The nationalist ethnostate, in all of its glory! Seriously, no brown people here. Not even of the tourist variety.
Gloomy though. And the people don’t really help the atmosphere. They’re quite… prickly. Even the ones who are paid to smile while they bring you your food and drink. They don’t seem to keen on being hospitable either. In fact, the whole city seems to seethe at you, as if you’re a foreign bacteria and the white cells are after you.
Just like most of Northern Europe, really. Especially the Baltic Biosphere, where I spend most of my time.
So I tell Sven after a day wandering around, “see, this is what I’m talking about. We need something more. This place is like a pretty open-air museum. It feels dead. It’s all fake. Like the graveyard of a nation.”
I’m paraphrasing Dostoevsky here, who said as much about Western Europe when he traveled through there. If I come off as dour and depressed, I have nothing on Dostoevsky and his letters. And that was more than a century ago. Hell, if you ask me, Dostoevsky was a drama queen who had it good.
- “More, as in, like a religion?”
“Exactly, the Cult of the Living City!” I enthuse.
And then I switch to Russian, which I’m so glad that I picked up. Most useful language to have while in Europe, I would say. Especially now that we’ve walked into a small cafe that some Russian expats have opened. Of course, everyone in Riga speaks Russian, but these guys are the real deal.
After hearing me bitch out the locals, the owner smiles and gives us a free shot of Balsam to cheer us up. It feels good going down, even better to hear him confirm that we weren’t crazy, that the Latvians were indeed sullen and withdrawn and no fun at all.
We get some coffee as well. It’s too early to get completely drunk.
- “What would it look like?”
Sven picks the conversation back up where we left off.
For my part, I’m more than happy to finally have an interested audience.
“Well, it’s quite simple. At least I think it makes sense. The city is like an organism. A body with cells. And each cell belongs to an organ and that organ has a function within the bo-“
- “Yeah that’s pretty clear. But why a city?”
“Well, because what else is there? The villages barely exist and the small towns are dying out. All that’s left are the cities and the suburbs. Everyone is setting up shop there. That is, well, here.”
And I gesture around with my arms.
“But at the same time, you’ve got all these foreign bodies, whether they’re the British chavs or the Pakis or whoever. And they’re coming in and they’re disrupting the normal functions of the body.”
- “Well yeah, but that just sounds like a metaphor, not really a religion.”
“I don’t know about religion. That sounds almost like a bad word, I don’t want to use it. But think about it this way.”
I take a sip.
“Let’s say Paganism is hunter-gatherer. Sticking deer horns on your head and talking about river spirits and all this natural woodsy stuff. The people who got into it were actually trying to understand the environment they found themselves. They were in sync with it in a way.”
- “Ok, sure.”
“And then you’ve got Christianity, which is more agrarian. You get a lot of talk of tending to flocks, metaphors about growing and care-taking and all that farmer stuff. Lambs of god, keeping wolves at bay, heavenly kingdoms being compared to crops growing.”
- “Yeah, maybe. And like Marxism was oriented around, like, factories.”
“Right! So now, logically, you need something oriented around the modern city. And I don’t mean hipsterism.”
- “Ok, fine, but what would that look like.”
“I’m not sure yet. But I can tell you this much. When God breathed life into Adam, he took some clay from the riverside, shaped it and then blew, right?”
“Could you imagine God gathering together some broken concrete, McDonald’s wrappers, and plastic straws and breathing life into that?”
We both have a chuckle at that.
But while I’m not sure about the whole religious aspect of the idea, I am starting to get some serious clarity about what the political reforms would look like.
“For one thing, tourist flows would be severely curtailed. Anything that priced local residents out of the historic city centers would have to be curbed. Like here. No one even lives in the old town, just foreigners like us! And apart from some restaurants and strip clubs, who really benefits from hordes of foreign bodies coming in and disrupting the rhythm of life?”
That’s something that Sven can get behind. He gives off one of his characteristic, “umn” grunts.
Momentum and excitement building, I continue.
“And then, preventing cities from spilling over into suburbs and exurbs is also important. Cities are like mushrooms, they will keep… fungizing… or whatever, unless the source of nutrients is cut off. The constant flow of people into the cities from the country causes the cities to bloat up out of proportion and scale up out of control. So no new housing developments. None of these monstrous migrant-built steel and glass eyesores all around the edges of town where 80% of the new residents live.”
And Sven lives in exactly one of those places I’m describing. I remember that with a pang of guilt a second after I finish running off my mouth.
I stutter and look away as I wait for him to start objecting so that I can start apologizing, but he seems to have taken it in stride. I think he hates where he lives.
“So…” I begin again. “Historically, you needed a city to have the right balance. A balance of the people that it needs to serve the needs of the country-side and serve as an administrative center and not too many to starve to death, because most people were busy growing food for the city. But nowadays, food is basically, uh, is it… elastic? Or inelastic?”
I could never remember which was which.
Sven shrugs, but I can tell he’s still listening.
“The one where supply is infinite,” I conclude. “And that’s why the cities can grow indefinitely. Especially here, in Northern Europe. They don’t grow anything here anymore. It’s all imported. So, eventually, the entire country is going to become one big city, especially if the city keeps growing, like all the major metropolises keep doing, the concrete spreads further and further and soon, it will be like that planet from Star Wars, all covered in buildings, Coruscant I think it’s called.”
- “This is just your cyberpunk fantasy again,” says Sven and laughs.
I happen to think cyberpunk as a genre is the closest anyone has gotten to predicting the near future. So I don’t get offended.
“Yea, but I’m saying that if Christianity appealed to an agrarian people, and for the last two-hundred years, we’ve been all moving en masse to the city, then it’s time for a city-based religion to emerge, one that can… make life in the city have meaning. Otherwise, the whole thing sucks, and everyone is miserable… even the Muslims.”
- “But you have the whole city-based thing. It’s liberalism. The cult of hedonism and all that.”
“True, but does it have to be that way?” I counter. “Why can’t we take what is good about the cities, the concentration of IQ and culture and wealth and use it for good, not for fucking other men, diddling kids and listening to women talk about the political needs of their vaginas?”
We both snigger.
Say what you will about Latvia, but at least it’s not Sweden. Or Germany, or Western Europe as a whole for that matter.
If we get caught saying something un-PC out loud, what can they do to us? Everyone from the West thinks that this is a Commu-Nazi hellhole where they’re likely to get murdered by people like us. Here, they perceive us to be the ones in power, so they watch themselves, not the other way around.
It’s probably not true. But they don’t know that.
We look around us, the smug just written on our faces. I realize that this is what liberals must feel in their Western strongholds.
But then it’s time to go out and leave the philosophizing for that special sweet spot when you’re still drunk enough to talk and walk, but not sober enough to control what you say.
It’ll come later.
This is our second night out and with great surprise, this time around we find out that all the hot girls we were so eager to hit on, the ones sitting at the bars in the old downtown. Turns out they are all some variant of escort. Turns out, they get a cut of every drink that the guy gets them. Turns out there’s more to boring ol’ Riga than meets the eye.
Since both Sven and I were trying to get with them, and we’re both huge game enthusiasts, we flat-out refuse to buy them drinks, just like the great PUA masters taught us to do.
Boy, it sure is nice to be right for the wrong reasons.
Sven manages to fall in love with a bar girl before we figure this out though.
“WHY!? WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO BE A PR—ESCORT, or whatever!”
He howls and hiccups into the night.
I can’t help but laugh at his expense a little. We’re both drunk now, but while I was sober, I noticed that she wasn’t all that, and I keep that little secret close to my heart. I want to let Sven experience some “genuine” emotion and not ruin the emotional release for him. He has to go back to Hel soon after all – Sweden. I want to let the lad have his moment.
“Ahhh man, don’t worry about it,” I say.
Luckily, a local Russian in the trade took pity on Sven’s frustrated advances and explains the situation to us. Turns out these girls can make about 500 euros a night for basically doing nothing but sitting there, drinking and flirting.
“Everyone in Riga is a prostitute… one way or another,” Vadim tells us, in English.
It’s very funny. I still chuckle, even when I think about it now.
Funny enough, we had a chance to meet up with the local Latvian Nationalists but chose not to. I wonder what they would have had to say about the state of their city. But we’re both tired of these hardcore types. The ones that sulk around, wear black and talk nonstop about how bad things are and that act like they’re more likely to stab you than any migrant.
Sven got more into the whole scene than me. But he’s getting tired of it.
“They’re all just so… anti-social. And they stick out like sore thumbs. In the city I mean,” he says.
I know exactly what he means.
“I think that the smart people are the ones that keep their heads down, that keep on hustling and keep on scrounging, that realize there’s no stopping the flood. They’re the ones trying to save up enough to buy a *hiccup* ticket, a ticket for the Ark.” I say.
Sven would have resisted and vehemently disagreed with me a year ago. Now, though…
“It’s best to drop this nationalism stuff for now. We can’t really affect any change where we’re at in our lives, and in history. The older generations don’t want to help out, they’re sitting pretty. What are we kids supposed to do? No money, no experience, no contacts? I think the only winning strategy is to keep it kosher, fall back to the whiter places like they did, and save up enough money for that gated community. Or we just get the fuck out and move to Riga!”
We both drink to that.
Sven sighs and nods.
Two years of activism and only court fines to show for it. As well as disgust and disappointment in the leadership.
I know the feeling all too well.
We seem to both have come to the same conclusions about the conmen who seem to be attracted to the right like moths to the neon decor outside of a scam bar for foreigners in Riga.
But perhaps it’s not the right time to write about it, just yet. Another time, maybe.
The locals? What is there to say about them, really? They keep to themselves, mostly. Also, they’re trashy and into the whole grunge look. That means a black and white protestant color scheme for the girls who are covered in tattoos and body modifications, and a slouching, weasely skittishness for the men, many of whom pimp-roll around the city smoking weed – open blazin’ baby!
You’ve got some well-dressed and normal looking Latvians, sure. But they all seem to be of the older generation. And the Russians seem to tragically, be simply biologically incapable of dressing fashionably, and continue to sport the 90’s, early 00’s look that their entire culture seems to have gotten collectively decided was the peak aesthetic, and which they stubbornly refuse to let go. They look more rough around the edges, but generally, they are the only ones who will talk to you.
And I appreciate them for that.
The women, at least the ones who weren’t prostitutes as far as we could tell… well, they seemed stand-offish and xenophobic.
So that’s nice.
That being said, it was to other Europeans and Russians. Apart from literally a handful of Africans dating local Latvian girls, there was practically no diversity to speak of, so who knows, maybe they were just sulky because they didn’t have as many diversity toys to dangle off their arms and status-signal as their more advanced Western cousins perhaps.
But whatever —I’m exaggerating… probably.
As for the tourist sites, well they’re pretty tame. A few museums and an interesting building here and there.
That being said, I did see the monument to the Latvian Riflemen in the center and pointed it out to Sven. He didn’t know that it was the Latvians who carried out the Bolshevik Revolution. I thought that it was ironic and funny. The whole Latvian situation that is.
I remember meeting some nationalist Latvian girl in Poland, for the Warsaw Independence Day march and how she had talked about the great heroism of the Latvian people and the deep hatred that she bore for the Russians.
That is basically what nationalism boils down to in the Baltic, by the way.
It has nothing to do with blacks and Muslims or whatever. Even the anti-semitism is very low-key. It’s all anti-Russian in nature. And it seems that the Latvians have made an entire industry out of their victim narrative, and everyone from the liberals to the nationalists is on it.
Lots of “evil-KGB” themed museums and modern art exhibits dedicated to the suffering of the Latvian people under Communism and all that jazz. You get used to it, traveling in Eastern Europe and it reeks of the same propaganda that they say about Nazi Germany. Simply too fantastically evil to be true.
Anyways, those Latvian Riflemen brigades helped Lenin take St. Petersburg and then Moscow.
I tell Sven that now, as we stumble away from the tourist trap, headed for the “authentic” hipster part of town, in the abandoned industrial sector, the only place it seems that locals can afford to hang out and open their own places in… and this is the same in just about every White city I’ve ever been to…
“It’s funny. Like, Riga was one of the first cities to industrialize and convert to the religion of the factories – Marxism. Without the Latvians’ joining up, the Bolsheviks assuredly would not have won. So really, it’s a kind of karmic justice in a way – what happened to the Latvians under Communism that is. Especially considering that they joined the Germans in World War II. So basically, they gambled and lost, big time. And they deserved what they got!”
Sven shrugs, chuckles and shakes his head in disagreement. He’s a true Fascist at heart. He’s still got a soft spot for every country that took up arms for the Fuhrer’s cause.
“I guess,” he says.
“And now look at them!” I press on, the alcohol coursing through my veins as I lift my hands up, preacher style and face the old town, full of literal dozens of Latvian young-girl escorts making their rounds. Unlike Moses, I’m no modern urban messiah; I cannot part the Red Sea of whores – we have to shoulder past them just like everyone else.
“Look at all the progress they’ve made!”
Sven knows that I’m talking about the alarmingly large number of Latvian bums around where we live. The pissed up underground walkways you use to cross the streets, covered in graffiti, the smell of weed that wafts past us periodically, and the meanness of the city.
“Truly, where would we be without Latvian freedom?” I continue. “All of this,” and I give a disdainful sweep of my hand around the newer glass and steel buildings with obligatory American ads with their characteristic mulattos and mixed race couples that we’re passing by now.
“To think that the Latvians were missing out on all of this!”
And then we get to the much-vaunted hipster part of town. It’s run-down and half-ruined, of course. Gutted factories and warehouses now serve craft beer as locals sit in old Soviet and pre-soviet furniture, dressed like bums themselves. The same factories from which Reds agitated for the overthrow of the Emperor.
This is where the locals are reduced to spending their time. Funny enough, the Communists let them keep their old town. But now? Now that Riga is a free city?
Now the foreigners own it.
And we sip at our drinks, thinking how nice the decor of this gutted factory is. How authentic the exposed red bricks are. The industrial piping. The exposed hanging steel lights. The ancient, creaking furniture. Just like the Latvian factory workers would have seen.
And it turns out we’ve come full circle.
This isn’t what poverty looks like, no.
This isn’t what losing your city without firing a single shot looks like, no.
This is progress!
This is the future of every city!
And don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!