Category Archives: Entryism

EGOMANIA! A Response to My Critics on the Post-Left

 

By Alexander Reid Ross

 

My piece, “The Left-Overs: How Fascists Court the Post-Left,” has been shared on Facebook more than 2,000 times now and numerous interpretations have made the rounds. I feel like I must apologize for the inappropriate uses of “Left-Overs,” which unfortunately came across to some as against the post-left specifically. I would like to use this space to humbly correct what has been written about me and the subject of my article.

Those who are familiar with my work recognize that I outted Michael Schmidt, a fascist in the platformist tendency. During the heated first months of that episode, a number of post-leftists managed to condemn me for perpetuating “call out culture” while using my work to launch sectarian attacks against platformism. Meanwhile platformists attacked me for being a post-left primitivist. Since then, Schmidt has admitted, “my mind was toying with [national-anarchism’s] disastrous, racist arguments” (a taste of the truth, but not the buffet to be sure).[1]

Now, post-leftists who reveled in the controversy of “Schmidtgate” find in my present work “the very definition of a sectarian attack.” Although some of the critical engagement with my work bears the marks of sincere inquiry, much of it comes from rage. The recent 5,500 word piece, “Post-Left vs. ‘Woke’ Left,” by Dr. Bones, takes the reader on an extended tour of the latter. I have done my best to counter his efforts by taking on the former.

Forget that Bones antagonized me personally, admitting in a public apology, “I took something I’m sure has no truth to it whatsoever and threw it in his face not because I believed it but because I wanted to hurt him… This was not a fair or even a civil tactic, this was just stupid, cruel, and mean.” When one is dealing with a milieu with a reputation for troll tactics, reddit politics, and chan behavior, it helps to have a thick skin. Apology accepted.

What truly matters is that, in his vitriolic critique, Bones gets most facts plainly wrong and his essay is chock full of spurious accusations. I am, in fact, not “calling for the abandonment of any ideas [fascists] might steal to be thrown away,” whatever that means (it sounds like it would rid the world of ideas altogether and make us all a bit more like Bones).

Let’s look at my most daring claims and see whether or not they deserve the kind of animosity I have faced over the past week:

 

  • “[I]n imagining that anti-capitalism and ‘individual liberty’ maintain ideological purity, radicals such as my own dear editor tend to ignore critical convergences with and vulnerabilities to fascist ideology.” This claim stands up based on evidence I provided, including the correspondence that I had with my editor, as well as the defensive reaction to the piece. I am also clearly positing “radicals” not “post-leftists” specifically.

 

  • “[T]his situation [of ideological cross-over] has provided ample space for the fascist creep.” I am not marking the post-left as “particularly” vulnerable to entryism, nor am I saying that the post-left is, itself, fascist.

 

  • “[The] presence [of fascists among former Earth Liberation Front members] serves as food for thought regarding important radical cross-over points and how to approach them.” All I am implying here is that cross-over points in ideology and practical work should be recognized as important in the struggle against entryism and the clarification of anarchist ideas.

 

  • “[A]lthough in some cases prescient about the subcultural cross-overs between fascism and the post-left, post-leftists have, on a number of occasions, engaged in collaborative relationships.” I list a number of examples, and there are many more to boot. In recent twitter correspondence, one of my critics insisted, aside from the invective they aimed at me, that they agree with my thesis, but did not like the fact that I provided supporting evidence. As the Latin aphorism goes, “Precepts guide, but examples drags along” (Præcepta ducunt, at exempla trahunt).

 

To clarify, reviewing my central points, I never called the post-left fascist, called any of its leading figures fascist, or even made a claim that it is “particularly” vulnerable to fascist entryism.

 

What is the Point?

 

Perhaps the crux of my article is here: “It stands to reason that defending fascists and collaborating with them are not the same, and they are both separate from having incidental ideological cross-over points. However the cross-over points, when unchecked, frequently indicate a tendency to ignore, defend, or collaborate. Defense and collaboration can, and do, also converge.” I am saying it would be wise to check those cross-over points to ensure they are not putting a group or person in a vulnerable position in relation to the fascist creep. For example, I know plenty of pagans; many fascists are also pagans; it is wise for my pagan friends to avoid pagan groups tending toward fascism, like the Asatru Folk Assembly. With this in mind, it is incumbent on antifascists to expose fascist groups or persons and the cross-over points that they exploit—this should be seen as a service and a duty, not an attack.

Yet Bones takes me to task for putting anarchists on notice that “scary individualists are particularly weak to ‘entryism’ and the fascist creep.” If this were true, I would agree with my critic, “This is patently ridiculous.” I have worked and played with post-leftists for the last ten years, including direct action groups, reading groups, and black blocs, and I have published most of my work on Trump in It’s Going Down and Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, both of which have generously published my articles in zines. My experience shows that I am no sectarian. Before ten years ago (roughly between the years of 1999-2004), my political alignment was basically post-left anarchist and even up to 2009, I was participating in things like a post-left reading group with green anarchist, Dan Todd, at the Dry River Radical Resource Center in Tucson, Arizona, that hosted post-left anarchy luminary, Lawrence Jarach, following his interesting piece, “Why I’m Not an Anti-Primitivist.”[2]

I am ecumenical in observing the cross-overs with the far right among collectivists as well as individualists, or as post-leftist, William Gillis, puts it in his review of my book, Against the Fascist Creep, I am “equal opportunity in [my] work.”[3] I clarify in the third sentence of my offending piece, “Fascism comes from a mixture of left and right-wing positions, and some on the left pursue aspects of collectivism, syndicalism, ecology, and authoritarianism that intersect with fascist enterprises.” The next sentence reads, “Partially in response to the tendencies of left authoritarianism, a distinct antifascist movement emerged in the 1970s to create what has become known as ‘post-left’ thought.”

So when I write about the post-left, I am clearly describing an antifascist tendency that emerged from a rejection of left-wing authoritarianism that shared common traits with fascism. The subtitle of my work is, “How Fascists Court the Post-Left,” not “How the post-left turned into a writhing cesspool of fascist ugliness.” Those who accuse me of authoring an anti-post-left “hit piece” ignore that I call it a “rich milieu” in “Left-Overs.” Oversights happen, but let me note that I have faced criticisms from antifascist post-leftists telling me I should not have pulled as many punches as I did. Suffice it to say that the defensive reactions have been instructive, in no small part, for the facts they get wrong.

 

Does the Post-Left Exist?

 

The principle critique of my work is that I have misunderstood or misconstrued the post-left milieu and the thought of its important intellectual rock stars—particularly Max Stirner. This is quite tricky, because post-leftists often insist that the term, “post-left,” amounts to nothing more than a sticky signifier—a place-holder that brings together a variety of tendencies based on temporary affinities.

Due to this loose system, which developed amid affinities between nihilists, green anarchists, individualists, egoist communists, and insurrectionaries, Bones claims that I am “literally chasing a ghost, a spook, a figment of his imagination. Egoists see no need to join with anybody. Alexander has decided we’re kin to primitivists simply because we don’t want to work in a goddamn factory or uphold the wretched consumer society he clearly sees worth saving.”

This denial of post-leftism as a milieu is not entirely accurate. According to Bob Black’s “Notes on ‘Post-Left Anarchism,’” “Among the people I was thinking of as post-left anarchists were Fredy Perlman, John Zerzan, Dan Todd, Hakim Bey, Max Cafard, Michael William, John Moore, the Fifth Estate writers of the 70’s and 80’s (such as George Bradford/David Watson and Peter Werbe), Wolfi Landstreicher (he had other names back then), the Green Anarchism writers (especially John Connor), and several regular contributors to Anarchy: A Journal of Desire including its editor Jason McQuinn (then known as Lev Chernyi), Lawrence Jarach, and Aragorn.”[4] With the caveat that the post-left exists on its own terms, our readers will hopefully recognize, against dissemblances, that I am not higlty-piglty scrabbling together a discursive field out of little else but hot air and black ink. Bones even insists (repeatedly) on the importance of understanding “why a Post-Left even exists.”[5]

 

A Bit About Stirner

 

Bones accuses me of never having read Stirner or Nietzsche, although I have read virtually all of Stirner and Nietzsche. The sensitivity is incredible, given that I devote only one sentence to Max Stirner in “The Left-Overs,” writing that he held a “belief in the supremacy of the European individual over and against nation, class, and creed.” For this, I have been subjected to some of the most intense invective I have ever experienced in my life. Bones calls me a “fucking asshole” in his piece and a leftist “class struggle” meme page attacks me as a liberal antifa cuck, deploying the racist vocabulary of the alt-right to denounce antifascism as if they were not proving my point.

Bones does not deny the Eurocentrism of Stirner’s insistence on a “really Caucasian” age following the purging of “innate Negroidity” and “Mongloidity.”[6] Yet he refuses to acknowledge the tacit racism, despite the fact that Stirner’s editor and translator, David Leopold, wrote in his introduction to Cambridge University Press’s 1995 edition of The Ego and Its Own, “Individual and historical development are the two primary forms of the Stirnerian dialectic, but in order to clarify its form he inserts ‘episodically’ a racial (and racist) analogue of the historical account.”[7] Those calling my interpretation of Stirner “dishonest,” “disingenuous,” and “dirty” must hurl the same invective at Dr. Leopold, an Oxford University fellow and professor entrusted with the leading edition of Stirner’s main text (available through Libcom).

Can we chalk this up to blind ignorance, friends? Stirner’s historical account runs parallel to the then-popular Aryan myth, wherein the passage of humans from Africa to Asia to Europe signifies a cultural-linguistic process of evolution. Bones posits Stirner’s rejection of nationalism as a defense against the charge that he was racist. Yet recall now that I mentioned that Stirner held a “belief in the supremacy of the European individual over and against nation, class, and creed.” Race and nation are different subjects, and looking at the complex history of ideological cross-overs, we can see fascinating outcroppings of the work of Stirner and Nietzsche that reject modern nationalism while reinforcing racist imperialism. The inability to detect this exposes a crucial vulnerability to racist anti-statism, which we will come to shortly.

 

Stirnerists and the Foundations of Fascism

 

In the 1860s, Stirner would become a topic for historians and philosophers of the mind, from Friedrich Lange’s History of Materialism to Hartmann’s Philosophy of the Unconscious. There is little doubt that perhaps the most influential thinker of nihilism, Friedrich Nietzsche, was familiar with Stirner, familiar as he was with those two influential texts. He lent his student, Adolf Baumgartner, a copy of Ego and Its Own in 1874.[8] Less than ten years later, shortly before publication of his most essential work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche confessed to his friend Ida Overbeck the deep influence of Stirner on his thinking before worrying, “they will be talking of plagiarism.”[9]

Like Stirner, Nietzsche asserted the philosophical importance of iconoclasm—of destroying dominant paradigms that contain the individual. Nietzsche looked at the spirit of his day—the decadence of urban expansion, mundane philosophy, the herds of nationalism and flocks of the Church—as a form of passive nihilism. To overcome it, he predicted a new Superman would come about to annihilate the falsity of everyday life through an “active nihilism” perhaps evocative of an “eternal return” of human freedom.[10]

Anarchist writer George Woodcock notes, “Nietzsche himself regarded Stirner as one of the unrecognized seminal minds of the nineteenth century.”[11] By the end of the 20th Century, Nietzsche and Stirner formed fundamental pillars of radical thought. Writer and editor, Benjamin Tucker, discussed the significance of Stirner to anarchism, while Emma Goldman popularized Nietzsche.[12]

Aside from these influences, Stirner and Nietzsche also had a tremendous effect on Dora Marsden, a feminist leader who held the Aryan female genius responsible for breeding humanity into the New Order.[13] Aside from being a Stirnerist, Marsden was also influenced by the anti-Semitic and misogynistic individualist, Otto Weininger, who counted Stirner, with Ibsen and Nietzsche, as the only scholars to ever understand true ethics and individualism.[14] Though she was an egoist and an important member of the women’s movement, her agreement with Weininger led her to essentialize the sex binary in her writings. Weininger would also influence the Nazi regime and Evola openly admired him.[15]

As Stirner’s work gained traction, it also garnered increasing attention from the right. In his 1908 text, Gospels of Anarchy, and Other Contemporary Studies, Vernon Lee observed a similarity between Stirner’s “psychology” and that of anti-Semitic reactionary, Maurice Barrès.[16] This similarity was not an anomaly—Barrès was aware of the Young Hegelians and Stirner through the works of Saint-René Tallandier, and Stirner’s influence could be found in the first two volumes of Barrès’s Cult of Myself as well as Enemy of the Law.[17] By the 1920s, James Huneker’s book, Egoists: A Book of Supermen, could place Stirner and Nietzsche alongside Barrès within the same individualist milieu without controversy.[18]

Significantly, Barrès and his reactionary ally, Charles Maurras, would forward the earliest prefigurations of fascism. In his journal, La Cocarde, Barrès sought to reach out to “the proletariat of bacheliers, to those youths whom society has given a diploma and nothing else.”[19] To achieve such a goal, Barrès included the left-wing voices of Eugéne Fournière and Fernand Pelloutier, along with nationalist compatriots. In the spirit of La Cocarde, Maurras joined with the former anarcho-syndicalist, Georges Valois, to launch the Cercle Proudhon with Eduard Berth, a close associate of the famous syndicalist, Georges Sorel. Despite Maurras’s importance, Valois would later claim Barrès as the progenitor of original fascism.[20]

Here in its germ, at the merger of individualism and collectivism, nationalism and socialism, fascism could be found. Following the developments of the day, Benito Mussolini called Sorel the “notre Maître (Master)” and encouraged his followers to return to Stirner.[21] In Germany, conservative revolutionary, Ernst Jünger, conjured up the figure of the “magic zero,” exhorting readers to annihilate the modern world and produce the New Age of the “Anarch”—who “embodies the viewpoint of Stirner… that is, the anarch is unique.”[22]

It was the desire for the New Man and the New Age that created the conditions for fascist palingenesis (the ideology of rebirth). This movement was facilitated by avant-gardists like Filippo Marinetti, who praised the “destructive gesture of the anarchist,” and Gabriel D’Annunzio, who theorized an aesthetic, poetic and spiritual unity of the nation.[23] Hence, there is no doubting the influence of Stirner in the seedbed of fascism—from Barrès, Mussolini, and Jünger to Marinetti, D’Annunzio, and Weininger. But wait! There’s more!

 

The Problem with Bataille

 

Another critical mistake my critics have made is denying that avant-gardist, Georges Bataille, was influenced by Stirner. This fact is supported by among the most basic works on Bataille.[24] Not only was Bataille influenced by Stirner, but his reading of Stirner came during the crucial window between his denunciation by the Surrealists in 1930 and his publishing of “The Psychological Structure of Fascism” three years later, in which he calls fascism, “the constitution of a total heterogenous power whose manifest origin is to be found in the prevailing effervescence… the emanation of a principle which is none other than that of the glorious existence of a nation raised to the value of a divine force (which, superseding every other conceivable consideration, demands not only passion but ecstasy from its participants).”[25] Since “fascism is an imperative response to the growing threat of the working class movement,” for Bataille, those who believe in the “liberating subversion of society” must recreate the process through which human lives would be emancipated.[26]

The problem with Bataille is that this recreation looked a lot like fascism. In 1934, a year after writing “The Psychological Structure of Fascism,” Bataille attended the “Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution” in Rome. In response to what he saw as the inevitable rise of fascism, in a letter to his friend Pierre Kaan, he declared, “I have no doubt about the level on which we will have to place ourselves: it can only be that of fascism itself, which is to say the mythological level. It is therefore a question of posing values participating in a living nihilism, equal to the fascist imperatives.”[27] In the words of scholar Rainer Friedrich, “Doubtlessly, at that point, Bataille’s discourse displayed a strong affinity to fascism.”[28] As did members of his coterie.

A member of Bataille’s 1935-1936 group, Counter-Attack, wrote, “We prefer, in any case, and without being duped, the anti-diplomatic brutality of Hitler, which is surely less fatal to peace than the drooling excitation of diplomats and politicians.”[29] A few months later, Surrealists who had participated in Counter-Attack released a statement attacking the “so-called group, within which had emerged some tendencies called ‘superfascist’ whose purely fascist character has become more and more evident.”[30] Identifying Bataille’s outlook as “surfascisme” and calling him “more fascist than the fascists” was not necessarily inaccurate.[31] In the translator’s introduction to Bataille’s own book, On Nietzsche, Stuart Kendall notes, “There was more than a little truth to the accusation, and intentionally so.”[32]

It is interesting that Bataille deploys the nihilist meta-narrative, which in a lot of fascist ideology functions as a part of the palingenetic core of rebirth. Although fascists often reject nihilism, individualism, and egoism, those denunciations come in connection to multiculturalism, liberalism, and democracy. On a deeper level, fascists like Jünger and Martin Hiedegger celebrated the dialectic of passive and active nihilism found in Nietzsche.[33] For Julius Evola, Stirner epitomized the first stage of a two-step process of emptying modern civilization of meaning—his form of “passive nihilism” is carried forward by philosopher Friedrich Nietszche into a New Age of spiritual realization by the New Man through “active nihilism.”[34]

It is crucial to recognize that Stirner’s rejection of modern nationalism is supported in fascism. Evola also championed the spiritual superiority of the “Aryan race” vis-à-vis “culture” and against modern civilization, which he identified with petty nationalism. Mussolini’s squadristi attacked nationalists as well as leftists.[35] Mussolini’s party saw palingenetic ultranationalism as the only way, a kind of organic rebirth of Ancient Rome in the height of Imperial grandeur under Scipio Africanus.[36] Fascism is Imperial rather than national, so Stirner’s call for a “truly Caucasian” age had its resonances on the right and left.

 

Individualism and Nihilism in Post-War Fascism

 

Stirner could not (and cannot) easily be shelved as left or right; his influence was perhaps more liminal and affective than direct and intellectual. As anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker lamented, “While the atomization of the individual is the constant, while humongous buildings populate the cities, while avenues are designed for machines, while collective transportation is designed for cattle and not human beings, anti-social/anti-communitarian actions will certainly remain present, expressed with the bitter angst shown throughout Stirner’s work.”[37] As much as his prejudices can be considered a symptom of his time, Rocker viewed Stirner’s reception by nihilists and individualists as similarly conditioned by the environment.

After the War, Stirner’s work was preserved in perhaps the definitive text on US individualism, James J. Martin, Men Against the State: The Expositors of Individualist Anarchism in America, 1827–1908. Published in 1953, Martin’s text noted Stirner’s influence in upholding the individual over and against the notion of natural rights in anything other than their voluntary manifestation.[38] Going on to publish anti-interventionist texts, Martin fell into the circle of a young Murray Rothbard, whose own writings on “anarcho-capitalism” in his journal Left & Right attempted to draw anti-war radicals toward free market ideals.[39]

Rothbard and Martin connected on their appreciation for Holocaust denier, Harry Elmer Barnes, who called Martin’s work “the most formidable achievement of World War II Revisionism.” Following Barnes’s death in 1968 (and a glowing obituary in the final issue of Left & Right), Martin founded his own publishing house and published texts on anarchy, Holocaust denial, and anti-interventionism.[40] Martin’s individualism and Rothbard’s incipient neoliberalism formed no small part of the seedbed from which the most right-wing faction of the libertarian movement sprang into being.

On a speculative note, Stirner’s influence might make sense here due to his translation of Jean-Baptiste Say’s free market works into German.[41] For this same reason, echoes of his thought are often seen in Ayn Rand’s ruthless “objectivism” by scholars and observers. Yet Stirner cannot be placed exclusively among neoliberalism, as his legacy continues to inform nihilists, individualists, insurrectionary anarchists, and ultra-leftists who believe in communization. Perhaps due to this mixture, the philosophies of individualism and nihilism continued to find even broader audiences in the cross-over between left and right ideas in the 1970s.

Perhaps the most functionally fascist of these influences came as Evola’s work was received by a new generation of fascists who made a concerted effort to infiltrate the left and restore the foundation of fascism. This work of the “European New Right” included the Evolian rejection of nationalism in favor of local cultures composing a larger, federated “spiritual empire.” European New Right leader, Alain de Benoist, returns to the process of “positive nihilism” whereby Europeans will “build on a site which has been completely cleared and leveled…. If a new right is to be brought into being we have to start from scratch.”[42] While Benoist and his project generally denounce “abstract” individualism, their “communitarian” project arguably tends toward the spiritual reclamation of the Evolian “universal individual” through its tacit elitism.[43]

Much of this was stated relatively plainly in “The Left-Overs,” which has been maligned by one respected anarchist as “that insane article.” The negative reaction is largely a mixture of defensiveness and inability to understand the central, palingenetic core of fascism, but again the willingness to jump to hostility and invective is extremely telling of the blindspot. If I am insane, I am like Diogenes the Cynic holding a lamp in the daylight in the search for an honest man, taking the winding path of history past those influenced by Stirnerist individualism and nihilism who set the foundation for and participated in fascism, such as Weininger, Marinetti, Barrès, D’Annunzio, Mussolini, Schmitt, Jünger, and Martin (i.e., some of the most important fascists in history).

 

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

 

Looking up Stirner in the fascist blogosphere today, one finds the most important cross-overs. In the Counter-Currents article, “We Are All Egoists—and Why That’s a Good Thing,” by former anarchist “race realist,” Aedon Cassiel, Stirner’s egoism avoids the “immature, anti-social, or sociopathic” approach, moving instead toward a synthesis of individualism and collectivism that provides for “a flourishing social commons.” This, of course, is not to say that a reading of The Ego and Its Own that permits such a synthetic social relationship of individuals is automatically fascist, but rather that it has significant weight across the spectrum.

In another article from Counter-Currents, Stirner is referred to approvingly at the beginning of the tradition of Nietzsche and D’Annunzio as developing the “consumate individualist”—“in the space beyond Left and Right, as well as beyond good and evil—with the aristocratic radical on the common ground of Life.” It is significant that the first citation used by the author of this piece refers to the exuberant chapter dedicated to D’Annunzio in Temporary Autonomous Zone, a seminal text in the post-left milieu by spiritualist, Hakim Bey (i.e., the text that praises proto-fascist right-left cross-over is then used by a fascist to talk about a “space beyond Left and Right”).[44]

Stirner’s mercurial attitude and iconoclastic attack on all structures of everyday life quickly elevated him to star-status in the online forums of the post-left during the 2000s, as his cyber-influence extended to the internet subcultures of trans-humanism. Stirner became a reference point for neoreactionaries who joined other interested individualists in message boards like 4chan’s /lit/ section. As meme wars grew, Stirner memes emerged from chan boards and neoreactionary websites, along with post-left anarchist forums, green anarchist platforms, nihilist groups, and occult circles.

In some cases, this cross-section produces meme wars of antifascists against fascists and/or anarcho-capitalists against anti-capitalist egoists and/or green anarchists against trans-humanists, and so on. In other cases, there are convergences between otherwise different factions. For instance, in retaliation for “Left-Overs,” the admins of Anarchist News posted a hoax article purportedly authored by me but compiled from plagiarized copy-and-pastes of different articles of mine to create rambling nonsense—of course, a fascist posted in the comments. Why not? Am I damned for expecting something more from a site that “repeatedly published ‘national anarchists’ despite widespread condemnation,” according to Gillis?[45]

With the development of the alt-right, newer syntheses of Stirnerism became possible. Stirner soon became a topic of interest, a conversation piece between Stirner-influenced nationalist Jonathan Bowden and alt-right founder, Richard Spencer. Alt-right accounts like “Darth Stirner” emerged, encouraging young radicals to abandon “rose-colored glasses” and open their eyes to the need for interning the enemies of the white race.[46]

 

Final Thoughts

 

Despite their recurrence in fascist ideology, I would not leap to the conclusion that nihilist or individualist thought are essentially fascist. Was Marsden proto-fascist? Was Stirner proto-fascist? These may seem like interesting questions, but they’re rather superficial. Rather than casting blame against one or another individual, I prefer to think of proto-fascist conditions. Perhaps this is not individualist of me, but it is by no means an attempt to brand the post-left as a fascist milieu. Rather, my article was an attempt to illustrate the conditions that brought and bring about fascism. Recall, I have never claimed that individualism and nihilism were the sole or even the principle influences for fascism, nor that the post-left is “particularly” susceptible to cross-over as opposed to the authoritarian or even anti-authoritarian left.

Now, instead of reflecting on the true, stated intension of my articles, my detractors have jumbled together innumerable conjectures that continue to miss the mark. To attack me for pointing out vulnerabilities to fascist entryism in relation to ideological cross-over points and switch the conversation to utterly false denial of the racist tendencies of white, Eurocentric philosophers is to fall into ignorance. It suggests that one is less concerned with the presence of racism than the accusation (and who is making it). And it indicates a deeply disconcerting pattern of “defending the bros” as opposed to careful consideration of the facts.

In a world where fascists attempt to enter radical milieus and draw people to the right, it is imperative to understand their methods. I have provided (or attempted to provide) a historiographic roadmap through which we can contemplate the cross-over points that act as entryways for the right into the post-left and exit paths from the post-left toward fascism. We must understand these aspects of fascism and its relation to radical politics if we are to defeat it. If we do not respect and uphold the value of truth, we are no better anyway.

Volentem ducunt fata, nolentem trahunt (Fate guides the willing, and drags the unwilling).[47]

 

 ***

Alexander Reid Ross is a journalist and lecturer at Portland State University. He has been published in Truth-Out, ROAR Magazine, and Upping the Anti, and is the author of Against the Fascist Creep (AK Press, 2017).

***

 

[1] Michael Schmidt, Letter to the Council of the Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH), Mary 7, 2017. The council refused his resignation and instead terminated his position.

[2] Jarach may recall that he took me to school over the correct dates of the Paris Commune.

[3] William Gillis, “Against the Pull of Simplicity and Disconnect,” Center for a Stateless Society, April 2, 2017, https://c4ss.org/content/48385.

[4] Bob Black, “Notes on ‘Post-Left Anarchism,’” Anarchist Library, 2015, https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/bob-black-notes-on-post-left-anarchism.

[5] He also, somewhat awkwardly, makes the claim that the post-left is more amenable to resistance movements around the world and particularly in Latin America than “HIS [my] anarchy”—an interesting perspective given the abundance of organizationalist anarchism in Latin America, and the fact that my first book, Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab, is dedicated to assessing non-sectarian, popular resistance movements on their own terms. Ed., Alexander Reid Ross, Grabbing Back: Against the Global Land Grab (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2014).

[6] Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, trans: David Leopold (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 62-63.

[7] Ibid, xvii.

[8] Albert Lévy, Stirner et Nietzsche, trans. Mitch Abidor (Paris: Societé Nouvelle de Librairie et d’Édition, 1904), https://www.marxists.org/subject/anarchism/levy/stirner-nietzsche.htm.

[9] See Rüdiger Safranski, Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, trans. Shelly Frisch (New York City: WW Norton & Co, 2003), 127.

[10] Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche: Writings from the Late Notebooks, trans. Kate Sturge, ed. Rüdiger Bittner (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 120-121.

[11] George Woodcock, Anarchism : A History Of Libertarian Ideas And Movements (New York City: Meridian Books, 1962), 94, http://rebels-library.org/files/woodcock_anarchism.pdf.

[12] Benjamin R. Tucker, Instead of a Book, By a Man too Busy to Write One (New York City: Benjamin R. Tucker, 1897), https://archive.org/stream/cu31924030333052/cu31924030333052_djvu.txt; Andrew Cornell, Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2016), 39.

[13] Lucy Delap, The Feminist Avant-Garde: Trans-Atlantic Encounters of the Early Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2007), 277.

[14] Otto Weininger, Sex and Character, trans. (London: William Heinemann, 1906), 96, http://www.theabsolute.net/ottow/schareng.pdf.

[15] Racist and anti-Semitic aspects of the women’s movement were ported through the post-war period by Nazi mystic, Savitri Devi, who asserted a kind of green philosophy not unlike today’s Deep Ecology. One can still detect today inflections of a reductionist women’s movement in the “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”, who aside from engaging in some cross-overs with far-right hate groups also infect tendencies within the radical green movement (specifically the group Deep Green Resistance). See Michelle Renée Matisons and Alexander Reid Ross, “Against Deep Green Resistance,” no. 28 (Oakland, CA: Institute for Anarchist Studies/AK Press, 2014), https://anarchiststudies.org/2015/08/09/against-deep-green-resistance-by-michelle-renee-matisons-and-alexander-reid-ross/.

[16] Vernon Lee, Gospels of Anarchy, and Other Contemporary Studies (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1908), 31.

[17] Ida-Marie Frandon, Barrès: Precurseur (Paris: Éditions Fernand Lanore, 1983), 17-21, 50-57, 70-73.

[18] James Huneker, Egoists, a Book of Supermen: Stendahl, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Anatole France, Huysmans, Barrès, Nietzsche, Blake, Ibsen, Stirnern, and Ernest Hello (New York City: Scribners, 1921).

[19] Maurice Barrès, quoted in Judith Surkis, Sexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870–1920 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006), 98.

[20] Zeev Sternhell, Neither Right Nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France, trans. David Maisel (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1986), 107.

[21] Mussolini, Opera Omnia, 35 vols. (Florence, Italy: La Fenice, 1951–1963), 15:194; A. James Gregor, The Ideology of Fascism: The Rationale of Totalitarianism (New York: Free Press, 1969), 156; Stephen B. Whitaker, The Anarchist-Individualist Origins of Italian Fascism (Bern: Peter Lang 2002), 86. I note in my book that “One should resist the temptation to make too much of Fascism’s syndicalist or individualist tendencies.” See Alexander Reid Ross, Against the Fascist Creep (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2017).

[22] Julien Hervier, Ernst Jünger, The Details of Time: Conversations with Ernst Jünger, trans. Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1995), 82.

[23] Barbara Spackman, Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 49, 123-126; Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 187-188.

[24] Michael Richardson, Georges Bataille (New York City: Routledge, 1994), 21.

[25] Georges Bataille, “The Psychological Structure of Fascism,” trans. Carl R. Lovitt, New German Critique, No. 16 (Winter, 1979), 81.

[26] Ibid, 76

[27] Stuart Kendall, Georges Bataille (London: Reaktion Press, 2007), 127.

[28] Rainer Friedrich, “The Enlightenment Gone Mad (I) The Dismal Discourse of Postmodernism’s Grand Narratives,” Arion 19 (3):31-78 (2012), http://www.bu.edu/arion/the-enlightenment-gone-mad-i-the-dismal-discourse-of-postmodernisms-grand-narratives/

[29] Jean Dautry, “Sous le feu des canons français at alliés,” Contre-attaque, March 1936, (Mélusine de l’université Paris-III Sorbonne Nouvelle), http://www.andrebreton.fr/work/56600100744230. My translation.

[30] Quoted in Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi, Rethinking the Political: The Sacred, Aesthetic Politics, and the Collège de Sociologie (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011), 142, ^152.

[31] Kendall, 127.

[32] Georges Bataille, On Nietzsche, trans. Stuart Kendall (Albarny, NY: SUNY Press, 2015), xiii. These are not at all hidden threads, and are all too well known by Bataille aficionados of the right like Nick Land. At the same time, it might help to remind the reader that I never accused Bataille of being a fascist; I simply noted in “The Left-Overs” that he “experimented with fascist aesthetics,” and followed that up with quotes. Yet for such a modest suggestion, I received outlandish (and revealing) vitriol.

[33] Martin Heidegger, Neitszsche, Vols. III & IV, trans. David Farrrell Krell (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), https://taradajko.org/get/books/Heidegger_Nietzsche.pdf. For more on Jünger’s nihilism, see Ernst Jünger, Das abenteuerliche Herz. Erste Fassung: Aufzeichnungen bei Tag und Nacht, in mtliche Werke, Vol. 9 (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1979), 116-117. Several people have attacked my evidenced claim of the attraction that Carl Schmitt felt for Max Stirner by referring to his post-war work, avoiding his youth and the inter-war years when he did things like paraphrase the Proudhonian axiom, “whoever invokes humanity is cheating.” See Safranski, 125.

[34] See Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger, trans. Joscelyn Godwin, Constance Fontana (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2003), 18-19, http://www.cakravartin.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/Julius-Evola-Ride-the-Tiger-Survival-Manual-for-the-Aristocrats-of-the-Soul.pdf. See

[35] George P. Blum, The Rise of Fascism in Europe (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998), 22.

[36] Peter Bondanella, A History of Italian Cinema (New York: Continuum, 2009), 47.

[37] Rudolf Rocker, Anarchy and Organization, trans. Libcom (Libcom, 2003), https://libcom.org/files/Rudolf%20Rocker-%20Anarchy%20and%20organisation.pdf.

[38] James J. Martin, Men Against the State: The Expositors of Individualist Anarchism in America, 1827–1908 (Colorado Springs: Ralph Myles Publisher, 1970), 201, 215.

[39] John Payne, “Rothbard’s Time on the Left,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 19, no.1 (Winter 2005): 10–11.

[40] Murray N. Rothbard, “Harry Elmer Barnes, RIP,” Left & Right 4, no. 1 (1968), 3; StephenMeansMe, “Reason Magazine Addresses That 1976 “Holocaust Denial Edition,” LittleGreenFootballs, July 27, 2014, http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/43649_Reason_Magazine_Addresses_That_1976_Holocaust_Denial_Edition.

[41] John Powell, Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences: The Nineteenth Century, 1800-1914 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2005), 397.

[42] Alain de Benoist, “Regenerating History,” in Fascism, ed. Roger Griffin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 169-170.

[43] Although Evola credits Stirner, Weininger, and Nietzsche, he states that Carlo Michelstaedter’s individualism trumps them all. See Joscelyn Godwin, “Forward” to Julius Evola, Men Among the Ruins, trans. Guido Stucco, ed. Michael Moynihan (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions), 5, http://cakravartin.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/julius-evola-men-among-the-ruins.pdf.

[44] Among the most hysterical claims is that I accused people like Hakim Bey of being a fascist. Such a brainless misreading of my text distorts my thesis and its supporting evidence. Bey romanticized the imperial occupation of Fiume by D’Annunzio that effectively set the stage for fascism, and compares it to Paris in 1968 and the Autonomia movement of the early 1970s—but that does not make him a fascist. Regardless of whether his comparisons ring true, his description of Fiume is just another example of how post-leftists occasionally find themselves tolerating proto-fascism or even acting (wittingly or unwittingly) in league with fascists. Hakim Bey, Temporary Autonomous Zone (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2003), 123-126.

[45] Gillis, op. cit. National-anarchists are fascists. See Graham D. Macklin, “Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction,” Patterns of Prejudice 39, no. 3 (September 2005): 301–26, http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=2439.

[46] Matthew Lyons, Ctrl-Alt-Delete (Political Research Associates, 2017), http://www.politicalresearch.org/2017/01/20/ctrl-alt-delete-report-on-the-alternative-right/#sthash.CQimN0ES.dpbs.

[47] “Fate guides the willing, and drags the unwilling” – Seneca

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Against the Fascist Creep Looks at How Fascism Presents a Threat to the Left, and How We can Fight It

Fascism, as an iconoclastic and revolutionary political orientation, is one that has made itself dynamic by bucking the traditions associated with the Right. While it is anti-liberal, anti-multicultural, and anti-democratic, it is also anti-conservative. As it believes in a mythical understanding of a “pure” past, it believes that the institutions of the past, the authorities that exist today, can no longer be “conserved.” Instead, they need a radical solution; one that destroys the conventional order and rebuilds one that they believe is a modernist interpretation of the empires of the deep past. This is not an accurate interpretation of historical nations, of course, but instead a reactionary fantasy that is colored by unrestrained hatreds, the desire to oppress, and the need to rethink contemporary society and reinstate explicit inequality.

To do this project, fascism looks to many movements and ideas associated with the Left in an attempt to “get to the root” of the problem and to recruit revolutionaries who could be swayed by their romanticism. This process is where fascists use Leftist projects for Right wing core ideas, like inequality, racial nationalism, and a cult of violent masculinity. This process was not just true in interwar Europe, but even today as neo-fascism attempts to make its way into social movements founded on Left wing principles. Anti-imperialism, radical ecology, animal rights, post-colonialism, broad-based anti-capitalism, and other projects have all seen attempts at entryism by the far right, and they have worked hard to have their ideas infect these political tendencies, so much so that often times people are unaware that a fascist politic has made its way into their political vision.

This is the founding idea behind the fantastic new book, Against the Fascist Creep, by anti-fascist journalist and author, Alexander Reid Ross. The book, just released by AK Press, outlines a history of fascism since its development in Italy, Germany, Austria, and other European nations, and how it has shifted and evolved in the decades since.

The “fascist creep,” as I am using the term in this text, refers to the porous borders between fascism and the radical right, through which fascism is able to “creep” into mainstream discourse. Howev­er, the “fascist creep” is also a double-edged term, because it refers more specifically to the crossover space between right and left that engenders fascism in the first place. Hence, fascism creeps in two ways: (1) it draws left-wing notions of solidarity and liberation into ultranationalist, right-wing ideology; and (2), at least in its early stages, fascists often utilize “broad front” strategies, proposing a mass-based, nationalist platform to gain access to mainstream po­litical audiences and key administrative positions. (AtFC, pg. 3)

Ross weaves a history in the crevices where fascism attempts to find an avenue into mainstream discourse and reclamation of its revolutionary potential. In the years after World War II, fascist ideologues changed their rhetoric and strategies, often arguing for ethnic separatism, anti-colonial racial nationalism, and meta-political orientations so that they could avoid the associations with the failed movements of Mussolini and Hitler. At the same time, far right terrorism through the Years of Lead had direct ties to the spiritual paths of people like Julius Evola and to right populist political parties like France’s Front Nationale. Over the years the development of neofolk, Asatru and ethnic forms of Nordic paganism, the militia movement, the European New Right, and, later, the Alt Right, were all attempts at finding a new space for fascist ideas and a way to make them new and exciting again to an upcoming generation of racialists.

In the U.S., the development of national anarchism through groups like the Bay Area National Anarchists and the National Anarchist Tribal Alliance of New York, have been a part of this continuous reimagining, and they had the potential to try and recruit from the left. Projects like Attack the System, the national-anarchist, pan-secessionist project we have discussed before, has attempted to bridge the world of Left and post-left anarchism with fascism, allowing in white nationalists as a real “revolutionary” force. In the case of the radical environmental movement, where anarchism has intersected with revolutionary forms of ecology, National Anarchism has made larger inroads by exploiting deconstructionist impulses. This was particularly true in the case of Green Anarchist magazine, which Ross explains was the target of entryism by the syncretic fascist philosopher Troy Southgate.

As Southgate navigated the fascist scene, he became increasingly drawn to a branch of the left-to-right ecology movement cofounded by a British intellectual named Richard Hunt. Hunt’s UK-based journal, Green Anarchist, advocated positions that were just as problematic as, if not worse than, its US coun­terparts. Hunt’s “beyond right and left” political ideology gener­ated particular hostility from the left. A supporter of village-level anarchism on a bioregional basis that operated outside of present contexts of nation-states and consumer societies, Hunt argued that racism was natural to people but unhelpful in the context of anticapitalist movements. While Hunt supported blood and soil–style bioregional movements, he incorporated nationalist histories and “ethnopluralism” in keeping with Benoist’s ideals of diversi­ty. When Hunt backed the United Kingdom’s involvement in the Persian Gulf War based on patriotic sentiment, he was pushed out of Green Anarchist and formed a new journal entitled Alternative Green, which more explicitly advocated for a decentralized bioregionalism with traditionalist and nationalist tendencies, seeing the potential of national and cultural rebirth after the collapse of industrial civilization. (AFC 162-63)

Anti-imperialist projects have found allies in white nationalists in that they are for “Ethno-pluralism,” the right to separation from the dominant culture to maintain cultural “legitimacy.” While many discuss the right to reclaim identity for indigenous people or those of African descent, the fascist element in this discourse believes that white should be afforded this as well, and instead of seeing race as a social invention with consequence they think it is a biological and spiritual reality that should create divisions among groups. In this way, they are “against empires” since they see it as a form of “globalization” that destroys ethnic nationalism and homogeneity in nation states.

What Ross analyzes is broadly within the “Third Positionist” camp, which utilizes elements of the left for a far right purpose. This means anti-capitalist critiques from the right, even going as far as to embody some of the same visioning as the left.

With its syncretic configuration of political ideology, Third Positionism took root in the skinhead and neofolk subcultures as a kind of palingenetic ultranationalism that, with a pessimistic and nihilist sense of modern life, looked toward a revolutionary new age born of traditional culture that could thrive amid the collapse of liberal multiculturalism. (AFC 137)

While Third Positionism is often called a variant on fascism, even a minority within the larger movement, it is actually the dominant expression of fascism. The Alt Right, Neoreaction, racialist paganism, and so on, are all forms of Third Positionist thought, and the meta-political projects like Neofolk, which attempt to push fascist ideas through non-political venues, are comfortably within this analysis as well. It is from this vantage point that entryism on the left presents itself, and this can happen ideologically even without a concerted strategy from fascist organizers.

Ross attempts to answer these contradictions by putting out a call for consistency and understanding of how politics develop, to see the consequences of ideas. Are your politics consistently opposed to racial nationalism and in favor of multicultural society? Are your environmental politics intersectional, opposed to racism, and in favor of immigration? The Left’s projects have to have a clear understanding of the motivating factors for their own political ideas, as well as the ideas of the far right. The “fascist creep,” as Ross labels it, is the way that fascism can seep into left spaces, such as music circles or the movement against international capitalism. This can mean sorting out the way that anti-Semitic narratives seep into the anti-corporate and Palestinian solidarity movement, the “natural law” discourse that is celebrated in some Deep Ecological projects, and the cynical nihilism that has often been a part of the anti-consumerist movement, and to then build a politic that keeps the values of equality and diversity at the center of these varied movements. This is a call for intersectionality, or class compositional analysis, that sees that these movements need a way to remain connected and cannot throw each other aside for short-term gains.

As the Alt Right grows in the U.S., so does the anti-fascist movement. In Trump’s America there has been a validation of their toxic racism, yet there is also a growth of a mass anti-fascist movement that wants to shuffle off their influence. To do this effectively necessitates having a deep understanding of the movements we oppose so that we can clearly see where fascism is, where it grows, and where it comes from. Without that we are scrambling in the dark, calling anything reactionary or authoritarian “Fascism” without being able to see its growth in the corners. Ross’s book can be a guide for this, tracing us through how this movement of hierarchy and inequality has changed over the years, and he is able to boil it down to its essentials.

 

You can order his book here directly from AK Press.

 

 

Those on the Alt Right: Why We Hate Hillary Clinton, But Loved Her Speech

Yep, she said it.

 

Hillary’s speech from August 25th was rumored for days in advance, with the fact that she was addressing the Alt Right well known. This sent many in the press running to get this phenomenon figured out, while at the same time the Alt Righters were waiting to hit their moment of peak visibility. With their media savvy, their ability to dominate social media, and their focus on well-packaged talking points, it was quite possible that they were going to be able to set the conversation after Hillary spoke in vague platitudes.

Except this time Hillary was prepped well, and named the fascist. Her speech identified the Alt Right as one element of the racist right wing that is giving Donald Trump his surging popularity. She mentioned Twitter accounts like White Genocide, went after the KKK members that support Trump openly, and even lamented the ludicrous conspiracy theorizing of Alex Jones and Infowars. She took on Breitbart, reading aloud some of the more offensive recent article titles where they showed their hate for women, minorities, and LGBT people.

Hillary’s endgame here is simple: to scare you into voting for her. For our side of things, we recognize that both the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign are representing the interests of capital. They made up a middle-ground of establishment financial politics, ones steeped in Neoconservative foreign policy, international commercial interests, and environmental ruin. Donald Trump shares this position in politics, and laughs about the deregulated markets he attempts to foist on an already drained working class. Together, they make up what we have always expected from American politics: the choice between members of the capitalist class.

As we listened to Hillary’s speech, we knew that she had scored herself a campaign point. She also scored one for us, just not the one she wants.

We will never support the Clinton campaign, or the campaign of any bourgeois politician (this includes Jill Stein). Instead we think that the power of the working class is in movements from the ground up, and in today’s climate that includes organized anti-fascism. What Hillary’s speech did was accurately describe the phenomenon(to a point), named some of the key players, and then tied them directly to their support of Donald Trump.

Over the last couple of weeks, and especially in the last two days, we have seen a number of major news outlets clamor to make sense of the Alt Right. Anti-Fascist News was founded just over a year ago specifically with the idea that we wanted to focus in on the Alt Right from an anti-fascist perspective. Some major media coverage of the Alt Right has been better than others, but many miss the key factors at play with this movement. The recent segments from Fox News painted the Alt Right as synonymous with Donald Trump’s working class white, Middle American base. This confuses the situation and lacks the key lineage that the Alt Right comes from.

Drawing on the racialist organizations of the past, the European neo-fascist organizations, the history of fascist philosophy and spirituality, and various interlocking “traditionalist” and “identitarian” movements, the Alt Right is the latest and most popular confederation of what we would clearly label as fascist. This word is thrown around a lot, often used to mean authoritarian or violent. Instead, the word means a political movement founded in inequality, elitism, “essential” identity such as race or gender, hierarchy, “traditional values,” and a romantic view of the past. While this has some common historical forms, it can creep up with a variety of different political structures and programs. National anarchists, radical traditionalists, the Dark Enlightenment, paleoconservatism, “race realism,” racial paganism, identitarianism, and many other self-important philosophies fit under this broader fascist ideological banner, and all of them make up the various wings of the Alt Right. Together they are founded on the idea that there are racial differences in intelligence and “criminality,” that Jews are secretly in control of the government and the media, that feminism is eroding the true structures of man, and that we need to return to the identity and authority of our ancestors.

While Breitbart, Milo, and Donald Trump may only be the “diet” version of the Alt Right, they are taking their most palatable points and putting them out into bite sizes morsels. The Alt Right has taken the key fascist ideas built over a century of violence and attempts at power and turned them into “fashy memes,” jokes told on 4chan and celebrated at My Posting Career.

 

In short: the Alt Right has made fascism tweetable. And we are here to shut them down.

 

With Hillary Clinton’s most recent campaign ad and the direction spoken of in her speech, she has simply helped to mainstream the anti-fascist messaging in the same way that Donald Trump added a loudspeaker to the Alt Right. That does not make her our ally, she never will be. Instead, her speech helped to make the Alt Right known as a racist caricature of itself; a violent movement of vile racism bent on attacking communities of color, putting women in their place, and locking up trans people. While places like the Radix Journal and the Daily Shoah were celebrating the attention, and Alt Right vloggers like Millenial Woes were using it as an opportunity to create a racially-charged promotional video, we get more out of this mention than they could ever hope to.

Now our task is to take her rhetoric much further, and to put the logic of it into practice. It is not enough to name a fascist on the Internet; we need movements capable of undermining them when they show up.

 

And they have.

Peak Alt Right: How the Far Right Has Already Lost

For Richard Spencer, the Republican National Convention was a return to relevance, a coming out party for those who had been out for years before anyone cared.

This was not the first Republican event for Spencer, who spent his early professional years following the small paleoconservative niches blazed by people like Pat Buchannan and Taki Theodoracopulos.  After penning a defense of the student Lacrosse players at Duke University who were accused of sexually assaulting a sex worker of color for the William Taft society, he was brought on as an Assistant Editor of arts at the American Conservative.  The magazine made a name for itself through Scott McConnell’s attempt to channel Old Right politics into a world disgusted by most of the excess of Neoconservative foreign policy, coming out against the Iraq War while few on the right were.

richard-spencer-20150303

McConnell eventually helped Spencer to land a job further to the right at Taki’s Magazine, which keeps the overflow of racists let go from places like Forbes and The National Review.  As Peter Brimelow left behind his career attacking teacher’s unions for white nationalism and anti-immigrant extremism with his website VDare and John Derbyshire decided to go public with his with race and IQ arguments, Taki’s Magazine became a place where they could continue to rant to an audience that was almost relevant to beltway Conservatism.

It was here that Spencer decided to make a final transition to the fringes based on the community that he was seeing take shape out of the ashes of paleoconservatism.  Greg Johnson, the editor of the neo-fascist publishing house Counter Currents described the early days of Alternative Right, which Spencer founded as a “big tent” for these dissident right-wing movements, as a place for ideas often conflicting to find a common ground.

[Alternative Right] will attract the brightest ‘young’ conservatives and libertarians and expose them to far broader intellectual horizons, including race realism, White Nationalism, the European New Right, the Conservative Revolution, Traditionalismneo-paganismagrarianismThird Positionismanti-feminism, and right-wing anti-capitalistsecologistsbioregionalists, and small-is-beautiful types.

Though it has gone through several iterations, the Alt Right is the most recent stage of the process started by Spencer several years ago.  Together, it makes up an ideological fascist kernel of ideas, ones that drive the political movement of the racialist right.  While it is largely undefined, it can loosely be thought to encompass anti-egalitarianism, anti-democracy, elitist, racialist, anti-feminist, and other forms of anti-equality thinking that make up its ideological core.  Whether these are arguments to restore the monarchy, to return to the “Ethnic religions” of pre-Christian Europe, or simply proclamations that people of color are more prone to crime or have lower innate IQs, it is the ideological position in favor of hierarchy that drives its ranks, from the white nationalists to the Men’s Rights activists.

While they often mock the neo-Nazis, Klansman, and old guard of the insurrectionary racist movement, they share the same ideological ideas even if the Alt Right are more upper middle class and concerned with a different strategic orientation.

An Intellectual Tradition?

As Spencer walked the streets surrounding the convention in Cleveland he held above him a sign that said “Want to talk to a “racist?”  This is a strategic move for Spencer, who wants to reframe “racism” as simply a preference for one’s own “identity” and “tribe.”  He attempts to liken himself to Latino organizations looking to advance what he calls “ethnic interests,” or Black Nationalists looking to retain a culture that was robbed during colonial slavery.

His arguments, while ignored for years, have finally found an audience in the mainstream press who are trying to make sense of the ideological current that has been associated with the rise of Donald Trump.  HBO, shooting a documentary looking at racialist groups in the U.S., was following him around, and even set up a conversation between him and news anchor Jorge Ramos.  While this may seem like cheap controversy baiting, and it is, Spencer was presented as a reasonable point of debate with Ramos.  Instead of just a spectacle, the message has been sent that Spencer represents a growing point of view that must be considered in the debate.  Previously his ethnic nationalist message would have been considered so obviously repulsive as not to be considered relevant for inclusion, but these are apparently the times we live in.

The Alt Right has pushed itself into the discourse through a few convenient openings.  The first, and most obvious, is the self-destruction of the Conservative Movement.  As Spencer has discussed, at length, the Conservative Movement as we know it today is more of an invention of William Buckley and the National Review as a Cold War ideology.  Here it mixed Christian social conservatism, hawkish foreign policy, and free market economics into something that appeared as a coherent ideology for decades.  Right-wing scholar Paul Gottfried, who consorts with Spencer and company often, calls this ideological pairing “idea clusters,” where the ideas themselves are not necessarily ideologically related yet are put into a bunch and labeled as “conservative.”

As demographics change, capitalism heads into permanent crisis, and the culture shift dramatically, Buckley’s idea cluster is failing to resonate.  It is in this space that alternatives have been tried, with libertarianism being the ideological position popular in the younger areas of the GOP for the last few years.  This headed into decline as Ron Paul faded from view and places like Reason Magazine and the Caito Institute lost power or uniqueness.

Now, in the search for an identity, many of the edgier “dissidents” allied with American Conservatism have found Brietbart, post-Tea Party racial anger, and Donald Trump.

Now That’s What I Call Edgy

When mixed with the second key factor for the Alt Right, the horizontal nature of social media, you can see why the edgy “Shitlords” found a voice.  In an attempt to out offend each other, the culture of the Alt Right was formed on 4Chan, Reddit, and Twitter, where the need to find uniqueness and to rebel against what they believe orthodoxy to be (in this case it is “political correctness”), they united with old-fashioned white supremacy to form a semi-coherent white nationalism that is based in ironic catch phrases, internal jargon, trolling, and unrestrained anger.

With Twitter they can cut through to mainstream discourse by trending hashtags like #Cuckservative, using every media mention as a way to slowly seep in Nazi talking points with kitschy memes and constant trolling.  Gone are the days of concerted organizing around crossover topics like immigration and affirmative action, now it is better to dominate comments sections on articles and post blogs arguing in favor of slavery and Holocaust Denial.

This is perfectly fine with Spencer, who was always looking to foment a fascist cultural movement more than a political one.  As he often proselytizes, he is not a materialist, he is an idealist in the German tradition.  He believes the change starts in the minds and the culture, and “politics are a lagging indicator.”  This is why his movement starts with a tweet, not with a sign, and you will not see concrete goals listed as how to get to the Ethnostate he envisions on the North American continent.

It is all of these peculiarities and contradictions that lead to why the Alt Right is failing before it ever really begins.

What drew out Alternative Right and its successor, the Radix Journal, as well as the entire sphere of neo-fascist publications and publishers was its ability to create a philosophical foundation to the racialist and neo-fascist movement.  It was not just its congenial style, we have had suit and tie racists before (see David Duke wearing suits at Klan meetings), but what Alternative Right attempted to do was do have a real set of philosophical, academic, and new religious interventions.  This was a smart white nationalism, one that was attempting to find some coherence.  As you would expect, this has had mixed results as those with credentials and ideas are few and far between inside of the far right, as is art, music, and literature.

evola.jpg
Radical Traditionalist and esoteric fascist, Julius Evola.

In their pursuit a few key threads came out, from celebrating paganism to the Radical Traditionalism of Julius Evola, Spencer and his ilk worked hard to carry on the legacy of people like Alain de Benoit and Guilluime Faye.  This was to make fascism just as much of a philosophic project as Marxism and anarchism, and one that they hoped to decouple from the more obvious forms of violence and ugly racism that it usually resorts to.  While those on the anti-fascist left will usually point out that this is merely an act, and it is, there is often a deeper process here.  What they are searching for is to give reason and purpose to the bigotry that they feel, and they want to prove that it is not hatred but deep philosophical ideas and socio-biological identity that is driving them.  Spencer has constructed a culture that looks as much as possible like the academic left, using jargon and rhetoric that feels more like the Frankfurt School than like the National Alliance.  Oswald Spangler, Ernst Junger, and Carl Schmidt were pulled off the shelf, mixed with misreadings of Nietzsche, and an “intellectual” fascist tradition was continued in the few conferences the Alt Right had the money to muster.

With the innocuously named National Policy Institute, Spencer hosted conferences that were overpriced and set in posh venues, all with the idea of gaining legitimacy.  With Washington Summit Publishers, the NPI book publishing wing, he basically republished books by scientific racists of the past like Madison Grant as well as “new school” race and IQ ideologues like Richard Lynn and Kevin McDonald, all with names like the “Global Bell Curve” that both try to ride the wave of popular right-wing books in the mainstream and to sound as if they could blend into the world of scientific publishing.  Going further, with the launch of the Radix Journal website, Spencer created a Radix imprint for Washington Summit Publishers to print books that were more cultural.  Here they published a slick journal with themes like “The Great Erasure,” looking at the “global delegitimization of the white man.”  They republished crossover authors like Samuel Francis, who has the strange achievement of being published regularly in the Washington Times as well as for white nationalist publications like the Occidental Observer, American Renaissance, and the Citizen Informer, the newsletter of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Similarly, Greg Johnson of Counter Currents has tried to create an academic tone with his publishing, mixing in the pseudo-spirituality of Heathens like Stephen McNallen, the racial mysticism of Savitri Devi, and tribalists like Jack Donovan.  Going even further, publishers like Arktos Media have tried to build a culture on republishing Julius Evola and French New Right thinkers as well as neofolk records, all with the idea that they can create a far-right wing culture of art and philosophy.

All of this together brought a certain tone that, while masking the guttural racial hatred and genocidal justifications, was meant to make arguments for their position in a world disgusted by racism, sexism, and homophobia.

It wasn’t this culture, however, that gave the Alt Right the name it has today.

Blind Ideology, White Anger

The current state of the Alt Right is one that is based on a certain online cruelty, a culture built almost entirely on the insult.  This did not start with The Right Stuff and their headline podcast The Daily Shoah, but it certainly was popularized with it.  The Daily Shoah was created by a group of former libertarians who had turned towards white nationalism and wanted to create an Opie and Anthony styled radio show for their crew.  As they had built most of their ideological foundations on message boards rather than in political situations out in the real world, they had developed a caustic online culture of racial epithets and angry misogyny.  Uniting the worlds of white nationalism, Men’s Rights Activism, anti-disability blame-rage, and other indulgences of reactionary toxicity, they used the Alt Right philosophical underpinnings as a foundation for their anger.  They hate black people, and call them the N-word and other creative insults, and then pick at “Human Biological Diversity” terminology to justify their anger.  Kevin McDonald’s anti-Semitic conspiracy theories fuel their bizarre belief that everything in the culture that pulls progressive or against systemic white supremacy is done by Jews, who conspire in their genes to undermine “Western Civilization.  They bring on other Nazis and right-wingers to indulge in esoteric Hitlerism, strange Euro-paganism, and the intermix of Christian orthodoxy, paleolibertarianism, and secular authoritarianism with their own angry racism to create a culture of Internet trolling rather than political organizing.

Through The Right Stuff, the Daily Stormer, and a slew of blogs and podcasts, we have seen the two cultures, the pseudo-academic and the vulgar anger, unite into one “Alt Right,” with a single soul and two dramatically different faces.

As Spencer walked in circles around the Quicken Loans Arena he tried to turn “stereotypes” about racists on their head, fighting to shake Jorge Ramos’ hand.  In an earlier interview, Ramos had a conversation with a KKK member who refused to lock palms with him, and Spencer wanted to show that he, in fact, respected Ramos.  In their conversation, Spencer wanted to prove that Ramos was an “Identitarian” just like Spencer, fighting for his people.  This is a common talking point among white nationalist who try to argue that they are fighting for white interests just like the NAACP fights for “black interests” and La Raza fights for “Latino interests.”  This is context denial, a term that the Alt Right loves to use, in that they do not like to admit that when it comes to Black Nationalism, it is an attempt to reclaim a stolen culture and identity, while white nationalism actually obliterates European history in an attempt to reconstruct formal white supremacy. One is organizing against verifiable oppression, and the other is the reactionary anger of a group who is having their privilege eroded by progress.

That evening Spencer was invited to Milo Yiannopoulos’ evening party, where he lived out one of the most profound paradoxes of the Alt Right and their participation at the RNC.  Milo has made a name for himself as the most high profile people donning the Alt Right label, though his version is the most watered down by most Alt Right standards.  Many on the Alt Right denounce Milo because he is a gay man with a Jewish ancestry; though the more savvy of the crowd like that he is mainstreaming their iconoclastic views at Breitbart.  Milo was there to lead the anti-Islamic charge, claiming that it Islam was not only irreconcilable with queerness, but incompatible with Western Civilization as a whole.  LGBTrump founder Chris Barron continued this rhetoric during the evening, which echoed the angry scapegoating of Jewish immigrants in 1920s Germany.  While comparisons to Nazi Germany are often obvious and overwrought, this situation seemed obvious as the contempt towards Muslims was explicit and there were open calls for their forced expulsion.

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Matt Forney (Middle)

While Spencer was softening the blows of his racism, Milo was riding the wave of this own offensiveness, all the way to being banned on Twitter.  Spencer was one of many Alt Right people at Milo’s events, including MRA clown Matt Forney reporting for Red Ice.  The party was an RNC associated event that openly invited people who argue that Black people should be forcefully returned to Africa in a “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”  If this doesn’t reveal the current orientation of the GOP, nothing does.

After the first couple days of the party, Spencer joined Jazz Hands McFeels at Fash the Nation, one of the other most popular white nationalist podcasts on the growing Right Stuff podcast network.  After telling Jorge Ramos that he respected all races and cultures, he used racial slurs to refer to black people and laughed along at comparisons between people of color and animals.  Fash the Nation enjoys using the n-word, calling black people “feral” and various types of apes, and laughs about killing Jews.  This is what has spiked its numbers, as its Alt Right Twitter army laughs with glee as they are given permission to revel in the darkest parts of their reactionary bigotry.

Appearance vs. Reality

It is here that the contradiction in the Alt Right has grown to proportions it cannot ignore: it wants to be both an inoffensive political and ideological movement while also being an angry and virulently offensive brand of political theater.  While Spencer previously found racial slurs offensive and idiotic, he dropped his standards once it was those qualities that gave the Alt Right legs.  While he was developing an “ideological” movement built on intellectual credibility, it was words like Dindu, Triggered, Echoes, and Merchant that gave it the culture to grow.

As it hits its zenith, many on the inside of these circles are beginning to realize that you cannot have both.  You cannot have an inoffensive “identitarianism” on one side, that argues that is simply wants its own identity and is not reveling in hatred of “the other” while also indulging in angry insults at people of color and mocking their suffering.

Holocaust Denial has come in waves as a sort of “crossover” topic for white nationalists, one that is intended to find some converts in conspiracy theory circles.  In the early 1990s it saw a peak with organizations like the Institute for Historical Review and the Barnes Review trying to legitimize “Holocaust Revisionism” as just another form of historical inquiry.  They argued that it was simply about uncovering truth and had no social or political agenda besides finding out what really happened.

If this was true, why was it that most of those involved in the revisionism were also involved in racial nationalist projects?  Why were the same people questioning the existence of gas chambers also presenting race and IQ arguments?  Could it be simply that they were repackaging the racial hatred of the past in new pseudo-intellectual arguments?  This became such an obvious sham that places like the IHR shut their doors, and Holocaust Denial became (until recently) an almost forgotten task left to basement dwellers on BlogSpot.

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Mark Weber

They attempted to say that their arguments were disconnected from all of the aspects that society finds repulsive: insulting racism, racial violence, genocide, persecution, and oppression.  Instead, they could not cover their tracks well enough, and it took only the briefest look to reveal them for who they were.  Mark Weber, the most well known front-man for the IHR (after wrestling it away from ignominious racist Willis Carto) often donned a suit and tie and used academic jargon when stating his case for reimagining the second World War.  If he really was just another historian who stumbled on this “inconvenient truth,” then how come he had been a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance since he was a teenager?

A similar situation marks the two-storied history of American Renaissance (AmRen), one of the largest and most established white nationalist projects in the country.  AmRen began in the late 1980s as a newsletter from Jared Taylor as a pseudo-intellectual white nationalist voice, intending to be an alternative to the toxic influence of neo-Nazi organizations that engaged in murderous fits of violence over the 1980s.  Taylor focused in on race and IQ arguments mainly, riding the wave of The Bell Curve and the candidacies of people like David Duke and Pat Buchanan, creating a “high brow” culture for their conferences.  Over the years they have hosted every scientist who has made arguments about the differences between races, often arguing that the organization is simply dedicated to getting out a clearer view of science, heredity, and biological difference.

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Donald Templar, speaking at American Renaissance.

If this were true, then their list of speakers would not be a “who’s who” of nationalist far-right political organizations, ranging from fascist organizations to ones with a history of racial terror.  If it was simply an organization for the scientific study of race, then you would not have “academics” like Donald Templar stepping to the podium to yell about how tired he is of black people “complaining” and how they need to be worked 60-hour weeks in prison so they will stop “giving aids to each other.”  If you listen to a large cross section of American Renaissance speeches, or read their newsletter, the only connective tissue is anger towards non-white people and the value-laden language meant to disparage anyone without pure Aryan ancestry.  All of the “difference” that they outline puts black and brown people in a negative light, and most of the terms and categories used are either antiquated or non-scientific in orientation.   Plainly put, American Renaissance is an organization dedicated towards developing white nationalism through the denigration of people of color, and the “science” is piecemeal, out of context, and almost always discredited.

Why American Renaissance has dropped its scientific veneer in recent years is that it did not work.  They attempted to gain credibility for its beliefs on the one hand, yet empowered a sub-intellectual culture of racial slurs, anger, and insults.

Spencer has spent years disassociating himself with the KKK and neo-Nazis of the world, but that is a surface act at best.  In his most recent podcast, Spencer interview former KKK leader David Duke about his upcoming big for the Louisiana legislature.  He often has Kevin McDonald, the sort of Karl Marx of anti-Semitism, who was on the board of the skinhead-associated American Freedom Party, a place where Spencer has also been interviewed.  He often joins The Daily Shoah, or invites them on his own show, where they do not skimp on the denigrations against Jews, transgender people, and all non-white people.  Spencer may play his rhetorical game, but the only difference between him and a KKK member is that his house is worth almost $4 million.  When it comes to every ideological point, from the “subhuman” nature of black people to the secret power structure of Jews, Spencer is identical to all of the neo-Nazis that the general public finds so repulsive.  When it comes to rhetoric, he is of the same circles as those calling Black people “Dindus,” making monkey sounds during Black History month, and applauding the murder of Mike Brown.

As Donald Trump publicly implodes going into the general election, he is continuing to drum up an “anti-PC” culture of racial animosity and fighting words.  This peak has given the Alt Right a place in the public discourse, but it has discredited all legitimacy it had hoped to gain.  While they main gain converts through their toxic discourse and rhetoric, they have undermined all ability to actually have an influence on even the broader American right wing.  While trying to take on both faces, that of the academy and of the bully, they have failed to actually benefit from either, and now they are seeing peak influence.  Even if Donald Trump was to pull a Hail Mary and win in the general election, their rhetoric will continue to fade as Trump’s administration heads to a socially conservative platform, bought into the same neoliberal interests that he has been tied to throughout his career as a bourgeois inheritance baby.  The Alt Right has played all of its cards, and its limited contributions to discourse will not withstand its self-destruction.

For anti-fascists going forward, the biggest lesson is that the Alt Right has rebranded the far right, and will make up the cultural touchstones of fascist organization for years to come.  Broad nationalism, Internet trolling, and silly jargon are what neo-Nazis are today, which gives a great sign of what to look for.  As far as influence, they have created a cap that they will never be able to move past.

Red Ice Creations and the New Fascist Media

The world of the pseudo-intellectual far right used to be relatively isolated. There was a small network of blogs and then a few that peaked above the others, namely Alternative Right, American Renaissance, Occidental Observer, Counter-Currents Publishing, and a few others. Alternative Right morphed over to the National Policy Institute and the Radix Journal, where they continued their use of meta-politics to introduce white nationalism and used podcasts as a primary means of media communication. In only the last five years this network of online “Alt Right” spaces has expanded exponentially, starting largely with Human Biological Diversity blogs that continued “race and IQ” arguments. They began creating a generalized subculture of trolls, social media warriors, and those who have taken the jargon and influences of the more academic Alt Right and brought them down to the level of the average racist.

Today, podcasts and videos are commonplace for Alt Right commentators who are trying to jump into the fast Internet media cycle, and attempting to create a fascist version of what we see on the left. Through this, the Daily Shoah and the Right Stuff radio network have become incredibly popular for their crass racist audio tracks, and places like Radix have continued to pump out their interview focused episodes with fascist “celebrities of the week.” While all of these have maintained an increasing popularity as Donald Trump mainstreams white nationalism, all of their work combined still pales when compared to a relative newcomer in the fascist Internet scene.

Red Ice Creations, which jumps between Sweden and the U.S., has created a media infrastructure that is more formal and has more socio-political crossover points than you see in other racist media. They have taken up the mantle started by people like Richard Spencer, now doing a regular feed of audio and video programs.

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Henrik Palmgren

We first heard about Red Ice Creations, which includes their radio and video shows, over a year ago when many of the louder voices on the right, like Richard Spencer and Jack Donovan, began getting interviewed on their radio show. At first, it seemed like programming primarily focused on strange conspiracy theories and alternative scientific notions, and perhaps these voices were just a part of their strangeness. As they went on, their founders, Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff, became open about their racial politics, being clear on any show that has a racialist subject or guest that they are there to “defend their race” and demonizing African descended people, immigrants and refugees, and all “leftist” ideas.

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Lana Lokteff

The design of their website is purposefully meant to look like places like Infowars, the conspiracy racket from resident nutjob Alex Jonesnutjob Alex Jones. These places have a generally slick presentation and act as somewhat of a crossover point between the far right and broader conservatives. This connection continues as they repost articles from Infowars and the affiliated Prison Planet regularly. Their news choices fit into an interesting space for the Alt Right as of recently, which is to try and create artificial holes in narratives about the reality of racism. An example is their recently posted article listing 100 “hate crime hoaxes,” which is intending to first undermine the recent history of bigotry related violence and, second, reframe the narrative so that it appears as European-descended people are under attack because they are not “allowed” to organize in their own racial interest. It may seem obvious that they are playing with facts and ignoring very simple bits of analysis to make these connections, yet it is these blind spots that are critical if there are going to create an “analysis” that justifies their white nationalism

Their two primary programs are the podcasts Red Ice Radio hosted by Henrik and Radio 3Fourteen hosted by Lana. Here they focus on guests for interviews, which are quickly becoming the “who’s who” of the broad white nationalist and racist communities. Guests like Richard Spencer, American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, David Duke, Mike Enoch and Seventh Son from the Daily Shoah, various people from the Manosphere and Men’s Rights community, and just about everyone who remains relevant from this growing Alt Right scene.

Because of their connection to Sweden, they have picked up very heavily on one of the hallmarks of the racialist movement in Scandinavia: Islamophobia. Between hearing from anti-Islamic activists to posting articles about Swedish political parties being “infiltrated by Islamists,” they have used Muslim European immigration as a fault line since they see it as having the same social crossover point in Europe that anti-Latino immigrant racism has in the United States.

What could be considered even more of a focus would be pagan guests, always leaning to the far right. Lana herself has spoken about her fondness for the pagan side of the Alt Right, how it avoids the cultural and restrictive trappings of Christianity, and how it can help to define their race.

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Stephen Flowers Speaking About Indo-European Religon

It is this paganism that has created one of its crossover points to the non-racialist circles, though it becomes clear that even those unaffiliated with the Alt Right previously are more than willing to flirt with its racial nationalism. An example of this would be the recent interview with Stephen E. Flowers, who is known inside of heathen circles for writing some of the more respected books on the runes. He caused a controversy inside of the Troth, the largest Universalist heathen organization, for also being a member of the Left Hand Path Temple of Set. Though his interview really does focus on the topics of ancient Indo-European religions, he uses “blood and soil” rhetoric to discuss this and helps to validate the racialist voice of Henrik.

Their radio programs go back for ten years with hundreds of guests that run the gamut, and it is likely that, not until recently, the extent of the racial and political views of the hosts were not known to all of the guests. Over the last year they have honed in on fascist and racist commentators almost exclusively, from anti-immigration activists in Australia to nationalist politicians in Britain like the British National Party’s Nick Griffin.

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Some of Red Ice’s recent videos, showing the fascist sensationalism their recent success has been built on.

More recently they are trying to do regular videos and live broadcasts, following the recent trends on the Alt Right to refer to everyone as “cucks” and to use silly internet Alt Right personalities like Millenial Woes to chatter about any possible issue, usually showing their inability to think through complex social problems.

Their largest point of crossover is in the broad world of conspiracy theory, which is an important component of far right ideology. To reach the point where by you center power on Jews or that non-white racial groups are lacking in intelligence and “agency” you have to created a complex matrix of conspiratorial power that is suppressing this information and denying the truth. These ideas cannot exist on their own, so it is useful to “jump down the rabbit hole”(they prefer “take the Red Pill”) of conspiracy theory, calling most known facts into doubt. From 9/11 Truthers to Climate Deniers (and Holocaust Deniers) to JFK Assassination theories, Red Ice has had major players in these fringe circles all over the place. Besides the Ancient Aliens and “Big Pharma” conspiracies, they have focused on another crossover point: libertarian/Austrian economic ideas. While they certainly do not politically side with Libertarians, especially those of the Mises or Caito Institutes, they do enjoy finding an audience with shows about the gold standard, BitCoin, and the Federal Reserve.

Their connections to the anti-vaxx community have been one of its more solidified crossover points. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, a well-known anti-vaccine activist, has been on the program often, talking about things like Zika Virus conspiracy theories. The far right has often found inroads into spaces otherwise considered left or “progressive” through Alternative Medicine, which often comes from their generalized conspiratorial worldview.

Lana’s show, Radio 3Fourteen, seems to have always had a foundation in European “identitarianism” right from the start, and has had a slew of recent guests like the Political Cesspool’s James Edwards, pan-Europeanists Melissa Meszaros and Alex Gabler, Counter-Currents’ Greg Johnson, and Walter T. Richmond on various Syrian refugee blaming.

What you can see both in Lana and in Henrik’s show where the crossover points to non-racialist subcultures is going to be. Inside of organized power-lifting, martial arts, and cross-fit communities were are seeing a difficult flirtation with the various “tribalist” factions inside the Alt Right, from the masculanism of Jack Donavan to the barely-literate rants of The Pressure Project. And example of this is with David Whitehead, a popular martial arts instructor in Canada who has his own podcast called Truth Warrior. He runs the Warrior Arts Academy in Sooke, which ranges from broad martial arts classes to a condition type of “warrior” training. From his professional personae there is nothing explicitly racial yet on Radio 3Fourteen he joins in with an open racialist to discuss the “warrior” ethic in what he calls a “Culture of Victimhood.”

The question about the guests of Red Ice Creations is not so much whether or not they are open fascists like the hosts. It is likely that they would disagree about many things, yet they still will flirt with those ideas and empower a movement that is explicitly about creating authoritarian ethnostates. Each of these guests should be challenged for this association and we should make it so that they do not feel welcome to associate with the openly racist radical right. The vast majority of guests on the show are open about their fascist politics, but for those that are not, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to distance themselves from the crowd they are associating with.

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A Lana’s Lama image, from their marketing campaign.  The logo is in the upper left hand corner, which you will see on their various products.

Lana has decided to move out of simply broadcasting from her living room studio and has created a clothing company, saying that fashion is normally a “lefty cesspool.” Lana’s Llama is a “non-toxic clothing” company, which is her attempt to carve out a space inside of the organic community. The clothes themselves are your general mid-range mix of blouses, shirts, skirts, and pants, with only a few styles of each. Fabrics are of a major focus for Llama, which advocates the use of natural fibers over synthetic. Nothing about the website indicates her intended “subversion of the fashion world,” which lends to its intent to use the natural clothing/foods community as a Trojan Horse of white nationalist entryism. She goes further than she needs in this way by trying to assert that synthetic fibers are responsible for hormone disruption, fungal infections, respiratory problems, joint pain, muscle fatigue, and a number of other ailments. There is some real agenda in this, especially with the claims about hormone disruption. This plays directly into her notion that chemical companies are responsible for “feminizing men,” or for somehow “creating” transgender people through hormone manipulation. This conspiratorial thinking works to further essentialize gender and to create the notion that “globalism” is actively working to subvert “natural gender roles.”

 

There is a rash of alarmist images and language along these lines, an important component of continuing the sense of dread and conspiracy that is necessary for laying the foundations of a revolutionary white reactionary worldview. Much of the rhetoric that they use draws on elements that are, again, associated with the left, such as the need to have environmentally sustainable clothing production. This has always been a focal point of Third Positionist fascist ideologues, and one that, because of environmentalism’s current cultural image, has allowed for fascist associates to go under the radar.

Lana’s Llama continues the slick appearance of Red Ice and is well linked up with ordering options and social media. Right now it seems that their website is the only way to get the clothing, but it will be important to begin broadcasting what this company is and who it is run by before it gets any further crossover. This means letting people know right on the social media accounts for the company, and to keep up pressure to make sure that those who do not want to fund white nationalist causes do not do so unwittingly.

The same has to be true for Red Ice more broadly, and now that their politics are becoming more known it seems that the guests on their shows are narrowing a bit. The list of those who have been guests is so expansive and touches so many bizarre subcultural spaces that it would be hard to list them one at a time, but it is going to be important to monitor who goes on there from here on out and to make sure they are contacted about their associations. Racial politics are not a safe space because we will not allow it to be. We will make it socially dangerous to associate with these ideas because white nationalism is founded on violence and oppression.

Red Ice has made extensive crossover into the broader Alt Right over the last year, so much that they co-hosted the NPI Conference live podcast with Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch as well as live-streamed, with obnoxious commentary, the videos from Richard Spencer, Nathan Damigo, and Johnny Monoxide from the Berkeley Alt Right Safe Space “event.” They also went to the American Renaissance white nationalist conference in Tennessee this year, broadcasting live and doing interviews with speakers and those attendants who were willing to have their faces on camera.

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Image they used when interviewing the Traditionalist Workers Party leader/founder Matthew Heimbach

They extended this live stream project to the recent Traditionalist Workers Party/Traditionalist Youth Network event with the Sac Town Skinheads and Golden State Skinheads, neo-Nazi skinhead gangs who often try to flirt with more “suit and tie” organizations.

Going forward, Red Ice Creations is going to be the leader of this particular wing of the white nationalist movement, consolidating speakers and media output in a way that fascists have rarely achieved in the past. By finding a (slight) financial model that keeps them afloat and by driving deep connections in the conspiracy and pseudo-science/mystical worlds, they have created enough of a base to keep speakers lined up and people paying for premium memberships. Their own folly will likely be in their attempt to follow podcasts like The Daily Shoah and go “full Alt Right,” where their vulgarity will limit their guests to fellow open racists. You can see a direct descent over the last six months as their own “diversity” has been reigned in so as to replicate the ugly success of many of the Alt Right trolls that have defined their movement.

Never the less, they have taken the lead position in the Alt Right digital mediascape, and because of their lack of ideological presence they are bringing in everyone from Britain First activists to open neo-Nazis and Holocaust Deniers. They remain a good marker for those inside of occult, “alternative medicine,” libertarian, and conspiracy circles who are willing to flirt with fascism, and can be a bridge point for confronting the creeping nationalism and racism that often finds these marginal communities as a cross-over pathway into the larger social discussion. Their “success” can also be a tool for anti-fascists who can use their broadcasts as a window into the less-confronted areas of the “intellectual” fascist world, as well as be a regular news feed for what the inside of these new nationalist projects look like.

No matter what Red Ice intends their project to be, the anti-fascist community will use it as a resource to further understand the Alt Right and to build a movement that will shut it down at every turn.

Fascist Entryism: AdBusters and the Problem of Hazy Politics

Note: Before we get started, we want to unequivacably say that we do not think that AdBusters is a fascist or fascist allied publication.  We enjoy a great deal of what they publish, support their project, and will continue to re-post articles, videos, and art from them.  Instead, AdBusters is just an example where the left creates open points that fascists can infiltrate.

 

The conventional political spectrum often betrays the actual process for radicalization that takes places on what we call the “far-right.”  The term far-right is often negated by comparative fascist studies scholars because it lacks clear boundaries.  Is it right populism?  Was Hitler on the far-right, or Ron Paul?  What we generally mean is anything that is within the fascism spectrum, from racialist to masculanist to other forms of militant right-wing politics.  The defining feature of fascism is that it adopts many aspects of the left, while maintaining the values of the far-right.  This means it may critique capitalism, argue for protection of the environment, and be anti-war, yet do it for reasons that are racialized, based on hierarchy, and opposed to democracy and equality.  It is because of this that they have found easy entry points into the left, often using a lack of ideological coherence or the willingness to be open to conflicting views if they share some political affinity.

Fascist infiltration in left spaces is reported reasonably often, from participation in Palestinian support work inspired by their anti-Semitism to points when the American Freedom Party or National Socialist Movement will join actions against the TPP.  When we get to vaguer left spaces, where analysis is growing and reshaping, this can be the perfect place to slide in and create doubt and complicate the analysis.

AdBusters has been a left institution for a couple of decades now.  Coming out of the “Culture Jamming” period of the 1990s, it was really founded on anti-globalization principles that were critical of global capitalism because of the way it destroys human interactions, replaces consciousness with vapid branding, and generally destroys the earth, communities, and free thinking through compulsive consumerism.  This type of analysis has become less and less popular since the 2008 financial crisis, largely because it is a critique of the excesses of capitalism.  Today, many people would love to have access to that kind of suburban wasteland, but as poverty and the inability to join the working middle class grows, the focus on capitalism’s effects at creating “boredom” and general affluence is less central.  That being said, they have continued to be an incredibly relevant publication, and they were the rhetorical beginning of Occupy Wallstreet, even if they did not do any real organizing work.

While they are often criticized for using the same flashy style as the media organizations they critique, they have used a beautiful design model to subvert conventional communication.  They also attempt to go beyond the analysis of the left at many points and forgo conventional political essays in favor of appeals that are often more emotional, narrative, and experimental.

Within this model, a clear political line is lacking, and they likely support having a diversity of voices.  Inside of that model, however, there has been a lacking of discernment for how some voices have become present.  Part of this comes from the willingness to include voices that would be controversial, even on the radical left, and part of it comes from a lack of understanding among the editors of what fascist crossover politics actually look like.

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As is common in publications that deal with issues like American foreign policy, Palestinian oppression, and AIPAC, AdBusters has been accused of anti-Semitism.  They would likely say that this is a buzzword used to denigrate supporters of Palestine, and it has been on occasion, but it is also incredibly accurate for many choices they have made.  In a much publicized issue from March 2004, they ran a story called “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?,” which looked at the number of supposed Jews among the Neoconservative establishment of the time.  This attempt to identify “Jewish power” is a major fascist talking point, and is often parroted by people like white nationalist academic Kevin McDonald, where they try and show that Neconservatism is a movement comes from former Trotskyists and is actually is a “far-left” and Jewish ethnic agenda.  This comes from the idea that Jews operate on an ethnic interest collectively, and therefore they are actually allied with Israel instead of the U.S.  The article itself outlines a key area of entryism: the inability to be discerning.  Here, instead of having a clear analysis of Israel, its role in global capitalism, and then the politics key to the Bush administration, they focus in on something that has an incredible history of violent oppression: whether or not they are Jews.

A lot of ink has been spilled chronicling the pro-Israel leanings of American neocons and fact that a disproportionate percentage of them are Jewish. Some commentators are worried that these individuals – labeled ‘Likudniks’ for their links to Israel’s right wing Likud party – do not distinguish enough between American and Israeli interests. For example, whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?

Drawing attention to the Jewishness of the neocons is a tricky game. Anyone who does so can count on automatically being smeared as an anti-Semite. But the point is not that Jews (who make up less than 2 percent of the American population) have a monolithic perspective. Indeed, American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat and many of them disagree strongly with Ariel Sharon’s policies and Bush’s aggression in Iraq. The point is simply that the neocons seem to have a special affinity for Israel that influences their political thinking and consequently American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US (see above). Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of the them are Jewish.

Again, in 2010 an issue had a cover comparing the Gaza Strip to the Warsaw Ghetto, which caused them to be pulled from shelves in different places.  This may be a defensible point when discussing the open-air prison that Gaza had become, but it lacks a clear willingness to confront anti-Semitism as well when building a political analysis about the Palestinian people.

Lasn himself is fond of publishing 9/11-Truthers who blame the attack on the World Trade Center on “Zionist Jews.”  This includes people like Bill and Kathleen Christison, who published their article “Elliot Abrams: Dual Loyalist and Neocon Extraordinaire.”  Here they said that the former deputy national security adviser was behind the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon.  We should look closely at their title, mainly “dual loyalist.”  While they are trying to eschew direct connections, this is the kind of rhetoric that was employed for years in American anti-Semitism where it is said that Jews are actually loyal to Israel instead of the U.S. (hence they have “dual loyalties”).  This is not a direct line, but more of a “dog whistle” to anti-Semitic images of Jews as secretive, diabolical, and using crypsis to hide in society.

AdBusters has also been supporter of Israeli writer Gilard Atzmon, who has often referred to his own anti-Semitism even though he is an ethnic Jew.  He has written essays that say that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the anti-Semitic forgery that claims to be a written account of Jewish leaders planning the destruction of the West, had “prophetic qualities.”  Atzom has even gone as far as asking borderline Holocaust Denial questions, saying “if the Nazis ran a death factory in Aushwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them?”

We are ardent supporters of the Palestinian people, but to create a pro-Palestinian politic built on anti-Semitism rather than a clear political analysis is to inhabit the same racism and conspiracy theory that built the pogroms and Holocaust.

In response to the perceived anti-Semitism in AdBusters, the Canadian Jewish Congress created a campaign against Shoppers Drug Mart, that caries AdBusters, demanding that they pull the magazine from their 515 stores.  This came after AdBusters ran a spread that compared the Warsaw Ghetto to the Gaza Strip under Israeli apartheid.  This comparison is one more out of bad taste than anything, yet is a clear example of the paradox created in circles that discuss these issues without a clear understanding of the prevalence of anti-Semitism.  What has happened over the past twenty years has turned the Gaza Strip into the world’s largest open-air prisons.  What has been done to the Palestinian people, however, deserves no connection to the Holocaust unless your purpose is to undermine the trauma that the Holocaust imposed uniquely on the Jewish people.  Instead, going after the assault on Gaza on its own terms is not only acceptable, but imperative.  Memes that allege that “Zionists are the real Nazis” simply attempt to resurrect anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews so as to dismiss their humanity and to rob their suffering of importance.

Beyond their flirtation with anti-Semitism, much of what seems to be a problematic politic comes from a lack of political orientation, even broadly defined, that would filter out the more questionable voices.  An example of this, which has been challenged in places like Alternet and Jacobin Magazine, has been the magazine’s promotion of Italian conspiracy theorist Beppe Grillo.  He is labeled as “Italy’s Alex Jones,” a title that should reveal his M.O. right away.  He is known especially for going after things similar to chemtrails, being an anti-vaxxer and 9/11-Truther, and providing false cures for cancer.  He has provided manifesto-like works that argue for something like the Matrix, with virtual citizenship that is achieved through state coercion.  He is backed by Bianroberto Casaleggio, who is known for allegiances with Italy’s far-right movements, including the Northern League separatist movement.

Despite these obvious issues, they labeled him “nuanced, fresh, bold and committed as a politician,” as well as being something of a performance artist and being opposed to austerity measures in Europe.  “[C]ountries around the world, from Greece to the US., can loot [him] for inspiration.”

[Grillo] was planting the seed of a renewed-accountable, fresh, rational, responsible, energized-left, that we can hope germinates worldwide.

In a later May/June article they ran another piece supporting Grillo.  Micah White, who is now labeled as being the person in AdBusters who created the Occupy Wallstreet name before it turned into a movement, put out a video saying that the Occupy Movement should take a next step by following Grillo’s strange 5-Star Movement, the same one funded by the separatist movements in Italy.

After the defeat of Occupy, I don’t believe that there is any choice other than trying to grab power by means of an election victory…This is how I see the future: we could bring the 5-Star Movement to America and have the 5-Star Movement winning elections in Italy in America, thereby forming an international party, not only with the 5-Star movement, but other parties as well.

As Jacobin reported, in the days after that video Germany’s Der Spiegel said that Grillo’s discussion of restructuring the parliamentary system was strangely close to Mussolini’s.  Directly before that, the 5-Star Movement MP, Roberta Lombardi, was seeing media coverage after posting support for the early period of fascism in Italy.

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A lot of comparison has been made between AdBusters and places like Info Wars and Prison Planet, mainly because of their “free your mind” rhetoric.  Their line “neither left nor right, but straight ahead” is eerily reminiscent of the Third Positionist fascist rhetoric that attempts to unite political elements of the left and right behind a virulent far-right set of values.  AdBusters itself is assumed to be an anarchist project, which could probably be considered true, but more than anything it is uneven.  In an attempt to deconstruct “everyday capitalism” it often resorts to body shaming of fat people as signs of “cultural excess,” again body-shames thin people for being caught up in cultural images of beauty, and certainly revels in insulting the “sheeple” who do things like shop on Black Friday, not acknowledging that this is often due to a lack of means.  In general, it represents a semi-elitist understanding of the political spectrum in these instances, though it would be incredibly unfair to reduce AdBusters as a whole simply to these cringe-inducing moments.

The term “mental environmentalism” has been picked up as central to the AdBusters project, which is also espoused by their editors.  It is broken down as the way that capitalism and culture can jam your mind, confusing your sense of self, and can could be considered a form of sensory “pollution.”

Mental environmentalism is an emergent movement that in the coming years will be recognized as the fundamental social struggle of our era. It is both a unifying struggle – among mental environmentalists there are everything from conservative Mormons to far-left anarchists – and a struggle that finally, concretely explains the cause of the diversity of ills that threaten us.

To escape the mental chains, and finally pull off the glorious emancipatory revolution the left has so long hoped for, we must become meme warriors who, through the use of culture jamming, spark a wave of epiphanies that shatter the consumerist worldview.

Culture jamming is their answer to this, subverting branding and advertising to open up free space.  This is the name for Kalle Lasn’s, AdBuster’s founder, book.  This is an idea that was incredibly influential through anarchism of the 1990s and early 2000, and it is still an important component of struggle and survival in a capitalist world of simulacra and mental colonialism.  That being said, the AdBusters project fails to make clear distinctions that do not allow this to go into a right-wing direction, which it easily could with the assumption that these same forces of consumer capitalism attack identity, nationalism, and create decadence.

This ability to shift to the right has been seen very clearly in their most recent issue in early 2016, that comes with the tagline “Rejecting Modernity.”  This phrasing is incredibly telling, and it is perhaps the “go to” line for the esoteric neo-fascist Third Positionist movement.  The term “Against the Modern World” comes from fascist philosopher and esotericist Julius Evola, who not only rejects the technology of the modern world, but also its equality, democracy, immigration, racial mixing, and other “degeneracies.”  He believed the modern world to be in what the ancient Vedas called the “Kali Yuga,” or a Dark Age.  This was the last in a period of ages, starting with the glorious Golden Age, after which there would be a destruction and the cycle would begin again.  Some in this fascist interpretation of the Vedas saw this cycle of ages in terms of the Caste system, with each age being dominated by that caste.  In the Golden Age we were controlled by the Brahmin caste, a priestly caste that maintained the hierarchies of the world’s spiritual traditions.  Today we were ruled by the lowest caste, the worker, who, through ideologies like Marxism, have taken control of society from the natural aristocracy.

This rejection of modernity is the call in fascist cultural spaces like neofolk, racial heathenry, and other types of far-right, left hand path esotericism.  Going after the modern world is also a somewhat sanitized way of speaking about their politics, where they instead focus on obsessions with things like the myths of pre-Christian Europe rather than just ranting about race mixing.  They also end up finding some type of rhetorical crossovers with areas of the radical left, as we see in this case.  This rhetoric is frighteningly close to what we see in parts of green anarchism and anarcho-primitivism, with people like John Zerzan.  Zerzan, who is also published reasonably often at AdBusters, believes we should return to hunter-gatherer societies that were “unalienated” and non-hierarchical.  He also would reject modernity, as well as appropriate much of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger.  Zerzan also speaks about the problems of what he calls “mass cultural orientation,” a term that walks a very close line to “multi-culturalism.”  He also chooses to publish his books at Feral House Press, a publisher known for the involvement of fascist writer Michael Moynihan and has the penchant for publishing many far-right tomes.  In a review of Zerzan’s 2008 book Twilight of the Machines, anti-fascist writer Spencer Sunshine discusses this ideological closeness, but does note that Zerzan himself is not associated with those ideas.

For example, in a 1993 review of Tom Rockmore’s Heidegger’s Nazism and Philosophy, Zerzan writes that Rockmore “convincingly demonstrates that Heidegger’s Nazism was no mere contingency or accident.” But Twilight of the Machines contains a number of references to Heidegger, even though they are not always completely favorable.  Adorno, in The Jargon of Authenticity, said that thinkers who championed the unmediated self (such as Heidegger and psychologist Carl Jung) forwarded intrinsically fascist perspectives. Adorno, along with many post-structuralists, also questioned the existence of any kind of complete social totality, as well as the possibility of an unfragmented self.

Zerzan rejects these views as reflections of our own alienated society, but the fact that fascists are drawn to Zerzan’s views, and that he is inspired by certain philosophers with ugly pasts, raises concerns. In fact, it is easy to see why Nazis see his attack on symbolic thought as the same as their attack on the Jews who they claim are the source of alienation, decadence, and abstraction. Nazis see his championing of the unmediated community as the same as their desire for a homogenous, racially-pure community, which they think will exist as a unified whole, free of fragmentation.

Zerzan is not sympathetic to Nazi ideas, but in terms of certain philosophical categories, there is a closeness. Because of this, and because he rejects Adorno’s path of separation from fascism, he needs to go further than denouncing fascist political actors; he needs to confront their philosophies directly.  Zerzan needs to explain why his views are fundamentally different, and incompatible, with theirs.

Zerzan, as well as many other green anarchists and those on the anti-Civ post-left, are often appropriated by those on the far-right who reject the “modern world.”  AdBusters seems willing to put itself in that camp as well, uncritically using phrasing and overlapping ideological critiques with this neo-fascist movement.  The issue goes on to include the regular spread for AdBusters, such as the loneliness and impersonality of the “modern world.”  This part of the analysis puts them directly on par with this wing of the modern fascist politic, and there is little present here that separates them substantially from those who see this modern world as basically a contemporary “Weimar” Germany where people are alienated from their true racial identity.

As they say in Jacobin, the “Battle for the Mind,” is at the center, rather than something that could be derived from a social view or politic.

Lasn might claim not to believe in leaders, but he believes in elites: marketing professionals with a higher calling, responsible for shepherding public consciousness to save humanity from brands, from themselves.

And by exaggerating the mass media’s ability to zombie-fy the public, jammers could imagine that they, too, had Svengali-like powers over ordinary proles. For all the “tools” Adbusters offered to sway public consciousness – stencilling, stickering, page defacement, supermarket trolley sabotage – there was never much emphasis on social skills, on persuading people with politics instead of bombarding them with theater or treating them like hackable machines.

More than anything, what sets culture jammers apart from social anarchism and weds them to the Grillo camp of quacks is a unifying emphasis on a theory called “mental environmentalism.” Mental environmentalism, Micah White explains, is “the core idea behind Adbusters, the essential critique that motivates our struggle against consumer society.”

For Adbusters, concern over the flow of information goes beyond the desire to protect democratic transparency, freedom of speech or the public’s access to the airwaves. Although these are worthwhile causes, Adbusters instead situates the battle of the mind at the center of its political agenda. Fighting to counter pro-consumerist advertising is done not as a means to an end, but as the end in itself. This shift in emphasis is a crucial element of mental environmentalism.

In this way, his project could easily shift over to technocratic control or the far-right, without the ability to actually utilize culture jamming with a social endgame.  We would likely disagree with parts of the Jacobin analysis, as well as their counter-politic, but that does not mean that they are without a cogent criticism of what is happening with the culture jamming project.  In a lot of ways there is an underlying elitism that happens in this project, with the “plebes” in the streets unable to differentiate the media images they are seen and in need of saviors like Lasn, and possibly other benevolent elites, to come and rescue them.  This is starkly different than the ground-up revolutionary spirit in play with most anarchists, and instead harkens to much of the Conservative Revolutionary or Radical Traditionalist ideas that we literally need to be saved by an elite caste of rulers, ones bound by virtue to lead a revolution “from above.”

The revival of a hero aesthetic is also a central notion of resurrecting a fascist politic, one that comes in odds with the “homogenizing effects of egalitarianism.”  In one issue, AdBusters decided to “jam” another culture jam, one by Barbara Kruger created in 1987.  This was a billboard with a classic image of a girl feeling a boy’s arm as he flexes with the line saying “we don’t need another hero.”  This image was critiquing what we now call “toxic masculinity.”  As was outlined in by Max Haiven in the journal article “Privatized Resistance: AdBusters and the Culture of Neoliberalism,” Lasn and AdBuster’s critique largely undermines their larger project and reveals something else problematic about their politics.

By sharp contrast, AdBusters’ ‘jam’ of Kruger’s ‘jam’ is not only a refutation of Kruger’s intervention, but also a keen example of why hers was necessary in the first place.  With the romantic image of two young male “radicals” in a violent protest situation, AdBusters has reclaimed the masculinized individualist hero problematized by Kruger’s socialist-feminist intervention.  AdBusters seems to not only suggest that we need violent vanguardist leaders to confront global power, but, in a way, that revolution has been made effeminate by works like Kruger’s which do not meet consumer culture with the unmediated gestural action to which AdBusters aspires.  Gone is the deep intentionality and cunning of Kruger’s work, which invited the audience to think of themselves critically and reflexively as participants in their own liberation.  The AdBusters jam represents the politics of the gesture in which revolutionary acts and culture jamming are prized for their own sake.  Here, the gesture is valourized both in the content of the jam, the two masked male youth whose target is unknown (for all we know that would be firebombing a mosque), but also in the jam itself which the history and politics of Kruger’s prior intervention is chucked out the window in favour of a gestural resistance of the petty little boys (and their regimes) she so ardently and cleverly critiqued.

Haiven goes on to compare AdBusters to films like Fight Club, where there is a “seductive yet problematic claim to ‘radical resistance.’

As a result, AdBusters resistance becomes coded in the figure of Tyler Durden, the hypermasculinized leader of an essentially fascist terrorist cell.  Durden’s attitude, which valourizes the “mayhem”—causing gesture, devoid of a broader strategy or alliances, relegates any form of social critique or solution to social ills as ‘an act of bad-faith or the unacceptable whine of victimization.”

This mode of reverting to hypermasculinization as a form of resistance has been a problematic aspect of many radical circles, especially noted in the forest defense movement and in insurrectionary anarchist and ultra-left circles.  This should not mean that those movements are guilty of those qualities as such, but that they have allowed for entry by those ideas and behaviors, just as AdBusters has.  Lasn regularly valorizes his characters, such as his characterization of the Situationists in his book Culture Jam, saying they were “heroes” and were “unbridled and anarchical, pure vessels of poetic expression, living somehow out of time(pg 105).”  While this image may share the description with Ernst Junger’s figure of the “Anarch,” this does not make it a fascist fantasy, but it does present a problematic dynamic.

Haiven goes on to note that not only do they lack a clear direction for what this revolutionary spirit should be, except to not be “wimpy,” but their analysis of the state is often directly in line with right-wing libertarian critiques.

Jacobin jumps on the “Scientology like” language used to describe Mental Pollution in much of their writing, which are essentially pseudo-science in the guise of revolutionary psychology.  This is true, but when drawing on the writing of people like Naomi Klein it is hard to defend the idea that mass advertising is anything but harmful.  That does not, however, justify an analysis almost completely centered on misreadings of psychology, which blame people for doing things like seeking conventional medical treatment.  What culture jammers should do then is turn their criticisms back on AdBusters, illuminating the parts of their program that make little sense, draw on bigotries and reactionary ideas, and create a culture of self-blame rather than revolutionary politics.

It was even suggested by Jacobin that AdBusters would seek an allegiance with the Tea Party, and, in a sense, they have in that they have published Tea Party voices. What they point to is an interview with Lasn where he basically fawns over the Tea Party, and he sees their dissent as the key point rather than their political orientation.

People are coming up with the Optimist Party and all kinds of weird stuff, but nonetheless I feel that something serious could happen. We may well see something like the True Cost Party of America—a radical new way of looking at the global economy and the ecological future. It could well be a sort of strange hybrid party, a getting-together of the left and the right. If you look at the Tea Party, they are totally convinced that America is going in the wrong direction, that there is something fundamentally wrong with America, and that is a very similar feeling to what we have on the left. So maybe this third party will not be the usual kind of a clearly left or right party.

In one issue of AdBusters during this period, they posted the article of a World War II survivor who accounted the horrors of the Third Reich, except the only horrors were things like socialized medicine.  The account did not include most of what is commonly understood to be the genocidal violence and discrimination of Nazi fascism, but instead was an opportunity to say that since everyone was getting free medical treatment, there was no money or time for medical research.  Lasn continued this lack of discernment over whether or not the Tea Party could be a revolutionary force in his article “Regime Change in America.”

Blackspot-Unswoosher-1

AdBusters anti-consumerist credentials have often been called into question, especially when they released their “Blackspot campaign.”  This was an incredibly expensive shoe they sold that looked like a carbon copy of the then popular Converse All-Stars, with a black spot over where the logo would be.  Critics have pointed out that this was simply another form of consumerist ploys, where they were using their cultural clout as a counter-cultural force and identity to share a product that would have its own brand appeal.  In the earlier mentioned article by Haiven, they discuss the way that AdBusters and Lasn responded to criticism of the Blackspot campaign, including by people like Naomi Klein.  Buy Nothing Day, another campaign they are famous for, is the object of almost complete derision on the left, where they seem to lack any strategic focus and instead create inter-class victim blaming so as to develop a completely ineffective attack on corporate capitalism.

It needs to be said that AdBusters has repeatedly ran anti-fascist articles, especially a popular one that begged the question as to whether or not right-wing America was turning fascist.  They have repeatedly published articles on the “traits” of fascism by people like Umberto Eco, and often publish articles deriding reactionary ideas in things like “hipster culture.”  Because of this, as well as the rest of their publishing trajectory, AdBusters should continue to be thought of as a radical left publication with incredible value.

What this instead brings up is what a lack of discernment and a willingness to publish some voices uncritically can do.  Entryism is the primary tactics of the establishing radical right, and for those elements that attempt to co-opt parts of a left analysis, such as National Anarchists or neo-Tribalists, it requires a certain amount of depth and self-criticism to weed out their attempts to gain entry.  This co-optation has happened either intentionally or ideologically all over the place, and the complexity of these ideas has created a smokescreen that makes onlookers often unable to see when a subcultural fascism is taking place.  This was true in publications like Green Anarchist, is is true now in Olympia with Sadie and Exile, and it will be increasingly running along this paradox as fascists further try to infiltrate deep green, anarchist, and radical spaces.  AdBusters has made themselves uniquely vulnerable to this type of discourse, and so we should continue to engage with them so as to create a dividing line as to what kind of voices we are willing to accept.

 

 

 

What Happens if Trump Takes Iowa?

In a recent conversation between Radix Journal’s Richard Spencer and the Twitter white nationalist sensation Ricky Vaughn, Donald Trump’s upcoming primary showing in Iowa was the key point.  Both of these characters see Trump’s campaign as a proxy for the unchecked anger of reactionary whites, and when the Iowa GOP polls open on Monday it will set the trend for New Hampshire a week later and, in essence, the rest of the primaries.  According to CNN, 30% of Republican primary voters are going to pushing for Trump, the second closest behind him is the ultraconservative Ted Cruz at 12%.  Many laughed at the beginning of Trump’s bid, and when he pulled to the top of the GOP polls he was often compared to the 2012 race of Herman Cain.  Except he stayed there.

Iowa is also looking this bleak, with the Des Moines Register recently clocking him at 28% above Cruz’s 23%.  It will be safe to say that when looking at these numbers, one of the two of them will win, and it would be more surprising at this point to see Cruz pull to the lead.

The issue for anti-fascists is less about how to counter him with an election strategy and more about what this type of turn means for the confrontation of the far right in America.  A liberal strategy may be to just double down on Bernie, or even to go with Hilary since a more middle ground candidate will have the ability to dethrone Trump in the general election.  There is little to be done in the Republican race as they seem to be leaning towards the far right of the party on all fronts, with so-called “moderates” like Jeb Bush dropping quickly.

So, what would happen if Donald Trump does win in Iowa?  Putting politics aside, what you will see is the continued mainstreaming of nationalism in America.  The Alt Right has ridden the Trump wave into the semi-mainstream, with a break happening in the GOP between those who want to stick with party orthodoxy and those who are going to give in fully to reactionary impulses.  We are certainly seeing this with conservative loudspeakers like Rush Libaugh and Anne Coulter, who has been contributing to VDare recently and has been both quoting and following American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor on Twitter.  Week by week, publications like The Right Stuff, The Daily Stormer, and Radix Journal chock up all of their references in the mainstream media as memes like Cuckservative head from the margins into the mainstream.

The reverse effect that this has, which is the sort of dialectic that nationalists like Richard Spencer love to site, is that Donald Trump represents the re-Republicanization of white nationalism.  Over the last five years, those on the Alt Right have been pushing white nationalism away from the party politics that it consorted with through Libertarianism and Paleoconservatism.  People like Sam Francis and Joe Sobran were dead while Pat Buchanan, Paul Gottfried, Peter Brimelow, and, later, Jason Richwine and John Derbyshire, had been blacklisted from the Conservative Movement.  They were shifting in the direction of right-wing philosophy, revivalist paganism, traditionalism, and dissident strains on the revolutionary pan-fascist movement.  Their movement, dripping in Idealism and completely divorced from conventional politics, was trying to define a right-wing counterculture.  With Donald Trump, they have rushed back to the center, attempting to mainstream their movement in ways that havn’t been possible since David Duke.  The only difference here is that they are bringing their racist vulgarities with them, and the reactionary impulse that Trump has cultivated has been accepting of this.  At a time when racial tensions have hit even harder during the refugee immigration and recent attempts to confront police racism, those on the edge are being given permission to jump into their racial resentments full force by Trump’s rhetoric.  Their white nationalist movement has a chance not to go mainstream as they would have liked, but for their bigotries to hit the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Trump winning in Iowa will open up that platform further, but, unfortunately, the gates have already been opened.  Right now it is up to antifascists not to just confront Trump, or to simply catalog and oppose this insurrectionary nationalist movement, but to continue to undermine white supremacy and racism in all ways possible.  This means continuing to mobilize with Black Lives Matter, to go after anti-immigrant extremism in our communities, and to defend against Islamophobia.  The fascist reaction is not just one type of politic, but instead intersectional in its fear and bigotry.  If Trump wins then that is a sign of where we are at, and it means that there will be continued polarization between those that want to restore white privilege and those that seek to undermine oppression.

In a certain sense, Monday is not as important as what comes next for the anti-racist movement.  Trump’s turn was shocking, as was the ability for white nationalists to mobilize around it, but their narrative still has yet to break through entirely.  An intersectional Antifa project, one that is able to confront them rhetorically, shut down their communication, expose who they are, and block them in the streets is what is going to shut it down before it starts.  Donald Trump represents a window for them, not their movement in its entirety.  If his numbers spike in the next few weeks it may inform the tactics and strategies of the anti-fascist left, but it will not change our underlying project.

As Expose is Released, Michael Schmidt Continues to Deny

The long awaited article from Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens has had its first volume released, and later chapters will come out every couple days for the next couple of weeks to give it time to simmer with those who have a stake in its contents.  This volume outlined a little bit about Michael Schmidt’s background, then mostly looking at a 2008 internal document he shared with the South African platformist organization Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front.  The article itself goes into the deeply problematic elements of the paper that essentially says that people of color will never take the lead in revolutionary movements.  Instead, white anarchists are essentially the vanguard that will lead these communities who can only serve at a lower level.

The racist implications of this paper are clear, even if people have disagreements about what Schmidt’s intent was.  Schmidt himself has chosen not to remain silent about this part of the article as he has taken to social media to speak out in anger.

So it took my former publishers in the US a whole 18 days to come up with a single 2008 internal discussion document in which I ask difficult – and no doubt politically incorrect – questions as to why the ZACF had failed to (at that stage; they have now) attract significant black membership, as their “proof” that for decades I’ve been an undercover white supremacist. I’d say I was devastated if I hadn’t regained my sense of humour about all this buffoonery.

In fact the document was given to them by those who started this whispering campaign against me, so they probably had it 18 days ago; why wait so long? Because they are clutching at straws!

What he is mentioning at the end is that the statement came from AK Press a couple of weeks ago, yet the article itself was not ready at that time.  Many expressed frustration that the evidence was not made immediately.

The next volume of the series on Schmidt will be released on Wednesday, October 14th.

People and Organizations Speak Out on Michael Schmidt Accusations

As we collectively wait for the longer article discussing the recent allegations that well known anarchist author Michael Schmidt has also been working as an active white nationalist, the dialogue all around the board has become confusing.  Schmidt’s book Black Flame has been important in “red and black” anarchist circles, and he has certainly been known and trusted by many inside of organizing circles.  The revelation that he could very well be joining the South African reactionary front is frightening, and people are reeling.

The global Anarkismo network, which ties together various “platformist” and “especifist” anarchist organizations released a statement on the issue, though it should be said that this does not necessarily reflect the opinion of all of the organizations or individuals involved with the project.

The international Anarkismo Network, which brings together class struggle anarchist organisations from more than a dozen countries in both the global South and North, and has relations with far more from across the globe, has noted with great surprise and concern the recent accusations by AK Press that Michael Schmidt is a fascist working undercover to infiltrate the anarchist movement [1].

Michael Schmidt has been a regular and long-standing contributor to Anarkismo.net and, in the past, has sat on its editorial and delegates groups. If these accusations are proven to be true Anarkismo will take immediate and appropriate action to ban him from posting on the website, as well as to guard against any possible future infiltration.

Before we can make any pronouncements on the matter, however, we need to carefully examine both the AK Press evidence, the article by Alexander Reid Ross, as well as Michael Schmidt’s response to the evidence and article. As a network Anarkismo has not taken sides, and will not accuse the accuser or the accused before there is more information and all the evidence has been presented. Both sides will have to explain themselves thoroughly first and be available for answering any serious questions about the information.

However, we must be clear that we feel the way in which AK Press has dealt with the matter is irresponsible and prejudicial, judging and condemning Michael Schmidt without presenting any evidence, and without allowing him the right to defend himself, or to respond to the article before making the public announcement of 25 September 2015.

Both sides must be given a fair chance to have their say.

The Anarkismo Network therefore demands that the alleged “incontrovertible evidence” be released by AK Press with immediate effect, and not to refer us to the journalist: since AK Press itself has endorsed the position, it must take responsibility for the proof.

We furthermore demand that AK Press unconditionally and explicitly state, also with immediate effect, that its allegations refer to Michael Schmidt alone, and not to any publishers, co-authors, editors, left organisations or currents with which Michael Schmidt may have been associated.

We urge AK Press to publish Michael Schmidt’s official responses on its newswires and sites, as we believe that he has the right to defend himself.

Schmidt has been active in the Anarkismo project, publishing quite a bit of original work there over the years and interacting with many of the member organizations.

The Institute for Anarchist Theory and History took a somewhat stronger stance in support of Schmidt, mainly citing the lack of evidence presented along with the accusations.

The Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH) – a multinational research project currently based in the Global South (Brazil and South Africa) – heard the shocking AK Press accusation (Sept. 25th, 2015) that Michael Schmidt, one of our members, is supposedly an “undercover fascist”. AK Press states that they have “received and compiled” what they “consider to be incontrovertible evidence that Michael Schmidt is a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement”.

This statement was made without presenting any supporting evidence. It is only stated that a person called Alexander Reid Ross “will soon be publishing an article that presents all the details in a more comprehensive manner.”

The allegations came as enormous and terrible surprise. We would like in this statement to point out some of the measures we have already taken to deal with this matter, and to note some concerns regarding the manner in which the matter is being handled by AK Press.

Michael Schmidt is, at this moment, on a leave of absence from the IATH to allow him, and the IATH, to deal adequately with the matter. He will be on leave to prepare his defense, and will remain so until the IATH Council has taken a final position.

We will only make our final statement on the matter after carefully analyzing the AK Press evidence (not presented yet) and Michael Schmidt’s responses.

We cannot proceed further without criticizing the way in which AK Press has acted. AK Press has already tried, condemned and sentenced Michael Schmidt (in a “juridical” sense). They alone received and compiled the evidence, interpreted it, reached judgment and sentenced Michael Schmidt by cancelling his upcoming book, and by putting out of print two previous books in which he was involved.

All this was done without presenting evidence to the public, and without allowing him the right to defend himself.[2] We think that these measures – which are guaranteed in the most basic of the “democratic” states that we so regularly criticize – must surely be guaranteed in any model of libertarian “justice.”

The result should have been foreseen. Hundreds of people have shared AK Press Facebook’s sentencing, and individuals and organizations have reproduced it. Michael Schmidt has been publicly condemned, with no evidence presented, and no opportunity to defend himself.

We are not here, to defend one side, or the other. We believe that we will only be able to do so once all the evidence has been presented by AK Press and by Michael Schmidt in his responses.

But we would like to appeal to people in the “libertarian milieu” to proceed in the same way, taking into account the basic ethics that we believe anyone, who claims to be an anarchist, should uphold.

To minimize the damage, we insist that AK Press immediately make public the evidence it used so that we, and others, can analyze the case and take a definite, well informed and evidence-based position.

Likewise, the Anarchist Federation out of the UK was less confident in Schmidt, and reminds people that this situation with Schmidt should be a ‘wake up call’ about infiltration and ultra-right ideas.  But this only lasted a moment, as they actually pulled the article they originally posted and replaced it with the line:

This article has been removed at this time on the back of internal discussions within the AF and communications with the ZACF. We should have an updated version of this article available shortly.

What this really says is that people are hesitant to roundly remove Schmidt from their community until they have hard proof, which is a reasonable position to take.

Schmidt uses several different Facebook accounts, with various different names ranging from his taken name(Michael Schmidt), to other aliases.  On one of these he has posted responses to the AK Press accusations, as well as going deeper into how the issue was raised and how it was handled in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front.  On these Facebook threads, members of the Third Positionist National Revolution chimed in, which was alarming since they were clearly friends with Schmidt.

This seemed especially noteworthy after a fake page was created for AK Press that posted a long message saying that they retracted the accusations against Schmidt and have begun to see the “revolutionary potential” of National Anarchism.  This is untrue, Schmidt’s books are remaining out of print at AK Press and there is no reason to believe that they will ever support decentralist fascist movements like National Anarchism.

Schmidt, in his large response to the accusations, said he thought that he was being interviewed by Alexander Reid Ross, who exposed this news, because he was listed as a source on Wikipedia about National Anarchism.  The quote, which he was surprised was used as a source for this encyclopedia page, was taken from an article he did for Anarkismo.  This line does sound somewhat sympathetic towards National Anarchism, but at the very least is uninformed about the way that National Anarchism actually plays into the ideological legacy of third positionist fascism.

Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?

We know that there is a Stormfront account run by Michael Schmidt, though he stated that this was used for research for his position as a reporter.  The account, which is called Karelianblue, has a great number of extremely racist posts, going far beyond what appears to be reasonable research.  There are also posts about the National Anarchist organization that he is accused of starting called Black Battlefront.

Black Battlefront is a racially-aware, anti-racist revolutionary cadre network of White African politico-social soldiers defending our unique culture, under the anarchist black flag! We are pan-secessionist militants who staunchly oppose Boer Genocide and we work for the establishment of White African base area communities in South Africa and Namibia (in particular, but also elsewhere in Africa) where we can live out our cultural prerogatives unmolested by the Black majority. We take our inspiration from militants and cultural warriors of the calibre of Nestor Makhno, Kai Murros, Jim Goad and Troy Southgate. Interested people can apply to join our facebook group and if we believe you are genuine, we’ll sign you up.

Now, the group mentioned was stated to be a fake by Schmidt used to get him closer to members of National Anarchist movements, but the double-sided politics displayed here looks more like an honest attempt to form this group than a total artifice.

These various connections should not be used as a hard evidence of Schmidt’s connection to the larger “alt fascist” movement, but they are creating a general confusion about what is true and showing that there is certainly an organized right-wing contingent that is holding a stake in Schmidt’s place in the anarchist movement.  Schmidt has been using social media since the accusations came forward to constantly post articles and photos about anti-fascist traditions and issues that are relevant to a multiracial South Africa.

One notable absence from this discourse is Lucien van Der Walt, Schmidt’s co-author of Black Flame.  He very well may just be staying out of the discussion until more clear evidence is made available, which may be a smart position to take.  Many have thrown out accusations that he knew about Schmidt’s alleged association with the far-right, but this is really just hearsay at this point.

Any evidence about Schmidt’s connections to the far right has yet to be released, so for those who are unsure of what to do in this situation will have to wait a bit longer until the large expose is released.  Right now there are forums everywhere that are becoming heated arguments taking sides on the issue.  We prefer to say that it remains to be seen, though we respect the people making the accusations as well as Schmidt’s right to respond to them.

Michael Schmidt Responds to Allegations of White Nationalism

In the last few days, those in anarchist, platformist, syndicalist, and related circles have been reeling from the accusations from AK Press that their Black Flame author, Michael Schmidt, is a closet white nationalist.  The accusations were made while they were getting ready to publish the sequel to Black Flame, Global Fire, which he would begin book tours on shortly.  As of yet the main evidence has not been made available as the author, Alexander Reid Ross, is still working on the story.  Since then many organizations have put out responses, with many asking for evidence before taking the accusations as fact.

In response, Michael Schmidt responded to the accusations directly with a lengthy statement outlining a defense to these accusations.  He states plainly and without ambiguity that the claims are untrue and a misreading of the ‘evidence.´

Two swallows don’t make a summer – Michael Schmidt’s reply to AK Press allegations, 27 September 2015

Introduction
Right up front I want to state that the hurtful allegations made against me by the AK Press Collective – that I have been masquerading as an anarchist while I am in fact a fascist – do not only have an impact on me, but directly damages more than two decades of hard work on behalf of the anarchist movement by my closest comrades. This is especially true of Prof Lucien van der Walt, my co-author of Black Flame, who has committed the past 15 years to researching and writing its as-yet unpublished sister volume, Global Fire, a huge synthesis of world anarchist organisational and ideological history. I must stress in the strongest possible terms that Lucien and others such as my comrades at the Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH) in São Paulo, Brazil, https://ithanarquista.wordpress.com/ are entirely faultless in this affair and so cannot possibly be tarred with the same brush: the allegations relate solely to myself and to no-one else.
Secondly, thanks for all the messages of support from my friends and comrades around the world, including those that have taken a “let’s hear the evidence first” approach, because that’s the polite way to do things. I initially thought AK Press had gone public without contacting me first, but on trawling through my alternate email I found a message from Zach Blue – so thanks to the AK Press Collective for attempting to alert me to the pending allegations.
Researching the white ultra-right
AK Press has yet to produce its evidence against me, but I know what it consists of. The allegations arise from a lengthy interview conducted with me by the writer Alexander “Sasha” Reid-Ross over June to August 2015. Sasha told me he was researching a book on that weird and worrying new entryist tendency called “national-anarchism” for publication by AK Press under the title Against the Fascist Creep (I have a record of the entire interview if needed). I expected that he had approached me because for some reason, Wikipedia cites me as a source on “national-anarchism” because of a paragraph extracted from a very long review of two brilliant books on South Asian anarchism by Maia Ramnath in which I say that Gandhi’s thought, far from being anarchist, appears more as a precursor to “that strange hybrid of recent years,” as I called it, “national anarchism”; the full review is online here: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404 .
It is definitely an unusual take on Gandhi, but it is obvious that I in no way support “national-anarchism” nor find it has anything in common with genuine anarchism. Bear in mind that the article was peer-reviewed by both Lucien van der Walt and the anarkismo editorial collective before being published. In any case, I was eager to assist and Sasha is very knowledgeable and a thorough researcher. I’m now not sure if he really is planning such a book, or whether he was simply tasked by AK Press with investigating allegations that I was involved with the “National Anarchist Movement,” but that is irrelevant to the issue at hand.
The allegations have their origin with the fact that since 2005 until I shut it down recently, I maintained a profile on the white supremacist website Stormfront. Let me explain: I am an investigative journalist by profession and in 2005 was working at the Saturday Star in Johannesburg. My beat included extra-Parliamentary politics – social movements, trade unions, and political organisations from the ultra-left to the ultra-right. My editor Brendan Seery allowed me to set up a Stormfront account under which I could pose as a sympathetic fellow-traveller in order to keep an eye on what the white right-wing in South Africa was talking about: in other words, this was professionally vetted by my editor.
For the next decade I kept my finger on the pulse of the right by reading and occasionally posting on Stormfront. Most of my posts were pretty neutral in tone, though I did have to take an essentially racist stance in order to fit in and not arouse suspicion: this was distasteful, but is part and parcel of doing undercover work. I have since shut the account down, but some of the results of my work on the white right are included in the first chapter of my new book, A Taste of Bitter Almonds, which is due out in November (see Background below); these make it clear that while I attempt to understand the white right, I am no friend of theirs.
In 2009, with Black Flame published, I started researching contemporary claims to the anarchist label, including “anarcho-primitivism,” “post-anarchism” and “national-anarchism” for a section in the up-coming volume with Lucien van der Walt, Global Fire: the intent was to critique and discredit their claims to anarchist legitimacy, but I needed to get to know their materials properly first. I used my Stormfront profile to make contact with Troy Southgate, the founder of “national-anarchism”. In order to establish my bona fides with him and his circle, I established two false Facebook profiles, one of a woman, another of a man, and a blog purporting to be that of a Southern African “national-anarchist” outfit called Black Battlefront set up by the couple.
I fleshed things out by inventing back-stories on the couple, the guy as a white Namibian, and the woman as a risk analyst of Ukrainian-American descent; I also had them write two detailed pieces, one a “Creed” of Black Battlefront in order for the false organisation to sound plausible in a “national-anarchist” context, and another a critique of Jared Diamond’s great book Guns, Germs and Steel, to establish the woman as a serious thinker who would be of interest to Southgate. This positioning allowed me to talk on a personal level with Southgate and his cronies and so round out my research.
To be frank, though I readily admitted my Stormfront profile to Sasha, I lied to him about those profiles when he asked me because although I finished my research on “national-anarchism” more than a year ago, I still wanted to maintain the links to Southgate and his “National-Anarchist Movement” just in case – and the first rule of undercover work is you only tell who you absolutely need to, so I did not even tell my former comrades in the ZACF. Sorry for lying, Sasha, Lucien and the rest, but intense confidentiality is my practice as an investigative journalist; for example, in the 2000s, I never even discussed with my then-wife what I was working on until it was published (do I need to state that she’s an Indian woman and that she very kindly did the hard work of proof-reading Black Flame?). But now that my cover is blown, it makes no difference.
My life took a dramatic turn for the worse in July 2010 when I was hospitalised with meningitis – and as a parting gift, the meningitis provoked a massive seizure that broke my spine in five places. In the aftermath of that, I spent a month in hospital, mostly in a delirium caused by the virus and the medication. In the subsequent months, due to heavy pain medication and perhaps some brain damage caused by the meningitis/seizure, my memory is patchy about what I posted online under my Stormfront and Facebook aliases – Sasha questioned me in detail about this period, but, for example, I remember absolutely nothing about the entire first month out of hospital when I was apparently cared for by some friends (thanks, guys, but my mind is still a blank!). Although I initially thought my account had been hacked, because I couldn’t remember making some of the posts, I now accept that I must have posted what is there.
In any case, as a result of one of those posts in that period, in 2011 some anarchist comrades came across a Black Battlefront link to my Stormfront profile and in shock recognised my face. My ZACF comrades hauled me onto the red carpet and grilled me about this – and rightly so! I admitted to them that the Stormfront profile was mine, but explained that it had been vetted by my editor and that I still used it for research; I did not admit to the Facebook profiles because a few months before, a good friend had confessed to me that for years she had worked as an agent for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), actually being paid to be the girlfriend of one of our comrades, to keep an eye on us; I could not risk my penetration of the “National-Anarchist Movement” becoming known in activist circles in case other NIA agents got wind of it and used the information for their own ends. Nevertheless, the ZACF accepted my explanation. What AK Press has now discovered, I believe, based on Sasha’s questions, is exactly what the ZACF discovered back in 2011; I infiltrated the far-right; it did not infiltrate me!
Background: my position on race & nationalism
I won’t detail my anarchist activism, save to say that in 1992 I joined what became the Durban Anarchist Federation (DAF) in 1993 – while apartheid was still in force and I was ducking the Military Police who were trying to force me into part-time military service – and was in Chiapas in 1996 as a DAF delegate, then switched to the anarcho-syndicalist Workers’ Solidarity Federation (WSF) in 1997, following its key comrades into the Bikisha Media Collective in 1999 when the WSF disbanded, and again into the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) when it was founded in 2003, taking with me the Anarchist Black Cross (South Africa) which I founded in 2002. It goes without saying that all these organisations were multi-racial and anti-fascist.
After two decades of activism in black working class and poor townships, I resigned from the ZACF in 2009 to focus on my research and writing. Apart from numerous Workers’ Solidarity and Zabalaza journal and online www.anarkismo.net articles, which serve to affirm my anti-racist credentials, my published books are:
1) Anarquismo Búlgaro em Armas (Brazil, 2008). This, on the Bulgarian Anarchist Communist Federation over 1919-1948, is the first in a series looking at anarchist mass movements that defended themselves by force of arms. The next in the series will be on Uruguay in 1956-1985, and on Manchuria in 1929-1945 – which shows that not all such movements were “white”.
2) Black Flame: the Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (AK Press, USA, 2009), with Lucien van der Walt. A controversial attempt to discover the coherent heart of anarchist theory by looking at the historical record, it has been translated into German (Nautilus, Germany, 2012), and translations are pending in Spanish, French and Greek. This book remains my core statement of political belief and I have not wavered from it (note the positions in Chapter 10 in particular on the intersections of race, nationalism and class, which are profoundly anarchist). Its unpublished sister volume Global Fire stresses the practical internationalism of the anarchist movement and its practical engagement with race and national liberation particularly in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Oceania and Asia.
3) Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism (AK Press, USA, 2013), which is the English translation of the French original (Lux Éditeur, Canada, 2012). This is in some ways a pocket version of Black Flame & Global Fire together: a potted history of the international anarchist movement in five waves from 1868, it stresses the multi-ethnic, transnational nature of the movement across the decades and is unique for its non-Western scope.
4) Drinking with Ghosts: the Aftermath of Apartheid’s Dirty War (BestRed, South Africa, 2014). This looks at the continuing damage done by the legacy of apartheid transnationally in Southern Africa – it avoids most local books’ narrow nationalist perspective and is explicitly anarchist in perspective.
5) A Taste of Bitter Almonds: Perdition and Promise in the New South Africa (BestRed, South Africa, due November 2015). This takes the controversial position that the corporate entity that is “South Africa” was established on the bones of the genocide of First Nations people here, stresses the multi-ethnic and mixed-race nature of all South Africans including myself, and consists of interviews across the country with the poor and excluded, mostly black, majority from an anarchist perspective.
Conclusion
Two swallows don’t make a summer, and the fact that I maintained a Stormfront profile and some fake Facebook accounts does not make me a fascist: they need to be seen in their proper context of my exhaustive research into the international anarchist movement over the past 15 years – work that is pretty much unique in terms of the breadth and depth of its non-Western (ie: non-white) materials. In 26 years of paid journalism and 23 years of unpaid anarchist activism, I don’t believe I’ve ever written an article that had even a whiff of white supremacy, fascism or racism to it – yet I do realise I am saying this as a white South African who continues to benefit directly from centuries of institutional racism. I won’t make any claim about how many back friends I have, but the fact is that my most beloved friends and comrades hail from diverse cultures across the planet. I truly hope that this response is taken by those friends and my comrades at AK Press in a constructive spirit and that, even if we only finally manage agree to disagree over my methods of research, at least then part with no ill feelings.
Red & Black regards
Michael Schmidt

The rumors and evidence pieces are numerous at this point, but without a coherent claim we will just say that the accusations have been made by trusted sources, but we have yet to see exactly what is being accused.