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
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.
Spoiler: the large, well-funded – and aging – “Zionist” Jewish institutions (ie, almost all of them) should embrace working with this new wave of younger, and largely anti-Zionist, Jewish radicals.
“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.”
Read the entire op-ed at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
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.
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.
“A large number of candidates with ties to the Far Right ran for office in the 2018 midterm elections, mostly as Republicans. They ranged from neonazis to mainstream Republicans who courted the Far Right for support.
This analysis looks at thirty-five candidates with documented Far Right ties. It found that eleven of them lost primaries, and twenty-four ran in the general election. While a number of candidates won their primaries, no non-incumbents with clear Far Right ties won office on the state or national level. And of the incumbents, only three were re-elected. At the same time, the Democrats re-took the U.S. House, breaking the Republican’s two-year domination of the Executive branch and both national legislative bodies. Clearly, 2018 showed that the electoral arena was not an avenue the Alt Right—or others on the Far Right—could use to advance political power. While Donald Trump gives their movement leverage, his surprise 2016 presidential victory has not translated into electoral successes for other candidates.”
Read the full analysis and election results at Political Research Associates.
The good people at Splinter did an interview with me recently. We talk about how many white people hold Alt Right-style views, the different organizing strategies that the Alt Right and Alt Lite use, and what everyday people can do to counter white nationalism.
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.”
Read the entire article at Truthout