Maggots, Marxists and Muslims
Like Anders Breivik, the Christchurch killer has a programmatic world view. Eddie Ford looks at the fascistic idealism of Brenton Tarrant
Last week saw the deadliest mass shooting in modern New Zealand history, with two consecutive attacks during Friday prayers at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch. Fifty people were left dead and 50 more were injured, two of whom are in a critical condition.
The first attack was live-streamed for 17 minutes on Facebook - apparently it began by showing the mass killer listening to a song idolising Radovan Karadžić, who in 2016 was jailed for “genocide” and “war crimes” against Bosnian Muslims. The original live video was viewed 4,000 times before it was removed, but by then a copy had been placed on the alt-right file-sharing site, ‘8chan’. In a vain and arguably pointless attempt to stop the video going viral, Facebook removed it and within 24 hours had blocked 1.2 million copies at the point of upload and deleted another 300,000.
We quickly learnt that the killer was a 28-year-old Australian, Brenton Harrison Tarrant - a member of a local gun club. The attack seemed to have been planned for two years and, although New Zealand was not the original choice of location, it seems Christchurch was selected by Tarrant three months in advance. Around 2012 he had started visiting many countries in Asia and Europe, becoming especially “entranced” - or obsessed - with battle sites in the Balkans involving various Christian states and the Ottoman empire, and touring Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey and Bosnia between 2016 and 2018. Interestingly, on social media he has posted a slew of Balkan nationalist material - decrying Nato intervention in Kosovo after a campaign of ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces, both regular and irregular, and arguing that “Christian Europeans” in the 1990s were merely “attempting to remove these Islamic occupiers from Europe”.
Indeed, Tarrant’s clothing and guns were adorned with symbols evoking the supposed Islamic threat past and present. On one of his semi-automatic rifles he had written “kebab remover” in white paint, an 8chan or alt-right term for getting rid of Bosnian Muslims. There were also painted references to Sebastiano Venier - an Italian admiral who went to war with the Turks in the 16th century - and also a nod to Charles Martel, who rightly or wrongly is hailed by various white supremacists for defeating an invading Muslim force at the Battle of Tours in 732. There were other allusions to Luca Traini, an Italian rightwing terrorist who opened fire on a group of African migrants last year, while another rifle had “14” painted prominently on it. This refers to a white supremacist slogan coined by David Lane, who died in prison and was the leader of ‘The Order’, an American neo-Nazi terrorist group active in the 1980s. The term reflects the view that, unless immediate action is taken, the white race is doomed to extinction by an alleged “rising tide of colour” controlled and manipulated by Jews.
Tarrant also used the ‘black sun’ symbol on his ammunition bag - something associated with Nazi Germany and more recent neo-Nazism. In particular Vanguard America emblazoned its shields with the symbol at the ugly ‘Unite the Right’ rally two years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. At this event a fascist deliberately rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one person and injuring nearly 40 others.
Inevitably, a great deal of nonsense has been spouted about Tarrant and the shootings. Many have lamented about New Zealand’s loss of “innocence” - tell that to the Maoris who suffered systematic discrimination for decades, with ‘quiet’ racism a reality despite official claims of tolerance and harmony. Not everything is perfect in the apparently idyllic, leafy suburbs and cities of that country.
Then we had the knee-jerk reaction to reforming the gun laws, specifically in regard to the legality of semi-automatic weapons. At a press conference, prime minister Jacinda Ardern indicated that details of the proposed legislation will be given by March 25, yet it is hard to see how tighter gun laws would stop an obviously determined individual like Tarrant from acquiring firearms. But, as we have seen in the United States, liberal opinion is obsessed by the idea of gun controls - falsely believing, it seems, that weapons cause violence, not societal conditions.Ardern also said that she had contacted Theresa May about taking “global action” against the failure of Facebook to prevent the attack being livestreamed. Once again, it is hard to see what good that would do - or, for that matter, how it would be practically possible.
Then there was Ardern’s slightly weird declaration that she would never mention Tarrant’s name in public, on the grounds that he had sought notoriety above all other things. Rather, Tarrant was simply a “terrorist”, “criminal” and an “extremist” - and so shall be “be nameless” when Ardern speaks. Maybe the Christchurch killer will disappear if we do not utter his name. This is not a very rational or helpful approach - it is reminiscent of John Major’s stupid comment in 1993, imploring us to “condemn a little more and understand a little less”, when it came to crime. Ignorance is best. Surely we need to understand what motivated Brenton Tarrant to commit such a hideous atrocity.
Not everyone seems to agree though. Before the shootings, Tarrant posted a 74-page manifesto online - also emailing a copy to Ardern just minutes before the attack (it gave no details about any attack). But mainstream liberal opinion, ranging from the BBC to the Financial Times, has bemoaned the fact that it was circulated, calling upon social media sites and others to remove all traces of it. This is not a rational approach either, the implication being that reading its words will turn you into a supporter of mass murder or fascism (in the same way that some, including the Socialist Workers Party, appear to think that Hitler’s Mein Kampf is so saturated with supernatural evil that reading it will get you hoping for a new holocaust.
Communists have a totally different perspective, defending free speech and the open circulation of ideas - what is there to be afraid of? The Christchurch killer has at least done us a favour by providing a sketch of his world view, making it easier to understand his warped thinking - and those who think like him, such as Anders “narcissistic personality disorder” Breivik, who on July 22 2011 killed 77 people, including 69 at a Workers’ Youth League summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya. As our readers will doubtlessly recall, he issued a 1,518-page compendium or manifesto titled 2083: a European declaration of independence, which in many respects was a tirade against “cultural Marxism” and all related ills. This was emailed to 1,003 addresses about 90 minutes before the attacks began. Perhaps ironically, his manifesto, unlike Tarrant’s, is easily available - just go to his Wikipedia page. Perhaps size is everything after all.
Now it cannot be denied that Tarrant’s ‘manifesto’, called The great replacement: towards a new society, is rather rambling - it is incoherent, disjointed and historically and politically ill-informed. Nevertheless, it performs the valuable function of reminding you that he is not just an isolated individual (or ‘lone wolf’) who carried out a heinous act, but someone who shares a particular, if contradictory, far-right world view.
Revealingly, the black sun symbol on the front page of Tarrant’s manifesto is surrounded by slogans, some of which might initially sound surprising - “anti-imperialism”, “environmentalism”, “workers’ rights” - as well as “responsible markets”, “addiction-free community”, “law and order”, “ethnic autonomy”, and “protection of heritage and culture”. The ‘great replacement’ is, of course, a reference to the conspiracy theory that the white Christian European population is being systematically replaced with non-European people through mass migration and demographic growth. Needless to say, this notion associates the presence of Muslims with the potential destruction of white European culture and civilisation.
The idea of the ‘great replacement’ can be traced back to the 1973 novel by Jean Raspal, Le camp des saints - which fearfully depicts the collapse of western culture owing to an overwhelming “tidal wave” of third-world migration. A logical variant of this idea, obviously subscribed to by Tarrant, is the white genocide theory first fully developed by David Lane around 1995 - mass immigration, racial integration, miscegenation, low fertility rates, abortion, governmental land-confiscation from whites in countries like Zimbabwe, and so on, are undertaken to remove or liquidate the white population.
Tarrant calls himself an “eco-fascist” and “ethno-nationalist”, writing that Sir Oswald Mosley is “the person from history closest to my own beliefs”. On the other hand, he does not think much of the Front National, describing them as a “party of milquetoast civic nationalist boomers, completely incapable of creating real change and with no actual viable plan to save their nation”. Perhaps contradictorily, he admires the People’s Republic of China, as it is a strong and authoritarian state “with the closest political and social values to my own”: it is very firm on law and order and is very tough on crime (the death penalty, etc).
Yes, as widely reported - sometimes too dramatically - he is a supporter of Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”. But, he quips, not as a policymaker and leader - “dear God, no”. Unsurprisingly, he also supports Brexit, which, Tarrant agues, represents “the British people firing back at mass immigration, cultural displacement and globalism - and that’s a great and wonderful thing”. It goes without saying that he takes “true inspiration” from the “knight justiciar”, Anders Breivik - he had received from him a “blessing for my mission” during a “brief contact” with his hero.
Elsewhere, Tarrant roams far and wide in his unfocused imagination. There are numerous references to the religious wars of the Middle Ages, such as the Crusades - which were an entirely sensible exercise in his opinion - and another hero of his, Pope Urban II, who urged Christians to go to war against Muslims in 1095. Looking at the state of the world, Tarrant writes: “Ask yourself, what would Pope Urban II do?” Answering his own question,the document states that he targeted Muslims as a form of “revenge against Islam for 1,300 years of war and devastation that it has brought upon the people of the west and other peoples of the world”.
Predictably, the document is peppered Breivik-style with vitriolic denunciations of “antifa” and Marxists, real or imaginary. With regards to the latter, he bluntly states: “I do not want to convert you, I do not want to come to an understanding” - as “egalitarians and those that believe in hierarchy will never come to terms”. True enough, you might think. Rather, “I want you in my sights. I want your neck under my boot” - therefore “see you on the streets, you anti-white scum”. More generally, Tarrant believes that “democracy is mob rule and the mob itself is ruled by our own enemies” - which for him means meaning that “the global and corporate-run press controls them, the education system (long since fallen to the long march through the institutions committed by the Marxists) controls them, the state (long since heavily lost to its corporate backers) controls them and the anti-white media machine controls them”.
He writes that maggots, Muslims and Marxists “are nothing to me but just another target” - he intends to “wipe you the fuck out with precision, the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words”. Tarrant also argues interestingly that the way to stop mass migration is through unionisation, automation, and the minimum wage - his fascist politics having an anti-capitalist edge right from the very first page.
Overall, Brenton Tarrant’s abiding obsession - apart from Muslims and Marxists - seems to be population numbers, in the style of Paul R Ehrlich’s 1968 work The population bomb. In this famous - or infamous - book, Ehrlich warned of mass starvation in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major social upheavals, and urged immediate action to limit population growth. In other words, it was essentially a restatement of Malthusian theory - much mocked by Karl Marx, of course. If you are Brenton Tarrant, this translates as countries like Australia and New Zealand being under siege and subject to invasion. It does not occur to him that Europeans have done their fair share of invading. In fact, the ‘manifesto’ of the young and angry Tarrant is ultimately is based on a very old-fashioned view of Christendom - which he essentially equates with Europe.
The appalling killings in Christchurch were clearly a political act, even if his manifesto is crazy in places. Hence, in that sense, his document - garbled and disconnected as it is - represents the sort of outlook that, in the absence of the kind of Marxist political organisation that Tarrant would abhor, is gaining strength. Indeed, what comes over is that Brenton Tarrant is an idealist (no matter how horribly misdirected) who wants something better for his people - defined exclusively and murderously as white and European in origin.