Leonard Zeskind’s 2009 Blood and Politics – the History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream (1)
In Boise, the defense successfully turned the deaths of Vicki and Sam Weaver into a prima facie case of government wrongdoing
– Leonard Zeskind, chapter 33, “Inferno at Waco and Randy Weaver Wins at Trial”
One of the most revealing characteristics of this, and other anti-fascist works, is their contempt for the lives of people with whom they disagree. Randy Weaver of Idaho attended meetings of the Aryan Nations. He never translated whatever he heard at those meetings into violence, but for Zeskind and his colleagues in the “hate industry”, his apparent openness to “Aryan” views is enough to make it debatable whether the murder of his wife, his friend, and his 14-year-old son, were examples of “government wrongdoing”.
The jury in the Randy Weaver trial disagreed:
But the image of mother Vicki’s head blown off while she was holding her ten-month-old baby could not be erased by any mountain of testimony about her belief in a final battle between good Aryans and evil race mixers.
You, dear reader, may think it’s reasonable to ignore a woman’s beliefs when judging whether or not it was justified for the police to blow her head off. So does the US legal system, but Leonard Zeskind demurs. His book is another contribution to anti-fascism, another attempt to
exaggerate the danger of white nationalism
downplay the danger from government acceptance of this hype, and
make Jewish nationalism look better
Zeskind’s first error is in his subtitle. White nationalism has not traveled from the margins to the mainstream. It has been traveling in the opposite direction for over a century. The ‘white’, Western countries are among the least ethnically-oriented ever recorded. Explicit racial discrimination is barred, ‘racism’ is one of the most damaging charges one can make, and president Obama was re-elected.
His second mistake is in the first sentence of the Preface – he begins “As the last century ended and the year 2000 began”. In fact, the last century ended when the year 2001 began. Zeskind’s poor mathematics leads him to his third miscalculation; he claims that, in 2000, “thirty thousand men and women form the hard-core populace” of the white nationalist movement, and “another two hundred thousand” support it by giving money and attending meetings.
“Blood and Politics” is another example of the shoddy scholarship and fearmongering which characterizes what cynics call “the hate industry” – a well-funded collection of organizations and academic departments which, as I showed in my article “The One-Sided View of Hate in Hate Studies” (2), stirs up fear of white extremism and downplays the importance of Zionism.
I also showed, from evidence presented by Steven Pinker in his recent “The Better Angels of our Nature – why Violence has Declined”, and other sources, that racialist violence has declined even more steadily than the other kinds. So much so, that a continuous stream of hate crime hoaxes is needed to prop up the myth that white supremacy is traveling “from the margins to the mainstream”.
Another prop anti-fascists depend on is the “amalgam technique”. Zeskind shamelessly uses this technique to “link” the views of hatemongers like William Pierce with prescient patriots like Willis Carto who warned of the danger of the Jewish Lobby. After all, Zeskind points out, Carto’s “wife was a German”. On the grounds that some people who oppose Jewish supremacy support white supremacy, Zeskind wants to make us think the correlation is logical and inevitable. In fact, it is possible to oppose Jewish supremacy on the grounds that all forms of racial one-upmanship are obstacles to peace and prosperity. That is the position of the current writer.
But his approach could lead a reader to the opposite conclusion to the one he intends. Instead of “white nationalist politics is wrong, white nationalists condemn Jewish power, therefore the condemnation of Jewish power is wrong”, the reader might think “the condemnation of Jewish power is right, white nationalists condemn Jewish power, therefore…”. After publication of Mearsheimer and Walts’s meticulously researched The Israel Lobby, ex-Nazi Mark Weber gave talks saying ‘told you so’, using the public interest to distribute Holocaust revisionist and similar material.
Sometimes Zeskind gives us an insight into what politics was like before people like him told us what we can say. During World War II, Congressman John Rankin addressed Congress thus:
Mr. Speaker, I hesitate to use the word Jew in any speech in this House for whenever I do a little group of Communistic Jews howl to high heaven. They seem to think it is all right for them to abuse gentiles and to stir up race trouble but when you refer to one of them they cry ‘anti-Semitism’ or accuse you of being pro-Nazi.
It is true that Rankin was in favor of segregation for African Americans. It is true that this is evil. But still, he makes a fair point about the hypocrisy of Jewish political correctness. It’s the same today, except you won’t find anyone in politics with the balls to say it.
At one point, Zeskind contrasts what he says is the Jewish view of Satan with what he says is the view of him in the “Christian Identity” movement. Satan is “a second-rate, subordinate character” in Hebrew scriptures, but a first-rate one for white Christian extremists. He says the Christian Identity movement regards Jews as Satanic. This belief is offensive as well as completely irrational, but how is it less rational than any other religious viewpoint? I don’t understand how one can defend one religious view of the world against another on the grounds that the former gives you a warm fuzzy feeling. A church in Portland was picketed by anti-fascists because, in addition to all the other nonsense in the Bible, it taught homophobia. Why pick on that one particular error?
Chapter 24 begins with a discussion of the far right’s response to the first U.S. attack on Iraq in 1990. Some of it opposed the war. In West Palm Beach, Florida, anti-war protestors wore “David Duke for Governor” buttons. Zeskind honestly reports politician Pat Buchanan’s claim that the only people who would benefit from the war in the Middle East would be the Israeli government and its “amen corner” in the USA, but this makes Zeskind, and the rest of his Lobby, determined to undermine him.
So he denounces Buchanan as “an unabashed bigot”, condemning his anti-war stance as fervently as he denounces “racism”. On page 430, he criticizes Buchanan for attacking “brown-skinned” immigrants, but it just happens that the most significant source of illegal immigrants undermining the income of poor Americans happens to be Mexico. This is not, even slightly, evidence of racial prejudice. Zeskind sneakily implies that it is, but his reason for opposing Buchanan is not sympathy for poor immigrants.
An egregious example of the amalgam technique is when Zeskind compares William Carto to violent supremacist Louis Bean; “Carto would never openly advocate the bloodbath Beam was seeking to encourage, but both obviously went to the same reservoir for ideas”. The implication is, Carto would secretly advocate a bloodbath. And that you can’t fish in that ‘reservoir’ selectively – he wants us to believe, if you blame the Jewish neo-con cult for the bloodbath in Iraq, you’ll inevitably end up supporting a bloodbath in America.
“Whether or not militiamen and common court activists believed the Holocaust happened, whether or not they used slur words to describe black people, whether or not they wanted to send nonwhite people and race traitors into the proverbial desert, the militia in the 1990s marched to the same drumbeat that other bands of white paramilitarists had heard before them”.
This amalgamates unorthodox interpreters of the U.S. constitution, those who disbelieve the details of a particular historical event, people who use unpleasant words, and those who conspire to commit murder. As well as fishing in the same reservoir, they march to the same drumbeat. You could just as well say Leonard Zeskind marches to the same beat as the Israeli government.
He explicitly argues, taking his cue from a court decision against a white power outfit called “The Order”, that there is no distinction between white supremacy and white separatism. Any other ethnic group which wishes to be separate, can do so, without being supremacist, but white gentile European separatism he regards as inevitably supremacist, and uniquely dangerous.
Like most American anti-fascists, Zeskind fails to understand the “skinhead” phenomenon, which began in Britain in the sixties. He believes “the skinhead uniform represented an idealized industrial worker”. In fact, it parodied it. Like most American anti-fascists, Zeskind doesn’t understand irony.
Zeskind uses various underhand devices to amalgamate the Reagan presidency (1981-89) with white supremacy, and, conceding that president Reagan made Martin Luther King day a national holiday, he says it was under “great pressure”. He does, however, point out that Reagan spoke out against David Duke’s 1989 candidacy as a Republican for the Louisiana house of representatives. But Pat Buchanan, who is no racialist, but is a critic of Israel, is amalgamated with swastika-tatooed skinheads (page 416).
He complains that opposition to U.S. intervention is considered de rigeur among supporters of Pat Buchanan and David Duke alike – ‘white nationalism’ had ‘morphed’ into ‘isolationism’ – the idea that the USA has no business invading other countries. Again, a careless reader could derive from this a positive view of white nationalism. Zeskind frequently reveals his anti-fascism is covert support for American aggression, as opposed to ‘isolationism’.
Zeskind claims that, among the irrational prejudices which motivate white supremacists, are the idea that black men are more likely to be criminals than white men, and, in particular, they are far more likely to commit interracial rape. He produces no statistics to disprove these prejudices.
I don’t know the truth about the above hot-button issue, but I do know that Zeskind gets the lynching of Leo Frank by a Georgia mob in 1915 wrong. Frank wasn’t killed because he was Jewish, and it was not because he had been convicted of “the rape and murder of a white woman” as Zeskind claims. It was because he had been convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old girl, and had had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
Another incident Zeskind hypes up is the “murder” of five communists in North Carolina in 1979: what actually happened was some anti-fascists physically attacked a convoy of cars which they thought contained Ku Klux Klan members, shouting “death to the Klan!”. The men fought back, and five of the anti-fascists died. The local authorities, following the constitution, determined that the men were acting in self-defense. This conclusion is correct, whatever one thinks of the victims’, or of the assailants’, politics. A video of this event can be found on Youtube (3).
“Busing” was a policy put into place by well-meaning federal do-gooders during the seventies and eighties – children were taken by bus from predominantly white schools to black ones to break down “de facto segregation”. Its only effect was to encourage interracial violence, and it was abandoned, but Zeskind tries to paint reasonable opposition to this policy as racist.
In section IV of my article (2), I show
There is also over-reporting of hate crimes, which, if uncritically accepted, exaggerates the amount of hate in our society.
Even some of the most notorious “hate crimes” turn out to be something else. “Hate incidents”, which include protected speech, are amalgamated with actual crimes. Ordinary crimes, like random arson of churches by bored youth, are made into “hate crimes” by falsely claiming the churches are disproportionately African-American. Fake hate incidents, such as minority students writing hateful graffiti, are added to the mix, even after the hoax is admitted. “Perceived expression of insensitivity”, etc., are included as “hate”. Finally, crime statistics, compiled by genuine academics like Steven Pinker, which show a century-long trend of decline in hate crimes, are ignored (4).
Like all anti-fascist writers, Zeskind amalgamates support for less immigration with “hate”. But, given the existence of nation states, and the status of citizens of those nation states, it is rational for some of those citizens to campaign for restrictions on immigration, since immigrants compete with them for housing and jobs, particularly the latter, by asking for lower wages. Anti-immigration isn’t hate.
So what’s behind the exaggeration of white supremacy? Cui bono? Minority rabble-rousers like Al Sharpton benefit, and their supporters benefit temporarily until hoaxers like Azalea Cooley, Crystal Magnum, Tawana Brawley, etc., etc. are found out (5).
Another beneficiary of the hype is Jewish power, an important aspect of which is the taboo against discussing it. Zeskind follows this taboo, for example, the idea that the media is in Jewish hands is dismissed without considering the evidence.
On pp 492-3, Zeskind states that white identity is inherently oppressive. But isn’t it possible that it is simply an expression of genetic interests (Salter, 6)? And that the attempt to make it sound uniquely pathological is an expression of different genetic interests (MacDonald, 7)? In the section entitled “Are Jews Whites?”, Zeskind defends the boilerplate leftist definition of race: it’s “socially constructed”. He says “whiteness” is more akin to the divine right of kings than it is to the difference between blue jays and cardinals.
In fact, as Salter (6) explains, racial consciousness is an expression of genetic interests. Being altruistic to people in whom your genes detect copies of themselves, and perhaps hostile to those who have less copies of themselves, helps those genes reproduce. Under some circumstances, its in the genetic interests of, say, Swedish people, to distinguish themselves from Norwegians. Under other circumstances, such as the invasion of Europe by Genghiz Khan, its in Swedes’ genetic interests to consider themselves in the same race as Norwegians. That’s what “whiteness” is. It’s not a mental illness. It’s not socially constructed. It’s a simple expression of plain old genetic interests.
There’s much in Zeskind’s book about how people like the Christian Identity movement drew “anti-Semitic sap from the Christian tree”, but nothing about Jewish attitudes to Christians and others.
At one point, Zeskind describes an economic crisis in farming in the nineteen-eighties which drove many famers into the “newly resurgent” far right. Apparently, many of these farmers could recite the names of Jewish bankers – the Rothschilds, Goldman, Sachs, etc. – before they could tell you who their congressman was. I have the same problem. Couldn’t it be that those bankers are more important than whomever the Lobby has appointed to claim to represent us?
The concept “Zionist Occupied Government and its lackies” is frequently mentioned in a dismissive tone, without debate, and on page 484, he sneers at talk of “those conspiratorial string pullers” at the Anti-Defamation League, as if these ideas are ridiculous. Without missing a beat, and without evidence, Zeskind refers to the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 as “mistaken”. This is a major clue as to Zeskind’s real politics. His opposition to white nationalism is an expression of his Jewish identity.
Anti-fascism is the hyping up of white extremism, the lie that this, perhaps the least racially-oriented society in history, is in constant danger of reverting to the bad old days of lynching and segregation. The main effect of this effort is to hide the elephant in the room.
Zeskind, L. (2009). Blood and Politics. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
- Pinker, S. (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Viking Publishers.
- Salter, F., 2007. Genetic Interests, Frank Salter. Transaction Publishers.
- MacDonald, K. (2002). The Culture of Critique. Praeger Publishers.