How the Alt Right builds on earlier far right upsurges: teleSUR article

Three Way Fight


I have an opinion piece on teleSUR about “How the Alt Right Builds on Earlier Far-Right Upsurges.”  A lot of my work over the past couple of years has been based on a distinction between the far right and the system-loyal right. The teleSUR article summarizes this analytic point:

“The alt-right’s attitude toward Trump highlights an important dividing line within the U.S. right — the divide between those who accept the legitimacy of the existing political system, and those who don’t. I reserve the term ‘far right’ for forces that (1) regard human inequality as natural or inevitable and (2) reject the established political order on principle. The ‘system-loyal right,’ by contrast, includes those forces that want to make change through incremental measures. An analogy on the left is the difference between social democrats and communists, reformists and revolutionaries.

“One of the biggest ways that far rightists make an impact is through collaboration and interchange with system-loyal rightists, such as alt-rightists helping to put Trump in the White House and using his campaign to increase their own visibility. Yet the two part company on whether to accept the U.S. political system or abandon it and sooner or later that is likely to lead to conflict.”

The article presents the Alt Right’s rise in the context of the Nazi-Klan upsurge of the 1980s and the Patriot movement’s rise in the 1990s:

“Unlike the Nazi-Klan movement of the 1980s or the Patriot movement of the 1990s, the alt-right mostly exists online. This means it is unlikely to take up armed struggle or organize militias, but it has powerful tools to continue its ‘metapolitical’ strategy, to shift the parameters of political discourse as a first stage before transforming institutions. And unlike the previous two far-right upsurges, which were met by federal government crackdowns, the alt-right now faces a presidential administration that it helped to put in power.”

2 thoughts on “How the Alt Right builds on earlier far right upsurges: teleSUR article”

  1. Mathew, you raised consciousness about “the divide between those [loyal guys] who accept the legitimacy of the existing political system, and those who don't.” Thank you.

    You see the “Far-Right” combining political forces “that (1) regard human inequality as natural or inevitable, and (2) reject the established political order on principle.” I gave these ideas a lot of thought.

    In 1491, a magnificent political order in the Western Hemisphere had long been established by the tribes of its aboriginal population. Their Asian ancestors populated the Western Hemisphere about 15,000 years before. Few today have an idea how culturally sophisticated those civilizations were.

    But, starting in 1492, European migrants to the Western Hemisphere placed themselves on that side of the divide that did not “accept the legitimacy of the existing political system.” Those new migrants categorically rejected integrating themselves into the Amerindian civilization. Instead, they set up their own systems that they strongly believed to be superior. Without my education, in part, on this anti-fascist website, I might have done the same. 🙁

    In the 16th and 17th centuries, whole tribes, languages, religions — former ways of American life – completely disappeared. This demographic disaster happened before anyone saw it on TV :-), or before historical written records were kept. Most today don't know much about it. The European migrants, and what Matthew might label a kind of “far-right politics,” facilitated one of the greatest human catastrophes. The massive numbers of untimely deaths of the indigenous peoples of America may have exceeded those of the Black Death (1347-1351) and the Holocaust (1938-1945) combined!

    By 1620, when the Pilgrims arrived, many of the Amerindians were already dead from contagious disease. Within two days of arrival, the Christian Pilgrims stole their stored crops, desecrated their graves to dig up dishes and pots, and took native people as prisoners.

    The descendants of the European migrants took comfort in denial. They were never formally admonished by the international community. Some believed that their God killed 80% to 100% of the natives, as part of His "divine plan" to make way for a Christian theocracy. It was “natural or inevitable” for some to prefer such Christian supremacist lies over the truth.

    That was a part of “The Columbian Exchange”(1492). Lying has always been easy. Telling the truth is complicated.

    For complexity:


    I am proud to support the U.S. government and its Constitution. It's political system has allowed neoNazi groups in the U.S.

    The National Socialist Movement currently has about 400 members in 32 states.


    On a tangential matter: In 2011, a leader from this NeoNazi group, Jeff Hall, was murdered by his ten-year-old son. The boy claimed he was “tired” of his father beating him and his stepmother. A study of far right extremists yields some interesting facts about beatings. The University of Maryland recently studied a small number of former far-right-wing extremists (n=20 & n=44).

    As children and adolescents,
    80% of the research sample of former “far right” extremists had divorced parents,
    45% were physically abused,
    48% were neglected by their families,
    32% were abandoned by their parents,
    55% were expelled from, or dropped out of, school,
    30% had parents who were in prison,
    48% had families afflicted by substance abuse,
    64% used alcohol and illicit drugs before age 16.
    (Pages 2-3)

  2. I should clarify that my definition of "far right" as quoted in this blog post is specific to the United States in the current historical situation. It does not apply to all times or all places. The European genocide against Native peoples in the Americas is one of the great crimes of world history. But I would not try to shoe-horn it into the category of far right.


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