Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Confronting the Alt Right in 2018; a guide for the Left

 Over the last few days and during my Christmas break i ventured into the realms of Instagram. its crawling with Aryan nationalists and Alr Right types. here is a guide for the left on confronting the Alt Right in 2018.  

Far-right extremist planned 'race war' by making explosives

Media captionFar-right Wales: 'High risk' individuals concerns

"High risk" and dangerous far-right extremists in Wales have been prevented from carrying out violent attacks in the last three years, according to a Home Office advisor.
A Newport man was preparing for a "race war" by making and testing explosives.
Nick Daines, who works with the UK Government's counter-terrorism Prevent programme, said Wales has a "unique landscape" for far right extremism.
But he said membership was still relatively small.
Welsh counter terror police said they devoted as much time to far-right extremism in Wales as Islamist extremism.
Nigel Bromage, co-founder of the violent neo-Nazi group Combat 18, said Wales had traditionally been seen as a "safe haven" for the ultra-right, away from the authorities.
He now works to confront the far-right through his organisation, Small Steps.
He said groups like the National Front had tried to hijack causes like the miners strike in the 1980s to help spread their ideology.
"South Wales was seen as a big area to not only go in and support the miners, offering food and picket line support, but it was also very much about once we were in that community we could open up and support other things," he said.
Mr Bromage said the groups would not initially advocate violence, or Nazism as they knew people in Wales would reject that.
He said the tactics were a "slow burn", and he believes the same tactics are being used by the far-right in Wales today.

Image caption Neo-Nazi group Combat 18 co-founder Nigel Bromage now tries to confront far-right extremism
His organisation is now beginning to hold sessions in Wales to educate people on the dangers of the far-right.
Just over 7,600 people in England and Wales were referred to the UK government's Prevent programme in 2015-16 - about 5,000 them over concerns about Islamist extremism.
According to the Home Office figures - Wales accounted for just 2% of those referrals - 148 cases.
But of those Welsh cases - 22% were for concerns about far-right extremism.
Officers from The Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit said they investigate every Prevent referral carefully.
Experts believe the high proportion of far-right referrals is a genuine reflection of what is being seen in Wales, and not a consequence of the low number of overall referrals.
Nick Daines, a Home Office Prevent co-ordinator, works across Wales with people who are in danger of - or have become radicalised.
He has 20 cases ongoing, and rarely speaks about his work.
Much of his role involves providing support and guidance in matters that could be completely unrelated to extremism, such as employment, housing or education.
He said isolated parts of the South Wales valleys remained "strongholds" for the far-right, contributing to Wales' "unique" far-right landscape.
He said the mindset of the people he works with was becoming more extreme.
"There are significant problems along the M4 corridor from Newport across to the furthest parts of West Wales," he said.

'Race war' preparations

"I worked with a man in the Newport area that was acquiring operational manuals for paramilitary groups and was creating explosives and experimenting with those in a quarry.
"He was very racially motivated and held a perception there was a coming race war and needed to prepare for that kind of eventuality."
Mr Daines said there had "certainly has been" moments where he had helped stop violent acts being carried out in Wales.
He believes one "high risk" individual from south Wales who had a "propensity for violence" would have "acted on his views" - had the authorities not intervened.

Image caption Nick Daines helps tackle the issue of far-right radicalisation for the UK's Home Office Prevent programme
He said incidents where people prepare explosives or weaponry are "not as rare as you would think".
But he said the membership of far-right groups is still relatively small in Wales and that the public should not be worried or alarmed.
Senior officers at The Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit said they had particular concerns about one emerging group, called the System Resistance Network.
Their posters were found in a student area of Cardiff this month - officers believe they are trying to attract young people.
Experts on the far-right claim former members of the now banned group Nation Action have switched to the System Resistance Network.
Their social media posts display Nazi iconography.
The System Resistance Network is not a banned group.
Zach Davies, who was convicted of attempted murder after attacking a dentist in a supermarket in Mold, claimed links to National Action.

Image caption Intervention can be at a very early stage, says South Wales Police's Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake
Senior Officers at The Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit said half their time was devoted to combating far right extremism, as much as Islamist extremism.
Officers said the threat had never gone away, and urged people to contact them if they suspected someone was being radicalised.
Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake from South Wales Police said the Prevent programme can help stop someone committing potentially criminal acts.
"This is often work a long long way before there's any criminal offending, it could just be someone needing some advice some guidance, the clue is in the title - the prevention of harm".

"There are many things that separate the alternative right from old-school racist skinheads (to whom they are often idiotically compared), but one thing stands out above all else: intelligence. Skinheads, by and large, are low-information, low-IQ thugs driven by the thrill of violence and tribal hatred. The alternative right are a much smarter group of people — which perhaps suggests why the Left hates them so much. They’re dangerously bright."

I have seen the following terms used over and over again. The attempts to control language is an important step in controlling people. Please make yourself aware of the meaning, implications and discourse of the alt right. These terms are also often used by unthinking right wingers. its time to resist..... 
The general world view of the alt-right. But how can you identify someone who considers themselves part of it? Like most groups, the alt-right has its own code words and slang. Here are some terms they use, and other hallmarks to look out for
Beta: Members of the alt-right are obsessed with masculinity, manhood, gender roles and the concept of "alpha" and "beta" males. Alpha males are leaders, like Trump; beta males are portrayed as weak and emasculated.

Crybaby, whiny: Anyone who disagrees with them or their preferred candidate, particularly protesters and people who complain that the alt-right is embracing racism and anti-Semitism.
Cuckservative, cuck: The term "cuckservative" originated in the alt-right. It's a portmanteau of "conservative" and "cuckold" used to describe Republicans who are perceived to be emasculated or "selling out." Frequently shortened to "cuck," the term has come under scrutiny for its racist implications.
Human biodiversity: Despite the fact that many say racism is at the heart of its platform, the alt-right is very sensitive about being called racist. They use the termhuman biodiversity as a more scientific-sounding way of referring to issues of race.

Libtard: The alt-right revels in the rejection of "political correctness," so embracing an outdated term for a person with an intellectual disability ("retard") serves the purpose of insulting liberals.
Masculinist: A word meant to embody the opposite of feminist, celebrating “manliness” and the traditional “heroic” nature of men. To the alt-right, "masculinist" principles are ones that serve and advocate for men. Critics say they primarily reinforce antiquated gender roles.
Multiculturalism (as a derogatory term): A major component of the alt-right platform is white supremacy and nationalism. "Multiculturalism" is used as a negative term for the blending of multiple cultures, as opposed to celebrating the supposed superiority of Western European culture. . Often used as shorthand for policies that benefit immigrants and people of color.
Neoreactionaries: Also known as NRx and the "Dark Enlightenment." A group of people who call for stripping away anything other than supposedly rational thought, as opposed to a “feelings first” mentality. They advocate for libertarianism, traditional gender roles and neofascism.
Political correctness: Anything that challenges an alt-right person's right to say whatever they want, whenever they want, in any way they want to say it. According to the alt-right, political correctness is responsible for most of society's ills, including feminism, Islamic terrorism and overly liberal college campuses.
Snowflake: Short for "special snowflake," a pejorative for an entitled person. Most people protesting Trump are "snowflakes," according to the alt-right, as are anti-Trump celebrities and most liberals.
SJW: Short for "social justice warrior," this insult is mostly reserved for young women who try to argue on behalf of liberal or feminist ideas.
White genocide: What many alt-right members feel is the natural conclusion of liberalism and pro-immigrant policies. The alt-right views just about anything that benefits nonwhite people, particularly ones who aren't American citizens, as a risk to whiteness and a step on the road to the eradication of the white race.

 It pays to increase your word power these days. There’s much more to alt-right coded language than meets the eye – or the ear. “Steven Petrow is a Social Justice Warrior, a public predator, a devotee of political correctness, and happy to tar and feather others with false accusations.” If they say it often enough, you might believe it, and then you might not believe anything I write or say. That’s their whole point.

Now is the summer of our discontent: memes, national identity and the globalisation of rage

Memes may be all the rage in these heady days of digital trending, but they’re not a new thing. Ever since Richard Dawkins coined the term in his popular 1976 book The Selfish Gene, scientists have been putting memes under the microscope.
For Dawkins, memes were discrete units of cultural inheritance (gossip, images, fashion fads, catchphrases) that, by virtue of their rapid dissemination and adoption, drive cultural evolution, just as genes propel forth our biology.
In other words, memes can change the world with “likes” and “shares”.

Global meme wars

There’s even a field dedicated to their study: memetics considers how certain cultural artefacts go “viral”. Mentally and socially “contagious”, memes provide immediate, visual expressions of our common humanity as they jump from brain to brain.
Since memes are simplified versions of reality, their intended meaning can be easily subverted or simplified to serve a new political purpose. Hitler’s appropriation of the sacred Hindu swastika, which symbolised well-being, is a prime example.
Once the brain makes the memetic association, it’s next to impossible for it to restore the original content. What traveller doesn’t think of the Nazis when they see swastikas at holy sites across Southeast Asia?
This is how memes are helping to redraw the boundaries of what constitutes acceptable political discourse, particularly since the 2016 US presidential election, when meme wars raged between left and right.

These online battles, which continue today in America, skewering everyone from the news network CNN to Trump supporters and Hillary enthusiasts, came to France, too, just in time for its 2017 election season.
Memes failed to sway the French citizenry, as several commentators have noted. But France’s meme wars demonstrated the transnational influence of the so-called “alt-right” hate groups that managed to transform Pepe the Frog into a racist mouthpiece and, in doing so, set a precedent for future memetic wars.

The alt-right rises online

The meme maelstrom is pushing us to rethink questions of national identity that have been with us for quite some time.
Since the Enlightenment, Western scholars have largely been sympathetic to the notion of an international, cosmopolitan identity shared by a global citizenry. This was the view promoted in Martha Nussbaum’s 1994 essay on cosmopolitan education, in which she promotes the “embrace of humanity” wherever it is encountered, “undeterred by traits that are strange”, and an eagerness to “understand humanity in its ‘strange’ guises.”
That same year, Homi K. Bhabha’s Location of Culture theorised that cosmopolitans inhabited a hybrid “third space”, comfortably in the interstice between two national cultures or passport identities.
The historian and anthropologist James Clifford, too, saw that Western identity was at a crossroads in the late 20th century. His Predicament of Culture (1988) described modern identity as one that “is always, to varying degrees, ‘inauthentic’: caught between cultures, implicated in others”.

What these cultural critics missed as they gazed across the planet at the height of globalisation was that some elements then just barely on the horizon – including the pain and anger of a less privileged, untraveled, often rural electorate – would soon build serious momentum.
Nor did their visions include the digital advent of an array of anti-cosmopolitan provocateurs, from conservative intellectuals, hackers, reactionaries and anarchists to anti-Semites, fascists, Islamophobes and homophobes, who would eventually form the alt-right.

Memes are not limited to any given ideology, but the alt-right used them effectively in the 2016 US presidential campaign. Jim Bourg/Reuters
Fake news and dark memes are not limited to the West, nor to any one political leaning, of course. Many other democracies, some of them secular, are struggling with their own multicultural identities.
The disenfranchised of the world don’t celebrate their global citizenship; they take their political rage to the internet. The Arab world is grappling with online calls to jihadism, and India with violent nationalism that has spawned a wave of Hindu attacks on Muslims.
From Reddit to 4Chan, the anti-cosmopolitans can voice their anti-establishment views anonymously loosening or dispatching entirely with the straitjacket of political correctness.
All of this reflects what author Pankaj Mishra calls the “globalisation of rage”. His new book, Age of Anger, explores the paranoia, hatred, and pain of those who remain beyond the reach of liberal cosmopolitanism.
Triggered by the influx of new and diverse populations, the conservative instinct seeks out familiarity and attempts to ward off foreignness more intensely than the average. Now, thanks to memes and social media, these defensive impulses can spiral outward much faster, and hit a lot harder.

Georgian Journal

Free speech or hate speech?

The use of memes to promote hate complements more traditional forms of communication, such as physical poster boards, signage and advertising. We can see their confluence at universities around the globe.
In May 2017, leaders of an Anglo-Afrikaaner student group at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University updated, in meme-like fashion, old Nazi propaganda posters to publicise their group.
Spurring a debate on privacy, free speech and social media, the college meme war has even gone Ivy League, a surprising twist in the narrative of the dispossessed.
In June 2017, Harvard announced that it would withdraw offers made to ten admitted freshmen for starting a Class of 2021 Facebook group that promoted offensive memes that “mocked sexual assault, the Holocaust and the deaths of children”.
Harvard is not alone. Across the United States, college campuses are ablaze with the debate over what constitutes free speech versus hate speech, demonstrating that we are not at the beginning of something new here, but rather well immersed already in a cultural identity war.

Banalising evil

Unlike Nussbaum and other cultural critics, American philosopher Richard Rorty (1931-2007) foresaw the dangers of turning a blind eye to America’s underprivileged. In the 1990s, he envisioned an environment of “sadism[,] which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students, will come flooding back”.
Ten years after his death, Rorty’s dual predictions that “the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans and by homosexuals will be wiped out” and that “contempt for women will come back into fashion” are now bearing out.
While many of his contemporaries dismissed or ignored Rorty’s dire predictions, philosopher Hannah Arendt had also foreseen these identity wars, as early as 1963.
Dissecting the trail of war criminal Adolf Eichmann, Arendt observed the systemic failure to think among Nazis and their followers and concluded, famously, that evil can easily be banalized.
As we now know only too well, evil can easily become banal online, too.

Anthill 20: Myths

er Metropolitan University
How do we know that ideas we hold true aren’t just myths that will be proved untrue in the future? Or maybe you have a favourite fact or story that’s already been debunked but no one has told you yet.
In this episode of The Anthill podcast, all about myths, we’ve got three stories of researchers pouring cold water over ideas that some people still believe.
First, we hear from Cat Jarman, a bio-archaeologist at the University of Bristol who studies old bones on Easter Island in Polynesia. The native Rapanui people are often accused of destroying their own society by chopping down all the island’s trees to erect their famous stone statues. But as Jarman explains, this “ecocide” theory is a myth.

Statues, known as moai, on Easter Island. via trackpete/flickr, CC BY-NC
From myths about population decline, we turn to myths about race. Ornette Clennon, who co-leads Manchester Metropolitan University’s critical race and ethnicity research group, explains the history of polygenism – the pseudoscience of categorising humans into different racial categories or species. And Duncan Sayer, an archaeologist at the University of Central Lancashire, debunks myths about the Anglo Saxons that some present-day alt-right movements still hold true. Our final story is about urban myths – those spine-tingling horror stories which always seem to happen to a friend of a friend. Karl Bell, a historian at the University of Portsmouth, recounts the origins of one such urban legend that terrified Victorian Londoners: spring-heeled jack.
You can subscribe to The Anthill on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts from. And while you’re there check out The Conversation’s new podcast, In Depth Out Loud, where we narrate in depth articles by experts in audio form.

The Anthill theme music is by Alex Grey for Melody Loops. In the segment on Easter Island, the clip of Jared Diamond was from UCTV and the Easter Island music came via YouTube and the ChileTravelChannel. In the segment on urban legends, the music came from Lionel Schmitt via Soundcloud.
Click here to listen to more episodes of The Anthill, on themes including Belief, The Future and Pain.
A big thanks to City University London’s Department of Journalism for letting us use their studios to record.

Alt-right claims to march in step with the Knights Templar – this is fake histo

When market trader Tina Gayle was banned from selling mugs featuring Knights Templar logos in a Loughborough Market, Charnwood Borough Council ruled that they were offensive to Muslims. A story in the Daily Mail reported that Gayle had “been previously been warned by the council for selling Nazi memorabilia”.
A subsequent report said that the council had not been concerned about what was depicted on the mugs, only that they were new products being sold on a vintage market. But the inclusion in the coverage of this little reference to the stallholder’s Nazi products highlights the regular association of the Knights Templar with right-wing extremism.

Drinking vessel for mugs. Amazon
Of course, the Knights Templar symbology recalls the crusades – and is associated with medieval Christian fanaticism – but other prominent crusade iconography, such as the cross of the Knights Hospitaller, used by St John’s Ambulance is overlooked. So why does Templar imagery garner a similar reaction to Nazi symbols, while another equally significant crusader image hardly registers with the wider public – except with positive connotations?

Soldiers, doctors and bankers

The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, also known as The Knights Hospitaller, was founded after the first crusade to provide hospital care for pilgrims sanctioned by Pope Paschall II in 1113. The infamous Order of The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as The Templar, was founded in 1119 by Hugh de Payens, a French nobleman, as a revolutionary monastic order, that would escort and protect pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land.

Escutcheon of the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes (1305-1523) in Athens War Museum. Dimitris Kamaras via Flickr, CC BY-SA
These two orders grew to become the premier Christian fighting forces in the Holy Land, due to the large amount of wealth gifted them by the European nobles. The Templars and the Hospitallers were major forces right up until the Christians were expelled from the Holy Land in 1291. Despite the prominence of their military roles, the Knights Hospitaller provided medical care for pilgrims, while the Knights Templar grew richer by acting as bankers for crusading nobles. While both orders played major roles within the crusades, their respective icons evoke different sentiments – these days, the Hospitaller cross represents the charitable work of St John’s Ambulance but the Templar cross is deemed offensive and worthy of a ban.

Hatred on the streets

The red cross upon a white background, a symbol of the Knights Templar, carries connotations of nationalism within the UK due to its resemblance to the cross of St George on the English flag. The iconic cross has been thematically appropriated by extremist right-wing group the English Defence League (EDL), and the group has been known to dress in quasi-knightly garb

The English Defence League has appropriated the Cross of St George. Gavin Lynn via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
The most infamous and horrific association with Templars in recent times would be the claims made by the right-wing extremist and mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who in 2011 carried out terrorist attacks in Norway. Following his attacks, a manifesto appeared in which Breivik claimed to be a Justiciar Knight Commander for Knights Templar Europe. Breivik is not alone in asserting a Templar identity within right wing views. The modern Templar community, The Knights Templar-UK, also forgets the monastic lifestyle of the order and uses it as a platform for the right-wing views outlined on its website. On a page called “Our Aims” it states:
With the advent of mass immigration, this balance can be swung in many directions, including ones where extremists of particular faiths, may wish to dominate and control other’s beliefs.
The site also offers a review of the British political parties, stating which ones the Templars would identify with most closely. According to the website, these parties are the English Democrats, Ukip and the BNP – ironic, when you think that the Templars were an international organisation that spanned Europe.

In the frame

Popular culture often paints the Knights Templar as villains within a medieval setting, most notably in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, which depicted the Templar as racist murderers who hate Muslims and openly mock religion. Scott’s film depicts a Hospitaller knight as a pious man who counsels the film’s protagonist Balian and condemns the violent acts of the Temp

Arabic chroniclers of the crusades directly contradict Scott’s villainous Templar. Syrian writer Usama ibn Munqidh (1095-1188) explains that the Templars were more understanding and respectful of the Islamic faith than the average Christian crusader. This underlines the doubtfulness of the Templar warrior monk’s fanatical hatred of Islam and subverts the notion of the order as a symbol of right wing Christian extremism. Ridley Scott’s fictional depiction of the villainous Templar originates with Sir Walter Scott in his 1820 novel Ivanhoe, which was, in turn, inspired by discredited 19th-century accounts of the crusades. Those themes of hatred and greed leave out the religious aspect of the crusades, which the medieval scholar Nickolas Haydock, citing historian Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, explains is “an invention of 19th-century medievalism, exemplified in the works of Sir Walter Scott”.
Scott’s fictional accounts created the notion of the evil Templar within popular culture and cast them as more like Nazis, in direct contrast to the more pacific Hospitaller order – who his film director namesake duly depicted as the opposite to the fanatical Templar.
So now the Templars have become associated with the worst excesses of an already dark period in medieval history. But to portray them as the ultimate evil of the crusades – or to praise them as champions of a narrow-minded nationalism – is a simplistic misrepresentation of the 200-year history of the crusades. There are no calls to ban the imagery of the Hospitallers, yet Templar iconography remains controversial due to its association with extremist views – unfairly connected to them through popular culture since the 19th century.

Mary Beard is right, Roman Britain was multi-ethnic – so why does this upset people so much?

Nil nimium studeo, Caesar, tibi velle placere,
nec scire utrum sis albus an ater homo.
I’m not overly anxious, Caesar, to please you,
Or to know whether you’re a white or a black man.
The Roman poet Catullus, now known for the erotic verse he wrote for Lesbia and Juventius, wasn’t particularly bothered about a man’s skin pigmentation (in this particular instance, that of Julius Caesar). So why are we?
Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, has recently been at the receiving end of a “torrent of aggressive insults” for suggesting that Britain under the Roman empire – which at its height stretched from northern Africa to Scotland – was ethnically diverse. The trouble started when Beard described an educational cartoon produced by the BBC, which included a black Roman solider in Britain, as “pretty accurate”.
The really interesting question here is not whether the Roman empire was ethnically diverse (it was) or even whether there were African people in the British Isles (we think there probably were) – but why it is now so important for some to establish beyond question that there was a time when Britain’s population was white and nothing else. What exactly is at stake in promoting this view of Britain’s past?
Beard’s opponents, objecting to the depiction of a black man as a high-ranking Roman soldier, have been keen to pin down exactly just how dark-skinned a member of the Roman empire living in Britain could have been. “North Africans were lightskinned,” one commentator was eager to point out. Rather than an opportunity to reflect on the languages, the literatures, the cross-cultural encounters that textured and enriched the Roman empire, some of the attacks on Beard are seemingly about negating in the strongest possible terms the presence of dark skin in British history.
The cultural and ethnic origins of the British Isles have always been subject to critical back and forth. In the 16th century, the Scottish historian Hector Boece recounted the tradition that the Scots were Egyptian in origin, descended from the princess Scota. South of the border, Raphael Holinshed (from whom Shakespeare derived so much of his material) rehearsed the tradition that Brutus, a descendent of Aeneas, prince of Troy (located in what is modern day Turkey) came to rule Britain with “a great train of the posterity of the dispersed Trojans”.
Now, faced with what is rather more persuasive evidence for multi-ethnicity in Britain’s ancient past, we are apparently no longer willing to entertain the idea that the ethnic origins of the British Isles were actually as complex as the archaeological, textual, and isotopic evidence suggests.
We might point to Quintus Lollius Urbicus, the Roman governor of Britain, who was born in Numidia (today’s Algeria) and upon whom the BBC cartoon appears to have been based. Urbicus, whose presence in Britain is recorded on an inscription at Corbridge, Northumberland, was responsible for reconquering the south of Scotl

Roman ruins at Corbidge. Glen Bowman via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
Then there is the evidence offered by tombstones, including that of Regina, a former slave and member of Catuvellauni, a Celtic tribe to the south, who, as her tombstone explains, married the Syrian Barates, from Palmyra (Barates Palmyrenus Natione). To this we might add the tombstone of Victor – a freedman who was buried in Britain and was “Moorish by birth” (Natione Maurum). Scientific research has also shed new light on migration to ancient Britain. The project by Reading University, A Long Way From Home: Diaspora Communities in Roman Britain, used skeletal and isotopic remains to examine migrant communities under the empire. The team examined the chemical signatures on ancient teeth and bone to explore potential differences in diet and health between migrants and the rest of the local population.
And, of course, there were also British migrants to be found across the empire, including the centurions Titus Quintius Petrullus – whose tombstone, describing him as “from Britain”, was uncovered in Syria – and Marcus Minicius Marcellinus, who, although originally from Lincoln, was stationed in Mainz. The tomb of another Lincoln soldier, Marcus Junius Capito, has been uncovered in the old Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis – modern-day Algeria. Migration is and has always been a two-way street.
The responses Beard has received arguably are concerned with protecting a very particular, very limiting view of the past at the expense of a genuinely enlightening debate about the Roman empire. At best, this speaks of an unwillingness to engage patiently and critically with questions which can nuance our understanding of history – and at worst, of a desire to keep the British past white.

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