Tag Archives: christopher cantwell

The Alt Right in Court Today Trying to Stop the Lawsuit About Their Violence

After the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on August 12th, 2017, the Alt Right has been hit hard by organizers, community members, and, now, lawyers.  There have been lawsuits filed against high profile members of the Alt Right who were connected to the rally, such as Mike Enoch (Peinovich) of the Daily Shoah, Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute, David Duke, and others.

Well known corporate attorney Roberta Kaplan took up the case against the Alt Right and filed the lawsuit in November of last year.  The twenty-five defendants range from individuals like Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler to organizations like the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, all of which were active in the rally and its violence.  On May 24th a hearing was held on motions filed by some of the defendants, including Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch, to have the lawsuit dismissed saying that none of the violence on August 11-12th was pre-planned.  This runs against evidence from places like leaked Discord servers that appeared to have discussions of violence, or the general communication from the white nationalists involved.  These lawsuits are additional to the criminal charges against people like Christopher Cantwell (who is also being named in the lawsuit) and KKK member Richard Wilson Preston, who allegedly discharged a firearm into a crowd of protesters.

Richard Spencer has been trying to find appropriate legal council, especially after his former attorney, Kyle Bristow, decided to leave the white nationalist movement after pressure from activists.  Spencer did a public plea asking for $25,000 in donations, the base fee his new attorney requires to defend him, but only has successfully brought in just over $20,000 by the morning of May 24th, though Spencer alleges he met his goal when crytpocurreny was included.  On May 23rd, Charlottesville-based attorney John DiNucci filed court documents for Spencer, answering the question about whether or not Spencer would have to defend himself in court.

U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon started hearing arguments at 10:30am on Thursday.  Ohio-based attorney Jim Kolenich presented the arguments representing the majority of defendants, arguing that there is no real evidence linking the defendants and the violence of the rally.

These types of lawsuits have been successful in the past.  The SPLC has taken down organizations like the United Klans of America, White Aryan Resistance, and the Aryan Nations by holding those organizations financially accountable for the violence their members carry out, noting that they have stoked that violent behavior.  It is important to note, however, that lawsuits are not a sufficient response, and instead organizing is critical if the Alt Right is to ever really be shut down.

The final decision by the federal judge about whether or not the lawsuit will go forward will be made within the next month.

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How the Alt Right Was Decimated After Charlottesville

The convergence in Charlottesville was planned weeks in advance, with organizations from the crisp collars of the National Policy Institute to the blackshirts of the National Socialist Movement joining forces.  After their more mainstream counterparts in the Alt Light, the sphere of Trumpist conservatives that overlap with the Alt Right, betrayed them, the Alt Right wanted a chance to stand on their own.  The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12th was their chance to bring together everyone to the right of the Alt Light.  This was finally an event to see how well white nationalists could fair on their own without the allyship of more mainstream conservatives.  Though the Alt Right used the issue of Confederate statue removal as the impetus, the rally was instead a show of strength.

Their “coming out party” turned out to be the moment where they pulled the trigger of collective suicide, letting their own implicit violence become explicit and self-destructive.  In the end there were dozens injured and a protester murdered by an associate of Vanguard America, a participating organization in their demonstration.  In the weeks that followed, the Alt Right began one of the quickest implosions in the history of political movements, as the country, and their own organizing tools, turned on them, ripping at their foundations and leaving them vulnerable to expulsion.

The Shuttening

The Alt Right could not be possible in the earlier era of print publications and physical distribution, it just would not be able to respond to issues quickly and refine talking points through perpetual message revisioning.  The world of the Alt Right is founded on social media and web publishing: blogs, podcasts, and Tweets.  The fact that the Alt Right uses the same web hosting platforms that major media outlets do is how they gain equal cultural access, and their increased profile has still not impeded their access.

That is, of course, until their behavior, and the opposition, hit a point of critical rupture.  In the days after Charlottesville, the Daily Stormer, the ironic-themed neo-Nazi website run by Alt Right blogger Andrew Anglin, was the first to lose their platform.  While most of the Alt Right was, at least publically, sympathizing with the family of the murdered protester Heather Heyer, Anglin refused to take the high road.  Instead, he published an article celebrating her death, calling her a “fat slut” and saying that the real travesty was the damaged Dodge Challenger that took her life.  This rhetoric is standard for Anglin, who labels the Daily Stormer as “pro-Genocide” and gained popularity through his density of racial slurs and commemoration of racist violence.  First, the “hacktivist” group Anonymous took over the website, though he wrestled back control quickly.  The domain name server company Cloudflare decided to pull the Daily Stormer from its platform, citing a violation to the Terms of Service.  “The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind the Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology,” said Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in a statement.

While Anglin was working with other companies to re-establish hosting, GoDaddy, who had been running their domain name, canceled Anglin’s account.  Google Domains and Tucows refused to help, leaving Anglin with few options.  Anglin eventually placed it on a foreign server and to have it only available on the “Darkweb,” meaning it can only be viewed through the controversial Tor browser. The site has re-emerged in various places but is now isolated and marginalized.

The Right Stuff, the popular Alt Right blog that hosts the podcasts The Daily Shoah and Fash the Nation, also got booted from its hosting.  Since then the site has been touch and go, stuttering on and offline, a serious problem since they recently switched to a pay-subscription system.

Squarespace, which is known for their easy-create web platforms and for handling online purchases, followed suit and began severing white nationalist accounts.  Richard Spencer, one of the prime organizers of the Unite the Right rally, had been relying on Squarespace for his websites.  After a 48 hour notice, Squarespace dropped the National Policy Institute (NPI) and Radix Journal websites, two Alt Right centers.  NPI is the largest Alt Right specific conference holder, and without their web presence their outreach will be hobbled.  At the same times as Unite the Right, Red Ice Media, one of the largest Alt Right media projects in the world, was taken down by hackers, opening up subscriber information and permanently deleting content.

AltRight.com

Despite the incredible shunning faced by the Alt Right in the wake of Charlottesville, some of their leaders continue to live in denial. Amid the backlash, cofounder of AltRight.com and editor-in-Chief of Arktos, Jason Reza Jorjani, claimed that his resignation from the alt-right was unrelated to the “great victory at Charlottesville.” With comrades losing jobs, expelled from the internet, and facing legal reprisals, Jorjani released a cryptic statement about reviewing “exotic technology” that a new Iranian political force called the United Front may use in the near future to create a “coming post-Islamic… archeo-futurist Iran.” Recently, Jorjani released a follow-up statement explaining that he left the Alt Right Corporation because his grand geopolitical schemes, which he alleges had high-level backing in the White House including Steve Bannon, went unsupported by Spencer and others. AltRight.com has since been a hub decrying the “censorship” of the left, with Richard Spencer putting out pleas for financial support.  Jorjani has now faced campaigns to have him removed from his lecturer position at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and has tried to say that he was tricking the Alt Right and did not really believe their ideas.  This came after the Hope Not Hate hidden camera video surfaced that showed him talking about migrants being put into concentration camps and venerating Hitler. (They also doxxed the image of Counter-Currents publishing editor Greg Johnson)

Stormfront

Since the mid-1990s, Stormfront has been the center of white nationalism, linking up the insurrectionary groups like KKK formations and neo-Nazi gangs into a web-forum that was a catch-all for extreme racism.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, over the last ten years, Stormfront has been linked to almost 100 acts of white supremacist violence, from bombings to shootings at Jewish community centers.  While Stormfront tends to have a different demographic than the Alt Right, more Blue Collar and Nazi-centric, this was still an organizing center for Unite the Right.

In one of the most pronounced consequences of the events in Charlottesville was that Network Solutions, the hosting company for Stormfront, finally took it offline.  With more than 300,000 members, this was the largest white nationalist forum internationally, this was a major hit to neo-Nazi networking.  Don Black, the founder of Stormfront and former KKK leader, says he is speaking to attorneys to try and get the site back online.  The sudden drop of the hosting came without warning, leaving him with few options to temper the fallout.

Hitting Them in the Wallet

One major tactic for antifascists has been attempting to convince funding sources to scrub white nationalists from their sites. The shocking images of fascists in Charlottesville suddenly brought the rationale for this grueling and often frustrating work into sharp relief. Apple cut off ApplePay for sites that pedal white nationalist merchandise, with CEO Tim Cook insisting, “It’s a moral issue – an affront to America. We must all stand against it.”

GoFundMe cut off a number of white nationalist campaigns. Adding insult to injury, a spokesperson admitted that the campaigns “did not raise any money” anyway. Similarly, Kickstarter re-enforced guidelines against hate speech and PayPal set into place a ban on white nationalists. Further, Discover Financial Corporation terminated merchant agreements with the Alt Right, declaring, “The intolerant and racist views of hate groups are inconsistent with our beliefs and practices.” Some speculate that Discover’s move will put pressure on companies like Visa and MasterCard. This came only a couple of weeks after Patreon pulled the plug on a number of accounts, including Alt Light leader Lauren Southern after she publicly supported the blocking of refugee ships.

Social Media Shutdown

“The events in Charlottesville are yet another disturbing example of the many forms that racism and hatred manifest. Prejudice, however, does not always march in the street.” With these words, Twitter banned a number of far-right accounts last year and earlier this year, including Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, Ricky Vaughan, Pax Dickinson, Richard Spencer, and John Rivers. After Charlottesville, Twitter banned The Daily Stormer.

Twitter then updated their Terms of Service, making it unusable for people associated with hate groups.  If the accounts in question could be tied to organized racist groups, from Alt Right meet-up organizations to activist projects like Identity Europa or Generation Identity in France, they would be shut down.  This led to another mass wave at the end of 2017, clearing out even more accounts.

After the alt-right used the Discord comment service to plan the Charlottesville rally, the company shuttered all alt-right websites. Mail Chimp followed suit by banning AltRight.com and other figures, and SoundCloud dropped a number of alt-right podcasts. Though it is notoriously difficult to prevent the alt-right from creating new sock puppet accounts, the striking of alt-right media platforms shows that companies now connect their speech to the murderous actions of their followers.

Lawsuit

As the family of Heather Heyer was mourning her death, cradled by a nationwide community who joined in revering her sacrifice, two people injured in the attack decided to hold the Alt Right ideologues that had radicalized her killer responsible.  A lawsuit was filed by sisters Micah and Tadrint Washington in the Circuit Court of Charlottesville naming 28 far-right defendants.  This includes former KKK leader David Duke, the Daily Shoah host Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party, and Richard Spencer.

While figures like Peinovich have declared that this lawsuit is totally baseless, there is a history of these types of suits effectively stifling far-right movements.  In 1981, the SPLC took on the United Klans of America after Nineteen-year-old Michael Donald was kidnapped and murdered by UKA members, eventually winning the suit and taking all the assets of the organization.  Similarly, after the 1988 murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw in Portland by members of Eastside White Pride, the SPLC lawsuit identified Tom Metzger and White Aryan Resistance as responsible for radicalizing the gang to violence.  The same model could be used in this case, showing that figures like Peinovich had set up a climate of violence, using revolutionary rhetoric that encouraged James Alex Fields to murder.

While much of the Alt Right treated this as meritless, information continuing to stream into social media shows the case is turning against them.  The anti-fascist media outfit Unicorn Riot has released over 1,000 media images of chat rooms, along with audio recordings, that show the white nationalist contingent openly preparing for violence.  The conversations were hosted on a private server controlled by Jason Kessler and Alt Right activist Eli Mosley, with many participants arguing for placing screws in poles and attacking protesters with shields.  The proposition here is that the organizers prepared the event for terroristic violence, and that’s exactly what happened.

This perception of the Alt Right as the instigators of violence is only exacerbated by the recent video released by a member of the Virginia Civil Liberties union that clearly shows a member of the white nationalist contingent openly shooting at a crowd of black protesters with a handgun.  Police later arrested the man, Richard Wilson Preston, but only after the video was released, and the video itself clearly shows them refusing to intervene on the act of targeted violence.

Alt Right Leaders Fall

No Alt Right figure got more attention out of Charlottesville than Christopher Cantwell, the anarcho-capitalist turned white nationalist who decided to perform in front of Vice New Tonight cameras.  Cantwell runs a blog and podcast, mixing his virulent meritocratic viciousness with a vulgar hatred of non-whites and Jews, as well as a willingness to openly talk about murdering police and opponents.  Shortly after the murders and street fights, Cantwell was told that Charlottesville police were issuing a warrant for his arrest for “illegal use of gases and injury by caustic agent or explosive.”  Cantwell then put out a video where he sobs into the camera, talking about how scared he was and repudiating the violence he loudly celebrated just days before.

In the hours after this, things did not get much better for Cantwell.  The dating website OKCupid, after pressure from anti-fascists, identified and banned his account, and Tindr quickly followed suit.  Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter all did in kind, veritably severing the public persona he has crafted for years.  Between his embarrassing performances and his inability to solicit donations, there is little left for Cantwell to continue his mission of stoking racial revolution.  Cantwell eventually surrendered to the police, and is now being held in Albemarle County Regional Jail awaiting an October 12 court date.

Johnny “Monoxide” Ramondetta, a prime figure at Unite the Right, did not fare much better afterward.  Returning to work in the San Francisco bay area as an IBEW Local 6 electrician at Rosendin Electric, Ramondetta saw that his worksite was covered with flyers identifying him as an active white nationalist and with quotes from his various appearances on The Right Stuff podcasts.  As Ramondetta’s co-workers began to ask him if he was a racist, the foreman pulled him into his office and offered him a “layoff.”  They admitted they had known about his behavior for several weeks and were waiting for it to become public, and passed him a contract that would disallow him to apply for unemployment.  He continues to be a union electrician, however, which means he can be hired onto another union job, a problem that many activists are arguing the union should take a stand on.  At the same time his regular podcast, The Paranormies, was banned on SoundCloud, along with a host of other Alt Right shows.

Nathan Damigo, the founder of Identity Europa, returned to school at California University at Stanislaus in Turlock, California, to find that a campaign to have him removed from campus in effect.  A demonstration took place at the welcoming address of President Ellen Junn intended to usher in freshmen.

The Alt Right’s pan-European attempts to recruit across the pond have also been hit, especially in AltRight.com’s Nordic counterpart.  After this participation in the Unite the Right rally, Christoffer Dulny, the Editor of Nordic.AltRight.com, was notified that his ESTA status was changed to “travel not authorized.”  This means he is “effectively banned from entering the United States,” a fate likewise doled out to AltRight.com and Arktos Media co-founder Daniel Frieberg.

The prime organizer of the Charlottesville rally, Jason Kessler, has disappeared from public view entirely, and his organization, Unity and Security for America, looks to be heading to a lightning end.  The Facebook page, Twitter account, and website have all been taken down; potentially by his own doing after receiving the kind of public backlash he never could have anticipated on the morning of August 12th.  The death threats that Kessler says he received could have been inspired by his own comments, including saying that “[Heather] Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist.”  Richard Spencer, Baked Alaska, and James Allsup publicly disassociated with Kessler after that, yet they have not made public statements about Andrew Anglin or The Right Stuff who made similar comments.

Although founder of the “western chauvinist” Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, identifies with the Alt Light, the participation of numerous leading Proud Boys in Unite the Right left the group with an inescapable stigma. Organizer Jason Kessler is a Proud Boy, as are the Unite the Right featured speakers and leaders of the “Order of Alt Knights,” Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman and Augustus Sol Invictus. Since McInnes has found a large audience as a commentator for The Rebel right-wing media site, his attempts to distance himself from the Charlottesville rally fell flat when fellow Rebel contributor Faith Goldy provided favorable on-the-ground coverage of Unite the Right. After conservatives criticized the site, co-founder Brain Lilley resigned and two other commentators followed suit. McInnes’s anti-Semitism had caused contributing conservatives to flee The Rebel before, but after Charlottesville, McInnes, himself, abandoned the site the same day they fired Goldy. As Norwegian Cruise Lines cancelled an upcoming Rebel cruise, editor-in-chief Ezra Levant admitted that he is being blackmailed by a former contributor over accusations of misusing contributions.

The Rest of the Participants

Even more than the Alt Right’s leadership, the fallout from the Charlottesville events showed the Alt Right’s members that inclusion in the movement can lead to major consequences. With the heavy media coverage of the event, participants were widely photographed.  This lead to a huge influx of identifications as anti-racist activists revealed who they were, leading to a string of firings and personal troubles. Named Alt Righters like Cole White and Ryan Roy lost their jobs. Peter Teft, whose angry remarks about so-called “white genocide” went viral, found himself disowned by his family.

In the small town of Honeoye Falls, New York, Unite the Right participant and alleged associate of the Daily Stormer Jarrod Kuhn faced a campaign against him upon his return.  Eastside Antifascists did a flyering around the village, identifying who he was and what he had done.  “There is a long history of white supremacist violence in the US. People have a right to know who their neighbor is and take steps to protect themselves,” said Peter Berkman, organizer with the group.  “You don’t get to be a weekend Nazi. You don’t get to participate in deadly neo-Nazi riots and then quietly return to your community like nothing happened.”  Kuhn has had his family and friends contacted, and with his new notoriety he is likely unable to remain in his home town. “I’m 21 years old and my life is over in this area,” said Kuhn.

The violence itself was incredibly broad and constant during Charlottesville, with the far-right contingent singling out and attacking protesters.  Six white men were photographed beating a black man named DeAndre Harris in a parking garage during the confrontation, flailing metal poles at him as he crawled on the ground.  Three of those men were charged with assaulting the man, including Richard W. Preston, who has been identified as an Imperial Wizard in the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan out of northern Maryland.

Political Backlash

Despite the ostracizing of Alt Righters throughout the US, Donald Trump’s response to their violent rally has been tepid at best. First blaming “violence from many sides,” Trump came out two days later to denounce the KKK. However, he returned to the podium soon after to again claim that the “Alt Left” shares responsibility for the day’s tragic outcomes. Since then, he has offered impassioned support for the Alt Right’s campaign to keep the Confederate monuments in place, calling the movement to take them down “foolish.” As twice as many US Americans disapprove of Trump’s reaction than approve, key politicians from the GOP like Marco Rubio spoke out against him. Others, such as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana used the opportunity to voice opposition to white supremacy. Given their marginalization, Trump’s apparent support has been celebrated by the Alt Right, which in turn has further alienated Trump from the GOP. As some 10 percent fewer Republicans “strongly support” Trump than did in July, Steve Bannon’s firing signaled attempts to win back moderates and independents while maintaining Alt Right support.

The mass attack on Alt Right’s online platforms has the ability to render them completely invisible.  As Richard Spencer lamented months back when he was first shut down on Twitter along with another Alt Right figures like Ricky Vaughn, if you can’t find them on Amazon, Google, or social media, do they even exist?  They have acknowledged one complicated truth of the modern communication paradigm: a few companies control the access to speech for the vast majority.  This creates an easy channel for activists hoping to limit the ability of far right groups to organize, but this also provides ominous signals for the left as well.  Nonetheless, the Alt Right’s attempts to create counter-platforms for donations and social media are negligible since what has given them success is that regular people use services like Twitter and Patreon, not Gab and Hatreon.

The weekend after Charlottesville, more rightwing organizers converged on Boston for another “free speech” rally in the model begun by Lauren Southern in Berkeley.  The fifty participants were met by a counter-insurgency of an estimated 40,000 protesters, who forced the early cancellation of the right-wing rally and took to the streets against the rise of insurrectionary white supremacy.  Across the country, rallies, vigils, and demonstrations were raging, all in solidarity with the victims of Charlottesville and showing a united front against the rise of the Alt Right.  After Boston’s response, the anti-Muslim group Act for America canceled their upcoming string of 67 rallies planned across 36 states.  Act for America had been responsible for the recent “March Against Sharia” events where Alt Right groups were heavily represented. Another rally staged by Joey Gibson in the Bay Area attracted even fewer far-right demonstrators and thousands of counter-protesters, followed by dual follow-up rallies in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, during which the far-right’s numbers were again miniscule in comparison to counter-protesters. To cap it off, following Gibson’s rally in Vancouver, a far-right activist sped his car through a group of protesters once again showing the inevitable murderous violence of their side.

The cultural tide shifted away from the Alt Right, birthed out of their own hubris, the belief that the Trump-voting public was actually ready for open and unashamed white nationalism.  As John Morgan, the former head of the Alt Right friendly publisher Arktos, said on Counter-Currents Radio, a white nationalist publisher who also got booted from funding platforms after Charlottesville, the Alt Right had spent its short life trying to unseat the specters haunting the public’s image of fascism.  “What [The Alt Right] originally stood for when we all started doing this stuff the better part of a decade ago, it was to overcome what we now call ‘Cuckservatism’… and it was also to overcome things like the legacy of the Klan in America and National Socialism,” points out Morgan.  “And basically Unite the Right has put us back in that mode, where everybody associates us with those things.”

Spencer decided to embrace the hatred most of the country now feels for him by returning to Charlottesville for an impromptu torchlight march, even though the maker of Tiki Torches has denounced him.  After his recent appearance at the University of Florida, where a massive organized resistance mocked him and disallowed his speech, his followers opened fire on protesters.  Disqus, the comment conversation plug-in for website, began dropping Alt Right websites like The Right Stuff as well.

The weeks after Unite the Right has shown anything but unity as people like Jason Kessler mock the victims, causing disassociation by figures like Richard Spencer and James Allsup.  The rest of the country is turning even more thoroughly against them, they are losing their platforms, and their organizations are disintegrating.  This provides opportunities for the left that must use this energy and the reality of the right’s violence to further build a mass movement that will overwhelm the right’s meager abilities. As the Alt Right realizes that it will not be able to plan mass rallies, however, they increasingly endorse “lone wolf” violence as the counterpart to their more attempts at respectability. For this reason, antifascist action remains critical on the grassroots level, not only to respond to larger rallies but to prevent fascist groups from gaining momentum toward violent acts that may leave countless people dead.

Capitalists Against Cops: Cop Block, Christopher Cantwell, and the Libertarian Paradox

The movement against the police, their excesses and abuses, has, in the last two years, really melded with what became Black Lives Matter.  Much of this has come by stacking up the violent attacks by police, mainly on people of color, for seeming mild behavior that no one would estimate warranted moments of extreme police violence.  Much of this movement has come from the ability of everyone to take reasonably good video on their cell phones and the use of social media news feeds, which allow the stories of police abuses to come one after another.  On social media, Cop Block has become one of the most popular of these, gaining more than a million and a half followers on Facebook and having a full website and podcast to support it.  For most of its fans it seems to be a place that is helping to feed the consciousness of police authoritarianism, and with its slant towards the police violence against people of color it has become a go-to source on the left.

Cop Block’s history is actually more complicated then just a leftist anti-cop outlet, and that history has come back as a flash just recently.

As most people will notice if they go just beyond the Facebook page, Cop Block is much more of a libertarian publication than one of general left-wing values.  Amid click-bait articles about different police excesses, you will find points that actually stray from the regular anti-police narrative such as railing against DUI laws.  In their recommended reading you are going to find tomes like For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, and their podcast is hosted by the libertarian Free Talk Live and sponsored by the Free State Project.

Libertarian elements often meet points with the left, whether it is with drug legalization or the anti-war movement, and this is a completely normal part of mass movement building.  In this case, Cop Block seems to mainly be a part of “left libertarian” strains that are opposed to racism openly.  That doesn’t make up the entirety of who Cop Block has been, however.

Christopher Cantwell was a former contributor to Cop Block who wrote awkward and violent tracts against the government and police, eventually being kicked out as a contributor and from the Free State Project for publishing an article talking about the joy people should feel about killing police.  The editorial collective of Cop Block then published a response distancing themselves from Cantwell and committing themselves to the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle.  Cantwell is known for his own podcast “Radical Agenda” and positioning himself with different “Alt Right” and racialist projects.  His website lists himself as an “Anarchist, Atheist, Realist.”  The anarchism he is talking about is hard-right anarcho-capitalism, and the realism is directly in relation to race.  He delves heavily into race issues, siding with “race realists” in believing that people of color have lower IQs, are more prone to criminality, that we need to ban all immigration, that Muslims are sub-humans, and that the Jews are over represented in positions of power.  His own website and twice-weekly live video broadcasts are filled with racial slurs, conspiracy theories, and mixing of American right-wing populism with the new “hip” fascism.  He has joined the Right Stuff’s podcasts twice in the last two weeks, first going on the flagship The Daily Shoah and later joining Fash the Nation.  On both he railed against people of color, yelling about how they were “dumb n—-rs,” “spooks,” and calling Muslim people “Kababs.”  He also spent quite a bit of time ranting about how he “schooled” members of Cop Block on a recent podcast episode he joined them on.  He enjoyed calling them Cuck Block, a reference to the #Cuckservative meme that The Right Stuff and others on the Alt Right have been using to say that traditional conservatives are working for the benefit of non-white groups instead of themselves.

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Since Cantwell was a contributor at Cop Block previously, he was invited back to explain why he was, as a libertarian, supporting Donald Trump’s presidential bid.  This was also a video episode, where Cantwell was poised in front of an anarcho-capitalist half-gold, half-black flag with a coiled snake and the “Don’t Tread on Me” line.  They come out almost immediately to see if he actually believes that “to get freedom back” we need to get rid of liberals and leftists.  He goes on to use Alt Right buzz points, or “hate facts” as he refers to them, such as R-K Selection Theory, Race and IQ psuedoscience, and bizarre references to evolutionary psychology.  Cantwell shifts towards criticizing Cop Block for using leftist news sources like Counter-Currents News(not to be confused with the white nationalist Counter-Currents Publishing), which the co-hosts do apologize for, and for “teaming up with liberals.”

“If you think that people are just blank slate, everybody’s equal, then that’s absolute nonsense,” said Cantwell.  “One things that’s wrong with Cop Block and the other Race Pimp outfits that you have teamed up with is that…you jump on board with the Black Lives Matter thing.  If black people are 13% of the population and 30% of those killed by police, thus police are racist.  Well that’s nonsense, you know, what’s actually happening is black people are responsible for more than 50% of the crime in America, and that is an objectively observable thing that is actually happening.  And so if you are getting in trouble with law enforcement, you are getting killed by law enforcement while you are out committing a vastly disproportionate amount of crime in a country, then it makes sense that you would end up in that position.”

This is a regular white nationalist talking point, well known in crowds like American Renaissance and the Council of Conservative Citizens, where race and crime reporting statistics are overtly manipulated to make arguments that there are some type of biologically driven criminality in black people.  These statistics are intentionally taken out of context, and they refuse to look at the vastly different representation of people of color in accordance to actual rates of “criminal” behavior.  An example of this is with drug use, which from individual surveying is shown to be equal across races, though black and Latino people are much more represented in drug possession convictions.  Crimes are most correlated to socio-economic status, and due to historic oppression and racism have tied communities of color with poverty, and therefore there is a common sense way to read the evidence.  Instead, “race realists” intend to use these statistics to make really vulgar statements that there are literally differences in black and white brains that make black people driven towards “criminality,” which is an unscientific way of dividing up pre-conscious motivations and brain functions.  Criminal behaviors are designated by a society and its property laws, which are not a set of “timeless principles” that some types of people are just more prone to violate.  Much of early race science addressed class in the same way, using meritocratic arguments to say that people of low socio-economic class, as well as race, are in the situation they are in because they are prone to criminal behavior and low intelligence.  Good breeding, a coded phrase for Eugenics, was supposed to breed out these people by using rich whites as a model for genetic superiority.   People like Cantwell are resurrecting these kind of pseudoscientific embarrassments, this time focusing just on race to separate people of color from the white working class.

The Cop Block podcast hosts do their best to challenge Cantwell on these points, but, as Cantwell railed about with glee, they were not prepared to challenge rehearsed white nationalist talking points.  The reality is that most people are not on guard to defend against things that are generally known to be false, such as roundly discredited race and IQ or race and crime arguments.

After Cantwell left the show, another member of the Cop Block spoke up to defend him as “having a point,” while another member, Severin Freeman, stated that they do not support the Black Lives Matter movement.

At a certain point, in 2013, Cop Block began to shift to be more conscious of the violence from “non-state actors” because of interpersonal oppression.  This meant consciously addressing white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and other forms of oppression.  This has not been monolithically successful, especially when people noticed some posts from Cop Block that downplayed the significance of street harassment against women.  Even with those moments, there was an intentional turn to be aware of intersecting oppression and move away from a right-wing value set in their anti-police political orientation.  As Peaceful Streets notes, when some founding members began to stand up to some racist and sexist responses, the far-right segment of the anti-police movement came out in droves to attack them.

This brought out vicious attacks from many who were at the intersection of some or all of the following groups: Cop Block, anarchocapitalists, Men’s Rights Movement, and Neoconfederates. One semi-popular libertarian blogger named Christopher Cantwell led the charge against the “White Knight,” “Social Justice Warriors” who dared to take offense at overt forms of bigotry. Soon, [Antonio] Buehler had hundreds of racist and sexist people attacking him for taking a stand against racism and sexism. Buehler responded by disassociating with everyone who was willing to associate with Cantwell, and this included Cop Block founder Ademo Freeman and many other members of Cop Block.

Today, Cop Block is generally set to focusing largely on cop-on-black violence, really lending to ground the Black Lives Matter narratives in the constant stream of police brutality cases.  Since the shooting in San Bernadino, they have continued to perpetuate the conspiracy theory that it was actually white “crisis actors.”  While these types of conspiracy theories are obviously problematic, they do shift away from the right-libertarian trend to believe that the government is “anti-white” and would never fake an attack by a Muslim.

The libertarian tradition, and by that we mean the American libertarian tradition specifically, has always sat on the fringes of the extreme right.  After Murray Rothbard was kicked out of the National Review in the 1960s he briefly associated with the left-wing cultural elements that began lingering around the libertarian movement before falling into a distinctly reactionary place and began producing the Rothbard-Rockwell Report with Lew Rockwell.  Anarcho-capitalism, which draws a completely different historical trajectory than anarchism as it is commonly understood, has always rubbed shoulders of neo-fascist movements in their respect for hierarchy and inequality.  The Ludwig Von Mises Institute used to hold a message on its opening page listing that property means the right to “refuse service” to people or groups the owner determines.  Throughout the life of libertarianism, which really does not gain steam until the 1980s, you saw a close consortium between libertarian and various intersectional movements on the far-right.  The most obvious of these were the milita movement who was built on a conspiracy theology about the invading “left-wing” government.  During the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas 1994, milita people, conspiracy theorists, and libertarians joined the onlookers in outrage, and it radicalized people like Alex Jones and Timothy McVeigh.

The bridge points into mainstream politics, with the anti-war politics of Lew Rockwell to the Ron Paul newsletters, allowed for far-right positions to become semi-acceptable under the auspices of paleoconservatism and paleolibertarianism.  Throughout the 1990s, much of the open white power movement, including various neo-Nazi and Klan organizations, found their way into the generic “anti-tax” movement, of which people like Ron Paul were also a part.  These movements later crystalized in response to changing demographics and an American President of color, and came front and center with the Tea Party.

Libertarianism itself has been a stepping stone for many in white nationalism because the mechanisms of the welfare state are associated with people of color.  As the Ron Paul campaign of the mid-2000s brought libertarianism back amongst a newer generation of young people, the left-leaning cultural elements found a space again and were popularized by places like Reason Magazine and the Caito Institute.  As libertarianism in this vein began to abandon its far-right cultural elements, it no longer became a safe space for various fringe right-wing ideologies.  Today, you see organizations like the white nationalist The Right Stuff, the American Freedom Party, and the Traditionalist Youth Network coming out of former Ron Paul supporters, and even today institutions like the Property and Freedom Foundation and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute continue to be safe spaces for “race realists” and others in the open racialist movement.

Today’s libertarianism has distinctly different wings that are broken up more by values than by politics.  This is what really separates people like Cop Block and Christopher Cantwell: a sense of what their social values are rather than what the type of political and social tools they prefer.  This does not, however, mean that there is a clean break between them since they still share a certain analysis and background.  Many of the people still involved with Cop Block, and some of what they publish, show a mixed consciousness about political issues.   At the same time, Cop Block has made huge moves to separate themselves from many of the racist traditions that parallel libertarianism, as well as create distance between them and open racists that used to contribute to them.

Cop Block’s controversies are mainly reserved for the founder’s, Aderno Freeman, alleged wiretapping or the South Carolina’s Republican Chairperson’s “liking” of one of their posts.  The foundation of their work is always going to be based on a libertarian suspicion of the government, which is founded on the idea that the state interferes with “sovereignty” and property rights.  This is much different than the anarchist analysis as the state as a tool for the ruling class, which means that those on the left looking to use Cop Block as a resource need to do so with a sense of distance.  What this says more than anything is that the anti-police narrative needs to be better enunciated by those on the radical left, especially taking the analysis away from reactionary minarchist politics and bringing them back to revolutionary anti-oppression praxis.