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On March 23, 2018, Leonard Zeskind spoke about “White Supremacy and the Fourteenth Amendment” at the First Unitarian Church in Omaha, Nebraska.  During his talk and questions, Zeskind covered the development of the white supremacist movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and its transformation into the white nationalist movement of the current period. He discussed the movement’s current focus on recruiting at colleges and universities.  Zeskind cited the activities of white nationalist Donald Kleve at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in that regard. And he noted that Kleve got himself photographed with members of Vanguard America.

Donald Kleve

Leonard Zeskind also described the recent rapid increase in militia activities.  There are two types of militias, he said. Threepers re-developed recently, alongside the decline in size of Tea Party outfits.  According to IREHR research, there are 234 Threepers in Nebraska, 58 of them in the Omaha area.  Zeskind also described the so-called “constitutional militias.”  In Wichita, three members of such a group calling themselves Crusaders are currently on trial for planning to bomb Somali Muslims in Garden City, Kansas, a meatpacking town that draws workers from all across the world.

Omaha is still plagued by the presence of so-called Sovereigns, such as Paul John Hansen.  Sovereigns claim to differentiate themselves from those they call “14th Amendment citizens.”  As such, it is another attack on the 14th Amendment, which promises first class national citizenship to everyone born in the United States, and equality before the law.  It was ratified after the Civil War, in 1868.  And this year is the 150th anniversary of the amendment, which is attacked on many fronts today.

Zeskind talked about a piece of congressional legislation, authored by Iowan Steven King, which aims to end birthright citizenship, precisely promised by the 14th Amendment, and not amenable to being stripped out of the constitution without another constitutional amendment,  There are 42 members of the House of Representatives which have co-sponsored this H.R. 140.  One of those is Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, from Nebraska’s 1st District.

The talk concluded with the challenge that police racism poses to the 14th Amendment.  According to, nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed.  Unarmed black people were killed at five times the rate of unarmed white people in that year.  That is not “equality before the law.”

Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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