Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Nature of Terrible Sacrifice: Gladio & The Grey Wolves

Roger Griffin discusses the Grey Wolves in The Nature of Fascism. I've started reading about their infiltration of Turkish migrant communities, and wonder about possible bearing on Turkey's accession to EU membership. The question is complicated by the parallel [sic] existence of Gladio as a secretive NATO sponsored network of "stay behind" armies, utilizing a "strategy of tension". Mhuthnance, given your expertise on paramilitary groups, you'll be interested, without of course succumbing to conspiracy theorizing, as the Wiki link cites usage of a comparable strategy in relation to the Oklahoma City Bombing in its footnotes (be sure to read as well the separate entry on The Grey Wolves).

Anton did not pick up on any parallels in his article on martial industrial music and the fatalistic sense of neofascists living in the interregnum, so I can only speculate about the extent to which their networks have taken inspiration from actual paramilitary cells (this heavily qualifies any sense of living in an interregnum as Gladio have apparently been quite active, even if stopped short from full realisation of the new fascist order martial industrialists/traditionalists like to fantasise about). Note too that said article failed to mention the controversy surrounding publication of the Battlenoises! book (which lead to its withdrawal from publication)- its inclusion could have better demonstrated the scene's internal divisions, rather than relying on close readings of lyrics and album artwork alone. Of course, there's already a group of noise musicians calling themselves The Grey Wolves (and they do use some irony in their work), so how long can it be until some other martial industrialist/noise/neofolk/black metal artist(s) decides to name themselves Gladio?

This is not a trivial question, if we appreciate how the politics of representation can legitimate something that is very dangerous, be it intentional or not.

Another question to ponder: was a similar "strategy of tension" in operation in post World War 2 Japan? I don't know, so I think further investigation is warranted. I do know though that the ongoing existence of Gladio remains hotly contested, while the Grey Wolves maintain an active presence in Turkey (and possibly amongst the Turkish diaspora as well).

Given this blog's interest in the cultural significance of Nature, I should also note here the symbolic role of the wolf as an ancient European symbol of loyalty and protection and religious veneration: the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus were supposed to have been rescued and suckled by a she Wolf. Respect for the Wolf is firmly enshrined in the European 'tradition' (or rather, at least for European traditionalists). Hitler, for example, drew on this legacy, referring to himself as Herr Wolf, and his Eastern Front military HQ was called Wolfsschanze ("Wolf's Lair").

You might also recall that the Blood Axis album, Blot: Sacrifice in Sweden, is replete with the sounds of howling wolves to connote its traditionalist 'pagan' atmospherics of the communal feasts (the 'blots'), where participants would be sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice (usually consisting of cattle, as human sacrifice was a comparative rarity). Adam of Bremen gives a graphic description of one such mass human sacrifice, which is quoted at length here (see page 129) by Daniel Bray in an academic article that further attempts to explain sacrificial ideology. This is precisely the kind of ideology one would expect radical traditionalists- from paramilitaries to martial industrialists/neofolk enthusiasts- to subscribe to, insofar as they believe that present conditions oblige them to operate as clandestine, warrior-like "lone wolves". Indeed, the opening track prominently features a radio broadcast by Black Shirt leader Oswald Mosley extolling the sacrifices required to ensure "a spiritual revolution of our people".

To be sure, there can be considerable variation in the means chosen to respond to individual circumstances (i.e. what a sacrifice may consist of), but this should not cause us to lose sight of the commonalities. Updating Bray, it could even be said that the thoughts and actions of radical traditionalists can each in their own way be understood as "not so much about the purpose of the ritual, as [they are] about a ritual to crystallise the operant's purpose and to make that purpose effectual in the world". Tradition evolves along with everything else in the world, and this remains the paradox that traditionalism continues to wrestle with, sometimes violently so. No amount of pre-Darwinian privileging of animal kinship, be it wolves or anything else, can overcome this basic fact.

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