Showing posts with label nationalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nationalism. Show all posts

Monday, October 8, 2018

Best Friends for Fascism

Journalist Elizabeth King published a piece in Truthout which very much resembles a piece I wrote for Jewish Currents last year. In it, she makes the case, as I did, that befriending fascists just allows them to have friends in spite of their fascism. Unlike my article, she points to some failed attempts at befriending nazis:

Writer Quinn Norton was briefly hired then let go from a position with The New York Times this year after tweets came to light in which she spoke favorably of a now-notorious American neo-Nazi called “weev” (whose real name is Andrew Auernheimer). Norton had referred to Auernheimer as her “friend.” Auernheimer, who co-runs the Daily Stormer, a website that is massively popular with neo-Nazis, appears on white nationalist podcasts and incessantly calls for genocide against non-white people.

Despite all this, Norton found it appropriate to maintain a friendship with Auernheimer. “I have been friends with various neo-nazis in my time, yes” Norton tweeted when asked about her relationship with Auernheimer in 2014. “I have never agreed with them, and I’ve been clear on that.”

This latter statement in particular exemplifies a sort of “holier-than-thou” position that fascist-adjacent people sometimes deploy in order to skirt accountability for their relationships. In attempting to show that she, a good person, can be friends with a Nazi and still be good herself, Norton is also attempting to show that she is above the peskiness of partisan biases: the ultimate tolerant liberal.

However, other tweets where Norton used the n-word also recirculated amid the public outcry that accompanied her hiring at the Times, as did a 2013 Medium post where she called Nazi leader John Rabe her “personal patron saint of moral complexity.” Rabe was a leading figure in Nazi Germany, and also helped thousands of Chinese people avoid being killed during the Holocaust. That is, there are at least two Nazis about which Quinn has kind things to say. Still, Norton also claimed on Twitter in February amid all this backlash that on the rare occasions she still speaks to Auernheimer, she brings up “the racism” and attempts to address it with him.

Even if Auernheimer were open to leaving the Nazi movement, and even if Norton were herself a staunch anti-racist, it’s not only a matter of disagreeing “with the racism” when it comes to helping fascists change their ways. Indeed, if Norton had hoped to somehow neutralize Auernheimer’s hate or make the world safer via a friendship with Auernheimer, she failed spectacularly. Auernheimer is still a prominent player in the fascist scene and shows no sign of giving up on the movement any time soon.

This is in no small part because it’s actually quite difficult to deradicalize a neo-Nazi, and the process has to start with a genuine desire or need to change on the part of the fascist.
Feels vindicating.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

On Supermen: Fascism and Vigilantism

Been thinking a bit about this snippet of an article I wrote for Public Seminar last summer:

What we see then in the use of “violence” is really a distinction between who gets to lay a claim to legitimate public coercion. The police are expected to use extraordinary measures to prevent any social disruption — from physical altercations to feeding the homeless in a public park. Doing so as a lay citizen, even through the consent of a larger community body, is seen as an ex ante violation of a higher natural law (even if not a violation of the actual law) of the distribution of legitimate physical coercion.

Transgression of this principle provides the basis for most superhero franchises. These characters, by virtue of centering the rationale for their righteous vigilantism, occupy a liminal space between guardian of the peace and social menace. Such a moral system is only sustainable through the artifice of the story’s narrator who ultimately wants readers to see the hero as good and thus constructs conflict resolution to support that. In reality, this moral system is where we locate fascist ideologies.

Fascist ideologies are like superheroism in that they take self-righteousness to be equivalent to general righteousness so long as vigilantism proves successful. More successful is the vigilante whose success accords him a loyal following. Unlike most superhero stories, real-life humans are prone to error without a sufficient social basis to check their hypotheses. This is evident in the proliferation of peer-review in academic literature; executive boards in corporate and non-profit enterprises; and of course the deliberative form of government that has become increasingly the norm since the eighteenth century.
Perhaps there is a little fascist in all of us. That voice that would make everything as it should be if not for societal strictures. That sense of moral indignation that one is prepared to do what society needs but does not want.

This is the locus of fascism. The executive sweeping away the degeneracy without sentiment. Disconnected from society as a true elite he grants no special favors. He perceives the social moral matrix and applies it ruthlessly, transgressing against that same moral matrix to do so.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Nazi in Hiding Disavows Nazis in Public

After a brief honeymoon of solidarity between The Daily Stormer's Andrew Anglin and Richard Spencer's wing of the alt-right, it seems that Anglin is once again a negative nancy. Today Anglin published a blog post entitled "Official Daily Stormer Position: Don't Go to 'Unite the Right 2' - We Disavow" which self-explanatory as the title is, the reasoning is revealing.

Anglin give three major reasons: the doxxing is dangerous, the numbers are embarrassing, and the violence is off-putting. Rather than attempting to gather in public, Anglin advocates a retreat to the internet and underground organizing.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Stupid Things About Holocaust Denial On Facebook

So Mark Zuckerberg stepped in it, this time seeming to insist that Holocaust denial not be removed from Facebook despite how personally detestable it is to him. For Zuckerberg, what matters is intent to denigrate rather than merely spreading misinformation. However, Holocaust denial is part of a long-term strategy to recruit people to national socialism.

Monday, June 11, 2018

PE of Fash Week VI: Fake News and Mutual Aid (Reading List)

This last class in the political economy of fascism minicourse is meant to emulate the periodic "debriefs" I have programmed into the full-semester version of the course. I believe it is extremely important that, after rendering the coherence of fascism on its own terms, one take the time to debunk its central claims. Although I do this throughout the course during the lecture/discussion, designating an entire week's readings to such an exercise is, in my view, crucial in distinguishing this course from one of simple fascist indoctrination.

As I repeatedly say, fascism is disturbingly compelling. When one takes the time to piece it together into its coherent esoteric ideology, one is engaged in the exact game that draws people into fascism -- a game driven by curiosity and the self-satisfaction of figuring it out. In addition, fascism does point out valid contradictions about the way society operates (largely borrowing from leftist rhetoric). These critiques are then used to leverage a political race to the bottom, justifying underhandedness on the basis of a perceived supernatural enemy's underhandedness.

Monday, June 4, 2018

PE of Fash Week V: Free Speech and the Fascist Creep (Reading List)

The "required" readings in this week's class provided three levels of analysis of the phenomenon of fascist recruitment. The Simi and Futrell piece provides the most intimate portrait with a focus on white power activists, mostly neo-nazi skinheads, navigating normal society. The Berbrier piece provides an analysis of white power activist's public rhetoric since the transformation of the movement one based on militias to one based on conferences. The Perry piece provides the most zoomed-out picture, giving an overall account of the transformation of the white power movement in the post-Civil Rights era.

All three authors note the untenability of their subjects' core beliefs in public. Whereas Berbrier investigates how white power activists reframe their rhetoric for a post-WWII audience, Simi and Futrell explore the justification of individual white power activists in selectively hiding their leanings altogether. Perry provides a general overview of the development of the former phenomenon.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

PE of Fash Week III: Eugenics and the Alt-Right (Reading List)

This class is intended to address what I consider to be the closest historical precedent to the alt-right: the eugenics movement. I say this not only by manner of ideological comparison, nor only manner of social insertion. I say this because the core organizations the bred the original alt-right - VDare, New Century Foundation (American Renaissance), and the National Policy Institute - are part of a non-profit financial network that has preserved eugenics since its decline following the discovery of DNA and the sequencing of the human genome.

The "required" readings cover the history and present of the eugenics movement. The Belkhir & Duyme piece explores the core assertions and fallacies of the eugenics movement both in its historical manifestation, but also in the present day. The Smedley & Smedley piece adds color to the Belkhir & Duyme piece, going beyond the mere refutation of biological, especially genetic, origins of social identity and aptitude constructs to give an accounting of the historical and social origins of these constructs using race as its case study.

The piece by Baker is presented as a means of focusing on how eugenics functioned logistically to popularize their approach. Baker's piece, which highlights the attempts by the organized eugenics movement to appeal to Christianity, is especially illustrative given that the movement ultimately wasn't able to get enthusiastic support on the basis of tying eugenic beliefs to Christianity. However, in the process the movement underwent numerous, ultimately cosmetic changes, hiding and repackaging core principles to appeal to an audience averse to themes of biological evolution, birth control, and selective breeding.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

PE of Fash Week II: Economic Anxiety and Angry White Men (Reading List)

Tonight was the second night of my six-class minicourse on the political economy of fascism. The readings for this class touch on a debate that cropped up in the wake of Donald Trump's ascendancy to the presidency: was his base motivated by racism or economic anxiety. I picked readings that problematized this dichotomy and the epistemology that would assert that these two phenomena are unrelated.

In the sphere of fascist ideology, economic outcomes are critically tied to the composition of the citizenry. On the one hand, fascists take the promise of democratic representation at face value, and thus political power is fundamentally a matter of the demography of the electorate. On the other hand, fascists see extra-electoral and extra-political factors bearing down on political, and hence economic, outcomes. In either instance, the fascist sees representative democracy as systemically corrupted.

Friday, April 6, 2018

PE of Fash Week I: How to Talk to a Nazi (Reading List)

Tonight was the first of a six week course I designed for the New York Public Library. The course begins with an overview of the course in the form of my "How to Talk to a Nazi" workshop based on my zine "You Can't Punch Every Nazi." I gave students a copy of the zine. The course then goes through investigating fascist ideology at four levels: as a political religion, a social science, a governmental theory, and a political praxis. The course then concludes with an exploration of alternative perspectives that answer some of the legitimate critiques of liberalism that fascists appropriate from the far left but resolve with cynical authoritarianism.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Quick and Dirty Fascism Studies Lit Review

In preparing to write a lit review due on the 8th, I've decided to make a spreadsheet of a selection of books notable either for their influence on fascism studies or their novelty. In another measure of procrastinating on actually writing the literature review itself, here is a short list of notable authors and a quick summary of what they thought about fascism. Any scholar not appearing on this list was omitted with the utmost contempt.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Liberalism Is Probably Impossible Reader

Since the Democratic Party and its enabling non-profits have recently staked their hopes on an electoral process that they have insisted for over a year was compromised by foreign actors, I have been thinking about the consistent failure of electoral strategy in light of fascist upsurge. What history demonstrates time and again, from the Pact of Pacification to the Sermon on the Mount, is that a brutal government cannot be thwarted through obsequiousness. Liberalism, understood not as a political orientation but a governmental paradigm, ultimately proves impossible. Whatever is won in the moral spectacle of violence cannot make up for the literally everything that is materially lost. Suffering is suffering. Dying is dying. Below, I present five texts that tackle different aspects of the logic and application of liberalism which prefigures its own demise.

Shawn Rosenberg - Against Neoclassical Political Economy: A Political Psychological Critique

Ed White - The Value of Conspiracy Theory

Frederick Shauer - Uncoupling Free Speech

Mitch Berbrier - "Half the Battle": Cultural Resonance, Framing Processes, and Ethnic Affectations in Contemporary White Separatist Rhetoric

Frantz Fanon - On Violence (from Wretched of the Earth)

Jean Paul Sartre - Preface to Fanon's Wretched of the Earth

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

All That For This

Published an article over at Jewish Currents today about the first round of acquittals in the J20 trials. The process dragged out for almost a year, and somehow made it to a jury despite some rather unusual procedures. Here's a sample:

During the pretrial, hearing dates were rescheduled without notifying defendants who were required under penalty of arrest to attend. Law enforcement agents were demonstrated by the defense to be lying on the witness stand, and in closing arguments, lead prosecutor Jen Kerkhoff all but told the jury that their instructions were irrelevant and that reasonable doubt “doesn’t mean a whole lot.”
“We saw that the U.S. Attorney’s office has no problem with the fact that their interests overlap with [rightwing organizations] Project Veritas or the Oath Keepers,” explained Menefee-Libey. “We also saw that the DC Superior Court is willing to let all of these things proceed under their legitimizing purview. This was procedurally strange, but politically and morally terrifying and abhorrent.”
What the trials have helped bring to light above all else is the absolute disregard for procedure on the part of the police.
According to court documents, law enforcement had infiltrated the planning for all three events but zeroed in on the the anti-fascist, anti-capitalist bloc, which departed from Logan Circle at 10:00 that morning. Despite apparent concerns about their undercover infiltration methods, the DC police opted not to contact the protest organizers, as required by the department’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) regarding First Amendment activity. On the day of the protest, moreover, the police violated more of their SOP: In radio communications entered into evidence, the police commander and frontline officer discussed whether the protesters were anarchists, and made the call to mass arrest before the march even left the park, which violates their SOP requirement that protesters be arrested and charged individually. (Since the SOP was issued in 2004, mass arrests have been effectively prohibited in DC.)
Certainly going to be chilling to watch the prosecutor bring 188 more people to trial.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Why I Went on a Nazi's Podcast: Approaches and Goals

Plenty of far leftists have ended up in far right media in one way or another, mostly by accident. One of the hosts of a podcast I have been on twice (holiday episode coming soon!) called 2 Spicy actually got blindsided by Gavin McInnes in 2014 before he had made a name for himself beyond his status as persona non grata at Vice. (Apparently, McInnes only varied by degree from the rest of Vice's leadership.) Heather made the unfortunate mistake of taking an invite to do media without doing background research. Always do background research.

I've done a bit of background on the show I'm set to go on. (I'm writing this in advance of going on the show.) If you haven't heard of Millennial Woes, you're not missing much. His only noteworthy accomplishment seems to be speaking at the 2016 Maggiano's Seige NPI conference. Literally. Millennial Woes (who, despite having been doxxed as Colin Robertson still told me to call him 'Woes') is a 35 year old Scottish white nationalist with a mean antisemitic streak, anti-immigrant views, and a strange ambivalence towards bestiality. After he was doxxed (as a result of his only noteworthy accomplishment), his messaging suddenly became extremely conciliatory with regard to racial violence. You know how fash do.

Every year, Millennial Woes does a month long series of interviews he calls Millenniyule. This year he had designs to do 50 interviews in December. As a result of a fight on Twitter, I became one of them. What I hope to lay out here is how it came about that I got this "opportunity," my rationale for accepting it, my strategy for approaching it, and my goals.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Žižek Don't

I first heard about Slavoj Žižek when he was accused of plagiarizing from white nationalist magazine American Renaissance. By 2014, my research interests had moved from monetary & fiscal policy and business cycles to the political economy of fascism.

I hadn't studied much in the way of esoteric Hegelian idealist philosophers masquerading as Lacanian Marxists, but by virtue of my study of fascism, I happened upon his "work." I'm still not sure whether Zizek considers himself a crypto-fascist, but he sure leads the far left into the arms of the far right a whole lot. Anyway, this happened:

Header of Independent article by Slavoj Žižek titled Alt-right Trump supporters and left-wing Bernie Sanders fans should join together to defeat capitalism

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Back from Boston

This past weekend, I attended the Boston Anarchist Bookfair to lead a workshop titled "How to Talk to a Nazi." I first gave the workshop as part of the DC Action Camp put on by #DisruptJ20 in advance of the presidential inauguration. The workshop has since become a zine called "You Can't Punch Every Nazi" that I released in June and updated last month.

Because of some last minute scheduling changes, I was also able to table and sell the zine. I got invited to some parties and met come great people. Learned some stuff about the Boston "Free Speech" rally in August that wasn't reported in the news. Look forward to what happens this weekend.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

An Annotated Interview with Gary Snow

I first met (William) Gary Snow as he was about to get into yet a third fight with antifascists, this time at a protest of Richard Spencer at the University of Florida. Snow, wearing a heather gray “Fuck Antifa” T-shirt with the number “45” on the sleeve - a reference to the president - was there to protest Richard Spencer, too, so he said.

Snow came with four flags in all. He had an RBG “Black Lives Matter” flag and insisted to anyone who would listen that he believed that Black Lives Matter. He also had the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” flag - the thin blue line superimposed over a US flag. He was holding these two flags together and turning them to reveal the other with the charisma of a magician, narrating, “Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. Black lives matter. Blue lives matter.”

He also came bearing an antifa flag and a Nazi flag which he would occasionally take out of his back pocket to stand on when talking to press. Apart from the initial altercation when he first walked in that I pulled him away from in order to conduct this interview, he didn’t incite anyone apart from his choice of flags and shirt.

When I approached Snow as he was having words with four local antifascists, he recognized me almost immediately. I had no idea who he was, but the antifascists sure did and they followed us shouting as Mr. Snow directed me toward the line of Highway Patrol where he felt safe to do an interview. The antifascists lined up about five feet away continuing to shout for most of the interview which was helpful because at points they gave me material for questions to ask. I reproduce below the annotated, but unredacted interview with Gary Snow.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Political Economy of Fascism Mini-Course

This mini-course is designed for popular education and to operate as either a series or as individual stand-alone workshops. The course begins with a review of my zine “You Can’t Punch Every Nazi” as a participatory workshop. The following four classes elaborate on the four layers of fascist doctrine I introduce in the first class. The last class takes account of fascist ideology to build a holistic antifascist theory highlighting existing antifascist praxis. I had originally designed this course for open library courses such as those the NYPL holds regularly.

For once, the syllabus and course readings are in one central document. Check it out here!

Class summaries can be found here:

Monday, October 30, 2017

Universities Are Protecting Free Speech for Bigots at the Expense of Student Safety

"When I see these people on the roofs," said University of Florida (UF) student Ebony Love, gesturing to the groups of snipers on nearby campus buildings, "I understand the reason why they're up there, but at the same time, you have to take my money and pay for that, but I couldn't get an escort to walk me to my classes, and you said you were going to post security outside these classes and you didn't."

When I talked to her, Love was leaning on a police barricade set up outside of the auditorium on campus where prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer was due to speak on October 19. The night before, however, Love was escorting a student to an 8 pm exam. She and another student sat watch outside for two hours in lieu of the campus security she said the university had promised but failed to provide.

Continue reading at Truthout

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Interview on "The Radical Imagination"

Last week, I sat down with Jim Vrettos for The Radical Imagination on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. We had an hour-long conversation about policing, pedagogy, and antifa. Watch it in full below.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, the Associated Press (AP) has updated its style guide to change the standard usage of the term ‘alt-right’. The guide, widely followed across the US media, first added the term in November of last year, after Donald Trump won the presidential election, revealing the alt-right to be more than an electoral flash in the pan.

The update added anti-Semitism to the original definition. It now reads:

‘A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.’
Both the original and updated AP definitions resemble early attempts to explain fascism in the decades following the second world war. Like the style guide versions, early writers focused attention on regime or movement attributes. This approach, often employing lists of various sizes, proved either too inclusive, or not inclusive enough.

Continue reading at Red Pepper