White Supremacists, Kenosha, and American Rule, by Jared Yates Sexton

“Two protesters were murdered yesterday by a white militia member who’d been working with police. We have to recognize the relationship in America between white extremists, law enforcement, and the state. Here’s what I learned writing AMERICAN RULE.

First, we have to put this in perspective. The murders last night by a militia member were not just isolated incidents. There have been so many acts of violence perpetrated against protesters and yet we fail to make the connections. Why? Because our myths rely on it.

We have seen, time and time again, these white militias and paramilitary group working alongside law enforcement while targeting BLM protesters. There is a long, long history of these actions and it is part of the fabric of America’s white supremacist roots.

America’s history is riddled with paranoia about the possibility that people of color, without proper control and discipline, might rise up, destroy property, murder white people, and destabilize society. It is this paranoia that motivates so much of our current moment.

In fact, much of our law enforcement dates back to the control of slaves and the reacquisition of slaves as property. Our society rests on a foundation of white supremacist control of people of color.

As I’ve written about previously, the Confederate States of America was predicated on conspiracy theories and white supremacist paranoia, the idea that conspirators might manipulate slaves into rebellions that would kill southerners and destroy civilization.

In the wake of the Confederacy’s collapse, southerners formed paramilitary groups like the Ku Klux Klan in order to keep African Americans from organizing, realizing their freedom, or living in shared society. They saw it as law enforcement.

Reconstruction saw these partnerships between the KKK and white supremacists, all of them working in concert to try and control African Americans and anyone who might assist them. They believed, if left unchecked, violence and corruption would destroy the nation.

Of course, the Confederate monuments and statues that have been targeted during the BLM Movement were erected in order to send a message that the Confederacy survived the Civil War and had become ingrained in our laws, institutions, and culture.

White supremacist paranoia took on a new tone in the 20th century as the Russian Revolution provided a new conspiracy to fear in their ongoing war with people of color. They believed communists were manipulating people of color into violence as a means of attacking America.

Though the Red Scare we’re most told about was post-WWII, the original was post-WWI. White Americans believed communists were using African Americans as a weapon against them, so they terrorized, lynched, murdered, and intimidated them.

The conspiracy theories during the Red Summer sound just like Trump Era fearmongering. Here, they claimed Marxists and communists were using African Americans to create violence and warned that white people would be targets and possibly even slaughtered.

To counteract these white supremacist conspiracy theories, mobs of white Americans and law enforcement relied on extralegal measures, including murder, lynching, torture, and terror. It was all considered ‘legitimate’ because of the fears.

The KKK came to national prominence and spread to other parts of the country. It wasn’t just a southern phenomenon any longer, but took over entire states like Indiana. They marched through DC, a symbol of the acceptance of white terrorism in concert with the state and law.

In places like Tusla, white mobs worked alongside law enforcement to murder African Americans, destroy their homes and businesses, and attack them in relentless and cruel fashion. The conspiracy theories legitimized this as they were seen as traitors and violent.

Of course, the Civil Rights Movement is another example as African Americans fought for equality but were slandered as traitors. White supremacists claimed they were Marxist agents obsessed with destroying America. Same story. Over and over and over again.

It is no coincidence that white supremacists again turned to the iconography of the Confederacy as its roots was in white paranoia and conspiracy theories. The conspiracy theory again predicated white violence against African American ‘traitors.’

Law enforcement and mobs of white extremists beat protesters, murdered them, brutalized them in concert. They believed they were fighting back a traitorous threat and the looming presence of Marxists, Communists, and Russians.

Around the country white extremists gathered and attack Civil Rights protesters and anti-war groups, all of them believing they were striking blows against communists and Russia. They worked, again, in concert with law enforcement.

This paranoia reached the highest levels of government. The President, the FBI, and the CIA all targeted protesters, believing they were communists and traitors. They stepped beyond the Constitution multiple times, believing it was a matter of national security.

The Soviet Union made for a reliable scapegoat when it came to suppressing protest and rebellion, but when the USSR fell, the American Right and white supremacists needed another enemy to blame popular movements on. This time, they looked within.

With the Soviet Union behind them, the American Right began blaming problems on the American Left, claiming they were traitorous liberals and insinuating constantly they were part of a larger conspiracy called the New World Order that was determined to destroy America.

The New World Order was the same conspiracy theory repackaged, a continued belief that people of color must be controlled lest they be manipulated into destroying America and laying waste to civilization. It was the same story repeated again and again.

Something changed, however, as Roger Ailes created Fox News, a twenty-four hour network that told and retold the New World Order conspiracy theory without naming it explicitly. It was white supremacist paranoia pumped into white America day after day.

Fox News’s alternate reality is simply old conspiracy theories hinted at. White viewers are told that people of color are violent and trying to destroy them, that liberals and Jewish puppetmasters are controlling them. It is the same white supremacist paranoia.

Every single day Fox News retells the New World Order/white supremacist conspiracy theory. This is what the narrative achieves, creating new conspirators and new connections, telling white Americans that they must seek control of people of color before it’s too late.

Donald Trump’s presidency is partly a result of this ongoing conspiracy theory as he tells the Right he is the champion who will undo the conspiracy (now called “the Deep State”) and save white America. They want him to do it by any means necessary.

This is how a nonexistent ‘group’ like Antifa becomes public enemy number 1. They’re a replacement for abolitionists, for the USSR, for New World Order puppetmasters. They are the existential threat Trump must extinguish in order to protect white supremacy.

This is why Black Lives Matter is treated like a project obsessed with destroying America. The old lie requires that they are treated like dangerous people of color who will murder and destroy if their traitorous manipulators have their way.

This alternate reality, where the Right is drowning in conspiracy theories, tells its believers they are in an invisible war. So. They take to the streets. They run over protesters. Shoot them. Throw bombs. Because they believe they’re in an invisible war.

Trump’s base truly believes they are fighting a holy war for America’s survival, a war that is, in totality, a racial war between whites and people of color that has been raging since the founding of the country. This myth is required within the white supremacist worldview.

The disturbing truth is that this alternate reality and invisible war Trump and Republicans sell for power and profit is the same one white terrorists believe. They have peddled this myth for decades and want desperately to plunge America into a fascist dictatorship.

Around the country, in incidents the news rarely reports and almost always refuses to put into context, white terrorists have murdered people and plotted a military takeover of the United States. It is a massive, growing movement that threatens all of us.

But. Law enforcement and the state both rely on the myths of white supremacy and any investigation into white terrorism would mean a self-diagnosis. The relationship between law enforcement, the state, and white terrorists negates any reconsideration.

Law enforcement and the military have both been flooded with white extremists. This is well-known by now, and the reason is because these people recognize the natural relationship between these institutions and continued white supremacy in America.

What we are seeing around America is a continuation of a dark and blood history that many Americans know nothing about. White supremacist paranoia and conspiracy theories have led to unbelievable violence, bloodshed, and murder. This is our history and we must learn it.”

-Excerpt and images courtesy of Jared Yates Sexton, @JYSexton, Twitter, August 26, 2020. — AMERICAN RULE: HOW A NATION CONQUERED THE WORLD BUT FAILED ITS PEOPLE. Available Sept. 15, 2020 from Dutton Books.

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