Racialism, Revolution, and the Radicalism of Sergei Nechayev

by Joe McCarthy

13 April 2004

White Nationalists are fond of fantasizing about and discussing the eagerly anticipated "White Revolution." Next to the Jewish Question, it is probably the most discussed topic in the movement. Whether such a 'great revolution' is a realistic possibility is also an intensely debated subject. The matter of the plausibility of such a scenario aside, the entire movement has been strangely lax in failing to devote the requisite effort in studying prominent revolutionary theorists, which is surely necessary if any such revolution is to even have a chance of getting off the ground. One such theorist that we definitely need to pay more attention to is Sergei Nechayev.

Nechayev was born a serf in mid-19th century Russia. At an early age he became involved in revolutionary activity. His most famous work, Catechism of a Revolutionist, influenced radicals all over Europe. In it he preached an intensely cold, militant, all-consuming devotion to the triumph of revolution. Nechayev operated on the basic premise that the ruling order was fundamentally Machiavellian. He thought that the only way for the hoi polloi effectively to fight back was to get into the gutter and apply the same Machiavellian tactics. This attitude seems eerily on target and germane today given the underhanded and criminal way in which our ruling elites conduct themselves. It is a paradox that we should have to conduct ourselves in the same manner as our enemies, but one thing is certain, it is effective. If it worked for them, it will work for us.

Nechayev formulated a number of ideas that can be applied in our time. While rejecting his ultra-left socialist goals, one can find much that is useful in his methods. In the Catechism Nechayev advocated the kind of single-minded fanaticism to the revolutionary cause that would probably be necessary for any uprising today:

The revolutionary is a dedicated man. He has no interests of his own, no affairs, no feelings, no attachments, no belongings, not even a name. Everything in him is absorbed by a single exclusive interest, a single thought, a single passion - the revolution. In the very depths of his being, not only in words but also in deeds, he has broken every tie with the civil order and the entire cultivated world, with all its laws, proprieties, social conventions and its ethical rules. He is an implacable enemy of this world, and if he continues to live in it, that is only to destroy it more effectively.

Nechayev's disdain for 19th-century Russian society certainly mirrors the attitude of many modern racial nationalists who have seen their civilization morph into something almost unrecognizable. This nihilistic desire to destroy what has become a very corrupt world was voiced by Savitri Devi in her works. The idea is that once society has become utterly corrupt, it must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt. Nechayev, while operating from an extreme-left standpoint, understood this need and voiced the kind of contempt of society in his time that no doubt resonates with racial nationalists who view society in much the same way in our time. Describing the attitude of the revolutionary toward society, Nechayev said:

He despises public opinion. He despises and abhors the existing social ethic in all its manifestations and expressions....His sole and constant object is the immediate destruction of this vile order.

Perhaps Nechayev's most controversial theorem was his amoral statement that "the ends justify the means." In his mind, the revolutionary cause was to succeed by whatever means necessary. Given the very real threat of extinction that western man faces, this once extreme idea might not be so extreme any longer:

For him, everything is moral which assists the triumph of revolution. Immoral and criminal is everything which stands in its way.

This idea, in its own sphere, is not much different from the basic notion of the Creativity of Ben Klassen, which holds that what is good for the white race is good, what is bad for the white race is bad. One can easily see Nechayev's formula being applied to our movement.

In the Catechism Nechayev details a delicious scheme that can easily be used in dealing with our renegade elites and the state apparatus propping them up. In fact, in going into it, one almost wonders if he was a seer, speaking of the contemporary United States:

All of this foul society must be split up into several categories: the first category comprises those to be condemned immediately to death. The society should compose a list of these condemned persons in order of the relative harm they may do to the successful progress of the revolutionary cause, and thus in order of their removal. In compiling these lists and deciding the order referred to above, the guiding principal must not be the individual acts of villainy committed by the person, nor even by the hatred he provokes among the society or the people. This villainy and hatred, however, may to a certain extent be useful, since they help to incite popular rebellion. The guiding principle must be the measure of service the person's death will necessarily render to the revolutionary cause. Therefore, in the first instance all those must be annihilated who are especially harmful to the revolutionary organization, and whose sudden and violent deaths will also inspire the greatest fear in the government and, by depriving it of its cleverest and most energetic figures, will shatter its strength.

Sergei Nechayev, the anarchist and radical socialist, is not someone we would normally think useful to the racialist movement. But it so happens that he, like fellow ultra-leftists Mao, Lenin, Jan Kozak, and others, was a revolutionary theorist of the highest order. We can abhor the aims of the radical left while studying their methods. If we're really serious about White Revolution, we must. A good start is Catechism of the Revolutionist by Sergei Nechayev.



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