Has an unintended alliance of Silicon Valley censorship, alternative news rebuttals, mainstream journalistic scrutiny, and especially antifa street-fighters, discouraged what passes as the intellectual wing of the most reviled political movement of the last half-century?
Although fascist street attacks continue, the alt-right has been undergoing something of a brain drain in North America recently.
Richard Spencer, the proto-fascist movement’s poster-child since at least 2015, has abandoned his loft in Alexandria, Virginia. His web-sites Alt Right and Radix Journal have not been updated in months. Five of his staffers/writers, Jason Jorjani, “Vincent Law,” Evan Mc-Laren, Greg Conte, and “Hannibal Bateman” have left—some without a trace.
American Renaissance, a white supremacist online publication, gained and lost two “Directors of Special Projects”—Chris Roberts and Westley Parker.
In 2016, the popular Youtuber, “RamZPaul,” said goodbye to his involvement with the alt-right, and this year Lauren Southern, a Canadian far-right-winger, announced she would no longer be making regular videos.
Many of the alt-right’s mainstream vanguards have retreated: Michael Flynn left the White House after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, Katie McHugh quit Breitbart, Steve Bannon left the White House and then Breitbart, right-wing provocateur, Milo Yiannopoulos was fired from Breitbart.
He disappeared after calling for the murder of journalists, but was heard from recently complaining in the comments section of a Facebook post about how hard his life had become. Do these guys ever consider getting real jobs and quit whining?
Internally, many of the alt-rights, who they consider their “best and brightest,” have stopped writing including “Lawrence Murray,” “Alexander Hart,” and “PT Carlo,” to name a few.
This personnel revolving door is not unrelated to the movement’s serious financial woes. Across the alt-right, websites and individuals have been deplatformed from a whole host of services including Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, Stripe, Uber, Mailchimp, OkCupid, and countless event venues. Advertisers are fleeing from their websites, even the mainstream ones such as Breitbart and the Daily Caller, which can no longer afford to allow readers to use AdBlocker.
In 2017, Greg Johnson’s neo-Nazi website, Counter Currents, lost money for the first time since its founding.
Similar websites now periodically beg their readers for donations, always citing how hard it is for them to remain profitable in the face of constant deplatformings, legal woes, and public revulsion to incidents like Charlottesville.
Whereas in 2016 and 2017, it seemed as though a news cycle could not go by without mention of the alt-right, today the topic seems almost passé. When released early last year, Angela Nagle’s book length treatment of the alt-right, Kill All Normies: Online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right, was widely reviewed. This summer, the liberal Brookings Institution published a similar themed title edited by policy wonk, Thomas Main, The Rise of the Alt-Right, but it has hardly gotten notice anywhere. Interest in the fash has waned significantly.
Is it all over then? Not quite.
Neo-nazis, white supremacists, Euro-nationalists and the rest are not completely gone and they raise their twisted little heads in the streets and online from time to time, but in a much weakened state. With rightist movements gaining strength across the world, and even being represented in European governments, we should be proud of, if not defeating the far right in North America, at least inflicting a serious wounding.
How it was done is worth remembering.
Nick Oltmann is a college dropout, food industry worker, and occasional writer for The Baffler thebaffler.com/latest/suits-and-ties-oltmann
He lives and works on the East Coast.
“Milo Yiannopoulos banned from crowdfunding site Patreon: Far-right activist wanted funds for comeback, saying: ‘I’ve had a miserable year or two’” by Martin Belam, Guardian.com, Thursday, December 6, 2018.