Another weekend and another acronym as the Sunday Independent played host to yet another counter extremism think tank and their reportage on the dreaded yet still unformed ‘Irish far right’.
The adroitly named Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) graced the pages of the Sindo yesterday profiling the 12 major hate groups in Ireland, running the gamut of TERFs to Lefebvrians and warning of enhanced risk post-covid.
A product of two former Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) executives (Heidi Beirich and Wendy Via), this effective SPLC offshoot is a strange addition to the already cramped box room of counter extremism orgs hitting our shores.
Readers are likely already familiar with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and their gormless crew of disinformation gurus as well as Drew Harris’s besties at INAR Ireland with their advocacy of stringent speech laws in between advocating for libertarian socialism.
Garnering a rather foul reputation stateside for their big budgets and cutthroat tactics, the SPLC is the dogsbody group for corporate anti-racism argued by some to be in terminal decline. With a rather involved relationship with the FBI, the SPLC even elicited criticism from moderate conservative voices for casting a wide net in their fight against extremism and dodgy tactics.
Listing 12 groups in a rogues gallery of the Irish far right, everything from the Gemma O’Doherty to the expected political formations and nativist activist groups listed.
What is bizarre is mention of nominally conservative or even liberal entities such as the Iona Institute and the TERF fightback group the LGB Alliance so wide and aimless the ideological scope of the ‘reporting’.
David Quinn comes in for a nasty shock with the balalaika playing tradcaths at Iona being de facto labelled as potential Kremlin assets due to allegations it received Russian gold. Of course the same standard isn’t applied to Ireland’s jungle of American financed NGOs who constitute the think tank ecosystem invading the pundit sphere on the far right.
For merely having the bottle to protest against discriminatory practices towards working class Irish residents in West Dublin the protest group ‘House the Irish First’ comes under fire too.
Objecting to the excessiveness within the trans industry puts the LGB Alliance a few steps from Mussolini in their lobbying against LGBT militants operating in schools and the Gender Recognition Act.
What is most frustrating is the constant use of the phrase ‘white nationalist’ by the report as if it was documenting a militia in Montana rather than housing activists in Finglas fighting against a DP centre.
The inclusion of a negligibly sized Irish branch of the Proud Boys was done likely to placated American audiences.
Of interest is credit given to the pseudo anonymous slush fund known masquerading as an antifascist blog the Far Right Observatory previously coming to the repeated attention of The Burkean and Gary Kavanagh at Gript.
The best antifascist Medium page that €225,000 worth of misdirected state and corporate charity money can buy, the Far Right Observatory rather shamefully has limped on the past 18 months on your taxes and mine, as well as on funds accrued from a philanthropic corporate funds.
This SPLC collab is perhaps an indicator of some of the foreign fiends in highish places though we can be at least grateful at the low level of intel and insight suggested by their work so far.
With the shinners on their victory lap towards Government Buildings the syndication of this report in the Irish Independent was no coincidence. The national and populist right is slotting into the ideological place once occupied by the Provos as the peripheral bogeyman for the nation’s comfortable class and their press. In particular the Independent editor Rodney Edwards seems to have a particular bee in his bonnet about right wing anti-system upstarts as evidenced by his dogged attacks on anti-lockdown protestors the past 2 years.
Leaving Cert students musing about what course to select may opt for the counter extremist industry considering the booming number of useless think tanks, antifascist groups and commentators exploding onto the mainstream.
Burkean writers never thought they’d be found wanting a return to the Gaelic good looks of Aoife Gallagher but against the grisly gob of Heidi Beirich anything is a step up.
Come back Aoife! All is forgiven!