The lone actor is one who prepares and commits an act alone, outside of a formal command structure. These ‘loners’ are influenced by ideology and beliefs of an external group and act in support of its ideas. A “lone wolf” is one who generally lives or spends time alone instead of with a group or people he identifies with.
Those who do commit acts of terrorism can more correctly be referred to as stray or ‘feral dogs‘ not lone wolves. A lone wolf is a wolf that is searching, and what it seeks is another wolf or a pack of wolves to simply survive in his or her understanding. A feral dog has not had much interaction with humans or love for the majority of its life, especially during the critical puppy phase. The main characteristics of a feral dog is a fear of humans – similarly fear within a ‘feral human’ can lead to hate for other humans along with a sense of strong sense of inferiority.
Leaderless resistance cells are made up of an individual or a small group. Members of a cell usually have little or no information about who else is working on behalf of their cause. Leaderless movements may have a symbolic figurehead – living or dead.
February 1992, Louis Beam an American ‘white nationalist’ in his quarterly publication, The Seditionist, published an appeal for a concept called “leaderless resistance” as an alternative to the “leadership” structure in “underground” groups.
In this alternative, he mentioned that activity becomes autonomous and organised around ideologies rather than leaders. This idea Beam mentioned was based on an article published by Robert K. Brown a former Green Beret,who served with US Special Forces in Vietnam.
Benefits of Leaderless Resistance:
Leaderless resistance cells are more resistant to informants and traitors because of their smaller structures and have much in common with guerrilla warfare groups. Leaderless resistance involves action through violence as one of its means.
This was encouraged by Louis Beam as a technique for white nationalists to continue their struggle against the US Government despite their lack of power and resources. The main argument was that conventional pyramidal organisations are dangerous for the ‘guerrillas’ as a heirachal structure can easly be dismantled.
Like-minded individuals form independent cells without close communication between each other but generally operating towards the same goal.
Alt-Right to replace Neo-Nazis:
In the United States the Ku Klux Klan, Timothy McVeigh, the White Aryan Resistance, Christian Identity groups and here in the UK Combat 18 and National Action are examples of leaderless movements and to an extent the current versions of the EDL and Football Lads Alliance can also turn into leaderless movements with the correct push – from an Alt-Right organisation like GI or Generation Identity which is increasing links and developing ‘leadership capacity‘ in various right-wing and ‘Alt-Right‘ groups whose main focus for potential violence is against Muslims as opposed to Neo-Nazi groups who focus on Jews as targets.
Stormfront and Aryan Nations link in to Beam’s Leaderless Resistance ideas better, as these have encouraged lone wolf actions. Many say they oppose violence but if we look at their social media comments of their supporters that tells a different story.
Individuals who look for a way to establish a solid sense of meaning and identity in this interconnected world will always remain at risk of radicalisation by extremist groups from different sides. The white right-wing evangelical community in the United States is fast developing into an “Alt-Right Christianity” version as Americans continue to polarise along political and tribal identities.
The Alt-Right amplifies Muslims as their main targets online and is taking over the discourse of traditional ‘white identity’ politics and groups over time and is developing links and alliances with diverse non white and non Christian groups for that end.
The Manifesto and a black American ‘White Supremacist’:
Fifty people have been confirmed killed so far from the Friday 15th March 2019 terrorist attack on the two mosques in the Christchurch New Zealand. Some thirty-one injured victims remained at Christchurch Hospital on Monday, where officials said nine were in critical condition. The terrorist – Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, sent a manifesto nine minutes before the attacks, he emailed the manifesto to over 30 recipients, including the New Zealand Prime Minister’s office and several media outlets where he described himself as an ethno-nationalist.
Tarrant shared links to his manifesto on Twitter and 8chan immediately before the attack and live-streamed his attack on social media and he also mentioned that he began planning the attack two years earlier and chose the Christchurch location three months earlier that he targeted Muslims as a form of “revenge against Islam for 1,300 years of war and devastation that it has brought upon the people of the West and other peoples of the world” reffering to U.S. President Donald Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.
The manifesto uses several neo-Nazi symbols like the Black Sun and the Odin’s cross, despite the author’s denial of being a Nazi he also expressed support for Anders Behring Breivik, Luca Traini, Dylann Roof, Anton Lundin Pettersson, and Darren Osborne, asserting that they took a “stand against ethnic and cultural genocide”.
He also called fascist leader Oswald Mosley as his political idol and has called for the killing of the London mayor Sadiq Khan, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Tarrant also mentioned the anti-Muslim black American Candace Owens as a major influence on him: “The person who has influenced me above all is Candace Owens“:
“The person that has influenced me above all was Candace Owens, each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness. Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes.”
Rather than condemn the terrorist Owens turned her anger toward “racist leftists” who she claimed had suggested she was to blame for the terrorist attack.
Traditional Neo Nazis would have been ashamed to mention political idols who were not from their background – but with the Alt-Right where hatred for Muslims is the prime objective and not racial identity this has opened the door for black, asian, Hindu, Jewish including some Muslims to identify with the Alt-Right and White Ethno-Fascists in the hope that the focus on hatred of those Muslims will keep the attention of these ‘feral fascists’ away from them – which didn’t work well for those German Jews who decided to support Adolf Hitler before the second world war who targeted others Jews and ethnic minorities, they were some of the first to be rounded up. Being an Uncle Tom, may buy time – but won’t buy respect from either side.
Tarrant in his manifesto began with the Dylan Thomas poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night / Rage, rage against the dying of the light‘, and Tarrant then described a situation where ‘European countries’ which including Australia and New Zealand the whites are growing weaker because of their lower birth rates. And the cover page of his manifesto featured the Black Sun ‘sonnenrad‘ – one of a number of ancient European symbols also used by the Nazis in their attempt to invent an idealised ‘Aryan/Norse’ heritage. The sonnenrad was used at the 2017 Charlottesvile Virginia, ‘Unite the Right‘ (Alt-Right) rally.
Extremist movements are growing internationally. For us to deal with extremism we need to understand extremism and how extremist ideologies form, and how this will escalate into violence.
Extremism is not a problem in one group and anothers remain unaffected. Extremism which can lead to violence needs to dealt with as a whole regardless if its from Neo-Nazis, Socialist Workers, Jihadis, American new “alt-right” groups identity movements, or even individuals and or groups online – we will be more effective in countering it if we work together.
There is no us and them – where terrorists are concerned. We are all potential victims of terrorists. Let us not think any of us are safe from this virus.
(I have left some ideas out of this write up but happy to discuss in depth with those friends who are dealing with extremism)