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Trump to Designate ‘Antifa’ a “Terrorist Organisation”. What *is* Antifa?

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Radical Left Rejects Trumps Wild Claims.

 

There are claims that the “radical left” is behind the unrest in the USA.

This has been the headline grabbing announcement.

The claims have got stronger as the day dawns.

They’ve already got around the world.

The New York Times reports just now,

Amid a rush to assign blame for violence and vandalism, accusations that extremists or outside agitators were behind the destruction ricocheted online and on the airwaves.

But,

“..few of those pointing the finger at extremists presented much detailed evidence to support the accusations, and some officials conceded the lack of solid information.”

The NYT continues in this sceptical vein.

The point is best made here:

 

Spencer Sunshine is a highly respected activist and writer on the far right, with direct experience in the United States of confronting the alt-right, in its various radical forms.

Last year he wrote, after an earlier manufactured panic, the following article,

Antifa Panic

The United States is having its third wave of “Antifa panic” in as many years. Donald Trump’s 27 July tweet called for Antifa—short for antifascist activists—to be declared “a major Organization of Terror”.

Antifa is not an organisation at all, but a decentralised, leaderless movement that opposes fascism and the far-right. Although most of its work is legal and non-violent, the movement is best known for occasional street fights with extremists.

Recently in the US, Antifa has become a bogeyman among conservatives, like 1950s anti-Communism.

Numerous conspiracy theories have moved into the conservative mainstream and today Trump repeats propaganda that, until recently, could be only heard among neo-Nazis.

Spencer Sunshine
 

Spencer made this point, which is about as farseeing as you could possibly get:

These conspiracy theories include claims that Antifa was going to start a civil war; caused a train derailmentdesecrate graves, and inspired a mass shooter.

Antifa panic points out the European origins of the movement, outlines the development of the far-right, from the French nouvelle droite, identitarianism, and the way the groups were inspired by the German militant activists began by forming “crews” (as in the English expression) to fight Nazis at punk rock gigs in the 1980s.

In this millennium.

The new wave of Antifa was catalysed by a 20 January 2017 protest at Trump’s inaugural rally in Washington, DC.

Here, the traditional left-wing inauguration protest included a black bloc—a normal occurrence, comparable to European May Day rallies. But the black bloc was branded as “Antifa.”

Nearby, Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer was punched on camera, and the video went viral.

During this time, the Alt-Right turned from an internet phenomenon to a force capable of large street mobilisations. A series of clashes between far-right and radical left protestors kicked off around the country.

This continued through August 2017, when a fascist-led rally in Charlottesville, Virginia ended with a car attack on an Antifa march.

Antifa’s reputation has bounced up and down in the press. Praise after the inauguration protest was followed by disparagement, and post-Charlottesville adoration was followed by condemnation.

The current wave is the third round of mainstream attacks on Antifa.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the piece is the distinction between antifa and the Black Bloc.

This is important and illustrates the deliberate confusion between the two manufactured by Trump and his allies.

Yesterday this Blog posted on the strategies of the groups inspired by Lundi Matin, and their celebration of the violent “casseurs” during Gilets Jaunes marches. We suggested that some ‘autonomists may see in US violent protests, even pillaging, parallel revolutionary efforts.

It is equally the case that French anti-fascists, many of whom were amongst the first to point to the dubious tolerance by the Gilets Jaunes of far rightists and the equally tolerant stand of some of the present day followers of L’insurrection qui vient and conspiracy-mongering red-browners , make the same distinction.

Anifa is about being against the far right, not indulging in violent dreams of creating autonomous spaces that prefigure a revolution. 

Antifa, this US video points out, is not the Black Bloc.

The NYT also brings up the issue of far-right involvement,

 

Members of hate groups or far-right organizations filmed themselves, sometimes heavily armed or waving extremist symbols, at demonstrations in at least 20 cities in recent days, from Boston to Buffalo to Richmond, Va., to Dallas to Salem, Ore.

A common nickname for their anticipated second Civil War is the “boogaloo,” which sometimes gets mutated into the “Big Igloo” or the “Big Luau,” prompting its adherents to wear Hawaiian shirts. Many of them use Facebook to organize despite the company’s May 1 announcement that it would remove such content.

This Blog is no specialist on the US far right, but this does seem to resemble some of the lurid scenarios of their European counterparts. Guillaume Faye in particular his “, Why we Fight – manifesto of the European resistance (2011) and the (posthumous), Guerre civile raciale (2019) Faye was prone to predict wars between a variety of forces leading the great replacement’ and the indigenous Europeans. This “catastrophism” rather than the detail of Fayes prediction, seems to chime with the present alt-right mood.

Above all its the idea of creating “ethnospheres”, “groups of territories ruled by peoples who are ethnically related” that may be taking hold in these quarters. Faye is said to have had a real influence on the US far right (Key Thinkers of the Radical RightBehind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy. Edited by Mark Sedgwick. Oxford 2019).

The Red Brown Spiked site has already welcomed protests against lby the far-right Spanish Vox party:

Spain is in revolt against the lockdown

Over a million fines have been handed out against lockdown rule-breakers. This dissent is welcome.

 On 23 May, tens of thousands of people, in over 50 towns and city centres across Spain, took to their cars to protest at the PSOE / Unidas Podemos government’s handling of the corona crisis. Madrid, Barcelona, Cadiz, Cordoba, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Pamplona, Sevilla, Valladolid, Valencia, Zaragoza and others, which have been ghostly quiet for weeks, came momentarily back to life. The caravana protest was called by Vox, the right-wing populist party.

It will be interesting to see how UK red-brown supporters react to the US unrest, something about which Spiked is uncharacteristically quiet.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 1, 2020 at 10:33 am

Key Thinkers of the Radical Right. Behind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy. Edited by Mark Sedgwick. Review.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "key thinkers of the radical right"

Key Thinkers of the Radical Right. Behind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy. Edited by Mark Sedgwick. Oxford University Press. 2019.

Thanks to Feminist Dissent.

“In order to prove effective,” the French far right theorist, Guillaume Faye (1949 – 2019), wrote in his critique of the intellectual strategy of the Nouvelle Droite, “ideological and cultural action must be supported by concrete political forces which it integrates and extends” (Archeofuturism 1998, English Translation. 2010) In the Introduction to this collection of studies on thinkers of the radical right Mark Sedgwick observes that “In Europe, ‘populist’ political parties have pulled the mainstream in their direction” and in the US, after the 2016 election of Donald Trump, “America’s liberal orthodoxy is also challenged”.

Over the last year the wider public has become aware of the radical right. The Christchurch Mosque killings in New Zealand brought the murderer’s reference to the ‘Great Replacement” (grand remplacement), the “contre-colonisation” of the West by immigrants, of Renaud Camus international notoriety. In waging a war, attributed to Antonio Gramsci, for cultural hegemony in the political field, fringe groups such as the “identitarians”, the decentralised US ‘alt-right’, those influenced by the ideas covered in Key Thinkers have become political actors. But perhaps one should follow the warning of a French long-term writer on the far right, Pierre-André Taguieff, and hesitate before aligning national populism, even the most ethnically based, with a radical right that contains overt white nationalism. (1)

Writing as “scholars not activists”, they paint a picture of people with four key themes. These are, apocalypticism, represented by Faye’s “converge of catastrophes”, propelling a war against the “barbarians already here”. There is the fear of global elites, the most widespread populist theme that invites comparison with the extreme right. The word “elite” could be called the greatest ‘floating signifier’, with constantly shifting content, and impossible to pint down, of all. Yet driving the radicals is a deep ‘friend-enemy’ distinction that impels us to take sides, “to preserve one’s own form of existence”, that Carl Schmitt (1888 – 1985) saw as the foundation of politics The Concept of the Political. 2007). Finally there is the strategy of “metapolitics”, the attempt to shape the political terrain as a whole.

Classic Thinkers.

The contributors to Key Thinkers offer introductions and explorations of ‘classic thinkers’. Oswald Spengler’s reflections on the ‘decline of the west’ the novelist of Great War heroism, Ernst Jünger, whose Stahlgewittern (Storm of Steel, 1920) is accused of “legitimising death and destruction”, could be contrasted with anti-war novels, such the left wing Henri Barbusse’s Le Feu (Under Fire. 1916) are cultural framers. These contributions are followed by a useful outline of Carl Schmitt’s “politics of Identity” by Reinhard Mehring, which could be usefully extended to the critical reading of Schmitt by writers such as the ‘left populist’ Chantal Mouffe. The varied writings of Julius Evola, from the ‘integral tradition’ to the lament, aimed at a “special human type” that, “that every organic unity has been dissolved or is dissolving: caste, stock, nation, homeland, and even the family.” (Ride the Tiger, Cavalcare la Tigre Translation, 2003). Evola inspired a “successful movement” writes H.Thonas Hakl, “Campo Hobbit”.

Today’s Ideologues and Identity.

Turning to today the articles deal with self-conscious ideologues, people inclined to offer lists of all the books they have read as ‘influences’. Excellent accounts of Alain de Benoist by Jean-Yves Camus and Stéphane François on Guillaume Faye and Archeofuturism make one regret that they were not preceded by some account of the importance of ‘classic’ influences on the French Nouvelle Droite, from Maurice Barrès to Charles Maurras. This, often warring, couple, have churned out a mountain of phrases over the years, some of which have attracted a wide audience, including the American leftist journal, Telos. Each has flirted with ‘anti-imperialism, the ‘third way’ call for the “peoples’ of the world to rule themselves, and measured positions on ‘the Jewish Question’, in Faye’s case veering from hostility to attacks on far-right Holocaust denial faced with the greater ‘enemy’ of Muslim migration. Faye was marked by this virulent hostility to Muslims (Benoist has been often favourable to Arab nationalism). They each have a different take on the need for ‘paganism’, though both incline in that direction. Underneath genuine learning (do not think that Benoist does not seriously know his ‘Indo-European’ linguistics), apparent liberalism, even their stand for pro-European unity, both writers’ ideas are ultra-conservative. They are best clarified by reference to Barrès on the primacy of memory-transmitted roots of “la terre et les morts” (the soil and the dead). Both are hostile to immigration (underneath Benoist’s belief that is not the immigrants’ fault). Faye has called them a colonising “fifth column” – linking him to Renaud Camus’s later pamphlet. This was his vision in Archeofuturism,

Tomorrow a people will return to be what it has always been, prior to the short interlude of modernity: ethnos, a community both cultural and biological. I insist on the importance of biological kinship to define peoples, and particularly the family of European peoples (as well as all others), not only because humanity – contrary to what the melting pot myth suggests – is increasingly defining itself through ‘ethno-biological blocs’, but also because the inherited characteristics of a people shape its culture and outlook.

This picture could be said to set the scene for the following chapters in Key Thinkers. From ‘paleoconservatism’ to Patrick J. Buchanan and the Death of the West we reach Jared Taylor and White Identity we reach the world of the American right. Unfamiliar with the milieu it is interesting to read of the friendship between ultra-conservative Paul Gottfried and Christopher Lasch. The author of the Culture of Narcissism (1979) described by Seth Bartee as a “right wing populist” is a reference to swathes of French former leftists, the John Humphreys of France’s intellectual life. Jared Taylor, whose White Identity, Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century (2011) reads like a sour parody of Ta-Nehisis Coates, is introduced. His attempt to blend his own “ethnonationalism and white identitarianism” on a European model. No doubt his dislike of immigration and “genetic” prejudice is not far off, but unpleasant references to Hispanics and the Spanish language in his writings suggests some substantial difference in that quarter. The preoccupation with “race”, biological race, is a distinguishing feature of the North American New Right, Graham Macklin suggests, in discussing Greg Johnson.

Eurasianism, propagated by the ‘organic intellectual’ of an invigorated Russian right, Alexander Dugin, with links with European far-rightists, national Stalinists, and the US alt right, – and forces ‘close’ to President Putin – is covered by Marlene Laruelle. It could be expanded into a book.

Key Thinkers covers much more. Some correspond to the conspiracy themes well-known on the far right. The writer Bat Ye’or (Gisèle Littmann), who begins with reasonable sounding criticism of the plight of non-Muslims in states run by Islamic Law, extends them to all Muslim influence in the West and suggests that there is a plan by ‘elites’ to turn Europe into ‘Eurabia’, “EEC and subsequently EU documents reveal the development of a new ideology that is producing demographic and cultural change for the purpose of creating conditions for the fulfillment of the Eurabian vision.”

Others defy easy classification. Used perhaps to the clearer waters of writers such as Louis Althusser it is hard for this reviewer to make head or tail out of Mencius Moldbug and the ‘dark enlightenment’ against the Cathedral. For the initiated there is much to follow up in the sympathetic response (said to have been written during a come-down from Speed), by ‘accelerationist’ Nick Land (The Dark Enlightenment). (4)

Key Thinkers is a valuable book, and essential reading for anybody who wishes to be informed about not just the ideologues behind the present day radical right, but about politics today. Many of their ideas about the people of the West under threat from ‘elites’ have seeped into the political culture of the right, and even the left. The right has seen the birth of their own identity politics. In defence of national populism, sovereignty and Brexit, former Marxist Frank Furedi is amongst many who call for recognition of the land and its dead. “Judaism and Christianity” their “moral principles” and the “contribution of the Ancients – Greeks and Romans – Christian philosophy and the Enlightenment”. Very few, for the moment, make the leap from that waffling to the radical right’s belief in “ethno-biological blocs”. Yet, Faye’s image of ‘archeofuturism’, a technologically ‘futurist’ world, in which the ‘archaic’, original, cultures of antiquity rule politics and society, remains suggestive of Populist ambitions. (5)

*****

  1. Pages 209 – 2013. Macron, miracle ou mirage? Pierre-André Taguieff. Edition l’observatoire. 2017 and La Revanche du nationalism. Pierre-André Taguieff. PUF 2015.
  2. Page 48. Archeofuturism. Guillaume Faye. English Translation. Arkotos. 2010
  3. Bat Ye’or Eurabia. The Euro Arab axis. 2005 Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
  4. Nick Land (The Dark Enlightenment).
  5. Reclaiming Europe from the EU. The EU sees European history as a source of shame. It is wrong. Frank Furedi. 2016.

Review from the extreme right:  Mark Sedgwick’s Key Thinkers of the Radical Right. Greg Johnson.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 25, 2019 at 12:55 pm