"White Sharia" and militant white nationalism

Among the racists’ chants of “blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us,” and “white lives matter” at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August was a more inscrutable demand: “white sharia now!”

The white supremacists were referring to a misogynistic anti-feminist vision of extreme patriarchy, where women are subjugated to the extent they’re nothing more than white baby factories, preferably in head scarves.

“White sharia” began as a white nationalist meme, a sickly humorous twist on Islamic religious law, in late 2016, but rapidly became a serious battle cry for some elements of the racist far right. But the so-called alt-right was divided on the concept over the summer, with some decrying the adoption of an Islamic term in the quest to include dominion over women in their white ethnostate platform.

“Whites often turn submissively to other races for identity,” one critic wrote in an article titled “Whigger Sharia” on a white nationalist website in June. The author agreed that “feminism as understood today is yet another aspect of the Jewish long con against white men and women,” and acknowledged that “advocating ‘white sharia’ is, in most cases, probably just a childish troll.” But for those white nationalists who take it seriously, he wrote, “’White sharia’ is an implicit admission that what is authentically white has little value and is intrinsically incapable of dealing with contemporary historical contingencies.”

“Those arguing for it,” he wrote, “need to ask themselves why they are attracted to the brutality of the Islamic world,” saying advocates for white sharia “want sheer brutality in place of order, blind rage in place of targeted anger, anarchic childishness in place of seriousness.” He continued, “Encoded in the word ‘sharia’ are images of rape, stoning, torture, genital mutilation, acid attacks, honor killings, purdah, and a distinctly non-white incivility and mercilessness. Is this really a sound strategy for white advocacy?”

The originator of the white sharia meme, a racist ex-Marine named Sacco Vandal, who hosts podcasts and writes articles at his own website, VandalVoid, as well as several other white supremacist sites, wasn’t fazed by either criticism — that the concept of white sharia is too Islamic and/or too barbaric.

“Barbarity is not foreign to us whites,” he wrote in an article titled “In Defense of White Sharia,” a response to the aforementioned article. “Whites did not conquer the entire Earth by being nice or civilized; Whites conquered the world by sailing into foreign lands and taking those lands by force. Vikings, Crusaders, and Conquistadores alike were all practitioners of rape, pillage, and plunder.”

After bemoaning that whites “have lost our barbarity,” Vandal offers this rationale for adopting the Islamic concept of sharia law: “The Muslim world is the only civilization left on Earth today where an extreme and rigidly codified patriarchy still exists. Sharia law, though practiced today by some of the world’s most despicable races, is the only living example of anything that even remotely approximates the patriarchal society that Western man once had himself.”

In his conclusion, Vandal writes, “When I say we will have White Sharia in White Afghanistan [aka rural America] one day, it means that we will have an extreme tribal patriarchy in the ethnostate.”

Vandal’s vision of a world where women are nothing but chattel has become popular with other white supremacist internet mouthpieces. Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin promulgates white sharia as well, arguing that “women have no concept of ‘race,’ as it is too abstract for their simple brains. What they have a concept of is getting impregnated by the dominant male.”

Vandal later admitted, in an article titled “Why We Need White Sharia,” that the meme was originally “the funniest, most edgy, and most controversial of these fantastic schemes that I’ve hatched (originally in a very tongue-in-cheek manner).” But for many white nationalists, including Vandal, the humor has disappeared.

“We have to strip females of suffrage and most if not all political, legal, and economic power,” Vandal continued later in the same article. “Our men need harems, and the members of those harems need to be baby factories.”

These visions of extreme misogyny, coupled with the “rape, pillage, and plunder” barbarism espoused by Vandal (it’s the motto for the webpage he runs with his twin brother), are central to the platform of “American militant nationalism” Vandal espouses.

Sacco Vandal is a 33-year-old former Marine and Iraq war veteran, as is his twin brother Vanzetti Vandal. (The two, formerly Scott Christopher Wurgler and Matthew Allen Wurgler, respectively, legally changed their names in 2005.) Together they wrote and self-published “The American Militant Nationalist Manifesto” in November 2015.

Though Sacco hadn’t formulated his white sharia philosophy quite yet, in the book, among the calls for the eradication of democracy and calls for an outright race war, the brothers include feminists alongside blacks, Muslims, and immigrants on their enemies list.

“We cannot allow the feminists, foreigners, traitors, and villains to conspire any longer,” they write. “Let us kick out all the illegal immigrants. Let us send the ungrateful Muslims back to the Third World hole we rescued them from. And while we are at it, let us send the feminists back with them.”

While Vanzetti, nee Matthew, is the more reticent of the twin ex-Marines, Sacco, who occasionally entertains other white supremacists with racist songs, has been a prominent presence at some of this year’s most visible white nationalist events.

At the racist rally this past spring hosted by the Traditionalist Worker Party in Pikeville, Kentucky, Sacco was there with a microphone, hollering, “I’m fucking white, and I love it!” and telling protesters, “the white people over there today, your grandparents and parents worked hard so you could smoke weed and be a communist faggot!”

After Charlottesville, where Sacco had been scheduled to perform for the racist hordes, he called in to a local Cleveland talk radio program, where he candy-coated his own violent rhetoric — “we’re just standing up and saying, yes, we’re white, and I’m not ashamed of it” — and insisted to the host there were no Ku Klux Klan members in attendance, a claim easily disproved by the fact the Imperial Wizard of the Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was arrested for allegedly firing a pistol at counter protesters in Charlottesville.

Sacco Vandal was also present, microphone in hand, at the “White Lives Matter” rally in late October in Shelbyville, Tennessee, roiling the crowd. “I’m not gonna take this fuckin’ shit anymore,” he bellowed. “Black lives don’t fuckin’ matter, because if they did, they wouldn’t kill each other like animals in the streets of Chicago… White lives matter!”

Unlike some of his racist kin who advocate for “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” like white ethnostate proponent Richard Spencer, the ex-Marine Vandal twins openly promote violence. Both are Iraq war veterans, and they write in their book, “It would have been better if our noble nation had simply cordoned off an carpet-bombed the entire Middle East, killing every last inhabitant of the Muslim world and leaving it at that.”

The Vandal brothers call for straight-up race war in their book. “We the People must finally embark upon the task of confronting the recalcitrant majority of black America,” they write, because “the preponderant bulk of the greater black proletariat will never willingly assimilate into White bourgeois society.”

The brothers couch their militancy in their background as Marines, and in their book they write, “The day is soon coming when the Commandant of the Marine Corps, or some other great hero, will stage a coup, declare martial law, expel or eradicate all the liberals and traitors, and reconstitute the Republic.”

It should be noted that after Charlottesville, Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller tweeted, “No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.”

Still, Sacco Vandal and his brother embed their militancy into their racism. In a late September article titled “American Nationalism = White Nationalism,” Sacco writes, “We need to say that ‘yes,’ America was founded as a racist country. We need to say, ‘yes,’ the flag is a symbol of White conquest and murder… We need to affirm the right of a people to fight for their existence, putting others under the boot or sword when necessary, as being as natural as a flower stretching towards the sunlight.”

The Vandal brothers declare in their manifesto, “I say to you now: the Creator has written it upon existence, clear as day, that we are to rape, pillage, and plunder the nations of our enemies.”

Toward that goal, Sacco writes, “White Sharia is a blueprint for salvation. We don’t have to adopt it, but if we don’t, we will most likely perish.”

Even among his fellow white supremacists, Sacco’s vision of white sharia is extreme. “We have members of the Alt-Right 2.0 degrading respectable white women by calling them bitches, thots [“that ho over there,” in alt-right parlance], and whores, and all the while glorifying rape,” a fellow white nationalist wrote online. “This isn’t just a harmless meme.”

Still, other alt-righters object to white sharia because it’s too empowering to women. “The main issue I have with ‘white sharia’ lies with what amounts to its ironic ambition to please women and cater to their wishes,” another racist wrote online (italics his). “For as much as they try to deny it, the central tenet of white sharia is the men should become men again, not because of any inherent virtue in manliness, but because chicks dig real men.”

Photo credit AP Images/Brian Bohannan

Kessler falls flat in D.C., but the radical right marches on