النظام الأميركيّ وريث العنصريّة الطبقيّة البيضاء

د. وفيق إبراهيم

مقتل مدني أعزل من الأقليّة السوداء على يد شرطيّ أبيض خنقه من دون سبب ملازم، ليس عملاً استثنائياً في التاريخ الأميركي.

فالأميركيّون البيض الذين غزوا القارة الأميركيّة بقسميها الشمالي والجنوبي، سفكوا دماء أكثر من سبعين مليوناً من الهنود الأحمر منذ منتصف القرن الثامن عشر وحتى مطلع القرن العشرين ولم يحرروهم من وضعية «العبد المملوك قانونياً لصاحبه الأبيض»، إلا في القرن العشرين، لكن الممارسات العنصرية تجاه الأقليات السوداء ظلت قائمة من خلال النظام الاميركي السياسي والاقتصادي الذي يعتمد على أكثرية كبيرة من البيض ونظام اجتماعي مغلق وأمن متشدّد واقتصاد لا يقلّ ضراوة عن الامن والسياسة.

أما ميزة هذا النظام فهو تسامحه «لغوياً» مع السود في مراحل ازدهاره الاقتصادي واتجاهه الى العنف والتشدد مع الأفريقيين الأميركيين في مراحل التراجع الاقتصادي.

لمزيد من الإنارة فإن النظام الاميركي هو الوريث الفعلي لنظام اوروبي غربي اجتاح آسيا وأفريقيا واوستراليا واميركا في القرنين الأخيرين واستعبد اهاليها من كل الاجناس والالوان ناهباً ثرواتها ومؤسساً لتعاملات ثقافية على اساس تفوق الرجل الابيض على ثلاثة أعراق أخرى هم السمر ومعظمهم من العرب والمسلمين وأبناء اميركا الجنوبية والأفارقة في قارتهم السوداء وأماكن إقاماتهم الجديدة وابناء العرق الأصفر في الصين واليابان وجنوب شرق آسيا.

هذه العنصرية بررت للغرب الأميركي والأوروبي الانتقال من التباينات الثقافية التاريخية الى اختلاف اقتصادي عميق له هرمية يقف على رأسها بشراسة أميركية أبيض ينتقل حذاء كاوبوي قاسٍ يرفس بمكوناته الحديدية الأقليات من الألوان الأخرى القابعة في أسفل الهرم ألا يمثل هذا الامر ذلك الشرطي الذي اوقع الاميركي الأسود المدني أرضاً وخنقه بركبته وحذائه وهو في وضعيّة الاستسلام الكامل.

كان يمكن لهذا الاغتيال أن يمر من دون اضطرابات كبيرة، لكنه اصطدم بمستويين كبيرين من التهديدات وأولها الشخصية العنصرية للرئيس الاميركي ترامب التي تواصل التحريض العنصري ضد الأعراق الثلاثة منذ بداية ولايتها الرئاسية وتحاول كسب الطبقات الفقيرة والوسطى من البيض بتحشيدها في وجه السود والمكسيكيين واللاتينيين والمسلمين، بأسلوب وقح يضخ مزيداً من العنصرية في نظام هو عنصري أصلاً. وترافق هذا الشحن مع التراجع الاقتصادي الذي تسببت به كورونا، وأصاب السود بشكل بنيوي يهددهم في حاضرهم ومستقبلهم والأغنياء البيض في هيمنتهم التاريخية الدائمة.

لذلك كان الصراع العنصري التاريخي الكامن في أوج استنفاره حيث خنق الشرطي المدني ذلك الاميركي الاسود من دون اي اسباب موجبة الا اللجوء الى قمع غير آمن يرتكز على الف عام غربي من قتل ابناء الالوان الثلاثة من السود والسمر والصفر بدم بارد وعنجهية التفوق الحضاري.

فتحرّكت الأقلية السوداء لتدافع عن نفسها تجاه نظام أمني قاتل واقتصادي يُصرّ على تثبيتها في اسفل السلم الاجتماعي، في محاولة للحدّ من مزيد من تدهورها في مرحلة ما بعد كورونا. اما من جهة ترامب، فتمكن من ضخ عيارات جديدة من العنصرية من خلال الاستعانة بالإنجيليين المسيحيين الذين يؤمنون بإعادة بناء هيكل سليمان مكان المسجد الأقصى في القدس المحتلة.

ما جلب الى دائرة مؤيديه اليهود الأميركيين وهم لمزيد من التفسير، شبكات الاعلام الاميركي القوي والمصارف التي تشكل رأس النظام الأميركي بقوته المالية وعنصريته.

وهذا استنفر ايضاً الأقليات السوداء واللاتينية والصفراء والمسلمين، فأصبح هناك مشهد اميركي مذعور من الكورونا يفصل بين اميركيين بيض من اعلى السلم الاجتماعي الى فئاته الفقيرة البيضاء مقابل فئة من البيض غير المتأثرة بالجموح العنصري الأبيض ومعها اللاتينيون من أصول أميركية جنوبية والسود والمسلمون والأقليات الصفراء وصولاً الى ابناء اوروبا الشرقية المحظور عليهم الارتقاء الى مواقع قيادية في كامل القطاعين العام والخاص الأميركي.

هل يدفع هذا الانقسام السياسي والاقتصادي والاجتماعي الى تصعيد الانتفاضة السوداء لتشمل الاقليات الاخرى في ثورة عارمة لمكافحة التمييز العنصري؟

لقد تنبّهت إدارة ترامب لهذا الاحتمال، فبدأت بدفع تعويضات شهرية تعادل قسماً من الأجر والراتب للاميركيين وطلبت 3000 مليار دولار من الكونغرس للاستمرار في توزيعها لثلاثة أشهر على الاقل.

بذلك تمتص انفجار الطبقات الفقيرة من السود، وايضاً من الفئات الفقيرة البيضاء الموالية لها، فهذه قد تتجه الى معارضة ترامب إذا انقطعت مواردها.

بما يعني ان ترامب مصمم على التجديد له في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة، بتحشيد عنصري أبيض من جهة وتوزيع اموال مساعدات على الجميع من جهة ثانية، وتحريض البيض على السود من جهة ثالثة وافتعال صراعات مع الصين وإيران وروسيا وسورية وفنزويلا واي منطقة أخرى للزوم تحشيد الأميركيين البيض من حوله، مركزاً بالتصويب على اول رئيس اميركي اسود اللون في تاريخ اميركا لمزيد من تحشيد البيض ومهاجمة منافسه الحزب الديموقراطي فيصفه بالحزب الراديكالي اليساري الاشتراكي والشيوعيين، ولولا الحياء لا يهمه الانتماء الى الحزب الشيوعي الصيني الأصفر.

يبدو ايضاً ان ترامب يعمل على تأجيج الصراع الأهلي الداخلي محتمياً بحقه الفدرالي باستخدام الجيش لقمع المتظاهرين عند الضرورة.

فيتوصل بذلك الى اختلاق اسباب عظمى تسمح بإرجاء الانتخابات كما حدث حين جرى إرجاء الانتخابات الاميركية في عهد روزفلت في الحرب العالمية الثانية.

هذا يعني ان مشكلة اميركا ليست في رئيس غير مثقف يؤمن بالمال فقط، بل في نظامها العنصري الذي يحتاج الى قوانين لإزالته من العرف الاجتماعي والسياسي والاقتصادي، باعتبار أن العنصرية ليست مكرّسة في القانون والدستور، إلا أن اتساع الانتفاضة الحالية لتجتاح معظم الولايات الاميركية تشير الى مرحلة أميركية دموية لن تسمح لترامب وامثاله بالعودة الى البيت الأبيض من جديد.

Rohingya Refugees on Boats in ‘Grave Immediate Risk’ – UN

Rohingya Refugees on Boats in ‘Grave Immediate Risk’ - UN

By Staff, Agencies

The UN refugee agency UNHCR voiced mounting concern on Thursday over a “grave immediate risk” to Rohingya refugees aboard boats in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, urging Southeast Asian nations not to close avenues to asylum.

Several fishing trawlers carrying hundreds of Rohingya, members of a Muslim minority from Myanmar, are bound for Bangladesh, after being turned back from Malaysia where they were seeking asylum, according to rights groups.

Last week, a boat carrying nearly 400 starving and emaciated Rohingya arrived on the southern coast of Bangladesh after drifting for weeks in the sea between Thailand and Malaysia, the Bangladesh coast guard said. Survivors said dozens had died.

Indrika Ratwatte, director of UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, said it was urging “greater coordination and responsibility-sharing by states” to avert a crisis.

“We are increasingly concerned by reports of failure to disembark vessels in distress and of the grave immediate risk this poses to the men, women and children on board,” he said, Reuters reported.

“In the context of the unprecedented current COVID-19 crisis, all states must manage their borders as they see fit. But such measures should not result in the closure of avenues to asylum, or of forcing people to return to situations of danger.”

Malaysian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Human rights groups fear restrictions to stem the spread of the virus across Southeast Asia could trigger a repeat of a 2015 crisis when a crackdown by Thailand prompted smugglers to abandon Rohingya at sea on crowded, rickety boats.

Bangladesh officials have said they will not accept new arrivals, but a coast guard official said a search was underway for the boats.

“If we cannot rescue these Rohingya people then who will take the responsibility for their lives?” another official said.

More than a million Rohingya live in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, the majority having been driven from homes in Myanmar after a 2017 military crackdown which the Myanmar army claimed was a response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.

Myanmar denies persecuting Rohingya and claims they are not an indigenous ethnic group but rather immigrants from South Asia, even though many Rohingya are able to trace their ancestry back centuries.

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

Source

April 22, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Paris has been a terrible place to live for over five years now – even tourists can tell.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015 (because they just had to draw pornographic pictures of Prophet Mohammad) kicked off a fear-based culture which has culminated in the world’s most over-policed coronavirus lockdown, with over 800,000 citations issued.

But it’s been an endless climb of “culminations” for Parisians:

Installing bulletproof glass around the Eiffel Tower (I used to walk under it going to work each day – impossible now). Did the Bataclan massacre have to result in a state of emergency two years long? Certainly President Emmanuel Macron did not have to legalise it into common police practice. From November 2018 through May 2019 huge swathes of Paris were already on lockdown as every Saturday was an undeclared National Poseur Day: pretending as if lower class protesters weren’t being provoked, gassed, beaten, water cannoned, fined, jailed, crippled and even killed. The marches continued through the failed, record-long General Strike, which collapsed in January.

Trust me when I say that the non-stop police sirens during the two-day manhunt of the Kouachi brothers after the Charlie Hebdo shootings never really ended. In the poor northern area of Paris where I live the sirens became constant – for years everyone complains of “cowboy” police who have been over-empowered, but we have no idea how they could be or if they will ever be rolled back.

And during the Great Lockdown, by everyone’s account, this has gotten even worse… but at least now the rich areas are finally getting a taste of la justice à le cow-boy – that’s the only they’ll ever be rolled back, after all.

It’s not poor-Los Angeles helicopters, but the sirens can be exhausting. As for the “it’s not there” indifference towards all those other culminations – I simply don’t have the acting/posing abilities the aesthetic-minded French have, I guess? But I also don’t have the personal stake in France which – try as they might – the French cannot possibly disguise from themselves? They simply must find it very tiring to live in a country where the government – indeed, the national trajectory – has essentially zero open backers outside the bubble occupied by Parisian elites.

It’s not just the Macron era: Francois Hollande was so unpopular he couldn’t even stand for re-election; when Nicolas Sarkozy left he bitterly said “nobody will hear of me again” because the French so deservedly enjoyed kicking him.

The reality is that – Islamophobia aside – nearly everything I’ve described has been caused by France’s historical insistence on a united Europe.

How long will it take Brussels – and its string of puppets/clients – to kill the ‘French model’?

Anti-Muslim attitude is a problem, sure, but only a class analysis provides a satisfying explanation to the undeniable 21st-century decay of French life: Muslims did not force France to stop being French – collusion among the French 1% did.

(Of course, to avoid regular class analysis discussion the French elite keep insisting: “No, it’s Muslims who are ruining France.” Typical Western fake politics.…)

Ever since Mitterrand made his infamous austerity-embracing U-turn in 1981- on what would have been Western Europe’s most-leftist policy platform ever – France has allowed itself to be fiscally leeched blood-dry over the pan-European principle to try and win over Germany to “more Europe”.

It’s an amazing martyrdom – we shouldn’t denigrate such things completely. And a large part of France’s motivation is also to end the constant German aggression that dates back to 1870.

Recent history is really quite simple: in order to woo Germany away from a neo-imperialist partnership with their Anglo-Saxon American first cousins (which has run from 1945 until today), France keeps fiscally flagellating itself and others in Europe to woo Germany into joining a pan-European project; crucially, this project initially was based on a Gaullist “mixed economy”, but that was jettisoned in favor of Anglosphere neoliberalism, globalisation and hyper-financialisation.

Maybe other Europeans want in on such a project, but Germany does not and should leave: Germany’s role has been entirely negative, their economics entirely Austrian (pro-1%, rabidly anti-socialist), and the groundwork which they have ordered is totally incapable of providing post-corona stability. Few seem to grasp this Washington-Berlin neo-fascist alliance, even though it satisfyingly explains Germany’s essentially 5th-columnist role in the EU.

However, only a blinkered nationalist analysis would stop here. France’s elite is just as 5th-columnist – they have joined Washington and Berlin because that is what neoliberal, globalist capitalism is: an international waging of class warfare.

Macron openly calls to end the French model – he is the new ‘EU patriot’

Because its basis is resolutely neoliberal and thus anti-patriotic (even within its new creation of a misguided “EU patriotism” – the accurate term is “patriotism for the EU’s 1%”), this version of the pan-European project is simply not worth it – all it has done is disregard democratic votes, empower bankers, produce Lost Decades and gut social safety nets. I personally don’t think a united, non-socialist Europe is good for the world, but I know this version of a united Europe is a catastrophe. And I know it is ruining France – I’ve not just lived it but documented it via daily hard news reporting for PressTV.

But Macron is of a new generation whose elite passionately believes that this pan-European project works – it has… but only for Europe’s elite. This unprecedented “neoliberal empire” is thus successfully perpetuating itself.

But it took a lot to get here: Hollande, Sarkozy, privatisation-puppet Chirac, Mitterrand – all of France’s elite kept sacrificing France’s 99% for an ideology of “more Europe”, which was first Gaullist-capitalist then neoliberal. Truly, the same can be said for the elite of all of Europe, but especially Latin Europe – just look at how Germany could afford a corona bailout 10 times the size of France’s bailout.

But since 2015 have no doubt: France’s Lockdown-pre-Great-Lockdown was entirely the result of widespread dissension for Brussels’ fiscal policies – this had to be repressed.

The modern French conviction that discussion-and-even-dissension is more than just tolerable but should be encouraged – this also had to be repressed.

The idea of French workers – foreign to the Anglosphere— that they should have economic stability and political-cultural influence also had to be repressed, thus the endless far-right economic reforms.

As I keep insisting, the global 1% insists that the bad example of the “French model” has to be destroyed and replaced with the US/UK/German model, with all its greater inequality, poverty and dull individual conformities and fears.

The “French model” cannot survive if the 1% is to preserve unaltered this version pan-European project which is resolutely neoliberal. This is proven by the recent diplomatic uproar caused by China’s ambassador to France, who criticised the inequality laid bare by France’s corona response:

You have a new brand of Chinese diplomats who seem to compete with each other to be more radical and eventually insulting to the country where they happen to be posted,” opined a French analyst, but I get it: a person (in this case a diplomat) comes to France and they hear so very much proud talk about liberty, equality and fraternity… but they see that the first has been so distorted by the privileged class so as to totally eradicate the second and third. The Chinese ambassador is both disappointed and fed-up with France. He has become something Westerners cannot be – politically honest and critical of Western policy – without being condemned as a “radical”.

The French 99% tries to incarnate their post-French Revolution values (within the factual context that their revolution did not stand very long), but their elite do not. Foreigners simply cannot see true French values in action because what they are seeing are 1%er, neoliberal, “EU empire” values in action. The French elites’ values are not French but “European empire”; one cannot ever become elite anymore without displaying total allegiance to this empire.

It’s dismaying, and that is exhausting as well.

But while the future now only looks worse for the 99% across France, I imagine Macron couldn’t be happier.

Corona preserves Macron’s re(de)formist gains & wipes his promise-slate clean

Maybe the coronavirus break was just what everybody needed, not only Macron?

Think about it: a historic two-month General Strike had just failed in late January. Now that the pension reform was passed unemployment reform was planned for this fall, because there is simply no constitutional way to stop Macron. The Yellow Vests certainly weren’t going to stop. How can Macron afford to keep generating such public ill will? Was there going to be another General Strike? How can workers afford to do that?

You simply can’t compute all those facts.

Thus, pre-corona France was truly at a breaking point and exhausted. France was like two wrestlers who had each other in a stranglehold, but instead of letting go both decided to suicidally and murderously maintain their grip.

The Great Lockdown preserves in amber Macron’s pension reforms – it’s over. When France goes back to work they will be rushed through Parliament, and likely amid a ban on groups (protests) of more than a few score. The Great Lockdown gives the public a chance to forget about that fight and the elite a “just move on” filibuster to questioning journalists.

But it also ends the possibility of Macron’s autumn plans for similar deforms to the unemployment system. There’s no way that can go on with the state socialistically-shouldering 60% of the Great Lockdown’s lost revenue. However, France’s 1% has been waiting decades for the pension reform – think they aren’t pleased? Think they can’t wait until autumn 2021, when Macron can make unemployment reform his farewell political legacy amid General Strike 2? You must think the 1% doesn’t play tactical class warfare, which is chess, and instead thinks in nationalisms, which is checkers.

The Great Lockdown is also the single-best thing to happen to Macron’s re-election chances.

How can he now be faulted for failing on his signature promise – to reduce unemployment to 7%? How can he be faulted by the right for any economic failure – France simply has to spend their way out of the corona overreaction? How can he be faulted on the left for any economic failure – France spent a lot on the corona overreaction (again, a pittance compared to Germany and also a bailout weighted to the 1%)? Any fiscal policy promise and failure is thus absolved with this corona overreaction-distraction.

Any social policy failure is also old hat – we must focus on a post-corona world. French PM says coronavirus outbreak ‘under control’ but warns ‘life won’t go back to normal after May 11th’ – of course Macron doesn’t want to go back to normal – his popularity was in the toilet for years; his policy, his style, his bizarre and salacious scandals (highlighted by the Benalla affair, which only French people understand) and his constant elitist gaffes ensured it could only worsen.

But election sniping is such a narrow view, even if it is the dominant Western mindset:

Macron’s entire presidency has been an open assault on the French idea of what is “normal”. Destroying the French model – to satisfy and propel the neoliberal & neo-imperial pan-European project he sincerely believes in – has always been his political raison d’être. Macron undoubtedly will view himself as leaving as a hero for all his “deforms”, whenever he departs in ignominy.

I’ve had offers to work in the US: “Why would I want to be a political journalist covering such an atrocious, atrocious political culture?” But France has become nearly identical – instead of righteous, easily-triggered emotionality the French political talk shows rely on an endless reserve of indifference and sang froid (cold blood) to reach the same neoliberal aims; instead of Trump-Putin hysteria they use Muslim-hysteria.

So what is France’s future? It is Macron versus Marine Le Pen in 2022 – they are just as intellectually and culturally exhausted, bitter and hostile as the US. They would rather repeat corporate fascism than be creative.

Must I work on behalf of Le Pen, claiming that she is a “victory via defeat”? I did that, marginally, for Trump, but I didn’t have to cover the guy everyday! More Macron would be an even bigger defeat than Biden – the Ferguson, Missouri, protests weren’t anything like the Yellow Vest repression.

The West may have all the money but they have no good answers anymore. How could corona have uncovered anything but the truth of their underlying morbidity?

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

India Protests: 15 People Killed in Anti-citizenship Law Rallies

By Staff, Agencies

At least six people were killed in fresh clashes between Indian police forces and people protesting against a contentious citizenship law seen as anti-Muslim, making Friday the single deadliest day of the latest unrest.

Uttar Pradesh Police Chief O.P. Singh told Reuters that 32 other people were also wounded in clashes between police and demonstrators on Friday.

The latest killings bring the death toll to 15 in more than a week of protests.

Singh said none of the deaths on Friday were due to police shooting, adding that 144 people were detained.

However, chief medical officer of Meerut, Rajkumar, who goes by one name, told AFP earlier on Friday that four protesters – two from the district of Meerut and the others from the neighboring district of Muzaffarnagar – were brought to a hospital in Meerut, adding that they died of “gunshot wounds” in the northern state, where nearly 20 percent of India’s 200-million-strong population are Muslim.

A police spokesman also confirmed that one person had died and at least one other had been injured during protests in the city of Firozabad. But he said that the cause of death was not clear yet.

The new deaths came a day after three people lost their lives when police opened fire on protesters in the northern city of Lucknow and Mangalore City in the south of the country.

India has been engulfed by protests since last week, when the country’s parliament passed the citizenship act, which is seen as discriminatory toward Muslims.

Under the law, migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan will be allowed to claim Indian citizenship — but not if they are Muslims.

The heart of India’s capital also witnessed street battles late Friday as police used water cannon and charged at protesters with batons.

Fighting Poverty with a Hate Map?

January 15, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Eve Mykytyn

The name, ‘The Southern Poverty Law Center’ (SPLC) is misleading. The SPLC does little to alleviate poverty,  its own stated goals are: fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice. At the moment, the SPLC lists its top activity as attempting to remove confederate statues and symbols. This is consistent with the activity for which the SPLC is best known, its annual hate map in which it locates so-called ‘hate’ groups on a map of the United States. How is it that one of the best funded poverty law centers acts as an arbitrar of hate instead of as an advocate for the poor?

The term ‘Poverty Law’ usually refers to the more mundane practice of representing poor people who are often un or under represented. But the SPLC’s goals are more lofty, here’s how Mark Potok, a Senior Fellow at SPLC described his mission. “It’s not what most in the media think. Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes…Our criteria for a ‘hate group’… have nothing to do with criminality or violence or any kind of guess we’re making about ‘this group could be dangerous.’ It’s strictly ideological. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them

Each year, the SPLC advertises over 900 hate groups on its hate map. Author Laird Wilcox says the SPLC “Has specialized [in] a highly developed and ritualized form of defamation … a way of harming and isolating people by denying their humanity and trying to convert them into something that deserves to be hated and eliminated. They accuse others of this but utilize their enormous resources to practice it on a mass scale themselves.”

To begin with, the SPLC uses a very loose definition of a hate group as “an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” They bolster this with the false claim that the FBI uses a similar definition of hate crime, “[A] criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”  But the FBI’s words do not refer to practices or beliefs, they characterize an actual crime which may have been inspired by bias.

Without advocating hate or prejudice I find the SPLC’s categories hilarious. They are: Ku Klux KlanNeo-NaziWhite NationalistRacist SkinheadChristian IdentityNeo-ConfederateBlack SeparatistAnti-LGBTAnti-MuslimGeneral Hate  (Anti-ImmigrantHate MusicHolocaust Denial and Radical Traditional Catholicism) and Other Hate (a grab bag of ‘hateful’ ideologies). Query, if a neo-nazi gets a haircut will he become a racist skinhead or a neo-confederate?

One ‘hate’ group, Radical Traditional Catholicism, are excoriated for blaming Jews for the killing of Christ and “They also embrace extremely conservative social ideals with respect to women.”  Is this a hate group?  Ultra Orthodox Jews have some pretty vile thoughts about non Jews and also adhere to extremely conservative social ideals for women.  Why aren’t the Lubovitches, for instance, on the list?

Holocaust denial is the only hate group defined by simply questioning authority. SPLC claims such groups “only pretend to be interested in historical research.” Instead, even the claim that Jews may have died in ways other than the gas chambers form [hate groups] because they are used simply  “to rehabilitate the German Nazis’ image as part of a bid to make the ideology of national socialism more acceptable.”  A number of historians investigating World War II might find this assertion surprising.

“The SPLC’s list is wildly inflated,” said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League. The National Socialist Movement, for example, was listed 49 times in the 2015 Hate Map, since the count included each of the NSM’s individual chapters. The SPLC also counts single individuals as a group or chapter. The result is a count totally at odds with Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics. Hate crimes plummeted 24% between 1998 and 2013, according to the FBI. Yet the SPLC claims the number of hate groups in the U.S. shot up by 75% during this same period.

The SPLC has so many categories of ‘hate’ and those categories are political as much as violent. So is there any actual harm from a listing on the hate map?

There was when Floyd Lee Corkins entered the Family Research Council intending to kill as many as possible because “he found us listed as a hate group on the SPLC website,” said executive vice president retired Gen. William Boykin. “We and others like us who are on this ‘hate map’ believe that this is very reckless behavior. … The only thing that we have in common is that we are all conservative organizations. …”

Gurnee IL is an unlikely location for a hate group. A prosperous suburb of 30,000, the town is careful with its reputation with tourists as it is home to Six Flags Great America amusement park, the Gurnee Mills indoor shopping mall and the water park, Great Wolf Lodge.

But the SPLC bestowed upon Gurnee the label that makes small-town officials sweat. Towns usually earn their reputations as harbors for hate groups in more public ways. They may be unlucky enough to be the place the Klan decides to march and someone later dies (Charlottesville) or be  home to the media-trolling Westboro Baptist Church (Topeka, Kansas). But for towns like Gurnee, designation as one of the 917 locales on SPLC’s Hate Map comes without warning or explanation.

When the town asked the self appointed cartographers of hate to remedy the listing they were told, “I know it is disturbing to find hate groups in your community but I don’t think that should be seen as a reflection of what I am sure is a wonderful community.” Sorry, but the map is only updated once a year. “Call back in January.” The town protested that its police had searched and failed to find a hate group in Gurnee. SPLC Intelligence Chief Heidi Beirich would not budge. “ Even though the police couldn’t locate them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”

Given the low threshold for inclusion on the list, it is not surprising that other towns were included for questionable reasons. In 2004, Olathe, Colorado earned a white hood icon when a self-proclaimed “international imperial wizard” from Indiana told a Denver newspaper that a chapter in Olathe, “a little Klan klavern,” had asked him to come and speak. Neither he nor any of the town officials  could name any of the members. Olathe stayed on SPLC’s list for three years.

Amana, Iowa, was placed on the hate map when someone at the SPLC spotted a chat thread on the Daily Stormer. Someone with the screen name “Concerned Troll” proposed a neo-Nazi “book club” meeting in an Amana café. No one in Amana was able to confirm to the SPLC whether or not the meeting actually took place, but that was enough to earn the corn-carpeted state its only swastika.

But still, Beidich worries more about undercounting than over inclusion. She thinks the undercount groups hide in shadows. She does not explain why listing what are  ‘un’ hate groups, by her own criteria,  will cause hate groups to emerge from the shadows. In fact, it is not clear why we are not all better off if a ‘hate’ group stays hidden.

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