*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It would be grossly understated to say America is in a strange place, or as some have even posited that the conditions in America on the right side of the political spectrum are unprecedented. While that may be true of “America,” what is happening in this country is not unprecedented; it happened in 1920s Germany with the rise of Hitler’s Nazi regime. Something happened this week as well, and it was the announcement by progressive website ThinkProgress that it would, going forward, stop referring to the white supremacist and white nationalist movement as “alt-right” and call them what they really are: racists. As this column noted a couple of days ago, it may be yet another case of journalists offering “too little, too late” to have any impact on the increasingly apparent rise of neo-Nazis.
One can’t be sure exactly what has been going through the minds of the editors over at one of this author’s favorite and most reliable progressive media sites that they finally made the ‘public’ connection between the neo-Nazi movement, white supremacists, the rise of Trump and “white nationalists” with blatant racism. It was possible that the editors were appalled at a weekend speech given by a rabid Trump supporter who is also a self-avowed white supremacist. The speech was where Sean Colarossi reported Trump supporter’s stood and gave the “Nazi Sieg heil” victory salute. If any reader has any doubts about the serious threat from neo-Nazis, or what blatant white supremacy and racism looks like, spend a couple of minutes listening to excerpts from a pure Nazi hate speech with many lines lifted directly from German Nazi propaganda replete with pejoratives unique to Jewish people.
The ThinkProgress editors accurately attributed the benign moniker, “alt-right” to its creator Richard Spencer. He is the head of the white supremacist organization National Policy Institute (NPI); an organization that is “one of the country’s leading contemporary advocates of ideological racism.” Besides quoting Nazi propaganda, Spencer insisted America was created, and meant to always be “a white country,” that white people exist as superior to other races, and in pure Nazi terminology said that “many political commentators (journalists) are soulless golem controlled by Jewish media interests.”
Now, with that kind of white supremacist Nazi-laced speech, and the “core of alt-right ideology is the preservation of ‘white identity,’” one wonders why the TP editors are not referring to the alt-right as Nazis. It is true they did say in the editorial’s title that they “will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right,’” and that “Use of the term ‘alt-right,’ by concealing overt racism, makes that [reporter’s] job harder,” and that “We won’t do racists’ public relations work for them” in using “alt-right” instead of “racist.” But this is not just about racism; it is about white supremacy and neo-Nazis going mainstream, and to the White House in a close Spencer ally Stephen Bannon.
The editors went to great lengths to attempt to delineate the meanings of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and just plain nasty racists, but it certainly seems unduly pedantic for such a critical issue to preserving what is left of America’s democracy. Apparently going forward, ThinkProgress will only use “alt-right” when quoting others and will use terms to describe NPI, its leader Spencer, and their ilk with “terms we consider more accurate, such as “white nationalist” or “white supremacist.”
According to TP, “A white nationalist refers to a specific ideology held by many of those who adopt the ‘alt-right’ label,” and believes America was meant to be governed by and for white people, and that national policy should exist solely to “radically advance white interests.” They say that white supremacists are a broader and more developing group who “believe in the innate superiority of white people.” The editors will only “describe people and movements as neo-Nazis only when they identify as such, or adopt important aspects of Nazi rhetoric and iconography.”
For dog’s sake! If everything about white nationalists, white supremacists, and the “alt-right” movement was adopted from and is founded in Nazi Aryan ideology; with speeches using quotes directly from Nazi Germany, and the dirty iconography of white supremacists and white nationalists giving the Hitler “sieg heil” victory salute at news of Trump’s victory, or during a speech with Nazi quotes and terminology, then just maybe it is time to call the “alt-right” movement what it really is; a neo-Nazi movement.
This is particularly true because a few paragraphs prior to the carefully delineated above mentioned terms, the editors posed a question;
“What, if anything, distinguishes the alt-right from more hidebound racist movements such as the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. The answer is very little, except for a bit of savvy branding and a fondness for ironic Twitter memes. Spencer and his ilk are essentially standard-issue white supremacists who discovered a clever way to make themselves appear more innocuous — even a little hip.”
Then why would on Earth would any journalist contribute to making the movement any less innocuous by attaching a white nationalist or white supremacist label instead of what they really are? It is a fair question and the answer is simple; if it walks, talks, and acts like Nazis, then call the “alt-right” Nazis, not racists, not white supremacists, and not white nationalists.
This entire movement, whatever it is called, is taking every step Hitler’s Nazi movement did in Hitler’s rise to power; particularly targeting journalists and pushing white supremacy and nationalism. In Nazi Germany it was Aryan superiority and although it is called “white superiority, white identity, or white nationalism” in America, it is certainly more than racism. It is plainly American Nazism and if all journalists called it what it really is, it might just wake people up before it is too late; something some poor journalist in 1929 Germany likely hoped for right up to the day the Nazis marched him to the gas chambers.