5 Years After Charlottesville, We Can See Its Legacy in January 6 Violence

“On August 12, 2017, the largest fascist-led rally in the United States in many decades was held in Charlottesville, Virginia. What happened shocked the country out of its complacency about how right-wing politics were unfolding under then-President Donald Trump, and foretold the years of far right violence to come. Charlottesville’s effects still reverberate today, both on those who were present and in local and national politics. And there is a direct line from that rally to the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Tactically, there is obviously no shortage of examples of the kind of violence seen at Unite the Right in the country’s history. But militant movements don’t arise out of thin air, and they almost always need to have some previous actions to motivate themselves and get everything into alignment. Charlottesville stood out because, for the first time since the turn of the century, this kind of violence was seen so brazenly at a large, far right public demonstration. What Gais called “a disavowal of traditional politics and the democratic process, combined with decentralized violence” was the door that Charlottesville opened at the beginning of Trump’s administration. January 6 was what walked through at the end.”

Read the full article at Truthout

(For those interested, the article I wrote directly after Charlottesville can be found here.)

New Series: Asking “Five Questions”

I am running a new series on my Patreon called “Five Questions.” Each month, I ask these to a variety of people who have knowledge of, experience with, and insights into the Far Right. The interviews are exclusive for supporters at first, but after a month I de-paywall them. So here are what’s open access so far.

2022

February: Dakota Adams
What’s it like to be the son of one of the most notorious militia leaders?

March: Kelly Weill
What did you learn about Flat Earthers by writing a book about them?

April: Shannon Foley Martinez
What is it like to help racists and fascists get away from those politics?

May: Daryle Lamont Jenkins

June: Ana Bochicchio

White Supremacist Massacre in Buffalo Shows “Alt-Right” Ideology Leads to Murder

On Saturday, a white supremacist walked into a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, and opened fire. He killed ten people and wounded three others; eleven of his victims were Black. The horrific attack showed the influence of other massacres by the terrorist wing of the “alt-right” that took place during the Trump presidency. The conspiratorial ideology of these attacks, once fringe, now can be found in the mainstream right wing. They also fit within the much longer history of anti-Black lynchings and white supremacist violence that have been occurring for centuries.

Six similar far right attacks killed 86 people in 2018 and 2019. Their intended targets were Muslims (51 killed in Christchurch, New Zealand), Latino immigrants (23 in El Paso) and Jews (including 11 in Pittsburgh). The Christchurch massacre set up a template that other white supremacists have followed: writing a lengthy manifesto and placing it on an online platform associated with the alt-right before the violence, and then livestreaming the attack.

read the complete article at Truthout

From the Archives: “Dark Days Ahead” (2016)

I wrote this on the morning after the 2016 election, November 9. I had just finished a 10+ city speaking tour of Germany, got on a plane to London on election day, landed and took a train to Brighton, and then fell asleep as results were coming in—figuring that finding out in the late evening or the next morning was all the same. It was not a good morning. The German paper Jungle World asked me for my reflections, and I quickly dashed this off over coffee.

At some point it disappeared from the interwebs, but i was always curious if it held up, and I finally found the original in my Sent folder. In retrospect, it’s just creepy.

Dark Days Ahead

The election of racist demagogue Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency—in the face of  all of pre-election polls—has sent a shock wave through the left-leaning parts of the country. Coupled with what looks like A Republican domination of the Congress, which will allow Trump to appoint the empty Supreme Court seat , dark days are indeed ahead for the U.S. Left.

Trump was able to channel the social anxieties of his largely white base by deploying techniques of demonization and scapegoating against a number of minority groups (especially Muslims and undocumented immigrants), coupled with his support for protectionist trade policies and vague promises to revive industrial production and national glory. The fact that he may lose the total national popular vote—possible because of the U.S. electoral system’s state-by-state, winner-take-all structure—is a poor consolation. Trump has shown that, in these uncertain times, a rich man with a gift for improvisation, a certain kind of charisma, and a complete lack of ethics can indeed talk his way into leading a global superpower. Lacking a coherent political outlook and with a poor grasp of international politics, Trump will undoubtedly appoint conservative advisors, some of whom may be tied to the white nationalist movement, to craft his administration.

The U.S. Left, from militant anti-fascists to Democrats, has made no plans for this outcome. Whether Trump attempts  to implement his more outlandish promises—to register Muslims and build a wall on the Mexican border—will probably be seen in his first 100 days. With a Republican federal government, it also remains to be seen if the judiciary will be able to uphold the rule of law in the face of a president who has called to jail his opponent and has expressed only contempt for civil rights, democracy, and common decency. If that fails, we see shortly if Trump will merely be a figurehead for an especially racist conservative government, or if he truly will make moves towards establishing authoritarian state power, as many on the Left have claimed is his intention.

Amazon’s Still Selling Lots of Nazi Books

Amazon will bring almost anything to your door in a day. Despite numerous exposés, that still includes Nazi books running the gauntlet from “classic” tomes of Hitler-era Germany to standard post-war white supremacist texts up through alt-right writers. … Many classics of Nazi Germany are available, not from scholarly presses with appropriate framing but from racist publishers. Neo-Nazis can enjoy A New Nobility of Blood and Soil by Walther Darré, the Nazi regime’s agriculture minister, or the works of the Nazi economist Gottfried Feder. Those who prefer what’s described as “one of the most highly prized books of the Aryan home” can order The Yearly Celebrations and Life in the SS Family. It has a five-star rating and free shipping with Prime.

Read the fill article at the Daily Beast

Subpoenas Could Show Trump Admin’s Link to Openly White Supremacist ‘Groypers’

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol takeover have subpoenaed a wide variety of people, from Trump officials to grassroots activists. And on January 19, 2022, two more were called: Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, the leaders of the “Groyper” movement, a white supremacist outgrowth of the “alt-right.” Fuentes believes that “genocide” is being committed against white people, and rails against immigration, the “LGBTQ agenda” and feminism. While relatively minor characters on the national stage, Fuentes and Casey are important to know about for three reasons.

The first is that the Groypers are one of the more successful groups among the openly white supremacist wing of the alt-right, and they have been able to attract mainstream support. The second is if Fuentes and Casey “were involved in the planning and coordination of the January 6 attack … it would show tight collaboration between true white supremacists and the former administration,” according to Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. Third, the committee specifically pointed out that Fuentes and Casey had “received tens of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin from a French computer programmer.” Calling for — and then cheering on — the takeover of the Capitol after receiving foreign funding would put them in a different category than many of the other involved groups which seem to lack foreign financial connections.

Read the full article at Truthout

U.S. Far Right Wrap-up for 2021

Every year I do a year-end wrap-up of the U.S. Far Right. So here’s what’s happened in 2021 and let’s all hope for a lot less from them in 2022! (Links below for past years)

“Even With Trump Out of Office, the Far Right Continued to Mobilize in 2021”

Although Donald Trump has been out of power for nearly a year, the far right in the United States is still going strong. The January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol was easily the year’s most important event, and its fallout has, in many ways, defined 2021. Arrests, lawsuits and congressional hearings are still ongoing.

Even without Trump’s tweets to guide them, the far right failed to collapse, as many had hoped. Excepting a gruesome mass murder in Denver, Colorado, at the year’s end, the bulk of right-wing violence has been committed by the politically moderate Trumpists, as opposed to open white supremacists — its traditional perpetrators. The Proud Boys have continued their campaign of violence. A split in the Republican Party between the moderates and the Trumpists has likewise failed to emerge. In fact, the latter have arguably only increased their grip on the party. Right-wing conspiracy theories also continue to mutate and gain popularity, especially those about COVID-19.

Read the full article at Truthout.

Past Years
2020 Wrap-up
2019 Wrap-up
2018 Wrap-up
2017 Wrap-up


Online panel: “Nazism, Neo-Nazism and Music”

On November 17, 2021 I hosted my last online panel for a while at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. It’s now available online, so if you missed it here’s your opportunity to check it out at your leisure.

All political movements use music, and National Socialism is no exception. Both Hitler’s Nazis and postwar neo-Nazis have used different kinds of music in various ways. This panel will explore how German Nazis used music to help facilitate mass murder during the Holocaust, as well as how neo-Nazism became entangled with various music-based subcultural scenes and their connections with political organizations. From the NSDAP to the American Nazi Party’s record label, to the Nazi skinhead movement, to NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal) and even fascist reggae, this panel will document and reflect on how, why, and in what ways National Socialism has come to be tied to various musical forms.

This panel is moderated by researcher, writer, and activist Spencer Sunshine and features Luca Signorelli (author of L’Estetica Del Metallaro), Shannon Foley Martinez (consultant for American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab), Kirsten Dyck (author of Reichsrock: The International Web of White-Power and Neo-Nazi Hate Music), and Edward B. Westermann (author of Drunk on Genocide: Alcohol and Mass Murder in Nazi Germany).

A Festschrift for Chip Berlet

Exposing the Right and Fighting for Democracy:
Celebrating Chip Berlet as Journalist and Scholar

Exposing the Right and Fighting for Democracy: Chip Berlet as Journalist and Scholar, which I co-edited with Pam Chamberlain, Matthew N. Lyons and Abby Scher, has just been released by Routledge. This festschrift—a collection of essays in honor of a scholar, often done at the end of their career—includes an all-star cast of scholars, activists, and of course Chip Berlet’s friends.

Chip has researched, written about, and organized against fascists and the Far Right for four decades, co-founding a think tank dedicated to this, and influencing hundreds, if not thousands, of people along the way.

Although I had already done activism and research on fascists and antisemites, Chip (as he is known to one and all) was the one who encouraged me to get more deeply involved in the work. He solicited from me, and then convinced his think tank, to publish my first major article on this subject in 2008. Later I ended up as a Fellow at that organization.

But more than that, over the intervening years Chip has been a resource and a friend. I’ve asked him for advice many times, and we have done talks together, even co-authoring a journal article. But at the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chip was forced to retire for health reasons. It is with great sadness that the journal article we did together turned out to be his last, and furthermore two talks I booked for him in March 2020 ended up being his final public appearances.

Although I already had written about the Far Right and have a different approach, Chip is the closest thing to a mentor I have had. And in appreciation for him, I and three others—two others who had worked at the think tank, Abby Scher and Pam Chamberlain, as well as Matthew Lyons, the co-author of Chip’s magnum opus, Right-Wing Populism in America—assembled this festschrift together. Chip has been such a mensch over so many years to so many people that our solicitations received an incredible response. Almost everyone we asked, no matter how famous or busy they were, contributed a piece. Indeed, Chip is one of the only people who can be said to have influenced everyone from the militant antifascist movement to the U.S. Justice Department, and this anthology reflects that. The articles themselves range in length from a paragraph to full-length essays. They include both personal and political stories about Chip, analyses of his work, and essays on the Right which are dedicated to him.

I encourage everyone to buy this book, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed working with Chip.

Exposing the Right and Fighting for Democracy: Celebrating Chip Berlet as Journalist and Scholar
Edited By Pam Chamberlain, Matthew N. Lyons, Abby Scher, and Spencer Sunshine

Part I: The Early Years
Part II: Analysis
Part III: Practice
Part IV: Legacy

Read More »

40 Maneras de Luchar contra los Fascistas

40 Maneras: Zine formateado para impresión
40 Maneras: Lee en linea como PDF

40 Maneras de Luchar contra los Fascistas: Tácticas Legales Callejeras para Activistas Comunitarios

Edición original: agosto de 2018
Edición revisada: agosto de 2020

Edición en español: mayo de 2021
Gracias a Eberhardt Press por la impresión y el diseño inicial

CONTENIDO

I. COMO COMENZAR
1. Más información sobre los movimientos de extrema derecha
2. Encuentra colaboradores
3. Preste atención a la extrema derecha local

II. TOMAR ACCIÓN
4. Publica tu investigación
5. Eliminar y reemplazar la propaganda de extrema derecha
6. Impulsar a grupos públicos para que se opongan al fascismo
7. Dificulta que se reúnan los grupos de extrema derecha
8. Refuta sus mentiras
9. Utilice el sistema judicial
10. Exponer a los fascistas en casa y en el trabajo
11. Tumbar al fascismo en las redes sociales
12. Evita que la extrema derecha ataque a eventos de gente progresista
13. Genere brechas entre individuos y grupos de extrema derecha
14. Encuentra nuevos colaboradores
15. Organizar recorridos de bares antirracistas
16. Ayude a los fascistas a salirse de esos grupos

III. SE PROACTIVO
17. Envía tu mensaje primero
18. Desarrolla programas educativos
19. Celebra eventos conmemorativos
20. Haz un espectáculo
21. Organizar cursos de formación y ferias de recursos
22. Forma un equipo de respuesta a emergencias
23. Recluta a personas tempranamente y con frecuencia
24. Recauda fondos antes de que lo necesites

IV. CONTRAMANIFESTARSE
25. Ganar el apoyo de la opinión pública
26. Impulsar a los funcionarios locales para que hagan lo correcto
27. Organizar contramanifestaciones
28. Presiona a los establecimientos comerciales y de alquiler locales para que no traten con fascistas
29. Documente sus manifestaciones
30. No te quedes en desventaja
31. Avisa quiénes son los fascistas y llama a tus amig@s y colegas

V. DAR APOYO
32. Apoyar a las personas amenazadas
33. Establecer un lugar seguro
34. Ayude a las familias de las víctimas
35. Ayuda a lxs heridxs
36. Apoyar a lxs que son blancos de la ley
37. Apoyar a lxs activistas encarcelados
38. Advertir a las personas amenazadas
39. Dar publicidad a las amenazas y los ataques
40. Apoyar a las comunidades que rechazan el reclutamiento fascista

Extra: Demostrar una visión política mas amplia

Apéndice:
Recursos

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