Antifa Still Wants to Punch the Two Dozen Damp, Sad Nazis Who Showed Up at Unite the Right II 1

At this point, the Alt-Right is just the latest wave of “far right” loser groups in the tradition of the Klan and neo-Nazi groups from the 1980s as one of the antifa’s leading “intellectuals” admits. In the less than 10 years since it began, the Alt-Right has degenerated from a high-brow intellectual movement oriented toward meta-politics and influenced by thinkers such as Alain De Benoist, to becoming a retrograde 1920s style white nationalist movement, to becoming a collection of Internet trolls and Alex Jones-wannabes, to becoming a reworking of 1980s neo-Nazism.

The Alt-Right is dead, not so much through either public opposition or system cooptation, as much as through internal incompetence. For instance, the Antifa counter actions against the Alt-Right are largely the one thing that continues to legitimize the Alt-Right in the eyes of the Alt-Right’s own adherents by simply making Alt-Rightists think they are more important than they actually are.

In reality, far from serving  as a genuine counter force to the “far right” the Antifa-types would be faced with a literal massacre in a genuine showdown with, shall we say, “hard men” (which the Alt-Right are not). And far from coopting the Alt-Right, the Trump presidency has actually marginalized the Alt-Right by seemingly giving a voice to those with overlapping issues (such as immigration opponents) but who do not wish to be associated with the Alt-Right’s extremism. Strategically, it would have been in the Alt-Right’s best interests to vote for Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.

The story of the Alt-Right is a case study in how NOT to build a revolutionary or radical oppositional movement.

By Joe Seyton

Reason

“I really think we should just ignore them,” counterprotester Glen Hellman told Reason outside the Vienna Metro station this morning, where Unite the Right II rally participants boarded a subway headed into downtown D.C. “We’re validating them, and that is a problem,” he added, describing himself as “torn” over whether to ignore the rally or protest it.

As expected, it was a chaotic scene outside the White House on this rainy Sunday, as white nationalists staged a rally in the nation’s capital.

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Neocons and Liberals Join Forces to Fight Populism Reply

The liberal ruling classes circle the wages against revolts by the reactionary peasantry. Shades of the 19th century.

By Paul Gottfried

The American Conservative

For several months, an alliance has been forming between the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP). It’s the sort of kumbaya not witnessed since wartime Washington a decade ago.

A press release from CAP on May 10 blares: “CAP and AEI Team up to Defend Democracy and Transatlantic Partnership.” The same joyous tidings accompanied a public statement issued by AEI on July 31, which stressed that the alliance was meant to resist “the populist assault on the transatlantic community” for the purpose of “defending democracy.”

Although, according to Vikram Singh, a senior fellow at CAP, the two partners “often disagree on important policy questions,” they have been driven together “at a time when the character of our societies is at stake.” This burgeoning cooperation underscores that “our commitment to democracy and core democratic principles is stronger than ever.” Since both documents fling around the terms “democracy” and “liberal democracy” to justify a meddlesome foreign policy, we may safely assume that the neocons are behind this project. Neocons for some time now have prefixed their intended aggressions with “democracy” and “liberal democracy” the way the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs during the 16th and 17th centuries stuck the word “holy” into the names of their wartime alliances. Closer to our time, communist governments favored the use of “people’s democracy” to indicate that they were the good guys. Presumably the neocons have now picked up this habit of nomenclature.

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On the new undesirables of the West Reply

An excellent piece of class/caste analysis from a Marxist/Maoist perspective. This is more or less what I have been saying for decades. Genuine Communists are always so refreshing when compared with the usual SJW/Antifa/IDPol/weenie Leftist types.

Maoist Rebel News

Editor: The following is a post that was written by someone I know who wishes to remain anonymous. We will call him “Comrade M”. It seeks to ask questions regarding NEETS, incels, “forever alones” and the like. Can we consider them a new group of undesirables? What is their relationship to the class structure of the first world?

Jason Unruhe


In the 1800’s, Karl Marx’s ideas were groundbreaking. Even more so than laying the foundations for scientific socialism, Karl Marx described the inner machinations of the capitalist system on both the sociological and economic level better than any previous economist, philosopher or social-scientist.

Even though Marx’s ideas were correct for his day, he lived in a rapidly changing global society. By the time of the Bolshevik revolution, the world had already changed in many ways. So Lenin and the Bolsheviks came along, and devised Marxism-Leninism. They “updated” Marxism, both to be current with the times, and also to encompass the collective experiences of the international communist movement since Marx and Engels passed away. At the time, the majority of the Communist movement belonged to a revisionist grouping called the “2nd international”, which upheld a generally revisionist, chauvinist line. The 2nd Internationale advocated for both social-imperialism and “evolutionary” socialism, or “social-democracy” which would become another stagnant neo-liberal trend in the modern day. At their worst, the 2nd international went as far as to defend the atrocity of Colonialism, eg, in the case of the old Workers Party of Belgium, which proposed the nationalization of land, resources, and people of the Congo for the benefit of the European Proletariat.

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Charlottesville After A Year—As An Outsider, I Think the Alt-Right Far from Finished 1

By Paul Gottfried

Unz Review

ryan

We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the fateful Unite The Right Rally, at which the violence that took place was all blamed on the “Alt-Right”, leading to much persecution (deplatforming, firings, conferences cancelled) of people identified with that movement. It’s been said repeatedly that the Alt Right is dead or dying—but it can’t be, if Conservatism, Inc is still trying to kill it.

It seems that Jonah Goldberg has time left over from beating up on Trump and refurbishing his credentials as a leading “conservative” Never-Trumper to hobnob with House Speaker Paul Ryan at Jonah’s stamping grounds, AEI. The two of them agreed recently that the “Alt-Right is about “identity politics.” In what appears to be a mutual congratulation session, the interlocutors proclaimed that “conservatives must reclaim “hijacked” terminology.”

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Political Naïveté (or what are we to do about Maoism) 4

By Aragorn

Anarchist Library

One of the reasons that anarchism has become a popular political perspective is because in many contexts (for instance mass mobilizations or broad direct action campaigns) we seem open, friendly, and nonsectarian. This is in great contrast to visible (and visibly) Marxist or Leftist organizations, which either seem like newspaper-selling robots or ancient thorny creatures entirely out of touch with the ambivalence of the modern political atmosphere. Anarchists seem to get that ambivalence and contest it with hope and enthusiasm rather than finger-wagging.

The public face of anarchism tends towards approachability and youth: kids being pepper-sprayed, the general assemblies of the occupy movement, and drum circles. These are the images of the past five years that stand in contrast to the image of anarchists as athletic black clad window breakers. Both are true (or as true as an image can be) and both demonstrate why a criticism of anarchists continues to be that (even at our best) we are politically naïve.

Of course very few window breakers believe that breaking windows means much beyond the scope of an insurance form or a janitorial task, but that is beside the point. What matters is that the politics of no demands makes the impossible task of intelligent political discourse in America even more complicated (by assuming that discourse is a Pyhrric act). To put the issue differently, the dialectical binary of both engaging in the social, dialogic, compromising act of public politics while asserting that there is no request of those-in-power worth stating or compromising on isn’t possible. It is cake-and-eat-it thinking that is exactly why Anarchists must do what Anarchist must do[1].

This rejection of how the game is played while participating in it hasn’t shown itself to be a long term strategy– impossible never is. For lessons on playing the game we have to turn to the winners of politics and revolution: neoliberalists, sure, but also statist Marxists, reactionaries (from racist populists to nationalist Know Nothings or their descendants in the Tea Party), and what remnants exist of the old and new Left. Just to make the point crystal clear I’ll restate it. On the one hand you have the ridiculous non- or even anti-strategy of anarchist political theater that cannot achieve the impossible goal of everything for everybody forever. On the other hand you have realpolitik: the pragmatic application of power in the political sphere. This simplistic dualism is why most intelligent people abandon politics altogether and retreat to NIMBYism (at best) or the quiet solitude of screaming at a television screen as the only expression of engagement with the outside world.

In this light, a discussion about maoism might seem outrageous and it is! Maoism isn’t a relevant political tendency or movement in America. It isn’t leading guerrilla forces in the hills, it has no leaders-in-waiting just outside the border (unless you count Avakian which you should in no way do), but it isn’t further from the mainstream of American political thought than Anarchism is (anarchist big tent populists to the contrary) and is arguably much closer (in an often cited example, the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, is a former Maoist). More pointedly, Maoism and Anarchism have been cross-pollinating for decades. Our task here is to shine a light on that history and challenge what benefits anarchists have garnered from this little-discussed pollination.

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Trump’s Working Class, Conservative, Populist Realignment Reply

One of the best and most thorough analysis of Trump voters I have seen to date. Trump ran a Ross Perot-like campaign, and was able to take the Rust Belt away from the Democrats. That’s how he won. The question is how sustainable will that be over time in light of demographic and cultural change?

By Robert W. Merry

The American Conservative

Bonnie Smith is a 63-year-old bakery entrepreneur in Jefferson, Ohio, in Ashtabula County. She begins her day in the bakery at 2:30 a.m., making doughnuts, then moving on to breads and pies “or whatever I have going out.” Married with three grown children, she started her business two years ago after more than three decades at the county sheriff’s office, where she rose from cook to dispatcher and then to deputy. Like nearly all her neighbors throughout Ashtabula County, she is a lifelong Democrat. Her parents were Democrats. She married a Democrat. She worked exclusively for Democratic county sheriffs.

But in 2016 she voted for Donald Trump. “I’ve seen the job losses here,” she says, “the rise in crime, the meth and heroin problem, society essentially losing hope; something just gave in with me.”

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EVACUATING UTOPIA: A History of Christian Anarchism Reply

Lecture delivered by Wayne John Sturgeon at the second international conference of the National-Anarchist Movement, England, June 23, 2018.

“Isn’t the world already

At Peace and aren’t we

The only warring faction?”

-Crass

Improvements made straight roads,

but the crooked roads without improvement,

are the roads of genius.

-William Blake

INTRODUCTION

I would like to begin this lecture with a quote from a contemporary theologian, Alasdair Macintyre, who made the following candid observation in reference to our own times, when writing on the fall of the western Roman Empire:

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The Left’s Holocaust Deniers Reply

By Matthew Blackwell

Quillette

Looking out across the yellow-washed angular buildings that clutter the inner city of Phnom Penh in 2016, hindsight fills me with anxiety. Imagining myself here in 1975, I recall the jubilant and cheering crowds in the spring of that year who weren’t privy to that hindsight as they welcomed Khmer Rouge communists into Cambodia’s capital city after months of siege.

On the morning of 17 April, word had arrived that the Khmer Rouge had captured the government’s last beleaguered military stronghold on the outskirts of the city. Prime Minister Long Boret could hardly believe the news. He demanded to be driven to the riverside to see it with his own eyes. By the time he arrived, order had already collapsed in the streets and men wearing the black shirts of the Khmer Rouge surrounded his small entourage and demanded his guards put down their guns. Managing to slip away in the chaos, Boret reported back to his cabinet at the Defence Ministry that the enemy was already in the streets. The rush then began to evacuate senior government members from the country on any government helicopters still available amidst the anarchy. Had he taken action, Boret might have escaped with his wife and children on a helicopter reserved for him, but he delayed, trying to find a helicopter with enough space for his extended family.

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Reflection on the Condition of U.S. Politics Reply

Recently, a reader asked for me for an assessment of the present condition of the Alt-Right due to my past associated with that particular milieu. Here is my response:

Regrettably, the Alt-Right has become a mirror image of the Left in the sense of operating as a self-marginalizing freak show.

As I see it the entire range of domestic US politics-far left, far right, center left, center right-is largely just a collection of tribes motivated by ressentiment and victimology, and which are increasingly oriented toward self-parody. The public persona that many Alt-Right leaders have created for themselves is essentially that of wrestling heel characters, which fits well with the cartoonist nature of US politics generally, and the blending of political and celebrity entertainment culture that we see going on right now. And the same is true of the public persona of leading figures of all the other tribes.

The Alt-Right/Lite configuration and the Antifa/SJW/Left configuration are merely the self-parody wings of the Red Tribe and Blue Tribe respectively, with the two established tribes largely being a self-parody of themselves.

US politics is basically just a glorified version of the WWE, and it’s perfectly appropriate that the US head of state is a guy is who actually in the WWE Hall of Fame. And the hardcore partisans (i.e. folks who take all this shit seriously) are like wrestling fans who think it’s all a real sport as a opposed to a theatrical production. In many ways, the blissfully ignorant like the folks in this Mark Dice video are the most sensible (and probably the largest) political faction, because they at least have the inclination to be indifferent to it all.

The Third Totalitarianism Reply

By Darksphere

It is a generally recognised fact amongst historians that there exist two
totalitarian ideologies: Nazism and Communism. When looking at Nazism and
Communism one will see that they have one thing in common: They do not
recognise the importance of the single human being. The only thing that
matters to them is a big group (i.e. the Aryan Race, the working class). It
is this aspect of these two ideologies that make them so-called totalitarian
ideologies.

In this piece however, I will contest the fact that there are only two such
totalitarian ideologies. I will try to authenticate my belief that there
exists yet one more totalitarian ideology: The ideology of modern Humanism.
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Robert Stark talks about The YIMBY Movement & The Alt-Center 1

The Stark Truth. Listen here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Stark joined with Cartrell Payne(aka The Adventure Kid) to discuss the YIMBY movement, the Alt-Center, and how those issues relate.

Topics:

California Senator Scott Wiener’s housing-transit measure Derailed
Factions of the YIMBY movement including left leaning housing advocates, real estate developers, and the Market Urbanist
Left Wing anti-gentrification activists and their alliance with NIMBY’s
Cartrell’s observations on gentrification in Memphis, Tennessee
The hypocrisy of pro-immigration Limousine Liberal NIMBY’s, and how that combination exacerbates the housing crisis
How the YIMBY movement is also very pro immigration
Income Inequality in California and the mass exodus of the middle class
The film Falling Down which is set in LA in the early 90’s and a warning of a dystopian future
What makes California great and can it be saved?
The New Great Migration of Black Americans back to The South
White Middle Class Conservative NIMBY’s, their motivations, and how they are sabotaging their own self interest
Why YIMBYism and immigration restriction are compatible, and why the Alt-Center should take up those causes
Why YIMBYs need to address aesthetic concerns
Why YIMBYism is compatible with environmental and historic preservation
Citylab and City Journal; their writings on urbanism and political agendas
Why mass transit is inefficient in LA and other Sun Belt cities
The political and cultural flaws of both Blue and Red States
A vision of an Alt Center which include alternative economics, pro middle class policies, New Urbanism, environmentalism, SWPL culture, and socially centrist
Cartrell’s political orientation as an Old School Southern Democrat minus the racism
Cartrell’s critique of both the Black Liberal Establishment and Black Conservatives
Conservative views on the poor and police issues and Conservative Class Cucks
The early 20th Century Populist movement
Norman Mailer’s plan for breaking up New York City which addressed both the concerns of the Left and the Right

Robert Stark talks to Giovanni Dannato about Pragmatic Dissidence Reply

The Stark Truth. Listen here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giovanni Dannato blogs at Colony of Commodus and is the author of APOSTASY and A Kingdom For the Introvert. Follow Giovanni on Twitter.

Topics:

Giovanni’s New Alt-Dissident Fantasy Fiction
The theme of Heaven and Hell as an analogy for those who are within the system and those outside of it
The importance of creating a cultural vision beyond political policies
Alt-Centrist Scum Will Rise
The importance of focusing on what works over having a rigid ideology
There’s No Power Without “Downward Distribution”
How wealth distribution has a history going back to Ancient Mesopotamia
The flaws of conservative individualism and why people must co-operate as tribes
The limited demographic of conservationism and how to create a broader coalition
Rejecting both Right Wing Social Darwinism and Left Wing Egalitarianism
How to effectively distribute wealth(ex. Smart Socialism and State Capitalism)
How to effectively take care of mediocre people and the “losers” of society
Why economic “handouts” are necessary to gain political support and maintain a functional society
How better urban planning can address economic and class problems
The concept of the urban gene shredder and how to address it
The importance of having a leisure economy for innovation
The need for a specialized economy that utilizes a wide variety of personality types

The Future of the American Political Landscape 5

In a few decades, perhaps sooner, the American political landscape will likely look something like the following:

The “intellectual dark web” circle around Dave Rubin will be considered the “far right” (the way Richard Spencer is considered “far right” at present).

Someone with the views of Hillary Clinton will be considered a conservative, and National Review will be running articles praising Samantha Power for having been a foreign policy visionary.

Someone with the views of Bernie Sanders will be considered center-right, i.e. a boring old Rooseveltian who just didn’t get genuinely progressive politics.

Someone with the views of Al Sharpton or Maxine Waters will be the Democratic Party standard, i.e. race hustling as the foundation of authentically American values.

The gender feminist/LGBTGIA configuration will be the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, persistently lamenting that the party’s  TERF leadership just can’t seem to get the pronouns correct.

The “far Left” will be those who want to extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include pedophiles, zoophiles, and farm animals, although there will be a major split between opponents of zoophobia and those who consider zoophilia to be animal rape.

And Wall Street will still reign supreme, the bombs will still drop on other nations, client states will still engage in ethnic cleansing with American arms, while the arms merchants continue to rake in the bucks.

Image result for rainbow fascism

Image result for rainbow fascism

There is Nothing Better than a Self-Defeating Enemy 1

Characters like Spencer Sunshine and Alexander Reid-Ross are considered to be the intellectual leadership of the Antifa. For this reason, it is a great thing that the likes of Sunshine and Reid-Ross are currently steering the “antifascist” left toward the Democratic National Committee line on most issues: i.e. anti-Trump hysteria, anti-Russian hysteria, anti-Syrian hysteria, watering down criticisms of Israel, upgrading criticisms of Iran, bashing Israel critics like Norman Finkelstein while ignoring Saudi apologists like Linda Sarsour, and creating a wedge on the far Left between the “antifascists” and the “anti-imperialists” like Workers World, Party of Liberation and Socialism, Caleb Maupin, and the Green Party. The long term effect of this will likely be to discredit the Antifa as any kind of genuine opposition force in US politics. That will be of tremendous benefit to those of us who wish to see this neo-Maoist element purged from far Left politics. No doubt there will eventually be an Antifa Caucus in the Democratic Party, and maybe Sunshine and Reid-Ross can eventually become contributors to the New Republic as well. Keep up the good work, guys.

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The Rise of the Authoritarian Left Reply

I am seeing more and more articles like this from leftists who are starting to get it. This is an interesting and entirely accurate statement from the comments thread that follows this article on Medium:

“As I’ve said before, this is the first time I’ve encountered authoritarians as self-identified anarchists. Absolutely nuts. They’re Maoists and the worst thing about them being Maoists is that they don’t know they are Maoists. Actually, it’s a kind of weird amalgamation of hyper-individualised neoliberalism and authoritarian Maoism. How it’s taken such hold when the whole thing is a self-contradictory house of cards completely baffles me. (I too, am in that nice, green bottom left quadrant of the political compass. In today’s climate, that means I have no political home.)”

By Harvey Jeni

Medium

The Political Compass is a model of two axes, one running horizontally from left to right, the other vertically down through the middle. One represents a spectrum of ideas concerning economic organisation: the far left of tightly controlled state economics running across to the deregulation and free markets of the right; the other of social control: a hard, top line of extreme authoritarianism sliding down into anarchy.

It is useful, this compass, in that it highlights well our preoccupation with left and right, to the extent that we tend not only to lose sight of the equally important vertical axis, but also to confuse the two; leading, among other things, to the often lazy conflation of the socially liberal with the left. It was in this way that a neo-liberal free marketeer such as Emmanuel Macron, was able in the French presidential election to be presented as somehow a candidate of the left, when in fact it was his libertarian, not leftist, values that held him in such stark contrast to Le Pen’s hateful authoritarianism.

Recent times have witnessed a frightening rise in political violence and intimidation, particularly towards women, and as one whose compass point sticks squarely in the centre of the libertarian left, I have become increasingly alarmed by what I view as a sharp spike in authoritarianism amongst those who would claim to be my kin. In what now seems a constant state of political panic, the rhetoric and hyperbole continually escalate, carrying with it a new breed of leftists whose ideas seep already deep into the mainstream, influencing policy and steering social change.

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How the Internet Has Created a Swamp of Very Loud Sheep Reply

Losers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose because you’re already losers.

By Ann Sterzinger

If you’re a digital native, you probably have no idea what genuine loneliness is. Before you get off my lawn, let me finesse that (oh, god, Ann, finessing anything on the Internet is always your first mistake): back during the analog age, if you were a freak or a weirdo, you were a freak or a weirdo. Period. That was it. No way out. No online community of equally gothy souls. Even if you went to some big nice suburban high school, you weren’t going to do much better than being Duckie from Pretty in Pink.

The downside of this is that you were sad.

The upside of this is that you learned to live with the various feelings you get when no one else will back up or even understand your thoughts and opinions.

Weirdos got used to being weirdos. And after a while, we liked it. When we finally escaped home and found the other oddballs in a slightly larger town, we tended to cobble punk rock scenes or the like out of whomever happened to be in the immediate area. Which meant that restricting your social life to people with your own politics or taste or thoughts was fucking impossible; you settled for hanging out with anyone who thought anything at all instead of shuffling through life like quiet sheep.

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Antifascism and the Left’s Fear of Power 1

This speech might have just as well been delivered by a member of the Bloods and titled, “Anti-Cripism and the Bloods’ Fear of Power.” Although it’s probably more appropriate to compare this stuff to “Ghostbusters” than to street gangs. Increasingly, I am leaning toward the view that the key to developing a new kind of radicalism is cultivating the ability to break out of these cultic paradigms.

Neither West nor East. Against all imperialisms. Neither Left nor Right. Against all states. Neither Red nor Blue. Peace between all tribes. Neither State nor Corporation. Against the power elite in all its manifestations. Neither Alt-Right nor Antifa. Against all authoritarians.

By Maximillian Alvarez

The Baffler

This article has been adapted from a talk delivered at Purdue University on April 18, 2018, hosted by the Purdue chapter of the Campus Antifascist Network.

In the United States today people tend to squirm with profound discomfort, if not sneer with outright revulsion, when they hear talk of “antifascism.” It is, by most accounts, a dirty word. That alone should be proof enough that we desperately need it.

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The Empire Strikes Back? Reply

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It is fascinating to observe the kind of paranoia that is now being disseminated by the Western elites in the face of the rising though very modest challenges that are now being presented by the BRICS-Shia-Global South alliance in international relations, and by left/right populist tendencies within Western nations. It seems the neoliberal ruling classes are working to invent a New Cold War. They tried once before with the “War on Terrorism.” But nobody outside the realm of FOX News junkies was buying that. So they came up with an enemy that wine and cheese liberals and “progressive activists” could hate as well, with Russia as the supposed headquarters of “world fascism,” allegedly sponsoring insurgent fascist regimes, parties, and movements all over the world. Joe McCarthy would be proud.

Exclusive: Leaks show how Boston ‘free speech’ group acts as a front for far-right organizing 2

The Left has Refuse Fascism. The Right has Resist Marxism. Fair enough.

By Luke Barnes

Think Progress

Resist Marxism markets itself as a harmless conservative and libertarian group. But they have plenty of connections to the far-right.

Over the past few months, the so-called “alt-right” has found itself in a state of disarray.

Prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer has been booted from social media and is facing a funding crisis. The Traditionalist Workers Party has fallen apart after its leader, Matthew Heimbach, was arrested for assault and, now, been sent to jail for 38 days on the separate charge of violating his parole. In Charlottesville, Virginia, the groups that helped organize last year’s violent “Unite the Right” rally are being sued. Online infighting has prompted some far-right leaders to dox each other.

But while the far-right may be losing influence, the so-called “alt-lite” isn’t. This loosely connected movement of groups and individuals doesn’t outwardly emphasize racism and bigotry in the same way the far-right does. Instead, they focus on the “dangers” posed to free speech, and how political correctness, feminism, and identity politics are destroying the West.

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Italy Illustrates the Way to Liberal Democracy’s Demise Reply

Some hysterical hand-wringing from the ruling class press over Italy. Maybe some of these Antifa guys can start writing for the Financial Times.

By Wolfgang Muchau

Financial Times

Comparing today’s populists and nationalists to the Nazis and fascists of 80 or 90 years ago is pointless. But I see much clearer parallels between the fall of Germany’s Weimar Republic and the vulnerability of Europe’s liberal elites. Some of the current defenders of the liberal order are making the same mistake as, for example, the German Centre party of the early 1930s, by underestimating the scale of the threat that they face. Harold James, a professor of history at Princeton University, has recently given us 10 reasons why our political systems today share some of the self-destructive characteristics of the Weimar Republic. One is the strength of the economic shock. Another is an excessive optimism about the power of constitutions to protect the system. I would like to offer some additional thoughts on the role of complacent narratives — the stories we tell each other that make us feel better. As a commentator on eurozone affairs, for example, I keep hearing that an Italian exit from the euro cannot happen because it is not allowed. Italy’s constitution, for example, makes it impossible for a government to rescind international treaties by referendum. This argument not only overestimates the power of constitutional law to protect us from illegal acts by governments, as Prof James pointed out. It also ignores the circumstances under which a country would leave the eurozone. All its government would need to do is engineer a financial crisis, declare force majeure, and introduce a parallel currency over a long bank holiday weekend. There is nothing in the Italian constitution to prevent a financial crisis or to stop a government from giving people the means to buy food.

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Italy Sets Course for Left-Right Populist Surge Reply

Back in the early 2000s, I was writing about how a resurgent Russia might eventually being to lead an alliance of resistance to the Western axis, and how the emergence of populism from both the left and right might challenge the neoliberal Western ruling classes. It seems to be happening, though in a way that is a long way from presenting an real threat to the hegemony of neoliberalism.

By Robert W. Merry

The American Conservative

Italy is wrapped up these days in the efforts of its two strongest political parties to forge a coalition government. Presumably they will succeed, though whether the resulting civic structure will have any staying power remains an open question. But in terms of the broad political trends in Italy, Europe, and the entire West (including the United States), it doesn’t really matter much. Whatever happens with the emerging Italian government, Italy has set itself upon a new course. It’s the path of populism, fueled by many things but primarily by the West’s immigration crisis.

William Galston offered an interesting insight into all this the other day in a piece in The New Republic. Galston, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, wasn’t writing about Italian politics but rather about the turn towards populism in Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban. But he had a broader point. “The global democratic tide,” he wrote, “which began in 1974 with the end of Portugal’s authoritarian regime, crested in 2006, making way for anti-democratic populists. Many Western leaders have yet to come to terms with this new reality, hoping that anti-immigrant sentiment is just a passing phenomenon.”

Galston derided the tendency of Barack Obama, when he was president, to dismiss ideas and movements he opposed as being “on the wrong side of history.” No, said Galston, history “has no ‘side,’ no ‘end,’ and no immanent tendency to move in a particular direction.”

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