Can "White Nationalists" use the immigration issue to reach the mainstream?

That is one of the theses of the new documentary White Power USA: The Rise of Right-Wing Militias in America, by Rick Rowley and Jacquie Soohen, excerpted here:

I don’t expect any RaHoWa, of course. But, there are some relevant issues for debate:

(1) How much will this approach resonate with white Americans not previously openly committed to a WN worldview?

(2) Conversely, how much will it discredit the immigration-restriction movement?

(2)(a) How much should it discredit the immigration-restriction movement?

(3) Related: If you believe in immigration restriction for non-racist reasons – e.g., to protect the wages of working-class Americans from immigrant competition; or to protect America’s environment from overpopulation pressure – how should you respond to these racists? Welcome them as strange bedfellows, or shout “Get off my side!”?

Racism has always been a mainstream part of American politics. Segregationists were being elected to the US Senate into the 21st century. I don’t believe however, than white nationalism is a large factor in the anti-illegal immigration movement,

It works both ways. I’d say association with White Nationalist’s and the like do more damage to the anti-immigration movement then the anti-immigration movement helps White Nationalists. In CA, for example, pressing for anti-immigration legislation in the 90’s is usually blamed with destroying the GOP in that state, in part because the electorate saw it as racist (despite voting to approve the relevant proposition, no one will ever accuse the American electorate of being overly consistent).

I always kind of considered the most vocal anti-immigration people ( Minutemen / border protesters ) to be WNs implicitly, if not explicitly.

Incidentally, there was recently a great interview with Rich Benjamin about his accounts of visiting “whitopias”.

They’ll have to max out their cognitive dissonance in not wanting “those people” around, but still claiming that there is no more racism because Obama got elected.

No more than it already was. Populists like Pat Buchanan have only understood half of the problem (the war against non-wealthy Americans), when it’s really a war against all non-wealthy people. The U.S. would not need to limit the influx of immigrants if it worked to ensure that people around the world have adequate* living conditions.

*I can’t say “commensurate” because there are many poor Americans who are in “adequate”–much less good–situations.

Trying to stir up controversy, fear and uproar about right-wing racist militias is nothing new; the same thing was done in the early and mid 1990s. It’s a cheap, sensationalistic thing to report on; there is no “rise” of white nationalist militias; it’s a completely fringe movement, and the people involved in it are dirt poor, uneducated, and wield no power. But - ZOMGRACISM! It’s a surefire way to titillate the recreational-outrage loving, media-consuming public.

How is one country’s government supposed to do that?

From the same Democracy Now! story:

By funding food and clean water in poor countries, canceling debts countries can’t repay, enforcing UN resolutions in its dealings with allies, etc.

Though not bombing them into the ground would be a good start.

Not very much. Opposition to illegal immigration is based on whether or not the immigrant is here legally, not his or her ethnicity. Therefore changing from “you don’t belong here because you broke the law to come in” to “you don’t belong here because you are Hispanic/black/Jewish” is arguing from a different set of premises. The first is pretty self-evident; the second hardly at all.

Again, hardly at all (for reasonable people). We are not arguing from the same position. I have no objection to a Hispanic (or black, or Jewish) person who comes here legally, whereas I have considerable objections to a white guy who sneaked in across the border.

Not very much. Of course the other side is going to try to use guilt by association but it is like associating those who want to open the borders with La Raza or whoever it is. They just aren’t talking about the same things.

Ignore them as irrelevant. As Argent Towers points out, these are marginalized groups with no power to speak of.

Sure, Democracy Now! is going to try to play this up as if it were a big deal, but that is just jockeying to try to put the anti-illegal immigration side on the defensive. They simply assert that white militias are on the rise, but don’t give any hard data to back it up.

Business as usual, IOW.


Highly debatable.

E.g., I think it’s highly unlikely the Minutemen would exist, if the illegal-immigration pressure were coming from Canada instead of Mexico. There would be hostility, of course, for economic reasons (not for law-and-order reasons), but nothing on the scale we’ve been seeing in the past decade.

Hehe, CA is the classic example of a state being destroyed by poor immigration policy:

Your own post is not a cite.

Seriously, you’re worried about militia groups? Wasn’t this the big scare in 1996?

The excerpt from Christopher Hitchens’ book is, however.

What, you think they just wised up and disbanded? 'Fraid not.

And just what activities of substance have they actually been doing? Terrorizing minorities, or putting up poorly-designed websites?

Ah, and how convenient it is that Proposition 13 gutting school funding isn’t mentioned. Not to mention the general problems with keeping the state government funded; instead it talks about “the unfriendly business climate and confiscatory tax regime”.

It’s all due to those evil, evil immigrants and evil liberals.

Alarmism about militias is far more ridiculous than alarmism about illegal immigrants.

How many people in the US have been killed by militia members in the past year? And how many have been killed by people who are in this country illegally? (That includes people killed by illegal aliens driving drunk, as well as gang/drug related murders and other street crime.) I’m not a statistician but I suspect the latter number will be higher - unless there was some massacre carried out by militias in Montana or Michigan that I’m unaware of.

They’re not mutually exclusive, you know. When someone can’t center a JPG for shit and all their links are broken, that’s pretty terrifying.

Illegal immigrants are only characterized by the status of their entry into a country. They are not unusually prone to violence, despite what right-wing demagogues want you to believe. OTOH, militia groups (anti-govt, WN, whatever) are by definition more supportive of violence than the average person–else, why would they hoard guns and feel the need to create para-military unit?

:rolleyes: I have no doubt the number would also be higher if for “illegal aliens” you substituted “white people” or practically any other demographic group.

:rolleyes: Whatever, the point remains. This isn’t about demographics like “white people,” it’s about very specific groups of people: militia members, and illegal immigrants. There is a shitload of crime being committed by illegal immigrants. (Have you ever read about MS-13? Read about it.) This is, legitimately, something for people to worry about. Militia activity is trivial in comparison.