Column: Ending Silence to End the Bigotry

Guest Contributor —  September 12, 2014 — 195 Comments

[The following is a guest post from Ryan Smith. He is one of the co-founders of Heathens United Against Racism and a graduate student studying modern history. He practices with his kindred in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He has been a Heathen for seven years and a Pagan for seventeen.]

In Pagan and Heathen communities, topics related to discrimination, prejudice and bigotry are often uncomfortably avoided with a telling silence and knowing glance. After all, as goes the common narrative, we are, as a community, accepting of everyone. We welcome people of different walks of life, religion, perspectives, Gods, and forms of worship so how could racism possibly be a problem?

Heathenry in particular has something of a dubious reputation on this subject; one that has been made worse by the refusal of many Heathens to even discuss it in any way. The continued quiet emanating from active Heathen organizations in the United States and Canada is made even more stark by the statement issued by Asatruarfelagid of Iceland in response to a recent split within the Danish national organization between proponents and opponents of Stephen McNallen’s theories on spirituality and genetics..

The refusal to discuss this subject is fed by many hands, which all flourish on a combination of growing up in American society and all that goes with it; the desire to not rock the boat; the perception that a lack of visible tension is the same thing as peace; the continued failure on the part of institutional American Heathenry to confront the problem in a decisive fashion; and the cold hard fact that, at the core of the racism, bigotry, misogyny and homophobia, is an organized, cohesive movement, which thrives off these cancers. Only when this problem is shoved in the collective face of Heathenry does any discussion happen, much of which is then greeted with the common urgings to “show respect,” “not tear people down,”and “stop being so negative.”

The recent case of Norsewind is one such instance. On Aug. 23, Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day released a statement regarding a change to the event schedule for that day. Norsewind was removed from the lineup. As it clearly states, Philly PPD was ensuring the mission of Pagan Pride Day was honored, and the safety of the patrons was not endangered. As would be revealed Aug. 29, this decision was based on information provided by Philadelphia Antifa who uncovered evidence leader singer Danjul Norse and his band were closely connected to Keystone United.  Philly PPD organizers have informed me, as they did The Wild Hunt, that they stands by the decision and will be making no further statements on this subject.

From L to R: Anna Hagalaz, Danjul Norse, Paul Fredericks [photo credit Norsewind facebook page]

From L to R: Anna Hagalaz, Danjul Norse, Paul Fredericks [photo credit Norsewind facebook page]

For those unfamiliar Keystone United, it is hardly what one could describe as an innocent cultural group or anything similar. Formerly known as the Keystone State Skinheads, Keystone United is the largest single-state racist skinhead crew currently in the United States of America. With branches throughout Pennsylvania and ties to other white nationalist groups like the Vinland Social Club, Hammerskin Nation, Blood and Honour, and the National Alliance, Keystone United is easily one of the most notorious organized hate groups with a history of violent activity ranging from assaults to murder. There is little question from its activities and official website that Keystone United is a dangerous racist organization..

In the information presented by Philadelphia Antifa on Tumblr, a number of specific charges were made. During an interview with The Wild Hunt, Danjul claimed to have performed only two paying gigs for Keystone United. Antifa found this video from a Keystone United gathering in 2009 clearly showing Danjul Norse in attendance marching with them and holding a Norwegian flag (0:32-0:46).

According to Daryle Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project, “As far as we and Philly Antifa were aware Norsewind was a mainstream Pagan band.” The discovery of this video was, while surprising, not sufficient enough to claim Norsewind had any real connection to or sympathy for racist skinhead ideology. Antifa did not act until further photos surfaced of Danjul wearing a T-shirt from Keystone United’s 2013 Leif Erikson festival, which prompted further investigation.  Those further investigations, according to Daryle, uncovered Norsewind had not only played for two private KSS parties but also at the funerals of KSS members. According to Danjul from his interview with the Wild Hunt:

It was a job and we decided to do it. It’s a business for us and it was a festival dedicated to Leif Erikson and his voyage. There were no signs of White Supremacy or neo-Nazi or hate. It was just a barbecue and they treated me with respect and enjoyed our music. That was it. So when they asked us to play again last year, I thought, OK.

As to his views and his music Danjul Norse told the Wild Hunt:

 Our message is for everyone. I don’t pick and choose. Not politics and not skin color. I just want people to hear my message of tradition and family. Perhaps it’ll influence them toward something positive. Or just make them laugh or be happy.

When I contacted him, he further added:

The band performs music based off our love for history and culture in Europe and North America, as well as other places around the world. We write and love folk songs that sing of ancestors and bravery as well as traditions that our early settlements and tribe’s have sung about in early scripts. We have chosen this path of art so that we may portray a positive message as well as a non-judging stance as a band…..which is why we play pretty much anywhere we are respected!!!

On the surface one would think that claims of being nonjudgmental, accepting, and totally not racist would fly. After all Philly Antifa did concede there was nothing in Norsewind’s body of work that is overtly racist. Many are asking what is the problem with a band with an established history and connections with a gang of violent racists playing at Pagan Pride Day when they themselves claim not to be bigots?

To understand what is going on here requires some brief explanations of neo-Nazi organizing tactics and philosophy. One key concept at work is what is known as metapolitics. As defined by white nationalist distributor Counter Currents Publishing, metapolitics is the practice of bringing about social change by using nonpolitical means to establish a new dominant cultural frame, also referred to as cultural hegemony. The intent is not to challenge people’s politics but to find other ways to win them over through means like music, art and events organized under the banners of cultural preservation and tradition.

Stripping away the philosophical meandering, the result of this strategy is a pattern of deliberate obfuscation, misrepresentation and deception. People, for perfectly understandable reasons, would want nothing to do with a group openly advocating for the establishment of a fascist, jackbooted dictatorship. This is where metapolitics comes into play. An example is the concept of apple pie words, such as the substitution of terms like “racial supremacy” with more innocent ones like “identity” or “culture,” to conceal true intent and win over the unwary. The BNP, KKK, and other white nationalists are not alone in using this approach, as can be seen in the three tiers strategy of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany who focus on cultural, community and electoral activism. This is the reason many white nationalists will claim they are totally not political. They just want to hang out with people who share the same race-based culture and who also happen to think Jim Crow was a good idea and the Holocaust was a hoax,.

Along with metapolitical tactics is another approach used by white nationalists known as the Bob Whitaker mantra, a pithy rebuttal that is essentially a crude, ham-fisted attempt at political judo used to deflect accusations of racism and bigotry. This, like the deceptions used in metapolitics, is rooted in very ruthlessly practical concerns. Just as most people would have nothing to do with a person seriously proposing we all put on jackboots and start heiling Hitler, the same can be said of those who openly identify as racists and bigots. It is from this observation that Bob Whittaker first conceived his witty line: “I know you are but what am I?” According to a rather unusual understanding of cultural diversity and tolerance, the true culprits are those who dare to call out others on their hateful words and deeds, turning  the opponents of racist groups and organized bigotry into ” the REAL racists.”

Such an argument traces right back to core concepts in modern white nationalist ideology. According to whitenationalist.coms FAQ and advocated by individuals like Julius Evola, Miguel Serrano, and Stephen McNallen all culture is inherently biological and a factor of genetics. A culture only exists as long as its genetic legacy remains intact, untainted and pure. Achieving that requires ethnic segregation in which each race would be able to exist without fear of degeneration. Some might see no harm in such goals if, of course, you think bantustans and reservations are totally fine, having no drawbacks whatsoever.

For those who feel otherwise, the broader pattern of apartheid apologism; the unspoken implication it would be the white nationalists determining who goes where; the obvious racism in their rampant miscegenation phobia; and the baseless claims of an ongoing genocide against all white people says far more than any lip-service offerings of multicultural understanding could ever conceal.

Slide1Getting back to Norsewind, adding further weight to the argument are certain things found floating around social media that directly contradict Danjul’s claims of tolerance. For example, he has Mein Kampf and March of the Titans: History of the White Race under his book “Likes.” Burzum, one of infamous neo-Nazi musician Varg Vikernes early projects, is number two under his music:

One People’s Project also uncovered a comment by Norsewind band member Poul Augustsson, who said, “Torden Stamme and Norsewind raised a horn to you last night” in a post thanking fans for supporting a skinhead counter demonstration in response to a community demonstration against hate and racism in Philadelphia.

Another point was raised about the band’s use of the black sun symbol. This was part of Philly Antifas case, which cited the repeated uses of the Wewelsburg black sun in Norsewind’s album art and promotional materials.

Many apologists have claimed that anyone making accusations of racism toward those using the symbol are ignorant, prejudiced, and mean to harm all Heathens and Pagans. After all, as they argue, the black sun is an ancient pre-Christian, Germanic occult symbol and is on close to the same level of importance as the Valknut or the Hammer of Thor.

Funny how it seems the ancient Germanics never got that memo.

The only evidence we have of a black sun design existing in ancient times comes in the form of a handful of belt buckles and broaches found at dig sites in western Germany and eastern France, and dating from around the time of the Roman Empire. The black sun is simply has not been found in even remotely the same context, importance, or focus as the Valknut on the famous Hammar stone in Gotland, the numerous Mjolnir pendants, and plenty of other examples of sacred symbols.

The first place this specific design has been seen is the North Tower of Wewelsburg Castle in northwestern Germany. From the 14th century until it fell into ruins in the 18th, the castle was the property of the Prince-Bishop of Paderborn.  It had a largely unremarkable history ranging from an old ruin to a youth hostel . Then, in 1934, the castle and grounds were purchased by Heinrich Himmler. He intended for the castle to serve as the new center of the cult of the SS. The room with the Wewelsburg Black Sun was a meeting and ritual hall for Himmler and his generals during the Second World War.

Casting doubt on the already dubious antiquity of the Wewelsburg Black Sun is the lack of documentation showing when it was installed in the North Tower floor, with no mention in both the SS or older castle records. Between the lack of clear evidence as to when this design was installed, the castle’s long history as the property of a bishop, and SS renovations, there is no question that the popular Wewelsburg black sun is not an ancient Germanic occult symbol.

[Photo Credit: Sunnydog [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

[Photo Credit: Sunnydog [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

Its first use postwar by esoteric Hitlerists and neo-Nazi occultists, coupled with its questionable origins, leaves little doubt as to what the real meaning behind this cryptic design is. In many ways the widespread, unquestioning adoption of the black sun by well-meaning, inclusive Heathens and groups is easily the best example of how incredibly insidious and effective metapolitical tactics can be.

This leaves us at the same place we always end up. When the question of racism, bigotry, and organized hate rear their hydra heads,what is to be done?

If we are to look to the recent past, one preferred way of handling this case would be to seek some way to justify or minimize the significance of the skinhead connection, claim Norsewind does not represent Heathenry at all, and claim they are just an outlier. Another would be to attack anyone who dares to bring it up or ask questions about it, arguing that anyone who does is breaking frith or tearing someone down. The end result of both has also been a very consistent: silence.
Whether by refusing to address the bigger questions of why stuff like this keeps happening or through shouting down those who bring it up the end result is the same. Without open discussion, education, and confrontation, the situation in American Heathenry is never going to improve and may get worse. When bigoted, narrow-minded sentiments rear their heads they need to be called out for what they are. Excuses and misdirection must be challenged for what they are.

However, it is not enough to call out the obvious symptoms, the co-optation, and the work of the organized groups seeking to use Heathenry as a launch-pad for their twisted fantasies of race war. We must dig deeper and confront the greater problems that gave them ground to work from in the first place. As much as Heathens and Pagans try to keep broader society at a distance, there are elements of modern life in North America that are simply inescapable.

The greater patterns of misogyny, racism, fundamentalism, homophobic and transphobic words and deeds do not solely exist in the mainstream. Many of these assumptions are at work in our communities and in our movement. If we dig out the organized, most egregious examples of these toxins by root, stem, and branch, but leave undisturbed the soil in which their seeds first took root, then we will be passing this terrible burden on to the next generation of Heathens. Without decisively removing the ubiquitous influence of systemic prejudices against the marginalized in our society, then any immediate success over organized hate groups will be at best a fleeting victory.

Heathens United Against Racism

The course ahead will not be easy and will take everyone well past what they find comfortable. But in that challenges, struggle and toil, there is an opportunity to truly prove ourselves. We can, and we must, show the often quoted words from the Havamal:

Cattle die, kinsmen die
And so dies oneself
One thing I know never dies
Is the fame of a dead man’s deeds

It is more than just a nice idea but a principle that we stand for, fight for, and will make real no matter the obstacles arrayed against or within us.

For those who feel as I feel and agree this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue, I urge you to educate yourself ask questions, speak out and call out these actions as you see them. Give those fanning the flames of hatred no peace, and most importantly reach out to all those who seek a practice in which they are truly free, equal, welcome, and able to truly explore spirituality without fear.

 

 

Guest Contributor

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  • Not to focus in on just one thing, because I do think the bigger picture is more important, but — Doesn’t Dead Can Dance have a song called “Black Sun”? Surely they aren’t neo-nazis?

    • Ryan Smith

      That’s another example of how the black sun symbol is the most successful example of metapolitical tactics in action. There are a number of individuals and groups who uncritically repeat or reference the claim of it being an ancient occult symbol when the weight of evidence comes down much more heavily on the side of it being a Nazi symbol.

      If, however, someone is using the black sun and they regularly hang out with racist skinheads who have a history of violence or otherwise associate with groups who argue for race, culture, and genetics all being one in the same then it is safe to say that is a dead giveaway.

      • Finnchuill

        The black sun is an alchemical symbol, and that’s an irrefutable fact. Johann Daniel Mylius, the musician and alchemical philosopher, has an image of it in his 1622 work, Philosophia Reformata, which Jung reproduced in Psychology and Alchemy.

        Why not refer to the Nazi image as the Wewelsburg Sunwheel and stop conflating it with a widespread esoteric and occult symbol of transformational spirit work. From what I can turn up even the Nazis didn’t call the image they installed in that castle a black sun. And the Wewelsburg image doesn’t look like most representations of the black sun anyway.

        • Ryan Smith

          For one there’s no documentation saying who installed the Wewelsburg black sun in the North Tower to begin with. The best bet is it was put in place by the SS but

          For two there’s a LOT of problems with Jung’s scholarship especially when you’re talking fields he was most definitely not an expert in like early modern alchemy.

          For three the symbol is consistently referred to as the black sun by neo-Nazis and the one they regularly use is pretty directly taken from the Wewelsburg black sun design.

          For four the first documented instances of the black sun in mystical texts comes from Ariosophists and Theosophists, neither of whom were writing in the 17th century, to describe a concept they invented out of whole cloth. The alchemical work you are referring to describes some specific alchemical transmutations but the concept of the black sun as is seen among neo-Nazis and others like them is not in any way related to the alchemical transmutations you are referring to. How they are discussed in literature, the context, and the significance of the black sun in the Hyperborean mythology is in very stark contrast to the alchemical concepts you are citing.

          • Mees

            I’m doubting the concept of the black sun originates in Theosophy, but is older. Theosophy usually was putting out older concepts, sometimes they got it confused up a bit, but they weren’t usually the originators. I don’t think your article or the comment above clears up an official origin by evidence.
            Besides, if it’s a concept in Theosophy, etc. the black sun has more than one use history, like the pentagram, and not something that is entirely clearly meant one particular way. That it makes sense to confidently assume “see? they mention the black sun, this means they praise past genocide”.

          • Mees

            Wewelsburg is listed in wiki as constructed in 1603

          • Just a simple riot grrl

            Yeah, that must mean everything in it originated to 1603. OMG THAT MEANS GERMANS INVENTED ELECTRICITY IN 1603!!! Germans were so smart.

            (Damn, rolling my eyes that hard HURTS…)

          • Mees

            Going to explain the evil Norsewind meant by holding a Norwegian flag?

          • Finnchuill

            I mentioned Jung only because the
            reproduction of Mylius’ black sun is readily accessible therein, as opposed to
            the original manuscript, not to debate whether or not Jung “understood” alchemy,
            which is irrelevant. You mention that the “Hyperborean” or Nazi usage is different
            from ones I am talking about but you are not making that distinction in your
            article.

            The black sun is such a prevalent in
            image in literature from Heinrich Heine, Gerard de Nerval to Harry Crosby to
            name a few. For some it has symbolized exile,
            depression, melancholy. Julia Kristeva wrote a book about melancholy entitled Black Sun. It’s in the visual arts, it’s in music. Really,
            the black sun is all over the place, and it is futile to try to pin this protean
            symbol to some procrustean bed of alleged (neo) Nazism. Funny that Exene
            Cervenka and Lisa Gerrard would be singing about it then and that so many
            queers from William Burroughs, to Massimo and Pierce, and Jhonn Balance would
            be associated with such a symbol of authoritarian violence (if it were such).

            Finally, and in the bigger picture,
            misrepresenting the long and complex usage of the black sun’s imagery/symbology,
            and presenting only one strand among ever so many threads of its history and
            usage, takes away from the very important issue of racism.

          • Finnchuill

            Don’t know why Disqus messed up my formatting.

        • For a 16th century example, Marsilio Ficino wrote the following in “Liber de Arte Chemica”, chapter 14 (dated 1518, and translated from the Latin, of course):

          “The body must be dissolved in the subtlest middle air: The body is also dissolved by its own heat and humidity; where the soul, the middle nature holds the principality in the colour of blackness all in the glass: which blackness of Nature the ancient Philosophers called the crows head, or the black sun.”

          The specific words he used, of course, were “sol niger”, but that is Latin for “black sun”.

          The thing is, this specific emblem at Wewelsburg known since around 1991 as the “Schwarze Sonne” (the term was known previous to that point, but it was not, I understand, connected to that specific symbol until then) is not particularly of interest in a Germanic/Scandinavian context except where it is associated with the German SS. Its use is almost entirely in a neonazi context or among people who want to seem “spooky” or “dangerous” by association.

          And there’s the rub, to me. These kids, who might or might not hold racist or “racialist” ideologies themselves, want to be seen as dangerous and spooky, so they flirt with these symbols and ideas. Then they whine when they are treated as the signifiers they choose to associate themselves with deserve. Personally, I think that reaping the harvest of the symbols that one surrounds oneself with is a perfect lesson in magic and the power of symbolism.

          But to throw out the whole “black sun” image with the Nazi bathwater simply because it was connected to an SS symbol in the 1990s is perhaps overmuch. It’s that lack of discernment among too many young “antifa” kids that bothers me. This is why it is important to call it the “Wewelsburg Sunwheel” instead of, incorrectly, “Black Sun”.

          • Mees

            Bad tactic- People make the accusation that folks get into Paganism to be dangerous and spooky. True sometimes isn’t always.
            Rather than paste a new meaning to old symbols that have nothing to do with them, if someone wants to look for symbology that has clear meaning as being indicative of White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis – look for ’88’ tattoos and sayings. I think White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis aren’t generally hiding under other symbologies and non-racist groups, they’re open about that they are about the hate. If in doubt, you can just ask.

          • OK. It’s not a “tactic”, as this isn’t a battle that needs to be won. It’s an observation in an attempt to provide another view that might help people think better, with more discernment, about the situation. And it isn’t about neonazis, but rather those who (not so much lately, thankfully) hang around them to gain the social effects of having “scary” friends but try to maintain a life outside of that sick world. If I have a point, it is that a great many people seem to be rushing to judge without really looking at all of the facts, and that there are areas of nuance here. People need to be treated as human beings first, rather than the labels that we give them or even the ones that they choose for themselves.

          • Mees

            “It’s that lack of discernment among too many young “antifa” kids that bothers me. ” If they’ve been doing this for very long, they’re probably not kids, just not using all their brain cells. but IA.
            I think our requests of “use this, don’t use that” is too much of a group following people around on FB and getting offended by a band called Norsewind holding a flag of Norway.

      • Mees

        And the pentagram is Satanist, then?

        • Ryan Smith

          That’s a grossly inaccurate comparison.

          The pentagram is a symbol we’ve found going all the way back to Babylon and beyond.

          This thing:

          https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR4INeNGoCZp1PEJSVSq6ZLgKzCLeYyhYRIWpxvPz4njrjIMsUiAA

          First shows up in Wewelsburg at an undetermined date and has been used consistently and first by neo-Nazis since then.

          The pentagram, by contrast, has been used by almost everyone in Europe at some point or another for a whole slew of different purposes.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Of course, there are some very similar designs on

            zierscheiben found in Alemannic women’s graves, with early finds dating back to the Late Bronze Age (ca.800 BCE).

            I find these two, in particular, to be good examples pre-existing use of certain symbols:

            http://www.proswastika.org/e107_images/custom/europe_zierscheiben.jpg

        • Finnchuill

          According to the logic of this article.

          • Charles Cosimano

            There is no logic in this article.

    • Wytchfawn

      Not to mention it is ALSO present in Mesoamerican and hindu mythologies. This happened with the swastika also… a sacred symbol in Buddhism and Hinduism re-purposed for fascist propaganda.

      • Ryan Smith

        I’m not familiar with it being a Hindu or Mesoamerican symbol, to my knowledge the specific design used on the Leif Erikson Day shirts and Norsewind’s promotional materials is from the floor of Wewelsburg Castle and nowhere else. The only writings we have on it are from postwar Ariosophists waxing eloquent about the rays of the black sun reviving and nurturing the Aryan race along with other similar stuff.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        The swastika/fylfot was also a commonly used symbol on Anglo-Saxon artefacts and is linked to Þunor. Indeed, it could almost be called the Ænglisc Mjolnir.

  • aar1701

    I have often felt that the explicitly ethnic dimension and emphasis on authentic cultural roots in many neo-Pagan currents lend themselves rather easily to fascistic interpretations. The focus on ethnic lineage and ancient traditions already resonate rather strongly with fascistic rhetoric, both historically and in contemporary manifestations. One need only consider the intersection of German nationalism and Pagan themes in the works of Wagner or the interest in Heathenry among current neo-Nazis. One should not take this to mean, of course, that neo-Paganism is inherently fascist, only that certain forms have themes that parallel fascist thinking (such that it is).

    • I’d agree that they lend themselves to this. Those ideas in themselves are not fascist–actually, they can be quite liberationist. The problem, too often, comes when inherited hegemonic notions of empire, the creation of “whiteness,” and european imperialism go unquestioned.

      One can have an incredibly powerful ethnic and cultural resurgence without falling into the fascist trap. The chances of such a thing diminish greatly, however, as so many people cultivate racism in their cultural and ancestral revivals.

  • Red Dragon

    While I was in their group and appreciate that the address issues of racism, misogyny, and homophobia in the Heathen community, have they made steps to confront another big and pervasive problem in the community, mental health stigma? Because when I tried to bring it up with them, under the erroneous assumption that it was a safe space to talk about it, I was met with problematic statements (like “I dont want to be around people who eat children for lunch”, yes a member ACTUALLY said that) and even threats so I left the group. This is a problem, so bad that a separate group was formed for Heathens who have dealt with depression, bipolar, PTSD, etc had to be created as there are many in the Heathen community who view depression and other disorders as weakness and a character flaw and I thought social justice minded people would be sympathetic. I thought wrong.

    • Ryan Smith

      We also discuss that issue and I am sorry for any hostility you encountered from other members. It is a constant, ongoing process to keep and maintain safe space and we’ve had to regularly ban people for disregarding what that means, including those who have cast ableist slurs and comments at other members.

      We don’t pretend to be perfect but I can guarantee if there is a problem contact an admin and we will jump on it.

      • Red Dragon

        Maybe I will rejoin the group then. I left due to a threat, and I have PTSD. Then my health was used against me for being angry after the threat, saying “you should talk to your therapist”. Really offensive. You don’t need to have a mental health condition to be intimidated and angered by a threat.

    • Mees

      “I dont want to be around people who eat children for lunch”
      I’m a bit curious what would make somebody say that, that’s -odd-.

      • Red Dragon

        Somebody said this to me when I asked the group about mental health stigma and what they were doing about it. One of them replied “I don’t want to be around people who eat children for lunch” and also “just because I am against racism doesn’t mean I love all the people!” So this guy had a very discriminatory attitude thinking all people with mental illness are violent. He was the post problematic one, but several other members chimed in with problematic statements, the thread had several replies and 90% of them from a wide variety if people were problematic. At the end, this guy ended up threatening me. I responded to that threat in anger and instead of people responded that threatening someone is unacceptable, the response I got was turning my illness that I disclosed (PTSD) against me like “you should talk to your therapist” which I was really insulted by as being upset at a threat is not a mental health issue everybody gets angered by threats and rightfully so.

  • Robert Mathiesen

    This is an excellent essay, Ryan, and a timely one! By ancestry, I am half Danish, one quarter Pennsylvania German, and my last quarter is primarily English, with a few distant ancestors from the Low Countries — therefore almost completely Germanic. Norse mythology speaks to me more strongly than any other mythology in the world; as a boy, it was my first introduction to the very idea of Gods and Goddesses. But I was also raised on stories of Danish resistance to the Nazi occupation of that country. So I have no use whatever for racial bigotry and prejudice, much less racial totalitarian politics, and I have seen too much of of it sprinkled throughout writings by Germanic Pagans. I welcome this effort to counter it.

    One small caution. Studies of identical twins separated at birth and raised in different places have shown surprising similarities in general attitudes. Genetic similarities may indeed pass on to people, in a small way, a propensity to have similar tastes in many areas of life, including religion and politics. But these studies give no reason whatever to think that such genetically determined propensities correlate in any way with what are commonly called “races.” Evola and Co. are mistaken to suppose that they do.

  • Once again the Pagan thought-police would have us turn on each other. Anyone who mentions “tradition”, “heritage”, or “lineage” approvingly is a crypto-nazi. Bah.

    • Trevelyan

      Are you suggesting that some who go on about “tradition” and “heritage” aren’t harboring racial attitudes? Because that’s definitely what those terms mean to me…

      • Robert Mathiesen

        A pity, then, that they have been so attenuated in meaning for you, Trevelyan. Do you really mean that you see *racial* attitudes under every single mention of heritage or tradition by any person? That’s how I would naturally read your words above.

        We all have ancestors (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on further back). Whatever has come down to a person from his or her ancestors and other relatives is his or her heritage and tradition. In my own case, it includes a mass of family stories about the trials and tribulations endured and overcome in each generation for 13 rather dysfunctional generations before mine, at times in dire circumstances. They are a great source of strength to me in my own times of need.

        • Trevelyan

          No, I don’t see racial attitudes in every mention of tradition or heritage from every person. In a Pagan context however, and especially a Heathen one, yes, I associate such talk with racial attitudes.

          • Robert Mathiesen

            Well then! OK, Trevelyan, just to put a fine point on things … in my previous two posts the context was a Pagan one in which I referenced my own ancestors, heritage and traditions, and also my pride in Danish resistance to the Nazis during WW2. Enough of this! I think I’m done talking with you here …

          • Mees

            well then. Decidings somebody (because they’re Pagan, Heathen, etc.) paying attention to their ancestry is doing something wrong – oh, that’s not jumping to conclusions.

        • Vision_From_Afar

          Sorry, Robert, but I’m going to have to agree with Trevelyan on this. Far too often, without a full blog post’s worth of context, “heritage” and “tradition” are bandied about like weapons, to bludgeon any anti-racist arguments quietly into submission.
          I think it’s awesome that you have such a good ancestral working going, but words have power, and some have corrupted those powers for their own ends too often to ignore.

          • Franklin_Evans

            The question remains, and I’d be grateful for your take on it: do we excuse blanket generalizations against all who “fit” the “profile”, or do we (as Robert and I are doing here) push back against what I see as the blithe use of assumptions?

            For me, “far too often” is still short of “every single time”. The balance to the power of words is the power of rational processing of the words and the recognition of their intention. We identify corruption by its fruits. Stopping at just words is at best a guess that can be right, but must also be accepted as possibly being wrong.

        • mysticserpent007

          I would also like to point out that many of us have ancestors who *don’t* look like us. I am very fair in appearance – light skin, reddish-blonde hair and gray eyes – and my father was very dark and Mediterranean-looking, and my cousin can easily pass for Hispanic. I don’t look like them, but I still share their DNA. According to white supremacists, I am supposed to reject them because they don’t look like me; or at least that seems to be their logic.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        They don’t mean that to me. Tradition and heritage can be cultural, rather than racial. The difference between the two is very different – one is taught behaviour (celebrating the 4th of July, for example), the other is innate characteristics (pale skin and blue eyes).

        You don’t need to be a specific racial type to celebrate the traditions of Heathenry.

      • What I am saying is that there is a concerted effort by a handful of people, with Ryan Smith and Amy Hale leading the charge, to sew fear and suspicion among Pagans and Heathens.

        Listen closely to what Smith and Hale say – they openly admit that they are not really all that concerned about actual fascists and nazis in Pagandom – rather they are using nazi-baiting to besmirch ideas about Paganism that they don’t like.

        • Ryan Smith

          Oh really?

          Then perhaps you’d like to make some direct quotes for that allegation.

          • Mees

            What about direct quotes from those you make the allegation they’re racist White Supremacist Neo-Nazis?
            That would be dirt simple if it was true. White Supremacist Neo-Nazis would talk your ears off about hate.

        • Franklin_Evans

          I can readily concede your concern, though my praise in another post may lead you to believe otherwise, but that other post’s main point is a warning against thought police of any form.

          I would suggest, though, that “sew [sic] fear and suspicion” is hyperbolic and not even vaguely accurate on this thread.

          • Hale and Smith have very openly and explicitly proclaimed that Pagandom is beset by crypto-fascist infiltrators, and that anyone expressing sympathy for the the ideas of “tradition”, “heritage” or “lineage” are either part of this infiltration, or are unconsciously enabling it. I call that “sowing fear and suspicion”. Actually, that is a very polite way of putting it.

          • What, no quotes? Certainly, you should be able to provide at least one to back up your statement that they “explicity proclaimed” something…

          • Ah. I see why you think that, Apuleius.

            I’d agree that Hale’s perspective is problematic, but perhaps not for the same reasons you might. If that interview is indicative of her general theories, than she comes at the problem from a Liberal perspective, rather than a Leftist one.

            That is, rather than going too far, she doesn’t go far enough. The brutal difficulty is that the criticisms of the New Right against Modernity are not wrong, but their solutions are. For instance, there’s actually (and yes, you’re hearing an anarcho-marxist anti-fascist declare this) some very accurate analysis of Liberal Capitalism on sites like Counter Currents.

            An immediate reaction to such analyses by some is to defend Liberal Capitalism in order to oppose fascist tendencies. I think, more than anything, this is the brilliance of their tactics–manipulating enemies into defending an indefensible system. This explains, too, the recent adoption of leftist critiques by the “New Right” (they even admit as such–www.counter-currents.com/2014/07/turn-left-new-right/).

            Again, if Hale’s interview by Jason is typical of her analysis, she’s sadly fallen into their trap.

          • Ryan Smith

            My understanding of those analysis, when paired with concepts like metapolitics and examples like Troy Southgate’s National Anarchists, is they are both not native to the fascist milieu and their application of them runs directly counter to their main use. As is the case with much of the new right a lot of their slogans, tactics, and methods are directly appropriated from those sources that are seen as useful to disguising their intent.

            Just because they recognize class struggle and Gramscian hegemonic theory doesn’t mean they’re taking it in a direction either of those schools would recognize as remotely desirable. Hitler did the same thing with the Nazis (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) as did Mussolini with his fascists. If anything it is more reason to be wary as it shows how willing that movement is to grab on to anything that they think could be twisted to their objectives and is used quite effectively to lull people into false senses of security.

          • You can definitely see that in their doctrinal purity essays, where they attempt to make clear that certain thinkers are not racialist and are therefore not useful. I’m particularly fond of the fact that they’ve adopted Slavoj Zizek as the poster-child of their opposition, as they seem to recognize that his critiques are identical to theirs except his are anti-racist and are better at uniting critics of modern Capitalism than theirs.

            I’m not certain, however, that we can accurately suggest they are cynically using radical and liberationist theories towards their own ends. They’re awful people, but what makes them actually-dangerous is that they are accurately critiquing the problems of Liberal Capitalism and Modernity. If they were all-wrong, they wouldn’t be able to get a single intelligent follower. There’s deep truth in the non-racist parts of their critique, but their increasing success is at least partially due to the failure of the Left to include Folkish and Radical Pagan tendencies into their movements. When the New Right is allying with First Nations peoples over land-rights and protection of traditional and the Left perpetuates secular notions of Progress (and thus an annihilation of Animist and Polytheist traditions), it’s no wonder the New Right has become so popular.

            Thus my concern. We should recognize the problems that they address (Post-Colonialist theory is fantastic for this) and not insist that there is no problem. Otherwise, the New Right becomes the only political movement actually-addressing the problems, and we should all be very terrified of their solutions…

          • Ryan Smith

            So the best you’ve got is making things up that myself and Dr. Hale have never said and defending Julius Evola.

            That really says all that needs saying about you, I think.

            Especially since you’ve ignored the bigger issue called Norsewind’s five-year long relationship with a gang of violent racist skinheads who are very open about who they are and what they’re about.

          • Mees

            “relationship” being FB friends?

        • Trevelyan

          I don’t see them sowing fear and suspicion. I see them calling out racist BS. But then again, you’re defending Julius Evola, which says everything about your intentions…

        • Cheyenne

          Who is being ostracized over metapolitics? Where in the article does it advocate ostracization based on simply vocabulary alone?
          I’d really love if you elaborated on that, because in this case it’s pretty clear that Norsewind is being ostracized for:
          -Repeatedly playing White Supremacist gatherings for years
          -Taking pictures in White Supremacist t-shirts, surrounded by White Supremacists.
          -Befriending dozens of open White Supremacists on Facebook
          -Saying that Hitler’s book about White Supremacy was actually good.

          I’m really struggling to see what you find so problematic about this whole thing.

          • Mees

            1. In the above article it says Norsewind marched around carrying a Norwegian flag – so what? Norway’s bad now?

            2. In the previous article about Norsewind – it was about somebody angry at who they were friends with on FB.
            FB drama – first off – NOBODY CARES. And it was all clearly from somebody else who reads their FB regularly, which makes “guilt by association”. pointing circularly.

            How much of your list above is based on these articles directly, I don’t know. and they could be as terrible as you say, but what’s above is a bunch of stuff thrown to see what will stick, which is problematic
            I think the oh, no – Norway addition proves that.

        • Finnchuill

          I find it very interesting that the Wikipedia article on the Black Sun has been savagely pruned since the first of these articles on this band was published here, so as to remove pretty much all non Nazi-related content, like the sun’s usage in other mythologies, including the Maya. It’s pretty clear some people only want their own dogma out there.

          • From what I can see, there are several articles. Black Sun (occult symbol) refers almost exclusively to the Nazi and neonazi uses, and mainly concerns the Wewelsburg Sunwheel along with some symbols allegedly connected to it. Black Sun (mythology) refers to the Mayan information. Suns in alchemy refers to the use in alchemical texts. Also, as far as I can tell, this has been the case for some time. Suns in alchemy dates back to 2006, Black Sun (mythology) to 2011 (and hasn’t been updated since May), and Black Sun (occult symbol) article, in its last form prior to the events occurring on 23 August, is not significantly different, to my quick skim, than the current version, though slightly pruned.

          • Finnchuill

            Ah, all of those different articles divide the topic up so–I stand corrected, but I’m pretty sure the Occult one did have a mention of the Mayan info until recently.

      • Franklin_Evans

        Actually, I will assert to you that there are some who go on about tradition and heritage and are not racists. Some of them aren’t Pagan either, like my Jewish relatives and my Serbian relatives (that covers both halves of my heritage). I also don’t mind pointing out that there were few of either even while I was a child, being decimated respectively by the Nazis and Tito’s communist partisans.

        My point, separate from anyone else’s, is strongly suggesting that lumping all under a label for abstract reasons is dishonorable, and acting on it is a violation of the spirit of the Bill of Rights if not the letter of them.

        • Ryan Smith

          That’s why I’ve never said anywhere tradition, heritage, and lineage alone are not red flags.

          When you pair them with concepts like metagenetics, folksoul, and other ideas dreamed up by late 19th century ultranationalists and fascist thinkers is when you have a problem.

    • We anti-racists are actually quite tired of white nationalists co-opting those terms, just as they try to co-opt our gods into their racist agendas. I’d like to be able to talk about ancestors without being associated with those fucks. I don’t know why you’d put the blame on the people trying to bring about that state, rather than the idiots using our language for hatred.

      • Thank you for a bit of common sense, rhyd!

    • kenofken

      No, not anyone who mentions those words. It’s those who use them as code words for a crypto-Nazi agenda. For anyone who has a base knowledge of history, it’s actually really easy to discern the difference when you pay attention to the sum total of a group’s words and actions. They’re really not terribly clever at concealing their agenda, and most don’t want to conceal it too deeply.

      The crypto-Nazi individuals and movements aren’t just interested in “heritage” or “lineage”, they’re obsessed with it. Their entire narrative centers around the “Heritage of Those Northern European “Peoples” Who Just Happen to Fit the Definition of Aryan”. The other dead giveaway is that these folks always, always have social networks full to the brim of unapologetic, un-subtle neo-Nazis. They’re always one, or perhaps two, degrees away from those folks, and not just one or two – usually dozens.

    • Raksha38

      I dunno, man. If it was just a matter of “this person is using words that other people also sometimes use while being racist” I’d be right there with you. But there’s video of him marching in a white pride parade and he’s got fucking Mein Kampf on his list of favorite books. That’s pretty damning.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        I have a copy of the Koran on my bookshelf. Does that make me a terrorist?

        • No, but it’s not your favorite book, or even a well-loved one, so you’re not a Muslim. Having a copy of the Quran doesn’t make you a terrorist. Spouting the ideology of a terrorist, and by putting words and actions into support of that ideology make you at the least a terrorist sympathizer and at most a terrorist yourself.

          Stop with the false equivalents.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            “I don’t have to be Muslim to find the images beautiful or its poetry moving.” – Gordon Deitrich (V for Vendetta).

            I know people who have read Mein Kampf and absolutely deplore Hitler and Nazi ideologies, but still find the contents of the book fascinating.

            Until I hear that Danjul and Northwind are spouting white supremacist ideology or are actively involved in racist activities, I am not going to see a Facebook “Like” as evidence of guilt.

          • Good quote, and hits the heart if where I was going with it.

            Others have already made the points elsewhere that these people are involved in neo-Nazi events.

            One does not need to be “directly involved” as an organizer or speaker to be a powerful supporter of the ringleaders and organizations that are blatantly neo-Nazi or fascist. By showing up, being entertainers at neo-Nazi led events for several years, and hailing the people who are publicly known to be in these movements, it is more than an issue of someone playing a gig once. This is far more than a “like” on Facebook.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Then why are people still bitching about Facebook content?

          • If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, only an ostrich would think it’s a hummingbird.

          • Yup.

          • Yup.

  • Karen Schlechter

    Ryan, thank you for such a well thought out article and bringing the meta-politics of the situation to the fore. I was not only an attendee at Philadelphia Pagan Pride event that you mentioned, but I was also one of the teachers. By the time I learned of the Norsewind situation, the committee had already handled it; and removed them from the program. All I can say is I applaud the fact that they recognized the issues then, dealt with the matter accordingly.

    • Tasman

      So, a Witch Hunt by the Witches. Interesting. And what is a “racist” after all? Often probably just someone who has won an argument with a multiculturalist. Basically it’s just name calling.

      • Invoking the memory of a co-ordinated purge of women and heretics as equivalent to someone saying “don’t advocate the death or oppression of non-whites” is as intelligent as whites claiming they’re victims of genocide.

        Do you folks ever listen to yourselves? Ever?

      • Honestly, just the fact that you’re using the term “multiculturalist” is revealing.

  • Franklin_Evans

    Ryan, very well done.

    I need to offer here, having posted earlier as a past organizer of Philadelphia PPD, my complete trust in and support to the current organizing committee for their handling of the situation and in particular for their decision to offer no further comments about it.

    In general, there are two sides to the “silence” concept. There is staying silent willfully (not to be equated with being quiet due to circumstances or just not knowing about the issue) and there is going about silencing those with whom we have opposition.

    Since TWH has an international readership, it seems proper to qualify the following as must be read in the context of the United States: the moment we silence those whose words offend us, that is the moment we no longer deserve our freedom of speech.

    The difficult work required of us as our responsibility for having such freedom is dealing with offensive words after they are spoken, in a rational and effective manner. Prevention is not an option.

    • Ryan Smith

      That’s why education is the best cure.

      When you’re dealing with people who use active deception there is nothing better than piercing truth. With stuff like this knowledge is the best preventative and refusing to discuss the problem, or its root causes and enabling factors, is guaranteed to make it worse.

      • Franklin_Evans

        Indeed. I don’t agree with all of your rhetoric — hence my occupying a middle area between you and Apuleius — but I fully support your efforts in making and maintaining a public discourse.

    • Trevelyan

      I disagree. Freedom of speech means freedom from state repression. I have no issue with individuals silencing others who choose to spread racist filth.

      • Franklin_Evans

        It would be helpful for me to know if you are a US resident or citizen, but that doesn’t affect my reply: nearly a century and a half of court cases makes you wrong, and show that the state arbitrates conflicting claims of freedom of speech (and other rights) between individuals, between individuals and corporate entities, and between corporate entities. It’s much more than prohibiting the legislation of restrictions of those freedoms.

      • Ryan Smith

        Freedom of speech does not mean the right to a captive audience or freedom from response and criticism.

        That is something the folks who regularly apologize for the racist elements seem to miss. No one is saying we ban them from speaking.

        People are saying they want nothing to do with them because of WHAT they are speaking for and what they do to make that happen.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        I heartily approve of allowing racists fucktards to speak openly about their beliefs/convictions.

        If nothing else, it allows me to see who to avoid.

      • MadGastronomer

        …only that’s not at all what Philly PPD is doing here, nor are most anti-racist activists. What PPD did was refuse to allow Norsewind to use their stage, which is not silencing, it is simply refusing a venue. What anti-racists generally do is refuse to allow racism to go unchallenged, which is not silencing, it is criticism. When you equate what anti-racists do with silencing, then you devalue the term silencing, taking away a term that activists use in a specific way and with a specific meaning, and instead lending your voice to the meaning that racists would rather people understand it to mean. You are not helping the side you apparently support by using “silencing” this way.

  • A note on Julius Evola (the thought-police can never resist mentioning him!): he was a strident anti-materialist who completely rejected all notions of biological racism and wished for it’s “elimination as a leftover myth that is present in the lesser educated strata of society.” Evola also wrote that “all peoples of today are racial mixtures, and in general elements other than the racial count as the foundation of their unity.” Anyone interested in the actual political (and racial) ideas of Julius Evola should check out the 100+ page introduction, by H.T. Hansen, to the English translation of his “Men Among the Ruins”, published by Inner Traditions.

    • Ryan Smith

      I’ve read “Men Among the Ruins”.

      That’s a big part of why I find his ideas so revolting; because I’ve actually studied them and what they lead to.

      The whole neo-aristocracy, the advocacy of race war and bringing about the demise of civilization as the only cure, and the aggressive hostility to concepts like human rights coupled with the inveterate, endemic social darwinism were plenty of good reasons to toss his garbage into the bin.

      Thank you, by the way, for your highly selective portrayal of that old SS thug. It says quite a bit about where you are coming from in your accusations of witch hunts, thought police, and all that other fun, unsubstantiated stuff.

    • Trevelyan

      Evola was an enthusiastic supporter of the SS. CASE CLOSED. Stop defending racists and fascists, please.

    • Ryan, so at least you accept that it is permissible to read Evola, since you have done so yourself. Having read him, though, we are not permitted to have differing opinions about him?

      • Ryan Smith

        That’s really cute you are playing the dissent card when Evola himself and much of the New Right are NOTORIOUS in how they treat any form of dissent, as is shown in both their writings and their organizations.

        It also says quite a bit how you have consistently crammed words in my mouth that I’ve never said.

        Nowhere am I saying ban you for thought crimes, as you’ve consistently and falsely asserted.

        I’m saying give no peace and endlessly call out people who advocate for racist, sexist, and bigoted philosophies.

        Of which Evola and his ilk regularly do with appeals to biologically-dictated culture, the apologizing and deliberate deflection away from the fact that groups like KSS have long, verified histories of violence that has no parallel among the so-called thought police you claim are running rampant in Paganism, and of course deliberate and selective misrepresentation of what is in his works.

        You can run your mouth all you want.

        That doesn’t change that I have the right to call you on your positions and call them out for what they are.

        And that also doesn’t change that vocal, principled opposition is not and never has been within the same city as censorship no matter how loudly you shout it. The big lie only works when it goes unchallenged.

        • Mees

          messianic complex

  • Antifa-Joe

    I feel like it’s worth noting that Danjul Norse is still facebook friends with all of the Neo-Nazi’s and White Supremacists that were named in the post on my blog. He claims to not be racist, and to have just been playing a gig and adding people as friends who liked the band, yet he has knowledge of a list of his FB friends who are active members and leaders of racist hate groups and maintains them as facebook friends. One can’t help but think that were he genuinely unaware of these individuals ties, and were he truly not ok with racist ideology, that he would remove these people from his friends list immediately upon being made aware of this situation.

    From this it seems that either he is outright lying in these interviews, or upon being made aware of the information decided that he didn’t mind associating with Nazi’s.

    ~Antifa-Joe

    • Mees

      Clearly Joe, you spend a lot of time reading their FB page.
      Doesn’t that make you guilty of the same thing you accuse others by association? I don’t know these guys and don’t care, but the methods used against them – perhaps by you – stink.

      • MadGastronomer

        You keep harping on the FB-friends thing as if it were the only piece of evidence presented. Care to try to dismiss his “liking” Mein Kampf and March of the Titans?

        • Mees

          Yep, Since I find if somebody is unreliable and throwing an agenda rather than being clearly honest, dismissing them saves time.

          • Alley Valkyrie

            And the fact that you would rather dismiss someone than examine the facts speaks volumes about your reliability in these matters.

          • Mees

            Alley V – that you’d accept the above wholeheartedly as proof against someone speaks volumes regarding your own discernment (good word, borrowed from above). Doesn’t mean you’re nasty, does mean you’re an easy pawn for fake “do-gooders”.

            Some Pagans like to involve people in witch wars and take generally good people down with them. You were busy defending antifa in previous post, despite being told of their violence overseas. Don’t be so naive next time.

          • Alley Valkyrie

            I accept the essay as I know it’s author personally and he has shown himself to be quite trustworthy in my eyes. I’m anything but an easy pawn. That’s naïveté on your part, not mine. And yes, I defended Antifa with the disclaimer that different groups employ different tactics and that I wasn’t necessarily supporting those in Europe. My local Antifa group I find to be effective and trustworthy, and I greatly respect and appreciate their work on the local level. That doesn’t mean that all Antifa groups, and I never said they were. I’m not being naive at all. You’re misrepresenting what I said.

          • Mees

            Okay, you’re a tough pawn.
            The scholarship of this article is weak, the accusations are mostly crap gleaned off FB with a pile of guilt-by-association.

            Antifa found Norsewind’s music wasn’t promoting hate, you can’t point to anybody they’ve beaten up, smoke bombed, etc. and yet you’d let them be target – based on FB b.s. and Ryan Smith’s poor scholarship.
            That doesn’t make your friends look so effective and trustworthy. They could be right, but they could be wrong, but one thing for certain –
            Their methods are wrong if they want to look like they’re right.

            Generally Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists don’t need “outers” they openly claim being those things and their hate, and willing to tell everybody about it- if just asked.

          • Alley Valkyrie

            I strongly disagree that neo-nazis are always open, and I live in an area that’s a hotbed of white supremacist activity. Numerous local groups are very subtle about their beliefs, again using those “apple pie” words.

            I never said that Norsewind actively promoted hate. But I stand in support of the idea that they are legitimately affiliated enough with white supremacist organizations and that their actions and interests support such groups. Where did I ever say that I would let them be a target of violence? STOP PUTTING WORDS IN MY MOUTH. IT’S GETTING OLD.

          • Mees

            No, Alley Valyrie, having FB friends (out of thousands) does not count as legitimate affiliation. You can’t admit they’ve been judged guilt-by-association?
            I have clothing stores as FB friends, that doesn’t mean I’m a clothing store.
            Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists actively promote hate and racism – you’re willing to tar Norsewind with that brush when you accuse them.
            (If you call somebody a Nazi suggesting afterwards “I never said that Norsewind actively promoted hate” doesn’t dull the common sense that actually, actively promoting hate is what you implied.)

          • Alley Valkyrie

            Your debate tactics are incredibly disingenuous. I’m not going to play anymore.

          • Northern_Light_27

            If it was just their fb friends I’d say okay, maybe there’s a point there, but seriously… if your livelihood is entertaining the public (particularly in a genre that’s had problems with racism and Nazism), you list Mein Kampf in your book likes, you don’t get to complain that it lost you gigs.

          • Seriously! If nothing else, the lack of judgement makes them inappropriate for a venue like PPD, which is all about demonstrating the value of Paganism to the public, as well as celebrating it among ourselves.

          • Mees

            Since now you’re standing in support of claiming they’re White Supremacists, and talk about their “apple pie” words whatever that means
            That’s a claim, presumably you’ve heard them. So why didn’t you or Ryan Smith or Antifa Joe quote them?
            Or honesty, all your decisions about this band based on FB?

          • We’re not talking about needing a standard of proof equivalent to that of a criminal trial–there’s no right to be considered innocent until proven guilty over whether a public outreach event like a PPD wants you representing them.

            What we have is a preponderance of the evidence that the group in question is at minimum comfortable enough with white supremacy to find it acceptable to list Mein Kampf as a favorite book in the same Facebook realm where they list white supremacists as “friends.” And if they simply use Facebook for public outreach, without knowing anything about their friends, that’s a failing in itself, isn’t it? Because if your sense of public outreach and image is so poor that you put out there that you’re a fan of Mein Kampf in the same place you indiscriminately reach out to your public, that speaks volumes about how unsuitable you are to represent the public face of any organization other than a white supremacist group.

            Add to that their history of gigs with such groups, and it takes quite a defense attorney to see denying these guys a public venue as any form of persecution.

            They’re simply unsuitable for the job.

      • Antifa-Joe

        I fail to see how doing some research to back up the accusation before I made it, then later doing a search of Danjul’s FB friends to see if there was any substance to his claim that he opposes racism and didn’t really know these people constitutes “spend[ing] a lot of time reading their FB page”.

        Your comment makes it sound like you’re perfectly cool with Neo-Nazi’s, Klansmen, and other violent white supremacists being part of the Pagan community, which says far more about your qualities as an individual than my “methods” of bringing their activities to light.

        • Mees

          Antifa-Joe –
          I don’t know these people, but you’re now trying to put guilt by association on me, too. Guess what, I’m not Neo-Nazi or White Supremacist, so you can take your slander back with you. You are in the wrong.
          As for your weak denial – Isn’t most or all your evidence of “their activities” coming from bringing up their FB? Certainly “their activities” of waving a NORWAY flag doesn’t prove them to be Neo-Nazi!

          Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists are proud of their racism, it’s central to their creepy lives, and these guys don’t claim them. If someone isn’t doing the guilt-by-association tactic, (or just plain slandering people, seen what you did there) which would smear the innocent – what about those other thousands of followers, etc? They’re bad, too?
          I find it clear that even if its true they are racist, that you’re just throwing up accusations to see what will stick. Chasing people on FB is what you do – and so is jumping to conclusions, and Ryan Smith’s iffy scholarship – Your methods deserve say more about yourselves – That you are unreliable sources, though you do like to gossip.

          • Northern_Light_27

            Also, how have you never met the subtle ones? The “heritage not hate” ones who will deny deny deny unless they think you’re “okay” or they didn’t know you were in earshot? They definitely exist. Sadly, an at-the-time close friend ended up falling in with that kind of crowd. She was extremely subtle– her friends, though, weren’t. If it’ll cost socially or economically, they’ll fly under the radar.

          • Mees

            That situation you describe stinks, and thankfully that’s never been any experience I share.
            Fight racism, sure, but the methods used here stink, too, ie. that’d be going through all their FBs so they can “out” all them and their friends as White Supremacists – even if their targets claim they aren’t, and even Antifa admits they don’t promote hate.

        • Franklin_Evans

          I am an activist. I understand very well from a couple of painful lessons that we need accurate information about others before we trust them with our agendas. I also understand very well that association must be examined, and motivations and attitudes questioned. I learned much of that during my time as one of the few straights who publicly and personally supported LGBT (at the time labelled “Gay”) rights. If you are unfamiliar with a group called ACT UP, become familiar. They caused people like me a lot of grief with their choices of actions.

          Just to be clear: I was a small-a activist, not a front-line worker. I donated money and time. I don’t have a “name”, I just have a commitment.

          There came a point where I simply had to disown them, to make sure any monetary support I gave didn’t wind up in their pockets. They were and are good people, every one of them, who made choices I couldn’t accept.

          I faced two challenges. Those who knew I was a Gay Rights activist saw ACT UP in the news and imposed guilt by association on me. Gays and lesbians of my acquaintance sometimes disowned me because I rejected the tactics of ACT UP.

          Anyway, I don’t mean to be lecturing, but I do mean to place the same challenge upon you, Joe, and on Antifa. You have to earn my trust. I need to see that your actions will not jeopardize our critical need to also be citizens who honor and comply with the laws, and who use the mechanisms of laws to change the ones that must be changed.

          And the best way to lose my trust is to act in ways I wouldn’t choose and claim that they are in my best interests. I’ll readily take partners in my activism. I will not tolerate tyrants of any stripe no matter how good their intentions.

  • Alex Bettencourt

    Friendly reminder from your neighborhood non-racist skinhead that White Nationalists and related movements that use the Norse pantheon to support their racism and fascist beliefs are not skinheads–they are co-opting the term from the working class movement that began in Britain that was pioneered in part by people of color.

    • Oi. This skin thanks you for that reminder. 🙂

    • Ryan Smith

      Also a good reminder of how those individuals consistently steal ideas, trappings, and the like from other groups to make theirs look more attractive.

      Even back in the 1920s and 30s their entire mass party apparatus was very freely cribbed from the standard practices of socialist and communist parties, two groups they claimed to be the blood enemies of.

  • Mees

    More energy seems to be going from justifying an interpersonal fight (witch war) than to ending bigotry. whatevers.

  • trueinar .

    White supremacists piss me off. They hurt innocent people and make me, a large bearded white guy wearing a Thor’s hammer, look bad. I don’t hate anyone because of their ancestry, skin color, or anything like that. People who don’t look like me are still people and deserve to be treated as such. White people aren’t superior to others. Everyone has something wonderful and beautiful to bring to the table. As a Heathen I also believe that there are many wonderful traditions from all over. I think anyone should be able to follow the path that calls them no matter what they look like. White supremacists just make life harder for white people as well as everyone else and should just learn to accept people as people.

  • mysticserpent007

    I would also like to point out that many of us have ancestors who *don’t* look like us. I am very fair in appearance – light skin, reddish-blonde hair and gray eyes – and my father was very dark and Mediterranean-looking, and my cousin can easily pass for Hispanic. I don’t look like them, but I still share their DNA. According to white supremacists, I am supposed to reject them because they don’t look like me; or at least that seems to be their logic.

    • Mees

      A rather solid theory has it that if someone goes back far enough, humans are ALL from Africa. 🙂

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        Mitochondrial Eve.

        Then, of course, there is that small amount of Neanderthal DNA present in most people of “non-African ancestry”.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Ryan, this is a critique of your post. It in no way represents opposition to anti-racism or anti-fascism, not does it minimize the problem of racism in Paganism. Your poster child, Norsewind, by your admission does not promote racism in its art. Its peformances for Keystone United reflect at least ignorance or negligence, but they make this a matter of guilt by association. This raises the hackles of older readers who personally remember McCarthy, HUAC and the blacklists.You walked the plank with an unprofessional assessment of the antiquity of the Black Sun symbol. Sometimes a few traces is all archaeology has to go on to suss out the shape of the past. Your response that the controversy simply demonstrates the insidiousness of the enemy, raises the same hackles for the same reason. All told, it distracted damagingly from your main message. And that message is entirely too important to screw up. Racism within the Earth- and antiquity-centered world is real and toxic, and provides an entrée for entirely the wrong sorts of influence. Please return at some future time with a more tightly-thought-out presentation.

    • Alley Valkyrie

      I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think comparing this to McCarthy is an apt comparison. Norsewind went far beyond “guilt by association” when the leader was photographed wearing a t-shirt from Keystone’s Leif Erikson Day. The fact that “Mein Kampf” is listed as a “like” on the leader’s FB page is also pretty damning. This is more than guilt by association. What’s going on here is just as Ryan lays it out. Apple pie words and metapolitics.

      • Mees

        Leif Erikson was a Neo-Nazi?
        you can’t see this is is stupid?

        • Alley Valkyrie

          Do you see again how you’re misrepresenting what I said as well as misrepresenting the facts? Can’t you see that is stupid?

          I nevere said Erikson was a neo-Nazi. But Keystone United is an openly racist organization, and their “Leif Erikson Day” is an openly racist rally.

          • Mees

            Well, then because after 2-3 degrees separation from a Neo Nazi, that obviously makes them ones, too.
            Norsewind > Leif Erikson > Keystone United > Neo-Nazis.

          • Alley Valkyrie

            Once again, you’re deliberately obfuscating the facts. If someone wears a T-shirt in public that they got from a racist rally, a shirt that advertises that rally, there’s no 2-3 degrees of separation there.

          • Mees

            I will look up whether Leif Erikson day celebrations are Neo-Nazi since that connection is not obvious.
            Oh wait, no it’s celebrated by Spongebob. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YqehGlg6m8

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        The T-shirt is an elaboration of an established association. I don’t mean to demean the meaning of association. If I were arranging a PPD and knew what I know now, I wouldn’t invite Norsewind.Yes, the FB book likes are much more damning. If I had been Ryan I would have led with them. I would also frame Keystone’s appeal to “racially aware skinheads” (their website, approx.) in terms of the historic elite project of setting blacks and whites at the bottom of the economic ladder against one another and distract them from forming a rational class-based alliance. This got started in North America over 350 years ago and has been working fine ever since.I realize that serious skepticism about guilt by association may not be as strong in people who don’t have living memory of McCarthy, HUAC and the blacklists. I would simply cite Santayana about learning from history vs repeating it.

      • Franklin_Evans

        Alley, my hackles are old enough to agree with Baruch’s specific phrasing: I reacted to the similarities not to any comparison.

        Passion about the issue is not enough. Rational presentation of hard evidence is the standard I’m looking to. If they — Ryan, Antifa, add any name to the list — want my consideration, their presentation has to be much heavier on that standard and very shy about emotional rhetoric. Ryan’s essay leans well in that direction; Antifa’s comments here and elsewhere do not.

    • Ryan Smith

      In point by point response:

      “Your poster child, Norsewind, by your admission does not promote racism
      in its art. Its peformances for Keystone United reflect at least
      ignorance or negligence, but they make this a matter of guilt by
      association. This raises the hackles of older readers who personally
      remember McCarthy, HUAC and the blacklists.”

      I have to disagree with that assessment as I think you are missing some key points.

      When the lead singer of the group in question has an established, documented relationship of action with a racist skinhead group that isn’t a question of guilt by association especially when he is taking their money to play at their events and for their funerals.

      Especially when the same said lead singer has “Mein Kampf” down under their Facebook likes. That right there, along with “March of the Titans: A History of the White Race” and KSS’ total openness about who they are and what they are about on their site, removes any possibility in my mind of any kind of ignorance. You can’t claim to not know about a group’s affiliations when you attend a rally that, as shown on tape and reported by groups like the SPLC, had people advocating racist ideas and policies and advertise to social media you’ve read their stuff and then turn around and claim not to know anything without engaging in some serious cognitive dissonance or outright lying.

      Another point you should review is that of how metapolitical organizing works. The intent is NOT to win over new converts by directly engaging on these topics but to find other ways to appeal to them like through the arts and music to slowly win people over before bringing them in all the way.

      This isn’t, by the way, coming from some paranoid figment of my imagination. This is right from their own sites, essayists, message boards, books, and journals. This is openly discussed as a new concept and has been for the past decade at least. The entire concept is well-documented, clearly articulated, and there’s lots of stuff proving groups like KSS are employing such methods. You can google it and you’ll get back a rather nauseating reading list that will keep you busy for the rest of the year.

      Norsewind doesn’t need to push racist stuff on their own to enable racist organizing under that framework. In the specific context of musical events, like Stella Natura, this is used for creating a seemingly safe space in which organizers can operate freely and without harassment. It is also used for recruitment by association which usually argues, “X is cool and they are friends with Y, maybe I should be friends with Y too.” The point is to get to the end objective by slow drip, not through rapid seizure. It also makes it possible for such groups to engage in more subtle promotions of their events and activities by not openly appearing to be racist. They can go places and drop off materials that openly racist acts like Blood Axis or Death in June cannot.

      “You walked the plank with an unprofessional assessment of the antiquity
      of the Black Sun symbol. Sometimes a few traces is all archaeology has
      to go on to suss out the shape of the past. Your response that the
      controversy simply demonstrates the insidiousness of the enemy, raises
      the same hackles for the same reason. All told, it distracted damagingly
      from your main message.”

      How exactly is citing archeology, the history of the site, and the history of the concept of the black sun unprofessional? What aspects of that were off mark or inaccurate?

      As part of my background I have a BA in medieval history so I am quite familiar with the challenges in using archeological evidence. I also understand how that is used for establishing the importance of a particular concept, symbol, or idea when there is no textual evidence to provide context.

      When the only place a similar (if you examine the bracheates and belt buckles cited for ancient black suns you’ll note the design is at best broadly similar and not the same) design shows up is separated from its next documented appearance by a space of over a thousand years and the context was one of the use in one specific region for a specific 200 year time frame that suggests there is no connection to go on. The total lack of the symbol showing up in any extant findings, dig sites, and the like anywhere else in the places it allegedly was sacred in cast further doubt on this, especially when we have examples of sacred symbols that were cast in silver and carved into stone. If the black sun was significant it would have been recorded in a similar fashion, a conclusion any archeologist or historian would arrive at.

      What you are attempting here is an argument from ignorance and attempting to disprove a negative asserting that because we have incomplete evidence we cannot prove it was NOT significant. That is logically suspect and flies in the face of both accepted methodologies for analysis and the hard facts. You can’t claim the black sun is some kind of ancient, mystical occult symbol based on its modern usage when there is no evidence of similar ancient usage.

      In fact all of the literature on the whole importance of the black sun comes directly from Theosophy (aka the stuff Madame Blavatsky pulled out of thin air) and Ariosophy (which is Guido List’s knock-off of theosophy specifically for Aryans. If anything it gets even worse in terms of the endemic racism), both of which are wholly modern inventions. Appealing to that is both fallacious, in terms of appeal to false authority, and factually suspect in the extreme.

      I think if you are going to confront this stuff you need to have a fuller understanding of it and that includes reading their materials, researching their methods, and learning the patterns. I suggest reading their stuff, like the links I’ve included in the article back to the Counter Currents piece on metapolitics and the stuff on KSS referring to Holocaust denial, and reading up on the opinions of people and groups like the SPLC and Antifa who have studied and analyzed all of this at great length and depth. All of this information is out there and part of how they move forward is by using the gaps between public knowledge and actual practice.

      • Mees

        Blavatsky typically would put together words and phrases from stuff that was already about and mix them all together into a confusing ramble. Other people already brought up, how the concepts older than that, I’ve already brought up the point about Blavatsky & Theosophy but you keep bringing her up anyway as the origin, which suggests you’re not willing to critically examine the factoids you present.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Thank you for the additional archaeological info. My problem is that your dismissal of the physical evidence raised some more hackles, as someone in the middle of the evolution-creation outburst of 1999, as looking like running away from evidence. (Sorry to have so many argument-form hackles; it gets that way after a while.) If you use the Black Sun point you need to boil all that down.Remember, I’m on your side critiquing your presentation, not an enemy. You might ponder how many of your critics in these replies are in the same space.Your reply to my first point is how I would have started the original post.Thank you for the effort you put into your reply. You are carrying the flag at the moment; don’t stumble.

      • Franklin_Evans

        Ryan, as members of an identity group — you and I — who have decades or even centuries of evidence to justify personal paranoia as a general survival trait, I offer this friendly caution: Try very hard to not phrase your arguments in ways that make them identifiable as conspiracy theory arguments.

        In short, I get the metapolitics argument, I trust your judgment there, and for your wider audience it’s just not enough without solid evidence that would meet a trial standard.

        Like Baruch, I’m on your side. Also like Baruch, I believe our visceral reactions can actually be valuable in refining your message. I will offer that such criticisms don’t just look unfair, they actually are unfair. It’s a double standard of sorts. I’ve been caught up in that, and I hate it. But there’s no remedy for it beyond our efforts to overcome it.

  • Dantes

    I already said everything I thought about this issue.

    One thing, still, one can enjoy music created by people of different (or even opposite) political leanings and still be ok. People of all shades of the political sprectrum have created great art and just bashing these people’s art on the grounds of their personal ideologies is just moronic.

    And Burzum’s awesome:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wry9G6rcdQw

    And I shan’t say anything anymore for the time being because I have to go itch-hiking through an Icelandic Sulfur cloud. See ya.

  • Danielle Amourtrance Verum

    There are racist people in any group. Countless times I’ve encountered racist attitudes towards myself from people in the Pagan and liberal communities. It’s amazing the self-hate that some people engage in because of the current culture that has decided to heap derision on people of European descent, as if they’re collectively responsible for all racism in the world. So there are a few racist people that adhere to Heathenry or use Heathen symbols. Big deal. The salient point is do they *do* anything, do they *act* on those views in a way that harms others or curtails anothers’ freedom? Usually not. If they do, THEN complain about it and take action. So who cares? The kind of thought police that I see patrolling the Pagan community is kinda scary. “Think this way about X issue or you’re a bigot and a hater.” Well sorry no, I’m not playing that game. People can think whatever they want. What they may not do is DO anything they want. I’m a Heathen woman of European descent and proud. I will not be shamed by the hyper PC crap that is being doled out on so many Pagan sites these days.

    • Mees

      You go, put whatever you want up on FB!
      Long as you aren’t hurting anyone, who cares.

  • ChristopherBlackwell

    Beyond Human, race as we use the word does not exist. It is only a few centuries old mostly used as a justification to what Europeans would later do to everyone one else. So it is a political term.

    As there are only human, racial purity is even a bigger joke, as our male ancestors quite freely went to bed with any female available. Now my family is Southern most of its history and owned slaves at various times. As we learn nearly every white ancestor who owned slaves freely bedded down with black women. Most of the slave owning family have black branches. Same goes for Indian branches and Latino branches as our male ancestors moved west. Sometimes they married them so none of us can claim any racial purity only that we don’t know, nor want to know what genetics may have passed down to us. So most people pick and choose among their ancestors and ignore the majority of them.

    Now while we each have our official linage, that is a very small part of our total linage. As you parents are two families and you grandparents are four families and you grand parents are eight family, by the time you go back twelve generations, you could have as many as 1090 families in your direct ancestry. The exceptions will be marriage in the family such as first and second cousins, quite common if you family stayed put for a few generations.

    So much for the silly idea of race.

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      I dislike the concept of race. Not a fan of running.

      I think the term “breed” works well, though. To use Wiki:

      A breed is a specific group of domestic animals or plants having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species and that were arrived at through selective breeding. Despite the centrality of the idea of “breeds” to animal husbandry, no scientifically accepted definition of the term exists.

      So – all Homo sapiens sapiens, but some broad, fuzzy-bordered categories based on superficial similarity of physical characteristics.

      • Rhoanna

        “I think the term “breed” works well, though.”

        It works well for animals. Using terms for animals for minorities has a long, racist history though. And if you bring in terms like “purebred” you’re either racist, or going to sound like one.

        • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

          Humans are animals, and anyone who say otherwise may want to check their phylum.

          Actually, “purebreds” tend to be the ones with the most associated health problems, so using the term would likely be cautionary.

  • Robert Mathiesen

    Returning to this somewhat dreary discussion, I feel the need to add that Leif Erikson Day (October 9) began as an expression of cultural pride by Norwegians in Wisconsin, inspired by the work of Rasmus B Anderson, the first Professor of Scandinavian Studies anywhere in the US, (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison), in the last quarter of the 1800s. It was a state holiday in California when I was a boy there in the 1950s, and in 1964 Congress enacted that it shall be observed nationally, which has been done by Presidential proclamation every year since then. Here is a link to Barack Obama’s first such proclamation:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-Leif-Erikson-Day

    It is appalling that racists have tried to co-opt this holiday for their own purposes in Pennsylvania, but Scandinavian-American celebrations of the holiday as an expression of cultural pride are not a racist action per se, no more than Irish-American celebrations of St Patrick’s Day are.

    And as for displaying the Norwegian flag at these celebrations, Rasmus B. Anderson’s parents were from Norway, as were Leif Erikson’s parents nearly a millenium earlier. As a fourth-generation Danish-American myself, I celebrate the day every year that I remember to do so. 🙂

  • ELNIGMA

    I looked at their FB:
    “To our fans:
    Both Norsewind as a whole and Danjul personally have recently come under attack by local “anti-fascist” groups, claiming that Norsewind is a neo-Nazi/white supremacist band. This is absolutely not true, and as Danjul himself states, Norsewind represents no political stance at all, it is about heritage, history, and having fun.”

    Maybe you ought to put that in for accuracy in this article, even if you disagree with them.

    • Vision_From_Afar

      This isn’t anything they didn’t say (other than “we’re under attack”) when contacted for a quote for the article itself. Where is the value added?

      • ELNIGMA

        Even if somebody doesn’t think its the truth, it’s the view by the other side. That’s the value added.

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      I think what people object to is political neutrality.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Agreed. There are certain topics (slavery, Nazis, etc.) that society has declared “uncompromisingly bad”, so to speak. Trying to remain neutral in anything related to those is impossible, I think.

        • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

          It is that wonderfully closed minded attitude of “If you are not with us, you are against us” when, sometimes, people just don’t care.

          Personally, I find the attitude extremely offensive, as it seeks to shut down discussion before it even happens.

          • Franklin_Evans

            Thank you, Lēoht..

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            What’d I do this time???

          • Franklin_Evans

            You wrote what I was thinking, and phrased it perfectly. Navel-gazers need to stand up for each other, don’t you think? 😀

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            I don’t like staring at my navel. It reminds me that I need to do more exercise…

          • Franklin_Evans

            I like staring at other people’s navels. It helps prepare me for the time when I can’t see mine except in a mirror.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            I find it depends on the navel.

          • GuestLEE

            I get wicked compliments about my navel.

  • Instead of using this article as a springboard for conversation about misogyny, racism, homophobia and transphobia in the pagan ‘community’ – you’re all navel gazing and having a fucking circle jerk over words.

    • Vision_From_Afar

      You sound surprised.

      • Ha! Yes and no… and your response was perfect!

    • Franklin_Evans

      So that’s what that was. I thought it was someone trying to pull my leg and missing.

    • Franklin_Evans

      On further thought, your complaint fits in nicely with one tangent we navel-gazers were pursuing: which of those topics are we guilty of not thinking about and discussing in our daily lives, and by what authority do you presume to dictate the discussion here?

      Becuase clearly, any of us who are silent about them are misogynistic racists working our asses off the marginalize homosexuals and transgender folks… or is that putting words in your mouth? Yeah, I don’t like that either.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Thank you, Franklin.

    • ELNIGMA

      I don’t think you’re right – because if you were, it’d have been more fun.

  • Since I understand how tricky it can be to sort out hard-core racist groups/individuals from conservatives who are loud n’ proud of their European heritage- http://paganleft.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/red-yellow-and-green-lights-discerning-racism/ I have made a list of traits that signal caution (yellow light) and and racist alert! (red) Please comment there (civilly!) if you have any suggestions on helping figure this out.
    *I specify “hard-core racist” here because racism comes in more subtle forms than just guys in pointy white hoods torching crosses. Kindler, gentler, liberal Northern style racism is much more of a big problem among white Pagans, we’re no different from our non-Pagan peers in that regard. The existence of these extreme groups makes it all too easy to the rest of us to fool ourselves into thinking we don’t have a problem.

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      Well, that sucks… I’m firmly in Yellow with tinges of Red (Reclaiming the swastika/fylfot should happen, but requires concerted effort.)

      -Tribalist Heathenry. Heathenry is tribalist. From a cultural and structure stance, anyway.

      – Indo-European studies. Well, that’s problematic for anyone studying early history and etymology.

      – Facebook friends/fans. Fairly sure I have some “Folkish” type Heathens on my FB “Friends” list. Sometimes they post funny stuff (which I ignore), sometimes they post interesting stuff (which I read) and sometimes they post crap that I call them out on.

      – Neo-folk and black metal genres of music. Seriously? I can’t even tell you the names of most of the musicians in the bands I listen to. So long as I like the sound, it’s good enough for me.

      Guess I should await the pitchforks…

      • I think that you misunderstand the purpose of the “yellow lights”. They are not, in themselves, markers of racist activities, but rather are areas which are commonly pursued by those in racist organizations or with “racialist” ideologies. In themselves, they are innocuous, but they serve as a warning to pay closer attention.

        I disagree with putting the swastika in the “red light” category, but it does happen to be one of the most significant of the “yellow light” markers. Me, I’d like to see it reclaimed, but I don’t think that will be possible during my lifetime, in part (though not exclusively) because of the existence of racist/”racialist” groups continuing to aggravate the situation.

        I would add to the “red light” markers a concern with “race” mixing among other people than the individual speaker. Even the slightest concern with what “races” other people sleep with can only be rooted in a noxious racism.

        • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

          “In themselves, they are innocuous, but they serve as a warning to pay closer attention.”

          So, what you are effectively saying is that the majority of Heathens are being watched, because they exhibit characteristics that racist fucktards may have?

          Yeah, that attitude really does bring out the “go fuck yourself” in me.

          • No, but thank you for putting words in my mouth like that. Or, wait, no, the other thing: “go fuck yourself” for putting words in my mouth like that.

            If you want to have a real conversation, please respond with something that isn’t mere invective and glib grandstanding. We aren’t enemies here, we all have the same goals at heart. As I mention elsewhere, I myself fall into most of the “yellow light” categories. If you prefer to continue with the glib nonsense, feel free, but don’t ask me to continue to try to engage with you as if you were an adult, attempting to find a possible solution to the real problem of racist/”racialist” imperialism in pagan/polytheist religions.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            I didn’t actually put words in your mouth, I asked if I was interpreting it right.

            Allow me to put it another way – some people find a lot of things that Heathens do to be things that Racists/Nazis do. As such, Heathen activities can raise potential flags to those looking for ideologies they find distasteful.

          • Nick Ritter

            To which the clear thing to be kept in mind is “correlation does not equal causation” (or proof).

            This sort of blurring of lines between correlation and conclusive evidence feeds into the specter of “Racism in Heathenry” that people occasionally find need to get into a flutter about. I expect that Mariah’s list would raise a number of flags, were people to use it to try and uncover my dastardly secrets (including my nefarious love for Indo-European studies), much like yourself.

            While, yes, I agree that there are some Heathens who are racists; and yes, racism is a bad thing; and yes, racism in Heathenry can be problematic: nevertheless, in my experience, racism in Heathenry is often perceived to be a more widespread and endemic problem than it actually is, in no small part because of the enormous attention it gets from people looking at it from the outside who do not have the experience to judge whether something is actually racist or merely innocuously Germanic (the two tending to be conflated since the end of WWII). This attention actually affects what is being looked at: the idea that “there are those who may be attracted to Germanic religion because of a perceived sympathy with racism” gets translated, soon or late, into “Heathens are more likely to be racists”. This heightened sensitivity towards racism in Heathenry becomes somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those who are on the lookout for said racism – because Heathens are more likely to be racists, didn’t you know? – invariably find something that appears to them to be proof of their suspicions.

            In my considered opinion, while racism itself is a thing that has the potential to damage heathenry and derail our efforts to practice our religion, those who would thought-police heathenry to vet us all for supposed metapolitical racist tendencies are rather the clearer and more present obstacle at the moment.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Thank you. That was what I was rather clumsily trying to express. Especially that last paragraph.

          • Nick Ritter

            I’m wordy. I really could have simply said: “A plague on both your houses.”

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Indeed. 😀

          • When cockroaches infest your house, calling attention to the beauty of the draperies doesn’t help eliminate them.

          • Nick Ritter

            You miss the point entirely: when cockroaches infest your house, you don’t begin an infestation of centipedes to quell them. Nor do you allow people to set fie to your house so that the roaches will be killed.

          • No, but you also don’t bar the exterminators from coming in, and you show them where the insects are rather than letting them burn down the building, or even wreck the wainscoting.

          • Nick Ritter

            This metaphor has probably been extended to near the point of ridiculousness (or if not, I’m about to do so), but: with an infestation of cockroaches, exterminators are usually called and requested (trust me, I know this from personal experience), they don’t arrive at your house uninvited and demand that you show them your bookshelf, your correspondence, your music collection, your browsing history, and your Facebook friends list so that they can label you “not a cockroach” before beginning to tear your house apart. That behavior is the hallmark of another kind of vermin, one which the Nazi-hunters – ironically – claim to be trying to “protect” us from.

          • Unless the infestation appears bad enough to be affecting the whole neighborhood. At that point, if you haven’t called in the exterminators yourself, or if your exterminators have proven to be ineffective, then it is the neighborhood’s right to protect themselves from your infestation by bringing in their own. We are not isolated from each other.

            Yes, it is a matter of judgement as to how much of such interference is acceptable. But if we can’t keep our own house in order well enough to keep from affecting the rest of the people in a noticeably negative way, then they sure can do something about it.

          • Nick Ritter

            And what about when you have a minuscule roach problem and a larger problem of overweening “exterminators”?

          • I believe that I already addressed that question.

          • Nick Ritter

            I feel like we’re playing “comment deadline chicken”.

            If you did address the question, I may not have recognized your answer as a solution to the problem. You see, I have seen racists being boorish and making asses of themselves generally, and possibly giving Heathens a bad name with a few folks. I have also seen the Nazi-hunters utterly destroy national Heathen organizations and hound innocent people out of Heathenry.

            I know how to handle the racist elements, because (despite the impression given by this article), they are few and disorganized. The Nazi-hunters are not so few, and not so disorganized, and if they can paint you as one of the wrong kind, they will destroy you with a grin on their faces and a song in their hearts, convinced all the while that they’re in the right.

            And so, as I said before: “A plague on both your houses.” Anyone, with any political ideology whatever, should keep it the hell away from my religion. Religion is a higher manifestation of truth than politics, and the better should not be enslaved to the worse.

          • Yes, some of them should cause people to slow down and seriously consider the situation, rather than simply coming to the conclusion that because those activities are engaged in by some racists, therefore all of the people so engaging must be racists. Because that is the way that the thinking of some people goes currently.

            Yes, it might be a better world if people wouldn’t go around assuming things about pagan/heathen/polytheist activities. It might also be a better world if there were a big rock-candy mountain with lemonade springs and whiskey fountains. People use shortcuts in thinking so that they don’t need to recreate the world from first principles every moment. Sometimes those shortcuts result in poor thinking, and so it is important to develop better shortcuts. Shortcuts that result in thinking are better than ones that supplant it.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            I agree with the need to develop better shortcuts. Which is why I am calling these ones out.

          • Well, no. When you tear one thing down, it is incumbent on you to provide a better solution. If you don’t, you’re not calling anything out, you’re just shit-talking.

            That is to say, if you don’t have a better solution to provide, then this one is still the best one of those presented so far. When you present a better solution, then you can call this one out.

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Doesn’t always work like that.

            There are other things to watch for, and are being watched. Use those.

            However, this is less “find other ways to look for racism” and more “what I do is not an indicator of racism”.

            I am the “third side” to the argument.

          • “fucktard” Very clever- put the f word in front of retard- I’ve also seen Heathens use “flufftard”
            Actually people with developmental disabilities don’t have much reason to support Neo-Nazism, considering the Nazis went after people with disabilities first!

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            Hardly clever, the term has been in common parlance for a long time at it’s dismissive and pejorative tone works nicely for those who I believe to be sub-intellects.

      • Actually I don’t have a problem with you, Leoht. Generally I find you to be a voice of moderate reason on these threads. I realize how complex this is, which is why I wanted feedback. The yellow signs are meant to be “some people might consider this a sign of racism, and jump to conclusions based on it alone, but just by itself it does not mean racism.” I’m fine with tribalism- however in the U.S. at least tribalist is sometimes used as code for folkish. Hence I don’t judge people by that term alone. I just friended a fellow on Facebook who is in the Asatru Folk Assembly. Doesn’t mean I’m joining the AFA, but I’m at least willing to talk.

        • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

          But you do use it as an indicator to watch for.

    • Franklin_Evans

      I admire your effort, but I’m too cynical on the general notion of political correctness to give you any support. The more important the topic or issue, the more I expect people to investigate the details, acknowledge how those details make the situation different from other situations in the same general category, and spend the time and effort thinking about it.

      People who can’t or won’t make the effort and draw conclusions on formulas and assumptions are people I prefer to lump under this mangled cliche: you can lead humans to knowledge, but you can’t make them think.

      • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

        That is what I meant to say. I just used a bit more snark…

      • I think that you also missed the point. It’s not “political correctness” to call racism by that term. Racism is neutrally descriptive of a certain set of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The things in the “red light” category should be items that are, in fact, racist attitudes or behaviors (some of the ones in the specific article need to be re-thought by the author, I think, notably the one about the swastika). The ones in the “yellow light” category are not, I think, intended as damning (heck, I fit into many of those categories myself, so I hope that they aren’t intended that way), but serve as warnings to look more closely, as they constitute areas of crossover between healthy cultural approaches and the sickness of racist/”racialist” ideologies.

        • Franklin_Evans

          FYI: I understand Lēoht’s anger, though I don’t condone how he’s expressing it.

          Respectfully, I’m not missing the point, I’m making one which you seem to be supporting: “warnings to look more closely” indicates to me that the person needing such warnings is not applying due consideration from the first step. My support for Lēoht’s point stems from that initial lack of due consideration prior to making an assumption. It implies superficiality.

          I admire the way Frank Herbert put it in his novel “The Dosadi Experiment”, where he focuses on law and jurisprudence as a primary plot point (paraphrasing):

          Prejudice is “no matter what evidence I see, I will be motivated to decide a certain way.” Bias is “after considering the evidence, I will be inclined to decide a certain way.”

          It’s a subtle distinction, but he goes on to conclude that prejudice is immoral and can be criminal in intent and result, but bias is a fact of life and can be a moral positive.

          • I find little to disagree with there, except that I expect people to use shortcuts that help them consider issues, and I hope that the best possible shortcuts can be provided. Now, I also hope that no one will treat those shortcuts as definitive. That’s why I like the sort that force people to slow down and consider certain things more carefully while providing a pruning function to skip less problem areas quickly, rather than the sort that allow people to just skip the consideration part altogether.

      • The term “political correctness” is thrown around so much that it has really lost meaning. Actually rather like the term racism! I’ve been accused of being both PC and un-PC by different people.

        • Franklin_Evans

          I certainly accept your view, while finding it ironic. 😀

          My experience of political correctness is as follows:

          The arbitrary assignment of and/or changing of the meaning of words.

          The use of political and/or legal means of enforcing those meanings.

          The implementation of punishments for “violations” of political correctness.

          Finally, the lack of rational thought (expanding why I use “arbitrary”) expected of people in their personal interactions and relationships.

          … my personal life is embedded in two parts of American culture on a daily basis: LGBT and Pagan. I believe that being honest and sincere is enough to negate the intent and purpose of political correctness, and the mechanism of “correction” should always be in the hands of people amongst themselves, not a top-down societal imposition.

          My personal reaction to it is the same one I have towards religious dogma. I do my own thinking, I expect to make my own mistakes and be persoanlly responsible for learning from them. Anyone who claims to have done my thinking for me is suspect, anyone attempting to force their thinking on me is an enemy.

          • Thoughts on “political correctness”- this is focused on disability language in particular: http://mariahmuse.blogspot.com/2013/08/sensitive-language-for-oppressed-groups.html

          • Franklin_Evans

            This thread will go inactive soon (seems to be a three-day limit on allowing comments), so I wanted to quickly thank you for your contributions to it.

            Your blog post is well done. I listen for corrections from people who find words or usages offensive, and I try (not always successfully) to accept them at face value even when they aren’t polite.

            I also encourage people to read etymologies of words. Besides giving a context to modern usage, they trace shifts in lexicon over time and are often fascinating looks at how incredibly far those shifts have gone. Two examples:

            “faggot” was a bundle of wood. Its shift was in large part to its use in conjunction with execution by immolation of people deemed deviants during those times (homosexuals, but also witches and plain heretics).

            “retard” is from Romance languages and Latin, and means “slow”. It’s original usage (look it up, my sieve-like memory is always a caveat) was as a developmental comparison. It’s still used in music notation (ritard) and manufacturing (“fire retardant”).

            I don’t mean to lecture. I wrote that as context for my use of “arbitrary”. Be well, Mariah.

          • Thank you Franklin, glad we could come to an understanding. I think intent is what matters. A lot of activist think it’s not enough, and blame people for being ignorant but that’s unfair. Not everyone goes to college and gets to hear lectures on feminist and post-colonial theory and stuff, but as long as they at least try to be respectful and listen to other viewpoints, that is what matters.