Any exploration of power would be lacking without a consideration of its nature. So what is power? Power is defined as the ability to effect change, which is exactly what we’re concerned with. We all share a similar vision of a better world, but without power, we lack the ability to manifest our shared vision into reality.
Power shouldn’t be conceived of as something that you either have or don’t have. In other words, being in power and having power needn’t necessarily be the same things. Being in power implies controlling the system, whereas having power refers to being able to effect change, regardless of the extent.
Power comes in two forms. The first is hard power, which involves the use of force to coerce others into doing what you want. An example of hard power would be the Stasi breaking into the house of a political dissident to use violence to get him to fall in line. With soft power, however, you use persuasion and influence, rather than coercion. In other words, you convince people to do what you want, and to want what you want. While we ultimately want to exercise both forms of power, soft power is more useful.
Our ruling class is able to wield soft power very effectively because it has cultural hegemony. Generally, most institutions in America – including intelligence agencies, the media, and academia – do not need to be told to enforce progressive-liberal ideals. And that’s because the people running Twitter, YouTube, Stripe, and other companies more or less want what our ruling class wants.
So now that we’ve taken a look at what power is, the question becomes, how do we obtain it? Well, I’m not of the opinion that there’s an easy answer to this, as no one really knows how things are going to play out. With that said, though, the best thing we can do is obtain capital – both as individuals and groups. Should a historical opportunity present itself, however brief, we’ll need to be as prepared – wealthy, organized, etc. – as possible.
Saul Alinsky famously wrote that power is derived from two main sources: money and people, which are ultimately forms of capital. Capital is defined as resources that can be employed to affect change. Capital comes in many forms: financial, human, physical, and social.
Social capital, which consists of networks of voluntary association, is particularly important. As Robert Putnam outlines in Bowling Alone, American community has disintegrated since the mid-60s. There are many reasons for this – generational precession, TV, and ethnic diversity among them – but regardless of the cause, the reality is that Americans of European descent are starved of a sense of community. So in order for Identitarianism to succeed, it must fill this void.
Moreover, social capital – networks of competent, driven individuals – has, historically, been the basis of societal power. Consider the Jacobins bringing an end to the French monarchy. Consider the Frankfurt School. Consider the origins of Neoconservatism. Particularly, consider Scientology bullying the IRS into obtaining tax-exempt status.
Activism serves as an effective method of attracting capital in its various forms. Whenever IE does a large action, we see a surge in both applications and donations – that is, people and money. So if we’re to believe Saul Alinsky, every action that we do brings us more power.
Now, I understand that it might be difficult to see how unfurling a banner, holding a demonstration, or even putting up flyers brings us closer to the finish line. But we need to keep in mind that winning is quite often the product of many smaller victories and fewer large ones. In football, one play doesn’t generally win the game – instead, the team that wins is the one that has stacked up many smaller victories, e.g. first downs.
This, too, is how we need to view the game we’re playing. And make no mistake, it is a game – one with extremely high stakes. So while we’re not a certain number of banner drops away from winning, these actions do bring us closer to victory.
Oftentimes, people argue that this isn’t enough. We need to do “more” because “time is running out.” I agree that time is running out; however, just vaguely claiming that flyering, demonstrations, etc. “aren’t enough” (they aren’t on their own, but I explained their utility above) doesn’t accomplish anything, and the people saying these things rarely have a plan – if they do, it generally consists of little more than effete fantasies about violent revolution, which constitutes a dead end. To reiterate, they’re merely communicating their desire for there to be a shortcut to victory. If one exists, I’m all ears. But again, these people don’t really have a plan – only unmanageable emotions.
In conclusion, the path to power looks something like this:
Activism, networking, and content creation -> capital (people, money, infrastructure, etc.) -> power (which, if wielded properly will lead to being in power)
This is, admittedly, a simplification, but oftentimes simplicity is beneficial. Nevertheless, this is a topic that warrants a great deal of consideration, so expect further elaboration in the future.