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 – Macleans.ca

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 great-replacement.com, 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.

Undercover With the Alt-Right – The New York Times

Good long disturbing read. Part I found most interesting is the relationship between the more and less extreme elements:

The extreme alt-right are benefiting immensely from the energy being produced by a more moderate — but still far-right — faction known as the “alt-light.”

The alt-light promotes a slightly softer set of messages. Its figures — such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Mike Cernovich — generally frame their work as part of an effort to defend “the West” or “Western culture” against supposed left-liberal dominance, rather than making explicitly racist appeals. Many of them, in fact, have renounced explicit racism and anti-Semitism, though they will creep up to the line of explicitly racist speech, especially when Islam and immigration are concerned.

This apparent moderation partly explains why they tend to have much bigger online audiences than even the most important alt-right figures — and why Hope Not Hate describes them as “less extreme, more dangerous.” Alt-light sites like Breitbart, formerly home to Mr. Yiannopoulos, as well as Prison Planet, where Mr. Watson is editor at large, draw millions of readers and are key nodes in a hyperkinetic network that is endlessly broadcasting viral-friendly far-right news, rumors and incitement.

Fluent in the language of online irony and absurdism, and adept at producing successful memes, alt-lighters have pulled off something remarkable: They’ve made far-right ideas hip to a subset of young people, and framed themselves as society’s forgotten underdogs. The alt-light provides its audience easy scapegoats for their social, economic and sexual frustrations: liberals and feminists and migrants and, of course, globalists.

The alt-light’s dedicated fan base runs into the millions. Mr. Watson has more than a million YouTube followers, for example, while Mr. Yiannopoulos has more than 2.3 million on Facebook. If even a tiny fraction of this base is drafted toward more extreme far-right politics, that would represent a significant influx into hate groups.

According to researchers, the key to hooking new recruits into any movement, and to getting them increasingly involved over time, is to simply give them activities to participate in. This often precedes any deep ideological commitment on the recruits’ part and, especially early on, is more about offering them a sense of meaning and community than anything else.

Intentionally or not, the far right has deftly applied these insights to the online world. Viewed through the filters of alt-light outlets like Breitbart and Prison Planet, or through Twitter feeds like Mr. Watson’s, the world is a horror show of crimes by migrants, leftist censorship and attacks on common sense. And the best, easiest way to fight back is through social media.

The newly initiated are offered many opportunities to participate directly. A teenager in a suburban basement can join a coordinated global effort to spread misinformation about Emmanuel Macron, France’s centrist president, in the hopes of helping far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Anyone who wants to do so can help spread the word about supposed mainstream media censorship of the Muslim “crime wave” the far right says is ravaging Europe.

These efforts — a click, a retweet, a YouTube comment — come to feel like important parts of an epochal struggle. The far right, once hemmed in by its own parochialism, has manufactured a worldwide online battlefield anyone with internet access can step into.

And if you’re one of those newcomers happily playing the part of infantryman in the “meme wars” that rage daily, maybe, along the way, one of your new online Twitter buddies will say to you, “Milo’s O.K., but have you checked out this guy Greg Johnson?” Or maybe they’ll invite you to a closed online forum where ideas about how to protect Europe from Muslim migrants are discussed a bit more, well, frankly. Maybe, if you’re really lucky, you’ll eventually discover a whole new political movement to join.

All of which can explain why members of the hard-core alt-right are watching the explosive success of their more moderate counterparts with open glee, unable to believe their good luck. “I’m just fighting less and less opposition to our sorts of ideas when they’re spoken,” Mr. Johnson, the Counter-Currents editor, told Mr. Hermansson. His optimism, unfortunately, appears to be well founded.

How we can build resilience against hatred in Canada

Good thoughtful advice (if Vancouver was the positive example of challenging hatred, Quebec city was the negative one given the violence of left-wing activists):

Some of Canada’s most urban centres were flooded with protesters Saturday and Sunday, from what President Trump would describe as “both sides” – those who were promoting racist, anti-immigration sentiment, and those who were opposing such hateful and intolerant rhetoric.

In Vancouver, for example, thousands of anti-racism supporters showed up Saturday to counter a rally that was planned by anti-immigrant demonstrators, essentially thwarting all efforts that were made by those who were promoting intolerance.

Protests were spawned from the disturbing events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Va. the previous weekend, where a so-called Unite the Right rally quickly turned violent when white-power demonstrators clashed with counter-demonstrators. Dozens of protesters were injured, and three people died, including 32-year-old Heather Heyer, when a vehicle was intentionally driven into a group of anti-racist counter-demonstrators.

Canadians watched in dismay as the hate-inspired violence unfolded south of the border, perhaps naïve to assume that such divisive ideologies do not – and cannot – exist in our multicultural nation. The truth of the matter is that Canada is not immune to violence inspired by bigotry and hatred.

In 2015, Professor Barbara Perry and I conducted a three-year study for Public Safety Canada on the state of the right-wing extremist movement in Canada, interviewing law-enforcement officials, community activists, and current and former right-wing extremists across the country, paired with open-source intelligence. Results from our research was shocking to many Canadians.

In short, we found that Canada’s right-wing extremist movement was alive and well: we identified over 100 active groups and well over 100 incidents of right-wing extremist violence over the last 30 years in the country. We also uncovered that the threat of the extreme right had been overlooked and even trivialized by a number of key stakeholders, thus hindering their ability to effectively respond to the radical right in Canada.

In turn, we proposed evidence-based strategies that we saw as effective in responding to right-wing extremism in Canada, suggesting that a multi-sectoral approach was needed to address hate and ensure that extremists have minimal impact on communities. This included the integration and utilization of an array of experts, such as police officers, policy makers, victim service providers, community organizations and the media.

In the two years since our Public Safety report was released, I’ve been watching very closely as hate-inspired events have unfolded across Canada and how key stakeholders have responded to such events. I’ve noticed that some of our key recommendations are being put to practice – the counter-demonstration in Vancouver is but one example. This is an encouraging sign.

We are seeing community groups ban together to spread messages of tolerance, and local, provincial and federal politicians are taking a public stance against hatred, making it clear that such sentiment does not represent Canadian beliefs and will not be tolerated. Reporters and journalists have also dedicated an increasing amount of time and energy to shed light on right-wing extremism in Canada, highlighting its complexities and prevalence. Stakeholders are now including their voices in the discussions about how we can build resiliency against hatred, which starts by raising awareness of the problem and mobilizing the public.

Some, though, are calling for the outright filtering of those who subscribe to extreme-right beliefs. Do not let them have an outlet for their negative views, the argument goes. This would mean not allowing them to hold a rally or have a website. This approach is counteractive, and perhaps irresponsible. This is a Band-aid solution – the views will still be there, and will only get stronger, solidifying radical right-wing ideologies. Right-wing extremists generally believe that the mainstream media and the broader public are systematically attempting to suppress their radical views, so prohibiting them from expressing their views will further reinforce their hateful beliefs.

We must not stay home when hatemongers are protesting in the streets. Adherents should never be able to promote hatred. At the same time, we cannot assume that silencing them is the solution.

Instead, Canadians must continue to attend their demonstrations, challenge ideas and not people specifically, and in a peaceful manner – like we saw in Vancouver this past weekend. Stand up against racism, xenophobia and bigotry by challenging adherents’ views, but do not engage with them. Most are easy to provoke, and most want to be provoked. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

Source: How we can build resilience against hatred in Canada – The Globe and Mail

The Women Behind The ‘Alt-Right’ : NPR

Interesting account of women drawn into the alt-right:

Many of these women came into the alt-right initially as anti-feminists.

“They were people who felt that the feminist progressive agenda was not serving them — in some cases they felt like it was actively disregarding them because they wanted more traditional things: home, family, etc.,” she says. “And they came into the movement through that channel and then ultimately adopted more pro-white and white nationalist views.”

One of those women was Lana Lokteff, a Russian-American from Oregon who co-runs Red Ice, an alt-right media company, with her Swedish husband, Henrik Palmgren.

The couple decided to make this their cause around 2012, Darby says, when they say they saw a lot of “anti-white sentiment.” Around the time of several high-profile police shootings of young, black men, Lokteff “felt that Black Lives Matter and these other reactive forces were being unfair to white people and that then sort of spun into a conspiracy about how the establishment, so to speak, is out to oppress, minimize and silence white people.”

Lokteff, who promotes alt-right ideologies on the couple’s YouTube channel, has been persistently trolled by the men of the movement. Darby wanted to understand what attracts women to a movement that is often hostile to them.

In her piece, she quotes Andrew Anglin, who runs the (now blacklisted) neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer as saying the white woman’s womb “belongs to the males of society.” And alt-right pioneer Richard Spencer, who acknowledges that women make up a small percentage of the movement, believes women are not suited for some roles in government, reports Mother Jones: “Women should never be allowed to make foreign policy,” he tweeted during the first presidential debate. “It’s not that they’re ‘weak.’ To the contrary, their vindictiveness knows no bounds.”

According to Lokteff and other alt-right women allies she spoke to, Darby says, “It’s not that men who support the alt-right don’t like women, it’s that they see women as fundamentally different than men,” with equally important roles, which are “to perpetuate white bloodlines, to nurture family units, to inculcate those families with pro-white beliefs.”

But the growing contradiction, as Darby points out, “is that people like Lana Lockteff and other women that I spoke to are outspoken.”

She adds, “They sort of see themselves as straddling a line between the male and female norms, because they think that at this point in their movement, the more people they can bring in, the more people they can convince that they are on the right side of history, the better, and that includes appealing to more women.”

To recruit women to the movement, Darby says, the key is to stoke fear.

Asked how she would pitch the alt-right to conservative white women who voted for Trump, but are also wary of being labeled a white supremacist, Lokteff told her, “we have a joke in the alt-right: How do you red-pill someone? (“Red-pill” is their word for converting someone to the cause.) And the punch line was: Have them live in a diverse neighborhood for a while,” Darby says. “She also said that when she is talking to women she reminds them that white women are under threat from black men, brown men, emigrants, and really uses this concept of a rape scourge to bring them in.”

And while there are schisms in the aims of alt-right activists, and how best to get there, she adds, “There are some people — Lana Lokteff being one of them, Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute — who are really trying to find some semblance of civic legitimacy.”

Source: The Women Behind The ‘Alt-Right’ : NPR

The Trickle-Up Theory Of White Nationalist Thought : NPR

Good analysis of some of the more educated white nationalists and how they provide the intellectual underpinnings for the more blatant antisemitism, neo-nazism and racism seen as Charlottesville:

Jared Taylor was not in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. But Taylor, one of the leading voices for white rights in the country, says it was clear what really happened at that rally.

“Anyone who wishes to speak in the name of whites is subject to the heckler’s veto,” said Taylor, founder of the white advocacy website American Renaissance. “There would have been no violence, no problems of any kind if people had not shown up as counterdemonstrators, many of them wearing helmets, wielding batons, wearing shields, shouting for the death of the demonstrators. … This is not something that was provoked by the presence of racially conscious whites. It was something that was provoked by people who hate any white person who has a racial consciousness.”

Two days later, President Trump, in one of his most controversial press conferences to date, described the events — at which hundreds of white protesters gathered for the so-called “Unite the Right” rally and after which a white nationalist sympathizer drove his car into a crowd, killing a counterdemonstrator — in a similar way.

“Let me ask you this,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “What about the fact that [counterdemonstrators] came charging, with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. … You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on another side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say it right now.”

Taylor is among a group of educated, white-identity advocates who, critics say, normalize the ideas of white supremacy by couching them in language that doesn’t sound overtly racist. In doing so, those critics say, people like Taylor, authors Kevin MacDonald and Peter Brimelow, and “Unite the Right” organizers Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer sanitize racist tropes to make them palatable to a broad audience, including the upper reaches of the political mainstream.

“I think that it’s true that ultimately a lot of these ideas travel all the way from the farthest fringe of the political world, ultimately to the very top in some kind of form,” said Mark Potok, former editor of Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s journal monitoring extremism.

The white protesters in Charlottesville came, among other things, to contest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They were there, Taylor said, “to pursue their destiny free of the unwanted influence of others. This is not a hateful thing.”

Some wore swastikas. Others carried torches and Confederate flags. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, made a speech. Videos from Friday and Saturday show marchers chanting: “Jews will not replace us!” and “blood and soil,” a Nazi slogan. Later, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly drove a car into a crowd, killing counterdemonstrator Heather Heyer.

Taylor called Heyer’s death “a terrible, murderous act” that “no one would defend.” He said he is not associated with “Unite the Right” and didn’t agree with the decision some people made to wear swastikas. As founder of American Renaissance, which he says is among the “many websites and organizations that speak in the name of whites,” Taylor claims that there is no place for bigotry or hate in his ideology.

But the ideas that people gathered to defend over the weekend — that the United States was founded as a white, Christian nation and should remain so; that white people face an existential threat by becoming a racial minority; that there are biological differences among racial groups that make some more intelligent and others more prone to criminality — those are ideas that Taylor has been working to legitimize for decades.

“All of these characters, Peter Brimelow, Kevin MacDonald, Jared Taylor, say they’re terribly opposed to violence and, of course, would never engage in that kind of a thing,” says Potok. “Well, that’s very nice and very fine and the words are very pretty. But the reality is that these people provide the ideological foundation for people who are not so careful in what they say and do. People who are actual terrorists.”

Potok and others say that Brimelow offers such an ideological foundation with his book, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, and his website, VDARE, where he says he’ll publish “anyone who has anything critical to say about immigration, environmentalists, progressives, etc.”

On Saturday, Brimelow published his own take on the events in Charlottesville, calling it a “remarkable torchlight procession.” He has published articles by fellow white-rights advocates Spencer, Kessler and MacDonald.

Marilyn Mayo of the Anti-Defamation League once described MacDonald as the country’s “foremost anti-Semite, next to David Duke.”

MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of The Occidental Observer and a former professor who left California State University, Long Beach, after coming under fire for his controversial writings. He is also one of the directors of the American Freedom Party— an anti-gay, anti-feminist political party that supports deporting any American who became a citizen after 1965.

MacDonald is celebrated among neo-Nazis for a trilogy of books he published in the 1990s that trade in some of the most pernicious stereotypes about Jewish people, all under the guise of researching their evolutionary biology.

The difference between Duke and MacDonald, Mayo said, is that Duke was largely ostracized from mainstream society for his public racism, whereas MacDonald’s work was bolstered by the credibility of his university position.

MacDonald, she says, “couches his anti-Semitic views as legitimate intellectual inquiry. That’s something that might make him more acceptable to people.”

It’s hard to put numbers on how many people Taylor, Brimelow, MacDonald and others like them reach. The Internet provides a degree of anonymity to those who visit their websites. Membership in hate groups, Potok estimates, numbers around half a million people. But include those who believe that “the United States, as well as a lot of European countries, were created ‘by and for whites and ought to return to being that,’ ” he adds, and “you’re looking at a group of several million people, if not more.”

MacDonald said the organizers of Saturday’s rally had misstepped; that the swastikas and other Nazi symbols should have been banned. “Because that stuff is never going to appeal to a wide swath of white Americans,” he said. “It’s simply not. And you’re in a political arena. You have to do what’s possible and what sells. And so you have to be very cautious about that kind of thing. And I don’t think the organizers were.”

But as for the basic message from “Unite the Right,” MacDonald was on board. The marchers on Saturday were trying to convey “that whites should be able to have their own identity and a sense of their own interests like anybody else,” he says. White people in the U.S. may not be ready to accept that message now, he adds, but they will be in the future “as whites become more and more of a minority in the coming years. So I think we’re ahead of the curve.”

On that last point, MacDonald and Potok meet.

“We’re seeing the continuing normalization of these ideas,” Potok said. “I think there is a real kind of conveyor belt we have seen develop over the last few years, and even the last few decades.”

Ideas start in a tiny radical fringe group somewhere, he explains. And then they travel to larger and more moderate groups — but still outside the political mainstream.

“And then they are picked up by the Drudges of the world, by the Breitbarts of the world, by those kinds of websites and ‘news organizations.’ And within, it seems, minutes, they will then be picked up and exploited by certain politicians … It is terribly important not only to have people like Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow providing a kind of ideological foundation, but also critically important, I think, to have people like Donald Trump, who are essentially helping to mainstream and normalize these ideas.”

Accusations that Trump has been flirting with far right ideology have dogged him since before he was elected. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly distanced himself from people espousing white nationalism. He said multiple times that he disavowed the support of Duke and other white supremacists who endorsed his presidency.

But the president has been widely criticized since Saturday — by both detractors and supporters — for his responses to the events in Charlottesville. He first condemned the violence “on many sides,” then gave a more direct rejection of racists, “including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups,” but then followed that with even more controversy.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Trump clarified what he meant by “all sides.” And it sounded remarkably similar to something MacDonald said over the phone on Monday afternoon.

Here’s MacDonald on Monday:

“I’m not from the South. I understand they have a history and a heritage, and they don’t want to just throw it all out. But that’s what we’re going to see. And it’s not going to stop with General Robert E. Lee statues. It’s going to continue with Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, all those people, because they owned slaves, they will eventually be removed, I think. It’s just the beginning.”

And here is Trump on Tuesday:

“Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee. … So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

Source: The Trickle-Up Theory Of White Nationalist Thought : Code Switch : NPR