After months of research and investigation, the Washington Street Advocacy Group believes there is rising devotion to various esoteric fascist ideologies in tech industry circles, and that this trend represents an extreme threat to the American republic. It signifies the high likelihood of rightwing extremist violence and online propaganda during the 2024 election. The Washington Street Advocacy Group is committed to using its creative advocacy tactics and knowledge of art and philosophy to spread the word and defend against this danger.
In Summer 2022, we became intensely interested in so-called non-fungible tokens (NFTs) after realizing the extensive political, ideological, and philosophical content of the leading collections on the Ethereum blockchain. The most prominent and controversial collection is called “Bored Ape Yacht Club” and made by a Miami-based company named Yuga Labs, which is currently subject to a SEC investigation and several consumer lawsuits. Even on the face of it, the imagery in this collection is a disgusting attack on Black people using blatant racist symbols and references to racist memes.
After reviewing the allegations made by New York City artist Ryder Ripps, we were alarmed to confirm his further conclusions that Bored Ape Yacht Club and Yuga Labs also use symbols and ideas from the cutting edge of anti-Semitic, racist, misogynistic, and alt-right ideologies popular on 4chan and among radical technologists, including -- sadly -- at established venture capital firms like a16z. The founders of Bored Ape Yacht Club are also linked to a press called Expat, which has ties to the Hungary-based "Terror House" through its founder Manuel Marrero (who is a close friend of the founders of Yuga Labs and has published their writings). Although Ripps and other NFT enthusiasts had already done much of the research on the founders of Yuga Labs, the Washington Street Advocacy Group used Twitter threads and online radio programs called “Twitter Spaces” to educate crypto and NFT communities about Yuga Labs’ extensive allusions and references to what is known as traditionalism, a strand of esoteric fascism that mirrors Nazism in using Eastern religion and Hinduism to rationalize the genocide of Jewish people. One of the core ideas is that the Hindu cycle of time called the "Kali Yuga" serves as a justification to abandon all moral constraints on political behavior. The name of the company is clearly a reference to the rightwing appropriation of the religious concept, rather than an obscure reference to a Gameboy game, as Yuga Labs has claimed.
Traditionalism’s chief exponent, Julius Evola, was remarkably devious in his ability to use writings about the occult, mythology, and magic to build the vanguard of a postwar fascist movement designed to attack democracy and equality. Evola himself worked for the Nazi SS, translated "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" into Italian, and agitated for violent anti-Semitism and genocide. His current and disgusting legitimacy in American politics, through onetime Trump advisor Steve Bannon and through the esoteric interests of tech billionaires speaking of "Effective Altrusim/Accelerationism," is quite frightening, and Evola's ideas must be challenged in a way that internalizes the sharp lessons of the Holocaust and the rise of the Nazi Party.
Todd Fine, the President of the Washington Street Advocacy Group, published an op-ed on these topics in the leading cryptocurrency publication Coindesk, urging Yuga Labs to "come clean" and explain the origins. Even though his article was vetted by Coindesk editors over two weeks, Yuga Labs threatened to sue Coindesk and successfully bullied them into taking the article down and then disparging Mr. Fine's work.
Daily Dot, February 1, 2023: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/coindesk-removes-bored-ape-story/
New York Post, March 9, 2023: https://nypost.com/2023/03/09/tiger-king-producers-taking-on-bored-ape-yacht-club/