Category Archives: Alt Light

Donate to Support the Legal and Medical Costs of Antifascists Who Stood Against the Proud Boys in Portland

On Saturday, June 30th, the far-right organization Patriot Prayer came out in Portland, Oregon to hold a rally and march.  The organization has been known for its allyship with white nationalist, patriot, and fascist organizations, and is now made up predominantly of violent Proud Boys.  Over the last two years, Patriot Prayer has repeatedly held their violent events in Portland while being rejected by the city at large.  Last June, after Patriot Prayer follower Jeremy Christian murdered two people in an Islamophobic rage on a Portland train, Patriot Prayer decided to still hold their public rally despite desperate pleas against it from the community.  They were met with 4,000 protesters from dozens of organizations, showing a unified voice against their hateful agenda.

 

Since then Patriot Prayer has only gotten more violent, even though its leader, Joey Gibson, believes he could be elected for Senate in Washington.  On June 3rd they came out to Portland with nothing on the agenda other than fighting people, and after antifascists pushed them back they were unable to complete their march.  On June 30th they came back to “stand their ground,” which meant bringing in Proud Boy crews from multiple states prepared for violence.  They pushed their march into counter protesters where they began attacking them in gang-style beatings, leaving many people in the hospital after cruel assaults.  Antifascists again stopped their march from continuing and overwhelmed their numbers, and several antifascists are also facing criminal charges for these defensive action.

Between the medical and legal costs, they need people’s support now!  Below is a fundraiser controlled by Portland Anarchist Black Cross that will go to support those protesters affected by what happened on June 30th from multiple organizations.  The money will go directly to their support, so you can count on it getting to the people that need it.

Please donate if you can and share widely!  They need our help!

Click Here to Donate to the Fundraiser for Portland Antifascists

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Unions Against Fascism

 

Patriot Prayer isn’t known for its good taste.

 

The far-right organization, known for linking up “Patriot” militias with Alt Right white nationalists, became notorious for taking up the “free speech” rally model started by Lauren Southern in the “Battle for Berkeley.”  In Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding suburbs, their organizer, Joey Gibson, instigated violent clashes with leftist protesters as he refused to tone down the “America First” rhetoric.  In May, Jeremy Christian, a man who eagerly joined Patriot Prayer’s events, murdered two on Portland public transit in an Islamophobic frenzy.  Gibson’s response was to hold his June 4th rally just a couple of weeks later in a federal park, which drew over three thousand protesters in a show of unprecedented antifascist unity.

On August 26, in the wake of the savage race riot and vehicular murder in Charlottesville, Gibson decided to bring his act down to the Bay area, where a number of far-right provocateurs were intending to join him.  This would start with a “Freedom Rally” along the waterfront, which activists countered with a mass “poop in” by bringing their dogs to the beach without waste bags.  The following day they the “anti-Marxist” message would be brought to the streets, picking up on the white supremacist conspiracy theory that modern “progressive” values are actually the result of subversive Jewish “Cultural Marxism.”

Patriot Prayer’s plans sparked one of the quickest engagements of mass organizing in years as coalitions formed around the city with everything from radical art shows to a mass marches to disallow Gibson access to the streets or city parks.  While the Bay’s progressive line-up began their plans, it was the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 that stepped out in front to lead this community revolt.  Just days before the Alt Right was to descend on the city, Local 10 passed the “Motion to Stop the Fascists in San Francisco,” calling for “all unions and anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations to join us defending unions, racial minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and all the oppressed.”  ILWU was instrumental in raising the antifascist coalition’s profile enough to force Gibson to cancel the event, and when he tried to move it to San Francisco’s Alamo Park, the union took to the streets and helped form a block to prevent entry.  

Right now, labor in the United States is being pushed to a state of execution.  With the political power in the hands of the beltway right, attacks on public sector unions, collective bargaining, exclusive representation, and the rights of workers to organize, are forcing labor to look past immediate contractual gains and to the larger contradictions the working class faces.  Capital’s attack on unions is happening at the same time as a radical right populism is sweeping the U.S., with Trumpism ushering in what the Freedom Party brought to Austria, Brexit offered to the UK, and what Le Pen could have leveled on France.  With the Alt Right as the militant fascist edge of this movement, organized labor is placed where it is often put in times of crisis: uniquely targeted and decisively necessary.

 

“Then they came for the trade unionists…”

Looking at the historical fascist movements that rose to power in interwar Europe, labor is crushed swiftly and decisively.  As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, the SS took control of the trade unions in 1933, banning them as working class institutions and molding their organs into the German Labor Front.  With 7 million members, Germany had one of the largest labor movements in the world, bolstered by the social democrats and the revolutionary German Communist Party (KPD).  In Italy, Mussolini took a different approach and captured the unions entirely, creating large Fascist Trade Unions with over four million members.  These organizations were extensions of the fascist state, losing their ability to fight for workers interests as Mussolini gained power by cruelly crushing socialist and anarchist partisans.  The attack on unionists was, largely, an extension of the fascist attack on the organized left as leaders rightly understood that both sides had the ability to pull heavily from the experiences of the working class.  While Hitler and Mussolini appealed to the bourgeois classes by suppressing worker movements, it was an appeal to the broad masses that gave fascism its power.  The class conflict implicit to capitalism is then suppressed in favor of mediated class collaboration; the fire for change the fuels class struggle then rechanneled into reactionary battles between identities, racial, sexual, and otherwise.  

The unions themselves were, at the time, the largest and most successful results of social movements, a hundred years of struggle to create massive organizations that took on the interests of the oppressed classes.  That strength, rooted in the ability to withhold labor, could bring the country to its knees, and its nature is rooted in the working class unity that necessitates antiracism.  If the unions are weakened, removed as militant vehicles for the desires of working people, then mass movements lose one of their key strategic vessels.

Unions today are often defined by their concessions, what was allowed to them by the state during the 1920s and 1930s.  But a union is more that Collective Bargaining Agreements and grievance procedures.  It is simply an expression of unified class power, the ability of a group of workers to exert power through solidarity.  For workers today (and throughout the history of organized labor), their subjective experiences of class and identity are more than just pay scales, but include everything from racial discrimination by management to the fear of violence they have leaving their houses in the morning.  For non-white workers, that violence continues, both from the state as police murders continue unchallenged, and through vigilantes, from the KKK in earlier generations to the Alt Right terrorizing campuses and city centers today.  Unions can expand their conception of working class struggle to take on issues not only at the bargaining table, but also throughout the world that workers inhabit, something that is only becoming more necessary as those traditional rights are legally eroded.  With a larger financial infrastructure than most left organizations and the growing injection of labor into broad coalitions, they have the tools and membership to be active in directly undermining the radical right surge.  

 

IWW General Defense Committee

For many syndicalists, the IWW has been a centerpiece of this radical experiment for a century, starting as an alternative to the increasingly compromised AFL models of negotiated labor.  The IWW continues to explode at moments of contradiction, organizing that stretches models to the point of redefinition.  The non-contract campaigns of the Burgerville Workers Union, the prison organizing of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and solidarity networks are windows into what is possible when the strictures shackling organized labor are ignored and the basic principles of organizing are opened up to the imagination.

It is no wonder that the IWW then looked to the past to rebuild a project that could extend the reach of the organization into the increasingly caustic world of tenancy, police violence, and insurrectionary racist threats.  The General Defense Committee (GDC) was first started in 1917 as a technically-separate organization from the broader IWW to take on issues like state repression of members around anti-war protests and during later red scares.  Because it was a legally separate entity, it could take some shelter from state attacks on the IWW that seemed imminent.  The GDC was brought back to take on issues that were not strictly workplace derived, and antifascist work has become the brand it is best known by.  The Twin Cities branch chartered a GDC in 2011, yet their antifascist committee started long before that as members had previous experience as founders of Anti-Racist Action in the 1980s and the Torch Network that is known for linking up Antifa organizations.  The GDC has grown to over 200 members with committees being chartered across the country.  

The Twin Cities GDC Local 14 started by confronting a 2012 appearance of David Irving, the notorious WWII historian turned Holocaust Denier, building the praxis that would instruct their later work.  As opposed to the close-knit and highly secretive format that describes most Antifa organizations, the GDC has used a “mass antifascist” approach.  This means focusing on bringing in large coalitions of people, generally being public about their image, and trying to do popular education and engagement.  This still results in the battle over “contested spaces,” music venues, public arenas, and college campuses.  This can also mean in direct engagement, forcing the neo-Nazis out of their speaking event or meeting spaces, but it is done through appeals to huge community contingents.  Mixing a radical analysis, direct action, and broad community involvement are the same principles that have made the Wobblies such a success in workplace organizing, and it those winning methods that they are using to turn entire neighborhoods and social networks into mass antifascist forces.  Since the rise of the Alt Right starting in 2015, the GDC has been present in almost every major action, from shutting down far-right agitator Milo Yiannoupolous in Seattle, De Paul, and the University of Wisconsin, challenging Infowars at the Republican National Convention, and shutting down fascist neofolk artists like Blood + Sun.  

 

Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective

In Portland, a group of trade unionists whose roots in militant antifascism went back thirty years came back to that anti-racist organizing by looking exactly at where they work.  In places like the Carpenters Union, workers were regularly forced to interact coworkers who were openly adorned with neo-Nazi iconography, such as portraits of Hitler in visible tattoos.  For many neo-Nazis who had been involved in skinhead gangs and were felons, building trade unions provided a pathway to a good and stable job that often shielded them from political fallout and did not penalize them for criminal histories.  Organizers from the Carpenters Local 1503, Ironworkers Local 29, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Local 10, and antifascist organizers came together to form the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective (PNWAWC) to confront the influx of the far-right from inside of the labor movement.

One of PNWAWC’s key strategies was to put through antifascist resolutions in union locals whose membership may actually have some allegiances to white supremacist formations.  IUPAT Local 10 and the Carpenters Union Local 1503 passed this resolution, next attempting to build antifascist committees internal to the local.  IUPAT went as far as forming an Anti-Racist Mobilization Committee that will be used to get union members to support antiracist community actions and to reach out to other trade unions to do the same.  

Their work extends to antifascist strategies that are often well known to Antifa and Anti-Racist Action groups, which many of their members started in.  This includes organizing as a coalition with groups like Rose City Antifa to confront far-right assemblies, especially in “contested spaces,” refusing access.  Doxxing, information dissemination, and popular education are all a part of this, as well as committing many of their members to act as community defense and security in situations that could result in fascist intimidation.  After a local public-sector union had been hosting antifascist events from groups like the Portland Assembly and Demand Utopia, threats began coming down on the union hall.  When several alleged far-right agitators showed up, donning masks, the collective coordinated unionists and organizers to surround the building, refusing to allow them on the property.

 

Portland Labor Against Fascists

Many organizers with some relationship to PNWAWC came together to form the Portland Labor Against Fascists coalition to have a labor presence at the growing number of collisions between far-right rallies and the public.  When Patriot Prayer announced its June 4th rally despite the pleas of the city, including the Mayor’s office, multiple groups organized to surround the event.  On one side was a more mild-manner coalition of progressive groups brought together by the International Socialist Organization, while adjacent to the in the park was the united Antifa block.  On the south side of the far-right rally was the labor coalition, organized, in part, by Trotskyist organizations like the Internationalist Group and Class Struggle Workers, and with members from the various building trades as well as Amalgamated Transit Union 757, CWA 7901, and different AFL-CIO affiliates.  

The rhetoric here was simple: destroying the narrative that the Patriot militia and blue-collar white power groups have, that they are acting in the interests of the white working class.  With Ironworkers and IBEW electricians on the megaphones, they were able to speak to worker exploitation, not from “mass immigration” or affirmative action, but from mega-corporations that are crushing wages and collective bargaining.  Since some participants in the Alt Right come from those represented trades, hearing from people in the same professions and workplaces makes a difference. This has been the strategy of non-labor specific organizations like Redneck Revolt, who use the language of gun-rights and government mistrust to speak to the same crowd that the militia movement recruits from.

 

Labor’s Turn

As the cultural wave of reactionary anger turned into a Trump presidency, many in the broad labor movement were forced to speak up out of the crisis of circumstance.  With the heavy focus of Alt Right groups like Identity Europa on campus recruitment, student and faculty groups have found common cause in confronting their threat.  The Duke Graduate Student Union and the University of California Student Workers have come out to endorse student projects like the Campus Anti-Fascist Network, which is using a nationally coordinated approach to long-term mass antifascist movement building.  As Patriot Prayer’s event loomed on the horizon in Berkeley, a large coalition formed for the Bay Area Rally Against Hate that would link up a huge swath of community and labor organizations.  This again drew from unions with an association with education and college campuses, including the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, AFSCME Local 3299 (a UC Berkeley local), SEIU Local 1021, and UAW Local 2865, as well as a contingent of Berkeley student workers.  The Alameda Labor Council and San Francisco Labor Council both signed as endorsers, a success for such a highly partisan affair.  ILWU Local 10 was a leader in the effort to block Patriot Prayer, bringing out retired members who had joined the movement against South African apartheid in the 1980s.   IUPAT Local 10 voted in a resolution and public statement that put their full support behind the ILWU’s decision in the bay, saying that they take from their example “in the struggle for workers’ rights against racism, war, and police repression.”

While many large unions have avoided using the language of antifascism, there has been an impetus for many to rise up on the primary issues of racial victimization in the Trump era.  AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined the Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff in a “categorical rejection” of Islamophobia, and after the comments Trump made after the Charlottesville violence he decisively pulled out of the American Manufacturing Council.  Trumka is far from a radical unionist, but it shows the tone that is shifting inside large labor institutions.  In years past, the rhetoric of “America First” echoed into union halls as jobs were being offshored.  This attempt to stoke a subtle racism while mobilizing workers against de-industrialization lost them the ability to effectively fight the experiences of racism that workers face, and there are signs this decision is being reversed as they continue to lose ground with their attempts at class collaboration.  The movement by many unions, from UNITE HERE Local 2850 to National Union of Healthcare Workers, to become “sanctuary unions” is another turn, acknowledging the horror of ICE deportations that are entering into their member communities.  Local 2850 has been working to add protections for immigrants into contracts as well as going for local and statewide resolutions in support of their immigrant workforce.

The role of large labor organizations is more mixed than militant unions, but with their large memberships and financial infrastructure there are opportunities they can lend to antifascist movements.  This may end up more passive than anything, the allying of resources, buildings, and participation in coalitions, while leaving the more open antifascist work to organizers free from the strictures of non-profit status.  As unions have increasingly diverse membership, they will be pressured to stand up for the issues that fascist ideologues have owned, confronting mass deportations, the victimization of racial and gender minorities, and the increased threat that far-right politics represent to their membership.

The position of unions as a conceptual force is even more central as its mechanisms of class power are some of the most profound in history.  The ability to use solidarity to dethrone the authority in a workplace can be expanded to the community, and the mass base, the ability to strike and worker empowerment can all be pivoted to see not only institutional injustice, but also the insurrectionary violence of white supremacy, as a target.  Fascist politics splits the working class, a fragmentation that spells defeat in even the most class reductionist sense, and there is every reason for union members to be on the front lines.

Originally Published in the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review

What We Can Expect from the Alt Right in 2018

A dramatic shift in American political discourse began in 2015.  This was not the emergence of white nationalism as a revolutionary political force, we have had that since the earliest “wages of whiteness.”  Instead, a new form of racist popularization occurred when the Alt Right, a new branding for pseudo-intellectual American white nationalism, hit a synergy with certain points of the culture like the Trumpist populist phenomenon and the troll culture of 4Chan.  The Alt Right became a buzzword for the media, an elusive movement that was bringing Millenials into “white identity” politics.  After 18 months of coordinating with nativist elements in more standard American conservatism, the Alt Right’s movement culminated in their attempt to stand on their own: Unite the Right in Charlottesville.

Since their confirmation transformed into a horror film, they have been hit hard by the culture and the media infrastructure, leaving their future undecided.  They have seen unprecedented growth, building on the increasing mistrust Americans have with public institutions, but questions arise about whether or not the far-right will be able to capture additional ground in 2018.  Building on what we have seen over the past several years and drawing together what we know of the composition of the Alt Right and the history of insurgent fascist movements in the U.S., there are a few expectations that are clear for the Alt Right in the next year.

 

 

Difficulty Reaching the Public

What allowed the Alt Right to recruit en masse was their access to the culture through democratized web institutions.  Social media and web publishing allowed them to be on the same Web 2.0 channels as major media outlets, which allowed subculture celebrity to drive their talking points.  Hashtags, memes, and trolling created a style of argumentation that allowed them to Trojan Horse ethnic nationalism, all while playing to contemporary social issues and antagonism.

The openness that they have relied on is all but dead at the close of 2017.  What has been termed “mass platform denial,” the banning of Alt Right figures and institutions from major web platforms, has decimated the financial and social infrastructure that Alt Right institutions like the National Policy Institute and The Right Stuff have depended on.  Web hosting and archiving services, podcast hosting, financial transaction services, email design software, social media platforms, and just about every other vessel for commercial speech have been severed to them.  This has forced these organizations into a corner where they are creating subpar services, like Gab or Hatreon, to sustain their stream of outreach and using pay subscription services that limits the reach of their message.  While you used to find their podcasts on iTunes, popular Alt Right accounts like Ricky Vaughn on Twitter, and heavy funding coming through small donations on Patreon and PayPal, they are all but gone from the mainstream Internet.  With the death of Net Neutrality and the further enforcement of Terms of Service on Twitter, they are only going to find it harder to reach out to the undecided, a problem that they share with many sectors of the left as well.

 

 

Campus Wars

It is hard to have an Alt Right public event today.  The National Policy Institute is the largest Alt Right conference in the country, taking place twice a year and often held at the publically-owned Ronald Regan building in Washington D.C.  After recent clashes with antifascist protesters, Richard Spencer was booted from this location and, after being unable to find anyone else to host him, ended up hosting the conference with a fraction of his usual patrons in an unheated barn.  After they figured out who Spencer was, the owners of the facility canceled the conference halfway through and banned them from the premises.

This is the world for the Alt Right now, and the only exception the have found is at public universities.  Spencer has always argued for using public institutions since it is harder for them to suppress speech, and this has meant his special focus on universities.  He has successfully held speeches at places like the University of Florida – Gainesville and Texas A&M, and after a successful lawsuit at Auburn University he is using the courts to force universities that deny him to allow him on campus at great cost to the student body.  Spencer is currently battling with the University of Michigan to get on campus, despite mass campus walkouts and building occupations.

This level of campus focus, as well as with groups like Identity Europa who want to pull from dissident areas of college Republications, antifascist university groups like the Campus Antifascist Network have formed to do ongoing counter-organizing.  This dynamic of clashes, like we saw over the last two years when figures like Spencer or Milo Yiannoupoulos appear, is almost guaranteed to continue.

 

 

Acts of Violence

There is a common dynamic to American white nationalism that is important to identify.  White nationalism is unpopular on its own, so it often has to ally with slightly more moderate areas of conventional conservatism so that can mainstream its message on issues like immigration.  As time goes on, the more moderate contingent of the coalition begins to turn on the radicals, blaming them for left attacks.  This has happened in the past, and today this contingent is labeled the “Alt Light,” the nativist Civic Nationalists like Mike Cernovich, Lauren Southern, and Ann Coulter.  The betrayals hung heavy since the election of Trump, so Unite the Right on August 12th was the Alt Right’s chance to try and stand on its own away from the more centrist counter-parts.  They were defining themselves to the right, including Klansman and neo-Nazis.

When that betrayal takes place, the radicals begin acting in desperation.  Their organizing isn’t working, the general public rejects their message, and the motivating issues become even more bizarre, conspiratorial, and radical their focus in on their echo chamber.  It is that equation that breeds acts of “seemingly random violence,” which is acts of racial terror that could have been predicted because of the stoking of fascist thought leaders.  While the leadership, including people like Richard Spencer, would decry this violence as destructive to their aims, the rhetoric and ideology itself necessitates these acts of violence.  This “Lone wolf” strategy has already begun with attacks by Alt Right figures on the fringes, the most obvious of these being James Alex Fields Jr. attack on protesters that causes multiple injuries and the death of activist Heather Heyer.

Even the infighting among actual white nationalists creates further instability, a factor that is ever present in the white nationalist movement.  Are Jews the prime concern?  What about Muslims?  What do they do with queer members?  All of these create critical problems for having any unity.

There is no reason to believe that these acts of violence are in decline, and as the situation becomes more severe for the Alt Right it will likely lead to more desperate acts of cruelty. Desperation on the far-right is what motivates colossal acts of terrorism, which is both terrifyingly predictable and obvious.

 

 

Fight Back

The concern with predicting failures in the world of the Alt Right is that people will assume their decline and fall is assured.  It is not.  Instead, there is a good chance that they will be able to recover and to reap recruits and power from the ongoing racial tension and the reactionary sectors of the white working class that have been tricked to work against their own interests.  Instead, we need to come back with a massive antifascist movement, one that will continue to put pressure on their public appearances and media platforms, shutting them down before they have the ability to gain power.

Refusing the Fascist Future: An Interview With Shane Burley

Below is an interview with Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It author Shane Burley discussing the Alt Right, anti-fascism, and what a mass movement looks like.

So where did the Alt Right come from?

The Alt Right really comes from a few converging political movements, both inside and outside the U.S.  The real beginnings of this goes back to France in the 1960s when a number of far-right intellectuals laid the groundwork to “rebrand” fascist ideas using the language of the left.  The European New Right, led by figures like Alain de Benoist and Guillume Faye, used the language of the New Left, appropriated the arguments of post-colonialist and national liberation movements, and attempted to engage in a type of “cultural struggle” as proposed by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci.  Their ideas really were to pick up where the German Conservative Revolutionary movement and Radical Traditionalist thinkers like Julius Evola left off and argue for a going after the culture with nationalist values.  If they change the way that Europeans think about the world, and think about themselves, maybe this can allow a radical shift in politics down the line.

They argued that they were “anti-colonialist” and that white European nations had been “colonized” by forced of “globalist” capitalism and modernity.  Their argument was then for “Ethnopluralism,” a sort of “nationalism for all peoples,” that could then fight the destructive elements of modern multiculturalism, internationalism, and capitalism.  This approach avoided racial slurs, violent white nationalist politics, and the baggage of fascist political parties, and really laid a heavy intellectual groundwork for a new generation of fascists who wanted to appear as academics rather than Klansman.

The next is really paleoconservatism, a sort of far-right American conservatism that defined itself in opposition to the hawkish foreign policy of the neoconservatives that were coming into power inside the GOP in the 1980s.  They saw themselves as a part of the “Old Right,” which was likely a fantasy rather than a reality, which was isolationist, traditional, and America First.  The paleocons were aggressively conservative on social issues, especially in reaction to queer rights and the AIDs crisis of the 1980s, and were reactionary on racial issues.  Pat Buchanan was the best known of these figures, though he was moderate by their standards.

The third real key element to the Alt Right is old fashioned white nationalism.  The white supremacist movement in the U.S., rebranded in the 1990s as white nationalism, has a train going back to the early part of the century as it had to define its ideas as the rest of the world was leaving vulgar racialism behind.  Many of the major Alt Right institutions, such as American Renaissance, VDare, and the Council of Conservative Citizens, trace back to years of white nationalism past.  The difference with the Alt Right was really one of tone and class rather than ideas.  There has always been a suit and tie contingent inside American white nationalism, but the Alt Right wanted to scrape the top of that intellectual layer off and crystalize it.  The ideas were not much different, but they wanted to make sure that it would mimic radical movements on the left that have huge depth inside the academy.

The Alt Right, really then the Alternative Right, was a concept created by Richard Spencer with a web zine of the same name in 2010.  He wanted to capture an energy he found while working at the paleoconservative magazine Taki’s Mag that was coalescing around different schools of thought.  The European New Right had largely not had major texts translated into English, but they were starting to make their way over, and that was a huge foundational set of ideas for the Alt Right.  Against modern conservatism, capitalism, Judeo-Christianity, and Americanism, it instead wanted an elitist, traditionalist, and aristocratic right.  It broke with American conservatism, which was still founded in enlightenment values, and was open that it believed race was real, identity was fixed, and human beings were not equal.  Paleoconservatism had been considered the edge of mainstream conservatism for years, so that is where a large amount of the its founding energy came from.  It was white nationalism of America that ended up giving it its focus on race and its aggressive tone, which then allowed it to merge with the troll culture found on places like 4Chan and the Men’s Rights Movement.

From that cauldron it created its own synthesis, a more academic foundation for its racism, an aggressive revolutionary aspect from white nationalism, and the communities and connections from paleoconservatism.

What is the ‘Alt Light’ then?

The Alt Light is the sphere of slightly more moderate right-wing people that surround the Alt Right, giving them cover and helping to mainstream their ideas.

Fascism has always required a bridge to the mainstream.  Even inside the GOP, open white nationalism is not going to bring a ton of converts on its own, it needs to have a stop over point if their ideas will have currency with the beltway.  Political movements have done this in years past, whether it was the Goldwater campaign, pro-Segregationists in the 1960s, or paleoconservatism in the 1980s-90s.

Today, the battle is more cultural than traditionally political, just as the European New Right had always wanted.  The ideas and community were also forged online, so it would make sense if it was online cultural figures ranting on social media rather than fringe politicians.

The most obvious of the Alt Light was Breitbart and, now, Rebel Media.  Milo Yiannoupoulos was the first to really champion the Alt Right’s ideas without committing to open white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-egalitarianism.  Later it would be Gavin Mcinnis and his Proud Boys, Lauren Southern, Alex Jones and the conspiracy and patriot crowd, or anti-immigrant nutjobs like Anne Coulter.  The “free speech” rallies have been this in the physical world, as have many patriot militia types.

The main point is that they are often “civic nationalists” rather than racial ones: they are simply more inclusive in their authoritarian nationalism.  This means, though, that the Alt Right and the Alt Light won’t agree on some of the really big questions like race and eugenics.  In that way, the Alt Light, like any of these more moderate crossover movements, are built to betray their more radical counter-parts.  In the end, Milo refused to really endorse the Alt Right’s racialism, the same with figures like Laura Loomer, and, therefore, they were unable to continue the relationship.  This is a very traditional process as well.  The more moderate folks who were helping to mainstream the white nationalists eventually betray them and leave them behind.  And the alienation that those nationalists feel during this process is often what leads to desperate acts of violence.

Is it this process of marginalization that is leading to acts of Alt Right violence?  Is this violence going to increase?

It is hard to say definitively that the violence of the Alt Right is going to escalate, but the pattern is pretty well established.  Right now it appears as if acts of organized violence from Alt Right and white supremacist groups is increasing, especially in the wake of the “free speech” confrontations with antifascist groups and with the debacle at Charlottesville, and that violence is turning bloody.  At the same time, acts of “seemingly random violence” are increasing, with the murder of Heather Heyer just being a recent example.

This process of white supremacist terrorism, which often plays out as “seemingly random violence,” is often less random than it appears.  In the 1980s, after decades of failure to meettheir objectives, many insurrectionary white supremacists took to the strategies of “lone wolf” terrorism and “leaderless resistance.”  These eschewed more formal revolutionary organizations for random acts of violence that were intended to have a “propaganda of the deed” effect on the white working class.  They believed that these acts would spark “racial consciousness” in white people and create a race war.  In periods when more conventional organizing, both community organizing and political organizing, fail to show white nationalists any results, these attacks increase exponentially.  These are also mixed with the increase of violent street formations, which in years past included KKK and skinhead projects and today look more like the Proud Boys and Vanguard America.

With the massive platform denial that the Alt Right has faced since Charlottesville and the growth of a mass antifascist movement, this is largely where the Alt Right is at.  Desperation, failure, and the inability to meaningfully organize leads to increased acts of violence.  While the Alt Right has been hit very hard in the last few months, it isn’t gone, and its acolytes will likely turn towards violence before they simply disappear.

Antifascist organizing has seen a massive explosion with a whole number of organizations and types of projects out there.  What kind of work should someone do who is just now wanting to get involved?

This really depends on who they are, where they are, and what they want to do.  The honest truth is that we always want novelty in times of crisis, and there is certainly some room for that, but this is also a good opportunity to re-establish and re-enforce the organizations that have been doing this work for years.  Many organizations go back more than a decade and have a great handle on antifascist praxis, from how to handle neo-Nazis taking space to doxxing and reporting detailed information to even drawing together mass coalitions.  The first real step would be to look at those organizations that have a track record in doing the work and see if that is something you can connect with.  This is doubly important given the very real material threat that white nationalists offer to people’s safety.   Not only are they targeting marginalized communities, but they are going after those that dare to stand up to their growth, and they often target individuals and make examples of them.  This means that  it is important to not behave recklessly or go off half cocked, and instead work with organizers who are experienced, know how to do the work, and give it the care and respect it deserves.

The other thing would be to look at what skills and resources you bring to organizing work, and what type of organizing and projects you can fit into your life.  I don’t offer this line as a way of providing an “out” to the actual organizing work, it requires organized coordination in formalized groups that are going to do the not-always-fun organizing work, but it is important to make sure that you are able to continue contributing over time.  It is not uncommon to find activist projects that explode with excitement only to peter out months down the line when those doing much of the work find that it is unsustainable in the way planned.  Instead, find a pace and commitment you can sustain over time because continued involved over longer periods is always going to be most effective.

I would also caution against putting too much faith in large electoral or reformist movements, they often fail to deliver the kind of movement building or direct action necessary for antifascist work.  Instead, it may be good to look at organizations that have a deeper foundation in their analysis, that look at the ways that capitalism and white supremacy feed and necessitate insurrectionary fascist movements.  We are not going to Democrat our way out of the rise of populism and white nationalism, and instead we are going to need to have much deeper solutions.  This will also require looking towards community defense as the Alt Right and neo-Nazis pose a threat of violence.  Plainly put, they are out there murdering people, and if we do not organize to stop them then this will only increase.

When did white nationalism first come on your radar?  This isn’t exactly a new thing.

No, it’s not, it really has been one of the most consistent features of the white supremacist institutions of the U.S.  It is really one of the ways that the system of racial injustice gets its sharp teeth.  In the segregation-era South, it was insurrectionary groups like the Ku Klux Klan that helped reinforce the system through the extralegal violence of lynchings.  Technically not state sanctioned, but encouraged and socially condoned anyway.  White nationalism has also always existed as the sort of violent reclamation of privilege.  In times of crisis, rather than choosing to target the white supremacy that enforces worker subjugation, they scramble after lost privilege and attack people of color.  This violence is a consistent feature of the way white supremacy works in late capitalism, reinforcing itself repeatedly.

I began looking at what was then called the AlternativeRight.com in 2011 when famous Holocaust Denier David Irving was touring through upstate New York, where I was living at the time.  When doing research I ran across a podcast that was covering different far-right figures, and the interviewer had a certain way of speaking that seemed as though it could catch on at some point.  That was Richard Spencer, then editing his webzine AlternativeRight.com and hosting a podcast called Vanguard Radio.  From there he sort of lingered in the background through 2014, seeing increased opposition internationally and even in his then home of Whitefish, Montana.  It wasn’t really until 2015, though, that the huge Internet cadre going under #AltRight came forward, and his movement got energy beyond their quiet conferences and academically-toned articles.

How have antifacists been approaching the rise of the Alt Right?  What has been different or successful in the last couple of years?

Honestly, they have been getting shut down everywhere.

The Alt Right, for years, focused on an academic demeanor.  Their move towards what they call “IRL [In Real Life] activism” is pretty recent.  So one of the main sites of struggle was things like their public conferences, especially from the National Policy Institute and American Renaissance.  Organizations like the One People’s Project has made it a focus to confront those conferences for years before the term Alt Right was commonly known, they even got the American Renaissance conference shut down in 2010 and 2011.  The National Policy Institute conference has also been a site of growing protests, with attendants photographed and doxxed regularly.  This has created such an issue that Richard Spencer, who runs NPI, was unable to even get the same public venue this year as he had for the past several.  Instead they had to cram into an unheated barn whose owners booted them when they realized who they were.

One place that has become an increasing location of conflict is on college campuses.  Groups like Identity Europa have honed on college recruitment, and “crossover” groups, who we often call Alt Light, like Turning Point or many Trumpist College Republican groups, have acted as a trojan horse for Alt Right ideas and members.  So antifascist campus groups have grown heavily, and flashpoints like the appearance of Milo or “free speech” rallies have seen huge battles.  Richard spencer wants to focus on public universities since they are more indebted to support his “free speech,” which means they will use hundreds of thousands of dollars of public subsidies and student tuition funds to pay for security if he appears.  The Alt Right is also about “cultural struggle,” the Gramscian battle to change the culture to make it more palatable for their influence.  All of this means that the college campus if very important and a main focus for them.

This has inspired a massive growth in college campus centered groups that are challenging them.  The Southern Poverty Law Center, known for its lawsuits that have crippled white supremacist organizations and for its detailed reporting on hate groups, has moved in the direction of campus organizing.  Their Columbia University chapter has taken on speeches by Mike Cernovich and the founder of the European Defense League, along with the Liberation Collective.  

The Campus Antifascist Network is another huge example, growing really quickly since its announced formation only in August.  They have been taking on huge challenges, defending professors threatened by fascists, confronting events by Milo and other speakers, basically responding to Alt Right organizing on campus.  

The success of different projects has really been from the willingness to do the hard organizing work, to commit to high quality research and journalism work, and to build connections with a real world presence.  The organizations that are successful are not just avoiding interacting with fascists, they are getting into the middle of things.  Here in Portland, groups like Rose City Antifa, the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective, the Unite Against Hate coalition, the Rural Organizing Project, among others, really have come together to challenge the space occupied by far-right outfits like Patriot Prayer, who have basically protected explicit white nationalist groups.  They challenge them directly, often with thousands of people in tow.  

The increase of the far-right’s “free speech” rallies, which were happening in notably liberal cities simply to get a reaction, saw an increase in this battle over space.  In Boston, directly after Charlottesville, a similar event sponsored by Proud Boys brought out 40,000 people in response.  This did not just go to another area of the city, but came directly to the space that the fascists hoped to hold.  The Alt Right’s event was effectively canceled by this, and then they continued the march, growing the community presence, reaching out to affected communities and people interested in organizing, and creating a strong and vibrant set of alliances.  

Groups like the IWW’s General Defense Committee have used this mass movement antifascist approach, working in plain sight and building a mass movement with the community while refusing to allow white nationalists to have space.  Redneck Revolt has done similar work in more rural areas, trying to connect with the people that would be the recruiting base for “Patriot” militias.  Groups across the gamut, from non-profits like the SPLC, the Rural Organizing Project, and the Montana Human Rights Network, to militant antifascist groups, have all stepped up a presence to create long-term organizing solutions that don’t see each incident as a one-off affair.

It is hard to overstate just how bad the Alt Right is at actual organizing work, they birthed their ideas out of chatter not action, but without an organized opposition they will find a way.

Standing Against Islamophobia: Report Back from San Bernardino Action Against Islamophobic March

By Anonymous

This is a report back from someone on-the-ground in the San Bernardino anti-fascist action against the “March Against Sharia,” an Islamophobic event that happened across the country on June 10th.  Check out our report back from the Lansing, Michigan anti-fascist response as well.

Dealing With the Liberals

During our anti-fascist organizing meetings, people from the liberal group rise up tried to derail us. They disrupted our meetings and tried to get us to stay home saying that they thought we weren’t going to be effective and that we would just play right into the fascists hands. We made it clear that they were not welcome back, but they still tried to sabotage us in other ways.  One of our organizers was the target of a harassment campaign set up by a member of Rise Up. He received dozens of phone calls from members of Rise Up harassing him.

Despite the needless roadblocks presented by liberals, we were still able to organize a force of about 100 people to take the northwest street corner of Waterman and Orange. In Southern California, especially San Bernardino, it is almost impossible to organize any kind of demonstration without the sponsorship of liberals and Democrats. We threw them overboard and actually organized more people than they did at their “counter demo,” which they organized more than a mile away. Given the unfavorable organizing conditions here, triple-digit attendance is a huge win for us.

 

The Fascist Side

We instantly recognized at least 50 of the people in attendance at the “anti-Sharia” rally as Orange County residents. The group that calls themselves the Proud Boys showed up in droves, and are from Orange County (one of our chants was “Proud Boys, Shameful Men!”). We also recognized some Oath Keepers and 3%ers, local violent patriot militia members, although they were not carrying firearms. According to our intelligence gathering, the Oath Keepers and 3%ers were actually driven in from out of state.

This tells us the fash can’t effectively organize without importing other non-local groups, something they have done around the country at these “free speech” rallies. This just goes to show that they have no ties to the community whatsoever.

 

Our United Front

We organized a coalition comprised of a dozen socialist, communist and anarchist groups all local to the Inland Empire. We were supposed to have the support of a lot of Los Angeles based groups, but the majority of them bailed on us at the last minute. Despite the non-locals who did not turn out for us, we still had a big enough crowd to hold that street corner. The fash attacked us on four separate occasions. We were a quarter of their size, so we recognized that any action on our part that could be seen as “violent” would result in us losing the street corner. The reality was, the fash charged us and if we had responded, it would have been self defense.

Our tactic instead was to pack together as densely as possible and lock arms so that we couldn’t be split by the incoming fascists. When the cops saw that we were literally going to turn ourselves into punching bags, they decided to get involved. Every time the fash tried to charge us, we locked arms and the cops blocked their path. We were all expecting the opposite. We thought the cops were going to watch us take a beating. Even though they did the right thing at those moments, the cops still surrounded us with their batons out, acting like they were going to attack us. The cops were a lot rougher on our guys than they were on the fash. If we set one foot on the street the cops were all over us screaming to get back on the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, the fash was doing the exact same thing with very little interference from the cops. At the end of the day, despite being a fraction of the size we were louder, more disciplined and more militant. We weren’t able to shut their rally down, but we held our ground successfully. We frustrated the fash so much that they turned to vandalism to get their anger out. 

 

Final Count

0 fatalities

1 injury on our side

3 arrests on the fash side

-lessons

1. Don’t consider liberal feelings, you don’t need their sponsorship to do anything.

2. Keep going. What we’re doing is absolutely necessary.

3. Be aware of the reality of your situation. Poor choices will result in self-destruction and a clear victory for fash.

A Community United: Reportback and Video from Portland Clash Between the Alt Right and Anti-Fascists

The image across Southwest Madison Street in Downtown Portland, Oregon, was reminiscent of naval warfare, of two opposing camps hurling across a blocked divide.  Inside of the federally-regulated Terry Schrunk Plaza an Alt Right “Free Speech” rally was swelling while the community was descending against it on all sides, amassing its most militant faction in the park directly across the street.  A line of riot police backed by federal officers from the Department of Homeland Security kept the groups apart, at least in principle until individuals decided to bridge the gap to antagonize the other.  Attendees from the “right-wing” side came over to blast protesters, instigating fights that were met immediately by hundreds who had come there to respond to the culture of racist violence that had left the city shuttering over recent weeks.  There was anger, but it made sense for what had transpired and the brazenness of the Alt Right and “patriot” groups who were gloating in their amphitheater.

Free Speech?

The idea of a “Free Speech” event held in a public park with a dais lined with minor far-right celebrities has been a new concept since Lauren Southern led the stage in Berkeley, California on April 15th.  Following the months earlier response to Alt Right provocateur Milo Yiannoupouls at Berkeley and the cancellation of anti-immigrant antagonist Anne Coulter, Southern led commentators from AltRight.com and Kyle Chapman, a man made famous for showing up at a previous Bay Area event to attack anti-fascist protesters.

While their branding is one about open access to speech and their rhetoric is traditional Trumpian fare, their driving element is an opposition to the growing anti-fascist mass movement.  This phenomenon has been labeled “independent Trumpism” by anti-fascist writer Spencer Sunshine, taking the Trumpist cultural space outside of the official bounds of the GOP and creating a tacit coalition of the Alt Right, the militia movement, some areas of evangelicals, hard right rural people, and the anti-PC trolling crowd into a violent opposition to the left.  Labeling all opposition as Antifa, which is a more militant organizational praxis used to confront neo-Nazis and white supremacists directly, they have created unity in their own ranks in opposition to the organized resistance they are seeing in cities around the country.  From open Alt Right white nationalist organizations to patriot militias, their direct repression is not coming from state actors, but instead community organizations across the left spectrum that have seen the threat they present as Trump rose to power.  Now that resistance has given them a targeted enemy to vilify, and these events are designed to draw out that opposition so that they can stage attacks.

In Portland, they knew the opposition would be massive given the palatable community rage about what had recently transpired.  In a racist attack, Jeremy Christian, a local man with white supremacist roots, killed two men and injured one other who were intervening on his treatment of Muslim women on public transportation.  Christian was known to frequent these “Free Speech” events, including the one organized by Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson.  After the attacks, the community banded together, supporting the families of the victims and holding vigils at the attack site, yet an upcoming Alt Right “Free Speech” rally was planned.  While Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tried to get the federal government to intervene and cancel the rally, he failed to do so, and instead hundreds of community organizations, churches, political projects, and labor unions got ready to stand up to their presence.

On the Ground

What resulted is a window into the multiple minds of a left opposition, both in contradiction with each other and congruent in varied approaches.  To the west was a “Stop Hate” rally organized by various socialist parties looking for an alternative to direct engagement with the right, vying for chants, speakers, and banners in a unified block.  In front of the federal building to the east of the “Free Speech” rally was a block of labor activists, headed by building trade union rank-and-file members including the Carpenters Local 1503, Iron Workers Local 29, AFT-Oregon, IUPAT Local 10, and IATSE Local 28.  This solid block of chants was a rhetorical alternative to the “working class” lingo that the patriot militias, particularly the Oath Keepers and III%ers from rural counties of the state, were attempting to capitalize.  To the North, and closest in to the right-wing convergence, was the more militant action, called for by Rose City Antifa and the Pacific Northwest Anti-Fascist Workers Collective, and amassing the largest group of people.  In unison, the three events compressed Terry Schrunk, creating a horseshoe of vocal opposition.  While the “Free Speech” rally pulled in almost three hundred, the anti-fascist collection brought in more than 3,000.

While their rally did not begin until 2:00pm, many were in the park by 10:00am getting set up.  Coordinating with a security detail calling themselves The Guardians, a group of mostly patriot militia members brandishing well-worn insignia patrolled the area, pushing through bushes in an attempt to reveal hiding protesters.  They were then flooded with an influx of participants, including large out-of-state contingents.  This included Proud Boys, part of the Alt Light configuration formed by Vice co-founder Gavin Mcinnis, who are “Western Civilization chauvinist.”  While most were white, and often dressed as skinheads, there were a few Proud Boys of color, all of which who were open about their Eurocentrism, anti-immigrant anger, and pro-market perspective.  The security teams met with the police and then worked in concert with them, including assisting with arrests in one controversial move.  They were even allowed to bring in a crate of riot helmets; all allowed by Department of Homeland Security Agents.  Members of the white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party were there with “Diversity = White Genocide” signs.  Members of the National Socialist Movement moved throughout the crowd, though didn’t identify themselves.  They were only singled out by anti-fascist doxxing previously that revealed their affiliations.  This was not surprising given the large collection of racist signs, such as suggesting Black Lives Matter were violent terrorists.

The event was headlined by “Based Stickman,” Kyle Chapman, and Baked Alaska, the Alt Right YouTube phenomenon who livestreamed on his own face the entire time he was there.  In between baiting the counter-protesters, yelling about “throwing communists from helicopters,” and labeling all of the press as “fake news” or “ISIS,” he acted like a scene celebrity, talking down to those who approached him.  Chapman was more open, giving interviews and asserting that he was a firm “American Nationalist.”  They set the tone for the event, where the purpose was to mock and fight the left.  Dozens came in pads and helmets, often with shields, ready to attack the left.  Kek flags were flown or used as capes, as well as Pepe signs held under MAGA hats.  The goal was less a conscious political event and more of a spectacle, an antagonism to the community that has already suffered so much.

Their tokenism was on full display, where a Samoan member of The Guardians was invited to do a “warrior dance” in the beginning and they included a trans-woman as one of their first speakers.  She proceeded to take the Chinese flag, spit and step on it, and then said that all the mayor cares about is “communists and criminal illegals.”  She was celebrated for her past “special forces” training that she used to attack leftist protesters in Berkeley.

As the crowds swelled, the police mobilized to block interaction, making it next to impossible to move between the crowds.  Those that moved into the streets were identified and tackled, mostly being on the side of the opposition.  Based Spartan, a cartoonish buffoon who dresses like a sword-and-sandal warrior got into fights with their own security, demanding that they stop “suppressing his free speech” by asking him not to stand on the sidewalk.

Eventually the police declared the assembly adjacent to the “Free Speech” rally canceled, saying that illegal activity took place.  This included claims that bricks were taken off of bathroom facilities and thrown at the cops, yet this was unseen in photographs or videos and a reporter from KBOO radio went to the facility and found that no bricks were missing.  The police then fired off rubber bullets and concussion grenades into the crowd, topped off by tear-gas canisters.  After blockades were set up by protesters, they eventually headed into the streets of Portland in a large march.  Police responded by violently kettling protesters and reporters, attacking many and arresting almost twenty.  The Alt Right crowd shrunk, but those that remained taunted the leftists as the police engaged.

The police action did not define the day, the community response did.  What the police’s response indicates, more than anything, is that there is an ongoing antagonism between the police and Portland protesters, and that a culture of violence is permeating between the departments in how they handle dissent.  No matter what the police’s response was, the community was united and has built a base that can further feed anti-fascist organizing.

Letter to the Patriot Militias: The Alt Right Murders Veterans

By Portland Antifascists

The alt-right is closer to power than ever, yet they have never been further from reality. The media portrays them as everywhere at once—from the beleaguered White House to your neighborhood street corner, wheat pasting fascist literature about “European identity.” Yet for all their online presence and in-real-life media attention, their assortment of “Kekistan Flags” and “Pepe” memes expose a dying culture of hatred. Using their memes to maintain an ironic distance from one another, as well as reality, they hope to supplant the modern world with their own jaded vision—one which we are sure you support just as little as we do. We ask that, when you see a Kekistan Flag flying, when you identify the ironic subcultures of Reddit and 4chan that bubble up to the surface of everyday life through the alt-right’s manifestations, that you refuse to look the other way. Oppose them as we do, because they seek your undoing as much as they do yours.

For the newbies who don’t know what the alt-right is, it is a white supremacist movement that came out of different libertarian and far right trends in the 2010s. Its leader, Richard Spencer, advocates violence against political enemies who believe in freedom and equality. The other key alt-right personalities like Mike Enoch, Andrew Anglin, and Matt Heimbach advocate various forms of neo-Nazism.  Their ideas are not new, they have floated up over the years, blaming immigrants for crime, Jews for “subverting Western culture,” and destroying any unity working people have had. Although the alt-right supported the Trump campaign, they have since moved to a more autonomous political position.  While the alt-right hopes to portray themselves just as “not PC” or simple Trump supporters, their rhetoric, friendships, and plans reveal them to be the same white supremacists that have terrorized this country for years.

Because their neo-Nazi ideas remain unpopular in the US, alt-right leaders use the general rejection of their white identity politics as a rallying point to defend their “free speech.” Laden with bitter anti-Semitism, racism, and conspiracy theories, these “free speech” rallies quickly became lightning rods for the revival of neo-Nazism in the US.  Free speech was, itself, a lie, since they have been open about how they would dispose of democracy and the free exchange of ideas if they were to ever take power.  Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to recruit for their ideas, and they could use the banner of free speech to argue for racial separatism without interruption.  The rally in Berkeley held by the alt-right drew a crowd of hundreds with the impetus of attacking left-wing counter-demonstrators, leading to bloody confrontations. Similar rallies in Boston and Portland deliberately antagonized local communities, as outsiders affiliated with Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman and other militant, violent alt-right groups descended on cities looking for a fight.  The communities, in response, turned further against them and their followers.

Such rallies have fostered an atmosphere of hatred against antifascists and Muslims, directly contributing to the double murder on Friday, May 26, of innocent people attempting to defend Muslim teenage girls from hatefully harassment on public transit. The two men were killed for behaving out of heroic bravery. Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche was a peaceful 23 year old who had just graduated from a local college and was trying to get his life started. Rick Best was a 23-year veteran of the US military with a wife and kids—the youngest of whom is a 12 year old daughter.

Disgraceful as ever, supporters of the alt-right descended on the pages of mourning community members to question the attitudes of the culprit, calling him a “Bernie-bro,” a leftist, and a supporter of antifa. From research that we have done, including speaking to former associates in the local metal scene, there is more to the story than that. According to their accounts, before the Trump campaign, Jeremy Christian was a troubled and damaged man but he was not a killer. He did support the Sanders Campaign and spend time reading comic books and going to rock concerts. However, when Sanders lost, his ire against Hillary Clinton developed into support for Donald Trump. Soon, it appears, his anger began to fester and grow into conspiracy theories about Jews and Muslims.

Christian was increasingly obsessed with the same conspiracy theories that the alt-right cultivate in order to expand the gap between reality and fiction.  While many on the alt-right disbelieve conspiracy theories like “Pizzagate,” they continue to promote them to gain followers and manipulate a distrust in the surrounding community and media. When the alt-right began holding “free speech” rallies, Christian’s rhetoric became increasingly violent toward those targeted by the alt-right. Joey Gibson’s local Portland Prayer group, also known as the “Warriors for Freedom,” helped Christian locate a material outlet for his hatred. When he arrived at one of Gibson’s “free speech rallies,” Christian immediately attempted to attack counter-protestors with a baseball bat unprovoked. After police confiscated his bat, Gibson continued to scream at antifascists, even throwing up a Nazi salute and racial slurs, but was welcomed within the rally.

Police had thwarted his desire to engage in physical violence against counter-protestors, and despite finding an outlet for his rage, Christian continued to fume. Amid Gibson’s renewed calls for another “free speech rally”—this time in the heart of Portland—Christian could not control himself. On a well-trafficked light rail MAX line in the relatively docile neighborhood of Hollywood, Christian verbally assaulted Muslim women, one of whom wore a hijab. Three white men stood up for the women, and an enraged Christian stabbed them in the throat, killing two and critically injuring the other. These were not incidental killings due to the kind of indiscriminate collateral damage of a knife fight; they were clear and precise throat strikes with the intention of severing the carotid artery and jugular vein. The surviving victim is alive because, although the knife struck the jugular, it barely nicked the carotid.  He will carry the scars of this attack the rest of his life, a reminder of the time he sacrificed everything to defend someone in need.

Think of the distance between the heroic act of defending a vulnerable teenager from a stranger’s aggressive harassment, on one hand, and the cowardice evidenced by alt-right members on the web following the attacks. Some alt-right members called the murderer “/ourguy/” and others called him “based knifeman.” Harold Covington, the murderous white supremacist who took part in the murder of labor activists by KKK members in the 1970s, claimed Christian as one of his own.  Although Richard Spencer has distanced himself from Christian, his followers have already built up a kind of cult for him as a logical and reasonable representative of their cause—an extension of Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman. And that’s exactly correct.

Jeremy Christian is the alt-right today. He represents the kind of mob violence that happens when you combine the mob violence mobilized by Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman with the lone wolf violence promoted through alt-right forums from 4chan to Andrew Anglin’s Daily Stormer website. The response to such a violent movement that slaughters law abiding citizens for no other reason than acting on the defense of civil rights must be unified opposition.  This has always been how white supremacist groups operate, mobilizing those who feel powerless to feed on their bigoted rage and to enact putrid acts of violence while the leaders stay comfortable in their plush Montana homes.

The “based knifeman” alt-right double murder, it should be noted, came on the one-month anniversary of another alt-right attack—this one carried out on a university campus in Kentucky by a young man brandishing a machete. It came less than a week after a cowardly member of the alt-right stabbed and killed Richard Collins III, a second lieutenant in the US Army, while waiting for an Uber ride at the University of Maryland. It came one week after police discovered the gruesome murder of two people by a member of the alt-right who, like Jeremy Christian, idealized Timothy McVeigh, and was apparently building a dirty bomb.

Jeremy “based knifeman” Christian is not someone outside of the realm of the alt-right. He is, as their community members have claimed, a part of the increased pressure the alt-right has placed on college campuses and left-leaning liberal hubs throughout the US. No self-respecting human being in the US should participate in the atrocious deterioration of humanity manifested by the alt-right and its persistent attacks against the innocent and vulnerable in society. Ask yourself, if you are an Oath Keeper, a militia member, or if you are just a right-wing member of society—would you support the slaughter of innocent civilians at war? If the alt-right is doing that today under the auspices of a self-declared war against a society that wants nothing to do with them, why support them in that effort? Why wrap villainy in the flag and give it that protection, rather than identify the movement for what it is?

The alt-right no more believes in the American flag than it does the Kekistan flag or the memes of Pepe the frog. They are using you to gain ground, and once it came to your turn, they would turn against you as mercilessly as if you were a teenage Muslim girl or those attempting to protect her. In supporting Joey Gibson, “Based Stickman,” and the alt-right’s mobilizations, you are encouraging the murder of innocent people in defiance of your own stated ideals. We can all see where this hypocrisy leads. We ask you humbly to step away from it before it destroys you and us.

In loving memory of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Rick Best.

In solidarity against fascism and the alt-right. 

Click here to donate to the surviving person attacked by Jeremy Christian.

Milo is Coming Back to Berkeley, and He Plans on Occupying It

You might have thought that a full scale uprising and millions in damage, a canceled book contract, being exiled from Breitbart, and losing all political cache he had would be enough to shove Milo Yiannopoulos from view.  You would be wrong.  The power of privilege, of doing what you want even though others do not provide you a platform, has proven too attractive for Milo.  He is now planning to force his way back onto Berkeley, even though his tour was ended there just a couple of months ago.

On a recent Facebook post, Milo announced that he not only was going to return to Berkeley, he was going to stay for at least a week (possibly a month).

In light of recent controversies, I am planning a huge multi-day event called MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK in Berkeley later this year. We will hold talks and rallies and throw massive parties, all in the name of free expression and the First Amendment. All will be welcome, regardless of political affiliation.

Free speech has never been more under threat in America — especially at the supposed home of the free speech movement. I will bring activists, writers, artists, politicians, YouTubers, veterans and drag queens from across the ideological spectrum to lecture, march, and party.

MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK will include events on the UC Berkeley campus. We will stand united against the “progressive” Left. We will loudly reject the venomous hectoring and moral hypocrisy of social justice warriors. Free speech belongs to everyone — not just the spoilt brats of the academy.

During MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK, we will give out a new free speech prize — the Mario Savio Award — to the person we believe has done most to protect free expression at UC Berkeley and its surrounding area. Each day will be dedicated to a different enemy of free speech, including feminism, Black Lives Matter and Islam.

If UC Berkeley does not actively assist us in the planning and execution of this event, we will extend festivities to an entire month. We will establish a tent city on Sproul Plaza protesting the university’s total dereliction of its duty and encourage students at other universities to follow suit.

I intend to return Berkeley to its rightful place as the home of free speech — whether university administrators and violent far-left antifa thugs like it or not.

– MILO
P.S., I will be releasing further details of my grand comeback tour in the coming few weeks, including information about a special CINCO DE MILO event on 5/5

The phrasing of it as “free speech week” is brilliant marketing, but nothing is further from the truth.  Milo was denied a platform at Berkeley because it was an opportunity to recruit for far-right projects like Identity Europa and he was planning on doxxing trans and undocumented students from the podium.  Their events are not about speech, they are about organizing, and the movements to defend against them are not cutting off their speech, they are simply not granting them free rein of their campus.

Milo’s decision comes after Anne Coulter was recently banned from speaking at Berkeley, a decision made after the administration saw what happened when Lauren Southern and her Alt Right cadre decided to hold their anti-immigrant, racialist rally in Berkeley and then proceed to attack students and counter-protesters.

What is great about Milo in this situation is that most of his right wing and Alt Right friends have abandoned him, and his profile is so high in anti-fascist circles that even a brief appearance will get shut down quickly.  That is, of course, only if an organized response happens, which, in Berkeley, is assured.

He is now promoting an event on May 5th, one that we should be watching for in Berkeley.

What Would Have Happened to the Alt Right if Trump Had Lost?

 

The presidential election of 2016 is going to go down as one of the largest political upsets in history.  Even into the evening, most mainstream pollsters and political rags were declaring a decisive Clinton victory, and as the states rolled in red, a sense of desperation hit the streets.  Sure, Clinton was a candidate of the capitalist class, but Trump had awakened the racist id of white America.  No matter what you think of the political caste, he provided a mass mobilization to the Alt Right, who lacked a connection to the mainstream before his campaign.  They had grown by leaps and bounds, but what would have happened to them if Trump had actually lost?

***

A slight tone of mourning would have graced the Ronald Regan building as the suit and tie guests make their way through metal detectors and waves of counter-protesters. But also a feeling of victory. The sold-out conference, which sold out its discounted “Millennial” tickets weeks in advance, knows where its boost has come from. Even if Trump had lost, their numbers had increased more than any of them could have dreamed.

The National Policy Institute’s annual conference took place on November 19th, and was the largest Alt Right meeting of the year. With the steroid injection they have received from crossover figures like Milo Yianouplous and the caustic rhetoric of Trump, it was not surprising it was the biggest in their short history. The National Policy Institute is the benign name for the central institution of the diffuse Alt Right, the latest attempt at rebranding the white nationalist movement. Founded by William Regnery, the inheritor to the Regnery Publishing operation, and Sam Francis, now deceased paleoconservative and racialist author known for his work at the Washington Post, the organization was taken over several years ago by Alternative Right founder Richard Spencer. In the years since, Spencer has made it an “identitarian” think-tank, bringing together the various strains of the Alt Right into a meeting point that can try to take the movement’s ideas forward.

Their conferences have become a “who’s who” of the movement, linking up “shitlords” on Twitter with white racialists who have been in the movement for decades. In years past we have seen people like long-time white nationalist Sam Dickson, VDare founder Peter Brimelow, French New Right philosopher Alain De Benoist, and “male tribalism” advocate Jack Donovan.  In 2016 they rode the wave of celebrity and even included Tila Tequila, the bi-racial reality-television celebrity who has come under fire for her virulent anti-Semitism, anti-black racism, and Holocaust Denial and “flat earth” conspiracy theories. Peter Brimelow was ported over again, as well as Dr. Kevin MacDonald, a former University of California at Long Beach professor whose work on Jews has become the central doctrine for modern anti-Semitism. Millennial Woes, F. Roger Devlin, and the people behind Red Ice Creations, all of which have become Alt Right stars in the world of Internet podcasting and streaming video, joined them. British nationalist politician Matthew Tait spoke about Brexit after his time supporing the UK Independence Party.

In an attempt to make the NPI gatherings more of a social network and fraternal community, they included nationalist neofolk and post-industrial musicians Xurious and Upward Path, as well as evening cocktails and polite banter before the main conference presentations begin the following afternoon.

For the Alt Right as a branded movement, this was the high water mark, and though the Trump victory added an element of celebration, a loss would have had much the same atmosphere.  One of rebellion, race, and revolution.  The cameras from The Atlantic later caught conference goers Seig Heiling as Richard Spencer yelled “Hail Trump, Hail our people, Hail victory!”

 

Breaking Through to the Mainstream

What is undeniable is that a Trump loss in the Presidential election would have cost the Alt Right their bridge to the GOP.  As Spencer has often derided, the GOP is not explicitly in line with their political vision. Instead, the Republican focus on free markets, tax policy, foreign intervention, and other disparate “idea clusters” distracts from what they want, which is an institution dedicated to manifesting white ethnic interests. Beyond all of their guesses, the GOP then turned in their favor as Trump rode a populist-wave into the Republican nomination, and if Hillary had taken the White House that branding would not have stuck.

Instead, a Trump loss would lead the GOP to strip out all remnants of the Trump campaign, including supporters, messaging, and partnerships. For years the GOP has searched to reestablish a soul, one that was lost after the George W. Bush presidency took the country to the nadir of Neoconservative approval. It went through various stages of possible rebranding, such as the Tea Party and hard libertarianism, but all failed to galvanize the base into a real ideological force that they could ride into a new coherent identity. Trump’s civic nationalism represents another branding opportunity, and a loss would have added it to the list of losing identities.

Places like Breitbart would of moved on to the next trendy thing in conservatism, just like they did in the various incarnations it has been through since Andrew Breitbart first dreamed it up at the Huffington Post. This would have pushed the ‘Alt Lite,” the people like Milo Yianoupoulos and Gavin McGinnis who mainstream the Alt Right’s message, further away from the Alt Right’s ideological core, turning on the white nationalists and repudiating their radical base.

Since the base of Trump’s support in rural and midwestern states have yet to prove that they have a grassroots movement building strategy separate from the Trump campaign, it would have been unlikely that there would have been a mainstream “Trump Republican” movement beyond this election. This message can be drawn explicitly from the Bernie Sanders campaign, which has yet to show that it has legs to exist as something tangible past the election and piecemeal victories like influencing the Democratic Party platform.

For the Alt Right and the various strands of white nationalism, this would have effectively become the “black pill,” a tool for them to lose faith in the political system and forces them to look to other options.

 

No Enemies to the Right

Even before the election, the Alt Right began consolidating itself to the right. In a large part this came from the growth of the Alt Lite and the desire that many had in core Alt Right circles to define themselves ideologically. They were not just “anti-PC, “anti-SJW,” against immigration and for Trump, they were white nationalists. This meant creating strong allies within the “1488 crowd,” which means the more explicit neo-Nazi and KKK communities. This is going to help them re-enter the white nationalist subculture as access to mainstream conservatism shrinks over the coming months. This would help to slowly dissolve the cultural identity that made the Alt Right distinct from the larger white nationalist project, one that was forged out of its middle-class character and associations with high paying tech jobs. As they further meld with the larger mass of white nationalism it will further radicalize their constituency, even if people like Richard Spencer and American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor will desperately try to hold on to the moderate intellectual tone they have achieved.

“I do think that their approach, generally speaking, will be to double down and triple down on overt appeals to Ethnonationalism,” says Tim Wise, an anti-racist writer discussing their possibilities if Trump was to lose.

“There will be a threshold that they will find themselves bumping up against because there is still an aversion to their open fascism.”

This exit from the political sphere would force a “reform vs. revolution” discussion inside of the fascist right, one that has happened for years in anticipation. Even as recently as the 2015 American Renaissance conference there was as a staged debate about whether or not the “race problem” can be solved inside the American political system. Peter Brimelow and former National Review writer John Derbyshire sided with the electoral system, while Spencer and Dickson took a more revolutionary position. With their feelings confirmed, Spencer would likely have continued his call for a “meta-political identity” that can eventually take advantage of what many on the Alt Right see as the inevitable “Balkanization” of American states. They want to foment white revolution just as many neo-Nazis have suggested for years, and that notion would have crystalized after the loss. Their proposed “Ethnostate” would then become a revolutionary project; one that will require the overthrow of the U.S. government in some form, even if they believe the American project is doomed even without their revolutionary opposition.

 

U.S. Under Attack

The most dramatic increase in possibly violent tension from the far right would have happened in the form of the militia movement, which already poses itself as a revolutionary faction. Though Trump will only intensify this turn, it has been validated in the recent acquittal of the Bundy family and accomplices in the 2015 occupation and standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Sanctuary outside of Burns, Oregon. The recent verdict in federal court shocked many, especially as arrests and confrontations littered the largely peaceful encampment blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. The armed occupation, which damaged sacred Paiute land and cost the state millions, was the latest stage in a build up coming from Patriot groups fighting for privatizing land rights.

Though the Trump camp would likely have been unable to create a grassroots movement outside the election, it is fertile territory for a well-crafted message from militia groups like the Oath Keepers and the 3%ers. They will be able to speak to the rural angst of many of these groups, intermixing their experiences of financial instability with a reactionary white anger. As rural America sees hits on small farms, the decrease of unionized manufacturing, and the shrinking of local economies, the instability is likely to increase these feelings of isolation. The militias have used this to their advantage and have stoked a racially motivated anger out of that situation in the absence of the left.

Though the Alt Right is an outsider to these movements, they can continue to contribute rhetorically by continuing to ignite fears about immigration, non-white crime, and the perils of a “progressive government.” There may even be a material support that begins to transpire as the wealthier elements of the Alt Right attempt to hedge their bets, but either way it will means an effort to further racialized the Patriot movement and prepare them for nationalist confrontation.

 

A Move Towards Violence

The Alt Right, especially in its leadership, has been clear that they do not want violence. For people like Spencer and Taylor, this would change the public perception of their movement and stop them from achieving the mass groundswell they would need for a radical change in the country. They have an uphill battle since the history of white nationalism is the history of racist violence, and its one they are slowly trying to build an alternative for.

The problem for them is that this dynamic would begin to change with a swiftness as their core constituencies, who are radical white nationalists, saw that their previous efforts were partial failures and they begin to look towards possibilities with more firepower. Their rhetoric turns violent through an image of revolution where confrontation with the government, and eventually other races, is inevitable.

“Some of the people who have been brought into this Alt Right orbit, who are not the intellectuals…are going to turn to a much more reactionary approach,” says Wise.

“I fear that there will be a sort of uptick in blatantly terroristic actions, probably done in lone-wolf fashion, not necessarily organized… I think there will be certain there will be some folks in that movement that say ‘It’s time for war.’”

For years, white nationalism has seen this logic through its notion of “lone wolf” violence. This comes from the “leaderless resistance” model proposed by people like Louis Beam, who saw a failure in electoral politics after his participation in the early campaigns of David Duke. The notion was further proposed by Tom Metzger, the founder of the Nazi skinhead allied White Aryan Resistance who was sued into oblivion by the Southern Poverty Law Center after WAR affiliated skinheads murder an Ethiopian student. Lone wolf action sees spontaneous, disconnected violence and murder as a possibility, with the targeting of Jews, non-whites, and political officials as key action items. While this seems disconnected from the discourse inside the Alt Right, its further consolidation within the larger white nationalist movement and a feeling of political helplessness as conservatism abandons them after Trump’s loss could increase its likelihood. When the rhetoric is of necessity and the method is revolution, unstable individuals who feel like they “must do something” have the potential to slip into acts of seemingly random mass violence.

This turn would be self-reinforcing, as the increasingly violent rhetoric would continue to marginalize the Alt Right, which will continue to push it towards violent tendencies.

 

History Repeats Itself

The pattern of white nationalist failure has been seen over the last several decades as they have had similar periods of crossover. In the 1960s, as the Civil Rights movement began to set fire to the policies of the Jim Crow South, many white nationalists saw a crossover potential in the pro-segregationist movement and organizations like the White Citizen’s Councils. As they began to lose the third-era of the Ku Klux Klan began resorting to terrorist violence, including the bombing of children in churches and the murders of civil rights activists.

Through the 1980s, the failure of white nationalist politics to head into mainstream conservatism led to the creation of the revolutionary group The Order. Using support from militia groups and neo-Nazi havens like the Aryan Nations, they went on a stream of bank robberies and murder until federal agents took them down in fiery episodes of violence.

White nationalism from the Second World War onward has a pattern of attempting to find crossover movements that they can use to mainstream their messages. They are inevitably betrayed by those movements as they moderate, which sends their ideological core to become more radical. This often leads to disorganized actions of mass violence that horrifies their leadership, which were hoping that their ethnic nationalism could finally be taken seriously by the mainstream.

With this pattern in mind, it could be a mistake to dismiss the Alt Right as merely a fringe phenomenon of over-privileged white men using Anime avatars from their basement. The Alt Right has shown its ability to utilize electoral campaigns, but that is the end of its reach since it shares the same identity as the organizations posting on Stormfront, reveling in their long history of violence.

Anti-racist movements will have to tangle with this counter force for years to come, and that is only intensifying in Trump’s America. The advantages that these organizations have today is the years of education and multiracial organizing that have built a base to confront these voices, though undoing their logic of conspiracy theory, scientific racism, and manipulation is going to require an ongoing focus on anti-racist education and community empowerment. As these voices transmute and possibly become more pernicious it will mean a stronger effort in communities to see the threat that white nationalism actually presents for safety and to find solutions that both bring the community together and protect the most vulnerable.

Now that Trump has won, the question remains, what’s next?  As Trump betrays his promises, capitulates to international capital, and is a failure at his primary policy points, it is likely the same direction will happen with the Alt Right.  Some segments are growing, as seen with the recent Lauren Southern event, but others are shrinking as well.  It seems like now that Alt Right is trying to define itself back into its radical image, and the final break with Trump could signal a return to the terrorism that white nationalism is known for.

 

 

 

Alt Right “Free Speech Rally” In Berkeley on April 15th

The veil of “Free Speech” has always been a tool manipulated by the Alt Right, a way of them getting a platform to organize without objection.  If they were ever to take power, that right of Free Speech would be lost for all as they build an authoritarian Ethnostate.

April 15th will be a “Free Speech” rally in Berkeley featuring Lauren Southern as a headliner, the Alt Light provocateur that has been harassing Canadian leftists for years.  Southern was a content creator for Rebel Media and is an Alt Right sympathizers, and anti-fascists threw urine on her when she came out to defend an American Front meeting that was happening.

She will be appearing with a whole line-up of Alt Right figures, including AltRight.com contributor Brittany Pettibone.  Pettibone is known for her “White Genocide” and Pizzagate conspiracy theories, as well as nationalist and traditionalist politics.  She said that these “values that once made Western Civilization great, including but not limited to the glorification of the nuclear family, motherhood, masculinity, femininity, etiquette, traditional gender roles and love of one’s own culture, race and country.”  She now writes under Richard Spencer’s new website, cementing her in the world of white nationalism.

Parody right-wing songwriter The Man Spot will join them, as well as Kyle Chapman, the “based stickman” who has become a hero for the Alt Right as he fought Antifa with a stick and shield.

What this even shows is that Southern is willing to associate with open white nationalists, and create a bridge between her world and that of places like The Right Stuff.

The event is being promoted by Identity Europa, the campus focused Alt Right white nationalist group.  They have had a heavy presence in the Bay Area.  The Asatru Folk Alliance, a white nationalist nordic pagan group will also be in attendance, coordinating with Identity Europa.

What is especially pernicious about this event is that it will bring out more than just the Alt Right, creating the perfect cauldron for recruitment.  This is exactly what groups like Identity Europa and “IRL” groups for The Right Stuff need.  That is why this event should not go off unopposed, and an organized response is necessary.

The event will be held at 2151 MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley CA, 94704.

The event will start at 12:00 PM.

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