Carrying on thought the “Defense” of Rhyd.
Red Scares & Witch Hunts
In the same essay, John Beckett asserts the following:
“It’s a call for ideological purity reminiscent of McCarthyism, and if taken too far (and someone somewhere always takes things too far) it can lead to witch hunts. The irony of witches leading witch hunts would be amusing if this wasn’t so serious.”
And from Anomalous Thracian, the founder of Polytheist.com, on a public facebook post:
“Important to remember that this same sort of document circled in the US around 25 years ago, igniting the Satanic Panic, which sent the entire country (nay, the world..?!) into a frenzy of paranoia around witchcraft, magic, delusions of baby-killing and child-ritual-trafficking, and a whole lot of thinking that Dungeons and Dragons would open a portal to the underworld and unleash a literal apocalypse.”
“And then about, what, twenty five or thirty years before that, the same thing, in the McCarthy Era. Different language, different scapegoats, same paranoid and delusional fear-mongering propaganda.”
People love their witch hunts. Apparently.
There is some great degree of irony in a leftist witch being declared a McCarthyist or attempting to initiate a witch-hunt.
Tell me about it. You’d think a “leftist witch” would know better. But hey, can’t fix stupid as they say. And when you’re a totalitarian marxist witch faced with a world determined to live in inequality in the name of the sacred, well, you just gotta do something about it and purge that evil wrong think for the sake of global salvation and equality.
The ‘Red Scare’ was a time when artists, intellectuals, writers, actors, and many others were investigated by the House UnAmerican Activities Commission, led by Joseph McCarthy and influenced by J. Edgar Hoover and powerful business people. Radicals of all sorts—particularly civil rights activists—were investigated for potential associations with the Communist Party. People with suspected associations with Communist organisations or even sympathies (‘fellow travelers’) were blacklisted from trade unions, actors guilds, publishers, and many other artistic and professional organisations, effectively silencing radical voices for decades.
The ‘Rhyd Scare’ was a time when Pagan artists, intellectuals, writers, actors, and many others were investigated by the Gods & Radicals Anti-Fascist Activities Commission, led by Rhyd Wildermuth and influenced by Karl Marx and powerful Marxist Pagans. Radicals of all sorts—particularly devotional polytheists or pagan reconstructionists—were investigated for potential associations with the Alt-Right Party. People with suspected associations with Alt-Right organizations or even sympathies (‘fellow travelers’) were blacklisted from Pagan Events, Pagan Blog Sites, publishers, and many other artistic and professional organizations, effectively silencing radical Pagan voices for decades.
The Witch Trials have been variously described by many authors, but Feminist author Silvia Federici’s Caliban & The Witch perhaps best elucidates the historical and political processes which led to the arrests, trials, imprisonments, and burnings of heretics and witches.
And…not providing any links of quotes here. I’m sure there’s absolutely no reason for that at all. Nope, none at all.
In both cases, there was a political agency obscured by the hysteria and scapegoating. The Red Scare significantly reduced the influence of leftist critique in the United States at the same time that it strengthened the power of Capitalists and the State against workers. Despite my own ideological differences with Communism, it is, at its core, a political narrative which seeks to liberate workers from exploitation. The Red Scare didn’t happen in a political vacuum: the State and Capitalists attacked people for Communist leanings in order to weaken resistance to State and Capitalist power.
As opposed to the Communists, who were attacking people to weaken the power of the State and Capitalists in order to weaken resistance to Communist power. In order to free the workers from the exploitation of the State and Capitalists.
Of course, one need only look at the state of modern trade unions and the amount of dues taken by unions from workers to realize that the Communists really only wanted to make sure they were the only ones exploiting people. Soviet Russia and Communist China are also good examples of removing Capitalist exploitation for the workers to not be exploited.
Silvia Federici has convincingly shown that the Witch Trials were driven by similar political and economic motives—that is, the creation of the proletariat and the breaking of resistance to increases in State authority and the rise of the Capitalist. The same mechanism was used again in Wiemar Berlin (a leftist, Jewish, queer, and occult stronghold) as the Nazis rose to power, in the arrests of anarchists and socialists in the United States in the early 1900’s, and again during the McCarthy era.
Rhyd provides no quotes, or anything from this woman’s book. So I’m presently unconvinced by any part of her argument because I have seen no part of her argument. I mean sure, I could go buy the book (bah, evil capitalism), and then read it all, then come back to this, but Bellona’s Tits I’m on my fourth Post already. Rhyd’s certainly been happy to go quote heavy to prove out bad his detractors are, but he can’t even provide a single quote to prove any part of his statements about how convincing this woman is about the witch trials?
I smell Bullshit.
But okay, Witch Trials (presumably in Salem and elsewhere) as a backlash against Proto-Marxist, Proto-Prolatariate uprisings. I see we’re going back into the “if you’d read history books rather than Marxist books,” thing from the original “Confronting” again.
See, I studied US history. I even got to do research and write a short story about the Salem Witch Trials (I had fun in my history classes). And after much research you know what I learned?
IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MOTHER FUCKING MARXISM!!!!!
There was no “protest against state/capitalist” power. There were not elements of this in any of it. What happened was there was a lot of bad shit going on agriculturally, a couple girls got jealous, some people got sick, a lot of people got religiously paranoid, and it exploded. There was no “proletariat” rising up against the “capitalist exploiters.”
So, with that background in mind, let’s return to the question. Am I attempting to initiate a witch hunt or red scare?
Assuming Rhyd actually believes all this stuff….let’s break it down:
Let’s see, Marxists/Communists wishing to break down the power of the Capitalistic State in order to free the proletariat from exploitation. Many Pagan traditions have traditional hierarchies which work along side with, if not directly as, “Capitalist, Statist, exploitative hierarchies” which stand in the way of a Marxist Egalitarian society. Leading to the rising up of said Marxists to dismantle these systems and hunt down those who support and maintain them as part of their sacred traditions.
Yes. By this background in our minds, it is pretty clear that this is an attempt to instate a witch hunt, or as I like to call it, a “Rhyd Scare.”
In the piece I wrote, in the section entitled What Else Can We Do?, I offer four suggestions. They are:
• Ask Uncomfortable Questions
• Demand Clear Stances From Leaders
• Build Strong Connections Across Traditions
• Challenge Divine Proclamations.
Well, there’s been a lot of posts asking these uncomfortable questions. Sadly, it seems a lot of the answer is “Go Alt-Right before it’s too late.”
What do you think we’ve been doing Rhyd? The problem is the clearer your stance becomes, the more our initial reactions to your Post seem to be coming back as the right ones. Or would that be alt-right ones?
And I can certianly say we’ve been building stronger connections across traditions. Admittedly, we might end up all going “alt-right” with the connections depending on you Rhyd and G&R keep going, but it’s been made pretty clear by the “top brass” of pagan websites that we who protest are we who proto-fascist.
However, the only divine proclamations going to be challenged at this point are the ones Rhyd and his buddies put forth. At this point, the only real divine proclamations I’ve had have been from Bellona and Skadi which pretty much break down to: “Kick his ass.”
Not really a lot to question there.
None of these assert that people should blacklist Pagans with suspected New Right associations, nor put anyone on trial. In fact, the text of the third assertion specifically argues against seeing people as ‘other’:
“Beware the tendency of many Pagan groups to create us vs. them dichotomies. In fact, if another group is ‘the enemy,’ consider asking why. Isolation is an essential part of authoritarian cults, and a great way to ensure group-think. Even people with apparently opposite theological stances have much more in common than they first appear.”
Rhyd has done nothing but spend these two posts othering people. He’s othered the Alt-Right. He’s certainly othered Krasskova. There was a fair bit of othering towards Beckett, and a whole lot of “anyone who thinks these bad things about me and doesn’t trust my honesty needs to educate themselves.”
I am arguing specifically against creating enemies, and suggesting that the tendency of some traditions to create ‘others’ is dangerous and plays heavily into New Right ideology. A Wiccan, a Polytheist, an Animist, and a Humanist have much more in common with each other than not, and my experience working with Gods&Radicals has more than shown me that we have a lot more to teach each other than many of the online debates ever suggest.
“Hey, othering people is wrong, that’s why we should other people who do it, so that we can remove other people who other “other people” from our community. Which is against othering.”
Despite the fact that there are, indeed, writers and leaders who openly claim allegiance with many of the ideas of the New Right, it is the ideas which are the problem, not the people. In fact, we must not fall into that trap when confronting dangerous ideas—that’s the tool of Fascism, not of liberation. Humans are not the ideas or beliefs they hold, anymore than they are the color of their skin, their genitals, their ability, or their sexual orientation.
Rhyd, you racist, sexist, abelist, homophobic and transphobic piece of scum. How dare you erase the unique life experiences of non-white, non-cis, disabled, and GLBT+ peoples with this horrible, uneducated, racist statement!
How dare you erase people’s identities to make your political and ideological point. That is exactly what those fascist in the Alt-Right do! They deny the agency and identity of non-traditional and minority peoples and their experiences in order to preserve their ideological and hierarchical power! In denying the unique identifiers of marginalized people you are contributing to fascism, racism, sexism, inequality, and prejudice. Check your mother fucking white privilege, you cis-scum!
I’m…I’m going to take a break. We’ll finish this up in part 5…