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The Ferguson rebellion is now the sharpest and most volatile domestic racial battle of the year, during a period of conflict and political polarization at home and wars abroad.  Given the intensity of this fight, it is noteworthy that white nationalists have had so little to say, and even less influence to display.

Tens of thousands of well-meaning Americans have gathered in New York City, Portland and elsewhere, all calling for justice for 18-year old Michael Brown, the unarmed black youth shot six times—twice in the head—by Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson.  Brown was apparently standing with his hands in the air at the time of the shooting, according to his friend that was nearby.  Brown’s friend will contravene the assertions by Officer Wilson that Brown had assaulted him prior to the shooting.

Ferguson has been the site of continual protests and marches since the shooting on August 9.  These protest have been heightened by the fact that Ferguson is a community in transition, now 68% black and with a police department that is 95% white. Similarly, black people are barely represented on city councils and other elected bodies. These marches have been mostly by Ferguson’s black residents, but some white people have joined the call for justice on the streets. When these protests were first met by a militarized police response, they broke into an open street rebellion, complete with vandalism and looting.  As of this writing, both the street protests and the rioting are continuing.

The Ferguson rebellion is now the sharpest and most volatile domestic racial battle of the year, during a period of conflict and political polarization at home and wars abroad.  Given the intensity of this fight, it is noteworthy that white nationalists have had so little to say, and even less influence to display.

David Duke, who made his fortune as a youthful ambulance chaser, putting himself into the middle of every racial conflict, has had nothing-zero-nada-to say about Ferguson on his website as of January 18.  Duke’s buddy, Don Black, runs website, the largest gathering place for various kinds of national socialists, neo-Nazis and others overwrought by racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry.  On a “what to do” discussion about Ferguson has reached no conclusion.  One poster offered a murderous suggestion, in obvious jest, of course.  Another blamed everything on the MSM (mainstream   media).  But no one had anything potentially strategic or enlightening to argue about the case.

The Council of Conservative Citizens, the lineal descendent of the Jim Crow-era white Citizens Councils headquartered in nearby St. Louis, held a national board of directors meeting in Nashville on the weekend of August 15-16.   They had an hour or so discussion of Ferguson on the Political Cesspool radio program, run by James Edwards.  That discussion also went nowhere. 

The Council’s more thoughtful white-ist cousin, American Renaissance, published an article about the looting and vandalism, leaving untouched an actual discussion about the murder of Michael Brown.  “Ferguson used to be a prosperous and peaceful Southern town,” American Renaissance argued.  Further, they claimed “blacks don’t need a reason to loot and riot.” Nothing is new from an organization that has long claimed that people of color do not belong in their white civilization.

A Patriot Action Network posting on the subject narrowed the political distance between this Tea Party grouping and the out-front white nationalists at American Renaissance.  “The same genepool that rioted in the 60s in cities from coast to coast is at it again,” wrote Marlene from Patriot Action Network, displaying the all-too-familiar language of “scientific” racism in a piece distributed to members via email.  But then she got crude as well as ugly, using the term “aboriginals” to describe Ferguson‘s protestors.  Once again the author’s bigotry is on parade, but nothing else.

By contrast, Chris Kerodin, who has been building a militia grouping called “Threepers,” figured it was not an entire population group that was to blame, but a “small fraction of the residents.”  Nevertheless, the government—or “gov” in Kerodin-speak—was not able to handle a “real fight.”  The answer: “the Militia units in Missouri might begin to show up and protect the citizens.”  Although Kerodin differed with other far-right activists over the nature of the population group, his central concern was the same as theirs: vandals and rioters, rather than justice for Michael Brown.

As the days of conflict have continued, the drive by white vigilantes to insert themselves has increased.  One Missouri-based Klan group, the Traditionalist American Knights headquartered in Park Hills, claimed that they had received a number of calls and queries, claimed that they were already “involved in the situation.” 

This Klan called a second Klan’s fundraiser in support of Officer Darren Wilson a sham. The second grouping, the New Empire Knights, headquartered in South Carolina, had claimed to have a fundraiser in Sullivan, Missouri.  It had also claimed that, “with blacks out of control, we have our Missouri Realm going to areas near Ferguson.  We can’t have blacks robbing and murdering innocent whites. I am on my way down along with members from three different states and members from the Southern Mountain Knights.”

It should be noted that this Klan did not claim to actually go into Ferguson, but to areas near the town. This Klan, like Frank Ancona’s Traditionalist American Knights, itches to get itself involved.  And the longer Ferguson and Missouri authorities fail to negotiate a real peace and a more certain justice with residents, the more certain that one or another of these vigilantes will show up on the streets with guns in hand.

Hilary Shelton, the NAACP executive who runs its Washington, D.C. office, took the Ferguson police murder to be considered by a United Nation’s gathering on racism in Geneva.  The NAACP’s steps are certainly one long hopeful stride toward justice for Michael Brown.

Leonard Zeskind

Author Leonard Zeskind

is founder of IREHR. For almost four decades, he has been a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements. He is the author of Blood and Politics: The History of White Nationalism from the Margins to the Mainstream, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in May 2009. [more..]

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