In the wake of Donald Trump’s historic victory, it is worth revisiting some of the ideas of the late Sam Francis. Francis was a charter subscriber to American Renaissance, and a contributor until his death in 2005. A close friend of both Jared Taylor and Pat Buchanan, Francis wrote with power and precision about the coming shake-up in American politics due to the awakening of ordinary white Americans—those he called “Middle American Radicals.”
Much of his writing on this subject is from the 1990s, and was about the candidacies of Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, and David Duke, but his analysis rings even more true now than it did then. Indeed, many writers across the Alt Right, and a few in the mainstream as well, have noted that this year’s election had Francis’s intellectual fingerprints all over it. The following excerpts are a testament to his remarkable foresight.
Voters — not all of them, but many — are attracted to candidates who express clear positions supportive of traditional American culture because they have to live every day with the cultural erosion spawned by politically engineered assaults from individuals and groups that despise American culture and want to get rid of it. For example, the ACLU and kindred lobbies that manipulate judicial power to uproot folkways and the distribution of social and political power that folkways support; the “multiculturalism” lobby, which uses the government education system to crush Euro-American culture and subordinate it to its own Third-World-Marxist-feminist-homophile superstitions; and the civil rights establishment and its allies in the immigration lobbies, which seek to dig a bottomless pit of welfare rights, political privilege, affirmative action programs, and set-asides to dispossess white Americans economically, politically, and culturally and gain the loyalty of their non-white following in the black underclass and the government-created middle class. Such forces also enjoy the support or acquiescence of the bureaucratic elites in the managerial state, corporations, unions, and mass media, which use them to expand their own power. . . .
The core of the revolution consists in what sociologist Donald I. Warren some 16 years ago called “Middle American Radicals,” or “MARs,” a social and political force largely identical to what is usually called — depending on one’s inclination to affect dispassion, enthusiasm, or contempt — “lower middle class white ethnics,” the “Reagan Democrats,” or the “Bubba vote.” Professor Warren, however, defined MARs in terms of a common attitude they shared. “MARs are a distinct group,” he wrote, “partly because of their view of government as favoring both the rich and the poor simultaneously. … MARs are distinct in the depth of their feeling that the middle class has been seriously neglected. If there is one single summation of the MAR perspective, it is reflected in a statement which was read to respondents: The rich give in to the demands of the poor, and the middle income people have to pay the bill.”…. There is a good deal of talk these days about the “conservative crack-up,” and much of it is justified. But what has cracked up is not the popular radicalism of the right but rather the phony “populism” of the conservative establishment, which has signed up with the other establishments that run the country. Even from their watchtowers on the Washington Beltway, the barons of this establishment can smell the smoke of rebellion drifting in from the prairie, and they know they didn’t start the fire, can’t control it, and can’t put it out. It won’t take any more secret meetings in New York to learn that whoever does control that fire will determine the real political agenda for the next decade.
— “Life on MARs,” September 1990
Never in recent history has the now largely defunct “conservative movement” produced a serious national political leader or accomplished much of anything on the national political scene. The most electrifying leaders of the American right — Joe McCarthy, George Wallace, and Ronald Reagan — emerged into prominence not because of the Latinate magazines and recondite philosophizing of organized American conservatism but due to their own innate ability to capture and express the aspirations of a repressed political class . . . . Having shattered the traditional American cultural and social order into disparate fragments bound together only by universal and impersonal managerial routines and techniques, the leviathan regime is now confronted by a creature of its own making, an increasingly alienated and radicalized Middle American proletariat that is beginning to glimpse the abyss of its own cultural, economic and political serfdom just over the precipice it is approaching. The proletariat is also beginning to evolve a collective consciousness that can overcome the divisive, individuating, and purely defensive response offered by traditional conservatism and to forge a new and unified core from which an alternative subculture and an authentic radicalism of the right can emerge.
— “Revolution from the Middle,” March 1991
Middle Americans have long piggy-backed on mainstream conservatism, but they have done so only by obscuring (or failing to understand completely) the differences that distinguish their interests and aspirations from the increasingly rootless and fruitless fixations of the conventional Right. With the collapse of the Right and the obsolescence (not to say the fraudulence) of its republican ideology, Middle Americans have an opportunity — and, indeed, face the necessity — of articulating a consciousness that more accurately reflects their material interests and their cultural identity.
For those who still adhere to classical republicanism, the emergence of a Middle American radicalism would no doubt be distasteful, but their own long lack of success in reviving their political ideals ought perhaps to induce a certain humility among them, as well as a willingness to postpone displays of ideological passion in order to consummate later an eventual and more enduring fulfillment. If the classical republican ideal is ever to rise from its ashes, it can do so only among those who retain even now the vestigial moral and social disciplines that render republican government possible. The only remaining locus of such republican disciplines in the United States at the end of the twentieth century is the Middle American stratum that is now a hammer without a head. If it can construct its own head, it may be able to forge a new civil order from which a republican phoenix can someday be reborn.
— “State and Revolution,” September 1991
If the post-bourgeois middle class seriously wishes to avoid its own extinction, it will have to evolve a new group consciousness and a new identity independent of both the moribund bourgeois elite and the techno-bureaucracy of the global managerial order…. and it must aspire to form the core of a new political and cultural order in which it can assert its own hegemony.
— “The Middle American Proletariat,” April 1990
The clear lesson is that neither neo-conservatism nor the Beltway Right (in so far as they are at all distinguishable) can any longer command a significant political following at the grassroots level; only Buchanan or a movement espousing his ideas can do so, and the hatred and fury with which his early success was greeted shows that the Ruling Class knows this. It also must know that its age of dominance is coming to an end and that in its last days it has no better defense than to rely on the kind of repression that it visited upon the man who has shaken its foundations more than any other in the last quarter century. For all the flaws and uncertainties of the Buchanan campaign, it would be a mistake for either the friends or the foes of the movement Buchanan has created and mobilized to imagine that the king’s men can ever put the Ruling Class and its old order back together again. What its friends must do now is understand how to build on their real victories and to avoid the tactical errors that helped thwart the completion of its victory.
— “The Buchanan Victory,” June 1996
Sam Francis’s death in 2005 at only 57 years of age was a terrible loss to our movement. We can only imagine what he could have contributed had he lived, and how he would have analyzed, critiqued, and influenced the momentous events unfolding today.