It’s no secret by this point that deplatforming white supremacists by taking down their social media accounts, websites, and podcasts has been an effective strategy for dealing with the alt-right. By disrupting their message, anti-fascists have dealt a serious blow to their ability to organize and spread their propaganda.
During the December 21, 2018 Christmas special on Red Ice TV, author and podcast host Jim Goad admitted as much, calling the situation “dire” and begging his fellow extremists to unite in the face of this systematic deplatforming. As he told Henrik and Lana, who lost access to their payment processors earlier this year:
Like I said, Gavin [McInnes] is a Neo-Nazi. As hard as Gavin tried not to be a Neo-Nazi, he’s a Neo-Nazi. So yeah, okay, maybe he’s not as up on the [Jewish Question] as you are, but shut up for now. And when the dust settles from whatever war it seems like we’re gonna have, then you can have your little spats. I mean just stop — stop the fighting, guys. … There’s a common enemy. Focus on the common enemy and then we can argue.
And it’s not just losing ground online that Goad is afraid of. “Another thing that’s crucial, and you know we’re treading into the danger zone here, is control of the streets, ’cause that’s why they went after the Proud Boys,” he said, referencing the arrests of nine Proud Boys for an October assault of anti-fascists.
The Proud Boys, an SPLC-designated hate group, are known for provoking violent confrontations with anti-racist and anti-fascist counterprotesters. Their ranks have included known white nationalists like Jason Kessler, Johnny Benitez, and Sal Cipolla, and members have been photographed in T-shirts that read “Pinochet Did Nothing Wrong.”
Goad called them the “most well-organized right-wing defense squad in the country,” while Palmgren praised them for “put[ting] up an opposition to the Leftist shock troops.” Goad said he gets “triggered by this stuff” because he had also been “harassed” by anti-racist groups when he was in Portland, particularly the Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (S.H.A.R.P.).
“But I think, yeah, stop the fighting, we agree on enough,” Goad continued. “Focus on the enemy. That’s what I would suggest for the New Year. It was a depressing year otherwise. You’re seeing all these people having their mouths taped over in public and publicly humiliated and depersoned. I didn’t expect that. I was stupid enough to think that when Trump got elected this stuff would get better, not a hundred times worse.”
In their desperation, white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and other fringe figures have tried protesting and filing lawsuits against social media giants like Twitter in the hopes of reversing their bans, but to no avail. In other words, while some liberals wring their hands over deplatforming (or boycotts), it’s something the far-right is very clearly afraid of.