In Focus: The diagram below explains the adoption of innovative or disruptive technology, and it was first described by Geoffrey Moore in his book, Crossing the Chasm. Think about how long it takes for new products to become mainstream, and still how many never gain that success. Think about a car in every driveway and a computer in every home. Or how long the internet had been around until AOL made it available to the mainstream. Or how long it takes until Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are accepted at Walmart and Target.
I’m going to take a stab at where the Alt-Right exists on this chart, and then do the same for the Alt-Left next week.
Before we chart the Alt-Right, let’s first define it. There are many flavors of the Alt-Right: there are white nationalists, which is sort of the umbrella; there are secessionists, imperialists; neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites, and white supremacists; those who don’t believe that any race is generally superior; national socialists, capitalists; and most stripes of the political spectrum, so it’s fair to say that there’s a great deal of nuance to the term “Alt-Right”. Being Alt-Right, at a minimum, means that you believe that whites are being dispossessed of the country, and you believe in ethnic nationalism for whites. The belief in some sort of white nationalism — that whites deserve their own country — is the common denominator.
We also have to consider the appeal of an ideology, which determines its potential. This is best described by the difference between an iPhone and onion-flavored ice cream. An iPhone has immense utility; it’s literally a pocket-sized computer. On the other hand, you’d have to really like onions to want to purchase that ice cream, and it’s just not going to appeal to many people in an already crowded dessert marketplace. In the book, “Crossing the chasm” pertains to a product or technology that breaks into the mainstream and achieves widespread or majority use. But I think this graph is also applicable to movements, and so we’re going to look at whether or not the Alt-Right has crossed the chasm of its potential.
When it comes to “crossing the chasm” of potential, the volume of supporters differs greatly for iPhones and tubs of onion ice cream. If an onion ice cream company sells 1,000 units, it’s probably already crossed the chasm. If Apple sells 1,000 iPhones, it has not. Judging the height of that chasm is important for understanding where the Alt-Right is now, regarding its appeal and potential for mainstream adoption.
Proponents of both of the Alt-Right and Alt-Left wanting to cross the chasm into the mainstream must consider the utility of their ideologies. Just like technology, the greater the problem that an ideology attempts to solve — that is to say, the more people who experience who that problem — the more mainstream it can become. The size of the problem is the main factor that limits an ideology’s potential, so the question becomes, How many Americans experience the problems that the Alt-Right movement is trying to solve? So, is the Alt-Right an iPhone or onion ice cream? (In last week’s Low Intensity Conflict report, I wrote about the widening gap between the Right and Left, how each side has moved further right or further left, and how an increasing number of supporters on each side now views the other negatively. In essence, as the political bases in America move to the extremes, the size of “the problem” is growing, too. That means there’s a greater growth potential for both ideologies as their problems become larger.)
Let’s go back to December 2016, when a Pew Research survey found that half of Americans had never heard of the Alt-Right. I don’t believe that Pew has published more recent numbers, but certainly by now that number is considerably lower. In August 2017, ABC News produced a survey that found 10 percent of Americans supported the Alt-Right movement. About 4 percent strongly supported the Alt-Right and 6 percent “somewhat” supported it. Roughly 40 percent of Americans had no opinion of the Alt-Right, neither supporting nor opposing the movement.  Let’s just say that these percentages represent American adults. If this 10 percent number is accurate, then roughly 10 million American adults strongly support the Alt-Right and roughly 14.5 million American adults somewhat support the Alt-Right, for a total of 24.5 million lending their support in one way or another.
These numbers suggest to me that the Alt-Right has crossed the chasm of their potential, that they’re in their Early Majority phase, and that there’s still some room for the movement to grow. Groups like Identity Evropa would agree that there’s room to grow, which explains the coordinated efforts to spread awareness about the movement, both online and especially on the sacred liberal territory of the college campus where they post their flyers. As the Left moves farther to the Left, alienating middle class America, the Alt-Right will continue to grow as long as it’s perceived to be a viable solution to the problem.
There are a few scenarios I see for the Alt-Right going forward. In order for the Alt-Right to have staying power, they need legitimacy, which will lead to growth. Therefore I expect their future activities to support either legitimacy or growth.
- The Alt-Right will continue to hold rallies in public places. Some will be planned in advance for areas where law enforcement is capable and willing to defend free speech, however reluctantly. (This would support their legitimacy.) Other rallies will be the short duration “flash mob demonstrations” with little to no warning, like the last Charlottesville tiki torch rally which consisted of 30-50 members who rallied for about 10 minutes. (Leftist attacks on the Alt-Right will lead to the movement’s growth, as we saw an explosion of Alt-Right growth in response to attacks on Trump supporters.)
- The Alt-Right (as a party or political ideology) will likely throw their weight behind political candidates who represent anti-establishment values. If they’re not already, Alt-Right organizations are likely to have local political aspirations, similar to how the Libertarian Party tries to get candidates in state and local elections. This strategy is a springboard for higher political positions.
- The Alt-Right will continue to exploit (by publicizing) anti-white rhetoric/violence because it adds fuel to the movement. The Alt-Right “crossed the chasm” because they convinced a growing number of Americans that an anti-white campaign exists in America. (Tracking America’s coming domestic conflict since the election, the increase in anti-white rhetoric and violence is apparent, if not coordinated. It’s what we like to call “a self-licking ice cream cone”. As the Alt-Right grows, so does anti-white rhetoric, which causes Alt-Right growth, etc.) Much of the Alt-Right’s outreach has existed on the internet, especially on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter; both of which have moved to curb exposure on the platforms. Twitter’s founder recently announced changes to policy, which are likely to limit Alt-Right accounts. (In response to Facebook and Twitter censorship, alternative social media platforms like Gab have become popular.)
- Lastly, continuing their outreach is obvious, however, I would look for them to promote their message on the national stage (legitimacy). Something along the lines of guerrilla marketing in high profile places to garner a lot of attention. We’ve seen banner drops in places like Atlanta and most recently the American Immigration Lawyers Association office in Washington, D.C. Posting flyers at college campuses has been a mainstay of their outreach efforts, as well as online and social media interaction. Potentially mainstream television appearances, activist disruption at or during public events, and other activities like these would get their message out, likely be covered by the media, and therefore maintain relevancy in political discourse.
This is an excerpt from an article I published on Monday, entitled, “Understanding the Alt-Right: Where are they now, where they are going?“. I explain additional facts and figures in this article, which is much longer than this excerpt, and I encourage you to read it.
Priority Intelligence Requirements
- PIR1: What indicators describe the Alt-Left movement’s strength, sentiment, and capabilities?
- PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, sentiment, and capabilities?
- PIR3: What are the new indicators of future politically-related violence?
- PIR4: What is the current threat index score for the Alt-Left movement?
- Alt-Left Roll-Up
PIR1: What indicators describe the Alt-Left movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, initiatives, and infighting?
“How to Be An Antifascist with Mark Bray” (Sentiment)
Unofficial Antifa spokesman Mark Bray, a Dartmouth historian and author of the Antifa Handbook, appeared on WORT 89.9FM’s “A Public Affair” radio program to discuss Antifa organizing. He answered the first question by saying that America is not a fascist state, but Trump does have “fascistic qualities”. Bray also says that he doesn’t necessarily think America will have a fascist government any time soon, but that antifascist doctrine says to oppose the first signs of fascism. “Antifascists argue you don’t wait for [fascism] to take full-hold. You don’t wait for the danger to be fully evident before you organize. You try to stop these kinds of politics and these kinds of groups that promote them at the first step, before they can even get going.” Bray says these policies are the result of lessons learned from history, and that antifascist organizing is insufficient once fascism enters the mainstream of governance.
Bray also provides an anecdote (which he seems to endorse) from an antifascist in Baltimore who says: “You fight them by writing letters and making phone calls so you don’t have to fight them with fists. You fight them with fists so you don’t have to fight them with knives. You fight them with knives so you don’t have to fight them with guns.” Before that point, antifascist tactics include boycotting and picketing, getting venues to cancel white nationalist events (even pro-Western Civilization events), and “doxing” fascists to their schools, employers, friends, and family.
Most interestingly, one of the hosts admits that she and her husband had asked themselves if they should take up arms. The other host responds, “I think a lot of people are asking themselves that.”
It’s worth a listen if you haven’t read the Antifa Handbook or heard Bray speak about Antifa. [source: https://www.wortfm.org/how-to-be-an-antifascist-with-mark-bray/]
St. Louis People’s Revolutionary Defense Coalition starts a Fundrazer (Capabilities/Initiative)
The St. Louis area chapter of the People’s Revolutionary Defense Coalition (PRDC) is raising funds for a self-defense program. The PRDC describes themselves as “a radical leftist organization offering self defense classes, basic firearms training and other community outreach programs in order to serve and defend our communities from reactionary and capitalist forces.” As of Thursday morning, they’d raised $300 out of their $1,000 goal. [source]
“Neonazi BTC Tracker” (Capabilities)
I came across a Twitter account that tracks Bitcoin wallets from Neo-Nazi, Alt-Right, and other groups and individuals. Looking at the various Bitcoin balances (in USD) is pretty interesting:
- Counter Currents, a right wing publishing company, has over $41,000.
- Daily Stormer, a Neo-Nazi website, has over $7,000.
- Stormfront, a Neo-Nazi website, has over $600.
- “Weev”, an Alt-Right figure, has over $45,000.
- See the rest for yourself. [source]
Unicorn Riot receives chat logs from an Anticom discord server (Capabilities)
Alt-Left media website Unicorn Riot received alleged chat room logs from Anticom (Anti-Communist Action, a right wing group), showing that Richard Spencer approached Anticom for security and the group’s willingness to participate during Thursday’s speech at the University of Florida. The chat logs also revealed the encouragement of violence against Leftists. (Analyst Comment: There’s either a mole in the Anticom discord server, or the server was set up by Alt-Left activists. Many times, these chat rooms invite users of Facebook groups to join a more “private” chat location; however, the Alt-Left has likely compromised some of these right wing Facebook groups. The Alt-Left is very good at forming “affinity groups” of individuals personally known to each other. In fact, Alt-Left manuals stress security over efficiency, and it’s part of their doctrine. The Alt-Right at large, on the other hand, is still trying to get a grasp on its security. Events like these showcase the Alt-Left’s ability to spy in these online groups.) [source: https://www.unicornriot.ninja/2017/anticom-discord-server-shows-months-neo-nazi-incitement/]
Unicorn Riot shows Richard Spencer “bodyguard” is a member of the Alabama National Guard (Capabilities)
Alt-Left media website Unicorn Riot is reporting that a bodyguard for Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer is allegedly member of the Alabama National Guard. Unicorn Riot reports they received screenshots involving Brian Brathovd taken from the social media platform Snapchat and the online chat server Discord. The Alabama National Guard said in a statement that they’re investigating the matter. (Analyst Comment: The screenshots were apparently taken of conversations between Brian Bathovd and an unidentified woman on the chat server, who may well be a member of the Alt-Left. There’s appears to be a small contingent of Alt-Left members doing some serious intelligence gathering, as the Unicorn Riot report shows.)
Alt-Left group forces Chicago venue to cancel Milo Yiannopulos speech (Initiatives/Capabilities)
On Wednesday, Chicago-based Patio Theater cancelled an event featuring right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos. This is the second time that a Milo event has been canceled in Chicago, after student activists shut down a May 2016 event at DePaul University. (Analyst Comment: “De-platforing” is a core activity of Antifa groups, whereby the threaten violence, boycott, or other negative actions to coerce a facility to cancel an event. These campaigns often involve calling, emailing, and writing negative comments about a business on Yelp! or Facebook. The business or facility usually gives in to avoid the public shaming.) [source]
PIR2: What indicators describe the Alt-Right movement’s strength, capabilities, sentiment, initiatives, and infighting?
Identity Evropa drops banner at AILA (Initiatives)
Alt-Right group Identity Evropa draped a banner across the front of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Washington D.C. on Saturday. The banner read, “We Are Your Dreamers. No Amnesty. Identity Evropa.” [source] (Analyst Comment: IE is pushing outreach at college campuses, as well as ‘guerrilla’ marketing to gain publicity with events like these. The Alt-Right movement right now seems to be about gaining legitimacy and recruiting disillusioned youths. Groups like IE and Vanguard America are often described as White Nationalism 2.0, as opposed to the 1.0 version of yesteryear; groups like the Skinheads and KKK. White Nationalism 2.0 has an edgier, more modern feel and its leaders have general disdain for the symbology of a bygone era. Immigration is a highly contentious issue in America and IE will likely benefit from making it the main part of their marketing campaign targeting young men.)
National socialist propaganda posters continue focus on graphics (Capabilities)
Starting with this April’s national socialist/traditionalist event in Pikeville, KY, I noticed an increase in the graphic design of propaganda and event posters. This is a significant development because appealing designs help give legitimacy to a movement. See the White Lives Matter rally poster below.
Alt-Right feuds continue (Infighting)
Alt-Right figures Richard Spencer and Vox Day continued their infighting on Twitter this week. Vox Day represents the true right wing element of the Alt-Right and continually attacks figures like Richard Spencer as “fake right” and “Alt-Reich” over their support for socialism. Spencer, who has repeatedly called for a group of socialist elites to “make decisions” for his white ethno-state, is much friendlier with the national socialist and neo-Nazi elements of the Alt-Right. On Wednesday, Vox Day attacked Spencer, tweeting: “It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the #FakeRight AKA Dicky Spencer’s Dance Party is outed as gay Jews.” (AC: Spencer has often been accused of being secretly gay.) This is a continuation of the back and forth, tit-for-tat squabbling between Vox Day and others in the Alt-Right, particularly with Identity Evropa leader Eli Moseley. [source]
PIR3: What are the new indicators of future politically-related violence?
21 October – PA – March against International Association of the Chiefs of Police and #Abolition Weekend [source: https://itsgoingdown.org/anti-fop-march-philly-iacp/]
28 October – TN – Shelbyville to be location of Alt-Right rally/gathering, 10am-1pm
28 October – TN – Murfreesboro to be location for White Lives Matter rally/gathering
04 November – Nationwide – Refuse Fascism Day [source: https://refusefascism.org/protests-and-events/]
11 November – Communist Party USA’s National Party Building Conference [source: http://www.cpusa.org/event/national-party-building-conference/]
TBD – Richard Spencer speech at University of Cincinnati
(21 OCT) March against IACP
Leftists are called to descend to Philadelphia this weekend to protest the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the International Association of the Chiefs of Police (IACP) convention. “Let the Philadelphia F.O.P. know we are sick of their shit. Wear Black!” [source:https://itsgoingdown.org/anti-fop-march-philly-iacp/]
(28 OCT) League of the South, Nationalist Front rallies could be attractive targets for Antifa counterdemo
The League of the South, Nationalist Front, and other Alt-Right groups will hold a rallies in Shelbyville, TN in Murfreesboro, TN on 28 October to protest U.S. immigration policies and the lack of coverage of the Antioch church shooting. (Analyst Comment: Shelbyville and Murfreesboro are in between Nashville and Chattanooga, both of which have Antifa chapters. The event organizers expect the presence of Antifa, however, selected this location because they expect law enforcement to prevent violence. Still, an Antifa counter-demonstration seems like an appropriate expectation.)
04 November is “Refuse Fascism Day”
Newsweek and several other publications have called out “conspiracies” about the marches planned for 04 November. Several right wing websites have leveled charges that 04 November is intended to be the start of a revolution, coup, or some other widespread violent revolt. My take remains the same: 04 November is about making a political statement. We’re likely to see violence in the usual places: Berkeley, Portland, Seattle, New York City, and other locations where radical anarchists have a history of violence, but it’s going to fall well short of an actual revolution. Unfortunately, this event has been amplified by a number of media outlets to be a “day of revolution”, which the Alt-Left intended to be serious but not literal. Prominent Alt-Left figures are fairly clear that a violent revolution right now would fail, and that the focus needs to remain on community and collective organizing to build a mass movement. Once ‘critical mass’ is achieved, then the movement can employ violence. The goal for this event is to display just how much collective power Leftists have, and then hope for the best. Dictators have been forced out of office by mass demonstrations, and this is the near term goal for this event.
Mark Bray spoke at a University of Michigan-Flint event last week, and mentioned 04 November. “Yeah, it’s not actually a day of action that most anti-fascist groups are participating in. I believe the call was launched by ‘RefuseFascism’, which is linked to the Revolutionary Communist Party. They don’t reflect the entirety of the movement and I think it has been really way blown out of proportion by the far right.” [source]
Richard Spencer to speak at University of Cincinnati
On 13 October, University of Cincinnati president published a letter to the UC community about the decision to allow Richard Spencer to speak on campus. The president diverted from policies at other universities, saying that he stood with students and faculty who decided to protest the appearance. “At other public universities, presidents have asked their constituents to steer clear of such events… Frankly, if or how you engage with Spencer’s event is your decision to make, and I will respect and support whatever civil and peaceful course you take.” As of right now, the specific date is yet to be announced. [source]
PIR4: What is the current threat index score for the Alt-Left movement?
There has been no change this week in the overall threat index score for the Alt-Left movement. We will monitor this afternoon’s Richard Spencer protest for indications of any organized or coordinated violence. Additionally, there’s a possibility that the threat index will increase between now and 04 November, due to a string of events that carry the potential of violence.