July 25, 2011

SWIMMING IN POLLUTED WATERS:

Anders Breivik's Roots in Right-Wing Populism: He was a prolific contributor to extremist blogs and had ties to right-wing populists: The murderer from Norway did not, it would seem, come out of nowhere. Rather, he had found an ideological home among those seeking to cleanse Europe of Islam and multi-culturalism. They are seeking to distance themselves. (Frank Patalong, 7/24/11, Der Spiegel)

he right wing sees it as a "conservative catastrophe" primarily because of the danger that blame might extend from Breivik to the extremist scene itself. Indeed, wherever Breivik left his digital calling card in recent years, he hardly stood out from the crowd of similar missives. "What he writes," reads an offering on Politically Incorrect, "are largely things that could be found in this forum... Whether Breivik suffered from a psychological illness that has since become worse is not known to us."

Contributors to Document.no -- where Breivik had been active for months and sought out a direct exchange with publisher Hans Rustad -- also seek to draw the line between themselves and Breivik. Given the large degree of ideological crossover, it is not a simple endeavor. The fact that Breivik, as early as Sept. 8, 2009, announced his intention to publish the 1,500 page treatise which is now in circulation -- and repeated the announcement on at least two other occasions -- does not make the effort any easier.

Breivik is also not the sole author of that tome, a work called "2083 - A European Declaration of Independence" and which calls for a crusade against Islam in Europe. Hundreds of pages were written by other right-wing bloggers, Breivik simply copied and pasted them into his treatise. Dozens of chapters were published in recent years on blogs like Gates of Vienna (GoV) and The Brussels Journal, two of his most-cited sources. Breivik himself claimed to follow the "Viennese school of thought," a direct reference to GoV.


Such blogs provide a window into a strange scene: pro-Western, exceedingly pro-American and friendly to Israel -- but extremely anti-Muslim, aggressively Christian and openly hostile to everything which is liberal, leftist, multi-cultural or internationalist. It is a "patriotic-nationalist" scene which detests the Nazis but is sympathetic -- to the point of maintaining informal contacts -- to the Tea Party Movement in the US, to the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria, to the right-wing football fan group known as the Casuals and to the stridently anti-Muslim English Defence League.

It is a scene which is considered to be militant and ultra-right wing, but which has in the past cooperated with the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a group which has been branded a terrorist organization in the US. Such a connection would be unthinkable for neo-Nazi groups. Indeed, the JDL has even joined demonstrations held by the English Defence League -- a surprising alliance perhaps, but the crossover is clear: Islam is the enemy.

A central tenant of the writings coming out of this scene is that Muslims are currently in the process of taking over Europe with a "demographic Jihad." They use statistics, historical references and precarious prognostications in an effort to feed the extreme right with an intellectual-sounding foundation for their hatred of foreigners. The scene is extremely well networked and growing rapidly. Breivik himself claims to have participated in the creation of a Norwegian chapter of the English Defence League, called the Norwegian Defence League.


It's upset various people at various times, but this why we've deleted comments, banned commentors and not linked to certain websites over the years. That melange of Darwinist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, lunacy is just toxic. Given the degree to which the blogosphere's main function is to have your own prejudices affirmed, if you let your forum become their forum you're part of the problem.


MORE:
Anders Behring Breivik: Tunnel vision in an online world: Norway's extremists don't tend to gather in visible 'rightwing groups'. But online, they settle into a subculture of resentment (Thomas Hylland Eriksen, 7/25/11, guardian.co.uk)

Anders Behring Breivik's world view seems to have been shaped by online fantasy games and the anti-Islamist blogosphere - a recipe for national fragmentation.

There is a reason why the Norwegian police have not been overly concerned with rightwing extremism in recent years. It is plainly not very visible. An estimated 40 Norwegians currently belong to self-proclaimed extreme rightwing groups.

However, anyone familiar with the darker waters of the blogosphere would for years have been aware of the existence of a vibrant cyberscene characterised by unmitigated hatred of the new Europe, aggressive denunciations of the "corrupted, multiculturalist power elites" and pejorative generalisations about immigrants, targeting Muslims in particular.

Contributors to these websites, blogs and chat groups cannot merely be labelled "rightwing". One member of the Norwegian "Forum Against Islamisation" was also a member of the Socialist Left party. Others see themselves as the true heirs of social democratic values, or as the last carriers of the torch of the Enlightenment. Many talk about gender equality, some about social injustices and class. Others hold more conventional rightwing views, ranging from downright racism to paranoid conspiracy theories about Muslims plotting to take political control of western Europe. Some are online daily; others drop in once a month. They constitute loose networks and cannot easily be counted.

What the denizens of this blogosphere have in common is, first and foremost, a resentment of the defenders of diversity. These "elite" are often described as "traitors", "sellouts" or just "naive multiculturalists". They also share the conviction that Islam is incompatible with the democratic values of the west. This view is problematic in a country where the Muslim population is over 150,000 and growing. Nobody knows how widespread such views are, but they can no longer be written off as harmless.


Norway attacks: Breivik was my friend on Facebook. I've seen what fed his hatred: I was once a member of Sweden's nationalist party, but vile online propaganda drove me away (Camilla Ragfors, 7/24/11, guardian.co.uk)
One day I had a friend request on Facebook from Anders Breivik. There wasn't anything odd about that: when I was a member of SD I was magnetically attractive to everyone who called himself a nationalist: both those for whom it was a game, and the real extremists. Those were, in fact, the people who drove me away from the party. A machine of hate propaganda pumped through my feed on Facebook. There were YouTube clips of massacre victims, demands that all the "fucking niggers" should get out of the country, and far more horrible things.

I reacted by backing away. But for many other people who are weak, or feel bad for some reason, this stream was something to drink from. They egg each other on to believe that the Social Democrats are guilty of all the horrors we'll come to experience; that immigrants rape and murder and that it's the socialists' fault. It is the fault of Mona Sahlin, former Social Democrat leader, that we will be forced to wear burkas and live under sharia law by 2020.

I'm not saying it's wrong to have opinions about immigration, or to protest against the people who really do want Sweden to allow Muslims to have their own courts and laws. I don't think it's right that our borders should be wide open, without any controls - but I utterly reject these reactions. Hatred breeds nothing but hatred. [...]

There are many people like me - Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, and other Europeans - who had this person as a friend on Facebook. I wonder how they feel now.

Everyone who is critical of aspects of our immigration policies must wake up and realise what their endless talk about dangers and hatred can lead to. Even though no one wanted to fuel this terrible act in Norway, that's what they actually did. And there are more people out there who are looking for reasons to justify their actions by being able to refer to what "others" have written, above all on the net.

There are two things we learned on Friday afternoon. One: extremists are found in all groups, and all are at least as dangerous. Two: hatred breeds hate. Never help to spread it unless you are ready to take the consequences. Did anyone - even you people who hate me for everything else, and belong to the far right - did anyone, even you, really want something this terrible to happen? Surely everyone can see this could never work to anyone's advantage.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 25, 2011 6:59 AM
  
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