To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
Tsun Tzu The Art of War
August 16, (2017) I know the fear. I understand the need to physically go punch a Nazi. I have been a student of the far right since the 1990s. I read their tracts because understanding how they think and operate is the only way you can win this war. After I learned the President of the United States is a fan of Adolph Hitler’s speeches, I went ahead and obtained a free copy. There is a collection online, used by academics as well. There was a possibility that he was a fan of rhetoric, and students of speech communications do study both Hitler and Benito Mussolini, legitimately. However, I was disabused of a possible academic interest after I read, in detail, his life. It was obvious the day he launched his campaign at Trump tower.
The words he used that day, this is that Mexicans were rapists, were exactly the same language Hitler used. Replace Mexican for Jew and you got it.
So these days reading Hitler is essential to understand what the right and Trump are doing. No, I don’t gag, I highlight.
My lens is not one of privilege, a favorite word used these days when I put out that literally fighting them is the wrong tack. First off, if privilege means having 50 of your relatives go up smoke stacks at Treblinka, I guess I am highly privileged. If privilege means being called dirty Mexican, or Jew, guilty as charged. I have an accent, and I cannot hide it. So yes, I am highly privileged. I might not look externally like you, but I am one of you. I just need to speak, and it will be beyond obvious. Trust me on this.
It is sad I have to write this. But I do. Some people are under a different impression.
As a student of the right, I overcame my visceral reaction to them a while ago. I would say over two decades ago. However, what the president said yesterday scared the hell out of me. Those were not just whistles. It was a bloody mega horn. We have a president who openly embraces white supremacy. He is one of them. Let that sink in. This is unprecedented in modern American history. Not even Richard Nixon, with Southern Strategy and all, was that open.
There are several points that need making. The first is the size of the white supremacy movement. Right now it is fairly small. It has remained small, with ebbs and flows since I started studying them in the 1990s. If they reach 3 million, between openly racist and core supporters, that is too many. However, their effect in national policies has been deep. And there is a much larger number of Americans who agree with them, but not openly. That is the real nut here. How many people actually support them?
White supremacy is not just these openly hateful people. It is mass incarceration, it is red lining, it is segregation, it is yes, somebody calling you the N word, beaner, kike, these words matter.
So here are some characters you need to understand if you want to know how they recruit.
- A sense of being under constant siege
- The world that is ending (and their version of the world ended)
- They want to divide the world into ethno-States.
- Conspiracy theories, such as a Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG), or the deep state are constant
- They want to silence their opposition.
- The constant otherizing of other group and some want to commit genocide.
The first of those characteristics is essential for recruitment. Which brings me to 2014 when a spike in recruitment became obvious. Where did it occur? Social media, what I like to call the racist Twitter. Why? What got them going was actually Ferguson. Why they demand Black Lives Matter be classified as a hate group. This false equivalency is a constant for the white supremacy movement. The election of Barack Obama, twice, scared them. Ferguson activated them.
The techniques to recruit are the same techniques the Islamic State developed into a science. They talk to each other on Twitter, they speak constantly of BLM, Jews, generally speaking not ZOG, but sometimes, and chiefly they present a heroic image of themselves under siege. Oh and these days, they leaflet in college campuses, like SDSU and UCSD. New groups like Identity Evropa are particularly active in this.
There is another reason they are doing this. They know that street disorder scares the crap out of Americans. There are parallels, from the law and order campaign ran by Nixon in 1967…to yes pre-Nazi Germany. Law and order is a powerful tool, and they also believe that a race war is coming. This has been central to the philosophy of race since at least the end of World War Two.
But, silence is consent! I hear you. Nobody is asking you to be quiet, or cower at home in fear. What I am asking you is to use you head, and not respond to the flight or fight mechanism.
However, I have witnessed not counter protesting work. Call it a form of collectively applying the silent treatment.
Do you remember the riot at San Diego State last semester when David Horowitz, a fellow traveler of the far right, came to speak? I don’t either. However, I can tell you I went to SDSU to cover it. I carried a camera, a recorder, and the protective gear we bought after Ferguson. We carried and used, the same equipment when Donald Trump came to town, incidentally. Part of my job is to document, but try not to get hurt or killed in the process. I also know how compelling car wrecks and civil unrest are. I’d rather not record these fights.
Why is it that you do not remember this civil disobedience? Police was there, in riot gear. You know what was missing? The third element. Young people of color on campus figured this on their own. They realized how powerful images of police confronting protesters are. They did not show up. There was not a one counter protest sign. Trust me, we all looked for it. One of the student leaders walked to the officer in charge and told the officer they were going home. So we had the rants of a fellow traveler of the right, and the story was dead before it ran. Truly. It was one of the lowest traffic stories in the history of Reporting San Diego. It was even lower than the city budget.
This tactic has been used in the past across the country. What it does, it denies recruitment video to these groups. They need that video. The Southern Poverty Law Center recommends this as well. They document hate groups and many of their members are minorities as well. They are not coming from a place of privilege either.
Trump Voters and the Republican Party
If I might address you. You got a choice. For the record, I know why many of you voted for this president. I know you wanted a disruption. I know you were screaming, “listen, I got needs too. Stop ignoring me.” I know and get it. When Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton, I called that a Weimar Republic level mistake. Chew on those words. It was the Weimar Republic that gave way to the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler.
So here are your choices. You can stay silent, and let me assume you support a racist. You can say it and remove all doubt. Or you can denounce him. There is really no shame in this. People did during Watergate. Remember, Nixon won by historic majorities in 1972. Trump lost the popular vote by over three million. This does matter.
The Republican Party has a choice as well. For many historic reasons, the party has embraced racists and other questionable characters. This really started when the party embraced every Dixiecrat that left the Democratic Party. I know the party likes to call itself the Party of Lincoln, it is not. That train left the station in 1968. It becomes more distant with every voter suppression scheme your party has tried.
So the party will have to make a choice, and time is running very short. You must listen to people like Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain. They are talking not out of love of party, but love of country. Republican leadership must follow suit and name a name. The name is Donald Trump.
In reality, this presidency is very much over. The moral leadership of the United States is also over. When the president stands side by side with David Duke, who incidentally thanked him, that is what your silence stands for. You do not play footsie with Klan leaders.
The party that you belong to is having a real crisis of conscience. It is time that the party confronts these demons. Oh, and before you say it, Democrats have a problem too.
Now to you Democrats…
No, it is not cool when some of your spoke people use terms like Alt Left. Joan Walsh is a prime example. Language matters. You might not know this. These two words are very much White Supremacist code. Coming from the president’s mouth that was not surprising, it is who he is. But you right of center Democrats are playing into those lovely hands and validating the language of racists. You are joining an effort to debase others for your political ends.
You are normalizing this language.
I get it why some Democrats are not saying much. It comes down to not interfering when your enemy tears itself apart. However, this is not the time to think that way. I was glad to see local Democrats denounce what has happened. It is not the time to be quiet.
Sunday night I was talking with Enrique Morones of the Border Angels. It was an amazing vigil, with good positive energy, and great music. We were talking, however, of the fear that is gripping the nation. That fear is very real. Yesterday it went through the roof.
As I said in the beginning, there is very little the racists can spew that will get me physically afraid, the president did yesterday. After the fear passed, I used my head. This is what we all have to do. Check your fear, and use your head.
To the members of the administration. Especially those of you who are part of ethnic and religious minorities. It is time to resign. You will be judged by what you do. Remaining where you are means you consent to it.
And as far as media is concerned, stop using the term Alt Right. I understand if you do that in the field, while surrounded by literally Neo- Confederates, Nazis, and other types. It is called self protection. It is not unlike wearing a gas mask and helmet in the middle of a riot. Otherwise, stop validating and normalizing this language. It was a marketing effort from Richard Spencer, and it was successful, until now. He is a Nazi, use the correct identifier. He just dresses better than other Nazis in the past.