The music was good, if you could overlook some artists’ fixation on Nazi death skulls.
That was the dilemma facing listeners like Shane Burley, a writer covering far-right extremism. “I like neo-folk,” Burley said. “I want to go to neo-folk shows.”
But neo-folk music—along with a handful of other genres like black metal, industrial music, and some spheres of the punk scene—has a white supremacist problem. None of the genres are inherently political; neo-folk artists are more likely to sing about nature than Nazis. Still, the communities have become organizing hubs for the far right, some of whom adopt Nazi imagery. And as far-right violence soars in the U.S., with recent incidents including a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue and a car attack at a white supremacist rally, some music fans on the left are looking for ways to save their scenes from the people they can’t stand.
For Burley, author of the book Fascism Today, that meant launching the anti-fascist neo-folk website A Blaze Ansuz late last month.