Rolling Stone has a long feature on Germany's new generation of hipster Nazis: national socialists who mix their message of state-enforced racial purity with a Park Slope style and a more relaxed attitude toward pop culture. One of the story's stars, a young "nationalist" named Patrick Schroeder, hosts a neo-Nazi Web show with a sidekick who calls himself Vendetta:
Yeah. That's a Guy Fawkes mask.
Until Alan Moore and David Lloyd made the mask a part of their V for Vendetta comics in the '80s, the only political connotations of a Guy Fawkes disguise involved the historical Fawkes' plot to blow up Parliament and bring Catholic rule back to England. But since the V movie hit theaters in 2006, the masks have been associated with a more modern sort of political protest—usually of a left-wing or libertarian nature, though as I noted last month they've started turning up in other contexts too. The Rolling Stone article notes that Schroeder's hipsters were preceded by the rise of the Autonomous Nationalists, a "third position"–style tendency that tries to mix elements of leftist and even anarchist tactics, rhetoric, and style with their Nazism—putting the socialism back into national socialism, so to speak. The V imagery may reflect their influence.
But V for Vendetta is an explicitly, angrily anti-fascist story. That's true of the overtly anarchist comic, and it's true of the less radical but still anti-authoritarian film. For a neo-Nazi not just to wear a V mask but to call himself "Vendetta"…well, if you ever doubted that a symbol could escape the context that gave it its resonance and take on a new meaning, doubt no more.
In other news, there's a right wing of Anonymous now too.