March 7 marked two years since the death of Guillaume Faye, the former number two ofnouvelle droite (new ). His death wasn’t big news in the media. In academic research, Faye exists mostly in the shadows of the so-called number one of the new , .
This lack of attention to his work contrasts with sharp uptake of his writings in contemporary far-groups around the world. Faye’s critique of the metapolitics of the nouvelle droite has proved to be very influential.
Debating the Intellectual Leader of the French New Right
In the first of a three-part series, I will zoom in on Faye’s conceptualization of metapolitics and the birth of what I call metapolitics 2.0. In the second part, I will show how “The Golden One,” a Swedish bodybuilder, YouTuber and new-metapolitical influencer, is emblematic of this new metapolitical battle. In the final article, I will further reflect on the role of algorithmic knowledge in contemporary metapolitics.
Guillaume Faye and Metapolitics 2.0
In his book, “Archeofuturism,” Faye argued that the nouvelle droite “had simply overlooked the fact that the cultural battle [Antonio] Gramsci promoted was associated with the political and economic battle.” Metapolitics, according to Faye in his metapolitical dictionary, is not only about “the social diffusion of ideas and cultural values for the sake of provoking a long-term, political transformation.” Metapolitics, he argued, is an “indispensable complement to every direct form of political action, though in no case can it or should it replace such action.”
Even more, in contemporary societies, Faye stressed, politics is a crucial scene for the metapolitical battle as politicians have privileged access to the media. Faye regretted, for instance, that the nouvelle droite never connected with the far-from onward. (Note that Faye explicitly stresses the importance of media and media attention in the context of metapolitics.)
Faye’s conception of metapolitics as necessarily connected to politics, activism and media was taken up by many key figures in the contemporary far reader devoted to the establishment of the “North American New ,” as well as in his 2013 book, “New vs. Old ” and in several blogs and essays on Counter-Currents.. For example, the intellectual, publisher and editor-in-chief of Counter-Currents, Greg Johnson, reproduced Faye’s critique extensively in his 2012
Johnson reentextualizes Faye’s work in a different, US context addressing American readers and making an abstraction of Faye’s anti-Americanism. He argues that the North American newshould take Faye’s lessons on board. He even made that explicit in his definition of the new : “The North American New is an intellectual movement with a political agenda’ that because of its ‘aims to change the political landscape’ does not ‘enjoy the luxury of ignoring party and electoral politics.” Johnson thus fully subscribes and reproduces Faye’s assessment of the nouvelle droite and sees in it as a foundation to establish a North American new .
Faye’s understanding of metapolitics as more than just production of theory (and Johnson’s reentextualization of it) has been taken up by different websites and activists within the alt-and the global new . From the start, metapolitics had an important role within the alt- . In the context of the liberal society, several key figures argue that metapolitics is at the heart of the new- cultural construction of that future society.
“Any political struggle must be preceded, legitimised, and supported by a metapolitical struggle,” says publisher Daniel Friberg. This metapolitical strategy is also visible in the classical metapolitical structures influenced by the nouvelle droite — think-tanks like Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute, congresses, books, papers and essays. But particularly in the US, it was also embedded in vlogs, memes and offline practices influenced by digital culture and in activism for former President Donald Trump.
In the American uptake of metapolitics, not only did the goal change (a vitalistic reconstructing of American society), but the conceptualization of metapolitics did too. The “prosumer,” and thus not only the intellectual or politician, became a metapolitical actor. “[O]ne individual on an American college campus who tapes a sign reading ‘It’s OK to be White’ to a lamppost,” says the editor-in-chief, John Bruce Leonard, acts metapolitically because his action seeks “to shift or shatter” the political conventions. The intellectual, the politician, the activist and the prosumer are now all imagined as part of the new metapolitical battle, all helping “to prepare the way for the regime which will supplant democracy. The deepest work of the metapolitician of is therefore necessarily anti-democratic: he seeks to produce a society in which metapolitics, save in its conservative aspect.”
Even more, just because the new Friberg, “can never be more than complements to broader cultural and political work. The results of elections are but products of how public opinion has been formed and how, what and in what manner information has been spread between these elections.”denounces parliamentary democracy, politicians are only understood within the logic of metapolitics. “Parliamentary efforts,” says
In the 21st century, it is Guillaume Faye’s broad conceptualization of metapolitics that was taken up and stretched to include digital activism.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.
In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.
We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost money. Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.