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Revolution from the Middle. 

Samuel Francis, PhD.  Middle American Press, P O Box 17088, Raleigh, NC 27619, USA. ISBN 1-887898-0-8. US$6.96.

This book is refreshingly free of the paranoid fantasies of an omnipotent all-embracing Jewish, Masonic or Papistical conspiracy which is all too common a feature of much American ‘patriotic’ literature. A larger number of ‘patriotic’ books and articles give out the despairing subliminal message that all resistance is futile to the growing ‘New World Order’ leviathan. Their undeclared line is that although we know what’s really going on, our enemies are all-powerful and there’s nothing that we can do about it. We can only watch in helpless impotence as they fulfil their dastardly designs.

Dr Samuel Francis will have none of this counsel of despair. He is, alongside Pat Buchanan, one of the most prominent commentators around today in what Americans call ‘conservative’ circles. In fact he is anything but conservative. He would describe himself as a ‘Middle American Radical’. As this book shows, that is an appropriate label.

Revolution from the Middle is a collection of columns and articles which appeared from 1989 - 1996 in the American cultural conservative magazine, Chronicles. I especially liked the chapter entitled ‘America First’. This was written at the height of George Bush’s foreign adventures in Iraq and Somalia. It is a devastating indictment of ‘globalism’ with its agenda of US intervention in and management of foreign events while at the same time abolishing the US itself as a distinctive culture, a sovereign nation and an autonomous economy. As Dr Francis points out, none of the Establishment apologists for the globalist crusade, ‘has so far offered any compelling reasons why Americans should continue to spend their time, their money, or their lives solving the problems of other peoples, paying for their errors, or fighting their wars.’ By contrast, an America Fist policy would recognise that Americans owe duties to themselves as American citizens before they owe anything to any other peoples. Restrictions on immigration, free trade, foreign relations etc., would be debated in terms of America’s national identity and interests rather than as is the case today, in terms of so-called ‘human rights’ or the fictitious ‘global community’.

How can Middle Americans regain control of their own country? Dr Francis argues that ‘Middle Americans’ of European descent and culture have been largely abandoned by the globalist political establishment of left and right. The left is increasingly mobilising for the ‘rights’ of vocal ethnic minority interests whilst the right is too busy defending international exploitation and money-making to care about the fate of ordinary decent folk. The traditional political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, are just like Labour and the Tories in Great Britain. They are dominated by those ‘who share a common globalist outlook in pursuit of free trade, open immigration, and the dismantling of the West’s distinct cultural identity.’ The only challenge to this liberal political and corporate establishment is the phenomenon which the author calls the ‘Middle American Revolution’.

This is the backlash of the MARs, the folk who once backed George Wallace, later became the so-called ‘Reagan Democrats’ and more recently have given backing to political outsiders such as David Duke, Ross Perot and Ralph Nader. Today they are most associated with the candidacy of Pat Buchanan whose ‘New Nationalism’ most closely reflects their opinions. They are the people who follow what was once termed by Newsweek magazine, ‘the Radical Middle’ - a term dear to the heart of Third Way readers.

Dr Francis is critical of the traditional American conservative defensive strategy. He argues that it is time for Middle American Radicals, the one-time conservatives, to go on the offensive - to adopt an insurgent strategy, the Middle American Revolution. The idea is not merely to restrain the power of the US Federal leviathan but for MARs to gain power themselves. This is not to be done alone by gaining control of the existing state apparatus through winning elections or taking jobs in the bureaucracy. Such formal ‘control’ will not yield social and cultural power - what Gramsci called ‘cultural hegemony’. In 1980, conservative Republicans won control of both the White House and the US Senate, yet in six years did virtually nothing to reverse or even check the growth of the leviathan.

Francis spells it out. ‘If the Buchanan movement or the Middle American Revolution or the New Nationalism or whatever it is going to be called itself is to survive and develop as a serious force in American politics , it needs to do more than merely raise more money, build a national political organisation, or expand its list of voters. It needs to create a counter-culture that can sustain its political leaders once they hold office and develop the cultural and intellectual underframe that legitimises political efforts. It must construct its cultural base not on the metropolitan elites of the dominant culture but on emerging forces rooted in Middle American culture itself. It is exactly that kind of cultural permeation that sets the stage for successful political revolution... Instead of grabbing the shadow of political power and desperately hoping that the incumbent elites will be fooled into letting it have the substance of power, it creates and develops a social and political force independent of the dominant culture, and when that force is sufficiently mature, the snake will shed its skin. The new, emerging force will find the acquisition of formal political power and the winning of elections relatively easy as the old elite loses legitimacy and the new one not only acquires but also defines legitimacy.’

As observed above, the author is not a pessimistic merchant of doom and gloom. He tells us that, yes, things are bad but not beyond redemption. There is good reason to hope that things will turn around. He likens MARs to the character Sherman McCoy in Tom Wolfe’s novel, Bonfire of the Vanities. McCoy has lost his wealth and status, his home, his wife, his mistress, his children, his friends and his freedom. Only then does he begin to fight. ‘Explaining what happened to him, he draws an analogy with a house pet that’s been turned into a a vicious watchdog. "They don’t alter that dog’s personality with dog biscuits or pills" he says. "They chain it up, and they beat it, and they bait it, and they taunt it, and they beat it some more, until it turns and bares its fangs and is ready for the final fight every time it hears a sound. ... The dog doesn’t cling to the notion that he’s a fabulous house pet in some terrific dog show... The dog gets the idea. The dog knows when it’s time to turn into an animal and fight." ‘ When folk have nothing to lose but their chains they will fight - to win!

David Kerr



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