Jason Arment

Populism Rising: Whatcha Gonna Do, Brother?

(Photo by Tyler Merbler, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

As the insurrection of the Capitol shocked the nation on January 6th, some key figures involved in that have been revealed and are continuing to push their agenda.

 

If there was a hill of fringe politics, Nick Fuentes became king of it when a small portion of his Groyper Army helped storm the White House on January 6th. What is a Groyper? They’re the young men and women who are part of Nick Fuentes’ America First movement. What is America First? If you go back in time a little bit and keep your eyes open for such an ideology, I get the feeling Pat Buchanan would have a great deal of influence. I’ve not explored that specific political vein, I’m taking Nick Fuentes at his word on the matter. I’ve spent a great deal of time watching Mr. Fuentes, and although I don’t find him to be so sharp to call him Nick the Knife (one of his monikers of old), I can’t help but notice the efficacy of what he’s doing. And though I would sound clever to say something like, “Nick the Knife needs more time on the whetstone,” it would only serve to make those unfamiliar with the idiom smirk.

Nick has enormous financial backing. I don’t know from who or where exactly, and neither does anyone else. There is a lot going on behind the scenes, just as there is a lot going on right on stage in front of the entire nation. Baked Alaska in Nancy Pelosi’s office during the January 6th insurrection, jubilant during victory, shouting asinine meme phrases and other esoteric nonce words into a phone. Some would say Baked Alaska and Nick, his good friend, are both Neo Nazis. I think they’ve both made jokes that very easily lead people to believe this, and they sometimes proffer ideologies that are obviously white supremacist; I don’t think they would contest this. But they would say there is a nuance beyond this, that they just want demographics to stop shifting away from whiteness, and they want the government to instill and promote Judeo-Christian values and Western culture and ideas.

 

A Groyper was very against political violence in 2020, but now, not so much—and therein lies the problem for this country.

 

What makes someone who is a part of the America First movement a Groyper? I believe, to paraphrase G. K. Chesterton, “These disguises do not disguise, but reveal.” Groypers are vehemently anti-Israel for various reasons; a Groyper will strive to remain optical and present themselves as a winner; a Groyper wants to break into the mainstream GOP, while at the same time heckling them at their conferences; isn’t for mixing of the races, and will quote black nationalist Muhammad Ali, “… I want my child to look like me? Every intelligent person wants their child to look like him.”; a Groyper is against hyper-free market Capitalism; and a Groyper was very against political violence in 2020, but now, not so much—and therein lies the problem for this country.

In the past, the Third Position was born out of the political pressure cooker of Germany divided into East and West. This position has been marked by ultra-far right leanings with flavors of ultra-far left ideologies. In the U.S. in early 2021, there is great potential for an a-political Third Position yet unseen, one of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” With factions of the American far right, like Groypers, becoming hostile to Capitalism as it is now, and growing more willing to use violence to repel this enemy, there is a chance for a kind of fusion to occur between far left and far right.

Let me explain the best way I know how through an entertaining and adroit real-life example of what I mean: Hulkamania III. What made Hulkamania III special was how all of the lore would reset, and all prior bets were off. Everyone was coming together for a watershed event, and things would never be the same, old allegiances were forgotten and new ones formed; sort of like how Cornel West sat down to have an interview at a bar with Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos, after saying that antifa saved him at the Unite the Right rally. And just like in Professional Wrestling, fringe politics is full of larger-than-life characters facing down incredible odds. What would a combination Antifa and America First riot look like? We may just find out. But that’s not the biggest question of all: “Whatcha gonna do, brother, when Hulkamania runs wild on you?”

 

Jason Arment is the author of Musalaheen, a war memoir published by University of Hell Press.

 

Jason Arment

Jason Arment served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Machine Gunner in the USMC. He's earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Lunch Ticket, Chautauqua, Hippocampus, The Burrow Press Review, Dirty Chai, and War, Literature & the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities; anthologized in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors Volume 2 & 4; and is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Florida Review, and Phoebe. Jason lives in Denver.

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