Monday, October 5, 2015

Existence of the White Nation: Sakai versus the Nazis.

I have been thinking of writing another article on what I like to call the 'White Nation thesis' for awhile now. One of my numerous banned accounts on /r/communism made a big stink about the phrase “The True Story of the White Nation” being removed from a potential cover of the second edition of J. Sakai's Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat, and JMP even mentions this in his review of the second edition (getting the quote wrong, of course), noting that the publishers decided to keep the phrase in after all.

It could be said that MIM, Sakai, and the film Birth of a Nation all agree: the White Nation is real, and it came into existence after the American Civil War. There are many, many who would disagree with the White Nation thesis though, as I have found out from trolling various right-wing websites associated with the NRx phenomenon. The White Nation thesis is not only rejected by most on the Amerikan “Left,” but the 'Right' as well doesn't actually like this idea, which may or may not be surprising, depending on how much experience one has talking to these people.

Probably the strongest argument I have encountered against the White Nation thesis actually comes from a well known, now defunct German political party known as the National Socialist German Worker's Party, more popularly known as the Nazis. While reading Grover Furr's Blood Lies, I thought to myself “Timothy Synder is so eager to accept Nazi narratives about the Soviet Union. Would he be equally as likely to accept Nazi narratives about Amerika?” This got me interested in researching exactly what the Nazis were saying about their Other major second World War opponent.

At first I could only find vague statements made by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger against what he called Americanism. Americanism is a phenomenon that seeks to destroy Europe, Bolshevism is a derivative of Americanism, Americans are nihilists and rootless ahistorical people, etc. Searching for more in this vain, I eventually stumbled on a gem produced by the Nazi party that seems to have largely skipped the notice of other commentators. Typing the title of this pamphlet into a Google Books search turns up nothing, and an internet search only reveals a handful of White Nationalist forums discussing it (mostly in praise of it, despite it being a denial of the White Nation thesis). It is a propaganda pamphlet produced during the war, giving a much fuller theoretical treatment to the vague sentiments expressed by Heidegger.

The pamphlet is called Europe and America: Failures in Building an American People. I immediately went through this pamphlet, and was struck by just how compelling the Nazi case was. While most people, whether “Left” or 'Right' that deny the White Nation thesis basically deny there are such things as nations at all, this pamphlet begins by contrasting the German nation to the American population:

When speaking of the German people, we are dealing with a fixed group of people who are defined by their nature and territory. There is usually a “natural” relationship between between a people and its territory, such that naming the people brings to mind a territorial area. On this particular section of the world with its climate, its beauties, and its nature, the people’s history took place. Here its inhabitants found the source of their strength. Here its cultural landmarks give evidence of its spirit. Here its myths and fables have their roots in the distant past.

Such a relationship between people and space does not exist in the USA. They have no myths and fables, only facts. They jumped right into the middle of history — the only instance in world history in which the development of a governmental system and a “people” could be observed by historians from the very beginning.

Americans have no mythic history. There is no pre-Christian American mythology, there are no American legendary figures like Faust. There is no ancient mythology that goes back to the hazy and foggy times before recorded history. Americans have to import these ideas from other European nations, usually Greece, as they have none of their own (except for maybe those who are big into claiming to be 1/32 native American or something). This is something that immediately sets the various European settler colonies and their identities apart from the European nations they came from.

While the Nazi pamphlet is much shorter in length and written with a different purpose in mind, the Nazi narrative emphasizes the differences between the European settler populations in North America, while Sakai tends to stress their unity against the natives and blacks. While the White Nation thesis sees the White Nation coming into existence after the Civil War, the Nazi thesis presented here sees a fairly unified group of Northern Europeans, until the 1880s:

As long as the primarily source of immigration was Northern Europe, there was really no racial problem. The various ethnic groups were close enough so that intermarriage had no negative effects. A unified people developed over the decades and centuries. That changed during the 1880’s. The immigrants from the north declined and were replaced by other groups. Between 1900 and 1910, only 23.3% of the newcomers came from Germanic areas, while 76.7% came from Southern Europe or the Slavic nations. Things were even less favorable in the following decade. The new immigrants had other customs, other languages, other ways of thinking, other religions, other skills. The nationality issue suddenly became a problem. Even the most superficial observer had to see the danger of a racial mosaic within the nation’s boundaries. Many occupations were practically monopolized by individual nationalities. In the housing industry by 1910, for example, the Irish did the excavation, the Germans the rough construction, the Italians the interior work, native Americans the plumbing and the Jews the painting. The most basic areas demonstrated the disunity of the USA. The problem of Americanization was clear.

For the author of the pamphlet, immigrants from elsewhere besides Northern Europe presented a problem. It would not be possible to truly integrate Slavs and Italians, for example, into America. Perhaps here the Nazis have in mind the largest mass-lynching in America, directed at Italian Americans in 1890 in Louisiana. Even today, especially in the Northeast, Italians still tend to think of themselves as Italians first, and only afterwards as 'white' people. The Italian identity has largely resisted assimilation into the White Nation, but this largely seems to be based on how much intermarriage has taken place in a particular family. People with one set of Italian grandparents and another 'white' set of grandparents typically see themselves as 'white' people. The White Nation's race-ideology Sames the two sets of grandparents into Whiteness; they are just two different shades of Vanilla being mixed together. Euro-mixing has that effect on the children of different European heritages.

The only problem here is that Vanilla flavors could only be mixed with other Vanilla flavors. The White Nation's race-ideology can not Same two sets of grandparents if one is European and the other is African or Asian. The Nazi author discusses this phenomenon:

The population, however, did put one limitation on the melting pot thesis. Mixing with Blacks was out of the question. Even today 30 states have strict laws against intermarriage with Negroes. (Naturally, that has nothing to do with illegitimate relations between Blacks and Whites; the estimates are that 20,000 mixed-race children are born annually.) The Negro problem, indeed the racial problem in general, is viewed differently in the industrialized North than in the more agricultural South, which had drawn a sharp line for centuries between the Colored and Whites...Despite all efforts by Roosevelt and his Jewish men behind the scenes, the melting pot theory does have its limits. This is one of the biggest problems in the domestic developments of the union. Time will tell if the growing demands for emancipation by the Black element, which in some Southern states comprises over half of the population, will succeed. That might eventually lead to a dissolution of an American state.

Here the Nazi author almost seems to give the game away in favor of the White Nation thesis. The emancipation of the Black population, then mostly confined to the Southeast, might lead to the dissolution of the American state. Since this has already happened, and the American government is still around, such a notion might seem wrong and fanciful. But what the Nazi author actually means is that the White population, once the emancipation of Blacks is complete, will no longer want anything to do with Americanization. That is, the emancipation of Blacks means the end of America as a New European state. Such an America as we live in today is a multi-racial “Nation” of people, and it is this state of affairs that hilariously has some 'Right' wing people saying America is a communist country (even while they simultaneously deny the White Nation thesis, suggesting that they actually prefer a communist 'America' to a White Nation-State).

The Nazi author continues pulling at the seams that have stitched the White National Identity together, noting how the first World War caused many German and Irish Americans to remember their European origins, which has them form their political opinions accordingly:

Even before the World War, a certain re-nationalization of the masses was noticeable, which could even be decisive in presidential elections. The World War encouraged such developments. For example, the Germans were strong enough so that Wilson was forced to speak against entering the war. Other “hyphenated Americans,” above all the Irish, also held to their ancestry, showing the weakness of the melting pot.

The famous French intellectual Ernest Renan once noted in his essay What is a Nation that it was a process of collective-forgetting that allowed Nations to come into existence in the first place. It is the collective-forgetting that allows people to assume they are united into one whole people that allows them to maintain a shared identity:

Forgetting, I would even say historical error, is an essential factor in the creation of a nation and it is for this reason that the progress of historical studies often poses a threat to nationality. Historical inquiry, in effect, throws light on the violent acts that have taken place at the origin of every political formation, even those that have been the most benevolent in their consequences. Unity is always brutally established.

However, the essence of a nation is that all of its individual members have a great deal in common and also that they have forgotten many things. No French citizen knows whether he is a Burgund, an Alain, a Taifala, or a Visigoth. Every French citizen has forgotten St. Bartholomew’s Day and the thirteenth century massacres in the Midi. There are only ten families in France that can furnish proof of Frankish origin and even such proof is essentially defective due to the thousand unknown pairings that can derange every genealogical system.

The Nazi author, by bringing up German and Irish attitudes toward the first World War, is saying that much of the population has not forgotten who they are. If they have not forgotten their European origins, then they have not really assimilated into America, or rather, into the White Nation.

The rest of the pamphlet, while fascinating, is essentially pointing out how this process of Nation-formation is hindered in various ways, and how it has been hindered in practice in America. It is probably the most complete attack on the White Nation thesis I am aware of, as other attempts to undermine it essentially deny the existence of all Nations and seek to eliminate 'Nation' as a mental category altogether. My experience is that any careful interrogation of such narratives always reveals themselves to be grounded in race-ideology, and while the Nazis certainly believed in race-ideology, they do not overtly attempt to use it to undermine the existence of all Nations (at least in this pamphlet).

So here we are at a fundamental contradiction. We have J. Sakai, MIM and the film Birth of a Nation on one hand, supporting the existence of a White Nation in North America, and the Nazis and most of the Amerikan “Left” and 'Right' on the other hand, denying the existence of the White Nation. My initial reflections on this contradiction is that it is basically impossible to accuse proponents of the White Nation thesis of thinking like Nazis, as the Nazis explicitly denied the White Nation thesis, and until I come across something better, the Nazis seem to be the most forceful opponents of the White Nation thesis. The second thing that comes to my mind is that the Bolsheviks must necessarily also have believed in the White Nation thesis (they created it's logical corollary after all, the Black Nation thesis), and my research into Lenin's Notebooks on Imperialism seems to indicate Lenin not only believed the White Nation thesis, but believed that English-speaking European Americans and Canadians actually belong to the same nation (as MIM contended they do).

In fact, the opposite seems to be the case regarding accusations of Nazism. Those who deny the existence of the White Nation are the ones opening themselves up to accusations of thinking like Nazis. If one where to construct an attack on the White Nation thesis that didn't simply try to deny that Nations exist at all, it would undoubtedly look much like what is written in the Nazi pamphlet here. Without the White Nation, America is either just a population of people with no real unity, or else the unity is the fake unity that is attempted by Zionist Hollywood to construct a modern, multi-national and multi-“racial” identity for Americans.