Tag Archives: richard spencer

Alternative Internet Racism: Alt Right and the New Fascist Branding

In a recent call in show, conservative radio voice Rush Limbaugh got a call from someone named Roy who asked him about a new brand of the right wing that is straying from older conservatism.  “What I’m interested in, is all this stuff about conservatives being older people,” said the caller. “But I think that’s gonna quickly change. I think there’s a group of younger people called ‘the alt right.’ And it started in the last few years in Europe because of the Muslim invasion. And I think it’s… They’re beginning to get people over here, youngsters between 18, 25, 26, to convert to what they call ‘the alt right.’ I think it’s gonna be pretty intense. I think you should keep an eye out for it.”

Many capitalized on Rush’s response, which seemed happy about the caller’s reference to the rise of the cultural right amongst young people.  As the Daily Shoah mentioned in a following show, Rush likely did not know exactly what he was referring to.  Though Rush has started using the Cuckservative meme to discuss conservatives who do not take up racist immigration policies, he certainly is a part of the conservative beltway that is not only not publicly in favor of this white nationalist contingent, it is probably not even much aware of it.

The term “alt right” was then injected into the Twittersphere as a popular hashtag, spreading around the regular reactionary troll dynamic that links together racist blogs and podcasts using labels like “neoreaction” and “Dark Enlightenment.”  This term lead to Buzzfeed doing a story on it where they interview Richard Spencer about the term, leading him to even do a follow up video to discuss the term and how it is evolved.

Though in anti-racist/anti-fascist circles have certainly come across this as they research the new face of white nationalism and the pseudo-intellectual radical right.  Spencer is the right person to be talked to about this since he, for all practical purposes, coined the term.

In 2010 Spencer had finally left a short lived career in paleoconservative publishing to start Alternative Right.  He was plucked out of a Duke University graduate program after writing an article about the “Duke Lacross Case,” where a group of white male students were alleged to have sexually assaulted a black sex worker.  This was eventually picked up by the American Conservative, a publication started by Pat Buchanan, and came on as an Assistant Editor.  It has been alleged that he was eventually fired when his racism came to light, but he could have left on his own accord, and went to the further-right web publication Taki’s Magazine.  In his time there he continued moving further to the right and consorting with groups of people on the fringes of “acceptable” conservatism.  Through this became friends with people like Paul Gottfried, American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, Human BioDiversity proponent Steve Sailer, and a whole host of other people with “heretical views” who all tried to cram into the creases of CPAC.

He then created the web publication Alternative Right, a term he started using in 2008, to bring together all of these different groups of people who were dissenting from Neoconservatism and the Washington Consensus.  These would include white nationalists, “race realists,” radical traditionalists, folk religionists, right Rothbardians, national anarchists, and so many more, all of which took on radically dissenting views from the conservative movement and the GOP.  The publication became a “go to” spot for a new type of white nationalism, one that took its queues from French and broad European intellectuals, looked towards ideas like Eurasianism and Metagenetics, resurrected philosophers like Oswald Spangler and Ernst Junger, and generally coalesced around a disdain for the “modern world.”  They often opposed the Iraq war, environmental destruction, and were critical of American Christianity.  The publication certainly had name people writing for it, such as VDare founder Peter Brimelow and, later disgraced, Heritage Foundation Fellow Jason Richwine, as well as new, openly racist commentators like Colin Liddell.  He started Vanguard Radio as a regular podcast for the website, which featured people ranging from Pat Buchanan to Jared Taylor.

Greg Johnson, editor of the neo-fascist Counter-Currents Publishing, wrote as then editor of the white nationalist Occidental Quarterly, that the alt right banner is bringing together a wide variety of people who are forced out of the mainstream and could benefit from the comfort of one another.

[Alternative Right] will attract the brightest ‘young’ conservatives and libertarians and expose them to far broader intellectual horizons, including race realism, White Nationalism, the European New Right, the Conservative Revolution, Traditionalism, neo-paganism, agrarianism, Third Positionism, anti-feminism, and right-wing anti-capitalists, ecologists, bioregionalists, and small-is-beautiful types.

Spencer eventually moved over to take the reigns of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, and start the website and publication, Radix Journal.  After continuing to do the podcast at Alternative Right for some time, he moved it over to the Radix Journal podcast, and even pulled the domain for the original Alternative Right website.  This create some animosity with between Spencer and the two co-hosts of Vanguard Radio who had taken over editorial duties of Alternative Right, but they went on to create the New Alternative Right to keep their progress going.  Spencer has gone on to make Radix Journal a white nationalist hot spot, as well as the yearly National Policy Institute conferences, one of which caused him to be deported by the Hungarian government when he tried to do a pan-European event.

Spencer has largely walked away from the term alt right simply because his politics, and those he semi-leads, have specified a bit and he feels that the moment that term inhabited is somewhat over.  Instead, the term has taken on a life of its own in that it represents a certain sphere of nationalist politics today.  From the Right Stuff to Counter-Currents, the “alt right” now often means an internet focused string of commentators, blogs, Twitter accounts, podcasters, and Reddit trolls, all of which combine scientific racism, romantic nationalism, and deconstructionist neo-fascist ideas to create a white nationalist movement that has almost no backwards connection with neo-Nazis and the KKK.  As Spencer often said, they had a “different starting point” than conventional conservatism, often coming from their disavowal of human equality.  It is an easy way of differentiating them from older forms of white nationalism that they feel they have no cultural affinity for.

Much of what distinguishes the alt right is aesthetics, education, and language choices, while the core ideas remain the same.  They maintain traditional racism and anti-semitism, a strong sense of gender roles, a traditionalism about behavior, and a necessity towards national identity, though there have been some acceptance of queer members and a move away from strict Christianity and towards Nordic paganism and the Radical Traditionalism of Julius Evola.  This broad sphere is attempting to reclaim an intellectual, spiritual, and social movement for the far-right, and, except for some exceptions, they like to couch their language in intellectual double speak rather than just stacking racial slurs.

In recent weeks the alt right hashtag has started trending mainly because of the concerted effort of many of the disparate trolls forcing it to do so, but it needs to be seen in exactly the context it exists.  This is old-school racism and neo-fascism, except looking to wear a suit and tie rather than a white hood.  As Neoconservative David From said about them, they are
“going to be white nationalists, but, by God, they’re going to be a little fancy about it.”  The attempt here is to rebrand neo-fascism as something new and hip, which has worked in some circles, but it needs to be recognized and treated as exactly what it is.

While the alt right would broadly be opposed to electoral politics, over the last couple weeks the use of the #altright has been to post constant fawning tributes to Donald Trump.  His recent insulting jokes towards a Jewish audience, claims to ban Muslim immigration, and general attack on minorities has mobilized digital reactionaries to broaden their umbrella to include support for Trump.  This is less for his ability to actually win an election and do anything significant politically, but for his ability to generally unleash the subdermal racism in the country that they can then use to mobilize more to join the broader alt right.  This kind of entryism has a real history of success as Trump represents a 2015 version of the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign, which helped push conservatives to the right and flood in open white nationalist organizations for the next couple decades

The alt right itself is going to stay the mark of the 21st century’s more intellectually minded and diverse neo-fascism, one that is more willing to sacrifice much of the baggage of older white nationalism so that they can create a movement that undermines the basic values of democracy, equality, and the “enlightenment.”  Understanding this new branding gives anti-fascist the tools to confront the new kind of fascist movement that is going to vie for power in times of crisis and turmoil.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When It’s Broke, They Offer the Fix

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Problem of “Identity”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hijacking Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footnotes

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

How Are Racists Responding to the Church Shooting and Confederate Flag Controversy?

No matter how the particular far right and neo-fascist movement sees itself, mass killings in the name of their racial agenda is always going to be bad news. Aryan Nations was a meeting spot for neo-Nazis, Klansmen, Christian Identity Adherents, and racist militia movements, and was completely undone after a passing family was attacked in front of their compound. White Aryan Resistance was financially undercut after associated skinheads murdered Ethiopian student Mulugeta Seraw in Portland, Oregon. Charges are often brought against associated organizations, and even if they are not formally indicted they certainly are put under the federal looking glass. This is the current state of the Council of Conservative Citizens who is having the FBI going through their materials with a fine toothcomb.

Beyond the hope that other ‘lone wolves’ will be inspired by the violence in a sort of “propaganda of the deed” dynamic, it undercuts their messaging in serious ways. While insurrectionary and vanguardist racial groups certainly exist, even they tend to want to argue philosophical ideas around their racial perspectives and engage in movement building. The modern racialist movement has been heavily influenced by internet-fed pseudo intellectualism, is returning to fascist roots in philosophical movements like the Conservative Revolution and French New Right, and are trying to create a semi-coherent set of ideas that can feed their endgame. In general, the uniting point here is the advocacy of a white ethnostate, though the specifics are particular to the political faction at the microphone.

When instances of violence come up it is difficult to present themselves and thoughtful and peaceful ‘activists.’ The Council of Conservative Citizens is a specifically good example of this in that they existed as a fully aboveground white nationalist organization that maintained ties to the mainstream GOP. It is now clear from his writing that Dylann Roof was inspired to action by the reports of racial differences and ‘black on white crime’ as reported on the CofCC’s website. There you will find pseudoscience about race and intelligence, trumped up reports on racial crime, and other types of ultra conservative and nationalist rants. What you will not find, however, are calls for Racial Holy War. That being said, their publication and their rhetoric, even as mild as it is for their movement, still resulted in violence. This is the kind of association that will rattle their movement to the core, and will likely completely demolish the Council.

The action itself has ramped up a debate that has come in and out of fashion: the remove of the Confederate Battle Flag from public spaces in the south. For many of these groups that are associated with neo-Confederacy as a part of their racial mythology, this could be a bridge to far. Unfortunately for them, any credibility that they had in the popular media market has been stunted by their association with nine dead parishioners in a famed black church in South Carolina.

So how are white nationalists reacting to this situation?

This has been incredibly variable, especially in the CofCC. Many of the people who are deeper in the leadership of the CofCC have rebuked any media contact, but several of their members who are associated with a number of racialist organizations have decided to step up in its defense. Jared Taylor, best known for the white nationalist and scientific-racist organization American Renaissance, has gone on media interviews defending the CofCC. While he continues the line that they are not responsible for the crime, which they have openly condemned, the information cited is still real and legitimate.

“He did not get inspiration from the Council’s website, he got information. And the reason the information was so disturbing to him is because the facts, the reality, of the overwhelmingly “black on white” nature of interracial crime is something that is almost never reported. It’s, in fact, deliberately concealed.”

He continued to return to the racial demographics of crime from several different, unrelated questions. This has been the pattern for Taylor’s interaction with the media; especially debates he tries to get in any forum that will have him. Taylor does go on to say that he and the Council absolutely condemns the shooting.

James Edwards, who sits on the board of both the CofCC and the white nationalist American Freedom Party, hosts his regular radio show The Political Cesspool where he ranted and raved in the usual confusing manor. Though he certainly denounced the shooting, he also praised what he said was the clarity and “intelligence” of his manifesto (which was riddled with racial slurs and writing errors). He doubted the “official story” that has come out and indulged in conspiracy theories about how he could be a government plant, the shooting could have been a result of the medication the shooter was taking, and that the manifesto was created after the fact. He used this as an opportunity to support Roof’s assertions about things like “black on white rape,” which has been a favorite racist talking point since the days of slavery. When going on Richard Spencer’s Radix Podcast to discuss this, he went on about how this was going to be used to strip the South of its “heritage.” In response, Spencer actually spent a great deal of time trying to remind us that we need to begin targeting those with mental illness for the removal from polite society.

In an attempt to act as an unofficial “spokesperson” for the Council, Edwards released a statement to the press that read:

“I unequivocally condemn Dylann Roof’s murderous actions, but in no way was there a legitimate “link” between the alleged shooter and the Council of Conservative Citizens. To say that there is a “link” because he once visited the website reeks of Soviet-era smear tactics. The C of CC cannot reasonably be held accountable for the psychotic reaction this deranged individual had in response to reading truthful statements regarding interracial crime.

According to the Department of Justice, every year there are approximately 500,000 violent, interracial crimes (completed or attempted / threatened). Of these, nearly 83 percent are committed by blacks against whites.

Every year, there are some 20,000 rapes or sexual assaults (including threats) of white women by blacks, but crimes of this sort by white men against black women are so unusual, they scarcely appear in crime statistics.

My prayers go out to the families of the victims in Charleston. After the healing begins to occur it is my sincere hope that mature Americans can finally begin to have an honest conversation about race, rather than being subjected to a one-sided lecture.”

In Richard Spencer’s article on the shooting at Radix Journal he began by noting, without any sense of irony, that this is a tragedy that is going to be used by others as a political tool. He takes it back to the brewing controversy over the Confederate flag where he works hard to ignore the obvious associations between a history of institutional violence against African Americans and the symbol of the Antebellum South.

“As I write, it appears that the shooting has become the tipping point in this decades-long controversy. Roof’s crime, of course, had nothing at all to do with the Confederacy, or how best to honor those who died in a lost cause. That so many have justified removing the flag on the basis of the shooting demonstrates the power of symbolism and narrative over history and fact.

Moreover, it is necessary for us to talk about the meaning of this event, and its political after-effects, for the reason that it was not a “senseless act of violence,” much like John Hinckley Jr. apparently shot Ronald Reagan in order to impress Jodie Foster.”

While he does continue to tow the line of apologism for the act itself, he moves into a kind of meta-commentary where he begins to question whether or not political violence in this way should really be that condemnable.

“Whether political violence is considered to be legitimate and necessary—or illegitimate “terrorism”—is determined by its success and symbolic impact. We forget that the vaunted “Founding Fathers” could have, so easily, been remembered as dangerous eccentrics, who rebelled against their rightful (and quite liberal) monarch out of personal ambition or avarice. In turn, the Confederacy could have been remembered as a just, Jeffersonian order, if it had achieved military victory.”

Counter-Currents Publishing, which has made a name for itself in trying to create a philosophically backed fascist movement modeled on European right-wing intellectuals, joined right in with the usual vile rhetoric that they revel in. Not only were several articles on the subject published, while also being distracted by the recent marriage equality ruling, they also published Roof’s manifesto in an unabridged and annotated version. This will likely not be the last time that this brief blog post driven by homicidal racial rage is republished as the work of some sort of “visionary.” Writing at Counter-Currents website, Brian Tobin laments that these acts of extreme violence are simply the result of an integrated society that is deteriorating because of its multiracial character.

“ How much longer will the majority of whites in America — the ones who can not afford to live in any area other than the “culturally enriched” — be pushed around by policy makers who use them as lab rats in their “cultural” experiment for “public” good? How long will they sit and watch their neighborhoods turn into Third World, crime-ridden slums, right before their eyes, and say nothing? How long will it take for the “backpack of white privilege” to weigh so heavily that it begins to send its wearers into great rage, anger, and frustration?

And isn’t history supposed to be our greatest teacher? Yet no one wants to admit that Dylan Roof is now part of our collective history and memory. The only way to avoid another Dylan Roof episode from airing on network TV is if we finally start learning from (y)our mistakes.

I honestly believe that Dylan Roof’s actions should be heeded as a warning. A warning to the current establishment; a warning to those who wish to maintain the status quo.

What warning is that, you ask? Either embrace the truth and put an end to your relentless critique and attack on White Americans, their history, and their culture, or feel the backlash of those with backpacks becoming to heavy to carry without complaint. To either grant white Americans the same privileges that are afforded to minorities of all stripes, or accept the consequences of which history has written, and the television narrated.”

Though many of the smaller blogs and message boards have erupted in outrage over being associated with such a person and that the flag would be the after target, those associated with the neo-Confederate movement have been somewhat muted. The League of the South, which was created by nationalists coming out of the preservationist Sons of Confederate Veterans, has been having website issues, so they don’t really have the ability to make much of a public episode over it. The Traditionalist Youth Network, which was best known for their campus White Student Union projects, has deep ties to Southern Nationalism and the symbols there in. Matt Parrot, one of the least sensational of the crowd, noted that it would be impossible for people to differentiate between their work and that of the shooter.

“We’ve consistently renounced and rejected violence and hatred at every opportunity, but it honestly doesn’t matter. The American government, media, and academia refuse to distinguish between ourselves and Dylann Roof. For them, the fact that he had ideas similar to our own confirms that our ideas are evil and must be stamped out at all costs. America will willfully disregard the fact that terrorist violence knows no ideology. There are environmental terrorists, socialist terrorists, anarchist terrorists, religious terrorists, anti-religious terrorists, and an impressive list of anti-racist and anti-white terrorists in recent memory.

Dylann Roof falsely believed the lie that the ideology underlying White Advocacy necessarily entails violence. This is a lie which permeates our society, the belief that to be pro-white must necessarily entail being vehemently–even murderously–anti-minority. It doesn’t, but the ADL, the SPLC, the mainstream media, and the federal government have invested millions and millions in crystallizing this falsehood in the collective American mind; that the only way to promote White interests is with violence. A small minority of White Nationalists, many of them outright cranks and many of them surely government assets operating honeypots, also repeat this lie.

It is a lie, and it needs to be put to rest before more lives are lost.”

Matthew Heimbach, the more vocal Southern identitarian of the group, has been notably absent from this discourse, which may give evidence of person problems taking predominance.

It has been pretty well understood that the battle over the Confederate flag is one that has already been won in the minds of most Americans. For white nationalists, this would be a poor way to maintain their goals and a bad place to dig in their heels. But with those who have grave ties to Southern heritage, it is the only historical continuity that gives their sense of racial separatism any American legitimacy.

League of the South members with a microprotest.
League of the South members with a microprotest.

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, one of the many disaffiliated organizations trying to build themselves in the image of the 1920s Klan, has announced that they will be marching on the South Carolina statehouse in July. After stating that the flag is the wrong target and is a part of “white people’s culture” they set the date for July 18th where they will be calling for other white nationalists to join them in support. This is a unique stand, and one that is fitting for the kind of irrational, emotion-laden organizing the Klan is known for, and it will be difficult to image they get more than a couple dozen people out. And very few without their bed sheets.

Occidental Dissent, which does argue militant white revolution from a Southern Nationalist perspective, lists eight different rallies that have taken place. The Virginia/Maryland chapter of the League of the South did have a “rally” in support of the flag, though it looks like there were only a small handful of people. There are also micro actions in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, but with usually only a carload of Southern supporters, it is hard to think how they would look against the crowds ripping the flag off its pole.

For the rest of the crowd, they will certainly be flying the flag when tied to the South, but there will likely be a more quiet response. For the “alt right” and Dark Enlightenment crowd, American symbols are something to wholesale reject. For places like the CofCC, they know very clearly that they have much more to lose by jumping into the fight. What you can expect is massive Anti-Fascists actions at any even associated with this as the numbers are swelling against them. What could be a nice turn, and something we are seeing painted over monuments to Confederate generals, is that the Black Lives Matter branding and organizing will link up here and provide a lasting analysis of white supremacy in America. While these white nationalists are on the vanguard of restoring white privilege to its glory days, it is institutional racism that affects most People of Color’s lives on a daily basis. If the two issues can be united then this can be a powerful step in a movement to undo a history of white domination.