It seems that just about every far right racist with an internet connection is announcing Australian speaking tours these days.
Riding on the coattails of Milo Yiannopoulos and Jordan Peterson, Canadian alt-right YouTube personalities Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux have announced an Australian tour next month. They’ll be joined by fellow right wing YouTuber Dave Rubin later in the year. Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced a September tour.
Yiannopoulos and Peterson both spoke to sold-out events, and there’s every reason to expect big crowds for the next set of speakers. Between them, Southern and Molyneux have more than 1.5 million subscribers and hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. Former libertarians, they’ve radicalised over the past few years and found themselves among the pro-Trump alt-right alongside other self-proclaimed “identitarians” like white supremacist Richard Spencer.
Like Yiannopoulos, they use their platform to normalise fascist ideas in the hope of radicalising others. In one video titled The Great Replacement, Southern argues that white Europeans are being reverse-colonised by Muslim migrants from the Middle East and North Africa. It’s received nearly half a million views. This is merely a rebranded version of the “white genocide” neo-Nazi conspiracy fantasy that claims white people will eventually become extinct due to unfettered migration and low white birth rates.
Southern and Molyneux are part of a growing far right movement that wants to push the window of acceptable political debate further to the right. When announcing the tour, Molyneux vowed, “We’re going to help move the needle and shift the conversation because people do feel uneasy about the direction of the countries they’re living in”.
They claim their arguments will shock Australians.
“Australia is a fascinating situation for both of us, because it really seems that you guys are at a crossroad”, Southern said. “Do you want to retain your culture? … Or, will the boats keep coming?” She’s a bit late to the game. In a country where the official policy of both major parties is to stop the boats, they’ll fit in just fine.
Their profile is being boosted by the Australian media, including a fawning article by Australian columnist and Institute for Public Affairs director Janet Albrechtsen.
These figures are finding an audience because some of their ideas are already firmly established in mainstream politics. It’s a wonder they took this long to realise they could be paid to spout their bigotry here.
Who are they?
A former Breitbart editor and one of the most prominent figures associated with the alt-right, Yiannopoulos styles himself as a troll. But a 2017 exposé revealed his links with more open white supremacists, including email exchanges with the administrator of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.
In a video leaked to BuzzFeed, Yiannopoulos is filmed singing “America the Beautiful” while Richard Spencer stands in front of him giving a Nazi salute. Last September, his planned four-day “Free Speech Week” at the University of California, Berkeley, fell apart under the threat of protests. His December 2017 Australian tour sold out.
A Canadian psychology professor who became a right wing internet sensation through his opposition to prohibition of discrimination based on “gender identity or expression” being added to the Canadian Human Rights Act in 2016.
His YouTube lectures are now watched by 1.2 million subscribers and his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos has become a bestseller. The book, like his YouTube channel, re-packages standard conservative arguments against “political correctness”, feminism and Marxism under the guise of rational logic and individual self-help. His speaking tour in March sold out in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
Southern dropped out of a political science degree to become a military intelligence officer, then dropped that career path when she was offered a job with Canadian alt-right media organisation Rebel Media.
Now an independent writer, she holds a spot in the White House press briefing room and has half a million YouTube subscribers. In 2017, she participated in the white nationalist group Génération Identitaire’s attempts to obstruct search-and-rescue boats helping migrants in the Mediterranean.
Her latest work is a documentary on the supposed persecution of white South African farmers.
Self-proclaimed philosopher who began broadcasting his opinions through his Freedomain Radio website in 2005. His YouTube channel, where he attempts to intellectualise arguments in favour of eugenics, biological determinism and “scientific racism”, has nearly a million subscribers.
His videos span topics such as “the death of white males”, “the rise and fall of Western culture” and “the ugly truth about cultural Marxism”. Molyneux is also a self-published author, whose latest book is titled The Art of the Argument: Western Civilization’s Last Stand.
His opinions have received support from former KKK grand wizard David Duke several times over the past few years.
Formerly a member of progressive YouTube show The Young Turks, Rubin is now a success story for the right as liberal-turned-conservative. He has more than 700,000 subscribers to his live-streamed Youtube show The Rubin Report and more than a quarter of a million followers on Twitter; he makes $30,000 per month from supporters on Patreon.
He has interviewed alt-right figures such as Yiannopoulos, Southern and Molyneux and the former head of the far right English Defence League, Tommy Robinson.