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I’m back on the Last Born in the Wilderness podcast, talking with host Patrick Farnsworth about what the Alt Right is up to these days, the Proud Boys gang attack in NYC, and what kind of preparations we should be making as the U.S. continues to spiral into a racist delirium.
In the light of the bombings of liberal figures, racist murder of two black folks, and the massacre in the Tree of Life synagogue, I argue that we must pressure mainstream groups to cut off the oxygen to the Far Right. There are three approaches we should focus on:
“One, the mainstream must push back against the demonizing and conspiratorial language used by Trump and others. Mass media outlets must stop allowing themselves to be a conduit for Trump’s lies (and, in some cases, stop actively working to promote them), and cease allowing the spread of demonizing and bigoted ideas in general. For example: Twitter could remove Trump for violating its terms of service, but it simply lacks the will. USA Today had no obligation to print a recent Trump op-ed on Medicare that was filled with lies.
Two, we must push mainstream conservatives to break links with the more extreme members of their party. For example, on October 12, a Manhattan GOP club hosted “alt-right” figure Gavin McInnes. This bigot has had a long career of openly calling for violence, and afterwards, his followers (at least one of whom was at Charlottesville) engaged in a gang-style, 30-on-3 attack against counterprotesters. This powerful GOP club in a posh neighborhood should be held accountable for bringing in violent actors.
Three, we must pressure digital companies to remove content in order to burst the echo chambers where far right activists have their views reinforced and are egged on to violence. The many instances where content is removed after violence shows that outside pressure is effective in forcing platforms to do it.”
I have a short piece about the racist mob attacks in Chemnitz, Germany; the similarities between the Alt Lite and the German Islamophobic party AfD; and what this may mean for the U.S.
“A sudden surge of anti-immigrant mob attacks in eastern Germany has renewed fears of another wave of xenophobic violence like the one that swept the country in the early 1990s. The most recent spate of violence began on August 26, after the arrest of two men—one from Iraq and one from Syria—following a murder of a 35-year-old man during a street festival in the city of Chemnitz caused an angry right-wing mob of 1,000 to rampage through the city, hunting down and attacking foreigners. The next day, 6,000 people gathered for a second far-right march, giving Hitler salutes and chanting anti-immigrant slogans, and overwhelmed police.”
What the is the future for the Alt Right and Alt Lite, especially for their street-fighting wings?
“One year after the deadly fascist-led rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the U.S. Alt Right is stumbling to regain its footing. Only a small number of White Nationalists came to Washington, DC rally for a rally on the one-year anniversary. While this doesn’t represent the movement’s strength, the public backlash against the Alt Right has significantly damaged it, and it has been unable to regain its former position. However, the more moderate wing of the movement, the so-called ‘Alt Lite,’ is in far better shape—both in its political orientation and strength in the street.”
My new guide, “40 Ways to Fight Nazis: Forty Community-Based Actions You Can Take to Resist White Nationalist Organizing” has just been published by SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice).
It outlines forty legal actions—the majority of which are available to people of all backgrounds, identities, and skill levels—which help to contain and neutralize White Nationalist organizing, as well as the damage it inﬂicts to communities.
The guide is availble as a 10-page document, and a 2-page summary that you can hand out at rallies and events.
I have a new article (my first in English since April!) up at Colorlines about the future of U.S. Far Right street demonstrations on the even of the anniversary of Charlottesville:
“After retreating into relative silence, the so-called alt-right and its allies returned to organized street protesting this past weekend. The August 4 and 5 rallies in Arizona, California, Oregon and Rhode Island are set to culminate in Unite the Right 2, an August 12 gathering in Washington D.C. The rally will mark the one-year anniversary of the White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that claimed the life of White anti-racist activist Heather Heyer.”
“Twenty-three years ago, on April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a powerful homemade truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The death toll reached 168, and about 850 were injured. McVeigh’s act was retribution against the federal government for its attacks on the paramilitary Far Right. Looking back, the bombing apparently forced changes in how armed Far Right insurgents are treated by the federal government—a change which may have led to the hands-off policy against armed encampments led by the Bundy family in Nevada in 2014, and Oregon in 2016. Today, the Bundys walk free. One of them, Ryan Bundy, has announced he will run for Nevada governor. But do they owe their freedom, celebrity, and success to McVeigh’s murderous attack?”