Teaching the alt-right today and the main lesson is that "alt-right" is not a generic term for "far right" but rather describes a specific style of far-right politics in America that originates in the paleocon-neocon split and is the main animating force of Trumpism.
Alt-right leaders like Gottfried, Spencer, etc. were rendered superfluous during the Trump administration but their substantive ideological allies held real power -- Stephen Miller, anyone? -- and the basic ideology is hegemonic in the GOP today.
This is painting with a broad brush, to be sure, because the alt-right was never a well-defined or associational political movement, but rather a largely digital collection of various tendencies and factions.
This is why Spencer called his rally "Unite The Right."

The idea was to bring these various groups and factions *together* under a common banner, which very quickly (and thankfully) fell apart after Charlottesville.
But my point is that the alt-right was not just a rebranding exercise of neo-Nazis.
It was absolutely that, but it wasn't *just* that.

It evolved out of schisms in the Republican Party in the '90s and '00s--very much looking forward to @lionel_trolling's forthcoming on this--and, along with Trumpism, is very much part of the conservative political tradition.
One other point: it is *very* significant that Richard Spencer first came to prominence because of the Duke lacrosse case.
Hell, @michaelbd and Scott McConnell basically plucked Spencer out of obscurity because he was a graduate student from the Duke history department complaining about political correctness gone mad on campus.
Probably also worth mentioning that mainstream media platformed Pat Buchanan for *decades* and allowed him to spout lies and thinly-veiled racism without serious challenge.
I'm going to share with this my students and point out that aside from Erin Burnett's weak Obama-era bromides about "equality of opportunity," she *agreed* with Pat Buchanan when he claimed that people didn't call each other racist during the civil rights era.

Which is a lie.
Class ended up being a bit more free-form than I originally intended, because we spent a considerable amount of time talking about this exchange between Candace Owens and @kathleen_belew. c-span.org/video/?c481808…

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More from @DavidAstinWalsh

2 May
It’s May Day, so we’re watching the 1973 version of THE WICKER MAN.
FIANCÉE: “I feel like you’d love to live on Summerisle, David, since these people wear tweed and bone all the time.”
Forgot how good the soundtrack is.
Read 11 tweets
30 Apr
Counterpoint: Military Keynesianism never, ever went away.
Part of the reason I think I'm more sanguine than most about the Cold War 2.0 rhetoric is a) America is *already* a heavily militarized superpower and geopolitical competition rhetoric isn't actually a meaningful shift, and b) there is no ideological component to this.
China does not offer a meaningful alternative to the global capitalist order -- not in actuality, and not even really in the minds of American policymakers.
Read 7 tweets
23 Apr
What are the best cultural histories of the apocalypse?
Religious *or* secular views on apocalypse.
I was just thinking today about how I'd like to read something that links fears of nuclear war and climate change.
Read 4 tweets
5 Apr
Interesting article that kind of buries the key takeaway. washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-a…
We've known for decades about racist attacks on welfare and gov't spending as going to "undeserving" minorities, and this article has a whole lot of ancient white people making that claim.

But this isn't the key takeaway. We already know this.
The key takeaway is that small business owners are fearful of gov't spending writ large because it makes it harder to keep labor subordinate to their needs.

This is *exactly* the same objection that many small and mid-sized businesses had to the New Deal in the 1930s.
Read 11 tweets
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Younger people are also more likely to own their own home in Mexico and France than in the U.S.
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This is actually pretty f*cking hilarious -- moderate Democrats are *terrified* of AOC giving them money.
It's a turf war -- the moderates are angry the DCCC didn't give them the heads-up that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also, in fact, a Democrat. Image
Even more hilarious that "frontliners" -- I'm assuming this is how the moderates self-identify themselves, since it's the kind of mock-modest militaristic heroics that are core to their political identity -- don't seem to understand this is how politics already works. Image
Read 7 tweets

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