A version of this post has been crossposted to The People's View.
"Don't Tom for Mr. Charlie"
-- Civil Rights era saying
What comes after tokenism?
These days, I've been discussing a trend I've noticed, not only on the states rights Christian-shariah right but the crankodoodle left, as well. Beyond political pandering and 1960s-2000s tokenism, it concerns the use of Black spokesmodels as morality chips to advance regressive politics or views that tug at the heartstrings to evince a particular political result. Neither pandering nor tokenism are anything new. But in the age of The First Black President®, the trend is one to watch, because it's not going away.
Quoting the self:
Does anyone think it's a mistake or coincidence that it's the Black man in the GOP race who articulates these anti-Muslim views the loudest?
Does anyone think it's a mistake or coincidence that people let Alice Walker get away with playing the "freedom ride" card when discussing the Gaza flotillas?
Cynthia McKinney, Professional Crankodoodle, has been known to blather Third Position/"beyond left and right" views to whomever will listen.
Some Black people are allowing themselves to be mouthpieces for agendas that either don't care about us or seek to actively suppress us. Don't expect me to be one and don't expect me to condone it. If this sounds like a non-sequitur thinking, it's not.
As much as they recoil from the word, the American rightwing is quite diverse. But our adversaries in any rightwing faction have no qualms with using lefty ideas -- and ideals -- to forward repressive, regressive ideas and policies. Anders B. Breivik, the Norway mass murderer called it using multiculturalist ideas against us to destroy us. Years ago, Chip Berlet of Public Eye labeled it right-woos left. I call today's iteration the leftwing of the far right. In our celebrity culture in the post-Civil Rights era, it goes hand in hand with political showbiz.
Leave it to Ms. McKlanny and her A.N.S.W.E.R. Traveling Carnival Exhibit of Suppport for Genocidal Dictators to once again scrape the bottom of the barrel.
Today, in my usual perusal of RWNJ sources to see what they're up to, I went to American Free Press, a longstanding antisemitic crankodoodle site. AFP is a Willis Carto publication.
Guess who's face is featured at the top of the front page, with a link to an interview with one of their bigots. Go on, guess.
In the interview, Ms. McKinney laments a "shift to the right" (5:44) on the part of the Democratic party. As Michele Bachmann might tell us, she's got a lot of chootspuh, given that American Free Press has been a longstanding mouthpiece of the Elizabeth Dilling/Francis Parker Yockey right.
Elizabeth Dilling, whose red- (and Jewish-) baiting agitation Glenn Beck was caught peddling on his show.
Francis Parker Yockey, a godfather of today's confederate/neo-nazi rightwing of buttondowns.
Over time, Yockey contacted or worked with many of the far-Right figures and organizations of his day. These included the German-American Bund, the German-American National Alliance, William Dudley Pelley's Silver Shirts, Sir Oswald Mosley's Union Movement, George Sylvester Viereck, the American H. Keith Thompson, Gerald L.K. Smith, and James H. Madole's National Renaissance Party. Thompson and Madole, in particular, became advocates of Yockey's worldview. While Yockey's pro-Fascist activities began in the late 1930s, they did not end there. Unfazed by the defeat of the Axis in the Second World War, Yockey actually became even more active in neo-Fascist causes after 1945. From this point forward, he remained dedicated solely to his cause of reviving Fascism. He dispensed with any semblance of an ordinary life, and remained constantly on the move, travelling to wherever he felt he could pursue his goals most effectively, and cultivating countless contacts along the way.
Yockey's ideas were usually only embraced by those, however, who could countenance the necessity of an alliance between the far Left and the far Right, which was a fundamental pillar of Yockey's ideas. The American Nazi Party of George Lincoln Rockwell, for example, rejected Yockey on the basis of his anti-American attitude, as well as his willingness to work with anti-Zionist Communist governments and movements, as the ANP adhered solely to the ideals of absolute anti-Bolshevist National Socialism, as had been advocated by Hitler.
With American Free Press, the nut did not fall far from the tree; in fact, it's still firmly attached to the tree. AFP was the old Spotlight magazine of the Liberty Lobby, started in 1955 by Yockey-ite Willis Carto. Carto is another living historical figure on the neo-confederate, neo-nazi populist right.
Carto's chief aim was always to mobilize opinion against Jews. Liberty Lobby was his chief instrument to bridge right-wing constituencies -- hard-right or paramilitary libertarians, conspiratorial anticommunists, racists -- by inflaming their anti-government and nativist fears and identifying Jews as the country's chief threat. "Zionists," in the group's disingenuous rhetoric, and the "Zionist lobby," were the driving forces behind integration; Communism; the United Nations and internationalism; the moral decline accompanying liberalism; and, obviously, Israel. These sentiments were widely conveyed by Liberty Lobby's weekly tabloid, The Spotlight, which debuted in September 1975. Written and edited by the organization's staff (including, occasionally, Carto himself),7 the flagship publication reflected Carto's conspiracy theory of history, a nightmare vision in which hidden forces -- including elite policy groups like the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations -- manipulated governments and media around the world. Jews continually turn up, not just as Zionists but in other coded forms, including "Israel's American supporters," "dual loyalists," "cultural Marxists" and "international bankers."
Nothing has changed in its incarnation as American Free Press. If there's a conspiracy theory that blames Jews for every evil in the world, you can bet American Free Press will promote it. As we could expect, Ms. McKinney goes into her usual dance around "string-pullers" behind Obama (and now the oligarchs in the Russian Federation) and other predictable, Protocols-lite b.s. in the interview. Another day, another dose of right-woos-left crankage.
So yes, Alan Maki of New Progressive Alliance and other anti-Obama Disappointeds ready to throw in the towel after two years. Ms. McKinney's bedding down with idiots like Daryl Bradford Smith, the pro-Gadhaffi, pro-dictator A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (which this AFP podcast was intended to promote), and now open association with American Free Press discredit her, and sully your movement. So sure, go on and keep kicking around Cynthia McKinney's name in these absurd "primary Obama" exploits.
Hey, anything beats the their last pandering/educational attempt, sending some ridiculous "Obama is a Republican!!!!" bus around majority-Black neighborhoods. How's that working out for them these days?
Contrast McKinney's forays into the anti-Zionist extremist right with people like Herman Cain, and the Christian Zionist leftwing of the far rightists attending Rick Perry's Ginormous Prayer Meeting. Called The Response, it came and went yesterday in Houston, attracting 20,000 adherents, give or take a few thousand.
Although Paul Rosenberg at Alternet lapsed into No True Scotsman fallacy by the end of his piece, its also worth noting:
“It's surprisingly multiracial, that is, surprising if you you don't understand why,” [Peter Forrest Wilder of the Texas Observer] said. Consequently, people should not expect The Response to be "this white bread crowd that people would expect Rick Perry, this white conservative male would be putting on. In fact, it's a pretty racially diverse movement of people, in part reflecting its deep involvement in overseas evangelizing."
“There's this interesting kind of veneer of racial reconciliation,” Wilder continued. “I wrote about in the article. There's this kind of instrumentality to it, not that it's not sincere, but there's a goal that's attached, trying to overcome racial problems within this community or Christianity or even conservatism, if you want to keep going with it. And that's that, at a base level, you look at what Lou Engel said. He wants a new breed of black prophets to rise up and use their social justice civil rights kind of bona fides to lend authenticity and credibility to the anti-abortion movement.”
A similar critique and catalog of some of their exploits can be found throughout my blog, in tags like Neo-Pentecostal/Charismatic Girls. I've said in other places that my parents could easily have been on The Response's roster. Having had both parents as leaders in a regional Apostolic prayer network and Bible school promoting racial reconciliation, however, it's a mistake to doubt the commitment (and thus the political pull) of grassroots whites and nonwhites involved in it.
I watched with interest this past week as Herman Cain had a falling-off-his-horse moment around his Muslim-baiting, and the immediate smackdown reaction of American Family Association's Bryan Fischer. The AFA was the main sponsor behind The Response. Rewriting the First Amendment by playing a very confused Christian-Confederate card:
States are given, under our Constitution, virtually unlimited freedom to manage religious liberty affairs as they see fit. They even maintain the constitutional right to “establish” a church if they choose, that is, to pick one Christian denomination and make it the official church of their individual state. It would be a bad idea, but not unconstitutional. Nine of the 13 original states had established churches at the time of the Founding, a practice the First Amendment was designed to protect. (They wised up and dis-established them all by 1833.)
And states also maintain the right to restrict dangerous religious expression as they see fit, whether we’re talking about the KKK and its burning crosses or Islam and its virulent anti-semitism. The federal government is forbidden to interfere but the Constitution places no limits around what state governments may do to deal with religiously-inspired threats to their security, peace, freedoms and individual rights. That’s a matter for state constitutions and lawmakers.
I’m afraid it may be too late for Herman to find his voice again on Islam. But it’s not too late for the United States of America.
This, from the same race-baiter who has also recently claimed Obama wants to give America back to the Indians. Oh brother.
A couple days later, he got another smackdown attempt from Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, ironically one of the few GOTP influences to speak out about it. Playing an overdue, very tattered "but he's Black!!" card, Land fingerwagged,
The glorious First Amendment to our Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an Establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Ever since the Civil War and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 it has been the firm and uniform opinion of the Supreme Court and the entire federal judiciary that all the things the federal government is forbidden from doing in the Bill of Rights, all local and state entities are proscribed from doing as well.
It is surprising that a man of Mr. Cain's ethnicity and age would be so insensitive to this issue. Thank God we put a stop to the "local option" that Southern states put on African-Americans' civil rights during the Jim Crow era. As a result of the bravery of the thousands who marched with Dr. King, Selma and Birmingham no longer have a "local option" on allowing full citizenship to their African-American residents.
That sure is interesting, coming from the head of America's largest church body that formed as part of the pro-slavery Confederate south. The inevitable anti-Black racebaiting of Herman Cain has begun, just like they did Condi and Colin. It never takes these bigots long to start racebaiting the very people some marketing genius told them they need on board, to win over the most symbolic voting bloc in the country (even as our numbers start to decline, our symbolic use as a group will still count in the minds of opportunists for another couple generations.)
Oh and congratulations, Rev. Fred Luter, one of the 17 Black members of the SBC who just last month was elected to First Vice President of the Convention.
Woohoo, I love the scent of progress in 2011.
Snark aside, much like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry/Jeff Davis-lite himself, it's a mistake to write off or deliberately misunderstand this faction of conservative Christianity. Crazy may they look to some, stupid may they sound to others, bat-shyt may we think they act, they've never died down, their ranks have only grown. Yesterday's rally was less a revival meeting with a Web 2.0-friendly website, than a show of numbers and potential political clout.
I would not be surprised to find Rick Perry on the GOP ticket if not in the P slot then in the VP one. "The Response" is just the beginning; the extremists of the rightwing have been working towards anti-Civil Rights goals for an entire generation.
(H/t Kris Peterson on the Alternet article.)