The internet far right has certainly grown and expanded its reach since 2013. It is likely I now have readers who dont remember the theoretical work #NRx was doing at that time, and especially the work surrounding the predicted ‘collapse’.
I think some combination of our own initial naïveté and an overly simplistic interpretation of ‘the collapse’ that filtered down to the people who joined the movement later has made us blind to what is really going on in front of us.
Think about it: What did #NRx say? What did the best theorists of the collapse, folks like Anomaly UK, think was going to happen?
They were very clear that there was going to be something called a ‘collapse’, after which the ideologies — that is, the justifications of power, which always serve to frame and set the limits on how power is exercised — would lose credibility and be replaced by new ones.
They also painted some, in my current view, rather fanciful pictures of what this collapse would look like. There were talks of military coups, of the complete failure of existing governments, etc. Moreover, I think the idea of the ‘collapse’ grew even more cartoonish in the popular imagination of the Alt Right as those talking about it grew further and further removed from the original theories.
I propose that the collapse is subtler than we’ve been lazily imagining. In fact, I propose that the collapse is already ongoing, and that we may be, in reality, on the way out of the collapse already. As Aaron Jacob said to me in a conversation we had on Skype, ‘the collapse is that people no longer let their kids go more than a few hundred yards from their homes. The collapse is that you dont know who your neighbours are.’
We are seeing in many ways a repeat of the early 20th Century, but there are crucial differences. ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.’ Once again, in the wake of demographic threats and impending economic collapse, a wave of nationalist populism sweeps over Europe and America, winning massive support from ordinary people and confounding the political establishment.
‘That Bohemian corporal will never be Chancellor’, President Hindenburg declared until January 1933, the month he appointed him chancellor. Similarly, the cuckservative media, the beltway establishment, and the NRO set wail that Trump is damaging the Republican brand but nervously try to reassure themselves he will never be President. Meanwhile in France, socialists and ‘conservatives’ collude to keep the National Front out of power. In France, in Greece, and even in Sweden, we see the rise of a new political movement. It doesn’t have an official name yet, but it’s characterized by nationalist sentiment (particularly anti-immigration and protectionist) and championed by charismatic individuals appealing to the frustrated, temperamentally conservative mass of the nation against elites perceived as alien, out of touch, and even hostile.
In other words, it’s fascism, in the broad sense. By analogy with feminism, we can call this “second-wave fascism.” Like first-wave fascism, second-wave fascism is a social immune response designed to stave off immediate death. And like first-wave fascism, the rise of second-wave fascism is an indicator that the collapse we’ve been waiting for is upon us.
First-wave fascism, however, had the world’s greatest military powers arrayed against it.
Things are likely to go a little differently this time.