"The Wotan Network" Part 1 - How to Corrupt a God

Edit Note: The original version was taken down for copyright infringement claims, apparently stemming from the song in the lengthy intro. Timestamps have been changed to reflect the latest version, embedded below.

I thought I was done with him. A long and multi-part breakdown of his unscientific views on race should have done the trick. I spoke up against an "elder" who, once he could espouse his views free from association with the organization he founded, could rant his way into obscurity.

It's a day for American Gods gifs. I make no apologies.

Stephen McNallen is back with another video. This time, the video itself is as slick and polished as the honeyed words the old racist spat out in his previous videos. He has teamed up with Red Ice, an unabashedly racist and white supremacist network. I assume they are responsible for plucking the old man out from in front of his hearth and into the black-backed studio he now speaks from and set him up with all of the slick branding and graphics saturating his latest presentation. Of note, the AFA and their leadership is often hosted on Red Ice podcasts, but I'm sure that's purely coincidence.

This counter-post will be different from my previous ones in one very large respect. Previously, we were dealing with facts and statistics, quotes and resources. Now we have entered the realm of sophistry and spiritual matters, so what follows will be different out of necessity. That said, let's get this going.

(Full transcript to follow if you'd rather not watch)

(00:00 - 00:33)
[Rapid-fire images: Wolf, mountains, forests, moon, trees, raven, shield wall from TV show Vikings, runes carved into sticks, ships, stone carvings, renactors, depictions of Odin and Valkyries, Northern Lights, snow covered trees, wolf]
[Captions: Red Ice Presents: Wolf Age with Stephen McNallen; Wolf Age; Wotan Mit Us; (Wolfangel rune) Wolf Age with Stephen McNallen]
Right out of the gate, we get 90 30 seconds of a very effective and very busy intro. The images are flashing and moving across the screen at just the right interval to allow the viewer to recognize, but not focus, on them. The words are left up longer, but repeatedly distorted to draw the viewer's attention and force them to read the words repeatedly, and slowly. This is a very unsubtle means of pushing several concepts into the viewer's mind before the video has even properly begun. The imagery evokes classic "wild" and "primal" motifs, playing into the cult of hyper-masculinity and callbacks to a more "primal" time that has come to dominate the target audience of current AltRight propaganda. Also, the theme is very much in the "distorted, underground" video style popularized by spy films since CG editing became cheaper. It's an effective, if cheesy, motif.

The apparent re-branded name of these musings is what concerns me more than propaganda techniques, however well employed. Throughout the video, we see the new name juxtaposed with McNallen's, forming and reinforcing a clear link between the two, and he's calling it "Wolf Age." This is not a random choice, or a shallow call-out to the apparent love interest that both Heathenry and Western Culture in general have cultivated for the animal in question.

Völuspá 45:
Brothers will struggle and slaughter each other,
and sisters' sons spoil kinship's bonds.
It's hard on earth: great whoredom;
axe-age, blade-age, shields are split;
wind-age, wolf-age, before the world crumbles:
no one shall spare another.
Translation - Andrew Orchard - Penguin Classics (emphasis mine)

For those of you unfamiliar, the Völuspá is also called "The Prophecy of the Seeress." Contained in the Poetic Edda, the same collection as the Havamal (Sayings of Odin), the Voluspa tells the story of how Odin travels to the Underworld, raises a Seeress' spirit, and demands she tell him what she knows about the fate of the Gods. The above verse describes in rather brutal terms what Midgarð (Earth) will look like during Ragnarök.

McNallen seems to be fully embracing a Heathen spin on Apocalyptic Rhetoric that wouldn't be out of place in any hard conservative Christian church, just with some names replaced. He's either implying that we're already in a version of "end times," or we're right on the cusp of it. Neither is pleasant to contemplate. In my previous critique, I mocked him for not having an actual answer to all the "problems" he was raising. It seems he has one now:

Be it spiritual or physical, this is not hyperbole.

By choosing the name "Wolf Age," he can appeal to both Heathens and non-Heathens alike. Heathens will catch exactly what that title implies and understand the deeper message he's offering. That, too, encourages a Heathen viewer to focus and feel encouraged that they understood a subtle flag waving their way. The non-Heathen viewer, likely steeped in Western Culture, can also resonate with the ideal of the strong pack animal. Things don't get any better when the old racist opens his mouth. 
(00:33 - 00:49)
"When I gave up leadership of the Asatru Folk Assembly, I never wanted to head another organization, and I still don't! At least, not an organization in the usual sense. But what I have in mind now is anything but 'usual.'"
There's been a lot of speculation about why there was the changeover in leadership at the AFA since it occurred. Was it a quasi-coup, or were the hard-line conservatives tired of being restrained by McNallen's insistence that they maintain a semblance of nondiscrimination? Was it that McNallen himself was tired of having to toe a line due to his deep ties with such a large organization, and wanted firm distance before opening up completely about his racist leanings? I suspect a kernal of truth can be found in both suggestions, but the heart of the issue will be revealed soon.
(00:50 - 01:06)
"It's no secret that my life's purpose is to awaken the European Peoples from their sleep, and to empower them so that they have, now and forever, complete control over their destiny. This is why my heart beats, this is why I breathe."
"Awaken the European Peoples from their sleep." This phrase is repeated throughout the video, and it's choice, like everything in this presentation, is no accident. First, it's a wink and a nod to the AltRight and similar internet communities, because it uses "Red Pill" language. If you're not familiar with the term, it refers to the scene in the movie The Matrix, where Morpheus offers Neo a blue pill (which will change nothing) and a red pill (which will "show [Neo] how deep the rabbit hole goes"). Many on the right have taken to calling their "awakening" a "Red Pill Moment," where the "illusion" of modern life and whatever system they have set themselves against (race/globalism/feminism/etc.) was removed and now they can "see clearly."

The insidious nature of this language is rooted in the underlying assumption of the imagery. If the speaker (and those who agree with them) have "woken from their sleep," then what they now see and believe is fundamental to the world, like light and gravity. What they believe is a basic and bedrock truth of their system, so attempting to dislodge that is nigh impossible. It also presumes that if only "everyone else" would "wake up," the "truth" would be apparent to them as well and disagreements would evaporate. Though there is a level of meta humor within the Red Pill community and vernacular, those who use that kind of language are not fucking around, and it should be a warning sign for anyone engaging in a debate with someone using that kind of language. McNallen's refrain of "awaken the European People" is a signal that he believes this racist worldview isn't just scientific or cultural or even spiritual, but all three and baked into the very nature of humanity and the Universe, if only the rest of us would "wake up" and see it.
Your bullshit, that is.
(01:07 - 01:17)
"But obviously, I can't accomplish these tasks alone! I need help. I need tons of help! And, as you may have guessed, that's where you come in."
So at this point, our viewer has been primed with energetic music and visuals, reminded of McNallen's bona fides, reassured of his commitment, and now, dear viewer, like a master angler or charismatic Christian prosperity preacher, a humble plea for help sets the hook deep. "That's where you come in." A question should arise at this point: If he needs so much help, why not turn to the org that he founded, that brags repeatedly about their ground-level effectiveness and large membership rolls? Why, indeed?
(01:18 - 01:40)
"If you saw my video on networks, insurgencies, and propaganda, which you can find on my YouTube channel, you have an idea of what I'm getting at: A flat network of nodes connected to each other in a flexible and ever-changing way with a minimum of maintenance. Or, as we used to say in my Army days:  Agile, Hostile, and Mobile."

It's amusing to see the graphic of "flat network" actually looking quite 3D. It's apparent what imagery the producers are aiming for, I just think they missed the mark.
So, what do the colors mean? Are some "more equal" than others?

But I digress. It's the tail end of this statement that should concern you. Yes, McNallen is quite explicitly talking about setting up a nodal network similar to the style of an insurgency, and explicitly labeling one of it's features as "Hostile." This is not a book or sewing club he's talking about, and for all of his cute "flat network" talk, he's setting up some interesting protections for himself.

Think back to his opening statement, "I don't want to lead, but..." The nodes in his network might be on an equal playing field, but he is still the Chessmaster, still leading. However, by choosing to deliberately set this up as loosely as possible he's granting himself two huge boons. First he gives himself plausible deniability if any of those nodes gets...shall we say...too "hostile"? Second, he eliminates the need for accountability upstream. He is answerable only to himself and doesn't have to maintain contacts, rolls, or anything else that comes with actually leading an organization. What kind of work does he expect to occur that he needs to begin this endeavor so far removed from his followers?
(01:41 - 02:03)
"Contrast this with the opposite: a vertical organization with hierarchy, complexity, and a bureaucratic organizational chart that no one can understand. Easy choice: go with the network. That's why this newborn entity is called: The Wotan Network. Not the Wotan Corporation."
So much of this video is fascinating in it's choices of language and media. Take the graphic shown in the video during this segment. It's a modified graphic taken from the 2011 film Thrive, a documentary film about an apparent global conspiracy to maintain power among the financial elite. Even at full 1080p resolution, I had trouble reading the words on the chart in the video, but don't worry, I've got the original right here:
The captions outside the pyramid were removed and the resolution lowered, but it's the same thing.

Someone either can't track down a decent, actual corporate org chart, or Red Ice is being subtle again and trying to trick you into associating corporations in general with corruption and globalization. Not a bad ploy, really.

And now we have our answer to why McNallen left the AFA: he's tired of bureaucracy and being answerable to others below him. The "organizational chart no one can understand" that he's offered on screen is a ridiculously simple pyramid, designed to show simple flow of control and resources. If this is too complicated, maybe McNallen wasn't cut out for leadership in the first place...

A "corporation" requires actually filing articles of incorporation with a government agency, so calling a loose collective of nodes a corporation would be ridiculous on it's face anyway. I'm not sure if he's expecting to be applauded for noticing this.

Lastly: Yes, he constantly pronounces it "VOE-tahn."

Yes, it drives me bonkers too. That's all I'll say on that.
(02:04 - 02:28)
"So, why do I call it the 'Wotan Network'? Why not 'Steve's Network'? Or the 'White Identity and Saving the Race Network'? Because the Germanic God Wotan, or Odin, or Woden, or a hundred other nicknames in Old Norse, is the one who historically has gripped us by our racial soul and shaken us awake!"
Well, as I just pointed out, it's likely not called "Steve's Network" because he's building in levels of plausible deniability to a network of groups and individuals founded on a hostile pretense. Why not the "White Identity and Saving the Race Network"? Likely due to the fact that it's too on-the-nose and it makes it obvious just how little removed from the classic KKK worldview it really is.

Once more, however, McNallen is offering a shout-out to those in-the-know, and this is where we need to really, truly, sit up and pay attention. When he speaks about Wotan "gripping [Europeans] by [their] racial soul" he is speaking of Jung's interpretation of Wotan, which he mentions later in the video. What he never acknowledges and likely never will, is that this interpretation of Wotan is directly and deliberately tied to the rise of Nazism in post WWI Germany. Jung is talking about the discord and wanderlust that infused the German youth in the lead up to Hitler's rise to power.

McNallen, here, in this video, is stating that he has named his new loose coalition network after an interpretation of Odin that was used to explain the Nazi nationalist and disestablishment sentiments among the German youth in the early 20th Century, and he's doing it on an out-loud'n'proud hardline AltRight network. He is courting Nazis, AltRighters, Racists, and yes, Heathens/Asatru using every low frequency signal possible under a loose cause based on insurgency tactics. McNallen published a screed nearly a decade ago ("Wotan vs. Tezcatlipoca") wherein he laid out a very simple and straightforward framework for justifying a "Holy War" against anyone south of the US border. It wasn't very polished, but the political environment (and the Overton Window) has shifted significantly in the last seven years. If he gains enough traction, WvT will become less of a joke and quite possibly a rallying cry for some very nasty people.

Couple this with the growing occultism found in AltRight groups like the Wolves of Vinland, and that Augustus Sol Invictus is apparently slated to appear at a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA in August, and we're seeing the infancy of the Heathen equivalent to the Christian "Moral Majority." No longer content to keep politics and religion separate, these individuals are stepping up and out into a mixture of violent rhetoric that has, in just the recent past, spilled into physical violence.

McNallen wants to take all of these groups and give them a collective vision of Odin that he will shape and mold, that they will pray and offer to, and that they will work with. He is unabashedly taking the lens through which we interact with the Alfather and distorting it for his own purposes. You can say, "But he's not telling anyone else how to worship!" and that's technically true. However, if you believe prayer and interactions with the Gods have weight and meaning (and if you're religious at all, I'm not sure why you wouldn't), you can't turn a blind eye to these efforts. McNallen is Wormtongue, and while Odin is not the hapless fool that Theoden was, these efforts will not simply trickle into the Gap, accomplishing nothing. Pagans, and Heathens especially, must pay attention, and quickly.

We're living in a world where Public Radio International runs a story about "Odinism and White Supremacy". The racists and disreputable members of Heathenry have always existed, but like the Overton Window mentioned above, the view of Odin in the minds of the rest of the populace has begun to shift, and not in a positive way. This latest effort is trying to drag the Old Man further to the right, historical accuracy and human decency be damned. This cannot remain just a war of words and scattered electrons confined to blogs and YouTube comboxes. This is going to require spiritual and physical action in addition to Internet push-back. More of that will get laid out next post.

I didn't plan on making this another multi-part series, but there's so much to unpack here. Stay tuned for more shortly, where I try to figure out just why McNallen's somehow willing to throw Wotan under the bus to achieve his goals.


What everyone else is reading...

Toxic Masculinity : The Problem of Brosatru

"The Wotan Network" Part 2 - How to Exploit a God