The American right-wing has long viewed America as a candidate for a race war due to their belief that America was very similar to the Balkans. This post looks at the case of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia & Herzegovina, particularly with its extension to the American right-wing primarily through the prism of William S. Lind's conspiracy theory of "cultural Marxism" or "political correctness," and his seminal work on Fourth Generation Warfare. This does not mean that I reduce all beliefs regarding a racial civil war in America down to "cultural Marxism" or claim William S. Lind is primarily responsible. Rather, this paper traces one strand of promoting a racial civil war in America--a strand that shows a connection to and a network between the Republican Party, the Christian Right, the Tea Party movement, the Patriot militia, the anti-Islam network, and outright white supremacists and nationalists.
I spent four years inside Bosnia & Herzegovina deployed from the U.S. European Command as a senior intelligence analyst to various intelligence entities: the U.S. National Intelligence Cell supporting the Commander, Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force (SFOR), as well as the head of SFOR's Special Projects. Before being deployed inside the country, I was stationed at the Joint Operational Intelligence Cell at Naples, Italy, and embedded within Joint Task Force Provide Promise writing briefings on Bosnia & Herzegovina for CINCSOUTH, COMAIRSOUTH, and LANDSOUTH.
In 2008, I published a short article, "Bosnia-Herzegovina: The Political-Criminal Nexus," in Volume 1 of Organized Crime: From Trafficking to Terrorism edited by Frank Shanty. In December 2002, the U.S. Institute of Peace published a special report (pdf) on these political-criminal-intelligence linkages in Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as Serbia and Kosovo based on interviews with subject matter experts and officials inside these countries.
In short, understanding the causes of the war of aggression waged by Croatia and Serbia against Bosnia & Herzegovina and how the political-criminal power structures not only caused the war, profited from the war, and continued to profit and destabilize the country after the war was a professional responsibility.
- The Serbian myth of "ancient ethnic hatreds" was created by Slobodjan Milosevic to camouflage and justify his genocidal war against Muslims in order to dismember Bosnia & Herzegovina and create a Greater Serbia.
- The Milosevic regime rejected the possibility advanced by Croat, Serb, and Bosniak intellectuals and politicians that a multicultural Titoist-like regime was preferable to ethnonationalist states and war.
- From the 1990s onward, white nationalists in America, including William S. Lind, compared the United States to the former Yugoslavia and were proponents of a racial civil war in America.
- Serbian advisors to the genocidal Republika Sprska (Bosnian Serb entity in Bosnia & Herzegovina) in the 1990s became advisors to ad hoc Republican House and Senate policy committees, as well as establishing links to the paleo-conservative and neo-Confederate movements.
- Lind's "cultural Marxism" conspiracy theory posits that a multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic, and multireligious society is not possible because the political-economic elites are determined to destroy a Judeo-Christian civilization.
- Lind's "Cultural Marxism" and Next Conservatism political program were incorporated into the Trump presidential campaign and regime.
- Lind's Fourth Generation Warfare novel, Victoria, like The Turner Diaries, is a propaganda vehicle for promoting the idea of a racial civil war in America.
- The racist French novel, Camp of the Saints, assisted Stephen Bannon's efforts to amplify and magnify anti-Muslim sentiment across various right-wing segments in America, including conservative intellectuals and Fox News.
- Camp of the Saints and related conspiracy theories Great Replacement, White Genocide, and Demographic Winter can lead to support for a racial civil war.
- Stephen Bannon has promoted a racial civil war through the colorblind Fourth Turning's flawed history of violent upheavals in America.
- The idea of a civil war is common theme in the Tea Party movement.
- The idea of a civil war is a common theme in the Christian Right.
- Donald Trump is fomenting a racial civil war in America--a view not that different from the neo-Nazis.
- Our inability to recognize the widespread support for a racial civil war in America among leading right-wing strategists and media outlets is a strategic intelligence failure.
THE MYTH OF "ANCIENT ETHNIC HATREDS" IN THE SERBIAN MIND
The causes of the Bosnian conflict are as disputed today as when the conflict first erupted in 1992—with academics either critiquing or advancing the central pro-Serbian position that the war was caused by “ancient ethnic hatreds.” The thesis of “ancient ethnic hatreds” lent itself to Western negotiations to partition the country along ethnic lines and accepting as the basis for negotiations the results of genocide and crimes against humanity, that is, the forcible removal of un-wanted civilian populations by force and the destruction of their cultural monuments.
As a senior Balkans analyst for the U.S. European Command, I always believed the "ancient ethnic hatreds" thesis obscured the deliberate designs that Milosevic and Tudjman had on Bosnia-Herzegovina and their propagandistic claim that Izetbegovic and the SDA wanted to create a fundamentalist Islamic state in Europe.
As the last U.S. ambassador to the former Yugoslavia Warren Zimmerman recounted in his memoir, Origins of a Catastrophe, Tudjman in January 1992 told Zimmerman:
- “‘The Muslims,’ he said, ‘want to establish an Islamic fundamentalist state. They plan to do this by flooding Bosnia with 500,000 Turks.’ …Tudjman admitted that he had discussed these fantasies with Milosevic, the Yugoslav army leadership, and the Bosnian Serbs, and ‘they agree that the only solution is to divide up Bosnia between Serbia and Croatia.’” [Warren Zimmerman, Origins of a Catastrophe, New York: Times Books, 1999: 181-2.]
Nebojša Popov’s edited volume The Road to War in Serbia: Trauma and Catharsis begins with the assertion that prior to the 1987-1993 years of conflict there was “the creation of a militant nationalist ideology” and the “destruction of institutions of learning, culture and politics” in Serbia under the Milosevic regime. Subsequent chapters by Serbian scholars highlight the role of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, Belgrade University, the Association of Writers of Serbia, populist literature, and football hooligans in fomenting and fanning the Milosevic regime-directed militant Serbian nationalism. [Nebojša Popov, editor, The Road to War in Serbia: Trauma and Catharsis, Budapest, Hungary: Central European Press, 2000: 3.]
Marija Obradovic’s analysis of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) noted that the “SPS transformed the fear of losing acquired social rights and the fear of capitalism…into the fear of losing national identity and of jeopardizing the Serbs’ national interests and Serbia’s statehood.” Moreover, the SPS “based its propaganda and its techniques for mobilizing political support on authoritarianism as the predominant trait in Serbia’s social character, a trait that accompanied people’s fear of uncertainty regarding changes in the social system and social transition.” [Marija Obradovic, “The Ruling Party,” pp. 425-448 in Nebojša Popov, editor, The Road to War in Serbia: Trauma and Catharsis, Budapest, Hungary: Central European Press, 2000: 425, 444.]
Obradovic’s analysis of the SPS nearly matched the analysis produced by Laura Silber and Allan Little five years earlier. Silber and Little wrote that Yugoslavia’s wars were not historically inevitable and that Yugoslavia “was deliberately and systematically killed off by men who had nothing to gain and everything to lose from a peaceful transition from state socialism and one-party rule to free-market democracy.” [Laura Silber and Allan Little, The Death of Yugoslavia, revised edition, London: Penguin Group and BBC, 1995: 25.]
Norman Cigar, Branka Magaš, and Ivo Žanić in the Introduction to The War in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina 1991-1995 noted that the two wars were engineered by recent dynamics (not ancient) of political rivalries engineered by specific elites, that is, Slobodan Milosevic and to a lesser extent Franjo Tudjman; that the local populations, but especially the Serbs, were not predisposed to conflict despite the war propaganda; that the wars were well planned and well prepared to satisfy the domestic needs of the elites; while there were elements of a civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the political-military actions of Belgrade and Zagreb were dominant; and, that the destruction of sacred objects and cultural monuments were designed to destroy an ethnic identity and the identity of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an organic whole, and to remove population from the territory which was the major war aim. [Norman Cigar, Branka Magaš, and Ivo Žanić, “Introduction,” pp. xxi-xxxi in Branka Magaš and Ivo Žanić, editors, The War in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina 1991-1995, London: Frank Cass, 2001.]
Branka Magaš in his 1993 book, The Destruction of Yugoslavia, reported that it “is now clear beyond any doubt that the war taking place in Yugoslavia is not an ethnic war, but a war of territorial conquest…to establish a Greater Serbia…shorn of all undesirable nationalities—Albanians, Croats, Hungarians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Moslems—in accordance with the old recipe: kill one third, expel one third and assimilate one third.” [Branka Magaš, The Destruction of Yugoslavia, London: Verso, 1993: 324.]
The thesis also obscured the fact that Bosniak leadership was divided between two wings with different visions of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The majority conservative wing of the leadership would support a partitioned Bosnia that was a Muslim state and reserved the right to reconquer lost territory. The conservative wing included “the Islamic clergy and the nationalist intellectuals; the hawks within the ranks of the military; and the radical nationalists from the Sandžak.” The smaller liberal wing opposed any plan for partition or devolving power to the cantons and wanted to preserve Bosnia’s cultural traditions within a modern Europe state. [Steven L. Burg and Paul S. Shoup, The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention, London: M.E. Sharpe, 2000: 68.]
Rusmir Mahmutćehajić—one of the leading SDA strategists who was instrumental in the formation of the pre-war Patriot League, the importation of weapons, and the organization of a defense industry in areas under Bosniak control—broke with Izetbegovic because he saw Izetbegovic and the SDA accepting partition plans and the construction of a Muslim state. He called Milosevic, Tudjman, and Izetbegovic the “unholy trinity of forces working for the destruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s unity.” [Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, The Denial of Bosnia, University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000: xiv.]
The “ethnic cleansing” was largely, though not solely, conducted by paramilitary groups made-up of criminals or mujahedeen in the case of the Bosniaks. These paramilitary groups were under the command and control of their respective military, intelligence, and police forces which, in turn, were under the command and control of their respective ethnic-nationalist political leaders and political parties. [United Nations Security Council, “Final Report of the Commission of Experts,” S/1994/674—27 May 1994, at http://www.his.com/~twarrick/commxyu4.htm#IV.A.6. United Nations Security Council, “Final Report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, Annex III.A, Special Forces,” December 28, 1994, at http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/comexpert/anx/III-A.htm#II.]
"ANCIENT ETHNIC HATREDS" IN THE AMERICAN RIGHT-WING MIND
Leonard Zeskind's Spring 1999 Intelligence Report article for the Southern Poverty Law Center observed the ideological affinity between ethno-nationalists in the former Yugoslavia and white nationalists in the United States. These nationalist ideas were being spread into the political mainstream via the Republican Party and the Christian Right. As Zeskind noted:
- "Nationalists in the United States are asserting a form of racial nationalism, a white nationalism, in opposition to this transnational economy....To the question of who we as Americans are, if we're not the anti-communists, the white nationalist says, 'We are white people.' They define who you are from the family on out. It's all racially, biologically, genetically derived. Culture is seen as the expression of the family, this organic, primordial thing. This is similar to the answer being given by the Serbians, the Croatians, the Bosnian Muslims....But now it has been picked up by the mainstream, by people who see America as a European civilization that is under threat of racial swamping by non-European peoples....There's bleedover into the Christian Right."
The linkage to the Christian Right is even more direct in the person of William S. Lind, chief proponent of the Christian Right's Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) strategy.
In his second 4GW article published in 1994 in the U.S. Marine Corps Gazette, Lind and his co-authors openly endorsed the genocide being perpetrated by Serbia and its front, the Republika Srpska. According to Lind and his co-authors:
- "In the Balkans, Moslem aid, including weapons and fighters, is flowing into Bosnia. Islamic states realize, as we do not, that the Bosnian Moslems are strategically on the offensive, beginning a new Islamic thrust toward the Danube....What is America's response? We condemn European measures to control immigration, threaten the Serbs with war on behalf of the Bosnian Islamics, and caution Russia against any attempt to reassert control to her south."
The idea that the Bosniaks were "strategically on the offensive" and presumably preparing to invade Austria is side-splittingly ludicrous. The Bosniaks were pinned down in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, East Mostar, Bihac, and had vulnerably exposed populations in Srbrenica, Zepa, Gorazde, and the Maglaj pocket. The Bosniaks and the Bosnian Croats would not conduct large-scale offensive operations until August 1995, when NATO began bombing military sites in the Republika Srpska and the Croatian Army (HV) joined the Bosnian Croat Army (HVO) and the Army of BiH (ABiH) to begin pushing the Bosnian Serb army out of western Bosnia.
But, Lind and his co-authors went even further in the 1994 Gazette article. In their fevered imagination Islam is depicted as a religious force with not only a global hegemonic dream, but in 1995 was acting to realize that dream. As Lind et alia put it:
- "The most immediate challenger is Islam, and here the challenge is not likely to be peaceful. Islam is today expanding outward in every direction from its traditional heartland: south into black Africa, east into Southeast Asia and the Philippines, north into Europe. And also West: the fastest-growing religion in the United States is Islam."
Lind in the next few decades would unleash a number of brief #On War articles depicting Muslim as an invading horde destroying France and every country they landed in.
In a June 2002 interview with the Jewish World Review, Lind told the interviewer: "'At this moment in my view the No. 1 challenge we face...is the threat from Islam. As we note in our monograph, there are lax Islamics, but there is no such thing as peaceful or tolerant Islam, and there never has been....Because to be an Islamic means that you are committed to all the world becoming Islamic. This is central to Islam itself and this is at the very root of the concept of jihad....You have a religion of war.'"
In April 2005, as the Minuteman Project was gathering momentum to launch another wave of miltiias, this time nativist in orientation and deploying to the US-Mexico border and elsewhere, Lind coyly suggested that al Qaeda might team up with Mexican drug cartels to "smuggle something with a bigger bang than the best cocaine."
In December 2004, a few months before the Minuteman Project debuted in April 2005, Lind wrote in On War #94 that "invasion by immigration easily can be more dangerous than invasion by a foreign army." Lind's preferred strategy for stopping this "invasion by immigration" were "border control" measures that included: "something like the old East-West German border. [pdf] Anyone trying to cross it unlawfully risks getting shot." Other measures included "immediate deportation" of anyone who commits a felony, including family members; "Americanization of all immigrants;" and, an "English-only" policy.
After the Minuteman Project broke into the mainstream, Lind opined that the "Minutemen exist to defend us from wetbacks rather than lobsterbacks." He blamed "both political parties" and a "corrupt government" for "flood[ing] America with illegal immigrants." [pdf]
If Lind was importing a version of the Serb myth of "ancient ethnic hatreds" between 1994 and 2004, historian Michael Sells reported that at least three advisors to the genocidal Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Republic) were advising the Republican leadership in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as networking with the racist League of the South, the paleo-conservative Rockford Institute, and a secessionist group in Texas.
Michael Sells, author of the The Bridge Betrayed, a historical debunking of the Serbian myth that "ancient ethnic hatreds" was the driver of ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia, documented in a series of articles that Serbian myths had become directly linked to Republican Party officials and entities.
In June 1999, Sells identified 19 people and organizations that had "common values and common sensitivities" regarding the Balkans. Among the highlights of the article are the linkages between Serbs who support the genocidal Bosnian Serb policies and the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, the Rockford Institute and its Chronicles journal, the League of the South and its Southern Patriot magazine, and the John Birch Society's New American journal.
Three key advisors to the genocidal Republika Srpska president Radovan Karadzic and advisors to the U.S. House and Senate were James George Jatras and Yossef Bodansky, respectively. Jatras, according to Sells, had "important connections to White-Supremacist and Neo-Confederate groups in Texas" and wrote for Chronicles. Bodansky "supported the Karadzic regime during its worst genocidal policies." Sells credited researcher Edward Sebesta with linking the Rockford Institute to the racist League of the South. Serge Trifkovic, the foreign policy editor for the Institute's Chronicles journal had been an "advisor to the government of the Republika Srpska, whose president, Radovan Karadzic, was indicted for genocide."
Sells observed in his first of three articles on these Serb-Republican connections: "There are now clear links between this opposition and neo-Confederate groups angry at Hispanic immigration in Texas who see the Yugoslav army and police action against alleged Albanian immigrants as eminently understandable and, they imply, perhaps a model."
In July 1999, Sells added then Representative Ron Paul to the pro-Serb lobby as well as Bob Djurdjevic, a writer for the Washington Times and the Rockford Institute's Chronicles. Djurdjevic had been an advisor to Bosnian Serb nationalist Biljana Plavsic and was an open admirer of indicted General Ratko Mladic. The chairman of the Rockford Institute, David Hartman, was a member of the racist League of the South.
[Parenthetically, Plavsic had been one of two vice presidents of the Republika Srpska and a member of the Supreme Command when the entity was committing genocidal acts. She was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and sentenced to 11 years in a Swedish prison.]
In 1991, the Rockford Institute's Chronicles published an article by Samuel Francis, "Beautiful Losers," promoting a political strategy for a "new American right" that would appeal to "the increasingly alienated and threatened strata of Middle America...to enhance the polarization of Middle Americans from the incumbent regime." [pdf] Sarah Diamond pointed out that the Rockford Institute was the "organizational headquarters for the paleoconservatives." During the 1980s, they had "focused on the threat to cultural homogeneity posed by the influx of nonwhite immigrant groups."
Sells reported that in August 1997, Djurdjevic published an opinion piece, "Towards a Nation of Mutts: Dancing Around the Golden Calf." In the article, he blamed the "browning of America" on "the combination of Wall Street capitalists and bankers, their anti-Christian New World Order (NWO), their liberal lackeys, and the immigration laws that have allowed more non-Christians and non-Whites to enter the U.S."
In Sells's third article published in January 2002, he reported that Bodansky, "a major influence" within the Serb Unity Congress, "has protrayed all Muslims as a terrorist threat and has support the Belgrade regime's policy in Bosnia and in Kosovo with complete zealousness, and attacked Bosnians and Kosovars with the kind of stereotypes emanating directly from Milosevic propaganda."
Sells also noted that the Serb Unity Congress's annual convention honored Jatras's mother and father, Stella and George, respectively. Stella Jatras had posted messages on the Srpska-Mreza bulletin board. Sells reported that "Srpska-Mreza is an organized of [sic] ardent Serbian nationalists that supported the regime of Radovan Karadzic who was indicted for genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and who support radical elements of Serb nationalism in Serbia proper."
Serge Trifkovic would continue to influence the American right-wing. Robert Spencer, the founder of the Jihad Watch website, was an adjunct fellow at the Free Congress Foundation, the strategic think tank run by Paul Weyrich and employing William S. Lind. According to a SpencerWatch article, "Spencer named Weyrich as a mentor of his writings on Islam." Spencer also "repeatedly promoting the work and writings of Serge Trifkovic....Spencer and Trifkovic have even held joint interviews and collaborated on an anti-Islam documentary film."
Serge Trifkovic was cited 22 times in the anti-Muslim manifesto [see the pdf] of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people, the majority of them teenagers, with small arms fire and a diversionary bomb. Chip Berlet documented that "Breivik’s core thesis is borrowed from William S. Lind's antisemitic conspiracy theory about ‘Cultural Marxism.’"
In 2003, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that Trifkovic participated in a Rockford Institute's John Randolph Club conference for "racial nationalists," though they labelled themselves paleoconservatives. Also participating were Sam Francis, Peter Brimelow, and David Hartman.
Trifkovic also contributed a video lecture as part of a "trove of hundreds of presentations, documents, videos and web links" for a course given at the Department of Defense's Joint Forces Staff College. The purpose of the course given to senior military officers, according to the investigative report in Wired magazine was "that a ‘total war’ against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists....Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of ‘Hiroshima’ to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the ‘civilian population wherever necessary.’" Trifkovic, the authors pointed out, "has appeared as a defense witness in several trials of Bosnian Serb leaders convicted of war crimes, including the genocide of Muslims."
Edin Hajdarpasic, once a teenage refugee from Bosnia and now a historian, observed that "conspiracy theorists like Srdja Trifkovic have made international careers telling tall tales of Serb nationalists as defenders of a civilized West against a Muslim tide from the East."
In 2008, William S. Lind made the comparison between the World War I Balkans and the United States explicit. In an imaginary conversation between Lind and Kaiser Wilhelm, Lind asked the fictional Kaiser what would happen if the United States continued as a democracy, rather than choosing an Emperor Franz Josef-like ruler. The reply was that the "combination of military defeat and economic depression is not a happy one."
There is yet another way the thesis of "ancient ethnic hatreds" seeps into American and European societies. The war criminals who perpetrated genocide and ethnic cleansing have become heroes in the Balkans and to white nationalists who operate globally, in the real world, through social media networks, and common memes and narratives.
Finally, in August 2019, Serbia's foreign minister announced plans for the Serb government to mobilize the estimated 650,000 Serbs living in America to vote for Donald Trump.
"ANCIENT ETHNIC HATREDS" AND "CULTURAL MARXISM"
The major idea of the Serbian thesis of "ancient ethnic hatreds" is that a multicultural, multireligious society is not possible. For the Serbs, they believed themselves to be existentially threatened by Catholics (Croats) and Muslims (Bosniaks). The only evidence for these existential threats is provided by the Serbs. By most scholarly accounts, the Serbs were well represented, if not dominant, in the secret police, army, and government of Yugoslavia. The myth of "ancient ethnic hatreds" was used to mask Milosevic's wars for territory and wealth through the Greater Serbia project.
William S. Lind's conspiracy of "cultural Marxism" is remarkably similar in construction to the Serbian myth. In Lind's formulation, a white Judeo-Christian civilization faces an existential threat from "cultural Marxists" who dominate the institutions of society and use their ideology of "cultural Marxism" or "multiculturalism" to destroy Christianity. However, since Christians dominate American society, the theory hardly makes sense. Thus, the additional element is that the political elites--both conservative and liberal--conspire to import the real Fourth Generation Warfare threat: immigrants and refugees. They are "invaders" posing a Fourth Generation Warfare threat who by sheer numbers will destroy America.
In a March 2006 On War #155 called "Unholy Alliance," Lind made this argument absolutely clear. Lind argued that there was an "unholy alliance between the Politically Correct Left and the Golden Calf-worshipping Right." The cultural Marxists' objective is "the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion." Their ally are the Wall Street Journal conservatives who, Lind opines, "are not...real conservatives." The WSJ conservatives ally with the cultural Marxists in order to get rich. In Lind's view, this "unholy alliance is what keeps our borders open [pdf] to millions of illegal immigrants...[and] leaves America a doormat on which the rest of the world is invited to wipe its feet."
In 2008 and 2009, Lind argued that the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties were minor, as were the differences between the neo-conservatives and the neo-liberals.
A decade later, the elite national media would be astounded when Stephen Bannon essentially stated, albeit with more pizzaz and sizzle, what Lind had already explained. Bannon was reported to have claimed he was a "Leninist" who wants "'to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.'" Ronald Radosh assessed, "Trump’s decision to take on Bannon indicates that he wants to wage his campaign along the lines laid down by him—that of destroying the Republican leadership and the Party as we know it. Trump’s behavior thus far has been compatible with Bannon’s belief in Leninist tactics."
We now turn to the ideational linkages between William S. Lind's ideas about "cultural Marxism," which are an integral part of his Fourth Generation Warfare strategy, and Donald Trump, an authoritarian leader reshaping the national security apparatus to serve his personal interests, even if it means plunging the country into a racial civil war.
"CULTURAL MARXISM," WILLIAM LIND, AND DONALD TRUMP
In Lind's 1994 4GW article published in the Marine Corps Gazette, Lind introduced the concept of "cultural Marxism" and "cultural Marxists" to a Department of Defense audience, in essence, insinuating that the Clinton adminstration was headed and staffed by cultural traitors. Wrote Lind:
- "In the United States of America, our traditional, Western, Judeo-Christian culture is collapsing....Starting in the mid-1960s, we have thrown away the values, morals, and standards that define traditional Western culture. In part, this has been driven by cultural radicals, people who hate our Judeo-Christian culture. Dominant in the elite, especially in the universities, the media, and the entertainment industry...the cultural radicals have successfully pushed an agenda of moral relativism, militant secularism, and sexual and social ‘liberation.’ This agenda has slowly codified into a new ideology, usually known as ‘multiculturalism’ or ‘political correctness,’ that is in essence Marxism translated from economic into social and cultural terms."
The origins of the "cultural Marxism" conspiracy theory are rooted, at the time, the far left 1970s politics of the Lyndon LaRouche movement. In the late 1980s to early 1990s, this conspiracy theory jumped from the then right-wing LaRouche movement to right-wing strategists like Paul Gottfried, Paul Weyrich, and William S. Lind. From Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation, the "cultural Marxist" conspiracy theory spread into the Republican Party, the Christian Right, and the white nationalist/supremacy movement.
As Tanner Mirrless wrote in his study of "cultural Marxist" discourse regarding the Alt Right, "For almost three decades, everyone from paleo-conservatives to neo-Nazis has used the phrase ‘cultural Marxism’ as a shorthand for an anti-American bogeyman, a symbol for every liberal or left-leaning group the right defined itself again, and an epithet for progressive identities, values, ideas, and practices that reactionaries believe have made America worse than before.”
Lind's ideas about "cultural Marxism," "political correctness," opposition to multiculturalism, or Fourth Generation Warfare have been linked, directly or indirectly, to the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, six other attacks, and a shooting attack on a synagogue in San Diego.
While Bannon may not actually say the words "cultural Marxism," Breitbart, before and after Bannon took over, was a strong proponent of the conspiracy theory.
Indeed, Paul Blumenthal and JM Reiger pulled together various quotes from Bannon in 2014-2016 that are essentially restatements of what Lind wrote in 1994. Said Bannon:
- "'There’s clearly a fifth column here in the United States,' Bannon warned in July 2016. 'There’s rot at the center of the Judeo-Christian West,' he said in November 2015. 'Secularism has sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals,' he argued at the Vatican conference. The 'aristocratic Washington class' and the media, he has claimed, are in league with the entire religion of Islam and an expansionist China to undermine Judeo-Christian America."
Bruce Wilson, one of the country's leading analysts on the Christian Right and co-founder of the Talk To Action website, has documented links between William S. Lind, his ideas, and Donald Trump; and, how Trump weaponized the paleoconservative policy agenda laid out by Paul Weyrich and William Lind.
Wilson pointed out in July 2016, that Trump "advances core paleoconservative positions laid out in The Next Conservatism—rebuilding infrastructure, protective tariffs, securing borders and stopping immigration, neutralizing designated internal enemies and isolationism....As far as Trump’s campaign platform goes, he appears to be capitalizing on the ideas of some of America’s most astute right-wing thinkers, Weyrich and Lind, who have crafted a new breed of conservatism with far broader populist appeal than the increasingly discredited trickle-down economics, big government, interventionist, corporate capitalism-beholden style of conservatism that’s become dominant in the years since Reagan."
In fact, Bruce Wilson wrote around a dozen articles linking Trump campaign officials and surrogates to the "race war" and "white genocide" crowd. Wilson also wrote numerous articles linking 14 senior Trump campaign officials or surrogates linked to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government organization linked to Oath Keepers and part of the strategic backbone of the Patriot militias.
RACIAL CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA
The idea that America could be plunged into a racial civil war has long fascinated, animated, and motivated the right-wing in America.
Terrorist expert Bruce Hoffman, then a RAND Corporation analyst, noted that the fictional novel published in 1985, The Turner Diaries, "describes a chain of events that begins with a white supremacist revolution in 1991 and culminates two years later in 'an all-out race war' and worldwide nuclear conflagration."
Hoffman went on to argue that "this apocalyptic vision forms an integral part of the beliefs of many white supremacists today [who]. ...appear to welcome the prospect as an opportunity to eliminate their avowed "enemies" and permit the fulfillment of their objectives to create a new world order peopled exclusively by the white race."
Leonard Zeskind's analysis of the 1992 Estes Park, Colorado, meeting that set the stage for the emergence of the Patriot militia in the mid-1990s, noted that the 150 or so Christian Identity leaders and believers "have begun to stockpile weapons, food and supplies in preparation for Armageddon, which be a they think will race war in the United States."
But, advocacy of a racial civil war was not limited to the racist, anti-Semitic Christian Identity movement. The Christian Right's premier military-political strategist, William S. Lind, who by April 30, 1995, had published two seminal articles on Fourth Generation Warfare in the U.S. Marine Corps Gazette, also published a fictional account of a racial civil war, "Militant Musings: From Nightmare 1995 to My Utopian 2050," in the Washington Post, within two weeks of the horrific white supremacist terrorist attack in Oklahoma City.
In his "Militant Musings" fictional story, multiculturalism ends up separating the United States into different geographic countries based on different ideologies, including a second Confederacy in the southern states and a "Victoria" in the northeastern states. Lind postulated that this second American civil war, a racial civil war, exceeds in barbarity civil wars in Lebanon, Yugoslavia, and Russia: "The first Civil War was, on the whole, a gentlemanly affair; the second one wasn’t....Elsewhere, it was what Lebanon and Yugoslavia and the former Russian empire saw in the late 20th century."
Lind was linked to the white nationalist leader of the nativist anti-immigration movement, John Tanton, promoted the prototype [pdf, On War #113] anti-immigrant militia group, the Minutemen Project in 2005, promoted a Berlin Wall [pdf, On War #94] on the US-Mexico border, and also published numerous other anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim [pdf] #On War articles [for example his On War #159 equated French Muslims to undocumented Mexican immigrants] as part of his Fourth Generation Warfare series.
By the fall of 2005, after the Minuteman Project inspired the networking growth of nativist militias around the country, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted that the "raging national debate over immigration is stoking the fires of racist extremism across the country. Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists are ratcheting up the intensity of their bloodthirsty ‘race war’ rhetoric, and violent hate crimes against Hispanics, regardless of their immigration status, appear to be on the rise."
Alarmed by the rising number of nativist militias and anti-immigrant groups, the Anti-Defamation League issued a report in 2008 finding that "anti-immigrant propaganda and rhetoric, once the domain of hate groups, is now part of the lexicon used by anti-immigration advocacy organizations, politicians and media figures considered mainstream."
Lind favored "Victoria" because "In this Year of Our Lord 2050 we Victorians have the blessed good fortune to live once again in an age of accomplishment and decency....The Victorians in England and America had been an astoundingly productive bunch, building, inventing, creating, conquering—all the things we needed to do again if we were to be civilized people....The Victorian spirit and Victorian practices, were making them work. The slogan became, ‘What worked then will work now’ and, of course, it did."
Using the pseudoname "Thomas Hobbes" Lind eventually published his Fourth Generation Warfare novel, "Victoria." In Chapter 10, Lind is explicit that the preferred outcome of the racial civil war is a "a country that followed the Ten Commandments." Moreover, Lind also introduced the idea of returning to the "beliefs, morals and values", and social relationships of "Retroculture," essentially "'Any time before 1965...That year marks the beginning of the cultural revolution that destroyed America.'"
CAMP OF THE SAINTS IN AMERICA
The Camp of the Saints, published by John Tanton's Social Contract Press, had considerable impact on Tanton's thinking. The entire Winter 1994-1995 edition of TSCP was dedicated to the announcement that the book was being published by TSCP. Tanton wrote the lead article. Tanton felt "honored" to "bring [the novel] back into print." Tanton believed Raspail's novel had the potential to "pave the way for policy changes. The Camp of the Saints takes the world population explosion and the immigration debate in a new direction. Indeed, it may become the 1984 of the twenty-first century."
In the Summer of 2002, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a major study of John Tanton. They concluded that Tanton was "the mastermind behind the organized anti-immigration movement." Originally, the title of the study called Tanton "the puppeteer."
The Southern Poverty Law Center described The Camp of the Saints as "a racist fantasy about an invasion of France and the white Western world by a fleet of starving, dark-skinned refugees....[and] is widely revered by American white supremacists and is a sort of anti-immigration analog to The Turner Diaries, the race war novel written by William Pierce, head of the neo-Nazi National Alliance."
In 2005, France experienced a period of riots that appeared to be or were characterized as "Muslim riots." Conservatives certainly did
The Social Contract Press, for example, ran an article by James Walsh, a former assistant general counsel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He suggested that the riots represent "The failure of France to enforce any immigration controls is bearing bitter fruit in violent anti-government rioting. The riots, however, are but the tip of the iceberg. Behind the young men in ski masks are well-heeled proponents of open borders for Europe and America. These forces to be reckoned with are moving to delegitimize the governments of France, its European neighbors, and ultimately, the United States of America."
A second article in The Social Contract Press suggested that "The similarities between the fictional France of the novel and the France of today are easy to spot. Consider the plot....The solicitude of white Frenchmen the priests, intellectuals, student activists, and prostitutes who wish to embrace and assist the implacably angry new arrivals is repaid by death. And terror. The immigrants loot everything in sight. They murder for new apartments."
Within about 6 months of the Paris riots, William Lind assessed the situation in terms very similar to The Social Contract Press and the Camp of the Saints novel. Lind suggested:
- "A new, Fourth Generation presence has manifested itself. Roving gangs of young Islamics, many of them black, have joined the festivities. They have come not to march shoulder-to-shoulder with French students and workers, demonstrating the Left’s fraternité, but to assault, beat, kick and rob them. The Left, it seems, has a problem....The Moslem hooligans—or should we say warriors? [pdf]—attacking them will never give their primary loyalty to France. They are the Other by choice and by pride, not by economic or any other circumstances. No schools, no housing projects, no jobs programs will take their loyalty away from the Other."
Lind then suggested that the "Moslem warriors" in France were similar to pro-immigrant protests in America. Wrote Lind, "In America, a similar invading army took to our streets last week, demonstrating against any attempt to stem the invasion. Few of the flags they carried were American."
But, how accurate were these depictions of the riots in France? Not very accurate, but useful for conservative propaganda.
Tom Heneghan, the Reuters correspondent who covered the riots in Paris first-hand, later wrote on the Reuters blog, "The unrest was spontaneous and hardly organised at all, the [France 2] documentary concluded. The rioters protested against widespread discrimination, unemployment and the government’s failed integration policies. Many were from North African immigrant families, and therefore from a Muslim background. But religion was not the driving force and Islamists did not organise or stoke the unrest."
A Brookings Institute study of the 2005 Paris riots reached the same conclusion as the Reuters correspondent. The authors wrote:
- "Last but not least, the one factor that was conspicuously absent was Islam. Reading some conservative American commentators one could get the impression that Paris had been overrun by hordes of radical Islamists....Of course, many of the perpetrators of recent violence come from Muslim backgrounds—as do many of their victims. But they have no religious agenda and, even more tellingly, no political agenda: most of them are teenagers, often deprived of hopes for a good future and a good job."
Stephen Bannon, former vice president of psychological warfare firm Cambridge Analytica; "Leninist" former head of Alt Right gateway Breitbart News; former campaign strategist for Donald Trump; and, all financed with Robert Mercer money. Bannon has a history of supporting video portrayals of racial conflict, in addition to documentaries which exalt Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, boost the Tea Party, and tear down anything associated with the Left.
Perhaps Bannon's most inflammatory movie was the one that was never moved beyond the proposal stage. The 8-page draft outline written in 2007, according to the Washington Post, was titled “Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Facism [sic] in America.” Bannon was listed as the director and anti-Islam activist Steven Emerson was listed as executive producer. Bannon's outline "envisioned radical Muslims taking over the country and remaking it into the ‘Islamic States of America.’" Essentially, the film depicts mainstream Muslim organizations as "'cultural jihadists'" who are assisted by "'enablers'" who include "The Post, the New York Times, NPR, 'Universities and the Left,' the 'American Jewish Community,' the ACLU, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department and the White House."
While Bannon did not make the "Islamic States of America," Bannon ensured that his Breitbart readers, a much younger, Gamergate-inspired, social media savvy audience would become familiar with the Muslim threat to America by hyping the racist French novel, The Camp of the Saints written by Jean Raspail.
Nevertheless, nine years later in 2014, Stephen Bannon, now the head of Breitbart News and building a white nationalist network financed by Robert Mercer money, and two years away from joining the Trump campaign, began touting the Camp of the Saints to conservative audiences.
Conservative critic, Rod Dreher, at The American Conservative, agreed the novel was racist, but underneath its racism was a considerable political problem. Dreher opined, "The Camp of the Saints is a bad book, both aesthetically and morally....but his cultural diagnosis struck me as having more merit than I anticipated, given the book’s notorious reputation....It is on balance a repulsive book, one that is forthright in endorsing white supremacy."
Virgil at Breitbart in 2014 opined that Europe and America faced a Camp of the Saints reality:
- "So now fast forward 40 years, to 2014: Europe is under demographic siege, and so is America. Raspail’s nightmare scenario is coming to pass on both continents Indeed, the current scenes along the US-Mexican border seem like a sequel to The Camp of the Saints. In America today, the multicultural left–including, of course, the Obama administration–has made its position clear: It looks forward to the political and demographic dissolution of the United States. So now, duly warned, every American patriot will have to decide for himself or herself: Is America worth fighting for, or not?"
In September 2015, Julia Hahn at Breitbart wrote a 4,000-word or so article comparing Euroope and America to the fictional Camp of the Saints. She likened Pope Francis and his message to the fictional pope. Hahn's thesis was simple: "Raspail’s thesis, quite simply, is that liberalism is inadequate to defend liberalism. All around the world, events seem to be lining up with the predictions of the book."
In an October 2015 Stephen Bannon interview with then Senator Jeff Sessions, "The two then moved on to discuss what Bannon called the ‘Muslim invasion of Europe’ and the ‘almost a Camp of the Saints type of invasion’ by Middle Eastern refugees into Europe, a reference to a racist, anti-immigrant novel popular among white supremacists."
Paul Blumenthal and JM Reiger curated a number of times that Stephen Bannon had compared immigration to the Camp of the Saints on Breitbart radio:
- "'It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe,' he said in October 2015. 'The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration,' he said in January 2016. 'It’s a global issue today—this kind of global Camp of the Saints.' It’s not a migration,' he said later that January. 'It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.' When we first started talking about this a year ago,' he said in April 2016, 'we called it the Camp of the Saints. ... I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?'"
Hugh Urban, a professor of religious studies, analyzed Bannon's theology in light of Bannon's frequent literary references to the Camp of the Saints. Urban suggested that Bannon's theology has three key elements: (1) a battle of Good vs Evil, (2) a preference for an enlightened form of Judeo-Christian capitalism, and (3) a belief in a catastrophic, regenerative upheaval in the form a Fourth Turning, which in the American context could only result in a racial civil war.
However, Dreher suggests that the real issue that the novel addresses is the failure of Western elites to defend Western civilization and Christianity from a barbarian invasion. As Dreher put it,
- "This is why the real villains in Raspail’s novel aren’t the migrants, but the European elites. He believes, it appears, that the Europeans ought to do whatever it takes to defend their civilization from the barbarian invasion....Camp is a dystopian fantasy, certainly, but the core questions it poses regarding what European civilization is, what Christian civilization is, and the lengths to which Europeans ought to be prepared to go to defend what they have, are important ones, even if Raspail answers them in a way that provokes disgust, and that Christians, at least, will find unacceptable."
GREAT REPLACEMENT, WHITE GENOCIDE, AND DEMOGRAPHIC WINTER, AND A RACIAL CIVIL WAR
But, Bannon's repeated references to the Camp of the Saints also helped propel it into the conservative movement and Republican Party, particularly given the ideological affinity between Bannon and Representative Steve King (R-IA), who is a fan of the novel and believes in a forthcoming race war.
The popularity of Camp of the Saints among conservatives and Republicans led Never Trumper Max Boot to conclude: "This is how the Bannons and Kings view the modern world: The West is threatened by hordes of swarthy outsiders, especially Mexicans and Muslims, and they are lonely defenders of the white Christian race against this insidious threat....This isn’t about fighting terrorism or crime; it’s about fighting changing demographics. And it’s premised on an unspoken assumption that only white Christians are true Americans; all others are 'somebody else.'"
Not only does the common acceptance among conservatives of Camp of the Saints transform the GOP into a white nationalist party, the Camp of the Saints novel serves as the gateway to two larger conspiracy theories--the Great Replacement and White Genocide--that not only motivate white nationalist terrorists, but also GOP politics.
Kathleen Belew, author of Bring the War Home, a study of the white power movement, wrote that "the nation at the heart of white nationalism is...the Aryan nation, imagined as a transnational white polity with interests fundamentally opposed to the United States and, for many activists, bent on the overthrow of the federal government." She noted that "core texts" like the Camp of the Saints or The Turner Diaries "provide the collective ideas and vision...[that] could lead to race war."
Rosa Schwartzburg, a researcher of far-right conspiracy reached a similar conclusion. She argued that Camp of the Saints generated the ideas for a white replacement theory that consists of two sub-conspiracy theories: the Great Replacement (French) and White Genocide (US). The Great Replacement theory is that European identities are "under siege by massive waves of immigration from non-European/non-white countries, resulting in a replacement of white European individuals via demographics" and that there is some shadowy cabal responsible for this large-scale population movements. The White Genocide conspiracy theory, which originated in the U.S. in the 1980s, posits that "white replacement is being orchestrated by a shadowy Jewish elite."
A similar analysis is provided by Jacob Davey and Julia Ebner in their study of the Great Replacement Theory for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in the UK. They posit that the Great Replacement and White Genocide conspiracy theories are "interlinked." Proponents of the Great Replacement theory "argue that white European populations are being deliberately replaced at an ethnic and cultural level through migration and the growth of minority communities….Certain ethnic and religious groups—primarily Muslims—are typically singled out as being culturally incompatible." The White Genocide theory holds that Jews are responsible for the massive immigration. They also noted that proponents of the Great Replacement theory were increasingly "emphasizing...the conspiratorial machinations of the elite."
Another aspect of white replacement theory, which is never included in discussions of the Great Replacement and White Genocide conspiracy theories is the Demographic Winter conspiracy theory spread through the World Congress of Families (WCF) conferences held in various cities in Europe.
Kathryn Joyce's expert analysis of the WCF's Demographic Winter theory suggests that it is merely a religious version of the Great Replacement theory. According to Joyce, "The real root of racial tensions...decades of ‘antifamily’ permissiveness—contraception, abortion, divorce, population control, women’s liberation and careers, ‘selfish’ secularism and gay rights–enabling "decadent" white couples to neglect their reproductive duties....The white Christian West, in this telling, is in danger of forfeiting itself through sheer lack of numbers to an onslaught of Muslim immigrants and their purportedly numerous offspring.
Joyce suggested the World Congress of Family's Demographic Winter theory's combination of falling birth rates and "old morality arguments" crafted into "a tidy cause-and-effect model" would "provide their ideology an entry into European politics." Joyce quoted Steve Mosher, head of the Population Research Institute, which promotes the Demographic Winter theory. His summary of the problem is remarkably consistent with the Great Replacement theory: "Muslim immigrants are simply 'too many and too culturally different from their new countries’ populations to assimilate quickly…. They are contributing to the cultural suicide of these nations as they commit demographic suicide.'"
Joyce assessed that the World Congress of Families' analysis of the "real root of racial tensions" in Europe were "decades of ‘antifamily’ permissiveness—contraception, abortion, divorce, population control, women’s liberation and careers, ‘selfish’ secularism and gay rights–enabling 'decadent' white couples to neglect their reproductive duties."
Sarah Posner agreed with Joyce's assessment, opining that "the demographic winter panic feeds on both anti-feminist and anti-Muslim strains of thought (the former by arguing that feminism and reproductive freedom have led to declining religious zeal and declining birth rates; the latter that as a result of the former, Muslims are surpassing Christians in population growth)."
In a separate review of the documentary film, Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family, Joyce noted that much of the religious ideas and underpinnings were left out of the documentary "leaving a shell of social science arguments and a vague binding of ‘values’ to depict what is, in truth, an argument deeply shaped by conservative Christian politics." She argued that the documentary film, in the larger context of conservative thought on declining birth rates and increased immigration, had a "more insidious undercurrent to the ‘demographic winter’ argument as well, one its proponents fiercely deny, but which nonetheless permeates nearly all of the current debate on demographic worries: that the concern is not a general lack of babies, but the cultural shifts that come when some populations, particularly immigrant communities, are feared to be out-procreating others."
Steve Mosher, head of the Population Research Institute objected to Joyce's inital assessment of February 2008. Mosher complained that her analysis was "almost devoid of demographics," that she had constructed a "Catholic conspiracy theory," and a "feminist fantasy" in which the Christian Right wanted to turn women's bodies into breeding machines to produce more white babies.
But, Mosher's mischaracterization of Joyce's analysis is contradicted by Christian Right proponents of the Demographic Winter theory. For example, Regis Martin, writing in the Catholic Crisis Magazine ("Voice for the Faithful Catholic Laity") characterized the theory almost precisely as Joyce had: "Not that there aren’t babies being born in the West, only that more and more they tend to be the offspring of immigrant women....And who are these immigrant women whose children more and more provide the numbers that keep the life force going? Would it surprise you to know that many of them are Muslim? And that the fertility missiles leaving the launching pad are fueled largely by faith?
Don Feder, head of the World Congress of Families, gave a presentation on Demographic Winter to the forced-birth Rose Dinner that was reported by LifeSite News. Links to Feder's talk at the website no longer work. But, LifeSite News provided one quote from Feder's talk that captures Joyce's analysis: "Demographic Winter is the terminal stage in the suicide of the West--the culmination of a century of evil ideas and poisonous policies'." Those "evil ideas and poisonous policies" include abortion, contraception, delayed marriage, and gay marriage.
At the 2014 World Congress of Families-like conference held in Moscow (after Russia invaded Ukraine), Don Feder's conference speech managed to combine the suicide of the West, cultural Marxism, and the Christian Right's opposition to modern morality: "Just as the declining birth rates are the result of the Sexual Revolution, the later is a product of something called Cultural Marxism....The solution, then, was to destroy family and religion – and what better way to do that than to foster licentious....Ultimately, the Sexual Revolution is about death—abortion, contraception (preventing life from happening), sexually-transmitted disease, pornography and promiscuity, in place of marriage, fidelity and childbearing."
Paleo-conservative godfather Pat Buchanan placed concerns about America's Demographic Winter squarely in the political realm of power: less white people voting, more black and brown people voting, means less white power. As Buchanan put it, "The demographic winter of white America is at hand....America’s white majority, 64 percent of the population and 74 percent of the electorate, still declining in relative terms, has begun to decline in real terms....If Republicans are opposed to what mass immigration is doing to the country demographically, ethnically, socially and politically, [then]....No amnesty, secure the border, enforce laws against businesses that hire illegals, and impose a moratorium on new immigration..."
Cole Parke's reported the first World Congress of Families conference's declaration issued in Prague in 1997. According to the WCF's declaration quoted by Parke: "'[C]ultural revolutions, materialism and sexual permissiveness have resulted in a destruction and denigration of moral values … extra-marital relationships, adultery and divorce proliferate leading to widespread abortion, illegitimacy and single-parent children....It condemned policies that subvert 'the legal and religious status of traditional marriage,' as well as those that promote contraception and abortion, 'state welfare systems,' comprehensive sexual education, non-marital cohabitation, 'homosexual unions,' and single parenting."
Although beyond the scope of this essay, the World Congress of Families is a major bridge between American conservatives and the Putin regime. The Demographic Winter theory is an important ideational bridge for that linkage of personnel.
Parke suggested that "What drives right-wing concerns over Russia’s demographics are xenophobia and Islamophobia; as Russia’s overall population has plummeted, its indigenous Muslim population has grown—now comprising 21-23 million, or about 15% of Russia’s total population.15 Russia has also become an increasingly popular destination for immigrants and refugees....What Antonov and Medkov meant by a ‘demographic winter’ was that the qualities and characteristics of what it means to be Russian were in danger of being redefined as something other than White and Orthodox.
Considered as a whole, William S. Lind's Fourth Generation Warfare and "cultural Marxism" narratives, both of which posit that the political-economic elites promote large-scale immigration to undermine the Judeo-Christian identity of the United States, in particular, and the West in general. Lind injected these ideas into the Christian Right and the white nationalist movement. His theory of "cultural Marxism" or "political correctness" is widely known on the right-wing.
Bannon has taken many of Lind's and others' ideas and operationalized and weaponized them using Breitbart News as a major American and European hub for spreading white nationalist ideas. Bannon made Breitbart News into an outlet and gateway to the Alternative Right. In return, the message traffic at Breitbart News fed the psychological warfare analysis to manipulate Republican voters in 2016.
Bannon's use of the Camp of the Saints novel at Breitbart News appears to have been a very clever means of introducing various segments to or connecting various segments with the Great Replacement (Generation Identity), White Genocide (white nationalists), and Demographic Winter (Christian Right) narratives. While each theory has nuanced differences from each other, all three are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and pro-white, while having an overlap of elite enemies.
Erin Kelly's analysis of Bannon's Breitbart offerings found that Breitbart published articles appealing to various anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, pro-Confederate segments of the right-wing. According to Kelly:
- "Under Bannon’s leadership, Brietbart News has promoted racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant ideals, and has published such articles as 'The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage,' 'Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture,' and 'Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew,' among others. When Bannon was named Trump’s chief strategist, former KKK leader David Duke called it an 'excellent selection.'....In addition to Bannon’s history of racism and xenophobia, he has—unsurprisingly—engaged in misogynistic rhetoric."
Brittany Kaiser, responsible for selling Cambridge Analytica to potential clients, explained the relationship and the effect of the relationship between Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica to a special committee of the House of Commons (UK) investigating "disinformation and 'fake news.'"
According to Kaiser [FKN0076, June 6, 2008]: "One of Cambridge Analytica’s competitive advantages in the US marketplace in 2016, and a key part of our pitch to Republican clients, was that we had secured exclusive rights to resell Breitbart engagement data. This meant that we had at least some access to what tens of millions of Americans were reading on Breitbart, and could feed this data into our campaign models to help predict resonant issues—and to influence behaviour. Breitbart became one of the biggest media platforms in the US in 2016, and its stories often went viral on Facebook."
BANNON, THE FOURTH TURNING, AND A RACIAL CIVIL WAR
Bannon and other Trump strategists favor another American civil war, sometimes going under the bland banner of "The Fourth Turning." Bannon's "Fourth Turning"-inspired movie, Generation Zero, a film about the destruction of the present American society, favorably included commentary on "crises in countries like France in the 1790s and Russia after 1917 had led to reigns of terror."
In a multiracial America, with political parties largely polarized along racial lines, a "reign of terror" in America would inevitably be a racial civil war. The "Fourth Turning" concept is simply a way to favor a racial civil war without calling it so.
Jim Quinn's analysis of The Fourth Turning at Zero Hedge offered a glimpse of the rage seething on the right-wing. He noted that "this Fourth Turning is careening toward bloodshed, bedlam, confrontation, and civil war...[driven by] rage and disillusionment of a white working class that has been screwed over for decades."
Paul Mason, writing in The Guardian in February 2017, observed: "In Bannon and Gingrich, then, you have two men influencing the most powerful office in the world whose beliefs about the dynamics of US history could be best described as dangerous bullshit. Bannon fantasises about turning the culture war into a real one; Gingrich about the survival of an undestroyed south....It’s chilling to acknowledge it but we must: large sections of the American right want another civil war. They have spent years amassing the weaponry for it; and their signifier of choice—hunting camouflage—also gives a major clue as to what they are thinking."
Josh Marshall, editor of Talking Points Memo, highlighted Bannon's rather cavalier attitude about racism. In Bannon's 2014 video talk (transcript). Marshall pointed out that when Bannon was asked about the racism and anti-Semitism in political parties like the Front National and UKIP, he responded: "'I’m not an expert in this, but it seems that they have had some aspects that may be anti-Semitic or racial....My point is that over time it all gets kind of washed out, right? People understand what pulls them together, and the people on the margins I think get marginalized more and more.'" What struck Marshall was Bannon's "cynicism" and "shameless gaslighting." Bannon's message, surmised Marshall, was "To build a racist white nationalist politics you need racist white nationalist incitement....Maybe you prefer to keep it at metaphor rather than going all the way. But really it’s just how it goes. And at the end of the day, that’s okay. It’s the cost of doing business. At some point in the future, maybe, it’ll get washed out."
This cavalier racism is particularly dangerous given Bannon's near obsessive support for the idea of global war against Islam.
Stephen Walt, a professional foreign expert, in January 2017 accurately forecast that the Trump-Bannon "foreign and defense policies are going to be a train wreck." But, most striking about Walt's essay is that he understood that the apparent "train wreck" would be produced, not from contradictions, but from a coherent underlying "clash of civilizations" perspective that pitted a Judeo-Christian West against liberals (read cultural Marxists) and Islam. Wrote Walt:
- "But there’s a third possibility, one that offers a unified, coherent explanation for some of the apparent contradictions in Trump’s foreign-policy views. Trump and some of his advisors (most notably Stephen Bannon) may be operating from a broad, Huntingtonian “clash of civilizations” framework that informs both their aversion to multiculturalism at home and their identification of friends and foes abroad. In this essentially cultural, borderline racialist worldview, the (mostly white) Judeo-Christian world is under siege from various ‘other’ forces, especially Muslims. From this perspective, the ideal allies are not liberals who prize tolerance, diversity, and an open society, but rather hard-core blood-and-soil nationalists who like walls, borders, strong leaders, the suppression or marginalization of anyone who’s different (including atheists and gay people, of course) and the promotion of a narrow and fairly traditional set of cultural values."
When Trump went to Poland in July 2017, his remarks to the Polish people were clearly in the vein of the "clash of civilizations." Instead of speaking about NATO and specific nation-states, Trump talked about the West and civilization. According to the White House, Trump said, "The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?....Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield -- it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls....Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory....And our civilization will triumph."
Jalal Baig summarized Bannon's objectives: "For Bannon, the fight is against Islam....But Bannon desires carnage....Muslims both within and without the United States will likely become collateral damage amid the tumult Bannon seeks."
The bureaucratic architect of Trump's most damaging policies against immigrants and refugees is white nationalist Stephen Miller, a Duke University student mentored by Alt Right leader Richard Spencer. Miller started Duke's "Terrorism Awareness Center," a project of the anti-Islam David Horowitz Freedom Center. Miller has engineered Trump's anti-refugee policies, as well as targeting legal immigrants.
Chauncey DeVega wrote that elite media refuse to accurately characterize Miller's background and views. According to DeVega:
- "Stephen Miller -- like other Trump advisers such as Michael Anton, Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon -- is a white supremacist....Miller hides behind Trumpian slogans about making America great again and neutral-sounding terms such as ‘nationalism’ and ‘populism’ to advance a policy agenda where nonwhites are treated as second-class citizens and white people are empowered above all other groups."
Cloee Cooper's analysis of the Trump administration's anti-refugee, anti-Muslim policies led her to conclude that "anti-Muslim sentiment has become a glue that binds this administration’s national security leadership with anti-Muslim organizations, White nationalist organizations, and anti-government militia." More importantly, Cooper linked the Trump administration's policies to a network of anti-Islam groups including ACT For America, the Center For Security Policy, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and Identity Evropa.
And, a recent Political Research Associate's analysis concluded that the "influence of organized anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements is readily apparent in policy changes over the last two years."
Given the already illegal cruel treatment of Central American migrants and refugees, and racist attacks on four women of color in the US Congress, a number of commentators have noted that not only is Trump a white nationalist, intent on stoking rage among his voting base, but dividing the country for a potential race war. Kathleen Parker has recently written that "Trump has essentially declared a 'race war.'"
Parker's observation was grounded in Trump's long history of engaging in anti-Black policies from the time he partnered with his father to keep out Black tenants. But, one can add the documented fact that Trump has paid for at least 2,200 Facebook ads since May 2019 using the word "invasion."
The idea of a racial civil war or a second American civil war is not limited to major right-wing strategists like William Lind, Stephen Bannon, and Trump. These general ideas are widespread within the Christian Right, that is, the GOP base that elected Donald Trump in 2016.
In July 2010, Media Matters reported that "Fox News and its personalities have a long history of aggressive race-baiting and racially charged commentary." Matthew Hughey and Gregory Parks in their book The Wrongs of the Right reported that "Fox News and associates constantly constructed the average white viewer as a hard-working American who is, at base, frightened by the unfair and racialized agenda of Obama....White viewers of Fox were constantly framed as people who should be frightened and apprehensive about issues pertaining to race....Fox commentators played up racial fears and anxieties, while painting whites as victims of overly sensitive nonwhites, race-baiters, and political correctness.
Matt Gertz at Media Matters observed that "Fox personalities have worked to mainstream the racist conspiracy theory that non-white immigrants threaten to “replace” white American populations....The description of migration across the southern border as an 'invasion' has become so common on Fox that it hardly warrants mention at this point."
It should not be a surprise that the Tea Party and Christian Right base of the Republican Party is being radicalized and racialized when Fox News commentators like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham are promoting the Great Replacement conspiracy theory and white nationalism.
Indeed, after a series of white supremacist terrorist shootings, including the massacre of 22 people in El Paso, Texas, apparently motivated by the same ideas a viewer could hear on Fox News or read in Trump's tweets, Carlson claimed that white supremacy "'It’s actually not a real problem in America,' Carlson said. He then added: 'This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax. It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.'"
CIVIL WAR AND THE TEA PARTY
Almost immediately after President Obama was sworn into office, Glenn Beck, then the leading agitprop proponent at Fox News, staged a civil war war game for his viewers. In June 2009, Sara Robinson asked the right-wing, "Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war?" In December 2009, as the U.S. Senate was preparing to vote in favor of President Obama's health care bill, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked for imprecatory prayer for Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) and further suggested that the federal government was illegitimate and the country was heading towards a civil war.
Into 2010, Fox News' Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin continued escalatory rhetoric. Bob Burnett at the Huffington Post wrote, "Beck and his new Fox News associate, Sarah Palin, have appropriated the rhetoric used by the militia movement, language that suggests violence may be required to ‘save’ America....Unfortunately, the Republican Party lacks a leader with the gravitas to speak out against the escalating violence of its supporters."
Michael Lind suggested that the Tea Party movement, given its strong southern neo-Confederate flavor, should be called the "Fort Sumter movement." Lind argued that "Today’s Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority, which for more than two centuries has not hesitated to paralyze, sabotage or, in the case of the Civil War, destroy American democracy in order to get their way....[T]he facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label."
Angie Maxwell, a political scientist at the Unviersity of Arkansas and expert on southern politics, reported that southern Tea Party had a large influence on the overall Tea Party movement and that racism was the best predictor of Tea Party membership in the southern states.
Moreover, Maxwell's analysis of the evolution of southern politics and the Republican Party, especially the role of white southern women, was critical in the election of Donald Trump and transformation of the GOP into a white nationalist party. As Maxwell put it:
- "Over the course of 40 years, Republicans fine-tuned their pitch and won the allegiance of Southern whites (and their sympathizers nationwide) by remaking their party in the Southern white image....Trump has wielded the GOP’s Southern playbook with precision: defending Confederate monuments, eulogizing Schlafly at her funeral and even hiring Reagan’s Southern campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Trump, in many ways, is no anomaly. He is the very culmination of the GOP’s long Southern strategy."
CIVIL WAR AND THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT
The Christian Right's leadership has used various conditional statements to suggest that a second civil is coming. These statements are usually of the form: if the liberals pass/do X, then we will be justified in starting a civil war, or, a civil war could result.
For example, prior to the Supreme Court's eventual ruling in favor of marriage equality, Matt Staver, head of Liberty Counsel, warned, "This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war." Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, believed that a gay marriage decision "could lead to 'revolution' and 'just break this nation apart,'" according to Right Wing Watch.
Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch, called for a revolution against the Obama administration because there is "a black-Muslim, anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian ‘Manchurian candidate’ fraudster socialist tyrant in the Oval Office – bent on tearing down and destroying the pillars of our formerly capitalist society."
One week later, both Larry Klayman and Matt Barber, also of Liberty Counsel, both warned that executive orders regarding the Second Amendment could result in a civil war. Klayman suggested that President Obama was "making the same mistake King George III made." Klayman went on to call for a civil war against the government: "Let us pray that Obama and Biden and the likes of Pelosi and Reid are so stupid as to carry through with their threats, so that the masses will finally be provoked to rise up as they did in colonial times." Barber also suggested that any gun control measure could lead to a civil war: "If they try what I think they might, but hope they don’t, I fear this nation—already on the precipice of widespread civil unrest and economic disaster—might finally spiral into to utter chaos, into a second civil war."
Rick Joyner, who apparently makes a living receiving God's prophecies based upon widely circulating right-wing conspiracy theories, claimed that implementation of the health care law would lead to a civil war. According to Joyner, "With Obamacare set to be managed by the IRS,....Americans, get ready to arise. Get ready for a second American Revolution to recover the principles and the freedoms won by the first one....If we go down in history as traitors while trying to do the right thing, we can be comforted that it will all be straightened out at the Judgment Seat of Christ."
Not to be outdone in the let's be sensible department, NRA News came out in full support of a Maryland sheriff who warned that any Obama administration gun control measures would result in a civil war between his county and the federal government.
In 2015, several Christian Right leaders and commentators again argued that a Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage was a casus belli. Ken Blackwell, a Family Research Council official, believed gay marriage will be "'just as pivotal as the Civil War, World War II and our response to 9/11 as a human community."
Regarding gay marriage, Glenn Beck and Jim Garlow claimed that they had between 10,000 and 20,000 pastors in the Black Robe Regiment "'willing to go to jail or go to death because they serve God and not man.'"
Proving why he should have been elected senator from Illinois rather than Barack Obama, Alan Keyes opined that Ireland's national referendum vote for gay marriage was equivalent to Germany voting to bring back the Holocaust. To prove that his sensibility was not a one-off, Keyes suggested that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage would justify a civil war: "It will be a high crime and misdemeanor that effectively dissolves the just bonds of government between and among the states, and among the individuals who compose the people of the United States. It will therefore be just cause for war."
Roy Moore, a former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and alleged sexual predator, believed the Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage "'is going to destroy this nation,'" though he stopped short of advocating secession. On the other hand, he equated 2015 to 1776. A month earlier, he had opined that gay marriage would "'literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run.'"
Then Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who liked shooting weapons with Mariia Butina in Moscow, opined that the Left and gay marriage might only be stopped by a "'Lexington-Concord type moment.'" Two days later, Clarke was much more certain that a violent uprising was necessary. Clarke challenged his radio show listeners, "'If you call yourself an American, then you have to start a revolution in this country after what happened last week at the United States Supreme Court....then you have no choice at the very least to be part of a revolution that’s going to be necessary to get this country back.'"
Jim Bakker, convicted felon on 23 different federal fraud charges, opined that conditions in the United States justified Christian violence. Bakker agreed with his television guest, Michael Snyder, described by Right Wing Watch as a "fellow End Times prepper," that "'We’re getting to a point where anger and frustration are boiling to such a degree that it’s not going to be just a soft or cold civil war where we’re angrily disagreeing with one another, but where actual physical violence breaks out in this nation.'"
And Patrick Buchanan, the GOP forerunner of Donald Trump, opined that constitutionally protecting gay marriage and removing a Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma would result in civil disobedience, a second American revolution, or a second civil war.
Even after Donald Trump had been in office for a year, Michael Hill, head of the racist League of the South, was complaining about the "globalist-progressive coalition of Jews, minorities, and anti-white whites." Hill, a long-time supporter of a "'real civil war,'" not the phony Civil War, opined that "The US has ceased to be a governable polity in 2017. It must split into at least two (and preferably more) separate, sovereign political entities to accommodate the two fundamental sides or it must be plagued with hostilities that ultimately will lead to open conflict and bloodshed on a scale unimaginable since World War Two in a civilized part of the world."
Not to be left behind, Franklin Graham Jr. warned in May 2019 that if Donald Trump is impeached, the Christian Right base would be entitled to start a civil war. According to Graham, "'If the president was brought down for whatever reason, it could lead to a civil war. There are millions of people out there that voted for President Trump that are behind him that are angry and they are mad. We are just living in a very dangerous territory, and we need God’s help.'"
There may be some degrees of separation between the Christian Right and the neo-Nazis, but whatever gap exists, has considerably narrowed since 1980.
TRUMP, THE NEO-NAZIS, AND A RACIAL CIVIL WAR
Scholars and rhetoricians will undoubtedly find subtle nuances and different inflections in the racial civil war view of Trump and the neo-Nazis, but the differences are narrowly small and frighteningly too close for comfort.
Chauncey DeVega has consistently argued that the Republican Party has been transformed into a white nationalist party--an achievement way beyond the aspirations of America's neo-Nazis.
DeVega wrote that this achievement was decades in the making, and like other analysts, he sees that the contemporary Republican Party represents the victory of Jefferson Davis over Abraham Lincoln:
- "The Republican Party is now the United States’ largest de facto white identity and white nationalist organization. This did not happen overnight. It took decades to accomplish. This outcome was also not an act of god. Nor was it an accident. The ascendance of Donald Trump, and the racist and nativist politics he represents, was a result of decisions made by elites and other policy makers within the Republican Party and broader conservative movement. This outcome was also enabled by the American news media."
Never Trump and former Republican strategist Rick Wilson recently assessed that "Trump Readies His Mob for the Race War." Wilson stripped Trump down to his essential message to The Deplorables:
- "The flags were American, the vibe 1932 Berlin....He’s telling you exactly what he’s going to do. He’s showing you with every speech, tweet, and policy that this election is about his ethnic animus and stoking the resentful edges of society into President Cartman’s race war."
Chauncey DeVega interviewed anti-racist author and activist Tim Wise regarding Rick Wilson's assessment. Wise essentially agreed with Wilson, but with a caveat:
- "The only thing about Rick Wilson's analysis which is incorrect—and this is something I have said for a long time—is that it presumes that America has not already been in a ‘race war’ for several hundred years....And if anybody won the Civil War, it was the South and the Confederacy. I've lived in the South my whole life. The United States is in this moment right now with Donald Trump because the South and the Confederacy won. The war is really never over."
It may be shocking to scholars and elite commentators, DeVega's view that there is a strong ideological affinity in the ideas and worldview of Trump and the neo-Nazis. Whatever differences there are between them, they are allies.
As DeVega put it:
- "However, there is one group of people who are honest about Donald Trump. White supremacists know that Donald Trump is one of their tribe....But the Stormer remains confident that its social vision is the same as Trump’s: an all-white America."
Luke O'Brien reported in the December 2017 issue of The Atlantic that Andrew Anglin, publisher of the neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, "wrote about his longing for a race war and urged his readers to prepare for combat against nebulous forces unleashed by Jews, blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, women, liberals, journalists—anyone who might impede the alt-right’s assault on the nation."
The Daily Stormer's enemies list is the same enemies list as the Republican Party, the Christian Right, the Tea Party movement, the Patriot militia, and the Alt Right. There may be significant policy differences between them, but we should stop pretending that they do not share a common view of their preference, if not advocacy, of a racial civil war in America.