What exactly does the “alt-right” stand for? Is it a white nationalist identity movement? Or is it simply about “hating Hillary” and supporting President Donald Trump?
Two far-right figures fought over the question on Tuesday — the latest in off-and-on battle waged for the direction of the amorphous movement. A Daily Beast article gave a blow by blow of the dispute.
White nationalist Richard Spencer, popularizer of the term “alt-right,” which can serve as a contemporary label for white nationalists, tweeted at InfoWars editor Paul Joseph Watson Monday night, saying that, “the alt-right is an identity movement. Period. It’s not about classical liberalism or hating Hillary.”
Spencer took a jab a Watson’s style of YouTube videos. “I hope you’ll one day learn that more is expected of you than yelling into a camera in front of a map,” he wrote.
Watson fired back, “Do tell me ‘what is expected of me,’ mein Fuhrer.”
Former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke weighed in, at first trying to referee — but ultimately siding with Spencer and his white nationalism. He slammed InfoWars’ Watson, “You cannot fight invasion with libertarian individualism.”
All three are avid supporters of Trump. Duke, a rabid Jew hater, is something of an elder statesman in the white nationalism movement and has a cozy relationship with Spencer. Watson is based in the England and, as an editor at Infowars, helped push conspiracist stories against Hillary Clinton.
After the dust settled Watson read the Daily Beast article and tweeted, “Daily Beast trying to stir the pot by writing an article about me & @RichardBSpencer’s Twitter argument. Why does [mainstream media] love him so much?”
Spencer couldn’t resist responding: “The media can’t resist. How did calling us all racists work out?”
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Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum .
InfoWars, Richard Spencer Spar Over ‘Alt-Right’