Troy Southgate’s Tradition and Revolution
Tradition and Revolution:
The Collected Writings of Troy Southgate
Aarhus, Denmark: Integral Tradition Publishing, 2007
Troy Southgate is a musician, writer, and political activist who is well-known in rightist circles in the UK and Europe, but not in the United States. Tradition and Revolution brings together interviews, musings, poetry, stories, fictionalized diary entries, and forthright political and religious essays. It is an extraordinarily varied tour of the author’s inner and outer worlds.
Topics include home schooling, depopulation, the Wodenic mysteries, revolutionary Mohammedanism, and Sir Oswald Mosley (it is particularly nice to see an essay on Mosley: of all the fascists he is, perhaps, the most neglected).
These essays do not so much present Southgate’s worldview, as his trajectory through a number of different worldviews. The title does, however, isolate two threads that string his successive positions together: Traditionalism in the sense of Julius Evola and revolutionary politics, specifically white nationalism.
Southgate’s opening essay, “Transcending the Beyond: From Third Position to National Anarchism,” is an itinerary of his journey through England’s Far Right movements. The “third position” refers to attempts to stake out a genuine alternative to both capitalism and communism, which are not so opposed as commonly thought, since they are united in their materialism and progressivism. Southgate quotes Hilaire Belloc:
The only economic difference between a herd of subservient Russians and a mob of free Englishmen pouring into a factory of a morning is that the latter are exploited by private profits, the former by the State in communal fashion. The motive of the Russian masters is to establish a comfortable bureaucracy for themselves and their friends out of the proletariat labour. The motive of the English masters is to increase their private fortunes out the proletariat labour. But we want something different from either. (p. 20)
Opposed to materialism and progressivism are spiritual, organic, and historical/traditional conceptions of society, including nationalism in its narrow ethnic and broader racial forms. Third Positionism makes for some strange bedfellows: Catholic Distributists like Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton; National Socialists and fascists; Nick Griffin of the British National Party (at least at one stage of his career); and even Libya’s Colonel Quathafi (whose Green Book was distributed in National Front circles).
Eventually Southgate came to “transcend” the Third Position (the “beyond” left and right of his title) and embrace National Anarchism. Just as the Third Position defines itself in opposition to what unites capitalism and communism, National Anarchism defines itself in terms of what unites all three: an orientation toward capturing state power.
National Anarchism, by contrast, seeks to realize freedom now through the creation of organic, tribal, non-state forms of community. And, in a very libertarian turn of thought, National Anarchists affirm the right of all others to do the same, so long as they reciprocate that respect. The best place to further explore Southgate’s National Anarchism is Synthesis, the online journal of the “Cercle de la Rose Noire” dedicated to “Anarchy,” “Occulture,” and “Metapolitics.” See www.rosenoire.org.
One of the standout essays of this collection is “Militant Imperium” (Chapter 23, pp. 186-245, a chapter-by-chapter commentary on Julius Evola’s seminal Men Among the Ruins. Southgate demonstrates a strong grasp of the Italian philosopher’s thinking and has the rare ability to distill Evola’s work to its essence and reinterpret it in a manner accessible to the average reader. Indeed, one of the strengths of this entire collection is Southgate’s ability to approach a wide range historical, political, and spiritual topics, condense their essences — like a modern-day literary alchemist — and convey them to a wider audience.
Southgate also brings an impressive intensity to his writings. While most of these texts evoke the meditative, philosophical mood needed to comprehend and digest them, others, like chapter 16, “From Sacrifice Comes Victory,” are calls to action.
Although the bulk of Tradition and Revolution consists of non-fiction essays, these are interspersed with witty and fascinating bits of futuristic fiction, fictionalized diaries, and poems. These both compliment and contrast with the rest of the book.
It is one thing to talk about multiculturalism, another thing to see it: “Come with me,” Southgate’s fictional narrator extols, “Let me lead you through the dark alleyways of old London, where the rats and urban foxes battle it out over putrid scraps of shish-kebab. . .” (p. 136). Sometimes a few words are worth a thousand pictures.
Southgate also includes formal, rhyming poems, which are rare in contemporary collections of writing, having been neglected since liberal modern schools began weaning the popular taste away from traditional European literary forms.
What happened to Olde England?
Are these modern Saxons free?
Their chief concern is coffee spilt
Upon a pin-striped knee.
— “An Ode to Apathy” (p. 170)
This collection speaks very well for Mr. Southgate’s strength of character. Throughout this book, we see the author ever changing, ever searching, ever questioning in pursuit of truth and personal growth. Whether he is chronicling his spiritual journey through Catholicism, Paganism, Buddhism, and beyond, or explaining his involvements with various political groups, his voice is honest, secure, and remarkably free from ego. In these cynical times, it is quite refreshing to read someone who isn’t primarily concerned with his image at the expense of being honest and straightforward.