“Blaming it on Antifa: Trump’s Crisis Scapegoats”

Here’s my analysis of the protests and who Trump’s scapegoating of antifa plays into it. The U.S. Right is deeply afraid of is the growing, multi-racial rebellion against the white supremacist system. As the revolt spreads into small towns and even conservative areas, politicians and police chiefs are worried not just of losing control of the streets – but of their political legitimacy altogether.

The year 2020 has been filled with wild plot twists, from the Coronavirus pandemic to a national uprising against white supremacy in the United States.

One of the strangest twists has been the anti-fascist movement being thrust back into the spotlight.

This is because President Donald Trump has scapegoated Antifa and anarchists for fomenting what is, in reality, a spontaneous-but-African American-led rebellion against white supremacist policing, the likes of which the country has not seen in decades.Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 8.21.08 AM

The rebellion is so powerful it is approaching the riots that rocked American cities in the 1960s.

In the last week, Trump has taken to blaming Antifa” and anarchists” for the violence and looting. This is actually occurring, albeit on a much smaller scale than the right-wing media portrays.

While activists from both movements are involved in the protests, overall they are rather minor players. If these activists were removed from the streets, the protests would look essentially the same.”

Read the full article at The Battleground.eu

“The Anti-Black and Anti-Semitic History of ‘Outside Agitators'”

Today I did an interview with It’s Going Down about the Right’s history of scapegoating Jews and radical Left groups as the puppet-masters behind black liberation struggles.

With everyone from Trump, to media pundits, to fake “ANTIFA” accounts run by the far-Right, to state Governors repeating conspiracy theories and false information about “who is behind” the recent rebellion in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, we thought it would be a good time to discuss the history associated with the trope of the “outside agitator.”Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 11.23.27 PM

While this term in itself comes from police and KKK members who attacked participants in the civil rights movement, the racist ideology behind black freedom struggles being associated with “communism” and being led by “Jews,” goes back even farther. Wanting to know more, we reached out to Spencer Sunshine, a long-time researcher of far-Right movements.

IGD: Why does the far-Right spread ideas that Black people have no agency over their own struggles and somehow need be guided and directed by outside forces? What do they gain by advancing such a narrative?

Even when these ideas are laundered by more mainstream conservatives like FOX News or espoused by right-wingers who are Jewish and/or people of color, they emerge originally from anti-Semitic white supremacist narratives. This is important because these claims fundamentally reflect those assumptions.

Read the full interview at It’s Going Down

Youtube video: “Is it Antisemitic to Call Landlords ‘Parasites’?”

So in May 2020 I started a new Youtube channel. It includes links to different videos of me, going to back to my visit to the armed occupation of the Malheur Refuge in 2016 in Oregon. I have also started making new videos; my first one explains the potential problems one can get into if you call landlords “parasites.” To understand this, I explain the links between antisemitism (and the Far Right), and what is called the “producerist” narrative, as well as the technique of personification.

“How the US far right eggs the plague on”

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 5.52.14 PM.pngI have a short overview up at Toward Freedom on how the Far Right is fulling the increasingly unhinged pro-plague rallies across the U.S.

“The Thursday, April 30 armed demonstration inside of the Minnesota state legislature shows increasing level of unhinged reactions the far right is having to state government attempts to counteract the Covid-19 pandemic. The Lansing, Michigan protest featured members of the Michigan Liberty Militia. (Bringing the weapons in was technically legal because of the state’s lax gun laws.) Some state senators were so fearful they donned bulletproof vests. The state guard had to step in to stop the armed far rightists from forcing their way onto the legislative floor.

This is just the latest in a series of protests which have been ongoing in the United States since early April against the Covid-19 quarantine measures. While some kind of chaffing at the restrictions is to be expected, the rallies are almost entirely run by far right activists, including armed militias, and white nationalists are frequently sighted in attendance.

Wealthy conservatives started the protests, and they have have been egged on —at least in states where there is a Democratic governor— by President Donald Trump. Now the protests are using increasingly inflammatory rhetoric as firearms are seen at them more and more often.”

Read the full article at Toward Freedom

“The Long Arm of the American Nazi Party Reaches the 2020 Illinois Primary”

“Republicans voting on Tuesday in Illinois’s 3rd congressional district primary will get to decide if they want Art Jones, a lifelong white supremacist, to be their candidate. The state’s GOP is actively campaigning against him. They are still embarrassed that Jones was their 2018 candidate, after the party had forgotten to field a primary opponent to ensure that he wasn’t their candidate in the general election in a strongly Democratic district. And later that year, despite ample publicity of his views, Jones received 57,000 votes (26 percent) in the general election.

But Jones, and his perennial campaigns, are not a random product of one man’s idiosyncratic commitment to bigotry. Rather, they are the direct result of neo-Nazi activity in Chicago, and Illinois more broadly, which goes back to the 1960s. These have included Nazi-led rallies which have drawn thousands, as well as electoral campaigns which have also produced unusually high outcomes.

The continuing influence of neo-Nazi organizing, a half-century after its heyday, should be a warning about the “alt-right. Even though its influence is subsiding, we should be prepared for the thousands of young adults who’ve become white nationalists through the movement to remain politically active for decades. The alt-right has created a new generation of racist activists, breathing fresh life into what previously was a moribund movement.”

Read the full article at Truthout

“Smokescreen: How Timber Unity has mainstreamed militia groups, Alt Right, and conspiracy theories in Oregon politics”

Since its launch in June 2019, Timber Unity has become a major political force in Oregon, with many on the right looking to it as the future of conservative politics in the state, and the GOP has eagerly embraced it. But Timber Unity wildly misrepresents itself as having mainstream politics. From its inception, it has attracted a range of Far Right supporters who are visible and vocal in the movement. Timber Unity rallies have repeatedly included militias, QAnon followers, advocates of “Constitutional Sheriffs,” anti-vaxxers, and Islamophobes.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE REPORT AS A PDF

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March 10, NYC: “Why the Far Right Kills” with Chip Berlet and Talia Lavin

Mar 10 copy.jpgWhy the Far Right Kills”

Tuesday, March 10, 7PM
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 15 West 16th Street, NYC

Free, but please register online.

Co-sponsored by  LaGuardia Community College Social Science Department and Routledge

The October 2018 massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, committed by a Far Right activist, was the most lethal assault on Jews on U.S. soil in history. It was followed by attacks on synagogues in Poway, California and Halle, Germany. The Far Right has also massacred Latinos in El Paso, Texas, as well as Muslims and Arabs in Christchurch, New Zealand and Hanau, Germany. In fact, the postwar Far Right has killed thousands of people. Why is this political faction, compared to others, so violent—and what drives them to kill again and again?

Researcher Chip Berlet, who has investigated the Far Right for forty years, will explain how the movement’s internal dynamic drives its participants into homicidal outbursts. Berlet will discuss the Far Right’s themes of demonization, scapegoating, conspiracism and apocalypticism with journalist Talia Lavin, and they will offer their perspectives on how to deal with this toxic social current.


About the Speakers

Chip Berlet, an investigative journalist and independent scholar who has studied Far Right movements and conspiracy theories for over forty years, including three decades as senior analyst at the think tank Political Research Associates. Berlet is the co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (Guilford, 2000), and his new book is Trumping Democracy From Reagan to the Alt-Right (Routledge, 2019). He is also the co-author of the “Neo-Nazism” entry in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, and has written for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, and many other publications.

Talia Lavin is a freelance writer and researcher based in Brooklyn with bylines in GQ, The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the New Republic. Her forthcoming book about the Far Right online, Culture Warlords: Dispatches from the Dark Web of White Supremacy, will come out on Hachette Books in October 2020.

“Far Right Groups Are Rallying Virginia Counties to Form Militias”

“An estimated 22,000 people attended the rally against looming gun restrictions in Virginia yesterday in the state capital of Richmond. The week leading up to it was filled with warnings of potential violence, wild conspiracy theories, threats against lawmakers, and indications that white supremacist groups would attend. Three neo-Nazis were arrested before the event for threats related to it, and the governor passed an emergency decree banning guns inside the rally due to threats. After the buildup, the rally itself was anticlimactic; there were no incidents and only a single arrest. But the events have energized the Patriot movement and militia groups to encourage the formation of new, armed political forms in rural Virginia counties, many of which have vowed to reject the gun restrictions.”

Read the full article at Truthout

“Far Right Movements Suffered Big Losses in 2019. But They Are Far From Defeated.”

As in past years, I did a year-end wrap-up of of the US Far Right. From massacres to lawsuits, this year – like past ones – had it all.

“The U.S. far right continued to be very active in 2019. The good news is that, surveying their actions for the year, those far rightists outside of the GOP have had less growth and street presence than in 2018. Doxxing, lawsuits, a loss in interest from conservatives and state repression have all taken their toll. The far right’s boom years of 2016 and 2017 are starting to fade away, but it remains an energized movement. The white nationalist wing was still far more active in 2019 than it was for almost two decades, since its last boom period in the 1990s until its recent revival. Meanwhile, the most militant part of it has crystallized into a neo-Nazi, pro-terrorism faction.”

Read the complete article at Truthout.