|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 19, No. 12||December 2008|
What Happened in Austria?
Another victory for our people.
Just a few weeks before Americans voted in a black socialist as president, Austrians rocked the European political establishment by handing a stunning victory to nationalists who openly oppose non-European immigration and the loss of sovereignty to the European Union. It was a breakthrough unthinkable in any English-speaking country, and again confirms that the brightest political hopes for our people are in the nationalist parties of small European countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, and Austria.
The numbers were dramatic: In the September 28 parliamentary elections, Joerg Haider’s new party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria, increased its share of the vote from 6.59 percent to 10.4 percent, while his old party, the Austrian Freedom Party, went from 11.04 percent to 17.54 percent. If the two nationalist parties had been a single party, their combined total of 28 percent would have made them the number-two party in Austria. As it was, the Alliance and the Freedom Party achieved something nearly unprecedented: two nationalist parties dramatically increased their support in an election in which they competed against each other.
|“Social security for our people. They are against HIM because HE is for YOU!”|
On October 11, euphoria on the right was dampened when the charismatic Haider died in an automobile accident, but this did not change the assessment of the results by the pro-establishment Wiener Kurier: The general elections were “the biggest move to the right in the history of the post-war republic.” “This is madness, what this means is simply appalling,” wailed Erwin Wurm, one of the country’s best known sculptors. The Daily Telegraph in Britain fretted that “from the outside, it looks at best distasteful; at worst, downright sinister.”
How did post-war Austria, a cozy, Alpine country better known for Mozart and skiing than for politics, come to stand for the worst in “right-wing extremism”? Is this a success that can be repeated elsewhere?
|It was a breakthrough unthinkable in any English-speaking country.|
The story goes back to 1986, when the Freedom Party transformed itself by choosing the young, ambitious Joerg Haider as its leader. The party, earlier known as the League of Independents, had started as a grab bag of social liberals, free marketers, pan-German nationalists, national socialists, and almost anyone who felt unrepresented in Austria’s political system long dominated by the mildly liberal Social Democratic Party and the mildly conservative People’s Party. The Freedom Party was thus little more than a movement of eccentric protest against a system that represented a career in politics and “jobs for the boys” rather than deep political conviction.
Haider quickly gave a sharp focus to this collection of gadflies. He was intensely skeptical of the European Union and hostile to non-European immigration. He argued that the two major parties’ ineffective and lackluster politics allowed outsiders so much control over Austrian policy that the country might eventually disappear as a sovereign state. He downplayed pan-Germanism, and gave the party a more specifically Austrian tone.
No doubt most important, Haider was charismatic, likeable, and knew how to exploit the growing feeling among voters that the two major parties took them for granted. He spoke frankly about problems the establishment parties ignored, such as the cultural threat posed by immigration, and the menace of non-white crime.
Accusations of ‘Nazism’
Haider, originally from the southern province of Carinthia, concentrated his political efforts there, and was elected governor in 1989. It was in a debate in the provincial parliament two years later that he famously observed that Hitler had had a “proper employment policy,” unlike that of his political opponents, the Social Democrats. Haider also raised hackles when he said that “the Waffen-SS was part of the German military and because of that it deserves every honor and recognition.” In the land that was Hitler’s birthplace, mild observations of this kind invariably prompt accusations of “neo-Nazism.”
Haider was therefore a controversial, internationally-known figure by the time of the 1999 general elections, in which the Freedom Party won an astonishing 26.9 percent of the vote, catapulting it into second place behind the Social Democrats and just ahead of the more conservative People’s Party. Like all “far right” movements, the Freedom Party had been in political quarantine, so it was out of the question that it should govern with the Social Democrats, but to the horror of much of the “civilized” world, the People’s Party finally agreed to a coalition. “Extremists” were finally in power in a European country.
|Mr. Strache steered even more to the right than Haider, and leftists saw the party’s slogans as thinly-disguised racialism.|
Although as leader of the larger party in the coalition Haider should, by rights, have been chancellor, he stayed out of government entirely, and let the leader of the People’s Party, Wolfgang Schuessel, take the top job. Despite this important concession to “respectability,” the European Union put Austria into the deep freeze, as politicians made themselves ridiculous trying to see who could most insult the Austrians. At a February 2000 meeting in Lisbon of European Union ministers — the first to be attended by a Freedom Party representative — so many speakers rose to condemn the Austrians that Portuguese Labor Minister Eduardo Rodrigues had to tell them to stick to the agenda. The usual welcoming ceremony was scrapped to spare the anti-Austrians the discomfort of having to appear in a social setting with “racists.” “We will not accept anyone who attacks the basic principles of European civilization,” sniffed Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.
At a February 28 ministerial meeting in Portugal, André Flahaut, the Belgian delegate, skipped lunch to protest the presence of Austrian Defense Minister Herbert Scheibner. “I don’t eat with fascists,” he explained. Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel went so far as to say that Europe “does not need Austria,” and other Belgian ministers complained that the rules for expulsion from the EU were too vague. Prince Charles of England and pop musician Lou Reed canceled trips to Austria. Italian fashion designer Guglielmo Mariotto exhibited a skirt emblazoned with a picture of Joerg Haider, a swastika, and the word “No” written in red.
| Haider (right) with coalition partner
Chancellor Schuessel calmly stood his ground, and gradually the Europeans stopped behaving so childishly. Mr. Schuessel later claimed he had decided to involve the Freedom Party in the responsibilities and “demystification” process of government before it became any stronger, and that tactic seemed to be working. Haider, who believed he could control the Freedom party members in the cabinet from his stronghold in Carinthia, found the job of puppet-master harder than he had expected. Government at the national level, especially coalition government, required compromise and poise. The old hands in the People’s Party outmaneuvered the Freedom Party, which found itself racked by internal squabbles. In 2002, two Freedom Party cabinet members resigned, and the coalition broke up.
Chancellor Schuessel seized this opportunity to blame the Freedom Party for sabotaging the government, and called a snap election. It was, as he well knew, perfect timing for himself and his party, and the worst possible moment for the divided Freedom Party. Mr. Schuessel presented the People’s Party as serious, prudent statesmen and the Freedom Party as querulous, destructive, and disunited. Support for the Freedom Party collapsed from 26 percent of the vote to just over 10 percent, and Austria went back to another version of the stale old People’s Party/Social Democrat combination that had run the country for decades. Many Austrians believed that the right-wing bogey had been laid to rest for good. The Greens were advancing steadily, and at nearly 10 percent of the vote seemed poised to overtake the Freedom Party.
In the aftermath of this setback, in what could have been a mortal blow to Austrian nationalism, Haider and some of his top lieutenants decided to start a new party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria. The reasons for the breakup were complex, but personality conflicts between Haider and a former protégé, Heinz-Christian Strache, appear to have been one reason. Mr. Strache, who soon took over the Freedom Party, is a remarkable man in his own right (see sidebar, page 5), and now that Haider is gone, he is the key figure in the Austrian nationalist movement.
In the next elections, in 2006, many people expected Haider’s Alliance, like so many splinter parties, to drop out of sight. Likewise, without its high-profile leader, the Freedom Party might have gone into decline as well, but instead of trimming his sails as any mainstream politician would have done, Mr. Strache steered even further to the right. He took an uncompromising stand against immigration, and many leftists saw the party’s slogans as thinly-disguised racialism. One was “Vienna must not become Istanbul,” a variant of the Haider-era slogan of “Vienna must not become Chicago.” The Strache version was aimed straight at Vienna’s Turkish minority, and evoked the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Another slogan aimed at Muslims was “Pummerin, not muezzin.” Pummerin is the name of the main bell of St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna, and is a symbol of Christianity.
Other provocative slogans were “At home, not Islam,” and “Jobs, not immigration.” The slogan “German, not ‘I don’t understand’,” was a clear poke at people who live in Austria but cannot speak German. Haider marveled at these outspoken campaign themes, noting that the press would have roasted him if he had been so blunt.
The results were nothing like the death knell for nationalism the Left was hoping for. Even without Haider, the Freedom Party went from 10 to 11 percent of the vote, and Haider’s Alliance squeaked into parliament with just over the 4 percent required for representation. The combined vote total of the two nationalist parties, at 15 percent, represented a 50 percent increase in support over the disaster of 2002.
One important aspect of the 2006 elections was the role of the Green Party. It had been the fondest desire of the Left that any frustration with establishment parties be funneled into support for the pro-immigrant, internationalist Greens. This tactic has been a great success in Germany, where distaste for the traditional parties has been molded into a dangerously internationalist, multi-racialist and pro-EU movement. However, Austria has nothing like Germany’s strong, left-wing subculture or its leftist media domination. At the same time, close neighbors in German-speaking Switzerland have been shifting towards the Swiss Peoples Party, which is a virtual twin of the Freedom Party. The Greens pulled into third place behind the Social Democrats and People’s Party, but were outnumbered by the combined Freedom/Alliance vote.
Even hostile commentators felt compelled to acknowledge the appeal of the new Freedom Party leader. Shortly before the election, the Swiss establishment paper, the Neue Zuricher Zeitung, called Mr. Strache “a figure of hope … for the underprivileged, globalization losers and every incorrigibly nostalgic national socialist … people who were ready to suffer persecution and become martyrs for the sake of their leader.” The Freedom Party had clearly switched one charismatic young leader for another.
|Joerg Haider (right) and Heinz-Christian Strache.|
After this partial recovery in 2006, what led to the breakthrough in 2008? Partly, it was a matter of timing. The reason for the sudden election was a disastrous attempt by both members of the ruling coalition, the People’s Party and the Social Democrats, to steal the nationalists’ clothes and appeal to ordinary Austrians. That the old coalition dinosaurs thought they had to imitate Haider and Mr. Strache shows how much the wind was blowing in the nationalist direction. The trouble was that the establishment parties adopted two different — and, to them, conflicting — planks from the nationalist platform, and the collision brought down the coalition.
To the horror of the Social Democrats, the People’s Party adopted the Haider/Strache plank of immigration control and a hard line on crime. To just as much horror on the part of the People’s Party, the Social Democrats adopted the plank of sovereignty, demanding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, which would substantially increase the powers of the European Union. New powers for Brussels are usually approved by governments over the heads of the people, but Austrians, who are among the most anti-EU people in Europe, were demanding a direct say.
The dissolution of the coalition that resulted from these conflicting policies brought elections at a moment that was as fortunate for Austrian nationalists as the elections of 2002 had been disastrous. Neither of the governing parties had adopted enough of a nationalist position to divert nationalist votes, and their squabbling seems to have discouraged their own supporters from voting. Voter turnout in 2008 was at a historic low, which helped the more-committed nationalists.
|Anti-Haider protest in 2003.|
Both Haider and Mr. Strache were in excellent form for the campaign. They were charming but serious, dynamic, and committed to a neutral and independent non-Islamic — that is to say white — Austria. Both men emphasized that they represented hard-working taxpayers against vested interests and large organizations determined to smother Austria’s sovereignty by expanding the reach of the EU and committed to bleeding Austrians to pay for immigrants and parasites. It is my own impression that Austrian voters are particularly unforgiving of politicians who strike poses or curry favor, and both leaders benefited from their unquestioned sincerity. The two-party coalition was seen more clearly than ever as power-sharing by elites who ignore the people.
By 2008, Haider and Mr. Strache disliked each other intensely but kept their rivalry well within the bounds of courtesy. In a pre-election debate they refrained from invective and were courteous in the extreme. Haider gently noted that Mr. Strache was offering ideas that Haider formulated long ago and continued to present in his own party, while Mr. Strache accused Haider — in the nicest possible way — of betraying his followers by walking out on the Freedom Party. The high demeanor of both men unquestionably helped their parties, which concentrated on promoting policies rather than attacking each another.
During the campaign, the establishment parties, Social Democrats and People’s Party alike, stumbled over just how nationalist they dared to be while the Greens went full tilt the other way. They called for an unconditional right for all immigrant children and adolescents to stay in Austria, no matter what their legal status, and pushed for automatic citizenship for any child born to a legal immigrant.
The Greens also promoted Turkish membership in the European Union, and the nationalists benefitted from opposing this idea. Given their strong anti-Islamic history, Austrians do not want their prosperous republic swamped by Turks looking for higher wages. Austrians are well known for their love of order, respect for the law, exactness, diligence, reliability, politeness and cleanliness — not the first characteristics associated with Turks.
|Austria for Austrians!|
The Freedom Party’s campaign slogans were not quite as frank as in 2006, but were still clearly nationalist: “Our land for our children,” “Asylum fraud means a flight back home,” “Representatives of the people instead of EU traitors.” Many posters portrayed a smiling Mr. Strache, with the slogan, “They are against HIM because HE is for YOU.”
Haider’s party portrayed its leader as a hands-on guy, sleeves rolled up, ready to tackle problems. One of his posters had a line that could not have been clearer: “Austria for Austrians — for your sake.”
When the results were in, both establishment parties had lost about 8 percent of their 2006 support, and the Greens were down 1 percent. The Social Democrats were still the largest party at 29 percent, and their current leader, Werner Faymann, was charged with forming a government. Mr. Strache has made it clear that he will not join a coalition unless there will be referenda on the Treaty of Lisbon and letting Turkey into the European Union, so this probably rules out a coalition with either of the establishment parties.
If the People’s Party, which already took the Freedom Party into coalition in 2000, were willing to work with the nationalists, the combined vote of the three parties would be 54.22 percent — enough for a coalition majority — but Austria may not yet be ready for a government so heavily tilted towards the right. As of this writing, the People’s Party and the Social Democrats were trying to cobble together a government, but this amounts to trying to piece back together the coalition that collapsed just a few months ago — and with far less popular support. The two parties will no doubt try to put enough new faces into the cabinet to make the government appear to be something other than business as usual, but no one will be fooled. If the coalition busts up again, the nationalists are poised for an even greater victory.
What are the prospects for reuniting the Alliance with the Freedom Party now that Haider’s sudden death has removed the personality conflict between the two groups? On October 6, just five days before his car wreck, Haider spoke out against a merger, arguing that the two parties had developed in different directions and could win more votes separately than they could together. There is some justification for this view, as the Freedom Party seems to have attracted frustrated Social Democrats, while the Alliance poached from the People’s Party. Activists on both sides favor a merger — partly because there is no one in the Alliance with the stature to take Haider’s place — but nothing is settled.
Austria and the European Right
Although it is has been widely claimed that the 2008 election represented a “shift to the right,” I interpret the results slightly differently. European voters are increasingly turning to parties that represent not so much their nation as their tribe or locality. They want politicians who “speak their language,” in what is not so much a right-wing or racialist impulse as a tribal and regional one. The reason people talk about a “right-wing surge” is that common voter complaints embrace typical right-wing themes. However, right-wingers who stick to the language of centralized nationalism rather than regionalism do not get good results.
Britain’s BNP (British National Party), for example, has yet to achieve anything like the Freedom Party’s successes. Even in its best years, “British” nationalism never made an impression on the “Celtic fringe.” It is the liberal-left Scottish National Party that is set to become Scotland’s leading party.
In France we find similar failure. The National Front, another centrist and anti-regional party, which flies the flag of the fanatical Jacobins of the French revolution, has been unable to break out of a nostalgic nationalist ghetto. In Italy, by contrast, the Northern League, which calls for greater autonomy for the North and has no brief for Italian unity and little love for the Italian flag, is stronger than ever.
Others have noted that if Germany had been divided between North and South rather than East and West, there would have been no need for a wall, since the real divide is between the Catholic conservative South of Austria and Bavaria and protestant liberal Germany to the North. In Germany, nationalist parties have always been extremely centrist. This is not the only reason for their near-total failure, but it is surely not a coincidence that success in Germany — such as it is — is nearly always regional.
This was clear in local German elections held at the same time as the Austrian vote but that attracted little interest outside the country. For the first time in half a century, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, failed to win more than 50 percent of the vote. The votes it lost did not go to other establishment parties but to a newly-formed association of what is known as free voters. Its demands echoed, albeit in more moderate form, the demands of the nationalists across the border in Austria, namely, stricter immigration control, more financial accountability, and skepticism about central government, whether in Berlin or Brussels. These local efforts are, I believe, the type likely to succeed in the years to come.
|All that was left of Haider’s Volkswagon.|
Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty earlier this year can be seen in the same light. Unlike every other European nation, whose legislatures approved the treaty without consulting the people, Ireland had a chance to speak for itself. In June of this year, to the consternation of almost the entire political class, the Irish rejected the treaty, 53 to 46. There is a good chance other electorates would have done the same thing — the Austrians almost certainly will if they get the chance — and the Irish vote was welcomed across Europe by nationalists who were delighted that at least one country had been able to foil the elites who flout the people’s wishes. Just one rejection by a member state is supposed to kill the treaty, but European bureaucrats have been busy extending deadlines, and are studying plans to browbeat the Irish into “correcting” their lamentable mistake.
The possibility that Austria could follow Ireland and reject the treaty is a nightmare for the European ruling class, which will stop at almost nothing to prevent Austrians from curbing the consolidation of European Union power or — even more horrible — from leaving the union altogether. The 2008 elections have actually put some of these unthinkable options on the table.
In an increasingly global world, more and more Europeans want to “come home” to a local identity. They want local politicians who truly represent them and speak their language. This, I believe, is what is behind the dramatic results in the Austrian elections.
|A spontaneous memorial at the scene of the accident.|
Reasons for success
There are many reasons for the 2008 surge for the nationalists, and here are a few that come to mind. First is the quality of the parties’ leaders. Both were remarkably adept in public and with the media, and seemed positively to enjoy themselves on television. They were constantly on the attack and never gave opponents a chance to pin them down. They are both so articulate and quick-witted that I have never seen them caught flat-footed. They never came across as cultish or eccentric, but as attractive, sensible, self-possessed men with the courage to say what other politicians may believe but dare not say. However much they disliked the “racists,” media producers knew Haider and Mr. Strache guaranteed big ratings.
They were also helped by circumstances. The Austrian media are somewhat fairer than in many countries — Germany, Britain, and the United States, for example — where the press invariably misrepresents the aims and intentions of anyone hostile to the system. At the same time, liberal smears against the entire nation of Austria since the time of Kurt Waldheim have backfired. In 2000, even people who had not voted for the Freedom Party were incensed at the high-handed way Europeans reacted to the coalition government. There is no better way of making apathetic individuals into racialists or patriots than to insult them on the grounds of race or nation.
|Not the Austrians' favorite flag.|
Another advantage for Austria is that it is a small country, homogeneous and compact. A politician does not have to appeal to so many contradictory interests, so any populist revolt, whether Left, Right, or Green, has more fertile soil. Moreover, Haider’s Alliance is deeply rooted in its home base of Carinthia and enjoys a quasi-tribal support that may have as much to do with Carinthian identity as with conservatism. Again, the revolt appears to be in the name of the tribe, not of nation or race.
Yet another advantage is that being Austrian is still largely a matter of ancient ethnicity. The non-white citizen population is low, so being a nationalist does not require a defense against the charge of “alienating large numbers of our fellow citizens,” as it does in France, Britain, or Germany. Austrians can define themselves as distinct from Germans or German-speaking Swiss, so nationalism does not immediately take on the racialist aroma that the mainstream parties and media find so frightening.
At the same time, all over Europe, support for large established parties is no longer assured. The same economic forces breaking up community identity are also destroying the social cohesion upon which the traditional parties rely. They can no longer take their constituencies for granted because voters are tired of the old way of doing business. (It is my impression that in America, political options are sharply limited by the Democrat/Republican duopoly and this creates similar frustrations. If America had a parliamentary system, there would certainly be Green, Libertarian, and nationalist congressmen, who would relieve the tedium of a profoundly conformist legislature.)
Another factor in the nationalists’ favor is that after years of campaigning, Haider and Mr. Strache had reached a threshold of power and prestige that once crossed makes progress much easier. Many people now respect the Freedom Party simply because it has succeeded. Authority behaves differently towards men with power than it does towards men on the fringe, and success brings more success.
Both the Freedom Party and the Alliance have robustly criticized other parties when they disagree, but have cooperated on specific issues whenever that was possible. They have thus avoided a “them against us” ghetto mentality and have managed not to be seen as complete outsiders.
|The Austrian town of Hallstatt: a good place for Turks?|
The Freedom Party’s strong support also makes it impossible for leftist enemies to sabotage its meetings by, for example, threatening hotels or meeting halls that host its gatherings. In contrast to Britain or Germany, the police are likely to be neutral if not sympathetic, and will not tolerate organized wrecking groups. Thus, Austrian nationalists can say in complete security and with relative respectability, exactly the same things that would get British or German nationalists tossed out of a meeting hall.
Economic uncertainty also played a role. When times are tough, people are less inclined to be generous to outsiders, especially if outsiders speak a foreign language and are thought to take more than they give.
Finally, Austrians are increasingly jealous of their sovereignty and are determined to preserve their official neutrality. They are not a member of NATO, and are deeply suspicious of its expansion into activities that go beyond pure defense. Austrians were also inspired by Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, and many asked themselves, “If Ireland can vote, why can’t Austria?”
Nationalists must now buckle down to the hard work of government. Whether the two parties reunite, they must be careful to avoid the backbiting that brought them low in the elections of 2002. With patience, hard work, and a little luck, Austria could once more have “right-wing extremists” in government, and maybe even in the chancellor’s office. Let us look forward to the day when Austria again becomes both anathema to liberals and an inspiration to all who love the West.
The New Leader
Heinz-Christian Strache’s training was as a dental technician, but he became active in local Vienna politics when he was 22. Now, at age 39, he manages to combine a relatively radical political stance with a modern, almost overly polished style, and has been a more difficult target than Haider for those who would paint all Austrian nationalists as “Nazis.”
When a photo appeared of him in what looked like combat gear and a weapon, he explained it was taken of him playing paint ball when he was 18. Other pictures, said to show him in a bar doing a Nazi salute, he dismissed by saying he was simply ordering three beers.
Long a loyal Haider supporter, he rose rapidly, served on the Vienna City Council, and in 2004 became head of the Freedom Party in Vienna. That same year, he became parliamentary leader of the Freedom Party, and proposed a bill to hold a referendum on whether Turkey should join the European Union. This was a direct challenge, not only to liberals but also to the pro-Western Right in Europe and the United States, which favors letting in Turkey as a bulwark against radical Islam.
Like Haider, Mr. Strache is very much a traditionalist. In 2004, a man accused him of making an inappropriately political speech at what should have been a social gathering at a student club. Mr. Strache challenged the man to a duel with blunt sabers, and the challenge was accepted. Student club dueling — with enough protective gear to avoid death or maiming — has a long tradition in Germany and Austria, and a few saber scars on the face were once the mark of a sportsman. “They won’t be trying to kill each other but they certainly won’t be just throwing tea bags at each other either,” explained a mutual acquaintance of the two fighters. By all accounts Mr. Strache took more knocks than his opponent, but this sort of thing charms a country that is keen on fitness and athletics. Haider’s bungee jumping and marathon running were equally popular.
One of the reasons Haider left the Freedom Party is said to be that Mr. Strache was going to challenge a Haider loyalist as the party’s national leader. With Haider gone, Mr. Strache was voted in as leader in April 2005. With his one-time mentor and rival now gone, much depends on how Mr. Strache manages his successes. A great deal is riding on the shoulders of this young Austrian patriot.
Rüdiger Halder is the pen-name of a distinguished European journalist.
Whites were slaves before blacks were.
Don Jordan and Michael Walsh, White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America, New York University Press, 2007, 320 pp., $18.95 (soft cover)
African slavery is said to be our country’s original sin, and whites will probably be reminded of this for it as long as any are left in America. We hear from time to time about white indentured servants, but are warned not to think of them as suffering from anything like slavery, which was a unique form of degradation reserved for blacks.
British journalists Don Jordan and Michael Walsh argue convincingly in White Cargo that “indentured servant” is much too mild a term for a condition that was often no different from that of a slave. White “servants” were property: bought and sold, included in wills, whipped when recalcitrant, raped at will, and in many cases worked to death. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh call this “forgotten history,” and even suggest why it is forgotten: “It invites uproar to describe as slaves any of these hapless whites” because it is “thought to detract from the enormity of black suffering.” White Cargo is well-researched, engagingly written, and brilliantly illuminates a corner of American history neither whites nor blacks care to explore.
Peopling a continent
Indenture was a system under which a man or woman could gain passage to the colonies in exchange for a set period as a servant. The most common period was seven years, but it could be as long as eleven or as short as three. The world “indenture” comes from the Latin indentere, which means to cut with the teeth. The labor contract was written on parchment and then torn jaggedly down the middle, with master and servant each to keep half. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh estimate that hundreds of thousands of Britons went to America and the Caribbean under some form of indenture.
People who engaged themselves voluntarily were called “free-willers,” but a great many were coerced. Convicts, rebels, beggars, prostitutes, and unwanted Scots or Irishmen could be rounded up and banished to hard labor in the colonies for as long as 14 years, while an unknown number of young people were simply kidnapped and sold. It was a labor system that arose because tobacco planters in America and cane growers in the Caribbean so badly needed cheap workers. Tobacco could be highly profitable but required so much labor that a century after white bondsmen first began to toil over it, Thomas Jefferson was still calling it “a culture productive of infinite wretchedness.”
The authors of this book estimate that what amounted to white slaves accounted for perhaps two thirds of the British who left for the colonies between 1620 and 1775 but write that from the earliest days of the republic Americans have had “difficulty reconciling themselves to the true nature of their antecedents.” The authors add that “tens of millions of white Americans are descended from such chattels,” but unlike some of the oldest families in Australia who boast of their convict ancestors, Americans refuse to acknowledge their miserable antecedents.
And miserable they were. Passage to America meant being packed for weeks into a dark, mephitic, pitching hold. Once a ship reached the New World, it might sail up and down the coast looking for the best markets. Buyers examined the merchandise just as they would horses, and made prospects walk or jump to be sure they were sound.
Lucky servants found kind masters who needed domestic help; unlucky ones worked under the lash in the fields. There were local variations in how servants were treated, with masters generally harsher in the South than in New England, but physical punishment was taken for granted everywhere. Masters could lay on stripes themselves or take their property to the town whipping post for the authorities to discipline. Serious crimes, such as violence against a master, could be punished with death or the loss of one or both ears. There are many accounts of servants dying after being “corrected” with hundreds of lashes.
Many masters simply worked their servants to death or turned them out to starve if they got sick or were disabled. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh write that in 2003, archeologists in Annapolis, Maryland, unearthed the skeleton of a teen-aged white boy who had died during the 1660s. He had herniated disks and showed other signs of terrible labor, and was found under a heap of household garbage. He was probably an indentured servant who had been worked to death and then thrown on a trash heap.
Servants often ran away, and early newspapers published ads offering rewards for their capture. Many runaways were identified by scars on their backs. For absconders the law usually provided for whipping and an extension of the terms of service. In the early 17th century, one day might be added for every day absent, but by the 18th century, the penalty might be ten additional days of service for each day absent, or an extra year in exchange for a few weeks.
|An ad from the Glasgow Courant, September 4, 1760.|
Servants could not marry without the consent of their masters, and a woman who became pregnant owed two extra years of service to make up for the cost of the child. This was true even if the master was the father, and the child was bound to service until age 21 or 24, depending on location and time period. Servants were property and could be sold and resold, and by 1623 they appear in wills. Colonies sometimes passed laws to protect servants, but they were rarely enforced.
In England at this time, it was common to whip servants, but masters could not easily get away with whipping a servant to death as happened in the colonies. Servants were usually engaged for a term of just one year, and could not be sold.
What made free men bind themselves to such harsh service? Life for the lower classes was grim in England, and agents often lied about life in America. In 1623, one undeceived servant wrote to his father in England of his cruel treatment and begged to be redeemed from bondage, adding that he “would not care to lose any limb to be in England again.”
Other servants may have understood how hard their lot would be for seven years but hoped for new lives at the end of their terms. Passage to the New World was beyond the reach of any but the rich, and a period of service seemed a fair price for a new beginning. Unlike convicts, a free-willer’s indenture almost always promised “freedom dues” at the end of the term. This was usually a guarantee of land and clothing, but sometimes was nothing more than a vague promise of a settlement in accordance with the “custom of the country.” Some servants were properly compensated, but many got title to worthless scrub or to land in Indian territory that was not safe to farm.
It is impossible to know the fates of each of the hundreds of thousands indentured servants who came to America, but some records are more or less complete. For example, of the 1,200 servants who came to Jamestown in 1619, 800 died the first year. At the end of that year there were 700 people in the colony, and during the next three years 3,570 people, most of them servants, arrived, making a total of 4,270 people. By 1623 — just four years later — only 900 were still alive. It is recorded that 347 settlers were killed by Indians, which means 3,000 died of other causes. Death rates were high for everyone, but we can be sure that they were higher for servants than for masters.
|“A culture of infinite wretchedness.”|
The authors of this book cite a more exhaustive study of colonial indenture that concludes that only one in ten servants ever became “decently prosperous,” and that another one in ten became artisans who could lead an independent life. The other eight in ten either died in service, went back to England, or ended up as white trash, no better than when they left England.
The indenture system continued through the Revolutionary period and beyond. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh note that in 1775 there were as many or more notices for white as black runaways. Among those who offered rewards for the return of a white bondsman that year was a prosperous Virginia planter named George Washington.
Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh explain that in addition to free-willers, the British forcibly transported tens of thousands of beggars, prostitutes, criminals and other undesirables. They note that from the beginning, Europeans saw the New World as a dumping ground but also believed deportation was a way to populate colonies. In 1497, Ferdinand and Isabella offered to pardon convicts if they would sail on Columbus’ third voyage.
The authors point out that in the 17th century, European cities were overrun with beggars and criminals. Whenever a major war ended, demobilization would flood towns with robbers and pickpockets, and the British quickly decided to send this refuse to America. In 1615 — just eight years after the founding of Jamestown — the Privy Council decreed that convicts could be transported to the colonies. The measure was originally dressed up in humanitarian language about giving criminals a new start in the New World, but a law just four years later dropped all pretence, specifying that deported convicts be “constrained to toil in such heavy and painful works as such servitude shall be a greater terror than death itself.”
Mr. Jordon and Mr. Walsh estimate that 50,000 to 70,000 convicts ended up in America during the colonial period, and perhaps 1,000 a year were being transported in the years leading up to the Revolution. British authorities were happy to clean out their jails, but traffickers were even happier because of the profits to be made from the trade in convicts. They brought a better price than free-willers because they might have terms as long as 14 years, depending on the crime, and on top of the sales price there was usually a per capita payment from city authorities happy to be shot of criminals. One merchant in the 1770s noted that commerce in white convicts was twice as profitable as commerce in blacks. The only unhappiness seems to have been reserved for the convicts: Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh estimate that half were dead after seven years of service.
In 1618 the London authorities began rounding up undesirables who were not even criminals: beggar children between the ages of eight and 16. This was urban renewal that paid for itself because the children, like convicts, brought a good price from American planters. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh note, however, that “of the first 300 children shipped between 1619 and 1622, only twelve were still alive in 1624.” At least one is known to have died after she was subjected to 500 strokes for skipping work. Over the years, towns all over England gathered up young beggars judged to be a “burden,” and sold them in the colonies.
Political prisoners were another source of cash. The English Civil War of 1642 to 1651 produced thousands of prisoners on both sides. Some were hanged, but many were shipped as slaves to the colonies. Cromwell sold thousands of enemies into exile. He hated Catholics, and in a period when it was “no more a sin to kill an Irishman than a dog or any other brute,” he started what amounted to an ethnic cleansing policy for the Irish, which continued for 100 years. The Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion in 1685 yielded an estimated 800 white slaves after his defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor. The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 provided a good crop of Scots for the trade. As always, there was no lack of traffickers and ship captains, since labor fetched such attractive prices in America and the Caribbean.
Throughout this period, when other supplies of labor ran low, enterprising businessmen simply kidnapped people, with the first snatches recorded in 1618. Kidnappers, known as “spirits” because they spirited people away, often paid off the authorities and worked almost openly. In 1670, Parliament made kidnapping a capital offense, but most spirits rarely got more than a small fine. Some even viewed them as a crude sort of public servant. A horse thief could expect to hang, but constables took a kinder view of men who took idlers, prostitutes, and beggars off the streets. Of course, any young person, even the well born, could be spirited, and the authors note that by the mid-1660s young people were in a chronic but low level of panic, especially near the coast.
Stephenson’s Kidnapped is only the most famous novel about the menace. Daniel Defoe wrote about it, and Raphael Sabatini’s swashbuckling Captain Blood is the story of an Irishman mistakenly identified as one of Monmouth’s rebels and transported to Barbados.
|The story of a white slave transported to Barbados.|
Most kidnap victims were never heard of again, though a very few survived, returned to England, and confronted their captors. According to White Cargo, they rarely got satisfaction in court. For more than 100 years, to arrange a kidnapping was an almost foolproof way to eliminate a young enemy or rival.
The Caribbean was a worse destination than America. Barbados, for example, was essentially a penal colony and attracted practically no free-willers. This was because all the good land was settled early, and there was nowhere for freed bondsmen to go. Planters who bought “his majesty’s seven-year passengers,” as convicts were called, fully expected to work them to death. Not all went quietly. There were white slave revolts on Barbados, St. Christopher, and Montserrat.
Trafficking in whites did not go entirely unopposed. Captain John Smith, who had seen the practice himself at Jamestown, wrote in 1624 that commerce in people was “sufficient to bring a well-settled Common-wealth to misery, much more Virginia.” Francis Bacon was one of the few to oppose transportation of convicts.
Americans appear to have welcomed free-willers, but drew the line at convicts. Benjamin Franklin called transportation “the most cruel insult offered by one people to another.” In the 1750s, he wrote that for every convict, the Americans should send back a rattle snake, and even then the British would get a bargain: “The rattlesnake gives warning before he attempts his mischief; which the convict does not.” Convict ships often arrived carrying typhoid and other plagues, but the Crown would not let the colonies quarantine the sick. Amazingly, even the men on what were essentially death ships usually seem to have found buyers. The colonies never succeeded in keeping out prison ships until they went into open rebellion against Britain.
During the war, no free-willers came over either, but as soon as the ink was dry on the Treaty of Paris, ships again showed up at American ports stuffed with indentured whites. There was still such a demand that King George III thought he could smuggle in convicts disguised as free-willers. Most such false cargoes were found out and turned away, but at least two ship loads are known to have been landed. Buyers must have known what they were getting but were as happy as ever to with cheap labor.
Unlike black slavery, white bondage never prompted an abolition movement. The trade continued until about 1820, and stopped only because it no longer made economic sense. Better ships meant cheaper passage, so fewer people needed to mortgage themselves. At the same time, ethnic self-help groups had arisen, which offered loans to immigrants.
Slaves or servants?
How do white bondsmen fit into American concepts of servitude that have been shaped almost exclusively by black slavery? Mr. Jordan and Mr. Walsh recognize that whites were not property for life, but insist that Daniel Defoe was right to say that white servants were “more properly called slaves.” Many never lived out their terms, during which they were as much the miserable subjects of whimsy, lust, and the lash as any black slave.
The authors of White Cargo think that the black monopoly on victimization has pushed white servants into undeserved obscurity. About the first boatload of press-ganged child beggars sold in Jamestown they write: “While the fate of those youngsters rounded up from the streets of London has been largely forgotten, history would take a keen interest in the destiny of a group of men and women who arrived a few months after the first shipment of children in 1619.”
|An indenture from 1683.|
These are, of course, the “20 negars” famously observed by planter John Rolfe, who are said to be British America’s first black slaves. The authors point out, however, that these 20 were treated just like white servants, put to seven year terms, after which they received “freedom dues.” Nor did this group mark the beginning of a rush of blacks to Virginia. By mid-century, of the 11,000 settlers in the colony only 300 were black. Their treatment was essentially no different from that of white bondsmen.
Blacks gradually did sink to a status lower than whites, and a man who was almost certainly one of the 20 original “negars” helped push them in that direction. A full-blooded African from Angola, he took the English name of Anthony Johnson. After his term of service he prospered mightily, accumulating more than 1,000 acres and a score of servants both black and white. He found fault with one of his blacks, John Casor, and in 1650, after a lengthy lawsuit, persuaded a court to make the man a servant for life. Casor, then, was one of the first blacks condemned to slavery as we know it. It was only in 1671 that Virginia made all blacks coming into the country slaves for life.
Such slaves brought a higher price than indentured servants because their term of service was longer. This system of pricing was established, however, only after mortality rates declined. It made no sense to pay more for a life-time black than for a seven-year white if both were likely to be dead in five years.
The greater value of life-time slaves meant that masters often used them sparingly. Given a choice between a white who was to be let go in a year or two and a black who was expected to serve for decades, it always made sense to give the most dangerous, exhausting work to whites. One Briton on Barbados wrote to Cromwell urging him to bring more life-time black slaves to the island because expendable whites were being worked to death.
Shortly before the War Between the States, the designer of New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmstead, discovered the same priorities during a trip through the South. He found that it was invariably Irish navvies who were hired to drain swamps and dig irrigation ditches — work that malaria and intestinal disease made extremely dangerous. When Olmstead asked why slaves did not do this drudgery, he was told, “It’s dangerous work and a negro’s life is too valuable to be risked at it. If a negro dies it is a considerable loss you know.”
No different today
There are two things that most strike the reader of White Cargo. The first is how cruel the past seems to us, whatever the race of victim or perpetrator. Hardly anyone seems to have objected to the brutal subjugation of inferiors. The origins of race slavery therefore seem to lie as much in general ruthlessness as they do in white supremacy.
The second is how powerful remains the lure of cheap labor. In the 17th and 18th centuries, planters put profits ahead of the obvious harm they did their country by hiring criminals and taking men from prison transports known to be hives of disease. The 20th- and 21st-century versions of those planters likewise put profits ahead of the obvious damage done by unassimilable foreigners.
The times may not be as cruel, but we are paying a far higher price for the labor of Mexicans than did our colonial ancestors for the labor of their white slaves.
Ron Paul was Never the Answer
But we should mine his movement for supporters.
Ron Paul was the clear choice of race realists this past election cycle, and the movement he created will be relevant to our aspirations for years to come. No other candidate was able to assemble such a large coalition of political and fundraising support in the face of establishment opposition. That said, white nationalists are kidding themselves if they believe the “Ron Paul Revolution” will push more whites into our camp. At best, it is an opportunity for networking and recruiting. At worst, it could become another pressure group from the Left on issues like mass immigration and racial identity.
Ron Paul’s popularity with the white Right seemed unlikely at the start of the campaign. Many of us looked to Tom Tancredo, chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, to become the next Pat Buchanan, and after the crushing defeat of amnesty in the summer of 2007 our movement had hopes for a breakthrough on immigration. Instead, Mr. Tancredo positioned himself as a typical Republican instead of a Middle American champion, and his campaign sputtered. By the time he showed his true colors and began to run ads featuring pictures of Mexican criminals it was too late.
Most white activists instead dedicated themselves to Congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian obstetrician from Texas, whose signature issues were a non-interventionist foreign policy, a return to the gold standard, and abolition of the Federal Reserve. Despite this race-neutral and economics-heavy message, white activists saw in him what they wanted to see: a principled non-conformist who was a heretic on so many issues, they believed he would be a heretic on their issues, too.
This support did not go unnoticed. Thomas Edsell at the Huffington Post called Ron Paul a “magnet in neo-Nazi networks.” The neoconservative blog Little Green Footballs gasped over a “photo-op” Dr. Paul held with Stormfront founder Don Black — though the candidate was only signing autographs at a campaign rally, posing with any supporter who came by.
There were hints that Dr. Paul had racial instincts after all. James Kirchik of The New Republic dug up decades-old articles from the Ron Paul newsletter — almost certainly ghost written — that contained passages about black propensities for crime, rioting, and decidedly unlibertarian voting practices, as well as frank criticism of Martin Luther King and post-apartheid South Africa. Dr. Paul is also closely associated with the paleolibertarian movement led by men such as Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard, which, at least in the past, opposed mass immigration, egalitarianism, and the King cult. However, when confronted with the ancient “racist” newsletters, Dr. Paul retreated to the usual groveling rhetoric about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and the “racist” criminal justice system.
|Dr. Paul turned out to be much stronger on the Internet than at the ballot box.|
The danger of Ron Paul, as Mr. Kirchik revealingly phrased it, was that as he was “increasingly permitted inside the boundaries of respectable discourse,” nasty ideas could sneak in with him. The danger seemed especially great because Dr. Paul was bringing in new voters and activists, and was raising more money and gaining more votes than Republican “frontrunners” like Rudolph Giuliani. The Ron Paul Revolution dominated the Internet, won Fox News television polls (to the frustration of Sean Hannity), and seemed to have the promise of a real breakthrough.
Dr. Paul turned out to be much stronger on the Internet than at the ballot box, however. He did take part in a few debates but won no primaries and did not throw his support behind any candidate, incoherently endorsing a third-party movement as a whole that included black leftist Cynthia McKinney. When he finally endorsed Constitution Party and anti-immigration candidate Chuck Baldwin it was too late to have much effect.
Nevertheless, Dr. Paul’s limited electoral success belied his greater accomplishment of inspiring many thousands of activists, who are trying to take over local Republican branches and start campus groups. His long-term impact will depend on what these activists go on to do. Here, race realists will almost certainly be disappointed. The value of a candidate such as Pat Buchanan and, to a lesser degree, Tom Tancredo, lies in an ability to capture the loyalty of mainstream activists, and focus their attention on critical issues such as immigration in ways that push them in our direction. Neither can be called a white nationalist, but both have sparked racial consciousness in many people.
Dr. Paul does not really have this effect. Many of his positions on immigration are sound: He opposes birthright citizenship, amnesty, and welfare for illegals. However, his civil libertarian tendencies led him to oppose workplace enforcement, and he was one of the few Republicans to oppose the SAVE Act, which would have authorized 8,000 more Border Patrol agents, and the reauthorization of E-Verify, which employers use to check employee immigration status.
Dr. Paul sees immigration as nothing more than economics, and believes that if welfare were abolished the problem would go away. Dr. Paul’s new organization, the Campaign for Liberty, doesn’t even mention immigration in its statement of principles, despite the passionate views of so many of his supporters.
In fact, Dr. Paul’s “manifesto,” The Revolution, takes care to condemn “racism” as a “disorder of the heart.” This needn’t mean much — all politicians have to talk that way — but he goes farther: “The only way racism can be overcome is through the philosophy of individualism,” “Government exacerbates racial thinking,” and “We should stop thinking in terms of race.”
This thinking seemed to drive his campaign. Dr. Paul hammered on foreign and monetary policy, but hardly mentioned his opposition to welfare, birthright citizenship, and affirmative action, even though these are the positions that are popular with the Republican base. As a result, rather than a threat to multiculturalism, the establishment sees him as an eccentric congressman with whom it agrees on legalizing drugs and stopping the war in Iraq, but whom it mocks for his nutty ideas about the Federal Reserve.
It is too early to know what path it will take, but Dr. Paul’s Campaign for Liberty is at best a vehicle for limited government rather than a way to build a real resistance on cultural and racial issues. Young Americans for Liberty, the youth wing of the Ron Paul movement with more than 30 chapters, has members with widely varying ideological beliefs. Some would be quite comfortable with American Renaissance, while others are hardcore “anti-racists.” Time will tell whether these young libertarians will confront controversial issues like diversity, affirmative action, and identity politics on campus. They may show no more backbone than the paleolibertarians, who are so afraid of attacks by the likes of Mr. Kirchik that they are tempted to abandon fundamental questions of immigration and race, and limit themselves to a safe — and ultimately ineffective — focus on free markets and policy wonkery.
Nevertheless, Dr. Paul’s campaign created opportunities for us. He introduced ideas that had never been heard in the political discussion and that are clearly relevant to race realists. Opposition to welfare that disproportionately benefits minorities, states’ rights, gun rights, and an America-First foreign policy are important issues. Principled, libertarian opposition to racial preferences and anti-discrimination laws is commendable, and Dr. Paul deserves credit as the lone congressman to vote against commemorating the Civil Rights Act.
In practical terms, though, this is not much help. It is not useful to funnel right-wingers angry at a system that dispossess whites into a movement about abstract rights and atomized individuals. All politics are fundamentally identity politics, and Dr. Paul’s refuge in theory means he has abandoned the white constituency. He becomes not a leader, but a mildly interesting philosopher who is harmless to the left-wing establishment
There is no institution coming out of Dr. Paul’s movement that is systematically pushing people in our direction, nor will he be a leader for our cause. His followers are willing to think outside the box, and may already be sympathetic towards us, so we must engage them, but race realists must be careful not to waste time and energy on futile libertarian crusades. We must mine this community for recruits, but not be co-opted by it.
The challenge for us is to develop the constituency that will support our movement. The vast majority of that constituency will be found in the “implicit whiteness” of the Republican Party, and that is the group we must swing to our side. We are more likely to do that with issues that normal Republicans care about, such as amnesty or affirmative action, than we are with lectures on the evils of the Federal Reserve. Whites on the brink of dispossession need at least implicit defenders who can lead to an explicit movement to defend our people. Ron Paul is not that defender.
Mr. Hood has been active in conservative youth movements.
Calling the Election for Obama
The love affair has only just begun.
|A white supporter on election night.|
Media liberals are not exactly objective observers of race and politics, and the election night coverage of the 2008 presidential election brought out their biases for all to see.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews set the stage for partisan coverage before the results even came in, saying, “the whole world is watching to see if we are going to be the only Western nation to get it right” — “getting it right” means a majority-white country electing a black president. But things really picked up the moment Mr. Obama’s election became official. It was “the passing of the old order,” crowed an anchor on CNN, and black political analyst Roland Martin, also of CNN, explained that “we can now entrust this generation with the leadership of the country.”
Mr. Martin’s colleague, Gloria Borger, worried that “white voters in Confederate states still voted for McCain by two to one,” but she found solace in the fact that “out West, changing demographics are making this a different country.” She concluded her analysis by dismissing the GOP as “monochrome.” CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, a half-white, half-Hispanic reporter made the same point: “The face of America is changing. And that face doesn’t look like Joe the Plumber.”
MSNBC, the most left wing of the major networks, openly celebrated the results. Commentator Rachel Maddow and black Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson broke down in tears over the victory of the Great Helmsman. Mr. Robinson, notorious for defending Duke lacrosse hoaxer Crystal Gail Mangum, sobbed that he was so glad his parents were still alive to see the golden moment.
Her voice breaking, Miss Maddow offered a quick history lesson. “The ideas of America — a meritocracy and a leading light of democracy — have been built on a house of cards. Slavery built our Capitol and our national firmament.” Apparently Mr. Obama will steady our shaky foundations.
MSNBC commentator Keith Olberman compared the election of Mr. Obama to the US landing on the moon and noted we are now “a different sort of democracy.” He saw the election as a necessary sequel to the Civil War and “all the small, little murders 100 year after,” but was pleased to note that after a civil rights movement into which “too many Americans had to be dragged kicking and screaming,” this step in our redemption was relatively painless.
|A black supporter on election night.|
Black Georgia congressman John Lewis, who had compared John McCain and Sarah Palin to George Wallace, called the election of Mr. Obama a “nonviolent revolution.” He remembered as a schoolboy looking up above the chalkboard at all the pictures of past presidents and thinking that none looked like him.
Mr. Obama’s victory in Virginia particularly excited liberals. Mr. Matthews noted that Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy and still has monuments to Confederate heroes. For a black man to win the state means “this is a different country than the one I grew up in.” Virginia Governor Tim Kaine was more blunt: “Old Virginny is dead.”
Fox News, the “conservative” network, was more restrained but still gushed over the new president. Black commentator Juan Williams has often been critical of Mr. Obama, but said his victory was not just an important page in American history. “It may be the cover of the history book.”
National Review’s Michael Potemra roamed New York City on election night recording his thoughts. He admired the “people of all races and ages” celebrating at Congressman Charlie Rangel’s block party, and wrote:
“I ask a rhetorical question: Can we McCain voters, without embarrassment, shed a tear of patriotic joy about the historic significance of what just happened? And I offer a short, rhetorical answer.
“Yes, we can.”
It is worth noting how different the supporters were at the candidates’ respective election-night parties. The McCain crowd was a sea of older white faces listening to country music. The boisterous Obama crowds in Harlem, Times Square, and Chicago were sprinkled with celebrities like Spike Lee and Oprah Winfrey, and attracted massive numbers of both blacks and whites. What would have happened to those whites — some with small children — if Obama had lost?
In his concession speech, Mr. McCain played the beautiful loser. He congratulated Mr. Obama for overcoming “the old injustices that stained our nation,” and “the cruel and painful bigotry” of the American past. A professor on a local Washington, DC newscast whose name I couldn’t catch called Mr. McCain a “hero” for refusing to bring up Mr. Obama’s connections to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
|Obama supporters at the American embassy in London, of all places.|
Overseas media were just as unrestrained. “One Giant Step for Mankind” read the front page of England’s Sun newspaper. An article on the London Telegraph website read: “Barack Obama Victory Allows Britain to Love US Again.” The Times modestly headlined the victory, “The New World.”
The French establishment paper Le Monde quoted a happy black Frenchman as saying, “Now I’m going to include a photo with my résumé.” All across Africa, there was dancing in the streets. Kenyans, especially, gloried in their kinsman’s victory, and the government declared a holiday to let them celebrate.
If the fawning coverage Mr. Obama has enjoyed is any indication, the media — all around the world — will be about as critical of his administration as Pravda was of Leonid Brezhnev.
Mr. Grano writes from Maryland.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
Obama by the Numbers
It wasn’t even close. Barack Obama beat John McCain, 65 million votes to 57 million, or 53 percent to 46 percent, and Mr. Obama became the first Democrat to win more than 50 percent of the national vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Forty-three percent of whites voted for Mr. Obama, and the wide margins he won among blacks (95 percent), Hispanics (66 percent), Asians (61 percent), Jews (81 percent), and voters under 30 (66 percent), put him over the top.
Mr. McCain received 55 percent of the white vote, 65 percent of the white Protestant vote, 52 percent of the white Catholic vote, 74 percent of the Evangelical vote, 57 percent of white men and 53 percent of white women — and lost anyway. Until recently that level of support would have guaranteed victory. If Mr. Obama can hold his multiracial coalition together, the next Republican candidate will need close to 60 percent of the white vote to stay in the race. [2008 Exit Poll Data, CNN, Nov. 4, 2008. Going After the Faith-Based Vote, AP, Nov. 6, 2008.]
No ‘Bradley Effect’
Throughout the campaign the media repeatedly warned us that polls showing Barack Obama in the lead might overstate his support because of something it called the “Bradley Effect.” The name comes from the losing campaign of the black former Los Angeles mayor, Tom Bradley, when he ran for governor of California in 1982. Polls showed him winning handily, but he lost to George Deukmejian by 100,000 votes. There have been other contests in which black candidates facing white opponents had comfortable leads according to polls, only to lose or win narrowly. The theory has always been that devious white poll respondents claim they are voting for the black candidate but actually vote for the white.
The results of the presidential election showed no “Bradley Effect.” Polls showed Mr. Obama winning 51 to 53 percent of the vote, with John McCain getting 42 to 44 percent. The final result, 53 percent to 46, shows that, if anything, the polls slightly understated support for Mr. McCain. [Alan Fram, No Hidden White Bias Seen in Presidential Race, AP, Nov. 7, 2008.]
‘Devil Like Talent’
80-year-old Klaus Emmerich is the dean of Austrian political journalists. He spent part of his 61-year career as the Washington correspondent for ORF, the Austrian state television broadcaster, and is the network’s top political commentator on US affairs. During coverage of the US election, he said, “I wouldn’t want the Western world to be directed by a black man. And if you say this is a racist remark, I say you are damn right it is.” The next day, in an interview with the Austrian Standard, he described Obama’s victory as an “extremely disconcerting development” because “blacks aren’t as politically civilized” as whites. He later told another Austrian newspaper, Die Presse, that Mr. Obama has “a devil-like talent to present his rhetoric so effectively.”
ORF got complaints about Mr. Emmerich and a spokesman for the Austrian Green Party demanded that he be fired, but the broadcaster says it is still studying the matter. [Austrian Journalist Slammed For Racist Obama Rant, Der Spiegel, Nov. 7, 2008. New Obama Race Row as Austrian TV Pundit Says Black People ‘Are Not Civilised Enough to Rule,’ Daily Mail (London), Nov. 7, 2008.]
In November, Democrats picked up at least 6 seats in the Senate and 19 in the House, so the country is likely to veer to the left. Still, in the heartland, there were signs of resistance. In Missouri, voters overwhelmingly — with 89 percent of the vote — made English the official language. In Nebraska, 58 percent of voters approved the state’s Civil Rights Initiative, a ballot measure banning racial preferences in government hiring and university admissions. This is the latest success for black California businessman Ward Connerly’s American Civil Rights Coalition, which has succeeded in getting voters to ban so-called affirmative action in California, Michigan, and Washington. Unfortunately, Mr. Connerly’s effort in Colorado this year appears to have fallen short by a few thousand votes. [Official English Wins by a Landslide in Missouri, ProEnglish, Nov. 5, 2008. Matthew Hansen, Nebraska Voters Back Affirmative Action Ban, Omaha World-Herald, Nov. 5, 2008.]
In California, a ballot initiative to overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that lets homosexuals marry each other set conservative blacks against liberal whites. A slim majority of whites voted to let the ruling stand, but 70 percent of blacks and 53 percent of Hispanics disagreed, so same-sex marriage is once again illegal in California. There were street protests against the result in Los Angeles and a candle-light vigil in San Francisco. [Karl Vick and Ashley Surdin, Most of California’s Black Voters Backed Gay Marriage Ban, Washington Post, Nov. 7, 2006, p. A3.]
Forrest Rides Again
Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Florida, opened as an all-white school in the 1950s, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy suggested the name as an act of defiance against the Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Times have changed. Blacks now make up more than half the student body, and hold two of the seven seats on the Duval County School Board. On November 3, the board held a hearing — one of several over the years — on whether to change the name.
More than 140 people attended the three-hour session, during which blacks railed about Forrest’s Ku Klux Klan associations. Many whites defended Forrest. “He was a good man,” said June Cooper, a 1970 Forrest High graduate who is white. “He was a military genius.” In the end, the school board split along racial lines, 5-2, and voted to keep the name. [Ron Word, Fla. School Will Remain Named After KKK Leader, AP, Nov. 4, 2008.]
Cheshire County, England, believes that “educating children in the beliefs of different faiths” is “essential to understanding” — and students better like it. In early July, two students at Alsager High School refused to kneel on prayer mats, wear Muslim headgear and pray to Allah as part of a unit on Islam. The school punished both boys with detention. Says the irate grandfather of one, “If Muslims were asked to go to Church on Sunday and take Holy Communion, there would be war.” Karen Williams, mother of another student in the class adds, “Not only was it forced upon them, my daughter was told off for not doing it right. They’d never done it before and they were supposed to do it in another language.”
The school has no comment, other than to say, “We accept that such teaching is to be conducted with some sense of sensitivity.” [Report: Schoolboys Get Detention for Refusing to Pray to Allah, Fox News, July 5, 2008.]
Dead White Flight
Detroit used to be the fourth largest city in the US, and reached its peak population of 1,850,000 in 1950. Now it is less than half that size, and loses about 5,000 people every year. Most of the whites fled to the suburbs years ago, but many remain — in the city’s cemeteries. Perhaps not for long. Whites are now digging their relatives out of Detroit’s cemeteries and spending up to $5,000 to re-inter them in majority white suburbs like Macomb County. City records show nearly 1,000 disinterments from 2002 to 2007, but experts say “thousands upon thousands” have taken place off the books over the last 20 years. Why? Patrick Lynch, a funeral home director in suburban Clawson, Michigan says that “people have to drive to a place that may take them through neighborhoods they otherwise may never go.”
Stephen Vogel, Dean of Architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy, says it’s racism. “What it says to me is that there is a deeply ingrained fear on the part of suburbanites in terms of their attitude toward the city and its hold is very powerful and very deep,” he says. [Charlie LeDuff, Flight of the Dead: Suburban Families Move Loved Ones from Detroit Cemeteries, Detroit News, Aug. 12, 2008.]
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — It looks as though not enough people took Reilly Smith’s advice in the November issue — we just got a black president-elect. I now wish the thick-witted white gas bag had won, if only to spare us the self-congratulatory shrieking and babbling that has greeted The Messiah.
Not even the real Messiah could live up to the expectations our new president faces, and it won’t be long before blacks notice that nothing has changed. Will they blame him for it? Of course not. Persistent black failure despite a half-African chief executive will be yet more compelling evidence of the hideous power of white racism. I’d say whitey can expect to be called to account during the summer of, say, 2010 or 2011, and it will be worse than the riots we would have seen if Mr. Obama had lost. You have plenty of time to stock up on ammunition and canned food.
Carl Anderson, Milwaukee, Wis.
Sir — I visited a local Barack Obama campaign headquarters and was struck by how few blacks I saw. I taught sociology at Florida State University and saw first-hand how years of academic propaganda about race can turn whites into true believers. I walked away wondering what it would take to awaken their racial consciousness. Whatever it takes, I hope it happens soon.
Phillip Blood, Worthington, Ohio
Sir — How appropriate that the November issue of AR debating the merits of voting Republican arrived minutes after I read a news report about John McCain resisting calls to make an issue of Barack Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. His advisors know that this is the only shot he has of winning the election but Mr. McCain won’t budge for fear of being called a racist.
The October 15 Politico.com story quotes a McCain official as saying: “McCain felt it would be sensed as racially insensitive. But more important is that McCain thinks that the bringing of racial religious preaching in black churches into the campaign would potentially have grave consequences for civil society in the United States.”
Sam Francis didn’t call them the Stupid Party for nothing.
Michael Hart and Reilly Smith make good points in their articles advocating a vote for McCain/Palin, but the Politico story shows that Jared Taylor is correct to not support either ticket. McCain is not our friend and neither is most of the GOP. Republicans have repeatedly turned their back on their base (white people) and richly deserve to lose this election.
David Diaconu, New Haven, Conn.
Sir — I am astonished to read in the November issue that you are indifferent to the outcome of the presidential election. Besides the gruesome symbolism of a black president and first lady, let me list just a few of the things Barack Obama will try to do with the help of a Democrat-controlled Congress.
He will push for amnesty for illegals. He will raise your taxes to pay for socialized medicine and to “distribute the wealth,” as he likes to put it. He will promote homosexual marriage, and do away with the regulations that prevent open homosexuals from serving in the military. He will suspend the death penalty because it is “unfair to minorities.” He will want women in combat. He will introduce “equal pay,” which means that heavily-female professions will have their wages set artificially high by the government. He will vastly increase foreign aid to Africa. He will promote the “fairness doctrine,” which would introduce a nightmare of Soviet-style regulations to talk radio. He will support statehood for DC, which will mean two black Democratic senators and a black Democratic representative. He will fill the Justice Department with “civil rights” sharks who will sue every company that does not have a painfully “diverse” workforce. He will try to decriminalize marijuana use. He will appoint radical, Lani Guinier-types to every opening on the bench, and they could eventually approve “hate speech” laws that will make it impossible for you to publish American Renaissance. And at every turn, he and his snarling wife will glorify and promote blacks.
And you think John McCain is equally bad? Open your eyes, man, for they must be very tightly closed.
Edward Nelson, Belchertown, Mass.
Sir — I enjoyed the November review of Mark Krikorian’s book on immigration. Aside from the grotesque argument your reviewer pointed out — that today’s Third-World immigrants would have made fine Americans if only they had showed up 100 years ago — this seems to be a good book filled with good arguments. In fact, many of the arguments Mr. Krikorian makes are irrefutable, so why do our rulers ignore them?
I have long thought that if today’s uneducable, crime-prone, disease-ridden, unnecessary immigrants were white English speakers, we would have no trouble pitching them out. It is only because they are non-white, and because race turns otherwise rational Americans into simpletons that we put up with them.
Susan Speace, Bloomington, Ind.