by Brandon Berg
The capacity of popular media to affect social change is undeniable. One needn’t look further than the oft-cited correlation between the popularity of CBS’s Will and Grace and the country’s attitude toward gay rights for confirmation. The fact is, progressive writers in Hollywood and New York have, for decades, have been actively working towards the era of tolerance, not to mention organizers and activists. Recall the response of Richard Nixon, perhaps America’s most openly fascistic president, to the inclusion of a gay relationship in a 1970s-era episode of All in the Family, captured for posterity in one of his own secret recordings. The upshot of this has been the continued isolation felt by the fascists, racists and homophobes who can no longer find mainstream media content fitting their own perverse worldviews. A notable development in the last year undoubtedly connected to this reality has been the birth of an entire cottage industry producing gut-churning right-wing content for web-bound fascists.
Interestingly, it would seem that the main way in which this new phenomenon is expressed is through a whole plethora of podcasts available for free download. Virtually every large fascist site has some sort of audio content: Pseudo-intellectual “Radix Journal” produces a podcast seemingly dedicated entirely to film and cultural critique. Daily Stormer maintains a site with regularly scheduled broadcasts, unsubtly entitled “Radio Aryan” (which includes a rather suspicious looking “Aryan Bootlegs” section). Counter-Currents Publishing does interviews with foreign fascist intellectuals, often attempting to create a more “high brow” appearance. Anti-Fascist News has covered the increasing popularity of the crude “Daily Shoah” podcast produced by The Right Stuff.biz, and that same site has apparently enlarged their audio production immensely, now featuring numerous different podcasts with different hosts releasing each day of the week.
One might ask why exactly, in a world of Vlogs and easy video production, the fascistic right-wing has essentially reverted to 1930s era tactics of scheduled radio broadcasts to get their message out. It likely has to do with a desire for anonymity on the parts of both the producers and the listeners. Unlike a YouTube video, it’s very easy to conceal one’s identity if they can remain, for all intents and purposes, a disembodied voice. It is seemingly very common for the hosts of these podcasts to go by pseudonyms continuously, referring to each other by names that are either simply bizarre or blatantly offensive(everything from Mike Enoch to Reactionary Tree). It is also fairly clear that a downloaded .mp3 file offers a far greater chance to hide your disgusting, socially unacceptable views than a YouTube video of SS men marching to death metal. It can be listened to discretely on an iPod without the risk of anyone looking over their shoulder.
These factors have led to a renaissance in racist and fascist podcast production. As mentioned before, the racist blog The Right Stuff now has multiple podcasts releasing new episodes daily, all hosted on their Radio.therightstuff site. Many of them appear to be giving a regional perspective on news item of interest to racists. They have different podcasts featuring hosts from the American South, Scandinavia and Britain among others. These mainly consist of the various hosts bemoaning the increased tolerance and multiculturalism of their native lands, and calling, in vague terms, for the physical removal of Syrian refugees and other “undesirables”. Others seem to have more obscure and esoteric interests. “KulturKampf” (note the German fetishism) seems to exist solely to discuss Plato’s Republic. “The Fatherland” (there it is again) relates the experience of fascist fathers trying to raise their children in a world without a Hitlerjugend to enroll them in. One of their most recent additions in “Fash Course World History”, a show not related to the history of fashion but rather Fascism. Here they spin common right-wing straw men, re-hashing historical events with a white nationalist perspective, often revealing that they lack even a basic understanding of most of Western history. At first listen the show sounds something like an NPR program, with the hosts speaking in the characteristic calm tone and without the Opie and Anthony-style drops and sound effects now a hallmark of other fascist podcasts. The half-dozen hosts, evidently academics seeking a form of expression for their own bigotry, then launch into a critique of Nietzschean ideology. They praise the controversial philosopher for introducing the ideals that would eventually contribute in some way to he rational for the holocaust, but attacking him for his “materialist” philosophy, evidently viewed among elements of the far-right as having damaged the theocratic power of religious institutions.
Though these people have little money, institutional support, credibility or recognition, it’s clear that they have both a growing number of covert participants and a lot of time on their hands. See a young white man on the subway with downcast eyes and headphones in his ears? He could well be listening approvingly to a podcast on the anti-Semitic pogroms of Imperial Russia. With this we are given tools to monitor how this movement has changed, how it is adapting to new conditions, and use this to develop an anti-fascist movement that is versatile enough to continue to dismantle any ground they gain.