Rightwing extremism & disillusionment with the left

37 posts / 0 new
Last post
Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Jan 10 2019 21:16

Triple post. Duh.

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Jan 10 2019 21:18

Oh, for fucks sake. Sorry about this. What a fucking div.

fingers malone's picture
fingers malone
Offline
Joined: 4-05-08
Jan 10 2019 22:04

Lot of good ideas in this thread.

R Totale wrote:
Another thought, this possibly has some relevance to the youtube thread: I guess that fascist dominance in any area means that we've failed to act effectively in that area, but I suppose it's an open question as to where we should be trying to outcompete them and where we recognise that the forms of activity they're taking part in are inherently alienated and useless for our aims, and if so, how do we counter them if not by doing the same thing better?

This is interesting. A few years ago I watched a youtube video about a far right group in Spain. One of their recruitment areas was a boxing gym they ran, where they gave cheap or free membership to young unemployed men so they could come and train in boxing. Then gradually they would bring in the politics. They also did soup runs that were only for white Spanish people and a lot of their slogans and imagery were about the economic crisis and saying that 'Spaniards should be first'. This video freaked me out quite a bit. Now anarchists do run a lot of outreach activities including boxing clubs and soup runs, but in a different way. One is that we are often a bit more challenging for people, for example the far right boxing club probably would reinforce sexist behaviour whereas an anarchist one hopefully would challenge it. Also I would be very unhappy with organising a soup run that involved explicitly trying to recruit people, it feels distasteful. I know homeless people do not like soup kitchens where you have to pray before you get your food and it feels coercive. The far right group can recruit people through their boxing gym and doesn't need to care about them if they are then later sent down through far right activity. In some ways our political activity is more difficult than it is for the far right because we are trying to do something much better, to really empower people and work with them as equals.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Jan 10 2019 22:24
Quote:
This is interesting. A few years ago I watched a youtube video about a far right group in Spain. One of their recruitment areas was a boxing gym they ran, where they gave cheap or free membership to young unemployed men so they could come and train in boxing. Then gradually they would bring in the politics. They also did soup runs that were only for white Spanish people and a lot of their slogans and imagery were about the economic crisis and saying that 'Spaniards should be first'. This video freaked me out quite a bit. Now anarchists do run a lot of outreach activities including boxing clubs and soup runs, but in a different way. One is that we are often a bit more challenging for people, for example the far right boxing club probably would reinforce sexist behaviour whereas an anarchist one hopefully would challenge it. Also I would be very unhappy with organising a soup run that involved explicitly trying to recruit people, it feels distasteful. I know homeless people do not like soup kitchens where you have to pray before you get your food and it feels coercive. The far right group can recruit people through their boxing gym and doesn't need to care about them if they are then later sent down through far right activity. In some ways our political activity is more difficult than it is for the far right because we are trying to do something much better, to really empower people and work with them as equals.

That is interesting. I've read the same happening in France as well. But perhaps the best example of right-wing groups doing social welfare to recruit members comes from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Palestine. Part of the reason they were so popular was that they were providing direct social welfare, food, housing, utilities, legal support and so on. In a context were the state has more or less failed in providing welfare, it proved to be extremely effective.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 10 2019 22:44
R Totale wrote:
are we "failing" in terms of not having our own Tommy-style loudmouth egomaniacs livestreaming everything they do and asking for donations every few minutes?

I don't think so. But also there are some quite big names on social media who sometimes go on telly, who called themselves anarchists not that long ago and do lots of video. Are they helping anything at all?

R Totale wrote:
Another thought, this possibly has some relevance to the youtube thread: I guess that fascist dominance in any area means that we've failed to act effectively in that area, but I suppose it's an open question as to where we should be trying to outcompete them and where we recognise that the forms of activity they're taking part in are inherently alienated and useless for our aims, and if so, how do we counter them if not by doing the same thing better?
Maybe that's really abstract and unclear, but: the antifascist response to your classic Mosley/NF-style "control the streets" strategy is fairly simple, you have bigger better mobilisations that take over the same physical space. Similarly, we know how to respond to fascists trying to take over (sub)cultural spaces. With the 90s BNP and the retreat from the streets, there was the IWCA argument that antifascists needed to be out-organising them in local communities, which a lot of people would agree with, and then that, with the fascists focusing on electoralism, an electoral reponse was needed, which I think most libertarians would disagree with, but I'm not sure we were ever really sure how to respond to the electoral BNP, and still less UKIP (at least UKIP in its pre-December 2018 form).

So one thing I've seen that is interesting on this is the question of 'framing'.

For example 'white genocide' - there is this massive far right campaign, internationally including figures like Katie Hopkins and Lauren Southern (and more recently Joe Rogan who has a Netflix series), to inflate South African farm killings, conflate them with land reform and say that white people in South Africa should be accepted as refugees internationally. This even ties into the Michael Schmidt case given his Boer nationalism. Wrote about this a bit here https://libcom.org/news/real-land-expropriation-movement-south-africa-03032018 and https://libcom.org/news/not-white-genocide-not-really-land-reform-not-really-farmers-24082018

Even if people are arguing against 'white genocide', it can end up, by fact checking etc., reinforcing the very framing that the far right are using - for example people might go on about farm killing statistics, or how some farm killing victims are black agricultural workers or smallholders, and completely ignore something like the Marikana mine massacre and many other incidences of political violence in South Africa.

Or the fact that 'SJWs'/identitarians has been taken up not only by the far right, or centrists, but also social democrats like Adolph Reed, the Dead Pundits podcast, some Jacobin writers and editors, Pavlos Roufos of the Brooklyn Rail etc.

Another thing is the use of the 'white working class'. On your IWCA example, here's them critiquing the term in 2008: http://www.iwca.info/?p=10012 here's them using it ten years later with barely a ghost of that critique: http://www.iwca.info/?p=10259

And if we think about framing, I think a lot of broadly libertarian communist writing is quite bad at it. It's also difficult to frame structural critiques of things in a useful/accessible way as opposed to personalised or conspiratorial ones, but that needs to be part of it.

R Totale's picture
R Totale
Offline
Joined: 15-02-18
Jan 13 2019 13:11
Mike Harman wrote:
I don't think so. But also there are some quite big names on social media who sometimes go on telly, who called themselves anarchists not that long ago and do lots of video. Are they helping anything at all?

Yeah, that's the thing - I get that the reflexive answer here is meant to be no, but I suspect it's probably "yes in some ways, no in others, hard to say on balance". Like, as discussed elsewhere, there's a real dearth of good anarchist video material, and I think it's possible to have comradely arguments with someone who, say, watches a lot of stuff that argues Corbynism is the best path to socialism, in a way that I can't see how you can even argue with someone who's into QAnon stuff, for instance. Or to put it another way, someone who's heavily influenced by the people I think you're referring to would probably be turning out on the antifascist side on that big march in December, whereas someone who was influenced by virtually any other big-name political youtuber would probably have been on the Tommy/UKIP side. I think that has to count for something.

Quote:
So one thing I've seen that is interesting on this is the question of 'framing'.

Yeah, I think that's one way of touching on what I've found disturbing over the past week or so (might the current surge of far-right activity be worth its own thread?) I can't say I've followed the Parliament Square stuff that closely, but it feels like the far-right have done a good job of framing stuff so it's fascists giving people horrible reactionary abuse vs a liberal centrist civility politics, with an implicit call for more law and order, which makes it pretty impossible to advance a radical position, which I guess would be like "actually politicians should be getting aggro and hassle on a regular basis, just not like this?" It all feels very far from when it was our side poking Prince Charles with a stick.
But then here's the thing I'm stuck on - it feels like the far-right is making the running here, and their few dozen activists in yellow vests have managed to claim that symbol better than the much larger people's assembly A-to-B march has, but how? Because if I was to give advice about how to frame the debate and launch a successful movement, "get a few activists in a special costume to stand around at Parliament Square all day yelling abuse at people" wouldn't be high up on the list. I get that they have a structural advantage in that the whole Brexit debate is a totally reactionary one that's entirely within the framing of capital and the state anyway, but still.

Quote:
Another thing is the use of the 'white working class'. On your IWCA example, here's them critiquing the term in 2008: http://www.iwca.info/?p=10012 here's them using it ten years later with barely a ghost of that critique: http://www.iwca.info/?p=10259

Jesus, the sad decline of the IWCA is a whole other thing - although I guess quite related to the original topic. Their latest FB post starts off with "There are differing reasons behind the political chaos engulfing America, Britain, Italy, and France, but cutting the indigenous working class out of the national conversation is common to all of them." And of course the one before that is in praise of Nagle. Looking into it, I see that their evolving position has won them some admirers...