Fascists and the media

On 12 April 2021, there was a group of white nationalists that held a ‘White Lives Matter’ (WLM) rally in California. It was largely a flop for them, being driven off the streets by antifascists but they were able to generate a small propaganda video that gained some traction online. They are trying to set up a decentralised network of white nationalists to host monthly WLM rallies.

So, why are we talking about this? Well, along with having Telegram channels for all 50 US states, they also have channels and chats for 35 European countries, Canada, South Africa as well as Australia and New Zealand. At this stage, it is unclear whether this online organising will eventuate into street movements. However, we will have a better idea this weekend, as they are calling for actions this Saturday 8 May.

The propaganda they are pushing could have been lifted straight from the Christchurch murders’ manifesto. It is basically all based on the anti-Semitic ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory. That is, that there is a cabal of Jews that are trying to ‘replace’ the white man in their quest for total world domination. It’s obviously obscene. Their propaganda is structured to appeal to isolated, young white men and to then gradually radicalise them. As we are all further atomised due to the ever-tightening grip of colonialist, patriarchal capitalism, simply chalking these feelings of isolation up to an evil cabal is appealing to some.

The Australian chat is full of Nazis. We don’t say this as a turn-of-phrase, there are dozens of National Socialists in the chat, including Tom Sewell. There has been talk that National Socialist Network (NSN) are planning another hike this Saturday as well as a banner drop. We know from their leaked manual that they aim to generate media outrage to gain both exposure and notoriety. So we should expect something from them again; if not this weekend, then soon. That leads us to an obvious question – how should the media cover this inevitable next event? We generally think that if you’re going to post something about the far-right, there’s an important rule to follow. Only post information that they don’t want public. There are of course exceptions to that, but as a guiding principle, ask yourself: “do the Nazis want more people to see this?” and if the answer is yes, reconsider posting it.

So, if we see a big “White Lives Matter” banner this weekend, what do we think the Nazis want? They want as many people to see it as possible so they can try to recruit them. We’ve recently seen Tom Sewell pill ex-Proud Boy Jarrad Searby in real time. If Searby isn’t a National Socialist by now he may as well be. His posts are basically indistinguishable from the NatSoc’s he fawns over. If you think more white Australian men wouldn’t be susceptible to similar propaganda, you haven’t been paying attention. If you think these actions are simply to ‘own the left’ you don’t understand that the outrage is just promotion to drive further recruitment.

If the media deem these stunts to be in the public interest, it’s essential for them to provide context. We know the ideology that is driving this and it shouldn’t be obfuscated by vague references to ‘nationalists’ or ‘white activists’. It should be named that the purpose of such activities is to recruit teenagers and young men and to indoctrinate them into extreme, racist and violent ideology. The motivations of these groups is to isolate young men from their existing support networks so they feel like they don’t have an out from the spiral they are being indoctrinated into. This indoctrination includes the belief that there is “no political solution“, which leads them to the conclusion that violence and terrorism are the remaining solutions.

If any journos are still reading this, before you rush to publish something, maybe check in with an experienced antifascist researchers like Andy or Tom. If you’re a concerned antifascist, considering if hate-sharing images and posts is helpful or just boosting Nazi propaganda. Check in on SlackBastard’s Facebook and Twitter, Tom Tanuki’s Twitter and our Facebook to see if there’s a more nuanced approach before you hit that share button or RT.

Most importantly, take this as a reminder that anti fascism is something that everyone needs to do. Be it in your family, workplace, school, community group, sports club or on the streets. Build strong community connections to defend each other and provide an out for those young people who might be susceptible to propaganda. As we fight side-by-side against other oppressions we can build the bonds that will defend us against fascist violence.

Image credit: Just Seeds (https://justseeds.org/graphic/we-keep-each-other-safe/)

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