Choose two subcultures/ videos (furries vs. cosplayers)
which you are most curious and would like to pursue research. Watch the videos and consider the perspective of a subculture that might be alien to you. In a two- three page paper compare and contrast both subcultures. Are there any similarities? What are the contrasts? What are your curiosities and questions? You might not be able to answer these questions but provoke inquiry…
Use MLA Formatting and at least four quotes from your selection.
Alt-Right vs. Antifa
In the modern era, government and politics are greatly determined and organized along party lines. However, cohorts exist behind these party lines with more extreme beliefs than the bases of their respective parties. Two of these groups, or subcultures, are the Alt-Right and Antifa. They both lie on completely opposite sides of the spectrum of politics, but they may be more alike than people think.
The Alternative Right, or Alt-Right, coined by Richard Spencer, is a subculture of extreme conservatives. Immigration strikes at the core of the Alt-Right belief system, because, in the group’s eyes, it taints the white European race that America was established on. This white European race is superior to all other races, pursuant to the Alt-Right ideology. The idea of white supremacy is neither foreign nor outdated in the United States and is embedded in the nation’s history. It is also similar to the Nazi proclaimed pure Aryan race, a belief synonymizing the Alt-Right with Hitler’s fascism, as well as the subculture’s antisemitism. According to PragerU’s What is the Alt-Right?, this subculture has three core beliefs, “the promotion of white identity politics, the rejection of God, and the subordination of the individual to the collective.” God’s rejection is cited to the Christian doctrine that everyone, including said inferior races, has a place in heaven. Despite the Alt-Right being labeled as a conservative group, it barely resembles the average conservative mindset.
Contrastingly, there are the Anti-Fascists, also known as Antifa. This subculture resides on the far left. Their belief system revolves around being against Alt-Right proclamations, especially fascism, hence the name Anti-Fascist. Antifa rivals white nationalism and preaches inclusion for all. Several Antifa members are self-designated anarchists. Much of Antifa’s existence is based upon action, subsequently forming the Black Bloc. The phrase “Black Bloc” originates from Antifa members dressing in all black during protests to disguise individual identities. This entity uses fear tactics to prevent the spread of fascism. As stated in VICE’s The Black Bloc: Inside America’s Hard Left, they want “to fight back to make people feel that it’s not safe to be fascist.” For example, members of the Bloc will track down Alt-Right hate sites and notify employers of employees participating on those sites. Violence is said to be a last resort but is justified when used in response to violence. There is an anti-police sentiment within the hard left, attributed to the fact that law enforcement serves at the behest of the executive branch, therefore serving President Donald Trump. Through the Antifa lens, fully trusting the police is trusting the fascist that runs the United States.
With the Alt-Right and Antifa traveling in opposite directions ideologically, their differences are many. A major distinction between the two is that Antifa is attempting to stifle the white supremacist movement, while the Alt-Right is trying to strengthen and enlarge the movement. Antifa sets out to prevent speeches from Alt-Right leaders such as Richard Spencer. The Alt-Right is not spending its time working against Antifa, rather, it is spending time promoting its own agenda. Also, the Alt-Right is a subculture one must be born into and adopt the beliefs of. For example, an African American cannot decide to be part of the Alt-Right because he or she would not be accepted by the group due to the color of his or her skin. Anyone of any race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation can belong to Antifa because it is solely ideological and not based on identity. The Alt-Right wants to go back in time to how things used to be. The Atlantic’s Rebranding White Nationalism: Inside Richard Spencer’s Alt-Right shows that the Alt-Right has this idea of recreating the Roman Empire that would give a “safe space for all Europeans from around the world.” Antifa is focused on progressing the social climate to one void of racism and exclusivity.
Despite the prevalent differences between these two political extremist subcultures, there are commonalities amongst them. Both groups can resort to violence in times of protest, whether planned or unplanned. Each group is very polarizing, which is why they exist as subcultures. Within their respective polarities, Antifa and the Alt-Right have extremists straying from the center of each subculture’s ideals. Those extremists tend to get a lot of media coverage, diluting the true natures of Antifa and the Alt-Right. Vox’s Don’t fall for the antifa trap claims that “the more radical-looking members of a protest attract the attention of the news media cameras.” The cameras zero in on the most violent protesters instead of the peaceful protesters that make up the majority in both subcultures. Therefore, media misrepresentation is a shared aspect of both groups. Another shared belief is the group over the individual. As mentioned earlier, the Alt-Right champions the collective over the individual; Antifa, as shown by the Back Bloc, brings group identity to the forefront of their platform. “January 20th, inauguration day, became D-day for both sides,” as asserted by ABC News’ Who are the white nationalists and Antifa: Part 1. An overall culminating factor tying the two groups together is the election of Donald Trump igniting the current fervor with which each group acts.
For those that do not subscribe to either sides’ values, understanding and accepting each subculture’s place in politics may be difficult and further questions may arise. How can Antifa use their right to protest to prevent the Alt-Right’s right to speak about their beliefs? Why is the Alt-Right against immigration when that is how white Europeans, i.e. their ancestors, came to the United States in the first place? Vast disparities and commonalities are entangled within the Alt-Right and Antifa. It is these very aspects that will forever intertwine the two movements in history.