Behind Every Lone Wolf: An Examination Of A Far-Right Insurgency w/ Shane Burley

In my second joint interview with Rob Seimetz, host of Moving Forward on The Progressive Radio Network (PRN), we speak with Shane Burley — journalist and author of ‘Fascism Today: What It Is and How To End It.’ Our discussion with Shane covers numerous topics, including the “Intellectual Dark Web” (or as Shane says “the academics that circle around Joe Rogan for some reason”); the pseudoscientific claims surrounding race, ethnicity, and IQ; and an examination of observable patterns within far right insurgency, as examined in Shane’s recent piece in Commune Magazine ‘A History of Violence,’ which examines the case of James Alex Fields — found guilty for the murder of Heather Heyer at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017 when Fields drove his car through a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heyer and injuring 28.

In Shane’s piece ‘A History of Violence’ and in this interview, Shane unpacks the observable patterns within far-right ideology and propaganda that has led individuals, like James Alex Fields, to commit seemingly random acts of violence, and how a combination of elements inherent in far-right ideology and propaganda cultivates a drive in alienated individuals to commit violent acts towards those perceived as an existential threat. In attracting alienated individuals and (in)directly encouraging them to act in ways that are violent and insurgent, the ideology of the far-right generates an imperative to commit acts of hate without necessitating any direct connection to any particular movement or ideology within the far-right, as has been the case with Fields. Shane describes the narratives that thrive within right-wing media spaces, including an examination of the pseudoscience of the “natural heritability” of intelligence — in relation to race and ethnicity — that continue to circulated within these spaces, as well as the media personalities that use racist, sexist, and chauvinist narratives to cultivate a base of followers, regardless of the wide range of scientific research that refute these claims on the matter. Also in this discussion, we address the government shutdown, workers rights, and the recent controversy surrounding the confrontation between Native elder Nathan Phillips and the students of Covington High at the Indigenous Peoples March last month.

Shane Burley is a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon, who regularly reports on far-right movements in the US, as well as anti-fascist resistance, worker’s rights, and class struggle. He is the author of ‘Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It’ from AK Press, and his work has appeared in places such as Jacobin, AlterNet, In These Times, Political Research Associates, Waging Nonviolence, Salon, ThinkProgress, ROAR Magazine and Upping the Anti.

This is the second joint interview I did with Rob Seimetz, host of Moving Forward on The Progressive Radio Network, when I visited Portland last month. As with our first interview with journalist and author of ‘The End of Ice’ Dahr Jamail, this episode with Shane will be released in audio and video form on both of our respective platforms. Follow Rob’s work here:

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Shane and his work at his website:

- Read Shanes recent piece ‘A History of Violence’ in Commune Magazine:

- Follow Shane on Twitter:

- Pick up Shane’s book ‘Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It’ from AK Press:

- The songs featured in this episode are the instrumentals of “Im Overflow” and “Bootleg” by Death Grips from the album Government Plates (Stems).

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