Alt-Right: Age of Rage & Current Political Violence/by Meredith Stratmann
“We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” This quote from Friedrich Hegel found at the beginning of Alt-Right: Age of Rage, sums up the 2018 documentary well. Focused on the return of political violence, this one hour and 45 minute work follows two leaders. The first, Daryle Lamont Jenkins, is an activist who helped launch the Antifa movement onto the American stage after Donald Trump’s election. The second, Richard Spencer, is a white nationalist who authors and publishes media related to his beliefs.
Other leaders within the movements speak to their own convictions. Consistent with the quote from Hegel, there are constant connections to history. The documentary shows footage and pictures from historic events that reflect certain ideas or current events.
As is typical of most documentaries, Alt-Right: Age of Rage was mostly footage of people from both sides speaking their minds. I liked that I got to experience different viewpoints as if I was sitting in the same room with the person. Rather than simply hearing about these movements, I got to hear what each leader considers his own movement to be.
However, like any other political film, I found there to be certain biases. As a viewer, I had my own opinions that shaped my perspective. Even still, it still seemed to me that different views were not painted in the same light equally.
Personally, I knew little about Antifa, fascism, or white nationalism before watching Alt-Right: Age of Rage. I had my preconceived notions about what each was, and this challenged that. It pushed me to research more and come to my own conclusions. Overall, it was insightful to the origins of both Antifa and white nationalism and how they’ve grown and shaped.
I will say that although this documentary is only two years old, it seems out of date. Given the various events that occurred this summer involving both groups, I don’t feel that Alt-Right: Age of Rage fully encompasses what each group is currently.
Regarding the filmography, flow of the content, and quality of the documentary, I have no complaints. Everything is clean and the interviews are professional. At times, it follows Jenkins and Spencer as they are driving. There are videos from protests and demonstrations. While these may not be perfectly steady, I appreciate the authenticity and realness of that type of content. One quote from Alt-Right: Age of Rage really sticks with me. Gavin McInnes, a Canadian writer, says, “I cannot recommend violence enough. It’s a really effective way to solve problems.” Whether the viewer agrees with this statement or not, the recent increase in political violence in the United States is undeniable. Alt-Right: Age of Rage addresses the topic of political violence and provides a number of different perspectives. It’s incredibly relevant during this time. If you’re looking to learn more about these topics, or hear different viewpoints, give Alt-Right: Age of Rage a try. You just may learn something.