The recent bombing in Manchester, England by an ISIS supporter and a string of horrific murders across the US and Canada to many on the surface will appear to have little in common, due to who carried them out: ISIS and the Alt-Right. Upon closer inspection however, these two movements run both not only parallel to each other, but share almost completely similar goals: fascism.
Here's Portland killer Jeremy Christian at a "free speech rally" three weeks ago making a Nazi salute: pic.twitter.com/lSJUxyLkUy
— Omar Ghabra (@omarghabra) May 27, 2017
Growing out of the chaos of war and occupation created by US imperialist intervention in Iraq and the greater Middle Eastern region, ISIS has come to control vast amounts of territory in several countries. They are known for slaughtering entire villages, using rape as a weapon, selling people into slavery, and committing horrific atrocities. It is no wonder that their graffiti reads: “Convert or Die.” The kind of society that ISIS is creating within it’s controlled borders is also extremely fascistic and authoritarian; ruled by military force and a police state, where a privileged class reigns above all others.
On the other side of the world, another fascist movement has also been brewing: the Alt-Right. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Graeme Wood, a former classmate of Richard Spencer, wrote about how the neo-Nazi leader praised his articles on ISIS, because he saw a similarity in the two movements:
Spencer began by complimenting my reporting for this magazine on the Islamic State. “Your articles on isis have been popular on the alt-right,” he told me.
I winced: Anti-Muslim bigots liked that I had described isis as an Islamic movement, linked to traditions within Islam. “Is that because you hate Muslims?,” I asked.
“No,” he said. “Because isis is an identity movement. Because they have ideas, and because you wrote about their ideas. Also, they are a grassroots movement. They’ve built themselves up fast, from nothing.”
Is it any wonder that Alt-Right trolls on social media have taken up #WhiteSharia as a hashtag to support their views?
Like ISIS, the Alt-Right is a movement based around fascism, authoritarianism, and redefining the boundaries of who is included and who is excluded within the borders of a State. In other words: who can you legally kill? For ISIS, it is easy. You either bow down to their twisted interpretation of Islam, or you are an enemy. For the Alt-Right, you are either biologically white, or you are inferior and thus genetically predestined to crime, stupidity, and the destruction of ‘the white race,’ and therefor a target for eradication.
— #AbolitionNow (@Delo_Taylor) May 22, 2017
But moreover, like ISIS, the Alt-Right loves and celebrates violence. It’s entire eco-system runs on gas chamber memes and pictures of Augusto Pinochet. It is any wonder why it’s most popular and violent websites like The Daily Stormer are linked to killing spree after grisly murder after potential terror attack? When you have Alt-Right leaders who openly call for genocide and even call themselves Nazis, can we be surprised when their fans begin to carry out that program?
But in the US, the Alt-Right also has something that ISIS does not: a huge platform to share their views. The liberal and centrist media has rolled out the red carpet for the Alt-Right, both normalizing their ideas and making people like Richard Spencer and Nathan Damigo a household name. Now, members of these movements are killing people left and right. Just as the mainstream media used Trump as click bait and helped launch him into office, so to have they helped grow and build the Alt-Right, while also helping to demonize anyone that confronts them in the streets.
Taliesin Meche, 2016 graduate of Reed College, was murdered yesterday while defending strangers from racist abuse. A role model and a hero. pic.twitter.com/H2lZCsxkyA
— Angus Johnston🐝 (@studentactivism) May 27, 2017
This is a point that should be made very clear. While Alt-Right leaders like Richard Spencer may present themselves as clean cut, ‘suit and tie intellectuals,’ Spencer openly works with a wide variety of neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups. This openly connects him to everyone from white power skinheads to the Ku-Klux-Klan. In propping him up, the mainstream media has both normalized the violence of these groups and also expanded their audience, while the Trump administration has mined the Alt-Right for talking points and even appointed some of it’s people into positions of power.
But the Alt-Right and ISIS also share another material reality: the people that fight them. While far-Right adherents like the Oath Keepers’ militia, which has has protected Alt-Right and white nationalist speakers in Berkeley, Pikeville, Boston, and elsewhere, proclaim that ISIS represents all Muslims, the reality is that the vast majority of people both fleeing ISIS terror and fighting ISIS are Muslims.
— Michelle Patton (@SquirrelJaeger) May 27, 2017
Anti-capitalist, feminist, and anti-statist Kurdish forces in the autonomous region of Rojava, have been leading the fight against ISIS. They include Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Kurds, and people of all faiths and nationalities. The communal, egalitarian, and ecological society they are building flies in the face of the brutality of ISIS, the ethno-fascism of the Alt-Right, and the industrial capitalist neoliberalism of the West.
This ongoing revolutionary process in Rojava, as well as the push by the people of Syria to form and organize popular councils in the Syrian Revolution, has led many anarchists, anticapitalists, and antifascists around the world to take up the fight against ISIS and work towards a free, autonomous, and liberatory society.
Richard Spencer's networked to every violent neo-Nazi + white supremacist from here to Daily Stormer. Don't fall for his crocodile tears. pic.twitter.com/TpzyCHw9jK
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) May 27, 2017
Thus, while keyboard warriors on the far-Right were posting their daily racist, sexist, and inflammatory comments on messageboards, anarchists and antifascists were giving their lives in a country they weren’t even born in to destroy ISIS and the fascism that it represents.
Meanwhile, in the United States and Canada, anarchists and antifascists have been at the forefront of a violent struggle against the Alt-Right. Using liberal talking points of “free speech,” the Alt-Right has formed a coalition that includes reactionary libertarians, neo-Confederates, militia groups like the Oath Keepers and the III%ers, Trump supporters, and the ‘Alt-Lite,’ led by talking heads such as Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos. The basis of unity for this coalition is the lowest common denominator: fighting antifa.
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) May 14, 2017
And so we see them standing in front of Confederate statues holding torches in the night. Giving Nazi salutes at conferences and outdoor rallies. We find their flyers, stickers, and posters in our neighborhoods, schools, streets, and workplaces. But we also see people in the thousands, saying that enough is enough and drawing a line in the sand, while much of the Left has stood by and wrung its hands and marched in circles.
The horrific murders of Richard Collins III, a college graduate who was about to join the armed forces, along with Ricky Best, 53, or Portland, a 23 year veteran, as well as Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, a recent Portland college graduate – will help to turn public opinion against the Alt-Right, but it won’t stop them. Just this week, law enforcement discovered a plot by neo-Nazis to build bombs with chemical weapons that had the potential for mass destruction. The plans of the Alt-Right for murder, genocide, and terror won’t stop because of public opinion – we have to stop them.
We also can’t look to the police or government to do this for us. Just this week, as the Alt-Right was stacking up corpses, bay area law enforcement raided two homes in connection to antifascist protests in Berkeley on April 15th. Meanwhile, as Nathan Damigo and Kyle Chapman, both with violent records walk free and clear, the police and the State, helped by neo-Nazis on 4chan’s /pol/, continues to turn its repressive head towards the anarchist and antifascist movement.
One of the brave folks who stood up to white supremacist Jeremy Christian & survived has a recovery fund
Plz share https://t.co/5bwD271gYK
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) May 27, 2017
And so we see a larger State strategy emerge. Anarchists and antifascists are facing upwards of 75 years in prison for taking part in protests against the inauguration, hundreds of water protectors face charges from grand juries in the wake of the #NoDAPL struggle, and hundreds more antifa await charges stemming from an anti-Nazi demonstration in Sacramento. The State represses our movement because they see it as a threat, but we will respond by building and expanding our movement, pushing back against both the repression of the State and the terror and murder of the Alt-Right.
This means shutting down their rallies. It means exposing their organizers. It means giving them no platform to speak, share their views, and rally their troops. It means building in our communities against both the rise of fascism and the everyday systems of patriarchy, colonialism, and white supremacy that industrial capitalism is built on. It means not believing in milquetoast liberal nonsense that we can defeat these systems through ‘good ideas’ or rational arguments, and instead acknowledging that in order to stop a movement based on supremacy and genocide, we actually have to fucking fight it.
We call on people across so-called North America and the world to:
- Converge on June 4th, 12 NOON, at Chapman Square, in Portland, Oregon, to stand in solidarity with Rose City Antifa, the Pacific NorthWest Antifascist Workers Collective, and many more seasoned groups to oppose an Alt-Right rally being organized by a coalition of ‘anti-antifa’ groups and featuring Alt-Right leaders such as Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman. Sign on to the mobilization here.
- Organize broad, robust, and grassroots responses to far-Right anti-Muslim rallies happening across the US on June 10th. Far-Right and Alt-Right groups will be out at these events; we must work together to confront them and push back. An attack on one is an attack on all! More information can be found here.
- Donate to support the families of the two men that were killed in Portland as well as one person who was stabbed but is recovering.
- Drop banners, put up stickers and posters, host educational events and film showings, organize against groups in your local area, and get involved in the struggle against fascism where you are.
- Recognize that this is a moment that can both split the far-Right and the Alt-Right and also bring people together against them both. Let’s get busy.