America has seen multiple wars in defense of white supremacy, from our bloodiest conflicts (Metacom’s War, the Civil War) to our longest lasting ones (the Apache Wars) to our most far-flung ones (the “Filipino Insurrection,” which is to say that the people of the Philippines did not prefer to be colonized by the US and so fought back). But war doesn’t just express our white nationalism: it also fuels it. The Viet Nam war figures prominently in the minds of white supremacists today, argues historian Katherine Belew.
She’ll be talking about her research at Berkely in October, for those in the area. For those who can’t come, I encourage you to check out Belew’s Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.
Thursday, October 4th
Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way, Berkeley
Assistant Professor of U.S. History
and the College, University of Chicago
Sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies, UC Berkeley
Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Department of Sociology
From the CRWS promotional materials:
The white power movement in America wants a revolution. It has declared all-out war against the federal government and its agents, and has carried out—with military precision—an escalating campaign of terror against the American public. Its soldiers are not lone wolves but are highly organized cadres motivated by a coherent and deeply troubling worldview of white supremacy, anticommunism, and apocalypse. In this talk, based on her new book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, Kathleen Belew presents a history of the movement that consolidated in the 1970s and 1980s around a potent sense of betrayal in the Vietnam War and made tragic headlines in the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City.
Belew’s disturbing history reveals how, returning to an America ripped apart by a war which, in their view, they were not allowed to win, a small but driven group of veterans, active-duty personnel, and civilian supporters concluded that waging war on their own country was justified. They unified people from a variety of militant groups, including Klansmen, neo-Nazis, skinheads, radical tax protestors, and white separatists. Belew shows how the white power movement operated with discipline and clarity, undertaking assassinations, mercenary soldiering, armed robbery, counterfeiting, and weapons trafficking. Her analysis argues for awareness of the heightened potential for paramilitarism in a present defined by ongoing war.