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Posters on neo-Nazi forums are publicly calling for the torture and murder of Congressman Pete Stark (D-Calif.) over comments he made on June 26 during a Fremont, Calif., town hall meeting. The Youtube video of the event has gone viral among racist and anti-immigration groups.
During the meeting, Stark mocked a questioner who identified himself as a Minuteman, the loosely organized movement that is best known for holding armed border-watch patrols, by saying, “Who are you going to kill today?” When the Minuteman claimed that border security was a disaster, Stark replied: “If you knew anything about our borders, you would know that’s not the case. Our borders are quite secure, thank you.” Stark’s remarks were met with jeers from the audience.
Stark’s assertion that U.S. borders are secure has been met with violent reaction in racist circles. On the neo-Nazi Vanguard News Network forum, poster “Mike Todd” suggested the congressman be tortured to death by being “staked out along the border face up with his eyelids cut off to be eaten by ants.” In the same thread, “Fred” wrote, “Stark will have one rope reserved for him on the ‘Day of the Rope,’” a reference to a scene in the infamous race-war novel, The Turner Diaries, when “race traitors” are murdered and hung from lamp posts and trees.
“The incredible vitriol directed at Congressman Stark is really quite frightening,” said Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which found and publicized the comments. “But these kinds of comments are not entirely limited to those on the radical right. In fact, the furious tone of many opponents of immigration has helped to unleash this kind of visceral rage.”
On Stormfront.org, which is the world’s largest racist forum and run by a former Alabama Klan leader, “EagerWarrior” wrote: “If there is any Justice in the World that ‘man’ will suffer a horrible slow death at the hands of the Mestizos he so obviously represents.”
The thread about Stark on the white supremacist political party American Third Position’s website is particularly nasty. A poster going by the name “Robert Jones,” who is described as a leader and senior moderator of the party’s forum, wrote: “Treason, may his death be protracted and his suffering severe. We do have laws for dealing with such treachery if only we can gain the political power to enforce them.” “Marcius” pitched in with “His acts can only be described as verging on treason.” ( continue to full post… )
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The last couple of years have been boom times for the far right’s distinctive rhetoric of dispossession. From backwoods militias who believe foreign troops are training on U.S. soil to take away their constitutional rights, to suburban Tea Party weekend warriors who heatedly promise to “take the country back” from their perceived demonic Democratic overlords, America is abuzz with groups and individuals claiming to represent and defend the “true” republican ideals upon which they believe this country was founded.
Of course, not all of these groups and individuals have the firmest grasp on American history. Take, for example, the website RebelRepublic.us, one of many Internet pages mounted by members of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement since the election of Barack Obama.
Like many of their peers, the activists behind Rebel Republic — which bills itself as the “Voice of the Patriot Movement” — aim to “promote a return to early Republic ideals.” It is curious, then, that the site’s agenda includes a promise to “[d]rive a change in voting laws to allow only US Citizens that meet at least one of the following criteria the opportunity to vote: they pay taxes, have served or are serving in the U.S. military, and/or own land in the U.S.” In another post on the subject of “voting reform,” the site maintains: “This country is built on the fundamental premise that property is to be protected from the government and other raiders. It only makes sense that those that have a vested interest in maintaining and protecting that property should have a direct say in how government intervenes.”
Forget the fact that anyone who buys a carton of milk “pays taxes”—we were more struck by the bit about “owning land.” Why stop there—should we also bring back feudal estates and the law of primogeniture?
We were curious to know if Rebel Republic really thinks bringing back property qualifications for voting represents a return to “early Republic ideals.” The expansion of the franchise that took place in America during the late 1780s and 90s — limited though it was to white males — was rightly viewed by the Founders, particularly Thomas Jefferson, as the very fulfillment of that republican ideal, i.e., the self-government of free men. The only early Americans who worried about the democratizing of political power were arch-Federalists, elitist in style and politics, who also favored a strong central government at the expense of states’ rights. Hardly the kind of people you’d expect to find sites like Rebel Republic making common cause with. ( continue to full post… )