Some context is required on why I read this book and how I stumbled upon it. National Bolshevists are political unicorns yet I have stumbled upon them once or twice, spoke with them and came out disappointing. They were Nazis doing a poor impersonation of a leftist or phonies without coherent theory and couldn’t communicate without a pathos of wrath and unsatisfaction. The question grew on me, what is truly a nazbol and what do they believe in? So when I stumbled upon this book I became interested to see if it could answer my question. Is Dugin their great ideologue? Does this book really reconciliate socialism and fascism? It does not but it proved to me that the nazbols I’ve met are phonier than I ever thought.
Lets get this straight this isn’t a book about politics, even the chapters that talk about political action get swallowed in metaphysical concerns. Most of this book is Dugin explaining his philosophical system, his sources, inspirations, experiences, hopes and visions but never says too much about how is it supposed to work, that is someone else’s job, no really, the book invites its readers to make their own contributions. He does mention nazbols as a manifestation of what he wants but seems to have some issues with them, these issues are never explored and this book’s relationship with the national bolshevist party of Russia is never addressed.
Dugin’s system starts with Heidegger’s Dasein, describing dasein as a momentum for change in the world. The world according to Dugin has been drowned by liberalism since it has defeated all other ideologies and now struggles to dominate whatever is left that doesn’t submit to it. Liberalism (The first political theory, socialism (the 2nd) and fascism (the 3rd) all have the same problem that they believe in linear progress, one way or the other. Citing Gregory Bateson on the idea that reaching the maximum development of a living thing kills it, Dugin claims the same happens to societies and that is the fatal point all previews ideologies have, liberalism with the accumulation of wealth, socialism needing advanced capitalism for communism to be possible and fascism believing that some races are superior to others.
The 4th political theory and practice is never laid out completely but Dugin makes clear what to use as instructions. The 4PT must abandon the idea of linear progress. Time is not linear. On Dugin’s worldview a feudal kingdom living next to a fully automatized utopia is completely normal, more than that it is a desirable world because nations must be autonomous and take their own destinies without being touched by others. Why there wouldn’t be a war that ends tragically is never addressed.
How this world could be accomplished is never left clear either. Dugin explains that in postmodernism revolution is not possible because the masses are less homogeneous, separated by race gender etc. What is there left to do, then?
By now one can see the problem with Dugin’s philosophy. He’s a bona fide idealist who believes events occur without any input from material or intellectual conditions. His rejection of historical materialism is obvious, and he does criticize Marx in his book, but Dugin is oblivious to any Marxist thinker after Marx, even Lenin. He goes on about how Marxism failed to predict which societies will become socialist since industrial Europe remained capitalist and agricultural Russia and China became Communist controlled, unaware of what later Marxist writers have said about this phenomena.
Dugin only gives his vision a Russian context without taking care of other countries and this is another fatal flaw. He expects things to happen simply because things happen and thinks history merely happened because history happened, he doesn’t see the class struggle as a driver of historical change and goes as far to claim that fascism was a legitimate criticism of liberalism and not a reaction to capitalist crisis and modernity.
In Dugin’s world view the 20th century was a battle of ideologies. These arguments are what will disappoint leftists, but on the bright side the 4PT entails that nations have the right to be autonomous and free from intervention, this is a rejection of nazi lebensraum firstly but Dugin goes beyond that. He condemns racism and racialism and insists that we should celebrate differences, allowing every nation to be like they wish to be, a rejection of the idea that there are races superior to others. Taken with his condemnation of capitalism there is not much remaining that rightists may like.
In the end, this book has no future. It communicates a message that nobody wants to hear and that will reach nobody beside some Russian fringe groups. It may worth your time if you’re a fan of Heidegger’s philosophy but there aren’t many reasons beyond that.