Category Archives: Alternative Right

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.

These Are the Colleges Richard Spencer Plans on Visiting Next

Richard Spencer has had his sites on colleges for some time now.  In 2016 he announced what he called the “Danger Zone Tour,” trying to build on his 80s synth-pop aesthetic.  After his speaking event at Texas A&M drew thousands of opponents and a few supporters, and he was able to speak despite mass protests, he thought that this would be a major opportunity for him.  The Alt Right, especially groups like Identity Europa and Vanguard America, had decided to focus on college campuses for recruitment, going after a middle-income white male demographic that was both educated and upwardly mobile(until they are doxxed, that is).

After a series of platform removals and canceled appearances, Spencer and his ilk has found that publicly run facilities were much more friendly to him than private ones.  As white nationalist institutions like American Renaissance(AmRen) had found out, private hotels and venues were especially vulnerable to public pressure, especially when it meant mass community boycotts and pickets.  In 2010 and 2011, AmRen was canceled after the One People’s Project and other anti-fascist organizations created campaigns to have their hotels pulled.  Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist conference, finally rested on Montgomery Bell State Park in Tennessee that was resistant to canceling.  While protests continued, organizers have been since unable to get the management to sever Taylor’s contract.

The same has largely been true for Spencer, who relies on the Ronald Reagan building in Washington D.C. for his National Policy Institute conferences.  Spencer then decided to focus on state funded universities since he believes that they will be more likely to host him.  After his appearance at Auburn University was canceled amid organized pressure, he sued to force his way on campus, essentially proving his point true.

Now he has again won his ability to appear on campus at the University of Florida – Gainesville, even though a coalition of student and community groups created a massive protest that did not allow him free reign to speak as he had wished.

Now Spencer intends on continuing the vision outlined in his “Danger Zone Tour” where he will continue to appear on campuses.  We have collected a list of the intended universities, where students or community members from the areas are trying to bring him there to aid in organizing Alt Right student contingents.

 

Ohio State University

Right now this event has been canceled by the administration after student pressure, yet, as he did at Auburn, he is suing to appear.

University of Cincinnati

As it stands it looks like the Board of Trustees is going to allow Richard Spencer to speak there, saying that the university should be a “marketplace of ideas.”

Penn State University

The university president Eric Barron has officially shut this down citing safety concerns, but a student, Cameron Padgett, has now officially sued the school to allow it.

Michigan State University

This is another state school that has officially declined to allow Spencer onto campus and who he has decided to sue.

 

Spencer’s lawsuits are being done largely by Kyle Bristow, the white nationalist attorney who has spent years in the more vulgar wing of the supremacist movement and who is using far-right money to force campuses to host Spencer.  In many cases, the university itself is left with the bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars of security costs, which come out of the already taxed bank accounts of students.

Each of these schools is a fantastic spot to begin organizing, pressuring the administration to not back down and, if he does come to campus, to shut down the events amid massive organized pressure.  Organizations like No Nazis UF, the Campus Antifascist Network, and various antifa projects are set up to create this model of resistance.

Knowledge is a Weapon: New Books to Fight Fascism

The rise of the Alt Right, the growth of “free speech” hard right confrontations, the increased militia presence, and the Trumpian populist revolution, have all put the idea of fascism sweeping America and Europe on people’s minds.  At the same time, a massive antifascist wave, both of explicit Antifa organizations and broad-based community groups, has skyrocketed, making the clash between the far-right and antifascists an almost daily occurrence.  As a part of that equation, a number of reporters, scholars, and organizers have begun researching and writing about this, trying to get at the heart of what causes the rise of fascist movement and how counter-organizing can be successful.

We have collected some recent titles below with a look at what they cover and our thoughts on how useful they can be.  This is only a small sample of what is out there, and self-consciously Western-centric given the situation, but these are a good starting point for arming yourself with knowledge to make counter-organizing more fruitful.

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Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It

By Shane Burley, AK Press (Will be released on November 21st)

Pre-Order Here

Journalist Shane Burley digs in deep on the Alt Right, American white nationalism, and how the various fascist movement work, how they evolved, and what their future is.  Since he began researching and writing about the Alt Right early on, he provides deep insights into the nature of the far-right and both their weaknesses and strengths.  The second half of the book looks at the myriad of forms of resistance, looking at Antifa organizations, mass-movement antifascism, rural struggles, inter-religious organizing, community defense, college activism, and a whole range of options.  This is a broad look at understanding how fascism works in America, and the different tools that can be employed in effective resistance.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fascism Today by Shane Burley

Fascism Today

by Shane Burley

Giveaway ends December 25, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

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Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook

By Mark Bray, Melville House

Order Here

Historian Mark Bray has put his background in European history to analyze the growth of militant anti-fascism and he chronicles its history back to the interwar growth of European fascism.  He then breaks down the theoretical and tactical lessons, looks at how they have been applied in different countries, and creates a pragmatic guide for how Antifa organizations can effectively confront fascists in the streets.  A guide that is specific to particular types of militant antifascism and is wonderfully written with dense information from antifascists.

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Making Sense of the Alt-Right

By George Hawley, Columbia University Press

Order Here

You might find it odd that we are recommending a book by a Republican political science professor, but Hawley’s work since Right-Wing Critics of American Conservatism has been some of the most insightful on the far-right available.  With Making Sense of the Alt-Right, he again digs in deep on the ideological background the Alt Right, how it evolved, and where it is going.  His work is clear and concise, even though his politics may be the inverse of our own.  His work is something that should continue to be put into use for better understanding of these movements, especially from someone who has deeply researched American conservatism.

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Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump

By David Neiwert, Verso Books

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David, a writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center based in the Pacific Northwest, has been covering the hard right for years.  In this book he chronicles the development of the hard right in the 2000s, focusing heavily on the culture of talk radio, patriot militias, the Tea Party, and Fox News.  Part of his analysis of the fascist right is hit and miss, but there is a good narrative and history of the edges of the GOP.

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Against the Fascist Creep

By Alexander Reid Ross, AK Press

Order Here

Alexander Reid Ross’s book is one of the best contemporary books on the history and ideologies of fascism.  Focusing heavily on the areas that fascism pulls from the radical left, it looks at dissident strains of Third Positionism, and how the rhetoric and methods of the left are often used for fascist ends.  This is a great precursor volume to Fascism Today, and is incredible for connecting the history in the U.S. to that of Europe and Eurasia.

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Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt right

By Angela Nagle

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Nagle’s book received a massive amount of media attention, but the slim volume mainly analyzes the culture of online forums like 4Chan and 8Chan and how white nationalists employed its iconoclastic behavior for fascist politics.  Her own politics are dubious in some places, especially the blame she places on the left and queer activists, but her observations and research about the nature of right-wing web forums has been invaluable.  In reality, this analyzes only a small piece of the puzzle, but is a great look at how the trolling culture evolved to dominate the far-right.

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Fighting Fascism: How to Struggle and How to Win

Edited by Mike Taber, Haymarket Books

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Looking at Clara Zetkin’s presentation to the 1923 International Workingmans Association meeting on fascism, it uses that Marxist analysis to argue for a “united front” approach to fascism.  While some of this orthodox Marxist approach to understanding fascism, especially describing it as the “reactionary wing of finance capital,” is not something we agree with (Fascism Today and Against the Fascist Creep especially take issue with this approach), this is a volume to be excited about as it is a useful piece of the history of antifascism.

Ctrl-Alt-Delete: An Antifascist Report on the Alternative Right

By Matt Lyons, It’s Going Down, Bromma, and Kay Kersblebedeb

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Long-time scholar of the far-right Matt Lyons, known for co-authoring Right Wing Populism in America with Chip Berlet and for blogging at Three-Way Fight, leads this volume with a long essay outlining the details of the Alt Right’s rise and ideology.  His main essay is followed by several others that also analyze the Alt Right, including the incredible anti-fascist website It’s Going Down and the editor of the anti-fascist publisher Kerblebedeb.  A real must-have right now for dealing with the Alt Right specifically.

We are also looking forward to several other books that, while we know little about the titles themselves, we are expecting something great.  Matt Lyons (who provides the forward to Fascism Today) will have a new book on the far-right coming out from Kersblebedeb next year, and Harrison Fluss and Sam Miller from Jacobin will also have a book on the Alt Right.  There is likely to be a slew of other volumes to be released, and we will add to this list as time goes on.  Check out an older list of interesting volumes that all deserve a read as well.

How the Alt Right Was Decimated After Charlottesville

The convergence in Charlottesville was planned weeks in advance, with organizations from the crisp collars of the National Policy Institute to the blackshirts of the National Socialist Movement joining forces.  After their more mainstream counterparts in the Alt Light, the sphere of Trumpist conservatives that overlap with the Alt Right, betrayed them, the Alt Right wanted a chance to stand on their own.  The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12th was their chance to bring together everyone to the right of the Alt Light.  This was finally an event to see how well white nationalists could fair on their own without the allyship of more mainstream conservatives.  Though the Alt Right used the issue of Confederate statue removal as the impetus, the rally was instead a show of strength.

Their “coming out party” turned out to be the moment where they pulled the trigger of collective suicide, letting their own implicit violence become explicit and self-destructive.  In the end there were dozens injured and a protester murdered by an associate of Vanguard America, a participating organization in their demonstration.  In the weeks that followed, the Alt Right began one of the quickest implosions in the history of political movements, as the country, and their own organizing tools, turned on them, ripping at their foundations and leaving them vulnerable to expulsion.

The Shuttening

The Alt Right could not be possible in the earlier era of print publications and physical distribution, it just would not be able to respond to issues quickly and refine talking points through perpetual message revisioning.  The world of the Alt Right is founded on social media and web publishing: blogs, podcasts, and Tweets.  The fact that the Alt Right uses the same web hosting platforms that major media outlets do is how they gain equal cultural access, and their increased profile has still not impeded their access.

That is, of course, until their behavior, and the opposition, hit a point of critical rupture.  In the days after Charlottesville, the Daily Stormer, the ironic-themed neo-Nazi website run by Alt Right blogger Andrew Anglin, was the first to lose their platform.  While most of the Alt Right was, at least publically, sympathizing with the family of the murdered protester Heather Heyer, Anglin refused to take the high road.  Instead, he published an article celebrating her death, calling her a “fat slut” and saying that the real travesty was the damaged Dodge Challenger that took her life.  This rhetoric is standard for Anglin, who labels the Daily Stormer as “pro-Genocide” and gained popularity through his density of racial slurs and commemoration of racist violence.  First, the “hacktivist” group Anonymous took over the website, though he wrestled back control quickly.  The domain name server company Cloudflare decided to pull the Daily Stormer from its platform, citing a violation to the Terms of Service.  “The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind the Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology,” said Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in a statement.

While Anglin was working with other companies to re-establish hosting, GoDaddy, who had been running their domain name, canceled Anglin’s account.  Google Domains and Tucows refused to help, leaving Anglin with few options.  Anglin eventually placed it on a foreign server and to have it only available on the “Darkweb,” meaning it can only be viewed through the controversial Tor browser. The site has re-emerged in various places but is now isolated and marginalized.

The Right Stuff, the popular Alt Right blog that hosts the podcasts The Daily Shoah and Fash the Nation, also got booted from its hosting.  Since then the site has been touch and go, stuttering on and offline, a serious problem since they recently switched to a pay-subscription system.

Squarespace, which is known for their easy-create web platforms and for handling online purchases, followed suit and began severing white nationalist accounts.  Richard Spencer, one of the prime organizers of the Unite the Right rally, had been relying on Squarespace for his websites.  After a 48 hour notice, Squarespace dropped the National Policy Institute (NPI) and Radix Journal websites, two Alt Right centers.  NPI is the largest Alt Right specific conference holder, and without their web presence their outreach will be hobbled.  At the same times as Unite the Right, Red Ice Media, one of the largest Alt Right media projects in the world, was taken down by hackers, opening up subscriber information and permanently deleting content.

AltRight.com

Despite the incredible shunning faced by the Alt Right in the wake of Charlottesville, some of their leaders continue to live in denial. Amid the backlash, cofounder of AltRight.com and editor-in-Chief of Arktos, Jason Reza Jorjani, claimed that his resignation from the alt-right was unrelated to the “great victory at Charlottesville.” With comrades losing jobs, expelled from the internet, and facing legal reprisals, Jorjani released a cryptic statement about reviewing “exotic technology” that a new Iranian political force called the United Front may use in the near future to create a “coming post-Islamic… archeo-futurist Iran.” Recently, Jorjani released a follow-up statement explaining that he left the Alt Right Corporation because his grand geopolitical schemes, which he alleges had high-level backing in the White House including Steve Bannon, went unsupported by Spencer and others. AltRight.com has since been a hub decrying the “censorship” of the left, with Richard Spencer putting out pleas for financial support.  Jorjani has now faced campaigns to have him removed from his lecturer position at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and has tried to say that he was tricking the Alt Right and did not really believe their ideas.  This came after the Hope Not Hate hidden camera video surfaced that showed him talking about migrants being put into concentration camps and venerating Hitler. (They also doxxed the image of Counter-Currents publishing editor Greg Johnson)

Stormfront

Since the mid-1990s, Stormfront has been the center of white nationalism, linking up the insurrectionary groups like KKK formations and neo-Nazi gangs into a web-forum that was a catch-all for extreme racism.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, over the last ten years, Stormfront has been linked to almost 100 acts of white supremacist violence, from bombings to shootings at Jewish community centers.  While Stormfront tends to have a different demographic than the Alt Right, more Blue Collar and Nazi-centric, this was still an organizing center for Unite the Right.

In one of the most pronounced consequences of the events in Charlottesville was that Network Solutions, the hosting company for Stormfront, finally took it offline.  With more than 300,000 members, this was the largest white nationalist forum internationally, this was a major hit to neo-Nazi networking.  Don Black, the founder of Stormfront and former KKK leader, says he is speaking to attorneys to try and get the site back online.  The sudden drop of the hosting came without warning, leaving him with few options to temper the fallout.

Hitting Them in the Wallet

One major tactic for antifascists has been attempting to convince funding sources to scrub white nationalists from their sites. The shocking images of fascists in Charlottesville suddenly brought the rationale for this grueling and often frustrating work into sharp relief. Apple cut off ApplePay for sites that pedal white nationalist merchandise, with CEO Tim Cook insisting, “It’s a moral issue – an affront to America. We must all stand against it.”

GoFundMe cut off a number of white nationalist campaigns. Adding insult to injury, a spokesperson admitted that the campaigns “did not raise any money” anyway. Similarly, Kickstarter re-enforced guidelines against hate speech and PayPal set into place a ban on white nationalists. Further, Discover Financial Corporation terminated merchant agreements with the Alt Right, declaring, “The intolerant and racist views of hate groups are inconsistent with our beliefs and practices.” Some speculate that Discover’s move will put pressure on companies like Visa and MasterCard. This came only a couple of weeks after Patreon pulled the plug on a number of accounts, including Alt Light leader Lauren Southern after she publicly supported the blocking of refugee ships.

Social Media Shutdown

“The events in Charlottesville are yet another disturbing example of the many forms that racism and hatred manifest. Prejudice, however, does not always march in the street.” With these words, Twitter banned a number of far-right accounts last year and earlier this year, including Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, Ricky Vaughan, Pax Dickinson, Richard Spencer, and John Rivers. After Charlottesville, Twitter banned The Daily Stormer.

Twitter then updated their Terms of Service, making it unusable for people associated with hate groups.  If the accounts in question could be tied to organized racist groups, from Alt Right meet-up organizations to activist projects like Identity Europa or Generation Identity in France, they would be shut down.  This led to another mass wave at the end of 2017, clearing out even more accounts.

After the alt-right used the Discord comment service to plan the Charlottesville rally, the company shuttered all alt-right websites. Mail Chimp followed suit by banning AltRight.com and other figures, and SoundCloud dropped a number of alt-right podcasts. Though it is notoriously difficult to prevent the alt-right from creating new sock puppet accounts, the striking of alt-right media platforms shows that companies now connect their speech to the murderous actions of their followers.

Lawsuit

As the family of Heather Heyer was mourning her death, cradled by a nationwide community who joined in revering her sacrifice, two people injured in the attack decided to hold the Alt Right ideologues that had radicalized her killer responsible.  A lawsuit was filed by sisters Micah and Tadrint Washington in the Circuit Court of Charlottesville naming 28 far-right defendants.  This includes former KKK leader David Duke, the Daily Shoah host Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party, and Richard Spencer.

While figures like Peinovich have declared that this lawsuit is totally baseless, there is a history of these types of suits effectively stifling far-right movements.  In 1981, the SPLC took on the United Klans of America after Nineteen-year-old Michael Donald was kidnapped and murdered by UKA members, eventually winning the suit and taking all the assets of the organization.  Similarly, after the 1988 murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw in Portland by members of Eastside White Pride, the SPLC lawsuit identified Tom Metzger and White Aryan Resistance as responsible for radicalizing the gang to violence.  The same model could be used in this case, showing that figures like Peinovich had set up a climate of violence, using revolutionary rhetoric that encouraged James Alex Fields to murder.

While much of the Alt Right treated this as meritless, information continuing to stream into social media shows the case is turning against them.  The anti-fascist media outfit Unicorn Riot has released over 1,000 media images of chat rooms, along with audio recordings, that show the white nationalist contingent openly preparing for violence.  The conversations were hosted on a private server controlled by Jason Kessler and Alt Right activist Eli Mosley, with many participants arguing for placing screws in poles and attacking protesters with shields.  The proposition here is that the organizers prepared the event for terroristic violence, and that’s exactly what happened.

This perception of the Alt Right as the instigators of violence is only exacerbated by the recent video released by a member of the Virginia Civil Liberties union that clearly shows a member of the white nationalist contingent openly shooting at a crowd of black protesters with a handgun.  Police later arrested the man, Richard Wilson Preston, but only after the video was released, and the video itself clearly shows them refusing to intervene on the act of targeted violence.

Alt Right Leaders Fall

No Alt Right figure got more attention out of Charlottesville than Christopher Cantwell, the anarcho-capitalist turned white nationalist who decided to perform in front of Vice New Tonight cameras.  Cantwell runs a blog and podcast, mixing his virulent meritocratic viciousness with a vulgar hatred of non-whites and Jews, as well as a willingness to openly talk about murdering police and opponents.  Shortly after the murders and street fights, Cantwell was told that Charlottesville police were issuing a warrant for his arrest for “illegal use of gases and injury by caustic agent or explosive.”  Cantwell then put out a video where he sobs into the camera, talking about how scared he was and repudiating the violence he loudly celebrated just days before.

In the hours after this, things did not get much better for Cantwell.  The dating website OKCupid, after pressure from anti-fascists, identified and banned his account, and Tindr quickly followed suit.  Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter all did in kind, veritably severing the public persona he has crafted for years.  Between his embarrassing performances and his inability to solicit donations, there is little left for Cantwell to continue his mission of stoking racial revolution.  Cantwell eventually surrendered to the police, and is now being held in Albemarle County Regional Jail awaiting an October 12 court date.

Johnny “Monoxide” Ramondetta, a prime figure at Unite the Right, did not fare much better afterward.  Returning to work in the San Francisco bay area as an IBEW Local 6 electrician at Rosendin Electric, Ramondetta saw that his worksite was covered with flyers identifying him as an active white nationalist and with quotes from his various appearances on The Right Stuff podcasts.  As Ramondetta’s co-workers began to ask him if he was a racist, the foreman pulled him into his office and offered him a “layoff.”  They admitted they had known about his behavior for several weeks and were waiting for it to become public, and passed him a contract that would disallow him to apply for unemployment.  He continues to be a union electrician, however, which means he can be hired onto another union job, a problem that many activists are arguing the union should take a stand on.  At the same time his regular podcast, The Paranormies, was banned on SoundCloud, along with a host of other Alt Right shows.

Nathan Damigo, the founder of Identity Europa, returned to school at California University at Stanislaus in Turlock, California, to find that a campaign to have him removed from campus in effect.  A demonstration took place at the welcoming address of President Ellen Junn intended to usher in freshmen.

The Alt Right’s pan-European attempts to recruit across the pond have also been hit, especially in AltRight.com’s Nordic counterpart.  After this participation in the Unite the Right rally, Christoffer Dulny, the Editor of Nordic.AltRight.com, was notified that his ESTA status was changed to “travel not authorized.”  This means he is “effectively banned from entering the United States,” a fate likewise doled out to AltRight.com and Arktos Media co-founder Daniel Frieberg.

The prime organizer of the Charlottesville rally, Jason Kessler, has disappeared from public view entirely, and his organization, Unity and Security for America, looks to be heading to a lightning end.  The Facebook page, Twitter account, and website have all been taken down; potentially by his own doing after receiving the kind of public backlash he never could have anticipated on the morning of August 12th.  The death threats that Kessler says he received could have been inspired by his own comments, including saying that “[Heather] Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist.”  Richard Spencer, Baked Alaska, and James Allsup publicly disassociated with Kessler after that, yet they have not made public statements about Andrew Anglin or The Right Stuff who made similar comments.

Although founder of the “western chauvinist” Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, identifies with the Alt Light, the participation of numerous leading Proud Boys in Unite the Right left the group with an inescapable stigma. Organizer Jason Kessler is a Proud Boy, as are the Unite the Right featured speakers and leaders of the “Order of Alt Knights,” Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman and Augustus Sol Invictus. Since McInnes has found a large audience as a commentator for The Rebel right-wing media site, his attempts to distance himself from the Charlottesville rally fell flat when fellow Rebel contributor Faith Goldy provided favorable on-the-ground coverage of Unite the Right. After conservatives criticized the site, co-founder Brain Lilley resigned and two other commentators followed suit. McInnes’s anti-Semitism had caused contributing conservatives to flee The Rebel before, but after Charlottesville, McInnes, himself, abandoned the site the same day they fired Goldy. As Norwegian Cruise Lines cancelled an upcoming Rebel cruise, editor-in-chief Ezra Levant admitted that he is being blackmailed by a former contributor over accusations of misusing contributions.

The Rest of the Participants

Even more than the Alt Right’s leadership, the fallout from the Charlottesville events showed the Alt Right’s members that inclusion in the movement can lead to major consequences. With the heavy media coverage of the event, participants were widely photographed.  This lead to a huge influx of identifications as anti-racist activists revealed who they were, leading to a string of firings and personal troubles. Named Alt Righters like Cole White and Ryan Roy lost their jobs. Peter Teft, whose angry remarks about so-called “white genocide” went viral, found himself disowned by his family.

In the small town of Honeoye Falls, New York, Unite the Right participant and alleged associate of the Daily Stormer Jarrod Kuhn faced a campaign against him upon his return.  Eastside Antifascists did a flyering around the village, identifying who he was and what he had done.  “There is a long history of white supremacist violence in the US. People have a right to know who their neighbor is and take steps to protect themselves,” said Peter Berkman, organizer with the group.  “You don’t get to be a weekend Nazi. You don’t get to participate in deadly neo-Nazi riots and then quietly return to your community like nothing happened.”  Kuhn has had his family and friends contacted, and with his new notoriety he is likely unable to remain in his home town. “I’m 21 years old and my life is over in this area,” said Kuhn.

The violence itself was incredibly broad and constant during Charlottesville, with the far-right contingent singling out and attacking protesters.  Six white men were photographed beating a black man named DeAndre Harris in a parking garage during the confrontation, flailing metal poles at him as he crawled on the ground.  Three of those men were charged with assaulting the man, including Richard W. Preston, who has been identified as an Imperial Wizard in the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan out of northern Maryland.

Political Backlash

Despite the ostracizing of Alt Righters throughout the US, Donald Trump’s response to their violent rally has been tepid at best. First blaming “violence from many sides,” Trump came out two days later to denounce the KKK. However, he returned to the podium soon after to again claim that the “Alt Left” shares responsibility for the day’s tragic outcomes. Since then, he has offered impassioned support for the Alt Right’s campaign to keep the Confederate monuments in place, calling the movement to take them down “foolish.” As twice as many US Americans disapprove of Trump’s reaction than approve, key politicians from the GOP like Marco Rubio spoke out against him. Others, such as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana used the opportunity to voice opposition to white supremacy. Given their marginalization, Trump’s apparent support has been celebrated by the Alt Right, which in turn has further alienated Trump from the GOP. As some 10 percent fewer Republicans “strongly support” Trump than did in July, Steve Bannon’s firing signaled attempts to win back moderates and independents while maintaining Alt Right support.

The mass attack on Alt Right’s online platforms has the ability to render them completely invisible.  As Richard Spencer lamented months back when he was first shut down on Twitter along with another Alt Right figures like Ricky Vaughn, if you can’t find them on Amazon, Google, or social media, do they even exist?  They have acknowledged one complicated truth of the modern communication paradigm: a few companies control the access to speech for the vast majority.  This creates an easy channel for activists hoping to limit the ability of far right groups to organize, but this also provides ominous signals for the left as well.  Nonetheless, the Alt Right’s attempts to create counter-platforms for donations and social media are negligible since what has given them success is that regular people use services like Twitter and Patreon, not Gab and Hatreon.

The weekend after Charlottesville, more rightwing organizers converged on Boston for another “free speech” rally in the model begun by Lauren Southern in Berkeley.  The fifty participants were met by a counter-insurgency of an estimated 40,000 protesters, who forced the early cancellation of the right-wing rally and took to the streets against the rise of insurrectionary white supremacy.  Across the country, rallies, vigils, and demonstrations were raging, all in solidarity with the victims of Charlottesville and showing a united front against the rise of the Alt Right.  After Boston’s response, the anti-Muslim group Act for America canceled their upcoming string of 67 rallies planned across 36 states.  Act for America had been responsible for the recent “March Against Sharia” events where Alt Right groups were heavily represented. Another rally staged by Joey Gibson in the Bay Area attracted even fewer far-right demonstrators and thousands of counter-protesters, followed by dual follow-up rallies in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, during which the far-right’s numbers were again miniscule in comparison to counter-protesters. To cap it off, following Gibson’s rally in Vancouver, a far-right activist sped his car through a group of protesters once again showing the inevitable murderous violence of their side.

The cultural tide shifted away from the Alt Right, birthed out of their own hubris, the belief that the Trump-voting public was actually ready for open and unashamed white nationalism.  As John Morgan, the former head of the Alt Right friendly publisher Arktos, said on Counter-Currents Radio, a white nationalist publisher who also got booted from funding platforms after Charlottesville, the Alt Right had spent its short life trying to unseat the specters haunting the public’s image of fascism.  “What [The Alt Right] originally stood for when we all started doing this stuff the better part of a decade ago, it was to overcome what we now call ‘Cuckservatism’… and it was also to overcome things like the legacy of the Klan in America and National Socialism,” points out Morgan.  “And basically Unite the Right has put us back in that mode, where everybody associates us with those things.”

Spencer decided to embrace the hatred most of the country now feels for him by returning to Charlottesville for an impromptu torchlight march, even though the maker of Tiki Torches has denounced him.  After his recent appearance at the University of Florida, where a massive organized resistance mocked him and disallowed his speech, his followers opened fire on protesters.  Disqus, the comment conversation plug-in for website, began dropping Alt Right websites like The Right Stuff as well.

The weeks after Unite the Right has shown anything but unity as people like Jason Kessler mock the victims, causing disassociation by figures like Richard Spencer and James Allsup.  The rest of the country is turning even more thoroughly against them, they are losing their platforms, and their organizations are disintegrating.  This provides opportunities for the left that must use this energy and the reality of the right’s violence to further build a mass movement that will overwhelm the right’s meager abilities. As the Alt Right realizes that it will not be able to plan mass rallies, however, they increasingly endorse “lone wolf” violence as the counterpart to their more attempts at respectability. For this reason, antifascist action remains critical on the grassroots level, not only to respond to larger rallies but to prevent fascist groups from gaining momentum toward violent acts that may leave countless people dead.

Fascism Today Lays Out How Fascism Rose in America, and What We Can Do to Stop It

“Shane Burley’s book includes a wealth of information about today’s far right groups, ideologies, strategies, and subcultures…. It also says a lot about the need for a multi-pronged approach to antifascism, and illustrates this argument with numerous and diverse examples of antifascist activism, past and present. It is the kind of book we need to help us understand—and end—fascism today.” Matthew Lyons, from the foreword

We can no longer ignore the fact that fascism is on the rise in the United States. What was once a fringe movement has been gaining cultural acceptance and political power for years. Rebranding itself as “alt-right” and riding the waves of both Donald Trump’s hate-fueled populism and the anxiety of an abandoned working class, they have created a social force that has the ability to win elections and inspire racist street violence in equal measure.

Fascism Today looks at the changing world of the far right in Donald Trump’s America. Examining the modern fascist movement’s various strains, Shane Burley has written an accessible primer about what its adherents believe, how they organize, and what future they have in the United States. The ascension of Trump has introduced a whole new vocabulary into our political lexicon—white nationalism, race realism, Identitarianism, and a slew of others. Burley breaks it all down. From the tech-savvy trolls of the alt-right to esoteric Aryan mystics, from full-fledged Nazis to well-groomed neofascists like Richard Spencer, he shows how these racists and authoritarians have reinvented themselves in order to recruit new members and grow.

Just as importantly, Fascism Today shows how they can be fought and beaten. It highlights groups that have successfully opposed these twisted forces and outlines the elements needed to build powerful mass movements to confront the institutionalization of fascist ideas, protect marginalized communities, and ultimately stop the fascist threat.


Shane Burley is a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon.  His work has appeared at places like Jacobin, In These Times, Waging Nonviolence, ThinkProgress, Labor Notes, Roar Magazine, Upping the Anti, and Make/Shift.


From the introduction to Fascism Today:

White nationalists have a revolutionary vision, one that opposes the state and dominant white culture as much as it does the left and non-whites. It wants to reimagine this world as one that is exclusively for white interests, where the “strong” rule over the “weak,” where women know their place and gender is firmly enforced. They have reached into the culture and found a firm grasp and are going to use this moment in the sun to grow, to expand their influence, to make themselves a militant threat to the values of democracy and equality. The battle for those on the left, the organized faction interested in great human equality, is now to understand who the Alt Right are and what they want, and they must look past the contradictory phrasings and confusing tactics to do that. The incidents of reactionary violence, the mobilization that figures like Trump and his racial scapegoating has inspired in working-class people, and the mainstreaming of explicit nationalism has made real the threat that was only in the background of many political battles over the last sixty years. Fascism has never been silenced exclusively by its own ineptitude, but instead by the concerted efforts of organizers that risk everything to stop it. Fascism attacks all of our movements: from the labor movement to anti-racist struggle, the growth of the LGBT fight to that over ecological liberation. Fascism makes these battles intersectional since it acts as a orchestrated attack on the core values of all of these movements, making real the idea that all oppression has a common center. Fascism is an attempt to answer the unfinished equation of capitalism and, instead of challenging the inequalities manifested through this economic system, it hardens them. With the election of Donald Trump, this “worst case scenario”, Fascism taking a hold, now seemed possible, which added material impetus for movements on the left to link up and take charge. This changed everything.

Fascism Today is available for excerpt
Shane Burley is available for interview

Contact Colin Beckett, and you can also request an advanced copy: press@akpress.org

Fascism Today can also be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Confront Augustus Invictus’ “White Genocide” Event on September 23rd

Augustus Sol Invictus, the self-named fascist attorney from Florida, has now tried to re-Christen himself as an activist after his Sentatorial bid blew up in flames.  Known for his Thelemic religion, his public goat sacrifice, his hobnobbing with neo-Nazi skinheads, and for shaking things up in the Florida Libertarian Party, Invictus is trying to insert himself as a player in the world of the Alt Right.

Playing on a common white nationalist talking point that “white genocide” is occurring, a claim that has zero factual basis, he has organized a blandly named “Americans Against Genocide” event in Jacksonville, Florida.  The “white genocide” meme is often used as a parable about the role of race in the modern world, where by miscegenation and multicultural society is tantamount to “white genocide” because the “purity” of the white race is compromised by “race mixing.”  It also traces heavily from South Africa, where the idea of “Boer farmer murders” is used to suggest that a genocide against Afrikkaners is taking place in an ANC nation.  They manipulate the numbers of farm murders, which are actually statistically lower than in the rest of the nation, refusing to look at the brutal conditions farm hands are treated with that has led to some acts of violence.

The speakers on the line-up to the event speak to this “white genocide” mythology, which is led off by Robert Engels, Karin Smith, and Vanessa Carlisle, all of which are from either South Africa or the former nation of Rhodesia, all attesting to the white South African perspective of the rally.  The Facebook Event Page has links tot he South African Family Relief Project, an NGO-sounding organization that many say is a front for the white supremacist movements throughout the country.

Vanessa Carlisle has been active posting on the Facebook page for the event, including different quotes suggesting that racism is just a word used to attack white people and was invented by communists.

Events like these cannot be allowed to go on without opposition, especially when they try to exploit liberal sentimentality with falsehoods about genocide.  This is the link to the event page, which people can use to expose the speakers and try to get pulled from Facebook.  The most important response will be to have a concerted antifascist action at the event itself, to confront Augustus and his army of racists.

 

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.

Richard Spencer Gets Banned on SoundCloud

The podcast created the Alt Right.

The conversational nature of the podcasts have allowed them to take the canon of white supremacist philosophy, from the Conservative Revolution to the French New Right to “Race Realism,” and make it easily understood.  Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt Right and the person behind the National Policy Institute and the Radix Journal, was on the front line of this with his original podcast Vanguard Radio.  He had on guests like Jared Taylor and even Pat Buchanan, and starting at AlternativeRight.com he has churned out hundreds of episodes on everything from immigration scandals to film analysis.  He ported his original Vanguard Radio podcast over to the Radix Journal in the form of the Radix Journal Podcast, then merging with other media projects to form AltRight.com.

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His ability to do this, however, has been halted as his hosting, SoundCloud, has finally booted him.  After a “tweetstorm” from Alternet contributor Alex Kotch, SoundCloud responded and took down his podcast library.  This is an important and useful tactic for antifascists as going after their media communication is critical for severing their ability to recruit and organize.  We have gone after many Alt Right podcasts in the past, helping to get podcasts like The Daily Shoah and Fash the Nation removed from SoundCloud.  Spencer has already had his podcast removed from iTunes due to pressure, and so has most of the Alt Right podcasts (Counter Currents Radio archive is still available on iTunes, however.).

As it stands, the Radix Journal is basically a ghost town.  It has been all but formally abandoned, and now with their podcast feed severed there is even less reason for people to visit there.  This is an incredible turn of events as the most popular Alt Right media outlets are being destroyed.  This method of community pressure needs to be continued for other podcasts held by SoundCloud and distrubited by places like Stitcher.  Right now, Kulture Kampf and others are still on SoundCloud, and the Red Ice Radio feed is still available on Stitcher.  The advantage we have is the Terms of Service of these platforms preclude this type of content, so we can easily push them to remove them through mass community comments.

This is how it can work: First, figure out the podcast in question. Then single it out and promote the SoundCloud or other platform’s customer service lines, whether by phone, email, or social media.  Then do mass contact asking it to be taken down, and give examples of the offensive content (which is incredibly easy to find).  This can take them down one at a time, and will easily sever their most popular platforms.

Spencer will likely find some type of hosting that will be free from pressure and where he will continue to be able to keep his podcasts running.  What that lacks, though, is a mass audience social networking component that he gets by using well known services.  This is what has allowed the Alt Right to gain an audience quickly, because they use the same platforms as some of the biggest media names in the U.S.  Once that is gone they will only be able to reach their core audience, and their ability to recruit will be destroyed.

Let’s keep this trend going.