I think it’s fair to describe the “alternative-right” as something of an amorphous political movement. While it has a philosophical hardcore, born from the internet chatter of far-right Millennials in the early 2000s, its outer edges are far more nebulous, shading from disenfranchised working-class frustration to rebellious teenage larking. The claim by some opponents of the ideology, that they don’t know what the alt-right is but they recognise it when they see it, is not an entirely unreasonable one. Over the last decade the base tenets have gained a strong presence in the United States and the United Kingdom (indeed, the former is arguably its birthplace and the latter its off-shoot). They have also developed a surprisingly long reach, from the backrooms of the White House in the US to the East Belfast headquarters of the Democratic Unionist Party in the UK-administered north-east of Ireland.
In several previous articles ASF looked at the DUP’s links with the Constitutional Research Council, a secretive anti-European lobby group in Britain, and AggregateIQ, a controversial data-mining company in Canada. This firm is closely affiliated with Cambridge Analytica, a business which contributed to Donald Trump’s successful presidential election campaign in 2015-16. However, I was not expecting this trail of ultranationalists and their enablers to eventually lead to the enfant terrible of the alt-right scene, Milo Yiannopoulos. According to Der Spiegel, the narcissistic publicity-hound with a Trump-fetish recently established:
“…Milo Inc. in Miami, which he hopes to turn into a right-wing media empire with its own book publishing company, YouTube channels, news websites and events. Yiannopoulos says that he raised $12 million (€10.5 million) in venture capital from conservative investors within a month.
It is an unbelievable sum and some in the alt-right community question have questioned the amount. On the other hand, Yiannopoulos has supposedly long been a favorite of Robert Mercer, a computer scientist, hedge fund manager and billionaire believed to be the secret mastermind behind the Trump presidency. Mercer, who keeps a low public profile, has not only invested $10 million in Breitbart, but also funded Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm that scanned voter profiles for Trump. Apparently he knew early on that Hillary Clinton could not win the election. And it was reportedly Mercer who bankrolled Yiannopoulos’s scandalous tour of several universities last summer. Yiannopoulos himself does not comment on his investors, but it appears likely that Mercer provided a large share of the capital for Milo Inc.”
In the United States members of the alt-right have suggested that their movement should adopt the symbol of Hydra, the fictional conspiratorial organisation appearing in the publications of the Marvel Comics group, as their own. This is fairly typical of the juvenile, almost nihilistic humour which permeates the core of the alternative-right in the US. And also of how it perceives itself – and its tentacled reach into mainstream society.
As my granny with her dour Ulster Presbyterian antecedents used to say, it’s all fun an’ games until someone ends up losing an eye!