antifa notes (august 28, 2019) : Evans / (Ngo) Boys / Lads

Dr Cam & I done a interview with Robert Evans (Behind the Bastards /// bellingcat) for the August edition of Floating Anarchy on The SUWA Show on 3CR.

You can listen to the podcast version here.

I also recommend listening to Evans’ audiobook, The War On Everyone, from Chapter 1: The Eternal Fascist — ‘There is nothing new under the sun. In this chapter, you’ll learn about “Ur-Fascism”, and how humor and irony have historically been used to enable its rise’ — to Chapter 7: The Digital Reich — ‘This is where we are now: an era where a distributed network of individual extremists are able to radicalize each other and inspire acts of violence worldwide. This is not the result of an unhappy accident, or an unforeseen consequence of the digital era. It’s the result of decades of careful planning.’

No Ngo No

Quillette, ‘The Magazine of Contemporary Phrenology’, has lost one of its contributing editors: Andy Ngo.

You may remember Ngo from when he was mUrdErEd by a hit squad of anTEEfa supersoldiers in Portland a few months ago.

Well … kinda. Actually, Ngo survived his brain injury well enough to tell lies about the El Paso shooting. Hence:

Far-right networks on Twitter are trying to use a hoax spread by an American Conservative news and opinion website a few days ago to blame a mass shooting in El Paso on “antifa” — a loose collective of left-wing activists who focus on combating racism, sexism, xenophobia and other oppressive ideologies … In its July 30 story, the Daily Caller cited Andy Ngo as its source for the claim … And as one of the most prominent foot soldiers in the right-wing’s war on antifa, Ngo never misses a chance to manufacture fear-mongering propaganda targeting his foes.

Anyway, Ngo’s departure from that august intellectual journal Quillette was immediately preceded by the public exposure of his participation in a group which attacked Portland venue Cider Riot on May Day 2019. This has been helpfully documented by Some Guy called ‘Ben’, who infiltrated the group. See : Undercover in Patriot Prayer: Insights From a Vancouver Democrat Who’s Been Working Against the Far-Right Group from the Inside, Alex Zielinski, Portland Mercury, August 26, 2019.

See also : Super Awkward for Right-Wing Blogger Andy Ngo to Make a Cameo in Video of Plot Against Antifa, Tess Owen, VICE, August 28 2019 | Right-Wing Star Andy Ngo Exits Quillette After Damning Video Surfaces, Will Sommer, The Daily Beast, August 26, 2019 | Portland’s Andy Ngo Is the Most Dangerous Grifter in America, Arun Gupta, Jacobin, August 16, 2019 | We’re Being Played, Shane Burley, Commune, August 1, 2019 | Andy Ngo Has The Newest New Media Career. It’s Made Him A Victim And A Star, Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed, July 18, 2019.

Ngo’s departure from Quillette also followed on from an American Guard/Patriot Prayer/Proud Boys rally in Portland on August 17 to ‘End Domestic Terrorism’ (by way of criminalising anti-fascism). Trump was a YUGE fan of the rally, but it attracted more counter-protesters than it did supporters and, on the whole, apart from a supportive tweet from Cheeto Mussolini — along with celebrations by Fox (etc.) — it was not a suckcess. On the plus side: These Fascists Inadvertently Raised Over $35,000 For A Cause They Hate, Christopher Mathias, The Huffington Post, August 25, 2019 (‘For each member of the Proud Boys or other fascist groups that marched in Portland, counterprotesters pledged money to an Oregon immigrant rights group‘). See also : 1 hammer, 1 ‘antifa mob chase’: A closer look at Portland’s viral protest moments, Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, The Oregonian, August 19, 2019.

Lads

Neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘The Lads Society’ looks set to lose its organising centre in Ashfield in Sydney soon.

Things have been a little tougher for the Lads since: a) their chum Brenton Tarrant slaughtered 51 Muslims in Christchurch and; b) Gruppenführer Tom Sewell declared that if his Lads weren’t able to maintain their cubby huts in Melbourne and Sydney (and Brisbane), they might be tempted, like Tarrant, to turn to violence.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Finally:

• Last week, convicted racist and serial pest Neil Erikson was (again) charged with disturbing a religious service, after he & AltLite YouTube micro-celebrity Claudia Benitez (‘Dia Beltran’) gate crashed a queer-friendly Christian church in Hawthorn on May 12. Erikson has previously been charged with disturbing a Muslim prayer service in Fed Square in Melbourne and, while a warrant has reportedly been issued for his arrest, has yet to face court for disrupting a church service in Gosford, NSW.

• Also last week, Law & Order campaigner Kim Vuga of the ‘Love Australia or Leave’ micro-party has been embarrassed by the (alleged) criminal antics of her son, Jaimee Ronald Madden, who’s been charged with 15 offences, including armed robbery and carjacking, after an incident in Southport, Queensland.

• Simon Hickey, ‘The Nazi Sparky’ and sometime sponsor of Andrew Anglin’s neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, appears not to have enjoyed commercial success by way of his open endorsement of neo-Nazism. Back in late 2018/early 2019, Hickey lost some legal battles; last month (July), Hickey announced that he would be shutting up shop.

“Thanks Trotsky!”

antifa notes (august 7, 2019) : The Zodiac Killer ~versus~ anTEEfa! (on the criminalisation of anti-fascism in the united states)

In the United States, moves are being made to criminalise ‘antifa’ as a ‘terrorist organization’; viz, by way of S.Res.279 – A resolution calling for the designation of Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. The resolution, introduced into Congress on July 18, is sponsored by Louisiana Senator Bill ‘They’re comin’ right for us!’ Cassidy and co-sponsored by The Zodiac Killer (AKA Texas Senator Ted Cruz).

Calling for the designation of Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.

Whereas members of Antifa, because they believe that free speech is equivalent to violence, have used threats of violence in the pursuit of suppressing opposing political ideologies;

Whereas Antifa represents opposition to the democratic ideals of peaceful assembly and free speech for all;

Whereas members of Antifa have physically assaulted journalists and other individuals during protests and riots in Berkeley, California;

Whereas in February of 2018, journalist Andy Ngo was intimidated and threatened with violence by protestors affiliated with Antifa;

Whereas, on June 29, 2019, while covering demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, journalist Andy Ngo was physically attacked by protestors affiliated with Antifa;

Whereas employees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (referred to in this preamble as “ICE”) were subjected to doxxing and violent threats after their social media profiles, phone numbers, and home addresses were posted on the internet by left wing activists;

Whereas according to the Wall Street Journal [in an August 3, 2018 opinion piece published by the aforementioned Ngo, which cites an anonymous ICE officer], an ICE officer was followed by left wing activists and “confronted when he went to pick up his daughter from summer camp”, and another “had his name and photo plastered on flyers outside his home accusing him of being part of the ‘Gestapo’”;

Whereas the ICE office in southwest Portland, Oregon, was shut down for days due to threats and occupation by Antifa members;

Whereas Rose City Antifa, an Antifa group founded in 2007 in Portland, Oregon, explicitly rejects the authority of law enforcement officers in the United States, and Federal, State, and local governments, to protect free speech and stop acts of violence;

Whereas Rose City Antifa rejects* the civil treatment of individuals the group labels as fascists, stating: “We can’t just argue against them; we have to prevent them from organizing by any means necessary.”; and

Whereas there is no place for violence in the discourse between people in the United States, or in any civil society, because the United States is a place where there is a diversity of ideas and opinions: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) calls for the groups and organizations across the country who act under the banner of Antifa to be designated as domestic terrorist organizations;

(2) unequivocally condemns the violent actions of Antifa groups as unacceptable acts for anyone in the United States;

(3) expresses the need for the peaceful communication of varied ideas in the United States;

(4) urges any group or organizations in the United States to voice its opinions without using violence or threatening the health, safety, or well-being of any other persons, groups, or law enforcement officers in the United States; and

(5) calls upon the Federal Government to redouble its efforts, using all available and appropriate tools, to combat the spread of all forms of domestic terrorism, including White supremacist terrorism.

The Resolution is interesting for a number of reasons:

• It indicates that the Republicans believe that — along with the routine demonisation and criminalisation of anTEEfa — the passage of this Resolution will assist in God Emperor Trump’s 2020 re-election bid;
• It was followed, just a few weeks later, by the conduct of another massacre by a Trump supporter in El Paso in The Zodiac Killer’s home state;
• It explicitly and repeatedly refers to one organisation, Rose City Antifa (RCA), which has played a key role in fighting fascism and the far right in Portland, the site of a concerted effort by fascists to antagonise, provoke and punish the residents of a ‘liberal’ city;
• RCA has published a Statement on the Far-Right’s Attempt to Criminalize Protest of Concentration Camp Deaths and Hate Groups (July 25, 2019) which is required reading:

On July 18, 2019, two U.S. Senators introduced a resolution attempting to designate “antifa” as a domestic terrorist organization. In a week that saw a Trump rally featuring a racist chant for the deportation of a progressive, black Muslim congresswoman, there can be no clearer sign as to where we are at, than this effort to declare anti-fascism itself illegal. The Republican party is explicitly targeting political opposition. There is no definition of “antifa” outlined in the resolution. “Antifa” is used as a warning. It is shorthand for the dissenters who won’t be brought to heel. If passed, this resolution would be a powerful new weapon for silencing leftists and dissent in the U.S.

In this resolution, the Senators specifically mentioned anti-fascists in Portland, targeting our community for defending itself from the fascists, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists who have assaulted our city for the past three years. Portland has been a target for the most violent elements of the right because of its progressive character. The strategy of the far-right has been to attack the left wherever we have the audacity to exist: in higher education, in Berkeley, at Pride events, at union meetings, at Planned Parenthood, and in a symbolic city of progressive values such as Portland. It is not enough for them to have their own conservative communities, the presidency, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the massive right-wing media apparatus and funding base; they also must harass, violently attack, and terrorize anyone anywhere who dares to disagree with their oppressive views.

The rationale for this resolution is a manufactured threat which only exists in the absence of critical thought and inquiry. The greatest domestic political threat in the U.S. today is the far-right. The far-right committed 98% of ideologically-driven murders in 2018. We have seen that death toll here in Portland. Larnell Bruce, a black teenager, was brutally murdered by a white supremacist outside a 7-11 in 2016. In 2017, Jeremy Christian, a Patriot Prayer rally attendee and white supremacist, fatally stabbed two passengers and seriously injured a third passenger on a Portland MAX train after they attempted to stop him from harassing two women of color. Proud Boys have driven around our city streets looking for people to assault. LGBT+ community members have been repeatedly attacked, and they have been called liars when they organize to defend themselves. The Portland Police Bureau has assisted the right at every turn. Stories like this are echoed all over the country. This is the true threat of our times …

A little later (July 28), Cheeto Mussolini made noises about joining the anti-antifa crusade, twatting that ‘Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others). Would make it easier for police to do their job!’.

Uh-huh.

For what it’s worth, MS-13 is a crime gang with origins in California in the 1980s (see : MS-13: A GANG PROFILE, Jennifer J. Adams and Jesenia M. Pizarro, Journal of Gang Research, Vol.16, No.4, Summer 2009 [PDF]). MS-13 occupies considerable space not only in California but in the US President’s bRanes, and often serves as a substitute for ‘Hispanic immigrant’ in Republican discourse. MS-13 also has a lengthy record of spectacular violence, but to the best of my knowledge, only one person has been killed by anTEEfa in the US in the last 25 years. Thus on January 1, 1993 in Portland there was an altercation between armed boneheads and SHARPs, and one of the boneheads, Erik Banks, was shot dead by one of the SHARPs, who was later sentenced to five years in prison for first degree manslaughter.

The Presidential vomit of July 28 was apparently inspired by an unsuccessful petition organised by Proud Boy führer (and ‘Unite The Right’ attendee) Enrique Tarrio (pictured above with Cruz). Thus on June 30, 2019, Tarrio wanted his Daddy to ‘label Antifa a domestic terrorist organization’, claiming inter alia that ‘members of Antifa brutally assaulted an independent journalist, who remains hospitalized with a brain bleed after being viciously beaten and doused in liquid concrete’, a reference to right-wing propagandist and Quillette editor Andy Ngo’s adventures in Portland at a Proud Boy rally. See : This Week in Fascism #20: Cruzin’ for a Bruising, It’s Going Down, July 29, 2019.

For more general reflections, see : Antifa Panic: Blaming the Left for Terrorism, Spencer Sunshine, The Battleground, August 5, 2019 | We’re Being Played: Milkshakes aren’t terorism, Shane Burley, Commune, August 3, 2019 (‘Antifa itself has become a punching bag in a way few could have predicted’).

D. S. A.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) held its national convention in Atlanta over the weekend. Among the various resolutions debated and discussed at the convention was Resolution #9: “Establishing a National Anti-Fascist and Direct Action Working Group”.

The resolution was narrowly passed (521 votes FOR vs. 493 votes AGAINST), but what this means in terms of praaaxis is unclear. Opposition to the resolution was presumably for a range of reasons, but This Guy provides a summary, which hinges upon the ways in which the resolution may provide a pretext for the political repression of the DSA, along with some general observations about anti-fascist work and whether or not the DSA is best-placed to undertake it.

See also : Left Voice on DSA.

8ch.net

Finally, 8chan is undergoing some technical difficulties at the moment, prompted by the El Paso killer’s posting his manifesto to the site, the subsequent removal of Cloudflare protection, the h8ball being picked up by Epik’s BitMitigate, then Epik being dropped by its provider, Voxility. So: it may be a few days before 8chan is back up and running and resumes pumping out neo-Nazi and white supremacist propaganda.

See also : Online Hate Prevention Institute on 8chan (on ABC).

* This passage is an extract from RAC’s FAQ: The best way to defeat fascism is to let them express their views so that everyone can see how ignorant they are. Can’t we refute them more effectively with ideas than force?

People don’t become fascists simply because they’re persuaded by their ideas. Fascism claims to offer power to those who feel threatened by shifting social and economic realities. The fact that their analysis of these shifts are ignorant misses the point; do we need to cite examples of how dumb ideas have proved massively popular throughout history? From Italy to Germany to streets around the world today, fascists haven’t gained strength through rational argument, but through organizing to wield power at the expense of others. To counter this, we can’t just argue against them; we have to prevent them from organizing by any means necessary. We can debate their ideas all day long, but if we don’t prevent them from building the capacity to make them reality, it won’t matter. Only popular self-defense, not simply debate, has succeeded in stopping fascism.

“Ngo, You Are!” notes on antifa, portland, and so on and so forth *sniffs*

What Antifa activists did to Andy Ngo was just awful. But also Antifa are socially irrelevant numpties who (just like their far right opponents) have been given outsize attention — and thereby encouraged — by mainstream media and politicos running a culture war about Trump.

Gee whizz.

But, better still:

The really great thing about your work [Andy] is that it empirically verifies the very good news that the far right remains utterly socially marginal in Australia.

Cheeky! Still, like everything else in life, responding is pointless.

And yet — here we are.

So …

Where to begin? Regarding Quillette editor Andy Ngo: he got milkshaked at a counter-protest in Portland on the weekend, becoming a martyr in the process and, with the help of fellow propagandist Michelle Malkin, scored himself a very cool USD190K (and counting) for his troubles.

Props!

The assault on Ngo — he was milkshaked, punched, and sprayed with silly string — has triggered some YUGE disco on anTEEfa, jernalisms and violence. It also inspired a naughty troll to send a sneaky message to the Portland Police Bureau about anTEEfa super-soldiers concealing concrete mix in their vegan, PopMob milkshakes, which PPB faithfully repeated for the benefit of Fox News and their other allies in the meeja.

Unbelievable! No RLLY!

Still, such nonsense is to be expected, and the lies and the stoopid about concrete milkshakes, urine-filled balloons and other amateur weapons of mass destruction has a long history. While there are innumerable other examples, in the Australian context, see : G20: And balloons filled with… urine? (November 23, 2006) and, earlier (1991), AIDEX:

What most infuriated those opposed to AIDEX however was a series of bizarre police allegations that were aired in the closing days of the protest. The Canberra Times variously reported that protesters had wielded vegetables stuffed with nails and needles, a spear gun, knives, Molotov cocktails, pieces of wood stuffed with nails, steel spikes and acid filled condoms. On top of this, demonstrators had supposedly laid booby traps made out of wood studded with spikes, bashed police in packs, cut the brake lines and slashed the [tyres] of police cars, attempted to electrify NATEX’s fences, covered themselves in faeces and urine, and abandoned small children on the picket lines for police to rescue …

Despite none of the police injuries being consistent with the use of such weapons and no one being charged with possessing or using such weapons, the police allegations were nevertheless presented as fact in both the Canberra Times and much of the commercial news media. Similarly, a lack of footage or photos of anyone using or displaying such weapons was never questioned despite the only evidence of their existence being a motley collection of pocket knives, steel drink bottles, soiled condoms and other items that were presented at a police press conference.

See/hear also : Aidex ’91: inside the Australian arms trade, john jacobs, EngageMedia, August 22, 2012.

Regarding Quillette, it became the centre of a controversy recently when it published an essay by Internet troll ‘ProgDad’ (AKA Eoin Lenihan) which purported — using SCIENCE, LOGIC and FACTS — to demonstrate that ‘It’s Not Your Imagination: The Journalists Writing About Antifa Are Often Their Cheerleaders’ (May 29, 2019). Of the fifteen doubleplusungood journalists identified, only a handful are named: Christopher Mathias (Huffington Post), Kit O’Connell (freelance), Patrick Strickland (freelance) and Jason Wilson (The Guardian). According to Jared Holt in the Columbia Journalism Review (Right-wing publications launder an anti-journalist smear campaign, June 12, 2019):

The Quillette article was circulated approvingly on white supremacist forum Stormfront the day after its publication; a day later, a YouTube user uploaded a video of imagery of mass shooters intercut with images of the reporters mentioned by Lenihan under the heading “Sunset the Media.” Some reporters who do not cover the far-right but were listed as “connected” to antifascists by Lenihan appeared in the video…

Quillette writer Andy Ngo, who called attention to Lenihan’s work on Twitter and whose work Lenihan cites in his article, insisted that the legitimacy of Lenihan’s findings was self-evident from Lenihan’s Twitter posts.

Uh-huh. See also : I was the target of alt-right death threats across the internet – here’s what happened next, Shane Burley and Alexander Reid Ross, The Independent, June 19, 2019 | Quillette’s “Antifa Journalists” List Could’ve Gotten Me Killed, Kim Kelly, New Republic, June 14, 2019.

On Portland, Rose City Antifa is my go-to, but this thread by ‘It’s Going Down’ provides a useful summary of political conditions in that rosy place. (Bizarrely, Ngo’s Republican lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, attributed the production of the non-existent concrete milkshakes to Rose City: ‘The Rose City Antifa criminal enterprise that made the concrete milkshakes to assault our client [Ngo] had custom cups printed up with their criminal gang symbol. Who is the printer? Can anyone identify who made these cups?’) Further coverage of the protest and counter-protest is available via Far-Right Extremists Wanted Blood In Portland’s Streets. Once Again, They Got It., Andy Campbell, Huffington Post, June 27, 2019 (‘It’s not a surprise a conservative writer was bloodied in a street brawl in Portland ― far-right extremists have been freely hosting skirmishes there for years’) and Portland police clash with protesters and make ‘cement milkshake’ claim, Jason Wilson, The Guardian, June 30, 2019 and Massive Anti-Fascist Coalition Rebuffs Far-Right Proud Boys in Portland, Shane Burley, truthout, July 3, 2019.

In terms of police and the far-right, this August 2018 article by Robert Evans of bellingcat — Fascist Activists Have Spent The Last Year Trying to Win Over Police — is also required reading, exposing the ways in which facho and other jerks in Portland have been seeking to cultivate closer ties with police (the ranks of which contain more than one sympathiser) in that fine city. More broadly, Kathleen Belew’s recent title Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America is a brilliant account of the development of the white power movement in the United States in the post-Vietnam era through to the mid- to late-1990s, one which locates so-called ‘lone wolves’ within the wider context of the movement in which they are embedded. The failure to learn from this history — a failure shared by not only government actors but scholars and journalists — is one that has consequences for the contemporary white power movement and efforts to confront it.

With regards this opposition, Stanislav Vysotsky provides some political clarity on anTEEfa here. Comrade Vysotsky has also penned an article for Haaretz, ‘On America’s Streets, Militant Anti-fascism Isn’t Terrorism – It’s Self-defense’, which concludes:

In response to fascist organizing and even threats of violence, antifa activists mobilize public shaming and confrontational protest. They do so as part of a countermovement strategy designed to demobilize the fascist movement, and in doing so secure the safety of themselves, vulnerable populations, and their communities.

Much more could be said on this subject, and happily enough Vysotsky is publishing American Antifa: The Tactics, Culture & Practice of Militant Anti-Fascism through AK Press later this year.

Three cheers and a loud huzzah!

At approximately the same time as the fascist parade in Portland was taking place, Deutsche Welle published an article detailing how German neo-Nazi doomsday prepper network ‘ordered body bags, made kill lists’ (June 26, 2019). Weeks prior to this, of course, German conservative politician Walter Lübcke was shot dead by a right-wing extremist; in England, a plot by another neo-Nazi to kill another politician, Rosie Cooper, was spoiled thanks to the work of Hope Not Hate, though sadly the life of Jo Cox MP (June 22, 1974 -– June 16, 2016) was unable to be saved. See also : Germany Has a Neo-Nazi Terrorism Epidemic, Peter Kuras, Foreign Policy, July 2, 2019 (‘How many political murders do far-right extremists have to commit before the German government does something about it?’).

Anyways, back to Dr_Tad:

[redwog] By awful do you mean politically, morally or ethically?

[Dr_Tad] Politically idiotic. Although that’s par for the course with them. But also just plain nasty.

[Dr_Tad] What unpleasant people.

LOL.

[hailants] It’s socially irrelevant to make fascists afraid?

[Dr_Tad] When the fascists themselves are socially irrelevant, yep.

[hailants] Fascists are murdering folks left right and centre… so your definition of socially irrelevant is totally deranged.

[Dr_Tad] Actually politically motivated murders by the far right are at historically very low levels in the USA, and there is no evidence of a trend upwards from that very low level.

Well, actually … I’m not so sure about that. Thus according to the ADL’s COE (Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2018 [PDF]), the ‘Five Most Deadly Years for Domestic Extremist Killings (1970-2018)’ were:

Year : Deaths

1995 : 184 Oklahoma City bombing (168 deaths)
2016 : 72 Orlando nightclub shooting (49 deaths)
2015 : 70 San Bernardino, Chattanooga, Charleston shootings (28 deaths total)
2018 : 50 Pittsburgh synagogue, Parkland High School shootings (28 deaths total)
2009 : 46 Ft. Hood shooting (13 deaths)

Further:

In terms of lethal violence, 2018 was dominated by right-wing extremism. Every one of the 50 murders documented by the COE was committed by a person or persons with ties to right-wing extremism, although in one incident the perpetrator had switched from white supremacist to radical Islamist beliefs prior to committing the murder. In fact, 2018 saw the highest percentage (98%) of right-wing extremist-related killings since 2012, the last year when all documented killings were by right-wing extremists. Right-wing extremists also killed more people in 2018 than in any year since 1995. For comparison, only 62% of extremist killings in 2017 were committed by right-wing extremists, and only 21% in 2016.

Of course, questions of methodology are very important. In which case, it seems germane to draw attention to the work of the Brennan Center:

In Fighting Far-Right Violence and Hate Crimes: Resetting Federal Law Enforcement Priorities, authors and Brennan Center Fellows Michael German and Emmanuel Mauleón write that ill-conceived Justice Department and FBI policies result in uneven enforcement, unequal protection of targeted communities and unreliable data that mask the extent of the problem. The government does not keep accurate statistics on far-right violence and hate crimes, despite a congressional mandate to do so.

“As a result,” the report warns, “the Justice Department doesn’t know how many people far-right militants attack each year in the United States, which leaves intelligence analysts and policy makers in the dark about the impact this violence inflicts on our society and how to best address it.”

There are, of course, other analyses available in the relevant literature which contradict Dr_Tad’s claim that ‘politically motivated murders by the far right are at historically very low levels in the USA, and there is no evidence of a trend upwards from that very low level’; in fact I would suggest the opposite is the case, ie, politically-motivated murders (and other, non-lethal forms of violence) by the far right are at historically-significant levels, and if there’s a trend, it’s upwards: see the invaluable work of Spencer Sunshine, for example, or read David Neiwert’s Alt America (which in some ways could be read as an extension of Belew’s work on the white power movement up until the Oklahoma bombing).

But whatever. (For a contrary view, see : Right-wing terrorism and violence may actually have declined, Jacob Aasland Ravndal, The Washington Post, April 2, 2019.)

As for the far right and political and social marginality, a few remarks are in order.

First, in the US context, the election of Trump is significant. And while there’s been a mountain of commentary on The Trump Effect, to cite just one example, Michael German of the Brennan Center argued in February 2017 that ‘The new president has given white supremacists plenty of reasons to feel he’s copacetic with their agenda’, and I’m not aware of any evidence since that this is not in fact a feature of his Presidency.

Secondly, the relationship between the (political) margin and the centre is not straightforward, and it’s obviously possible for seemingly marginal political phenomena to both exercise influence and to grow. A useful examination of the relationship between the margin, the mainstream and the far right is available in Aaron Winter and Aurelien Mondon’s Understanding the mainstreaming of the far right (Open Democracy, August 26, 2018). Or as Shane Burley writes:

White nationalist violence has to be understood within the complicated social framework in which it exists, a framework intended to manipulate the fringes of the movement to take on the dirty work and carry out its underlying methodology. The fact that [James Fields, the Charlottesville killer] may not have been a formal member of one of its coalition organizations, or even a part of a tangible friendship circle, does not take away from his membership in a movement. Instead, he is the perfect image of what their movement creates, the clearest example of who they are and what they do.

So Fields is guilty. They are all guilty.

Thirdly, in the Australian context (which which I’m more familiar than the US), I maintain that, in the last few years, the far right has been struggling to ESC its ‘utterly socially marginal status’, with many failures but also with some degree of success. This progress is less about building a political party than a political movement — if we exclude PHONy, then Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party is the likeliest candidate in this sense — and, crucially, seeking to influence political discourse. Perhaps the most obvious success in this regard is the passage of the ‘It’s OK To Be White’ meme from the chans to Pauline Hanson to the ruling Coalition (with the government voting in favour of its adoption by the federal parliament), but there are certainly others, many of which may be found on the blog.

Finally, I might also add that, in January 2013, Dr_Tad was able to inform me that as far as Australian fascism was concerned, ‘There are some groups, thankfully marginal right now’ but on a cautionary note ‘But then so was Golden Dawn for many years’. I’m unsure what’s happened to the doctor to cause him to reverse perspective in the interim, but GD is still kicking goals. See : Racist attacks rise in Greece as landmark neo-Nazi trial enters fifth year, Billy Briggs, The Ferret, May 23, 2019 (also : The killing of Zak: the astonishing violence and impunity of Greek police, Mariniki Alevizopoulou and Augustine Zenakos, Open Democracy, October 31, 2018).

To conclude, it’s certainly the case that questions of strategy & tactics are important, and any sensible anTEEfa (or anti-fascist) must necessarily pay careful attention to such matters. But the slew of ill-informed opinion which surrounds and crowds out any sensible discussion of such things does take some effort to cut through. For a rational accounting see, for example, Antifa: The anti-fascist handbook, Mark Bray, Melbourne University Press, 2017.

See also : Antifa is liberalism, feminism is cancer, and I’m a monkey’s uncle (April 18, 2018).