White Noise: Immigration, Antiracism and the Spreading of a Neo-Nazi Meme

Nazis like shortcuts. Maybe it’s because of their aversion to work, which is mighty difficult to do when you spend all day on the Stormfront web board, talking about your favorite Norse God, or newest tattoo, or how the reason you can’t find a job is because the blacks and Mexicans took them all; the same blacks and Mexicans who you think all live on welfare because they’re lazy. Because, ya know, lazy people are often known to take all the jobs.

Like I said, Nazis like shortcuts; and so, many years ago, rather than going to the trouble of exclaiming “Heil Hitler!” (because that takes 0.78 seconds — no really, I clocked it), they decided to shave a little time off the sentiment by just saying “88” instead, or writing the number “88” on everything: e-mails, signs, their leather jackets, whatever. Get it? Heil and Hitler both start with an “H,” and “H” is the 8th letter of the alphabet, so “88” is like “H” written twice. Ah, yes, Nazi numerology. Very tricky, very master race-y. We see what you did there skinheads. Kudos, you.

Anyway, a few years later they stepped it up a notch with a new symbol, 14/88. Although 88 by itself still represented an allegiance to a certain German dictator, the combination of 14/88 referred to the literary work of Nazi terrorist David Lane. It was Lane who compiled the so-called “14 Words” and “88 precepts” while serving time for multiple felonies, including his role in the murder of Denver talk-show host, Alan Berg, in 1984. The “14 Words,” a simple sentence involving “securing the survival” of whites and their children has long been a favorite stanza among white supremacists, who are unbothered by the violent, psychotic and hateful persona of its author: a man whom they continue to revere, several years after the fetid chambers of his pathetic heart blessedly gave out.

The 14 Words served them pretty well for a time, but lately even they have been supplanted, much as with the simple “88” before them. This time, the Nazis have become attached to a motto that, by comparison to its predecessors, is damned-near an epic poem, at least in terms of verbosity if not literary merit. “The Mantra” as it’s proudly known (by people who apparently remain unaware how cult-like it sounds to go around repeating something you actually call “The Mantra”) was penned by Bob Whitaker, a self-proclaimed genius who in his younger days admits to hanging a swastika poster in his room in opposition to the civil rights movement.

Since his stint as a Hitler fanboy, Whitaker claims to have worked as a CIA agent, during which time he single-handedly developed the propaganda strategy that brought down the Soviet Union. Because of course he did. Since then, he hasn’t done much of anything, which is odd, seeing as how someone who was responsible for ending the Cold War would (you’d think) be in great demand after such an accomplishment. But he wasn’t, and so he ended up with plenty of free time in which to craft “The Mantra,” a 222-word statement to the effect that anti-racism is just “code” for “anti-white,” and this we know because antiracists only advocate immigration and intermarriage in “white countries,” and are therefore engaged in a plot to commit genocide against white people by way of diversity efforts in the U.S. and Europe.

Whitaker devotees call themselves “BUGSers,” (for Bob’s Underground Graduate Seminar), or alternately, the “SWARM,” and apparently believe their savior has stumbled upon some divine truth about multiculturalism, antiracists and the left more broadly. This truth, to hear them tell it, is so explosive that we who fit the above categories are afraid to debate the matter. Exactly how one debates a mantra remains a mystery of course. It would be like “debating” the Lord’s Prayer with a Christian, or the Kaddish with a Jew sitting shiva, or trying to intellectually spar with a Buddhist Monk repeating Omkara or a member of AA right in the middle of the serenity prayer. You can’t really debate a buzz phrase, a ritualistic maxim or an article of faith. They are not developed arguments, but rather aphorisms, like those Successories you can buy at the mall for framing in your office, with slogans like “Believe in Yourself,” or “There’s no I in Team.”

But that doesn’t stop the BUGSers from trying to pick a fight. They post The Mantra everywhere, from YouTube comments to Amazon.com reviews to the walls of bathroom stalls. I’ve had it sent to me via e-mail repeatedly, and recently was apprised (by one of his most devoted disciples) of an upcoming Chat/Debate with Whitaker, to which antiracists like myself have supposedly been invited, but from which we have naturally run like scared cockroaches or mice, or some such thing. We’ve been exposed! Our plot for genocide foiled by the intrepid research of some old bigot with a few hundred hardcore followers who have nothing better to do than post the same 222-word message over and over again on anonymous comment sections of local newspaper sites and on Craigslist!

Yeah, exposed not so much. And although I can hardly believe I need to say this, none of us in the antiracist left support white genocide. In fact, The Mantra is so wrong on so many points that one has to assume its author and acolytes are either incapable of understanding basic political ideology, or they deliberately deceive so as to drum up racist violence against those of us whom they accuse of trying to actually hurt them.* This is, of course, an old Nazi tactic, and one Hitler used to great effect in the ’30s by whipping Germans into a frenzy about the evil designs of the Jews and their desire to strangle Aryan civilization. By demonizing Jews (and Slavs and Romani among others), the Nazis made it much easier to sell “pre-emptive” repression of these groups in Europe. It was, to the Nazis way of thinking, just a form of self-defense, see?

Anyway, although debating an actual mantra is virtually impossible, addressing the underlying premises of Whitaker’s mantra is quite easy, so let us turn to that task now.

The False Premises of “The Mantra” (Or How Nazis Get it Wrong, as Usual)

The premise of The Mantra is that antiracists believe in multiculturalism, immigration and assimilation but only in so-called white nations. In Africa and Asia we don’t mind racial or cultural purity or the domination of the racial locals, yet in the U.S. and throughout Europe we seek open borders and amalgamation. But in truth, no antiracist has ever said anything like this. Nor is it what we believe. Personally, I think that people should be able to live on whatever continent they wish, and in whatever country, within reasonable limits for matters of space. Obviously, not everyone who would love to live in St. Kitts, for instance, can be allowed to. There just isn’t room. But on a continent-wide level, antiracists and most of the left would endorse the general notion of the free movement of labor and people across borders, wherever those borders existed.

Secondly, the idea that antiracists accede to racial or ethnic purity in non-white countries while condemning the concept among whites ignores that Africa’s nations are, in fact, comprised of many different ethnic groups, as with Asia and its nation states. As such, the very notion of racial or ethnic purity in such places is by definition an absurdity. It is not something that exists, and it is not something that antiracists support existing. This is why, for instance, when the Hutu in Rwanda were slaughtering Tutsi en masse in 1994, the left and certainly antiracists were appalled and said so openly. Because that genocide — an actual one, involving mass killing and the attempted destruction of an entire ethnic/national group — was rooted in inhumane, ethnocentric and even racist notions of superiority/inferiority, manifested by the powerful against the powerless. Likewise, antiracists like myself are appalled by the mistreatment of ethnic Koreans or the Buraku caste in Japan, and for the same antiracist reasons. We do not support multiculturalism only in the U.S. or throughout Europe, but believe it to be important and valuable everywhere. In Africa, for instance, few who call themselves antiracist would deny the right of whites in South Africa to live there on equal terms with all others. What we would deny is the right of whites there to establish a system of government such as apartheid, which viciously restricted the rights of the black African majority and consigned them to second-class citizenship. That kind of system is inherently unjust. It is not the presence of whites in South Africa that was or is the problem — and many brave whites opposed apartheid and fought for its eradication — but rather, the system of white supremacy established by whites there that needed to go.

Third, and most importantly, it is simply false that antiracists promote mass immigration of non-white peoples to the U.S. or Europe. Antiracists (and most of the left) view mass migration as evidence of systemic economic failure; it is an unfortunate consequence of an economic order that produces misery in much of the global South, while enriching the global North, thereby prompting labor mobility by persons in search of greater opportunity. Alternately, we view it as the unfortunate consequence of political repression, prompting migration by desperate people seeking an escape from persecution. Far from desiring mass migration, the left (and certainly the antiracist left) wishes that the systemic conditions that give rise to mass migration did not exist, because these conditions and the polices that cause them are examples, in our estimation, of institutional racism and global white supremacy!

We desire a global economic order that does not rely on the exploitation of labor and resources in the global South for the enrichment of economic elites in the North. We desire trade policies that would reverse the current tendency for U.S. corporations to flood markets in Mexico with cheap agricultural products, thereby undermining the Mexican agricultural economy and creating the very pressures that result in large numbers of Mexicans seeking opportunity in the U.S.

In other words, if we had our way, the global economic system would be ordered in such a fashion as to reduce pressures for migration. We would prefer that people be able to remain in their homes, in the lands they have always called their own, in the places they know, surrounded by friends and family. Because that is what people prefer. No one really wants to pack whatever belongings they are able to carry out of their homelands and travel to a strange place, or a distant shore, not for opportunity or anything else. They would mostly prefer opportunity right where they are, food where they are, medicine where they are, education where they are, a job in their own town. The European ancestors of those of us called white didn’t want to come to the U.S. either, but they felt they had no choice. The same is true for Mexicans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, or anyone else. To celebrate that migration by our “white” ancestors in the face of economic or political desperation, but then shut the door on those of color facing the same thing, is hypocritical and morally indefensible. And to the extent much of the misery creating “non-white” migration is directly due to the policies of the West — including trade policy and military interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean — to block immigration by persons made desperate by our actions would be like setting someone’s house on fire and then blocking the exits to prevent escape.

Furthermore, to allow capital and goods to flow across borders in search of the highest rate of return or price, but to chain labor to its country of origin via restrictive immigration policies is to forever tilt the economic order in favor of elites and against workers, including white workers in the global North! Because so long as labor cannot move freely in search of the highest wage, companies will be free to move production to the lowest cost nation, where workers will be forced to remain and work for whatever the company seeks to offer. This bids down the value of labor worldwide, thereby harming working people generally. In other words, restricting immigration in the name of white nationalism will only work to benefit white elites, not white working class people, who would be better off joining with migrant labor to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Bottom line: none of our support for a humane and compassionate immigration policy concerns a desire to use immigration as a way to alter the demographic makeup of so-called white nations. If those who were economically destitute or fleeing political repression or war were mostly “white” — as was the case for many of our ancestors, and for many Central Europeans from the Balkans in the 1990s — we would (and did) feel the same way. What we oppose is using immigration policy as a tool of racial and ethnic discrimination, because we oppose racism.

As for why we don’t advocate such open immigration policies in non-white countries (many of which have quite restrictive barriers to entry), there are two answers, both of which should be obvious. First, to the extent migration patterns follow opportunity, and to the extent the global economic order enriches the so-called white world at the expense of most of the so-called non-white world, it simply stands to reason that most migrants will seek opportunity in “white” nations because they will enjoy more opportunity there at present. So the issue is moot. Fewer people seek to migrate to poorer countries than rich ones: shocking, I know. Ironically, if white nationalists really want to redirect some of those migration patterns, they would do well to support calls for a new global economic order, which produced greater continental equity between the West and the rest.

Secondly, and putting aside what non-white nations should do morally in terms of immigration policies, it should be expected that when Western antiracists speak about immigration or immigrant rights, we will focus on immigration to the U.S. and Europe, because that’s where we live. As such, that is where we can have the most impact and influence over public policy, and it is also where we have the most obvious right to influence such policies. In other words, and although I am horrified by ethnic/racial mistreatment in other nations, unless that mistreatment is something I am perhaps subsidizing through substantial foreign aid and U.S.-government assistance, it is not likely to get nearly as much attention from me. This is not because those other oppressions fail to bother me, but because my outrage will likely amount to very little. This is why during the Cold War (you know the one that Bob Whitaker personally stopped), most of us on the left believed in focusing on the crimes of the United States abroad, and our nuclear stockpile, and our military interventions around the world: not because the Soviets weren’t doing the same and equally evil shit, but because we believed (and still do) that we should clean up our shit first, and that because it is our shit, we might actually have a chance of cleaning it.

As a side note, however, when other countries engage in ethnic or racial oppression and do so with substantial support from my country, I do make an issue of that. So, for instance, I am very clear about my opposition to the State of Israel constituted as a “Jewish State” (rather than as a state of the nation’s citizens), and whose oppression of Palestinians and newly-arrived Africans is appalling. In part, I make noise about this matter because, as a Jew, I believe it is important to raise my voice in opposition to Zionism, as both a practical and philosophical matter, but also because, as an American whose tax dollars help pay for that oppression (and without which it could not continue), I feel directly implicated.

From the Stupid to the Psychotic: The Myth of “White Genocide”

Whitaker then ramps up the crazy even further, claiming that not only are antiracists seeking to “flood” white nations with non-whites, but that we are doing so as a way to commit literal genocide against white people. Because he must know how silly this sounds to most people — and how most would logically see it as the fevered delusions of a white supremacist, perhaps even neo-Nazi — he naturally seeks to insulate himself from the charge, even making fun of it. And thus, at the end of The Mantra he insists:

…if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

See what he did there? He lampooned the actual genocide of European Jewry and the crimes of Hitler as if they were just a punch line to a joke, or something antiracists throw out there for the hell of it to defame people like him (cuz, ya know, why would anyone think a man who hangs a swastika on his wall and whose work has been spread around almost exclusively by open Hitler-admirers might be a Nazi?)

Of course, to claim that whites are facing genocide thanks to immigration trends suggests the BUGSers are unfamiliar with the definition of the term.

According to the official United Nations definition of the concept, genocide refers to:

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Putting aside the question of intent for a second — in other words, the absurd notion that immigration is a weapon calculated by antiracists to destroy white people — there is the simple reality that even in effect, migrant flows cannot possibly produce a genocidal or even significantly hurtful outcome for whites. It is not connected to widespread killing of white people or bodily harm to whites (in fact, immigrants to the U.S. have lower violent crime rates than native born citizens, according to every scholarly piece of evidence on the subject); it is not linked to serious mental harm (unless white people are so weak that we are mentally destroyed by the presence of others in our midst, in which case the problem is ours, and no one is morally obliged to cater to our neurosis); it does not impose conditions that would bring about the physical destruction of whites or prevent us from making babies, or forcibly transfer the babies we do have to others.

Immigration, to the extent it alters the demographic makeup of the nations to which migrants flow, does not constitute genocide because it does not destroy others or prevent others from existing. It only takes away their ability to dominate and exercise hegemony. It only prevents them from using their superior numbers to dictate policy for others. But the preservation of hegemonic dominance and numerical superiority is not protected by the UN Convention on Genocide, and its preservation is not implied under any rational interpretation of the word’s meaning. Were it so protected, white nationalists could argue for limiting births among non-whites (which actually would meet the definition of genocide) as a way to preserve white numerical superiority in the U.S. and thus prevent “white genocide.” But obviously that would lead to an infinitely absurd regression, in which one would have to advocate genocide to prevent genocide, a formulation that would render the entire meaning of the term, well, meaningless.

The notion that the end of white hegemony is tantamount to white genocide is anti-intellectualism bordering on paranoid delusion. A people are not the victims of genocide simply because they cease to be a majority in a particular land. This is especially true when such a group will retain a disproportionate share of power, wealth and influence even as it diminishes in raw numbers to the level of a mere plurality.

To believe that whites in the U.S. will be the victims of genocide once we fall to a mere 45 percent of the national population (the lowest numbers projected by anyone, at any point in the foreseeable future) requires a fundamental ignorance as to what genocide is — such that it horribly disrespects those who have truly been the victims of it, all around the world and in many different eras — and suggests that far from believing whites to be superior, the white nationalists who sound these alarm bells have a well-rooted inferiority complex. After all, why would whites, at 45 percent of the population (or even 35 percent for that matter) be unable to preserve ourselves, physically, culturally or otherwise? Blacks have been able to do that at just 12-13 percent of the population; Latinos at anywhere from 10-18 percent; and Asian Americans at 4 percent. More to the point, even indigenous North Americans — though surely subjected to genocidal policies by the U.S. and Canadian governments — have managed to survive, at incredibly small population percentages, and well below anything that any sane observer could project for whites on the continent. If those who are not white have been able to survive and maintain their cultures and traditions, even when representing population shares one-third to one-twentieth that predicted for whites at our lowest possible percentage, but we will be unable to do so, just because we no longer represent 50 percent-plus one, then whites must rank as among the weakest and most pathetic groups of humans ever to walk the Earth. If a group cannot survive without its ability to dominate others and to control the world, it is not superior, but inferior, and it is not worthy of the power it has wielded for so long.

Which is to say, to the extent Whitaker and company are correct that whites will disappear if we are not allowed to retain our majority status in the U.S. and Europe, then such a fate will merely represent our lack of genetic and cultural fitness — the very kind of thing that biological determinists like the white nationalists normally believe in — and to the extent we will survive, despite demographic change, then the only thing being lost is hegemony: a status never deserved to begin with.

Whites and White Supremacy are Not the Same

Whitaker’s final salvo in The Mantra — which is the only part that some especially lazy Nazis occasionally post, rather than the whole thing (like I said, they like ’em some shortcuts) — sums up his position in a particularly pathetic and ill-conceived fashion:

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white

This, more than anything, indicates how far from understanding the antiracist position Whitaker and others in the white nationalist movement really are. Antiracists are not anti-white, and opposing racism is not “anti-white.” We are anti-white supremacy. We are against whiteness as a social/political and economic organizing principle. We believe that whites do not exist, biologically, because the genetic and biological differences between “whites” and “nonwhites” are simply too small to suggest sub-speciation. Even those differences that can be seen at the genomic level are not sufficient, quantitatively or qualitatively, to indicate that the human race has sub-speciated into actual scientific races. So when we speak hopefully of the end of whiteness, we do not mean the end of the people currently called white; we mean the end of a social order than provides privilege and opportunity to such persons on the basis of that designation.

There is a difference, and it is not a small one, between white people and whiteness. There have always been white people who opposed white supremacy and domination (and for that matter, people of color who upheld and defended the system of white supremacy). Although people make up systems and exist within them, we can also transcend them. It is we who are antiracists who take the more optimistic view about those persons called white. We believe that such persons — and that includes many of us personally — are better than the white nationalists apparently believe us to be. They appear to believe that racially oppressing others is our natural state of being, that we can’t help it, that we are compelled to dominate and control and injure, and that we should embrace those tendencies.

Antiracists say no: there is more than one way to live in this skin, and we intend to prove it.

*I’m actually pretty sure it is this — the desire to stoke anger and paranoia among white nationalists, such that some might seek to do violent harm to antiracists — which animated Whitaker’s decision to formulate The Mantra, and spurs the devotion with which others have spread it. If you can make white people believe that antiracism is a plot to literally destroy them and their progeny for all time — the popular understanding of a concept like genocide — you can get at least some among those whites, imbued with this mentality of victimhood, to attack the source of their injury. What would be justifiable in the face of attempted genocide, after all? Most of us would say, pretty much anything. If I really think you’re trying to kill me and wipe out my group, I am morally justified in preemptively attacking and destroying you first. At least, that would be what most would likely say.

Since mantras by definition are not meant for conversion or persuasion — they don’t function like arguments to convince, but rather like prayers to center the devoted — it makes little sense to believe that this particular mantra was meant as a typical propaganda tool. Rather, it is intended to gin up resentment and hostility among the initiated, in the hopes that some among them will take matters into their own hands and stand up to those they accuse of attempting to kill them. It is a call, directly or indirectly, for bloodshed. And given the willingness on the part of these provocateurs to distort what many of us have said and believe, it is reasonable for us to believe they are especially hopeful that violence will be visited upon us.

So, for instance, the folks who run the White Genocide Project — affiliates of Whitaker and propagators of The Mantra — deceptively edited a portion of an essay I wrote back in 2010. They did so in a way that was calculated to give the impression that I was calling for (or at the very least happy about the prospects of) white genocide. So whereas my “Open Letter to the White Right” made it very clear that I was only gleeful about the fact that within a few decades there would no longer be white people left in the U.S. who could nostalgically remember the pre-civil rights era — and thus pine away for those “good old days” in a way that I feel is dangerous for the cause of human justice — the white nationalists edited my words so as to suggest that I had predicted (happily) the end of white people altogether.

Here is what I said:

“…in the pantheon of American history, conservative old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms.

Fine, keep it up. It doesn’t matter.

Because you’re on the endangered list.

And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving.

In forty years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people around who actually remember that Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Opie-Taylor-Down-at-the-Fishing Hole cornpone bullshit that you hold so near and dear to your heart.

There won’t be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the good old days, because there won’t be any more white folks around who actually remember them…

Obviously, the reference is to the passing of old white reactionaries with a segregation Jones.

But in the hands of lying Neo-Nazis, this — as written on the White Genocide Project website — is changed to read as follows:

“[White people] You’re on the endangered list. And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are not worth saving. In forty years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people around.”

That anyone would so butcher a statement suggests their dishonesty and venal commitment to their political ends of fascism, no matter the deception they must practice in order to achieve it.

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