Commentary: The Claremont Institute and Trump’s Politics of White Fear

More useful background on the anti-immigration zealots:

An hour east of Hollywood, where America’s cultural fetish for stories of apocalypse and antiheroes is made, the Claremont Institute lies in a nondescript beige building in the Pomona Valley. Created in 1979 to educate a new generation of conservative leaders through the study and reinterpretation of the American founding, the think tank has long peddled dystopian delusions, including that the U.S. faces an existential threat from a “Third World” invasion; that diversity “dissolves” the country’s unity; and that the many-headed monster of “wokeness,” “identity politics,” and “multiculturalism” seeks to “destroy the American way of life.”

“The mission of the Claremont Institute is to save Western civilization,” buttoned-up president Ryan Williams, who has been with the institute since 2005, declares in a welcome video on the Claremont’s YouTube page. “We’ve always aimed high.”

The institute was founded by students of the political scientist Harry Jaffa, who in the 1960s helped radicalize the Republican Party through his participation in the presidential campaign of the right-wing zealot Barry Goldwater, writing the lines of his acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” Jaffa was a prolific author and scholar of Abraham Lincoln and other founders. He likened “political correctness” to Leninism and Stalinism.

The Claremont Institute, which has no affiliation with the Claremont colleges, publishes the Claremont Review of Books and awards fellowships to applicants interested in studying the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other founding documents. Last year, it awarded a fellowship to Jack Posobiec, a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist with ties to neo-fascist groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The institute teaches and publishes new takes on America’s founding that whitewash history, insisting that the country was never racist and that those who argue otherwise seek to annihilate the United States. The mission statement says it seeks to “restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life.” Its scholars launder white supremacist ideas through the language of heritage and the self-aware performance of erudition.

Most recently, Claremont Institute helped perpetuate the racist birther lie that Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris isn’t a legitimate American citizen. Senior fellow John C. Eastman wrote the debunked article in Newsweekquestioning Harris’s citizenship with his tortured reading of the Constitution. The institute has long challenged birthright citizenship, which is enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment. Newsweek editors have since apologized for the op-ed, albeit after saying it had “nothing to do with racist birtherism.” Notably, Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer is a former fellow of the institute. Trump refused to condemn the birther lie, calling Eastman “brilliant” and saying he won’t be “pursuing” the theory but adding, “You would’ve thought [Harris] would’ve been vetted by Sleepy Joe.”

It is no accident that the white supremacist fantasies buttressing Trump’s reelection campaign were born in Los Angeles County. The region gave us Trump’s chief advisor and top speechwriter, Stephen Miller, whose parents have donated to the Claremont Institute and whose indoctrination in white supremacist ideas I report on in my book Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda. Miller’s father Michael is a former Democrat who veered right in his politics after troubles with his real estate company led him to complain of the “ridiculous liberal elite” and their intrusion into his personal and business affairs, according to his brother-in-law David Glosser and others who knew him. He complained that universities were all controlled by left-wing extremists, a view espoused by the Claremont Institute.

California revealed the political utility of white fear for the state’s Republican Party in the ‘90s of Miller’s youth, when non-Hispanic white people became a minority in the state, triggering a backlash with bipartisan attacks on bilingual education, affirmative action and more. In 1994, deeply unpopular Republican Governor Pete Wilson won reelection by blaming all of the state’s problems on a migrant “invasion.” Proposition 187, launched that year in Orange County by people fearing a “Third World” takeover, targeted social services for undocumented migrants, including public school for migrant children. (The prop was later found unconstitutional).

In his 1996 book The Coming White Minority, Dale Maharidge—a professor of journalism at Columbia University—predicted of California: “The depth of white fear is underestimated … these anxieties will blow east like a bad Pacific storm as whites are outnumbered in other parts of the country.”

The wind that blew the white fear east came from think tanks like the Claremont Institute, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and other groups funded by the Scaife Foundations that helped give white supremacist ideas a pseudo-intellectual air and an exciting cinematic veneer by casting them as the “light” side in a battle between light and dark forces. Located in Sherman Oaks,  the David Horowitz Freedom Center is led by David Horowitz, Miller’s lifelong mentor, who says liberals pose “an existential threat” to the country because of their allyship with Muslims and others. Both the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Claremont Institute co-sponsored an event this April to bring the Dutch politician and Islamophobe Geert Wilders to Chapman University and screen a film painting Muslims as a danger to civilization. Both think tanks deny the existence of systemic racism against dark-skinned people while at the same time arguing that multiculturalism is deadly to America. The Claremont Institute’s podcast cheekily debates the merits of eugenics, and features a clip from the band Imagine Dragons’ song “Monster”: “I’m taking a stand to escape what’s inside me: a monster, a monster…and it keeps getting stronger!”

Members of California’s far right seem to revel in their antihero status. When I visited the Claremont Institute last year, president Ryan Williams told me conservatives like him see human nature as fixed and flawed, unlike liberals who see it as “perfectible.” The policies they support reflect their pessimistic view of humankind. They see themselves as clear-eyed warriors in a dystopian drama, living out the white supremacist conspiracy theory that says brown and Black people are replacing whites and endangering civilization. This false notion of white genocide, or the “great replacement theory,” has motivated self-styled heroes to commit acts of white terrorism, such as the massacre of 23 people in El Paso, Texas, last summer.

California has also bred commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson, whose Hollywood-style apocalypse-mongering was noted with appreciation by the Claremont Institute: “[Republicans] would do well to follow Tucker Carlon’s lead. Night after night, in appropriately apocalyptic terms, Tucker explains the revolution,” the chairman of the Claremont Institute’s board, Thomas D. Klingenstein, told Orange County conservatives in August. Carlson has called himself a “libertarian right-winger,” which is how Miller identified in college.

In California, the myth of rugged, rigid, ruthless individualism that feeds right-wing libertarianism is trafficked like a drug alongside similarly addictive dystopian fantasies that inflate self-importance. Miller recently tried to justify the use of federal forces to crack down on antiracist protesters by telling Carlson on his show, “This is about the survival of this country and we will not back down.”

California conservatives like Miller and Tucker Carlson have mastered the art of conflating people of color and their allies with welfare-guzzling criminals: dog whistling, demonizing, and declaring doomsday in response to anything threatening the dominance of white men. The birther lie attacking Senator Harris is rooted in apocalyptic racism, as is Trump’s immigration agenda.

Miller’s immigration policies come from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigration think tank created by John Tanton, a white nationalist who believed in population control for non-white people and led successful efforts in California to mandate English as the official language. Tanton, who passed away in 2019, sought to coordinate attacks on affirmative action with Frederick R. Lynch, whose article “Immigration Nightmares,” was published by the Claremont Review of Books in 2003, arguing that California was turning into “Mexifornia.” Tanton also published an English translation of a novel about the destruction of the white world by subhuman brown refugees, The Camp of the Saints, which spoke to Miller and which he promoted through Breitbart in 2015.

It’s important to connect the dots between the White House and California’s long legacy of white supremacy to demonstrate that Trumpism is not an aberration but rather the culmination of long-fueled politics of hate. In 1991, when Miller was five years old in his home city of Santa Monica in 1991, hundreds of families with Hispanic surnames received a letter in their mailboxes that appeared to be from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District headquarters. It featured the district’s bulk-mail permit number and address labels. Inside was a typed, one-page hate screed. The author said Mexicans were making the community unsafe and using up welfare. It called Mexicans “brown animals” and read: “We’ll gas you like Hitler gassed the Jews.”

The screed denied the existence of racism among white people and accused Mexicans of being “the real racists.” It singled out Mexican American Santa Monica High School alumnus Oscar de la Torre, alleging that he had been elected student body president the previous year because he was Mexican. “Why should there be a double standard for these wild beasts?” the letter asked. It called for a boycott of Mexican celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo, and of the student group MEChA, the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán. The letter said Mexicans “infest our community with gays and lesbians.” It encouraged them to put on bulletproof vests and get ready for the gun battle.

De la Torre was 19 at the time, and his family received the screed under the letterhead of a “Samohi Assn. for the Advancement of Conservative White Americans” (Samohi is a nickname for Santa Monica High School). De la Torre called for an investigation of the hate crime. Police said they suspected someone in the school was responsible, but the crime remains unsolved three decades later. A public records request turned up a single police report. In an interview last year, de la Torre told me the lack of a resolution is indicative of how Santa Monica leaders felt, and feel, about racism. “Put it under the rug, let’s not talk about it,” he says.

In 2001, ten years after the letter was distributed, de la Torre was a counselor at Samohi and co-chaired a committee on equality. Stephen Miller, then a teenager, showed up to one of the first meetings. “Racism does not exist,” de la Torre says Miller told him. According to de la Torre, Miller also said the school was excusing black and Hispanic misbehavior by holding those students to a lower standard. Miller became a regular at the meetings, arguing against bilingual education, Spanish-language announcements, and multicultural activities such as Cinco de Mayo celebrations. He reportedly said the club for gay people was ruining the school.

It didn’t escape de la Torre that Miller’s rhetoric echoed that 1991 hate letter. Miller came to personify the nameless author who had haunted de la Torre for years.

“Stephen Miller did not invent that ideology,” he says. “He learned it from somewhere. And the person who wrote that letter also learned it. These feelings that divide our country, they exist, they can morph, they can grow.”

Jean Guerrero’s book, Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda, is on stands now.

Source: Commentary: The Claremont Institute and Trump’s Politics of White Fear

How white guilt and white atonement strips BIPOC of their agency

On the risks of stereotypes and labelling groups without recognizing the individual characteristics and perspectives of individuals:

In 2004, when I was three, my family moved from India to Vancouver. As a young, turban-wearing immigrant living within a white majority, I was the target of bullying throughout elementary school.

Most of the bullying happened on school bus rides, where I was relentlessly teased by a group of older white kids who saw my turban as a cosmetic oddity. Some of the boys used to jump up and slap the knot at the top of my turban (my “joora”), while the others laughed.

Given the racism and trauma I experienced, it would be understandable for me to adapt a Pavlovian response to white people—associating whiteness with privilege.

After the death of George Floyd rekindled attention on race relations across the globe, the notion of “white privilege” has dominated the mainstream discourse on race relations. The basic premise is that all white people carry an unearned privilege in society that has serious societal ramifications. But attributing white privilege to an entire group of people is ethically wrong. It strips human beings of their individualism, in favour of viewing them based on the amount of melanin in their skin, effectively painting each person from a particular ethnic lineage with one broad brush.

It is foolish to claim that negative stereotypes about Black people, Asians, Jews and other minority groups don’t exist. They do. But the solution to this problem isn’t to reciprocate stereotypes about white people. The solution is to diminish the degrading reach of racial bigotry. And this solution should not include the new-found notion of “white saviourism,” defined as white people having to atone for their whiteness in some way in order to help minorities, who are otherwise trapped in a system of white supremacy and institutionalized racism.

This perception also hurts minorities, stripping them of their agency and labelling them with the face of racial victimhood. Minorities are no longer the agents of their own destiny, but contingent on the white man to save and restore their humanity.

Recently, several videos of white protesters bowing ritualistically before Black people and atoning for their sin of being white have circulated on social media. The footage also shows white people washing the feet of Black activists, as well as white protesters raising their hands while cultishly chanting anti-white mantras.

This performative white guilt sends a strong message of powerlessness to minorities, and in turn a perverse sense of superiority to whites. Esteemed Black economist and Brown University professor Glenn Loury expressed this concern at a 2019 panel event focused on barriers to Black progress. When he was challenged with the notion that white people’s racist attitudes needed to be resolved before Black people could address disadvantageous circumstances , he remarked, “You just made white people, the ones who we say are the implacable, racist, indifferent, don’t-care oppressors, into the sole agents of your own delivery.”

I have personally experienced the reductive epistemology of white privilege. On multiple occasions, white friends have tried to educate me about how society favours white people and systematically oppresses people of colour like me.

Such a position is absurd, given a 2019 Statistics Canada study titled “Intergenerational education mobility and labour market outcomes: Variation among the second generation of immigrants in Canada,” which found that second-generation South Asians earn higher incomes, represent a higher percentage of workers in high-skill occupations and have higher rates of post-secondary education compared to whites. Chinese, Filipinos, Arabs, Japanese, Koreans and other minority groups in Canada find similar success. Whatever societal disadvantage the melanin in my skin has conferred upon people who look like me remains deeply futile.

The West has a long history of racial stereotyping and marginalizing certain ethnic groups. Throughout the 20th century, Indigenous people were viewed and depicted as “alcoholics,” “lazy,” “wild” and “thuggish.” These stereotypes perpetuated dehumanizing policies such as residential schools, which white-washed Indigenous culture. Other groups, such as eastern Europeans, Slavic immigrants and Jews, were also deemed inferior and suffered systemic racism.

In the U.S., Black men have been caricatured as “criminal and dangerous” because of disproportionate rates of violent crime in the ’70s and ’80s. Many of these toxic stereotypes persist today, but we recognize they are wrong. We must treat Black people, Indigenous people, Asians and Jews as individuals. Yet white people seem to be exempt from this logic, since they all have white privilege.

Sure, informing a white person that they are privileged doesn’t have the same discriminatory sting as telling an Indian man that he should go back to his own country. But these pernicious stereotypes exist on a spectrum of racial essentialism that divides people along trivial and immutable lines of race. This framework creates an “us vs. them” or “oppressed vs. oppressor” dynamic, which causes division rather than unity.

Perhaps ironically, both progressive anti-racists and white supremacists fail to see people who look like me as equal to whites. Both groups have radically different intentions and beliefs, but equally take us a step backwards when it comes to race relations. As a society we have collectively condemned the evils of racism and white supremacy (even though both still exist), but until we reject racial stereotypes across the board, our society will always be fragmented by race.

Source: How white guilt and white atonement strips BIPOC of their agency

Canadian military works to define ‘hateful conduct’ to help it detect and discipline extremists

Coming up with agreed definitions in a government context is harder than it appears given the range of potential situations beyond the more clear cut cases:

Canada’s military is still defining the term “hateful conduct” as it grapples with how to better detect and discipline white supremacists in its ranks.

In a recent wide-ranging interview with CBC News, military leaders said they have identified areas of improvement and are working toward change. They hope to announce details in the coming months.

“I do understand that sometimes from the outside we might look opaque, but that is due to privacy reasons that we can’t divulge specific information,” Brig.-Gen. Sylvain Menard, the chief of staff operations for military personnel, said at DND headquarters in Ottawa.

“I think the fact that we’re here today trying to demystify and explain what we’re doing is our attempt to say, ‘No, we are open and transparent.'”The military has been grappling with a prominent example of extremism in its ranks, following the high-profile arrest of Patrik Mathews, a former Manitoba-based reservist, as part of an FBI undercover operation into a violent white supremacist group called The Base.

Last month, a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Mathews, 27, and two U.S. men on firearms- and alien-related charges. His next court appearance there is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Mathews is also facing additional counts in Delaware. If convicted, he could face up to a maximum of 90 years in U.S. prison.

In court documents, prosecutors say Mathews videotaped himself advocating killing people, poisoning water supplies and derailing trains.

They also allege that Mathews and two other co-accused had been planning to violently disrupt a gun-rights rally in Richmond, Va., in hopes of inciting civil war.

The Canadian military began investigating Mathews in the  spring of 2019, after someone reported comments “incompatible with the Canadian Forces.” At the time, he was a former combat engineer with the 38 Canadian Brigade Group in Winnipeg, with training in explosives.The military fast-tracked his request to be released from the reserves. That officially came through on Aug. 30, 2019.

“It takes a while to conduct these investigations. We have to follow due process, every Canadian has the same right, where innocent until proven guilty, and at the time of release, we just didn’t have enough to do anything about Mr. Mathews,” Menard said.

Brig.-Gen. Sylvain Menard says the military has ‘zero tolerance’ for hateful conduct and describes the Canadian Armed Force’s code of conduct. 1:56

“I think it’s a success story that we were investigating the member, even though we did not have a chance to fully close the loop.”

Defining ‘hateful conduct’

Part of the problem is that the military is still defining and codifying the term “hateful conduct,” something that has to be done in conjunction with the military justice system, Menard said.

Until that’s done, it is hard to discipline members and keep good statistics, he added.

Right now, hateful conduct is lumped into a category of behaviour that doesn’t measure up to expectations. Every year, the military reviews about 200 cases. Of those, approximately half of those are released.

“We have to evolve just as Canadian society evolves,” said Brig.-Gen. Yvonne Thomson, who is responsible for military careers and discipline.

“Adjusting our language is part of the issue we’re trying to solve.”

Brig.-Gen. Yvonne Thomson describes the range of disciplinary and administrative options available for anyone accused or found to be engaged in racist or discriminatory behaviour. 3:01

But retired Col. Michel Drapeau said it’s taking too long.

“You’ve got to have the definition,” he said from his law office in Ottawa.

“Just as an aside, it took them almost a couple of years to define sexual harassment. They didn’t know what that was. …There is no excuse in 2020 for not knowing this. Get on with it.”

However, the military maintains that even without a formal definition of “hateful conduct,” it is taking action.

Retired Col. Michel Drapeau, now a lawyer in Ottawa, says the Canadian reserves are a ‘back door’ for extremists to get into the military, and they do it for weapons training. 1:35

Menard pointed to reports by the Military Police Criminal Intelligence Section on white supremacy in the armed forces. Between 2013 and 2018, there were 16 identified members of extreme hate groups in the Canadian military, and another 35 engaged in racist or hateful behaviour.

As of Dec. 5, 2019, no wrongdoing was found in eight of those cases. Fifteen members still with the CAF received interventions ranging from counselling to disciplinary measures. Three people were discharged because of hateful conduct. Seven investigations are still underway.

Salvaging careers

There is a range of disciplinary and administrative options for anyone accused or found to be engaged in racist or discriminatory behaviour, and Thomson maintains they are effective.

For example, if someone has a problem with alcohol abuse, they could be warned and offered counselling. If they are drunk and get into a fight, they could be charged under the Code of Military Discipline and then offered remediation.

In both cases, the military will give the member an opportunity to correct their behaviour.

“If we can salvage somebody’s career then we’ll take the steps that we think are necessary,” said Thomson, who is responsible for military careers and discipline.

“The punitive issue is the visible signal to the rest of the folks in the unit that this is counter to our behaviour and it needs to be stopped. The administrative measures can be sometimes more quiet and more — I don’t want to say behind closed doors — but they naturally will unfold and they can be more sensitive in nature.”

Administrative measures can ultimately lead to a member’s release from the military, she added.

‘Oh shit. Not again’

The Mathews case has also raised questions about whether the reserves are what Col. Drapeau characterizes as a “back door” for white supremacists to get into the Forces.

“If I were chief of [Canadian military] personnel my first comment, ‘Oh shit. Not again,'” Drapeau said.

“You are a prime target for people who want to come and join and become members of the armed forces. … They have to be more diligent and more alert to a vulnerability in there,” he said.

Tony McAleer agrees.

As he watched the arrests in the U.S., McAleer wasn’t surprised to hear Mathews and a co-accused had ties to their respective militaries.

“Due to the nature of the military and the wide range of people it attracts, I think it always is a problem, but I think as the organizations like The Base or Atomwaffen [Division] become more and more militant, the need for vigilance is heightened,” McAleer said recently from his home in Vancouver.

“You know there’s fine lines between patriotism and nationalism and ultra-nationalism. There’s overlap,” said the former skinhead and organizer for the White Aryan Resistance. He has since de-radicalized, co-founded a nonprofit organization called Life After Hate, and written a book.

Tony McAleer is a former white supremacist who joined the reserves for weapons training. He has some advice for how to identify extremists in the military. 1:37

McAleer knows what he’s talking about. He joined an airborne infantry reserve unit in the 1990s and encouraged other white supremacists to do the same.

“I first joined the reserves infantry for the weapons training. That was the attraction. …  I think the military has always had to guard itself against people joining for the wrong reasons,” McAleer said.

However, there are already steps to identifying recruits with extremist views for both the regular forces and the reserves, said Brig.-Gen. Liam McGarry, the commander responsible for recruiting.

They include an aptitude test, reference and conduct checks, security screenings, and a personal interview.

Recruiters look through social media and even tattoos. If someone has body art deemed to be part of a hateful-conduct organization, that would make them unsuitable, McGarry said.

“Having a level of vagueness or mystery to the whole process actually prevents everyone from ultimately being able to game or have a detailed plan to get through everything. The expectation should be anything that you have done … chances are it will come to light throughout the process,” he said.

Of the 45,000 applications for regular forces last year, 370 were rejected for a category of unsuitability, of which 28 fall under what could be considered hateful conduct. There are no similar statistics for the approximately 15,000 reserve applications every year.

McGarry maintained the Forces are becoming a much more diverse group every year, better reflecting Canadian society and creating a more inclusive atmosphere.

Getting outside help is suggested

In light of what’s become an embarrassing and ongoing problem, Drapeau and others are urging the CAF to get outside help in de-radicalizing members exhibiting hateful conduct.

In Quebec, the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, trains organizational leaders to prevent radicalization rather than just reacting to it.

“Even if it’s not a huge number of people that might be connected to violent extremism or who might get radicalized, just a few individuals can actually represent a strong threat because of the training that they have had in the military, and also just a few people can actually really destroy the reputation of the Canadian Forces by just being associated with an extremist group,” research manager Benjamin Ducol said.

Military leadership is acutely aware of that.

It’s why Menard has this message to any extremists currently in CAF ranks:

“You have no place in the military,” he says.

“We have zero tolerance for such behaviour for anything that is discriminatory in nature … and we will get you out of uniform if you don’t correct your behaviour.”

Source: Canadian military works to define ‘hateful conduct’ to help it detect and discipline extremists

White supremacist propaganda spreading, anti-bias group says [ADL]

The latest from ADL. Correlates with the Trump presidency and the license it provides:

Incidents of white supremacist propaganda distributed across the nation jumped by more than 120% between 2018 and last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, making 2019 the second straight year that the circulation of propaganda material has more than doubled.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism reported 2,713 cases of circulated propaganda by white supremacist groups, including fliers, posters and banners, compared with 1,214 cases in 2018. The printed propaganda distributed by white supremacist organizations includes material that directly spreads messages of discrimination against Jews, LGBTQ people and other minority communities — but also items with their prejudice obscured by a focus on gauzier pro-America imagery.

The sharp rise in cases of white supremacist propaganda distribution last year follows a jump of more than 180% between 2017, the first year that the Anti-Defamation League tracked material distribution, and 2018. While 2019 saw cases of propaganda circulated on college campuses nearly double, encompassing 433 separate campuses in all but seven states, researchers who compiled the data found that 90% of campuses only saw one or two rounds of distribution.

Oren Segal, director of the League’s Center on Extremism, pointed to the prominence of more subtly biased rhetoric in some of the white supremacist material, emphasizing “patriotism,” as a sign that the groups are attempting “to make their hate more palatable for a 2020 audience.”

By emphasizing language “about empowerment, without some of the blatant racism and hatred,” Segal said, white supremacists are employing “a tactic to try to get eyes onto their ideas in a way that’s cheap, and that brings it to a new generation of people who are learning how to even make sense out of these messages.”’

The propaganda incidents tracked for the Anti-Defamation League’s report, set for release on Wednesday, encompass 49 states and occurred most often in 10 states: California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington and Florida.

Last year’s soaring cases of distributed propaganda also came as the Anti-Defamation League found white supremacist groups holding 20% fewer events than in 2018, “preferring not to risk the exposure of pre-publicized events,” according to its report. That marks a shift from the notably visible public presence that white supremacist organizations mounted in 2017, culminating in that summer’s Charlottesville, Va., rally where a self-described white supremacist drove into a crowd of counterprotesters.

About two-thirds of the total propaganda incidents in the new report were traced back to a single white supremacist group, Patriot Front, which the Anti-Defamation League describes as “formed by disaffected members” of the white supremacist organization Vanguard America after the Charlottesville rally.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism as well as other biases, has tracked Patriot Front propaganda using messages such as “One nation against invasion” and “America First.” The report to be released Wednesday found that Patriot Front played a major role last year in boosting circulation of white supremacist propaganda on campuses through a push that targeted colleges in the fall.

Segal said that his group’s research can equip community leaders with education that helps them push back against white supremacist groups’ messaging efforts, including distribution aimed at students.

University administrators, Segal said, should speak out against white supremacist messaging drives, taking the opportunity “to demonstrate their values and to reject messages of hate that may be appearing on their campus.”

Several educational institutions where reports of white supremacist propaganda were reported in recent months did just that. After white supremacist material was reported on campus at Brigham Young University in November, the school tweeted that it “stands firmly against racism in any form and is committed to promoting a culture of safety, kindness, respect and love.”

The school went on to tweet a specific rejection of white supremacist sentiment as “sinful” by its owner, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, without naming the identity of the group behind the propaganda.

While some of the propaganda cataloged in the Anti-Defamation League’s report uses indirect messaging in service of a bigoted agenda, other groups’ activity is more openly threatening toward Jews and minority groups. The New Jersey European Heritage Association, a smaller white supremacist group founded in 2018, “contains numerous anti-Semitic tropes and refers to Jews as ‘destroyers’” in its most recent distributed flier, according to the report.

The Anti-Defamation League’s online monitoring of propaganda distribution is distinct from its tracking of white supremacist events and attacks, and that tracking does not include undistributed material such as graffiti, Segal explained.

Source: White supremacist propaganda spreading, anti-bias group says

White Terrorism Shows ‘Stunning’ Parallels to Islamic State’s Rise

Of note:

Many scholars of terrorism see worrying similarities between the rise of the Islamic State and that of white nationalist terrorism, seen most recently in the carnage in El Paso, Tex.

“The parallels are stunning,” said Will McCants, a prominent expert in the field.

And they are growing more notable with each new attack.

Experts say that the similarities are far from a coincidence. White nationalist terrorism is following a progression eerily similar to that of jihadism under the leadership of the Islamic State, in ways that do much to explain why the attacks have suddenly grown so frequent and deadly.

In both, there is the apocalyptic ideology that predicts — and promises to hasten — a civilizational conflict that will consume the world. There is theatrical, indiscriminate violence that will supposedly bring about this final battle, but often does little more than grant the killer a brief flash of empowerment and win attention for the cause.

There are self-starter recruits who, gathering in social media’s dark corners, drive their own radicalization. And for these recruits, the official ideology may serve simply as an outlet for existing tendencies toward hatred and violence.

Differences between white nationalists and the Islamic State remain vast. While Islamic State leaders leveraged their followers’ zeal into a short-lived government, the new white nationalism has no formal leadership at all.

“I think a lot of people working on online extremism saw this coming,” said J.M. Berger, author of the book “Extremism,” and a fellow with VOX-Pol, a group that studies online extremism, referring to the similarities between white nationalism and the Islamic State.

In retrospect, it is not hard to see why.

The world-shaking infamy of the Islamic State has made it a natural model even — perhaps especially — for extremists who see Muslims as enemies.

A set of global changes, particularly the rise of social media, has made it easy for any decentralized terrorist cause to drift toward ever-grander, and evermore nonsensical, violence.

“Structurally, it didn’t matter whether those extremists were jihadists or white nationalists,” Mr. Berger said.

White nationalism in all forms has been on the rise for some years. Its violent fringe was all but certain to rise as well.

The feedback loop of radicalization and violence, once triggered, can take on a terrible momentum all its own, with each attack boosting the online radicalization and doomsday ideology that, in turn, drive more attacks.

The lessons are concerning. It is nearly impossible to eradicate a movement animated by ideas and decentralized social networks. Nor is it easy to prevent attacks when the perpetrators’ ideology makes nearly any target as good as the next, and requires little more training or guidance than opening a web forum.

And global changes that played a role in allowing the rise of the Islamic State are only accelerating, Mr. Berger warned — changes like the proliferation of social networks.

“When you open up a vast new arena for communication, it’s a vector for contagion,” he said.

The nihilism that increasingly defines global terrorism first emerged in the sectarian caldron of American-occupied Iraq.

A washed-up criminal from Jordan, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, exploited the chaos brought by the American-led invasion to slaughter occupiers and Iraqi Muslims alike, circulating videos of his deeds.

Al Qaeda, for all its religious claims, had, like most terrorist groups, killed civilians in pursuit of worldly goals like an American withdrawal from the Middle East.

But Mr. Zarqawi seemed driven by sadism, a thirst for fame and an apocalyptic ideology that he is thought to have only vaguely grasped.

Al Qaeda objected, fearing he would alienate the Muslim world and distract from jihadism’s more concrete goals.

Mr. Zarqawi instead proved so popular among jihadist recruits that Al Qaeda let him fight under its name. After his death, his group re-emerged as the Islamic State.

His group’s unlikely rise hinted at a new approach to terrorism — and sheds light on why white nationalist terrorism is converging on similar beliefs and practices.

Most terrorists are not born wishing to kill. They have to be groomed. Where past terrorist groups had appealed to the political aspirations and hatreds of its recruits, Mr. Zarqawi’s found ways to activate a desire for bloodshed itself.

The American-led invasion of Iraq had seemed, for many Middle Easterners, to turn the world upside down. Mr. Zarqawi and later the Islamic State, instead of promising to turn it right side up, offered an explanation: The world was rushing toward an end-of-days battle between Muslims and infidels.

In that world, Mr. McCants wrote in 2015, “the apocalyptic recruiting pitch makes more sense.”

This gave the group justification for attacks that otherwise made little strategic sense, like killing dozens of fellow Muslims out shopping, which it said would help usher in the apocalypse foretold in ancient prophecy.

Because the attacks were easier to carry out, almost anyone could execute their own and feel like a true soldier in the glorious cause.

Jihadism retained its core political agenda. But the things that made the Islamic State’s form of terrorism so infectious also made it less strategically rational.

With an ideology that said anyone could kill for the movement and that killing was its own reward, much of the violence took on a momentum of its own.

That, some scholars say, is what appears to be happening now with the extreme wings of the white nationalist movement rising globally.

Seeing a Global Race War

The ideological tracts, recruiting pitches and radicalization tales of the Islamic State during its rise echo, almost word-for-word, those of the white nationalist terrorists of today.

For the latter, the world is said to be careening toward a global race war between whites and nonwhites.

“The Camp of the Saints,” a bizarre 1973 French novel that has since become an unofficial book of prophecy for many white nationalists, describes a concerted effort by nonwhite foreigners to overwhelm and subjugate Europeans, who fight back in a genocidal race war.

So-called manifestoes left by the terrorist attackers at Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Tex., have warned of this coming war too. They also say their attacks were intended to provoke more racial violence, hastening the fight’s arrival.

Radicalization requires little more than a community with like-minded beliefs, said Maura Conway, a terrorism scholar at Dublin City University. While white backlash to social and demographic change is nothing new, social media has allowed whites receptive to the most extreme version to find one another.

Mr. Berger, in his research, found that these deadly messages, which have had mixed success in traditional propaganda channels in all but the most dire historical moments, can spread like wildfire on social media.

He termed the message one of “temporal acceleration” — the promise that an adherent could speed up time toward some inevitable endpoint by committing violence. And the “apocalyptic narratives,” he found, exploit social media’s tendency to amplify whatever content is most extreme.

As with the Islamic State’s calls for mass murder, this worldview has resonated among young men, mostly loners, who might have previously expressed little ideological fervor or experienced much hardship. It offered them a way to belong and a cause to participate in.

And, much like the Islamic State had found, social media gave white extremists a venue on which to post videos of their exploits, where they would go viral, setting off the cycle again.

In 2015, Mr. Berger wrote that the Islamic State had been “the first group to employ these amplifying tactics on social media.” But, he added, “it will not be the last.”

ICYMI: Why is conservative politics such a natural home for white supremacists?: Neil Macdonald

This article by Neil Macdonald provoked considerable discussion on social media:

Interesting how the term “white nationalism” has somehow begun to supplant the more honest phrase “white supremacy,” both here and in the United States.

Everyone seems to be using it now. It will be an election campaign topic in our general election this fall, and the American one late next year.

And let’s be clear, it’s a euphemism. The word nationalism, to most people, has a virtuous whiff; historically, it’s been conflated with terms like patriotism and loyalty and solidarity with one’s civic tribe.

When the word is modified with a racial adjective, though, any distinction dissolves. A white nationalist stands with white people, advocating for white prerogatives and the protection of white governance.

A white nationalist would claim that flying the confederate flag on a state building is an expression of cultural history, rather than racial sentiment. A white nationalist would claim, as the television host Megyn Kelly once did on Fox News, that Jesus was white, and, by implication, God, too. (Jesus would have been a dark-skinned Sephardic Jew, not a blue-eyed, bland-faced fellow with wavy brown locks).

And before someone raises it, because people do, there is no comparison between white nationalism and assertions of solidarity, or even superiority, by minorities. They haven’t been in charge for centuries on this continent. White nationalism is about keeping power white. Yes, yes, there are minority groups represented among Justin Trudeau’s ministers, but they were all given jobs by a white guy.

Supremacy by another name

White nationalism is in fact white supremacy. It’s understandable that white supremacists would want to be called nationalists, but that doesn’t make them any less supremacist.

Which is why, presumably, conservative politicians here and in the U.S. are expressing such anger at having the label applied to them. They accuse their liberal opponents of planning attack ads and messaging portraying them as racists, or, at the very least, opportunists chasing racist votes.

They’re right about that. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers are making a concerted effort to bind Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to the so-called alt-right scene (another euphemism) in this country, and Democrats, newly in control of the House of Representatives, have convened hearings on the threat of white nationalism.

The fact that Republicans obsequiously excuse President Donald Trump’s boorish rantings, of course, makes it easy for Democrats.

He eagerly hits Twitter every time an act of extremism is committed by a Muslim or a brown-skinned immigrant, but takes comparatively incidental notice when hate crimes are carried out by white Christians or non-Muslims, something that’s been happening far more often in recent years.

When the man arrested for the mosque murders in Christchurch left a manifesto praising Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” Trump, who has said he doesn’t believe his rhetoric inspires violent white extremists, further declared that white extremism isn’t really a threat, despite ample evidence to the contrary, including the assessment of his own justice department.

This of course is also the president who said there were some “very fine people” in the white mob carrying torches in Charlottesville, Virginia a few years ago. He proudly calls himself a nationalist, without specifying what kind: “Use that word,” he tells his angry, overwhelmingly white base. “Use that word.”

‘Hate hoax’

Candace Owens, a conservative American activist cited by the New Zealand murderer as his greatest influence, told Congress recently that the whole “white nationalism” thing is nothing more than a Democrat re-election strategy. (She also once said Hitler wasn’t such a bad fellow, at least until he started trying to conquer the world).

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Trump fanboy, was suspicious when YouTube, which was live-streaming the hearing, took down hundreds of racist and anti-Semitic viewer comments, musing about whether it was all just more Democrat “hate hoax.”

Rep. Steve King, who has rhetorically asked what’s wrong with being a white nationalist or white supremacist, remains a proud Republican.

And even if extremists do applaud Trump, ask his supporters, what can he do about it?

Never do they ask, or attempt to answer, the obvious question: Why is it that white supremacists, from the neo-Nazis who threw celebratory salutes the night of his election, to former KKK leader David Duke, to the Charlottesville torchbearers, to the New Zealand murderer, or Cesar Sayoc, the Florida bodybuilder who sent explosives to Trump’s critics in 2018, gravitate right, rather than left? Why is conservative politics such a natural home for white supremacists?

Canadian conservatives might ask themselves the same question. Rather than whining about how unfair it is that Liberals are associating Andrew Scheer with Faith Goldy — an obvious white supremacist (a label she rejects) who proudly advocates for “European identity” and “white identity,” and who has contributed to a neo-Nazi podcast — they could instead reflect on why in heaven’s name he appeared on her online diatribe show two years ago.

Or why Scheer chose to address the “United We Roll” yellow-vest gang in Ottawa this year, where, yes, Faith Goldy also spoke to the crowd. (And former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier). Or why he would hire as his campaign manager a former director of the far-right shock talk site Rebel Media, where Faith Goldy worked until she became too much even for them. Rep. Steve King, incidentally, endorsed Goldy’s recent bid for mayor of Toronto. Somehow, she still lost.

Conservatives in Canada might also ponder why there have been so many racist and anti-gay bozo eruptions in Alberta’s United Conservative Party, rather than in, say, the governing NDP. Or why a small-c conservative senator’s racist posts remain online (yes, Lynn Beyak was expelled from the Conservative caucus for the posts, which were denounced by Scheer. But how does the party attract characters like her in the first place?)

Or why a conservative government in Quebec, a place where a giant illuminated cross overlooks the province’s biggest city (an expression of cultural history, of course), would be willing to suspend the constitution to pass a law clearly aimed at keeping religious Sikhs and Muslims out of the public service.

The answer is that somehow, over the decades that have passed since the ’60s, and as North American cities have become much less white, it’s become more okay in some circles to be a white supremacist.

Changing the label to white nationalist obscures nothing.

Abraham Lincoln, according to legend, used to ask his cabinet members how many legs a dog has if you consider a tail to be a leg. His answer: four. Because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

Source: Why is conservative politics such a natural home for white supremacists?: Neil Macdonald

Scheer denounces white supremacy after Conservative senator questions threat

An improvement:

Andrew Scheer condemned “anyone who promotes racist ideology” after a Conservative senator questioned whether white supremacy was a significant threat to Canadian communities.

Scheer told reporters Wednesday that he “100 per cent” denounces anyone who “promotes white nationalism, promotes any type of extremism.”

“I do believe it’s a threat in Canada because we have seen, tragically, people lose their lives because of people who subscribe to these views,” Scheer said.

“I understand that the senator has issued a clarification … And I absolutely do believe that these types of threats are important for governments of all levels to protect Canadians.”

Scheer was responding to a question about Quebec Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos, who suggested Tuesday that white supremacy is not a significant “threat to our way of life, to our communities, to our democracy.”

In a question to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland at the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Housakos asked Freeland to clarify her position that white supremacy is a significant risk to western democracies.

“With all due respect minister, I think that flies in the face of reality over the last two decades. I think over the last two decades western liberal democracies around the world would tell you that the biggest threats we’ve faced are extremist fundamentalism,” Housakos said.

“I can’t identify a single country in the world where governments are supporting white supremacist movements. I can’t identify governments around the world, democratic governments around the world, that are supporting that type of behaviour, certainly not in Canada.”

“I absolutely do think white supremacists and white supremacists movements are a very real, very grave threat to western liberal democracy. I think they are a grave and real threat here in Canada,” Freeland responded.

“The shooting in the Quebec City mosque is a tragic Canadian example of the same threat that we face here at home. So I absolutely believe we need to name that, we need to be aware of it, and we need to work hard to find ways to protect our societies and our people from it.”

In question period Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded Scheer denounce white supremacy, which the opposition leader had publicly done only hours before in a press conference.

But the exchange makes clear that white nationalism and far-right extremism — once a fringe issue in Canada’s political debate — will likely remain front and centre in the lead-up to the 2019 election. In March, Trudeau accused unnamed politicians of exploiting racism for political gain.

In a statement on Twitter Wednesday, Scheer shot back.

“Racism and white supremacy are threats in Canada and I condemn them unequivocally,” Scheer’s statement read.

“It is pathetic and disgusting that Liberals are inflaming these threats to divide Canadians and score cheap points.”

An aide for Housakos declined the Star’s request for an interview Wednesday afternoon, pointing to the senator’s comments on Twitter.

“No western, democratic politician condones extremism of any kind, including white supremacy,” he wrote Wednesday after Freeland released a video of their exchange.

“Extremism in all forms is a threat to our way of life, not just one (form) or the other.”

Source: Scheer denounces white supremacy after Conservative senator questions threat

Noah Rothman: Where is comparing the violent white supremacy that inspired the New Zealand murderer to radical Islam valuable, and where is it not?

Thoughtful and nuanced distinctions by Rothman:

The racist terrorist who took the lives of at least 49 Muslims in the attack on two New Zealand mosques last week wanted to start “a civil war that will eventually balkanize the US along political, cultural and, most importantly, racial lines.” The attacker wrote those words in a deranged white-nationalist manifesto, and he will surely be delighted by the exposure his ramblings are receiving.

For days, the press has pored over this despicable document. Experts have analyzed it, and influential figures have been questioned about it. Though it risks publicizing the semi-literate thoughts of a deluded racist with a messiah complex, some of this was done for good reasons. Most of it, however, was an effort to affix blame to people and institutions closer to us than the monster who executed them—in particular, one Donald Trump, whom the terrorist named as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” but a terrible executor of white nationalist policy. White House advisor Kellyanne Conway recommended that “people should read” the manifesto “in its entirety” because, in her view, it exonerates the president. This is, to put it mildly, bad advice. An artificial exegesis of a blinkered mass murderer’s incoherent meanderings will not clarify the nature of the threat he and his ideological allies pose. But nor should observers ignore the ideology that compelled this attacker to massacre Muslims in their houses of worship. To do so would contribute to the appearance, perhaps even the reality, that there is a double standard for combating terrorism.

Source: Where is comparing the violent white supremacy that inspired the New Zealand murderer to radical Islam valuable, and where is it not?