Tag Archives: Changes

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.”

Blood+Axis+moynihan1
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.

blood-andsun

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 
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Nationalists on Samhain: The National Policy Institute’s 2015 Conference and the Identitarian Lie

Sam Dickson, in the center, pointing.
Sam Dickson, in the center, pointing. “Anarchist” Keith Preston off to the far-right, as usual.

It may have seen a bit odd to see one of the biggest white nationalist intellectual events in the U.S. happening on Halloween, but there is a certain obviousness about it.  Samhain, as it was originally known, was a traditional holiday in pre-Christian Europe where it was said the fabric between the land of the living and the land of the dead was at its thinnest.  It was then a time to remember the ancestors, a tradition that made its way into the Christian churches that were built on top of the pagan past, and we see it with the establishment of later holidays like Old Hallow’s Eve before All Saints Day and the Dios De La Muertos celebrations in Latin American countries.  With the white nationalist fetishism of paganism under a their self-created concept of “meta-genetics,” there is a certain attraction for them to pontificate about the “threatened” white race in the name of the ancestors on a day like this.

The National Policy Institute’s 2015 conference took place at the Washington Press Club this past October 31st, hosting some of the biggest names in the organized racist community.  Richard Spencer, the President of NPI, celebrated this fact, referencing anti-racist posters featuring them as labeling them the “Superheroes of Hate,” and jokingly saying “Avengers Assemble” about their line-up.  The conference, as we wrote about during the run up to the actual event, featured a rainbow assortment of white nationalist paranoia.  The most featured speaker of the day, so it seemed, was Kevin McDonald, who has been working on a book on the “origins of the white man.”  He recently did a podcast episode for Radix Journal, Richard Spencer’s online publication, where they discussed the origins of the “Aryan” race.  Here they both indulged in elementary understandings of genetics and embarrassing overreaches about the importance of white racial in-groups.  McDonald himself expounded on the idea of developing moral structures, in-group cohesion, and what he calls “pathological altruism” that he alleges is both innate to white people and is destroying them by disallowing them to fight for their ethnic interests.  This essentializes whiteness in a way that is anti-scientific, as if having darker skin tones in a lineage changes that genetic history in any way.  Spencer and McDonald lament about the Goths, who were eventually absorbed into the Roman Empire, and they opine about this being the potential result of the “white man.”  McDonald, now a retired University of California Long Beach psychology professor, is best known for his academic anti-Semitism, where he developed a theory that Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy” that Jews use to dominate Western societies for access to resources.  No one in evolutionary psychology proper agree with this notion, nor agree that there is some type of biological urge to fight for resources with people of different ethnic origins.  There is no evidence that we have some biological radar for people of similar ethnic origins that drive us towards allegiance.  That is simply not how genetics work, as anyone who has taken a high school science class should be able to discern.

We were also looking at Keith Preston, a former anarchist who likes to parade himself at nationalist gatherings in an effort to find some community as his support for racism has had him ousted from anywhere on the radical left.  At this conference he went on about the “Left’s worship of the State,” though his background should have informed his understanding of the anti-authoritarian and anarchist left’s actual association with the State.  What Keith really references here is the left’s association with anti-racist and egalitarian values, which he sees as being totalitarian in its monolithic nature.  This is an embarrassingly middle school interpretation of authoritarianism, and really lacks even the most basic ideas of where anarchism came from and what the tradition advocates at its core.  It was never anti-authoritarian for anti-authoritarian’s sake, but instead a revolutionary libertarian communist tradition, opposed to hierarchical oppression but never in favor of an “anything goes” politic of “pan-secessionism.”

Sam Dickson returned, a Southern lawyer who enjoys a life both as a Southern Nationalist and as a predatory land merchant who takes gleeful pleasure in making money on evicting black families.  After saying the much quoted line about “giving blacks Manhattan,” he went on to note that he wants a country for ALL white people.  “White people, as we’ve become a minority, will not be able to live in a state of severe repression and discrimination,” he said. “Our ethno-state will not be a meeting of the Tea Party; it’s not going to be the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s going to be a genuine ethno-state with Christians, Catholics, alcoholics, tee-totallers, gay people. It’s not going to be a subset of the right.”

The conference was well covered by a few media outlets, with Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, and Raw Story doing full pieces on it.  For this, Spencer arranged a press period, which was a sort of delusional show since there were only three journalists there.  A big question that was presented to the panel, which included Dickson and Spencer, was if Jews were white.  Spencer responded by saying “I think Jews are Jews.”  This was a good sound bite as people went on to make anti-Semitic remarks and jokes throughout the day with the laughing support of the crowd.  “The Jews exist precisely because they were apart,” said Spencer. “Precisely because they had a sense of apartness—perhaps you could say a little bit of paranoia, about trying to stay away. That’s a clear aspect of Jewish—”  At this point he stopped and realized that he was playing his anti-Semitism too straight, and then begged the reporters not to print his line about Jewish paranoia.  Spencer thinks of himself as having a very nuanced understanding of Jews, and he hates when he is quoted like some kind of vulgar anti-Semite, but his ideas are so in line with traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes that it is a mirage for him to believe he is any different from people like Kevin McDonald or David Duke.

The conference itself also stood apart from the traditional portrayal of the far-right in the United States as mainly Christian.  Instead, there was a strong push towards a kind of racial atheism and paganism, which is expressly noticeable by having the neo-folk band Changes performing in the evening.

One of the real set pieces of the day was the live podcast that they recorded as a discussion and Q&A with Spencer, two hosts from Sweden’s Red Ice Radio, and Mike Enoch from The Right Stuff and The Daily Shoah.  Enoch decided, for some reason, to wear aviators at the microphone as he thought that might confuse the anti-fascists who were in the room.  Though the rest of the information still continues to come out, some east coast antifa organizations have stated that they were still in the room at that point and have photos of the panel.  One person taking photos was forced out of the venue earlier in the day, which was a testament to the paranoia in the room.  Enoch is well-known for turning their “alt right” community into a bouquet of racial slurs, holocaust denial, fantasies about killing minorities and Jews, and generally being one of the more self-congratulation focused disgusting examples of the reality of “ethno-nationalism.”  It was in this podcast, but really across the neo-fascist movement in the U.S. over the last several months, you can see the influence of Enoch and The Daily Shoah.  The panel, who usually tries to couch their rhetoric in academic jargon, instead celebrated the “trolling” nature of their internet presence and state over and over again that this is a sign that “something is happening.”  They repeat this as if it is a mantra they really want to believe, and since they have no concept of organizing or movement building it must seem that using the n-word in a podcast under a pseudonym or creating the #cuckservative hashtag is the same thing as creating a revolutionary political movement.  Spencer himself banks on this idealism, the idea that if we change our minds we can change the world, instead of looking at the material realities of the world, which gives anti-fascists their greatest tool in combating their reactionary lies.

The conference offered a dramatically discounted rate from its original outrageous dollar amount(this is calculated to give it a posh appearance, which is why the conference is such a poor organizing tool) for millennials, which there were quite a few of.  They then used this to say that they are a young movement, but really it is simply that within the racist sphere the young professionals are more likely to attend their event than a Klan rally.  It is less that this is a new turn for millennials and more that any of them attracted to white nationalism are there, and their numbers are being vastly oversold.  Just as on the internet, the reactionaries love to over speak, and therefore appear more numerous than they actually are.  The questions during the Become Who We Are podcast panel were telling as few had any concept of political organizing or even how to communicate their ideas in anything approximating a cogent argument.  They did, however, find unity in making fun of the small protest outside, which, from the sound of it, was underorganized and did not have a good strategy for challenging the conference.  This has been a problem unique to the United States Antifa organizations, that fail to do long-term movement building or, in turn, actually physically confront anybody.  There needs to be choices made about how the action is meant to be effective, whether this means trying to interfere and shut down the event, or, on the other hand, to create a mass coalition to show the power of anti-racist unity in the face of regressive nationalism.

Jack Donovan’s appearance is again a strange addition to the group, but says more about what a fascist movement is really composed of more than anything else.  Donovan is known as a sort of “anti-gay” gay writer, a person who coined the term “andriophile” to identify queer men who do not want to identify with what he see’s as an effeminate gay identity.  In recent years he focuses on “male tribalism,” is a certain radical wing of the Men’s Rights Movement, and writes about tribal bands dissociating themselves with the larger society and State.  In his “Rules for Barbarians,” he focused on things like not caring about the fate of out-group peoples.  This ties into work he has been writing for a long time, including last-year’s article “I Don’t Care” over at Radix Journal.  Donovan, beyond being deeply misogynist and an advocate of brutal hierarchical violence, is much more wishy-washy when it comes to race.  In his article “Why I Support White Nationalism,” he expresses a tacit support for the racialist movement since they are essentially men who want to create their own tribalist society with an in-group and out-group.  In his recent article and podcast on the Wolves of Vinland, a folkish Asatru group modeled on a motorcycle gang, it seemed apparent that he was interested in joining.  He then wrote a review of “What is a Rune?” by white nationalist Heathen Colin Clear for Counter-Currents, which shows a move in favor of identitarian paganism.  Even though his talk did not reference race much, he spoke at the Human BioDiversity obsessed American Renaissance last year.  All of this indicates a drift towards white identity for Donovan, though the movement will likely only take him in at an arm’s length distance because of his homosexuality.  Mike Enoch really enjoys making gay jokes about him, but Enoch really just loves any time when he can use queer sexuality to degrade people.

The conference had a reported 175 attendants, which may seem like a lot except considering that there really are not a huge catalogue of similar events.  For years NPI has lead a faction of the “alt right” that focused on a pseudo-spiritual and academic discourse in favor of ethnic nationalism, but here we are seeing a shift away from neutral coded language and a more open support of traditional racism and Jew-blaming.  Spencer is now calling for the need for a whites-only “European empire,” which he alleges is a part of the white “Faustian nature.”  When discussing his hometown issue when a group of White Fish, Montana residents got together to stand against his racism, he mentioned how he thought to himself, “What would a Jew do?”  The crowd laughed and clapped with glee, and he went on about how he can use his superior logic to turn things around on them.  This is all good rhetoric, but the movement he is a part of is composed mainly of double-speak, angry racist rants about pop culture(the humiliating boycott of the new Star Wars is prime example), and the lack of even basic understanding of how to create a movement that can transform anything is what leaves them behind.

This does not, however, meant that they are no longer a threat.  There is still a huge growth happening here, crossovers in the form of Donald Trump’s campaign and the fringe movements like Neoreaction and the Dark Enlightenment, and their effort to co-opt “radicalism” and “dissent.”  To really confront NPI and the growing faction of pseudo-intellectual revolutionary nationalists, there needs to be an anti-fascist movement that does what the far-right was never able to do: to build a movement.  Anti-fascist and anti-racists will have to destroy the narrative that nationalists are building, which is easy to do since reality and public opinion really are on our side.  Sticking to the Antifa idea of “no platform” is critical, and that does not mean shooting silly-string onto NPI conference attendents, but not allowing them to have a public voice.

Under the Radar: The Neo-Folk Band “Changes” And Their Open Fascism

changes2

The anti-fascist tradition, starting in the interwar period in Europe and Japan, and moving through the nationalist insurrections in the decades that followed, have always created a difficulty of adaptation.  American fascist organizations have often been built on deeply American traditions like Christianity, U.S. patriotism, and the legacy of the Confederate south.  This has created a uniquely American form of far-right organizing, that still had cultural connections to the mainstream GOP and socially conservative culture.  It is the shift away from this in the contemporary fascist incarnations that has confused many people on the anti-fascist left, especially as the syncretic nature of adaptive contemporary fascism comes forward.  Involving itself in deep green movements, animal rights, anti-capitalism, and other social movements usually associated with the left, this fascist kernel takes on these social issues, yet for many different reasons that those on the radical left.

Where this breaks even further is the growing far-right cultural sphere that looks more like the rainbow gathering than a Klan rally.  The shift towards Euro-paganism because of its assumed “European ethnic” core, as well as much of the music and art that is associated with this revival.  It is through this that the musical current of Neo-Folk and related genres have become a difficult place for those in the music underground as far-right elements have become the most vocal members of the scene, using the music as a way of focusing on a romantic and mystical reading of European history.  There have been obvious controversies as anti-fascists shut down appearances of Neo-Folk bands like Death in June and Sol Invictus, who draw so clearly on the traditionalist fascist right that is hard to argue with, but many others go under the radar.  One of these is the band Changes, who has ridden the fence enough to be accepted in both political camps.  At least until recently.

The question of Neo-Folk and the fascist right is a more complicated one, but the ability to identify the bands in question are not.  Changes has a much longer history than most of these bands, all the way back to the American flower child year of 1969.  Made up of Nicholas Tesluk and the better known Robert Taylor, the music has been so closely aligned with the resurrection of Germanic Heathenry that they helped to set the template to the cultural influence on the musical movement.

When looking at their history it looks like most narratives of middling bands with moderate followings, until you are able to see enough spots that drive out questions.  Their recent history outlines a more explicit connection to the traditionalist far-right, as well as folksih Heathenry.  In 2013 the Asatru Folk Assembly and their most vocal member, Stephen McNallen, hosted a music festival called Stella Natura.  This was essentially to be a music festival to reflect the cultural influence and ideas at play in the AFA, which are racial and ethnic identity tied to European history and aesthetics.  There were a couple of dozen bands, mainly made up of musical backgrounds that have some problematic associations like Viking Metal and Neo-Folk, including people like Hell, Cauldron Black Ram, and Hail.  Changes was also in the line-up there, with Stephen McNallen elevating them from the rest of the list by performing a Heathen blot as an announcement for their taking of the stage.

Out of the two members, Robert N. Taylor has been the most vocally problematic as he has continued to associate himself with racially defined movements.  In 2006 he was quoted in Chronicles of Chaos as saying “None of this had any real connection to integration or peace between races.  Integration did not occur – flight of the whites occurred.  It has no secret that once blacks predominated in an area, the crime rate would soar and the streets would become dangerous to walk.”  Taylor has made a name for himself in the right-wing music press for inflammatory comments that certainly cannot be misread.  In Stigmata, which is a well known racial Neo-Folk publication, he discussed his involvement with the neo-fascist “Minuteman” organization in the early 1960s.

Minutemen drew from the full scope of those on the right. From “Barry Goldwater” type conservatives, Objectivists and libertarians, anti-communists, constitutionalists, Christian Identity, neo-Fascists, Nazis, gun-owner advocates, etc..”

“My involvement in the Minutemen was considerable. I became a member of the newly formed organization at about 14 years old. I first was a member, then became the principle organizer and leader in the Chicago area. Then I became a member of the Executive council of ten as the director of intelligence. By the time I was 24 years old I was the editor of the organization’s publication, On Target as well as the national spokesman for the group. My involvement lasted through most of the years of the organization’s existence.”

What made On Target uniquely different from other anti-communist or right-wing publications was that in addition to articles and commentary on various current issues, it also contained names, addresses and phone numbers of its assumed communist and liberal enemies. Often literal dossiers on such people were featured. Combine the slogan, cross-hair masthead, and such detailed information on perceived enemies, and the potential threat was implied, without ever being actually stated.”

“We have studied your Communist smirch, Mao, Che, Bhukarin. We have learned our lessons well and have added a few homegrown Yankee tricks of our own. Before you start your next smear campaign, before you murder again, before you railroad another patriot into a mental institution…better think it over. See the old man at the corner where you buy your paper? He may have a silencer equipped pistol under his coat. That extra fountain pen in the pocket of your insurance salesman that calls on you might be a cyanide-gas gun. What about your milkman? Arsenic works slow but sure. Your auto mechanic may stay up nights studying booby-traps. These patriots are not going to let you take their freedom away from them. They have learned the silent knife, the strangler’s chord, the target rifle that hits sparrows at 200 yards. Only their leaders restrain them. Traitors beware! Even now the cross-hairs are on the back of your necks…”

In the early 1960s, both of the members joined the Chicago Minutemen, which was a far-right militia dedicated to combating the “communist threat.”  This meant that at the same time that the hippie “back to the land” movement helped to birth much of their fan base, they were taking on a popularization of post-WWII racialism.

Like many in this community, Julius Evola’s poetically racist spirituality is both a philosophical and artistic inspiration.  In their 2013 tour they referenced Evola’s ideas and rhetoric in subtle ways, going as far as to take the title of Evola’s book Ride the Tiger as the name for their tour.    They went on to reference the Kali Yuga at the bottom of tour posters, a reference to what Evola listed as a degenerate “fourth age” where by the proper roles and social hierarchies are no longer in effect and the world needs to be destroyed.  This is the defining idea for their “anti-modernism,” a term and idea that flows through their work and the rest of the Neo-Folk fringe.

They have had a community of support that strays far from conventional music connections to those that alternate between organizing, writing, and using music as a venue for ideas of Social Darwinism and Blood and Soil nationalism.  Blood Axis’ Michael Moynihan, who has his hands every fascist esoteric tradition from militaristic Odinism to Satanic Fascism associated with Charles Manson veneration, produced one of their albums.  They continued relationships with the far-right Neo-Folk edge musicians like Andrew King from Sol Invictus, Allerseen, and David E. Williams.

With all of these associations, why is it that Changes continues to appear in folk music circles where left-wing politics tend to dominate?  Well this has happened by general intent in Changes where they intend to play on the obscurity of many references and outright lying about associations.  They often do not refer to Michael Moynihan by name on their promotional material, and they do not usually have the cultural and social following of the more radical edge of the music scene like people like Death in June do.  That being said, the politics are up front if you are looking for them.  Again, in Chronicles of Chaos, they listed that there was confusion about their positions in the past, but today the audience is more in line:

“In the early to mid ’70s the audiences were alright, but I doubt that most of them knew what our music was all about. The folk music scene was pervaded with leftists at that time, both as performers and as audiences. That has radically changed. It was as if Changes had to wait over thirty years to find the real audience it had been seeking all those years.” 

This does not mean that they have gone entirely unnoticed as anti-fascists have repeatedly had them removed from their platform.  In Chicago, Changes had their concert with Death in June canceled after their positions were discovered.  The venue The Green Note canceled their show, noting “if there is any truth to the extreme political views held by the members of Changes, these run in contrast to our beliefs and we felt unable to go ahead with the show.”

Robert Taylor in Front of a Germanic Rune
Robert Taylor in Front of a Germanic Rune

We come back to the band Changes here because of one of their most recent show announcements.  Robert Taylor, on his own, will be performing in the evening portion of the white nationalist National Policy Institute.  This is an appropriate setting as NPI often makes up the more “alternative” cultural side of white nationalism, that often meets up with the European New Right and is attended by friends of theirs like Stephen McNallen.  At this conference there will be speeches by the “who’s who” of movements like Men’s Rights, white nationalism, pan-Europeanism, National Anarchism, and folksih spirituality.  In this new world of bizarre ideas trying to act as religious and intellectual justifications for racial hatred and separatism, Taylor’s obscure references and dark musical edge create an aesthetic fence that allows them to further obscure their own image.  This allows them to just seem like “controversial” or “alternative” ideas rather than what they are: the same racists and fascists that we have had to deal with since WWII.  While Taylor may couch these ideas in talk of nature and ancestors, the key issues are the same as those who have been burning crosses and attacking minorities.  We cannot let their style and cultural status obscure the issue, and their appearance at NPI should be the last straw for anti-fascists.

With that we should return to the Anti-Fascist Action principle: No Platform.  They will not be allowed in our venues, their music and voices not allowed in our spaces.

Special thanks to Who Makes the Nazis for so much of their research on Changes, which we used as part of this report.