The world is in turmoil, and it is the working-class who are being made to pay for the ongoing crises of capitalism, not only with our livelihoods but also with our lives. The question of a future of barbarism or socialism is therefore once again starkly posed. And as ever the looming threat posed by barbarism can only be avoided if we refuse to accept the dictates of our exploiters in the billionaire-class and unite to fight for the socialist transformation of society. Only by taking such action can we ensure that ordinary people are positioned to democratically decide our own futures.
Ensuring that our classes main democratic organisations are capable of leading this struggle against the powers-that-be has always been a work-in-progress; and there is no question that a lot of work still needs to be done to turn the trade union movement into a powerful and effective tool for liberating our class. But with the democratic involvement of tens of millions of trade union members both within our workplaces and within the democratic structures of our unions these organisations can play a critical role in challenging capitalist exploitation and in doing so pose the need for a socialist alternative to capitalism.
Throughout this pandemic, socialists have been at the forefront of social struggles, demanding that our government take action to protect life. But the Tories lust for profiteering means that the elites in power would rather ignore such reasonable demands and instead are abusing this crisis to escalate their plunder of societies collective wealth. This helps explain why the corporate press has been so keen (as always) to demonise and misrepresent the views of those who have been willing to forcefully challenge the government’s dangerous and wholly inadequate response to Covid-19.
With the pandemic causing massive disruption across the planet, increasing numbers of people are clear that there will be no going back to the old normal. But what is the alternative? Socialists say we need to step up our campaigning for a democratic and socialist future; but with the parlous state of Britain’s labour movement combined with a corporate-own media system that exists to perpetuate the needs of capitalism, such emancipatory solutions are not always apparent to huge swathes of society. Labour mis-leaders (like Keir Starmer) working together with the mainstream media thus continue to throw dirt into the eyes of the public. In recent years such collusive efforts to promote mass confusion were of course most clearly seen when, in 2015, a socialist was finally elected leader of the Labour Party. This led to all parts of the labour and media establishment embarking upon one of the most vicious smear campaigns in history – which most notably accused Jeremy Corbyn of being an anti-Semite! (See “The Hate Factory Vs. Jeremy Corbyn.”)
So, with pro-capitalist politicians misleading most of the mainstream political parties across the world — all being united in their refusal to represent the needs of ordinary people as opposed to corporations – ordinary people seeking out some clarity in their lives have been forced to turn elsewhere in their search for answers. And with the assistance of the internet, not to mention Facebook’s repulsive algorithms — which actively market information to people who ask questions like “how to burn Jews” — it is becoming easier for people to get absorbed in the type of all-encompassing conspiracies promoted by the far right. Indeed, rather than popularise the type of socialist ideas that might help people gain control of their lives; the corporate media (whether rightwing or liberal) continue to provide a breeding ground that allows divisive political conspiracies to flourish.
When a toxic nurse goes down the rabbit hole
One dangerous conspiracy that is currently gaining traction amongst some circles is that Covid-19 is a fiction, a plandemic orchestrated by a global liberal elite headed by the like of Bill Gates and George Soros. While another sordid conspiracy intimately linked to this plandemic narrative that continues to spew forth from right-wing media outlets is that of QAnon – a conspiracy that would have you believe that the world is run by a tiny elite of Satanic paedophiles: a demonic conspiracy in which Donald Trump is presented as the only world leader who is willing to battle against the perpetration of such heinous crimes against humanity.
This article aims to explore the roots of these disturbing and increasingly popular conspiracies. In doing so it will demonstrate that although such opportunist tales may harness some element of peoples righteous anger at an unjust status quo, such theories ultimately only serve to undermine efforts to unite the working-class against our real oppressors, the ruling-class. For illustrative purposes this article will delve into the views and actions of one of the up-and-coming stars of this growing conspiracy movement, the one-time botox practitioner Kate Shemirani, who calls herself the “Natural Nurse in a Toxic World.” Shemirani being a toxic nurse whose meteoric rise to fame led to serving as the MC of the first “Unite for Freedom” protest that was held in Trafalgar Square on August 29. The protest was organised to deny the existence of Covid-19 and successfully brought together in excess of 10,000 people in an event that had been organised by notorious climate denier Piers Corbyn.
In the wake of this huge protest The Times were quick to promote the growing anti-covid movement, devoting a double spread to explaining Kate Shemirani’s ascension to the leadership of the so-called freedom movement (see “Kate Shemirani: antivax leader is banned nurse who fears 5G network”). In keeping with the uncritical output that typifies the right-wing press, the article gave previous column inches to restating Shemirani’s proudly held anti-scientific beliefs before advertising her next planned protest (held in London on September 19). The Times explained how her popularity, like that of David Icke (who headlined the August 29 protest), had been increasing by the day. But no attempt was made to locate Shemirani and Icke’s politics within the resurgent alt-right, or to describe how their advocacy of elaborate schemes of satanic domination were feeding directly into the resurgence of the QAnon movement.
That is not to say that The Times has not exposed the anti-democratic nature of the QAnon phenomena in the past, as in mid-August they ran an article that warned that the QAnon was gaining popularity in Ireland. The article however neglected to mention that the academic report that served as the source for their article had actually emphasized that this was not just a problem for Ireland but for the whole of the UK. So it is ironic considering The Times fixation on the growth of QAnon in Ireland that when it came to their article discussing Shemirani’s role in leading the growing Covid-19 denial movement the newspaper failed to draw attention to the political credentials of the one Irish speaker earmarked to speak at her forthcoming protest. That speaker was Dolores Cahill, the chair of the far-right Irish Freedom Party. Nor does The Times bother to remind their readers of David Icke’s longstanding liaisons with the far-right, something that the newspaper was happy to discuss at some length just a few years ago.
But in The Times latest ‘advert’ for the conspiracy theorists’ mass gatherings they write: “David Icke, the conspiracy theorist and antivaccine campaigner, has seen a surge in his Twitter following, up by nearly a quarter since May.” Icke now has more than 365,000 followers they added, a surge which “indicates the rapidly growing interest in his anti-lockdown rantings.” The paper however passed on the opportunity to mention that the main argument being popularised by Icke is that we already live in a fascist state (as he stated at the August protest). Perhaps Icke’s own reactionary rants were downplayed because they are not really so different from the government’s own conspiratorial ideas, as illustrated by the recent comments made by the Tories attorney-general, Suella Braverman, who stated the government was in a “battle with cultural Marxism”. Icke of course agrees on the threat posed by cultural Marxism and views the threat of an imminent global Marxist takeover of the entire world (spreading from China) as representing an additional threat to his freedom in so-called fascist Britain.
“Do your own research”: finding the truth of the far-right
Highlighting the bizarre pedigree of many of Shemirani’s closest allies, the day after she had acted as the MC for the August freedom protest she was invited to speak on a YouTube show known as “Camelot TV” which is hosted by John Mappin, the multi-millionaire QAnon booster. Impressed by her militant anti-vax activism he rejoiced in introducing her as the voice of “the Great Awakening”; and during the course of her interview Shemirani professed to be in awe of Alex Jones (“I used to have his app on my phone”) and later pointed out how “one of the things that took away my fear of death was reading a book by David Icke and I hugged him yesterday.” She maintained that such coincidences could only be the work of God. Likewise, like many good patriotic spiritual warriors of the far-right she had internalised the QAnon mythology as the real truth, and speaking of the perversions of the world’s elite overseers she explained:
“So, when they kill these children they do a lot of satanic rituals with them. You know there is a very famous one where they strip children and all these royal elites were hunting these 14 year olds and they cut their genitals off and put them on plaques. This is all fact.”
Elsewhere in another discussion held in the extremist netherworlds of the internet, Shemirani positions herself as a “leader” for the people. And in making the case for why people should maintain hope she says:
“I have read the science, and I have read the science fiction, and I have read the Revelation. And so, it is in there and we don’t need to give up. The one thing I always say when people get really freaked out is that what if we can’t shop [for food] without [taking the Covid] vaccine and I said that the one thing that I love about humans is that if there are really smart guys on the Left that are making these things, there’s going to be really smart guys on the Right that are making fraudulent ways for us to get around it.”
Like Icke, Kate Shemirani maintains an excellent working relationship with far-right activists in the United States and she supports the work of Sons of Liberty Radio by acting as their “health and wellness expert.” Speaking to the host of this far-right Christian YouTube channel just a few months ago Shemirani talked about her understanding of the evil cult’s sinister plans. Nevertheless she ended up an upbeat note saying:
“I don’t want people to be scared because in battle it’s never just the army who are the strongest or have the best weapons that win ever, it is always the one who knew his opponents plan. We know their plan. We know their plan. Their plan ultimately is to depopulate. The devil wants us all gone, and he wants our souls; he doesn’t just want us to die because that is no good to him, he wants our souls.”
Savouring the media limelight, on September 5 Shemirani broadcast live from a protest outside Downing Street to Sons of Liberty Radio. With her megaphone directed at the Prime Minister’s residence she warned: “Boris we are waiting… Your times up. You have decided to declare war on the people of the United Kingdom. This is fourth generation warfare: quiet warfare with silent weapons.” The deeper significance of this statement might be lost on most people but not on her fellow-travellers from the American far-right, as her warning referenced the name of an alleged secret document known as “Quiet warfare with silent weapons.” As outlined at some length in Bill Cooper’s militia-classic Behold a Pale Horse (1991), the nefarious goals outlined in this non-existent document were apparently proof positive of the Illuminati’s declaration of war on humanity. (Icke himself wrote about this in one of his first books and identifies it as a secret document found in 1986 which “reveals that the IRS passes personal details about American people to the Brotherhood manipulators.”)
Seeking to cache in on the anger and despair of ordinary people from all walks of life, Shemirani is careful to pick her most trusted political allies from the far-right of the political spectrum. Hence on July 8 she conducted an online interview with the chairman of the English Democrats, Robin Tilbrook, where, in awe of his patriotism, they discussed his decision to challenge the tyranny of the covid laws. (Tilbrook was subsequently interviewed by Sons of Liberty.) During Shemirani’s interview with Tilbrook she made it clear that any doctors and nurses who believed Covid-19 was real “were complicit in genocide”; and both then stood in agreement that Britain is “like a police state”. This led Shermirani, in another stream of verbal diarrhoea to breathlessly assert:
“It’s like 1984, and of course Orwell’s tutor was Aldous Huxley and he was a member of the Committee of 300 and when he wrote Brave New World everyone just thought it was be best science novel ever, and it was written in the thirties – I have read it so many times – but if you actually look at it, it was a blueprint. He wrote it as a blueprint for modern society, and every single little thing in that book has come to fruition.”
Evidently impressed with Tilbrook’s take on Marxism, Shermirani invited him to elaborate. He thus droned on about how Black Lives Matter was both a Trotskyist and neo-Maoist project that bathed in the glory of communist China. As he put it BLM were simply repeating China’s cultural revolution of “smashing the four olds: old ways, old customs, old ideas, and old habits.” Shermirani added, “unless we actually get off our knees we are heading right into communism.” “Literally,” Tilbrook replied.
But even Tilbrook was not wholly persuaded by Shermirani’s belief that this Marxist scheme was part of a diabolical globalist plot to depopulate the world, as he said the “Chinese government would have no intentions of being part of a one world government unless they are the ones ruling.” Whether he knew it or not, this of course is the end game for the Illuminati as far as Shemirani understands it – with Chinese government ruling the world with the helping hand of liberal globalists like Bill Gates (an identical historical distortion to the one currently being propounded by David Icke). Having bonded during this interview, the two patriots were subsequently reunited at Shermirani’s second anti-covid protest in London (held on September 19), where Tilbrook — for perhaps the first time in his life — addressed a crowd so huge that it filled out Trafalgar Square.
Who believes in the Illuminati?
Now, when it comes to the evil deeds of the so-called Illuminati – that is, the individuals accused of orchestrating the globalist plot against humanity — Shermirani regularly harps on about the depravity of something known as the “Committee of 300”. The existence of this fictional committee was popularised some years ago within the pages of John Coleman’s deeply paranoid Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300 (1991) – a book that was first published by a notorious anti-Semitic publishing company called America West. And although Coleman’s text takes care to avoid referring to Jews as the lynchpin of the Illuminati hierarchy, his personal views on such matters were clear as he regularly referred to the Jewish problem within the pamphlets he wrote for the Christian Defence League. This Jewish obsession makes sense when we understand that the primary political inspiration for Coleman’s book was the work of one of the twentieth-century’s most famous anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, a financially independent woman named Nesta Webster (1876-1960). Indeed, in reviewing Coleman’s updated treatise on the Illuminati, Colonel Barry Turner — an ultra-right-wing activist who in the past had helped David Icke with his own research efforts — remained aghast at Coleman’s failure to apply a rigorous referencing system within Conspirators’ Hierarchy. Turner believed that a more academic style would have lent greater creditability to the arguments presented within Coleman’ s book, and contrasted Coleman’s shortcoming with the “meticulous referencing” of Webster.
Nesta Webster it turns out was a dyed-in-the-wool fascist — whose reactionary ideas had inspired Winston Churchill’s own anti-Semitism – and she saw her own occult super-conspiracies as a fitting way to defend Christian civilization from the threat of socialism. With the help of her many aristocratic friends, Webster’s writing brought about a new renaissance in anti-Semitic theories that revolved around the hidden hand of the Illuminati. These ideas then gained a new breath of life on American shores shortly after her death, when in the mid-sixties the John Birch Society rediscovered and subsequently popularised her back catalogue of anti-communist tracts. To this day Webster’s delusions continue to inspire Christian patriots and militia activists in America, while David Icke has cleverly upcycled her toxic texts into her own variant of New Age fascism.
Icke, like Webster, luxuriates upon the lewdest plots of the hidden controllers, and like the QAnon movement, both influential conspirators placed child abuse at the centre of their deeply disturbing delusions. For example, in her influential 1924 book Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, Webster describes the activities of one notably Satanic individual, Gilles de Rais (1405–1440) whose evil, she asserts, was driven by Jewish spiritual traditions. She explains that after Gilles had “offered himself to the powers of darkness” where he became involved in “perverted vice in every form” which included “holocausts of little boys and girls collected by his agents in the surrounding country and put to death with the most inhuman tortures.” These “strange perverted rites which we associate with the dark ages” were, Webster assured her readers, still “going on around us today. Illuminism, Cabalism, and even Satanism are still realities.”
In this way we can understand how Kate Shemirani’s own quest to help lead a world movement against baby-gobbling elites did not just materialise out of thin air. Such QAnon-styled witch hunts can in fact be traced back even further in time to the first century BCE and the manufactured demonisation of the pre-Christian pagan cults – a troubling history that is recalled in Norman Cohn’s classic 1977 book Europe’s Inner Demons: An Enquiry Inspired by the Great Witch-Hunt. As Cohn summarises:
“In each case, the murder and the cannibalistic feast form part of a ritual by which a group of conspirators affirms its solidarity; and in each case the group’s aim is to overthrow an existing ruler or regime and to seize power. There is no evidence that such murders and feasts took place. … But even if it could be shown that groups of conspirators really did sometimes indulge in such practices, that would not affect [the] argument. Ritual murder and cannibalistic feasts belonged to one particular, traditional stereotype …of the conspiratorial organization or secret society engaged in a ruthless drive for political power.” (p. 7)
More relevant contemporary precursors to QAnon’s ever-evolving obsession with the baby-raping habits of the powerful include the satanic moral panics that swept across America in the 1980s. As we know now, this specific panic, or witch hunt, was in large part fuelled by the overzealous interrogation of infants through the misuse of leading questioning and misplaced reliance upon hypnosis induced Regression Therapy. Together these ill-suited and high-pressure techniques led to deeply disturbing (albeit fictitious) tales of satanic childhood abuse being committed on an industrial scale. This tragic story of wrongful accusations of satanic torture is best exemplified by the McMartin preschool trial; and one far-right conspiracy theorist who built bridges between this trial and present-day obsessions with the Illuminati was a man named Ted Gunderson (1928-2011). A stalwart supporter of J. Edgar Hoover, Gunderson was a truly deluded individual, who until the late 1970s had acted as the Los Angeles Bureau Chief for the FBI.
The occult enters militia country
Ted Gunderson kept alive his obsession with occult sacrifice and in the nineties went so far as to assert that there were more than 4 million practising Satanists in America who were carrying out between 50-60,000 human sacrifices every year. Among the far-right milieux, of which he was a central part of, Gunderson gained most fame for exposing the existence of an alleged group called “The Finders” which, as he explained, was a “covert CIA operation” whose only purpose who to kidnap tens of thousands of children a year. The children were then allegedly sold for up to $50,000 to wealthy paedophiles. But Gunderson was adamant that “to really under this you have to go back 235 years or so when the Illuminati was established in 1773” with the central involvement of the Rothschild family who, according to Gunderson, aimed to take control of the world through the control of satanic cults. For those interested in learning more about the specifics of this dastardly mission he refers his followers to William Guy Carr’s “great book” Pawns in the Game (1958).
Again, there is a lot of continuity between various conspiracists on the far-right, and William Guy Carr’s work was greatly inspired by the work of Nesta Webster. However, although Carr certainly incorporated all manner of anti-Semitic tropes into the body of his writings, he did so in a way that enabled him to distance himself from direct accusations of discrimination. Carr tried to do this by saying that the leading role that powerful Jews had played in the satanic conspiracy (like the Rothschilds) was a clever trick hatched by the Illuminati that aimed to encourage antisemitic interpretations of history that “play[ed] right into the hands of the Illuminati.” So, while Carr believed in the legitimacy of the anti-Semitic forgery known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion he asserted that it had originally been written by the Illuminati. This deceptive argument is one that has been deployed by many other Rothschild-obsessed conspiracists, most famously by Bill Cooper, David Icke, and John Coleman.
Gunderson like Icke became enthralled by the burgeoning militia movement during the 1990s, and speaking to a meeting of The Granada Forum (in 1996) Gunderson launched into his speech by recommending that his rapt audience read Carr’s Pawns in the Game. Later, during his wide-ranging talk, Gunderson reminded his fellow patriots of the time he had teamed up with the former Nebraskan senator John DeCamp in what proved to be an ultimately failed attempt to expose a huge paedophilia ring, a story publicized in DeCamp’s 1992 book The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska. DeCamp after publishing this book went on to serve as a lawyer for the Militia of Montana — a group which played a leading role in organising The Granada Forum.
Another Christian patriot who, in 1996, gave a now-famous talk to The Granada Forum was Cathy O’Brien – who during her speech bore personal witness to the abuse she said she received while being forced to serve as a personal sex slave to the leaders of the Illuminati. It turns out that in the same year O’Brien had published a book which detailed her own Satanic experiences (as Trance-Formation of America), which David Icke then rapidly assimilated into his own best-selling conspiracy tome, I Am Me, I Am Free (1996). In his own highly derivative book, Icke rehashed the sordid details of O’Brien’s sexual abuse for some 24 long drawn-out pages, abuse which was apparently meted out by the staff at a NASA facility (whose side-line, she says, was making pornographic films), numerous world leaders who were attending Satanic-inspired meetings at the Bohemian Grove, and by leading American politicians (Clinton, Reagan and Bush) who she says all raped her at the “covert mind-control slave camp” at the military base in Mount Shasta (California). Furthermore, flowing from O’Brien’s detailed descriptions of her abuse, Icke famously introduced his readers to the proposition that some members of the Illuminati were actually reptiles. He arrived at this bizarre conclusion because O’Brien had suggested that “holographic projections were used to give the appearance to her of people turning into ‘lizard-like’ aliens.” But Icke was not wholly convinced by O’Brien’s recollections, and asks: “What if it was not a hologram that Cathy saw?” It would seem that the truth is out there; although it is safe to say that is probably won’t be found within the pages of Icke or O’Brien’s books.
Considering the dangerous implications of the history that I have outlined so far, combined with the open support that QAnon has received from both Donald Trump and the conservative media, it is perhaps not entirely unexpected that Britain’s right-wing press would also give such divisive ideas a free ride. For example, the day before Shemirani’s latest “Resist and Act for Freedom” protest (held in London) the Daily Mail ran a piece that gave her free reign to air her troubling views. Titled “Is this the most dangerous woman in Britain?” (September 18) the article described her as a forthright and confident “epitome of conventional middle-classdom” (while drawing attention to her “working-class roots”), with the paper christening her as the “new face of the UK’s anti-vaccination movement.” The widely read tabloid then listed some of Shemirani’s many whacky ideas before telling their readers about the location and date of her forthcoming protest.
Following on from such fawning love-ins with the individuals who have become so enmeshed in the far right’s favoured conspiracies, The Sunday Times (September 20) managed to publish a marginally more critical article titled “Far-right US cult QAnon finds a ready ear in Britain.” Thearticle went on to correctly explain: “While it appears innocent at first glance, the movement is entwined with QAnon, a far-right group of conspiracy theorists that has grown rapidly since the lockdown.” Yet the article only provided a shallow examination of the politics of the centre-piece of their investigation, a new British group known as Freedom for the Children UK. Yet this was a group that has already been closely connection to the protests organised by both Shemirani and Piers Corbyn.
Although to date no meaningful effort has been made by the corporate media to really understand this new group that is ostensibly devoted to Freedom for the Children, it worth noting that its American forerunner had been launched by a QAnon devotee who works as a well-paid “New Earth Teacher”. A Trump-loving teacher who boasts of using “quantum healing techniques and timeline collapsing to trigger illumination and shifts from past/core wounds and assists in rebuilding new communication patterns aligned to manifestations in the present.” It is of course no coincidence that Laura Ward, the founder of the British group, likewise considers herself to be a bit of a spiritual junky. Ward describes herself as a “network marketer dealing in cryptocurrency”, who “discovered QAnon during lockdown after undergoing what she described as a ‘spiritual awakening’ and researching the movement online.”
For more details about how Ward found herself leading Britain’s crusade against Satanists we can defer to her own words. In a recent interview she recalled:
“I’ve had a couple of awakenings in my life, one was probably about two or three years ago when I was in quite a deep depression and I just kind of snapped out of it, and my mind was just quite open and that’s when I started research and exploring the idea that there is a plan — that there is an elite agenda to control us. And to be honest I watched David Icke – a big show, big documentary that he did — and some of it was quite far out there because I was just waking up. And I was just having this first awakening, but I didn’t dismiss it because I thought, well he’s quite researched, and it kind of just sat there in my mind a little bit.
“… and then covid-19 happened, and everyone started going into lockdown and a huge, huge shift happened to me. I went from this idea that it could be happening, or might be happening in a few years’ time, to its right here, and that it is not just a theory. Because everything just matched up to everything the agenda wanted to what the lockdown was asking of us, and I just went into quite a big depression because I knew it was going on but then felt I didn’t have any power to do anything about it. … I then started to get a lot of visions about the future, who is actually controlling it, what they want, what they are doing to children, how they are hurting children, why are the children so important to their plan, and really started feeling what was happening to those kids… And with this came another bout of depression… And then the next thing that came to me was the Freedom for the Children movement.”
Talking to fellow QAnon fan (Charles Ward – no relation), Laura Ward happily agreed with him when he mentioned that humanitarian groups like UNICEF and the Red Cross only work in war zones so they can kidnap children to sell them to paedophiles. Inspired to fight back against such evil, Laura was determined that her germinal child freedom movement would go “after the head of this monster” aiming squarely at the elite’s inner circle. She was however dismayed that the mainstream media were portraying Donald Trump as opposed to immigration when, as she insisted, the reality is that the “wall he put up [on the Mexican border] is to prevent sex trafficking”. Laura’s interviewer also evidently had a bit of soft spot for Tommy Robinson’s special blend of racism, and with Laura nodding in agreement, he celebrated the far-right provocateurs attempts “to expose the Pakistani paedophile gangs in the Midlands.” He added, “you start to realise why [Tommy] went after the Pakistani’s instead of the white paedophile’s, because the white paedophile’s all happen to work in the media or the government or in Scotland Yard, so he couldn’t go after those because they would have ended his life!” So it seems Robinson is not racist, he was just scared of the all-powerful Illuminati!
A socialist alternative to right-wing populism
In Britain, with angry and disillusioned people now turning to conspiracy theorists in lieu of any meaningful political opposition to the Tories being offered to them by the Labour Party, minor divisions have opened-up amongst the emergent leaders of the Right. Thus, Shemirani’s September 19 protest was called in direct competition with another protest that had been co-organised by Piers Corbyn and David Icke to be held in Trafalgar Square the following weekend. In detailing this angst, in the run-up to these protests The Times ran an article highlighting this fight for the publics attention (“Piers Corbyn blamed for split among coronavirus deniers”), but all the newspaper really succeeded in doing was give more publicity to both “rival resistance rallies”. Yes, there may be competition for the leadership of the covid-resistance movement but Corbyn differs little from Shemirani in terms of the dangerous ideas he is promoting. In fact Corbyn has openly supported QAnon; and he even visited John Mappin’s castle the day before Shemirani’s latest protest, where Corbyn proceeded to outline his support of Trump explaining that…
“All brainwashing historically involves rituals and incantations, and here we have a lot of rituals, satanic rituals I would say — this wearing of masks, praising the NHS every Thursday, listening to monotonous, repetitive things on the tubes and the buses about masking and distancing which is just reminiscent of what George Orwell warned us of.”
There are of course limits to the extent to which Shemirani, Icke, and Piers Corbyn’s ‘anti-establishment’ libertarianism will be able to secure them the ear of the increasingly enraged masses. But the left should remain vigilant to the democratic threat they pose, after all far-right populist leaders across the world are getting elected for a reason. That reason lies in the fact that the working-classes have repeatedly had their faith in electoral politics crushed by the alleged representatives of the labour movement, especially by social democrats who continue to insist on putting the needs of the capitalist establishment before the needs of ordinary people. Indeed, the dangerous ideas of rightwing leaders like Shemirani, Icke, and Corbyn can only continue to spread if our class has no meaningful political representation.
As one inquiring media commentator points out: “QAnon fills the void of information that [capitalist] states have created—not with facts, but with fantasy. If we don’t want QAnon to fill that void, someone else has to.” Attempting to salvage a scrap of positivity from the “deep mistrust” that drives alienated citizens in the arms of popularist conspiracies the same commentator states that “something like QAnon is proof that people care and people like being involved in pursuit of truth.” Even if, “In QAnon that care and pursuit are dangerously twisted.” That is why socialists though our everyday actions must continue to win people over to the type of ideas that can harness this yearning for meaning and participation to a democratic alternative that can improve the lives of the working-classes in their billions.
In Britain, Keir Starmer has made it perfectly clear that he is not willing to oppose the Tories, which means that the urgent task at hand is to construct a new genuinely democratic and socialist organisation that can undercut the false promises offered up by the right. Dark times are already upon us, and while the conspiracy theorists may be wrong about nearly everything they say, they are counting on the fact that their strenuous opposition to the chaos of the status quo will be enough to gain them the ear of millions of people who are desperately searching for an alternative to their confusion and despair. Shemirani, Icke, Corbyn and many others beside them, understand that our country and the entire world is in the process of dropping off a huge political precipice. Ordinary people are struggling through an intensifying looming economic catastrophe which will see millions of people lose their livelihoods and life as they previously knew it. And now, more than ever, billions of people across the world need political representatives who are willing to struggle alongside them to reverse the adverse impacts of this growing political nightmare!
Now is the time to think carefully and quickly about developing a strategy that can save lives and actively undermine the lies of far-right populists. Professor John Ioannidis is a respected statistician and medical epidemiologist based at Stanford University who has made some important interventions during the course of this pandemic had this to say about dealing with people who have begun to doubt the existence of Covid-19:
“…we should try to be tolerant of people who have different opinions: I am not talking about endorsing conspiracy theories, but people who are scared, people who feel that they have not understood why all this is happening, people who see their lives and their livelihoods devastated, if you call them covidiots that is not going to help. Who is going to be called an idiot and then become a good citizen? I don’t know of anyone. I think these people will just become more angry; and if at the same time their livelihoods have been destroyed — calling then idiots on top of this is not going to solve the problem.”
This is right, and he is correct to say that future public health interventions must be geared to gaining the trust and respect and all citizens. But by approaching the issue in a purely scientific way Professor Ioannidis ignores the fact that capitalist politicians are institutionally incapable of implementing the type of actions that could win back the trust of the public. Hence the continued need to fight for a socialist alternative!
 In another video the host of Sons of Liberty accidentally puts up the image from an anti-Muslim grooming gang protest that he had used the day before while interviewing another right-wing Christian named Peter McIlvenna. The protest was organised by a group that Peter McIlvenna had formed with Tommy Robinson at the start of this year called Hearts of Oak – a group that say they oppose “the industrial-scale rape of tens of thousands of under-age white girls by predominantly Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs”. (For criticisms of such groups see my earlier article “Child rape and the roots of political anger: grooming gangs in context,” Counterpunch, June 14, 2018.)
 Icke, The Robots’ Rebellion, p.157; Cooper, Behold a Pale Horse, pp.35-65. For more on Cooper’s influence upon the burgeoning conspiracy scene, see Robert Guffey, “The deep, twisted roots of QAnon: From 1940s sci-fi to 19th-century anti-Masonic agitprop,” Salon, August 23, 2020.
 The event was livestreamed by Sons of Liberty and at 22min into the footage the host recognised Robin Tilbrook and commented: “we had him on the show a couple of weeks back… in fact he is coaching Kate in a lot of the things that she is doing”.
 For an excellent introduction to Webster’s historical influences, see Martha Lee, Conspiracy Rising: Conspiracy Thinking and American Public Life (Praeger, 2011); and for a discussion of Webster influence on Icke, see Steven Woodbridge, “The world-view of Nesta Webster: a case study in conspiracy theory,” History@Kingston Blog, April 16, 2020; and Woodbridge, “Plots against the world: the role of the right in conspiracy theory,” Magonia magazine, No. 67, June, 1999.
Writing in 1978 Richard Thurlow surmised that: “Nesta Webster was an important influence who provided much of the occult knowledge which was used in the development of both English and American conspiracy theories. In England, with the exception of Major-General J. F. C. Fuller, she was the root source of practically all occult knowledge in reactionary right and neo-fascist movements. Her anti-secret society ideas were widely used by individuals as diverse as Henry Beamish, Arnold Leese, J. F. C. Fuller, A. K. Chesterton, Colin Jordan and John Tyndall. In the United States the John Birch Society and Alpine Publications have used her work to reinforce the occult sources of a conspiracy theory, which had been based on a native tradition which had combined Populist-Progressive anti-monopoly economic theories with Robison’s Proofs of a Conspiracy. Although she did not cover all the themes of the conspiracy in her work, she had fair claims to be regarded as the most important contributor to the Anglo-American tradition and represented the most significant modern connecting link in the Atlantic conspiracy underworld.” Thurlow, “Conspiracy belief and political strategy,” Patterns of Prejudice, 12(6), 1978, p.12.
 Gunderson personally managed to keep the McMartin hysteria going by organising an archaeological dig beneath the McMartin preschool building in an effort to prove the existence of a secret torture chamber. See Richard Beck, We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s (PublicAffairs, 2015). The forerunner for the McMartin satanic scare occurred just a few years earlier with the publication of the 1980 bestselling book Michelle Remembers. This book’s links to QAnon are discussed in Jen Gerson’s article “Michelle Remembers: The destructive conspiracy theory that Victoria unleashed upon the world,” Capital Daily, August 29, 2020.
 For early investigations in the way by which far-right Christian groups in the US have systematically sought to colonise the anti-sex trafficking movement – a movement which from its start was based on a serious distortion of the true extent of this problem, see Elizabeth Bernstein, “The sexual politics of the ‘new abolitionism’,” Differences, 18(3), 2007; “Militarized humanitarianism meets carceral feminism: the politics of sex, rights, and freedom in contemporary antitrafficking campaigns,” Signs, 36(1), 2010; Laura Agustin, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry (Zed Books, 2007); also see Anne Elizabeth Moore, “Money and lies in anti-human trafficking NGOs,” TruthOut, January 27, 2015; and for a good recent overview, see Nathan Allebach, “The moral panic and myths of human trafficking,” Medium, September 25, 2020..
 Deborah Noel Kaplan, “Shadow republic: the concept of place in patriot movement discourse,” in: Sudeep Dasgupta and Esther Peeren (eds.), Constellations of the Transnational: Modernity, Culture, Critique (Brill, 2007), p.83. “The Granada Forum began as a local campaign headquarters for James ‘Bo’ Gritz, the former Green Beret who reputedly was the model for the movie character Rambo, when he ran for president on the 1992 Populist Party ticket together with David Duke. The forum grew to become one of the movement’s larger and more public groups, drawing 100 to 250 people from all over the metropolitan area to its weekly meetings in the Los Angeles suburb of Tarzana.” (p.88)
 The so-called Franklin coverup was popularised more recently in Nick Bryant’s Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal which was published in 2009 by the conspiracy publisher TrineDay.
 The overlap between the wellness industry and far-right health conspiracies goes back decades; and for an article that discusses this in relation to David Icke’s conspiracy mongering, see Matthew Kalman and John Murray, “From green messiah to new age nazi,” Left Green Perspectives, 1996. This troubling history however eludes the corporate media, who in an otherwise useful article argue that this problematic trend is just a recent one, see Sophie Aubrey, “‘Playing with fire’: The curious marriage of QAnon and wellness,” Sydney Morning Herald, September 27, 2020.
 The Dharma Life podcast, “Save Our Children with Laura,” September 6, 2020. At one point during this interview the host points out that they both have the same QAnon poster on the walls behind them, that poster being “The Great Awakening Map” that was created by another QAnon and David Icke devotee named Champ Parinya. Although clearly heavily inspired by Icke, Parinya traces his interest in politics to watching a documentary which countered Alex Jones as one of its executive producers. As Parinya recalls: “When I was awakening, 9/11 truth was one of my red pills. So when I was coming out of college I watched the documentary Loose Change 9/11 and that was one of my first red pill realisations that the government was working to have a nefarious plan to overtake most of the westernised world, and eastern world as well.”
 Charles Ward, “Freedom for the Children UK with Laura Ward – Against Child Trafficking! Join the Group!”, The Charlie Ward Show, July 30, 2020.
 The September 26 protest packed-out Trafalgar Square with around 15,000 people. Notably although the police eventually broke up the protest, they waited until 3 hours after its official start time to violently intervene to seize the protests PA system. All three of the headline speakers had just finished addressing the crowd (these being Piers Corbyn, David Icke, and Gareth Icke). The police cut short the protest shortly after Dr. Heiko Shöning started speaking. Dr Shöning is the co-founder of “Ärzte für Aufklärung” (“Doctors for Enlightenment”) and fellow-traveller of the far-right (see “Inside the weird pro-QAnon German group behind RFK Jr.’s latest anti-vaxx Stunt”). After the London protest moved to Hyde Park Dr Shöning was arrested. In response Dolores Cahill “arranged the solicitors and barristers” to secure his release. She also explained to his supporters that Dr Shöning, was one of the co-organisers of the next anti-covid protest to be help in Berlin (on October 10), an event at which she was “delighted to have been invited to speak”.