During Hillary Clinton’s speech today attacking Donald Trump for his associations with the so-called alt right, she made at least one important point: that rise of the Right in the US is part of ‘a broader story ― the rising tide of hardline, right-wing nationalism around the world’.
The opening gambit of declaring the alt-right as “hardline” movement is like his illustration intended to set the notion that any alternative view is both bad and a threat to civil society.
Clinton squandered the moment somewhat by immediately pinning the blame for the far-Right surge on the ‘godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism … Vladimir Putin’. Countering Trump’s ‘dark conspiracy theories’ with beltway-approved conspiracy thinking did not enhance her point about the international dimensions of the problem.
Tend to agree than in invocation of conspiracy theory is a bad idea because such things are generally the stuff of a fevered and over active imagination.
But even if Clinton’s point was blunted by opportunism, the Left needs to start thinking about the way in which the US-based alt right is intertwined with a broader far-Right resurgence in a number of advanced democracies, including Australia.
No the left needs to take a long hard look at itself and ask why are the policies, ideas and notions that they are cultivating being so soundly rejected by ordinary people and they have to understand that they do not have ownership of all virtue.
Although the origins of the alt right are in US-based far-Right circles, the man who coined the term – white nationalist Richard Spencer – did so under the influence of the European ‘Nouvelle Droit’ or New Right, and its leading figures, like Alain Benoist.
I don’t care about the origins to be frank
Spencer told me that he was attracted to those ideas because he and others were ‘deeply alienated, intellectually, even emotionally and spiritually, from American conservatism’. They were disillusioned with Republican interventionism, but also with what they perceived as a softening on immigration and race.
I personally find it ironic that lefties like Jason Wilson are so hot to trot for all sorts of indigenous people’s movements, like Our aborigines, or the native Americans, support “black lives matter” and any other sort of activism for ethically defined groups seeing them as either noble victims of oppression or fighting the good fight but as soon as a group has pale skin Wilson and his ilk see them standing up for their own identity as something pernicious. Its simply hypocritical and innately racist to endorse the rights for one group and denounce another for doing the same thing.
Along with the reactionary tradition that includes Nietzsche and Heidegger, Spencer engaged with the New Right’s ‘identitarianism’ – which links race and identity – and its hostility to egalitarianism and democracy. By defining America as an outgrowth of Europe, he was able to adapt the ideas to his own political context.
What hostility to either democracy or egalitarianism? All that I see from the alt-right are objections to special pleadings from Feminists and other left wing activists for special treatment by way of quotas and other forms of “affirmative action”. If anything the alt right is very much for true egalitarianism and true democracy.
This international circulation of ideas on the Far Right is not one-way traffic, nor has it stopped. ‘Cultural Marxism’, for example, arises from a conspiracy theory claiming that the Frankfurt School seeded the New Left and identity politics as a way of undermining Western values.
Its not a “conspiracy theory” its a description of the facts on the ground and Wilson is a without a doubt a practitioner of Cultural Marxism himself.
The theory was first pushed by Americans William S Lind and Paul Weyrich in the early 1990s, as they tried to develop ways to get Republicans to unite around culture war issues at Weyrich’s think tank, the Free Congress Foundation.
Where the understanding cones form simply does not matter because the core observations are absolutely correct.
It has gone onto be an organising idea for the Far Right throughout the world, including in Europe, where it showed up in the manifesto of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, and in Australia, where versions of the argument have repeatedly been made in mainstream venues, like the Australian.
Sigh. anyone would think form Wilson’s polemic that Brevik is an admired for the alt right or a source of inspiration but nothing could be further form the truth. and invoking here in this context is simple more of his trying to paint the alt-right as being innately bad and monstrous.
The Far Right and their ideas have been given a significant push by the great recession of 2008, the orthodoxy of austerity in Europe, and a slow recovery in the United States.
Economic upheavals do tend bring about changes in the polity
Adding fuel to the fire is one of the principal legacies of the West’s war in Iraq – the Syrian conflict and its 4.5 million refugees.
The war in Iraq may be many things but to suggest that it is something we can blame on “the west” utterly misunderstand that it and other wars in the middle east are largely a consequence the Jihadists and their propensity to Kill in the name of their God. this is especially so when it comes to the civil-war in Syria.
The refugee crisis has allowed a kind of ‘white internationalism’ to coalesce. The Far Right has not renounced nationalism, but it has foregrounded a whiteness defined in civilisational terms, and defined against the alleged threat posed by Muslim immigrants and refugees throughout the West, and by Latin-American migrants in North America.
Its seems to me that Wilson is a proponent of the ideas inherent in “Whiteness Studies” a rather vile ideology that defines bad as having White skin and a European heritage, further to that he pretends that the threat of Islamic imperialism is imaginary, but what else would we expect from a chap who thinks that there should be a borderless world? Frankly I don’t think that the issue in the US is about Latin American immigration as much as it is about unauthorized immigration that simply depresses the Labor market and imports unwanted workers into a USA that has enough of its own poor people.
When these ideas become entangled with social media, this transnational whiteness – or transcontinental Europeanness – becomes the basis of a new kind of political subjectivity, which allows theory-building, proselytisation, and other forms of collaboration across national borders.
Wilson like so many of the left yearns for the halcyon days when he and his left-wing pals totally dominated social media like Twitter and Youtube The alt-right may be late adopters of these platforms but they certainly have become quite adept at using them over the last couple of years . Frankly this has improved our polity. That Wilson thinks otherwise and that he ignores the fact that his fellow minions of the left have done the same sort of outreach he talks about here seems to have escaped his attention.
White, European heritage becomes a rallying cry to be deployed against anyone from the global south who would enter, or stay within the borders of any Western nation, against established non-white ethnic groups, and against the descendants of slaves.
Once again we see here the way that Wilson tries to stigmatize European culture and paint it in a negative light, even though he himself is a product of a very European cultural and intellectual heritage. likewise he is suggesting that alone among the globes ethnic groups Europeans are wrong to want to defend their culture and values against any challengers, especially if those challengers are brown in any sense at all. Finally on this point I have to mention his bizarre notion that Slavery is something unique to European history. Servitude and Slavery are as old as human civilization
The alt right’s memes make all of this easy to digest for the adherents of a movement with an intensive, socially mediated existence.
What does this mean???
Their IQ charts, and bogus crime rate statistics are a way of making the bogus ‘racial science’ that underpins their beliefs more easily accessible.
I am unsure what Wilson is on about with his reference to “IQ charts” or “racial science”
Alt right Twitter accounts are as apt to talk about an alleged ‘rapefugee’ crisis in Syria as they are to make arguments about racially determined IQ, or black crime rates.
I say SO FUCKING WHAT??? anyone on twitter can talk about anything they please but for the record the incidence of rape and sexual assault have skyrocketed in the wake of the waves of uninvited Muslim migrants into Europe and its not the European men who are committing these crimes
More generally, the shibboleths of white internationalism – Halal panic, sexualised racial anxieties, the notion of civilisational struggle, and primitive images of the other – are shared among Far Right actors across the west, and can be seen as readily as Reclaim Australia rallies are on social media.
What Wilson fails to get is that the world does have a problem and its very simple to understand both here and in other first world countries, Namely there is am imperialist ideology called Islam and its followers, while purporting to be mendicants in need, are actually invading and then once they have become established they set about subverting the very freedoms that enabled their entry until they manage to recreate the very societies they claimed to be fleeing. at first they demand halal food for all, then its a small step to demand a repression of our open attitudes to sexuality and gender equality.
Still, the cartoonish character of the online alt right – its memes and jokes, its clear links to nerd culture, and its disinclination (so far) to street violence – should not lead us to underestimate the potential danger here.
Nor should we ignore the very real danger of the monster that left-wing political correctness has become. We have thought policing and pressures to conform to the leftist ideals thrown at us continually through all of the mainstream media and the social media still has a preponderance lefties and oh how they howl if just one person or right-wing idea is voiced in what they consider is their territory.
If nothing else, a networked, globalised political racism may forge a more generalised, adaptable, and ‘shareable’ set of political concepts. In a time of overlapping crisis, we can’t allow white internationalism to become a durable response.
The alt right is NOT about or encouraging racism, and the many alt-right people engaging the BLM movement provide a perfect example of how the orthodox leftists like Wilson have simply lost the plot. Wilson and his ilk naturally assume that because they consider Black people in the USA to be “oppressed” then anything they say or do is both acceptable and should not be subject to any scrutiny and when BLM protestors call for cops to be killed or express clear racist hatred to white people its a case of “nothing to see here”. No problem with Black racism because they are an “oppressed” group and in the leftist mindset those not in a more disadvantaged social position simply can’t be racist to those who are socially better off. But the alt-right calling out real by the dictionary racism of groups like BLM is not the racism that Wilson suggests it is in this essay.
Wilson is of course going to pretend not to read this and he certainly won’t change his silly leftist ideas any time soon. After all he has built himself a career by sucking up to leftist orthodoxy. That is the true irony of the man because when I was a young person to be a true radical one had to be a lefty you had to believe in a a sort of collectivist future. Well those ideals have taken over the establishment and now to be a true radical you have to be of the alt right and become a libertarian, The difference between contemporary radicals and the radicals of my youth is that today the enemy is the misguided and willfully blind lefties that we all once so naively wished to be.