The gunman livestreamed himself driving towards the mosque.
The camera pans to his collection of firearms laying on the passenger seat. They are covered in writing. Upon closer inspection they have the names of people like Bajo Pivljanin, a Serb who fought against the Ottoman empire in 1600’s, and Sebastiano Vernier appears written on his cell phone, a Venetian Doge who led battles against the Ottomans in the 1500’s. At one point the camera is pointed back towards the gunman, showing a angry looking white man. He then calmly gets out of his car, arms himself with a shotgun and a AR-15 before heading into the mosque. Opening fire with the shotgun, he kills several people in the entranceway before proceeding into the prayer room.
The shooter empties magazine after magazine into unarmed civilians as the livestream continues to broadcast. He guns down anyone who tries to escape, then makes several trips back into the prayer room to pump round after round into the bodies. Back outside, he murders a woman on the sidewalk then shoots her several more times in head as she cries out for help. He then gets back in his car and drives off listening to music that some have identified as the soundtrack to the Japanese anime series Initial D.
Although much remains to be pieced together, it seems clear that he then headed to another mosque to perform another attack. As of now the bodycount in Christchurch, New Zealand stands at 49, with many more injured. The suspect was arrested by the police and will appear in court this weekend. This is the first time such a mass shooting has occurred in New Zealand, a country with fairly unrestrictive gun laws by comparison to nearby Australia. It wasn’t long before his social media post was located which also linked to his manifesto.
The manifesto itself contains a nearly verbatim recital of neo-fascist propaganda, including right wing conspiracy theories about “the great replacement” (also the title of the manifesto) which envisions a liberal globalist plot to welcome immigrants into western countries in order to replace white people, also known as so-called white genocide, a deliberate demographic displacement at the hands of global elites and/or the Jews.
However, modern fascism blends together a number of ideas, some of them contradictory on the surface if not in their entirety. For instance, the shooter is a self-described eco-fascist. The first page of the manifesto offers a snap shot of modern fascism. Note the “black sun” which appears in Nazi occult iconography and was popular with Heinrich Himmler. Arrayed around the black sun are the tenets of contemporary fascism, including environmentalism.
Eco-fascism sits at the crossroads of a number of ideologies and represents one of those odd counter-intuitive places in politics where the far left and far right seem somewhat aligned, even if the underlying rationale differs. This style of environmentalism borrows from ideas more prevalent in left wing environmentalism, such as the Malthusian catastrophe theory and ideas about over population, but then grafts them into far right wing romantic sentimentalities about how the land must be preserved for the white race.
Both far left and far right environmentalism has a nostalgia for agrarian village life baked into it, a sort of idealized social purity that existed prior to the industrial revolution. The upsetting of traditional German values by industrialization was so traumatic for some elites, that it played a part in the rise of the popularity of Nazism amongst Germans, and in some circles for their affinity for the occult which harkened back to a older Germanic belief system steeped in runes and romantic ideas about naturalism and rural village life.
Hitler was after all, an environmentalist. Deeply concerned with animal welfare, he passed the Reichstierschutzgesetz or Reich Animal Protection Act. Himmler was even more radical and wanted to ban hunting. A bizarre Nazi propaganda poster shows lab animals offering Herman Göring the Nazi salute for his help in protecting them. According to Goebbels’s private diaries, Hitler was a vegetarian with a distain for both Judaism and Christianity because these religions elevated humanity above the natural world. This connects back to how modern fascists also embrace neo-paganism and see Christianity as a non-European imposition, but that is another subject far too complicated to unpack here.
Where fringe left wing environmentalists view human beings as a unnatural virus or plague on the planet’s ecology, one that must be offset by depopulation, carbon credit schemes, and more, the ecological fascists view immigrants as blight upon the white man’s territory, and aspire to return to a more traditional agrarian lifestyle where the white race is tethered to their land which is of course preserved by and for them alone.
For the eco-fascist, industrialization led to a technocratic state and the degeneration of traditional family values to be replaced with a more cosmopolitan urbanism. This emergence of technology also gives rise to ideas about organized labor and the associated political ideologies of Marxism and socialism. Take note of the other tenets represented in the black sun in the shooter’s manifesto including worker’s rights and responsible markets. Contemporary fascism rejects capitalism and neo-liberalism wholesale, often as a Jewish plot.
At this point, it becomes apparent that the Christchurch shooter’s ideology dovetails with ideas about demography, overpopulation, social Darwinism, and racial hygiene. In America’s past, this ideology was known as eugenics but today it is combined with the sarcasm and nihilism of internet sub-culture to form the alt-right. Eco-fascism is The Population Bomb mixed with the Turner Diaries, turned into a meme, and then expressed in the real world through callous mass murder.
In his manifesto, the shooter writes a FAQ with himself in which he responds to the question of whether he is a fascist or not. He writes:
“Yes. For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist. I am sure the journalists will love that. I mostly agree with Sir Oswald Mosley’s views and consider myself an Eco-fascist by nature. The nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.”
Here we see the unexpected fusion of identity in one person between white nationalism and the Chinese communist party. The People’s Republic of China is a unapologetic ethno-state for the Han Chinese, one that oppresses minority groups without hesitation, herding Muslims in Xinjiang into prisons that are re-education camps at best and concentration camps at worst, something that the Christchurch killer apparently admired.
While fringe leftist groups such as Earth First or the Earth Liberation Front have occasionally conducted acts of sabotage against industry and construction, other leftist ideologues have advocated for drastic population reduction via eugenics programs or have hoped for a new plague to wipe out some or all of humanity. Some have even discussed the limits of democracy and how a techno-dictatorship needs to be instituted to prevent things like global climate change.
The strategy of eco-fascists is what they call “acceleration” which also appears in the shooter’s manifesto and is described as a tactic for victory. “Therefore we must destabilize and discomfort society where ever possible,” he writes, also encouraging sympathetic individuals to stop trying to convince people with facts but rather use emotions to influence them, including the creation of memes.
The self-described eco-fascist is essentially another basement dwelling internet troll who fell out of the economy and now his memes have metastasized into real life murder. The shooter also rejects democratic solutions and hopes that his actions agitate all sides of the political spectrum, and inspire white people to stand up and fight back against those he calls “invaders.”
The tenets of The Great Replacement manifesto are essentially regurgitated talking points that come straight from prominent alt-right personalities including Richard Spencer and Mike Pienovich, demonstrating that these ideas are not only spreading in toxic alt-right enclaves on the internet but much like ISIS members radicalized online, they are emerging in physical space to disastrous effect.
However, in this ideological conflict there is no Raqqa to bomb and no Special Operations raid that can wipe out its leadership cell.