The domestic terror incident this past weekend in El Paso has energized the growing “accelerationist” bloc of the white power movement, which argues violence is the only way to achieve its goal of creating a white, non-Jewish ethnostate.
Accelerationist online communities, on the heels of an attack that left at least 22 dead, celebrated and called for additional violence while debating one alarming point – should “high-value targets” or “normal people” be the next to die?
“Kill powerful people. Kill important people. Kill the political opposition,” a Telegram user wrote in their channel. “Killing Wal-Mart drones does NOT earn Sainthood.”
“Sainthood” is a designation these communities assign to terrorists, such as the Christchurch and Poway shooters, they believe should be lionized.
Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, who provides technical support for the Daily Stormer, posted in a thread on that site: “Random violence is not detrimental to the cause, because we need to convince Americans that violence against nonwhites is desirable or at least not something worth opposing. There’s no way to remove a hundred million people without a massive element of violence.”
On Saturday, Aug. 3, a lone gunman walked into a Walmart in El Paso and opened fire. More than 20 people died, including at least eight Mexican nationals, and dozens more suffered injuries. Police took one suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, into custody. Federal officials have labeled the shooting an act of domestic terrorism and will investigate the incident as a hate crime.
The shooting follows a wave of mass shootings apparently motivated by white supremacist ideology.
A federal law enforcement official confirmed that the alleged El Paso shooter wrote a four-page document that states that the attack targeted Hispanics and characterizes immigrants as “invaders.” El Paso, which is just 12 miles from the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has a population of nearly 80% Hispanic people.
The document, or a “manifesto” as some media sources call it, was posted to the online forum 8chan, as were similar manifestos written by the suspects in shootings carried out in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Poway, California, in recent months. Those attacks targeted Muslim and Jewish houses of worship, respectively.
Accelerationists believe that violence such as these recent mass shootings will eventually cause societal and governmental collapse. Only then, they argue, will they have the opportunity to build the all-white world they desire.
For this collection of white supremacists, violence is then the only possible strategy to achieve their political ends. They believe that white people and white culture are being systematically destroyed, justifying mass murder as self-defense.
“Either the White man fights with everything he has got to flip the table or he simply will be brutally destroyed,” the administrator of a Telegram channel that features stylized, so-called “terrorwave” content posted after the El Paso shooting. Another user on the site insisted that “If your race is under threat, to save it, any action is moral that is useful to that end.”
Accelerationist online communities have been growing in recent months, as has their scorn for anyone in the white power movement who questions the use of violence. These communities glorify acts of violence and “canonize” white extremist killers. Once police identified the suspect in the El Paso shooting, members of racist online communities were quick to deem him a “Saint.”
Among accelerationists, the only subject up for debate is who they should choose to target with acts of violence. In the aftermath of this weekend’s shootings, users on Telegram have been debating whether they should kill “High-Value Targets” or “normal people.”
The administrator of one of the channels weighing in on the debate wrote, “A very intended goal of general terror in common places is that it tells everyday people that terror can happen to them and those around them.” Regarding whether to target politicians and other public figures or public spaces, “You should do both,” the user wrote.
“Both deserve Sainthood.”
Online, white power extremists encourage each other to stop worrying about creating “bad optics” with acts of violence.
“If anyone is concerned if this will drastically change things in the near future, I’m pretty sure the last time this happened the media forgot about it in 2 weeks after some other media scandal happened,” a user with the handle t21488 posted in the Daily Stormer thread.
Others argued that white people are sympathetic to their ideology and therefore are unlikely to care about the murder of non-whites. “I think most whites are so tired of browns that these sorts of violent acts, real or manufactured, do no real harm to our cause,” another user wrote.
Accelerationists hope to encourage future acts of white supremacist violence. That is the primary reason they preserve and disseminate the manifestos of white extremist killers, which have helped to inspire copycat attacks internationally with increasing frequency since 2011, when Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway. “First it was every decade,” a Telegram user whose avatar is a picture of the Pepe the Frog character wearing a bandana that reads “Kill Jews” wrote, “Now it’s weekly.” “Goal: daily,” a follower responded.
Andrew Anglin, the administrator of the Daily Stormer, quickly posted multiple links to the El Paso manifesto on his website, which also appear in his post that launched the Daily Stormer forum thread.
For Anglin and others, the El Paso manifesto's origin is of little concern. What matters is that the content and the tragic deaths in El Paso will energize and excite members of his forum and others. “We require more vespene gas,” he wrote under a link to the manifesto, referencing a precious fuel in the game StarCraft.
Certain elements of the white power movement have long openly embraced the use of violence, but the recent growth of the accelerationist wing can be traced back to Iron March. The influential online forum, which was live from 2011 until late 2017, was a place where neo-Nazis from around the world gathered to discuss fascist texts, debate strategies for creating a white ethnostate and, eventually, collectively embrace the use of terroristic violence to achieve their ends.
Since the forum went offline, its ideas have bled into other online spaces, aided by members who have continued to disseminate texts like SIEGE, a neo-Nazi manifesto that encourages followers to embrace the violent compulsions inherent to accelerationism. Today, the largest online stronghold for accelerationist ideas is, perhaps, the messaging app Telegram, a platform they favor because it does not censor racist propaganda, even when the content advocates for terrorism or genocide.
Examples of this kind of violent and exterminationist content are abundant. “Bomb your Jewish neighbor,” reads an image posted in May in a channel that argues there is “no political solution” to the perceived problems facing whites. In another channel, the administrator posted in June, “I am not afraid to say it anymore. If the system won’t prosecute the warmongering, conniving subhumans in Washington DC, The only other option is for those affected by it to take direct action against the state.”
According to a Hatewatch review, dozens of Telegram channels devoted to accelerationism have formed an informal network over the past several months, each cross-posting content from other channels and directing users to follow new channels as they crop up. Contributors to the network include Paul Nehlen, a former candidate for Congress from Wisconsin who has become a prominent online voice calling for white supremacist violence. “Hey k---- I’ve got a message for you: get fukd. [Day of the Rope] real soon,” is just one example of his online posts.
The number of subscribers to accelerationist Telegram channels has grown dramatically over recent months. Nehlen, who had 68 subscribers at the end of May, now has 720. Only hours after the El Paso shooting, another account celebrated the fact that it had grown to over 1,600 subscribers. In less than 48 hours, it gained 134 more.
Another such contributor to this network is “Vic Mackey,” a pseudonymous podcaster who has long expressed reverence for racist murderers such as Dylann Roof, who in 2015 murdered nine worshippers at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina.
In a recent podcast episode, “Vic Mackey” instructed listeners, “You’re gonna have to kill your way to an ethnostate. Blood is gonna have to be shed. The blood of all non-humans and all traitors is going to have to be shed. … Gallons of it.”
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