In order to fight white nationalist ideology, we first must know what it is and how it operates. And if you, like me, have not been able to sleep well this last week, here's a reading list to help occupy the insomnia, too.
1. "Making America White Again," Toni Morrison, the New Yorker
So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength. These people are not so much angry as terrified, with the kind of terror that makes knees tremble.
2. "A New Warsaw Pact," Jamelle Bouie, Slate
Donald Trump went to Europe and, in keeping with his campaign and influences, gave a speech with clear links to white nationalist thought. To pretend otherwise, to ignore the context of this address—to place Trump in a vacuum of history and politics, divorced from his own persona—is, at best, to cross the line into willful ignorance.
This brings me to the second reason that White nationalist antisemitism must not be dismissed: at the bedrock of the movement is an explicit claim that Jews are a race of their own, and that their ostensible position as White folks in the U.S. represents the greatest trick the devil ever played.
4."The Internet Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Emma Grey Ellis, Wired
Throughout history, just about every media platform still in its infancy has acted as a vector for just about every upwelling of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. "The Dreyfus affair in the 1890s used anti-Semitic visual materials because it had become possible to reproduce photographs and lithographs very cheaply," Samuels says. The Protocols only ended up in so many libraries because the high-speed rotary printing press made mass printing affordable in the early 20th century. "Hitler made huge dramatic use of new technologies like radio and film, Samuels says. "Anti-Semites are early adopters."
5. "Statement on Confederate Memorials: Confronting Difficult History," National Trust for Historic Preservation President Stephanie Meeks
Put simply, the erection of these Confederate memorials and enforcement of Jim Crow went hand-in-hand. They were intended as a celebration of white supremacy when they were constructed. As recent rallies in Charlottesville and elsewhere illustrate, they are still being used as symbols and rallying points for such hate today.
6. "White Nationalism Is Now 'State-Sanctioned' Under Donald Trump, Experts Say," Chris Riotta, Newsweek
“This is simply who Trump is,” Paul Harvey, professor and presidential teaching scholar at the University of Colorado tells Newsweek. “This is who he’s been the last six or seven years, so it shouldn’t be that surprising. Michelle Obama nailed it when she said the presidency doesn’t change you, it just reveals who you truly are.”
7."The Fearful and the Frustrated," Evan Osnos, the New Yorker
Trump’s candidacy has already left a durable mark, expanding the discourse of hate such that, in the midst of his feuds and provocations, we barely even registered that Senator Ted Cruz had called the sitting President “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” or that Senator Marco Rubio had redoubled his opposition to abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a mortal threat to the mother. Trump has bequeathed a concoction of celebrity, wealth, and alienation that is more potent than any we’ve seen before. If, as the Republican establishment hopes, the stargazers eventually defect, Trump will be left with the hardest core—the portion of the electorate that is drifting deeper into unreality, with no reconciliation in sight.
8. "The Alt-Right's Antisemitism," Dusty Sklar, Jewish Currents
Through the media, according to MacDonald, Jews have championed homosexuality, premarital sex, pornography, and adultery, and “even Joe Biden,” he writes, “thinks (correctly) that Jews were behind the gay marriage movement.”
Much of this so transparently resembles Nazi ideology that the forces of the Alt-Right have been unable to gain any real mainstream footing in America outside of rightwing media and blatant white supremacist circles — until their candidate won the Presidency.
9. "How Big Business Bailed Out the Nazis," Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Brennan Center for Justice
As the book Hell’s Cartel explains, the history of the German industrialists’ support of Hitler shows “what can go wrong when political objectives and the pursuit of profit become dangerously entwined.” One can only surmise what might have happened if the businessmen had simply said “no” to Hitler that night.
10. "It's Putin's World," Franklin Foer, the Atlantic
A 2013 paper from the Center for Strategic Communications, a pro-Kremlin think tank, observed that large patches of the West despised feminism and the gay-rights movement and, more generally, the progressive direction in which elites had pushed their societies. With the traditionalist masses ripe for revolt, the Russian president had an opportunity. He could become, as the paper’s title blared, “The New World Leader of Conservatism.”