So recently I wrote about my annoyance with progressive reactions to the teabaggers.
Well, today at GRITtv we went one step further than the tea party protests and looked at the rise of white nationalist movements with journalist/filmmaker Rick Rowley, who just made a film connecting the dots between the teabaggers, the anti-immigrant groups, and the hard-core white supremacist/neo-nazi groups. We also had Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, who spends entirely too much of his time researching frightening right-wing groups, on to discuss--and we spoke to a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens from Rowley's film, who says he joined it because of the economy.
I was prepared to be properly freaked out by the rise of neo-Nazi groups. Hell, I'm Jewish, lefty, and while I might be annoyed with some of Obama's moves thus far, I certainly don't want to see him assassinated.
Well, I'm still disturbed by the hatred, but the most salient points made in the panel by far were that these people are angry because they have nothing--or they're losing what little they do have. When I'm watching a film about white nationalists and they're saying some of the same things I say about Wall Street and the economy...
So, as a friend and I were just saying, what do we do now? I'm in NYC, in the heart of liberal multiculturalism, as it were. However, the show I work for is broadcast on satellite and is watched all over rural America. That helps some, I suppose, but we need more.
The good old "50 State Strategy" worked for an exceedingly well-funded campaign, but in the downtime, we need to not forget about organizing and we need to spend less time sneering at people and more time figuring out how to get them to stop blaming people of color, immigrants, women, lesbian and gay people for their troubles and look at the real causes.
(In case you think I'm being entirely too optimistic, I'll fall back on my second Saul Williams reference in a week: Some of these people are never going to change. Your old racist uncle isn't going to get any better--he's just going to die. But that's not most people.)