Far-right groups rarely face consequences the US or Europe. Will anyone hold their growing numbers accountable?
United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres called for an international alliance against white supremacy and neo-Nazis durinng the Holocaust Memorial, citing that the FBI have reported a 20 percent increase in hate crimes during Donald Trump’s presidency. He also noted the increased audacity globally of groups not only in the US but Europe and elsewhere. For minorities, or essentially any other ethnicity than white European, this is not only threatening but confusing considering the violence and destruction this thinking has caused in recent years.
In the US, the storming of Capitol Hill could not have been accomplished by any racial group other than majority white protestors with only a single death reported. Many stressed that a group of outraged Black, Hispanic, or Arab protesters would not have met with such a soft-handed response from authorities. It was deemed as a permissible outcry, whereas any other racial group would have quickly been branded terrorists.
The concern here is not race per se, but rather the veil of ‘whiteness’ that is portrayed as educated, legitimate, and projects only a limited, almost harmless, quantity of violence. Politicians, not only in the United States, but in Europe as well, do less to denounce the terror and toxic ideologies inflicted by right or white excesses.
As a blanket term, white supremacy is the unsophisticated belief in not only white superiority but separatism, dominance, and/or expulsion of other racial groups. This is the predominant thinking of Nazi groups, and the father of many contemporary American ‘white power’ groups, the Klu Klux Klan.
But the ideology has since transformed into something more complex — yet equally as unsophisticated — a movement rife with baseless conspiracies as motivators. Of this new sub-genre of racism, it is positioned as patriotic, anti-Liberal, and anti-immigrant. A white empowerment movement in response to the risk of losing demographic dominance, which some groups refer to as “The Great Replacement” (of minorities over those of European heritage). This existing sentiment was repeatedly echoed by Trump and was evidenced by his inability to condemn white supremacists when directly called upon to do so.
The groups identified at the rampage at the White House include groups such as QAnon, The Oath Keepers, III (Three Percent), amongst others. White power hand gestures were repeated from different groups in the crowd, and many of these groups raised their flags. One of which, like others, was a development from an online meme: “Trump’s legal team, Sidney Powell, started the fuss by claiming she was a “Kraken’’ gathering evidentiary steam that would soon be unleashed to derail Joe Biden’s claim to the presidency. Before long, the #ReleaseTheKraken hashtag had been picked up by conspiracy theorists, including QAnon, and used online to spread the false claim of an illegitimate result.”
First and most infamous, QAnon hold the belief that parts of the Democratic party, government, media, and other influential figures have formed a secret Satan-worshipping party that are engaged in pedophelia and human trafficking. This group was formed in 2017 when a message was left by user “Q” claiming to be a high-level government employee (Q-level clearance) left messages on a 4chan message board indicating evidence supporting the group's beliefs.
Furthermore QAnon beliefs extend to: “The Storm is the mass arrest of people in high-power positions who will face a long-awaited reckoning. The Great Awakening involves a single event in which everyone will attain the epiphany that QAnon theory was accurate the whole time. This realization will allow society to enter an age of utopia,” explains the WSJ.
The Proud Boys (first led by VICE co-founder Gavin McInnes) currently led by former fraud informant Henry Tarrio, are another group involved in the rise of this racist ideology though formally like the rest they do not identify as such. They attempt to brand themselves as a multidimensional group but ultimately they are racist, misogynistic, and heavily armed.
While the group has been banned from a number of social media platforms for disinformation and hate speech, like QAnon, they still have chapters in the majority of the states in the US and are still permitted to organise, gather arms and recruits, and ultimately plan, like the other groups for the battle to retain the values of Western culture.
Other noteworthy and dangerous groups are the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. These two are of particular concern as they are militias and the majority of members are former military and law enforcement. It is not a stretch to assume some active police and military are part of these groups as well.
The ethos for the Oath Keepers, so to speak, here, is to preserve the US constitution at all costs - and what this can extend to mean is a number of things. They are an open domestic militia, heavily armed, and well trained, clearly a bigger threat to any state than a fragmented and weakened extremist group in Iraq. The Three Percenters subscribe to a similar thinking, namely on the right to bear arms, while they have taken pains to highlight that they are not a racist group nor a militia but a patriot movement paramilitary group. They do, however, subscribe to an ‘anti-government’ sentiment that stems back to the 1994 Oklahoma bombing, as does the founding of the group itself.
What is of most concern is the sheer amount of damage white supremacy has caused since World War II. It has been an active, open, and continuous threat that has taken countless lives.
As mosques are being shut down, Hispanic communities threatened with deportation, Jewish communities living with increasing anti-Semitism, it seems baffling that counter-terror and intelligence agencies are not doing more to end this threat.
Why is a broad movement based on far-fetched and conspiratorial beliefs — openly armed and trained, with flags that intentionally resemble the Swastika — not rehabilitated and challenged at every level? This question stands for Germany, France, and several other European countries where this ideology is prevalent on the ground and among political leaders. White supremacy’s rise will ultimately become an even more destructive force that will affect not only minorities, but all of society.
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