In light of the fact the Alt-Right “optics debate” has devolved into accusations of people being “Jewish” and “opticucks,” it is clear that there is real no point in trying to continue the discussion. Those who are committed to German Nazism will clearly not be swayed from it, and even those on the sidelines often seem to mistake allies discussing strategy with “punching right,” as though, “We really need a better presentation,” means the same thing as, “You are not allowed to think that way.” As detailed here, here, and here, the principles are not the problem, but it is rather how they are being packaged and presented when wrapped in neo-Nazism rather than Americanism. It seems as though some think recreating (their perception of) 1930’s German fascism is more important than advancing their supposed principles.
The German American Bund, or Amerikadeutscher Bund, understood the need to tailor their message (as did other fascists of the time). When they packed Madison Square Garden for a rally in 1939 (as seen above), a massive depiction of George Washington towered over the stage, flanked by four American banners and two Bund swastika banners. Someone looking upon that scene would have to stare rather intently to even notice the swastikas, but the Americanism was front and center for any and all to see. Also in 1939, the Bund held a parade in New York City (as seen below), and, again, one can immediately see the American flag prominently on display. Even as Fritz Kuhn, leader of the Bund, dismissed President Roosevelt as “Frank D. Rosenfeld,” criticized the New Deal as the “Jew Deal,” and declared that the US government was under Bolshevik-Jewish control, they still prominently displayed George Washington, proudly flew American flags, &c. They understood something that many today do not: namely, the current state of affairs does not represent America’s past, and that past appeals to the American spirit.
When you speak of Nazism, Fascism, Francoism, Falangism, Legionarism, Rexism, and so on, you are discussing rather similar ideologies that are born out of particular places and times. They are not exactly the same because the circumstances in which they were forged differed culturally and materially. At a minimum, if the League of the South, Traditionalist Worker Party, National Socialist Movement, Vanguard America, and the like are going to maintain that Nazism sells, then they need to at least make as much of an effort as the Bund did all those decades ago. If people are committed to German fascism from the 1930’s specifically, can they at least do it as well as the 1930’s Nazis themselves? As should be expected, the Bund ultimately failed because of World War II (and Kuhn embezzling funds), but they were able to march through New York City and hold a rally of 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden as war loomed.
Now, while people are saying they are tired of “optics,” look at the picture above. These gentlemen are members of the Bund, summering at the organization’s camp on Long Island in 1938. Compare them to the picture below, which includes members of the TWP, NSM, KKK, and League of the South at the “White Lives Matter” rally in Shelbyville, TN. Answer honestly—If these two groups were holding rival rallies across the street from each other, which rally would you attend? Which group appears like they know what they are doing, have real solutions to real problems, &c.? And, again, the gentlemen above are actual German American Nazis from the 1930’s while the gentlemen below are ostensibly trying to recreate what appears above. Optics do matter. Presentation conveys something to other people long before they will even begin to listen to what you are saying. If people are going to insist on wrapping themselves in 1930’s German political ideology, they should at least try to do it right.
Perhaps it is time to stop dressing like an FBI agent dressing like a neo-Nazi in the 1980’s, which would mean it is time to put away the flight jackets, combat boots, and BDU pants. If you think you can somehow make Nazism respectable again in the United States, then is it not worth making every effort to at least live up to what the actual Nazis did as a political entity? Due to the reenactment market, there are many sources for reproduction German uniforms such as Hessen Antique, Epic Militaria, At The Front, Lost Battalions, and countless others. Clearly, the “NatSoc” groups are seeking uniformity, but they have set their sights far too low relative to the NSDAP and Bund. They are also failing to tailor their message to an American audience, which is ludicrous considering that is precisely what the original American Nazis did.