The alt-right stands at a crossroads

The Atlantic reports: Members of the alt-right like to depict their movement as an irreverent response to political correctness.

On Saturday, in Charlottesville, Virginia, James Alex Fields Jr. drove a car through that façade, in a terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured 19 others who had gathered in opposition to the white-nationalist movement.

It was a defining moment, but not a moment for a pause. More alt-right rallies are scheduled for the coming Saturday, in at least nine cities. These events will provide an important barometer for the future of this movement, depending on how many people turn out, who those people are, and how they conduct themselves. For the alt-right, the coming weekend represents a critical test—which may reveal it gathering force, dissipating, or changing in significant ways. By Saturday night, it may be clear where it’s headed.

The alt-right has become an umbrella community for the American far-right, a loosely defined movement with a strong center of gravity online and which encompasses a large number of subnetworks.

Some of these subgroups identify primarily as the alt-right, but many are affiliated with more specific strains of white-nationalist ideology—including the Ku Klux Klan, Odinists, Neo-Nazis, and more, many in full regalia lest anyone miss the point. [Continue reading…]

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  1. A lot of American politics consists of jousting to attain victim status. White males, gun owners, Christians, conservatives in academia, are all terribly oppressed. My bet would therefore be that at least some elements in the (numerically marginal) ultraright are looking to set off a violent fracas in the aftermath of which they can claim to be innocent victims assaulted by the ‘Left’, thus greatly elevating their status.

    Trump is also increasingly in need of a Reichstag Fire event. His ‘on many sides’ line was a reflexive attempt to use Charlottesville to attack his own enemies. It seems reasonable to expect more of the same.

  2. Paul Woodward says:

    In order to interpret Trump’s past actions and anticipate his future actions, I’m inclined to look through the prism of psychology more than suspect he has anything coherent enough in mind to be described as a plan.

    His willingness to play with fire seems to have a great deal to do with his unwillingness to bow to the expectations of the political establishment. The more advice he gets on how to be presidential, the stronger his reflex is to be unpresidential. He’s locked in a state of permanent teenage rebellion.

    As a slave of his own psychological conditioning, he’s all the more easy to manipulate by those who are indeed looking for a Reichstag Fire event.