Posted on June 13, 2018

Reports of the Alt-Right’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Oren Segal, Huffington Post, June 12, 2018

In recent weeks, news stories have proliferated claiming the white supremacist alt-right is collapsing amid infighting between leaders and factions, evictions from internet platforms, and various arrests and lawsuits.


Extremist surges typically last at least five years and, following years of retrenchment, America’s white supremacist movement is in the midst of a resurgence thanks to a growing number of young people attracted to the alt-right’s racist ideology and subculture. The explosive growth of the alt-right since 2015, abetted by the current political climate, has brought tens of thousands of new recruits to the white supremacist movement, most of whom are young and relatively well educated. These rookie racists have enlivened the alt-right’s recruitment tactics, including unprecedented flyer campaigns on college campuses.

In the first five months of 2018, the ADL Center on Extremism has documented 142 incidents of white supremacist flyers on college campuses and an additional 198 such incidents in other areas, including banner drops in public spaces, such as along highways.

The alt-right grew tremendously from 2015 to 2017, representing the largest single influx into the white supremacist movement since racist skinheads emerged in the United States in the 1980s. Its adherents are currently the most aggressive and energetic segment of the white supremacist movement, driving its growth and activity.

A number of recently formed alt-right groups continue to be active, including Identity Evropa and Patriot Front, which have engaged in flash demonstrations to avoid counterprotesters, as well as the Daily Stormer Book Clubs, made up of localized crews of young white supremacists who support [Andrew] Anglin.

{snip} Other, older white supremacist groups have adopted alt-right symbols or language in an attempt to ride the wave of alt-right popularity. For example, the League of the South, which formed in 1994 to promote the notion of an independent South that would be dominated by “Anglo-Celtic” values, held its 2017 national conference in Alabama and featured a whole session dubbed “For the Southern People: Southern Nationalism in the Age of the Alt-Right.”


The size and activity of the alt-right can be seen on social media, where prominent alt-right figures have tens of thousands of followers, and rank-and-file adherents gather in large numbers. And while the response from some social media platforms has forced some prominent alt-right adherents to migrate to other platforms, these new platforms, like Gab, allow networking with likeminded sympathizers in even more concentrated echo chambers.


These new members are not going to abandon their hateful beliefs simply because their leaders are fighting with each other or getting booted from Twitter. {snip}