I regret to inform you all that Rhyd Wildermuth is an ally to bigotry

Have you ever had that feeling when you encounter someone you really found fascinating, whose work got you thinking about something in a bit of a different way from before, and you start taking influence from them, and then you find out that they’ve made such egregious errors of judgement that it makes you question what you want to do with them, and then you feel kind of lost? That’s what happened regarding Rhyd Wildermuth. I discovered his work a few months ago, in the process of rediscovering Gods and Radicals, itself part of my own process of rediscovering, and re-envisioning, Paganism as a religious world-outlook, onto which Luciferianism as an esoteric outlook can be formatted in my own syncretic way. He inspired some ways of thinking about Paganism or had me thinking of some beliefs I always kind of had in a way that, at that time, I didn’t imagine before, or at least pointed the way to them. But recently I’ve begun to think he’s actively taking the side of some bigoted and reactionary corners of the online left – either that or he’s just too stupid to know the difference and he ends up as a dupe – and that has me questioning myself quite a bit. I mean don’t get me wrong, his more recent article on anarchism was very questionable enough and I had a lot of problems with it, but what I’m about to tell you is much worse. It has to do with two online left figures widely known for their snobbish, reactionary bigotry and who together form a kind of red-brown alliance in online circles: one is an (apparently) anarchist YouTuber/podcaster by the name of Angie Speaks, the other is another podcaster by the name of Aimee Terese. One of them, Angie, seems to be a friend of Rhyd Wildermuth’s and is actively platformed on Gods and Radicals’ website. This is a problem for reasons you are about to see.

This all started a few days ago when someone showed me a short Twitter thread that Angie posted last week, in which she attacked people who “”try to be something they’re not”. If that sounds vague, I’ll just post a screenshot of the thread below here:

Now this on its own can invite a fair few questions. What “self-hatred” is she referring to? Who are the people “trying to be something they’re not”? Why is aversion to said people “not bigotry”, and for that matter why the need to refer to bigotry, since this reference implies a response to accusations of bigotry? Who is “not living their truth” and why is it “perfectly natural” to be “creeped out” by them? But the answer to all of those questions, to anyone reading between the lines, is that Angie is referring to trans people. She believes that trans people are not and cannot be the gender they identify as, that they hate themselves, and that cisgender people being averse to them is “natural” because they are “uncanny” and “deceptive”. This is in part a fairly textbook case of ignorance about trans people, but also an equally textbook case of transphobic bigotry, since the whole premise of Angie’s argument is that she thinks trans people are inherently disturbing and that it’s both acceptable and justified for others to be disturbed by them and treat them like scum. When it’s coming from a right-wing conservative, and a Christian one at that, the bigotry tends to be easy to spot and most people react accordingly. When it’s coming from someone who calls themselves a leftist of any sort, the same is also almost true, except that for some reason there are more people willing to take them at face value or give them the benefit of the doubt, because left-wing transphobes, unlike right-wing transphobes, have the habit of masking the same exact bigotry in a labyrinth of intellectual jargon and obfuscation.

This is also not Angie’s first time being transphobic. In April, Angie, after seeing a video of a schizophrenic trans teenager panicking because their mother deadnamed them repeatedly and was in the process of kicking them out of their home, responded to said video by calling the trans person in question a “brat” and remarked that parents would “many parents would rethink having zoomer/ millennial brats if they new it entailed paying for their lifestyle and housing in adulthood”, among other things.

Just to emphasize, the poor individual with the green hair is pleading to anyone watching their TikTok video to help them find a new home in order to get away from them, because their parents are abusing them, and Angie’s response to this is to make it seem like the teenager deserved what they got, because of their “strange interests” (as though witchcraft somehow isn’t considered a “strange interest”) and supposed “bullying”. Angie decided to frame the teenager as the bully and her parents as the real victims, and following this she released a nearly-hour-long YouTube tirade about “narcissism”, “validation”, and “social justice”. Angie’s open and public stance on someone having a mental health crisis while being verbally and mentally abused by their parents and thrown out of their home is in fact a dispenser of abuse rather than its victim. Angie is thus justifying the suffering of young trans people, and is therefore a transphobe. Insofar as Angie considers herself to be a feminist, this would mean that she is also a TERF, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (more on that later).

Then, last week, there’s the other tidbit about Angie appearing on the What’s Left podcast, hosted by Aimee Terese. I didn’t get much into Aimee’s whole persona and even in the context of this post I don’t think going into much more than a paragraph of detail is merited, but there’s a lot out there, and none of it good. Born as Aimee Laba, Aimee Terese is a Lebanese-Australian self-styled Marxist (who apparently can’t debate about Marxism without shutting down) who likes to talk a big game about how she advances real working class politics against “the professional middle class” by smuggling conservative nationalist, and often bigoted (and more recently anti-vaccine), talking points into socialist/left-wing circles. This, of course, is despite being the scion of a wealthy Lebanese capitalist and reared in one of Sydney’s most prestigious (and not to mention reactionary) elite private schools, a fact that flies straight in the face of her claims that her father was an impoverished electrician, and also despite having people like Oren Cass on their show, who is so establishment conservative that he worked for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns (very “socialist”, I’m sure). Over the years Terese’s politics has gotten more and more reactionary to the point that she went from posturing about being the biggest supporter of Bernie Sanders on the block to literally opposing universal healthcare on the grounds that it would supposedly give the state the power to vaccinate and euthanize everyone in totalitarian fashion. I’m not kidding around, see below:

Nobody tell Aimee that this has never happened anywhere, or that she sounds almost exactly like a Tea Party goon

Oh and did I mention that she’s basically a white nationalist who is in turn supported by other white nationalists and also literal, actual neo-Nazis? Because that’s pretty important.

Aimee Terese is the only contemporary “Marxist” I am aware of who has actually been promoted by white nationalists as an ally of their cause. Consider American Renaissance, the organization founded by the white nationalist and alt-right thought leader Jared Taylor. On their website one of their authors, Chris Roberts, wrote an article on December 11th 2019 titled “Aimee Terese: Contrarian, Marxist — White Advocate?“, in which Roberts goes through a gallery of Terese’s many takes which he finds agreeable to his own white nationalist ideology. In the same vein, the website for the National Vanguard, which is an actual neo-Nazi group founded by a fairly notorious neo-Nazi named Kevin Alfred Storm, also published their own article expressing solidarity with Terese, written on July 28th 2020 by an anonymous author going by “Dissident Millenial”. Titled “Aimee Terese — A Witty Marxist and Fetching Thorn in the Side of “Woke” Liberals“, it contains basically the same collection of tweets as Chris Roberts’ article with basically the same intent, but the author also adds a certain degree of flirtatious feeling to it, almost like a pathetic attempt to get a date. She’s also known to be rather friendly towards a white supremacist and Daily Stormer contributor named Joseph Jordan (known on the internet as Eric Striker), and had agreeable conversations regarding Striker’s views on the “j-left” (presumably meaning “Jewish left”, implying the left they don’t like is a form of anti-white Jewish subversion). When this naturally attracted the ire of the rest of the online left, she pretended not to know who Striker was, accused people of policing her, preceeded to police other people for retweeting her enemies, and had Eric Striker come to her defence.

If you advertise yourself as a socialist, indeed the one of the “only real socialists” on the internet, but you echo the views of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, are friends with neo-Nazis, and will defend association with neo-Nazis, the possibilities are that you are a Nazi or a white nationalist yourself, or are just so colossally stupid that it isn’t even worth contemplating.

Of course, so far I’ve gone through all of this information without once tying it back to Rhyd Wildermuth. But that changes now. You’ll remember that I mentioned that Angie Speaks is still listed on the Gods and Radicals website, and still has a page on that website. I contacted Rhyd Wildermuth via email about much of what has been discussed previously, and expressed concerns about him platforming a transphobe with links to white nationalism. What you’re about to see below is his response:

Hi there,

I’ve checked out the links you provided and none of these amount to evidence of Angie being anti-trans or aligned with white nationalists.

Her views align with a growing number of Black Marxists (see for example the repeatedly de-platformed Black Marxist professor Adolph Reed, as well as many of Cornell West’s recent positions) that neo-liberal ‘anti-racism’ only reifies race, because it is much better for the capitalists that poor people blame each other for ‘systemic oppression’ rather than fighting the capitalists together. While I do not have experience with Aimée Terese, after reading the screenshots provided in those links it appears she is also critiquing this same problem.

I have known Angie personally for many years, by the way, and can assure you she is not anti-trans either. She has absolutely critiqued much of the neoliberal (capitalist) dogma around trans identity and the aggressive subsection of twitter that has called for the death of cis gays who will not have sex with trans people, as well as the many rape threats against gender critical women on social media (see my own critique of this here, with links to large archives of this behavior ).

While some of her own rhetoric can absolutely be quite provocative in a way in which I myself would never engage (it’s one of the reasons I completely left social media in August), it would take much more for me to silence her–or anyone–on our website.

Thanks for your email.

In short summary, Rhyd Wildermuth has seen what I have sent him and does not believe that Angie is anti-trans or aligned with white nationalists, thinks of her as an intellectual critic of neoliberal identity politics doing nothing but critiquing “neoliberal dogma around trans identity”, treats Aimee Terese as yet another of said critics while seemingly not touching on why white nationalists and Nazis seem to actively promote her content, and will not dissociate her from the Gods and Radicals website. Let’s go through this response point by point.

I’ve already established that Angie is in fact anti-trans, so there’s no need to go into too much detail about that. What I could do, though, is get into Rhyd’s justification for why he maintains this idea that she is not anti-trans. He says that she has “critiqued much of the neoliberal (capitalist) dogma around trans identity”. What is that “neoliberal dogma”, exactly? Judging from Angie’s statements it would appear that this “neoliberal dogma” is nothing more than the assertion that trans people are the gender they say they are, and that gender affirmation (or reassignment) surgery is valid. How exactly this is “neoliberal dogma” is a bit of a mystery, unless you consider that perhaps calling it “neoliberal dogma” serves as a way to de-legitimize what is otherwise essentially scientific consensus on the subject of being trans, and in a way that can seem palatable to certain idiotic leftists obsessed with certain ideas of “proletarian culture” against “bourgeois culture”. The only other “neoliberal dogma” I can see is the idea that trans people shouldn’t be deadnamed ad nauseum, let alone at all or by their parents for that matter, and shouldn’t be thrown out of their homes for suffering a mental breakdown because of it. And again, the only reason that’s seen as “neoliberal dogma” for some is because it can serve as a convenient intellectual justification for being cruel to trans people.

The other flank of his argument that Angie is not anti-trans is that she is also critical of “the aggressive subsection of twitter that has called for the death of cis gays who will not have sex with trans people, as well as the many rape threats against gender critical women on social media”. As ludicrous as this all sounds, the tell is in the phrase “gender critical women”. “Gender critical” is the politically correct term for what are otherwise called TERFs – trans-exclusionary radical feminists. These feminists believe that trans women are actually men seeking to “invade women’s spaces”, borrow arguments from homophobic evangelical Christians to justify discrimination against trans people, and they have the habit of threatening violence upon people they disagree with – or at least, they like to stick razor blades under their posters to slice anyone who tries to pull them down. So for a start, it’s the TERFs that like to do the silencing in broad trends. As for the “death and rape threats” accusation, even the Twitter album that Rhyd cites isn’t necessarily the smoking gun that he thinks it is. Not least if you remember that Twitter is not representative of the entire LGBT community – in fact, it’s not even representative of the whole population. Besides which, no matter how many people in the LGBT community actually hold the kind of absurd and bigoted opinions towards homosexuals Rhyd alludes to, that doesn’t suddenly mean that Angie isn’t transphobic anymore than US imperialism suddenly means Iran isn’t an authoritarian theocracy. And even if there are people on Twitter who shit on gay people for not dating trans people, is that really worse than the fact that trans people can be murdered on a whim, with violence against trans people increasing, and their murders often still going unreported, and failing that they’re still regularly denied housing? That’s something that, for some reason, Angie and Rhyd don’t seem interested in talking about, or Aimee Terese for that matter, or any TERF. Or, for another matter, Glenn Greenwald, who went from one of the best journalists in America willing to stick his neck out to stand up to right-wing authoritarianism in Brazil, to a tired old centrist crank whining about how he thinks gay people are being replaced by trans people or some nonsense like that.

Oh but then there’s the point about Angie not being associated with white nationalism. Rhyd insists that Angie is not associated with white nationalism via her links with Aimee Terese, and that instead she is part of a growing movement of black Marxists (only two are actually cited) that are united by the contention “that neo-liberal ‘anti-racism’ only reifies race, because it is much better for the capitalists that poor people blame each other for ‘systemic oppression’ rather than fighting the capitalists together”. This, again, is deflection. For starters, “neoliberal anti-racism” is never specified, but we can only assume it refers to various liberal ideas about race and discussion thereof. Without being given any canards to examine, we can sort of dismiss this by pointing out that many leftists who aren’t what we might call “class reductionists” already tear apart the work of people like Robin DiAngelo as essentially an arm of corporate power against working class coalition building and organization, in favour of socialist anti-racist projects that still emphasize the inclusion of various identity-based struggles.

There’s a reason for this that I’ve come to understand. In the past, there were communist parties that expressly refused to include struggles for black liberation in their political program, no doubt to emphasize that the class struggle was the only struggle. The main example of this would be the Communist Party USA, which in the early 20th century followed this exact approach even to the point of denying the existence of racism. The end result was that some black workers abandoned the communist parties, and the left, to support Marcus Garvey, a proto-fascist black nationalist and an admirer of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Of course, many who didn’t instead turned to the much more radical Black Panthers. The point being, socialist movements that dismissed liberationist identity-based struggles ended up losing people to anyone who might champion whose causes instead, even if that included fascistic ethno-nationalists. That historical materiality may end up explaining why certain “class reductionist” or “class first” leftists end up morphing into reactionaries, often of the white nationalist variety. So contrary to some talking points about how “woke” leftists are creating fascists, the communists who followed the approach that Angie and Aimee would have them follow were the ones actually creating fascists.

Returning to Angie, for a moment, if the idea is that she’s critiquing identity fetishism in the sense of leveraging racial identity against the working class, that’s frankly laughable. In many exchanges, including only a few years ago in which she was arguably just as much an “identity-fetishist” as the people she now hates, she will, during the course of argument, not hestitate to leverage the fact that she’s a black woman in order to shield herself from criticism. Not exactly something you’d expect from someone interested in fighting “identity politics”. Since Rhyd claimed that Aimee Terese makes basically the same critique, we should briefly address her once more. While Terese is framed as an opponent of “identity politics”, we can see from her tweets that she spends a lot of time leveraging white identity against a multicultural elite, which is the quintessential and core politics of white nationalism. Also, for someone ostensibly keen to oppose identitarianism, why is Aimee Terese an anti-Semite? Just a month ago she produced a meme which depicted mass vaccination against Covid-19 as some kind of Jewish plot to enslave non-Jews.

When you do explicitly Nazi memes after repeatedly insisting that you aren’t a Nazi

I guess I can’t blame Rhyd too much for not knowing about this, not having dealt with Aimee before. But I’ll bet Angie knows what she’s doing, considering that they are friends and fellow travellers. Insofar as Aimee Terese is a white nationalist, and there really can’t be any denying it at this point, Angie’s links to white nationalism are pretty definite. She’ll never express white nationalism ideologically herself, but she will ally herself with white nationalists seeking to infiltrate the left as comrades in being “cancelled” by everyone else, thereby creating a network of influence. This along with the obvious transphobia is the problem with Gods and Radicals still having Angie Speaks on their website.

In light of all this Rhyd Wildermuth’s stance is clear: he is on the side of TERFs, and from the sounds of it might be a TERF himself, and so he has no problem with transphobia except to the extent that he likes to deny being anti-trans. He has seen evidence to corroborate Aimee Terese being a white nationalist, which would mean that, because Angie networks with Aimee, Angie represents a point of connection between left-wing contrarians and white nationalism, yet has chosen to dismiss the idea of Aimee Terese being a white nationalist, which functionally means he denies that Angie has any connections to white nationalism, and therefore he will not distance himself from her. By continuing to have Angie on the roster of the Gods and Radicals website, Rhyd gives his website a place in that same network. This means that at this point Rhyd Wildermuth is an ally to some very bigoted people.

What does this all mean? Well, it does mean I’m feeling extremely conflicted, mostly because his writings on Paganism proved to be informative of the way Paganism and radical left-wing political thought could intersect and helped light the way to a meaningful Pagan left-wing critique of the Enlightenment, plus his website still has a lot of good work on it, in the form of not just the articles not written by Rhyd, as well as some he did write, but in the form of the books they have (Kadmus Herschen’s groundbreaking True to the Earth is on that website). But while all the good is still there, knowing that Rhyd is willing to go out to bat for these disgusting reactionaries makes things very painfully inconvenient. The best outcome of this is that this complicates my ability to appreciate his work, but the worst possibility is that he’s trying to smuggle some pretty chauvinistic attitudes into Pagan left-wing spaces.

To close out this post, I’d like to make a point about why being a TERF doesn’t make much sense if you’re serious about Paganism. Christian culture may have made a big point about hierarchical masculinity and femininity being fixed essences and set in stone by God, but while even pre-Christian societies tended to be patriarchal, there is also a lot of evidence that they tended to accept trans identity to some degree. 3,000 years ago, the Persians recognized a “third gender” alongside male and female. In Sumeria, the priests of the goddess Inanna were men who discarded their masculinity and became women, and Inanna herself was revered for having the power to change men into women and vice versa. In India, the Hijra were a kind of “third gender”, considered either intersex, transgender, or asexual, who, although often marginalized in Indian society, have been present within it since antiquity and can even possess religious significance. In pre-Christian Norse society, transgressing gender norms could be seen as a source of profound power, and the god Loki himself moved through the genders almost on a whim, a fact that the Norse also tended to accept of their gods in general. And of course, the Amerindian (or Native American) tribes are known to have acknowledged over a hundred different gender expressions, and many tribes had a variety of ideas about people who did not fit the traditional male-female dichotomy, which were then suppressed by the dictatorship of colonial morality.

The point I’m trying to make is that the Pagan world did not have the problems with accepting the identity of trans people that Christian culture or more particularly modern Western culture has up to the present. So what’s stopping Rhyd Wildermuth, a Pagan, from taking effectively the same stance as his ancient pre-Christian forbears and accepting trans people as valid? By legitimating the TERF stance on trans people, endorsing the delegitimating of the identity of trans people on TERF grounds, and falling into identity-based sectarianism between trans people and gay people based on some dumb bullshit on Twitter, itself trumped up by TERFs, Rhyd does not seem to take seriously or grasp the extent to which Paganism endorses the acceptance of the identity of trans people. It also means he doesn’t take too seriously the way he talks about the Right Sacred and the Left Sacred. By his terms, the Right Sacred segregates Man and the Sacred and rigidly enforces the boundaries of experience. The TERF position is all about rigidly enforcing conservative gender norms as the mandatory experience of gender. It doesn’t matter that this hierarchical conservatism happens to be disguised by the rhetoric of female empowerment and liberation, because hierarchical conservatism it most certainly is in reality. So, by Rhyd’s terms, the TERF position is that of the Right Sacred, which he tends to see as inferior to the Left Sacred. To take the Left Sacred, with its emphasis on liberation, disinhibition, and transgression of the boundaries of experience seriously, it would be far more sensible to embrace a society in which the boundaries of experience can be freely transgressed, and therefore being trans should be considered valid in itself on those grounds at least. But even without that framework, being trans was simply considered to be valid in the Pagan world, or at least it was a recognized social category even in the context of societies where this was still marginalized. It’s not something that has recently sprung up as the product of liberal modernity.

In broad terms, Rhyd Wildermuth is taking the wrong side of an issue where we on the left, and we as Pagans, really should not be having such a hard time being on the right side of, and his willingness to defend transphobes who also happen to network with white nationalists is a major problem for his own credibility, and unfortunately that of Gods and Radicals, which is his website. Perhaps it can be maintained that we need not completely disregard the work of Gods and Radicals because of it, but then perhaps it would be better if there was another Gods and Radicals that isn’t run by someone who may be a TERF.

There’s no reason for this image to be here, except for me to say “fuck TERFs”, because fuck TERFs

A question or two for Asenath Mason

Asenath Mason, the Luciferian Satanist author of books such as Rites of Lucifer and Draconian Ritual Book, recently came forward with a statement on her Facebook account in which she publicly defended Become A Living God, E. A. Koetting’s brand organization of which she is a contributing author. Koetting’s brand has been talked about quite bit over the last month in relation to the murders carried out by Danyal Hussein, a former BALG forum member, and the subject of BALG and its problems has been outlined in detail, but for our purposes let’s recap.

Become A Living God is a website that publishes the works of not only E. A. Koetting but also several other Left Hand Path occultists, and it is pretty notorious for the extortionate prices attached to their books as well as a host of expensive courses on how to do everything from bind women to your will, to making blood pacts with angels and demons, to creating a literal empire of wealth, to even making you fall in love with yourself, and you can pay as much $1,600 for your trouble. Koetting himself, the behind Become A Living God, was a member of Tempel ov Blood, and probably still is, and has written books in which he advocates for human and animal sacrifice as a way to become a god, and those books are published through Become A Living God. That all came to everyone’s attention this year, and last, when Danyal Hussein murdered two women in Fryent County Park, and was found guilty in July. When the police raided Hussein’s home they discovered a blood pact with Lucifuge Rofocale which involved human sacrifice as a condition for fulfillment, and after the murder it was discovered that Hussein was, at least for a time, a member of the Become A Living God forum.

Asenath Mason, as a BALG-affiliated author, seems to rather Jane-come-lately in light of this situation, responding to outcry about Koetting a month after other BALG contributors like Stephanie Connolly and Orlee Stewart already gave their takes on the subject. Nonetheless, her response is an unambiguous defence of BALG. It reads as follows:

In the recent times I’ve watched a lot of unhealthy competition between occult authors, magicians, and their followers, as well as silly games and fights between people in occult circles. I usually stay away from such things, but sometimes you just need to say something. I was attacked in the past myself, dealing with freaks and stalkers, and I know how draining it may be, so I definitely sympathize with those who get attacked only because they’re successful in what they’re doing. There’s way too much envy and stupid games between magicians these days. I’m not going to mention any names here, but if you’ve been watching groups and pages, you’ve possibly noticed all that yourself. There have been attacks e.g. on Become A Living God lately, and since I’ve been working with them for the last several years, I just want to say that I fully support them. Over these years my experience with them was nothing but positive. I’ve never experienced there anything that wouldn’t be supportive or professional, no drama or betrayal, and I really can’t say the same about some other publishers, authors, or magicians I’ve worked with so far. I believe they’ll be fine, just like I came out successful from similar attacks in the past, while my attackers are long gone from the picture and don’t matter on the occult scene anymore. Why? Because you’re never attacked by someone who’s doing more than you or is more successful than you. It’s always triggered by envy, and those who attack you are usually no match to you. And for those who start such fights, I have just one advice – you won’t ascend spiritually if you’re a piece of sh** in your day-to-day life, so if you want to be more successful than others, focus your efforts on fixing that, instead of trying to take someone else down to your level.

In essence, Asenath Mason believes that the only people who criticize Become A Living God and E. A. Koetting are losers who are jealous of BALG and Koetting because of their success. No effort is made to address anything about Koetting’s involvement with Tempel ov Blood, let alone refute anything that has been said about it, and there is no attempt to discuss Koetting’s advocacy of human sacrifice. All Asenath Mason has to say is that the people pointing those things out are just bitter that other people are doing better than them. This represents a total lack of accountability from a BALG contributor.

As the title of this post suggests, Asenath Mason’s statement leaves me with a couple of questions for her. Does she know about how Koetting advocates for human sacrifice in his books? It seems to me to be naive to assume she doesn’t, since both Mason and Koetting are BALG authors, meaning it’s safe to assume she probably did read some of Koetting’s work and chances are came across his material on sacrifice. So then, what’s her opinion of that. And to illustrate my point, let me relay a quote from Koetting’s book Works of Darkness on the subject:

In the performance of ritual sacrifice, however, the psychological justifications and explanations flow away like life from veins, and the Black Magician is left kneeling with blood on his hands, chest, face, and soul. He once thought he understood, up until the ritual dagger which had hitherto seemed so inert plunged into the victim’s heart like a key with which a doorway to absolute Darkness was unlocked and flung open.

Traditionally, the throat of the victim is to be slit from the victim’s right to the left, and in the same motion, the dagger is to be plunged up to the hilt in its heart. This type of bloody human sacrifice can be made in other ways, however, such as immolation, hanging, asphyxiation, or any other method of ending the life of the victim, so long as the killing begins and ends within the Temple, whose walls contain the spiritual explosion long enough for the Black Magician to direct it towards his goal.

This is very literally and straigtforwardly Koetting advocating for ritually murdering people as part of the practice of black magick, a way for the black magician to cultivate esoteric power to do with as he/she wishes. This is in Koetting’s book, and more of his books as well. If Asenath Mason is familiar with Koetting’s work then I am certain she has read stuff like this, and I am not certain that she has expressed any disapproval of it. So, what does she think of this? What does she think of books that talk about how human sacrifice is a way for aspiring black magicians to cultivate the power of darkness? Does she approve of such practices? And if she doesn’t, why doesn’t she say anything? Is it just a classic case of someone from BALG defending her own? That makes sense, but then why defend them over human sacrifice? Why even be on BALG? Is the exposure and the revenue really worth defending human sacrifice books written by a guy who is probably still a Tempel ov Blood fascist?

So what does Asenath Mason really value in all this? Probably nothing.

The pointless crusade against cartoons

A pretty good run-down of the recent history of moral panics against cartoons, and why you don’t take complaints about “wokeness” in cartoons as anything other than conservative politically correct screeching.

East of Eden

From ARTHUR on Racism: Talk, Listen, and Act (2020), which was targeted by conservative outrage mobs for discussing racism.

For about as long as I remember, there have always been people trying to police the world of animation, whether it’s the usual conservative moral guardians saying they’re corrupting the youth, or the occasional liberal feminist bellyacher accusing them of sexism, but let’s be honest, most of it has come from conservatives, and such a trend has carried on to this day.

I speak of course about a video produced by conservative pundit Matt Walsh, which incidentally is what spurred me on to write this in the first place, in which he alleges that “woke cartoons” are intentionally promoting “SJW” ideology to children for the purposes of indoctrinating them, and rants about how cartoons supposedly aren’t just about entertainment anymore. The fact that PragerU actually is making cartoons with the explicit…

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America’s war

20 years ago, the World Trade Center was attacked by two airplanes that were hijacked by Islamist radicals led by Osama bin Laden, and then afterwards some another crashed into the Pentagon and another almost crashed into Washington DC but failed to reach its intended target. This was known as the 9/11 attacks. For the next 20 years, the United States of America led an international campaign to take Afghanistan by force and control it on the grounds that Al Qaeda was hiding Osama bin Laden there and refused to hand him over, and then later Iraq was invaded on the grounds that Saddam Hussein had possessed weapons of mass destruction. Both of those wars were trumped bullshit that America only fought so that it didn’t have to go anywhere near Saudi Arabia, and for 20 years the 9/11 attacks served as the basic rationale for . Then, last month, almost 20 years after the 9/11 attacks, America left Afghanistan, or rather was driven out by the Taliban as they were preparing to leave, and America’s ambitions for Afghanistan stood in ruins before the whole world.

I was seven years-old when the 9/11 attacks happened, and at that time I was on one of the many planes flying to America that were diverted shortly after the attacks took place. My plane landed somewhere in Canada. When I go there I had no idea where I was until my parents took me to some YMCA building in Halifax. I was too young to get much grip of what was happening, I only really got any idea of what was happening through newspapers laying around the building and the occasional TV news segment. After a while I flew back to Britain, and the next time I got into America I swear the only thing I could see in the airport was American flags. My mind tells me that I may have seen a photo of George W. Bush somewhere at the same airport, but I guess I probably didn’t. I can only assume that’s the product of the instincts I acquired later in life that told me that America was basically acting like North Korea. Indeed, as I got older and politically conscious, for a while I could only really think of post-9/11 America as a land gripped by fear, nay actually sustained by that same fear. I never did find a single good reason for America being at war with Afghanistan, or Iraq, although at least a few people tried to convince me that there was. For 20 years the West, that supposed axis of liberty, was just taking any excuse it got to create surveillance states, and keep those bullshit wars going to justify them. That’s then horizon of a lot of my early political consciousness, and it’s been very consistent through all my weird travels.

So imagine how happy I was to see that America appeared to have officially withdrawn from Afghanistan. At first I was very much skeptical because, based on what I’ve seen early this year, Joe Biden’s withdrawal looked like it was only going to be in name, with troops being out of Afghanistan but US contractors still there keeping business as usual going in place. And then of course by May the Taliban began a campaign to take over parts of Afghanistan, which they succeeded in doing last month with a surprise siege of Kabul. With the last of US troops out of Afghanistan, the only interference left in the region is the occasional drone bombing. Suffice it say the US still has yet to actually leave the Middle East as a whole alone and stop blowing up their people. But as bad as the outcome of the Taliban re-taking Afghanistan was, made inevitable by the fact that the US really did nothing for Afghanistan save for ensuring its dominion by corrupt client politicians, this really could only mean that America and the UK are out of Afghanistan for good, there’s not going to be another invasion, and if European and British leaders are to be believed America’s days as a world policeman are not long for this world.

There’s still so much bullshit that emanates from the way the Western mainstream has responded to all of this. There’s talk from British intelligence about how supposedly the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is going to lead to the expansion of Islamic terrorism across the globe. Every time I hear that I wonder how many times the Taliban ever actually invaded any Western country or did terrorism there, and I can’t find a single incident of that kind in the West. Only a handful of terror attacks have actually been attributed to the Taliban, the lion’s share of those all happened within Afghanistan, and the only attacks they did outside of Afghanistan were in Pakistan and maybe India. The right seems to have shifted from wanting to end the endless wars and supporting Trump for it to supporting the war and condemning the withdrawal all because of muh troops, which is essentially just them trying to turn the fall of Kabul into their new Benghazi. Liberals disingenously appeal to genuine concerns for the fate of women’s rights in Afghanistan, while conveniently ignoring the many human rights abuses and violations that took place under US occupation. Between brutally authoritarian Taliban rule and a sadistically abusive US occupation propped up by a corrupt government and ultra-conservative warlords, Americans should ask themselves what should Afghans have picked? Everyone keeps going on about how, even if they supported the withdrawal, “the way Biden went about it” was wrong and he could have done it better. It’s so cowardly coming from people who spent the last 20 years talking about how we never should have been in Afghanistan to start with, and all the while nobody actually has a good plan for leaving the country in a way that wouldn’t lead to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, because there is no way fucking way out of Afghanistan that wasn’t going to lead to the Taliban returning to power sooner or later, not least because the US did nothing for Afghanistan in terms of keeping it stable. If like me you’re for the US leaving Afghanistan alone to shape its own destiny free from imperialism, you’re just going to have to accept that the only way out is out, and that there is no clean and orderly way to get out, or at least none that don’t still entail the continued presence of imperialism.

So how does this all come back to 9/11, on the 20th anniversary no less? Because the memory of 9/11 has been the backbone for so much atrocity and deceit and I think people have the habit of blinding themselves to it. I can’t help but think of how the older generations of Americans are more traumatized by 9/11 to the point that any threat to the liberal order is likened to it, while Americans in my generation and others who grow up sitting through 9/11, I like to think they’re more likely to see the forest for the trees. They know that this was never their war, they know that the pretexts for it were lies, and the intelligence agencies have admitted to it late in the war. Remember the people who died in the 9/11 attacks, and the people, troops and civilians, who died in the wars in Afghanistan, and remind yourself of what everyone died for: an unjust war, and a further illegal war, justified on paper-thin pretences, that ultimately ended in failure.

Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan, the last outpost of anti-Taliban resistance that was recently captured by the Taliban, marking the full return of the pre-2001 era for Afghanistan

Jinx Strange is right: The Satanic Temple aren’t your friends, not even in the face of growing theocracy

With blatantly tyrannical laws on abortion set to be in place in Texas, and the state set to become the land where freedom dies in endless lawsuits, The Satanic Temple have predictably jumped at the opportunity to prove themselves fighters for reproductive rights and social freedom against Christian theocracy and authoritarianism, and many progressives have rushed to validate that image while the mainstream media portrays them as some sort of last hope against the Christian right. Oh, if only it were that simple. I too have contemplated seriously the idea that it might be necessary to join them in order to oppose theocracy. Bah! As if that would do any good!

I stumbled on an article written by Jinx Strange on Luciferian Dominion explaining that The Satanic Temple actually knows nothing about the law, especially on abortion. The Satanic Temple seems to think that by casting abortions as “Satanic rituals”, without any self-awareness of how compromises their own intentions, they can play the religious freedom card and demand the right to perform abortions and store and distribute abortifcacents as an exemption from Texas law on the grounds that, for The Satanic Temple, abortion is a religious right. The Satanic Temple seems to have ignored the fact that, in the United States, appeals to religious freedom do not protect you from state laws, meaning that TST would still be subject to Texas state law and would be denied the right to perform abortions and store/distribute abortifacents.

Strange goes through a lot of information showing us how bad and incompetent The Satanic Temple has been over the years, but for our purposes, the most important bit of information Strange mentions, and something that you definitely will never hear talked about in mainstream media coverage of The Satanic Temple, is that although The Satanic Temple now claims to want to oppose a law that would make it possible to sue abortion providers out of existence on religious grounds, The Satanic Temple themselves sued Planned Parenthood in Texas on “religious” grounds for not granting them the right to perform abortions as a religious ceremony, despite previously stating that they had no plans to sue clinics that would not provide abortions unless they defied a court order. And that was in February of this year! When someone named Caitlin Van Horn on Twitter drew attention to this, The Satanic Temple via their Twitter account asserted that the case in question was a filing for a temporary restraining order for the state to declare that Texas abortion restrictions do not apply to them. When Caitlin criticized TST for apparently dragging abortion providers into court, TST denied that charge and insisted that said providers can’t grant their desired exemption without the court order. When Caitlin pointed out that many other abortion advocacy groups have managed to fight TRAP (Targeted restrictions on abortion providers) laws without bringing abortion providers to court, TST dismissed this and asserted that they are fighting for religious exemption. The Satanic Temple also tried to place a gag order on someone who wanted to back out of a legal case that they were going forward with since 2016.

Suffice it to say, The Satanic Temple have been doing exactly the same thing that Texas wants to make normal, just that when TST did it they were trying to fight for themselves to have abortion ceremonies, and they seem to just treat lawsuits surrounding abortion rights as a way to accumulate fame and perhaps wealth, they don’t really seem to care about the actual people involved or their struggles. But again, you will not hear much about this in the media’s coverage of The Satanic Temple because the media is trying to portray them as crusaders for women’s rights and secular freedoms. Well that image might have been impactful, indeed sort of truthful, back in the old days of 2014 when they were actually taking on local governments with the Baphomet statue stunt, but it just doesn’t mean anything now, and is essentially nothing more than media bluster that obscures their true nature.

The media will also not tell you about how The Satanic Temple promoted claims that hot toddies can cure Covid-19, without any scientific basis or evidence and supported only by rumours spread in the British press (including the right-wing semi-tabloid Daily Express). Or about how one of its founders, Cevin Soling (a.k.a. Malcolm Jarry), appeared on the fascist Russia Today to promote his crusade against public schools while arguing that public schools are more authoritarian because of a transition from a homogenous population to a heterogenous one (which, while not directly accompanied by arguments about race, is identical to the premise of white nationalism and RT seems to pair Soling’s arguments with random images of African-American students as if to underline the implicit racial argument), and is now operating a pro-Israel advocacy group called “Alliance for Integrity and Justice” dedicated to silencing pro-Palestinian activists (who are labelled as “anti-Semites” for their opposition to Israel), which he promotes through his company Spectacle Films. In fact, probably the only media outlet I’ve seen that even mentions Soling’s views on Palestine is The Times of Israel, who took his side about how Israel supposedly isn’t really committing genocide against Palestinians and that accusations to that effect are simply anti-Semitic canards. Or how, according to former members, TST has a serious problem of authoritarian leadership and is otherwise staffed with bigots of various stripes. Or the numerous times The Satanic Temple’s various lawsuits have, despite all media press, evaporated into nothing and failed to generate to the outcome they desired, to say nothing of them apparently suing former members who criticize them and even going out of their way to create a GoFundme page aimed at raising money to suppress critics on “defamation” grounds.

With the exception of Lucien Greaves defending Milo Yiannopolous or TST hiring Marc Randazza as their free speech lawyer, you will not hear anything in the mainstream media that contradicts TST’s image as a progressive secular advocacy movement bravely taking the fight to religious governments on behalf of reason and scientific enlightenment, because, quite frankly, the media wants a group like The Satanic Temple to represent the side of liberal values in a bourgeois culture war. To that end, you will even see outlets like Raw Story invent Satanic Temple quotes out of thin air to make them seem reasonable.

So, on those grounds, I can’t side with The Satanic Temple at all, I cannot in good conscience treat The Satanic Temple as being the right side of the fight for abortion rights, and I can’t say that they are anything other than a publicity racket propped up by opportunistic reactionaries who care more about their own vanity and self-created authority than the people they claim to be helping. Even with the Texas law set to take effect, The Satanic Temple have no leg to stand on in fighting it, and beyond that it seems like they are simply incapable of doing anything of substance, and apparently have been all along for years. Fuck The Satanic Temple and their skeleton goats.


Jinx Strange’s article on The Satanic Temple: https://luciferiandominion.org/nothing-works-the-way-the-satanic-temple-thinks-it-does/

So I guess I have to talk about Steelfest

A new controversy caught my eye as a metalhead. A few days ago the veteran thrash metal band Sodom attracted backlash over their scheduled appearance in the Steelfest Open Air Festival, a metal festival in Finland dedicated mostly to underground black and death metal bands, in 2022. The reason why that’s proving to be a bit of a problem for Sodom is that, while there are respectable bands in the line-up, the some of the bands in Steelfest’s 2022 line-up include noted NSBM (that’s National Socialist Black Metal; literally Nazi black metal) bands. These include Graveland, Nokturnal Mortum, and Satanic Warmaster. The man behind that particular band is so adamant that he is not a Nazi that he went out of his way to make a graph supposedly showing how little he sings about Hitler or Jews. Of course, a quick look at such material as “Return of Iron and Blood“, “Strength and Honour“, and “Carelian Satanist Madness” quickly dispells said notions, as does the fact that material like that is still played live in more recent years and a compilation of NSBM songs was released as recently as 2017. One wonders how Werwolf could make that graph to try and exonerate himself. This isn’t even a new thing for Steelfest, either. In 2014, Steelfest had Goatmoon, a notorious NSBM band, in its line-up, and, as you would expect, both Goatmoon and the attending fans performed Nazi salutes at Steelfest. So, from that standpoint, Steelfest has kind of a history of openly promoting NSBM and having open Nazism promoted on stage and celebrated by both bands and fans. You don’t have to be politically correct to see why that’s a problem.

As it stands, Sodom have made their statement, and so has Steelfest. Sodom have stated the following on September 1st:

Hey pals! To get it right up front. Once again, we distance ourselves from bands that abuse their musical platform to express their political views, whether right or left, to the outside world. But we stand for freedom of expression for everyone and we won’t let that talk us to death. When the Steelfest promoter booked the show with us at the end of 2019, these supporting acts and the billing were not even up for discussion. So we have a valid guest performance contract. We are currently clarifying the legal situation. We generally perform on behalf of ourselves and our fans and not for the other bands.

The politically correct bands, whatever that means, are in the majority at Steelfest. Will they all cancel their performance? We will definitely talk to the organizer again about this situation and will form our own judgment.

We can’t always please everyone and we don’t want that at all, but if we have to bow to some kind of political pressure every time, then we artists/musicians can soon quit our jobs. And after 40 years in this exciting business, I don’t need any instructions about what to do or not.

We have a strong fan base in Finland and many are happy to see Sodom again receiving a special setlist exclusively. After this long dry spell, we are of course happy to be playing in Finland again. This is our job, our passion. That’s what we are living for. We won’t let that talk us to death either and decide for ourselves. We will of course keep you up to date on the current state of affairs.

But don`t forget…Sodom stands for freedom, peace, justice and democracy. And that’s all that counts. Cheers ,)

Sodom also initially said yesterday that they would try to return to Finland as soon as possible, “hopefully under better circumstances and with a little more poisitive vibes and party atmosphere”. That said, despite all of that, Sodom have announced today that they will be cancelling their appearance at Steelfest, “solely on the basis of our own conviction”. It certainly is a strange turn considering that Sodom initially didn’t want to be “pressured” into cancelling, partly on freedom of expression grounds and partly on financial grounds (evidently this was going to be one of their first shows since the pandemic rendered concerts impossible). Now it seems that this has changed, citing their own conviction. One wonders what that conviction was. But, given that Sodom have never been a pro-fascist band, perhaps they realizing that partying with Nazis and having others join them in doing so wasn’t worth the money, and we can all be glad for that.

As for the organizers of Steelfest, they’ve put up their own, much longer, and honestly even worse statement. To summarize, they complain that multiple agencies have contacted Steelfest to ask them to cancel some bands for being problematic (which is funny, did they ever get asked this when Goatmoon showed up in 2014?), and have declared that they will not let any agencies decide what bands should be cancelled. They claim that they reject any political movements and racist ideologies that want to use metal as an expression of their movement, which is just bullshit since they’re fine with NSBM bands being there and have been for years, NSBM being a sub-genre of black metal that exists precisely to take up black metal as an expression of Nazism in exactly the way Steelfest claims to oppose, while going on to declare that they will not take sides because “all sides are equally repulsive”, which is just that classic, childish centrist horseshit that serves only to defend fascism by saying that opponents of fascism are morally equivalent to the fascists they fight.

Satanic Warmaster, for their part, have come out in support of Steelfest’s statement, and of course they would since it defends them in practice, adding yesterday that they “draw the line in front of extortionist booking agencies and external influence that has it’s roots much further than within the metal scene”. It should be worth noting that last month they also shared a post from Werewolf Records complaining about a “new obviously moral policy” from Metal Archives, specifically their apparent decision to label Werewold Records as an NSBM label, and whining that “such moral crusades are not the responsibility of a website many consider a reliable and neutral source”. Well, the label itself is run by Werwolf, the man behind Satanic Warmaster, which as we’ve established is an NSBM band, but maybe by checking their band roster we can see why Metal Archives felt the need to do this.

Although not all of the bands there are NSBM, there are some notable NSBM bands on their roster. Besides Satanic Warmaster, and any other bands run by Werwolf, their current roster of bands includes Goatmoon, a well-known NSBM band whose lyrics frequently reference the “Aryan” race and its fantasized triumph over “subhumans” and other Nazi tropes, as well another NSBM band called Hammer, whose logo features a swastika and whose only full-length album is literally called “Shoax” (a reference to the Holocaust, or Shoah, and the belief that it never happened). There’s also White Death and Ymir who, while they aren’t overtly NSBM, do have songs that talk about “Aryans” and “the race of wolves”. Their past roster also includes bands like Aryan Blood, who definitely wear their NSBM convictions on their sleeves, Wodulf, a Greek NSBM band who also appeared at the Asgardsrei Festival (basically an NSBM festival) in 2019, Vothana, an American NSBM band run by a guy from Vietnam, Eisenwinter, a Swiss NSBM band who are about as brazen as Aryan Blood are, Evil, a Brazilian NSBM band not to be confused with the much cooler Japanese black/thrash metal band of the same name, Forest, a Russian NSBM band, Mastema, a French black metal band whose songs have such titles as “Killer of ZOG”, “Death to Z.O.G.”, and “Auschwitz”, Satans Sign of War, a German black metal band whose self-titled album contains several Nazi songs, and Hunok, a Hungarian black metal and dark ambient band that seems to have Nazi leanings. So, with this in mind, I’d say that it is definitely not inaccurate to refer to Werewolf Records as an NSBM label.

By the way, if you look at Satanic Warmaster’s album “Nachzehrer”, released in 2010, you will find that Michael W. Ford, the famous Luciferian Satanist occultist who founded the Greater Church of Lucifer, wrote lyrics for the track “Utug-Hul” under the alias Akhtya Nachttoter. So Michael W. Ford, who swears that he left the Order of Nine Angles because it was too fascist for him, seems to have had no problems working with someone who makes Nazi black metal. Just take that in so as to have no illusions about where Ford stands on fascism and Nazism.

But anyways, how do we deal with all this? There’s always talk of political correctness whenever we have to discuss fascism in metal, mostly from people who, as always, are motivated primarily by consumption. You saw it in the people who defended Phil Anselmo’s drunken white power salute and attacked Rob Flynn from Machine Head for calling him out. Black metal, though, is a very strange case. There are a lot of grey areas that result from the fact that even non-NSBM bands sometimes tend to sneak some fascistic or racist leanings in somewhere (I can think of such examples as Baptism, Impaled Nazarene, and Carpathian Forest for instance, funny enough two of those bands are from Finland), or just have musicians who are kind of fascist in some way even if it doesn’t reflect in their music. Of course, another part of it can stem from the fact that, for many, it can just be an edgy teenager phase, like when Darkthrone released. On the other hand, there are also some seriously committed fascists in the scene as well. Burzum are especially problematic in this regard in that they are still sort of celebrated today even though released plenty of stuff with Nazi imagery in the past and the man behind Burzum, Varg Vikernes, is essentially a prolific racist both past and present.

As an unrepentant black metal fan, consumer, and connoissuer, and as someone whose spent time in rather disturbing or just really edgy corners of the internet, I can attest to what it’s like to walk on the edge and carefully, or sometimes not so carefully, parse through boundaries with just good edgy fun on one side and morally reprehensible ideology on the other. Appreciating black metal as someone who isn’t a far-righter or a fascist or a Nazi can mean being very careful with your black metal to sort between who is and isn’t a Nazi, not just so you don’t wind up banging your head to Nazis but also so you don’t end up giving Nazis any money. I think dealing with the minions of the Order of Nine Angles within the Left Hand Path should give you a very good lesson as to how important that is, and since the O9A can sometimes have its claws in black metal bands too you need to be even more careful, especially knowing what Kevin Bolton’s been up to during the 1990s. One either enjoys black metal indiscriminately, which is fairly impossible without being willing to co-sign all sorts of immoral or just sloppy bullshit, or one enjoys it diligently. It’s what allows to enjoy some very edgy and even somewhat problematic material, whilst also avoiding the defence of open bigotry as a form of artistic expression.

The political correctness angle is worth returning to for multiple reaons. Obviously when Steelfest invokes it, it’s opportunistic radical centrist bullshit when considering that the line is being used to defend avowed Nazis like Satanic Warmaster, but it’s also true that black metal is, in certain ways, definitely a very “politically incorrect” genre, not in the sense that it’s all whiny right-wing bullshit (although I am looking squarely at certain bands for being precisely this) but because it prides itself on disturbing the boundaries of sensibility and good taste, which is definitely where many grey areas come in. When it comes to black metal bands, as long as they’re not avowedly fascist or Nazis, I definitely think there’s room for Amber A’Lee Frost’s idea that even reactionaries can make good entertainment or art, so long as that’s all it is. You can’t appreciate black metal if your only criteria for appreciating it is that it reflects progressive values or something to that effect, because black metal is definitely not for people who like to marinate in feelings of hope and goodness (mostly because black metal takes pleasure in disrupting those things), or who can’t derive those things from the visceral darkness it speaks to (and I understand that, for most people, that’s very difficult).

The term political correctness has been taken up by the right-wing as essentially a catch-all term for any and all progressive or left-wing political tendencies, but in its strictest sense it just means the insistence on rigid conformity to political orthodoxy, and in the original left-wing usage of the term, political correctness was a way of designating dogmatic adherence to the line put forward by the Communist Party in Russia or other Communist Parties and setting that line above independent thought and socialist principles. Before the late 1980s, the term was frequently used by libertarian socialists and feminists to mock authoritarianism and, for them, being politically incorrect meant insisting on unbridled freedom of expression, particularly sexual expression, and defying the party lines of authoritarian socialists. In a vague sense, the right-wing recuperation of this term does carry echoes of that meaning as well, but for them this meant that the otherwise powerless left was in fact the ideological orthodoxy of the day and that defending the powerful and systems of power constituted the real political incorrectness. Such an absurd reversal of roles has allowed “political incorrectness” to serve as a softballing or excusing of fascism as a kind of rebellion simply because it upsets most people, when in reality fascism always imposes a political correctness of its own when put into power, and psychologically fascists and hard-rightists end up being slaves to their own political correctness and become thin-skinned, because tyrannical orthodoxy and reactionary hostility to difference is the function of authoritarianism in all its forms and particularly within the right.

Here’s what I’m trying to get at. If the idea is that you have to make it so that every black metal band on scene has to be left-wing some way, then, yeah, that would be a form of political correctness in the loose sense at least. But, from my perspective, what is expected of Steelfest is not a form of political correctness, or at least that is not what I expect. I don’t expect Steelfest to cancel every band with vaguely right-wing members in it. I only expect them not to support open, self-described, confirmed Nazis, and especially not people who try to lie to everyone and say they’re not Nazis while still giving Nazi salutes (as is the case for Goatmoon at least), releasing white supremacist material to this day (as is the case for Graveland), and performing at Nazi music festivals (as is still the case for Nokturnal Mortum and Goatmoon). If the Nazis want to play, they should do it on their own, go and fuck off to Asgardsrei or wherever they can congregate by themselves while leaving the rest of us alone. Meanwhile everyone else should really stop giving them support, and stop making excuses for Steelfest and other festivals giving a safe space for Nazis, because that is de facto Nazi apologia.

Media coverage of Joshua Caleb Sutter

While checking in on the Joshua Caleb Sutter story I noticed something peculiar. It seems that mainstream media outlets have proven just a little late to the party, having only started reporting on the story days after Ali Winston broke the original story in a Twitter thread on August 21st, ten days ago.

For a quick recap: recent court documents have all but revealed that Joshua Caleb Sutter, the founder of Tempel ov Blood and otherwise prolific white supremacist, was paid tens if not hundreds of dollars by the FBI to give them insider information on neo-Nazi organizations like the Atomwaffen Division. He was arrested in 2003 on charges of illegal ownership of firearms before being picked up as an informant on their payroll. You can read more about it here.

As of this writing there are three news articles covering this story. Vice was the first outlet to run the story, their article was published on August 25th, the New York Post published their article on August 26th, and lastly the Jerusalem Post published their article on August 28th. All of the articles cite Ali Winston’s thread containing the official court documents as their main source – in fact, the New York Post article also cites the Vice article as a source – and they all cover the basic facts of the Sutter revelations, but what has me wondering is that even the first of these articles is four days apart from Winston’s thread.

The revelation that the US government has been paying a prolific white supremacist and neo-Nazi as an informant is surely a shocking one at least for many and its rammifications are disturbing for the US intelligence agencies. As I’ve discussed previously, it means that FBI money, which I might add comes from taxation from the public, has been going towards Martinet Press, who publishes Tempel ov Blood’s books as well as other works of esoteric fascism, and probably Sutter’s other adventures such as the Rural People’s Party, a party that advocates for Juche ideology, idolizes the Kim dynasty, and openly supports the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. That should be far more widespread than it is. The fact that only three outlets have picked it up seems a little strange.

For some reason I feel reminded of how nobody found out about Michael Aquino’s death until right-wing websites like Heavy.com covered it, and even then they only found out about three weeks after Satanists had already discovered that Aquino had died. I covered the story of Michael Aquino’s death on June 29th last year after picking it up from Satanists well in advance of QAnon and their coteries ever discovering it. But then at least you could say somebody from Vice thought to cover the Sutter story within a matter of days. I can only assume that there are schedules involved regarding what stories are published when, but then you’d think that Nazis getting paid by the FBI would be a priority scoop.

Of course, perhaps we should be charitable with Vice considering that recently it seems that any attempt to seriously cover the infiltration of the US military by neo-Nazis can be slandered as distasteful and even dismissed as conspiratorial by reactionary elements of the public and the US establishment. Funny how the populists and neocons of the right all team up to protect fascists. I would say I wonder how the right-wing is processing the Sutter story in light of this context, but then I think I can intuit that they probably hadn’t even considered it at all.

Shiva versus Vishnu: A Left Hand Path narrative

In the process of researching for an essay I plan to write for this blog about how to conceive the Left Hand Path in a Pagan way, which I assure you is forthcoming, I felt it necessary to just double-check on Hindu Tantra, particularly its Vamachara side. In that process I looked into one of the sects often associated with the Vamachara family, the Kapalikas. Very little is known about them, and with no first-person Kapalika texts available we only have various third party texts (probably biased against them) to go off of, but the information available about them tells us that the Kapalikas were an order (some say sect) of Tantric Hindu ascetics who mainly venerated Shiva, particularly in the form of the wrathful deity Bhairava, who was believed to have revealed their teaching, and believed in attaining spiritual unity with Shiva Bhairava through various transgressive practices. These transgressive practices purportedly included ritualistic sex, occultism, eating and drinking from human skulls, wandering naked or wearing bones and covered with ashes, ceremonial rituals involving corpses, supposed sacrifices of brahmins (to re-enact Shiva’s beheading of Brahma), severe physical and mental austerities, and, of course, drinking heavily for both ritual and pleasure. Although they stressed self-sufficiency and transgression of social norms, they would not fit the narrow, modern definition of the Left Hand Path as defined by the solitary edification of individual ego and self-interest, and they sought unity with a Godhead much like the rest of Hinduism did, but they are nonetheless to be considered Left Hand Path by all historical metrics, and possibly in a somewhat extreme manner at that.

The rammifications of that are something to discussed more in the post I have planned, which I mentioned earlier, but for now, what interests me more, and which I am presently more interested in writing about here, is a mythological narrative attributed to the Kapalikas which depicts a violent and brutal conflict between the avatars of Shiva and Vishnu.

In David Lorenzen’s The Kāpālikas and Kālāmukhas: Two Lost Śaivite Sects (1972), we find a recounting of a narrative from a text known as the Goraksa-siddhanta-samgraha, which is attributed to the Kanphata Yogis, the followers of the medieval Hindu yogi Gorakhnath. The book features stories of the deity Bhairava, appearing as Ugra-Bhairava, dressed as a Kapalika, challenging the beliefs of other sects such as Advaita Vedanta as represented by Samkara. But the narrative we’re focusing on is the myth that serves as the origin story of the Kapalikas. In this myth, the twenty-four avatars of Vishnu at some point become arrogant, intoxicated with mada (“pride”, clearly in the sense that resembles hubris), and as a result they begin wreaking havoc and wicked destruction across the world. Varaha and Narasimha, along with other avatars, split the earth in two, frighten wild animals, oppress towns and villages, and make mischeif wherever they go, Krishna becomes lustful and given to adultery, and Parashurama kills off the kshatriya caste in droves in order to punish just one of them. All of this angers Natha (Shiva) and causes him to assume the form of twenty-four Kapalikas, skull-bearers. These Kapalikas fight the avatars of Vishnu, cut their heads off, and carry their skulls in their hands, thus earning their namesake. Being decapitated caused the avatars of Vishnu to lose their mada, and Natha thus replaced their skulls and heads and restored their life.

The myth is interesting in that Vishnu, within what is still a Hindu context, is through entailment the major antagonist, his avatars becoming hubristic and bringing destruction, oppression, cruelty, and wickedness to the world and causing people and animals to suffer. Lorenzen posits that the battle between the Kapalikas of Shiva/Natha and the avatars of Vishnu reflects an extension of the conflict between Jains and Kapalikas, the former having been supplanted by Vaishnavas in terms of popularity, who in turn shared Jain hostility towards what it perceived as the “excesses” of Tantric Shaivism. It’s worth noting that the Vaishnavas and Shaivas have been in conflict with each other within the scope of Indian history. Vaishnavas described Shavias as heretics, denouncing them for hating Vishnu, refusing to perform Vedic rituals, rejecting the caste system and covering their bodies with ash. Shaivas, in turn, also considered the Vaishnavas to be heretics. There are also some Puranas which state that Shiva killed Varaha, at Vishnu’s request of course, which apparently illustrates conflict between the Shaivas and Vaishnavas. The Kapalika narrative is certainly more blasphemous, at least in relation to Hindu orthodoxy and certainly Vaishnavism, than many narratives of the conflict. Usually we find nothing but reverence reserved for Vishnu and his avatars, especially Krishna, within the broad movement of Hinduism, but in this apparent Kapalika narrative, they’re shown as either monsters or wicked beings who cause destruction through their hubris and need to be killed and then revived in order to be redeemed.

What we see here is a remarkable example of Left Hand Path mythology in an ancient setting. Shiva, as Natha, as the patron god of an order of Vamachara Tantric Hindus, manifests as skull-bearing rebels against Vishnu and his avatars, who oppress the world with their hubris and misdeeds, thus the Vaishnavas (incidentally the largest group within Hinduism) are confronted and Hindu orthodoxy is blasphemed on behalf of the left hand path of Tantra. Because the transgressive orders and sects within Tantric Hinduism venerated Shiva and his consort, it is no coincidence that Shiva and Kali frequently recur within modern Left Hand Path circles. They do, after all, represent the “dark side” of the Sacred in their various guises, and even as they fulfill the function of the myths set out in orthodox Hindu myths they represent transgressive or antinomian pathways to enlightenment, and their followers within Tantra rejected society in order to become one with God. The Kapalika is also probably also one of the rare places where Krishna is punished for his hypocrisies instead of worshipped as the supreme being, so that alone makes it worthwhile. Feel free to also take this as a burn on those foolish esoteric Nazis who may try to operate in the Left Hand Path while taking Vishnu as their patron god.

Shiva as Bhairava with a dog (19th century, unknown artist)

Joshua Caleb Sutter and Martinet Press are FBI assets

You probably remember Tempel ov Blood, the extremist wing of the Order of Nine Angles which itself is already a violent neo-Nazi organization. A few weeks ago I talked about them in relation to E. A. Koetting’s possible involvement, as part of broader and ongoing conversation about E. A. Koetting and Become A Living God and their possible role in spawning far-right terrorism. Now it seems there’s another new development, this time concerning Tempel ov Blood’s founder, Joshua Caleb Sutter. You may remember him too. He was the guy that the DPRK hired to be one of their American spokespersons, and he was also a prominent white supremacist, member and sometimes leader of several white supremacist Christian groups such as Aryan Nations (for whom he served as their “minister for Islamic liasions”), who tried to form alliances between white supremacists and Islamic extremists after the 9/11 attacks, and then he spent some time as a Hindu priest before eventually entering the Order of Nine Angles. It turns out that the DPRK wasn’t the only power who made use of his services.

It has recently come to light that Joshua Caleb Sutter may have been on the payroll of the Federal Investigation Bureau, one of America’s primary intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies. A recent motion filed by Kaleb Cole, a leader of the Atomwaffen Division, to suppress evidence that was found during a search warrant of his house in Texas has yielded some indication that Sutter was an FBI informant. The motion mentions an informant referred to as “CI”, who is described as a convicted felon who owns a publishing company that distributes white supremacist writings. “CI” apparently served as an informant in the warrant against Cole, and according to the government he had worked for the FBI since 2003, for which he was apparently paid upwards of $140,000. Since February 7th 2018, he was apparently paid $78,133.20, as well as an expense advance of $4,378.60. “CI” is said to have begun his career as an FBI informant after being arrested for possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and an unregistered silencer, his services as an informant having been offered by Sutter and accepted by the FBI in exchange for a consideration of his sentence. The motion to suppress evidence is based at least part on the assertion that “CI” is not a reliable source, presumably because of him being an FBI informant.

The motion does not mention Joshua Caleb Sutter by name anywhere, but there are several facts we can point to that establish Joshua Caleb Sutter as the likely identity of “CI”. “CI” is said to have begun working for the FBI in 2003, and that his career began after he was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm. In February 2003, Joshua Caleb Sutter was arrested and convicted for knowingly possesing a firearm with an obliterated serial number and an unregistered silencer. It’s mentioned that “CI” owns a publishing company that distributes white supremacist writings. Joshua Caleb Sutter and his wife run Martinet Press, an “antinomian” publisher known for releasing material from Tempel ov Blood, including Liber 333 and Iron Gates. There is also a peculiar case where, in 2016, a man named William A. White wrote to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to request records on Joshua Caleb Sutter after learning of his arrest. White alleged that Sutter spent 22 months in prison following his arrest in 2003 and then became a deep cover informant for an unlawful FBI-JTTF counter-intelligence program and, as part of this, stole White’s identity and engaged in various other illegal activities. Sutter has also been suspected of being a “government snitch” in the past. In 2005, Morris Gullett, a pastor for Aryan Nations, accused Sutter of being exactly that, belieivng Sutter to be responsible for his arrest as well as that of Charles Thornton for conspiracy to commit bank robbery.

So, based on the information available to us, Joshua Caleb Sutter is very likely, if not undoubtedly, the identity of the “CI” referred to in the motion filing. This would mean that Joshua Caleb Sutter is an FBI informant, has been working for the FBI since 2003, and was paid tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for his work. This would also mean that the FBI propped up Martinent Press, which we should keep in mind was founded in 2014, 11 years after Sutter is to have become an informant for the FBI. The money he made working for the FBI would no doubt have financed the operation of Martinet Press and allowed them to distribute all kinds of Nazi Satanist literature. Considering that Martinet Press is operated by Sutter and his wife during his career as an informant, Martinet Press could be seen as an FBI asset, at least in the sense that it is being operated by an FBI informant, which would mean in turn that the FBI is helping to distribute white supremacist Nazi Satanist literature, thereby contributing to countless people falling into the deepest and most extreme corners of fascism.

But should we be surprised? The Wolverine Watchmen, a group of far-right extremists who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, apparently had about a dozen informants in its ranks, who under the direction of the FBI were heavily involved in the kidnapping attempt from the beginning and worked to advance the plot. The leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was an FBI informant and long-time undercover operative who worked for investigators after being arrested in 2012, not unlike Sutter apparently becoming an informant after his own arrest in 2003, and Tarrio has claimed that over the years he has informed police about planned Proud Boys rallies. The United States government has aided neo-Nazi groups such as the Azov Battalion, a Ukranian neo-Nazi militia that has been incorporated into the country’s national guard, sending them millions of dollars worth of weapons and aid in order for them to serve as proxies against Russia, and whose personnel were even trained by the US military. The FBI has also protected Nazis in the past. In the 1980s and 1990s, the FBI sought to protect the Romanian right-wing propagandist Ferenc Koreh, who spent World War II calling for the persecution of Jews and then went on to work for Radio Free Europe, from investigations by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) on the grounds that the case against him was supposedly forged by the Romanian “communist” intelligence agencies, despite Koreh admitting to much of his past. J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI for nearly 50 years, personally blocked investigations of former Nazis working as informants on similar grounds; he thought they were victims of a forging operation by the KGB. And, as far as clerical fascists go, for all the complaints directed at the ending of US occupation of Afghanistan, we should note that it was the US whose training and funding of the Mujahideen in order to overthrow the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and fight its Soviet backers that gave rise to the Taliban who took over Afghanistan and now control it once again.

What do we take from all of this? Those in the Left Hand Path community should cultivate an intense distrust of US intelligence agencies on principle, on the grounds that we know that US intelligence has a habit of protecting and hiring Nazis for their own purposes – a fact that should not be lost on us just because the FBI seems to be publicly emphasizing the threat posed by white supremacists in recent years. In fact, when we consider the history of US intelligence agencies regarding fascism, this is just the pot calling the kettle black. The political left too should heed this basic lesson in mind. Of course, we shouldn’t need to emphasize this too much within the left, since the radical left is already well-attuned to the shady nature of US intelligence, but from what I can see it seems that there are some “leftists” who still haven’t taken that lesson to heart. In any case, we should consider Martinet Press as a vehicle for transmitting violent white supremacist fascism on the payroll of the FBI, and that US intelligence agencies are complicit in the spread and protection of fascism. Whether it’s the Left Hand Path or the left-wing, we should all take that information to heart as the basis for skepticism of US intelligence – not that we should need such a lesson, considering the last 20 years of them pulling the wool over our eyes on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pride is good, being an incel is bad

So it seems that the incels are on the radar again, what with Jake Davison having killed five people in Plymouth last week, including a 3-year old girl. Many high-profile murders, especially directed towards women, have been carried out by incels or people inspired by some far-right ideology that especially draws on incel ideas and mentalities. I have been doing a fair bit of thinking on the issue of the incel community, particularly from the lens of pagan conceptions of pride.

One thing to establish first and foremost is that incels, their name short for “involuntary celibates”, are people who are often defined by their lack of ability to find women to be their romantic or sexual partners, but that’s actually not the only thing that makes an incel. An incel is defined not just by their inability to hook up with or form relationships with women, but also by the fact that they turn that into their whole personality and take that inability as the basis for a thoroughgoing and misogynistic contempt for all women. This is supported or rationalized by a deeply toxic belief that, from the moment you’re born, your physical appearance determines your chances of having long-term romantic relationships and your worth in life or society as a whole. Although there are occasionally female incels, for whom the obsession typically revolves around relationships with men, the vast majority of incels you will encounter (or have encountered) are men who obsess over their inability to form relationships with women. In any case, this naturally destroys their self-esteem because whatever passes for self-esteem is completely bound up in their physical appearance and the promise of sexual intercourse. Their whole sense of self-worth is judged against those things, meaning that if they fail to measure up to some idea of the perfect male complexion and don’t have sex with as many women as possible, they will feel like irredeemable failures in the eyes of society (or, in reality, their own eyes).

On top of all that, the destruction of their already abysmally low self-esteem is constantly reinforced by an entire community of people who are also convinced that women are evil and shallow people who they have no chance of having sex with (and possibly controlling since they seem to sincerely view women as animals to be “tamed” by men) and who probably pathologically despise men anyway, and in turn convince them that things will never get better for them. The sheer toxicity of it all eats away at what passes for a soul to the point that they actually begin to feel psychologically trapped in the despair that they feel, permanently scarred by the views they’ve adopted and the community they became a part of, perhaps never to return. In such a situation, it’s only logical that violence appears to them as their only escape. Jake Davison’s messages from just a few days before the Plymouth shooting reveal that he too was getting sick of the incel community that he was a part of for reinforcing the idea that changing your life through self-improvement was impossible. Too bad, though, that this bit of self-reflection didn’t stop Davison from murdering a toddler and his own mother among others.

Now, what does pride have to do with all this? Well, Christianity has long denounced pride in general as a sin, a kind of moral failing that separates you from God, which would have to be redeemed in order to ensure your salvation, that is to say the survival of your soul in Heaven after the death of the body. The pre-Christian ancients, by contrast, had no such attitude to pride. The Greeks and Romans certainly had a problem with hubris, which is to say the act of spiting the gods by placing yourself above them, but they saw pride itself as a positive thing, and even necessary for the cultivation of virtue and good character. Aristotle, for instance, believed that pride was the crown of all virtues, the virtue that is greatens all other virtues without which pride is not found. Pride in this sense just means the belief in, and affirmation of, your own worth. Aristotle did warn against misplaced pride, such as a excessive belief in one’s own worth or greatness that did not reflect the reality of your station, but he also warned against excessive humility, the belief that you are unworthy of something (or in general) when in fact you aren’t, and ultimately held pride in general to be a positive virtue crowning all the others and justified on that basis. Pride, throughout the pre-Christian world, was not only seen as separate from hubris but also considered to be a trait that allowed the gods to dispense justice upon those who committed hubris, and was even considered a companion of humility, with pride in oneself allowing you to recognize your real station.

It was only with the ascent of Christianity that pride and hubris, as well as vanity, came to be conflated so as to appear one and the same, and then pride became one of the “seven deadly sins” of Catholic teaching, the very error that lead to Satan’s fall from heaven. This may have led to some very erroneous ideas about narcissism being linked to pride and self-esteem. I say erroneous, because contemporary research suggests that narcissism is actually linked to low self-esteem, not high, if it has any link to self-esteem at all. Low self-esteem also appears to be linked to delinquency and anti-social behaviour. In this sense it’s actually a noticeable lack of pride, rather than the presence or even abundance of pride, that can lead to narcissism, delinquency, and criminality. Christianity and its emergent culture has thus completely misunderstood pride, failing to understand pride as the social good that it actually was, and thus the faith declared pride to be bad while introducing self-debasement and self-denial as virtues.

Now, why does all of that matter? Let’s return to the incel for a moment. The incel is narcissitic in that he believes that he is entitled to sexual liasions with women. Jake Davison is an example of this in that he even believe that he was entitled to sex with girls as young as 16. Elliot Rodgers is another example, he talked about himself like he was a god on earth and thought that women all over would scramble to suck his cock just because he existed, and his murderous hatred of women stemmed from the fact that no girl actually liked him or wanted to date him because he was so unlikeable, narcissitic, and creepy and that they wanted nothing to do with him. Incels are also, as I said, incredibly devoid of self-esteem. They repeatedly insist that they have no chance of ever having relationships with women because of their appearance, their lack of self-esteem is so extreme that it destroys their mental health, and their community constantly reinforces that lack of self-esteem. This all fits the pattern of how narcissism develops alongside low self-esteem, which is especially true in adolesence, and that’s very relevant considering that a lot of incels are either adolescents or young adults. The incel is narcissistic, but he has no pride. He believes in his own entitlement to sexual prospects, but does not possess self-worth. The incel does not value or esteem himself, and cannot, because he situates all hope for worth and self-esteem in his appearance and likelihood to have sexual intercourse with women. And so, in his lack of pride, the incel suffers and debilitates into depression, despair, hopelessness, self-hatred, and ultimately terroristic violence. Thus is the effect of the “blackpill”, and the broader journey of having taken the “red pill” to start with, on the mind of the incel.

There’s no single easy fix to the problem of the incel community, and it will mean addressing many different facets of the society that produces incels, as well as the ideological pipeline that conditions lonely, alienated young men into embracing a cult of angry, nihilistic, and ultimately terroristic misogyny. But one of the most important of the toxic ideas to address is the idea that your own self-worth is predicated on principally on your physical appearance and sexual success. There are many ways to address that, one of them being to dismantle the sort of genetic or biological determinism so frequently invoked by incels and pick-up artists. But I believe that one approach that cannot be left out is to undo the damage that Christianity has done to our ability to take pride in ourselves. We must restore the idea that pride, that is to say the sensible and natural attribution of worth and value to yourself (and to others), is in itself a virtue, one that can be separated from hubris. When you believe that you are capable having pride in yourself and others around you, the scope of that pride cannot be halted by physical imperfection, because you do not need to be some sort of “chad” who fucks lots of women on the regular to have any kind of pride or self-respect, and when you erect an understanding of pride as separate from hubris, your ability to content yourself with your own self-esteem can help you prioritize concrete goals and actions and, with your pride-given humility and knowledge of place, guard yourself against illusions that lead to hubris.

So reject the self-abasement and self-denial of Christianity, reject the nihilism of the incel community, and reclaim the Pagan way of healthy and virtuous pride.

An allegory of Pride featured in William Adams’ “Sacred Allegories” (1859, apparently); funny how the image of Pride resemebles Zeus/Jupiter so strongly