Jack Donovan on men: a masculine tribalism for the far right
By Matthew N Lyons | Monday, November 23, 2015
Donovan: "Ur-fascism is the source of honor
culture and authentic patriarchal tradition."
All far rightists promote male dominance, but the kinds of male dominance they promote differ enormously. The Christian right’s revolutionary wing — the folks who don’t just want to ban abortion, same-sex marriage, and teaching evolution, but replace the U.S. government with a full-blown theocracy — advocates “biblical patriarchy,” a doctrine that urges men to keep close control over everything their wives and children do, from the books they read to the time they go to bed. In this schema, for women to make decisions or speak for themselves isn’t just a bad idea, it’s a revolt against God.
Jack Donovan’s version of male supremacy is radically different from that. He’s a former Satanist, not a Christian, and he doesn’t anchor his ideas in the Bible, but rather in evolutionary psychology — an approach that’s probably meaningless, if not satanic, to Adam and Eve creationists. He doesn’t focus on the family, but on championing a kind of male comradeship free of female constraints. This comradeship allows room for sexual relations between men, and Donovan is himself openly homosexual, which would of course be taboo in the Christian right. And while even the most hard-core biblical patriarchs aim to recruit women as well as men (claiming their path offers women security and respect, not to mention salvation through Jesus), Donovan doesn’t write for women at all. His audience, his community, his hope for the future, is entirely male.
Over the past eight years, Jack Donovan has published a stream of articles and several books about men and masculinity. His best-known work is the self-published The Way of Men (2012 - hereafter referred to as Way for short), which reportedly sold an impressive ten thousand copies in its first two years. His ideas are important, in part, because they appeal to different sectors of the right, including members of the “Manosphere,” white nationalists, right-wing anarchists, and (with a few modifications) even some Christian rightists.
“The Way of Men,” Donovan argues, “is the way of the gang.” “For most of their time on this planet, men have organized in small survival bands, set against a hostile environment, competing for women and resources with other bands of men” (Way, p. 3). These gangs, he claims, have provided the security that makes all human culture and civilization possible. They are also the social framework that men need to realize their true selves. Donovan’s gangs foster and depend on the “tactical virtues” of Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor, which together form his definition of masculinity. Gang life centers on fighting, hierarchy, and drawing the perimeter against outsiders (“separating us from them”). This, in turn, dovetails with many of Donovan’s core philosophical precepts — that human equality is an illusion, violence (specifically male violence) is universal, and moral accountability should be limited to the members of one’s own tribe.
In Donovan's ideal order, only male
warriors would have a political voice
Donovan advocates “androphilia,” by which he means love or sex between masculine men. He doesn’t call himself gay, rejects gay culture as effeminate, and justifies homophobia as a defense of masculinity rooted in the male gang’s collective survival needs. This might sound like self-hatred, but Donovan isn’t hiding or apologizing for his own sexuality; he’s defining it in a way that’s radically at odds with prevailing LGBT politics. His version of homosexuality is a consummation of the priority that men in his ideal gang place on each other. As he has commented, “When you get right down to it, when it comes to sex, homos are just men without women getting in the way.”
In Donovan’s worldview, patriarchy is the natural state of human affairs, rooted in that primeval survival scenario where women are a prize that male gangs fight over. And seen through his eyes, patriarchy doesn’t look so bad. Since Donovan is fundamentally uninterested in women’s experience, he repeats lots of “common sense” male ideas without question. For example: “A rapist is something that no right-minded man wants to be,” so the whole idea of rape culture is a feminist lie, “a tool to silence criticism of women and exert control over men’s sexual behavior and conceptions of their own masculinity.” Similarly, “men have always had to demonstrate to the group that they could carry their own weight” (Way, p. 46), while it’s supposedly much more common and accepted for women to be supported by others. Never mind that women actually work longer hours than men and do the bulk of unpaid domestic labor, enabling men in all regions of the world to do less work.
Against globalism and feminism
Donovan sees a basic tension between the wildness and violence of gang life and the restraint and orderliness that civilization requires: civilization benefits men through technological and cultural advances, but it also saps their primal masculinity — their strength, courage, mastery, and honor. For most of human history, he says, men have fashioned workable compromises between the two, but with societal changes over the past century that’s become less and less possible. Today, “globalist civilization requires the abandonment of the gang narrative, of us against them. It requires the abandonment of human scale identity groups for ‘one world tribe’” (Way, p. 139). Who is leading this attack on masculinity? “Feminists, elite bureaucrats, and wealthy men” — who “all have something to gain for themselves by pitching widespread male passivity. The way of the gang disrupts stable systems, threatens the business interests (and social status) of the wealthy, and creates danger and uncertainty for women” (Way, p. 138).
With the help of globalist elites, feminists have supposedly dismantled patriarchy and put women in a dominant role. As Donovan argues in No Man's Land: “For the first time in history, at least on this scale, women wield the axe of the state over men.” Women have “control over virtually all aspects of reproduction,” and “a mere whisper from a woman can place a man in shackles and force him to either confess or prove that he is innocent of even the pettiest charges.” Faced with the bumper sticker slogan, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings,” Donovan retorts that this should be rewritten as “Feminism is the radical notion that men should do whatever women say, so that women can do whatever the hell they want.”
Unlike Christian rightists, who argue that feminism misleads women into betraying their true interests, Donovan sees feminism as an expression of women’s basic nature, which is “to calm men down and enlist their help at home, raising children, and fixing up the grass hut” (Way, p. 137). Today, feminists’ supposed alliance with globalist elites reflects this: “Women are better suited to and better served by the globalism and consumerism of modern democracies that promote security, no-strings attached sex and shopping” (Way, p. 148). It’s not that women are evil, Donovan claims. “Women are humans who are slightly different from men, and given the opportunity they will serve their slightly different interests and follow their own slightly different way” (Way, p. 150). But that slight different way inevitably clashes with men’s interests and therefore needs to be firmly controlled, if not suppressed.
Donovan’s social and political ideal is a latter-day tribal order that he calls “The Brotherhood.” The Brotherhood is rooted in the primeval gang experience, where all men of the group affirm a sacred oath of loyalty to each other (spoken or unspoken) against the outside world. In this order, a man’s position would be based on “hierarchy through meritocracy,” not inherited wealth or status. The Brotherhood might be run as a democracy or it might have a king — Donovan isn’t particular as long as the leaders prove their worth and are accountable to the men of the group. All men would be expect to train and serve as warriors, and only warriors would have a political voice. Women would not be “permitted to rule or take part in the political life of The Brotherhood, though women have always and will always influence their husbands” (A Sky Without Eagles, hereafter Sky, p. 158).
Women’s main roles in this system would be to birth and raise children, and to help preserve memories of the ancestors, because “young men should grow up knowing what their great-grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers did, and who they were, and what they believed” (Sky, p. 160). To some extent this sounds like standard conservative gender ideology, but there’s a difference. “The family is a means for the continuation of The Brotherhood, and gives a sacred role to women in The Brotherhood. The ideal woman is Queen Gorgo of Sparta,… boasting that only women of her tribe give birth to worthy men” (Sky, p. 158). This is a reversal of the idea that men become hunters and warriors to protect and provide for their families. As Jef Costello noted on the white nationalist website Counter-Currents, Donovan is saying that women exist in order to bring men into the world, and the family exists because it makes idealized male gang life possible.
Relationship with Men’s Rights Activists and the Manosphere
Donovan shares some ideas with Men’s Rights Activists (“MRAs”) — notably that the legal system and the media unfairly discriminate against men — and has published several essays in the MRA-oriented journal The Spearhead. But he criticizes MRAs from the right, arguing that their stated goal of equity between men and women is a capitulation to feminism. Donovan is more favorably disposed toward the so-called manosphere, a loose online network of men who promote vicious hostility toward feminism and sexual predation toward women. In Donovan’s words, “The manosphere is an outer realm where male tribalism rules…. [It] is not about what women want, or about making sure men and women are equal. The manosphere is about men writing about who men are and what they want, without supervision.” In turn, influential manosphere figures such as Roosh V (Daryush Valizadeh) have praised Donovan’s work. Roosh V commented on The Way of Men, “Ironic that a gay man wrote one of the manliest books I've ever read.”
White nationalism and fascism
Donovan is a sort of white nationalist fellow traveler. He has written for white nationalist websites including Counter-Currents and Radix and spoken at white nationalist gatherings such as National Policy Institute conferences. As he writes in "Mighty White," he is “sympathetic to many of their general aims,” such as encouraging racial separatism and defending European Americans against “the deeply entrenched anti-white bias of multiculturalist orthodoxies.” White nationalism dovetails with his belief that all humans are tribal creatures. But race is not his main focus or concern. “My work is about men. It’s about understanding masculinity and the plight of men in the modern world. It’s about what all men have in common.” His “Brotherhood” ideal is not culturally specific and he’s happy to see men of other cultures pursue similar aims. “For instance, I am not a Native American, but I have been in contact with a Native American activist who read The Way of Men and contacted me to tell me about his brotherhood [probably Vince Rinehart of Attack the System]. I could never belong to that tribe, but I wish him great success in his efforts to promote virility among his tribesmen” (Sky, p. 166).
Donovan has also embraced the term “anarcho-fascism,” which he explained in terms of the original fascist symbol, the fasces, a bundle of wooden rods that stands for strength and unity. Rejecting the common belief that fascism equals a totalitarian state or top-down bureaucratic rule, he identified the fasces with the “bottom-up idea” of “a unified male collective…. True tribal unity can’t be imposed from above. It’s an organic phenomenon. Profound unity comes from men bound together by a red ribbon of blood.” “…the modern, effeminate, bourgeois ‘First World’ states can no longer produce new honor cultures. New, pure warrior-gangs can only rise in anarchic opposition to the corrupt, feminist, anti-tribal, degraded institutions of the established order…. Ur-fascism is the source of honor culture and authentic patriarchal tradition.”
Elsewhere, Donovan cautions that he isn’t “an anarchist or a fascist proper,” but simply wanted to make the point that “revitalizing tribal manliness will require a chaotic break from modernity” (Sky, p. 14). Still, there are strong resonances between his ideas and early fascism’s violent male camaraderie, which took the intense, trauma-laced bonds that World War I veterans had formed in the trenches and transferred them into street-fighting formations such as the Italian squadristi and German storm troopers. Donovan also echoes the 1909 Futurist Manifesto, a document that prefigured Italian Fascism: “We want to glorify war — the only cure for the world — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.” All this is part of what J. Sakai meant when he wrote that fascism “is a male movement, both in its composition and most importantly in its inner worldview. This is beyond discrimination or sexism, really. Fascism is nakedly a world of men. This is one of the sources of its cultural appeal.” I don’t completely agree, because fascism can also appeal to women on a mass scale, but the inner worldview Sakai was highlighting is an important aspect of fascism, and Donovan articulates that view as well as anybody.
Continues at: http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2015/ ... alism.html