CTR-ALT-Delete: The Origins and Ideology of the Alternative Right 1

This is a new piece published by the leftist “watchdog” group Political Research Associates by Matthew Lyons, who has previously critiqued yours truly (see Lyon’s original critique here and my reply here). Lyons’ latest piece on the Alternative Right is available on the Political Research Associates website. Read it in full here. Lyons’ report includes a discussion of ATS generally and yours truly specifically. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

“…self-described anarcho-pluralist Keith Preston has continued to participate in Alt Right forums, for example speaking at National Policy Institute conferences and on The Right Stuff podcasts. Preston is a former left-wing anarchist who moved to the Right in the 1990s and then founded the group American Revolutionary Vanguard, which is better known today by the name of its website, Attack the System.67 ATS brings together a number of right-wing currents, including National-Anarchist, libertarian, White nationalist, Duginist, and others, among it editors and contributors, but Preston’s own ideology is distinct from all of these.68

Like the National-Anarchists, Preston advocates a decentralized, diverse network of self-governing communities, while rejecting left-wing anarchism’s commitment to dismantle social hierarchy and oppression. Authoritarian and supremacist systems would be fully compatible with the anarcho-pluralist model, as long as they operated on a small scale. But unlike National-Anarchists, Preston frames his decentralist ideal in terms of individual free choice rather than tribalism, and he is not a White nationalist.69 Although Preston has echoed some racist ideas such as the claim that non-European immigrants threaten to destroy Western civilization, his underlying philosophy is based not on race but rather a generic, Nietzschean elitism that is not ethnically specific.70 While Preston himself is White, several of his closest associates in the Attack the System inner circle are people of color.

Preston has offered several reasons for his involvement in the Alternative Right. He sees the movement as an important counterweight to what he calls “totalitarian humanism” (supposedly state-enforced progressive values, i.e., political correctness), he regards the Alt Right’s foreign policy non-interventionism and economic nationalism as superior to what the Republican or Democratic parties advocate, and he shares many Alt Rightists’ interest in earlier European “critics of liberal capitalism and mass democracy,”71 meaning people like Julius Evola, Carl Schmitt, and Ernst Jünger. In addition, the Alt Right allows Preston to avoid political isolation, as his efforts to reach out to left-wing anarchists have been almost completely rejected.

Preston is a respected figure within the Alternative Right, and his anti-statist vision appeals to some White nationalists in the movement. For example, Counter-Currents author Francisco Albanese has argued that it provides “the best and most viable option for the ethnic and racial survival” of Whites in regions where they form a minority of the population. In addition, “it is only outside the state that whites can come to understand the true essence of community and construction of a common destiny.”72 At the same time, anarcho-pluralism offers potential common ground between White nationalists and other critics of the existing order, such as anarcho-capitalists and other “market anarchists,” whose ideas are regularly featured on Attack the System, as well as the “libertarian theocrats” of the Christian Reconstructionist movement.73

Preston’s approach to political strategy takes this bridge-building further. Echoing Third Position fascists, who denounce both communism and capitalism, Preston and ATS call for a broad revolutionary alliance of all those who want to destroy U.S. imperialism and the federal government. Within U.S. borders, this would involve a “pan-secessionist” strategy uniting groups across the political spectrum that want to carve out self-governing enclaves free of federal government control.74 As a step in this direction, ATS supported a series of North American secessionist conventions, which brought together representatives of the neo-Confederate group League of the South, the Reconstructionist-influenced Christian Exodus, the libertarian Free State Project, advocates of Hawaiian independence, the left-leaning Second Vermont Republic, and others.75″

 

 

 

One comment

  1. I’d only have a couple of minor quibbles with the way I am described in this piece.

    “Like the National-Anarchists, Preston advocates a decentralized, diverse network of self-governing communities, while rejecting left-wing anarchism’s commitment to dismantle social hierarchy and oppression.Authoritarian and supremacist systems would be fully compatible with the anarcho-pluralist model, as long as they operated on a small scale.”

    This aspect of my thinking is about containing reactionary and authoritarian elements from both the Left and Right while developing a viable methodology of attacking the establishment center. I also consider this line of criticism to be dishonest and rooted in special pleading. It’s not “authoritarian and supremacist systems” per se that are being held up as the perceived threat here, but mere “systems that are unfavorable to leftists.” Those who raise these kinds of criticisms never express concerns about the emergence of Communist or other authoritarian leftist enclaves, ethnic cleansing or violence carried out by anyone other than whites, the persecution of Christians or other groups hated by leftists, a possible increase in violent crime under anarchism or anarcho-pluralism, the possibility of street gangs taking over communities, the kinds of excesses that were perpetrated during anarchist revolutions in Spain or the Ukraine, etc., not to mention more petty forms of authoritarianism of the kind described here: https://attackthesystem.com/2009/04/12/why-i-am-an-anarcho-pluralist/ Those who raise the specter of “authoritarian and supremacist systems” are simply engaged in special pleading and selective indignation on behalf of leftist self-interest. Arguments of this kind against the ATS perspective might be legitimate in a different context, but not in the case of the special pleading offered by these “watchdog” or “anti-fascist” types.

    “Preston has echoed some racist ideas such as the claim that non-European immigrants threaten to destroy Western civilization.”

    Immigration is a complicated issue that reasonable people can disagree on, but dislike for particular skin colors is hardly the only reason why anyone would criticize mass immigration. The primary reasons to view carte blanche immigration with skepticism involve the need to contain reactionary pre-Enlightenment cultures that are still found in many parts of the world, prevent capitalism from using immigration as a tool for the reproletarianization of labor, and to prevent the colonization of the West by Eastern powers, by means of demographic aggression, as the center of world power eventually shifts towards the East. http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100627270

    “the Alt Right allows Preston to avoid political isolation, as his efforts to reach out to left-wing anarchists have been almost completely rejected.”

    The goal is not to “reach out” to the present “left-wing anarchist” movement but to eclipse and replace it. The present “left-wing anarchist” movement is merely a youth subculture that is politically irrelevant. To the degree that any serious political ideas are found in this subculture at all, they’re simply the usual center-left or academic left issues. As a friend recently remarked:

    “I was reading from the website of Bluestockings, which is one of the more famous anarchist bookstores in New York. They carry books on “gender studies, feminism, critical race theory, deep ecology, veganism, poetry … … … … … … … … … …. anarchism.” My friend said “oh, so for the most part they carry the exact same stuff that you find in a college bookstore.” I think it’s very telling that our anarchists– the faction historically identified as the most extreme of all political radicals– nowadays read the same stuff they hand out in college seminars.”

    To be sure, all forms of anarchism and decentralism are welcome in the pan-anarchist milieu, from far left to far right, and there are ATS supporters who participate in a both far right and far left organizations, but the purpose of pan-anarchism or anarcho-pluralism is the overthrow of states, ruling classes, and empires, not trendy hipster progressivism.

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