The Social Contract, a white nationalist quarterly journal, released its Fall issue last month. Entitled “America Transformed,” it marks twenty-five years since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), popularly derided by anti-immigrant stalwarts as the most egregious law ever passed (the IRCA permitted undocumented immigrants to stay within the United States legally after meeting certain prerequisites).
Claiming that history is about to repeat itself through Obama’s “administrative amnesty,” the authors run the prosaic gamut of various anti-immigrant arguments, concluding that, after a quarter-century, not much is different. But it‘s probably more relevant to look at this publication’s history in order to determine what has and has changed.
The Social Contract was established by John Tanton in 1990. The single greatest benefactor of the contemporary nativist movement, Tanton had already launched a number of purportedly mainstream organizations throughout the seventies and eighties, referred to as the eponymous “Tanton Network,” later founding the journal to address some of his more extreme political interests—like the white nationalism that would come to define him. Throughout its twenty-one years, The Social Contract has supplemented Tanton’s movement with the more overtly far-right, a tradition that the publication retains. Among some of the more contentious figures in this issue include:
- The current editors of The Social Contract, Wayne Lutton and Peter Gemma, both of whom can be credited for the journal’s more flagrant white nationalism. They have contributed to the anti-Semitic magazine The Occidental Quarterly, a publication of the more acutely racist Charles Martel Society, for which Lutton was formerly a director. Additionally, Lutton has worked with the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Councils of the South.
- Another CofCC collaborator, John Vinson. Incidentally, the CofCC has referred to African-Americans as a “retrograde species of humanity,” a statement not out of keeping with Vinson’s own ideology: he helped to found the neo-confederate League of the South, an organization that has referred to slavery as “God ordained” and claimed that “the Negroes are better off today because of it.”
- A number of the staff and board from Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), including Otis L. Graham, Michael Cutler, Stuart Hurlbert, and Rick Oltman. Diana Hull, current West Coast editor of The Social Contract, was also formerly president of the organization. CAPS maligns immigrants for every potential crisis, from environmental disaster to economic collapse, and uses the panic it generates to advocate shameless population control. Even Glenn Beck finds CAPS to be too extreme—famously referring to its cryptic agenda as “spooky” on his erstwhile Fox show.
- Other Tanton Network personnel, such as Bill Chip, a board member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)—the flagship organization of the Network and the anti-immigrant movement. Fred Elbel, an ecology fanatic, also wrote a piece on immigration and “sustainability”; Elbel designs many of the websites for the Tanton Network and its affiliates, and is director of the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, a state contact group for FAIR. He is also on record as stating, “I hate ‘em all – negroes, wasps, spics, eskimos, jews, honkies, krauts, ruskies, ethopans [sic], pakis, hunkies, pollocks [sic] and marxists [sic]. […] I’m all for trout, elephants, bacteria, whales, wolves, birds, parrot fish, deciduous foliage and mollusks. Time to rebalance the planet.”
With this in mind, it’s clear that, despite the world around it, the only constant has been the belligerent chauvinism at The Social Contract. While it’s certainly easy, and generally pretty tepid, to condemn current events by denouncing past ones, it only serves to conceal the white nationalism that founds these anti-immigrant arguments.