Sunday, November 5, 2006

Russian and US authoritarians: not a dime's worth of difference

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian nationalists and neo-fascists rallied in Moscow and across Russia and beyond to mark National Unity Day in what they billed as a show of force by the country's rising anti-immigrant movement.

More than 1,000 people calling for restraints on immigration and special privileges for ethnic Russians converged on a square near central Moscow's Park Kultury in the face of a huge police presence.

Some activists gave Nazi-style salutes, while others waved Russian Orthodox Church symbols and icons.

"We demand to be rid of illegal immigrants. They are taking our jobs, bringing drugs and terrorism," Irina Saveleva, a parliamentary deputy from the nationalist Rodina party, told the crowd.

"It is time to rise up!" said Nikolai Kuryanovich, an ultra-nationalist deputy. "This march is a demonstration of the awakening of the national consciousness. The authorities are scared."

Meanwhile, up to 700 liberals and human rights campaigners held an alternative rally in another part of central Moscow, decrying what they described as tacit support from the authorities for ultra-nationalism.

November 4 officially celebrates the liberation of Moscow from Polish invaders in 1612 by groups of Russian volunteers who joined forces in the capital.

President Vladimir Putin laid flowers at a monument to the battle on Red Square, while Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II called on the country to show unity.

However, ultra-nationalists seized the occasion to mount protests in several major cities, including the far eastern city of Vladivostok and the country's second city, Saint Petersburg.

Nationalist groups, such as the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, appear to be successfully tapping into growing fears that native Russians are losing out, especially economically, to the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who come to the country every year.

Human rights monitors and Russia's small number of liberal politicians frequently accuse the authorities of playing the race card to boost loyalty toward the government.

Activists gathered Saturday across the river from the Kremlin in what they described as an "anti-fascist" meeting meant to counter the ultra-nationalist rally.

"We have to protest this ideology of lies and hate," Svetlana Gannushkina, from the Memorial human rights organisation, told the crowd. "Fascism is founded with the tacit support of the authorities, which uses it for their own goals. The authorities don't want to take responsibility, so we will have to."
Nerdified link.

Awhile back, I reported on an outfit called Christian Exodus who announced that they intended to create an all "Christian" homeland in South Carolina.

Now it seems that the Aryan Nations, having been dislodged from their Northwest compound at Hayden Lake, are picking up on the concept themselves.

They held their most recent Congress in Laurens, South Carolina. The gathering, as you might expect, turned into a big ole Klan-meets-neo-Nazis hatefest. The liveliest speaker was a young fellow with tatooed biceps named Ryan, who was so brave he refused to give his last name. Still, he put on a good show:
"You better hope I don't come in your bedroom window," Ryan said to FBI informants he suspected were in the audience. "Warriors kill and break things. We're warriors in waiting."

Ryan, whose biceps were adorned with 8-inch Nazi "SS" tattoos, capped his speech with a dance across the stage, a la Mick Jagger, and a bellowed challenge: "You want to see blood in the streets? I do!"

According to everyone in attendance, the consensus seems to be leaning toward giving up on the five-state Northwest homeland project favored by white-supremacist leaders and shifting everything to the South:
For years, Aryan Nations aspired to have an uprising in the Northwest, and turn five states into, literally, The Aryan Nation. With the group staggering from the double whammy of litigation and factionalism, the new goal is more modest: South Carolina.

Aryan Nations' Washington leader, who gave only his first name, Paul, is 60-ish and has a British accent from 25 years in England. Paul outlined possible strategies for the group: establishing a state in Alaska ("few minorities," he said), or a wholesale "South will rise again." Both of those he discounted as impractical, although certainly worthy.

In the end, Paul observed, the best option is to "look at the secession of South Carolina. Start with this state."

But I was especially struck by the sidebar to this article in which the author, John Suggs, contemplated the meaning of the AN gathering, and the odds of success for the South Carolina plan:
Then, while Williams cheerfully explained that blacks, Asians and Hispanics were subhuman, and that a race war was his most cherished goal, one of my voices piped up again.

"Yo, John," the voice intoned, "you realize these guys aren't too far outside the mainstream. After all, fringe extremists, our own versions of Iranian Maximum Loon Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have seized the control levers of this country."

I always listen to my voices since, like George Bush, I'm sure it's the Lord speaking directly to me. And that last epiphany made sense.

Racism doesn't exist in a vacuum, whether ranted Hitleresque from a podium or conveyed with a Dick Cheney wink. We hate others of our species because we're in competition with them for land or oil; or we need a scapegoat to blame for our own miserable existence. Often we claim the Celestial Mystery Being has commanded us to commit atrocities in his name.

We come up with fantasies of superiority, myths about the nobility of my ancestors and the degeneracy of yours. In order for me to smite you, I must believe with God-almighty fervor that you're inferior. You're a raghead, a slant, a kike, a nigger, a spic, a white devil, a fag or a bitch -- and if I torture and slaughter you, it ain't really murder. No, sir.

If a whole segment of society agrees with those racial assessments, they become part of the cultural conversation. That's why U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Uptown Klan) is a veteran at employing the "n" word, although still rather a novice at denigrating folks of South Asian ancestry.

Those sentiments ooze like fetid sewage into what should be the crystal-clean water of public policy. In America, we lived through generations of statutory enforcement of the belief that one race has the right to dominate the other. And, if you conclude such thinking is "history," you're a fool.

It's not just that a few ignorant rednecks believe, in their illiterate confusion, that they're somehow "superior." Rather, it's that we still make laws based on such assumptions. The Republican Party since 1964 has consciously made a "racism is OK" pitch to unreconstructed Southerners.

Even scarier, millions of Americans go to churches where racism is part of the catechism, whether blatantly stated or masked by theological mumbo-jumbo.
And, as he observes at the end, this hate is being fomented at the elite media level by so-called "conservatives":
The New York Times commented last month on similar national voter ID legislation: "The actual reason for this bill is the political calculus that certain kinds of people -- the poor, minorities, disabled people and the elderly -- are less likely to have valid ID."

Bushite bomb-thrower Ann Coulter arrogantly conceded the point, writing this month: "Way too many people vote. We should have fewer people voting. There ought to be a poll tax to take the literacy test before voting."

Coulter is saying ballots should be reserved for right-wing white folks. And that's almost exactly what Pastor Williams believes.
The chief means for the spread of this kind of hatred has been a national media that gives people like Coulter and her junior partner, Michelle Malkin, far more than their 15 seconds of fame. More importantly, the press allows hatemongers in the ranks of movement conservatives to peddle race-baiting and bigotry with references that only the most obtuse can miss -- as with the ugly race-baiting recently thrown Harold Ford's way.
Nerdified link.
So Connerly has become so desperate for endorsements that he's now welcoming support from the Ku Klux Klan:
Ward Connerly, the California man leading a ballot measure to end most affirmative action in Michigan, accepts Ku Klux Klan support for his position in a video clip posted this week on the Internet.

Connerly on Friday defended his remark in a statement, saying he accepts support for banning affirmative action wherever he finds it.

He said he does not support hateful activities.
His precise words, defending the Klan support:
"If the Ku Klux Klan thinks that equality is right, God bless them. Thank them for finally reaching the point where logic and reason are being applied instead of hate."
Nerdified link.
Well, he's finally hit the jackpot with his latest call for assassination [warning: links to hate site] of the "problems" in Congress and on the Supreme Court:
First, let me say that I do not envision a Second American Revolution as being some gallant fight, with tens of thousands of armed citizens facing tens of thousands of US troops on some battlefield. No. Far from it.

In watching the military campaigns of the past 25 years, I have come to admire "surgical strikes." When force is applied in a specific, limited way, the results can be magnificent. Such is my HYPOTHETICAL thinking for our present circumstance.

Suppose, HYPOTHETICALLY just for the sake of argument, that not all of the Congress and Supreme Court need to be removed. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members. The Senate consists of 100 members. But not all of them are "problems."

For the purpose of this HYPOTHETICAL discussion, let's say that only half of the US House and half of the US Senate are "problems" That's a total of 267 "problems" in Congress. Obviously, there are at least three "problems" on the Supreme Court. 267 + 3 = 270 total "problems."

Imagine if you will, teams of 5 committed citizens each, who were fed up with these "problems."

270 x 5 = 1,350 committed citizens needed to resolve these "problems."

Do you think that in America, a nation of 300,000,000 people, there are 1,350 committed citizens willing to put it all on the line to "correct" these "problems" and thus save the nation? I do.

It could be called "patriotic assassination."

It seems to me that a HYPOTHETICAL operation using teams of five men assigned to each "problem," could gather information on the assigned persons. It is easy to find out things like daily schedules, public appearances, travel routes to and from work, etc.. Once the data was collected and analyzed a time and date could be set for "solving" these "problems."
Nerdified link. All part of a tapestry from the first article (reporting on events in Russia) to the remaining articles which detail what's been going on in our own back yard. Someone else somewhere noted the absurdity of people of Slavic descent giving old Adolph props, given his views on the Slavic peoples that were put into practice during WWII. The same can be said for Ward Connerly's apparent love for the KKK, given that your average klansman would be more than happy to lynch Connerly on a moment's notice. Blind authoritarianism knows little rationality, of course, so such details tend to be overlooked in the service of "God and Fatherland".

Another theme worth repeating is the apparent tacit support of the ruling elites as the extremists do their grunt work for them. Racial hatred in this country gets plenty of play among so-called mainstream conservatives and populists - just spend some time reading or listening to the likes of Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, or Pat Buchanan who come by syndicated columns, book deals, and talk show hosting gigs with relative ease and you'll quickly know what I'm getting at.

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