The latest issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report is out. The quarterly mag is practically a must-read for those following hate groups in AZ, the immigration issue, and how they overlap. Though the lead article "Immigration Backlash" deals directly with everyone's favorite topic, there are three others I found intriguing, considering their direct connection with PHX.
The first is by former New Times staffer, Susy Buchanan, "Bad Blood," a blood-curdling account of the (alleged) attempted murder of Phoenix resident Amanda Crow by her fellow skinheads. Crow survived their treachery, but just barely. The piece's lead reads like an award-winner all on its own. Wish I'd written it:
Phoenix, Ariz.—They left Amanda Crow to die under an ironwood tree. Paralyzed, the 19-year-old lay on her back in a remote wash, studying its thorny branches and teardrop leaves. Blood from her slashed throat and stab wounds pooled around her body in a scarlet aura. A night passed, then a day, then another night. Twice, she watched the Day-Glo bloom of a desert sunrise while flies and ants feasted on her blood.
Crow sustained irreversible paralysis, and is confined to a wheelchair. The trial of her attackers is set to take place this April.
Another article I especially like is "The Teflon Nativists," by Heidi Beirich, which details the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), its spider's web of offshoots and front organizations, its ties to virulently racist entities, and how, despite these ties and the bigoted statements of its own leaders, it's retained its "teflon" image with much of the mainstream press and with Congress. Hopefully, as the SPLC continues to write about FAIR and exposes its connections to orgs like the Pioneer Fund and the Council of Conservative Citizens, that will change.
Finally, the SPLC outs local white supremacist Jerry Harbin, who likes to play "Odin" at neo-Nazi rallies, and whom I and others have spotted amongst the counterprotesters at the Pruitt's demonstrations.
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Most recently, Harbin played Odin at the after-party to a big National Socialist Movement hoe-down that occurred September 1 in Omaha, Nebraska. He also portrayed Odin at the 2006 neo-Nazi Winterfest event here in Phoenix, according to the SPLC's Susy Buchanan and David Holthouse in their article Odin in Omaha. In it, they describe Harbin's hooded, sequin-trimmed Odin getup as "Obi-Wan Kenobi meets Liberace."
Harbin, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, berated Mexicans in a speech he gave as Odin to Omaha neo-Nazis howling, "White power!" Harbin was also spotted recently at one of the Pruitt's protests, carrying an American flag. Wish he would bust out the Confederate uniform he's wearing below and wave the Stars and Bars instead. Maybe he could even come cruisin' down Thomas Road in the General Lee, with his horn blarin' and him hollarin', "Save your Dixie cups, the South will rise again!" Heck, at least that'd be more colorful than grandmas in fanny packs wavin' "Messcans go home," signs.
Wannabe-Confederate Col. Jerry Harbin, from the current issue of the SPLC's Intelligence Report.
Though the nativists at Pruitt's are not all neo-Nazis and pseudo-Klan types, not by a long shot, there are still many who stand shoulder to shoulder with them down at the Pruitt's protests. And I think their presence is instructive, especially since it's tolerated by others on the same side of the fence and not actively discouraged. True, these clowns are not parading around in their Klan robes. They keep a lower profile. But the more they are revealed by the SPLC and others, the less the other nativists can deny the presence of these folk in their own camp.