This just in: millennial Neo-Nazis in Germany are ganking Brooklyn steeze in an effort to make their extreme right-wing “nationalist” views more palatable to young people. In a lengthy Rolling Stone profile on the new, softer, more bearded face of Neo-Nazi culture, German twenty-somethings admit to using viral media tactics like vlogging, Instagram, Tumblr, “Harlem Shake” videos, surreptitious messaging on otherwise unassuming hoodies and tees, and even vegan cooking web series to draw in younger potential Nazi sympathizers who are steeped in American pop culture.
“The left-wing doesn’t have a prior claim to veganism,” say the vegan web series creators. “Industrial meat production is incompatible with our nationalist and socialist world views.”
…Great. Basically, hipsterdom is helping Neo-Nazis blend in with their, uh, more accepting, less horrifically racist generation by dismantling the big, bad skinhead image of yore. In other words, they’re mainstreaming. “More youthful” and “looser” were both words used to describe The Neo-Nazi Tumblr gen.
“We don’t want to cut ourselves off,” [says head of the youth wing of the National Democratic Party of Germany]. “I see rap and hip-hop, for example, as a way of transporting our message.” In recent years, a number of extreme-right hip-hop acts have emerged in Germany — with names like Makss Damage and Dee Ex. Despite the awkward politics of using hip-hop to preach the virtues of German identity, they’ve amassed a small, but significant presence within the scene.
Social media is also helping younger Neo-Nazis to espouse different political views in different spaces:
[Cynthia Miller-Idriss, an associate professor at American University in Washington, D.C., conducting research with young people in Berlin schools who are on the periphery of the extreme-right]…suggests that for a generation raised on Facebook and Twitter, it may no longer feel ridiculous to, say, love Rihanna in real life but disparage black people on Facebook. “The social media space allows young people to have different expressions of their identities in different places,” she says. “This generation of youth likes the idea of having more control over their own identity. They’ve realized your style doesn’t have to be connected to your ideology. You can dress however you want to and still be a neo-Nazi.”
Fantastic. So really comfy flannels and pour-over coffee are ruined for the rest of us. And in case you, American skinhead reader, are wondering what you’re doing wrong, take some criticism from your native German brethren on your “primitive” expressions of pro-Nazi sentiments: “It’s like they’re always dressing up for a costume party.”