The entire racist radical right may be working to rebrand under the “Alt-Right” banner, a meme-crazed digital wing of the white nationalist movement known for online harassment campaigns. But they haven’t managed to get over the infighting and hypocrisy that has riddled the movement for decades.
Last week, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the Daily Stormer, the most-read neo-Nazi website, posted a story to address concerns some have voiced over aligning the Alt-Right with what has been dubbed the “Alt-Light” –– a constellation of far-right, libertarian leaning provocateurs who shy away from hardcore anti-Semitism in favor of targeting political correctness and so-called cultural Marxism.
The article, titled “Purity Tests are Absolute Poison to the Alt-Right,” warned that dismissing potential converts if they hold weaker positions would almost certainly doom the movement’s growth.
“I would like to offer that the purity test is absolute poison to this movement, and we need to be aware that those pushing it are either deranged, obsessed for personal reasons with making sure we remain a fringe group, or pushing it for (((someone else))),” Anglin wrote.
In the post, Anglin’s came to the defense of Tim Gionet, better known as “Baked Alaska,” who was under attack from some Daily Stormer readers after a string of recent tweets about the influence of Jews on society. Gionet, the alleged founder of MAGA3X, a group throwing a high-profile inauguration party dubbed “The Deploraball,” has worked for Buzzfeed and supported Black Lives Matter. His seemingly rapid political reversal has caused some at the Daily Stormer to accuse him of insincerity.
Mike Cernovich, another major figure in the Alt-Right constellation known for his role in the manosphere, is responsible for Gionet’s ban from the MAGA3X inauguration party. The two have since been involved in a very public fight over the issue, which came to a head when Breitbart Tech editor and professional exhibitionist Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to attend “The Deploraball,” having previously said he would only attend as the headliner.
Anglin delighted in the tweets from Gionet, who has repeatedly argued that the Alt-Right is inherently anti-Semitic. “The goal [of the Alt-Right] is to ethnically cleanse White nations of non-Whites and establish an authoritarian government,” Anglin wrote in August. “Many people also believe the Jews should be exterminated.”
Anglin, who has extensively written about his own incongruous path to neo-Nazism, has embraced Gionet and used the squabble to once again decry the rise of the Alt-Light, or as he refers to it, the “alt-k---.” This includes people like Cernovich, Yiannopoulos and Gionet, all of whom latched on to the Alt-Right to extol the evils of political correctness, but do not otherwise hold white nationalist or anti-Semitic positions.
The difference is one that has shaken the figureheads of the Alt-Right, many of whom have struggled to define just what ideologies the label includes.
Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents, in a recent piece titled, “White Nationalism, the Alt Right, & the Alt Light,” labored to make a finer point on the definition.
“The Alt Light differs from the mainstream of proposition nation conservatives by opposing economic globalization and open borders in favor of nationalism, upholding the superiority of “Western” culture and values, and opposing feminism and political correctness,” Johnson explained.
“This is why the Alt Right brand was so valuable to White Nationalists,” he continued. “It brought together people who rejected the conservative mainstream without requiring that they avow any specific ideology, especially those that might be outside their comfort zone, including White Nationalism and most especially National Socialism.”
But Anglin’s willingness to adopt “Alt-Light” expatriates isn’t surprising given his own ideological indiscretions, which include dating a young, Filipina woman who he described as “jailbait.” In the racist world, to become involved with someone who isn’t white usually precedes accusations of “race mixing.”
Anglin recently took to Stormfront to defend himself against such allegations as a result of videos he posted with his Filipina girlfriend coming to light.
“On occasion, I would meet Asian girls - that is part of being in Asia, there are a lot of Asian people there. And I would sometimes hang out with them. Thus, pictures and video of this - which I posted myself on social media - existing now and being used by obsessive weirdos to harass me with. You could just as easily dig up hundreds of pictures from the same period of me with beautiful white women,” Anglin wrote on Stormfront.
Anglin, who for self-serving reasons despises the idea of purity tests, sought to delineate “ideological purity” from “character purity.”
“The basic concept of the purity test is to go through a person’s life – and these days, that is very easy to do, as we’ve all grown up recording our lives online – and find some bit of their personal history which some might find distasteful and use that to attack them, claim that they cannot be in the movement because of it,” Anglin said.
“We all have things in our personal history we could be attacked for. We were all born into a deranged world controlled by Jews.” Anglin continued. “We are people who have come together to try to create a better world because of the problems of the world we were born into. People in our movement should be judged by what they do for the movement. They should be judged by what they are saying, and the effect that what they are saying has.”
Of course, Anglin is kidding himself. The radical right is rife with hypocrites, particularly those who fancy themselves racist ideologues but date women of color. Take Jeff Schoep, for example, leader of the National Socialist Movement, who was once married to a woman of color. Or Dennis McGiffin of the Sadistic Souls Motorcycle Club, who has a mixed-race grandchild. That both, and many others, traffic in racist ideologies attacking the very things they do is more common than not.
Earlier last week, Anglin went on David Duke’s radio program for a segment that he describes as a “companion piece” to his article. Duke is no stranger to infighting and backbiting. He has been involved in numerous disputes and found the experience so dispiriting that in 2004 he convened a conference to author the New Orleans Protocol, with the express intent of quelling dissent and inter-movement character attacks.
Duke, during his interview with Anglin, insisted that the driving force behind these fights stems not from a movement-driven desire for consistency but “entire office buildings full of Jews in Tel Aviv, New York, Moscow meant to infiltrate, subvert discussion boards all over and to destroy and to defame the most effective leaders of our cause …”
Anglin and Duke went on to discuss the Deploraball fracas between Cernovich and Gionet, decrying “degeneracy,” pornography, drug addiction and the need for the movement to refocus on promoting sterilization and deportation of minorities and monogamous relationships among whites.
Anglin references his time in Asia during the interview, describing “photos of me in Asia with Asian women” without acknowledging the damaging nature of the leaked “jailbait” video.
This question of purity tests is only the latest in a battle for control of the Alt-Right, whose leaders are struggling to define boundaries and act as gatekeepers after a meteoric rise aided in part by the 2016 presidential campaign. The battle has intensified since Richard Spencer, who coined the term Alt-Right, was caught on video closed his remarks at his annual National Policy Institute conference last month with, “Hail victory. Hail our people. Hail Trump!” Several attendees responded with Nazi salutes.
The episode, which Spencer dismissed as a moment of “exuberance and irony,” caused an instant rift in Alt-Right ranks, particularly among establishment racists like Jared Taylor of American Renaissance and Peter Brimelow of VDARE. But not even Spencer could hide his true nature. After President-elect Trump formally disavowed Spencer’s gathering after Spencer became increasingly vocal about his anti-Semitic beliefs.
The reality of this moment in the Alt-Right is simple: as various racist factions become increasingly polarized on ideological fronts, the new branding for an old ideology is doing little to conceal a perpetually fractured movement.