fabricated from scratch by globalist forces in the West to maintain peoples in servitude, with, it’s key, constant blackmail by terror. All that to manipulate the peoples and nations of the Earth to the benefit of the supreme strategic interest, unique, posed as the sole “truth”: that of planetary superpower that is the United States, territorial army base of the globalist project. Ultimately, to speak in the language of geopolitics, it’s the “politics of the anaconda” that prevailed, as it was defined in the past, with the same words, by the German geopolitician Haushofer, and defined today by Russian geopoliticians, at the head of which is Colonel Morozov; the Americans and the globalists always search to remove the territorial pivot of Eurasia from potential outlets on the warm seas, before nibbling away bit by bit the territory of Soviet “tellurocracy.” The point of departure for this strategy of nibbling: Afghanistan.

Jean Thiriart had already brought to light, in his book in 1965, the brute and crude reasons that animate international politics. It’s not by chance, anyway, that one of his models was Machiavelli, author of the Prince. Certainly, pessimists will tell us, if the Thiriart the analyst of politics had known to anticipate and predict, the militant Thiriart, organizer and political leader of the first model of a trans-national European organization, failed. Or because the international situation was then not yet sufficiently mature (or rotten), as we state today, or because there was no “sanctuary” of departure, as Thiriart had judged indispensable. Actually, he lacked in Jeune Europe a free territory, a state completely foreign to the conditions imposed by the superpowers, that could have served as base, a refuge, a source of provision for the European militants of the future. A bit like Piedmont was for Italy. All the encounters of Thiriart on the international level aimed for this objective. All failed. Realistically, Thiriart renounced political engagement, instead of resuming his discourse and waiting for the occasion to present itself, and even a better occasion, that of having a great country from which he could propose his strategy: Russia. The destiny of this Belgian citizen by birth but European by vocation was strange: he was always “timeless,” surprised by events. He always predicted them but was always surpassed by them.

His conception of Eurasian geopolitics, his vision that globally designated the United States as the objective absolute enemy, could be perceived as indications of an enlightened “visionary,” curbed only the a rational Cartesian spirit, and rationalized as ultimate authority. His historical and biological materialism, his centralizing and total European nationalism, his closeness to ecological and animal themes, his personal positions facing ethno-cultural specificities, his hostility in principle to all religious pathos, his ignorance of all metapolitical dimensions, his admiration for the Jacobinism of the French Revolution, a stumbling block for a good number of Francophone anti-globalists: all that constituted the limits of his thought and the residues of antique-materialist, progressive, and Darwinist conceptions, more and more removed from contemporary cultural, religious, and political choices, among the men and people engaged, in the whole of Eurasia and in the entire world, in the struggle against globalism. The “rationalist” ideas that Thiriart endorsed were, on the contrary, the cultural and political soil on which globalism germinated in the course of past centuries. These aspects of the thought of Thiriart revealed their limits, during the last months of his existence, notably in the colloquiums and conversations in Moscow in August 1992. His intellectual development seems to have been definitively arrested in the epoch of linear and progressives historicism, with its mythology of a “radiant future for humanity.”

Such a rationalist vision did not permit him to understand phenomena so important as the Islamic revival or the new Eurasian Russian “mysticism,” as well as their political projections of a highly revolutionary and anti-globalist tenor. And do not even speak of the impact of the traditionalist visions of an Evola or a Guenon. Thiriart thus conveyed this “cultural” handicap, which did not prevent us from meeting in Moscow in August 1992, where we picked his innumerable political intuitions. Some of this intuitions were made alongside young European militants who went to meet the protagonists of the “Eurasian” vanguard of the Russian National Salvation Front, gathered around the magazine Den and the movement of the same name. We thus discovered in the capital of the ex-Soviet empire he was perfectly recognized as a vanguard thinker by the Russian. The geopolitical teachings of Thiriart had germinated in Russia, it’s indubitable, while in the West they have always been ignored or even despised. Thiriart had a far reaching impact, in the glacial expanses of Siberian Russian, in the heart of the Old World, near the central pivot of Eurasian tellurocracy.

Is it an irony in the history of political doctrines, that arises at the moment of their practical actualization or is it the nth confirmation of this old adage, “no one is a prophet in his country?” The long “interior exile” of Thiriart thus seemed finished, he had retired from active politics for good and had surmounted this retirement that, from the start, was a great deception. He flooded us with written documents, records of oral statements. The flood seemed like it must never end! As if he sought to make up for the time he had lost in disdainful silence. Moved by a childlike enthusiasm, sometimes excessive and aggravating. Thiriart committed himself to giving lessons in history and geopolitics, exact sciences and political science, and any other imaginable disciplines, to the general public and journalists, to parliamentarians and writers, to politicians of the ex-USSR and Islamic militants of the CIS, and also, certainly, to the Italians present, who had, at the same time as him, known changes of opinion, apparently unexpected. And all that happened in the Russia of today, where all is henceforth possible and nothing is certain (and which could be, who knows, the Russia of tomorrow when this article appears); we actually deal with a Russia suspended between a glorious past and a gloomy future, but full of unimaginable possibilities. It was there that Jean Thiriart found a new youth.

In a city of Moscow that survives day to day between apathy and feverishness, seeming to wait for “something” whose name or face we do not know; a city where everything happens, where everything that can happens in a special dimension, between heaven and earth. On the Russian soil everything and its opposite can spring forth: salvation and extreme perdition, rebirth or the end, a new power or the total disintegration of a people who were imperial and became today miserable plebians. Ultimately, it is this, and only this, which is the destiny of all the European peoples and, ultimately, of planet Earth. The alternative is very clear: we will have a new Eurasian empire that will guide us in the struggle for the liberation of ALL the peoples of the globe or we will assist in the triumph of globalism and American hegemony for the next whole millennium. It was there that the writer and political man Jean Thiriart found the hope to put in practice his past intuitions, this time on a much vaster scale. On this Russian soil, where the messianic army of the peoples of Eurasia, new avatar of a cycle of civilization or the Antichrist of John’s prophecy can arise, we will have a space for all alchemy and political experience, inconceivable if we look on it with the eyes of a Westerner. Russia today is an immense laboratory, a virgin political territory that can fertilize the grafts that came from afar, a virgin territory where liberty and power seek to join and attempt a new synthesis: “The way to liberty passes through that of power,” Thiriart underlined in his fundamental book:

“Thus it should not be forgotten, or it is necessary to teach those who are ignorant. The freedom of the weak is a noble myth, an ingenuity for demagogic or electoral utilization. The weak were never free and never will be. Only the freedom of the strong exists. He who wants to be free, must want to be powerful. He who wants to be free must be capable of stopping other free men, because freedom is invasive and tends to encroach on that of weak neighbors.”

Or still:

“It is criminal from the point of view of political education to tolerate that the masses can be intoxicated by debilitating lies like those that consist of “declaring peace” to their neighbors, imagining they can keep their freedom. Each of our freedoms was acquired following repeated and bloody fights and each of those will only be maintained if we can display the force capable of discouraging those who would want to deprive us. More than others, we enjoy many freedoms and reject numerous constraints. But we know how much these liberties are perpetually threatened. Whether as an individual, or as a nation, we know the source of freedom and it’s power. If we want to maintain the first, we must cultivate the second. They are inseparable.” (p. 301-302).

Here’s a page which, by itself, could assure its author a post in the faculty of history of political sciences. When everything seems possible again and when the game of grand political strategies returns to the forefront, on a chessboard as big as the world, when Thiriart had barely glimpsed the possibility of giving life to his grand idea of unity, there arose the last stroke of fate: death. Despite its inevitability, it is an event that always surprises us, that leaves us with a feeling of regret and incompleteness. In the case of Thiriart, the fact of death made the spirit roam and we imagine everything that this elite man could have yet brought to our combats, all that he could have yet taught to those who share our cause, if only in simple exchanges of opinion, if only making propositions in political and cultural matters.

Ultimately, it behooves us to underline the completeness of the work of Thiriart. More than anyone else, he had completely systematized his political thought, while always remaining fully coherent with his own premises and remaining faithful to the style that he gave to his life. To him, least of all, we can not say anything post mortem that he had not already said, neither adapting his texts and his theses to the political requirements of the moment. The fact remains, doubtlessly, that without Jean Thiriart, we would not be what we became. In effect, we are all heirs in the scheme of his ideas, which we have known personally or through coming across his writings. We have all been, from one moment or another of our political life or ideological quest, the debtors of his analyses and meteoric intuitions. Today, we all feel a bit like orphans.

At this instant, we want to recall a political writer, a man who was simply passionate, brash, with overflowing vitality, a face always illuminated with a youthful smile and a soul animated by a consuming passion, the same that burns in us, without vacillating, without the least uncertainty or bending. The case of Jean Thiriart? It’s the living, vital embodiment, of an elite man who brought his gaze into the distance, who saw further, beyond the contingencies of the present, where the masses remain prisoners. I wanted to paint the portrait of a militant prophet.

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