THE EXTREMELY REACTIONARY, BURN-IT-DOWN-RADICAL, NEWFANGLED FAR RIGHT.
To understand this new right, it helps to see it not as a fringe movement, but a powerful counterculture.
When did the right wing get so bizarre? Consider: For a brief and confusing moment earlier this year, milk somehow became a charged symbol of both white supremacy and support for Donald Trump. The details are postmodern, absurdist, and ominous — not unlike the forces that brought them about. In January, the actor Shia LaBeouf mounted an art installation designed to protest the president. The next month, neo-Nazis who organized on the message board 4chan crashed the show, where they started chugging from milk jugs — because northern Europeans digest milk well, or because milk is … white. In other words, an innocent dairy beverage as old as time had been conscripted as a Donald Trump surrogate on the internet. It was yet another message-board in-joke — freighted with political meaning — suddenly in the news.
But weirdness, perhaps, is what happens when a movement grows very quickly and without any strong ideological direction — from a disciplined party, from traditional institutions like churches and chambers of Congress, from anything more organized than the insurrectionist internet.
Here in America, in trying to describe our brand of the reactionary wave currently tsunami-ing the entire developed world, we’ve leaned on the term alt-right, which had beencoined by white supremacists. Richard Spencer, the most press-hungry of that group, takes credit for it. For much of last year, the term was often used as shorthand for “racists, but … young?” Which is helpful, as far as it goes, but the full reality is much more complicated. The alt-right — or the new right, if you prefer to sound more like Tom Wolfe than Kurt Cobain, or the radical right, to properly acknowledge its break from mainstream conservatism — is a coalition comprised of movements like neo-reaction, certain strands of libertarianism, tech triumphalism, and even the extreme-populist wing of the Republican Party. All share with Spencer’s white-ethno-nativism the ideals of isolationism, protectionism, and nationalism: a closed nation-state. Along the way, the coalition swept up “men’s rights” advocates and anti-Semites and cruel angry teenagers and conspiracy theorists and a few fiendishly clever far-right websites and harassing hashtags and even a U.S. congressman or two. Not to mention the White House.
But to approach the big messy tent of the new retrograde right — the international brigade of nativist-nationalists, tech-savvy anti-globalists, the porn-loving gender traditionalists — as primarily a political movement is to wildly underestimate its scope. Reactionary energy helped deliver all three branches of government to a Republican Party in the grips of an alt-right-curious anti-PC bomb-thrower the faithful called their “god-emperor” (or at least helped him along with last year’s affirmative action for white people, a.k.a. the Electoral College). But at no point during the campaign, even, could you have mistaken the unruly energy on the right for anything so organized as a party or as purposeful as a protest movement. It was — and is — a counterculture. One formed in the spirit of opposition to everything the existing Establishment stood for: globalist, technocratic liberal elitism. The amazing thing is, in November, for the first time in American electoral history, the counterculture won everything.
This didn’t happen out of nowhere; the new reactionary spiderweb is just as much of a referendum on our world as the Obama coalition was. This still-young century’s most potent political movements have been about reckoning with the rapid progress of the last one; in the Obama surge, there was contained the hopeful notion that the changes had been good, that they were not an end in themselves but merely the beginning of something even greater and brighter still to come. And in this far-right movement, there is instead a backlash to those same changes and those same symbols — to a black president, to a woman candidate, but also to the idea that diversity and inclusiveness and the other major social movements of the 20th century even represent progress at all, rather than its inverse. To many on the radicalized right, social progress is a zero-sum game in which minority groups and women have been winning at the expense of the previous kings of the castle. Moreover, other forces are ransacking the castle, too — namely, technology, globalization, and financialization. Yet how they believe one should actually go about addressing those problems can be difficult to parse, especially when the complaints are often filtered through 140 characters of unprintable vitriol and hate.
So what follows here is an attempt to really reckon with the alt-right and its fellow travelers: to organize and catalogue influences, philosopher-kings, and shit-posting foot soldiers; to track the movement’s history, its future, and the story of how the modern internet made it possible; to study its grievances, its media savvy, its symbols, its heroes and villains, its president and its critics of the president, its billionaire supporters and the underemployed message-board-dwelling “advocates” who serve as its creative engine. The movement is not a monolith — though it would also never be mistaken for a rainbow coalition — and part of what we’ve focused on is just how the various wings work together in concert. How does Steve Bannon relate to Russia Today, and what do conspiracy theorists have in common with pickup artists and Nazi Furries? How do memes like milk become weaponized, and just when did 4chan get political? How do its beliefs get amplified into the larger culture?
For all its theoretical anti-modernity, the alt-right is a uniquely modern movement, after all, enabled in reach by the connective tools of the social internet and by the clever use of the sort of irony that every young American raised on TV and memes recognizes as our pop-culture lingua franca. It’s an irony they’ve used as armor, too: If you take them seriously, they’ll claim you missed the joke. But of course, by treating them as a joke, you can miss their importance — as so many of us who planned our November 9, 2016, around a certain Hillary Clinton win did.
In some ways, it’s easy to define the movement by what it doesn’t care about. Not just the pieties of the left, but those of the Establishment Right as well: corporatism, taxes, cultural inclusiveness at a rhetorical level at least. Much as the tea party (a small group punching above its weight class through lunatic obstinacy and support from the Koch network) hijacked the Republican Party from inside by appealing to its sense of purity, the alt-right (a small group punching above its weight class through sheer lunatic web-savvy) swerved the party off its plotted course by an obsessive focus on some of the uglier, and often unofficial, aspects of the GOP platform that had been used for decades to appeal to the ever-poorer and less-educated base of the party.
You can also see the movement as a response, more than 15 years later, to 9/11, modernity’s starkest testing point to date. The alt-right’s fixation on the dangers of radical Islam has a kind of poetic irony to it: Like ISIS, it is fringe extremist, punkish, and digital in its pursuit of medievally brutal goals, more focused on blowing up the existing system than creating a new one. It, too, is tribal and nihilistic. But the alt-right’s rise is also a response to America’s post-9/11 landscape. You can see it in the fierce anti-interventionism of the movement and in the sharp, angry, often conspiratorial distrust of elites, who have often seemed to be the only ones prospering since then.
And, just maybe, the alt-right reflects the shift in America’s definition of itself after that catastrophic terror attack. Jingoistic nationalism bubbled up, sure, but there was also that slow erosion of liberties in the name of security, a seeping illiberalism that seems to have taught the rising generation that democratic norms are malleable. The young left, too, not only despises the previous generation’s deal-making Establishment but has a taste for autocratic control, in its (far less harmful) focus on PC language-monitoring and its belief that sometimes people you disagree with shouldn’t be allowed to speak their piece. It’s a funhouse-mirror version of the alt-right, which uses the cloak of free speech to spit out hate-speech and turns the accusations of fascism right back on its lefty enemies who cry foul.
The alt-right is itself still small; 54 percent of Americans hadn’t heard of it even after the election of Donald Trump. But the new reaction of which it is a part is quite large — in fact, truly global. Which means that the movement’s grip on the White House — which seems to wax and wane, now withGary Cohn looking like he’s taken Steve Bannon’s seat in Trump’s game of musical chairs — is not its strongest claim on the future. Whatever happens in Trump’s Washington — and, who knows, we may soon be seeing more of Ted Nugent and Kid Rock than cronies from ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs — there are still heroes abroad for them (Marine Le Pen, until her runoff at least, along with Nigel Farage and his pro-Brexit pals, and more sure to come). As with any counterculture, though, the politicians will come and go. The more lasting battle is outside politics, in the culture and especially on the internet. Where, you might remember, we all live now. —Noreen Malone
With a worldview based entirely on resentment: of seven things in particular.
Immigrants: New arrivals diluting the imagined racial purity of nation-states.
Globalists: Promoters of free trade, exchange, and movement across borders.
Snowflakes: College students and Twitter users offended by racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes.
Feminists: Women who insist on equal treatment and equal rights.
Interventionists: Bleeding hearts disturbing the sovereignty of foreign states.
Journalists: Clueless, out-of-touch, hopelessly liberal media.
Elites: The rich puppet-masters of a decadent West.
The movement’s new vanguard is teenage “shitlords*.” The world is their message board now.
Pepe, the main mascot.
Iamwhomiam wrote:Let's re-title this thread
Faerie Queens, Worker Revolts, and the FBI
The FBI’s strategy with COINTELPRO involved many of the same tactics that Pinkerton used to fight the Molly Maguires and other worker-organizations and anarchist groups. Infiltration was primary, as was careful use of disinformation (creating false documents purporting to be from leftist groups) and in the case of Black Panther Party members (as well as possibly others), assassination.
All this we know from information gathered by the US Senate in 1975 (the “Church Committee,”) but we could be forgiven for suspecting even more targets and tactics existed. Since the revelations, it has become even harder to gain information about the activities of the FBI, but we do know they have been very active in infiltrating anti-capitalist groups during the anti-globalistion protests, doing door-knocks on the homes of activists before protests to intimidate them (including many of my friends). With the advent of the ‘war on terror,’ the FBI has been able to redefine environmentalist and anti-capitalist groups as ‘domestic terrorists,’ giving them even more power to act with impunity against those whom the government and the rich fear.
Fortunately, groups like Anonymous and Wikileaks have made it so we do not need to wait for another Senate Committee to get information of the FBI’s activities, but if over one hundred years of FBI harassment and killing of political dissidents (plus another 50 years of their predecessor, the Pinkerton Detective Agency) is any indication, it’s not good.
F(or) B(eautiful) I(nsurrection)
This brings us to the present. Many liberals and even some conservatives have been shocked to learn that Trump recently fired the head of the FBI, James Comey. For many, this seems like an appalling turn of events, one bringing us closer to fascism.
In a way, they are right, though it has been interesting to see liberals who previously were certain the FBI was partially responsible for Hillary Clinton’s defeat suddenly rush to paint him as a heroic victim of Trump’s voracious hunger for power. (Comey, we must remember, triggered a crisis during the presidential election campaigns by an oddly-timed announcement regarding emails on a private server Clinton had possessed).
We have absolutely reason to fear this turn of events, but not because the FBI has ever been a ‘good’ organisation. From the very beginning, it has served only the interests of the very rich and the government they purchase with their money. It is not ‘neutral’ at heart: its very roots still drink the blood of murdered leftists and immigrants. That Trump will soon replace the former director with one of his own choosing is terrifying, certainly, but no more terrifying than the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the immense power it wields.
What might we do to resist such power?
I suspect the solution may be at the beginning of this essay, in the very movements which Pinkerton and later the FBI arose to fight.
The Whiteboys and Molly Maguires, the Rebeccas and the Luddites, each arose as movements to attack the rich. Each was subversive and each claimed a mythic (or deific) leader whom gave them power. For the Whiteboys it was an ancient Irish goddess, the Molly Maguires a mythic heroine. The Rebeccas claimed an old crone gave them the women’s clothes they wore to confuse the hired soldiers of the rich, and a night watchman fleeing from an attack by Luddites claimed later to have seen their ghostly king striding tall amongst them, wielding a pike. The later movements which arose also rallied around mythic figures, many of them comrades recently murdered by Pinkerton agents or later the FBI.
That mythic center not only gave each group coherence, it also allowed them to continue when specific leaders were targeted and killed. Further, agents of the state cannot kill a goddess or a dead heroine, anymore than they can ever fully crush a resistance.
Perhaps more important, though, is to keep in the forefront of our minds why Pinkerton and later the FBI arose, and who they worked for: the rich. It has always been the wealthy who need protection from the poor. They need us to work in their factories and shops, to obey laws about stealing from them, to fear poverty more than we fear our enslavement to their demands.
“Investigative” agencies like Pinkerton and the FBI exist because the rich do not know how to stop us. They need to pay people to learn about our actions, infiltrate our meetings, sabotage our plans, and assassinate us when we get to powerful. As terrifying as the tactics and power of such forces are, the rich have more reason to be terrified than we ever do.
Further arrests of German army personnel in neo-Nazi terror plot
By Christoph Vandreier
10 May 2017
German officials ordered the arrest Tuesday of a third army (Bundeswehr) officer suspected of planning a terror attack against political figures. It has therefore become clear that within the army’s officer corps, a neo-Nazi network exists that is far larger than previously known.
The man arrested was First Lieutenant Maximilian T., according to the federal state prosecutor. He was accused, together with the two men arrested almost two weeks ago, Franco A. and Matthias F., of preparing “an attack on the life of high-ranking politicians and public officials.”
Investigations were launched into Franco A. after he sought in February to collect a loaded pistol he had previously concealed at Vienna airport. It later emerged that the first lieutenant had created a fictitious identity as a Syrian refugee and registered as an asylum seeker. The federal state prosecutor suspects that this was done for the purpose of blaming a terrorist attack on refugees.
According to the investigations, the trio went to great lengths to protect A.’s fictitious identity. He went to the local authorities to claim the welfare payments he was entitled to as a registered refugee. “The absences resulting from this were concealed at least in part by Maximilian T., who gave an alibi for Franco A. to his superiors,” the state prosecutor said. The 27-year-old T. was, like A., deployed with infantry battalion 291 in Illkirch, France.
The plotters’ plans to procure weapons were far advanced. Along with the pistol at Vienna airport, the right-wing extremist officers had obtained 1,000 cartridges, which they presumably set aside during shooting practice. These included munitions for the G36 and G3 machine guns, as well as the p8 pistol. According to information from Der Spiegel, investigators found notes in Franco A.’s possession on different types of weapons and their cost on the black market.
Finally, the terrorist cell had identified targets and begun to spy on them. A list of potential victims was reported in the media over the past week, which included former German President Joachim Gauck, Thuringia’s Minister President Bodo Ramelow and federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas. Left-wing activists and Jewish and Islamic institutions were also targets of the right-wing extremists.
The state prosecutor has now confirmed the existence of this list, which included 25 targets. Each name was placed in category A, B, C or D, which indicated their priority. Gauck and Maas were in category A.
Der Spiegel also reported that substantial research had been carried out on targeted individuals and groups. The neo-Nazis noted the date of birth and the addresses of various politicians. Considerable amounts of information had been gathered on the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which campaigns against right-wing extremism. Investigators found a sketch of its Berlin office.
The effort undertaken to maintain the fictitious identity, the purchasing of illegal weapons and finally the detailed spying on terrorist targets show that a terrorist cell with far-reaching plans was at work.
The size of the terrorist cell operating around Franco A. cannot yet be estimated. Der Spiegel reported over the weekend that along with the three now arrested, another soldier of battalion 291 and a reservist living in Austria had formed a WhatsApp group in which 36,000 messages were exchanged. Contents of the messages included racist statements and support for violent actions. An investigator also confirmed to the news magazine that the suspects declared their readiness to kill for their cause.
There are indications that the neo-Nazis had connections with other barracks. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported testimony from a soldier in Augustdorf. He heard an officer say that he knew of a group of soldiers who were setting aside weapons in order to be able to fight on the right side if civil war broke out. Investigations are still under way to determine whether the officer was referring to Franco A.
While it remains unclear how large the terrorist cell was, evidence suggests that it was embedded within a larger neo-Nazi network in the army that includes higher-ranking figures. Although the neo-Nazi views of the two first lieutenants now arrested were known, their superiors concealed them or hushed them up at one or another time.
After A. produced a graduation paper in December 2013, which a reviewer described as a “radical nationalist, racist appeal,” the soldier received the support of his immediate superior. The body responsible for army discipline, a kind of state prosecutor within the army, which is supposed to examine such serious matters, covered up the affair. In its report, it dismissed “doubts about the required attitude for the system of values.”
When A. was arrested in February this year, he contacted the same army discipline official to ask for help. The lawyer admitted to having “irretrievably deleted” the relevant email exchange. When A. was then arrested in Germany two weeks ago, the deputy commander of the Illkirch location sought pretexts to speak to him in custody. Investigators told Der Spiegel that these are only a sample of the connections that they are now looking into.
The neo-Nazi views of Maximilian T. were also no secret. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the military surveillance service (MAD) investigated the soldier in 2015 because he allegedly incited a comrade to carry out activities against refugees. The MAD allegedly found no evidence of right-wing extremism and halted the investigation.
Wombaticus Rex » Wed May 10, 2017 8:56 am wrote:Did you get tired of your previous Alt Right data dump?
Wombaticus Rex » Wed May 10, 2017 8:56 am wrote:your previous Alt Right data dump
We thought we could change something
We helped them win
We changed the slogans
We get hunted again
When you're the fighter
You're the politicians tool
When you're the fighter
You're everybody's fool
American Dream » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:05 pm wrote: http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/sp/carlos.htm
CARLOS THE JACKAL
The Carlos 'legend' is still being milked by western propagandists, the Jackal's stint as a student at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow being considered more than sufficient proof that he was a KGB agent. However, nothing in the world of spookery is straight forward and since his activities greatly benefited the CIA/MI6, it is just as likely that Carlos was working for the British and Americans. This scenario isn't nearly as bizarre as it may at first appear, thanks to the cell structure of para-military organisations, individuals joining groups of this type have no idea who is directing their actions.
Becoming an urban guerrilla has remarkable parallels with joining the Freemasons, it is a commitment made in blind faith, as the example of Italy demonstrates so well. While the majority of individuals who saw 'active service' with the Red Brigades genuinely adhered to left-wing ideals, their activities were ultimately directed by members of the security services and blended perfectly with right-wing atrocities such as the Bologna Station massacre, that had initially been blamed on communist elements. In Philip Willan's 1991 book Puppet Masters: The Political Use of Terrorism in Italy, the Red Brigades are described as having a three tier structure; the young fanatics, the Eastern Bloc agents and 'further in, in the most secret compartment, the infiltrators of the Interior Ministry and Western secret services'. The Red Brigades were, of course, part of the PFLP inner circle in Europe and while these and other groups claimed to be 'marxist revolutionaries', the fact that their activities were of such obvious benefit to the security services in both cold war camps, results in assertions of this type appearing suspicious.
Is Fascism on the Rise?
posted by Richard Seymour
I was asked to post this brief talk I recently gave to a Stop Trump meeting in South London.
It was the Martinican poet and anticolonial fighter, Aime Cesaire, who tried to point out to Europeans that what they called Nazism, they had been practicing with a free conscience in the colonial world for decades. And that this relationship was not incidental.
In fact, the conscience of the European was never free. Octave Mannoni, the French psychoanalyst who famously psychoanalysed the colonial situation, once suggested that there was a surprising pervasiveness of the colonised, in the dreams of Europeans who had never left the continent and never seen such a person. Today, one wonders if provincial, sedentary English men and women dream of the Muslim.
If they do, these hauntings allow them to dissociate: that is, to project all their destructive impulses (the death-drive) onto someone else. It also allows them to dream that, since there is this other figure who isn’t fully human, they are guaranteed full humanity, a plenitude of being, by their whiteness. A certain cosmic prestige. Remember D H Lawrence in his ecstatic passions about nature — the dandelion is a nonpareil, foolish, foolish, foolish, to compare it to anything else. This was also a racist metaphysics of a great chain of being, in which he judged life more vivid in him than in his Mexican driver.
A lethal anxiety can be provoked when the principle of race seems to collapse. Because then you might have to take back your projections. What’s more, you have to confront the emptiness of your identification with whiteness. You may remember the racist tram passenger, Emma West, emotively excoriating black passengers and saying, “my Britain is fuck all now!”
In the summer of 2011, David Starkey complained that the whites have become black. This was his explanation for multiracial, anti-police riots that flared across English cities. Well, five years later, Thomas Mair gave that anxiety the force of arms. In the middle of a Brexit campaign which dramatically represented the country as being at a “Breaking Point”, where that break was clearly linked to race, Mair sought out a 'traitor' to whiteness — just as Breivik did — for murder.
The Breiviks and Mairs, lone wolves of 21st century fascism, are also canaries in the coal mine. They don’t tell us that fascism has arrived, but they do show us what it means.
The question, “Is Fascism On the Rise?,” could too easily provoke us to offer glib answers. Trump isn’t a fascist, Farage isn’t a fascist, so we might think we can set the whole question of fascism aside. But we can only do that if we treat fascism as a scholastic typological question, rather than an historical one.
History is a process, and we need to understand the processes through which fascism arises. There is a traditional schema according to which economic crisis equals polarisation equals extremism. Things are more complicated. There’s a particular sequence which we should pay attention to.
Yes, economic crisis is important, but it has to be metabolised by the state somehow. A crisis of capitalism, has to be a crisis of its political institutions and of its ideological claims. That crisis must manifest itself in a deadlock of political leadership of the ruling class. If, typically, one of its sectors leads (say, the City of London) and imposes its imperatives as being for the good of all, that leadership will come into question.
There will be a crisis of representation, as the link between parties and their traditional social base breaks down. As governments flounder, the state apparatuses will achieve a higher degree of autonomy and salience. There will be profound and pervasive distrust of the existing ideologies and the media outlets which purvey them.
The Left will be weak, and retreating. The labour movement will be weak, employers on the offensive. That offensive will have severe consequences not just for workers but also for the lower ends of the middle class, who suddenly risk being plunged down into the ranks of the poorest — or worse, being made equal to the racialised outsider. The whites will become black.
And then, internationally, the state will be either in some state of relative ‘backwardness’ (as was the case for imperial late-comers Italy and Germany) or in some state of relative competitive decline. A decline which metaphorises the decline of all the downwardly mobile social strata in the nation.
In that context, of comprehensive crisis and left weakness, a fascist organisation can take power.
The traditional way of doing this would be to exploit democratic politics while building paramilitary strength; to forge networks of elite support and covert state alliances while posing as anti-establishment.
But in most cases, no mature fascist organisation exists. The closest we have come to seeing that in recent years was the Golden Dawn years in Greece, where they assembled mass support and rival centres of legitimate violence on the streets, alongside links to state allies — but the confrontation with bourgeois state power came too soon. They were crushed, for now.
But the fascism of the future doesn’t have to be traditional. Nor does it have to respect the sequences observed in the interwar years, or reanimate old cultures. It could even adopt a patina of edgy cool, as with the alt-right: we should never underestimate the erotic glamour of fascism and its appeal to the death-drive.
Nor does it have to always be on the brink of a putsch. Let us not forget the strategy of the Front national, to win mainstream credibility by demonstrating the ability to govern within liberal constraints. The attempt by Bannon and Miller to force a rupture in the American state was premature and voluntaristic. A more competent germinal fascism would take its time, patiently exploiting the fascist potential within the liberal state, to incubate and nurture the fascist monster of the future.
We face a parlous situation. The instability of capitalist democracies will produce both exhilarating breakthroughs and morbid symptoms. Recent polls across Europe showed that surprisingly huge numbers of young people would be up for a revolt against their government. This can be a radical groundswell, but let us not underestimate the space or pure negativity, the possibility for an identification with pure destruction. Polls around the time of Charlie Hebdo showed a surprisingly large reservoir of sympathy for Daesh among young French people — not just Muslims, as was inaccurately reported. How can the Left harness the best and head off the worst — if not to channel it through pointless social media blood-lettings? We know how the Right will respond; by racialising it, and by calling down the force of an authoritarian response ten times more lethal than what it is supposed to repress.
We on the Left are having a good campaign about class and economic issues right now, but to an extent we seem to want to have anti-fascist conversations without seriously addressing the centrality of race, nation, war and the colonial legacy. The national question, which in Britain is always a racial question, has become more and not less central. We would not be facing a Tory electoral behemoth now, had Brexit not completely transformed the terrain. Too much of the Left, including some of the Corbynite Left, would rather not have that conversation for reasons of electoral expediency. It would simply cost too much to have that conversation in the short run. What they don’t realise is what it will cost them in the long run not to have that conversation.
I return to Cesaire, talking about that troubled conscience of Europeans:“it is Nazism, yes, but before they were its victims, they were its accomplices; they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; they have cultivated that Nazism, they are responsible for it, and before engulfing the whole edifice of Western, Christian civilization in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps and trickles from every crack.”
'Kill All Normies' Is About the Alt-Right But the Left Ends Up Looking Worse
Image: Pepe and Donald Trump.
A new book from Irish author Angela Nagle chronicles the rise of the alt-right and how the worst of the internet went mainstream.
There are certain books where, as you're reading, you realize your mind is about to change. Reading Kill All Normies is one of those experiences. Written by Angela Nagle, an Irish writer and academic known for articles identifying "The New Man of 4chan," the book is a record of the recent online "culture wars", culminating in the 2016 US election and the triumph of the alt-right. It is also an indictment of the left, pinpointing just how it allowed this to happen.
The book opens with a cultural history, "From Hope to Harambe," outlining the progression from mid-00s pickup artist communities, to overtly anti-feminist "neomasculinity," to Gamergate (here Nagle's narration takes a near-audible sigh), leading to its collusion with 4chan's troll army and its political awakening as the alt-right. Nagle wrote her PhD dissertation on online misogyny, witnessing this evolution in real-time. "There's a sort of broad arch of reactionary politics which moves from anti-feminism to racism," she explains, meeting me in Dublin to talk about the book.With its promise of a collective identity, the alt-right can seduce and assimilate these groups, lending them a sense of coherent identity.
Nagle approaches the alt-right as a tangle of wayward factions, united in their loathing of the left. Named for Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci who argued that political change follows cultural change, the "Gramscian Alt-Light" are those people you've seen on 4chan threads: creative, angry, unpredictable, but politically vacuous and messy. The "Manosphere" are men threatened by feminists, who they claim augur in civilizational decline and "cucking." They have converted their misogyny into racism, which links them with more old-fashioned far-right bigotry.
What each group shares is a fear of the future, an atomized life spent forever alone. With its promise of a collective identity, the alt-right can seduce and assimilate these groups, lending them a sense of coherent identity.
Among the alt-right's leaders, Nagle sees Richard Spencer as the most influential and the most likely to sustain a political career. "Mike Cernovich, Lauren Southern and Milo, all those people are brilliant at media," says Nagle. "They're really good at Twitter, but they're shallow thinkers. Richard Spencer is much smarter. He realizes that conservatism will never be cool, so he's trying to bring in figures from the dissident left."
Essentialist arguments about what it is to "be a man" have evolved to address what it is to be a white man. Nagle cites "Return of Kings" (a "neomasculinity" blog) author Roosh V's transition from pickup artist to alt-right proponent as an example. Overwhelmed by a sexual hierarchy in which they cannot compete, and immersed in anti-immigration rhetoric and talk of "white genocide," the alt-right has coalesced around an aggressive, ultra-conservative version of white masculinity.
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