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.”
“November 13 marks the 29th anniversary of the murder of Mulugeta Seraw. Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant, was killed in 1988 when a gang of Nazi skinheads crushed his head with a baseball bat on a small side street in Portland, Oregon. His death became the best known of dozens of murders that were part of the last popular wave of organized racist groups before the current resurgence of white supremacy driven by the “alt-right.”
A federally funded study says that almost 450 people have been killed by the far right since 1990 — and this is likely a conservative number. White supremacists don’t just desire a racist future in which people of color, Muslims, Jews and other historically oppressed groups are exterminated or expelled: They work actively to make it happen. And even without having the governmental power to do this explicitly, far-right activists have committed a continuous series of murders, bombings and assaults.
Seraw’s death was just one of at least 40 murders by Nazi skinheads between 1988 and 1996 — a number that doesn’t include murders by other racist factions, like the Ku Klux Klan.
However, for those of us who came of age in the punk rock scene or lived in Portland, it was Seraw’s senseless death that we recall the most. The city was shocked by the violence, even though it had come to be one of the centers of the Nazi skinhead scene, which in 1988 had exploded in a wave of popularity.”
Here is my analysis of the Far Right conspiracy theory that “antifa” will start a civil war on November 4; its relationship to classic anti-Communist conspiracies; and how “anti-communism” and “anti-marxism” are becoming new organizing themes for the Alt Right and Patriot movement.
“A conspiracy theory has spread like wildfire through the Far Right claiming that on November 4, ‘antifa’ will start a civil war and attempt to overthrow Donald Trump. The date is supposed to precede the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, and the demonstrations are described as a prelude to establishing a Communist dictatorship. One website says, ‘they are planning to kill every single Trump voter, Conservative and gun owner.’ The different permutations of the conspiracy show the fears of the Far Right. But, more dangerously, these false claims that antifa will initiate a wave of violence are a kind of projection; in reality, the conspiracy is being used to encourage Far Right activists to harm non-violent Leftist protestors. And threats of violence are pouring in on social media.”
I attended the MOAR rally on September 16 in Washington, DC. Here’s what I saw.
“The ‘Mother of All Rallies’ last Saturday (September 16) may have been the biggest far-right march since the deadly events in Charlottesville, Virginia, but that doesn’t mean it was successful. Organizers claimed they would draw one million people to Washington, D.C., for what they called the ‘Woodstock of American Rallies.’ Despite months of organizing the rally, with its stated goal of protecting and preserving ‘American culture,’ 1,000 people at most came to hear over 50 speakers and bands. The organizers’ boastful branding and their reservation of a huge swath of the mall in front of the Washington Monument backfired. The internet mocked the tiny turnout with aerial photos. It seemed especially pathetic compared to a nearby march by Juggalos, a subculture of Insane Clown Posse fans who dress up like the Detroit-born rap-metal band. The Juggalos were protesting against the FBI designating them a ‘hybrid gang‘ in a 2011 report.
MOAR was an attempt to rekindle the pre-Charlottesville street marches held by what I dubbed in Colorlines in June as ‘Independent Trumpists.’ Since Donald Trump took office, this mixture of Republicans, members of the so-called alt-right, neo-Nazis and armed activists from the militia and Patriot movements have participated in a series of rallies in favor of ‘free speech’ and against Islam and the removal of Confederate monuments. And in this sense, MOAR succeeded in replicating this coalition, even as they tried unsuccessfully to dissuade Nazis from showing up.”
For some reason the media hasn’t picked up on the fact that Richard Spencer’s AltRight.com is openly calling for “leaderless resistance” after Charlottesville.
“A website co-founded by white supremacist Richard Spencer has published articles calling on the alt-right to begin organizing in small cells and prepare for war.
Vincent Law, a regular writer for Spencer’s AltRight.com, wrote the articles after August 12’s fascist-led gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one participant rammed his car into an anti-racist march, killing one and wounding 19.
The first essay, ‘The Alt Right is Finished Debating,’ was published ten days after Charlottesville. Using apocalyptic language, Law claimed that the Alt Right has ‘reached a point of no return,’ and there was no use in speaking to uncommitted fascists, seeking popular support nor recruiting new members.
‘There are no debates between foreign tribes, only war,’ Law wrote. ‘The debate happens on the battlefield.'”
“Joey Gibson is a Far Right activist who, since March 2017, has made a name for himself by organizing confrontational rallies on the West Coast that have frequently descended into violence. Based in Vancouver, Washington (located across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon) Gibson organizes events under the name Patriot Prayer. He draws support from the Patriot movement, the Alt Right and fascists, homophobic Christian nationalists, and right-wing bikers. Gibson goes to liberal enclaves and seeks to incite fights while simultaneously claiming he is merely advocating free speech, peace, love, dialogue, and tolerance. Patriot Prayer is the Alt Right version of the Westboro Baptist Church—they purposely antagonize people they perceived as opponents by engaging in public protests at sensitive times, and then in turn portray their targets as intolerant. Patriot Prayer has gone to the Bay Area in California; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle and Olympia, Washington to stoke confrontations.”