On 1 August 2020, the First International Online Conference on the Fourth Political Theory, themed “Global Perspectives, New Challenges, Epistemological Problems”, was facilitated by Paideuma TV. Led by the “most dangerous philosopher in the world” and the author of The Fourth Political Theory , Alexander Dugin, the conference gathered nearly 200 participants from more than 40 countries to exchange perspectives on some of the most pressing questions of philosophy and geopolitics in the early 21st century.
As outlined in the first conference announcement, at the center of discussion of this gathering of minds was the present decline and crisis of the Liberal political-philosophical order, and with it the crisis of the whole ideological and geopolitical architecture of Western Modernity. The conference thus aimed to engage Alexander Dugin’s proposal to deconstruct and transcend the three archetypal political philosophies of Western Modernity, i.e. Liberalism, Communism, and Fascism, and to explore the question of a Fourth Political Theory.
Five days before the conference, on 27 July, the Gmail accounts and YouTube channels of Alexander Dugin and a number of his associates were suddenly disabled, leaving viewers with the increasingly all too familiar message: “This account has been terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.” This comes in addition to the prohibition of Alexander Dugin’s books by major online retailers such as Amazon. If anything, however, as so often happens with such crude censorship, this move only made the conference more anticipated and pertinent. Indeed, one of the major questions raised by the conference was none other than Liberalism’s accelerating slide into open totalitarianism under the guise of, among many other things, “cancel culture.”
Despite this new offensive of censorship, the conference was by and large an unprecedented success. In stark contrast to the ideological monotony, newspeak and poverty of discourse “cultivated” in official media and institutions, the First International Online Conference – or, as it has since been deemed, “Congress” – on the Fourth Political Theory presented a real, organic polylogue between diverse cultures, perspectives, and currents of thought on the frontline of critical thinking about the relativity of the present paradigm in decline and the possibilities of post-globalization multipolarity.
The video recordings of Alexander Dugin’s pre-conference speech and the conference proceedings, organized according to time zones, have been published by Paideuma TV in several parts:
Part 2 – Presentations from South Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Africa
Part 3 – Presentations from Russia and Europe
Part 4 – Presentations from the Western Hemisphere
Below is an excerpt of my opening remarks for the conference:
It may come off as cliché to say that this is a unique conference and a unique endeavor, but I think it would be difficult to otherwise compare what we are engaged in here to just any other attempts at political-philosophical reflection.
In the world of Modernity, the only uniqueness that is permitted is that of the new and Modern against all that is deemed “outmoded”, “of the past”, “traditional”, in other words – against all that is not “unique” because it is not Modern. Nothing else is allowed to remain “unique” by the paradigm of Modernity. The timeless uniqueness of different cultures, peoples, and languages, the uniqueness of different traditions, systems, histories, and ideas, is supposed to be liquidated, overcome by the uniform globalized progress of the Modern Western model. Just thirty years ago, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, political philosophers of the First Political Theory of Modernity, Liberalism, were declaring the “End of History” – there were to be no more differences, no more “uniquenesses” in the way of the global triumph of Modern Western Liberalism as the one ideology and system for all under the leadership of the United States of America. In their time, the Second and Third Political Theories of Modernity also promised their own versions of the end of uniqueness, whether the globalized homogeny of Communism, or the rule of one Nation, State, or Race over all others.
In the Postmodern world which many of us find ourselves faced with now, everything is supposed to be and is marketed as unique, to the point that uniqueness itself becomes something banal, something meaningless, something like an odd curiosity for pastime, or something like every other thing on the market. For Postmodernist newspeak, any deep declaration of uniqueness is seen as an authoritarian assertion of hierarchy, a reactionary defense of lost constructs, or some kind of obsession with one thing interrupting the kaleidoscope of every other thing and sub-thing.
Against this backdrop, the project to engage in developing a Fourth Political Theory, to engage in Fourth Political Theorizing, is authentically unique. The idea of Fourth Political Theorizing challenges us to think about the fact that the last three centuries of political ideology centered in the Modern West mark but a spec on the timeline and map of history, are not the end of theory and politics, and that the crisis of ideas and world order which we are living in the early 21st century is only the end of one paradigm which, claiming for itself universal uniqueness, has clearly been neither universally desirable nor sustainable.
Without a doubt, we are currently experiencing the absolute crisis of the Modern political-philosophical architecture, embodied in the crisis and disintegration of the world order that has been established by Modern Western Liberalism out of its earlier conflict with the other two Modern political theories.
This crisis, and even more importantly, consciousness of this crisis, harbors a unique possibility. We are faced with the possibility of moving beyond the Modern political-philosophical spectrum altogether, the possibility of realizing the existential fact that we are by no means fated to eternally remain within the wars of Modernity and its Three Political Theories. We have the opportunity to rediscover the vaster horizons of philosophy and history beyond the frameworks of 18th and 19th century ideologies, to establish a polylogue between cultures, ideas, and political systems, to move toward a Fourth Political Theorizing whose perspectives are not limited to the last few centuries of the Modern arrangement of hegemony.
The idea of the Fourth Political Theory is unique because of this philosophical freedom. It is unique because, unlike the Three Political Theories of Modernity, it is not a closed system of universalist claims restricted to the past three centuries. It is a proposal to transcend the framework of Modernity by recognizing the plurality of unique cultures, systems, ideologies, and paradigms. It is a reminder that there are millennia of traditions, ideas, and systems which provide ample material for reconsidering political philosophy beyond the way it has been cornered in Western Modernity.
The very idea of Fourth Political Theorizing and a conference on envisioning a Fourth Political Theory is unique because such places the uniquenesses of the diversity of civilizations and their possible politics as the primordial and perennial fact. There have always been and are many different civilizations, cultures, political systems, and visions of world order which cannot be reduced to the Modern Western notions of the individual, class, and nation-state or race, nor to the Liberal model of, or claim to, progressive globalization.
The task of Fourth Political Theorizing poses the uniqueness of this two-fold reality as its starting point: on the one hand, no single political theory can represent the question and answer for all civilizations; on the other hand, it is precisely the common opposition between the fundamental, existential diversity of civilizations and the aggressively homogenizing, unipolar, anti-unique trajectory of the politics of Modernity in crisis that is the common ground for conceptualizing Fourth Political Theorizing as a space of polylogue between civilizations. No other political-philosophical approach is capable of fully seizing the opportunity posed by multipolarity in the domain of geopolitics as well as in the realm of ideas.
Finally, it cannot be emphasized enough that the Fourth Political Theory is not a finished program. It is a proposal for a new beginning which takes into consideration that there will not be one Fourth Political Theory, but many Fourth Political Theories that must be authentic to their existential horizons.
Our conference today is structured around this hermeneutical core. We will be hearing a number of contributions from different thinkers from different countries and different trajectories. In so doing, we are realizing Fourth Political Theorizing right here and now…
The Fourth Political Theory is not only about the deep, pre-modern past, but also the post-globalization future, and we here today are like the philosophical diplomats between cultures, engaged in the multipolar, philosophical diplomacy that Modern politics denies.
– Jafe Arnold
 In English: Alexander Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory (London: Arktos, 2012); The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory (London: Arktos, 2017). In Russian: Aleksandr Dugin, Chetvertaia politicheskaia teoriia: Rossiia i politicheskie idei XXI veka [The Fourth Political Theory: Russia and Political Ideas in the 21st Century] (Saint Petersburg: Amfora, 2009); Chetvertyi put’: Vvedenie v Chetvertuiu Politicheskuiu Teoriiu [The Fourth Way: An Introduction to the Fourth Political Theory] (Moscow: Academic Project, 2015).