Total police presence at a protest by National Socialist Movement in Chattanooga is the real demonstration. 37 seconds.
By David Tulis
The coverage of the neo-Nazi protest in Chattanooga shows traditional media at its best. The story is so vital to the people of the town that only one side needs be told.
And that side is that of the counterprotest. When a hate group has a protest, it must take place in a vacuum that police power helps create. Twenty-four representatives from National Socialist Movement, a Detroit group, are in Chattanooga of a Saturday. Their speeches, their arguments cannot be recorded.
The headline in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Page 1, tells the tone of the coverage by four staff writers: “Nazis hardly heard” and a redundant deck, “Crowd drowns out hate message with laughter, jeers.” Counter-protesters across the courthouse boulevard fill the frame of news coverage. The self-styled neo-Nazis are confined behind temporary orange construction barriers and, in the name of security, are isolated from the public and the press.
The newspaper considers Southern Poverty Law Center an authority on NSM, and its usage “hate group” controls. The story is not about any sort of dialogue, but a monologue of disdain. TFP reporting describes indignation and a sort of offended righteousness among Chattanoogans angered that anyone favoring Nazi politics and the white race would dare show up. The report itself, too, revels in a sort of ecstatic unity of mind.
The newspaper in the Sunday edition defended its Page 1 coverage, “We’re not in the business of protesting the news,” says Allison Gerber, editor. “It’s our job to cover it.” Readers learn four things about NSM and its members’ beliefs. (1) National socialists wear Adolph Hitler’s mugshot on their clothing, and (2) bear swastikas. (3) The group, says the SPLC, “is known for its violent anti-Semitic and racist viewpoints.” (4) One NSM member is said to have yelled that counterprotesters are homosexuals, implying the group views that term as a spitting epithet. As characters in a story, these news subjects remain undeveloped as the antagonist and are not allowed by quotation to emerge alive from the printed page. The paper quotes a supporter in the crowd, as does Kelsey Bagwell of TV9.
Established media cannot blame a police cordon for one-sided reporting. NSM publishes its goals online and lists a phone number.
Patriotism of national socialists
National socialism has its heralds on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1930s. The American version is described in innumerable histories, but perhaps most succinctly by Garet Garett in The People’s Pottage (1953). And that is the national socialism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with his replacement of local economy by national, his building welfare and police state upon the warfare state of President Wilson. The German national socialist party arose from a blood-line theory of German exceptionalism close to Hitler’s heart, inspired by strains of Wagner’s operas, the muscular humanism of the philosopher Nietzsche and the poetry of Prussian idealists.
Big government and centralization are key to NSM’s goals. Its main desiderata is purifying the country of aliens, blacks, Jews and others outside its definition of American. To put its program into effect, it says, “we demand the creation of a strong central national government for the nation; the unconditional authority of the political central parliament over the entire nation and its organizations” (Plank 25).
Powerful national state would back racial bias
A review of its party platform suggests a close alignment with the Democrat and Republican national parties. Its positions might be considered poisonous because it is motivated by favor of the Caucasian. But the Rev. Jesse Jackson appears in Chattanooga to espouse his version of pigmento-centrism, one that favors a darker hue. Racial bias, per se, is not cause for marginalization.
Overall, national socialists favor a patronizing civil power.
➤ Freedom of the press. For approved groups. Only white-owned outlets allowed: “[N]on-Whites shall be prohibited by law from participating financially in or influencing American newspapers” and any who do are to be deported. Any newspaper “not conducive to the national welfare” is forbidden.
➤ Abortion? Permitted in cases of “rape, incest, race-mixing or mental retardation.” Democrats approve of three of four of these categories of baby death. Interestingly, the socialist group makes no call for aborting or sterilizing blacks, a program that runs with the support of white eugenicist democrats. NSM has a pro-natalist viewpoint that laments, as do you, progressives’ destruction of the nuclear family.
➤ Feds control economy. The party has no distaste for national economy or a national government’s imposing itself on the 50 states and their people. “We demand the nationalization of all businesses which have been formed into corporations (trusts).” This point is essential in fascism and national socialism, the ownership or control of business and industry by the state. Hitler did it. So did Mussolini and FDR. It follows that the neo-Nazis take up the cry of an imposed “livable wage.” It has no objection to unions, only to marxist ones it would like to replace with national socialist trade unions. It would impose a national flat tax vs. a marxist progressive income tax, but require “profit sharing” in large companies.
➤ Debt crisis. Feebly, NSM grapples with the financialization of the American economy. Financialization is the abstractification of human activity into nonproductive and speculative ventures on credit, with the inevitable centralization afar and, near at hand, evisceration of local economy. Detroit stabs at the problem one way, and then another. It hails “the abolition of incomes unearned by work[.] The breaking of interest slavery.” Thomas Gokey in Chattanooga and Strike Debt would approve of the war on paper money debt. But it would promote local economy by legal violence. It would “communalize” big department stores such as Sears and Wal-Mart in favor of “small traders,” who would be favored in state and local government contracts.
The people’s bastard sibling
National Socialist Movement shares with major parties its powerful central state. But it is a bastard brother no party will acknowledge, as its paternity is a scoundrel. Worse, the castaway has an annoying mental defect. It limits its reach in democratic politics by identifying with Hitler, a popularly elected dictator who created a police state. It overlooks that he repeatedly placed Wehrmacht boots on foreign soil, and that his broken cross was splintered in 1945 at the end of an imperial war among brethren.
National socialists of Detroit say “We demand the union of all Whites into a greater America on the basis of the right of national self-determination.”
In local economy’s book, self-determination belongs to the people, to the family, the church and the enterprise. It belongs, even, to Tennessee and 49 other states who sold their souls in the New Deal. What is there for NSM to protest on this point? National self-determination has long been established. In its proposed unification of white people as a nation, the group misrepresents the nature of human society to think that, somehow, one who “is a Jew or homosexual” may not be “a member of the nation.” Its racial perspective is hardly tenable.
The scale of NSM’s thought is grand, encompassing 314 million people who call themselves American. Its members think, somehow, that largeness is tenable, that it works, that a power as vast as that of aggregate national government can function to the benefit of you, the commoner. The protesters in Chattanooga may be brawny and look gross, but they share in a fantasy most of us hold: That of national government, exercising vast power upon the people, and bringing salvation to each and every one by program, expenditure and guarantee.
“We demand that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens. If it should prove impossible to feed the entire population, foreign nationals (non-citizens) will be deported.” Such a program is too easy. National socialism, if it cannot deport useless eaters, will occupy foreign lands and with national corporations bring to the U.S. the fruit of their foreign trade and their export of American inflation.
Antiseptic police state the real demonstration
Most chilling about Saturday’s event is the isolation imposed by Chattanooga police. The protesters gather in front of the county courthouse. A wall of police separate protesters from local counterprotesters, kept on the other side of Georgia Avenue. The ban on interaction presupposes that an opportunity for personal arguments will lead to beatings and scuffles that police would have to tase and baton into silence. Police “security” measures prohibit interaction on a personal level.
No one is permitted to debate any issue, to argue, exhort or criticize. NSM activists and Chattanoogas have to resort to name-calling and shouting across a street. Police make it impossible for any Chattanoogan to attempt to persuade an NSM picket of the need to repent of his ways.
While the police state structured the event and chilled free speech rights under the first amendment, the downtown event bore signs of a great warmth of heart among Chattanoogans. To a fault, national socialism is identified with racial politics and racial preferences. The faces of your friends and hundreds more in the counterprotest suggest that racial animosity in the South is largely a thing from the eras of Reconstruction and civil rights marches. Complaints about racial discrimination, in this great American union with a black federal president, are overblown.