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  • Editor’s Introduction
  • Arthur Versluis

Throughout its history, JSR has included articles on radicalism across the political spectrum, and in fact the international conference we hosted some years ago asked whether (or when) radicalism was “beyond left and right.” At the conference, some scholars told us that to ask the question itself was beyond the pale. JSR’s masthead statement includes this: “With sensitivity and openness to historical and cultural contexts of the term, we loosely define “radical,” as distinguished from “reformers,” to mean groups who seek revolutionary alternatives to hegemonic social and political institutions, and who use violent or nonviolent means to resist authority and to bring about sudden dramatic transformations of society.” In short, radicalism, as opposed to reform, can be understood functionally in terms of efforts at a sudden, dramatic nonviolent transformation of society, and that working definition would seem to be independent of a left–right political spectrum, however one understands it.

That said, it is also the case that the bulk of JSR’s articles have focused more on the left end of the political spectrum, or to put it another way, have not focused as much on the right. And it has been a challenge to steer the journal away from reformism and towards radicalism. But there is no line between reform and radicalism, only an indistinct borderland. The question of radicalism on the right is related to this. That is, if the right is associated with conservatism, the urge to conserve is not itself radical, and thus the term would not seem to apply very well to much of the right. Although the Flemish separatist group Vlaams Belaang is sometimes classed as radical, [End Page v] after speaking at length to one of its leaders, one might have the temerity to ask if this label is appropriate. What is the group seeking to conserve? Or overthrow? Or both?

In this issue, we include some quite interesting articles that investigate questions of radicalism on the right, beginning with Victor Lundberg’s “A Fascist Baby Hawk in Nuremberg,” in which he explores the history connecting five Swedish fascists with their attendance at a National Socialist Party Congress, looking at how this history reveals the dynamics of individual radicalization. Then, in “Beachhead or Refugium? The Rise and Dilemma of New Right Counterculture,” Eliah Bures discusses right-wing intellectual counterculture since World War II, focusing on the influence of Ernst Jünger on contemporary “New Right” writers and activists. The New Right would seem to be radical when it sees itself as seeking the sudden, dramatic transformation of society through violent or nonviolent means. In the third article, “Radical Russianness: The Religious and Historiosophic Context of Aleksandr Dugin’s Anti-Occidentalism,” Marcin Skladanowski and Lukasz Borzecki elaborate on a major contributor to the anti-Western (one could also say anti-American) thought of the Russian public intellectual and theorist Aleksandr Dugin, looking at anti-Western thoughts’ deep religious roots in Russian theological history, as well as the complexities of Dugin’s own thought in this area. Because Dugin urges war against the West (i.e., against the enemy of Russia), that would be not only conservatism (though arguably it is that on the Russian side), but also (external to Russia) the sudden, dramatic transformation of Western society through war. This argument also involves the activities and possible motivations of Vladimir Putin as part of its case that both Dugin and Putin are participating in a historiosophic perspective that not only predated them, but undoubtedly will follow them.

The next three articles explore related themes. The fourth article is Daniel Rueda’s “Neo-Ecofascism: The Example of the United States,” which first examines the development of ecological perspectives in Germany prior to and during the Third Reich and the National Socialist roots of modern environmentalism. Then Rueda examines how and the extent to which the resurgence of the far right in the United States also includes ecological thinking as an important dimension of its political-cultural agenda. One most likely associates ecological radicalism with the left, but Rueda documents that a good case can be made for considering the natural home of ecological [End Page vi] thinking...


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