In 1925 the Ku Klux Klan held its largest ever demonstration in the United States. Tens of thousands of white supremacists marched through the streets of Washington D.C in a call to war against immigrants, African Americans, and Catholics.
After their devastating loss to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, though, we may now more accurately describe them as “nationalists” rather than “supremacists,” and while the white nationalist movement at-large has mutated continually during the near eighty-five years since that march, their core tenets of bigotry endure.
In 2009 the white nationalist movement spent September 12th marching and railing on the nation’s capitol against immigrants, Catholics, and the country’s first Black U.S. President. Predictably, the racist caricature of President Obama as a “reverse minstrel,” as nothing more than man in Black Face, abounded; however, the virulently racist connotation of such a social casting seems lost on many mainstream media outlets, though not on all. The blog Politico reports that some pre-printed signs read ‘Bury Obamacare with Kennedy‘. Similarly, the New York Times tells readers that many participants carried anti-immigrant messages, despite the claims that this present day convergence was an “anti-tax” march.
Seeking to capitalize on the racist sentiments behind those “anti-tax” messages, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group with ample ties to white nationalism, will soon enter the Capitol on a lobbying mission. In their piece Special Bulletin: Pulling the Curtain Back on FAIR from early September, the civil rights organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that “From September 14-16, 2009, FAIR will host its annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ conference, to broadcast its dangerously xenophobic message to Congressional Representatives and the American public.”
Among FAIR’s attempts to pressure Congressional Representatives will be a “We the People” Awards-Reception, which will feature controversial CNN news host Lou Dobbs, who has freely used white nationalist material on his “news” show and falsely accused immigrants of spreading leprosy in the United States. The event is slated for Wednesday, September 15th, 2009, from 7-9 PM at the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. The National Postal Museum is actually a part of the Smithsonian Institution, which can be reached at 202.633.1000 (Allen R. Kane is the Director of the National Postal Museum).
The Southern Poverty Law Center listed FAIR as a hate group in 2007, but the ADL first expressed its concerns about FAIR back in 2000. The ADL’s aforementioned Special Bulletin is yet another recent entry into the ever-growing chorus of civil rights institutions that have been enumerating catalogs of distressing insights into FAIR’s dealings:
• FAIR sponsored advertising campaigns with John Vinson’s American Immigration Control Foundation (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Vinson is an advisor to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens).
• FAIR solicited and received over $1.2 million from the white supremacist Pioneer Fund, a foundation with a history of promoting the genetic superiority of white European-Americans. The Pioneer Fund uses its financial largesse to fund groups who promote “race-betterment” – proponents of this controversial theory purport that one’s IQ is biologically tied to one’s race.
•According to an article published by The Progressive in 1993, FAIR president Dan Stein responsed to public concern and confusion about FAIR’s solicitation of funding from the Pioneer Fund by saying, “I don’t give a shit what they do with their money, my job is to get every dime of Pioneer’s money.”
• Two of FAIR’s former staffers have been associated with the Council of Conservative Citizens, which was born from the demise of the reconstituted, segregationist White Citizens’ Councils. FAIR’s former western field representative, Rick Oltman, is also listed as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
• In 1997, FAIR (along with other extremist anti-immigrant groups) attempted to recruit and solicit higher attendance at their events by placing an advertisement in the Citizens Informer, the flagship publication of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
• FAIR founder John Tanton works closely with Wayne Lutton to produce The Social Contract, a journal that the pair publish and edit, respectively. Lutton is also on the Board of Directors for the Charles Martel Society, an anti-Semitic organization that publishes the Occidental Quarterly.
As the pivotal player in the John Tanton Network, a web of controversial anti-immigrant organizations orchestrated by the network’s namesake, FAIR is pulling the strings of today’s anti-immigrant movement. In a news release on its website, Center for New Community, a civil right organization based in Chicago, reports that “the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – while claiming to represent the ‘mainstream’ of the American anti-immigrant movement – is a carefully crafted entity whose mission is to achieve the goal of zero immigration to the U.S. by blaming immigrants as the cause of economic, population and environmental problems.”
As they marched on Washington D.C. in 1925, the Klan accused Irish immigrants of destroying America’s culture and economy through a rhetoric that is fully comparable with the language that FAIR is now employing. Today, white nationalists seem as equally adept at exchanging “Irish” for “Latino” as they are white hoods for business suits.