Monday, July 27, 2009

And thus the abyss beckons: "David Neiwert died violently last night."

Michael Brescia, former Catholic choirboy from Philadelphia, member of the Aryan Republican Army bank robbery gang, likely OKC Bombing conspirator and the man who allegedly threatened to slit the throats of my children while I was forced to watch. Oh, yeah, and an all around nice guy according to his neoNazi friends.

Like France during the Wars of Religion, Spain under the Second Republic (1931-1939) was divided into two broad and mutually hostile segments that differed from one another in numerous fashions and eyed one another with mixed suspicion, hostility, and contempt. In blunt terms, one can characterize this as a cleavage between Left and Right, these distinctions being simultaneously socioeconomic (the Right drawing its primary support from the bourgeosie and its clients; the Left from the working classes) and political (Marxists, libertarians and most republicans on the Left; monarchists -- of varying stripes -- Falangists, Radicals . . . on the Right).Regional divisions further complicated the picture . . . Religious considerations also figure: Whereas the Right was generally supportive of, and supported by, the Catholic Church, the Left was openly -- and in varying degrees, militantly anti-clerical.

Three times between 1931 and 1936 elections were held . . .a procedure that can be described as the normal ritual whereby modern democratic states are periodically reconstructed. For here, not only are the formal structures and dominant ideologies of such societies legitimated, but rival parties and factions are also integrated as they cooperate in waging a rule-governed competition for (temporary) control of state power. In this case, however, little was gained either by way of political stability or of national unity. Rather, all three campaigns -- the first and third of which were won by the Left, the second by the Right -- were bitterly fought, and the rival segments of Spanish society emerged from each one more deeply estranged than ever before. In parliament both blocs sought to press their advantage when they had the upper hand and sought to stymie the other's programs when in opposition. Moreover, within this short period, both sides had increasing recourse to direct and often violent action by way of strikes, lockouts, capital flight, land occupation, insurrection, and assassination. -- Bruce Lincoln, "Revolutionary Exhumations in Spain; On the Brink of Civil War: July 1936" in Discourse and the Construction of Society, pp. 103-104

I think civil wars begin with the smallest of social estrangements and work their way to Gotterdammerung along an escalating path strewn with unthinking banal discourtesies, deliberate slights, virulent name calling and finally assaults -- first on the truth, then on the law and, at last, on each other.

I say this because David Neiwert died violently last night, and when told, I didn't give a hoot in hell. I actually grimly smiled and muttered, "Serves the lying collectivist bastard right."

Then I woke up.

I know where the dream came from (I refuse to call it a nightmare, for there was no fright involved on my part, a little lack that oddly bothers me more than if there had been). I was looking for a quote of mine for a chapter heading on Absolved and came across this once again by accident.

Weeding out those racists

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

There's a perfectly simple reason that white supremacists and far-right extremists keep popping up in the immigration debate: the anti-immigrant right is just talking their game. They're naturally drawn to the cause because it is their cause. . . Neither is it a big surprise that the leading anti-immigrant enterprise, the Minutemen, is constantly being infiltrated by neo-Nazis, or that so many of their spinoff groups are riddled throughout with extremists and racists, some going so far as to ally themselves with neo-Nazis.

The Minutemen, of course, make much ado about their efforts to "weed out the racists," though of course the reality is that their success is mixed at best.

What nobody seems to ask, though, is why they have to "weed out the racists" in the first place. If the core of their appeal isn't racial in nature, then why do they draw so many people for whom it is?

This is not a problem for most liberal groups -- say, the ACLU, or This is a problem largely on the right, and it's particularly pronounced among the nativist right in the current immigration debate.

Down in Alabama, a Minuteman leader made news by publicly drumming out a white supremacist:

An activist who distributed copies of a white supremacist newspaper at a rally against illegal immigration was banned from future events by the group that helped stage the rally, a leader of the organization said Wednesday.

Mike Vanderboegh, a spokesman for the Alabama Minutemen, said a woman he identified as Carolyn Edwards wasn't welcome at future demonstrations by his group, which helped put on a rally Tuesday in Birmingham during a national caravan against illegal immigrants.
Vanderboegh identified Edwards as a longtime activist with the white supremacist Christian Identity movement.

People like Vanderboegh serve a useful function to groups like the Minutemen: they avidly try to expell white supremacists and loudly publicize it when they do so, even though their efforts amount to a finger in the dike.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has more on Vanderboegh:

After spending parts of October patrolling the border in New Mexico, Mike Vanderboegh and the two or three others who made up his Alabama Minuteman Support Team decided they'd had enough. Despite the presence of an alluring array of military toys -- "night vision devices, global positioning systems, portable seismic intrusion detectors and ham radios" -- the men, all once associated with the militia movement of the 1990s, decided to call it quits. Apparently, their citizens' patrol, aimed at keeping illegals out of America, proved less than thrilling.

As of Nov. 1, the tiny group gave itself another name -- the Alabama Minuteman Surveillance Team -- and the mission of making life miserable for any business that hired undocumented workers. "We hereby put exploitative employers and crooked politicians on notice," Vanderboegh declared after ending the patrols and deciding to return to Alabama to concentrate on the situation there. "We intend to make it toxic for anyone doing public or private business to use illegals. If I were a politician in Alabama right now, I'd start getting REAL careful about who I accepted money from. Because we're fixin' to flip on the light switch."

Vanderboegh makes a useful illustration of this PR-driven sleight-of-hand, because he performed almost exactly the same function as a member of the militia movement in the 1990s:

I remember Vanderboegh vividly as a bellicose fellow who decided he was going to drum the racists out of the militia movement. At one point, he got into a very public Usenet spat with Kirk Lyons, who was fresh off a victory of sorts in helping negotiate an end to the Freemen standoff in Montana.

Lyons, you see, was closely associated with a number of racist-right figures, and was also the attorney for one Andreas Strassmeier. Because he was a sometime resident of the white-supemacist enclave Elohim City in the Ozarks -- a place Timothy McVeigh was believed to have stayed in during the runup to the Oklahoma City Bombing -- Strassmeier was linked by a number of conspiracy theorists to the bombing as well.

One of the first of these was Vanderboegh, who operated an anti-SPLC Web site for awhile called Dees Watch, and at one point was a spokesman for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Vanderboegh had been affiliated early on with the Gadsden Militia, and then formed his own branch.

It was from there that he launched his attacks on Lyons. Vanderboegh had a special spin on the Oklahoma City tragedy: that it had been a government setup, using Strassmeier and a gang of bank robbers in an arcane plot to frame the militia movement. So when Lyons posted on a Usenet forum devoted to militias, Vanderboegh wrote a polemic denouncing Nazis' presence in the militias and insisting they be run out. A portion of it:

I'll leave it to the gentle readers to decide who, and what, you represent. Nazi or Nazi snitch? It matters only to your inlaws, your "clients" past and present, your paymasters, and to the juries that will judge you, here and in the Hereafter. It's crimes I'm concerned with, Kirk. Specifically, a certain mass murder in Oklahoma that you and your client(s) know a hell of a lot more than your "little ole me?" manner wants to admit.

As Dan Yurman reported at the time, much of Vanderboegh's fulminations formed the basis for an actual cottage industry in conspiracy theories about Oklahoma City.

Vanderboegh's schtick, really, hasn't changed. He's every bit as impotent in terms of effectively driving the racists and extremists out of the Minutemen as he was in the militia movement.

Part of the reason is that Vanderboegh -- protests notwithstanding -- is pretty clearly an extremist himself, prone to conspiracy theorizing and violent talk about armed uprisings. As the SPLC report notes:

Vanderboegh has consistently portrayed himself as a moderate, first in the militia world and now in the anti-immigration movement. But he hasn't always sounded that way. Back in the mid-1990s, he wrote a document entitled "Strategy and Tactics for a Militia Civil War" in which he discussed the utility of snipers using "violence carefully targeted and clearly defensive: war criminals, secret policemen, rats (Pitcavage take note)."

But the larger problem is that the Minutemen's core appeal is not to freshly awakened post-9/11 concerns about border security, but rather deliberately fomented racial fears about preserving "white culture" [see: privilege]. This has always been the racist right's bailiwick, so of course they're going to come swimming around when the water is rich with familiar scents, as sharks are wont to do.

That was certainly the case with the militia movement as well. Perhaps more tellingly, the common dynamic was for seemingly "normal" conservatives to be increasingly radicalized by the movement, to the point of becoming outright extremists.

Neiwert and the Narrative of 1995

There is so much factually wrong about this piece that it is hard to know where to begin. At the time it was brought to my attention I was quite ill and never, to my recollection, responded comprehensively to it.

I suppose at this point, I should hasten to make plain that, as far as I know, David Neiwert is still above room temperature. He remains a major proponent of what Professor Robert Churchill calls "The Narrative of 1995," (see To Wave Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face, University of Michigan Press, 2009), which elides and conflates the very real differences between the constitutional militia movement and the racists who sought to infiltrate and take it over. (Much as the same dynamic seen in the efforts of the various communist parties in the Sixties and Seventies to infiltrate and manipulate the broader-based anti-Vietnam War movement, something I know about first-hand.)

An early example of this can be found here in a 1997 article for the Montana Law Review Symposium entitled Ash on the Sills: The Significance of the Patriot Movement in America.

Of course it is in the political and economic interests of the pimps of the Narrative of 1995 to lump us all into a big, sticky ball of excrement with the neoNazis, the Klan and the "Christian" Indentities. By inflating the racist collectivist balloon man, they hope to obscure the larger body of non-racists so as to be able to ignore our very real concerns and arguments -- issues of rapacious government and police violence that have absolutely nothing to do with race -- concerns and arguments that the Founders would have certainly understood better than the collectivism of Neiwert and Associates.

The bitter irony for folks like me who have spent just about their entire lives fighting neoNazis and their racist running dogs like the Klan and Identity is that people like Neiwert, Morris "the Molester" Dees, and Mark "the Hindenberg" Pitcavage (who started out selling names culled from trolling on militia Internet sites to the FBI and now provides "the brain trust" on "extremist" subjects for the ADL) only talk about fighting collectivist racism and anti-Semitism, whereas we do it, every day at street level, incurring considerable risk to ourselves and our families in the process.

Although Strassmeir had been allowed to flee beyond the reach of the law, other associates of his remained within grasp. Glenn and Cathy Wilburn, who had been tracking Strassmeir, filed a civil suit in 1996 naming Strassmeir and Michael Brescia along with McVeigh, Fortier, "and other unknown individuals" for the wrongful deaths of their grandsons Chase and Colton Smith, two of the day-care center children killed in the bombing. Brescia, who had played in a skinhead rock band at Elohim City, disappeared for several months after Strassmeir's return to Germany. Late last year he turned up at his parents' home in Philadelphia. On January 30, 1997 he was arrested and charged, along with three other Elohim City habitues from Pennsylvania, in the ARA bank robbery spree. Considering how long Brescia and his associates had been allowed to wander about freely, it is fair to ask whether federal authorities ever would have arrested them except for the pressure brought by the Wilburns and others.

Shortly before federal agents swarmed in to arrest Brescia, members of various militia groups had begun a campaign to draw attention to the conspicuous disinterest of the Justice Department in the Elohim City resident who bears a resemblance to the sketch of the suspect known as John Doe No. 2. In January, Arlin Adams and other members of local militia groups began putting up "Unwanted" posters on telephone poles in Brescia's neighborhood and throughout Philadelphia. The posters read, "UNWANTED by the FBI - Michael Brescia aka 'John Doe #2,'" and provided several paragraphs of text on Brescia, as well as his parents' Philadelphia address and a photograph of Brescia beside the familiar sketch of the bombing suspect. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard was in Philadelphia to photograph the poster effort and reported on it in the January 26th issue of the Sunday Telegraph. In a matter of days, Brescia and three of his cohorts were arrested - although not for the Oklahoma City bombing. -- William F. Jasper, Elohim, Terror and Truth, The New American, 31 March 1997

In January 1997, right after we embarrassed the FBI into arresting Michael Brescia and the rest of the Aryan Republican Army bank robbery gang, I got a call from Philadelphia. It was a reporter, someone I had worked with on the poster campaign. The reporter wanted to tell me something he'd heard from a Philly cop/source of his. A jailhouse snitch who shared accomodations with Michael Brescia had ratted that the former choirboy was raving about me and the posters that my friend Arlin Adams and the 1st Militia PsyOps Company (with critical help from the New Jersey militia) had put up. Brescia blamed us, quite rightly, for his arrest.

"He says that if he bonds out, he's going to come to Alabama and kill you, but only after he slits the thoats of your children while you're forced to watch."

At the time, my daughters were ages six and four. By then, my son was eighteen and no longer at home.

I did not tell my wife.

I did call Adams to tell him to be on the lookout for guys with "88" tattoos. (I miss my good friend Arlin, a kind, gentle veteran of Vietnam, he was a traditional Episcopalian and great Christian. Shortly after he found and married the love of his life and moved to Missouri, he was found dead on the floor of his new home. They said it was from natural causes. He was a man who understood, and practiced, spiritual warfare. His death was a loss I still feel.)

When Brescia was denied bail I began to breathe a little easier. He had carried bombs into banks multiple times, each count of which carried a mandatory life sentence. I had reckoned without Brescia's curious pull with the federal government. He made a deal for five years total and was out in four. As far as I know, he still walks the streets. If he ever shows up in my neighborhood, I'll shoot first and ask questions later. That is the reality I live with. That is the price I have chosen to pay, and I expect no pity for it. As David Brin observed in The Postman, you can love the big things, but don't expect them to love you back.

Later, as part of Operation White Rose, constitutional militiamen engaged in a campaign of intimidation of specific neoNazis linked to the ARA and the Oklahoma City bombing. They were getting, some of them, a free pass from the FBI. We wanted them to understand that they did not have one from us. Of course, they threatened back.

When effete pencil necks like Neiwert, for reasons of money or politics or both, sneered at the differences between me and my friends and the filth we were fighting, it was (and still is) very hard to take. For if you think all of this accumulated stress and fear -- the threatening phone calls in the middle of the night, having to look out the window before you walk out the door, making the family stay inside while you go out to start the car, and always, ALWAYS, packing, having firearms handy everywhere in the house -- did not have an effect upon my family, they can tell you now.

It did.

(It is interesting that Professor Churchill, who was reading the same Internet postings at the time as Neiwert, came to a much different conclusion than he did. Churchill correctly identified early on the differences between the constitutional militias and what he called the "millennials" who had much less aversion to racists and neoNazis. I suppose the difference between Churchill and Neiwert was and is intellectual honesty.)

And it is not as if Neiwert had no way of knowing this. He most certainly knew about the poster campaign that led to Brescia's arrest -- he pays too close attention to "racist right" doings to miss it. But because the collectivist "left" has long ago decided that during Democrat administrations, the FBI is "their" FBI, it would have been biting the hand that fed them to admit that the constitutional militias were waging a war against racist terrorists, one that the FBI was reluctant to prosecute themselves. It did not fit with their meme. Not neat. Not neat at all. So they ignored our efforts, they slandered us, and they continue to slander us. Yet slanders do not go unnoticed by the slandered.

So last night, just before bed, I happened again upon his old screed, and I went to sleep pissed off once more. In the night, not coincidentally, circumstances of civil war killed him in my dreams. But as he did not die by my hand in the REM shadows, I do not feel guilty, merely sad.

I am sad because it is one simply one more example among thousands of that estrangement, that slow division of what used to be one nation and one people, that will likely one day slide us all into bloody civil war. And it will be because, after all of the accumulated lies and slights and slanders, we no longer care whether the liars, the slighters and the slanderers live or die.

And thus the abyss beckons, from the accumulated estrangement of lies and slanders.

David Neiwert did not die last night, although the abyss he has eagerly helped create may yet one day claim him.


Anonymous said...

I have read a "brief" history of China, and I noticed one thing (among many) that kept repeating.
Every 200-300 years, for an accumulation of many reasons, the Chinese had a revolution and a change of dynasty and government.

I see the same pattern here in the US of A. We have had our 200+ year run as a country and an "empire", and now an accumulation of grievences will soon cause us to ignite and burn. And from the ashes will struggle a new government, hopefully modeled on the original Constitutional Republic.

But that will be up to the survivors, won't it? I'm going to do my best to be one of those survivors.

B Woodman
SSG (Ret) US Army

ParaPacem said...

totally apart from the topic - this is one exceptional, outstanding piece of writing! I never cease to be amazed. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Since immigrants vote for liberal politicians who support gun control, I am anti-immigrant.

Happy D said...

If the nazi crowd touches you or your family a lot of us would be very unhappy. And we might react badly to these collectivist socialist racist vermin. (Yea I know redundant Statement)
We might not be very forgiving. Especially with out your moderating influence.
So take care of yourself Because we love you and need you.

Brock Townsend said...

"totally apart from the topic - this is one exceptional, outstanding piece of writing! I never cease to be amazed. Well done."

I agree, and would like to know more about the problem with Lyons.