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The Left-Overs: How Fascists Court the Post-Left

The Left Overs: How Fascists Court the Post-Left

By Alexander Reid Ross

 

A few months ago, the radical publication, Fifth Estate, solicited an article from me discussing the rise of fascism in recent years. Following their decision to withdraw the piece, I accepted the invitation of Anti-Fascist News to publish an expanded version here, with some changes, at the urging of friends and fellow writers.

In Solidarity, ARR

 

 

Chapter 1: The Early Composition of Fascist Individualism

 

 

A friendly editor recently told me via email, “if anti-capitalism and pro individual liberty [sic] are clearly stated in the books or articles, they won’t be used by those on the right.” If this were true, fascism simply would vanish from the earth. Fascism comes from a mixture of left and right-wing positions, and some on the left pursue aspects of collectivism, syndicalism, ecology, and authoritarianism that intersect with fascist enterprises. Partially in response to the tendencies of left authoritarianism, a distinct antifascist movement emerged in the 1970s to create what has became known as “post-left” thought. Yet in imagining that anti-capitalism and “individual liberty” maintain ideological purity, radicals such as my own dear editor tend to ignore critical convergences with and vulnerabilities to fascist ideology.

The post-left developed largely out of a tendency to favor individual freedom autonomous from political ideology of left and right while retaining some elements of leftism.  Although it is a rich milieu with many contrasting positions, post-leftists often trace their roots to individualist Max Stirner, whose belief in the supremacy of the European individual over and against nation, class, and creed was heavily influenced by philosopher G.W.F. Hegel. After Stirner’s death in 1856, the popularity of collectivism and neo-Kantianism obscured his individualist philosophy until Friedrich Nietzsche raised its profile again during the later part of the century. Influenced by Stirner, Nietzsche argued for the overcoming of socialism and the “modern world” by the iconoclastic, aristocratic philosopher known as the “Superman” or “übermensch.”

During the late-19th Century, Stirnerists conflated the “Superman” with the assumed responsibility of women to bear a superior European race—a “New Man” to produce, and be produced by, a “New Age.” Similarly, right-wing aristocrats who loathed the notions of liberty and equality turned to Nietzsche and Stirner to support their sense of elitism and hatred of left-wing populism and mass-based civilization. Some anarchists and individualists influenced by Stirner and Nietzsche looked to right-wing figures like Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, who developed the idea of a “conservative revolution” that would upend the spiritual crises of the modern world and the age of the masses. In the words of anarchist, Victor Serge, “Dostoevsky: the best and the worst, inseparable. He really looks for the truth and fears to find it; he often finds it all the same and then he is terrified… a poor great man…”

History’s “great man” or “New Man” was neither left nor right; he strove to destroy the modern world and replace it with his own ever-improving image—but what form would that image take? In Italy, reactionaries associated with the Futurist movement and various romantic nationalist strains expressed affinity with the individualist current identified with Nietzsche and Stirner. Anticipating tremendous catastrophes that would bring the modern world to its knees and install the New Age of the New Man, the Futurists sought to fuse the “destructive gesture of the anarchists” with the bombast of empire.

A hugely popular figure among these tendencies of individualism and “conservative revolution,” the Italian aesthete Gabrielle D’Annunzio summoned 2,600 soldiers in a daring 1919 attack on the port city of Fiume to reclaim it for Italy after World War I. During their exploit, the occupying force hoisted the black flag emblazoned by skull and crossbones and sang songs of national unity. Italy disavowed the imperial occupation, leaving the City-State in the hands of its romantic nationalist leadership. A constitution, drawn up by national syndicalist, Alceste De Ambris, provided the basis for national solidarity around a corporative economy mediated through collaborating syndicates. D’Annunzio was prophetic and eschatological, presenting poetry during convocations from the balcony. He was masculine. He was Imperial and majestic, yet radical and rooted in fraternal affection. He called forth sacrifice and love of the nation.

When he returned to Italy after the military uprooted his enclave in Fiume, ultranationalists, Futurists, artists, and intellectuals greeted D’Annunzio as a leader of the growing Fascist movement. The aesthetic ceremonies and radical violence contributed to a sacralization of politics invoked by the spirit of Fascism. Though Mussolini likely saw himself as a competitor to D’Annunzio for the role of supreme leader, he could not deny the style and mood, the high aesthetic appeal that reached so many through the Fiume misadventure. Fascism, Mussolini insisted, was an anti-party, a movement. The Fascist Blackshirts, or squadristi, adopted D’Annunzio’s flare, the black uniforms, the skull and crossbones, the dagger at the hip, the “devil may care” attitude expressed by the anthem, “Me ne frego” or “I don’t give a damn.” Some of those who participated in the Fiume exploit abandoned D’Annunzio as he joined the Fascist movement, drifting to the Arditi del Popolo to fight the Fascist menace. Others would join the ranks of the Blackshirts.

 

 

Originally a man of the left, Mussolini had no difficulty joining the symbolism of revolution with ultranationalist rebirth. “Down with the state in all its species and incarnations,” he declared in a 1920 speech. “The state of yesterday, of today, of tomorrow. The bourgeois state and the socialist. For those of us, the doomed (morituri) of individualism, through the darkness of the present and the gloom of tomorrow, all that remains is the by-now-absurd, but ever consoling, religion of anarchy!” In another statement, he asked, “why should Stirner not have a comeback?”

Mussolini’s concept of anarchism was critical, because he saw anarchism as prefiguring fascism. “If anarchist authors have discovered the importance of the mythical from an opposition to authority and unity,” declared Nazi jurist, Carl Schmitt, drawing on Mussolini’s concept of myth, “then they have also cooperated in establishing the foundation of another authority, however unwillingly, an authority based on the new feeling for order, discipline, and hierarchy.” The dialectics of fascism here are two-fold: only the anarchist destruction of the modern world in every milieu would open the potential for Fascism, but the mythic stateless society of anarchism, for Mussolini, could only emerge, paradoxically, from a self-disciplining state of total order.

Antifascist anarchist individualists and nihilists like Renzo Novatore represented for Mussolini a kind of “passive nihilism,” which Nietzsche understood as the decadence and weakness of modernity. The veterans that would fight for Mussolini rejected the suppression of individualism under the Bolsheviks and favored “an anti-party of fighters,” according to historian Emilio Gentile. Fascism would exploit the rampant misogyny of men like Novatore while turning the “passive nihilism” of their vision of total collapse toward “active nihilism” through a rebirth of the New Age at the hands of the New Man.

The “drift” toward fascism that took place throughout Europe during the 1920s and 1930s was not restricted to the collectivist left of former Communists, Syndicalists, and Socialists; it also included the more ambiguous politics of the European avant-garde and intellectual elites. In France, literary figures like Georges Bataille and Antonin Artaud began experimenting with fascist aesthetics of cruelty, irrationalism, and elitism. In 1934, Bataille declared his hope to usher in “room for great fascist societies,” which he believed inhabited the world of “higher forms” and “makes an appeal to sentiments traditionally defined as exalted and noble.” Bataille’s admiration for Stirner did not prevent him from developing what he described decades later as a “paradoxical fascist tendency.” Other libertarian celebrities like Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Maurice Blanchot also embraced fascist themes—particularly virulent anti-Semitism.

Like Blanchot, the Nazi-supporting Expressionist poet Gottfried Benn called on an anti-humanist language of suffering and nihilism that looked inward, finding only animal impulses and irrational drives. Existentialist philosopher and Nazi Party member, Martin Heidegger, played on Nietzschean themes of nihilism and aesthetics in his phenomenology, placing angst at the core of modern life and seeking existential release through a destructive process that he saw as implicit in the production of an authentic work of art. Literary figure Ernst Jünger, who cheered on Hitler’s rise, summoned the force of “active nihilism,” seeking the collapse of the civilization through a “magic zero” that would bring about a New Age of ultra-individualist actors that he later called “Anarchs.” The influence of Stirner was as present in Jünger as it was in Mussolini’s early fascist years, and carried over to other members of the fascist movement like Carl Schmitt and Julius Evola.

Evola was perhaps the most important of those seeking the collapse of civilization and the New Age’s spiritual awakening of the “universal individual,” sacrificial dedication, and male supremacy. A dedicated fascist and individualist, Evola devoted himself to the purity of sacred violence, racism, anti-Semitism, and the occult. Asserting a doctrine of the “political soldier,” Evola regarded violence as necessary in establishing a kind of natural hierarchy that promoted the supreme individual over the multitudes. Occult practice distilled into an overall aristocracy of the spirit, Evola believed, which could only find expression through sacrifice and a Samurai-like code of honor. Evola shared these ideals of conquest, elitism, sacrificial pleasure with the SS, who invited the Italian esotericist to Vienna to indulge his thirst for knowledge. Following World War II, Evola’s spiritual fascism found parallels in the writings of Savitri Devi, a French esotericist of Greek descent who developed an anti-humanist practice of Nazi nature worship not unlike today’s Deep Ecology. In her rejection of human rights, Devi insisted that the world manifests a totality of interlocking life forces, none of which enjoys a particular moral prerogative over the other.

 

 

Chapter 2: The Creation of the Post-Left

 

 

It has been shown by now that fascism, in its inter-war period, attracted numerous anti-capitalists and individualists, largely through elitism, the aestheticization of politics, and the nihilist’s desire for the destruction of the modern world. After the fall of the Reich, fascists attempted to rekindle the embers of their movement by intriguing within both the state and social movements. It became popular among fascists to reject Hitler to some degree and call for a return to the original “national syndicalist” ideas mixed with the elitism of the “New Man” and the destruction of civilization. Fascists demanded “national liberation” for European ethnicities against NATO and multicultural liberalism, while the occultism of Evola and Devi began to fuse with Satanism to form new fascist hybrids. With ecology and anti-authoritarianism, such sacralization of political opposition through the occult would prove among the most intriguing conduits for fascist insinuation into subcultures after the war.

In the ’60s, left-communist groups like Socialisme ou Barbarie, Pouvoir ouvrier, and the Situationists gathered at places like bookstore-cum-publishing house, La Vielle Taupe (The Old Mole), critiquing everyday life in industrial civilization through art and transformative practices.  According to Gilles Dauvé, one of the participants in this movement, “the small milieu round the bookshop La Vieille Taupe” developed the idea of “communisation,” or the revolutionary transformation of all social relations. This new movement of “ultra-leftists” helped inspire the aesthetics of a young, intellectual rebellion that culminated in a large uprising of students and workers in Paris during May 1968.

The strong anti-authoritarian current of the ultra-left and the broader uprising of May ’68 contributed to similar movements elsewhere in Europe, like the Italian Autonomia movement, which spread from a wildcat strike against the car manufacturer, Fiat, to generalized upheaval involving rent strikes, building occupations, and mass street demonstrations. While most of Autonomia remained left-wing, its participants were intensely critical of the established left, and autonomists often objected to the ham-fisted strategy of urban guerrillas. In 1977, individualist anarchist, Alfredo Bonanno, penned the text, “Armed Joy,” exhorting Italian leftists to drop patriarchal pretensions to guerrilla warfare and join popular insurrectionary struggle. The conversion of Marxist theorist, Jacques Camatte, to the pessimistic rejection of leftism and embrace of simpler life tied to nature furthered contradictions within the Italian left.

With anti-authoritarianism, ecologically-oriented critiques of civilization emerged out of the 1960s and 1970s as significant strains of a new identity that rejected both left and right. Adapting to these currents of popular social movements and exploiting blurred ideological lines between left and right, fascist ideologues developed the framework of “ethno-pluralism.” Couching their rhetoric in “the right to difference” (ethnic separatism), fascists masked themselves with labels like the “European New Right,” “national revolutionaries,” and “revolutionary traditionalists.” The “European New Right” took the rejection of the modern world advocated by the ultra-left as a proclamation of the indigeneity of Europeans and their pagan roots in the land. Fascists further produced spiritual ideas derived from a sense of rootedness in one’s native land, evoking the old “blood and soil” ecology of the German völkische movement and Nazi Party.

In Italy, this movement produced the “Hobbit Camp,” an eco-festival organized by European New Right figure Marco Tarchi and marketed to disillusioned youth via Situationist-style posters and flyers. When Italian “national revolutionary,” Roberto Fiore, fled charges of participating in a massive bombing of a train station in Bologna, he found shelter in the London apartment of Tarchi’s European New Right colleague, Michael Walker. This new location would prove transformative, as Fiore, Walker, and a group of fascist militants created a political faction called the Official National Front in 1980. This group would help promote and would benefit from a more avant-garde fascist aesthetic, bringing forward neo-folk, noise, and other experimental music genres.

 

 

 

 

While fascists entered the green movement and exploited openings in left anti-authoritarian thought, Situationism began to transform. In the early 1970s, post-Situationism emerged through US collectives that combined Stirnerist egoism with collectivist thought. In 1974, the For Ourselves group published The Right to Be Greedy, inveighing against altruism while linking egoist greed to the synthesis of social identity and welfare—in short, to surplus. The text was reprinted in 1983 by libertarian group, Loompanics Unlimited, with a preface from a little-known writer named Bob Black.

While post-Situationism turned toward individualism, a number of European ultra-leftists moved toward the right. In Paris, La Vieille Taupe went from controversial views rejecting the necessity of specialized antifascism to presenting the Holocaust as a lie necessary to maintain the capitalist order. In 1980, La Vielle Taupe published the notorious Mémoire en Défense centre ceux qui m’accusent de falsifier l’histoire by Holocaust denier, Robert Faurisson. Though La Vielle Taupe and founder, Pierre Guillaume, received international condemnation, they gained a controversial defense from left-wing professor, Noam Chomsky. Even if they have for the most part denounced Guillaume and his entourage, the ultra-leftist rejection of specialized antifascism has remained somewhat popular—particularly as expounded by Dauvé, who insisted in the early 1980s that “fascism as a specific movement has disappeared.”

The idea that fascism had become a historical artifact only helped the creep of fascism to persist undetected, while Faurisson and Guillaume became celebrities on the far-right. As the twist toward Holocaust denial would suggest, ultra-left theory was not immune from translation into ethnic terms—a reality that formed the basis of the work of Official National Front officer, Troy Southgate. Though influenced by the Situationists, along with a scramble of other left and right-wing figures, Southgate focused particularly on the ecological strain of radical politics associated with the punk-oriented journal, Green Anarchist, which called for a return to “primitive” livelihoods and the destruction of modern civilization. In 1991, the editors of Green Anarchist pushed out their co-editor, Richard Hunt, for his patriotic militarism, and Hunt’s new publication, Green Alternative, soon became associated with Southgate. Two years later, Southgate would join allied fascists like Jean-François Thiriart and Christian Bouchet to create the Liaison Committee for Revolutionary Nationalism.

In the US, the “anarcho-primitivist” or “Green Anarchist” tendency had been taken up by former ultra-leftist, John Zerzan. Identifying civilization as an enemy of the earth, Zerzan called for a return to sustainable livelihoods that rejected modernity. Zerzan rejected racism but relied in no small part on the thought of Martin Heidegger, seeking a return authentic relations between humans and the world unmediated by symbolic thought. This desired return, some have pointed out, would require a collapse of civilization so profound that millions, if not billions, would likely perish. Zerzan, himself, seems somewhat ambiguous with regards to the potential death toll, regardless of his support for the unibomber, Ted Kaczynsky.

Joining with Zerzan to confront authoritarianism and return to a more tribal, hunter-gatherer social organization, an occultist named Hakim Bey developed the idea of the “Temporary Autonomous Zone” (TAZ). For Bey, a TAZ would actualize a liberated and erotic space of orgiastic, revolutionary poesis. Yet within his 1991 text, Temporary Autonomous Zone, Bey included extensive praise for D’Annunzio’s proto-fascist occupation of Fiume, revealing the disturbing historical trends of attempts to transcend right and left.

Along with Zerzan and Bey, Bob Black would prove instrumental to the foundation of what is today called the “post-left.” In his 1997 text, Anarchy After Leftism, Black responded to left-wing anarchist Murray Bookchin, who accused individualists of “lifestyle anarchism.” Drawing from Zerzan’s critique of civilization as well as from Stirner and Nietzsche, Black presented his rejection of work as a nostrum for authoritarian left tendencies that he identified with Bookchin (apparently Jew-baiting Bookchin in the process).[1]

Thus, the post-left began to assemble through the writings of ultra-leftists, green anarchists, spiritualists, and egoists published in zines, books, and journals like Anarchy: Journal of Desire Armed and Fifth Estate. Although these thinkers and publications differ in many ways, key tenets of the post-left included an eschatological anticipation of the collapse of civilization accompanied by a synthesis of individualism and collectivism that rejected left, right, and center in favor of a deep connection with the earth and more organic, tribal communities as opposed to humanism, the Enlightenment tradition, and democracy. That post-left texts included copious references to Stirner, Nietzsche, Jünger, Heidegger, Artaud, and Bataille suggests that they form a syncretic intellectual tendency that unites left and right, individualism and “conservative revolution.” As we will see, this situation has provided ample space for the fascist creep.

 

 

Chapter 3: The Fascist Creep

 

 

During the 1990s, the “national revolutionary” network of Southgate, Thiriart, and Bouchet, later renamed the European Liberation Front, linked up with the American Front, a San Francisco skinhead group exploring connections between counterculture and the avant-garde. Like prior efforts to develop a Satanic Nazism, American Front leader Bob Heick supported a mix of Satanism, occultism, and paganism, making friends with fascist musician Boyd Rice. A noise musician and avant-gardist, Rice developed a “fascist think tank” called the Abraxas Foundation, which echoed the fusion of the cult ideas of Charles Manson, fascism, and Satanism brought together by 1970s fascist militant James Mason. Rice’s protégé and fellow Abraxas member, Michael Moynihan, joined the radical publishing company, Feral House, which publishes texts along the lines of Abraxas, covering a range of themes from Charles Manson Scandinavian black metal, and militant Islam to books by Evola, James Mason, Bob Black, and John Zerzan.

In similar efforts, Southgate’s French ally, Christian Bouchet, generated distribution networks and magazines dedicated to supporting a miniature industry growing around neo-folk and the new, ”anarchic” Scandinavian black metal scene. Further, national anarchists attempted to set up and/or infiltrate e-groups devoted to green anarchism. As Southgate and Bouchet’s network spread to Russia, notorious Russian fascist, Alexander Dugin, emerged as another leading ideologue who admired Zerzan’s work.

Post-leftists were somewhat knowledgable about these developments. In a 1999 post-script to one of Bob Black’s works, co-editor of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, Lawrence Jarach, cautioned against the rise of “national anarchism.” In 2005, Zerzan’s journal, Green Anarchy, published a longer critique of Southgate’s “national anarchism.” These warnings were significant, considering that they came in the context of active direct action movements and groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a green anarchist group dedicated to large-scale acts of sabotage and property destruction with the intention of bringing about the ultimate collapse of industrial civilization.

As their ELF group executed arsons during the late-1990s and early-2000s, a former ELF member told me that two comrades, Nathan “Exile” Block and Joyanna “Sadie” Zacher, shared an unusual love of Scandinavian black metal, made disturbing references to Charles Manson, and promoted an elitist, anti-left mentality. While their obscure references evoked Abraxas, Feral House, and Bouchet’s distribution networks, their politics could not be recognized within the milieu of fascism at the time. However, their general ideas became clearer, the former ELF member told me, when antifascist researchers later discovered that a Tumblr account run by Block contained numerous occult fascist references, including national anarchist symbology, swastikas, and quotes from Evola and Jünger. These were only two members of a larger group, but their presence serves as food for thought regarding important radical cross-over points and how to approach them.

To wit, the decisions of John Zerzan and Bob Black to publish books with Feral House, seem peculiar—especially in light of the fact that two of the four books Zerzan has published there came out in 2005, the same year as Green Anarchy’s noteworthy warning against national anarchism. It would appear that, although in some cases prescient about the subcultural cross-overs between fascism and the post-left, post-leftists have, on a number of occasions, engaged in collaborative relationships.

 

 

 

 

As Green Anarchy cautioned against entryism and Zerzan simultaneously published with Feral House, controversy descended on an online forum known as the Anti-Politics Board. An outgrowth of the insurrectionist publication Killing King Abacus, the Anti-Politics Board was used by over 1,000 registered members and had dozens of regular contributors. The online platform presented a flourishing site of debate for post-leftists, yet discussions over insurrectionism, communisation, green anarchy, and egoism often produced a strangely competitive iconoclastism. Attempts to produce the edgiest take often led to the popularization of topics like “‘anti-sexism’ as collectivist moralism” and “critique of autonomous anti-fascism.” Attacks on morality and moralism tended to encourage radicals to abandon the “identity politics” and “white guilt” often associated with left-wing anti-racism.

Amid these discussions, a young radical named Andrew Yeoman began to post national anarchist positions. When asked repeatedly to remove Yeoman from the forum, a site administrator refused, insisting that removing the white nationalist would have meant behaving like leftists. They needed to try something else. Whatever they tried, however, it didn’t work, and Yeoman later became notorious for forming a group called the Bay Area National Anarchists, showing up to anarchist events like book fairs, and promoting anarchist collaboration with the Minutemen and American Front.

An important aspect of the Anti-Politics Board was the articulation of nihilist and insurrectionary theories, both of which gained popularity after the 2008 financial crisis. In an article titled, “The New Nihilism,” Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey) pointed out that the rising wave of nihilism that emerged during the late 2000s and into the second decade could not immediately be distinguished from the far right, due to myriad cross-over points. Indeed, Stormfront is riddled with users like “TAZriot” and “whitepunx” who promote the basic, individualist tenets of post-leftism from the original, racist position of Stirnerism. Rejecting “political correctness” and “white guilt,” these post-left racists desire separate, radical spaces and autonomous zones for whites.

Through dogged research, Rose City Antifa in Portland, Oregon, discovered whitepunx’s identity: “Trigger” Tom Christensen, a known member of the local punk scene. “I was never an anti [antifascist] but I’ve hung out with a few of them,” Christensen wrote on Stormfront. “I used to be a big punk rocker in the music scene and there were some antis that ran around in the same scene. I was friends with a few. They weren’t trying to recruit me, or anybody really. They did not, however, know I was a WN [white nationalist]. I kept my beliefs to myself and would shut down any opinions the[y] expressed that seemed to have holes in them. It’s been fairly useful to know some of these people. I now know who all the major players are in the anti and SHARP [Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice] scene.”

For a time, Christensen says he hung out with post-leftists and debated them like Yeoman had done. Less than a year later, however, Christensen followed up in a chilling post titled, “Do You Think It Would Be Acceptable To Be A ‘Rat’ If It Was Against Our Enemies.” He wrote, “I had an interesting thought the other day and wanted peoples opinions. If you were asked by the Police to provide or find evidence that would incriminate people who are enemy’s [sic] of the movement, i.e. Leftists, reds, anarchists. Would you do it? Would you ‘rat’ or ‘narc’ on the Left side?” Twenty one responses came beckoning from the recesses of the white nationalist world. While some encouraged Christensen to snitch, others insisted that he keep gang loyalty. It is uncertain as to whether or not he went to the police, but the May 2013 discovery of his Stormfront activity took place shortly before a grand jury subpoenaed four anarchists who were subsequently arrested and held for contempt of court.

In another unsettling example of crossover between post-leftists and fascists, radicals associated with a nihilist group named Ultra harshly rebuked Rose City Antifa of Portland, Oregon, for releasing an exposé about Jack Donovan. An open member of the violent white nationalist group, Wolves of Vinland, Donovan also runs a gym called the Kabuki Strength Lab, which produces “manosphere” videos. As of November 2016, when the exposé was published, one member of Ultra was a member of the Kabuki Strength Lab. Although Donovan runs a tattoo shop out of the gym and gave Libertarian Party fascist Augustus Sol Invictus a tattoo of the fasces there, a fellow gym member wrote, “Obviously Jack has very controversial beliefs and practices that most disagree with; but I don’t believe it affects his behavior in the gym.” Donovan, who has publicly parroted “race realist” statistics at white nationalist gatherings like the National Policy Institute and the Pressure Project podcast, also embraces bioregionalism and the anticipation of a collapse of civilization that will lead to a reversion of identity-bound tribal structures at war with one another and reliant on natural hierarchies—an ideology that resonates with Ultra and some members of the broader post-left milieu.

It stands to reason that defending fascists and collaborating with them are not the same, and they are both separate from having incidental ideological cross-over points. However the cross-over points, when unchecked, frequently indicate a tendency to ignore, defend, or collaborate. Defense and collaboration can, and do, also converge. For instance, also in Portland, Oregon, the founder of a UK ultra-leftist splinter group called Wildcat began to participate in a reading group involving prominent post-leftists before sliding toward anti-Semitism. Soon he was participating in the former-leftist-turned-fascist Pacifica Forum in Eugene, Oregon, and defending anti-Semitic co-op leader, Tim Calvert. He was last seen by antifas creeping into an event for Holocaust denier, David Irving.

Perhaps the most troubling instance of collaboration, or rather synthesis, of post-left nihilism and the far right is taking place currently in the alt-right. Donovan is considered a member of the alt-right, while Christensen’s latest visible Facebook post hails from the misogynistic Proud Boys group. These groups and individuals connected to the alt-right are described as having been “red-pilled,” a term taken from the movie, The Matrix, in which the protagonist is awakened to a dystopian reality after choosing to take a red pill. For the alt-right, being “red-pilled” means waking up to the “reality” offered by anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, misogyny, and white nationalism—usually through online forums where the competitive iconoclasm of “edge-lords” mutates into ironic anti-Semitism and hatred. Among the most extreme forms of this phenomenon occurring in recent years is the so-called “black pill”—red-pillers who have turning toward the celebration of indiscriminate violence via the same trends of individualism and nihilism outlined above.

“Black-pillers” claim to have shed their attachments to all theories entirely. This tendency evokes the attitude of militant anti-civilization group, Individuals Tending to the Wild, which is popular among some post-leftist groups and advocates indiscriminate violence against any targets manifesting the modern world. Another influence for “black-pillers” is Adam Lanza, the infamous mass shooter who phoned John Zerzan a year before murdering his mother, 20 children, and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Zerzan has condemned Individuals Tending Toward the Wild, and months after Lanza’s horrifying actions, he penned a piece imploring post-left nihilists to find hope: “Egoism and nihilism are evidently in vogue among anarchists and I’m hoping that those who so identify are not without hope. Illusions no, hope yes.” Unfortunately, Zerzan developed his short communiqué into a book published by Feral House on November 10, 2015—the day after Feral House published The White Nationalist Skinhead Movement co-authored by Eddie Stampton, a Nazi skinhead.

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

In light of these cross-overs, many individualist anarchists, post-leftists, and nihilists tend not to deny that they share nodal networks with fascists. In many cases, they seek to struggle against them and reclaim their movement. Yet, there tends to be another permissive sense that anarchists bear no responsibility for distinguishing themselves from fascists. If there are numerous points in which radical milieus become a blur of fascists, anarchists, and romantics, some claim that throwing shade on such associations only propagates fallacious thinking, or “guilt by association.”

However, recalling the information in this essay, we might note that complex cross-overs seem to include, in particular, aspects of egoism and radical green theory. Derived from Stirnerism and Nietzschean philosophy, egoism can reify the social alienation felt by an individual, leading to an elitist sense of self-empowerment and delusions of grandeur. When mixed with insurrectionism and radical green thought, egoism can translate into “hunter versus prey” or “wolves versus sheep” elitism, in which compassion for others is rejected as moralistic. This kind of alienated elitism can also develop estranged aesthetic and affective positions tied to cruelty, vengeance, and hatred.

Emerging out of a rejection of humanism and urban modernism, the particular form of radical green theory often embraced by the post-left can relativize human losses by looking at the larger waves of mass extinctions. By doing this, radical greens anticipate a collapse that would “cull the herd” or cause a mass human die off of millions, if not billions, of people throughout the world. This aspect of radical green theory comes very close to, and sometimes intertwines with, ideas about over-population compiled and produced by white nationalists and anti-immigration activists tied to the infamous Tanton Network. Some radical green egoists (or nihilists) insist that their role should be to provoke such a collapse, through anti-moralist strikes against civilization.

As examples like Hakim Bey’s TAZ and the lionization of the Fiume misadventure, Zerzan and Black’s publishing with Feral House, and Ultra’s defense of Donovan indicate, the post-left’s relation to white nationalism is sometimes ambiguous and occasionally even collaborative. Other examples, like those of Yeoman and Christensen, indicate that the tolerance for fascist ideas on the post-left can result in unwittingly accepting them, providing a platform for white nationalism, and increasing vulnerability to entryism. Specific ideas that are sometimes tolerated under the rubric of the “critique of the left” include the approval of “natural hierarchies,” ultranationalism understood as ethno-biological and spiritual ties to homeland and ancestry, rejection of feminism and antifascism, and the fetishization of violence and cruelty.

It is more important today than ever before to recognize how radical movements develop intersections with fascists if we are to discover how to expose creeping fascism and develop stronger, more direct networks. Anarchists must abandon the equivocations that invite the fascist creep and reclaim anarchy as the integral struggle for freedom and equality. Sectarian polemics are the result of extensive learning processes, but are less important than engaging in solidarity to struggle against fascism in all its forms and various disguises.

———

 

Alexander Reid Ross is a former co-editor of the Earth First! Journal and the author of Against the Fascist Creep. He teaches in the Geography Department at Portland State University and can be reached at aross@pdx.edu.

[1] Black writes, “Bakunin considered Marx, ‘the German scholar, in his threefold capacity as an Hegelian, a Jew, and a German,’ to be a ‘hopeless statist.’ A Hegelian, a Jew, a sort-of scholar, a Marxist, a hopeless (city-) statist — does this sound like anybody familiar?’ Full text available on Libcom at https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/bob-black-anarchy-after-leftism

Alt Right Writer Milo Yiannopoulos Speaking at University of Oregon

The Alt Right’s new renaissance is being facilitated by crossover points into the semi-mainstream that it needs to survive. Infowars connects it to conspiracy theory and militia movements. Donald Trump mainstreams their narratives about nationalism and immigration. Breitbart, and its hip younger correspondents, are helping to bridge their fascist perspectives with the fashionable right-wing side of Conservative America.

As we covered at length in an early article on Breitbart’s portrayal of the Alt Right, Milo Yiannopoulos has become the primary vessel for that Breitbart crossover. Milo’s primary goal seems to be insulting and offensive to what he derides as the “PC culture” of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and micro aggressions. Since he describes himself as a libertarian, his language choices are often intended to make him simply sound like a brash, iconoclastic attention-seeker. It is the fact that he openly admires and identifies with the Alt Right and that he uses a fascist lining in his rhetoric that is making him of interest to anti-fascists.

In Eugene, Oregon, which recently saw a visit by Donald Trump and has been seeing threats on students of color from KKK affiliates, the University of Oregon chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is bringing Milo to campus for an evening of “trigger warnings.” YAL has been around since the 2008 failed candidacy of Ron Paul, and generally brings together the right-wing cultural side of the Paul campaign that has always bridged paleolibertarianism with white nationalist influences. Their Visualize the Debt campaign was their largest effort, which was a relatively generic national debt alarmist approach to force in aggressive austerity cuts to social services. They have done general rabble-rousing things like handing out cigarettes at “no smoking” college campuses and making issues about GoProud’s invitation at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

In a more real way, they are filling the space that was earlier occupied by Youth for Western Civilization (YWC). That organization, founded by right-wing activist Kevin DeAnna who is now a member of the Wolves of Vinland, was an edge organization that used conservative cover for nationalist goals. Hosting people like anti-immigration extremist politician Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan’s offensive sister, Bay Buchanan, they flirted openly with people like American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor. Members of YWC went on to form White Student Unions as well as the Traditionalist Youth Network, while somehow Kevin DeAnna has maintained his connections to the broader Beltway conservative movement through a staff position at the Leadership Institute and World Net Daily.

The campus activism of YAL does seem to be slightly more libertarian focused in terms of economics, but its social space is intended to be exactly what Milo represents.  Thomas Tullis, the YAL organizer bringing Milo, says that they don’t agree with everything he says, but it is sort of a litmus test for Free Speech.  Milo’s version of the Alt Right is one where by certain pieces of the ideology are pulled out of context, while others are softened. He does acknowledge the racial identity and anti-egalitarianism of the Alt Right, which he seems to share, but he says that much of the more blatant white nationalism, racism, and anti-Semitism are really just offensive jokes meant to attack progressive PC culture. It is this false characterization that has gotten him critics on the Alt Right, most loudly Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer.

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Milo’s general point of view has been one that flirts with the open racial politics under the cover of offensive double-speak, and his queer identity is one that has often shielded him from critics. The fact that his “homosexual” identification is a non-issue for groups like YAL is a further testament that homophobia is on the chopping block for the fascist Alt Right, who would rather have masculine queer men that stand against race mixing and feminism.

This can be seen especially clearly with his relationship with Jack Donovan, a queer tribalist author who is also a member of the Wolves of Vinland and speaks at National Policy Institute and American Renaissance conferences. When Milo publishes his feature article on the Alt Right, Donovan commended him for it, which noted that they were Facebook friends. Donovan recently went on Milo’s own podcast, where they further celebrated Donovan’s new book, “Becoming a Barbarian.”

Milo is coming to the University of Oregon on May 10th, where he will be speaking in Columbia Hall, room 150, at 7:00pm. In their advertisement for the event he threatens that anyone who attempts to challenge him will be on video from “50 cameras,” and it has been his general career path to try and single out people for harassment and threats. Milo’s official title is Technology Editor at Breitbart, but he is more and more becoming a professional personality for the offensive Internet far right who has made trolling and hate speech its bread and butter. Somehow he is still allowed into major political press events, including White House press briefings.

What Milo presents is an opening for anti-fascists to confront the crossover points that fascist commentary has had into the broader right-wing. Breitbart and other publications should be pressured to single out and cut ties with people like Milo for their racialist perspective and the way they use their professional resources to embolden white nationalists.

This can start by confronting Milo at this event, coordinating with student and anti-fascist organizations, and making campuses a hostile place both for him and the organizations that support him.

Queer Fascism: Why White Nationalists Are Trying to Drop Homophobia

The National Policy Institute’s conference for 2015 just wrapped up, one of the most popular intellectual events for the white nationalist movement in the United States.  NPI is run by youngish nationalist Richard Spencer, who encourages the movement to be hip and youthful.  Out of the almost 175 attendees, a huge portion of them were millennials as they were given significant discounts off of the expensive ticket price.  One person that was disinvited, according to associate Scott Terry and, later, from Richard Spencer himself, was the Traditionalist Youth Network’s Matthew Heimbach.  Matt, who helped to found the Townson University White Student Union before forming Trad Youth, has made statements publicly claiming queer people are purposefully infecting people with AIDs and that they need to be put in “re-education” camps to cure their “mental illness.”  Because of these statements, Spencer decided that he should be banned from the NPI conference.

Matthew Heimbach
Matthew Heimbach

In a statement on his website, Radix Journal, Spencer said about the SPLC outing of the banning of Matthew Heimbach:

Our conferences will include people who hold many different views on religious, social, sexual, historical, and political matters. We do not exclude anyone for, say, being a Buddhist, Pagan, Catholic, or atheist, or for being passionate about gay issues or thinking that they are not important. We hope that such questions can be discussed respectfully at our conferences.

NPI will, however, exclude those who show reckless disregard with the media, or those who’ve made morally indefensible public statements. Such people make our movement look bad. We choose not to grant them a platform.  It’s as simple as that.

This position from Spencer, which sounds more like liberal apologetics than the defenses of someone on the radical right, may seem surprising.  It is less surprising when noticing that queer writer and advocate for “male tribalism,” Jack Donovan, is one of the NPI speakers.  Donovan is well-known for his book Androphilia, where he advocated that “homosexual men” drop the gay identity because it is associated with effeminacy, leftist politics, and feminism.  Today he is celebrated in Men’s Rights circles, talking about reclaiming masculinity and creating a tribalism “against capitalism and the state” and depending on the recreation of hierarchies.  Spencer himself has discussed queer issues with Donovan many times, where he thinks that gay marriage is a “non-issue” and that we should just move on about the conflict.

In a closely allied organization and publishing house, Counter-Currents publishing, they have also celebrated Donovan’s work, as well as publishing queer white nationalist James O’Meara.  His book, “The Homo and the Negro,” celebrates queer “Dandy” culture, and advocates that white nationalists return to supporting the gay male associated with the arts, reclaiming “homosexual warrior” culture, and start rejecting what he says is “Negro behavior.”  Greg Johnson, the editor of Counter-Currents, even writes a chapter about abandoning homophobia in his book “Confessions of a Reluctant Hater.”

This all may seem bizarre to those who understand white nationalism to just existing on the far right of a left-right spectrum, where homophobia seems like it would come before the open racialism.  Inside of the movement, however, this is not the case.  We see a mixing of queer identity with open fascism with bands like Death in June, and all through the “manosphere” there is a deep misogyny and white nationalism expressed by gay authors who have been invited into the fold.  Though the stereotyped “gay culture” is always derided by these groups, they play hard with the idea that queerness is biologically determined.  Spencer himself, in a conversation with the late British nationalist Jonathan Bowden, indulged in pseudo-science about how sexual orientation is chosen by hormonal baths prenatally.  He then notes that eugenics will likely cure this illness, but gay people should not be blamed for their attractions.

There really are a couple of angles here that they attempt to stand on that makes this perspective both growing and unique.  The first is, as Spencer often notes, the “war has been lost.”  A younger generation is completely unwilling to indulge in vigorous homophobia in the way that they will still adopt racial and gendered bigotry.  This may be true in a sense, as liberal queer progressivism has become a cultural shibboleth.  Even queer people on the anti-assimiliationist side of the left are not always allowed in, and people like Donovan often portrays queerness as anti-assimilationist at its core.  No matter who they are, they usually oppose gay marriage(Donovan included), as marriage is a cultural institution used to prop up Western Civiilization.

The second reason that queerness is being reappropriated, as is seen in both Donovan and O’Meara’s work, is that there is s certain “mars/mars” dynamic that they want to celebrate.  In essence this is a male warrior culture that is anti-bourgoeis in its rejection of the traditional family.  Though this is radically different than what many on the “Alt Right” think its socially productive, they do note that society may need these cultural elements and that they are rightist in that they celebrate in-group/out-group distinctions, tribalism, and hierarchy.

While queerness may be a deciding point in many of these circles, it is not uncontested.  Many in the more extreme sects of white nationalism, especially in circles more associated with the KKK or Nazi skinhead groups, Donovan has been a major detractor.  You can go through comments threads and see him demonized in ways similar to their discussion of Jews and people of color.  More often than not, however, there is tacit approval of his inclusion and even a sort of backhanded support.

In the article posted on Radix Journal about Heimbach’s removal, his associate from Trad Youth, Scott Terry, commented to mention that they need to still “work together.”

I’d like it known that, despite being dis-invited from NPI, Heimbach went to DC to hang out with the conference attendees. I tagged along because many of the gentlemen there are my friends. Not once during the entire weekend did Heimbach bad-mouth Spencer or try to foment some sort of rebellion; no “entryist” attempts were made.

While it’s unfortunate Spencer isn’t willing to see the best in Heimbach, there wasn’t any hard feelings (as far as I could tell) and I’m sure Trad Youth intends to continue supporting ethno-nationalist projects (from whatever quarter they arise).

There’s no point in exacerbating divisions, in my opinion. We all know the “big-tent” isn’t monolithic. Pagan, homosexual-supporting alternative rightists are stuck with theonomic Christian ethno-nationalists (like myself). We’re stuck together regardless.

Because of the disparate elements of a fringe movement like white nationalism, people like Terry and Heimbach often are looser with their Christian conservatism than you would find in more generic non-racial Christian churches.  Heimbach has gotten a lot of rejection inside of the movement for his effort to cover all bases and speak in public derision.  He was excommunicated from his Orthodox Christian church after a public fight where he hit an anti-racist with a large wooden cross.  He was kicked out of his much-loved League of the South after attending a National Socialist Movement event, though he was let back in later.

At NPI, Mike Enoch from The Daily Shoah spoke on their Becoming Who We Are podcast panel.  He often makes homophobic jokes, including insulting statements about Donovan, but he was still allowed to participate and celebrated throughout.  This is likely because of the importance that Enoch holds for the movement while Heimbach is more of a traditional reactionary who just happens to organize the youth.  This is a sort of “real politic” from Spencer, but this is the kind of opportunism you can always expect from white nationalists.

It is not that queer people are going to be invited en mass to the white nationalist movement, but there is certainly an effort to invite people in who would normally be left on the fringes.  The question is whether or not this will be a sizable number of people, or if their attempts to stoke racism inside of queer circles will have the disgusting effect they are hoping they will have.

Anti-Facist Action: Challenging the National Policy Institute’s 2015 Conference

NPI-Conference-2013

It’s that time of year again.  Richard Spencer has gotten together his gang of misunderstood racist misfits to put on a show.

The National Policy Institute, the most mundanely titles white nationalist organization in the United States, is having their 2015 conference on Halloween at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  The organization has become one of the intellectual centers of a neo-fascist American movement that runs under the auspices of antiquated philosophy, pseudo-science, fringe politics, and big personalities.  The associated website, Radix, has become a who’s who of the “alt right,” which we prefer to identify as “alt fascist.”  This means far right ideas that associate with counter-cultural and intellectual elements, including neo-paganism, radical environmentalism, and other more spiritually and intellectually inclined folks, while also bridging to former paleoconversatives and beltway types.  They cheerfully lament about the “decline” of white civilization, the destructiveness implicit in immigration and queer identity, and about how skin color determines IQ while Judaism implies “world control.”  We used to say these aren’t your father’s neo-Nazis, but they essentially do represent the Klan with a copy of the Norse Eddas and a Thesaurus.

In 2014, Richard Spencer, the now President of the National Policy Institute and Editor of Radix, was imprisoned in Hungary when trying to organize a “pan-European” conference that would bring people together from the U.S. white nationalist movement, the British nationalist community, the French New Right, the Russian Eurasianists and National Bolshevists, and other people who want to “put aside petty nationalisms” and unite along the lines of race.  The prime minister, the normally far-right Viktor Orban declared him a national security threat, and, after the nationalist Jobbik party abandoned him, they arrested and deporting him.  He has previously had a number of popular conferences that attracted everyone with a desire towards anger and separateness, from racial pagans to men’s right’s activists towards conspiratorial anti-Semites, with different themes all covering for the overarching idea that white’s need to band together and “fight back against displacement.”

This year they are continuing the tradition of working with Washington DC’s National Press Club, mainly because they don’t have the same kind of vulnerability to anti-fascists that commercial venues do.  This is a government facility, the National Press Club building no less, and they tend to do what they have to do to defend their tenants, no matter the political position.  This year they are having their regular line of edge speakers, including known people like the fabled anti-Semitic professor Kevin McDonald.  McDonald is the University of California Long Beach professor best known for breaking with his tradition of Evolutionary Psychology to write a series of books defining Judaism as a “group evolutionary strategy” where by they destabilizing western nations so that they can raise up their in group.  He enjoys his Jew hatred with a side of “race realism” where he writes regularly that African descended people’s have lower IQ than whites and Asians, while edited the racist Occidental Quarterly.  Sam Dickson, a common traveler to NPI and the white nationalist American Renaissance, will provide his usual incoherent rambles about white determinism.  He is best known as a past lawyer for the Klan, and currently deals in real estate speculation where he specializes in kicking out and exploiting families of color.

Two of the more interesting speakers will be Jack Donovan and Keith Preston.  Donovan is known for being a gay “anti-gay” author, so to speak, where he writes extensively how queer men should abandon gay identity because it is associated with effeminacy, leftist politics, and feminism.  He instead identifies as an “andriophile” and writes about the important of male tribalism and deeply misogynistic works on the edges of the Men’s Rights movement.  More recently he has been extending an incredible support to white nationalism, leaning more in the direction of folkish Heathenry in the masculanist and tribalist interpretations.  Preston will be known to people as he is a defector from the larger anarchist movements of the 70s and 80s, formerly a member of Workers Solidarity Alliance and was present at the founding convention of the Love and Rage Anarchist Federation.  He now runs the “pan-Secessionist” Attack the System, where he promotes right-wing libertarian ideas and racialist National Anarchism.  Here he will give his usual speech where he sadly attempts to soften anarchism to be compatible with authoritarian racial nationalism, which he sees as having common ground as they are both opposed to the current State.

Guillame Faye and Roman Bernard will bring a French perspective to things, with Faye known best for his neo-fascist Faustian books Why We Fight and Archeofuturism that could be called a sort of Reactionary Dune World Fantasy.  Roman Bernard was with the far-right Generation Identity movement in France, and was brought over to Radix because of his known prowess for fundraising.  Richard Spencer will join them as a speaker, as he usually does, where he will give one of the more congenial presentations as he is quick in the running for the “funny and smart racist” award.  Spencer is a good reminder of what kind of ideas can fuel people who are superficially smart and friendly, or that it can poison people who you might find socially comfortable.

The biggest difference with the 2015 conference, which is called Becoming Who We Are(a phrase Spencer uses to outline that people are often born with their political inclinations innate to their person), is the structure of the conference.  First, there is going to be a sort of “day session” and a “night session.”  The day session will include the regular speakers, while the night session is going to have music, drinks, and a live podcast.  Richard Spencer is an avid podcaster and has been for over a decade, starting with Vanguard Radio at his Alternative Right publication, and now moving it over to Radix Journal.  He has invited other people to join him on this, including the folks from Sweden’s nationalist Red Ice Radio.  Another person who has been asked, and semi-agreed, is Mike Enoch, our fanboy from The Daily Shoah(please give us more airtime).  This is something we find incredibly confusing since we know that it is important to everyone at The Daily Shoah and The Right Stuff to maintain their anonymity.  The conference is obviously going to be attended by journalists and undercover anti-fascist organizers who will see who Mike Enoch actually is on the panel, so it is curious that they would actually expose themselves like that.  It may be simply that having a private identity is really only a temporary solution, though they even recently discussed how difficult it is to receive donations at The Daily Shoah without revealing personal information.

The music will be by the band Changes, which is likely the most interesting part of the conference’s line-up for those who study these movements.  Changes is a well known folk band, though it usually gets attached to neo-folk at this point.  As many people note in the anti-fascist milieu, neo-folk and offshoots have a large nationalist presence who see it as an opportunity to focus on “European revival.” Changes is strongly influenced by Germanic Reconstructionist Heathenry, which again has had that unfortunate association for those who want to identify an ethnic religion for those of Northern European descent.  For much of the existence of NPI and participating organization, there has been little cultural crossover to the neo-folk movement, and really only occasional crossover to Heathenry.  This seems to be a next step for NPI, which will also help to eventually separate the racist from the not in the alt-folk and metal underground.  This could be useful for those who are inclined towards the music yet remain strongly committed to anti-fascist principles, which is a difficult prospect as nationalism poisons the art it touches and often becomes infectious.

The NPI conference has commonly been a focus point for Anti-Fascist Action in the Washington DC area, though the idea of shutting the event down is much more difficult because it is a secure facility.  This may be a useful turn towards more mass movement actions, where by the event could have a counter rally during its opening hour of 10am.  This could mean that instead of focusing on militant action in this particular case, it could be advantageous to bring together anti-racist organizers from the civil rights, broader anti-racism, and #BlackLivesMatter movements.  This could be a meeting point that, first, would confront what is happening inside of the National Press Club building, but also discuss the broader issues of white supremacy, populist nationalism, and anti-black violence that is amplifying in the current U.S.

We are listing a few anti-racist organization in the DC area that people should coordinate with if they want to engage in counter protest.  It has been said that the Southern Poverty Law Center already has operatives with tickets, yet that is unverified and they usually operate independently without coordinating larger movement building.  We encourage anyone who does attend any rallies or actions in response to the NPI conference to send in report backs for us to add to the website.

Anti-Racist Action, Washington DC

One People’s Project

The conference runs 10am to 9pm at the National Press Club on Octobe 31st, 2015

If you want to send your thoughts on this conference to the National Press Club, here is the contact information:

Front Desk: 202-662-7500
Reservations for Events: 202-662-7501
Membership Office: 202-662-7505
Booking Rooms for Your Event (Catering): 202-662-7541