ET TU SIR NAZI?
Unless you can find some sort of loyalty, you cannot find unity and peace in your active living.
The vehemence and yes, passion, with which many white supremacists spew their vitriolic hatred may not be welcomed by the majority of American society but did you ever wonder where that passion comes from? I mean, they cannot truly believe all of the venom that seems to reside within their hearts.
As has been noted, time and again, racism and bigotry is bred by fear and ignorance - a total lack of reality contact. However, being a racist at the forefront of what they call the "movement" generates complications and a need for the dramatic.
You see, unlike when you and I serve our communities, join social or civic groups, or just take on the tasks of proselytizing our beliefs, the racist is always under the magnifying glass of his/her peers not to mention those of us who are relentlessly vigilant in tracking their actions.
The very nature of the beast requires them to either attempt to demonstrate their superior intellect (at which most fail miserable) or their physical prowess. Hence, it seems that they are thrust into a position of always having to flex muscle of one kind or another. And for those who rise to the top within the movement, the knowledge that they are just one rung away from a fall is often too much pressure.
Not only have I reported on the lack of unity and loyalty among the racist rank and file - many of them have noted time and again that the lack of both of these necessary elements has greatly hindered their progress - so much so, that we often bank on them doing themselves in before we have to take a stand.
The insecurity of being part of a group of people who call themselves friends and comrades at one table and use the steak knife to insert a jagged wound at the next has to be debilitating, to say the least. Always watching your back, always being on guard, and never knowing where the blow will originate would be exhausting for me.
The latest event demonstrating the perfidious nature of both the groups and the people in them also demonstrates the ignobility of the characters involved. Of course, we knew about a couple of them and, given their activism as racists and insidious bigots, we probably shouldn't have expected anything more from them.
On Sunday, April 27th, Michael Blevins, better known to the internet crowd as VonBluvens, posted an announcement on the Vanguard News Network Forum. He claimed that he and Christopher Drake, former member of the National Socialist Movement, were forming a new group called the American National Unity. Where had we heard that name before?
In July of 2006, the NSM came apart at the seams and shortly after that so did Michael Blevins. As Bill White was forming up a new group, Blevins joined and unjoined Bill in what was soon to become a real comedy. In the midst of all of this, Blevins announced that he would form his own group - American National Unity. Perhaps the most pressing issue surrounding the formation of such a group, Blevins' mental stability notwithstanding, was the uniform. Blevins has this certain fashion sense that dictates a beret along with basic black, you see.
Along with the recent announcement of formation of the new ANU, Blevins also posted this picture of Chris Drake along with a caption indicating this is the proper way to wear the uniform. It looked like Mike was finally going to be able to make his fashion statement. It also looked as if Chris was planning on this new group being quite militant.
Christopher Drake has been, superficially, a long time supporter of Blevins. When the chips were down and it seemed that every other racist had pegged Blevins as a mental defective unworthy of any status, Drake would always defend him. Drake would rail against those who belittled and ostracized Blevins. Drake was Mike's friend - maybe his closest friend. Thus, it made sense that the two would team up at some point.
Unlike Bill White, and even Michael Blevins, Christopher Drake has always had a pretty good reputation among his skinhead and racist bretheren. Most would call him a "stand-up" guy. Bright, articulate, and somewhat charismatic, Drake might have been a force for us to reckon with - except, like so many among them, he lacks any sense of loyalty or allegiance. Perhaps that's because he really doesn't have both feet planted firmly in the movement or the ideology that fuels it. Perhaps it's because he really isn't rooted there - or is ambivalent about where he really belongs.
After the announcement, which was met with a few well wishes and a couple of accolades for Drake, the question arose - what about Blevins' membership in White's American National Socialist's Workers Party? Mike was quick to assure everyone that dual membership wasn't prohibited by either group and that the new group wouldn't interefere with ANSWP.
Christopher Drake chimed in with the following message...
Good job. I'd just like to make clear that Mike actually wrote that and I put my name to it, or rather he did. It pretty much sums it up.
"My only regret is that you've got an ultra-militant picture of me up there in my basement. Its sloppy as hell down there but truth be known, everyone's favorite room.
"Wish us luck everybody! Either follow our sucesses or learn from our mistakes!"
Now, it appeared that we anti-racists were going to have yet another group to monitor.
There were questions and Christopher fielded them stating at one point...
"Mike got excited, typed up something he felt summed it all up and issued a statement on my behalf. We were up until 2:00 am last night getting details worked out and ordering things we needed.
"Mike plans to continue his work for the ANSWP. I've got no problem with duel membership. My "model" if you will, is local and regional activism combined with membership in a national organization. This might seem an overloaded concept now but I'm positive that there will be much more work to do in the very near future. I also hope Bill will allow me to continue contributing to his magazine."
It appeared that everything was well underway. Citizens Against Hate went into gear gathering information and doing the things that we always do when a new group is announced and I voiced my particular concerns over the fact that this might turn out to be a group more viable than the ones we have seen come and go over the last few years.
Even after Chris Drake indicated that he wished that Blevins had not posted that particular picture of him and that he had waited until some other things had been ironed out, it appeared evident that not only was the group being formed - but that a number of people were showing an interest. And then...a cryptic message from Bill White was posted...
"Thank you Chris. Mike Blevins needed something else to distract him ..."
Collectively we all laughed at once. We laughed because we knew that Bill White was pissed...Bill White was definitely not overjoyed by the news...and Bill White was going to take both Chris and Mike to task - it was coming.
And we were absolutely right.
Now, walking softly and carrying a big stick is not Bill White's style. In his predictable and ceremonious style, he entered the conversation with a vengence. Seeing the very possibility of a competitive and cohesive threat to his fledgling ANSWP, his attack was swift, calculated and manipulative.
First, he had to take Blevins out of the mix. Although Blevins had been the brunt of much ridicule within the movement of late, pairing his radio skills with the popularity of Drake was untenable to White. Although Blevins was quick to try and reassure Bill that there would be no conflict, it was too little too late. White was picking up a head of steam that would leave everyone's jaws dropping and Michael Blevins decimated.
With precision, he delivered the first blow.
"Mike, you are the ANSWP's Florida State Leader, and this is just another distraction that I'm sure Chris is getting a good chuckle from, as am I.
"Why doesn't anyone who wants to discuss Chris's "new group's" relationship to the ANSWP just email or call me instead of posting breathlessly here?
"And Mike: Bernie doesn't even allow you to travel to Chicago for the weekend; she's not going to let you start running around in the woods with assault rifles, either."
Attemptimg to make light of Blevins' announcement, White also immediately insinuated himself into the new group. While doing this in few words, he also managed to cast aspersions on the manhood of Blevins. This had to be a costly attack for Mike, as he had been much ridiculed over the last year for his undying devotion to the pseudo-Nazi from Roanoke, Virginia.
Cautiously, Blevins responded with his surprise at White's statement. Emotions were almost palapable as it was easy to see that Mike was walking on egg shells. Ever the spin-doctor, White spun his web and proffered the bait...
"Chris is out camping this weekend, and is and has been planning to start a gun / wilderness survival club.
"He asked Mike Blevins the other day what they should call it.
"Rather than wait for Chris to respond, Mike wrote a press release in Chris' name, attached to it a photo Chris sent, and declared they were starting a new organization.
"Very typically Mike.
"In the real world, Chris is probably going to take over our Georgia organization in the near future, and we have discussed whether an official ANSWP gun club or wilderness survival club is something we want to do.
"For folk who don't know me, my dry humor sometimes comes across wrong -- I'm told it may appear that way on this thread. I have watched this which much bemusement."
Well, we've been reporting on Bill White for way to long to believe that he was being humorous about anything other than laughing at his own cunning.
Blevins, obviously, saw the handwriting on the wall. As he issued a mild protest and pointed out that it was premature for White to speculate on what Drake was going to do, one could almost read the dread between the lines.
Bill White has demonstrated time and again his ability to manipulate others and to maneuver around any stumbling blocks that may be placed in his way. Often, he has bull-dozed others in the movement without them realizing what is happening until it is much too late. His next move was to marginalize the new group...
"I think this wilderness survival and gun club is a great idea and I hope everyone joins."
Gun club? Somehow or other, this is not what came to mind when reading the specs for this new organization - and that was enough to rancor Blevins. But, the next announcement from Bill was the pièce de résistance, the capper, if you will.
"Before any of our usual enemies on this board use Von's misguided press release to further create division, I'm ending this conversation by saying this:
"Chris Drake has joined the ANSWP as our Georgia State Leader. I am also giving him our Southern regional lists to see if he can make a go of it as Southern Regional Director. This is not a sudden thing, but something we've been discussing for several months. It has been a complex negotiation because it has involved several former NSM units and activists, and I hope everyone else associated with Chris who has been involved in this discussion makes a similar move. All former NSM members who meet ANSWP membership standards are welcome and any past conflicts are set aside. I understand fully anyone who has been misled by Schoep or any other former leaders, and all is forgiven.
"Further, the ANSWP is looking into developing a gun and wilderness club, which will be social and not political in orientation, and is looking at developing a party religious order based on Odinist practices. ANSWP members interested in these activities should contact Chris. I say "looking into" because there is a process involved before the party can endorse these groups and I cannot approve this summarily, and there are a lot of details involved that need attention. I will also say that any social activities will be separate from political activities; i.e., we will not be indoctrinating people with commentary on the socio-political situation while enjoying the recreational use of firearms.
"However, I believe Chris' addition to the party will increase activism in the Southeastern United States and will bring together our leaders out there, who have often felt somewhat isolated, given that our Southern organization, while large relative to the rest of the party, has been concentrated in a handful of states."
Christopher Drake, the well-liked and respected skinhead, had joined Bill White - the pariah of the movement? Everyone was stunned...and speechless, it seemed.
Michael Blevins resigned from ANSWP and the feeding frenzy began. While many spoke out against White, Bill felt the need to further exsanguinate Blevins. Referencing the psychological problems that Blevins has experienced for years, White told him...
"I'm not continuing this fight on this board, and, you need to stop calling people on the phone and screaming at them to the point where they are just saying "yes" to try to appease you. Poor Chris is doing everything he can to try to calm you down and you've now been throwing a temper tantrum non stop for days.
"And, frankly, going back on your medication -- or your old medication, since the new stuff doesn't seem to be working -- is also probably a very good idea at this point.
"This is just embarassing -- to you, not me."
Like a cur dog who has gotten the taste of first blood, White continued with the blood-letting painting Blevins as an out-of-control lunatic who had, in his words, gone "batshit crazy." Claiming that he had gone off his meds and was breaking things, screaming, and calling people at all hours of the night to throw temper tantrums he had effectively and efficiently cut Michael Blevins to shreds. Chris Drake? He confirmed that he had joined forces with White.
Now, we know that there is no honor among the racist crowd - no dignity - no integrity - and no sense of loyalty. The recent actions of Bill White and Chris Drake solidify that statement. However, for those who are still dubious, for those who still believe Drake to be a "stand-up guy," think again. I promise you he isn't.
Over the years that we have been utilizing the internet to fight against organized hate groups and to try to make a difference in the racism that insinuates itself into the lives of our communities and neighborhoods we have met many people, cultivated many sources of information, and developed quite a network. Hence, it is not unusual for me to find messages from racists in my email. Sometimes those messages are nasty and hateful, other times they are from those wanting to leave the "movement," and sometimes they are providing me with information on others or actions being planned. The National Socialist Movement is notorious for the latter.
In October of 2006, I received a strange and unsolicited email from Drake and a cyber conversation ensued. That converstation can be read in its' entirety here. Now, whether his blather about Blevins held any validity or not, it is evident that Chris, for whatever reason, wanted to talk about Mike. Why he felt compelled to do so, I don't know. The real point here is that Chris Drake was attempting to sell Michael Blevins out at the same time he was professing to be his friend - no honor among the racists.
Why Christopher Drake chose to join with Bill White at this moment in time is anyone's guess. Some believe that it was out of fear. Others believe that Bill was able to buy his allegiance. One speculation that I believe is pretty safe is that promises were made and Christopher Drake fell for the lying antics of White while throwing Blevins under a bus.
Throughout all of this, I have been questioned about, what appears to be, to some individuals, an unusual caring or concern about Michael Blevins. Normally, the mistreatment of one movement member by another, the news that a new organization was shut down before it started, would be cause for celebration and partying. To those who question or wonder...
As someone who has spent the majority of her life fighting against racism and bigotry, there are a few truths that I have learned. One of those truths is that racists are people - people who are scared, often lonely, troubled, and sadly misinformed. There are those who are hardcore, sure. There are those who are hellbent on living a violent and brutal lifestyle. And there are those who just want to belong - to fit in - to have a place. We, as human beings, often have a hard time reaching out to those so misguided souls - maybe we're scared too. But the battle isn't always about what someone believes - it's also about changing those beliefs and showing others that they have choices and alternatives.
Leaving a belief system that you have been enmeshed in or indoctrinated into is extremely difficult. That sort of thing isn't done easily. It isn't done quickly and it isn't always smooth. Michael Blevins is a wounded person right now. He has had, not one but, two friends stab him in the back and leave him for the vultures. Will he leave the movement? I don't know. But, I do know that if we cannot find it in our hearts to try and reach him, to try and help him should he decide to do so then we are no better than the racist.
As I see it, being anti-racist, actively taking a stand against hatred, means much more than waving banners and chanting in the streets. It means much more than sitting at a keyboard and typing snide sarcasms and witty prose. It means much more than shouting down the hateful rhetoric that is often spewn from the racist mouth. It means recognizing the pain of others and being willing to give someone a hand up. It means being a beacon and safe harbor. It means being able to set yourself aside long enough to hear those who need you.
Sometimes the hand that we extend gets bitten and sometimes it is warmly received. The point is, the hand was there when someone needed it. Let us not fall into the category of hating others simply because of who they are - let us be the hope for tomorrow.