Feathered Bastard

The Difference Between a Nativist Tea Party and a Neo-Nazi Rally? Swastikas

There's no great irony in the fact that a week after the neo-Nazi anti-immigration rally at the Arizona state Capitol this Saturday, there will be another anti-immigration rally at the Capitol on November 14, this one put together as a Tea Party Against Amnesty and Illegal Immigration. It's being spearheaded locally by the Mexican-bashing knuckledraggers at United for a Sovereign America, and nationally by ALIPAC (Americans for Legal Immigration PAC), the North Carolina-based nativist forum, led by the one-issue wonder William Gheen. Apparently, the Phoenix event is one of scores promised across the country

The irony-deficiency mentioned above exists because when it comes to immigration, there's not much that separates the nativists and the Nazis. Indeed, though I doubt any of the local nativists will attend this Saturday's neo-Nazi "America First" anti-immigration rally there's plenty of overlap between the two groups, whether it be in rhetoric or, occasionally, membership. 

For example, it's well-known that Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready was once embraced by United for a Sovereign America, and he and fiercely anti-Mexican state Senator Russell Pearce were pals previously

An NSM video promoting Saturday's rally parallels the nativist stance on immigration

As for the former association, there's still proof of it on U.S.A.'s Web site, a post from 2007, titled, "JT Ready on the Current State of Affairs," with this statement,

"Mesa Arizona patriot JT Ready exposes the corruption within our government that produces the lawlessness which enables the illegal alien invasion and the interference of foreign lands--all for the sake of perpetuating big businesses and big government"

Patriot, eh? Tell it to the U.S. Marines, who court-martialed him twice, then booted him from their ranks. 

U.S.A.'s accepted Klan members, minutemen, outspoken racists and Nazis into its ranks. Ex-KIA dealer Rusty Childress' group reminds me of that scene in Animal House where the Deltas are vetting new members, saying yes to each one, with a cry of, "We need the dues." The nativists -- locally and nationally -- are willing to look the other way at certain political peccadilloes, as long as they can add warm bodies to their meet-ups. 

As far as ideology goes, the nativists and the Nazis buy the idea that the country is being "invaded" from the south by illegal immigrants from Latin America. They believe the shibboleth that "Americans" (read, "whites") are being deprived of jobs because of new arrivals. And they each, in their own way, posit that Latino immigrants represent a threat to Anglo political hegemony.

Also, they each promote this conspiracy theory that Mexican immigrants are out to "reconquer" the Southwest. Take out the Nazi imagery in the National Socialist Movement video above, and it could easily have been made by United for a Sovereign America.

Here's an exercise to make the point: Read the following, and tell me who wrote it, a nativist or a neo-Nazi:

"No more Amnesty scams, no more lies from the Politicians, simple grass roots action, and a simple America for Americans policy."

Same for this excerpt:

"Illegal Immigration is a threat to the citizens, principles and the very existence of the United States of America...Illegal Immigration is being encouraged and supported by radical leftist groups working with Global corporations and sellout politicians."

As you can see, the rhetorical link between the two groups is practically seamless, as is their common goal: the expulsion of millions of Hispanics from the United States. One group publicly embraces the swastika. The other can only do so furtively, knowing the taboo involved, and the consequences. So what is it that separates Nazis and nativists on immigration? Swastikas, bizarre dress and not much more.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons