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Hate, Now Streaming: White Nationalism’s Podcasting Breakthrough

For most of its post-WWII history, white nationalists have not exactly been on the cutting edge of technology.  What they have done, however, has had mixed results, with some of their outreach efforts becoming massive operations.

Willis Carto turned the Liberty Lobby and its paper, The Spotlight, into a business with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, creating the platform for the Populist Party and making Carto a very wealthy man.  This even lead to the Institute of Historical Review, an “academic institute” whose only function was to deny the Holocaust, which Carto lost and then battled with IHR members like Mark Weber for years over endowments.  Tom Metzger tried to draw out a niche for the White Aryan Resistance by bringing it down into the gutter by producing what they labeled as “the most racist newspaper on earth.”  As his operation and outreach to racist skinheads like Hammerskins and Volksfront grew, he lost his house and everything he owned after Mulugeta Seraw was murdered by WAR affiliated skinheads in Portland, Oregon.  The lawsuit that followed destroyed WAR, and set a new precedent of responsibility for these “behind the scenes” racist organizers.

The real step forward for the white nationalist movement was the development of Stormfront, a white nationalist web-forum developed by Klansman Don Black out of Florida.  Even now, Stormfront has a special place in the world of internet hate, growing month after month.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s The Year in Hate and Extremism 2015 outlined how their growth has been steady.

The total of registered users is just shy of 300,000, a fairly astounding number for a site run by an ex-felon and former Alabama Klan leader. And that doesn’t include thousands of visitors who never register as users. At press time, Stormfront ranked as the Internet’s 13,648th most popular site, while the NAACP site, by comparison, ranked 32,640th.

Their number of registered users has now broken that 300,000 mark, and they have had to update their servers recently just to be able to match the increase in traffic that has come from people discussing Donald Trump.

All of these different communications methods, as successful as some have been for them, are still fossils.  They are relics of the past, both in their distribution format and in their cultural affiliations, rhetoric, and philosophical starting points.  Movements like the Alternative Right, Neoreaction/Dark Enlightenment, Human BioDiversity, Radical Traditionalism, and all related “identiatrians” have almost no cultural connection to many of these more KKK/neo-Nazi derivative formations, even if their ideas are cut and paste from them.

Instead, these movements were New Media bound right from the start, circling around internet blogs like Alternative Right or hidden forums on places like 4Chan.  Today, their outreach has only grown, and the foundation of this outreach strategy has become podcasting.

A real vanguard of this, so to speak, was Richard Spencer and Vanguard Radio.  As we have written before, Richard Spencer began his website Alternative Right in 2010 to bring together all the disparate edges of the conservative movement that were no longer a part of the GOP.  Paleoconservatives, race realists, neoreactionaries, radical traditionalist catholics, ethnic pagans, Evolian traditionalists, nationalists, identitarians, Men’s Rights activists, and so many more were all drawn into this movement.  The real center of this was Vanguard Radio, which was the podcast that was used both as an interview show and, for a time, a regular chat segment with Spencer talking to co-hosts Andy Nowicki and Colin Liddell.  The end of 2013 had a traumatic break from Alternative Right for Spencer who, after stepping down as editor, continued to be associated with the website in the press.  After Rachel Maddow did an expose on Spencer and Alt Right after the Jason Richwine scandal at the Heritage Foundation, Spencer became increasingly upset with Alternative Right continuing.  On Christmas of 2013 he pulled the plug on the website, angering the Nowicki and Liddell, who had become the current editors.  He moved Vanguard Radio over to his new project, the National Policy Institute affiliated Radix Journal, and renamed it the Radix Journal podcast.  Over its years it has interviewed names from the far-right movement, such as anti-semitic psychology academic Kevin McDonald, the male-tribalist Jack Donovan, Counter-Currents editor Greg Johnson, American Freedom Party Presidential Candidate Merlin Miller, the Traditionalist Youth Network’s Matthew Heimbach, and Pat Buchanan, among dozens of others.  He has included a series looking at films by Stanley Kubrick, James Bond books and movies, and a range of other television and films, all of which intending to bring a sort of artistic intellectualism back to the racist right.

Greg Johnson followed suit, using his podcast stream to host talks that he gave on Plato, speeches by nationalists like Johnatahn Bowden, interviews and panel commentaries on white nationalist topics, and to sync together disparate podcasts like Robert Stark’s the Stark Truth.  Matthew Heimbach went on to host episodes at Counter-Currents, help out on the briefly lived Kinest racialist Christian podcast Tribal Theocrat, and to do the occasional Traditionalist Youth Hour.  The podcast field was eventually swamped with white nationalist content, with places like the White Voice, the Nationalist Network, and White Rabbit Radio.  All of these tended to ally with the conspiracy world, often devolving into White Genocide and Zionist Occupied Government narratives.  The very popular Daily Stormer website attempted to bridge the gap between the more bizarre and “old school” factions of the white nationalist scene with the smarter and more contemporary crowd, but they eventually moved their show over to Aryan Radio to be alongside speeches by the neo-Nazi William Pierce.

The internet has been critical for outreach of these groups, and it has been since the mid-1990s, so the fact that there are entire podcast networks dedicated to their work is not surprising.  What is disturbing, however, is the popularity that many of them have gotten.  Radix Journal Podcast and The Daily Shoah, especially, are seeing a renaissance in terms of listeners.  The Daily Shoah, which is the podcast project of The Right Stuff, has only been around since early August 2014 but has already soared in popularity.  This has come mainly from their “Opie and Anthony” approach to politics where they have vulgar skits targeting Jews, people of color, and LGBT people in the most disgusting language possible.  Their popularity has led for them to develop a podcast network of their own coming out of their own crowd, all of which are complete with their own jargon and code-names.  This includes Free Radio Skyrim, Fash Britannia, and Fash the Nation, where two hosts banter mainly about how Donald Trump is the savior of the white race and that Bernie Sanders is just a Jew.

The tools that have allowed their successful outreach are the same ones that have aided the general public in creating the podcasting revolution.  Soundcloud and iTunes are just as accessible for amateur podcasters as they are to NPR, which means that they have incredibly mainstream access points for their streams.  Soundcloud will flag certain types of content, and just a few weeks ago it banned The Daily Shoah for violating its terms of use.  TRS obviously made a joke of this, but it slowed them down as they briefly had to host over at the clunky Archive.org.  They wanted to just host on their own website, but at the point at which they post their show there are literally thousands of downloads.  On every weekly episode they read donations, which account to hundreds of dollars a week, coming from listener donations.

The Radix Journal podcast itself has maintained the popularity immensely, and you can see that on their Soundcloud listings there are between 3,000 and 20,000 full listens even on shows that have not been available for very long.  Spencer has done this all in an incredibly smart way as he utilizes his iTunes streams effectively.  He uses multiple channels, one for the regular podcast, one for the audio of speeches at his conferences, and one for the older conversations he had with Jonathan Bowden several years ago.  All of the podcast stream in iTunes with an RSS feed, which is the same deal with The Daily Shoah, Counter-Currents, Tribal Theocrat, American Renaissance, and several others.  Even for less specific far-right projects, like Jack Donovan’s Start the World or The Pressure Project, subscribers are in the thousands, and only increasing.  As places like The Daily Shoah helped to increase the number of white nationalists active in these online publications and forums, Radix took off as well.  In 2015, Spencer increased his podcasting to about once a week, and the listenership tripled.  He has now publicly committed to doing a once a week podcast, a once a week video(which will also be streamed on the podcast), and also doing a monthly Google Hangout on YouTube, which is a format that has become popular for The Daily Shoah contributor, Millenial Woes.  What this amounts to, when looking at the entire Alt Right network of media, is an almost constant stream of content who is increasing more rapidly than anyone would have expected.  Spencer says that he expects to, conservatively, double his reach in 2016, and he just might be right.

Stormfront itself has created a podcast of its own, a five day a week operation where Don Black babbles incoherently, showing both that he is out of touch with the world and even his own movement.  This feed has failed to become anywhere near as popular as his successors, which generally shows how different that movement of today has become and how it has left the old-guard racialist groups in the dust.  Even leaving out this radical fringe of the fringe, the numbers are staggering when you simply look at just how many people are listening to the vast majority of these shows on an almost daily basis.

People assume that a huge part of this increase is the candidacy of Donald Trump, and it certainly is, as well as white reaction to changing demographics, refugee immigration, recent crimes from Islamic participants, and Black Lives Matter.  The real issue, however, is less that there is just a “spark” that has caused it, and rather than this new generation of the radical right is just more effective at targeting and growing their base.  They have crafted a message that is more effective than the KKK ever had, and now they have grown to a point that their community has an echo chamber through social media that allows them to continue growing their reach.  In this way, it is less that new converts are being made through events and arguments, and instead that the already-racist are simply being “activated.”

For anti-fascists, this presents an incredible challenge, which means effectively targeting their outlets when possible while continuing to shine a light on the way that they code their messages.  An example of this is their use of iTunes is almost monolithic, and Soundcloud has already proved that it is not going to accept open racialist content.  What anti-fascists and anti-racists cannot do is continue to ignore this faction of the racist community, assuming that they are only an irrelevant fringe.  Instead, their growth signals a real shift in the thinking, and it is going to be critical to grow anti-racist work, confront their organizing directly, and to develop strategies that go far beyond liberal anti-racists narratives so that the very structures of racial inequality can be dismantled.  “No Platform” is critical in this context, and now we are heading to the digital world of confrontation as well as meeting them in the streets.

 

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Alternative Internet Racism: Alt Right and the New Fascist Branding

In a recent call in show, conservative radio voice Rush Limbaugh got a call from someone named Roy who asked him about a new brand of the right wing that is straying from older conservatism.  “What I’m interested in, is all this stuff about conservatives being older people,” said the caller. “But I think that’s gonna quickly change. I think there’s a group of younger people called ‘the alt right.’ And it started in the last few years in Europe because of the Muslim invasion. And I think it’s… They’re beginning to get people over here, youngsters between 18, 25, 26, to convert to what they call ‘the alt right.’ I think it’s gonna be pretty intense. I think you should keep an eye out for it.”

Many capitalized on Rush’s response, which seemed happy about the caller’s reference to the rise of the cultural right amongst young people.  As the Daily Shoah mentioned in a following show, Rush likely did not know exactly what he was referring to.  Though Rush has started using the Cuckservative meme to discuss conservatives who do not take up racist immigration policies, he certainly is a part of the conservative beltway that is not only not publicly in favor of this white nationalist contingent, it is probably not even much aware of it.

The term “alt right” was then injected into the Twittersphere as a popular hashtag, spreading around the regular reactionary troll dynamic that links together racist blogs and podcasts using labels like “neoreaction” and “Dark Enlightenment.”  This term lead to Buzzfeed doing a story on it where they interview Richard Spencer about the term, leading him to even do a follow up video to discuss the term and how it is evolved.

Though in anti-racist/anti-fascist circles have certainly come across this as they research the new face of white nationalism and the pseudo-intellectual radical right.  Spencer is the right person to be talked to about this since he, for all practical purposes, coined the term.

In 2010 Spencer had finally left a short lived career in paleoconservative publishing to start Alternative Right.  He was plucked out of a Duke University graduate program after writing an article about the “Duke Lacross Case,” where a group of white male students were alleged to have sexually assaulted a black sex worker.  This was eventually picked up by the American Conservative, a publication started by Pat Buchanan, and came on as an Assistant Editor.  It has been alleged that he was eventually fired when his racism came to light, but he could have left on his own accord, and went to the further-right web publication Taki’s Magazine.  In his time there he continued moving further to the right and consorting with groups of people on the fringes of “acceptable” conservatism.  Through this became friends with people like Paul Gottfried, American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, Human BioDiversity proponent Steve Sailer, and a whole host of other people with “heretical views” who all tried to cram into the creases of CPAC.

He then created the web publication Alternative Right, a term he started using in 2008, to bring together all of these different groups of people who were dissenting from Neoconservatism and the Washington Consensus.  These would include white nationalists, “race realists,” radical traditionalists, folk religionists, right Rothbardians, national anarchists, and so many more, all of which took on radically dissenting views from the conservative movement and the GOP.  The publication became a “go to” spot for a new type of white nationalism, one that took its queues from French and broad European intellectuals, looked towards ideas like Eurasianism and Metagenetics, resurrected philosophers like Oswald Spangler and Ernst Junger, and generally coalesced around a disdain for the “modern world.”  They often opposed the Iraq war, environmental destruction, and were critical of American Christianity.  The publication certainly had name people writing for it, such as VDare founder Peter Brimelow and, later disgraced, Heritage Foundation Fellow Jason Richwine, as well as new, openly racist commentators like Colin Liddell.  He started Vanguard Radio as a regular podcast for the website, which featured people ranging from Pat Buchanan to Jared Taylor.

Greg Johnson, editor of the neo-fascist Counter-Currents Publishing, wrote as then editor of the white nationalist Occidental Quarterly, that the alt right banner is bringing together a wide variety of people who are forced out of the mainstream and could benefit from the comfort of one another.

[Alternative Right] will attract the brightest ‘young’ conservatives and libertarians and expose them to far broader intellectual horizons, including race realism, White Nationalism, the European New Right, the Conservative Revolution, Traditionalism, neo-paganism, agrarianism, Third Positionism, anti-feminism, and right-wing anti-capitalists, ecologists, bioregionalists, and small-is-beautiful types.

Spencer eventually moved over to take the reigns of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, and start the website and publication, Radix Journal.  After continuing to do the podcast at Alternative Right for some time, he moved it over to the Radix Journal podcast, and even pulled the domain for the original Alternative Right website.  This create some animosity with between Spencer and the two co-hosts of Vanguard Radio who had taken over editorial duties of Alternative Right, but they went on to create the New Alternative Right to keep their progress going.  Spencer has gone on to make Radix Journal a white nationalist hot spot, as well as the yearly National Policy Institute conferences, one of which caused him to be deported by the Hungarian government when he tried to do a pan-European event.

Spencer has largely walked away from the term alt right simply because his politics, and those he semi-leads, have specified a bit and he feels that the moment that term inhabited is somewhat over.  Instead, the term has taken on a life of its own in that it represents a certain sphere of nationalist politics today.  From the Right Stuff to Counter-Currents, the “alt right” now often means an internet focused string of commentators, blogs, Twitter accounts, podcasters, and Reddit trolls, all of which combine scientific racism, romantic nationalism, and deconstructionist neo-fascist ideas to create a white nationalist movement that has almost no backwards connection with neo-Nazis and the KKK.  As Spencer often said, they had a “different starting point” than conventional conservatism, often coming from their disavowal of human equality.  It is an easy way of differentiating them from older forms of white nationalism that they feel they have no cultural affinity for.

Much of what distinguishes the alt right is aesthetics, education, and language choices, while the core ideas remain the same.  They maintain traditional racism and anti-semitism, a strong sense of gender roles, a traditionalism about behavior, and a necessity towards national identity, though there have been some acceptance of queer members and a move away from strict Christianity and towards Nordic paganism and the Radical Traditionalism of Julius Evola.  This broad sphere is attempting to reclaim an intellectual, spiritual, and social movement for the far-right, and, except for some exceptions, they like to couch their language in intellectual double speak rather than just stacking racial slurs.

In recent weeks the alt right hashtag has started trending mainly because of the concerted effort of many of the disparate trolls forcing it to do so, but it needs to be seen in exactly the context it exists.  This is old-school racism and neo-fascism, except looking to wear a suit and tie rather than a white hood.  As Neoconservative David From said about them, they are
“going to be white nationalists, but, by God, they’re going to be a little fancy about it.”  The attempt here is to rebrand neo-fascism as something new and hip, which has worked in some circles, but it needs to be recognized and treated as exactly what it is.

While the alt right would broadly be opposed to electoral politics, over the last couple weeks the use of the #altright has been to post constant fawning tributes to Donald Trump.  His recent insulting jokes towards a Jewish audience, claims to ban Muslim immigration, and general attack on minorities has mobilized digital reactionaries to broaden their umbrella to include support for Trump.  This is less for his ability to actually win an election and do anything significant politically, but for his ability to generally unleash the subdermal racism in the country that they can then use to mobilize more to join the broader alt right.  This kind of entryism has a real history of success as Trump represents a 2015 version of the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign, which helped push conservatives to the right and flood in open white nationalist organizations for the next couple decades

The alt right itself is going to stay the mark of the 21st century’s more intellectually minded and diverse neo-fascism, one that is more willing to sacrifice much of the baggage of older white nationalism so that they can create a movement that undermines the basic values of democracy, equality, and the “enlightenment.”  Understanding this new branding gives anti-fascist the tools to confront the new kind of fascist movement that is going to vie for power in times of crisis and turmoil.

Your 14 Words Shut You Down: Daily Shoah Gets Dropped by Sound Cloud

In an incident that is less than surprising, The Daily Shoah, the angrily racist podcast from the pop-Neoreaction phenomenon The Right Stuff, has had their landmark podcast stream dropped from their hosting service.  Brought to us by Soundcloud, closely before renewing their Soundcloud subscription they had their line severed for violating the terms of service agreement that bans content advocating for “racial hatred.”

On their most recent episode they ran a skit about the incident while also complaining for over half an hour that it was likely the “Jews” at Soundcloud that dropped their subscription.  The first segment on Episode 61 is simply called “Soundkiked,” which is the kind of embarrassing pun-politics that they are known for.  They mainly pushed at the idea that the terms of service agreement actually defines the racial hatred portion as rhetoric that may inspire violence.  This seems like a certain kind of willful ignorance as they spend most of their shows making jokes about killing black people and Jews, denying the Holocaust, and wishing for the mass slaughter of Arabs.  In the last episode of Fash the Nation, their “capital hill” style program discussing contemporary politics(mainly just Donald Trump and immigration, anything beyond that seems past their reach) a segment titled “The Europa Report” praised the attacks on refugee camps that are happening outside of Paris after their recent terror attack.  The commentator referred to the violent gangs as “Patriots,” and called the camp, which is filled with families escaping imperialist backed mass violence, “invader hordes.”

Soundcloud has served as their hosting for some time, and it also hosts similar racist tracts at Radix Journal and the New Alternative Right.  These podcast streams have not yet been flagged by Soundcloud, which is most likely simply because they use more pseudo-academic rhetoric and do not use the N-word 200 times an episode like The Daily Shoah does.  It could also simply be that the name of their podcast is a joke mocking the Holocaust, which is a not-so-subtle reference that Soundcloud should have noticed from the beginning.  The Daily Shoah has now moved their stream over to Archive.org, which is well known for hosting old educational videos from places like the Prelinger Archives.  Archive.org is also doing some of the hosting for the New Alternative Right, as well as many religious tracts and political rants that are on the fringes.

The Daily Shoah is just one of the more popular podcasts that have come in recent years that is using the format to reach out in a longer format for those not as inclined to read their prolific blogs.  Alternative Right really led the pack in a lot of ways with Vanguard Radio, which started with Richard Spencer interviewing people like Pat Buchanan, Tom Sunic, and Jonathan Bowden, before hosting a regular discussion panel with Alt Right commentators Colin Liddell and Andy Nowicki.  When Spencer left Alternative Right to form Radix Journal he eventually severed the podcast feed and created the Radix Journal Podcast to continue his pontifications on “society and culture” from a neo-fascist point of view.  Now, these podcasts are often the first face forward for many of the most popular “alt right” websites, with The Daily Shoah being a less pseudo-intellectual fare and more in line with comedycentric talk radio.

While Soundcloud may have banned The Daily Shoah, iTunes, on the other hand, has not.  iTunes does not actually host the podcasts themselves, but instead just act as a delivery medium through their computer and mobile apps.  You provide an RSS feed and XML data and they keep the podcast running through their software.  They do make The Daily Shoah label themselves as having Explicit content, but as long as they do not show obscene content on their image and episode titles and do not break copyright protections, iTunes is not interfering.  They are in line with a host of other major white nationalist podcasts that are popular on iTunes, including the Radix Journal Podcast, Start the World, Attack the System, Counter-Currents Radio, and the now defunct Tribal Theocrat and the Traditionalist Youth Hour featuring Matthew Heimbach and the Traditionalist Youth Network.  These often feature interviews between prominent white nationalists, broadcasts of speeches, pithy commentary, and, most recently, a trend towards providing their longer essays as audio versions.  This is perfect for the angry white identitarian too busy to sit down and read a text rant posing as academic discourse.

iTunes came under fire in recent years for continuing to sell white power bands through their music service.  This went beyond coded neo-nationalist neo-folk music, and to open skinhead bands like Jewslaughter and RaHoWa(the name means Racial Holy War).  They stand on a more universalist ethic, which has also allowed for many radical left-wing resources to be broadcast through there.  The concern from many anti-fascists is that forcing iTunes to draw a distinction with their content could create a backlash against revolutionary anti-capitalist and anti-state discourse through them as well.  This should not disuade organizers entirely, however, as continuing to highlight the way that iTunes is creating a vehicle for a rising fascist current could create a focus that could remove the most accessible voice for these racist podcasts.

For the Daily Shoah, their web presence is likely to stay for now, though it is clear that a shift is happening as the massive rise of racist violence this year is changing people’s perception of what kind of rhetoric they want to allow in their community.

 

Black Lives Matter Confronts Black Friday in Portland

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Black Friday has long been correlated with post-Thanksgiving political actions, often labor focused, meant to target what many say are consumerist priorities and the exploitation of low-wage workers forced to leave their families over the holiday weekend.  Of course many working class families have to use Black Friday sales simply to afford gifts for their families, yet it is still a good opportunity to highlight many labor and social abuses.  This includes the white washing of the murder of African American’s in the U.S., which public outcry is bringing together a movement threatening the current order in fundamental ways.

Starting in 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement moved into using Black Friday as a way of highlighting the growing movement and linking it up with existing labor struggles like $15Now and Our Walmart.  This year, 2015, saw this Black Friday becoming an annual one as cities across the country reported rallies, marches, and disruptions at consumer centers.  In Portland, Oregon, Don’t Shoot PDX and Black Lives Matter Portland organized a mass action that would highlight voices of color and mobilize people to keep their voices heard even through the dense fog of holiday shopping.

Around 400 people packed Holladay Park across the street from Oregon’s oldest mall, Lloyd Center.  Amid speeches that discussed the disparity in rates of police violence against black and brown people, the name Laquan McDonald rang loud as people sadly remember his recent death.  McDonald was shot in Chicago in a shocking sixteen time in a matter of seconds by police, showing the veracity at which police address black suspects.  There was also an climate of suspicion as it was recently revealed that the Black Lives Matter movement locally had been spied on by Oregon law enforcement, as well as the general fear after the white nationalist attack on BLM protesters in Minneapolis-St.Paul.  There were a small handful of counter protesters at Holladay park, but they were sandwich board wearing fundamentalist Christians yelling obvious attacks at protesters.  This was until several white men were apprehended by police in the mall carrying airsoft guns and heading in the direction of the BLM rally.

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After an hour of speeches where organizers had white allies create a locked-arms line to protect people of color, the march hit the streets and weaved up and down Northeast Portland.  This often came in direct contact with the police, who would often attempt to block the path before backing down and breaking their line.  The route took protesters through neighborhoods that had been gentrified, new commercial space that is getting frightening rent increases, and parts of town that used to have a vibrant African American community before developers changed the demographics.

The march led back to Lloyd Center to go inside and continue the messaging, just as they were doing in cities around the country.  This meant showing the banners and providing the known chants.  Cross-issue organizing was incredibly apparent here, where Portland State University students were also trying to highlight the arming of security officers on their campus and the project to undo that decision.

Below is a large image gallery of the rally, march, and Lloyd Center action giving a cross section of how this diverse movement came together to highlight the ongoing anti-black racism that defines America.

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Stand Against “The Infidels” in London

The Infidels is a deeply Islamaphobic and open neo-Nazi offshoot organization from the English Defense League, which was formed to try and force Muslims out of Europe at any cost.  In the wake of the Paris attacks Islamaphobia and refugee blame is rampant, even though it is clear that the terrorists were French citizens and not refugees.  This does not matter as gangs of right-wing populists have attacked refugee camps outside of Paris, and now the Infidels are marching against Muslim immigration in North London.

In response, anti-fascists are organizing to show that refugees are welcome and that no one is illegal.  The counter action is called A Day to Celebrate Diversity and is going to stand directly against the forces of organized reactionaries.


On Saturday the 21st of November a fascist group – “The infidels of North Wales” – plan to hold a rally in Llangefni. Our event aims to draw as many people as possible to Llangefni on the same day, to show our comittment to diversity and multi-culturalism. We will peacefully celebrate our values.

More information will be added as we make plans for the day. In the meantime, feel free to invite your friends.

We stand with all those who are going to rise up to protect Muslim comrades and community members, especially against vile racists who use tragedy to create a fascist movement.  Their own website says that they are “a political movement for (the indigenous people of Europe) to take our country back.”  It could not be clearer than that.

No platform!

Grasping at Straws: Refuting Keith Preston and Pan-secessionism

Keith Preston recently issued a response to a short letter we wrote a while back asking him to stop calling himself an anarchist because of his racism, misogyny, and support for libertarian variants.  In what is probably the most anarchist thing he could do, he responded with a letter defending his pan-anarchism and associating us with totalitarian elements of the left.  This accusation is a go-to for fascist organizers shut down by anti-fascist movements, as if the freedom for loud and angry loud men to rant and rave is what liberation is really all about.  The issue with Preston as an associate and supporter of the far-right is an important reason to isolate his website, Attack the System, from having any association with anarchism, as is his idea that he can reconcile completely disparate philosophical tendencies that have literally no association with one another other than the “anarcho” prefix.  Preston himself mentions this after citing John Zube’s bizarre dialogue on anarchism.

There are indeed many readily identifiable traditions within anarchism, some of which maintain a paradoxical relationship to each other.

He goes on to mention that anarchists are like divisions in the Christian church that refuse to recognize each other as being appropriately Christian.

What Preston hopes is that his critique will allow him to ride the wave of critiques that his title suggests, that we are being “More Anarchistic Than Thou.”  This is a very real response that began in the 1990s where deconstruction and a “culture of critique” formed around post-left anarchism where by people began a “one-upmanship” of who could be more “radical” or attack oppression at more “systemic” levels.  This can lead to some destructive behavior as small disagreements become overpowering and destroy even fleeting unity, but this is not what is happening with Preston.  While disagreements over lifestyle choices or the specifics of anti-capitalist economics are applied are completely within the realm of disagreement between associated ideologues, arguing over racial nationalism, gender essentialism, and whether or not capitalism is acceptable is simply not.  No person inside of anarchist anti-oppression politics, where the “More Anarchistic Than Thou” situation often arises, would extend this anarchist umbrella to Keith Preston as the different cultural elements he celebrates (racism and capitalism) are opposed at the foundation of the anarchist project.  As was said in the original article, anarchists oppose the State not out of some revulsion to organization, but because it serves a class and hierarchy.  A pan-secessionist movement that Preston advocates means empowering movements that seek to crystalize the elements of the State and general social system that motivate anarchism’s revolutionary potential.

Plainly put: Anarchism is founded on the desire to smash capitalism, racism, sexism, and the like, so you cannot make friends out of movements that seek to celebrate those tyrannies.

While Attack the System is more known for its National Anarchism than its Anarcho-Capitalism, the libertarian traditions are well represented on the site.  Capitalism is not “a central project” of anarchism, but, in a lot of ways, the central project that began the movement.  Anarchism comes out of the socialist tradition, yet a libertarian version of this as opposed to Marx’s conception of revolutionary socialism developing out of Proletarian Dictatorship through a Worker’s State.  Anarcho-capitalism is an idea that really did not become apparent until the 1970s-80s, and comes not from the liberatory movements associated with the anarchist tradition, but for the deregulation of capitalism for completely different motivations.  There were socially “left” people associated with disparate strains of Anarcho-capitalism, but that does not make them any more associated with the tradition than liberals who share the anarchist disdain for sexism.  The question of Anarcho-capitalism, which is a strong part of the synthesis that Preston attempts, is brought up into the massive FAQ project that Ian McKay as put together.

While “anarcho”-capitalists obviously try to associate themselves with the anarchist tradition by using the word “anarcho” or by calling themselves “anarchists” their ideas are distinctly at odds with those associated with anarchism. As a result, any claims that their ideas are anarchist or that they are part of the anarchist tradition or movement are false.

“Anarcho”-capitalists claim to be anarchists because they say that they oppose government. As noted in the last section, they use a dictionary definition of anarchism. However, this fails to appreciate that anarchism is a political theory. As dictionaries are rarely politically sophisticated things, this means that they fail to recognise that anarchism is more than just opposition to government, it is also marked a opposition to capitalism (i.e. exploitation and private property). Thus, opposition to government is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being an anarchist — you also need to be opposed to exploitation and capitalist private property. As “anarcho”-capitalists do not consider interest, rent and profits (i.e. capitalism) to be exploitative nor oppose capitalist property rights, they are not anarchists.

Part of the problem is that Marxists, like many academics, also tend to assert that anarchists are simply against the state. It is significant that both Marxists and “anarcho”-capitalists tend to define anarchism as purely opposition to government. This is no co-incidence, as both seek to exclude anarchism from its place in the wider socialist movement. This makes perfect sense from the Marxist perspective as it allows them to present their ideology as the only serious anti-capitalist one around (not to mention associating anarchism with “anarcho”-capitalism is an excellent way of discrediting our ideas in the wider radical movement). It should go without saying that this is an obvious and serious misrepresentation of the anarchist position as even a superficial glance at anarchist theory and history shows that no anarchist limited their critique of society simply at the state.

McKay goes on to deconstruct allegations that Individualist anarchists that some anarchists claim affinity with are capitalist, who have a much different conception of property than people like Hayek or Rothbard.

The question comes up of exactly what totalitarianism is as it is the “totalitarian humanism” that Preston talks about is a problem of the left and distracts the left’s claims of liberation.  Preston’s critique is especially precious given his belief that completely deregulated capitalism is acceptable in his “liberated” society.  As Daibhidh points out in Anarcho-Hucksters, to allow a “Boss” to take place in an “anarchist” society, which is unequivocally necessary in any form of capitalism, undermines the basic assumptions of the anarchist project.

“Anarcho” capitalists talk of freedom as a negative, in a (Ayn) Randian definition of: “the absence of physical violence”. They see capitalism as the epitome of this ethic, and the State as the antithesis of it (defining the State as “the institution with a monopoly of force”).

This is the cornerstone of their professed anarchism. They say, “we oppose the State; anarchists oppose government; ergo, we are anarchists.”

But anarchists look at that statement and ask:

  • What of the boss in the workplace?
  • What of the wealthy owner of property?
  • What of the capitalist industrialist?
  • What of the church elder?
  • What of the judge?
  • What of the patriarch of a family?

Don’t these people have very real authority over others’ lives? Haven’t each of these, in their way, brought shame, misery, and degradation to those under their control?

The “anarcho” capitalist has no problem with rulers below State level, so long as they don’t impinge on profit and property! So, if your boss eavesdropped on your calls, the “anarcho” capitalist would say, “hey, you can always get a new job” rather than taking the anarchist stance of “how dare X boss eavesdrop on their employees?! We must work to end workplace tyranny!”

In fact, to the “anarcho” capitalist, being able to work for whomever you want (including working for clients [e.g., “self”-employment) is what they consider “freedom”. This amounts to choosing who gets to be your boss! Some choice, huh?

Anarchists, in contrast, don’t think there should BE any bosses. Everyone pulls their fair share of the collective social burden of day-to-day living. And, while everyone works, the distinction between this and typical capitalist drudgery is that, in anarchy, you’d be working for your own needs, rather than for the profit of another! As such, you wouldn’t have to put in 40+ hour weeks lining the pockets of whoever owns the company you work for (or servicing your clients’ needs).

The tyranny that people experience is rooted in fundamental inequalities, both social and systemic.  Without the ability to challenge those dynamics then there is no liberation, and to allow wage-slave systems in other “city-states” (or whatever Preston thinks his ideological enclaves would be called) would be the opposite of the ongoing revolutionary transformation of anarchism.

Attack the System itself has a banner at the top of the website that shows images of some of the famous anarchists of the past that Preston respects and says is a part of his own tradition.  If we look at their own work, it is pretty clear that their opinions about capitalism do not for allow for Preston’s idea that anarchism can collaborate with capitalism.  According to Mikhail Bakunin, capitalism undermined any sense of freedom for the vast majority of humanity.

Juridically they are equal; but economically the worker is the serf of the capitalist . . . thereby the worker sells his person ant his liberty for a given time. The worker is in the position of a serf because this terrible threat of starvation which daily hangs over his head and over his family, will force him to accept any conditions imposed by the gainful calculations of the capitalist, the industrialist, the employer…. The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he the means to do so? No, he does it in order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same hunger which forces him to sell himself to the first employer.

The worker’s liberty . . . is only a theoretical freedom. lacking any means for its possible realization. ant consequently it is only a fictitious liberty. an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom–“voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory from an economic sense–broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery.

Alexander Berkman, the author of the ABC’s of Anarchism, is known for outlining many of the ideas that brought anarchism into the 20th Century.  He noted that capitalism represented the foundations of a society that had to be torn apart.

If you can see, hear, feel, and think, you should know that King Dollar rules the United States, and that the workers are robbed and exploited in this country to the heart’s content of the masters. If you are not deaf, dumb, and blind, then you know that the American bourgeois democracy and capitalistic civilization are the worst enemies of labor and progress, and that instead of protecting them, you should help to fight to destroy them.

Even Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a person who shared some of Preston’s bigotries and was more of a proto-anarchist than the anarchism we would call today said that “property is theft.”  We could really go down the line on this, but what we would find is not just that these anarchists have a different opinion about capitalism, they find anti-capitalism foundational.  What Preston attempts to do though is to say that anarchism naturally has the ability to take on fully contradictory ideas, as he mentions also with religious anarchism.  There certainly is a broad anarchist movement with many colliding ideas, but the fundamental values do remain the same.  No one in the broad anarchist movement, even on the primitivism or post-leftist fringes would accept capitalism or racial nationalism.  Even the more nuanced anarchists from fringe traditions, like Max Stirner and Hakim Bey, seem to be little understood by Preston and his writers, though they pull at anyone vaguely associated with the anarchist tradition to give relevance to their absurdity.  It is like someone who thinks a political movement can be summed up by describing its members clothing and hair styles: he seems to know nothing about the fundamental values and motivating factors of the revolutionary anarchist movement.

For Attack the System, and Preston personally, the real issue is of this new concept of National Anarchism.  When stripped of its pseudo-mystical tracts and overly jargon filled double speak, the notion here is almost identical to Preston’s idea of pan-secessionism.  Groups, known as tribes, would create separate enclave based either on identity, such as race, or on social choice, such as economic system.  The NA’s themselves focus on racial identity as they are essentially anti-State nationalists, who maintain the same violent racism and misogyny that most neo-Nazis do.  Troy Southgate, former organizer with the National Front and some even more unsavory and violent white nationalist groups, is the ideological frontrunner of the NA theory, and has written most of their few works of theory.  Spencer Sunshine outlines this beautifully as you can see where their true allegiances are.

The National Anarchists claim they are not “fascist.” Still, Troy Southgate looks to lesser known fascists such as Romanian Iron Guard leader Corneliu Codreanu, and lesser light Nazis like Otto Strasser and Walter Darré. Part of Southgate’s sleight of hand is to claim to be ‘against fascism’ by claiming he is socialist (as did Nazis such as Strasser) and by supporting political decentralization (as do contemporary European fascists such as Alain de Benoist). Sometimes he proclaims fascism to be equivalent to the capitalism he opposes, or promoting a centralized state, which he also opposes.

Southgate is undoubtedly sincere in his aversion to the classical fascism of Hitler and Mussolini, and has cited this as a reason for his break from one of the National Front splinter groups. He sees the old fascism as discredited, and an abandonment of the true values of revolutionary nationalism. But his ultimate goal, shared with the European New Right, is to create a new form of fascism, with the same core values of a revitalized community that withstands the decadence of cosmopolitan liberal capitalism. This cannot be done as long as his views are linked in the popular mind to the older tradition.

Spencer Sunshine attempts to look a little closer at the ideas of NA to see if they are aligned with anarchism on any fundamental level, yet sees instead the same kinds of deeply run bigotries you find on Stormfront.org.

The National-Anarchists are quite open about their antifeminism and desire to exile queer people into separate spaces, but tend to hide their deeply antisemitic worldview. Troy Southgate says of feminism, “Feminism is dangerous and unnatural… because it ignores the complimentary relationship between the sexes and encourages women to rebel against their inherent feminine instincts.”

The stance on homophobia is more interesting. Southgate said:

Homosexuality is contrary to the Natural Order because sodomy is quite undeniably an unnatural act. Groups such as Outrage are not campaigning for love between males — which has always existed in a brotherly or fatherly form — but have created a vast cult which has led to a rise in cottaging, male-rape and child sex attacks… But we are not trying to stop homosexuals engaging in this kind of activity like the Christian moralists or bigoted denizens of censorship are doing, on the contrary, as long as this behaviour does not affect the forthcoming National-Anarchist communities then we have no interest in what people get up to elsewhere.

What this means in his schema is that queer people will be given their own separate “villages.” The recent National-Anarchist demonstrations in San Francisco were against two majority-queer events, the Folsom Street Fair and the related fair Up Your Alley. Their orchestrator, “Andy,” declares that he is a “racist” who hates queer people.

Andy also denies the charge of antisemitism against National-Anarchists, claiming that they merely engage in a “continuous criticism of Israel and its supporters,” 53 as do the majority of Leftists and anarchists. Once again, this is a typical disingenuous attempt by National-Anarchists to duck criticism. Antisemitism is an important element of the political world views of Southgate and Herferth.

Southgate actively promotes the work of Holocaust deniers, including the Institute for Historical Review, and holds party line antisemitic beliefs about the role of the international Jewish conspiracy. As a dodge, he sometimes uses the euphemism “Zionist”; for instance, he says “Zionists are well known for their cosmopolitan perspective upon life, not least because those who rally to this nefarious cause have no organic roots of their own.”54 In another interview he says that, “there is no question that the world is being ruthlessly directed (but perhaps not completely controlled) by International Zionism. This has been achieved through the rise of the usurious banking system.” And he describes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a forgery which is the world’s most popular antisemitic text) as a book which “although still unproven, accordswith the main events in modern world history.”

Meanwhile, his Australian counterpart Welf Herferth is even more explicit in his neo-Nazi antisemitic views. In one speech, he describes the Holocaust as an “extrapolation” that “has been an enormously profitable one for the Jews, and one which has brought post-war Germany and Europe to its knees,” before referring to Israel as “the most powerful state in the Western world.” Herferth concludes that “by liberating Germany from the bondage to Israel and restructuring a new Germany on the basis of a new ‘volksgemeinschaft,’ the German nationalists will liberate Europe, and the West as well.”

Preston would have us believe that since anarchists of the left and post-left variety share anti-capitalism and opposition to the State with them that we should ally with them even though they represent a complete break from all of our motivating ideas.

Preston goes on to make some claims that are bizarre on their surface since their refutation is really implicit.  First he says:

Attack the System does not oppose the maintenance of identity politics by African-Americans, Native-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Arab-Americans, Asian-Americans, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, the LGBTQ umbrella, feminists, atheists, vegetarians, vegans, immigrants, environmentalists, the elderly, young people, disabled people, fat people, ugly people, students, gamers, drug users, sex workers, slut walkers, street gangs, prison inmates, or Star Wars fans. Likewise, Attack the System does not oppose the maintenance of identity politics by Protestant evangelicals, Catholic traditionalists, adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormons, Europeans, Caucasian-Americans, Southerners, Midwesterners, Catalans, Scots, Basques, Russians, Englishmen, Irishmen, Scientologists, Moonies, the white working class, WASPs, yuppies, men, social conservatives, cultural traditionalists, ethnic preservationists, Euro-pagan tribalists, gun owners, meat eaters, tobacco smokers, rednecks, military veterans, motorcycle gangs, survivalists, metal heads, or aficionados of classical music.

Let’s think about this for just a second.  The first on the list are racial groups who have been historically oppressed by white majorities that use both unregulated social systems and the State to oppress them.  Later there are groups that also could fit under the oppressed banner: fat people, disabled people, Jews, Muslims, sex workers, etc.  The point here is that this identity means something in that the identity is a point of resistance to oppression, not identity for identity’s sake.  This “identity politics” (though it is clear he does not understand what identity politics are and why most anarchists oppose them) is something that the radical right often highlights since they want to compare their “white nationalism” with “black nationalism” as if they are both equally movements towards racial identity and the advocacy of an ethnic identity.  The difference is that black nationalism is a response to white oppression and an identity use only as a tool to resist that historic oppression.  For white nationalists to say that they are the same project is to deny the fact that the purpose is fundamentally different.  White nationalists seek to double down on their perceived identity, essentializing their racial characteristics.  This is fundamentally a different project, for a different purpose, and a radically different politic.  Preston goes on to identity feminists in his list, which he has to understand is not an “identity” as much as a movement to overhaul society and dethrone patriarchy.  To list this as an “identity” is again a sign that he doesn’t clearly understand why identities are used in anti-oppression politics.

 

It is not that “identity” is something that the left wants to create dividing lines around, but instead, for some people, a piece of their lives through which they have been oppressed, and therefore need to create solidarity with others who share the same background of oppression.  To say that white people are in the same boat as people of color in terms of racially defined oppression is offensive right from the start.

 

Preston often likes to cite obscure pseudo-anarchists from history, while ignoring ninety-five percent of anarchist history and theory.  The best example of anarchist social organization existed in response to the rise of the Fallange fascist party in Catalonia, and were eventually crushed fighting for survival against the Catholic nationalists.  Anarchists rose up as primary actors in fighting the fascist party machine in Italy, Romania, Austria, and Germany, all of which show the history of the radical right as being the direct inverse of anarchism and dedicated to its destruction.  As you prance around the National Policy Institute and promote your Americanized pan-libertarianism, you are celebrating the forces that have been the historic enemy of the anarchist movement and who have murdered anarchists by the thousands.

 

Preston also lists a number of often considered right-wing political issues that he says anarchists are not vocal on.  These include gun control, home schooling, and alternative medicine.  This is a red herring as he is again looking for surface politics while failing to go deeper.  Most anarchists do oppose bourgeois gun control, yet the politics motivating that movement are xenophobic and reactionary.  To join that movement in equal parts is to undermine our founding purpose, even if there is tacit support.  The rest of the list has disparate political ideas that would be boring to go through point by point, but needless to say there are left-anarchists associated with most of those projects.  They certainly are not primary political issues because they are incredibly marginal and many of the motivating factors would not be shared by anarchists, but that is certainly an individual’s choice as to whether or not to support home schooling or zoning regulations.

 

Preston himself now has zero connection to larger anarchist movements and seems to have been deemed persona non grata from all political arenas except the far-right.  At the National Policy Institute “Become Who We Are” conference, the last that Preston spoke at as of this writing, there were speakers advocating for whites to have their own state, claiming that Jews control world affairs, and that there are racial differences in intelligence.  NPI, Radix, the Daily Shoah, American Renaissance, and the Occidental Observer were all represented organizations there right along Attack the System, which puts Keith and his website firmly in the camp associated with neo-Nazis and Klan supporters. Preston will likely put out a response to the response (we are sincere when we say this behavior is the closest you have come to contemporary anarchist conduct), in which he will quote his own cadre of unknown authors to try and justify his racist connections, but luckily his backward jargon works on no actual anarchist communities.  We could go on a detailed analysis of what “is” and what “is not” anarchism, but the reality is that there are dozens of books available that do this wonderfully and do not include you are any of your ideas.  This notion that anarchism is just anything anyone says it is, that its opposition to authority means that no one can define it, is a-historical and non-useful to those who actually try to utilize anarchism as a revolutionary idea.

Keith himself has not actually organized in a couple decades, and has resigned himself to racist conferences and internet blogs.  You may want to criticize Antifa organizers for what you see as censorship (Angry white men always scream censorship when their bullshit is disallowed by the community, usually because they have never been told “no” before in their lives.), but we are out in the streets and fighting in solidarity with movements across the world to bring together a liberated society.  We are not sure what part of standing with Richard Spencer as he argues for a White European Empire, but since “anarchism” is just a t-shirt you like to wear on top of your opportunistic Third Positionism, you try to make yourself immune to common sense and reason.

 

 

Insurgent Islands: A Continuing Conversation on Anarchism with Principles, by Kevin Van Meter

Institute for Anarchist Studies

“Freely Disassociating” appeared in June 2015.  Although it was written a year prior, the half dozen Left and radical publications to which it was initially submitted would not print it.  Since its publication by Perspectives on Anarchist Theory inquiries and positive responses (such as Scott Campbell’s, on which I have commented upon elsewhere ) have found their way to me either directly or through intermediaries.  Of course there was a series of irrational and nonsensical comments online that only served to confirm my claim that there isn’t an “audience that can access arguments and positions outside those with which it already agrees.”  And for that matter, the positive responses confirm this as well.  What is interesting about those who are generally supportive of my arguments is that they often agree with the analysis of the problems that currently exist in radical movements, but are neither able to completely disassociate…

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