Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians and the Hijacking of the American Conversation
Antisocial is an extension of the reporting Marantz did for the New Yorker, both before and after the election on the rise of clickbait websites and alt-right trolls. Some of this will be familiar ground to those who read the earlier articles, but there is more than enough new material here, and new insights to make this worth your while if you’re interested in how certain less savory corners of the internet work.
Marantz is a great journalist, who doesn’t shy away from the tricky questions that arise when you’re profiling some pretty unappealing people. If you’re humanizing an racist, anti-Semitic asshole like Mike Enoch, who is playing who? Marantz is forthcoming in the complexities of these relationships and if you follow this world at all, perhaps the most interesting insights here are into how figures like Enoch, Cernovich and others interact when an honest to goodness report is on the phone.
Perhaps in a year this will all feel very old, but for now, this is a book worth reading if you care about the conversation in this country and where “the narrative” is going.
The Silent Brotherhood: The Chilling Inside Story of America’s Violent, Anti-Government Militia Movement
The first on the scene book about the “the Order”, a white supremacist criminal gang that robbed banks to fund the white power movement and was involved in the assassination of liberal radio DJ Alan Berg. Told is a kinda trashy style, the book is still a very useful look into the formation of a relatively successful (though eventually doomed) white supremacist criminal cell.
Founded by Robert Jay Matthews at his rural Washington state farm, the group existed for approximately three years, before being taken down with the use of a government witness. All its known members are now in jail or dead. In the time that it was functioning, the Order raised millions of dollars for white supremacist organizations, and killed at least one man. While white power organizing has become much more sophisticated since the days of a group of men plotting shit in a barn, this book features many of the same themes (and some of the same people) as we see today.
Recommended for those interested in understanding the enemy.
* aka “Silent Brotherhood” or the “Bruder Schweign”.
Soundtracks to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subcultures
Devin Burghart, editor
Almost more of a pamphlet than a book, this is an overview of the various genres of neo-fascists / white power music. I grew up in punk rock / underground music scene, and am, unfortunately, deeply familiar with many of the bands and scenes discussed here. Definitely dated now (this one came out in 1999), but still full of valuable information for people who know nothing about this phenomenon. If you come to this one already knowing about Skrewdriver, Boyd Rice, Burzum and Death in June, you’ll probably find this pretty basic. If those names don’t ring a bell, then there’s a lot to learn in this little book.
Recommended for the enthusiast
I’m a little puzzled myself at how many books on post-war fascism I’ve read. What’s the allure? Perhaps its a fear that these ideas, which never went away, would one day resurface into the mainstream? Perhaps its trying to grapple with how anyone can be filled with this kind of hate and paranoia? However you view it, I thought it’d be worth while to collect reviews I have written on various books on the post-war fascism / Neo-Nazism.
Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International, Kevin Coogan — A biography of Yockey, a leading post war anti-semite and fascists, and a capsule history of post-war esoteric fascism
Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret International History of the Twentieth Century, Mark Sedwick — An academic history of the “tradionalist” religious movement, of which many of the more esoteric fascists of the post-war era have been enamored.
Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity, Nicholas Clark — An overview of the major currents in post-war “esoteric nazism” i.e. the most out there crazy of the bigots.
Blood In The Face: Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads and the Rise of New White Culture, James Ridgeway — Good overview of the history of neo-nazi movement and other hate groups in the United States circa the 1990s.
Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right Angel Nagle — Excellent look at the rise of the online “Alt-right”
Militias in America 1995: A Reading and Resources, Institute for Alternative Journalism — A collection of journalism written in the aftermath of the Oklahoma city bombing and the rise of the Militia movement.
Devin Burghart, editor A brief overview of the white power / neo-nazi movements infiltration of various underground music scenes.
The Silent Brotherhood: The Chilling Inside Story of America’s Violent, Anti-Government Militia Movement, Kevin Flynn and Gary Gerhardt Story of White power criminal gang “the Order” who were responsible for a string of bank robberies and the death of liberal radio personality Alan Berg.
Adolf Hitler, Magic Yoga Spaceman — My friend V. Charm’s review of Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. Charm is a much better writer than me, you’ll enjoy this.
Blood In The Face: Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads and the Rise of New White Culture
Published in 1995 (the year of the Oklahoma City Bombing), Ridgeway’s Blood in the Face was, was the first serious book I read on the rise of post-war neo-Nazi formations like Aryan Nations and Skinhead subculture. While the book begins by tracing the history of the KKK, it’s real worth, I think, is in the serious reporting Ridgeway put into tracing the formation of Aryan Nations, Posse Comitas, and the various amorphous nazi-skinhead groups which plagued the punk rock scene of my youth.
Much of what we see today in terms of the racist and anti-semitic tropes of the so called “alt-right” had their beginnings in these groups. You can see a clear through line from the simplistic hate literature Ridgeway reproduces here to the pepe the frog gas chamber meme’s of today’s alt-right twitter. While others have covered this ground since, Ridgeway was there first and his book remains essential reading for anyone interested in understanding postwar neo Nazism in America.
Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity
An overview of Nazi inspired right wing lunatics of the post World War II era, covering the heavy hitters and some lesser known individuals. It is a very well researched account of world for which it is difficult to get information, but it is also dry, and skims too lightly over the biographies of these people for my taste. While I think it is important to seriously engage with lunatic ideas about Nazis in Antarctica, I don’t necessarily want to read fifty pages about it. I’d recommend it for the person deeply interested in the lunatic fringe of the right, but perhaps not for the average reader.
A thought on the substance of the book: Much of post WWIII Nazism is enraptured with a mystical religious understanding of Hitler and Nazism. There is much talk in this book about Hitler as a Hindu avatar, Hitler as an alien intelligence, Hitler as a blah blah blah.. What all of this does it put distance between the reality of Hitler as the mastermind of one of the greatest genocides in history and the “theoretical” Hitler of Julius Evola’s books. Goodrick-Clarke hints at this, but is too much of an even keel academic to say what needs to be said – by placing a mystical veneer on the man’s action, you can attempt to cloud the history and make the man more than a murder. This mysticalization of Hitler and Nazism is a dangerous trend in modern ultra right politics, and one that needs to be combated with the cold hard truth that Hitler was just a sociopath, nothing more.
Recommended for the enthusiast*
*Though it feels weird to use “enthusiast” here. Note that I loathe fascism, racism and antisemitism and actively fight it. Knowing it is part of defeating it.