A woefully incomplete guide to the people, books, and sites that you should be following to keep ahead of the rise of white extremists.
Every time there is another white extremist-related incident or arrest I am reminded that the major news publications and cable networks are out of their depth. CNN just weeks ago had white nationalist Richard Spencer on to discuss President Trump’s racist and anti-Semitic twitter tirade. They also adamantly defended right-wing grifter Andy Ngo as a journalist after he was given a milkshake in the face (he is not a journalist, nor is he worth defending). MSNBC spread the lie that Portland antifascists were planning to infiltrate the far right side of protests and purposely start fights to make the Proud Boys look bad. Throughout this none of the networks covered the recent Proud Boys trials, and even the NY Times coverage of it refused to recognize the importance of the freelance journalists (Sandi Bachom and Shay Horse) that were on the ground the night that the attacks occurred.
That’s why I decided to create this piece. It’s genuinely difficult to follow the hundreds of so-called ‘isolated incidents’ of white extremist attacks and threats, as the mainstream media is not doing its job. There are, of course, exceptions – PBS has been doing an excellent job with it’s ProPublica associated documentaries, MSNBC is doing a service with it’s Breaking Hate series and the NY Times’ recent piece on YouTube’s algorithm problems tried really hard.
This is why I think it’s incredibly important for us to turn our attention to those that are doing it right. People like Christopher Mathias at Huffington Post or A.C. Thompson at ProPublica. There are a lot of people doing excellent work documenting the rise of white supremacy and fascism in research, journalism, and activism. When I pitched this piece to my editors at NationofChange, I was thinking a quick 700-word piece that I could pretty much write off the top of my head. That was not to be. I asked twitter about who they follow for info about anti-hate anti-fascist news and activism and my shortlist was, shall we say enlargened. So with the urging of NationofChange, I decided to do something a little bit more comprehensive.
I want to preface that this is still an incredibly inadequate piece and I am certain that I am leaving people and organizations out – especially on the local level. If you have people or groups that I’m missing – my dm’s on twitter is always open.
We at NationofChange intend to publish a larger guide that includes interviews with people that often risk their lives to fight, research and cover fascism in all its forms, a glossary, and interviews from the front lines. Sign up for the NationofChange newsletter to make sure that you don’t miss that.
News sites to follow:
Of course, we’re not recommending you to ever leave NationofChange, but if you leave a tab open, please head over to these sites.
It’s Going Down is an anti-fascist ‘digital community center’ that covers anarchist, anti-fascist, anti-capitalist events. They also document the actions of the far right, in clear opposition to them. They’re not an ‘unbiased’ source like NPR claims to be, but often they’re the ones with the news.
ProPublica is an investigative news organization that often co-publishes with other news sites – as they did with PBS for their fantastic series on white supremacy and Charlottesville. They have a Pulitzer, and they damn well deserved it. Their coverage of everything from immigration, to white supremacy to the Trump administrations corruption has been incredible.
TruthofFiction is a fact-checking site run by journalist Brooke Binkowski. Like Snopes but as Snopes has taken a downward dive – this is the one you want to be looking at.
Huffington Post, yes… it’s on this list. I know the HuffPo that we know of old was filled with clickbait and often written by unpaid journalists but over the years they’ve become one of the top places on the net to get solid journalism on the far right. Christopher Mathias and Andy Campbell continually turn out incredible breaking stories – and unlike most journalists – actually, cover white nationalist events in person.
Unicorn Riot is literally everywhere, just looking at the front page of their site shows coverage from Portland to Iceland. If there is a protest or anti-fascist action of any kind they’re likely on the ground live streaming and reporting. They describe themselves as “a decentralized, educational 501(c)(3) non-profit media organization of artists and journalists. Our work is dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues through amplifying stories and exploring sustainable alternatives in today’s globalized world.”
There are so many excellent journalists on the beat of white supremacy/fascism that I couldn’t possibly include all of them – so I mainly stuck to the ones that I know either personally or have had some interaction with online. Again, this is an incredibly limited list build mainly off of my own twitter, we’ll expand this in the digital booklet.
Tess Owen – @misstessowen
Reporter @vicenews covering the far-right, extremism, guns, law enforcement & more.
Andy Campbell – @AndyBCampbell
Huffington Post journalist covers extremism.
Kelly Hayes – Twitter – @MsKellyMHayes
Freelance journalist at Truthout and other outlets.
Brooke Binkowski – @brooklynmarie
Fact checker extraordinaire, worked for Snopes before it went to shit. Covers the border and tracks white supremacists. A personal friend and is hilarious on twitter.
Aura Bogado – @aurabogado
Reporter for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, covering immigration. Has broken some of the most important stories on immigration and abuse in the immigrant detention system. Read this: Migrant children sent to shelters with histories of abuse allegations
Christopher Mathias – @letsgomathias
Senior reporter @HuffPost covering the far right, disinformation, and hate.
Nikole Hannah-Jones – https://nikolehannahjones.com/
Nikole co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting and is an “award winning investigative journalist covering civil rights and racial injustice for the New York Times. She’s also podcasting the incredible NY Times 1619 project.
Listen here: 1619 podcast
Writes and tweets about fascism, media complicity and more.
A.C. Thompson – @ACInvestigates
Staff reporter at ProPublica and on ProPublica/PBS’ documentary about the Unite the Right Rally at Charlottesville.
Talia Lavin – @chick_in_kiev
Journalist and author that covers and tracks white supremacy and more. Alan Dershowitz calls her a “mendacious mccarthyist.” Which should be more than enough reason to follow her.
Robert Evans – @iwriteok
Robert Evans is a journalist who has covered conflict in Eastern Ukraine, the Middle East and in the USA. He writes for (among other places) Bellingcat.com. He used to write for Cracked.com, which I think is part of the reason he’s one of the best journalists out there writing about white supremacy – Cracked had excellent humorous explainer articles that were focused at people who didn’t know much about the subject at hand. This is what Evans does in his writing for Bellingcat and on his podcast (my current favorite podcast) Behind The Bastards.
Arun Gupta – @ArunIndy
Arun is a journalist that writes about everything from food culture (follow his facebook for hot takes on American’s dietary habits) to white extremism. His recent pieces on Portland’s white nationalist problems are must reads… especially this one on the grifter Andy Ngo.
Alexander Reid Ross – @areidross
Author of Against the Fascist Creep, covers fascism, white nationalist violence and more.
Journalist and labor organizer write about anti-fascism, music and more.Kim is a antifascist and proud (as one should be) of that fact – NPR stopped buying her work as a freelancer after Tucker Carlson went after her.
Read this: What the Media Gets Wrong About Antifa
Shane Burley – @shane_burley1 – patreon.com/shaneburley
Author of Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It (highly recommended). Shane regularly covers fascist related protests, like the most recent one in Portland. He’s written one of the most books on the rise of modern fascism in America.
David Futrelle – @DavidFutrelle
Editor at WeHuntedTheMammoth.com – delves into the putrid parts of the internet that we all try to avoid, like Incels.com or 8chan to point out trends in the worlds of fascists, incels, and other bottom of the internet dwellers.
Mehdi Hasan – @mehdirhasan
Columnist and master interviewer at the Intercept. Doesn’t cover white nationalism specifically the way that many of the above reporters do – but his excellent interviews and commentary against the fascism of the Trump administration mandate him to be on this list.
Southern Poverty Law Center – https://www.splcenter.org
Anti-Defamation League – https://www.adl.org/
Right Wing Watch – http://rightwingwatch.org
One Peoples Project – http://onepeoplesproject.com/
First Vigil – https://first-vigil.com/
Hope Not Hate – https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/
Media Matters – https://www.mediamatters.org/
Researchers to follow
Note – there’s a moving line between research and activism here. A lot of activists are invariably researchers and the other way around – outside of Media Matters, Southern Poverty Law Center and the ADL no one is really paying people to dig into pages and pages of Gab or 8chan. Almost all of this research is people doing it on their own with maybe a little bit of crowd fundraising. So if you see me post a link to a patreon – please don’t ignore it, donate to it.
Mark Pitcavage – @egavactip
Senior Research Fellow, Center on Extremism, Anti-Defamation League. Expert on right-wing extremism.
Eyes on the Right – @EyesOnTheRight
Twitter Bio: Tracking white supremacists. As seen in Media Matters, Vox, Right Wing Watch, Daily Beast. Blogs at https://angrywhitemen.org. Has a very useful ‘Cuckitionary‘ and recommended reading list.
“I’m a veteran community organizer in Philly, currently spending a lot of my time researching and writing about radical white supremacy, corporate greed, and other pressing justice issues. I organize locally (and sometimes beyond) around sexual misconduct accountability and against white supremacists.”
Tracker of the violent western chauvinist gang, the Proud Boys. Has created a map that details their crimes and more.
Simran Jeet Singh – @SikhProf
From Sikhcoalition.org – Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an educator, writer and activist who speaks regularly on issues of diversity, equity, race and religion.
Activists to follow
Anti-fascist activist and researcher, he is reviled by many on the far-right, like Richard Spencer. He runs idavox and One People’s Project both which seek to research and out white supremacy. Jenkins also regularly shows up to protests to confront and discuss issues with white nationalists.
Hassan Ahmad – @HMAesq
Immigration lawyer & advocate. Sued to get the John Tanton papers from the University of Michigan. Tanton is one of the founders of FAIR, an anti-immigration group. SPLC this about Tanton: His racist views were first exposed in 1988 when a series of private memos he wrote for principals at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) were leaked to the press. The memos were filled with racist statements and warned about a coming “Latin onslaught.”
Sleeping Giants – @slpng_giants
“Founded after the 2016 US Presidential Election, Sleeping Giants is dedicated to stopping racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic news sites by stopping their ad dollars. Because of “programmatic” ad buying, many companies don’t even know they are appearing on these sites. We inform them and help them take their ads down.”
[From facebook bio] “Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, a public speaker, author, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist. After leaving the hate movement he helped create during his youth in the 1980s and 90s, he began the painstaking process of making amends and rebuilding his life. Christian’s life since leaving the white power movement over two decades ago has been dedicated to helping others overcome their own hate. He now leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement network. He has spoken all over the world, including on the TEDx stage, sharing his unique and extensive knowledge, teaching all who are willing to learn about building greater peace through empathy and compassion. Christian’s involvement in, and exit from, the early American white-supremacist skinhead movement is chronicled in his memoir WHITE AMERICAN YOUTH. His disengagement work is spotlighted in his MSNBC documentary series Breaking Hate.”
Books to read
Here’s a very short list of some of the books that I’m currently reading, have read or are on my list. They range from history to how-to guides to current affairs – as, with the rest of this article, it’s woefully limited. Please send me your recommendations at my twitter – @zdroberts.
How to Be An Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
Against the Fascist Creep – Alexander Reid Ross
Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook – Mark Bray
Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It – Shane Burley
Alerta! Alerta!: Snapshots of Europe’s Anti-fascist Struggle – Patrick Strickland
Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump – David Neiwert
Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire – Matthew N. Lyons
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America – Nancy Isenberg
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States – Daniel Immerwahr
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border – Francisco Cantú
The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander
Summer of Hate Charlottesville, USA – Hawes Spencer
PBS and ProPublica’s Documenting Hate, hosted by AC Thompson – WATCH HERE
Welcome to Leith – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3962848/reference
“When a noted white supremacist moves into their town, the residents of Leith, North Dakota do what they can to prevent him from taking control of the municipality.”
Alt-right: Age of Rage – Trailer
The doc uses footage from Charlottesville and extensive original interviews with anti-fascist activist Daryle Lamont Jenkins and white nationalists Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor to name a few. Alt-Right: Age of Rage does an excellent job of interview subjects like Spencer but not giving them a platform. Currently available on Netflix streaming.
MSNBC’s Breaking Hate – Link
Breaking Hate follows Picciolini, a former skinhead who uses his own personal journey to help others escape the movement he once helped build. In the first episode, Picciolini brings together a former white supremacist who participated in the Charlottesville riots with the mother of Heather Heyer, the counter-protester killed by the car that drove into the Charlottesville crowd on August 12, 2017. Together, they begin a larger conversation on the issues dividing the country today and discuss how to start healing the wounds left behind by tragic events such as Charlottesville.
Robert Evans Podcasts’
Behind the Bastards – https://www.behindthebastards.com/
Explains the background on some of the biggest ‘bastards’ in history.
The War On Everyone (actually an audiobook, but it’s by Robert Evans who is the podcaster of Behind the Bastards) – http://www.thewaroneveryone.com/
Knowledge Fight – https://knowledgefight.com/
Co-hosted by Jordan Holmes and Dan Friesen this podcast is a weekly breakdown of Alex Jones, InfoWars and the world at which it lives in.
Co-hosted by @danieleharper and Jack Graham, “More than two years ago, podcaster and online writer Daniel Harper started investigating the ‘alt-right’ – really the far-right and present-day fascists. He’s gone where few other researchers have gone, and subjected himself to hours and hours of the podcasts and Youtube shows produced by the multifarious people and groups who make up this pernicious subculture.”
In our longer booklet, I’ll delve deeper into why it’s important to be a better news consumer in the age of Trump than it was ever before. But I’ll leave you with this – watch out for bad journalism – the mainstream media, for the most part, has yet to figure out how to talk about white supremacy. The New York Times is the leader on this, with CNN a close second. The NYT’s standard operating procedure is normalization. In article after article, they talk about how normal these white nationalists are – ‘they listen to NPR!’ (I’ll get to NPR later). They use excellent photojournalists to make their subjects look normal, sometimes even cool-looking as they did in their article about the ‘Intellectual Dark Web.‘ calling them ‘renegades.’ This is exactly the sort of coverage that these people dream of. They want to be mainstreamed, they want to be made ‘the guy next door.’ There is a reason why even the Klan doesn’t wear their robes in public that often anymore – many groups won’t use the swastika on their t-shirts or logos but will create new icons, like the Identity Europa, now called American Identity Movement.
I’d also recommend DO NOT rely on the police or FBI to do something about it on their own. I don’t mean that you should take justice in your own hands. If the police in your town makes a claim about antifascists – don’t trust it. The Portland Police regularly spread false info about antifascist activities, like the infamous “cement milkshake recipe.” They’re not the only ones that do things like that – NYPD will regularly target anti-fascists over people say like the criminal members of the Proud Boys. You only have to look back at my coverage of Charlottesville for NationofChange to know that the FBI will do very least it can.
It’s up to you to make the difference – the first step is learning what the threat is. The second is learning what you can do locally and nationally to fight it. The Democrats winning the next election may change the rhetoric from the White House – but Trump will still be around and will likely not take losing well. He will have thousands of angry white men (men for the most part) who will follow him mentally, factually and possibly physically wherever he wants them to go. I’m not saying this to scare you (though it should) but as much as Joe Biden things that we’ll be able to suddenly ‘go back to normal’ if he wins, he’s wrong. There has been a revitalization of nationalism and hate in this country that started long before Trump but The Donald knew how to grab on to it, grow it, and then use it. That’s not going away.