Teaser: We get so so caught up in binaries. This or That. Or wrapped up in notions of identity – I am liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, progressive or what not? This week saw the rise of the alt-left. But what is the Alt-Left, what is the Alt fight even mean for average people everywhere? Should we even identify as Alt Anything?
Today’s podcast is on the Alt Movement, Which of course will cover Alt-Right its rise and what are some ramifications of this group rising to power, we will look at the phenomena of protesters identifying as alt-left. And dig into what it means to potentially identify as ALT-Anything as well as if this notion of being on that spectrum even means
Welcome back to the podcast! So this is the first week I have had back to back podcasts.
Got the semester off to a good start this week at my main position at Pvcc. That was really good, it has been a long week with some long days in the heat, and it appears we are in for a heat wave here in Phoenix for the next week so please think some cool thoughts for us at the Inclusive Activism Podcast. Just today got the news that former Sherriff Joe Arpiao was pardoned which was a huge blow to all Maricopa Country Residents. And at this time the DACA program is set to get a ruling on Sept. 5th I am hoping and praying that the early reports of its demise are wrong as I have a lot of people I love and care about: So in short its still a very dark time and we need some positive thoughts and prayers. Hell I could use you positivity and thoughts and prayer so if you can pass those along that would be greatly appreciated! Please remember you can email me at email@example.com or leave me a voicemail at 860-576-9393. I would love to hear your thoughts!
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So checking in on my Activism:
There hasn’t been much of a chance in the past week for activism
The protest of Trump downtown sadly did see some violence with tear gas being used on protesters
Last Thursday I was a part of the DACA action with Aliento (Report on this)
We also donated Gatorade and Granola bars for the Trump action
Since I have returned to full time work the Mindfulness was sacrificed, and those close to me have noticed, I will get back on track next week
Lifting has still been going very strong thankfully I appreciate my new lifting partner
Cardio is mixed I keep my heart rate really high during lifting and have been doing speed work with a speed ladder on the weekend but still not always getting my 30 mins of elliptical tranining in – not sure how the heart is dealing with all that.
But I need help too – personally and professionally please send me your prayers and positive thoughts I am on the precipice of several bad and potentially good things I really need your help!
So on to the podcast for today! The ramifications of being Alt.
First thing: First when we think of Alt- The first thing we consider is the idea of being Alt-Right. So lets take a moment and look at what is that and what does it mean to be Alt-Right
The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loosely defined group of people with far-right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of white nationalism, principally in the United States, but also to a lesser degree in Canada and Europe. Paul Gottfried was the first person to use the term “alternative right”, when referring specifically to developments within American right-wing politics, in 2008. The term has since gained wide currency with the rise of the so-called “alt-right”. White supremacist Richard Spencer used the term in 2010 in reference to a movement centered on white nationalism, and did so according to the Associated Press to disguise overt racism, white supremacism, and neo-Nazism. The term drew considerable media attention and controversy during and after the 2016 US presidential election.
Alt-right beliefs have been described as isolationist, protectionist, antisemitic, and white supremacist, frequently overlapping with Neo-Nazism, nativism and Islamophobia, antifeminism and homophobia, right-wing populism, and the neoreactionary movement. The concept has further been associated with several groups from American nationalists, neo-monarchists, men’s rights advocates, and the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
The alt-right has its roots on Internet websites such as 4chan and 8chan, where anonymous members create and use Internet memes to express their ideologies. It is difficult to tell how much of what people write in these venues is serious and how much is intended to provoke outrage. Members of the alt-right use websites like Alternative Right, Twitter, Breitbart, and Reddit to convey their message. Alt-right postings generally support the policies of Donald Trump and Mike Pence  and oppose immigration, multiculturalism and political correctness.
The alt-right has also had a significant influence on conservative thought in the United States, such as the Sailer Strategy for winning political support, along with having close ties to the Trump Administration. It has been listed as a key reason for Trump’s win in the 2016 election. The Trump administration includes several figures who are associated with the alt-right, such as former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. In 2016, Bannon described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right”, with the goal of promoting the ideology.
So all that being said Alt-Right is the new nationalist movement, and thought popular nationalism is at the heart of this movement – you need to be White to be right.
Some terms and ideas associated with Alt-right
Blood and Soil
Video taken at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday showed marchers chanting “blood and soil.” The phrase is a 19th-century German nationalist term that connotes a mystical bond between the blood of an ethnic group and the soil of their country.
It was used as a Nazi slogan in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s and since then “has been transported to neo-Nazi groups and other white supremacists around the world,” Mr. Pitcavage said. It is one of several Nazi symbols that have been adopted as a slogan by some members of the “alt-right.”
Globalism is sometimes used as a synonym for globalization, the network of economic interconnection that became the dominant international system after the Cold War. The word has become more commonly used since Mr. Trump railed against globalism frequently on the campaign trail.
For the far right, globalism has long had distinct xenophobic, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic overtones. It refers to a conspiratorial worldview: a cabal that likes open borders, diversity and weak nation states, and that dislikes white people, Christianity and the traditional culture of their own country.
White genocide is a white nationalist belief that white people, as a race, are endangered and face extinction as a result of nonwhite immigration and marriage between the races, a process being manipulated by Jews, according to Mr. Lenz. It is the underlying concept behind far-right, anti-immigration arguments, especially those aimed at immigrants who are not white Christians.
The concept was popularized by Bob Whitaker, a former economics professor and Reagan appointee to the Office of Personnel Management, who wrote a 221-word “mantra” on the subject that ended with the rallying cry: “Anti-racist is code word for anti-white.”
Mr. Pitcavage said the concept of white genocide was often communicated online through a white supremacist saying called the Fourteen Words: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Second: There has been the rise of a new notion which was introduced called Alt-Left.
Alt-left is a neologism introduced by far-right online media in 2016, suggesting the existence of an ideological fringe movement on the political left, as a direct opposite of the alt-right. The term began being used by Sean Hannity and Fox News to describe groups, outlets, or individuals who were perceived as being critical of President-elect Donald Trump. Trump used the term during remarks on the Charlottesville rally on August 15, 2017.
Unlike the term “alt-right” (which was coined by those on the extreme right who comprise the movement), as noted by Washington Post writer Aaron Blake, “alt-left” was “coined by its opponents and doesn’t actually have any subscribers”. According to George Hawley, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, no such label has been adopted by any members of the progressive left. While acknowledging that there are anti-fascism activists on the left who engage in physical confrontation against members of the far-right, Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League‘s Center on Extremism, concurred that no equivalent to those who identify as being part of the “alt-right” exists, stating that anti-fascist groups were not consciously aiming to brand themselves in the manner that white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other members of the far-right had undertaken to mainstream their ideology.
Its usage eventually circulated within conservative online media, and was popularized around those circles through its use by Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity to suggest the existence of a similar ideological fringe movement on the political left. On the November 14, 2016 edition of his eponymous Fox News program, Hannity used the term to excoriate “alt-left media” together with “mainstream” and “radical” media for being “biased against President-elect Trump”. According to The New Republic, the term was popularized after it was “picked up” by Fox News as a way to “frame the Democratic wing led by [Bernie] Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as extreme”.
In an early use of the term, Gary Bauer stated on CNN‘s The Lead with Jake Tapper, “It’s not alt-right, it’s not alt-left; it’s alt-delete. It’s get the bums out,” as a way of equating right- and left-wing populism.
Both the term itself and the concept of an “alt-left” as a sort of opposite-but-equal mirror of the alt-right have generated controversy for “likening” the “socialist critics” of neo-Nazism “to neo-Nazis”. The term has also been criticized as a label that, unlike alt-right, was not coined by the group it purports to describe, but, rather, was created by political opponents as a political smear implying a false equivalence.
According to Branko Marcetic, assistant editor of Jacobin magazine, the label refers to a faction of the political left that does not exist, as the progressive or far left segments of political ideology do not identify by any other particular collective noun. Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League states that the term was made up by extremist groups to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like.”
According to journalist Peter Beinart, “What Trump calls “the alt left”… is actually antifa.” Not to be confused with Donald Trump’s use of the word, Buzzfeed UK published an article about “alt-left media” in the United Kingdom in May 2016. The article refers to “alt-left” news websites such as Another Angry Voice, The Canary, Evolve Politics and Skwawkbox, which are “hyperpartisan” supporters of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The term gained prevalence when U.S. president Donald Trump used the phrase during remarks on the Charlottesville rally made on August 15, 2017. Researchers such as Mark Pitcavage state that the “alt-left” does not actually exist and the derogatory term had been made up to create an equation between the far right and certain activists and politicians on the left.
Alt-Left is in fact a DISINFORMATION campaign
Disinformation is false information spread deliberately to deceive. The English word disinformation is a translation of the Russian dezinformatsiya, derived from the title of a KGB black propaganda department. The book Disinformation documents that Joseph Stalin coined the term, giving it a French-sounding name to falsely claim it had a Western origin.
Russian use began with a “special disinformation office” in 1923. Disinformation was defined in Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1952) as “false information with the intention to deceive public opinion”. Operation INFEKTION was a Soviet disinformation campaign to influence opinion that the U.S. invented AIDS. The U.S. did not actively counter disinformation until 1980, when a fake document reported that the U.S. supported apartheid.
What groups comprise the idea of the Alt-Left?
“Antifa” is a contraction of the word “anti-fascist.” It was coined in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s by a network of groups that spread across Europe to confront right-wing extremists, according to Mr. Pitcavage. A similar movement was seen in the 1980s in the United States and has re-emerged recently as the “alt-right” has risen to prominence.
For some so-called antifa members, the goal is to physically confront white supremacists. “If they can get at them, to assault them and engage in street fighting,” Mr. Pitcavage said. Mr. Lenz, at the Southern Poverty Law Center, called the group “an old left-wing extremist movement.”
Members of the “alt-right” broadly portray protesters who oppose them as “antifa,” or the “alt-left,” and say they bear some responsibility for any violence that ensues — a claim made by Mr. Trump on Tuesday.
But analysts said comparing antifa with neo-Nazi or white supremacist protesters was a false equivalence.
“Cuck” is an insult used by the “alt-right” to attack the masculinity of an opponent, originally other conservatives, whom the movement deemed insufficiently committed to racism and anti-Semitism.
It is short for “cuckold,” a word dating back to the Middle Ages that describes a man who knows his wife is sleeping with other men and does not object. Mr. Lenz said the use of the word by the “alt-right” often had racial overtones.
S.J.W. is short for “social justice warrior” and is used by the right as an epithet for someone who advocates liberal causes like feminism, racial justice or gay and transgender rights. It is also sometimes used to imply that a person’s online advocacy of a cause is insincere or done for appearances. It became widely used during “GamerGate,” a controversy that began in 2014 over sexism in video game subcultures.
Mr. Lenz, whose organization has specific criteria for which groups it classifies as Nazi organizations, said the right used the phrase “to rhetorically address the fact that the left sometimes calls anyone who disagrees with it Nazis.” He said the alt-right had created the term so its followers had a similar blanket term to deride the left.
So in short there is no Alt-Left that exists an anyway. There might be more militant Leftists but at the same time they are not the Alt-Left this was just a way for the President to try to sully the protesters who were against those in Charlottesville
Lastly – Alt is a branding of violence and fear mongering! To be assoicted with the idea of ALT is thankfully already to be associated with pushing an extremist agenda those of which choose to intimidate with violence and fear.
Antifa the most armed group of leftists feel they must be armed to protect other nonviolent protesters. Antifa: Linked to the alt-left. Pronounced an-TEE-fa, it is short for anti-fascists. Adherents are predominantly communists, socialists, and anarchists who reject turning to the police or the state to halt the advance of white supremacy. They have resorted to using force at rallies, saying it is necessary to confront the threat.
But this has lead to a discussion about violence and nonviolence in protest movements. Now I will say personal I am and will always be a lover of Nonviolence. Not Non-Violence which is associated with passive pacifism.
This issue I am seeing right now is there are so many different elements converging right now Protesters cannot get on a unified same page for a real proper nonviolent direct action. Back in the day people met weekly to create and plan direct actions to make movements happen locally with latter plans how their will be systemic movements.
I must also say that being a person with a full time job this makes me at best a part-time protester. So when I talk about being nonviolent this is without a doubt the HARDEST strategy to implement in order to create social change.
Police, security, border patrol, powerful interests of the state are not held to the same standard of nonviolent action. If protesters are violent it is seen as their fault. If they fight back against a fight started by a state agent, again they are seen as guilty since they are challenging the authority and power of the state, even if that power is WRONG.
I believe this is what was seen downtown in Phoenix last week. I was not there but I have seen lots of videos. And I think their may have been some internal outside agents (people acting like nonviolent protesters whose purpose was to incite violence to create scandal and doubt about the protesters intentions) who did throw bottles (plastic water bottles) at police.
That being said I think the tear gas without warning was a total overration by the Phoenix PD. I know the planned intention was to shut down any potential shitshow like Charlottesville. But in doing that they played right into agents whose sole purpose was to create intrigue.
That is the problem, when someone throw tear gas back at police, they are the trouble makers not those who didn’t do the action. All are punished as though all are the same.
I would like to see more nonviolent direct action strategy used however with only those who have been trained and are know members of the resistance part of actions in the future.
As an admitted outsider though I don’t see this happening right now – its seems as though so much of the protests are very reactionary. For example there was a flash protest which happened the same day the news of the Arpiao was pardoned. But then again the goal may have just been to show dissent rather than push a known specific agenda.
Admittedly I need to get more involved personally before I critique further. I do plan on being a part of a planned action this week.
So in review major points of this podcast were:
- Alt-Right is a new form of white nationalism seeking the validity of a political platform – there is no legitimate political platform for hate not in this country.
- Alt-left is a disinformation campaign
- Alt branding is an attempt to make those who push against the Alt-Right as equal to or having similar violent intentions as those in the Alt-Right by those who support the Alt-right.
SO if this made you think something, if you have a question or even more shocking a critique let me know. You can call me at 860-576-9393
This space is a place to talk back ask me questions, hit me with scenarios of how to react to situations real time. Depending on how good your stuff is I will give it my “first take response” or if it’s good it might be a future podcast!
Also as always if you’re interested in booking me to bring the power of inclusive activism to your organization you can always do so at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can learn more about this organization at www.inclusiveactivism.com