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Kindle Unlimited Should Stop Giving Subscribers Free White Nationalist Content

Kindle Unlimited’s suggestions list can easily send a reader into a tailspin of radical right-wing fodder.

Part of the Kindle application is seen on an iPad on October 24, 2017.

As much as major tech companies have started to stake their reputation on their ability to weed out white nationalists, they have continued to rely on algorithmic solutions rather than experts and human eyes. Recently, Amazon began taking down white nationalist literature off of its website, singling out Counter-Currents Publishing, among others, for removal. While this was a major turn, it actually missed one of the key avenues that white nationalists have used to sneak far-right literature in front of new eyes.

Amazon’s popular e-book system, Kindle, has a “Kindle Unlimited” subscription option for people who want unlimited access to a large library of e-books. How this plays out for readers is mostly a list of b-rate titles, often genre series books, as most popular publishers would rather not just make a small base-rate for providing subscribers full access to their titles. For micro publishers, however, this has created a built-in audience and financial base, since they can get a certain amount of money for providing their titles as well as access to a select pool of avid readers who may not have found their books on their own.

The standards on Kindle Unlimited are not necessarily the most particular, which has allowed it to become a key resource for white nationalists. Several far-right publishers have now made their titles available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, including titles that are tied to violent anti-immigrant movements in Europe and the U.S. While Amazon has worked to move some of these publishers’ titles off of their physical book rolls, they remain available at Kindle Unlimited.

Dangerous Content Slips Through the Cracks on Kindle Unlimited

Arktos Media has more than a decade of publishing history, but it skyrocketed in interest as it rode the popularity of the “alt-right” movement. Arktos was originally founded to republish translations of fascist “traditionalist” theorists like Julius Evola, who have a metapolitical version of fascist politics based on reimagining religious philosophy through a racialized lens. Unlike most “perennial” philosophy, which sees all religions as having some truth in them, the “radical traditionalism” of Evola views traditional social, gender and racial hierarchies as needing to be maintained for societies to be “healthy.”

Arktos also focused on publishing the European New Right canon in English for the first time, bringing fascist academic work to American audiences. The European New Right, led by French academic Alain de Benoist, worked to rebrand fascism using left-wing jargon. This meant trying to apply the anti-colonial, environmental, and anti-capitalist ideas out of the New Left to their vision of mono-racial societies that hold onto arcane ideas of social hierarchy and authority.

Evola and the European New Right’s writing was key to the early formation of the alt-right in 2010, as they have been to the larger “Identitarian” movement in Europe. This movement is rebranding fascism using the tactics of youth-led mass movements and is sinking refugee boats in the Mediterranean in an effort to stop non-white immigration. Evola has been a distinct inspiration for fascist terrorism across the world, including the paramilitary guerilla war in Italy in the 1970s known as the “Years of Lead.” During this time, followers of Evola’s traditionalism staged bombing campaigns in an effort to destabilize the government and establish a society based on strict social hierarchies. More recently, Evola’s work has been central to the National Bolshevik movement and figures like Aleksandr Dugin in Russia, who are using Evola’s ideas to refashion the Russian empire as an anti-modern “Eurasianist” political machine that maintains social and ethnic hierarchies.

On Kindle Unlimited you can read Evola’s Metaphysics of War; A Traditionalist Confronts Fascism; East & West: Comparative Studies in Pursuit of Tradition, as well as a number of books written by fascist theorists, such as Troy Southgate’s Tradition and Revolution. European New Right leader Alain de Benoist is well represented on Kindle Unlimited, as several of his books arguing against democracy, multiculturalism and the idea of human equality are available for free, many of which have only been translated into English for the first time recently.

One of the most important European New Right figures of the Identitarian movement is Guillaume Faye, a writer who helped spearhead the militantly anti-Islamic movement in Europe and focuses on reviving what he sees as a mono-racial “traditional” culture of Europe. His magnum opus, Archeofuturism, reimagines a future Europe built on arcane social traditions, and is free on Kindle Unlimited along with several other books, including his call to social war, Why We Fight. His work is joined by a number of other Arktos titles, including books by the Italian fascist insurrectionary group Raido, white nationalist author Michael O’Meara and dozens of other books, all of which come from the heart of the Identitarian movement that is mobilizing anti-immigrant violence across Europe. Kindle Unlimited have even gone as far as to include the manifesto of Generation Identity, a leading Identitarian group, as a free book, which outlines the key ideas, strategies, and tactics of the new nationalist movements fighting for mono-ethnic European states and vehemently against non-white immigration.

After the manifesto of the New Zealand mass shooter went viral, many have focused on how “eco-fascist” ideas, which meld white nationalism with concern over environmental preservation, have proliferated. Arktos publishes Finnish ecologist Pentti Linkola, who argues that we should institute a mass genocide of most of the world’s population using something similar to the Nazi concentration camp methodology. He argues that the current population is unsustainable, and therefore, radical and immediate population reduction is necessary. Linkola opposes immigration, supports euthanizing people with disabilities and supports militant violence to achieve these ends. His book Can Life Prevail? is the first of his books to be published in English, and was published by Arktos. That book is now available free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and is tagged as a book on environmentalism.

American authors also have a huge presence on Kindle Unlimited, not the least of which is the godfather of neofascism, Francis Parker Yockey. Yockey’s book, Imperium, is the Bible of the contemporary “third positionist” fascist movement, which tries to adapt some anti-capitalist and left-wing ideas into its vision of a revolutionary, anti-modern ethno-nationalism.

White nationalist leader Greg Johnson, who runs the far-right publishing outlet Counter-Currents, has several books available on Kindle Unlimited, including Towards a New Nationalism; My Nationalist Pony; and Confessions of a Reluctant Hater, which belies its content in the title. Counter-Currents was one of the main targets when Amazon started banning white nationalist books several months ago, but the company’s house cleaning was hardly complete. Counter-Currents maintains dozens of titles on Amazon, with multiple books still available for free on Kindle Unlimited.

A Rabbit Hole of Hate

Kindle Unlimited is carrying hundreds of books from openly fascist and white nationalist authors, which creates a two-fold boon to the far right. First, it creates a stable financial system to funnel money directly into these publishers, which are often tied directly to the movements themselves. Second, it helps create a stream of radicalization for newcomers. As with YouTube users, Kindle Unlimited users are often privy to suggestions and options based on their reading history, and this can help funnel readers directly down a road of increased radicalization toward white nationalist violence. When a user finishes reading a book on Kindle Unlimited then they are provided with a number of similar titles, which can easily divert into a tailspin of increasingly radical right-wing fodder. Some might assume that the controversial titles may simply be on the edge of the conservative movement, but most of these are coming from directly inside the organized white nationalist movement and often authored by the very figures that are being deplatformed across the country for their participation in racist violence. As it stands now, Kindle Unlimited is one of the most complete platforms for white nationalists to get a full canon of their literature, and can operate as a radicalization library for their war on multiculturalism.

It is an open question about how Amazon will address the inclusion of white nationalist literature, which raises issues for how low-barrier publishing models are regulated internally. Kindle Unlimited is founded primarily on niche markets and small publishers, and it could be simply that the business model is to allow a large mass of content to make its way onto the platform with little oversight. This is why employing expert eyes to weed out nationalist content would be necessary to undoing the radicalization effect that subscription services like these can traffic in.

Communities around the world are now pressuring social media and web platforming services to counter rising radicalization on their platforms, but there has yet to be a comprehensive program. This would require a shift in priorities inside these organizations, to train and hire experts in the field that are able to differentiate between ideologically complex content. Without this, social media and e-commerce platforms will simply revert to ineffective methods of censorship rather than useful standards that community members can rely on.

Correction: This piece has been updated to remove reference to Daniel Schwindt.