Journalists like to think of themselves as part of a long lineage of truth seekers, a “fourth estate” in American life keeping government honest and shining light in dark places since the founding of the republic.
But when UNC-Chapel Hill alum Kathy Roberts Forde returns to the university’s journalism school Wednesday, it will be to discuss how seductive an illusion that is – and how the truth is much more complicated.
A festival of hate
Rechtsrock is a German term for music that acts as a vehicle for far-right ideology.
A key part of this scene are music festivals that act as key networking hubs for neo-Nazi groups across Europe. Festivals in Ukraine, Italy and Greece feature bands from across the Continent, and there’s a strong scene in Germany, which is home to some of the largest neo-Nazi music festivals in recent years.
One of those festivals, held in the German state of Thuringia, drew in an estimated 5,000 neo-Nazis. It was organised by the Turonen, a violent neo-Nazi gang who were recently targetted in a raid by police where large amounts of cash, weapons and crystal meth were found. These festivals can make organisers hundreds of thousands of euros, which are then pumped back into the neo-Nazi underground scene.
From Athens to Milan to Kiev and beyond, far-right music is a vital cultural weapon for right-wing extremists. And as the far-right music scene looks to make its return after a covid-induced hiatus – all eyes are on the authorities to find ways of dealing with this dark and twisted subculture.