The Big Picture: Far Right Mobilization in 2017

Memorial for Heather Heyer in downtown Charlottesville. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Mical via Flickr.

In the United States, 2017 was a banner year for fascist and related far right activism. There were arguably the highest levels of public demonstrations by the Right since the last wave of Klan and neonazi activity in the 1980s and ‘90s. A main driver was the Alt Right, a new, digitally focused approach to White nationalism that has caught the cultural zeitgeist. It acted in tandem with the Alt Lite, an offshoot movement that shares enthusiasm for Trump, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Leftism, Far Right conspiracy theories, and “fake news,” but stops short of open White nationalism and allows people of color, Jews, and gay men to participate.

The past year has also been marked by clashes with left-wing protestors, who have been broadly labeled “antifa” (short for antifascist). Although antifa have been around as long as fascism has, and broad popular resistance surged in response to Trump’s election, the name has come to be used by the press and others to cover anyone who attends protests against the Far Right.

The Far Right events of 2017—starting with pro-Trump and “Free Speech” rallies in January, and then morphing into support for Confederate memorials, as well as Islamophobic  and “Anti-Marxist” rallies—are notable. Especially during the period between March and June, the Alt Right and other open White Nationalists, Alt Light activists, Patriot movement paramilitaries, and Trumpist Republicans worked together on the streets in numerous cities. The most infamous incident occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, when, after the “Unite the Right” rally was cancelled, a fascist rammed his car into an antiracist march, killing one person and injuring at least nineteen others.

In tandem with right-wing action taken in the streets, the Alt Lite has been able to directly influence mainstream conservatives. Two of Trump’s appointees, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, had ties to White nationalists and fascists (although both lost their positions soon after Charlottesville) and Alt Lite media representatives received White House press passes.

It was also a year where the political impact of digital platforms has come into clear prominence, including memes, discussion boards like 4chan, and Trump’s apparent favorite, Twitter. The landscape of our society has changed so much that a pizza company took to Twitter to distance themselves from neonazis who have embraced it. Additionally, a video game where players shoot Nazis—which just a few years ago would have been considered meaningless entertainment based on a banal theme—is now both a subject of controversy and taken seriously as a work of political commentary.

Even with so much of the political action occurring online, college campuses became main physical sites of conflict, with White nationalist flyering campaigns and a focus by various Far Right figures to get speaking engagements, which were invariably met by raucous protests.

Analyzing the Far Right mobilization that occurred in 2017 can inform social justice movement strategy as we enter year two of the Trump administration. In presenting this long list of events on the timeline below, there is unavoidably a strong subjective choice as to what has been included. History will no doubt be written differently: important things will be forgotten, while others—currently overlooked—will be added. But I do feel confident that this is a fair enough representation of how 2017 appeared at the time to those of us who were paying close attention as the U.S. fascist movement bobbed and weaved.

January

  • 3rd: Director John Carpenter denounces antisemitic interpretations of his cult movie They Live, saying it “is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism. It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.”
  • 10th: Dylann Roof is sentenced to death for murdering nine Black bible study participants at Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. Roof had hoped to incite a race war with his actions.
  • 13th: Alt Right figure Mike Enoch, who runs the internet platform The Right Stuff, is doxxed. It is revealed that his real name is Mike Peinovich, he works in tech, lives on Manhattan’s wealthy Upper East Side, and is married to a Jewish woman.
  • 16th:
    • Alt Right leader Richard Spencer launches his new website AltRight.com.
    • In response to a pressure campaign against Richard Spencer’s headquarters in Whitefish, Montana, Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer called for an armed march against the town’s Jewish residents on this date. He had proclaimed, “We will be busing in skinheads from the Bay Area.” Before the march, Anglin said he would postpone it, but about 50 antifascists assemble in town just in case.
  • 19th: The Alt Lite DeploraBall” is held in Washington, DC on the eve of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. Organized by Jeff Giesea and Mike Cernovich, attendees include Jack Posobiec, Gavin McInnes, and Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke. Alt Right figure “Baked Alaska” (Anthime Gionet) and Richard Spencer are uninvited for their political views. Scuffles break out with counter-protestors outside the event.
  • 20th:
    • A large “black bloc” with hundreds of participants careens through the city during the protests against Trump’s inauguration. Eventually 230 members are kettled and arrested, including journalists and street medics; in an unprecedented event, all are charged with felonies and face the possibility of 70­–80 year sentences. Members of the Oath Keepers leadership are present and witness some of the events of the day, although they do not become involved. Separately, Richard Spencer is giving a recorded interview when a masked man punches him in the face. This becomes a viral internet video, which initiates a public discussion of if it is okay to “punch a Nazi.”
    • Protests break out at the University of Washington in Seattle against a Milo Yiannopoulos talk. Joshua Dukes is shot as he tries to deescalate a fight. Elizabeth and Marc Hokoana are arrested and accused of having come to the protest in order to provoke a conflict.
  • 21st: Worldwide Women’s March protests.
  • 26th: Actor Shia LaBeouf is arrested for scuffling with a neonazi at the He Will Not Divide Us installation at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York. This video live stream (that was supposed to run 24-hours a day) soon becomes overrun by various Alt Right activists, including many White nationalists, who use it to spread propaganda. LaBeouf is forced to move the installation multiple times.
  • 27th: Trump fails to mention Jews in his Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.
  • 28th: Starting with New York City’s JFK, airports become the site of protests against Trump’s “Muslim ban,” which prevented people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the US—even if they had valid visas and were temporarily out of the country. Over the week, thousands of people join in as the airport protests spread around the country
  • 29th:
    • Six worshippers are killed and 19 others wounded in a mass shooting at mosque in Quebec City, Canada. Alexandre Bissonnette is arrested. The victims are Azzeddine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi, Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Abdelkrim Hassane, and Boubaker Thabti.
    • A hundred people protest at the new headquarters of Richard Spencer’s think tank  National Policy Institute (NPI) in Alexandria, Virginia.

February

  • 1st: A Milo Yiannopoulos talk at Berkeley is cancelled due to safety concerns after a militant protest. It had been rumored he was going to name undocumented students at the school.  This initiates a long discussion in the mainstream media about antifa and Free Speech that continues all year, and marks the beginning of many conflicts on campuses.
  • 2nd: Clashes in New York City between Proud Boys and protesters at a Gavin McInnes talk at NYU. McInnes is reportedly hit with pepper-spray earlier that evening then has his talk is cut short after he calls the dean a “beta male cuck.
  • 9th:
    • Frank Ancona, the Imperial Wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights, is killed; his body is later found on the bank of a river near Belgrade, Missouri. His wife and stepson are charged in his death.
    • Augusta University president released a statement decrying the appearance of Identity Evropa flyers on campus. This fascist Alt Right group fliers campuses across the nation as part of “Project Siege.” Many White nationalist groups and projects focus on flyering colleges as well, including Vanguard America, Atomwaffen Division, The Right Stuff, Daily Stormer, and AltRight.com. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has tracked over 329 flyering incidents since March 2016, with a spike in February 2017.
  • 10th: Michael Strickland, who antagonized a Black Lives Matter rally in July 2016 in Portland, Oregon before pulling a gun on the crowd, is convicted of menacing and disorderly conduct. He is later sentenced to 40 days in jail, to be served on weekends.
  • 18th: Richard Spencer is thrown out of International Students for Liberty Conference, a libertarian gathering in Washington, DC.
  • 20th: Employees at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri arrive to find over 100 headstones vandalized. On February 25, a Philadelphia Jewish cemetery is similarly vandalized.
  • 21st: Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart after his statements seeming to support sex between adult men and young teenage boys are publicized. He is dis-invited from Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and his book deal with Simon & Schuster is cancelled.
  • 22nd: Adam Purinton shouts “Get out of my country!” before shooting three men at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian immigrant, is killed.
  • 23rd: Steve Bannon speaks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Richard Spencer is kicked out. Milo Yiannopoulos had been scheduled to speak, but was uninvited beforehand.

March

  • 2nd: Charles Murray is prevented from speaking at Middlebury College in Vermont by students. Murray is the co-author of the 1994 book The Bell Curve, which was widely denounced as a racist text which sought to justify racial differences in intelligence.
  • 3rd: Deep Rai, a Sikh and U.S. citizen who was born in India, is shot in his driveway in suburban Seattle. His White assailant yelled, “Go back to your own country.” Sikh men are frequent targets of hate crimes because of the distinctive clothing they wear.
  • 4th: The March 4 Trump is the first of several nationwide Far Right rallies which occur through June 10. They draw a new coalition of Trumpist Republicans, Alt Lite and Alt Right activists, Patriot movement paramilitaries, and fascists. Notable March 4 Trump events include Lake Oswego, Oregon (a suburb of Portland), where Three Percenters joined by a well-known Klan member. In Denver, neo-Nazis joined Three Percenters and Islamophobic groups. A second clash in Berkeley occurs, which is memorable for Kyle Chapman coming dressed in body armor and photographed wielding a stick, which turned into the meme “Based Stickman.” This inspired an Alt Right uniform, and more militant rightist action.
  • 8th: The California Highway Patrol (CHP) releases a 2,000 page report on the June 2016 clash at the California State Capitol in Sacramento which pit hundreds of antifascists against a much smaller number of Nazi skinheads who attempted to hold a demonstration under the name of the Traditionalist Worker Party. Fourteen people were wounded, including seven stabbing victims. The CHP recommends that 106 people be charged with 68 felonies and 514 misdemeanors. Eventually four arrest warrants are issued: three for antifascists and one for a fascist.
  • 13th: NPI is stripped of its tax exempt status as a non-profit for failing to file proper paperwork.
  • 17th: Mother Jones reveals that Richard Spencer gets money from multiple family-owned cotton farms.
  • 20th: Timothy Caughman is killed by James Jackson in New York City. Jackson, who is White, allegedly told police that he came to the city to kill as many Black men as he could find. He told a newspaper that he read the Daily Stormer; he also subscribed to YouTube video channels for Richard Spencer’s NPI and Radix.
  • 22nd: A former church owned by Craig Cobb is burned down in Nome, North Dakota. Cobb had repeatedly bought property in small Midwestern towns to attempt to establish a White enclave, most famously in Leith, North Dakota.
  • 23rd: A wave of more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centers and schools, which started in January, end with the arrest of a teenage hacker in Israel. Previously, a disgraced journalist, Juan Thompson, was arrested for making at least a dozen of the threats in an attempt to frame his ex-girlfriend.
  • 24th: Alex Jones apologizes to the owner of Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC for promoting the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. The conspiracy held that children were part of a sex trafficking ring that involved the restaurant and a number of Democratic Party members.
  • 25th: The MAGA (“Make American Great Again”) march is the second nationwide pro-Trump event this month. Two thousand attend a Huntington Beach, California march. There, the DIY Division (later renamed the Rise Above Movement), a fascist group that includes members of the Hammerskins, attacks a much smaller group of antifa and press. An antiracist counter-protest in Phoenix draws 40 armed participants. A Philadelphia march, which includes many White nationalists, is overwhelmed by antifascists.

April

  • 8th: Richard Spencer leads a demonstration in Washington, DC opposing Trump’s missile strike the day before against an airbase controlled by the Syrian regime.
  • 15th: A “Patriots Day Free Speech Rally” in Berkeley draws 500 participants after a national right-wing campaign to mobilize supporters. It includes seig-heiling fascists who appear alongside Patriot movement activists, such as Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, who is a speaker. About an equal number of counterprotestors fail to stop the rally from marching into downtown Berkeley. Identity Evropa leader Nathan Domigo is filmed punching a woman, which becomes a right-wing internet hit. The day is considered a great victory for the right and marks a turning of the tables against antifa for the moment.
  • 18th:
    • Richard Spencer speaks at Auburn University in Alabama. Matthew Heimbach and other members of the Traditionalist Worker Party attend, marking the end of a riff between the two. The rally ends with some of the fascists being chased away by the crowd.
    • An SPLC-led lawsuit is initiated against Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin for harassing a Jewish family in Whitefish, Montana. By June, Anglin had raised $150,000 for his defense.
  • 21st: Kyle Chapman “Based Stickman” announces the formation of the FOAK (Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights), a street-fighting group affiliated with the Proud Boys.
  • 26th: Allen Scarsella is sentenced to 15 years for shooting five at Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis in 2015. Scarsella was active on 4chan and sympathized with the Three Percenters.
  • 27th: Six members of Aryan Strikeforce are indicted on weapons charges.
  • 29th:
    • An annual parade in Portland, Oregon’s Montavilla neighborhood had been cancelled because of an anonymous threat. In its place Patriot Prayer held a Free Speech rally, which was attended by White nationalists such as Identity Evropa, and briefly by Mayor Ted Wheeler. Jeremy Christian attends and taunts the counter-protest by yelling “ni**er” and sieg heiling them. Organizers ask him to leave, but he is photographed shaking hands with participants.
    • The first major fascist-led rally of the year is held in Pikeville, Kentucky by the Nationalist Front. Participating groups include the Traditionalist Worker Party, Vanguard America, the National Socialist Movement, and the League of the South, as well as Alt Right figure Mike Enoch. About 150 people attend, and there is an equal sized counter-protest.
    • Controversy erupts after a photo, taken in March, is made public of Alt Lite media figures Cassandra Fairbanks and Mike Cernovich in White House briefing room making the “OK” hand gesture. This has been adopted by both the Alt Lite and Alt Right.

May

  • 1st:
    • Far Right groups harass May Day demonstrations across the country. In New York City Alt Lite activists set off flares and attempt to disrupt speakers in Union Square.  In Austin, Patriot movement activists and others are armed and prevent a left-wing march. In Nashville, May Day organizers report multiple death threats, and they are outnumbered five-to-one at their rally.
    • Start of pro-Confederate memorial rallies. In New Orleans, supporters carry weapons to their May 1 event.
  • 5th: Emails from French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron are leaked to 4chan in an attempt to throw the election to the Far Right party Front National. Alt Lite figure Jack Posobiec helps popularize the leak.
  • 6th:
    • Matt Furie, creator of Pepe the Frog, releases a one-page cartoon strip depicting Pepe’s funeral in an attempt to combat his usurpation by the Alt Right. Furie later retains a law firm which writes cease and desist letters, issues digital copyright takedown notices, and initiates lawsuits to enforce his intellectual property claims.
    • Alt Right members who attempt to attend a Trumpist rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul are turned away by both rally organizers and anti-fascists.
  • 7th:
    • Marine LePen of the Far Right party Front National is defeated two-to-one in the French presidential election by neoliberal Emmanuel Macron.
    • A second demonstration in New Orleans, Louisiana in support of keeping Confederate memorials draws a range of right-wing actors from Oath Keepers to neonazis. A protest for their removal draws 700.
  • 9th: Alt Lite figure Jack Posobiec attends a daily White House press briefing on a temporary pass.
  • 12th: Canadian Alt Right figure Lauren Southern is detained in Italy for participating in an attempt to block a Doctors Without Borders ship which was searching for refugees who ran into trouble while crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa.
  • 13th:
    • The first of three unpermitted torch lit rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia is held by Richard Spencer.
    • The first “Free Speech” rally in Boston, Massachusetts is held by Alt Lite and Patriot movement activists.
  • 19th: Devon Arthurs, a former member of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division who converted to Islam, is arrested for killing two of his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, who were said to be members. A fourth man, Florida National Guard Private Brandon Russell, is arrested for possessing bomb-making materials; he pleads guilty in September.
  • 25th: A demonstration in New York City against Muslim feminist Linda Sarsour giving the commencement at the CUNY School of Public Health draws a variety of actors. They include Milo Yiannopoulos, Islamophobe Pamela Geller, right-wing Zionist Dov Hikind, Gavin McInnes, and members of Patriot Prayer.
  • 26th: In Portland, Oregon, Jeremy Christian kills two men, Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, by slashing their necks; a third man is also slashed, but survives. The three had intervened against Christian to stop his racist and Islamophobic tirade directed at two young Black women on a light rail.

June

  • 3rd: White nationalist writer Bob Whitaker dies. His most famous work is the “Mantra,” which is the source of the racist slogan “anti-racist is code word for anti-white.”
  • 4th: In the aftermath of the the two murders on May 26, Patriot Prayer refuses to cancel a “Trump Free Speech Rally” in Portland, Oregon. It is attended by hundreds, including Patriot movement groups such as the Oath Keepers and American Freedom Keepers (AFK), as well as Alt Lite activists and Identity Evropa and Traditionalist Worker Party. A much larger group of counter-demonstrators surround the rally on all sides. An AFK member attracts media attention when he is photographed helping law enforcement arrest a counter-protester.
  • 10th:
    • Islamophobic group Act for America holds a nationwide March Against Sharia, with events in over twenty cities. This is the height of the street coalition of various Far Right forces, with Alt Right and Alt Lite activists, Trumpist Republicans, and Patriot movement groups working side-by-side. In many cities they are met by large counter-protests, which start to turn the tables again against Far Right street mobilizations.
    • In Houston, a march is called against a hoax antifa rally to remove a statue of Texas founder Sam Houston. However, hundreds attend the Far Right rally. There, a Patriot movement activist chokes a White nationalist from behind during an argument. This sets off an online flame war between the Alt Right and the Oath Keepers, helping to break up the uneasy de facto alliance between the two parties.
  • 14th:
    • Robert Doggart is sentenced to almost 20 years in prison for threatening to attack Islamberg, a Muslim community in upstate New York.
    • The Southern Baptist Convention condemns Alt-Right and White supremacy.
  • 16th: The play “Julius Caesar” at Shakespeare in the Park in New York City is disrupted by Alt Lite figures Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer. (Conservative media had alleged the play was a call for the assassination of Trump.) Loomer raises over $13,000 for her legal defense for charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct. Local Alt Lite activists repeat the stunt on the play’s closing night two days later.
  • 18th: Alex Jones appears on Megyn Kelly’s NBC show.
  • 20th: European Identitarians announce they have chartered a ship, which they name the C-Star, to intercept refuges in the Mediterranean and return them to Africa in order to prevent them from reaching Europe, as well as to block ships returning to Europe which have picked up refugees. The project, called “Defend Europe,” raises $178,000 with support from U.S. White nationalists. However, the voyage runs into numerous difficulties, and ends without picking anyone up or disrupting any rescue ships.
  • 22nd: Edgar Maddison Welch is sentenced to four years for shooting an assault rifle inside of Comet Ping Pong, the Washington, DC restaurant which is where the Pizzagate conspiracy theory is set.
  • 23rd: A Department of Homeland Security program, Countering Violent Extremism, makes public that it has revoked an almost $400,000 grant to Life After Hate—the only group on its initial grant list which was dedicated to reducing Far Right activism. The remaining grants all focus on Muslims. This is widely seen as a move by the Trump administration to turn a blind eye to the White supremacist movement, despite its ongoing legacy of violence and murder.
  • 25th:
    • In the wake of the June 14 shooting of four people at a Congressional baseball game, dueling rallies are held in Washington, DC. The Alt Lite “Rally Against Political Violence” is organized by Jack Posobiec and attended by Mike Cernovich, Laura Loomer, Cassandra Fairbanks, Lucian Wintrich, followers of Lyndon LaRouche and members of the skinhead gang 211 Bootboys. The larger, openly White nationalist “Freedom of Speech Rally” includes the Traditionalist Worker Party, Identity Evropa, and Richard Spencer.
    • Identity Evropa activists disrupt an anti-racist seminar in Wilton Manors, Florida. Far Right activists also disrupt two anti-racist trainings in Santa Monica, California in July and early August. In the fall, Berkeley’s Revolution Books, a Maoist bookstore, becomes the target of at least six protests and disruptions in the fall.
  • 26th: Republican Party of Multnomah County, Oregon (which includes Portland) passes a resolution to utilize Patriot movement paramilitary groups the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters for security.

July

  • 1st:
    • A Far Right rally is held at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. It is supposed to be a counter-protest to what is actually a hoax: an antifa group was allegedly going to desecrate Confederate graves. One participant, Benjamin Hornberger, accidentally shoots himself in the leg during the event.
    • Proud Boys who are members of the Canadian military are investigated after they disrupt an First Nations ceremony on Canada Day.
  • 2nd: Trump tweets a video of himself as a wrestler beating up a man with a CNN logo on his face. It is revealed the video was created by a man known for racist and antisemitic commentary.
  • 7th:
    • Fred Perry CEO John Flynn denounces the use of his company’s yellow and black polo shirts as a uniform by the Proud Boys.
    • Dane Powell is the first person sentenced for the J20 demonstration; he receives four months.
  • 7–8th: The G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany is met by a massive counter-protest. A group of right-wing journalists are attacked after one, Alt Right figure Lauren Southern, attends while wearing a White Nationalist t-shirt.
  • 8th: A small KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia is met by a counter-protest of 1,000. Twenty-three are arrested.
  • 13th: Augustus Invictus announces he is leaving the Libertarian Party for the GOP.
  • 14th: Former Milo Yiannopoulos intern Lane Davis allegedly kills his father Charles Davis during a political argument.
  • 15th: A second Islamophobic “Ride for Homeland Security” vehicular demonstration is held outside the Muslim community of Islamberg in upstate New York. Proud Boys, Bikers for Trump, and Patriot movement activists attend. Islamberg is the focus of conspiracy theories which claim it is a jihadist training camp.
  • 21st:
    • National Security Council staffer Rich Higgins is let go after his a memo he authored, which reflect Far Right conspiracy theories, becomes public. It identifies Trump’s enemies as Islamists, globalists, bankers, and the “deep state.”
    • A Mother Jones article reveals that wealthy conservative William H. Regnery II is a funder of Richard Spencer.
  • 26th: Trump uses Twitter to announce his intention to bar transgender troops.
  • 27th: Evan McLaren becomes the new Executive Director of NPI.
  • 28–30: The American Renaissance (AmRen) conference attracts 300 at Montgomery Bell State Park, outside of Dickson, Tennessee. AmRen is the most academic conference for the Alt Right.

August

  • 5th: Ernst Zundel dies in Germany. He had helped popularize Holocaust Denial in Canada before being deported to Germany, where he served prison time.
  • 6th: Police allow open fighting between antifa and Patriot Prayer in Portland, Oregon.
  • 11th: On the eve of the “Unite the Right” rally, hundreds attend an unpermitted torch lit rally, led by Richard Spencer, on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. Authorities do not try to stop the march. A small group of counter-protestors are attacked.
  • 12th:
    • The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia is a turning point for the Alt Right. Organized by Jason Kessler, this rally is supposed to be the coming out party for the White Nationalist wing of the Alt Right. Many prominent movement figures are scheduled to speak, including Richard Spencer, Matthew Heimbach, Mike Enoch, Augustus Invictus, Baked Alaska, and Christopher Cantwell, as well as neoconfederate Michael Hill. Up to 1,000 people attempt to attend. However, police make no attempt to separate the rally participants and counter-protestors, and clashes break out which involve sticks, mace, and rocks as attendees try to enter the park where it is to be held. The chaos is added to by dozens of heavily armed and unformed militia members who claim they are there as a neutral party. Shortly before the rally is set to begin at noon, police declare an unlawful assembly and disperse both sides. As they leave, a White rally participant (Richard Preston) pulls a gun out and shoots at the feet of a Black counter-protestor (Corey Long) who had turned a can of spray paint into a makeshift flamethrower. A splinter march of Far Right activists goes into the town, and is recorded beating a Black man (Deandre Harris) in a parking garage. After 1:30PM, two seperate anti-racist marches run into each other, and as they turn up a narrow street, a car crashes into the crowd at high-speed. Heather Heyer is killed and at least 19 others are injured. The car backs up and drives off, but is stopped and the driver, James Fields, Jr., who had marched with the Alt Right fascist group Vanguard America, is arrested. Only four people are arrested that day. Afterward a small number of arrests are slowly made, including planned rally speaker Christopher Cantwell; Preston; those who beat Harris (Jacob Scott Goodwin, Daniel Borden, and Alex Michael Ramos)—as well as Long and Harris.
    • Trump makes the first of several statements on Charlottesville, saying “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides—on many sides.” He does not condemn Far Right groups as such.
    • Starting on the eve of August 12 and continuing through the week, hundreds of rallies in the United States, as well as around the world, are held in solidarity with antifascists and antiracists at Charlottesville.
  • 13th:
    • Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler is chased from his press conference by an angry crowd.
    • A Patriot Prayer rally in Seattle, Washington is met by a thousand counter-protestors.
  • 14th:
    • Backtracking on his earlier statement, Trump says, “Racism is evil—and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
    • A Confederate memorial is toppled by protestors in Durham, North Carolina.
  • 15th:
    • Trump continues to change his statements about Charlottesville. He points his finger at the “Alt Left”—a non-existent group—for violence at Charlottesville. Trump says there were “fine people on both sides” but there is “blame on both sides.”
    • One of the editors of AltRight.com, Jason Jorjani, leaves the website.
  • 16th:
    • Heather Heyer’s memorial in Charlottesville, Virginia is broadcast live. Her mother, Susan Bro, asks for people to make her “death count.”
    • Cloudflare, a service which protects websites from denial of service attacks, terminates the Daily Stormer’s account after CEO Matthew Prince “woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet.” This was just one of many online services which terminated services to White nationalists. Some platforms had taken steps to curtail White nationalist content even before Charlottesville. These included Twitter, Paypal, GoFundMe, Patreon, Soundcloud, Namecheap, and Google Ads. In the run up to Unite the Right, AirBnB cancelled reservations and Facebook took the event page down. Platforms that took action after Charlottesville include Squarespace, GoDaddy, Reddit, Spotify, Discord, SendGrid, Google, and others. Daily Stormer has ended up bouncing around the internet, looking for a URL. It has been hosted by—and removed from—businesses in Albania, Russia, Austria, Iceland, and Hong Kong. It is currently accessible on the dark web via a Tor browser.
    • Kyle Chapman is charged with felony possession of a weapon, which is his third felony charge in a Three Strikes state. In December he is arrested again while in possession of a potentially lethal weapon, in violation of his bail, which is then increased from $135,000 to $400,000.
    • Alt Lite figure Jack Posobiec cancels his nationwide “March on Google,” scheduled for August 19, which was to protest Google for firing James Damore. He was let go after circulating a misogynistic, anti-diversity internal memo.
    • ACLU of California breaks ranks with the national organization over its handling of the Charlottesville.
    • The anti-immigrant, White nationalist VDARE conference scheduled for April 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado is cancelled.
  • 17th: Noam Chomsky says antifa is a “major gift to the right.”
  • 18th:
    • Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House is announced.
    • Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler tweets that “Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist. Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback.” Kessler later claimed he was under the influence of Ambien, Xanax, and alcohol when he wrote the tweet. Richard Spencer says he will not work with Kessler after this.
  • 19th: A Boston Free Speech rally, organized by the Alt Lite, goes ahead despite criticism. It initially featured Augustus Invictus, who had been scheduled to speak at Charlottesville, although he is removed from the speaking list beforehand. Other speakers such as Gavin McInnes cancel. The rally is met by 40,000 counter-protestors.
  • 20th:  An America First! rally in Laguna Beach, California is met by 2,500 counter-protestors.
  • 22nd:
    • Trump’s appearance in Phoenix is met by a demonstration of thousands, which police use tear gas to break up. Trump denounces antifa in his speech, saying “You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they’ve got clubs and they’ve got everything—Antifa!”
    • ACT for America cancels a second round of nationwide Islamophobic rallies which were scheduled for September 9.
  • 25th:
    • Sebastian Gorka leaves the White House.
    • Trump pardons xenophobic former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.
    • On the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination, members of the New Order hold a public memorial for George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, outside of the shopping center in Arlington, Virginia, where he was killed.
    • Gavin McInnes formally announces he is leaving Canadian Alt Lite website The Rebel. Co-founder Brian Lilley had left on August 14 after reporter Faith Goldy had sympathetically covered the Charlottesville demonstration and appeared on a podcast affiliated with the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. Goldy is fired on August 18.
  • 26th:
    • A large counter-protest in Knoxville, Tennessee comes out against a pro-Confederate memorial rally.
    • Benjamin Davis, leader of the racist prison gang 211 Crew, is found dead in his prison cell. He was suspected of being involved with the 2013 murder of Tom Clements, who was head of the Colorado Department of Corrections.
    • The contentious Patriot Prayer “Freedom Rally San Francisco” is cancelled by organizer Joey Gibson the day before. Mayor Ed Lee, as well as Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had denounced it, and the ILWU held a port shutdown in protest.
  • 27th:
    • A number of Far Right activists attend the “March Against Marxism” in Berkeley, organized by Amber Cummings, despite the fact that she cancelled it and called on followers not to come. A large antiracist demonstration is there, including a black bloc. Far Right activists are chased away and scuffles break out; one man is beaten on film, although not seriously injured. Despite the minor nature of the conflict, many mainstream press outlets seize on this as an opportunity to denounce antifa, ending a short honeymoon period after Charlottesville.
    • Armed Patriot movement paramilitaries come to intimidate an anti-racist protest in Kansas City, Missouri for the third time.
    • Nathan Damigo leaves as head of Identity Evropa and is replaced by Eli Mosley. By December, Mosely is out and he is replaced by Patrick Casey.
  • 30:
    • Colbert, Oklahoma police chief Bart Alsbrook is revealed to be a longtime member of the Nazi skinhead group Blood and Honour, and has two neo-Nazi websites registered in his name: ISD Records and NS88 Videos. Alsbrook claims he is the victim of identity theft, but resigns as sheriff.
    • Thomas Rousseau splits from Vanguard America and forms the Patriot Front.
  • 31: Proud Boys hold an armed patrol in Texas after major flooding.

September

  • 1st: Politico breaks the story that FBI is investigating antifa as “domestic terrorists.” FBI director Christopher Wray confirms this at a November 30 Congressional hearing.
  • 5th: Trump calls for the end of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
  • 10th: Patriot Prayer holds a demonstration in Vancouver, Washington; about one hundred attend, and are met by 300 counter-protestors. A car tries to run counter-protestors over; the driver is arrested but later released without charges.
  • 12th:
    • Kenneth Gleason, who is White, is arrested for the random murders of two Black men, Bruce Cofield and Donald Smart, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A Hitler speech is found in Gleason’s residence.
    • Congress passes a joint resolution urging Trump to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy.” Trump signs it two days later.
  • 13th: FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) releases an analysis of op-eds from six major newspapers after Charlottesville. It says, “Between August 12 and September 12, these papers ran 28 op-eds or editorials condemning the anti-fascist movement known as antifa, or calling on politicians to do so, and 27 condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists, or calling on politicians—namely Donald Trump—to do so.”
  • 15th: Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s speech at Berkeley is met with counter-protests.
  • 16th: The Mother of All Rallies (MOAR) in Washington, DC is attended by militia and Alt Lite members and attracts up to 1,000 people—far less than the one million which organizers claimed would attend. A demonstration held nearby and at the same time by the Juggalos, protesting their designation as a “hybrid gang” by the FBI, draws many more participants.
  • 19th: Hope Not Hate, a UK group that monitors the Far Right and recently established a US branch, releases report The International Alternative Right, based on Patrik Hermansson’s year-long undercover work, which includes damning video recordings.
  • 20th: Augustus Invictus, who was slated to speak at the Charlottesville rally, is expelled from the American Guard. The group was formed by activists involved in Vinlanders, a Nazi skinhead gang, but tries to distance themselves from neo-Nazism.
  • 23rd: Milo Yiannopoulos’s much-hyped Berkeley “Free Speech Week” is cancelled.
  • 24th:
    • Alternative for Germany (AfD), a xenophobic Far Right party, takes 13 percent in the German elections.
    • Two dozen neo-Nazis, led by the Patriot Front, attempt to storm the Houston Anarchist Book Fair, but are prevented from entering.
  • 25th: After undercover video is released of him praising Adolf Hitler, Jason Jorjani is suspended from teaching at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey.
  • 30th: The annual Stormfront gathering in Crossville, Tennessee fails to attract a large audience.

October

  • 5th: Buzzfeed reveals that Breitbart staff had been in direct contact with White Nationalists, who helped edit Milo Yiannopoulos’s article on the Alt Right—one of the movement’s breakthrough events.
  • 7th: Richard Spencer leads an unannounced, third torch lit rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • 11th:
    • A speech at Columbia University in New York City by British Islamophobe Tommy Robinson, delivered over Skype since he cannot get a visa to enter the United States, ends early after protestors disrupt it.
    • A lawsuit is filed on behalf of several counter-protestors at Charlottesville, including several who were injured, for conspiracy to violate their civil rights. White nationalist groups who attended the Charlottesville demonstration are named.
  • 12th: A lawsuit to prohibit paramilitary activities in Virginia is filed on behalf of the Charlottesville’s city government, plus some neighborhood associations and businesses. White nationalists who attended the rally, militia groups who pretended to be neutral peacekeepers, and armed left-wing groups who were present are all named.
  • 20th: Richard Spencer gives a speech at the University of Florida in Gainesville; he is heckled inside while a large demonstration takes place outside. Three of White nationalist attendees—Tyler Tenbrink, Will Fears, and Colton Fears—are arrested for their involvement in a shooting that occurs after the event.
  • 23rd: Military Times releases poll which finds that 25 percent of U.S. troops “have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members.”
  • 27th:
    • Three members of the racist Aryan Brotherhood gang are sentenced for killing another member in 2011.
    • The video game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is released; in it, players shoot Nazis in an alternate reality where they won WW2. Alt Right commentators had objected to it, and the game becomes the center of media attention as a work of political commentary.
  • 28th: A hundred people attend a “White Lives Matter” rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee held by the Nationalist Front; member groups the Traditionalist Worker Party, the League of the South, and the National Socialist Movement attend. They are opposed by 200 hundred counter-protesters. A rally in Murfreesboro later that same day is cancelled, but an interracial couple is assaulted afterward in Brentwood by rally participants.
  • 30th: Mike Cernovich speaks at Columbia University in New York City and is met by a large protest. Cernovich’s supporters plant a fake pro-NAMBLA banner in the crowd.

November

  • 1st: Carlos Moreno, Victor Vasquez, and Pamela Marques, who are all Latino, are shot and killed in a Walmart in Thornton, Colorado. The next day Scott Ostrem, who is White, is arrested. His neighbors said he was “very racist towards Hispanics.”
  • 2nd: Robert Mercer announces he will resign as co-CEO of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, which has $45 billion in assets. This came after it was revealed that Breitbart and Milo Yiannopoulos, who he was funding, were in direct contact with White nationalists.
  • 3rd: FOX News’ Tucker Carlson discusses the slogan “It’s Okay to be White,” which was created and popularized by White nationalists on 4chan. In December he retweeted a story from Red Ice, one of the main Alt Right media platforms. This is one of several instances in 2017 when Alt Right slogans and stories have made it directly into mainstream conservative media.
  • 4th: The day of the supposed “Antifa Civil War,” when it was alleged that antifascists were “planning to kill every single Trump voter, Conservative and gun owner.” However, no such event was ever scheduled. The November 4 rumor was the most popular of numerous hoaxes, fake news items, and fake social media accounts that Alt Right and other Far Right activists perpetrated all year.
    These included calls for two fake demonstrations (in Houston, Texas and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) which produced real right-wing “counter” demonstrations; numerous fake social media accounts pretending, with varying degrees of seriousness, to be real antifa accounts; fake flyers, one of which called for the murder of white children; a popular doctored photo supposedly of an antifa activist attacking a police officer; and Alex Jones’s claim that the sniper who killed 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas on October 1 had “antifa crap everywhere” in his hotel room. Some of the hoaxes were able to make their way into mainstream conservative news. For example, in July FOX host Jesse Watters interviewed a member of “Boston Antifa”—who was actually an Alt Right activist. In November FOX News reported on the civil war hoax as if it was a real story.
  • 10th: Jack Posobiec doxxes Leigh Corfman and encouraged his followers to harass her at work. Corfman has accused Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore of trying to have sex with her when she was 14.
  • 11th: Independence Day march in Warsaw, Poland, which had become a Far Right event inclusive of fascist groups, draws 60,000. Banners include “Europe will be white” and “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust.” A counter-protest draws 5,000.
  • 12th: Steve Bannon addresses a ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) gathering in New York City. In the audience are Sebastian Gorka and Alt Lite figures Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer.
  • 13th: FBI releases hate crimes statistics for 2016. They show a 4 percent increase generally, and a 19 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes specifically, from the year before. The report is widely criticized for undercounting the number of incidents.
  • 14th: Papa John’s Pizza denounces neo-Nazis in a tweet. The company had been declared the “official pizza of the alt-right” by the Daily Stormer after its CEO criticized protests by NFL players against racism.
  • 15th: Twitter bans Alt Right figure Baked Alaska, and removes verifications from Richard Spencer, Laura Loomer, Tommy Robinson, and Jason Kessler.
  • 17th: Neo-Nazi Brent Luyster is convicted of a triple murder in Washington state.
  • 18th: The Rally for the Republic, hosted by Resist Marxism, is held on the Boston Commons. It is attended by Alt Lite and Patriot movement activists and features Kyle Chapman. A thousand counter-protestors show up.
  • 19th: NPI’s conference is held at a wedding barn under false pretenses, after being cancelled by the Press Club in Washington, DC. The hosts force NPI attendees to leave halfway through when they find out its real purpose.
  • 20th: Buzzfeed reports on allegations of sexual assault against John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), a liberal congressional representative. The information had been fed to them by Mike Cernovich.
  • 22nd: It is announced that Richard Spencer is banned from Europe’s twenty-six country Schengen Area.
  • 25th: New York Times article “A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland,” profiling a Traditionalist Worker Party member, is widely criticized for being overly sympathetic to fascists and normalizing their politics.
  • 27th: Jason Kessler files for a permit to hold a second rally in Charlottesville on August 11 and 12, 2018. On December 11 the city denies it, along with a number of other permit applications.
  • 28th:
    • Alt Lite figure Lucian Wintrich speaks at University of Connecticut under the White supremacist slogan, “It’s OK to be White.” He is arrested for assault for an incident during the event but his charges are later dropped.
    • Federal prosecutors in the trial of activists arrested at the Inauguration Day Black Bloc on January 20 (J20) introduce video from Project Veritas as evidence. Videos originating with Far Right paramilitaries the Oath Keepers had also been introduced. The trials, which are being conducted in small groups, started on November 15 and will run through 2018.
  • 29th: Trump retweets videos from the deputy leader of Britain First, a British Islamophobic party. UK Prime Minister Theresa May issues a condemnation.

December

  • 1st: An independent review of the handling of the Charlottesville demonstration is released, finding that the police actions were both inadequate and produced “disastrous results.” On December 18, Charlottesville police chief Alfred Thomas resigns.
  • 2nd: Richard Spencer’s new group, Operation Homeland, which includes former Identity Evropa leader Eli Mosley, hold a Washington, DC demonstration. They are joined by Matthew Heimbach and members of his group. They call for “Kate’s Wall” in the wake of the acquittal of a Mexican citizen for the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco.
  • 4th: The Supreme Court approves Trump’s revised “Muslim ban,” targeting travel to the United States from six Muslim-majority countries.
  • 5th: MSNBC fires contributor Sam Seder after Mike Cernovich popularized a satirical tweet Seder made in 2009 about Roman Polanski. MSNBC rehires Seder shortly thereafter.
  • 6th: Michael Wolfe receives a 15 year sentence for vandalizing and leaving bacon inside of a Titusville, Florida mosque.
  • 7th: William Edward Atchison kills two students, Francisco I. Fernandez and Casey J. Marquez, inside of a high school in Aztec New Mexico, before killing himself. He had been a poster on 4chan and Daily Stormer discussion boards.
  • 9th: A Patriot Prayer anti-immigrant rally in Portland, Oregon draws both Alt Lite and Alt Right activists. It is one of the last cities where this coalition of White nationalists and more moderate Trumpists are still taking the streets together.
  • 18th: After a public campaign by users to “Ban the Nazis,” Twitter starts a purge of accounts primarily  related to White nationalists, saying users “may not affiliate with organizations that—whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform—use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.” Some accounts are suspended immediately, while others happen in the following week. They include the American Nazi Party, American Renaissance and Jared Taylor, the League of the South and Michael Hill, Occidental Dissent, Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement, Vanguard American and affiliated accounts, the Traditionalist Worker Party, Generation Identity accounts, Keystone United, Proud Boys Magazine, Eli Mosley, Nordic Frontier, and Wife With a Purpose. Also suspended are Britain First and two leading members, Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding; Trump had retweeted videos from them, meaning these were now unviewable from his Twitter feed. Many prominent white nationalists, such as Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, remain unaffected. Non-White nationalist suspensions include those associated with the Jewish Defense League and the New Black Panther Party.
  • 21st: First group of J20 defendants are acquitted of all charges stemming from protests during the Trump inauguration.
  • 23rd: Buckley and Scott Kuhn-Fricker are murdered in their Reston, Virginia home; Nicholas Giampa, 17, is arrested. He had been dating the Kuhn-Frickers’ daughter until they pushed her to break up with him after they found out Giampa was a neo-Nazi. On Twitterhe interacted with Alt Right fascist groups like Atomwaffen Division, Traditionalist Worker Party, and Vanguard America.
  • 31st: Michael Riehl was killed after a shootout with police in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, near Denver. One officer, Zach Parrish, was also killed, and six people were wounded. Rihel’s Facebook page includes a number of Pepe the Frog images and attacks on diversity.

Hiding in Plain Sight: An American Renaissance of White Nationalism

Click for PDF.

This article appears in the Fall 2017 edition of The Public Eye magazine.

From July 28-30, nearly 300 White men in suits and ties—and a smattering of women—attended a sold-out American Renaissance conference, business consultant Jared Taylor’s annual spectacle of “gentlemanly,” “decorous” White supremacy.

Many of the same individuals and organizations who showed up at “AmRen” would also turn out for the violent, openly Nazi-signaling march in Charlottesville two weeks later. But at this confab, intended to attract White people just beginning to dabble in White nationalism, they hid their ideology behind the benign-sounding language of “White advocacy” and “race realism.”

“Race realism” is vitally important to understanding White nationalists’ attempts to recruit beyond their base, based on two supposedly scientific “realistic facts.” First, that White people surpass people of color in intelligence, as “proven” by racially-biased IQ tests, and second, that criminal justice statistics prove people of color’s supposed criminality. A third gambit is that history proves “increasing hatred and violence”1 when different races live together. With these pseudoscientific claims, White nationalists strive to recruit White people resistant to explicit slurs.

American Renaissance (or AmRen) is a White nationalist and White supremacist online magazine and annual conference.

AmRen, one of only two U.S. White-supremacist conferences open to the press, does all it can to project an image palatable to the unconverted, who might be turned off by people wearing Nazi regalia, issuing openly antisemitic rants, or flaunting weapons or racist skinhead tattoos.

Instead, attendees are told, “gentlemen will wear jackets and ties—equivalent dress for ladies,” a dress code that Taylor told me was instituted because it “encourages a certain deportment and demeanor” that bespeaks “civilization.” The dress code, Taylor’s theatrically stern request that attendees not scuffle with protesters,2 conference organizers’ politeness with media, and AmRen’s unspoken ban on antisemitic talk were all intended to make the event seem legitimate and respectable, a worthy entrant into mainstream political discourse.

Aspirational Supremacy

But an additional purpose of all this3 is to make the gathering seem patrician. It’s no accident that Taylor uses his Yale alumni email address for American Renaissance communications; that conference-goers talk rapturously about the annual after-party hosted by wealthy Klan lawyer Sam Dickson at an onsite bungalow conference-goers call the “villa”; or that Taylor is one of the Alt Rightists most fiercely opposed to discussing economic inequality. (In a 2014 speech, Taylor called income inequality a “phony debate,” and falsely implied that Whites are little represented among the poor.4 This in contrast with other White nationalist leaders, including AmRen attendees Richard Spencer and Greg Johnson, who express anger about exponentially rising income inequality but blame it on “the Jews.”)

Taylor takes the aristocratic aura of his 27-year-old organization very seriously. When I asked him what demands he thought White nationalists should make of the government, he demurred: “Demands are not gentlemanly.”

AmRen’s aspirational sensibility highlights the semblance—not the fact—of ruling-class membership.

Yet there is no actual evidence that AmRen attendees have higher incomes than other White people as a group. The most important reason for the AmRen dress code is the semblance—not the fact—of ruling-class membership. Speakers and attendees at the conference kept pointing out the visual difference between themselves and the protesters outside.

“We have the best people,” attendee @Manly_Task noted triumphantly on Twitter, posting a photo of seated conference-goers in business clothes and conservative haircuts. Another Alt Rightist tweeted back, “Imagine being a normie and seeing some weird, poorly dressed youths harassing a group of well-dressed white men. Wonderful optics at #AmRen.”

Jared Taylor. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

From the AmRen stage, Taylor called the shorts- and t-shirt-clad protesters “neither beast nor human,” and in an interview, identified them as “trash,” while Nathan Damigo, founder of the antisemitic, White supremacist campus group Identity Evropa, tweeted a photo of his members attending AmRen, dressed for all the world like the Young Bankers Association of Louisville. Shortly thereafter, Damigo tweeted, “There is nothing inherently or morally wrong with privilege.”5 Yet while Identity Evropa members had barrels of White privilege, it’s unclear that they had all that much of the economic kind; Damigo himself is an ex-con and former Marine enlistee who has described his experiences with severe PTSD,6 and who didn’t go to college until he was 28. Other IE members attending included a New York City-based veteran now in nursing school, and a young man from the lower-middle-class neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

The three-day conference costs $150 to attend—not something the abject poor could afford, but something working- and middle-class folks could save up for. (Students got a discount.) The park hotel costs $89 a night, but AmRen also provides a list of cheaper motels in the area, and it’s possible to camp onsite in the park for less still.

While the White supremacist movement is partly about protecting privilege, that is not its only draw—for many, it’s also aspirational.

When AmRen attendees spoke about an imagined future White ethnostate, they were fantasizing about a world where “their talents” would be richly rewarded—something they see impeded by the improper advancement of people of color over themselves, and not an economic system where only the top five percent can be sure of getting the health care, housing, and social supports they need. Meeting baseline economic needs weren’t their only goals, though. In essays, tweets, and conversations, White nationalists also imagine that cultural expression, important work, lovely surroundings, and deep social ties will be provided in the White ethnostate of the future.

When AmRen attendees spoke about an imagined future White ethnostate, they were fantasizing about a world where “their talents” would be richly rewarded.

There’s a reason beautiful art and architecture from ancient Greece and Rome has become a vital visual motif for White nationalism—the flip side of Pepe and his deliberate, vicious crudeness. American Renaissance sports an Ionian column as its logo; Counter-Currents has used a carved, bearded male head from ancient Greek statuary. The National Policy Institute has employed other august, ancient Greek heads along with Doric columns, and Identity Evropa has a fake Latin name. These groups project the beauty and meaningfulness of a part of our collective past7 onto an imagined future in which they envision White people being able to realize their humanity in a way not currently available to anyone under capitalist society.

Creating a Belief in “White Intelligence”

Underlining this “unique” ability of White people to suffer and experience beauty, four of the six major conference talks were about White people’s inherent “high IQ” and creativity (or as Damigo tweeted, their “cognitive privilege,” which is “where White privilege originates”). Both rank-and-file conference-goers I interviewed, like Minnesota nurse Joan Harris, and AmRen speakers like John Derbyshire, from the virulently anti-Black, anti-immigrant group VDare, were passionate about this notion. They concluded that the reason even White Americans don’t have all their needs met is that “low-IQ” African Americans, Latinos, and immigrants are “given” the perquisites that should be theirs “by right.”

Retired Danish academic psychologist Helmuth Nyborg supplied “data” to support this notion in the first presentation of the conference: a 45-minute PowerPoint about his “Thermodynamic Solar Irradiance Selection (TSIS) Hypothesis,” which postulates that, for evolutionary reasons, “high intelligence” and the potential for “high civilization” are found only in those human beings whose ancestors were born in cold climates. Nyborg, who’s been getting White supremacist work published in academic journals for 30 years, showed charts depicting the relative brain sizes and IQs of people whose genes are alleged to have developed in “very cold, cold, average, warm, and very warm climates.” Nyborg argued that “Northern brains” had given birth to most positive traits in society, including “altruistic sociability” and “potential for democracy.” Explaining away an obvious challenge to this theory, he suggested, “The ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires may have been started by central European immigrants from very cold climates, who moved south!”

Charles Murray, author of the notorious book The Bell Curve, claimed a connection between racial difference and intelligence.

In fact, all human ancestry can be traced to Africa, and it’s hard to say where any individual’s genes “developed,” given the long history of human migration and mixing. But as he spoke, young White people in the audience listened raptly. Nyborg showed a map borrowed from Charles Murray, author of the notorious book The Bell Curve, to illustrate that “almost all the major advancements in science and the arts since the 14th century” came from White males whose ancestors were born in a tiny, circumscribed chunk of Europe that excluded, among other nations, Ireland, Southern Italy, Greece, and Spain.8

That pointed to another way AmRen’s White supremacy was aspirational: the idea that some White groups—primarily Irish and Southern Europeans—are inherently less intelligent and civilized than other White people; in effect, less White. Derbyshire, who is British-born, joked about Irish stupidity and licentiousness.9 Taylor said he opposed Polish immigration to Western Europe. Meanwhile, Nyborg declared that the further south one went in Europe, “the lower the IQ, the smaller the brains… the… lower quality of societies.” As historians have noted, in the U.S. prior to the 1940s, the Irish, most Southern and Eastern Europeans, as well as Jews, were frequently identified as non-White.10 But it demonstrates how, for many at AmRen, Whiteness is a quality that must be constantly striven for and “proven,” one that can be granted or taken away.

So why do White people need a movement, if they had so many genetic gifts? Starting in 1870, Nyborg revealed, “high civilization” began to “decay.” The reason: due to “improvement in food sanitation, medication, and care for the feeble…the unfit began to have more surviving children than the fit.” Nowadays, he continued, “Welfare states lead to an increase in low-IQ mothers and unfit children.” As he said this, he pointed to two words on his screen: “Black mothers.” The slide accompanying his talk alleged that the rate of Black mothers bearing “illegitimate children” had risen 67 percent because of income supports given to the poor.

Nyborg went on to bemoan high fertility rates among Muslims and the “fact” that “the fit also use contraceptive means more effectively than the others.” All across the world, he cried, growing progressively more emotional, “low-IQ winners will double in number,” and will only be capable of taking “very slow, simple, supervised jobs” of the sort “disappearing in the very cold eco-type, high-tech societies!”

He ended his talk with an elegiac slide that said, “We are watching a brilliant sun being replaced by a dim half-moon.” The only way to avoid “a new Dark Era” dominated by “the unfit,” he told the group, was to enact the “honorable repatriation of warm eco-types”—that is, to expel all non-White people from Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Appealing to Left Economic Interests

The previous evening, I’d interviewed Steve, a 32-year-old from Milwaukee who worked in retail and was attending the conference with his mother, Kris. Steve said his extended family had always held “implicitly” racist views, but they hadn’t been coherently “articulated as politics,” the way White nationalism makes them clear. Kris, a bank employee who described herself as an “Identitarian,” told me, “I think White nationalism makes a lot of sense.” She attributed the economic problems she’d seen in the U.S. over the last 10 years to “illegal immigrants who take jobs away from the people.” I also met a 60-ish man from Cleveland who said he’d donated to Bernie Sanders, but who, when Sanders failed to get the Democratic nomination, consciously went on to “vote for the biggest ass in the history of this country,” Donald Trump.

According to a massive study of 2016 election voters,11 12 percent of those who voted for Sanders in the primary voted for Trump in the general election. There are several ways to interpret this. Some pro-Clinton Democrats have ascribed it almost entirely to unwillingness to vote for a female candidate or one embraced by African-Americans. But it’s likely that, for some of these voters, certain Left economic positions (such as free college tuition and higher taxes on the rich) exist alongside racist positions on issues like immigration and police murders of African-Americans12 along with sexist reflexes in voting.

To Klan lawyer Sam Dickson, a close friend of American Renaissance who has spoken at each of its conferences since its inception in 1990, that represents an opportunity. Dickson brought up Sanders in his speech closing the event on Sunday. “In the primaries, Hillary Clinton got the Black vote, and Bernie Sanders got the White vote… It shows a racial subconscious going on, and it also shows a fundamental fissure line within the Left. There’s a rich field of Bernie Sanders leftists for us to work.” Even if you interpret Sanders’ and Clinton’s candidacies differently than Dickson does, his desire to outreach to the White Left should give us pause. As Naomi Klein recently noted, Sanders “could have won if he’d been able to win the support of just half of Black voters. But to do that, he would have needed to clearly and compellingly connect the dots between the country’s deepest economic inequalities and the persistent legacy of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and housing and financial discrimination.”13 Yet his willingness to confront economic inequities was greater than any other successful politician’s since the 1930s.

Dickson declared, “We must get away from the Left/Right dichotomy. We are racialists, not conservatives.” Others in the White supremacist movement have occasionally found Left economic issues to support: Richard Spencer came out for single-payer healthcare last March,14 and in a long interview at the conference, Greg Johnson, the virulently antisemitic publisher of Counter-Currents, told me that “the labor movement in America was one of the most heroic chapters in American history” and that he supported a guaranteed minimum income. Of course, one of the reasons he loved the (White) labor movement so much was that, as he said, most of it had championed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Although he has called himself a “man of the Right,” Johnson said, “I want to go back to that trajectory of having a large middle class [and] a strong labor movement”—though in the long run, he means one for White workers only—and large-scale research and development projects “like the war on cancer and the war on AIDS.” Johnson added, “There has been a nationalist Left, and a nationalist Center, and nationalist Right. We will not win if our ideas are entirely confined to the ghetto of the Right.”

Hiding Neonazism in Plain Sight

Though Johnson has expressed great enthusiasm for Nazi and pro-Nazi writers like Savitri Devi, Julius Evola, Miguel Serrano, and Francis Parker Yockey—in fact, he’s republishing them all through Counter-Currents—he chose to claim, in our interview, that the biggest current problem with the White nationalist movement was people “LARPing [live action role-playing] as Nazis,” “those advocating genocide,” and racist skinheads who follow the ideas of William Pierce, the author of The Turner Diaries.

Those ideas are “simply repulsive,” Johnson told me. But just two weeks later, after the march in Charlottesville, he’d engage in a radio debate with White supremacist, antifeminist activist Vox Day15 (the pen name of Theodore Beale), in which Johnson endorsed the idea that National Socialists are a “legitimate element of the Alt-Right.”16 (Additionally, long before Charlottesville, Johnson published dozens of pieces praising Hitler, including several odes to his birthday.)

There’s an easy answer to this seeming contradiction: Johnson likes real Nazis—both the historical ones and present-day “National Socialists” who write for his magazine. He just doesn’t like people dressing up as Nazis at public rallies and embarrassing the movement. Those sorts, he told me, “embrace self-marginalization” at a time when “normal American people are more receptive to this movement than ever.” (After Charlottesville, many White nationalists have been debating, like Johnson and Day, how openly to support Nazism. The argument is actually moot; both sides champion an aggressively antisemitic and openly fascist movement and only differ on how publicly to align themselves with Hitler’s historical followers.)

The attempt to hide philo-Nazism in plain sight was like AmRen’s entire project: to make White supremacist views look as moderate as possible.

Johnson’s attempt to hide his philo-Nazism in plain sight was like Jared Taylor’s entire project with AmRen: to make White supremacist views look as moderate as possible. In this light, it makes sense that for decades he’s been one of the leaders of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils that, until recent years, was openly supported by Republicans like Trent Lott, Bob Barr, and Haley Barbour, as well as a few Democrats like Bill Lord, a county chairman in Mississippi.17 Within the world of White supremacism, American Renaissance serves as a deliberately milquetoast branding device intended strictly for outreach to those yet to join the movement.

Dialectic of White Nationalism and Antisemitism

Civil rights activist Eric K. Ward has correctly noted that antisemitism “forms the theoretical core of White nationalism,”18 because White nationalists assume that people of color are too dimwitted and ineffective to fight for civil rights on their own, and thus require the secretive direction of Jews. Therefore it might seem like a contradiction that antisemitism was so carefully kept away from the AmRen stage. But if you think of AmRen’s purpose—making White nationalism palatable for the mainstream—there’s no contradiction.

If you looked, antisemitism was hiding in plain sight all over the conference, from book vendors selling The Turner Diaries, which calls for the extermination of Jews, to the neonazi Stormfront activists (like moderator Jamie Kelso) who peopled the aisles. It was even at the podium, grinning at the audience with a finger on its lips. Four prominent speakers this year had previously expressed virulent hatred of Jews: Richard Spencer, Nathan Damigo, VDare’s Peter Brimelow, and Sam Dickson. (Dickson, who closes the conference every year, has edited and written for the Holocaust-denial journals The Barnes Review19 and the Journal of Historical Review.20) Many attendees posted antisemitic tweets from the conference floor.21

AmRen and Taylor actually have an ambiguous history with antisemitism. In the past, Taylor occasionally invited light-skinned Jews who believe in White people’s genetic superiority to speak.22 But he’s also invited speakers who castigate Jews, like Holocaust denier Joseph Sobran, who gave a talk on Jewish power at AmRen 2004.23 After AmRen attendee David Duke was criticized for making anti-Jewish remarks during an audience Q&A in 2006, Taylor wrote on the conference’s website, “Jews have a valuable role in the work of American Renaissance… Anyone who thinks otherwise has the choice of staying home or keeping his views to himself.” But in a display of “both sides” equivocation that’s become familiar after Charlottesville, he also denounced the behavior of a Jewish attendee, who called Duke a “fucking Nazi,” as “disgraceful.” Making clear that he wanted to keep attracting the antisemites who constitute his base and presenters, he said he supported AmRen speakers and participants “who believe Jews play no useful role in a movement that supports white interests.” He simply wanted antisemites and Jews to agree to disagree at his conferences. “By taking no position,” Taylor said, “AR has served readers who may be sharply opposed on these questions.”24 Taylor has regularly gone on his close friend Don Black’s Stormfront radio show,25 and often hosted another good friend, Holocaust denier Mark Weber, at his home in Virginia.26

So why does it matter whether such a profoundly racist conference is also antisemitic? Ethically speaking, it makes little difference. It’s horrifying either way. But for the American political center, unfortunately, antisemitism is much worse than White supremacy. One reason is that most White Americans read light-skinned Jews as White and thus views attacks on them as more deserving of attention than attacks on people of color.27 Also, White supremacy is fundamental to America’s political economy in a way that antisemitism is not. This makes it easier for Whites to react against antisemitism than against the racism that still underpins our society. Finally, the history of Nazi Germany and the U.S. role in defeating it is widely taught in schools, making attacks on Jews highly suspect to a broad range of people.28

Yet despite the implicit racism in the view that antisemitism is worse or more morally disturbing, progressives still need to call out White nationalist attacks on Jews as much as attacks on people of color; the movement constitutes a profound danger to both groups.

Jews also function as White nationalism’s cipher for the one percent. during the heyday of Occupy, George Hocking stated baldly in Counter-Currents that Jews “are the one percent” and “America’s new ruling class.”29 More recently, antisemitic flyers posted at the University of Illinois at Chicago postulated that “the one percent” are not “straight white men” but “Jews,” and therefore that the nation’s most pressing need is “ending Jewish privilege.” On the poster, “the 99 percent” are identified as “goyim.”30

Jews also function as White nationalism’s cipher for the one percent.

For mainstream White nationalist organs today—such as NPI, Identity Evropa, the Traditionalist Worker Party, and The Occidental Observer—Jews are the energy behind banks, the finance industry, and multinational corporations, and thus the driving force behind the displacement of “working people,” whom they envision as being White. Often, these ideas dispersed by the Right have borne fruit in Left spaces. Sonia Lundy, a longtime New York activist and member of Nurses United who staffed the medical tent at the Occupy encampment in Zuccotti Park, remembers her surprise at the many young and older Occupiers who spoke to her about “the Rothschilds” controlling society and “the Jews running everything.”31

Courting the Media through Obfuscation

Paradoxically, Taylor’s patrician signaling and others’ use of Left ideas reflect a similar desire to court the media and all potential audiences not currently aligned with their movement. Indeed, outreach to journalists is one of AmRen’s most important functions. The group actively works to place its spokespeople in the media throughout the year. For AmRen 2016, Taylor personally invited a writer from Buzzfeed,32 and also scored a reporter from Talking Points Memo.33 In 2017, AmRen solicited journalists from the Guardian, Slate, and Truthout, as well as authors of progressive books on the Alt Right.34

Before he was well known, Taylor regularly appeared as a “race relations expert” on mainstream radio outlets that did not identify him as a White-supremacist activist.35 Even today, Taylor is regularly sought-after for lengthy interviews in venues like CNN, ABC News, and NPR, joking politely with a host of color about how, individually, she is probably “smarter than most White people,”36 and claiming to be offended when he’s called “White supremacist” or “racist.”

But the actual content of his yearly meetup is anything but polite, making for a schizophrenic experience for those who’ve heard him talk to different audiences. At this year’s conference, Taylor told the crowd that when African refugees try to cross the Mediterranean, people “should make it clear that the minute they get in those boats, they’re gonna get a shell below the waterline. You would only have to sink one boat, and everyone would stay home.” The same thing—immediate execution—he said should also happen “the minute” Mexicans “step across that border” into the United States.

In one breath, Taylor claimed to get hundreds of fan letters from people of color. In the next, he described the Black Lives Matter movement as “all that howling and gibbering.” In condemning Yale’s recent $50 million faculty diversity initiative,37 he said it made sense that the project cost so much, since, “Every university is looking for that same black lady physicist. It’s such hard work looking for unicorns!”

Indeed, despite its framing, openly racist talk suffused the conference. Derbyshire said he was a pessimist and believed “the gorillas”—the slur he used for African Americans—”will gain in strength and power.” Brimelow said, “Hispanics… specialize in rape, particularly of children.” And Johnson, framing his White nationalism in ecological terms during our interview, said “what is now happening to the European peoples” was “habitat loss” similar to what had previously happened to other “species” when they were “forced to compete with similar creatures.” In other words, Johnson said people of color are a nonhuman species that threaten the “habitat” of White people—the only true Homo sapiens.

Gender and Power in the White Ethnostate

AmRen offers free printable posters like this one on their website.

On the last day of the conference, Dickson—an Atlanta real estate mogul whom the Southern Poverty Law Center says earned most of his fortune by “bullying” low-income, Black homeowners out of the deeds to their homes38—unveiled plans for the “future White ethnostate” that most in attendance hoped to achieve. “Democracy is something that is so preposterous,” Dickson said. “If some welfare recipient with an IQ of 80 has a right to vote…” (At the back of the hall, Dickson was selling a 1966 video, Africa Addio, about the savagery and stupidity of Africans,39 which was also playing on a continuous silent loop.) Instead, Dickson said the only people who would be able to vote in his imagined ethnostate would be “intelligent,” heterosexually “married men” with “legitimate children,” who had never been divorced. Men who weren’t heterosexually married, or had no children, but didn’t “suffer from personality defects,” could still run for public office. Women could neither vote nor hold office.

The women in the room—mostly young, totaling around 30 in all (about a tenth of those in attendance) and seeming to be true believers in White nationalism—said nothing.

Then Dickson went on to the issue of “how to deal with the fertility rates,” suggesting that 1930s Germany, which instituted eugenic breeding programs, might provide a model. He proposed that the state should give White men “financial incentives” to have many White children, but speculated that those wouldn’t work with women. “With women, I think there has to be emotional incentives to have children…Women with children would be allowed to wear different clothing“ that would “give them greater status than women who didn’t have children,” he announced. “They would get perks,” the more White children they bear.

At this point, the 60-something nurse, Joan Harris, turned to a young woman seated near her. “Do you think this would work with you?” she whispered. “No,” the woman replied.

Men in attendance imagined they would not only accrue rich economic rewards and decision-making power in the White ethnostate, but that women in that world would be pressured to date, have sex with, and perhaps love them. Hearing these plans sketched out, it’s unsurprising that the White nationalist movement has blended so seamlessly with the manosphere; it is offering White men a vision of the future in which everyone recognizes them as the best and the brightest, and they have guaranteed economic, social, and even sexual success.

Johnson said, “The position I favor on abortion in a White Nationalist society is that some abortions should be forbidden, others should be mandatory, but under no circumstances should they simply be a matter of a woman’s choice.”

So-called “White sharia”40—the idea that the sexuality, reproduction, daily life, and right to consent of White women should be controlled by White men in the White supremacist state—has become a controversial topic in White nationalist circles this year, and Dickson appeared to support it at least in part. Though Johnson criticized “White sharia” as anti-women in our interview, he has published articles by others defending the idea.41 And in an essay on abortion, Johnson said, “The position I favor on abortion in a White Nationalist society is that some abortions should be forbidden, others should be mandatory, but under no circumstances should they simply be a matter of a woman’s choice.”42 Richard Spencer recently made similar comments: “Contraception has been terribly dysgenic…We want to be eugenic…We want smart people to have more children. I don’t think we should, as the Alt-Right, be uncritically pro-life.”43

In other words, they believe in mandatory births, in some cases, for White women, and mandatory abortions for women of color. “The idea that every being that is human has a right to life…that’s not how we think as identitarians!” Spencer said. “We should be genuinely suspicious of people who think in terms of human rights.”44

After Charlottesville

Beyond AmRen’s functions as an orientation for newbies and a kind of media postcard, it also presents a rare opportunity for different sectors of the movement to meet and strategize. For the near term, presenters and attendees pushed electoral politics (the American Freedom Party, of which Taylor is a member, had a strong showing at AmRen and is encouraging candidates to run on the local level45); campus organizing; and their main toolkit of the past two years, combining the proliferation of websites, forums, and videos with trolling, meme dispersal, and demonstrations.

Violent and revolutionary tactics are rarely discussed from AmRen’s podium, except in allusive ways, such as this statement by Dickson in his closing talk: “The breach could come from military overreach, or the collapse of the economy… Hopefully, it will be as bloodless as possible.” But of course, other White nationalist groups do incorporate such strategies.

Charlottesville knocked the movement on its posterior. In the wake of openly neonazi chants, the battery of counter-protesters and the murder of Heather Heyer, organizations like NPI, Stormfront, and The Daily Stormer lost their web domains, and in some cases, their access to PayPal, Facebook, and YouTube. Some activists whose identities were uncovered lost jobs or the support of their families; others left the movement out of fear. This has resulted in a renewed, urgent discussion in White nationalism about tactics going forward. Recently, Eli Mosley, the new head of Identity Evropa, tweeted, “There is no possible way we can shitpost our way to victory and we must move from an online movement to the real world.” Evan McLaren, the young, new executive director Spencer has hired to help him manage NPI, engaged in an illuminating Twitter conversation with @AndreasDonner, a White nationalist who had criticized NPI and the Alt-Right for “fail[ing] to produce any plan at all to secure an ethnostate.” McLaren responded, “The ethnostate is now a more widely-contemplated idea because of Spencer and the Alt Right. We do all the things that are preconditions to the ethnostate. But preparing people for this task requires a broader kulturkampf.”

Charlottesville knocked the movement on its posterior, resulting in an urgent discussion about tactics going forward.

Spencer himself is focusing on highly publicized attempts to book talks on college campuses, with the intention of generating media coverage when universities push back. Meanwhile, at AmRen, a leader of the German and Austrian Identitäre Bewegung (“Identity Movement”), Martin Lichtmesz, urged Americans to adopt strategies he’s found effective in Europe: nonviolent direct action reminiscent of ACT UP, the radical U.S. AIDS activist group that succeeded in changing the national conversation in the ‘80s and ‘90s, albeit to a wildly different, far more ethical end. Lichtmesz’s movement has generated enormous publicity by scaling the Brandenburg Gate with mountaineering equipment and hanging a banner reading “Secure Borders, Secure Future”; covering the famous Vienna statue of 18th Century empress Maria Theresia with a burqa; and disrupting a pro-refugee theater performance with fake blood.

These theatrical, “audacious” protests, Lichtmesz said, were “designed to gain public sympathy.” By using forms of protest pioneered by the Left and employing the “progressive” language of Identitarianism (the idea “that every people has a right to their homeland, and to defend its own culture, identity, and heritage,” as Lichtmesz put it), while steering clear of explicitly racist and neonazi rhetoric, American White nationalists might win new converts, too. (Then again, Lichtmesz donned a Confederate flag lapel pin at the conference; it’s unlikely the U.S. movement has the discipline to suppress overt racism in pursuit of their agenda, either.)

What should the Left’s response be? In this case, the opposite of one-off theatrical actions and Instagram-able protests: a long-haul, multiracial, grassroots effort to educate the country on the profound connections between race and class (and the connections of both to gender).

If we are to learn anything from the eruption of fascist, White supremacist organizing on both sides of the Atlantic, it should be that economic crisis and class conflict can accrue to the benefit of the Right as easily as the Left.

It’s a tall order, I know. But if we are to learn anything from the eruption of fascist, White supremacist organizing on both sides of the Atlantic, it should be that economic crisis and class conflict can accrue to the benefit of the Right as easily as the Left. It should be that, as labor historian Jefferson Cowie recently put it, “real world” working-class politics in America “is a messy stew of populist, communitarian, reactionary, progressive, racist, patriarchal, and nativist ingredients.”46 It should be that no group or class in America is inherently progressive, and no division lifted above others as essential.

Candid, self-supporting but nonjudgmental solidarity is the only way forward: a true integration of issues (gender, race, class, sexuality, and others) with multi-issue education. A fight that targets systems, not “elites” who can turn into amorphous scapegoats, and radical coalition-building that combines assertiveness and humility are needed. It’s a daunting task, but nothing less is required.

Endnotes

1 Greg Johnson, interview with author, July 29, 2017.

2 Some declined to follow this directive. Less than a dozen AmRen attendees got in shouting matches with protesters, and an attendee and a demonstrator were involved in a violent scuffle that resulted in arrests for both.

3 Except the antisemitic ban, which is not intended to signal wealth, but moderation and respectability.

4Jared Taylor, “Income Inequality: The Debate Ignores Race,” Amren.com, https://www.amren.com/features/2014/01/income-inequality-the-debate-ignores-race/.

5 Following his arrest in Charlottesville, Damigo (one of the organizers of the Charlottesville Unite the Right demonstrations) stepped down as CEO of Identity Evropa, but he remains committed to White nationalism.

6 Documentary Storm, “Warton: In Every War, There are Invisible Wounds,” Documentarystorm.com, https://documentarystorm.com/wartorn/. HBO, “Interview with Charilyn Damigo,” HBO, http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/wartorn-1861-2010/interview/interview-with-charilyn-damigo.html.

7 It’s worth noting that ancient Greece and Rome were multicultural societies, and that the modern category of race did not exist there. The only ethnic group ancient Greeks were likely to condemn as inferior was Persians (after the Persian war); for ancient Romans, it was Germans, Britons, and Gauls.

8 Charles Murray, Human Accomplishment in the Arts and Sciences: The Pursuit of Excellence, 800 BC to 1950 (New York: Harper, 2003).

9 In the context of mocking a human genome research project in Ireland, Derbyshire said in a heavy Irish accent, “‘Hold there, Bridget, I just want to take down your genes (jeans)!’ ‘Michael! Away with your filthy talk!’” Then he said, “What, I can’t tell an ethnic joke at American Renaissance?”

10 See, for example, David B. Roediger, Working toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White (New York: Basic Books, 2005).

11Stephen Ansolabehere and Brian Schaffner. “CCES Common Content, 2016.” Dataverse.harvard.com, https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi%3A10.7910/DVN/GDF6Z0.

12 For an excellent analysis of political contradictions in the white working class, see: Jefferson Cowie. “How Labor Scholars Missed the Trump Revolt,” chronicle.com, http://www.chronicle.com/article/How-Labor-Scholars-Missed-the/241049.

13 Naomi Klein, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Policies and Winning the World We Need, (Chicago: Haymarket, 2017),124-125.

14 Richard Spencer, “Why Trump Must Champion National Healthcare.” Altright.com, https://altright.com/2017/03/23/why-trump-must-champion-universal-healthcare/.

15 Jay Hathaway, “How Gamgergate Radicals Seized Sci-Fi’s Most Prestigious Awards”. Gawker, http://gawker.com/how-gamergate-radicals-seized-sci-fis-most-prestigious-1696731611. See also: Jeet Heer. “Science Fiction’s White Boys’ Club Strikes Back.” Newrepublic.com, https://newrepublic.com/article/121554/2015-hugo-awards-and-history-science-fiction-culture-wars.

16 Tara McCarthy. “Vox Day vs Greg Johnson DEBATE: Are Nazis Alt Right?”. YouTube video, 1:04:50. Posted August 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j72M9wHvEzw.

17 Amber Phillips, “The Political Success of the Council of Conservative Citizens, Explained,” Washington Post, June 22, 2015.

18 Eric K. Ward, “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism,” The Public Eye, Summer 2017.

19 E.g. Sam Dickson, “Shattering the Icon of Lincoln,” The Barnes Review, Volume XII, Number 1, January/February 2006, http://barnesreview.org/shattering-the-icon-of-lincoln/; Sam Dickson, “Willis Carto: An Obituary,” The Barnes Review, October 30, 2015, http://barnesreview.org/willis-carto-an-obituary/. See also: Alexander Zaitchik, “How Klan Lawyer Sam Dickson Got Rich,” SPLC Intelligence Report, 2006 Fall Issue, October 19, 2006.

20 http://www.sam-dickson.com/.

21 For example, see @FashyHaircut (Nathan Damigo): https://twitter.com/fatherlandradio/status/890804669030649857?refsrc=email&s=11 Also, https://twitter.com/nathandamigo/status/894314789446467584?refsrc=email&s=11 and https://twitter.com/nathandamigo/status/896037155440480256?refsrc=email&s=11.

22 Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok, “Schism Over Antisemitism Divides Key White Nationalist Group, American Renaissance,” SPLC Intelligence Report, August 11, 2006. Also, Jared Taylor, “Jews and American Renaissance,” American Renaissance, May 2006, https://www.amren.com/news/2006/04/jews_and_americ/. Additionally, see this list of the 15 American Renaissance conferences and their speakers: https://www.amren.com/archives/conferences/.

23 Beirich and Potok, op. cit.

24 Ibid. See also, Taylor, op. cit., and “One-Time American Renaissance Writer Ian Jobling Repudiates Racist Editor Jared Taylor,” SPLC Intelligence Report, 2012 Winter Issue, November 11th, 2012.

25 Many of these appearances can no longer be found on YouTube. But see, for example, Taylor with Derek Black on Don Black’s show, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJi4AbEoMVA.

26 “One Time American Renaissance Writer Ian Jobling…,” op. cit.
Hunter Wallace (Brad Griffin), “Jared Taylor: Friend or Foe?”, Occidental Dissent, July 26, 2009, http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2009/07/26/jared-taylor-friend-or-foe/. “American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor Goes Full Anti-Semite,” Anti-Fascist News, August 26, 2016, https://antifascistnews.net/2016/08/26/american-renaissances-jared-taylor-goes-full-anti-semite/.

27 For example, in a 2017 study by the ADL 14 percent of American survey respondents expressed antisemitic attitudes. (https://www.adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/ADL_MS_Survey_Pres_1_25_17.pdf ) In comparable 2012 data from the General Social Survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, 21-45 percent of White Americans gave racist responses to a variety of questions about African-Americans, such as whether it is okay to discriminate against them in housing and whether African-Americans are less hard-working than White people. (https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/upshot/dont-be-surprised-that-people-still-say-racist-things.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-upshot&_r=0).

28 Nearly absent in the political debate is the fact that there are Jews of color, and still other Jews—including many Sephardim and Mizrahi—to whom the prevailing social apparatus has not yet conclusively assigned a race. And of course, nearly all White nationalists have already consigned all Jews to the category of non-White.

29 George Hocking, “Who Are the One Percent?” Counter-Currents, December 16, 2011.

30 Daniel J. Solomon, “End Jewish Privilege Poster Circulates on Chicago College Campus,” The Forward, March 16th, 2017.

31 Phone interview with Sonia Lundy, September 26, 2017.

32 Rosie Gray, “Inside a White Nationalist Conference Energized by Trump’s Rise,” Buzzfeed, May 26, 2016, https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/inside-a-white-nationalist-conference-energized-by-trumps-ri?utm_term=.fa7kdAVo#.hqokRNKr.

33 Allegra Kirkland, “Great White Hope: Trump Unites Generations of White Nationalists,” Talking Points Memo, May 24, 2016, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/trump-american-renaissance-2016-conference.

34 Personal communications with the invited reporters.

35 Dennis Roddy, “Jared Taylor: A Racist in the Guise of ‘Expert,’” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 23, 2005. American Renaissance gets more than one benefit from this aspect of its branding; the group files with the IRS as a tax-exempt “charitable organization” on “intergroup/race relations” and “civil rights.” guidestar.org/profile/61-6212159.

36Sara Sidner interview with Jared Taylor, “Concerns Grow Over Racist Incidents on Campus,” CNN, May 15, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2017/05/15/racist-incidents-college-campuses-dnt-sidner-lead.cnn/video/playlists/racist-incidents/.\

37 “Initiative for Faculty Excellence and Diversity: Update,” Yale University, August 31, 2016.

38 Zaitchik, op. cit.

39Roger Ebert, “Africa Addio” rogerebert.com, http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/africa-addio-1967.

40 Andrew Anglin, “Revealing the Esoteric Nature of the White Sharia Meme”, dailystormer.com; archived version http://archive.is/jHbvJ.

41Sacco Vandal, “In Defense of White Sharia”, Counter-Currents, https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/06/in-defense-of-white-sharia/.

42 Greg Johnson, “Abortion and White Nationalism”, Counter-Currents, https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/04/abortion-and-white-nationalism/.

43 Richard Spencer, “Why Tomi Lahren is Right on Abortion”, filmed March 20, 2017, video, 20:19, https://altright.com/2017/03/20/why-tomi-lahren-is-rights-on-abortion/.

44 Ibid. On other occasions, Johnson has echoed Spencer, calling contraception “dysgenic” because it allegedly leads to fewer births by the “fit.” Greg Johnson, “To a Reluctant Bridegroom”, Counter-currents, https://www.counter-currents.com/2015/11/to-a-reluctant-bridegroom/.

45 Originally founded by racist skinheads in California, the AFP’s leadership also includes Kevin MacDonald, the leading antisemitic speaker and writer in the United States, and Jamie Kelso of Stormfront. See http://american3rdposition.com/speakers-bureau/; http://american3rdposition.com/category/leadership/ ; and https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/american-freedom-party.

46 Cowie, op. cit.

Disunite the Right: The Growing Divides in the Pepe Coalition

White nationalist “Alt Right” demonstrators gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial on June 25, 2017. Photo: Susan Melkisethian via Flickr.

By the time Richard Spencer, the man responsible for coining and popularizing the term Alt Right, made his way to the front of the crowd on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and took the microphone, anger was already brimming among his supporters. While barely 100 Alt Right acolytes amassed for this June 25 “free speech” rally in Washington, D.C., they represented the hardcore adherents of a movement demanding a White “ethnostate”—a nation for Whites only. Standing in front of banners for White nationalist organizations like Vanguard America, the Traditionalist Workers Party, and Identity Evropa, Spencer issued the sort of romantic call for struggle that had once made him a leader:

We are fundamentally fighting to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves. We are fighting to be part of a family together. We are fighting to be strong again. To be beautiful again. We are fighting to be powerful again in a sea of weakness and hopelessness. That is our battle. Our greatest enemies will tell us that there is nothing to fight for, that it is all over. All you have to do is go to the voting booth or go purchase some cute new product or watch some cute new video. We are going to fight for meaning. We are going to make history all over again.1

Spencer’s passionate appeal came after a falling out with Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer, who had denounced Spencer’s presence at the rally and opted to hold their own competing event across town.2 As Spencer became the focal point of broader divisions, the Far Right was sent into a tailspin, with Spencer leading his explicitly White nationalist faction of the Alt Right against the more moderate “Alt Light.”

“We need to attack the Alt Light in the most ruthless manner possible,” Spencer declared in a rant on the podcast “Alt Right Politics” on the eve of what were now two rallies. “They are objectively the immediate enemy, they must be destroyed.”3

Spencer was declaring war against the Alt Light—a group peripheral to the core Alt Right, which Spencer appeared to see as his access point to mainstream conservatism.

What might have appeared to outsiders as simple subcultural rivalry had more definitive consequences: Spencer was declaring war against the Alt Light—a group peripheral to the core Alt Right, which Spencer appeared to see as his access point to mainstream conservatism. As the man who developed staple Alt Right institutions such as the National Policy Institute, the Radix Journal, and AltRight.com, Spencer has spent approximately the last two years scrambling to capitalize on the increased exposure the Trump campaign brought to his rebranded White nationalist movement. The Alt Light, which served as the next ring around Spencer’s core movement organs, weren’t committed to the harder-edged ideology of the Alt Right, but as a collective of right-wing provocateurs, they had helped popularize Spencer’s talking points.

Now, Spencer’s “Free Speech” rally became purer but far smaller: a parade of White nationalist celebrities, who came at the cost of the rally’s potential to influence more mainstream conservatives.

A Fragile Coalition

Richard Spencer. Photo: v@s/ Wikkimedia commons.

In 2008, the Alternative Right was born, as a concept that triggered a movement, after Richard Spencer’s time working among paleoconservatives led him into the “dissident right”: those who reject liberal values of human equality and multiculturalism. The Alternative Right, and the eponymous web journal Spencer would launch in 2010, brought together a range of Rightists loosely defined by racial identitarianism and their belief in human inequality. While the GOP still rhetorically rejects racism and inequality, the Alternative Right embraced these ideas, redefining fascism for a 21st Century U.S. context. When their nascent movement collided with internet troll culture, their name was shortened to Alt Right and their flag-bearers adopted the racially abusive personality we know today.

The Alt Light came later—an outer layer of supporters mobilized largely around the celebrity of former Breitbart Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos, and also including former Rebel Media star Lauren Southern, online “manosphere” leader Mike Cernovich, and Infowars conspiracy baron Alex Jones. Though their agendas weren’t identical, they served a purpose for the Alt Right. Fascists who have difficulty entering the public stage have always required crossover figures and institutions that can help pave the way for more ideologically pure leaders to come—a “stopover” point on the road to authoritarianism. In earlier generations this included figures like Pat Buchanan and the paleoconservative movement, but as public trust in party politics has waned, that role has fallen to online cultural leaders who sway social networks. In the age of the Alt Right, it was the less radical representatives who loaned the movement broader popular appeal.

To the Alt Right, compromise on core principles threatens the ideological purity they were founded to uphold.

But the relationship between the Alt Right and the Alt Light, as well as “patriot” organizations like the Oath Keepers, has often been more pragmatic than comfortable. And maintaining this coalition has not been easy, requiring compromises on language, targets, and allies. To the Alt Right, compromise on core principles threatens the ideological purity they were founded to uphold.4 The Alt Right already constituted a coalition, linking together the “race realist” pseudoscientists, racial pagans, European New Rightists, male tribalists, classic White nationalists, paleoconservatives, and others who defined themselves by essentialized identity and inequality. This point of agreement was enough to initially bring them together, but disagreements over issues like Ukrainian independence, Brexit, and culture led to splits, which were papered over when Trump ran, demonstrating to them again that they could be stronger if they suppressed their differences and rode the wave.

It was the need to find a more palatable vessel for their politics that led the Alt Right to embrace the Alt Light in the first place, although both camps had different intentions from the start. To Alt Light figures hoping to parlay movement celebrity into lasting careers, the Alt Right’s overt White nationalism threatened to become a toxic association. In both camps, strong personalities combined with murky ideological boundaries became a recipe for explosive fractures, undermining the potential of a unified front. That disintegration provides insights into the organizing process of the Alt Right, and how the Left can challenge their growth before it becomes a populist wave.

Free Speech Light

A 19-year-old student named Colton Merwin began planning the June 25 “free speech” rally in Washington, D.C., weeks in advance. It was the latest in a series of rallies, hosted by Alt Right and Alt Light figures alike, in response to public clashes between the Far Right and anti-racist organizers that had started in December 2016 and escalated in early February 2017, after an appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley was canceled amid mass protests. The later cancellation of Ann Coulter at Berkeley prompted Lauren Southern to host the inaugural “free speech” rally in the city of Berkeley in April.5

While Yiannopoulos and Southern were both Alt Lightists, Southern opened her rally to Alt Right speakers as well, inviting Brittany Pettibone, a contributor to websites like AltRight.com and Red Ice Creations. After Southern’s Berkeley event descended into violent attacks on counter-protesters—a media spectacle that played heavily in the news cycle, leading to greatly increased media exposure for both the Alt Light and Alt Right—“free speech” protests spread across the country. The rallies became popular enough that Spencer and the Alt Right had the opportunity to use them as recruitment opportunities.

Spencer and the Alt Right saw the free speech rallies as recruitment opportunities.

Later in the spring, the movement continued to make headlines, as Alt Light leaders Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer gained notoriety for derailing multiple Shakespeare in the Park performances in New York City. Colton Merwin invited both as speakers, alongside Mike Cernovich, author of The MAGA Mindset.

But when Richard Spencer’s name was floated as a fellow speaker, Posobiec and Loomer declared that they wouldn’t share a stage with him, instead announcing a simultaneous rally across town, targeting the “political violence” of the shooting attack on a congressional baseball team that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition. (This rally focused on blaming the broad Left, suggesting that the shooter’s brief support of Bernie Sanders was evidence that the shooting amounted to political terrorism.6)

After the Alt Light abandoned the Lincoln Memorial rally—splitting the crowd and depriving Spencer of the big platform he sought—Alt Right trolls swarmed, with one prominent commentator, Baked Alaska, harassing Loomer with violent antisemitic images. While Spencer had long sought to present an above-the-fray tone for his new brand of White nationalism, he quickly joined in, tweeting, “The Alt Light is a collection of outright liars (Posobiec and Cerno), perverts (Milo, Wintrich), and Zionist fanatics (Loomer).”7

Tensions had been growing for months. The Alt Right had bristled at Milo Yiannopoulos’ refusal to fully adapt to the Alt Right through his rejection of “identity politics”8; at Trump’s Syrian intervention, which struck the Alt Right as capitulation to GOP “globalism”9; and Spencer’s earlier ostracism from Alt Light events like the Deploraball.10 But after D.C., it appeared that the face of the Alt Right had tired of his moderate counterparts.

Alt Identities

While the break in Washington stemmed from particular complaints—denying the Alt Right a recruitment platform at crossover events—the underlying issues were deeper conflicts over rhetoric and ideology. The Alt Right is an “identitarian” movement that can accurately be described as fascist and White nationalist: they seek to create a “traditionalist” society in the form of a pan-European ethnostate. That is specific and concrete. The Alt Light, on the other hand, seeks to create a bigger tent, including a range of “Independent Trumpists” who generally ally themselves with a looser type of nationalism—“American” or “Civic Nationalism,” which tempers its ideas about race yet still utilizes national chauvinism, protectionism, and isolationism. (To be sure, in effect Civic Nationalism manifests many of the same bigotries as its more explicit counterpart.)

Similar movements outside the U.S., like Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Brexit vote, are in vein with this Civic Nationalism, as is Donald Trump’s brand of populism. Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart alumnus and former Trump’s chief strategist, has defined his role in Trump’s campaign and administration as an expression of Civic Nationalism, viewing Trump’s “us-versus-them” language as a means to overturn establishment politics.11 (Unlike leftist expressions of populism, Civic Nationalism seeks to reestablish a mythic version of a stable and hierarchical America.)

The Alt Right has often identified Trump and the Alt Light, as well as older figures like Pat Buchanan, as Civic Nationalists. As “free speech” events proliferated, and organizations like the Proud Boys—a “Western chauvinist” group associated with the Alt Light—rose to prominence within them, some coalition members broke with the Alt Right in favor of vocal expressions of Civic Nationalism. At a June 4 rally in Portland, Oregon, Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, a movement celebrity allied with the Proud Boys, did just that. Although Chapman had become famous within the Alt Right for attacking anti-racist protesters with a large wooden rod, he distanced himself from the Alt Right’s racial politics, noting his Asian-American girlfriend and biracial child. Speaking to a line of news cameras, he declared himself a patriot, not a racist:

I consider myself an American nationalist… It’s a type of nationalism specifically applied to America, where we come together under Americana, 1776, the embrace of our beautiful country…Western Civilization. Regardless of race, regardless of sexual identity, we all come together to embrace America, American values, and put Americans first in all the dealings of this country.12

Chapman had already been condemned by Nathan Damigo, who recently resigned as head of the White nationalist group Identity Evropa, for his social media posts “denouncing racism” and suggesting that the “founding fathers” had created the U.S. as a country centered on ideals rather than ethnicity.13 But what appeared as Damigo and the Alt Right’s larger complaint was that Chapman had legitimized the accusations of racism in the first place, by calling “for a rejection of white interests”14 and, effectively, denouncing White nationalism. The Alt Light’s separate rally later that month in Washington, D.C., reinforced this rejection: that the Alt Right’s “White identitarianism” was so toxic that they had to hold their own nationalist rally somewhere else.

The Alt Right’s “White identitarianism” was so toxic that the Alt Light had to hold their own nationalist rally somewhere else.

The Alt Light wasn’t motivated by conscience alone; there were financial considerations at stake. Mike Cernovich has made a career on his books and videos, and with the growth of crowdfunding websites and donation appeals, Alt Light organizing against the Left has become a money-making prospect for many movement leaders. Kyle Chapman, for example, has parlayed his “Based Stick Man” persona into a clothing line alluding to the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights, using incendiary language to promote his brand and create a financial base for himself. (Chapman, who has served 10 years in prison for a litany of crimes including grand theft, was able to make a reported $87,000 for his legal defense and $40,000 for a graphic novel that he is pitching at Comic Con through crowd source websites.) Websites like WeSearchr are also cashing in, raising money through crowd-sourcing to deliver “bounties” for different right-wing causes, like paying money to people who successfully doxxed anti-fascists.

But while edgy language and fighting postures have helped bring Alt Light leaders some acclaim, they seem to rightly suspect that open White nationalism is still a bridge too far for anyone seeking to build a lucrative career. Leading Alt Light website The Rebel has raised over a $1 million in its three years, almost entirely in crowd-sourced small donations. And while sites like GoFundMe are often off-limits to the Alt Right, since openly racist appeals violate their Terms of Service, the coded language of the Alt Light—using Civic Nationalist rather than “identitarian” talking points—can and does pass the bar. 15

The Alt Right has also taken hits when it comes to movement branding. In the heyday of the big Alt Right tent in 2015 and 2016, Gateway Pundit’s Lucian Wintrich told The New Yorker, the movement name “was adopted by libertarians, anti-globalists, classical conservatives, and pretty much everyone else who was sick of what had become of establishment conservatism.” But after “Richard Spencer came along, throwing up Nazi salutes and claiming that he was the leader of the alt-right,” Wintrich continued, “He effectively made the term toxic…We all abandoned using it in droves.”16 Wintrich’s summary was ahistorical: the broader use of the term Alt Right during the long election season was ideologically inconsistent with how it had been used for years by Spencer and his crew of “identitarians,” and Spencer’s efforts to reclaim the term, as explicitly signifying White nationalism, were really what the Alt Right had always been about. But the larger point remained—the bigger coalition Spencer had sought was falling apart.

There was further splintering within the Alt Light. Lauren Southern released a video message, “The Alt-Lite vs Free Speech,” arguing that blocking Spencer’s participation was capitulation to Leftist suppression of free speech. But despite this show of support for Spencer and the Alt Right, other Alt Right figures criticized her. In a long post at AltRight.com in late June, writer Michael Driscoll took Southern to task for what he saw as her lackluster opposition to immigration, arguing that “Something more is needed. That something is identity.”17

While further alienating their depleting number of allies may be a tactical misstep for the Alt Right, many, like Driscoll, see the popularity of more moderate voices like Southern as an impediment to the Alt Right’s goal of mobilizing anti-immigrant sentiment into support for open White identitarianism. As Driscoll wrote:

Southern is the focal point between the “Alt-Lite” and the Alt-Right and is one of the few new media figures aware that “classical liberalism” is not synonymous with Western Civilization, nor is it sufficient to defend that civilization’s existence. For that reason, where she goes from here is important.18

Taking the Oath

The tensions arose on other fronts as well, sometimes spilling over into violent confrontations between Alt Right White nationalists and Alt Light “Patriot” groups. On June 10, far-right groups including the Oath Keepers, a prominent Patriot movement organization, protested the removal of a Houston statue depicting former Texas President Sam Houston. The Oath Keepers, seeking to disassociate themselves from the White nationalist element of the Alt coalition, openly tried to keep the Alt Right from attending. But they came anyway, including an associate of the neonazi website the Daily Stormer, who arrived bearing a Nordic “Black Sun” flag and shouting antisemitic slogans. After event organizers asked protesters affiliated with the Daily Stormer and Vanguard America to leave, a scuffle broke out. When the man brandishing the flag was confronted, he began to repeat a line that would have seemed nonsensical before 2016—“What about the memes?”—until a rally attendant placed him in a chokehold. It was an absurdist image of a movement disconnected from most people’s political experiences, but within the fractious Alt coalition, it signaled another marked break.

A Patriot movement member stands guard during the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Occupation in Oregon in January. Photo: Shawn Records.

The various Patriot militia organizations, headed primarily by the Oath Keepers and the more decentralized 3%ers, can mobilize a large base for public events like the “free speech” rallies. While much of the Alt Right, and even the Alt Light, have little experience with public protest, the militia movement has frequently relied on displays of community pressure and intimidation. Starting with the first Bundy siege in 2014 and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Southeastern Oregon in January 2016, Patriot groups’ visible presence has led to an increase in membership numbers not seen since their 2008 surge in response to the election of President Obama.19 But while often lumped together with other players on the Far Right, Patriot groups’ stated ideology often excludes open White nationalism. Instead, they could easily be seen as the hard edge of the Republican Party, mixing extreme libertarian economics with anti-federal conspiracy theories, opposition to environmentalism, and a disbelief in the reality of racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression.

Due to their experience and numbers, Patriot groups have assumed a deciding role in strategizing some “free speech” events, as at the June 4 rally in Portland, Oregon, where militia organizations planned the entire security and structure of the event, outlining their efforts with local police and the Department of Homeland Security.20 But Patriot groups also represent the most consistent right-wing voice against the ideological platform of the Alt Right. While the Alt Right attempts to destigmatize “White racial consciousness,” the militias hope to avoid accusations of racism entirely. During the Portland rally, Patriot Prayer organizer Joey Gibson appealed to attendees “to make this day positive, with no hate and no violence,”21 and the speaker lineup included a trans woman and a security team member with Pacific Island heritage who performed a traditional “warrior dance.”

These gestures towards diversity may seem surprising. Patriot groups’ rhetoric is well known for racialist dog whistles, decrying everything from communism to “illegals,” but the image the organizers of the Portland rally sought to create was of a united Right unburdened by “identity politics.”

While major racialist groups like Identity Evropa have participated in the “free speech” rallies, there has been increasing pressure for the militia movement to take a stand against their presence. In June, Oath Keepers founder and president, Stewart Rhodes, distanced his organization, saying:

We’re not white nationalists. We’re not racists of any kind. And if they show up [at our rally], I am going to personally, physically remove them. Because they are trying to co-opt what we’re trying to do.22

The subsequent Alt Right backlash to Stewart trended the hashtag #OathCuckers, recalling the popular Alt Right #Cuckservative hashtag used to denigrate Republicans perceived as weak on immigration during the 2016 campaign season. When the Oath Keepers then condemned the Alt Right organizations that came to the Houston rally, seemingly hoping to exploit conservative anger over the destruction of Confederate monuments to drum up recruits, the divide deepened.

AltRight.com immediately ran a story that the Oath Keepers “showed their true colors.” The Daily Stormer published a series of articles denouncing them that focused heavily on the age of their membership and the fact that they allow non-White members, and suggesting that the attack on the flagbearing “Nazi” was an affront to free speech.23 Robert Ray, an Alt Right attendee at the Houston rally who goes by the handle “Azzmador,” scolded the Oath Keepers for their treatment of the flagbearer and their “color blind” politics; he would later appear on the White nationalist podcast The Daily Shoah, using antisemitic slurs as he said, “I had been predicting before we went to this thing that Antifa was not going to be our main problem there, it was going to be these ‘Cucks.’”24

Unite the Right?

In August, some of these divisions appeared to begin healing, as the various factions of the Alt Right coalesced around planning for an August 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally, “Unite the Right,” sought to bring together all organizations to the right of the Alt Light in protest of the planned removal of Confederate monuments. Organizer Jason Kessler saw the rally as a formal break with movement moderates and an effort to start harvesting the energy of the last two years. Among the invited groups were the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Workers Party and other street-level organizations associated with skinheads or explicit neonazism that Spencer had avoided in the past.25 It was a decisive move for the Alt Right: associating with openly violent Nazi and KKK organizations, but not with those who cite Civic Nationalism and acknowledge the concept of racism. They anticipated high attendance—anywhere from 400 to more than 1,000 protesters—since the annual American Renaissance conference in Tennessee had sold out just two weeks before. And while counter-protests at American Renaissance were larger than in years past, the event went on largely uninterrupted, demonstrating that even at an explicitly White nationalist event the Alt Right could draw a crowd without the aid of the Alt Light or Patriot groups.26

It was a decisive move for the Alt Right: associating with openly violent Nazi and KKK organizations, but not with those who cite Civic Nationalism and acknowledge the concept of racism.

The movement converged on Charlottesville on the evening of August 11. Alt Right protesters, including figures like Christopher Cantwell and Richard Spencer, marched from the University of Virginia to surround a church hosting Union Theological Seminary professor Dr. Cornel West, kicking off a two-day frenzy of violence. When the Alt Right came upon people chanting and holding signs with Black Lives Matter slogans, they started punching the counter-protestors, spraying mace, and hitting them with torches in full view of the press.27 The next day, a Black counter-protester, Deandre Harris, was beaten with metal poles in a parking garage,28 and dozens of others were pepper sprayed or beaten.29 Just after 1:00 pm,30 a man who had been seen protesting alongside Vanguard America, and carrying a shield bearing its logo, drove a Dodge Challenger into the counter-protesters, killing one woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 more.31

Across the political spectrum, the melee was roundly repudiated, along with the movement itself32 (though not by President Trump, who refused for two days to condemn White nationalism by name, and suggested that “many sides” shared blame for the violence33). At a subsequent press conference intended to “disavow” the violence, Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler was chased off by protesters.34 And while The Daily Stormer published a ghoulish celebration of Heather Heyer’s death,35 many other Rightists, such as Alt Light leader Laura Loomer spent the weekend tweeting about the Alt Right’s connection to neonazis.

Aside from constituting a national tragedy, the moment could mark a decisive turn in the Alt Right’s position: granting them credibility with the further reaches of the Nazi Right, but also severing any access they had to the more moderate Trumpian Right, and likely other militia and Alt Light organizations.

What Next?

There have been massive social shifts on the Right following Trump’s election, including a mainstreaming of nativism. And yet, despite this cultural change, the social toxicity of open White supremacy has prevented the Alt Right from finding mainstream support for explicit White nationalism.

To overcome this, the Alt Right would need to find critical wedge issues—problems that appear insurmountable to those feeling them—that provide communities in crises with systemic answers. That has been, until recently, the Alt Right’s remaining avenue for growth: to present themselves as the answer to “problems” like crime, immigration, terrorism, and a range of perceived social ills like political correctness. But to gain access to those crowds they need more accepted factions of the Right to give them access to a stage (that they will use for their own reasons). The Civic Nationalists of the Alt Light seemed to offer this opportunity, but to keep this coalition intact, it has to be a mutually beneficial relationship, offering something that the Alt Light doesn’t already have.

This task is even harder in the wake of Charlottesville. In the days immediately following the Charlottesville riot, a number of Alt Right participants had their identities made public, and were subsequently arrested, fired or denounced by embarrassed family members. The Daily Stormer’s web hosts at GoDaddy cancelled their contract and forced the website offline (although they soon reemerged on a website only available through the Tor web browser).36 They, along with multiple other Alt Right accounts, have been banned on Twitter, and PayPal is cleaning out many profiles used by White nationalist projects, denying AltRight.com a major funding channel.37 Within days of the tragedy in Charlottesville, two of Richard Spencer’s planned events—a “White lives matter” rally at Texas A&M University38 and a speaking engagement at the University of Florida—were unceremoniously canceled.39

AltRight.com has claimed that the showdown in Charlottesville will prove to be the “beginning of the White Civil Rights movement.” But facing nearly universal condemnation by the public, it’s likely that the existing divisions between the Alt Right and the Alt Light will only grow.

While the Trumpist moment was too advantageous for them to ignore, the avenue for growth it offered also exposed a key disconnect between the Alt Right’s ambitions and its reason for being—that is, its radicalism, and its reduction of politics to identity. The rest of conservatism, including Civic Nationalists, argues for ideological principles, semi-universal policy positions that outline a worldview. The Alt Right’s principles, by contrast, all form downstream from identity—a politics that are ordered entirely around their perceived “White interests.” While they’ve battled over tone and optics, the divide between the Alt Right and Alt Light is not just a disagreement about intensity, but about their core understanding of the world. And while they may find these partners useful in attacking the Left or targeting mass immigration, when it comes time for the Alt Right to define its perspective, it must finally alienate its crossover supporters, who simply will not agree on the fundamentals.

While the rest of conservatism argues for semi-universal policy positions that outline a worldview, the Alt Right’s principles all form downstream from White identity.

Trump’s populist banner gave the Alt Right access to the broader culture, but they’ve reached the end of their ability to compromise to grow. The increased violence at events like Unite the Right further widen the divide, as their radicalism is shown to have bloody consequences, and it will force even the revolutionary side of their movement to take sides. In a post-Charlottesville world, they may be too toxic for the Alt Light to touch, making the benefits of their earlier coalition moot.

For anti-racist organizations looking to stem the rise of the Alt Right, these divides offer an opportunity to pressure the crossover organizations, from Rebel Media to the Oath Keepers, to draw a line between themselves and open White nationalists. The Alt Right needs some hold on mainstream cultural institutions if they are ever to see critical mass that can result in effective, self-sustaining organizing. Ensuring further breaks in the coalition they seek can help put a break in their momentum.

Endnotes

 

1 Richard Spencer, “The Alt-Right Triumphant,” AltRight.com, June 30, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/06/30/the-alt-right-triumphant/.

2 Andrew Marantz, “The Alt-Right Branding War Has Torn the Movement in Two,” The New Yorker, July 6, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-alt-right-branding-war-has-torn-the-movement-in-two.

3 Richard Spencer, “Alt-Right Politics – June 24, 2017 – This Means War!,” AltRight.com, June 24, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/06/24/alt-right-politics-june-24-2017-this-means-war/.

4 While the Alt Right is a “big tent” in its own right, the coalition has defined values of inequality and ethnic identity. Richard Spencer, “What is the Alt Right?” NPI/Radix, YouTube, December 17, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBHck8mIylo.

5 Bradford Richardson, “Trump supporters headline free speech rally at University of California, Berkeley,” The Washington Times, April 27, 2017, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/27/gavin-mcinnes-lauren-southern-headline-free-speech/.

6 David Neiwart, “Competing Alt-Right ‘Free-Speech’ Rallies Reveals Infighting Over White Nationalism,” Southern Poverty Law Center, June 21, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/21/competing-alt-right-free-speech-rallies-reveal-infighting-over-white-nationalism.

7 Richard Spencer (RichardBSpencer) “The Alt Light is a collection of outright liars (Posobiec and Cerno), perverts (Milo, Wintrich), and Zionist fanatics (Loomer).” June 16, 2017, 11:11 PM, Tweet.

8 Richard Spencer, “Milo and His Enemies,” AltRight.com, March 2, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/03/02/milo-and-his-enemies/.

9 Shane Burley, “As the alt-right breaks with Trump, so goes its moment in the sun,” Waging Nonviolence, April 17, 2017, https://wagingnonviolence.org/2017/04/alt-right-trump-break/.

10 Brakkton Booker, “Alt-Right Infighting Simmers Around Inaugeral ‘DeploraBall,” NPR, January 1, 2017, http://www.npr.org/2017/01/01/507395282/alt-right-infighting-simmers-around-inaugural-deploraball.

11 Joshua Green, Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency (New York: Penguin Press, 2017): 5-6.

12 Kyle Chapman, Interview With Author, June 4, 2017.

13 Nathan Damigo, “Is Based Stick Man Not So Based?” AltRight.com, March 28, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/03/28/is-based-stick-man-not-so-based/.

14 Ibid.

15 Josh Harkinson, “Cashing in on the Rise of the Alt-Right,” Mother Jones, June 16, 2017, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/06/kyle-chapman-based-stickman-alt-right/.

16 Lucian Wintrich as quoted by Andrew Maratz, “The Alt-Right Branding War Has Torn the Movement in Two,” The New Yorker, July 6, 2017, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-alt-right-branding-war-has-torn-the-movement-in-two.

17 Michael Driscoll, “Lauren Southern, Generation Identity, and the Quest for Meaning,” AltRight.com, June 29, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/06/29/lauren-southern-generation-identity-and-the-quest-for-meaning/.

18 Michael Driscoll, “Lauren Southern, Generation Identity, and the Quest for Meaning,” AltRight.com, June 29, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/06/29/lauren-southern-generation-identity-and-the-quest-for-meaning/.

19 “Antigovernment militia groups grew by more than one-third in last year,” Southern Poverty Law Center, January 4, 2016, https://www.splcenter.org/news/2016/01/04/antigovernment-militia-groups-grew-more-one-third-last-year.

20 Arun Gupta, “Playing Cops: Militia Member Aids Police in Arresting Protester at Portland Alt-Right Rally,” The Intercept, June 8, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/06/08/portland-alt-right-milita-police-dhs-arrest-protester/.

21 Joey Gibson, “Speech at ‘Free Speech’ Rally,” Speech, Patriot Prayer “Free Speech” Rally, Portland, Oregon, June 4, 2017.
22 Steward Rhodes, “Oath Keepers say IDENTITY EVROPA is not Welcome: ‘If they come in today we going to whoop their ass,’” Very Fake News, YouTube, April 29, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14J1dCwXh5w.
23 In mid-August, The Daily Stormer was denied domain registration from Google and GoDaddy and these webpages were no longer live.

24 Azzmador, Mike Enoch, and Seventh Son, “The Daily Shoah 164: Vanned in the UK,” The Right Stuff, June 20, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0lU2WtUKxc.

25 Sarah Viets, “Neo-Nazi Misfits Join Unite the Right,” Southern Poverty Law Center, July 26, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/07/26/neo-nazi-misfits-join-unite-right.

26 Jason Wilson, “’Young white guys are hopping mad’: confidence grows at far-right gathering,” The Guardian, July 31, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/31/american-renaissance-conference-white-identity.

27 Jason Wilson, “Charlottesville: far-right crowd with torches encircles counter-protester group,” The Guardian, August 12, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/12/charlottesville-far-right-crowd-with-torches-encircles-counter-protest-group.

28 Yesha Callahan, “White Supremacists Beat Black Man With Poles in Charlottesville, Va., Parking Garage, The Root, August 12, 2017, http://www.theroot.com/white-supremacists-beat-black-man-with-poles-in-charlot-1797790092?rev=1502591812341.

29 Brendan King, “Protesters pepper spray, beat each other during Charlottesville rally,” WTVR, August 12, 2017, http://wtvr.com/2017/08/12/protesters-pepper-spray-beat-each-other-during-charlottesville-unit-the-right-rally/.

30 Joe Heim, “Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death,” The Washington Post, August 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/local/charlottesville-timeline/?utm_term=.1225c1019e5c.

31 “Alleged Charlottesville Driver Who Killed One Rallied With Alt-Right Vanguard America,” Southern Poverty Law Center, August 12, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/08/12/alleged-charlottesville-driver-who-killed-one-rallied-alt-right-vanguard-america-group.

32 Jeniffer Calfas, “Virginia Governor Delivers Defiant Speech Against White Supremacists ‘We Are Stronger Than Them,’” TIME, August 13, 2017, http://time.com/4898560/virginia-governor-terry-mcauliffe-church-speech-transcript/.

33 Glenn Thrush and Rebecca R. Ruiz, “White House Acts to Stem Fallout From Trump’s First Charlottesville Remarks,” The New York Times, August 13, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/us/charlottesville-protests-white-nationalists-trump.html.

34 “USA: Unite the Right organiser shutdown after blaming Charlottesville chaos on ‘anti-white hate,’” Ruptly TV, Youtube, August 13, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X4qeu5zLVI.

35 “After praising Trump’s statement on Charlottesville, a neo-Nazi website celebrates murder of counterprotester Heather Heyer,” Media Matters for America, August 13, 2017, https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/08/13/after-praising-trumps-statement-charlottesville-neo-nazi-website-celebrates-murder-counterprotester/217610.

36 Justin Ling, “Neo-nazi site The Daily Stormer moves to the Darkweb, but promises a comeback,” Vice News, August 15, 2017, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/paypal-suspends-dozens-of-racist-groups-sites-altright-com/.

37 Jonathan Berr, “PayPal cuts off payments to right-wing extremists,” CBS News, August 16, 2017, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/paypal-suspends-dozens-of-racist-groups-sites-altright-com/.

38 Doug Criss, “Texas A&M cancels white nationalist rally set for 9/11,” CNN, August 15, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/14/us/texas-white-nationalist-protest-trnd/index.html.

39 Colin Dwyer, “University of Florida Denies Richard Spencer Event, Citing ‘Likelihood of Violence,” NPR, August 16, 2017, http://www.npr.org/2017/08/16/543874400/university-of-florida-denies-richard-spencer-event-citing-likelihood-of-violence.

A Guide to Who’s Coming to the Largest White Nationalist Rally in a Decade

A poster for Unite the Right combines imagery of Confederate flags and monuments, Pepe the Frog, as well as the Roman Eagle–reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

The Unite the Right rally, which will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017, looks like it will be the largest White Nationalist rally in the United States in more than a decade. Between 500 and 1,000 people are expected to participate, while up to 4,000 counter-protestors may come.

While there have been numerous Far Right rallies since Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, this is the first major one that is led by fascists and other White Nationalists, which include Richard Spencer, Matthew Heimbach, Mike Enoch, and Michael Hill. It is also the third rally to be held in Charlottesville this year; the first one, in May, was marked by a torchlight rally at night, and was followed by a KKK march in July.

I have identified over thirty groups and prominent individuals who will be speaking at or attending the event, or have provided support for or endorsed it. This list includes Alt Right and Alt Lite members, neoconfederates, neonazis, racist pagans, Patriot movement paramilitaries, and even a European neonazi party. What follows is a scorecard of the Far Right groups that have announced they will attend the event, although undoubtedly many more will come.

ORGANIZER

Jason Kessler (Unity and Security for America)

Jason Kessler writes on Twitter, “#UniteTheRight opposes the demonization of white people & their history. We oppose the globalist plan to replace us w/ 3rd world immigration.”

As Unite the Right’s main organizer, Kessler has filed for the rally permits and has held several press conferences. He is the president of the Far Right group Unity and Security for America, and has written for the White nationalist anti-immigration VDARE website. He had written a Daily Caller story praising the May Charlottesville rally. However, after it was revealed that Kessler had also given a speech to the protestors the same day, the website suspended their relationship. Kessler promotes antisemitic and “White genocide” conspiracy theories, and supports calls for a White ethnostate.

On the Political Cesspool radio show, Kessler said about Unite the Right: “the number one thing is I want to destigmatize Pro-White advocacy…. I want a huge, huge crowd, and that’s what we’re going to have, to come out and support, not just the Lee Monument, but also white people in general, because it is our race which is under attack.”1

SPEAKERS

Richard Spencer (AltRight.com, National Policy Institute)
Spencer is the most visible Alt Right figure and is usually credited with coining the term. The leader of the intellectual wing of the movement, he has been pivotal in remaking the image of White nationalism. An advocate of “peaceful ethnic cleansing” and a White ethnostate, Spencer is influenced by European unorthodox fascist trends like the New Right and Identitarian movement. Despite being firmly on the fascist wing of the movement, his untraditional influences show, for example, in his toleration of openly gay and lesbian participants. In 2011 Spencer took over the National Policy Institute (NPI) think tank and has held several conferences in Washington. A supporter of Trump at the time, at the NPI conference before the inauguration Spencer gave a speech that ended with, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” Audience members sieg-heiled in response. In 2017, Spencer founded a new website, AltRight.com, along with others including Jason Jorjani and Swedish fascist Daniel Friberg, both of whom work with Arktos press.

AltRight.com wrote about the rally, saying “People will talk about Charlottesville as a turning point. There will be a before Charlottesville and an after Charlottesville. Will you stand up for your history, your race and your way of life?”2

Matthew Heimbach (Traditionalist Worker Party)


Matthew Heimbach and his Traditionalist Worker Party have been promoting the event; he is depicted here during his time in the White Student Union he founded while attending Towson University. Photo: Flickr via cool revolution.

Heimbach has founded and led several groups in succession: a Youth for Western Civilization chapter and a White Students Union (both at Towson University in Maryland), and then the Traditionalist Youth Network and its outgrowth, the Traditionalist Worker Party. He is one of the three leaders of the racist umbrella group the Nationalist Front, and is a member of the neoconfederate League of the South. Now twenty-six, Heimbach was the bright young thing of the White Nationalist movement before the Alt Right, and despite his orientation towards more traditional neonazi and KKK groups, he portrays himself as a prominent figure in the Alt Right. He is a tireless networker, with links to groups like Greece’s neonazi Golden Dawn party, but is also a controversial figure. He had been feuding with Richard Spencer, but this apparently ended in April 2017 when Heimbach came to Alabama’s Auburn University to help protect a talk Spencer gave. In July 2017 Heimbach plead guilty to disorderly conduct for attacking a black woman at a March 2016 Trump campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky.3

Mike Enoch (The Right Stuff)

Enoch (real name: Mike Peinovich) runs The Right Stuff, a podcast platform which includes the Daily Shoah show. The Right Stuff acts as middle-ground between the intellectual and juvenile trolling wings of the Alt Right. Enoch appeared with Nationalist Front groups at the April 2017 rally in Pikeville, Kentucky, and was at the May rally in Charlottesville. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas. Enoch is credited with popularizing the racist neologism “dindus” as well as the antisemitic “echoes” symbol (where three parentheses are placed around names of people thought to be Jewish). Vehemently antisemitic, when he was doxed in January 2017 it was revealed he lived in New York’s wealthy Upper East Side neighborhood—with his Jewish wife.4

Michael Hill (League of the South)

Hill is the founder and leader of the neoconfederate League of the South. A former professor, he has the led the group from having a base of support from pro-Southern academics into a racist group with paramilitary elements. Hill is also one of the three leaders of the Nationalist Front. He will be the only person speaking at Unite the Right with a PhD.5

Augustus Invictus (Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, American Guard)

Invictus is a Florida lawyer who ran in the 2016 Libertarian Party primary for senate, hoping to take Marco Rubio’s seat. Invictus is a Thelemite (occultists in the tradition of Aleister Crowley), and the press has a had a field day with that fact that he admits to sacrificing a goat and drinking its blood. As a lawyer, Invictus defended Marcus Faella of the American Front, a Third Positionist skinhead group whose Florida chapter was arrested and charged with illegal paramilitary training; American Front members have hosted and attended Invictus’s talks in the Pacific Northwest. He has floated into Alt Right circles and, although he denies being a white supremacist, he is unusually open about his willingness to work with fascists. He is a member of the American Guard, a Midwest-based Alt Right group that accepts open White nationalists while claiming the group itself are “constitutional nationalists.” He also helped Based Stickman form the Fraternal Order of the Alt Knights—a group designed to engage in fights at demonstrations, and who are affiliated with the Proud Boys.6

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska takes to Twitter to promote the rally.

Tim “Treadstone” Gionet, aka “Baked Alaska,” is a former Buzzfeed social media strategist who has moved towards antisemitism, Islamophobia, and White nationalism. He was Milo Yiannopoulos’s tour manager in 2016, but was uninvited to the Alt Lite “Deploraball”—held in Washington, DC the night before Trump’s inauguration—for his antisemitic tweets. Baked Alaska apologized, but has since attacked Alt Lite livestreamer Laura Loomer using blatant antisemitism, and now promotes White supremacist ideas such as “the 14 words” and “White genocide” on Twitter.7

Pax Dickinson

The most commercially successful of the crowd, Dickinson worked at Business Insider until his misogynistic tweets forced his departure. He later worked at Wesearchr, a Far Right funding platform. After a fallout there, he announced that he is starting Counter.Fund, a new Far Right crowdfunding site. However, the revelation that Peter Belau, the site’s “first High Council appointee” is Jewish, has caused neonazi stalwart Billy Roper to denounce the Unite the Right gathering.8

Christopher Cantwell

One of the minor league speakers tapped early on, Cantwell hosts the Radical Agenda podcast. He had worked with the Cop Block project, before he—like an number of Alt Right members—moved from libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism into the Alt Right and sympathy with fascists. In a recent interview, Cantwell said “let’s fucking gas the kikes and have a race war.”9

Johnny Monoxide

The least-known of the speakers, Monoxide (aka Johnny Ramondetta) is a White nationalist livestreamer who has run different podcasts. Living in Berkeley, California, Monoxide has livestreamed Identity Evropa events.10

LEGAL SUPPORT

Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, Inc.

Led by Kyle Bristow, this Michigan-based legal non-profit was formed in 2016. He claims it is “quickly becoming the legal muscle behind the alt-right movement.” In April, Bristow successfully forced Auburn University to host Richard Spencer’s talk. More recently, Bristow has tried to block the Charlottesville city government from moving the location of Unite the Right out of a small park in the downtown area. The group’s board of directors include Alt Right activist Mike Enoch; William Johnson, the chairman of the White nationalist American Freedom Party; and James Edwards, who runs the White nationalist Political Cesspool radio show.11

Memes such as this one have been circulating social media in anticipation for the rally.

ATTENDEES

Daily Stormer

Founded by Andrew Anglin, by July 2016 the site, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “had become the most popular English-language website of the radical right, eclipsing the Stormfront site that had held that position since the early days of the Internet.” Daily Stormer (a pun on the 1930s German Nazi party newspaper Der Stürmer) is the most prominent representative of the openly neonazi wing of the Alt Right. In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center said they have established thirty-one on-the-ground groups, called “book clubs.” Staffers Lee Rogers, “Azzmador,” “Zeiger,” and Ben Garland announced they are going to Unite the Right. Rogers writes, “Daily Stormer Book Clubs should do everything they can to get their people out to this event. All readers of the Daily Stormer should do the same.”

Another article Daily Stormer says, “this will clearly be an earth-shaking day that will go down in the history books. It can really only be explained as a perfect storm. That everything has been leading up to this. That our time has come. … It will be a monumental turning point in the progression of our movement. Everything will be different afterwards. … Next stop: Charlottesville, VA. Final stop: Auschwitz.”12

Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK)

The “military wing of the Proud Boys,” this group was founded in April 2017 by Based Stickman, with help from Augustus Invictus. (Based Stickman was originally slated as appearing at the rally, but it does not appear that he will make an appearance.) On August 7 the FOAK announced that will be come to Unite the Right.13

Brad Griffin (Occidental Dissent)
Griffin’s Occidental Dissent blog has been heavily promoting Unite the Right. Griffin, who writes as “Hunter Wallace,” is a member of the neoconfederate League of the South. He also has been a board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the group who was the inspiration to Dylann Roof, the murderer of nine black worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015. Despite his neoconfederate views, Griffin has come around to supporting the Alt Right.

In July, Griffin wrote:I think Charlottesville has the potential to be a breakthrough moment in our activism. There is so much energy which has been bottled up online over the past 15 years that the dam is close to breaking. It is only a matter of time before it finally spills over into the real world and we are getting very close to that point.”14

Identity Dixie

A media outlet with a webpage and podcast called Rebel Yell. It was started by The Right Stuff in order to appeal to neoconfederates, and mixes confederate and Nazi imagery.15

Identity Evropa’s advertisement for the rally.

Identity Evropa

Founded in March 2016, Identity Evropa is one of two fascist Alt Right groups who are oriented toward recruiting men in their teens and early twenties. They copy European Identitarian politics and are known for sporting Richard Spencer-like “fashy” haircuts and recruiting on campuses. They have been present at many of the combative Far Right-organized street demonstrations since the inauguration. Their leader, Nathan Damigo, achieved internet notoriety for punching a counter-protestor at a Berkeley rally in April 2017. Damigo has previously led the Nationalist Youth Front, the youth branch of the White nationalist American Freedom Party. Identity Evropa also participated in the May 2017 Charlottesville rally.

Damigo plans to be at Unite the Right; he says the removal of Confederate monuments is part of a plan “to sever us from our identity so that we will have nothing left to gain strength and inspiration from to resist their mass colonization. Join us, and push back against the cultural Marxists their war on Whites.”16

League of the South

The League is a highly visible neoconfederate organization, and promote an explicitly White nationalist version of the Confederacy’s goal—southern secession. Founded in 1994, they have been able to attract thousands of members over the years, and have created paramilitary elements. Their current popular issue is their support for Confederate memorials and flags. In April 2017 they joined the Nationalist Front, and attended the Pikeville, Kentucky rally alongside the Traditionalist Worker Party, National Socialist Movement, and others.

The League’s founder and leader, Michael Hill, will speak at Unite the Right. The group says, “This is an event which seeks to unify the right-wing against a totalitarian Communist crackdown, to speak out against displacement level immigration policies in the United States and Europe, and to affirm the right of Southerners and White people to organize for their interests just like any other group is able to do, free of persecution.”17

National Socialist Movement

The NSM is the prominent U.S. neonazi party. After American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was assassinated in 1967, some of his followers latter founded a group that eventually became the National Socialist Movement. Lead by Jeff Schoep, they came into prominence in 2004 and are known primarily for staging high-profile public rallies. This included a 2005 Toledo, Ohio march that ended in rioting. In April 2016 they helped found the racist umbrella group Aryan Nationalist Alliance (now the Nationalist Front), and Schoep is one the group’s three leaders. Attempting to mainstream itself in the atmosphere created by Trump, in November 2016 the National Socialist Movement removed the swastika from their flag, replacing it with an Odal rune. In April 2017 they attended a large rally in Pikeville, Kentucky, led by Heimbach. In July 2017, they announced they would come to Unite the Right, saying “This is a call to all NSM Members to be in Charlottesville, and show our support for White History and Heritage.” However, as of press time Schoep is not listed as a speaker.18

Nationalist Front
A national umbrella organization of various neonazi, fascist, Klan, and other groups. Founded in April 2016 as the Aryan Nationalist Alliance, soon after it changed its name and now has three leaders: Matthew Heimbach (Traditionalist Worker Party), Jeff Schoep (National Socialist Movement), and Michael Hill (League of the South). Heimbach and Hill are speaking and all three groups will attend the rally, along with Vanguard America, a new member group who are Alt Right neonazis. Especially with the addition of the National Socialist Movement, Unite the Right has gained the aura of being a Nationalist Front event.19

Stephen McNallen (Wotan Network)

McNallen is the founder of the Asatru Folk Assembly, a White nationalist Heathen group. (Heathens are pagans who worship the traditional Norse and Germanic gods; this religious tradition is favored by many White nationalists, although many other Heathens are anti-racist.) Recently McNallen has formed the openly White nationalist Wotan Network, which is focused on disseminating White nationalist Heathen memes. He said he wants his appearance at Unite the Right to have a large public impact.20

Patriot Movement and the Militias

The role of the Patriot movement and its paramilitaries—which have appeared at numerous other Trumpist street rallies—has been a hotly discussed topic on social media. In the end, the optics of the rally have become too neonazi looking for most to attend. However, there are some exceptions.

The American Freedom Keepers are mobilizing people to come. This group seems to be based in Portland, Oregon; its members have participated in different street actions. They are a split from another group, the Warriors for Freedom. At an ultra-nationalist demonstration in June 2017 in Portland Oregon, an American Freedom Keeper made the news after he was photographed assisting law enforcement in arresting a counter-demonstrator. 21 When contacted via their website, the group did not deny it was organizing its members to come.

The leader of the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia has also said he will bring his group. He claims that they are “going to try to coordinate with law enforcement.”22

Additionally, the social media posts of various individual Patriot movement members, including III%ers and members of APIII%, have said they will attend.

Proud Boys
An Alt Right group founded by Gavin McInnes, who co-founded Vice media, but left in 2008. McInnes is deeply misogynistic and Islamophobic, and has called transgender people “gender niggers.” McInnes denies being a White supremacist, and the group describes itself as “western chauvinist.” The Proud Boys allow people of color, Jews and gay men in their group.

McInnes has contributed to White nationalist publications like American Renaissance and VDARE, used White nationalist rhetoric like “White genocide,” and has had White nationalist leaders on his show. White supremacists like Mike Enoch brag about how close the Proud Boys are to neonazism, going so far as to say that those who won’t become White Nationalists are “Jewish, they’re half-white, they’re mixed race or they have a non-White girlfriend of [sic] wife.”

The Proud Boys are an international organization that is explicitly violent; part of advancing in rank in their organization requires members to fight with their political opponents. They have been frequently seen at the clashes over the last six months. In April 2017 the formation of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights was announced; it is described as the “military division of the Proud Boys.” Proud Boys in the Canadian armed forces were investigated after they disrupted a First Nations ceremony.

Originally the Proud Boys website ran an article denouncing “Unite the Right,” but it was taken down and replaced with one saying “if a chapter or an individual Proud Boy feels compelled to go, we encourage him to do so.”23

Red Elephants

A new Alt Right media platform known for their livestreaming. They have promoted the violent DIY Division, are alleged to have illegally livestreamed inside of a courtroom, and were part of a July pro-Trump provocation in downtown Berkeley. They have promoted Unite the Right and are fundraising to send members there.24

Traditionalist Worker Party

Led by Matthew Heimbach, the Traditionalist Worker Party is an outgrowth of his Traditionalist Youth Network. The group is both a predecessor to the Alt Right as well as a participant in it, despite Heimbach’s own orientation towards more traditional White Supremacist organizing. The group is a founding member of the Nationalist Front, and technically they are Third Positionist: they seek a separate White ethno-state and portray themselves as anti-capitalist. In April 2017 they organized a large rally in Pikeville, Kentucky, which was attended by the National Socialist Movement, the League of the South, Mike Enoch, and Vanguard America. Traditionalist Worker Party member Matt Parrot (who is Heimbach’s father-in-law), says the Traditionalist Worker Party will be “welcoming and supporting non-identitarian and non-White allies” at Unite the Right. Elsewhere he says:

“There’s this impression that Unite the Right is a White Nationalist event. This is false. Unite the Right is a broad unity event for every single faction of the right with the balls to stand and fight for our heritage against a nightmare swarm of Marxist degenerates. It just happens that only White Nationalists got the balls to hold the line when the media tries to divide and conquer.”

Meanwhile, in a video promoting Unite the Right, Heimbach claims a Jewish conspiracy is behind the removal of the Confederate memorials, because “they want to be able to destroy knowledge of the past so they, the Jewish Power Structure, can try and control the future.”25

Unity and Security for America

Founded by Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler, the goal of this group “is to defend Western Civilization including its history, culture and peoples while utterly dismantling Cultural Marxism.” In addition to limiting immigration (they want to require that “most immigrants come from Western nations”), Unity and Security for America advocate a strongly isolationist foreign policy.26

Vanguard America

An Alt Right neonazi group formed in 2016 and led by Dillon Irizarry, they focus on recruiting men in their teens and early twenties. They have been present at many of the street rallies and clashes this year, and have concentrated on campus-based recruiting. Originally named the American Vanguard, after participating in the April 2017 Pikeville, Kentucky rally, they joined the Nationalist Front.27

“Wife With a Purpose” ministry
Richard Spencer announced that the blogger Ayla Stewart, who runs “Wife With a Purpose” ministry, will be attending the rally. Her brand of openly White nationalist Mormonism has gained her over 30,000 Twitter followers and media notoriety.29

Endorsements


David Duke advertises the Unite the Right rally on his Twitter. The list of featured speakers includes many notable white nationalists and fascists.

American Renaissance

Jared Taylor leads American Renaissance, which is both a White nationalist publication and annual conference with an intellectual approach. Matthew Lyons describes it asone of the movement’s central institutions” which “pioneered a version of White nationalism that avoided antisemitism.” Taylor has been called the “father of the alt right” because of his promotion of the notion of “race realism.”

In June 2017, antiracist activists claimed Taylor attended a meeting with Kessler and others at a Charlottesville restaurant, where Taylor disguised himself in a wig and spoke in a fake French accent. While no Unite the Right speakers were on the official program of the July 2017 American Renaissance conference in Tennessee, shortly thereafter Taylor made a Periscope video promoting the rally. In it, he says the desire to remove Confederate monuments is an “attack an all Americans who think differently than the way we are obliged today” and was an attempt to destroy “White heritage.”30

David Duke

Since so many White nationalists who lead the 1980s and ‘90s movement have died, Duke is moving into a position as the movement’s preeminent elder statesman. Duke was a neonazi in the 1970s and later the founder and leader of the influential Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1980s. Part of the faction that wished to mainstream the Klan, he was elected as a Louisiana State Representative in 1989. Duke is promoting Unite the Right on his radio show and Twitter.31

Matthew Heimbach announced Golden Dawn’s endorsement of the rally on Facebook.

Golden Dawn

Matthew Heimbach announced on Facebook that Golden Dawn sent him a message to read at Unite the Right. This Greek neonazi party holds seventeen seats in the national parliament, and has chapters in the United States and other countries.32

Endnotes

1 A.C. Thompson, “A Few Things Got Left Out of The Daily Caller’s Report on Confederate Monument Rally,” ProPublica, May 31, 2017, https://www.propublica.org/article/things-got-left-out-of-the-daily-callers-report-confederate-monument-rally; Hatewatch Staff, “Dueling Alt-Right Rallies, Separated by Anti-Semitism, Face Off in DC Despite Calls to ‘Unite the Right’,” Southern Poverty Law Center, June 26, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/26/dueling-alt-right-rallies-separated-anti-semitism-face-dc-despite-calls-unite-right; “Jason Kessler tells white nationalist radio host that he hopes to destigmatize white nationalism with the Unite The Right rally…,” Restoring the Honor, July 31, 2017, http://restoringthehonor.blogspot.com/2017/07/jason-kessler-tells-white-nationalist_31.html.

2 “Richard Bertrand Spencer,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 7, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/richard-bertrand-spencer-0; Daniel Lombroso and Yoni Appelbaum, “‘Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President Elect.” Atlantic, November 21, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379; Vincent Law, “The ‘Unite The Right’ Rally Is Going To Be A Turning Point For White Identity In America,” AltRight.com, August 5, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/08/05/the-unite-the-right-rally-is-going-to-be-a-turning-point-for-white-identity-in-america.
3 “Matthew Heimbach,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 7, 2017,
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/matthew-heimbach; Lois Beckett, “Neo-Nazi pleads guilty after shoving black protester at Trump rally,” Guardian, July 19, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/19/matthew-heimbach-neo-nazi-trump-rally-guilty-plea; Vegas Tenold, “When the White Nationalists Came to Washington,” New Republic, January 23, 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/140053/white-nationalists-came-washington; “Auburn, AL: Students Chase off Richard Spencer and Matthew Heimbach’s Alt-Right Trolls,” It’s Going Down, April 19, 2017, https://itsgoingdown.org/auburn-al-students-chase-off-richard-spencer-matthew-heimbachs-alt-right-trolls.

4 Matthew Sheffield, “The alt-right eats its own: Neo-Nazi podcaster ‘Mike Enoch’ quits after doxxers reveal his wife is Jewish Bad day for the Fourth Reich,” Salon, January 16, 2017, http://www.salon.com/2017/01/16/cat-fight-on-the-alt-right-neo-nazi-podcaster-mike-enoch-quits-after-doxxers-reveal-his-wife-is-jewish; “Michael ‘Enoch’ Peinovich,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 7, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/michael-“enoch”-peinovich.

5 “Michael Hill,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 7, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/michael-hill.

6 Shane Burley, “Imperium and the Sun: The Strange Case of Augustus Sol Invictus and the New Right,” Hampton Institute, January 11, 2016, http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/augustus-sol-invictus.html; Augustus Invictus, “On Left-Wing Terrorism & Right-Wing Counterterrorism,” The Revolutionary Conservative, April 25, 2017, http://therevolutionaryconservative.com/articles/2017-04-25-on-left-wing-terrorism-right-wing-counterterrorism; “Augustus Invictus Meet & Greet Report Back,” Rose City Antifa, March 5, 2016, http://rosecityantifa.org/articles/augustus-invictus-meet-greet-report-back; “The American Guard,” YouTube, posted by The Revolutionary Conservative on May 11, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CM35ZyGWHw.

7 Oliver Darcy, “The untold story of Baked Alaska, a rapper turned BuzzFeed personality turned alt-right troll,” Business Insider, April 30, 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/who-is-baked-alaska-milo-mike-cernovich-alt-right-trump-2017-4; Taly Krupkin, “The Jewish Provocateur Caught in the Turf War as the ‘Alt-right’ Battles the ‘Alt-light’,” Haaretz, June 22, 2017, http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.797372; Tim Gionet (@bakedalaska), Twitter post, May 7, 2017, https://twitter.com/bakedalaska/status/861399464271073280; Tim Gionet (@bakedalaska), Twitter post, June 28, 2017, https://twitter.com/bakedalaska/status/880239704758599680.

8 Nitasha Tiku, “Business Insider’s CTO Is Your New Tech Bro Nightmare,” Valleywag, September 9, 2013, http://valleywag.gawker.com/business-insider-ctos-is-your-new-tech-bro-nightmare-1280336916; Pax Dickinson, “A Gentle Introduction to Counter.Fund,” Medium, June 13, 2017, https://medium.com/@paxdickinson/a-gentle-introduction-to-counter-fund-bb0c9d6dd444; Jesse Singal, “The WeSearchr Meltdown Is a Reminder That Some Very Rich People Are Funding the Alt-Right,” New York (Select/All), May 16, 2017, http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/05/chuck-johnsons-wesearchr-is-having-a-bit-of-a-meltdown.html; Billy Roper, “UniteTheRight…with Jews?,” The Roper Report, July 2, 2017, https://theroperreportsite.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/unitetheright-with-jews; Peter B, “Introducing the Counter.Fund High Councilors: Peter Belau,” Medium, June 27, 2017, https://medium.com/@PissAndVinegar/introducing-the-counter-fund-high-councilors-peter-belau-b7ccf37fc060.

9 “Capitalists Against Cops: Cop Block, Christopher Cantwell, and the Libertarian Paradox,” Anti-Fascist News, December 15, 2015, https://antifascistnews.net/2015/12/15/capitalists-against-cops-cop-block-christopher-cantwell-and-the-libertarian-paradox; “Christopher Cantwell Claims He’s ‘Not Even a Hitlerite’ But Wants to ‘Gas’ the Jews,” Angry White Men, June 26, 2017, https://angrywhitemen.org/2017/06/26/christopher-cantwell-claims-hes-not-even-a-hitlerite-but-wants-to-gas-the-jews.

10 “Identity Evropa: Mapping the Alt-Right Cadre,” Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA), December 9, 2016, https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2016/12/09/identity-evropa-mapping-the-alt-right-cadre.

“John Ramondetta Exposed to Berkeley Community as Neo-Nazi Organizer,” Indybay, June 29, 2017, https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/06/29/18800525.php.

11 “Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, Inc.,” GuideStar, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.guidestar.org/profile/81-1969574; Chris Suarez, “Unite the Right rally sparks First Amendment questions,” Roanaoke Times, July 29, 2017, http://www.roanoke.com/news/virginia/unite-the-right-rally-sparks-first-amendment-questions/article_595b06b8-6d57-507f-9827-ff3419af8ff6.html; Bill Morlin, “Extremists’ ‘Unite the Right’ Rally: A Possible Historic Alt-Right Showcase?,” Southern Poverty Law Center, August 7, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/08/07/extremists-unite-right-rally-possible-historic-alt-right-showcase.

“Kyle Bristow,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/kyle-bristow; “FMI’s Board of Directors,” Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, accessed August 7, 2017, http://www.freedomfront.org/board-of-directors; “Kyle Bristow: The Alt-Right Has Its Own Political Party That Will ‘Make America White’ Again,” Angry White Men, September 11, 2016, https://angrywhitemen.org/2016/09/11/kyle-bristow-the-alt-right-has-its-own-political-party-that-will-make-america-white-again; “Leadership,” American Freedom Party, accessed August 8, 2017, http://theamericanfreedomparty.us/leadership.

12 “Andrew Anglin,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 8, 2017,
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/andrew-anglin; Lee Rogers, “Join Daily Stormer Staff at the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia!,” Daily Stormer, July 30, 2017, https://www.dailystormer.com/join-daily-stormer-staff-at-the-unite-the-right-rally-in-charlottesville-virginia; Keegan Hankes, “Eye of the Stormer,” Southern Poverty Law Center, February 9, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2017/eye-stormer; Benjamin Garland, “Charlottesville 2.0: Be There or Be Square,” Daily Stormer, August 5, 2017, https://www.dailystormer.com/charlottesville-2-0-be-there-or-be-square.

13 Tracie Chiles, Facebook post, August 7, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/events/137857813439031/permalink/163175937573885.

14 “Bradley Dean Griffin,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/bradley-dean-griffin; Hunter Wallace, “Unite The Right Rally,” Occidental Dissent, July 3, 2017, http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2017/07/03/unite-the-right-rally.

15 Hunter Wallace (@occdissent), Twitter post, July 30, 2017, https://twitter.com/occdissent/status/891727405840203777; Hatewatch Staff, “Neo-Confederates Breaking From The Right Stuff After Doxxing Scandal,” Southern Poverty Law Center, January 26, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/01/26/neo-confederates-breaking-right-stuff-after-doxxing-scandal.

16 Gabriel Joffe, “Identity Evropa and the Fraternity of White Supremacy,” Political Research Associates, June 15, 2017, https://www.politicalresearch.org/2017/06/15/identity-evropa-and-the-fraternity-of-white-supremacy; “White Nationalists Work to Make Inroads at U.S. Colleges,” Southern Poverty Law Center, February 15, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2017/white-nationalists-work-make-inroads-us-colleges; Vincent Law, “The ‘Unite The Right’ Rally Is Going To Be A Turning Point For White Identity In America,” AltRight.com, August 5, 2017, https://altright.com/2017/08/05/the-unite-the-right-rally-is-going-to-be-a-turning-point-for-white-identity-in-america; Nathan Damigo, Facebook post, July 18, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/nathan.damigo/photos/a.1002986733057881.1073741828.979683198721568/1478779288811954; Jason Kessler, “Richard Spencer Leads White Nationalist Demonstration In Front Of Virginia Robert E. Lee Monument,” Daily Caller, May 14, 2017, http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/14/richard-spencer-leads-pro-white-demonstration-in-front-of-virginia-robert-e-lee-monument.

17 “League of the South,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/league-south; Michael Hill, “League will be at Unite the Right rally, 12 August, Charlottesville, VA,” June 9, 2017, League of the South, http://leagueofthesouth.com/league-will-be-at-unite-the-right-rally-12-august-charlottesville-va.

18 “National Socialist Movement,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/national-socialist-movement; Rohan Smith, “America’s white supremacists ban swastika in bold attempt to ‘go mainstream’,” News.com.au, November 16, 2016, http://www.news.com.au/world/north-america/americas-white-supremacists-ban-swastika-in-bold-attempt-to-go-mainstream/news-story/53f68100ba52a1e33b13cf25b794d028; Sarah Viets, “Neo-Nazi Misfits Join Unite the Right,” Southern Poverty Law Center, July 26, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/07/26/neo-nazi-misfits-join-unite-right.

19 James King, “Rival White Supremacist Groups Unite To Fight ‘Race War’,” Vocativ, April 28, 2016, http://www.vocativ.com/313543/rival-white-supremacist-groups-unite-to-fight-race-war; Sarah Viets, “Nationalist Front Chumming up to Klan Members Once Again May 30, 2017,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/05/30/nationalist-front-chumming-klan-members-once-again.

20 “Stephen McNallen and Racialist Asatru Part 1: Metagenetics and the South Africa Connection,” Circle Ansuz, August 19, 2013, https://circleansuz.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/stephen-mcnallen-part-one.

21 “Meet Warriors for Freedom: Racist Rage Revival Club,” Rose City Antifa, June 3, 2017, http://rosecityantifa.org/articles/warriors-for-freedom; Jason Wilson, “Member of Portland militia-style group helps police arrest anti-fascist protester,” Guardian, June 8, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/08/portland-alt-right-rally-militia-member-police-arrest.

22 “Exclusive: Commander of the PA Light Foot Militia, Christian Yingling, says they are gearing up to help maintain order with potential police support at Unite The Right rally…,” July 31, 2017 Restoring the Honor, http://restoringthehonor.blogspot.com/2017/07/exclusive-commander-of-pa-light-foot.html.

23 Gavin McInnes (@Gavin­_McInnes), Twitter post, June 26, 2017, https://twitter.com/Gavin_McInnes/status/879318997845626880; Gavin McInnes, “America in 2034,” American Renaissance, June 17, 2014, https://www.amren.com/news/2014/06/america-in-2034-7; “Gavin McInnes,” VDARE, accessed August 8, 2017, http://www.vdare.com/users/gavin-mcinnes; “Gavin McInnes’ ‘Alt-Right’ Fan Club Drifts Towards Neo-Nazi Violence,” May 18, 2017 Idavox, http://idavox.com/index.php/2017/05/18/gavin-mcinnes-alt-right-fan-club-drifts-towards-neo-nazi-violence; Taly Krupkin, “Meet the Proud Boys, the Chauvinists Providing ‘Security’ at a Right-wing Event Near You,” Haaretz, June 19, 2017, http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.796302; Tom Porter, “Canadian Armed Forces Members Face Expulsion Over ‘Alt-Right’ Protest,” Newsweek, July 5, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/canada-armed-forces-first-nations-proud-boys-alt-right-631936.; Based In Colorado, “Proud Boys Official Statement on the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally,” Proud Boy Magazine, June 2017, http://officialproudboys.com/news/gavin-mcinnes-virginia-unite-the-right-rally-disavowed.

24 “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements,” Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA), July 6, 2017, https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017/07/06/diy-division; “Meet the Bay Area’s 4chan Kangaroo Court,” June 5, 2017, Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA), https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017/06/05/meet-the-bay-areas-4chan-kangaroo-court; Natalie Orenstein, “Trump supporters’ ‘experiment’ meant to provoke Berkeleyans on Saturday,” Berkeleyside, July 10, 2017, http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/07/10/trump-supporters-experiment-meant-provoke-berkeleyans-saturday; Vincent James, “‘Unite The Right’ Rally Set To Take Place Next Month,” The Red Elephants, July 2017, http://theredelephants.com/unite-right-rally-set-take-place-next-month; “Support the Red Elephants,” Back the Right, July 14, 2017, https://www.backtheright.com/campaign/18/support-the-red-elephants

25 Matt Parrott, Facebook, August 1, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/parrott.matt/posts/10154801841131918; Matt Parrott, “Proud Boys Are Cordially Invited to Unite The Right,” TradYouth, June 2017,
http://www.tradyouth.org/2017/06/proudboys-are-cordially-invited-to-unite-the-right; “Unite The Right! August 12 – Charlottesville, VA at Lee Park” (video), YouTube, posted by Traditionalist Worker Party on July 8, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i19GxzCcm4; around 2:50.

26 Unity and Security for America, Facebook post, January 29, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/UniSecAmerica/posts/781161652035898; “We Are Unity and Security for America,” Unity and Security for America, accessed August 8, 2017, http://www.unityandsecurity.org/protect-the-west.html.

27 “White Nationalists Work to Make Inroads at U.S. Colleges,” Southern Poverty Law Center, February 15, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2017/white-nationalists-work-make-inroads-us-colleges; “Vanguard America,” Anti-Defamation League, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.adl.org/education/resources/backgrounders/vanguard-america; “Unite The Right! August 12 – Charlottesville, VA at Lee Park” (video), YouTube, posted by Traditionalist Worker Party on July 8, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i19GxzCcm4; around 4:28.

29 Richard Spencer (@RichardBSpencer), Twitter post, June 24, 2017, https://twitter.com/RichardBSpencer/status/878713947339321347; Wife With A Purpose (@apurposefulwife), Twitter post, accessed August 8, 2017; Jim Dalrymple II, “Meet The (Alt-Right) Mormons: Inside The Church’s Vocal White Nationalist Wing,” BuzzFeed News, March 27, 2017, https://www.buzzfeed.com/jimdalrympleii/meet-the-alt-right-mormons-inside-the-churchs-vocal-white; Joshua Rhett Miller, “This young mom is the face of Mormonism’s hateful alt-right,” New York Post, March 31, 2017, http://nypost.com/2017/03/31/this-young-mom-is-the-face-of-mormonisms-hateful-alt-right.

30 Matthew N. Lyons, “Ctrl-Alt-Delete: The origins and ideology of the Alternative Right,” Political Research Associates, January 20, 2017, https://www.politicalresearch.org/2017/01/20/ctrl-alt-delete-report-on-the-alternative-right; “Jared Taylor,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 7, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/jared-taylor; “Ivy-League Racist Jared Taylor Disguised as Frenchman: Clandestinement dans Charlottesville,” It’s Going Down, June 6, 2017, https://itsgoingdown.org/ivy-league-racist-jared-taylor-disguised-as-frenchman-clandestinement-dans-charlottesville; Hatewatch Staff, “Infinite DramaQuest 2.0: American Renaissance Edition,” Southern Poverty Law Center, July 27, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/07/27/infinite-dramaquest-20-american-renaissance-edition; “Defense of Southern heritage is defense of American heritage. #UniteTheRight,” Perioscope, August 4, 2017, https://www.pscp.tv/AmRenaissance/1eaKbmynnYexX; see around 4:00.

31 “David Duke,” Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 8, 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/david-duke; “David Duke urges followers to attend rally in Charlottesville,” Daily Progress, July 6, 2017, http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/david-duke-urges-followers-to-attend-rally-in-charlottesville/article_4f25085a-da7f-5449-bf7f-ca091f59a5b3.html;

32 It’s Going Down News (@IGD_News), Twitter post, August 6, 2017, https://twitter.com/IGD_News/status/894284361133989888.

An Alt Right Update

These notes are based on a talk I gave in Seattle on July 22, 2017 and the discussions that followed. Thanks to the organizers of that event, my fellow presenters, and everyone who attended. Special thanks also to the members of Q-Patrol who provided security.

My January report, “Ctrl-Alt-Delete,” was published at the beginning of Donald Trump’s administration. It dealt with the Alt Right’s ideological roots, major players, multiple internal currents, and complex relationships with both conservatives and the Trump campaign.

A lot has happened since then. The terrain on which the Alt Right operates, and the character of the movement itself, have shifted in some important and disturbing ways. The situation is very much in flux, but the half-year mark seems like a good moment for a snapshot of where things stand today. The notes that follow are my attempt to give a brief overview of five major changes related to the Alt Right that have taken place in that time.

Photo: Mark Dixon via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

1. Trump’s election has encouraged supremacist violence by vigilantes and local police.

In the days and weeks immediately after the November elections, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported a sharp increase in “bias-related harassment and intimidation” across the country—threats and attacks against immigrants, Muslims, African Americans, trans people, and other oppressed groups.1 “Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults,” the SPLC noted, and many of those targeted said the incidents were like nothing they had experienced before.2 A logical, horrifying intensification of these attacks took place in May, when a White nationalist in Portland, Oregon, screamed racist and anti-Muslim abuse at two women on a light rail train, then stabbed three passengers who intervened, killing two of them.3

Meanwhile, the first two months of 2017 each saw police officers kill more people than any month in 2016, according to the website KilledByPolice.net.4 While there isn’t yet a breakdown of those specific numbers, among young men overall, Blacks are more than three times more likely than Whites to be killed by cops, according to Washington Post statistics.5

Whether it’s carried out by cops, right-wing activists, or unaffiliated individuals, supremacist violence didn’t start with Trump. It’s been going on for a long time, and it’s deeply rooted in the structure of U.S. society. But the climate has changed. Where President Obama defended Black Lives Matter and sang “Amazing Grace” at a memorial to victims of the Charleston, North Carolina, racist mass shooting,6 we now have a president who calls police “the thin blue line between civilization and chaos,” claims they are subjected to “unfair defamation and vilification,” and urges them to handle suspects more brutally. He’s also a president who, before taking office, encouraged his followers to assault political opponents, called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers, and bragged about sexually assaulting women.7 In Jeff Sessions we now have an attorney general who, reversing previous policy, dismisses the idea that police brutality could be systemic and says that it’s bad for “morale” for his department to investigate abuse by local police departments.8 The same day that he appointed Sessions, Trump signed three executive orders intended to give police more authority.9

The Alt Right has contributed to this change in political climate through its supremacist propaganda and its role in helping Trump get elected. (For a full discussion of this, see “Ctrl-Alt-Delete.”) It also benefits from these changes, which serve as a public validation of its message; help grow its pool of potential recruits; and sharpen the atmosphere of tension, fear, and crisis that helps Far Right politics thrive.

2. Despite Trump’s volatility, in policy terms his administration has largely been coopted by conventional conservatism.

As a candidate, Donald Trump didn’t just run against the Republican establishment, but ridiculed and vilified it, in ways that helped endear him to most Alt Rightists. He touted a populist nationalism that defied conservative orthodoxy on multiple fronts, rejecting free trade and repeatedly praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, while pledging to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and rebuild infrastructure on a large scale. His anti-immigrant rhetoric and proposals went much further than most conservative politicians were willing to go.10

But because he lacked an organizational base of his own, Trump was immediately forced to bring other constituencies into his administration. He appointed some nationalists, such as Attorney General Sessions, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon, but he also put together a patchwork of establishment politicians, social conservatives, and people recruited from big business or the military. So, from the beginning, Trump’s presidency has rested on an unstable coalition of “America First” nationalists and people more or less aligned with conventional conservatism.11

Initially, the nationalists seemed to be on top, seeing their agenda supported or enacted in Trump’s inaugural speech, the Muslim ban that brought protesters to the airports in January, the withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership, and moves to expand the roundup of undocumented immigrants. But over time the balance shifted largely away from them. Flynn was forced out of his role; Sessions recused himself on the Russia investigation; former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn gained ground on economic policy; and Bannon was kicked off the National Security Council.12

The nationalist faction is still there and still making itself felt, but it’s far from leading a full-scale charge. As president, Trump has abandoned many of the populist-nationalist positions he took as a candidate, such as declaring NATO to be obsolete, advocating an alliance with Russia, denouncing NAFTA and the Export-Import Bank, and his call to make health care accessible to all. Even his policy on undocumented immigrants, writes columnist Doyle McManus, isn’t much harsher than the plan Mitt Romney proposed four years earlier.13 On the other hand, the recent White House-announced proposal to cut legal immigration in half indicates that the America Firsters have gained some ground again.14 This struggle is likely to continue.

Donald Trump is just as belligerent, impulsive, and self-aggrandizing as ever, which tends to put him at odds with conventional politics but also makes it more difficult for him to effect substantive, lasting change. In policy terms, what we’re left with so far is a harsher, more repressive, more chaotic version of neoliberalism with some America First elements. The Trump administration is dismantling environmental regulations and other kinds of business regulation, and (together with Congress) may eventually succeed in repealing Obamacare and cutting business taxes. All of this will further enrich the wealthy at the expense of our wallets, our future, and, in some cases, our lives. The administration will tinker with trade deals, deport Latin Americans and Haitians more indiscriminately than Obama, and make life harder for Middle Easterners and LGBTQ people—particularly trans people. It will probably do its best to speed up the growth of the national security state (which has been expanded by all recent presidents, Republican and Democratic alike). But barring some unforeseen crisis that could shift the balance again, the Trump administration is not going to withdraw from NAFTA, is not going to abandon NATO and align with Russia, and is not going to close the borders. The administration’s proposal to cut legal immigration will shift the terms of debate but is unlikely to pass since most Republican leaders, and probably most capitalists, oppose it. The neoliberal consensus is starting to break down, and will face more challenges in the coming years, but populist right-wing nationalism doesn’t seem strong enough or developed enough to supplant it yet.

3. The Alt Right has largely abandoned its support for Trump.

After the election, Alt Rightists saw themselves as the vanguard of the Trump coalition—the ones who would stake out forward positions and then pull other people along with them part of the way. They were excited about Trump appointing Bannon, Sessions, Flynn, and some others they saw as allies.15

But as the political balance inside the administration shifted, Alt Rightists got frustrated. The key turning point came in early April, when Trump launched a missile strike against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack. Most Alt Rightists saw this as a shocking capitulation to the neocons and the foreign policy establishment.16 The fact that many conventional politicians and mainstream media organs praised the missile strike underscored Alt Rightists’ sense of betrayal.17 Many in the movement portrayed Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, and other Jews in the administration as evil wire-pullers who had manipulated or blackmailed Trump into changing course.18

Since then, some Alt Rightists have argued their movement should “remain demanding but supportive” of Trump,19 but generally they have become cool or even hostile to the administration in a way that’s markedly different from six months ago. The Alt Right blog Occidental Dissent, which has been particularly outspoken in repudiating Trump, re-emphasized the movement’s revolutionary condemnation of the U.S. political order: “No elected official can salvage this nation. There is no reforming the system—it is beyond repair. We can only rebuild from the ashes.”20 Very recently, some Alt Rightist praised Trump’s moves to reduce legal immigration and attack affirmative action, but Richard Spencer warned that the immigration plan would bring in too many highly skilled non-Europeans and be “devastating” for White middle-class professionals.21

4. Alt Rightists have taken to the streets alongside other right-wing forces.

Even as it’s become alienated from the Trump administration, the Alt Right has been working to strengthen its influence in other ways, and strengthen its grassroots ties with organized Trump supporters. Even six months ago, the Alt Right still existed mostly online, excepting a few small conferences. Since then, some Alt Right groups, such as Identity Evropa and the Traditionalist Worker Party, have focused more on building actual organizations and holding public rallies. Many of these rallies have been joint events with other rightists, including Alt Lite groups (who identify with Alt Right ideology to an extent but don’t call for abandoning the U.S. political system) and even Patriot movement groups such as the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.22 That’s a big change, because before this spring the Alt Right and Patriot groups didn’t have much visible contact with each other. Now they’re showing up at the same rallies—such as at Berkeley in April or Pikeville, Kentucky, that same month.23 There have been tensions and even some physical altercations between the two camps, because Patriot groups, like Alt Lite activists, generally disavow White nationalism, but the convergence of rightist forces in the streets is definitely an ominous development.24

Some of these joint events have been held under the banner of “free speech,” protecting political space against Antifa activists (militant anti-fascists), who are portrayed as “the real fascists.” Islamophobia has been another major point of unity, as in last month’s national “March Against Sharia,” which brought together Alt Rightists, racist skinhead groups, Patriot groups, right-wing Zionists, and even some LGBTQ activists. As PRA research fellow Spencer Sunshine argues, Islamophobia “is more socially acceptable than anti-Semitism while still demonizing a minority group. Plus, its ostensible emphasis on religion is a way to avoid specifically naming race.”25

5. Alt Rightists and their allies have been turning toward physical violence and creating a street-fighting presence

As part of their new focus on public demonstrations over the past several months, both Alt Right groups such as Nathan Damigo’s Identity Evropa as well as Alt Lite formations including Gavin McInnes’s Proud Boys and Kyle Chapman’s Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights have been organizing and training for combat and taking their skills to the streets. This has developed largely in the context of confrontations with Antifa activists, as in Berkeley, but has much bigger implications in terms of the Right’s ability to target oppressed communities and shape political space.26

To make the situation even more disturbing, neonazi skinheads from groups such as Hammerskin Nation have, at least in California, also been involved in these street clashes. As Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA) reports, the southern California-based DIY Division, also known as the Rise Above Movement, is a violent neonazi group that brings together Alt Right and Alt Lite activists along with Hammerskin members. “DIY Division as a political collective is working hard to bridge the gap between the more internet-based Alt-Right brand of white nationalism which is targeted to appeal to younger, generally more educated and upper-class white men and the more traditional boots on the ground and street violence which has characterized neo-Nazi skinhead politics.” NoCARA also highlights “the close relationships that exist between McInnes’s Proud Boys and…DIY Division…. The Proud Boys need the numbers and the muscle of the neo-Nazis, while the neo-Nazis need the cover of pro-Trump groups.”27

*                      *                      *

These developments are extremely serious. Despite its disenchantment with the Trump administration, the Alt Right appears to be simultaneously building a real capacity for organized physical violence and strengthening its grassroots connections with other rightist currents, including Trump supporters. Their focus on a shared enemy, whether Muslims or the black bloc, is helping to draw different rightist forces closer, and shared street fighting is deepening those ties. This type of activism is a direct physical threat to both oppressed communities and the Left, and can fuel authoritarian and supremacist tendencies within the state at all levels. To assume that breaking with Trump will leave the Alt Right weakened and marginalized would be a dangerous mistake.

At the same time, we shouldn’t exaggerate either the unity or the competence of this new wave of militant right-wing forces. Rightists are just as vulnerable as leftists to infighting, personality conflicts, and sectarian ideological squabbles. As journalist Shane Burley points out, Alt Rightists “are not politically savvy organizers; they are angry white men taking their rage out on everyone they think eroded their meager privilege.”28 So far, thankfully, their movement has failed to produce a skilled, charismatic leader who can unify them and provide strategic direction. (Richard Spencer may look dapper and sound polished in interviews, but he has never inspired devotion from the Alt Right as a movement.) And even a strong leader wouldn’t necessarily overcome the basic political differences separating Alt Rightists from their conservative fellow travelers. In the long run, if the Alt Right wants to coalesce with system-loyal rightists, it either has to win more people to its dream of right-wing revolution, or abandon it.

End notes

1 “Update: 1,094 Bias-Related Incidents in the Month Following the Election,” Hatewatch (Southern Poverty Law Center), 16 December 2016, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/12/16/update-1094-bias-related-incidents-month-following-election

2 “Ten Days After: Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Election,” Hatewatch (Southern Poverty Law Center), 29 November 2016, https://www.splcenter.org/20161129/ten-days-after-harassment-and-intimidation-aftermath-election

3 Jason Wilson, “Suspect in Portland double murder posted white supremacist material online,” Guardian, 28 May 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/27/portland-double-murder-white-supremacist-muslim-hate-speech

4 Angela Helm, “More Americans Killed by Police in 2017, but Trump Dominates Headlines,” The Root, 4 March 2017, http://www.theroot.com/more-americans-killed-by-police-in-2017-but-trump-domi-1792969338

5 Will Greenberg, “Here’s How Badly Police Violence Has Divided America,” Mother Jones, 19 March 2017, http://www.motherjones.com/media/2017/03/police-shootings-black-lives-matter-history-timeline/

6 Dave Boyer, “Obama defends Black Lives Matter protests at police memorial in Dallas,” Washington Times, 12 July 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/12/obama-defends-black-lives-matter-protests-police-m/; “Obama Delivers Eulogy in Charleston” (video), New York Times, 27 June 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000003767801/obama-delivers-eulogy-in-charleston.html?mcubz=2

7 Celia Caracal, “America Is Suffering from a Plague of Deadly, Unaccountable and Racist Police Violence,” AlternNet, 5 July 2017, http://www.alternet.org/human-rights/look-police-violence-one-year-after-philando-castile-and-alton-sterling-were-killed; Mark Chicano, “Donald Trump’s speech was made more disturbing as Suffolk County cops cheered the idea of police brutality,” Newsday, 28 July 2017, http://www.newsday.com/opinion/columnists/mark-chiusano/donald-trump-s-speech-was-made-more-disturbing-as-suffolk-county-cops-cheered-the-idea-of-police-brutality-1.13864824; Michael Finnegan and Noah Bierman, “Trump’s endorsement of violence reaches new level: He may pay legal fees for assault suspect,” Los Angeles Times, 13 March 2016, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-trump-campaign-protests-20160313-story.html; Tal Kopan, “What Donald Trump has said about Mexico and vice versa,” CNN, 31 August 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/31/politics/donald-trump-mexico-statements/index.html; Ben Jacobs, Sabrina Siddiqui, and Scott Bixby, “‘You can do anything’: Trump brags on tape about using fame to get women,” Guardian, 8 October 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/07/donald-trump-leaked-recording-women

8 Adam Serwer, “Jeff Sessions’s Blind Eye,” The Atlantic, 5 April 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/04/jeff-sessions-blind-eye/521946/

9 Rachael Revesz, “Donald Trump signs executive order giving police more powers,” Independent, 9 February 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-sign-executive-order-police-more-authority-murder-shooting-us-president-jeff-sessions-a7572001.html

10 Benjamin Studebaker, “Why Bernie Sanders is More Electable Than People Think,” Huffington Post, 12 February 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-studebaker/why-bernie-sanders-is-more-electable_b_9219882.html; “Morbid Symptoms: The Downward Spiral,” Unity and Struggle, 19 December 2016, http://unityandstruggle.org/2016/12/19/morbid-symptoms-the-downward-spiral/

11 Robert Cavooris, “One Step Back, Two Steps Forward: Trump and the Revolutionary Scenario,” Viewpoint Magazine, 21 February 2017, https://www.viewpointmag.com/2017/02/21/one-step-back-two-steps-forward-trump-and-the-revolutionary-scenario/

12 Donald J. Trump, “Transcript of President Trump’s inauguration speech,” USA Today, 20 January 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/01/20/his-own-words-president-trumps-inaugural-address/96836330/; Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Trump’s hard-line actions have an intellectual godfather: Jeff Sessions,” Washington Post, 30 January 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-hard-line-actions-have-an-intellectual-godfather-jeff-sessions/2017/01/30/ac393f66-e4d4-11e6-ba11-63c4b4fb5a63_story.html?utm_term=.25b61b5ac6ed; “Wall Street banker Cohn moving Trump toward moderate policies,” Reuters, 17 April 2017, http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/17/wall-street-banker-cohn-moving-trump-toward-moderate-policies.html; Steve Holland and John Walcott, “Trump drops Steve Bannon from National Security Council,” Reuters, 5 April 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-security-idUSKBN17724S

13 Doyle McManus, “Trump’s populist revolution is already over—for now,” Los Angeles Times, 16 April 2017, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-trump-flip-flops-20170416-story.html

14 Peter Baker, “Trump Supports Plan to Cut Legal Immigration by Half,” New York Times, 2 August 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/us/politics/trump-immigration.html

15 Richard B. Spencer, “We the Vanguard Now,” Radix Journal, 9 November 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20170105065744/http://www.radixjournal.com/blog/2016/11/9/we-the-vanguard-now

16 Shane Burley, “As the ‘alt-right’ breaks from Trump, so goes its moment in the sun,” Waging Nonviolence, 17 April 2017, https://wagingnonviolence.org/2017/04/alt-right-trump-break/; Vegas Tenold, “The Alt-Right and Donald Trump Get a Divorce,” New Republic, 26 April 2017, https://newrepublic.com/article/142276/alt-right-donald-trump-get-divorce

17 Hunter Wallace [Brad Griffin], “Donald Trump is Now ‘The Leader of the Free World,’” Occidental Dissent, 8 April 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170622213726/http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2017/04/08/donald-trump-is-now-the-leader-of-the-free-world/

18 Andrew Anglin, “An Extremely Unfortunate Turn of Events,” Daily Stormer, 7 April 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170619172920/http://www.dailystormer.com/an-extremely-unfortunate-turn-of-events/

19 Pseudo-Laurentius, “Deploying Tactical Blackpills: The Alt Right Versus Trump,” The Right Stuff, 14 April 2017, https://blog.therightstuff.biz/2017/04/14/deploying-tactical-blackpills-the-alt-right-versus-trump/.

20 Meinrad Gaertner, “A Reflection and Foreshadowing,” Occidental Dissent, 17 April 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170428104016/http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2017/04/17/a-reflection-and-foreshadowing/

21 Marcus Cicero, “MAGA: Trump Proposes Bill Vastly Cutting Legal Immigration, Imposition Of YUGE Hurdles For New Arrivals,” Occidental Dissent, 2 August 2017, http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:wvakoofdlr4J:www.occidentaldissent.com/2017/08/02/maga-trump-proposes-bill-vastly-cutting-legal-immigration-imposition-of-yuge-hurdles-for-new-arrivals/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us; Colin Liddell, “Trump Fires First Salvo Against Anti-White ‘Affirmative Action’ Policy,” AltRight.com, 2 August 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170802132555/https://altright.com/2017/08/02/trump-fires-first-salvo-against-anti-white-affirmative-action-policy/; Richard Spencer, “Why I Oppose the RAISE Act,” AltRight.com, 3 August 2017, https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:58G1fdYUSFYJ:https://altright.com/2017/08/03/why-i-oppose-the-raise-act/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

22 “Based Reserve Army: How the Right is Changing Its Strategy,” It’s Going Down, 25 April 2017, https://itsgoingdown.org/based-reserve-army-how-the-right-changing-strategy/; Spencer Sunshine, “The Growing Alliance Between Neo-Nazis, Right Wing Paramilitaries and Trumpist Republicans,” ColorLines, 9 June 2017, https://www.colorlines.com/articles/growing-alliance-between-neo-nazis-right-wing-paramilitaries-and-trumpist-republicans

23 “Oath Keepers Call to Action: Stand and Defend Free Speech at Berkeley Patriots Rally, April 15, 2017,” Oath Keepers, 1 April 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170402184553/https://www.oathkeepers.org/oath-keepers-call-action-stand-defend-free-speech-berkeley-patriots-rally-april-15-2017/; Eminence Grise, “Reflections on the Revolution in Berkeley,” The Right Stuff, 16 April 2017, https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sNKoo5E9CgIJ:https://blog.therightstuff.biz/2017/04/16/reflections-on-the-revolution-in-berkeley/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari; Lois Beckett, “Armed neo-Nazis prepare for potential clash in small Kentucky town,” Guardian, 29 April 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/29/neo-nazi-rally-pikeville-kentucky-anti-fascist

24 “‘Alt-Right’ declares flame war on Oath Keepers,” Southern Poverty Law Center, 15 June 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/15/alt-right-declares-flame-war-oath-keepers; Taly Krupkin, “The Jewish Provocateur Caught in the Turf War as the ‘Alt-right’ Battles the ‘Alt-light,’” Ha’aretz, 22 June 2017, http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.797372

25 Spencer Sunshine, “Islamophobia is the Glue that Unites Diverse Factions of the Far Right,” Truthout, 14 July 2017, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41265-islamophobia-is-the-glue-that-unites-diverse-factions-of-the-far-right

26 Antifascist Front, “The Alt Right Has Taken the Public Step Towards Violence,” Anti-Fascist News, 28 April 2017, https://antifascistnews.net/2017/04/28/the-alt-right-has-taken-the-public-step-towards-violence/; David Neiwert, “Far Right Descends on Berkeley for ‘Free Speech’ and Planned Violence,” Hatewatch (Southern Poverty Law Center), 17 April 2017, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/04/17/far-right-descends-berkeley-free-speech-and-planned-violence; Emma Grey Ellis, “Don’t Look Now, But Extremists’ Meme Armies are Turning Into Militias,” Wired, 20 April 2017, https://www.wired.com/2017/04/meme-army-now-militia/; “Gavin McInnes’ ‘Alt-Right’ Fan Club Drifts Toward Neo-Nazi Violence,” IdaVox, 18 May 2017, http://idavox.com/index.php/2017/05/18/gavin-mcinnes-alt-right-fan-club-drifts-towards-neo-nazi-violence/

27 Northern California Anti-Racist Action, “How ‘Based Stickman’ & Proud Boys are Working with Neo-Nazis in So-Cal,” It’s Going Down, 8 July 2017, https://itsgoingdown.org/based-stickman-proud-boys-working-neo-nazis-cal/

28 Shane Burley, “Alt-Right 2.0,” Salvage, 6 July 2017. http://salvage.zone/online-exclusive/alt-right-2-0/

Identity Evropa and the Fraternity of White Supremacy

Writing for The Public Eye this spring, author Naomi Braine delves into the history of the 2nd wave Klan:

The Klan of the 1920s was a mainstream, national fraternal organization which openly espoused White supremacy and engaged in racist terrorism but whose primary activities involved a range of community projects of interest to its middle class membership, from social events (e.g. pageants and baseball teams) to support for Prohibition…The KKK functioned in many ways as an ordinary fraternal order, with special social events and women’s and children’s auxiliaries. This effectively normalized the expression of White supremacy combined with conservative moralism as no different than any other social organization.

The origins and progression of the Klan being permitted to function in society as a social club or “ordinary fraternal order” is striking when you see images and messaging coming from the White nationalist groups that have coalesced in recent years.

“Become part of the fraternity”: Screenshot from the Identity Evropa website.

The media often portrays clean-cut individuals such as Alt Right leader Richard Spencer or members of Identity Evropa as proof of a re-branding of White nationalism and indeed, there is a long history of White supremacist groups re-inventing their image to become more mainstream and palatable. Along with the shifting aesthetic, the messaging coming out of the Alt Right movement also is reminiscent of the allure of early Klan in giving young White men identity and purpose.

The initial formation of the KKK in the 19th century has been described as a social club using trolling tactics not unlike the Alt Right. In a review of historian Elaine Frantz Parsons’ book Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan During Reconstruction, Malcolm Harris points out that the earliest Klan members were college boys looking for someone to be and something to do while being “forced to confront a rapidly changing social, cultural, and economic environment.”

Founder, Nathan Damigo is pictured on Twitter with the caption, “Get this look!”

Perhaps at similar crossroads is the recent White nationalist formulation called Identity Evropa. As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported in February, Identity Evropa is among a constellation of White nationalist groups that have popped up in the last couple years and are actively recruiting among young people. SPLC calls the group a “reimagining” of the now defunct National Youth Front, the young adult contingent of the White nationalist American Freedom Party. National Youth Front member, Nathan Damigo (a Cal State Stanislaus student and former Marine corporal), founded Identity Evropa in 2016. The group cloaks their White nationalist message in language of identitarian pride in European heritage and softens it with a polished look.

Identity Evropa intentionally recruits to maintain this particular image. Members are allegedly not allowed to have facial or neck tattoos, piercings, or even be overweight. Their website features a carousel of photos of sharply dressed members with fresh haircuts at events in D.C., New York City, San Francisco, and Charlottesville.

As Damigo described to The Daily Beast, Identity Evropa serves to “attract high-quality individuals from doctors to lawyers to economists to our fraternity” to ultimately “create an alternative social network that will act as a fifth column, over time shifting the edifice of our political establishment to encompass our interests.” He anticipates that the threat of negative repercussions when being “outed” as pro-White will diminish as their network grows. Recruiting efforts have included #ProjectSiege, a national poster campaign across college campuses.

While the tone of Identity Evropa reads social club or fraternity, that is not an indication of innocuousness as history has proved. In May, the group co-sponsored a protest along with an Alt Right coalition against the removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, VA.

Identity Evropa took to Facebook to report back from the protest in Charlottesville, Va.

White nationalist Richard Spencer led the group bearing flaming torches to protest. He defended the May protest by stating that statues like that of Robert E. Lee are “symbols of our European heritage” and “represent gods” and that tearing them down represents a “symbolic genocide of the White race.”

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan have since applied to host a rally near the same statue on July 8. Richard Spencer responded to this news by saying, “KKK is not my scene.” Spencer and Alt Right formations such as Identity Evropa might continue to distance themselves from groups such as the KKK, but the lens of history may reveal more similarity than difference between the two.

Ctrl-Alt-Delete: The origins and ideology of the Alternative Right

An antifascist report on the far right movement that embraced Donald Trump.

Click the icon to order Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

This report is excerpted from Matthew N. Lyons’s forthcoming book, Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire, to be published by PM Press and Kersplebedeb Publishing. This report is also featured in Ctrl-Alt-Delete: An Antifascist Report on the Alternative Right, which is now available for pre-order.

For a printer-friendly PDF version, click HERE.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The Alt Right, short for “Alternative Right,” is a loosely organized far-right movement that emphasizes internet activism, is hostile to both multicultural liberalism and mainstream conservatism, and has had a symbiotic relationship with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The Alt Right brings together different branches of White nationalism, including “scientific” racists, sections of the neonazi movement, and adherents of European New Right ideology. The Alt Right also encompasses rightist ideologies that don’t center on race, above all efforts to destroy feminism and re-intensify men’s dominance over women, as well as other elitist and authoritarian currents. The Alt Right has little formal organization but has made effective use of online tactics.

This report offers an overview of the Alt Right’s history, ideology, and relationship with the Trump campaign and presidential administration.

Part 1 – Origins and development

Major forerunners of the Alt Right included paleoconservatism, an anti-interventionist, anti-free trade, anti-immigration branch of U.S. conservatism that emerged in the late 1980s; and the European New Right (ENR), a project that began in France in the late 1960s to rework fascist ideology by appropriating elements of liberal and leftist thought to mask anti-egalitarianism.

The term “Alternative Right” was introduced by Richard Spencer in 2008 and initially was a catch-all encompassing paleoconservatives, libertarians, White nationalists, and other rightists at odds with the conservative establishment. AlternativeRight.com, an online magazine which Spencer founded and edited from 2010 to 2012, became a popular intellectual forum for a range of dissident rightist views, including “scientific” racism, the ENR, National-Anarchism, libertarianism, male tribalism, and Black conservatism. Gradually, the term Alternative Right or Alt Right became more closely tied to White nationalism and the goal of creating a White ethnostate, as a number of other White nationalist publications became associated with the Alt Right and as Spencer focused more sharply on White nationalism after becoming head of the National Policy Institute in 2011.

Starting in 2015, the Alt Right broadened out from a small intellectual circle as a much wider array of online activists embraced the term. Many of these newer Alt Rightists were based in discussion websites such as Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan. Some of them, such as Andrew Anglin of The Daily Stormer, brought neonazi-based politics into the movement.

Part 2 – Major Ideological Currents

Some Alt Rightists have used moderate-sounding intellectual tones, often borrowing from the ENR’s euphemistic language about respecting “difference” and protecting “biocultural diversity.” But many others have used naked bigotry and supremacist speech in an effort to be as inflammatory as possible. This stylistic difference is more division of labor than factional conflict.

Most Alt Rightists regard Jews as dangerous outsiders who bear major responsibility for the decline of European civilization, but they disagree about whether or not to work with them. Neonazi-oriented Alt Rightists reject any association with Jews and regard them as the embodiment of pure evil. Other Alt Rightists, however, advocate a tactical alliance with right-wing Jews against Muslims and immigrants of color, and believe that migration to Israel will help prevent Jews from subverting western societies. A few Alt Rightists have welcomed like-minded Jews to movement publications and events.

The Alt Right has increasingly embraced an intensely misogynistic ideology, which argues that women need and want men to rule over them and should be stripped of any political role. This largely reflects the influence of the manosphere, an online antifeminist subculture of men who falsely claim that men in U.S. society are oppressed by feminism or by women in general. Although there has been some tension between the two movements over racial politics, many manospherians have also become active in the Alt Right, and the manosphere’s online harassment campaigns against women have strongly influenced the Alt Right’s own activism. The Alt Right has also been influenced by the “male tribalism” of Jack Donovan, a longtime Alt Right speaker and writer who advocates a social and political order based on small, close-knit “gangs” of male warriors.

Many Alt Rightists consider homosexuality in any form to be immoral and a threat to racial survival, but there has also been a trend to welcome some homosexual men (such as Jack Donovan) while continuing to derogate gay culture. Alt Rightists uphold classical fascism’s elitist and anti-democratic views of governance, but their goal of breaking up the United States into ethnically separate polities is inherently decentralist. This blend of authoritarianism and decentralism, rooted in the European New Right and paleoconservatism, has been bolstered by two other political currents that overlap with the Alt Right: (a) right-wing anarchists (including National-Anarchists and Keith Preston’s Attack the System website), who want to dismantle the centralized state but uphold non-state systems of hierarchy and oppression; and (b) the neoreactionary movement (also known as the Dark Enlightenment), an offshoot of libertarianism which rejects popular sovereignty and advocates small-scale authoritarian enclaves such as seasteads.


Part 3 – Relationship with Donald Trump

Alt Rightists have long argued about whether to work within existing political channels or reject them entirely. Many Alt Rightists, borrowing from the ENR, have focused on a “metapolitical” strategy of seeking to transform the broader political culture and thereby lay the groundwork for structural change.

A majority of Alt Rightists supported Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, although they recognized that Trump was not one of them and was not going to bring about the change they wanted. Rather, they believed that Trump’s campaign could weaken the Republican Party and shift political discussion in ways that Alt Rightists could use to promote their own ideology. A minority of Alt Rightists opposed Trump because they believed he was loyal to Israel, promoted illusory faith in the U.S. political system, or would co-opt their movement into supporting established elites.

Alt Rightists helped Trump’s campaign through online activism, including skillful use of online memes such as #Cuckservative and #DraftOurDaughters to discredit Trump’s opponents, as well as coordinated online harassment, which often involved floods of abusive messages and images, rape and death threats, and doxxing (public releases of personal information) targeting individual Trump opponents and members of their families. In return, the Trump campaign gave the Alt Right greater visibility, influence, and sense of purpose.

As the Alt Right grew and attracted attention, some conservatives—who became known as the “Alt Lite”—took on the role of apologists or supporters for the Alt Right, helping to spread a lot of its message without embracing its full ideology or its ethnostate goals. In the public mind, prominent Alt Lite figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon of the Breitbart News Network have often been equated with the Alt Right itself. The Alt Right has relied on such figures to help bring its ideas to a mainstream audience, but many Alt Rightists have regarded them as untrustworthy opportunists.

Conclusion – the Alt Right and the Trump presidency

Many Alt Rightists see themselves as the Trump coalition’s political vanguard, taking hardline positions that pull Trump further to the Right while enabling him to look moderate by comparison. However, the question of how to play that vanguard role has sharpened tensions both within the Alt Right and between the Alt Right and its sympathizers.

Because Trump has mostly chosen hardline establishment figures for his administration, Alt Rightists could easily find themselves pushed into an oppositional role. Yet Alt Rightists could continue to exert significant pressure on the Trump administration, because they know how to speak effectively to a large part of his popular base. They are in a strong position to continue influencing the political culture.

Introduction

Maybe you first heard about them in the summer of 2015, when they promoted the insult “cuckservative” to attack Trump’s opponents in the Republican primaries.1 Maybe it was in August 2016, when Hillary Clinton denounced them as “a fringe element” that had “effectively taken over the Republican party.”2 Or maybe it was a couple of weeks after Trump’s surprise defeat of Clinton, when a group of them were caught on camera giving the fascist salute in response to a speaker shouting “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”3

The Alt Right helped Donald Trump get elected president, and Trump’s campaign put the Alt Right in the news. But the movement was active well before Trump announced his candidacy, and its relationship with Trump has been more complex and more qualified than many critics realize. The Alt Right is just one of multiple dangerous forces associated with Trump, but it’s the one that has attracted the greatest notoriety. However, it’s not accurate to argue, as many critics have, that “Alt Right” is just a deceptive code-phrase meant to hide the movement’s White supremacist or neonazi politics. This is a movement with its own story, and for those concerned about the seemingly sudden resurgence of far-right politics in the United States, it is a story worth exploring.

This logo for the Alt Right has been appearing online, on posters, and at events.

The Alt Right, short for “alternative right,” is a loosely organized far-right movement that shares a contempt for both liberal multiculturalism and mainstream conservatism; a belief that some people are inherently superior to others; a strong internet presence and embrace of specific elements of online culture; and a self-presentation as being new, hip, and irreverent.4 Based primarily in the United States, Alt Right ideology combines White nationalism, misogyny, antisemitism, and authoritarianism in various forms and in political styles ranging from intellectual argument to violent invective. White nationalism constitutes the movement’s center of gravity, but some Alt Rightists are more focused on reasserting male dominance or other forms of elitism rather than race. The Alt Right has little in the way of formal organization, but has used internet memes effectively to gain visibility, rally supporters, and target opponents. Most Alt Rightists have rallied behind Trump’s presidential bid, yet as a rule Alt Rightists regard the existing political system as hopeless and call for replacing the United States with one or more racially defined homelands.

This report offers an overview of the Alt Right’s history, beliefs, and relationship with other political forces. Part 1 traces the movement’s ideological origins in paleoconservatism and the European New Right, and its development since Richard Spencer launched the original AlternativeRight.com website in 2010. Part 2 surveys the major political currents that comprise or overlap with the Alt Right, which include in their ranks White nationalists, members of the antifeminist “manosphere,” male tribalists, right-wing anarchists, and neoreactionaries. Part 3 focuses on the Alt Right’s relationship with the Trump presidential campaign, including movement debates about political strategy, online political tactics, and its relationship to a network of conservative supporters and popularizers known as the “Alt Lite.” A concluding section offers preliminary thoughts on the Alt Right’s prospects and the potential challenges it will face under the incoming Trump administration.

PART 1 – ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT

Ideological roots

Two intellectual currents played key roles in shaping the early Alternative Right: paleoconservatism and the European New Right.

Paleoconservatives can trace their lineage back to the “Old Right” of the 1930s, which opposed New Deal liberalism, and to the America First movement of the early 1940s, which opposed U.S. entry into World War II. To varying degrees, many of the America Firsters were sympathetic to fascism and fascist claims of a sinister Jewish-British conspiracy. In the early 1950s, this current supported Senator Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunting crusade, which extended red-baiting to target representatives of the centrist Eastern Establishment. After McCarthy, the America First/anti-New Deal Right was largely submerged in a broader “fusionist” conservative movement, in which Cold War anticommunism served as the glue holding different rightist currents together. But when the Soviet bloc collapsed between 1989 and 1991, this anticommunist alliance unraveled, and old debates reemerged.5

In the 1980s, devotees of the Old Right began calling themselves paleoconservatives as a reaction against neoconservatives, those often formerly liberal and leftist intellectuals who were then gaining influential positions in right-wing think-tanks and the Reagan administration. The first neocons were predominantly Jewish and Catholic, which put them outside the ranks of old-guard conservatism. Neocons promoted an aggressive foreign policy to spread U.S. “democracy” throughout the world and supported a close alliance with Israel, but they also favored nonrestrictive immigration policies and, to a limited extent, social welfare programs. Paleconservatives regarded the neocons as usurpers and closet leftists, and in the post-Soviet era they criticized military interventionism, free trade, immigration, globalization, and the welfare state. They also spoke out against Washington’s close alliance with Israel, often in terms that had anti-Jewish undertones. Paleoconservatives tended to be unapologetic champions of European Christian culture, and some of them gravitated toward White nationalism, advocating a society in which White people, their values, interests, and concerns would always be explicitly preeminent. To some extent they began to converge with more hardline White supremacists during this period.6

These positions attracted little elite support, and after Reagan paleocons were mostly frozen out of political power. But they attracted significant popular support. In 1992 and 1996, Patrick Buchanan won millions of votes in Republican presidential primaries by emphasizing paleocon themes. Paleocons also played key roles in building the anti-immigrant and neo-Confederate movements in the ‘90s, and influenced the Patriot movement, which exploded briefly in the mid-90s around fears that globalist elites were plotting to impose a tyrannical world government on the United States. Some self-described libertarians, such as former Congressmember Ron Paul, embraced paleoconservative positions on culture and foreign policy.7 After the September 11th attacks in 2001, the resurgence of military interventionism and neoconservatives’ prominent roles in the George W. Bush administration solidified the paleocons’ position as political outsiders.8

The Alt Right’s other significant forerunner, the European New Right (ENR), developed along different lines. The ENR began in France in the late 1960s and then spread to other European countries as an initiative among far-right intellectuals to rework fascist ideology, largely by appropriating elements from other political traditions—including the Left—to mask their fundamental rejection of the principle of human equality.9 European New Rightists championed “biocultural diversity” against the homogenization supposedly brought by liberalism and globalization. They argued that true antiracism requires separating racial and ethnic groups to protect their unique cultures, and that true feminism defends natural gender differences, instead of supposedly forcing women to “divest themselves of their femininity.” ENR writers also rejected the principle of universal human rights as “a strategic weapon of Western ethnocentrism” that stifles cultural diversity.10

European New Rightists dissociated themselves from traditional fascism in various other ways as well. In the wake of France’s defeat by anticolonial forces in Algeria, they advocated anti-imperialism rather than expansionism and a federated “empire” of regionally based, ethnically homogeneous communities, rather than a big, centralized state. Instead of organizing a mass movement to seize state power, they advocated a “metapolitical” strategy that would gradually transform the political and intellectual culture as a precursor to transforming institutions and systems. In place of classical fascism’s familiar leaders and ideologues, European New Rightists championed more obscure far rightist intellectuals of the 1920s, ‘30s, and beyond, such Julius Evola of Italy, Ernst Jünger and Carl Schmitt of Germany, and Corneliu Codreanu of Romania.

ENR ideology began to get attention in the United States in the 1990s,11 resonating with paleoconservatism on various themes, notably opposition to multicultural societies, non-White immigration, and globalization. On other issues, the two movements tended to be at odds: reflecting their roots in classical fascism but in sharp contrast to paleocons, European New Rightists were hostile to liberal individualism and laissez faire capitalism, and many of them rejected Christianity in favor of paganism. Nonetheless, some kind of dialog between paleocon and ENR ideas held promise for Americans seeking to develop a White nationalist movement outside of traditional neonazi/Ku Klux Klan circles.

Early years and growth

Richard Spencer speaking at a National Policy Institute conference in 2016.

The term “Alternative Right” was introduced by Richard Spencer in 2008, when he was managing editor at the paleocon and libertarian Taki’s Magazine. At Taki’s Magazine the phrase was used as a catch-all for a variety of right-wing voices at odds with the conservative establishment, including paleocons, libertarians, and White nationalists.12 Two years later Spencer left to found a new publication, AlternativeRight.com, as “an online magazine of radical traditionalism.” Joining Spencer were two senior contributing editors, Peter Brimelow (whose anti-immigrant VDARE Foundation sponsored the project) and Paul Gottfried (one of paleoconservatism’s founders and one of its few Jews). AlternativeRight.com quickly became a popular forum among dissident rightist intellectuals, especially younger ones. The magazine published works of old-school “scientific” racism along with articles from or about the European New Right, Italian far right philosopher Julius Evola, and figures from Germany’s interwar Conservative Revolutionary movement. There were essays by National-Anarchist Andrew Yeoman, libertarian and Pat Buchanan supporter Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com, male tribalist Jack Donovan, and Black conservative Elizabeth Wright.13

AlternativeRight.com developed ties with a number of other White nationalist intellectual publications, which eventually became associated with the term Alternative Right. Some of its main partners included VDARE.com; Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance, whose conferences attracted both antisemites and right-wing Jews; The Occidental Quarterly and its online magazine, The Occidental Observer, currently edited by prominent antisemitic intellectual Kevin MacDonald; and Counter-Currents Publishing, which was founded in 2010 to “create an intellectual movement in North America that is analogous to the European New Right” and “lay the intellectual groundwork for a white ethnostate in North America.”14

Founded in 2005, The National Policy Institute is a White nationalist, White supremacist think tank based in Arlington, Virginia.

In 2011, Richard Spencer became head of the White nationalist think-tank National Policy Institute (NPI) and its affiliated Washington Summit Publishers. He turned AlternativeRight.com over to other editors the following year, then shut it down completely, establishing a new online magazine, Radix, in its place. (The other editors then reestablished Alternative Right as a blog.) Compared with AlternativeRight.com’s broad ideological approach, Spencer’s later entities were more sharply focused on promoting White nationalism. Starting in 2011, NPI held a series of high-profile conferences that brought together intellectuals and activists from various branches of the movement. In 2014, the think-tank, together with supporters of Russian ENR theorist Aleksandr Dugin, cosponsored a “pan-European” conference in Budapest, although the Hungarian government deported Spencer and denied Dugin a visa.15

Starting in 2015, a much wider array of writers and online activists embraced the Alt Right moniker. As Anti-Fascist News put it, “the ‘alt right’ now often means an internet focused string of commentators, blogs, Twitter accounts, podcasters, and Reddit trolls, all of which combine scientific racism, romantic nationalism, and deconstructionist neo-fascist ideas to create a white nationalist movement that has almost no backwards connection with neo-Nazis and the KKK.”16 Some online centers of this larger, more amorphous Alt Right included the imageboard websites 4chan and 8chan, various Reddit sub-communities, and The Right Stuff blog and podcasts. Some Alt Right outfits offered neonazi-oriented politics (such as The Daily Stormer and the Traditionalist Youth Network), while others did not (such as Occidental Dissent, The Unz Review, Vox Popoli, and Chateau Heartiste).

Message boards like 4chan have become appropriated as online centers of a more amorphous Alt Right.

On many sites, Alt Right politics were presented in terms intended to be as inflammatory as possible, bucking a decades-old trend among U.S. Far Rightists to tone down their beliefs for mass consumption. Previously, antisemitic propagandist Willis Carto and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke had made careers of dressing up fascism as “populism” or “conservatism”; now Alt Rightists confidently derided antifascism in the way 1960s radicals had derided anticommunism: “We might not all be proper fascists,” The Right Stuff columnist Lawrence Murray wrote in 2015, “but we’re all a little fash whether we want to be or not. We’re fashy goys—we think a lot of nasty thoughts that keep leftists up at night during their struggle sessions. Might as well embrace it…”17

The Alt Right’s rapid growth partly reflected trends in internet culture, where anonymity and the lack of face-to-face contact have fostered widespread use of insults, bullying, and supremacist speech. More immediately, it reflected recent political developments, such as a backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement and, above all, Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. A majority of Alt Rightists supported Trump’s campaign because of his anti-immigrant proposals; defamatory rhetoric against Mexicans, Muslims, women, and others; and his clashes with mainstream conservatives and the Republican Party establishment.

PART 2 – MAJOR IDEOLOGICAL CURRENTS

White nationalists, high- and low-brow

The original AlternativeRight.com magazine helped set the parameters of Alt Right White nationalism. In “Why an Alternative Right is Necessary,” published in 2010 soon after the magazine was launched, columnist Richard Hoste offered a paleocon-style criticism of the War on Terror and mainstream conservatives, coupled with a blunt new emphasis on race:

One would think that the odds of a major terrorist attack happening would depend on how many Muslims are allowed to live in the United States. Reducing Islamic immigration in the name of fighting terror would receive widespread public support, be completely practical in a way installing a puppet regime in Afghanistan wouldn’t, and not lead us to kill or torture anybody…. The idea that nothing must be done to stop the March Of Diversity is so entrenched in the minds of those considered of the Right that they will defend America policing the entire planet, torture, indefinite detentions, and a nation on permanent war footing but won’t mention immigration restriction or racial profiling.

We’ve known for a while through neuroscience and cross-adoption studies—if common sense wasn’t enough—that individuals differ in their inherent capabilities. The races do, too, with whites and Asians on the top and blacks at the bottom. The Alternative Right takes it for granted that equality of opportunity means inequality of results for various classes, races, and the two sexes. Without ignoring the importance of culture, we see Western civilization as a unique product of the European gene pool.18

A few months later, Greg Johnson at Counter-Currents Publishing declared that:

The survival of whites in North America and around the world is threatened by a host of bad ideas and policies: egalitarianism, the denial of biological race and sex differences, feminism, emasculation, racial altruism, ethnomasochism and xenophilia, multiculturalism, liberalism, capitalism, non-white immigration, individualism, consumerism, materialism, hedonism, anti-natalism, etc.

He also warned that White people would not survive unless they “work to reduce Jewish power and influence” and “regain political control over a viable national homeland or homelands.”19

In 2016, following the Alternative Right’s rapid growth, Lawrence Murray in The Right Stuff proposed a summary of the movement’s “big tent” philosophy: inequality of both individuals and populations is “a fact of life”; “races and their national subdivisions exist and compete for resources, land and influence”; White people are being suppressed and “must be allowed to take their own side”; men and women have separate roles and heterosexual monogamy is crucial for racial survival; “the franchise should be limited” because universal democracy “gives power to the worst and shackles the fittest”; and “Jewish elites are opposed to our entire program.”20 Alfred W. Clark in Radix offered a slightly different summary. In his view, Alt Rightists recognize human biodiversity; reject universalism; want to reverse Third World immigration into the West; are skeptical of free trade and free market ideology; oppose mainstream Christianity from a variety of religious viewpoints (traditionalist Christian, neo-pagan, atheist, and agnostic); and often (but not always) support Donald Trump. Unlike Murray, Clark noted that Alt Rightists disagree about the “Jewish question,” but generally agree “that Jews have disproportionately been involved in starting left-wing movements of the last 150 years.”21

Alt Rightists have promoted these ideas in different ways. Some have used moderate-sounding intellectual tones, often borrowed from the European New Right’s euphemistic language about respecting “difference” and protecting “biocultural diversity.” For example, the National Policy Institute has promoted “identitarianism,” a concept that was developed by the French New Right and popularized by the French group Bloc Identitaire. In 2015, Richard Spencer introduced an NPI essay contest for young writers on the theme, “Why I’m An Identitarian”:

Identitarianism… eschews nationalist chauvinism, as well as the meaningless, petty nationalism that is tolerated, even encouraged, by the current world system. That said, Identitarianism is itself not a universal value system, like Leftism, monotheism, and most contemporary versions of ‘conservatism.’ To the contrary, Identitarianism is fundamentally about difference, about culture as an expression of a certain people at a certain time…. Identitarianism acknowledges the incommensurable nature of different peoples and cultures—and thus looks forward to a world of true diversity and multiculturalism.22

Very different versions of Alt Right politics are available elsewhere. The Right Stuff website uses a mocking, ironic tone, with rotating tag lines such as “Your rational world is a circle jerk”; “Non-aggression is the triumph of weakness”; “Democracy is an interracial porno”; “Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character”; and “Life isn’t fair. Sucks for you, but I don’t care.” An article by “Darth Stirner,” titled “Fascist Libertarianism: For a Better World,” further illustrated this style:

Dear libertarian, take the rose colored glasses of racial egalitarianism off. Look around and see that other races don’t even disguise their hatred of you. Even though you don’t think in terms of race, rest assured that they do. Humanity is composed of a series of racial corporations. They stick together, and if we don’t… Western civilization is doomed.

[…]

Progressives, communists, and degenerates of various stripes will need to be interned—at least during the transition period. Terrorism and guerrilla warfare can be prevented with this measure. In the instance of a coup d’état it would be reasonable to detain every person who might conceivably be an enemy of the right-wing revolution. Rather than starving or torturing them they should be treated well with the highest standard of living reasonably possible. Most of them will simply be held until the war is over and the winner is clear. This is actually much more humane than allowing a hotly contested civil war to occur.23

The Right Stuff doesn’t just offer quasi-irony, however, but also naked bigotry, as summarized by Anti-Fascist News:

[On The Right Stuff] they choose to openly use racial slurs, degrade women and rape survivors, mock the holocaust and call for violence against Jews. Their podcast, The Daily Shoah, which is a play on The Daily Show and the Yiddish term for The Holocaust, is a roundtable discussion of different racists broadcasting under pseudonyms. Here they do voice “impressions” of Jews, and consistently use terms like “Nig Nog,” “Muds[”] (referring to “mud races,” meaning non-white), and calling people of African descent “Dingos.” The N-word, homophobic slurs, and calls for enforced cultural patriarchy and heteronormativity are commonplace… The use of rhetoric like this is almost entirely missing from groups like American Renaissance, Counter-Currents, Radix Journal, Alternative Right, and even Stormfront, the main hub for racist groups who recently banned swastikas and racial slurs.24

Anti-Fascist News argues that different branches of the Alternative Right use different language to appeal to different target audiences. “The Right Stuff tries to mimic the aggression and reactionary insults of right-wing talk radio like Rush Limbaugh, while Radix would love to look a lot more like that trendy Critical Theory journal young grad students are clamoring to be published in.”25 This is more division of labor than factional conflict, as a number of Alt Right intellectual figures have appeared on The Right Stuff podcasts, for example.

Stylistic differences aside, though, Alt Rightists have also disagreed about substantive issues. One of the biggest points of contention has been whether White nationalists should work with Jews, or at least some Jews. Anti-Jewish bigotry and scapegoating have been prevalent across most of the movement, but with important variations and exceptions. For the minority of Alt Rightists who identify with neonazism, such as Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer, uncompromising antisemitism is the overriding core principle.26 And for many others, Jews are a major existential threat. To The Right Stuff blogger “Auschwitz Soccer Ref,” Jews as a group have engaged in “2,000 years of non-stop treachery and backstabbing” and are “remorseless enemies who seek the destruction of the people they hate, which is us.” As a result, “anyone who self-identifies as a Jew or anyone who makes excuses for a continued Jewish presence in White homelands should be unapologetically excluded from this movement, and none of these people should ever be allowed to speak at alt right conferences no matter how pro-White they may seem.”27

American Renaissance is a monthly online magazine considered widely to be a White supremacist publication.

Not all Alt Rightists agree. American Renaissance, one of the movement’s central institutions, pioneered a version of White nationalism that avoided antisemitism. Besides publishing Jewish authors, both Jews and antisemites have been welcome at AmRen events as long as they set aside their disagreements.28 Richard Spencer, too, repeatedly welcomed Jewish writers and cited them as useful contributors to the movement.

Even Alt Rightists who view Jews as dangerous outsiders don’t necessarily regard them as the embodiment of pure evil. Serbian-American author Srdja Trifkovic wrote that “the Jews” had disproportionately contributed to the erosion of European civilization. Nevertheless, he hoped for an alliance with Jews against their common enemy, “the brown, black, and yellow multitudes” whose eventual attacks on the Jewish community might “easily exceed in ferocity and magnitude the events of 1942-45.”29 Similarly, Counter-Currents writer M.K. Lane described Jews as “a self-segregating and culturally arrogant people, a people who refuse to assimilate [and] who even when they do ostensibly assimilate, cause even greater harm than they did before desegregating.” Yet Lane also hoped that a significant number of Jews could be won over to ally with White nationalism since, “if we go down, they go down.” Of course, in such an alliance White nationalists “must not allow ourselves to become stooges.” Jews “living in our midst… could either be allowed to live in their own communities, assimilate in small numbers, or move to Israel. Anything as long as they refrain from subverting our societies…”30

Manosphere

While White nationalism has been central to the Alternative Right, patriarchal politics have played an increasingly important—and increasingly poisonous—role in the movement. The original AlternativeRight.com featured a range of views on gender, from patriarchal traditionalism to a kind of quasi-feminism. A number of male contributors expressed concern that their branch of the Right had attracted few women. Publisher and novelist Alex Kurtagic argued in 2011 that women and men had distinct natural roles, but that the White nationalist movement needed both:

Women are far more than nurturers: they are especially proficient at networking, community building, consensus building, multi-tasking, and moral and logistical support provision. These are all essential in any movement involving community outreach and where user-friendly, low-key, non-threatening forms of recruitment are advisable…. Women can create a much broader comfort zone around hardcore political activism through organising a wide range of community, human, and support-oriented activities…31

Andrew Yeoman of Bay Area National Anarchists argued more pointedly that sexist behavior by male Alt Rightists was driving women away:

Many women won’t associate with our ideas. Why is this important? Because it leaves half our people out of the struggle. The women that do stick around have to deal with a constant litany of abuse and frequent courtship invitations from unwanted suitors. …nothing says ‘you’re not important to us’ [more] than sexualizing women in the movement. Don’t tell me that’s not an issue. I’ve seen it happen in all kinds of radical circles, and ours is the worst for it.32

Logo for the White nationalist discussion site, Stormfront

As the Alternative Right has grown, it has abandoned this kind of self-criticism and debate about gender politics. Going beyond traditionalist claims about the sanctity of the family and natural gender roles, Alt Rightists have embraced an intensely misogynistic ideology, portraying women as irrational, vindictive creatures who need and want men to rule over them and who should be stripped of any political role.33 The Traditionalist Youth Network claims that “women’s biological drives are contrary to the best interests of civilization and… the past century or so of women’s enfranchisement and liberation has been detrimental to societal stability.” But the group frames this position as relatively moderate because, unlike some rightists, they don’t believe “that women are central to the destruction of Western Civilization”—they are simply being manipulated by the Jews.34 The Daily Stormer has banned female contributors and called for limiting women’s roles in the movement, sparking criticism from women on the more old school White nationalist discussion site Stormfront. Far-right blogger Matt Forney asserts that “Trying to ‘appeal’ to women is an exercise in pointlessness…. it’s not that women should be unwelcome [in the Alt Right], it’s that they’re unimportant.”35

A big reason for this shift toward hardline woman-hating is that the Alt Right has become closely intertwined with the so-called manophere, an online antifeminist male subculture that has grown rapidly in recent years, largely outside traditional right-wing networks. The manosphere includes various overlapping circles, such as Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), who argue that the legal system and media unfairly discriminate against men; Pickup Artists (PUAs), who help men learn how to manipulate women into having sex with them; Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOWs), who protest women’s supposed dominance by avoiding relationships with them; and others.36

Manospherians have emphasized male victimhood—the false belief that men in U.S. society are oppressed or disempowered by feminism or by women in general. This echoes the concept of “reverse racism,” the idea that White Americans face unfair discrimination, which White nationalists have promoted since the 1970s.

Daryush Valizadeh writes at the PUA site, Return of Kings.

Some manospherians are family-centered traditionalists while others celebrate a more predatory sexuality. Daryush Valizadeh, who writes at the PUA site Return of Kings under the name Roosh V, embodies this tension. He argues that the nuclear family with one father and one mother is the healthiest unit for raising children, and socialism is damaging because it makes women dependent on the government and discourages them from using their “feminine gifts” to “land a husband.” Yet Valizadeh has also written 10 how-to books for male sex tourists with titles such as Bang Ukraine and Bang Iceland. Valizadeh doesn’t dwell on his own glaring inconsistency, but does suggest in his article, “What is Neomasculinity?,” that the dismantling of patriarchal rules has forced men to pursue “game” as a defensive strategy “to hopefully land some semblance of a normal relationship.”37

Like the Alt Right, manosphere discourse ranges from intellectual arguments to raw invective, although the line between them is often blurred. Paul Elam’s A Voice for Men, founded in 2009, became one of the manosphere’s most influential websites with intentionally provocative articles arguing, for example, that the legal system was so heavily stacked against men that rape trial jurors should vote to acquit “even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true.”38 Elam also “satirically” declared October “Bash a Violent Bitch Month,” urging men to fight back against physically abusive female partners. He offered “satire” such as:

I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles.39

Manospherians also tend to promote homophobia and transphobia, which is consistent with their efforts to re-impose rigid gender roles and identities. At Return of Kings, Valizadeh has denounced the legalization of same-sex marriage as “one phase of a degenerate march to persecute heterosexuals, both legally and socially, while acclimating young children to the homosexual lifestyle.”40 On the same website, Matt Forney warned that trans women who have sex with cis men might be guilty of “rape by fraud.”41 At the same time, some manosphere sites have sought to reach out to gay men. A Voice for Men published a series of articles by writer Matthew Lye that were later collected into the e-book The New Gay Liberation: Escaping the Fag End of Feminism, which Paul Elam described as “a scorching indictment of feminist hatred of all things male.”42

One of the events that brought the manosphere to public attention was the Gamergate controversy. Starting in 2014, a number of women who worked in—or were critical of sexism in—the video game industry were subjected to large-scale campaigns of harassment, coordinated partly with the #Gamergate Twitter hashtag. Supporters of Gamergate claimed that that campaign was a defense of free speech and journalistic ethics and against political correctness, but it included streams of misogynistic abuse, rape and death threats, as well as doxxing (public releases of personal information), which caused several women to leave their homes out of fear for their physical safety.43 The Gamergate campaign took the pervasive, systematic pattern of threats and abuse that has been long used to silence women on the internet, and sharpened it into a focused weapon of attack.44 Gamergate, in turn, strongly influenced the Alt Right’s own online activism, as I discuss below.

There is significant overlap between the manosphere and the Alt Right. Both are heavily active on discussion websites such as 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit, and a number of prominent Alt Rightists—such as Forney, Theodore Beale (pseudonym: “Vox Day”), James Weidmann (“Roissy”), and Andrew Auernheimer (“weev”)—have also been active in the manosphere. Many other Alt Rightists have absorbed and promoted manosphere versions of gender ideology.

Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh in Warsaw, Poland in 2014. (Photo: Bartek Kucharczyk via Wiki Commons).

But there have also been tensions between the two rightist movements. In 2015, Valizadeh (“Roosh V”) began to build a connection with the Alternative Right, attending an NPI conference and quoting extensively from antisemite Kevin MacDonald in a lengthy post about “The Damaging Effects of Jewish Intellectualism And Activism On Western Culture.”45 Some Alt Rightists responded favorably. One blogger commented that the manosphere was “not as stigmatized” as White nationalism and the Alt Right, and suggested hopefully that, “since the Manosphere has a very broad appeal it is possible that bloggers such as Roosh and Dalrock [a Christian manospherian] might serve as a stepping stone to guide formerly apathetic men towards the Alternative Right.”46 Matt Parrott of the Traditionalist Youth Network praised Valizadeh’s “What is Neomasculinity?” as “a masterful synthesis of human biodiversity knowledge, radical traditionalist principle, and pragmatic modern dating experience.”47

But the relationship soured quickly, largely because Valizadeh is Persian American. Although Andrew Anglin of The Daily Stormer tweeted that Valizadeh was “a civilized and honorable man,”48 many White nationalists denounced him as non White and an enemy. One tweeted that he was “a greasy Iranian” who “goes to Europe to defile white women and write books about it.”49 After studying Valizadeh’s accounts of his own sex tourism, Counter-Currents Publishing editor-in-chief Greg Johnson concluded that Roosh “is either a rapist or a fraud” and “it is not just feminist hysteria to describe Roosh as a rape advocate.” More broadly, Johnson wrote, “for all its benefits… the manosphere morally corrupts men. It does not promote the resurgence of traditional and biologically based sexual norms.”50 Valizadeh responded by blogging “The Alt Right Is Worse Than Feminism in Attempting to Control Male Sexual Behavior.”51

Male tribalism

Jack Donovan, an early contributor to AlternativeRight.com who has stayed active in the Alt Right as it has grown, offers a related but distinct version of male supremacist ideology. In a series of books and articles over the past decade, Donovan has advocated a system of patriarchy based on “tribal” comradeship among male warriors. Drawing on evolutionary psychology, he argues that in the past men have mostly organized themselves into small, close-knit “gangs,” which fostered true masculinity and men’s natural dominance over women. Yet modern “globalist civilization” “requires the abandonment of human scale identity groups for ‘one world tribe.’” A combination of “feminists, elite bureaucrats, and wealthy men,” he writes, has promoted male passivity and put women in a dominant role.52

Jack Donovan has advocated a system of patriarchy based on “tribal” comradeship among male warriors. (photo: Zachary O. Ray via Wiki Commons).

Unlike Christian rightists, who argue that feminism misleads women into betraying their true interests, Donovan sees feminism as an expression of women’s basic nature, which is “to calm men down and enlist their help at home, raising children, and fixing up the grass hut.” Today, he argues, feminists’ supposed alliance with globalist elites reflects this: “Women are better suited to and better served by the globalism and consumerism of modern democracies that promote security, no-strings attached sex and shopping.”53

Donovan’s social and political ideal is a latter-day tribal order that he calls “The Brotherhood,” in which all men would affirm their sacred loyalty to each other against the outside world. A man’s position would be based on “hierarchy through meritocracy,” not inherited wealth or status. All men would be expected to train and serve as warriors, and only warriors—meaning no women—would have a political voice. In this version of patriarchal ideology, unlike the Christian Right version, male comradeship is central and the family is entirely peripheral. An example of the kind of community Donovan envisions is the Odinist group Wolves of Vinland, which Donovan joined after visiting their off-the-grid community in rural Virginia in 2014. The Wolves use group rituals (including animal sacrifice) and hold fights between members to test their masculinity.54 The Wolves of Vinland have also been praised by White nationalist groups such as Counter-Currents Publishing, and one of their members has been imprisoned for attempting to burn down a Black church in Virginia.55

Donovan has written that he is sympathetic to White nationalist aims such as encouraging racial separatism and defending European Americans against “the deeply entrenched anti-white bias of multiculturalist orthodoxies.” White nationalism dovetails with his beliefs that all humans are tribal creatures and human equality is an illusion. But in contrast to most Alt Rightists, race is not Donovan’s main focus or concern. “My work is about men. It’s about understanding masculinity and the plight of men in the modern world. It’s about what all men have in common.” His “Brotherhood” ideal is not culturally specific and he’s happy to see men of other cultures pursue similar aims. “For instance, I am not a Native American, but I have been in contact with a Native American activist who read The Way of Men and contacted me to tell me about his brotherhood. I could never belong to that tribe, but I wish him great success in his efforts to promote virility among his tribesmen.”57

Donovan also echoes the 1909 Futurist Manifesto, a document that prefigured Italian Fascism. (Image: Wiki Commons)

There are strong resonances between Donovan’s ideas and early fascism’s violent male camaraderie, which took the intense, trauma-laced bonds that World War I veterans had formed in the trenches and transferred them into street-fighting formations such as the Italian squadristi and German storm troopers. Donovan also echoes the 1909 Futurist Manifesto, a document that prefigured Italian Fascism with statements such as “We want to glorify war—the only cure for the world—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman.”58 Thus it’s not surprising he has embraced the term “anarcho-fascism,” referring to “a unified male collective… bound together by a red ribbon of blood.”59

In the Alternative Right and among rightists in general, the most controversial part of Donovan’s ideology is that he advocates and practices “androphilia,” by which he means love or sex between masculine men. Donovan doesn’t call himself gay, rejects gay culture as effeminate, and justifies homophobia as a defense of masculinity rooted in the male gang’s collective survival needs. His version of homosexuality is a consummation of the priority that men in his ideal gang place on each other. As he has commented, “When you get right down to it, when it comes to sex, homos are just men without women getting in the way.”60 Many Alternative Rightists consider homosexuality in any form to be immoral and a threat to racial survival, and Donovan has been vilified on many Alt Right sites for his sexuality, yet his work has also won widespread support within the movement. Anti-Fascist News has noted a broader trend among many White nationalists to include openly homosexual writers (such as James O’Meara) and musicians (such as Death in June leader Douglas Pearce), while continuing to derogate gay culture.61

Right-wing anarchists

Like many far-right currents in the United States, the Alt Right offers a vision of the state that is both authoritarian and decentralist. Alt Rightists uphold classical fascism’s elitist and anti-democratic views on how society should be governed, and as the movement has grown it has increasingly applauded dictatorial figures such as Chile’s Augusto Pinochet.62 At the same time, the Alt Right goal of breaking up the United States into ethnically separate polities is inherently decentralist, and is rooted in both the European New Right’s vision of replacing nation-states with a federated “empire” and paleoconservatism’s traditional hostility to big government. The authoritarian/decentralist blend has been bolstered by two other political currents that have influenced the Alt Right: right-wing anarchism and neoreaction.

As part of its project to bring together a range of dissident right-wing voices, AlternativeRight.com published articles by self-identified anarchists Andrew Yeoman of Bay Area National Anarchists (BANA) and Keith Preston of the website Attack the System (ATS). National-Anarchism, which advocates a decentralized system of “tribal” enclaves, was initiated in the 1990s by Troy Southgate, a veteran of British neonazism.63 Over the following years, National-Anarchist groups formed in a number of countries across Europe, the Americas, and Australia/New Zealand. The first U.S. affiliate, BANA, began in 2007, and Southgate formally launched the National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) in 2010.64

National-Anarchism is a White nationalist ideology. Like Identitarianism, it draws heavily on the ENR doctrine that ethnic and racial separatism is needed to defend so-called biocultural diversity. The N-AM Manifesto declares that race categories are basic biological facts and some people are innately superior to others. National-Anarchists also repeat classic antisemitic conspiracy theories and, like many neonazis, promote neopaganism and closeness to nature.65 But National-Anarchists reject classical fascism for its emphasis on strong nation-states, centralized dictatorship, and collaboration with big business. Instead, they call for breaking up society into self-governing tribal communities, so that different cultures, beliefs, and practices can co-exist side by side.66

National-Anarchists have not had a significant presence in the Alternative Right since BANA disbanded in 2011, but self-described anarcho-pluralist Keith Preston has continued to participate in Alt Right forums, for example speaking at National Policy Institute conferences and on The Right Stuff podcasts. Preston is a former left-wing anarchist who moved to the Right in the 1990s and then founded the group American Revolutionary Vanguard, which is better known today by the name of its website, Attack the System.67 ATS brings together a number of right-wing currents, including National-Anarchist, libertarian, White nationalist, Duginist, and others, among it editors and contributors, but Preston’s own ideology is distinct from all of these.68

Like the National-Anarchists, Preston advocates a decentralized, diverse network of self-governing communities, while rejecting left-wing anarchism’s commitment to dismantle social hierarchy and oppression. Authoritarian and supremacist systems would be fully compatible with the anarcho-pluralist model, as long as they operated on a small scale. But unlike National-Anarchists, Preston frames his decentralist ideal in terms of individual free choice rather than tribalism, and he is not a White nationalist.69 Although Preston has echoed some racist ideas such as the claim that non-European immigrants threaten to destroy Western civilization, his underlying philosophy is based not on race but rather a generic, Nietzschean elitism that is not ethnically specific.70 While Preston himself is White, several of his closest associates in the Attack the System inner circle are people of color.

Preston has offered several reasons for his involvement in the Alternative Right. He sees the movement as an important counterweight to what he calls “totalitarian humanism” (supposedly state-enforced progressive values, i.e., political correctness), he regards the Alt Right’s foreign policy non-interventionism and economic nationalism as superior to what the Republican or Democratic parties advocate, and he shares many Alt Rightists’ interest in earlier European “critics of liberal capitalism and mass democracy,”71 meaning people like Julius Evola, Carl Schmitt, and Ernst Jünger. In addition, the Alt Right allows Preston to avoid political isolation, as his efforts to reach out to left-wing anarchists have been almost completely rejected.

Preston is a respected figure within the Alternative Right, and his anti-statist vision appeals to some White nationalists in the movement. For example, Counter-Currents author Francisco Albanese has argued that it provides “the best and most viable option for the ethnic and racial survival” of Whites in regions where they form a minority of the population. In addition, “it is only outside the state that whites can come to understand the true essence of community and construction of a common destiny.”72 At the same time, anarcho-pluralism offers potential common ground between White nationalists and other critics of the existing order, such as anarcho-capitalists and other “market anarchists,” whose ideas are regularly featured on Attack the System, as well as the “libertarian theocrats” of the Christian Reconstructionist movement.73

Preston’s approach to political strategy takes this bridge-building further. Echoing Third Position fascists, who denounce both communism and capitalism, Preston and ATS call for a broad revolutionary alliance of all those who want to destroy U.S. imperialism and the federal government. Within U.S. borders, this would involve a “pan-secessionist” strategy uniting groups across the political spectrum that want to carve out self-governing enclaves free of federal government control.74 As a step in this direction, ATS supported a series of North American secessionist conventions, which brought together representatives of the neo-Confederate group League of the South, the Reconstructionist-influenced Christian Exodus, the libertarian Free State Project, advocates of Hawaiian independence, the left-leaning Second Vermont Republic, and others.75

Neoreaction

Neoreaction is another dissident right-wing current with a vision of small-scale authoritarianism that has emerged online in the past decade, which overlaps with and has influenced the Alternative Right. Like the Alt Right and much of the manosphere, neoreaction (often abbreviated as NRx, and also known as Dark Enlightenment) is a loosely unified school of thought that rejects egalitarianism in principle, argues that differences in human intelligence and ability are mainly genetic, and believes that cultural and political elites wrongfully limit the range of acceptable discourse. Blogger Curtis Yarvin (writing under the pseudonym Mencius Moldbug) first articulated neoreactionary ideology in 2007, but many other writers have contributed to it. Neoreaction emphasizes order and restoring the social stability that supposedly prevailed before the French Revolution, along with technocratic and futurist concerns such as transhumanism, a movement that hopes to radically “improve” human beings through technology. NRx theorist Nick Land is a leading advocate of accelerationism, which in his version sees global capitalism driving ever-faster technological change, to the point that artificial intelligence essentially replaces human beings. One critic wrote that neoreaction “combines all of the awful things you always suspected about libertarianism with odds and ends from PUA culture, Victorian Social Darwinism, and an only semi-ironic attachment to absolutism. Insofar as neoreactionaries have a political project, it’s to dissolve the United States into competing authoritarian seasteads on the model of Singapore…”76

PayPal co-founder and Trump supporter Peter Thiel. (Photo by JD Lasica via Flickr.)

Neoreactionaries, who are known for their arcane, verbose theoretical monologues, appear to be mostly young, computer-oriented men, and their ideas have spread partly through the tech startup scene. PayPal co-founder and Trump supporter Peter Thiel has voiced some neoreactionary-sounding ideas. In 2009, for example, he declared, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible” and “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women…have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.”77 Both Yarvin and fellow NRxer Michael Anissimov have worked for companies backed by Thiel.78 This doesn’t necessarily mean that Thiel is intentionally bankrolling the neoreactionary movement per se, but it points to resonances between that movement and Silicon Valley’s larger techno-libertarian discourse.

“At its heart, neoreaction is a critique of the entire liberal, politically-correct orthodoxy,” commented “WhiteDeerGrotto” on the NRx blog Habitable Worlds. “The Cathedral, a term coined by Moldbug, is a description of the institutions and enforcement mechanisms used to propagate and maintain this orthodoxy”—a power center that consists of Ivy League and other elite universities, The New York Times, and some civil servants. “The politically-correct propagandists assert that humans are essentially interchangeable, regardless of culture or genetics, and that some form of multicultural social-welfare democracy is the ideal, final political state for all of humanity. Neoreaction says no. The sexes are biologically distinct, genetics matter, and democracy is deeply flawed and fundamentally unstable.”79

While Alt Rightists largely agree with these neoreactionary ideas, and some outsiders have equated the two movements, Alt Right and neoreaction differ significantly. Alt Rightists might or might not invoke popular sovereignty as an achievement of European civilization, and try to strike a populist or anti-elitist pose, but neoreactionaries all regard regular people as utterly unsuited to hold political power—“a howling irrational mob” as NRx theorist Nick Land has put it.80 Some NRxers advocate monarchy; others want to turn the state into a corporation with members of an intellectual elite as shareholders.81 Conversely, neoreactionaries might or might not translate their genetic determinism into calls for racial solidarity, but for most Alt Rightists race is the basis for everything else.82 Unlike most Alt Rightists, leading neoreactionaries have not supported Donald Trump.83 In addition, while many Alt Rightists emphasize antisemitism, neoreactionaries generally do not, and some neoreactionaries are Jewish or, in Yarvin’s case, of mixed Jewish and non-Jewish ancestry.84 Indeed, in The Right Stuff’s lexicon of Alt Right terminology, “Neoreaction” translates as “Jews.”

At the same time, many Alt Rightists regard neoreaction as a related movement that offers many positive contributions. Some writers, such as Steve Sailer, have had a foot in both camps. Alt Rightist Gregory Hood has argued that White nationalism and neoreaction are complementary: “I’ve argued in the past that race is sufficient in and of itself to serve as a foundation for state policy. However, just saying that tells you very little about how precisely you execute that program. NRx and its theoretical predecessors are absolutely core to understanding how society works and how power functions.”85 Anarcho-pluralist Keith Preston applauded a proposal by NRxer Michael Anissimov to create breakaway enclaves in “low-population, defensible regions of the United States like Idaho.”86 On its own, neoreaction seems too esoteric to have much of a political impact, but its contribution to Alt Right ideology might be significant.

PART 3 – RELATIONSHIP WITH DONALD TRUMP

Political strategy debates

The Alternative Right first gained mainstream attention through its support for Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. In exploring the Alt Right’s relationship with the Trump campaign and with Trump as president-elect, several issues deserve special attention: the movement’s debates about political strategy, its skillful use of online activism, and its attraction of a wider circle of sympathizers and popularizers who came to be known as the “Alt Lite.”

Alt Rightists’ embrace of Trump followed several years in which they argued about whether to work within existing political channels or reject them entirely. During this period, American Renaissance columnist Hubert Collins called on White nationalists to use the electoral process and ally with more mainstream anti-immigrant groups to keep Whites at as high a percentage of the U.S. population as possible.87 In contrast, Gregory Hood of Counter-Currents Publishing declared that the United States was “beyond reform” and political secession was “the only way out.” Sidestepping this issue, many Alt Rightists have followed the European New Right lead and focused on a “metapolitical” strategy of seeking to transform the broader culture. In Lawrence Murray’s words, “When the idea of White nationalism has taken root among enough of our people, the potential to demand, demonstrate, and act will be superior to what it currently is.”89 Jack Donovan has argued that the U.S. is on the road to becoming a failed state and urged Alt Rightists to “build the kinds of resilient communities and networks of skilled people that can survive the collapse and preserve your identities after the Fall.”90 To Donovan, this is an optimistic scenario: “In a failed state, we go back to Wild West rules, and America becomes a place for men again—a land full of promise and possibility that rewards daring and ingenuity, a place where men can restart the world.”91

Donald Trump speaking to supporters in Phoenix, Arizona, 2016.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr).

Whether or not to work within established political channels has been debated at movement events, with some Alt Rightists moving from one position to another. Richard Spencer, for example, argued in 2011 that “the GOP could unite a substantial majority of white voters by focusing its platform on immigration restriction.” This strategy “would…ensure that future Americans inherit a country that resembles that of their ancestors.” But two years later, Spencer seemingly turned his back on the Republican Party and called for creating a separate White ethnostate in North America. He declared, “the majority of children born in the United States are non-White. Thus, from our perspective, any future immigration-restriction efforts are meaningless.” Spencer also argued that “restoring the Constitution,” (going back to an aristocratic republic run by property-owning White men) as some White nationalists advocated, would only lead to a similar or worse situation.

One approach has been to propose working within the system in order to weaken it, advocating changes that sound reasonable but require radical change—a right-wing version of the Trotskyist transitional demand strategy. Ted Sallis, for example, urged White nationalists to “demand a seat at the multicultural table, represented by real advocates of White interests, not groveling patsies.” This would involve using the language of multiculturalism to complain about “legitimate” cases of discrimination against Whites or members of other dominant groups. The aim here would not be “reforming the System. It is instead using the contradictions and weaknesses of the System against itself…”94

The Traditionalist Youth Network is a White nationalist group founded in 2013 by Matthew Heimbach.

To a large extent, Alternative Rightist support for Trump’s presidential candidacy followed a related approach of using the system against itself. Alt Rightists began praising Trump in 2015, and by mid-2016 most of the movement was applauding him. But this support was qualified by the recognition that Trump was not one of them and was not going to bring about the change they wanted. Brad Griffin, who blogs at Occidental Dissent under the name Hunter Wallace, hoped in late 2015 that Trump “provokes a fatal split that topples the GOP.” The Traditionalist Youth Network declared:

While Donald Trump is neither a Traditionalist nor a White nationalist, he is a threat to the economic and social powers of the international Jew. For this reason alone as long as Trump stands strong on deportation and immigration enforcement we should support his candidacy insofar as we can use it to push more hardcore positions on immigration and Identity. Donald Trump is not the savior of Whites in America, he is however a booming salvo across the bow of the Left and Jewish power to tell them that White America is awakening, and we are tired of business as usual.96

At The Right Stuff, “Professor Evola-Hitler” argued that Trump had broken important taboos on issues such as curtailing immigration and ending birthright citizenship, damaged the Republican Party’s pro-Israel coalition, shifted the party closer to ethnic nationalism, and “offers the opportunity for the Alt-Right to expand quickly,” but cautioned that “We need to be taking advantage of Trump, not allow Trump to take advantage of us.”97

Not all Alt Rightists supported Trump. The Right Stuff contributor “Auschwitz Soccer Ref” argued that Alt Rightists shouldn’t support Trump since two of his children had married Jews, making him “naturally loyal” to Israel.98 Jack Donovan suggested that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be preferable, because she would “drive home the reality that white men are no longer in charge… and that [the United States] is no longer their country and never will be again,”99 Keith Preston commented, “The alt-right’s attachment to Trump seems to be a mirror image repeat of the religious right’s attachment to Reagan, i.e. the case of an insurgent, somewhat reactionary, populist movement being taken for a ride by a thoroughly pro-ruling class centrist politician motivated primarily by personal ambition.”100 However, these anti-Trump voices were squarely in the minority.

Internet memes and harassment campaigns

Alt Rightists also turned online harassment and abuse into a potent tactic for frightening and silencing opponents. Photo: Sebastian via Flickr.

The main way that Alt Rightists helped Trump’s campaign was through online activism. A pivotal example came in the summer of 2015, when Alt Rightists promoted the #cuckservative meme to attack Trump’s GOP rivals as traitors and sellouts to liberalism. “Cuckservative” combines the words “conservative” and “cuckold,” meaning a man whose wife has sex with other men. As journalist Joseph Bernstein pointed out, “The term’s connotations are racist. By alluding to a genre of porn in which passive white husbands watch their wives have sex with black men, it casts its targets as impotent defenders of white people in America.”101 During the weeks leading up to the first Republican presidential debate, Alt Rightists spread the meme across social media to boost Trump and vilify his GOP rivals, as in a Tweet that showed a picture of Jeb Bush with the words, “Please fuck my country, Mexico. #Cuckservative.”102 As Anti-Fascist News pointed out, this initiative “allowed racialist discourse to shift into the public, making #cuckservative an accusation that mainstream Republicans feel like they have to answer to.”103

Alt Rightists also turned online harassment and abuse into a potent tactic for frightening and silencing opponents, borrowing directly from the manosphere’s Gamergate campaign discussed above. In the Spring of 2016, for example, anti-Trump protesters at Portland State University were flooded with racist, transphobic, and antisemitic messages, doxxing, and rape and death threats, sent from anonymous social media accounts. Reflecting the manosphere’s influence, Alt Right harassment often emphasized sexual violence and the humiliation of women and girls, even when men were the supposed targets.104 David French, staff writer at the conservative National Review, described the yearlong stream of relentless online abuse his family has endured because he criticized Trump and the Alt Right:

I saw images of my daughter’s face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button and kill her. I saw her face photoshopped into images of slaves. She was called a “niglet” and a “dindu.” The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming that she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with “black bucks.” People sent her pornographic images of black men having sex with white women, with someone photoshopped to look like me, watching.105

PULSE Nightclub sign in Orlando (photo: Daniel Ruyter via Flickr).

Another example of Alt Right online activism was the campaign to “wedge gays and Muslims,” as “Butch Leghorn” of The Right Stuff put it. Writing in June 2016, two days after Afghani American Omar Mateen murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Leghorn declared, “Gays will never be safe from Muslim violence, and the liberals will allow Muslim violence against gays because Muslims are higher ranked on the Progressive stack than gays…. This makes [the Orlando] shooting a very valuable wedge issue. By allowing Muslims into America, the Democrats are in effect choosing Muslims over gays. We simply need to hammer this issue. Meme magic is real boys, so spread this meme. Drive this wedge. Smash their coalition.”106 Leghorn offered several examples of talking points and images to use, such as a rainbow flag with the words “Fuck Islam” superimposed over it.

One of the Alt Right’s most skillful uses of social media in 2016 was the #DraftOurDaughters meme, which was trending on Twitter the week before the election. As the website Know Your Meme explained, “#DraftOurDaughters is a satirical social media hashtag launched by supporters of Donald Trump which encourages American women to register for Selective Service in preparation for hypothetical scenarios of United States military operations that would supposedly be launched by Hillary Clinton if she were elected as President of the United States.” The campaign included a series of fake Clinton campaign ads, many of which feature images of women in military uniform and slogans such as “Hillary will stand up to Russian Aggression. Will you stand with her?,” “I’d rather die in a war than live under bigotry,” and “In the White House or on Russian soil. The fight for equality never stops.”107

The Daily Stormer is White supremacist news and commentary website edited by Andrew Anglin.

#DraftOurDaughters portrayed the Clinton campaign as fusing feminism/multiculturalism and aggressive militarism. Since that was a reasonably accurate description of Clinton’s politics, the meme was equally effective as either disinformation or satire. A number of Alt Right sites, such as Vox Popoli and The Daily Stormer, promoted the campaign.108 Along with spreading the “ads” themselves, Alt Rightists also spread the phony claim that mainstream media had been taken in by them.109

The Alt Lite

As the Alt Right has grown and attracted increased attention, it has also developed complicated relationships with more moderate rightists. The movement has largely defined itself and drawn energy by denouncing conservatives, and some conservatives have returned the favor, such as the prestigious National Review.110 At the same time, other conservatives have taken on the role of apologists or supporters for the Alt Right, helping to spread a lot of its message without embracing its full ideology or its ethnostate goals. Richard Spencer and his comrades began to call this phenomenon the “Alt Right-lite” or simply the “Alt Lite.” Alt Rightists have relied on the Alt Lite to help bring its ideas to a mass, mainstream audience, but to varying degrees they have also regarded Alt Lite figures with resentment, as ideologically untrustworthy opportunists.

Breitbart News Network is the preeminent example of Alt Lite politics. Founded in 2007, Breitbart featured sensationalist attacks on liberals and liberal groups, praise for the Tea Party’s anti-big government populism, and aggressive denials that conservatives were racist, sexist, or homophobic. Under Steve Bannon, who took over leadership in 2012, the organ began to scapegoat Muslims and immigrants more directly.111 In March 2016, Breitbart published “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” by Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, which asserted—without evidence—that most Alt Rightists did not believe their own racist propaganda, but were actually just libertarians trying to shock people.112 The article helped boost the Alt Right’s profile and acceptability in mainstream circles, yet many Alt Rightists criticized it for glossing over their White nationalist ideology.113

Milo Yiannopoulos. (Photo by Kmeron for LeWeb13 Conference via Flickr.)

Over the following months, Yiannopoulos—a flamboyantly gay man of Jewish descent and a political performer who vilifies Muslims and women and refers to Donald Trump as “Daddy”—became publicly identified with the Alt Right himself, to mixed reviews from Alt Rightists.114 Meanwhile, Steve Bannon declared Breitbart “the platform of the Alt Right” and began publishing semi-veiled antisemitic attacks on Trump’s opponents, all while insisting that White nationalists, antisemites, and homophobes were marginal to the Alt Right.115 Richard Spencer was pleased when Donald Trump hired Bannon to run his campaign, commenting that “Breitbart has acted as a ‘gateway’ to Alt Right ideas and writers” and that the media outlet “has people on board who take us seriously, even if they are not Alt Right themselves.”116 But other Alt Rightists have been more critical of the Alt Lite phenomenon. At Occidental Dissent, Brad Griffin describes the Alt Lite as “basically conservative websites pushing Alt-Right material in order to generate clicks and revenue,” and asks, “What the hell does Milo Yiannopoulos—a Jewish homosexual who boasts about carrying on interracial relationships with black men—have to do with us?”117

CONCLUSION: THE ALT RIGHT AND THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY

Most Alt Rightists were thrilled by Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton, but not because they believe that Trump shares their politics or will bring about the changes that they want. Rather, they believe a Trump presidency will offer them “breathing room” to promote their ideology and to “move the Overton window” in their favor.118 In turn, they see themselves as the Trump coalition’s political vanguard, taking hardline positions that pull Trump further to the right while enabling him to look moderate by comparison. In Richard Spencer’s words, “The Alt Right and Trumpian populism are now aligned much in the way the Left is aligned with Democratic politicians like Obama and Hillary…. We—and only we—can say the things Trump can’t say . . . can criticize him in the right way . . . and can envision a new world that he can’t quite grasp.”119 The Traditionalist Youth Network was more specific: “We cannot and will not back down on the Jewish Question or our explicit racial identity. We won’t. Don’t worry. But we will join those who aren’t as radical as we are in pulling politics in our direction.”120

But the question of how to play that vanguard role has already sharpened tensions between the Alt Right and its sympathizers, and to some extent within the Alt Right itself. At the National Policy Institute conference shortly after the election, Spencer’s closing speech ended with the shout “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” which many audience members greeted with fascist salutes. The fact that it was caught on video by journalists made it a politically embarrassing moment. Alt Lite figure Mike Cernovich claimed, absurdly, that Spencer had acted on behalf of the government to deliberately discredit the movement. Several other sympathizers, and even long-time Alt Rightist Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents, also criticized Spencer’s behavior as damaging.121

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Arizona. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

In the months and years ahead, there are likely to be further tensions within the larger Trump coalition, which spans from Alt Rightists to mainstream conservatives. Although Trump’s choice of Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor puts someone with Alt Right ties close to the center of power, most of his other appointments are hardline establishment figures. On a number of issues, from immigration policy to Israel, Alt Rightists could easily find themselves pushed into an oppositional role. VDare.com founder Peter Brimelow has warned that Alt Rightists might “revolt” if the Trump administration fails to move in the direction they want.122

Even if that happens, however, Alt Rightists could continue to exert significant pressure on a Trump administration, because they know how to speak effectively to a large part of his popular base. The Alt Right has helped revitalize White nationalist and male supremacist politics in the United States. While earlier generations of far-right activists broke new ground with online bulletin boards such as Stormfront, Alt Rightists have made effective use of the internet for everything from theoretical debate to mass campaigns of targeted ridicule. In previous decades, White nationalists largely relied on coded language and euphemisms when seeking mass support, but Alt Rightists often parade their hate ideology aggressively and confidently. Although the movement has seen its share of infighting, it has also been relatively successful in crafting a workable “big-tent” culture that welcomes diverse points of view and fosters fruitful interchange with related ideological currents.

The Alt Right has been buoyed by Donald Trump’s drive to the presidency, and has aided Trump in return, while maintaining a clear sense of the relationship’s limits. Unlike many grassroots initiatives that pour themselves into electoral politics and get trapped, the Alt Right is well positioned to maintain its own identity and freedom of maneuver. Because it mostly exists online, the Alt Right does not have the infrastructure needed to launch a guerrilla war (as Nazi/Klan forces did in the 1980s) or build pseudo-state institutions (as Patriot groups did in the 1990s and are attempting again now), but it is in a strong position to pursue a “metapolitical” transformation of the political culture and thereby lay the groundwork for structural change, centered on its vision of a White ethnostate.

Endnotes

[1] David Weigel. “‘Cuckservative’—the conservative insult of the month, explained.” The Washington Post, July 29, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/29/cuckservative-the-conservative-insult-of-the-month-explained

[2] Abby Ohlheiser and Caitlin Dewey. “Hillary Clinton’s alt-right speech, annotated.” The Washington Post, August 25, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/25/hillary-clintons-alt-right-speech-annotated/

[3] Daniel Lombroso and Yoni Appelbaum. “‘Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President Elect.” The Atlantic, November 21, 2016. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/

[4] I use the term “Far Right” to refer to political forces that (a) promote human inequality based on race, gender, or other factors as natural or inevitable and (b) reject the legitimacy of the U.S. political system. This definition is specific to the United States today and does not necessarily apply to other times or places.

[5] Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. (New York: Guilford Press, 2000), 145-47, 160-61.

[6] Ibid., 243-44, 283-84.

[7] Rachel Tabachnick and Frank L. Cocozzelli. “Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right.” Political Research Associates, November 22, 2013. https://www.politicalresearch.org/2013/11/22/nullification-neo-confederates-and-the-revenge-of-the-old-right/

[8] Matthew N. Lyons, “Fragmented Nationalism: Right-Wing Responses to September 11 in Historical Context.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 127, no 4 (October, 2003), 398-404.

[9] Roger Griffin, “Plus ça change! The Fascist Legacy in the Metapolitics of the Nouvelle Droite.” Chapter for The Development of the Radical Right in France 1890-1995. (London: Routledge: 2000). Anton Shekhovtsov, “Aleksandr Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianism: The New Right a la Russe.” Religion Compass 3, no. 4 (2009): 697-716.

[10] Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier, “Manifesto of the French New Right in the Year 2000.” https://archive.org/details/ManifestoOfTheFrenchNewRightInTheYear2000

[11] In the 1990s, the ex-leftist journal Telos was instrumental in translating European New Right texts into English and engaging with ENR ideas. See for example the Telos Winter 1993-Fall 1994 (nos. 98-99) special double issue on “The French New Right: New Right-New Left-New Paradigm?”

[12] See, for example, Richard Spencer, “The Conservative Write.” Taki’s Magazine, August 6, 2008. http://takimag.com/article/the_conservative_write/print#axzz4VruMeHTg; Kevin DeAnna, “The Alternative Right.” Taki’s Magazine, July 26, 2009. http://takimag.com/article/the_alternative_right/print#axzz4VruMeHTg; and Jack Hunter, “Whither the Alternative Right?” Taki’s Magazine, November 3, 2009. http://takimag.com/article/whither_the_alternative_right#axzz4VruMeHTg

[13] Matthew N. Lyons, “AlternativeRight.com: Paleoconservatism for the 21st Century.” Three Way Fight. September 19, 2010, http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2010/09/alternativerightcom-paleoconservatism.html

[14] Greg Johnson, “Theory & Practice.” Counter-Currents Publishing, September 2010, http://www.counter-currents.com/2010/09/theory-practice/

[15] James Kirchick, “American Racist Richard Spencer Gets to Play the Martyr in Hungary.” The Daily Beast, October 7, 2014. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/07/american-racist-richard-spencer-gets-to-play-the-martyr-in-hungary.html

[16] Antifascist Front, “Alternative Internet Racism: Alt Right and the New Fascist Branding.” Anti-Fascist News, December 18, 2015. https://antifascistnews.net/2015/12/18/alternative-internet-racism-alt-right-and-the-new-fascist-branding/

[17] Lawrence Murray, “Fashism.” The Right Stuff, October 24, 2015. http://therightstuff.biz/2015/10/24/fashism/

[18] Richard Hoste, “Why an Alternative Right is Necessary.” AlternativeRight.com. February 24, 2010. http://www.radixjournal.com/altright-archive/altright-archive/main/the-magazine/why-an-alternative-right-is-necessary

[19] Johnson op cit., 2010.

[20] Lawrence Murray, “The Fight for the Alt-Right: The Rising Tide of Ideological Autism Against Big-Tent Supremacy.” The Right Stuff, March 6, 2016. http://therightstuff.biz/2016/03/06/big-tentism/

[21] Alfred W. Clark, “What is the #Altright?” Radix, January 20, 2016. http://www.radixjournal.com/blog/2016/1/20/what-is-the-altright

[22] Richard B. Spencer, “Identitarianism—A Conversation Starter.” Radix, June 15, 2015. http://www.radixjournal.com/journal/2015/6/15/identitarianisma-conversation-starter

[23] Darth Stirner, “Fascist Libertarianism: For a Better World.” The Right Stuff, January 23, 2013. http://therightstuff.biz/2013/01/23/fascist-libertarianism-for-a-better-world/

[24] Antifascist Front. “#Cuckservative: How the ‘Alt Right’ Took Off Their Masks and Revealed Their White Hoods.” Anti-Fascist News, August 16, 2015. https://antifascistnews.net/2015/08/16/cuckservative-how-the-alt-right-took-off-their-masks-and-revealed-their-white-hoods/

[25] Ibid.

[26] Andrew Anglin, “Intensified Jewing: Vox Covers the Alt-Right.” Daily Stormer, April 18, 2016. http://www.dailystormer.com/intensified-jewing-vox-covers-the-alt-right/

[27] Auschwitz Soccer Ref, “Zero Tolerance: Why Aren’t White Nationalists and Jewish Nationalists Fellow Travelers?” The Right Stuff, April 11, 2016. http://therightstuff.biz/2016/04/11/zero-tolerance-why-arent-white-nationalists-and-jewish-nationalists-fellow-travelers/

[28] Jared Taylor, “Jews and American Renaissance.” American Renaissance, April 14, 2006. http://www.amren.com/news/2006/04/jews_and_americ/

[29] Eugene Girin, “Is the Alt Right Anti-Semitic?” AlternativeRight.com, July 29, 2010. [Reposted in Radix.] http://www.radixjournal.com/altright-archive/altright-archive/main/the-magazine/is-the-traditionalist-right-anti-semitic

[30] M. K. Lane, “Will Jews Change Sides?” Counter-Currents Publishing, February 17, 2016. http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/02/will-jews-change-sides/

[31] Alex Kurtagic, “Women as a Measure of Credibility.” AlternativeRight.com, May 25, 2011. http://www.radixjournal.com/altright-archive/altright-archive/main/blogs/untimely-observations/women-as-a-measure-of-credibility

[32] Quoted in Lyons op cit. 2010.

[33] Matthew N. Lyons, “Alt-right: more misogynistic than many neonazis.” Three Way Fight, December 3, 2016. http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2016/12/alt-right-more-misogynistic-than-many.html

[34] Traditionalist Youth Network, “Jews Destroy Women: A Response to ‘Women Destroy Nations.” Traditionalist Youth Network, February 2016. http://www.tradyouth.org/2016/02/jews-destroy-women/

[35] Danielle Paquette, “The alt-right isn’t only about white supremacy. It’s about white male supremacy.” Chicago Tribune, November 25, 2016. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-alt-right-white-male-supremacy-20161125-story.html

[36] Jeff Sharlet, “Are You Man Enough for the Men’s Rights Movement?” GQ, February 3, 2014. http://www.gq.com/story/mens-rights-activism-the-red-pill

[37] Roosh V [Daryush Valizadeh], “What is Neomasculinity?” Roosh V, May 6, 2015. http://www.rooshv.com/what-is-neomasculinity

[38] Paul Elam, “Jury duty at a rape trial? Acquit!” A Voice for Men, July 20, 2010. http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/jury-duty-at-a-rape-trial-acquit/

[39] Paul Elam, “October is the fifth annual Bash a Violent Bitch Month” A Voice for Men, September 30, 2015. http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/domestic-violence-industry/october-is-the-fifth-annual-bash-a-violent-bitch-month/

[40] Roosh V [Daryush Valizadeh], “Why Homosexual Marriage Matters For Straight Men.” Return of Kings, October 12, 2015. https://archive.is/HzSIx#selection-139.0-139.16

[41] Matt Forney, “Are Transsexuals Who Sleep With Straight Men Guilty of Rape?” Return of Kings, December 8, 2014. http://www.returnofkings.com/48665/are-transsexuals-who-sleep-with-straight-men-guilty-of-rape

[42] Paul Elam, “Andy Bob exposes feminist hatred of gay men in new book.” A Voice for Men, January 7, 2016. http://www.avoiceformen.com/a-voice-for-men/andy-bob-exposes-feminist-hatred-of-gay-men-in-new-book/

[43] Stephen Totilo, “Another Woman in Gaming Flees Home Following Death Threats.” Kotaku, October 11, 2014. http://kotaku.com/another-woman-in-gaming-flees-home-following-death-thre-1645280338

[44] Amanda Hess, “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.” Pacific Standard, January 6, 2014. https://psmag.com/why-women-aren-t-welcome-on-the-internet-aa21fdbc8d6

[45] Roosh V [Daryush Valizadeh], “The Damaging Effects of Jewish Intellectualism And Activism On Western Culture.” Return of Kings, May 4, 2015. http://www.returnofkings.com/62716/the-damaging-effects-of-jewish-intellectualism-and-activism-on-western-culture

[46] Dota, “Manosphere Rising.” Alternative Right, May 14, 2015. http://alternative-right.blogspot.com/2015/05/manosphere-rising.html

[47] Matt Parrott, “An Endorsement of Roosh’s ‘Neomasculinity’ Manifesto.” Traditionalist Youth Network, May 2015 [updated 19 January 2016]. http://www.tradyouth.org/2015/05/roosh-neomasculinity/

[48] David Futrelle, Hitler-loving dudes named Andrew agree: Roosh V is a-OK! (Even though he’s not white.)” We Hunted the Mammoth, August 15, 2015. http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2015/08/15/hitler-loving-dudes-named-andrew-agree-roosh-v-is-a-ok-even-though-hes-not-white/

[49] David Futrelle, “Roosh V shocked to discover that white supremacist movement is full of white supremacists.” We Hunted the Mammoth, February 24, 2016. http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2016/02/24/roosh-v-shocked-to-discover-that-white-supremacist-movement-is-full-of-white-supremacists/

[50] Greg Johnson, “Roosh Really is a Rape Advocate (& a Rapist, if He’s Telling the Truth).” Counter-Currents Publishing n.d., https://archive.is/T66uL

[51] Roosh V [Daryush Valizadeh], “The Alt Right Is Worse Than Feminism in Attempting to Control Male Sexual Behavior.” Return of Kings, February 22, 2016. http://www.returnofkings.com/79234/the-alt-right-is-worse-than-feminism-in-attempting-to-control-male-sexual-behavior; Futrelle 2016 op cit.

[52] Jack Donovan, The Way of Men. (Milwaukie, Ore.: Dissonant Hum.: 2012), 138-9.

[53] Ibid., 137, 148.

[54] Jack Donovan, “A Time for Wolves.” Jack Donovan, June 14, 2014. http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2014/06/a-time-for-wolves/

[55] Rose City Antifa, “The Wolves of Vinland: a Fascist Countercultural ‘Tribe’ in the Pacific Northwest.” Rose City Antifa, November 7, 2016. http://rosecityantifa.org/articles/the-wolves-of-vinland-a-fascist-countercultural-tribe-in-the-pacific-northwest/

[56] Jack Donovan, “Mighty White.” Jack Donovan, December 18, 2011. http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2011/12/mighty-white/

[57] Jack Donovan, A Sky Without Eagles: Selected Essays and Speeches 2010-2014. (Milwaukie, Ore.: Dissonant Hum, 2014), 166.

[58] F. T. Marinetti, “The Futurist Manifesto.” (1909). http://bactra.org/T4PM/futurist-manifesto.html

[59] Jack Donovan, “Anarcho-Fascism.” Jack Donovan, March 3, 2013. http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2013/03/anarcho-fascism/

[60] Jack Donovan, Comment. Roosh V Forum, November 16, 2012. https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-17870.html

[61] Antifascist Front, “Queer Fascism: Why White Nationalists Are Trying to Drop Homophobia.” Anti-Fascist News, November 6, 2015.

[62] Shane Burley, “How the Alt-Right Is Attempting to Hide Its White Supremacist Ties.” Truthout, September 15, 2016. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37611-how-the-alt-right-is-attempting-to-hide-its-white-supremacist-ties

[63] Spencer Sunshine, “Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists.” The Public Eye Magazine 23, no. 4 (2008), https://www.politicalresearch.org/2008/01/28/rebranding-fascism-national-anarchists/; Graham D. Macklin, “Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction.” Patterns of Prejudice 39, no. 3 (2005).

[64] Greg Johnson, “Bay Area National Anarchists: An Interview with Andrew Yeoman, Part 1.” The Occidental Quarterly, August 21, 2009. http://www.toqonline.com/blog/interview-with-andrew-yeoman-part-i/; “THIRD WAY: Introducing the National-Anarchist Movement.” National-Anarchist Movement, 3 October, 2010. http://www.national-anarchist.net/2010/10/third-way-introducing-national.html

[65] National-Anarchist Movement, “N-AM Manifesto.” National-Anarchist Movement (2010). http://www.national-anarchist.net/2010/09/national-anarchist-movement-manifesto_18.html

[66] National-Anarchist Movement, “National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) FAQ.” National-Anarchist Movement, November 21, 2012. http://www.national-anarchist.net/2012/10/national-anarchist-movement-n-am-faq.html

[67] Matthew N. Lyons, “Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism.” New Politics (website), April 29, 2011. http://newpol.org/content/rising-above-herd-keith-prestons-authoritarian-anti-statism

[68] American Revolutionary Vanguard, “Statement of Purpose.” Attack the System, 2016. https://attackthesystem.com/statement-of-purpose/

[69] Keith Preston, “The National-Anarchist Litmus Test.” Attack the System, April 24, 2009. https://attackthesystem.com/2009/04/24/the-national-anarchist-litmus-test/; Keith Preston, “The Thoughts That Guide Me.” Attack the System (2005), https://attackthesystem.com/the-thoughts-that-guide-me-a-personal-reflection/; Lyons 2011 op cit.

[70] Keith Preston, “Mass Immigration and Totalitarian Humanism.” Speech at National Policy Institute Conference, June 23, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyQPlCJxtEE; Preston 2005 op cit.

[71] Keith Preston, “What, Exactly, is the ‘Alternative Right?’” [Introductory comments.] Attack the System, December 23, 2015. https://attackthesystem.com/2015/12/23/what-exactly-is-the-alternative-right/

[72] Francisco Albanese, “Rethinking White Tribalism: Anarchy in the Southern Cone.” Counter-Currents Publishing, June 5, 2014.

[73] Keith Preston, “Anarchist Economics Compared and Contrasted: Anarcho-Capitalism vs Anarcho-Syndicalism/Communism.” Attack the System, March 21, 2015. https://attackthesystem.com/2015/03/21/anarchist-economics-compared-and-contrasted-anarcho-capitalism-vs-anarcho-syndicalismcommunism/; Michael J. McVicar, “The Libertarian Theocrats: The Long, Strange History of R. J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism.” The Public Eye, vol. 22, no. 3 (Fall 2007). http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v22n3/libertarian.html

[74] Keith Preston, “Anarcho-Pluralism and Pan-Secessionism: What They Are and What They Are Not.” Attack the System, August 8, 2010. https://attackthesystem.com/2010/08/08/anarcho-pluralism-and-pan-secessionism-what-they-are-and-what-they-are-not/

[75] Keith Preston, “Third North American Secessionists Convention — A Review.” Attack the System, November 19, 2008.

[76] Park MacDougald, “The Darkness Before the Right.” The Awl, September 28, 2015. https://theawl.com/the-darkness-before-the-right-84e97225ac19

[77] Peter Thiel, ‘The Education of a Libertarian.” Cato Unbound, April 13, 2009. https://www.cato-unbound.org/2009/04/13/peter-thiel/education-libertarian

[78] Klint Finley, “Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries.” TechCrunch, 22 November 2013, http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/22/geeks-for-monarchy/

[79] Scharlach, “Neoreaction = Monarchy?” Habitable Worlds, 23 November 2013.

[80] Nick Land, “The Dark Enlightenment: Part 1.” The Dark Enlightenment (2013), http://www.thedarkenlightenment.com/the-dark-enlightenment-by-nick-land/; MacDougald op cit.

[81] Finley op cit.

[82] Hubert Collins and Hadley Bishop, “Two Prominent Identitarians Give Us Their Thoughts On Neoreaction.” Interview with Michael McGregor and Gregory Hood. Social Matter, October 15, 2014. http://www.socialmatter.net/2014/10/15/724/

[83] Dylan Matthews, “The alt-right is more than warmed-over white supremacy. It’s that, but way way weirder.” Vox, April 18, 2016. http://www.vox.com/2016/4/18/11434098/alt-right-explained

[84] Mencius Moldbug [Curtis Yarvin], “Why I am not an anti-Semite.” Unqualified Reservations, June 23, 2007. http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-i-am-not-anti-semite.html

[85] Collins and Bishop op cit.

[86] Keith Preston, “The Growth of the Alternative Right.” Attack the System, January 4, 2016. https://attackthesystem.com/2016/01/04/the-growth-of-the-alternative-right/

[87] Anti-Defamation League, “Point of Contention: A Fractured White Supremacist Take on Immigration.” Anti-Defamation League, May 5, 2015. http://www.adl.org/civil-rights/immigration/c/point-of-contention-immigration.html

[88] Gregory Hood, “The Solution is State Power.” Counter-Currents Publishing, December 2012. http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/12/the-solution-is-state-power/

[89] Lawrence Murray, “White Nationalism FAQ.” The Right Stuff, April 14, 2016. http://therightstuff.biz/2016/04/14/white-nationalism-faq/

[90] Jack Donovan, “Becoming the New Barbarians.” Radix, December 23, 2013. http://www.radixjournal.com/journal/becoming-the-new-barbarians

[91] Jack Donovan, “The Bright Side of Illegal Immigration.” Jack Donovan, November 13, 2012. http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2012/11/the-bright-side-of-illegal-immigration/

[92] Richard Spencer, “The Majority Strategy: The Essential Argument—Why The GOP Must Win White America,” V-Dare September 8, 2011. http://www.vdare.com/articles/the-majority-strategy

[93] Richard Spencer, “Facing the Future as a Minority,” The National Policy Institute April 30, 2013. http://www.npiamerica.org/the-national-policy-institute/blog/facing-the-future-as-a-minority

[94] Ted Sallis, “Democratic Multiculturalism: Strategy & Tactics.” Counter-Currents Publishing, November 19, 2014. http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/11/democratic-multiculturalism/

[95] Hunter Wallace [Brad Griffin], “Trump, White Nationalists, The Media.” Occidental Dissent, December 10, 2015. Comment by Hunter Wallace, December 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm. https://web.archive.org/web/20160114034742/http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2015/12/10/trump-white-nationalists-the-media/

[96] Traditionalist Youth Network, “The Trump Train and the Southern Strategy: The Only Hope for the GOP.” Traditionalist Youth Network, October 2015. http://www.tradyouth.org/2015/10/the-trump-train-and-the-southern-strategy-the-only-hope-for-the-gop/

[97] Professor Evola-Hitler, “Trump’s Our Guy for the 2016 Election. We Have No Choice.” The Right Stuff, April 29, 2016. http://therightstuff.biz/2016/04/29/trumps-our-guy-for-the-2016-election-we-have-no-choice/

[98] Auschwitz Soccer Ref, “Trump’s Not Our Guy. It’s Time to Stop Pretending Otherwise.” The Right Stuff, April 25, 2016. http://therightstuff.biz/2016/04/25/trumps-not-our-guy-its-time-to-stop-pretending-otherwise/

[99] Jack Donovan, “No One Will Ever Make America Great Again.” Jack Donovan, July 7, 2016. http://www.jack-donovan.com/axis/2016/07/no-one-will-ever-make-america-great-again/

[100] Keith Preston, “The Alternative Right — An Autopsy.” Attack the System, May 21, 2016. https://attackthesystem.com/2016/05/21/the-alternative-right-an-autopsy/

[101] Joseph Bernstein, “Behind The Racist Hashtag That Is Blowing Up Twitter.” BuzzFeed, July 27, 2015. https://www.buzzfeed.com/josephbernstein/behind-the-racist-hashtag-some-donald-trump-fans-love

[102] Ibid.

[103] Antifascist Front (2015), “#Cuckservative” op cit.

[104] Robert Evans, “5 Things You Learn Being Attacked By The Alt-Right.” Cracked, September 20, 2016. http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2381-toddler-rape-threats-other-tactics-alt-right.html

[105] David French, “The Price I’ve Paid for Opposing Donald Trump.” National Review, October 21, 2016. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/441319/donald-trump-alt-right-internet-abuse-never-trump-movement

[106] Butch Leghorn, “Wedging Gays and Muslims,” The Right Stuff June 14, 2016, http://therightstuff.biz/2016/06/14/wedging-gays-and-muslims/

[107] Know Your Meme. N.d. “#DraftOurDaughters.” Know Your Meme. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/draftourdaughters

[108] Eric Striker, “#DraftOurDaughters: Feminist Hillary Supporters Vow To Fight War With Russia For Us.” The Daily Stormer, October 28, 2016. http://www.dailystormer.com/draftourdaughters-feminist-hillary-supporters-vow-to-fight-war-with-russia-for-us/; Vox Day[Theodore Beale], “Draft our Daughters.” Vox Popoli, October 28, 2016. http://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/10/draft-our-daughters.html

[109] Abby Ohlheiser, “What was fake on the Internet this election: #DraftOurDaughters, Trump’s tax returns.” The Washington Post, October 31, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/10/31/what-was-fake-on-the-internet-this-election-draftourdaughters-trumps-tax-returns/

[110] Ian Tuttle, “The Racist Moral Rot at the Heart of the Alt-Right.” National Review, April 5, 2016. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/433650/alt-rights-racism-moral-rot

[111] Stephen Piggott, “Is Breitbart.com Becoming the Media Arm of the ‘Alt-Right’?” Hatewatch, April 28, 2016. Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/04/28/breitbartcom-becoming-media-arm-alt-right

[112] Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” Breitbart, March 29, 2016. http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/03/29/an-establishment-conservatives-guide-to-the-alt-right/

[113] Antifascist Front, “Going Full Fash: Breitbart Mainstreams the ‘Alt Right’.” Anti-Fascist News, April 5, 2016. https://antifascistnews.net/2016/04/05/going-full-fash-breitbart-mainstreams-the-alt-right/

[114] Antifascist Front, “Meet the Alt Lite, the People Mainstreaming the Alt Right’s White Nationalism.” Anti-Fascist News, November 3, 2016. https://antifascistnews.net/2016/11/03/meet-the-alt-lite-the-people-mainstreaming-the-alt-rights-white-nationalism/

[115] Sarah Posner, “How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists.” Mother Jones, August 22, 2016. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/stephen-bannon-donald-trump-alt-right-breitbart-news; Michelle Goldberg, “Breitbart Calls Trump Foe ‘Renegade Jew.’ This Is How Anti-Semitism Goes Mainstream.” Slate, May 16, 2016. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/05/16/breitbart_calls_bill_kristol_a_renegade_jew_is_disgusting.html

[116] Richard B. Spencer, “Make Trump Trump Again.” Radix, August 17, 2016. http://www.radixjournal.com/blog/2016/8/17/make-trump-trump-again

[117] Hunter Wallace [Brad Griffin], “Alt-Right vs. Alt-Lite.” Occidental Dissent, November 23, 2016. http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2016/11/23/alt-right-vs-alt-lite/

[118] Vox Day [Theodore Beale], “Trumpslide!” Vox Popoli, November 9, 2016. “http://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/11/one-last-chance-america.html; James Dunphy, “It’s Time to Turn Up the Heat.” Counter-Currents Publishing, November 2016. http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/11/its-time-to-turn-up-the-heat/

[119] Richard B. Spencer, “We the Vanguard Now.” Radix, November 9, 2016. http://www.radixjournal.com/blog/2016/11/9/we-the-vanguard-now

[120] Matt Parrott, “Trump Apocalypse Now.” Traditionalist Youth Network, November 2016. http://www.tradyouth.org/2016/11/trump-apocalypse-now/#more-53331

[121] Antifascist Front, “Let’s Watch as the Alt Right Implodes.” Anti-Fascist News, December 4, 2016. https://antifascistnews.net/2016/12/04/lets-watch-as-the-alt-right-implodes/

[122] Rory Carroll, “‘Alt-right’ groups will ‘revolt’ if Trump shuns white supremacy, leaders say.” The Guardian, December 27, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/27/alt-right-donald-trump-white-supremacy-backlash

Richard Spencer’s Mom Spins Victim Narrative for Self, While Neonazis Target Jews

Downtown Whitefish, MT. (Photo: Ted via Flickr).

Before Richard Spencer came to town in 2011, the tourist destination of Whitefish, Montana, was known mostly to well-heeled aficionados of the sporting life for its splendid vistas and ski slopes. Now it’s making news as a battleground in the fight against a rising tide of antisemitism that has greeted the election of Donald Trump.1)Jonathan Mahler, “Anti-Semitic Posts, Many From Trump Supporters, Surge on Twitter,” New York Times, October 19, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/us/politics/anti-semitism-trump-supporters-twitter.html.

As president and director of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a far-right, White nationalist organization, Spencer has put Whitefish on the map in a whole new way, roiling the waters of civic life, as local activists and civic leaders have sought to counter the unwelcome notoriety conferred upon their idyllic environs by Spencer, the self-styled spokesman for the racist, misogynist movement he has branded as the Alternative Right, known by the shorthand, Alt-Right. Most recently, Jewish residents of Whitefish (and at least one person who was apparently mistakenly identified as Jewish) have found themselves harassed by neonazis and White nationalists who object to an effort by a local real estate agent to help Spencer’s mother, Sherry, sell a commercial building she owns in town, and her urging of Sherry Spencer to publicly disavow her son’s stated beliefs.2)Christine Hauser, “After Neo-Nazi Posting, Police in Whitefish, Mont., Step Up Patrols,” New York Times, December 20, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/20/us/whitefish-montana-jews-daily-stormer.html. That realtor, Tanya Gersh, is Jewish.

Sherry Spencer has since publicly complained that she is being unfairly targeted for the beliefs of her son,3)Sherry Spencer, “Does Love Really Live Here?”, Medium, December 16, 2016, https://medium.com/@recnepss/does-love-really-live-here-fff159563ba3#.lq1nwa2lz. failing to note that, as of December 2015, NPI was registered with the Montana secretary of state as an entity that conducts its business from Sherry Spencer’s six-bedroom home in Whitefish.4)Business Entity Registration (D231213), Montana Secretary of State.

In the world of the Right, no story satisfies so completely as that of an upstanding member of the dominant culture allegedly “victimized” by a minority group or a disadvantaged group’s champions. Witness the spate of so-called “religious freedom” claims by right-wing Christian evangelicals against measures intended to provide equal access to LGBTQ people, as is the case with North Carolina’s anti-trans HB2 measure, or women, as with Supreme Court challenges to the contraception mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act. During the presidential campaign, President-elect Trump stoked the flames of resentment by telling his mostly White supporters that they were the victims of misplaced, left-wing “political correctness.” His fans ate it up.

Richard Spencer is the president and director of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a far-right, White nationalist organization.

* * *

In the wake of a now-notorious November 19 NPI gathering in Washington, D.C., headlined by her son, Sherry Spencer found herself in a tough spot with many of her Whitefish neighbors, some of whom were discussing conducting protests outside the commercial building she owns.5)Joseph Goldstein, “Alt-Right Gathering Exults in Trump Election With Nazi-Era Salute,” New York Times, November 20, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/alt-right-salutes-donald-trump.html.
The NPI conference drew national attention not just as a coming out party for the White nationalist supporters of Trump’s election, but for Richard Spencer’s grand finale, in which he quoted Nazi propaganda in German and finished with a salute to the new regime reminiscent of scenes of rallies led by Adolf Hitler. “Hail Trump!” Spencer shouted. “Hail our people! Hail victory!” With that last “hail”—the English translation of the Nazi chant “Sieg heil”—a number of participants responded with the stiff-armed Roman salute used by the Nazis.6)Daniel Lombroso and Yoni Appelbaum, “’Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President-Elect,” The Atlantic, November 21, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/.

Spencer was already a star on the Far Right, but with this stunt he grabbed the spotlight of national media. Many in Whitefish were alarmed by the racist in their midst; business owners were left to ponder what it could mean to draw tourists to a town whose most famous resident was known for his emulation of one of history’s greatest monsters.

Love Lives Here is an affiliate of the Montana Human Rights Network, which monitors and counters the activities of far-right groups in the state.

In 2014, long before Spencer’s Washington confab took place, activists with the community group Love Lives Here (an affiliate of the Montana Human Rights Network, which monitors and counters the activities of far-right groups in the state) organized Whitefish residents to pass a resolution promoting diversity and tolerance in the city council. The resolution came about after proponents abandoned an earlier attempt to ban “hate groups” such as NPI from doing business in the municipality. The Flathead Beacon, a local news outlet, reported that supporters of the no-hate-group measure couldn’t come up with a proposal likely to survive First Amendment challenges.7)Tristan Scott, “Whitefish Council Adopts Resolution Supporting Diversity, Tolerance,” Flathead Beacon, December 2, 2014, http://flatheadbeacon.com/2014/12/02/whitefish-council-adopts-resolution-supporting-diversity-tolerance/.

But with Trump’s unexpected success in the Republican primary, and the subsequent appointment of former Breitbart News executive Stephen K. Bannon as his campaign CEO, Spencer began to emerge from his semi-obscurity. Bannon used Spencer’s coinage for the gathered strands of the White supremacist fringe that were weaving themselves into a movement, boasting to Mother Jones reporter Sarah Posner that under his leadership, Breitbart had become “the platform for the alt-right.”8)Sarah Posner, “How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists,” Mother Jones, August 22, 2016, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/stephen-bannon-donald-trump-alt-right-breitbart-news. Bannon’s and Spencer’s term, Alt-Right, represents a collection of virulent groups with sometimes conflicting ideologies but common enemies, coming together to demonize entire categories of people, whether determined by race, religion, sexual orientation or gender. As Spencer’s star rose in relation to Bannon’s elevation and Trump’s amplification via Twitter of hateful, far-right voices,9)Jason Easley, “His Racism Is No Accident: Trump Has Retweeted White Supremacists 75 Times,” PoliticsUSA, July 3, 2016, http://www.politicususa.com/2016/07/03/proof-racism-accidenttrump-retweeted-white-supremacists-75-times.html. reporters from national and international outlets10)Josh Harkinson, “Meet the White Nationalist Trying to Ride the Trump Train to Lasting PowerMother Jones, October 27, 2016,http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/richard-spencer-trump-alt-right-white-nationalist. 11)Aleem Maqbool, “US election: The white supremacist grateful for Donald Trump,” BBC, September 22, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37433759. began making pilgrimages to Whitefish. They weren’t there for the skiing or the scenery. They came for Spencer.

After video of Spencer’s Nazi-ish speech hit the airwaves of national television outlets, Sherry Spencer called realtor Tanya Gersh on November 22. A Gersh family advisor says that Sherry Spencer initiated the call in order to discuss the possibility of selling the building. (Following threats to her family, Gersh is not speaking to media.) Sherry Spencer disputes that account, telling PRA via email that she called Gersh at the request of one of the building’s tenants, who, according to Sherry Spencer, was “extremely distressed.” The tenant, Sherry Spencer says, told her that Tanya Gersh “notified” her that “there would be up to 200 picketers and national media at the building.”

Sherry Spencer, in her comments to PRA, said that she made the call to Gersh “expecting to explain that the building was strictly a business (two retail spaces below and four vacation rentals above).” She continued: “The building has absolutely nothing to do with my son’s politics, it never has, and he has no ownership in the building. In spite of this explanation, Tanya Gersh told me that I must sell the building to make reparations to the community for my son’s ideas.”

According to 2014 legal documents filed with the City of Whitefish Planning & Building Department, Richard Spencer was the landowner at that time of the property on which Sherry Spencer erected her building.12)Subdivision Exemption Affidavit, signed by Richard Spencer as “landowner,” City of Whitefish Planning & Building Department, June 24, 2014. (In 2015, he transferred ownership to his mother, according to legal filings.13)Unanimous Written Consent in Lieu of Special Meeting of Roediger Property, Inc., January 13, 2015) The commercial property is a mixed-use affair that houses several retail businesses, offices and rental apartments for tourists.

In emails sent from Gersh on November 22 and 23 to Sherry Spencer, published online by the recipient,14)Emails to Sherry Spencer from Tanya Gersh, as archived here: https://www.scribd.com/document/334219220/Emails. Gersh offers to help Sherry Spencer sell the building for the lowest discounted broker’s fee her employer will allow her. She also urges Sherry Spencer to make a contribution from the proceeds of the sale to the Montana Human Rights Network, and to publish a statement disavowing Richard Spencer’s views, which Gersh took the liberty of drafting. It is clear from Gersh’s tone that she believes Sherry Spencer to be on board with the plan. In the earliest email published by Sherry Spencer, Gersh writes: “Sherry, thank you for talking so openly with me today. I just can’t imagine what you are going through”—an apparent reference to the condemnation of her son by many in the community following Richard Spencer’s “sieg heil” moment of fame. Gersh goes on to say that she is consulting with her boss regarding a listing price. “I put out many fires today just by mentioning the possible sale,” Gersh continues. “All is very quiet right now waiting for your announcement.” (You can read the full text of the emails here: https://www.scribd.com/document/334219220/Emails.)

But no announcement was forthcoming. Instead, Sherry Spencer penned an essay and posted it on Medium,15)Sherry Spencer, “Does Love Really Live Here?” Medium, December 16, 2016, https://medium.com/@recnepss/does-love-really-live-here-fff159563ba3#.lq1nwa2lz. accusing Gersh of threatening pickets of her building if Spencer didn’t sell. “Whatever you think about my son’s ideas — they are, after all, ideas — in what moral universe is it right for the ‘sins’ of the son to be visited upon the mother?” she wrote.

And with that, the gates of hell opened, as Andrew Anglin, proprietor of the neonazi website The Daily Stormer, sicced his followers on Gersh and other Whitefish residents. He published addresses for and photographs of his targets, which included one of Gersh’s sons, who is still a child. On the photos he published of the Gersh family and Jewish civic leaders, Anglin Photoshopped a facsimile of the yellow Star of David badge that Jews were required to wear in Nazi Germany. Anglin complained of news reports in “the lying Jew media”16)Andrew Anglin, “Lying Jew Media Says Daily Stormer “Threatened” Jewish Racketeers Extorting the Spencer Family,” The Daily Stormer, December 19, 2016 that he said misrepresented the situation in Whitefish, and tarred Love Lives Here as a terrorist group. 17)Andrew Anglin, “Operation Whitefish: New List of Collaborators with Jew Racketeers – TAKE ACTION,” The Daily Stormer, December 22, 2016

In another example of crude image manipulation, Anglin took a Nazi propaganda poster that features an image of a giant pointing hand and the words “Achtung—Jude!” (Attention, Jew!), and superimposed images of the faces of Gersh and her young son on the cartoon characters being pointed at on the original poster.18)Andrew Anglin, “19)(Neverending Story): Jews Respond to Chaos! in Whitefish Montana,” The Daily Stormer, December 21, 2016. He published the boy’s Twitter handle as well.20)Andrew Anglin, “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother for Harassment and Extortion – TAKE ACTION!”The Daily Stormer, December 16, 2016.

As the abuse flooded in, Gersh shut down her website, and assumed a low profile. Local businesses received hateful phone calls and were trolled in online reviews. (The Buffalo Café was targeted apparently because the neonazis mistook the Germanic surname of the owner as Jewish.21)Vince Devlin, “Whitefish Dealing with Backlash from White Supremacist Website,” The Missoulian, December 22, 2016, http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/whitefish-dealing-with-backlash-from-white-supremacist-website/article_ea5e7c61-ffdc-5044-8bca-79cda3a6ef9b.html.)

The Montana Human Rights Network has since fielded threatening comments on the group’s website and in social media.

At the Montana Human Rights Network, co-director Rachel Carroll-Rivas fielded threatening comments on the group’s website and in social media. She read one to The New York Times: “All of you deserve a bullet through your skull. Choke on a shotgun and die. All of you would be of greater worth to society as human fertilizer than citizens.”22)Christine Hauser, “After Neo-Nazi Posting, Police in Whitefish, Mont., Step Up Patrols,” New York Times, December 20, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/20/us/whitefish-montana-jews-daily-stormer.html.

On December 17, Sherry Spencer appended a caveat to her Medium essay, disavowing the harassment, but complaining that she and her family had been bullied on social media, too. According to The New York Times, she and her husband, Rand Spencer, published a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, The Daily Inter Lake, in which they wrote: “We do not endorse the idea of white nationalism.”23)Ibid. See also: http://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20161218/ARTICLE/161219988.

Yet White nationalism—the idea of creating a White ethno-state through exclusion and segregation—is just one part of Richard Spencer’s ideology.24)“Richard Bertrand Spencer,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/richard-bertrand-spencer-0. While only Sherry Spencer knows what she believes, she attended a 2010 meeting of the H.L. Mencken Club in Maryland at which her son appeared on a panel.25)Program for the H.L. Mencken Club 2010 conference: http://hlmenckenclub.org/2010-conference/. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Mencken Club is a White nationalist organization26)Stephen Piggott, “The white nationalist H.L. Mencken Club gathers tonight for its ninth annual conference,” Southern Poverty Law Center, November 4, 2016. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/04/white-nationalists-gather-baltimore-ninth-annual-hl-mencken-club-conference.  co-founded by Paul Gottfried, who is described by SPLC as “a fixture on the paleoconservative and white nationalist right.”27)Ryan Lenz, “White Nationalist Academics to Gather This Weekend for H.l. Mencken Club Annual Meeting,”Southern Poverty Law Center, November 1, 2013, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2013/11/01/white-nationalist-academics-gather-weekend-hl-mencken-club-annual-meeting. The Mencken Club was named for the 20th Century satirist who was revealed after his death to have had Nazi sympathies, leaving behind a journal peppered with racist and antisemitic comments.28)“Mencken Was Pro-Nazi, His Diary Shows,” Associated Press, December 5, 1989,
http://articles.latimes.com/1989-12-05/news/mn-198_1_h-l-mencken
On its own website, the Mencken Club’s leaders describe it as “an organization for independent-minded intellectuals and academics of the Right.”29)The Mencken Club website, “About” page: http://hlmenckenclub.org/about/ The “About” page proudly declares: “From the standpoint of conservatism, inc., our group belongs to the ‘basket of deplorables’ that Hillary Clinton denounced in her presidential campaign.”30)The Mencken Club website, “About” page: http://hlmenckenclub.org/about/

Photographs from the 2010 event posted on the Mencken Club website show Sherry Spencer chatting with featured speaker Peter Brimelow, the fiercely anti-immigrant White nationalist31)“Peter Brimelow,” Extremist Files, Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/peter-brimelow. who also figured prominently at NPI’s November gathering.32)Author notes from November 19, 2016, NPI conference, “Become Who We Are.”

In a video commentary published on December 20, however, Richard Spencer took to YouTube not only to defend his mother, but to dismiss the online harassment of Whitefish’s Jews as mere “pixels” and “mean words.”33)Richard Spencer, “The Attacks on My Mother,” YouTube, December 20, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo21-mTYqho. His mother, meanwhile, he said, was threatened with deprivation of her livelihood, presumably by any potential exercise of the First Amendment by his opponents outside of his mother’s building. He also implied that he wasn’t much of a Whitefish presence.  During a December 26 podcast interview with White supremacist leader David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Spencer said that while he spends “a lot of time” in Whitefish, “I do not do anything here that is political.” He also noted in the interview that he spends part of his time in a suburb of Washington, D.C. (On its website, NPI lists an Arlington, Virginia, post office box as its address.34)“Donating by Mail,” National Policy Institute, http://www.npiamerica.org/donation-by-mail.) But just 10 days earlier, Spencer told The Missoulian that he was mulling a run for Congress for the Montana seat likely to be vacated by Ryan Zinke, who was tapped by Trump to lead the Department of the Interior.35)Vince Devlin and Andrew Schneider, “White nationalist Spencer says he may seek Zinke’s seat,” , The Missoulian, December 16, 2016,
http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/white-nationalist-spencer-says-he-may-seek-zinke-s-seat/article_aafedcce-d633-5516-b3da-b7cd1a80fcde.html.

During the interview with Duke, Spencer complained further of his mother’s treatment in Whitefish—at the hands, he implied, of the town’s Jewish community. In the interview, Duke urged Spencer to describe “the tribal nature of the vicious attack upon you… [by] those tribal racists who support the tribal ethno-state of Israel…”36)“The David Duke Show w/ Guest Richard Spencer,” YouTube, December 26, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBX3P-ZcAXY&feature=youtu.be.

“Certainly the chief leaders in this ­­­­case against me were not only Jews,” Spencer replies, “but in many cases, literally rabbis.” (Leaders of Love Lives Here include two local rabbis, including one whose wife Spencer has described as “shockingly ugly.”37)“The David Duke Show w/ Guest Richard Spencer,” YouTube, December 26, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBX3P-ZcAXY&feature=youtu.be.)

When Duke suggests that the Jews of Whitefish are trying to deprive Spencer of his Montana home, Spencer concurs and responds, “I mean, I don’t want my daughter growing up in Washington, D.C., [for]…many reasons—but you can imagine one of the big ones.”38)“The David Duke Show w/ Guest Richard Spencer,” YouTube, December 26, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBX3P-ZcAXY&feature=youtu.be. (One assumes Spencer is referring to the fact that the population of the District of Columbia is nearly 50 percent Black.39)Mike DeBonis, “D.C., where blacks are no longer a majority, has a new African American affairs director,” The Washington Post, February 4, 2015,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-where-blacks-are-no-longer-a-majority-has-a-new-african-american-affairs-director/2015/02/04/e8bd65a0-ac8e-11e4-ad71-7b9eba0f87d6_story.html?utm_term=.55cc1d315ca5
)

Several newspapers in Montana have run editorials not only denouncing the hate being visited upon the Jews of Whitefish, but urging citizens to stand up against it by placing Hanukkah menorahs in their windows, even if they’re not Jewish. For those who didn’t have menorahs, The Missoulian and The Daily Inter Lake published downloadable posters featuring the image of menorah for readers to display.40)“Editorial: Stand Up Against Evil And Stand With Your Neighbors,” Daily Inter Lake, December 21, 2016, http://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20161221/ARTICLE/161229954 41)Laurie Franklin, “Let us share the light,” The Missoulian, December 20, 2016, http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/let-us-share-the-light/article_12a5d1a1-5dd0-5bfa-96ac-659123bbf7e7.html

An image on Daily Stormer advertises a January “March on Whitefish” featuring photos of Tanya Gesh and her young son among others above a concentration camp style photo. PRA has blacked out the photos of the targeted individuals.

The Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin doubled down, calling for 200 followers (including skinheads “bused in” from the Bay Area42)Andrew Anglin, “Operation Whitefish: New List of Collaborators with Jew Racketeers – TAKE ACTION,”The Daily Stormer, December 22, 2016) to muster for an armed march through Whitefish in mid-January. The march, he said, “will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either”43)Andrew Anglin, “Operation Whitefish: New List of Collaborators with Jew Racketeers – TAKE ACTION,”The Daily Stormer, December 22, 2016 unless opponents of the White nationalist and supremacist movements stop talking about the role of Spencer’s family in advancing his ideas.44)Gwen Florio, “White supremacist site offers to call off armed march in Whitefish,” The Missoulian, December 25, 2016, http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/white-supremacist-site-offers-to-call-off-armed-march-in/article_44676a15-fcb9-5f0f-8140-68aaf9c26e50.html.

If that seems like a contradiction—a proud White supremacist vowing to stage a threatening, and potentially violent, protest unless a historically victimized group promises to limit their own protests—it shouldn’t. In the worldview of many on the Right, the First Amendment protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution belong solely to adherents of right-wing tenets. For anyone else to claim the right to speak against them is an affront—an example of the victimization of the dominant class, the people on whom Far Right ideology confers the ownership of the nation. Those who resist that social order, who claim rights of their own, are labeled aggressors. With the Right’s assertion of victimhood comes the justification for extreme measures. It’s an old trick from the authoritarian’s bag. In Whitefish, Montana, the price of resistance to White nationalism grows ever higher, as the false victim-consciousness promoted by neonazis fans the flames of hatred.

References   [ + ]

1. Jonathan Mahler, “Anti-Semitic Posts, Many From Trump Supporters, Surge on Twitter,” New York Times, October 19, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/us/politics/anti-semitism-trump-supporters-twitter.html.
2, 22. Christine Hauser, “After Neo-Nazi Posting, Police in Whitefish, Mont., Step Up Patrols,” New York Times, December 20, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/20/us/whitefish-montana-jews-daily-stormer.html.
3. Sherry Spencer, “Does Love Really Live Here?”, Medium, December 16, 2016, https://medium.com/@recnepss/does-love-really-live-here-fff159563ba3#.lq1nwa2lz.
4. Business Entity Registration (D231213), Montana Secretary of State.
5. Joseph Goldstein, “Alt-Right Gathering Exults in Trump Election With Nazi-Era Salute,” New York Times, November 20, 2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/alt-right-salutes-donald-trump.html.
6. Daniel Lombroso and Yoni Appelbaum, “’Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President-Elect,” The Atlantic, November 21, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/.
7. Tristan Scott, “Whitefish Council Adopts Resolution Supporting Diversity, Tolerance,” Flathead Beacon, December 2, 2014, http://flatheadbeacon.com/2014/12/02/whitefish-council-adopts-resolution-supporting-diversity-tolerance/.
8. Sarah Posner, “How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists,” Mother Jones, August 22, 2016, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/stephen-bannon-donald-trump-alt-right-breitbart-news.
9. Jason Easley, “His Racism Is No Accident: Trump Has Retweeted White Supremacists 75 Times,” PoliticsUSA, July 3, 2016, http://www.politicususa.com/2016/07/03/proof-racism-accidenttrump-retweeted-white-supremacists-75-times.html.
10. Josh Harkinson, “Meet the White Nationalist Trying to Ride the Trump Train to Lasting PowerMother Jones, October 27, 2016,http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/richard-spencer-trump-alt-right-white-nationalist.
11. Aleem Maqbool, “US election: The white supremacist grateful for Donald Trump,” BBC, September 22, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37433759.
12. Subdivision Exemption Affidavit, signed by Richard Spencer as “landowner,” City of Whitefish Planning & Building Department, June 24, 2014.
13. Unanimous Written Consent in Lieu of Special Meeting of Roediger Property, Inc., January 13, 2015
14. Emails to Sherry Spencer from Tanya Gersh, as archived here: https://www.scribd.com/document/334219220/Emails.
15. Sherry Spencer, “Does Love Really Live Here?” Medium, December 16, 2016, https://medium.com/@recnepss/does-love-really-live-here-fff159563ba3#.lq1nwa2lz.
16. Andrew Anglin, “Lying Jew Media Says Daily Stormer “Threatened” Jewish Racketeers Extorting the Spencer Family,” The Daily Stormer, December 19, 2016
17. Andrew Anglin, “Operation Whitefish: New List of Collaborators with Jew Racketeers – TAKE ACTION,” The Daily Stormer, December 22, 2016
18. Andrew Anglin, “(((Neverending Story
19. (Neverending Story): Jews Respond to Chaos! in Whitefish Montana,” The Daily Stormer, December 21, 2016.
20. Andrew Anglin, “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother for Harassment and Extortion – TAKE ACTION!”The Daily Stormer, December 16, 2016.
21. Vince Devlin, “Whitefish Dealing with Backlash from White Supremacist Website,” The Missoulian, December 22, 2016, http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/whitefish-dealing-with-backlash-from-white-supremacist-website/article_ea5e7c61-ffdc-5044-8bca-79cda3a6ef9b.html.
23. Ibid. See also: http://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20161218/ARTICLE/161219988.
24. “Richard Bertrand Spencer,” Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/richard-bertrand-spencer-0.
25. Program for the H.L. Mencken Club 2010 conference: http://hlmenckenclub.org/2010-conference/.
26. Stephen Piggott, “The white nationalist H.L. Mencken Club gathers tonight for its ninth annual conference,” Southern Poverty Law Center, November 4, 2016. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2016/11/04/white-nationalists-gather-baltimore-ninth-annual-hl-mencken-club-conference.
27. Ryan Lenz, “White Nationalist Academics to Gather This Weekend for H.l. Mencken Club Annual Meeting,”Southern Poverty Law Center, November 1, 2013, https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2013/11/01/white-nationalist-academics-gather-weekend-hl-mencken-club-annual-meeting.
28. “Mencken Was Pro-Nazi, His Diary Shows,” Associated Press, December 5, 1989,
http://articles.latimes.com/1989-12-05/news/mn-198_1_h-l-mencken
29, 30. The Mencken Club website, “About” page: http://hlmenckenclub.org/about/
31. “Peter Brimelow,” Extremist Files, Southern Poverty Law Center, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/peter-brimelow.
32. Author notes from November 19, 2016, NPI conference, “Become Who We Are.”
33. Richard Spencer, “The Attacks on My Mother,” YouTube, December 20, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo21-mTYqho.
34. “Donating by Mail,” National Policy Institute, http://www.npiamerica.org/donation-by-mail.
35. Vince Devlin and Andrew Schneider, “White nationalist Spencer says he may seek Zinke’s seat,” , The Missoulian, December 16, 2016,
http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/white-nationalist-spencer-says-he-may-seek-zinke-s-seat/article_aafedcce-d633-5516-b3da-b7cd1a80fcde.html.
36, 37, 38. “The David Duke Show w/ Guest Richard Spencer,” YouTube, December 26, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBX3P-ZcAXY&feature=youtu.be.
39. Mike DeBonis, “D.C., where blacks are no longer a majority, has a new African American affairs director,” The Washington Post, February 4, 2015,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-where-blacks-are-no-longer-a-majority-has-a-new-african-american-affairs-director/2015/02/04/e8bd65a0-ac8e-11e4-ad71-7b9eba0f87d6_story.html?utm_term=.55cc1d315ca5
40. “Editorial: Stand Up Against Evil And Stand With Your Neighbors,” Daily Inter Lake, December 21, 2016, http://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20161221/ARTICLE/161229954
41. Laurie Franklin, “Let us share the light,” The Missoulian, December 20, 2016, http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/let-us-share-the-light/article_12a5d1a1-5dd0-5bfa-96ac-659123bbf7e7.html
42, 43. Andrew Anglin, “Operation Whitefish: New List of Collaborators with Jew Racketeers – TAKE ACTION,”The Daily Stormer, December 22, 2016
44. Gwen Florio, “White supremacist site offers to call off armed march in Whitefish,” The Missoulian, December 25, 2016, http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/white-supremacist-site-offers-to-call-off-armed-march-in/article_44676a15-fcb9-5f0f-8140-68aaf9c26e50.html.