To some people surprise the term Third Position was not used by the Italian Fascist or the German National Socialist. In fact, the first regime to call itself Third Position was Juan Peron Argentina. However, the term and similar terms like third way or third front existed before but was mainly used by non-mainstream third position group or what some would call the left wing of the third position. In this article I will be going over the history of the term and similar terms and differences it had with the fascist, national socialist and other more mainstream third position ideologies. Along with showing the transformation of the term over the years. I wont go over Bill Clinton third way due to it being the exact opposite of the third position but just note that neo liberals did use the term third way for a time but it’s the exact opposite way how most people used the term.
The first time the term was used was by German conservative revolutionary thinker Arthur Moeller Van Bruck. Who advocated for the combining of German nationalism and socialism. Along with an alternative to both capitalism and international communism and being an admirer of Mussolini but was not very supportive of Hitler. He was originally going to call his book The Third Position but later decided to name it The Third Empire. Which advocated for what I stated above along with the idea of Germany fighting for a New Reich. While the term Third Position was abandon but a similar term was used by conservative revolutionary/ National Bolshevik thinker Karl Otto Paetel which he used in his National Bolshevik Manifesto. Prior to the book he originally advocated for the unity of the Left wing NSADP (strasserist) , The KDP or German communist party and the national revolutionaries but abandoned this believing the groups weren’t either radical enough on the economic or national question. Then the book advocated for Ethnic Nationalism, abolishment of private property, council communism, anti-imperialism and destroying liberalism, capitalism, Hitlerism and unlike Moeller Italian fascism as well which he took a traditional Marxist understanding as fascism is capitalism in decay. We can already see that the origins of the term Third Position came from the more left-wing factions and ideologies of the third position. Which did not like Hitlerism and for the most part Italian fascism as well. However, Paetel vision would not come about the NSADP did come to power. Paetel ended up fleeing the country along with many groups he wanted to collaborate with ended up either fleeing, went underground or were killed by the NSADP.
Juan Peron Argentina 1947 to 1974
In 1947 Juan Peron came to power by a military coup in Argentina. Peron is the first person to popularize the term Third Position. He advocated for a 3rd position between the capitalist west and communist east. However, he did have many Marxist and fascist supporters and maintain good relations with Castro Cuba. He also admired Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler but unlike Hitler and later Mussolini Peron was never a racial nationalist or anti-Semitic.
He was a Cultural Nationalist, but he did takes ideas from Italian fascist on economics and state. “Italian Fascism made people’s organizations participate more on the country’s political stage. Before Mussolini’s rise to power, the state was separated from the workers, and the former had no involvement in the latter. […] Exactly the same process happened in Germany, that is the state was organized [to serve] for a perfectly structured community, for a perfectly structured population: a community where the state was the tool of the people, whose representation was, in my opinion, effective.
— Juan Perón
Peron was also very supportive of trade unions, Anti Imperialist, was pro worker and socially conservative but he was overthrown in the early 1950s and fled to Spain only to come back in the early 70s for a 3rd term and died shortly after. His movement started to split apart into left and right factions. Then the Argentina Dirty wars happened, and Peronism lost all its original meaning other than its populism. However this was the first time that many fascists and other groups associated with fascism started to embrace the term third position.
Henning Eichberg and The German New Right
In Germany in the 1960s and 70s many of the younger generations of the far right wanted to start to disassociate with Hitler and his ideology. Many of them started to look up to conservative revolutionaries like Otto Strasser, Ernst Nikesh, Karl otto Patel, Arthur Moeller, and many others. The main intellectual behind this group Henning Eichberg who called his idea a third way and third position. He advocated for anti-imperialism, national liberation and building ties with the left, Third world leaders like Muammar al Gaddifi and the ecological movement. Along with being an advocate for Ethnic pluralism like Allen De Benoist French New Right. This trend would continue to spread to other countries around this time. While Eichberg would go on to associate more with the left he still held onto many of his beliefs and was accused of subverting leftism by some.
Italy and The Years of Leads 1969 to 1988
The years of lead was a period of large-scale terrorism in Italy which was committed by both nationalist and communist groups. During this time in Italy many of these nationalist, fascist, and national socialist groups started used the term Third Position. In fact, one of the terrorist groups was called Third Position. Some have argued that all the nationalist group were the same organization but under a new name but what is known is that they were closely linked and had associations with p2 Masonic lodge and the Mafia. Despite just being associated with those two groups that the original Italian fascist and German National socialist banned. There also some other differences like them taking influence from the traditionalist philosopher Julius Evola and some of them adopting ethnic pluralism, anti-imperialism, and some like Franco Freda who advocated for taking ideas from both far left and far right groups. Which his ideology got called Nazi Maoism. Some of these idea like Ethnic Pluralism got into the cycles of nationalist political party called the Italian social movement which was considered too moderate by these terrorist organizations.
In the 1980s a small group called Third Way was founded by Jean-Gilles Malliarakis who was admirer of the more left-wing sides of Italian fascism. The group advocated a third way between capitalism and communism along with being against Zionism. The group tried to build alliances with the French New Right, the front national and others but failed. Eventually the group would have a split due to Christian Bouchet and his followers leaving. Forming New Resistance which was a National Bolshevik organization which took on a less hostile stance to USSR and more hostile to America along being supporters of secularism and environmentalism along with later making ties with Alexander Dugin National Bolshevik party and Tory Southgate’s National Revolutionary Faction (more on them later). Malliarakis became a neo liberal by the 2000s before dying and Bouchet is still alive today, advocating for Dugin 4th political theory and is more traditional than what he originally was along with advocating Europe to have closer ties with Muslim countries.
British National Front and The Third Position International
The British National Front or BNF was a far-right white nationalist political party founded in 1967 by Ak Chesterton. Originally composed radical conservatives, monarchist, British Ethnic nationalist who were at first trying have a more mainstream and populist party that wouldn’t be connected to Nazism however by the 1970s John Tyndall and Martin Webster two Neo Nazis ended up taking control of the party and openly embracing more radical ideas then the previous leader Chesterton did however this ended up alienating most the public and their support base. Due to this they ended up loosing the election to Thatcher in 1979, who ran on a more moderate base but still had strong opposition to immigration. After this event factionalism would increase in the party and eventually John Tyndall and Martin Webster were kicked out of the party by a new generation of young activist like Derek Holland, Nick Griffin, Patrick Harrington, Graham Williamson, Troy Southgate, and David Kerr who were inspired by the Italian group called Third Position lead by Roberto Fiore along with being inspired by Otto Strasser, Julius Evola, Colonel Gaddafi, Khomeini’s and Gk Chesterton (the cousin of AK Chesterton). All these people they deemed as Third Position they soon started to kick out the Hitlerist, Tories and reactionaries from the party and later split from part of National Front and became know as the Official British National Front sometimes being called the Political Soldier wing or Strasserist faction. They abandon the biological racism stance of the party in favor of ethnic pluralism and established ties with black nationalist groups like the nations of Islam and establishing ties with Iran and Libya. They also advocated for a mixture of Disturbutist and Strasserist economics. They soon started to establish ties with Asian and black communities inside England however due to ideological issues inside leadership and BNF not going anywhere as a political party. The party would soon split one faction was Patrick Harrington, David Kerr and Graham Williamson who believed in staying in the Britain and opening ties with Zionist groups while the other faction with Nick Griffin, Troy Southgate and Derek Holland rejected this. The two faction soon split. Patrick Harrington group founded the third way think tank and national liberal party which was a Civic Nationalist and Distributist group that had multi-racial candidates. Derek Holland founded the Third Position International which advocates for same things as the Official BNF did however took more influences from Mussolini and Franco. Which caused Troy Southgate and his followers to split with the group and accusing the group of going in a reactionary fascist direction. Southgate soon after formed the group called the National Revolutionary Faction later to be know as the National Anarchist Movement which advocated for anti-capitalist/ anticommunist, racial, cultural, and religious separatism. They also established ties with Bouchet and Dugin groups. The remaining members of the international joined the white nationalist party called the British National Party which later became lead by Nick Griffin.
Russia and National Bolshevism
In the 1990s Russia had an economic crisis due to privatizing of many government industries. This caused resources to become scarce and outside corporations to take control of the economy. This caused both nationalist and communist to join forces to free their country from neo liberalism. What came out of this was a group called the National Bolshevik Party led by Eduard Limonov and Alexander Dugin. The party was a mixture of different left, right wing, and synthesis groups. That agree on the ideas of cultural nationalism and some form of socialism. They also tended to reject both orthodox fascism and Marxism but still took influences from certain members inside these camps. The group took part in protest, had lectures, and became a gathering place of many different dissident tendencies. Dugin would leave the party due to ideological differences and personal issues with some members of the party. Dugin would go on to create his political theory called the 4th political theory and called the national Bolshevik party a third position group and prior to him making the 4th political theory would refer to Eurasianism as the third path. Limonov would continue to lead party until it was banned in the late 2000s but made a successor group in the early 2010s called the Other Russia Party. Which does many of the same things as the original party but has also sent fighters to Donbass. Limonov would die in 2020 due to health problems however the group is still active to this very day.
What should you get out of this article? That the term Third Position and similar terms are broad. It does not mean just fascism but rather is a broad term that represent numerous different ideologies some more socialist than other, some that are not racial other that are racial, some that do like fascism and some that do not. but what they all have in common is that there nationalist often conservative on social issues and economically leftist. Should you call yourself a Third Positionist if you hold those views? I will leave that up to the reader to decide.
Tradition and Revolution by Troy Southgate
The Conservative Revolution in Germany 1918 to 1932 by Armin Mohler
National Bolshevik Manifesto by Karl Otto Patel
The Eurasian Mission by Alexander Dugin