Jason Reza Jorjani's Efforts to Expand Alt-Right to the Alt-White End in Predictable, but Satisfying, Failure
Fringe history, ancient astronauts, and UFOs have a long history with Nazis. A recent booklet explored how some of the earliest UFO researchers (who also wrote ancient astronaut material under the guise of ufology) were connected to Neo-Nazi groups. Jacques de Maheiu was a Vichy official who later headed a Neo-Nazi group and Miguel Serrano literally worshiped Hitler. Frank Joseph headed the American Nazi Party, and even Chariots of the Gods, officially credited to Erich von Däniken, was in reality largely rewritten and edited by Wilhelm Utermann, a Nazi author and editor who worked at the Nazi party’s official newspaper. It’s pretty much Nazis all the way down
Last week, I mentioned that the New York Times ran a story exposing some extreme comments made by ancient astronaut theorist, so-called “alt-right intellectual,” and Persian nationalist Jason Reza Jorjani to an undercover student he thought was a fellow Aryan extremist. Shortly after the article ran, Jorjani posted to his blog a self-pitying explanation for what happened that included the revelation that he had been forced out of the Alt-Right Corporation, the holding company he formed with white nationalist Richard Spencer in their shared Virginia apartment earlier this year, as well as Arktos Media, the publisher of Nazi-adjacent literature where he had served as editor. The reason for his abrupt resignation is equal parts sad and hilarious, and it just goes to show you that you can’t expect Nazis to change their swastikas.
Jorjani, like many extremists who discover that someone who isn’t a paying customer has actually listened to what they have to say, claims that the video of him predicting the return of concentration camps to Europe and fantasizing about a time when Hitler will be celebrated as a “great European leader” was taken “out of context” and that he was merely explaining what even more extreme alt-right types believe. Jorjani accused the videographer, Jesse Singal, of libel. “I had a long and heated conversation with Mr. Singal in the course of which I clarified the concealed context of my butchered statements, but he did not convey my clarification in a responsible fashion when reproducing Antifa’s slanderously spliced misquotes of me.” Despite making a legal accusation, Jorjani added that he would not pursue a libel claim for fear that doing so would expose the powerful backers of his alt-right fantasies, and he would therefore have to “testify before Congress” about their Trump connections. Did you catch the clever way he inflated his own importance in making accusations he refuses to support? Apparently, his intellectual training included a study of Cicero’s most underhanded rhetoric.
But this isn’t what is most interesting. What is more interesting is Jorjani’s ouster from the Alt-Right Corporation. According to Jorjani’s self-pitying account, he and Richard Spencer decided to go into business together after spending all night in intoxicated “Dionysian” revelry in Jorjani’s New York apartment. Even here, in denying that he is a Nazi, Jorjani can’t help but make reference to Nietzsche’s division between the Apollonian and Dionysian, which the Nazis had appropriated and twisted to their ends. (Nietzsche’s sister had helped recast his work as proto-Nazi.) Jorjani, as I have noted many times, is perversely monomaniacal about seeding his every statement with references to Nazi, Nazi-favored, or Nazi-adjacent philosophers.
Anyway, Jorjani claims that unnamed powerbrokers hooked him up with Trump policy officials to work on a grand plan to foment a new pagan Persian Empire to thwart Islamic expansion and to create an Aryan super-state that would resurrect basically the old Kievan Rus, centered on what is today the Ukraine. He calls it Neo-Scythia, after the barbarian warriors that Jorjani claims as the Persians’ Aryan ancestors. (Yes, his fantasy world is centered on Iran, which he wants to make the center of the world.) If we are to believe him, Trump backers want to relitigate the Middle Ages. “If the total mess that was then the Alt-Right could be unified, under my intellectual and ideological leadership,” Jorjani wrote, “then it could be used to forward the aims that these backers claimed to share in common with me.” I think Jorjani is a naïve fantasist whom some people have found to be a useful idiot capable of causing trouble for Iran around the edges by galvanizing Persian exiles and anticlerical forces. It’s had to take seriously his grandiose ambition to become the intellectual leader of what is essentially a collection of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers.
The root of Jorjani’s problem is in his own unique combination of arrogance and naivete. Under the delusion that he could tame the forces of white nationalism and leash them to his own hobbyhorse project of paganizing Iran under Aryan sun-worship, Jorjani genuinely believed that he could convince white supremacists that the so-called “Eastern Aryans,” meaning the speakers of the Indo-Iranian branches of the Indo-European family of languages, should be accepted as coequal with lily white Teutons and Nordic types. “This inclusion of the Persian, Indian, and Buddhist traditions of the Eastern Aryan world was integral to another key aim: to transform divisive and defensively weak ethno-nationalism into a different vision for a new world order than the deracinating one of soulless globalist financiers.” He envisioned a global Aryan World Order in place of the current white separatist movements of the alt-right. Call it the alt-white, if you will. It’s cute that he thought that people who think of Italians as too brown and mongrel to be “white” would happily take on 1.5 billion non-European “Aryans” as part of their remit, effectively making themselves a minority in their own efforts to legislate white majorities.
Under this naïve fantasy, Jorjani made a fatal error. In creating the Alt-Right Corporation, he made it a three-way partnership between himself, Spencer, and Arktos Media CEO Daniel Friberg. Structured as a corporation, however, the exact ownership ratios would depend on stock. He then trusted that they would pursue their joint goals as an equal threesome, under the warm glow of access to Trump via Steve Bannon, whom the unnamed backers of Jorjani promised would work with them through Jorjani. You can see where this is going much faster than Jorjani did. Essentially, as Trump’s fortunes declined and the value of alt-right propaganda shrank in the wake of the Trump team’s repeated missteps, Jorjani’s unnamed backers dropped their financial support. Friberg and Spencer, no longer in need of Jorjani to facilitate “access” to Trump officials, since none would now be forthcoming, reverted to form and pursued their white nationalist ideology. Jorjani, who is half Persian, simply did not fit in. Jorjani explains the financial details, which amount to Friberg and Spencer selling their corporation their own assets at greatly inflated prices, purchased with shares of the company, in order to inflate their ownership percentages. They essentially teamed up to dilute Jorjani’s shares to the point that he was a minority shareholder. The funniest part of the whole scheme is that Spencer and Friberg valued the entire alt-right project at $50,000, the nominal value of all of the stock after the purchases.
Then the hilarity started.
Jorjani blamed Trump’s Russophile tendencies for the collapse of his Neo-Scythia plans, which would infringe on Putin’s sphere of influence. Apparently, Spencer’s wife is Russian, which he blames for Spencer’s acknowledged man-crush on Putin, and this put the kibosh on his fantasy of redrawing Europe’s borders to connect Scythia to “post-Islamic” Aryan Persia. But it got even worse. Jorjani is scarcely more believable than Capt. Renault in Casablanca when he claims to be shocked to discover that the alt-right had become a cesspool of “white trash” who personally attacked him for insufficient whiteness:
What is worse is that in the long months of the Spring of 2017, as I waited for funding to materialize, I watched the corporation that was my brainchild turn into a magnet for white trash. Exactly the kind of people who were supposed to be sidelined by my centralization and corporatization of the Alt-Right were cultivated by Richard as the populist base for ‘his’ movement. I was sorry to see Daniel’s Arktos affiliated and European-centered Right On journal, which had been in the business of publishing serious intellectual content when John Morgan was editing it, merged into an altright.com news and ‘perspective’ platform that has about as much perspective as a tabloid. The comments sections of our website devolved into a cesspool filled by the most despicable pond scum, former 4-chaners who would routinely pile on in trolling attacks against me every time I published something with a bit of intellectual content. “Iranians is brown poo-poo people” kind of sums it up.
I mean, come on. Jorjani got into bed with Nazi sympathizers who give Hitler salutes and is shocked to find that he woke up covered in bloodsucking white supremacist fleas that ate him alive. No, wait. The Nazis think the Jews are the bloodsuckers… I’m getting my metaphors all mixed up. It’s so hard when you have so many shades of white. It’s hard to tell them all apart.
Basically, Jorjani thought he could ride into the Neo-Nazi, white-nationalist right, show them that they should really be ancient astronaut theorists who make common cause with all of the Indo-European peoples, and get them to abandon the one bedrock tenet of all white nationalist thought—whiteness—in favor of reinvigorating the stew of half-assed self-justification that passed for Nazi philosophy. He wanted Nazism with “Aryans” redefined to include him. The sub-literate representatives of the Master Race disagreed. It sure sounds like political operatives saw in him a useful stooge, strung him along with promises of financing, and pulled the plug once his usefulness was at an end.
It’s a fitting end to a miserable excuse for an “intellectual,” a self-pitying extremist who openly advocates for the Aryan race and ancient astronaut theories in service of a rightwing agenda. That he came so close to actually having influence is frightening, but that it came at the hands of the very Nazis he wished to be counted among is satisfying.
There is a disquieting note, however. Hidden in Jorjani’s references to backers he can’t name without calling down the wrath of Congress and disparaging remarks about Spencer’s Russian wife and love of Putin, Jorjani gives the persistent impression that there were Russians pulling some of the strings behind the Alt-Right Corporation. Last month, American media reported that the Kremlin sought to support alt-right media, and a couple of years ago alt-right leaders met in St. Petersburg to praise Putin and denounce Jewish financiers. The Neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer is suspected of finding a home on a Russian server after American companies refused to host it. (The actual identity of the host is unclear.) Russian state propaganda outlets like RT and Sputnik routinely promote alt-right messages alongside ancient astronaut claims. As skeptical as I am of conspiracies, I find it hard to think of this as all a coincidence.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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