The United States finally had a national conversation about the massive far-right movement, namely "Unite the Right," when a white supremacist rammed his vehicle into a crowd of anti-racism protesters, killing a 32-year-old counter-protester, in Charlottesville.
The protester, Heather Heyer, had come to the city to oppose the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the members of Ku Klux Klan and so-called alt-right, who descended upon the streets holding tiki torches, shouting slogans of white power to protest the removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Several other stories of the white supremacy also made headlines this year.
The unity among these far-right groups didn’t happen by chance. According to a study by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, far-right extremist groups use increasingly sophisticated technology to expand their outreach.
They use leaked military and intelligence documents to influence the elections and create an impact.
The report explains how the so-called alt-right activists who were disconnected for years and didn’t trust each other became connected and mainstreamed their hate movement.
All thanks to the internet, this allows them to “actively seek to overcome ideological and geographic differences for the sake of expanding their influence, reach and impact.”
They have used these technical tools, especially to bring out a behavioral change in the younger generations.
Last year, after collaborating internationally, Europe and the United States crowd funded $200,000 to help charter a 422-ton boat meant to disrupt the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
Donations to halt the help came from France, Germany, the United States, the U.K., Italy and several other countries, showed how “groups and individuals are prepared to put aside ideological differences… and instead focus on commonality.”
The report also mentions that far-right groups are using strategies of complicated media disruptions assembled from military playbooks.
“[The far-right] use military and intelligence resources such as leaked strategic communication documents from the GCHQ [the U.K.’s equivalent of the NSA] and NATO to run campaigns against their own governments,” read the report. “By staging sophisticated operations in the style of military psychological operations…they seek to disrupt the democratic process in Europe.”
In another instance, during Germany’s election, the far-right spread misinformation to boost support for the anti-immigration party, the far-right AfD.
The report also points out that current efforts to disrupt this racist rhetoric are lagging far behind.
“Counter-hate efforts must mobilize across borders to match this global threat,” the report read. “Both policy and civil society-led responses…must be coordinated internationally.”
No wonder the incidents of hate-crimes are on a surge in the US.
There has also been a perturbing rise in hate crime and xenophobia, in the United Kingdom.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst