On Saturday, November 20th, the Ronald Reagan building in Washington D.C. will host the largest white nationalist and Alt Right conference of the year. After a year and a half of Breitbart and the Donald Trump campaign mainstreaming their message of ethnic nationalism and minority blame, they have seen the kind of unprecedented growth that white nationalism hasn’t seen since segregation. The conference is coordinated by the National Policy Institute, the white bread named non-profit that props up The Radix Journal, Washington Summit Publishers, and the twice-yearly conferences that they hold. The project is all centered on the most prolific, and interviewed, white nationalist personalities of the year: Richard Spencer.
Spencer coined the term Alternative Right in 2010 and set out creating a movement, and string of publications, that were centered on a new “intellectual” brand fascism that brought together white nationalism with masculanism, Southern nationalism, reactionary conservatism, right libertarianism, paleoconservatism, ethnic paganism, and so on. That movement evolved into the snarky internet trolldom we have today after it was picked up by racist nerds on /pol/ and 4Chan/8Chan, and now we have a Trump supporting brand of meme-oriented fascists that have grown far beyond their well-vetted chat rooms.
On Saturday their largest conference will bring them together, with a special focus on younger Millennial “shitlords,” who get a discount on the hefty conference price. The conference is in a public facility that has been resistant to anti-fascist pressure, but as their profile grows it only becomes more vulnerable.
Spencer will be speaking, as always, as he has become a celebrity in their movement and is the one trying to bring an academic tone and fashionable appearance. He is able to do this as his parents still fund most of his luxurious living and he gets a heavy influx of money from William Regnery of the Regnery Publishing legacy.
He will be joined by various speakers popular in the Alt Right today, with a shift from conferences of the past away from fascist philosophers like those of the French New Right and towards internet YouTube magnets that gauge their political effectiveness by the number of “Likes” they get in internet back alleys.
Millennial Woes will be one of these, who has become popular as a YouTube commentator where he essentially holds Google Hangouts with the “Who’s who” of that week’s Alt Right fame. Being inspired mainly by the people at the Daily Shoah, he keeps the content reasonably low-bar, even though he tries to bring on the few PhDs that they have in their ranks.
The headliners, besides Spencer, will be Peter Brimelow and Kevin MacDonald. Brimelow is known for his time in the Beltway conservative journalism world, formerly writing for Forbes and on a crusade to bust the teacher’s unions. This led him to the belief that education outcomes were not the result of actual education state policies, but that some people were innately less able to pick up those smarts in the classroom. This lead to his landmark racialist book Alien Nation in 1995 that set him on his later trajectory, which was founding the racist immigration restrictionist website VDare. Over the last few years he has become increasingly radical in his white nationalism, speaking at places like American Renaissance and the H.L. Mencken Club.
Kevin MacDonald bridges the world of the Alt Right and the insurrectionary world of explicit neo-Nazis and KKK members (many of whom will also be attending NPI). MacDonald is best known for creating a series of books that act as the Das Kapital of anti-Semitism, creating a “Grand Theory” to explain all the disparate conspiracy theories about Jews. Believing that Judaism is a “Group Evolutionary Strategy” to compete with Gentiles for resources, he argues that Jews use their high IQs and eugenic behavior to create a parasitic super-race that dissolves “white racial consciousness” through their false ideologies of communism, capitalism Freudianism, Boasian anthropology, Feminism, and “Cultural Marxism.” He is a “race realist” that believes that black people have innately low IQs and is an avid white nationalist.
F. Roger Devlin bridges the “manosphere” with the Alt Right, being well known for trying to construct crudely realized science and anthropology to buff up his belief that white men are genetically superior creatures. He has latched himself onto Radix as a vessel and is hoping to slide in under its banner into the perception that he is an intellectual of the white nationalist movement. His image is not well known at this point, so this provides anti-fascists an opportunity to reveal him and his real name.
The pair from Red Ice Radio will be in the house as well, both Henrik and Lana. They have become the defining Alt Right media operation at this point, building up over the last ten years on a subscription model to doing regular podcasts and video broadcasts. Their content is a mix of bizarre conspiracy theories, embarrassing occult ramblings, attempts at Fedora faux-intellectualism, and “alt health” ideas like that Vaccines were invented by Jews to sterilize gentiles.
Matthew Tait will bring in a foreign nationalist perspective, as he has been a voice in various nationalist parties in Britain, such as the now-defunct British Nationalist Party. He vocally jumped behind the UK Independence Party and its Brexit plan, one that Richard Spencer has been highly critical of. He will likely be there to discuss the recent Brexit vote, which is being called the British equivalent of the Donald Trump election.
One thing that Spencer has been avid about is the building of a “meta-politic,” one that develops a right wing culture, mindset, and identity before it even seeks out political goals. In this way he has set out, mostly unsuccessfully, to make Radix a cultural magnate for the Alt Right. In this way he is including live music at his conferences from here on out, in the past hosting half of the neofolk band Changes. This year he will have neofolk acts Xurious and Upward Path, both of which have been well known for their fascination with racialist Odinism and various nationalist European movements.
What most the press is likely to focus on, besides Spencer’s glee at Trump’s victory, is that in their pre-event they will be hosting a “talk” by reality-celebrity Tila Tequila. Since she faded from television programming, she has made headlines for using her website as a platform for Holocaust Denial, virulent anti-Semitism, anti-black racism, and various fascist allegiances. She recently gained headlines for openly denying that the world was round, a claim that seems to have been neither a joke nor a satire. This is the first non-white speaker at an NPI gathering (she is half Asian), which many white nationalists have criticized, especially after a story in Mother Jones revealed that Spencer had romantic relationships with women of Asian descent.
The conference is being held on Saturday from 10am -11pm, with music and drinks in the evening. The night before, Friday, there will be a private event for conference attendees that has not been made public, as well as a brunch for the Sunday morning following the main conference. Spencer hopes to build camaraderie amongst the fascists and help to build networks that can help with on-the-ground organizing.
The One People’s Project has continued their years of incredible work by joining with the DC Anti-Fascist Coalition and Smash Racism DC and organizing the counter-demonstration for NPI. The OPP has been identifying and challenging Alt Right fascists for years, and they will also be photographing conference attendants as they enter the building so that they can be identified.
The action will be held at the Ronald Reagan building from 12:30-3:30, show up early if you can.
Whenever a large racist skinhead show makes its way to town it leaves a disastrous trail in its wake.
As many of you have been watching, NYC Antifa and antifascists from around the country have been raising the profile of the neo-Nazi Oi!Fest 2016 concert coming to New York City. Oxblood, Offensive Weapon, Battle Zone, Close Shave and others fill out a line-up that has become the edge of the “white noise” music scene.
The show was originally booked at the Black Bear Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This was not overly surprising as the bar had been a venue to the controversial Operation Equinox tour from the nationalist post-industrial website Heathen Harvest. Though the racist side of neofolk is often less known to venues, antifascists called in and made it incredibly clear what Heathen Harvest was promoting and the problematic behavior of several of the bands on the bill, including Blood and Sun.
This time the show was less ambiguous, and made up of a more working-class fascist contingent rather than the esoteric mysticism of the neofolk crowd.
After the announcement came in, people went to their social media and called in to share their disappointment with Black Bear once again siding with Nazis. This time Black Bear Bar eventually caved in and canceled the show. They quickly put up an apology, backtracking for their booking.
It is with deep remorse, shared by all members of the BlackBear Bar team that we write this statement expressing our apologies to our neighbors, customers, patrons, friends and the artistic community for our part in the Oi fest, which was scheduled at BlackBear this past weekend. We have decided to cancel the remainder of this event and sincerely regret our negligence in allowing this to happen
To best grasp how this happened, it’s important to understand the nuance of the day-to-day operations of a music venue. There are a number of team members, both internal and external, which allow us to provide quality programming seven days a week. This community includes a number of outside promoters. Many of these promoters are folks with whom we have worked for a number of years and built strong, trusting relationships with.
One of these promoters brought us this event, with a short list of bands who would take part in the weekend, including Oxblood as a headliner, who did meet our booking standards. It wasn’t until much later, and after much assurance to the contrary, that the problematic nature of this event was brought to our attention. Obviously we should have and take full responsibility for the lack of oversight.
We acted as fast as we could and have cancelled the duration of the program. We have made it clear to the parties involved that we want absolutely no part in the values represented by and through this event.
As one of the last independently owned and operated creative spaces in Williamsburg, Black Bear has hosted all forms of diverse creative expression, from GLBTQ parties, Latino, Asian, hip hop, R ‘N B, Burlesque, performance art, progressive political events, and community outreach initiatives. For that we take full responsibility and would like to extend our sincere apologies to the community for our negligence. We can assure you all that this incident has been eye opening to us, and forced us to readjust our booking procedures. We will continue to host events that meet our highest standards and promote tolerance and inclusiveness in all forms.
While Black Bear was the venue, the promoter, a man named Curtis, was who brought it to them. He later issued another statement trying to defend against the growing backlash.
The purpose of this letter is to sincerely apologize to Black Bear Bar, New Island Presents and our community for my part in renting Black Bear Bar to promoters for May 28ths shows. As a venue finder, I occasionally work with these entities to book various shows with promoters looking for venues, which is the case here. Unfortunately we did not properly screen this event.
Let’s be clear, neither the venue nor I have any association with this group of people outside of allowing someone looking to rent or(sic) venue without thoroughly enough screening the show. Neither the venue nor myself had any involvement in booking or promoting and of the bands for this night.
While we had no behavior issues of any sort at this event, it becomes apparent that their(sic) are underlying political tones to the genre that can be very offensive. The show was explained to us as a punk rock show and underlying details were obscured. We missed the mark.
I would encourage members of our community to not lay blame to the venue for said show as they always (sic) professional, considerate and host to a huge variety of wholesome music. Once again, I sincerely apologize for my role in this event and hope our community can allow us some understanding and forgive.
While Black Bear did host the first night of the show, they canceled the second night leaving Oi!Fest without a venue. That is when they went to the Santos Party House, a club that is co-owned by Andrew WK and the rapper Despot (among several others). Antifascist organizers reached out to Andrew WK and Despot via social media to ask them why their venue would host such an event. While Andrew WK remained silent, Despot was angered by the insinuation that he had anything to do with it and lashed out. Santos even bent over backwards to host the neo-Nazis and canceled the band Emergency Protocol’s show to clear the venue.
Someone known as New York Year Zero on Twitter came out to the venue to see exactly what type of people were at this show. His photos reveal pretty clearly that this was a group closely allied with neo-Nazi street scenes from the U.S. and Europe, and claims that it was a non-racist skinhead were false.
Skinheads at the show were reportedly Seig Heiling even though they were asked by promoters not to because it ends up as photographic evidence. The code-word they use to refer to this is “waving to Kyle.”
Things were apparently not doing well for the Santos Party House as they closed down the day after Oi!Fest, even though there were still dates booked later into the summer.
The bands in question have remained relatively silent throughout the affair, with only Oxblood going to their Facebook page to post a picture from the first night filled with angry skinheads moshing. The most popular (by Nazi standards) bands on the bill have tried their best to avoid clear associations with their Nazi roots, but those connections are clear when their rhetoric is stripped away.
Paul Dirk, a member of Close Shave, also played for neo-Nazi bands like Razors Edge and English Rose who released albums on well-known Nazi labels like Dim Records. They are known for other acts like Panzerknacker, Ultima Thule, Combat 84, and Celtic Warrior.
Like many other far right bands they try to hide the fact in public and go to great lengths to deny it but the proof is in the pudding as they are still writing right wing lyrics to their most recent songs.
They have played with many of the notorious White Power bands in Britain such as the gigs they did in 1989 – May 6th in Loughborough with Violent Storm, English Rose, Skullhead and Guttersnipe Army, May 13th in Consett with Skullhead, and another in Consett on October 28th with Skullhead and Brutal Attack. Not to mention a more recent gig with American boneheads Brassic.
They’ve also played support to Skrewdriver during Skrewdriver’s nazi period. In fact over the years Close Shave have played with almost every Nazi / RAC band doing the rounds. They even name check Skullhead on one of their Link Records releases.
In 1993 Close Shave played a gig in Germany with nazi band Razors Edge and a few others. That gig was recently released on DVD. The cover shows white Skinheads attacking black people.
Close Shave still regularly play with extremist right wing bands and RAC bands.
Every year in Blackpool there’s a “secret” gig for fascist bands who aren’t welcome at the Rebellion festival. Close Shave is regularly part of that line-up. Not only does the band play, but it have they also played a part in organizing it.
Offensive Weapon has followed Close Shave’s lead in attempting to create a complicated smokescreen that provides some level of cover for their politics and history. They have released an album with the openly neo-Nazi record label Pure Impact, and the lead singer often wears an “Anti ANTIFA” shirt that is popular among the Nazi subculture. They attempt to describe themselves just as “patriotic,” but when their lyrics and relationships are put on the table, it ends up just being a cowardly attempt at avoiding their associations.
Battle Zone has a more obvious history, as they were a staple in the British neo-Nazi skinhead scene until their first break-up in 1994. The lead singer, Alex Ellui, moved to Peru from England after pressure from his “comrades” in Combat 18. They have tried to be “non-political” since then, but that is merely a way of avoiding the complications that racist organizing brought them in the past. While they try to avoid explicit politics in their lyrics, they continue to tour with bands that do and keep the racist skinhead scene close to their heart. They even get nostalgic on occasion and bring back earlier racialist lyrics in their songs and join in at Rock Against Communism events.
While many of the bands try to hide behind relationships with nationalists of color, their crews and goals are obvious. What is even clearer is that the community around them is not going to tolerate their attempt at holding public events. Not only were antifascist organizers ready when Oi!Fest began in NYC, but the rest of community revolted against the venues that were bold enough to host them. The response from the Black Bear Bar is a good sign that bands like this will be hitting the black list, and that anti-racist values are being set as a standard for music and art venues in the city.
This should also send a message to non-racist Oi! bands to make sure an avoid the racist side as it looks like shows like Oi!Fest are intended to appeal to the non-political Trojan skinhead crowd as well.
Feeling the force of antifascist pressure from NYC Antifa and others, the Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn finally decided to cancel the Oi!Fest 2016 skinhead concert they were hosting. The bar had provided cover to the neo-Nazis organizing the concert, just as they did previously by supporting the neofolk Operation Equinox tour, using the few multi-racial members of the skinhead bands as a cover. As people have noticed, this group of nationalist skinheads have reached out to nationalists of color to create a more “multi-racial” fascist subculture, and one that often confuses those looking for traditional racial separatism.
It was this multiracial character that Black Bear used to defend themselves as antifascists descended on their social media. On Facebook, they spent all evening defending themselves against allegations of aiding Nazi gangs. People from around the country, but especially New York, posted on there, sharing stories of Black Bear regularly supporting “Rock Against Communism” shows and using traditional Nazi insignia in the bar. The bar repeatedly tried to point to Asian and Latin American members of some of the bands as proof that this was a non-racist skinhead show, yet members of the community immediately posted information about neo-Nazism in Latin and Asian communities that they were attempting to create alliances with.
In a recent article, the Southern Poverty Law Center took a special look at the inclusion of people of color in this otherwise racialist scene . They pointed out that many of these street fascist movements, which this brand of skinheads inhabit in the United States, have had several attempts to “rebrand” themselves using a tenuous multi-racial alliance.
From the 1980s to the mid-2000s, the dominant brand within the far-right sector of skinhead subculture was neo-nazism, and such interracial co-mingling would have been unthinkable. In truth, there have always been skinheads of varying degrees of “whiteness” across the world who have sought to uphold strains of far-right politics.
A prime example of how race is falling away as the dominant organizer within the extremist skinhead music scene occurred in 2013.
Bound For Glory, one the first neo-nazi skinhead bands to emerge here, toured Japan with Aggro Knuckle, one of that country’s oldest skinhead bands. The two also released a split-record together. In that way, NYC Oi! Fest is an important microcosm of the landscape of “hate music” worldwide. Last year’s installment brought bands to New York City from as far away as Finland and Mexico.
“Oi,” after all, encapsulates a broad range of skinhead-oriented punk and rock ‘n’ roll. Most Oi! fests and concerts book bands who offer little-to-no political overtones or messages. Their songs and the shows themselves often revolve around drinking and other subcultural markers, like banal expressions of patriotism. By inserting “Oi!” into its title, the fest’s promotors –– Dennis Davila of United Riot Records chief among them –– are putting forth their version of what skinhead identity and music should exist as, while directing hostility towards outsider and those they “other.”
There is, of course, historical precedent for this. Efforts to reframe skinhead identity and music were first undertaken by the neo-Nazi political party National Front in England in the early 1980s. The efforts of those organizing NYC Oi! Fest –– a long-standing crew calling itself the 211 Bootboys, of which Davilia is a member –– aren’t wholly dissimilar from the National Front’s attempts to attract skinheads to their worldview.
They go on to outline the violent homophobic and nationalist lyrics of bands in the Oi!Fest line-up, including Brassic. They have allowed Nazi skinhead crews to make Oi!Fest an annual meet-up point, and bands like Brassic have had explicit Nazis set up their shows around Europe.
Anti-fascist writer Spencer Sunshine outlines the complicated nature of these seeming “multi-racial” alliances that we are seeing in this skinhead event, as well as in circles like National Anarchism and radical traditionalist circles.
Today, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan are no longer the only groups that endorse White separatism. This is partly due to the secessionist fever that has spread across the U.S. Right, uniting Right Libertarians, conspiracy theorists, Christian theocrats, Sovereign Citizens, neo-Confederates, and traditional White separatists. New groups advocate “pan-secessionist” ideology, and seek to unite the right-wing secessionists with those traditionally closer to the Left, like (bio)regional separatism in Vermont and Cascadia, former Leftist Kirkpatrick Sale’s decentralist Middlebury Institute, and nationalist organizing by those who, in the old anti-imperialist terminology, are “oppressed nations” (Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, and other people of color).
However, the most contentious question today is the direct participation of people of color in groups that espouse White separatism as part of their ideology. Loosely organized groups like National-Anarchists, Attack the System, and New Resistance, which actively embrace White separatism as part of their decentralized schema, should be excluded from progressive circles—including people of color who are members of these groups. This also includes members of groups that are multi-racial, but which promote this political view.
In addition to these groups, some people of color are involved in openly fascist circles. Neo-Nazi groups are active in countries such as Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Mongolia, and Malaysia; and members of these movements reportedly have ties in the United States.
In the past, Leftists excluded White people affiliated with groups that espoused White separatism, such as White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and Aryan Nations. But this new secessionism is more complicated; for example, it has led to the spectacle of people of color advocating for the legitimacy of White separatism—by claiming either that all separatism is good separatism, or that a program of complete reciprocal racial separatism requires that all groups have their own geographical enclave.
Cooperation between racial separatists of differing backgrounds is a long-standing tradition. In the 1930s, when Mississippi’s arch-racist Senator Theodore Bilbo publicly called for the expulsion of African-Americans to Africa, members of Marcus Garvey’s movement (themselves proponents of African-American emigration to Africa) approached Bilbo as a potential collaborator. The Nation of Islam (NOI) also has a history of associating with White nationalists, including the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party; Malcolm X cited these associations as one of the reasons he became disgruntled with NOI. WAR’s Tom Metzger has supported and donated money to NOI and has addressed the New Black Panther Party (NBPP). In Florida, one Black separatist organization even held joint demonstrations with a local Klan group.
However, calling for the exclusion of all supporters of White separatism should not be mistaken for a call for progressives to exclude activists who endorse nationalist forms of separatism for people of color, including Black, Native American, or Latino nationalists. It is only the advocacy of White racial separatism that is at issue. While the acceptance of what is called the “right to national self-determination” of racial and ethnic minorities as congruent with larger left-wing goals is not without its critics (including myself), it has a long-established history on the U.S. Left, and its advocates have included the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Young Lords. However, irrespective of the debates around it, national self-determination by an oppressed group of people is completely different from the “right” of White separatism. White separatism has never had a place in the Left, and its structural function is to reinforce—and not attempt to escape (regardless of whether this would work in practice or not)—existing social hierarchies. In the United States, White people as a group are firmly in control of the majority of economic resources and social power. White separatism is comparable to espousing gated communities for the rich: its purpose is to physically express existing hierarchical social and economic structures.
This type of alliance is something that white nationalists in all circles are going to continue to try and pull from in an attempt to show that “fascism is for everyone.” Even the most recent American Renaissance conference had a Mexican speaker discussing racial nationalism, and they occasionally post that they have Latino participants in their crowd who are there advocating for their own racial separatism. Japanese nationalism, often tied to romantic notions about Imperial Japan and national Shinto, is a special favorite for this crowd, and often is used by white nationalists as proof that they have a coherent ideology that is not just a vessel for angry bigotry. There are very few people of color associating with these white nationalists, but it is a rhetorical strategy that has helped to neutralize opposition who are not aware of these strategic developments on the far-right.
Black Bear eventually went to Twitter to announce that the show for Sunday, May 29th had been canceled.
The show is actually being moved to the Santos Party House, having just been announced at 3:30pm EST. That venue is co-owned by rocker Andrew W. K, who very well may not know what is going on. Fascists are hoping that the antifascist opposition will miss this news, but with a growing contingent in New York City looking to shut it down it will be hard for them to hide. NYC Antifa will be calling for a boycott of Santos Party House if the show is successfully held there.
A crowd of skinheads and Nazi punks are feeling so emboldened in Brooklyn that they are having another party in Williamsburg tonight. Today is Oi!Fest, a Rock Against Communism show that neo-Nazi skinheads attempt to have annually. RAC is the alternative to the more left-leaning working class street punks and Oi! Scene, where RAC is an explicitly “white power” contingent that birthed the “white noise” movement. While the Nazi skinhead culture has waxed and waned, white noise music has been one of the best recruitment tools for the most extreme edge of the violent white nationalist movement.
OiFest! 2016 had been organized in relative secret as most of the skinheads at its reigns know it would be shut down if their venue is revealed too soon. Yesterday they had a large pre-party that brought out their crews and supporters at the Red Star bar in Greenpoint, a well known sports-bar in the area.
Tonight they are going to be having the first of two shows for Oi!Fest 2016 at Black Bear on North 6th avenue in Williamsburg. Black Bear has already caused controversy by hosting the Project Equinox tour from Heathen Harvest, with a line-up of well-known Neofolk bands with nationalist leanings. It is unsure whether or not Black Bear is the venue for tomorrow’s show as well. The bands for Oi!Fest include well-known skinhead fare like OxBlood, Close Shave, Offensive Weapon, and Battle Zone.
Below we are listing all of the information for Black Bear, their social media, yelp, and contact information. Call in and let them known what you think about their choice to host a violent neo-Nazi show. This is an organizing tool that has real consequences and these events have a track record of being center points for violent racist attacks.
The popular Neofolk bands that have joined the Operation Equinox Tour have had quite a bit of trouble from anti-fascist rabblerousers since the shows began. The tour is being co-sponsored by the far-right Heathen Harvest, which we covered previously in our look deep into their politics and the fascist sympathies of most the bands on this tour’s bill. The tour’s main sponsor, Annihilvs Power Electronix, is the face that many of the venues actually know, so when confronted many of the stage managers actually did not know about the Heathen Harvest connection (though the bands were already publicly controversial).
Lee Bartow of Annihilvs went back to Heathen Harvest in an interview to attack Antifa organizers who he thinks are unfairly targeting this tour and, of course, he believes his own multicultural background should insulate the tour from criticism.
The thing that strikes me as odd about this whole thing is, in the very few posts I’ve seen online about boycotting or resisting or calls to action against the perceived fascism of the artists on this tour, I have been either not mentioned at all, or mentioned only in passing, as though I am some peripheral figure to be half-mentioned. Nobody has contacted me directly about any of it. Looking at the whole thing from my particular perspective, [it] strikes me as one individual’s personal vendetta. The fact that I orchestrated the entire tour, coordinated with all the promoters, collected the funds for the airfare, and am renting and driving the vehicle, which will take them from city to city, has been entirely ignored. The fact that I have a Jewish mother and African-American father seems to me as the most likely reason for this. It would put a rather salient dent in the argument that we’re all a bunch of Nazis hell-bent on spreading a gospel of intolerance across the country. As a child, I bore witness to my father being threatened and insulted because of the color of his skin, and I myself was called a “penny-pinching Jew” by all the black kids in my neighborhood, while the white kids saw fit to call me “zebra” or “half-breed.” The implication that I’d have any interest in supporting anyone’s racist agenda is preposterous. But, particularly in the current age of Internet-armchair warriors, it’s extremely difficult for people to comprehend the nuances of real life. They are uncomfortable with the concept of moral ambiguity; they cannot comprehend that a half-black Jew would count someone like Boyd Rice among his biggest influences, nor do they have the capacity to realize that the world is not interested in hearing of their outrage. Some of the biggest Death in June fans I know are Jewish.
He went on to say that there certainly is a part of the “scene” that has these far-right connections, but he is just here for the music. This is a transparent attempt to whitewash the reality of the movement he is helping to promote, where he gives a tacit support of racial nationalism by not only providing them a voice, but making money doing so. He alleges that the Antifa protesters are really totalitarians, an easy go-to for those who want to defend fascists on free speech grounds, but he fails to see the role of community action in the attack of totalitarian racial movements in utero.
The confrontations for the tour continued and on Wednesday, March 30th, the Philadelphia show date at the Convent was directly confronted by community anti-fascists. According to a report back posted by It’s Going Down, this included the destruction of one of the band’s gear.
On Wednesday, March 30, the neofolk music tour “Operation Equinox 2016,” sponsored by extreme right blog Heathen Harvest, held its Philly show date. Held at a small former convent called The Convent in a deeply creepy, almost entirely white neighborhood that was filled with blue porch lights and cameras on residences, the show ended prematurely with the arrival of the cops, presumably called in by the cop-loving neighbors. While the cops were inside the show only a block away, a small mob of reckless vandals attacked the touring bands’ van, slashing its tires, painting the windshield and sides, and destroying several of its windows.
It’s disgusting and ridiculous that these bands even got booked at all. Fascist ideas should have no place anywhere, including in DIY music scenes. Yet this isn’t the first time we hear about crypto-fascist bands playing outside of the typical racist skinhead milieus, veiling white supremacist views in more sympathetic counter-cultural words and aesthetics. Wherever fascism rears its head, whether wearing swastikas and boots or studded vests and torn jeans, our reaction will always be the same: No Pasaran!
Let’s hope this is just the start not of just confronting the soon ending Operation Equinox, but Neofolk tours who maintain these New Right and Alt Right connections. Let this be a line in the sand for anti-racist Neofolk musicians and fans to stop supporting this wing of the movement.
The post-industrial, black metal, and neofolk music scene has been defined by fascist plausible deniability. The earliest days of the black metal scene were defined by iconoclastic misanthropic malaise, a generalized anger against everyone and everything. The scene was mired with early days of violence, but also embarrassing interviews from early bands about their obsessions with death and “evil.” This culminated in the murder of Euronymous by Varg Vikernes of Burzum, as well as the dozens of church burnings. The burnings themselves were both begging for some kind of high-schoolesque rebellion as well as a resistance against the past Christianization of Scandinavia, namely in Norway. Virknes eventually came out as a racial Odinist and white nationalist, with the church burnings being an act of religious war both against a “universalist/non-ethnic” religion and against an ethos that says “turn the other cheek.”
The black metal community was largely defined later by fellow far-rightist Michael Moynihan, who wrote the book Lords of Chaos about the early years. The book, largely built on interviews with the band, see the movement as being the manifestation of an Odinic demonic spirit welling up in them. This draws on an idea from Carl Jung that people have archetypical spirits in their collective unconscious based on race, with white “Aryans” having the spirit of Nordic gods inside of them. This is the foundation of racial heathenry and is an idea that both animated much of Nazi occultism and the contemporary ethnic Asatru and Odinic sects.
While National Socialist Black Metal is certainly a phenomenon, racism is not the permanent state of the black metal community. Instead, there are very real problematic elements in terms of violence and nihilism, some of which taking an elitist and masculanist obsession, but the vast majority of bands do not share nationalist sympathies openly. What people tend to pick up on is instead that they share many themes with genres like neofolk and martial industrial, both of which have strong ties to the far-right.
Neofolk broadly can be defined by resurrecting musical styles inspired by early pre-Christian music synthesized with modern post-industrial. You might find throw backs to Renaissance, Romantic, Medieval, and other eras mixed with traditional European “folk music.” This is then paralleled with a lyrical obsession with pre-Christian myths, paganism, warrior stories, fairy tales, along with general themes of occultism, religion, decadence and decline, and romanticism of the past. This has often been associated with fascism in as much as many of the prominent bands have lyrical and aesthetic content that draws both on Nazism and on broader fascist themes, of which fans often use plausible deniability to say that it is more about lurid obsessions rather than their own fascist politics. This might be accepted if the lyrics were not often a straight line to Pan-European nationalism, as well as seeing prominent bands directly associated with fascist movements. The most obvious of these has been Death in June, but Sol Invictus, Fire + Ice, Ostara, Allerseelen, and Waldteufel, among many others, have been shown to not only play with imagery, but to have aligned themselves with the far-right. This often ranges between Nordic racial paganism to the traditionalism of Julius Evola to right-wing interpretations of Aliester Crowley’s Thelema and Chaos Magick, all focused on hierarchy, power, strength, and elitist control.
It has often been difficult to verify these sorts of allegiances, mainly because they are incredibly subtle references. Much of the inspiration for neofolk is in resurrecting a European romanticism, yet the neofolk scene attracts many who have anti-racist sympathies yet also enjoy the mythos and themes of early Europe. If a person wants to verify exactly what this musical scene is delving into we luckily do not have to jump into esoteric Gothic magazines or foreign press because a few Americans have created a website to dumb down their own pan-pagan racism.
Heathen Harvest is a music website focusing on “post-industrial” for over a decade. Here you are really going to find news, interviews, features, and reviews about music spanning the “Dark genres” and “extreme music.” Though this could broadly include metal and industrial, it seems to have carved a niche for itself in the music associated with dark religious obsession, paganism, and the occult. If you know what you are looking at, even just a quick survey will reveal that there are racial sentiments boiling under the surface.
In almost every interview on the site they will begin referencing racial and neo-fascist themes. Often times questions reference the perennial traditionalism of Julius Evola, books like Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West, or racial paganism. While some musicians resist these associations, many play into them directly, even if not incredibly deeply. Ostara, for example, gets prompted repeatedly by the interviewer to discuss Spangler and traditionalism, which they oblige, but it is clear that they are having a difficulty making their way through the list of fascist texts that have been provided for them by the scene. What drives a common spirit is a disgust for the “modern world,” a term that has become in popular use from Evola. Some interpret this as things like industrial capitalism and environmental destruction, but in the traditionalist school this more aptly means multiculturalism, democracy, and equality.
Their podcast, The Forest Passage, drops much of the pretense and takes us directly back to the racism of the Alt Right. In Podcast #12, they open with jokes like calling our current period the “current year,” a joke from the rabidly racist and anti-Semitic podcast The Daily Shoah. They go on to deride “liberals” for their universalizing morality, they admire nationalism instead of “globalism,” and certainly side with the idea that elites should be running society. They had on Florida Libertarian Party candidate Augustus Sol Invictus, where they rapped about Left-Hand Path occultism and nationalism. In this episode one of the hosts discusses Germany’s choice to let in Syrian refugees, which they say is “destroying” Europe. They present contemporary politics as “Nationalism vs. Globalism,” presenting the common straw-man argument from fascists that to be against nationalism is to be in favor of global corporate capitalism. One of the hosts derives his name GJ Anarch from far-right philosopher Ernst Junger’s concept of the Anarch, which means a “sovereign person.” At almost any point on their website you can find references to the coming collapse, when the western decadence of the “Kali Yuga” will bring us back to a possible Western Golden Age. While they rarely jump into openly “racist” language, they have a consistent voice in favor of white racial nationalism. They functionally make the same arguments as places like the Radix Journal or The Daily Shoah, but have recolored it with esoteric, pagan, and counter-cultural language so as to provide an intellectual mirage that provides a feeling of rebellious superiority to their audience. Plainly put: They are white nationalism with an occultist lens and inside of a musical scene.
VICE Magazine did a recent article called “How a Thor Worshipping Religion Turned Racist” looking briefly how the resurrection of Nordic paganism became racially inclined. HH responded to this by stating that they mischaracterized racial paganism, going into the tired rhetoric about “love for your own doesn’t mean hate for the other.” They specifically come to the support of Asatru Folk Assembly founder Stephen McNallen and the band Changes, whose members were also members of the Third Positionist American Front.
If you claim to favour the global patchwork that is multiculturalism then you cannot set about removing chosen patches from that quilt. You also cannot take it upon yourself to redefine any of those patches lest the cultures that they represent have set out to harm you—and even then you’ll be fighting the force of a million forefathers who have slowly woven that world for their descendents. This goes for any folk around the world—all of whom deserve control over the culture of their ancestors. In practical terms this control may manifest as a sense of exclusivity, but consider this: exclusivity maintains the boundary between one thing and another—forest and field; football and rugby; public and private. It is no more hateful an act than it would be to reject D♯ from a musical composition in the key of A-minor.
The website goes on to have reviews of Julius Evola’s Fascism Viewed from the Right, a tome where Evola observes the points where fascism diverted from a true right wing path, as well as his autobiography, The Path of Cinnebar. Their commitment to “folksih” Heathenry, meaning racially defined Heathenry, is near complete, though they do hold a single article containing arguments in favor of universalist heathenry and against folkishness . Their reviews extend to right-wing journals, like the “radical traditionalist” TYR, also edited by Michael Moynihan. That occasional journal publishes work looking at the “pre-Modern European traditions,” though this is very eschewed. In reality it publishes articles on Odinism, Evola, and right-wing interpretations of myths and folktales, featuring white nationalist Heathens like Colin Cleary. HH are often covering Arktos Media, a traditionalist publisher run by white nationalist John Morgan. The publisher was founded to translate and publish works of the French New Right like Alain De Benoist and traditionalists like Julius Evola for an American audience. They have really gotten behind neofolk, both as a popular right-wing musical scene and one that focuses on the traditionalist and romantic themes of Europe rather than just the vulgar racism of the skinhead Oi! and Rock Against Communism scene(Though they include interviews with RAC musicians like Vapaudenristi.). They regularly review books with racial content, especially as it applies to edge political scenes like National Anarchism. This includes a shining review of A Life in the Political Wilderness by Welf Herfurth, which draws on the work of Troy Southgate, Tomislav Sunic, and Alain De Benoist. They follow similar queues to other nationalist website in reviewing the work by controversial French author and Islamophobic iconoclast Michel Houellebecq, giving a “traditionalist” review of his book Submission. All of this really is just a snippet as this content is such a regular feature that even a survey of it would be incredibly dense. HH is likely to counter these claims, citing reviews of books like The White Nationalist Skinhead Movement by Robert Forbes where they show little sympathy, but this should only be persuasive to those who do not have a firm understanding of what the new trends in neo-fascism are and how they differ from the antiquated skinhead gang culture. HH represents a vision of nationalism and anti-egalitarian thinking that grounds itself in spiritual and philosophical themes, and so its own self aggrandizement is likely what allows it to feel as though it is not in the same camp as Combat 18 and those that clashed with Antifa in Dover.
What is most insidious about HH is that is has crossover appeal, which is to say that it is not explicitly a racial website. Many bands refuse to take the bait on the racism, including bands like Agalloch. It should be noted that HH absolutely does not interfere with bands with left and post-left leanings, and gives them an open platform to speak up from this perspective. An example of this would be an interview they have BRUT, where the band members discuss the way that female musicians have been marginalized in the industrial and dark music scene. This runs in contrast to the way that many authors, editors, and podcast hosts make fun of the concept of “toxic masculinity,” and often discuss the need for men to come together in tribes(or, in particular, “white men”) against the modern world(Jack Donovan comes up more than once, and his books are reviewed on the site.). Given the fact that they focus on “extreme” music, you are going to get a lot of anti-authoritarian left bands as well, though there seems to be little differentiation done by them when it comes to HH’s affiliations.
What should be noted is that even the non-racist crowd inside much of these circles have supported and joined up with problematic musicians like Michael Moynihan, Boyd Rice, and Death in June. The boundaries are not set inside of neofolk as they would inside of the anti-racist world, so we have to keep that in mind so as to see them for their intentions rather than just their associations. While Agalloch may be willing to support Sol Invictus, they have also stated that their opposition to the “modern world” is exclusively because of techno-industry and not because of multiculturalism. This makes their associations equally problematic, but notes that not everyone inside of this musical subculture share the nationalist political roots.
Heathen Harvest has now prepared a tour across the U.S. of popular European neofolk and post-industrial bands, though they are only one of the sponsors along with Annihilvs Power Electronix. Operation Equinox 2016 will include the Danish bands Of The Wand and the Moon and Die Weisse Rose, the U.S. based Blood and Sun, and Vril Jager, Destroying Angel, and Scout Pare-Phillips. Blood and Sun also joined bands like Waldteufel at Stella Natura, a questionable neofolk music festival put together by the Asatru Folk Assembly. Luke Tromiczak of the band was interviewed on Episode 13 of The Forest Passage, where he talks about the romanticism and opposition to modernity in neofolk. According to New York City Antifa, Luke Tramicza has dressed as a Nazi brownshirt at shows, collaborates with Nazi bands, and has “associates in White Power circles.” Fascism Watch, who wrote a letter trying to have a New York City venue cancel a show with Blood and Sun and Death in June listed that he had “neo-Nazi connections in his native Minnesota.”
Die Weisse Rose actually naming themselves after the German pacifist student movement that resisted the Nazis, yet they list their politics as Revolutionary Conservative on MySpace. This puts them in line with people like fascist legal scholar Carl Schmitt, another obscure philosopher popular with this strain of the far-right.
Of the Wand and the Moon, the project of Kim Larsen, has often gotten painted with the same brush because of their focus on romanticism and runes, and while there is not strong indications from his music, his use of fascist symbols is so dense that it is hard to argue with these allegations. Larsen has especially been targeted for using the same runic Algiz necklace as members of the neo-Nazi Heathen Front. With situations like this it is quite difficult to determine exactly how to approach it, as well as his collaborations and compilations with bands like Death in June, Sol Invictus, and Allerseelen(She was also featured at Stella Natura). What this says very clearly is that even if Larsen does not hold racial ideas, he is certainly not an ally to the aims of anti-fascist progress and standards. Vril Jager takes its name from a Nazi-era fighter plane, and also a project of Kim Larsen.
This tour provides an opportunity for anti-fascists to either confront the concerts directly or to pressure the bands not associated with racist causes to distance themselves from the more problematic elements. If bands like Die Weisse Rose eschew racist politics, then it is reasonable to hold them to the same standards of association that we would in any other community. No one wants to be culturally policed, but instead it is critical to continue to show the reactionary power that fascist music can have and how it is mobilizing a very dangerous white nationalist movement that is leading to mass violence against refugees across Europe. Segregating bands like Blood Axis and Death in June from the rest of the musical movement, putting them in the same camp as skinhead “white noise” scenes, will help to keep the organized racism out of subcultural and Goth spaces. With this kind of creeping sub-cultural fascism, anti-fascists need to confront them directly and build a movement that is not going to allow it to seep in under vague philosophical arguments that attempt to divert our attention from the reality of their genocidal racism.
This gives you an opportunity to contact the venues to tell them that the community does not want to deal with racist bands and promoters, as well as to contact the bands directly to tell them that this music community will not accept fascist associations. The shows will be on the east coast and midwest, so local counter-organizing can happen drawing on the larger anti-racist movements of the regions. Below some of the dates below is the venue contact information.
3/23/2016 Nothing Changes – New York, NY *combined performance
3/25/2016 Machines With Magnets – Pawtucket, RI
Address: 400 Main Street Pawtucket, RI 02860
3/27/2016 Black Bear Bar – Brooklyn, NY @ Sort Påske Festival
70 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
3/30/2016 The Convent – Philadelphia, PA *combined performance
So as followers of this blog will note, we have stayed closely to the more fringe elements of white nationalism and the far right. This means looking towards various Third Positionist movements, National Anarchism, racial paganism, and, of course, neo-folk and related musical genres. We would never claim that the entire genre is fascist in nature, really only a small subset of bands are in the grand scheme of things, but they have been influential in the aesthetics, lyrical content, and style of the movement.
The harbringer of this turn is the seminal neo-folk band, Death in June. People will note them for their extensive use of Nazi and fascist imagery, which people try to claim is either ironic, non-racial pagan, shock value, or some other apologetic notion. Douglas Pearce, the masked front man of DiJ, has repeatedly countered this view with his open racist comments, support for Third Positionist/Strasserite National Socialism, and his racialized Nordic Odinism. This is a point that has been outlined in many, many places before, so instead of retreading the evidence for the band’s racist positions and connections, we will simply post a reading list below with links to articles that expand on this. DoJ makes up a racialist undercurrent of bands that all intertwine, including Sol Invictus, Blood Axis, Boyd Rice, and many other neo-folk, martial industrial, pagan metal, and black metal bands.
DiJ and its cohorts are destructive parasites on music culture, where they have infected goth and industrial musical subculture with nationalist notions. Pearce has continued, and will continue when confronted, to hide behind the fact that he is an open gay man and has worked in Jews, but this is only a complexity that is built on a much more deeply running idea of racial folkish nationalism. Even though he may not share every aspect of victimizing fascist ideologies, he certainly pairs the Might is Right, racial separatism, and cult of violence that makes up the genocidal nationalist project. More importantly, he creates a space for a “rainbow” assortment of those on the far right, and almost none of their concerts pass without participation from local white nationalists, skinheads, neo-Nazis, Odinists, Men’s Rights Activists, and others on the racist “Alternative Right.” Plainly put: Death in June is a “hip” meet-up point for those who want to dethrone equality and democracy and institute a brutal hierarchical order built on racial, gender, and sexual divisions. Whether the followers use fancy terms like “anarcho-Monarchist” or “Dark Enlightenment,” they share the same philosophical trend that makes up our direct opposition.
Death in June is heading out on tour for the end of November and all of December. Antifa has seen some of their biggest successes in shutting down Death in June events, which can sometimes be the largest white power event in a city all year. The “no platform” principle of Antifa organizing is incredibly important here, where the first organizing strategy can be to pressure the venue to cancel the show. Most venues do not even know who they are offering the space to, and certainly do not want to invite the kind of conflict or characters that are insured at a DiJ show. If they double down, as they have in many instances, then this means confronting the event as it is happening and doing what is possible to stop DiJ from having a space to operate. In these instances, we can draw heavily from the community, to have a groundswell that is not going to tolerate old-fashioned racist ideas under the guise of hipster irony and nature worship. DiJ actions have been especially successful from the participation of anti-racist pagans and music fans who are tired of being associated with a vile racist undercurrent.
They will also be touring with a band Spiritual Front, which is more up front about their white nationalism than even Death in June.
Below, we are listing all of the Death in June concert dates and location, including the venues. You can choose the venue link or the Facebook to get the phone number and email, both of which are good for contact. It is also a good idea to try posting messages on the venue’s Facebook page, but expect DiJ fans to begin insulting you. Locally, groups should begin to organize counter actions, as well and having “call ins” in coordinating blasts to show the venues that the community will not tolerate this kind of racialist music in their city.
As Death in June began making its rounds on the Death of the West tour (a line often used throughout White Nationalist literature, and the title of a book by it’s public face, Patrick Buchanan), an anti-fascist group began to rally to have the dates canceled and shows protested. As the organizing began there was a mad rush to defend DIJ by a fan base that could not imagine that an iconoclastic band such as this could really be responsible for the kind of hate they were being accused of. “They are representing a kind of folk culture.” “They only use fascist imagery as an ironic shock.” “They are queer friendly, and play in Israel.” These are only a few of the justifications given, while most people simply cited that they don’t usually say anything racial so therefore do not fit in the Nazi category. This was responded to by a difficult discussion about the factions within Nazism and an attempt at a critical analysis about the use of fascist and nationalist imagery, most of which was lost on those defending DIJ.
What this tends to bring up is less a question of how DIJ presents themselves and more a difficulty in the discourse around anti-fascism. Today a rising tide of fascism takes on multiple political programs, finds entryism into a variety of cultural movements seen as traditionally both left and right, and often times shades itself in images that are completely alien.
The term Nazi is often hard to apply, and therefore the discussion often creates confusion and robs anti-fascists of the ability to truly mobilize around this issue. It is much easier, in comparison, to target things like the North Dakota town being infiltrated by the National Socialist Movement and the Creativity Movement (formerly World Church of the Creator) as the aesthetics and most people generally understand rhetoric. But what about the tribalist rhetoric present in DIJ? How about the discussion of paganism, right wing anti-capitalism, folkish culture, and the various tenants of rising ”intellectual” fascism. This creates a disconnect as anti-fascists are often reduced to the most obvious, and often least effective, target. The question here becomes what the goals of an anti-fascist movement should be, and what the results of a fascist current can be when not countered.
There are two primary problems that a fascist movement can create when entering a community.
1. Extreme violence towards members of communities that oppose them. This means the targeting of minorities, Jews, LGBTQ folks, and others for violence.
2. Entry into existing movements to push them in a fascist direction, whether on the right or the left.
The first one has often been the target of anti-fascist groups, and for good reason. The most common issue that a militant racist movement will cause is spontaneous violence for people, such as the random attacks on people of color on the street. This is an incredibly difficult problem since, by and large, anti-fascist groups are really not equipped for the kind of community policing that this requires. This does not mean it is unnecessary, but in reality it creates such a point of violence that most people cannot risk their lives to participate. Likewise, though people often hurl epithets at the police, calling them fascists, they are usually not, and the police usually targets Nazi gangs pretty regularly. Problems with the police do not usually come from their participation in openly fascist movements (at least in this country), but instead in their protection of a system of capital and institutionalized oppression. The system exhibits consistent racism on a daily basis, but this is fundamentally different than a paramilitary force that hopes to establish an explicitly racist social system. For anti-fascists that do want to target these groups, they are going to have to commit to a life at risk of violence and retaliation.
This fact does not, however, mean that their efforts are not needed, but instead much less effective. The violence of explicit Nazis is often unprovoked, unplanned, and difficult to counter. Instead, a praxis of community protection and solidarity can be employed, where safe spaces are established and large-scale community response networks can be created.
The second problem is the one that is both more persistent in our current climate and often less targeted. This comes in several forms, less often having participants of an open Neo-Nazi self-identification. Instead, these people may refer to themselves as radical traditionalists, revolutionary conservatives, reactionaries, neo-pagans, or simply “concerned citizens.” The rhetoric here often changes with whatever the cultural subsets of these ideas are, but the fact remains that they share a White Nationalist worldview. Their primary focus is to now enter social movements, community spaces, spiritual communities, and the like, and influence them in a certain direction, usually towards the “preservation of the European traditions and people.” They may not recite the “14 words” explicitly, but the content of their speech remains the same. It is here that things become more difficult, but there are some mainstays that we can look towards.
What is the primary issue for White Nationalists to focus on? Immigration (you may also say Affirmative Action, but this has really receded as will be discussed later). What is the second most primary issue for them? There is none.
This is not because White Nationalists view immigration as a problem above all else, even though their current rhetoric will lead you to believe this. Instead, they have found a dividing issue in which they can enter and shift the conversation consistently. In a different generation, there were contentious issues that were easy to enter the public discussion about, yet today immigration is on many people’s minds and mixed consciousness about this issue is common even in “progressive” communities.
A great example of this is the clearly racialist website VDare. Run by White Nationalist Paul Goddfried, this is an anti-immigration website that hosts a “variety of viewpoints” that are critical of immigration. It is through this website, and really only through this type of discourse, that someone like Peter Brimelow is able to be taken seriously and be invited to mainstream conservative events like C-PAC. Brimelow hosts openly racist writers on VDare, as well as well known reactionaries like Pat Buchanan. Here they are given a gift in that racist immigration ideas are still mainstream and accepted within the sphere of “reasonable discourse,” and therefore White Separatist ideas become part of this sphere through VDare’s position on the issue. The same is true of overt racists like Steve Sailer and the former National Review contributor John Derbyshire.
Other issues come and go as racists feel as though they can utilize them. At times they have been on both the vanguard of the pro and anti-environmental movements. They have at times been conservative Evangelical Christians, while also shifting to Germanic Neo-Pagan movements with an ethnic identitarianism. They are both hyper rational, and critical of materialism and science. They lack consistency in their issues and their approach to criticism, yet remain consistent in their conclusions.
The diversity and complexity of this has really taken shape with the injection of far-right academics into this discourse, usually coming out of Western Europe. Movements like Noveaux Drois, GRECE, the French New Right, as well as individual authors like Alain DeBenoit and Jonathan Bowden developed a canon to be essentially the fascist equivalent of Frankfurt School Marxism. Domestically, the vanguard of this “novel restatement of fascism” comes in places like Alternative Right, Count-Currents publishing, Voice of Reason radio, and others. There is again nothing consistent in the politics of these areas, except their criticisms of multiculturalism, egalitarianism, and anything that could possibly rip white Europeans from their “glorious history.” At Attack the System we see the North American lead of National Anarchism, amongst other similar strains like Anarcho-Feudalism and Anarcho-Monarchism. Here former Worker Solidarity Alliance member turned National Anarchist, supports secessionist movements where people abolish the state in favor of ethnically homogenous tribal sects. Richard Spencer, previously of Alternative Right and now Radix Journal, focuses on what he calls Radical Traditionalism, creating an essentialist and biological explanation for almost every social system. Here he consistently argues for fascist policies as the continuation of the great “Western civilization,” based on heroism, strength, and a strict nationalism. All of these utilize the language of academia and activism to argue for some of the most reprehensible views on race and politics, with a starting point that popular democracy is a perversion and that people are inherently unequal.
There have always been intellectual vanguards on the far right, so these new terms and publications are nothing new. What is different, however, is that the vigilance of their entryism has waned. It may seem obvious when looking at their writing that they are getting at something fundamentally fascist, even when avoiding the word outright. At the same time, as these ideas enter our movements we have not created the kind of united fronts that are important.
An example of this has been the uncomfortable relationship between these nationalist neo-tribalist movements and the radical environmental and Anarcho-Primitivist currents. While people like John Zerzan and Kevin Tucker critique all aspects of civilization for its alienating effects, and advocate a return to a pre-civilized way of living, there are definite elements to their discourse that have become questionable. What Zerzan often refers to as a critique of “mass cultural orientation” often resembles the newly forming critiques of multiculturalism that are happening on the far-right, as well as the inherent belief in Primitivist politics that people with special needs must be sacrificed. There is a definite spiritual element to this analysis, at times echoing the folkish connection between the people and the land. Fetishism of tribal communities is common, often forgetting to discuss how a return to these original tribal communities often takes the form of racial segregation. This is not to say that people like Zerzan himself share these fascist worldview, and likely far from it, but this has created a clear opening. Recently, a National Anarchist was added to the editorial collective of Green Anarchist in Britain, forcing many infoshops to remove it from their shelves. Often times this discourse has affected green communities, and it is not uncommon for things like race and nation to be discussed alongside these anti-civ perspectives. In Deep Green Resistance we see a respect for the top-down militia style that we see in right-wing paramilitarism, as well as an acceptance of transphobia without a consistent backlash.
As we entered into the Occupy Movement, the diversity of political ideas and backgrounds created a lot of ideological conflicts. While this disagreement is totally welcome in a multifaceted mass movement, we again saw a return of the conspiracy theory and “libertarianism”(for most anarchists, calling capitalists libertarians feels like a punch in the stomach). We saw things like 9/11 Truthers, Mises Institute fellows, and many on the fringes of right-wing economics being discussed. As an undercurrent to many of these are classic conspiracies about the control Jews have in the media, banking, and politics, many of which are the same that the John Birch Society had in the past. The inherent “inequality” of people is central to the ideas present in people like Murray Rothbard, and his racial views are well known. As a search for openness was heralded as incredible in these burgeoning occupations, we began to see an unquestioning acceptance of borderline conspiracy theories and disgusting views on the poor as part of the acceptable range of discourse. While many of these “libertarians” had connections to neo-confederate, militia, and racial movements, we still sat through talks on the gold standard and the Federal Reserve as if this fringe element was just a part of our revolutionary milieu.
The problem is, they aren’t. These ideas do not make up political allies in left communities, especially ones that have committed themselves to an anti-racist egalitarian worldview. Without the ability to identify this rhetoric for what it is it is difficult to be able to see it when it begins to influence our movements. Just like a parasite turns its host against itself, these movements go from being our tools for social change to their weapon for social destruction.
The question that comes up here is how can we go forward with an anti-fascist praxis that can be both effective and comprehensive. This often begins by knowing what we are looking for, and what we are fighting. Without a clear understanding of what fascism is we will only be able to spot it in its most obvious caricatures of itself. Unfortunately, the fascist movements that will attempt to gain powerful holds in America will likely not be under a Nazi flag. This makes them harder to spot, harder to attack, and harder to suffocate.
What people have done for years is attempt to create a “generic definition of fascism.” What this means is a way to describe what fascism is that is not dependent on a particular movement, conflict, country, or period of time. What is the specific fascist element? Some argue that there is no generic fascism because it is always a false ideology that is specific to the dictator and always just a way to exploit a population. While this is true, there are common features that bind together fascist movements even though they may be culturally and contextually different.
There has often been an effort to simply define authoritarian movements as fascist, though this is not a universal connection. Marxists often define fascism as the more reactionary sector of capital, but this misses its most key elements. Fascism as a state philosophy is almost universally anti-capitalist because capitalism creates too much multiculturalism and does not put the welfare of a homogenous racial or cultural group first. In this way fascism is often described as a right-wing socialism, where by a welfare state is used to systematically exclude people. The fundamental core of fascism is the belief in the essential nature of hierarchy. If people are fundamentally unequal, then society should be stratified and democracy should be waned since the governing of the people is best left up to an elite. Any form of capitalist representative democracy, which most anarchists and anti-authoritarians would say isn’t even a true democracy, allows for too much class mobility and popular control. Instead, a fascist state is meant to force hierarchy to exist without the irregularity of capital. This state is meant to subvert democratic institutions along an ideological line, force “class collaboration,” and make sure that inequality is observed. Many on the modern intellectual fascist line return to the ideas of Julius Evola, a radical right wing philosopher that states that societies are healthier the more clearly the social stratification and hierarchy is. He asserts that modernity is a “feminizing” and equalizing force that strips of our national, racial, and spiritual identity, which is inherent in “traditional” societies. This shows the next key element of fascism, which is a paleogenic myth about the “true nature” of society. Fascism promises to restore the true order, the heroic history that never was. Fascism outlines a mythology about a particular grouping by suggesting that in the past it was racially homogenous, filled with heroes, perfectly run, and where by people are spiritually fulfilled. This often forgets the history of extreme oppression that most people experienced historically as subjects of the empires they hope to emulate in a modern context, as well as the fact that there is no genetic homogeneity in any of these European communities at any point in history. The reality is that this vision of its past was never true, but that does not negate that fascists believe we can return to it.
Elitism, essentialism, and racism are all key since they create a worldview that inequality is “natural” and that nations are essential characteristics of a person’s biology. Without this return to the pure essential it is hard for them to argue that a nation has something crucial to offer, but if you assume that all things are based in biology they can string together a narrative that racial categories define our cultural realities. There is no contemporary science to justify these racial categories and no evidence to propose that people of Germanic decent have something fundamentally different about them than anyone from any other part of the world, which is why they easily slip into pseudo-scientific double speak, quoting obscure philosophers and playing with subjective terms like “identity”
There is a lot of discussion about what is truly fascist, what is proto-fascist, and what simply has “fascist elements.” The answer to this for anti-fascist organizers comes a lot different than academics that make it simply an intellectual exercise. Instead, we have to see fascism as something to be opposed and countered, not simply something that exists as an idea on its own. Fascism attempts to conquer and transform our communities, so its definition is only as useful as we can use it as a category to identify and destroy. Fascism is not defined by its command economics or its anti-capitalism, but by its elitist, hierarchical, racist nationalism and mythology. It’s perceived return to the past, its utopian visions of superiority, and its belief in the essential nature of sexual, gender, racial, and social roles.
Within this context we can see an entire historical run for fascism as it arises as a distinct current within a political movement, even if that current does not take over every apparatus of government and social life. Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy are often proposed as the only true manifestations of fascism, but this negates the reality of its place in the Fallange in Spain, the Iron Guard in Romania, and, most recently, the paranoid race-based nationalism of North Korea. Fascism makes up a distinct worldview where by imagery has substantive meaning and ethnicity is a defining characteristic.
Fascism does likewise not attach itself to specific political formations. There has often been a very common comparison, usually by the less intelligent conservative milieu, that any kind of nationalized industry thus denotes fascism because they also nationalized that industry in Germany and Italy. This is an obvious logical fallacy, but does present some of the problems with discerning fascism. While it does often take on authoritarianism, and the idea of authority whether in a macro level through “fuher” type leadership and on the micro level by strong men within the family, it does not necessarily denote totalitarianism. National Anarchists argue for a state-free form of nationalism, where by tribal and racial authorities are important without the apparatus of the state. This is one of the many “third position” fascist ideas that have become popular, where it is not uncommon to combine previously thought of as non-complimentary social ideas.
The key element here will never be a type of political machinery, but instead a distinct one of values. Political methodology is usually chosen because of its perceived effectiveness in realizing a sort of value. From the perspective of most people, equality, freedom, and the like are common values, though the methods of how to achieve this very greatly. Among the radical right, this sense of value is completely different. Instead, hierarchy, authority, tradition, and strength over the weak are the values, and the political apparatus that is chosen is just the method. While the kind of state fascism seen in Italy and Germany may be the kind that is commonly known, it is not the only method that these people come up with. The totalitarian tyranny of Soviet Russia took on many of the state functions that Nazi Germany did, but different in that they thought this oppression could lead to an egalitarian democracy. The difference is the Nazis used these tools to smash both.
From here we can begin to sketch together a profile that is common amongst the various groups, often hiding behind the syncretic “dualism” of Third Position fascism. At their core is a disbelief in the capability of all people to rule, the inequality and stratification amongst people, the essential nature of value in biology, and the need to lead through violence, heroism, and strength.
The definition of fascism should then come from what is useful rather than what is academically perfect. In this way, the broader definition of the history of fascism can trace a series of examples of fascism that may not fit the definitions verbatim. The reason is that while these movements are diverse and may not hold every single element of fascism, this is still their dominant current and can be reduced to this common denominator for the purpose of targeting. This does not mean, however, that we should be liberal with the term. Without the key elements of inequality, authoritarianism, and the like it does not really represent a revolutionary fascist current, but rather just the most barbarous elements of the current capitalist system. When the Obama, and previously Bush, administration engage in corporatism and totalitarianism, it does not inherently make it fascist. As anti-authoritarians we already have a critique of these elements and currently oppose the state of the system, but this does not necessarily represent fascism. Instead, fascism is going to run counter the current mechanisms of capitalism and the State since they do not perfectly represent the forceful implementation of their vision. Instead, they can influence or overthrow the State, in the same way that various strains of the left could. We very well could devolve into fascism in America, but it is likely to not simply come from the regular functions of capital and the State.
The war that is at play here is not with the fascists for the fate of society (yet), but instead over the fate of radicalism.
Fascism, as a radical current, critiques the current social order for various reasons, often times taking to task the same things that revolutionaries do on the left. Boredom. Environmental destruction. Alienation. Poor living standards. All of these things are presented often times within the fascist program of critique, but it does so with a fundamentally different set of values. As they come in contact with people looking for a deeper analysis and have a general distrust of the system, they present an alternative. They do this inside the various radical movements that are at play to attract revolutionaries, and inside conservative social movements to attract the reformists. While we will not be persuading potential converts inside the right-wing anti-immigration movement, those working in Palestinian support and radical environmentalism can and should be comrades in an intersectional struggle against oppression. If these struggles are primary to someone, they are susceptible to systemic critiques that support their current issue. If we allow these disgusting ideas to become a viable option for those in struggle, we will let our movements be areas of inflation for the fascist movements.
For committed anti-fascist organizers there needs to be a few ideas that can lead a way forward away from the current failures and to begin to target fascist movements as they arise, try to make entry into radicalism, and shift current social movements.
1. It is important to differentiate fascist intellectual movements and political organizing from fascist gang culture. The main reason for this is not ideological, but tactical. In the case of skinhead gangs or KKK militants there is rarely a deeply thought ideological root, but rather a pairing of racial difference with economic and personal strife. Here they tend to recruit the down and out, often youths with difficult backgrounds, and their main tool is violence. The reality here is that they will never influence any movement, and even the far right would like to disassociate at any chance. Instead, they pose the risk of spontaneous violence to communities of color, LGBT color, and anyone else they begin to add to their list of discontents. This presents a fundamentally different challenge from targeting white nationalists in American Renaissance or The Occidental Observer, who are there making poised ideological arguments to people willing to absolve themselves of conventional ethical logic. The plan of action is completely different, as approaching skinheads is really a matter of physical defense of self and community. Here they need to be dealt with simply as agents of violence, and in reality police will still act as their adversary. This is also not a conventional battle of political organizing as it would be with actual political organizers, and you do not have to win people to your side since they have already done a pretty good job alienating everyone around them already. This does not mean that anti-fascists should not strike against groups like Combat 18, but it means that this is a guerilla war and community organizing does not take on the same precedence. Instead, it is social movement fascists and intellectual right-wingers that need to be targeted through social movements that hold a radical enough analysis that their charade can be unveiled.
2. The fascism of tomorrow will never look like the fascism of yesterday. While a fetishism of nationalist images is a permanent fixture of far right institutions, with Death in June being the perfect example, the most classic images of World War II fascism have been completely stripped from the intellectual and social movement fascists. You are not going to see a swastika from the National Anarchists at a Palestinian solidarity rally, nor are you going to see pictures of Hitler in the pages of the Radix. Instead, you are going to see vague references to nationalism, identity, spirituality, tradition, and the like, all of which can go under the radar if you are looking for “Heil Hitlers.” The reality is that the obvious images of traditional war fascism are so repugnant to everyone in modern society that people who share those ideas are never going to cloak themselves in them if they want any chance of success. The fascist movements that do so, like the National Socialist Movement or the National Alliance, make up the most organized wing of the skinhead gang culture, but in the end the only threat they present is motivating spontaneous violence. They will never have power in social movements or statist politics. Instead, fascism will take on the same core ideological principles and motivate them within existing movements. This was seen very plainly in the reactionary behavior of the Tea Party, and the open invitation that they gave to openly fascist organizations like the American Third Position Party (now called the American Freedom Party). Here the rhetoric was the same, though cloaked in libertarian jargon. This society is being stripped from the inside by immigrants and non-whites, degenerating our culture, and taking the country from its rightful inheritors. The rhetoric was so cleanly disguised that it was often dismissed by even left-wing people as something wholly different. When the release of the Ron Paul papers came out, he was able to disguise clearly racist and homophobic articles as being some kind of clerical error. When Anonymous hacked the website for the American Third Position Party they found clear communication between those in the Ron Paul camp and those in the “whites only” political party. There was even an image of Ron Paul shaking hands with Don Black, the founder of the large white nationalist network Stormfront. None of this seemed to matter to young Ron Paul supporters who were more interested in his attacks on the TSA and marijuana laws than the fact that he was exploiting racial tension to bring in a southern voting base. These are fascist ideas repackaged, and having a clearly successful strategy to influence political discourse. Similar situations have occurred in different radical communities, whether it is continuing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories around the 9/11 attacks or influencing the pagan religious movement by associating Norse paganism with ethnic identity. The names and faces have changed, but the core ideology has not. It means that while we are looking for swastikas, we miss the Asatru Alliance creating bonds between mainstream Wiccans and white nationalists. Nazis will never rise again, but nationalists of a different sort can and will influence the social movements that continually reshape society.
3. Anti-fascist organizers should be able to differentiate between fascists, but there is no reason to do so when organizing publicly. It is important to be able to understand fascist ideas, imagery, and history so that they can be identified and their efforts countered, but this does not mean that we need to engage in long winded public exercises on the difference between National Bolshevism and nationalist Satanism. Instead, call a fascist a fascist. There is an effort to differentiate between proto-fascism, crypto-fascism, and real fascism, but in the end they are all just various levels of the same thing. To the public, the declarations should be simple. Someone can go on long diatribes about ethnic identity and Jungian archetypes, but in reality they simply are a racist. It may be more complicated than that to them, but it is not in any practical terms to the anti-fascist. The definition of fascism must remain useful, so do not publicly overcomplicate the discussion. This differentiation is exactly what they want since they do see themselves as more complicated than those stereotypes, but it is more useful to maintain them because in the end they simply are anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic, race baiting authoritarians. To successfully target them we need research, but to the outside we need only scorn
4. Drop your liberal moralism. Fascism is the core opposite of a free and equal society. It represents the exploitations of the darkest parts of humanity, and the barbarism that is at the polar opposite of anti-authoritarian and egalitarian movements. There should be one, and only one goal, destroy fascism. The kind of respect and “even playing field” logic that many people like to utilize in a liberal democracy needs to go out the window when you are dealing with a direct spawn of evil. Success is the only possibility; their defeat is the only goal. This should come from any means possible, with no moral reservation. This does not mean that you should target confused people with absolute impunity, but know a real fascist organizer when you see one and seek to destroy. They do not deserve to make their case, this allows them to talk around issues and cloud things. Do not let them speak, do not let them have their own organizations, do not let them have a livelihood, do not let them live in your community.
5. Know fascism when you see it, but not all things that should be opposed are fascist. Free market corporate capitalism is a radical tool of class destruction and should be opposed. Imperialist wars on the Muslim world are racist and used to deepen the pockets of corporate pockets, and should be opposed. Rape culture is a disgusting aspect of the ongoing patriarchal structure, and should be opposed. Domestic spying and wiretapping are an encroaching police state that strips us of our liberties, and should be opposed. This does not mean that they are all necessarily fascist. If you have a clear understanding of what fascism is then you will be able to target and irradiate it. If you have a social and class analysis that is growing and targets systemic flaws, then you have the ability to really deal with society as a whole. This means knowing what you are looking and seeing it for what it is. As an anarchist I find capitalism and the state incredibly tyrannical, but they are not always fascist (and today, usually are not). Fascism remains the vanguard of the reactionary elements of every social sector, boiled down and magnified.
Where does this leave us with Death in June? As has been pointed out by many an anti-fascist blog, his ideas make up an affinity for radical Strasserist fascism aligned with National Bolshevist Third Positionism. This sounds like academic pseudo-jargon, and it is. The fact of the matter is that this is how they see themselves, how they differentiate themselves from the other forms of fascism that they do not perfectly align themselves with. What does it mean for us? The bottom line is that they are fascist, not matter what sub labels and traditions they attempt to quote from. Simply because they appeal to a queer audience or play shows in Israel does not mitigate the layers of fascist ideas that permeate not only their imagery and lyrics, but also outright statements in interviews. We do not need to get into a discussion about the details, especially when we can look at those details and see them for what they really are. A fascist does not deserve to be argued with. They do not deserve point and counter point. They do not deserve to have their ideas paired against ours. They represent the purest form of the enemy, the crystallization of every element of the current society that forces us to reject its basic premise. If Death In June wants to go on diatribe about folkish communities and tradition, let them. We will be on the other side trying to end the words before they even begin. To really combat fascism, we have to know what it looks like and what its tactics will be. To do this we need a way forward that does not only look to the past, but looks at our own communities and sees it when it begins to take shape.
Death in June has hidden itself from criticism with irony and calls to pre-Christian paganism, and these are claims that can be debunked with a quick Google search. Pearce has said openly that they began looking towards the ideas of early Nazi Gregor Strasser, which often takes a more economically socialist position than Hitler ended up taking the party in later years. In an article by John Eden at Who Makes the Nazis, he re-asserted Pearce’s public affiliation for violent White Nationalist actions. “It has been widely corroborated that Pearce dedicated a song from the stage to the ‘White Wolves’ – a neo-Nazi grouping who had initially claimed responsibility for these atrocities. In much the same spirit, a valedictory message was posted to the Di6 Yahoo group forum immediately following Anders Breivik’s Utoya massacre, and mainland bombing.” Pearce has also shown open support for genocidal Croatian nationalists, and continues to take inspiration from the neo-fascist National Bolshevist movement that is popular amongst the most violent skinhead gangs in Russia.
Pearce’s eugenic ideas have been posted in very clear terms, though he often shades the racial elements. “MAINLAND EUROPA, HAS SEVERE STOCK PROBLEMS. THAT, AS FAR AS I CAN SEE HAS ONLY GOT WORSE. THOSE WHO SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO BREED ARE DOING SO WITH SUCH FREQUENCY THAT THE UK IS BEING OVER POPULATED BY MORONS WITH NOTHING TO DO EXCEPT HARASS THE REST OF THE POPULATION,” said Pearce. Whether it was when he glorified white domination of people of color by saying “Thank the Gods for Euro-colonialism,” or when he openly attacks non-white immigration and Islam, it is pretty clear where his allegiances are. In an interview in 1998 with Scapegoat he said plainly, “Depending upon their ‘version’ of Eurocentric Racialism, then 9 times out of 10 I feel very comfortable with it.”
These quotes are not a-typical for him, and this has happened on a regular basis. For those who see the esoteric and gothic turn that a lot of White Nationalism has taken in the last twenty years, then this is no surprise. But for those who are regularly looking for the traditional demons, they are going to have trouble parsing them out in a subcultural that treats shock as inherently artistically valid. They are likely not to know about the occasional acceptance of various queer identities in White Nationalist circles these days, often championed by Portland’s Jack Donovan who refers to himself as an “andriophile” because “gay” is “associated with effeminacy, feminism, and leftist politics.” The point here is not that there is a common acceptance of queer identities on the far right, which there is certainly not in any meaningful way, but that one point of contradiction is not enough to discredit their fascist ties. Many of these movements are perfectly willing to accept internal contradictions in the favor of pushing their agenda.
The more important argument, rather than focusing just on the band themselves, is to really look what they open a space for. If you are to find many of the more contemporary intellectual White Nationalists from organizations like Counter-Currents, Occidental Observer, Alternative Right, and American Renaissance on social media, you will find that there is a direct correlation to the band. As an article at the One People’s Project pointed out, it is much more that the band creates a comfortable meeting space for people with these racial perspectives. One former fan reflects on their experience at a show:
“Then I saw the first Call the Paramedics shirt, and then shit got even less subtle up to and including National Alliance patches and Nazi medals. This was not a crowd I wanted to be hanging out with all night. Mind you, they were a very small portion of the attendants but the fact that they were there at all was increasingly upsetting as the night went on. Most of the folks were just sort of willfully ignorant of what was around them. Just like me.”
“I noticed Kevin I. Slaughter in the audience. His publishing company – Underground Amusements – publishes some of the works of Jack Donovan an anti-feminist, anti-gay, anti-equality author. There was a couple next to me that was chanting out any line they found adequately racist and kept yelling for a song called “Enemy Within” that I’d never heard before (I looked the lyrics up when I got home and was not surprised what I found. Ugh.).”
“When I got outside, it was all pretty much laid bare. The folks who had been asked to cover or remove offensive symbols re-revealed them (the extremely anti-racist staff of the venue was extremely vigilant in their enforcement of this standard inside the club and anyone was who did not comply was told they had to leave – outside the club they had no say) and it was at this point that I just said “Fuck this” and walked home feeling like a sucker that had played a part in something that was really disrespectful and shameful.”
If we give the excuses ourselves as to why this kind of thing should be allowed in our communities then we create the space for the development of a fascist movement that will grow before it can be confronted. The best organizing disallows the violence before it even takes shape, and we need to know that without a strong form of resistance then this discontent and collapse in our country can easily become the kind of reactionary wave that we never previously believed would be present.
Big thanks to NYC Anti-Fa who provided many of the quotes by Pearce.[/i]