Yep, she said it.
Hillary’s speech from August 25th was rumored for days in advance, with the fact that she was addressing the Alt Right well known. This sent many in the press running to get this phenomenon figured out, while at the same time the Alt Righters were waiting to hit their moment of peak visibility. With their media savvy, their ability to dominate social media, and their focus on well-packaged talking points, it was quite possible that they were going to be able to set the conversation after Hillary spoke in vague platitudes.
Except this time Hillary was prepped well, and named the fascist. Her speech identified the Alt Right as one element of the racist right wing that is giving Donald Trump his surging popularity. She mentioned Twitter accounts like White Genocide, went after the KKK members that support Trump openly, and even lamented the ludicrous conspiracy theorizing of Alex Jones and Infowars. She took on Breitbart, reading aloud some of the more offensive recent article titles where they showed their hate for women, minorities, and LGBT people.
Hillary’s endgame here is simple: to scare you into voting for her. For our side of things, we recognize that both the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign are representing the interests of capital. They made up a middle-ground of establishment financial politics, ones steeped in Neoconservative foreign policy, international commercial interests, and environmental ruin. Donald Trump shares this position in politics, and laughs about the deregulated markets he attempts to foist on an already drained working class. Together, they make up what we have always expected from American politics: the choice between members of the capitalist class.
As we listened to Hillary’s speech, we knew that she had scored herself a campaign point. She also scored one for us, just not the one she wants.
We will never support the Clinton campaign, or the campaign of any bourgeois politician (this includes Jill Stein). Instead we think that the power of the working class is in movements from the ground up, and in today’s climate that includes organized anti-fascism. What Hillary’s speech did was accurately describe the phenomenon(to a point), named some of the key players, and then tied them directly to their support of Donald Trump.
Over the last couple of weeks, and especially in the last two days, we have seen a number of major news outlets clamor to make sense of the Alt Right. Anti-Fascist News was founded just over a year ago specifically with the idea that we wanted to focus in on the Alt Right from an anti-fascist perspective. Some major media coverage of the Alt Right has been better than others, but many miss the key factors at play with this movement. The recent segments from Fox News painted the Alt Right as synonymous with Donald Trump’s working class white, Middle American base. This confuses the situation and lacks the key lineage that the Alt Right comes from.
Drawing on the racialist organizations of the past, the European neo-fascist organizations, the history of fascist philosophy and spirituality, and various interlocking “traditionalist” and “identitarian” movements, the Alt Right is the latest and most popular confederation of what we would clearly label as fascist. This word is thrown around a lot, often used to mean authoritarian or violent. Instead, the word means a political movement founded in inequality, elitism, “essential” identity such as race or gender, hierarchy, “traditional values,” and a romantic view of the past. While this has some common historical forms, it can creep up with a variety of different political structures and programs. National anarchists, radical traditionalists, the Dark Enlightenment, paleoconservatism, “race realism,” racial paganism, identitarianism, and many other self-important philosophies fit under this broader fascist ideological banner, and all of them make up the various wings of the Alt Right. Together they are founded on the idea that there are racial differences in intelligence and “criminality,” that Jews are secretly in control of the government and the media, that feminism is eroding the true structures of man, and that we need to return to the identity and authority of our ancestors.
While Breitbart, Milo, and Donald Trump may only be the “diet” version of the Alt Right, they are taking their most palatable points and putting them out into bite sizes morsels. The Alt Right has taken the key fascist ideas built over a century of violence and attempts at power and turned them into “fashy memes,” jokes told on 4chan and celebrated at My Posting Career.
In short: the Alt Right has made fascism tweetable. And we are here to shut them down.
With Hillary Clinton’s most recent campaign ad and the direction spoken of in her speech, she has simply helped to mainstream the anti-fascist messaging in the same way that Donald Trump added a loudspeaker to the Alt Right. That does not make her our ally, she never will be. Instead, her speech helped to make the Alt Right known as a racist caricature of itself; a violent movement of vile racism bent on attacking communities of color, putting women in their place, and locking up trans people. While places like the Radix Journal and the Daily Shoah were celebrating the attention, and Alt Right vloggers like Millenial Woes were using it as an opportunity to create a racially-charged promotional video, we get more out of this mention than they could ever hope to.
Now our task is to take her rhetoric much further, and to put the logic of it into practice. It is not enough to name a fascist on the Internet; we need movements capable of undermining them when they show up.
And they have.