Ode to Trump

(Use a Talkin’ Blues cadence)
 
Trump suffers from TMS
Testosterone Madness Syndrome’s pest
At Trump’s rallies, shake his hand
You’re pumping up an inflated gland
Trump’s Hard Rain better not fall
 
Trump compares himself to Tricky Dick
and makes Mike Pence his VP pick
Women in the kitchen, gays back in closet
Pence is the Christian Right’s deposit
Trump’s Hard Rain better not fall
 
Trump’s slapping his phallus on the table
We have to stop him if we’re able
Trump’s nasty rhetoric provokes violence
Which corporate media tunes to silence
Democracy, freedom? We’re in trouble
 
Time to organize, on the double!
Trump’s Hard Rain better not fall
 
(apologies to Bob Dylan)
 


p.s.
Pacifica Radio needs some bread
So write a check before we’re dead
 
-Chip Berlet
CC: by-nc-nd/4.0
 

Trumped Up

Under Construction

A Random Collection of articles on Trump


The Trump Collection Landing Pages:


 

Analyses

Trumping Democracy

by Chip Berlet

 

 

Notes on the Election

by Linda Burnham, April 15, 2016, Portside
Unfolding events of the past several months have confirmed that the presidential contest now underway is the most historically significant in at least the last 50 years. The reasons for this are several according to long-time activist Linda Burnham in this piece.

Trump Is Tricky Dick Nixon Redux, Running as the “Law and Order” Candidate

by BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT, Tuesday, July 12, 2016

 

 


 

 

Trumping Democracy

This set of resources will help you understand
the mass support for Donald Trump

The Trump Collection Landing Pages:


 

What are the Core Elements of Right-Wing Populism in the United States that Produced Trump?
  • White Nationalist Racism and Ethnocentrism
  • Vilification and Demonization of a Scapegoated “Other”
  • Authoritarian Demagoguery & Scripted Violence
  • Xenophobia and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric
  • Dividing the Nation into the “Producers” and the Parasites
  • Conspiracy Theories Claiming a Subversive Threat
  • Apocalyptic Warnings that Time is Running Out
  • Aggressive Misogynist and Heterosexist Male Egocentrism
  • Mobilizing Resentment for Political Gain
  • Undermining Democracy Itself

Producerist White Nationalism

Demonization & Scapegoating

Conspiracism

  • Elites, Banksters, & Intellectuals
  • Money Manipulation
  • Liberal Treachery
  • Leftist Totalitarian Plots
  • Islamophophobia
  • Antisemitism

Apocalyptic Narratives &
Millennial Visions

  • Christian Nationalism
  • Apocalyptic Aggression

 


This page is based on my article “‘Trumping’ Democracy: Right-Wing Populism, Fascism, and the Case for Action.” 2015, December
http://www.politicalresearch.org/2015/12/12/trumping-democracy-right-wing-populism-fascism-and-the-case-for-action/

and the book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort with my co-author Matthew N. Lyons.


[maxmegamenu location=max_mega_menu_6]

Who Predicted Trump? Really?

With American Journalism having a research memory that at best extends back to the age of the Internet, here is a selective bibliography of serious work that anticipated the rise of a right-wing populist or proto-fascist Presidential candidate exploiting White Nationalism.


Annotations and more titles coming soon.


Clever Jumps:
Bibliography of books by George Seldes
Ernie Lazar’s Most Excellent Bibliography on the US Right
Political Research Associates Searchable Bibliography
Gigantic collection of bibliographies


—Chip Berlet: “From the KKK to the CCC to Dylann Roof:
White nationalism infuses our political ideology.”


Interview Ideas: Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and White Nationalism
—Kathleen Blee, University of Pittsburgh
—David Cunningham, Washington University (St. Louis)
—Bill Fletcher, Jr., racial justice, labor and international activist
—Gerald Horne, University of Houston
—Rory McVeigh, Notre Dame University
—Cas Mudde, University of George
—Ruby Sales, Spirit House, racial justice and human rights activist
Richard Steigmann-Gall, Kent State University


Curated Bibliography

Sinclair Lewis. (1935). It can’t happen here: A novel. Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Company.

George Seldes with Helen L. Seldes (1943). Facts and Fascism. New York: In Fact.

George Seldes (1947). One Thousand Americans. New York: Boni & Gaer.

Peter Fritzsche, Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990)

Margaret Canovan. (1981). Populism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Dan T.Carter. (1995), The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY.

Peter Fritzsche, Germans into Nazis (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998).

Jean V. Hardisty. (1999). Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers. Boston: Beacon.

Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. Right-wing populism in America: Too close for comfort. New York: Guilford Press.

Chip Berlet. 2003. Into the mainstream: An array of right-wing foundations and think tanks support efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable. Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, no. 110, (Summer): 53-58.

Jean V. Hardisty. (1995). “The Resurgent Right: Why Now?” The Public Eye, Fall–Winter. Revised and included in Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment.

Robert Altemeyer, The Authoritarian Specter, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1996.
Whole Book (PDF version 1.35Mb)
Postscript on the 2008 Election (PDF)

Robert Altemeyer, April 20, 2010, Comment on the Tea Party Movement
Comment on the Tea Party Movement (PDF)

Neiwert, David A. 2009. The eliminationists: how hate talk radicalized the American right. Sausalito, CA: PoliPoint Press.


Background Materials

L. Noël, Intolerance, A General Survey, trans. A. Bennett, Montreal: McGill–Queen’s Univ. Press, 1994;

E. Young–Bruehl, The Anatomy of Prejudices, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1996.

For an excellent overview, see E.R. Harrington, “The Social Psychology of Hatred,” Journal of Hate Studies, 2003/04, vol. 3, no.1,
http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/againsthate/journal3/GHS110.pdf

Conspiracism

Robert Alan Goldberg. Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001);

Michael Barkun, A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2003);

Daniel Pipes, The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996).

Early Work

Dollard, John, Leonard W. Doob, Neal E. Miller, Orval Hobart, Mowrer, Robert R. Sears, and Yale University Institute of Human Relations, Frustration and Aggression, (New Haven; London: Pub. for the Institute of Human Relations by Yale University Press; H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1939);

Theodor W, Adorno, Else Frenkel–Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson, and Nevitt Sanford with Betty Aron, Maria Hertz Levinson, and William Morrow. The Authoritarian Personality, (New York: Harper, 1950);

Gordon W. Allport,  1954. The nature of prejudice. New York: Basic Books.

Milton Rokeach, The Open and Closed Mind; Investigations into the Nature of Belief Systems and Personality Systems, (New York: Basic Books, 1960);

Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, (New York: Harper and Row, 1951).


The Trump Collection Landing Pages:
>>>The Trumping Democracy page for in-depth analysis of Trump’s use of right-wing populism
>>>Trumped Up: A collection of articles on Trump in reverse chronological order starting from July 2016
>>>Trumpism: Resources on Trump’s Voter Base

Fascism, Populism, and the Middle Class

Middle Class Right-Wing Populism as Core Element of Fascism

Fascism is a complex political current that parasitizes other ideologies, includes many internal tensions and contradictions, and has chameleon-like adaptations based on the specific historic symbols, icons, slogans, traditions, myths, and heroes of the society it wishes to mobilize. In addition, fascism as a social movement often acts dramatically different from fascism once it holds state power. When holding state power, fascism tends to be rigidly hierarchical, authoritarian, and elitist. As a social movement fascism employs populist appeals against the current regime and promises a dramatic and quick transformation of the status quo.In interwar Europe there were three distinct forms of fascism, Italian economic corporatist fascism (the original fascism), German racial nationalist Nazism, and clerical fascism exemplified by religious/nationalist movements in Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine, among others.

Right-wing populism can act as both a precursor and a building block of fascism, with anti-elitist conspiracism and ethnocentric scapegoating as shared elements. The dynamic of right-wing populism interacting with and facilitating fascism in interwar Germany was chronicled by Peter Fritzsche in Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany. Fritzsche showed that distressed middle-class populists in Weimar launched bitter attacks against both the government and big business. This populist surge was later exploited by the Nazis which parasitized the forms and themes of the populists and moved their constituencies far to the right through ideological appeals involving demagoguery, scapegoating, and conspiracism.

===”The Nazis expressed the populist yearnings of middle-class constituents and at the same time advocated a strong and resolutely anti-Marxist mobilization….Against “unnaturally” divisive parties and querulous organized interest groups, National Socialists cast themselves as representatives of the commonweal, of an allegedly betrayed and neglected German public….[b]reaking social barriers of status and caste, and celebrating at least rhetorically the populist ideal of the people’s community…”

This populist rhetoric of the Nazis, focused the pre-existing “resentments of ordinary middle-class Germans against the bourgeois ‘establishment’ and against economic and political privilege, and by promising the resolution of these resentments in a forward-looking, technologically capable volkisch ‘utopia,'” according to Fritzsche.

As Umberto Eco explains, however, the populist rhetoric of fascism is selective and illusive:

===”individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is a theatrical fiction….There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People….Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell…Fascism.”

Fritzsche observed that “German fascism would have been inconceivable without the profound transformation” of mainstream electoral politics in the 1920’s “which saw the dissolution of traditional party allegiances.” He also argued that the Nazis, while an electorally-focused movement, had more in common rhetorically and stylistically with middle class reform movements than backwards looking reactionary movements. So the Nazis as a movement appeared to provide for radical social change while actually moving its constituency to the right.

The success of fascist movements in attracting members from reformist populist constituencies is due to many complex overlapping factors, but key factors are certainly the depth of the economic and social crisis and transformation of, and the degree of anger and frustration of those who see their demands not being met. Desperate people turn to desperate solutions.

A Collection of Links in no apparent order

 

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_revenge_of_the_lower_classes_and_the_rise_of_american_fascism_20160302

 

http://democracyjournal.org/arguments/who-are-trumps-supporters/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/15/what-donald-trump-and-dying-white-people-have-in-common-2/

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/who-are-donald-trumps-supporters-really/471714/

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/09/09/who_are_trumps_supporters.html

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/5-myths-about-trump-supporters-220158

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/09/politics/new-hampshire-primary-exit-entrance-polls/

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/12/09/the-american-middle-class-is-losing-ground/

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/12/09/are-you-in-the-american-middle-class/

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/03/secret-donald-trump-voters-speak-out

http://prospect.org/article/what-super-tuesday-means-establishment-politics

 

 

https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=2090

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/donald-trump-fascism-islamophobia-nativism/

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/donald-trump-and-the-ghost-of-totalitarianism

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/how-one-most-extreme-groups-within-religious-right-remaking-gop-race-presidency

http://fair.org/home/heidi-beirich-on-white-supremacy/

 

 

Special treat:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/04/bernie-sanders-burlington-vermont-activist-1970s

 

Trump, Right-Wing Populist Demagoguery, and Bigoted Violence

What’s Going On?

Right-wing Republicans, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz,
Fox News, Talk Radio, the Koch Brothers, the Tea Parties,
the Patriot movement, the Oath Keepers, the Oregon Standoff,
the New World Order conspiracy theories,
Obama is a Muslim?

It’s not one big conspiracy folks, but there are linkages and processes that are as old as the Presidency of Andrew Jackson
and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War.

Here is more bad news…even if Trump loses, the toxic bigotry he spews is a form of “scripted violence” that encourages angry people to harm and perhaps kill the scapegoated targets he identifies slyly as enemies of the “real” Americans: Angry White Men

How the Rhetoric of Right-Wing Populism
with its “Producerist” Conspiracy Theories
Fuels a Bigoted Right-Wing Juggernaut
Promoting White Nationalism

Available in these formats:

A Full Slide Show on Right-Wing Populism & “Producerist” Conspiracism:
As Web Pages (html)
MP4 VideoDownloadable PDF File

A Single-Page Chart
A Set of Connected Charts




The Trump Collection Landing Pages:


Progressive Security and Safety:
Threats from Right-Wing fanatics spurred on by demagogic political rhetoric have turned into isolated acts of violence against progressives. Pick up your self-defense homework here.

Ted Cruz, the Christian Right, and Dominionism

How the Right Took Power and the Failure of Liberal Infrastructures

Read more about it!

[maxmegamenu location=max_mega_menu_6]

Challenging Right-Wing Populism

Current Features:

From Trump & Cruz to the Oregon Standoff: A Slideshow on the Dangerous Dynamics of Right-Wing Populism

Movement Security and Self-Defense
Threats from Right-Wing fanatics spurred on by demagogic political rhetoric have turned into isolated acts of violence against progressives. Pick up your self-defense homework here.

Read about the Tools of Fear:
Mobilizing people into bigoted aggression and violence

Full List

[maxmegamenu location=max_mega_menu_6]

How Should We Respond to the Patriot and Militia Movements?

Adapted from Berlet & Lyons, “Militia Nation,” The Progressive Magazine

In the 1990s when the contemporary Patriot and militia movements developed as a significant force, they were riding the crest of a historically significant rightwing populist revolt in America.

This revolt has arisen from two major stresses:

1) actual economic hardship, caused by global restructuring; and

2) anger over gains by oppressed groups within U.S. society.

Among militia members, there is a great sense of anger over unresolved grievances, over the sense that no one is listening, and this anger has shifted to bitter frustration. The government is perceived to be the enemy because it is the agency by which the economy is governed, and by which equal rights for previously disenfranchised groups are being protected.

But militia members have a point about economic deterioration, and about the systematic expansion of the state’s repressive apparatus. These are tenets of populism, which can be participatory and progressive, or scapegoating and regressive.

The last twenty years have seen a decline in real wages for millions of Americans. The farm belt has been particularly hard-hit, and the government shares part of this responsibility, since it urged farmers to borrow heavily and plant fence-to-fence for the Soviet grain deal, then collapsed the farm economy by canceling the deal, which nearly destroyed the family farm.

And the government has abused its power in pursuing and killing rightwing militants without benefit of due process in a series of incidents since 1983, of which Waco was merely the latest and most murderous example.

These wrongs reflect real structures of political and economic inequality central to U.S. policy. Anti-elitism, properly directed, would be a healthy response. But the Patriot movement diverts attention away from actual systems of power by the use of scapegoating and by reducing complex reasons for social and economic conditions to simple formulaic conspiracies.

There is an undercurrent of resentment within the Patriot movement against what are seen as the unfair advantages the government gives to people of color and women through such programs as affirmative action. Thus, the militias are now only the most violent reflection of the backlash against the social-liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The Patriot movement represents an expression of profound anger, virtually a temper tantrum, by a subculture made up primarily, but not exclusively, of white, Christian males.

This temper tantrum is fueled by an old tenet of conspiracy theories: that the country is composed of two types of persons-parasites and producers. The parasites are at the top and the bottom; the producers are the hard-working average citizens in the middle. This analysis lies at the ideological heart of rightwing populism. The parasites at the top are seen as lazy and corrupt government officials in league with wealthy elites who control the currency and the banking sector. The parasites at the bottom are the lazy and shiftless who do not deserve the assistance they receive from society. In the current political scene, this dichotomy between parasites and producers takes on elements of racism because the people at the bottom who are seen as parasites are usually viewed as people of color, primarily black and Hispanic, even though most persons who receive government assistance are white.

Yet it is not only the angry defense of white male heterosexual privilege that fuels rightwing populism, but also the real economic grievances of working-class and middle-class people. Unless society adapts to address these legitimate grievances, the scapegoating will spread, and rightwing populism can turn to violent authoritarian revolt or move towards fascism.

But even if the society never becomes fascist, the period of turmoil can be dangerous, since it is almost inevitable that someone will conclude that the most efficient solution is to kill the scapegoats.

How, then, shall we respond to the armed militias? The answer is definitely not to curtail civil liberties. This would serve to further antagonize militia members and reinforce their paranoia about the government. And it would give the government a huge new club to beat up on leftwing dissidents-the typical victims of government repression.

Why should we fear the government? Ask a Japanese American interned during World War II. Ask a member of the American Indian Movement or the Black Panther Party. Ask a Puerto Rican Independence activist. Ask a young African-American male driving through a wealthy suburb. Ask a civil-rights activist. Ask a Vietnam war protester. Ask an antiinterventionist who was monitored by the FBI during its probe of CISPES in the 1980s.

When government informants cannot find their suspected terrorists, they have been known to encourage violence where none was planned before their infiltration. This has happened time and again.

Our law-enforcement agencies now manipulate the real presence of fear to demand aws that would undermine freedom of speech. They are once again pursuing the false notion that widespread infiltration can stop the tiny terror cells or violent rebellions that sometimes spin out of dissident social movements when grievances are ignored. Government officials to this day refuse to admit that negligent bureaucratic brutality at Waco could cause any citizen to be distrustful or cynical about government.

Suppressing speech will not solve the problem. But we need to change the tone and content of that speech, which is filled with shrill invective, undocumented assertions, and scapegoating.

The way to disarm the militia movement is to address its real economic grievances, rationally refute its scapegoating, and expose the lies and prejudices that its most anatical members spew.

Such a strategy was used, with partial success, to confront the Posse Comitatus fifteen years ago. The Posse blamed the collapsing farm economy of the late 1970s and early 1980s on a conspiracy of Jewish bankers manipulating subhuman minorities. In response, a coalition led by the Center for Democratic Renewal in Atlanta organized against scapegoating, offered assistance to groups voicing legitimate economic grievances, and assisted people in reintegrating into the economy.

Teams went county-by-county through Posse strongholds. Black Baptist ministers talked about anti-Semitism; Jews talked about racism; Lutherans talked about healing; farm organizers gave economic advice. The American Jewish Committee hosted a conference in Chicago to call national attention to both anti-Semitism in the farm belt and social and economic injustice in rural America.

This coalition had more to do with beating back the Posse than armed law enforcement attacks, criminal trials, or civil litigation. What the coalition’s education work did not do, however, was uproot the underlying social and economic problems that made the Posse, and now make the Patriot movement, attractive.

The widespread rejection of the federal government, and of Democratic and Republican parties alike, points to the need for genuine radical alternatives, which get at the real structures of power and inequality, rather than offering conspiracies and pointing at scapegoats….

The problem is not anger or militancy; the problem is phony answers, the problem is dehumanization, the problem is violence. This year, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Nazi Holocaust, it seems troubling to still be debating whether scapegoating can lead to violence and death.

How Should We Respond to the Patriot and Militia Movements?

Adapted from Berlet & Lyons, “Militia Nation,” The Progressive Magazine

In the 1990s when the contemporary Patriot and militia movements developed as a significant force, they were riding the crest of a historically significant rightwing populist revolt in America.

This revolt has arisen from two major stresses:

1) actual economic hardship, caused by global restructuring; and

2) anger over gains by oppressed groups within U.S. society.

Among militia members, there is a great sense of anger over unresolved grievances, over the sense that no one is listening, and this anger has shifted to bitter frustration. The government is perceived to be the enemy because it is the agency by which the economy is governed, and by which equal rights for previously disenfranchised groups are being protected.

But militia members have a point about economic deterioration, and about the systematic expansion of the state’s repressive apparatus. These are tenets of populism, which can be participatory and progressive, or scapegoating and regressive.

The last twenty years have seen a decline in real wages for millions of Americans. The farm belt has been particularly hard-hit, and the government shares part of this responsibility, since it urged farmers to borrow heavily and plant fence-to-fence for the Soviet grain deal, then collapsed the farm economy by canceling the deal, which nearly destroyed the family farm.

And the government has abused its power in pursuing and killing rightwing militants without benefit of due process in a series of incidents since 1983, of which Waco was merely the latest and most murderous example.

These wrongs reflect real structures of political and economic inequality central to U.S. policy. Anti-elitism, properly directed, would be a healthy response. But the Patriot movement diverts attention away from actual systems of power by the use of scapegoating and by reducing complex reasons for social and economic conditions to simple formulaic conspiracies.

There is an undercurrent of resentment within the Patriot movement against what are seen as the unfair advantages the government gives to people of color and women through such programs as affirmative action. Thus, the militias are now only the most violent reflection of the backlash against the social-liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The Patriot movement represents an expression of profound anger, virtually a temper tantrum, by a subculture made up primarily, but not exclusively, of white, Christian males.

This temper tantrum is fueled by an old tenet of conspiracy theories: that the country is composed of two types of persons-parasites and producers. The parasites are at the top and the bottom; the producers are the hard-working average citizens in the middle. This analysis lies at the ideological heart of rightwing populism. The parasites at the top are seen as lazy and corrupt government officials in league with wealthy elites who control the currency and the banking sector. The parasites at the bottom are the lazy and shiftless who do not deserve the assistance they receive from society. In the current political scene, this dichotomy between parasites and producers takes on elements of racism because the people at the bottom who are seen as parasites are usually viewed as people of color, primarily black and Hispanic, even though most persons who receive government assistance are white.

Yet it is not only the angry defense of white male heterosexual privilege that fuels rightwing populism, but also the real economic grievances of working-class and middle-class people. Unless society adapts to address these legitimate grievances, the scapegoating will spread, and rightwing populism can turn to violent authoritarian revolt or move towards fascism.

But even if the society never becomes fascist, the period of turmoil can be dangerous, since it is almost inevitable that someone will conclude that the most efficient solution is to kill the scapegoats.

How, then, shall we respond to the armed militias? The answer is definitely not to curtail civil liberties. This would serve to further antagonize militia members and reinforce their paranoia about the government. And it would give the government a huge new club to beat up on leftwing dissidents-the typical victims of government repression.

Why should we fear the government? Ask a Japanese American interned during World War II. Ask a member of the American Indian Movement or the Black Panther Party. Ask a Puerto Rican Independence activist. Ask a young African-American male driving through a wealthy suburb. Ask a civil-rights activist. Ask a Vietnam war protester. Ask an antiinterventionist who was monitored by the FBI during its probe of CISPES in the 1980s.

When government informants cannot find their suspected terrorists, they have been known to encourage violence where none was planned before their infiltration. This has happened time and again.

Our law-enforcement agencies now manipulate the real presence of fear to demand aws that would undermine freedom of speech. They are once again pursuing the false notion that widespread infiltration can stop the tiny terror cells or violent rebellions that sometimes spin out of dissident social movements when grievances are ignored. Government officials to this day refuse to admit that negligent bureaucratic brutality at Waco could cause any citizen to be distrustful or cynical about government.

Suppressing speech will not solve the problem. But we need to change the tone and content of that speech, which is filled with shrill invective, undocumented assertions, and scapegoating.

The way to disarm the militia movement is to address its real economic grievances, rationally refute its scapegoating, and expose the lies and prejudices that its most anatical members spew.

Such a strategy was used, with partial success, to confront the Posse Comitatus fifteen years ago. The Posse blamed the collapsing farm economy of the late 1970s and early 1980s on a conspiracy of Jewish bankers manipulating subhuman minorities. In response, a coalition led by the Center for Democratic Renewal in Atlanta organized against scapegoating, offered assistance to groups voicing legitimate economic grievances, and assisted people in reintegrating into the economy.

Teams went county-by-county through Posse strongholds. Black Baptist ministers talked about anti-Semitism; Jews talked about racism; Lutherans talked about healing; farm organizers gave economic advice. The American Jewish Committee hosted a onference in Chicago to call national attention to both anti-Semitism in the farm belt and social and economic injustice in rural America.

This coalition had more to do with beating back the Posse than armed lawenforcement attacks, criminal trials, or civil litigation. What the coalition’s education work did not do, however, was uproot the underlying social and economic problems that made the Posse, and now make the Patriot movement, attractive.

The widespread rejection of the federal government, and of Democratic and Republican parties alike, points to the need for genuine radical alternatives, which get at the real structures of power and inequality, rather than offering conspiracies and pointing at scapegoats….

The problem is not anger or militancy; the problem is phony answers, the problem is dehumanization, the problem is violence. This year, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Nazi Holocaust, it seems troubling to still be debating whether scapegoating can lead to violence and death.

Dynamics of Right-Wing Populism

An Introduction

Right-Wing Populism is a blend of the various components listed below:

Dualism

A binary division of the world into competing factions: one good and one evil. Also called Manichaeism.

Demonization

Read More about Dehumanization and Demonization

The portrayal of individuals and groups as agents of pure evil, perhaps even in league with Satan. A precursor to scapegoating and conspiracism which encourages discrimination and violence against the target. Acts as a form of dehumanization or objectification.

Read More about Demonization

Scapegoating

The social process whereby hostility and aggression of an angry and frustrated group are directed away from a rational explanation of a conflict and projected onto targets demonized by irrational claims of wrongdoing, so that the scapegoat bears the blame for causing the conflict, while the scapegoaters feel a sense of innocence and increased unity.
It is scapegoating whether or not the conflict is real or imaginary, the grievances are legitimate or illegitimate,
or the target is wholly innocent or partially culpable.

Read More about Scapegoating

Apocalypticism

The belief in an approaching confrontation, cataclysmic event, or transformation of epochal proportion, about which a select few have forewarning so they can make appropriate preparations. From a Greek root word suggesting unveiling hidden information or revealing secret knowledge about unfolding human events.

In Christianity there are competing apocalyptic prophetic traditions based on demonization or cooperation. The dualist or demonized version involves a final show-down struggle between absolute good and absolute evil.
Central to Christianity, the tradition also exists in Judaism, Islam, and other religions and secular belief structures. Believers can be passive or active in anticipation; and optimistic or pessimistic about the outcome.

Populism

From Right-Wing Populism in America:

Canovan argues: all forms of populism “involve some kind of exaltation of and appeal to ´the people,´ and all are in one sense or another antielitist.” We take these two elements—celebration of “the people” plus some form of antielitism—as a working definition of populism.

Michael Kazin calls populism a style of organizing. Populist movements can be on the right, the left, or in the center. They can be egalitarian or authoritarian, and can rely on decentralized networks or a charismatic leader. They can advocate new social and political relations or romanticize the past. Especially important for our purposes, populist movements can promote forms of antielitism that target either genuine structures of oppression or scapegoats alleged to be part of a secret conspiracy. And they can define “the people” in ways that are inclusive and challenge traditional hierarchies, or in ways that silence or demonize oppressed groups.

Read Domhoff on the difference between conspiracist populism and progressive power structure research CLICK HERE

US populism drew themes from several historic currents with potentially negative consequences, including:~13

· Anti-elitism-a suspicion of politicians, powerful people, the wealthy, and high culture…sometimes leading to conspiracist allegations about control of the world by secret elites, especially the scapegoating of Jews as sinister and powerful manipulators of the economy or media;

· Anti-intellectualism-a distrust of those pointy headed professors in their Ivory Towers…sometimes undercutting rational debate by discarding logic and factual evidence in favor of following the emotional appeals of demagogues;

· Majoritarianism-the notion that the will of the majority of people has absolute primacy in matters of governance…sacrificing rights for minorities, especially people of color;

· Moralism-evangelical-style campaigns rooted in Protestant revivalism… sometimes leading to authoritarian and theocratic attempts to impose orthodoxy, especially relating to gender.

· Americanism-a form of patriotic nationalism…often promoting ethnocentric, nativist, or xenophobic fears that immigrants bring alien ideas and customs that are toxic to our culture.

· Producerism – (See below).

Read More about Populism

Producerism

Producerism is the idea that the “real” Americans are hard-working people who create goods and wealth while fighting against parasites at the top and bottom of society who pick our pocket…sometimes promoting scapegoating and the blurring of issues of class and economic justice, and with a history of assuming proper citizenship is defined by White males.

See a slide show on how producerism works CLICK HERE

Conspiracism

A conspiracist theory is a narrative that blames societal or individual problems on a scapegoat. Thus we refer to conspiracism.  While there are real conspiracies throughout history, history is not a conspiracy. Conspiracism is a parody of institutional analysis.

Conspiracism is a narrative form of scapegoating In Western culture, conspiracist scapegoating is rooted in apocalyptic fears
and millennial expectations
.

See a slide show of a timeline on various conspiracist movements throughout U.S. history, CLICK HERE

The current wave of anti-government conspiracism
has two main historic sources, irrational
fears of a
freemason conspiracy
 
and irrational fears of a Jewish conspiracy

. There are many purveyors of the conspiracist worldview  and the belief structure is surprisingly widespread. From the 1960s through the 1990s, conspiracist ideas were promoted largely by two different right-wing institutions, the John Birch Society and the Liberty Lobby.
Both groups used a form of
right-wing populism in which narratives such as producerism  are common.

The Liberty Lobby is now defunct, but the John Birch Society continues to operate. The antisemitic version of conspiracist narratives is still circulated by a variety of groups.

See a slide show on how different named scapegoats overlap and create a myriad of conspiracy theories CLICK HERE

In highlighting conspiracist allegation
as a form of scapegoating, it is important to remember the following:

· All conspiracist theories start
with a grain of truth, which is then transmogrified with hyperbole
and filtered through pre-existing myth and prejudice,

· People who believe conspiracist
allegations sometimes act on those irrational beliefs, which has concrete consequences in the real world,

· Conspiracist thinking and scapegoating
are symptoms, not causes, of underlying societal frictions, and as such are perilous to ignore,

· Scapegoating and conspiracist
allegations are tools that can be used by cynical leaders to mobilize a mass following,

· Supremacist and fascist organizers
use conspiracist theories as a relatively less-threatening entry point in making contact with potential recruits,

· Even when conspiracist theories
do not center on Jews, people of color, or other scapegoated groups, they create an environment where racism, antisemitism, and other forms of prejudice and oppression can flourish.

Johnson’s Five Rules
of Conspiracism

George Johnson, author of Architects
of Conspiracy
, explained that “conspiratorial fantasies
are not simply an expression of inchoate fear. There is a shape,
an architecture, to the paranoia.” Johnson came up with five
rules common to the conspiracist worldview in the United States:

· The conspirators are internationalist
in their sympathies.

· [N]othing is ever discarded.
Right-wing mail order bookstores still sell the Protocols of
the Elders of Zion
…[and] Proofs of a Conspiracy.

· Seeming enemies are actually
secret friends. Through the lens of the conspiracy theorists, capitalists and Communists work hand in hand.

· The takeover by the international
godless government will be ignited by the collapse of the economic system.

· It’s all spelled out in the Bible. For those with a fundamentalist bent, the New World Order
or One World Government is none other than the international kingdom of the Antichrist, described in the Book of Revelation.

Read More about Conspiracism

Coded Rhetoric

When you hear someone claim that a handful of secret elites manipulate politics and the economy, who do you think they mean? The Trilateral Commission? Dick Cheney and his pals at Halliburton? Jewish Bankers? With a clever use of rhetoric, a speaker can mean all three, yet never mention the “Jewish Bankers.”

Using coded language to avoid an obvious appearance of bigotry has a long tradition.

When politicians talk about “Welfare Queens” many White Americans first envision a Black mother with ten children, even though most welfare recipients are White.

Dan T. Carter writes about how the 1968 third-party presidential campaign of Alabama Governor George Wallace used coded language:

“With an instinctive sense for language, [Wallace] exploited these racial fears through the skillful use of what soon came to be called coded language. He railed against federal, state and local officials for their timid response to Molotov-throwing urban rioters, but he never referred to them explicitly in racial terms.

“He talked about brutal and marauding criminals who transformed America’s urban streets into war zones. But he did not directly mention race.

“He constantly complained of shiftless free-loaders, collecting their welfare checks—paid for by the hard-working American. But he scrupulously avoided using racial language to describe this new parasitic welfare class.

“Even when he dealt with explicit racial issues, he always insisted that his objections to busing or affirmative action had nothing to do with race, but fairness for white as well as black Americans.”

–Dan T. Carter, “George Wallace and the Rightward Turn in Today’s Politics,” The Public Eye Magazine, Winter 2005.
Read the full article

Wallace welded together populism, libertarianism, and a White backlash against the civil rights movement.

To see how Wallace did this, read his statement about integration and the federal government CLICK HERE

The phrase “international bankers” is another example of a coded phrase that has long been used in public discussion. “International bankers” is often used by bigots to suggest Jewish bankers. So has the phrase “money manipulators.” This is complicated by the fact that for some conspiracists, the target is not Jews, but another banking group or family. For example, in the 1960s, the term “internationalists” can refer to Jews or the Rockefeller family, depending upon the author and context. In the early 1960s Phyllis Schlafly wrote about the “Secret Kingmakers” who controlled the Republican Party. Schlafly is referring to the Rockefeller wing of the Party, yet some readers who were antisemitic would assume she really meant the global Jewish elites.

See a slide show on how different conspiracist audiences interpret statements in different “coded” ways CLICK HERE

Propaganda & Deception

Read More about Propaganda & Deception


Notes

Canovan, Populism , pp. 289, 293, 294; Canovan notes that there are “a great many interconnections” among her seven forms of populism, and that “many phenomena—perhaps most—belong in more than one category.” She adds that “given the contradictions” between some of the categories, “none could ever satisfy all the conditions at once.”

Kazin, Populist Persuasion. See also Harrison, Of Passionate Intensity.