Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Noam Chomsky Has Officially Lost His Mind

Back in the day, I was a big fan of Noam Chomsky’s political writings. His books exposed and publicized the United State’s government’s support of every brutal third world dictator who claimed to be an anti-Communist. He did an admirable job of questioning whether these dictatorships were in fact any better than the Communist regimes the U.S. sought to contain. Chomsky’s worldview didn’t translate too well to a post-Cold War world. Still convinced that the American government is at its core essentially evil, he could not bring himself to believe that the U.S. interventions in Somalia and Kosovo could be anything other than PR efforts that only hurt those they were supposed to be helping. His book on the 9/11 attacks essentially concluded that America had brought them on itself. Chomsky’s anti-American mania finally reached its fevered crescendo when he recently traveled to Lebanon and met with leaders of the militant Islamic group Hezbollah. He urged the group to keep their arms as a “detterant” against Israli agression.

Even if one accepts Chomsky’s assertion that Israel is in fact a terrorist state that poses a grave threat to its Muslim neighbors, it appers obvious that he has failed to remember the old adage about two wrongs not making a right. Hezbollah has been named as a terrorist organization by almost all western nations. They seek to impose a theocratic Islamic regime throughout Leabannon. And they also hate Jews with a passion, having been implicated in the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina in 1994. Given that Chomsky is Jewish, his visit goes from merely offinsive to being a sign of true mental illness.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

For Ward Churchill, The Chickens Have Finally Come Home To Roost

Ward Churchill may finally lose his job at the University of Colorado, but not for the exact reasons you might think. Churchill, a revolutionary Communist and professor of ethnic studies, got himself into some hot water last year when he published an article which suggested that the 9/11 attacks were on some level justified, and refered to some of the victims as “little Eichmanns”. Seeing as Churchill is a tenured professor, the university couldn’t fire him just for making controversial statements. Instead, they commissioned a panel to look into his academic writings. The panel’s final report, released this week, concludes that Churchill has engaged in plagiarism on a pervasive and long-term basis. Churchill predictably claims that the panel’s accusations are groundless, and are being used as a pretext to suspend or fire him. He may in fact be right. But he should have realized that tenured or not, a professor who makes such extremely offensive statements might have be risking his or her employment.

Friday, May 12, 2006

For The National Socialist Movement, It’s Springtime For Hitler

For a brief period, the neo-Nazis almost made themselves look respectable. From the mid 90’s up to 2002, the undisputed leader of America’s National Socialists was William Pierce, author of the infamous Turner Diaries and one of the very few white supremacists out there who seemed to possess a genuinely above-average intelligence. Under Pierce’s leadership, the National Alliance (NA) became a professional, disciplined organization with an annual operating budget of over a million dollars and a total membership of about 1,500. Eschewing brownshirts in favor of suits and ties, Pierce and his organization put a friendly face on Nazi ideology, and seemed to be on the verge of creating an organization capable of recruiting members from outside the white supremacist subculture. Then it all went to sh*t. Pierce died in 2002 without naming a successor. The National Alliance split into three factions: White Revolution, National Vanguard, and what was left of the old NA. None of these groups can currently claim more than 300 members, and show few signs of future vitality.

The group that has stepped up to take the mantel of largest neo-Nazi group in the U.S. is the National Socialist Movement (NSM). While William Pierce preferred to present a professional image in the hopes of spreading his message of Aryan destiny, the NSM looks back to the example of George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party in the 1950’s and 60’s. Like Rockwell’s group, the NSM enjoying using shock tactics to gain publicity (and hopefully recruits). Parading around in Nazi uniforms while chanting racist slurs is a sure -fire way to attract media attention, and the NSM plays this theatrical role to the hilt. The most dramatic example of their ability to attract media coverage was in October of 2005, when a planned NSM march in Toledo, Ohio turned into a full-scale riot, with local gangbangers burning and looting businesses and attacking police officers.

As might be expected, these in-your-face sort of tactics have attracted some rather unstable individuals to the group. Most notable among them is Bill White, who acts as the NSM’s media liaison. White has for years run the site, on which he posts all of the unsubstantiated gutter gossip about the white power scene he can find. (One amusing recent post sought to publicize an alleged study that proved that white men in fact have on average larger penises than black men. Draw your own conclusions.) Many of these rumors likely originate from White himself. Another mentally challenged NSM member of note of Hal Turner, a former NA member who now hosts an internet radio show. His broadcasts feature some of the most violent and bizarre opinions to be found in the white power subculture (and that is truly an accomplishment).

Many of the old NA people take a rather dim view of these boisterous upstarts. One article posted on the National Vanguard site refered to them as “Nazi Wannabes”. These more professional neo-Nazis likely understand that as long as the NSM remains the foremost purveyors of Hitler’s teachings in the U.S., National Socialism is likely to remain an ideology associated with Jerry Springer-style sideshows rather than a serious set of beliefs worthy of consideration.

Readers wanting a more detailed examination of the NSM might want to check out this article on the group recently published by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Leftists in Grand Rapids “Out” Local Nazi

There’s one thing about extremist political groups in the US that I’ve never been able to figure out. Considering how increasingly right wing this country has become, why is it that extreme leftists are for the most part tolerated, but extreme right-wingers are subjected to all sorts of harassment when they appear in public? Rallies held by socialist and anarchist groups are for the most part tolerated by the general public. But when the neo-Nazis hold a march, all hell breaks loose. And look at what recently went down in Michigan. A bunch of lefties discovered the address of a local Nazi activist. They proceeded to hold an impromptu protest in front of his house, holding up a banner reading “Nazis Not Welcome”. Some of them banged on his front door and demanded that he come out. They also passed out flyers to his neighbors informing then of the man’s political affiliations. Not surprisingly, the subject of the protest remained inside his home with a gun in his hand until the police showed up and ran off the leftists. Some of those same leftists later took part in beating up some white power people at a neo-Nazi rally held in Lansing, Michigan a few days later.

Can you imagine what would happen if a bunch of Nazis showed up at some anarchist crash pad and threatened the people inside? I’m sure arrests would have been made. And if some fascists went to a peaceful socialist rally and beat the crap out of some of the attendees? We’d still be hearing about in the media. In many ways, the white supremacists are the last true bad guys in out country, the ones no one sticks up for. And admittedly, they are a bunch of creepy, potentially violent individuals. But I would argue that when it comes to completely mindless violence, the anarchists have the Nazis beat at this point. And the fact that such tactics can effectively silence any political group in the US, no matter how repugnant, does not speak well for our first amendment rights as a nation.