Aug 15, 2017

The many groups making noise on the far-right

David J. Phillip, Steve Helber, Joshua Replogle, Steve Helber @itspepe / AP, Twitter

A collection of alt-right and right-wing extremist groups dubbed "Unite the Right" clashed with anti-racists and anti-fascists in Charlottesville last weekend, where they'd gathered to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue at the University of Virginia.

While the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis are more recognizable, here are some other less notorious groups and subgroups on the far-right:

The leaders and speakers, according to Newsweek:

  • Jason Kessler, a right-wing blogger who organized the "Unite the Right" rally
  • Richard Spencer, a white nationalist leader and president of National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank
  • Matthew Heimbach, founder of the Youth for Western Culture and the White Student Union at Towson University and leader of the Traditional Workers Party.
  • Mike "Enoch" Peinovich, an alt-right, anti-Semitic blogger and podcaster
  • Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet, a social media troll who toured with the incendiary, alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos last year

The main groups of the far-right:

The "alt-right"
  • Coined by Richard Spencer in 2008; defined by AP as "an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism."
  • "Alt-right" followers are often anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, anti-globalism, anti-feminism and opposed to what they deem "political correctness."
  • The movement also includes some anti-Semitic members.
  • The "alt-right" became a more familiar term due to the community's outspoken support for Trump during the election, and is often considered affiliated with Breitbart News, whose former CEO Steve Bannon was appointed Trump's chief strategist.
The "alt-lite"
  • This is a subgroup of the "alt-right" in that it rejects white supremacist thinking.
  • They reject "feminists and immigrants, among others. Many within the alt lite sphere are virulently anti-Muslim; the group abhors everyone on "the left" and traffics in conspiracy theories," according to the anti-defamation league.
  • One example is the Proud Boys, an all-men group started by VICE co-founder Gavin McInnes, who said of the group: "Our motto is that, we're Western Chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world."
  • The Proud Boys do not exclude homosexuals or people of color.
  • Although Jason Kessler is a new Proud Boys member, the group did not participate in the rally, according to their Twitter and magazine.
  • This subgroup is sometimes referred to as the "new right," following figures like Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec.
  • They consider Islam the greatest danger to society, pointing to the terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists.
  • The movement originated in France and has spread to other countries, including Germany and the U.S.
  • Identitarians are anti-immigration, especially from Muslim countries.
  • They are also anti-multiculturalism, claiming that citizens should take pride in their own traditions and cultures without being called racist.
  • A popular figure in this movement is the Canadian Youtube host Lauren Southern.
  • "Civilians" of a fictitious, white nationalist nation (Kekistan), which only exists online and was created by the far-right, 4chan, World of Warcraft community.
  • Kekistanis claim the Egyptian god Kek, who has the head of a frog, as their god — which eventually led to the adoption of the Pepe the frog meme by the group.
  • This group is used primarily to troll those on the left, but has its own theology, "meme magick" flag (which resembles a German nazi flag), pseudo-news Twitter channels, and a common prayer, which all reflect alt-right ideology.
  • Read a more detailed account of the how the "nation" came to be on SPLC.
White Nationalists
  • Believe that pro-diversity efforts — including policies that benefit minorities in university admission processes and hiring — are "exploiting" white people, and that they need their own nation to protect themselves from people of color.
  • They believe that there should be total segregation, and fight to keep whites as the racial majority in the U.S.
  • Some white nationalists claim to oppose the view that whites are a superior race, but others have adopted the name to avoid the connotations of "white supremacist," which views Caucasians as the superior race and considers minorities a threat to their "rightful" position of power.
  • Also known as "Southern Nationalists" — they aim to restore a pro-Confederate sentiment.
  • They admire "Old South" virtues and think that the southern states should secede.
  • The most popular group within this ideology is Alabama's League of the South. Neo-confederates also tend toward segregation and white supremacist thought.
  • They support traditional gender roles and oppose homosexuality, according to SPLC.
Anti-Communist Action
  • Also known as "Anticom".
  • They are an anti-communist group that claims to physically fight for American liberties in the face of what they see as violent communists.
  • They describe themselves as anti-AntiFa, the far-left movement dedicated to fighting fascism, per their Facebook page.
  • The group includes people of all races and color, according to their about page, which explains, "We have not forgotten the uncounted millions of lives sacrificed to Communist utopian insanity and we will not stand by and watch as our peaceful events are invaded, our compatriots are harassed and assaulted, and our culture is contaminated with the destructive, divisive ideology of cultural marxism."
Go deeper