Far-Right Intellectual Counterculture in Germany

by Sophia Kownatzki

On Tuesday April 23, IES together with GHI West welcomed Eliah Bures, a former graduate student at Berkeley’s Department of History who currently is a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Berkeley, for a lecture entitled "Beachhead or Refugium? The Rise and Dilemma of Germany's Far-right Intellectual Counterculture." In his talk, he traced the development of the right-wing intellectual counterculture since World War II, particularly highlighting the influences of Ernst Junger and Carl Schmitt on radical conservatism.

As Bures explained, those active in the current intellectual far-right movement present themselves as nonconformists who stand up against political correctness and the cultural mainstream. He also notes that this intellectual far-right rebellion is an attempt to steer the term "counterculture" away from the 1960s leftist counterculture.

However, Bures also identifies a split in the new right: some want to break into the mainstream, while others believe start it is wiser to wait for the transformation that will come only in years from now. The latter see the far-right counterculture as a safe haven for right-wing radicals to cultivate new ideas and protect existing ideologies while they wait for the end of the modern liberal, cosmopolitan world order.

Bures’ talk was followed by a lively discussion with the 20 students, faculty, and community members in attendance.