Tag Archives: attack the system

Confronting Fascist Entryism: Bioregionalism, Left-Hand Path, and the Brooklyn Commons

 

Recently a supporter emailed us to let us know something a little strange happening at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Among the Lovecraftian horror authors, R’lyeh themed t-shirt vendors, and various international films, the organizers had invited someone a touch more eccentric. Diabolus Rex is an occultist from the area who spends his time building the Ragnarok Engine, which is a large metal ship that is meant to generate occult energy. Speaking in a mix of prophetic End Times jargon, conspiracy prose, and pan-esoteric mashups, he says that this will fuel a black magic enterprise, possibly bringing the end of the world.

Though on first glance Rex is likely to appear as an oddity that an H.P. Lovecraft fanfest would enjoy a peek at, but that is really only without delving deeper. Rex was featured on Jack Donovan’s podcast Start the World. People will know Donovan as a part of the controversial Wolves of Vinland folkish heathen group, and for speaking at white nationalist conferences like American Renaissance and writing for publications like the Radix Journal. Know for his Queer Fascism, Jack writes about “male tribalism” and the need for men to think only about their in-group and to reclaim a culture of violence.

This was not Rex’s only connection to the Alt Right as on his Facebook he shares links from the esoteric-loving white nationalist publisher Counter Currents and rants about blocking Muslim immigration. More than this, he focuses on a “will to power” reading of left-hand path mysticism where he believes in creating a culture of hierarchy based in the domination of others, which includes human sacrifice. He even includes Julius Evola, the fascist mystic, as one of his key influences, as well as seeming to draw on Aryan esoteric and rune magic. He makes snide comments about Jews, and especially about “socialists” and those who want “equality.”

The question of whether Rex is a fascist is dubious; he seems to straddle a line in some ways, and may or may not actually fall firmly into that category. The burden of his meta-politics does not fall on the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival (even though they were notified ahead of time of his connection), but it presents a clear problem that happens in spaces from left to right, from the arts to the social sciences.

Anti-fascist researcher and author Alexander Reid Ross made this process the key idea for his upcoming book from AK Press, Against the Fascist Creep. In it he chronicles the neo-fascist project since World War II and the shifting, often contradictory strategies that fascist movements take. Using ideas and patterns from the left, fascist movements attempt to co-opt struggles, transform radical movements, and adopt elements of the left while maintaining a far-right meta-politics. This means that areas that are not normally associated with racialist and nationalist politics, such as the pop arts, environmentalism, or anti-colonialism, have become places they believe they can make inroads.

To gain popularity, fascists develop and adapt syncretic ideologies to meet and manipulate leftists and radical activists. Their motivations are often concealed through the rhetoric of the “right to difference” and “racial diferentialism.” It is important to see through and reject the rhetoric of fascism in order to garner a better understanding of its general adherence to inequality, elitism, and hate. (AFC, pg. 7)

While most people subscribing to Left Hand Path traditions would find fascist politics and racism disgusting, there are those who see it as a way to developing an imperial power. People may reject the notion that ideologues like Rex have a creeping fascist politics because of the sexual libertine ideas and animal rights adherence, but these are just pieces of what is a larger philosophy of power and domination.

The fascist entryism into areas associated with the left is both conscious and unconscious, and those on the far right often see these crossover movements as legitimately a part of their struggle.

***

Quite a while ago, bioregionalists in Oregon were putting on a conference about their ecological movement. There is a push to look at the bioregion of the Pacific Northwest, sometimes divided up into being the western side of Oregon and Washington, as a distinct ecological “bioregion.” While there are nationalist movements that want to redefine state boundaries, bioregionalism is generally a project of the left and sees itself as a progressive notion for protecting environmental areas. Because of its creation of borders and boundaries, as well as because of right-wing intervention into environmental movements, it has also attracted those from the more questionable elements of the right.

Among the various invitees for the conference was also Vince Rinehart, a tribal member of the Tlingit people and an editor with the National Anarchist website Attack the System. AtS is well known for allying with white nationalists and racialists, developing their own “pan-secessionist” ideology that calls for anarchists uniting with fascists to attack “the empire.” Keith Preston, the founder of the website, often speaks at neo-fascist conferences like the National Policy Institute. Rinehart himself supports a strong tribal nationalism, one where racial groups could get their own exclusive tribal communities.

After the public learned that Rinehart was included in the conference there was an understandable uproar, and many in the more questionable areas of the bioregionalist community tried to defend Rinehart’s inclusion. There was an aspect of agreement with Rinehart: it took opposing ideologies coming together to defend the bioregion. This is exactly the “creeping fascism” that those on the right want, to undermine coherent politics and to gain entry into revolutionary movements for their own philosophical bent.

This showed up in an especially embarrassing blog post by Casey Bryan Corcoran after Rose City Antifa refused to participate. Here Corcoran admitted to both understanding Attack the System’s fascist roots and to doing a recorded interview with them.

I want to be clear that I am not denying Fascism’s unsavory past and present.  I will also not deny the unsavory past and present of the Left.  I am hopeful that Bioregionalism can be formulated in a way that opposes both toxic ideologies, and I see both the Left and the Right as his-stories not to be repeated.  I also reject both the Trojan Horse of ‘Third Position’ racialism, and the re-colonizing impositions and racial animosities that thrive in Leftist subcultures.  However, attacking everyone I don’t see eye-to-eye with has proven a terrible way to build a community, and I have engaged in dialogue with a good handful of people expressing remarkably problematic ideas about life, taking my fair share of flack for this in the process.  I feel this risk is worth it, as I feel no human being is motivated by pure evil intentions.  Pardon my optimism if you must.   I have also observed peoples ideas change over time, mostly as the result of relationships with other people who are not quick to judge.

Here he goes into the defining characteristic of creeping fascism, the ability to “move beyond right and left” to something new. This is Third Positionism crystalized, the refusal to see fascism for what it is in an effort to “move beyond the failures of the past.” He continues on to use ad hominem attacks, to dance around the clear far-right associations, and to defend Rinehart’s racialist politics.

Rinehart was eventually removed from his panel against his own protest, though he still spoke at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene, Oregon at the University of Oregon. The conference is known for including controversial speakers like Lierre Keith, the transphobic founder of Deep Green Resistance. Rinehart spoke on a panel with members of Occupied Cascadia and Portland State University Cascadia chapter.

Rinehart went on Jack Donovan’s podcast as well to defend himself, as well as to re-commit himself to solidarity with ethnic nationalism.  Though at the time Rinehart was already known for his problematic views, this was only the tip of the iceberg and many in the Cascadia bioregionalist movement seemed fine with flirting with the most reviled ideas imaginable. There was something of a reckoning and the left wing of the bioregionalist movement is much more conscious of this type of entryism today, but it is something that continues in left spaces regardless.

***

Recently the Brooklyn Commons turned a few heads when they hosted Christopher Bollyn, a 9/11 Truther who has entered crossover politics from his deep anti-Semitism. Bollyn was formerly a staff member at the Liberty Lobby, which published Spotlight. The Liberty Lobby was the organization founded by Willis Carto, and was the leading white nationalist organization for decades. Though it is less known than organizations like the National Alliance, it was arguably even more influential, starting off in the 1960s with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and riding a wave of anti-Communism and anti-integrationist fervor on the right into influence in the halls of power. They eventually became open about their racialist politics, believing that Jews secretly run the world, that black people have lower IQs than whites, and that people of color are more prone to crime. They founded the Holocaust Denial organization The Institute for Historical Review, and after that organization was wrestled away from Carto by some previous employees he went on to found the Barnes Review to do the same thing.

Bollyn was on the staff of the Liberty Lobby between 2000 and 2006, when the Spotlight was renamed the American Free Press. Bollyn, with his penchant for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, claims that Jews themselves were behind all U.S. government decisions, that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is real, and that Jews actually did the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Bollyn has been incredibly public about what he thinks about Jews, not usually even hiding behind anti-Semitic “dog whistle” language. Below are a few quotes compiled by anti-fascist writer Spencer Sunshine.

  • “Great nations, like the United States, France, and Germany, once had anti-Masonic and anti-Semitic political parties that acted to challenge the pernicious influence of secret Masonic and Jewish organizations.  Today we no longer have such political parties to counter these secret networks and find ourselves ruled by B’nai B’rith and Jewish Freemasons.”
  • “The ‘false flag’ ter­ror­ism of 9–11 is a mon­strous Jewish-Zionist crime of our time.  The true cul­prits of this heinous crime are clearly being pro­tected by a gang of like-minded Jew­ish Zion­ists in the high­est posi­tions of the U.S. government.”
  • “It seems like being a Jew is a lot like being a wolf.”
  • He openly cites the Protocols line that: “Not a single announcement will reach the public without our control.”
  • “I suspect that Arlen Specter is a high-level agent of the B’nai B’rith, the secret organization of Jewish Freemasons which I consider to be the real Elders of Zion.”

After the Commons booked Bollyn there was a near revolt by many of the organizations and projects that use the place, including Jacobin Magazine, the Right to the City Alliance, and the Marxist Education Project. They wrote a letter to the Commons listing their disdain in a quick statement.

As organizations that work out of the Brooklyn Commons, we reject the antisemitic politics of Christopher Bollyn. We do not have any say in event booking and management at the Commons but agree that such politics should have no place in leftist spaces.

The event was allowed to continue by the space’s owner, Melissa Ennen, who is a 9/11 Truther herself. In her own statement she said that there should be space for hateful people to speak because it can also be enlightening.

I never intended for The Commons to be a safe space at all times. Nor was it designed to be a cozy cocoon for intramural debate among leftists. From the beginning my goal has been to foster discussion among disparate groups across a wide political spectrum.

This is clearly a cherry-picked decision since usually the Commons would not normally allow a speaker with openly racist views, even though they represent “a wide political spectrum.” Instead, she wants to make it a left-specific space, except in that they allow anti-Semites.

Once the event did take place there was a small, yet understandably angry, contingent outside protesting the event. Those who tried to go inside were assaulted by security, and other people associated with the Commons attacked opposition in different situations. Some Antifa organizations have now called for a boycott on the Commons, which is a boycott we are joining in to send a message that anti-Semitism will not be tolerated.

***

In all of these situations, what happens is a break in left-oriented politics allows for some of the most abhorrent examples of far-right politics to work their way in. Though they are often challenged in the end, this has allowed many of these movements to flourish in ways that a concerted opposition would eliminate. This comes, in part, from the fact that education about fascism and its interlocking tentacles is not well done even in radical spaces, and it is important to understand the depths of the nationalist project and how it tries to seek crossover into, and cover from, the left. It also feeds on the unchecked acts of bigotry and oppression inside of leftist spaces, where racism, sexual assault, and abuse still happen even though the rhetoric and ideas are intended to challenge it.

This is an ongoing project, one that does not end in one project or confrontation.   Instead, as the fascist movement shifts and changes, we need to be virulent and learn about how it is attempting to adapt. Radical environmentalism, anti-imperialist movements, animal rights, Palestinian solidarity, anti-globalization, pagan religious communities, and many iconoclastic arts projects all have a special place in this because they are areas that Nazis have attempted to stake their claim. A clear idea of what the threat is, a coherent politic in opposition, and the ability to shift and adapt is what will help to ensure that creeping fascism is crushed at entry.

Why is a Fascist Publishing House Releasing Books by Goldman, Berkman, and Kropotkin?

For anyone that has been looking at the problem of creeping fascism in the U.S. and Europe, National-Anarchism has become an entryist tool for the far right to move into otherwise far-left anarchist movements. National-Anarchism, a term coined by nationalist activist Troy Southgate, sees a form of “anarchism” where autonomous communities are created on the basis of things like race, ideology, or sexual orientation. Generally, they mix deep ecology and some post-left and anti-state politics with ultra-conservative social views, racial separatism, and a violent anti-Semitism. They attempt to appropriate anarchist symbols, organizing styles, and social structures, and you’ll often see them attempt to join in the black block at protests. There have been incidents over the years in the United States with National-Anarchist organizations attempting to gain entry into anarchist projects. The National Anarchist Tribal Alliance(NATA) of New York has made a fuss after being kicked out of the New York Anarchist Bookfair, as well as the now-defunct Bay Area National Anarchist(BANA) being booted out of San Francisco based events and attacked at actions. BANA tried to make a name for itself protesting the movie Machete, saying that it was anti-white, as well as protesting immigration and doing talks on the importance of “tribe.” Several National-Anarchists have joined things like the Traditionalist Youth Network and the Traditionalist Workers Party in California, joining together with classic Christian racists like Matthew Heimbach and Matt Parrot to develop a violent anti-immigrant movement.

Much of the rhetorical center of National-Anarchism in the U.S. is around Attack the System, a website we have covered extensively in the past. The site, run by former anarchist Keith Preston, advocates what it calls Pan-Secession, an idea that different ideological groups should revolt against the “Empire” and sort of go their own way. Their conception of anarchism is “left, right, and center,” where they believe that everything that people call anarchism should be a part of the broad anarchist project. They often work with anarcho-capitalist and libertarian types, as well as many of the newer far-right variants like Tribal Anarchists, Anarcho-Monarchists, Agorists, and National Anarchists.

Keith Preston knows his way around the anarchist movement, coming out of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Workers Solidarity Alliance in the past(all of which abhor his recent views and behavior). He attempts to persist that he is, in fact, still an anarchist, yet he spends most of his time speaking at white nationalist conferences and supporting nationalist movements.

For those who continue to read many books considered anarchist “classics,” they may have found a volume that raised some concerns. When looking at Keith Preston’s small repertoire of strange books one stands out, Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman. The book, which takes essays by Goldman that are in the public domain, has an introduction by Keith Preston. This, on its face, is problematic, and when the publisher is seen to be Black House Publishing Ltd, it only becomes more blatant.

Black House Front Page

Black House Publishing is one of the most prolific neo-fascist publishers coming out of Europe, yet attempts to say that it really just publishes books on politics. The top masthead lists “Anarchism, “Capitalism,” “Socialism,” “National Socialism,” and “Fascism,” which is intended to lend to the notion that it is non-partisan and instead just surveying the left-right spectrum. When you browse through their titles, the reality of their perspective becomes bare.

On the front page, besides the most recent book by Preston, there are two volumes on the English interwar founder of the British Union of Fascists, Oswald Mosley, one his autobiography (which, ironically, has the same name as Leon Trotsky’s biography), as well as as an “authorized” history of Mosley and the British union. There are two books on Jews, one that claims to simply be about “Zionism, Islam, and the West” by controversial far-right author Kerry Bolton, as well as a book on “central banking” that resurrects anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Their books on Fascism and National Socialism are extensive, republishing public domain Nazi books like The Programme of the NSDAP and False Gods: The Jerusalem Memoirs by Adolf Eichmann. For those who might suggest that this is just an attempt by a publisher to republish historical works for profit, their books include a swathe of manuscripts that buck this trend with almost a dozen books published by Mosley and a whole library of more recent books by reactionary authors.

Anarchism and Other Essays

The books on anarchism that it holds show a further difficulty as they have the singular book Attack the System by Preston, the book by Goldman introduced by Preston, as well as Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist by Alexander Berkman and The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin. Both of these books are also published by Black House, where they take the public domain texts and publish them for a National-Anarchist audience. This may seem like a glaring contradiction for those who know the historical opposition to fascism that anarchists have had, but in the world of Third Positionist neo-fascism, they live in these contradictions. These classic books are often used by National-Anarchists to endorse some of their broad-based fascism since they can be picked through to find vague passages that they can use to ally with the more simplistic elements of their anti-authoritarian program. The fact that Goldman, Berkman, and Kropotkin would not ally with capitalists, nationalists, or related movements is one that is lost on this swathe of their movement, and a reality they hope to obscure by publishing their books.

Conquest of Bread

This is not the first time that fascist organizations have attempted to appropriate older anarchist thought, but this is an ongoing profit center for Black House publishing and one that can actually confuse anarchists who are attempting to find affordable volumes of these classic texts. Right now they are selling each of these books for slightly more than you will pay from other publishers (AK Press included) when you find them on Amazon, but they are cheaper on the Black House website. Conquest of Bread and Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist were released this month, which is part of why they have gone under the radar, but Anarchism and Other Essays has been out since December of 2012.

It is hard to confront this misappropriation since these texts are in the public domain and that is something we want to continue since it allows for open republishing of these books and we do not want to encourage strict intellectual property. Instead, this presents a challenge for how to undermine the distribution of these books, which are problematic for coherent anarchist politics and provides a clean entry point for far-right ideas.

First, this could mean confronting retailers and making sure to challenge their placement of these books, and all the works put out by Black House. These are particularly pernicious, and therefore the language could be used that they are deceiving the readership as to the book in question. Amazon has never been the most responsive to public pressure, but they did bring down all Confederate Flag merchandise during the recent controversy, so this does provide an avenue. While sending emails to customer service people is fine, it needs a coordinated, large-scale campaign to be effective in any way. It will also be useful to indicate in reviews and comments on the products exactly what the book is as, you will notice, on these large retail situations, most of the purchasers have no idea exactly what they are buying.

The most concerted way to confront this type of entryism is to create a very visceral anti-fascist kernel to anarchist organizing projects, to educate and agitate around issues like racism and nationalism, and to continue to confront and disallow far-right entryism. These books are a clear instance of this, but we can continue to close doors to them by giving our movements a foundation in anti-fascist struggle.

Twitter Warriors: How Do Deal With White Nationalist Trolls

On a recent episode of the cleverly titled Fash the Nation, another podcast project of the Right Stuff, they opined about Trump’s big failure in Iowa. To join the regular hosts Jazz Hands McFeels and Marcus Halberstram they invited Raiden, a Twitter “sensation” who bragged about how good he is at trolling.  He proudly declared that he keeps “hate facts” in his bookmarks so he is ready to “Red Pill” people on social media, a term used originally by the Men’s Rights crowd and means to reveal the truth(which actually means to be racist).  He went on, at length, about how great he was at harassing people on Twitter, so much that he often gets banned.  The hosts egged him on, also congratulating him for this major “achievement.”

The new Alt Right is being tactically informed by people like the Right Stuff and the Daily Shoah who think that internet trolling, using infectious memes, and arguing with people in web forums is the same thing as political organizing.  Their project relies on this since they usually do not come from a history of political engagement, but instead from the recesses of extreme ideology that remote web forums often inspire.  While this is embarrassing right off the bat, it is not without its avenues.  They have successfully disseminated things like the Cuckservative, Alt Right, and Facts Aren’t Racist hashtags, they have created a groundswell of reactionary internet support for Trump, and they are feeding the vanguard of the racist movement to commit acts of violence and eventually join the kind of political organizations that we are seeing all over Europe.

We at Anti-Fascist News have also been pretty consistently “trolled” and blogged about from the far-right, where they are just begging to get a mention.  The Daily Shoah has devoted segments of several of their shows to us, and their forum will link to us so many times that we quickly become the top Google search results(good strategy guys).  Attack the System, the website run by Keith Preston and best known for pushing National Anarchism, has run a full six articles about us, desperately trying to pull us into a debate.  We actually did counter a couple of their claims, only because they have occasionally moved their arguments into anarchist circles and so we need to develop a good rhetorical foundation to unhinge their ‘pan-secessionist” rhetoric.  Occidental Dissent, the Traditionalist Youth Network, the National Anarchist Network of Texas, Jack Donovan, and others have made us the target of their attention in recent months, hoping that they can get a word in on our conversation.  Daily we get hate comments, often with racial slurs, and usually they believe that we are going to allow their comments to be posted so that they can, again, troll.  On Twitter they will tag us so as to draw us into an “internet feud” so they can fuel their blog diarrhea, especially since their lack of relevance can stop them from having appealing content.

Our policy is to completely refuse to discuss things, allow them to link to us, or to even provide access to our social media.  We regularly block fascists if they tag us on Facebook or Twitter, which happens a couple times a week.  We will work to break the links when they link directly to our website, and we never, ever allow racist or right-wing comments to post on our website.  We aim to be a useful resource for anti-fascist and anti-racist organizing, so we prioritize the goals of organizing above all else.  Complete radio silence and removing them as regularly as you can will be the best way to regularly segregate them from important conversations.  We prefer if our boosts in traffic comes from anti-racists looking to find out what is happening inside of the racist community, not just out of a lurid curiosity, but because we need this information to inform strategy.

As long as we continue, we expect to get followed closely by these groups as they look for any avenue to get coverage.  Instead, in our discussions about them we refuse to link to them or provide them an open platform of any type.