By Melissa Ryan
Last week is still hard for me to process. It began with two black senior citizens murdered by white supremacists in my hometown of Louisville Kentucky, continued with a radicalized Trump supporter sending pipe bombs to prominent progressives across the country, and ended with a horrific mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue that killed eleven people, the deadliest anti-semitic attack in America’s history.
For the far right, the violence is a feature, not a bug. As I’ve written before, Trump and his army have put humanity on the ballot box, asserting that an ever-growing number of people are enemies of the people not worthy of being considered human. And in the final week before the midterms, despite the events of last week, hate is their literal closing argument. Trump isn’t able to unite Americans against hate because he doesn’t want to.
Extremism isn’t just an American problem. I was traveling in London last week, participating in a variety of meetings, briefings, and presentations around the far right/online radicalization and meeting people working on these issues across the globe. The recurring theme across every conversation was America’s role in exporting extremism. From radicalization powered by America tech companies, to our President, to American money that funds extremism in the UK and other countries. Our hell is everyone’s hell, and America bears some responsibility for it.
I also sat down with HOPE not hate to talk through our priorities for the newsletter moving forward, some of which was informed by reader feedback. (Thank you for that by the way. I love hearing from you.) We have loads of new research coming up, some of which will debut in CARD, that I’m really excited to share with you all. Next year we plan to do a lot more on the transnational nature of the far right. I’m convinced that no one country or entity is powerful enough to stop them. I want CARD to play a more active role in mapping out these networks and building the coalition we need to disrupt them.
Don’t let ‘Tommy Robinson’ preach his anti-Muslim message in the US
By Matthew McGregor
British anti-muslim activist Stephen Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, has been invited to speak at a major conference in Washington DC. If he’s allowed to attend, it will give him a big platform to push his Islamophobic agenda. It will give him the respectability of appearing alongside members of Congress. And it could net him in the range of £1million via fundraising. The question is whether – given his long criminal record – he’ll be allowed to attend.
The Middle East Forum has, in conjunction with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, invited Lennon to the United States in mid-November. In addition, Rep. Paul Gosar and six other members of Congress have invited Lennon to speak to the Conservative Opportunity Society in a closed-door event.
Our analysis suggests that Lennon will raise in the range of £1m as a result of the exposure and links he can foster on this trip if he is allowed into the US. We expect him to use his media profile and funding to tour the country organizing demonstrations about grooming scandals. Previous demonstrations organized by, or for, Lennon have descended into violence and left a trail of division.
Alt-tech: Far-right safe spaces online
By Patrik Hermansson
Alt-right Twitter clone Gab became the focus of media attention after it was revealed that the killer of eleven Jewish people at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, on 28 October 2018 was active on the site. He had posted white supremacist and antisemitic content and glorified violent far-right groups on the platform, without being suspended.
However, Gab is just one piece of a larger submovement within the alt-right dubbed “alt-tech”, made up of alternative platforms under the control of the far-right movement, along with activists envisioning how decentralization and online-separatism can carve out safe spaces for the far-right online.
The term was introduced in a blog post by Gab’s founder in 2017. It paints a picture of an increasingly hostile climate to far-right ideas online, at the time exemplified by the recent firing of Google employee James Damore for a manifesto against the company’s efforts to close the gender pay gap. “The time is now for patriots and free thinkers inside and outside of Silicon Valley to organize, communicate in a safe way, and start building”, the article declares.
- White Nationalist Richard Spencer’s Wife Says In Divorce Filings That He Physically And Emotionally Abused Her (Buzzfeed)
- White Evangelical Support of Trump Proves They’re More ‘White’ Than ‘Evangelical’ (The Root)
- Breaking down Gab: What you need to know about the social media platform that is a “haven for white nationalists” (Media Matters)
- NRCC Defends Anti-Soros Ads Day After Mass Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue (The Daily Beast)
- Americans Are Easy Marks for Russian Trolls, According to New Data (Buzzfeed)
- Right-wing activist Laura Loomer suspended from Twitter (Daily Dot)
- Here’s How Much Bots Drive Conversation During News Events (Wired)
- How an internet meme became a Trump campaign slogan (Politico)
- Facebook is banning the far-right militia Proud Boys after a violent attack in New York (Business Insider)
- Journalists of color were right about Trump. Why didn’t we listen? (The Week)
American readers, Tuesday is election day. The best way to fight the Frog Squad is to VOTE!
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