Umberto Eco in defence of the National Avant-garde

10.11.2018 | Antifascism

This piece was written as a response to the article of Ms. Vesna Pešić “Ur-fascists have declared war on Belgrade”, published on the Peščanik portal on 10 October 2018.

From the moment the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić opened the conference Towards a Safer Serbia, the National Avant-garde has found itself under a plethora of attacks from various sides of the ideological spectrum. The far-leftists, who after the fall of the Berlin Wall camouflaged themselves as left-libertarians, used every possible opportunity to characterise us as far-rightists. The media violence we endured both as an association, as well as individuals by pillorying our members, is based on an unoriginal accusation that all that is national is automatically extreme as well. Although we are well-aware this is nothing more than a proven method of Stalin’s Purges, it is our duty to explain why the National Avant-garde is an anti-fascist association, for the sake of the largest number of reasonable readers. We will do so in a manner which Vesna Pešić and the rest of the flower children in Serbia are not accustomed to – by presenting arguments and an academic deconstruction of their deceptions. As the key argument to establish our so called far-right politics, comrade Pešić and other comrades use the essay Eternal Fascism by Umberto Eco. If we were to truly analyse all fourteen points presented by Eco, we could determine that he would quite certainly commend us as true anti-fascists.

The cult of tradition

The National Avant-garde stands against traditionalism. The concept of national realism that we put forward at the conference on 30 August 2018 means a critical reconsideration of the traditional matrices. We stand against the syncretic forms of traditionalism. Therefore, we advocate social progress. 

The rejection of modernism

The National Avant-garde advocates postmodernism with a national omen. This means that basic values of modernism must be adopted in order for entering postmodernism to signify progress. This is supported by our positive attitude towards the heritage of the American Revolutionary War in 1776 as well as the heritage of the Serbian Revolution in 1804. In other words, we consider the anti-national internationalism of the Comintern type to be the main heritage of the modernism which has to be excluded on the path towards postmodernism. 


The National Avant-garde advocates taking the course of national realism in regards to the politics of state and national interest, attested by our program Serbia of realistic vow, published on 30 August at the conference at Media centre in Belgrade. This signifies a final break with the irrational political moves which are the consequences of an emotional view on politics and which cost our nation many a victim in the last 100 years.

Disagreement as a sign of treason

The participation of our members in roundtables where we exchange opinions with the representatives of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, then the Atlantic Council, as equal members of the civil society, speaks volumes about our attitude towards an intellectual critisism of everything in existence. 

Fear of difference 

The membership of the National Avant-garde is multi-ethnic and multi-confessional, and there are atheists among us as well. For us, national identity is civic identity. There is no need for further comment.

Individual or social frustration

The members of the National Avant-garde are mostly children from working and peasant families who managed to receive education and fulfil themselves career-wise. Moreover, the solidarity we encourage within our third pillar is directed towards the elimination of any kind of individual or social frustration. We recognise such frustration as one of the causes of the extremism we are fighting against.

Obsession with a plot

The National Avant-garde rejects shifting responsibility for the Serbian nation’s failures to anyone else. The concept of national realism we promote is directed towards raising awareness to the mistakes we, as a nation, made and which we must rectify in order to further progress.

The sense of humiliation by the force of the enemy 

We think that a nation must not be led by emotion. There is neither honour nor humiliation, only balance of power and interest. We think that a state should only be led based on rational assessments of the power balance.

Life is permanent warfare

Based on our concept Serbia of realistic vow, the National Avant-garde advocates peace so as to preserve the national capacities, primarily the economic and the demographic ones.

Contempt for the weak

The third pillar of the National Avant-garde directs our activities towards the development of the social capital. This means we are trying to empower the weakest among us. Contempt of any kind is what we are fighting against, as individuals and as an association.

The cult of heroism and heroic death

Based on our concept of Serbia of realistic vow, the National Avant-garde directs the harshest of criticism towards the cult of death and defeat. We believe the future of our society lies within life and birth, and not ruin.


The National avant-garde objects the politicization of the private sphere of a citizen. Apart from that, we support every type of self-determination in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic. Moreover, we are working on developing an ideological fusion of national realism and liberal feminism of equal chances, and not equal outcomes. We believe that anachronistic social matrices of traditional nature do not signify identity. And identity is the focus of our deliberations. Not patriarchy, nor machismo. This is supported by our attitude that the term nation is more adequate than the term homeland. The national identity does not stand in collision with the interests of feminism. 

Selective/qualitative populism

The National Avant-garde considers liberal democracy and civic society to be the first wall of defence of the national interest. The National Assembly of the Republic is a sanctity to us.

Speaking Newspeak

As it can be seen through our public actions, the National Avant-garde and its members do not use any type of Newspeak, if this term even exists in the contemporary Serbian language.

The National Avant-garde is an antifascist organisation. We are young people who wish to make a contribution to our community and we will continue to do so despite labels which, we are sure, will continue to follow us.

The Council of the National Avant-Garde

Umberto Eco