Scholarly Studies

Chip Berlet

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Liberty Lobby (Now Defunct)

Founded by Willis Carto:

Spotlight Newspaper (Now Defunct - replaced by American Free Press under different management)
"brought to you by the former staff of The Spotlight, who are now the publishers."
Institute for Historical Review (Carto lost control in lawsuit - continues under different management)
Journal of Historical Review (Carto lost control in lawsuit - continues under different management)
For more background information see: Chip Berlet & Matthew N. Lyons, (2000), Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, (New York: Guilford).
 

The Former Liberty Lobby Network


In his history of the Liberty Lobby, Mintz argues the group reflects three facets of nativism: racism, conspiracism, and monoculturalism.

The John Birch Society trumpets jingoistic patriotism laced with conspiracist allegations that trace back to Robison's book alleging a Illuminati/Freemason conspiracy. Liberty Lobby relies on historic antisemitic sources echoing the Protocols. While still controlled by Liberty Lobby's Carto, Noontide Press reprinted classics by conspiracist antisemites such as Nesta Webster and John Beaty.

According to Mintz, Liberty Lobby clearly voices "racist and anti-Semitic beliefs in addition to conspiracism." As Mintz explains:

"Structurally, the Lobby was a most unusual umbrella organization catering to constituencies spanning the fringes of Neo-Nazism to the John Birch Society and the radical right. It was not truly paramilitary, in the manner of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis, but was more accurately an intermediary between racist paramilitary factions and the recent right."

The idea that so-called rootless and cosmopolitan Jews had questionable national loyalties was a highlight of the Dreyfus affair and was amplified horribly by the Nazi genocide of Jews. Picking up this historic theme, Liberty Lobby's newspaper, The Spotlight, frequently rails against "dual-loyalists" in our government when their target is really Jews or supporters of Israel which Spotlight conflates into an antisemitic stew of conspiracism salted with Holocaust Revisionism, Aryanist yearnings, and racial nationalism. Spotlight has a readership that fluctuates between 100,000 and 200,000.

The Washington Post has described Spotlight as a "newspaper containing orthodox conservative political articles interspersed with anti-Zionist tracts and classified advertisements for Ku Klux Klan T-shirts, swastika-marked German coins and cassette tapes of Nazi marching songs." That description is actually mild. The Liberty Lobby and Spotlight are not only fascist, but also quasi-nazi, promoting many of the themes of Nazi racial nationalism, and certainly networking and being used by persons and groups who are neonazi. Although the Liberty Lobby is careful to sanitize its views, there are moments of clarity. One Spotlight article referred to the Waffen SS, Hitler's elite corps of ideological Nazis, as a "multinational anti-communist mass movement, which was, in fact, the largest all-volunteer army in history." The Spotlight also has celebrated neonazi skinheads and the apartheid government of South Africa. The Liberty Lobby denies it is even antisemitic, much less fascist or quasi-nazi. It considers itself a patriotic populist organization.

Liberty Lobby, Spotlight, the International Revisionist Conference, the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), Noontide Press, and IHR's Journal of Historical Review were originally all projects of Willis Carto, one of America's most influential racial theorists. Carto is described by the London-based anti-fascist magazine Searchlight as the "leading U.S. publisher of anti-semitic, racist and pro-Nazi material." The pseudo-scholarly Institute for Historical Review is a "revisionist" research center and publishing house that popularizes the calumny that the historical account of the Nazi genocide of Jews is basically a hoax. Noontide Press (in essence the book and pamphlet distribution arm of the Institute for Historical Review) distributes titles such as Auschwitz: Truth or Lie-An Eyewitness Report, Hitler At My Side, and For Fear of the Jews. Carto lost control over IHR and Noontide Press in a power struggle over money.

Russ Bellant describes how Willis Carto, early in his career, produced the magazine Western Destiny, which grew out of both the Nordicist Northern World and a vociferously antisemitic magazine called Right. Right recommended support for the American Nazi Party and was edited by E. L. Anderson who was associate editor of Western Destiny. Critics and co-workers of Carto claim E. L. Anderson was a pseudonym for Willis Carto.

Carto and Liberty Lobby were influential in creating the racist Populist Party and assisted in elevating David Duke to national attention as an electoral candidate. In the spring of 1985 the Populist Party held a major meeting in Chicago where the armed and confrontational activities of racist and antisemitic groups in rural America were saluted as "heroic," according to persons who attended the meeting. Antisemitism at this meeting was fairly obvious. One group of rural farm activists from the Midwest left the meeting after complaining that too many of the attendees were obsessed with Jews.

A series of political and financial schisms ended the direct relationship between Liberty Lobby and the Populist Party, although both groups still shared many of the same fundamental antisemitic and White racist theories. Many participants in the Populist Party believed a conspiracy of rich and powerful Jews and their allies control banking, foreign policy, the CIA and the media in the United States. Like David Duke, they also believed in an America controlled by White Christians of northern European heritage.

Former staffers at both the Liberty Lobby and the Lyndon LaRouche group claim both outfits have cooperated closely on several projects. In the March 2, 1981 issue of its newspaper Spotlight, Liberty Lobby cynically defended the relationship with LaRouche's original electoral arm, the U.S. Labor Party (USLP):

"It is mystifying why so many anti-communists and 'conservatives' oppose the USLP. No group has done so much to confuse, disorient, and disunify the Left as they have....the USLP should be encouraged, as should all similar breakaway groups from the Left, for this is the only way that the Left can be weakened and broken."

Spotlight later distanced itself and Liberty Lobby from the LaRouchites over the issue of their questionable and illegal fundraising activities but the groups share many similarities. They both see the world as controlled by secret elites involving a disproportionate array of banking families with Jewish-sounding names. Both claim Israeli intelligence and British intelligence polluted the CIA and U.S. foreign policy. Both depend heavily on the intellectual ideas of Spengler as outlined in Decline of the West. Both promote producerism and divide capitalist control into industrialists (productive) and financiers (parasitic). 

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Democracy is a process,
not a specific set of institutions

Democracy is a process that assumes
the majority of people, over time,
given enough accurate information,
the ability to participate
in a free and open public debate,
and can vote without intimidation,
reach constructive decisions
that benefit the whole of society, and
preserve liberty,
protect our freedoms,
extend equality, and
defend democracy.


-Chip Berlet

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