Alexander Reid Ross

Alexander Reid Ross is an adjunct geography lecturer at Portland State University with fellowships at the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR) in the UK and at Political Research Associates.[1][2] He is author of Against the Fascist Creep.

Alexander Reid Ross discussing his book Against the Fascist Creep in 2018

Against the Fascist CreepEdit

Against the Fascist Creep
Published7 February 2017
PublisherAK Press
Pages400
ISBN9781849352444

Ross published the book Against the Fascist Creep in 2017.[3] In it, Ross defines the phenomenon and term "fascist creep", "the crossover space between right and left" through which "at least in its early stages, fascists often utilize 'broad front' strategies...to gain access to mainstream political audiences." This can take the appearance of individuals who attempt to position themselves as outside of political divides.[4] In practice, this takes the form of rightwing movements appropriating the language of the left,[5] such as attempts by the right to infiltrate the radical environmentalist factions of the left.[6] The book also describes how the right weaponizes detached irony to break taboos against far-right politics.[7]

ReceptionEdit

The Portland Mercury arts staff listed the book as among 2017's best, describing it as "one of the most thoroughly researched histories of fascist organizing and theoretical lineage from Mussolini to the so-called alt-right of today". The Mercury highlights the book as both clarifying and subtle.[8]

Book tour disruptionEdit

During a book tour event in June 2017, men in "Make America Great Again" hats crashed the event and attempted disruption. These included Jamie Troutman, an organizer of Unite the Right.[9] Ross told the intruders that they could stay as long as they remained quiet in the back, which they did. After attendees at the event described the intrusion on social media, local anti-racists and anti-fascists began visiting the bookstore. The crowd swelled from around twenty to over sixty, according to Ross, and the talk continued without further disruption. The fascists left after the event, and some anti-fascists followed.[3]

Map projectEdit

 
A screenshot of the interactive incident map

Ross began collecting cases in which far-right actors and vigilantes appeared at demonstrations and similar events starting on May 27, 2020.[10] Using this data, he developed an interactive map of the United States describing events and metadata such as involved groups. By early September, Ross had accumulated over 500 such incidents.[11] By mid-October, he had accumulated over 800 incidents. Approximately 90% of the data is sourced from social media and news outlets. The remainder comes from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a non-partisan, international political violence tracking group. Ross categorizes over 400 of the events as beyond harassment or intimidation. Ross found that, though vigilante-style attacks and threats had fallen since summer, the proportion of gun violence and vehicular attacks increased. Though demonstrations and violence at demonstrations were both decreasing, the severity of attacks was increasing, Ross found. The project has been praised by the research director at ACLED, and Heidi Beirich.[10]

"The Multipolar Spin"Edit

In 2018, Ross published an article title "The Multipolar Spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment" in the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) blog Hatewatch.[12] After receiving complaints, the article was taken down and an apology was extended to "those who believe they have been falsely described" as "white supremacists, fascists, and/or anti-Semites".[13] According to the SPLC's statement, "neither we nor the article’s author intended to make any such accusations" and the article was only intended to show "that individuals on the left share some policy views with respect to multipolarism that are also held by the far right and/or appear on far-right media and conferences advocating them".[13] The article described links from members and media of the far-right and the Russian sphere of influence to those the left. Among those discussed was Max Blumenthal, a former AlterNet senior writer, Ross argues has used the guise of anti-imperialism to align with Russian and Syrian interests. Blumenthal strenuously opposed these statements and brought his "concerns" to the SPLC.[14]

The article was the third in a series. The first two titles were "The Internet Research Agency: behind the shadowy network that meddled in the 2016 Elections" and "The far-right influence in pro-Kremlin media and political networks". After the retraction of the third entry, the first two were also removed.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Devega, Chauncey (4 September 2020). "Alexander Reid Ross on what the media got wrong about the Portland protests: Everything". Salon.
  2. ^ "Fellows". Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b King, Elizabeth (20 May 2019). "Why Fascists Storm Bookstores". The Nation.
  4. ^ Minkowitz, Donna (5 December 2019). "Why Racists (and Liberals!) Keep Writing for 'Quillette'". The Nation.
  5. ^ "Responding to the Fascist Creep: An Interview With Alexander Reid Ross". It's Going Down. 23 January 2017.
  6. ^ Berlatsky, Noah (8 May 2018). "'The Rain' and Its Man-Eating Planet". Playboy.
  7. ^ Wilson, Jason (23 May 2017). "Hiding in plain sight: how the 'alt-right' is weaponizing irony to spread fascism". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Crowell, Cameron (27 December 2017). "Looking Back on the Best Books of 2017". Portland Mercury.
  9. ^ Weill, Kelly (14 November 2018). "Brothers Accused of Race War Plot Followed Alt-Right Heroes". The Daily Beast.
  10. ^ a b Bliss, Laura; Patino, Marie (16 October 2020). "Tracking the Shifting Shape of Far-Right Political Violence". Bloomberg CityLab.
  11. ^ Bliss, Laura (9 September 2020). "MapLab: The Spread of Far-Right Vigilantism". Bloomberg.
  12. ^ "The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment". Archived from the original on 2018-03-09.
  13. ^ a b "Explanation and apology: The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment". Southern Poverty Law Center. March 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Ansari, Talal (18 March 2018). "The Southern Poverty Law Center Took Down An Article Trying To Connect "Left-Wing" People And "Fascists" After Getting Complaints". BuzzFeed News.
  15. ^ Proyect, Louis (14 March 2018). "Max Blumenthal and the Streisand Effect". New Politics. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

External linksEdit