The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Nativist Leader Says Violence May be Needed to Save ‘White America’

By Leah Nelson on August 23, 2011 - 2:38 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, Extremist Propaganda

While much of the political rhetoric on the right these days is laden with violent imagery and gun-based metaphors, outright suggestions of political violence remain relatively rare. But in the wake of President Obama’s executive order last week that sharply limits deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants, that is changing.

Yesterday, speaking with far-right radio host Janet Mefferd, William Gheen, the leader of the nativist group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), said that legal political activity may no longer be sufficient to protect America from immigrants — in particular, he made it clear, from non-white immigrants. Gheen, who in the past tried to appear a moderate on the nativist scene, said that in order to save “white America,” it may be necessary to engage in “extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.”

His full quote: “We’re no longer referring to him as President Barack Obama, our national organization has made the decision and made the announcement, we now refer to him as dictator Barack Obama. That’s what he is. And, basically, at this point, if you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse, there really isn’t one that we can think of, and I’m really not sure what to tell people out there than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re illegal and violent.”

Such rhetoric marks a sharp rightward lurch for Gheen, who has often been quoted on immigration matters by mainstream news organizations, including The New York Times, which quoted him as a legitimate commentator on the issue just two weeks ago. Last May, Gheen pulled ALIPAC out of rallies backing Arizona’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070, after hearing that their organizers were connected to racist skinheads and neo-Nazis. “The neo-Nazi connections and this disaster they have cooked up in Arizona … puts our issue at risk,” he proclaimed, excoriating the organizers for making a “huge” and “terrible” mistake.

After Minuteman American Defense leader Shawna Forde was accused of the slaying of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Pima County, Ariz., Gheen warned his followers to have nothing to do with Minuteman groups. (Forde and two co-conspirators were found guilty this year. Forde was sentenced to death.)

Newfound racial radicalism aside, however, Gheen is no stranger to more garden-variety bigotry and fear-mongering. He has accused Mexican immigrants of carrying infectious diseases and plotting to take over the Southwest. In April 2010, he targeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), claiming that the 56-year-old bachelor is gay and saying he should come out to avoid being blackmailed into working with Democrats on immigration reform. In July 2010, Gheen told revisionist “historian” David Barton that LGBT people secretly want to import undocumented immigrants as a way of “replacing many core Americans and American values,” part of an overall “war” against Americans.

Gheen’s hysteria has seemed to amplify of late. A few months ago, he launched an “impeach Obama” campaign, accusing the president of treason. He urged his followers to “demand” action from their representatives and followed up with a threat: “If Congress does not respond by July 15, ALIPAC will move to call for public protests across the nation calling for the ouster of this authoritarian regime.” He has since sent out numerous dire warnings about the inevitable misery that will follow if Obama remains in office.

Yesterday, Gheen went one further, announcing that ALIPAC will henceforth refer to the president as “Dictator Barack Obama.” He also accused the Department of Homeland Security of spying on ordinary Americans’ everyday activities, and of “putting out videos and propaganda telegraphing what I believe to be a conflict with White America they’re preparing for after they get another 10 or 15 million people in the country to back them up.”

Gheen wasn’t the only one fretting about a looming Obama-led race war. Discussing the prospects of various Republican presidential candidates, Glenn Beck on Aug. 11 predicted that if Obama loses next year’s election, the administration would try to destroy America on its way out the door. “I firmly believe race riots are on the way,” he said.

  • Amanda

    Mr. Gheen,
    This is America, “if you don’t like then you can get out.”

  • ruben

    skinny….and while they are add it they can also blame us ” meskins ” for global warming, the bailouts to all the crooks in wall street,the recent earthquake in the east coast,hurricane katrina and every other negative misery natural or man made that is plaguing our society these days……the white right always needs there scapegoats to justify there hate…..we won’t assimilate?….is this why my english is better than my spanish!……we won’t assimilate but i served in the military as do many thousands mexican/americans…… we won’t assimilate but i vote in every election!!…..we won’t assimilate but i worry about paying my bills and mortgage on time like many other americans… bunnyrabbit said these people are sick,sick,sick many in the far white right look at there lives and see nothing but failures that they have brought upon themselves and they will always put the blame on some one else they are lost and hopeless in my opinion which is why they turn to hate.

  • Bunnyrabbit

    Sick,sick,sick people full of crap that are trying to ruin everything for normal people. It seems that the far right is looking forward to anarchy so they can have a freaking barter system. Someone please explain who wants to live like Grizzly Adams? I personally like to bathe and have electricity. Why are we allowing a small percentage of pensioners with dementia to screw up the country? WE need to get off the stupid blogs and do something sane to stop this nonsense. Any suggestions?

  • skinnyminny

    Here’s a laugh for you! Illegal aliens are the new tea party congress – they won’t assimilate, they have brought their culture that no one likes, they don’t like our government…

  • ruben

    skinny……you also have to remember that the white right hypocrites also like to call themselves the “so called watch dogs” of the constitution….but its them that are screaming the loudest to change it…….in other words in the warped minds of righties like gheen if they think that they are no longer in charge of the country they want a revolution… can you call that a democracy……it sounds more like a dictatorship.

  • skinnyminny

    Interesting that Gheen says that they no longer call the prez Barack Obama but dictator…because that’s what he is…
    This is interesting because, the people I now call the party of ‘trick and trap,’ continues to go against what the people want. These people want to cut social security, medicare, medicaid, eliminate employees right to unionize/bargain, cut pay and raise taxes on the people who are already struggling, determine who can marry who – in re LGBT community, determine what a woman does with her body – in re Roe vs. Wade, determine who is fit or right to serve in the military, try to revoke our rights to a vote by trying to get rid of the people we voted for – in essence controling our votes…this is my definition of a dictator, or what I consider to be a dictator, people making the decisions for us against our will. The prez has not done any of this. He (the prez) has been compromising too much. A compromiser is not a dictator.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Dehong, can you explain why a higher Hispanic birth rate must inevitably lead to civil war and separation? I think you have a logical disconnect in your theory.

  • ModerateMike


    Your remarks on the future demographics of the U.S. may be correct, but what makes you believe that the country cannot remain democratic without a white majority? If anything, I would think that a more racially and ethnically diverse country would be more democratic because it would be much more difficult for any one racial/ethnic group to exclude the others from the political process.

  • ruben

    mitch you are so right!!….hate destroys and the hate coming out of the right these past few years is what is going to doom this country. these people harbor the most poisonous and sinister hate of all……racial hatred!! there is no middle ground or negotiating with this kind of hate…..and what kind of democracy can this country have if minorities are the majority you ask (dehong)….maybe it will be better than what we have now… certainly can’t get any worse….for the most part the democracy the white right in this country is afraid of losing has been one of oppressing and bullying people of color at will…whats so great about that.

  • krissy

    This is what happens when you slash education and ignorant people get their history from a pamphlet in a shoe box.

  • Josh Geyer

    Paul Babeu (Sheriff of Pinal Co, AZ) on the Fox Business Network, Aug 23rd: “And then the President uses this argument so make like somehow we’re being un-American if we don’t wanna submit to his edict as, as almost like a, a dictator!”

  • EarleyDaysYet

    I can still remember the first time an immigration official referred to my Australian-working-legally-in-the-US parents as “aliens” – it is designed to be depersonalising.

  • Bunnyrabbit

    Hint: go hunt squirrels instead if you want to blow someone away…course I would feel sorry for the squirrels…

  • Bunnyrabbit


    Please tell me why it has to be that way? If it’s such a big deal for white people to be the minority…explain why so many white people spend so much time getting suntans? It seems like it’s cool to be brown. Guess Mitch is right…we should go after the illegal (and idiotic) sovereign “bubbas”! Lol! Except that is what they want-an excuse to declare war on someone because they are lunatics!

  • Mitch Beales

    Todd they’re only called “illegal aliens” by racists like you. Are speeders called “illegal drivers?” Are Wall Street cheaters called “illegal financiers?” Are sovereign citizens convicted of various crimes called “illegal bubbas?” An illegal act does not make a human being illegal. Your usage is an attempt to dehumanize people so that you can abuse them.

  • Dehong

    Violence may be needed to save “White America?” How true!
    Not long ago, the Census Bureau reported that more Hispanic than White babies were born this year. As a matter of fact, the Whites are projected to become a minority by about 2050. By then, the Hispanics may reach about 26 percent of the American population whereas the Blacks no more than 15 or 16. In short, the present minorities will become the majority then!
    So what kind of democracy can the US have then? There will definitely be some kind of violence – revolution or civil war.
    And the US may break up into 2 or 3 independent states or become an authoritarian state or a dictatorship.

  • Bunnyrabbit

    To think world peace…I think it’s already bloomed.

  • Bunnyrabbit

    And what’s the big deal about saving white America? I’m white and I don’t feel the need to be saved. Haven’t the whackos ever heard of the melting pot? I guess that makes me a far left radical. Whoo!

  • Bunnyrabbit

    I also agree with skinnyminny…this kind of talk is becoming very routine…a lady I talk about quilting with (for crying out loud!) is talking about the coming violence and is hoarding food, guns, and ammo. WTH? She is organizing groups of people to do God only knows what. I’m totally freaked out but mindful of her AK-47. Not sure what to do…she is careful not to name names…and she’s not the only nut job running loose…


    Gheene has officially made a not-so-veiled threat against the President and indirectly Hispanics and immigrants. He needs to be arrested, charged, and imprisoned immediately along with intense “surveillance” on all of his members’ every move. Nip the one in the bud before it blooms.

  • http://sn109w.snt.mail marta kaye

    Palin uses crosshairs to threaten people and encourage someone to kill, Beck stands in from of the TV camera yelling, -you have to shoot them in the head. Nine young people have committed sucide under pressure of the Bachmanns. The United States is becoming Germany of 1933, and the Tea Party will make sure of it in 2012. The Supreme Court does nothing to stop it.Obama takes his orders from the GOP.

  • Todd

    They’re called illegal aliens. Calling them undocumented immigrants is left wing rhetoric. Obama’s executive order is an end run around the Congress and the constitution.
    When the next republican president is elected, he will follow Obama’s example and make executive orders that the democrats don’t like. It sets a dangerous precedent.

    Gheen was peaceful but grew frustrated. Our country is in the middle of a culture war. Obama hears Gheen’s side, and pretty much dismisses it. There is no compromise here. I think it’s reasonable to believe that it could get ugly.

  • MilesFan

    great post CM…and I agree with Skinnyminny, this is becoming too routine

  • jwd

    Making money off peoples ignorance is nothing new. In fact it’s the American way. However inciting ignorant masses to commit acts of violence should fall under acts of treason and should be dealt with “swift and sure”.

  • Minuteman Project

    William Gheen is essentially a wind bag of irrational extremism who has a sinister reputation among most participants in the immigration law enforcement advocacy movement. He has been rebuffed by many for his hostility, financial greed, and serious personality disorders that have proven counter-productive to any respectable solution to our nation’s dysfuntional immigration policies.

    I have warned this joker more than once to conduct himself in a professional manner if he wants to be seen as a credible pundit on immigration rather than as the mindless racial supremacist that he is. His association with convicted murderer Shawna Forde, who claimed to have been one of his fund raisers in Washington state, gives him another black eye.

    Visit for some details about Gheen’s sinister agendas.

    There are evil persons and organizations in any “movement,” regardless of the issue. In the immigration law reform/enforcement issue three of the most vile organizations, in my opinion, are William Gheen’s ALIPAC, Jeff Schwilk’s San Diego Minutemen (SDMM), and the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR).

    After seven years in political activism I have concluded that there are as many mean, criminal-minded, and heartless ogres on my side of the immigration debate as there are on the side of those opposed to me. Incredibly ironic is the fact that the only persons my organization has prosecuted in civil court, and also filed criminal charges against, are persons on my side of the debate over immigration. Shocking but true.

    Jim Gilchrist, President, The Minuteman Project

  • Emma

    Is this guy one of the Dominionists, who think their all-powerful God has lost control of the world and needs them to help him make it all right. They will have total power and those who don’t want to join their one ‘religion’ will have to be dealt with. Perry and Bachmann are, apparently, Dominionists.
    I’m glad CM posted the law. Now, how many of us will join in calling on proper authorities to top this preaching of sedition and violence?
    If good people do nothing……….

  • CM


    That’s why I asked, “How far over the line?” Because this kind of talk is becoming routine, and people are trying to pass it off as just the exercise of free speech instead of the incitement to treason that it really is. You could throw in Rick Perry and any number of others who are being treated by the big media as if they weren’t the dangerous, anti-American radicals they really are.

  • ruben

    when people are this delusional its time for a meth test.

  • Mitch Beales

    CM it really depends on whether they are stepping over the line to the right or to the left.

  • skinnyminny

    what about when Michele said she wanted them armed and dangerous, then she said the first thing in war is know your enemy. What is your take on this?

  • Aron

    It really is quite interesting. I myself viewed Gheen as a surprising moderate in the past, but it is quite obvious what he really believes.

    One more happy citizen of GlennBeckistan…


  • Porter

    Wrong David, Gheen’s room mate would have to be named Jorge or Manuel or something similar. Poetic justice if there ever was one.

    Perhaps some day, the FEC will lock in on the donation scam he is running with his elderly vulnerable donors that puts $150,000.00 a year in his hip pocket.

    Hate pays!

  • CM

    How far over the line does someone have to step before the government starts to enforce the law?

    18 USC Sec. 2385:

    Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

    Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

    Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof –

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

  • skinnyminny

    Sounds like Gheen is a dictator himself. It’s obvious when he behaves the way he does, such as do this or I’ll do this to you.

    All I can do is laugh at him, Beck and the others. I guess he’s not taking into consideration some of the people they have brought to this country. Some of the people came from countries that have been in civil wars…so they are no strangers to fighting in the streets and in straight up battles. Again, all I can do is laugh.

    I agree! There are rappers that do stupid things like the recent twitter incidents. These rappers faced arrests, this guy says these type of things and what do you know, nothing!

  • David

    Gheen would look good in an orange jumpsuit. And Bubba, his room mate, would like it too.