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Tuesday, June 2, 2020


This post comes by way of
Mark Lemley
Worth reading, from Dr Curtis Ryan, professor of political science and terrorism at Appalachian State University
"Accelerationists, the Boogaloo, and other random thoughts:
I've been trying to avoid posting about politics, but as demos and riots (two different things) are going on in multiple cities after the murder of George Floyd, there are several things you should pay attention to.
Among them: accelerationists, Hawaiian shirts, the Boogaloo, and Pepe the Frog. Sounds goofy, I know. But please get what these are, and do it fast, because they will be deadly. That's not a joke. So this is just a quick post and then I'm out. I'm exhausted by this. But also deeply alarmed.
So ... the short and off the cuff version:
I've been teaching about terrorism for many years now, and there is a connection between that topic and these events. Specifically this word: accelerationists. Accelerationists are white supremacists who are trying to start a second civil war that will solidify a white fascist state in the U.S. Obviously, with an explicit racist in the White House, fascists and white supremacist groups have felt that their moment is now throughout the Trump presidency, but they are also afraid that their preferred leader may be ousted in November.
Hence all the urgency to create chaos and foment violence in Minneapolis, Atlanta, and other cities. Each of the major cities rocked by riots has claimed that people from outside are doing much of the property damage, commiting acts of arson, and -- somewhat bafflyingly -- targeting minority-owned businesses.
But protesters, the overwhelming majority of whom have been peaceful until attacked by militarized police, have noted that these are usually single masked white men (you may have seen several on film, like the one people were calling 'umbrella man').
They were also well represented in the mainly white right wing MAGA rallies against COVID lockdowns, even storming state houses with AR-15's and successfully shutting down the Michigan state legistature. Not that all those protesters fit that description, but that is not the point.
The point is that in the latter instance, they could get away with pretty much anything, using their white privilege as a shield. In the former instances, of protests against the murder of citizens of color, accelerationists and other white supremacists and far right groups are using protesters as their shield, while they foment chaos, destruction, and violence.
Trump et al are already trying to shriek about antifa and leftists in general. But the online chatter on white supremacists site and other venues is at an overload point: they think it's here. The big one they've been waiting and prepping for. And they encourage members to go and sow mayhem.
Many actually call this the Boogaloo. I know, this sounds like a joke, but sadly it's not. Long story here. Too long for this post.
Like most far right extremist terms, it began as a meme and an inside joke (4chan, 8chan, Stromfront, and other far fight forums were always awash in memes and inside jokes -- from the white power symbol [originally a joke, now real] to pepe the frog [originally a cartoon, now used as a Nazi symbol]. So even such benign or bizarre combos like Hawaiian shirts or skull masks are now appropriated as Boogaloo and Nazi symbols respectively.
If you've never heard of the Boogaloo, or accelerationists, or missed the deep connections of white supremacist groups to this White House, well now you know.
And please pay close attention, because there is also an 'active measures' cyber campaign, and yes, it's from Russia, that seeks to amplify these voices and tensions, from COVID conspiracy theories to protests of police brutality and killings. That's well underway too, so unfortunately much of what is out there on Twitter and the internet in general is nonsense. But the broader threat is real, and it is currently attempting to hijack legimate protest and legimate anger at oppression, and turn it into civil stife within the US, while attempting to blame the victims themselves."


Paul said...

Jesus Christ, RPW, don’t be such a dupe! Really—the most sensible line of analysis is that ‘The Russians’ are behind this? And is there any evidence, beyond claims by opportunistic mayors, that ‘outsiders’ are behind all of the looting? Evidenceless. But also evincing terrible political instincts—we really want to make this another front in the new Cold War? We really want to claim that the ‘real protesters’ are perfect angels, setting them up for vitriol the second any of them is found to step outside of the super narrowly defined conception of a ‘peaceful protester’? Just terrible political instincts. I would expect that much from Tobias, who’s nothing but a centrist hack. But from you? You’re a great thinker on the left—you should know better!

henry said...

A dissenting opinion on what is happening these days, but there is no official “systemic racism”.

Over the last few decades, It’s become a class issue. Granted, the hereditary psychological scarring from centuries of actual government sanctioned racism, coupled with the class barriers faced by black americans for climbing the economic hierarchy is great (since historical racism has forced them start out at the bottom of the economic hierarchy); But their plight being due directly to the contemporary racism of white people, especially on the coasts?… no.

Fueling the narrative of “systemic racism” is actually counterproductive, as is the sensationalism of “cops are indiscriminately murdering black americans”. Ideologically possessed “Social Justice” (its become a cliche term for a reason) activists are hindering the move towards a better society with their sensationalist obfuscations magnified by most of the news media.

Repeat a lie over and over and over and it becomes the truth. Find me a substantive racist law and abuse of governmental power that targets black people, instead of the disparities across groups in regards to arrests and income and even police shootings being due to secondary reasons of poverty (a class issue) and subsequently being at higher risk of committing crime disproportionately.

If they (The oligarchs and kleptocrats who buy both parties and who own the news media) succeed in making us maniacally focus on “race”, or unhinged Russia conspiracy theories of instigation of looting, then they win. They’ve successfully divided the country and deflected the rage away from them.

Yes that’s the spirit! Keep the protests focused soeley on “Racism” and that “White privilege” and maybe even "Russia". Meanwhile, the stock markets are roaring due to the 5 trillion dollars the government just handed away to them (Top 1% owns about 50% of stocks, top 10% owns about 84%, last I checked).

Since most of "the resistance" in the US cannot see that larger picture, we are screwed.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I don't mind when you attack me, Paul-with-no-last-name, but when you attack my son, then I must respond to you as my old friend and Afro-American Studies Chair, Esther Terry, might: Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

ES said...

Henry, please read up on intersectionalism. Parts of what you say are reasonable (there is a class aspect) but when black citizens are killed indiscriminately and with impunity by state agents, there is most certainly systemic racism (and the bar is actually much lower but if you can't open your eyes to that, I see no point in your commenting).

ES said...

There is some value to your contributions. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that "true" protesters are and must always be non-violent. Non-violence was a tactic for MLK who (I recently learned) did carry a firearm.

Nor should we side with the liberals and media who fetishize property that is being destroyed. This is pure ideology and erasure of the real violence perpetrated on black bodies.

But the overwhelming evidence from those (like the expert RPW platformen here) who study right-wing terrorism and extremism, which is publicly accessible on most of their sites (again, listed above) is that they see this as an opportunity. Especially knowing that they will be shielded from blame by their privilege and the presumed guilt of BLM protestors.

This explains the targeted destructions of businesses owned by black and POC citizens.

Russian involvement in US politics is not the focus of this analysis but rather the now all-too-familiar backdrop to political reality. The Russian regime will fan flames wherever they are to be found. And the US has lots of flames. Don't forget that the Russians were instrumental to Trump but that they also promoted Bernie precisely because he is (sadly) controversial.

Referring to these facts is not jingoistic. Unless you can show good faith by acknowledging this, why bother posting?

Unknown said...

"Find me a substantive racist law and abuse of governmental power that targets black people..."

We could start with drug laws with penalties that are biased. How about voter purges that always seem to disenfranchise folks of color? "Grandfather laws" were written back in the day to precisely discriminate against black folks while not mentioning race. Any competent lawyer or demographer can write race without mentioning race. You need to get out more.

Class solidarity is a 19th century fantasy. Race, ethnicity, and religion have always and likely will always trump class with the "working class." The upper classes are another matter but then that's the problem.

Anonymous said...

Yea...the article keeps talking about what is or isn't the point it is trying to make, but doesn't really make one, other than a general, be scared of white nationalists who are sowing chaos. Well, no shit.

"But protesters, the overwhelming majority of whom have been peaceful until attacked by militarized police, have noted that these are usually single masked white men (you may have seen several on film, like the one people were calling 'umbrella man')."

This claim needs a lot of supporting citations and evidence to not just come off as hot air.

TheDudeDiogenes said...

Here is a useful website about shootings by police in the US. One can filter by whether the shooting was lethal, whether the person shot was armed, and by the race of the person shot.

In 2019, 9 unarmed black individuals were killed; 19 unarmed white individuals were killed. So, since the US is 72% white, black individuals are overrepresented per capita, but overall more white individuals were killed.

What might explain this? Earlier this week, Leiter linked to an essay by Adolph Reed Jr, which I have found invaluable on this topic.

Here is one important quotation from the essay:

"What the pattern in those states with high rates of police killings suggests is what might have been the focal point of critical discussion of police violence all along, that it is the product of an approach to policing that emerges from an imperative to contain and suppress the pockets of economically marginal and sub-employed working class populations produced by revanchist capitalism."