Blood and Politics

Monday, June 15, 2009

Leonard Zeskind looks at the white supremacist movement over the last 30-plus years, and the politics of the disparate groups that make up the movement--from neo-Nazi skinheads and Holocaust deniers to Christian Identity churches and David Duke. His book is Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream.


Leonard Zeskind

Comments [12]


So these White supremacists want a perfect white society. Let's say they get it. Then what? Do they think they'll have absolute perfection? Won't there still be things that divide them? Maybe the whites who like metal will rise up against the ones who like Richard Wagner? Or the ones who wear tattoos and piercings will weed out those who do not. Or, the ones with 140+ IQs will exterminate those with IQs below theirs....

What I'm trying to get at is, if it's a utopia they seek, they're never going to find it.

Jun. 16 2009 10:12 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Multiethnic, multiracial empires and societies have a poor historical record of remaining intact. Even the relatively benign ones, that gave considerable rights and leeway to ethnic, racial and religious minorities tended eventually to disintegrate under economic and political shocks. The Roman empire is one of the most long-lived historical examples, but more notable recent ones are the USSR and Yugoslavia. When the majority group feels it is losing its predominance and grip over the levers of power to minority, it loses its self-confidence and becomes increasingly paranoid. Combined with economic shocks and the rise of demagogues, it can create an explosive situation. The hope is that within the context of constitutional democracy and genuine meritocracy as we purport to have here in the US, that such frustrations would have legal outlets that mitigate the chance of it taking the form of violent expression. But this uniquely American experiment is still relatively new and is undergoing a "stress test" as we speak. Let's only hope it passes with flying colors. Not only black and white, but all colors.

Jun. 15 2009 12:46 PM
Betty Anne from UES

As someone that occasionally has criticisms of the Israeli government I often find my views considered "anti-semitism" even if they are purely political. Why isn't Israeli political dissent allowed here?

Jun. 15 2009 12:36 PM
Tracy from NYC

What inspired your guest to study this area?

Jun. 15 2009 12:34 PM
Mike from Downtown Manhattan

Excellent interview. Perhaps Lenny could ask his guest why so many of these folks have engineering degrees, which I've always found interesting about cultists of all stripes.

Jun. 15 2009 12:30 PM
Karen from Westchester

Gabrielle, yes, we need to see how the views of the ultra-right and of fascist effect public opinion at large, rather than seeing home-grown terrorists as freaks of nature. They come into our living rooms or the living rooms of our friends through FOX TV, they come into the minds of average American through tabloid papers. The antidote is sound academic education, but how high of a priority is a humanistic education in American culture?

Jun. 15 2009 12:23 PM
Alvin from Manhattan

Was the American eugenics movement a way for the intellectual and leadership classes to express its racism and other prejudices? Many very prominent Americans were actively involved in this. Let's not forget that the American eugenics movement was an important inspiration for Nazi racial policies.

Jun. 15 2009 12:20 PM
Gerald Fnord from Dallas

Around the world people are feeling dislocated, and some of them are trying to flee into a notional past. It's a notional past because there was never was a racially pure society, an harmonious Caliphate or Christendom.

But those are just facts. These people, and they are not alone, care more about the Truth than facts...they are far from alone in this, but the problem is that they like guns. A lot.

They aren't invisible to this liberal: I listen to 'Christian' radio, as much Rush Limbaugh as I can stand, and read Free Republic when I have the stomach for't...mostly they show things not entirely characteristic of these movements, but you see waves that say things about the currents beneath (although that way lies potential paranoia).

Jun. 15 2009 12:17 PM
John-Paul G from Elizabeth, NJ

Hey as long as we're plugging, I've got a crumby opinion cartoon on the Holocaust Museum shooting.

Jun. 15 2009 12:13 PM
Jessie Daniels from Manhattan

I've spent more than ten years researching hate and white supremacy online.
In my new book, Cyber Racism
(, I explore in some detail the ways that websites such as those of the Institute for Historical Review where von Brunn worked for awhile, and which I refer to as "cloaked" sites for the way that they disguise their intention and easily fool the unsuspecting reader, are much more of a threat than the overtly racist and antisemitic websites like von Brunn's "Holy Western Empire."
The fact is that white supremacy has entered the digital era.
Avowed white supremacist extremists, such as James von Brunn, were early adopters of Internet technologies; they were among the first to create, publish and maintain web pages on the Internet.
The reality that von Brunn and other white supremacists were early adopters of digital media, runs counter to two prevailing notions: 1), that white supremacists are gap-toothed, ignorant, unsophisticated and uneducated, and 2), that the Internet is a place without “race.”
In reality, neither of these views is accurate.
You can read more about this at my blog:

Jun. 15 2009 10:05 AM
Yvonne from new york

As the Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center USA, located in New York City ,and partner to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, I would like to express our grave concern with the hateful event that took place at the US Holocaust Museum last Wednesday, resulting in Mr. Johns death, two days before what would have been Anne Frank's 80th birthday. We all know why Anne did not return and was not with us Friday to celebrate her birthday, as did none in her family ewith the exception of her father, Otto Frank. Today, Monday, we are honoring Mr. George Stevens Jr. for the work he did with his father on the 50th anniversary of the movie The Diary of Anne Frank. Mr. Stevens father, George Stevens Sr., was contracted by the US government to document and film D-Day and the subsequent liberation of Europe traveling with the US army. If anyone doubts the footage that Mr. Stevens shot of entering Buchenwald it signifies ignorance - nothing else.

Jun. 15 2009 09:40 AM
Gabrielle from brooklyn

We in the US often say that firebrand imams incite their mosque-goers to acts of terrorism. Can your guest be kind enough to discuss the state of Right-wing media (especially cable networks such as Fox) today and the affect it is having on the mobilizing these domestic terrorists to violence.

Jun. 15 2009 07:04 AM

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