The Alt-Right: A Comprehensive Overview
A detailed description of the Alt-Right with tables listing the major sites, podcasts, events, and personalities.
Covers the main issues addressed by the AR, how the movement emerged, where it is getting its support, and its relationship to the European New Right.
Features a representative selection of Alt-Right memes and videos.
Due to growing interest in the Alt-Right phenomenon, this article seeks to provide a broad overview.
Because the Alt-Right is changing rapidly, this is a work in progress, and we will be updating this article as new information becomes available. If you think we have missed something important, please let us know in the comments section below, and we will update text and tables as appropriate.
The heavy use of images and internet memes is a notable characteristic of the Alt-Right, and we have sought to intersperse the text with many of them which we think are representative. We have also included a video section, as the Alt-Right movement produces a lot of high-quality videos which present their arguments.
6130 words (at time of original publication)
Over the past 6 months the Alt-Right has exploded onto the American political scene, getting heavy media attention, demonstrating wide popular appeal, and exerting outsized influence on the 2016 elections due to its strong presence and effectiveness on social media.
This culminated in a speech given by Hillary Clinton September 2016 in which she criticized the movement in detail, in an attempt to portray Donald Trump as a racist. Previously known mostly to its adherents, the Alt-Right is now a subject of great interest across the political spectrum and the subject of much confusion as people try to understand it.
This article seeks to lay out the basic contours of the movement - the sites, the personalities, and the ideas they espouse.
CONTENTS: (Click to go to section)
- BASIC INFO
- TABLES (Websites, podcasts, boards, people, events, people often mistakenly thought to be in the Alt-Right)
- VIDEOS (A handful produced by Alt-Righters, seeking to explain themselves)
- MAIN TOPICS (White identity, anti-semitism, Cultural Marxism, feminism, neoconservativism)
- RUSSIA - A SUBJECT OF GREAT INTEREST
- NOTABLE CHARACTERISTICS (Size, powerful internet and social media presence, the Pepe the Frog meme)
- HOW THE ALT-RIGHT EMERGED (Deep roots in internet and video-game culture)
- ROLE IN US ELECTIONS
- ORIGINS IN THE EUROPEAN NEW RIGHT
The emergence of the Alt-Right is an important development for Russia-watchers, because most in the movement reject the American establishment’s portrayal of Russia’s current incarnation as negative, and on the contrary, admire Russia’s stance on international relations, its support for traditional family values and gender roles, and Christianity, and general conservatism. Due to its intellectual roots, the Alt-Right produces a lot of excellent writing on subjects of interest to it, and some excellent articles have appeared about Russia. A more detailed discussion of the Alt-Right’s views on Russia follows below.
Hard to Define
The movement is difficult to generalize about, as it is very broad and diverse coming from several different backgrounds, expressed in a variety mediums, with a multiplicity of ideas, some of them conflicting. Sometimes the Alt-Right deliberately engages in disseminating false information about itself.
There do seem to be some criteria, however, for being included as part of “the movement’. These include the following 4 points:
- Rejection of the idea of equality of races in terms of ability and the desirability of racial integration.
- Criticism of influence of Jewish elites on society.
- Rejection of Cultural Marxism, in particular: feminism, changing gender roles, multi-culturalism, and white guilt.
- Rejection of neocon ideology in American foreign policy.
Size and growth
Difficult to estimate, it is significant, appealing to tens of millions of young white men in the online gaming, “pick-up artist”, anime, image / meme boards, and other web-connected communities worldwide.
The tables below listing sites, boards, podcasts and their traffic indicate that Alt-Right sites are receiving at least 20-30 millions of visits per month worldwide, if not more. In addition to this, Youtube is full of independently produced videos reflecting AR ideas. An estimate of the number of views the videos are getting is beyond the resources of this article, but it is clearly also in the 10s of millions per month.
Alt-Right ideas are clearly being adopted by millions of Americans, and many more around the globe. Growth in traffic at the key Alt-Right sites suggest dramatic growth, in the area of 50-100% per year.
The most striking aspect of the Alt-Right is that it is smashing taboos, noisily discussing ideas that polite society had put to bed decades ago, the most obvious being differences between the races, specifically criticism of blacks, and criticism of Jewish influence. The movement is vehemently against political correctness and all manifestations of leftism. The Alt-Right can rally around one other common cause: the movement is vehemently “anti-SJW”- Social Justice Warrior- and detests Political Correctness with a passion.
Websites, blogs, podcasts, discussion forums, message and image boards
The Alt-Right is about 6 major sites and dozens of smaller ones, a collection of blogs and a bunch of podcasts with new ones popping up all the time. There are also massive anonymous image-board forums where the ideas of the Alt-Right were popularized before the term Alt-Right itself was ever adopted. The ideas of the Alt-Right overlap heavily with those of the very large “Game” community (see below for an explanation of what this is)
An American phenomenon
The term “Alt-Right refers to the American movement, and does not include similar developments in Europe, as many might assume. The term for the European movements is the “European New Right”, which is similar in ways, but also quite different, the American movement being much larger, more outspoken, and with far more larger sites, podcasts, and blogs. (See section 7 below for an explanation of the European New Right)
The ideological roots of the Alt-Right come from the New European Right. It shares similarities with the paleocon movement of the 90’s, but it’s intellectual fathers are European, and the aesthetics intentionally mirror European nativist movements and not anything American. The Alt-Right is not overly fond of the current brand of American patriotism- in fact the Alt-Right overwhelmingly critical of the entire American identity and believes it is in need of a drastic overhaul.
The Alt-Right’s prime constituency and driving force online is young white men, yet the movement and its ideas seem to appeal to a wide variety of ages, with many of the intellectual leaders of the movement substantially older than most of their followers.
Alt-Righters often argue about who counts as Alt-Right. As the movement has gained sympathizers and notoriety, and a certain cachet, and what is valuable to some, an enormous audience, many people have sought to identify themselves as Alt-Right, while not espousing the points listed above.
While the movement is firmly anti-Jewish and anti-Islamic, there is a constant squabble between the neo-Pagans and the Christians, who outnumber the neo-Pagans by a wide margin.
Most of the Alt-Right is highly critical of tolerance to homosexuality, as it is of other manifestations of Cultural Marxism. The presence of homosexuals in the movement create a contradiction in this regard. The example of Milo Yiannopoulos, often pointed to as an Alt-Right leader, is an example of this divide. Many in the Alt-Right dismiss him because of his flamboyant, promiscuous homosexuality, and the fact that he is Jewish, and scoff at the idea that he is representative of the Alt-Right.
Notable media about the Alt-Right
The mainstream liberal media has written several major articles about the alt-right, mostly dismissing the phenomenon as yesterday’s racists dressed up in modern garb. Such articles have appeared in The Economist, NPR, The New Yorker, Buzzfeed, and Mother Jones. The Alt-Right’s Wikipedia article is notably sparse. These descriptions of the phenomenon tend to misunderstand the movement’s size, intellectual depth, broad-appeal, and vitality, all ways in which it significantly differs from far-right activity which preceded it.
From the Alt-Right side, a very long article appeared by a well-known Alt-Righter, Milo Yiannopoulos, on Breitbart.com which explains many aspects of the movement, but which is also dismissed by many Alt-Righters as missing the point, and giving an inaccurate explanation of it. Critics of this article point out that Yiannopoulos is a controversial figure in the Alt-Right, and not very Alt-Right in many ways, as mentioned above.
A better article from within Alt-Right ranks which seeks to explain the movement, A Normie's Guide to The Alt Right was written by Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer. (see websites table for a description of his site, which is by far the largest AR site)
3. Boards and Forums
People often thought to be in the Alt-Right, who actually are not
Alex Jones - Jones became prominent before the Alt-Right broke out, and has not endorsed the Alt-Right criteria at the beginning of this article, although he does agree with the Alt-Right on many other things.
Paul Joseph Watson - Watson, who works with Jones, is in the same boat as Jones.
David Duke - Duke is on board with all of the Alt-Right’s criteria. The only reason one would not classify him as Alt-Right, is that he has been espousing these ideas for decades, whereas the Alt-Right describes the new generation which has gone substantially beyond Duke’s ideas. Duke does not have the Alt-Right’s core audience, the young, online contingent. He is seen as the Old-Right by the new generation.
Breitbart.com - The former tea-party site which has grown into a leading conservative, pro-Trump news site is often confused with being Alt-Right, partly because it provides a perch for Milo Yiannopoulos. But in fact, neither Milo nor Breitbart are truly Alt-Right as neither of them endorse the criteria listed at the beginning of this article.
Nigel Farage - He's just a beer-loving anti-EU guy who engineered Brexit.
A striking characteristic of the Alt-Right is how effectively they use social media, images, memes, articles well-written articles to convey their ideas. This phenomenon extends to video production. Youtube is awash in Alt-Right videos, many of them surprisingly well-made.
Below are a handful from some of the more authoritative sources which seek to explain what the Alt-Right is.
This is a 4 minute video made by Richard Spencer, probably the best known Alt-Righter, also in response to Hillary Clinton's speech. He hosts the leading Alt-Right conference which meets twice per year. The next event is in Washington in November. See 'events' table above.
A 3 minute video made by an outside source, and presented by Radix Journal as an good profile of the issues addressed by the Alt-Right
A 4 minute video from Paul Joseph Watson about Hillary Clinton's lengthy discussion of the Alt-Right in a speech she gave on August 25, in which she argued that Donald Trump is a closet racist. Watson points out that she only succeeded in driving millions of people to Alt-Right sources which are scorchingly critical of her.
A video uploaded to Youtube in November 2015 which went viral, getting millions of views. It is a typical example of the kind of videos that the Alt-Right produces. Youtube suppressed the video, and stripped out the music track on copyright grounds. This version is from Liveleak, with the music intact.
A humorous video from May, 2016, from Jared Taylor with a song about the Alt-Right, showing many of the leading personalities involved. Features Taylor singing and playing the sax.
The main topic of discussion on the Alt-Right is how to address the problem of White displacement. The constant inflow of millions of Third Worlders into White countries poses a problem of demographic replacement. Almost every single White country in the world suffers from a declining population replacement rate, and there is no end to the mass immigration in sight. In the face of this Third World flood, the Alt-Right believes a renaissance in White Identity must occur.
In the US this is combined with a reaction against what the Alt-Right perceives as the establishment’s over-accommodation of blacks. They argue for “race-realism” - the acknowledgement that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites, calling for social policies that reflect this difference.
The Alt-Right dives head-long into discussion of race, genetics and identity. There is a sub-community that pre-dates the Alt-Right label that pores over genetic studies and publishes the results of their inquiries. These bloggers refer to themselves as Human Bio-Diversity enthusiasts (HBD). Strangely enough, for a society that praises diversity every turn, it seems that the HBD are the only people willing to delve into the matter and offer scientific proof of its existence among the different races.
The Jewish Question
The Alt-Right has brought back criticism of the influence of Jewish elites on society from the closet it was banished to after WW2. Mainstream Alt-Righters tend to believe that the Holocaust never happened, that it was a propaganda invention of the Jewish lobby after WW2, that Adolf Hitler was right about his criticisms of international Jewry. They criticize Jewish influence on culture, political corruption, and much else.
Charge that mainstream American conservatism is hopelessly effete: The “Cuckservative” label
The Alt Right argues that it appears that a good conservative must nobly resign himself to losing, year after year, failing to conserve anything. Most importantly, a true conservative must shy away from any discussion of race and other taboo issues in favor of touting “conservative values”, and the papal infallibility of America’s founding “fathers”, and the documents they wrote, to an ever shrinking electoral pool.
The Alt-Right came up with the name: “Cuckservatives”, or “Cucks” to describe mainstream American conservatives of whom they are critical. The word is a mix of the word cuckold (a man whose woman has been bedded by another, and / or is raising children not his own - as happens with Cuckoo birds) and conservative, and it conveys the idea that mainstream conservatives have let non-whites, Jews, and other foreign ideas and elements penetrate his society and his womenfolk, and is in fact now raising them as his own.
Establishment conservatives are seen as weak and more interested in appearing respectable than winning battles, and more interested in proving how un-racist they are, rather than closing the borders and halting the Third World flood into America.
In its spare time, (between cyber-bullying “true conservatives” and harassing liberal journalists on Twitter), the Alt-Right also started an all-out war against the Social Justice movement. One of the most heated fronts is anti-feminism. The Alt-Right enjoys trolling and “triggering” feminists and their enablers over social media. The Left’s push to loosen the definition of rape more and more every year has led to an explosion of online rape of SJW snowflakes at the hands of the Far Right troll army.
Here, the Alt-Right benefits from the work of the pioneers on the Manosphere- a collection of blogs dedicated towards cultivating a healthy masculine identity- who have been waging war on feminism for much longer than the Alt-Right has. Both movements have significant overlap in their rank and file. Both are concerned with pushing back against the cultural hegemony of the far left.
Demolition of Neocons and Neoconservatism
The Alt-Right is strangely enough a peace movement. Not because of any blanket endorsement of pacifism, but because they believe the wars the United States has been fighting in the middle-east have been pointless, costing Americans blood and treasure with little tangible rewards. Furthermore, the Alt-Right does not want further conflict with Russia and instead wants an end to the escalating tensions. There is a general belief that America can work together with Russia, that Putin is a rational state leader who can be negotiated with, and that another fratricidal war between white people is in no one’s interests…except the neocons.
Everything seems to be on the table here: Stalin, Hitler, Lincoln, WW1 and 2, the founding fathers, the Holocaust, the Civil War, and much else. The Alt-Right tends to view European internecine wars through a tragic lens, and tries to move past them in terms of developing its own world-view.
Savaging Cultural Marxism
The Alt-Right spends a lot of time analyzing this phenomenon and vilifying it.
Cultural Marxism was the project of the Frankfurt school in Germany, which moved to Columbia University during World War 2. These visionaries broke from the reigning Marxist ideology and strove to re-define traditional Marxism. Instead of Proletariat and Bourgeoisie, they came up with the idea of Oppressors and the Oppressed. They divided society not along class lines, but along identity lines.
They worked to turn women against men, blacks against whites, homosexuals against Christians, and the underprivileged against the privileged. These thinkers became hugely influential in American society - even though few people ever heard of them - infiltrating and subverting just about every university, think tank and cultural organization in the West.
Much of the Far Left thinking in the millennial generation today has been carefully planted and cultivated over generations by Cultural Marxists. The main value that Cultural Marxism strove to inculcate in the public was self-hatred, and they did so by undermining Western nations’ identity. People were taught to feel shame for who they were, where they came from, and what their ancestors did. And finally, they were taught to welcome their demographic replacement with relief- even religious ecstasy as the borders were opened and the Vibrancy came flooding in.
Rejection of Multiculturalism
Needless to say, the Alt-Right doesn’t believe in Multiculturalism. They believe it is a failure everywhere it manifests itself. “Diversity+Proximity=War”- is the mantra of the Alt-Right. Economics, governance models and political ideology take a backseat to racial identity. There is an acknowledgment that different white nations seem to naturally gravitate towards different governance models. The Anglo-sphere seems to adopt free market/libertarian principles with ease, while continental Europeans seem to naturally pursue the national-socialist model, while Eastern Europe remains largely authoritarian.
Putin’s Russia is seen as Traditional alternative to the Western model. Some go further and believe that Eastern Europe will be the last stand of the White race. Russia gets a fair hearing in these dissident circles, and there is a growing awareness of a changing status quo in the world. Russia is no longer seen as the ‘evil empire,’ but rather as a beacon of sanity and resistance to the globalist agenda.
Still, there are notable detractors. They represent a vocal anti-Russia minority in the Alt-Right, with most of its members being Balts, central Europeans, or homosexuals. In the Alt-Right, this is referred to as the Butthurt Belt.
The Alt-Right considers Russia as part of European civilization and the Russian thinker and publicist Alexander Dugin has a substantial following. The Alt-Right looks favorably at a united Europe, one that no longer engages in fratricidal wars, perhaps even extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok, as Dugin likes to call for.
In general, the Alt-Right is an attempt to move past nationalism and think in terms of civilizations.
Many characteristics of the Alt-Right that seem to baffle observers in the professional pundit class. The specialized lingo, the abrasive humor, the memes and the troll culture - all give the Alt-Right an aura of mystery and incomprehensibility to the uninitiated.
Meme and troll culture, and “the internet army.”
This is all part of the inheritance bequeathed to the Alt-Right from Internet subcultures that pre-dated the Alt-Right label.
No discussion of the Alt-Right is complete without mentioning 4chan, an imageboard website with huge traffic. (Wikipedia), which effectively invented internet meme-culture. One of the anonymous boards on the site is called “politically incorrect.” This board was effectively ground zero of the Alt-Right. The lingo, the aesthetic, the memes, debate tactics and basic ideology of the Alt-Right originated on “/pol/” independent of any Alt-Right blogs or publications.
One reason why 4chan became the obvious place for a movement known for smashing taboos is that its boards are completely anonymous, and are wiped every couple of hours, protecting the identity and the discussion on the boards.
If anything, the Alt-Right absorbed /pol/’s energy and its user base. Because of this merger, you have the strange contrast that baffles so many when analyzing the Alt-Right- intelligent analysis and high-brow political commentary are mixed in with vulgar profanities and bizarre pictures of frogs with swastikas (among other things).
Pepe the Frog - a meme
Pepe the Frog (Wikipedia) was a meme which developed on the internet, taken from an online comic series completely unrelated to the current symbolism and significance of Pepe. Alt-Righters on 4chan gradually adopted him as their hero, generating a tsunami of Pepe memes. Like much in the AR, the Pepe story is complex and rich in background, beyond the scope of this article. The story involves ancient Egyptian frog-god cults, numerology, and hieroglyphics. For an excellent and entertaining article explaining it all, see here.
The Alt-Right has a long glossary of specialized lingo that it uses. Examples include: cuckservative (explained above), dindu (a black person - as in “he dindu nuffin’, which sounds like a black person trying to say “he didn’t do anything”), and parentheses put around a Jewish sounding name (to simulate an echo effect). The list of insider terms is long and bewildering. A comprehensive list can be found on the Alt-Right site, The Right Stuff.
Like many far-right movements, the Alt-Right has a neo-paganist faction. This was deliberately encouraged by the New European Right, whose French intellectual founders believed a spiritual element to the philosophy they were grounding was necessary to give it appeal.
Christianity was rejected on Nietzschean grounds as well as in the prevailing belief that the western Church (both Protestant and Catholic) had long ago been subverted. The neo-pagans remain in the picture today, and are a vocal minority that represent a greater trend in the White World- a roots phenomenon that has gone largely unnoticed.
White people are seeking to identify with something arcane and identity-based. An explosion in interest in pre-Christian European culture has occurred within the white world and the neo-pagans are one important aspect of that. But for the most part, the Alt-Right remains pro-Christian civilization...even if they dabble in a little Viking imagery and cosplay from time to time.
Role of and overlap with the “Game” movement - which teaches young men how to meet and flirt with women
Interestingly, the Alt-Right rank and file has been affected by the ideas of the Game movement. Game (formerly PUA - Pick Up Artist) was on the front lines critiquing feminism and other tenets of liberalism long before the Alt-Right came on the scene.
As a result, there is significant overlap in the ideas, and in the member base. This isn’t your great-grandparents Traditionalism. The Game community teaches men the fundamentals of male self-improvement and how to seduce attractive girls. This process of transformation requires one to reject many of the values of the modern effeminate neo-male and become a “jack-boot wearing vanilla gorilla.”
The significance of the “Game” provenance, is that this was an enormous cultural phenomenon which reached many millions of young men in the US and Europe, creating an entire generation of young men sympathetic to the ideas of the Alt-Right.
It’s been percolating for decades
Obscure right-wing sites have been around for a long time. And the Alt-Right was more or less able to create a network of cooperation and synthesis between them. Other movements were brewing online concurrently and independently of the Alt-Right. Gamers angry at SJW infiltration of their favorite past-time, meme magicians looking for a target to troll, grass-roots conservatives disillusionment by the tea-party, and the Libertarian. All of these movements began to combine into one big wave of online discontent. The Alt-Right was ready and waiting.
Roots in the European New Right
Much of the ideological groundwork was laid down by the European New Right, which originated among French intellectuals deliberately creating a counter-balance to left-radicalism of the 60s and 70s.. The idea of emulating the European right had more appeal to many than copying the aesthetic of American conservatives and it provided a better definition of what “right-wing” would would mean going forward.
It would no longer mean just nationalism, say the United States vs Germany, but instead a conception of European civilization as a whole. The American Alt-Right wanted to integrate itself at the very beginning with Europe’s New Right, and become part of a trans-atlantic movement.
Young white guys online - they pick up the story
The ideas fell on fertile ground in many online communities populated predominantly by disgruntled young white men. Whether it was young men learning the crimson arts within the pickup community, online trolls looking for a way to be edgy and rebellious, or video-game enthusiast upset at criticism of their favorite pastime - they all "took the red pill" and found a place in the Alt-Right.
The “Gamergate” effect
Gamergate was a massive grassroots online controversy which broke out in 2014 to combat far left, “SJW” influence in the video-game industry. (Wikipedia) Many young white men took to Twitter accounts to express their discontent at the cultural climate that castigated young white men for enjoying violent video games or ones with suggestive sexual themes. Gamergate was a massive pushback against Political Correctness, and many of its original members eventually became integrated into the Alt-Right.
Like the cross-over from the “Game” community, the gamergate movement introduced many thousands of young men to Alt-Right ideas, and this explains in part why the Alt-Right is so large, and has reached so many people.
Influx of libertarians
Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of his supporters who felt that they were cheated by the Republican establishment. The ideas that Ron Paul espoused were Libertarian, but more importantly, they were anti-establishment.
Many former Libertarians began to espouse more nationalist views as the ideas of the Alt-Right spread online and found a place within the Alt-Right’s anti-establishment campaign of ideas. The best known example of this is Stefan Molyneux, the popular blogger (Wikipedia), who has gradually adopted Alt-Right ideas.
An inevitable result of the internet age
The Alt-Right is very much the fruit of the internet age. It is rising at this time and not some other, because there has been a good 15 years now of unprecedented informational freedom, and opportunities to link up with like-minded people. The Internet is the breeding ground for all sorts of new ideas and associations, on both the left and the right. Just as sites like Tumblr were breeding grounds for far left Social Justice Warriors, so too were anonymous cartoon image-board sites amassing an Alt-Right troll army.
The massive feeders to the Alt-Right - Game Culture, 4chan, meme culture, the video game community
The effect of the intellectual side of the Alt-Right on these three massive cultural movements was like a match to dry kindling. This is what explains the fact that the Alt-Right has a very broad and deep support base among young people, and why its ideas are spreading like wildfire.
Outsized online influence
Because of its origins in online meme culture and the video game community, populated by young, witty, smart white guys with too much time on their hands, the Alt-Right “internet army” is a uniquely powerful voice, especially on social media.
Using trolling and debate skills honed on free-wheeling internet forums and image boards, the Alt-Right community excels in memes, trolling, heckling, online bullying, and spreading ideas with humor and images. It is a textbook case of how a motivated group can have enormous influence due to superior communication skills.
Why they like Trump
Many on the Alt-Right like Trump for breaking past Politically Correct talking points and taking his message straight to the American public. Trump spends as much time attacking the media on his Twitter as he does attacking his political opponents, and to veteran skeptics of the main stream media, this is a source of endless amusement and a big rallying point.
Many fan-made videos, memes, and fan art promoting Trump’s message spread like wildfire around the internet.
They want the Wall
Trump’s policy of curtailing immigration to the United States, building a wall and deporting illegal immigrants resonates with the Alt-Right, however, he has never formally acknowledged the support of the Alt-Right in his campaign.
Hillary catches wind of the Alt-Right
Hillary, on the other hand, discussed the Alt-Right at length in a major speech. She accused the Alt-Right of being part of a vast right-wing movement - which it is - and claimed that the Alt-Right wants to see Donald Trump elected - which it does.
The Clinton campaign took a major gamble by publicly mentioning the Alt-Right, but hoped to scare the American public by tying the Alt-Right to Trump.
By mentioning the Alt-Right, she also gave it a huge boost in visibility and as a result, many Alt-Right blogs are experiencing an influx of curious readers, where they are reading intelligent articles explaining why Hillary would be a disastrous president.
The prominent online journalist Paul Joseph Watson pointed out that this was a critical strategic error, revealing that the Clinton campaign has a poor understanding of how the internet works. Watson argues that Clinton broke the cardinal law of winning online debates - never feed the trolls, because they will overwhelm you.
The American Alt-Right takes much of its intellectual grounding from the European New Right, which precedes it. Much of the European New Right is the result of French conservative intellectuals such as Alain de Benoist and Guillaume Faye, who sought to create an intellectual counterweight to radical left theorists such as Michel Foucault.
The most striking difference between the European and American phenomenon are its far great openness and size in the US, which is due to legal, political, and social differences and traditions.
Weaker free speech protection in Europe
Due to the US’s strong free-speech traditions and legislation, it makes sense that dissident movements like the Alt-Right would be much larger there than in Europe, which has far weaker protections, both legal and social.
Criticizing Jewish influence publically or on a social media platform in Germany, France or the UK might get one arrested.
Antifa is a far-left paramilitary organization that operates through much of Europe with the unspoken blessing of the European governments. More detailed descriptions here and here. They intimidate any nationalistic or patriotic organizations with violence, harassment and surveillance.
The situation is much more intense in Europe than in the US, although Antifa activity has been on the rise in the US during the 2016 election cycle.
In Europe individuals who are targeted by Antifa are at risk of being beaten, their homes vandalized and broken into, their cars vandalized. European police tend to look the other way at these activities. The effect is to seriously intimidate dissidents. Antifa’s activities are most extreme in Scandinavia and Germany.
The aesthetics of the Alt-Right are very similar to movements like Generation Identitaire in France and Austria, which argues that ethnic-cultural factors have a central role in human welfare and the functioning of society.
The Eastern European Right Wing and Russophobia
There is disagreement within the Alt-Right about the nationalistic movements in Eastern and Central Europe. Especially in the Baltics and Ukraine, right-wing movements have a deep foundation in hostility towards Russia, which goes against the prevailing sentiment in Western Europe and the US. This is further complicated by long-standing institutional and funding ties between these movements and the CIA and neocons in the US.
By bringing subjects into the public debate which had been effectively excluded, the Alt-Right could potentially dramatically change political realities in the US and Europe. It is a completely new phenomenon in American politics, in many respects - in terms of its size, how quickly it emerged, and the revolutionary nature of it's views.
Its leaders talk about building a bigger political movement which will seek to implement the issues that for now are just being discussed on the movement's various platforms.
It remains to be seen how successful they will be.
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