Monday, July 17, 2006

Today hate groups feel part of the mainstream

The left is always accused of making too casual a link between the Bush administration and fascism and/or Nazism. I'm careful not to throw the term Nazi around too loosely, and any fascist movement that arises in this country in this time will have its own unique characteristics, but it is worth noting the dangerous game that the Republicans are currently playing. In an attempt to mobilize their perceived "base," the republicans are staking out hate-based positions that scapegoat gays and immigrants for social problems. It's a tactic that fans the flames of bigotry, misdirects the legitimate anger of those hurting in today's economy, and shifts the political debate so far to the right that hate groups feel they've entered the mainstream.

There are a couple articles related to Hate Groups in today's Chicago Sun times:

Hate groups join military: report
BY FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter

... The Southern Poverty Law Center is reporting that Defense Department investigators recently uncovered a network of 57 neo-Nazis who are active-duty soldiers in the Army and Marines. The neo-Nazis are spread across five military bases and communicate with each other about weapons and recruiting, the report said. Several of them have been in combat in Iraq, according to the report. ...

Nazi group gets OK for Wis. rally next month

... The rally will denounce illegal immigration and the U.S. "open borders policy,'' said organizer Jeff Schoep, the commander of the Minneapolis-based National Socialist Movement. ...

'People that come to our rallies and listen to what we have to say are going to be pleasantly surprised at how much they agree with,'' said [the group's Wisconsin leader Kris] Johnson, who lives in Green Bay. ...

In regard to the military, I think the "infiltration" by hate groups could be the product of both a desperation by the military to meet recruitment goals and the general culture of brutality that's been cultivated by Bush, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez and all the rest who sanctioned torture and the abrogation of the Geneva Convention.

As far as the link between neo-Nazi groups and the Republican's anti-gay and anti-immigrant agendas, that's a pretty natural connection to make. In a country where the gap between rich and poor is getting wider, more and more folks are getting left behind and looking for reasons why. The Republicans would rather focus blame elsewhere, and have built the infrastructure to do so. Obviously it's a lot easier for the Bush administration and their minions to blame illegal immigration and gay marriage for the decreased standard of living of many Americans than to discuss the more complex economic realities behind it, which would lead back like a trail of breadcrumbs to their policies.

Unfortunately, the Democrats, so afraid of losing the "center," have done nothing to challenge the Republicans in any viable way. Any real change is going to have to come from grassroots organizers willing to do the hard work of explaining the real causes for entrenched poverty, lack of healthcare, insufficient public education, and the general decline in real wages for working Americans. The first step is to understand who wields the levers of power in both parties and what their true goals are.
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