Sunday, February 25, 2018

Not Wikipedia: The College Rightwing Goonery of Atomwaffen Division and Turning Point USA

In the aftermath of the near-twentieth school shooting we have had this year, we thought it would be good to discuss two of the Right-wing groups harassing the colleges and universities, the tiny but murderous Atomwaffen Division and the pointless but ubiquitous Turning Point USA, aka "Charlie Kirk's Twitter Meme Factory."

When the Alt-Right meets Universal Order 

Atomwaffen Division ("Atomic Weapons Division" in English) is a tiny group of maybe 80 members spread across the US in possibly 20 cells in 23 states; interestingly they stay out of the old-timey Ku Klux Klan stomping ground of Pennsylvania, but they have members in New Jersey (according to the ProPublica article we linked to); possibly the Klan has told them to back off, or maybe they were crowded out by the 40 hate groups already working in Penn's Woods. (Believe it or not, there are Yooper AWD members!)  Atomwaffen Division has only been operating since October, 2015 more-or-less, but they have already killed five people, all in "lone wolf" attacks favored by Tom Metzger, who promoted the concept of Nazi/Klan members going out on lone killing vendettas so that the groups they were a part of were not dragged into the aftermath (usually the killer resigns from the group beforehand; AWD members are too new and underground for that.) So far, the cells haven't taken to violent crime to buy better weapons in the Brüder Schweigen ("Silent Brotherhood" aka The Order) tradition, because that group didn't last very long as bank robbing terrorists/assassins of Denver radio talkshow host Alan Berg - the group began in 1983 and were all in handcuffs in 1984, with founder Robert Jay Matthews burned alive in a barn fire during a brutal shootout on Whidbey Island in Washington state. Something like that may come, or the group is gunned down trying to blow up a power plant or a dam, fighting "The System" endlessly derided by James Mason (not that one) in his 500-plus page tome SIEGE (1987?)

Mason (seen above as looked while he finished SIEGE in the 1980s on the left, and more recently on the right) has been involved in Nazi politics since the age of 14; he was involved with George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party as a young man right before Party founder/führer was killed by his own protege John Patler in an Arlington, Virginia strip mall parking lot during 1967 - Mason would leave a square foot white swastika marking the spot where Rockwell fell and repaint it occasionally during the 1970s-80s. He joined the successor of the ANP, the National Socialist White People's Party (yes, they had to change the name of the "Illinois Nazis" in The Blues Brothers to the "American Socialist White People's Party" to keep the NSWPP from suing), but the times were changing even for American Nazis, and Mason left the NSWPP Joseph Tomassi's National Socialist Liberation Front, formerly the "youth wing" of the other organization. The NSLF was radically different than it's parent: no Brownshirt uniforms, no building a mass-movement. Instead there was a lot of leaflet propaganda in the The Minutemen's (Robert DePugh's anti-Communist group) tradition - threatening, simple, and effective. SIEGE was the mimeographed newsletter of the NSLF, who all wore jeans and longsleve workshirts, and prepared for an underground war against that '70s boogeyman, The System (which '80s Klansmen, Nazis, and proto-militia members would redub the "Zionist Occupation Government"), using bombings, murder of bi-racial couples, other violence. Tomassi was dead by the mid-1970s, and the NSLF membership called it quits in the early 1980s. From 1977 to the mid-1980's Mason cranked out issues of the newsletter, which was recombobulated into the book, a copy of which we own.

SIEGE is a turgid sit of a book, like reading Martin Heidegger's notoriously antisemitic Black Notebooks without Heidegger's gift for copying Nietzsche's writing style. Luckily there are lots of photos and reproductions of NSLF handbills.

The version I got has the World Trade Center wreckage after the towers fell as the dustjacket. This sort of property damage done by terrorism is a motif of Mason's.

Includes the Nazi SS "lighting runes" as insignia on the dustjacket flap. Without the cover, the book is just black with the title on the spine.

 This version was edited by well-known Industrial musician Michael J. Moynihan (Blood Axis) under the pseudonym "Michael M. Jenkins." Moynihan has a long history of writing on "Traditionalist" subjects, SIEGE was the first book he produced himself after writing Lords of Chaos (a history of Norwegian Death Metal) for Feral Press in the late 1990s. He is not the only one; Boyd Rice of the one-man Industrial band NON has written books on his Nazi philosophy....We bring up Rice because both he and Moynihan had been members of Anton Szandor LaVey's Church of Satan in the 1980s, and through the world of Right-wing C-band satellite TV (Rice and Moynihan had been interviewed by Tom Metzger) Moynihan heard of James Mason. If it wasn't there, then somebody was mailing him SIEGE newsletters.

The publisher is a vanity press of sorts run by Moynihan. The only other book they published was And Time Rolls On, a 2007 volume of interviews with the noted Nazi loon-lady Savitri Devi (Maximiani Julia Portas), who got Subhas Chandra Bose to work with the Japanese, spied on the British, and was a promoter of Nazism (with interesting Hindu concepts brought into National Socialism by Julius Evola even before the end of the war) until she died in the early 1980s. She keyed Miguel Serrano into the world of Kali Yuga. The "black sun" is a component of Occultic Nazism taken from Madame Blavasky's writings; it has numerous meanings - negation, "an opposite pole", a hidden power and regeneration source, etc.

I have the creepy feeling my copy was touched by Moynihan.

Like most neo-Nazis, Mason was involved in multiple groups at the same time. Many groups allow this because it allows they groups to look larger than than the really are; also if you betray one, the rest come after you. Notice that even when he is "dressed down" as a NSLF member he still looks like he is in an army. It should be noted that the NSLF stole its name from the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, a group known to millions of Americans as "Charlie" or the "Viet Cong", the latter being an abbreviation of the term "Vietnamese Communist."

One of the small posters made by Joseph Tommasi, leader of the Front.

Tommasi himself. The use of the M-16 in the logo is a Vietnam-era touch. Tommasi died a year after he started the NSLF, shot by a guard at the NSWPP headquarters in El Monte, California for showing him "the finger" while driving past. He was hit in the head.

Use of Xerox art was common in NSLF propaganda, as it was with a lot of radical groups at the time. The figure on the bottom might be a still of "Leatherface" from the Texas Chain-Saw Massacre. Never forget that these flyers were going up right after (or during) the Symbionese Liberation Army had its run and the Zodiac Killer was stalking the land.

This bit of nastiness is a product of James Mason; the "revolutionary government" is the NSLF, after a takeover of the United States. Concepts from the handbill would later appear in The Turner Diaries (1978); shooting/hanging "race traitors" is a common theme in US neo-Nazi propaganda, part of the heritage from the Ku Klux Klan.

....And this is where the love of Charles Miles Manson begins, 1977. Mason had begun researching the Manson case and his "Family", discovering the truth - Manson was not a hippie, he was a racist in drag, and the murders his group had committed were there to start a race war in America, and that Manson's group would be the survivors. There begins the trail that leads..... Universal Order, the concept Atomwaffen Division considers neat. Leaderless resistance, hidden cells, endless terrorism, attempts to create "temporary Nazi zones", recreating the "political soldier" concept tried and abandoned by the British far-Right in the Thatcher '80s, overthrowing everything so that a new Hitler-type can run things, triggering college students with stark propaganda left on bulletin boards, etc. Charlie doesn't have to live inside the Universal Order, he's dead.

So why do I have SIEGE? I picked it up after reading about Moynihan in Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke's Black Sun (2002) and finding more information online, back when a Texan was president and it seemed like the farthest-Right was falling to bits in America (Hal Turner an FBI snitch, Pat Buchanan in the wilderness, the militias outside of Mormon crazies gone, the GOP big enough to take the footsoldiers in and give them something else to be angry about), but it was all a smokescreen - they were biding time, and now they are "back."


Note the use of "internet meme" lettering in the DPRK flyer above; following the grand traditions of 4chan's /pol/ subforum, shock and disorientation are tools to be used if the wielder is smart. The one below is from early on, and is a simple Photoshop job on a SIEGE poster that circulated during the Bicentennial - the only things that are theirs are the Molotov cocktail, the Waffen-SS style AWD shield, their logo and URL (now defunct).

These are dangerous people and I do not see any of this ending well.

And Now For Something Slightly Different: Clean-Cut College Goons

Very much in the tradition of William F. Buckley's Young Americans for Freedom (in that the project is actually paid for by wealthy outsiders), Turning Point USA was founded by West Point rejectee Charlie Kirk back in 2012, and TPUSA hit "wingnut welfare" early on* and now there are allegedly a thousand chapters in colleges and high schools in America. And they are doing every trick concocted by conservative forebears like Karl Rove, James O'Keefe, the insane Right-Zionist website Masada2000 (thankfully defunct), and CampusNonsense: spying on professors, creating watch lists of professors, mocking any student who is left of Genghis Khan, etc.  Of course publications like The New Yorker began investigating TPUSA the minute it moved out of the conservative ghetto and they found this bit of charm:

They also discovered that TPUSA was rigging campus elections to the Right by paying for campaigns. Members of the student governments at Auburn University, two Arkansas colleges, the University of California at Los Angeles, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona were involved, among thirty others, in this scheme. Charlie Kirk has undermined the concept of student government on American college campuses, and the goon never went to college.

The war also happens online, and it's here where TPUSA blows it the most as Alex Nichols pointed out on The Outline last year. Awful Twitter memes and styles are brought back from the dead such as the "Kermit drinking tea" meme which was a thing in 2014, but they made the tweet in 2017.

As Nichols points out, these tweets are there to get young people into conservatism, and instead they are forwarded and loved by Online Grandparents. Of course, Redditors are there, mocking TPUSA:

 Search through the Chapo Trap House subreddit and you will find loads of these parodies and remixes (though the kids have moved on to mocking Jordan "lobsters" Peterson.)

Finally, “Deadspin's Beer Idiot” takes Charlie Kirk down through the power of online absurdism.

* Third photo in that International Business Times article has Charlie "Forehead" Kirk and Tomi Lahren (Fox News) leaning into the camera at a California political convention - the guy to the far left of the image staring into the lens is noted conservative campus troublemaker David Horowitz, who went from being a part of the New Left in the 1960s to being a Reaganoid in the 1980s. He spent the 1990s publishing the mostly-online FrontPage Magazine (where he published John Derbyshire before Derbyshire became too racist to touch and moved on to VDARE, the anti-immgration outfit named after Virginia Dare, the first child born in an English colony. Unfortunately it was Roanoke colony and she vanished with the rest of the colonists in the late 1580s. Horowitz also published Ann Coulter for a short time after she had been kicked out of the National Review in October, 2001.) After George W. Bush began his "War on Terror", Horowitz took up with "Islamic terrorism experts" Daniel Pipes (son of arch anti-communist Richard Pipes) who runs the McCarthyite website Campus Watch (obsessed with stifling any criticism of Israel on American college campuses) and Robert Spencer ("counter-jihad" creator and frequent Fox News guest) and it was in this "fighting Islamic terrorism" mode that Horowitz started a riot at San Diego State University in 2016 by pasting up flyers claiming that named SDSU students (all of Middle Eastern extraction) by being members of a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) group were all Islamic terrorists. As with all of his campus stunts, Horowitz spoke at SDSU, and left before the riot began. Milo Yiannopoulos is a sideshow compared to the things David Horowitz has done.


I’m Turning Point USA’s Top Activist in the Country, & I Quit this Shitty Organization

by Kaitlin Bennett February 12, 2018

The following is the resignation letter I handed into my bosses earlier this morning.

Dear Frankie O’Laughlin and Alana Mastrangelo,

After the events of the past week, I have decided that it is in my best interest to part ways from Turning Point USA and tender my resignation immediately. Over the course of the past year, I have put my heart and soul into representing this organization to the best of my ability on my campus, and I believe my dedication is accurately reflected in my position at the top of Turning Point’s leaderboard each week.

Before I became president last summer, Turning Point USA had zero footprint at Kent State University. In just a matter of one semester, I built one of the largest and most successful Turning Point chapters in the country, at one of America’s most liberal universities. Even in lieu of our safe space event last semester, I am still able to attract hundreds of students on campus to sign up for our emails, and express interest in joining the chapter. We have had an overwhelmingly positive effect on campus, and are not only the leading voice for conservative thought on campus, but one of the leading voices in the country. I have also built a team of dedicated activists that are willing to skip class to table with me, because they want to learn how to be as successful as I am at collecting signatures after I graduate in May.

Despite my hard efforts, I have been highly disappointed in the leadership of those higher up than me in Turning Point USA. I was embarrassed to have been left alone to deal with the aftermath of the safe space event, and even lied about by Turning Point national. You two approved the event but took zero responsibility to save face for yourselves. Not only did I invite you to attend our entire free speech week, but you even told me you would help me apply for a grant for the event. I was also made aware by other Turning Point chapters under your watch that you were fully aware that Young Americans for Liberty members were the ones who dressed up as children, and that instead of putting the blame where it belonged, you not only distanced yourself from the event, but you let my chapter face the consequences of online harassment. I am appalled that national headquarters lied about, and put one of their own chapters under the bus just so they wouldn’t upset another organization.

Not only did Turning Point refuse to accurately report on the facts of the event, but you assured us you would have our backs when we did receive this onslaught of harassment online, and from other Turning Point chapters. Instead, Turning Point not only did nothing about this, but invited one of the bullies to speak on stage at the Student Action Summit in Florida this past December. Meanwhile, I have been disciplined by Turning Point national and Charlie Kirk himself for defending myself against other Turning Point members who came after me. Strangely, these same individuals were allowed to criticize us free of charge.
Although I thought the safe space event was funny and have zero remorse for holding it, I took full responsibility for it when Turning Point failed to show any leadership. I had zero obligation to act in this manner, however my heart and soul were still dedicated to helping this organization grow as much as possible. With this, I swallowed my pride, apologized and moved forward in the direction that Turning Point wanted me to. Since then, I have worked tirelessly to make the event a thing of the past, and make Turning Point at Kent most remembered for the values we represent, rather than the event we held.

Looking to help the chapter move into a new direction, I have been eager to host guest speakers, and plan big events for my final semester of college. However, despite Frankie giving me the go-ahead to host the NRA at my campus all the way back in October, no headway has been made in getting them to Kent more than four months later. After asking Frankie if I could organize this event myself, he refused to let me do so. Still, all these months later, zero events have been planned for our chapter, and neither of you have offered us any help. You would think having one of the most active chapters in the country, and wanting to help Kent State get a better name for its chapter, you would be jumping at the opportunity to secure us big name speakers. Instead, you can’t even help us coordinate a single, menial event, let alone a speaker.

I have tried time and time again to reach out to the two of you to get an event scheduled, and neither of you seem to have the time to get back to me, despite it being your job to do so. Why are they paying you to help grow chapters if you can’t even answer a text? I get more of a response when Frankie wants to argue with me about why he is agreeing with people who call me a Nazi on Twitter, rather than getting the NRA to campus.

Last semester, Frankie told us we were not allowed to bring Kyle Chapman (the Based Stickman) to our campus since Turning Point wants to distance itself from the alt-right, despite him being a Constitutionalist Ron Paul supporter. Meanwhile, Frankie was liking tweets from notorious Charlottesville attendee and white nationalist icon, James Allsup.

Furthermore, you have been fully aware of the increasing levels of drama within our chapter, and offered to help mediate the situation back in December. As it has reached unbearable levels in the last few weeks, you two assured me you would handle the situation accordingly. Instead, you won’t take my phone calls at the times you tell me you want to talk to me, and can’t even so much as respond to a text yet again. You were also made aware of how this has started to affect my emotional health, and still refuse to take me seriously, and act as the leaders you are supposed to be. You had me believing you would have my back, but have instead left me alone once again. I did not have a choice to go to anyone else, and you assured me you would handle the situation.

As of right now, I am in disbelief at how I went from being so upbeat, enthusiastic, and passionate about this organization to being disgusted, frustrated, and embarrassed to have invested my entire senior year into an organization founded by a college dropout who hires some of the most incompetent, lazy, and downright dishonest people I have ever encountered. While Turning Point USA is a career for the two of you, for some of us it was a passion. Instead of recognizing this, you put your paychecks ahead of the principles you claim to represent, and turned your most dedicated activists away from your organization.

I am deeply saddened that Turning Point USA did not turn out to be the organization I thought it was, as it was once a dream of mine to work for you after college. In fact, Frankie told me back in August that he would help me attain employment after I graduate, and the same sentiments were shared with me at SAS by Emily Parry. This also turned out to be a lie, as Frankie’s position will no longer exist at the conclusion of the semester, and my current employment was nearly terminated due to further incompetence of the organization. Though Emily told me in December she would be calling me in May, she had the audacity to terminate my contract, before Alana did something useful for once and got me my job back for the semester.

However through all of this, I am thankful for something. I have realized how much of a shithole organization Turning Point USA is, and am glad I got out of this bullshit before I invested my whole life into it, let alone just my senior year of college. Now that I have a clear conscience and have no desire to continue my employment with Turning Point, I will have the time to find a real job, something I recommend for you. Maybe answering to business professionals rather than college dropouts, egotistic enough to put their face on stupid memes, will give you the leadership skills you desperately need for your positions.

Effective immediately, I will be stepping down from my position as the Chapter President and Campus Coordinator of Turning Point USA at Kent State University. I expect to be paid in full for my hours worked, since the organization is also too incompetent to multiply 10 by 12.50 every week.

Maybe after this is published on Liberty Hangout and Occupy Democrats Logic, to audiences that reach 17 million people on a bad week, I too can be verified on Twitter like you, Alana.

Good riddance,

Kaitlin Bennett

P.S. If you need a safe space after everyone hears about this, I still have the diapers.