Sunday, July 04, 2010
The Big Lie: The Rise of the Extreme Right [in Arizona]
This is the most complete statement I've read on the political formations of the extreme right in Arizona by renowned scholar Rudy Acuña. Rachel Maddow also covers some of these points, too [see video]. All of this is deeply concerning.
The Big Lie: The Rise of the Extreme Right
Rodolfo F. Acuña
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer recently said, “"I believe today…that the
majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming into the state of
Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels …
There's strong information to us that they come as illegal people
wanting to come to work. Then they are accosted and they become subjects
of the drug cartel.” Brewer hedged her statement with phrases such as “I
believe” and “There's strong information.” However, she does not offer
an iota of evidence making it the most irresponsible statement that I
have heard in my fifty-five years as a political activist.
The fact that Brewer equates an undocumented immigrant to organized
criminals and members of the violent drug cartels is disturbing. With
this type of misinformation by a public official, it is no wonder that
over 70 percent of Americans support the repression of undocumented
immigrants believing that laws similar to those of Arizona will keep
History informs us that the Third Reich came to power as a consequence
of half-truths and blatant lies that gradually made most Germans
passively receptive to Nazi racial theories. The parallels between
Germany in the 1920s and Arizona in 2010 are striking. Then and now
intentional lies have that spread fear and hatred of the other.
Who is behind this mass hysteria in Arizona?
A connection exists between white-supremacist and the proponents of SB
1070, targeting of immigrants, and the passing of HB 2281, the assault
on ethnic studies. Support has been built for these measures based on
big lies and money that have formed the Arizona paranoia—further
nurtured by four decades of immigrant bashing. A leading protagonist is
Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, who has taken credit for SB 1070.
In 2004, under Pearce’s stewardship Proposition 200 passed with 56
percent of the vote. The campaign was spearheaded by "Protect Arizona
Now" (PAN) and sought to limit undocumented immigrants’ access to public
benefits and voting—requiring proof of citizenship when voting and
applying for public benefits. Public employees were ordered to deny
services to undocumented immigrants and turn them over to authorities. A
failure to comply with the law could result in jail terms and fines. The
law was challenged in the courts.
Emboldened by its victory over a coalition of prominent Democrats and
Republicans, the cabal moved to intimidate legislators. They in taking
over the Republican Party. PAN made overtures to extreme right groups,
and in 2006 Pearce sent his associates an article on immigration
published by the neo-Nazi National Alliance to its base. The article
accused “the Jewish controlled media” of creating a bias against whites
and favoring minorities and Israelis.
. Meanwhile, the core group strengthened its ties with white-supremacist
groups, among which was FAIR (Federation for American Immigration
Reform)—founded by John Tanton, a leader in the anti-immigration and
"official English" movements. Tanton had close ties with the Pioneer
Fund, a proponent of “improving the character of the American people"
through selective breeding. PAN received $305,000 from FAIR and the
American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF). In turn, the latter
groups have received over $1.2 million dollars from the Pioneer Fund. In
2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled FAIR a hate group.
According to Tanton, “To govern is to populate,” prophetically asking,
“Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a
group that is simply more fertile? As whites see their power and control
over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night
or will there be an explosion?”
The Arizona groups allies include self described “ethnic separatist”
Virginia Abernethy who serves on the advisory board of the Council of
Conservative Citizens (CCC), an organization with ties to former Ku Klux
Klan Grand Dragon David Duke and white supremacist and anti-Semite writers.
Pearce is also associated with Jason "J.T." Ready who fronts United for
a Sovereign America (USA). Pearce and Ready are allies of Sheriff Joe
Arpaio. In turn Ready is a friend of Neo-Nazi Ernst Rohm.
Ready openly invites militias, motorcycle clubs, the National Guard,
constitutional groups and the National Socialist Movement (NSM) to his
events. The NSM is the largest neo-Nazi hate organization in the United
States with 61 chapters in 35 states. Pearce has acknowledged his
relationship with Ready.
To round off the equation, FAIR's attorney Kris Kobach wrote SB 1070. As
for Pearce, he openly consorts with neo-Nazis who he has been caught on
Where is Brewer in this quagmire? Actually she has gravitated rapidly to
the right attempting to fend off the challenge of state treasurer Dean
Martin, an Arpaio friend and clone. The signing of 1070 and 2281 paid
her dues to the extreme right of the Republican Party that since 2004
has controlled Republican Party primaries.
Similarly Senator John McCain has returned to the fold of the far right.
In the early 1980s, McCain served on the board of the US Council for
World Freedom, which supported the Contras’ efforts to overthrow the
Nicaraguan government. McCain alleges that he resigned from the council
which he said in 1986 “got some good people involved." McCain had
opposed Proposition 200 in 2004.
Enter the almost all white Tea Party movement. They have given a shot of
adrenaline to the right and ironically respectability to the nativist
movement through the creation of mass hysteria. A mob without a center
they are easily manipulated by the zealots who have been stoking these
fires for four decades. Minute Men, vigilantes, Tea Partiers all stem
from the same root.
Yet another player is Tom Horne, the state superintendent for public
instruction, who is running for attorney general. Facing the rabid
right-wing Andy Thomas in the primary, he decided to Mexican bash and
court neo-Nazis which is surprising because Horne is of Jewish ancestry.
Horne in order to make himself viable has aligned himself with Ready,
Pearce and the cabal of neo-Nazis. In order to attract attention he is
given to wild accusations about the highly successful La Raza Studies
program at Tucson High School, seeking to abolish it and all ethnic
studies programs. Horne advocates censorship of books that he deems as
Adolph Hitler in Mein Kampf (1925) wrote, “in the big lie there is
always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a
nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their
emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the
primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to
the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small
lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale
While history does not repeat itself, situations and tactics do.
Undocumented workers are not drug dealers, criminals or a drag on
society. La Raza Studies is not about hate, they are about pride,
learning and staying in school. Brewer and Horne know better but it is
easier to sell a big lie.