Black parliamentarians say protest convoy is a venue for ‘white supremacists’


A group representing Black MPs and senators is calling the protest convoy that’s been encamped for a week around Parliament Hill a venue for “white supremacists” and other extremists.

“The ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest became an opportunity for white supremacists and others with extreme and disturbing views to parade their odious views in public,” the Black parliamentary caucus said in a news release Thursday.

“This is unacceptable. These displays of hatred and violence offend Canadians and have no place in our country.”

Source: Black parliamentarians say protest convoy is a venue for ‘white supremacists’

Building back better includes taking action against hatred

The how is the difficult part:

“Don’t read the comments . . . Don’t feed the trolls.” There’s a certain caricature of people who write nasty, hateful comments online. This election campaign, it seemed as if the people who express hate in comments sections and on social media decided to show up in real life, armed with nasty signs and throwing rocks at the incumbent prime minister. Many of these protesters were supporters of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).

Hate crimes are on the rise in Canada, including an increase in anti-Muslim hate arising from the policies and rhetoric of the post-9/11 world. We know hate crimes are the highest they’ve been since Statistics Canada started tracking them in 2009, that they are under-reported, and that only one per cent of reported hate crimes are investigated by police.

Some of this can be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic — for instance, a dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate crimes motivated by the virus’s origins in China. Researchers have also documented connections between the anti-vaxx movement and far-right groups. “The racist right that we monitor and the COVID conspiracy movement are inseparable from each other at this point,” Evan Balgord, the executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, told the Canadian Press.

We know there is a problem. I want to talk about what we can do about it. Here are policy solutions that we should take seriously in this new climate of hate and far-right extremist activity.

Scrutinize and go after far-right and white supremacist movements with the same vigour as other terrorist groups

When I was an undergraduate student in the 2010s, it was normal for officers from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to infiltrate Muslim Student Associations as part of anti-terrorism efforts by the Canadian government. Some students even had CSIS officers come knocking on their doors. These activities were done in the name of “community outreach,” presumably to groups thought to be potential breeding grounds for terrorism.

Over the past two decades, Canada has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on anti-terrorism efforts through activities such as counter-terrorism capacity building, research funding and augmenting agencies such as CSIS and the Canada Border Services Agency, Stephanie Carvin, associate professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, said in an interview.

So now that we know the demographics, whereabouts and identities of violent far-right extremists, where is the same level of policy action and government spending?

We need to dedicate adequate funding and personnel to root out violent extremism in far-right and white supremacist extremist groups. The federal government has acknowledged the threat of white supremacy and radicalization in Canada, and has funded research into far-right extremism and listed far-right and white supremacist groups as terrorist entities. But I want to see the same level of funding, urgency and legislation devoted to combatting white supremacist and far-right movements as we did other efforts to counter violent extremism. We urgently need governments to take action against hate — both harmful online activities and the violent hate crimes that have seen an uptick in recent years. The National Council of Canadian Muslims published a robust list of recommended legislation this summer, which provides clear direction for federal, provincial and municipal governments to better legislate against hate.

As part of pandemic recovery, find ways for people to connect with each other again

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unfortunately, it’s hard to build political will to implement preventative policy solutions because the fruits of those investments often come many years later — when the government of the day is no longer in office.

We are emerging out of (and, strangely, simultaneously re-entering) a prolonged period of isolation and frustration. There are decades of research that show these conditions breed radicalization and extremist views. “Isolation exacerbates already existing grievances, leaving individuals vulnerable to extremism,” argued a May 2021 piece in openDemocracy. The Canadian government’s own 2018 National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence (which focuses on groups such as groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda but also references far-right extremism) acknowledged that a “desire for empowerment, belonging, [and] purpose” can help radicalize individuals.

There are policy implications for the isolation, frustration and anger we have all experienced over the last year and a half, and we see it in the increased polarization in our society. I want to see government fund programs that have people meaningfully engage with those they don’t agree with — Stanford University’s America in One Room project is a great example — as well as grassroots organizations that provide opportunities for individuals to connect with community. While Heritage Canada has funded anti-hate and anti-racism programs, these programs should be expanded in scope and funding as we emerge from this pandemic, especially given the tripling of popular support for the PPC in just two years.

It has only been a few months since four members of the Afzaal family were fatally run down by a truck in broad daylight in London, Ont. I wonder about the journey taken by the man accused of their murder. What happened to him in the years and months before this violent, Islamophobic crime? How many others are going through the same journey he did, and are on the cusp of expressing their hatred through violent means?

If we don’t take action fast enough, we will find out the hard way.


Sears: Canadian Muslims’ anguished demand: how many more times?

Reads as overly “triumphant” given that the solutions are neither simple nor easy. But yes, the political presence of all major political leaders, the regrets of Conservatives regarding “barbaric cultural practices” are significant signals of changing social norms (even if not much evidence in right-wing media):

What a difference a year makes.

It seems unlikely that the massive nationwide reaction to the murder of a Muslim family in London, Ont. a week ago tonight would have been as deep and all-embracing before the death of George Floyd. His death, and the global revulsion to it, forced new lessons on all of us about the depths and costs of systemic racism.

This week, impressively, the majority of those demanding change were not Muslim. Also remarkable was the sight of every political leader from every level of government at the London vigil. They all underlined that there is simply no political space anymore for even dog-whistled racist tropes in our politics. Stephen Harper was the last politician to suffer for his 2015 campaign’s sleazy racist whispers. Premier Kenney, who blamed South Asians’ cultural practices for the spread of COVID in their communities, seems likely to be the next.

A European friend reminded me recently that we should be proud that we are the only nation in the developed world where there is zero traction for a racist or anti-immigrant political party. It is a feature of our politics that we should celebrate. We saw it again this week.

American politicians’ declarations of their nation’s “exceptionalism” cause many Canadians to twitch. Barack Obama’s bizarrely ignorant claim that his victory could only have taken place in one country made many of us shout “not true!” at our screens. So, it is with some trepidation I suggest that there are few places in the world where an entire nation will leap immediately to the defence of a wounded Muslim community and demand action from all their politicians.

What we cannot pat our collective back for, however, is success in fighting the visible rise in calls for violence from white supremacists. Incited from the depths of the social media swamp, we can no longer deny the cancerous growth of racial hatred. We find it in members of our military and police services, in too many hospital and LTC workers and on too many city streets. We cannot excuse our political leaders for their continuing incompetence and failure to take even the most basic steps to block racist attacks.

As one sign at the London vigil demanded, “How Many More Times?” Neither the prime minister nor Premier Ford embraced the call for an emergency national summit to create an action agenda, despite their powerful rhetorical performances that night. Nothing effective was done after the mosque murders in Quebec City. So far, the political response to the Afzaal family’s murder has been promises to write another cheque. A more severe application of criminal justice is not the answer. Harsh punishment following the next attack will do nothing for the dead victims.

The fundamentals to rolling back racism are well known. They start with frequent public acknowledgment of our reality by leaders in every institution. Delivering stories of the power of communities devoted to inclusion and diversity, beginning at the elementary school level. Heavy consequences for social media platforms that grant safe harbours to this poison on their sites. (Removing hate speech after an attack is not good enough, Facebook.) Every one of us confronting the slurs we see and hear too often. And yes, using the law to hammer the attackers.

Source: Canadian Muslims’ anguished demand: how many more times?

Tucker Carlson and White Replacement: This racist theory is rooted in white supremacist panic.

Good commentary by Charles Blow:

On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson caused an uproar by promoting the racist, anti-Semitic, patriarchal and conspiratorial “white replacement theory.” Also known as the “great replacement theory,” it stands on the premise that nonwhite immigrants are being imported (sometimes the Jewish community is accused of orchestrating this) to replace white people and white voters. The theory is also an inherent chastisement of white women for having a lower birthrate than nonwhite women.

As Carlson put it:

“I know that the left and all the gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the third world. But, they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

Carlson continued, “Every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.”

The whole statement is problematic. First, what is the third world? This label originated as a way to categorize countries that didn’t align with Western countries or the former Soviet bloc. It’s now often used to describe poor countries, or developing countries, and by extension, mostly nonwhite majority countries.

When Carlson worries about immigrants from the third world, he is talking about Hispanic, Asian and Black people who he worries will outnumber “current” voters. Current voters, in this formulation, are the white people who make up the majority of the American electorate.

Second, and revealingly, he is admitting that Republicans do not and will not appeal to new citizens who are immigrants.

But although white replacement theory is a conspiracy theory, the fact that the percentage of voters who are white in America is shrinking as a percentage of all voters is not. Neither is the fact that white supremacists are panicked about this.

White supremacists in this country have long worried about being replaced by people, specifically voters, who are not white. In the post-Civil War era, before the current immigrant wave from predominantly nonwhite countries, most of that anxiety in America centered on Black people.

Judge Solomon Calhoon of Mississippi wrote in 1890 of the two decades of Black suffrage following the Civil War, “Negro suffrage is an evil.”

Calhoon worried that white voters had been replaced, or outnumbered, by Black ones, writing: “Shall the ballot remain as now adjusted, the whole country in the meantime taking the chances of the rapid increase of the blacks, and leaving, in the meantime, the whites as they now are in those localities where they are outnumbered?”

Calhoon would go on to become the president of the state’s constitutional convention that year, a convention called with the explicit intention of codifying white supremacy and suppressing the Black vote. States across the South would follow the Mississippi example, calling constitutional conventions of their own, until Jim Crow was the law of the South.

The combination of Jim Crow voter suppression laws and the migration of millions of Black people out of the South during the Great Migration diluted the Black vote, distributing it across more states, and virtually guaranteed that white voters would not be outnumbered by Black ones in any state. The fear of “Black domination” dissipated.

Indeed, as extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was being debated in 1969, The New York Times made note of the fact that Attorney General John Mitchell, a proponent of a competing bill, was well aware that even if all the unregistered Black people in the South were registered, their voting power still couldn’t overcome the “present white conservative tide” in the South. As The Times added, “In fact, Mr. Mitchell is known to believe that Negro registration benefits the Republicans because it drives the Southern whites out of the Democratic Party.”

A reporter at the time asked an aide of a Republican representative, “What has happened to the party of Lincoln?” The aide responded, “It has put on a Confederate uniform.”

But now, in addition to Black voters voting overwhelmingly Democratic, there is a wave of nonwhite immigrants who also lean Democratic. And tremendous energy is being exerted not only by white supremacists in the general population, but also Republican office holders, to attack immigrants, curtail immigration, disenfranchise Black and brown voters and assail abortion rights.

One of the surest ways of preventing a Black person from voting is to prevent them from living. As The Times reported in 1970, Leander Perez, a man who had been a judge and prosecutor and “led the last stand against integration” in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, once famously linked Black birth control to racial dominance, stating: “The best way to hate a [expletive] is to hate him before he’s born.”

I would even argue that the bizarre obsession with trans people is also rooted in part in white anxiety over reproduction.

The architects of whiteness in America drew the definition so narrowly that it rendered it fragile, unsustainable, and in constant need of defense. Replacement of the white majority in this country by a more multiracial, multicultural majority is inevitable. So is white supremacist panic over it.


Paradkar: Why calls to label white supremacists terrorists could backfire on their targets instead

Interesting discussion. Prefer white supremacists as more specific:

Any incident of mass violence throws up certain inevitable tensions in newsrooms. What to label the perpetrator? 

Until not so long ago, the news media uncritically ran with the labels that came from politicians who deferred to security agencies who in turn had a vested interest in the social narrative around the incident. This was why certain events were given certain designations and in short order began to be exclusively associated with certain identities.

Terrorist: Muslim, foreigners. Think al-Qaida or Islamic State types, but any visible Muslim could be perceived as being sympathetic to them.

Homegrown terrorist: Muslims, citizens of the West. (How were they radicalized despite growing up amid all this innocence?)

Gangs: Consisting of Black thugs, involved with drugs, guns.

Cartels: Latin Americans, narcotics.

White supremacists: Yahoos, poor, uneducated. And, during the reign of Donald Trump: Trumpists.

Notice the sleight of hand in that turn to elitism? How smoothly those terms take identity out of the picture and offer excuses instead.

It is no wonder then that people on the receiving end of unfair labels rebelled. Was that van driver a white terrorist? Was the mass shooting an act of white terrorism?

It’s an argument that has been renewed with vigour in the wake of white supremacists storming the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday in defiance of an election that kicked out their leader, and led to the question: are white supremacists terrorists?

On Thursday, U.S. president-elect Joe Biden called them “domestic terrorists” and said tackling domestic terrorism would now be a priority. Across the northern border, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh launched a petition asking the prime minister to ban and designate the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. “(Wednesday) was an act of domestic terrorism,” Singh tweeted. “The Proud Boys helped execute it. Their founder is Canadian. They operate in Canada, right now. And, I am calling for them to be designated as a terrorist organization, immediately.”

On the surface this appears like fairness in motion. It might explain why the petition got so much support that the website crashed.

White supremacists terrorize people, but consider the terrorist label through another lens. Whom will it actually penalize?

Harsha Walia is executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. Voicing what she called “an unpopular opinion” on Twitter, she said: “Let me be clear that calling for the expansion (of terrorism designation) to white supremacists won’t work.” 

Walia, who has long been a community organizer supporting migrant communities and Indigenous land defenders, called laws around terrorism designation “fundamentally regressive,” and said, “I know anti-terror legal infrastructure is rotten by design.” 

That infrastructure includes tighter border controls in the name of national security. Traditionally, that has led to racial profiling at the borders, targeted at non-white people, especially those perceived as Muslims. Treating them as suspicious outsiders then leads to increased surveillance, which requires funding, which means increasing police budgets. 

The alienation legitimizes societal debates around criminalizing aspects of these “outsiders’” cultures, with policies such as banning articles of clothing (looking at you, Quebec) and legal tools such as security certificates to detain and deport foreigners and permanent residents the country deems a security threat. In a violation of the basic principles of justice, the government can deem someone suspicious based on secret evidence that even the accused cannot access. Detainees in Canada have been stuck in legal limbo for years.

As we saw from the blatant police inaction against political rioters Wednesday, our security apparatus is simply not equipped to racially profile the “yahoos.” Not when those yahoos included off-duty police officers and members of the military who flashed their badges and ID cards in an attempt to gain entry. Canadian Armed Forces and police forces already count among their members those with active ties to neo-Nazi and far-right groups. 

Even if our security agencies were equipped to do so, even if they were fine impartial defenders of public security who could identify domestic terrorists by sight, putting the shoe on the other foot is not the solution. We can’t claim to seek a world of dignified equality and actively seek to expand oppressive policies that will surely boomerang.

The “global war on terror and its ongoing aftermath must be dismantled, not bolstered,” Walia said.

Calling white supremacists terrorists and inviting stronger anti-terrorism measures will also likely criminalize legitimate protesters by turning them even more easily into peace disturbers and security threats.

“On the contrary, if we call them white supremacists, naming their movement as what it is, it demands a solution specific to that problem,” tweeted Lea Kayali, a digital communications manager at the American Civil Liberties Union. “Truth-telling. Reparations. Facing our history as a nation founded on white supremacy and dismantling it bit by bit.”


Paradkar: The tens of thousands of white people who rioted at the U.S. Capitol were reclaiming white supremacy

Pretty evident from watching the mob yesterday, and the double standard of relative police inaction compared to the BLM Washington protest:

Let it be remembered that it was white people who were allowed to breach the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress, white people who broke the building’s glass windows and rummaged senators’ desks, white people who laid violent siege to the seat of American democracy, white people whose attacks led to Vice-President Mike Pence being evacuated and white people’s violence that put the senate and house chambers on lockdown.

Tens of thousands of white people. Armed white people. Confederate flag-waving, QAnon poster-bearing white people. 

Mostly maskless rioters on a day when the U.S. hit 21 million cases of COVID-19..

They weren’t just white people engaging in democratic protest. “An insurrection,” president-elect Joe Biden called it. 

Whom are we kidding? What we witnessed today was an assertion of white power, a Trump-pumped MAGA crowd staking claim to power without care for facts or truth. 

Depraved racists recreating the death of George Floyd as crudely as you can imagine on the steps of a D.C. church that unfurled a Black Lives Matter banner. 

We witnessed the U.S. brought to the point of anarchy by white people whose beliefs are so mired in falsehood that even an advocacy group funded by a Koch brother — one of the villainous billionaires who funded climate change denial — disagreed with their attempts to delegitimize the election. 

This was a reclaiming of white supremacy because white people are the only group that can spin a fake grievance into violent chaos and not face bodily harm.

Imagine if they were a crowd of Black people. 

A crowd of visibly Muslim people.

Indigenous peoples. Peacefully occupying their own territories.

We don’t need to imagine any of it, really. 

We’ve witnessed that reality many times over. Racist chants, batons, violent arrests, water cannon, tear gas, bullets. A hail of bullets that mainstream narratives would find ways to justify. They were damaging private property! They burned a police station! Why can’t they be more civil?

Those protesters would be agitating for basic human rights. Right to their land. Right to not be murdered by police. Right to a clean planet. Wednesday’s rioters were fighting not for the right to live on equal terms but on unequal ones that would ensure they retained supremacy. 

This violent insurrection has been in the works for weeks. Law enforcement may or may not have been prepared for reasons known only to them. Some did their job. Others participated. Cops were recorded taking selfies with the white throngs. Cops were seen gently opening the barricades to allow the crowd to stream onto the Capitol grounds.

Where’s the need to burn down police stations when you’re all as one?

This is not a double standard. This is the standard. 

When mostly Black athletes knelt respectfully during the national anthem to protest the unequal treatment of Black people, Trump called them “sons of bitches,” saying they “disrespected the flag.”

What a lot of hot air and baloney. An image of a white intruder Wednesday sitting inside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with his boots up on her desk, made the rounds on social media. Trump hailed people like him and the rioters as “great patriots.”

When the rioters chanted “Whose capitol? Our capitol?” they were staking a claim to a fundamental truth in America: that the direction of violence has always flowed from white to Black and all the shades in between. 

White supremacy has been the continuous thread weaving through the history of democracy in the U.S. (and Canada) from its founding to the present. It’s ever present and its proponents — whether overt or sheathed in politeness — know it is theirs to evoke. 

And still there is that tone of surprise among media commentators. “This is not America” “This is not how we function” “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic.” That last statement from former president George W. Bush, the man who butchered Iraq in the name of democracy.

The violence of white innocence continually excels itself — and exhausts the rest of us. 



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