White Supremacy, By Any Other Name

In an effort to more clearly define the events surrounding the aborted speech of Tom Tancredo and the near-violent reaction to the YWC's gathering on the UNC campus, I decided to take a deeper look at the psychology and symbolism used by white supremacist organizations like the Youth for Western Civilization. All of the images portrayed in this piece were taken from their blog, The Hammer. Which is itself a term used by some of the more radical white supremacist groups.

Here's their shield and axe logo:

Symbolism is a key component of radical movements; the visual sends a message that there is "power" that can be attained through membership. This idea of "achievable power" is important because it infers the possibility of escape from the perceived weakness associated with obedience. Plainly put, it's a shortcut to self-esteem, lacking all the necessary reality-based personal reflection that provides a strong foundation for healthy self-esteem.

This is not an uncommon approach to motivation; military units the world over utilize symbolism to imbue confidence and esprit de corps amongst their ranks. I myself have proudly displayed such symbols in the past. But there was also the knowledge of much pain and sacrifice involved in the achievement of said status, as well as the understanding that my behavior, and the behavior of others in my unit, directly impacted whether that symbol represented good or bad. The swastika didn't become a hated symbol because of its shape or perverted meaning; it achieved that status through the behavior of those who wore it on their uniforms.

More symbolism from The Hammer:

This image is a depiction of Carolingian Charles Martel (grandfather of Charlemagne) repelling the invasion of Spanish Muslims in (I believe) the Battle of Tours. Also known as "The Hammer", Martel is a hero to those who want to perpetuate the idea that the Crusades have never really ended, and we are still engaged in a never-ending war between White Anglo-European Christians and All Others.

Here's a look at the fabric of this construct:

Dualism is the idea that the world is divided into
the forces of good and evil with no middle ground. For white supremacists these take the form
of race with whites playing the role of good and all other races as evil. While various
organizations have differing views on the reasons for the positioning of racial “others” as evil,
their world view defines all non-white races as equally deviant . The concept of apocalypticism
1
is based on the idea that there is an approaching confrontation that will change the nature of the
world, during which important hidden truths will be revealed. The apocalyptic vision of most
white supremacists involves some form of conflict between the races.

Do racist beliefs crave the structure and message generated by this construct to validate said beliefs, or does the construct itself breed the racism? The correct answer is "C", both of the above:

Social movements are in a constant process of identity formation. Movements often arise
out of the collective identities of their participants, but social movements may also create an
identity for members. For established organizations the process of identity construction is a
reciprocal one. Members may join a movement because they identify with it, and as members
they become active in constructing the movement’s collective identity (Polletta & Jasper 2001

On the surface, the Youth for Western Civilization tries to portray itself as a political movement with an idea towards "balancing" between Left and Right:

We want a campus movement that will accomplish three things:

1. Inspire Western youth to organize on the basis of identity, with pride in their heritage and their history, and counter radical multiculturalism on campus.

2. Counter and ultimately defeat leftism on campus by pushing the activist agenda, changing college policies in a conservative or right wing direction, and restoring a curriculum that focuses on Western history, not political correctness.

3. Create a social movement on campus where a right wing subculture -- similar to the left wing subculture that currently exists -- will provide a healthy alternative to a poisonous and bigoted left wing campus climate.

But their symbolism betrays the true nature of the movement: to use fear, pride and implied violence to drive a wedge between the races, in an effort to preserve the status of the White race as the ruler of all others:

As bent and misguided as their ideology seems, the overreaction by counter-demonstrators at UNC is merely grist for the mill, fuel for the fire. It represents, to them and others who might find some truths in their message, that they really are "at war" with a tangible enemy. You can't fight hate with anger, folks. You have to expose the underlying weaknesses that breed the hate, because those weaknesses cannot bear the scrutiny.

Comments

This is great, Steve.

Honestly, I'm happy to see they're dropping the charade of being pro-America in favor of coming out of their white power closets. It must be hard on them, though, watching white birth rates decline, along with standards of living among their white brethren and sistern.

That said, they will fight blindly to the end, until they become the oppressed minority they're afraid of. And who knows, maybe they'll all go hunker down in Iceland or something.

It is my hope

that students from both sides read this diary. Those who have joined YWC (or are sympathetic) need to understand where this might lead them, and those opposed need to understand the dangers of inadvertently strengthening this ideology.

Tancredo has already used this counter-demonstration as proof of their constructed conflict in an effort to raise funds, and there may be several conservative UNC students now contemplating joining this group for purely partisan reasons.

I think you're over estimating the importance of the protest

Tom Terrific would have sent out his "I'm a poor victim" fundraising message no matter what happened last night.

I admit that the protesters helped his cause in some small way, but ideologues with racist tendencies will find always be able to justify their hate.

What we're seeing is a steady escalation of the Gingrich mentality - where people act with extreme prejudice against political enemies. The Republicans set the bar with their harassment of Bill and now we've devolved into a fuck-you frenzy that won't stop until there's a legitimate third party to deflate the histrionics.

I don't see that happening in my lifetime.

UNC students are pissed about last night

Several different student groups came together to oppose Tancredo and YWC. They were firmly dedicated to free speech and opposing them peacefully. A small number of radicals (SDS types) messed it up and ruined the hard work of so many students.

This happened at the Ashcroft event a couple years ago too--a few students (and a bunch of non-students) with SDS and other radical groups tried to take over the protest. They ended up chanting just about anything they could think of, including really off-topic stuff, and a few had to be escorted out of Memorial Hall by police.

I'm not using the word "radical" as a smear here--the means these groups employ clearly show that they have no intention of persuading others of their point of view. They just want to blow off steam and lash out. I have seen very little constructive work come out of these groups, and back in my more political days I spent an awful lot of time dealing with them.

I guess the lesson here is that liberal groups need to recognize ahead of time when nonconstructive people are going to come out of the woodwork, and make some plan to mitigate their presence or make something positive come of it. It's sad that liberals apparently have to police those matching them in politics but not in maturity.

And yes, I am bitter--though I wasn't involved in planning the response to YWC, these violent protesters effed up big time.

Thanks for the input, Jake

"I love it when a plan comes together." :) If you know who used to say that a lot, you'll also know who said this: "I pity the fool who tries to disrupt our message by hijacking our venue for their own purposes." Okay, Mr. T never said that, but it's probably because of all the gold he was wearing. Kinda hard to upstage that.

If any of the UNC students involved are reading this, please feel free to comment here. What you wanted to say last night can still be said. That goes for both sides.

A bunch of student leaders are planning a response

It'll be tomorrow at 6 outside the union. Basically, people are going to go up and say that they support free speech and nonviolence and distance themselves from the guilty parties here. With any luck, the Republicans will avoid dishonestly connecting the bad apples to the myriad of student groups that mobilized for a peaceful response.

Also, this one better not get disrupted...I'd hate to imagine the carnage should a response be needed to the response to the response to Tancredo.

I feel sorry for you reasonable folks...

...that a few Mao-Mao radial leftists gave the majority of you who wanted a peaceful protest a bad name. That SDS group looks like bad news. They are no better than the group that sponsored this. A pox on both their houses in my book.

It's not so much their ideology

I've talked to a bunch of people in these groups and it doesn't seem to me that what SDS and similar groups think politically is too far out of the mainstream, and I think it's important to recognize differences between this type of group and actual far-leftists. There are socialists and communists out there who are far to the left of mainstream American politics, but who believe in constructive dialogue and rational politics. Even dishonest hacks like George Will of "global cooling" fame are capable of reasonable political discussion, even if they often don't practice it.

These groups here are not destructive because of their position in the left-right spectrum. They are destructive because their approach to politics is completely focused around anger and absolute faith in their rightness. To them, anyone who disagrees with them (including fellow liberals) is a fascist or a corporatist. They are not capable of seeing things from other people's perspective and view the world in an us/enemy dichotomy.

Ok, back to my thesis work...

Sorry Jake

that will take more than luck, that will take a miracle!

I am extremely proud

of the students at UNC Chapel Hill right now. Thanks to the heads-up by Jake, I decided to attend today's response to the events that took place the other night. Freedom of speech and engaging in intelligent discourse was the overriding theme, and leaders of the Democratic and Republican Youth groups stood side by side on the stage in solidarity of this message.

But most impressive of all was this:

That's Riley Matheson at the podium, the leader of UNC's chapter of Youth for Western Civilization. The crowd of some 200 students applauded him when he approached the podium and when he left it, and was politely silent while he spoke. I don't know if this story will get much coverage, but it should.