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Truthout: Collapse of White Nationalist Party Offers Lessons for Anti-Fascist Strategy

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Shane Burley, one of our longtime Antifa enemies and the author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How To End It, has a new article out about the collapse of the National Justice Party.


“2024 began with a declaration of failure from within the white nationalist movement: The National Justice Party (NJP) is toast. Billed as a working-class white political party from the people who ran The Right Stuff (TRS) podcast network, and the racist talk radio vehicle TDS (renamed as such after being originally called The Daily Shoah) in particular, the NJP was an intentional effort to soak up the remnants of the “alt-right” who wanted to continue their public activism after most of their organizations had collapsed.

The NJP positioned itself to offer what few far right organizations were currently doing: be both politically militant and upfront, building interest around contemporary issues and using elections as a place either to potentially run candidates or push wedge issues often manipulated by white nationalists. The NJP came together under the control of several different people who came to prominence from the alt-right, such as hosts from the Right Stuff and Greg Conte, former collaborator with Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute. They would create NJP chapters around the country, find issues that appealed to working-class white voters and show that they were willing to take positions the Republicans and Democrats were unwilling to, thus positioning themselves as a political vanguard fighting for white workers. But despite becoming one of the largest “post-alt-right” white nationalist groups in the country after its 2020 launch, their recent collapse reveals that internal fractures are continuing to keep the modern white nationalist movement in disarray.

The alt-right emerged in 2010 as a new form of branding for fascist politics, linking up different dissident strains into a de facto ideological coalition, and moved from online to “IRL” (in real life) organizing around 2015 with organizations like Identity Evropa, the Proud Boys and the Traditionalist Workers Party (which itself had been formed earlier). But after public blunders such as their public violence at August 2017’s Unite the Right rally, significant deplatforming from tech companies, and aggressive counter-organizing from anti-fascists, their earlier model of street activism never became a significant force for community organizing. …”

I’ve always read these people.

I think about what they have to say.

I enjoy reflecting on my own failures and experiences.

In my opinion, the street activism arc of the Alt-Right was an expensive and ineffective tactic. Those who have done it badly like the NSM and Blood Tribe have only courted ridicule. Those who have tried to project the best public image like Patriot Front have been hooted down as “feds” by MAGAtards.

NJP was somewhere in the middle. Their activism consisted of trying to draw attention to legitimate grievances like black-on-White crime in flash rallies. This is similar to what we were attempting to do at the White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville with the Sudanese refugee who shot up the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. Then as now, these crimes do not capture the public imagination. We go home with a sense having “done something” without the message even gaining local traction.

In Charlottesville, we went for size and succeeded in capturing the klieg lights of national attention (Joe Biden is still running for reelection on it), but that rally proved to be the death knell of the Alt-Right. It exposed all the downsides of street activism. Unvetted people with mental problems like James Fields, Jr. showed up and created chaos. We had leaders who cracked under pressure. Insofar as the Alt-Right had even a simulacrum of institutions in 2017, we employed people like Evan the Punk. We made it easy for the “journalists” and Antifa researchers to dox the people who attended the rally. We allowed groups like the NSM with a toxic public image and dubious leaders to show up and define a rally that was about a popular cause like the preservation of Southern historical monuments. The “Unite the Right” rally had already failed as a rallying concept with its target audience before it even began.

NJP wanted to continue traveling down that path, but with explicitly “National Socialist” branding. It circled back to the origins of White Nationalism in the American Nazi Party trolling the media on street corners. It didn’t work for Rockwell. It didn’t work for William Pierce and the National Alliance, Glenn Miller and the White Patriot Party, Matt Hale and the World Church of the Creator, Billy Roper and White Revolution or for any of the other dozen iterations of the same idea. It has a deep, but narrow appeal to the less than 5% of White Americans who are sympathetic to Neo-Nazism.

The tactic which worked for the Alt-Right and which continues to pay dividends is 1.) trying to shape the culture of the young online Right in terms of core values, beliefs, aspirations and 2.) the interplay with more mainstream figures on the Right who “move the Overton Window” and push this consensus into the political mainstream in a more palatable form. Time has proven to be a reliable ally here as the steady diminishment of the Center Right under Trump and the aging of the electorate is pushing our views into the mainstream. There is less and less resistance from people like Liz Cheney.

In early 2018, the large street rallies came to a screeching halt. Richard Spencer whined that “Antifa is winning.” The Alt-Right fragmented into factions, collapsed and never recovered. QAnon filled the void. Antifa continued its enervating street battles with Alt-Lite groups like the Oathcucks, Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys. Wokeism triumphed in the George Floyd protests. Trump went on to lose the 2020 election. January 6 appeared to finish off Trump and these Alt-Lite remnants for good.

Paradoxically, the seeds of our renewal were sown in this catastrophe. Trump losing the 2020 election radicalized his base. The lawfare against Trump has further radicalized the Right. The triumph of Wokeism in the George Floyd riots has fueled a much larger and more enduring backlash. Joe Biden’s presidency has shifted the politics of immigration and other key issues in a more favorable direction. When we stopped engaging in street fights with Antifa, the entire Right began to see Antifa as their enemy. Finally, the crippling lawsuits against Unite the Right organizers created the void that was filled by people like Tucker Carlson and Matt Walsh who have been much more successful in mainstreaming our ideas.

Today, there is no need for anyone to brand themselves with self-marginalizing labels like “Alt-Right” or “Dissident Right,” or to hold street rallies about causes which the Right is already largely panicked about like antiracism and demographic replacement. It makes much more sense to, say, embrace normalcy and pursue a career path by following the footsteps of Stephen Miller by becoming a faceless policy wonk focused on immigration restriction. Pretty much everyone on the Right now wants to restrict immigration. The same sort of consensus is emerging around other issues like anti-Whiteism in the civil rights bureaucracy. The cause is now so mainstream that even people like Rich Lowry are endorsing it.

If you want to do something useful for the cause, focus on your own personal life, burnish your resume and run for one of the thousands of local and state offices where our politics will now find a more sympathetic audience. Judd Blevins was ousted from the Enid City Council, but there are undoubtedly countless people out there with the same values, beliefs and politics without the baggage of the Alt-Right era weighing them down. Running against Antifa will probably help you get elected in your district. The GOP has been running against the Antifa boogeyman for the last six years now.

Don’t make the stupid mistake of branding yourself “Alt-Right” or a Nazi or a fascist. Just call yourself a conservative populist while sticking to our positions. Blend in with the crowd. When you are attacked by people like Shane Burley, call them “woke” to signal your affiliation with the in group.


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