Who are the Europeans?

Oil painting depicting the historical turmoil between commoners and monarchy.

Europe I think is a great mystery to the world. On one hand, we are likely one of the most narrated, at least formally narrated places in the world, but on the other hand, we are also one of the most revised, misrepresented, and downright distorted places in the world.

I am not asking “What is Europe?”, I am asking “Who are the Europeans?”

For the most part, to the outside world, we are I think depicted as “European values.” As per the European union, a kind of vague notion of pluralism, democracy, rationalism, science and multiculturalism. Although in practice you don’t really see that.

Truth is that the European Union is an American invention, it’s as foreign to us as kimchi or gift economies.

I have been to many European countries, and I have lived in Europe all my life. I speak three European languages and I know phrases and partial literacy in probably a dozen more, including Russian, Yiddish, German, Danish, Portugese and Italian. I am very European, although according to the European Union I am not.

Because I am of mixed heritage, I am Danish, I am Kalderashi, I am Ashkenazi, I am Scottish, I am all these things some of which qualify me as Eurasian. Personally I identify the most with Kalderashi and Scottish culture, because that’s what my parents raised me with.

The European union does not consider Eurasians to be true or pure Europeans. We’re seen as lower Europeans, whether we’re Turks, or Slavs, or Balkan, we’re not seen as part of the European essence.

So what is this essence? From the sounds of it, it seems like this essence is based on one’s loyalty to the United States and its Germanic compadores. It is based on one’s loyalty to their charters, IMF loans, NATO forces and so on. In fact, by this criteria, Canadians are more European than most Europeans. Because the bulk of Europeans live in the East. Slavic people alone comprise almost half, and then you have several other ones accompanying this.

So according to the European Union, most Europeans are in fact not European. On top of that, one of the major players in the founding of the European Union was none other than the British, who for a long time have held a great disdain for Europe, and have even gone so far as to not identify with Europe, referring to us as “Continentals.”

In the US I think we’re often seen as snobs, or intellectuals, depending on whether or not we are being appraised by a snob. And yes, it’s true, on some level art, music and higher culture is more pedestrian here. Most people have gone to an art museum or an opera at some point in their lifetime, most people have a library card, even if they don’t use it, and most people live in a city with a state funded cultural institution such as an art gallery or museum of history.

Or they live in a former Soviet state, at which point they used to have such things until NATO had it purged during the 90s coups.

Now I should address the elephant in the room, which is of course that Europeans are the pirates of the world. We are, it’s true. We are colonisers, plunderers, pillagers, slavers, you name it. Our modern countries were founded by barbarians after all, and on top of that for most of history we have also been the poorest nations in the world. Go back a thousand years, and the dynamic is very different. At that time we’re the third world.

Africa is prospering with lush landscapes ripe with natural resources, thriving especially in fields of art, philosophy, linguistics and architecture. The Americas at this point is one of the most medically advanced societies in the world, having made groundbreaking discovers in the use of herbs, physiology, plants, treebarks, nutrition, agriculture, you name it. Majority of modern European foods is influenced by indigenous foods from the Americas… because we plundered them, I am not downplaying this.

Then you got Asia, with their massive kingdoms and philosophy, and literature and psychology and so on, with probably the longest known recorded history. Africa obviously has the longest history but somehow a lot of their records went missing around the 1500s during a series of highly understated fires in all their metropolitan societies. I wonder how that happened, it’s a mystery to this day.

Point is, at this time, Europe was the third world. We did not become pirates for some liberal psychology reason, or because we were simply misguided and stupid. Truth is, we were poor, and spent centuries fighting eachother over scarce resources, and this constant competition at building and developing weapons and armies eventually made us very warlike. Simple material conditions.

I do not agree with the conservative racist notion that we are the special civilisers of the world, and that we competed in some kind of Darwinian arena and won, nor do I believe in the liberal racist notion that says we are the crafty devils in a nation of innocent noble savages. I think both is just self-aggrandising nonsense.

Truth is that most of us were not slave owning aristocrats, most of us were serfs and peasants. I come from a very mixed family, but for the most part we were smiths. Toolsmiths from what I understand. The new world promised wealth and land and work, but we stayed home with the famine and the monarchy. We were, and I know this is gonna put me into hot water, but we were the good guys.

We provided a virtuous example to the slavers and the settlers: Stay home. Don’t make our problems their problems. That was a good guy thing to do.

And this was not a coincidence, there is a reason why so much enlightenment era literature focuses on the justification of colonial genocide, racism and slavery, and do you know why that is? Because the European working class kept questioning it. You don’t need to defend things all the time unless people are attacking them.

The slave trade was seen by the average European worker as unchristian, and that’s why when the first French republic was founded by a popular government, one of the first times the European working class had a say, we immediately abolished the practice. Then of course Napoleon showed up and founded the second republic which reinstated it. But my point is that there is a class distinction to Europeans.

We’re depicted as these foppish and lazy snobs in our powdered wigs and manicured nails, wearing lace frock coats and god knows what else, and nothing could be further from the truth.

You know who has been oppressed the longest by the Spanish monarchy? Spanish peasants. Inquisitions, wars, religious sectarianism, you name it. All that stuff Christopher Columbus did in Latin America began in Spain, and the ground zero was known as the fencing of the commons. The peasantry of Europe was created in the exact same way as it the serfdom of Latin America was. The Spanish viceroys was an export of Spanish feudalism into the Americas. Europe was the ground zero for all that horrible colonialism.

From the religious puritanism in the north, to the inquisitions in the south, it all started here.

And that’s why it’s not surprising that the Soviet Union related more to the Indians than the Settlers, that’s why it’s not surprising that there is an Italian genre of wild west films focused on the crimes and brutality of settler-colonialism.

That’s why it’s not surprising that the (at the time) world’s biggest protest against western imperialism happened in France, with the French working class protesting the Iraq war. It is not surprising that while the white settlers of the United States might regard the Indians with disdain, we actually identify with them.

When I read about how the plains Indians killed General Custer I don’t see myself as Custer, that’s not the parallel, I see it more like the Soviet counteroffensive at the Volga river. I think of how, just like how millions of American natives gave their lives resisting racism and white supremacy in the US, so did millions of European natives give their lives resisting the same thing in Europe.

And it has certainly in both cases been more of a struggle than a victory. Yes, the Nazis were formally defeated, but they lived on both in spirit, and by proxy. But my point is that Europeans and Americans are very different people.

Europeans are just as likely to be Muslims as we are Christians, Islam is not foreign to us. It might be foreign to the English, it might be met with some hostility from the former Ottoman territories, it might be considered an enemy in some European cultures, but it is far from foreign. In fact many of the nations that are hostile to Islam in Europe are so because of a deeply intimate history.

That does not justify it, but it is to say that even if fascists might deny it, Islam is as European as pierogi, or space travel. It might have origins from elsewhere, but so do a lot of our favorite things. Especially in uhm… recent centuries.

Picture of Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin; First man in space.

(Also yes we invented space travel, deal with it.)

But Europe has always been extremely cosmopolitan and extremely multicultural. We have always had many gods, many languages, many alphabets and many peoples. Since antiquity Europeans have donned every skin colour, spoken every language, and lived in every custom.

The vikings is a good example of the European condition, they are just as likely to be farmers and merchants as they are to be pirates and pillagers.

And when I lived in Sweden I found the Nazis there to be very amusing. Opposing foreign cultures, these true sons of Odin would eat pate, remoulade and frikadelles. Salut mon ami, vive l’Odin, non?

They’re worried about the Muslims taking over but I hate to tell you: Your true oppressor has always been French. Forget about the crescent moon, it’s the fleur de lis that took your culture.

And I actually like norse things to be honest, I think it would’ve been interesting to see the pagans survive and I wonder how their societies would’ve developed. Right now I feel like the Baltics is suffering a centuries long identity crisis. Not quite French, not quite Germanic, not quite Slavic, something in between.

In a weird way I think if they returned to their own paganism and norse ways then the Nazis would be very disappointed at the outcome, because the Nazis would no longer have this cultural fragility to exploit in order to demonise foreigners all the time.

In fact, if anything, they’d become the new foreigners, they’d be seen as German protestant spies and agitators, no different from the apostles that the Vikings beheaded.

In fact a lot of paganry is rather charming, I like the Hellenics too, they’re too hedonistic for me but I think they should’ve had a place in the world to call their own even if I find their holidays to be frivolous and decadent.

That was the real conflict between Christians and Hellenics, a lot of people don’t realise that but it originated from Greece. Romans conquered Greece and found all this philosophy, and the Christians represented the plebs and the slaves who lived lives of discipline and austerity and temperance, and as such were very drawn to stoicism and cynicism.

Then you had the Hellenics who were aristocratic and were very drawn to the Hedonists and the Platonists who dreamed of what became known as higher values, things like intellectual pursuits, art, culture, romance and everything else you can do when you got slaves freeing up your schedule.

A picture of Stonehenge, a possible Hellenic monument. I don’t know and I don’t have to know, I just have to accept them.

And also, big disclaimer: I am talking about antiquity here, veeeeery different from feudalism. During feudalism the tables turned. I do not deny the horrendous crimes committed against pagans during feudalism. But I also don’t deny how it’s kind of a tit for tat situation either. All in all, it was pointless and senseless violence and religious sectarianism.

That’s another big part of being European, proper Europeans are sectarian, and proper proper Europeans are apologetic sectarians. Yes, you might be a backwards uncivilised deviant, and I spit on everything you stand for, but you are also my friend and my brother and this is our nation and we shall prosper in it together. THAT is real European pluralism, none of this foolish pretend American nonsense where you say one thing and then bomb another.

The pluralism of the European Union, the multiculturalism of the European Union, is a product of social democracy. By drawing a line between the working class, and calling one segment “social” and the other “antisocial” and then using a century of eugenics, Nazi ghetto economics, segregation and nationalisation to manufacture an underclass and a middle class, they realised that they needed more poor people to do all the horrible jobs, and that’s why they “like” immigrants so much.

They don’t really, they just need to manufacture a progressive and politically correct slave race now that they used Keynesianism to create a segment of neo-fascist overseers to safeguard their horrible parliamentarian voting blocs.

For most of history, Europe had a simple policy on immigration: Yes.

Even the anti-Semites didn’t mind immigration. They just did the old social democrat trick. Jews were welcome, except in the ghettos obviously. Can you imagine an anti-Semitic nation without Jews? You’d have nothing to do in the day. It’s the Hegelian Master-Slave dialectic in practice. Anti-Semites need the Jews, but the Jews certainly do not need the anti-Semites.

The point of antisemitism was always to exploit Jews, the point of all ethnic oppression is exploitation. Even the holocaust was profitable to the Nazis. Extremely so as a matter of fact. You built a relatively cheap death camp, and in return you got slave labour, gold, jewelry, wedding rings, dental fillings, confiscated homes, businesses, you name it. They made a killing in just about every sense of the word.

And also for the record regarding the whole Jew-Antisemite debate, I side with the Jews, I’m just explaining things. I do not make these rules, I merely explain them.

Even fascism is not that European, the first fascists, sometimes called proto-fascists, were Americans. They were the Pinkertons. And they almost managed to do what Mussolini did but were thankfully stopped.

In fact even the northern European Aryan is really just a case of cultural appropriation. The Nordic countries had to be invaded by the Nazis, and they had an active resistance movement throughout the entire war effort. Only people who welcomed them into open alliance was the Swedes, and what do you expect from a bunch of Frenchmen? They love surrendering.

I have personally met a Finn partisan, and my mother met a Danish partisan. That’s what we call them here, we call them partisans. My grandfather watched the bombs fall on Copenhagen, and actually knew an active resistance agent who operated in his village, smuggling out Jewish refugees during night missions using his fishing boat.

That’s the master race for you, not even they wanted to be part of this insanity.

In fact, whiteness in general is kind of dubious once you leave Germany and France and Britain. Romanians and Bulgarians certainly come in several shades, and you got native Sicilians who, just a few centuries back were basically Arabs. You got Greenlanders and Sami who are not exactly welcome at the country club, and in fact, speaking of country clubs, check out the birthplace of golf, namely Scotland.

Do you think the Scots will keep you out of the golf course because of the colour of your skin? For most of history they couldn’t tell their own skin colour in lieu of not inventing bathing yet. There is only one sectarianism in Scotland. Black, white, christian, muslim, doesn’t matter, real question is: Celtics or Rangers?

It is true that in recent years, the ENGLISH, using ENGLISH media and ENGLISH influence, have tricked some Scots into thinking beyond our ancient ways of Celtics or Rangers, but this is an ENGLISH thing, no true Scotsman would be racist in such a manner.

It goes against the principles of our greatest hero, namely James Connolly, who was born in Edinburgh and is therefore a Scotsman. A great Scottish hero, and liberator, and fighter of the English, a true mark of Scottish values and tradition.

There might be some IRA propaganda claiming otherwise, but that’s terrorist talk, don’t listen to them. But also Tiocfaidh ar la obviously, long live the 32 county socialist republic; a vision gifted to our Irish comrades.

And same thing with Ireland, Frederick Douglass was inspired by Ireland. He saw Ireland as a vision for the future he wanted in America, because the Irish were a wise people, and always have been. You can be black, white, arab, chinese, muslim, hindu, you name it. AS LONG AS YOU’RE NOT SOME DEVIL-WORSHIPPING LUTHERAN.

That’s what we call equality, somewhat, it was ahead of its time some could argue. Bit of a hurdle to cross there at the end but all in all it was something.

This is the real Europeans, we are not really what people think we are, Yugoslavia is also a beautiful example of this, it is thanks to Yugoslavian immigrants that I learned more about my own roots as Romani, as a lot of Kalderashi peoples resided in this beautiful republic.

Yugoslavia is an extraordinary place of progress, backwardness, absurdity, wisdom, violence, solidarity, sectarianism, community, war and brotherhood. It is the Brasil of Europe. A twilight zone of culture. It might be the most poetic place in the world. Yugoslavia was a bastion of culture, modernity, democracy, liberation, social justice, and also utter madness.

The whole place is marked by the struggle of a ragtag band of partisans who, out of the ruins of a horrific genocide, united ancient enemies into a republic of common good on the basis of shared class interests.

It was a bumpy road full of terrorism, military remnants, religious extremism, illiteracy, poverty, western imperialism, marxist sectarianism and diplomatic twists and turns spanning across three entire continents. I have nothing but admiration for the struggle typified by the Yugoslav people, their history is one of the most inspiring things I have ever studied. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it breaks your heart and fills you with joy, all at the same time. It is a hallmark of humanity.

The history of Yugoslavia I think, is a condensed version of the struggle comprised of the real European identity. Where hate, love, war and peace is as abstract as the atoms inside a cheese sandwich.

Where survival and idealism intertwine into this perverse dance of death, where you are just as likely to kill a man because of his false religion, as you are because of his food stock. European war has always been this perversion, personified by a cannibal in ballroom finery, a kind of Hannibal Lecter, a sophisticated savage. This is what the Serbian empire was, this is what the Ottomans in Bosnia were.

This is what every European conqueror has been since the fall of Rome. A barbarian who is ashamed of their barbarity. Who seeks to elevate themselves above their condition by mastering the very trade that they abhor. European kings have always attempted to slaughter their way into sainthood.

In short, we are not the European Union, we are not the United States, we are not NATO, or IMF, or NAFTA, or the fascists. These are foreign things to us. We are not the monarchs who have tortured us, conscripted us, stomped on us, and demeaned us. We are not the slave owners who left our nations to plunder abroad. But we are not without fault either. We have many scars, many traumas, many vices and many burdens. But they are not nearly as simplified as American and British history would propose.

We are multicultural, but not in this politically correct hegemony that wants to turn us all into western liberals, we have something else to us. Something ancient and complicated. Something that makes us all into foreigners, friends, enemies and compatriots. Something older than borders, gods and war.

We are not a monolith, nor do we have shared values. What makes someone European rather, I think, is the opposite. Is our contrasts, our fascination at eachother’s contrasts. Even war reveals this, how we will gladly kill you, and dishonour you, and write you into history as a natural inferior, but also we’re going to read your books, eat your food and wear your clothes.

And it is this duality, this division between a working class who has devoted centuries into joining the world as another tribe who embraces solidarity, mutual benefits, peace and universal friendship, and the kings and aristocrats who have crushed us in every attempt to do so, that I find significant.

Because I do not think we should give European identity to fascism, to America, to colonisers and slave owners. I think we should become yet another generation who have joined the struggle against feudal tyranny, against monarchism, against racism, who take pride in the history of our fellow workers, and admonish the false legacy of pirates and kings.

This is what it means to be European, and it is a good thing. We are descendants both from barbarians as well as republicans, and we have the opportunity to walk in either path. The path of piracy, or the path of democracy. The path of kings, or the path of revolutionaries. We are so much more than what the television and the university syllabus makes us out to be.

A soviet postcard depicting the many flags of nations that were liberated from fascism following WW2.

EDIT:

Also sources. (kind of, it’s what informs my perspective)

History as Mystery [Book]

Blackshirts and Reds [Book]

God and his demons [Book]

Europe is Kaput, Long Live Europe [Lecture]

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