Francis Parker Yockey: an alternative Europeanism
While understandably the most famous, Mosley was by no means the only fascist operating in Britain in the immediate postwar period who was calling for a shift towards a united Europe. Francis Parker Yockey was an American Nazi sympathiser who, extraordinarily, spent time as part of the US legal team at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials."’ After his dismissal he moved to Dublin before heading to Brittas Bay in County Wicklow where he wrote his magnum opus, the Spenglerian tome Imperium."4 Sometime in the autumn of 1947 he travelled to England in search of Oswald Mosley where he subsequently became involved in Union Movement activity, perhaps even becoming a paid member of the European Contact Section of the party.115 He published Imperium in London in 1948 expecting a warm welcome from Mosley due to the similar calls for a united Europe but was shocked when he rejected it and turned against Yockey. Spurned and angered, Yockey, along with a small group of UM members such as John Gannon and Guy Chesham, left to form the European Liberation Front (ELF). Never numbering more than around 150 members and with its newspaper Froutfighter having a monthly circulation of only 500, the group stagnated and had disbanded by 1954.116 To understand properly why Mosley rejected Yockey’s advances and why Yockey eventually felt he had to break with him completely it is necessary to explore in more depth the ideas proposed by Yockey. They also provide an alternative fascistic vision of European unity emanating from Britain in the immediate postwar period.
At a cursory glance, Yockey’s work, with his call for European unity, was strikingly similar to that of Mosley. Imperium argued:
This is the battle of the Idea of the Unity of the West against the nationalism of the 19th century. Here stand opposed the ideas of Empire and petty-Stateism, large-space thinking and political provincialism. Here find themselves opposed the miserable collection of yesterday-patriots and the custodians of the Future. The yesterday-nationalists are nothing but the puppets of the extra-European forces who conquer Europe by dividing it. To the enemies of Europe, there must be no rapprochement, no understanding, no union of the old units of Europe into a new unit, capable of carrying on 20th century politics.117
Put more succinctly in the opening lines of his 1949 Proclamation of London, he stated that ‘Throughout all Europe there is stirring today a great superpersonal Idea, the Idea of the Imperium of Europe, the permanent and perfect union of the peoples and nations of Europe’.111* However, while the outcome, a united Europe, was the same as Mosley’s, Yockey’s reasoning for its necessity had some important differences.
While Mosley diverged from orthodox Spenglerianism by arguing that decline could be reversed, Yockey was a true disciple, rejecting the Eurocentric narrative"9 and unilinear view of history120 and accepting the pessimistic determinist conclusions laid out in the Decline of the West. This was so much so, in fact, that Yockey adopted the name Oswald Spengler and was known to use it in correspondence.121 Echoing the analogy' of human life offered by Spengler himself,122 Yockey believed that a culture has a ‘period of gestation, and a birth-time. It has a growth, a maturity' fulfillment, a down-going to death’.123 Thus, the decline of Western civilisation, just like Indian, Aztec-Mayan or Classical culture, was inevitable and irreversible. Yet he challenged those who portrayed such a position as pessimistic by asking, ‘exactly how is it “Pessimism” to say' that since seven High Cultures fulfilled themselves that an eighth will also? If this is “Pessimism” then anyone admitting his own mortality' is inevitably a “Pessimist”’.124 Such an argument elucidates both Spengler’s and Yockey’s belief in an organic conception of civilisations.
However, unlike Mosley' who felt a united Europe could reverse decline, Yockey' simply believed that it would be the mechanism for reaching the pinnacle of Western civilisation before its unavoidable decline, making his rallying call: ‘Forward to our greatest Age of all’.12’ He felt it inevitable that the arrival of the ‘Age of Authority'’, built on hierarchical socialism - namely work, duty' and discipline -would come to replace the malaise of late civilisation. This new age of‘cultural vitalism’ was to be driven by a sense of communal purpose born from the ‘culture bearing stratum’ and osmotically spread to the receptive masses. While closer to orthodox Spenglerianism than Mosleys position, some still felt Yockey was calling for the impossible. Julius Evola’s 1951 work Spiritual and Structural Presuppositions of the European Union criticised Yockey for misreading Spengler and for trying to ‘turn the negative into a positive’.126 Yockey believed rebirth would derive from the virtues inherent in a culture’s springtime, a time that in Europe’s life cycle had already passed. Europe had reached a stage of senescence, it was already post-mitotic, and thus Yockey’s plan to build the Imperium drew on attributes from a previous stage in the organic cycle of a culture, which therefore no longer existed. As Evola put it, ‘Writers such as Varange [Yocky’s alias] mix things belonging to distinct planes’.127 The present phase of Europe thus lacked the attributes Yockey called on to mobilise the forces necessary to slow decline.128
While Yockey’s belief in the ability to retard the progress of inevitable decline was a slight divergence from Spenglerianism, his understanding of the role of internal and external threats - and the primacy of the former - were more orthodox. Spengler’s explanation of decline and the self-destructive nature of late civilisation made little of the influence of external attacks, as did Toynbee’s theory, which as mentioned earlier hypothesised that suicide, not murder usually caused the death of civilisations.129 While Yockey was ready to highlight the influence of external threats from the two major superpowers he still placed more emphasis on internal threats, in his mind from a supposedly Jewish conspiracy. Yockey’s understanding of internal and external threats and his concept of the role of the state drew heavily on the work of the German philosopher, political theorist and Nazi Party member Carl Schmitt. Schmitt’s Friend-Enemy Thesis as explained in his 1927 work Der Begriff des Politischen [The Concept of the Political] declared that ‘The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is the distinction between Freund und Feind’.13
While Schmitt’s friend-enemy theory formed the foundation of Yockey’s understanding of the political and the role of the state, he seemingly failed to grasp that ‘the friend-enemy concept can only be understood within this existential framework and should not be confused with moral or economic concepts, or with private feelings. . . . Political enmity does not even necessitate personal hatred of the public enemy’.133 Yockey was of course not the first to draw confrontational conclusions from the friend-enemy thesis that Schmitt did not intend. Following criticism from the Social Democratic legal theorist Hermann Heller that he was ignoring ethics, Schmitt wrote to Heller stating: ‘I do not recall stating that the enemy should be destroyed’. However, Yockey felt otherwise, believing an enemy emerged due to a clash of opposites, the result of which was an almost social Darwinian struggle for survival between cultures. Yockey, as had Spengler before him, drew on the ideas of the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus and his argument that ‘all things happen through strife and necessity’ and that ‘Strife is the father of All That Is and king of All That Is’.134 Yockey expanded on the idea of strife between polarities in his 1953 book The Enemy of Europe, which identified two general opposing categories, ‘Imperialism/Capitalism’ and ‘Ascendent instincts/Decadent instincts’ under which he identified a further 34 polarities such as ‘Europe as Imperium/Petty Statism’ and ‘Europe as Nation/Chauvinism’.135 These dualisms could be used to identify the all-important enemies as the more categories that were polarised the more incompatible the cultures and the closer they were to what Schmitt called the moment of Ernstfall or Yockey ‘the Political’, when politics was reduced to the law of the jungle.136
Again, drawing on Schmitt, Yockey divided the enemy into external enemies and internal and domestic - or Staatsfeind as Schmitt called them - and then fused this concept with Spenglerianism to explain the cause of European civilisational decline. The external enemy was Moscow and Washington while the internal enemy was Jewish. While Yockey identified both external and internal enemies as causes of decline he placed far more emphasis on the latter threat. A confirmed antisemite, he sought to explain déculturation by stressing the role of what he believed was Jewish subversion from within. In the case of Western civilisational decline Yockey argued that ‘culture-aliens’, in this case Jews, were exercising a form of ‘cultureparasitism’.137 The victory of rationalism, materialism, capitalism and democracy had opened the door to the Jews due to their ‘quantitative’ nature, which broke down the exclusiveness of the West thereby liberating Jews from the ghettos and allowing them to take revenge for centuries of persecution.138 The instruments of this assault were supposedly the weapons of propaganda via the press, radio, cinema, stage and education.139 Jews used these ‘weapons’to bring in
Materialism, atheism, class-war, weak happiness-ideals, race-suicide, socialatomism, racial promiscuity, decadence in the arts, erotomania, disintegration of the family, private and public dishonour, slatternly feminism, economic fluctuation and catastrophe, civil war in the family of Europe, planned degeneration of the youth through vile films and literature and through neurotic doctrines of education.14“
Yockey’s belief in a Jewish conspiracy meant he attributed the causes of decline to pernicious Jewish actions rather than natural European developments.141 The result of these supposed Jewish attacks was the destruction of Europe and the control of the continent by ‘outer enemies’, namely America and the USSR.142
Similar to the ideas concurrently espoused by Mosley, Yockey’s master plan to stave off European destruction at the hands of internal and external enemies involved the unification of Europe. These calls for unity, as with so much of his ideology, were again deeply influenced by the work of Schmitt, namely his concept of Grossraum. Unveiled during an infamous lecture in April 1939,143 the concept of a Grossraum was a continental realm based on a political idea144 that was always formulated with a specific opponent in mind.14’ For Schmitt an example of this was the American Monroe Doctrine and its demands for non-intervention by foreign powers in its sphere of influence.14*’ Schmitt felt the enemy was any group that seriously endangered the established political and legal order and that a Grossraum could emerge in response to this threat.147 For Yockey the enemy was identified not just by its threat to the political and legal order but against the ‘Idea’, the base of the Grossraum. The ‘Idea’was a timeless symbol of the soul of a specific ‘High Culture’, and the ‘Idea’ that forms the base of the realm is the marker from which to identify enemies. Thus Yockey, influenced by Schmittian thinking, understood the relationship between Europe’s friends and enemies, both internal and external, as the antinomy that defined the polarising quintessence of the ‘political’.148 Thus, Yockey’s call for continental unity - a new European Grossraum — was born of his belief that such an entity would be capable of destroying both the internal and external enemy. This victory would allow European civilisation to reach its pinnacle before, as all organic organisms do, it declines and finally dies, as predicted by Spengler.149