I have a new op-ed in the JTA, which is a large Jewish wire service. It’s a reflection on the new wave of Jewish radical left groups, like Outlive Them NYC and RAYJ – Rebellious, Anarchist, Young Jews; the role of anti-zionism on the Left in general; generational rifts and the Jewish institutional crisis; and how the Jewish community as a whole can move forward while embracing its differences.
“It is an increasingly frightening time to be Jewish, even in the United States. The postwar taboo against anti-Semitism is collapsing, and this affects all Jews – regardless of their opinion on Zionism. The attackers in the Poway and Pittsburgh synagogues didn’t litmus-test their victims on Israel before murdering them.
Amid the impulses to assimilation, this new wave of radicals are among the small number of Jews who are actively seeking to retain and nourish Jewish culture. And, even though they are born out of the anti-Zionist community, which has been excluded from mainstream Jewish life, some of the groups – especially Outlive Them – are throwing a line out to the mainstream.
The mainstream Jewish community should grab this rope. After all, there are no shortage of opinions among Jews. There is no reason that Zionism and anti-Zionism – like secular identity versus religious observance, Hebrew versus Ladino language, and Ashkenazi versus Sephardic liturgy – should not just be another difference within a tradition that has retained cohesion even after several millennia of communal disagreements.”
I have a new piece up at Truthout, roleplaying the possibility of Trump trying to serve more than two terms. At what point would he actually attempt this, and what might happen in response?
“Donald Trump’s contempt for democracy and open sympathy for authoritarianism are visible in his recent comments about serving longer than he is legally allowed to. On June 16, 2019, he tweeted that his supporters might “demand that I stay longer” than two terms.
In fact, Trump has variously suggested that he should get two extra years as a consolation prize for the Russia investigation, that he will serve up to five terms, and that he will indeed only serve two…..
Some have responded to Trump’s latest statements on term limits by speculating about his mental state or making comparisons to Hitler. A more interesting approach might be to role-play several scenarios in which Trump actually does try to unconstitutionally break the term limits. These scenarios, of course, are a game of speculation, but they are instructive: Given the unpredictability of the Trump presidency and its anti-democratic actions thus far, it’s important to consider what ‘staying longer’ would truly entail.”
I have a couple new projects that have launched.
The first is that I have set up a Patreon. If you enjoy my work, I strongly encourage you to make a monthly financial contribution to help make this work possible. Patrons will get exclusive monthly content, as well as freebies!
Second, I also have an e-newsletter, the Sonnenschein Report. This will come over every month to notify you about important new publications, as well as urgent activist appeals for mutual aid.
I have a new peer-reviewed journal article (my first!), which I co-authored with Chip Berlet: “Rural Rage: The Roots of Right-Wing Populism in the United States.” This analysis of the U.S. Patriot movement is part of the “Forum on Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World” published by the Journal of Peasant Studies. It includes 243 endnotes, if that’s your kinda thing, and there is free journal access to the entire forum for the rest of 2019.
I did a short interview with Its Going Down about the meaning of the Christchurch massacre and how we should respond.
“IGD: What are the main takeaways from the massacre in New Zealand?
Spencer Sunshine: Unfortunately these attacks are depressingly common, but here are some thoughts:
1) While our hearts go out to New Zealand’s Muslim community, we shouldn’t look at this as not just targeting them—just as we can’t look at the 2018 Pittsburgh massacre as just targeting Jews or 2015 Charleston massacre as only targeting the black community. Nazis and other White Nationalists target a huge range of people, including: black folks and all other people of color; religious minorities, including Muslims & Sikhs; both religious and secular Jews; feminists; immigrants and refugees; Communists, socialists, and anarchists; antifascists; LGBTQ people; interracial couples—as well as anyone who stands in their way or stands up to them, including white, Christian, cis-het men. They are at war with almost everybody in our communities. Here, truly, and injury to one is an injury to all.”
Read the entire interview at It’s Going Down
What will happen to the U.S. neo-Nazi movement if its largest party collapses?
“For the first time in decades, it is possible that there will be no U.S. neo-Nazi party large enough to hold public rallies. In a story worthy of a plot-twisting HBO special, Black civil rights activist James Stern convinced the leader of the largest U.S. neo-Nazi party, the National Socialist Movement (NSM), to officially make him their president in order to help protect the party from a lawsuit. Afterward, he said, ‘As a Black man, I took over a neo-Nazi group and outsmarted them,’ and that he intends to dismantle the group from within.
The NSM is important for opponents of the far right to watch because it is the largest open neo-Nazi group in the United States. As such, it is the furthest stop for a public, organized group on the right wing of the political spectrum. And after the 2018 collapse of the Traditionalist Worker Party, another large fascist party, the NSM has been the only neo-Nazi group able to hold public demonstrations of even a moderate size.”
Read the entire article at Truthout
My extensive timeline, with a summary, of U.S. Alt Right and related Far Right activity imn 2018 is now up!
“While 2018 was not the banner year that 2017 was for the Alt Right and others on the Far Right, it was still a period of intense activity.
The Alt Right’s winning streak, which started in 2016, ended ingloriously in March 2018 with the collapse of one of its largest groups after a sex scandal, coupled with the cancellation of Richard Spencer’s failing college lecture tour. The movement has been in the doldrums since. Some Alt Lite groups—including Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer, but especially the Proud Boys—had an unexpected comeback earlier in the year between the spring and fall.
In addition a large number of Far Right candidates, ranging from neonazis to veterans of armed Patriot movement occupations, entered the Republican primaries. Some advanced to the November general election. The one-year anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville rally appeared to be a peak month of action for the Far Right, with many groups feeling the taboo against public demonstrations had expired. But the action that attained the most visibility, the Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington, DC, was a dismal failure.”
See the full timeline and summary at Political Research Associates.