Is the ‘Alt-Right’ in Retreat?
There has been an uptick lately of self-declared radicals who have decided to congratulate themselves on the ‘retreat’ and even ‘defeat’ of the so-called alt-right. According to them, the fact that not only the figures, but the very branding of the ‘alt-right’ are no longer as prominent as they used to be — something they attribute to the success of deplatforming (etc.) — is indicative of the fact that the worst is behind us.
Let us allow a moment of awkward silence to pass.
In moments of silence, there is little to contend oneself with — to keep oneself occupied. There are thoughts, of course, but of what? Perhaps the past, be it a past immediate or remote. For those of us not born yesterday, the past before November 8th, 2016 is not so distant that it requires more than a moment to recall. And yet every day since then, every stupid fucking thing that has come out of the mouth of these pseudo-radicals evinces a memory so increasingly crippled that how it is they can even remember their own names is an enigma mysterious enough to be sealed underneath the Vatican.
The so-called ‘alt-right’ is not, and has never been in retreat. It has just become so normalized, so part of what is now considered banal at best, and acceptable at worst — that there is no longer any need for such a name. ‘Eccentric’ personalities like Richard Spencer have not been defeated, they have been made redundant. Exactly what is eccentric about them has become deflated into normalcy. There is no need for such persons when one can just turn on Fox News, or listen to the American president. There is no need for figures lamenting ‘SJWs’ and their pernicious influence when such reactionary sentiment is so widespread it is no longer even considered political.
The terminology, mannerisms, etc. that used to be particular to the alt-right of 2016 have become mainstream. Even Centrists are beginning to talk like them. Just recently, the editorial board of the respectable Wall Street Journal endorsed Brazilian fascist Jair Bolsonaro. Yesterday’s alt-right pseudo-intellectual is today’s milquetoast opinion column writer. Instead of taking note of these changes, the big mouths of social media are now congratulating themselves for what they consider great victories against the alt-right. Congratulations, you played yourself.
The various defeats of the left — institutional, cultural, and civil are borne silently instead of consciously. Because these defeats are not enunciated or acknowledged, they elicit an illusion of unfettered continuity. An abrupt (acknowledged) defeat allows one to retreat and regain their strength. A defeat that is gradual, and experienced as a continuity mitigates the pain but compounds the poison. Every obstacle confronted by the radical left — and there have been many — becomes collectively repressed to the point that the contours of this repression take on the consistency of a definite form. As elaborate as an ant colony. Many of us have long understood the inevitable nature of the form taking shape, which increasingly is in need only of being named: Woke Reaction.
The pseudo-radicals will submit positively to the forces of reaction, or they will give up, despairingly, having reached the limit beyond which lies the destruction of their particular petty-bourgeois class. Regardless, anyone who thinks the worst is behind them will soon wish they could run backwards. In fact one can place claims of the ‘retreat’ of the alt-right into an entirely new perspective: It has been made proportionate to the internal corruption of opportunism.