Recently, Vertigo, a student newspaper published by the University of Technology, Sydney, for reasons best known to the editors (and in possible ignorance of certain political realities) has provided an outlet for the views of ‘national anarchists’ (see : ‘A is for Anarchy’, Bonita Silva and Donna Yan, May 19, 2009; my own thoughts on the article may be found here). To the best of my knowledge, this is the first occasion upon which ‘national anarchism’ — despite the term’s oxymoronic composition — has been recognised as constituting a legitimate part of the spectrum of anarchist opinion within Australia. It occurs at the same time as German authorities have noted an upsurge in fascist violence associated with the ‘national anarchist’ milieu in Germany; as the Southern Poverty Law Centre has for the first time taken note of similar ideological developments among the far right in the United States; and just a few months after Spencer Sunshine dissected ‘national anarchism’ for US publication Public Eye (‘Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists’, Vol.23, No.4, Winter 2008). It is also being published over eighteen months after local anarchist groups issued a statement exposing the ‘national anarchists’ — organised under the banner of the ‘New Right’ — as being the latest in a long line of fascist groupuscules. (See also : “Pathetic Australian anarchist statement on the New Reich”.)
Below I re-publish Der Spiegel‘s article on ‘national anarchist’/fascist violence in Germany, and the SPLC’s examination of ‘national anarchism’ in San Francisco.
‘National Anarchism’: California Racists Claim They’re Anarchists, Casey Sanchez, Intelligence Report, Summer 2009:
San Francisco — At this year’s Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, held in Golden Gate Park in mid-March, there was plenty of discord among the 6,000 or so anarchists in attendance. The militant vegans of the Animal Liberation Front, for instance, sold books advocating violence in defense of animal rights while a nearby “anarcho-steampunk” (a survivalist with a fetish for Victorian-era steam-powered contraptions) casually skinned a roadkill raccoon. “It’s good protein,” he offered.
Unifying anarchists has been likened to herding cats. But if there is one theme that most anarchists will rally around, it is that of stamping out racism, especially organized racism driven by white nationalist ideology. Many younger anarchists are members of Anti-Racist Action, a national coalition of direct-action “antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) groups that confront neo-Nazis and racist skinheads in the street, often resulting in violence. At the Golden Gate book fair, one antifa crew handed out stickers with a telephone hotline number that called out the racist skinhead groups Volksfront and the Hammerskins and encouraged fellow anarchists to report in with “Information on Racist/Fascist activity in your area.”
Note that leading ‘national anarchist’ ideologue Welf Herfurth — a former representative of neo-Nazi skinhead organisation ‘Blood & Honour’ in NSW — has recently joined forces with Douglas Schott of neo-Nazi reich ‘n’ roll band Blood Red Eagle to (re-)launch ‘Volksfront Australia’ — much to the displeasure of ‘Blood & Honour’.
But also lurking at the book fair was a handful of little-noticed anarchists of a different sort — so-called “national anarchists,” who advocate racial separatism and white racial purity. They’re also fiercely anti-gay and anti-Israel. Calling themselves the Bay Area National Anarchists (BANANAS), they envision a future race war leading to neo-tribal, whites-only enclaves to be called “National Autonomous Zones.”
“We are racial separatists for a number of reasons, such as our desire to maintain our cultural continuity, the principle of voluntary association, and as a self-defensive measure to protect each other from being victimized by crime from other races,” BANANAS co-founder Andrew Yeoman told the Intelligence Report.
Members of BANANAS and other likeminded national anarchists cloak their bigotry in the language of radical environmentalism and mystical tribalism, pulling recruits from both the extreme right and [?] the far left.
“It’s an extremely diverse group,” said Yeoman, with no hint of irony. “We have ex-liberals, ex-neo-cons, we have Ron Paul supporters, we have ex-boneheads, we have apolitical people that have been turned on to our causes.”
Although national anarchism in the U.S. remains a relatively obscure movement, made up of probably fewer than 200 individuals in BANANAS and a couple of other groups in northern California and Idaho, organizations based on national anarchist ideology have gained a foothold in Russia and sown turmoil in the environmental movement in Germany. There are enthusiasts in Britain, Spain and Australia, among other overseas nations. Now, national anarchists in the U.S. are carefully studying the successes and failures of their more prominent international counterparts as they attempt to similarly win converts from the radical environmentalist and white nationalist movements in this country.
“The danger National Anarchists represent is not in their marginal political strength, but in their potential to show an innovative way that fascist groups can re-brand themselves and reset their project on a new footing,” said a report issued last December by Political Research Associates, a Massachusetts-based progressive think tank. “They have abandoned many traditional fascist practices — including the use of overt neo-Nazi references. In [their] place they offer a more toned down, sophisticated approach … often claiming not to be ‘fascist’ at all.”
‘Entryism’ and the Left
Indeed, one of national anarchists’ principal tactics is called “entryism,” defined in one of the movement’s how-to guides as “the name given to the process of entering or infiltrating bona fide organizations, institutions and political parties with the intention of gaining control of them for our own ends.”
In the same manner as their fashion is borrowed from the anarchists, the tactic of ‘entryism’ is something the ‘national anarchists’ have taken from elsewhere, in this case Trotskyism. In the nomenclature of Trotskyism, ‘entryism’ is also referred to as ‘The French Turn’, following Trotsky’s advocacy of the tactic in 1934. In essence, Trotsky advocated his followers to join the parties of the Second International and other equivalent organisations en bloc; the tactic had mixed results, and remains a controversial subject within the remains of the orthodox Trotskyist current. One account of the tactic, by the Trotskyist groupuscule ‘Permanent Revolution’, is available here. On fascists aping anarchist fashion, see : When Nazis go Pop… New strategies of the extreme right in Germany, RAGGACORE, LFO DEMON, 12.11.2004. For fashion tips, “a seemingly ordinary anarchist that has a penchant for being overdressed and rubbing it in” named Adam maintains a blog named The Boulevardier.
In ‘The Case for National-Anarchist Entryism’, leading national anarchist ideologue Troy Southgate, a Briton, called for national anarchists to join political groups and then “misdirect or disrupt them for our own purposes or convert sections of their memberships to our cause.”
Anti-racist anarchists on the West Coast have been aware of national anarchists attempting to infiltrate and exploit their scene since at least 2005, when the Oregon eco-anarchist magazine Green Anarchy issued a warning: “If you encounter these people, don’t be fooled by the surface similarities; treat them as if they were Klan members or Nazis.”
Nevertheless, the doctrines of national anarchism seem to be making inroads into what Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, a longtime researcher of esoteric Aryan racial cults, has called “a folkish or tribal revival among white youth who are beset by an acute sense of disenfranchisement.”
National anarchists appeal to these youths in part by avoiding the trappings of skinhead culture — flight jackets, shaved heads and combat boots — in favor of hooded sweatshirts and bandanas. They act the part of stereotypical anarchists, as envisioned by most Americans outside of far-left circles: black-clad protesters wreaking havoc at political conventions and anti-globalization rallies.
In reality, although militant street action has been a favored and much-noticed tactic of some anarchist groups, most anarchists are less interested in smashing the state than in learning to live outside it. They scavenge surplus groceries for their meals, squat in abandoned buildings and construct pirate radio stations.
Yeoman said it was this do-it-yourself ethos that inspired him to become involved with the anarchist movement not long after the sometimes-violent 1999 anti-globalization demonstrations in Seattle drew international notice. But it didn’t take him long to move towards white separatism. In 2003, “the Anarchist People of Color had a well-known meeting in Detroit in which they prohibited white people from entering,” Yeoman recounted. “It was seen as this progressive thing not to allow white people into their meeting so they could pursue their black agenda or whatever. I really saw that as a huge contradiction between behavior that was allowable for certain kinds of people but not people of my descent.”
BANANAS first began appearing in public in San Francisco only in late 2007. Since then, BANANAS members with “Keep Our Children Safe” signs have protested alongside Christian Right demonstrators outside a gay leather subculture festival in San Francisco and organized a cleanup of San Francisco Bay shores. “Just because you’re proud to be white doesn’t mean you have to let everything go to waste,” one BANANAS member stated in a YouTube video documenting the beach cleanup.
The group also recently formed at least a fleeting alliance with the American Front, a bonehead group based in Sacramento, Calif. American Front leader David Lynch credits BANANAS online with helping raise funds on behalf of a member of the domestic extreme-right terrorist group The Order who’s due to be released from prison early next year.
The American Front traces its lineage back to the 1980s. Its most prominent, but exceedingly coy, member is (was) industrial musician Boyd Rice. Boyd Rice is also (only?) an actor, appearing in the execrable 1999 film Pearls Before Swine, directed, written and produced by Melbourne filmmaker and self-proclaimed ‘transcendental fascist’ Richard Wolstencroft. In addition to being a phenomenally bad writer, yuppie Dick is also the director-for-life of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, its launch in 2000 prompted by the Melbourne International Film Festival’s decision that his swinish film was simply too bad to screen. (One reviewer’s opinion: “I’ve kind of always distrusted Richard Wolstencroft, filmmaker, Melbourne Underground Film Festival director, and tedious bore, partly because of his avowed fascist tendencies. Now that I’ve paid money for and sat through his fucking film, I just want to beat the cunt senseless.”)
Dick courted controversy in 2003 by scheduling a screening of The Search For Truth In History, a video of a lecture by Holocaust revisionist historian David Irving; he also gives props to the Southern Cross Soldiers on his blog.
When all’s said and done, not to be taken too seriously.
The fascist ideological swamp out of which Rice emerged is surveyed in Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology, New York University Press, 2002; a brief essay by Clarke, ‘The Occult Roots of Nazism’, published by Lapis zine, covers the same territory. Of particular note in this context is the thesis by Kiwi student Roel Van Leeuwen titled ‘Dreamers of the Dark: Kerry Bolton and the Order of the Left Hand Path, a Case-study of a Satanic/Neo-Nazi Synthesis’ (Original, 2008). Kerry’s occult powers have forced the University of Waikato to pull the thesis from its shelves.
Last Dec. 28, BANANAS donned their national anarchist hoodies — emblazoned with “Smash All Dogmas” on the back and “New Right” on both sleeves — tied bandanas over their faces, unfurled a banner reading “Yes We Can, Bay Area National Anarchists” and joined a protest of several thousand against Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip. Practicing full-blown entryism, they marched between groups carrying the Palestinian flag and the gay-pride flag, while shouting, “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck Zionism!”
More recently, BANANAS have started carrying a black flag with the letter Q in one corner. That’s a reference to Yeoman’s claim that his ancestors rode with Quantrill’s Raiders, a notoriously violent pro-Confederate guerrilla outfit that battled for control of the border state of Missouri during the Civil War.
Like their late hero Julius Evola, an esoteric Italian writer and “spiritual racist” lionized by modern-day fascists, BANANAS believe themselves to be in revolt against the modern world. The group’s website carries notes of high praise for neo-Confederate secessionist groups like the League of the South and the Republic of South Carolina. Some of the site’s content is unintentionally comical. For example, BANANAS exalts the lily-white town of Mayberry in the 1960s TV sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show” as “a realized anarchist society.”
Yearning for Eden
The bulk of the BANANAS website, in fact, consists of long-winded blog posts predicting the imminent collapse of multicultural liberalism. Most illustrative of BANANAS’ worldview — and its hopes for the future — is a short piece of urban apocalyptic fiction that Yeoman penned for BANANAS and cross-posted at the white nationalist website Stormfront.org. It’s titled, “The Clock Strikes High Noon.”
The story begins on a San Francisco morning with a young white woman on a bicycle. She witnesses a fight break out between a black man and a Latino. An anti-fascist street punk steps in to break up the fight, only to be beaten down. The bicyclist turns away and pulls out her laptop to discover the country is collapsing: the president has been assassinated, the stock market is in free fall, and the Constitution has been suspended.
Horrified, she speeds home on her bike into the gentrified section of the predominantly Latino Mission district, or “what she likes to call the ‘whiter and brighter’ side of the Mission.” Inside the house, tuning into dire radio and police dispatches, she decides it’s a “better time then [sic] ever to activate the network,” apparently a fictional surrogate for BANANAS. The “network” has caches of food stashed throughout the Bay Area, which members collect and bring together at a “National Autonomous Zone, where people can be trusted to keep the zombies away.”
The “zombies” are non-whites, who “emerge from the confines of the projects and barrios where the city likes to keep their surplus labor contained.” The story ends with the woman on her way out the door to a safe house, chambering a round into her .45 pistol, and proclaiming, “It’s time to get out of Dodge.”
White nationalists taken with this kind of scenario have long proposed creating white homelands or what have been called “Pioneer Little Europes.” The “PLE” movement encourages white nationalists to consolidate their presence in white neighborhoods, creating a communal atmosphere whose insularity will repel ethnic minorities. H. Michael Barrett, the originator of the Pioneer Little Europe idea, has engaged in discussions with national anarchists about the shape of his plan. For his part, Yeoman conceded that BANANAS’ National Autonomous Zones are similar to PLEs, but he claims BANANAS’ enclaves will be superior because residents will be selected far more carefully.
“A PLE has all the problems inherent with an open-door hippie commune in the 1970s, with the free-love mentality,” Yeoman said. “We’re what a PLE would be if it had higher standards.”
Strait is the Gate
The reality is that BANANAs’ philosophy is such that it has thus far drawn few followers and many enemies. Hard-liners on both the far left and the far right have expressed their disdain for national anarchism in no uncertain terms.
“I am totally dedicated to finding an equitable solution to the Jewish question. But I will be damned if I will bust my ass and sacrifice my individual desires so that a bunch of social leftists can co-opt the struggle,” said one poster at Stormfront.org, the world’s largest racist Web forum. “You want the flash of calling yourselves ‘anarchists’ without any of the philosophical baggage that accompanies such a claim. The name ‘anarchist’ has a pseudo revolutionary flair. You want that, but do not want to be linked with 19th century Jewish bomb tossers.”
“Our role with the white nationalist movement is a transformative one rather than symbiotic one,” Yeoman responded in an interview. “We have friends in the white nationalist movement but we have just as many enemies.”
Even some who are ideological BANANAS’ allies do not agree with its recruiting aims. One of the few other national anarchist groups in the United States, Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Folk and Faith, has no interest in recruiting “left-wing scum,” in the words of its leader, a former bonehead who uses the name “Joe Hadenuff.” (BANANAS’ magazine Hadenuff was named in his honor.)
In a forum post, Hadenuff made clear who he thinks potential recruits to the movement should be. “Try ex-boneheads that have all grown up and are raising families, try ex-reactionary racialists now moving on to folk-centered idealism, try ex-NS’ers [National Socialists] that just got worn out on ’88’ [neo-Nazi code for “Heil Hitler”] and Sieg Heiling cameras as a purported answer to our folk’s problems,” he wrote. (Last year, Hadenuff, a former soldier whose real name is Jeremy T. Wilcox, had part of an Army court martial verdict against him — for attending a Klan rally and posting racist material in 2000 — set aside.)
On most of the far left, BANANAS is even more despised.
One of the few non-BANANAS to express support for the philosophy is Keith Preston, who runs attackthesytem.com, an online gathering place for anarchists critical of far-left anarchism — a philosophy that Preston has sneeringly suggested is held by “throwaways from exurbia who think they are doing their part to bring down the System by renouncing deodorant, gorging themselves with tofu and calling their bourgeois parents Nazis for voting Republican.” Preston seeks to build tactical alliances with separatists of every stripe, including Christian theocrats, white nationalists and black separatists.
That attitude — the willingness to seek out recruits from other political sectors, many of them non-racist — is what has many observers worried about the potential for national anarchists and their small but growing movement.
“The National Anarchist idea has spread around the world over the Internet,” is how the Political Research Associates report puts it. “The United States has only a few websites, but the trend so far has been toward a steady increase.”
The movement, PRA concluded, could become the new face of the radical right.
SURGE IN FAR-RIGHT CRIMES: German Authorities Warn of Rise of ‘Anarchist’ Neo-Nazis, Der Spiegel, May 19, 2009. See also : Dortmund! May Day! Sieg Heil! (May 11, 2009).
New figures from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency show that the number of far-right crimes in Germany increased by 16 percent in 2008. Officials warn of the rise of Black Bloc-style “anarchist” neo-Nazis who actively seek violence at demonstrations.
Authorities in Germany have warned of a worrying new tendency within the far-right scene — the rise of violent “anarchist” neo-Nazis.
Heinz Fromm, the president of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, warned Tuesday of a “new phenomenon” within the far-right scene. Presenting the agency’s 2008 report in Berlin, he said that over the last two years a scene had emerged of “anarchist” neo-Nazis who dress similarly to the so-called Black Bloc of far-left anarchists and who deliberately seek violence at demonstrations. He put the number of so-called “right-wing anarchists” at between 400 and 500 people.
The report also reveals there were 19,894 far-right crimes reported in Germany in 2008, an increase of almost 16 percent over the previous year. Of those, 1,042 were acts of politically motivated violence, an increase of 6.3 percent over 2007. Most of the other crimes were propaganda offenses.
The number of people with extreme far-right views in Germany is estimated by the agency to be around 30,000 in 2008, a slight decline over 2007, when it was around 31,000. Of that number, around 9,500 are thought to be prepared to use violence. However the number of active neo-Nazis in Germany increased significantly in 2008, from 4,400 to 4,800.
According to the report, membership of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) declined slightly last year, from 7,200 to around 7,000 members. However the role of neo-Nazis within the party has grown, said Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. “The neo-Nazi part of the spectrum is gaining greater influence within the NPD,” he said. The NPD, which has seats in two state parliaments, officially rejects violence and avoids explicit Nazi references.
Fromm rejected speculation that the NPD could be facing collapse, saying that the party’s current financial crisis would not lead to it being unable to operate “within the foreseeable future.” The party is in dire financial straits due to, among other things, a €1.27 million ($1.73 million) fine from the German government because of irregularities found in the party’s 2007 financial statements. The fine was originally set at €2.5 million but was later halved by a Berlin court.
Schäuble rejected proposals to ban the NPD, saying that the legal obstacles to such a ban were high and there was a significant risk that an attempt would fail. A previous attempt to ban the party in 2003 collapsed when it was revealed that many of the witnesses for the prosecution, including high-level members of the NPD, were in fact government informants who had penetrated the party.
Schäuble and Fromm also warned of the threat of Islamist terrorism in Germany. Although there has not been a successful Islamist terror attack in Germany to date, that was no reason for complacency, they said. “We are still in the cross-hairs of violent Islamists,” Schäuble warned, saying that the German military’s mission in Afghanistan is “a thorn in the side” of Islamists.
There are “significant” numbers of potential Islamist extremists in Germany, Schäuble said, including converts to Islam. Many Islamists have traveled from Germany to Pakistan to attend al-Qaida training camps and there have been messages from terrorist groups clearly targeting Germany in recent months. Certain Muslim groups in Germany, such as the Islamist Milli Görüs movement, want to introduce Sharia law in Germany, the agency warned in its report.
Schäuble also talked about the threat of far-left violence. Anti-military action was the focus among left-wing extremists, he said, adding that police officers were attacked with a “horrifying lack of restraint” during the May 1 riots in Berlin and elsewhere. The threat from left-wing extremists is clearly seen in the massive increase in arson attacks on vehicles in 2008, the report says.
dgs — with wire reports
See also :
‘Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists’, Spencer Sunshine, Public Eye, Winter 2008
‘National Anarchism – Trojan Horse for White Nationalism’, Nick Griffin, Green Anarchy, No.19, Spring 2005
‘Co-opting the counter culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’, Graham D. Macklin, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol.39, No.3, September 2005
‘From slime mould to rhizome: an introduction to the groupuscular right’, Roger Griffin, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol.37, No.1, March 2003 [PDF]