A number of progressive organizers have portrayed the fascist wing of the Alt Right, and related White Nationalists, as a merely a condensed form of the usual White supremacy in the United States. I explain why this is a mistaken perception of their political views, and why this matters in formulating strategies of resistance.
“The new wave of avowed White nationalists who have been energized by Donald Trump—most prominently the Alt Right—have held demonstrations across the United States, most famously in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. Progressive activists have struggled to conceptualize and oppose the movement, and there have been a variety of different responses to it. However, some of these responses show a deep misunderstanding by progressives of what the Alt Right and other White nationalists believe. To misunderstand the multifaceted politics of fascism—and in particular, to ignore antisemitism—is to fail to comprehend the motivations and actions of the Alt Right and other White nationalists. It can also create a situation in which those who are targeted are left to fend off their would-be oppressors without solidarity.”
Read the rest at Political Research Associates.
I did two interviews about the events in Charlottesville. Both are about 20 minutes long.
The first was on Make It Plain with Mark Thompson, which I did as soon as I returned from Virginia after the protest.
The second is on the podcast Politically Reactive, with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu: “Charlottesville: Why did this happen and how do we move forward?”
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“The Unite the Right rally, which will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017, looks like it will be the largest White Nationalist rally in the United States in more than a decade. Between 500 and 1,000 people are expected to participate, while up to 4,000 counter-protestors may come. …
I have identified over thirty groups and prominent individuals who will be speaking at or attending the event, or have provided support for or endorsed it. This list includes Alt Right and Alt Lite members, neoconfederates, neonazis, racist pagans, Patriot movement paramilitaries, and even a European neonazi party.”
Jason Kessler (Unity and Security for America)
Richard Spencer (AltRight.com, National Policy Institute)
Mathew Heimbach (Traditionalist Worker Party)
Mike Enoch (The Right Stuff)
Michael Hill (League of the South)
Augustus Invictus (Fraternal Order of Alt Knights, American Guard)
Pax Dickinson (Counter.Fund)
Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, Inc.
Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK)
Brad Griffin (Occidental Dissent)
League of the South
National Socialist Movement
Stephen McNallen (Wotan Network)
Patriot Movement groups (inc. American Freedom Keepers and Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia)
Traditionalist Worker Party
Unity and Security for America
“Wife With a Purpose” ministries
Read the whole article at Political Research Associates
“The August 12 ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, looks like it will be the largest organized racist demonstration in recent memory. But that’s not the only reason it is important. First, while there have been dozens of far-right rallies since Trump’s election, this will be the first major, national rally run by the alt-right’s openly white nationalist wing. Second, after months of arguments, this is also an opportunity for a large swath of progressives to come together in opposition to the far right.”
Read the full article at Truthout
I have a new piece up at Truthout which shows how a range of Far Right actors are unifying around Islamophobia, which takes the place of (or works alongside) anti-Communism and antisemitism in their political cosmology.
“The nationwide ‘March Against Sharia’ rallies on June 10, 2017, brought an unholy alliance of far-right actors into the streets. While normally many of them would not be seen in the same room with each other, these different factions were drawn together by their mutual hatred of Muslims. Nazis and right-wing Zionists, LGBTQ activists and right-wing paramilitaries, “alt-lite” teens and hardened racist skinheads all took to the streets.
While the left was quick to loudly oppose the march, it has been slower to try and understand the changing role that Islamophobia is playing on the US far right. Islamophobia is increasingly uniting formerly disparate factions. It is more socially acceptable than anti-Semitism while still demonizing a minority group. Plus, its ostensible emphasis on religion is a way to avoid specifically naming race.”
Read the rest at Truthout.
The Feminist Transformation in Radical Kurdistan
Review of Meredith Tax’s A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State
(New York: Bellevue Literary Press, 2016)
After the fall of Aleppo, it’s only a matter of time until Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad fixates on the autonomous region of Rojava. As brutal civil war has devastated Syria and added to the massive refugee crisis, in Rojava—the predominately Kurdish region of northern Syria—a left-wing, feminist revolution is being carried out. This radical project has gained the support of a range of actors in the United States, with its combination of all-women militias; abandonment of the ethnic nation-state as the goal of revolution; and military victories over ISIS.
To be sure, the allure of far-away revolutions have led many to buyer’s remorse—including A Road Unforeseen’s author Meredith Tax, who visited Maoist China in 1973. Like many new Rojava supporters, Tax did not have a background in either Syrian or Kurdish politics, but was drawn to the struggle after seeing images of Kurdish women fighting in Kobane, the town in Rojava which fought off a bloody siege by ISIS from September 2014 to January 2015. Tax’s book is an on-the-fly intervention in an ongoing conflict. It smoothly shows many things at once, and she does a commendable job in creating a concise and readable account of this tangled situation. This includes: 1) the history of the Kurdish struggle, which spans multiple political parties in four countries; 2) the transformation of the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) from an orthodox Marxist-Leninist nationalist struggle into one advocating for feminist, multi-ethnic, political decentralization; 3) Rojava’s role in the Syrian civil war—infamous for its complex entanglement of multiple internal actors and numerous foreign governments; 4) the role of women in Kurdish society and political struggles; and 5) the evolution and spread of Al Qeada’s two offshoots in Syria, Al Nusra and ISIS.
Read the full review at Toward Freedom
The Trump administration’s reported new plan to change a federal program which combats violent “extremism” into a project focused exclusively on “radical Islam” looks like another step toward demonizing Muslims — while adding to concerns that the administration will actively empower open white supremacist groups. Reuters reports that multiple inside sources say the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant program will be being renamed either “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.”
Almost every year, the white supremacist movement is the political movement that kills the most Americans. (In the rare year that they don’t come in first, they come in second.) But, for many years now, the federal government has refused to focus resources on violent far-right groups. Instead, efforts have been poured into surveilling the Muslim community at large — even going so far as to entrap Muslims in order to arrest them. The FBI also spent years fixating on eco-saboteurs and animal liberation activists, even though they had not killed anyone. The far right, however, has gotten a relative pass. This is despite white supremacists having committed mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina and Oak Creek, Wisconsin; armed conflicts with patriot movement paramilitaries in rural Nevada and Oregon; and multiple police killings by sovereign citizens.
Read the full article at Truthout