The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Neo-Nazis suddenly seem highly visible following this weekend’s Unite the Right riot in Charlottesville that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead. The protest was largely void of Klan hoods, suggesting that neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan are feeling more emboldened. With the renewed visibility of these groups, many may be wondering: How many people do hate groups count as members, and where are these groups located?

Data from the Southern Poverty Law Center suggests the number of hate groups is currently near the country’s all-time recorded high, in 2011. The SPLC reports that as of 2016, there are 917 active groups. (That’s 100 fewer than the 1,108 groups reported in 2011.) The SPLC’s hate map identifies groups by tracking their publications and websites. Of those 917, more than 90 are neo-Nazi groups. California has the highest number with 79, followed by Florida with 63 and Texas with 55.

Prominent neo-Nazi groups include the National Socialist Movement and Vanguard America. According to historian Federico Finchelstein, the KKK, white supremacists and white nationalists are also neo-Nazis, whether they identify as such or not, because they all “exhibit the fundamental traits of Nazism—chiefly racism, anti-Semitism, and the glorification of political violence.” The Anti-Defamation League reports that these groups’ underlying ideology dehumanizes and focuses on the “alleged inferiority of non-whites.” The neo-Nazis in Charlottesville last weekend were recorded chanting “blood and soil,” a Nazi slogan that affirms racial hatred by basing ethnicity on blood descent and physical territory.

In a speech given in Kentucky, Vanguard America leader Dillon Irizarry said he counted at least 200 members in 20 different states. The KKK itself claims it has “between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide.”

Although the members of these groups may be especially vocal, the presence of racism in the U.S. cannot be quantified strictly by data. Nearly 63 million people voted for Trump, which means those voters were willing to accept and tolerate a racist, misogynist, xenophobe for a president, emboldening the small minority of neo-Nazis among them. Trump’s own reluctance to condemn the neo-Nazis has led some Democrats to propose a bill to censure the president. But the enduring existence of these hate groups is indicative of racism’s lasting presence in the United States’ history.

Along with the rise in hate group membership since Trump’s election, there has been an increase in racially motivated attacks. The SPLC has recorded 1,863 bias incidents from the day after the 2016 election up to March 31, 2017. Of the 1,863 incidents, 292—or 15.67 percent—were anti-black motivated.

Under Trump’s presidency, hate and racism are finding their way into the mainstream. Racism isn’t just Nazism, and the protests weren’t just an aberration. Racism is a deeply engrained and systemic problem, built into the United States’ values, biases and assumptions, especially against black Americans, since the country’s beginnings. Dismantling white supremacy will require recognizing racism as an institution perpetuated in order to maintain privileges for white males. Rooting out the racist assumptions embedded in our laws and attitudes will require an intersectional movement that actively challenges police brutality and recognizes our history of slavery and Jim Crow laws.

Julia Flasphaler is a junior writing fellow for AlterNet interested in trauma, gender and race. She is a senior English Literature major at Columbia University. Follow her at @juliaflafla.

Header image source.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}