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White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online

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Abstract

To see the Internet as only a ‘tool’ or ‘resource’ for disseminating ideas and products, as much of the literature has done, is to miss an even more significant aspect of online venues. The Internet is also a site of important ‘identity work’, in which collective identities can be accomplished interactively. This chapter explores how collective identities are constructed by white supremacists who specifically exploit the web as a venue for expressing ‘white pride worldwide’. Drawing on social movement literature around the building of collective identities, we examine the online identity work of the ‘globalizing’ right-wing extremist movement through four key frames: alternative media/alternative messaging; identity borders; shared identity; and mobilizing hate. Here, we explore the Internet not as a tool, but as site for the active construction of collective white identity.
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
1
White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online
Barbara Perry
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Ryan Scrivens
Simon Fraser University
To see the Internet as only a “tool” or “resource” for disseminating ideas and
products, as much of the literature has done (e.g., Bostdorf, 2004; Duffy, 2003), is to miss
an even more significant aspect of online venues. The Internet is also a site of important
“identity work,” in which collective identities can be accomplished interactively. What is
central to the enhanced capacity of the Internet as a site for the shared construction of
identity is its active and interactive nature. Traditional media forms allow only one-way
communication of ideologies and strategies. They are largely passive conduits for
propaganda. Digital media, on the other hand, allow for dialogue and the exchange of
ideas. Chat rooms, discussion forums, blogs and Facebook pages engage members and
potential members in conversations about their common identities. The “virtual public
sphere” that characterises the Internet invites active participation whereby collectives
“attempt to interpret and understand crises, injustice, and adversities, and to envision
alternatives and map strategies” (Langman, 2005: 54). Activists’ use of the Internet is not
passive, as implied by analyses that suggest the web “provides” or “gives” meaning or
identity to users. Rather, participants are actively and discursively constructing collective
identities (Back, 2002; Bowman-Grieve, 2009). We aim in this paper to explore how
white supremacists, specifically, exploit the web as a venue for expressing “white pride
worldwide.” We draw upon social movement theory, which broadly explores groups of
actors engaged in political or social action on the basis of shared identities or interests
(Diani, 1992). We use the frame to guide our analysis of the ways in which the “universal
white man” is constructed by right wing extremists, through active exploitation of varied
online media and social media sites. In particular, we explore the Internet not as a tool,
but as site for the active construction of collective white identity.
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
2
The capacity to build shared projects across global borders is unquestioningly
enhanced by the use of the Internet (Bowman-Grieve, 2009; Levin, 2002). Indeed, the
social movement literature has begun to theorise the enabling role of the Internet in this
context. However, the tendency has been to focus on progressive political movements,
rather than on reactionary and regressive actors like right wing extremists. Yet
Langman’s (2005: 44) observations on social justice movements resonate with respect to
white supremacists as well:
the significant political struggles that resist and contest neoliberal globalization
are mediated across electronic networks that allow unprecedented opportunities
for the exchange of information outside of the control of the dominant media
corporations.
Langman (2005) goes on to characterise the responses to contemporary crises of
globalisation as, inter alia, radical, progressive, humanistic, and liberal the right wing
does not fall within the vision of most social movement theorists (e.g., Hunt & Benford,
1994; Melucci, 1995). Nonetheless, it is apparent that both the left and right share an
increasing reliance on the Internet to facilitate movement expansion, both numerically
and geographically.
The Internet is an enabling cyber venue, putting users in a position of power,
wherein they actively engage with the material and with the other users therein.
Consequently, “the level of agency between the user and the material . . . . actually
defines how cyber media creates cyber culture. Cyber media puts into the hands, or the
keyboard, of the Internet user the power to transform her/his own destiny or at least that
is the selling point of the technology (Crisafi, 2005: 39). Crisafi’s point is well taken.
However, he does not take the trope of “action” far enough. Users do not simply engage
with the technology, or the propaganda. Increasingly, they engage with one another,
across borders. It is, in part through this activity that they construct their own identities,
but more significantly, collective identities. It is this development of a global white
racialist/nationalist identity via cyberhate that this paper explores. In particular,
drawing on social movement literature around the building of collective identities, we
explore the online identity work of the “globalising” right wing extremist movement
through four key frames: alternative media/alternative messaging; identity borders;
shared identity; and mobilising hate.
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
3
Collective Identity
The notion of “collective identity” is at the heart of our attempt to understand the global
dispersion of a white racialist “movement.” The scholarship on this concept explicitly
recognises that collective identity is actively produced; it is constructed through
“interaction, negotiation and the opposition of different orientations” (Melucci, 1995: 43).
This resonates strongly with Perry’s (2001) theoretical emphasis on “doing difference” in
the context of hate crime specifically. Perry (2001) argues that hate crime is a forceful
illustration of what it is to engage in situated conduct. The interactions between groups
provide a context in which they compete for the privilege to define difference in ways
that either perpetuate or reconfigure hierarchies of social power. These same processes
occur within cyberspace. Face-to-face identity work that might take place at white power
music concerts, for example, is supplemented by the “many-to-many” capacity of
Internet communication (Crisafi, 2005). Collective identities:
are produced and reproduced in ongoing interactions between allies,
oppositional forces, and audiences who can be real or imagined. While
providing a sense of we-ness and collective agency, collective identities also
create a sense of other via boundary identification, construction, and
maintenance (Hunt & Benford, 1994: 450).
Furthermore, collective identities are rooted in and shaped by particular discourses, fluid
and relational in nature. Identities emerge from interactions with a number of different
audiences, from bystanders to allies to opponents, and from news media to state
authorities, for example. Such interactions in turn channel words and actions. They
provide the grounds on which individuals can delegitimise the claims of others and
categorise themselves and others, all in the name of making sense of their social worlds
and their place in those worlds (Polleta & Jasper, 2001). The social construction of
movement identities is a cultural representation, a set of shared meanings that are
produced and reproduced, negotiated and renegotiated, in the interactions of individuals
embedded in particular sociocultural contexts. Indeed, online venues are sites of
important “identity work. Ackland and O’Neil (2011: 187) emphasise the importance of
participation in informal networks and direct control over the means of communication,
both of which favour the pre-eminence of expressive behaviour leading to the formation
of collective identity.
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
4
The model suggests four key elements of collective identity formation, each of
which is enhanced through the extended use of the Internet (Snow, 2001). A collective
identity provides an alternative frame for understanding and expressing grievances; it
shapes the discursive “other” along with the borders that separate “us” from “them”; it
affirms and reaffirms identity formation and maintenance; and it provides the basis for
strategic action. In what follows, we explore how each of these elements contributes to
our understanding of the Internet as a venue for the construction of collective identity
around whiteness. We aim to establish that hate groups attempt to position themselves as
a global force through their inter/action in cyberspace.
Alternative media, alternative messages
We all should be using these social networking sites to reach new people and
bring them here. They're huge and their Thought Police won't be able to keep
up (Donald Black, May 14, 2009,
https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t600609/).
1
As one of the pioneers of the use of the Internet among right wing extremists, Donald
Black highlights here the importance of the Internet as an alternative medium” that
counters the mainstream “Jews-media” that is so reviled by the right. The next generation
of activists concurs, as is evident on the Canadian Unit 14 website:
We in the Unit like to take advantage of all that social media has to offer for
promoting our cause our twitter account has grown to over 500 followers,
we have also recently launched a Facebook page & have begun adding
videos to Youtube with much more to come in the future. (Jon Doe,
February 5, 2015, http://unit14canada.blogspot.ca).
On the Internet, activists can carve out safe spaces, or “free spaces where members
communicate, reinforce, materialise and celebrate their ideology and collective identity”
(Futrell & Simi, 2004: 39). They are sites for important counter-narratives that challenge
the liberal Jewish agenda (Ackland & O’Neil, 2011). For example, the 14 Words
Network was explicitly established with the aim of “producing a quality media product
for YOU. As such, it is:
1
All online quotes will be quoted verbatim.
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
5
devoted to bringing you news that the mainstream media feels isn’t
newsworthy. Today, many stories remain hidden only being reported in local
areas, when they really deserve international attention. It is our duty to shine
a light on these issues and let the mainstream media know that they cannot
hide the facts (http://www.14words.net/p/about_01.html).
From the perspective of far right extremists, the ‘liberal’ mainstream media are not to
be trusted. They are little more than a platform for proselytising the one world vision
of ZOG Zionist Occupied Government. It is the media that are held responsible for
indoctrinating white nations with the false ideologies of globalisation, and
multiculturalism in particular. White racialist websites, in contrast, are a conduit for
the “truth”:
I often go onto the Yahoo message boards to inform the uninformed about
Israel and the Jews, and our racial situation. It's a great way to learn
propaganda skills, such as sound-bite agitational propaganda. Most of the
political and current event boards are loaded with Jews, but there are still
many Whites who post and read posts (Sunwheel, November 14 2001,
https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t5797/).
While it represents an “alternative medium,” the Internet also allows for the
promotion of alternative messaging. The Internet has become a crucial conduit for the
right to air their grievances, and to bond around the “common enemy” (Anahita, 2006).
For example, a message posted anonymously on the website of Golden Dawn, a far-
right political party in Greece, offers “Greetings from Germany & best of luck to
Golden Dawn! The peoples of Greece and Germany should realize that we are fighting
the same common enemy (Anonymous, February 14, 2013, http://golden-dawn-
international-newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-identity.html); and another, also
anonymous: The real Europeans watch Golden Dawn with admiration and hope for
all our people. May the Gods bless your fight and grant you victory over the evil that
threatens us all (November 9, 2012, http://golden-dawn-international-
newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-identity.html).
As noted above, in the current climate of hate, that enemy is globalisation and its
associated ills. For right wing extremists, globalisation exacerbates an array of traditional
“threats” to the rightful authority and even survival of the white race and white culture.
The twin problems of global capital and multiculturalism are thought to enhance the
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
6
ongoing threats to national and regional economies and to white Christian culture.
William Pierce sums up this critique, arguing that:
Nationalists in Germany, in Europe, and also in America, are facing the
common enemy of all people, international monopoly capital, that wants to
deal the death blow to all historically grown nations in favor of a
multicultural “melting pot.” Our fight against the attempts for world
domination and economic imperialism by multinational corporations will be
hard and full of privations (cited in Grumke, 2013: 14).
In an online discussion about international communism and globalist capitalism,
countless users proclaim solidarity with Golden Dawn. For instance, one anonymous
user declares:
You have the support not only Greeks from all around the world (like myself) but
the support of all people of free will and thought who want only to see
International Jewry and their interests wiped from the pages of history once and
for all (January 19, 2013, http://golden-dawn-international-
newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-identity.html).
Another user went as far as to refer to their website as the “international newsroom” and
a “beacon of hope in a beleaguered Europe” (Anonymous, December 20, 2012,
http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-identity.html).
The World Wide Web has become a key conduit for the shared expression of this strong
opposition to globalisation. On the Golden Dawn webpage, a user discussed the impact of
transnationalism and globalisation, especially with respect to the “flood” of non-white
migrants:
Look at the brainwashed Italians who were ordered by their government to
weep for the African and Muslim invaders who sank to the bottom of the
Mediterranean Sea. Those boats with parasites and enemies of Europe must
be machine-gunned before they reach the coasts of Europe . . . (T)hey are
sent by the international financial plutocracy to destroy Europe and its
identity and pave the way for capitalist planned fusion of all countries and
people of the world in order to turn the world into one country run by one
government, with one language and one religion (Anonymous, October 6,
2013, http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-
identity.html).
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
7
In high-immigration countries such as Australia and Canada, right wing extremists have
displayed a strong disapproval towards transnational policy, primarily around the idea of
“multiculturalism.” For example, as one user noted:
I am sick of self hating whites, white guilt, and multiculturalism which is jost a
codeword for antiwhite. Enough is enough…I can't a job because I speak English.
I'm on welfare now (which i despise greatly) and I am so deppressed… All I want
to do is get a job, save up, and move to a "white" town (IrishPride1975,
November 6, 2014, https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t1072627/).
The Internet represents a site for figurative collective hand wringing and gnashing
of teeth in response to the “dangerous” effects of globalisation. It facilitates a shared
airing of grievances, which white power activists would argue is not possible in
mainstream venues. Online dialogues lend weight to individual “injustices”, turning them
into collective injuries. While the primary focus of these contemporary harms is
globalisation, the further development of a collective identity is also grounded in the
related construction of an “us” versus “them” binary, wherein right wing extremists
typically associate their losses, real or perceived, with the (illegitimate) gains of the Other.
This critical alternative frame, then, “make(s) a compelling case for the “injustice” of the
condition and the likely effectiveness of collective “agency” in changing that condition.
They also make clear the “identities” of the contenders, distinguishing “us” from “them””
(Polleta & Jasper, 2011: 291).
Separating “us” from “them”
The much maligned polices of globalisation especially those that foster
multiculturalism have seemingly empowered those Others whom right wing hate
groups construct as threats to white homelands. Indeed, the establishment of a collective
white identity resides in what Snow (2001: 212) describes as:
a shared sense of 'one-ness' or 'weness' anchored in real or imagined shared
attributes and experiences among those who comprise the collectivity and in
relation or contrast to one or more actual or imagined sets of 'others.'
The formation of “us” is predicated on the corollary formation of “them”. Perry (2001)
argues that, in the context of hate crime generally, identity is shaped relationally. The self
is typically created through reference to the other. Identity work involves “constructing
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
8
both a collective self and a collective other” (Hunt & Benford, 1994: 442). Moreover,
“they” are shaped in ways that stress the dangers they represent with respect to the
preservation of white identity and security. Thus, cultural or racial or gender differences,
for example, are read as grounds for hostility if not outright fear. In support of this, one
online user wrote:
We in Australia are having the same problems as Europe with the migrants.
Moslems want sharia law, they want halal meat, they don't mix and rape our
women. Golden Dawn is the answer we need in Australia as well
(Anonymous, July 6, 2013, http://golden-dawn-international-
newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-identity.html).
As this statement suggests, non-white immigrants, for example, are constructed as
major contributors to the breakdown of morality, security, unity, and stability. Us
versus “them dichotomies are constructed and proliferated via global online platforms,
wherein non-whites are said to carry with them customs, folkways and language which
make white native born citizens “strangers in their own land.” Such perspectives illustrate
the social boundaries that groups use to highlight moral, cognitive, affective, behavioural,
and other qualifying differences between themselves and others. Thus:
By virtue of constructing an elaborated sense of who they are, movement
participants and adherents also construct a sense of who they are not. In other
words, boundary work entails constructing both a collective self and a
collective other, an us and a “them” (Hunt & Benford, 1994: 442).
Correspondingly, significant energy is devoted to creating defensive boundaries. Borders
are especially important as markers of the distinct boundedness of racialised groups,
setting the limits as to who belongs where. They symbolically (and often physically)
determine and reinforce ethnic separation and segregation (Perry & Blazak, 2010).
However, in both symbolic and material terms, borders are permeable and subject to
ongoing tendencies to transgression (Webster, 2003). Clearly, immigrants crossing
porous international boundaries are particularly reviled by adherents of white supremacist
ideologies. They represent threats, in that they are perceived to have violated the carefully
crafted barriers intended to keep them in their respective boxes (Perry & Blazak, 2010). It
is these margins that online activists are at pains to defend. As one user so clearly pointed
out:
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
9
I have nothing against people of all races, but we have nations and borders
for a reason. If we were naturally inclined to live in diversity, we would
have naturally done it thousands of years ago without it being forced upon
us (Anonymous, January 12, 2013, http://golden-dawn-international-
newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/the-truth-about-golden-dawn.html).
It is in this context that anti-immigrant mobilisation also emerges. It becomes a territorial
defence of cultural, often national “space” and a means to reassert the marginality of the
other who dares to transgress (Perry, 2001). There are arguably no destination states that
do not experience at least periodic eruptions of exclusionary sentiment and activities. The
United States and Europe are host to sustained patterns of xenophobia, and home to
visible and vocal hate groups targeting others (Caiani & Kröll, 2014).
The activities of vigilantes on the U.S.-Mexico border are an especially disturbing
example of the use of violence to turn back the threat. In response to what they claim to
be failed efforts on the part of official border agencies, organisations like the American
Border Patrol and the Minuteman Project have emerged as self-described enforcers,
defending the borders against the “invading hordes” of “illegal aliens,” through use of
force where necessary. They come to the border heavily armed, and equipped with
increasingly sophisticated technology that allows them to track the movements of
migrants through the desert landscape. These groups are animated by their online
exchanges. For example, one disgruntled user created an online thread, titled “illegal
aliens murder”, noting:
the carnage wrought by illegal alien murderers represents only a fraction of
the pool of blood spilled by American citizens as a result of an open border
and un-enforced immigration laws (halley, November 17, 2007,
http://www.renewamerica.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6872&p=98936&
hilit=border#p98936).
Such sentiments are scattered across the Internet. These isolationists take it upon
themselves to defend their borders from “them”, threatening to eradicate anyone who
oversteps their boundaries, especially immigrants and radical Islamists or anyone
perceived as such.
While there is no recognisable border defence movement in Europe, there is
nonetheless widespread xenophobic sentiment across the region. The UK’s English
Defence League (EDL) has actively incited violence through their rhetoric and public
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
10
demonstrations (Treadwell & Garland, 2011). EDL claims to be non-racist and non-
violent, and go as far as to call themselves “peaceful protestors against militant Islam.”
However, their long-winded mission statement associates segments of the Muslim
population with the denigration and oppression of women, the molestation of young
children, the committing of so-called honour killings, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and
continued support for those responsible for terrorist atrocities (EDL, 2015).
The EDL and other similar groups exploit the frustrations of disengaged and
disenfranchised “British” youth, laying the blame for their plight at the feet of what are
argued to be comparatively privileged immigrants and refugees. They demonise the Other,
creating and recreating one-dimensional narratives around their imminently threatening
identities. As one Canadian xenophobe proudly proclaims:
I am rabidly anti-multiculti, not because is weakens my race....but because,
by definition, it weakens my culture. A culture I believe superior to those
that would hack the genitals off young girls, sell their children into sex-
slavery, force women to cover up, allow polygamous families, encourage a
culture of taking from society and not giving, spread desease and
filthThere is NOTHING from any other cultures that we, as western
civilazation need to import...nothing!
(Anonymous, May 3, 2013, http://golden-dawn-international-
newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-identity.html).
Greece’s Golden Dawn party has provided additional impetus for already
embittered residents displaced by the devastating economic crisis in that country. On
their website, they develop and promote biased news reports, construing stories to fit
their own pro-nationalist agenda. For example, as one report goes:
A Pakistani sexually offends the wife of an Albanian outside the Athens
University of Economics and Business. Her husband demands explanations, and
anarchists, along with other illegal immigrants, proceed to beat them up and trash
their car. The Pakis of course, later claim they saw a "knife" and a "Golden Dawn
tattoo". The Media reports half the story, and the truth is hosted only in a few
news websites (http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/the-
truth-about-golden-dawn.html).
The online responses that accompany this post and others like are also telling, in that they
reflect widespread and enthusiastic concordance with such constructions of the dangerous
other. For example, supportive messages like the following are common: “Golden Dawn
are an inspiration to Aryans all over our occupied homelands! Keep believing and give all
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
11
for your Fatherland!” and “We the white nations need to unite and defeat the ZOG in our
governments. I like the way how you provide your own public service for the Greeks”
(http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/the-truth-about-golden-
dawn.html). Indeed, the fervent nationalism of the party has found a ready audience,
willing and eager to engage in simultaneous vilification of “them” and glorification of
the collective “us”. As a counter to the expansion of the non-white threat, these racists
come together under a universal banner of “white pride worldwide.”
Constructing the common identity
The denigration of the Other is accompanied by its opposite within the hate movement.
The posturing of adherents also contributes to identity building and solidarity
maintenance, which are key to the establishment of a collective identity. Importantly:
the collective, shared “sense of we” is animating and mobilizing cognitively,
emotionally, and sometimes even morally. The shared perceptions and
feelings of a common cause, threat, or fate that constitute the shared “sense of
we” motivate people to act together in the name of, or for the sake of, the
interests of the collectivity, thus generating the previously mentioned sense of
collective agency (Snow, 2001: 4).
Much of the literature on online identity construction has focused on the fluidity
and mutability of these “selves” (e.g., Daniels, 2009; Weinberg, 1998). Some argue that
ongoing engagement with “cyber worlds” allows “rapid alterations of identity” by which
individuals cycle through different characters, genders, races, sexualities and other
assorted identities (Turkle, 1995: 174; see also Poster, 1996). From this perspective, users
form and reform identities at random. However, it is important to consider the extent to
which the opposite is also possible. The Internet can also be used collectively to
attempt to fix identities, to create stable identities that span diverse contexts (Bowman-
Grieve, 2009). In contrast to the centrifugal forces suggested by the former accounts,
these collectivist analyses point to centripetal tendencies which allow otherwise diasporic
members to find a common space.
The collective identity at issue here the universal white man is one such
illustration of a “process that allows a disparate group of individuals to voice grievances
and pursue a collective goal under the guise of a ‘unified empirical actor’” (Adams &
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
12
Roscignio, 2005: 760). What stands out about so many contemporary white supremacist
groups is their allusion to a collective “we” that transcends national boundaries (Back,
2002; Caiani & Kröll, 2014). In an effort to describe the collective identity shared by
Stormfront’s visitors, one user characterised the site as an expression of:
the living awakening collective consciousness of the White Race
WorldwideThe primary purpose of this awakened collective White Mind is to
awaken other individual White Minds around the world -- and thus to grow in size
and wisdom and potential strength (Tenniel, December 10, 2014,
https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t1077502-38/).
Just as the common threat is global in scope and nature, so too then must white identity
formations cross those borders. This is accomplished, in part, through the mobilisation of
shared narratives and frames that are built through interaction and negotiation. Variously
described as “cultural resources”, “symbolic resources”, or “cultural materials”, the
building blocks of these narratives include “names, narratives, symbols, verbal styles,
rituals, clothing, and so on” (Polleta & Jasper, 2001: 285). These symbolic resources
represent key boundary markers of “collective differentiation” that allow for enhanced
awareness of in-group commonalities and connections(Snow, 2001: 8). The shared
access to and use of white power music, symbols, cultural expressions, and naming are
among the tools to be used to construct a common story. The Internet enables this
exchange. It facilitates the interactive negotiation of individual and collective identities.
But what identity is expressed in these discursive artefacts? Ironically, the right
has responded to the perceived threats of globalisation, noted above, with their own
variant of globalism. Grumke (2013: 20) eloquently captures the crux of this apparent
contradiction, observing that “[r]ight-wing anti-globalists “globalize” – and to make it
even more complicated, a unifying ideological element is the struggle against “globalism.
The “common enemies” of the white race – regardless of location also provide common
grounds for nationalist rallying. At first glance, it seems paradoxical that those coming
together through the Internet should be characterised as white nationalists. They pledge
allegiance to particular nation states: Sweden, Germany, or the United States, for
example. Each refers to their imagined nation as the great white homeland. However, on
the Web, otherwise diverse nationalists pledge a more profound allegiance to the mythic
white nation, wherein nationality comes to be defined not by state, geography, or
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
13
citizenship, but by race. More than pan-American, or pan-European, the appeal is to join
the fraternity of pan-Aryanism, wherein online extremists assert a common lineage,
traceable to white Aryan cultures of Western Europe. Examples of this sentiment can be
found in online text. A Combat 18 adherent reminds the faithful that:
Our National Socialist family now transcends national borders, we do not
owe our allegiance to any nation, our only allegiance is to our race - The
White Race. Our countries are just geographical areas in which we just
happen to live, but our race knows no national boundaries in this eternal
struggle (http://www.skrewdriver.net/ao.html).
Interestingly, the latter statement is found in the “comments” responding to an
article posted on the website. Such dialogues reflect an active engagement in the process
of constructing identity, in that they constitute expressive exchanges that affirm and
reaffirm the stated position. Even the “creator” of the original article is creating a
foundation for further development of a shared, collective “self.” That others are likewise
able to then respond, react, and typically endorse the racialist/nationalist vision is what
empowers each of the actors as individuals, but also as part of a group with a common
cause. In short, such exchanges announce the collective agency of the adherents, uniting
“old world” whiteness with the “white diaspora, whereby the rhetoric of whiteness
becomes the means to combine profoundly local grammars of racial exclusion within a
trans-local and international reachBack (2002: 633). The trans-national carrier of white
nationalist culture is managed within cyber-culture. It provides like-minded individuals
with a meeting place in which they can define themselves as belonging to a distinct
national setting and position themselves within a shared racial lineage. It gives them a
place to express and connect with others on the basis of national chauvinism. However,
the shared framing of this global identity has limited meaning without corollary strategies
for mobilizing to defend the collective against the perceived threats to white survival.
Mobilising hate
The Internet is exploited by the extreme right as a mobilising force. Site visitors and
members are called upon to put words into action. A post on Stormfront’s Events link
urged fellow travellers to “Get out from behind your computer, and go to the streets!
Stand up for OUR people.” Gliding in and out of different spaces – real and virtual
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
14
members use their digital venues to mobilise for action. Alongside the grandiose calls for
RAHOWA or other armed battles, are more realistic incitements to collective action.
Stormfront has dedicated threads for both Events and Activism that invite adherents to
join in celebrations of white heritage, to engage in local white pride marches, or to attend
upcoming white power concerts. Each of these activities encourages members to come
together to express their racial pride and commitment.
By design, online dialogue spills over into real world action. Some of this is
relatively benign, as on “singles’” sites that result in dates, even long term relationships.
Stormfront has an internal White Singles sub-forum, which has two main threads: Talk,
and Dating Advice. The banality of such sites should not overshadow their importance.
The promotion of “Aryan coupling” is intended to ensure endogamous relationships and
the subsequent reproduction of the white race, in line with the 14 Words doctrine shared
by so many white power activists: “We must secure the existence of our people and a
future for White children.” This credo – widely expressed in multiple ways online
provides the very foundation for mobilising action around the protection of a global white
identity. Indeed, the Internet is a useful venue for galvanising action around the
grievances noted above, by translating the rhetoric into real world activism. For example,
a number of online-offline campaigns have surfaced in recent years, including right wing
political campaigns to boycott Chinese and American products, the accession of Turkey
to the European Union, and the combined threat of the Euro, immigrants, and
multiculturalism (Caiani & Kröll, 2014: 8). The intentions behind these mobilisation
techniques are very clear: protect white people from globalisation, economic crisis, and
integration.
Right wing extremist websites also feature less benign calls to action. Here, the
posturing of aggressive adherents revolves around the active expulsion of the “common
enemies” noted throughout. A Golden Dawn adherent is explicit about both the targets
and strategies to be used against them:
People, fight against those criminal and ignominious plans and sleazy plans.
Stop being cowards, rise as one man, shoulder to shoulder, fight them
courageously. Go get the plutocrats and their subservient corrupt
governments and organizations. Organize a wide front of military attack on
them, get them, punish all of them, hang them, get the power in your hands,
reorganize future economy according to other new principles. Kick all
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
15
aliens from Europe and other similar countries back to their own continents.
Europe is for Europeans. Crush the vermin. (Anonymous, October 6, 2013,
http://golden-dawn-international-newsroom.blogspot.ca/p/our-identity.html).
The overlapping belief systems documented herein lead many hate groups to the
conclusion that, through organised action, the white race can and must reverse the trends
represented by the myriad forms of white racial “suicide,“homicide” and “genocide.”
Blood and Honour Poland, for example, eschew “compromise” or “complicity” with
mainstream politics of any sort:
National Socialism is the only hope that the White Aryan Race has to survive
the new Millennium. Forget the 'Patriots', the flag wavers and the grovellers
to Kings and Princes. They are weak and stupid and worship the forces which
are pledged to keep them in chains. Forget the politicians and the 'democrats',
they exist only to dilute and divert our movement. Their Gods are their Egos
and the Shekels that their Jew masters have bought them with. Forget the
'entrepreneurs' and money-makers who have become rich from selling
trinkets within the movement. They have cast away their Aryan birthright and
have become as the Jew. Forget the apologists who cry "If only we show
ourselves to be nice, respectable people then the Enemy will allow us
everything we want". They are weak and stupid and do not understand the
Eternal Laws of Nature. The new Millennium must be one of struggle for if
we do not destroy the Enemy then He will destroy us. The final battle is
approaching, the last chance of the White Aryan Race.
(http://www.bhpoland.org/strona/en_index2.htm).
Web communities such as Stormfront are magnets for the most aggrieved white people,
and a medium in which to rally around far right ideals, and to strategise around
preserving them in the real world. Aggressive posturing around racial defence is common
online. For example, as one user wrote:
If as a White man you are not by now an extremist, then you are quite simply
nothing but a cowardly traitor. JEWS KILLING GERMANS, NOTHING IS
EVER ACHIEVED BY BEING 'NICE.' KILL THE JEW OR HE KILLS
YOU (vindicator06, August 8, 2014,
http://vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=201105).
As the ultimate testament to their racial loyalty, such extremists offer a fight to the death
theirs or the enemies.
Not all online rhetoric goes to this extreme, however. Indeed, while the goals of
extremists’ action as given by the 14 Words noted above are fairly consistent from
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
16
group to group, the means by which to achieve those aims are diverse. For some, the first
step is relatively simple: close the borders in order to halt the darkening of the “white”
lands. Another common theme is the idea of racial segregation, generally in geographical
terms. According to this position, the white race can survive only if it is isolated from the
biological and cultural influences of the non-Aryan races. Angry and apparently in fear
of the changing demographics of the west, white supremacists call for a renewal of the
great white homeland, preferably through a thorough purging of the “dirt and filth,” or, as
a compromise, through a rigid separation of “us” from “them.” The most effective way to
keep the bloodline pure is to establish autonomous racial nations. Lilith88, for example,
proclaims that:
The world can be divided in several parts, and to each of them belongs a
different human race. These races are characterized by particular cultures and
those cultures are quite the same in each racial area. So North America and
Europe, which are Aryan, have the same type of culture and traditions, even if
they are variations from one country to the otherAfrica belongs to the
Black race, North Africa and Near East to Arabic race, and so on, except for
the Jewish race, but the Jewish plague is not my current subject
(http://www.skrewdriver.net/wraces.html).
This rigid segregation is favoured among an array of white supremacists. It implies,
obviously, deporting non-Europeans to their country or continent of origin. It is
especially important to them, however, that whites regain “a nation:”
We must have White schools, White residential neighborhoods and recreation
areas, White workplaces, White farms and countryside. We must have no
non-Whites in our living space, and we must have open space around us for
expansion (National Alliance, online, https://natall.com/about/what-is-the-
national-alliance/).
The white supremacist mapping of the western world, in particular, brings to mind
Oikawa’s (2002: 74) discussion of the “cartography of violence” which suggests that the
processes of nation building are “based upon systematic racial exclusions and other social
divisions.” None so explicitly attend to this in crude and explicit terms than those within
the white supremacist movement. For them, the construction of “white nations” is crucial
to the salvation of the white race.
Citation details: Perry, B. & Scrivens, R. (2016). White Pride Worldwide: Constructing Global Identities Online.
In J. Schweppe & M. Walters (Eds.), The Globalisation of Hate: Internationalising Hate Crime (pp. 65-78). New
York: Oxford University Press.
17
Concluding remarks
Prior to the introduction of the World Wide Web, members of the far right recruited
members and/or spread their message of intolerance through traditional means.
Since then, right wing extremists have become increasing reliant on the Internet to
facilitate movement expansion both numerically and geographically to publicise
messages of hate and recruit and connect with like-minded others within and beyond
domestic borders. However, we argue that it is not only a “tool” or “resource” for
disseminating ideas and products; it is also a site of important “identity work,”
accomplished interactively through the exchange of ideas. White supremacists’ use of the
Internet is not passive; rather, participants actively and discursively construct collective
identities. Moreover, the Internet allows this shared project to cross the global rather than
simply the local or national landscape. It is readily acknowledged and exploited as a
central node for extremists to exploit as they come together under the banner of “white
pride world wide.”
This is part of a new racial project. As we noted above, regardless of location,
right wing extremists have traditionally associated with a local and insular vision of
“place,” referring variously to “the nation,” or “the homeland.” Groups in Germany,
spoke to their Aryan heritage, those in the UK emphasized Britishness, and those in the
US talked of what it is to be American. Consequently, there has been a tendency to view
the related movement(s) as largely national in focus. Yet, as with other contemporary
cultural forms, these narrow representations have been broadened by the diverse impacts
of globalization, and access to Internet media. To state it simply, globalization has
provided renewed motivation for transnational cooperation and a parallel increase in right
wing extremist movements, while the simultaneous evolution of the Internet has provided
the vehicle by which to enhance connectivity and solidarity across the world.
Paradoxically, then, right wing extremists have framed their anti-globalist stance through
efforts to globalize the movement.
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In this article, we use three case studies, undertaken with young, white, working-class men involved in the English Defence League, to examine how they construct a specific form of violent masculinity. We argue that these accounts demonstrate that violence is socio-structurally generated but also individually psychologically justified, because these young men turn experiences of acute inequality and disenchantment into inner psychological scripts that justify their own ‘heroic’ status when involved in violent confrontation. We suggest that these feelings of disadvantage and marginalization prompt resentment and anger in young males who feel their voices are not being heard. This disenchantment manifests itself through externalized hostility, resentment and fury directed at the scapegoat for their ills: the Islamic ‘other’.
Chapter
This article provides an analytic overview of scholarly work on the concept of collective identity by considering its conceptualization and various empirical manifestations, the analytic approaches informing its discussion and analysis, and a number of theoretical and empirical issues, including a synopsis of the symbolic means through which collective identity is expressed and asserted. Although the scholarly roots of the concept can be traced to classical sociologists such as Marx and Durkheim, and more recently to the mid-century work of more social psychologically oriented scholars such as Erik Erikson and Erving Goffman, it was not until the latter quarter of the twentieth century that the concept generated an outpouring of work invoking the concept directly or referring to it indirectly through the linkage of various collectivities and their identity interests via such concepts as identity politics, identity projects, contested identities, insurgent identities, nationalism, identity movements, and even social movements more generally. Conceptually, the essence of collective identity resides in a shared and interactive sense of ‘we-ness’ and ‘collective agency.’ Although the concept is distinguished analytically from both personal identity and social identity, the three types of identity clearly overlap and interact. Empirically, collective identity can surface in a variety of contexts, although the preponderance of research has focused on its connection to gender, ethnicity, religion, nationalism, and particularly social movements. Analytically, collective identity has generally been discussed from a primordial, structural, and/or constructionist standpoint. Primordial and structural approaches are discussed as variants of essentialism, which is contrasted to constructionism. Among other things, constructionism focuses attention on the symbolic expression and maintenance of collective identities.
Article
Online groups and activist communities cannot rely on spatial boundaries to delineate the social boundaries of belonging. Within online communities, virtual identities demarcate the social borders of groups. Skinhead Forum, a skinhead blog, is analyzed to illustrate how the group is bounded by the virtual identities of its participants. The particular focus of analysis is hypermasculinity and heteronormativity as two of the most important attributes for virtual skinheads to embody. Virtual collective identities are continually being negotiated, and online participants can never be sure that others' virtual identities are authentic. Thus virtual boundaries based on the virtual identities of group participants must be rigorously maintained. This is accomplished through discussion of the elements of an authentic skinhead identity, exclusion of those found to lack the appropriate identity, and affirmation of appropriate skinhead identities.
Article
Résumé En 1942, 22 000 personnes d'origine japonaise furent expulsées de leur demeure, en Colombie-Britannique, vers de nombreux camps d'internement. L'expulsion, l'emprisonnement, la dépossession, l'éviction et la déportation de ces Canado-Japonais eurent lieu légalement. Cet article examine quelques-unes des zones d'incarcération et de transition créées conformément à ces lois et les mécanismes de pouvoir qu'elles activèrent. En retraçant la création de ces espaces d'enfermement, on constate le rôle de l'exclusion raciale et des actes de violence dans la constitution de la nation canadienne, et on découvre les conditions des personnes soumises aux lois et procédures évoquées. Leurs récits révèlent les conséquences à long terme de la violence des internements.