Alexander Dugin is a popular, well-connected, and academically respected professor at Moscow State University. Unlike his North American and Western European counterparts, his ideas are not censored by Russia’s mainstream media, and he more or less enjoys the favor of Putin’s Russian government. While he’s indubitably the most prominent New Right thinker in Russia, his domestic influence and his ambitious efforts to build international partnerships and relationships have made him arguably the most prominent New Right thinker in the world.
His recently written and translated book, The Fourth Political Theory is a critical milestone in the global development of a New Right school of thought. In it, he strives to speak to a truly global audience, though his parochial biases and perspectives are a regular distraction from that goal. He strives to speak above and beyond modern liberal paradigms and values, but there’s a fair share of self-censorship, cleverness, and . . . Realpolitik . . . to wade through.
The Fourth Political Theory is a book that is clearly not short on ambition. I haven’t actually read it, but I already know more or less what is in it from past writings by its author Professor Alexander Dugin, as well as the lengthy video presentation he gave of his ideas at the Identitarian Ideas conference held earlier this year in Stockholm.
Dugin believes there have been three great ideologies in modern history – Liberalism, Communism, and Fascism/National Socialism – and that we are now seeing the formation of the Fourth, which is still waiting to be properly christened and so is known by an ordinal. In the footsteps of Locke, Marx, and Mussolini, we now have Dugin.
I greatly respect and like Dugin. With his Tolstoyan beard and aura of an old church father, he’s a personable and reassuring presence. But I also know how the academic world works, and how it finds all sorts of clever ways to serve different masters, and Professor Dugin is certainly well-connected to a lot of people in the Russian establishment. Is it a coincidence that his ideas support the existence of the Russian Orthodox Church or the multi-ethnic imperialism that is the unavoidable basis for a strong Russian state?
For Dugin, triumphant liberalism is embodied by Americanism; the United States, through its origins as an Enlightenment project, and through its superpower status in the twentieth and twenty-first century, is the global driver of liberal practice. As such, with the defeat of Marxism, it has created, and sought to perpetuate, a unipolar world defined by American, or Atlanticist, liberal hegemony. Russia has a long anti-Western, anti-liberal tradition, and for Dugin this planetary liberal hegemony is the enemy. Dugin would like the world to be multipolar, with Atlanticism counterbalanced by Eurasianism, and maybe other “isms.” In geopolitics, the need for a fourth political theory arises from a need to keep liberalism permanently challenged, confined to its native hemisphere, and, in a word, out of Russia.
Problems stemming from the West during the “unipolar moment” has led many to say that this “moment” is over, that he could not yet be a “destiny” of humanity.That is, a “unipolar moment” should be interpreted very broadly – not only geopolitical, but also ideologically, economically, axiologically, civilization wide. The crisis of identity, about which you ask, has scrapped all previous identities – civilizational, historical, national, political, ethnic, religious, cultural, in favor of a universal planetary Western-style identity – with its concept of individualism, secularism, representative democracy, economic and political liberalism, cosmopolitanism and the ideology of human rights.Instead of a hierarchy of identities, which have traditionally played a large role in sets of collective identities, the “unipolar moment” affirmed a flat one-dimensional identity, with the absolutization of the individual singularity. One individual = one identity, and any forms of the collective identity (for example, individual as the part of the religious community, nation, ethnic group, race, or even sex) underwent dismantling and overthrow. Hence the hatred of globalists for different kind of “majorities” and protection of minorities, up to the individual.
The Uni-polar Democracy of our moment - this is a democracy, which unambiguously protects the minority before the face of the majority and the individual before face of the group. This is the crisis of identity for those of non-Western or non-modern (or even not “postmodern”) societies,since this is where customary models are scrapped and liquidated. The postmodern West with optimism, on the contrary, asserts individualism and hyper-liberalism in its space and zealously exports it on the planetary scale.
The status quo of the West’s liberal hegemony has become global. It is a Westernization of all of humanity. This means that its norms, such as the free market, free trade, liberalism, parliamentarian democracy, human rights, and absolute individualism have become universal. This set of norms is interpreted differently in the various regions of the world, but the West regards its specific interpretation as being both self-evident and its universalization as inevitable. This is nothing less than a colonization of the spirit and of the mind. It is a new kind of colonialism, a new kind of power, and a new kind of control that is put into effect through a network. Everyone who is connected to the global network becomes subjected to its code. It is part of the postmodern West, and is rapidly becoming global. The price a nation or a people has to pay to become connected to the West’s globalization network is acceptance of these norms. It is the West’s new hegemony. It is a migration from the open hegemony of the West, as represented by the colonialism and outright imperialism of the past, to an implicit, more subtle version.
To fight this global threat to humanity, it is important to unite all the various forces that would, in earlier times, have been called anti-imperialist. In this age, we should better understand our enemy. The enemy of today is hidden. It acts by exploiting the norms and values of the Western path of development and ignoring the plurality represented by other cultures and civilizations. Today, we invite all who insist on the worth of the specific values of non-Western civilizations, and where there other forms of values exist, to challenge this attempt at a global universalization and hidden hegemony.
In today's world, the impression is growing that politics has ended – at least the politics that we used to know. Liberalism stubbornly fought it out with its political enemies, which had offered alternative recipes – with conservatism, monarchism, traditionalism, fascism, socialism, and communism – and, finally, at the end of the 20th century, it beat them all. It would have been logical to surmise that politics would become liberal, while all of liberalism's opponents, having turned up on the periphery, would begin to rethink strategies and to form a new front: the periphery against the centre (Alain de Benoist). But at the beginning of the 21st century everything followed a different script.
Liberalism, having always insisted upon the minimization of the political, decided after its victory to countermand politics altogether, possibly in order not to allow formation of political alternatives and to make its rule eternal, or from the completion of the political discussions of the day due to the lack of enemies, who are necessary, according to Carl Schmitt, for the proper constitution of a political position. In any case, liberalism drove the matter to the wrapping up of politics. At the same time it itself changed, having moved on from the level of ideas, political programs and declarations and entered into the very make-up of social reality, which became liberal, not in a political but in a natural, every-day manner. As a consequence of such a turn of history, all the political ideologies that feuded passionately with one another over the last century lost their currency. Conservatism, fascism and communism, together with their secondary variations, lost; but liberalism, having won, quickly mutated into a way of life: consumerism, individualism, and a post-modern style of fragmented and sub-political being. Politics became bio-politics, redeployed on an individual and sub-individual level. It turns out that not only the defeated political ideologies but politics as such left the scene – including the liberal variant. For that reason, the formulation of alternatives is proliferating. Those who do not agree with liberalism found themselves in a difficult situation: the victorious enemy dissolved and disappeared; they're fighting with the air. How, then, is one to engage in politics, when politics is no longer?
The current world is unipolar with the global West in its centre and with the United States as its core.
This kind of the unipolarity has geopolitical and ideological sides. Geopolitically is the strategic dominance of the earth by North-American hyperpower and the effort of Washington to organize the balance of forces on the planet in such a manner to be able to rule the whole world in accordance with its own national (imperialistic) interests. It is bad because it deprives other states and nations of their real sovereignty.
When there is only one instance to decide who is right and who is wrong and who should be punished we have a kind of the global dictatorship. I am convinced that is not acceptable. So we should fight against it. If someone deprives us from our freedom we have to react. And we will. The American Empire should be destroyed. And at one point it will be.
The second point. When we speak or write Russian, French, Serbian, Polish, German, Arab, Turkish, Iranian and so on we are linked to the regional perspective. Our native languages impose on us the concrete national borders, historical experiences and idiosyncrasies. So we count on understanding and presume that listeners know the contexts. So the social context dictates the form of expression and affects thus the various semantic levels. Using English we are free from all these, so we try to be understood by anyone including by those whose historical experience is different from ours. So we choose the words and terms carefully, explaining the details and doing so we rethink what we are to say.
New World Order as a concept was popular in a concrete historical momentum – precisely that when the Cold War ended (late 80’s, Gorbatchev era) and the global cooperation between the USA and Soviet Union was considered near and very probable. The basis of NWO was presumably realization of the convergence theory predicting the synthesis of Soviet socialist and Western capitalist political forms and near cooperation of the Soviet Union and USA in the case of regional issues – for example first Gulf War in the beginning of 1991. Hence, as the Soviet Union split soon after, this project of NWO was naturally set aside and forgotten.
After 1991 the other World Order was considered as something being created under our eyes – Unipolar World with open global hegemony of USA. It is described well in Fukuyama’s political utopia “End of history”. This World Order ignored any other poles of power except the USA and its allies (first of all Europe and Japan) and was thought as universalization of free market economy, political democracy and human rights ideology as global pattern accepted by all countries in the world.
We know that Marxism was a somewhat futuristic idea – Marxism prophesied the future victory of Communism at a time that nonetheless remained uncertain. In this regard it is a messianic doctrine, seeing the inevitability of its victory that would usher the culmination and end of the historical process. But Marx was a false prophet and the victory never eventuated.
Jean Baudrillard also states that this is not a clash of civilisations, but an almost innate resistance between one universal homogeneous culture and those who resist this globalisation.
Apart from liberalism two more ideologies are known for having tried to achieve world supremacy: Namely Communism (i.e. Marxism in its various aspects) and Fascism/National Socialism. As Alexander Gelyevich Dugin fairly notices, Fascism has arisen after the two ideologies and has disappeared before them. After the disintegration of the USSR the Marxism that was born in the 19th Century has been definitely discredited as well.