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Synarchism is a term which generally refers to a conservative political philosophy focused on solving economic, political, and social problems that are perceived to be precipitating anarchy. Viewing society as an organic unity, synarchists aim to a create a synarchy – a harmonious society where a corporatist government defends social differentiation and hierarchy by encouraging collaboration between social classes in order to transcend conflict between social and economic groups. Its critics and opponents argue that synarchism is particularly associated with anti-anarchism, anti-communism, cooptation, elitism, fascism, technocratism, and even occultism.

Beyond this general definition, however, both "synarchism" and "synarchy" have been used to describe several different political processes in various contexts. Increasingly, the terms have been used by conspiracy theorists as pejorative synonyms for cryptocracy.[1]

Contents

Etymology

The earliest recorded use of the term "synarchy" is attributed to Thomas Stackhouse (1677-1752), an English clergyman who used the word in his New History of the Holy Bible from the Beginning of the World to the Establishment of Christianity (published in two folio volumes in 1737). The attribution can be found in the Webster's Dictionary (the American Dictionary of the English Language, published by Noah Webster in 1828). Webster's definition for "synarchy" is limited entirely to "joint rule or sovereignty".

Political theories

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Harmonious rule

The most substantive early use of the word "synarchy" comes from the writings of Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre (1842-1909), who used the term in his book La France vraie to describe what he believed was the ideal form of government.[2] In reaction to the emergence of anarchist ideologies and movements, Saint-Yves elaborated a political formula which he believed would lead to a harmonious society. He defended social differentiation and hierarchy with collaboration between social classes, transcending conflict between social and economic groups: synarchy, as opposed to anarchy. Specifically, Saint-Yves envisioned a Federal Europe (as well as all the states it has integrated) with a government composed of three councils, one for academia, one for the judiciary, and one for commerce[3]

Rule by secret societies

Some authors have claimed that Saint-Yves was a "theocratic occultist" who used "synarchy" to describe a form of government where political power effectively rests with secret societies or, more precisely, esoteric societies, which are composed of oracles. Furthermore he is supposed to have associated "synarchy" with the rule of "ascended masters" who lived in the subterranean caverns of Agartha and supposedly communicated with him telepathically.[4] However, other authors have described these claims about Saint-Yves as false and originating in occult conspiracy theories.

Rule by a secret elite

Some conspiracy theorists use the word "synarchy" to describe a shadow government, a form of government where political power effectively rests with a secret elite, in contrast to an "oligarchy" where the elite is or could be known by the public.[5 ] For example, Lyndon LaRouche, leader of a controversial movement on the political fringe,[6][7] describes a wide-ranging historical phenomenon, starting with Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre and the Martinist Order followed by important individuals, organizations, movements and regimes that are alleged to have been synarchist, including the government of Nazi Germany.[8] He claims that during the Great Depression an international coalition of financial institutions, raw materials cartels, and intelligence operatives, installed fascist regimes throughout Europe (and tried to do so in Mexico) to maintain world order and prevent the repudiation of international debts.[9] LaRouche identifies U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney as a modern "synarchist", and claims that "synarchists" have "a scheme for replacing regular military forces of nations, by private armies in the footsteps of a privately financed international Waffen-SS-like scheme, a force deployed by leading financier institutions, such as the multi-billions funding by the U.S. Treasury, of Cheney's Halliburton gang."[10]

Synarchism in particular instances

Qing Dynasty China

Harvard historian and sinologist John K. Fairbank used the word "synarchism" in his 1953 book Trade and Diplomacy on the China Coast: The Opening of the Treaty Ports, 1842-1854 and in later writings, to describe the mechanisms of government under the late Qing dynasty in China. Fairbank's synarchy is a form of rule by co-opting existing elites and powers, bringing them into the system and legitimising them through a schedule of rituals and tributes that gave them a stake in the Chinese regime and neutralised any risk that they might rebel against the monarchy. He believed that the Qing, who were considered outside rulers because of their Manchu origins, had developed this strategy out of necessity because they did not have their own political base in China. This conception of Qing rule is not universally accepted among sinologists and historians of China, but is a respected, mainstream view with significant support in the field.

Colonial Hong Kong

The term is also used by some political scientists to describe the British colonial government in Hong Kong (1842-1997). Ambrose King, in his controversial 1975 paper Administrative Absorption of Politics in Hong Kong, described colonial Hong Kong's administration as "elite consensual government". In it, he claimed, any coalition of elites or forces capable of challenging the legitimacy of Hong Kong's administrative structure would be co-opted by the existing apparatus through the appointment of leading political activists, business figures and other elites to oversight committees, by granting them British honours, and by bringing them into elite institutions like Hong Kong's horse racing clubs. He called this "synarchy", by extension of Fairbank's use of the word.

French synarchism

According to former OSS officer William Langer (Our Vichy Gamble, Alfred A Knopf, New York, 1947), there were French industrial and banking interests who "even before the war, had turned to Nazi Germany and had looked to Hitler as the savior of Europe from Communism... These people were as good fascists as any in Europe... Many of them had extensive and intimate business relations with German interests and were still dreaming of a new system of "synarchy", which meant government of Europe on fascist principles by an international brotherhood of financiers and industrialists." This view was originally based on the discovery of a document called Pacte Synarchique following the death of Jean Coutrot, former member of Groupe X-Crise, in May 15, 1941.

According to this document, a Mouvement Synarchique d'Empire had been founded in 1922, with the aim of abolishing parliamentarianism and replacing it with synarchy. This has led to the belief that La Cagoule was the armed branch of French synarchism, and that some important members of the Vichy Regime were synarchists. An investigation was in fact ordered by the Vichy government, leading to the Rapport Chavin[11] but no evidence for the existence of the Mouvement Synarchiste d'Empire was found. Most of the presumed synarchists were either associated with the Banque Worms or with Groupe X-Crise and were closed to Admiral François Darlan, and this has led to the belief that synarchists had engineered the military defeat of France for the profit of Banque Worms. Historian Annie Lacroiz-Riz wrote a book on this subject, titled Le choix de la défaite : Les élites françaises dans les années 1930 (The Choice of Defeat: the French elites in the 1930s, 2006.[12]

This belief system has been dismissed as a "work of a paranoid imagination which wove together the histories of three disparate groups of activists, creating a conspiracy among them where none existed". [13] In fact, some historians suspect that the Pacte Synarchique was a hoax created by some members of La Cagoule to weaken Darlan and his technocrats and that the Mouvement Synarchique d'Empire never existed. According to this view, the Vichy regime would have found the conspiracy theories about synarchy convenient to justify the repression of esoteric societies such as Freemasonry, and thus did not bother to dispel the rumors concerning synarchy.[14]

Mexican synarchism

"Synarchy" is also the name of the ideology of a political movement in Mexico dating from the 1930s. In Mexico it was historically a movement of the Roman Catholic extreme right, in some ways akin to fascism, violently opposed to the populist and secularist policies of the revolutionary (PNR, PRM, and PRI) governments that ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000.

The National Synarchist Union (Unión Nacional Sinarquista, UNS) was founded in May 1937 by a group of Catholic political activists led by José Antonio Urquiza, who was murdered in April 1938, and Salvador Abascal. In 1946 the movement regrouped as the Popular Force Party (Partido Fuerza Popular). Synarchism revived as a political movement in the 1970s through the Mexican Democratic Party (PDM), whose candidate, Ignacio González Gollaz, polled 1.8 percent of the vote at the 1982 presidential election. In 1988 Gumersindo Magaña polled a similar proportion, but the party then suffered a split, and in 1992 lost its registration as a political party. It was dissolved in 1996.

There are now two organisations, both calling themselves the Unión Nacional Sinarquista, one apparently right-wing orientation, the other apparently left-wing. Carlos Abascal, son of Salvador Abascal, was Mexico's Secretary of the Interior during Vicente Fox's presidency. Many sinarquistas are now militant in the National Action Party, PAN, the party in power since 2000 first with Vicente Fox and now with Felipe Calderón (since 2006) as presidents. Sinarquistas are influential policy makers in matters like education and health.

References

  1. ^ Parekh, Rupal (2008). WPP'S 'Synarchy' Name Choice Sparks Sneers. http://adage.com/agencynews/article?article_id=127164. Retrieved 2009-01-08.  
  2. ^ Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, La France vraie (Paris: Calmann Lévy, 1887).
  3. ^ André Nataf, The Wordsworth Dictionary of the Occult (Wordsworth Editions Ltd; 1994).
  4. ^ Joscelyn Godwyn, Arktos: The Polar Myth - in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival, p.84 (Adventures Unlimited Press, USA; 1996).
  5. ^ Patton, Guy; Mackness, Robin (2000). Web of Gold: The Secret History of Sacred Treasures. Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 0283063440.  
  6. ^ Mintz, John (1985). Ideological Odyssey: From Old Left to Far Right. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/cult/larouche/main.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-17.  
  7. ^ http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,16626352-28737,00.html
  8. ^ LaRouche, Lyndon (2003). Reviving the Sense of Mission For American Citizens Today. http://www.larouchepub.com/lar/2003/3046bsn_event.html. Retrieved 2008-04-06.  
  9. ^ Steinberg, Jeffrey (2003). Synarchism: The Fascist Roots Of the Wolfowitz Cabal. http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2003/3021synarchism.html. Retrieved 2008-04-06.  
  10. ^ LaRouche, Jr, Lyndon H. (2008). The Empire Versus the Nations: Synarchism, Sport & Iran. http://www.larouchepac.com/pages/writings_files/2006/060527_synarchism_sport.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-06.  
  11. ^ Henry Chavin, Rapport confidentiel sur la société secrète polytechnicienne dite Mouvement synarchique d’Empire (MSE) ou Convention synarchique révolutionnaire, 1941
  12. ^ Annie Lacroiz-Riz, Le choix de la défaite : Les élites françaises dans les années 1930, Armand Colin, 2006. ISBN 978-2200267841
  13. ^ Richard F. Kuisel, The Legend of the Vichy Synarchy (French Historical Studies, Vol. 6, No. 3; Spring, 1970).
  14. ^ Olivier Dard, La synarchie, le mythe du complot permanent, Paris, Perrin, 1998

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