NÓMADAS - REVISTA CRÍTICA DE CIENCIAS SOCIALES Y JURÍDICAS
13-2006/1 | Universidad Complutense de Madrid | ISSN 1578-6730
Tomasiewicz - Sanromán. Correspondence
(On Polish New Right II)
Diego L. Sanromán
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Nómadas # 11 published an extensive article by me on Polish Nowa Prawica (New Right). According to it, Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz could be considered one of the most important representatives of this metapolitical movement. Some days after the issue was available on the Net, I’ve got an e-mail sent by Tomasiewicz himself. Seemingly I have made a gross mistake since –as the e-mails’ author stated- he had nothing to do with the –on the other hand, inexistent- Nouvelle droite’s followers in Poland. Maybe he’d been close to New Right’s ideas some years ago when he was involved in the Polish nationalist forces renewal, but nowadays –Tomasiewicz affirmed- he’s rather a ‘left-leaning communitarian’ and a ‘Wallerstein’s World-Systems theory’ defender. What follows is the correspondence between Tomasiewicz and me; I hope it can be of some use in order to clear up his ideological position and his relationship –if there is any- with the European New Right.

 

January 27, 2005.

Dear Mr. Sanromán

I found in the internet your study on the Polish New Right. I do not speak Spanish but I am afraid your article is not correct.

I am not new-rightist. I consider myself as left-leaning communitarian in Etzioni style. I am also adherent of the Wallerstein’s World-Systems theory. In my opinion the principal conflict is between the Core and the Periphery. Therefore I see some people, groups and ideas of the Right (both New and Old) as an allies. I have friends and enemies amongst both leftists and rightists.

ZAKORZENIENIE is not New Right paper. The ideas of ZAKORZENIENIE are based on concepts of Austro-Marxist theoreticians like Otto Bauer and Poale-Zionist Ber Borochov (although we also support the right for territorial autonomy and self-determination).

And OBYWATEL is not the New Right magazine too. Most of members of the staff and collaborators of this magazine are leftists or former leftists and the line of the OBYWATEL is seeking for the Radical Centre. I am only loose collaborator of the OBYWATEL.

In fact, there is no group such GRECE or Synergies Européennes in Poland. For example NIKLOT is a group of Pagan nationalists - supporters of national egoism not of any European solidarity. The closest to the New Right ideas was the STANCZYK post-Conservative magazine but they finished their activity in 2004.

I suppose the main source of these mistakes is Rafal Pankowski - Polish correspondent of THE SEARCHLIGHT, collaborator of several anti-Fascist centers and... personal enemy of mine.

Best regards

Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz, PhD

 

February 2, 2005

Dear Mr. Tomasiewicz, 

I really appreciate your letter and hope it will just be the beginning of a fruitful epistolary intercourse about Polish incorformist movements, European New Right, contemporary politics and, of course, yourself.

Since it seems a rather hard task to talk over an article whose contents and details probably escape you –“I do not speak Spanish”, you say; I have to confess that I don’t speak Polish myself and that all my textual sources are written in other languages (English, Italian and German, most of them)-, let me try a little abstract.

To begin with, my article is only a small piece of a larger study on the European New Right –from Portugal to Russia & from the sixties to the present time-, only partially published. Of course, the main part of it focuses on the original French Nouvelle droite (ND) and its principal present branches (Alain de Benoist, Guillaume Faye, Pierre Vial, Robert Steuckers & so on), but I also try to inquire into its international success and continental spreading. Thus, I think the picture wouldn’t be complete without an approach to groups, movements, magazines, publishing houses and outstanding figures from the other end of Europe. We’ve got to travel East. And during this travel is absolutely necessary for us to call on Duguin’s, Hatzenblicher u. Mölzer’s, Radulescu’s, Codrescu’s, Sunic’s, Kunna’s, Karnoouh’s, Gabis’ and ¿Tomasiewicz’s? (among others) if we want to have a proper view of the whole thing.

That of ‘New Right’ is an uncomfortable designation, at least for those who are pointed out as new-rightists. We both know that it was originated in the ’79 Press Campaign and that soon became equivalent to ‘disguised fascist’. And who wants to be a fascist nowadays? Seemingly not even the real fascists. Among the ND ranks, the position has been fluctuating between a bold acceptation and an open reject of the annoying label. What was New about it? Was it really Right? The answer of the new New Right (Alan de Benoist, Marco Tarchi and their respective followers) would probably be: “It’s certainly a new thing we have here, but call it ‘New Right’ will be absurd. Since the Left / Right cleavage is of not use anymore, how could ever be a New Right?. This is doubtless a New Era and we’re working on a New Political Paradigm, a New Culture, una cultura delle nuove sintesi (Tarchi), neither Right nor Left and far beyond both of them”.

(By the way, there are a few references to the left-right cleavage in your letter, as if you thought it is still a useful schema in order to analyse and understand the contemporary politics... Is that so? If not, what do you think about it? I’m sure you’re quite familiar with Nouvelle droite’s ideas on this issue, do you agree with them?).

Of course all this doesn’t mean the end of any kind of political confrontation, but the rise of new ones (in accordance with Schmitt’s teaching). On one side, the defenders of Globalism; on the other, those who are for the cultural pluralism and the ethnic identity and integrity. “La Nouvelle Droite défend également les ethnies, les langues et les cultures régionales menacées de disparition, ainsi que les religions natives. Elle soutient les peuples en lutte contre l'impéralisme occidental” (Alain de Benoist / Charles Champetier). Radical right and left traditions can now fuse together against a common enemy: USA, Modernity & Global Capitalism.

These are just a couple of basic new-rightist thesis. By writing my article on the Nowa Prawica movement all I wanted to do was investigate how this synthetic proposal was  received and re-elaborated by some groups and activists in Poland and ask about the meaning of that re-elaboration. You say there are no new-right groups in Poland; one could also say that there ain’t no horses, but if you find something that looks like a horse, smells like a horse, trots and neighs like a horse, then very likely you’ve found a horse.

You’re right: I’ve read the Rafal Pankowski and Ursula Lugowska’s articles but I’ve had a look at some articles by ZAKORZENIENIE and OBYWATEL authors as well. And I have read and translated into Spanish your Ethnopluralist manifesto (it sounds a little bit new-rightist, don’t you think so?). Now let me write down just a little quotation:

New opposition - Resistance to the New World Order - is actually going to develop from the political extremes or, more directly, from those factions of the current right and left wing opposition, which - responding to the challenges of the new reality - will rethink their assumptions. The rest will end up in a Skansen museum of political folklore. The extreme right wing will break into the totalitarians fascinated with a vision of global empire and ethnocentrists in whom the devotion to national traditions, autonomy and liberties will win. The same differential process waits for the left wing. The gauchistes have been so far behaving like The Red Army, releasing everyone from everything by force (which has led them into several conflicts not only with the oppressive System but also with different factions of the opposition and the majority of ordinary people). While fighting against national states, they don't notice that above their hitherto enemy grows a new ogre - the supranational super-state that is even less democratic, less responsible to the societies they govern, and more distant from people. Perhaps the left wing, following its old prejudices, will look for an ally against the state, the Church and family in the supranational structures of the Invisible Empire. However, the victory of the Empire over dying national states and traditional communities will be compulsory, because it will put a lonely and rooted out individual in front of the monster of supranational techno-bureaucracy. And destroying this Beast will certainly require much more strength than the gauchistes have!”

This could be an excerpt from Alain de Benoist’s Dernière Année but it’s not. The article’s title is An Alternative to the American Empire of the New World Order (it sounds a little bit new-rightist, don’t you think so?) and its author is Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz. And that’s exactly the way I quote you in my study.

Moreover I’d dare to say that yours is a typical new-rightist development –if there is such a thing. Although I could be wrong about this too. If I’m not mistaken, you were co-founder of Przelom Narodowy, and ‘loose collaborator’ of Mysl Narodowa Polska, Krzyzowiec, Templum, Perspectives (English ND), DESG-Inform, Junges Forum (German ND) and Vouloir (Belgian ND). Of course people changes, and ND intellectuals are not an exception. There’s quite a difference between sixties and seventies’ Alain de Benoist  and his works of the present day. What I’m trying to do is to puzzle out the meaning of all this changing and transformation. 

Thanks a lot & Best regards

Diego L. Sanromán 

P. S.- I’d like to ask you a lot of questions but this will be the next time (if there is one). I don’t want to bore or bother you.  

 

February 5, 2005

Dear Mr. Sanromán

Thank you for your letter.

First of all - I am sorry for my English (that is only a little better than my Spanish :-) ). When I was young I learnt Russian. But I hope you would understand me.

Yes, you are right: I consider myself as new-rightist - several years ago. But I do not know if mine is a ‘typical new-rightist development. I think I should write something about my biography...

In 1980 I joined the KZMP (Communist Union of Polish Youth) - it was small but radical group, independent from official pro-government youth organization (ZSMP). But I supported Solidarnosc because of my Trotskyist sympathies and therefore I left KZMP. Gradually I became left-wing anti-Communist i.e. anarchist.

In 1989 I was disillusioned by the Solidarnosc (in my opinion Walesa was a traitor) and I also thought the Left is dead. Everybody wanted capitalism! I wanted to be a revolutionary and in my opinion nationalism was the only revolutionary force in neo-colonial Poland in this moment. But Polish nationalism was completely anachronistic: national egoism, old-fashioned Catholicism, economical liberalism. Therefore I liked ideas of both Nouvelle Droite and national-revolutionary Third-Positionism - I supposed these ideas could refresh the Polish Right. I hoped the Przelom Narodowy would be a vehicle of new ideas - but in fact PN was active only a few months (since March to November) in 1990, it involved less than 20 members.

In this time - 1991 - I wrote the article entitled Anti-Fukuyama (you know it as An Alternative to the American Empire of the New World Order - but this is title made by translator); it was published in the anarchist magazine Mac Pariadka. I tried to propagate the idea of the alliance of right-wing and left-wing extremists.

Of course, you are right: I published in Mysl Narodowa Polska, Krzyzowiec, Templum, Perspectives, DESG-Inform, Junges Forum and Vouloir - and in Mysl Polska, Stanczyk, Arcana, Lutte du Peuples and Diorama Letterario too. But Mysl Polska, Mysl Narodowa Polska, Krzyzowiec and Arcana are rather Old (National-Catholic, conservative) Right than New Right papers. And I published also in the Searchlight (UK), Torch (USA, paper of the Revolutionary Socialist League), Zielone Brygady (ecologist), Gazeta An Arche (libertarian), Inny Swiat (anarchist), Kurier Anarchistyczny (anarchist), Barykada (trotskyist), Dalej (trotskyist), Robotnik Slaski (Marxist), Samorzadnosc Robotnicza (Marxist), Lewa Noga (socialist) - and even such mainstream papers like Gazeta Wyborcza or Tygodnik Powszechny. Sometimes this collaboration was (is) sporadic and sometimes - regular (see below).

But I became disillusioned again... In 1995 I wrote another article Zbiezne prostopadle - against the extremists’ alliance, for any communitarian New Centre. It was published in the Inny Swiat magazine, unfortunately it is not translated. I joined Communitarian Network and now I collaborated with Polish communitarian Nowa Demokracja association. I also started to publish Zakorzenienie (1997). This paper tries to propagate non-xenophobic patriotism. I used the new-rightist term ethnopluralism because internationalism meant Soviet hegemony in Poland. One of the issues was about minorities (Jewish, German, Ukrainian etc.) supporting the struggle for independence of Poland. Since 2001 Zakorzenienie is regular column in the Inny Swiat.

Conclusion: I was new-rightist and I still like some ideas of the left wing of the New Right (Benoist, Tarchi). But the idea of national-cultural autonomy is not New Right concept - but Austro-Marxist one. The idea about conflict between Core and Periphery (or USA vs. rest of the world) is not Benoist’s concept - but the Wallerstein’s one. By the way: Tomasz Gabis is enthusiast of US hegemony.

...You asked me about Left / Right cleavage. I think both Left and Right are still alive but there are many various Lefts and Rights in the world now. Danny Cohn-Bendit is another kind of the Left than Gennadiy Zuganov, Paul Wolfowitz is another kind of the Right than Jean-Marie Le Pen. Chaos, fragmentation, post-modernist collage (you could notice: post-modernism and Chaos Theory is another important component of my view of the world).

I also hope we will be in touch.

Best regards

Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz

WHERE DID I PUBLISH?

Right-wing:

Arcana (conservative): 3 texts in nos. 19-44

Czas Górnośląski (regionalist, monthly): 31 - yrs. 1993-2001

Fronda (integral Catholic): 2 - no. 21-26

Gazeta Polska (anti-Communist, weekly): 2 - 1993-1996

Graal (conservative): 1

Krzyżowiec (national Catholic): 3 - no. 7-12

Myśl Narodowa Polska (nationalist): 5 - no. 6-10

Myśl Polska (national Catholic, weekly): 2 - 1993-1996

Najwyższy Czas (paleolibertarian, weekly): 5 - 1991-2002

Nowe Państwo (conservative, weekly): 5 - 2000-2002

Prawica Narodowa (national Catholic): 1

Rojalista (national Catholic): 6 - no. 22-29

Szczerbiec (neo-fascist): 1 (but I did not send them this text!)

Stańczyk (post-conservative): 5 - 1993-1998

Templum (neo-nationalist): 3 - 2001-2004

Trygław (Pagan nationalist): 3 - no. 1-3

Tylko Polska (nationalist): 1 (but I did not send them this text!)

Left-wing:

Barykada (trotskyist): 7 - no. 1-4

Dalej (trotskyist): 2 - no. 12-15

Gazeta An Arche (libertarian): 27 - no. 9-59

Inny Świat (anarchist): 31 - no. 7-20

Kurier Anarchistyczny (anarchist): 1

Lewą Nogą (socialist): 4 - no. 4-8

Tygodnik Antyrządowy (Marxist anti-revisionist): 3 - 1992-1993 and in Magazyn Antyrządowy: 6 - no. 24-34

Mac Pariadka (anarchist): 19 - 1991-2001

Nowy Robotnik (socialist, monthly): 22 - 2000-2004

Samorządność Robotnicza (Marxist anti-revisionist): 9 - no. 2-16

Trybuna (left-wing, daily): 1 (2001)

Zielone Brygady (ecologist, monthly): 61 - 1990-2001

Żaden (Pagan anarchist): 6 - no. 15-19

Centre:

Gazeta Wyborcza (liberal, daily): 2 (1997)

Nasza Gazeta (regionalist): 3 - no. 22-51

Obywatel: 8 texts in no. 1-6 and 4 in no. 13-21

Sekty i Fakty (Catholic): 4 - no. 13-19

Tygodnik Powszechny (liberal Catholic, weekly): 1

It is about my texts, no letters, of course.

 

February 24, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Tomasiewicz,

Well, let’s see…

Beyond all the changing, I seem to notice in your intellectual and political development a continual trend to fuse together radical right and left-wing traditions. Even nowadays. You claim to be a communitarian now… Well, I’m sure you know that the Nouvelle droite happen to have incorporated some elements from American communitarian criticism since –al least- late 80s (see Le Manifeste de la Nouvelle droite; see Terre et Peuple # 28, Winter 2003; see José Javier Esparza’s Curso General de Disidencia). Somehow this brings you back to the nouvelle ND home, so to speak. On the other hand, I’m the most interested in your Braudel / Wallerstein theory interpretation. Although I need further information from you, I’d dare to say that what we have by adding Wallerstein and Etzioni up is a new edition of the Rise of the New Cleavages Thesis. Wallerstein would provide us with critical analysis of Global Capitalism and so enable us to identify the enemy, as Etzioni could from now on be a guide in order to find the lost political actor and an accurate resistance strategy: the Responsive Community, which for Zakorzienienie and yourself seems to have a clear ethnic dimension (cf. The Ethnopluralist Manifesto). To make it simple: the revolt of ethnic micro-systems against the dying Capitalist Civilization. One could hardly recognize a Mr. Wallerstein’s thesis in such an statement, but it’s easy to see how close to the New Right’s tiers-mondisme it is.

But not only to the New Right’s tiers-mondisme… I think there are strong resemblances between Zakorzienienie proposals and those of some former Far-Right tendencies searching for a new political strategy. Call it Third Positionism, if you like… What about National-Anarchism? Are you familiar with Troy Southgate or David Michael works? What do you think about them? There’s –in my opinion- a clear national-anarchist stamp in your Anti-Fukuyama article. Just compare:

“A pluralistic, decentralized society can be the only alternative to a unified and centralized New World Order, a formless plasma fed on pop-culture. Not only does territorial decentralization (broadening the authority of communities and regions) have to occur but also different cultural communities should gain autonomy. Not only the state but also every community should have the opportunity to proclaim its own laws for its people. In that situation, coexistence of traditional patriarchal families and feminists' or homosexuals' pairs, religious fundamentalists' communities and counter-cultural groups, military- racist communities of the right wing and anarchistic or communistic groups of the left wing would be possible” (J. Tomasiewicz).

“Let a thousand different communities flourish! Let those who want communism have communism! Let those who want Islam have Islam! Let those who want Christianity have Christianity! Let those who want to live among their own racial kind do so! Let even those who want to keep the sham democracies of American imperialism have them! But let us all unite to defend such diversity, such freedom, against the tyranny of the bland capitalism espoused by our lords and masters and their media puppets” (Voice of Resistance).

But not only in that old, old text; if you take a look at Zakorzienienie’s contents you can find a similar trend…

What about ni-ni environmentalism? Is not the Ekologia patriotyczna – Patriotyzm ekologiczny (J. Kolbuszewski) just another way of naming Deep Ecology, maybe inspired by Józef Mackiewicz’s Patriotism of the Landscape (Olaf Swolkien) – the same Deep Ecology which happen to be the main component of  the so-called French Nouvelle Écologie (Laurent Ozon, Alain de Benoist, Pierre Bérard & so on)?

It’s all about fighting against Capitalism & Neo-liberal Ideology; in this we very likely agree. The confrontation between us begins when we try to identify the battlefield, weapons, strategy and tactics of that fighting. I don’t really think it’s just a matter of cultural resistance (in fact, resistance is not enough) against Globalism & don’t believe that your romantic (that is, counter-revolutionary) essentialist ethnism could really be an alternative to predator Modernity. By the contrary, a new Internationalism is to be built and that’s our task for the immediate future.
Best Regards,

Diego L. Sanromán.

 

March 2, 2005

Dear Mr. Sanromán

One question: do you know any idea that is NOT connected to the New Right? :-) It is a joke but pan-Europeanism, third-worldism, minorities rights, anti-clericalism, collectivism, decentralization, environmentalism, sexual freedom, anti-imperialism, direct democracy - every idea could be sign of the New Right! And when hypothetical Mr. Kowalski supports national minorities - he is good guy, internationalist. But when Mr. Tomasiewicz supports national minorities - he is bad guy, ethnopluralist, new-rightist. :-(

You asked me about Wallerstein... Of course, you could not find any traces of Wallerstein,s theory in the Ethnopluralist Manifesto, but this Manifesto is only one small fragment of my views (maybe 10 percents). You do not know my opinion about other philosophical, political, social and cultural problems. Short note: I am liberal-conservative socialist (term of Polish philosopher L. Kolakowski): I am socialist (leftist) in social and economical questions, liberal and democrat (centrist) in political questions and conservative (rightist) in cultural questions.

And here my personal interpretation of World-Systems Theory (I am sorry for my poor English again):

1. Everything is system and every system consists of many subsystems;

2. There is Center (Core), Semi-Periphery and Periphery in every system; [It is not only about nations and other territorial communities. For example: bourgeoisie is the class of the Core of capitalist society and proletariat (and especially poor peasantry or subproletariat) are peripheral classes.]

3. Center and Periphery are in conflict because the exploitation of Periphery is source of Center’s wealth;

4. Best strategy for liberate the Periphery is de-linking;

Therefore

5. anti-imperialists should support all particularistic movements and forces. When Periphery will be liberated - Center would be in crisis.

But I do not dream on revolt of ethnic micro-systems against the dying Capitalist Civilization. I do not sympathize with ethnic resistance movements only but with political freedom movements, class struggle movements, religious movements too.

Then I do not think cultural resistance is the only weapon against Globalism. But in my opinion it is a very important supplement for economical and political struggle. I think Basque revolutionary nationalism is good example. Nationalism and religion could strengthen the resistance of Periphery. See Cuba, Nicaragua etc.

Ethnicity is one of many factors in contemporary world. Sometimes ethnicity is central problem (like - together with religion - in Iraq now), sometimes not. Therefore ethnicity is one of forms of resistance. One of many forms – not the only one!

And ethnicity is also one of the faces of communitarianism - but not the sole one. In Anti-Fukuyama I wrote that autonomic communities would be created not only on ethnic bases but also on religious, ideological, cultural etc. bases. In my opinion decentralization is the only way to save us from totalitarianism - right-wing, left-wing or liberal. You know: I lived in totalitarian Utopia.

You wrote: resistance is not enough. Maybe. But I do not believe in revolution nor in any kind of Utopia (even in the communitarian utopia of Anti-Fukuyama). I am not a revolutionary, I am reformist.

But I could call myself internationalist too, because I support international solidarity. I am not against internationalism - I am against centralism and Gleichschaltung.

Some additional questions:

...I know Southgate’s website. I do not like racist, imperial (Eurasianist) and esoteric elements of his doctrine. I am not National Anarchist although I like ethno-anarchist ideas of Gustav Landauer and Hakim Bey. And I do not think Anti-Fukuyama was a national-anarchist article (in fact this is not national nor anarchist); it is radical decentralist text. I see similarities with Voice of Resistance but you know - I wrote my article more than 10 years ago! Maybe N-A are inspired by me, :-) I do not know.

...You are right: historical Romanticism is important inspiration for me - but you should know Romanticism was a revolutionary, progressive force in Poland.

...Patriotism of the Landscape of Mackiewicz and Swolkien has nothing in common with Deep Ecology.

...Zakorzenienie is NOT about fighting against capitalism - this is one-point paper devoted to ethnic problems. Many of the texts are very mainstream, pro-liberal.

Best regards

J. Tomasiewicz

PS

You know my views (maybe you know my views better than me :-) ). And could you write me something about your ideas and political sympathies

 

 

March 31, 2005

Dear Mr. Tomasiewicz,

 

Yeah, maybe you’re right: it’s been a long time I’ve spent by European New-rightist, so perhaps there’s in me a kind of unconscious tendency to see one of them behind every bush and tree around. Call it professional deformation or paranoia, whatever you like. Anyhow it’s not only a matter of ideas for, as you know, political ideas are never neutral beings but rather battlefields for the political adversaries to struggle; it’s rather a question of the way every  political antagonist fills those ideas with a particular kind of contents, values, methods, programs and strategies instead of another. 

But now let’s be serious & talk about politics.

As you put it, one can be right, left and center. At the same time! And anything goes. This is great: a sort of godly ubiquity that allows anybody to be everywhere and nowhere. At the same time! Ah, the magic of Post-modernism! So delightful…

But just tell me: How could someone be socialist in economic terms and liberal in political ones? Maybe it’s just a terminological question, but I’d prefer to understand the word socialism the way our grandfathers used to: as a very particular way of life. “Socialism is a new life and not only some kind of policy” (Charles Péguy). As for the term liberalism, I think you make of it an equivalent to pluralism and democracy –even radical democracy-; if this is so, I consider it would be less confusing if we talk about libertarian socialism –or even libertarian communism-, a well known expression in our political tradition and a trend I feel much close to. On the other hand, how could anybody make compatible the individualistic logic of liberal ideology with the communitarian one, which –if I’m not mistaken- it’s precisely a radical critic of that same ideology?

Anyway, it’s that cultural conservatism you write about that worries me mainly. Why? Because I think it’s very easy to mix together the preservation of  ethnic minorities under threat and an essentialist interpretation of the cultural traditions as most of neo-fascists movements and ideologists do. At the end of my article on Nowa Prawica, I tried to show how this sort of interpretation is gaining ground in some Anti-global milieus to the detriment of left-wing proposals. “Against the spinozian-negrian multitudo, the peoples; against the shapeless dispersion of bougisme, the firm defence of the traditional rooted cultures”. No need to say that I am much closer to Toni Negri than to the upholders of cultural and ethnical essences.

“5. Anti-imperialists should support all particularistic movements and forces”, you say. And then: “I do not sympathize with ethnic resistance movements only but with political freedom movements, class struggle movements, religious movements too”. First of all, one could find an inner contradiction between the first and the late statement: political freedom movements, class struggle movements & religious movements are not necessarily particularistic but profoundly universalistic in his goals. Second –and most important-, fighting against Empire doesn’t imply supporting any kind of resistance; we need a criterion here, for the motto “The enemies of my enemy are my friends” is not always true or, in any case, has only a tactical value and nothing else. And it’s exactly that criterion which is under discussion. On the other hand, I must confess that it’s quite hard for me to trust in the emancipatory efficiency of religion and nationalism… You see: I seem to be just an old-fashioned Enlightened, a stubborn and stale modern freethinker or something like that…

(By the way, Basque revolutionary nationalism is a good example of what? In any case, an example of a failed liberation strategy & of a dangerous political drift: the one that goes from the anti-fascist struggle to the armed defense of the Basque Volksgeist, the same risky journey that have made possible that ETA and the MLNV won the affection of a left-wing Spanish neo-fascist such as Fernando Márquez…) 

Best Regards,

Diego L. Sanromán.

 

  April 11, 2005

Dear Mr. Sanromán

First of all: I did not invent the concept of liberal conservative socialism - Leszek Kolakowski did it (I suppose you could find his article entitled How to be liberal conservative socialist translated into English).

My definition of socialism is not so poetic as yours. For me socialism is 1) ideas of equality and solidarity, 2) economical system based on socially controlled means of production.

And why POLITICAL liberalism? Because I am adherent of democracy (free election, representative government - but also referendum and self-government), decentralization, pluralism, freedom of speech and association, human rights... I do not think democracy and pluralism must be contradictory to my communitarian ideal of the Bonum Commune. Bonum commune without pluralistic democracy would be dictatorship, pluralistic democracy without bonum commune would be an orgy of egoism.

But you can call me social democrat rather than libertarian socialist. Of course I am not a modern social democrat in Zapatero or Blair style - I prefer such people as Kurt Schumacher or George Orwell. I like tradition of the PPS (Polish Socialist Party) that fought for socialism, democracy and independence since 1897.

I also think economical socialism is not contradictory to cultural conservatism. Social stabilization is good ground for traditional culture. I do not know am I essentialist nationalist. I do not believe that national identity is eternal. But I know that this identity is real HERE and NOW. And I want to conserve it. I want to conserve and preserve my family, neighbourhood, customs, culture etc. Most of people - especially poor people - are deeply rooted in their cultures, identities. I respect it. I am not negrinist, I am chaplinist (Charlie Chaplin said: “All my ideology is defence of simple folks, average people”). I am not citizen of the world, a cosmopolitan nomad prophesied by Jacques Attali. I live all my life in a small provincial industrial town, I work as a teacher.

Do you think this liberal conservative socialism can not exist? I do not think so. After 1997 election I supported Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe - peasants’ party considering itself as Christian-national centre-left. They received 10-15 per cents in Polish parliamentary election. Now I am interested in newly created social democratic but patriotic party of Ryszard Bugaj (Forum Praca Polska).

And my question now: what is the most essential difference between the Left and the Right in your opinion?

About strategy... I think there is strong left-wing tradition that supports national liberation. Therefore the dispute on the emancipatory efficiency of nationalism is not a dispute with me but with Connolly, Kelles-Krauz (Polish Marxist), Lenin, Radek, Brun-Bronowicz (Polish communist), Sultan-Galiyev, Sandino, Castro, Fanon, Tan Malaka, Ho Chi-minh, Malcolm X, Preve etc, etc. And what about Gustavo Gutierrez or Ali Shariati (amongst others) and their opinion on religion? I hope they are not neo-fascists nor new-rightists :-).

I see you do not like ETA :-). But also in Franco era the Basque antifascist struggle was stimulated by nationalist sentiments. Defence of euskara and struggle for democracy supported each other. I do not know how important is Fernando Marquez but I read most of Spanish fascists and neo-fascists are very hostile towards ETA, Herri Batasuna etc.

...You are right: particularistic was a wrong term. I should write ‘opposing’, ‘centrifugal’, ‘peripheral’. I agree that these ‘centrifugal’ movements sometimes are not very nice. American militias, Al-Quaeda, Maji-Maji, Sendero Luminoso are not congenial to me. I do not say: ‘Enemy of my enemy is my friend’. I say: ‘Enemy of my enemy is enemy of my enemy’ - and I test which of my enemies is more dangerous. I prefer broad (as broad as possible!) pluralistic coalition than another ‘Only Right Way’, another totalitarian ‘pensée unique’. Universalism is often mask and tool of totalitarianism.

Best regards

J. Tomasiewicz

PS-1

I should add two sentences to my last letter. After the sentence: ‘I am not a revolutionary, I am reformist’ I am explaining: ‘Why? Because I do not think a Capitalist Civilization is dying’.

PS-2

You are adherent of ‘libertarian communism’. What does it mean: anarcho-communism of Kropotkin’s tradition? council communism? post-Trotskyism of Castoriadis? something else?

PS-3

Do you think readers of NOMADAS would be interested in strange and dangerous views of ‘Polish neo-fascist’ :-) ? OK, I am not ashamed of my views. You could publish our correspondence in extenso. But one request: send me any copy of this issue, please.

 

June 8, 2005.

Dear Mr. Tomasiewicz,

You say: “For me socialism is 1) ideas of equality and solidarity, 2) economical system based on socially controlled means of production”. Well, right, you see… I don’t think that your little description is much far away from the Péguy’s sentence I quoted in my last e-mail: “Socialism is a new life and not only some kind of policy”. An economical system based on socially controlled means of production (i.e. economical democracy) whose mean goal –or, at least, one of the most important- is improving the equality and solidarity levels in society? Don’t you think this is quite a change in the way of life? And one quite opposite to the nowadays hegemonic ultra-liberal values?

On liberalism: of course it would be inconsistent regarding liberalism as a perverse ideology per se. And not only inconsistent, but simply bullshit. In more than a way, liberalism is responsible for the birth of political modernity. But I think it’s erroneous and confusing trying to identify liberalism with democracy and democratic values. And there’s no need to get back to Schmitt to make the distinction between them clear; just take a look at Macpherson’s Life and Time of Liberal Democracy (1977). First liberals were rather reluctant to accept the consequences of a real democracy, and I’d dare to say that the last generations don’t feel completely comfortable with them either.

Next question: “I also think economical socialism is not contradictory to cultural conservatism”. Sure, I agree with you: there’s no logical incompatibility between them. On the contrary. As we both know, capitalism has been much more efficient making cultural revolutions than any other productive system before. But I’m afraid that’s not exactly the point. The problem begins with the populist speech that follows that first sentence of yours. “I do not believe that national identity is eternal –you say. But I know that this identity is real HERE and NOW. And I want to conserve it. I want to conserve and preserve my family, neighbourhood, customs, culture etc.” Well, I’m not that sure. It sounds too much like that “right or wrong, my country” to me, and I’m not so concerned about my country –or any other country in the world- as I am about what’s right or wrong. On the other hand, what the hell is that national identity but a myth –and a dangerous one, in my opinion? In contemporary societies, there’s not such Identity, but plural, diffused and changing identities, and there’s no Tradition but traditions, in many cases denying and / or fighting each other. I don’t know if there were such an Identity and Tradition any other time in history, but  if so, I don’t feel its extinction as a loss.

Anyway, the problem is, in my view: what should be preserved? Reading you, one could say there’s not such a problem: MY national identity, MY customs, MY culture, etc. should be preserved just as long as they’re MINE. But let’s put the question upside down: what could be changed? If there is something like Volksgeist, if we consider Culture in a substantive way, what could we change without damaging the cultural core and, therefore, endangering whatever cultural identity? Is that cultural identity the last standard of judgement? In my opinion, no. In any case, what should be preserved is autonomy and a radical democratic tradition: maybe the only way of combining equality and freedom, social stabilization and continuous creativity, as you say and Kolakowski put it in How to be a Conservative-Liberal-Socialist[1].

“What is the most essential difference between the Left and the Right in my opinion?” Well, let’s old Kolakowski talk again. I’ve found one of his articles of late 50s, The Meaning of the Left[2], which happen to provide a quite satisfactory answer to this question.

Best Regards,

Diego L. Sanromán.

August 29, 2005

Dear Mr. Sanromán

Some remarks only:

1) I do not identify liberalism with democracy. I am more democrat (populist, if you want) than liberal but in my opinion democracy (the rule of the people) can not works without such liberal values as freedom of speech.

2) Yes, I agree: a national identity (and not only the national one - every identity!) is a myth. But in my opinion myths are necessary in life of every society. See on immigrants from Africa, Asia etc. - their ethnic and/or religious identity is their last weapon against capitalist individualist dehumanisation.

Therefore I want to preserve cultural identity - not the mine only, but all identities. Multiplicity of identities is the best way to preserve pluralism - and pluralism is one of the elementary values for me. No pluralism - no freedom. Cultural identity is not the only standard of judgement but the most important one.

Of course I do not dream on stagnation of this identity. I understand that the culture must evolve - but I defend the principle of continuity in this evolution.

3) I prefer young Marx than old Marx but I prefer old Kolakowski than young Kolakowski ;-).

Best regards

J.T.

 

September 17, 2005

Dear Mr. Sanromán,

I will wait for the next issue of NÓMADAS.

Another example of new alliances against globalisation (Periphery against Core): in current election the Polish radical left (Communist Party of Poland, Polish Socialist Party, Anti-clerical Progress Party, several Trotskyist groups) support Polska Partia Pracy - Polish Labour Party. But PPP was a nationalist group: they are members of small anti-Communist trade-union SIERPIEN 80 and dissidents from right-wing parties like Christian National Union, some years ago they collaborated with the Front National of LePen and some Polish neo-fascist groups. Death to the schemes!

Best regards

J.T.

 

NOTAS:

[1] Existe una versión inglesa disponible en Internet: www.mrbauld.com/conlibsoc.html [Cit. 13/04/05].

[2] Puede encontrarse una versión en español en Leszek KOLAKOWSKI, El hombre sin alternativa, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1970, traducción de Andrés Pedro Sánchez Pascual, P. 155-177.


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