Hate Groups and the “Other Wars”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball
“Barack Obama uses none of his talent and position to address this nation’s real problems with race and class.”
There is truly good reason for this week’s upcoming Conference on the Other Wars being convened in Washington, DC by the Black Is Back Coalition. For even among progressives in this country there is a tendency to be swept away by the latest foreign atrocity and to ignore the original national tendency toward anti-Blackness. This often means that the well-meaning will be distracted from national issues which are equally long-standing and often more likely to be easily addressed. Among those “other wars” are the continuing settler colonial domination of Indigenous nations, abuse suffered at the hands of the police and broader system of mass incarceration and one we might need to add; the growing hate group phenomenon occurring across this country.
The recently reported increase in domestic hate groups is a development to be blamed solely on the weakness of the political Left. Hate groups feed on the incompleteness of domestic revolutions and freedom movements along with the general refusal among elements of that Left to consistently focus on this nation’s failed attempts at real change. In fact, these hate groups are said to be gaining strength from the persistence of high unemployment which enflames pre-existing hatred, the continuing rightward lean of elected officials which encourages these groups to press harder, and the election of a perceived threat in Barack Obama who uses none of his talent and position to address this nation’s real problems with race and class.
In last month’s Southern Poverty Law Center study, which describes a massive increase in domestic hate group organization, the authors note that both the election of President Obama in 2008 and the subsequent election of hard right-wing politicians across the country have only emboldened the effort of these groups. According to the report, “The Year in Hate 2010,” these hate groups now total more than 1,000 and have increased by 7.5% since 2009 and 66% since 2000. They are inspired by the election of Obama the perfect symbol of all that has gone wrong for them and these groups are not at all mollified by an increase in political representation, indeed quite the opposite. The radical shift rightward and election of Tea Party candidates and mainstream Republicans are all the result of hate group-inspiring concessions of the Left.
“Hate groups are said to be gaining strength from the persistence of high unemployment.”
These concessions include, of course, the kind of capitulation to capital represented in Obama’s refusal to invest in the public sector while only bailing out Wall Street and then appointing all of corporate America’s best friend’s to his cabinet and community of advisors. But these concessions also include similar refusals to strongly condemn a culture of racism or to strengthen through public support progressive efforts looking to improve the national understanding of race, class, gender, religion and so on. Instead the Obama administration condemns the political Left. This is precisely what Glen Ford spoke to recently when comparing the current administration’s use of the Tea Party to Bill Clinton’s use of the 1990s takeover led by Newt Gingrich. In each case progressive elements in the country were stifled by warnings that worse forms of “crackers” are waiting in the wings.
And media who might be expected to better cover things like the hyper-acceleration of hate groups or domestic terrorists make similar defensive claims to be saving us from CNN who claims to be saving us from Fox. These, by the way, are often the same media reformers who praise the coming of the internet as a revolutionary medium while ignoring the basic fact that overtly violent white supremacist hate groups have access to the web too. In fact, as Adam Klein wrote last year in his book A Space for Hate: The White Power Movement's Adaptation into Cyberspace, their websites are “the new Ku Klux Klan meeting halls” and “the latest Nuremburg rally town squares” that are no longer the “American subculture.” They are widely-visited and “globally accessible to everyone.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center report concludes that because Obama serves as a “lightening rod” for these hate groups that things are likely to get “worse before they get better.” To that we must add the predictably worsening impact on all this of a Black president who is more busy appeasing his corporate sponsors than confronting these age-old domestic hostilities. And that is why we must promote attention to those “other wars.”
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Using the internet for good we are at BlackAgendaReport.com.
Dr. Jared A. Ball can be reached via email at: email@example.com.
For information on the Black Is Back Coalition “National Conference on the Other Wars,” go tohttp://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/mobilization3.shtml