Glenn Greenwald: The Anti-Renaissance Man at the Intersection of the Fascist Right and the Anarchist Left

CPI da Espionagem

Were you surprised to see Glenn Greenwald, a supposedly 'progressive journalist', go on Tucker Carlson and ridicule diversity?

I wasn't.

 From the time I became closely familiar with Glenn Greenwald’s work during the late 20-aughts, at least to me, he always appeared to be either the handmaiden of or an useful idiot for the American and global far-right junta.

Greenwald, who is now a fixture on white supremacist Tuker Carlson’s Fox News show and regularly makes excuses for fascist organizations like the Proud Boys, had his beginnings firmly on the political right before appearing ‘progressive’ for a hot second. At a time when he had claimed to be apolitical, he supported George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, though it’s not something he easily admits to these days. And to be completely fair, he did turn into a vicious critic of the Bush foreign policy as Johnny-come-lately, which turned out to be just a manifestation of his broader, anti-American worldview.

After capturing the attention of American readers with his criticism, though, Greenwald had grown to be nothing more than a knee-jerk Obama-basher during President Obama’s term in office. He’d made common cause with a coalition of left-wing radicals that sought to destroy the Democratic party as an organization. That their efforts only aided the far right seemed to come, for them, as a welcome development.

It’s the same cadre of people that then fueled the two losing Bernie Sanders candidacies for the Democratic nomination for president, and were absolutely giddy when Donald Trump unexpectedly defeated Hillary Clinton for the electoral college count despite losing the popular vote by 3 million votes to Clinton.

But it wasn’t until the 2016 presidential campaign and more prominently, after Trump was elected, that the alliance between the fascist right and anarchist left would become clearer.

Generally speaking, fascism and anarchism seem to be contradictory, if not mutually exclusive, ideologies. After all, one (anarchism) claims to be against the state itself, and the other (fascism) is the manifestation of absolute state power.

Their missions can be aligned, though, if the goal of a specific version of fascist movement is to subjugate people to an ideological, far-right, ethno-religious supremacist state power and the goal of the corresponding anarchist movement is to dismantle the building blocks of liberal democracy that is keeping that fascist state from coming into being. In fact, the two need each other.

It is important to note here that when we talk about a liberal democracy, we are not primarily talking about a particular ideology on the role of government or a set of policy choices. We are talking about a governing philosophy which celebrates reasoned, fact-based debate, values equity, requires compromise, and relegates dogmatism and ideological extremism to the fringes.

A fascist movement cannot rise from the midst of a stable, democratic system without anarchists dismantling both government institutions and political alliances that uphold liberal democracies, and anarchists cannot succeed in their mission to dismantle liberal democracies without being able to point to their fascist brethren as victims of liberal democracy.

This alliance explains Glenn Greenwald to a tee, from his posture in favor of Russia to his outrage at the suspension of destructive and violent right wing figures like Donald Trump from the social media space. Greenwald is not opposed to state power. Indeed he chose to live, with his family, in a country governed by a highly oppressive and authoritarian, right-wing regime. His greatest umbrage isn’t against the surveillance state that the Kremlin subjects Russian citizens to. Rather, Greenwald is opposed to the liberal democratic form of government that has the capacity to fight back against his anarchism to lay the groundwork for fascist uprisings.

Greenwald is, after all, a close ally and friend of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden, Wikileaks’ star source. While Wikileaks touts itself as a lone warrior that fights state crimes hidden under the veil of secrecy by publishing classified documents, in reality it is just one of many major tools the Russian government deployed to disrupt western liberal democracies. The outlet has never published any major hacks of the Russian or Chinese governments - or any major hacks from a totalitarian regime or an authoritarian government aligned with anti-American causes for that matter - and Snowden, who’s been living in Moscow for almost a decade, is now seeking Russian citizenship with the blessings of Vladimir Putin.

Greenwald, for his part, has been engaged in relentless efforts to promote Donald Trump and discredit the global intelligence consensus that Russia intervened in the US elections in 2016 to assist Donald Trump and did so again in 2020. Like his best friends on the authoritarian, white supremacist, Trumpian right, Greenwald has sung along with the tune of calling it the “Russian election hoax,” arising from the need of the Democratic party - the sole remaining politically organized force in the US for upholding liberal democracy - to insulate itself from having to explain why it lost the 2016 race.

Undermining intelligence about Russia’s deep and consequential invasion of the American democratic process also allowed Greenwald and his far-left fans to make the case for Bernie Sanders. The discounting of Putin’s role allowed them to argue that the institutional disruption both Sanders and Trump represented was a wholly home-grown phenomenon and a populist (left or right) quasi-dictatorship should be allowed to replace liberal democracy in America. This is exactly what right-wingers mean when they say that America is “a republic, not a democracy.”

Now that Trump has been defeated and the issue of Russian invasion of US elections has not vanished - in fact, just last month, President Biden imposed sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2020 elections - Greenwald has doubled down on his instincts to undermine American institutions and even the core values of equality and diversity, giving up all pretense that he was ever a “progressive” journalist.

The most recent of his outbursts - referenced in the introduction to this article - came in response to a recruitment ad from the Central Intelligence Agency that sought to portray the institution of intelligence gathering as an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming workplace.

As if he’s living in Twitter memes, Greenwald appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to mock and ridicule inclusiveness itself, while urging activists protesting police violence in communities of color to instead train their fire on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CIA, and the Pentagon, as well as disrupting big tech and financial institutions.

If you are thinking that he is simply a libertarian upset over federal police powers at home and military actions abroad as well as at increasing corporate power in many aspects of our lives, think again. Greenwald, it appeared to me purposefully, left out of his line of fire the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency linked to far more violations of civil rights and liberties (especially during the Trump years) than the agencies that did earn his ire. He never seriously spoke about Trump’s threats to use federal powers to threaten funding for states that don’t comply with immigration detainer requests without a court order. On the private industry side of the equation, he almost never talks about the power of the gas and oil industry, agribusiness, and coal.

So why the FBI, CIA, and the Pentagon? Why big tech and finance? Because these agencies and private institutions all have taken white supremacy as a serious threat. The FBI, the ODNI (which the CIA is under), and the Pentagon are moving diligently to identify and root out the cancer of white supremacy from within their own ranks as well as the ridding the broader government from neo Nazi terrorist infiltration. The DOJ under Attorney General Merrick Garland is moving aggressively to prosecute neo Nazi domestic terrorists.

Big tech has belatedly begun to take some rudimentary actions to tamp down the spread of white supremacist propaganda and disinformation on their platforms, and the financial industry is moving to disrupt the financial networks of these terrorists, although at a snail’s pace.

That’s a problem, both for far right neo fascists like Tucker Carlson as well as the far left anarcho-fascists like Glenn Greenwald. Remember that their willing alliance requires the framing of white supremacists and domestic terrorists as victims, not perps. And so consequences for neo-Nazis - whether in the private space or the law - undermines the Greenwald-Carlson mission of destroying the last best hope of liberal democracy.

Greenwald has gone so hardcore for white supremacists that he isn’t even trying to keep a veneer of libertarianism anymore. When the publication he once founded (and subsequently left because they decided not to let him lie with impunity any longer) revealed this week that they have obtained a treasure trove of neo-Nazi communications data, Greenwald burst into a fit of outrage.

The Intercept, which ironically was founded as Wikileaks’s “news” cousin with the express purpose of weaponizing data dumps by Greenwald himself, wrote to its subscribers that it has obtained a “massive data dump” from Gab, the dark web social media platform for violent and disturbed neo-Nazis who have been deplatformed from mainstream platforms like Facebook. It was going through the dump to find what it could about violent white supremacists, The Intercept wrote in the email.

“This is repulsive,” an angry Greenwald tweeted, claiming that in investigating ethno-nationalist violence, the publication was acting in contradiction with its founding mission. That work could help federal law enforcement, Greenwald exclaimed, rather than serving its - and his - original purpose of creating headaches for them instead. In complete and utter right-wing framing, he appears not to even believe white supremacists actually exist, putting ‘extremists’ in quotes.

A different observer might say that Greenwald’s transformation has been one for the history books, but I don’t think it has been much of a transformation at all. Greenwald was always a pro-fascist agitator whose core anti-Americanism stand happened to have been aligned with the anti-Iraq war left momentarily during the George W. Bush presidency.

But since then, his true colors (or lack thereof, depending on your perspective) have been in spectacular display. From ridiculously opposing the Affordable Care Act, to claiming that a Black woman supporter of Obama’s would defend it if President Obama raped a nun, to his support for Putin refusing to extradite Snowden, to quite literally announcing that Barack Obama is more of a moral evil than Donald Trump, and actively promoting anti-vaxxers, the side of white supremacists - or at the very least an useful idiot for them - is where Greenwald has always been.

What the motives are of a gay, Jewish man with a brown husband and children are to promote white supremacy, I can’t definitively say, except to observe that personal ego, the rush of viral content, and the adulation of misfits, along with seething anger at the intellectual mainstream for not adequately worshipping him, appear to be Greenwald’s driving force. In these ways, his personal qualities are very much Trumpian.

Whatever his motivations and whatever his personal identity, it can no longer be avoided that Greenwald has dedicated his talents to assisting American and global right-wing, authoritarian, ethno-religious supremacist forces and undermining popular, liberal democracy.

This intersectionality between the fascist right and the anarchist left has always been Greenwald’s sweet spot.

Like what you read? Leave a Tip. 

💰 Fund the Fight

Like what you read? Leave a Tip. 

💰 Fund the Fight