The strategic principle of ‘divide and rule’ (divide et impera) has a long and dishonourable history. Some 2,500 years ago Sun Tzu’s Art of War advised:
So the rule for use of the military is that if you outnumber the opponent ten to one, then surround them; five to one, attack; two to one, divide.
Niccolo Machiavelli (1468--1527), in his work of the same name, counselled:
A Captain ought, among all the other actions of his, endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men in whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his forces, and, because of this, become weaker.
Throughout the ages, military, political and other strategists have grasped this simple truth: if your enemies are fighting each other, or otherwise bickering among themselves, then (a) they are doing your work for you and (b) they will be less effective in attacking you. Philip of Macedon (382bc--336bc), Polybius (c.205bc--c. 123bc), the ancient Hindus, Louis XI of France (1423--1483), Bossuet (1627--1704), Montesquieu (1689--1707) - all have borne witness to the effectiveness of divide et impera. When the Romans marched into Britain, their skilled tacticians did not hesitate to turn one Celtic tribe against another and thus, while these simple natives quarreled among themselves, Rome was able to consolidate its grip over England. Divide et impera was used by the British empire to set African tribe against African tribe and thus to conquer whole swathes of Africa; it was used by that same empire to set Muslim and Hindu against each other in India and thus to consolidate British control over the entire Indian continent. Whenever powerful armies have found themselves faced with opposition from simple fools, it has generally been divide et impera that has permitted them to conquer all with the minimum of effort.
In more recent times, divide et impera was used by the powerful business interests in the West to undermine communism. Writing in 1979, Hoxha damned the post-Stalin Soviet regime, the Euro-Communists, the Chinese, the Yugoslavs and almost everyone else, bitterly lamenting:
The revisionist parties of Europe, such as those of Italy, France and Spain, and following them all the other revisionist parties of the West . . . have embarked on the road of compromise with the capitalist bourgeoisie. They have named this anti-Marxist line ‘Euro-Communism’. ‘Euro-Comunism’ is a new pseudo-communist trend which is and is not in opposition to the Soviet revisionist bloc . . .
All the revisionist, opportunist and social democratic trends are going the whole length to assist the superpowers in their diabolical activity to suppress the revolution and the peoples. The support of all these trends for the allegedly new organisms of the bourgeoisie has a single aim: to smother the revolution by raising a thousand and one material, political and ideological obstacles to it. They are working to disorientate and split the proletariat and its allies, because they know that, divided and split by factional struggles, the latter will be unable to create, either at home or on an international plane, that ideological political and militant unity which is essential to cope with the attacks of world capitalism in decay.
As we now know, the West was indeed able to weaken communism to the point where it collapsed altogether leaving the United States of America and its allies as the virtually unchallenged imperial power in the world.
And divide et impera is being used today by these same Americans and their allies to enable them to set themselves up as the new masters of the world.
Consider the demise of the Afrikaner people. When they were united under one all-powerful National Party, neither terrorism from within nor pressure from outside was capable of undermining their grip on South Africa. But the international powers and their treacherous allies from within the ranks of Afrikanerdom knew perfectly well how to engineer split after split. First the Herstigte National Party broke away under Jaap Marais.
Then came the Conservative Party under Andries Treurnicht together with a truly amazing number of Afrikaner organizations, each priding itself on its originality and creativity and each blissfully unaware of how it was furthering the cause of its enemies who were sniggering at the Afrikaner people from their luxury homes on the other side of the Atlantic: the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, the Afrikaner Vryheidsbeweging, the Boerestaat Party, the Wit Wolve, the Freedom Front . . .
For one moment, in 1993, it seemed as if Afrikaner forces were uniting under the banner of the Concerned South Africans Group (Cosag). This same alliance also included the leaders of the independent homelands of Bophuthatswana and Ciskei, and the Zulu leader Buthelezi. So what was the response of the international powers led by America from without and the traitor De Klerk from within? They concentrated on the weak link: Buthelezi. By offering him a powerful but toothless position in an ANC- (i.e. American-) aligned government, by guaranteeing the position of the Zulu king in a new ANC-dominated dispensation, and by providing other inducements, the enemy was able to break him away from Cosag.
The next weak link was Constand Viljoen of the Freedom Front. He, too, was given the opportunity to participate in a harmless way in the new dispensation, and he too swiftly ceased any meaningful opposition to the destruction of his people. The rest were isolated and picked off one by one. What better illustration could there be of the scenario envisaged by Machiavelli in The Prince: ‘it is certain that when the enemy comes upon you in divided cities you are quickly lost, because the weakest party will always assist the outside forces and the other will not be able to resist.’
Consider American tactics in their attack on Afghanistan. They used every trick in the book to precipitate divisions in the ranks of their Taliban opponents - flagrant bribery, showing favours to certain enemy groups but with strings attached, discrediting individual leaders, and so forth. Writing in the New Statesman, John Pilger remarked:
Read between the lines and it is clear that they [the US] are not bombing large numbers of the Taliban's front-line troops. Why? Because they want to preserve what the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, calls the ‘moderate’ Taliban, who will join a ‘loose federation’ of ‘nation builders’ once the war is over. The moderate Taliban will unite with ‘elements of the resistance’ in the Northern Alliance, the bomb-planters, rapists and heroin dealers, who were trained by the SAS and paid by Washington.
This is known as divide and rule, a strategy as old as imperialism. It will allow the Americans - they hope - to reassert control over a region they ‘lost’. Other countries, such as Pakistan and the neighbouring former Soviet republics, are being bribed into submission. The ‘war on terrorism’, with its Rambo raids, is merely a circus for the folks back home and the media.
Look at the Muslims of the world. Were they to unite, what a devastating power they would wield! But they have been kept weak and divided by bribes, threats and by skilful manipulation by a cunning and ruthless enemy whose strategies their leaders could never comprehend were they to live for another thousand years. Those who have oil and wealth are set at the throats of those who espouse radicalism. Even the radicals are kept hopelessly split. Thus American policy in the Middle East remains unchallenged and Israeli and American soldiers slaughter the children of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan with impunity.
And look at those other great enemies of the new capitalist order -- the various ethnic and racial ‘nationalist’ groups that are supposedly so resurgent in Europe, America and elsewhere. Here it is not even necessary for the New World Order to expend any effort to engineer splits: these dolts are falling over themselves to find reasons to fight each other rather than the enemy. I have met people from the British National Party in Hull, England, who regard people from the British National Party in Grimsby, England, with hostility merely because of the (largely fictional) traditional hostility between the two neighbouring towns (separated by a river and a few miles of fields). No American bribes here - we’re simply dealing with cretins.
There are, of course, more substantive divisions between these ethnic and racial nationalists. When they are not fighting each other because they find one leader more compelling than another leader, they are fighting each other because they choose to justify their politics in different ways. When they’re not bickering about whether to invoke Hitler, Odin, Satan or Jesus Christ (Catholic, Protestant or Christian Identity flavours - take your pick) then they’ll bicker about whether they’re too conservative or too socialist.
Consideration of ‘strategy’ provides further opportunities for them to fight each other (extreme versus moderate is not the only source of division here - they can have hours of fun damning each other because they disagree with various alliances or pronouncements) - and if by some miracle they manage to miss all of these wonderful opportunities to render themselves totally irrelevant through splits and divisions then they can always use the new opportunities afforded by the Internet to go and abuse people in other countries who agree with them entirely about everything but who are nevertheless good fodder for an argument merely because they happen to live in another part of the world . . .
And then they wonder why they have remained utterly marginalized since the middle of the last century! To compare these simple fools with the military strategists in the Pentagon is ludicrous. They have no hope against such a foe. They are a lost cause. They are like the simple Celtic tribesfolk who, confronted with the canny legionnaires from Rome, merely rolled over, falling for every trick in the book, and allowed themselves to be robbed of everything.
This, then, is the scenario at the beginning of the twenty-first century. We have a shrewd imperial superpower, the American-dominated New World Order, with vast financial, technological and intelligence resources and phenomenal planning and strategic experience at its disposal. Against this we have a huge number of weak and divided nations and groups with little, if any, ability to counter the strategies used against them by their enemies. How, then, is the New World Order to be opposed? What is to be done?
Expose the ‘left-right continuum’ as a fraud!
One of the most pernicious and pervasive aspects of divide et impera is the ‘left-right’ distinction. At a single stroke this creates an apparently arbitrary division in the ranks of anti-Establishment activists and sets them at each other’s throats.
The ‘left/right’ distinction owes its origins to the seating plan implemented on 5 May, 1789 in the French National Assembly. The clergy and nobility, who tended to oppose change, sat to the right of the speaker and the commons, who tended to favour change, sat to the left. However, many people who are opposed to change today are classified as ‘left wing’ - we could cite, for example, Fidel Castro who, despite his image as a ‘left-wing revolutionary’, nevertheless enshrined his version of socialism in Cuba’s constitution with the words ‘The revolutionary process of socialism cannot be reversed’. He is merely one of the more recent of numerous ‘left-wing’ luminaries who have sought, by one way or another, to fossilize their favoured form of social order and guard it against reform. By contrast, Hitler, often regarded as the epitomy of the ‘extreme right’, was scathing about the conservatism of the ‘right-wing’ parties of his day:
The parties of the Right have lost all energy: they see the flood coming, but their one longing is just for once in their lives to form a Government. Unspeakably incapable, utterly lacking in energy, cowards all -- such are all these bourgeois parties and that at the moment when the nation needs heroes -- not chatterers.
Sometimes it is asserted that what distinguishes ‘left’ from ‘right’ is that the ‘left’ favours state control whereas the ‘right’ favours minimal state intervention. However, this does not work either. Powerful state structures have often existed under supposedly ‘right-wing’ regimes, such as those of Hitler’s Germany, Botha’s South Africa or even Thatcher’s Britain. And whereas Marxists are often mocked for their supposed commitment to state control, it should not be forgotten that their ultimate aim was the ‘withering away’ of the state (a phrase originating with Engels, not the slower and more befuddled Marx as is often falsely asserted):
The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the processes of production. The state is not 'abolished,' it withers away. It is from this standpoint that we must appreciate the phrase 'a free people's state' -- both its temporary justification for agitational purposes, and its ultimate scientific inadequacy -- and also the demand of the so-called anarchists that the state should be abolished overnight.
As Lenin pointed out in speaking of the state ‘withering away,’ and the even more graphic and colorful ‘ceasing of itself’, Engels refers quite clearly and definitely to the period after ‘the state has taken possession of the means of production in the name of the whole of society’, that is, after the socialist revolution.
And if this does not scupper thoroughly the notion of the left as ‘statists’, what are we to make of those ‘left-wing’ anarchists who write such things as this:
The State is the negation of Humanity. It is this in two ways: the opposite of human freedom and human justice (internally), as well as the forcible disruption of the common solidarity of mankind (externally). The Universal State, repeatedly attempted, has always proved an impossibility, so that as long as the State exists, States will exist and since every State regards itself as absolute, and proclaims the adoration of its power as the highest law, to which all other laws must be subordinated, it therefore follows that as long as States exist wars cannot cease. Every State must conquer, or be conquered. Every State must build its power on the weakness or, if it can do it without danger to itself, on the destruction, of other States.
To strive for international justice, liberty, and perpetual peace, and at the same time to uphold the State, is contradictory and naive.
Sometimes it is asserted that what distinguishes ‘left’ from ‘right’ is that the so-called ‘right’ upholds notions such as the nation, patriotism and race, whereas the ‘left’ decries these notions in favour of one united world. How strange, then, that the ‘left-wing’ and ‘communist’ regime of North Korea should describe its leader’s views on nation and ethnicity in the following terms:
Kim Jong Il . . . said that the basic indexes of a nation are homogeneity of bloodline, a common language and a common territory; in particular, that bloodline and language are the most important in defining a nation, and that a nation is a solid group of people who are united with homogeneity of bloodline, language and territory.
He went on to say that the Korean nation has long lived in one territory, inheriting the same bloodline and speaking the same language, and it is a nation with a history of 5,000 years and with a splendid culture, and that expatriates, too, belong to Korean nation. A nation is a cohesive group of people that was formed historically and the largest unit of social life. A nation is not formed or broken up easily by a change in the social system. The formation of a nation conditions the appearance of social classes and strata. Even in a classless society the nation still exists. If one’s bloodline and language are same, one belongs to one and the same nation, even though one’s ideology, ideals and territory are different. This is his outlook on the nation. . .
Kim Jong Il emphasizes that, according to the Juche-oriented outlook on the nation, independence is the core of a nation’s life and existence.
As a man without independence can be likened to a dead man, so a nation which has lost its independence cannot exist or develop. This is common knowledge. Therefore the question of a nation’s destiny is directly linked with that of the nation’s independence. The nation’s independence is its essential nature and life and soul. The destiny of a nation is determined by whether the nation is independent or not and by how it realizes and defends its independence. In order to live and develop independently, every nation defends its national character, traditions and spirit and desires its unity. In this way, the spirit of national independence runs through the Juche-oriented outlook on the nation. This is Kim Jong Il’s view. To promote the national independent spirit, one should posses national dignity and revolutionary pride. If one lacks national dignity and believes that one’s nation is inferior to others, and if one lacks pride in the revolution, one cannot truly live independently and one is unable to defend national independence and dignity. This is also part of Kim Jong Il’s faith. . .
Since national nihilism and flunkeyism towards big powers are deep-rooted among them due to the imperialist policy of assimilating colonies and obliterating their national culture, small countries must pay special attention to enhancing a sense of national dignity and revolutionary pride, he emphasizes.
Flunkeyism is an attitude peculiar to slaves serving and worshipping great powers and developed countries, and nihilism means looking down upon one’s own country and nation and despising them. If a person falls for flunkeyism, he is a fool; if a nation is servile to great powers, the country will go to ruin: and if a party is subservient to great powers, it will make a mess of the revolution and construction. This is what he teaches Government and Party officials. The flunkeyist tendency of the ruling class of the successive feudal dynasties hindered national development greatly, left after effects and, in the end, ruined our country.
What are we to make of the supposedly ‘right-wing’ regimes of Europe and America that pursue the erosion of national boundaries, the creation of supranational quasi-states such as the ‘European Union’, the interests of multi-national corporations and the process of ‘globalization’ to foster the interests of big business? And what are we to make of the converse phenomenon: the ‘left-wing anti-globalization protestor’? Clearly, ‘right’ and ‘left’ cannot be conceptualized in terms of nationalism versus internationalism.
Finally, there are political movements in the world today that defy any attempt at classification on a ‘left/right’ continuum. Where on this spectrum are we to place the follower of Islam who denounces America and its influence on the world today? Where are we to put the environmentalist? The National-Anarchist? The National-Bolshevik? The Eurasian?
The ‘left/right’ political distinction is a cynical ploy to divide the people and set them against each other so that they do not unite against the single main enemy of us all: the Establishment. As Eduard Limonov remarked: There’s no longer any left or right. There’s the system and the enemies of the system.
Work with sectarians in subtle ways!
Those who oppose the Establishment cannot meaningfully be divided into ‘left’ and ‘right’ but they can usefully be divided into sectarians and non-sectarians. These are not opposing camps but rather groups of people who need to be managed in different ways.
Non-sectarians will seek to form a broad alliance against the Establishment. They will work alongside anyone with whom they can reach broad agreement on strategy. They will minimize the significance of theoretical differences and concentrate on what unites - on opposition to the Establishment - rather than what divides.
Sectarians will oppose the Establishment from a narrow theoretical position. They tend to work alongside those who share their own theoretical position and to oppose anti-Establishment activists whose theoretical positions diverge from their own. They tend to emphasize and play up the significance of theoretical differences and concentrate on what divides the enemies of the Establishment rather than the common cause. They easily serve as unwitting tools of the Establishment.
It is my experience that by far the majority of anti-Establishment activists are sectarians - often extreme sectarians. This has important implications for anti-Establishment strategy and alliance building.
The first implication is that non-sectarians need to unite and to create their own organizations and strategies. If they do this then there will be a core of anti-Establishment activists who are relatively immune from the divide et impera tactics of the Establishment.
The second implication is that non-sectarians need to create propaganda to convince anti-Establishment activists of the advantages of non-sectarian activism, of the dangers of divide et impera, and of the importance of building alliances with anti-Establishment activists from a variety of backgrounds. If they do this then they will be able to recruit more non-sectarian activists and thus increase the number of activists who are relatively immune from the divide et impera onslaught.
The third implication is that great subtlety is needed in working with sectarian activists. It is tempting to turn one’s back on these people and to regard them as too dogmatic for alliance-building purposes. Given their numbers and their sheer importance, this would be a serious strategic error and one that would in itself tend to reinforce the success of the Establishment’s divide et impera approach.
Generally speaking, the principle that should be employed should be to work towards a grand alliance of non-sectarian activists but a series of small, often single-issue alliances with sectarians. These small alliances might even be as limited as non-aggression agreements or agreements to discuss differences. They need to be entered into with the utmost sensitivity and subtlety and with the greatest attention possible given to situation-specific factors. If you go along to an anti-globalist demonstration organized by communists and announce yourself as a ‘third-positionist nationalist’ you will find that the organizers will not think ‘we are anti-Establishment and you are anti-Establishment, therefore we can work together’; rather, they will think ‘you are right wing and we are left wing, therefore we are the deadliest enemies’ - and another victory for Establishment divide et impera will ensue.
Great care needs to be taken to listen to sectarians rather than to preach. Often it is possible to absorb much of value from sectarian activists while rejecting their dogmatism. I have cited above, Hoxha’s striking insights into imperialist strategy - these insights are of enormous value despite the fact that they come from a man whose sectarianism and dogmatism were legendary. It is often the case that those from a Marxist background, in particular, can contribute much in the field of strategic insight while remaining quite immune to exhortations to adopt a non-sectarian anti-Establishment approach.
The general strategy, then, in dealing with sectarian anti-Establishment activists should be to seek out areas where joint anti-Establishment activity can be carried out while perhaps gently trying to persuade sectarians of the value of working with those who do not necessarily share the finer nuances of their own preferred theories.
Be sparing in the use of theoretical justifications and keep your eye on the ball!
Anti-Establishment activists have an overwhelming need to justify themselves. They have to explain in the greatest of detail why they are opposed to the Establishment. This is quite understandable but the problem is that they are a diverse bunch, they have very little in the way of central organization, and thus the number of different justifications (some more convincing perhaps than others) almost equals the number of anti-Establishment activists! The result is rampant sectarianism and a bitterly divided anti-Establishment movement that accomplishes very little.
Those who justify their anti-Establishment activism in terms of the economic theories of Engels and Marx are likely, for obvious historical reasons, to experience the utmost difficulty in working with those who justify their activism in terms of the racial theories of Adolf Hitler. Those who justify it in terms of Islam or Christianity might have problems with those who are inspired by the paganism of Ye Olde England. Those whose anti-Establishment activism is inspired by a theory that envisages the ideal world order as characterized by a powerful nation state might have difficulty in working alongside those whose preferred theories espouse the minimization or abolition of the state.
Clearly, it is in the interests of the Establishment to foster and exploit such theoretical contradictions. It follows that it is in the interests of the opponents of the Establishment to avoid or minimize them.
Much can be gained, in this respect, by justifying activism in terms not of any particular theory but rather in terms of the abhorrent nature of the Establishment and the need for people from different theoretical backgrounds to unite against the common enemy.
Look at the world that these people have created for us! Every three years, globally, more people die from starvation-related causes than were killed in the entire Second World War. Over 123 million people were killed in 149 wars between the end of World War II and 1996 alone and with America and Israel becoming more murderous with every year that passes the end to this kind of barbarism is nowhere in sight. We could cite the spiraling AIDS figures in Africa and Asia (as I write these words, the incidence of HIV infection in Botswana is exceeding 35%), and the decadence and lax immigration controls that will surely import this scourge into Europe in a matter of time. We could point to the sham, media-controlled two-party ‘democracies’ of the Western world that serve only to legitimize the spread of American imperialism and American values throughout the world and to render impotent any effective challenge to America’s new empire.
By concentrating on the nefarious nature of the common enemy, and deliberately marginalizing theoretical justification and discussion, non-sectarianism can be encouraged and the damaging nature of sectarianism can be exposed and decried.
Unite around achievable strategies and objectives
All too often anti-Establishment groups and individuals feel that if they simply exist this is sufficient and that there is no need to engage in any form of planning. Such people are characterized by a tendency to rationalize their complete lack of activism and their complete lack of strategic planning by a sort of tired fatalism. They will lament their lack of resources and the stupidity of people in general and will see themselves as serving simply to symbolize (some would say fossilize) a particular viewpoint in the general marketplace of ideas. As Guardians of the Fossils, these people are very adept at defending the theoretical niceties of their own version of The True Faith, and will savagely turn against those who do not share The True Faith, even if those they turn against happen to be enemies of the Establishment. In short, the Guardians of the Fossils, as archetypal sectarians, are generally excellent targets for divide et impera.
Some Guardians of the Fossils are sufficiently motivated to wish to give the appearance of having a strategy without actually worrying about its finer details. They are characterized by a tendency to produce pie-in-the sky strategies that either involve completely unrealistic assumptions or millenarian-type strategies that delay the need to do anything at all until some remote date or event such as the collapse of the entire New World Order throughout the world. Once again, the emphasis on theory rather than action leads to a sectarianism that makes these people vulnerable to divide et impera.
Unity around simple, achievable strategies and objectives pushes preoccupation with theoretical niceties to one side and focuses on areas where anti-Establishment activists from different backgrounds can work together in a rewarding way. If two people or two groups from very different theoretical backgrounds can co-operate to achieve a goal that is useful to both of them, this increases the resource base of both groups and widens the armoury of strategies open to each.
Expose their filthy tricks at every opportunity!
It is one of the principal tasks of all those with influence within the anti-Establishment movement to expose the strategy of divide et impera. International, national and local leaders, writers and ordinary radicals all have a role to play in educating themselves and others about this strategy, how it has been used in the past, how it is currently being used, and how to counter it. The simple act of drawing attention to it can reduce its effectiveness by creating an awareness of the importance of unity and the dangers of bickering and disunity.
Much is at stake. The technological resources of the New World Order are such that if it achieves hegemony over all the earth it will be difficult or impossible to reverse the situation. A global concentration and entrenchment of imperial power will ensue that will dwarf every other tyranny that the world has ever known.
Folk and Faith