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Millenials Vs Boomers: Young voices of far-right hatred blame liberal oldies

TJI Pick
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Published: 9 March 2019

Last updated: 4 March 2024

THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM in Australia has been reported widely. One overlooked aspect of this trend is that it seems to be led by a younger generation, and is targeting younger generations.

White nationalists, thinly veiled as “alt-right” or “traditionalists”, are increasingly using divisive politics not just on a racial level but on a generational level to connect with the general discontent of younger people and integrate them into their cause.

Traditionally we have seen the nationalist Right exploit xenophobia, targeting new migrants and drawing on international conflicts and tensions to spread fear. But a new frontier is being exploited in which Millennials (born 1978-2004) are pitted against Boomers (born 1946-64).

This front plays heavily on gender politics, wealth disparity, big business influence, warmongering and even, increasingly, the tropes of “Israeli and Jewish control”.

The charges laid against Boomers are as follows: their generation inherited a prosperous society, with housing affordability, fair wages and relative social harmony. As a result of their liberal sensitivities, Millennials have inherited debt, stagnant wages and racial identity conflicts.

The argument holds that Boomers have come to dominate media, academia and politics, which makes them responsible for the problems in the Middle East, especially in their devotion to, and respect for, Israel.

In addition, Boomers failed to defend our borders, leading to mass immigration; have spent us into debt; sold us out to globalisation; made divorce a norm leading to broken families and lost kids; created the real estate crisis and more.
American Nicholas J. Fuentes, 20 years old,  maintains that “the Boomer generation and its consequences has been a disaster for the human race” and describes life as “absolutely hurt by the existence of Jews”.

Among the leading t voices drip-feeding this narrative is Nicholas J. Fuentes (a far-right American commentator who operated the America First podcast), who maintains that “the Boomer generation and its consequences has been a disaster for the human race” and describes life as “absolutely hurt by the existence of Jews”.

At just 20 years old, Fuentes has over 50,000 followers across Twitter and YouTube. His hourly rants are chopped and reverberated across the world to join a growing chorus of Millennial anger.

Other prominent proponents of this theory include Richard Spencer, president of the US white nationalist think tank, the National Policy Institute, who described Boomers as “a ruling class”, Canadian  Gavin McInnes, founder of The Proud Boys hate group, who contends that Boomers are a “horrible, vile, disgusting, selfish, over indulgent, immature, retarded  generation”, and another Canadian, Lauren Southern,  darling of the white nationalist movement who toured Australia last year discussing themes in her book, Barbarians: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants, and Islam Screwed My Generation.

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Fuentes and his ilk have remarkably similar tactics to those we have seen used by local nationalist figures such as Blair Cottrell and the United Patriots Front (UPF). In their circles they call it “red pilling” - build a base of social media followers from common social anxieties, then drip feed them information that taps into what they believe to be the causes of societal decline.

One of the more notable examples involves making a post that claims Donald Trump is caught up in an extra-marital scandal labelled the “Lavon Affair”, which was a failed Mossad operation in 1954 designed to convince the British to keep its troops in Suez.

In an attempt to get those attracted to the alt-right space to research the espionage scandal connected to the Mossad, they post a picture of an attractive young woman and suggest there are more revealing photos if you search for the Lavon Affair.

Locally we have seen a similar tactic taking place at rallies centred around immigration and crime. In his keynote address at the Rise up Australia Rally at St Kilda in January, Cottrell said: "We know who is responsible! It's not the Africans on the streets. It's not the African community leaders. And it's not the Muslims. It's this corrupt media government alliance, and it has been from the beginning."

Most of the crowd had come to protest immigration and violence allegedly perpetrated by immigrant youths in the area. Instead, Cottrell takes them in another direction. Moving his head back and forth to emulate his hero Adolf Hitler, he continued:

"How did these immigrants, these African men, fighting aged men, how did they get here? Who signed off on it? It's not the police, it's their command, it’s where they get their orders."

Cottrell paused and surveyed the crowd, then built to a crescendo. “The same people that give the police their orders are the same people that write the news.

“They're the same people that write the education curriculum, who tell your children what to think. The same people who force immigration onto your country."

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Increasingly, Cottrell has been pushing the Boomer divide himself, along with a number of thought leaders of the alt-right domestic community, such as writers for the white nationalist blog The Unshackled, Damien Ferri and Michael Smyth, and Tom Sewell, an ally of Cottrell and the founder of the white nationalist men’s gym, the Lads Society.

Fifteen minutes from Beth Weizmann Jewish Community Centre in Caulfield, The Lads Society is marketed to lost, marginalised young men as a “school of life” community, complete with a library, filled with texts such as Mein Kampf and The Greater Britain by 1930s British fascist Oswald Mosley. The Lads Society chaperoned​ Southern ​during her Australian tour last year.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry 2018 report on anti-Semitism showed a 60% increase in anti-Semitic incidents, from 230 in 2017, to 366 in 2018. We know who is largely responsible. It's not the Africans on the streets, nor their community leaders.

And it's not the Muslims - 36% of all incidents came from Antipodean Resistance, a neo-Nazi collective exclusive to Millenials, a group with strong links to the Lads Society and its founder’s ideology. In 2017 the group was responsible for 50 incidents; in 2018 that figure rose to 133.

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As Eric Voeten, a professor of geopolitics and justice in world affairs at Georgetown University, wrote in The Washington Post in 2016, across the UK, US and Australia, younger people on average assign lower value to democracy, and there is a general decline in faith of democratic institutions. Millennials are also much more likely to get their news and opinion from unconventional, unverifiable sources, such as independent blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and sites such as 4chan, 8chan and Reddit. They share and consolidate political ideas in memes rather than articles.

Increasingly we have seen classical anti-Semitic ideas targeted at Millennials, and from those who take the bait, the grooming of a new guard of young, white and active nationalist men.

With inter-generational blame increasingly entering the social media spaces and political debate, this is likely to continue.

Main photo: Blair Cottrell (left) and Nicholas J. Fuentes

 

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