The Most Dangerous Fascist in Europe? Some Impressions On Opening Anders Breivik’s Manifesto 2083.
As a conscientious anti-fascist, I have been taking a look at Anders Breivik’s European Declaration of Independence, aka Manifesto 2083, aka Compendium 2083. Sorry, but I’m not going to say where it can be located, for the obvious reason that I won’t be providing any assistance in spreading its poison.
For anyone whose attention it might have escaped, the said manifesto is the text which Anders Behring Breivik compiled and then posted to over 1,000 addressees, shortly before going on a bombing and mass shooting spree in Norway on July 22nd 2011.
At three quarters of a million words plus, I haven’t read this document in anything like its entirety, and will not be doing so. Also, apart from the fact that its sheer size makes it so unwieldy, there is no proper table of contents, or an index. So navigation of the thing is extremely difficult. Apologies therefore to readers of this article, for any misrepresentations which may have crept in as a result.
Nevertheless, by judiciously sampling the main sections, I can say that this piece of work is far from being the rambling, incoherent diatribe which sections of the media have claimed. Indeed, I still cannot reconcile its polite matter of fact tone with the hate crazed maniac who killed knocking on for a hundred people in cold blood.
Those problems notwithstanding, the compendium presents a number of interesting features.
The first is that the author uses an anglicised form of his name, Andrew Berwick, and clearly feels an affinity towards England. That may or may not be connected with the fact that he spent the first year of his life in this country, and/or the fact that his father left home at the end of that first year. (For more on the far right and father figure role models, see Back from the Front: Inside the mind of a reformed UK far-right extremist)
Secondly, the entire document is in English, rather than Norwegian. That is to be expected, given the catchment area of the people Breivik wanted to reach. However, for someone not using his native language, it is remarkably well written in a friendly, conversational style, which makes it feel like the guidebook or manual it is intended to be. I have long since become accustomed to endless semi-literate bludgeonings of their English mother tongue by the British far right. So it’s a surprise to find that Breivik comes across as lucid, intelligent and surprisingly rational.
Thirdly, for a Norwegian nationalist, Breivik talks of “Europe”, far more than he does of “Norway”. In fact, he sees the future as consisting of a battle between the native Europeans and the Muslim hordes, who he thinks are trying to overrun this continent. There are of course other issues involved in Breivik’s grand scheme, not the least being a desire to return to a more stable past; when it was proper to refer to women as ladies; when there were no CCTV cameras; and when nobody ever got mugged, or prosecuted for smoking indoors; and the world had not yet been cursed with the twin evils of Cultural Marxism, and its inevitable derivative, political correctness. Come to think of it, spree killings by lone gunmen were pretty rare in those days also.
Whatever, Breivik presents a picture of a Europe which is under attack from without, via the forces of Mohammed, and from within via the forces of cultural Marxism. Only by sweeping these twin evils from Europe entirely can future generations retain or reclaim their European ethnic identity.
At this point it would be as well to explain the significance of the number 2083.
It represents the 400th anniversary of the battle of Vienna, which was fought on September 12th 1683, and which is often taken to mark the downturn in the fortunes of the Ottoman empire. In one place Breivik conveniently timeshifts this date to September 11th to coincide with the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre. Thus September 11th 2083 is the deadline he has set for the final elimination of all Islamic influence from Europe.
Non-antifascists might be forgiven for thinking that this is the work of someone who has spent just a little too long in the sun. But up to now this is pretty standard far right ideological fare. Indeed, much of it repeats arguments which are regularly posted on the BNP website.
What marks Manifesto 2083 out from other far right propaganda, however, is the sheer breadth of ground it covers, and the mind boggling depths of detail he goes into. For instance, checking what he says about aforementioned Cultural Marxism leads one not just into discussions on the differences between Economic Marxism and CM and then on to the topic of political correctness, but into discourses on the major proponents of CM. Names such as Gramsci, Adorno and Lukacs are dealt with in reasonable detail, as is the so-called Frankfurt school, which centred around the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt, and of which Adorno and Lukacs were part.
My first reaction on seeing this was that fascists had at last found the major intellectual they had managed without for all these years; a theorist who could compete on equal terms with Lenin and Trotsky, and even Marx himself.
They haven’t, or at any rate, Anders is not that theorist, and his work seems devoid of anything resembling analysis or criticism or attempts at hypothesis building. In fact it is just a rehash of the bias, bigotry and truth distortion for which the far right is infamous. As a single example, Breivik goes into quite a lot of detail to highlight various genocides which have been perpetrated by Muslims, including one that in no way justifies the term. This is the so called slave massacre of the Hindu Kush, which is said to have taken place somewhere in the early Mediaeval period.
The aim here as elsewhere is to portray Islam as inherently barbaric, especially when compared with the world’s other great religions. Granted some shocking cases are listed, although their barbarism has to be understood against the barbarism of their age.
But is, say, the Turkish massacre of the Armenians, somehow meant to absolve Europeans of the many massacres which have stained our own history? I would have scarcely thought so.
What’s more, for a large part of this document, Breivik has done little more than raid Wikipedia, and other Internet sources, albeit in a frighteningly thorough manner.
How much of the Manifesto represents a straight cut and paste job is anybody’s guess, but the document is further padded out with the inclusion of a good many tracts by fellow conservative revolutionaries. These include someone who writes under the name Fjordlander (Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen), the Daily Mail’s very own Melanie Phillips!, and Robert Spencer, anti-Islamic author and co-founder of Stop Islamization of America. As if that wasn’t enough, he samples the works of at least two English poets, namely Ted Hughes and Wilfred Owen, as well as the Anglo-Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.
I am not sure why he has included Owen, except that he argues against Owen’s pacifism, in saying that there are worse things even than war; Sharia law for instance. But here’s what he says about Ted Hughes.
“Hughes was a Yorkshireman, and the blood of the Danes runs thick in the veins of Yorkshire. Especially in the North Riding – the closer one gets to Whitby, the more natural blond hair in evidence, and the more obvious the Danish place names.”
Now I know Whitby extremely well, and I can confirm that blonde hair is no more evident there than anywhere else in Britain. Moreover, Hughes came from the West Riding of Yorkshire, not the North.
Getting back to the point. Having presented Islam and Cultural Marxism as twin pillars of evil, Breivik spends a huge amount of time discussing the revision of history by Cultural Marxists; a process of negationism, whereby the “large-scale and long-term crimes against humanity” which are perpetrated by Islam have been hidden from history by a coalition of Islamic fundamentalists and Marxist academics. These evils are of course allowed to prosper thanks to the European presence of weak and secular politicians, journalists and intellectuals. And as if that wasn’t enough, we are presented with lengthy discourses on every topic that he seems capable of dreaming up. The following examples don’t even come close to scratching the surface, but they include the history of Islam; western apologists for Islam; Islamic genocides; the crusades; the Ottoman Empire; the establishment of Israel; European Crusader heroes; The EU; The UN; The European Court of Human Rights; feminism; sociology; the feminisation of European males; and anti-western propaganda in school curricula.
Somewhere along the line, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where, the Manifesto turns into a terrorists’ handbook. This, Breivik claims, is because armed resistance against the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist regimes of Western Europe is the only rational approach. In other words we must prepare for a pan-European civil war against both the Islamic intruders and against the indigenous advocates for multi-culturalism/political correctness/cultural Marxism.
How does he intend reaching this state of Armageddon? Well, stage one is the reconstitution of the Knights Templar, followed by the re-education of the European peoples via this manifesto, followed by unless I’ve missed a stage, clandestine guerrilla warfare. There are also questions of organization, discipline and funding to be taken care of. And Breivik takes care of them, along with questions of how to avoid raising suspicion among one’s friends and relatives, ending up on police surveillance files, and maintaining morale and motivation by taking time out from the struggle to go for long walks and listening to Nazi pop singers such as Saga.
Then there are the questions of acquiring weapons, uniforms and body armour, training and explosives research and how to hide a cache of arms. He even, and I am not making this up, advises would be Aryan warriors on the need to take a handsaw when burying armaments in case of tree roots!
The weirdest section of the entire document though is probably the one headed
‘Creating your mining/agriculture cover before an acquisition phase’.
Here Breivik tells the would be terrorist how to set up a business in mining or agriculture; the principal reason for this being to act as a cover for the acquisition of explosives, or materials used in explosives. This leads into a huge discourse over crop rotation, soil fertility, what crops to plant, and how much fertilizer the crop will require. The point here seems to be that you will need to tailor your crop to the amount of fertilizer you will need to make explosives. And let’s face it, a pan-European civil war could require an awful lot of explosive.
There is much more, but I think you’ve got the gist. Anders Breivik has prepared a frighteningly thoroughgoing encyclopedia for action, and that encyclopedia is part of a much grander plan. It is to turn the whole of Europe into a cockpit of terror, with the ultimate aim of ridding the continent of the supposed evils of Islam, and of all who would stand in the way of the Aryan peoples and their true destination.
Which brings me to the headline question of this exegesis. Is Anders Breivik the most dangerous fascist in Europe? As far as his manifesto is concerned, and ignoring the fact that a lot of his thinking doesn’t accord with orthodox Fascism, the answer is probably no. That is because it is too big and too unmanageable for it to serve its purpose. Moreover, the level of abstraction, while not daunting to the rest of us, is probably too great for the average fascist to handle.
But what of Breivik himself? What of the lone gunman incarcerated in a Norwegian prison for alerting the West to the Islamist threat? I don’t believe that the contacts which Breivik is supposed to have had to the British far right, while very extensive, amount to very much more than exchanges of emails and Facebook messages. What’s more, while the modus operandi of the BNP and EDL are thoroughly deplorable, for the moment they stop a long way short of mass slaughter. So I don’t see Breivik becoming an icon for either organization – in the short term at least.
Yet the Norwegian massacre happened at a critical moment for the British far right. On the one hand the BNP continues, unintentionally at any rate, to demonstrate that there is no constitutional road to British Fascism. On the other, the EDL remains little more than a mouthpiece for loudmouths. Moreover, the lessons of history suggest that a return to the street Fascism of old will not provide the popular breakthrough which the far right so desperately needs.
In other words British Fascism has tried everything it can come up with to win over the masses, and it has failed miserably. Under those circumstances, I think it quite likely that disaffected members of the far right will, sooner or later, start to think of actively engaging in terrorism.
Whether such terrorism took the form of lone acts of violence, ala David Copeland, or of organized para-military activity, the most extreme elements of the far right now have their inspiration in Anders Behring Breivik. He may not be the theorist which the far right has never had and, in truth, wouldn’t have much use for. But his stated goal is to become a martyr for the far right, and a charter for action, and that is deeply disturbing. These are worrying times and they may have just got a lot more so.
Article by Marmite. 10.08.11