The alt-right, an abbreviation of alternative right, is a loosely connected far-right, white supremacist, white nationalist, white separatist, anti-immigration and sometimes antisemitic movement based in the United States. A largely online phenomenon, the alt-right originated in the U.S. during the 2010s although it has since established a presence in various other countries. The term is ill-defined, having been used in different ways by various self-described "alt-rightists", media commentators, and academics.
In 2010, the American white nationalist Richard B. Spencer launched The Alternative Right webzine to disseminate his ideas. Spencer's "alternative right" was influenced by earlier forms of American white nationalism, as well as paleoconservatism, the Dark Enlightenment, and the Nouvelle Droite. Critics charged it with being a rebranding of white supremacism. His term was shortened to "alt-right" and popularised by far-right participants of /pol/, the politics board of web forum 4chan. It came to be associated with other white nationalist websites and groups, including Andrew Anglin's Daily Stormer, Brad Griffin's Occidental Dissent, and Matthew Heimbach's Traditionalist Worker Party. Following the 2014 Gamergate controversy, the alt-right made increasing use of trolling and online harassment as a tactic to raise its profile. In 2015 it attracted broader public attention—particularly through coverage on Steve Bannon's Breitbart News—due to alt-right support for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. On being elected, Trump disavowed the movement. Attempting to move from an online-based to a street-based movement, Spencer and other alt-rightists organised the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which faced significant anti-fascist opposition. After this, the movement began to decline.
The alt-right is a white nationalist, biologically racist movement. Part of its membership supports anti-immigrationist policies to ensure a continued white majority in the United States. Others call for the breakup of the country to form a white separatist ethno-state in North America. Some alt-rightists seek to make white nationalism socially respectable in the U.S., while others—known as the "1488" scene—adopt openly white supremacist and neo-Nazi stances. Some alt-rightists are anti-semitic, promoting a conspiracy theory that there is a Jewish plot to bring about white genocide; other alt-rightists view most Jews as members of the white race. The alt-right is anti-feminist, advocates for a more patriarchal society, and intersects with the men's rights movement and other sectors of the online manosphere. Alt-rightists generally support anti-interventionist and isolationist foreign policies alongside economic protectionism and thus criticise mainstream U.S. conservatism. Attitudes to social issues like homosexuality and abortion vary within the movement. Individuals aligned with many of the alt-right's ideas but not its white nationalism have been termed "alt-lite".
The alt-right distinguished itself from earlier forms of white nationalism through its largely online presence and its heavy use of irony and humor, particularly through the promotion of Internet memes like Pepe the Frog. Membership was overwhelmingly white and male, with academic and anti-fascist observers linking its growth to deteriorating living standards and prospects, anxieties about the place of white masculinity, and anger at increasingly visible left-wing forms of identity politics like the Black Lives Matter movement. Constituent groups using the "alt-right" label have been characterised as hate groups, while alt-right material has been a contributing factor in the radicalization of young white men responsible for a range of far-right murders and terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 2014. Opposition to the alt-right has come from many areas of the political spectrum including socialists, liberals and conservatives.