The North American Union

Right-wing Populist Conspiracism Rebounds

By Chip Berlet

The same right-wing populist fears of a collectivist one-world government and new world order that fueled Cold War anticommunism, mobilized opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, and spawned the armed citizens militia movement in the 1990s, have resurfaced as an elaborate conspiracy theory about the alleged impending creation of a North American Union that would merge the United States, Canada, and Mexico.1 

No such merger is seriously being contemplated by any of the three governments. Yet a conspiracy theory about the North American Union (NAU) simmered in right-wing “Patriot Movement” alternative media for several years before bubbling up to reach larger audiences in mass media when callers to talk radio and cable television news programs began asking about the alleged plans for the North American Union, and what was dubbed the “NAFTA Superhighway” linking Mexico to Canada through the American heartland. 2

Now millions of Americans have been exposed to the conspiracy theories on national television and tens of thousands of websites sport claims such as “Treason Exposed,” and “Who Really Controls the United States?”3 One online video posted on YouTube in July 2007 titled “North American Union & VCHIP Truth” has been viewed more than 1.7 million times (see sidebar).4 Opponents of the nonexistent plans have produced maps, a flag, and even a faux currency—the “Amero,” (similar to the Euro) which one entrepreneur has actually minted as coins available for sale.5 The issue is starting to be discussed seriously in progressive circles as well, even though it is a repackaged defective product of the political Right.

The NAU conspiracy theory has legs; it has already played a role in state, federal, and Presidential campaign politics and generated legislative proposals. Thirteen states have passed anti-NAU and related resolutions, and seven are considering them. In January 2008, Utah state Representative Stephen Sandstrom introduced a resolution calling for the withdrawal from the union (H. R. 1), and then promoted it in a speech at the annual convention of the Utah affiliate of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.6

Right-wing conspiracy theories have been used effectively by political organizers and electoral campaign operatives for decades. Recent examples that reached the level of Presidential politics include the barrage of conspiracy theories leveled at President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that helped sink the Presidential aspirations of Senator John Kerry. Veterans of both smear campaigns are actively promoting the North American Union conspiracy theory. In addition, anti-immigrant xenophobes and antisemitic conspiracists are using the issue to recruit new adherents. There is a split, however, between right-wing anti-globalist activists supporting the main Republican Party candidates, and those supporting marginal candidates such as Ron Paul or third parties such as the U.S. Constitution Party; the mainstream denounce the margins as conspiracy theorists, and the margins denounce the mainstream as clueless—or part of the conspiracy.

The claims about the North American Union, like all conspiracy theories, start with a grain of truth. There is a “Security and Prosperity Partnership” project involving common interest planning and streamlining of regulations among the three countries. (see sidebar by Laura Carlsen). There also are private groups seeking to upgrade existing highways linking Mexico with the United States and Canada.

But the idea that these are secret preliminary steps to a planned North American Union is a concoction of right-wing conspiracy. Distrust of the federal government, distaste for bureaucratic regulation, and suspicion that national sovereignty is eroding —all of these are popular themes throughout the United States.7 This is, after all, a country where the bootlegger who makes homemade “moonshine” liquor to avoid paying federal taxes is a folk hero. While the suspicious conspiracist concerns of the Patriot and armed Militia movements reflect hyperbolized versions of these core themes, it is useful to see them as deeply rooted in nightmares that periodically disturb the American Dream. 

The Alleged Plot 

The basic allegation of the North American Union (NAU) conspiracy theory is that “behind closed doors, the Bush administration has collaborated with the governments of Mexico and Canada to merge the three nations into one Socialist mega-state.”8 The quote is from an online video featuring long-time ultra-conservative leader Howard Phillips interviewing author Jerome R. Corsi on Phillips’ “Conservative Roundtable” program.

The Conspiracy’s Kernel of Truth

By Laura Carlsen

The North American Union conspiracy theory grew out of a kernel of truth, called the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” (SPP). But cultivated by xenophobic fears and political opportunism, the NAU outstripped its reality-based progenitor so fast that it has become hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. A little history helps.

Read on...

Phillips, Corsi, and Phyllis Schlafly are among the major right-wing figures promoting the conspiracy theories about the NAU.9 Others include former Presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan; right-wing organizations such as the John Birch Society and Accuracy in Media; right-wing media including World Net Daily, Human Events; and supporters of libertarian Republican Presidential aspirant Ron Paul.10 Antisemitic publications such as The American Free Press have also jumped on the North American Union conspiracy juggernaut.11 Even a few self-described leftists peddle the theory.

Corsi featured the NAU in his book, The Late Great U.S.A.: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada, published on the fourth of July, 2007. Corsi’s book was in its third printing within a few weeks, and hit 28 on the New York Times bestseller list and the “No. 1 spot on Amazon’s ‘Nonfiction’ list.”12 The publisher was WND Books, an imprint of WorldNetDaily.com, a nasty right-wing website featuring xenophobia larded with conspiracy theories. Corsi was a staff reporter and columnist for WND, and a contributor to Human Events, an ultra-conservative newspaper with a history of involvement in right-wing, antiliberal, and anti-immigrant causes.13He was exposed as a blogger on the right-wing site FreeRepublic.com with a history of racist and anti-Catholic posts, including “Who are the Frogs going to cry to when the ragheads destroy the Eiffel Tower?”14 Corsi previously was best known as the author of Unfit for Command, part of the dubious attack on John Kerry coordinated as a political dirty tricks campaign by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 Presidential race. Human Events promoted the Corsi book.

In June 2006, Corsi explored a new front on the NAU conspiracy theory with his claims that the nefarious secretive globalists were: 

…working behind the scenes to create the NAFTA Super Highway, despite the lack of comment on the plan by President Bush. The American public is largely asleep to this key piece of the coming ‘North American Union’ that government planners in the new trilateral region of United States, Canada and Mexico are about to drive into reality.15 

Patrick Buchanan picked up the story for his syndicated newspaper column. Buchanan quoted television newscaster Lou Dobbs, who, like Buchanan, is antiimmigrant. According to Buchanan:

 “This is a “mind-boggling concept,” exploded Lou Dobbs. It must cause Americans to think our political and academic elites have “gone utterly mad.”

Dr. Robert Pastor, vice chair of the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on North America, had just appeared before a panel of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations —to call for erasing all U.S. borders and a merger of the United States, Mexico and Canada in a North American union stretching from Prudhoe Bay to Guatemala.

Under the Pastor-CFR plan, the illegal alien invasion would be solved by eliminating America’s borders and legalizing the invasion. We would no longer defend the Rio Grande.16

 Discussion of and opposition to the NAU became so widespread that in January 2007, a Republican Congressman from Virginia named Virgil Goode drafted a resolution (H.R. 40) that urged President Bush “not to go forward with the North American Union or the NAFTA Superhighway system.”17 The resolution gained over forty bipartisan cosponsors by February 2008.18 In the Boston Globe, Drake Bennett reported that:

As fears of the mythical NAU grow, they appear to be subtly shaping more mainstream debates about immigration and trade…. Similar resolutions have been introduced in several state legislatures — in Montana’s case, the resolution passed nearly unanimously. And back in July, the U.S. House of Representatives easily approved a measure that would cut off federal funds for an existing trade group set up by the three countries.19

Corsi used the Congressional anti-NAU resolution as another news peg for an article on WorldNet Daily where he crowed “Congress debate begins on North America Union: Resolution calls for end of NAFTA superhighway, abandonment of integration with Canada, Mexico.” The kicker headline was: “Premeditated Merger.”20 This became a slogan picked up by conspiracist groups including the John Birch Society.

By the fall of 2006, even a number of conservative commentators were growing tired of the hysteria, and began to attack the right-wing conspiracy theorists. Corsi then wrote columns in Human Events denouncing the denouncers.21 In September of 2007, however, even the new editor of Human Events, Jed Babbin, was himself denouncing Corsi as a “black helicopter Internet conspiracy theorist” at a meeting of Schlafly’s Eagle Council in St. Louis. 

Scraps of Facts, Truckloads of Rumors 

There is an actual “North America’s Supercorridor Coalition,” and it received so many complaints about its suspected role in the NAU and the alleged “NAFTA Superhighway” that at one point it junked its website’s home page and pointed browsers to a statement that read in part:

As of late, there have been many media references to a “new, proposed NAFTA Superhighway.” While NASCO and the cities, counties, states and provinces along our existing Interstate Highways 35/29/94 (the NASCO Corridor) have referred for years to I-35 and key branches as “the NAFTA Superhighway,” the reference solely acknowledged and recognized I-35’s major role in carrying a remarkable portion of international trade with Mexico, the United States and Canada. In actual fact, there are no plans to build “a new NAFTA Superhighway.” It already exists today as I-35 and branches.22

 In a story debunking the rumors, the Nation magazine noted that though “opposition to the nonexistent highway is the cause célèbre of many a paranoiac, the myth upon which it rests was not fabricated out of whole cloth. Rather, it has been sewn together from scraps of fact.”23

Dr. Robert A. Pastor, for example, is a real analyst. “Nobody is proposing a North American Union,” Pastor patiently told a reporter.24 Pastor, a professor at American University, wrote “Towards a North American Community: Lessons from the Old World for the New,” a 2001 study that earned Pastor the reputation among Patriot conspiracy mongers as the “father” of the North American Union. “They also point to his cochairmanship of a Council on Foreign Relations task force that produced a report in 2005 on cooperation among the three countries.” Pastor blamed the hysteria over the NAU and “NAFTA Superhighway” on “the xenophobic or frightened right wing of America that is afraid of immigration and globalization.”25

When the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a debunking article titled “North American Union? Rumor sweeps the right” in May 2007, it resulted in more clamor for the “truth” from right-wing activists using their alternative media. The summer 2007 issue of the magazine Intelligence Report tracked the use of the conspiracy theory by anti-immigrant forces and several online news sources and blogs began following the story in detail, linking it to both antiimmigrant organizing and supporters of Presidential candidate Ron Paul.26

The story went international when a question about the NAU was posed to President Bush of the United States, President Calderón of Mexico, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada, at an international press conference during their meeting on August 21, 2007.27 All three leaders dismissed the conspiracy claims and joked about it.

The conspiracists were not amused. Phyllis Schlafly responded with a column titled “Bush Refuses to Deny the North American Agenda.”28 This follows the typical conspiracist format in which no comment is further proof to the conspiracists of the truth of the allegation; and in which the plotters are asked to disprove a negative premise—which is impossible.

In mid October 2007 the John Birch Society magazine New American published an entire special issue devoted to alerting the nation: “Merger in the Making: North American Union Edition.” Since then the Birchers have distributed close to 500,000 copies.29

Not all the conspiracy theorists peddling the NAU and “NAFTA Superhighway” myths are on the political right. In mid- 2007 the ostensibly left-wing Centre for Research on Globalization published an article, “Canadians Completely Unaware of Looming North American Union.” The Centre has a history of transposing rightwing conspiracy theories into articles for a leftist audience.30 A June 2006 article by Corsi on the “NAFTA Super Highway” even won an award from the left-leaning watchdog group, Project Censored, which further eroded Project Censored’s reputation on the left, already tarnished by its repeated promotion of dubious right-wing conspiracy theories.31 Still, most critics appear to be on the political right and have ties to the Patriot movement.

The dynamic of conspiracism is the same across the Patriot movement—the more that mainstream publications, politicians, and pundits dismiss or ridicule the North American Union conspiracy theory, the more Patriot proponents see this as evidence that the plan is underway, and how sneaky the conspirators really are. Michael Barkun has called this dynamic “stigmatized knowledge.”32 

Roots of Suspicion

Why did these rumors about the NUA spread so quickly through the U.S. Patriot movement and burst into mainstream public policy discussions? Partly because such rumors are rooted in the American tradition; implausible conspiracies have captivated large numbers of people before—repeatedly. 33

While fear of evil conspiracies can be found as far back as the Salem witch hunts in in the 1600s, in the late 1700s, conspiracies tied to anti-immigrant fears of “alien” sedition swept the nation. The 1800s saw hysterias about the Illuminati, the Freemasons, and immigrant Catholics that historian Richard Hofstadter identified as apocalyptic. The scholar Justin Nordstrom argues that during this period:

  …claims of Catholic subversion, immorality, and danger to the nation can thus be understood as illustrating an “imagined” community of rural Anglo-Saxon Protestants valiantly defending the nation from threats by an internal, foreign, and sinister force invading American cities.34

These early periods established a dynamic of right-wing populism in the United States, whereby economic anxiety and a distrust of elites could be focused on “aliens,” “outsiders,” and “others” through pre-existing prejudices. The result has been a series of largely middle-class movements that disproportionately scapegoat and demonize immigrants, people of color, and Jews.

The Populist movements of the late 1800s brought many important reforms, but also developed elaborate conspiracy theories about the plutocrats and bankers manipulating money.35 Claims of Jewish cabals emerged in the early 1900s, and were spread through the infamous hoax document the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Communism and the drive for international cooperation through the League of Nations and later the United Nations were tied to prophetic end times beliefs about agents of the Antichrist attempting to create one unified world government and one world religion.36

The anti–immigrant Palmer Raids of 1919–1920 were justified by wildly exaggerated government-issued conspiracy theories about subversive communists and anarchists on the brink of toppling U.S. democracy with bombs and guns.37

Most famously, during the 1950s McCarthy era, media reports, books, pamphlets, and even movies warned of the Red Menace as a vast subversive conspiracy controlled from Moscow.38

These conspiracy theories were repackaged numerous times, with right-wing groups such as the John Birch Society and Liberty Lobby peddling them in the 1960s and the 1970s.39 (a detailed timeline of these conspiracy theories is online, see note at end).40 

Three Conspiracy Narratives

 Marcela Sanchez wrote an online column in July 2007 for the Washington Post titled: “Stop, Stop! A North American Union! As Some Stoke Fears of ‘Dangerous’ Partnership, Reality Takes a Detour.”41 The column ridiculed the conspiracy theories. Larry Greenley of the John Birch Society denounced the Sanchez article in a response claiming that “Even President Bush Called the Security and Prosperity Partnership a ‘Union’ Back in 2005.”42 For the Birchers, the editors at the Washington Post are among the secret elites behind the sinister plot in the first place.

The Birch Society version of the conspiracy is one of three main right-wing narratives of skullduggery which center around Generic Secret Elites, Apocalyptic Christians and Antisemites. Launched in 1959, the Society repackaged as conspiracy the conservative cry of 1950s anticommunists, moral traditionalists, and economic libertarians that the federal government was pushing collectivism.43William F. Buckley led a campaign by conservatives to shun the Birch Society for its conspiracy views and the public perception (of mixed validity) that the group was a safe harbor for white supremacists and antisemites.44 From the 1960s through the 1980s, most organized conspiracism was limited to marginal groups on the political right with small constituencies networked through print publications and conferences. During this period the three main tendencies consolidated their theories:

Secret Elites:The Birch Society version of the conspiracy traces back to the Illuminati scare alleging secret elites infiltrating the United States through Masonic lodges of Freemasons, a fraternal organization for men. Over time, the Birch Society and similar groups updated this to include the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group (a banking network), the United Nations, NAFTA, and the Rockefeller family, among others. This is the generic version of the conspiracy narrative. While on the surface it appears secular, it is often tied to certain underlying fundamentalist Christian beliefs. 

Apocalyptic Christians & the End Times: Some Christian evangelicals are raised on a diet of conspiracy theories about secular humanist liberals working with the secret elites plotting a global New World Order and One World government on behalf of Satan in the approaching End Times. This is based on a specific idiosyncratic reading of prophecies in the Christian Bible, especially in the book of Revelation. One interpretation is that as the End Times approach, Satan sends his agent, Antichrist, to achieve world peace through the construction of a single global government. The Antichrist tricks some Christians into believing he is Jesus in his Second Coming. True Christians, however, see through the evil conspiracy and warn others about how trusted political and religious leaders are betraying them to Satan who intends to crush Christianity and establish Hell on Earth.45

This is the basic plotline behind the successful fictional Left Behind series of a dozen novels that have sold over 70 million copies. They are authored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.46 LaHaye argues in his theological newsletter that the “fascination (or obsession) of the elite of this world for “globalism” or a “One World Order” or “One World Government” is almost everywhere.” LaHaye believes that

the elitists who control our government- run educational system…have prepared our nation’s children to be members of the socialist world government which they are planning. Many of them don’t realize that control of that government will be taken away from them and end up in the hands of the antichrist.47

LaHaye is a founder of the Christian Right and its early political action network the Council for National Policy. He is a key player in pushing the Republican Party to the right over the past 30 years. Apocalyptic beliefs like these are currently playing a role in the way some Christian fundamentalists view contemporary politics, U.S. foreign and domestic policy, and even the 2008 Presidential race.48

Jerome Corsi and Howard Phillips, major proponents of the NAU conspiracy theory, offer views similar to LaHaye’s about the origins of the plot, but have stepped further outside the Republican Party. Phillips is founder of the ultra-right Constitution Party, and its former presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996. Formed as the U.S. Taxpayers Party in 1992, the Constitution Party has adopted a platform generously described as calling for a theocratic imposition of Christian Biblical law in the United States.49 According to WorldNet Daily (WND), Jerome Corsi “resigned as a WND staff reporter” in May 2007 and said he had “joined the Constitution Party” and was “willing to explore a serious pursuit of the nomination” for its candidate as President.50

In the 1996 race the Constitution Party was on the ballot in some form in 39 states, and Phillips’ vice presidential running mate was Herbert W. Titus, an ultraconservative Christian attorney who later represented Roy Moore, the judge who fought to keep a two-and-one-half-ton granite monument representation of the Ten Commandments in his courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama.51Titus is currently legal counsel to The Liberty Committee, which supports legislation to block the North American Union, (H.R. 40).52The Liberty Committee also supports “The American Sovereignty Restoration Act, H.R. 1146 [which] ends United States membership in the United Nations;” and “H.R. 190 -Social Security for American Citizens Only Act.”53 Given these ties, it is no surprise an End Times-oriented website becomes home to NAU fears like this one:

If the Supreme Court rules against gun ownership in the United States, the Council of Foreign Relations is completely in the clear to speed the creation of the North American Union. You can do a search on this web site about our many posts about the North American Union, a government based on the European Union model. The European Union model is not a democracy and its representatives are not directly appointed by the countries that they represent.

We believe that the European Union model of government may be adopted by most of the world and will become the platform by which the World Union President (the antichrist) can come to power.54

Antisemites: One article clearly in the category of antisemitic conspiracy theories refers to “Zionist Chertoff ’s Subversive North American Union Plan” singling out Michael Chertoff, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

America’s memory is a Christian heritage which Jews despise. A North American Union, (by which the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, will unite as a sovereign unit), will eradicate America’s Christian memory. This will make the Jews very happy. And the Jew Michael Chertoff is the leading instigator of the Anti-Christian North American Union.

NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE THE JEW MICHAEL CHERTOFF POLICING our nation as Secretary and chief of U.S. Homeland Security, he wants to destroy our nation’s sovereignty as well. Why? Because Jews wish to destroy America’s Christian memory.56

This antisemitic tirade is crossposted or referenced at over 100 other websites, including a video version on YouTube, posted on January 10, 2008 which garnered some 240 views in its first five days online.55

One of the most influential purveyors of this antisemitic model of the secret elite conspiracy theory was Myron Fagan. One website features his work under the title “Myron Fagan Exposes Bankers with their Illuminati, CFR, UN, Godless Communism, National Council on Churches [sic] etc.” According to Fagan:

…this satanic plot was launched back in the 1760s when it first came into existence under the name of the Illuminati. This Illuminati was organized by one Adam Weishaupt, born a Jew, who was converted to Catholicism and became a Catholic priest, and then, at the behest of the then newly organized House of Rothschild, defected and organized the Illuminati.

Naturally, the Rothschilds financed that operation, and every war since then, beginning with the French Revolution, has been promoted by the Illuminati operating under various names and guises. I say under various names and guises because after the Illuminati was exposed and became too notorious, Weishaupt and his co-conspirators began to operate under various other names. In the United States, immediately after World War I, they set up what they called the Council on Foreign Relations, commonly referred to as the CFR, and this CFR is actually the Illuminati in the United States. And its hierarchy, the masterminds in control of the CFR, to a very great extent, are descendants of the original Illuminati conspirators. But, to conceal that fact, most of them changed their original family names to American sounding names.56

Can YouTube Recognize Hateful Videos?

Dozens of videos concerning the “North American Union” conspiracy theory are posted on YouTube, including some that are clearly antisemitic. YouTube has a stated policy that it will consider deleting videos flagged as ‘Inappropriate’”

We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But we don’t permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).

After watching the video “Zionist Chertoff's Subversive North American Union Plan,” I flagged it as “Inappropriate.”

The video is so obviously antisemitic that it plays like a Saturday Night Live hoax video ridiculing antisemitism. I mean, in this video, Jews are portrayed with the Devil’s horns, dogs wear the Star of David. It is not subtle. The video traces back to a website called, www.realjewnews, with predictable antisemitic content. I thought the link name alone might have been a clue that this video might contain hate speech.

I flagged this video as “hateful”repeatedly over a period of several weeks. At one point I noted in my comments to the automated system, “Anti-Jewish Conspiracy theories are a form of hate speech that attacks or demeans a protected ethnic group.”

I also posted public comments stating that the video was antisemitic. Here was one response: 

“Anti-Semitic” has been so abused that I wouldn’t even address those who throw it around. It’s like hearing Oprah, Barack, Colin, Condie, Jay-Z, Clarence Thomas, L. Douglas Wilder (and on and on) whine about how hard it is being black. Ignore the ignorant folks who, in their desperation, can only turn to name-calling, as stick w/ your point.

I repeatedly contacted a public spokesperson for YouTube and asked what criteria they used to determine if a particular video was anti-Jewish or antisemitic hates speech. They kept referring me to the community guidelines statement posted above. Who decides what is bigoted? What criteria are used? I sent them this message:

 [I] am seeking a copy of the standards you folks use to consider delisting videos that might be bigoted, especially those relating to anti-Semitism.

 YouTube responded with an e-mail that repeated boilerplate from the above statement of “community guidelines.”

As I said, we do not control the content on our site. It is our community that polices the site and flags content they deem inappropriate. YouTube reviews the flagged videos and removes everything that violates our Guidelines. Once again, as is clearly stated in the sentence you quote, hate speech is not allowed on the site. If a flagged video is found to contain hate speech it will be removed from our site.

Three times I pressed for details. Same circular response. No details. No criteria revealed. Trust them to know what bigotry is. Finally, as this issue went to press, YouTube removed the video with the message “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”



Public Policy & Conspiracy Theories

 Fears of global cooperation gained an increased following in the 1990s as conspiracy theories, the Patriot Movement and armed militias and libertarian ideology intersected and flourished.57 This period also saw the collapse of the Soviet bloc, President Bush using the phrase “New World Order” to describe his administration’s vision, and the approach of the year 2000 which sparked speculation about the approaching End Times among some Christian fundamentalists. All of this fed into Patriot movement speculation about conspiracies as the new millennium approached.

The Patriot movement today is one current manifestation of what in the past has been called “Americanist” or “Nativist” movements. It is composed of an overlapping series of dissident right-wing social and political movements located between mainstream conservatism and the ultra-right that is itself made up of neonazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and other similar militant and openly white supremacist and antisemitic racist groups.58

During the height of the Militia Movement —the short-lived armed wing of the larger “Patriot” movement that crested in the mid-1990s—there were widespread fears that the U.S. federal government was about to impose a draconian tyrannical dictatorship using jack-booted thugs delivered in black helicopters sent by the United Nations.59

Patriot group activists are constantly stepping across boundaries into mainstream conservatism on one side or the ultra-right on the other, depending on the historic moment, political events, and shifting ideology.60 Especially during the heyday of the Militia movement in the ‘90s, there were close ties between the Patriot movement and conservative Christian evangelicals. Patriot movement conspiracism has real world implications, reaching out to legislators and elected officials on the state level; and extending up to the federal level with Steve Stockman of Texas and the late Helen Chenoweth of Idaho as examples of Congressional representatives willing to openly push the Patriot movement agenda, even as the armed militia movement was fading.61

Other national political figures joined in promoting fears of “Global Governance,&rdquo the title of a 1997 video from Phyllis Schlafly with the subtitle “The Quiet War Against American Independence.”62 The video featured appearances by Congresswoman Chenoweth; Patrick Buchanan, syndicated columnist & “Crossfire” cohost; John Ashcroft, then-U.S. Senator, Missouri; Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; and Jesse Helms, then-chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Writing in The Nation, Christopher Hayes interviewed anti-NAU activists in Texas, and what surfaced was rhetoric that reflected longstanding conspiracy theories, including one woman who warned about the NAU, using the Patriot buzz words: “Global Governance.”63 Terri Hall is a conservative Republican and Christian evangelical home schooler who opposes the NAU. She told Hayes that it was like the “robber barons of old.” According to Hall, “Someone is really jockeying around to control some things here in America. It explains the open borders, it explains our immigration issues, it explains our freetrade issues, what it’s doing to the middle class,” she said. “It really all started with NAFTA,” Hall told the reporter, who noted that Hall “laughed nervously and apologetically,” and then said:

It sounds like a conspiracy. But I do know there are people who have tried for a long time to go to this global governance. They see there’s a way to make it all happen by going to the heads of state and doing it in a secretive way so they can do it without a nasty little thing called accountability. So they won’t have to listen to what We the People want.

This is classic right-wing populist rhetoric, with conspiracy theories mixed together with the “producerist” narrative of being squeezed from secret elites above and parasitic immigrants and freeloaders below. 

Right-Wing Populism

Progressives need to recognize the pitfalls of right-wing populist rhetoric, especially when mixed with producerism and apocalypticism, because this constellation of processes generates conspiracy theories that demonize and scapegoat targeted groups rather than focusing on transformative social change to extend human rights.

Across wide segments of the secular and Christian Right you can find conspiracy theorists mobilized through the rhetorical style of right-wing populism.64 Jean Hardisty refers to this process as “mobilizing resentment.”65 Populist antielitism as a rhetorical style often takes the form of attacks on liberals, secularists, intellectuals, the news media, and Hollywood.66 Allegations that these elites are part of a vast conspiracy against the common people are frequently interwoven into the fabric of the stories that are told—sometimes with references to Satanic End Times plots tied to prophecies in the book of Revelation.67

Right-wing populism often is based on racialized, patriarchal, and heterosexist narratives that buttress a sense of privilege and entitlement among a targeted audience of straight white Christian men who see themselves as victims. It tends to frame economic questions in terms of hard working producers pitted against parasites above and below.68 This technique was used to mobilize poor and working class whites against newly freed Black former slaves after the Civil War.69 It was utilized by George Wallace in his first Presidential campaign, and later borrowed by Richard Nixon and the Republican Party to create the “Southern Strategy.”70 It exists in stories of “welfare queens” where race need not be mentioned.71

There is also a natural historic congruence between the Calvinist-based theology of many white evangelicals, and the ideology of Free Markets and less government regulation fostered by the Republican Party.72 Doug Henwood points out that despite accurate criticisms of some of his overly-broad conclusions, the work of historian Richard Hofstadter helps explain this connection: 

Hofstadter’s emphasis on the individualism of American white Protestantism is highly relevant now—it illuminates what’s the matter with Kansas, since American white Protestants love “The Market” as an instrument of reward and discipline. That love is not some recent confidence trick perpetrated by Karl Rove, but has deep roots.73

According to sociologist S. Wojciech Sokolowski:

What is at stake here is not reason vs. irrationality or stupidity but different cognitive frames that manifest themselves, among other things, by a preference for bucolic rural life or for urban diversity. Both are prerational, that is, they frame and direct the rational thought process. So if we drop the charge of irrationalism, Hofstadter’s thesis that traditional American culture tends to be anti-urban and rather local, with all the accoutrements of that localism —navel gazing, suspicion of outsiders, suspicion of high culture, suspicion of big organizations and government, love of small business, religiosity, etc.—still stands.74

Sokolowski stresses the interplay of factors with a basic right wing frame, the “perception of imminent danger,” which creates a need to organize for “safety and protection.” According to Sokolowski, this fear factor activates a strong response when added to the constellation of other beliefs of the Right: “the Manichean dualism of good and evil, right and wrong, us and them; the vision of apocalyptic battle between good and evil; the need for vigilance and unquestioned support of ‘our’ side and a militant posture toward ‘them.’” 

Conclusions

 When a society is undergoing transition or turmoil, social movements can arise that portray the idealized nation as being subverted by alien ideas. This can involve internal or external forces, or both, and it can involve the idea that the government is part of the conspiracy, or that the government is being subverted from within, or both. This complexity is one reason mainstream analysts often dismiss such conspiracy theories as “crackpot” or “irrational.”

In a healthy national community, few take conspiracy claims seriously.75 When conspiracy theories develop a mass base, it is usually an indication of some ailment in the body politic. This is often related to a sense of powerlessness and the feeling that the average person no longer has any real role in influencing government decisions that touch their daily lives. 

Mark Fenster believes conspiracy theories attempt to “ideologically address real structural inequities, and constitute a response to a withering civil society” and the over-concentration of wealth and power.76 A fatal flaw in conspiracism, however, is that it misunderstands how power is actually exercised.

We have a natural and appropriate distrust of governments that choose to work in secret. Robert Alan Goldberg observes that conspiracism “thrives when power is exercised at a distance by seemingly selfish groups zealous in their authority.”77 One obvious antidote to widespread conspiracism, then, is to reduce government secrecy and increase the transparency of government operations and reinvigorate public participation in governance.

It is clear that some white racial supremacist and neofascist organizers use conspiracist theories that do not appear to have racist or antisemitic themes as a relatively less-threatening entry point in making contact with potential recruits. Phrases such as “international bankers,” “welfare queens,” and “one world government” are interpreted in different ways by different listeners, and can be viewed as coded appeals with bigoted subtexts.

This means that even when conspiracist theories do not center on Jews, people of color, or other scapegoated groups, conspiracism creates an environment where racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, and other forms of prejudice, bigotry, and oppression are likely to flourish. Decent people of all political stripes need to denounce conspiracy theories as toxic to democracy.

Conspiracy theories about the impending creation of a North American Union are now seeping into discussions within progressive political circles. This not only is a waste of time and energy that is already in short supply on the political Left, but steals attention and resources from important progressive campaigns to challenge unfair trade, development, and economic policies in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Conspiracy theories undermine struggles for human rights.

 . . . 

A collection of images, charts, and slide shows related to this article are posted online by Political Research Associates at <http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/dynamics.html#nau>. Unless otherwise noted, all URLs were retrieved February 2, 2008. 

Chip Berlet is Senior Analyst at Political Research Associates and a member of The Public Eye editorial board. He is author with Matthew N. Lyons of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort and a frequent contributor to Talk2Action and Huffington Post.

Spring 2008
Vol. 23, No. 1 :

i


End Notes

1 Portions of this article were originally written for the journal Revue Fédéralisme-Régionalisme in Belgium and for a conference paper, “Protocols to the Left, Protocols to the Right: Conspiracism in American Political Discourse at the Turn of the Second Millennium,” Reconsidering “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”: 100< Years After the Forgery, The Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Boston University, October 30-31, 2005.

2 Philip Dine, “North American Union? Rumor sweeps the right,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washington Bureau, May 13, 2007, online archive; Christopher Hayes, “The NAFTA Superhighway,” The Nation, August 27, 2007, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070827/hayes ; Drake Bennett, “The Amero Conspiracy,” Boston Globe, November 25, 2007, http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/
ideas/articles/2007/11/25/the_a mero_conspiracy/.

3 “Lou Dobbs Unmasks Council on Foreign Relations Treason to Erase US Borders, The “Amero” as New Currency,” Awake and Arise, http://www.awakeandarise.org/article/Borders.htm; Who Really Controls the United States? Crossposted on December 29, 2007 by ronaldomoon, from http://www.prolognet.qc.ca/ clyde/cfr.html, article by Melvin Stickler, “The Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission: The two organizations that run the United States,” on Operation Awakening blogsite, http://operationawakening.wordpress.com/
2007/12/29/whoreally- controls-the-united-states/.

4 “North American Union & VCHIP Truth” YouTube, July 13, 2007, Excerpt from the video Zeitgeist by Peter Joseph,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuBo4E77ZXo&NR=1.

5 Flags, see for example, John Birch Society New American, October 15, 2007, cover, p. 35, http://www.thenewamerican.com/ node/6230; for maps, see the same issue, p. 31; for “Ameros” as future currency, see sales website, http://www.amerocurrency.com/ buyameros.html, http://www.amerocurrency.com/2007ameros.html.

6 Jerome R. Corsi, “Resolution fights North American Union: Urges
U.S. to withdraw from Security and Prosperity Partnership,” kicker heading: “Premeditated Merger,” WorldNetDaily, February 1, 2008, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ ID=59983. See tabulation page at “Get Connected to the Efforts to STOP the NAU! Keep Our Nations Sovereign, http://www.stopthenau.org/Current_Activities.htm.

7 Saul Cornell, The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism & the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828, (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).

8 “The Dangers of the North American Union,” Conservative Roundtable interview with Jerome Corsi conducted by Howard Phillips, online video, http://www.bunker-tv.net/index. php?option=com_seyret&Itemid=
26&task=videodirectlink&id=161.

9 Bennett, “The amero conspiracy.”

10 Pat Buchanan, “The NAFTA Super Highway,” Town Hall online, August 26, 2006, http://www.townhall.com/columnists/Patrick-JBuchanan/2006/08/29/the_nafta_super_highway; Cliff Kincaid, “North American Union ‘Conspiracy’ Exposed,” Special Report, Accuracy in Media, February 19, 2007 http://www.aim.org/special-report/north-american-union-conspiracy- exposed/; “Merger in the making: North American Union edition,” The New American, Special Issue, John Birch Society, October, 15, 2007; Jerome R. Corsi, “Congress debate begins on North America Union,” WorldNetDaily, September 25, 2007, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ ID=57817l Jerome R. Corsi, “Bush Administration quietly plans NAFTA Super Highway,” Human Events, June 12, 2006, http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=15497. On Ron Paul, various newsletters and press releases including those online at http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press2006/pr100406.htm; http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2006/tst103006.htm; http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2006/tst082806.htm.

11 Mark Anderson, “Idaho Nixes ‘American Union’: Thirteen states join Idaho lawmakers to stop globalist plan for the Americas,” American Free Press Net, Issue #15, April 9, 2007, http://www.americanfreepress. net/html/american_union.html; Mark Anderson, “Stop the Mexican Truck Invasion: Longtime activist calls on Americans to unite and call their congressmen,” American Free Press Net Issue #12, March 19, 2007, http://www.americanfreepress. net/
html/mexican_truck_invasion.html

12 “‘Late, Great USA’ a New York Times best-seller: Controversial exposé on North American Union shoots up charts,” World Net Daily, July 19, 2007, http://www.wnd. com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56741.

13 Bennett, “The Amero Conspiracy”; Alexander Zaitchik, “Conservatives in love: A writer and an activist gaze into each other’s eyes and see an America imperiled,” (review of Minutemen: The battle to secure America’s borders by Jim Gilchrist and Jerome R. Corsi, foreword by Tom Tancredo, (Torrance, CA: World Ahead Publishing, 2006), Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, Issue 124, Winter 2006, http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=730. See also Corsi biographical blurbs below his articles on wnd.com.

14 “MMFA investigates: Who is Jerome Corsi, co-author of Swift Boat Vets attack book?” Media Matters for America, http://mediamatters. org/items/200408060010, citing http://www.freerepublic. com/focus/f-news/839664/posts and http://www.freerepublic. com/focus/fnews/1100812/posts?q=1&&page=201.

15 "Jerome R. Corsi, “Bush Administration quietly plans NAFTA Super Highway,” Human Events, June 12, 2006, http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=15497.

16 Patrick J. Buchanan, “The NAFTA Super Highway.” http://www.townhall.com/columnists/PatrickJ Buchanan/2006/08/29/the_nafta_super_highway.

17 Track H.Con.Res.40 at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi<bin/
bdquery/z?d110:h.con.res.00040:.

18 Jerome R. Corsi, “Resolution fights North American Union.”
www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?article_id=59983.

19 Bennett, “The Amero Conspiracy.”

20 Corsi, “Congress debate begins on North America Union.
The phrase “Premeditated Merger,” is a pun on the legal phrase
“Premeditated Murder.” On JBS use of slogan, see The New American, Special Issue, John Birch Society, October, 15 2007.

21 Jerome R. Corsi, “More insults about the ‘North American conspiracy’,” Human Events, January, 5 2007, http://www.humanevents. com/article.php?id=18790; Jerome R. Corsi, “North American Union isn’t going away,” Human Events, 9 January 2007, http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=18834

22 North America’s Supercorridor Coalition, Inc., “New home page,” retrieved 26 November 2007, now changed, http://www.nascocorridor. com/
new_home_page/NASCO%20Op-Ed%20Melvin.pdf

23 Hayes, The NAFTA Superhighway.

24 Dine, “North American Union.”

25 Ibid.

26 Heidi Beirich, “Paranoid Style Redux: Nativist Conspiracy Theories Explored,” Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, Summer 2007, http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=797. See especially the work of Sara Posner and David Neiwert on the Orcinus blog, http://dneiwert.blogspot.com; and Ed Brayton at Positive Liberty, http://positiveliberty.com/author/ed-brayton.

27 Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “President Bush Participates in Joint Press Availability with Prime Minister Harper of Canada, and President Calderón of Mexico, Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, Montebello, Canada,” 21 August 2007, http://www.whitehouse.gov/
news/releases/2007/08/20070821
-3.html.

28 Phyllis Schlafly, “Bush refuses to deny the North American agenda,” column, Eagle Forum, September 7, 2007, http://www.eagleforum.org/
column/2007/sept07/07-09-05.html.

29 “Merger in the making: North American Union edition,” The New American, Special Issue, John Birch Society, 15 October 2007, http://www.thenewamerican.com/node/6230.

30 Kevin Parkinson, “Canadians completely unaware of looming North American Union: Bush and Calderon to visit Canada,” Global Research, July 17, 2007, http://www.globalresearch. ca/
index.php?context=va&aid=6346.

31 Corsi, “Bush Administration Quietly Plans NAFTA Super Highway.” On criticsm of Project Censored, See Don Hazen, “Beyond project censored: It’s time for a new award,” AlterNet, April 1, 2000, http://www.alternet.org/story/202/;Brooke Shelby Biggs, “The Unbearable Lameness of Project Censored,” Mother Jones, 11 April 2000, http://www.motherjones.com/ commentary/columns/2000/04/projectcensored.html; David Walls, “Dubious sources: How project censored joined the whitewash
of Serb atrocities,” New Politics, Vol. 9, No. 1, issue 33, Summer 2002, http://www.wpunj.edu/newpol/issue33/walls33.htm.

32 Michael Barkun, “Conspiracy theories as stigmatized knowledge: The basis for a new age racism?,” in Jeffrey Kaplan and Tore Bjørgo, (eds), Nation and race: The developing euro-American racist subculture, (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998), 58-72.

33 Richard Hofstadter, “The paranoid style in American politics,” in Hofstadter, The paranoid style in American politics and other essays, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965), 3–40; David Brion Davis, (ed), The Fear of Conspiracy: Images of Un–American Subversion from the Revolution to the Present, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1971; Richard O. Curry and Thomas M. Brown, “Introduction,” in Curry & Brown, (eds), Conspiracy: The Fear of Subversion in American History, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1972; D.H. Bennett, The Party of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement, revised, Vintage Books, New York, [1988] 1995); John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism 1860–1925, Atheneum, New York, [1955] 1972; Robert Alan Goldberg, Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001).

34 Justin Nordstrom, Danger on the Doorstep: Anti-Catholicism and American Print Culture in the Progressive Era, (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame: IN, 2006).

35 Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style, 238-313; _____The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R. (New York: 1955), 23-172; David Brion Davis, Fear of Conspiracy, 149-204; Margaret Canovan, Populism (New York, 1981), 23-25; Chester McCarthur Destler, American Radicalism 1865–1901: Essays and Documents (Chicago: Quadrangle, [1946] 1966), 32-77, 222-254. As examples, see W. H. “Coin” Harvey, Coin’s Financial School (Chicago: Coin Publishing, 1894); Sarah E.V. Emery, Seven Financial Conspiracies Which Have Enslaved the American People; or Gordon Clark’s Shylock: as Banker, Bondholder, Corruptionist, Conspirator (Lansing, MI, [1878] 1892); Ignatius Donnelly, Caesar’s Column: A Story of the Twentieth Century (Chicago: 1890); Frank Norris, The Octopus: A Story of California, (New York: Doubleday, 1901); _____, The Pit: A Story of Chicago, (New York: Doubleday/Page, 1903).

36 Fuller, Naming the Antichrist; Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More.

37 Louis F. Post, The Deportations Delerium of Nineteen-Twenty (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1923); William Preston, Jr., Aliens and Dissenters: Federal Suppression of Radicals, 1903–1933, (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1963); Murray B. Levin, Political Hysteria in America–the Democratic Capacity for Repression, (New York: Basic Books, 1971); Robert J. Goldstein, Political Repression in Modern America, 1870 to Present, 2nd edition, (Rochester VT: Schenkman Books, Inc., 1978), pp. 139-191; Bennett, Party of Fear.

38 M. J. Heale, McCarthy’s Americans: Red Scare Politics in State and Nation, 1935–1965, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998; _____, American Anticommunism: Combating the Enemy Within, 1830–1970, (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990); Joel Kovel, Red Hunting in the Promised Land: Anticommunism and the Making of America, (New York, Basic Books, 1994).

39 Frank P. Mintz, The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture, (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985).

40 For details on periodic scapegoating through conspiracy theories, see “Scapegoat timeline,” Political Research Associates, http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/federalism/fears.html#scapegoat.

41 Marcela Sanchez, “Stop, Stop! A North American Union! As some stoke fears of ‘dangerous’ partnership, reality takes a detour,” Washington Post Online, Friday, July 13, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/13/AR200707130055 3.html.

42 Larry Greenley, “Even President Bush called the Security and Prosperity Partnership a ‘Union’ back in 2005,” JBS News Feed, John Birch Society, July 14, 2007, http://www.jbs.org/node/4722.

43 Jerome L. Himmelstein, To The Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 45-60.

44 Ibid., p. 68; Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort,(New York: Guilford Press, 2000), 175-198; Mintz, The Liberty Lobby and the American Right.

45 On the influence of apocalyptic thinking in the United States, Fuller, Naming the Antichrist; Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More; Damian Thompson, The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium, Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, [1996] 1998).

46 Brenda E. Brasher and Chip Berlet, “Imagining Satan: Modern Christian Right Print Culture as an Apocalyptic Master Frame.” Paper presented at the Conference on Religion and the Culture of Print in America, Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison, September 10-11, 2004, online at http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/12/ 4/215653/695; Chip Berlet, “The World According to Tim LaHaye: Chapter One - Hunting Down the Enemies,” Eight part series online, http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/ 6/26/122744/780.

47 Tim LaHaye, “The Prophetic Significance of Sept. 11, 2001,” Pre-Trib Perspectives, 6:7, October 2001, 3; Tim LaHaye, “Tim’s Pre-Trib Perspective,” Pre-Trib Perspectives, 6:10, February 2002, 1-3. Tim LaHaye, “119 Million American Evangelicals in These Last Days?” Pre-Trib Perspectives, April 2003, p. 3; Tim LaHaye, “One Global Government or Two?” Pre-Trib Perspectives, 8:4, July 2003, 1-2.

48 Fuller, Naming the Antichrist; Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More; Thompson, The End of Time; On U.S. domestic policies, Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006); Esther Kaplan, With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush’s White House, (New York: The New Press, 2004). On the influence of apocalyptic thinking on U.S. foreign policy, Craig Unger, The Fall Of The House Of Bush: The Untold Story Of How A Band Of True Believers Seized The Executive Branch, Started The Iraq War, And Still Imperils America’s Future, (New York: Scribner, 2007; Paul Boyer, “John Darby Meets Saddam Hussein: Foreign Policy and Bible Prophecy,” Chronicle of Higher Education , supplement, February 14, 2003, pp. B 10-B11, Michael Northcott, An Angel Directs The Storm. Apocalyptic Religion & American Empire, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2004); Richard A. Horsley, Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2002); Chip Berlet & Nikhil Aziz, “Culture, Religion, Apocalypse, and Middle East Foreign Policy,” IRC Right Web (Silver City, NM: Interhemispheric Resource Center), December 12, 2003, http://rightweb.irc-online.org/rw/848.html. On apocalypticism as a worldview, Charles B. Strozier, Apocalypse: On the Psychology of Fundamentalism in America, (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1994); Stephen D. O’Leary, Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric. New York: Oxford University Press. (1994); Susan Harding, “Imagining the Last Days: The Politics of Apocalyptic Language,” in Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, (eds.), Accounting for Fundamentalisms, The Fundamentalism Project, vol. 4, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994).

49 “A Brief History of the Constitution Party,” http://www.constitutionparty. com/party_history.php; Constitution Party National Platform,” http://www.constitutionparty.com/party_platform.php; Frederick Clarkson, “The Rise of Dominionism: Remaking America as a Christian Nation,” the Public Eye, Winter 2005, Vol. 19, No. 3, http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/ v19n3/clarkson_dominionism.html.

50 Constitution Party vets tap Corsi for president: WND author prepares to explore bid for nomination, WorldNetDaily, May 17, 2007, http://www.worldnetdaily. com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55735; Clarkson, “The Rise of Dominionism.”

51 Fred Clarkson, “Will Roy Moore Crack the Bush base?” Salon, May 4, 2004 http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/ 2004/05/04/roy_moore/index.html; “A Brief History of the Constitution Party.”

52Track H.Con.Res.40 at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi- bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.con.res.00040:>.

53 The Liberty Committee, http://www.thelibertycommittee. org/home.asp; http://www.thelibertycommittee.org/pages/spotlight/ 2007/HR_1146.asp; http://www.thelibertycommittee.org/pages /spotlight/2007/HR_190.asp.

54 The End Times Intelligence Report (ETIR) - 2008, End Times Wisdom Blogspot, November 11, 2007, http://endtimeswisdom. blogspot.com/2007/11/north-american-union-closer-thanyou. html

55 Nathanael Kapner, “Jew Chertoff ’s Subversive North American Union Plan,” Real Jew News, http://www.realjewnews.com/?p= 106; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDHPSvvmcmk.

56 Myron Fagan, “The Illuminati and the Council on Foreign Relations,” transcript of audio recording, 1972, http://www.awakeandarise.org/article/MyronFagan.htm

57 This section is adapted from Berlet & Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, p. 301-303.

58 A “Chart of sectors” of the U.S. political right is compiled by Political Research Associates, <http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/ federalism/fears.html#chart>. See also Sara Diamond, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States, (New York: Guilford Press, 1995; For background
on the Patriot and armed militia movements, see Chermak (S.M.), Searching for a Demon: the Media Construction of the Militia Movement, (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2002); Lane Crothers, Rage On The Right: The American Militia Movement from Ruby Ridge to Homeland Security, (Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); Joshua D. Freilich, American Militias: State Level Variations in Militia Activities,(New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2003(; Carolyn Gallaher, On The Fault Line: Race, Class, And The American Patriot Movement, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002); Chip Berlet, “Militias in the Frame.” Review Essay, Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 33, No. 5, September 2004, p. 514-521; –––––, “Hard Times on the Hard Right: Why Progressives Must Remain Vigilant,” the Public Eye, Spring 2002, Vol. 16, No. 1, p. 1, 2-22; Lorna Mason, Insurgency on the Populist Right: A Case Study of the Contemporary U.S. Patriot Movement, dissertation, City University of New York, May 2006.

59 Berlet & Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, 87-304. The chapter on the Patriot and armed militia movements, “Battling the New World Order: Patriots and armed militias,” is online, http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/federalism/fears.html#militia. Those unfamiliar with the phenomenon should consult this text and the citations in the next note for more details.

60 Martin Durham, White Rage: The Extreme Right and American Politics, Routledge, London, 2007, p. 51-65; ——, The Christian Right, the Far Right and the Boundaries of American Conservatism, Manchester University Manchester, 2000.

61 Berlet & Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, 307-344.

62 “Global Governance: The Quiet War against American Independence,” hosted by Phyllis Schlafly, “An Eagle Forum Television Special Report,” 1997; see critical overview at http://www.publiceye.org/conspire/Global_Governance/video_box.ht ml.

63 Quoted in Hayes, “The NAFTA Superhighway,”

64 Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, 1-18. See also Margaret Canovan, Populism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981); Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion: An American History (New York: Basic Books, 1995).

65 Jean V. Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999).

66 To trace the chronological evolution of the idea of populism as a style of politics, see: Ernesto Laclau, Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism (London: NLB/Atlantic Highlands Humanities Press, 1977); Canovan, Populism; Peter Fritzsche, Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990); Hans-Georg Betz, Radical Right-wing Populism in Western Europe(New York: St. Martins Press, 1994); Kazin, The Populist Persuasion; Hans-Georg Betz and Stefan Immerfall, (eds), The New Politics of the Right: Neo-Populist Parties and Movements in Established Democracies (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998); Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America .

67 Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America; Chip Berlet, “When Alienation Turns Right: Populist Conspiracism, the Apocalyptic Style, and Neofascist Movements,” in Trauma, Promise, and the Millennium: The Evolution of Alienation, ed. Lauren Langman and Devorah Kalekin Fishman (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), pp. 115-144; Brasher & Berlet, “Imagining Satan;” Berlet, “Dances with Devils.”

68 Canovan, Populism, 54-55; Kazin, The Populist Persuasion, 35- 36, 52-54, 143-144; Catherine McNicol Stock, Rural Radicals: Righteous Rage in the American Grain, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996), 15-86; Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, 4-6.

69 Stephen Kantrowitz, Ben Tillman & the Reconstruction of White Supremacy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2000), 4-6, 109-114, 153.

70 Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics,( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995); Thomas Byrne Edsall and Mary D. Edsall, Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics, (New York: Norton, 1991). See also Clarence Y. H. Lo, Small Property Versus Big Government: Social Origins of the Property Tax Revolt, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).

71 Lucy A. Williams, Decades of Distortion: The Right’s 30-year Assault on Welfare (Somerville, MA: Political Research Associates, 1997), http://www.publiceye.org/welfare/Decades-of-Distortion.html.

72 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated by Talcot Parsons (New York: Routledge, [1930] 1999). See also, Chip Berlet, “Calvinism, Capitalism, Conversion, and Incarceration,” the Public Eye, Winter 2004, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 8- 15, http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v18n3/berlet_calvinism. html.

73 Interview with Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer (LBO), based on comments made on LBO listserv, October 16, 2006.

74 Interview with S. Wojciech Sokolowski, based on comments made on LBO listserve, October 16, 2006.

75 Berlet & Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, 8-9.

76 Mark Fenster, Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 67.

77 Goldberg, Enemies Within, 188.

 

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