| Drink the Kool-Aid|
|But you WANT to stay|
“”This structure (New Acropolis) feeds on men and the fit ones transfuse them into their great body, into their great Soul, to turn them into some level of supermen. The inept must be left behind. Such is the painful Law. They will be picked up by some hyena-structure that feeds on carrion
|—Jorge Angel Livraga, probably speaking about DC Comics cosplay or something.|
New Acropolis (NA) is a far-right esotericist organization, often described as a cult. Although there are accusations that it is neo-fascist and neo-Nazi, most scholars agree that is closer to being ultra-conservative, traditionalist and anti-democratic. New Acropolis did condemn Nazism and fascism once (but only after they were accused of being fascist). It presents itself under the façade of a "cultural center" for the study of philosophy and arts, but its courses focus mostly on Western and Eastern esotericism and Theosophy.
Its founder was Argentinian writer Jorge Ángel Livraga Rizzi (1930–1991). As with many cult leaders, Livraga's life and achievements are greatly exaggerated by the organization's official biography. What seems to be true is that he was born in Argentina in 1930 of Italian-Argentinian parents. His official biographers claim that he began studies in history, art history and medicine in Buenos Aires but did not finish. He also allegedly won the 1951 Argentine National Poetry Prize (but the only source of that is NA) for his poetry book "Lotos", co-writen by Olga and Ada Albrecht although Livraga and NA do not credit them. Among his many "titles" are scholar of the "International Philo-Byzantine Academy and University" a diploma mill university of esotericism that gave a doctor's degree to famous astrologer Walter Mercado in "divinity" and of the "International Burckhardt Academy" of Rome which seems to be only a vanity publishing house, recipient of knighthood from the Real Orden de San Ildefonso y San Atilano alongside his personal friend Augusto Pinochet (how and why would a conservative Catholic order would grant knighthood to an esotericist is unknown), and recipient of the silver cross from the Société Académique Arts Sciences Lettres which, if such prize is given, there's no record anywhere outside of the NA official sites. NA also used to list him as an archeologist and doctor in philosophy from the Aztec Academy of Arts, but since the Academy does not exist, even NA stopped making this claim. It seems that Livraga's biography is as imaginative (but more boring than) that of L. Ron Hubbard's.
What is known from second-hand sources is that he wasn’t very well liked among the Argentinian esotericist community. One of the very few things that Livraga's biography claims that seems to be true is his membership in the Theosophical Society of Argentina between 1950 and 1962, the period during which he met his wife Ada Albrecht and they both founded New Acropolis and the magazine Estudios Teosóficos (Theosophic Studies). It seems that Livraga was jealous of Albrecht's accomplishments whilst Albrecht was skeptical of his wannabe husband's paramilitary delusions leading to the couple's bitter divorce. Livraga got the custody of New Acropolis, and Albrecht then founded her own
cult organization; the Hastinapura Foundation.
Livraga was expelled from the Theosophical Society due to bad behavior. although he claims that he was instructed by then president of the Society, Sri Ram, to create NA because the TS was "decadent". Of this of course only Livraga's testimony exists, but anyone outside of NA does not take such a claim seriously, as Sri Ram kept working as president of the TS until his death.
Livraga moved to Spain, were he founded a New Acropolis branch in 1971 under Francisco Franco's regime. Critics of the organization often mention this as evidence of NA's far-right leanings as no organization in Francoist Spain could legally be founded if wasn't at least close to the regime's ideology. In any case the group soon spread all over Europe, the Americas and some Asian countries including Israel and India.
Several countries investigated NA for the cult accusations, most notably France, which blacklisted NA as a cult after a report of the Parliamentary Commission on Cults. In Belgium, it also has the cult status. The Cottrell report for the European Parliament also included it among the list of cults. The Wikipedia page often claims the the French Parliament report was later abandoned, but sources from the French government told Vice Magazine as of 2014 that they still consider NA a paramilitary far-right cult and that it is under surveillance. Livraga was convicted for illegal possession of firearms in Madrid in 1988. After a period of growth in the 1980s and 1990s with the organization claiming to have some 20,000 members, the group entered a period of decline.
The main esoteric source of NA is Theosophy (which isn't racist in itself, Blavatsky's positions not withstanding) which is why NA is often considered an offshoot, but not that the feeling is mutual as the Theosophical Society loathes Livraga. NA also has a strong influence from traditionalist and paleoconservative sources of which Platonism (or the organization's interpretation of Platonism) is probably the most important. According to some scholars, it is from Plato's anti-democracy and pro-hierarchy position that NA takes most of its authoritarian ideas, with the help of other influences like traditional Hindu thought (particularly the caste system, which is very similar to Plato's social hierarchy proposal), Julius Evola's writings, Nietzscheanism and Confucianism. NA is also deeply homophobic and expels gay members if discovered, it regards modern Western civilization as decadent with postmodernism, and that current art and democracy are part of the decay. NA is close to be a doomsday cult because it teaches that the human society is near to collapse and is in the "Kali Yuga" (a Hindu concept similar to the Christian End of Times or the Nordic Ragnarok). The idea of a "Second Middle Age" in the current moment of history it's also an important part of NA's apocalyptic narrative.
As said before the organization seems not to be neo-Nazi (its presence in Israel and the fact that its international president, Delia Steimberg, is a Jew confirms that), but former members do accuse it of having certain racialist ideas mostly inspired by esoteric racial concepts of the 18th century and pseudoscience. The former members seem to believe in some sort of "racial hierarchy" with humanity divided into "seven races" of which Africans are at the bottom and whites on top. Whites at the same time are divided in seven sub-races of which Germans are on top and Hebrews on the bottom.
- Jean-Marie Abgrall. "Soul Snatchers: The Mechanics of Cults". http://books.google.co.cr/books?id=QoFJIJr57b8C&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=new+acropolis+far+right+cult&source=bl&ots=DUxTHz73xu&sig=JRrp3pGZuZbuh6TEIVqptzcSuN8&hl=es&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7nLK8_snYAhUKt1MKHcXpBeEQ6AEIdzAN#v=onepage&q=new%20acropolis%20far%20right%20cult&f=false.
- "Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates: A Quantitative Study of Former Members of New Acropolis in France". CESNUR. 1999. http://www.cesnur.org/testi/Acropolis.htm.
- "New Acropolis". 2012. http://survinat.com/2012/03/new-acropolis/.
- "El Gran Engaño La verdad sobre Nueva Acrópolis". Alerta. 2012. http://victimasectas.com/NuevaAcropolis/NuevaAcropolis.html.
- James Randi Educational Foundation
- "The Theosophical Society's Position on New Acropolis". kelebekler. http://www.kelebekler.com/cesnur/txt/theosophy.htm.
- "El hombre que escapó de Nueva Acrópolis". Vice. 2014. http://www.vice.com/es_mx/article/4w9d89/el-hombre-que-escapo-de-nueva-acropolis-308-v7n1.