Trump's America is already a cesspool of violent hate crimes, increased prejudicial treatment toward minorities, and the rise of white nationalists into power, and he hasn't even been sworn into office yet. At the heart of many of these controversies is a movement that refers to itself as the "alt-right." As story after story comes out about the Trump supporting "alt-right," it's important that we call members of this movement what they are: neo-Nazis.
The Alternative-Right Movement is described as a group of far-right thinking people (mostly men) who reject mainstream conservatism, but the movement is widely understood to be anti-Semitic and white supremacist.
Does anyone else feel like "alt-right" and Third Reich sound eerily similar?
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the movement began based on the belief that "'White identity' is under attack by multicultural forces using 'political correctness' and 'social justice' to undermine white people and 'their' civilization." And the leadership in this movement are doing very little to deny this—the National Policy Institute, an "alt-right" think tank, states on their website that they are dedicated to protecting the "Heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent," which they believe to be threatened (despite the country being run primarily by white men).
Don't be confused by the vocabulary in that statement. The NPI uses "European" because people get scared when they hear "Aryan," but they're alluding to the same thing: the idea that white people are superior, and their superiority is being threatened by other races. NPI president Richard Spencer has even called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing," something that doesn't exist, as ethnic cleansing is defined as, "the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity."
There was nothing peaceful about the proposal to eradicate entire populations of innocent people from a country in 1942, and there's nothing peaceful about it now.
Unfortunately the comparisons don't stop there.
In celebration of Trump's election, Spencer declared in a speech in Washington on Saturday, "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail Victory!" prompting several members to give the Nazi salute.
"America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us," Spencer said during the speech.
This is not any kind of "alternative" thinking; there's already a precedent for these ideologies and it ended in a world war and millions of people murdered.
This neo-Nazi organization is dangerous, and so is the glamorization of its members we've already seen from some media outlets. Referring to head members as "dapper," "up-and-coming intellectuals," and saying they more resemble Washington lobbyists than skinheads, makes them seem like reasonable and passionate citizens as opposed to literal Nazis with Nazi ideals.
Prior to this election the movement was fairly small, but Trump's candidacy drew them out of the woodwork. His appointment of white nationalist Steve Bannon as chief executive to the campaign, and now chief strategist to the White House, gave them publicity. And as Trump has done very little to denounce the movement or their beliefs, members are feeling safe to act on their white nationalist opinions without fear of consequences.
It's time to stop doing these men the courtesy of using their made up term to downplay their extremist white supremacist beliefs. If it looks like a Nazi, speaks like a Nazi, and salutes like a Nazi, then it's a Nazi. And if we don't refer to them as such, we are giving them an authority and validity to their ideologies that they do not deserve.
Photo via Twitter, video via YouTube
This post was originally published on November 22, 2016
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