Sunday, June 2, 2013

Reflections on Violence, 2012: Crazy Gunmen, Anti-Depressants and the American Ideology

by John J. Villarreal

This week has seen a lot of news coverage of ‘crazy gunmen’: the openings of the trials of James Holmes (the Colorado cinema murderer) and Jared Loughner (a Jewish-American who shot a Jewish-American congresswoman, and killed some others), and the rampage of Wade Michael Page in Wisconsin.
 Not that much information is known at present. Supposedly, Page was affiliated with the Hammerskin and Volksfront skinhead groups; certainly, he played in a few ‘white power’ skinhead bands. The media, at present, is playing the game of guilt-by-association. It is working overtime (in conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Centre and the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith) to convince the public that the ‘music of hate’ inspired Page to go on his rampage; just as, after the Colorado shootings, the media tried to draw a link between the Batman movie and comic book franchise and Holmes’ rampage. (The media even reproduced a panel from Frank Miller’s classic graphic novel, “The Dark Knight Returns” (1986), showing a mad gunman, inspired by Batman, shooting dead several people in a cinema).
 I myself don’t like ‘white power’ music, and I don’t like Christopher Nolan’s Batman film trilogy, but I can’t lay the blame for these two massacres at the door of either; nor can I blame America’s lax gun laws. Americans have always had lots of guns, so why weren’t there any mad gunman massacres in 1960 or 1970? Besides which, there have been recent ‘crazy gunman’ incidents in Finland, Norway and Germany.
The ‘crazy gunman’ phenomenon is a Western one, not merely an American one, and what’s more, it’s modern: the majority of ‘crazy gunman’ massacres have taken place in the last twenty years or so. The massacres get quite a lot of media attention because whites have been the perpetrators and because these crimes have taken place in prosperous Western societies. Some American nationalist and racialist commentators have jeered that the liberal media doesn’t pay attention to the horrific violence in some American cities when the shootings are committed by members of minority groups. E.g., one blogger reported that dozens had died, in the space of one weekend, in separate incidents in Chicago (the shooters and victims were Afro-American) and no major media outlet had fussed over it. Those commentators are correct, in my view: there is a hidden (racialist) undertone to the media coverage of these ‘crazy gunman’ rampages, which comes from the subconscious recognition, on the part of the media, that these massacres are not TWB (Typical White Behaviour). The likes of Holmes, Loughner, Page, Breivik, were whites who (from the looks of things) came from ordinary white (or, in the case of Loughner, Jewish) families. While they weren’t high achievers, they were regular white guys. For instance, Holmes was a science student, Page a former serviceman and a truck driver. None of the ‘crazy gunmen’ were involved in criminal organisations (e.g., Mexican drug gangs) and they weren’t habitual criminals with a history of violent gun crime. They could have been anybody: that is, any decent and normal white person’s co-worker, fellow student, relative, whatever.
So, the question is: what drove them to snap? We know that one shooter (Page) lost his truck-driving job for being drunk, another (Holmes) failed to pass an exam. But that sort of thing happens to quite a few ordinary white people, every day, and by itself it’s not enough to inspire someone to go out on a rampage.
The irascible Jewish-British conservative columnist, Peter Hitchens (brother of the late neoconservative, Christopher) has the best explanation, I feel, of what brought about the ‘crazy gunman’ psychoses. This is from a post on July 28, 2012 (before the Wisconsin shooting):
Another mass killer, another link to drugs
An intelligent person would surely wonder why rampage massacres are becoming increasingly common.
America has always been full of easily obtained guns. But Finland isn’t, and nor is Norway, and nor is Germany – yet these horrible events happen there too.
What’s more, even in the USA mass killings of this type have become common only in modern times.
The other obvious line of enquiry is legal and illegal drugs, from steroids and antidepressants to cannabis. The culprits in these events are often found to have been taking one or more such drugs. The suspect in the Aurora shooting, pictured in court, where he looked physically ill, has been reliably reported to have been taking the prescription medicine Vicodin, which is often abused.
The New York Post quoted one of his neighbours as saying he had seen him smoking cannabis, a drug whose carefully created ‘peaceful’ image is contradicted in many trials of violent or homicidal people.
I might add to this the strong circumstantial evidence that Kiaran Stapleton, the terrifying young man convicted of the random murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve, is a cannabis-user. And I should mention the appalling case of David Leeman, who shot his wife Jennie dead at close range with an (illegal) gun.
An Exeter jury convicted him of manslaughter rather than murder after hearing evidence that he might have lost control of himself due to antidepressants he had been taking.
Yet when I call for an inquiry into this increasingly worrying correlation, I am invariably attacked angrily. Why? Because cannabis, antidepressants and steroids are now so widely taken, in some cases by quite influential people, that each drug has a powerful lobby fearful of what such an inquiry might conclude. That is all the more reason to hold that inquiry. have-a-democratic-right-to-be-bored-and-im-exer.html
Cannabis does exacerbate schizophrenia, of course (Loughner was a regular user of cannabis); steroids induce aggression (Breivik had been using steroids and anti-depressants for years, and was mostly likely high during his massacre). Then there are the perfectly legal drugs, such as the anti-depressants Paxil and Zoloft, which induce suicidal symptoms in their users (despite the fact that they are used to treat, among other things, depression). Anti-depressant drugs like these are so powerful that they can bring about a complete change of personality; what’s more, they can compel one to harm oneself or others. I predict, as more and more information about the Wisconsin shootings surfaces, we will discover that Page was ‘on something’ before he died. That something wasn’t just alcohol – alcohol does induce aggressive feelings, but doesn’t make one into a coldly-calculating sharpshooter (alcohol, in fact, would worsen one’s aim): no, it would have been something stronger.
Unfortunately, America, in 2012, has become associated with anti-depressants. And obesity. And Wal-Mart. And Zionism. And houses, suburbs, cities, workplaces, shopping districts, built on top of roads and parking lots. The Jewish-American commentator, James Howard Kunstler, sums America up thus:
Just look around at America itself: a wasteland of futile motoring and discount shopping populated by depressed, overfed clowns bedizened with sinister tattoos, pretending to be Star Warriors. No nation ever seen in human history ever laid such a disappointing egg. Only to have it fry on the sidewalk.
The ‘futile motoring’ is significant. The Irish travel writer, Benny Lewis, writes, in a post titled 17 cultural reasons why this European never wants to live in America:
A country designed for cars, not humans
One of my biggest issues in the states has been how terrible a place it is for pedestrians. It’s the worst place in the entire world to live in if you don’t own a car.
On previous trips to the states I’ve had it rough – relying on sub-par public transport (which is at least workable in certain major cities, but almost never first world standard in my opinion), or relying on a friend the entire time. You can’t do anything without a car in most cases. With rare exceptions (like San Francisco), all shops, affordable restaurants, supermarkets, electronics etc. are miles away. You rarely have corner shops (and if you do they are way more expensive than supermarkets).
I find it laughable that Austin is rated as among the most “walkable” cities in the states. Living just outside the centre, but within walking distance, meant that I had a stretch of my path with no pavement, and a little further out I had to walk on grass to get to a bus stop.
What struck me as the most eerie thing of all is that I felt very much alone when walking in any American city. In many cases I’d be the only pedestrian in the entire block, even if it was in the middle of the week downtown! The country is really designed to get in your car, drive to your destination and get out there. No walk-abouts.
Going for a walk to find food serendipitously (as I would in any European city) was a terrible idea every time without checking in advance.
For this last trip, I did actually rent a car for most of my stay (I didn’t even have a driving license before this trip, which most Americans find hard to grasp), and everything was so much more convenient, but I really did feel like I was only ever using my feet to work the gas pedal, and I will not miss it at all.
The French Situationist intellectual, Guy Debord, helped popularise the idea of psychogeography, which he defined (in his 1955 book Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography) as: ‘The study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals’. American psychogeography helps to explain why so Americans pop so many pills – Zoloft, Paxil, Serophat, Prozac and other terrible things. Simply put, living in cities and suburbs ‘designed for cars, not for human beings’ is one reason why so many Americans (and Westerners) feel so unhappy (that, and a poor diet based on meat and dairy, which (I will argue another time) has a depressing effect).
Australians, of course, can’t turn up their noses at the Americans and believe that their cities are superior. Melbourne and Sydney are just as bad as any major American city. Sydney is a giant sprawling town built on top of highways, while the Melbourne central business district is designed for cars which can run down a pedestrian from four directions (it does have, however, some Parisian- and Viennese-style cosy back alleys and lanes, which do lend it a rather unique Old World charm).
But, in addition to the effects of this (rather toxic) psychogeography, there is the immigration problem – another reason for feeling depressed. It’s a cause for concern when you, as a white person, are being dispossessed, and ethnically cleansed, from your own country, and the liberal establishment media, politicians, academics, intellectuals are not doing a damn thing about it (in fact, they are doing everything they can to bring it about).
So, to sum up: we whites have cities which are, in effect, pressure-cookers for white people: in these cities, the white people consume an unhealthy diet; they live in an environment which is inhuman, designed for cars (and to a lesser extent, motor bikes and bicycles); they are being pushed out, bit by bit, by the anti-white ethnic cleansing policy of the Gillards, Camerons, Obamas, Hollandes and Merkels; at the same time, while they may not understand, or even know, the causes of their plight, they seek an answer – and the answer is drugs. These drugs aren’t ones which induce a certain level of passivity: no, they are of the type which drives one crazy. Put that drug-addled person around guns, well, the results are inevitable.
To return to the subject of ideology. Being a comic book fan, I follow a lot of comic book blogs, and saw that a good many of my fellow comic book fans were horrified by the Colorado murders – and particularly by the notion that their subculture and its icons may have, in any way, shape or form, inspired Holmes’ rampage. I have noticed the beginnings of a similar panicked reaction from certain nationalists regarding the Wisconsin murders, particularly the American ones, who have a commitment – intellectual, ideological, philosophical, emotional – to white nationalism. (Likewise, the Zio-phile, anti-Islamic ‘cultural conservatives’ experienced a similar panic after the Breivik massacre, which really was a public relations disaster for the Wilders Zio-Populist cause). Page made a really oddball, uncharacteristic (uncharacteristic, that is, for an American white nationalist) decision to go after Sikhs: as we all know, Afro-Americans (and Jews) loom large in the American white nationalist demonology, so it would have made more sense, ideologically speaking, to go after those groups. Still, many American (white) nationalists must feel that Page has tarnished the brand. In contrast, French, or German, or British, or Italian, or Australian (such as myself) nationalists are, most likely, shrugging their shoulders at the news of the Wisconsin killings: ‘An American skinhead kills some Sikhs at a temple – it doesn’t affect me’. For most American nationalists, however, it’s different: one has to appreciate the enormous capital American nationalists have invested in the white nationalist / ‘white power’ ideology. Simply put, there is no American equivalent of a British National Party, or Greek Golden Dawn, or Australian Nationalist Alternative, or Dutch Freedom Party, or French Front National; and Traditionalist or Third Positionist or National-Anarchist or New Rightist currents have not taken root. The American nationalist ideology remains one of white nationalism, combined with a (uniquely American) classical liberalism, constitutionalism and small-town conservatism (what Obama decried as ‘guns and religion’). This is the dominant force in American Far Right politics.
The prevalence of the American ideology is the reason why the Americans, despite having an enormous Mestizo illegal immigration problem, have never managed to put together a half-decent nationalist political party. The Swedish Democrats, the French Front National, Wilders’ Freedom Party – all these manage to contest elections and win seats. The Americans, though, with their vast resources, and potentially huge white membership base, can’t come up with a similar party. Americans on the Far Right are encouraged, by the American ideology – of white nationalism, small-town conservatism, individualism and apoliticism (and I am deliberately conflating all of these here) – to see themselves as individuals, and the upshot is that the Americans never get around to organising themselves a) politically and b) as a class. As a result, the likes of Page, when they become attracted to nationalism, racialism and Far Rightism, end up drifting towards an apolitical gang subculture. They also, at times, end up engaging in (what the Marxist-Leninists call) ‘adventurism’, that is, precipitate actions.
How are these actions precipitate? Ten members of American skinhead group, American Front, were arrested in Florida in May of this year, for plotting a ‘race war’, engaging in paramilitary training, plotting terroristic acts, etc. American Front’s actions were a case of ‘adventurism’. In the Marxist-Leninist ideology, armed struggle is permissible – but only at the right time, i.e., when the situation calls for it. Perhaps other possibilities have to be exhausted first: e.g., gaining power through democratic elections to parliament. If and when that doesn’t work, perhaps, at the threshold of revolution, the communist party should take up arms and start a civil war. But the revolutionary ‘stages’ have to be worked through first. That’s the Marxist-Leninist view: the ‘adventurist’ view is that the stages can be skipped over; that is, one can, and should, take up arms and engage in revolutionary war straight away.
One has to allow events to play out. In the Syrian revolution against Assad and Ba’ath, for example, peaceful means – e.g., mass demonstrations, civil disobedience – were tried first. After these peaceful, liberal methods were exhausted – and after Assad responded with deadly force – the Syrian opposition decided to take up arms. Now Assad’s nasty secret police can’t kidnap or arrest anti-Assad activists, for the simple reason that the opposition now has an army behind it, and a large area of ‘liberated’ territory.
Page and American Front didn’t follow the Syrian example: they went down the ‘adventurist’ path, even though they didn’t have the masses behind them, and certainly weren’t ready to go up against the state. The moral of the story is: if you’re a nationalist, and are about to start a ‘race war’ and begin deporting unpopular minorities, then you’d better have a good-sized army behind you, and plenty of liberated territory, so you can avoid being snatched, or shot down, by the Feds. Some defecting US army officers, and ‘liberated’ tanks, won’t go astray either.
At any rate, the influence of the American ideology upon Western nationalism has been unfortunate. Americans speak English, and English is the most spoken language in the world. American nationalists, then, have an effect – on the Western nationalist scene – which is disproportionate to their actual numbers. Fortunately, though, Europeans have, over time, learned to discount the American ideology. While the ideology of William Pierce, Resistance Records and David Duke does make itself on the Spanish, Irish, Greek, etc., nationalist political scenes, it does so only at the base level. That is, nationalist activists in these countries aren’t persuaded, by this ideology, to give up constructive political activity altogether and not throw their weight behind the nationalist political parties of their respective countries (flawed as those parties may be – e.g., Wilders’ noxious vehicle, or the Danish Peoples’ Party).
Which brings us to the next question: to what extent was Page a European-style National Socialist? It’s one of the great ironies of political history that a prominent American Far Right political tendency has appointed itself a representative of (what it calls) ‘National Socialism’. As we know, Mussolini was a former Marxist, and Hitler was deeply influenced by Austrian social democratic ideas: both men – and the entire fascist movement – were in thrall, ideologically, aesthetically, philosophically, to the Russian Communist Party. But Americans don’t take to communism, and it is for this reason that so many American nationalists ‘don’t get’ German National Socialism. Hitler regarded Bolshevism as a terrible thing, but also as something which, in many respects, should be emulated: the red National Socialist flag was patterned on the Russian communist flag, the Waffen-SS on the Russian NKVD, the Hitlerian cult of personality on the Stalinist cult of personality, and so on. But the Americans just regard Bolshevism as a terrible thing, full stop, and so selectively pick out the many Hitler quotations attacking communism (and there are many) while dispensing with the proto-Bolshevik elements of the Nazi ideology. What happens is that the Hitlerian ideology – which the Dutch or Italian or Spanish nationalist, more often than not, intuitively sympathises with, or at least ‘gets’ – is twisted and deformed: it becomes suited to American purposes. This is terribly ironic for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is white Americans, more than anyone else, for destroying German National Socialism.
As a result of Page’s association with so-called ‘Neo-Nazism’, for the time being the ADL and SPLC are enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame and are doing their best to persuade the world that the ‘music of hate’ leads to crazy gunmen and the massacres of Sikhs. I myself don’t think that this fifteen minutes will last long; I don’t think, either, that the fallout from the Wisconsin shootings will lead to any serious repercussions for the American Far Right as a whole. This is because of the timing of the incident: the Wisconsin massacre came too soon after the Colorado massacre and so the liberal establishment intuitively recognises that the Wisconsin shootings are just another instance of ‘crazy gunman-ism’. The establishment knows, deep down, that the West is experiencing, right now, something akin to a scenario oft-played out in a TV show, movie or comic book: that is, some chemical substance put in the water supply which makes certain individuals go crazy and commit random acts of violence. We see such incidents of collective psychosis in depicted in pop culture (e.g., the ‘Block Madness’, where the residents of city apartment blocks go to war with one another, in the Judge Dredd comic book; or the collective psychosis of the American town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, in season two of the HBO cable series True Blood, which leads to the townsfolk murdering one another). Breivik, Loughner, Holmes, now Page – taken together, these are instances of ‘Block Madness’.
It has to be said, though, that certain ideologies do attract violent and dangerous people. Conservatism, left-liberalism, social democracy, neoliberalism, more often than not, don’t attract violent types; anarchism, communism and fascism, on the other hand, do. But fascist violence is not indicative, not representative, of ‘crazy gunman’ violence. Fascism, in practice, boils down to large groups of men, dressed in smart uniforms, marching down the street and punching commies in the jaw (or being punched). The skinheadist subculture, which Page belonged to, sees a different type of violence – a violence more appropriate to the milieu (Jamaican and white British gang culture) from which it sprang: there is a brawl (more often than not, over a woman) at a concert here and there. But the ‘crazy gunman’ violence of a Breivik, or a Loughner, or a Holmes, or a (if my prediction is correct) Page is of a entirely different sort: it stems from mental illness following a long history of drug use, legal or illegal.
But is there a legitimate alternative in America to the Page ideology? At the excellent Counter-Currents.Com site, the commentator Matt Parrott wrote an article titled, ‘Do Nothing’. The title is intended to counter Page’s injunction (on some white nationalist website) for American nationalists to ‘Do Something’. Parrott, obviously, doesn’t want Americans to ‘Do Something’, when ‘Doing Something’ entails senseless acts of slaughter. (Oddly enough, one of the slogans of the German ‘Brown Army Faction’ group, which killed around a dozen people, was: ‘Actions, not Words’. The German National Socialist Underground, like the Baader-Meinhof gang, was a typical ‘adventurist’ group. One of the characteristics of the ‘adventurists’ is that they are tough-nuts: they believe that only violence and terroristic actions have value, and hold that anything else is ‘mere talk’ and for sissies and pansies). But Americans can ‘Do Something’ which is constructive and political.
The first step is form a group with the correct class-base: a socialist party, for the white working-man. The second step is to draw up a constitution and a program for the group, no matter how small it will be, and debate the contents of these founding documents until a general consensus is reached. After that, the constitution and program are ‘locked in’ for the next three or four years, when it comes to time to make amendments, additions or deletions, in another party congress, when the national membership is (hopefully) larger. During the time between congresses, the constitution and program must be fiercely defended. The members must stick to the general party line, at all costs, and stay the course, once they have agreed upon it.
This is Lenin’s democratic centralism in a nutshell, and most of the communist parties around the world are organised on that basis. It works, as a method, simply because it clarifies – at the start of the enterprise, i.e., the founding of a new group – what the aims of the group are, what it believes in, what are the accepted processes are for dealing with things.
It also helps avoid, from the start, any ideological misalignments in the group. What do I mean by ‘ideological misalignments’? Suppose one is a closet National-Anarchist, and ends up joining a skinhead or North American New Right group; or suppose that one is a philo-Semitic anti-Islamist, who ends up joining a (fiercely anti-Semitic) white nationalist group. In such situations, there is bound to be a clash of ideologies. If the precise points of difference, politically speaking, are spelled out, from the start, in a constitution and a program, these clashes won’t occur. The new member will understand what precisely it is he’s getting into; the founding members of the group will be on their guard against any entryists and ‘wreckers and subverters’ (to borrow Stalin’s phrase) who want to lead the group away from its original intentions.
In nationalist politics, 98% of the time the main problem is one of keeping a group together. We all know of countless examples of a group falling apart from quarrels between its founding members, or one prominent member storming off, in a huff, and leaving the group out of a disagreement. Despite surface appearances, 98% of the disagreements are ideological, not personal. One member will want a group to go down the path of Wilders and Ziophile-ism, while the other members want the group to stay true to a Far Right conservative tradition (this was the cause of the split in the BNP after Nick Griffin’s ascent to power). At least, with the democratic centralist method, the points of difference are spelled out at the outset. What’s more, members do have a chance, at party congresses, of changing the ideological direction of the group: but, because democracy is ‘One Man, One Vote’, those dissenting members can only do so if they have the numbers.
From my own experience, I can say is that politics is a struggle (who titled their autobiography, ‘My Struggle’?). But the Marxist philosophical world-view – dialectical materialism – holds that politics, revolution and transformation is struggle, and nothing much worthwhile, in politics, is produced without struggle. Activists for nationalism just have to accept this. Often the American nationalists seem to think that the prize will fall into their laps, without any effort: they just can’t understand why it is that the white American masses, and the liberal establishment (which is still, in the main, run by white Americans, not Jews or Afro-Americans) puts up such resistance to nationalist ideas. Revolutionary situations aren’t ready-made: they aren’t berries hanging from trees, waiting for anyone to pick them.
So, the American nationalists need the right attitude, and methods of organisation, to launch a revolution against Obamaism and Romneyism. The struggle will involve all groups from American society – blue-collars, white collars, farmers, trade unionists, shopkeepers, students, youth (even lumpenproles will have their place) – but, at the beginning, will be mostly an intellectual one. At the outset, all a small nationalist group has is its ideas. Its main task will be of clarifying its positions – relentlessly, unceasingly, hammering in its points, over and over. Its positions are the general party line, and it is this line which makes it distinct from other nationalist groups.
Success isn’t guaranteed, but these methods will guarantee more success for the American nationalist movement than enjoyed previously. As it is, even the most third-rate American Trotskyite or Maoist communist outfit is better organised, on average, than the normal American nationalist one.