Part III. Turd Positionism: On Alex Hochuli, Frank Furedi, Chapo Trap House and Quillette. Plus the Bizarre Tale of “Living Marxism.”

Why did I spend so much time writing about Hochuli? Well, first of all because bizarre Trot cults will never not be funny.

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[This is Part III of a three-part series, To read Part I, Turd Positionism: On Glenn Greenwald, Michael Tracey, Angela Nagle and Other Softcore Trumpists, click here. For Part II, Turd Positionism: On Alex Hochuli and Other Softcore Trumpists; Plus: On American Affairs, Julius Krein, Catherine Liu and Other Hardcore Trumpists, click here.]

The Modern Movement wasn’t the only sketchball ultra-right Frank Furedi front group that Alex Hochuli spearheaded. He was also a leader of the “Manifesto Club,” which opposed legislation requiring the vetting for sex crimes of caretakers and instructors of children

On or around the time Hochuli was a leader in this front group, it published this truly bonkers report bemoaning the Gordon Brown administration’s requirements for sex crime background checks for adult supervisors of youth-oriented hobby clubs. One right-good chap complains, “I used to get a great deal of satisfaction teaching children. However, because of the need for CRB checks I no longer teach them. I refuse to go through the clearance procedure for one simple reason — we cannot rely on those who carry out the checks to get it right every time.” Why couldn’t the despotic Brown administration just drop it and let young boys bond with strange men who may or may not be sex offenders over their shared passion for model airplanes! What is this, 1984?

During his time in college Hochuli also edited the Manifesto Club journal Speaking our Mind. In other words, he was a member of an organization that was trying to make it easier for sex offenders to get jobs working with children. Maybe it was a youthful indiscretion. After all, we all did a lot of things we regret in college. Some people smoked too much weed, others tried to help nonces evade a reasonable screening process designed to prevent them from harming children.

I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of Trotskyists until we can figure out what the hell is going on! Also, why is it always about fucking planes with these people? 

Is it fair to dredge up all this stuff about Hochuli’s past? I think so. Especially if he’s going to pal around with Julius Krein and receive the equivalent of 5 times the monthly minimum wage in Brazil for an afternoon’s work just to produce tripe for American Affairs.

For a man who calls himself a Marxist and takes money from right-wing publications while platforming all manner of right entryists, it’s absolutely fair game to call attention to this minor leftish pundit’s association with a far-right political cult whose modus operandi was infiltrating the media. Mind you, he was not merely a cult follower, but a leader. If you want to put some earbuds on and have propaganda beamed directly into your brain by a former right-wing cult leader, be my guest. I for one think that someone with a background such as this is a flagrant fucking grifter and cannot possibly have anything of value to say about politics, or anything else for that matter.

Is his involvement with Living Marxism dismissable as ancient history? After all, he has called the accusation that he is still sympathetic to this organization “risible.” First of all, nothing could be more risible than Hochuli’s own involvement with this absolutely bananas cult. Nevertheless, if the accusation is risible, why did he speak favorably about an article published in Living Marxism as late as 2015. 

This article wasn’t even that bad, but it does suggest that he at least must have some lingering affection for Living Marxism. In my view, picking up a dusty old copy of Living Marxism, a magazine so creepy it can only be compared to the Necronomicon, and sitting in my easy chair and turning to a child abuse skepticism article from the twisted mind of Frank Furedi sends a shiver down my spine. If I was ever associated with such a movement I would never speak of it again.

There are many other things about Hochuli which suggest he is still an adherent of the same wackadoodle ideology he subscribed to in college. His co-hosts Philip Cunliffe and George Hoare are also both part of the Spiked clique that penned articles for the site as recently as February 17, 2021 and March 14, 2019, respectively. I’m sure they’re just old college buddies who just so happened to meet at the University of Kent and bonded together as members of the rabidly anti-environmentalist, pedophile-apologist cult in between keg stands, but realized that “fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life” and have since put those zany days behind them. 

Alex Hochuli and other members of the so-called “Spiked Clique,” in undated photo taken at the University of Kent. Fair Use.

Another strange thing about Hochuli which suggests he still holds the same views as he did when he was attending toga parties at Heathrow is his deafening silence with regard to the Amazon rainforest. In his essays I have found exactly zero references to it.

I get that he’s not a treehugger, and probably doesn’t care about the dire consequences the destruction of the Amazon poses for the planet (and the multitudes of poor people who will shoulder most of the burden), but for a “Marxist” and “journalist” who is “covering” Brazil to omit an issue of such grave importance almost entirely is conspicuous to say the least.The Amazon is integral to Brazil’s political economy and global policies of extraction. What’s more, the 2019 fires, which dominated international news for weeks, were a major domestic issue within Brazil and on the global stage deeply harmed the country diplomatically. It was a major story. It seems odd for the host of a “global politics podcast” to barely discuss it.

Even Hochuli’s tweets make scant mention of this subject. The tiny little handful of references you do find are quite odd, like on August 24, 2019 when he ostentatiously attempts to distance himself from his former (current?) cult and pick a fight with Brendan O’Neill of Spiked over his comments on the Amazon — with an argument major agribusiness concerns would not find objectionable, I might add.

During that period he did however fave this tweet from fellow Jacobin contributor Andre Pagliarini.

It’s very common for right-wing Brazilians when they speak of the Amazon to couch their rhetoric in the language of “national sovereignty,” e.g. “The Amazon is ours, we can do with it what we like.” It says something about Pagliarini that he would tweet this. In fact, in this writer’s opinion, it borders on coxinha behavior. It also says a great deal about Hochuli because faving this tweet is one of the very few things I can find from him that comes close to being a statement about this topic.    

Why did I spend so much time writing about Hochuli? Well, first of all because bizarre Trot cults will never not be funny. It’s hilarious to imagine them, as they so often do, erecting a cult of personality to some cretin who usually looks like the Comic Book Guy or launching bitter, internecine sectarian battles over a bag of airline peanuts. Also, so many Trot cults have concocted similar dastardly schemes that they can only be compared to something the Heath Ledger iteration of the Joker would concoct. 

But mainly I wrote about him because he’s an illustrative example of a deeply suspicious character who seems to have burrowed his way into this new media milieu and he’s making the rounds. Just two days ago, Hochuli appeared on TrueAnon, a leftish podcast that describes itself as “only non-pedophile podcast focused on uncovering the truth of the [Jeffrey] Epstein conspiracy.” During that appearance, co-host Liz Franczak referenced Hochuli’s American Affairs article three times without once mentioning what American Affairs is, who its backers are or explaining its broader political project. 

Brace Belden, the other mic on TrueAnon, appears to have read Hochuli’s book because he mentions taking “notes” on it, but it doesn’t appear that he Googled Hochuli. For podcast hosts who pride themselves on investigating conspiracies and “going down rabbit holes,” it really seems like they dropped the ball on this one. [Editor’s note, KS: I made a terrible mistake yesterday in putting TrueAnon in a headline, which suggested the podcast was supportive of former President Donald Trump. I regret the error, which was corrected as soon as it was brought to my attention. Whether TrueAnon should have platformed Hochuli is a legitimate question, but it clearly is opposed to Trump and Trumpism.]

If you Google Alex Hochuli, you’ll find his Linkedin profile, which identifies him as the former “Co-Founder & Chair” of the Modern Movement. Once you Google the Modern Movement, there you are like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole. But this is all indicative of a broader point. Leftish media personalities can often be lazy at best and willing complicit pawns at worst. Regardless, Liz and Brace are not the only personalities Alex has managed to cozy up to.

Amber A’Lee Frost is quite chummy with Hochuli on Facebook and has appeared on his show. Hochuli also has Tucker Carlson “leftist” Catherine Liu on his show to rage against the PMC and offer the silliest descriptions of this non-class, at one point referring to them as anyone in a warm climate who “works in a place that is air conditioned”. 

Liu also makes sweeping assertions about the 1619 Project (a popular history project of which many have made valid critiques), cavalierly calling herself a “materialist” yet never once referring to actual historians, some of whom, like Eric Foner, have praised 1619 despite minor quibbles. She thus reveals herself to be a propagandist promoting culture war to lure ex-leftists to the right.

Liu in Quillette, the premier publication of the Intellectual Dark Web. Fair Use.

Chapo Trap House recently had Liu on to spout pure invective. Perhaps these shock jocks feel a twinge of guilt from growing rich from a podcast ostensibly about socialism and see the need to self-flagellate for the sin of being PMC, but whatever its reasoning was, they platformed a right wing propagandist, as illustrated by the fact that shortly after her appearance on their show Liu wrote for Quillette, the premier publication of the Intellectual Dark Web, which has the transparent aim of making scientific racism acceptable. 

Quillette publishes across the political spectrum to put up a facade that they’re interested in ideas and also attempt to garner the support of public intellectuals like Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist, militant atheist and ponderer of riddles such as this.

Chapo has frequently derided Quillette and characterized it as a far-right publication. But don’t take my word for it, here’s Will Menaker himself.

So, what’s the point of all this? Isn’t this all guilt by association? Admittedly, all I have is circumstantial evidence, but it’s a mountain of circumstantial evidence. I’ll mention that circumstantial evidence is admissible in a court of law and people are convicted based on circumstantial evidence.

All I know is that there are a large bunch of leftish media personalities, some with far-right pasts, spouting far-right jargon, attacking the left, being chummy with far-right personalities and being paid to do propaganda the far-right finds useful. It’s my opinion that many outlets, including Chapo, can sometimes function as a cat’s paw and that they are not critical of their guests and their not-so-hidden agendas.

Further, given Amber A’Lee Frost’s association with this sordid cast of characters, it’s absolutely fair to ask what she’s doing hanging out with these weirdos. De omnibus dubitandum; doubt everything, must be the watchword of every journalist and media consumer. Whatever you may think of this three-part series, the connections are there and we could all be a little more critical of the things we read and listen to. Unless of course you’re reading Living Marxism, the paper of record, and can rest easy knowing you are getting an objective, balanced account of world affairs. 

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Tony Belletier is a teacher, occasional writer and satirist. Follow him on Twitter @tonybelletier.