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Tag Archives: neo-nazies

Fighting Fascism – How the Nazis Tailored Discriminated Against Jews Based on American Jim Crow

Fantastic bit of history here. The neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and alt-right of today aren’t any different than Hitler’s Nazis.

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Tuskeegee Airmen

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761st Tank Batallion

 

A brief history of black Americans fighting fascism — from WWII to Charlottesville

In July 1943, one month after a race riot shook Detroit, Vice President Henry Wallace spoke to a crowd of union workers and civic groups:

“We cannot fight to crush Nazi brutality abroad and condone race riots at home. Those who fan the fires of racial clashes for the purpose of making political capital here at home are taking the first step toward Nazism.”

The Pittsburgh Courier, a leading African-American newspaper at the time, praised Wallace for endorsing what they called the “Double V” campaign. The Double Victory campaign, launched by the Courier in 1942, became a rallying cry for black journalists, activists and citizens to secure both victory over fascism abroad during World War II and victory over racism at home.

There is a historical relationship between Nazism and white supremacy in the United States. Yet the recent resurgence of explicit racism, including the attack in Charlottesville, has been greeted by many with surprise. Just look at the #thisisnotwhoweare hashtag.

As a scholar of African-American history, I am troubled by the collective amnesia in U.S. politics and media around racism. It permeates daily interactions in communities across the country. This ignorance has consequences. When Americans celebrate the country’s victory in WWII, but forget that the U.S. armed forces were segregated, that the Red Cross segregated blood donors or that many black WWII veterans returned to the country only to be denied jobs or housing, it becomes all the more difficult to talk honestly about racism today.

Nazis and Jim Crow

As Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime rose to power in the 1930s, black-run newspapers quickly recognized that the Third Reich saw the American system of race law as a model. Describing a plan to segregate Jews on German railways, the New York Amsterdam News wrote that Nazis were “taking a leaf from United States Jim Crow practices.”

The Chicago Defender noted that “the practice of jim-crowism has already been adopted by the Nazis.” A quote from the official newspaper of the SS, the Nazi paramilitary organization, on the origins of the railway ban stated:

“In the freest country in the world, where even the president rages against racial discrimination, no citizen of dark color is permitted to travel next to a white person, even if the white is employed as a sewer digger and the Negro is a world boxing champion or otherwise a national hero…[this] example shows us all how we have to solve the problem of traveling foreign Jews.”

In making connections between Germany and the United States, black journalists and activists cautioned that Nazi racial ideology was not solely a foreign problem. A New York Amsterdam News editorial argued in 1935:

“If the Swastika is an emblem of racial oppression, the Stars and Stripes are equally so. This country has consistently refused to recognize one-tenth of its population as an essential part of humanity…It has systematically encouraged the mass murder of these people through bestial mobs, through denial of economic opportunity, through terrorization.”

Victory at home

Image result for Double V CampaignWhen the United States entered WWII, African-Americans joined the fight to defeat fascism abroad. Meanwhile, the decades-long fight on the home front for equal access to employment, housing, education and voting rights continued.

These concerns prompted James G. Thompson, a 26-year-old from Wichita, Kansas, to write to the editors of the Pittsburgh Courier. His letter sparked the Double Victory campaign. Considering his service in the U.S. Army, which was racially segregated during WWII, Thompson wrote:

“Being an American of dark complexion and some 26 years, these questions flash through my mind: ‘Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?’ ‘Will things be better for the next generation in the peace to follow?’…‘Is the kind of America I know worth defending?’”

For Thompson and other African-Americans, defeating Nazi Germany and the Axis powers was only half the battle. Winning the war would be only a partial victory if the United States did not also overturn racial discrimination at home.

These ideals seemed particularly far away in the summer of 1943, when racial violence raged across the country. In addition to the riot in Detroit, there were more than 240 reports of interracial battles in cities and at military bases, including in Harlem, Los Angeles, Mobile, Philadelphia and Beaumont, Texas.

These events inspired Langston Hughes’ poem, “Beaumont to Detroit: 1943”:

“Looky here, America / What you done done / Let things drift / Until the riots come […] You tell me that hitler / Is a mighty bad man / I guess he took lessons from the ku klux klan […] I ask you this question / Cause I want to know / How long I got to fight / BOTH HITLER — AND JIM CROW.”Image result for Double V Campaign

The end of Hughes’ poem calls to mind the swastikas and Confederate flags that were prominently displayed in Charlottesville and at other white supremacist rallies. These symbols and ideologies have long and intertwined histories in the U.S.

The ConversationAdvocates of the Double Victory campaign understood that Nazism would not be completely vanquished until white supremacy was defeated everywhere. In linking fascism abroad and racism at home, the Double Victory campaign issued a challenge to America that remains unanswered.

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Posted by on August 22, 2017 in Black History, The New Jim Crow

 

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The Chumph’s White Crime Wave

The Chumph Rumps behaving badly feeling empowered by their white nationalist leader. May be time again to begin planting some white nationalist ass.

Placards lay on the floor during an anti-racism protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump outside of the U.S. Embassy in London, Britain, November 9, 2016. Picture rotated 180 degrees.  REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Donald Trump has unleashed a white crime wave

Last week, in Portland, Oregon, a man with a history of white supremacist rhetoric allegedlykilled two men and injured one other who had tried to stop his harassment of two young women—one black, the other wearing a hijab.

A week earlier, in College Park, Maryland, another young man—active in white supremacist Facebook groups— killed a black college student after confronting him on the street, according to police. In March, a white supremacist reportedly traveled from Baltimore to New York City with the express purpose of killing a black man, which he did, before turning himself into police. Earlier that month , a Sikh man was shot and injured in front of his house in a Seattle suburb.

His alleged attacker reportedly shouted “go back to your country.” Days earlier, in Kansas, authorities described how a man walked into a bar and shot three men , including two immigrants from India, after shouting “get out of my country” and yelling racial slurs. One of the Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, died of his wounds. More recently, a California man was alleged to have stabbed a black man with a machete after yelling racial slurs—he’s facing charges—and a Native American man was run down and killed by an assailant who allegedly shouted racial slurs.

These events are not isolated. They represent a growing tide of intolerance in the United States, fanned by the presidential election and embodied by the sitting president. At the same time, they—and the larger forces they represent—aren’t novel. The rise of racist reaction in politics almost always brings a similar rise of racist violence in civil society. For as much as the current period feels new, we are living through an old, and very American, cycle of behavior.

Nationally, white supremacist and white nationalist activity is on the rise, from more aggressive recruiting online, to active organizing and intimidation on college campuses. Law enforcement officials in cities such as New York have seen a surge in reported hate crimes, and the Southern Poverty Law Center reports an increase in the number of hate groups.

All of this takes place against a backdrop of political intolerance. Donald Trump ran for president on a platform of ethno-nationalism, offering interested white voters a chance to express and vote their resentments against Hispanic immigrants, Muslim Americans, and groups like Black Lives Matter. His campaign brought explicitly racist groups, individuals, and institutions into the mainstream, from Steve Bannon—who rode the success of his hate-fueled site Breitbart to a position as a top adviser in the Trump White House—to formerly fringe figures like Iowa Rep. Steve King, who routinely traffics in white nationalist rhetoric.

Millions of white Americans stomped the floor for Trump’s promise to end “political correctness” and restore prosperity through tough action against foreign others, turning out at higher numbers than either 2008 or 2012. This rhetoric has a real impact. A recent working paper suggests that when people view Trump’s popularity as going up, it “increases their willingness to publicly express xenophobic views.”

It’s a straightforward idea: High electoral support for a candidate who espouses prejudiced views may shape how individuals perceive the social desirability of those views. In our case, the election of Trump may have weakened norms against the expression of various bigotries, including racism. To all of this, add the return of “scientific racism” to public view and the recent controversies over Confederate memorials and Confederate remembrance, which have galvanized a broad stripe of racial reactionaries.

The centrality to all this of Trump—a reality television star turned public conspiracy theorist turned president of the United States—makes it unusual, as far as American history goes. He is a novel figure in the annals of presidential politics, a modern-day P.T. Barnum representing an extremely ideological and uniquely politically dominant Republican Party. But while we live in somewhat unfamiliar times, the larger dynamic at work is unfortunately too familiar.

Throughout American history, the ascendance of political racism—the use of explicit prejudice to energize voters and win elections, often as a backlash to the social and economic advancement of black Americans and other nonwhite groups—has brought corresponding waves of racial violence.

The “white supremacy” campaign that struck North Carolina in the state’s 1898 elections combined heated, racist rhetoric with a campaign of terror against black Republican voters and their white allies. Likewise, during the heyday of the civil rights movement, the heated demagoguery of segregationists was fuel for the violent responses that marked the crusade for black rights.

To that point, this week marks the 96th anniversary of the massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the worst anti-black pogroms in American history. The attack began on May 31, 1921, following an accident. As Tim Madigan details in The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, had stubbed the toe of 17-year-old white elevator operator Sarah Page. (There’s evidence that they knew each other and may have even been romantically involved.)…

 

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