Category Archives: Lone Wolf Violence

What We Can Expect from the Alt Right in 2018

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

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

 

 

Difficulty Reaching the Public

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

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

 

 

Campus Wars

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

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

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

 

 

Acts of Violence

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

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

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

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

 

 

Fight Back

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Breaking Through to the Mainstream

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

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

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

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

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

 

No Enemies to the Right

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

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

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

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

 

U.S. Under Attack

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

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

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

 

A Move Towards Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

History Repeats Itself

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Donate Directly to the Man Who Beat Up Charleston Shooter Dylan Roof in Prison

One of the most obvious results of white nationalist ideology is seemingly “random” acts of extreme violence, which are only random if you do not see the direct correlation between the genocidal anger of white supremacy and the verifiable linkage it has to street violence.  More than a year ago, Dylan Roof was inspired by the racism he found at the Council of Conservative Citizens and went into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and opened fire, killing nine people.  This brought a focus on the white nationalism of the CofCC, which was created from the original organizing lists of the White Citizens Councils that fought to hold onto segregation in the South.  The CofCC was, for years, a “crossover” organization that was able to attract Southern racist politicians and had major politicians speaking at their gatherings.

Dylan Roof has been awaiting trial ever since as it is difficult to find an unbiased jury to put him up against, especially since this will likely be a capital murder case.  While in jail he was roughed up by African American inmate Dwayne Stafford in the shower.

Given the genocidal violence displayed by Roof, it is no wonder why people are supporting Stafford as he might have legal consequences.

If you would like to write Stafford a letter, you can mail it to him at the address below.  Keep in mind that mail is this prison setting is often reviewed by staff, and sometimes it can be denied to the prisoner based on the content.

Dwayne Stafford, Inmate Number 0001159035 Cell  BM1232R
Charleston County Detention Center
3841 Leeds Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405

Click Here to Donate to His Prison Account

Lafayette Shooter Shows Same White Nationalist Connections as Other ‘Lone Wolf’ Shooters

Alleged Lafayette shooter, John Russel "Rusty" Houser.
Alleged Lafayette shooter, John Russel “Rusty” Houser.

Following the exact same trend towards “Lone Wolf” action as Dylan Rooff’s recent rampage in South Carolina, John Russell Houser opened fire in a Lafayette theater killing two.  A trip into the motivational base of the murders was too spooky for many media outlets who roundly focused on platitudes and offensive questions about a tenuous mental state.  The direct line to ideological white nationalism, that was just as present with Houser as it was with Rooff, is only slowing being acknowledged.

In a certain sense, it was even more obvious with Houser and the lack of identification with the far-right in the general discourse is bizarre.  He was an avid connoseur of racialized internet forums, the kind of cranky den that those with an anger tinged with racial overtones love to hide in.  A few choice examples here show that this was not just a person feeding a deep seated rage, but that he had been invited into the logic of organized Ethnonationalism both on the domestic and international sides.

Writing on a message board for Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn’s proposed New York Office:

Do not mistake yourselves for one minute, the enemy sees all posted on this website. I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that come forth in ALL situations.

While Golden Dawn continues to try to skate behind the obvious organized behavior of its members, and continue to make claims about the peaceful nature of nationalism, the obvious correlations to the barely-hidden racialism ties directly to an American history of racist organizing devolving to the point of “lone wolf” massacres.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, Houser left dozens of messages there admiring the Westboro Baptist Church’s “God Hates Fags” campaign, as well as anti-federalist conspiracies that would be familiar to Sovereign Citizen’s and Militia people. It looks like he attended David Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) Conference in New Orleans, which made waves after it was released that so did House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.  After this was released by a Louisiana blogger, Duke threaten to reveal other GOP players who attended.

For many people it may seem difficult to reconcile the genial appearance of “suit and tie” white nationalism of places like the National Policy Institute and American Renaissance with the violence in Layfayette, but it does not require a creative mind to connect the dots.  Houser was a great admirer of The Bell Curve, amongst other books that discussed the connection between race and intelligence.  This is foundational of the Human Biological Diversity (HBD) outlook that drives much of the pseudointellectualism of these groups, making wild claims about the myriad of ways that blacks fall short and Jews are exceptionally gifted(apparently, when you go to far up the skills ladder you become dangerous).  His online posts reflected an unrestrained personality, one whose intensity is only outdone by its actual action.

Here are a few very choice examples, collected at Medium:

The process has its own individual quirks, but the results are usually the same.  The organized racist presence likely has no affinity for the actions(or personality) of people like Houser, but it is their rhetorical framework that gave him the logic he needed to pull the trigger.  Even if violence is not discussed, though it is clear that he had been exposed to the more militant “vanguarist” neo-Nazi writings, the process of conspiratorial anti-intellectualism and the devaluation of black bodies is enough to drive someone on the edge into maniacal orgies of personal genocide.  A personal disaster can often be enough to allow someone into the most extreme elements of an ideology in which they are already prone to, especially if it requires great personal sacrifice.  This happened when Houser was evicted from his home in 2014, which really seemed to further disconnect him from community and a sense of value.  It is not this loss alone that creates a shooter, but only when it is fed a diet of explicit victim baiting and race-hatred.  You cannot murder with impunity when the people on the other end of the scope are equally human, and the rhetoric of white supremacy begins with the targeting and undermining of black and brown humanity.

In a certain way, it is not even the more militant racist organizations that are to blame since it is clear from his online affiliations that he did not have a personal connection to them.  Instead, it is the more politically correct above-ground ones that helped to foster a world view where personal violence was right and reasonable.

There is blame to go around, and this time we don’t need for the shooter to quote a website to know who the culprit is.

From Rhodesia to Charleston: Looking for Who is Responsible for ‘Lone Wolf’ Racial Terrorism

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The twenty-four hour news cycle often produces strong flashes when it transcribes hot news stories, coming in brief moments before the full picture has been painted.  A shooting at the historic Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.  Nine people declared official casualties of the church.  Reports say that the shooter began as a parishioner joined in Bible study before picking up heavy artillery and opening fire.

At first this came as a big surprise, and certainly a break from the recent barrage of police murders that have marked the last months of coverage.  This stood out as a return to a type of interpersonal violence that is easy to condemn and classify across the political spectrum. Confusion erupted and we saw that commentators were slow to cite race as the cause and to classify the deaths as an act of racial terrorism.  The shooting in Charleston, which appears to many people on first glance as a completely random act of violence, is one that fits perfectly in an American tradition that has seen incidents like these without any evidence of slowing.  It was not until eyewitness reports come in did the rhetoric begin to change, that its racial connection was solidified.  One survivor reported that when confronted the shooter said,” I have to do it.  You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country.  You have to go.”  Now that his self-described “Manifesto” is in hand it is incredibly clear what this was: an act of racial warfare.

The document he produced can easily be dismissed as the rantings of a deranged young man, which, in some ways, it is, yet that misses one of the key insights that comes across in his work.  The thought process and ideas he cites were not original to him and were instead adopted directly from publications and organizations that have constructed narratives about black populations in the United States.  No substantive analysis is being done on the text, which is a common occurrence in American law enforcement as it brings out our desire to avoid adding reason and logic to events that seem to defy explanation.  The first part of this is the immediate assumption of mental illness, which then relieves them of having to search for any logically sound reasoning.  Mental illness is commonly used to completely reject normal engagement, which is partially why so many media outlets have denied this as an act of terrorism.  Simply put: crazy people do crazy things, but terrorism, on the other hand is ideological.  The second primary reason is that in it he takes a positive view towards racism, saying essentially that racist ideas are “correct.”  This comes directly up against the understood notion in the liberal establishment that racism as a conscious concept has been completely overcome and that any example of racist ideas no longer need to be engaged because they are self-refuting.  This is something that the radical left often shares as movements have long dispelled and challenged racist myths, yet this does not mean that a substantial population are not still promoting conscious racism in influential ways.

Racism as a public ideology has gained pariah status while racial inequity has seeped into the very fabric of the American state and economic system.  White privilege has been the target of movements seeking to abolish the racial caste system that was fermented to protect Chattel slavery and kept us through eras of Jim Crow and mass incarceration.  As this racial hierarchy is challenged there remains a vanguardist minority that seeks to re-establish White Supremacy as a formal system.  Today, a certain subset of the organized racist-right maintains a pseudo-academic and pseudo-scientific veneer that hides open bigotry as a motivating factor and has created a series of ideas and philosophical foundations to argue their racialized points.  These ideas remain on the fringe, but can seep into the culture in a number of ways.  While the radical White Nationalist community does not maintain a popular public face, they have been influential in crossover political topics like immigration.  They have been successful in influencing the debates in favor of discussions around America’s racial heritage in ways that other contemporary “hot button” issues just would not.  The fringes of the right, from paleoconservatives to Constitutionalists, tax resisters to militia men, all have had historic connections to the vanguardist racist-right, and we see these ideas represented in flash moments in crossover points like the Ron Paul campaign or the battle in Nevada over ranching property rights. The strongest example of their influence, however, is with how they radicalize people in more profound and individualized ways.

Dylann Roof’s Manifesto, published on his website The Last Rhodesian, is both incoherent and lacking in deep thought, but shows moments where his thought process strays from his own delusions. The vast majority of the bumbling document discusses things like the Trayvon Martin murder, the ANC election during the 1990s in South Africa, and support for segregation. He discusses, at length, what is phrased as “black on white crime,” a rhetorical favorite for racialist groups who are attempting to create a narrative about a supposed plague of racialized violence against whites. This is still a surface idea that derives from his most central concept: that blacks are a genetically inferior subspecies.

“Anyone who thinks that White and black people look as different as we do on the outside, but are somehow magically the same on the inside, is delusional. How could our faces, skin, hair, and body structure all be different, but our brains be exactly the same? This is the nonsense we are led to believe. Negroes have lower IQs, lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in generals. These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior. If a scientist publishes a paper on the differences between the races in Western Europe or Americans, he can expect to lose his job. There are personality traits within human families, and within different breeds of cats or dogs, so why not within the races?”

The behavior he rants about is seen as only a consequence of intelligence. Criminality, sexual control, the ability towards delayed gratification, the ability to maintain families and careers are all a subset of what he sees as the mental inferiority of black people as an ethnic category. This is taken straight out of the artificial debate over race and IQ, a concept that has been suggested since the earliest days of slavery when the white plantation class manipulated new scientific understandings to give a social excuse for their cruelty. This played out as “racial hygiene” and Eugenics, the idea that we can affect genetic outcomes by limiting the breeding of supposed “inferiors,” all of which is central to the institutional violence seen in places like the early American south. This debate was relaunched with right-wing money in post-WWII American scientific climate, where the language and aesthetics shifted after Nazism was so roundly associated with mechanistic genocide. The Pioneer Fund was created to support research that would designate blacks as genetically inferior to whites. The Pioneer Fund provided funding to studies on twins and adopted racially mixed siblings in an effort to first determine that intelligence and other dominant mental faculties were predominately genetic and, second, to prove that in the same social conditions, black s and whites will perform with different effectiveness. With this we have seen controversial and questionable studies that, though the scientific community almost roundly rejects their conclusions, continue to be retread by those looking to justify their racial anger. Arthur Jensen did this famously for decades, and in recent years people like J. Phillip Rushton and Richard Lynn used their positions as tenured faculty to push a version of evolutionary psychology that sees population groups as being more or less intelligence based on their geographic region. As marginal as we think these ideas are, they have occasional breaches into the mainstream. In 1994, Charles Murray, a generally popular conservative now with the American Enterprise Institute, co-authored The Bell Curve, which, among other things, determined that intelligence is largely genetic and will dictate socio-economic positioning. Within this racial differences in intelligence is given real credibility, so much so that it has been the foundation of racist publications from that point forward. More recently, Nicholas Waid’s book A Troublesome Inheritance does its best to determine that race is not a social construct and instead dictates things like personality types, familial structures, and social progress. And, of course, for these white authors, black people remain stunted at the bottom of their evolutionary ladder.

Some of the dominant institutions on the right maintaining the genetically inspired racial myths come with American Renaissance and, as we have seen in the news recently, the Council of Conservative Citizens. American Renaissance has been having their regular conferences since 1990 where they bring on fringe academics to talk about topics like race and IQ, all tinged with value-laden language and dog-whistle epithets. In recent years the dialogue has shifted someone to a more philosophical tone where calls for a “white homeland” are commonplace. This is the definition of the “suit and tie” racist crowd where open racial slurs are almost non-existent, where Nazi and Klan symbolism is disallowed, and innocuous names and subject titles make it appear as a boring academic conference rather than a call for racial holy war. American Renaissance has been paramount in propagating a term coined by conservative columnist Steve Sailer, Human Biological Diversity (HBD). This harmless sounding euphemism is a code word for the idea that certain population groups, namely racial groups, simply have biological difference between them. What difference is discussed more than all others? Intelligence.

This has led to a pseudo-academic blogosphere discussing these alleged racial differences in language that often disassociates itself from criticism. As Holocaust Denial did in the 1980s-90s, HBD has the ability to cross over into subcultures simply because it uses academic-sounding language that people rarely have the tools to refute. When you combine that with a growing sense of distrust in our dominant scientific and health institutions with a general decline in education and of left ideological explanations for our current social catastrophe, it is easy to see why a dissident movement is forming around ideas that most previously would have seen as insane. As we move further towards economic and ecological collapse, more extreme versions of these dissident movements begin to pop up. With Neo-Reactionaries and the Dark Enlightenment we are witnessing a desire to return to a world that knows no democracy and equality, that sees tradition, authority, stratification, and top-down control as natural and preferred. These may seem like ideas best left to the dark side of Internet message board, but in counter-cultural, big-tech, and new intellectual movements, these far-right ideas are seeing resurgence. Race and intelligence are seen as one of the most central components of their arguments, proving that democracy is a failure because not all people are simply capable of running society.

One of the key elements that separate these groups from racists of the past is their use of slight variants in the theory; in this instance it is the “Asian hypothesis.” This essentially notes that East Asians, on average, score higher on IQ tests even then whites, which has led to many Asian bloggers to support HBD claims. This allows HBD fanatics to buck the “white supremacist” claim while still closely allying whites as the upper-levels of the stratification with Sub-Saharan Africans and Australian Aborigines rounding out the bottom. This logic is, again, one that has to be learned and is not present in unaffiliated racists, except those whose ideas where shaped by this community. This is why, when Roof addresses the Asian community in his writing, it takes on a special significance.

“I have great respent(sic) for the East Asian races. Even if we were to go extinct they could carry something on. They are by nature very racist and could be great allies of the White race. I am not opposed at all to allies with the Northeast Asian races.”

The organization that Roof has specifically linked to, the Council of Conservative Citizens, was formed in the 1980s by Gordon Baum on the mailing lists of the “white citizen’s councils” that fought segregation. They held onto Republican rhetoric, associating themselves with the edges of the GOP while openly touting White Nationalist ideas rooted in HBD. In recent years the association with Republican party leaders has gone public as major politics were seen to speak as their conference Between 2000 and 2004 38 major elected officials have spoken at CofCC at conferences, including people like Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour and Trent Lot. In recent years the fallout has pushed CofCC further to the right, now banned from participating in conferences like CPAC. Alongside these featured politicians were talks on Jewish banking control, the beauty of Chattel slavery, and the “white genocide” that is happening through immigration and miscegenation.

The romantization that Roof had with the racist right was not only with the mainstreaming CofCC but also with more ingrained racist institutions like the seminal white nationalist forum Stormfront. Created by former Klan leader Don Black, it has existed as a sort of hub for the more radical elements of the far right movement. According to the SPLC, almost 100 murders from the last six years can be traced back to Stormfront. As they try to update their image by banning images of the Third Reich and open racial slurs, the truth remains that the discourse that remains there is still tied to vulgar violence.

The issue of this as a “lone wolf” attack has led a lot of people confused. The term in this context comes from an essay from White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger as an option for violent action outside of an organizational structure. This has become incredibly important as we are seeing militant racist organizations like skinhead gangs or variants of the KKK decline sharply, yet we see violent actions remain constant. In the SPLC’s study of domestic right-wing terrorism over the last six years, they concluded that a full 74% of attacks where from a single person, and 90% either alone or in pairs. While the organized violent actors may be on the decline, the side that has only been increasing is the growing undercurrent of publications and blogs promoting the scientific racism of the future.

What happens is that incidents like these can blind us to whom the real actors are. Is there an active Klan group orchestrating these attacks? Was it a skinhead faction bent on making a name for themselves? Roof himself notes that neither one of these are at play any longer, so he needs to take the reigns. The voice of the future of these movements is one that never would publicly advocate violence of this kind, and may even honestly believe it to be the antithesis of successful racial organizing. Yet in the hands of an increasingly disaffected population it is like a grenade waiting to find a target. Roof was raised on the intellectual racially oriented movement work that created a theory of social-biology, not the open violence of something like Aryan Nations. Our work in the anti-fascist/anti-racist movement has, traditionally, been focused towards open Neo-Nazis in the north and the KKK in the south, but as these become the players of the past we have yet to adapt to the new face of hate. In the future, it will be discourse that logically leads to acts of “lone wolf” violence, yet it is the rhetoric itself that creates an ideological underpinning and support where the only logical response is murder. If we are to create anti-fascist movements that can actually confront the real threat of openly racist violence then it has to look at the seemingly disconnected source that builds the logic and justification for the trigger pulled later.