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Author Topic: 2019-04-02 Illinois: NZ, Donald Trump & the Rise of "White Power"

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Scholar Kathleen Belew on New Zealand, Donald Trump and the rise of "white power"

* Author of new book on "white power movement" says the recent outbreak of violence was a long-planned strategy

* Kathleen Belew is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Chicago

Chauncey Devega | Salon.com (US) | 2 April 2019

https://www.salon.com/2019/04/02/scholar-kathleen-belew-on-new-zealand-donald-trump-and-the-rise-of-white-power

Excerpt: Contrary to the "lone wolf" narrative about right-wing terrorism, the Christchurch massacre was the work of a global right-wing movement that exchanges information and resources, radicalizing and indoctrinating vulnerable white people in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. This "white power" movement is extremely dangerous: In addition to the recent events in New Zealand, there have been deadly attacks in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Norway and Sweden, among other places.

The overt white supremacy of the white power movement does not remain isolated to that subculture. This hate metastasizes and infects "mainstream" conservative political discourse, leaders and the general public. There are many such examples.

The extreme hostility to nonwhite immigrants espoused by the broader white power movement has been massaged and repackaged into the policy positions of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

On a near daily basis Fox News host Tucker Carlson summons talking points and narratives from white supremacist and other right-wing hate sites and spoon-feeds that poison to his eager audience. Derrick Black, a former white supremacist and the son of a Ku Klux Klan leader, told CNN last Saturday: "It’s really, really alarming that my family watches Tucker Carlson’s show once and then watches it on the replay because they feel that he is making the white nationalist talking points better than they have, and they’re trying to get some tips on how to advance it."

Should we see white supremacy as a cultural, social and political problem rather than just the pathology of the relatively small white power movement? What does the white power movement want, in practical terms, and what are its activists and foot soldiers willing to do to achieve their goals? Can we explain the New Zealand terror attacks as part of a decades-long plan by the white power movement in America and around the world? How did white hate groups pioneer the use of the early internet and social media to radicalize, recruit and coordinate the actions of their members?

In an effort to answer these questions I recently spoke with Kathleen Belew, an assistant professor of U.S. history at the University of Chicago. Her new book is "Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America."

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

. . . .

The New Zealand mosque attack is an example of a global crisis. What do we know about the international aspect of the white power movement?

In studying transnational movements, you want to think in terms of "both and." So on the one hand, we can trace inflows to the United States from other places. In the earlier period, the most visible examples might be the way that British Israelism came into the United States through Canada in the 1920s and 1930s. This became the "Christian Identity" movement. Skinhead culture came to the United States from Great Britain.

Groups in the United States are also sending material overseas. The Aryan Nation did mailings to different countries. "The Turner Diaries" shows up in bookstores as far away as South Africa. World Church of the Creator has a presence in Australia. If you're a white power activist in Australia you can access things on the internet, but you can also read reprinted American white power material like newspapers. You can send away for mail order sermons.

This movement sees violence as a step in an eventual global race war. It wants to start in the communities and countries that it thinks it can salvage from racial others. So this movement has, through this entire period, been focused on the United States, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Southern Africa and Europe as places that are still "white enough" to be saved through the kind of warfare that they are planning.



Kathleen Belew is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America and is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Chicago.
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