The Christchurch terror atrocity was a shock, especially to those in Australia and New Zealand – countries often thought of as being far away from the mass killings of the northern hemisphere – but the implications are immediate and immense. Anything from a western determination to reckon with all internal violence (ie from Antifa-hard left Brownshirt lookalikes -v- hard right or neo-nazi street violence), to heavy censorship or even criminalisation and “disappearing” from the public space of all dissenting voices. In view of constant turmoil in the USA brought on by hysteria from Trump oppositionists and the UK Brexit wreckage, where effect given to the people’s vote to leave EU vote is in doubt, only a relative handful of thinkers have dealt in detail with the implications of Christchurch.
The contradictory “manifesto” of the terrorist will take some time to be fully analysed but good thinkers have risen above the knee-jerk reactions of many of the purely-political players.
Some people didn’t wait though and there can be no surprise that the usual Australian suspects have jumped in with both (suppressionist) feet. Tony Burke is a senior MP with the soon-to-be governing leftist Labor Party and he argued for the banning of Milo Yiannopoulos from a speaking tour, as if Christchurch has anything to do with what Milo talks about. Still, Burke knew his political opponent, the Immigration Minister David Coleman banned Yiannopoulos for commenting. post Christchurch, that he abhorred political violence, but that Islam was a “barbaric, alien”, religious culture on social media, (context not known).
MP Burke wasn’t the only one rising to the occasion to ramp up the Islamophobia/hard right danger narrative. New Zealand academic Paul Spoonley had an early article targeted directly at the hard right but with no awareness of any other “side” to the argument, let alone recognising any “breadth” to it. He targets a UK scapegoat Tommy Robinson, labelling him as “targeting Muslims before the Courts”, when I fact Robinson was filming outside a court where notorious Muslim groomers for the sexual exploitation of children were on trial. His attacks on a critic of Islam, Stefan Molyneaux, as a holder of “extreme views on what he regards as the threat posed by Islam” he produces no evidence and I invite readers to check up for themselves, seeing some of that Molyneaux writes and says, I have grave doubts about the classification. Spoonley’s New Zealand “hard-right” examples of violence are thin to say the least (more good luck to NZ) and he shows no insight at all into the bigger picture into which this mass murder fits.
There is and will be even more of this to come. Many people are always behind the barricades and their responses are rather predictable, but one of the tragedies of this is that the presumed intent of the terrorist is being carried out, just about to the letter. It is being carried out by those on the left and right, who continue to disappoint by acting/reacting in the predicted but desired way.
Identity Politics and the dangers of the Identitarian Impulse as it Relates to Christchurch.
One of the early and most considered thinkers about the implications of Christchurch is Brendan O’Neill, the editor of Spiked Online from London. In a very important article, New Zealand: the barbarism of identity politics O’Neill zeroes in on some necessary truths.
In heavy-hitting words, O’Neill lays it out. He sees that simple dismissal into claims of “white supremacy” or “Islamophobia” misses that there is much that is mainstream about the terrorist and his manifesto:-
To read the killer’s alleged manifesto, as currently being covered by CNN, the New York Times and others, is to gain a horrible glimpse into the cultural fragmentation and racial paranoia unleashed by the relentless rise of identitarianism. Increasingly, it feels like the New Zealand atrocity is what happens when the politics of identity, the reduction of everyone to cultural or racial creatures whose relationship with other cultural and racial cultures must be monitored and managed, comes to be the only game in public life.
The killer seems to see himself as little more than a cultural being. In his seeming manifesto he professes commitment to the warped ethos of ethno-nationalism and continually refers to himself as white. He can see no identity for himself beyond the one he inherited by birth. Strikingly, the killer appears to say that his attack was done in the name of diversity – he says he wants ‘diverse peoples to remain diverse’, meaning identity groups must remain ‘separate, unique, undiluted, unrestrained in… cultural expression’. This sounds chillingly similar to the separatist ethos of the identitarian outlook, in which ‘cultural appropriation’ is a sin and anyone who seeks to speak up for other races or cultures risks being reprimanded with the words, ‘Stay in your lane’. The killer’s belief in cultural purity is of a piece with the identitarian worldview.
As will be shown in a later reference backing him up, O’Neill also targets a truth that these factors apply equally to left and right and that it is simply false for anyone to fall for the obvious, but terribly serious games for control that are going on with some “side” being innocent or devoid of all blame or absolved from being prepared for action to avoid future consequences. A lot is at stake. As O’Neill goes on to show, the manifesto indicates the killer’s hatred for democracy, showing it as “mob rule”. Further, he centres it in relevance to both sides of this issue and especially as it all relates to the Christchurch atrocity itself:-
Democracy is anathema to identitarians and Islamists alike for the simple reason that it holds out the promise of an identity that rises above narrow cultural, racial, religious and gender identities. It holds out the promise of an identity based on collective and civic virtues, of commonness over separatism.
Identitarian Impulse predicted to ramp up from Christchurch into a civil war – just as it was intended to.
In the same vein another very important comment highlighting long term dangers comes from an American writer. Rather worried, like many of us by what he sees around him, is Tim Pool . Now until Tim had actually interviewed Jack Dorsey of Twitter while on with Joe Rogan on his Joe Rogan Experience show, I hadn’t seen much of Tim. However, while the Dorsey interview had its ups and downs, Tim is a person and thinker to be reckoned with.
In his take on Christchurch and (at least the manifesto as a document), however, Tim Pool clears the table for mine and while short term fixes or left/right “team” players make short term tactical moves, the strategic goals of many, from the far left to far right Identitarians, just might be what Tim predicts: a civil war. Unless we wake up as a people.
Before dismissing talk of a “civil war”, the concept has been mentioned dozens of times since Donald trump got in, due to the chaos and, some say, sabotage of his policies. Also said to be a form of civil war by a number of respected thinkers and writers. There are many stages in creating a hot war and the whole idea should be considered ridiculous. But it isn’t and it can’t be!
In any case, Tim Pool has a very worthwhile if ominous You Tube video which lays bare what immediate dangers he sees there are to the centre of politics from the Identitarian Left and Right.
It has been too easy for non-Americans to give an almost war-weary response to USA multiple shootings, even though mass terror attacks have been on their (and our) horizons for well over 20 years. With terror deaths, arrests and conspiracies well known in Australia now, the various cultural and political responses have been a key factor in tensions relating to both terrorism and cultural relationships.
Europe, Britain and Australia have more reason than ever to pay heed to these longer-sighted thoughts about the implication of terror on a basis such as this.