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The New Face of the Radical Right?
Enter the National Anarchists
In 2009, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Political Research Associates agreed that Anarchist Nationalism “could become the new face of the radical right” in the USA. Attempting to mix subcultural anarchist mores with a cross-cutting class analysis that hinges on racial separatism and ancestral traditions, such as tribalism, Anarchist Nationalism demonstrate a worrying tendency of reactionaries to co-opt radical language in attempts to gain control over large popular fronts.
Although Anarchist Nationalism has been kept at bay in the US, it is growing around the world through the efforts of antifascist organizing, and continues to attempt inroads into radical scenes. In an interview with the fascist Dutch magazine, Green Nationalist, the head of National Anarchist Tribal Alliance (NATA), Craig Fitzgerald, boasts that NATA is “continuing to collaborate with groups as diverse as We Are Change, Occupy Wall Street, Earth First, the Libertarian Party and others.”
NATA is utilizing a long-term strategy, known as Entryism, which the SPLC defines as “the name given to the process of entering or infiltrating bona fide organizations, institutions and political parties with the intention of gaining control of them for our own ends.” According to a pamphlet written by British National Anarchist, Troy Southgate, entitled, The Case for National-Anarchist Entryism, national anarchists must join political groups and then “misdirect or disrupt them for our own purposes or convert sections of their memberships to our cause.”
While Earth First! denies any collaboration with the National Anarchists, both EF! and OWS have seen the white power movement’s attempts to use leftist and ecological movements for its own purposes threaten broader attempts at organizing. The white power movement attempted to intervene in OWS via debates surrounding the potential of Ron Paul’s libertarianism and its connections to de-centralized, anti-statist ideology. EF! has actively struggled against the late JT Ready, Sheriff Arpaio and his police gang, the KKK, and so on. With rising racial tensions and economic stagnation in the US, the integrity of struggle against racism and, more generally, oppression, must be maintained across all social movements.
White Power Anarchism?
Among articles celebrating the rise of fascism in Ukraine, whitepower.us published an article last month called “Ron Paul, Libertarianism, and The Anarchist Connection.” Celebrating an unlikely combination of Murray Bookchin and former speechwriter for Barry Goldwater, Karl Hess, the article proposes an anarchic struggle of the individual against institutions. Ron Paul then becomes a jumping off point for a possible national front under the guise of libertarian promises of freedom.
“[W]hether Ron Paul’s campaign machine would now consider an outreach to include a visible left component—perhaps the OCCUPY movement—is probably not in the cards… However, it is tempting to imagine a new fangled party styled on Libertarian lines: principled, but with fresh blood, a refreshed agenda and a something-we-can-all-agree on platform. Down the road this sort of movement might gain some real political traction; especially if we keep racing down the path towards more muscular restraints on personal freedom.”
Demurring from a National Front party, these sentiments are virtually interchangeable with the screeds published by National Anarchists. “Internationalists, of every description, have no understanding of the relationship that exists between the people, generations of people, and the land from which they are drawn, i.e. the concept of Blood and Soil,” NATA’s spokesman explains. Referencing Blood and Soil (Blut und Boden)—the German movement of Romantic ultranationalism that spread genocidal hatred of Jews—is a clear hat tip to German Fascism. More broadly, the völkish narrative of the Nation used by NATA marks a close approximation of Hitler’s notion of the Nation as “the living organism—the people.”
As for racial integration, NATA explains, “A fair reflection of our position would be that racial integration is a product of the internationalist ideology of both Capitalists and Marxists, and that loyalty to Race, Nation, Region, Culture and Tradition are natural barriers to the imperialist, globalist tendency and must be encouraged, not destroyed.”
Traditional White Supremacy
Aside from attempting to “philosophically unite diverse hyphenated anarchists with one another” under yet another hyphenated label, Fitzgerald declares that “[national anarchism] could manifest as a planned communist economy, a laissez-faire free market, a religious or racially separatist enclave, an environmentalist eco-tribe, or anything else.” The ambiguity behind such fascist ideas is staggering.
Just as under colonialism, the main point of fascism remains the elevation of essentialized understandings of race, family, tribe, religion, culture, and tradition to a semi-mystical idea of the Nation. This atavistic understanding allows National Anarchists the possibility of forming common bonds with naive people and organizations as malleable to their wishes as their own concepts are. The attempt at forging horizontal ties between white supremacist groups under the guise of nationalism explains why National Anarchist articles have been cross-posted at Stormfront.org, the world’s largest white supremacist forum.
The strategic attempts to alienate or co-opt radical groups and commandeer populist movements with racist and nationalist ideology is shared by the right wing opportunists of Ukraine and Greece who are applauded so heavily by the editors of whitepower.us, stormfront.org, and so on. Celebrating the forces of Stepan Bandera, who slaughtered countless Jews and at least 50,000 Catholic Poles, Ukraine’s fascist political party, Svoboda, uses the Nazi “Wolfsangel” symbol and is joined by paramilitary fighters called Pravy Sektor known for their animosity against the EU and Russia, as well as immigrants and Jews. These groups are allied with numerous nationalist groups around Europe, including British National Party and Hungary’s Jobbik—both anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant groups.
In an article written by Panagioti Tsolkas last year, the trend of Entryism within Greek neo-nazi party Golden Dawn reveals ecofascist organizing in the US (Golden Dawn has even implemented their own version of a green fist logo). Panagioti writes, “In times of social upheaval, it seems a given that the far-right elements of an industrial empire will present themselves as a counter force in an attempt to allure some of the righteously indignant and, often painfully ignorant, folks who perceive themselves as a ‘middle class’ in need of protection and salvation.” Such times are at the doorstep of the US.
Craig Fitzgerald, himself, is an apologist for the Greek Nationalist party, Golden Dawn, denying that the organization is, in fact, a fascist political party in spite of all evidence to the contrary (including a much-publicized incident in which their members chanted “Heil Hitler” in Parliament). But the affinity between NATA and such fascist groups runs deeper. The Bay Area National Anarchists harken back to ancestral connections to Confederate paramilitaries, Quantrill’s Raiders, while they praise neo-Confederate groups such as the League of the South. They also organized an alliance with skinhead group, American Front, helping to raise money for an incarcerated member of The Order, a white supremacist paramilitary group.
Another National Anarchist group based in Idaho Falls calls itself Folk and Faith, and is led by Joe Hadenuff (real name: Jeremy T. Wilcox), a former-skinhead who was court marshaled by the army for attending a KKK rally in 2000. For recruits, Hadenuff exhorts National Anarchists to “Try ex-skinheads that have all grown up and are raising families, try ex-reactionary racialists now moving on to folk-centered idealism, try ex-NS’ers [National Socialists] that just got worn out on ‘88’ [code for “Heil Hitler”] and Sieg Heiling cameras as a purported answer to our folk's problems.”
The Public Face of Ecofascism
Publically, NATA insists that they are not fascists, because they count Jews among their members, as well as people of color. And these are not just token friends, like the ones that “respectable racist” David Duke mentions in screeds like “The Talmudic Roots of Jewish Supremacism.” One of NATA’s cofounders, Miguel Peralta, is a person of color—so what if he and other co-founders helped host an event for Holocaust denier David Irving? Peralta’s ignominious record also includes being kicked out of Anarchist People of Color's Facebook group and hosting a screening of the latest Mumia documentary, Long Distance Revolutionary, against the wishes of its distributor (who did not want to be associated with NATA).
Bay Area National Anarchist founder Andrew Yeoman whines, “the Anarchist People of Color had a well-known meeting in Detroit in which they prohibited white people from entering. It was seen as this progressive thing not to allow white people into their meeting so they could pursue their black agenda or whatever. I really saw that as a huge contradiction between behavior that was allowable for certain kinds of people but not people of my descent.” Like Yeoman, NATA refuses to acknowledge the fact that ubiquitous white privilege has made people of color spaces necessarily radical on the one hand, and white people exclusive spaces the hegemonic norm on the other. By insisting on racially separatist white organizing, excluding people of color, NATA simply furthers the white power agenda.
NATA’s attempts to court people of color seem to promise a rekindling of Fred Hampton’s coalition of Young Lords, Black Panthers, and Young Patriots; however, it is more of a revanchist attempt by white right-wingers to generate power towards their own aims than it is a practical approach to popular organizing. It is no surprise that anarchists throughout North America have shunned and excluded NATA. The supporters of the group were kicked out of the Bay Area by antifascists after participating in the xenophobic Minutemen March, among other things, and the New York chapter has been hounded out of most, if not all, radical spaces. As well as turning his back on Yeoman, Fitzgerald attempted to picket ABC NoRio, a last bastion of the radical squatter scene, but again found no traction. NATA currently announces itself as anti-anti-fascist, due to what they see as an “authoritarian witch hunt.”
To forward its “radical” cred, NATA has glommed onto quaint ecological ideas. “We try as much as possible to be involved with and promote a culture of small scale organic family farms and intentional communities,” states Fitzgerald. “Because the natural environment plays such a central role in all of our lives, it should be a local focus for moving forward in a decentralized world. If individual communities can learn how to ecologically protect and nurture their land, the earth will benefit much more than if people continue to rely on governments and large NGO’s to ‘save’ or ‘protect’ the environment, especially when these institutions are in league with polluting corporations. Not only that, but we need food to live, and our sustenance comes from the land. We should not only be working the land to survive, but also to reestablish the harmonious relationship humanity used to have with the earth.”
Through this and other narratives of the supposed historic harmoniousness of white people with the land, NATA is attempting to practice their Entryism by co-opting Marcellus Shale Earth First!’s efforts to put and end to fracking through direct action. It is clear, however, that National Anarchism is, itself, a vehicle of Entryism for the larger white supremacy movement. Their hope is that the US might engage in a kind of revival of the Occupy movement, and that NATA would provide glue between leftists and rightists—white supremacists and black nationalists rising up against the state and generating “National Autonomous Zones” where the "Natural Order" of racism would be allowed to thrive.
In 2012, the number of anti-government white “Patriot” groups rose to the highest ever, while the number of hate groups remained over 1,000, having nearly doubled in the last 12 years. A recent AP poll has also shown marked rises in anti-black and anti-latino sentiment among whites in the US. White nationalists’ involvement with radical movements can only lead to misdirection and disruption, presenting dire consequences for the future of social organizing—just as it has done in Ukraine. Truly radical struggle must break down those racialized boundaries of fear that gentrification, mass incarceration, and community policing engenders. It cannot further romanticize the idea of “racial enclaves,” or, rather, ghettos. In their transparent attempts to capitalize off of both radical, emancipatory sentiment and rising racist reaction, the National Anarchists are about as far away from radical struggle as they come.
Alexander Reid Ross is a contributing moderator of the Earth First! Newswire. He is the editor of Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab (AK Press 2014) and a contributor to Life During Wartime (AK Press 2013). This article is also being published at earthfirstjournal.org/newswire.