Antifa: A look at the anti-fascist movement…

Confronting white supremacists in the streets

AMY GOODMAN: To look more at the antifascist movement, known as antifa, we’re joined by Mark Bray, lecturer at Dartmouth College. His new book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.

First, pronounce it for us, Mark, and then talk about antifa.

MARK BRAY: Yes, well, it’s pronounced on’-tee-fah. The emphasis is on the first syllable, and it’s pronounced more on than an, so on’-tee-fah. It’s commonly mispronounced. But antifa, of course, is short for antifascist.

And, you know, President Trump’s comments that the alt—quote-unquote, “alt-left” and alt-right are equivalent moral forces is really historically misinformed and morally bankrupt. The antifascist movement has a global history that stretches back over—about a century. You can trace them to Italian opposition to Mussolini’s Blackshirts, German opposition to Hitler’s Brownshirts, antifascists from around the world who had traveled to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. More recently, modern antifa can largely trace its roots to the antifascist movement in Britain in the ’70s, and the postwar period more generally, that was responding to a xenophobic backlash against predominantly Caribbean and South Asian migration, also to the German autonomous movement of the ’80s, which, really, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, had to respond to a really unprecedented neo-Nazi wave—unprecedented in the postwar period, of course.

And then, in the United States, we can look at anti-racist action in the 1980s, 1990s and the early 2000s, which took some of these methods of confronting neo-Nazis and fascists wherever they assemble, shutting down their organizing and, as they said, going where they go. Today, in an article I wrote for The Washington Post called “Who are the antifa?” I explain this and show how today’s antifa in the United States are really picking up the tradition where these groups left off. And their movement has really accelerated with the unfortunate ascendance of the alt-right following President Trump.

The other minor note I want to make before we continue is that antifa is really only one faction of a larger movement against white supremacy that dates back centuries and includes a whole number—there are a whole number of groups that fight against similar foes, sometimes using the same methods, that aren’t necessarily antifascists. So, it’s important not to subsume the entire anti-racist movement within this sort of one category.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Mark Bray, in your book—and I want to quote a few lines from it—you say, “Most people have an ‘all-or-nothing’ understanding of fascism that prevents them from taking fascists seriously until they seize power. … Very few really believe that there is any serious chance of a fascistic regime ever materializing in America.” And I’m wondering about that and the importance of understanding that concept of yours, for those who are looking at what’s happening today in America.

MARK BRAY: Right. So, the way people understand fascism, or the way they’ve been taught about it, is generally exclusively in terms of regimes. So, the thought goes, as long as we have parliamentary government, we’re safe. But we can look back to the historical examples of Italy and Germany and see that, unfortunately, parliamentary government was insufficient to prevent the stop—to prevent the rise of fascism and Nazism, and actually provided a red carpet to their advance. So, because of that reason, people think of fascism in terms of all or nothing, regime or nothing.

But we can see in Charlottesville that any amount of neo-Nazi organizing, any amount of a fascist presence, is potentially fatal. And, unfortunately, Heather Heyer paid the price for that. So that’s partly why antifascists argue that fascism must be nipped in the bud from the beginning, that any kind of organizing needs to be confronted and responded to. Even if, you know, people are spending most of their time on Twitter making jokes, it’s still very serious and needs to be confronted.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you—can you talk about—I mean, very interesting, during the South Carolina protests against the white supremacists, there were flags of Republicans in Spain fighting Franco.

MARK BRAY: Right. So, one of the most iconic moments in antifascist history is the Spanish Civil War, and, from an international perspective, the role of the International Brigades, brave antifascists who came from dozens of countries around the world to stand up to Franco’s forces. Franco had the institutional support of Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, whereas the Republican side really only had support of the Soviet Union, which, as I discuss in my book, had a lot of problematic aspects to it. So, if we look at the role of the International Brigades, we can see that antifascists view their struggle as transnational and transhistorical. And so, today, if you go to an antifascist demonstration in Spain, for example, the flag of the International Brigades, the flag of the Spanish Republic is ubiquitous. And these symbols, even the double flags of antifascism that people will frequently see at demonstrations, often one being red, one being black, was originally developed as a German symbol, which, in its earliest incarnation, dates back to the 1930s. So, it’s important to look at antifa not just as sort of a random thought experiment that some crazy kids came up with to respond to the far right, but rather a tradition that dates back a century.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You also talk, in your examples, of other countries, not only the period of the 1930s and ’40s, but more recent periods, in England in the ’80s, and in Greece, as well, even more recently, and the importance of direct action by antifascists to nip in the bud or to beat back the rise of fascist movements.

MARK BRAY: Right. So, part of what I try to do with my book, Antifa, is draw certain historical lessons from the early period of antifascist struggle that can be applied to the struggle today. One of them is that it doesn’t take a lot of organized fascists to sometimes develop a really powerful movement. We can see that recently with the rise of Golden Dawn, the fascist party in Greece, which, prior to the financial crisis, was really a tiny micro-party and considered a joke by most. Subsequently, they became a major party in Greek politics and a major threat, a violent, deadly threat, to migrants and leftists and people of all stripes across Greek society. This was also true back in the early part of the 20th century, when Mussolini’s initial fascist nucleus was a hundred people. When Hiller first attended his first meeting of the German Workers’ Party, which he later transformed into the Nazi Party, they had 54 members. So, we need to see that there’s always a potential for small movements to become large.

And one of the other lessons of the beginning of the 20th century is that people did not take fascism and Nazism seriously until it was too late. That mistake will never be made again by antifascists, who will recognize that any manifestation of these politics is dangerous and needs to be confronted as if it could be the nucleus of some sort of deadly movement or regime of the future.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted you to talk, Mark Bray, about the presence of Stephen Bannon and Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller in the White House and what that means to antifa, to the antifascist movement.

MARK BRAY: Right. Well, the other side of it is it’s not just about how many people are part of fascist or neo-Nazi groups. It’s also about the fact that far-right politics have the ability to infiltrate and influence and direct mainstream politics. And we can see that with the alt-right. The alt-right is not really actually a lot of people in terms of numbers, but they’ve had a disproportionate influence on the Trump administration and certain aspects of public discourse. So, the presence of Bannon and Gorka and Miller in the White House really just gives some sort of a hint as to why it is that Trump yesterday basically said there are good people on both sides of this conflict, that Friday night, when there were neo-Nazis wielding torches in Nazi style and they attacked nonviolent UVA student protesters, that he said, “Oh, well, you know, these are good people.”

So, part of it is the organized street presence, but, as we saw, by confronting the organized street presence in Charlottesville, this created the question of just how bad these people are, because—you played earlier, Mitt Romney condemned the fact that there could be blame ascribed to both sides. Well, prior to Charlottesville, that was the dominant media narrative. Most mainstream media was saying, “Oh, well, we have, quote-unquote, ‘violence’ on both sides. Hands up. Who’s to say who’s right or wrong?” But by confronting this, by putting it in the spotlight, by shining a light on what these people really think, it’s shifted the public discourse and pushed back the ability of some of these alt-right figures to try and cloak their fascism.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what do you say, for instance, to those who maybe are opposed to the viewpoints of the white nationalists and white supremacists, but also attempt to condemn any attempts to shut them—shut them down or not allow them to speak? Or—and, obviously, the American Civil Liberties Union fought for the right of the Charlottesville—the white nationalists to have their rally in Charlottesville.

MARK BRAY: Right. Well, the question of how to combat fascism, I think, always needs to come back to discussions of the 1930s and 1940s. So, clearly, we can see that rational discourse and debate was insufficient. Clearly, we can see that the mechanisms of parliamentary government were insufficient. We need to be able to come up with a way to say, “How can we make sure never again?” By any means necessary, this can never happen again. And the people back there who witnessed these atrocities committed themselves to that.

So the question is: OK, if you don’t think that it’s appropriate to physically confront and to stand in front of neo-Nazis who are trying to organize for another genocide now, do you do it after someone has died, as they just did? Do you do it after a dozen people have died? Do you do it once they’re at the footsteps of power? At what point? At what point do you say, “Enough is enough,” and give up on the liberal notion that what we need to do is essentially create some sort of a regime of rights that allow neo-Nazis and their victims to coexist, quote-unquote, “peacefully,” and recognize that the neo-Nazis don’t want that and that also the antifascists are right in not looking at it through that liberal lens, but rather seeing fascism not as an opinion that needs to be responded to respectfully, but as an enemy to humanity that needs to be stopped by any means necessary?

AMY GOODMAN: This is Part 1 of our conversation, Mark Bray. We’ll do Part 2 and post it online at democracynow.org. Mark Bray is the author of a book that is coming out in the next few weeks called Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. He is a lecturer at Dartmouth College.

Charlottesville: A gun in his face, but he got the photo

“Welcome to Charlottesville, USA. Trump’s America, month eight”

Don’t look away. Four white neo-Nazis are beating a Black man, crawling on the ground, with their metal poles and a yellow hunk of lumber. The beating continues — there’s blood on the pavement.

Our photographer, Zach D. Roberts, continues to shoot — even as a white militant raises a 9mm pistol to his face.

Zach got a shot of the gun and gunman, too. Luckily, the gunman didn’t shoot back.

One photo has gone viral internationally. These others we bring you here because they must be seen. Including, for the first time, the gunman.

Welcome to Charlottesville, USA. Trump’s America, month eight.

The young victim is De’Andre Harris, a special education teacher in Charlottesville.

According to the President, the violence was perpetrated on “many sides.” The only sides I see are the beaters and the beaten; De’Andre on the ground with the alt-Right storm troopers with weapons.

Zach D. Roberts is an investigative photojournalist who has been with the Palast Investigations team for eleven years.

Here is Zach’s report:

De’Andre Harris, the school teacher, was walking down the street with friends, trading taunts with the white supremacist demonstrators.

Harris’ jibes were hardly fighting words. “Go home! Leave town!” Locals like Harris resented the jack-ass invasion.

That’s when fists flew and Harris was slammed by one of the white guys straight into a parking lot barrier so hard the yellow wooden arm broke.

De’Andre fell to the ground, alone, surrounded by all these white guys — and they started beating him with the poles that almost all the white supremacists were carrying.

In the photos, you can see one white guy picking up the yellow barrier arm and raising the three foot hunk of lumber high over his head before he brings it down on De’Andre — who is being kicked by another white man’s boots while two others bring down metal rods on the prone man.

And no, that’s not a cop on the left in the photo — that’s a neo-Nazi in full riot gear. (Where were the cops? Good question: this parking garage is next to the Charlottesville Police Station.)

De’Andre was saved when some gutsy young Black men — with no weapons — ran into the underground garage, which promted the white posse to scatter.

Except for one. The gunman.

He pulled out what looks to be a 9mm pistol, maybe a Glock semi-automatic, and positioned himself to fire on the rescue squad. But then he heard the click of Zach’s camera, just three feet away, and realized he was getting photographed.

Simultaneously, Zach realized he’d left his bullet-proof vest in his car. (I’ll have that discussion with him later.)

In this strange stand-off, the camera proved mightier than the bullet. In his tiny little brain, the would-be shooter figured it would be wiser to quickly conceal the weapon and flee.

De’Andre “ran into the garage’s staircase and collapsed bleeding profusely from the face.” Zach waited with him and his protectors for half an hour but no ambulance arrived for him or the other people who were injured.

So, that’s the news from Trump’s USA. Nazis marching in the street, nuclear war with Korea, the “military option” for Venezuela. And it’s only Monday.

I was going to write about Korea, then Venezuela, but then the Armed Alt-Righteous exposed themselves to Zach’s lens.

The Virginia story is not over. We will be going back to Virginia on September 9, to the capital, Richmond, to fight for the right for Black folk to arm themselves with the one weapon these white punks fear most: the vote.

Between snapping photos of America gone mad, Zach has been working these past four years with me on a story of how Trump’s henchman, one Kris Kobach, now head of Trump’s so-called, “Election Integrity Commission,” conceived of a secretive program to remove hundreds of thousands of Black Americans from the voter rolls.

Virginia removed an astonishing 41,637 voters based on Kobach’s accusation they could have voted twice. Not one of the accused was arrested — but, you won’t be surprised to hear, the list of the “scrubbed” was filled with African-American names. And Virginia is removing tens of thousands more with this Jim Crow tactic — despite a nominally Democratic Governor, Terry McAuliffe.

Virginia refused us their “scrub” lists. But Zach Roberts, by stellar investigative work, obtained a copy — half a million names in all — much to the state’s dismay. And those lists are every bit as obscenely racist and, in the long run, far more wounding, than the iron rods of the neo-Nazis.

So, thank you, Zach, for the photos that bear witness and inside documents that reveal their secret schemes.

For the rest of us, our job is simpler: not to look away.

Social engineering via media 101…

How to normalize the absurd

Ever pay attention to trends in the media? Some stories and narratives rise and fall in cycles, along with your awareness of them. It’s kind of like a shell game, where the street hustler directs your attention to one shell as a distraction while he shuffles aside the nut with the goods in it. A ‘now you see it, now you don’t,’ kind of thing.

When you see the same story arise frequently in the mainstream media, you can bet that it’s something you’re supposed to be looking at.

You see, the major corporate media operates from talking points and top-down directives. A mere 6 corporations owns some 90% of all the major media outlets, and as corporations do, they rule by memos from up high.

The Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien knows this, and he rips on the media for the insane homogenization of local news. He does this bit where his team edits together actual footage of local newscasters from around the country saying the exact same thing, word for word, but, each anchor-person personalizes it with their own inflection, pausing, intonation and so on. It’s hilarious, but at the same time disturbing because it shockingly demonstrates how ideas are forced into the mainstream of today’s corporate culture.

Have a look. This always cracks me up. Not in a ‘ha ha’ sort of way, though, more like in a ‘ha ha, aren’t we gullible,’ kind of way. Big difference.

The point is, when you see a story being played over and again on various news outlets, you have good reason to believe that the information isn’t coming to you organically. It’s not something you really need to know or something that is genuinely relevant to day-to-day life in your community. It’s the execution of an agenda. The information is being deliberately disseminated to manufacture awareness and recalibrate the standard for normal. It’s something the corporate media wants you to focus on. Like in the shell game.

When you understand this fundamental of corporate media, the landscape of information today looks totally different. You’re able to see narratives unfold and evolve, and able to recognize when your attention is deliberately being drawn towards an issue. Or away from an issue.

Here are a few examples from the present that when taken as everyday happenstance may seem benign, but have serious implications for the future of society and for the human race at large. The fact that these issues are being presented with noticeable frequency these days is a red flag that there is some larger agenda in the works. The norms, values and standards in our culture are being tweaked, or twerked, and attacked by the repetition of such information.

Vaccines – This is perhaps one of the most common issues thrust on the public in order to fabricate widespread public support for a questionable and very profitable practice. The one-sidedness of the debate on this sensitive issued has successfully created a society where people now openly demand forced medical procedures on others to alleviate a perceived fear.

Gender Neutrality – This is the idea that a person’s biological gender is somehow fluid against their opinion of themselves. There is an apparent effort to make us believe that those with confusion over their gender are horribly oppressed and in danger, and that they need to be protected with censorship and speech laws. The aim here is to promote the virtues of censorship, and to develop a generation of people who don’t value procreation and the advancement of the human race, but rather shallow social issues and a perceived sense of justice.

Sex Robots – Robot sex toys are increasingly being put in front of the public and lauded as the future of companionship. News stories on the latest advancements in robot sex dolls are ubiquitous these days. We are being told they make great life partners and that they sufficiently synthesize the experience of being with a real woman (or man). The end game here is to further disconnect people from each other, and perhaps also to assist in a broader depopulation agenda by persuading us that sex with plastic and electronics is as good as or better than the real thing. Look for birth rates to decline further as these creepy sex toys become more popular.

Microchipping – Some call this the ‘mark of the beast,’ but the idea of microchipping people for their supposed convenience is being pushed out onto all the major media channels as a great way to take part in our technological future. Issues of privacy, tyranny, and the abuse of power are hardly examined. Feature stories on acquiescent corporate employees who willingly take the chip make it seem as though chipping is fashionable.

These are just a few examples, but the technique in play here is a fundamental method of social engineering via media.

Among the regular flow of info, certain topics or subjects are thrust into public consciousness with regularity. The issues are never quite framed as critically important, but rather positioned as matter-of-fact, sign-of-the-times. Opposing arguments or viewpoints are never fully explored. Frame it in such a way that it seems exciting and cutting edge. Normalize it by mixing it in with everyday things, and repeating it. Make it seem like the future is here now, and that there is a bandwagon you need to get in on order to be part of the gang.

This method works. It’s called conditioning. An idea as reprehensible as exchanging human-on-human love for sex with elaborate robots would have been shocking and totally unacceptable a few generations ago. But, slowly raise awareness of the wonders of this new technology over time, and people become curious rather than repulsed. It becomes normalized.

There really is nothing you can do about living in such a changing world, except opt-out of the insanity, stupidity and self-destructive tendencies being framed as wholesome cultural advances. To make good decisions in this regard, it’s imperative to be able to process information in a way that acknowledges the true nature of corporate/government propaganda.

Social engineering is real. It’s happening all around you. Are you paying attention?

What the North Korean “crisis” is really about…

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The North Korean “crisis” is a Washington orchestration. North Korea was last at war 1950-53. N. Korea has not attacked or invaded anyone in 64 years. N. Korea lacks the military strength to attack any country, such as South Korea and Japan, that is protected by the US. Moreover, China would not permit N. Korea to start a war.

So what is the demonization of N. Korea by the presstitutes and Trump administration about?

It is about the same thing that the demonization of Iran was about. The “Iranian threat” was an orchestration that was used as cover to put US anti-ballistic missile bases on Russia’s borders. An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is intended to intercept and destroy nuclear-armed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and prevent them from reaching their targets.

Washington claimed that the anti-ABM bases were not directed at Russia, but were for the protection of Europe against Iran’s nuclear ICBMs. Insouciant Americans might have believed this, but the Russians surely did not as Iran has neither ICBMs nor nuclear weapons. The Russian government has made it clear that Russia understands the US bases are directed at preventing a Russian retalliation against a Washington first strike.

The Chinese government also is not stupid. The Chinese leadership understands that the reason for the N. Korean “crisis” is to provide cover for Washington to put anti-ballistic missile sites near China’s border.

In other words, Washington is creating a shield against nuclear retalliation from both Russia and China from a US nuclear strike against both countries.

China has been more forceful in its reply to Washington’s efforts than have the Russians. China has demanded an immediate halt to the US deployment of missiles in South Korea. https://www.rt.com/news/386828-china-thaad-south-korea/

In order to keep Americans confused, Washington now calls anti-ABMs THAAD, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense. China understands that THAAD has nothing whatsoever to do with N. Korea, which borders S. Korea, making it pointless for N. Korea to attack S. Korea with ICBMs.

THAAD in S. Korea is directed against China’s retaliatory forces. It is part of Washington’s preparations to nuke both Russia and China with minimal consequence to the US, although Europe would certainly be completely destroyed as THAAD or anti-ABMs are useless against Russian nuclear cruise missiles and the Russian air force.

But no Empire has ever cared about the fate of its vassals, and Washington is uninterested in Europe’s fate. Washington is interested only in its hegemony over the world.

The question is: now that Russia and China understand that Washington is preparing for a preemptive nuclear strike against them in order to remove the two constraints on Washington’s unilateral behavior, will the two countries sit there and wait for the strike?

What would you do?

Universal basic income: A ‘humane’ idea whose time has come, or a $3 trillion black hole?

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What if the federal government gave everyone a check, every month?

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk and Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg are among those who say universal basic income, or UBI, is a good idea. With inequality widening, the idea of an unconditional, periodic cash payment that the government makes to everyone has suddenly become a hot topic.

The idea is whether a person is unemployed or wealthy, a $1,000 monthly government check could replace all current welfare programs, including Social Security.

“I think it would theoretically be superior to the existing social welfare system,” Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told CNBC’s “On The Money” in an interview. “It would be more efficient. It would be more humane and it would be a lot less paternalistic.”

The robots are coming

The conversation about UBI has reached a crescendo as the workforce leans more heavily on technology. Nearly half of all U.S. jobs could be replaced by robots in the next decade or two, according to an Oxford University study.

Last November, Tesla’s Musk said there was “a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that,” as a rising number of workers lose jobs due to automation.

UBI supporters say the cash from the government could fund basic needs, like food and housing, freeing people up to find new jobs in the digital economy.

“A lot of people when they first hear this idea really like it,” said Jason Furman, former chief economic advisor to President Obama. That is, until you read the fine print.

“And then when you look at the details it turns out it just doesn’t work,” Furman explained to CNBC. “It costs two to three trillion dollars. You would need to double the current income tax to make it work.”

Furman, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, added that “the premise underlying it is wrong too. There’s going to be a lot of automation but there’s also going to be a lot of jobs and our focus should be on making sure people can get those jobs not giving up. And universal basic income represents giving up in the face of that challenge.”

Yet Tanner took aim at the current social safety net. He argued the current “social welfare system spends nearly one trillion dollars a year fighting poverty, and it doesn’t do a very good job of enabling people to rise and get out of poverty and to be in control of their lives.”

He added: “Looking for some new alternative for that is not a bad idea.”

The debate has been heightened by Europe’s experiments in providing UBI to citizens, which have had mixed results. Those experiments have amplified calls to try a similar approach in the U.S.

“Our current system is certainly imperfect, I don’t want to be the defender of the status quo,” said Furman. He cited research where current government anti-welfare programs “that invest in children” providing food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers are successful and “increase their mobility.”

Yet Furman added that “it’s too simplistic to say, just write everyone a check, let’s spend trillions of dollars doing that, rather than doing the hard work of trying to get the (government) programs right.”

Tanner countered that it’s hard to determine which federal programs are effective and which aren’t. “We have over a hundred different welfare programs all with different rules and regulations. They’re overseen by dozens of different agencies. Simplifying, consolidating and moving to cash would make a great deal of difference I think.”

So might a UBI program work in America? “We don’t have a lot of wide scale evidence yet there are a number of ongoing experiments in places like Finland, the Netherlands and Canada,” Tanner acknowledged.

Still, Furman doesn’t see UBI or the “rise of the robots” as coming anytime soon.

“Maybe 50 or 100 years from now we have enough robots to make everything and they can just hand the proceeds over to us,” the academic said. “But I’m trying to think in the scale of the next 10, 20, 30 years, (robots) are not going to take our jobs on any time scale that I’m capable of envisioning.”

“I hope the way that he [Trump] is looked back on in history is that he was the vehicle that moved the alt-right movement, the white identity movement in the United States, back into the forefront of the political scene”

VIA

While the neo-fascist alt-right is not entirely happy with President Donald Trump’s first few months in office, one thing for which they are grateful is that the new administration is giving them free reign to engage in building their movement, completely unencumbered by any law enforcement scrutiny of their activities.

“He’s going to give us space to destroy,” Michael Peinovich, the creator of The Right Stuff, an alt-right podcast network said during a Sunday guest appearance on “Fash the Nation,” the movement’s most popular web radio show.

Peinovich, who also goes by the pen name “Mike Enoch,” was referencing a 2015 remark by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, then the mayor of Baltimore, which some people interpreted as giving support to rioters who committed numerous acts of violence in the city following the acquittal of several police officers who had been on trial for the death of a black resident.

“He’s going to give us space to operate, and frankly, it is space to destroy,” Peinovich continued.

“Now is the time that we have to make hay while the sun shines . . . while these investigations of ‘domestic terrorist groups’ are not being funded by the government, they’re not being pushed by the Department of Homeland Security” argued one of the co-hosts of the program, an anonymous former Republican political staffer who calls himself Jazzhands McFeels.

“We’d probably be facing fucking [racketeering] charges or some shit like that,” Peinovich said, discussing what he believed might have happened if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election.

“We have to use these four years to grow into something that can’t be defeated by that kind of thing,” Peinovich said, referring to possible future investigations of neo-fascist groups.

Some parts of the Trump administration actively want to encourage the growth of the alt-right, the former Hill staffer “Jazzhands McFeels” said, claiming that Trump’s top strategist Steve Bannon secretly was trying to enable the fringe movement.

“They kind of expect us to be doing this. I’m not saying he’s our guy, but they want — at least Bannon, I would think — wants us to be able to operate in that space. So we should and we are,” he said.

Both podcasters’ statements were met with agreement by podcast guest Richard Spencer, an alt-right editor who operates a series of niche web publications and conferences catering to self-styled racist intellectuals who has since tried to rebrand himself as more of an activist.

In 2016, Bannon told Mother Jones writer Sarah Posner that Breitbart News, the website he oversaw before going to work for Trump, was “the platform for the alt-right.” Subsequently, the White House strategist claimed that he was referring to the anti-Washington ethos that permeates the larger Republican base.

As a matter of policy, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation do not publicize ongoing investigations but presumably, given how tightly knight the small alt-right movement is, the two podcasters likely have some knowledge about the lack of law enforcement oversight.

One government policy area which does appear to have changed under Trump is that government grants to non-profit groups that seek to combat domestic extremism appear to have been frozen.

Those funds were to be disbursed under a program called Countering Violent Extremism which was approved by the GOP Congress and former president Barack Obama shortly before he left office in January of this year.

In February, Reuters reported that the Trump administration had decided to take the $10 million budget of the program, which was supposed to be given to private-sector groups trying to discourage extremism of all types, and redirect it toward counteracting Islamist influence only. The program itself would be renamed the “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” initiative, according to the wire service. Since that report, several nonprofit groups which had been approved for funding allocations have publicly stated that they have not received any information from the federal government, despite the fact that the money was supposed to be disbursed within 30 days.

“I hope the way that he [Trump] is looked back on in history is that he was the vehicle that moved the alt-right movement, the white identity movement in the United States, back into the forefront of the political scene,” Peinovich said on the podcast.

While he is not as widely covered in the political press as some other alt-right activists, Peinovich’s “The Right Stuff” podcast network currently hosts over a dozen neofascist web radio shows that in total have hundreds of thousands of downloads every week, far in excess of the audience the podcasts of many nationally syndicated conservative radio hosts.

The Right Stuff has begun recovering some of its audience after Peinovich was exposed in January as having a Jewish wife. His business partner claimed after he was “doxxed” that Peinovich was “separating” from her but neither activist has ever offered any proof of the assertion.

Socialism’s future may be it’s past…

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One hundred years after Lenin’s sealed train arrived at Finland Station and set into motion the events that led to Stalin’s gulags, the idea that we should return to this history for inspiration might sound absurd. But there was good reason that the Bolsheviks once called themselves “social democrats.” They were part of a broad movement of growing parties that aimed to fight for greater political democracy and, using the wealth and the new working class created by capitalism, extend democratic rights into the social and economic spheres, which no capitalist would permit.

The early Communist movement never rejected this broad premise. It was born out of a sense of betrayal by the more moderate left-wing parties of the Second International, the alliance of socialist and labor parties from 20 countries that formed in Paris in 1889. Across Europe, party after party did the unthinkable, abandoned their pledges to working-class solidarity for all nations, and backed their respective governments in World War I. Those that remained loyal to the old ideas called themselves Communists to distance themselves from the socialists who had abetted a slaughter that claimed 16 million lives. (Amid the carnage, the Second International itself fell apart in 1916.)

Of course, the Communists’ noble gambit to stop the war and blaze a humane path to modernity in backward Russia ended up seemingly affirming the Burkean notion that any attempt to upturn an unjust order would end up only creating another.

Most socialists have been chastened by the lessons of 20th-century Communism. Today, many who would have cheered on the October Revolution have less confidence about the prospects for radically transforming the world in a single generation. They put an emphasis instead on political pluralism, dissent and diversity.

Still, the specter of socialism evokes fear of a new totalitarianism. A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation report worries that young people are likely to view socialism favorably and that a “Bernie Sanders bounce” may be contributing to a millennial turn against capitalism. Last year, the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J. Donohue, even found it necessary to remind readers that “Socialism Is a Dangerous Path for America.”

The right still denounces socialism as an economic system that will lead to misery and privation, but with less emphasis on the political authoritarianism that often went hand in hand with socialism in power. This may be because elites today do not have democratic rights at the forefront of their minds — perhaps because they know that the societies they run are hard to justify on those terms.

Capitalism is an economic system: a way of organizing production for the market through private ownership and the profit motive. To the extent that it has permitted democracy, it has been with extreme reluctance. That’s why early workers’ movements like Britain’s Chartists in the early 19th century organized, first and foremost, for democratic rights. Capitalist and socialist leaders alike believed that the struggle for universal suffrage would encourage workers to use their votes in the political sphere to demand an economic order that put them in control.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Across the West, workers came to accept a sort of class compromise. Private enterprise would be tamed, not overcome, and a greater share of a growing pie would go to providing universal benefits through generous welfare states. Political rights would be enshrined, too, as capitalism evolved and adapted such that a democratic civil society and an authoritarian economic system made an unlikely, but seemingly successful, pairing.

In 2017, that arrangement is long dead. With working-class movements dormant, capital has run amok, charting a destructive course without even the promise of sustained growth. The anger that led to the election of Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit vote in Britain is palpable. People feel as if they’re on a runaway train to an unknown destination and, for good reason, want back to familiar miseries.

Amid this turmoil, some fear a return to Finland Station via the avuncular shrugs of avowedly socialist leaders like Mr. Sanders and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France. But the threat to democracy today is coming from the right, not the left. Politics seems to present two ways forward, both decidedly non-Stalinist forms of authoritarian collectivism.

“Singapore Station” is the unacknowledged destination of the neoliberal center’s train. It’s a place where people in all their creeds and colors are respected — so long as they know their place. After all, people are crass and irrational, incapable of governing. Leave running Singapore Station to the experts.

This is a workable vision for elites who look at the rise of an erratic right-wing populism with justified fear. Many of them argue the need for austerity measures to maintain a fragile global economy, and worry that voters won’t take their short-term pain to spare themselves long-term dysfunction. The same goes for the looming threat of climate change: The science is undisputed among scientists, but is still up for debate in the public sphere.

The Singapore model is not the worst of all possible end points. It’s one where experts are allowed to be experts, capitalists are allowed to accumulate, and ordinary workers are allowed a semblance of stability. But it leaves no room for the train’s passengers to yell “Stop!” and pick a destination of their own choosing.

“Budapest Station,” named after the powerful right-wing parties that dominate Hungary today, is the final stop for the populist right. Budapest allows us to at least feel like we’re back in charge. We get there by decoupling some of the cars hurtling us forward and slowly reversing. We’re all in this together, unless you’re an outsider who doesn’t have a ticket, and then tough luck.

The “Trump train” is headed this way. President Trump can’t offer tangible gains for ordinary people by challenging elites, but he can offer a surface-level valorization of “the worker” and stoke anger at the alleged causes of national decline — migrants, bad trade deals, cosmopolitan globalists. The press, academia and any other noncompliant parts of civil society are under attack. Meanwhile, other than having to adjust to more protectionism and restrictive immigration policies, it’s business as usual for most corporations.

But there is a third alternative: back to “Finland Station,” with all the lessons of the past. This time, people get to vote. Well, debate and deliberate and then vote — and have faith that people can organize together to chart new destinations for humanity.

Stripped down to its essence, and returned to its roots, socialism is an ideology of radical democracy. In an era when liberties are under attack, it seeks to empower civil society to allow participation in the decisions that affect our lives. A huge state bureaucracy, of course, can be just as alienating and undemocratic as corporate boardrooms, so we need to think hard about the new forms that social ownership could take.

Some broad outlines should already be clear: Worker-owned cooperatives, still competing in a regulated market; government services coordinated with the aid of citizen planning; and the provision of the basics necessary to live a good life (education, housing and health care) guaranteed as social rights. In other words, a world where people have the freedom to reach their potentials, whatever the circumstances of their birth.

We can get to this Finland Station only with the support of a majority; that’s one reason that socialists are such energetic advocates of democracy and pluralism. But we can’t ignore socialism’s loss of innocence over the past century. We may reject the version of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as crazed demons and choose to see them as well-intentioned people trying to build a better world out of a crisis, but we must work out how to avoid their failures.

That project entails a return to social democracy. Not the social democracy of François Hollande, but that of the early days of the Second International. This social democracy would involve a commitment to a free civil society, especially for oppositional voices; the need for institutional checks and balances on power; and a vision of a transition to socialism that does not require a “year zero” break with the present.

Our 21st-century Finland Station won’t be a paradise. You might feel heartbreak and misery there. But it will be a place that allows so many now crushed by inequity to participate in the creation of a new world.