Frogs and Elephants
by Melissa Ryan
Arthur Jones has almost 0 chance of being elected to Congress, but his campaign made national news this week because despite being a holocaust denier, Jones will almost certainly win the Republican nomination in Il-03. The district is a Democratic stronghold (and Dems in this district have their own primary battle worth noting) that hasn’t sent a Republican to Congress since 1975. The Illinois GOP has denounced Jones, issuing this statement from their chair that “The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones.”
Illinois Republicans have managed to keep Jones off the ballot for years but this time he’ll have the nomination. Looking through his website I can see why they’re not happy. Calling Jones a holocaust denier is woefully incomplete. I spent some time on his campaign website this week and Arthur Jones is a white supremacist whose logo is an elephant with a Confederate flag on the side. Lest there be any confusion about what that flag stands for Jones has a section devoted to flags which describes the Confederate flag as “This flag represents to millions of White Americans, a symbol of White pride and White resistance. It is the flag of a White counter revolution.” Holocaust denial is a full section of the site, linked to from his top navigation bar. Jones also touts conspiracies on the site including this gem “targeted States: the radical Chicano movement wants to carve out a huge section of the United States for a new homeland called “La Republica Del Norte” or “Aztlan.””
Why does this matter? Because in today’s GOP Arthur Jones looks less like an outlier and more like the future of the Republican Party. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz recently invited Chuck Johnson to be his guest at the State of the Union. He was also a guest on Infowars. Iowa Congressman Steve King has a lengthy history of racist remarks and associations. Then there’s the matter of the Republican President sitting in the White House, the one with a lengthy record of retweeting white supremacists who had trouble denouncing neo-nazis in Charlottesville.
As part of Ctrl Alt-Right Delete’s midterm election coverage, we’re going to track elected officials and candidates with white supremacist views and alt-right ties. If you see an instance of this on social media or a news story please let me know.
Email [email protected] or just reply to this email.
Identitarianism in America
by Simon Murdoch
Though often framed as an essentially North American phenomenon, from its inception the alt-right drew heavily from various schools of European far-right thought such as the Nouvelle Droite (New Right) movement that began in France in the late 60s and the ‘identitarian’ movement that descended from it. Yet, just as the latter recognised the need to get supporters onto the streets and so created the activist organisation ‘Generation Identity’ in 2012, so too are the alt-right realising the limitations of their still largely online presence.
From alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer – who describes himself as an identitarian – announcing the start of an explicitly identitarian activist organisation, to alt-right alternative media increasingly adopting identitarian rhetoric and style, and key US alt-right street movement Identity Evropa embracing Generation Identity’s tactics more than ever before, it is clear that the alt-right are looking across the Atlantic to work out their next steps.
- Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda Research Project is out with new research projects studying who shares “junk news” (their term) in the U.S. You will be shocked to learn that the vast majority super sharers who make your favorite fake news and conspiracies go viral are Trump supporters on Twitter and “hard conservative” pages on Facebook. It’s worth noting that their seedlist of sources included some outlets, both liberal and conservative, that I personally wouldn’t classify as “junk news” and didn’t include other outlets that probably should have been there. Still it gives us yet another look at just how asymetrical the consumption and sharing of political content online is. If you just want the highlights, Mother Jones has a solid write up.
- Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked “over 100 people killed or injured by alleged perpetrators influenced by the so-called “alt-right.”” for a new report, The Alt-Right is Killing People. The report covered crimes from 2014-2018 but notes that the majority of these crimes occurred in 2017. It’s a chilling bus necessary read.
- A cohort of tech executives have formed a new organization, Center for Humane Technology, their attempt to fix a broken social media landscape from the inside. CHT’s four point plan includes a mix of public education, grasstops lobbying, engaging tech employees, and advocating for what they call “humane design.” The New York Times interviewed a few of their founders for the launch.
Welcome To YouTube ‘Bloodsports,’ The Alt-Right’s Newest Recruiting Tool(Right Wing Watch)
Online Lies About Spies (Digital Forensics Lab)
Our Hackable Political Future (New York Times)
Blatant Self PromotionI wrote a feature article for The Progressive that’s on newsstands this week: How the President and Neo-Nazis Work Hand in Hand. It’s a deep dive into how the White House mainstreamed white supremacy over the course of 2017. Pick up a copy at your local bookstore, or subscribe to read the article online.I also wrote a blog post, New research shows Trump’s army spreads the most “junk news.” Here’s why it matters for Media Matters.That’s a wrap on this week. Thanks for reading. If you love Ctrl Alt-Right Delete be sure to forward it to a friend. If you’d like to support this newsletter, make a tax deductible donation to our partner HOPE not hate.