Not Fascism: Trump is a Right-Wing Nativist Populist

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt of the author’s forthcoming analysis of the new wave of right-wing nativism inspired by Donald Trump.

The outlandish populist rhetoric of Republican presidential wildcard Donald Trump has left many journalists at a loss for words—words such as bigotry, xenophobia, racism, sexism and demagoguery. These are the elements of the latest Nativist crusade.

Donald TrumpJournalists and scholars familiar with the rise of contemporary right-wing populist political parties and social movements in Europe recognize that xenophobic, anti-immigrant, and racist rhetoric can lead to acts of violence. The progressive press has done a better job of pointing out the potential for making some of our neighbors targets of White angst.

Adele Stan in the American Prospect (9/9/15) put it boldly:

What Trump is doing, via the media circus of which he has appointed himself ringmaster, is making the articulation of the basest bigotry acceptable in mainstream outlets, amplifying the many oppressive tropes and stereotypes of race and gender that already exist in more than adequate abundance.

Donald Trump Is an Actual Fascist” trumpets the headline in Salon (7/25/15) for Conor Lynch’s article. Undermining Salon’s headline, Lynch tells us the “GOP are obviously not fascists, but they share a family resemblance.” The resemblance, according to Lynch, is explained in the famous quote attributed to Italy’s fascist dictator during World War II, Benito Mussolini:

Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.

According to Lynch, this “definition may very well fit the GOP ideology: a kind of corporate fascism.” Alas, the quote is a hoax, widely circulated on the internet but debunked years ago. Mussolini never wrote or said anything like that, since the fake statement refutes Mussolini’s views on fascism. Nor is Trump an example of creeping totalitarianism, for which Hitler and Stalin were the analytical icons for Hannah Arendt in her masterwork The Origins of Totalitarianism.

Part of the confusion over Trump’s ideology is definitional: Scholars write entire books trying to map out the contours of right-wing political and social movements, especially the line dividing right-wing populism and neofascism. The pre-eminent scholar in this area, University of Georgia’s Cas Mudde, explained in the Washington Post (8/26/15):

The key features of the populist radical right ideology – nativism, authoritarianism, and populism – are not unrelated to mainstream ideologies and mass attitudes. In fact, they are best seen as a radicalization of mainstream values.

His ideology and rhetoric are much more comparable to the European populist radical right, akin to Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front, the Danish People’s Party or Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. All of them use the common radical right rhetoric of nativism, authoritarianism and populism.

What fuels this sort of bitter backlash movement now? The late scholar Jean Hardisty who founded Political Research Associates argued in 1995 that a confluence of several historic factors has assisted the success of the right in the United States:

  • a conservative religious revitalization,
  • economic contraction and restructuring,
  • race resentment and bigotry,
  • backlash and social stress, and
  • a well-funded network of right-wing organizations.

Each of these conditions has existed at previous times in US history,” wrote Hardisty. She also noted they overlap and reinforce each other. This backlash is picking up speed. The Republican voter base in the Tea Party long ago shifted its attention away from fiscal restraint toward anti-immigrant xenophobia, banning abortion and pushing gay people back into the closet.

The demonization and scapegoating that accompanies right-wing populism in the United States is breeding a backlash movement that will take creative and bold approaches as we organize to defend democracy and diversity in the public square.

This article and the forthcoming analysis are adapted from the author’s previous piece in FAIR.

The Continuing Appeal of Racism and Fascism

My recent PRA article “Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism” documented how cryptofascists and pro-White separatists are attempting to make inroads into progressive political and counter-cultural circles. It was based on a number of recent incidents where conflicts had arisen between antifascists and these untraditional Far Right activists. However, the dynamic I wrote about is so common that soon after the article was published, new events were reported in the media, and readers—who were previously unknown to me—shared their stories of similar encounters.

Some of these incidents came to light as comments on Walter Reeves’s Daily Kos post, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing; Racism, Anti-Semitism and Fascism: Infiltrating the Left,” which was based on “Drawing Lines.” In the lively discussion thread that followed, one commenter talked about encountering anti-Federal Reserve conspiracy theories (laced with anti-Semitism) at Occupy Wall Street, while a second had run into fascists in discussion circles about “ancient history and religion.”

The comments also revealed a more serious situation, involving a neo-Nazi man who regularly attends an atheist group’s meetings. One commenter wrote (in their own Daily Kos blog) that: “He seems to have a single focus: to bring up one of his many offensive topics (wildly racist ideology, holocaust denial, women should not be allowed to vote, gay bashing, praising Hitler…).” The blogger said the neo-Nazi continuously offended existing members with his comments and scared off new ones. His past forcible incarceration in a state mental health facility, along with his claims of gun ownership, intimidated the organizers enough that they were unable to stop his repeated disruption of the group.

Situations like the one involving this atheist group are complicated to deal with. But they underscore why progressive groups should both be prepared for such encounters, and have a plan ready to deal with them—comparable to having an evacuation route set and go bag ready for emergencies: you will probably never need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad it’s there.

“Drawing Lines” also recounted the story of a formerly imprisoned eco-activist who seems to have converted to a form of mystical fascism, and is now promoting his ideas in Pacific Northwest counter-cultural music scenes. Less than a week after my piece published, another former eco-prisoner—who also has converted to racist political views—popped back up. In 2008, while still in prison, this other activist was outed as having embraced racist ideology, and supporters cut ties with him. Now out of prison, an anti-fascist group put out a warning that he was attempting to worm his way back into the Seattle activist scene, particularly in animal liberation and Cascadian independence circles—both of which I had pointed to as targets of Far Right participation and/or cross-recruitment.

Interest by racists in the Cascadian independence movement (in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Canada’s British Columbia) has produced a reaction from antifascists.

Interest by racists in the Cascadian independence movement (in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Canada’s British Columbia) has produced a reaction from antifascists.

Less than two weeks after “Drawing Lines” was published, Ryan Giroux was arrested after a rampage in Mesa, Arizona, which left one dead and five injured. He is a skinhead who has been associated with the Hammerskins and Aryan Brotherhood, two of the most violent U.S. racist organizations. An old mugshot was circulated, showing him with a Thor’s Hammer tattooed on his face—a symbol associated with neopagan Heathenism (also discussed in “Drawing Lines”). While Giroux’s religious beliefs are unknown, the potential for the media to associate violent racism with the Heathen religious community as a whole prompted a quick response from Heathens United Against Racism (HUAR). They issued a statement saying their members “denounce Giroux, his associates, and any others who assisted him in perpetrating his terrible actions. … We call on all Heathens and Pagans to join us in standing for a Heathenry that is all-inclusive, genuinely tolerant, unquestionably opposed to bigotry, and rejects all who would co-opt our spiritual practice to advance their narrow-minded, dead-end, hateful agendas along with those who enable their continued presence.” HUAR also called for the ejection of supporters of the “racialist corruption of Heathen practice” and promised support for the Giroux’s victims.

No group (especially a minority religion) should be collectively held responsible for, or be obligated to denounce, the actions of individual adherents. However, if they do choose to respond to media coverage, HUAR’s statement—emerging from a community that is specifically targeted for recruitment from organized racists—is a solid example to follow.

Other instances of this phenomena were in Europe, but related to U.S. politics. The day after “Drawing Lines” was published, the U.S. government showed it was also following developments in post-Third Position fascism. In relation to the ongoing violence in Ukraine, which has spilled over into the United States, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control added Aleksandr Dugin to its sanctions list. Dugin promotes an aggressively expansionist form of Russian ultranationalism, derived from fascist strains like Third Positionism and the European New Right. In the United States, he is supported by New Resistance (which is named in my article), and is a former member of Russia’s National Bolshevik Party. In 2008, I wrote in The Public Eye magazine about this party’s popularity in post-Communist Russia, saying “the National Bolsheviks remain a powerful political movement today with a huge grassroots and youth base. As they grow older, they will remain influential in Russian politics for decades.”

Today, the U.S. government seems to agree with my assessment.

Finally, a number of people pointed out a situation in Britain that matched what I wrote in “Drawing Lines,” about the presence of people of color in groups that are explicitly inclusive of fascists, or promote or endorse White separatism. In this British situation, an animal rights declaration (called Non-Humans First) was written by a well-known animal rights activist, who is also a person of color. The declaration asks signatories to welcome racists into its fold, saying explicitly that “No one should be excluded from participation in animal rights activities based on their views on human issues.” (Signatories include groups which say they are based in Israel and Latin America.) The NHF declaration comes in the context of Far Right activists wanting to become involved in British animal rights activism. 

British animal rights activists opposed to a badger cull rejected calls to join forces with activists who were linked to Far Right groups.

British animal rights activists opposed to a badger cull rejected calls to join forces with activists who were linked to Far Right groups.

One comment (made in response to an article that denounces NHF), highlights a conceptual point in “Drawing Lines.” The commenter, defending NHF, wrote that people who “are racist and believe in racial separation…should be for allowing animals their separation from the human race.” This illustrates how newer forms of White separatism differ from White supremacists in approaching and appealing to normally non-racist political, social, and cultural movements; therefore, separatists and supremacists should not be treated synonymously.

These recent examples show how similar situations are more common than one might think. What I showed in “Drawing Lines” is that, while Left-Right crossover movements are not uncommon, these new forms—such as individual people of color arguing for working with fascists under an inclusive umbrella that respects “diversity”—present new problems for progressive activists to wrangle with. While not always easy, I hope that “Drawing Lines” can help activists understand why this phenomena came about, and encourage them to make policies and plans with how to deal with these forms of cross-recruitment and participation by Far Right activists and their enablers.

Ed note. If you witness Far Right participation or cross-recruiting in progressive political circles, send me a tip:


Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

Crypto-fascists and pro-White separatists are entering and recruiting from progressive circles. This essay offers some guidelines for identifying and dealing with this growing problem.

For a printable brochure version, see bottom.

In the not-so-distant past, one had little problem identifying a White separatist. Generally, they came in two styles: white hoods and burning crosses, or oxblood Doc Martens and swastika tattoos. Both were usually shouting vulgar epithets about African-Americans, Jews, and LGBTQ folks. And their relationship with the Left was usually in the form of breaking either bookstore windows or activists’ bones—if not outright murder.1 Barring them from progressive spaces was an act of physical self-preservation—not a show of political principles in drawing a line against ideological racism and fascism.

Today, White separatists don’t always come in such easily identifiable forms, either in their dress or politics. A part of the White separatist and related Far Right movement has taken some unusual turns.2 Some fascists seek alliances with ultranationalist people of color—a few of whom, in turn, consider themselves fascists. New types of groups embrace White separatism under a larger banner of decentralization. For many decades, the Far Right has disguised or rebranded its politics by establishing front groups, deploying code words, or using other attempts to fly under the radar.3 As the years pass by, some of these projects have taken on lives of their own as these forms have been adopted by those with different agendas. Simultaneously, there is a revival of fascist influence within countercultural music scenes. And intertwined with these changes is a renewed attempt on the part of some White separatists to participate in, or cross-recruit from, progressive circles.

This essay was written after a multi-year collaboration with a number of anti-fascist activists; we have struggled to understand this new phenomenon and craft ways to deal with it. I will attempt to: explain why Far Right actors should not be allowed to participate in progressive circles, suggest criteria regarding where the line should be drawn in defining which politics are problematic enough to take action against, and offer suggestions on how to communicate with and encourage individuals who may want to leave those movements.

The Impact of the Far Right’s Presence on Progressive Circles 

It can be tempting for progressive activists to ignore the presence of Far Right political and cultural actors in progressive spaces, particularly if they are not actively engaged in explicitly hateful and/or openly political organizing. This argument is heard almost every time a call for exclusion is made. Additionally, some people may ask why it is not adequate for organizations to simply declare that they are opposed to racism and fascism. Yet these are mistaken approaches; they underestimate the effect of Far Right groups and their ideologies, misunderstand how these groups often portray themselves, and don’t acknowledge that ideologies are propagandized and spread by real people.

Tolerating the Far Right’s presence allows its followers to engage in a number of damaging actions, including: cross-recruiting (either openly, or by promoting Far Right ideas that are packaged as left-wing ideas to convince people that their ideas are ours), spreading Far Right talking points among progressive activists, compromising progressive groups’ security or privacy, and engaging in cultural work that spreads fascist ideas, especially within counter-cultural scenes.

Fascists have targeted animal rights/animal liberation political groups for infiltration and cross-recruitment for many years, much to the ire of anti-racist and other intersectional activists in these circles.

Fascists have targeted animal rights/animal liberation political groups for infiltration and cross-recruitment for many years, much to the ire of anti-racist and other intersectional activists in these circles.

Far Right cross-recruiting from the Left has long been a problem, and some Far Right groups are now in a renewed period of doing it—while intentionally disguising and/or soft-selling their real aims. In recent years, this has been observed in anti-war, progressive populist, radical Left, anarchist, environmental, animal rights, anti-Zionist, counter-cultural, and religious­ (especially esoteric, occult, and neopagan Heathen) circles.4 Some begin by repeating a sophisticated left-wing critique of problems with contemporary society, draw upon Leftist symbols and cultural orientation, and then offer racial separatism (along with the rest of the Far Right package) as the answer to these problems. European New Right ideologue Alain de Benoist—who promotes ecology and denounces capitalism, the consumer society, and imperialism—is a prime example.5

Others pick up on specific issues closely associated with the cultural Left and hitch them to the Far Right. For example, in Germany there is what Rolling Stone describes as an online “Nazi vegan cooking show.” As one of the show’s hosts states, “The left-wing doesn’t have a prior claim to veganism,” and “industrial meat production is incompatible with our nationalist and socialist world views.” Simone Rafael, editor of a German blog that monitors the extreme Right, describes this new “nipster” (Nazi hipster) milieu: “They use subjects like globalization and animal protection as entry points, and then offer a very simple worldview that makes complex subjects very easy to understand.” But, he continues, “In the end, it’s always about racism and anti-Semitism and nationalism.”6

Open political participation by the Far Right in progressive circles allows Far Right actors to teach their talking points to non-fascist activists. Over the years, the Far Right organization around Lyndon LaRouche has duped a variety of progressives into adopting their talking points, especially during the Iran-Contra affair in the late 1980s. More recently, right-wing critiques of the Federal Reserve gained traction within the Occupy Wall Street movement. The most benign of these ideas were grounded in Libertarian economics, but they quickly slid into (non-bigoted) conspiracy theories, and from there into thinly veiled—or even openly—antisemitic arguments. And for decades, environmentalists have struggled against fascist and other xenophobic interpretations of environmentalism.7

Others on the Far Right take a more subtle approach, often by claiming not to be political at all. For example, some try to sell White separatism as an individual choice as opposed to a political stance. This is actually a ruse. If some White people have the personal desire to be physically separate from people of color, they can move to the countryside and form racially exclusive communes. Instead, this argument has been heard in urban, left-wing settings as a form of propaganda arguing for the compatibility of White separatist and fascist politics with progressive ones under the banner of “autonomy.”

In a related fashion, certain skinhead concerts are promoted using the phrase “No Politics,” which signals that the bands playing may actually hold views sympathetic to fascism, and that Far Right activists and music fans are welcome—while simultaneously mollifying venue owners who may have concerns about the show. These ostensibly apolitical stances act as an entryway for, and protection of, Far Right ideas and spaces.8

Allowing Far Right participation can also pose a security risk. Far Right actors may use such opportunities to collect personal information on progressive activists and information about their organizations. This has been an ongoing problem, in particular for antifascist and other groups that monitor the Far Right.

Counter-Culture Fascism

Historically, fascism has had a strong cultural orientation, and since the 1970s, a prime location for fascist activism has been in the counter-cultures. (I am referring here to the more self-consciously political, post-WWII subcultures, including punk, skinhead, hippie, metal, neo-folk, industrial, and techno). The most famous success has been the creation of the Nazi skinhead milieu, but racist activism continues today among different musical scenes. Fascists tried to achieve political dominance in the counter-culture, and have occasionally been successful.  During the height of the Nazi skinhead movement, for example, they dominated the punk scene in certain cities.9

The circulation of obscure fascist imagery and themes by a number of neo-folk and goth bands has encountered resistance from anti-fascist fans, who regard it as a form of crypto-fascism. Tours by the band Death in June, in particular, have been met with boycott calls.

The circulation of obscure fascist imagery and themes by a number of neo-folk and goth bands has encountered resistance from anti-fascist fans, who regard it as a form of crypto-fascism. Tours by the band Death in June, in particular, have been met with boycott calls.

In the past, counter-cultures have been carrier groups and social bases for anti-capitalism, anti-racism, feminism, ecology, queer politics, and a variety of other progressive political movements. Counter-cultures are inherently “radical” in the sense that they seek to negate the current social reality and try to create an alternative. Politically, though, they are not intrinsically Left or Right. Fascism—as distinct from most other types of right-wing politics—seeks a radical transformation of the current Western social order (based on liberal­ism and democracy) and as such can appeal to counter-culturalists just as much as Marxism or anarchism can.

Therefore, the presence of Far Right attitudes in these counter-cultural scenes—even when they do not directly translate into fascist organizing—also has negative effects. Instead of a progressive, pro-queer, and feminist milieu, an atmosphere filled with reactionary social attitudes can become dominant. Even when the bands aren’t committed Nazis, a Far Right-leaning scene further repels the participation of those targeted by the Right. To give two concrete examples: few women may wish to attend concerts glorifying rape, and few Jews want to be entertained by bands playing neo-Nazi cover songs.

Four Lines of Exclusion

In recent years, antifascist activists in different cities have confronted the problem of crypto-fascists and pro-White separatists by calling for these individuals and groups to be excluded from progressive political circles, including conferences, organizing and cultural spaces, music venues, book fairs, and demonstrations.10 Such calls have not always been well-received; frequently other progressive activists, unfamiliar with these forms of Far Right politics, want to know how and where the line may be drawn against these groups.

When bringing up exclusions, the question of “free speech” inevitably comes up. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the protection of speech from interference by the government. To call for excluding a group, individual, or band is not to be mistaken for a call for the government to ban or otherwise violate the Constitutional rights of fascist and related groups. (Even from a realpolitik perspective, these kinds of restrictions often end up being used against progressives in rather short order.) But it is legal—and always has been under the First Amendment—for non-governmental political groups to decide who may attend private gatherings or be published in their media; free speech does not guarantee your right to crash anyone’s party, join their organization, or attend their meetings. Likewise, media are under no obligation to publish articles representing everyone’s viewpoints. Freedom of speech means that the government cannot suppress individuals from holding their own meetings or expressing political opinions publicly—it does not dictate that Far Right activists must be given open access to progressive events.

In addition, when identifying whom to exclude, simplistic rhetorical disavowals cannot be taken at face value; today it is nearly impossible to find almost anyone who will accept the label “racist” or “fascist.” Even hooded Klan members will publicly declare that they are not “racists” and do not “hate” others.11

These following four points of exclusion have differing levels of complexity. The adoption of White separatism as consistent with a political program is the most concrete and clear-cut. While antisemitic and related narratives are relatively easy to identify even when coded, not everyone is familiar with them, and some activists unknowingly use them. The use of fascist symbolism and imagery is complicated and has to be judged on a case-by-case basis. And last, the question of dealing with left-wing media, which promote problematic writers and speakers, can be the most complicated question when deciding about taking action.

1) Anyone who actively promotes or endorses the idea of White separatism should be treated as a Far Right activist. This includes those who accept the promotion of White separatism as a stance compatible with their political worldview.

Today, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan are no longer the only groups that endorse White separatism. This is partly due to the secessionist fever that has spread across the U.S. Right, uniting Right Libertarians, conspiracy theorists, Christian theocrats, Sovereign Citizens, neo-Confederates, and traditional White separatists. New groups advocate “pan-secessionist” ideology, and seek to unite the right-wing secessionists with those traditionally closer to the Left, like (bio)regional separatism in Vermont and Cascadia, former Leftist Kirkpatrick Sale’s decentralist Middlebury Institute, and nationalist organizing by those who, in the old anti-imperialist terminology, are “oppressed nations” (Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, and other people of color).12

However, the most contentious question today is the direct participation of people of color in groups that espouse White separatism as part of their ideology.13 Loosely organized groups like National-Anarchists, Attack the System, and New Resistance, which actively embrace White separatism as part of their decentralized schema, should be excluded from progressive circles—including people of color who are members of these groups.14 This also includes members of groups that are multi-racial, but which promote this political view.

In addition to these groups, some people of color are involved in openly fascist circles. Neo-Nazi groups are active in countries such as Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Mongolia, and Malaysia; and members of these movements reportedly have ties in the United States.15

A Malaysian skinhead's t-shirt advertises Combat-18 -- a notoriously violent neo-Nazi skinhead organization which originated in Britain.

A Malaysian skinhead’s t-shirt advertises Combat-18 — a notoriously violent neo-Nazi skinhead organization which originated in Britain.

In the past, Leftists excluded White people affiliated with groups that espoused White separatism, such as White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and Aryan Nations. But this new secessionism is more complicated; for example, it has led to the spectacle of people of color advocating for the legitimacy of White separatism—by claiming either that all separatism is good separatism, or that a program of complete reciprocal racial separatism requires that all groups have their own geographical enclave.

Cooperation between racial separatists of differing backgrounds is a long-standing tradition. In the 1930s, when Mississippi’s arch-racist Senator Theodore Bilbo publicly called for the expulsion of African-Americans to Africa, members of Marcus Garvey’s movement (themselves proponents of African-American emigration to Africa) approached Bilbo as a potential collaborator. The Nation of Islam (NOI) also has a history of associating with White nationalists, including the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party; Malcolm X cited these associations as one of the reasons he became disgruntled with NOI. WAR’s Tom Metzger has supported and donated money to NOI and has addressed the New Black Panther Party (NBPP). In Florida, one Black separatist organization even held joint demonstrations with a local Klan group.16

However, calling for the exclusion of all supporters of White separatism should not be mistaken for a call for progressives to exclude activists who endorse nationalist forms of separatism for people of color, including Black, Native American, or Latino nationalists. It is only the advocacy of White racial separatism that is at issue. While the acceptance of what is called the “right to national self-determination” of racial and ethnic minorities as congruent with larger left-wing goals is not without its critics (including myself), it has a long-established history on the U.S. Left, and its advocates have included the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Young Lords. However, irrespective of the debates around it, national self-determination by an oppressed group of people is completely different from the “right” of White separatism. White separatism has never had a place in the Left, and its structural function is to reinforce—and not attempt to escape (regardless of whether this would work in practice or not)—existing social hierarchies. In the United States, White people as a group are firmly in control of the majority of economic resources and social power. White separatism is comparable to espousing gated communities for the rich: its purpose is to physically express existing hierarchical social and economic structures.17

2) Ideological antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other demonizations of minority groups—whether explicit or coded—should not be tolerated.

Antisemitism is a main theoretical plank for fascists and other Far Right actors, and Holocaust denial has always been a tactic with the goal of re-legitimizing fascism in the eyes of the public. Those who deny the Holocaust—one of the best-documented events of the last century—have no place in progressive political circles. The same goes for those who repeat traditional Nazi-era antisemitic conspiracies, such as that Jews control the government, banking system, or the mass media. This includes the propaganda group If Americans Knew or the American Free Press newspaper, which, while repeating classical antisemitic narratives, deploy code words such as “Zionists,” “Jewish neocons,” or the “Frankfurt School”—instead of “the Jews.”18 

Those who demonize other racial, ethnic, and religious minorities—in particular, those who blame Muslims for attempting to “destroy the West” (a claim more common in Europe) or call undocumented Latin American migrants “disease-carrying gang members”—should also be excluded.

However, excluding people based on this stance should be reserved for those who have been documented as having intentionally and repeatedly used these slanders, and who have been confronted about them. Some activists unwittingly use these demonizing narratives and are ignorant of their origins. Activists should not be excluded for actions and statements that might be considered antisemitic, Islamophobic, transphobic, racist, patriarchal, or otherwise but that fall short of clear-cut, intentional, repeated, and ideologically motivated demonization (i.e., as part of the deployment of a thought-out political philosophy). Many real progressives have made statements that others have, at one time or another, believed to be biased; discussions are needed about what constitutes racism, sexism, etc. not just for collective self-clarification, but also so that activists have an opportunity to change their own beliefs when necessary. 

3) Social and cultural groups (including bands and artists) that traffic in sustained fascist references should be excluded from progressive circles.

Many cultural actors in particular deny being openly fascist or racist, but on investigation promote a sustained amount of imagery, references, and concepts based on and derived from fascism and other forms of ideological racism, and are deploying them in order to disseminate this ideology. This must be separated from passing or ignorant references: usage of historical examples, non-ideologically motivated attempts to shock, or ironic usage.

In one recent example, an activist, who had recently been released from prison for environmentally motivated property destruction, ran a blog concerned with spiritual and cultural matters. The blog was also filled with fascist imagery such as swastikas, as well as black suns and runes used by the Nazis—alongside quotes from mystical fascist philosophers. The activist was also alleged to have made statements denouncing “forced multi-culturalism” and endorsing White separatism. This is an example of a person who should be excluded from progressive circles.19

However, the main focus of this problematic cultural work concerns bands and other musical projects. Sometimes, these are crypto-fascist projects engaging in conscious attempts to create a Far Right cultural milieu, as some neo-folk and black metal bands are alleged to be doing. Others are part of the “Rock Against Communism” (RAC) format. In the 1980s, RAC was promoted as a front group by explicitly Nazi musicians but has more recently been adopted by a variety of actors, including some people of color. (This is similar to the Sovereign Citizen movement, which also originated in White supremacist circles but which today has many people of color as adherents.20)

However, the question of how to determine whether a band should be excluded is a complicated affair; it has been debated for decades without a clear consensus arising. Because of the complexity of the subject, this will be dealt with separately in a forthcoming essay.

4) Any groups that provide an active platform for Nazi, fascist, and related speakers should be treated in a similar fashion as those sympathetic to White separatism.

This includes those who hold events for these speakers. For example, members of the Eugene, Oregon-based Pacifica Forum—which started as a progressive anti-war speaker series but later came to host antisemites and, eventually, outright neo-Nazis—should be treated as a Far Right organization. (Pacifica Forum members attended Occupy events in Eugene and Portland, Oregon, attempted to use a left-wing bookstore in Portland to host an antisemitic speaker, and one was a board member at an annual co-operative conference.)21

This question can be far trickier when it comes to periodicals, book presses, and online media. For example, many left-wing media have published antisemitic and crypto-antisemitic authors such as Alison Weir, Israel Shamir, and Gilad Atzmon; a well-known left-wing press even published Atzmon’s book.22 However, to what extent it is feasible to hold these publications and presses accountable is up for debate. 

Renunciation and Reintegration 

Antifascist activists sometimes have a “search and destroy” mentality about their opponents; they want to document their target, locate and confront it, and create a situation where it will go away. But this, too, can turn into its own problem: people don’t disappear, and once politicized, they tend to remain so. An organizer from Portland, Oregon’s Coalition for Human Dignity told me that antifascists’ inability to provide an alternative for young White youth attracted to the Nazi skinhead movement was one of his group’s greatest failings in confronting the surge of Nazi organizing in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Organized racist and fascist groups have long been involved in pagan, and in particular Heathen, religious circles. This in turn has helped galvanize Heathen circles to consciously resist racist elements, and to analyze structural racism more generally.

Organized racist and fascist groups have long been involved in pagan, and in particular, Heathen, religious circles. This in turn has helped galvanize Heathen circles to consciously resist racist elements, and to analyze structural racism more generally.

It is not infrequent for Far Right activists to become disenchanted with and wish to exit their political milieu, which can have negative social and professional effects on their lives. Sometimes, young people experiment with different identities and views without a serious commitment to them. Other times, progressive activists have been drawn into these Far Right groups and, once confronted, are willing to abandon them. Therefore, it is important to allow people to return to (or enter) progressive circles. If their Far Right affiliations are revealed, and they abandon these politics but are prevented from being allowed into non/anti-racist circles, there is a higher likelihood they will return to their prior beliefs—if for no other reason than simply because it will be a familiar social circle.

Progressive groups should come up with their own criteria for people who want to move away from Far Right politics and toward progressive political communities. Recommendations for this include: 1) requiring the person make a public statement disavowing Far Right views, and posting it in their former group’s media; 2) turning over all Far Right books, t-shirts, buttons, etc. to antifascists—especially patches or other insignia of any organizations they were members of; 3) removing all Far Right contacts on social media, and not attending events (either social, cultural, or political) hosted by these individuals or groups; 4) making a sincere statement of why their former views were problematic, with apologies made to anyone hurt by their actions. (The letter written by former White nationalist Derek Black, son of Stormfront founder Don Black, is exemplary.23) If they want to become actively involved as progressive political organizers, they should also 5) be required to go through a debrief to provide information about their former Rightist group’s structures, membership, recruiting tactics, and beliefs.

The same approach should be applied to organizations and media with a history of providing a platform for Far Right and related (antisemitic, Islamophobic, etc.) figures. They should also be able to change policy, apologize for their past, and be treated as a regular publication or platform again.

The evidence shows that Far Right cross-recruiting and participation in progressive circles will not go away, and progressives should adopt policies—and have plans ready—to deal with anyone who falls under the above four categories who wants to enter, attend, or participate in any progressive organizations, physical spaces, events, or demonstrations.

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1. For such a small political movement, White nationalists are fantastically violent, although exact numbers are difficult to come by. A 2012 Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report lists “100 plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since 1995.” The SPLC’s Heidi Beirich calculated that users of the White nationalist Stormfront website “have murdered close to 100 people” between 2009 and 2014. See SPLC, Terror on the Right, 2012,; Heidi Beirich, “White Homicide Worldwide,” 2014,

The victims of these White nationalist and neo-Nazi attacks have varied, and include government workers, unsuspecting members of the public, and their own family members—but also political opponents, whether progressive or merely anti-racist. The most famous attack on Leftists was the 1979 Greensboro massacre, a joint operation of Klansmen and neo-Nazis, in which five participants at a Communist Workers Party-organized anti-racist march in Greensboro, North Carolina were killed. (One of the participants in the massacre, Frazier Glenn Miller, was arrested in 2014 for murdering three people at Jewish community centers in Kansas.) In 1998, two anti-racist skinheads were murdered in Las Vegas by Nazi skinheads. And in 2011 in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik murdered sixty-nine people at a socialist youth group’s retreat.

On the Greensboro Massacre, see Jill Williams, “Truth and Reconciliation Comes to the South: Lessons from Greensboro,” Public Eye, Spring 2007, vol. 22, no. 2,; on Miller, see Spencer Sunshine, “Frazier Glenn Miller & The Ongoing Trend of Former-Military Neo-Nazi Murders,” April 17, 2014,; on the Las Vegas murders, see Lynda Edwards, “Death in the Desert,” Orlando Weekly, June 17, 1999,; on Breivik, see John Nichols, “Glenn Beck’s ‘Hitler Youth’ Slur on Norway Victims Confuses WWII Sides,” July 26, 2011, Nation blogs,

2. A note on the terminology used in this essay: “progressive” refers to the whole spectrum of political actors, from liberal Democrats to radical Leftists, who have a social justice approach that is critical of capitalism, and who oppose systems of oppression based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. “Far Right” includes all right-wing elements which have a racial component to their ideology; therefore even libertarians, who usually would not fall under this term, will be included here if they embrace White separatism as congruent with their politics.

3. Code words are discussed in an interview with Martin Lee and former PRA senior analyst Chip Berlet; see “Transcript: #26-98 When ‘Populism’ Has a Right-Wing Agenda,” Making Contact, July 1, 1998,

4. For the anti-war movement, see “The Gulf War” section of Chip Berlet, Right Woos Left, February 27, 1999,; for progressive populists, see Spencer Sunshine, “The Right Hand of Occupy Wall Street: From Libertarians to Nazis, the Fact and Fiction of Right-Wing Involvement,” Public Eye, Winter 2014, 9–14, 18, February 23, 2014,; for the radical Left, see “What is the Third Position?,”; for anarchists, see Spencer Sunshine, “Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists,” Public Eye, Winter 2008, vol. 23, no. 4, 1, 12­–19 (posted online January 28, 2008),; for environmentalism, see  Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier, Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience (Edinburgh: AK Press, 1995),; for animal rights, see Panthères Enragées, “International Animal Rights Gathering,” August 22, 2013,; for anti-zionism, see Center for New Community, “Neo-Nazi Infiltration of Anti-Globalization Protests” (press release, dated June 21, 2002), June 28, 2002,; for counter-cultures, see Graham D. Macklin, “Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction,” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 39, no. 3, September 2005,; for esoteric and occult tendencies, as well as Heathens, see Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity (New York: New York University Press, 2002).

5. See Sunshine, “Rebranding Fascism.”

6. Thomas Rogers, “Heil Hipster: The Young Neo-Nazis Trying to Put a Stylish Face on Hate,” Rolling Stone, June 23, 2014,

7. For an extensive discussion of LaRouchite influence on progressive politics, see Berlet, Right Woos Left; for Edward Flaherty’s critique of ten myths about the Federal Reserve, see; for fascism and the environmental movement in general, see Biehl and Staudenmaier, Ecofascism; and for one high-profile fight over xenophobic interpretations of environmentalism, see Michelle Nijhuis, “Immigration controversy engulfs Sierra Club board election,” Grist, March 2, 2004,

8. Roddy Moreno, singer for the antifascist Oi! band The Oppressed, said: “I find most people who talk about no politics mean left-wing politics but seem to have no problem with right wing politics. Fuck the government and fuck the police are political statements but no one says a word when bands sing about these things but as soon as a band says fuck the Nazis and fuck the racists you get accusations of “POLITICS”. At the end of the day life is political and it’s hard to ignore life.” See “An interview with Roddy Moreno,” January 14, 2012,

The blog No Condemned 84 in Toronto described their opposition to the “no politics” approach this way: “This isn’t about being ‘PC,’ and this isn’t just about one dodgy band either—it’s about a disturbing agenda being pushed by the fence-sitters and closet-fascists who, under the deceptive banner of ‘no politics’ want to make our scene a safe zone for nazi bullshit. This isn’t a coincidence—it’s been a conscious strategy of the nazis after being forced underground in previous decades: infiltrate the ‘apolitical’ fold and recruit amongst the fence-sitters; after all, if you already listening to nazi bands and claim ‘anti-antifa,’ how much farther do you have to go?  The fascists smell easy pickings.” In another post they are more blunt: “All ‘no politics’ means for these lowlifes is: boneheads welcome.” (“Fence-sitters” are skinheads and others who associate with both racists and anti-racists, either refusing to make their own stance clear on the matter or alternating their views; “boneheads” are Nazi skinheads.) See “Sleeping With the Enemy: Condemned 84’s Affair with the Extreme Right,” May 23, 2013,; “Légitime Violence Interview with Russian neo-Nazi,” June 11, 2013,

9. For an overview of the Nazi skinhead movement, see “Racist Skinheads: Understanding the Threat,”

10. For examples, see, respectively: Rose City Antifa facebook post on the Cascadia Rising Bioregional Confluence, April 9, 2014,; Sasha, “The New Face of the Radical Right?,” April 29, 2014,; One Peoples Project, “Brooklyn Show Next Weekend Sparking Concerns,” August 24, 2014,; “NATA Unwanted at Anarchist Bookfair, 4/20 Conference, or seemingly anywhere else,” April 8, 2013,; @ndy, “When White nationalists attack! New Right @ Gaza solidarity rally, Sydney, November 24,” December 7, 2012,

11. See for example, Tiffany Willis, “This Biracial Woman Confronts A Klansman. He Tells Her ‘I’m Not Racist’ (VIDEO),” June 23, 2014,

12. Rachel Tabachnick and Frank L. Cocozzelli, “Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right,” Public Eye, Fall 2013, 2–8, posted online November 22, 2013,

13. Many scholars consider “White separatism” to be either synonymous with or a subset of “White supremacy.” However, a return to White supremacy—as practiced by Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, or the Jim Crow South—was abandoned by many hardline U.S. racist groups, even self-proclaimed Nazis, decades ago; for most of them, their new goal is racial separatism (although the exact details vary). During the 1980s and 1990s, when openly racist groups like White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and the Aryan Nations called for a separate White state, referring to them as White supremacist was less complicated, partly because of their vicious, derogatory views of people of color and Jews, and open Nazi references. However, the concept of White separatism has continued to evolve and expand out of the traditional racist White Right, and now groups are endorsing the notion for others without necessarily promoting it as their own central political goal. Using the term “White supremacist” to label a multi-racial group that endorses White separatism is a complicated affair—and one not likely to be easily understood by progressive activists who are unfamiliar with the more recent twists-and-turns of the Far Right. Therefore, it is time to reexamine the simple conflation of White supremacy and White separatism.

For the transition from White supremacy to White separatism, see Betty A. Dobratz and Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile “White Power, White Pride!” The White Separatist Movement in the United States (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997). See also

Mattias Gardell, Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003).

14. For National Anarchism, see Sunshine, “Rebranding Fascism”; for Attack the System, see Matthew N. Lyons,  “Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism,” New Politics, April 29, 2011,; for New Resistance, see “Neo-Nazi Leader James Porrazzo Mixes Racism with Leftist Ideology,” Intelligence Report,  no. 148, Winter 2012,

15. While this may seem like an oxymoron to many readers, it should be remembered that Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party was mostly fixated on killing and persecuting other Europeans (such as Jews, Romani and Sinti, and Slavs), in addition to leftists, disabled people, and queer folks—many of the latter sharing the same Aryan background as their perpetrators. In sharp contrast to the positions of U.S. neo-Nazis, Black people did not loom large in the original German Nazis’ imagination.

In fact, the Nazis sought alliances in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. One otherwise traditional U.S. neo-Nazi group, Rocky J. Suhayda’s American Nazi Party, uses this fact to actively solicit the financial support of sympathetic people of color; see Southside Chicago Anti-Racist Action, “Infiltrated: The American Nazi Party In Illinois,” April 20, 2013,

There is growing documentation regarding the profusion of neo-Nazi groups in Latin America and Asia. For Brazil, see Cnaan Liphshiz, “Brazil thwarts neo-Nazi bomb plot,” May 24, 2009, Haaretz,; for Chile, Colombia, and elsewhere in Central and South America, see Javier Duque, “Neo-Nazism in Latin America,” June 24, 2012,; for Mexico, see Elizabeth Rosales, “Youth Neo-Nazi Group in Mexico,” June 30 2014,; for Mongolia, see Tania Branigan, “Mongolian neo-Nazis: Anti-Chinese sentiment fuels rise of ultra-nationalism,” Guardian, August 2, 2010,; for Malaysia, see Nick Chester, “Meet the Malaysian Neo-Nazis Fighting for a Pure Malay Race,” Vice, May 18, 2013,

One Center for New Community article describes two New York City bands associated with the RAC scene as “nationalist supporters of the Colombian death squads. They also have strong ties with a variety of neo-Nazi groups both in the United States and in Latin America, including Tercera Fuerza in Columbia, a neo-Nazi paramilitary organization.” See MJ Olahafa, “Neo Nazi Show Cancelled in NYC,” October 8, 2010,

Like all philosophies, National Socialism can be reinterpreted and appropriated by people of different backgrounds. Therefore the mere fact that activists are not White does not mean that they cannot be Nazis: after all, racist ultra-nationalists come in all backgrounds, whether or not they appropriate Nazi aesthetics and narratives.

16. On NOI’s connection to the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, and Tom Metzger, see Martin A. Lee, “American Black Muslims, Neo-Nazis, Foreign Muslim Extremists Join Forces,” Intelligence Report, no. 105, Spring 2002,; on Malcolm X, see his 1965 speech “There’s a worldwide revolution going on,” in Bruce Perry, ed., Malcolm X: The Last Speeches (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1989), 119­­–26.

Metzger attended a NBPP rally in 1993, and an undated online video shows him giving a speech to the group, in which he recounts the history of cooperation between Black and White racial separatists. See “The New Black Panther Party is Unlike its Namesake of the 1960s,” Intelligence Report, no. 100, Fall 2000,, and “Tom Metzger Addresses The New Black Panther Party,” uploaded July 4, 2009,

The Florida groups were the Pan-Afrikan International (PAIN) and John Baumgardner’s local Klan outfit. See Kirsten Gallagher, “2 Opposites Attract To Seek ‘Separatism,’” Orlando Sentinel, March 30, 1992,; see also Gardell, Gods of the Blood, 115–17.

17. One recent example shows how complex this situation sometimes is: a Native American man who is a member of Attack the System (a pro-White separatist pan-secessionist group) was uninvited from speaking at a bioregionalism conference in Portland, Oregon. However, this disinvitation only happened after an antifascist group—that had been asked to present at the same conference about (White) White separatists attempting to participate in bioregionalist movements—refused to speak alongside him. (His support for Native American self-determination was not at issue; his support for White separatist views was.) See Rose City Antifa, Facebook post.

Similarly, a handful of people of color also belong to National-Anarchist groups—a movement which was created as an explicitly “entryist” tactic to spread a fascist, White separatist ideology inside progressive circles, but which has recently has been moving closer to a pan-secessionist position. (Entryism is the strategy of entering other political groups in order to either take them over or break off with a part of their membership. There can be a fine line, however, between intentional entryism and an existing member of group being converted to a new ideology.) All together, the result is that today we are confronted with people of color trying to inject into progressive circles the same core values that 1980s and 1990s U.S. neo-Nazis held: a commitment to White racial separatism and antisemitic narratives, including Holocaust Denial.

Ideas that uphold systemic oppression and racial privilege should be rejected, no matter the identity of the person espousing them. Advocates of oppression can be found among all groups of people.

18. It should be noted that many contemporary conspiracy theories—such as some about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergs—have origins mixed up in antisemitic theories, but no longer identify either Jews or a subset of Jews as the active agents of the conspiracy. Therefore, care must be taken in distinguishing between a coded antisemitic theory and one that has moved far enough away from this thinking to be no longer considered as such—even though it may still be legitimately criticized on political grounds as flawed. For permutations of antisemitic conspiracy theories, see Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (New York: Guilford Press, 2000), 192-96.

19. “Former ELF/Green Scare Prisoner ‘Exile’ Now a Fascist,” August 5, 2014,

20.  See Kevin Carey, “Too Weird for The Wire: How black Baltimore drug dealers are using white supremacist legal theories to confound the Feds,” Washington Monthly, May/June/July 2008,

21. For background on the Pacifica Forum, see CJ Ciaramella, “University to address Pacifica controversy,” Daily Emerald, January 8, 2010,; for its involvement in the Occupy movement, see Spencer Sunshine, “20 On the Right in Occupy,” February 13, 2014,; for the bookstore incident, see “Rose City Antifa: Statement on Anti-Semites and their Collaborators,” June 25, 2009,; for the co-op board, see “Confronting Bigotry in Our Movement: A Call for Reflection and Support,”

22. Alison Weir, see Spencer Sunshine, “Campus Profile—Alison Weir: If Americans Knew,”; this is a section from Chip Berlet, Debra Cash, and Maria Planansky, eds., Constructing Campus Conflict: Antisemitism and Islamophobia on U.S. College Campuses 2007–2011 (Boston: Political Research Associates, 2014),; on Shamir, see Will Yakowicz, “His Jewish Problem,” Tablet, May 16, 2011,; on Atzmon, see “Not Quite ‘Ordinary Human Beings’—Anti-imperialism and the anti-humanist rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon,”; on the Left-wing press, see “Zero Authors’ Statement on Gilad Atzmon,” Lenin’s Tomb, September 26, 2011,

23. “Derek Black Email to Mark Potok, July 15, 2013,” His letter is worth quoting:

“I acknowledge that things I have said as well as my actions have been harmful to people of color, people of Jewish descent, activists striving for opportunity and fairness for all, and others affected. It was not my intention then, and I will not contribute to any cause that perpetuates this harm in the future. Advocating for redress of the supposed oppression of whites in the West is by its nature damaging to all others because of the privileged position of white people in these societies. … It is impossible to argue rationally that in our society, with its overwhelming disparity between white power and that of everyone else, racial equity programs intended to affect the deep-rooted situation represent oppression of whites. … I do not believe advocacy against ‘oppression of whites’ exists in any form but an entrenched desire to preserve white power at the expense of others. I am sorry for the damage done by my actions and my past endorsement of white nationalism.”

Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists

On September 8, 2007 in Sydney, Australia, the antiglobalization movement mobilized once again against neoliberal economic policies, this time to oppose the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit. Just as during the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, Washington, in 1999, the streets were filled with an array of groups, such as environmentalists, socialists, and human rights advocates. And also just like in Seattle, there was a “Black Bloc”—a group of militant activists, usually left-wing anarchists, who wore masks and dressed all in black.

In Sydney, the Black Bloc assembled and hoisted banners proclaiming “Globalization is Genocide.” But when fellow demonstrators looked closely, they realized these Black Bloc marchers were “National-Anarchists”—local fascists dressed as anarchists who were infiltrating the demonstration. The police had to protect the interlopers from being expelled by irate activists.

Since then, the National-Anarchists have joined other marches in Australia and in the United States; in April 2008, they protested on behalf of Tibet against the Chinese government during the Olympic torch relay in both Canberra, Australia, and San Francisco. In September, U.S. National-Anarchists protested the Folsom Street Fair, an annual gay “leather” event held in San Francisco.

While these may seem like isolated incidents of quirky subterfuge, these quasi-anarchists are an international export of a new version of fascism that represent a significant shift in the trends and ideology of the movement. National-Anarchists have adherents in Australia, Great Britain, the United States, and throughout continental Europe, and in turn are part of a larger trend of fascists who appropriate elements of the radical Left. Like “Autonomous Nationalists” in Germany and the genteel intellectual fascism of the European New Right, the National-Anarchists appropriate leftist ideas and symbols, and use them to obscure their core fascist values. The National-Anarchists, for example, denounce the centralized state, capitalism, and globalization — but in its place they seek to establish a system of ethnically pure villages.

In 1990, Chip Berlet showed in Right Woos Left how the extreme Right in the United States has made numerous overtures to the Left. “The fascist Right has wooed the progressive Left primarily around opposition to such issues as the use of U.S. troops in foreign military interventions, support for Israel, the problems of CIA misconduct and covert action, domestic government repression, privacy rights, and civil liberties.”1 More recently, the fascist Right has also tried to build alliances based on concern for the environment, hardline antizionism, and opposition to globalization.

Fascism has become increasingly international in the post World War II period, particularly with the rise of the internet. One of the most obvious results of this internationalization is the continual flow of European ideas to the United States; for example, the Nazi skinhead movement originated in Britain and quickly spread to the United States. In trade, Americans have exported the Ku Klux Klan to Europe and smuggled Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi literature into Germany.2

The National-Anarchist idea has spread around the world over the internet. The United States hosts only a few web sites, but the trend so far has been towards a steady increase. But it represents what many see as the potential new face of fascism. By adopting selected symbols, slogans and stances of the left-wing anarchist movement in particular, this new form of postwar fascism (like the European New Right) hopes to avoid the stigma of the older tradition, while injecting its core fascist values into the newer movement of antiglobalization activists and related decentralized political groups. Simultaneously, National-Anarchists hope to draw members (such as reactionary counter-culturalists and British National Party members) away from traditional White Nationalist groups to their own blend of what they claim is “neither left nor right.”3

Despite this claim, National-Anarchist ideology is centered directly on what scholar Roger Griffin defines as the core of fascism: “palingenetic populist ultranationalism.” “Palingenetic,” he says, is a “generic term for the vision of a radically new beginning which follows a period of destruction or perceived dissolution.” Palingenetic ultranationalism therefore is “one whose mobilizing vision is that of the national community rising phoenix like after a period of encroaching decadence which all but destroyed it.”4

For the National-Anarchists, this “ultranationalism” is also their main ideological innovation: a desire to create a stateless (and hence “anarchist”) system of ethnically pure villages. Troy Southgate, their leading ideologue, says “we just want to stress that National-Anarchism is an essential racialist phenomenon. That’s what makes it different.” 5

Why should we pay attention to such new forms of fascism? There is no immediate threat of fascism taking power in the established western liberal democracies; the rise to power of Mussolini and Hitler in the 1920s and 1930s occurred in a different era and under different social conditions than those that exist today. Nonetheless, much is at stake.

These new permutations have the potential of playing havoc on social movements, drawing activists out from the Left into the Right. For example, when the Soviet Union collapsed, a number of non-Communist left-wing groups suddenly emerged in Russia offering the promise of a more egalitarian society sans dictatorship. However, the group that became dominant was the National Bolsheviks, who are probably the most successful contemporary Third Position fascist group (see glossary). Catching the imagination of disaffected youth by taking up many left-wing stances and engaging in direct action, they successfully obliterated their rivals by absorbing their demographic base en masse. The left-wing groups disappeared and the National Bolsheviks remain a powerful political movement today with a huge grassroots and youth base. As they grow older, they will remain influential in Russian politics for decades.

Even when small, Jeffrey Bale suggests it is important to pay attention to these fascist sects because they can serve as transmission belts for unconventional political ideas, influence more mainstream groups, and link up into transnational networks.6

Over the years, the antiglobalization movement has also created an opening for these Left-Right alliances. The Dutch antiracist group De Fabel van de illegaal pulled out of the antiglobalization movement in 1998 because of its links with far right forces. Pat Buchanan, the paleoconservative politician who holds racist and antisemitic views, spoke on a Teamsters Union platform during the demonstrations against the IMF/ World Bank in Washington D.C. in April 2000.7 Meanwhile, racists like Louis Beam (who has worked with the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations) and Matt Hale (of the World Church of the Creator) praised the Seattle demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in 1999.8

At the same time, parts of the anti-imperialist Left (including some anarchists) have built alliances with reactionary Islamist movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah, called for open acceptance of antisemitism, and embraced nationalist struggles.9 This history prompts many cosmopolitan anarchists to worry that the overtures of newstyle fascists to radical Leftists could meet with some success.


The National-Anarchists have their origin in the National Front, a far right British party with an impressive 1977 dark horse electoral success based on their xenophobic anti-immigrant platform. After the election, the group fractured into many internal factions before splintering into different sects. Troy Southgate, the main English-language National-Anarchist ideologue, is a veteran of this internecine maze. He joined the National Front in 1984, and subsequently joined a splinter group that eventually split again before becoming the National Revolutionary Faction (NRF), a small cadre organization openly calling for armed guerilla warfare.10

In the late 1990s however, the NRF started to morph into the National-Anarchist movement; the two were referred to interchangeably for a number of years, until the NRF disbanded in 2003.11 Southgate’s ideology does not seem to have changed substantially with the shift, and he continues to circulate his NRF-era essays.

The NRF’s only known public action as “National-Anarchists” was to hold an Anarchist Heretics Fair in October 2000, in which a number of fringe-of the-fringe groups participated. However, when they attempted a second fair, a variety of anarchists and anti-fascists blocked it from being held. After the same thing happened in 2001, Southgate and the NRF abandoned this strategy and retreated to purely internet-based propaganda.12

The fair reflected Southgate’s adaptation of the Trotskyist practice of entrism — the strategy of entering other political groups in order to either take them over or break off with a part of their membership.13 Southgate argues, “The NRF uses cadre activists to infiltrate political groups, institutions and services… It is part of our strategy to do this work and, if we are to have any success in the future, it is work that must be done on an increasing basis.”14 He claims that the NRF infiltrated the 1999 Stop the City demonstration and the 2000 May Day protest, as well as activities of the Hunt Saboteurs Association and the Animal Liberation Front.15

Beyond its tactical uses, entrism is a philosophy for the National-Anarchists as they recruit members from the Left and in particular anarchist groups. Instead of simply calling themselves “racist communitarians,” they purposely adopt the label “anarchist” and specifically appropriate anarchist imagery. Examples include the use of a purple star (anarchists typically use either a black star, or a half black star, with the other half designating their specific tendency, i.e., red for unionists, green for environmentalists, etc.), or a red and black star superimposed with a Celtic cross (the latter being a typical symbol of White Nationalists). The allied New Right factions in Australia and the UK also use the “chaos symbol” —an eight pointed star —which they adapt from left-wing counter-cultural anarchists.

The fascist use of the “black bloc” political formation at demonstrations is also an appropriation of anarchist and far left forms. In recent years, German fascists calling themselves Autonomous Nationalists have marched in large black blocs, waving black flags (a symbol of traditional anarchism), and even appropriated the symbolism of the German antifascist groupings.16

As far back as 1984, Pierre André Taguieff, an expert on the European New Right, condemned the “tactic of ideological scrambling systematically deployed by GRECE,” a rightwing think tank that embraced some leftist critiques of advanced capitalism while promoting core fascist ideas.17 Here we see that ideological scrambling deployed on a grassroots level.

It needs to be stressed that, despite the name, National-Anarchists have not emerged from inside the anarchist movement, and, intellectually, their origins are not based in its ideas. Anarchists typically see themselves as part of a cosmopolitan and explicitly antinationalist left-wing movement which seeks to dismantle both capitalism and the centralized state. They seek instead to replace them with decentralized, non-hierarchical, and self-regulating communities. Although similar to Marxists, anarchists are just as adamant in their opposition to racism, sexism, and homophobia as they are to capitalism. In the United States, anarchists were key players in the formation of labor unions, were the only political faction to support gay rights before World War I, were leaders in the free speech movement, and were active in helping to legalize birth control. The White Nationalists’ embrace of the anarchist label and symbolism is more than little ironic, since anarchists have a long history of physically disrupting White Nationalist events, for instance by groups like Anti-Racist Action. Anarchist military units were even formed to fight Franco in Spain and Mussolini in Italy.


The National-Anarchists claim they are not “fascist.” Still, Troy Southgate looks to lesser known fascists such as Romanian Iron Guard leader Corneliu Codreanu, and lesser light Nazis like Otto Strasser and Walter Darré. Part of Southgate’s sleight of hand is to claim to be ‘against fascism’ by saying he is socialist (as did Nazis such as Strasser) and by supporting political decentralization (as do contemporary European fascists such as Alain de Benoist). Sometimes he proclaims fascism to be equivalent to the capitalism he opposes, or promoting a centralized state, which he also opposes.

Southgate is undoubtedly sincere in his aversion to the classical fascism of Hitler and Mussolini, and has cited this as a reason for his break from one of the National Front splinter groups. He sees the old fascism as discredited, and an abandonment of the true values of revolutionary nationalism. But his ultimate goal, shared with the European New Right, is to create a new form of fascism, with the same core values of a revitalized community that withstands the decadence of cosmopolitan liberal capitalism. This cannot be done as long as his views are linked in the popular mind to the older tradition.


One of the two main influences on National-Anarchists is a minor current of fascism called Third Position. The origins of Third Position are in National Bolshevism, which originally referred to Communists who sought a national (rather than international) revolution. It soon came to refer to Nazis who sought an alliance with the Soviet Union. The most important of these was “left-wing Nazi ” Otto Strasser, a former Socialist who advocated land redistribution and nationalization of industry. After criticizing Hitler for allying with banking interests, he was expelled from the party. His brother, Gregor Strasser, held similar views but remained a Nazi until 1934, when other Nazis killed him in the Night of the Long Knives.

A number of postwar fascists continued this train of thought, including Francis Parker Yockey and Jean-François Thiriart.18 They saw the United States and liberal capitalism as the primary enemy, sought an alliance with the Soviet Union, and promoted solidarity with Third World revolutionary movements, including Communist revolutions in Asia and Latin American, and Arab anti-Zionists (particularly those with whom they shared antisemitic views). Thiriart’s followers in Italy formed a sect of “Nazi-Maoists” based on these principles, and after a gruesome August 1980 bombing in Bologna which killed 85 people, 40 Italian fascists fled to England, including Robert Fiore.

Fiore was sheltered by National Front member Michael Walker, editor of the Scorpion.19 This paper subsequently spread Third Position and New Right ideas into Britain’s National Front, and Troy Southgate openly credits it as a major influence.20 Third Position ideas also spread through the National Front via the magazine Rising.21 After a 1986 split, this new influence resulted in a reconfiguration of the party’s politics. Prominent members visited Qadafi’s Libya, praised Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and forged links with the Nation of Islam in the United States.

Southgate claims to have abandoned Third Position fascism.22 This is a duplicitous claim. He has rejected a centralized state, and therefore its ability to nationalize industry or create an “ethnostate.” Nonetheless, National-Anarchists retain the two main philosophical threads of Third Position. The first is the notion of a racist socialism, as a third option between both capitalism and left-wing socialism like Marxism or traditional anarchism.23 The second is the stress on a strategic and conceptual alliance of nationalists (especially in the Third World) against the United States. Just as the National Front praised the Nation of Islam and Qadafi, the National-Anarchists praise Black and Asian racial separatist groups, and support movements for national self-determination, such as the Tibetan independence movement. Unlike many White Nationalists (such as the British National Party), National-Anarchists are pro-Islamist —but only “if they are prepared to confine their struggle to traditionally Islamic areas of the world.”24

As Chip Berlet and Matthew Lyons note, Third Position fascism influenced U.S. groups such as the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), the American Front and the National Alliance; Christian Identity pastor Bob Miles also held similar views.25 Often overlooked by commentators is the American Front’s affiliation with Southgate’s NRF, which he boasted of for years.26 Like the National Front, U.S. fascists Tom Metzger and Lyndon LaRouche also forged ties with the Nation of Islam.27 More recently, the National Alliance has incorporated Third Position politics. They attempted to cross-recruit left-wing activists by launching a fake antiglobalization website, and, in August 2002, held a Palestine Solidarity rally in Washington D.C.28

An early attempt to directly transplant National-Anarchist ideology to the United States was made by political provocateur Bill White. Starting his political odyssey as a left-wing anarchist, White briefly adopted a National-Anarchist stance at the height of the antiglobalization movement. He penned an infamous article for Pravda online in November 2001, which falsely claimed that National-Anarchists were part of anarchist black blocs.29 Later White linked up with the National Alliance before embracing the undiluted Nazism of the National Socialist Movement.

Currently there are two U.S. websites directly affiliated with the National-Anarchists.30 One is the work of a prolific Christian ex-Nazi skinhead, while the Bay Area site has established a regional “network.” It is this small group that claims to have taken part in demonstrations for Tibetan independence and protests against the Folsom Street Fair.

Additionally, as an identity within the White Nationalist scene, National-Anarchists continue to attract a number of followers in the United States. For example, one of the early collaborators of the Oregon-based magazine Green Anarchy affiliated with their perspective.31 U.S. National-Anarchists also frequently enter into discussions on Stormfront, the main internet gathering place for White Nationalists. There they defend their racial-separatist and antisemitic credentials to traditional fascists, many of whom look upon Third Position politics with skepticism, if not outright hostility. Apparently hearing White Nationalists promoting Islamist, Communist, and anarchist thinkers is as difficult for some of the Right to digest as it is for the Left.


Besides Third Position fascism, the other major ideological influence on the National-Anarchists is the European New Right, especially the thinker Alain de Benoist. National-Anarchists have adopted his ideas about race, political decentralization, and the “right to difference.”

Benoist founded the think-tank GRECE, and has spent his life creating an intellectually respectable edifice for a core of fascist ideas. Like Southgate, Benoist loudly proclaims that he is not a fascist, but scholars such as Roger Griffin disagree. Griffin says that the New Right “could by the end of the 1980s be credited with the not inconsiderable achievement of having carried out a ‘makeover’ of classic fascist discourse so successfully that, at least on the surface it was changed beyond recognition.”32

Benoist extended the notion of an alliance of European nations with the Third World against their main enemies: the United States, liberalism, and capitalism. But against the fascists who desired a united Europe under a super-state, Benoist instead calls for radical federalism and the political decentralization of Europe. Roger Griffin describes this vision as:

The pluralistic, multicultural society of liberal democracy was to give way, not to a culturally, coordinated, charismatic, and, in the case of Nazism, racially pure, national community coterminous with the nation-state, but to an alliance of homogeneous ethnic-cultural communities ethnies within the framework of a federalist European “empire.”33

Benoist also incorporates many sophisticated left-wing critiques, sometimes sounding like a Frankfurt School Marxist. Today he denounces capitalism, imperialism, liberalism, the consumer society, Christianity, universalism, and egalitarianism; he defends paganism, “organic democracy,” and the Third World. He questions the role of unbridled technology and supports environmentalism and a kind of feminism.34 He also rejects biological determinism and embraces a notion of race that is cultural.35 Southgate follows practically all of these positions, which are not necessarily present in Third Position.

Because of these views, the European New Right is very different from the U.S. New Right, whose Christianity and free market views are anathema to the Europeans. The Europeans are closer to the paleoconservative tradition in the United States, and connect with The Rockford Institute, publisher of Chronicles.

Benoist’s main intellectual formulation is the “right to difference,” which upholds the cultural homogeneity and separateness of distinct ethnic-cultural groups. In this sense, he extends the anti-imperialist Left’s idea of “national self-determination” to micro-national European groupings (sometimes called “the Europe of a Hundred Flags”). The “right to difference” has influenced the anti-immigrant policies of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front in France, and a number of GRECE members joined this party, even though Benoist himself rejects Le Pen.36

Benoist has also influenced U.S. White separatism. Usually based around the demand for a separate White nation in parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming, this became a popular idea in White Nationalist circles starting in the early 1980s.37 This decentralized regional perspective was matched by decentralized organizational schemas which emerged at the same time. Louis Beam advocated “leaderless resistance,” and the “lone wolf” strategy for far-right terrorism38, while Christian Identity Pastor Bob Miles started referring himself as a “klanarchist.”

Inverting language, Benoist claims that he is an antiracist. Racism, he argues, is a function of universalistic ideologies like liberalism and Marxism, which purportedly wipe out regional and ethnic identities. He says “Racism is nothing but the denial of difference.”39 But Taguieff, a keen observer of the European Right, identifies a “phobia of mixing” at the core of this form of racism. It is part of the “softer, new, and euphemistic forms of racism praising difference (heterophilia) and substituting ‘culture’ for ‘race.’”40

The influence of these New Right ideas on the National-Anarchists is explicit. In Australia, the National-Anarchist group is for all practical reasons coextensive with “New Right Australia/New Zealand” and at one point they claimed that “New Right is the theory, National-Anarchism the practice.”41 In Britain, Troy Southgate has been involved in New Right meetings since 2005.42 But while Benoist claims that he does not hate immigrants, repudiates antisemitism, and endorses feminism, the National-Anarchists show what New Right ideas look like in practice: crude racial separatism, open antisemitism, homophobia, and antifeminism. The “right to difference” becomes separate ethnic villages.

The New Right also has had a limited influence on elements of the Left intelligentsia. In the United States, the influential journal Telos (known for disseminating Western Marxist texts into English) moved rightward in the 1990s as its editor showed sympathy for Europe’s New Right and published Benoist’s works.43 It continues to publish Benoist, and explores the thought of Nazi legal theorist Carl Schmitt. Many Leftists now consider the once venerable journal anathema.44


Although Benoist advocates decentralized federalist political structures, the Australian National-Anarchists make clear that he does not go so far as to advocate anarchism itself.45 Instead the claim to “anarchism” apparently stems from Richard Hunt’s notion of “villages.” Originally an editor at the British magazineGreen Anarchist, which advocated an intensely anti-industrial environmental ethic, Hunt was expelled from the editorial collective for his right-wing views before founding Green Alternative, which is seen as an “ecofascist” publication.

Hunt adopted an apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque vision of a post-industrial society. Southgate comments that “to say that we have been hugely influenced by Richard Hunt’s ideas is an understatement,” and Southgate took over the editorial helm of Hunt’s magazine when he fell ill.46

Hunt’s critique also reverberated with the environmental strain of classical fascism, such as the views of Hitler’s agriculture minister Walter Darré. Southgate openly gushes over Darré’s “Blood and Soil” ideology in one article47 while white-washing him in another, referring to him merely as a “nationalist ecologist.”48 Many other contemporary fascist groups, especially WAR in the United States, also embrace environmentalism.


The National-Anarchists are quite open about their antifeminism and desire to exile queer people into separate spaces, but tend to hide their deeply antisemitic worldview. Troy Southgate says of feminism, “Feminism is dangerous and unnatural… because it ignores the complimentary relationship between the sexes and encourages women to rebel against their inherent feminine instincts.”49

The stance on homophobia is more interesting. Southgate said:

Homosexuality is contrary to the Natural Order because sodomy is quite undeniably an unnatural act. Groups such as Outrage are not campaigning for love between males — which has always existed in a brotherly or fatherly form — but have created a vast cult which has led to a rise in cottaging, male-rape and child sex attacks… But we are not trying to stop homosexuals engaging in this kind of activity like the Christian moralists or bigoted denizens of censorship are doing, on the contrary, as long as this behaviour does not affect the forthcoming National-Anarchist communities then we have no interest in what people get up to elsewhere.50

What this means in his schema is that queer people will be given their own separate “villages.” The recent National-Anarchist demonstrations in San Francisco were against two majority-queer events, the Folsom Street Fair and the related fair Up Your Alley. Their orchestrator, “Andy,” declares that he is a “racist” who hates queer people.

Andy also denies the charge of antisemitism against National-Anarchists, claiming that they merely engage in a “continuous criticism of Israel and its supporters,”51 as do the majority of Leftists and anarchists. Once again, this is a typical disingenuous attempt by National-Anarchists to duck criticism. Antisemitism is an important element of the political world views of Southgate and Herfurth.

Southgate actively promotes the work of Holocaust deniers, including the Institute for Historical Review, and holds party line antisemitic beliefs about the role of the international Jewish conspiracy. As a dodge, he sometimes uses the euphemism “Zionist”; for instance, he says “Zionists are well known for their cosmopolitan perspective upon life, not least because those who rally to this nefarious cause have no organic roots of their own.”52 In another interview he says that, “there is no question that the world is being ruthlessly directed (but perhaps not completely controlled) by International Zionism. This has been achieved through the rise of the usurious banking system.”53 And he describes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a forgery which is the world’s most popular antisemitic text) as a book which “although still unproven, accords with the main events in modern world history.”54

Meanwhile, his Australian counterpart Welf Herfurth is even more explicit in his neo-Nazi antisemitic views. In one speech, he describes the Holocaust as an “extrapolation” that “has been an enormously profitable one for the Jews, and one which has brought post-war Germany and Europe to its knees,” before referring to Israel as “the most powerful state in the Western world.” Herfurth concludes that “by liberating Germany from the bondage to Israel and restructuring a new Germany on the basis of a new ‘volksgemeinschaft,’ the German nationalists will liberate Europe, and the West as well.”55


Recently new groups of National-Anarchists, recruited through Southgate’s internet activism, have made the leap from contemplating their idiosyncratic ideas on the internet into making them the basis of really-existing politics, by joining demonstrations in Australia and San Francisco. Web pages and blogs continue to pop up in different countries and languages.

The danger National-Anarchists represent is not in their marginal political strength, but in their potential to show an innovative way that fascist groups can rebrand themselves and reset their project on a new footing. They have abandoned many traditional fascist practices—including the use of overt neo-Nazi references, and recruiting from the violent skinhead culture. In its place they offer a more toned down, sophisticated approach. Their cultural references are the neo-folk and gothic music scene, which puts on an air of sophistication, as opposed to the crude skinhead subculture. National-Anarchists abandon any obvious references to Hitler or Mussolini’s fascist regimes, often claiming not to be “fascist” at all.

Like the European New Right, the National-Anarchists adapt a sophisticated left-wing critique of problems with contemporary society, and draw their symbols and cultural orientation from the Left; then they offer racial separatism as the answer to these problems. They are attempting to use this new form to avoid the stigma of the old discredited fascism, and if they are successful like the National Bolsheviks have been in Russia, they will breathe new life into their movement. Even if the results are modest, this can disrupt left-wing social movements and their focus on social justice and egalitarianism; and instead spread elitist ideas based on racism, homophobia, antisemitism and antifeminism amongst grassroots activists.


Fascism: Fascism is an especially virulent form of far-right populism. Fascism glorifies national, racial, or cultural unity and collective rebirth while seeking to purge imagined enemies, and attacks both left-wing movements and liberal pluralism. Fascism first crystallized in Europe in response to the Bolshevik Revolution and the devastation of World War I, and then spread to other parts of the world. Postwar fascists have reinterpreted fascist ideology and strategy in various ways to fit new circumstances.

Third Position: Third Position politics are a minor branch of fascist thought. It rejects both liberal capitalism and Marxism for a kind of racially based socialism. Its main precursors are the National Bolsheviks, who were a fusion of nationalism and communism, and the Strasser brothers, key figures in the “left-wing” of the Nazi party. Third Positionists tend to support national liberation movements in the Third World, seek alliances with other ethnic separatists, and have recently supported environmentalism.

The Public Eye, Winter 2008, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 1, 12­–19.

  1. Chip Berlet, Right Woos Left: Populist Party, LaRouchian, and Other Neo-fascist Overtures to Progressives and Why They Must Be Rejected (Cambridge, MA: Political Research Associates, 1994).
  2. Jeffrey Kaplan and Tore Bjørgo, eds. Nation and Race: The Developing Euro-American Racist Subculture (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998).
  3. For recruitment of counter-culturalists, see Nick Griffin, “National-Anarchism: Trojan Horse for White Nationalism,” Green Anarchy 19, (Spring 2005). On spreading National-Anarchist ideas to BNP members, see Troy Southgate’s comments.
  4. Roger Griffin, The Nature of Fascism(New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991), p. 38.
  5. Email from Tory Southgate to National-Anarchist listserve, message #26659. November 30, 2003.
  6. Jeffrey Bales, “ ‘National revolutionary’ groupuscules and the resurgence of ‘left-wing’ fascism: the case of France’s Nouvelle Résistance,” Patterns of Prejudice, v36 #3 (2002), pp. 25–26.
  7. Anti-Fascist Forum, ed., My Enemy’s Enemy (Montreal: Kersplebedeb, 2003), p. 31.
  8. Don Hammerquist, J. Sakai, et al., Confronting Fascism (Montreal: Kersplebedeb, et al, 2002), pp. 35–38.
  9. On the alliance between certain sectors of the antiglobalization movement and Islamist factions, see Andrew Higgins, “Anti-Americans on the March,” Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2006, p. A1. For an example of contemporary left-wing calls to openly tolerate antisemitism, see Rami El-Amine, “Islam and the Left,” Upping the Anti #5, October 2007.
  10. Troy Southgate, “Transcending the Beyond: From Third Position to National-Anarchism,” Pravda, January 17, 2002.
  11. Graham Macklin, “Co-opting the Counterculture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction,”Patterns of Prejudice 39, no. 3 (2005), p. 325.
  12. Macklin, p. 325.
  13. Troy Southgate, “The Case for National-Anarchist Entryism.
  14. Neo-Nazis Join Animal Rights Groups,” Sunday Telegraph, June 19, 2001.
  15. Macklin, p. 318.
  16. See URL.
  17. Cited in Roger-Pol Droit, “The Confusion of Ideas,” Telos 98-99, (Winter 1993-Spring 1994), p. 138. GRECE stands for the “Groupement de recherche et d’études pour la civilisation européenne” – the “Research and Study Group for European Civilization.”
  18. Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens(Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1997), pp. 168-83; Kevin Coogan, Dreamer of the Day (Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 1999), pp. 191–92. For Yockey’s influence on Southgate, see Macklin, p. 320.
  19. Lee, p. 450 n40. See also Southgate, “Transcending the Beyond.”
  20. Troy Southgate, Interview, “Interview with Troy Southgate, Conducted by Graham Macklin.
  21. Macklin, pp. 303-4; Martin A. Lee and Kevin Coogan, “Killers on the Right,” Mother Jones 12, no. 4, (May 1987), p. 45.
  22. Macklin, pp. 317–18.
  23. Troy Southgate, “Was ‘Fascism’ Outside of Germany and Italy Anything More Than An Imitation?”; “Revolution versus Reaction: Social-Nationalism & the Strasser Brothers.
  24. Troy Southgate, “Enemy Within? Hizb-ut Tahrir, Al- Muhajiroun, & the Growing Threat of Asian Colonisation.
  25. Chip Berlet and Matthew Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America (New York & London: Guilford Press, 2000), pp. 269–70; see also Betty Dobratz and Stephanie Shanks-Meile, “White Power, White Pride!” The White Separatist Movement in the United States (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997), pp. 262–67. On Miles, see Lee, pp. 340-41.
  26. Southgate says, “We also have an excellent relationship with National-Bolsheviks like the American Front (AF), who, despite the fact that they do not share our anarchistic tendencies, are basically working for very similar objectives.” “Synthesis Editor Troy Southgate, Interviewed by Dan Ghetu.
  27. Berlet and Lyons, p. 267.
  28. The website for the “Anti-Globalism Action Network.” See also Center for New Community, “Neo-Nazi Infiltration of Anti-Globalization Protests,” Center for New Community, June 22, 2002; Anti- Defamation League, “Purported ‘Anti-Globalization’ Web Site Fronts for Neo-Nazi Group,” July 12, 2002. For the Washington, D.C. rally, see Anti-Defamation League, “Neo-Nazis Rally in Nation’s Capital,”; Susan Lantz, “Fascists Countered In D.C., ”Baltimore IMC, August 28, 2002; “Washington, DC: National Alliance Rally a Huge Bust,” Infoshop News, August 24, 2002.
  29. Bill White, “Anti-Globalist Resistance Beyond Left And Right: An Emerging Trend That Is Defining A New Paradigm In Revolutionary Struggle,” Pravda Online, November 2, 2001.
  30. is based in Idaho Falls, Idaho. is based in California’s Bay Area. As unlikely as this location may seem, the NRF-affiliated fascist skinhead gang the American Front originated there as well. is another site sympathetic to National-Anarchists.
  31. See Griffin; The U.S.-based Green Anarchy is not to be confused with the UK-based Green Anarchist, despite shared ideology. Green Anarchy has explicitly denounced National-Anarchism.
  32. Roger Griffin, “Plus ça change! The Fascist Pedigree of the Nouvelle Droite,” draft, August, 1998; p. 5.
  33. “Plus ça change!” p. 4.
  34. Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier, “The French New Right in the Year 2000,” Telos, no. 115, (Spring 1999), pp. 117–144.
  35. Many fascist intellectuals have held this view, including early Nazi leader Otto Strasser, Italian occult philosopher Julius Evola, U.S. Third Position theorist Francis Parker Yockey, and German Nazi legal theorist Carl Schmitt. For a discussion of “spiritual” versus “biological” race, see Coogan, 313 n38, p. 481. See also Lee, pp. 96.
  36. “Three Interviews with Alain de Benoist,” Telos, nos. 98- 99, (Winter 1993-Spring 1994), pp. 173–207.
  37. Dobratz and Shanks-Meile, p. 99.
  38. See Jeffrey Kaplan, “Leaderless Resistance,” Terrorism and Political Violence 9 no. 3, (Autumn 1997), pp. 80–95; see also Dobratz and Shanks-Meile, pp. 171-74, pp. 267–68. For the influence on Troy Southgate, see Macklin, p. 312. Beam’s essay is also reproduced on the Australian National-Anarchist site.
  39. “Three Interviews with Alain de Benoist,” p. 180.
  40. Pierre-André Taguieff, “The New Right’s Vision of European Identity,” Telos, nos. 98-99, Winter 1993- Spring 1994; p. 123.
  41. New Right Australia New Zealand Committee, “Statement of New Right on National-Anarchism and Australian Nationalism.
  42. For the intellectual influence of the New Right on Southgate, see Macklin, p. 306.
  43. Telos nos. 98-99, Winter 1993 – Spring 1994.
  44. Tamir Bar-On, Where Have All the Fascists Gone? (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007).
  45. See New Right Australia New Zealand Committee.
  46. Synthesis Editor Troy Southgate, Interviewed by Wayne John Sturgeon,”; see also Macklin, pp. 312–13.
  47. Southgate, “Blood and Soil.
  48. Troy Southgate, “The Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic.” On the link between German Nazis and ecology, see Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier, Ecofascism: Lessons From the German Experience (San Francisco: AK Press, 1995).
  49. Southgate, Sturgeon interview.
  50. Southgate, Sturgeon interview.
  51. A smear salad: Nick Griffin, Green Anarchy, and a concoction of fallacies,” Bay Area National-Anarchists, October 7, 2007.
  52. Troy Southgate, “Manifesto of the European Liberation Front, 1999.
  53. Southgate, Sturgeon interview.
  54. Troy Southgate, “Oswald Mosley: The Rise & Fall of English Fascism Between 1918-45.
  55. Welf Herfurth On Kameradschaft.

What is Fascism?

Some General Ideological Features

I am skeptical of efforts to produce a “definition” of fascism. As a dynamic historical current, fascism has taken many different forms, and has evolved dramatically in some ways. To understand what fascism has encompassed as a movement and a system of rule, we have to look at its historical context and development–as a form of counter-revolutionary politics that first arose in early twentieth-century Europe in response to rapid social upheaval, the devastation of World War I, and the Bolshevik Revolution. The following paragraphs are intended as an initial, open-ended sketch.

Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. At the same time, fascists may embrace a form of internationalism based on either racial or ideological solidarity across national boundaries. Usually fascism espouses open male supremacy, though sometimes it may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged nation or race. Read More

Fascism Wrapped in the American Flag

Co-authored by Joel Bellman

Part One

Outside the Boston federal courthouse a photographer discretely snaps pictures of certain persons entering the building. In the echoing halls, private security guards whisper into tiny two-way radios. Those entering the second-floor courtroom pass through the gleaming arch of an electronic metal detector. When the main defendant leaves the courtroom, husky bodyguards surround him as he is hustled to a car waiting in the basement parking garage.

The scene is from the 1987 trial of perennial Presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. That trial, involving charges of credit card fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice, was declared a mistrial due to numerous delays, but a later criminal indictment in Virginia saw LaRouche and several of his key followers convicted on charges involving illegally soliciting unsecured loans and tax code violations.

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. is frequently dismissed as a crank or political extremist with no further explanation of his views or the phenomenon he represents. In a democracy based on informed consent, to not understand the nature of the LaRouche phenomenon is a dangerously naive rejection of the lessons of history–because Lyndon LaRouche represents the most recent incarnation of the unique twentieth-century phenomenon known as totalitarian fascism. LaRouche is hardly the first proponent of these views, and he is unlikely to be the last. Therefore there is a deadly serious reason to study the rise and fall of Lyndon LaRouche, the man who brought us fascism wrapped in an American flag.

Who is Lyndon LaRouche?

LaRouche spent his formative years in the small industrial city of Lynn, Massachusetts as a Quaker, and the past fifteen years forging a fascist movement out of cadre originally drawn from idealistic Marxist college students. His name became more familiar to Americans in April of 1986 when two Illinois followers of LaRouche scored primary victories–garnering the official Democratic Party ballot slots for Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State. In repudiating the LaRouche candidates, the Democratic Party’s candidate for Illinois governor, Adlai Stevenson, removed himself from the official ticket saying he could not in good conscience run on the same ticket with “neo-Nazis.”

With increased media coverage of the LaRouche network’s legal difficulties and clearly unusual political theories, most Americans probably think they already know all they need to know about Lyndon LaRouche. Yet the picture most people envision when they hear of the “LaRouchies” is a caricature of a complicated and troubling phenomenon which appears more sinister than comical when the details are sketched in with information emerging from court records, a careful reading of LaRouche’s theoretical writings, and interviews with dozens of former members, most of whom prefer not to be quoted by name.

They have been called crooks, con artists, a cult, obsessed with conspiracy theories, a private intelligence army, anti-Semitic. Some critics have called LaRouche America’s leading neo-fascist. A handful insist he is a neo-Nazi.They call themselves visionaries, nation-builders, walking in the footsteps of Lincoln, Hamiltonian Constitutionalists, neo-Platonic thinkers. Supporters consider LaRouche to be one of the great minds of the Twentieth Century, and the world’s leading economist.

Even his sharpest critics generally agree that Lyndon LaRouche himself is highly intelligent and well-read, with an astounding ability to garnish his conversation with historical references drawn from memory. And there is no doubt that LaRouche has built a multi-million dollar financial empire from a small publishing company and a software consulting firm programming Wang mainframe computers for the garment and trucking industries. The LaRouche network now runs publishing and information services linked worldwide by computerized electronic telecommunications systems. Estimates of the recent yearly gross income from the dozens of related front groups ranges from 10 to 30 million dollars, although several years of legal problems have apparently reduced that figure substantially.

Under different circumstance LaRouche might have ended up a mental derelict drifting the streets–a deranged ancient mariner pressing tracts crammed with conspiracies into the palms of startled passersby.

How did LaRouche take a handful of sincere Marxist student intellectuals and turn them into an international intelligence and publishing operation? How did a former pacifist Quaker end up sending his followers into the streets to beat up opponents? How did LaRouche become the guru of a group churning out conspiracy theories detailing a sinister plan by prominent Jews, Russian communists, and New Age Aquarians to manacle western culture with a new Dark Age? How can LaRouche claim to trace this conspiracy from Henry Kissinger and Walter Mondale back through history to the days of the Babylonian Empire? Why do the followers of someone so obviously deranged attract tens of thousands of votes in American election races? And why do most mainstream media outlets refuse to use terms such as “anti-Semite” and “small-time Hitler” when court actions have resulted in those terms being found not defamatory but “fair comment?”

Unraveling the Gordian Knot that is LaRouche is not difficult when you realize the multi-faceted nature of LaRouche and his organization. LaRouche is the Elmer Gantry of American politics; mixing equal parts of cynical con and fanatic fervor. The terms to describe LaRouche can be gleaned from the pages of any political science textbook. LaRouche’s political ideology is authoritarian. His view of history is paranoid. His economic theories are similar to Italian Fascism. His conspiratorial views are laced with racial and cultural bigotry and a large dose of anti-Jewish hysteria. His zealous stormtroopers are motivated by an internal organizational structure that is to politics what the blitzkrieg was to international diplomacy–that distinctive twentieth century phenomenon…the totalitarian movement. History teaches us that to ignore or dismiss such a person as an ineffectual crank can have devastating consequences.

The Long Road to Federal Court

As LaRouche’s self image and paranoia grew so too did his appetite for expensive intelligence-gathering and high-tech security devices. His quest for Presidential power made him bold. The funds needed to maintain LaRouche’s gargantuan self-image as the world’s premiere political economist and spymaster apparently forced his followers to use questionable methods of obtaining cash.

The resulting over-zealous fundraising efforts are what caught the attention of a Boston federal grand jury some four years ago. In the fading days of his 1984 Presidential bid, when the cash-starved LaRouche organization was buying expensive commercial air-time, hundreds of persons found unauthorized credit card charges totaling tens of thousands of dollars paid to one of the many front groups operated by the LaRouche network. LaRouche says it all was a mistake. The grand jury thought otherwise, indicted several of his top lieutenants, and cited three of his related organizations. Law enforcement agents raided his Virginia corporate offices searching for documents to verify the allegations.

In the course of the probe, LaRouche loyalists are alleged to have destroyed evidence and sent key witnesses out of the country. When the grand jury indicted LaRouche on a charge of conspiring to obstruct justice, he blithely told the press the CIA had suggested that documents be shredded and witnesses made scarce.

Linda Ray, a former member of what she calls the “LaRouche Cult” says his followers may have been “the guinea pigs for pioneering the financial fraud in the late 1970’s” when members with credit cards were persuaded to take out personal loans to finance LaRouche organizations. Former members say these internal loans were seldom properly repaid.

According to Ray, who has written of her experiences, she and other “LaRouchies” staffing LaRouche-controlled companies often did not receive paychecks; the money instead was used to keep the LaRouche global telecommunications network humming. “We were told that one of the top priorities for meeting expenses was maintaining a 24-hour communications link with the European central office,” she recalls. Other former members report they were under intense pressure to meet daily financial quotas.

Former LaRouche loyalists, who often call themselves “defectors,” say they were willing to make personal sacrifices and raise money using questionable methods because they were convinced they were part of a historic mission to save the world from an evil global conspiracy–a belief they now reject as an illusion. Intense peer pressure, manipulation of guilt feelings, attacks on their sexuality and fear are used to control LaRouche loyalists, say former members. The sum of the LaRouche organizational techniques equals the formula for the cult-like totalitarian movement defined by political scientist Hanna Arendt.

From Socialist to Totalitarian Fascist

After serving as a non-combatant in World War II, LaRouche flirted with the Communist Party, USA and then drifted into the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) where he spent much of the 1960’s. After leaving the SWP, LaRouche became the political guru of the Labor Caucus of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) until SDS voted to expel them in 1969. LaRouche (using the name Lyn Marcus) then created the National Caucus of Labor Committees, which in 1972 had some 1,000 members nationwide.

But in 1973 NCLC underwent a drastic upheaval. LaRouche suddenly vowed to either destroy or establish his “political hegemony” over the American left. He began talking of the need for rapid industrialization to build the working class. He talked of a historic tactical alliance between revolutionaries, the working class and the forces of industrial capital against the forces of finance capital. He began developing an authoritarian world view with a glorification of historic mission, metaphysical commitment and physical confrontation. He told reporters that only he was capable of bringing revolution and socialism to the United States, and his speeches began to take on the tone and style of a demagogue.

In many ways LaRouche was adopting the same ideas and styles which took National Socialism, and turned it into part of the European fascist movement, and eventually played a key role in Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany. In fact, LaRouche was denounced as a neo-Nazi by U.S. Communists following a series of 1973 physical attacks on leftists. To be precise, NCLC members were likened to Hitler’s violent Brownshirts.

What happened to cause this dramatic shift? Some say it was a dramatic incident in LaRouche’s personal life. In 1972 LaRouche’s common-law wife, Carol Schnitzer, left him for a young member of the London NCLC chapter named Christopher White, whom she eventually married. For LaRouche, it was a crushing blow. His first wife Janice had similarly walked out on him a decade earlier, taking with her the couple’s young son.

This personal event apparently triggered LaRouche’s political metamorphosis. LaRouche went into seclusion in Europe, and defectors tell of his suffering a possible nervous breakdown. In the spring of 1973, he returned. His previous conspiratorial inclinations had now grown into a bizarre tapestry weaving together classical conspiracy theories of the 19th century and post-Marxian economics. He began articulating a `psycho-sexual’ theory of political organizing.

Sexism and homophobia became central themes of

the organization’s theories. A September 1973 editorial in the NCLC ideological journal Campaignercharged that “Concretely, all across the U.S.A., there are workers who are prepared to fight. They are held back, most immediately, by pressure from their wives. . . .” The problem with making the revolution, LaRouche apparently had concluded, was that women are castrating bitches. One former member left in disgust when she was told women’s feelings of degradation in modern society could be traced to the physical placement of female sexual organs near the anus which caused women to confuse sex with excretion.

In an August 16, 1973 internal memo, “The Politics of Male Impotence,” LaRouche told his followers:

“The principle source of impotence, both male and female, is the mother. . . .to the extent that my physical powers do not prevent me, I am now confident and capable of ending your political–and sexual– impotence; the two are interconnected aspects of the same problem. . . . I am going to make you organizers–by taking your bedrooms away from you until you make the step to being effective organizers. What I shall do is to expose to you the cruel fact of your sexual impotence, male and female. . . .I shall destroy your sense of safety in the place to which you ordinarily imagine you can flee. I shall not pull you back from fleeing, but rather destroy the place to which you would attempt to flee.”

In a cruel sense, LaRouche was true to his twisted words, those members who challenge the increasingly macabre political and social theories expounded by their leader were confronted by loyalists as politically and sexually inadequate traitors to the cause.

LaRouche also developed a fevered, comprehensive paranoid fantasy about the importance of his role in history–and a militant, new-found resolve to act upon it, wiping out all opposition to his leadership of the U.S. revolutionary movement. The result was Operation Mop-Up. Lyndon LaRouche took his sexual identity crisis into the streets.

Operation Mop-up raged from May to September of 1973. LaRouche’s followers in NCLC were ordered to brutally assault rivals from the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). NCLC thugs used bats, chains, and martial arts weapons in a campaign to establish “hegemony” over the American revolutionary movement. There were many injuries and some persons required hospitalization.

“Our hearts were not in it,” a former NCLC member says about his participation in Operation Mop-Up. “But with LaRouche it was all or nothing; the attacks were supposed to harden the membership.” Forcing student intellectuals into violent confrontations was an exercise in self-degradation which cemented their loyalty to NCLC, ex-members say, Their working-class Marxism gave way to an unquestioning, cult-like devotion to LaRouche. “Most of us now find the whole thing was crazy,” says a seven-year NCLC veteran who left the group in the mid-1970’s. Operation Mop-Up, however, was just the beginning.

LaRouche spent the summer and early fall of 1973 obsessed with his broken marriage, brooding over the humiliating betrayal, according to ex-members. Late in December, a revelation came; Christopher White, having already stolen his wife, had in addition been programmed by the KGB, with the aid of the MI5 division of British intelligence, to assassinate LaRouche himself–in retaliation for Mop-Up’s assaults on pro-Soviet Communist groups! Further, the CIA–jealous of LaRouche’s success in uncovering a previous NCLC victim of KGB brainwashing–had resolved either to kidnap LaRouche to extract his secret, or kill him itself to prevent his falling into Soviet hands.

Only LaRouche possessed the intelligence and perception to uncover and foil this fiendish plot, and not surprisingly, he alone held the keys for the cure–in White’s case, days of isolation and intense pressure from a battery of LaRouche inquisitors. White finally caved in and confessed to his alleged “psychosexual brainwashing” by the KGB/CIA/MI5 conspirators. Based on tape-recordings offered by NCLC members as “proof,” the New York Times later carried a harrowing account of this so-called “deprogramming” session. LaRouche’s revenge was complete; White–who had taken his wife–had been reduced to a repentant, sobbing psychological wreck.

LaRouche lost no time in applying his cure. Any sign of restiveness or dissent on the part of NCLC members now became evidence of “brainwashing” by the KGB, the CIA, or both.

One young woman, attempting to quit what was rapidly becoming a totalitarian cult, was held prisoner in a New York apartment by six fellow members in an effort to “deprogram” her. She somehow managed to fold a plea for help into a paper airplane, sailing it out the window–where it was found by a passerby who called the police. Among the NCLC members arrested were Edward Spannaus, a national spokesman for LaRouche who faced trial in the failed Boston prosecution; and Khushro Ghandhi, co-sponsor of Proposition 64, a LaRouche-sponsored California AIDS initiative defeated several years ago after an intensive public awareness campaign in which the initiative was widely denounced as a witch hunt against the homosexual community. Other defendants in the Boston case were part of the NCLC deprogramming drive, according to former members.

On January 3, 1974, the day the six “deprogrammers” were arraigned, LaRouche gave a long, rambling and altogether extraordinary speech–later reprinted in his own New Solidarity> –laying out his theory of how sinister forces had secretly kidnapped and brainwashed his followers. According to LaRouche, the methods used by the KGB and British Intelligence to brainwash the membership of NCLC caused fear of impotence and homosexuality to immobilize each member and thus destroy their capability to organize effectively. LaRouche’s pronouncements can easily be dismissed as a deranged conspiracy theory–but the words reveal his emotional and intellectual state at the time of the speech.

While perhaps offensive to some readers, only direct quotes can fully convey the incredible nature and content of LaRouche’s demented discourse:

“How do you brainwash somebody? Well, first of all, you generally pull a psychological profile or develop one in a preliminary period. You find every vulnerability of that person from a psychoanalytic standpoint. Now the next thing you do is you build them up for fear in males and females of homosexuality, aim them for an anal identification with anal sex, their mouth is identified with fellatio. Their mouth is identified only with the penis–that kind of sex, and with woman. Womanhood is the fellatio of the male mouth in a man who has been brainwashed by the KGB; that is sucking penises. . . .”

“First they say your father was nothing, your father was a queer, your father was a woman. They play very strongly on homosexual fears. It doesn’t work on women. . . .Most women are to a large degree homosexual in this society. The relationship between daughter and mother is homosexual, so the thing is not much of a threat.”

“But to young men it is generally a grave threat. . fears about masturbation. . . .They say, `See that sheep. Wouldn’t you like to do that to a sheep?'”

“It’s not the pain that brainwashes, it’s forcing the victim to run away from the pain by taking the bait of degrading himself. This persistent pattern of self-degradation, self-humiliation, is what essentially accomplishes the brainwashing.”

“Any of you who say this is a hoax–you’re cruds! You’re subhuman! You’re not serious. The human race is at stake. Either we win or there is no humanity. That’s the way she’s cut.”

LaRouche was speaking of the brainwashing plot he believed was being initiated against his followers. In fact, according to former members, LaRouche and his closest aides used this belief to justify a an internal campaign which was a”chain of psychological terror” as two members called it in their resignation letter. They charged the LaRouche-mandated sessions to cure their alleged “psychosis” were in fact an attempt to crush the will of “all individuals who have expressed political and intellectual opposition to the tendencies” surfacing inside the LaRouche organization. “What really happened,” says a dismayed former member, “is that LaRouche had gone bonkers and was systematically brainwashing us to accept his total control over the organization.”

Linda Ray says hundreds of persons left the LaRouche organization during this period. For Ray and others who remained, however, LaRouche’s increasingly bizarre and bigoted theories were accepted without question to avoid being subjected to “de-programming” sessions.

A Tactical Alliance with the Reactionary Right

In 1974 LaRouche first began to seek contact with extremist and anti-Semitic right-wing groups and individuals in an effort to forge a tactical alliance in opposing imperialism and ruling class banking interests in general–and the Rockefellers in particular. LaRouche’s obsession with conspiracy theories blossomed. Dovetailing with today’s American radical Right and neo-fascist neo-populist ideologies, his theories of a Rockefeller-directed global conspiracy of banking interests found a receptive audience.

Yet the core followers of LaRouche still thought of themselves as Leftists forging a temporary and cynical tactical alliance with `progressive’ industrialists to help rebuild a strong economy. With a healthy economy leading to full employment for the working class, the LaRouche followers figured they could then lead the reconstituted working class to revolution. Defectors report that during this period they were required to study Marxist and Leninist tracts and participate in paramilitary training classes led by fellow members.

Having founded the U.S. Labor Party as the NCLC’s electoral arm in 1973, LaRouche mounted his first presidential campaign under the USLP banner in 1976. His platform of “Impeach Rocky to prevent imminent nuclear war” garnered only 40,000 votes, but it afforded LaRouche more organizing opportunities on the far Right. Despite its declared Marxist stance, the NCLC stepped up efforts, with mixed success, to penetrate or co-opt such groups as the American Conservative Union, the John Birch Society, the Young Americans for Freedom, and the KKK.

Drawing upon his new contacts on the far Right (reportedly relying in part on Pennsylvania KKK leader Roy Frankhauser) LaRouche arranged with former CIA officer Mitchell WerBell III to provide the NCLC security force with armed self-defense training at WerBell’s paramilitary camp in Powder Springs, Georgia. Now deceased, WerBell introduced LaRouche into wider right-wing circles including a shadowy netherworld of spys, mercenaries, and intelligence operatives.

It was during this period that NCLC began to collect and disseminate intelligence on progressive groups. LaRouche publications frequently report their security staffers offer intelligence to domestic and foreign government agencies. While documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that U.S. government agencies frequently dismissed the material provided by the NCLC, it was provided nonetheless. Legal actions against some police agencies have discovered NCLC material in active files on terrorism and subversion.

As LaRouche’s fear of persecution and assassination intensified he moved further and further into right-wing circles. His ideological theories were constantly being repackaged to appeal to his new-found friends. One shift in LaRouche’s perception of who controlled the worldwide conspiracy came at the time of Nelson Rockefeller’s death; an event which left a major hole in LaRouche’s theoretical bulwark.

Ever alert to exploit shifting sentiment and historical opportunities, the U.S. Labor Party began to de-emphasise Rockefeller as the archenemy of civilization, replacing him with a worldwide conspiracy under the control of the “British Oligarchy” and their stooge. . .the Queen of England. A careful reading of USLP published material reveals, however, that a remarkable number of the British and other co-conspirators were Jews. It is this fact that prompted several major Jewish groups to denounce LaRouche’s theories as anti-Semitic.

This turn toward a Jewish conspiracy theory of history came shortly after the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby began praising a 1976 USLP pamphlet titled Carter and the International Party of Terrorism. The pamphlet outlined the “Rockefeller-CIA-Carter axis,” which was supposedly trying to “deindustrialize” the U.S. and provoke a war with the Soviet Union by 1978. (At this point LaRouche had not yet discarded his support for the Soviet Union, nor announced his support for “Star Wars” defense against his perceived threat of imminent Soviet attack.) In an overall favorable review of the USLP treatise on the Rockefeller-controlled global conspiracy, Liberty Lobby’s newspaper, Spotlight complained that the report failed to mention any of the “major Zionist groups such as the notorious Anti-Defamation League” in its extensive list of government agencies, research groups, organizations and individuals controlled by the “Rockefeller-Carter-CIA” terrorism apparatus.

LaRouche, never one to miss a cue, soon was running articles in his newspaper New Solidarity with themes that betrayed increasingly bigoted view of Jews and Jewish institutions. By the end of 1976, LaRouche had completed his drift to the extremist-right of the political spectrum where his bigoted conspiracy theories linking international bankers, influential Jewish families, furtive KGB agents, and secret societies found fertile ground.

Soon LaRouche was expounding a view linking certain Jewish institutions and Zionist movements to a plot to destroy Western civilization and usher in a “New Dark Age.” Linda Ray thinks that more recent LaRouche converts are not even aware of the group’s real history, nor of the cult-like inner circle which controls the secret financial operations.

Opportunistic or not, LaRouche’s erratic lurch to the right brought gains to the NCLC in membership and financial strength. Yet his right-wing theories and affiliations are still opaque to many observers who dismiss LaRouche on the basis of his cranky conspiratorial world view and general lunacy.

Part Two

The Paranoid Style

LaRouche’s parlaying of personal and political conspiracy theories into a multi-million dollar financial empire is unique, but paranoid political movements occur cyclically in American history. In his widely-quoted essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” professor Richard Hofstadter argues that in times of economic, social or political crisis, small conspiracy-minded groups suddenly gain a mass following. The anti-Catholic hysteria of the 1800’s, the anti-immigrant movement which led to the Palmer Raids in 1919, the Red Scare of the 1950’s and other societal convulsions, are examples, wrote Hofstadter.

Such movements rise and fall periodically, according to Hofstadter, appealing to people fearful about the world political and economic situation, and longing for simple solutions to complex problems. The use of scapegoats is common among these movements. The findings of two academics who studied a LaRouche campaign contributor list (available from the Federal Election Commission) lend support to the thesis that LaRouche appeals to a paranoid constituency. In a 1986 press release, “Who Controls Us: A Profile of Lyndon LaRouche’s Campaign Contributors,” John C. Green and James L. Guth of Furman University identify LaRouche as “a new celebrity on the extreme right.”

“An analysis of his campaign contributors suggests that LaRouche should be taken seriously, not as a candidate, but as evidence of the failure–and success–American politics,” wrote the professors.

According to the results of the study, among LaRouche’s contributors are a significant proportion of Northern neo-populist conservatives, “profoundly uncomfortable with modern America and susceptible to conspiratorial explanations of their distress. One seemed to speak for the others when he listed his major concern as `who really controls us?’ To many of these alienated people, LaRouche’s outlandish views offer a plausible answer to this question.”

According to the study:

“Though LaRouche campaigns as a Democrat, most of his donors are independents, with the largest group `leaning’ Republican. but ordinary people as well, believing that no one can be trusted `most of the time.’ Very few say they are optimistic about their future or that of the country. They are equally disillusioned with politics, 40% report having become discouraged and ceased participating at some point. These attitudes extend to current political groups as well. Three-quarters feel `far’ from mainstream conservative organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce. Roughly equal numbers feel `close’ and `far’ from more reactionary groups like the John Birch Society. Uniform dislike, however, is reserved for liberal advocates of change; the ACLU, Common Cause and Ralph Nader.

“LaRouche is most criticized for his political intolerance, a trait exhibited by his contributors. To measure tolerance, we asked all donors to name a group they regarded as `dangerous’ and then asked if they would allow a member of that group to run for president, speak in a public place or teach in public school. Only a quarter of the LaRouchians would allow a member of their `dangerous’ group to engage in all three activities and another quarter would allow none.

“LaRouche would probably approve of their choice of `dangerous’ groups: more than half of the mentions figure prominently in `conspiracy’ theories of politics, such as communists, drug dealers, Jews, bankers, intellectuals and the mass media. Some `conspiracies’ are explicitly named: the `zionist-socialist movement,’ the `international drug ring,’ `cartel control of money’ and the `post-industrial counter-culture.’ But other donors identify mainstream organizations and leaders as `dangerous,’ including the `unilateral disarmament advocates,’ `eco-freaks,’ `Hayden and Fonda,’ `socialist Democrats’ and `big labor bosses.’

“These kinds of attitudes occur among other conservative activists, but rarely to this extent. And the LaRouchians differ from other conservatives in demographic terms as well. LaRouche’s donors seem to be the remnant of the `small town America’ of a generation ago. Nearly three-quarters were born in the Midwest or Northeast and more than half still live there, outside the major cities. Most spent their adult life in one or two states; the only major move they have ever made was to retire to the Sunbelt. Two-thirds are 55 or older, male, of WASP or German extraction, and products of [nuclear two-parent] families. They are not, however, particularly religious; most belong to mainline Protestant denominations and few are active church members. “

The authors concluded, “it is alienated people who make fringe candidates possible. LaRouche should be taken seriously as a symptom of distress in a small part of the body politic. His limited appeal is a sign of the basic health of America politics.”

One historian, author George Seldes, thinks LaRouche has followed another seldom traveled but clearly recognizable historic path–the road from Socialism through National Socialism to Fascism. Seldes has authored some ten books concerning authoritarianism and thinks LaRouche’s theories and style represent classic “Mussolini-style fascist” ideology. Seldes’ analysis carries weight especially since he wrote a biography of Mussolini in 1935 titled Sawdust Caesar.

Secret Agent LaRouche

In a sense LaRouche is a “Silicon Caesar” since he has risen to power through a sophisticated computerized telecommunications network which gathers political and economic intelligence and then packages it for dissemination through newsletters, magazines, special reports and consulting services. Former Reagan advisor and National Security Council senior analyst, Dr. Norman Bailey, told NBC reporter Pat Lynch the LaRouche network was “one of the best private intelligence services in the world.”

Not everyone shares the view. When Henry Kissinger was told of how LaRouche operatives met with high Reagan Administration officials in the early 1980’s, he told the New Republic, “If this is true, it would be outrageous, stupid, and nearly unforgivable.” Dennis King, co-author of the New Republic article which examined LaRouche’s influence in scientific and intelligence circles, says during the first Reagan term LaRouche aides managed to gain “access to an alarming array of influential persons in government, law enforcement, scientific research and private industry.” These ties form the basis of the LaRouche “CIA defense” against the charges he conspired to obstruct justice. LaRouche claims he believed his security aide Roy Frankhauser, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and government law enforcement informant, was a covert conduit to the CIA.

John Rees, an ultra-conservative whose Information Digest newsletter reports on political extremes on the left and right, says he “believes the New Republic story that LaRouche staffers had access to a lot of people.” But he points out, “If you have all the electronic resources and information-gathering staff that LaRouche possesses you are bound to come up with occasional gems, that’s what most people were interested in, not the LaRouche philosophy.” Both King and Rees feel the Reagan Administration consciously began distancing itself from contacts with the LaRouche network following the New Republicand NBC stories.

Russ Bellant, a long-time LaRouche watcher from Detroit, notes that in the mid-1970’s LaRouche simultaneously turned to the right and tried to link up with more respectable groups, including, for a brief period, several state Republican Party organizations. “Some tactical political alliances with various right-wing groups were made on the basis of LaRouche’s scurrilous disruption campaigns against mutual enemies, especially liberal Democrats,” says Bellant. In fact, LaRouche has consistently targeted the American left, and done so with material and moral support from small but significant elements in law enforcement, the Republican Party and the American far right. There is also evidence to suggest that the LaRouche organization maintained a cozy relationship with certain elements in U.S. and foreign intelligence, military and police agencies.

Bellant and other LaRouche-watchers feel the LaRouche network and its questionable finances and intelligence activities may have been overlooked by certain individuals in intelligence and law enforcement agencies. “These persons were focusing more on the information being churned up by LaRouche’s intelligence-gathering apparatus,” says Bellant.

LaRouche-related financial operations have run afoul of the law before, but by adopting an aggressive legal strategy his groups have been able to fend off successful prosecution for years until cases were dropped or settled by exhausted plaintiffs and prosecutors. One Illinois case involving LaRouche-backed mayoral candidate Sheila Jones and LaRouche’s Illinois Anti-Drug Coalition has dragged on for over six years.

The 1986 Illinois primary victory by two LaRouche followers, however, raised the ante. “The visibility that came to LaRouche after the Illinois primary lent credibility to the investigations into his financial operations by bringing forward scores of persons who claimed to have been defrauded by LaRouche operations over the years,” says Bellant. There are probably a variety of reasons why the ties between LaRouche and various government agencies and personalities were severed in the mid-1980’s. Highly-publicized incidents such as the airport battle between LaRouchies and Henry Kissinger and his wife helped doom the LaRouche network’s relationship with the Reagan Administration–their profile just became too visible for a continued relationship.

Principled conservatives challenged the Reagan Administration to justify its flirtation with an anti-Semitic group. Intelligence specialists questioned the wisdom of sharing thoughts with a group which historically worked both sides of the political fence separating allies from adversaries. Even Oliver North got into the act when his fundraisers and security specialists found LaRouche emissaries were getting underfoot.

LaRouche security expert Jeff Steinberg, who used to meet with National Security Council staffers at the Old Executive Office Building in the White House compound, spent much of 1988 in a Boston courtroom facing criminal charges. However it appears the criminal investigation which led to the current legal problems faced by LaRouche and his followers began before the controversy over his ties to the Reagan Administration had reached key decision-makers in government agencies. While there is some evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and civil liberties violations in the course of some of the federal investigations and prosecutions, the claim by LaRouche spokespersons that the indictments are part of a government conspiracy to silence LaRouche appear to be without foundation.

Political Puzzle?

Russ Bellant’s articles on LaRouche have appeared in liberal Michigan weeklies and progressive publications, while John Rees tills the right side of the journalistic garden. But both agree LaRouche’s ideology is now neither Marxist nor conservative. Rees, who for years has written for conservative, anti-communist, and New-Right publications (including several magazines published by the John Birch Society), thinks it is unfair ever to have called LaRouche a conservative simply because he has tried to woo that political block.

“He is emphatically not a conservative,” says Rees, “he is a totalitarian extremist with a cult of personality to rival Joseph Stalin’s.” Rees concedes that LaRouche’s politics are distorted and strange, saying “he is difficult to categorize–in a sense LaRouche is a remedial Fascist. At least Mussolini could make the trains run on time. I doubt LaRouche is capable of doing that.” Rees claims that “when LaRouche was rejected by the totalitarian left, he simply tried the other side of the totalitarian spectrum.” According to Rees, ties between the LaRouche network and several racist and anti-Semitic groups are well-established. “Former LaRouche organizers report cooperation with elements of the Aryan Nations Network,” adds Bellant who says the LaRouche network is a “neo-Nazi type of cult.”

Racism and Anti-Jewish Rhetoric

LaRouche has many connections to the racist political right in this country. Richard Lobenthal, Midwest Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, observes that LaRouche security advisor Roy Frankhauser “has been identified as present with other white supremacists at meetings held at the farm of Pastor Bob Miles in Michigan.” Leaders of the notoriously racist and anti-Semitic Aryan Nations have attended the same meetings. “Frankhauser’s background and connections are myriad, he is obviously a LaRouchite, he is a professed racist and anti-Semite and was a close associate of neo-Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell,” says Lobenthal.

LaRouche not only works in coalitions with bigots, he has also propounded ideas which are widely perceived to represent outright racism.

LaRouche, for instance, offended the Hispanic community in a November, 1973 essay (published in both English and Spanish) titled “The Male Impotence of the Puerto-Rican Socialist Party.” An internal memo by LaRouche asked “Can we imagine anything more viciously sadistic than the Black Ghetto mother?” He described the majority of the Chinese people as “approximating the lower animal species” by manifesting a “paranoid personality. . . .a parallel general form of fundamental distinction from actual human personalities.”

LaRouche’s use of hysterical Jewish conspiracy theories for ulterior political motives has lead him to be branded an anti-Semite by several major Jewish groups.

One ADL spokesperson, Irwin Suall, was once sued for defamation by LaRouche for calling him a “small time Hitler.” The jury ruled against LaRouche. According to LaRouche, only a million and a half Jews perished in the concentration camps, and they died primarily from overwork, disease, and starvation. This denial of the Holocaust is coupled with pronouncements saying there is nothing left of Jewish culture except what couldn’t be sold to Gentiles, or claiming British Jews brought Hitler into power.

While many of the ringleaders of the global conspiracy, according to the LaRouche philosophy, are Jewish, members of the LaRouche group rebut charges of anti-Semitism by pointing out that a number of them–including Janice Hart, former Democratic nominee for the Illinois Secretary of State–are Jewish. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, which has successfully beat back several costly LaRouche lawsuits, rejects this explanation and insists the group is a paranoid, anti-Semitic political cult.

For his part, LaRouche claims to be merely anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic. Jewish groups and political scientists acknowledge the important distinction, but LaRouche rhetoric–such as leaflets distributed in California bearing the offensive headline “Smash the Kosher Nostra!” and naming a number of Jewish figures as part of a global conspiracy, leaves little doubt.

Since 1976, the NCLC’s ties to anti-Semitic, ultra-right groups and individuals have been well documented. LaRouche associates have cultivated ties to Willis Carto, a notorious racist and anti-Semite who helped found Liberty Lobby and the pseudo-scholarly Institute for Historical Review. This latter group publishes “historical revisionist” literature deriding the Nazi Holocaust as a Jewish hoax.

Former staffers at both the Liberty Lobby and LaRouche’s NCLC claim the two groups cooperated closely on several projects. In the March 2, 1981 issue of its newspaper Spotlight, Liberty Lobby cynically defended the relationship this way: “It is mystifying why so many anti-communists and `conservatives’ oppose the USLP [U.S. Labor Party –the NCLC’s original electoral arm]. No group has done so much to confuse, disorient, and disunify the Left as they have. . .the USLP should be encouraged, as should all similar breakaway groups from the Left, for this is the only way that the Left can be weakened and broken.”

Linda Ray, the outspoken former member of the LaRouche group, recently published a first-person account of her experiences in the Chicago-based national weekly In These Times. She recalls that after leaving the group, someone showed her a LaRouche organization pamphlet she had once sold on the street. “In it the Jewish symbol, the Star of David, was used as a centerpiece to point to six different aspects of the illegal drug trade. In this context, the Star of David was a symbol of evil.” She was shocked when she realized she had not recognized this while still working with LaRouche.

“Many people find it difficult to understand how Jews–such as I–could have worked for an anti-Semitic group. Perhaps the answer is that the members get so hypnotized by the simplistic `good guys and bad guys’ approach to history that they do not hear what LaRouche is really saying.”

Ray recalls how LaRouche claimed the British were a different “subhuman species” and how hisCampaigner magazine concocted the charge that the British created the Nazi movement.”Since the blasts were overtly directed against the British, Jewish members often did not recognize the subliminal anti-Semitism of the attacks. LaRouche, like the Ku Klux Klan, Hitler and Goebbels, was attacking the Rothschilds and other British-Jewish banking interests. In the wake of these anti-Semitic writings, many of us were confused. But we continued to defend LaRouche by lamely saying, `We’re not anti-Semitic. So many of our members are Jews. We always say in our publications that we are against the Nazis.’

“I remember reading in detail about the `subhuman species’ concept. Although I knew it did not make scientific sense, I presumed that it was a deep intellectual metaphor that was over my head.” When Ray left the group and finally came to grips with her role as a Jew working in an anti-Semitic organization, she says “It was as if I was waking from a nightmare.”

LaRouche’s relationship with Blacks–including his own Black NCLC members–is similarly confusing and complex. While LaRouche’s writings are replete with racialist assertions extolling white Northern European values at the expense of other ethnic values, he has in some cases succeeded in forging alliances with rightist or opportunist black politicians and civil rights leaders, such as Roy Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Hulan Jack, a former Borough president and powerhouse in the New York

Democratic Party. Articles from LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review have appeared in publications of Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. At the same time they are recruiting Blacks, LaRouche publications praise the wisdom of the Botha government in South Africa, and attack those who protest the system of apartheid.

LaRouchian rhetoric can often offend numerous constituencies simultaneously. The July 7, 1986 issue of the Illinois Tribunal, an insert tucked into LaRouche’s New Solidarity (now New Federalist) newspaper, covered the Ku Klux Klan counter rally against Chicago’s annual Gay Pride parade by charging: “The idea behind the KKK outburst was–amid heavy media coverage of a mere two dozen Klan demonstrators–to make citizens think anyone who wants to take serious measures against AIDS is a cross-burner and a Nazi. . . .In fact, the Klan does not exist–except as a special dirty-tricks operation of the FBI and the B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League. ”

The article went on to say the founders of B’nai B’rith were “about as Jewish as Josef Goebbels.”When Illinois Congressman Sidney Yates faced LaRouche-backed challenger Sheila Jones, LaRouche supporters distributed leaflets titled “So, What’s A Nice Jewish Boy Doing Supporting Sodomy?” Former Chicago mayor Jane Byrne was targeted in one mayoral race with a LaRouche candidate’s campaign slogan of “Byrne the Witch.”

In attacking political enemies, LaRouche propaganda often utilizes racist, anti-Jewish, sexist or homophobic stereotypes.

Defining the Terms

The LaRouche cult fits the description of a totalitarian movement as outlined by Hanna Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is correctly defined by its all-encompassing style, structure and methods, not by its stated or apparent ideological premises or goals. Arendt wrote that not all fascist groups were necessarily totalitarian and not all totalitarian groups were necessarily fascist.

Is LaRouche a fascist? The goal of fascism is always raw power, and it will adopt or abandon any principle to obtain power. The chameleon-like nature of fascist theories is one of its hallmarks, and often leads to confusion as to whether it is on the political left or right as it opportunistically gobbles up popular slogans from existing movements.

Journalist James Ridgeway notes there are real contradictions in LaRouche’s politics: “While it maintains contacts with far-right groups, LaRouche’s organization is ideologically at cross-purposes with many which are nativist and anarchist. LaRouche is an internationalist and a totalitarian: he believes the masses are `bestial’ and unfit for citizenship.”

Freelance journalist Nick Gallo takes us a step further. In The Seattle Weekly he acknowledges that much of what LaRouche espouses “appears kooky, if only because his ideas certainly defy conventional political analysis. . . .However go beyond the individual positions on different issues and beneath the surface lurk echoes of sinister themes that have been prevalent in the 20th century: preservation of Western Civilization, purity of culture and youth, elimination of Jewish and homosexual influence, suspicion of international banking conspiracies.”

The opportunistic exploitation of anxiety-producing issues by LaRouchies is no surprise to Clara Fraser who knew LaRouche when he was in the Socialist Workers Party. Writing in the Freedom Socialist newspaper, she explains, “The pundits are intrigued and puzzled by his amalgam of right and left politics, a tangled web of KKK, Freudian, encounter therapy, Populist, Ayn Rand-like, and Marxist notions. They needn’t be. His is the prototypical face of fascism, which is classically a hodgepodge of pseudo-theories crafted for mass appeal. . . .”

Themes generally associated with fascism frequently recur in LaRouche’s writings. In the aggregate, LaRouche seems to like the idea of society with an authoritarian governing body, exercising social, political, economic, and cultural control, using force when necessary to maintain order and attain desired goals. Traditional democracy is contemptuously dismissed by LaRouche, who describes himself as a “traditional Democrat,” as the “rule of irrationalist episodic majorities.”

When LaRouche touts his followers as “neo-Platonic” theorists, most people aren’t aware that in The Republic, Plato outlined his view of a political system in which only a handful of enlightened “Golden Souls” would be allowed to participate in societal decision-making. While this was certainly a step forward from imperial dictatorship and rule by fiat, it is hardly a step forward for a participatory democracy. LaRouche, incidentally, has said his followers are “Golden Souls.”

Combining fascism and totalitarianism makes for a potent mixture, but even a totalitarian fascist is not necessarily a Nazi–for that you must include a “Master Race” theory and roots in an ostensibly socialist agenda for empowering the working class. . movement and German Nazi movement. In German the word itself–NAZI–was an acronym for the National German Workers Socialist Party. Most socialists now are painfully aware of that error. LaRouche apparently repeated the error.

But can an organization which has Jews and Blacks as members be called Nazi? The LaRouche network’s printed materials are full of ethnocentric, racist, and anti-Jewish rhetoric, but that doesn’t necessarily make it Nazi. Where is LaRouche’s theory of a master race? In fact, LaRouche himself has repeatedly enunciated just such a theory, but in his typically convoluted way. In the mind of Lyndon LaRouche, personal or political opponents are not even human, Jerry Brown and Tom Hayden are “creatures;” the rest of us are merely “beasts” or “sheep.”

According to Dennis King, it is LaRouche’s belief that his enemies are subhuman and his followers superhuman which makes “LaRouche more than a political fascist, but a neo-Nazi.” King, whose book on LaRouche is slated for publication in 1989, adds that “people afraid of that characterization should sit down and read his ideological writings. LaRouche talks about the existence of two parasitic species descended from Babylonian culture, the British-Jewish and Russian-Orthodox species, then there are the subhuman masses, then humanity represented by LaRouche and his followers, the Golden Souls, and then a new superhuman race which will evolve from the Golden Souls. It really is pure Nazism,” says King.

And if that makes no rational sense; and if some of his followers are Jews and Blacks? “So what?” retorts King “LaRouche is a totalitarian, he can define anyone he wants to as being a member of the human race, and anyone he wants to as being a member of an inferior race, and he can change the definitions from week to week–who is going to argue with him?”

Part 3

How Serious a Threat?

A surprisingly broad range of LaRouche’s critics think his political movement should be taken very seriously.

Richard Lobenthal of ADL warns that the LaRouche organization “Obviously should not be dismissed lightly, they are more than just kooks. They are anti-Semitic extremists. His aspirations are to gain legitimacy and power through, amongst other ways, the electoral process. To snicker about LaRouche is to snicker about any bigot or extremist who would ascend to political office and then subvert that office for their own purposes,” he says.

In California a LaRouche-backed referendum, Proposition 64, establishing restrictive public health policies regarding Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) demonstrates how the small LaRouche group there had a devastating effect when it found a fearful audience for its simplistic scapegoating theories.

Mark L. Madsen, a public health specialist for the California Medical Association says the LaRouche initiative, Proposition 64, was based on “absolute hysteria and calculated deception,” but even though the initiative was soundly defeated “it has set back public health education efforts at least five years. The LaRouche people have almost wiped out all that we have done so far in educating the public about AIDS.”

The LaRouche initiative “created an immeasurable medical problem far beyond AIDS victims,” says Madsen. In California the number of regular blood donors went down 30%, and one health expert blames this directly on fear by blood donors of repercussions from possibly being identified as carrying the AIDS virus. “This fear, whipped up substantially by the hysterical LaRouche theories about AIDS, led to critical shortages of blood in the state of California,” says Madsen.

Leonard Zeskind of the Atlanta-based Center for Democratic Renewal helped build a coalition of Christian, Jewish, farm advocacy and civil rights groups to confront the spread of hate-mongering theories in the wake of the devastation of the rural economy throughout the farm belt. He calls the LaRouche ideology “Crank Fascism”.

“The LaRouche organizers are not as active in the farm belt as they once were, but they are still there. For those farmers who may have bought into these bigoted snake-oil theories, the effect has been harmful,” says Zeskind. ” The LaRouche group “has also been very disruptive in the Black community where they exploit legitimate issues such as drug pushing and widespread unemployment. Those of us who have to deal with the victims of the LaRouche philosophy don’t find it very humorous at all,” says Zeskind.

Prexy Nesbitt, a consultant to the American Committee on Africa who has led campaigns calling for divestment in South Africa, agrees the LaRouche organization should be taken more seriously. “His people have deliberately made themselves an obstacle to our organizing and disrupted our activities,” says Nesbitt. “The LaRouche people spied on anti-apartheid activists and South African exiles in Europe and then provided information to the South African government,” charges Nesbitt. “This is a very dangerous and potentially deadly game,” he says. “Critics of the South African Government have disappeared or been killed, their offices have been blown up,” charges Nesbitt.

In 1981 the respected British magazine New Scientist ran an article titled “American Fanatics put Scientists’ Lives at Risk.” According to the article, LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review had circulated a report naming a number of scientists working in the Middle East as being involved in an insurgent conspiracy against established governments. “In certain Middle East countries with hypersensitive governments,” warned the magazine, “these allegations, however indirect, can easily lead to arrests, prison sentences and even executions.”

Many conservative and New Right groups have also taken stands against LaRouche’s brand of bigotry and opportunism. One staffer at the Heritage Foundation, a New Right think-tank based in Washington, D.C., called LaRouche an “intellectual Nazi” and a Heritage Foundation report warned of LaRouche’s danger to national security as a reckless purveyor of private intelligence.

New Right military specialist, retired General Daniel O. Graham, says LaRouche followers have significantly hampered his work. Graham, Director of Project High Frontier which supports and helped develop President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative plan for anti-missile defense, says the LaRouche groups have “caused a lot of problems by adopting our issue in an effort to seize credit for the idea.” “They also mounted a furious attack on me personally,” says Graham. “Even today I get mail asking if I’m in league with LaRouche,” he adds wearily.

“LaRouche does not just represent some nut to simply backhand away. . .he’s very clever, you have to go to great lengths to get around those people.” He adds: “Look, these people are purely interested in power. LaRouche doesn’t care about these issues one bit, it’s just a way to raise money and consolidate his political base.”

Jonathan Levine, the Chicago-based Midwest Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) agrees that opportunism and exploitation of issues is a key factor with the LaRouche ideology. “Extremists have traditionally tried to piggyback on substantive issues to gain legitimacy for themselves. Never mind that the way the LaRouche candidates frame issues does not warrant serious discussion in a political campaign, but LaRouche may appeal to frustrated, apathetic voters nevertheless.”

Bruce B. Decker, a lifelong Republican who has served on the staff of President Gerald Ford and on an AIDS advisory panel appointed by California Governor George Deukmejian, thinks the response to LaRouche’s bigoted theories should cut across traditional party politics and electoral constituencies. He lists the forces who joined the California `Stop LaRouche’ coalition which beat back the LaRouche-sponsored Proposition 64, widely perceived as a homophobic and anti-civil liberties response to the AIDS crisis:”We united Republicans and Democrats, progressives and conservatives, religious leaders representing Protestants, Catholics, Jews and other beliefs, ethnic groups including Blacks, Latinos and Asians, professionals associations and labor unions. Isn’t that a lesson we’ve learned from history? That we all have an obligation to stand up together and forcefully oppose the victimization and scapegoating spread by these types of demagogues?”

After the Illinois primary Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) blasted his own party for pursuing a policy of ignoring the “infiltration by the neo-Nazi elements of Lyndon H. LaRouche,” and worried that too often, especially in the media, “the LaRouchites” are “dismissed as kooks.”

“In an age of ideology, in an age of totalitarianism, it will not suffice for a political party to be indifferent to and ignorant about such a movement,” said Moynihan. Ironically, when the New York Times covered Moynihan’s speech, they essentially censored him by repeatedly substituting the softer term “fascist” wherever Moynihan had said “nazi.”

Edward Kayatt, publisher of Our Town a weekly community newspaper on New York City’s upper East Side, is angered by that type of self-censorship and by the cowardice of most mainstream media on this point.

Kayatt has published dozens of articles on LaRouche, describing him as a neo-Fascist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semite and racist, including a lengthy series by Dennis King. Following the Illinois primary victory, Kayatt penned an editorial which blasted his colleagues in the press for covering up LaRouche’s political ideology.

Kayatt noted that “newspapers are of course afraid of libel suits (even though the New York State Supreme Court has ruled it is `fair comment’ to call LaRouche an anti-Semite). But how can the media justify censorship of a U.S. Senator who is sounding the alarm against neo-Nazism? The beast must be named, but within the media world only NBC-TV has shown the courage to do so.”

Both Kayatt and Chicago journalist Michael Miner lay some blame for the Illinois LaRouche victory at the feet of those media which chose not to publicize the LaRouchies. Kayatt and Miner note LaRouche’s use of litigation to silence critics. Miner wonders if some of the the “media’s disdain [for LaRouche] was not partly a reluctance to borrow trouble.” Kayatt agrees. “In the late 1920s, when Adolf Hitler began his march to power, one of the tactics was to entangle all his opponents in libel suits,” wrote Kayatt.

It is admittedly hard to cover LaRouche, especially since the media in this country tend to ignore historical connections and are reluctant to analyze ideological positions or treat a fringe political group seriously. Political coverage in the U.S. is frequently based on personalities and style rather than political content. Furthermore, when LaRouche is challenged by a reporter, he simply denies everything, or says it was taken out of context, and then claims his enemies are plotting against him–it is difficult for a mainstream reporter to report what LaRouche really says without appearing biased and vindictive or making LaRouche sound totally crazy.

But Kayatt isn’t satisfied with excuses. He reflects the sentiment of many who are concerned about media coverage of LaRouche when he says, “LaRouche will not march to power in America, but he can have a serious destabilizing effect on our institutions and can create a beachhead for organized anti-Semitism. To drive him back into political isolation, America’s publishers and editors must show some of their traditional courage and backbone.”

LaRouche’s legal troubles haven’t stopped his followers. They actively organized for the New Hampshire Presidential primary, and purchased several half-hour time slots on network television for campaign programming. For the most part, LaRouche fundraisers continue to use the same boiler-room phone-bank techniques they have used for years. Following the criminal indictments, LaRouche loyalists called people from whom they had previously secured loans and told them to blame the government for non-repayment of the original. They then asked for donations to fight the ongoing legal battles which they claim are part of a plot to destroy LaRouche.

The criminal indictments have slowed down LaRouche organizing and fundraising campaigns, but they have by no means solved the problem. No matter what the outcome in the legal arena, LaRouche and his followers can still do a lot of damage by further spreading prejudiced views. Russ Bellant sums it up when he says LaRouche is “just a symbol of a larger problem of authoritarianism which can be very appealing in times of crisis. The LaRouche phenomenon indicates that we need to educate Americans about the theories and tactics of demagogues.”

If we intend to defend democracy we had best learn to recognize its enemies, and not be afraid to stand up and call them by name.