Black Nationalism & Scapegoating of Jews

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Unraveling the overlapping tendencies of reactionary politics, conspiracism, scapegoating, opportunism, demagoguery, nationalism, racism, anti-Jewish theories, and fascism is a difficult but necessary task. This section will discuss several situations and trends where these issues are involved, focusing on the rise of right-wing anti-Jewish theories in some nationalist sectors of the African-American community.

Any serious discussion of these issues needs first to be grounded on at least a working knowledge of the theories of racialism and nationalism, as well as familiarity with the characteristics of mass fascist political movements prior to their ascendancy to state power. Especially useful is a study of the nationalist movements of Europe at the beginning of this century. The nationalism of pre-World War II Europe included movements based on racialist theories. This racial nationalism took several forms, including the heroic mythical racial nationalism of Italy and Spain which glorified the organic leadership of autocratic father-figures, the ego-centric anti-modernist intellectual fascism of France, the religious/racial clerical fascist movements of Croatia and Rumania, and the scapegoating demagogic movement of German Nazism with its anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

Nazism was a fascist movement, but not all mid-century European fascist movements employed a master race theory. Nevertheless, fascism as a political form is premised on racial or cultural nationalism.

As scholar Barry Mehler, a leading researcher on the history of racial eugenics, points out:

Classical eugenic theories of the nineteen-twenties and thirties emphasized that nations were biological entities and that political ideologies emerge from racial characteristics which in turn have developed out of evolutionary changes in racial groups. The classic expression of these theories can be found in Madison Grant's The Passing of the Great Race. This was, of course, the foundation of both Nazi racism and American white supremacism. It is not surprising, therefore, that white supremacist organizations continue to reprint and sell these expressions of American racism.

In fact, the white supremacist movement is the largest and most significant purveyor of theories of racial nationalism in the U.S., and its threat to democracy and pluralism far outweighs that posed by the misguided participants in the tragic and counterproductive current dispute between Blacks and Jews. Further, the single greatest impediment to racial justice in the U.S. is not the policies and practices of any one political group or individual, but the institutional racism in the government and business sectors that is still so widespread yet so invisible in our society, and which has deeply undermined the ability of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, North-American Indians, and other racial groups in this country to share in the bounty and freedoms described in school textbooks as a birthright in our country. It is within that framework that the following discussion must be set.

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