Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Anti-fascist, Critique, US
Neofascism in the Cultural, Artistic, and Ecological Movements
The earth is firmly enveloped in crisis. This crisis is at once material and existential. The economy can no longer support the human weight that bends it at its foundation. Can not, or will not. The aftermath of the recession has produced only one reality: an intensified stratification of global society.
The crises have created a world devoid of meaning. Everywhere, people question the bold political narratives of the present, exposing them all as being without purpose. Democracy appears as the ridiculous theater that it always was.
In much of the world, young people found solace in the lack of meaning. They embraced cynicism and insincerity as responses to the real situation. As time went on, they found that this ironic perspective failed them in the very same way as did the dominant paradigm.
The recession of 2008 propelled the earth into a state of delirium. Over the following three years, the world fought to materially answer the existential crisis; to existentially answer the material. These popular movements posed a question. Is it even possible, in the 21st century, to imagine another way of living? All of society was exposed for its repressive essence, and people began to appropriate buildings, parks, universities, vacant lots, and city centers to begin directly creating a different way of life.
The question of the people fighting in occupied buildings and sleeping in city squares never received a response. Echoes, but not answers. The militants of 2011 reluctantly returned to life in the void.
We are still living with the same crisis. Meaning has yet to be restored. Around the world a new movement is emerging.
Across the globe, a reactionary wave has presented itself as the answer to the question posed six years ago. In Greece, Ukraine, Thailand, Venezuela, Russia, and Italy, neofascist parties have reemerged in the form of militant street-level uprisings. In the United States, fascist influences have begun to permeate the cultural, artistic, technological, and deep ecology movements.
In particular, the strong historical precedence of fascist influence on the legacy of ecological movements illuminates a need to take this situation seriously.
Esoteric fascism is growing in the ecology movement. This is nothing new. The term “ecology” was coined by the racist, white nationalist, eugenics enamored German biologist Ernst Haeckel in the 19th century . Haeckel founded the eugenicist and white nationalist Monist League in 1905 to propagate his racist views. Haeckel later joined the occultist Thule Society, a spiritual organization that sponsored and helped to develop the Nazi Party.
The German concept of “blut und boden” (blood and soil) traces its origins to the ethno-nationalist Volkisch movement. The belief insists that a people are connected to a historical territory, and that whites must protect the health of that land in order to ensure the continuity of the Aryan race.
Inspired by this view, German philosopher Rudolf Steiner founded Anthroposophy in 1912. Anthroposophy was a school of ethno-religious mysticism that promoted the idea of a race’s spiritual connection to a local environment along with the belief in a hierarchy of human races and the need to keep these races separate. These beliefs were heavily influential in the Volkisch movement of the 1920s.
The Wandervogel (wandering bird) youth movement was a strongly influential back-to-nature cultural force in Germany in the early 20th century centered around environmentalism, communal living, eastern religion, and staunch nationalism. Wandervogel youth believed political action to be incapable of correcting the deeply entrenched societal crisis, so they looked instead to personal and cultural transformation. The immigration of some Wandervogel youth to America in the early 20th century helped to inspire the Hippie movement . Initially, the Wandervogel movement was comprised of people from somewhat disparate philosophical backgrounds, but by the 1930s most of the tendency was absorbed by the Nazi Party.
The Wandervogel subculture was a reflection of the larger The Lebensreform (life reform) movement. Lebensreform advocated organic diets, sexual liberation, vegetarianism, and a deep respect for nature. The tendency was popular in Switzerland and Germany in the early 20th century. Anarchists were very influential in the Lebensreform tendency, people like painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach and poet Gusto Graser promoted liberatory ideas among the movement. Graser, along with cultural libertines Henry Oedenkoven and Ida Hofmann, founded the Monte Verita commune in Switzerland in 1900. The commune initially existed as an experimentation in living according to communist ideals, promoting a way of living modeled after “primitive socialism”. Anarchists from around Europe flocked to Monte Verita. The communards were largely vegetarian, and practiced polyamory and held a deep respect for the environment.
By the 1930s, many of the anarchists of Monte Verita abandoned their long-held ethics and joined the Nazi Party .
The same trend occurred in the Lebensreform movement in general. Richard Ungewitter, a white nationalist pioneer of the German nudist movement and advocate of cultural upheaval, wrote and distributed white supremacist and anti semitic texts. He insisted that the seemingly emancipatory cultural trends of the time would be the way that the Aryan race would reestablish its dominance over “the diabolical Jews”. This reactionary tendency within the Lebensreform movement later inspired leaders of the Nazi Party.
The environmentalism of the Third Reich largely came from the mystical and anti-rational fascist lineage promoted by Richard Darre, Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolph Hess, and Heinrich Himmler . It was Darre who introduced the blood and soil ideology to the NSDAP (Nazi party). As the Nazi movement was very dynamic in its early days, there was tension between the spiritualistic, anti-rational tendency and the cold, calculating, efficiently rational wing of the party.
Likewise, there was conflict between the ostensibly workerist and often openly gay wing of the movement (the Sturmabteilung, abbreviated as “SA”), and the rest of the NSDAP. The “blood purge” of the SA has become a focal point for some people in the current Neofolk subculture.
The neofolk genre is loosely based around traditional european cultural heritage, practices, and music. Many of the bands that popularized the genre have current or past allegiances to fascist politics. Death in June, perhaps the best known name in the genre, is the project of third-reich obsessed musician Douglas Pearce. Pearce named the band in honor of the SA stormtroopers who were violently expelled from the Nazi Party in the Night of the Long Knives blood purge of 1934 .
Death in June has a history of collaboration with Boyd Rice, a somewhat more obtuse performer whose usage of third reich imagery is equally unironic. Rice appeared as an outspoken guest on the television show of Tom Metzger, founder of the well-known neo nazi group White Aryan Resistance. Rice has toured the US extensively with Cold Cave, an act founded by Wes Eisold. Eisold was a well known figure in the hardcore scene; his band American Nightmare was very popular in underground music scenes in the early 2000s.
Both Death in June and Boyd Rice have had several of their shows canceled due to pressure from anti-fascists over the past few years.
For the most part, bands in the neofolk and neo dark-wave scenes eschew overt fascist politics in favor of “apolitical” stances and a fixation on cultural heritage and “traditionalism”. Artists often state their insistence on playing “white” or “european” music that is free of “negro” influences such as rock and roll, jazz, or rhythm.
Stella Natura is a large neofolk music festival held in the Tahoe National Forest of Northern California featuring dozens of acts and hundreds of attendees. Though the promoter, Adam Torruella, claims the event is non-political, he has invited the white nationalist publisher Counter-Currents to table at the event .
Counter-Currents (which recently had its San Francisco office smashed up in a late night attack) primarily sells white supremacist literature from esoteric fascist authors such as Julius Evola and Savitri Devi. Devi, a Nazi sympathizer who served as a spy for the Axis Powers during WWII, was born in France, moved to India, converted to Hinduism, and was an animal rights activist and deep ecologist. She promoted the idea of the supremacy of the Aryan race and the need for whites to respect other “noble races” such as Indians, who were believed by the nazis to be the racial relatives of white Aryans.
The festival is sponsored by the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA). Asatru is a pagan faith founded in the 1970s based on ancient Norse beliefs. Early on, there was a split in the Asatru movement around the issue of white nationalism. The universalists opposed racism, the tribalists focused on ethnic and cultural heritage, and the folkish tendency advocated an entirely racialized conception of Asatru . The AFA comes out of the folkish lineage, meaning that it is part of the white nationalist wing of Germanic Paganism.
The AFA provided security for the festival as the “Viking Brotherhood”; the original name of the organization. According to reports from concertgoers, the Viking Brotherhood roamed the perimeter with zip-ties on their hips while maintaining a diligent eye for anti-fascists.
The festival’s lineup has included several post-fascist acts and performers. Blood Axis, the band of neofascist author Michael Moynihan performed, as did Changes, a band founded by white nationalist Robert Taylor . Fire and Ice and Waldteufel have also played the festival, both acts having ties to white nationalist movements. Neofascist bands Die Weisse Rose and Of the Wand and Moon were scheduled to perform in 2013 but could not enter the country due to visa issues.
This cultural tendency has grown among the hipster crowd, many of whom naively believe that the fascist aesthetic is merely ironic or just an added effect for shock-value. It has also grown among young white people from black metal and dark-wave scenes who feel alienated by the emptiness of modern society and desperately reach back to a romanticized and fictitious ancestral past.
Nihilism as Question and the Suppression of the Hipster
The epoch of the hipster has been marked by an irrepressible irony; a tangible insistence on the meaninglessness of things. The entire world appears to rotate without purpose; the era of metanarratives has long since passed and history seems to stand still. This tendency’s ascension coincides with a social era widely referred to as “liberal multiculturalism”. This multiculturalism is widely seen, by white people at least, as having reached a state of hegemonic dominion over all societal affairs. In this context, nothing can truly be racist, as the institutionalization of political correctness has seemingly relegated the older, more blatant forms of racism to the margins of culture and of society.
Because of this, the era of the hipster is not anti-racist, in fact it has no need to be. The ideology of the present era is better understood as post-racial; the apparent suppression of the old forms of prejudice have rendered white supremacy a phantom of the past only seen presently in the most anachronistic vestiges of white provincial society.
Racism is thus perceived as being powerless and therefore either innocuous or ironic. The hipster appreciation of Boyd Rice and Death in June is the result of the assumption that the resurgent fascist movement cannot possibly be sincere (as sincerity is impossible) and that, if by some far-fetched chance it were, it would be incapable of attaining meaning, as such overt racism cannot be a threat in a post-racial world.
In the world of pop culture and in the world of the anarchist, nihilism has firmly taken root. The rejection of all values, with the exception of the interests of the self, stems from a dissatisfaction with the meaninglessness of modern life. The hipster nihilist surrounds himself with accumulated symbols of irony, as sincerity has become impossible in a world without direction, and true meaning no longer exists. The anarchist nihilist maintains a steadfast refusal to participate in any political activity other than the occasional online cheering for the smashing of windows, as activism reeks of leftist naiveté
and fails to comprehend its own pointlessness amid the magnitude of the present subsumption of the world.
Until now, nihilism has been addressed as a solution. But nihilism is a question. It is a passionless cry into an indifferent distance that continues to await an answer.
What will bring meaning to the world? What force can again restore a sense of purpose to those without direction? For many, reaching back toward the dirt-covered hands of long-buried ancestors has been a starting point. A normative vision of the past harkens back to a simpler era. Young people everywhere are again discovering religions and the languages of their ancestors. Many have begun to experiment with the assumed eating habits of someone’s distant ancestors, and are convinced that the paleo diet will bring them back in tune with what humans are supposed to eat in their natural state. On trendy shopping strips in America’s cities, artisan boutiques are again emerging. Micro-brewing and woodworking are regaining prominence. Experienced beard trimmers and butchers skilled in charcuterie are again making a living as men once did in a bygone past. Young men in Red Wings and work shirts revive the wardrobes of white men before their supposed systemic emasculation by liberal feminism; they appear identical to their grandfathers walking to work in those old segregated factories. Levi’s commercials speak proudly of pioneers and territorial expansion into both the wild west and into the untamed and pre-gentrified neighborhoods of America’s rust belt.
The neofolk movement is merely the avante garde wing of this diffuse and growing cultural tendency that longs for a romanticized and uncorrupted past.
Radical Traditionalism, Revolutionary Reactionism
Presently, the mystical current of racist ecology is slowly gaining traction among some circles of former anarchists. Most notable is Olympia, Washington, where two former Green Scare prisoners and ex-anarchists have turned to white nationalism, citing a desire for white-only spaces, a respect for neo-nazis, and a pronounced disdain for “the Mexicans”. Nathan “Exile” Block and Joyanna “Sadie” Zacher were heavily influential in the green anarchist tendency prior to and during their incarceration for late-night arson attacks against industries responsible for massive environmental degradation. Disconcertingly, these two influential former Earth Liberation Front militants were initiated into the world of political violence while running through the streets of downtown Seattle in the anti-WTO Black Bloc in 1999 .
Several other people associated with the green anarchist movement in Olympia have followed their reactionary trajectory.
The quasi-spiritual works of ego-fascist Julius Evola and the “esoteric hitlerism” of white supremacist author Miguel Serrano  have been heavily influential in this growing circle. A webpage  operated by Nathan Block appears as a cascading scroll of imagery adorned with swastikas, black suns, and Anglo-Saxon runes complimented by an assortment of quotations from obscure neofascist theorists. This cult-like formation has expressed a sincere admiration for would-be race war instigator Charles Manson , particularly his environmental decree “ATWA” which stands for “air trees water animals” or “all the way alive” (the latter was used as the title of a 2012 public statement from Zacher published in the Earth First Journal). A 2007 communique written by Block and Zacher makes several vague references to the need to continue the ecological struggle in the name of the white race (often hidden behind double meanings) before concluding with an allusion to Manson’s environmental decree.
“[A]ND LET THOSE OF US WHO HEED THE CALLS SO OFTEN IGNORED STAND UPRIGHT, WITH CLEAR VISION, WHETHER ILLUMINATED BY THE GREAT SUN OR BY A MORE OBSCURE LIGHT, WHICH RIDES WITH THE NIGHT TERROR WITH ALL CREATURES OF THE HIDDEN HOURS: THE CLAWED, THE WINGED, THE HOOFED, AND ALSO WITH THOSE BEINGS REFERRED TO BY THE EUPHEMISMS OF ‘THE ANCESTORS’, ‘THE FAIR FOLK’, OR INDEED, THE ‘ELVES’.
AIR TREES WATER ANIMALS “
As with the Apoliteia tendency (explained below) and the Wandervogel movement, they claim an aversion to the political and a focus on individual and cultural pursuits such as touring in Neofolk bands and practicing Germanic pagan rituals.
Unfortunately, many green anarchists do not fully understand this resurgent white nationalism. Many assume that any apparent fascist sympathies must be purely aesthetic or symbolic. This willful ignorance will likely allow the trend to continue to grow, particularly in the white counter cultural enclaves of the Pacific North West.
Retreat from Politics
The current resurrection of fascism continues virtually unchecked due to the insistence of its authors and artists on their supposedly “apolitical” stance.
Apoliteia, as described in the early 20th century by the currently influential post-fascist author Julius Evola, is the rejection of compelled allegiance to the realm of traditional politics. For Evola, this did not mean that all political action is problematic, only that individuals should base this activity solely on their own personal interests.
Evola, promoting the concept of a hierarchy of races that placed blacks at the bottom and whites at the apex, also fixated on the mystical realm of race. He believed that race was manifested both in the body and in the soul, and that the ideal human being embodied the Aryan race both physically and spiritually .
“OUR POSITION, WHEN WE CLAIM THAT RACE EXISTS AS MUCH IN THE BODY AS IN THE SPIRIT, GOES BEYOND THESE TWO POINTS OF VIEW. RACE IS A PROFOUND FORCE MANIFESTING ITSELF IN THE REALM OF THE BODY (RACE OF THE BODY) AS IN THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT (RACE OF THE INTERIOR, RACE OF THE SPRIT). IN ITS FULL MEANING THE PURITY OF RACE OCCURS WHEN THESE TWO MANIFESTATIONS COINCIDE .”
Evola promoted a sort of egoist fascism; the individual was to seek to become an “aristocrat of the soul” and to embody the brutality and order of the Holy Roman Empire within their own individual essence.
Evola objected to many of the visions of the PNF (Italian National Fascist Party) because of their focus on material conditions and relative lack of attention to spiritual and racial considerations. Though never a member of the PNF, he was an associate of Benito Mussolini and his writings eventually influenced the racial perspectives of the PNF hierarchy.
“AND IF FASCIST ITALY, AMONG THE VARIOUS WESTERN NATIONS IS THE ONE WHICH FIRST WISHED FOR A REACTION AGAINST THE DEGENERATION OF THE MATERIALIST, DEMOCRATIC AND CAPITALIST CIVILISATION…THERE ARE GROUNDS FOR THINKING,…THAT ITALY WILL BE ON THE FRONT LINE AMONG THE FORCES WHICH WILL GUIDE THE FUTURE WORLD AND WILL RESTORE THE SUPREMACY OF THE WHITE RACE “.
Evola was a bizarre character. At the peak of WWII, he would walk the streets of the city during allied bombing raids in order to “ponder his destiny”. One one such stroll, he was maimed by a Soviet bomb and as a result spent the remainder of his life paralyzed from the waist down .
For Evola, as for many of todays’ esoteric racists, a retreat from the political realm is accompanied by a rise in the cultural and artistic worlds. Liberal social-democracy has dominated the globe and vanquished its opponents on a political level. Post-fascists advocate remaining in the cultural sphere until the moment that social-democracy begins to collapse as a result of its own decadence; this fall will be the moment to again emerge into the world as a material force.
Modern society is meaningless, directionless, decadent. A new way must emerge to once again give purpose to life. For many, this force will resurrect the spirits of the ancestors, a reincarnation that is starting to appear in the world of culture.
The New Force
Third-positionism is a political tendency that seeks to synthesize aspects of anarchism and communism with white nationalism or extreme ethnic traditionalism. This tendency has grown significantly in Europe over the past few years. In Italy, the neofascist squatters of Casa Pound are occupying buildings and organizing militant demonstrations against the proposed construction of a high-speed rail that would be heavily damaging to the local environment. In Russia, fascists have used the anarchist black bloc tactic to anonymously march through city centers.
Today, neofascism appears much more exciting and radical than did the far right organizations of decades past. The images of popular unrest in Ukraine during the winter months inspired people around the world. It was not long before it became clear that violent neo-nazi street movements were responsible for instigating much of the anti-government unrest.
The May 22 military coup in Thailand came as the result of months of reactionary struggle, with many militants finding an ideological base in third-positionist (though not white supremacist) inspired politics .
In America, some third-positionist groups have been bold enough to refer to themselves as “anarchists”. BANA (Bay Area National Anarchists) was a short-lived white nationalist organization based in San Francisco and Dublin California. The group dissolved shortly after members were publicly beaten by anarchists in San Francisco following BANA’s counter-protest of a May Day immigration march .
In New York, NATA (National Anarchist Tribal Alliance) members were forcibly ejected from the anarchist bookfair last year, making it clear that the presence of neofascism will not be tolerated in anarchist circles, regardless of what name white nationalists choose to hide behind.
Nothing Before the Earth
At the time of its inception in 1980, the radical environmental group Earth First! took its name literally, avoiding broader social issues and focusing exclusively on a militant commitment to the preservation of the environment.
A decade later, the dedication of Earth First! attracted many anarchists to the group. These newer members were interested in developing a movement that, in addition to defending the earth, fought against racism, sexism, homophobia, and capitalism. This new political direction caused a split in the group with some of the founding members eventually leaving the organization in disgust.
David Foreman, Earth First! cofounder, went on to cofound the Wildlands Project and later joined the Sierra Club’s board of directors. His virulent anti-immigration views have caused many people in ecological movements to distance themselves from him, however his reactionary ideas have a surprisingly strong following. He was described by anarchist theorist Murray Bookchin as a “macho mountain man”. Bookchin, on the Foreman tendency:
“THERE ARE BARELY DISGUISED RACISTS, , MACHO DANIEL BOONES AND OUTRIGHT SOCIAL REACTIONARIES WHO USE THE WORD ECOLOGY TO EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS, JUST AS THERE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED NATURALISTS, COMMUNITARIANS, SOCIAL RADICALS, AND FEMINISTS WHO USE THE WORD ECOLOGY TO EXPRESS THEIRS. […] IT WAS OUT OF THIS [FORMER] KIND OF CRUDE ECO-BRUTALISM THAT HITLER, IN THE NAME OF ‘POPULATION CONTROL,’ WITH A RACIAL ORIENTATION, FASHIONED THEORIES OF BLOOD AND SOIL THAT LED TO THE TRANSPORT OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE TO MURDER CAMPS LIKE AUSCHWITZ. THE SAME ECO-BRUTALISM NOW REAPPEARS A HALF-CENTURY LATER AMONG SELF-PROFESSED DEEP ECOLOGISTS WHO BELIEVE THAT THIRD WORLD PEOPLES SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO STARVE TO DEATH AND THAT DESPERATE INDIAN IMMIGRANTS FROM LATIN AMERICA SHOULD BE EXCLUDE[D] BY THE BORDER COPS FROM THE UNITED STATES LEST THEY BURDEN ‘OUR’ ECOLOGICAL RESOURCES .”
Foreman currently acts as the President of the Board for Apply the Brakes, an anti-immigration campaign initiated by white environmentalists . Last year, he published a virulently xenophobic article for the green nativist “Earth Island Journal” obtusely entitled “More Immigration= More Americans= Less Wilderness “.
For some reason, Mexicans only become a problem for the environment once they cross over to the white-man’s land. On the other side of the line, their impact on those fields and deserts who don’t yet know of borders doesn’t seem to be of concern to these environmentalists.
In spite of their disdain for indigenous “immigrants”, even the conservative ecological tendencies often maintain a fetishistic reverence for “The Indian”. In this Jeffersonian view, indigenous people are the archetypal noble savages presently confined to history books; the current realities of most indigenous communities are of little interest. For many white environmentalists, indigenous people are a natural extension of the local environment much like a wolf or a tree. In spite of this exoticization, indigenous people from south of the Mexican border are often viewed as alien trespassers on America’s soil.
Paradoxically, indigeneity is conceived of within the confines of colonial borders.
For David Foreman, the earth’s population has grown to unstable levels, and people in the third world must be purged to bring humanity back into equilibrium with the environment.
From an interview with Bill Devall (author of “Deep Ecology”):
“WHEN I TELL PEOPLE THE WORST THING WE COULD DO [DURING THE FAMINE] IN ETHIOPIA IS TO GIVE AID—THE BEST THING WOULD BE TO JUST LET NATURE SEEK ITS OWN BALANCE, TO LET THE PEOPLE THERE JUST STARVE—THEY THINK THIS IS MONSTROUS. . . . LIKEWISE, LETTING THE USA BE AN OVERFLOW VALVE FOR PROBLEMS IN LATIN AMERICA IS NOT SOLVING A THING. IT’S JUST PUTTING MORE PRESSURE ON THE RESOURCES WE HAVE IN THE USA .”
Foreman’s views are unfortunately commonplace in the deep ecology tendency. If anything they are merely an echo of an earlier wave of reactionaries who offer an academic counter to Foreman’s simple-minded, He-Manish, backyard wrestling, Macho Man Randy Savage approach.
Lester Brown, a renowned ecologist and prolific author, also speaks on behalf of the Apply the Brakes campaign. Brown is a staunch nativist and promoter of the reduction of human population in the developing world. Much of his focus has been on China and the role that its growing population may play on global food prices.
American zoologist, microbiologist, and ecologist Garett Hardin was fixated on the forced reduction of human population as a means to ensure the longevity of the environment. Hardin advocated for coerced abortions, eugenics, and forced sterilization until his death in 2003 . Hardin promoted a pseudo-scientific concept of a racial hierarchy of intelligence, and in 1994 he was one of 52 signatories to an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal on the genetic basis of racial superiority. In 1974, Hardin argued against sending food to people starving to death in the Ethiopian famine as a way to reduce the human population, decades before Foreman crudely parroted his ridiculous statements.
Like Hardin, Finnish ecologist Pentti Linkola argues that human population must be drastically reduced for the health of the earth. An advocate for eugenics and totalitarian state control, Linkola stated that the “massive thinning operations” of Hitler and Stalin were a step toward establishing an equilibrium between human population and the environment. He states that global chemical or nuclear warfare would be an ideal way of swiftly reducing the human population.
While Linkola’s wingnut ramblings are unlikely to develop directly into a global campaign of genocide, watered down variations of his ideas have a material base in the reactionary corners of deep ecology.
Left-Right Collusion and The Technocratic Future
Bizarre fascisms are starting to appear everywhere. Two of the three members of the board of directors of the Occupy Solidarity Network (Occupy Wall Street’s nonprofit wing) have at times publicly expressed vaguely fascist sentiments. Micah White, former Adbusters editor and cofounder of Occupy Wall Street, has traveled across the country promoting a populist left-right alliance, recently going so far as to advocate working alongside the violent Greek neo-nazi party Golden Dawn.
While it would be comforting to attribute this prospective collusion to naivete, it is clear that White is by no means unfamiliar with the dynamic nature of fascism. He has studied political movements for years and even authored an article exposing Pentti Linkola and other fascist influences in the ecological movements in 2010.
On August 12, 2011, a month before the start of Occupy Wall Street, White was interviewed by Nathan Schneider, author of “Thank You, Anarchy”:
“THE WORST OUTCOME WOULD BE TO GET THERE AND THEY JUST FUMBLE IT BY DOING THIS WHOLE LEFTY GAME WE ALWAYS PLAY, WHICH IS SELF-DEFEATIST. WE GO THERE, MAKE SOME UNREASONABLE DEMAND, LIKE, WE WANT TO ABOLISH CAPITALISM AND WE WON’T LEAVE UNTIL WE DO. AND WELL, THAT’S LIKE THE WAR ON TERRORISM; THAT’S AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. OR THEY JUST SQUANDER IT BY BEING SOME HIPSTER, ANARCHIST INSURRECTION LIKE, WE’RE GONNA SMASH SOME STORES AND MAKE A SPECTACLE. AND EVERYONE’S LIKE, ‘WHY?’
BECAUSE WE HAVE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL GOING HERE. SO WE’RE TRYING TO RISE ABOVE THE SECTARIAN CLASHINGS OF WHETHER OR NOT US DAY OF RAGE IS TWEETING TOO MUCH OR WHETHER OR NOT THE LIBERTARIANS ARE – YOU KNOW? AND REACH OUT TO THE TEA PARTY TOO. THIS IS A MOMENT FOR ALL OF AMERICA.
I DON’T SEE WHY THIS HAS TO BE A LEFTY MOMENT OR A RIGHTY MOMENT, BECAUSE THIS IS A MOMENT FOR US TO REINVENT DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, BECAUSE IT’S GETTING TO BE TOO LATE. IF WE DON’T DO IT NOW, WE ARE REACHING THE END .”
While the far right Tea Party is not technically a fascist formation, White’s proposed nationalist left-right collusion is cause for concern, especially in the light of his statements about Golden Dawn. A proposed collaboration with the Tea Party is ridiculous, yet it must be mentioned that, in real terms, the Tea Party was the initial popular response to the economic crisis of 2008. This street-level conservatism spanned the nation with demonstrations against the bailout of Wall Street nearly three years before the left decided to occupy it.
While White’s dream of left-right collusion is disconcerting, it is important to note that he is not alone. Justine Tunney, creator of occupywallst.org and the Occupy Wall Street twitter account is also a member of the Occupy Solidarity Network board of directors. She currently works as a software engineer for Google. Recently, she used the official Occupy Wall Street twitter account to publicly advocate a corporatist political agenda:
“ENDING POVERTY ISN’T A POLITICAL PROBLEM- IT’S AN ENGINEERING PROBLEM ”
“I WANT TO MAKE CLEAR THAT THIS IS NOT AN ANTI-CORPORATE MOVEMENT. THIS IS AN ANTI-WALL STREET MOVEMENT. “
In an interview with Business Insider about her role in Occupy Wall Street, she stated that “democracy never works “. From her personal twitter account she attempted to bolster her image of Google as a revolutionary force by insisting that “Silicon Valley is firmly post-capitalist” because tech companies like Google “expropriate ad money from capitalists to build a superintelligence & don’t pay dividends” to “entitled shareholders”. In March, she posted a petition to the White House website demanding the termination of all 4.3 million government employees, the resignation of Barack Obama, and the appointing of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt as CEO of America .
Google, the largest collector of private personal information the world has ever known, acts as a giant data mine for advertisers and the state. The mere suggestion of granting the giant surveillance apparatus even deeper governing power is troubling.
Google’s rigid hierarchical structure has been (positively) likened to a monarchy by some reactionaries. Shareholders have virtually no voting power in the company as the company’s two founders control the vast majority of votes through the organization of shares. The workforce is organized into veritable castes delineated by colored badges. Most employees enjoy high pay (median salary $125,000), free gourmet meals, and a relaxed work environment. Lower-paid yellow-badge workers are confined to a separate building and excluded from the free food, limousine shuttles, or usage of company bikes. Their jobs consist entirely of tedious data-entry. These workers are not permitted to speak with the rest of the workforce. Filmmaker and former Google employee Andrew Norman Wilson stated that the yellow badge workers were mostly people of color .
According to its own numbers, Google’s overwhelmingly male American “tech” workforce is a mere one percent black and two percent latino .
Both Tunney and White have advocated raising funds to sustain a mercenary “non-violent militia” to take to the streets. Recently, Tunney suggested that her twitter followers “read Mencius Moldbug” referring to the pseudonym of computer programmer and aspiring writer Curtis Guy Yarvin. Yarvin, along with English philosopher Nick Land, is among the best known names in the “Dark Enlightenment” movement. This tendency, also referred to as the neoreactionary movement, promotes a pseudo-scientific notion of the racial superiority of whites under the guise of “human biodiversity”, opposes egalitarianism and democracy, and supports autocratic governance .
“HUMAN BIODIVERSITY [HBD] IS THE REJECTION OF THE ‘BLANK STATE’ OF HUMAN NATURE. CREEPILY OBSESSED WITH STATISTICS THAT DEMONSTRATE IQ DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE RACES, THE DARKLY ENLIGHTENED SEE SOCIAL HIERARCHIES AS DETERMINED NOT BY CULTURE OR OPPORTUNITY BUT BY THE COLD, HARD DESTINY EMBEDDED IN DNA…
CUE THE ADHERENTS OF THE BELL CURVE, EUGENICS ENTHUSIASTS, BELIEVERS IN WHITE SUPREMACY AND SYMPATHIZERS OF THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS’ PARTY. IN THE DARK ENLIGHTENMENT, WE SEEM TO HAVE STUMBLED ACROSS A PLACE WHERE PSEUDO-INTELLECTUALLY GROUNDED RACISM IS FLOURISHING IN A WAY IT HASN’T SINCE BEFORE WORLD WAR II.
IN OUR DISCUSSION, [NICK] LAND WAS EXPLICIT IN HIS VIEW ON THIS: ‘HBD, BROADLY CONCEIVED, IS SIMPLY A FACT. IT IS ROUGHLY AS QUESTIONABLE, ON INTELLECTUAL GROUNDS, AS BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION OR THE HELIOCENTRIC MODEL OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM. NO ONE WHO TAKES THE TROUBLE TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES ON THE SUBJECT WITH EVEN A MINIMUM OF INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY CAN DOUBT THAT’…
IS THIS FASCISM? DESIRE FOR GENETICALLY DETERMINED RULING CLASSES, DISTRUST OF POPULAR DEMOCRATIC REFORM, DISTASTE FOR THE AESTHETIC STANDARDS OF MASS CULTURE, AND NAUSEA OVER THE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS OF MODERN LIFE—THE DARK ENLIGHTENMENT DOES HAVE ALL THE MARKINGS OF A TRUE NEO-FASCIST MOVEMENT. IT’S HERE THAT THE DANGERS OF THE DARK ENLIGHTENMENT ARE HARD TO DISMISS .”
They advocate a return to feudal city-states as a counter to democratic governance while maintaining an almost religious reverence for technology.
Yarvin advocates a form of total corporate domination of society he calls “neocameralism”:
“TO A NEOCAMERALIST, A STATE IS A BUSINESS WHICH OWNS A COUNTRY. A STATE SHOULD BE MANAGED, LIKE ANY OTHER LARGE BUSINESS, BY DIVIDING LOGICAL OWNERSHIP INTO NEGOTIABLE SHARES, EACH OF WHICH YIELDS A PRECISE FRACTION OF THE STATE’S PROFIT. (A WELL-RUN STATE IS VERY PROFITABLE.) EACH SHARE HAS ONE VOTE, AND THE SHAREHOLDERS ELECT A BOARD, WHICH HIRES AND FIRES MANAGERS .”
While ridiculous, the ideas of the neoreactionary tendency have attained some degree of support in the world of Silicon Valley tech workers.
Balaji Srinivasan, Computer Science lecturer at Stanford University and current partner in Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm Andreesen Horowitz, promoted “dark enlightenment” inspired ideas during a speech to a crowd of tech entrepreneurs last fall. He encouraged the dawning of a Silicon Valley secessionist movement that would break away from the United States and establish authoritarian city-states run by technology firms:
“We want to show what a society run by Silicon Valley would look like. That’s where ‘exit’ comes in .. . It basically means: build an opt-in society, ultimately outside the US, run by technology. And this is actually where the [Silicon] Valley is going. This is where we’re going over the next ten years …[Google co-founder] Larry Page, for example, wants to set aside a part of the world for unregulated experimentation .”
The contrast between this hyper-technological conservatism and the right-wing traditionalist ecological movements highlights the pluralistic essence of fascism. Throughout history fascism has been a movement that is at once rational and anti-rational, secular and spiritual, traditional and futuristic, capitalist and socialist, authoritarian and anti-statist, social and individualistic, luddite and technological, nationalistic and international. Fascism is a rigid paradox that does not fall in the face of contradiction. The Third Reich was at once the mystical and environmental perspective of Hess, Himmler, Rosenberg, and Darre and the hyper-rationalist and industrialist reality that flattened much of Europe. Mussolini was as influenced by Julius Evola’s esoteric traditionalism as by Filippo Marinetti’s rejection of of the past and advocation of a technological and artistic “futurism”.
The commonalities shared by these ideologically diverse reactionary movements are concerning: the belief in racial, ethnic, or cultural superiority, the revival of The Nation, the concept of a superhuman ubermensch at the individual or the racial level, fearsome disdain for groups considered “inferior”, an aversion to collective desire, and a reverence for force and brutality.
Realization and Confrontation
Autonomous from the directives of any centralized institution, neofascism exists as a single point in a perpetually expanding galaxy of state prisons, renegade police, urban developers, realtors, Sheriff Arpaios, minutemen, neo-nazis, militaries, psych wards, public education, and George Zimmermans. The new fascism is merely a third position of domination, another knot in the repressive net of state, patriarchy, and racism. Its hegemony comes not from its own virtue, but from its position in the wider network of white supremacy. It does not walk alone, but travels through the night guided by the spirits of overseers and pioneers, its path illuminated by fiery crosses and the barrel flash of vigilantes’ guns along the border.
Although the beneficiaries of American reactionary politics are almost exclusively white and gender-normative, it is important to remember that the token mouthpieces need not fit these descriptions. While the spokesmen of green fascism are mostly male and exclusively white, it is notable that Micah White is black, Justine Tunney is transgender, and Curtis Yarvin is Jewish.
While neofascist ideology does not appeal to most Americans, white supremacist and corporatist rhetoric has a clear resonance among powerful people with substantial means at their disposal. The whims of such people have always yielded a profound social impact.
Although the technocratic aspirations of Justine Tunney and the Dark Enlightenment scene seem far fetched, the social implications of the currently thriving technology industry must be taken seriously. In the Bay Area, the influx of highly paid mostly white Silicon Valley programmers and software engineers into low-income black, brown, and broke communities has dramatically altered the urban landscape. Around the Bay, a racialized reconfiguration of urban neighborhoods is occurring; blacks and latinos are being forcibly relocated or incarcerated to make room for the Justine Tunneys and Curtis Yarvins. When not exiled from their communities, the immiserated populations live stacked atop each other in overcrowded units while the wealthy newcomers build their technocratic dystopia.
Like virtually all Silicon Valley empires, Tunney’s beloved Google is wholly unapologetic about its role in steamrolling California’s cities, as are the majority of the high-paid workers who have no problem participating in the expulsion and confinement of black, brown, and broke people.
In a global sense, the role of blacks in the tech industry has been most clearly represented in the coltan mines of war-torn Congo, excavating the precious minerals necessary to power Silicon Valley’s digital bubble.
At times, the vast displacement of black residents has been accompanied by a more blatant racism, though generally this position is obscured through the lens of economics.
Bill White, prominent third-positionist and former national spokesman for the National Socialist Movement, owns nine properties in a low-income black neighborhood of Roanoke, Virginia. As a landlord, he engaged in a project of harassment and gentrification that he referred to as a “ghetto beautification project” . He raised rents, evicted tenants, and was alleged to have patrolled the neighborhood carrying a shotgun to intimidate local blacks.
In more general terms, the whitening and gentrification of black and brown communities is materially congruent with neofascist ideology. The vaguely liberal sentiments of a handful of landlords and developers does nothing to change the real situation.
While the most recent waves of resistance in America have been leftist and at times even revolutionary, modern history has made clear the entirely unpredictable nature of white-majority subcultures and movements. Much of the 60s generation that shut down America’s thoroughfares in opposition to the war in Southeast Asia grew into the right-wing formation that elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. The America of Golden Gate Park’s drug loving hippie acid freaks metastasized into the war on drugs within fifteen years, with many middle-aged former leftists leaving their convictions behind with their youth. For the most part, white America sat by and watched as military-style raids into black and brown communities fed the expansion of a draconian prison slave-society that expanded over 700% since 1970.
From a global perspective, the socialist sensibilities of Mussolini and his associates transformed into an uncompromising fascist state, just as many the libertines of the German Lebensreform movement eventually joined the Nazis.
In May, the European Union’s parliamentary elections saw the rise of fascism in traditional politics. In France, the National Front won the parliamentary election, while in Greece Golden Dawn received enough votes to enter the European parliament for the first time . Fascist representatives were also elected in Denmark, Germany, England, Austria, and Hungary.
As fascism views itself as a revolutionary tendency, it will not cease its attempts to disfigure the beautiful trajectory of radical movements. The current momentum of the New Right will smash up against a blockade of material resistance. The Tunneys and Whites, affixed to the most senseless fringes of the Occupy movements, along with the washed up Earth Liberation Front militants currently agitating in the ecological scenes of the Pacific Northwest, will not turn popular resistance into reactionary foolishness.
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