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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Second edition of Against the Modern World NOT coming soon

I've made a couple of references to a second edition of Against the Modern World, and Bob has just posted a comment asking if it will be available in English before too long.

The answer, I'm afraid, is that there are no immediate plans for a second edition in English. For now, it is available in Serbian, and should soon be available in Russian. That's it.

The main differences between the first and second editions are that
  1. errata (noted here) have been fixed, and many of the addenda (noted here and in some early entries to this blog) have been added in to the main text.

  2. the sections dealing with Russia have been entirely rewritten. Chapter 12 has become two chapters, and sections of chapter 13 are different. Some of the extra material concerned will be made available in English in stand-alone scholarly articles; when this happens, I'll announce it here.

Sorry, Bob!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Traditionalism in Israel

A visitor to this blog recently wondered about the possibility of Traditionalism in Israel.

What we find in Israel is not exactly Traditionalism, but more a local version of Dugin's Eurasianism: ЗА РОДИНУ [Za Rodinu]/Be’ad Artzeinu [To our homeland], headed by Rabbi Avraam Shmulevich and--to some extent--by Avigdor Eskin. Both are Israeli citizens of Russian origin, and both were in Moscow for the founding congress of the Eurasia Movement.

Be’ad Artzeinu has a website, www.zarodinu.org, which is mostly in Russian, but also has a Hebrew section and a small English section. Rabbi Shmulevich also has a blog, avrom.livejournal.com.

Avigdor Eskin has a blog, avigdor-eskin.com.

The more famous of the two is Eskin, who responded to the Oslo Accords by laying a death curse (pulsa d’nura or "lashes of fire") on Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995. This curse is believed generally to work within a period of 30 days. Thirty-two days after Eskin’s curse, Rabin was shot dead by Yigal Amir (neither a Traditionalist nor of Russian origin, but rather a student from Herzliya), and as a result, in 1997 Eskin was sentenced to four months in prison for incitement.

I wrote in the second edition of Against the Modern World:

Be’ad Artzeinu claims several hundred members, mostly of Russian origin. Its leader, Shmulevich, describes himself as "Hyperzionist," regarding the earlier Zionism that led to the creation of the State of Israel as obsolete, a view that is held by many Israelis—Israel, after all, now clearly exists, and Zionism has thus fulfilled its goal. Few Israelis, however, would agree with the ideology that Shmulevich proposes to replace the original Zionism of the founders of the State. Israel, according to Shmulevich, has a global mission: to lead the way into the twenty-first century, molding it as—he contends—Jews such as Marx, Einstein and Freud molded the twentieth century. As a first step, Israel must not only defeat proposals for a Palestinian state and the threat of Islamism, but go on to expand her control to cover the entire Middle East from the Nile to the Euphrates. This control need not be military: the techniques of economic and social control suggested in the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion would do equally well. As a second step, Israel must "reinstate the most primal layer of Tradition [that of Adam, the first Hyperzionist], but any such reinstatement would be also based on fusion with the most modern tendencies found in a post-industrial society."

Although Be’ad Artzeinu is suspected of violent actions against Arabs in the "occupied" territories, it admits only (with one exception) to non-violent protests, though it also admits that its ultimate aim is revolution within Israel to replace the current political class with Hyperzionists. Its protests are colorful: the Hyperzionists wear red shirts and march in ordered ranks, led by a sheepdog called Fritz, who on one occasion ate a salami-laced cabbage painted as the head of Yasser Arafat.

Israeli journalists have suggested to Shmulevich that such paramilitary attire might appear reminiscent of groups such as Hitler’s SA, to which Shumelvich replies (correctly) that it was not only the SA that used such techniques, but also Betar, the youth movement of Revisionist Zionism, the ultimate origin of the present Likud party. Also, he explains, "Revolution has to inspire, not to bore. You have to know how to spread an idea. The uniform and the provocations are parts of the marketing; the wrappings around the goods have to attract attention." Much the same might be said of the NBP and of many of Dugin’s own activities.

Eskin and Shmulevich’s participation in a Eurasia Movement that aims to embrace much of the Islamic world is paradoxical. The alliance with Islam was clearly not the element of neo-Eurasianism that appealed to them. What did appeal was the anti-American elements in neo-Eurasianism, which fit well with many settlers’ view of their own government as betraying them, the Jewish people, and Zionism, under American pressure. Shmulevich’s explanation of this betrayal was the "process of subordination of the political elite to Western influence," against which neo-Eurasianism struggles.

Shmulevich and Eskin are more neo-Eurasianists than Traditionalists, and there is no evidence that Eskin has ever read Guénon. Even their neo-Eurasianism is a consequence rather than a cause of their other activities—Eskin’s stance preceded the development of neo-Eurasianism, and his first known political activity was in 1979, when, at age 19, he and three other young settlers were arrested for breaking into Palestinian houses in Hebron, where they "overturned furniture and assaulted inhabitants." Three years later, in 1981, Eskin was again arrested, this time during a protest in front of the Soviet Airline Aeroflot’s offices in New York, and charged with "rioting, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct and attempted criminal mischief."

Monday, April 09, 2007

"Minor Rally In Central Moscow"

Alexander Dugin's first major "anti-Orange" action was something of a disappointment--for Dugin, at least.

"Nationalists Stage Minor Rally In Central Moscow," was the RadioFreeEurope headline. When announcing the rally in mid-March, Dugin spoke of 1,500 marchers (as against the 5,000 anti-Putin marchers who turned out in St Petersburg at the start of March). In the event he gathered only 600-700 (Moscow Times/Kommersant) or 400 (Associated Press, printed in The Herald Tribune), and they were not even allowed to march. Worse still, according to the Moscow Times, "Several participants . . . said they . . . had come to Moscow because they had been offered a free bus ride."

This disappointment is not surprising. As I wrote in the second edition of Against the Modern World (so far published only in Serbian):
Another reason for predicting little final significance for the Anti-Orange Youth Front is that Dugin’s other ventures into practical politics (the early NBP and the Eurasia Party) were never of much significance, and were certainly far less significant than his intellectual interventions (the ideological cement for the Red-to-Brown alliance, and then the Eurasia Movement itself). Dugin himself seems to accept this. When asked why, in that case, he persisted in such ventures, he responded that he had "never abdicated from concrete politics" and that it was necessary to "try to put into practice things that are impossible to put into practice" as a demonstration of faith, since intellectual activity is related to being.