Thursday, March 24, 2005

"I hate Illinois Nazis"

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
The laden phrase “identity politics” has come to signify a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. Rather than organizing solely around ideology or party affiliation, identity politics typically concerns the liberation of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context. Members of that constituency assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations, with the goal of greater self-determination.
Yesterday while listening to NPR I heard a piece on Jeffrey Weise killing people on the Red Lake Reservation.

One of the "experts" commented on Weise being Native American and being attracted to Nazi ideology. He claimed some individuals from the "oppressed" identify with the "oppressor" because they covet the power and acceptance.

I'm pretty sure that's not what was going on in this case.

Does Matthew Hale, his movement or other neo-Nazi organizations have any meaningful power? They are angry and critics of the larger society. They invoke the threat of violence and "talk trash" about overthrowing the existing social order and replacing it with something pure.

These are the aspects of the neo-Nazi movement Weise identified with. He hated mainstream culture. He fantasized about using violence to change it. And he wanted to establish something pure.

To suggest he was seeking acceptance by society's privileged and powerful misses the mark. Weise hated society's privileged and powerful. It wasn't like he was trying to become a jock, a businessman or a Republican.


Blogger Bill Baar said...

I remember protesting in Skokie when the Nazis would threaten to protest there. A guy from the local Zionist organization had researched the leader: Frank Collin, of the local Nazis and found out he was Jewish and the son of concentration camp survivors. This was back in the late 70s and there is a book out on it now.. Point is I don't think they're really Nazis so much as pathetic people. On the other hand, when you have pathetic people take over a whole country (or maybe a religion) you can have a real problem.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Bill Baar said...

Here is what Norman Cohn said in his book about the "Protocols of Zion" (Which Andrew Sullivan found on sale recently at an anti Iraq War Demo by the way).

It is a great mistake to suppose that the only writers who matter are those whom the educated in their saner moments can take seriously. There exists a subterranean world where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics for the benefit of the ignorant and superstitious. There are times when this underworld emerges from the depths and suddenly fascinates, captures, and dominates multitudes of usually sane and responsible people, who thereupon take leave of sanity and responsibility. And it occasionally happens that this underworld becomes a political power and changes the course of history. ---Warrant for Genocide: the Myth of the JewishWorld-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, p. 18

4:59 PM  
Blogger Carl Nyberg said...

Bill, what aspects of the modern Nazi movement in the USA do you think resonated with Weise?

5:08 PM  
Blogger Bill Baar said...

I don't really know. I haven't followed this one and admit this is one of those news stories I won't follow. I don't think this is a Nazi story so to speak. It's a sad story on mental health and how we're ill equipped to spot troubled people. On the other hand though, Nazi's are one of those extreme movements that for odd historical reasons, sick and demented people can take over. So on one had you ignore it,,, on the other hand you have to be concerned. A little long winded here... but I think I'm not concerned on the Nazi aspect with this kid... just the failure of the schools, the healthcare system,, and so on to spot a kid who needed some help before he turned on others. There are some big civil liberities issues at work here too. Sorry to go on and on... it's late and I'm an AM kind of guy.

8:17 PM  

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