Very good analysis of the origins of Alt-Retard by a Vox Populi reader. In short: they’ve been screwed by having their history taken away from them and their culture spat on and corrupted, and they’re trying to reclaim it. That’s hard to do, and it’s easy to get led down wrong avenues and used for the political goals of others.
The harder part is the follow-up to this article: how to reach them. Some suggest a friendly, welcoming approach. On the other hand, sometimes when a person is attached to a bad idea, whether it’s an ideology or a girl who doesn’t like him that way, it takes a slap in the face to get him to wake up and realize he’s making a fool of himself, before he can hear anything different. Since we’re talking about a mass of individuals, both are probably necessary — the slap first, then the welcoming.
A commenter there asked:
Is it reasonable to entertain the idea that the problems described in the email could also apply to SOME of the young men who are involved with Antifa?
Certainly there are similarities. Both are unhappy with the way things are and looking for a person or movement that will Do Something, so they are easily radicalized.
The differences may arise from the fact that Antifa are drawn more from the college educated upper and upper-middle classes, while as this article says, the Alt-White are more working-class. Antifa are just as uniformly white, but they’ve been more fully indoctrinated in standard leftist ideology and things like anti-racism. Their radicalism proceeds along a safer, more overtly leftist path to Communism, as their professors intended. Antifa also includes more females, though they’re masculinized feminists, so they don’t provide a feminine presence at all, just bitchiness.
One big difference is that alt-Retard is interested in history. They know they’ve been lied to, and they want to know who did it and why, and what is the truth. Hence the openness to any conspiracy theory. Because of the Hitler worship, that means they can get steered to particular readings of history that aren’t necessarily more accurate than the lies they were taught in school. But at least they <em>want</em> to learn something, so they may be reachable. The left-wing radicals are strongly anti-history; you won’t find them studying Lenin to find their roots. All they know is from the 1960s, just like the Boomers who taught them. They’re not reachable that way at all.
Another difference is that Antifa are total noobs online. I’m not sure why, since they surely all had computers and Internet growing up. But they have no memeing ability whatsoever, and no staying power in online fights.
(I’ve decided to use this blog to do longer riffs on other blogs for a while, and see how that goes. I might end up turning comments back on, but I’ll decide that later. In the meantime, feel free to quote and riff further on this anywhere else.)