“Far Right Monitors Anxious About Lingering Possibility of Post-Election Violence”

“Despite much concern over far right armed rallies and voter intimidation, the election has unfolded relatively peacefully. But those who monitor the far right do not believe we are out of the woods yet. Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud have the potential to convince his base that Joe Biden’s election is illegitimate, and to energize Trumpists into further action.

Last week, Trumpist crowds gathered outside some voting count locations, such as in Maricopa County, Arizona. But Saturday, rallies which had been planned in advance became even more aggressive after the announcement of Biden’s victory. In several cities, Proud Boys appeared after their leader, Enrique Tarrio, announced that “we’re rolling out. Standby order has been rescinded.” (Trump has previously told the notoriously violent group to “stand back and stand by!”) Violence predictably followed as Proud Boys showed up to rallies in Salem, Oregon, and Sacramento, California. Armed militias also came to a rally of 2,000 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which attempted to disrupt a pro-Biden gathering. But state authorities have intervened to stave off more serious violence. For example, in Philadelphia, which has been one of the contested hot spots, two men were arrested last week for possession of unpermitted firearms after police were tipped off about threats against the ballot-counting location.

How long this comparative level of calm will last, however, is not clear.”

Read the full article at Truthout

“Organizers Are Gearing Up to Resist Far Right Intimidation at Polls “

“As the election approaches, progressives are experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety. Of course, a major fear — beyond Trump winning — is that he will lose but refuse to step down. But far right intimidation at the polls themselves, as well as pre- and post-election violence, are also possibilities — and progressive organizers are making plans for all of these scenarios.”

Read the full article at Truthout

“Facebook Has Begun Purging Accounts Tied to Anti-Fascist Groups”

“On Wednesday a number of anarchist Facebook accounts, some of which were associated with the antifascist movement, were removed without warning. These included It’s Going Down — a widely followed news and media platform publishing original content and reprinted analyses about “anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements” — and the longstanding anarchist group CrimethInc, which describes itself as “a decentralized network pledged to anonymous collective action.” The removal of these anarchist accounts was part of a general purge, which also included many far right accounts, including those associated with paramilitaries and conspiracy theories that have inspired violence.

… This is the first time a coordinated removal of multiple U.S. anarchist and antifascist accounts has happened on Facebook. In addition to It’s Going Down (IGD) and the CrimethInc Ex-Workers Collective, banned accounts include the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, which has organized some of the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Portland, Oregon; Enough is Enough, a German anarchist news platform; various chapters of the John Brown Gun Club, an armed left-wing community defense group; a number of members of the anarchist think tank Center for a Stateless Society; and accounts for the radical musicians Sole, Time, and Calm.”

Read the entire article at Truthout

“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

“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

Read More »

“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

Spencer’s ISE talk on Decentralization: Libertarian Socialist vs Far-Right

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.)

 

“Trump Wants a Third Term: Could the Unimaginable Happen Here?”

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

“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.

You can download a free PDF here.

“Alt Right and Far Right Mobilization in 2018: A Timeline”

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.