In the days immediately following the events at Charlottesville, and before the dust had really settled there were some on the Alt-Right describing it as the Alt-Right’s Munich Putsch moment. The day, on November 9th 1923, that Hitler, hoping to emulate the previous years march on Rome when Mussolini had been able to intimidate the Italian prime minister Luigi Facta and Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel to stand down in order to avoid civil war and thus handover the reigns of power over to him and his National Fascist Party (NFP). However, Hitler, unlike Mussolini who had some 30,000 armed men to back him up, marched on Munich with just 2000 men and was confronted by armed police who shot and killed 16 of them, causing chaos and his supporters to disperse . Hitler was arrested two days later, and would, on reflection, resolve to win power by legitimate means - eventually being elected Chancellor ten years later in March 1933.
Charlottesville was not Munich 1923, it was not even close, but it was nevertheless a defining moment in the evolution both of the contemporary far right and of how it is perceived, supported, opposed and accommodated, by the people, the media, the internet and the state. So in that sense the Munich analogy is not completely wrong…
…After the putsch failed Hitler was put on trial and imprisoned where he used his time to plan and to write his manifesto, Mein Kampf (My Struggle or My Fight). The party he led, the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) was banned and its main mouthpiece, their newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, was also banned. As a result numerous new nazi supporting newspapers were started to carry on the fight, likewise nationalists and NSDAP members formed a lose-knit political grouping, the Völkisch-Sozialer Block (the People’s Social Block) which in turn supported the
newly formed Deutsche Partei (German Party), essentially the NSDAP with another name.
In December 1924 Hitler was released from prison. Two months later the authorities lifted the ban on the NSDAP and the party was reformed, publication of the Völkische Beobachter restarted and the rest, so to speak, is history.
For the Alt-Right, the wider nationalist groups, assorted Alt-Right and Alt-Lite personalities, as well as numerous other rightist movements of various hues and shades, from the palest grey to the blackest black, nothing is as clear cut. There is no ‘leader’ or defining philosophy, no unifying manifesto, not even a party or uniting force to gather around or run to for a reassuring group hug or mass Hailing; there is, or rather was, the internet and perhaps Pepe, that great smirking frog in the cyber sky.
But that was before Charlottesville and The Daily Stormer’s shut down beget the internet’s Great Shuttening which, in turn, essentially killed Pepe and the far rights digital Never Never land. Mordor had come to the Shire or Kekistan as the right had rechristened it, and were taking no prisoners.
The Daily Stormer went first, but like a hammy actor determined to make the most of his death scene, the Stormer has refused to die and has been resurrecting itself ever since much to the annoyance of the theatre’s management, which in this analogy, would be the Silicon Valley corporations.
The Daily Stormer may have screamed loudest when the knives went in, but there were hundreds of other victims, many killed quietly and for expediency, quickly, their domains and website content wiped out in seconds so that it was as if they were never there, that they had never existed. Others, less well known, or who had less followers but who were nevertheless important in contributing to the whole, were taken down in the cyber night and their screams have yet to be heard. In fact, many victims of the Great Shuttening will never be known.
Groups like Cross Currents, The National Policy Institute, Occidental Dissent, Alternative Right, The AltRight, Identity Europe, Vanguard America, Radix Journal, Rebel Media as well individuals like Lauren Southern, Faith Goldy, Mike Enoch, Andrew Auernheimer (weev) and Richard Spencer to name a very few. of all the hundreds and hundreds closed. What began as a bit of digital virtue signalling from internet companies like Patreon who closed the funding account of journalist and broadcaster Lauren Southern several weeks before Charlottesville on the grounds that it just didn’t like her views, escalated in the run up to Charlottesville when Airbnb started closing the accounts of anyone they suspected of using their services to attend the Unite the Right rally.
This digital virtue signalling then escalated massively after the banning of The Daily Stormer, almost as if the actions of Google, Go Daddy and Cloudfare in banning the Stormer gave legitimacy to actions that hitherto would have been unthinkable, that is the banning and erasing of a people’s opinion purely because they, that is, Silicon Valley, disagreed, or hated, that groups, or individuals, political views. Our Speech or No Speech was the motto of the day now!
Perhaps driven by the hysteria of the liberal media in the aftermath of Heather Hyer’s death, or indeed as a way of exploiting her death, Silicon Valley joined in and began culling websites and social media in ways one would usually associate with communist China, or Iran, or indeed Soviet Russia had the internet existed pre 1989, and certainly not with 21st Century USA.
Cheered on by the liberal media it was as if all the main hosting and internet companies had convened an emergency board meeting and decided that they had to be seen to be doing their bit in getting rid of some ’nazis’. And for the avoidance of doubt 'nazis' no longer means ‘nazis’ in the Third Reich sense, but rather anyone opposed to leftwing liberalism and cultural Marxism. They would not put it in those terms of course but that is essentially what they meant and each company presumably got staff to troll through their sites and social media postings to find ’nazis’ with a view to ’shutting them down’.
Now, nearly a month since the events at Charlottesville, the Great Shuttening is still going on. Stormfront, one of the oldest nationalist forums in existence, having been established for over twenty years and with some 300,000 registered users, was recently closed down without notice and its domain seized by its hosting company, Network Solutions. And so it continues with ban after ban.
Yet finally, though with reluctance, some in the mainstream media and liberal left are beginning to question both the validity of these actions and the power of Silicon Valley in being able to arbitrarily silence an entire political point of view with a few clicks.
Equally disquieting, abet only for a few so far, is the begrudging acceptance that backing up and exploiting the online attacks on the right, has been violent intimidation from leftwing thugs and mobs of politically correct radicals who are behaving with the same violence and intimidation as Moa’s infamous student Red Guards did during China’s Cultural Revolution. For many, including Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, who to her credit unequivocally condemned Antifa and other leftwing thugs filmed beating up defenceless Trump supporters in a shocking display of mob violence.
Yet despite these setbacks the Right is regrouping and rebuilding and learning from its mistakes. Rival internet social media sites like Gab and Bitchute, are openly committed to free speech and have started up to try and break the monopolies of Facebook and Youtube. There is optimistic talk of forming and creating a rightwing alternative to Google (now aka Goolag) and other Silicon Valley behemoths. While others, including perhaps not unsurprisingly many on the Left, are now calling for Google and Facebook to be regarded as utilities in the same way that water and electricity are so that they can be nationalised and regulated by the state. Something, I am sure that would have unthinkable were it not for the Great Shuttening.
How these developments will play out over the coming months is anyones guess, but what is sure is that if Silicon Valley and the liberal left establishment thought by banning and closing down thousands of sites and individual accounts that they could silence at entire political faith and crush its supporters then they are in for a big surprise. History has shown that revolutions rarely start with one big event, rather they begin with lots of little events and happenings, an incident there, a skirmish here, an arrest in one city, and a speech somewhere else. Drip by bloody drip and word by bloody word, a revolution builds and grows, and the people silencing and beating on the right now, may come to realise that their actions have helped unify and galvanise the right in ways that will make it a formidable force in the years to come.
© Nigel Wingrove 2017
- WHOSE SPEECH! OUR SPEECH! - PART 1: CHARLOTTESVILLE
- WHOSE SPEECH! OUR SPEECH! - PART 2: WEAPONISED SATIRE
- WHOSE SPEECH! OUR SPEECH! - PART 4: TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY