Meanwhile, in Italy…

Today’s Italian elections have all the right people sweating up a storm, even here on this side of the Atlantic.  “As Italy votes, Europe fears populist gains” worries the Chicago Tribune for example, wringing its hands over what it claims have been the campaign’s “prime-time airing of neo-fascist rhetoric and anti-migrant violence that culminated in a shooting spree last month against six Africans.”

The main source of Tribune‘s fear – and that of respectable opinion in general – is the decline of the pro-EU center-left and the rise of various anti-establishment parties, especially the national-populist Lega (formerly the regionalist Lega Nord), headed by Matteo Salvini, but also the more difficult to classify 5-Star Movement.

The panic is hardly limited to the Tribune. The New York Times has published repeated fretful pieces, including hatchet jobs on Salvini and the Lega, and in a near-hysterical article published a couple of days ago, Why Italy’s Insular Election Is More Important Than It Looks, worried that “in Italy, the birthplace of fascism”

The populism, the electronic misinformation, the crumbling of the left and the rise of the anti-immigrant, post-fascist hard right that has floated in the European ether for years all crystallized in the Italian campaign…

Populist and far-right parties now stand to make some of their deepest inroads anywhere. Chief among the populist forces, the insurgent Five Star Movement, polling around 30 percent, is likely to come out on top in a fractured field.

Italy’s center-left prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, has sought to sound the alarm, telling the newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday that the election was the most important in a quarter-century, a “contest against populism” with the system of free markets and an open society at stake.

And perhaps even more horrifying to our friends at The Times:

Fake news about migrants, and much else, clogged the Facebook and Twitter feeds of supporters of the League and Five Star, and at times, their sites seemed related.

The messages often reinforced Italy’s growing tilt toward Russia, as well as admiration for its leader, Vladimir V. Putin, who dismissed the notion of meddling in the Italian election because, he suggested, the options were so good there was no need.

The party with the deepest suspicion of Russia, the Democratic Party of Matteo Renzi, has hemorrhaged support, extending a trend across Western Europe.

Sounds good to me…!

Note:

For a summary of the contest from an Alt Right perspective, see John Bruce Leonard’s Brief Guide to the Italian Elections.

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On 2017

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive

2017 seemed to open with such possibilities that it is difficult to see the year as anything other than a disappointment as it draws to a close. As 2017 began, Trump’s accession to power seemed to show that anything is possible, while alt.x movements achieved a prominence undreamed of even just a year before.

How different things seem today as the year comes to an end. The nationalist wing of the Trump regime has been utterly vanquished, while the administration has moved away from a commitment to the issues that attracted our support in the first place.

Meanwhile, the anti-system right, which, in spite of being the target of a concerted campaign to silence it, went from success to success in the early months and middle of the year, now seems to have run out of new ideas in its efforts to move from the internet into “real life”.

And yet, it is more accurate to critique the unreality of the expectations than the actual progress of events. They should remind us of all of the obvious things that we missed in the thrill of victory – that moving forward is not so easy as it might have appeared one year ago, that we are a small and weak movement, that our enemies will fight us every step of the way with every means at their disposal, and that we have a very long road ahead of us indeed.

With that in mind, let us value the very real gains of 2017  – mainly the qualitative metapolitical shift in the nation’s political discourse – and look forward to building on that for a productive 2018!

A Last Post on the Antifa (For Now)

I’m getting a little tired of the whole antifa vs alt-right thing at the moment and am in the mood to move on, however, in fairness, I wanted to acknowledge that since my last post there has been a considerable increase in the commentary from the left critical of antifa violence. A certain discomfort with the violence and intimidation on the part of a sector of the left has been growing over the past few months. In the wake of Charlottesville and the recent antifa behavior in Berkeley – which was so outrageous that even the usual mainstream media outlets were unable to sustain the “clash of extremists” meme (although a number initially tried), let alone the even more preferable (to them) claim of “neo-nazi violence” – dissenting voices on the left have become more widespread.

While most the objections still focus on the arguing that antifa violence is strategically ineffective, alienating potential supporters and allowing the detestable deplorables to assume the role of victims, etc(1), a few actually condemned the acts in themselves(2).   Even before the Berkeley events Noam Chomsky had called antifa behavior “often wrong in principle” and after the events he was joined by others, including Chris Hedges, who argued in How ‘Antifa’ Mirrors the ‘Alt-Right’ that the black bloc and the alt-right share “the same lust for violence….”

Carl Boggs, long-time left scholar and activist, went even further, arguing against the left’s propensity to attempt to silence offending voices in a Counterpunch article The Strange (and Tortured) Legacy of “Free Speech”

“The irony is that while the [Free Speech Movement] and its heirs did everything possible to expand the realm of free speech, new social forces – extreme identity groups, Antifa – want to restrict or deny freedoms.”

Continue reading

Once Again in Berkeley

Today’s rampage in Berkeley by antifa thugs is one more opportunity for the left to disavow the practice of brutal physical assault on any opponent they can get their hands on, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting.

Almost none of even those few on the left who publicly dissent from antifa tactics can actually bring themselves to just say that it’s simply wrong to beat people up because you disagree with them.

A good example of this is to be found in the “democratic” socialist magazine In These Times‘ (hardly the voice of the black bloc) debate Should We Deny Fascists a Platform? Even the most moderate of the 3 interlocutors, Nathan Robinson, can still only manage in his contribution We’ll Beat the Fascists With Ideas, Not Fists an argument based on expedience:

The appeal of shutting down right-wingers is easy to see; after all, nobody should want to see these speakers’ poisonous doctrines spread. But in the short term it’s counterproductive, and in the long term it’s suicidal.

It hardly needs repeating that to significant sections of the left the definition of a “fascist” is extraordinarily broad, exceeded only by that of a “racist”.  And so, as I have argued elsewhere (for example, here and here) for the vast majority of the left, free speech for the deplorable 1/2 of the country that voted for Trump is something to be allowed only when and if it suits our various radical and now even our not-so radical would-be Big Brothers.

As the Dust Settles

Just to follow up on my post re the post-Charlottesville purge, the blog Alternative Right has undisappeared and can now be found in a WordPress re-incarnation.  While I’m not always a big fan of the site, I’m naturally gratified to see that this first serious round of (so far mainly unofficial) repression has been fairly ineffective in actually silencing dissident voices.  In fact, one might argue that its value as a wake up call has outweighed any real damage done.

(And, yes, I know that on principle I should even hope for the return of the Daily Stormer, but I just can’t bring myself to do so.  I only wish that it had died a more natural death, if such a thing could happen to such an unnatural phenomenon.)

Which Side Are You On?

We live in interesting times, as the fallout from the Charlottesville events reminds us yet again.

The physical conflict between elements of the right and left is hardly new, nor is the determination of the a significant section of the left to silence dissenting voices by any means necessary.

What is new and noteworthy, however, is the way in which they have been now been wholeheartedly joined in this by the ruling class itself.

And so we have an early vision of what an authoritarian order may look like in the 21st Century West.  Dissenters are silenced not primarily by direct state repression but by private actors – street level thugs engaging in physical intimidation which is then covered up by the elite media blaming the victims for being “violent.”  Fake “outrages” are manufactured and then the corporate media almost as one blares a false narrative, mobilizing the population for ritual mass denunciation of the evil-doers.

Dissidents are not only effectively silenced by being deprived of any access to the public sphere – now mainly controlled by a handful of huge tech corporations – but are also whenever possible deprived of their jobs and even prevented from carrying out such mundane activities as booking a room, a car or a flight.

The response of the left to all of this has been instructive.  A handful have criticized the more “ultra-left” elements, either for strategic errors (see, for example, The Unrepentant Marxist) or out of some slightly guilty sense of discomfort with the outright thuggery indulged in by certain of the antifa.

What has gone almost entirely uncriticized, by the left at least, has been the role of the corporations.  One would expect that a movement claiming to oppose and resist the capitalist system would at least be given pause to consider the ease with which the ruling class has shown that it can and will move against its enemies without the least accountability.  One would think that a truly subversive and revolutionary movement would, merely for the sake of self-preservation, oppose such actions, even when they are aimed at the right.

In fact, however, this is just another reminder of the two things we need to keep in mind about the left:

  • It is a fundamentally loyal opposition, a part of the system. It is unconcerned about the repression directed against the right because its members instinctively recognize, even though they may not admit it to themselves, that they will never be a fundamental threat to the system and are therefore safe from such treatment.
  • It hates and fears the people far more deeply than it opposes the ruling class.

 

P.S. In my recent reading around the net on this topic I came across an interesting web site – aptly named Sisyphean News. Committed to “Exposing Antifa and Working Against the Mainstream Media… the overall goal of Sisyphean news is to create a new platform where freedom of speech will always be protected.” While I believe that the author and I probably see many things differently, I wish him the best in this endeavor. I’d encourage you to drop by and read some of his posts, such as his latest Leftists Rally to Shut Down Freedom of Speech in Boston.

 

On the New Witch Hunt

Sorry, the blog at alternative-right.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.” – Blogger(1)

The braying bad faith of the political alliance which spans the entire spectrum from the mainstream media, corporate elites and GOP establishment to the Revolutionary Communist Party and the black bloc is reaching deafening proportions.

More than anything else, this feels like the early ’50s, with the alt.x movement playing the role of the CPUSA.  Those hard times are here now and there are no doubt worse to come.  Any voice speaking out in even the most moderate way in defense of the interests of the traditional American nation must recognize that the consequences can be real and unpleasant.  (Think job loss, black listing, physical assault, ritual denunciation, silencing, even prosecution when some criminal charges can be trumped up.)

But this too will pass – remember how things changed then over the course of a decade.  Let us hope and, more importantly, work to ensure that our ’60s lie ahead!

Note:

(1) This is what showed up when I tried to access Alternative-Right this morning. It may be that the site is moving elsewhere of its own accord but in the current climate one suspects the worst, especially in light of widespread corporate efforts to silence dissenting voices. (See, for example the announcement at Counter-Currents that their web-hosting service is cancelling its account and that the site may be going off-line, or any of the coverage regarding the purging of offending accounts by Facebook, Paypal, etc. Silicon Valley’s Nazi Purge Kicks Into Overdrive Or: How tech learned to stop worrying and begin policing speech at Vanity Fair is a good place to start.)