Theater of Cruelty

The Counter-Revolution in the 21st Century

Is the rebellion in full swing? («Is the revolt turned to the right»)
Forfatter: Pablo Stefanoni
Forlag: Siglo XXI, (Buenos Aires)
ALT-RIGHT / Argentine political scientist takes the pulse of the alt-right both high and low and shows the cultural struggle that gives the alt-right tailwind and the center-left wing headwind.


In today's Argentina, the radical right wing is punk, and the center left wing is Puritan. That's how simple it can be said. And so does Argentine journalist and political scientist Pablo Stefanoni in his new book La rebeldía se volvió de derecha? ("Has the uprising turned to the right?").

Stefanoni knows how to take an extremely fresh and historical and contemporary historical look at the radicalized right wing both on the politically and financially polished floors at the top, but not least among the vast (white and silent) majority in the West. The book offers the reader a tremendous tango with the ever-changing universe that the so-called alternative right wing – alt-right – is and is being shaped into in these years.

The main thesis of the book is that this renovated and by no means homogeneous group of right-wing parties (perhaps) has taken over the flags of rebellion. What Italian historian Steven Forti calls the alt-right the extreme right wing 2.0.

«Save trees, not refugees»

Alt-right's fuel is the political correctness that is perceived as a police of thought – and the Marxist cultural struggle that has been won in the West. They practice political incorrectness and speak to millions of citizens – and voters – about climate change, migration crisis, fewer resources.

Stefanoni sheds light on how a center-left wing of millions of Europeans and Americans has lost the parameters and courage to say things straight. Here we are talking about climate change, the dwindling resources of the planet, refugee flows, the Islamization of Europe, the rights of homosexuals and much more. Alt-right is gaining ground throughout the West and even large parts of South America to say things as they are. Although it touches on – and is – both racist, discriminatory and, in general, cross-border.

It exercises – with the mass media – a form of neo-rhetoric that says (their) truth brutally.


The radicalized right wing and Bolsonaro

From Donald Trump's election victory in 2016 to movements with conspiracy theories like QAnon to the xenophobic party VOX in Spain, there is a popular demand from the alt-right for a form of neo-inquisition: No more bull. That the new radicalized right wing in the West has come to liberate the ordinary citizen from this political correctness – which is perceived as a form of Marxist culture and thought police. A correctness that for several decades has forbidden the people – the quiet white majority – from raising their voices and expressing their everyday problems.

Stefanoni quotes the Spanish philosopher Marina Garcés (Barcelona 1973) who describes what it is that drives the flow of people under the alt-right: “Our time is the time when everything stops. Our generations have seen modernity, history, ideologies and even revolutions disappear. Progress stops and resources such as water, oil and clean air become scarce, as are ecosystems and diversity. Our time is marked by an almost desperate feeling that even time stops. "

They practice political correctness and talk to millions of citizens about
climate change, migration crisis, fewer resources.

In such a fatalistic and extreme reality – or perception and fabrication – the alt-right is more revolutionary. According to large sections of alt-right observers, the progress of the radical right wing in the West is proportional to the center – left wing's growing struggle for the status quo. Struggle to preserve the state, the welfare models, the public sector.

In other words, the roles have changed since the Russian Revolution of 1917 until the Reagan-Thatcher era of the 1980s. Today, the center-left is perceived as conservatism.

The radicalized right wing today, unlike the traditional right wing, is without complexes and without shame for uttering the politically incorrect.

Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. who took office in early 2019, called the tropical Trump with his rabid attacks on minorities like gays and Indians in his South American version of anti-feminism and anti-communism. His blatant authoritarian style and attacks on more center-right South American colleagues have put him in open conflict with Argentine Peronist President Alberto Fernández.

The two symbolize the radical right and the tired concrete-heavy center-left in South America, respectively. According to Stefanoni, the alt-right segment in South America is historically far more widespread because the political wings have been in power for longer and more often than in Europe.

Anders Breivik and Brenton Terrant

The mass media and the internet are the alt-right's battleground for the counter-revolution of the 21st century. A counter-revolution where a lot of small truths are turned into one big lie. Former President Donald Trump took over the White House as a democratically elected Joker, which in the extreme consequence caused his most extreme supporters to incite The Capitol to storm.

That the alt-right rhetoric is deadly shows various terrorist attacks over the last few years. Right-wing radicals who kill in protest against what they perceive as a deliberate Islamization of Europe. Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011 and Brenton Terrant in New Zealand in 2019. Both speak in their manifestos about «the great replacement», which is what the alt-right perceives as the greatest demographic danger for Europe and a Christian civilization: That Christian Europe is being taken over by Islam.

Stefanoni gives the reader a sense of the breadth and depth of the raging cultural struggle. The concluding chapter is about the bleak future scenarios that drive the alt-right and millions of citizens in the West. That climate change and an increased struggle for the earth's resources are forcing the rich countries to entrench themselves and close the borders based on the motto – that if we are to save everyone, then we will save no one and humanity is doomed. The theory is called the "lifeboat", where there is only room for the White West, and slogans such as "save trees, not refugees" abound.

Perhaps these are precursors to alliances between green parties on the left and xenophobic parties on the radical right.

Rune V. Harritshøj
Rune V. Harritshøj
Writer living in Buenos Aires.

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