James Mason, “Siege” (1992) – This, apparently, is what the kids on the far-right are reading these days. There’s even nice little photos of James Mason with members of Atomwaffen Division, where Mason’s is the only face not blocked out. Despite endorsing aleatoric violence and terror as the only way forward for the white race (and hence, in his view, humanity), Mason has lived all these years quietly in Colorado… for my money, drawing a federal payroll for information on the idiots who come to kiss his ring, but I’m a cynic.
“Siege” was the name of Mason’s nazi magazine, which he started in the early eighties after nearly twenty years on the nazi right. He bounced from George Lincoln Rockwell’s American Nazi Party to the National Socialist Liberation Front (it was the sixties, everyone had a liberation front) to remaining aloof from organization altogether. Many of us know the type from the left- the guy (usually a guy) just too damn smart and right about things to play ball with anyone else, and with just enough validity to his critiques of the (generally dysfunctional) movement institutions to make his stance make sense.
“Siege” took a line against mass strategy — efforts on the parts of Nazis and others on the far-right to engage a broader public — and in favor of armed struggle, but of a different kind than that in which other, actual, liberation fronts engaged. Those were generally born out of mass strategy, after all. Mason so despaired of the white masses that he believed the system needed to collapse to wake them up- or not, as the case may be, but either way, the government, economy, society as a whole needed to go up in smoke. To this end, he lauded serial and spree killers (as long as they were white) and took up a relationship with Charles Manson, on the idea that “helter skelter” was in fact coming and should come, and that Manson had done a noble thing trying to bring it about.
In most respects, the inception and reception histories of “Siege” are more interesting than the content. The content is repetitive- disses of other movement figures (though seldom by name), calls to get your shit together to be effective agents of chaos, lauding violence, rinse, repeat. What’s more, it’s not especially well-edited, and this is where we get into inception/reception history. “Siege” became a book in the first place due to the efforts of one Michael Moynihan. Moynihan is probably best known for his book “Lords of Chaos,” on the satanist/nazi Norwegian black metal scene (next up in this reading slot, as it happens). Moynihan befriended Mason and followed in many of his beliefs, including veneration for Charles Manson, and took up, edited, and released a book of pieces from “Siege” into the form we have it in today. For his part, Moynihan these days claims not to be a Nazi or far-right (part of this is lies, part is sleight of hand: Mason and other Nazis often pooh-pooh “the right wing” in the same way Communists and Socialists do with mere “liberals” or “progressives”), despite his extensive record in the space where music, occultism, and Nazism meet up. He had a lot of fans who should have known better and was published by Feral House, which features both in fond memories of nineties alternative culture and in the somewhat fevered imaginations of the dreaded “red-brown alliance,” where Nazis and Communists come together to haunt all our dreams…
There is a very eighties/nineties edgelord aspect to the whole Mason situation. He throws around hippie rhetoric about “the pig system” and so on. He blames TV for a lot and holds the supposed object of his efforts, the common white man, in pretty low esteem. Being impressed by Manson, claiming to be above right and left… you can see how his schtick would appeal to a certain kind of Gen-Xer. And we all know how those kinds of Gen-Xer/late-20th century alternative culture types like to wriggle out of their embarrassing phases in the eighties/nineties/oughts/last week, as though they never had any commitments and their words had/have no weight at all… a dispiriting tableau all around, and one we’re not shot of yet.
Anyway, to an extent I guess I read these things so you don’t have to, and with “Siege” you really don’t have to. It’s repetitive and poorly edited. Mason’s probably smarter than Moynihan and could’ve collected his own pieces, you’d figure, but c’est la vie. It’s not the worst writing on the far right- I’d still go with a tie between “Moldbug” Yarvin and Ayn Rand there. But it’s by a violence-worshipping dirthead, for violence-worshipping dirtheads, and knowing it’s out there and doing what Mason presumably wanted it to do is enough for the right-thinking population. *’