Because the Institute for Analysis and Training on Human Rights (IREHR)—which first reported the Telegram post on Twitter—famous, the submit options Patriot Entrance’s emblem, full with the fasces the group constantly makes use of to represent its explicitly fascist ideology. A hyperlink under the emblem takes readers to an internet site referred to as the “Hyphen-Report,” which on its “About” web page describes itself as “an assault on jewish (sic) sensibilities.” The brand additionally seems in a post from a couple of hours earlier, with textual content studying: “A patriot group value supporting.”
The official channel for the podcast, which has 84,000 followers, is sort of solely devoted to posting movies from this system. The “unofficial” web page for the podcast—which lists “@steve_bannon” because the proprietor—describes itself as “The Authentic Struggle Room Pandemic telegram channel. Run by real deplorables.” It’s primarily devoted to amplifying Bannon’s podcasts, with political memes and messages apparently supposed to enhance the present’s content material.
It additionally has a historical past of selling Patriot Entrance. As IREHR factors out, the channel promoted Patriot Entrance’s fascist-propaganda actions (which embody draping banners and posting fliers with white-nationalist slogans) in October, in addition to last February (with a submit hailing the group: “Good job by Patriot Entrance, we’d like extra teams like them.”)
That’s not the one explicitly white-nationalist content material on the channel. As IREHR notes, the identical “unofficial” channel promoted content material from the neo-Nazi National Justice Party final January. It additionally promoted content from the NJP’s Joseph “Eric Stryker” Jordan, together with on the identical day it posted the Patriot Entrance materials.
Bannon’s relationship to the “unofficial” web site is unclear; he has by no means even acknowledged its existence, regardless of its substantial following, not to mention disavowed it or distanced himself from it. What is clear, nevertheless, is that the channel displays the worldview of his devoted and rabid following; its content material is nothing however posts selling Bannon, his speaking factors on the Struggle Room podcast and his appearances on different applications, and different far-right figures like Mike “My Pillow” Lindell.
IREHR got here below livid assault for its tweets exposing the channel from none apart from notorious white nationalist Jack Posobiec, who (inaccurately) claimed on Twitter that “@IREHR is defaming Struggle Room and Steve Bannon by claiming posts from a faux account are his,” including: “That is willful malice and a whole hoax.” [In fact, IREHR made clear that the posts in question were from the “unofficial” account, tartly observing: “If Bannon is concerned about this channel, he could address this with Telegram or publicly denounce the other channel that promoting his show and using his name, likeness and logo.”]
In addition to claiming Bannon’s identify because the channel’s proprietor, there’s no explicit indication the “unofficial” account is “faux”—that’s, operated by trolls intent on undermining Bannon or siphoning off his agenda. (What additionally units the channel aside is the dimensions of its 65K-strong following: There are different Bannon-related Telegram channels—together with a “Steve Bannon Official” web page with 23,000 followers—however most of them are plainly fakes with followers within the 1K-5K vary.) Quite, its declare to be the “authentic” channel suggests it was created earlier than the official web site, and the whole lot of its content material is pure Bannon fandom, revolving round amplifying Bannon’s podcast and his political agenda. It’s additionally a lot livelier than the stolid, video-only official Struggle Room channel. The flip to including white-nationalist propaganda to that content material shouldn’t be a bug however a characteristic.
A few of Posobiec’s Twitter followers even questioned whether or not Patriot Entrance is definitely fascist or white nationalist—indicating how nicely its propaganda operations have succeeded. The truth is, Patriot Entrance has been specific in its embrace of fascism, together with its stickers proclaiming “Fascism: The Subsequent Step for America,” its common use of the hashtag “#AmericanFascism” in its early (now deleted) Twitter posts, and its ongoing use of “bloodandsoil.org” for its web site.
The obvious visible image of its embrace of fascism is the centrality of the fasces—the traditional Roman image appropriated by Mussolini’s fascist motion—to its visible propaganda. It not solely is the centerpiece of the group’s emblem, but it surely additionally seems instead of the celebs of their model of the American flag with which they’ve now marched through Washington’s Capitol Mall on three events.
Most of all, as the Anti-Defamation League explains, its fascist politics are manifested in its agenda and techniques:
- Patriot Entrance is a white supremacist group whose members keep that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it solely to them.
- Patriot Entrance espouses racism, antisemitism, and intolerance below the guise of preserving the “ethnic and cultural origins” of their European ancestors.
- … They outline themselves as American fascists or American nationalists who’re targeted on preserving America’s identification as a European-American identification.
It’s additionally borne out in its real-world activism, which incorporates attacking an encampment of leftist protesters in Texas, in addition to vandalizing a monument to George Floyd in New York Metropolis. Its carefully organized marches, supposed to impress the general public with their audaciousness and self-discipline, haven’t all the time ended nicely, akin to their July appearance in Philadelphia that culminated in a violent confrontation because the marchers tried to flee in rented vans.
The language utilized by the “unofficial” Struggle Room channel—calling them “a patriot group value supporting”—additionally underscores how profitable Patriot Entrance’s branding efforts have been. As we’ve explained recently, the phrase “patriot” within the right-wing context has come to indicate the Trumpian affiliation with the ideology of the far-right “Patriot Motion”—and its generic high quality invitations its adoption by a variety of antidemocratic, pro-Trump factions, notably white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
As I explained back in 2017, Patriot Entrance’s founders selected that identify for his or her group largely as a result of “Patriot” conveys a congeniality to far-right conspiracism, offering a recruitment bridge to “fence-sitters” in militia teams and street-brawling “Proud Boys” who already determine with the time period.
“The brand new identify was rigorously chosen, because it serves a number of functions,” defined founder Thomas Rosseau. “It may well assist encourage sympathy amongst these extra inclined to fence-sitting, and might simply be used to justify our worldview.”
This dynamic is how Trumpism has continued to march in the direction of authoritarian rule, with Machiavellian schemers like Bannon step by step advancing their agenda a step at a time. And his military of followers is marching with him, even when they get out in entrance of the “official” speaking factors.
In a recent interview with NBC News, Bannon described a gathering with Republican leaders urging them to be ready to “reconfigure the federal government” as soon as the GOP resumed the reins of energy.
“In the event you’re going to take over the executive state and deconstruct it, then you must have shock troops ready to take it over instantly,” Bannon instructed NBC. “I gave ’em hearth and brimstone.”
These troops have clearly been listening and getting ready.