|The Spring 1999 issue of the Intelligence Report, a publication of the
Southern Poverty Law Center has an interview with Leonard Zeskind,
president of the Kansas City-based Institute for Research and Education on
Human Rights. He's an anti-racist activist and a leading analyst of white
supremacist movements for more than 20 years.
He says there is a growing white nationalism in this country. He says
there is an identity crisis among many Americans due to the end of the
Cold War and structural changes in the global economy. He says:
"...To the question of who we as Americans are, if we're not the
anti-communists, the white nationalist says, 'We are white people.' They
define who you are from the family on out. It's all racially,biologically,
genetically derived. Culture is seen as the expression of the family, this
organic, primordial thing. This is similar to the answer being given by
the Serbians, the Croatians, the Bosnian Muslims.
"This is a broad, broad movement in the United States. It's no longer
confined to the (neo-Nazi) Aryan Nations. It was kept alive in the 70s and
80s by the Liberty Lobby (the nation's leading anti-Semitic organization),
Aryan Nations and (former Klansman) David Duke, making it available to be
picked up by the mainstream, by people who see America as a European
civilization that is under threat of racial swamping by non-European
"Of course, America is not simply an extension of European civilization.
It never was. But these people, these racial nationalists, see it that
way. You have a widespread anti-immigration movement today, but you don't
see too many people trying to stop illegal Irish immigration. They are
trying to keep Latin Americans and Mexicans out, because they are the
people who are seen as culturally and racially threatening.
"What we're seeing now is not the politics of national socialism, of
Nazism, but the re-emerging notion of this country as Anglo-American, a
white country. That idea is being put forward in a very mainstream way,
and that has not happened successfully since at least before World War II.
It was offered by the Ku Klux Klan in trying to fight the civil rights
movement during the 60s, but it was defeated then."
Zeskind says, "...People are constructing this white nationalism today for
the day when it will have real currency, which is not too long from now.
Twenty years from now, white people will not be able to control with their
votes the politics of this country as whites. Between 2025 and 2050,
whites will lose their majority in a large number of states. Unless the
white nationalists win out, whites will have to be part of larger
pluralities of people. They will have to learn to live together with other
groups in a multicultural, multiracial democracy."
Zeskind argues that if "an enlarged, multiracial internationalism" isn't
developed, "we face becoming another Yugoslavia."