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The populist insurgency amidst the spectre of White identity

Anti-immigration populism is taking over the right in almost every European democracy, even surprisingly in Britain with Nigel Farage’s Reform now polling ahead of the Conservatives ahead of this month’s election on the back of their promise to deport illegal immigrants and cut legal immigration to net zero.

Meanwhile Donald Trump has been polling consistently well in the lead over Joe Biden all year, with 62% of Americans in favour of his promise to mass deport millions of illegal immigrants.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is predicted to gain a parliamentary majority in upcoming second round of snap parliamentary elections, which were called after the recent EU vote in which anti-immigration populist parties had their best ever performance both in France and across Europe.

In every European country, conservative centre-right parties are fading into irrelevancy as the rise of anti-immigration populists cannibalises their voter base. Right-wing politics is no longer about cutting taxes and fighting “socialism” – it’s about cutting immigration and fighting “wokeness”.

Mainstream commentators are calling this the “rise of the far right”, but unfortunately this is not the case.

The actual ideological form this anti-immigration populism is taking is fundamentally liberal. The threats posed by immigration are only ever framed in economic or cultural terms, never explicitly racial ones. And the solution being proposed is to simply carry out the democratic will through liberal constitutional means.

Insofar as the “far right” could be said to exist, it would necessarily be an illiberal authoritarianism which seeks to absolutely remove leftists from any and all positions of power. Nothing close to this type of ambition is present on the institutional right, even though the reverse dominates the institutional left.

It is far more accurate to define the shift on the right we are witnessing as “populist”.

Populism is a word thrown around in politics frequently yet also quite ambiguously, but it basically just means an anti-elitist political style. More specifically, in these contemporary examples it is an approach to politics which appeals directly to the “common sense” nativist sentiments of the White suburban and rural masses against the “woke” anti-White consensus which dominates elite institutions and cosmopolitan life.

What we are witnessing, therefore, is a successful revolt within the right by elements which reject the epistemic and ideological authority of elite institutions.

A revolt against a legacy right-wing establishment defined by its continued acceptance of the epistemic authority of elite institutions despite their total capture by the ideology of their nominal political opponents.

Mass immigration and other leftist social engineering projects that fall under the banner of “diversity and inclusion” (translation: destroying the power and dignity of straight White men) are of course extremely unpopular with basically everyone even vaguely sympathetic to the political right.

The populist insurgency is therefore a welcome and long overdue punishment of the right-wing establishment for failing to actually represent the values and existential concerns of its voters.

Legacy conservative parties across Europe face their sharpest decline with younger generations, their only remaining voters are aging towards an imminent death they will soon share. Millennials and Zoomers either vote for the left or the populist right. Conservatism dies with the boomers.

Populist forces which appeal to these now-defining sentiments of mass alienation from the anti-White elite consensus are simply impossible for the legacy right-wing establishment to compete with – either in political media or at the ballot box. The paradigm has irreversibly shifted.

It is a mistake, however, to invest much hope in these populist politicians providing as significant a challenge politically as they are electorally and culturally.

The election of Donald Trump to the American presidency quite clearly demonstrated the political limitations of populism. Populist leaders find it far easier to sidestep establishment institutions with regard to campaigning than they do when it comes to actually governing.

This is because governing requires either going to battle with every powerful element in the state and civil society which opposes your agenda, or acquiescing to their demands, and populists are generally ill-equipped to fight such battles. Whereas they can beat the establishment in an election, as this merely requires the rallying of otherwise largely powerless voters, they aren’t prepared to beat the establishment at politics qua politics – which goes far beyond elections.

Populists have skillfully carved routes around establishment institutions to voters, but not to power. In their adherence to liberal democratic values and their anti-elitist rejection of authoritarian state power, they prevent themselves from building up a counter-elite of their own to contest for power with.

This is why Donald Trump may have campaigned against the right-wing establishment and beaten it in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, but ultimately needed to acquiesce to it in order to rule. This rendered his presidency virtually indistinguishable from a so-called “establishment Republican” in all but style.

We have seen a similar dynamic play out with the prime ministership of Italy’s Giorgia Meloni. She rocketed into power on the back of a wildly successful populist campaign focused upon appealing to anti-immigration sentiment, and then immediately pivoted back to the centre-right upon taking office to ingratiate herself with globalist elites. Waves of illegal immigrant arrivals continue to flood Italy under her watch.

Nevertheless, the popularity of anti-immigration populism shows no signs of going away. And if the current political paradigm cannot solve the problems which generate this popularity, which it can’t, the right will eventually learn that it has to go beyond mere populism to a more ambitious counter-elitism.

A good first step towards this is the defeat by populists of establishment forces which were propping up the now collapsing centre-right. As Jewish political scientist and staunch defender of liberal democracy, Daniel Ziblatt, has done extensive research to prove, strong conservative parties are the anchor of stability within liberal democratic systems. Once they collapse, polarisation and the rise of the radical right becomes inevitable.

This is because strong conservative parties select for aspirational political actors who will stabilise the system for the benefit of elite business interests rather than attack the ideological agenda of the left. Therefore, conservative parties are not genuinely of the right, they are of the centre.

What the emergence of the populist right represents is the re-assertion of genuine opposition into liberal democracy. The re-defining of right-wing politics as actually fighting the core social agenda of the left.

Just as the true left is defined by its anti-White identity politics, the true right today is defined more than anything by the spectre of White racial identitarianism.

This spectre is clear to both the entire political left and the true far right which embodies it without fear or shame. But populist right leaders themselves largely deny it, making assurances that race doesn’t motivate their policies, framing them in colourblind “culturalist” and economistic terms.

But the reality is that if Nigel Farage was to become prime minister and implement the policies of the Reform Party manifesto, Britain would become 4% Whiter. Reform Party candidates might refuse to explicitly acknowledge that it’s about keeping Britain White, but that is clearly what motivates their supporters.

Meanwhile, the left makes it clear that they support mass immigration as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives on explicitly racial grounds. This is why they call all political opposition to it “racist” no matter how much right-wing populists protest to the contrary.

The fundamental realities cannot be denied of whether a set of policies are good or bad for Whites, whether they will make the country more or less White – there are therefore unavoidable racial dynamics at play. Eventually the right is going to have to explicitly come to terms with the fact that underneath the ideological struggle there is a more fundamental racial struggle driving it.

While the left can be explicit in its driving ethos and racial animus, and confidently seek to dominate all institutions and impose its social engineering projects upon society – the populist right is still only playing defence.

Where the left can go explicitly after Whites, the populist right doesn’t allow itself to go explicitly after non-Whites.

Where the Left seeks to install its loyalists into as many positions of unelected power as possible and “cancel” as many of its ideological opponents from holding the same positions, the populist right limits itself to the simple and impotent pursuit of parliamentary representation.

Until the right mutates into fighting fire with fire, racism with racism, and power with power, it will never be able to truly challenge the left.

But thanks to the populist insurgency, the first and most powerful roadblock to this mutation – the conservative establishment and the political stability (translation: unchallenged leftism) it brings – is being smashed out of our way.

In order for it to count for much, however, the current right-wing populist leadership will need to be smashed out of the way in kind.

The likes of Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage appear far more concerned with reassuring the public that they aren’t racist than they are with actually winning. This hands the moral upper hand to their enemies, and causes them to alienate and jettison anyone who tries to more genuinely tap into the implicit racial motivation behind the whole enterprise.

The populist right’s greatest handicap is its acquiescence to leftist demands to cancel those among its ranks too obviously motivated by the implicit racial forces driving its popularity.

No matter how much cancelling they do, they will never cancel the spectre of White identity which the left will perpetually prosecute until it is politically defeated. The more you concede to the left, the more it is emboldened to demand more concessions.

If the right wants to actually defeat the left it needs to raise fighters, and fighters need motivation. A movement which denies its own motivations denies its own fighters, and will be taken over instead by marketers. Marketers are only ever interested in getting power, never using it, because using it makes it hard to keep ahold of. Only fighters want to use it, because for fighters power is a mere means to the end of defeating the left. Whereas to marketers, appearing to fight the left is a mere means to the end of getting power.

The culture on the right is changing, mainly because the conservative media establishment has lost control of right-wing discourse in the age of social media, but also because the grim reality of Whites becoming minorities in our own countries is hitting home harder and harder each year.

As Millennials and Zoomers continue to take over the right, a process which is being accelerated by the populist insurgency, so will the far more radical sensibilities which are cultivated online.

The spectre of White identity will loom ever larger, and bleed more and more explicitly into populist discourse.

The question will be whether genuine fighters can channel this to rise up and overthrow the marketers and turn the populist right from a mere electoral insurgency into a genuine political insurgency.

Joel Davis can be found on X and Telegram.

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