“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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“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

“We didn’t need more evidence — Richard Spencer has always been anti-Semitic”

JTA was very kind to give me a short op-ed on the new Richard Spencer leaks. I ask: Why do Americans go to such extraordinary lengths to deny that we have a White Supremacist movement? Especially since millions of American have belonged to organized racist groups, and they have killed thousands of people.

Read the op-ed at Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).

“Arrest of Daniel McMahon Suggests That the Feds Are Finally Taking White Nationalism Seriously”

“A White supremacist was arrested in Florida in mid-September for making online threats against Black city council candidate in Charlottesville, Virginia. To casual observers this looked like a singular arrest in Trump’s America. But experts who watch the militant end of the fascist movement—including myself—are paying close attention to the fate of Daniel McMahon, 31. The arrest comes after the Department of Homeland Security finally affirmed the threat of “racially based violent extremism.”

McMahon, a self-proclaimed fascist whose online aliases include “Jack Corbin” and “Pale Horse,” harassed progressive activists for years. He specialized in terrorizing women and attacked people of color, LGBTQ people, feminists, Jews and antifascist activists.”

McMahon was a prolific poster on Gab, which is, essentially, a racist version of Twitter. There, concerning one woman of color, he said, “Fuck that wetback. Too bad the ICE Agent didn’t shove his fist up her cunt and rip out her womb.” On Discord, a chat platform designed for online gamers that White supremacists frequently use for internal communications, he said a “white girl with a ni**er” was “beastilaty” [sic]. On Gab he also wrote, “It’s impossible to rape a female Leftist, because they are so slutty they will sleep with everyone.” He has also been obsessed with me for years; in one of his less profane posts on Gab, he called me the “most evil Jew in the USA.””

Read the entire story at Colorlines

“El Paso Blood Is on the Hands of Everyone Who Has Scapegoated Migrants”

The list of known victims of the El Paso massacre, as of August 5, 2019. Source: @SamTLevin.

“The far right in the United States changes its look every few years, cycling through hoods, shaved heads and boots, polo shirts and fashy haircuts, and even three-piece suits. But one thing remains constant: Its bigotry and scapegoating drive its followers to kill. And they do so again and again.

The slaughter of 22 people in an El Paso, Texas, Wal-Mart on Saturday was a dramatic example of this trend. It was the largest massacre by a single, open white nationalist in recent history. …

Trump is the gasoline for this explosion of murder, while 8chan — and other ideological white nationalists — are merely the match. …

We all need to take a role in the fight against the far right and its violence. This fight requires antifa activists doxxing and pressuring fascist propagandists, and it also requires everyday people speaking against the stoking of fear and resentment against scapegoated groups. We all need to take action because it’s abundantly clear that the government is not going to do this for us.”

Read the full op-ed at Truthout

 

“Antifa Panic”

I have a piece in the new European publication, The Battleground, about the attempts by Senator Ted Cruz and Donald “Cheeto Mussolini” Trump to get the federal goverment treat antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. It also looks at how the German antifa movement influenced the evolution of their US cousins as Anti-Racist Action wound down, and a new generation of antifascist activists arose.

“The United States is having its third wave of “Antifa panic” in as many years. Donald Trump’s 27 July tweet called for Antifa—short for antifascist activists—to be declared “a major Organization of Terror”.

This produced a pushback, especially in Germany, sending #IchbinAntifa trending on social media.

Antifa is not an organisation at all, but a decentralised, leaderless movement that opposes fascism and the far-right. Although most of its work is legal and non-violent, the movement is best known for occasional street fights with extremists.

Recently in the US, Antifa has become a bogeyman among conservatives, like 1950s anti-Communism.”

Read the full article at The Battleground

“Rural rage: the roots of right-wing populism in the United States” (with Chip Berlet)

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.

 

The Implications of the Christchurch Massacre

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