Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Minutemen & Neo-Nazis: Continuum Of Hate


Excerts from ISR Issue # 50 Nov-Dec '06: By, Josh Gryniewicz

" In Texas, two men brutalize and sexually assault a Hispanic teenager, dousing him with bleach and stubbing out cigarettes on his skin. In Tennessee, a former Klansman and corrections officer is arrested with 5 pipe bombs intended to blow up a bus of Mexican workers, "They are over here illegally and nothing gets done to them," he argued. On the border, at the notorious Ranch Rescue-a group instrumental in establishing the Minutemen co-founder Chris Simcox's first group, the Civil Homeland Defense-two undocumented El Salvadorian immigrants are illegally detained at gun point, where, according to their testimony, they are pistol-whipped and harassed by trained attack dogs.
According to a recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, these are just a few examples of the more than 2,500 hate crimes against Latinos documented by the FBI since 2000; violence that has been spawned by a bipartisan-endorsed, media-driven climate of hate, bankrolled by right-wing forces.
Two contrasting currents are coursing through the country in the wake of the mega-marches last spring, polarizing the immigration debate and forcing the issue into mainstream American discourse. One embodies a million-strong, immigrant-led, grassroots mobilized civil rights movement, recently formed into a National Alliance for Immigrant Rights, which coordinated Labor Day actions throughout the country. The other is marked by a anti-immirant hysteria incessantly perpetuated by the political establishment and mass media alike-which has galvanized the Right-wing contributing to a dramatic increase in hate groups and the savage crimes they perpetuate.
Since 2000, this hysteria has given rise to far-Right hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi organizations, increasing by 33% from 602 to 803. Festering like an open wound, white supremacist, skinhead and Nazi rallies are springing up throughout the country, using anti-immigrant rhetoric as their wedge issue. The Minuteman Project has spawned sixty spin off groups, drawing leadership directly from the extremist ranks of the Patriot militias that had collapsed after the Oklahoma City bombing, while continuing to increase their membership. The Minutemen and their defenders claim that linking them to Nazi hate groups is "guilt by association". As co-founder Jim Gilchrist put it, "We are not racists. We don't endorse racism, and we're not a hate group." The reality, obscured by a complicit media, is that the Minutemen--advocates of gun-toting vigilantism--have attracted to their banner a range of far-Right fanatics, including those who openly advocate for the assassination, lynching, and murder of Blacks, Latinos, and other minorities."

" Not even Gilchrist's 2005 congressional bid encouraged him to part ways with openly fascist groups. A number of his campaign volunteers were from skinhead and white nationalist organizations, working the phone banks & computers while distributing neo-Nazi propaganda. Cliff May, a former campaign volunteer, stated: "Gilchrist has assured the media several times he had a zero-tolerance policy toward white supremacists.But from what I saw from the inside, it was more like, 'Don't ask, don't tell."
Since the Mintuemen Project's coming out party in April 2005, when they first emulated the 1977 Ku Klux Klan Border Watch for a month-long "patrol" of the Arizona-Mexico border, it's ties to open white supremacists have been well-documented. At least six members of the National Alliance who openly recruited for the "border patrol"--and one from the Aryan Nation, were among the early all-white recruits."

" Johnny and Michael, two members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, strapped with semi-automatic pistols and standing alongside Gilchrist, were more to the point: " We're in a race war, not a peace march." Michael elaborated on his own immigration policy: "You get up there with a rifle and start shooting four or five a week, the other four or five thousand behind them are going to think twice about crossing that line." Such savage sentiment was shared even by those who were not organized racists, "It should be legal to kill illegals," another volunteer outfitted with a revolver specially chambered to fire shotgun shells expressed, " Just shoot 'em on sight."
These truths about the nature of the Minutemen have been omitted from media coverage. A recent American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report that surveyed 581 articles and editorials about the vigilantes found "six areas of consistent misperception and innaccuracy", including "the extremist and xenophobib motivations" of the group; an underreporting of participation and promotion of the Minutemen Project from the white supremacist community"; and an almost complete omission of the "violence and illegal activity" perpetrated by the Minutemen and other vigilante groups."

"In fact, SOS had confederate flags, swastikas, and Hitler-era "seig-heil" salutes on display at a July 2005, demonstration at a day laborer center in Laguna Beach, CA. The groups leader, Joe Turner, justified lamely: "Just because one believes in white separatism, that does not make them a racist". In a chat room for the white supremacist Web site Stormfront, the story was painted somewhat differenly, as one online contributor wrote, groups like SOS are a "Trojan horse" for hardcore racists to enter more legitimated, "mainstream" anti-immigrant politics. "This is a movement every WN (white nationalist) should support and be active in." Underscoring this point, the sight has jumped to 52,000 users since 2005, even garnishing an uncritical nod from a FOX news affiliate."

"A number of other human rights groups have noted the parallels between the new Minutemen and militias as well. The Center for New Communities Building Democracy Initiative, an anti-nativist watchdog group, points out "The Minutemen of today and the militias of a decade ago have many commonalities ideologically. Despite all their 'law-and-order' rhetoric, they both rely on illegal paramilitary vigilantism and intimidation to push public policy.
Historically, this is the role vigilante bands have always fulfilled. Their violent rhetoric often accompanied by extreme action serves the system in an effort to terrorize those with the confidence to fight back, while attempting to push the mainstream argument further to the right."

For the entire article, which is amazing & well-written, visit the above link to ISR.