Far-right groups around the world have been able to connect easily through the internet and continue to increasingly become more vocal about their beliefs. This also includes promoting far-right beliefs through all sorts artistic mediums, such as music, as a way of expressing themselves and promoting their extremist views.
A rapper by the pseudonym, “Mr. Bond,” was recently arrested in Austria and accused for producing music that was neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and racist, as well as encouraging neo-Nazi forum members to commit terrorist attacks since 2016. He was prosecuted for producing and spreading Nazi ideas and inciting hatred.
The AFP news agency reported that one of his songs had been used during an attack in Halle, Germany in October 2019.
The Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, mentioned how “the lyrics of his songs glorify National Socialism and are anti-Semitic, racist, and xenophobic . . . the fight against right-wing extremism is our historical responsibility.”
The music is described to portray “violent fantasies” and thus have attracted many far-right, neo-Nazi listeners in online networks. It’s appealing due to the neo-Nazi humour that’s infused within the lyrics and so the songs are explicit in their promotion of anti-Semitism and racism.
In fact, Mr. Bond is known to be involved with a global network of young, radicalized men who idolize the recent wave of far-right shootings. However, Mr. Bond is unique from other far-right German hip-hop acts. The fact that his music was geared towards hip-hop has even caused serious debate within far-right groups on whether it could even be accepted to have extremely politically-charged music within a genre that was originally a tradition for Black people.
An interesting comparison that’s used is that Mr. Bond is also known as the “far-right Weird Al.” The comparison focuses on the fact that Mr. Bond creates parodies of already existing songs, but instead of using over-the-top satire, he uses violent and racist lyrics.
Historically, as one of the first countries to be invaded and controlled under the Nazi regime during the Second World War, Austria has had its fair share of immense Nazi propaganda that flooded various means of communication and mediums to spread the ideology.
While Austria was politically weak after the First World War, it was fairly easy for Nazi propaganda to spread and it intensified so that by the early 1930s, a group of Nazis attempted a siege on the Austrian government and assassinated the chancellor at that time.
Once the plebiscite vote by the citizens of Austria, the Anschluss, passed to unite Austria to Nazi Germany, the 99% voter support was definitely contributed by a combination of Nazi propaganda, manipulation, and terror. While hip-hop music did not exist during this time, or was not as wide-spread, the main medium that the Nazis used to spread their propaganda was newspapers that also included political cartoons that demeaned the nature of Jews. So, it was prominent in Austria as well as they were controlled by the Nazis as well.
In modern times, it is much easier for far-right groups and individuals to connect with each other as well as to become more influential through the realm of the creative arts, such as music, art, and writing. In terms of social media, they have created specific social media apps for far-right groups to express their opinions and provide alternative interpretations and conspiracy theories.
These social media apps are much smaller with less policing or limitations to what people can say. For example, Gab is an alternative app where far-right groups gather, including Trump supporters, believers of QAnon conspiracy theories, and other right-wing extremists.
Because social media is such an influential aspect of everyone’s lives, it is far easier to pass on fake news and conspiracy theories that people can believe on a global scale. It has created many new far-right organizations since social media emerged as it provides a platform without any traditional rules of conduct or formal facilitation for some social media platforms.
It’s through these smaller, less facilitated groups where far-right extremists can upload their own expressions and perspectives. This includes the Austrian rapper, Mr. Bond, who has become popular through his hip-hop music that promotes far-right attitudes and violent behaviour.
It’s through these platforms that far-right ideals and beliefs can spread quickly and music, especially, tends to be favoured and listened to by younger people. It doesn’t help that Mr. Bond’s music is catchy and easy to understand because it is in the hip-hop genre than the usual genre of heavy metal. So it’s possible that it will go viral within the far-right communities.