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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Last weekend, the Rocklands Farm in Poolesville, Maryland gave the boot to Richard Spencer and his white nationalist think tank, the National Policy Institute, midway through their scheduled conference. “Throughout our history of hosting private events, we have never had to ask a group to leave,” the owners’ statement read. “However, yesterday, November 19, we discovered that a private event held here was, in reality, a gathering of an organization that is strongly in opposition to our values.”

For the self-proclaimed founder of the so-called alt right, it was merely the latest in a series of humiliations.

Since a “Unite the Rally” in Charlottesville that left one counter-protester dead, Spencer has waged an aggressive PR campaign to prove that his movement is not a loose collection of violent racists and misogynists, but a band of political revolutionaries with a radical new vision for the future. Those efforts have failed, punctuated by his embarrassing speech at the University of Florida, where he was shouted off the stage by students and anti-fascist activists.

As in Charlottesville, the engagement ended in mayhem, with three fascists from Spencer’s inner circle opening fire on a group of demonstrators at a bus stop following an exchange of words. Earlier this month, the Huffington Post reported that the $10,565 check Spencer used to book the speaking engagement at Gainesville had bounced.

The Pepe brigade is unlikely to enjoy the kind of exposure it did during the 2016 election. But if the history of white supremacist movements and recent mass shootings are any indication, the alt right’s rapid decline holds the potential for further acts of violence in the years to come.

Disintegration and Mass Murder

Spencer’s fall from grace, coupled with the alt right’s growing disillusionment with the Trump administration, recently prompted a call on the movement’s website, Altright.com, for a “leaderless resistance.”

The term has a long and complicated history, but it was a favorite slogan of Texas Ku Klux Klan leader, Louis Beam  A high official in the Knights of the Klan during the 1970s, Beam helped guide the rise of David Duke, whose leisure suits and boyish looks put a more polite face on the Klan’s racism. The Knights collapsed in 1979 amid a scandal involving the sale of membership lists and pseudonymously authored texts, but its members would join paramilitary groups affiliated with the Aryan Nations and other white supremacist organizations.

During that time, Beam helped inspire a group of white nationalist militants calling themselves the Bruders Schweigen (Silent Brotherhood), or the “Order,” which would commit a string of armed robberies and murders from September 1983 to December 1984 when its leader, Robert Mathews, was killed. Following the Order’s demise, “leaderless resistance” follower and former Klan leader Tom Metzger linked older white nationalist groups to new knots of fascist skinheads emerging in the U.S. as part of a “Chicago strategy.”

Toward this end, Metzger created the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), turning fascist skinheads into “frontline soldiers” in the coming race war. Working with decentralized neo-Nazi gangs in primarily urban areas, Metzger envisioned the skinhead phenomenon as a way of creating a militant working class that could battle encroaching multiculturalism.

His vision was short-lived. Metzger was soon implicated in the racially motivated murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw, and a million-dollar civil rights lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center effectively destroyed his organization. With the Klan, the Order and WAR torn asunder, a vacuum emerged in white nationalist organizing.

A new opportunity presented itself when federal agents botched a raid on the compound of Aryan Nations supporter Randy Weaver. Metzger and Beam converged in Estes Park, Colorado  with other white nationalist leaders hoping to use Weaver’s case as an opportunity to reorient the movement toward local militias concerned about gun control and supranational governance. Inspired by the Weavers and the growth of the militia movement, Timothy McVeigh planted a bomb at the Edward R. Murrah federal building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people in the deadliest incident of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil.

The Alt Right’s Trail of Blood

The decade between the Oklahoma City bombing and the emergence of the alt right saw a massive growth in United States militias, which the Tea Party movement had made a radical wing of the Republican Party. The alt right shared similar politics of anti-interventionism abroad, but offered a more explicitly racist and misogynistic platform on the one hand, and an “edgier,” more youthful face on the other.

Rather than pushing conservative family values, it used tactics more typically associated with the left in what Pat Buchanan famously dubbed the “culture wars.” The alt right seized social media, internet message boards, podcasts and other web 2.0 opportunities to disseminate its far-right ideas to younger generations, all the while peddling white identity politics to shield itself from accusations of bigotry. The movement also adopted a more academic white nationalism, born of the “European New Right” and “identitarian” street movements, and finally brought stateside by figures like Richard Spencer. While antifascist groups recognized the violence of their rhetoric immediately, the alt right’s platitudes about free speech opened up space for a fair hearing in the press.

In January, clashes at demonstrations hit a fever pitch when a Trump supporter shot an unarmed anti-fascist protester outside of a Milo Yiannopoulos speaking engagement in Seattle. Racially motivated attacks, including the killing of a First Nations woman struck by a trailer hitch, Alexandre Bissonnette’s massacre of six people in a Canadian mosque, Adam Purinton’s murder of two Indian men, the torching of a Toronto mosque  and the shooting of a Sikh man in Seattle  continued throughout the winter.

On March 20, James Harris Jackson stabbed a man to death in New York City with a sword, claiming he “intended to kill as many black men as he could.” Jackson was seemingly radicalized online by sources controlled by Richard Spencer like the National Policy Institute and the Radix Journal. Dylann Roof followed a similar trajectory, opening fire on a Charleston Church after being “red-pilled” on false race and crime statistics by the Council of Conservative Citizens. The innocuous-sounding CofCC belies a white nationalist political project that uses alt right leader Jared Taylor as its spokesperson and has hosted leading figures on the far right.

Despite its claims of “free speech,” the alt right has developed a fighting culture increasingly focused on tactical street operations. On April 15, riots broke out in Berkeley when demonstrations against alt right publicist Milo Yiannopoulos led to the cancellation of a planned speaking event and ensuing “free speech” rally by white supremacists. Groups that attended, including members of the violent Rise Above Movement and far-right evangelical Patriot Prayer  returned to their bases in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest respectively to apply pressure to local communities through coordinated acts violence.

In Berkeley and at subsequent rallies from Boston to Portland, Oregon, the alt right secured the support of Patriot groups like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, while maintaining a semi-protective membrane of “alt light” groups and media figures who lent legitimacy to the movement by distancing themselves from the open racism at its core.

Meanwhile, the killing continued. As Richard Spencer’s face was being splashed across the front pages of major newspapers across the U.S., appalling acts of violence cemented the alt right’s reputation among activists. On April 28, less than two weeks after the Berkeley clashes, a Trump supporter attacked college liberals with a machete on Transylvania University’s campus in Kentucky. Two days later, a racially motivated mass shooting at a pool party in San Diego left one dead and six injured, followed by the brutal May 5 beating of a man in South Beach and a May 20 arson attack on a black family in upstate New York. The next week, Patriot Prayer supporter and “free speech” advocate Jeremy Christian murdered two and critically injured one on a MAX train in Portland, Oregon. That same month, a Timothy McVeigh supporter and member of the alt right group “Atomwaffen” in Florida murdered his two roommates; police found bomb-making materials in his garage.

Through June and July, activists like the Proud Boys staged violent demonstrations, harassed minority communities and attacked left-wing marches, rallies and meetings. While the collective maintained its distance from the more militant fascists in the alt right, it adopted their informal dress code (Fred Perry polo shirts) and white nationalist rhetoric, forging a “military division” called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, led by Kyle Chapman and Augustus Sol Invictus. Guns became increasingly prevalent at white nationalist rallies, as evidenced by the multiple high-power firearms Christopher Cantwell displayed during Vice Media’s recent documentary about the Charlottesville rally. Despite the threats these groups posed, mainstream media continued to provide them a platform in the name of “both sides” journalism.

It wasn’t until the murder of Heather Heyer following the Charlottesville rally in August that the press began to change its tone. The violence of the alt right had been laid bare for all to see, but the disgrace of Charlottesville did not immediately impede the movement’s ability to unite “respectable racists” at the American Renaissance, old-school white supremacists from the Council of Conservative Citizens, reactionaries and online trolls.

Not long after Charlottesville, 30 members of the alt right led by William Fears, formerly of Vanguard America, attacked an Anarchist Book Fair in Houston, Texas with smoke bombs. Members of organizations like the Black Rose Anarchist Federation held the doors, protecting conference attendants from what many feared could escalate into an act of mass violence. Just a few weeks later, Fears and two of his cohorts took aim and shot at counter-demonstrators at a nearby bus stop following Richard Spencer’s failed event at the University of Florida. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

What Happens Next

Even in deeply conservative areas of the country, white nationalist organizations struggle to find adherents, so they enlist more mainstream figures to aid in their recruitment. For years, those were paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan. More recently, they’re online pseudo-celebrities like Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Cernovich. When these personae self-destruct or repudiate the movements they’ve championed, refusing to go down with their more radical associates, the true believers begin to lash out in desperation. Lane Davis, a former Yiannopoulos intern dismissed by the former Breitbart editor, recently murdered his own father during a domestic dispute.

The timeline of alt right attacks over the last year reveals its hate crimes are growing in intensity, and some of the more recent incidents suggest it’s moving towards “leaderless resistance.” On November 1, Scott Ostrem was arrested for what appears to have been the racist murder of three Latinos outside of a Walmart on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado. Just over a week later, on November 10, former Air Force member and Dylann Roof admirer Devin Kelley murdered 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Richard Spencer’s movement presently finds itself in a state of disintegration. As it continues to fracture, many of its members will be reabsorbed into American society, but not all of the virulent racists and misogynists it has cultivated will go quietly. The alt right has already penetrated the U.S. military and local police departments. If a splinter faction were to go underground, adopting a “leaderless resistance” aimed at “national revolution,” the alt right or whatever formation it ultimately assumes could become more deadly than ever.

So-called Anticom groups and other openly identitarian groups are already forming “defense squads” in preparation for armed conflict with the left or anyone they rightly or wrongly associate with Antifa. Many believe that “total revolution and anarchy from the likes of Bob Mathews and Tim McVeigh are the only solutions remaining,” as Order member David Lane wrote from prison in 2005. They have the training to carry out massive acts of violence, and while their movement may have stalled, autonomous acts of terror remain extraordinarily dangerous.

These are the kinds of acts Richard Spencer is ultimately inviting at college campuses across the country. As organized resistance continues to shut down his recruitment efforts, the alt right will lose the momentum and manpower needed to see through its vision. But this requires that local communities take the threat he poses seriously, even as Spencer hops around on stage, insisting that he only wants to have a conversation.

 

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26 responses to “Are White Nationalists Plotting The Next Terrorist Catastrophe?”

  1. ORAXX says:

    Richard Spencer and his supporting cast of maggots, appear to be convinced they dreamed up fascism all by themselves, and the world should be rejoicing because of it.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Spencer like the Mercers are in greatest danger these days. Mainly because of their association with Trump, Bannon and the rest of the befrigged morons in Trump Swamp.

      Trump is already implanting the idea that American seniors are all totally useless and incoherent. He knows why. The oldest Americans are the ones who fought the wars to take down Fascism.

      So he works hard to create the image that Neo Nazis are just good little boys doing what the Lard Ass leader wants.

      What was that saying over all of the Nazi concentration camps, “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Sets You Free)? Sure it does when pricks like Trump and the Republicans delude themselves into believing we will just hand over all of our hard earned money to their Fascist Regime, all while these Neo Nazis work us all to death without decent healthcare, protections from Big Pharma for profit drugs and an FDA that is basically under Trump’s control and will allow all manner of tainted food to kill all of us.

      • idamag says:

        Remember hitler’s “useless mouths?” It gave him the right to annihilate people who could not work. He killed thousands of developmentally disabled people.

        • Eleanore Whitaker says:

          Ida, Trump and Putin have benefitted from the past history of tyrants and murderers like Hitler and Stalin. Now, they have a hi tech more refined way of getting rid of “useless mouths.”

          They’ll kill most of the older generation off which suits their purpose…The young have much to experience. We don’t. That experience is a huge threat to Trump and Putin. These two like ’em stupid and “ignernt.”

          One of these angry little punks crosses my path and he’ll get my all too overloaded handbag to his head if he dares open his mouth.

          We just had a very courageous 80 year old man beat hell out of a 25 year old punk who tried to attack another senior. You can bet that punk won’t be visiting that area any time too soon.

          Aging doesn’t imply automatic senility. Except, of course in Trump’s case.

          • idamag says:

            No, age doesn’t mean senility. I am a senior. Many of my friends and acquaintances are in their 80s and 90s. They are interesting, have never stopped learning and nowhere near as banal as trumpsters.

  2. FireBaron says:

    Very simple – when the families of the victims bring civil suits, the also name Spencer and his organization in the suits. Easiest way to bring down guys like this is to sue their livelihoods out from under them.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      One problem with civil suits. Trump has glutted the lower courts with HIS appointees. Look at that stroke of power freakage for what it is. By controlling lower courts, nothing the federal courts or SC does matters.

    • idamag says:

      I think they should be labeled terrorists like Illinois has done.

  3. yabbed says:

    Donald Trump has identified himself as a white supremacist and by doing so he has unleashed this hatred and bigotry. He owns it now.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Trump is doing what Putin suggests: Create disorder and disruption anywhere, any time and any way he can.

      Trump wants to centralize our government. But to do that, he needs the beer guzzling, high school drop outs as his brown shirts he hopes will scare hell out of all of us. Shows just how stupid Trump really is.

      He knows that the more he uses these punks as a distraction, the faster he takes over total control of what he determines to allow to remain as government.

      One BIG BIG BIG problem with that? He NEEDS our tax dollars. A nice year long tax revolt would clean house and senate and Trump and his grifter family of the major source of money they need to do their worst.

      The IRS is in Trump’s control. So we do not have anything to fear now. Get your state reps to start defunding the fed. Our states don’t get any return on that investment anyway. Why pay for what you don’t get?

  4. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Now really, what makes any White Nationalist think we won’t punch in their mouths if they dare cross the lines of the US Constitution?

    Trump is an obnoxious bastard. He knows he is doing exactly what Hitler and Stalin both did. His appeal is to the dickless morons who dropped out of high school because smoking and boozing behind their high schools was preferable to getting any education.

    These aren’t White Nationalists.. They are punky, smart asses who actually think that there are NO Americans who will not “discipline” these overgrown big mouth big babies in the same way their parents and DayCare staffers never did.

    Is there ANY American willing to allow one of these smart ass punks to control us? You bet not.

    So, if it is Civil War they want. Civil War they will get. And they don’t dare ask those of us who love our country and its peace and order to pay for their war losses.

  5. Karl Burkhalter says:

    This is worst kind of PROPAGANDA, written to appeal to hate and fear. It omits Memphis Church shooting and includes Alt-Left Kelley Antifa affiliate with Roof, when clearly Kelley sought to avenge Charleston. This is biased rhetoric, not worthy of serious consideration

    • Richard Prescott says:

      Last year I stated that Trump did more than open Pandora’s box, he ripped the lid off.
      We are seeing just what he is allowing. A true President with the country’s best in mind would not allow the bullsh!t Spencer and other like him are doing. And you have the nerve to call reporting on white supremacy “propaganda”!
      What is biased is between your ears, whatever is left in there.

      • Karl Burkhalter says:

        Spencer and friends got off same buses at C’ville as Antifa, all are Soros pd. This story omits the real danger to society, DRUG WAR, Millions of people work together with mutual respect and understanding everywhere, and that is ignored, We voted for a Black man TWICE, I did not vote for Trump, But saw live feed from C’ville from friend (black) that showed police forcing Alt-Right, and pro-Monument supporters into ambush, while Antifa started violence. When things got stupid, most of Soros’s Supremacist hireling were gone. Trump took a lot of media heat to tell the truth. Taco Curtain concept is ludicrous. Seeing the truth has nothing to do with party or race. There is no movement of moderates toward extremists among white or black people in know. And my race is mixed

        • The real danger are people like yourself who contribute to a climate of fear and suspicion, erasing any hope for people to cling to in order to better themselves and a materialist and amoral point of view you have.

          From your posts, you could use a world of enlightenment to ease your troubled and distorted mind.

          I strongly suggest you acquaint yourself with the Message of Baha’u’llah, starting first with a visit to http://www.bahai.org.

          • Karl Burkhalter says:

            People like me who voted for Obama? That was my point, this article is meant to scare people with distorted “facts” People like me have been doing the Christian thing all our lives and you are hypocrite to suggest otherwise. I am Jewish ethnically and dont care for liars or “truth speak” wherever i see it. If i am a danger you are paranoid and pushing away someone who has been fighting against drug war and real problems since before you were born!

          • dbtheonly says:

            Frankly Aaron, I’m more interested in knowing why Karl thinks George Soros pays us. I can always use a few more bucks.

            BTW, wasn’t Karl Burkhalter the name of the SS Major on Hogan’s Heroes?

          • Karl Burkhalter says:

            NO. My grandmother is Jewish, go elsewhere looking for Nazis

          • dbtheonly says:

            Quite right. Burkhalter was the General in Hogan’s Heroes.

            But as we learned from Forrest Gump, “Nazi is as Nazi does.”

          • Karl Burkhalter says:

            Contact Antifa I am sure they have future plans to incite violence elsewhere, like they did in C’ville, Since they scored a lot of points by sacrificing Heather. I Have said nothing against any race or party, yet you accuse me of violence just because i can see through this lie.

    • idamag says:

      You racists do not believe in facts, do you?

    • Jay Hansen says:

      Did your lobotomy hurt much?

    • Your satanic impulses are coming through loud and clear. Even jihadists in the Middle East at least claim a religious motivation—do you feel a motivation from any belief in God that prompted you to post your garbage? If so, please provide Scriptural Text which motivates your misanthropic sentiments.

      If you have the intelligence to gather in a list anything to support you idolatry, I’ll gladly refute each point in order to disabuse you of the toxin that bedevils your distorted mind..

  6. idamag says:

    Remember Bush’s statement about harboring terrorists? That was why he went into Afghanistan even though most of the 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. Looking the other way when the rise of white supremacists and KKK and the like are gaining in membership, WE ARE HARBORING TERRORISTS! Just as the Taliban, Al qaeda, and ISIS are labeled terrorists, we, too should call them what they are and take action before they can cause any more harm.

  7. Racism is a cancer of the human soul, first promulgated by the careless and spiritually unmoored idle thoughts of quasi-philosophers beginning in the 16th Century.
    Since this cancer was never clearly identified, it gained a foothold in the hearts and minds of “Africans” who had a change of facial features and skin coloration. We’ve so far been addressing the symptoms of the disease these past few centuries, but never addressed the root cause—A lack of a deep understanding of the meanings and the intent of Religion.

    As a result, myths and misinterpretations have led to a fundamental disconnect with what it means to be human. Related to this misunderstanding of the purpose of religion, humanity in this self-imposed vacuum of an uprooted spiritual conscience have fashioned from limited minds fantasies and limited understanding.

    From there we have had humanity coalesce into camps defined by an arbitrary categorization anchored mainly in skin-color philosophies.

    Philosophies that begin and end in words, and which are based on sloppy suppositions and quick-sand logic are quasi-philosophies with no basis in science and Religion.

  8. Beethoven says:

    The members of these groups are basically losers, people who for one reason or another have failed to accomplish worthwhile goals in their lives, and have been taught to blame their failures on anyone and everyone who looks, thinks, and acts differently from them, and have been taught that violent action against those people is their only hope for success in life.

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