Since Richard B. Spencer coined the term in 2010, the Alt-Right (or Alternative Right) have provided a steady stream of headlines, and articles…..but what is the Alt-Right, who are they, and what do they stand for?
What is the Alt-Right?
The Alt-Right (or Alternative Right) is a political movement primarily based online, that seeks to move away from mainstream conservatism, and establish a new political wave. The term was coined by Richard B. Spencer in 2010, Spencer is also seen as the leader of the movement.
Many prominent members are associated with the “white identity” movement, which was established to end what members saw as the decline of “white culture”. However, as there is no clear political manifesto for the Alt-Right, its members represent a wide political base.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre, an American anti-hate organisation defines the Alt-Right as “a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilisation.”
Who are they?
The Alt-Right has very few well-known members, as the majority of their support is based online. This makes it difficult to identify and quantify the membership base.
However, University of Alabama professor George Hawley stated that the majority of supporters are white millennial age males, who are either in college or with a college degree, secular (perhaps atheist), and “not interested in the conservative movement at all.”
What do they stand for?
As there is no set manifesto for the Alt-Right ideology, what they stand for is a hard question. However, there are some common, and prominent themes through the alt-right.
The preservation of “white culture” is one of the most prominent features of the Alt-Right. Indeed, the alt-right has been compared to white-nationalist groups. However, Professor George Hawley does explain some differences. Hawley states that there is “more of a difference of style and marketing”, whilst also recognising that “most of the leading figures of the alt-right do disavow things like genocide, which some of the more outrageous earlier white nationalists didn’t necessarily do”.
The most prominent, and indeed one of the few avowedly Alt-Right organisations is the National Policy Institute (NPI), currently headed by Richard Spencer.
Founded in 2005 by William Regnery and Samuel T. Francis, in conjunction with Louis R. Andrews. It describes itself as “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world”.
Although there are no openly, and exclusively Alt-Right media outlets, Breitbart News has been dubbed “the platform for the alt-right.” Breitbart also boasts Milo Yiannopoulos, seen as a leading member of the Alt-Right, as a senior editor.
Due to the Alt-Right’s major online presence, and online proficiency, they have adopted, and appropriated many symbols from across the internet.
Perhaps the most famous of these symbols is Pepe the Frog. Pepe was created in 2005 by Matt Furie, and first appeared in Furie’s comic ‘Boy’s Club #1’. The character has since become the mascot of the Alt-Right, something that Furie does not support; stating “”It sucks, but I can’t control it more than anyone can control frogs on the Internet”.
Other Alt-Right symbols include: Harambe and the Ancient Egyptian God Kek (worshiped ironically).