Editor’s Note: I’ve fleshed out my thoughts on the optics debate, strategy, tactics in one spot instead of in hundreds of tweets. It’s a divisive topic and I do enjoy arguing these issues. I’ve been mulling over this stuff for 16 years now.
Guns are too provocative.
In our experience, this isn’t true. We’ve held dozens of armed rallies with no deaths, no violence, no injuries and no arrests. The most violent rallies are ALWAYS in leftwing strongholds, particularly gun free zones on college campuses, where Antifa feel emboldened to attack.
There have been three occasions in which our people have been arrested. In Auburn, there was a scuffle on a gun free campus. In New Orleans, we were disarmed at Lee Circle. In Charlottesville, there were multiple injuries and arrests after it was decided to hold a disarmed event. We can’t afford to continue to leave behind a trail of arrests, injuries and medical bills.
The Pikeville rally was heavily criticized because of “optics.” In Pikeville though, no one was injured or arrested because we were heavily armed and not in a leftwing stronghold. No one died like in Charlottesville after violence was allowed to spiral out of control. The worst optics in Charlottesville was due to the car crash, not flags or what people were wearing on that day.
People will die at violent armed rallies.
Guns are far more popular than the Alt-Right.
The Alt-Right is squeamish about guns. Southerners love their guns. No one has been shot at any of our armed rallies. All the violence and arrests have taken place in gun free zones. We can hold public events anywhere and it is prudent to avoid places which are known security risks.
If we were attacked in gun free zones, normies will sympathize with us.
In Charlottesville, we saw that Antifa are now using flamethrowers, wasp spray, acid and battering rams. This is a major escalation in Antifa violence. We had dozens of people get injured in Charlottesville. Several people in our own group were attacked with clubs and required medical treatment. They were peacefully returning to their cars. The media took every incident out of context and even ignored their own reporters who were victimized in order to portray thugs like DeAndre Harris as the victims.
Chris Cantwell was maced twice in Charlottesville. He was arrested and went to jail for using pepper spray in self defense. Now, he is relentlessly mocked by the media as the “Crying Nazi.” There was no outpouring of public sympathy from normies over our victimization in Charlottesville. Instead, we have arrests, medical bills, job losses and downed websites to deal with. Normies have never cared about all the “racists” who have went to prison over any number of bullshit charges. Ask Matt Hale.
Berkeley was different than Charlottesville for a number of reasons but above all else because we fought back and weren’t dramatically outnumbered by Antifa. The Berkeley rally was organized by the transsexual Amber Cummings. Joey Gibson is a Japanese-American who comes across as “a Unitarian Sunday school teacher.” The lineup of speakers in Berkeley was going to be “three blacks, two Hispanics, one Asian, one Samoan, one Muslim, two women, and one white male.”
We can’t go the Berkeley route to “change the narrative” without abandoning all of our beliefs in the process. As long as we can be tagged as “racists,” the media will cheer on Antifa who attack us and “both sides” will be blamed for it and the result will be indifference from normies. No one is going to care about your victimization. You’re just going to be the “Crying Nazi.”
We shouldn’t have public rallies.
If the #UniteTheRight rally had been held in Lynchburg, VA instead of Charlottesville, VA, it would have been fine. There would have been no violence. The police would have done their jobs. Everything that happened in Charlottesville flowed from the fact that it is the most leftwing city in Virginia which is why the police stood down and allowed #UniteTheRight to descend into anarchy.
We’re not going to stop holding public rallies. This is an overreaction. The truth is that we aren’t safe in leftwing strongholds where police stand down like in Berkeley or Charlottesville. That’s the real problem. There’s no reason why we can’t just avoid those places and continue to hold public events. Also, if we want to hold rallies in leftwing cities like Charlottesville, flash rallies are safer and preferable.
The torches will scare the normies.
The torchlight parades are powerful.
I had never participated in a torchlight parade until Charlottesville. I think it is an effective tactic and the dramatically increased turnout suggests it has strong appeal. Conceivably, we could get better looking torches which would look even more powerful. The League of the South, Traditionalist Workers Party and Nationalist Front didn’t participate in the torchlight parade on August 12th. These groups had planning and strategy sessions on the evening of August 11th.
But, the optics.
The optics of the event were the khakis and polos. This was heavily commented on after #UniteTheRight. It’s not like this fact went unnoticed. It was duly noted. We were still a bunch of “racists.” We’re always going to be a bunch of “white supremacists” in the eyes of our enemies.
But, the Nazis have to go.
Even if there had been no Nazis at #UniteTheRight, it would have still been called a Neo-Nazi KKK white supremacist rally. Joey Gibson and Amber Cummings were labeled “white supremacists” by Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein. Black Confederates were attacked by Antifa in New Orleans. Tens of thousands of people marched against the free speech rallies in Boston and San Francisco.
But, the swastika flag.
There was one guy at #UniteTheRight with a swastika flag in a crowd of 1,000 people. The Left was using dozens of Red flags and Pan-African flags. The NSM doesn’t even use the swastika flag. Could the optics of the event been better without the one swastika flag? Sure, but the overall narrative would have been the same. It would have still been called a Neo-Nazi white supremacist racist event.
But, the Confederate flag has to go.
The Confederate Battle Flags were appropriate at #UniteTheRight. The rally was about preserving the Robert E. Lee monument. It would have looked ridiculous to have a sea of American flags. That’s the flag that Robert E. Lee fought against in the War Between the States.
We should only use the US flag because that is good optics.
In doing so, you’re choosing optics over numbers and being dramatically outnumbered is also bad optics. The effect of using only the American flag will be to create a polarizing issue. Lots of people won’t use the US flag and the turnout will go down at rallies. Normies still won’t join us because our cause is stigmatized as “racist” and they are fundamentally motivated by socioeconomic status.
We can’t appeal to the normies with all these weird flags.
Why do so few people use the US flag to begin with? It’s because we’re not normies. We are alienated, disaffected reactionaries. We believe the past was better than the present. Different groups have different reactionary styles but the mindset is the same. It is all about disillusionment with the present.
We’re not going to get large numbers of disaffected people to use the US flag to appeal to normies. We’re not patriotic because life is actually really bad for White people. We’re losing the First Amendment now. Life is getting worse for White people and that will create more reactionaries.
Flattering normies has never worked. It doesn’t work because normies are individualists and materialists who are motivated by economics and social status. They have a fundamentally different mindset. The goal of the normie is to glide through life and avoid controversy. We’re synonymous with controversy! We’re romantic nationalists which has always been at odds with being a normie!
You’re appealing to the most extreme elements.
First, we have to understand who we are. We are alienated, disaffected, disillusioned White Americans. Second, we have to understand who normies are, which is to say, middle class people who are comfortable and satisfied and who don’t want to make waves for financial reasons or fear of loss of status.
In order to grow, we want more people to adopt our views. We want the normies to become angry, alienated, disaffected and disillusioned like the rest of us. The audience then really isn’t normies who are being converted. It is the disaffected who we should be organizing.
We’ve got to win over the normies.
Victory for us is by definition normies ceasing to be normies. It means overcoming these economic and social status concerns and embracing romantic nationalism. It means being carried away by righteous anger and shattering all politically correct taboos. Cultural change happens when an idea reaches a critical mass. Then it rapidly sweeps through the rest of the population. In other words, the goal has to be to create a cultural vanguard which can initiate this transformative process.
How do you propose to win over the normies?
Antifas are our ambassadors to the normies. Fear and loathing of living under a communist, socialist or anarchist government is our most compelling argument. In the long run, normie life will become impossible for a vast swelling pool of White people. Instead of flattering normies, social and economic decline will create more disaffected people and a greater pool of potential converts to mobilize. We give those people a myth and a cause greater than themselves to believe in.
We’re going to MAGA though.
No, you’re not.
This country is too far gone. Trump was the last hurrah of Taking Back America. This was actually the fourth of fifth Taking Back America movement. The Tea Party was the last incarnation of that impulse. The same people have been talking about that since Ronald Reagan was president. Every single time it is coopted into pushing the same corporate agenda.
It sounds like you are rejecting mainstreaming.
I’m rejecting naive mainstreaming.
In a sense, I want our ideas to be “mainstream,” or more socially acceptable. The only way you do that is through amassing power. What is power? It is numbers, organization, money, will power, etc. We become powerful by smashing taboos and demonstrating we won’t observe them anymore.
Charlottesville devastated the Alt-Right.
No, it didn’t.
10% of the public identifies with the Alt-Right now. That’s more people than live in Texas. The low end is 6% of the public which is more people than live in Florida. The reaction to Charlottesville broke down on partisan lines. Among Trump’s base, most people actually blamed Antifas. Only something like 28% of the public blamed “white supremacists” exclusively for what happened in Charlottesville.
We need to be “mainstream.”
You will never be “mainstream” because you are incapable of visualizing what the “mainstream” is …
The “mainstream” is the left side of this discursive cloud. Decades ago, the blue side of the cloud used to be the entire cloud but that has radically changed since 2008. At the time, the habit was developed of always deferring to cultural norms established by the Left which is the origins of cucking. That’s what it meant to be “mainstream.” It meant deferring to their overwhelming cultural power which has since been lost. No one trusts the “mainstream” anymore except 20% of the public who are Far Left Democrats.
This sounds like vanguardism.
I’m rejecting stupid vanguardism which is, say, retreating to a rural area to await the demise of civilization or taking up arms and attempting to overthrow the US government. I’m not advocating violence or purity spiraling. Instead, I am saying a cultural vanguard is needed to violate norms. Cultural change happens when 10 percent of the population comes to hold an unshakable belief:
— Hunter Wallace (@occdissent) September 4, 2017
We tried that in Charlottesville.
Yes, we did. The entire political, corporate and media establishment was sent into a full blown panic. That’s never happened before because we demonstrated power through numbers and unity. When entrenched elites fight back against you, it is because they feel threatened by something you have done.
The Jews were scared shitless.
Yes, they were. We’ve got to overcome a number of obstacles. In particular, we have to overcome digital no platforming. This was going on before Charlottesville. We had already been banned by Disqus, Donately, PayPal, Patreon and GoFundMe. It was always going to end this way.
You’re completely discounting the optics.
I believe optics has its place.
The torchlight parades, for example, are powerful. The marches are powerful. Obviously, the polos and khakis are better optics than Klan robes and swastika flags. Obviously, physical fitness is preferable to being out of shape. So I am not dismissing optics. There is massive room for improvement in that area. It’s just not the only thing.
Ethics are more important than optics. We need to appeal more to our people’s sense of right and wrong than what looks good. It is the former that really moves people to action. We need to rewire our morality. We’ve lost the moral sense of our ancestors because our culture has degenerated under liberal democracy. There is too much focus on aesthetics and not enough on ethics.
You’re against the US flag.
If you want to use the US flag, by all means use the US flag. Go have US flags rallies! It’s just unreasonable to expect everyone to use the US flag because of optics. There were people with US flags at the #UniteTheRight rally and I didn’t have the slightest problem with them.
What is optics cucking?
It is more accurately optics spiraling. I see it as a source of unnecessary division. We’ve dealt with it before. All it does is create polarization and reduce our numbers. Normies will drive by and honk their horns. They might even think you are a wholesome, good looking bunch of guys on television. The visual impression, however, isn’t going to change normie incentives and behavior though.
We should be signaling the normies with US flags.
I’ve encouraged the people who want to do this to try it. I don’t see how the experiment could hurt. If I am proven wrong, then so much the better. Frankly, I just don’t believe thousands of normies are going to respond to US flags based on the theory that it will be just like a Trump rally. The difference is that you will be labeled a “racist” and the same incentive structure will remain in place.
What do you propose?
We should continue to hold real world events: conferences, public rallies, private social events, cultural events, flash rallies, speaking engagements.
Flags are inappropriate and unnecessary at speaking engagements. These speaking engagements are also in gun free zones on college campuses, anyway. So much of this debate is making mountains out of molehills. The goal is to create a polarizing social media spectacle. Again, we want to attract the angry, alienated, disaffected and disillusioned and organize them into a cultural vanguard.
The establishment overreacted. I mean look at “Goy, Bye.”
#UniteTheRight really was the greatest triggering of all time. It exceeded my expectations. If it hadn’t been in the park in Charlottesville, there would have been no violence. The elites really dropped the mask and bore their fangs after Charlottesville which is good for us.
Just look at all the damage to our websites.
You’re calling for a revolution. The establishment is going to fight back. You need to accept that. We need to be making ourselves invulnerable to such attacks, anyway.
What do we do now?
Quite honestly, we should be rebuilding our sites on Alt-Tech infrastructure. I’m for more public rallies. The priority has to be on rebuilding for now though.Follow Hunter Wallace on Gab, VK, Facebook and Twitter.