A Brief Guide To The Australian Far Right (July 2020 Edition)

[Update : Huh. I did not know this, but a commentator drew my attention to the fact that ‘In June 2014, [disgraced Labor MP Adem] Somyurek inaugurated the Grey Wolves’ offices in Melbourne, as revealed in a report by Greek-Australian newspaper Neos Kosmos, which wrote: The (illegal branch) registrations took place last year mainly in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, where the offices of the Victorian Grey Wolves are located.‘ The Moar You Know! See also : The Rise and Rise and Fall of Adem Somyurek, Guy Rundle, Jacobin, June 2020.]

Above : ‘… and I just did that so the lefties can get their little screen grab.’ Tom Sewell explains the virtues of National Socialism & White Supremacy to a rapt YouTube audience including David Hiscox (XYZ, The Cuckables, Soundworks Music Studio) & Mark Moncrieff (Melbourne Traditionalists), June 29, 2020.

In June 2015, December 2016 and April 2019 I published brief guides to the contemporary Australian far right. These were intended to provide a brief survey of some of the more prominent groupings and projects, and came with various provisos; not least that the lists were non-exhaustive, formal groupings typically draw from informal networks, and the milieu is dynamic. In any case, the massacre committed by a far right militant in Christchurch in March 2019 has had some effect upon the contents of this guide and resulted in a number of scratchings. In other respects, however, the song remains much the same. I wrote last time that:

… in media reportage on the killer’s situation within the Australian far right milieu, much attention has been drawn to three organisations in particular: ‘Antipodean Resistance’ (AR), ‘The Lads Society’ (TLS) and the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF). In this context, it’s important to note that, first, while there are critical differences between them, and only AR openly espouses neo-Nazism, all three are the natural outgrowth of the wave of public organising undertaken by the far-right under the umbrella of ‘Reclaim Australia’ (2015–). Secondly, members of all three groups remain politically active and, finally, all can be read as particular expressions of much (much) larger political and social networks, for which the dominant social media and publishing platforms — Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — have provided and will continue to provide a critical part of their organisational framework.

The social media giants continue to play this role, and to facilitate the growth of the far right. That said, problematic content linked to death and destruction is subject to periodic crackdowns, typically as and when public outcry or political pressure forces the corporate sector to adopt measures to avoid legal and/or financial penalty. Thus the UPF lived and died on Facebook, and the hundreds of boys who flocked to its banner while Facebook gave it licence (2015–2017) have either grown up, found other things to do/abuse and/or joined The Lads Society and its political extension, the National Socialist Network (NSN). The NSN is an exciting NEW! entry to the guide, and represents an interesting if provocative (and problematic) development in the fortunes of the UPF/TLS and its fellow travellers.

By the same token, the True Blue Crew, which emerged in Melbourne at about the same time as the UPF, has been purged from Facebook, and the methgoblins who bought lvl boss Kane Miller’s merch have not marched since June 2018. (Like the dregs of the UPF, however, Miller and a number of his flunkys did attend Final Solution’s St Kilda rally in January last year.) The same applies broadly to the Proud Boys, and to much of the Reclaim Australia network. The unreliable nature of Facebook’s support for racial hatred and xenophobia has meant that many on the far right have been forced to adopt other platforms: principally Twitter-For-Nazis (AKA Gab), and BitChute rather than YouTube, but also Minds, Telegram and others. The former ‘face’ of Reclaim Australia, Shermon Burgess — having gone (like many others) ‘full nazi’ — can now be found on TikTok, but not FB, YT or even Gab. The same drift into open espousal of neo-Nazi doctrine has claimed The Lads and various other ‘personalities’ on the right. The Coronavirus and the rapid spread of that other virus, QAnon, has also resulted in some apparent ‘radicalisation’, with various forms of antisemitic conspiracy theory waiting, as always, in the wings …

So, for what it’s worth, here’s a guide to some of the more noteworthy groupuscules on the Australian far right, followed by a list of scratchings. NB. There’s a plethora of neo-Nazi, White nationalist and radical right-wing pages and groups on Facebook and other social media, mostly dedicated to circulating dank memes and shitty propaganda. They come and go, as interest rises and falls and as publishers respond to public complaints, legal complications and political pressures, but this material is now a permanent and often very profitable fixture of the media landscape, often dedicated to worshipping Trump and other authoritarian figures, from the world-famous to the rather obscure. Of late, many have incorporated or revolve around QAnon and other conspiracy theories.

Adelaide Institute
The Institute carries on doing its Holocaust denial thing. Ho-hum. Update : The Institute will have to carry on its vital werk without the assistance of its founder, Fred Toben, who’s now joined his An Hero in Hel.

Australia First Party (AFP)
AFP remains the central avenue for White nationalism in party-political form, and has recently benefited from the absorption of the remains of (one version of) the British Israel World Federation and the estates of some (other) dead supporters. The chief difficulty facing the AFP and its fuehrer, Dr Jim Saleam, is their seeming inability to lower the demographic and to attract the support of Aussie yoof, meaning its main body of supporters continues to consist of middle-aged blokes and old-age pensioners. Thus the AFP has failed to win over the racist yoof who’ve instead been terribly excited by the antics of the UPF, the Lads and the NSN and, after some initial collaboration, the party has instead opted to denounce these unruly elements as uneducated and un-Australian. (To its credit, AFP did manage to win the support of former UPF leader Chris Shortis, though he now appears to have distanced himself from the party and resumed banging on about his particular interpretation of Christian doctrine.) Otherwise, the party remains firmly ensconced in the Tempe HQ belonging to Saleam, with his political scheming and the party’s attempts to reinvigorate old skool labourism having borne little political fruit to date.

Australian Council of Nationalists (ACON)
The ACON is the successor organisation to the Australian Coalition of Nationalists, and was formed in late 2019 as a grouping comprising the AFP, British Israel World Federation, Love Australia Or Leave and several blogs (Ironbark Resources, National Independent and New Australian Bulletin). A notable departure is Nationalist Alternative (NAlt), which has instead been incorporated into TLS/NSN. Thus the Coalition of Nationalists, announced in October 2016, consisted of the AFP, Australian Protectionist Party and NAlt; the Eureka Youth League and the Hellenic Nationalists of Australia (AKA Golden Dawn in Australia) were considered ‘associate’ groups.

Australian League of Rights (ALOR)
The cranky and somewhat daggy uncles of the far right. “God, Queen & Country!”
*But please, none of (((Them))).

*Australian Natives Association (ANA)
I got an angrwy email from Some Guy castigating me for not including the ANA — Matthew Grant’s new project after the EYL collapsed — and so here it is. (It’s also part of ACON.)

(The) Australian Vanguard
Very cranky, but I thought I may as well give a shout-out to Raymond Foster. Armed with a terrific beard and a devotion to nazi politics, Foster would also appear to be quite dedicated to building a small White kvlt by way of merch.

Blood & Honour (B&H)
The neo-Nazi muzak network is still carrying on … and on. Tightly-bound to the Southern Cross Hammerskins, this dynamic duo organises a gig every year in Melbourne to commemorate the good nazi Ian Stuart Donaldson. Last year’s gig got some attention in the media, and an article in The Age declared, somewhat bizarrely, it never happened (but it did). See also : 9% Productions.

British Israel World Federation
Another crankypants organisation whose heyday was back in the early 1900s. tl;dr : ‘The people of the British Isles are “genetically, racially, and linguistically the direct descendants” of the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel.’ Apparently, there’s a bloke in Victoria and another in Queensland what believes this stuff.

Christian Identity (CI)
Obscure religious cranks what I assume are still kicking, but could possibly be scratched. It seems to be more of a thing in the US, where according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, CI is ‘a unique antisemitic and racist theology that rose to a position of commanding influence on the racist right in the 1980s’. According to Mears, ‘… the Kingdom of Heaven ministry, a branch of the Christian Identity movement … bases their views on Eve as seen through the ‘Seed Theory’, a racist doctrine that claims only white humanity was created by the union of Adam and Eve.’

Christian Separatist
(AKA Ken Cratchley, a Lads supporter in Sydney, who AFAIK is not dead.) Obscure religious cranks what I assume are still kicking, but could possibly be scratched.

Citizens Electoral Council (CEC)
The name given to the local branch of the La Rouche kvlt, the CEC recently changed the name of its electoral vehicle to the ‘Australian Citizens Party’. Largely confined to Melbourne, and with a spot on Channel 31, the CEC reckons The Queen sells drugs and very fast trains are ace. Or something.

Combat 18 (C18)

More a label than a formal grouping, C18 is responsible for distroing shitty quality B&W stickers around Melbourne town, as it has for umpteen years now. Occasionally, the racist nature of the stickers attracts media attention and more recently one of its members, Dan Newman (above), allegedly threatened some not-White-enuff-for-his-tastes women outside a stupormarket in Footscray.

Creativity
AKA a bloke in Adelaide called Cailen Cambeul, who’s ‘presently single and lives alone with his dog, N*gg*r’, along with one or two other losers. Creativity in Australia was once repped by Patrick O’Sullivan, but he’s C18 now apparently, and Cailen and Patrick are no longer frens. Oddly, when Pontifex Maximus Matt Hale was in trouble with the law in the US, Glenn Greenwald was his lawyer.

Expel the Parasite
South Australian Brett Light continues to pump out nazi propaganda of the entertainingly batshit variety.

Golden Dawn Australia (GD)
Like its Daddy in Greece, GD in Australia continues to eke out an existence, but is much reduced (unlike the real-estate fortunes of lvl boss Gavrilidis). GD’s local branch can sometimes be found distributing their nazi propaganda in Sydney, and has won some support among other Greek communities, but is reportedly somewhat divided as not everybody is happy with Iggy’s grandstanding. It also appears to have abandoned its attempt to form a political coalition with the AFP, and most of its political energy is directed at assisting fascist organising back home.

The Lads Society (TLS)
Following the collapse of Fraser Anning’s CNP, in organisational terms The Lads are more-or-less the logical culmination of Reclaim Australia and the UPF. You can read more about TLS here and here. As of this date they’ve got a social centre in Rowville in Melbourne, but are reportedly up to other shenanigans in other cities. Its leading figure is ex-UPF leader Tom Sewell. Tommeh! used to be content with being ‘Emperor’ Blair Cottrell‘s sidekick, but after some initial involvement Cottrell was excluded from the group (he still continues to cater to his ego and his fanboys on Gab and Telegram). Below, in November 2018, following some unsatisfactory media reportage, Cottrell outlined a cunning legal strategy that was guaranteed* to bring the boys fuckin’ millions of dollars!1!. See also : Blair Cottrell Has Lost His Appeal (December 20, 2019).

Love Australia Or Leave (LAOL)
Give a girl a gig on SBS, and this is what you get. Somewhat unusually, Kim Vuga has proven to be a stayer, and her course has now naturally brought her (and her hundreds of dingbat followers) fully into the orbit of White nationalism by way of ACON.

Nationalist Alternative (NAlt)
Another Melbourne-based groupuscule, NAlt is one of the more enduring fixtures on the far right, and produced Cottrell, Sewell and various other personalities. NAlt’s leader, Mark Hootsen, is also a member of TLS (and has his pretty White fingers in a number of other pies as well).

National Socialist Network (NSN)

According to the AFP, which has been an occasional source of infos on the grouplet, the NSN is ‘comprised of gangly teens whose entire knowledge of the world comes from social media. Except for the one book they’ve almost all read more than halfway through, Mein Kampf.’ Unfair, in my opinion, as the teens have also read The Turner Diaries. Formed in late 2019/early 2020 by TLS after some internal debate over whether to go ‘full nazi’ or stick to pretending to being civil rights advocates for White dudes (see : ‘European Australian Movement’) and thereby maintain some relationship with Ordinary Mums & Dads/The Quiet Australians of tabloid/Tory myth, the NSN has been doing as you’d expect Hitler yoof generally to act. Thus they’ve issued bold declarations, posed in photos, distroed propaganda and trained for the any-day-nao RaHoWa! Intimately tied to Antipodean Resistance, NAlt and of course TLS, the NSN currently operates outta the TLS cubby-hut in Rowville, but claims members and supporters in other cities, in a pattern eerily reminiscent of AR. Whatever Jacob Hersant imagens, I don’t reckon the NSN will accomplish much more than get into trouble and then collapse — though hopefully this will happen before one or more of them goes postal. See also : Neo-Nazi graffiti sprayed at Cranbourne Golf Club in Melbourne’s south-east, Freya Michie, ABC, May 21, 2020.

New Australian Bulletin (NAB)
An online shitsheet for the AFP, the NAB blog replaced the now-defunct blog ‘United Nationalists Australia’. NAB regularly publishes cranky, tabloid-style treatments of subjects dear to its author(s) heart, and frequently takes aim at the AFP’s enimies on the far right, especially those belonging to a younger generation who’ve signally failed to appreciate Dr Jim Saleam’s political brilliance.

One Nation Party (PHONy)
See : Pauline Hanson. Along with former Labor Party leader Mark Latham and space pixie Malcolm Roberts, PHONy is a regular feature on tabloid media, and remains most popular in Queensland (with one member in the House of Representatives). Despite its fairly minimal support outside of The Sunshine State (two Senators in NSW and two in WA), PHONy plays a very important role in the Australian Senate, and is one of the key links in the chain of anti-environmental and reactionary politics in STRAYA.

Proud Boys (Australia)
The bastard children of Canuckistanian dingbat Gavin McInnes, the PBs were very soon imported to Australia, but seem to have largely subsided in the last year or two (McInnes tried and failed to mount a speaking tour of Australia several years ago). Given that the group’s presence on Facebook was recently Zucced, it’s unclear how much longer it will be before the Boys grow up, but in the US those who haven’t drifted off have typically drifted into more determinedly radical neo-Nazi and White supremacist groups.

Southern Cross Hammerskins (SCHS)
One of the only remaining bonehead crews still kicking, and of some longevity. Associated reich ‘n’ roll band Fortress periodically reforms to play shows in Australia and to much larger audiences in Europe.

The Unshackled
An AltLite/AltRight blog helmed by Timmeh! Wilms of Melbourne. Timmeh! enjoys long walks on the beach at sunset, interviewing right-wing losers, and celebrating right-wing death squads. Of late, Timmeh! has been joined by Kiwi Dieuwe de Boer in a regular feature called ‘Trans-Tasman Talk’. Read more in How the far-right found a home in the New Conservative Party, Byron Clark, Fightback, June 12, 2020. See also : ‘Dia Beltran’ (Claudia Benitez).

Women for Aryan Unity (WAU)
A tiny neo-Nazi groupuscule mostly consisting of the wives and girlfriends of boneheads belonging to SCHS. These lovely Aryan ladies publish a zine, maintain a website, and raise funds for neo-Nazis overseas, mostly the remnants of defunct US terrorist grouplet ‘The Order’.

XYZ
XYZ the blog was established several years ago as a political outlet for a handful of cranky local Tories AKA ‘Classical Liberals’. By 2020 it had developed into an antisemitic and White supremacist propaganda organ, featuring the incredible talents of editor David Hiscox, budding neo-Nazi terrorist Ryan ‘Only joking!’ Fletcher, failed journalist Matthew Roebuck and various other angry middle-aged losers. Years of racist and sexist invective on Facebook finally came to an end when Hiscox & Co. made the mistake of publishing some batshit ‘satire’ directed at beloved TV personality Waleed Aly, shortly after which its page finally got Zucced (June 23, 2020). YouTube, however, remains firmly in its corner.

Scratched

1) A26A : Memorably described as ‘a pack of arseholes run by a wannabe SAS patriot G.I. Joe type … all skulls, fake bikie shit, ‘TRAIN YOURSELF BE READY FOR FKN WAR ON ISLAMS’, Monster cans, estranged families, jail stints, Christian crusader ‘chic’ and so on’, A26A was the bRanes-child of Daniel Purton.
2) Anti-Antifa Australia : Moribund nazi blog. It was resurrected and had a half-life on Facebook, then sadly deaded, with the anti-antifa slack being taken up by NAB, The Unshackled, XYZ and various other, even more obscure blogs and YouTube channels.
3) Antipodean Resistance : Inspired by Cottrell & the UPF, but born on Iron March and Made In Melbourne, AR has been reborn within the womb of TLS as the NSN.
4) Aryan Nations : Proud hosts of the launch party for the UPF’s short-lived political party ‘Fortitude’, AN ended in murder & prison.
5) Australian Coalition of Nationalists : An AFP project, ACON collapsed to be reborn as ACON.
6) Australian Defence League : A failed attempt to establish a local EDL franchise, the ADL was eclipsed by Reclaim, the UPF and associated satellites. Its one-time leaders included Shermon Burgess and Ralph Cerminara. The courts gave Cerminara several slaps on the wrist for being a naughty boy last year, and Burgess notably accused Cerminara of being a drunkard and a spousal abuser.
7) Australian Liberty Alliance : Dead but reborn as Yellow Vest Australia. Perth socialite and semi-pro Islamophobe Debbie Robinson remains at the helm.
8) Australian Protectionist Party : AKA Taswegian Andrew Phillips, basically.
9) Australian Settlers Rebellion : One of Neil Erikson’s dozens of Big Ideas.
10) Australians Resistance Network : One of hundreds of shitty fashy Facebook pages, ARN continues to shitpost, but should otherwise be considered moribund.
11) Battalion88 : One of dozens of short-lived neo-Nazi groupuscules, still deaded.
12) Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party : A failed vehicle for ‘Final Solution’, the party has more-or-less collapsed after the brave ANZAC lost his comfy Senate seat (May 2019), pissed off to the USA, and was declared bankrupt (March 2020). Likely to be remembered mostly for the Tramadol farmer being egged and thereby creating a most xclnt meme.
13) The Dingoes : These Racist Dogs produced a podcast called ‘The Convict Report’, helped to organise a hostile but unsuccessful takeover of the Young Nationals in NSW, and were then put down. See also : Soldier alleged to have traded military information was leader of white nationalist group, Florence Kerr and Thomas Manch, stuff.co.nz, January 22, 2020.
14) Eureka Youth League : An unsuccessful attempt by the AFP to attract yoof, it ended up in the capable hands of Matthew Grant in Canberra, then died.
15) European Australian Civil Rights League : See ASR.
16) Full Blooded Skips : Still deaded.
17) Klub Nation/Klub Naziya : Deaded. Or possibly another zombie, who knows?
18) Ku Klux Klan : Still capable of getting a guernsey in the media, but more-or-less a political zombie.
19) National Democratic Party of Australia : Another Cottrell failboat.
20) Nationalist Republican Guard : See ASR.
21) The New Guard : One of numerous Facebook umbrellas under which fashy boys of the late 2010s took shelter, the network dissolved and reformed under other names after the Young Nationals debacle.
22) New Right (/National Anarchists) : AKA wealthy gadabout Welf Herfurth. Herfurth is still having a crack, but without much support and little coherence.
23) Party for Freedom : After a brief but hectic existence (2012–2018), now deaded. Following a brush with cancer, its leader, Nick Folkes, discovered The Bible, Hitler and veganism, and can be found around the traps enthusiastically promoting this new Holy Trinity.
24) Patriotic Youth League : Predecessor to EYL. Amusingly, a parody group, the Patriotik Yoof League, found its way into an academic paper.
25) Patriots Defence League of Australia : Dead, but eking out a zombie-like existence as several dozen Facebook pages.
26) Q Society : Mostly inactive, but still subject to revival.
27) Reclaim Australia : Like the above, sustained via Facebook as a fount of batshit propaganda (though under different labels).
28) Restore Australia : AKA Mike Holt, a YUGE fan of convicted terrorist Phil Galea. Holt is indefatigable, and a Facebook partisan who employs various banners for his tedious bullshit.
29) Right Wing Resistance Australia : Deaded, after various brushes with the law and media.
30) Rise Up Australia Party : Deaded, but possibly subject to resurrection (if leader Danny Nalliah receives another direct message from God).
31) Soldiers of Odin : The wannabe bikies tried, but failed.
32) Southern Cross Soldiers : Yeah nah.
33) Squadron 88 : Dead, but partially restored by way of The Lads Society in Sydney. (S88’s leader, along with other Lads, attended Final Solution’s rally in St Kilda in January 2019.)
34) True Blue Crew : The TBC methgoblins fell apart amid allegations of abuse, corruption and several criminal convictions. (The fact that the Christchurch killer was a fan probably didn’t help matters much either.) *TBC is still cracking on in Queensland, where they organise BBQs to eet burnt snags, drink beer, and sing off-key versions of ‘Advance Australia’, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ (probably).
35) United Australian Front : Still deaded.
36) United Patriots Front : Ultimately, the UPF lived and died on Facebook (2015–2017), while its leading members have gone on to form other groups and projects.
37) United Nationalists Australia : An online shit-sheet for the AFP, UNA died and was then reborn as NAB.
38) Volksfront : The people spoke, and the front remains inert.
39) White Pride Coalition of Australia : Another historical curio.
40) Whitelaw Towers : Defunct nazi blog, whose authors made their way to and from the AFP, the UPF and related groups and activities.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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2 Responses to A Brief Guide To The Australian Far Right (July 2020 Edition)

  1. @ndy says:

    Exposing Jordan Peterson’s barrage of revisionist falsehoods about Hitler and Nazis
    Mikael Nilsson
    Haaretz
    June 30, 2020

    “You have to admire Hitler! (…) Because he was an organizational genius!”

    These are not the words of a neo-Nazi. They are words stated, with the utmost conviction, by Jordan B. Peterson, the psychologist and anti-“political correctness” guru whose YouTube channel boasts 2.8 million subscribers, in one of his Biblical Series lectures from 2017.

    While Peterson’s hostile statements on feminism and what he calls “cultural Marxism” have been thoroughly dissected in the media, but his views on Hitler, National Socialism, and the Holocaust have not, bar a very few exceptions. Peterson, an academic who declares that he chooses his words “very, very, carefully” has made so many incorrect statements about Hitler that it verges on revisionism.

    Peterson has repeatedly said that he has “studied Hitler a lot,” but every statement he utters about Hitler makes this very hard to believe. It’s worth diving into Peterson’s unsettling understanding of Hitler, from his strangely generous framing of the Nazi leader, through his misrepresentation of chronology, his misuse of historical sources, to his odd re-writing of Holocaust history.

    Starting with the “you gotta hand it to Hitler” quote above: The Nazi leader was not an organizational genius. Hitler failed at almost everything he ever tried to accomplish – bar genocide. Even strictly organizationally, the history of the NSDAP from 1920 to 1933 was fraught with internal conflict, and time and again Hitler would benefit from pure dumb luck.

    Peterson has insisted that we must “give the devil his due” and that Hitler did “wonders for Germany’s economy during the first part of his reign.” But the economic “wonder” of Nazi Germany is a Nazi propaganda myth. Economic problems were actually rife already by late 1934, and only got worse from there. Hitler’s many aggressive foreign policy actions and his accelerating persecution of the Jews during the second half of the 1930s were partly intended as distractions from the poor economy.

    Astonishingly, Peterson argues that what was wrong with the Nazis was not that they were not civilized. In his view, “there’s more evidence, I think, that they were too civilized.” This is an atrocious way of describing the most violently racist regime in history.

    He follows this up with a dose of pseudo-psychoanalysis, claiming that Hitler was “resentful” because the art school in Vienna had turned him down “like four times” and he “had just been through World War I.” However, Hitler was only rejected by Vienna’s art school twice – once in 1907 and once in 1908 – long before the war.

    The Germans also “had plenty of reason to be resentful and hateful,” he stated on the H3 podcast in 2017. They had lost World War I, suffered under the Versailles Treaty, and had a desire for “order and revenge,” and Hitler “embodied” that.

    Sure, many Germans (including Jews) hated the massive reparations payments (although Germany did start the war and had caused massive damages in the other countries). But this is irrelevant when explaining Hitler’s antisemitism, which Peterson constantly downplays, or National Socialism’s eventual usurpation of power.

    There was no linear motivation for “order and revenge” when Hitler blamed the Jews for everything: he blamed them despite their innocence. Moreover, the NSDAP had no success in popular elections until December 1929 after having campaigned against the so-called Young Plan, i.e. against reducing Germany’s reparation payments. Fascism, moreover, did not bring “order” to Germany – it brought chaos.

    Peterson’s endless barrage of falsehoods includes the outrageous claim that “Hitler was elected” and “by a large majority too. It was a landslide vote; the kind of vote that no modern democratic leader ever gets.” Hitler was not elected, and the NSDAP never received more than 37.27 percent in a free election (in July 1932). A small camarilla of conservative politicians, led by Franz von Papen, convinced President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor in a coalition cabinet.

    Peterson consistently exhibits an extreme carelessness with facts and chronology regarding Hitler, National Socialism, and the Holocaust.

    Mischaracterizing Hitler, and misrepresenting sources

    Like most self-proclaimed laymen Hitler experts, Peterson loves anecdotes. He tells a story about how Hitler was sitting around with his buddies in the trenches, then went off for a while and returned to find his comrades were all dead; a shell had exploded and killed them all. Peterson exclaims: “That changes you!”

    Sure, it would. There is only one problem: this never happened. It is an open question why Peterson would seek to offer an anecdote that presents Hitler as a victim of psychological trauma, even valorizing him.

    But that is only the beginning of Peterson’s serial problems with historical sources. Peterson has on several occasions talked about how he has read “Hitler’s Table Talk,” a compilation which Peterson says records Hitler’s “spontaneous” dinnertime comments from 1939 to 1942 (in reality: 1941–1944). He notes how it struck him how many times Hitler referred to the Jews as “parasites,” “rats” and “insects.”

    But the book only mentions the word “parasite” three times, and only once in reference to Jews; “insects” are only mentioned twice, once in relation to the Russian people, and once about actual insects; and the word “rats,” mentioned seven times, is only used about actual rats.

    Furthermore, “Hitler’s Table Talk” does not contain Hitler’s words verbatim. It is a collection of edited notes made largely from memory and it has to be treated with the critical skepticism that such a source demands. The English translation from 1953 is horribly flawed; it is freely translated from a previous French translation in which the text had been seriously tampered with.

    This is not the only time that Peterson misrepresents the content in his sources. He claims that no one in the German Reserve Police Battalion 101 in Poland opted out of shooting Jews, even though their commander gave them that choice, referencing Christopher Browning’s book “Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.”

    In fact, Browning writes that 10–20 percent of them indeed did opt out. That misrepresentation is perhaps not accidental: one of Peterson’s core hypothesis about Nazism is that everyone is a potential Nazi mass murderer, leaving extremely little room for exceptions for people of conscience.

    Peterson claims that Hitler was “obsessed with order and cleanliness; he was a very orderly person (…) he was very sensitive to disgust.” In a lecture in 2017 he even stated that “Hitler bathed four times a day.” This is completely untrue, but Peterson makes a lot of it. Why?

    Because Peterson hypothesizes that Hitler and the Nazis were not “afraid of the Jews”: his evidence is that you run away from your fears. But faced with disgust, rather than run away, “you want to burn it to the damn ground.”

    Peterson uses this false narrative of concern with health and cleanliness to argue that Hitler in 1933 initiated “mass tuberculosis screenings…which actually turned out to be a good thing.”

    But no such massive screenings for the benefit of public health occurred. The Nazis considered tuberculosis a sign of racial inferiority and often referred to Jews as “racial TB” infecting the Volk body politic. Screenings were not “a good thing,” but were used to identify people deemed unworthy of life. Tuberculosis was effectively used as a biological weapon in the ghettos and concentration camps during the war.

    Peterson is conflating the symptom with the decease. Nazi propaganda indeed often used tropes and images expressing disgust for Jews. But this was a consequence of their antisemitism, not a cause for it. The Nazis were indeed afraid of the Jews. They were, paradoxically, hysterically fearful of the powerful potential for destruction and subversion embodied in the supposedly racially inferior Jews.

    Problematically, Peterson’s reframing of the genocidal Nazi hostility to Jews as a natural or instinctive response to disgust minimizes, and effectively denies, the role of rabid antisemitism in explaining the Holocaust. Hitler did not orchestrate the Holocaust because he had OCD. He, and his Nazi henchmen, did it because they were antisemites.

    Peterson and the Holocaust: Hitler ‘had a hand’ in it

    Although Peterson does not deny the Holocaust, his statements about it nonetheless often borders on revisionism. For some reason, Peterson also very seldom uses the term “Holocaust” when speaking about the extermination of the Jews.

    In a 2017 lecture Peterson boldly stated to his students: “Here’s what you should have done if you were a Nazi and wanted to win the war: You should have enslaved the Jews and the Gypsies and had them work (…) for the benefit of the victory. And then, if you wanted to, you can liquidate them afterwards. That’s the logical thing to do if you want to win!” He has often repeated this.

    But the Nazis did enslave the Jews and the Roma and had them “work for German victory.” What Peterson is doing is to frame the Holocaust as an illogical and unintended by-product of the war. The truth, of course, is that the genocide of Europe’s Jews was an integral Nazi war aim, which was considered essential to victory.

    Peterson steps far deeper into revisionism on a Joe Rogan podcast from 2017. On that livestreamed show, he started off by implying (by explicitly agreeing with Bret Weinstein) that the Jews were not ‘real’ Germans, since the Jews were “genetically distinct,” and that the Holocaust “was rational from the point of view of (…) producing members of (Hitler’s ‘genuinely German’) population.”

    He then questioned Hitler’s own responsibility for intensifying the genocide as the war progressed: “I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say that it was him that did that, although I think he had a hand in it.”

    This is soft revisionism. It denies all of our extensive historical knowledge showing Hitler’s clear direct responsibility for, and direction of, the Holocaust.

    Peterson has repeatedly claimed that Hitler was just “the mouthpiece of the collective unconscious of the German people.” He says Hitler developed his ideology through a trial-and-error process whereby he kept saying what caused a good response as he was, partly unwittingly, “being molded by the crowd”; he acted out “the dark desire of the mob.” There is no evidence that supports any of this. And it, too, comes dangerously close to Hitler apologetics.

    And it is mirrored in his equally misinformed idea that basically all Germans participated in the Holocaust, and that almost every human being has the potential to be a Nazi or even a Hitler. Why is this so pernicious? Because blame placed everywhere is blame placed nowhere.

    And Peterson’s claim ignores the inconvenient truth that many Germans – not least many Jews and Marxists – resisted Hitler. The fact that Peterson systematically ignores those heroes and ordinary people of conscience (who often died fighting the Nazis) is problematic. It suggests some kind of collective rather than individual agency, which ends up flattening Hitler’s own agency and responsibility. Most Germans were not fervent card-carrying Nazis. Any serious historian would state that without Hitler there would have been no Holocaust.

    But why does Peterson’s misinformation matter?

    The reason for Peterson’s re-writing of the history of Hitler Germany and the Holocaust is hard to really discern. He has certainly never expressed blatantly antisemitic views, and he has argued against the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the radical right.

    Yet on his blog he has written a response called “On the so-called ‘Jewish Question.’” To frame the issue like this, even if it is meant as a sarcastic reference to the antisemitic far right, is more than irresponsible, considering that this is exactly how the Nazis framed it: die Judenfrage. The “Final Solution,” the Holocaust, was the direct Nazi “answer” to the “Jewish Question.”

    There is, perhaps, an ideological answer to this conundrum. Peterson has a long history of equivocating between Nazism and Communism, and suggesting an absolute equivalence between Nazi death camps and, for instance, the Soviet gulag camps. He seems unable to really see the very crucial differences, perhaps blinded by his equally manifest hostile obsession with what he calls “cultural Marxism” or the “postmodern neo-Marxists.”

    The railing against “cultural Marxism” (a phrase with a long antisemitic history) is of course something that Peterson, unfortunately, has in common with Hitler and the Nazis. It is his blind spot, and to what degree this hatred of Marxism has influenced his analysis and understanding of Hitler and National Socialism is unknown.

    Perhaps connected to this is his trouble deciding whether Nazism was ideologically “radical right” or “radical left,” suggesting that “maybe they pulled from the worst of both extremes.” This, too, is built on a massive ignorance of the historical research on these topics.

    It’s worth noting that this narrative happens to fit rather nicely with the views of a pool from which he draws many of his fans: the pro-Trump American right, whose leading figures are engaged in a persistent attempt to brand Nazism as socialist and Hitler as a leftist, if not a Democrat.

    It is not unreasonable to assume that this monomania has affected not only his framing of Nazism – but goes to the heart of his discomforting take on the Holocaust and its perpetrators.

    Peterson’s sole focus on what he deems to be unanimous mob participation in engineering and implementing genocide appears to have led him to conclude that genocidal tendencies are a universal trait of human psychology. This is obviously untrue. He simply ignores all those who resist oppression and refuse to go along with mass murder.

    In doing so Peterson loses track of the absolutely critical roles that both ideology and, ironically, individual human psychology play in turning some people against their fellow human beings in a racist murderous rage.

    There is one glaring exception to the Peterson rule: Marxism and its “cultural Marxism” offspring. In this case, it appears he can see nothing but ideology. And he sees it everywhere. Everything that Peterson identifies as a degenerative, bad influence in today’s world he ascribes first and foremost to this phenomenon.

    Peterson has certainly never suggested in a lecture that we should admire Stalin’s “organizational genius,” even though he far outshined Hitler in that particular department. While it’s acceptable to Peterson to praise Hitler for what “good” he did for the economy or for improving public health in Germany, he would never ever dream of praising Stalin for the same “achievements” in the USSR.

    Peterson insists that the crimes of Communism were a matter of Marxist ideology running its logical course. But when he analyzes Nazi crimes, the diagnosis is quite different: he ignores the actual causation of the Holocaust – racist antisemitic hatred – and reduces it to a ‘universal’ human instinct: disgust.

    This is why Peterson’s statements about Hitler are not only ignorant, but also dangerous. They feed into the victimhood narrative so central to alt-right identity politics. If there is a way to justify even Hitler’s hatred and resentfulness then, surely, there’s a way to legitimize anyone else’s. It’s a short step to explaining today’s radical right as a group of confused ‘incels’ acting out their universal and reasonable “resentfulness and hatred.” They become rather harmless.

    But Peterson offers no such discounts to the radical left: for him, they are the real threat today because of their ideological motivation. Peterson has indeed suggested that Antifa is similar to the Nazis because of their “proclivity to violence.”

    A Princeton University study from 2019 by Joel Finkelstein showed that those who began their YouTube commenting history on Peterson’s channel migrated twice as fast to alt-right content compared to those who had not started there. Moreover, Peterson was favorably referenced in alt-right and white supremacy social media postings in relation to “their most heinous misogynist and white supremacist ideas.”

    It doesn’t hurt Peterson’s star turn as the alt-right’s favorite public intellectual that so much of his analysis of Hitler and Nazism rests on a pathological hostility to the left, writ large; to fluent rhetoric whose flow won’t be dammed by factual flaws; and to a consistent effort to downplay the central, lethal role of antisemitism in Hitler’s “genius” and the six million dead of the Holocaust.

  2. alanbstardmp says:

    what’s wrong with a white Australia? It was for a while you know

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