Tag Archives: asatru

Soldiers of Odin Plan Meet-Up in Lodi Lake, CA on April 30th

A big thanks comes to Heathens United Against Racism, who did a large amount of research for this article.

The reframing of Syrian refugee migration into Europe and the United States is critical to the messaging of the racist right-wing.  Instead of seeing these as rightful refugees of an incredibly violent, war-torn region, they are instead painted as “invading hordes.”  The dehumanization of these immigrants of color is obvious, but it is also an effort by Alt Right voices to reframe the discussion in terms of their own interpretation of pre-modern tribal norms.  The term “hordes” inspires the listener to immediately apply “barbarian” to it, which inclines them to think in an “us and them” mentality.  The idea here is to begin thinking of people of European ancestry, specifically Northern Europe, as a distinct “tribe” with its own interests.  This is opposed to the universal morality that sees actions within the same moral framework whether they happen to someone of a similar ethnic background or someone from a distant country with different customs and religious practices.  To see the refugees as “invaders” is to then see the need to protect the “tribe” from the immigrant populations that you are absolved of the responsibility to care about.

This shift in perspective plays directly in the new Soldiers of Odin phenomenon, a group of people who are trying to “defend” European nations and the U.S. from these refugees.  Playing on fallacious notion that the refugees are responsible for increased rates of crime and sexual violence, they have created an impetus that street vigilante action against non-white people is necessary.  The “Odinic” reference is also key as Odinism/Asatru, as a resurrection of the ancient Nordic pagan religion, is often interpreted racially, using the pseudoscientific concept of “meta-genetics” to say that the Nordic Gods are literally a part of the psyche of people deriving from Northern Europe.

The Soldiers of Odin were created in Kemi, Finland in October of 2015, towards the beginning of what is now phrased as the “refugee crisis.”  This was created to be a street gang that would patrol areas with asylum seekers, often appearing as a motorcycle gang or mirroring white tribalist groups like the Wolves of Vinland.  The founder of the movement, Mike Ranta, was close to the nationalist Finnish Resistant Movement, as well having a 2005 conviction for a racist attack that injured two victims.

The group’s dynamics of racial violence seem obvious, but they have grown over the last five months, creating locals all over Europe and moving into several places in the United States.  The process began by creating multiple Facebook groups, all with lax security protocols, that have open racialist understandings of who the “invaders” are.  Even with this white nationalist slant, the growth of these groups has been incredible and the numbers of people unaffiliated with the racialist movement at large has been striking.  Large numbers have been coming directly from the Odinist/Asatru movement, even beyond the explicitly racialist forms.

Among these new groups is one for Colorado, with members running the gamut.  This includes the Gothi, or clergy, of the Eagles of Yggdrasil, a folksih heathen kindred.

Canadian locals have popped up with common membership, indicating that there is likely less local organizing happening as much as a few enthusiastic metal-head racists who are creating these groups for different regions in the hopes that it will spark some growth.  The blog Anti-Racist Canada has reported on this growth, noting that the nativist Canadians United 4 Canada have begun to ally with neo-Nazis in the Soldiers of Odin project.  Charlene O’Farrell, who started that group on Facebook, has posted long diatribes in support of the Soldiers of Odin to start “protecting Canada and us(sic) women, children and even men who can’t defend themselves from being attacked or rapped(sic) if this should happen here in Canada.”

Dave FightingBack, a Facebook name, has also been a high profile member organizing in Canada, known for neo-Nazi connections, has sent back the kind words to O’Farrell.  Anti-Racist Canada further exposed several of the SOO organizers who were sporting neo-Nazi tattoos and images, Confederate battle flags, and “seig heiling” in various social media posts.  Several of them are members of known skinhead gangs, affiliated with Blood and Honor “white noise” music networks, and sporting Rock Against Communism and Totenkopf t-shirt images.  This includes one SOO organizer, Kory Knowles, who, among being friends with O’Farrell, is also friends with open Creativity Movement followers.  It would appear that, at least in Canada, the SOO movement is almost entirely run by neo-Nazi skinheads looking for a political crossover, and the crossover between them and Canadians United 4 Canada has led many open neo-Nazis to now be made admins of the Canadians United 4 Canada Facebook group.

Now the Soldiers of Odin have organized a “meet-up” event for those interested in their racist organizing project, one that is not a public event and instead a private gathering dedicated towards furthering organizing projects.  In California, a meet-up is planned for April 30th at Lodi Lake Park, in Lodi, CA.  Topher Justis, one of the U.S. Soldiers of Odin organizer who has been active online, seems to be one of the key organizers of this.

In an effort to call attention to the racial violence that is embedded in the Soldiers of Odin project, as well as to demoralize their plans, this would be a great event to have an anti-fascist contingent attempt to attend and counter-protest.  If you would like to go under the radar, you could also attend and send in a report back that could further aid anti-fascist counter organizers to give inside information on plans, specific organizers, and hard information.

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NeoFascist: Heathen Harvest, Neofolk, and Fascist Subcultural Entryism

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.”

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Michael Moynihan

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.

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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
info@nothingchangesnyc.com

3/25/2016 Machines With Magnets – Pawtucket, RI

mail@machinewithmagnets.com

Phone: 401.475.2655
Address: 400 Main Street Pawtucket, RI 02860

 

3/27/2016 Black Bear Bar – Brooklyn, NY @ Sort Påske Festival
Chip@newislandgroup.com
tel:347-614-6886
70 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
3/30/2016 The Convent – Philadelphia, PA *combined performance
3/31/2016 The Depot – Baltimore, MD
4/02/2016 The Burlington Bar – Chicago, IL 
Address: 3425 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
booking@theburlingtonbar.com
4/03/2016 Gates Of Heaven Synagogue – Madison, WI 

Why We Fight I: What Is the Real Threat of Fascist Organizing?

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The numbers quickly broke three hundred as the Rose City Antifa called for an action to stop the White Man’s March in the spring of 2014. Under the now common banner of taglines like “Anti-Racism is a Code Word for Anti-White” and “Stop White Genocide,” the White Man’s March was a poorly constructed idea for white nationalists to rally around. The event was pushed by members of the American Freedom Party in Portland, though as the counter-protester’s numbers swelled it became clear that the far right had skipped town. It was true, actually, as the main caller for the march spoke on The White Voice, a now defunct white nationalist podcast network, about how they headed up to Spokane, Washington. They then went on to brag about their massive turnout and banner drop. There were less than a dozen in total.

With numbers like these seeming increasingly dismal for many of these open neo-Nazi actions, the question should be rightly asked what kind of actual risk do neo-fascists hold? There has always been the obvious one, as was mentioned in Movement of Long Knives and will be discussed in a later essay, that for the militant skinhead and Ku Klux Klan factions, the risk is with disorganized bits of random extreme violence. This is a very real, if dwindling, threat, and will always be a small part of the racist right. When it comes to the more organized and “intellectual” far right, what potential do they actually have?

They certainly are not going to sway electoral politics in any meaningful way, which is actually quite contrary to the rhetoric the left usually uses when discussing the threat of the racist right. While there are some connections of what’s left of the paleoconservative and paleolibertarian Republican establishment, who will be focusing on immigration in the coming years, but this is a clouded connection at best. Websites like VDare link together anti-immigrationists from the mainstream to the white nationalist fringes, but any explicit connections between people or ideas from the fascist edge will be the death knell for any politician. Just ask House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was publicly roasted after it came to light that he spoke at the European-American Unity and Rights Organization organized by David Duke. There were, in previous years, a minor connection between those on the conservative side of the party and the less militant white nationalist organizations. People like Mike Huckabee even spoke at the conferences for organizations like the Council of Conservative Citizens, but today they would never be caught dead at one of these events.(1) In response to being abandoned by the conservative establishment, most of these groups have begun to likewise abandon hope for the conventional electoral sphere entirely.

To put it straight, while racism is still alive and well in American politics, open fascist rhetoric is not.

The threat from fascist groups could then be in the general social sphere, where their ideas can influence the majority of public opinion. This, again, seems doubtful while the public face of racism today is one that is implicit to the social structures and less one that is openly advocated. Instead, ideas of ethnic pluralism and equality have, in name only, won out in the public conversation. This does not mean that they have actually been implemented in the American system, which would be functionally impossible to do as capitalism drives inequality into the heart of our communities. Instead, idea of publicly advocating inequality and racism has become socially unacceptable. It just is not cool to argue for an ethnostate on CNN.

So why are we continuing a battle against fascism as a social idea and political force? Why do we fight?

When It’s Broke, They Offer the Fix

Fascism, today, is an integrated philosophy that takes on numerous titles, like white nationalism, ethnic nationalism, ethnopluralism, neo-reaction, radical traditionalism, identitarianism, and many others. The ideas that are center remain ethnic tribalism, masculanism, authoritarianism, hierarchy and inequality. While there are differences in political, religious, and social structures, the core values and ideas remain constant.

Where this ideological force has led itself in the 21st century is to exist in points of social fracture rather than to insert itself into dominant social institutions. This means that fascism is being targeted at radicalism of all sorts and towards the possibility of a social collapse. Within what many call the “suit and tie” fascist crowd in the United States, the battle they are waging is over the fate of radicalism itself, rather than the country as a whole.

The key element here is that fascism presents itself, and honestly believes itself to be, against the current “system.” This system, which we can leave completely undefined here, is the complex order that results in what you see around you. For those on the radical left, who are steeped in organizing and theory, this can be see as the result of class and social hierarchy, the developments of late capitalism, the bourgeois state, and the rest. But this is not a natural development for everyone who begins a process of dissent. Instead, the miseries that are experienced in daily life, the beauracracies and poverties, the alienation and desperation, all are the result of a complex set of forces working against their best interests. People on the verge of this radicalization are often looking for iconoclastic, revolutionary ideas that can both explain the current order in a deep and meaningful way, while also showing a transformative option that completely reorganizes society. This orientation can exist almost supra political in that it is not necessarily assigned a political ideology, yet it is more guttural and a response to the commonly understood failures of the system. Often times there are critiques shared by both the far left and far right, such as of international finance, though the values that drives such critiques are radically different. What is needed then is to have the ideological gap filled, and this is where fascists today are finding their niche.

There are a lot of reasons while fascist ideas have been provided an open space or any legitimacy to fill these ideological spaces. One of them is the left’s position within the current order of things. The first thing in this discussion that needs to be acknowledged is the success the historic left has had on reshaping the values in America. While avoiding an actual egalitarian society, we have crafted an almost universal value set that instinctually supports ideas like equality, democracy, individual freedoms, and diversity. These ideas are shared openly and must have lip service paid to them by everyone in polite society if they are to be seen as decent. This does not mean, however, that they have to then act on those ideas in meaningful ways, but that those are the moral ideas that have come to dominate the general social fabric. This actually presents an issue for the revolutionary left in that they still need to see themselves as being in opposition to fundamental aspects of the current order. When fascist ideas are presented by far right organizations, they immediately present their key ideas as being anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic, and anti-diversity. In essence, they are in opposition to the key moral arguments of the current order. This goes a long way for their argumentation as they present themselves as the antecedent to the current “system,” even if this framework seems absurd to those on the left. The reactionary ideas the fuel the intellectual fascist milieu are actually at the heart of the American experience, which has, while professing leftist values, has internalized class exploitation, racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other social hierarchies. It may seem obvious to those with a left analysis at play that the fascist notions are the opposite of transgressive, yet with the leftist coloring that we have given to society it is easy to say that these fascist ideas are in direct opposition. From here it is not a far step to say that the left-liberal paradigm is what actually drives the negative effects of the current order, and therefore the radical right holds the keys to subversion.

What fascists next use to attack the left’s credibility as a revolutionary force is probably the most obvious, and a critique we should be taking to heart for more reasons than one. When Matthew Heimbach, formerly of the White Student Union and now lead organizer with the Traditionalist Youth Network, was discussing his counter-action at May Day in Washington, DC, he repeatedly pointed out that he saw the left as the “militant wing of the system.” “The Weathermen Underground are professors now,” he quipped to Richard Spencer, director of the white nationalist National Policy Institute. Spencer himself has repeatedly discussed the institutionalization of the radical left, pointing out that you cannot really be dissenting from the system if you are a “tenured faculty member” at a place like Harvard(2). This is fundamentally a true statement, and one that can be legitimately hurled at the radical left sphere. Radical Marxist and anarchist ideas have become commonplace in academia, but you are never going to see a national socialist or Mussolini revivalist getting tenure in a philosophy department. Likewise, community and labor organizers, with ideas firmly planted in the radical left, are a common career path, but no one is going to be paying ethnonationalists a comfortable wage with benefits. We should be happy that there is little institutional support for these people, and that their careers are always at risk when they are exposed for who they are, but it also lends credibility to their argument. They say that we are the system, while they are the true challenge to the system.

It is important to note that the way they describe the left is always a complete mischaracterization at best, often times relying on a less than clear understanding of what the ideas we are putting into practice are. This is especially true when it comes to anarchism, which the far right loves to co-opt the language of. But even if it is a mischaracterization, there are enough small kernels of truth that they can exploit to make the argument that the left lacks any real threat to the current order. Again, without a clear ideological and class analysis, this makes their arguments seem to have merit. Once the ideological framework is laid, it can be difficult to uproot.

The Problem of “Identity”

The core challenge that fascism then presents to us is when they first acknowledge the failure of the current system in very key and fundamental ways, and then attach their critiques to it, followed by their own solutions. To do this they have to seek out, or make themselves available to, people with a vague critique of the “system.” In our current period this has meant to go after venues where there is a strong anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian current that also lacks clear directives and ideas. The Occupy movement opened these gates at several points, but so has the allowance of conspiracy theory to become prevalent in radical circles, general anti-statist rhetoric, and the use of intergroup squabbling and disagreement. This becomes incredibly clear in the white working class that is squeezed in times of crisis and often has to choose between trying to maintain the small amount of privilege that they have, or to join a revolutionary movement that challenges class hierarchy. As Ba Jin points out at length in “Ten Theses on the U.S. Racial Order,” this creates a dual form of radicalism present at all points of struggle, one that runs to the radical left and one that stakes its claim on the right.

Whites remain a privileged stratum in the U.S. by definition, though the “wages” of whiteness have shrunk in absolute terms for 30 years, and have grown more porous with the adoption of colorblind public policy. The bourgeoisie remains overwhelmingly white, and the white proletariat continues to waver in its allegiance between white supremacy and class struggle. Whites retain access to the housing, education and employment benefits from which most blacks and “dark” racial groups are excluded; yet the defeat of de jure segregation has limited the extent of these benefits, and allowed some “middle layer” racial groups, and a few black, to gain access to them as well. At the same time deindustrialization and neoliberalism have steadily eroded the living standards of the lumpen and working class whites in most parts of the country, driving many into poverty or extreme debt. Proletarian whites have responded with bewilderment and outrage to these developments, giving rise to contradictory political trends. On one side, they have engaged in fascist militia-ism and the Tea Party movement, on the other, they have predominated in the ranks of the Occupy movement and the trade union battles, which the unions must now embrace for their very survival even as they work to limit their potentials. In opposing the regressive gender regime of the far with, white women, queers and trans people undermine support for potentially fascist politics among the white proletariat. (3)

When the rhetoric available to growing sectors of the working revolutionary class, this can split the potential populations. This should also be noted that, while still heavily dominated by whites, this issues has come up in communities of color as well where anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, and conspiracy theory has often been placed alongside revolutionary racial politics.

What has become an incredibly common tactic is to have the focus shifted to more problematic areas of the populist left. The far right has staked much of its claims to the left’s demise on things like political correctness, personal anecdotes of bigotry disconnected from a larger narrative, and “call out culture.” These are some of the easiest points at which they attempt to discredit the left because they show the largest amount of error and the least bit of connection to a revolutionary politic. Political correctness, in general, refers to the focus on correct language and behavior that is not deemed offensive to those with oppressed identities. While this is a good barometer to consider when considering what language to use, it is by no means the endgame of a radical left political analysis. Larger stories dealing with the political correctness narrative often come from people outside of radical left or organizing circles, and these stories certainly lack the ability to tie this momentary lapse in liberal judgment with the larger issues of systemic white supremacy, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression. These also create some of the more embarrassing forms of movement infighting, as well as incredibly toxic online debate culture. The issues of interpersonal politics are not the most structurally sound elements associated with the left, and are easy to draw up reactionary fervor around because they lack accountability. Simply put, it is easy to create a right wing backlash when your example of the radical left is people arguing about who spoke over who in your reading group.

From here it is often an easy direction to provide a litany of reactionary political frames that can relate to someone’s identity, in the same way strains of the left deal with individual identity based oppressions. White nationalism is the most obvious of these, but Men’s Rights Activism and the new “straight pride” movements are increasingly relevant. Here they can reverse an oppression narrative, stating that the dominant case for whatever identity it happens to be is actually oppressed because of left-wing anti-oppression politics. Men are oppressed by feminism, whites are oppressed by multiculturalism, straight people are oppressed by queer theory, and so on. All of these continue to use deconstructionist language that uses these specific theories of oppression as a sort of “base and superstructure” explanation for why the larger “system” is so corrupted. A great example of this would be the popular white nationalist critique of global capitalism’s failure being rooted in the abandonment of tradition for modernity, homogeneity for globalism, and hierarchy for egalitarianism. None of this makes any sense in any kind of linear logic, of course, but that is not really the point.

This process is an important one since it brings up issues that are often discussed in anti-racist circles where by white often lack positive identity as it has been robbed by privilege. In general, the quest for identity is an incredibly human one, and white have often been socially placed into a position where their identity is based on a struggle to maintain social power above other racial groups. In the long-standing academic quest to find the “Generic Fascism,” which is to say an outline of exactly what fascism “is” in the most common case, Umberto Eco created a great outline of common features that the fascist movement often needs to inspire mass potential. In Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt, the seventh primary element is one who sees the politic feeding on those who lack identity.

To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country. This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia. But the plot must also come from the inside: Jews are usually the best target because they have the advantage of being at the same time inside and outside. In the United States, a prominent instance of the plot obsession is to be found in Pat Robertson’s The New World Order, but, as we have recently seen, there are many others. (4)

Eco’s outline also sees the establishment of tradition, the conflict between that tradition and modernity, and the inclusion of diversity and intellectualism as distinct features of modernity. With this it is easy to develop a narrative of identity rooted in tradition by stripping away all forms of critique and counter-point. Here you can develop an entire “theory of the world” in ways that will not even leave itself subject to radical critiques from anywhere else, and therefore can instinctually operate in cult-like ways. In a sense, this creates an “idea virus” that obliterates all other facts and logics so that they can reinforce the “in group” and “out group” dynamic that they have defined by their appropriation and validation of social constructs like “race,” “nation,” and “tradition.” In just the way that those with an anti-oppression analysis see things like sexual orientation and gender presentations that are identities based on experience and therefore used in survival and struggle, fascist will see categories like “white” and “male” as individual groups that need to be first identified with and then defended.

The complexity of identity that fascist ideologies attempt to answer and exploit are very fundamental to our understanding of how nationalism has always worked.   In Stuart Hood and Litza Janz’s very basic introduction to fascism, they observe that it is actually the abolition of individuality that can help people in times of crisis to feel as though they have found some kind of personhood.

Paradoxically, submersion in the mass gives you identity, the shared power of nationality and race. Fascism appeals to the romanticism of youth, the lure of self-sacrifice to a common cause, the rediscovery of comradeship in battle. Social differences vanish in the unselfish experience of danger, discomfort and suffering. Fascism gives you a clear and identifiable enemy. (5)

The same can be true of identification through struggle on the left, primarily anti-oppression and/or class struggle, but these are identities of social category rather than essential ones. Fascist categories, such as gender and race, are seen in their eyes as being biologically and spiritually concrete, and those on the left see them as social constructs. These reactionary ideas then hope that they can strip away the progress of modernity to find something “real” that works much better, a process that is regressive and intent on returning monstrous inequality and tyranny into the public world.

Hijacking Revolution

For a long period many of these strands of reactionary politics were disparate, but in recent years organizations like the National Policy Institute, American Renaissance, Counter-Currents Publishing, and others have worked hard to make these simply different fingers on the same hand. These coalesce in movements dubbed things like the Alternative Right, the Dark Enlightenment, or other movements challenging “modernity.” It is with these kinds of critiques that they fade directly into the kinds of deeper fascist philosophical traditions like the racial traditionalism of Julius Evola, the conservative revolution of Ernst Junger and Carl Schmidt, and the New Right of people like Alain De Benoist and Guillaume Faye. Whether it is a “cult of masculinity,” regaining “organic societies,” or “preserving European civilization,” they hold certain “truths” to be self-evident.

The final purpose of these fascist narrative generators is to create a revolutionary narrative where one is needed yet entirely lacking. In the past fascist “philosophy” was roundly ignored as anything coherent because it was usually a façade for simple racist ideas, the personality cult of this leader or that, or simply a retrograde interpretation of conservatism. We shouldn’t give contemporary fascist ideologues more credit than they are due, but they have worked for decades to create a seemingly coherent set of ideas that can blend in amongst the menu of radical philosophies that we are used to in a hyper connected information age. Here they can trace the failure all the way back to the “left’s” victory in the French Revolution as the start of the fall away from aristocracy, nobility, and ethnic heritage governing society. All of these things are misinterpretations of feudal monarchies, but what is important is that they superimpose modern conceptions of race, gender, and social stratification on something that appears to have continuity to romanticize periods of the past. This is classic fascist mental architecture that has been similar since its start in the interwar period.

The next primary area where the far right attempts to stake its claim on revolutionary politics is in movements that are commonly associated with the left, but can transmute to the right for whatever reason. The most popular and notable of these has been animal rights and radical environmentalism. The reasons for this are more piecemeal than actually ideological; which was ironically termed “idea clusters” by far-right academic Paul Gottfried. His term originally was meant to describe the mainstream Republican Conservative Movement started by William Buckley on an anti-communist crusade, where by different perspectives that have no ideological connection are mashed together and then touted as a coherent ideology. This would mean things like conservative sexual mores, mixed with free market economics and interventionist foreign policy. This can actually be applied to the far right as they stake their claim on many of these fields previously given to the left. Environmentalism, as British right-wing impresario Jonathan Bowden commented, can be attributed to the right in that it is the preservation of nature as a guiding force. He sees the left as using egalitarian control over nature rather than letting nature guide the way, which he sees as inherently anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic. This view of ecology is actually shared by many Marxists, who have a sort of anti-nature, bioengineering view of how to preserve the biosphere. At the same time, however, there are enough voices in radical ecology that speak to the balance and social harmony necessary in preserved ecosystems that it seems people like Bowden are simply placing their ideology upon ecology, rather than deriving it from ecology. At the same time, the desperation that often comes in radical environmental politics has led people to increasingly totalitarian ideas in some cases, and often shift into the blaming of the third-world, immigration, and increasing populations. This has led to the far right shift toward Third Positionist ideas that are specifically racist and anti-Semitic, which was seen in the right-wing co-optations of publications like Green Anarchist. It was again seen very recently as two former Earth Liberation Front prisoners were released and then shown to have joined openly fascist movements. These went under the radar because of their focus on things like the esoteric Nazism advocated by people like Miguel Serrano and the racist Hindu heretic Savitri Devi, really focusing on the kind of alt-religious interpretations of white nationalism. (6)

Palestinian solidarity movements have been one of the more obvious culprits because of the associated anti-Semitism, and unfortunately a lot of this rhetoric has been accepted in movements like Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions, though open anti-Semitism is condemned. The anti-war movement has seen some of their largest mobilizations, especially in “liberal” areas where nationalists will often attempt to go under the radar or be allowed to participate because of “freedom of speech.” This has created clashes when members of many of the larger fascist movements, including open neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance and National Socialist Movement, will come out for anti-war protests based on an Old Right notion of isolationism. This is the same logic for which they join the classical left and Big Labor to oppose “free trade” deals like the coming TPP, where they propose a kind of “economic nationalism” in opposition to the outsourcing of American jobs. While the largest thrust of these movements would never stand with the values that drive the politics of these groups, on the very surface they do share similar sentiments. This is what has allowed the more esoteric and complicated organizations to go under the radar, though a Swastika will still get someone thrown out quickly even by the most accepting liberal participant.

The difficulty of identifying fascist currents is something that has been discussed at length in a lot of places, and this has been especially true with its presence under the guise of paganism. While people are usually fairly aware of the violently racist Wotanist movement of David Lane, it is the more moderate “folkish” Asatru and Odinism that is often associated with intellectual fascist movements that goes under the radar. Because of shared symbolism and religious structure with Wicca and neopaganist trends conventionally associated with the left, without going deep into their ideological foundations it can be easy to let this go unchallenged. This has allowed for these groups, like Stephen McNallen’s Asatru Folk Assembly, to have a lot more influence in larger pagan communities than you would expect. It is here where they are allowed to profess a soft form of ethnic nationalism by proposing lines between pagan traditions based on the participant’s ethnic heritage, which they claim is similar to the “blood quorum” requirements of Native American tribes. They fail to acknowledge that the reason for tribal use of this requirement is based on the need to defend against racist oppression, but their use of American New Age symbolism has allowed the logical conclusions of their proposals to be ignored.

In all of these sectors, from anti-war organizing to pagan Reconstructionism, what we have here are options for radical visions, with some being political and some being spiritual in nature.   The participation of the far right, even in marginal areas of these movements, allows them to be a part of the conversation around radical social ideas, and therefore some of the most frightening nationalist notions become a part of the spectrum when discussing revolutionary concepts. Simply put: they have become a radical option for people on the hunt for revolutionary answers to social problems.

So, in the end, it was never the conventional political sphere that was really at risk for falling to the far right, at least as it stands now, but instead the fate of the “radical option.” This means that in the increasing crisis of international capitalism, peak oil, climate change, etc., the radical options become increasingly relevant, and, as radicals, that is what we want. But if we are to bank on providing radical critiques of the current system, we need to have these far right ideas identified and removed. Liberals who support a liberal state can expect that the state will generally suppress these far right movements. This has essentially been the focus of much of the liberal anti-fascist movement, with organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center providing training and information to law enforcement on how to combat the threat. For those who actually counter the legitimacy of the bourgeois state, this creates an issue since we need to also create a comprehensive anti-fascism within radical circles. This does not just mean an ideological opposition, but actually a functional way of dealing with it when it comes up. Even if these movements do not have the ability to shift the entire force of populist anti-capitalist movements or anti-statist movements, even a small crack can allow parts of their ideas to seep in. These would destabilize the very basis of these radical movements, which should have an anti-hierarchical equality at the center of its value set. If ideas like misogyny, racialism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, fat phobia, and other forms of oppressive hierarchy that are advocated by these movements are allowed to give that bigotry legitimacy in our movements, even in part, it could undermine the very center of what we are fighting for. We fight for a revolutionary vision because we want a world where freedom, equality, and democracy can flourish, and we are not willing to give up those values to right-wing revolutionary forces that also want to undermine the current order, but to very different ends.

Understanding the why is the easy part, it is the how that takes the work. Identifying the sources of where fascist ideas focused on entryism in left movements are coming from is critical. Right now the newly repackaged form of scientific racism known as Human Biological Diversity has seen an explosion in the blogosphere, and is creating a crossover that holocaust denial had in the 80s and 90s. Movements like the Neo-Reactionary and Dark Enlightenment are uniting internet culture and the tech world in a mystified anti-egalitarian ethos, and really just tries to make old radical traditionalist ideas hip. We know that anti-Zionism, anti-modern environmentalism, and misanthropic animal rights are all having difficulty pushing these movements out, so giving it extra thought and awareness is critical. It is going to be increasingly important to understand the fragmented nature of these intellectual strains as they further deviate from the traditional organization.

We need an open dialogue with understanding within social movements so that they trends can be first identified and then countered. Without this conversation it will be difficult to actually create the kind of common understanding as to why these ideas are abhorrent, and we need to give support for discussion that helps draw these issues out into the open. This does not, however, mean that open dialogue with fascists is useful. While internally talking to and hearing each other is critical, but radio silence has always been the best option with the right. They are developing their movements for entryism in our own, which means they are training their people to debate these issues. Do not give them the opportunity, but instead we need to inoculate each other against their subversion.

The final challenge to radicals is not going to be entirely with “purifying” movements as, in weak points, there will always be a chance for ambitious young haters to make their case to those disaffected by the mainstream. Instead, the most effective way to challenge this entryism is to create a left movement that has the kind of teeth to challenge the current order in meaningful and visible ways. This means to empower all areas of the movement while strengthening ideas and analysis about the “how and why” of it. To show a labor movement that is founded on a challenge to capitalism while also showing the ability to win. By having a housing justice movement that fundamentally goes after racial inequality in housing and the commodification of housing, while actually taking over entries areas of cities from developers. By having an anti-patriarchy movement that actually challenges male hegemony while taking real gains in the fight against sexual assault, for free access to reproductive health services, and the ability for open gender fluidity. What we need is to present a movement and narrative that is powerful enough to challenge orthodoxy on its own because nothing will rob the right’s power to claim new converts than the ability to create the most enticing radical option.

Footnotes

  1. Brinker, Luke. “David Duke threatens to run against “sellout” GOP congressman Steve Scalise.” Salon, January 29, 2015. http://www.salon.com/2015/01/29/david_duke_threatens_to_run_against_sell_out_gop_congressman_steve_scalise/
  1. “Taking a Stand.” Matthew Heimbach Interview by Richard Spencer. Vanguard Radio. Radix Journal, May 23, 2013. http://www.radixjournal.com/vanguard-radio/podcast/2013/5/16/taking-a-stand?rq=heimbach
  1. Jin, Ba. “Ten Theses on the U.S. Racial Order.” Red Skies at Night 1 (Spring 2013): Pg 37.
  1. Eco, Umberto. “Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt,” in American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Chris Hedges. (New York: Free Press, 2006). Pg ii.
  1. Stuart Good and Litza Jansz. Fascism: A Graphic Guide(London: Icon Books Ltd, 2013). Pg. 95.
  1. “Former ELF/Green Scare Prisoner “Exile” Now a Fascist.” August 5, 2014. https://nycantifa.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/exile-is-a-fascist/