I 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
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.
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“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
The Institution for Social Ecology (ISE), founded by Murray Bookckin, recently hosted me on a panel at their 2019 annual gathering. I spoke about experiences I had working against the Patriot/militia movement in Oregon in 2015 and 2016, who were espousing a program of Far Right decentralization. This posed special challenges to left-wing decentralists — like social ecologists and anarchists.
My presentation lasts about 20 minutes, and it starts around right after the 30:00 mark.
(I answer some questions too, and around 1:38:20 i explain some of the intricacies of cattle ranching politics, which i found fascinating.)
I have a new piece up at Truthout, roleplaying the possibility of Trump trying to serve more than two terms. At what point would he actually attempt this, and what might happen in response?
“Donald Trump’s contempt for democracy and open sympathy for authoritarianism are visible in his recent comments about serving longer than he is legally allowed to. On June 16, 2019, he tweeted that his supporters might “demand that I stay longer” than two terms.
In fact, Trump has variously suggested that he should get two extra years as a consolation prize for the Russia investigation, that he will serve up to five terms, and that he will indeed only serve two…..
Some have responded to Trump’s latest statements on term limits by speculating about his mental state or making comparisons to Hitler. A more interesting approach might be to role-play several scenarios in which Trump actually does try to unconstitutionally break the term limits. These scenarios, of course, are a game of speculation, but they are instructive: Given the unpredictability of the Trump presidency and its anti-democratic actions thus far, it’s important to consider what ‘staying longer’ would truly entail.”
Read the full article at Truthout
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.
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.”
Read the full article at Toward Freedom
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.”
Read the full article at Colorlines