I wasted an hour of my time listening to this.
I’m also interested in this question: why does it seem like our ideas are spreading more rapidly than ever before while the organized movement is facing more state repression, lawfare and censorship than ever before? Shouldn’t “far right extremism” be losing traction in the Joe Biden era?
Kathleen Belew has a BA from the University of Washington and a doctorate from Yale University. She is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America and A Field Guide To White Supremacy. She has appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, AC 360 with Anderson Cooper, Frontline, Fresh Air, and All Things Considered and was featured in documentaries such as Homegrown Hate: The War Among Us (ABC) and Documenting Hate: New American Nazis (Frontline). She is an “expert” on the White Power movement in America and an assistant professor at the University of Chicago where she teaches about “white supremacy.”
Kathleen Belew, of course, is the type of person who progressives instinctively turn to for answers about our recent success: a White woman with a post-grad degree from an Ivy League university back East who is firmly ensconsced in the bubble of institutional liberalism in a big city.
Why has “far right extremism” invaded mainstream politics?
Kathleen Belew is all over the map. It seems highly implausible that it has anything to do with violent actions by “far right extremists.” It has nothing to do with William Pierce and The Turner Diaries, The Order and Fort Smith Trial, McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, Ruby Ridge, Charlottesville and so on. It has nothing to do with Dylann Roof, Glenn Miller or Patrick Crusius. It is not people like Roof or Crusius who shoot up a black church or a Wal-Mart who attract people to our cause and make our ideas more popular. If anything is true, those people are a deterrent and an albatross for our messaging.
It certainly isn’t due to “far right” activism. The Alt-Right imploded and the organized movement has become significantly less active since Charlottesville. There was virtually no participation by anyone associated with the movement in the George Floyd riots or the Capitol Siege on January 6th. It was a bunch of normies who stormed the Capitol, not us. The Alt-Lite model of holding provocative free speech rallies in progressive enclaves like Berkeley or Charlottesville to “trigger” and “own the libs” is a tactic that we abandoned years ago. In fact, there is a broad consensus now that we are better off staying out of the public spotlight, especially at volatile public events where anyone with their own agenda can show up. Insofar as there are still rallies going on, it is vetted flash rallies by groups like Patriot Front.
It is not due to being on social media. We have been completely wiped off social media since Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Trump himself has been banned from social media along with countless numbers of his supporters. The ADL has censored everyone from MILO to Stefan Molyneux who it considers a “gateway” to “far right extremism.” The slippery slope of censorship and deplatforming has steadily become more severe. We have been wiped out on Facebook and YouTube.
It has been relatively quiet this year, hasn’t it? Donald Trump isn’t dominating the national conversation. There are no big rallies like Charlottesville or Berkeley where White Nationalists are fighting with Antifa. There hasn’t been a single vanguardist mass shooter since Joe Biden became president. Those people occasionally lash out in violent outbursts, but those kinds of shootings have ebbed since El Paso. Overall, the organized movement has been less active in the streets, less violent, less present on social media, but our ideas have been spreading at a much faster pace over the past two years or so.
The crucial thing that is absent from this conversation is progressives. We’re not persuading our natural base. They are the ones who are doing it for us. They are extreme and alienate ordinary people whenever they have the public spotlight all to themselves. It also helps that we are less active and less visible because lots of people in the movement are extreme and alienate people and are not very good at communicating our ideas to the public. The biggest factor by far is that Trump lost the 2020 election and Joe Biden is the president and has adopted all this woke nonsense and has applied it to every aspect of public policy.
Trump and the GOP have benefited from Trump being deplatformed from social media because he was so omnipresent and drove the news cycle for so long that he annoyed millions of swing voters. The media has tried to force the “January 6th insurrection” narrative, but Trump is no longer dominating the national conversation. It is just the media and progressive activists incessantly talking about Trump and “racism” and “white supremacy.” No one from our side participated in the George Floyd riots and Antifa and BLM was given the national spotlight all to themselves. We weren’t in the same frame with them.
Here’s the way this works: 1.) we create potent critiques, memes, caricatures and narratives on small websites like this one, 2.) we stay out of the public spotlight and avoid stepping all over our message, 3.) progressives wield power in draconian ways that alienate White people who do not live in deep blue urban enclaves like Brooklyn, 4.) this confirms the critiques and narratives which originate here and are picked up by the rightwing media ecosystem. Democrats, for example, can’t decide whether the Great Replacement is a far right conspiracy theory or something to celebrate as social justice. Is using the term “anti-White” a racist dog whistle, or, should we actually embrace putting down White people as a positive good?
In the eyes of progressives like Kathleen Belew, we are the “extremists.” They have zero awareness of their own extremism. They are far more out of touch with the average White American and this is particularly true of those who live in rural areas, small towns and working class suburbs – the demographic base of the American Right – who didn’t go to an Ivy League university in a coastal Eastern state where they learned all of this jargon which is alien to White people outside of their insular social class. Whether it is draconian censorship, the vaccine mandates, the anti-White propaganda in schools, the War Against the Police or the weaponization of the “intelligence community,” they are unable to perceive their actions as others see them. They are increasingly comfortable with trampling on White working class people and bossing them around. They are arrogant, overbearing, annoying, condescending, etc.
If only we could get out of our own way, we could politically benefit from this. Fortunately, we have done so for a variety of reasons, not least of which was their help with all the censorship. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election when Andrew Anglin and Weev were flooding social media with Nazi gas chamber memes and racial epithets. The propaganda and messaging that comes out today is much more polished, sophisticated, plausible and palatable and pours out through FOX News. Trump himself was also a coarse messenger and sounds like a moron and his personality turns off lots of people.
I think this imbalance that was created in the Trump years to repress the “far right” is a big part of the reason why our ideas are spreading faster these days. Joe Biden has the public spotlight all to himself because Trump has been censored by Silicon Valley and can’t suck up all the oxygen in the room and annoy swing voters. The woke crowd who are repulsive to Republicans, Independents and most Democrats are omnipresent these days in the media and have become gatekeepers of social media.
Note: If the comrades at the 2019 DSA Convention seized control of all of America’s liberal institutions, how would Americans react? Would they be alienated or impressed?