Filed under: Analysis, Anti-fascist, The State, US
Patrick Little is one of a handful of far-Right, Alt-Right, and open neo-Nazis running for political office in the midterms. Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA) argues that his campaign doesn’t come out of nowhere, and represents the Right ward shift of both the neoliberal center as well as the fascist creep in campus ‘conservative’ circles. Read the full article here.
Much has been said about the several far-Right candidates running for political office across the United States in 2018. Given the increased level of white power activity occurring in Northern California in recent years, it’s not surprising that one of these candidates calls the Bay Area home.
Patrick Little is a neo-Nazi and member of the League of the South as well as a former marine. He currently lives in Albany (nestled right next to Berkeley) and is trying to replace Dianne Feinstein as a senator representing California. After interviewing Little, one journalist concluded that:
“[W]hat sets him apart is that on April 24, a SurveyUSA poll had him placing second in the Senate race, gathering more than twice as much support as any other Republican. If that turns out to be a correct predictor and he places second among the nearly three dozen candidates competing in the June 5 primary, he would face Feinstein in November’s general election.”
The fact that Little is polling in second place ahead of the June 5th primary is the result of the last few years of Alt-Right agitation as well as the way the media, liberals, and Republicans have all responded to the Alt-Right. These groups all in their own ways have participated in pulling fascist politics closer to the mainstream.
While Little claims to have been “pro-white” his whole life, he also credits Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as a process that ultimately led to his “awakening.” Through his involvement in Trump-supporting internet networks, Little came across Kevin MacDonald’s book The Culture of Critique. MacDonald is a white supremacist and former professor who the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic.” His book dresses anti-Semitism in academic language, but to say MacDonald’s intellectual and scholarly integrity are questionable would be an understatement. Nonetheless, Little praises MacDonald’s book as the final puzzle piece that woke him up and put him on his current neo-Nazi trajectory.
Little clearly felt more emboldened as his radicalization progressed and Trump won the 2016 election. In Northern California, Little made speeches and harassed anti-Trump protesters in San Francisco, which he filmed and uploaded online. Throughout 2017, Little traveled across the country to participate in a number of Alt-Right events. In March, Little brought his anti-Semitism to the AIPAC conference. The next month, Little was present at a League of the South event in Alabama honoring David Duke. Last August in Charlottesville, Little was present at both the torch march at the University of Virginia and the next day’s “Unite the Right” rally which eventually led to the murder of Heather Heyer. Little had volunteered to provide security for the speakers in Charlottesville, at times armed with an assault rifle. Since then, Little has popped up at several events in California looking for attention. One incident at the March for Our Lives rally in San Francisco ended with Little assaulting someone after they grabbed his sign. In interviews to promote his campaign, Little brags about the encounter and expresses pride in being violent with someone he believed to be Jewish.
Little’s supporters have been busy in recent months trying to help him get elected using familiar methods of organizing via online communities (4chan, social media, YouTube, private chat servers) and taking anonymous action in real life by putting up flyers. However, since Charlottesville, infighting and debates have broken any former sense of unity the far-Right had. Little has struggled to bring his campaign to a few of the bigger Alt-Right platforms such as The Right Stuff and the Daily Stormer. Despite a lack of concerted effort in the Alt-Right to help Little get elected, he still managed to place second in polls ahead of the primary. This is because institutions and networks outside of the Alt-Right, including the Republican Party, have themselves participated in creating the conditions that placed Little second in polls.
The Republican Party
When Patrick Little tried to register for the California Republican Party convention on May 5, he was removed by security and banned by party officials. Republican political consultant Luis Alvarado, referring to Little, said, “That certainly doesn’t represent the values of the Republican Party.” California’s representative on the Republican National Committee, Harmeet Dhillon, claimed the state party’s board of directors would vote on a resolution condemning Little.
However, while Dhillon and other Republican Party officials say they condemn Little and his views, their actions show something different. They have in fact been supporting Little’s views and their dissemination among young conservatives for some time now.
For example, after Milo Yiannopoulos, David Horowitz, and Ann Coulter were all unsuccessful at making speeches at UC Berkeley in 2017, Harmeet Dhillon represented the Berkeley College Republicans in a lawsuit against the university claiming they and their invited speakers were being censored. Of course, leaks revealed Milo to be a fascist sympathizer who collaborated with neo-Nazis on his articles about the Alt-Right, used Nazi references as account passwords, and sang “America the Beautiful” while a group (which included Richard Spencer) sang along and did Nazi salutes. The Berkeley College Republicans wanted Milo on campus so badly that they invited him (and failed) twice in 2017. Milo was also caught displaying Kevin MacDonald’s book The Culture of Critique on his desk in some of his YouTube videos. This is the same book previously mentioned that provided Patrick Little a pseudo-intellectual ground to his anti-Semitism.
Harmeet Dhillon also chose to represent Troy Worden in his lawsuit against BAMN organizer Yvette Felarca. Troy Worden was once the president of the Berkeley College Republicans until his fellow club members exposed him as having national socialist (Nazi) friends and supporters. This revelation came as no surprise, as Worden had been writing about and making alliances with fascist organizers in prior months, including Nathan Damigo, the founder of white nationalist organization Identity Evropa, and Martin Sellner, the head of Generation Identity, a fascist group based in Europe that served as Damigo’s inspiration. It’s also not a shock that Worden was the one who originally invited Milo to speak at the Berkeley campus.
While Worden was replaced as the president of the Berkeley College Republicans, he continued filling a state leadership position for the California College Republicans. Worden was part of the “Rebuild CCR” slate headed by Milo ally Ariana Rowlands. Before Rowlands and the Rebuild slate won, she and Milo were advocating for a legal defense team that would help College Republicans invite any hateful speakers they wanted to their campuses. Taking stock of CCR networks, Rowlands noted, “Our current resources have been organizations like FIRE, Harmeet Dhillon Law Firm, Shawn Steel Law Firm, and Freedom X.” After taking control of the California College Republicans, she stated, “We are the voice of the conservative movement on college campuses, we will continue to do so, and we will be louder and prouder than ever before.”
This is all to say that while some Republicans may denounce neo-Nazis rhetorically, their material actions elsewhere have opened up space for neo-Nazis to gain a platform and organize around their violent white nationalist aims. This has been the only achievement of the right wing’s recent battles over “free speech.” Harmeet Dhillon may claim that Patrick Little is not welcome at the California Republican convention, but she has materially supported people spreading the same views, albeit with more marketable packaging.
Liberals and the Democratic Party have also played a role in carving out space for Patrick Little’s neo-Nazi campaign. In August 2017, Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguín told local news that he thinks law enforcement should classify antifa as a gang, adding that “They come dressed in uniforms, they have weapons, they’re almost a militia.” Ironically, it was the city of Berkeley and its police department that directly coordinated with the Oath Keeper militia and other far-Right organizers ahead of the fascist rally planned for April 15 in downtown Berkeley earlier that year. Indeed, on April 15 the Berkeley police protected white supremacists (including a cohort of Hammerskin gang affiliates) as they committed violence against the local community.
Some of these same people would go on to commit similar violent acts in Charlottesville having gotten practice in Berkeley. Arreguín, Berkeley’s first Latino mayor, has himself received so many death threats from the Alt-Right that he temporarily had a personal security detail from BPD. Still, the only response from the city of Berkeley has been to pass laws giving the city manager and police more authority and tools to further repress anti-fascist protesters.
The media framed these events with a similar narrative. Anti-fascists were portrayed as overaggressive and unempathetic while neo-Nazis were described as brave and misunderstood warriors fighting for freedom of speech. As the community confronted the far-right in Berkeley on April 15, Berkeleyside published a series of tweets with the phrase “meanwhile in real Berkeley” as if the sieg heiling and violence occurring downtown wasn’t actually happening. When they wrote about the Berkeley College Republicans, they failed to mention their members’ relationship with violent white supremacist Nathan Damigo and other links to violent far-Right figures.
Those in the center have repeatedly failed to confront far-Right terror. Instead, they’ve only managed to invest more resources and police into protecting white power rallies and going after autonomous anti-fascist activists. This has downplayed the dangers of fascism and the Alt-Right in the mainstream and been used to further justify state surveillance and repression of anarchists.
Members of the Berkeley College Republicans often push the narrative that UC Berkeley censors conservatives, but the truth is very different. The university never denied the club’s right to invite speakers. In fact, UC Berkeley spent millions of dollars on event security for BCR in 2017 and even paid for some of the costs associated with BCR’s events. Campus officials asked the community to ignore fascist threats and then got in the way of those that chose to protest. Chancellor Carol Christ declared the 2017-2018 school year the “free speech year” in an attempt to get the overwhelming majority of the campus that is anti-racist to accept the transformation of the university into a hub for far-right organizing. Since BCR’s Milo event was shut down in February 2017, UC Berkeley has bent over backwards to protect the far-Right on campus.
University of California President Janet Napolitano launched the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement in 2017 intended to “better educate students about the extent of the 1st Amendment.” The goal is to drill liberal principles of free speech into students with the hope that they will stop no-platforming speakers and mobilizing against fascist agitation on campus. This comes even as the Alt-Right has been open and honest about being against free speech and only using the issue to forcefully insert their ideas into mainstream political discourse, something anti-fascists have been pointing out for years now. The decision to develop a project around free speech rather than one aimed at combatting the growth of fascist politics among the student body is an odd one. In 2009 when she was Secretary of Homeland Security, Napolitano pulled a report from the DHS website about right wing extremists after getting negative reactions from conservative pundits, which seems to be contrary to her current free speech agenda.
An article published by Bohemian on May 4 revealed that Patrick Little listed a UC Berkeley student housing apartment as his address in state filings in Albany, CA. Bohemian spoke to UC Berkeley and asked about the listed address:
“If he doesn’t live there, then who does? And what’s his connection to Berkeley? ‘We didn’t find any name matching that name either now or in the past,’ says university spokeswoman Janet Gilmore, who added, ‘I can’t talk about who may or may not live there because of state privacy laws.'”
As it turns out, Little does live at this address with his wife Lisa Dege, who is listed in UC Berkeley’s directory.
The Republicans and the Democrats have both come together over the issue of free speech and their efforts have had the effect of bolstering far-Right organizing while aiding the repression of antifascists. Concretely, they’ve fought to concede political space to fascists and at the same time focus efforts on imprisoning those who oppose white supremacy. We cannot ignore Patrick Little. At the same time, voting for some ostensibly better politician in his place is not the answer. Looking to the state for a solution only strengthens it. Instead, we must build the capacity for community self-defense and mutual aid against the far-Right.