The alt-right movement: everything you (really) need to know


Pic credit: Green Room 

Yesterday, The Irish Times published a piece on the alt-right. It was framed as an explanatory guide; in defence of publication of the piece, Opinion Editor John McManus says that the article "decodes a lot of the Alt-right [sic] movement’s language and at best it gives a clear indication of its thinking and ideology".

I would argue that, in fact, the piece normalises and legitimises a troubling political movement that has already been given far too much leeway to spread hatred and racism, under the guise of freedom of speech and expression. As a former sub editor at The Irish Times, I thought I'd fix it. (You're welcome.)

Donald J Trump is president-elect of the United States and, without a doubt, the “alternative right” helped pave his way to the Oval Office. Known as the “alt-right” for short, this largely white, male, racist and xenophobic cohort exists far outside the bounds of conventional conservatism.

This fascist movement takes its cues from Germany's Nazi Party, which rose to power – with horrifying consequences – in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe after World War I. They’re offensive, deliberately confrontational, always outrageous and frankly dangerous. Outsiders for a long time hoped their sincere beliefs were edgy jokes.

Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” hints at the movement’s appeal – nodding to an American past that never really existed because, as we all know, America, like Australia, has always been a melting pot of nations and cultures. It plays into the ill-advised notion that the US’s best days are in the past. Political correctness is now a dominant force in life, because the majority of right-meaning citizens realise that equality is important. This fascist movement's brand of envelope-pushing nationalism is a response to the fact that any practical embodiment of equality disenfranchises those with the most to lose – the white male, who for so long has held a position of superiority in all walks of life.

The election of Trump is a big moment for this fascist movement – and, in fact, a big (terrifying) moment for women, people of colour, LGBTQ citizens, immigrants and the environment more generally. Hillary Clinton – who lost the election to Trump, due in no small part to a culture of lies, fear-mongering and Russian interference in the democratic process – also denounced the movement at a Reno speech in August. For their part, the fascists involved found Clinton’s attention during the height of campaign season hilarious (because she's a woman, and wimmin clearly don't understand politics, economics, or what makes America great).

This fascist group is one part political movement, two parts subculture, which can make it difficult for outsiders to understand. To assist you in comprehending this fascist movement, here’s a simple glossary.

Alt-lite: What this fascist movement thinks of as the more mainstream form of the alternative right, embodied by figures such as Vice founder Gavin McInnes (who is, coincidentally, no longer at Vice, since 2007) – who thinks women are less ambitious than men, and earn less than their male counterparts because "they choose to" – or Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, "defender of victimised white males".

Alt-right: A fascist faction of the Trump coalition heavily active on social media and underground forums. Characterised by nationalism, scepticism toward globalism, a heightened sense of aggression, violent misogynistic and racist language, and skin colour.

Blue hair: An aggressive, unpleasant term used to describe a feminist. This term comes from the idiotic stereotype that feminists like to dye their hair bright colours. To add insult to injury, Blue Hairs are usually depicted as being overweight (the second worst possible insult available to white men wishing to put women in their place; the worst is "lesbian").

Cat lady: What this fascist movement likes to call older women who display feminist ideologies (and may or may not like to dye their hair). According to these frightening white men, who like trucker caps and check shirts, cat ladies prefer MSNBC and Cosmopolitan, whereas a blue hair spends her life on social blogging platform Tumblr.

Cathedral: Progressive culture is often referred to by neo-Nazis as the Cathedral; it is a blanket term for everything left-wing and mainstream, because all left-wing mainstreamers think and act the exact same way.

Chad: An alpha normie (see below). This racist, anti-globalisation movement seeks to appeal to Chads, a project known as Chad Nationalism. (In other words: that there are more of them – white males – than us – everyone else.)

Cuckservative: A portmanteau of “cuckold” (the husband of an adultress) and “conservative”, which was originally meant to imply that mainstream conservatives protected the welfare of foreign groups over Americans (for shame!). Often shortened to “cuck” to describe any weak or feminine (another word, in the eyes of these tiny-brained bigots, for weak) man.

Current year: A mocking reference to the left’s propensity to cite the current year as an argument. Example: “How can Donald Trump say these things? It’s 2016!” (The joke here is, it's okay to be racist even though it's 2016, because America voted and, guess what – we're all racist together!)

Dindu or Dindu Nuffin: A hugely racist term used to describe a black or African-American man whose innocence is being protested by the Cathedral. The term is drawn from the idea – held by modern fascists – that all black people speak the same way, and that when a black person says "didn't do nothing" (because that's how all black people speak), it sounds like "dindu nuffin". Chortle.

Fashy: Looking a bit, well, fascist. Often used to describe military-style undercut hairdos or men who wear wife-beaters out in public.

Kek: An Egyptian frog demon. Pepe the Frog is seen as an avatar of Kek. No, really. Also the translation of "LOL" (laugh out loud) in World of Warcraft. [Editor's note: Am incredibly shocked by this unexpected crossover of neo-Nazis and World of Warcraft.]

Narrative: Media and academia’s "version" of events – because everyone knows that academic papers tend to lie, especially peer-reviewed ones. Neo-Nazis believe no one but each other.

Neoreactionary: A loose collection of anarcho-capitalists and monarchists centred around the writings of pseudonymous blogger Mencius Moldbug and continental philosopher Nick Land. Most have gone underground, writing for more mainstream publications.

New right: The heterogeneous political parties espousing a stew of nationalism, libertarianism, racism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant policy and populism, such as the National Front in France, Ukip in Britain and Alternative for Germany. They are united by an opposition to globalisation, women, anyone who "wasn't born here" and non-whites. Donald Trump’s faction of the Republican Party is the de facto new right party in the United States. This fascist movement and new right overlap but are not coterminous.

Normie: A normal person – ie Joe Bloggs, "the good American man".

Paleoconservative: “Paleocon” for short. Paleoconservatives were a conservative faction emphasising tradition, family, identity, limited government and the rule of law– in other words, a more traditional than usual conservative. Think Sarah Palin, but not so enlightened. The new "alt-right" fascist movement could be considered an extension of paleoconservatism (yay).

Signalling: Ideologically conspicuous consumption or performative belief – or, someone who believes in something, buying into that thing that they believe in. For example, purchasing a hybrid vehicle to showcase concern for the environment, or wearing a T-shirt that says you're for marriage equality. Of course, this is derided by the new neo-Nazis, who despise anyone with the courage of their (non neo-Nazi) convictions.

SJWs: Social justice warriors. Usually used to describe anyone who protests neo-Nazi, fascist or racist views; females who speak out about sexual harassment or gender inequality online; "political correctness gone mad".

Snowflake: A Millennial who feels empowered enough to complain about injustices he or she perceives in his or her society. The more emotional the reaction, the bigger the snowflake. It stands to reason that, by their very definition, neo-Nazis would encounter a lot of snowflakes.