Whenever a person of any prominence expresses interest in or agreement with tabooed ideas like White Nationalism, anti-Semitism, or Holocaust revisionism, the standard Judeo-Leftist strategy is to destroy him socially and economically — unless, of course, there are no legal barriers to outright murder.
The dissident is socially destroyed through public denunciations and whispering campaigns designed to isolate him in a hostile environment by cutting him off from his friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and colleagues, most of whom will distance themselves from any person labeled with “witch” words like “Nazi,” “hater,” etc., lest suspicion fall on them as well.
The target is economically destroyed by pressuring his employers to fire him. Or, if he is self-employed, by pressuring people not to buy, distribute, or advertise his goods and services. Generally, it is harder to economically destroy self-employed individuals, which is one reason why White Nationalists should seek to be self-employed and why the society we aim to create should hew to the classical republican ideal of a broad, self-employed middle class.
In recent years, Seattle artist Charles Krafft has been increasingly outspoken about his interests in Holocaust revisionism and White Nationalist concerns. For instance, Mike Polignano and I have interviewed Charlie for Counter-Currents Radio (part one, part two). We have also featured two short videos about him as Videos of the Day (here and here). Krafft has also been interviewed on Voice of Reason and The White Network. He also uses his Facebook page (2,000+ friends) as a micro-blog, and has been increasingly frank about white identity and interests and the Jewish question.
But no sincere expression of dissent goes unpunished. I knew something was brewing when earlier this year, a Facebook drama queen named Fred Owens started hurling accusations and threatening Krafft’s social and economic destruction. Next after Owens in the media’s Human Centipede of ritual defamation is Jen Graves, the “visual arts writer” for the Seattle alternative paper The Stranger, who has penned a breathless exposé with the snappy title “Charles Krafft Is a White Nationalist Who Believes the Holocaust Is a Deliberately Exaggerated Myth.”
Graves assembles some quotes from Krafft’s Facebook postings and interviews about the Holocaust and the Jewish question. Then she contacted some of Krafft’s friends and colleagues and invited them to distance themselves from him.
It was all too easy for Jen to label Charlie some sort of neo-Nazi, since his artworks teem with Hitlers, swastikas, Iron Crosses, and other images associated with National Socialism and the Second World War. Most people took his use of these images as ironic, and that’s obviously true, but Jen Graves claims that the Hitler teapots and windmills with swastika blades are all earnest. Deadly earnest.
If she had contacted me, this is what I would have said. I have known Charles Krafft since 2004. During that time, I have corresponded with him, talked to him on the phone, and met him in person a number of times. I have been a White Nationalist since 2000, and my worldview was fully formed by the time I met Charlie. Even allowing for the fact that it takes time to get to know people, Charlie’s thinking has evolved dramatically over the time that I have known him.
His interest in revisionism goes back to 2000, but based on our conversations, it is my impression that he has only taken White Nationalism seriously as a political idea in the past couple of years. Furthermore, I have never heard him call himself a White Nationalist. Nor have we ever talked about race and racial issues. We talk mostly about art and religion. Thus I would classify Charlie as a believing and practicing historical revisionist. But not all revisionists are White Nationalists, and not all White Nationalists are revisionists. (Holocaust revisionism is not my cup of hemlock, but I support the rights of revisionists in all domains of history.) Thus when it comes to White Nationalism, I think of Krafft more as a metapolitical fellow traveler, whose path intersects with our own, but whose destination and concerns are ultimately more historical, artistic, and spiritual than political.
Yet Charlie’s use of Nazi imagery goes back to around 1990, beginning with his swastika-blade delftware windmills, which are a visual pun on the name of his friend Von Dutch (the swastika is associated with Germany, as is the word “von,” and the delftware windmill is obviously Dutch).
Later in the ’90s, Charlie came to be associated with the Slovenian band Laibach and their Neue Slowenische Kunst art collective. Laibach, of course, is famous for their ironic use of Nazi, fascist, and Communist imagery and their exploration of nationalist themes. (See Charlie’s discussion of Laibach here. See my review of their album Volk here.)
Both Laibach and Krafft use such symbols for more than mere shock value, but they stop well short of using them in earnest or endorsing the worldview that goes with them.
For Laibach, National Socialism is part of European nationalism and totalitarianism, which are central themes of their work. But they are no more National Socialists for using NS imagery than they are communists for using communist imagery or “Vlad the Impalerists” for using his image either.
As for Krafft, the swastika and other Nazi images are merely part of a much broader theme in his work: popular symbols for and images of evil, disaster, and death. Krafft has created artworks commemorating natural and man-made disasters, like earthquakes and wars. He has not just done portraits of Hitler, but also of Aleister Crowley, Charles Manson, Kim Jong-Il, Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and even Amy Winehouse — every one of them an embodiment of evil and depravity in the popular imagination.
Krafft does not necessarily endorse the idea that they really are evil, but neither does he endorse them and their actions as good. He is content to let them stand as symbols of evil in our imagination. Then he tweaks them, ironically, to give us some distance on evil — or our ideas and symbols of evil — and he leaves it at that.
Krafft’s art has power and vitality, because it shows us things that we take deadly seriously, and it allows us to laugh at them — or at least give a little Buddha smile. But you cannot laugh at something unless you have overcome it, unless you have risen above it, unless it no longer towers over and oppresses you. Thus laughter is a liberating thing. But of course this does not suit the agenda of dour, politically-correct scolds who want to oppress us with horrors, demoralize us with guilt, and lead us around on chains of moral indignation.
So I would argue that the fact that Charles Krafft uses swastikas no more proves he is a Nazi than his Kim Jong-Il teapots prove he is a follower of Juche. Hitler and the rest of them are part of a larger artistic project of exploring popular symbols of evil — symbols that serve as triggers to feelings of horror and indignation — and using humor and irony to help us rise above them.
I am not, however, claiming that there is no connection between Charles Krafft’s use of Nazi images in his art and his later intellectual journey. Krafft’s ironic use of Nazi images is, of course, repugnant to actual Nazis, who take all of it quite seriously. But Krafft’s art is attractive to people like me, namely White Nationalists who feel what I call “the burden of Hitler,” i.e., people who wish to distinguish their views from National Socialism while also giving just acknowledgement to what Heidegger called its “inner truth and greatness.” Krafft’s art, like Laibach’s, helps me gain some emotional distance and psychological freedom from National Socialism and other forms of totalitarianism, which is a necessary condition for defining a genuinely new “New Right.”
Thus when I first saw Krafft’s work, I sought him out and got to know him. I found Charlie to be a voracious reader and a fount of information. Whenever I talk to him, I always keep a notebook handy to jot down the names of authors and titles of books. Of course I make recommendations too, and I know he follows up on at least some of them.
Charlie is also a connoisseur of strange ideas and human eccentricity, which is good, because our little subculture has much in this way to offer. But he also has a sense of humor and a rational, critical, no-nonsense mind, so he is stimulated but not depressed or corrupted by such phenomena.
Charlie has many friends and acquaintances like me. So given his open but critical mind, voracious reading habits, and wide network of friends in the broad “White Nationalist” milieu, it stands to reason that Charlie’s thinking has evolved in that direction. Because White Nationalism is a fundamentally rational, moral, and enlightened worldview, and he is a fundamentally rational, moral, and enlightened guy.
So my hypothesis is that Krafft’s art brought him into contact with some of the more open-minded people in the White Nationalist subculture, and we may have influenced him just as he has influenced us.
But Charles Krafft does not fit any of the popular media stereotypes of a White Nationalist. He is neither consumed by hate nor nostalgic for the totalitarianism of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. He is pretty close to what I call the “West-Coast White Nationalist” paradigm. His intellectual journey included the Beatniks, the 1960s counter-culture, rock’n'roll, long sojourns in the East, Hinduism and Buddhism, and probably a bit of LSD. He is tolerant, widely-traveled, and has a genuine appreciation of and openness to non-European cultures, particularly of South and East Asia.
But all of that openness to the other does not preclude loving one’s own. I think that Charlie is one of an increasing number of essentially liberal whites who are awakening to the fact that multiculturalism and non-white immigration are threats to the things that liberals hold dear: environmentalism, support for the arts, respect for women, kindness to animals, high wages, safe workplaces, religious tolerance, tolerance for “alternative lifestyles,” safe, inviting public spaces and facilities, walkable communities, etc., none of which are conspicuous in Latin America or the Muslim world, for instance.
But none of these liberal concerns are ever allowed to trump the agenda of white dispossession and race replacement. For instance, in Norway and Sweden, rape has risen to the levels one finds in war zones, almost entirely due to mass immigration from the Muslim world. Yet the leaders of the Left-wing political and media establishments, all of them nominal feminists — at least when it serves as a stick to beat white men — refuse categorically to question the wisdom of non-white immigration and instead cover up the rape crisis and vilify people who speak out about it.
Thus more and more white liberals are realizing that something is deeply corrupt about their political and opinion leaders.
Krafft is also aware of the well-documented role of the organized Jewish community in promoting multiculturalism and non-white immigration in order to displace whites. And he is well-aware of the importance of the Holocaust as as tool for stigmatizing all forms of white ethnic consciousness, even the patriotism of the peoples who fought against the Nazis.
All of these views are fundamentally rational and moral, but in this society it takes great independence of mind to arrive at them and great courage to speak about them openly, in one’s own name. We have to support people like that when the enemy targets them for destruction.
What can we do to support Charlie Krafft?
First of all, if you have been thinking about buying his art, now is the time to do it. (You can contact him through Facebook and his website.)
Second, contact him and give him your moral support.
Third, it would probably be best for all if this controversy died in the pages of The Stranger. Thus I do not recommend commenting on The Stranger article, lest it encourage more press. But if other media pick up the story, and it looks like it will not die down, I will post links and encourage people to write comments.
Finally, if you are one of Charlie’s friends, be prepared to defend him if this campaign escalates. But be careful of speaking to the press. The enemy wishes to socially isolate Charlie and sow discord in our ranks, and they will distort your statements to achieve that. Statements of support can be twisted into the exact opposite.
Fortunately, we don’t need their media anymore. If you want to speak out, speak directly to the public on your own site, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And if you speak to reporters, let them know that you are recording your conversation, or keeping copies of your email correspondence, which you will make public if you are misquoted.