The recipe for far-right terror

When the gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California, the threat of far-right terrorists became clearer than ever to more people than ever.  This appeared to be a copycat attack, taking influence from the disturbingly meme-riddled, videogame-style mosque shooting in New Zealand in March.  The Atlantic referred to them as the 'Meme Terrorists', but the reality is more complex.  These far-right terrorists are monsters birthed from a Dr. Frankenstein operation orchestrated by an ignorant media, negligent politicians, and a militant far left across the entire Anglosphere.  Not memes.

I know this because I've seen the radicalization of young white men in my home country, and I've been inside the far right.  I've seen this radicalization happen in the working-class north of England, and it's spreading across the U.S., Europe, and even Australia and New Zealand.

As a teen, I found myself among the far right in Lancashire.  I had met the family of a young girl called Charlene Downes who was kidnapped and murdered by a Muslim grooming gang.  I had seen the effects of mass immigration in neighboring towns, and I had seen how the politicians ignored everyone who expressed concern about it.  I was angry, and I had nowhere else to turn.

When I found myself at the receiving end of violent threats from anti-Semitic and far-right activists, I left the racist party I had been a member of.  I knew I didn't belong there.  But many young men I knew stayed. 

Jack Renshaw was a teenager from my hometown who became so entrenched in extremist thinking that he bought a machete and plotted to kill our local member of Parliament.  The plot was foiled, and he's now in prison.  Whenever I see the photo of him and myself shaking hands, it reminds me just how easy it is for young men to become radicalized.

I think...my God, could that have been me?

Renshaw wasn't the only young man I knew who went to prison on terror or violence charges.  There were multiple other young lads who at one time weren't terrorists.  They were just working-class kids who saw how the job market and communities had changed and how the politicians were facilitating it.

Our representatives ignore the concerns of the white working class for their own gain, which forms the first part of the "three-pronged attack" that creates the far right.  This is the recipe for far-right terror.

Once the politicians have ignored concerned citizens, the media then smear them.  The media will, without a moment's thought, label anyone who discusses mass immigration racist.

Once the media have smeared them, the far left will physically attack, mock, or belittle them.  They will attempt to destroy their lives for voicing their perfectly legitimate views.  They'll beat them over the head with a bike lock, put bricks through their windows, or harass their employers until they're jobless and left feeling angry, ignored, and hopeless.

Some quietly retreat and accept their fate.  Others become radicalized.  Their reasonable concerns turn into ugly, dangerous, and extreme politics, and their search for answers about who is behind their censorship is answered with conspiracy theory. 

This is how seemingly normal young men like Jack Renshaw and others become monsters.  This is how a 19-year-old pianist and member of the varsity swim team can find himself conditioned by conspiracy theory to shoot and kill innocent people at a synagogue.

I see this formula in American politics, and it worries me greatly.  When Joe Biden equates the real far right with the president and his supporters, and when he forgives the far left for their violence toward conservatives, he is risking the radicalization of young men across the country.  This tactic of smearing, attacking and lying about decent, concerned citizens is utterly dangerous.  I've seen its effects in the U.K., and we're soon to see more of it in the U.S.

A negligent political class, a complicit media, and an emboldened far left are creating a new generation of far-right terrorists — and the seemingly normal nature of these young men means we won't see the next attack coming.

When the gunman opened fire inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California, the threat of far-right terrorists became clearer than ever to more people than ever.  This appeared to be a copycat attack, taking influence from the disturbingly meme-riddled, videogame-style mosque shooting in New Zealand in March.  The Atlantic referred to them as the 'Meme Terrorists', but the reality is more complex.  These far-right terrorists are monsters birthed from a Dr. Frankenstein operation orchestrated by an ignorant media, negligent politicians, and a militant far left across the entire Anglosphere.  Not memes.

I know this because I've seen the radicalization of young white men in my home country, and I've been inside the far right.  I've seen this radicalization happen in the working-class north of England, and it's spreading across the U.S., Europe, and even Australia and New Zealand.

As a teen, I found myself among the far right in Lancashire.  I had met the family of a young girl called Charlene Downes who was kidnapped and murdered by a Muslim grooming gang.  I had seen the effects of mass immigration in neighboring towns, and I had seen how the politicians ignored everyone who expressed concern about it.  I was angry, and I had nowhere else to turn.

When I found myself at the receiving end of violent threats from anti-Semitic and far-right activists, I left the racist party I had been a member of.  I knew I didn't belong there.  But many young men I knew stayed. 

Jack Renshaw was a teenager from my hometown who became so entrenched in extremist thinking that he bought a machete and plotted to kill our local member of Parliament.  The plot was foiled, and he's now in prison.  Whenever I see the photo of him and myself shaking hands, it reminds me just how easy it is for young men to become radicalized.

I think...my God, could that have been me?

Renshaw wasn't the only young man I knew who went to prison on terror or violence charges.  There were multiple other young lads who at one time weren't terrorists.  They were just working-class kids who saw how the job market and communities had changed and how the politicians were facilitating it.

Our representatives ignore the concerns of the white working class for their own gain, which forms the first part of the "three-pronged attack" that creates the far right.  This is the recipe for far-right terror.

Once the politicians have ignored concerned citizens, the media then smear them.  The media will, without a moment's thought, label anyone who discusses mass immigration racist.

Once the media have smeared them, the far left will physically attack, mock, or belittle them.  They will attempt to destroy their lives for voicing their perfectly legitimate views.  They'll beat them over the head with a bike lock, put bricks through their windows, or harass their employers until they're jobless and left feeling angry, ignored, and hopeless.

Some quietly retreat and accept their fate.  Others become radicalized.  Their reasonable concerns turn into ugly, dangerous, and extreme politics, and their search for answers about who is behind their censorship is answered with conspiracy theory. 

This is how seemingly normal young men like Jack Renshaw and others become monsters.  This is how a 19-year-old pianist and member of the varsity swim team can find himself conditioned by conspiracy theory to shoot and kill innocent people at a synagogue.

I see this formula in American politics, and it worries me greatly.  When Joe Biden equates the real far right with the president and his supporters, and when he forgives the far left for their violence toward conservatives, he is risking the radicalization of young men across the country.  This tactic of smearing, attacking and lying about decent, concerned citizens is utterly dangerous.  I've seen its effects in the U.K., and we're soon to see more of it in the U.S.

A negligent political class, a complicit media, and an emboldened far left are creating a new generation of far-right terrorists — and the seemingly normal nature of these young men means we won't see the next attack coming.