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Pro-DPRK Americans revealed
April 21, 2014 12:28 PM   Subscribe

White Power and apocalyptic cults- Pro-DPRK Americans revealed: An in-depth examination by Nate Thayer of the history, ideologies and personalities of American pro-North Korea political organizations.
posted by a louis wain cat (100 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looking forward to RTF entire A, but from what I got to, that is seriously fucked up weirdness.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:50 PM on April 21


Holy mackerel what a tangled mess.
posted by jquinby at 12:51 PM on April 21


They are running their group out of a single wide mobile home in South Carolina -
I think they should be more afraid of a hurricane, than America should be afraid of them
posted by Flood at 12:52 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the whole way through it is a whole bus-load of crazy. In some ways, it makes sense given how dysfunctional DPRK is that the allies they would find/recruit in the US would be just a messed up.
posted by k5.user at 12:52 PM on April 21


Spoiler alert: They're batshit crazy racists, desperate to find someone else to blame for why they're failures, and it must be America/capitalism/international Jewry's fault. Why settle on North Korea as the pole star? Fuck, why not. It's no crazier than settling on a Caucasian Jesus who spends all his time hating homosexuals or an ahistorical mythical pan-African empire.
posted by Etrigan at 12:52 PM on April 21 [10 favorites]


Christ, these people seem to have no concept of words bearing independent meanings that are agreed upon by speakers of English and remain consistent from day to day.

It's like their world is a disk of madness, carried on the back of a completely insane turtle, who stands on the back of another, even more insane turtle. It's crazy all the way down...
posted by Naberius at 12:57 PM on April 21 [15 favorites]


I am reminded of the World War II story from the Onion's Our Dumb Century book: "Japan Forms Alliance With White Supremacists in Well-Thought-Out Scheme."
posted by Rangeboy at 12:57 PM on April 21 [38 favorites]


I guess "The South Will Rise Again" translates reaaaaly poorly into Korean.
posted by murphy slaw at 1:01 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]


In the past they could have counted on Spartacists or some other kind of ultra-dogmatic fundamentalist Marxist death cult to go out and cheer for them; now even those must be thin on the ground if they're going for the whackos.
posted by acb at 1:03 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


All I can think of is Carl Spackler saying, "...so I got that goin' for me, which is nice"
posted by PlusDistance at 1:10 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


I think it's just a long con to get to visit North Korea repeatedly. Claim to worship the "treasure sword" of NK, get a chance to see the most restricted country in the world and meet with the country's leaders. It's easier than getting signed to the NBA.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:13 PM on April 21 [7 favorites]


Something something Dennis Rodman seeming reasonable

Sorry, I didn't think it was possible for the actual article to break my brain more than the headline. It's like it's all written in English but I can't quote process it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:14 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Quite fitting to see one of Dan Aykroyd's Vodka Skulls on hand.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 1:18 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I dropped out of /r/Communism once they started cheering for N. Korea.

Seriously, guys. I get you're making an argument for historical contingency in Stalin's and Mao's case, but to say that all the reports coming out of N. Korea are 100% propaganda by imperialist regimes looking to crush N. Korea is fucking absurd, and you lost me.
posted by symbioid at 1:18 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Sounds like Team America was right- Kim Jong-il really was stringing around disparate and totally non-Juche related terrorist groups for his own pleasure.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:20 PM on April 21


Only vaguely relevantly I was kind of amused by this story the other day.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:30 PM on April 21


The Hindu thing is because of "Aryan", I guess?
posted by thelonius at 1:31 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


If the acid trip loon rhetoric of the Juche types wasn't mounted so firmly on the back of the misery and deprivation of the North Korean people I would be able to really hunker down and enjoy phrases like "the fascist scum goons of the White House", which, in particular seems like a lil' shout out to our lost comrade Oderus Urungus.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:32 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


A lot of these groups had/have various websites and blogs that are incredible to read. Use the Google and spend a day lost in the crazy. Time well spent going down the rabbit hole.
posted by misterpatrick at 1:41 PM on April 21


Yeah I know quite a few leftists that have leftier-than-thoued themselves into apologetics for North Korea because it's all the fault of/propaganda for imperialist western scum.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:46 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


The Hindu thing is because of "Aryan", I guess?

Aryan = Iranian, though, right?

I think it probably has more to do with, "Dude, what's with all the swastika tattoos?"
posted by Sys Rq at 1:50 PM on April 21


They are running their group out of a single wide mobile home in South Carolina

Not just South Carolina, but Lexington Co., South Carolina. That's South Carolina's South Carolina!
posted by octobersurprise at 1:52 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


That is, indeed, a long metric fuckton of crazy.

And another one of stupid.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:54 PM on April 21


The Hindu thing is probably heavily influenced by Savitri Devi.

Also, that whole saga is a big fat rat-king of crazy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:58 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


While they may be crazy, they also get free schwag from North Korea, plus trips to visit North Korea, which are two things they wouldn't be getting otherwise.

Some people will do nearly anything for schwag, is what I'm saying.
posted by zippy at 1:59 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's just that any sufficiently crazy group can find common ground with other sufficiently crazy groups. If you get far enough away from sanity the craziness converges...
posted by librosegretti at 2:00 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Am I missing something, or did this go behind a paywall? "You have reached your limit of 5 free articles this month. Subscribe today for unlimited access."
posted by whir at 2:03 PM on April 21


"Japan Forms Alliance With White Supremacists in Well-Thought-Out Scheme."

There is just soooo much to unpack in that statement.
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:07 PM on April 21


You know, if these people were hipsters in Bushwick or Dalston or somewhere, they'd be forming rival electro-rave sound systems and throwing shade at each other's vintage Nikes and stuff. But they're not; they're rednecks, and rednecks gonna redneck. The fact that they're forming cargo-cult versions of Juche and Hinduism to throw shade at each other is probably a step forward from the usual Pentecostalism and/or neo-Nazi/Ku Klux Klan groups.
posted by acb at 2:11 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


Until last year, the Japanese government actually provided funding to pro-DPRK schools in Japan.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:14 PM on April 21


Wait, what, KokuRyu???
posted by symbioid at 2:18 PM on April 21


Yeah, explained here, but it has to do with the legacy of Japan's occupation of Korea for the first half of the 20th century.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:21 PM on April 21


It's not just toxic pariah rogue states that back weirdo fringe sects, though. Previously.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:21 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


From that article:
About a quarter of the 600,000 Zainichi Koreans are members of Chongryon, a pro-North Korean organisation based in Japan which runs a network of banks, secondary schools and a university in Tokyo (though its big business is in pachinko, or gaming parlours). Its schools (known as joseon hakkyo, or Joseon schools) are vestiges of Korea’s colonial history rather than true indoctrination camps. But Chongryon serves as North Korea’s de facto embassy in Japan. For decades North Korean coffers funded its schools. Their curriculums are outside Japanese control; school excursions are usually to Pyongyang, the North’s capital.
So did Japan fund them as well? The article makes it sound like Chongryon is putting up all the money.
posted by Etrigan at 2:25 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


This might be more amusing if this idiot wasn't ranting about wanting to kill me and my son.
posted by signal at 2:26 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


It's no crazier than settling on a Caucasian Jesus who spends all his time hating homosexuals or an ahistorical mythical pan-African empire.
posted by Etrigan at 3:52 PM


i get the Caucasian Jesus part but what is the "ahistorical mythical pan-African empire" part?
posted by McSockerson The Great at 2:29 PM on April 21


That article suggests that there are DPRK-affiliated schools in Japan, but not that the Japanese government funds them. (They appear to be mostly funded by pachinko, which is interestingly analogous to crazy Christian schools in the US that are largely funded by bingo.)

Chongryon is apprently bankrupt these days, anyway.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:30 PM on April 21


According to wiki: "The schools were initially funded by North Korea, but this money has dried up. Today funding comes partly from local Japanese authorities, and many schools are facing financial difficulties." Although I think that is out of date as KokoRyu says. The Economist article was a little short and I think glossed over some of the complications.

Anyway, on the original article, I love this:

"On September 15, Juche 97 (2008) John Paul Cupp replied to Pyongyang requesting him to tone down his virulent extremist politics."

So the DPRK told this guy he was too extreme.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:32 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


If nothing else, I know now that S.E. Cupp isn't the most cracked Cupp in the cabinet.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:40 PM on April 21


It's no crazier than settling on a Caucasian Jesus who spends all his time hating homosexuals or an ahistorical mythical pan-African empire.
posted by Etrigan at 3:52 PM

i get the Caucasian Jesus part but what is the "ahistorical mythical pan-African empire" part?


There are various offshoots of Afrocentrism that swing the pendulum too far past "There's a lot of history in Africa that people should learn about" into the "Egyptians had airplanes" and "Olmecs are African-Native Americans" kind of... let's call it aspirational scholarship.
posted by Etrigan at 2:44 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


I feel like I have found the Rule 34 of crazy-pants groups. If something exists (Jim Jones, Hinduism, neo-Nazis) there will be a group that follows it!
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:48 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


....airplanes???

they must have been given the technology by aliens, who also built the pyramids.

i had no idea people actually took that seriously.
posted by McSockerson The Great at 2:51 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I am halfway through the article and the more I read, the less I understand.
It's like the words are losing meaning as I read.
I just . . .
I don't know.
posted by Seamus at 2:54 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


"That is when Sutter began a twisted web of sharp u-turns in his ideas, veering off to remote side roads of political ideology, and formed a new underground political organization–the Rural People’s Party (RPP)–which embraced both Kim Il Sung’s Juche ideology and that of Jim Jones as its twin political mentors."

Indistinguishable from satire.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:55 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


If something exists (Jim Jones, Hinduism, neo-Nazis) there will be a group that follows it!

Yeah, people have been known for following all three of those things.
posted by item at 2:59 PM on April 21


But...but...it's a people's paradise.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:02 PM on April 21


Yeah, Afrocentrism is its own rabbit hole of crazy.

It's truly staggering how these folks are able to advocate passionately for several contradictory positions at once, and how easily they ally with other extremist groups with contradictory platforms. It's almost like it's the extremism of the ideas, rather than their content, that's the draw. Makes sense, I guess—for someone born into shitty, degenerate circumstances, as most of these guys were, fancying yourself a revolutionary is probably pretty damn appealing. But, yeah—even considering that, this is still pretty much the craziest possible way to go about that.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:03 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Whoa! It's like a falling into some nightmarish version of a particularly deranged Robert Anton Wilson conspiracy novel.

That's one deep fucking rabbit hole. And it gets crazier at every turn. Did not see the Kali thing coming when I started at the top.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:05 PM on April 21


Hate is a helluva drug.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:08 PM on April 21


Apparently I've reached my limit of 5 free articles per month at a website I've never heard of... so it's behind a paywall for me.
posted by Huck500 at 3:09 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


By far my favorite quote in that article: Walsh replied “The WWP are a bunch of Jews”

He's reached Eric Cartman levels of obliviousness here, throwing around Jew as an insult while having no clue who or what he's talking about.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:13 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Switching to "private mode" or the like equivalent in your browser does a pretty good job of hopping over monthly limits on articles like that.
posted by jquinby at 3:15 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I really wish there were a well-written version of this article to read.
posted by uberchet at 3:17 PM on April 21 [9 favorites]


"The lessons you have propagated against flunkeyism, by calling for preserving the Juche and national character of the revolution and synthesizing the people’s cultural and historical identity simultaneously with the anti-imperialist class struggle under the banner of ‘nationalist in form and socialist in content’, is nothing short of genuineness creatively putting its pulse on the needs and desires of the great masses of periphery."

I mean.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:19 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


In recent years, the North Korean government has joined in alliance and found common cause with American citizens from the violent armed fringes of both the political far right and left, who are members of registered U.S. domestic terrorist organizations...

Whoa, you can register to be a domestic terrorist organization? That has all kinds of potential if they'll accept an application from anyone, for anyone. Especially if it's the kind of thing Iraq was on where you can get off the list any time the U.S. government wants to sell you weapons, along the lines of what Apocryphon mentions.
posted by XMLicious at 3:27 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I don't think the organizations are self-registered, dude.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:29 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


I was really hoping for some clever portmaneaus, like calling Independance Day "the Fourth of Jew-Lie". Vocal anti-Semites ain't what they used to be.
posted by dr_dank at 3:29 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


By the time Cupp vowed his loyalty to Pyongyang and was made Chairman of the newly created Songun Politics Study Group USA, his evolving political ideology embraced white supremacy, pro Islamic Jihadists, virulent anti-Semitism, and launching domestic terrorism to achieve the armed overthrow of the U.S. government.

This is the definition of white privilege. If he was brown, they would have renditioned his ass into one of those CIA black prisons years ago, or set him up on an FBI sting as the dunce who agrees on tape to bomb a bridge and he'd be living in a supermax for decades.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:35 PM on April 21 [15 favorites]


Hate is a helluva drug.

And a security blanket. Blaming other people for one's problems is always a popular way to avoid thinking about personal responsibility.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:39 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Apparently I've reached my limit of 5 free articles per month at a website I've never heard of... so it's behind a paywall for me.

Me too
posted by sweetkid at 3:45 PM on April 21


Yeah I know quite a few leftists that have leftier-than-thoued themselves into apologetics for North Korea because it's all the fault of/propaganda for imperialist western scum.

See, that pisses the hell out of me. I'm fascinated by NK (more specifically, by the fact that such a closed society can exist in this day and age), and in all that I've seen and read it's clear that if even half of what defectors and intelligence agencies report about what's going on there is true, the North Korean government is perpetuating some of the most egregious crimes against humanity this side of Nazi Germany. The idea that anyone with access to information about what's actually going on (which anyone with internet access does) would defend Pyongyang for the sake of earning a few radicalist political points is somewhere between terrifying and disgusting.
posted by Itaxpica at 3:56 PM on April 21 [11 favorites]


Chongryon is apprently bankrupt these days, anyway.

The whole situation (in Japan) is bizarre, and is a testament to a) the wartime/colonial legacy between Japan and the two Koreas b) Japan's general tolerance (up until now away) and pragmatism as a societal c) the way Japan and North Korea try to maintain relations.

For example, Congryon has links to many of Japan's Pachinko halls. Pachinko is sort of like pinball, and is a popular past-time. The emphasis is on betting, and the industry brings in at least a billion dollars a year.

Many pachinko halls are owned by ethnic Koreans with strong ties to Chongryon and North Korea, and are a *serious* source of hard currency for North Korea (drug smuggling is #2 for the regime).

This pipeline of hard currency to NORK is really the only leverage Japan has over the regime. Turn off the funnel of cash, and there could be war, so it's a little like riding the tiger.

The decision to stop funding little schools around the country with little portraits of the two Kims (how fucking bizarre, yet fundamentally *democratic* is that???) is just another example of the subtle changes the blue-blood, silver spoon martinets (many with blood ties to the Japan wartime regime) are trying to enforce on the nation.

While Japan's polity is definitely not moving rightward, just like in the US, an ageing demographic means there is not much voter participation, allowing a rump of maybe 5% of eligible voters to provide Abe with a mandate to ride his little rightwing hobby horse (despite what David McNeill, the Economist Japan lead says, Japan is *not* drifting rightward).

Personally, I think denying funding to Congryon-affliliated schools makes sense. Why provide funding to an organization dedicated to the destruction of both Japan and South Korea, two democratic states?
posted by KokuRyu at 4:05 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Never thought I'd see a photo with the caption Jillian Hoy, wife of white power leader, pro North Korea advocate, and Jim Jones supporter Joshua Caleb Sutter. Here Hoy, who bills herself a Hindu priestess Jayalalita Devi Dasi, is pictured at the rural South Carolina property where the Hindu temple New Bihar Mandir is located which worships the deity Kali, the “Goddess of Destruction” is located, but I guess every day is a new adventure.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:14 PM on April 21 [14 favorites]


Here Hoy, who bills herself a Hindu priestess Jayalalita Devi Dasi, is pictured at the rural South Carolina property where the Hindu temple New Bihar Mandir is located which worships the deity Kali, the “Goddess of Destruction” is located

Someone's watched Temple Of Doom too many times. New Bihar Mandir is, btw, named on Google maps. Street View doesn't show anything but the road leading on to the property, but from the satellite view the trailer is just visible at the end of the road.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:23 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


If something exists (Jim Jones, Hinduism, neo-Nazis) there will be a group that follows it!

Yeah, people have been known for following all three of those things.
posted by item at 5:59 PM on April 21 [+] [!]


Whoops, I realized that this is not at all what I meant. Did not mean to equate Hinduism with neo-Nazis! I meant the combination of seemingly disparate elements - if the elements exist then some crazy-pants group has combined them. A million apologies for causing offense with my poor comment-editing skills. :-/
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:24 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is, when you enter the DPRK as an official visitor, do they issue you with a bad suit automatically, or do you have to bring your own?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:14 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


I was really hoping for some clever portmaneaus, like calling Independance Day "the Fourth of Jew-Lie". Vocal anti-Semites ain't what they used to be.

Took me a second to get it, but "hollowcause revisionism" was pretty good.
posted by cthuljew at 5:33 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


do they issue you with a bad suit automatically, or do you have to bring your own?

If it's good enough for a probation hearing at the county courthouse, it's probably good enough for nutbag NKs.
posted by codswallop at 5:35 PM on April 21


I was really hoping for some clever portmaneaus, like calling Independance Day "the Fourth of Jew-Lie". Vocal anti-Semites ain't what they used to be.

Took me a second to get it, but "hollowcause revisionism" was pretty good.


I wish I could believe that it was intentional.
posted by Etrigan at 5:45 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


So I guess we here in the South can't generate enough racist-cuckoo-pants on our own anymore, so we have to import them from the rest of the country now...

That's progress maybe?

This still doesn't beat the racist enclave in western North Carolina that had (purportedly) machine gun emplacements at the entrance and a swastika tiled floor in the entryway.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 5:53 PM on April 21


So I guess we here in the South can't generate enough racist-cuckoo-pants on our own anymore, so we have to import them from the rest of the country now...

That's progress maybe?


It's all cyclic -- a hundred years ago, the Klan was as active in Long Island and Michigan as in the South.
posted by Etrigan at 6:13 PM on April 21


For those running into the paywall issue, I found the article mirrored on the author's website, with a few extra pictures- hopefully that will be more accessible.

acb: In the past they could have counted on Spartacists or some other kind of ultra-dogmatic fundamentalist Marxist death cult to go out and cheer for them; now even those must be thin on the ground if they're going for the whackos.

Those types are definitely still out there (and I have the sense that their numbers are increasing, unfortunately)- the PSL is pretty actively and openly pro-DPRK, r/communism was mentioned above, and I've seen a fair number of North Korea supporters on Tumblr- usually far-left Marxist-Leninists, but there are definitely some far-rightists/third positionists among them as well- the characters in this article, from what I've seen, are not unique. I wish the article had touched on the more orthodox Marxist-Leninist organizations in America that support the Kim regime, but I think this particular group was too bizarre not to focus on, and it's particularly telling that these guys actually seem to have gotten some degree of official support and recognition from the regime- I don't know if the PSL and the like have managed anything similar. The fact that North Korea threw their support behind white nationalists might be just an indicator of willingness to take whatever allies they can get, but I can't help but see it as more support for the theory put forth by BR Myers that the DPRK is essentially a regime of the extreme right. (If he's correct, and I think he makes a very convincing argument for it, the above-mentioned Onion bit is even more of a parallel than it seems on the surface, as Myers' theory is that Imperial Japanese influence during the colonial era is largely the reason why the DPRK's ideology is what it is.)

I found this article (aside from revealing its subject to be even stranger than you'd expect it to be) to be a good illustration of that area of political ideology where the far left and far right essentially merge into one. (North Korea itself is a prime example of this, if Myers is correct.) I think that ideological area is a pretty important thing to be aware of- ideas that essentially are fascist ones can be advocated under the cover of very left-wing-sounding rhetoric, and I've had the sense that this is a growing phenomenon in recent days. The more pessimistic part of me thinks a sort of third positionism may well prove to be a popular and influential ideology in the years to come- Russia Today has a surprisingly large audience, and if one were to try to extract a semi-coherent general editorial position from it, I would say it's essentially a sort of "soft" third positionism- they treat both far-right white nationalists like Nick Griffin and far-left Marxist-Leninists with great sympathy. (And they often have positive things to say about North Korea, for that matter.) I feel like I'm running into more and more people on both ends of the political spectrum these days who seem to be drawing their views from RT, and I hope that's more coincidence than an actual trend- third positionism is utter poison. I say this while being sympathetic to some of the ideas it claims to represent (in that I favor communitarianism, cultural diversity and a greater level of economic egalitarianism over a monolithic neoliberal capitalist world order), but the reality of it is a particularly unhinged and ultra-authoritarian combination of the worst elements of both the far-right and the far-left, rooted ultimately in far-right racial nationalism- in short, a form of fascism. The fact that third positionists can comfortably use the rhetoric of both sides of the political spectrum can make their arguments appealing to leftists, rightists and the politically apathetic/uninformed alike (again, Russia Today's popularity is probably the best example of this), and I think there is some real potential danger in that.
posted by a louis wain cat at 6:28 PM on April 21 [11 favorites]


I'm honestly not that surprised. There are a shit ton of flat-out racist socialists out there. That's was a big reason I ultimately decided socialism was bullshit. You can tell when people start talking about Norway and throwing out words like "homogeneous" that there's this weird streak of in-group protectiveness driving their motivation. (I think this might be slightly more common in Europeans than Americans, but yeah:

“I moved to Portland to join the communist party and get my poetry published. I am 19 years old.”

You trip over guys like that everywhere in the extremely white pacific northwest, and it gave me the creeps so much that I eventually left the far left.

All the broken hearts in the world still beat
Lets not make it harder than it has to be
Ooooooh it's all the same thing
Fascists chase communists chase fascists
posted by quincunx at 6:30 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


[obligatory mention that you can be a socialist without being a statist; libertarian socialism has, is, and will always be a thing]

a louis wain cat: I think the popularity of RT is more a sign of the shit quality of all news journalism in the United States. Al Jazeera, RT, The Daily Show, and other alternative journalistic institutions are providing something no mainstream US sources are at a time when more and more people are becoming politically engaged.
posted by cthuljew at 6:39 PM on April 21


I think the popularity of RT is more a sign of the shit quality of all news journalism in the United States. Al Jazeera, RT, The Daily Show, and other alternative journalistic institutions are providing something no mainstream US sources are at a time when more and more people are becoming politically engaged.

I'd definitely agree with all of that, but that's exactly why I'm worried about it when it comes to RT specifically (I don't really have issues with the others you mention)- news journalism in the US is absolutely terrible, but so is what RT offers, IMO, and I don't think that the viewpoints they put forth are any sort of an improvement over the general viewpoints put forth by mainstream US news sources. (IMO, they're actually worse.) If these are the ideas that people adopt as they become more politically engaged, I don't think the effects of that political engagement will be positive. I think you're right that RT's current popularity is largely because they are an alternative to the mainstream (and very actively put themselves forth as such), but the fact that their editorial position is sort of third-positionism-lite means both that they can effectively appeal to all ends of the political spectrum, and that they promulgate some really toxic ideas in the process. I'd like to think that most of RT's viewers approach it as critically as they do Western media, but from all I've seen I'm afraid I don't really have the impression that this is the case…
posted by a louis wain cat at 7:12 PM on April 21


There are a shit ton of flat-out racist socialists out there. That's was a big reason I ultimately decided socialism was bullshit.

That’s sort of like the people who denounce Christianity because some priests are bad people. I don’t get it.
posted by bongo_x at 7:16 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]


The Hindu/white supremacy connection makes an odd bit of sense, considering how the swastika shows up in Hindu imagery.
posted by dr_dank at 7:20 PM on April 21


Are we sure this article wasn't just markov chain generated from the SPLC website and Wikipedia?

I'm 2/3 of the way through it and I feel like it's getting away from me.
posted by ndfine at 7:49 PM on April 21 [6 favorites]


That’s sort of like the people who denounce Christianity because some priests are bad people. I don’t get it.

A euphemistically bad priest certainly flies in the face of a narrative about Christianity being a font of love and goodness that will rub off on people just by dint of their being Christian.

And before you ask, yes, this is the narrative some -- maybe a lot -- of people are given growing up Christian. Growing up to address that disparity can be a bitter experience.

It's not hard to imagine someone with a similarly idealistic view of socialism and socialists being similarly let down when they observe that nothing in the philosophy of socialism stops you from being a racist jackass.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:51 PM on April 21


As someone who has an unhealthy fascination with the fringes of faith, I gotta say that was one helluva read! However Ima have to gripe about one thing. The article Identifies David Sutter as both Fundamentalist and Pentecostal when his ties with Aryan Nation would indicate an affinity with Christian Identity, which is a whole other thing...
I was gonna say it's unlikely the guy was all three, But with some people you never know.

I'm going to guess that the Pro-Juche Nazi guys' going all Hindu-Kalki-worshippin' on us means they discovered Nazi, Hindu, vegetarian, Holocaust denying, animal loving, Hitler worsipping Crackpot for the Ages Savitri Devi. I really can't in good conscience recommend reading her stuff, But DAYUM there's a lotta crazy in there!

And here, for your listening pleasure, is some Current 93

Dunno how I missed Sticherbeast's comment
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 7:55 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


I was unprepared for her picture as well as her real name being harder to pronounce.

Maximiniani

Also didn't know "Hindu Nazi mysticism" was a thing.
But that's listed as her religion on that Wikipedia page.
posted by McSockerson The Great at 8:00 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]



What I want to know is, when you enter the DPRK as an official visitor, do they issue you with a bad suit automatically, or do you have to bring your own?


Really, the suit's not that bad. It's the shirt that's the crime. (Well, that, and all the actual crimes.)
posted by 256 at 8:24 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]




I'm trying to imagine these folks' inner lives, and coming up with something between Zelig and Randall Flagg, who is described (in his first appearance in The Stand) as being a shadow supporter of numerous mutually-loathing hate groups, if not literally all of them.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:04 PM on April 21


You can tell when people start talking about Norway and throwing out words like "homogeneous" that there's this weird streak of in-group protectiveness driving their motivation. (I think this might be slightly more common in Europeans than Americans).

I've run into the phenomenon of Europeans and Australians boasting about their superior socialist societies while at the same time indulging in rhetoric about Roma/Pakistani/Lebanese/Poles/Muslims/etc. that my unreconstructed Southern grandmother wouldn't use enough times to say it's definitely out there. It's a weird kind of left-wing blind spot, like we couldn't possibly be racist because we are a superior socialist country with universal health care.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:28 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


Are we sure this article wasn't just markov chain generated from the SPLC website and Wikipedia?

These guys are amazingly This article felt like a cascading smear of crazy-ass VALIS-era Philip K. Dick, Time Cube, Stormfront, and Arrested Development.
posted by ignignokt at 9:54 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


The whole thing reads like a draft that Vonnegut set aside. Yikes.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:17 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


It's a weird kind of left-wing blind spot, like we couldn't possibly be racist because we are a superior socialist country with universal health care.

That's been one of the dillemmas various socialist movements have been struggling with since the days of colonialism: if the welfare of the British worker means keeping their Indian counterpart in chains, can we as socialists afford to be anticolonial? If we as white workers profit from Jim Crow, can we be antiracist?

The best socialists moved beyond that narrow worldview and did extend solidarity to the workers in the colonies, even if that wasn't in their own best interests.

These days, it's mainly the soft, social democratic leaning on liberal left that feels that a proper welfare state can only be maintained if we don't let too many of the wrong sort of people in.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:49 PM on April 21


I just came in to make sure there weren't 88 comments.
posted by longbaugh at 11:55 PM on April 21 [10 favorites]


And here, for your listening pleasure, is some Current 93

Do they have any connections to the far right/racialist ideologies, à la Death In June?

Also didn't know "Hindu Nazi mysticism" was a thing.

The early Nazi party was full of mixed nuts; there were the hollow-earthers, the Eastern mystics (one senior Nazi made an expedition to Tibet), the Vril spiritualists and other strains of neo-Victorian woo.
posted by acb at 5:04 AM on April 22


Do they have any connections to the far right/racialist ideologies, à la Death In June?

No, but sometimes very confused people think they do.

NB: A colleague and I once contacted David Tibet for a project. At one point, he asked us if we were Satanists or Nazis, prefacing this question with, "I know this question sounds silly, but..." He hates it when people think that he's in with that scene.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:12 AM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Wow.
posted by JohnLewis at 5:54 AM on April 22


These days, it's mainly the soft, social democratic leaning on liberal left that feels that a proper welfare state can only be maintained if we don't let too many of the wrong sort of people in.

What? [citation oh so fucking needed]
posted by Talez at 8:02 AM on April 22 [4 favorites]


The early Nazi party was full of mixed nuts; there were the hollow-earthers, the Eastern mystics (one senior Nazi made an expedition to Tibet), the Vril spiritualists and other strains of neo-Victorian woo.

After WWII, in many Neo-Nazi quarters, there was also a hefty dose of "Eastern" influence from the likes of Savitri Devi and Miguel Serrano.

There was also a level of admiration between the Nazis and some actual extreme Hindu nationalists. For example, here's the Hindu Mahasabha in 1939:
Germany’s solemn idea of the revival of Aryan culture, the glorification of the Swastika, her patronage of Vedic learning and the ardent championship of the tradition of Indo-Germanic civilization are welcomed by the religious and sensible Hindus of India with a jubilant hope. . . . Germany’s crusade against the enemies of Aryan culture will bring all the Aryan nations of the world to their senses and awaken the Indian Hindus for the restoration of their lost glory.
Previously!
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:14 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


You really want to peruse this sort of thing, take a peek at the SPLC's Hate Map and see who's in your general vicinity. Many of the listed groups have SPLC profiles, and you can use them as a springboard into the Deep Crazy.
posted by jquinby at 9:40 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


take a peek at the SPLC's Hate Map and see who's in your general vicinity.

Wow, California.
posted by bongo_x at 10:42 AM on April 22


Damn, telstar. That is some fucked up propaganda shilling right there. Yeah NK really is a worker's paradise because the tiny privileged class in Pyongyang that I was allowed to see and interact with could not-fake laugh and one of them knew a saucy Canadian joke. Oh, and I met a stranger who told me she just happened to be seated facing a famous person (whom she knew by sight and could recognize across the Opera house without being told by, say, a minder) that the western media had reported executed. What are the odds! Christ, it just goes on and on... it can't be mere naivete, it reads like a Ministry of Propaganda script.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:27 AM on April 22 [3 favorites]


Yeah, my uncle visited the DPRK 10 years ago or so and did not have a very favorable impression of it, heh. He had 2 minders (to watch him, and to watch each other to make sure they didnt say anything bad to him). He pretty easily saw through the charade they attempt to perform for Westerners -- even just some of the stuff he did see was pretty bad, and obviously thats them putting their best foot forward, ugh. [He's also the poster boy for rah-rah capitalism, so to be fair he's pretty predisposed to dislike a communist regime, but there was a lot more to it than that, but I can't remember the details enough to share any specific stories].
posted by wildcrdj at 1:51 PM on April 22


Wow, California

To be fair half of those sites are "DEATH TO NORTHERN CALIFORNIANS!" and the other half are "DEATH TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIANS!"
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:14 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


There are a shit ton of flat-out racist socialists out there. That's was a big reason I ultimately decided socialism was bullshit.

Correlation implies causation?
posted by ambivalentic at 11:59 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


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