Mood shifts in Polish border town as alt-right supporters go after dark-skinned refugees from Ukraine


The Przemyśl train station is a spot that’s come to be known in the last six days for its heartwarming scenes of volunteers welcoming tired and hungry refugees with a cup of hot tea and a smile. On a grey Wednesday morning, however, under a brooding, overcast sky, tension is building on the ground.

Yellow-vested volunteers, who days before held their positions alone outside, are now crowded out by a heavy police presence. Officers in green and blue uniforms pace through the parking lot of the square, and tall guards frame the entryway to the platforms, scanning everyone who makes their way in and out of the building.

“It’s really scary now,” says Soufiane, an Algerian volunteer who’s been offering translation services in Arabic, French, English and Polish. The change, he explains, was the immediate result of the actions carried out the night before by a group of alt-right supporters targeting refugees who fled the Russian invasion.

Tuesday evening, a Polish outlet shared video footage of a dozen black-hooded men descending on the train station. Their targets, explained the reporter who was quick enough to pull out her phone when she saw the men rushing the station, were the arriving refugees. But, she adds, only the ones who “looked like they weren’t Ukrainian.”

“They began shouting at the group of three Indian men, ‘go back to the railway station, go back to your country,’ ” says Anna Mikulska, a reporter with

Among hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine arriving in Poland are Africans, Indians and others lacking Ukrainian passports. Some reported racist treatment by officials on the Ukrainian side.

Around the same time that night and a bit further down the road, a similar scene, albeit more contained, began playing out in the parking lot of the relief centre in the town of Medyka. There, we saw a similar group of balaclava-clad men prowling the aisles where volunteers were offering free food and clothing while a determined line of police followed closely behind.

While there were no reports of anything serious happening at Medyka, the same cannot be said for Przemyśl.

“We were just going to our car … when we were stopped by some people,” starts one of the three German men in the video captured by OKO. “They slapped us and tried to hit us.”

The group of Germans came to Poland with the NGO Humanity First to assist with volunteer efforts. The attacking football hooligans — as they’re called locally here — appeared to mark them because of their skin colour.

“We’re just trying to find another way to get to our car,” says the German man, timidly.

Football hooligans, Przemysław Witkowski tells me the morning after the incident, are called that because they’re all fans of specific teams. “But they all share similar affiliations of nationalist and anti-refugee sentiment,” says the academic, who specializes in studying the far right in Poland.

“These people represent a small minority of the Polish people,” he underscored. “But they’re still out there.”

Groups like these organize primarily on platforms like Facebook groups to communicate. In recent days, they have begun using the social media tool to co-ordinate street patrols.

“Two beige on beige walking down the street,” reads one of the posts uncovered by a freelance Polish journalist who specializes in tracking the movements of these groups.

This kind of sentiment isn’t new, Witkowski explains. Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted masses of people to arrive on Poland’s doorstep, these groups were rife with anti-refugee sentiment.

The recent violence can be traced back to a series of social media posts that began making the rounds in the last few days. The tweets and Facebook posts falsely allege that women and children are being targeted by those who had recently arrived from the Przemyśl train station.

“They then see it as a call to arms, to protect their Polish women,” says Mikulska, the reporter. The pressure from these posts eventually prompted the local police to issue a tweet to dispel the rumours.

The tweet says there is “false information in social media that there have been serious criminal offenses in Przemyśl and border counties: burglaries, assaults and rape. It’s not true. The police did not record an increased number of crimes in connection with the situation at the border.”

Some are attributing this flurry of fake news accounts to a Russia-fuelled disinformation effort. Witkowski agrees that, while he can’t confirm these specific stories were plants, that kind of strategy has been used in the past by the Kremlin and would be advantageous to them now.

“Presenting Poland as racist and aggressive towards other countries is exactly the kind of soft power that Russia could wield to destabilize the country’s standing on the global stage,” he said.

Indeed, later that day, Witkowski sends along the latest figures from the Polish Institute for Internet and Social Media Research, which found more than 120,000 attempts at disinformation in Poland under the hashtags #Ukraine, #Russia and #war in the last 24 hours. Much of the content related to fuelling anti-refugee hysteria.

The trains are still arriving in Przemyśl — 47,000 people in the last 24 hours, Soufiane tells me — but the feeling on the ground has certainly shifted. Blanket-huddled figures are now being quickly shuffled onto buses to their next destination and volunteers are encouraging people to move onto bigger cities like Warsaw and Krakow instead of lingering.

“I’m afraid today because I’m thinking: what if they think I’m a refugee?” Sanoufie tells me as we jockey between two officers in their own blue balaclavas. He’s been living in Poland for seven years, and this is the first time such thoughts have entered his mind.

“I took the bus home last night. Walking just didn’t feel safe.”

Source: Mood shifts in Polish border town as alt-right supporters go after dark-skinned refugees from Ukraine

Alt-right finds new partners in hate on China’s internet

Of interest:

In the early days of the 2016 US election campaign, Fang Kecheng, a former journalist at the liberal-leaning Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly and then a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, began fact-checking Donald Trump’s statements on refugees and Muslims on Chinese social media, hoping to provide additional context to the reporting of the presidential candidate back home in China. But his effort was quickly met with fierce criticism on the Chinese internet.

Some accused him of being a “white left” – a popular insult for idealistic, leftwing and western-oriented liberals; others labelled him a “virgin”, a “bleeding heart” and a “white lotus” – demeaning phrases that describe do-gooders who care about the underprivileged – as he tried to defend women’s rights.

“It was absurd,” Fang, now a journalism professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the Observer. “When did caring for disadvantaged groups become the reason for being scolded? When did social Darwinism become so justified?”

Around the time of Trump’s election victory, he began to notice striking similarities between the “alt-right” community in America and a group of social media users posting on the Chinese internet.

“Like their counterparts in the English-speaking sphere, this small but growing community also rejects the liberal paradigm and identity-based rights – similar to what is called ‘alt-right’ in the US context,” Fang noted, adding that in the Chinese context, the discourse often comprises what he considers anti-feminist ideas, xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism and Han-ethnicity chauvinism.

Throughout the Trump presidency and immediately after the Brexit vote in 2016, researchers on both sides of the Atlantic began carefully studying the rise of the alt-right in English-speaking cyberspace. On the Chinese internet, a similar trend was taking place at the same time, with some observing that the Chinese online group would additionally often strike a nationalistic tone and call for state intervention.

In a recent paper that he co-authored with Tian Yang, a University of Pennsylvania colleague, Fang analysed nearly 30,000 alt-right posts on the Chinese internet. They discovered that the users share not only domestic alt-right posts, but also global ones. Many of the issues, they found, were brought in by US-based Chinese immigrants feeling disillusioned by the progressive agenda set by the American left.

Not all scholars are comfortable with the description “alt-right”. “I’m sceptical about applying categories lifted from US politics to the Chinese internet,” said Sebastian Veg of the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris. “Many former ‘liberal’ intellectuals in China or from China are extremely critical of Black Lives Matter, the refugee crisis, political correctness, etc. They are hardly populists, but on the contrary, a regime-critical elite. Are they alt-right?”

Dylan Levi King, a Tokyo-based writer on the Chinese internet, first noticed this loosely defined group during the 2015 European migrant crisis. “Whether you call it populist nationalism or alt-right,” he said, “if you paid close attention to what they talked about back then, you find them borrowing similar talking points from the European ‘alt-right’ community, such as the phrase ‘the great replacement’, or the alleged ‘no-go zones’ for non-Muslims in European cities, which was also used by Fox News.” 

Shortly after the migrant crisis broke out, Liu Zhongjing – a Chinese translator and commentator who built a name through his staunch anti-leftist and anti-progressive stance – was asked about his view on the way Germany handled it.

“A new kind of political correctness has taken shape in Germany, and many things can no longer be mentioned,” he observed. Liu also quoted Thilo Sarrazin, a controversial figure who some say is the “flag-bearer for Germany’s far-right” in supporting his argument.

On 20 June 2017, when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees posted about the plight of the displaced people on Weibo on World Refugee Day with the hashtag #StandWithRefugees, thousands of internet users overwhelmed its account with negative comments.

The UNHCR’s goodwill ambassador – Chinese actress Yao Chen – had to clarify that she had no intention of suggesting that China should take part in accepting refugees.

In the same year, another post appeared on popular social media site Zhihu, with the headline “Sweden: the capital of sexual assault in Europe”. “But,” author Wu Yuting wrote, “the cruel reality is that, with the large number of Muslims flocking into Sweden, they also brought in Islam’s repression and damage against women, and destroyed gender equality in Swedish society.”

Islamophobia is the main topic among China’s alt-right, Fang and Yang’s research found.

“By framing the policies as biased, they interpreted them as a source of inequality and intended to trigger resentment by presenting Han as victims in their narrative,” Fang said. “They portrayed a confrontational relationship between Han – the dominant ethnic group in China – and other ethnic minorities, especially the two Muslim minorities – the Hui and the Uyghurs.” He added: “It’s exactly the same logic and mainstream narrative deployed in the alt-right in the US: poor working-class white men being taken advantage of by immigrants and by minorities.”

Other researchers went a step further. In a 2019 paper, Zhang Chenchen of Queen’s University Belfast, analysed 1,038 Chinese social media posts and concluded that by criticising western “liberal elites”, the rightwing discourse on the Chinese internet constructed the ethno-racial identity against the “inferior” of non-Western other.

This is “exemplified by non-white immigrants and Muslims, with racial nationalism on the one hand; and formulates China’s political identity against the ‘declining Western other with realist authoritarianism on the other,” she wrote.

Anti-feminism is another issue frequently discussed by the Chinese online alt-right. Last December, 29-year-old Chinese standup comedian Yang Li faced a backlash after a question she posed in her show. “Do men have the bottom line?” she quipped.

The line brought laughter from her live audience, but anger among many on the internet. Although Yang does not publicly identify herself as a feminist, many accused her of adopting a feminist agenda, with some calling her “feminist militant” and “female boxer”, “in an attempt to gain more privilege over men,” one critic said. “Feminist bitch,” another scolded.

And in April, Xiao Meili, a well-known Chinese feminist activist, received a slew of abuse after she posted online a video of a man throwing hot liquid at her after she asked him to stop smoking. Some of the messages called her and others – without credible evidence – “anti-China” and “foreign forces”. Others said: “I hope you die, bitch”, or “Little bitch, screw the feminists”.

“When the Xiao Meili incident happened, a lot of feminists were being trolled, including myself,” said one of the artists who later collected more than 1,000 of the abusive messages posted to feminists and feminist groups and turned them into a piece of artwork. “We wanted to make the trolling words into something that could be seen, touched, to materialise the trolling comments and amplify the abuse of what happens to people online,” she said.

Xiao blamed social media companies for not doing enough to stop such vitriol, even though China has the world’s most sophisticated internet filtering system. “Weibo is the biggest enabler,” she told a US-based website in April. “It treats the incels as if they are the royal family.” 

But Michel Hockx, director of the Liu institute for Asia and Asian studies at the US’s University of Notre Dame, thinks this is because such speeches do not threaten the government. “They don’t necessarily challenge the ruling party and spill over to collective action,” he said, “so there’s less of an incentive for social media companies to remove them. They are not told to do so by the authorities.”

King says that Chinese state censors also walk a fine line in monitoring such content: “The ‘alt-right’ tend to be broadly supportive of the Communist party line on most things. They do see China as a bulwark against the corrosive power of western liberalism.”

But their online rhetoric has offline consequences, he cautioned: “Things like ethnic resentment are something just below the surface, which can’t be allowed to fester. When it explodes, it’s very ugly.”


Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

Hard to understand the internal logic and apparent cognitive dissonance. Numbers are not significant but this is nevertheless an interesting phenomenon:

Outfitted in a flak jacket and fighting gloves, Enrique Tarrio was one of dozens of black, Latino, and Asian men who marched alongside white supremacists in Portland on Aug. 4.

Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, is president of the Miami chapter of the Proud Boys, who call themselves “Western chauvinists,” and “regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Earlier this month, prior to the Patriot Prayer rally he attended in Portland, Tarrio was pictured with other far-right activists making a white power hand sign. Last year, he and other Proud Boys traveled to Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally that ended with a neo-Nazi allegedly killing an anti-fascist protester.

Tarrio and other people of color at the far-right rallies claim  institutional racism no longer exists in America. In their view, blacks are to blame for any lingering inequality because they are dependent on welfare, lack strong leadership, and believe Democrats who tell them, “You’re always going to be broke. You’re not going to make it in society because of institutional racism,” as one mixed-race man put it.

If racism doesn’t exist, I ask Tarrio, how would he explain the disproportionate killing of young black men by police? “Hip-hop culture,” he says. It “glorifies that lifestyle… of selling drugs, shooting up.” Because of that, “Obviously you’re going to have higher crime rates. Obviously you’re going to have more police presence and more confrontations.” (Police kill black males aged 15 to 34 at nine times the rate of the general population.)

Elysa Sanchez, who is black and Puerto Rican, attended the “Liberty or Death Rally Against Left-Wing Violence” in Seattle on August 18, joining about 20 militiamen open-carrying handguns and semi-automatic rifles.

Sanchez says, “If black people are committing more murders, more robberies, more thefts, more violent crime that’s why you would see more black men having encounters with the police.”

Also in Seattle, Franky Price, who said he is  “black and white,”wore a t-shirt reading, “It’s okay to be white.”

They are among nearly a dozen black, Latino, and Asian participants at far-right rallies on the West Coast interviewed by The Daily Beast recently. They represent the new face of the far right that some scholars term “multiracial white supremacy.”

The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, which overlap, embrace an America-first nationalism that is less pro-white than it is anti-Muslim, anti-illegal immigrant, and anti-Black Lives Matter.

Daniel Martinez HoSang, associate professor at Yale University, co-author of the forthcoming, Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity, says “Multiculturalism has become a norm in society” and has spread from corporations and consumer culture to conservatism and the far right.

Indeed, Patriot Prayer’s leader is Joey Gibson, who is half-Japanese and claims Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a hero. But his agenda is the opposite of King’s. Gibson’s rallies have attracted neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis.

His right-hand man is Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a 345-pound Samoan-American who calls himself “a brown brother for Donald Trump” and is notorious for brawling. By bringing diversity to what is at heart a white supremacist movement, people of color give it legitimacy to challenge state power and commit violence against their enemies.

David Neiwert, author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, says, “The ranks of people of color who show up to these right-wing events are totally dominated by males.” He says the alt-right targets white males between the ages of 15 and 30 with a message of male resentment, which ends up attracting black, Latino, and Asian men as well.

Neiwert says many young men of color in the far right grew up on conservative traditions common in minority communities. Their journey to the far right has been enabled by the ease of recruitment in the internet age and the endorsement of extremism by Trump.

Entry points to the far right include male-dominated video game culture, the anti-feminist gamergate, troll havens on 4chan and 8chan, and the conspiracism that flourishes on websites like Infowars. Libertarianism is another gateway.

“A lot of these young guys,” Neiwert says, “especially from the software world, who are being sucked into white nationalism, start out being worked up about Ayn Rand in high school.”

Andrew Zhao, 25, a software engineer, says his parents, physicists who emigrated from mainland China, “are Trump fans.” He found out about the Seattle rally from Reddit and Facebook and said, “We need more patriotism. A lot of liberals don’t like America.”

Daniel HoSang says some people of color are drawn to the far right because they “identify with the military, with nationalism, with patriotism, with conservatism.”

Wearing a Proud Boys hat, David Nopal, 23, came to the Seattle rally alone, like others. Nopal, whose parents crossed illegally from Mexico, said, “I’m very patriotic. The U.S. isn’t perfect, but we are a hell of a lot better than other countries.”

Sanchez comes from a military family. “They all love America. It’s a big part of the reason I’m a patriot.”

Similarly, Tarrio attributes his anti-socialist politics to his grandfather’s experience in Cuba under Fidel Castro.

They proudly identify as “American” without modifiers. In their America they’ve never experienced racism. They eagerly talk politics, but evidence of their America is scant beyond the internet. Institutional racism has been ended by affirmative action, “black privilege,” and equal protection under the law. Any remaining black inequality is caused by social welfare and liberal policies. In any case, it was Democrats who started the Klan.

People of color within the far-right play a role that  “excuses white racism and bears witness to the failure of people of color,” HoSang says, adding that they make “white supremacy a more durable force.”

HoSang said the far-right is trying to broaden its appeal from a whites-only movement in a multiracial America, so it is “laying claim to the ideas of anti-racism, racial uplift, and civil rights progress.”

HoSang says, “It’s hard for people to wrap their head around how Dr. King and civil rights language are being used to legitimate positions approaching fascism and violence to restore hierarchy and order. But they are.”

Source: Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

Evolutionary Psychology Grapples with Racism and Anti-Semitism


When I published my book From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (2004), I had no idea that white nationalism and neo-Nazism would become more fashionable in the coming years. At that time white nationalism was a fringe movement that one heard very little about, and the term “alt-right” had not even been coined yet.

Some of my critics informed me that the historical links I drew between Darwinism and racism or Darwinism and Nazism were misguided, because most Darwinian biologists today are firmly anti-racist and anti-Nazi. I never quite understood why the views of current Darwinian biologists were relevant to my argument, however, because I was not arguing that Darwinism inevitably produces Nazism. I was making a more modest and less assailable historical point: Nazis embraced Darwinism and used it as a foundational principle of their worldview. (I proved this in even greater detail in Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress.)

Recycling Racial Ideas

However, ironically, the recent upsurge of white nationalism and the alt-right has actually made my historical case more plausible. Not only do many of the leading figures in this movement, such as Richard Spencer, embrace Darwinism with alacrity, but they recycle many of the racial ideas of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that I discuss in From Darwin to Hitler.

They argue that races are unequal, because they have evolved differently. Of course, conveniently they have discovered that their own ancestors — white Europeans — have evolved greater intellectual capacities than other races.

These racist ideas are still taboo in mainstream academe — as they should be. When the Nobel Prize-winning biologist James Watson suggested in 2007 that some racial groups, such as black Africans, had lower intelligence because of their evolutionary history, he faced outrage and sustained criticism.

Worrying Signs

However, some worrying signs are emerging that the taboo may be cracking. The journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, which has eminent evolutionary psychologists, such as Harvard’s Steven Pinker, on its editorial board, recently carried an article defending the anti-Semitic, racist views of Kevin MacDonald, a white supremacist and emeritus professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach.

MacDonald’s views are eerily similar to those of scientists I examine in my historical scholarship: racial groups are in a human struggle for existence, behavioral traits are biologically innate, and stereotypical Jewish traits are evolutionary strategies for beating other races in racial competition. MacDonald claims that anti-Semitism is a defensive strategy to help white Europeans and their descendants triumph over the Jews.

Darwin and many early Darwinists saw racism and human inequality as part and parcel of their theory. MacDonald is trying to resurrect this troubling legacy of Darwinian theory.

Source: Evolutionary Psychology Grapples with Racism and Anti-Semitism

How violent U.S. rally outed key players in Montreal’s alt-right

Good long read (abridged here):

They didn’t want to show up to the white nationalist rally empty-handed.

The Unite the Right march in Virginia would be the largest white supremacist gathering in a generation and the small, militant crew of Quebecers were eager to make an impression.

A few days before the long drive south, one of their leaders logged onto an American alt-right forum with a request.

“We are about 20 guys driving through the border from Canada and we obviously will not be able to bring protective gear like shields and so on through the border agents,” wrote Date, a prominent Montreal white nationalist. “If you’ve got extra ones, some of our members are interested in buying them from you over there.”

The following night, on Aug. 10, 2017, one of the group members withdrew $850 in Bitcoin to help cover expenses. Activists in the alt-right use the online currency because it’s unregulated and difficult to trace.

They left for Charlottesville a few hours later.

On Aug. 11, the Montrealers would participate in a torch march through Charlottesville, blending into a crowd that chanted “Blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.”

The next day, they faced off with a crowd of anti-fascists in the southern college town. As the rally wound down, a white supremacist drove his car into a mass of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer.

Within an hour of the attack, users of an encrypted white supremacist chat room in Montreal began posting memes congratulating the attacker and describing his vehicle as a “car of peace.”

Last month, the Montreal Gazette obtained roughly 12,000 closed messages from the closed “Montreal Storm” server on Discord, an encrypted chat service. Those documents, combined with information from sources close to the group, indicate that the initial thrill of Charlottesville quickly gave way to a culture of paranoia within the group.

Those days in Charlottesville were meant to be a sort of coming-out party for the alt-right. The torch march, the shields, the clubs, the guns, the beatings — these were meant to show the world that the white nationalist movement was a force to be reckoned with. Charlottesville was going to be their Kristallnacht.

It didn’t go as planned.

In the backlash that followed Heyer’s death, the alt-right began to implode. Waves of men who participated had their identities revealed, lost their jobs and friends, and dropped out of the movement.


The evolution of Generation Identity Canada’s branding is reflective of a shift in strategy for various alt-right groups. As the term “alt-right” became toxic after the violence in Charlottesville, the groups which organized under its umbrella attempted to rebrand.

The switch from Generation Identity to ID Canada reflects the push, exemplified by Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer, for groups to adopt “patriotic” positions as cover for their white supremacist ideology.

ID Canada, whose membership seems to be mostly drawn from the Montreal Storm crew, appears to be an attempt to bring such a strategy to life. The group refers to itself as “identitarian,” drawing on the European far-right theory. They frame their actions specifically in the language of patriotism, and reverence for (white) Canadian history.

On its frequently asked questions page, ID Canada even denies harbouring racist views. “We do not see ourselves as superior to others on the simple basis of our skin colour. … We are an identitarian movement that seeks to preserve our culture, customs, traditions and values etc.”

One of the lasting effects of the violence in Charlottesville was its blow to the far-right’s ability to raise money and spread propaganda online. In late August 2017, PayPal began cracking down on groups that use its site to fund hate groups. The Daily Stormer, one of the largest white nationalist news sites on the internet, was kicked off American, Chinese and Russian servers before being pushed onto the dark web, a network of websites that are only accessible through a special internet browser.

“Charlottesville marked the beginning of a sharp downturn for the [far-right],” Balgord said. “Their ability to move money around was severely constrained. Their ability to operate on social media and use chat platforms was severely constrained.”

Shutting down the alt-right’s main platforms of communication hampered its ability to recruit, spread propaganda and radicalize new people, Balgord said.

“By exposing them, we contain them. By driving them off these platforms, we contain them. They never fully go away but we minimize the damage they do.”

Source: How violent U.S. rally outed key players in Montreal’s alt-right

Robert Fulford: How the alt-right’s godfather transformed our world (not in a good way)

Some useful history:

It smells like fascism sometimes but the odour also makes you think of a seminar dominated by not-quite-bright freshmen who have been instructed to spill out their silliest political ideas. It’s at best a fringe movement, without leaders, membership cards or for that matter many followers.

But in the riotous, anger-drenched hothouse of the internet, alt-right somehow became a digital success. Its adherents have nothing in common but the concepts they love to hate — liberalism, multiculturalism, free trade and political correctness. Alt-right was rarely even mentioned two years ago but now it’s a rare day when it doesn’t show up somewhere on our computer screens.

Where did this phenomenon begin its life? The godfather of alt-right, a major source of its ideas and attitudes, has been identified as Paul Gottfried, a philosophy professor emeritus at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. For years he nourished thoughts that seemed at best eccentric but now form everyday conversation online. He was against globalism, the “therapeutic welfare state,” the Civil Rights Act and most of the other obsessions of the left. He’s obviously an elitist, but at the same time he favours the populist revolt, though he doesn’t see that as a contradiction.

As a man of right-wing views, why wouldn’t he join the traditionally right-wing Republican Party? His answer reveals the hurt feelings that explain part of alt-right’s appeal: “It has treated us, in contrast to such worthies as black nationalists, radical feminists, and open-border advocates, as being unfit for admittance into the political conversation. We are not viewed as honourable dissenters but depicted as subhuman infidels or ignored in the same way as one would a senile uncle who occasionally wanders into one’s living room.”

Gottfried is one of those few intellectuals who support Donald Trump. Before Trump appeared, people who read books and yet held right-of-right opinions were spiritually homeless.

Richard Spencer wasn’t homeless when he met Gottfried, but they recognized each other as natural allies. Gottfried became Spencer’s mentor, and Spencer, much younger and more energetic, became a star in the firmament he’d created. As Spencer’s eminence increased, they agreed to call their movement alt-right because they believed the world needed an alternative to the Republicans. Conservative or not, Spencer is no admirer of such heroes as William F. Buckley Jr. and Ronald Reagan.

For an advocate anxious to get his theories across, Spencer has a snotty way of talking to people who disagree with him. On YouTube we see him telling an African-American that Africans have benefited from white supremacy. “How can you deny that?” he says, clearly annoyed. What he wants to say, we can tell, is something like: “Don’t you know I’m much smarter than you?”

Spencer claims not to be what many call him — a white supremacist. Instead, he insists he’s a member of “the identitarian movement.” Since hardly anyone has even heard of that, we have to assume he wants to create something less threatening than white supremacy. He recommends instead a future nation for a “dispossessed white race” — the term for it is white ethnostate.

He can become a geeky bore when he sets out to explain that in the U.S., white men are the victims of frightful prejudice in the job market. His complaints also reach other shores. He’s called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” of non-whites in Europe to avoid what he claims is the coming destruction of European culture. Europe is less interested in him than he is in Europe. He’s been banned from the U.K. and from 22 of 28 European Union member states.

Spencer was a major speaker last August at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., when far-right extremists battled with counter-protesters (called antifa, meaning anti-fascists) and one woman was killed. White nationalists, neo-Confederates, Klansmen and neo-Nazis were there, apparently on Spencer’s side. Marchers chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans and carried swastikas, Confederate battle flags, and anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic banners. Since then Spencer’s speaking engagements have been cancelled by universities that complained they couldn’t afford to hire security guards to deal with riots he might provoke.

Trump’s remarks on Charlottesville attracted attention when he claimed there were “very fine people on both sides” of the conflict. He seemed to be saying that Klan members and neo-Nazis were morally equivalent to those who protested against them. If Spencer later realized that alt-right had reached a highly dangerous place, one he couldn’t control, he said nothing about it. On the other hand, he’s been relatively quiet lately. Perhaps he’s thinking things over.

Source: Robert Fulford: How the alt-right’s godfather transformed our world (not in a good way)

Trump may have emboldened hate in Canada, but it was already here: Ryan Scrivens

Good overview by Scrivens:

A key turning point, in fact, was during the latter months of 2015. Two important events created a perfect storm for the movement.

First was Justin Trudeau’s pledge, as part of the Liberal party’s election platform, to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015. The second was the terrorist attack on concert-goers in Paris, inspired by the so-called “Islamic State,” on Nov. 13, 2015.

Each of these events were distinct in nature, yet Canada’s radical right wing treated them as interconnected, arguing that Canada’s newly elected prime minister was not only allowing Muslims into the country who would impose Sharia law on Canadian citizens, but that they too could be “radical Islamic terrorists.”

It all sparked a flurry of anti-Muslim discourse in Canada.

The day after the Paris attack, a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was deliberately set ablaze, causing significant damage to the interior of the building.

The next day, a Muslim woman picking up her children from a Toronto school was robbed and her hijab torn off. The perpetrators called her a “terrorist” and told her to “go back to your country.”

Days later, an anti-Muslim video was posted on YouTube in which a man from Montreal, wearing a Joker mask and wielding a firearm, threatened to kill one Muslim or Arab each week.

Similar events continued to unfold in 2016 — all, of course, well before Trump’s election victory. A school in Calgary, for example, was spray-painted with hate messages against Syrians and Trudeau: “Syrians go home and die” and “Kill the traitor Trudeau.”

Edmonton residents were also faced with a series of anti-Islamic flyer campaigns, hateful messages were spray-painted on a Muslim elementary school in Ottawa and man in Abbotsford, B.C. went on a racist tirade and was caught on video.

Canadian chapters of Soldiers of Odin first made their presence known in the early part of 2016 by patrolling communities and “protecting” Canadians from the threat of Islam, and the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), an anti-Islam group who first appeared in Canada in 2015, continued to rally in Montreal and Toronto in 2016.

And so it would be impulsive and short-sighted for us to attribute our spike in hatred solely to Trump and his divisive politics.

Instead, the instances listed above serve as an important reminder that prior to Trump’s election victory Canada was experiencing a rise in hatred.

In responding to hatred in Canada, we must first acknowledge that it exists in Canada, and it becomes ever more present during times of social and economic uncertainty. We must also acknowledge that the foundations of hatred are complex and multi-faceted, grounded in both individual and social conditions.

So too, then, must counter-extremist initiatives be multi-dimensional, building on the strengths and expertise of diverse sectors, including but not limited to community organizations, police officers, policy-makers and the media. Multi-agency efforts are needed to coordinate the acknowledgement and response to right-wing extremism in Canada.

I see signs of us moving in the right direction in building resilience against hatred in Canada. But in the months and years ahead, there’s still much to do.

via Trump may have emboldened hate in Canada, but it was already here

Neo-Nazis are no joke—they just want you to think they are: Tabatha Southey

Southey on The Daily Stormer style guide – nails it:

“Generally, when using racial slurs, it should come across as half-joking—like a racist joke that everyone laughs at because it’s true,” reads the style guide used by The Daily Stormer, a copy of which the Huffington Post got its hands on this week.

The Daily Stormer is a prominent America-based neo-Nazi and white supremacist website that takes its name and more from Der Stürmer, the tabloid newspaper of the Nazi Party. And what it seems to be saying with that “half-joking” advice and much else in the guide is: “Don the Magic Cloak of Plausible Deniability and come with us!”

This likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone who spends much time online. Many will have observed some of these far, far right fools prancing about under that just-kidding-maybe cover. They do this as if somehow we can’t see exactly what they’re up to, and as if what they’re up to isn’t being Nazis and working to recruit more Nazis.

The style guide instructs prospective contributors on how to use memes, “humour” and “ironic hatred” to “blame the Jews for everything,” that being the site’s “prime directive.” That Jews cause all the bad things “is pretty much objectively true,” says the 17-page primer, apparently penned by site editor Andrew Anglin. “As Hitler says, people will become confused and disheartened if they feel there are multiple enemies. As such, all enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews.”

The phrase “As Hitler says” is rather the point to that sentence. You use the words “As Hitler says” in that benign, casual, and authoritative way, and it doesn’t much matter what comes after them. You type “As Hitler says, ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’,” and you are telling any burgeoning Goebbels looking for a home for their murderous musings that “yes, we’re those Nazis. Goose-step on over and pull up a chair.”

The guide also provides advice on formatting and grammar, site-specific terminology—“Moslem,” not “Muslim,” is the preferred Daily Stormer house style—along with a list of “racial slurs” that are officially “allowed and advisable” that leaves me wondering what exactly crosses a line.

Think of this document as Strunk and White Power.

Keep it simple, keep it anti-Semitic: This is the guide’s message. Not all problems are created by Jews, aspiring Nazi ghostwriters are encouraged to say, but “if we didn’t have the Jews, we could figure out how to deal with non-whites very easily.” Similarly, “Women should be attacked but there should always be a mention that if it weren’t for Jews they would be acting normally.” “Jews are like hormones” seems to be the gist of it, as far I can tell, but until I hear someone say, “Yes, I ate half a cake and cried to an Adele song, it must be my Jews,” I can’t be certain.

The guide’s acceptable terms for women are, by the way, “Slut, whore, bitch, harlot, trollop, slag, skag.” That some of these words are antiquated to the point of near-whimsicality is by design. “The indoctrinated should not be able to tell if we’re joking,” Anglin explains. Put a funny hat on your hatred, play to the crowd.

Effectively utilizing these jokes—the so-called “lulz” in Internet parlance—is vital, the guide cautions, because “most people are not comfortable with material that come across as vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred.” Adding the “lulz”—expressing oneself dead seriously but in the cadence of a joke—throws that Cloak of Plausible Deniability over not just to the writer, but the audience as well. “No, I’m not really consuming literal neo-Nazi propaganda,” an as-yet-unconverted reader can tell themselves. “It’s just dead baby humour.”

“The goal is to continually repeat the same points, over and over and over again,” the guide stresses. “The reader is at first drawn in by curiosity or the naughty humour, and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points.” It bears repeating that, to the writer of this guide, “awaken to reality” means “embrace genocide.”

We’re living in the Irony Age, and we’re forging it into deadly weapons.

What should be completely avoided by anyone who hopes to get their work featured on The Daily Stormer—where the policy is “if we don’t like [the articles] you can put them on your own blog or whatever, if we accept them for publication we will pay you $14.88”—is the “sometimes mentioned idea that ‘even if we got rid of the Jews we would still have problems.’ ”

“The Jews should always be the beginning and end of every problem,” Anglin cautions. Specifics include “poor family dynamics” and the “destruction of the rainforest.”

Regardless of whether you were wondering, the “14 words” represent, for neo-Nazis, the words of David Lane, an American white supremacist leader and convicted felon whose mandate was: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Why 88 cents? Because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. That “88” is an abbreviation for the “Heil Hitler” salute. Several photographs found on the website registered to white-supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof featured the number the 88 and 1488 was written in the sand in one picture. (If I have to learn Nazi numerology, you’re gonna join me.)

If you rolled your eyes as you read that, because it’s difficult to take the whole concept of 1488 — it’s like someone telling you their “lucky lottery numbers” of genocide—the reality is that it has  worked. Somewhere between guessing and guffawing is where StormFront wants you to be, but make no mistake—gassing is where they want this to end.

There’s no ambiguity here. “This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want to gas [Jewish people, but that’s not the term he uses]. But that’s neither here nor there,” writes Anglin, and such an extreme position—and once again, this is a feature not a bug—is sometimes discounted as near-self-parody. Stormfront is not a site you have to go digging about on the net to find; it pops up, I have been sent links, and Anglin warns about the kind of posts that can get them booted off Facebook. But it is sometimes dismissed as too fringe to be worth addressing.

This ghastly glibness has, however, seeped deeply into the mainstream—even before it was revealed, theirs was basically a playbook in heavy circulation—and everything Stormfront does serves to make much that would have shocked many of us a few years ago start to look comparatively centrist. They’re the reason people get to the thinking that “those guys in Charlottesville with tiki torches were just blowing off steam.”

The internet is a vast, fresh pitch, but we’re watching an old game. “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies,” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre in 1946. “They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves. …They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert.”

FBI statistics released in November show that anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 11 per cent of hate crimes of all types in the United States in 2016, and over 50 per cent of religious hate crimes, a slight increase from the year before. African-Americans, like the people Dylann Roof targeted in their church, account for by far the most number of hate crimes, yet again. This “foolishness” is fuel on a very real fire. It’s time we treated them as such.

via Neo-Nazis are no joke—they just want you to think they are –

The French Origins of “You Will Not Replace Us” | The New Yorker

Good long read:

The Château de Plieux, a fortified castle on a hilltop in the Gascony region of southwestern France, overlooks rolling fields speckled with copses and farmhouses. A tricolor flag snaps above the worn beige stone. The northwest tower, which was built in the fourteenth century, offers an ideal position from which to survey invading hordes. Inside the château’s cavernous second-story study, at a desk heavy with books, the seventy-one-year-old owner of the property, Renaud Camus, sits at an iMac and tweets dire warnings about Europe’s demographic doom.

On the sweltering June afternoon that I visited the castle, Camus—no relation to Albert—wore a tan summer suit and a tie. Several painted self-portraits hung in the study, multiplying his blue-eyed gaze. Camus has spent most of his career as a critic, novelist, diarist, and travel essayist. The only one of his hundred or so books to be translated into English, “Tricks” (1979), announces itself as “a sexual odyssey—man-to-man,” and includes a foreword by Roland Barthes. The book describes polyglot assignations from Milan to the Bronx. Allen Ginsberg said of it, “Camus’s world is completely that of a new urban homosexual; at ease in half a dozen countries.”

In recent years, though, Camus’s name has been associated less with erotica than with a single poignant phrase, le grand remplacement. In 2012, he made this the title of an alarmist book. Native “white” Europeans, he argues, are being reverse-colonized by black and brown immigrants, who are flooding the Continent in what amounts to an extinction-level event. “The great replacement is very simple,” he has said. “You have one people, and in the space of a generation you have a different people.” The specific identity of the replacement population, he suggests, is of less importance than the act of replacement itself. “Individuals, yes, can join a people, integrate with it, assimilate to it,” he writes in the book. “But peoples, civilizations, religions—and especially when these religions are themselves civilizations, types of society, almost States—cannot and cannot even want to . . . blend into other peoples, other civilizations.”

Camus believes that all Western countries are faced with varying degrees of “ethnic and civilizational substitution.” He points to the increasing prevalence of Spanish, and other foreign languages, in the United States as evidence of the same phenomenon. Although his arguments are scarcely available in translation, they have been picked up by right-wing and white-nationalist circles throughout the English-speaking world. In July, Lauren Southern, the Canadian alt-right Internet personality, posted, on YouTube, a video titled “The Great Replacement”; it has received more than a quarter of a million views. On, a Web site maintained anonymously, the introductory text declares, “The same term can be applied to many other European peoples both in Europe and abroad . . . where the same policy of mass immigration of non-European people poses a demographic threat. Of all the different races of people on this planet, only the European races are facing the possibility of extinction in a relatively near future.” The site announces its mission as “spreading awareness” of Camus’s term, which, the site’s author concludes, is more palatable than a similar concept, “white genocide.” (A search for that phrase on YouTube yields more than fifty thousand videos.)

“I don’t have any genetic conception of races,” Camus told me. “I don’t use the word ‘superior.’ ” He insisted that he would feel equally sad if Japanese culture or “African culture” were to disappear because of immigration. On Twitter, he has quipped, “The only race I hate is the one knocking on the door.”

…Such revolutionary right-wing talk has now migrated to America. In 2013, Steve Bannon, while he was turning Breitbart into the far right’s dominant media outlet, described himself as “a Leninist.” The reference didn’t seem like something a Republican voter would say, but it made sense to his intended audience: Bannon was signalling that the alt-right movement was prepared to hijack, or even raze, the state in pursuit of nationalist ends. (Bannon declined my request for an interview.) Richard Spencer told me, “I would say that the alt-right in the United States is radically un-conservative.” Whereas the American conservative movement celebrates “the eternal value of freedom and capitalism and the Constitution,” Spencer said, he and his followers were “willing to use socialism in order to protect our identity.” He added, “Many of the countries that lived under Soviet hegemony are actually far better off, in terms of having a protected identity, than Western Europe or the United States.”

Spencer said that “clearly racialist” writers such as Benoist and Faye were “central influences” on his own thinking as an identitarian. He first discovered the work of Nouvelle Droite figures in the pages of Telos, an American journal of political theory. Most identitarians have a less scholarly bent. In 2002, a right-wing French insurrectionary, Maxime Brunerie, shot at President Jacques Chirac as he rode down the Champs-Élysées; the political group that Brunerie was affiliated with, Unité Radicale, became known as part of the identitairemovement. In 2004, a group known as the Bloc Identitaire became notorious for distributing soup containing pork to the homeless, in order to exclude Muslims and Jews. It was the sort of puerile joke now associated with alt-right pranksters in America such as Milo Yiannopoulos.

…The United States is not Western Europe. Not only is America full of immigrants; they are seen as part of what makes America American. Unlike France, the United States has only ever been a nation in the legal sense, even if immigration was long restricted to Europeans, and even if the Founding Fathers organized their country along the bloody basis of what we now tend to understand as white supremacy. The fact remains that, unless you are Native American, it is ludicrous for a resident of the United States to talk about “blood and soil.” And yet the country has nonetheless arrived at a moment when once unmentionable ideas have gone mainstream, and the most important political division is no longer between left and right but between globalist and nationalist.

“The so-called New Right never claimed to change the world,” Alain de Benoist wrote to me. Its goal, he said, “was, rather, to contribute to the intellectual debate, to make known certain themes of reflection and thought.” On that count, it has proved a smashing success. Glucksmann summed up the Nouvelle Droite’s thinking as follows: “Let’s just win the cultural war, and then a leader will come out of it.” The belief that a multicultural society is tantamount to an anti-white society has crept out of French salons and all the way into the Oval Office. The apotheosis of right-wing Gramscism is Donald Trump.

On August 11th, the Unite the Right procession marched through the campus of the University of Virginia. White-supremacist protesters mashed together Nazi and Confederate iconography while chanting variations of Renaud Camus’s grand remplacement credo: “You will not replace us”; “Jews will not replace us.” Few, if any, of these khaki-clad young men had likely heard of Guillaume Faye, Renaud Camus, or Alain de Benoist. They didn’t know that their rhetoric had been imported from France, like some dusty wine. But they didn’t need to. All they had to do was pick up the tiki torches and light them. ♦ 

via The French Origins of “You Will Not Replace Us” | The New Yorker

White Nationalism Is Destroying the West – The New York Times

Good piece:

When rapid immigration and terrorist attacks occur simultaneously — and the terrorists belong to the same ethnic or religious group as the new immigrants — the combination of fear and xenophobia can be dangerous and destructive. In much of Europe, fear of jihadists (who pose a genuine security threat) and animosity toward refugees (who generally do not) have been conflated in a way that allows far-right populists to seize on Islamic State attacks as a pretext to shut the doors to desperate refugees, many of whom are themselves fleeing the Islamic State, and to engage in blatant discrimination against Muslim fellow citizens.

But this isn’t happening only in European countries. In recent years, anti-immigration rhetoric and nativist policies have become the new normal in liberal democracies from Europe to the United States. Legitimate debates about immigration policy and preventing extremism have been eclipsed by an obsessive focus on Muslims that paints them as an immutable civilizational enemy that is fundamentally incompatible with Western democratic values.

Yet despite the breathless warnings of impending Islamic conquest sounded by alarmist writers and pandering politicians, the risk of Islamization of the West has been greatly exaggerated. Islamists are not on the verge of seizing power in any advanced Western democracy or even winning significant political influence at the polls.

The same cannot be said of white nationalists, who today are on the march from Charlottesville, Va., to Dresden, Germany. As an ideology, white nationalism poses a significantly greater threat to Western democracies; its proponents and sympathizers have proved, historically and recently, that they can win a sizable share of the vote — as they did this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands — and even win power, as they have in the United States.

Far-right leaders are correct that immigration creates problems; what they miss is that they are the primary problem. The greatest threat to liberal democracies does not come from immigrants and refugees but from the backlash against them by those on the inside who are exploiting fear of outsiders to chip away at the values and institutions that make our societies liberal.

Anti-Semitic and xenophobic movements did not disappear from Europe after the liberation of Auschwitz, just as white supremacist groups have lurked beneath the surface of American politics ever since the Emancipation Proclamation. What has changed is that these groups have now been stirred from their slumber by savvy politicians seeking to stoke anger toward immigrants, refugees and racial minorities for their own benefit. Leaders from Donald Trump to France’s Marine Le Pen have validated the worldview of these groups, implicitly or explicitly encouraging them to promote their hateful opinions openly. As a result, ideas that were once marginal have now gone mainstream.


“It’s the great replacement,” his friend added, echoing the title of a 2010 book by the French writer Renaud Camus, which paints a dark picture of demographic conquest in the West. “They want to replace us.”

As Mr. Camus explains in the book: “You have a people and then, in an instant, in one generation, you have in its place one or several other peoples.” He finds it scandalous that “a veiled woman speaking our language badly, completely ignorant of our culture” is legally considered as French as “an indigenous Frenchman passionate for Romanesque churches, and the verbal and syntactic subtleties of Montaigne and Rousseau.” In Mr. Camus’s eyes, groups like Pegida are heroic. He praises the group as a “liberation front” that is battling “a colonial conquest in progress” where white Europeans are “the colonized indigenous people.”

Ms. Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, has a similar fear, and she sees birthright citizenship as the vehicle for replacement. Although she doesn’t use the term favored by many Republicans in the United States (“anchor babies”), she insists, as she told me in an interview last May, that “we must stop creating automatic French citizens.”

This argument has a long pedigree. It can be traced back to the Dreyfus Affair, when the virulently anti-Semitic writer Maurice Barrès warned that immigrants wanted to impose their way of life on France and that it would spell the “ruin of our fatherland.” “They are in contradiction to our civilization,” Barrès wrote in 1900. He saw French identity as rooted purely in his bloodline, declaring, “I defend my cemetery.”

Today’s version of the argument is: if you have foreign blood and don’t behave appropriately, then you don’t get a passport.

Calais and Charlottesville may be nearly 4,000 miles apart, but the ideas motivating far-right activists in both places are the same. When white nationalists descended on Charlottesville in August, the crowd chanted“Jews will not replace us” and “you will not replace us” before one of its members allegedly killed a woman with his car and others beat a black man; last week, they returned bearing torches and chanting similar slogans.

Just as Mr. Trump has plenty to say about Islamic State attacks but generally has no comment about hate crimes against Indians, blacks and Muslims, the European far-right is quick to denounce any violent act committed by a Muslim but rarely feels compelled to forcefully condemn attacks on mosques or neo-Nazis marching near synagogues on Yom Kippur.

Doing so might alienate their base. Alexander Gauland, a co-leader of the newest party in the German Parliament, is adamant that his Alternative for Germany is “not the parliamentary arm of Pegida,” although he did acknowledge in an interview that “a lot of people who march with Pegida in Dresden are people who could be members, or friends, or voters” for the party. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Gauland and Ms. Le Pen would never admit to being white nationalists, but they are more than happy to dog-whistle to them and accept their support.

Those who worry that a godless Europe and an immigration-friendly America are no match for Islamic extremists have ignored an even greater threat: white nationalists.

Their ideology is especially dangerous because they present themselves as natives valiantly defending the homeland. Because they look and sound like most of their co-citizens, they garner sympathy from the majority in ways that Islamists never could. White nationalism is in many ways a mirror image of radical Islamism. Both share a nostalgic obsession with a purist form of identity: for one, a medieval Islamic state; for the other, a white nation unpolluted by immigrant blood.

If the influence of white nationalists continues to grow, they will eventually seek to trample the rights of immigrants and minorities and dismiss courts and constitutions as anti-democratic because they don’t reflect the supposed preferences of “the people.” Their rise threatens to transform countries that we once thought of as icons of liberalism into democracies only in name.