New Acropolis (NA; official name: Spanish: Organización Internacional Nueva Acrópolis "OINA" – Organisation Internationale Nouvelle Acropole, association internationale sans but lucratif) is a worldwide non-profit organisation founded in 1957 by Jorge Ángel Livraga Rizzi in Argentina, positioning itself as a school of philosophy, although some researchers characterize it as a neo-theosophical new religious movement. Its current president is philosopher, musician and writer, Delia Steinberg Guzman.
|Founded||July 15, 1957|
|Founder||Jorge Ángel Livraga Rizzi|
|Delia Steinberg Guzmán|
Aside from regular philosophy courses, lectures, and workshops the organization offers in its branches, it is also involved in social and philanthropic activities, such as food collection campaigns, art workshops, cleaning of monuments and parks, as well as disaster rescues and music competitions.
NA has been registered in Belgium as an international organization since 1981, number 3/12-941/S. The organization has been accused by some scholars and investigators to be a far-right cult. NA rejects these accusations and claims to have no political or religious affiliation.
Its founding principles are:
- To promote an ideal of universal fraternity, based on respect for human dignity, beyond racial, sexual, cultural, religious, social and other differences.
- To encourage the love of wisdom through the comparative study of philosophies, religions, sciences and arts, in order to promote the knowledge of the human being, the laws of Nature and the Universe.
- To develop the best of the human potential, by promoting the realization of the human being as an individual and his or her integration as an active and conscious part of society and nature, in order to improve the world.
The organization describes itself as a school of philosophy, understood as "a way of life (...), as a means of access to spiritual knowledge and collective and individual realization." According to the organization's webpage, its official introduction program includes the philosophies of Buddhism, Tibet, China, Greece and Rome among others. The school also offers advanced studies in courses such as psychology, history of philosophy and symbology.
Jorge A. Livraga Rizzi wanted to create an 'eclectic and rational approach' – according to his own words – to different currents in order to highlight similarities and commonalities between Eastern and Western thought. He saw his role to define the elements of a philosophy of a universal type, reconnecting with all the spiritual roots, including those rejected by the West; for example, those of Egypt or Asia. Fernand Schwarz (director of New Acropolis France), on his part, has written several books on the Egyptian tradition. In addition to the study of ancient sources, New Acropolis also tries to promote contemporary authors such as CG Jung, Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, Gilbert Durand, Henry Corbin, Paul Ricœur, Dane Rudhyar, Jean Chevalier or Edgar Morin. These, as well as other philosophers, scientists and sociologists, freely expressed themselves in the columns of the association's journal. In the body of reference claimed by the French publications of New Acropolis, we find the philosophy of Pythagoras, Plato, Neoplatonism, Alexandrine Hermeticism and the Renaissance. In addition there are the two great theosophical currents, that of Jacob Boehm and that of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, as well as elements of Eastern philosophy (Hinduism in particular, through the three Purushiac schools, Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism)."
French writer Jean-Pierre Bayard describes New Acropolis as
a school of philosophy focused on esotericism and symbolism, [which] organizes the comparative study of religions through courses and lectures on various subjects: myths, philosophies, sciences, sacred architecture, traditional arts, with often the contribution of speakers from outside the organization. Travels are organized according to the same spiritual concern (Egypt, Greece, Mexico). Fifteen centers in France provide high-level moral education by developing inner investigation, advocating freedom of conscience and respect for the human being.
New Acropolis teaches Apocalypticism and some sort of Esoteric eschatology. The group teaches that current society is living in the "end of times" predicted by several religions, including the hindu Kali Yuga and the Norse Ragnarok, thus making necessary to preserve the esoteric knowledge by creating schools such as NA itself. This apocalyptic belief revolves around a pseudohistorical concept taught in the lessons of the organization and that talks about historical "cycles" where humanity would pass through periods of splendor and decay over and over again.
According to Miguel Martínez, a group's defector, NA follows an ultraconservative ideology strongly influenced by Traditionalism and that advocates a hierarchical and disciplined society with ideological concepts influenced by Plato, Nietzsche and Confucius, and that considers democracy decadent and the ideal model of society a strong caste system under an esoteric theocracy. The Escépticos blog claims that NA believes the white race is divided into seven subraces also hierarchized where the Germanic is the most elevated and the Hebrew the least. According to a NA's former member interviewed in 2014 by Vice magazine, Homosexuals are not allowed to be members of NA.
Organization and structure
According to Livraga's 1976's Manual del Dirigente (Leader's Handbook) the organization's structure was pyramidal and hierarchical. The highest level is the World Command, an office that once belonged to Livraga and his wife known as ADA-JAL. Under the World Command is the Guardian of Seals, under it the Continental Commands, under these the Central Commands, followed by the National or Federal Councilors, the Unified Zone Commands and Branch Chiefs.
The "Golden Ax" is used as a symbol given only to an elite of members known as "hachados" (ax holders) and this honor could only be given and taken away by the World Command. These hachados are proposed by the Central Commands due to their merits and are supposed to refrain from owning a fortune beyond their basic needs. The hachados can request retirement for reasons like age or health, and the organization should be responsible for their living in their final years. If the person retires as hachado can keep the honors but returns the ax, if the person status as hachado is revoked then the ax is return and destroyed.
The handbook itself expresses in its page 3 that its content should be kept secret not only from the public but from every non-directive members of the organization. It also establishes that is valid for the leaders to hide their Acropolitan ideas, believes and concepts when speaking in public or adapt them to the listener's wishes, and that most of the symbols, salutes and customs of the organization should be kept secret as other political movements have used them in the past staining its image in the public eye.
The Reglamento para miembros (Members’ bylaws) of the organization establishes a series of norms for the participants including the obligation of at least 12 hours per month of voluntary work (although this can be increase if the person is sanctioned or if can't do the monthly payments), the prohibition of any kind of critic to the leaders and fellow members "to the former in any sense, to the later in their personal affairs", the requirement of the students to stand up anytime the teacher enters the room, the mandatory use of tie and jacket for men and skirts for women in all official events, and to refrain from any kind of immorality, among others.
Reception and criticism
The organization's music competitions attract many participants, such as the International Competition of Piano Delia Steinberg which takes place in Madrid, Spain, and the Peruvian National Music Competition for youth, "Nueva Acropolis". The organization's 2018 commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, which took place in Mumbai, India, was endorsed by the Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi, the Dalai Lama and Devendra Fadnavis. Among the speakers, were Indian philanthropist Ronnie Screwvalla, innovator and education reformist Sonam Wangchuk and social activist Chetna Sinha.
Although accusations of neo-fascism and neo-Nazism against the group exists New Acropolis condemns Nazism, racism and political extremism, and some scholars and defectors claim that the organization is more ultra-conservative, hierarchical, and critical or skeptical of democracy influenced by Platonism and Traditionalism, and by the writings of Helena Blavatsky and René Guénon. The Theosophical Society officially denies any links with Livraga, Livraga was expelled from the organization due to his radical far-right ideas. The group also was criticized for allegedly expelling gay members.
The French Commission on Cults (1995) as well as a Belgian parliamentary commission, have, in 1997, registered it as a cult in their respective countries, in an annexed blacklist to their report, along with 171 other associations. On May 27, 2005, the cult blacklists were abandoned by the French government. However Serge Blisko, director of the French Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances (MIVILUDES) said to VICE magazine in 2014 that "disregarding what it says in its Wikipedia article, the French government still considers New Acropolis a cult and is under surveillance".
- Clarke, Peter B. (2006). New Religions in Global Perspective: A Study of Religious Change in the Modern World. London; New York: Routledge. p. 217. ISBN 0-203-50833-5.
- "Current International President". International Organization New Acropolis. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
- New Acropolis International volunteering program
- Inside, Costa Rica (English)
- OWIT, Perú Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Spanish)
- Moniteur nº 48, march 9th 1990, page 4489
- Nouvelle Acropole en Moniteur, since 2003
- Nouvelle Acropole en Moniteur, since 1981 soon 2002
- Jean-Marie Abgrall. "Soul Snatchers: The Mechanics of Cults".
- "Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates: A Quantitative Study of Former Members of New Acropolis in France". CESNUR. 1999.
- "El Gran Engaño La verdad sobre Nueva Acrópolis". Alerta. 2012.
- "Nueva Acrópolis Secta Paramilitar". victimasectas.com. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- "Αποκαλύπτουμε τι είναι η οργάνωση "Νέα Ακρόπολη". Μέρος Α΄". Αποκαλύπτουμε τι είναι η οργάνωση "Νέα Ακρόπολη". Μέρος Α΄. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- Carroll, Rory (1999-12-17). "Satanists threaten the Pope's party". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- "New Acropolis – Frequently Asked Questions". www.acropolis.org. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
- "New Acropolis – What is New Acropolis?". www.acropolis.org. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
- "New Acropolis – Assembly Resolutions". www.acropolis.org. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
- "New Acropolis – School of Philosophy". www.acropolis.org. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
- "Nouvelle Acropole vue par les specialistes : Antoine Faivre". mapage.noos.fr. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
- 1920–2008., Bayard, Jean-Pierre, (2004). Guide des sociétés secrètes et des sectes. Olejnik-Sarkissian, Natacha, 1964– ..., Impr. Laballery) ([Nouv. éd. actualisée] ed.). Paris: Oxus. ISBN 2848980397. OCLC 470330547.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- Livraga, Jorge Ángel. "Manual del Dirigente" (PDF). docdroid.net. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Zabala Justiniano, Marcelo Enrique. "El predominio de lo inauténtico en nuestra civilización y cultura". Nueva Acrópolis. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Livraga, Jorge Ángel. "¿Por qué caen las civilizaciones?". Nueva Acrópolis. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Alvarado Planas, Jorge. "Una época medieval". Nueva Acrópolis. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Livraga, Jorge Ángel. "La vida después de la muerte". Nueva Acropolis. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- Perlado, Miguel (24 November 2010). ""Nueva Acrópolis the mina la personalidad"". Hemerosectas. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Martínez, Miguel (1997). "Story of an Emperor: Jorge Angel Livraga Rizzi Founder of New Acropolis". CESNUR. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "[escepticos] Nueva acropolis: neonazis esotericos". Escépticos. 2000. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "El hombre que escapó de Nueva Acrópolis". Vice. 2014.
- Livraga, Jorge Ángel. "Reglamento interno de Nueva Acrópolis" (PDF). Redune. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- LR, Redacción (2018-09-05). "Más de 6.000 escolares participan en uno de los eventos musicales más grandes del país" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-09-12.
- "Endorsements". Empowering Real Change. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
- "Empowering Real Change". Empowering Real Change. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
- Martínez, Jan. "Un profesor de instituto enseña teorías racistas a menores". El País. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- "New Acropolis – Frequently Asked Questions". www.acropolis.org. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
- "New Acropolis – Assembly Resolutions". www.acropolis.org. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
- Sequeira Rovira, Paula. "Nueva Acrópolis". Prolades. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- "New Acropolis (Religious Movement)". what-when-how. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "The Theosophical Society's Position on New Acropolis". kelebekler.
- "Re: N. Sri Ram and New Acropolis?". Theos Talk. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- "The T.S. and New Acropopis". Theos Talk. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- La fin des listes noires (The end of blacklists), Le Point 23 June 2005 (in French)