Side by Side
Anti-immigration activist Joe Turner may be one of the best things to happen to the Southern California white power community in years — a man whose group is seen as a "Trojan horse" allowing radical infiltration of mainstream politics.
Turner, a Ventura, Calif., man who founded the immigrant-bashing Save Our State organization in late 2004, insists that he's no racist, even though his self-described "aggressive activism" includes claims that undocumented Mexican workers are turning California into "a third world cesspool" and his Web site vilifies a variety of prominent Hispanic officials in a "Racialist Hall of Fame."
But neo-Nazis have found in Turner a tolerant master of ceremonies. In rally after rally this year, Turner and other SOS officials have failed to turn away racist Skinheads and likeminded white supremacists who have joined their protests.
Swastikas and sieg heils aren't usually welcome on the streets of Southern California, but Turner's followers, including SOS spokesman Don Silva, have been photographed standing alongside Skinheads clad in high black boots with red laces. Most recently, swastika pennants and Confederate battle flags were hoisted alongside Turner's own picket signs during a July 30 protest outside a day laborer center in Laguna Beach. One group in the crowd sieg-heiled repeatedly.
Turner has told members of his Web site's forum that he opposes white supremacists joining his protests, and he wrote to the Intelligence Report that "there seems to be very little we can do to keep them from piggybacking off our activism. ... [W]e are unable to really do anything about it."
He has also banned a few white supremacists from his forum. But many others have posted racist attacks on Hispanics — attacks that are left on his Web site as long as they don't directly advocate violence.
SOS forum member "Chris 2005," for instance, offered this up on July 25: "Mexicans are like pigs. They are by far the filthiest f-ing animals. I have also felt like I needed to get into a hot bathtub of water and soap and just soak until the filth comes off me after being near any of them. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them!"
Nine days later, the statement was still there.
And then there are Turner's own statements in his forum. "I am sick and tired of all the white bashing that goes on through the use of political correctness as an indoctrinating tool," he wrote on July 16. "I am sick and tired of multiculturalism, meaning, let's celebrate every culture as long as it isn't a European/white culture." During the same exchange, Turner also wrote that "just because one believes in white separatism that does not make them a racist."
All in all, white supremacists are delighted.
Posting on the neo-Nazi Stormfront Web site forum, one person described Turner's operation as a "Trojan horse" that radical racists can use to infiltrate more mainstream political discourse.
"The tide is turning in our favor in the movement against illegal aliens," this poster wrote in March. "The grass roots sentiment against this invasion is finally making its voice heard and [at] many different levels. This is a movement every WN [white nationalist] should support and be active in. It moves in our direction even as it does not even acknowledge, or even know, that the WN movement exists. Anti-alien activism is a no-loose [sic] for WN."