Primer on the New Tribalism

The Gonzo Times vs the Alternative Right.
I have never seen anything like this before. In an article on the Tea Party movement, the fantastic Christopher Hitchens wrote that people like Fox News host Glenn Beck have been “canalizing old racist and clerical toxic-waste material that a healthy society had mostly flushed out of its system more than a generation ago, and injecting it right back in again.” There have always been fringe groups in American politics, but in recent history they have been limited to groups like The League of the South, groups for old curmudgeons who don’t like their kids attending school with children of color.

What the alternative right is doing, however, is seeking to make mainstream political ideas that were long ago found by both American and European society as beyond the pale. Many figures in the movement, such as Kevin DeAnna of the Youth For Western Civilization (a group I will get to later in this article) and Andrew Yeoman of the Bay Area National Anarchists (BANA) have both written on the Alternative Right website that their movement is doomed to fail. Despite this, they have succeeded in attaining mainstream accolades.

Andrew Yeoman, representing his group BANA, has flipped the script on multicultural victimhood politics and used the rhetoric for “people of European descent.” He has been invited several times on Russia Today, the Kremlin based cable news network, to talk about such issues.

Yeoman is a self-satirizing sort. He obviously takes himself quite seriously but his ideology and group are extremely comical. Videos of Yeoman on YouTube can be seen of him and his group BANA holding a neo-Nazi car wash somewhere in the suburban Bay Area. Another video of him shows him protesting the film Machete for its apparent advocacy of “genocide” against “people of European descent.” The Coen Brothers would be wise to follow his strange antics, as he would make for a great character in one of their comedies.

More formidable than Yeoman is Kevin DeAnna. His group, the Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), was founded in 2008. Like Alternative Right, it’s an overtly racialist group but one that masks itself as a very mainstream organization. In the past few years it has managed to grow its numbers from American University in Washington D.C. to Michigan State University to Washington State University, its latest outpost.

DeAnna, like most everyone at Alternative Right, is a great writer. DeAnna has contributed several articles to that website, all of which were highly readable. His communication skills also translate to in person encounters, as he was very direct, clear and sociable in a video interview with him by Salon.com from the floors of CPAC 2011. Unlike the Alternative Right website, YWC has the endorsement of established politicians, with Colorado U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo being an honorary chairman.

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5 replies »

  1. The author sounds as though he’s trying to sublimate his fascination with the alt-right by vituperatively condemning them. Right on at least 3 points though:

    1) Andrew Yeoman is a parody of himself.
    2) Richard Spencer is a seriously creepy as hell dude.
    3) Alex Kurtagic is a true straight up neo-Nazi.

    You bummed that the name “Keith Preston” doesn’t appear anywhere in the article?

  2. “The author sounds as though he’s trying to sublimate his fascination with the alt-right by vituperatively condemning them.”

    Yeah, he comes across like a kid from a strictly religious household who’s just discovered porn.

    “1) Andrew Yeoman is a parody of himself.”

    I haven’t agreed with every action that Andrew or BANA has pursued, but he’s done more than anyone to establish a presence for NA in North America, which I consider to be a legitimate and necessary form of anarchism. I’m not about expecting everyone to agree with me on everything.

    “2) Richard Spencer is a seriously creepy as hell dude.”

    Richard has suggested that we should start preparing for a “post-America” and pushing for as much decentralization as possible. He’s also interested in collaborating with black nationalists and other groups outside the Right. He’s also expressed interest in anarchism of the Hans Hermann Hoppe variety, while not necessarily embracing the whole package. So his overall strategic view is consistent with the ARV/ATS program, even though he’s obviously coming at it from a different place. Richard also understands the issue of “totalitarian humanism” quite well.

    “3) Alex Kurtagic is a true straight up neo-Nazi.”

    I’ve never had any personal interaction with Kurtagic. Most of his projects are too esoteric for my tastes, his actual politics aside.

  3. Richard has characterized the Alternative Right as a synthesis, or at least an outgrowth, of paleoconservatism, Austro-libertarianism, white nationalism, and the ENR. I’ve mentioned in the past that I consider the vast culture of right-wing populism to be one of the ten core constituencies for the wider anarcho-pluralist/pan-secession program. All of the tendencies present in the Alt Right are subsets of the populist-right or at least overlap with it, and AltRight fuses these tendencies on a much more intellectual or elite level than what is often found among the populist-right.

    I’m very much interested in helping to cultivate a radical Right in the US that is largely isolationist in foreign policy and decentralist on domestic affairs, which rejects the flag-waving jingoism of the neocons and “movement conservatism” and which lacks the evangelical Christian influences of the mainstream Right. AltRight is such a tendency at present. Plus, they “get it” on the totalitarian humanism issue, and they’re developing a much more sophisticated leadership group for the populist-right than what has existed in the past.

    Of course, I don’t think a phenomena like the alternative Right is enough by itself. There are plenty of other demographics we need to reach as well. We need an alternative Left as much as an alternative Right, and we need ways to reach the radical Center as well.

  4. As I consistently repeat, my goal is to develop a critical mass of anarchists that is ecumenical in nature and which embeds itself in larger organizations as a leadership corps and which connects with similar leadership groups in other movements. The goal is to advance the anarchist struggle through secession and radical decentralization. AltRight is a kind of proto-type for what a leadership group for the radical Right would be. The kind of radical Right that would be part of a broader pan-secessionist alliance or coalition might resemble AltRight at the intellectual level, Alex Jones as the grassroots level, and NA among young people and hard-core anarchist revolutionaries with a rightist cultural orientation. Its constituencies would likely be found mostly in “red zones” and among urban youth.

    Meanwhile, the approach of an alternative Left would probably be similar to what I outlined in my “Why the Radical Left Should Consider Secession” piece. Something like the Second Vermont Republic might be a prototype for an alternative Left with a secessionist orientation. It would probably be organized primarily in urban areas and in “blue” rural or sparsely populated areas like the upper northeastern US or the northwest, and look like Counterpunch at the intellectual level, the Greens or the IWW at the grassroots level, and the anti-globalization movement or the current insurrectionists in Greece among hard-core radicals and young people.

    Autonomist movements for “people of color” would likely be still more spokes in the wheel. For instance, black nationalism would likely be a separate movement that wasn’t really Left or Right in the way that such ideologies are conceived of by white radicals (for instance, is the NOI “rightist” or “leftist”?).

    What I want the critical mass of ecumenical, alternative anarchists I’m trying to develop to be are what Mark Gillespie called the “mediating coordinators” who work to develop strategic alliances between these different kinds of factions all the while pushing for ever greater secessionism, ever greater decentralization, ever greater anarchism.

    Some of the left-anarchists seem to really misinterpret my views on this. I very much want them to continue their homeless feeding programs with things like Food Not Bombs, their prisoners’ rights projects, their antiwar and anti-globalization activities, their anti-cop work and so forth. But what I want them to do is look more at the big picture and consider how to actually go about dismantling the state and the empire. And their promotion of demographic conflict by pitting blacks against whites, men against women, gays against religious believers, rednecks against hippies, etc just allows the ruling class to divide and conquer. And then they promote even more divisiveness by championing mass immigration of the kind that fuels even more demographic hostility. Years ago, when I first started encountered “third position” groups from the far Right, they had this slogan, “Stop the Hate! Let’s Separate! Unity in Diversity!” which seemed to me to be a much better approach than fanning endless hostility among population groups that can only have an unhappy ending.

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