Archive for April, 2010

is the tea party the latest incarnation of the kkk?

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Updated below

No, I don’t think so. Mostly because they don’t wear white robes and hoods and they don’t burn crosses. Otherwise, I think its safe to say that the modern day Tea Party movement draws much of its sustenance from the same well as the KKK did, particularly the 1920’s version, except that this time, overt racism is delivered in a plain generic package with the exception that most of their vitriol is directed personally  at America’s first  African American president, Barack Obama.  On almost every political and tactical point the Tea Party mirrors the KKK, with the all important exception of actually embracing the unabashed racism of white supremacy. This is why they so emphatically try to dispel  the charges that they are essentially a racist inspired movement. The problem is of course, that the Tea Party is itself, a super saturated predominately white populated movement that heralds itself under the “Take Our Country Back” banner.  How could that mean anything other than “we white people have lost a whole bunch of our power, influence and most favored people status, and we want it back – because that’s what made America great and the most exceptional country in the world.”

If we look back at the map in the previous post, we might make the analogy that the Klan back in the 20’s functioned for the Democratic party in much the same way that the Tea Party works for the Republican party today. What so striking about the map is how geographically widespread, and deep the influence of the Klan was within the party. And while it’s not known exactly how many Democrats were sympathetic to the Klan’s agenda (they were too secretive to leave a traceable record), it’s amazing still that so may state representatives were unwilling to remove the anti-Klan plank from the party platform. Evidently then, we can assume that Klan rhetoric and popular sentiment was used by the Democratic party so long as it helped ally votes and kept itself removed enough from becoming a threat to the party itself. This is very similar to how the Tea Party is working for the Republican party, hoping to capitalize on the same popular sentiments, as long as the movement remain subordinate and in line with party objectives.

There are also  parallels in how the the Klan and the Tea Party were/are underwritten, and how its adherents were/are being used and abused. Because of the ad-hoc internal structure and secretiveness of the Klan, its hard to uncover any direct funding schemes between big business interests, or direct political patronage between the Democratic party and the Klan. However, due to the wide breath of the influence it’s probably safe to assume there were many interconnections that went well beyond simple membership funding. This would be especially true considering the Klan often partook in anti-union, anti-immigrant, and proto-fascist activities that were rampant in this time period, and beneficial to business interests. Internally, the Klan was notoriously populated with a wide range of salesman, huckster, charlatan, and criminal types and often had ulterior motives for their activities, that were often used in the service of political infighting, embezzlement, and misuse of funds for personal gain. For instance, Luther Powell, the Klan leader in the Pacific Northwest was constantly embroiled in internal competitive political struggles and scandals, eventually slinking off to join up with a group called the “Khaki Shirts” in Louisiana, and after he was booted from there, went on to join the proto-fascist group “Silver Shirts”.  We see a lot of the same kind of murky, questionable funding, infighting, and possible fraud scenarios within the Tea Party movement today. From the Fox news crowd, to Dick Army, to various other hidden from view shell organizations, no one is really sure who is funding the Tea Party and for what purpose. Mix in the support from all manner of other right wing fringe individuals and groups, such as Richard Mack from the 90’s militia Patriot Party group and we have a boiling pot of many cross referenced interests merging and capitalizing upon the condensed fear of big government, immigration, and loss of white privilege brought to a head by the election of the first black president.

And then there is the simple political ploy of creating a popular and media oriented controversy in order to to squeeze out a greater constituency from a mollified population. The KKK did this by dressing up as ghosts of  dead confederate soldiers and marching on main street. Fox news does the same thing by having the likes of Glenn Beck act out a martyrs pantomime as the death of America – if no one comes to her in  outspoken and public defense. Its a way to push, if not shove people into to the cause. And if this should be proven to be inadequate, then there’s always the KKK’s back up plan of suggestively or openly threatening intimidation, ritual defamation, and ultimately,  violence against any who don’t heed the calling.

Another quote from Imperial Wizard Evans to consider:

“We in the lead found ourselves with a following inspired in many ways beyond our understanding, with beliefs and purposes which they themselves only vaguely understood and could not express, but for the fulfillment of which they depended on us. We found ourselves, too, at the head of an army with an unguessable influence to produce results for which the responsibility would rest on us — the leaders — but which we had not foreseen and for which we were not prepared. As the solemn responsibility to give right leadership to these millions, and to make right use of this influence, was brought home to us, we were compelled to analyze, put into definite words, and give purpose to these half conscious impulses.”


Came across this quote today in an op-ed by H Brandt in the Anniston Star. The quote is by Reagan administration member Lee Atwater, and is about how the “Southern Strategy” works its magic – and says in a few brief sentences what I’ve spent three or four long posts trying to explain:


“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

“And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.'”

h/t Dennis G. at ballonjuice


Saturday, April 17th, 2010

From the previous post link, there is this map on how the 1924 Democratic Convention voted on an anti-KKK motion as to whether KKK objectives would be included in the Democratic Party’s official agenda.

From Wikipedia, Ku Klux Klan, the first Klan incarnation:

The first Klan was founded in 1865 by Tennessee veterans of the Confederate Army. Klan groups spread throughout the South. The Klan’s purpose was to restore white supremacy in the aftermath of the American Civil War. The Klan resisted Reconstruction by assaulting, murdering and intimidating freedmen and white progressives within the Republican Party. In 1870 and 1871 the federal government passed the Force Acts, which were used to prosecute Klan crimes. Prosecution of Klan crimes and enforcement of the Force Acts suppressed Klan activity. In 1874 and later, however, newly organized and openly active paramilitaryWhite League and the Red Shirts started a fresh round of violence aimed at suppressing Republican voting and running Republicans out of office. organizations such as the These contributed to white conservative Democrats regaining political power in the Southern states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

From its inception the KKK was a Southern based politically motivated organization that was essentially a means to limit the influence and power of the federal government. It was designed to restore, retain, and codify the favored cultural and political position of white supremacy, that became threatened by the loss of the Civil War. Its primary tactics were secret militias and the use of intimidation, fear, and violence.

In 1915, the second Klan was founded. It grew rapidly in a period of postwar social tensions, where industrialization in the North attracted numerous waves of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and the Great Migration of Southern blacks and whites. The second KKK preached racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Communism, nativism, and antisemitism. Some local groups took part in lynchings, attacks on private houses, and carried out other violent activities. The Klan committed most of its murders and acts of violence in the South, which had a tradition of lawlessness.[13]

The second Klan was a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure. At its peak in the mid-1920s, the organization included about 15% of the nation’s eligible population, approximately 4–5 million men.[14] Internal divisions and external opposition brought about a sharp decline in membership, which had dropped to about 30,000 by 1930. The Klan’s popularity fell further during the Great Depression and World War II.[15]

The second incarnation of the KKK came about as a response to the combined effect in the northern states,  of large waves of foreign immigrants and the large migrations of African Americans into its industrial cities. This was in effect, an attempt by the KKK to expand the racist threat into a generalized and nationwide xenophobia, that could be capitalized upon for political purposes. As many of the northern KKK organizations had connections to  emerging fascist sympathies, and were used in conjunction with militant anti-union activities. The KKK popular movement gradually lost influence as the 1920 came to an end. This loss of influence can be attributed to the combined effects of internal conflicts of interest  and corruption within the organization itself, and the fact that the republican Hoover administration answered many of their demands through passage of legislation they found favorable, ie immigration, prohibition, etc.

The above linked map of the 1924 Democratic Convention vote, shows just how wide this influence had spread into areas that formerly had no history or connection to the antebellum South, institutional slavery, or the issues of reconstruction.

Final thought on the Ku Klux Klan in this quote by Imperial Wizard Evans in 1926:

Though men and women drop from the ranks they remain with us in purpose, and can be depended on fully in any crisis. Also, there are millions who have never joined, but who think and feel and — when called on — fight with us. This is our real strength, and no one who ignores it can hope to understand America today.

— Hiram Wesley Evans, “The Klan’s Fight for Americanism,” The North American Review (March-April-May 1926)

it can’t happen here, except that it did – and can again

Friday, April 16th, 2010



Seattle Klan Rally, 1923

cover of Watcher on the Tower 1923

The Strongest Chapter in WA: Bellingham’s KKK

KKK Parade Float, 1926

KKK parade float in Bellingham Wa, 1926

Social Klan: White Supremacy in Everyday Life

Navy Klan Photo

KKK “wedding” in Sedro Wooley WA, 1926

The Washington State KKK and the U.S. Navy

Navy Klan Photo

Sailors in uniform pose with KKK members while holding their robes


The whole story of The Washington State Klan in the 1920’s, by Trevor Griffey.


below is an excerpt from the above link:

[ And at the Yakima rally, the city’s First Christian Church found the Klan so controversial that it rescinded its offer to provide space for the organization’s rally, which was instead held in the city’s Capitol Theater.[8] The event drew over 2,000 people who the Yakima Morning Herald described as “cosmopolitan,” implying that the lecture had become a social event in a small town: “Prominent Yakimans and their wives sat along side men dressed in dirty and greasy clothes. Women were nearly as numerous as men and a large number of children attended. A few negroes and Japanese were in the audience.”[9] Though the event seemed to have the support of the Yakima Daily Republic and the city Mayor, R.D. Rovig, who sat onstage with Klan organizers, Mayor Rovig later declared that there was no need for the Klan, and the Yakima Morning Herald provided significant coverage of Klan opponents in the community.[10]

The following year, this dynamic of generating interest through media controversy was expanded on a much wider scale. On August 9, 1924, the Klan held a massive a rally that had originally been scheduled for the State’s Fairgrounds, but which was displaced to the J.B. Vance farm when the State government rescinded its permission for the Klan to use its property.  Partly as a result, roughly 50,000 people showed up to the event. It featured 1,000 robed Klan members, and the initiation of over 700 new ones.[11] Three electric crosses “visible from all parts of the valley to the east and northeast” illuminated the rally’s pageantry, accompanied by fireworks, singing and music from Klan bands, and lectures by Yakima Klan leader A.C. Vail, state Klan leaders from Seattle (Rev. Archie MacDonald, John A. Jeffrey, and Arthur E. Carr), and Oregon Klan leader Fred Gifford.[12] ]

running on empty

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Philip Guston / Untitled / 1968 / Courtesy McKee Gallery, New  York/Morgan Library

Phillip Guston, Untitled Drawing, 1968

the restlessness of unadmitted guilt

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

2010, 20″ x 20″ x 2″, oil, plastic gauge, and rhinestones on wood (click on image for enlargement)


Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Top allies of Iraqi Prime Minister and State of Law bloc leader Nouri al-Maliki say that his bloc is putting the finishing touches on a deal to ally with cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a move which would all but guarantee the two would be able to form the next government of Iraq.

No further comment on this until it’s official.

the incidental issue of slavery

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

While there are many issues that surround the Civil War – such as states rights, nullification, and the imperialism of Northern industrial culture (aka liberalism) against the agrarian honor based society (aka conservatism) of the South, but by no stretch of the imagination should these other issues be seen to overshadow the issue of slavery. Ta Neshisi Coates at Atlantic, has a really fine outline of the essentials, in The Ghost of Bobby Lee. In the piece TNC captures this amazing quote on the subject from David Blight that addresses in its full magnitude, of just how massive the institution of slavery was in the Southern States:

By 1860 there were approximately 4,000,000 slaves in the United States, the second largest slave society–slave population–in the world. The only one larger was Russian serfdom. Brazil was close. But in 1860 American slaves, as a financial asset, were worth approximately three and a half billion dollars–that’s just as property. Three and a half billion dollars was the net worth, roughly, of slaves in 1860. In today’s dollars that would be approximately seventy-five billion dollars. In 1860 slaves as an asset were worth more than all of America’s manufacturing, all of the railroads, all of the productive capacity of the United States put together. Slaves were the single largest, by far, financial asset of property in the entire American economy. The only thing worth more than the slaves in the American economy of the 1850s was the land itself, and no one can really put a dollar value on all of the land of North America.

That sort of puts things into perspective, don’t ya think? The article goes on to quote various political leaders in the South on the importance of slavery. Read it. The comments are especially good as well.

Gitzy racism or not

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Yesterday, Digby posts on this op-ed by Bradley Gitz in the North West Arkansas Times. It’s titled Black-White Left-Right, and is intended to diffuse the racial connotations often dispersed on the tea party movement, by some kind of crazy logic not unlike Bill Bennett claiming that if you abort all black babies, violent crime in America would drastically decrease.

Because the piece is behind a subscription wall, heres the whole thing:

There were three interesting developments within the past couple weeks that, taken together, cast some light on the intersection of race and politics in America.

First came news reports predicting that the number of children born to minority parents will surpass the number born to white parents within the next two years. If so, whites will become a minority of the American population even sooner than originally thought.
Second came a column by Frank Rich in The New York Times arguing that opposition to Obamacare flowed from the racial insecurities produced by such trends. He declared that whites are “a dwindling and threatened minority” whose “anxieties about a rapidly changing America” have been brought to the surface by a black president.
Third was a Gallup Poll showing that more people disapproved than approved of Barack Obama. The overall decline in his approval rating from more than 70 percent a year ago to 46 percent is virtually unprecedented for a president so early in his term.
What tied these three developments together was an article in the Weekly Standard magazine by senior writer Jonathan Last. Dissecting Obama’s sinking poll numbers, Last found a remarkable incongruity-that although he had lost ground with every other demographic group, the president was more popular than ever with black voters.

With a Rasmussen survey showing his approval among blacks at 96 percent, it is possible that the creature most difficult to find in Americanpolitics is a black man or woman opposed to Obama. It doesn’t take much dicing of the numbers to realize that if his overall numbers have tanked while his support among blacks has actually gone up, his support among the majority white population has largely evaporated. There is an increasing scarcity outside the ranks of the “chattering classes” of white Democrats-the media, academe, Hollywood-most especially white males.
The Democratic Party is becoming ever more the party of American minorities while the Republican Party is, more than ever, the party of white America. There is a reason, then, why there are so few black or Hispanic faces at tea-party rallies. The problem is that it isn’t the reason that Rich and other liberal race-mongers suggest. Indeed, any theory positing race as an explanation for opposition to Obama founders on the fact that he only became president in the first place because of substantial white support.
While blacks obviously support him because he is black, minorities in general have long supported the Democratic Party because it is the party of government and minorities, disproportionately located near the lower ends of the socio-economic ladder, are disproportionately dependent upon government. They share the collectivist, welfare-state vision of Obama because they are net recipients from rather than contributors to welfare state programs.

In marked contrast, middle-class whites suspect that they are the ones who will end up paying for Obama’s governmental largesse. They believe that they put more into the public treasury than they get out, and that this disadvantageous ratio is likely to shift even more against them in the future as Obama’s goal of growing government continues.
It isn’t racism, but ideology and the differing views of the role of government that ideology produces that is at play here. America is a center-right nation because it has an increasingly right-leaning if demographically dwindling white majority. Conversely, the most loyal component of the Democratic coalition is blacks because blacks are both the most left-leaning group in American politics and the group most dependent upon the welfare state.

America is sharply divided politically on the basis of race, but it is the different ideological leanings of the different races, not their pigmentation per se, that has produced this. How strange that the man whom many voted for because they wished to “transcend” America’s racial divide has in some ways made it worse, not because he is black but because he has chosen to govern from the radical left.

While I like how Gitz tries to make his argument sound logical and empirically true, what makes it really interesting is that after the argument is easily deconstructed, not only are the racist underpinnings of the movement exposed, but also exposed is an answer to why the same people are so predisposed to  vote against what would seem to be in their own best interests.

What Gitz wants to do here, is disarm the racist connotations of the teabaggers by saying race has nothing to do with it because black people are predominately leftist in political orientation because they have the most to gain from a big welfare state – and so continue to support Obama. And the proof is that, unlike the blacks, many whites have left Obama because they don’t support Obama’s big welfare state, and not because he is black. And so therefore, the whites cannot be seen to be racist.

This argument is of course bogus, primarily because it acts like the black (or any other minority) population was simply born leftist and simply fell out of the sky innocent from  historical context. It fails to mention that said population suffered 200 years of enslavement, let alone the following 150 years of segregation and Jim Crow legislation that enforced their lot into a permanent underclass status that left them no where else to turn but government assistance. But perhaps more importantly, it fails to mention that throughout this extended time, it was the white population that was the beneficiary of these same government policies, because if one population group is officially repressed, the other population group gets a de-facto competitive advantage in opportunities that would not otherwise be available.

What this illustrates is that the white population has been just as, if not more, dependent on government manipulation of available human possibilities, than the black population. It’s just a different kind of dependency.This equation of sorts can also be forwarded to explain why so many poor whites appear to vote against what would seem to be their own best interests. Because just under the surface poor whites know that it is within the power of government to maintain and preserve whats left of  this unfair advantage in opportunity and potential.  If not only in the economic realm then in the social realm as well, in the sense that a permanent ethnic underclass will always guarantee that someone else or “other” will always be worse off than yourself. And in following, how could you support elevating “those people” with your tax dollars when it would destroy your illusion of superiority – even if it offered a real improvement in your real life.



Ron Beasley at Newshoggers has a post up today that highlights recent polling of teabaggers that suggests that they are not so against big government programs such as Medicare or Social Security, they are predominately white, male, “greatest generation” age wise, and over 90% think the country is going in the wrong direction. Taking these characteristics together, combined with all the above, its hard to see how the movement could be characterized by anything other than race.  The election of Barack Obama is in many ways embodiment of how the legislated political favoritism of the white race is fast becoming a thing of the past. Barack Obama has become for them, a kind of anti-christ that has not been elected by popular vote, but has instead been “anointed” to enable, hasten, and overlord  the demographic, cultural, and political submersion of their ethnic hegemony. And this is making them “Glenn Beck” crazy, because the great magical illusion of exceptionalism is dissolving like the wicked witch of the West, right before their eyes.


Billmon weighs in at just the right moment with — New York Times: Race = Class.

harmonic video response

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Start the music:

Play the video at the same time:

And Face the music

chelovek (man), vladimir mayakovsky

Friday, April 9th, 2010

April is National Poetry Month!

(from man):


Everything will perish.
It will all come down to nothing.
And the one
who moves life
will burn out of the last suns
the last ray
over the darkness of the planets.
And only
my pain
is sharper-
I stand,
entwined in fire,
on the inextinguishable bonfire
of inconceivable love.


I read this one months ago at lespeakeasy, h/t noiseannoys,

and don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake it.