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SUNY series in New Political Science

Bradley J. Macdonald, editor
White Power Music and
the Future of Democracy

Cover image of concert scene from Fotolia.

Published by State University of New York Press, Albany

2016 State University of New York

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Production, Diane Ganeles

Marketing, Michael Campochiaro

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Love, Nancy Sue, 1954- author.

Title: Trendy fascism : white power music and the future of democracy / Nancy
S. Love.
Description: Albany : State University of New York Press, [2016] | Series:
SUNY series in new political science | Includes bibliographical references
and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2016005716 | ISBN 9781438462035 (hardcover : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: White supremacy movementsSongs and musicHistory and
criticism. | Popular musicPolitical aspects. | Popular musicSocial
aspects. | Neo-Nazism. | Hate groups.
Classification: LCC ML3916 .L69 2016 | DDC 305.809/073--dc23 LC record
available at

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
There are certain cultural trends which both belong to the
presuppositions and to the effects of Fascism.
Theodor Adorno, What National Socialism Has Done to the Arts

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi


Music, Culture, and Politics 1


Racist Skinheads, Skrewdriver, and Liberal Tolerance 37


Neo-Nazi Folk, Family Values, and Prussian Blue 67


Rahowa, Heavy Metal, and Racial Ecology 97


Aesthetics, Music, and Democracy 125

Epilogue 155
Notes 161

Bibliography 215

Index 247


D uring the past few years, many colleagues have asked why I decided
to write a book about hate music and, more specifically, white
power music. A simple answer is that after writing about the music
of progressive social movements in Musical Democracy (2006), I wanted
better to understand the role music plays in politics across the political
spectrum, including the radical right. My more complex answer regard-
ing the relationship between the cultural politics of white supremacy
and hegemonic liberalism will gradually emerge in the pages that fol-
low. Writing about the white power music scene was difficult for me,
and readers should expect to find some of the material here offensive
and even painful. For that reason, I want to state clearly my inten-
tions at the outset. I do not intend to cause any further harm to those
whom the white supremacist movement targets or to disseminate
white supremacist views by providing an ideological platform. I under-
took this project because I think democratic citizens cannot afford to
treat the anger, hatred, and violence of white supremacists solely as
the abnormal, deviant, or psychotic behavior of isolated individuals.
In this book, I situate these so-called lone wolves or wingnuts in
relation to the broader and deeper cultural politics of the radical right.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the first book-length study
of the role of aesthetic politics, more specifically, white power music,
in contemporary white supremacists efforts to create a transnational
white community. This gap is troubling given the increasingly frequent

x Preface

references to hate music in mainstream media accounts of racially

motivated political violence. According to T. J. Leyden, a former racist
skinhead, As a nation, as a global society, our children simply are not
safe until they know the destructive power of hate, what it continues
to do, and what it could bring to our great nation, if it is not healed
by tolerance.1 By including the voices of those who have renounced
white supremacy, such as Leyden, I also attempt to counter stereotypes
of individuals who once promoted its anger, hatred, and violence. This
is a delicate balance and I can only hope that where I fall short readers
will recall my intentions.
To sustain that balance, I made the following decisions about ter-
minology. I have capitalized Black, Black Americans, and Native Amer-
icans as terms of racial solidarity and self-identity. I use lowercase
for white, white Americans, and white supremacy unless these terms
are capitalized in quoted passages, so as not to validate white power
and privilege. I have also chosen to use the more general terms, white
supremacy, white supremacist, and white supremacist movement,
rather than draw the finer distinctions between white nationalism,
white separatism, and white supremacy. I made this decision for two
reasons. First, contemporary white supremacists have formed inter-
national alliances between Christian Identity, Ku Klux Klan, and neo-
Nazi organizations that make these internal movement distinctions
less relevant today. Second, given the longer history of hegemonic
liberalism as white supremacy, I find attempts by members of white
supremacist groups to distinguish their white nationalism and white
separatism from white supremacy disingenuous, at best. Nonetheless, I
indicate where these distinctions remain relevant for understanding the
ideas and actions of a specific branch of the global white supremacist
Trendy Fascism: White Power Music and the Future of Democracy is writ-
ten from the interdisciplinary perspective on culture, economics, and
politics best described as critical theory. It integrates the relevant litera-
tures in democratic theory, musical aesthetics, cultural studies, popular
music studies, critical race theory, and feminist theory. It also includes
popular sources, such as autobiographies and biographies, fanzines,
interviews, videos, reviews, songs, and websites. Although this is first
and foremost a work of critical theory, I am trained as an amateur
musician and also bring that musical knowledge and experience to this

Iam grateful for earlier opportunities to present these ideas at the

Virginia Tech ASPECT Graduate Conference, Representations of
Resistance; the University of Virginia Political Theory Colloquium; as
the Samuel I. Clark Lecturer at Western Michigan University; and for
STAR: Students for Social Theory and Research at Bard College at
Simons Rock. Drafts of some chapters were first presented as papers
at the American Political Science Association Convention, the Western
Political Science Association Convention, and the Global Studies Asso-
ciation Convention. I am especially grateful to William E. Scheuerman
for multiple invitations to present papers at the annual colloquium on
Philosophy and the Social Sciences sponsored by the Institute of Phi-
losophy at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. The con-
versations that emerged from those presentations were invaluable in
developing my arguments here.
Numerous colleagues also provided helpful comments on early
versions of several chapters here. I want specifically to thank Asma
Abbas, Paul Apostolidis, Janni Aragon, Lawrie Balfour, Jennifer Disney,
Alessandro Ferrara, Cary Fraser, Charles Hersch, Chad Lavin, Timothy
W. Luke, Mark Mattern, Maria Pia Lara, Molly Scudder, and Stephen
K. White. I am also grateful for the feedback from two anonymous
reviewers for State University of New York Press, whose thoughtful
comments have improved my argument.

xii Ack now ledgments

I want to thank my colleagues at Appalachian State University for

granting me what is a most precious academic resource today, that is,
the time to read, think, and write provided by an Off-Campus Study
Assignment (aka sabbatical leave). My department has also supported
my work with graduate and undergraduate research assistants, who
have helped me locate source materials and analyze song lyrics. For
their contributions to this project, I want to thank Nathan Arnold,
Melissa Balk, Amanda Cannon, Anne-Solene Cazanave, Travis Smart,
Coty Hogue, and Tausif Khan.
My thanks to Michael Rinella, senior acquisitions editor at State
University of New York Press, for his continued support of my work
and, more generally, for supporting research that joins politics and
culture. In particular, I thank him for selecting anonymous reviewers
whose comments made this a better manuscript. Thanks as well to
Rafael Chaiken, assistant acquisitions editor, who made sure that the
review process went smoothly, and to Diane Ganeles, senior produc-
tion editor. Finally, words cannot express my gratitude to Bradley Mac-
donald, editor of the SUNY series in New Political Science, and to the
progressive scholars of the Caucus for a New Political Science, who
continue to sustain my hope that the study of politics really can con-
tribute to making this a better world.
I accept full responsibility for any errors that may remain here.

The following chapters are revised from previously published material.

My thanks to the original publishers for permission to reprint.
Chapter 2 is a revised version of my authored chapter, Playing
with Hate: White Power Music and the Undoing of Democracy, in
Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics, ed. Nancy S. Love
and Mark Mattern (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press,
2013), 201230. Some material from that previously published chapter
also appears here in chapter 1.
Chapter 3 is a revised version of Privileged Intersections: The
Race, Class, and Gender Politics of Prussian Blue, Music and Politics 6,
no. 1 (Winter 2012), n.p.,


Music, Culture, and Politics

T heres a whole other genre of music out there that no one ever
hears about and its [sic] real powerful, especially at that awkward
stage where no one exactly knows who they are.1 This California teen-
age skin girl is talking about white power music. Resistance Records,
once the major distributor in the United States, has dubbed white
power music the soundtrack to the white revolution.2 Mainstream
Americans recently heard more about white power music due to sev-
eral high-profile hate crimes. Wade Michael Page, the 2012 Sikh Temple
shooter, played in multiple white power bands and belonged to Ham-
merskin Nation, a racist skinhead group known for its annual music
festivals.3 Paul Craig Cobb, the internationally known white suprema-
cist arrested for terroristic threats in Leith, North Dakota, planned to
host white power music festivals on his rural land.4 Anders Behring
Breivik, who committed the July 2011 terrorist attack on a socialist
labor party camp in Norway, also enjoyed white power music, though
he reportedly preferred hip hop.5 They are only a few of the individu-
als, many of them teenagers, radicalized by white power music often
accessed over the Internet.
The importance of white power music for an expanding network
of white supremacists across the globe should come as no surprise.
However, the role of music in politics generally receives too little


attention from scholars, politicians, and citizensand white power

music is no exception. In this book, I begin to fill that gap by exam-
ining the prominent role white power music plays in conveying ideas,
funding activities, recruiting members, and promoting violence for a
growing transnational white supremacist movement. My larger and
deeper concern is the relationship between aesthetics, democracy, and
politics, specifically how the arts and popular culture will shape the
future of democratic politics.
The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that tracks the
activities of hate groups, claims that for listeners, white power music
is not simply entertainment. It is music with a message, a medium used
to express an ideology suffused with anger, hatred and violence.6
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, another watchdog
organization, [white power music] is accomplishing for the radical
right what decades of racist theorizing didnt: It has given Skinheads
and many other extremists around the world a common language and
unifying ideology, an ideology that replaces old-fashioned state-based
nativism with the concept of pan-Aryanism.7 William Pierce, former
leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance and owner of Resistance
Records, confirmed that these musical effects are intended. In his fall
1999 Message from the Publisher in Resistance magazine, he wrote:
Music speaks to us at a deeper level than books or political rhetoric:
music speaks directly to the soul. Resistance Records ... will be the
music of our peoples renewal and rebirth. It will be music of strength
and joy for our people. It will be music of defiance and rage against
the enemies of our people. ... It will be the music of the great, cleans-
ing revolution which is coming. Enjoy it!8


Right-wing extremism has increased in western liberal democracies,

partly in response to the challenges globalization poses for the eco-
nomic security and cultural identity of the white West.9 In the United
States, membership in white supremacist groups rose steadily post-
9/11 with significant increases after the 2008 election and 2012 reelec-
tion of President Barack Obama. These increases were followed by
slight declines in 2013 and 2014. According to the Southern Poverty
Law Center, the number of US hate groups reached a record high of
Mobilizing White Pow er 3

1,018 in 2011 and, despite decreases to 784 by 2014, remains at record

highs. The greatest increases occurred in patriot and militia groups,
which grew from 149 in 2008 to 1,360 in 2012, including a 7 percent
increase in 2012 alone. By 2014 these groups had also declined to
874a 19 percent drop from 2011.10
Rising public debt, economic recession, changing demographics,
and a series of Obama initiativesincluding gun control, health care,
and immigration reformportrayed as socialist or even fascist,
partly explain the rapid increases. Recent declines are more difficult to
explain. They likely reflect some combination of a slightly improved
economy, increased and often anonymous online activity, shifts to
other underground strategies, and negative publicity and stronger legal
action following recent hate crimes. In addition, the Republican Party
has embraced radical right issues, such as gun control, anti-immigra-
tion, Islamophobia, and states rights, and may now provide a more
respectable outlet for potential hate group members.11 Ironically, the
postracial messages that followed Barack Obamas election as Ameri-
cas first Black president also shifted control of public discourse about
race and racism to the Republican right, at least temporarily.12
The slight decline in hate group numbers has not meant a decrease
in hate-related violence, though. Stormfront, a major white suprema-
cist website that boasts three hundred thousand registered users, two-
thirds from the United States, picked up 32,736 new users in 2009
alone. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Stormfront
users, including Wade Michael Page, the Sikh Temple shooter, have
killed one hundred people in the past five years. Frazier Glenn Cross
(aka Frazier Glenn Miller), who killed three people in 2014 outside a
Jewish Community Center in Overland, Kansas, was active on another
major white supremacist website, Vanguard News Network. Dylann
Storm Roof, who confessed to the 2015 murder of nine African
Americans in Charlestons Emanuel A.M.E. Church, reportedly fre-
quented the Council of Conservative Citizens website. Hundreds of
these smaller blogs, forums, and websites now exist to promote white
supremacy, including its music.13
In Europe increases in right-wing extremist violence now com-
plement electoral challenges to mainstream candidates and increased
electoral support for right-wing parties in some countries.14 Although
many European nations saw declines from the late 1990s to the early
2000s, the overall number of violent extremist incidents is rising again,

especially in the former Soviet nations of Eastern Europe.15 Euro-

pean nations have also experienced high-profile hate crimes, such as
the July 2011 terrorist attack on a socialist labor party camp in Nor-
way by Anders Behring Breivik. White power music also plays a major
role in European right-wing extremist movements, including Scandi-
navian white supremacist groups. Like Page, Breivik frequented the
Stormfront website and reportedly enjoyed the white power music of
Saga, who performs a well-known cover of Rahowas Ode to a Dying
Although this rising tide of hate shares some features with mass
mobilizations under earlier fascist regimes, such as Nazi Germany, I
argue that such comparisons are ultimately limited. According to Joel
Olson, race and racism involve both the social construction of group
identities and a political system of power relations.17 Claims to white-
ness (or some shade of it) have long been used to divide the work-
ing class economically and politically in western democracies. In the
United States, white racial identity historically granted higher stand-
ing to working-class citizens, who struggled to distinguish themselves
from enslaved and free Blacks as well as waves of Irish, Italian, and
other immigrants.18 White racial identity has also compensated for
some of what Richard Sennett calls the hidden injuries of class. By
mobilizing a kind of moral hierarchy of national and cultural differ-
ences, the politics of whiteness could assuage the internalized sense
of many poor(er) whites that they were nothing special.19 The ques-
tion Who may be considered white? has mattered in the political
history of the United States, and terribly so. In the present ostensi-
bly postracial era, whiteness still matters, but it has now become an
unacknowledged norm rather than an acclaimed status symbol.20 To
look ahead briefly, this presumed color blindness combined with lib-
eral individualism means that racially motivated hate crimes will appear
to be aberrant acts of disturbed individuals, rather than the products
of systemic racism.
Judith Butler uses the term precarity to describe the increas-
ingly uncertain economic circumstances of many white and nonwhite
workers today. In a 2013 interview in R/evolutions, she distinguishes
precarity from precariousness and precaritization: precariousness
is a general feature of embodied life, a dimension of our corporeal-
ity and sociality. And precarity is a way that precariousness is ampli-
fied or made more acute under certain social policies. So precarity is
Mobilizing White Pow er 5

induced. And precaritization helps us think about the processes through

which precarity is inducedthose can be political actions, economic
policies, governmental policies, or forms of state racism and milita-
rization.21 According to Butler, diverse populations currently live
under conditions of induced precarity, and they experience it in dif-
ferent ways and to different extents. Many middle- and working-class
whites now find themselves among the newly disposable populations
of the culturally and economically dispossessed. In conversation with
Butler, Athena Athanasiou notes that these frames of dispossession
become a performative occasion for various contingencies of individ-
ual or concerted actions of political despair and dissent.22 It is tempt-
ing to assume that this collective resistance will be progressive. Yet
today the political Right, including the extreme right, is mobilizing citi-
zens against these processes of precaritization. For Butler, this means
there is obviously a limit to our alliances as we live through histori-
cal moments of forced loss. In that respect, the battle against induced
precarity ought to be simultaneously a battle against racism, national-
ism, anti-immigrant politics, misogyny, homophobia, and all forms of
social injustice.23 The culture and politics of white supremacy com-
promise such alliances and may undermine their very possibility. Olson
asks the trenchant question here: How, in a polity in which whiteness
and democracy have been inextricably connected, can greater partici-
pation be achieved without inviting a lynch mob?24 Recent rises in
hate groups and increasingly violent hate crimes suggest that it can-
notat least, not yet.
Kathleen Blee outlines the new tactics employed by the radi-
cal right today to mobilize support among newly (and earlier) disaf-
fected and dispossessed whites. They include: apocalyptic images of
a global race war; alliances between KKK, neo-Nazi, and Christian
Identity groups; sophisticated use of new technologies, including the
Internet; and recruitment strategies focused on so-called vulnerable
populations, especially prisoners, teenagers, and women.25 The grow-
ing white power music scene now plays a major role in efforts of the
radical right to recruit teenagers, in particular. The music is intended
to appeal to the sense of alienation, rebellion, and even despair among
white working-class youth, who now find themselves on the margins
of society with little hope for progress. According to Pierce, My aim
with Resistance music is to give them a rationale for alienation, to help
them understand why theyre alienated, to help them understand the

programs and policies behind these alienating conditions, and to give

them a target, a purpose for their anger and rage.26 Participating in
the white power music scene allows dispossessed white teenagers to
perform their precarity and resistance to it. Former white supremacists
frequently relate how white power music got them involved and how
they then used the music to recruit others. T. J. Leyden, a former rac-
ist skinhead recruiter, recounts: I continued to use the most effective
technique to bring kids in, which was music. ... Any time I possibly
could, I would get a kid listening to white power musicespecially the
fast-paced, heart-pounding music that they liked, and soon enough he
would be embodying, believing, and spouting all kinds of racist ver-
biage. Then I could get him to pass out a hundred tapes or CDs to all
his friends.27
White power music has long thrived in what Pete Simi and Rob-
ert Futrell call hidden spaces of hate, such as closed bars, private
clubs, restricted festivals, and now the Internet.28 These spaces have
expanded since the late 1970s when Ian Stuart Donaldson, the god-
father of the racialist movement the world over, and his racist skin-
head band Skrewdriver first began performing and recording white
power music.29 Approximately 350 white power bands now perform
in the United States and Western Europe. One hundred and twenty
bands are based solely in the United States, the only country where
it is completely legal to produce and distribute white power music.30
Major genres include: neo-Nazi folk, racist skinhead, heavy metal, and
fascist experimental music.31 In the 1990s, Resistance Records and
other online distributors, such as MiceTrap, Panzerfaust, and Storm-
front, started marketing white power music online. In 2004, Panzer-
faust launched Project Schoolyard USA and issued a $0.15 sampler
CD targeting middle school students. In 2006, RadioWhite, an online
white power music station, offered six different twenty-four-hour
music feeds and a playlist of five thousand songs.32 Resistance Records,
once the major US distributor, reported an average of fifty Internet
orders per day of approximately $70 each. Most white power music
CDs are priced under $20 and cost no more than $5 to produce, mak-
ing profit margins relatively high.33 Although Apples iTunes recently
removed most white supremacistthemed music from its offerings,
white power music remains readily available from mainstream distribu-
tors, such as Amazon and Spotify.34 Exact figures are impossible to
Mobilizing White Pow er 7

obtain, but the white power music scene certainly contributes millions
annually to white supremacist groups and national front parties.


Many scholars distinguish between high culture and so-called low or

popular culture.35 According to Stuart Hall, this distinction presumes
that culture is the best that has been thought and said in a society.
It is the sum of the great ideas as represented in the classic works of
literature, painting, music, and philosophythe high culture of an
age.36 By this definition, classical compositions performed by profes-
sional musicians in opera houses and concert halls are high art; popular
music played at bars, clubs, and festivals and sung by people in their
homes or on the streets is low art. I resist this distinction here for
several reasons. First, it tends to limit the arts and culture to beauti-
ful objects created for an art world and experienced by a select few in
formal settings. Second and closely related, it defines the value of the
arts and culture in terms of their autonomy and distance from popu-
lar influences. As Theodore Gracyk notes, a cultural practice belongs
to popular culture only in contrast to the cultural practices favored
by a distinct, more privileged class.37 Third, the distinction perpetu-
ates ideas of western culture as high culture at the expense of more
innovative and nonwestern forms of artistic expression. According to
Marshall McLuhan, new and different art forms are often thought to
corrupt or degrade the standards of high art. However, they simultane-
ously secure the supposedly higher status of great western artworks
and sometimes are eventually granted that status.38
According to Hall, culture should also refer to the widely dis-
tributed forms of popular music, publishing, art, design and litera-
ture, or the activities of leisure-time and entertainment, which make
up the everyday lives of the majority of ordinary peoplewhat is
called the mass culture or the popular culture of an age.39 Gracyk
draws a further distinction between popular culture and mass art. He
argues that popular culture becomes mass art when it is mass pro-
duced, widely circulated, and readily accessible economically and cog-
nitively. As a type of popular culture, mass art must employ a familiar
vernacular code.40 The aesthetic meaning and value of the arts and

popular culture are, then, a matter of degree. Popular performers and

their audiences must possess the requisite cultural capital in order
for the arts and popular culture to be properly understood. Accord-
ing to Gracyk, popular audiences must learn to recognize the social
or political identity that a creative musician encodes into the musics
message.41 This suggests that popular music involves more than mere
entertainment for mass consumption; it also shapes the shared identity
of democratic citizens. Popular music can reinforce conformity to a
dominant order, resist its established norms, or both. In the process, it
can catalyze the imagination, express creativity, integrate the self, pro-
vide meaningful symbols, and, at its best, sustain a sense of beauty
and harmony. These many functions make popular music a powerful
tool for advancing democratic or, in the case of white power music,
undemocratic causes.42
A detailed analysis of the cultural politics expressed in popular
music lies beyond the scope of this book. I focus here on white power
music as hate music, and I draw a clear line between it and most popu-
lar music. However, I also position hate music as an extreme form
that illuminates the white supremacist norm. Considerable continuity
exists between white power music and some of the messages found
in popular songs today. Popular song lyrics often include racist, sex-
ist, and homophobic language, and stories of violence. Many country,
folk, and rock songs also express emotions of anger, fear, grief, and
even hatred. For this reason, it seems important to begin with some
examples of how hate-filled messages span white power music and
other popular music genres. Although my analysis foregrounds the rac-
ist messages of white power music, I also consider the complex ways
that race intersects with class, gender, sexuality, and nation.
Many scholars regard country music, which is typically associated
with conservative or traditional values, as especially prone to racist,
sexist, and homophobic messages.43 A recent example is Brad Paisleys
and LL Cool Js Accidental Racist, a country song about Southern
pride and the Confederate flag that laments how the legacy of slav-
ery continues to hurt young white southerners.44 The lyrics include LL
Cool Js offer to deal: if you overlook my gold jewelry, then Ill forget
the iron shackles. Some critics and fans were outraged by this false
analogy between chattel slavery and consumer culture with its sug-
gestion to forget past oppressions rather than learn from them. Oth-
ers saw the song as well intentioned but racially tone deaf. Brandon
Mobilizing White Pow er 9

Soderberg of Spin said, Its hard to get really outraged at Brad Pais-
leys and LL Cool Js country-hop attempt at racial solidarity because
their clueless take on race-based message music seemingly went well.
He concluded that Accidental Racist was the most politely offen-
sive thing to drop on the Internet this year.45 On The Colbert Report,
Stephen Colbert and Alan Cumming even parodied the song with a
spin-off, Oopsy, Daisy Homophobe.46 Their parody highlighted the
linkages between the racist nationalism expressed in Accidental Rac-
ist and a heterosexist hypermasculinity.
Male dominance figures prominently in popular music, especially
rock music, which has been described as a white boys club.47 Despite
the increased presence of women in rock today, Gracyk notes that
rock had become synonymous with a male-defined sexuality that sees
women in light of a demeaning ideology of subordinate Other.48 For
example, recall the Beatles song Run for Your Life, in which the
singer claims he would rather see his girl dead than with another man.49
John Lennon, who composed the song with Paul McCartney, later said
it was his least favorite Beatles song and the one he most regretted
writing.50 Although better known for Natalie Maines 2003 comment
to a London audience, Just so you know, were ashamed the President
of the United States is from Texas, the Dixie Chicks gained notori-
ety earlier for Goodbye Earl, a country song composed by Dennis
Linde that also created considerable controversy by reversing stereo-
types of sexual violence.51 The lyrics relate how Wanda with the help
of her high school girlfriend, Mary Ann, murders her abusive husband,
Earl. As this country example suggests, sexual violence is not limited
to rock songs. Folk murder ballads, such as Pretty Polly, have a long
history and often cross over into country and rock. Down on the
Banks of the Ohio, the story of Willie, who stabs his girlfriend when
she refuses to marry him and disposes of her body in the Ohio River,
was recorded by Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Olivia Newton
John, Dolly Parton, Pete Seeger, and other artists.52 More recently, one
need only consider the controversial lyrics of Kim, which describes
white rapper Eminems graphic fantasy of murdering his then ex-wife,
Kim Mathers.53
Public outcry more typically targets Black rappers for lyrics that
refer to bitches and hoes and promote sexual irresponsibility, sub-
stance abuse, disrespect for authority, and violent behavior.54 Promi-
nent Black leaders, such as Spike Lee, Barack Obama, and Oprah

Winfrey, have joined with Black churches and community members

to express their concern about the effects of such messages on Black
youth. The cultural critic Stanley Crouch drew this controversial anal-
ogy: Images of black youth seen on MTV, BET, or VH1 ... are
not far removed from those D. W. Griffith used in Birth of a Nation,
where Reconstruction Negroes were depicted as bullying, hedonistic
buffoons ever ready to bloody somebody. This is the new minstrelsy.
The neo-Sambo is sturdily placed in our contemporary popular ico-
nography.55 It is crucial to note that Black rappers did not create these
racist stereotypes of Black youth as thugs, pimps, bitches, and
hoes, and that many underground rap artists reject or recast them. In
The Hip Hop Wars, Tricia Rose notes that white listeners now account
for the majority of hip hop sales, and she asks: Why has the black
gangsta-pimp-ho trinity been the vehicle for hip hops greatest sales
and highest market success?56 I return to this important question in
my final chapter.
Other popular songs invoke the (white) American nation as an
imagined community without explicitly espousing racial and sex-
ual violence. Toby Keiths 2009 country hit American Ride, com-
posed by Joe West and David Pahanish, highlights a host of political
problems, such as illegal immigration, political correctness, frivolous
lawsuits, rising gas prices, and declining religious faith, followed by a
chorus that repeatedly affirms America.57 The animated video released
with American Ride shows Pat Robertson mounted on George W.
Bush, portrays Barack Obama as a bobble-head doll, and casts Muam-
mar Gaddafi, Kim Jong-Il, and Fidel Castro as pirates. Keith describes
himself as a conservative democrat who is sometimes embarrassed by
his party. In response to criticisms from the blogger terrorists, he
says that they really cant get a fire started in the direction they want
to go because the video makes fun of everybody.58 Yet his everybody
sustains the myth of a white, male American nation facing foreign
enemies of other races. Patriotism takes on an ambiguous meaning
here. As one blogger puts it, Modern patriotism, no longer rooted
in land (who owns land anymore?), ideology (have you seen Congress
recently?), or culture (information age stratification), seems unmoored.
What makes us American at all, other than simply being present on
the American ride?59 Although Keith is an avowed Democrat, his
commitment to the American ride includes the post-9/11 patriotic,
Mobilizing White Pow er 11

militaristic Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue and his support in
2004 for George W. Bush as president.60
The iconic rock musician Bruce Springsteen, whose song Born
in the U.S.A. confronts the challenges facing working-class America,
also struggles with issues of gender, nation, and race.61 Ronald Rea-
gans 1984 presidential campaign briefly coopted Born in the U.S.A.,
because the song portrayed hard-working white men as American
heroes and remasculinized the post-Vietnam United States. Accord-
ing to Bryan K. Garman, Like Reagan and Rambo, the apparently
working-class Springsteen was for many Americans a white hard-
bodied hero whose masculinity confirmed the values of patriarchy
and patriotism, the work ethic and rugged individualism, and who
clearly demarcated the boundaries between men and women, black and
white, heterosexual and homosexual.62 In a 1984 Rolling Stone inter-
view, Springsteen disassociated himself from Reagan and Republican-
ism, claiming that the president used his music to manipulate voters.63
According to Marc Dolan, All his life, Springsteen had believed in
and preached a biracial America, a commitment powerfully expressed
in his 2008 endorsement when he said Barack Obama speaks to the
America Ive envisioned in my music for the past 35 years.64 Yet
Springsteen remains associated with the image of America as a nation
built by white working-class males. Even his recent forays into pro-
gressive folk music, such as the Seeger Sessions, continue to position
him within the white working-class Left.
With these few examples I would suggest how popular music
helps compose the identities of nations and peoples as imagined
communities.65 Regarding the United States, Eyerman and Jamison
argue that the active use of music and song by social movements is
a natural outgrowth of the multilingual background of the Ameri-
can people.66 They note that white folk music ... was very early on
used by movements of social reform for getting the message out.67
Their focus is protest songs, but the claim that music mobilizes tradi-
tions (and opposition to them) applies more broadly to popular music.
These and other country, folk, rock, and rap songs tell and retell the
stories that shapedand continue to shapepopular identities. Popu-
lar music is often associated with specific places and people: country
sounds invoke Nashville, Tennessee; Liverpool, England, gave birth
to the Beatles and the British invasion; and so on. These place-based

associations often become the basis for musicians and marketers

claims to authenticity. 68 Yet academic folklorists may be as responsible
for segregating musical sounds as the artists and their audiences.69
Today increased online access to popular music has led to more hybrid
sounds, made place-based traditions less significant, and created new
questions about cultural appropriation. The crucial point here is that
popular music and popular culture carry the traces of the historical
struggles that have shaped class, racial, sexual, and other identities.
These traces include the homophobic, racist, and sexist messages that
reinforce the dominant order, as well as efforts to resist, reclaim, or
transform them.
Contemporary white power musicians also participate in the cre-
ation of imagined communities through the arts and popular cul-
ture. In later chapters, I discuss how they coopt and shift popular rock,
folk, and Goth/metal music genres. Without denying the continuities
between white supremacist hate music and popular music, I place
the former in a different category than the aforementioned exam-
ples. Broadly defined, hate speech attacks a person or group on the
basis of gender, ethnicity, religion, race, disability, or sexual orienta-
tion, and it is a legally recognized violation of equal rights. Regarding
hate music, Keith Kahn-Harris asks the crucial question: when does
hatred towards an other become hatred towards the other?70 Following
Kahn-Harris, I argue that two features distinguish white power music
from many expressions of racism, sexism, and homophobia in popu-
lar music. It is: 1) overtly racist and/or ultranationalist, 2) and directly
associated with violence toward historically oppressed groups.71
Although it is often protected as artistic, political, or religious speech,
white power music satisfies both of these criteria for hate music. These
earlier examples of popular music do not, though they contribute to
creating the cultural-political context within which hate music survives.
When listeners hear white power music, they experience more
than the verbal messages in its hateful lyrics; its melodies and rhythms
also convey anger, hatred, and violence, perhaps even more power-
fully.72 Like many white power listeners, T. J. Leyden attests specifically
to the impact of the music: Punk rock music and the venues it was
played at spoke to me in a language I understoodthe fear, rage, and
chaos that was so familiar. ... I loved the beat, the head games, the
cruel aggression in the mosh pits, the crowd surfing, the stage div-
ing. It was pure, raw power, and I craved it. Sweat and adrenalineI
Mobilizing White Pow er 13

was addicted.73 Political scientists typically regard music as nonrepre-

sentational and nonrational or even irrational, and Leydens response
may seem to prove their point. However, Stuart Hall argues that many
other media work like languages not because they are all written or
spoken (they are not), but because they all use some element to stand
for or represent what we want to say, to express or communicate a
thought, concept, idea or feeling.74 He notes, Even music is a lan-
guage, with complex relations between different sounds and chords,
though it is a very special case since it cant easily be used to reference
actual things or objects in the world.75 My argument returns to these
qualities of musical sound at multiple points in the chapters that fol-
low. Like Hall, I argue that music functions as a mode of public dis-
course, even though its meanings are ambiguous and fluid.76
Regarding hate music, hateful lyrics combined with angry sounds
and the violent acts that often accompany them express deep aversions
to racial and other differences. These aversive reactions are themselves
part of a pre- or nonlinguistic collective memory and political imagi-
nary. Among the arts, musical expression is especially adept at engaging
these visceral human experiences and bringing them to the forefront
of public discourse. A content analysis of the political ideology in song
lyrics cannot fully convey these affective, corporeal aspects of musical
expression. A purely formal analysis of melodies and rhythms is simi-
larly incomplete, although it reveals important musical features. Fol-
lowing Paul Willis, I adopt instead a grounded aesthetic of musical
experience. He writes: The crucial failure and danger of most cultural
analyses are that dynamic, living grounded aesthetics are transformed
and transferred to ontological properties of things ... the aesthetic
effect is not the text or artifact. It is part of the sensuous/emotive/
cognitive creativities of human receivers, especially as they produce a
strong sense of emotional and cognitive identity as expanded capacity
and power.77 As we will see later, white power musicians consciously
intend for their music to have these aesthetic effects.
A grounded aesthetic is necessarily also a performative one. Mul-
tiple musicologists have recently called for an aesthetic that conveys
how music works and undoes us when we stop observing and enter
it.78 Quoting Roland Barthes, Barbara Engh distinguishes this per-
formative approach from formal aesthetics: Let the first semiology
manage, if it can, with the system of notes, scales, tones, chords, and
rhythms; what we want to perceive and follow is the effervescence of

the beats ... a second semiology, that of the body in a state of music.79
The percussive beats and sonic vibrations of musical sounds often cre-
ate a sense of individual and collective ecstasy in their audiences. The
term ecstasy derives from Ekstasis. As Robert Jourdain describes it:
Ex-for outside, stasis for standing. Sounds that leave you standing
outside yourself. Sounds like those that called Ulysses to the Sirens
rocks. Sounds whose potency lies beyond pleasure and even beyond
beauty. Sounds that reveal to us truths we have always known yet wont
be able to recount when the last echo has subsided.80 The military
and churches have long used ecstatic musical experiences, including
muscular bonding or coordinated group movement to neutralize
participants sense of physical boundaries and personal vulnerability.81
By tapping into primitive brain regions (the amygdala, cerebellum, and
hippocampus) music triggers these ecstatic responses before full infor-
mation reaches the cerebral cortex for cognitive processing.
Humans store memories of motion, rhythm, and sound in these
primitive brain regions.82 This makes music an especially effective mne-
monic device on a cellular level, a feature used by school teachers, polit-
ical candidates, and activist musicians alike. Generations of students
have learned their letters with the Alphabet Song, and Will.i.ams
Yes, We Can is forever linked to the 2008 Obama campaign.83 These
and other catchy tunes work by chunking and then repeating infor-
mation; distinct phrases in the melody line carry the performer and
listener over any brief gaps in cognitive memory. The simple refrains
of popular protest songs work the same way and have similar results.
We Shall Overcome remains the iconic anthem of civil rights strug-
gles and, more recently, global Occupy has given sound check new
meaning by turning assembled crowds into urban microphones. These
simple phrases create shared memories that can sustain the cultural
underpinnings of social movements when their political organizations
and formal leadership are in decline or disarray.84


Although many scholars have explored relationships between aesthet-

ics, culture, and politics, their analyses do not fully explain the role
white power music plays in liberal democracy and white supremacy
today. Democratic theorists tend to underestimate the impact of the
Mobilizing White Pow er 15

arts and popular culture on public discourse and the need for demo-
cratic citizens to exercise their moral judgment in response to undemo-
cratic cultural projects. The democratic theories of Jrgen Habermas,
Iris Young, and Sheldon Wolin illustrate why democratic theorists
need to reconsider how fascist aesthetics shapes the cultural politics of
western democracies.

Public Discourse, Aesthetic Experience, and Postsecular Solidarity

The philosophy of Jrgen Habermas initially prompted me to study

the relationships between politics and music. For those who know
Habermass theory of communicative rationality this probably seems
like a very odd move. What I noticed was Habermass tendency to
use musical metaphors at crucial junctures where rational argument,
his preferred mode of public discourse, proves insufficient for mutual
understanding. Among his more frequent musical metaphors are
amplification, concord, dissonance, harmony, resonance, symphony,
vibration, and, most important, voice. These metaphors typically
bridge communication gaps between wild(er) subcultural publics and
the legal-rational systems of liberal states and capitalist markets. For
Habermas, language performs two primary functions: problem-solving
and world-disclosing.85 The legal-rational discourse of politics and eco-
nomics focuses on problem-solving within given systems. Maria Pia
Lara defines world disclosure as the capacity of a concept to open
up a previously unseen area of interaction between social or politi-
cal actors.86 Although figurative language, such as metaphors, can
disclose new realities, I argue that nonlinguistic arts better exemplify
this aesthetic effect. Written texts, even literary ones, presume either
a shared language or the possibility of accurate translation. Because
speech acts are always already embedded within cultural-political con-
texts, spoken words are surrounded by the mute presence of unspo-
ken, often unconscious, realities. Like religious experience, aesthetic
expression invokes this speechless materiality and, in the process, it
discloses hidden meanings.87 Among the arts, musical expression may
best convey these unspoken aspects of culture and politics. Elsewhere
I have argued that Habermass musical metaphors disclose this deeper
register of public discourse and, with it, the commitment to demo-
cratic inclusion that animates his theory of communicative rationality.

His metaphors convey how the diverse voices of democratic citizens

exceed the limits of rational discourse, especially the legal language of
equal rights.88
For Habermas, democratic discourse necessarily involves careful
translation, especially regarding aesthetic and religious expression.89
He argues that the liberal principle of toleration models an inclusive
liberal democracy for two reasons: 1) it situates questions of politi-
cal legitimacy within a pluralist worldview, 2) and it links moral and
legal principles within secular society to a religious ethos.90 Recognition
of cultural rights, especially religious freedoms, gives diverse citizens
access to the communications, traditions, and practices that sustain
their individual and communal identities. However, Habermass lib-
eral tolerance still requires citizens from different cultures to accept a
common political culture for purposes of public discourse. In effect,
liberal principles of freedom and toleration require religious citizens
to set aside their cultural traditions and accept secular democracy.91
Even Habermass supporters argue that this requirement creates trans-
lation problems and unequal burdens for religious citizens. According
to Maria Pia Lara, Religious convictions, feelings, and views might
not be easily translatable because they cannot be the subject of con-
ceptual semantics. They are much better captured through stories.92
Religious diversity also means that citizens may experience consider-
able cognitive dissonance when they encounter mutually exclusive and
constitutionally protected worldviews. Liberal tolerance, at best, offers
an uneasy and unstable truce between public reason and private beliefs.
Habermas does not minimize the difficulty of public dialogues
between religious and secular citizens, and he acknowledges that
mutual understanding is unlikely. Yet he hopes that this confrontation
can sharpen post-secular societys awareness of the unexhausted force
[das Unabgagoltene] of religious traditions.93 Philosophy and religion are
both deeply rooted in metaphysical worldviews that postsecular societ-
ies falsely claim to supersede. For this reason, philosophers and theo-
logians should consider how public reason and religious faith might
interact productively. Most important, postsecular democracy should
recognize that secularization functions less as a filter separating out
the contents of traditions than as a transformer which redirects the
flow of tradition.94
The continued presence of religious worldviews reveals the lim-
its of secular reason, among them the failure of liberal democracy to
Mobilizing White Pow er 17

foster social solidarity. According to Habermas, secular morality is

not inherently embedded in communal practices.95 Because religious
traditions sustain strong bonds of community, he turns to them for
what is missing in modern democracies. Religious experience bridges
the gaps in postsecular societies between the moral intuitions of indi-
viduals and shared struggles for meaning, solidarity, and justice. To
build those bridges, secular citizens and religious believers alike must
recognize the limitations of their worldviews.96 For his part, Haber-
mas admits that the best reasons may not be merely rational, and that
cognitive reason, moral autonomy, and individual rights cannot sustain
a liberal democracy.97 Something more is required. He concludes, If
religiously justified stances are accorded a legitimate place in the pub-
lic sphere ... [then] the political community officially recognizes that
religious utterances can make a meaningful contribution to clarifying
controversial questions of principle.98
As his musical metaphors disclose, the moral intuitions Habermas
associates with religious experience are also expressed in the arts and
popular culture. New social movements located on the seam between
the public sphere and political-economic systems use aesthetic expe-
riences to disclose new realities. Although media publics enforce
control and coopt citizens, the media also empowers new social move-
ments, some of them with emancipatory potentials. When sys-
tem imperatives clash with independent communication structures,
Habermas maintains that even a damaged intersubjectivity can
mobilize in protest. In a well-known passage, he writes: The issue is
not primarily one of compensations that the welfare state can provide,
but of defending and restoring endangered ways of life. In short, the
new conflicts are not ignited by distribution problems but by questions
having to do with the grammar of forms of life. Among other things,
new social movements attempt to foster the revitalization of possibil-
ities for expression and communication that have been buried alive.99
Habermas distinguishes between progressive social movements
that carry forward the emancipatory potentials of Enlightenment tra-
ditions and regressive ones that focus on resistance and withdrawal.
He further differentiates between resistance movements that stress
the defense of tradition and social rank (based on property) and a
defense that already operates on the basis of a rationalized lifeworld
and tries out new ways of cooperating and living together.100 This
further distinction illuminates the cultural politics of white supremacy

today. Even as the radical right defends traditional white racial superi-
ority against global, multicultural democracy, they also mobilize their
supporters in new and revolutionary ways. Habermas is no longer opti-
mistic, if he ever was, that progressive movements will prevail against
the formidable challenges facing postsecular democracies today. He
writes, I suspect that nothing will change in the parameters of public
discussion and in the decisions of politically empowered actors with-
out the emergence of a social movement which fosters a complete
shift in political mentality. The tendencies towards a breakdown in soli-
darity in everyday life do not exactly render such mobilization within
western civil societies probable.101
In the chapters that follow, I argue that right-wing and neofascist
groups are already mobilizing to fill this gap in solidarity. For this rea-
son, Habermass turn to religion to explore what is missing in secu-
lar democracy and how cultural traditions can foster social solidarity is
puzzling.102 He risks valorizing more regressive, traditional, and holistic
worldviews, and he fails fully to explore the role of aesthetic expres-
sion in public discourse. There are many possible reasons why Haber-
mas focuses on religion rather than aesthetics. They include: the Nazis
use of propaganda to manipulate mass audiences; his intellectual debts
to Theodor Adorno, his teacher; his need to distance critical theory
from postmodern young conservatives; and his overdrawn distinc-
tions between aesthetics, reason, and politics. With his reticence about
aesthetic expression, Habermas potentially underestimates citizens
capacities to exercise their considered judgment, especially regarding
undemocratic cultural projects.103 He also leaves open the question
whether and, if so, how the arts and popular culture, especially music,
might foster aesthetic reason and social solidarity. I return to this ques-
tion, specifically, the potential for aesthetic-expressive experience to
build democratic solidarity, in my final chapter.

Inclusive Communication and Hybrid Democracy

The second perspective I consider here suggests why and how the rec-
ognition of cultural differences requires more of democratic citizens
than mere tolerance of cognitive dissonance. I began to notice Haber-
mass musical metaphors while I was reading Iris Youngs work on com-
municative democracy. Young argues that representative institutions
Mobilizing White Pow er 19

and, more broadly, deliberative democracy should pluralize modes of

political communication in order to counter internal exclusions.104
According to Young, internal exclusions involve cultural and structural
norms that define the terms of political discourse in ways that privi-
lege some groups and dismiss, ignore, or silence others. These norms
often operate well below the surface of deliberative discourse and they
constitute citizens sense of ontological integrity or their basic security
system. As Young puts it, Judgments of beauty or ugliness, attraction
or aversion, cleverness or stupidity, competence or ineptness, and so
on are made unconsciously in interactive contexts and in generalized
media culture, and these judgments often mark, stereotype, devalue, or
degrade some groups.105 In the process, they simultaneously celebrate
or, at least, elevate the experience of dominant groups as normal and
Youngs primary concern was the tendency of deliberative demo-
crats (like Habermas) to privilege rational argument, a highly cogni-
tive mode of public discourse historically associated with the rising
white, male, middle class in western liberal democracies. To counter
this tendency and facilitate cross-cultural understanding, Young pro-
posed three additional and complementary modes of public discourse.
The first, greeting, opens up a space for conversation by recognizing
specific individuals in their concrete particularity. The second, rhet-
oric, acknowledges the importance of art, humor, literature, music,
and, more generally, figurative language in public discourse. It invokes
the world-disclosive powers of human communication and reveals the
impossibility of purely denotative language or entirely rational argu-
mentation. The third, story-telling, reveals the experiential truths of
specific individuals that resist direct translation into general concepts,
such as universal rights.106
To make a point that Young did not, these additional modes of
political communication often disclose new meanings through what
Alessandro Ferrara calls the force of the example. According to
Ferrara, singular individuals or entire peoples can be exemplary. Their
gestures, rhetoric, and stories can exemplify beauty and ugliness,
attraction and aversion, cleverness or stupidity, competence or inept-
nessand, Ferrara adds, good and evil. Ferrara argues that examples
orient us in our appraisal of the meaning of action not as schemata,
but as well-formed works of art do: namely, as outstanding instances
of congruency capable of educating our discernment.107 In politics,

constitutional provisions, institutional arrangements, fundamental

principles, and even regimes or regions may serve as examples to oth-
ers. The meanings these examples convey often help to create and
shape the larger political imaginary that orients individual and collec-
tive action. They can even become part of the shared sense of onto-
logical integrity and basic security that Young describes. As Ferrara
puts it, The ability to mobilize politically rests on the force of the
exemplary to inspire conduct.108
Youngs discussion of rhetoric is most relevant for my purposes
here, though greeting and story-telling, especially the telling of exem-
plary stories, remain important. Young suggests why Habermass musi-
cal metaphors frequently appeared when rational discourse encountered
the problems of internal exclusion she addresses. Young specifically
mentions that chanting and singing for a cause were among her
greatest joys of democratic participation and collective solidarity.109 An
inclusive democratic discourse requires more than additional reason-
able arguments; it takes multiple modes of political communication to
reveal how cultural differences shape interactions in the public sphere.
In Inclusion and Democracy, Young developed two models of demo-
cratic processesaggregative and deliberativeand gestured toward a
third model, that is, agonistic democracy. Music plays a different role in
the democratic politics of each model. Aggregative democracy with its
focus on campaigns, candidates, and elections, is best represented by
campaign theme songs. These songs are often borrowed from popular
musicians, though some are composed for a specific campaign and not
always with official support.110 With its emphasis on social movements
and justice struggles, deliberative democracy is best associated with
protest music, most often in the folk genre. My focus in Musical Democ-
racy was protest music from the civil rights and feminist movements,
but the environmental, labor, and peace movements also have strong
and overlapping traditions of protest music.111 Here, I examine the use
of music in agonistic politics or, more generally, the contesting of cul-
tural and political borders and identities through music. Although pro-
test songs also play a role, I would suggest that anthemsnational,
subnational, and postnationaltypify agonistic political struggles.
In her later works, Young brings these multiple modes of polit-
ical communication to debates about global justice and postcolonial
democracy. Following Homi Bhabha, she reinterprets the history of
modernity through the lens of cultural and political hybridity. She
Mobilizing White Pow er 21

writes, Development of the institutional imagination and commit-

ment to confront the colonial legacy depends partly on rereading the
history of modernity, democracy, and the building of nation-states
from the point of view of colonized peoples considered as actors and
not merely as those acted upon.112 This hybrid interpretive strategy
troubles many of the binaries in white supremacist discourse, includ-
ing the lyrics of white power music. Among those binaries are: self/
Other, inside/outside, civilized/savage, citizen/alien, modern/primi-
tive.113 Drawing on Native American, specifically Iroquois, approaches
to government, Young argues that hybridity also suggests a post-
sovereign and con-federated model of global governance. Unlike
sovereign states, which clearly distinguish who and what are inside
and outside their borders, a decentered diverse democratic federalism facili-
tates the sharing of global resources, more robust intercultural inter-
actions, and increased self-determination for local peoples.114 Youngs
vision of hybrid democracy as a con-federated web of nations
moves beyond nested levels of national and supranational institutions
and even beyond transnational politics, at least, in the guise of neo-
liberal globalization.115 I return to these questions of hybridity and
con-federation in chapter 2 when I discuss racist skinheads political
model: a transnational cellular network.
For Young, the very possibility of a hybrid democracy requires
those in positions of power and privilege to engage in deep reflec-
tion and accept full responsibility for their role in perpetrating or over-
coming global injustices. In her foreword to Youngs last posthumously
published book, Martha Nussbaum writes: I guess I think that if we
turn outward prematurely, before we conduct an honest critique of
our own inner world, our dedication to ameliorative action may prove
shallow or short-lived.116 I suspect Young would have agreed, and I
hope to prompt such reflection about the agonistic politics of white
supremacy with this study of white power music. Although it differs
from classical fascism in important ways, the political aesthetic of con-
temporary white supremacists is arguably neofascist. Because white
supremacists would subvert the very possibility of global democracy, it
seems important to consider how they use white power music to mobi-
lize support. Even more important, I examine what has prompted
some white power musicians to renounce their former racism. I con-
sider the force of their exemplary stories of personal transformation
in the final chapter.

Inverted Totalitarianism and Fugitive Democracy

A third perspective on culture and politics, Sheldon Wolins concept of

inverted totalitarianism, provides a useful starting point for under-
standing the differences between classical fascism and white suprem-
acist movements today. For Wolin, an inversion is conventionally
defined as an instance of somethings being turned upside down.117 An
inverted order is not created through revolutionary changes; instead, it
emerges imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly and in seeming unbroken
continuity with the nations political traditions.118 Wolin argues that
an inversion is present when a system, such as a democracy, produces
a number of significant actions ordinarily associated with its antith-
esis.119 According to Wolin, all democratic orders are sustained by
two interrelated political imaginaries: 1) a constitutional imaginary pre-
scribes the procedures, such as elections and laws, through which state
authority is legitimated and limited; 2) and, a power imaginary attempts
continually to expand state capacities, often beyond those prescribed
constitutional limits. An animating myth and providential mission jus-
tify these expansionist efforts as required, for example, by struggles
against communism, fascism, and now terrorism. These epic struggles
to defend liberal democracy from all-powerful and evil enemies pro-
vide the rationale for suspending constitutional limits and expanding
government powers and result eventually in the establishment of an
inverted totalitarian order.
Wolin contrasts the new and inverted form of totalitarianism
emerging in America today with classical fascism. The latter resulted
from self-conscious and deliberate decisions; mobilized support from
the masses; advocated strongly for public unity; relied on centralized,
charismatic leadership; expanded state power; distinguished Home-
land from foreign lands; and invoked a collective identity against
known enemies. However, inverted totalitarianism barely distinguishes
its elected leaders from corporate managers and reduces democratic
citizens to consumers/clients of the political-economic system. It is
also characterized by pervasive tendencies toward pragmatic decision-
making, a fragmented public sphere, privatized basic services, reduced
rights, generalized amnesia, and civic compliance. Unlike classical fas-
cism, inverted totalitarianism is only in part a state-centered phenom-
enon. Primarily, it represents the political coming of age of corporate
power and the political demobilization of the citizenry.120
Mobilizing White Pow er 23

Wolins extensive analysis of the gradual emergence of inverted

totalitarianism is compelling and, at times, chilling. However, he some-
how misses or, at least, minimizes the ongoing mobilization of right-
wing extremists among the depoliticized citizens of the managed
democracy he depicts. Although Wolin asks whether persistent rac-
ism is the inverted totalitarian analogue to Nazi genocide, he con-
cludes that deep ambivalence blocks much contemporary racistand
antiracistactivism.121 Wolins perception of public disengagement is
probably influenced, in part, by his general sense of the fugitive char-
acter of democracy, that is, his conviction that democracy is better
understood as an ephemeral phenomenon than a settled system.122
Although he acknowledges that fugitive movements can mobilize
citizens across the political spectrum, Wolin, like many other demo-
cratic theorists, gives radical right-wing movements relatively little
This conspicuous absence may be further explained by Wolins
emphasis on inversions of political and economic institutions. Like
many democratic theorists, Wolin tends to downplay the political
importance of the arts and popular culture. For the most part, he sep-
arates politics from aesthetics and culture, and presents the latter as
matters of individual choice, taste, or will. For example, he regards the
culture wars in American politics as a distraction from strong democ-
racy. He refers to them as expressions of antipolitics or separat-
ist politics rather than cultural politics.124 Regarding the symbolic
politics of myth-making, which is clearly an aesthetic phenomenon,
Wolin seems to assume that political elites continue to manipulate the
mass media as they always have. In response to a Bush administra-
tion remark, Were an empire now, we create our own reality, Wolin
writes: It would be difficult to find a more faithful representative of
the totalitarian credo that true politics is essentially a matter of will,
of a determination to master the uses of power and to deploy them to
reconstitute reality. The statement is a fitting epigraph to Riefenstahls
Triumph of the Willis it a possible epitaph for democracy in Amer-
ica?125 By invoking Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitlers documentary film-
maker, along with Friedrich Nietzsches concept of the will to power,
Wolin acknowledges that inverted totalitarianism has its aesthetic poli-
tics; the political will of its leaders continues to be staged. Yet he
does so without exploring fully how fascist aesthetics has changed
since the Third Reich. In his autobiography, Arno Michaelis, another

former racist skinhead, recounts his very different experience of Rief-

enstahls film, which he watched in VHS format looping endlessly on
television: I got the feeling that Ken and the other six members of
the Fourth Reich spent the bulk of their leisure wearing out Leni Rief-
enstahls work of Hitlerama while spun out of their gourds on robust
biker acid.126 Michaelis also encountered Nietzsche through the lead
song on Skrewdrivers Hail the New Dawn. He now writes, Did I ever
really believe in the new dawn of Skrewdriver and racist dogma? Now
I wasnt so sure. I did daydream about what an all white world would
be like when the pursuit of such a twisted goal consumed me.127 Rac-
ist skinheads continue to invoke these iconic figures, even though
white power music makes its myths in strikingly new ways.
Each of these democratic theorists offers an important and incom-
plete perspective on the relationship between aesthetics, culture, and
politics: Wolin emphasizes the increasingly pervasive corporate man-
agement of an inverted political and economic order, including its
dominant myths; Young challenges western democracies to embrace
more inclusive modes of public discourse and to create hybrid institu-
tions; Habermas redirects cultural traditions toward liberal constitu-
tions that from his Eurocentric perspective protect religious freedoms.
Although each contributes to contemporary democratic theory in
important ways, none fully explains why white supremacists are mobi-
lizing at record levels in western liberal democracies. Young arguably
comes closest: she suggests why some (white) citizens would think cul-
tural diversity threatens their ontological identity or basic security sys-
tem and mobilize to defend themselves against it. Yet even Youngs
more radically democratic vision of decentered, diverse, democratic
federalism ultimately remains limited by her emphasis on institutional
designs for realizing global justice.


Without denying the importance of constitutional principles and dem-

ocratic institutions, I shift the focus to the aesthetic and cultural tradi-
tions of western liberal democracies. As Carole Pateman and Charles
Mills have argued, the European and American social contract theories
that undergird western principles of individual rights are only super-
ficially democratic.128 The original social contract presumes a number
Mobilizing White Pow er 25

of prior contractsracial, settler, and sexualthat continue to sus-

tain cultural and political exclusions. From the beginning, American
independence rested on the misconception that European explorers
discovered and settled the previously unoccupied territories of North
America. White supremacists reinvoke this doctrine of discovery in
folk songs about their racial homeland, a pastoral land of great beauty
called Vinland. In reality, the British and other Europeans occupied
America by forcibly removing indigenous peoples through cultural,
economic, and political genocide and using the labor of enslaved Afri-
cans and indentured servants. Native Americans, enslaved Africans,
poor white men, and women of all colors were consciously excluded
from the social contract codified in the US Constitution. The history
of ongoing struggles to right these original injustices itself suggests
the democratic limits of western constitutional traditions.
For each of the two phases Mills identifies in the development of
the American racial contract, institutional arrangements are only the tip
of the cultural-political iceberg. Phase one, the de jure racial contract,
was marked by legal policies of confinement, discrimination, enslave-
ment, exploitation, and genocide against nonwhites. In this phase,
racialized others (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow) represented a Lockean
state of nature, or the uncultivated wilderness peopled by uncivilized
natives that (white) civil society had already overcome.129 From this
perspective, the legal exclusions of nonwhites from full personhood
codified in the US Constitution, such as the omission of Native Amer-
icans, the extension of the slave trade, and the three-fifths clause, were
arguably reasonable and appropriate. Phase two or the de facto racial
contract began with postCivil War Reconstruction and continues into
the present day. It includes a series of Constitutional amendments, leg-
islative statutes, and Supreme Court decisions intended to make politi-
cal and legal equality the law of the land. These various measures have
fostered the superficial impression that the United States is a multicul-
tural democracy.
Most recently, this extended second phase has involved claims by
some citizens that American democracy is now postcolonial, postfemi-
nist, and postracial. As Wendy Brown notes, the prefix post signi-
fies a formation that is temporally after but not over that to which it is
affixed.130 Mills argues that these claims to be post misrepresent
the persistence of white supremacy in America. Unacknowledged,
sometimes unconscious, white power and privilege often motivate

such claims. Today the United States may be entering a third phase
that combines what might be called retro-racism with new forms
of racial oppression. Recent increases in right-wing extremism rein-
voke some of the original problematic assumptions of western liberal
democracies, now ostensibly to defend a white race newly endangered
by globalization and multiculturalism.131
By situating white power music in this cultural-political history, I
hope to show how it expresses the lingering ties between liberal democ-
racy and white supremacy. In the process, and without denying the real
dangers they pose, I would shift the focus away from external threats
to liberal democracy by outsiders, such as foreigners, immigrants,
and terrorists. This outward focus deflects attention from the histori-
cal origins of western liberal democracies in white racial hegemony.132
Many liberal democrats regard so-called domestic terrorists, including
white supremacists, as quasi-outsiders or lone wolves operating on
the margins of society. Those who trace hate-motivated acts of vio-
lence to individual pathologies alone bypass the deep complicity of
hegemonic liberalism with white supremacy.133 A hegemon is a lead-
ing or paramount power, and hegemony refers to the predominance
of one state or social group over others.134 Hegemonic liberalism
describes the legacy of European conquest that continues to shape
cultural, economic, and political processes of globalization. Although
European empires have fallen, the Eurocentric world order they cre-
ated persists in other forms. According to Stuart Hall, the regula-
tory normative ideal of a compulsive Eurocentrism still constructs
racialized and ethnicized subjects as its Other.135 Racial difference
is not only marked and stereotyped but also naturalized. As Hall
puts it, Naturalization is ... a representational strategy designed to
fix difference, and thus secure it forever. The result is what he calls a
racialized regime of representation.136
Today neoliberal market processes have to a great extent sup-
planted traditional nation-states as the rulers of this global econ-
omy with its diverse populations. The resulting world order is best
described as transnational liberal hegemony.137 When western democ-
racy is seen as a project of hegemonic liberalism that involvedand
often still involvesexterminating Native Americans, enslaving Afri-
cans, disenfranchising women, interning Japanese Americans, bashing
gays, and deporting Arabs and Hispanics, and so on, the vulnerability
of many citizens to right-wing cultural politics becomes less surprising.
Mobilizing White Pow er 27

An unacknowledged investment in white supremacypolitical, eco-

nomic, and culturalmarks the history of liberal democracy from
Britain to America and beyond. I ask (white) liberal democrats to con-
sider how the white power music scene discussed here, at least in some
respects, reveals the internal cultural-political demons of western lib-
eral democracies.
This means that struggles for justice need to address the realm
of the arts and popular culture, as well as political and economic sys-
tems. Yet the tendency persists in modern western liberal democracies
to separate politics from aesthetics and to regard aesthetics as a mat-
ter of individual choice, taste, or will. Suggesting otherwise questions
the liberal democratic idea that society has distinct public and private
spheres, and that art belongs in the latter realm of personal experi-
ence. According to John Locke and many others, individuals dem-
onstrate their capacity to bear the full rights and responsibilities of
citizenship through their industry, property, and rationality.138 Locating
the arts in the private sphere reinforces the apparent rationality of
liberal democracy and positions aesthetic experiences as private mat-
ters, appropriately confined to the inner worlds of liberal subjects or,
at least, their personal lives.139 This liberal tendency to locate aesthetic
experience in the private sphere further reinforces the concept of art
as autonomous and above the pressures of economic and political
realities.140 It also contributes to perceptions of the artist as a solitary,
creative individual, rather than a full participant in a larger community.
Early liberals thought members of marginalized groups, such as
women and children, laborers, and other (nonwhite) races, were more
vulnerable to these non- or irrational experiences. Their greater emo-
tional vulnerability further justified the exclusion of these groups from
full political rights.141 Although some aesthetic sensibilities, like imagina-
tion and sympathy, remained important factors that should inform the
political judgment of liberal subjects, those affective qualities required
careful cultivation and control. Aesthetic values could indirectly guide
political judgments, but they were not regarded as adequate or appro-
priate foundations for political institutions, procedures, and policies.142
At this point, it seems appropriate to ask whether the depoliticization
of aesthetic experience might itself be a cultural-political project of
modern western liberal democracy. From a larger perspective, the lib-
eral privatizing of aesthetic experience may have significant implica-
tions for how citizens understand and practice democratic politics.143

At the very least, it potentially dissuades citizens from reflecting on the

political implications of their aesthetic judgments.



According to Susan Sontag, Leni Riefenstahls films exemplify the

major features of classical fascist aesthetics. As she summarizes those
features, National Socialismmore broadly, fascism ... stands for
an ideal or rather ideals that are persistent today under other banners:
the ideal of life as art, the cult of beauty, the fetishism of courage, the
dissolution of alienation in ecstatic feelings of community; the repu-
diation of the intellect; the family of man (under the parenthood of
leaders).144 Sontag claims that a deep longing for this romantic ideal
persists among liberal democrats. Their romantic desires can be seen
in such diverse modes of cultural dissidence and propaganda for new
forms of community as the youth/rock culture, primal therapy, anti-
psychiatry, Third World camp-following, and belief in the occult.145
She also argues that citizens of liberal democracies are woefully lim-
ited in their ability to detect the fascist longings in their midst, pre-
cisely because of the(ir) separation of politics and aesthetics.146 By
depoliticizing the arts and popular culture, liberal democrats unwit-
tingly minimize the capacity of democratic citizens to engage critically
with cultural-political projects, including the racial formation of liberal
democracy itself.
Although Sontags argument is controversial, scholars generally
agree that she has performed a valuable function by focusing atten-
tion on fascist aesthetics. Some acknowledge explicitly the delicate
nature of Sontags attempt to get inside fascisms power of fascina-
tion in order to break the spell.147 Others note that the fall of the
Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War challenged facile compari-
sons of fascism and communism, while prompting renewed interest in
both ideologies.148 Those who question the continuity Sontag identifies
between Nazi Germany and the New Left stress that aestheticized pol-
itics varies considerably, depending on multiple institutional and ide-
ological factors. For example, Linda Schulte-Sasse notes that fascism
involves structural as well as symbolic politics and claims that Sontag
only addresses the latter. For Schulte-Sasse, fascist aesthetics attempts
Mobilizing White Pow er 29

to dissolve the boundary between the institutionally separated spheres

of modern reality and to provide a space of reconciliation, albeit a
Scheinor illusory reconciliation, within reality.149 This fascist aesthetic
requires a mass experience of intoxication: The transgression of
the separate realm of the aesthetic, or, more precisely, the introduction
of the aesthetic into reality, requires an actual mediation of the instru-
mental and decentering experiences in a new mode of the political.150
Anticipating Wolins argument, Schulte-Sasse concludes that American
individualism is more likely to produce a politics of disengaged citizen-
consumers than the highly mobilized mass politics of classical fascism.
In short, the relationship between ideology and culture matters, and
both affect the political choices of individuals.151 As a case in point,
Michael Mackenzie argues that Sontag misunderstands and, hence,
mislabels the aesthetic that motivates Riefenstahls films.152 From his
perspective, Riefenstahls films invoke Ferdinand Tnniess distinc-
tion between organic community (Kultur) and mechanical expres-
sion (Zivilization), rather than an ideal of Aryan beauty versus Jewish
degeneracy.153 Riefenstahls sociological perspective and her extensive
training in expressive dance explain why her films celebrate the beauty,
grace, and strength of male and female, African and Aryan, bodies
alike. Even Mackenzie does not entirely absolve Riefenstahl of racial
prejudice. He also stresses the moral responsibility incumbent upon
anyone meddling in the public discourse of the body in a fascist state
predicated on racist ideology.154
My purpose here is not to resolve the controversy over Riefens-
tahls films or Sontags interpretation of them. None of Sontags critics
accepts Riefenstahls disingenuous claim that her films, including Tri-
umph of the Will, celebrate an apolitical aesthetic of sublime beauty. They
also agree that Sontag identifies a larger and potentially serious prob-
lem with the cultural politics of liberal democracy and raises important
questions about its similarities with classical fascism. Regarding music,
other scholars have studied its role in the cultural politics of the Third
Reich. Nazi music was among the last German art forms that scholars
reassessed and only after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of
Soviet communism. According to Pamela Potter, assessments of music
in the Third Reich should question the simple binary of good-pro-
gressive-migr music and bad-regressive-Nazi music.155 Although
the Nazis persecuted degenerate musicians and used music as pro-
paganda to foster racial nationalism, the Third Reich was more than a

musical dystopia whose Jewish musicians were confined initially to

ghettos and later annihilated in concentration camps.156 Some compos-
ers and performers fled Nazi Germany, but others remained; they com-
plied with Nazi policies and served the German nation. Given the rich
history of German music, the Allies spared many prominent musicians
from postwar de-Nazification processes. The music labeled degener-
ate by the Nazis was itself very diverse, including jazz, swing, and
atonal music as well as the classical compositions of German and Jew-
ish composers. Potter concludes that the paradox of German culture
thriving amidst the hatred and suspicion of the Nazi years, difficult
as it is to comprehend, is nevertheless all the more important to ana-
lyze, because it holds a key to understanding how societies we regard
as advanced and cultivated can so readily succumb to fear and xeno-
phobia and continue to feel justified in their courses of action.157 In
his definitive history of Beethovens Ninth Symphony, Esteban Buch
poses this all-too-stark question: how can we comprehend the piping
of Beethovens Ode to Joy into the gas chambers at Auschwitz?158
A complete analysis of the role music played in Nazi Germany
is beyond the scope of this study. For my purposes, the most impor-
tant point is that Nazi control of the arts, including music, was highly
centralized.159 In 1938, Joseph Goebbels, the German minister of pro-
paganda, founded the German Music Chamber, Reichsmusikkammer,
which controlled the music profession. Proof of pure Aryan descent
going back at least two generations was required for membership, and
excluded Jewish musicians were effectively banned from the profes-
sion. These seeds had already been sown in 1933, with the creation of
the Jewish Cultural Association, Der Judische Kulturbund, an organization
formed specifically for Jewish musicians. It effectively ghettoized
Jewish music until it was officially banned in 1941. The purpose of
these state-controlled music guilds was to educate the racially pure
German Volk and protect them from recognized sources of cultural
pollution. For example, an Entartete Musik exhibition held in Dussel-
dorf in 1938 featured the works of degenerate composers. The news-
paper Rheinische Landeszeitung described the exhibit as offering a clear
decision in the field of music as to what is and was sick, unhealthy and
in the highest degree dangerous and hence to be stamped out. The
exhibition is a settlement of accounts, which was just as necessary as
was the purge of the visual arts.160 According to one proponent, this
Mobilizing White Pow er 31

exhibition of music is to be part of an intensive educational effort, to

produce a fully valid renewal of Germany as regards mind, soul and
character.161 Many of the musicians whose compositions were fea-
tured in the exhibition were later deported to Terezn, a model con-
centration camp outside of Prague from which most prisoners were
eventually transported to Auschwitz. While in Terezn, Jewish musi-
cians continued to compose and perform, and the Nazis also capital-
ized on their musical production to showcase living conditions in the
Although white supremacists today continue to promote racial
hatred and genocide through white power music, they reject the cen-
tralized leadership and hierarchical organization of classical fascism.
Nonetheless, it is a mistake to ignore the continuities Sontag finds
between the Nazis aesthetic politics and contemporary movements on
the political Right and Left. It is also a mistake to ignore the conti-
nuities between the fantasies of heroism, nationalism, and tribalism
found in white power music and some of the messages found in pop-
ular music today. As my case studies reveal, the aesthetic politics of
white supremacy today is more complex than standard binaries, such
as fascist versus liberal, totalitarian versus democratic, premodern ver-
sus postmodern, and, perhaps most important, mainstream versus
extremist, might suggest. Sontags analysis of fascinating fascism
raises important questions: How has fascist aesthetic politics changed
now that neoliberal globalization has supplanted traditional nation-
state sovereignty? And does white power music exemplify the political
aesthetic of a new transnational white supremacy?


The next three chapters discuss case studies that illustrate different fac-
ets of the white power music scene and major features of the aesthetic
politics that I call trendy fascism. Before introducing those cases,
I want to explain my use of two terms: trendy and music scene.
Standard definitions of trendy include fashionable, up to date in
style or influence, keenly aware of and responsive to the latest devel-
opments, and a person who follows modern fashion and listens to
mainstream music. Although fad and trend connote superficial

conformity to current fashions, a trend is more substantial culturally

and politically than a mere fad. Trends can evolve into a relatively
permanent change or broader cultural shift, a possibility I intend to
suggest with the term trendy fascism.163
Regarding music scene, the white power musicians I discuss
often intentionally blur the boundaries between youth subculture,
interest group, social movement, and political party. Scholars have pre-
viously identified tensions between skinhead culture as a youth style
community and a sought-after constituency for right-wing extremist
parties.164 To further complicate matters, white power musicians now
participate in highly mediated flows of their music across national bor-
ders. Multiple scholars have proposed the term music scene to char-
acterize these transnational flows of audiences, musicians, and their
music.165 A scene includes costumes, dances, fanzines, heroes, myths,
symbols, and websites as well as live and recorded music. Keith Har-
ris distinguishes contemporary music scenes from more traditional
subcultures: Subculture connotes a tight-knit, rigidly bounded,
implacably resistant, male-dominated, geographically specific social
space (if such formations ever did exist). The concept clashes with
contemporary concerns about globalization, the ambiguities of resis-
tance and the heterogeneity of identity. Scene, on the other hand,
connotes a more flexible, loose kind of space within which music
is produced; a kind of context for musical practice. It assumes less
about the homogeneity and coherence of its constituent activities and
members.166 Music scenes rely on access to social media, such as Bit
Torrent, Facebook, iTunes, Twitter, and YouTube, to recruit audiences
and sponsor concerts. Because they operate outside of standard orga-
nizations, it has become increasingly difficult for mainstream political
parties to manage the cultural politics of right-wing extremists, a con-
cern to which I return in later chapters.167
In chapter 2, I examine the origins of the white power music scene
in the racist skinhead music of Ian Stuart Donaldson.168 Skrewdriver,
his primary band, was formed in 1976, and it remains the longest-lived
white power band and one of few known to the mainstream music
industry. In addition to Skrewdriver, Ian Stuart (as he is colloqui-
ally known) formed two more bands, The Klansmen, which targeted
audiences in the American South, and White Diamond, an interna-
tional biker band. I begin with Ian Stuart because repeated testimo-
nials from white supremacists credit his music with recruiting them
Mobilizing White Pow er 33

for the movement. He created the distinctive hybrid music known as

Oi! that combined British punk and West Indian reggae and became
known as racist skinhead music. In 1979, Skrewdriver aligned with
the British National Front Party, which founded its own label, White
Noise Records, to produce music that could recruit young voters. In
1987, the band formed an international social movement called Blood
& Honour, which still maintains a white power fanzine, markets CDs,
sponsors concerts, and hosts a website. When Ian Stuart died in 1993,
as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident, many of his support-
ers thought he was assassinated by the British secret police due to his
growing popularity and outspoken support for terrorism. Ian Stuart,
his bands, and the racist skinhead music scene they founded reveal
the current vision of white Empire as a hybrid global network. Their
anarcho-proto-fascist aesthetic politics challenges the traditional
sovereignty of racialized nation-states.169
The racist skinhead music scene originated in white working-class
struggles against economic inequality and corrupt governments, and
it remains male-dominated, patriarchal, and misogynist. In chapter 3,
I turn to another white power genre, the neo-Nazi folk/pop music of
the teen duo Prussian Blue, to examine the complex intersections of
class, nation, race, and sex/gender in white supremacy today. Prussian
Blue embraces folk/pop music as an authentic (or racially pure) expres-
sion of white culture and uses it to reinvoke a cultural past rooted in
white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.170 Lamb and Lynx Gaede, who
began performing as teenagers in 2001, reveal how the ideal of the tra-
ditional (white) American family supports white supremacists attempts
to reproduce their imagined community, now through a global net-
work of Pioneer Little Europe communities.171 Patricia Hill Collinss
concept of intersectionality illuminates how this idealized traditional
family functions as a social location marked by intersecting forms of
white power and privilege.172 Prussian Blue and the Gaedes, I argue,
offer a rare public glimpse of the personal politics of white supremacy
and the family values that undergird white supremacist transnational-
ism today.
Chapter 4 examines a more philosophical and theological branch
of white supremacy, the World Church of the Creator, founded by
Ben Klassen in 1973 as a racial religion dedicated to racial ecology.173
Creativity illustrates how white supremacist ideology and white power
music have worked together to promote a postsecular racial religion.

The theo-philosophy of Creativity is presented in Klassens major writ-

ings, Natures Eternal Religion, The White Mans Bible, and Salubrious Liv-
ing: A Natural Life Style for Achieving and Maintaining the Ultimate in Superb
Health and Well-Being as Taught and Practiced by the Church of the Creator.174
Rahowa (an acronym for Racial Holy War) is the band George Burdi
(aka Eric Hawthorne) founded in 1989 to promote the Creators mes-
sage of racial ecology. One of the most popular white power bands
in North America, Rahowa performed concerts that often drew large
crowds of five hundred or more. The bands second CD, Cult of the
Holy War, sold roughly forty thousand copies on initial release, instantly
making it a white power music bestseller. After Klassens death in 1993,
the Creativity movement was arguably sustained by George Burdi and
Rahowa. In an interesting twist, Burdi has since renounced his former
racism and joined Life After Hate, a US-based organization founded
by former white supremacists to educate against hate and support
the reentry of former members into mainstream society. Burdi also
formed a new multicultural, multiracial band called Novacosm.175
Burdis transformation provides a powerful segue to my final chap-
ter, which explores alternatives to the white power music scene. Here I
revisit the frameworks for understanding aesthetics, culture, and poli-
tics with which I began, and I suggest another perspective. The anger,
hatred, and violence of the white power music scene springs from
deep aversions and visceral reactions to cultural-political differences.
Drawing on Horkheimers and Adornos Dialectic of Enlightenment, I
argue that white supremacists racial nationalism, that wouldand in
Nazi Germany diddestroy its stereotyped victims, mirrors the false
identity marketed in the consumer products of the culture industry.176
Anti-Semitism and mass culture both enact the interchangeability of
their dehumanized victims, though in profoundly different ways. Both
can only represent difference as samenesswhether the purpose is
entertainment or sacrifice.
Musical sound, I argue, offers an opportunity to break through
this hate-filled order of negative mimesis. The ambiguous meanings,
ephemeral qualities, and corporeal experience of musical expres-
sionthe very features exploited by white power musiccan also
catalyze processes of aesthetic reason.177 The life stories of former
white supremacists, many of whom entered and exited the movement
through music, exemplify such processes of transformation. They
Mobilizing White Pow er 35

show how political communication that includes the arts and popular
culture, especially music, can contribute to processes of aesthetic rea-
son. Those processes, I argue, can foster self-reflection, engage moral
sensibilities, recognize human vulnerability, and promote a more inclu-
sive public discourse and, with it, a less violent public sphere.


Racist Skinheads, Skrewdriver, and Liberal Tolerance

Ian Stuart opened my eyes, and many others to the Whitemans cause.
Benny, Ian Stuart Donaldson

Ian Stuart Donaldsons official biography opens with the following

description of how Skrewdrivers music affected its author, who is
known only as Benny:

Ian Stuart opened my eyes, and many others to the White-

mans cause. I can still remember the first time I heard his
voice come growling out of my speakers, sending a shot of
adrenalin through my body and from that day on my life
changed. In track after track of hard hitting, boot stomping
rock he sang of truth, of clenched White fists, and the pride
of our peoples past, and the promise of a bright and glorious
future for the youth who dared to dream and dared to fight.1

Bennys experience is more common than some might suppose. For-

mer racist skinheads repeatedly discuss how Skrewdrivers music
recruited them and others to the movement. T. J. Leyden credits Ian
Stuart with getting the Skinhead Movement going in Europe and
bringing it to the United States. He says, It [Skrewdrivers music] had


a hard-hitting, addictive beat. Usually once I gave some kids this free
music, they wanted more.2 In a passage from his memoir, Christian
Picciolini, a cofounder of Life After Hate, conveys what made Ian Stu-
arts music so effective:

I fell hard for the edgy British punk bandtheir tunes and
beats, the way they dressed and behaved, and the raspy voice
of Ian Stuart, their gruff lead singer. His songs were different,
unlike anything Id ever heard. I felt they brought life to a dif-
ferent and more exciting level. They had something to say, and
Ian Stuart voiced it with unmatched intensity. But that was
inconsequential. I became too engrossed in the energy of the
music itself, and I barely registered their lyrics.3

Of Skrewdrivers song Hail the New Dawn, Arno Michaelis writes,

Hearing that song enticed me down a path rife with violence, hate,
death, and imprisonment that I had narrowly escaped.4 As these and
many other listeners testimonials reveal, Ian Stuart Donaldsons music
clearly qualifies as hate music by the criteria discussed previously.
Ian Stuarts racist skinhead music also contributes to the longer
history of white supremacy in western liberal democracies.5 My title
phrase, playing with hate, is meant to convey the complex rela-
tionship between the cultural politics of white supremacy and liberal
democracy. Racist skinhead musicians, who reproduce identity-based
aversions to nonwhites, often deny that their music has serious politi-
cal meaning or sometimes any meaning at all. Some scholars agree and
present skinhead music as part of the punk subculture, interpreting
even its racist messages as nihilistic noise against the system.6 Lib-
eral democrats, who respond to hate music by defending freedom of
speech and toleration of cultural differences, often obscure the ties
between hegemonic liberalism and white supremacy that undergird
these expressions of racial hatred.7 I argue instead that racist skin-
head music and such responses to it show how, in different ways, white
supremacists and liberal democrats are both playing with hate. Racist
skinheads hate music reveals the inner demons of a hegemonic liber-
alism, including its continuing complicity with white supremacy. For
those who support racial equality and social justice, the racist skinhead
music scene raises the question: Why tolerate white power musicians
Playing w ith H ate 39

playing hate music in a liberal-democratic society? Is this also playing

around with hate?
This chapter begins with the story of Ian Stuart Donaldson and
his bands and then explores the inverted reality that characterizes his
racist skinhead music and, more generally, white supremacy today. I
emphasize two inversions that shape the distorted world of racist skin-
heads and their music: global hybrids and cellular networks. Both are
important features of the neofascist aesthetic that accompanies the
political order that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism.


When Ian Stuart died in 1993 from injuries sustained in a car accident,
many of his followers thought that the British secret police had mur-
dered him due to the growing popularity of his music and his outspo-
ken support for the neo-Nazi terrorist group Combat 18.8 At the time,
Ian Stuart was facing trial for a street fight with patrons of a gay pub,
and Skrewdriver, his primary band, was scheduled to play at the largest
white nationalist music festival in European history. He had recently
told Combat 18 members that he might soon be assassinated, a remark
supporters later took as further evidence that his car was sabotaged.
Although he died a martyr, Ian Stuart was born in relative obscu-
rity in 1957 to working-class parents in Blackpool, England. He left
school in 1974 with a couple of O levels and worked low-paying,
dead-end jobs as an apprentice coach trimmer, a car washer, and then
a clerical assistant.9 In 1975, he formed his first band, which he named
the Tumbling Dice after the Rolling Stones song. Like many racist
skinhead bands, its members came from a white male teenage street
gang. Their music combined the sounds of popular rock bandsthe
Clash, the Who, and the Stoneswith song lyrics that reflected white
working-class skinhead culture. The Tumbling Dice was short-lived,
but Ian Stuart formed a new band in 1976 with some of the same
members and began to compose his own music. Inspired by the Sex
Pistols, whose music Gracyk describes as a shotgun marriage of frus-
tration and intelligence, Ian Stuart wrote several punk numbers that
the band successfully performed at local pubs.10 A British recording
company, Chiswick Records, heard the group perform, offered them

a contract for the song All Skrewed Up, and gave the band its name,
Skrewdriver. Under the Chiswick label the band relocated to London
where they developed a following of loyal fans, many of whom were
also white working-class skinheads.
In 1976, Rock Against Racism (RAR) and the Anti-Nazi League
began organizing concerts in London featuring prominent punk and
reggae bands, including the Clash, whose song White Riot became a
RAR anthem. RAR hoped to catalyze an antiracist, working-class cul-
tural, economic, and political rebellion in Britain. As I discuss in greater
detail later, the distinct sounds of reggae music, which was already
associated with resistance and rebellion in the ghettoes of Kingston,
Jamaica, and beyond, contributed to the resurgence of punk music
in 1970s Britain. Joe Strummer of the Clash experimented with the
reggae beat, and prominent Jamaican musicians, such as Bob Marley,
expressed their support for Rock Against Racism. In Catch a Fire, his
definitive biography, Timothy White describes Marleys response to the
Clash and conflicts between RAR and the British National Front Party:

While in London [in 1974] with Lee Perry, he heard the Clash
for the first time. He admired their spunky courage and anger
in the face of Englands social stratification and class-based
economic oppression. He also admired the help that the Clash
and other punk rockers were giving to East and West Indians
(especially dreads, in the latter case) who were being hunted in
the streets by disciples of the neo-fascist National Front and
victimized by the bobbies brutally racist application of the
sus lawsedicts dating back to the Napoleonic Wars that
allowed police to strip search and harass anyone judged to be
loitering with intent.11

Bob Marley wrote his song Punky Reggae Party as a tribute to the
shared antiracist struggles of Jamaican Rastas and punk rockers. The
punk sound that eventually evolved into skinhead music, and later
into Ian Donaldsons racist skinhead version, was originally a cultural
hybrid, a combination of paradigmatic British rock and Jamaican reg-
gae sounds. Not surprisingly, this musical lineage is omitted from the
official biography of Ian Stuart, as well as some cultural studies analy-
ses of the punk and skinhead music scenes.
Playing w ith H ate 41

Skrewdriver officially became a skinhead band in 1977 and soon

afterward faced increasing pressure from RAR to denounce the grow-
ing racism of their fan base, many of whom supported the neofascist
National Front (NF) and British Movement (BM) parties.12 Although a
number of skinhead bands capitulated to RAR and wider media pres-
sure, Skrewdriver refused to modify their increasingly racist working-
class skinhead image. In this respect, the band and its fans exemplify
what Joel Olson calls a cross-class alliance between the capitalist
class and a segment of the working class.13 For the alienated working-
class youth in Skrewdrivers fan base, white racial identity became a
psychological substitute for class struggle and economic justice. The
psychological wages of whiteness gave poor(er) whites a claim to the
rights and privileges of the elite. These psychological wages also pro-
vided a bridge between nationalism and imperialism by marking for-
eign immigrants as racial Others competing for scarce jobs. In these
ways, working-class complicity with white supremacy reinforced the
liberal capitalist order. The tragic question here, a question to which I
return in the final chapter, is why the white working class settles for
being white.14
Skrewdrivers increasingly racist stance led Chiswick Records to
drop the band and it was banned from performing at clubs and con-
certs throughout Britain. Ian Stuart complained bitterly about punk
turning a bit left-wing and associated RAR with what he regarded
as the Marxist dominated music media.15 In a revealing interview, he
describes how Skrewdriver gradually became political:

I wasnt really political at all to be honest, I didnt like blacks,

because Id never seen one till I went down London, and
there I met lots, and they all seemed to have a chip on their
shoulder, I didnt like the lefties funny enough, because they
all reminded me of student being all anti-British and that put
me off them. Most of our mates that came to our gigs were
political, they were either NF (National FrontClub 28 addi-
tion) or BM (British MovementClub 28 addition) and in the
end what happened was the press ordered us along with Sham
69 to denounce those people in the audience, or get banned.
We refused and Sham 69 said OK. So Sham 69 became very
big and we got banned from everywhere, they banned all of

our adverts from the music papers and everything. All this was
in 1977.16

The economic and political pressures on the band were ultimately too
much and in the late 1970s Skrewdriver again broke up.
Ian Stuart used this hiatus from performing and recording to
strengthen his political ties with the NF Party by appearing at ral-
lies throughout Britain to recruit young white voters. With financial
support from the Young National Front (YNF), Skrewdriver briefly
regrouped in 1979 and recorded the song Built Up, Knocked Down
with Tony Johnson Music. Although there was not an official gov-
ernment ban, the major British media continued to refuse to play
Skrewdrivers music and the band dissolved again in 1980. The bands
struggles during these years illustrate powerfully how informal censor-
ship by other artists, businesses, ordinary citizens, and public officials
can complement more formal state legislation against hate music.17
Ian Stuart spent the next four years working in his fathers tool
shop while continuing to travel to NF rallies. Then in 1984, Skrew-
driver released two new and very popular songs, Back with a Bang
and Boots and Braces. Increased racist skinhead demand for their
music resurrected the band once again. Seeing the recruiting potential
of Skrewdrivers music, the NF created its own record label, White
Noise Records, and produced the bands first explicitly political songs:
White Power, Smash the I.R.A., and Shove the Dove. With NF
support, Skrewdriver began to attract large audiences, and their con-
certs often provoked violent clashes between supporters of RAR and
Rock Against Communism (RAC), the now-organized racist skinhead
countermovement. The band again faced mainstream club and media
bans, but this time support from the NF meant they had access to
alternate venues and could continue to perform.
The international white supremacist movement now also became
interested in Skrewdrivers music. Stories about the band began
to appear in white nationalist publications in the United States and
Europe. When the German label Rock-O-Rama offered Skrewdriver
a new recording contract, the band began producing and distributing
their music in Europe. In 1985, Rock-O-Rama released the LP Hail the
New Dawn, which included a popular single, Free My Land. It was
soon followed by a second LP, Blood & Honour. Shortly thereafter, Ian
Stuart was jailed for twelve months due to a street fight with a group
of Blacks. His experience in prison inspired multiple songs about what
Playing w ith H ate 43

he and his supporters regarded as the racial double standard of a Brit-

ish legal system that unfairly targeted whites. These songs, Where Has
Justice Gone and Behind the Bars, were featured on the bands next
Rock-O-Rama LP, White Rider.
By 1987, Skrewdriver had become an established racist skinhead
band and was ready to break with the NF Party, which they claimed
had mismanaged funds from their British record sales. In that year,
Ian Stuart launched his own social movement, called Blood & Hon-
our, dedicated to the promotion of white nationalist music. During
the early 1990s, Blood & Honour formed strong ties with a number
of US-based white supremacist groups, including Tom Metzgers Los
Angelesbased White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and William Pierces
National Alliance, headquartered in West Virginia and home of the
owner of Resistance Records. Blood & Honour sponsored Skrew-
drivers final concerts and several posthumous compilation CDs of Ian
Stuarts music. It continues to maintain a fanzine and a website and to
promote Skrewdrivers music and other racist skinhead bands under
the label White Power Music.
Although Skrewdriver was Ian Stuarts primary band, he also
formed two spin-off groups, The Klansmen and White Diamond.
The Klansmens first release was Fetch the Rope in 1989. They per-
formed rockabilly music, a 1950s mix of country, rhythm and blues,
and western music that some consider rock n roll. The Klansmen
specifically targeted audiences in the American South. In his biogra-
phy of Ian Stuart, Benny describes their sound as pure Rock and
Roll Nationalism with a deep south flavour for those with quiffs and
confederate flags.18 Before Ian Stuarts death, The Klansmen would
record two more albums: Rebel with a Cause, a tribute to Robert Jay Mat-
thews, a leader of The Order who was killed by US government forces
at his Washington State Whidbey Island compound in 1984; and Rock
& Roll Patriots, which was released in 1991 to celebrate the fall of the
Berlin Wall and Soviet communism
Ian Stuarts third band, White Diamond, performed fascist
experimental music and targeted an international biker audience. He
explained the creation of White Diamond as follows: Basically we
are just spreading our wings and trying to appeal to everybody, not
just skinheads.19 White Diamond only produced two CDs, The Reaper
and The Power and the Glory. Their songs convey Ian Stuarts message of
white supremacy with the greatest clarity and maturity, and with a sense
of increased urgency. When Last Chance magazine asked Ian Stuart in

1991, What can you envision yourself doing in 5 or 10 years?, he

replied, Probably being in prison. Theyre bringing in so many new
laws in this country. Or dead!20 Before meeting his demise in a 1993
car crash, Ian Stuart and his primary band, Skrewdriver, would release
three more explicitly political CDs, Live at Waterloo, Freedom What Free-
dom, and Hail Victory.



The neofascist aesthetic that Ian Stuart reproduces in his racist skin-
head music functions as political ideology and framing device. Standard
definitions of political ideology vary considerably and they are often
themselves ideologically charged. Yet widespread agreement exists that
ideologies are coherent, consistent belief systems that inform, justify,
and motivate political action.21 Traditional ideologies are typically asso-
ciated with specific nation-states, for example, Anglo-American liber-
alism, Soviet and East European communism, and German, Italian,
and French fascism. Scholars continue to debate whether nationalism,
including white nationalism, constitutes a political ideology in its own
right. Some portray nationalism as a thin ideology because it empha-
sizes the exceptional worth of the nation and little else.22 Others
argue that nationalism is not an ideology at all but rather a strategy
that some ideologues use to try to advance their causes.23
Today the political ideologies once associated with nation-states
are increasingly overshadowed by localized subcultural and subnational
groups, and regional and global organizations.24 What Manfred Ste-
ger calls the ideological dimensions of globalization have become
a topic of considerable controversy.25 Some argue that globalization
merely reflects the expansion of liberal capitalism and related increases
in national security post-9/11. Some critics of neoliberalism prefer to
characterize capitalist globalization as imperial globalism or even
global empire. Their critiques are powerful reminders that cultures,
ideologies, laws, religions, and values are globalized along with mar-
kets.26 These global flows make it increasingly difficult to maintain bor-
ders between nations, peoples, and music scenes.27
To further complicate matters, some scholars argue that ethnic
and racial hatred has now become an ideology in its own right. For
example, Niza Yanay distinguishes between two different forms of
Playing w ith H ate 45

hatred ... hatred as a response to oppression and hatred as a structure

of an ideology.28 Those who respond to their systematic oppression
with anger and hate are resisting the ideological structure or regime
of control of the economically and politically privileged. As an ideo-
logical structure, hatred is rooted in subconscious anxieties and aver-
sions associated with psychological processes of abjection. Like many
scholars, Yanay turns to Julia Kristevas characterization of the abject
as what I permanently thrust aside in order to live.29 The abject occu-
pies the physical borders of the self and involves bodily discharges of
blood, excrement, mucous, vomit, and, at its most extreme, even death.
The self affirms its own identity and purity through these expulsions
and constructs the abject as a foreign object.
Along with anxiety and aversion, abjection involves ambivalence
toward the foreign objects it constructs. Regarding abjected groups,
Yanay notes two contradictory and opposite aims at once: the need
for contact, dependency, inclusion, and proximity and the need for
separation, differentiation, exclusion, and distance.30 An ideology of
hatred typically defines in-group identity through ambivalent relation-
ships with a targeted out-group or the Other. Hate music articulates
white identity in these negative and oppositional terms: We are anti-
Asian, anti-Black, anti-Christian, antifeminist, anti-gay, anti-Hispanic,
and anti-Muslim, the list goes on. Within this ideological structure,
the Other becomes the object of the dominant groups anger, hatred,
and violence, and the source of their desires for mastery and fears of
Although I agree with Yanay that hatred is often structural, I
doubt that the concept of ideology can encompass fully the phenome-
non of hate music. Another term, framing device, seems a more apt
descriptor. Compared to ideologies, framing involves more dynamic,
fluid, and unstable processes of meaning construction. As Corte and
Edwards define it, framing refers to the production of meaning, the
signifying work through which social movement activists seek to con-
struct their self-presentation and the presentation of events in order
to maintain and draw support.31 Framing processes use linguistic and
other devices to shift codes, that is, to reshape meanings for changing
audiences and contexts.32 In this sense, politics is unavoidably aesthetic
because it involves processes of imagination, perception, and represen-
tation, or the making sense of intelligible reality. In a democracy, these
processes ideally involve disclosing previously unknownunseen and
unheardrealities, for example, the complicity of liberalism with white

supremacy.33 Corte and Edwards explain how ideologies and frames

work together in white power music: Ideology functions as a cultural
resource from which social actors draw ideas, values, and beliefs to
construct meaning through framing processes and framing devices.34
As a framing device for cultural groups, political parties, and social
movements, music communicates far more than the political ideologies
expressed in its song lyrics. Along with these cognitive meanings, it
has affective, physical, and spiritual effects on target audiences. White
supremacists repeatedly claim that musical expression is more effec-
tive than verbal messages for recruiting members. Along with their
music, performers are known for their costumes, dances, fanzines,
gestures, hairstyles, posters, tattoos, and videos. These nonverbal fea-
tures of music scenes work along with song lyrics to frame individual
and collective identities through processes beyond conscious aware-
ness. Simon Frith characterizes how music can frameand reframe
audience perceptions: In taking pleasure from black or gay or female
music I dont thus identify as black or gay or female ... but, rather, par-
ticipate in imagined forms of democracy and desire, imagined forms
of the social and the sexual. ... Music making and music listening ...
are bodily matters; they involve what one might call social movements.35
Although Frith imagines democratic social movements, the processes
of music making and listening that he describes can also serve other
purposes. White power musicians urge their audiences instead to imag-
ine new transnational white supremacist identities.
According to Jessie Daniels, the greatest danger white supremacy
poses is the distorted view of reality it promotes through its websites
and the music they often promote.36 The contemporary white suprem-
acist imaginary operates with what she calls a white racial frame.37 To
characterize its basic features she invokes Charles Millss The Racial Con-
tract.38 As we saw in chapter 1, Mills thinks the historical shift from de
jure to de facto racism makes the ongoing reality of white supremacy less
obvious to many white Americans, because they can now choose to
see racist acts as temporary deviations from a fundamentally just legal-
political order. This misperception reflects what Mills calls an epis-
temology of ignorance, or the inability of many whites to perceive
accurately the racial order they have created. As he explains it, On mat-
ters related to race, the Racial contract prescribes for its signatories an inverted epis-
temology, an epistemology of ignorance, a particular pattern of localized and global
cognitive dysfunctions (which are psychologically and socially functional), producing
Playing w ith H ate 47

the ironic outcome that whites will in general be unable to understand the world
they themselves have made.39 Mills argues that white ignorance of white
supremacy is far from innocent; it is motivated by unacknowledged
and often unconscious power and privilege. Within their inverted real-
ity, whites may even reframe themselves as the victims of racism rather
than its beneficiaries and perpetrators.
When forced to live within this white racial frame, nonwhites typi-
cally develop what W. E. B. Du Bois calls double consciousness.40
Double consciousness describes the capacity of oppressed peoples
simultaneously to accept the reality of the dominant order and to
see through its illusions. Awareness and acceptance of white reality
is an unfortunate condition of survival for many nonwhites. In addi-
tion to this effect of double consciousness, Du Bois discusses how
white supremacy presumes that American citizens are white, not Black,
Brown, Red, or Yellow.41 Whiteness functions as the unacknowledged
norm or default category for citizenship. Nonwhites, who understand
these forms of double consciousness, can perceive de facto as well as de
jure racial hegemony clearly even when many white people cannot.
Two main features of Ian Stuarts music reproduce this white racial
frame and displace whites anger, fear, and hate onto nonwhite Oth-
ers. First, his racial transnationalism inverts nation-state sovereignty
and promotes white supremacy as a global hybrid movement. Second,
the racist skinhead music scene he helped to mobilize inverts central-
ized leadership and organizes a cellular network of white suprema-
cists. Although the white power music scene shares its inverted racial
frame with classical fascism, the global, hybrid, and cellular networks
of racist skinheads and their music reflect a distinctly neofascist politi-
cal aesthetic.



Inversion 1. Inside Out: White Supremacy as Global Hybrid

Unlike classical fascist ideology, racist skinheads music scene knows

no country.42 Instead, it flows freely across the borders between
nation-states as neoliberal capitalism does. Ian Stuarts music combines
and shifts lyrics and styles to suit local, national, and global audiences.

In effect, his hybrid music turns liberal democratic nations inside out
and creates a transnational white supremacist movement.
Multiple Skrewdriver songs extoll pan-Aryan racial community and
the expansionist politics of empire, even as they condemn immigra-
tion and nonwhite immigrants. In White Power, Ian Stuart attacks
Asian immigrants and promotes Paki-bashing, a frequent activity for
American, British, and German racist skinhead groups.43 Skrewdrivers
Free My Land links immigrant, communist, and Jewish threats to
the former British Empire: I stand and watch my country today / Its
easy to see that its being taken away / All the immigrants and all the
left wing lies / Why does no one ever ask the reason why? The songs
mournful chorus is: We were the country that had everything / We
were the country, Rule Britannia we would sing / We were the country
and we could never lose / Once a nation, and now were run by who?
/ We want our country back now!44
Linking nationalism and imperialism, the our country here
extends well beyond the territorial borders of the British (or any)
nation-state and connotes the blood, spirit, and soil of pan-Aryan
empire. The chorus of Skrewdrivers Hail the New Dawn, the
song that so powerfully affected Arno Michaelis and George Burdi,
is Blood of our blood, spirit of our spirit / Sprang from that soil,
for whos sake they bled / Against the vested power, Red front, and
massed reaction / We lead the fight for freedom and for bread.45
A strong sense of an epic battle between the races emerges in many
Skrewdriver songs, such as Excalibur, Blood of the Kings, Road
to Valhalla, or God of Thunder. One of Ian Stuarts favorites,
Tomorrow Belongs to Me, appeals to future generations of white
youth with a vision of the once and future British Empire. With these
allusions to ancient warriors, epic battles, and mythical origins, Ian Stu-
art invokes an imagined white community that is global in its reach.
Economic exploitation and political corruption are prominent
explanations in Skrewdrivers music for Britains decline. For racist
skinheads, the cross-class alliance of contemporary white supremacy
does not absolve capitalists and politicians from responsibility for
their corruption and greed. In the chorus of Power from Profit,
the band sings: Its power from profit, theyre buying our souls / Its
power from profit, puts you on the dole / Its power from profit, a
good jobs hard to find / Its power from profit, theyll soon own our
minds.46 In Thunder in the Cities, the corrupt Zionist Occupational
Playing w ith H ate 49

Government (ZOG) is blamed for selling out Britains finest and caus-
ing the nations continued decline: We see corruption at all levels, /
we know the end is not in sight / Our government is dealing with the
devil and his men, / theyve set out to sell out all Whites. The chorus
urges disempowered whites to take to the streets and riot in protest:
Theres thunder in the cities, theres thunder in the towns / Theres
thunder in the villages, as the walls come tumbling down.47
Whites who do stand up to the government all too often expe-
rience the racial double standard of the so-called British law
machine. Following his first prison term for a street fight with a group
of Blacks, Ian Stuart composed Where Has Justice Gone?, a song
that clearly positions whites as the persecuted victims of their gov-
ernment. Its chorus laments: It seems we stand convicted, accused of
being White / It seems that we are criminals, for were not scared to
fight / Therell be no surrender, to all our peoples foes / Well fight
until the victory, well find the way to go.48 Ian Stuart complained bit-
terly about government harassment of racist skinhead musicians, con-
trasting their treatment with what he saw as the British legal systems
leniency toward Black rappers and Rastas.
After the British police raided the home of Neil Parrish (Skrew-
drivers services coordinator), seized the bands merchandise stored
there, and arrested two members of Blood & Honour, Ian Stuart

Well, its just unbelievable, being put away just for selling
records. As far as Im concerned and as far as anybody I know
is concerned, there has never been anything to say that you
cant sell records, whatever they were. ... Take American rap-
per Ice T, some stores said that they wouldnt stock it, but
most stores do still stock it. It was all a publicity stunt and
has sold more records because of it. Hes never been charged.
Obviously there is nothing wrong in singing about killing white
people and police. No-one was ever done by the law for sell-
ing Ice T records, and no-one has ever been arrested either.49

Like many white power musicians, he vehemently denied that his music
promoted racial hatred and violence, claiming instead that it espoused
white pride: Our records do not incite violence at all, our lyrics are
basically about being proud of our white race. If its illegal to be proud

of your race, why isnt it illegal to be proud to be black, Asian, etc.?50

He also criticized what he perceived as the hypocrisy of attacks on
hate speech and efforts to be politically correct: We cant really win
either way. Axl Rose from Guns and Roses can get away with saying
that naughty N word, because hes a druggie and has got a black in the
band, but I cant risk saying that N word, unless of course I smoke
a joint at gigs and get a rasta bass player, then its okay. Thats how
fucked up and hypocritical everything is.51 These and other remarks
reframe whites as victims and displace their sense of economic and
political injustice onto a racialized Other. Blacks, Asians, Communists,
Jews, and Pakistanis become the source of racist skinheads and ulti-
mately, Britains problems and, hence, the justifiable targets of their
anger, hatred, and violence.
Being white functions here as what Wendy Brown calls a
wounded attachment, a politicized identity based on a story of
shared suffering and struggle.52 In expressing their ressentiment toward
nonwhites, racist skinheads define their white identity by what they
are not. It is a reactive identity formed through negation of the very
Other on which it depends for self-definition. Although racist skin-
heads claim their music expresses white pride and self-love, these emo-
tions arise in opposition to a presumed enemy, who becomes the object
of blame and reproach. In this sense, their ressentiment is an artifact of
liberal politics with its principles of individual freedom and respon-
sibility. Confronted by failing economic and political systems, racist
skinheads conclude that someone must be held responsible. Brown finds
political expressions of ressentiment in neoconservative anti-statism,
racism, charges of reverse racism, and so forth.53 The white power
music scene goes further and explicitly urges racist skinheads to exact
revenge on these presumed enemies.
Two additional themespraise for heroic racial warriors and con-
cern for the white working poorreveal how Ian Stuart uses iconic
symbols to reframe white supremacy for fans across the globe. Explicit
references to Nazi leaders Adolf Hitler and Rudolf Hess and neo-Nazi
heroes David Lane, Matthew Hale, and Robert Matthews appear in
multiple Skrewdriver songs.54 In addition, some songs include alternate
and more explicit language (occasionally in German) for live concerts
and recordings. Nazi references also occur in songs by The Klansmen,
Ian Stuarts second band, which targeted audiences in the American
South. However, The Klansmen replace allusions to Camelot, Valhalla,
Playing w ith H ate 51

and Norse Godsall of which played well in Britainwith different

racial heroes, such as Confederate soldiers (or gray riders) like Gen-
eral Robert E. Lee. For audiences in the US rural South, Ian Stuart
also shifts the images of rebellion presented in his songs. He replaces
references to urban skinhead gangs antisocial behavior with calls for
vigilante violence and direct action against oppressive federal laws.
The lyrics Be a man, be a man, and join the Klan and Fetch the
Rope with its chorusI said, dont give up hope / Well they can
cope / Dont give up hope / Fetch that ropesound a call for white
rural Southerners to take the law into their own hands.55 Only one
Skrewdriver song explicitly refers to the Klan, suggesting that Ian Stu-
art knew the Southern cause, as well as The Klansmens rockabilly
sound, would have limited appeal with British and European white
working-class audiences.
Concern for the working poor also takes different cultural, eco-
nomic, and political forms in the songs of Skrewdriver and The Klans-
men. Multiple Klansmen songs associate white poverty with outlaw
and rebel themes. In the American South these confrontations often
occur between white trash and Yankee carpetbaggers: The chorus of
White Trash, a song discussed in greater detail in chapter 5, is: They
call me White trash, cos my hair hangs long / My baggy pants with no
buttons on / My teeth are black, my shoulders lack, but I flythe Con-
federate flag.56 Again, white identity and, especially white Southern
identity, compensates for lack of economic status among white work-
ing-class males. Some songs also link Civil War heroes with broader
pleas to fight for an endangered and disappearing Southern way of
life: They were Outlaws / Never vowed to the blue / In the civil
war the Southern flag they flew / Outlaws, never vowed to the blue /
In the civil war to the South they were true.57 Klansmen songs also
temper pan-Aryanism and racial transnationalism with their increased
emphasis on states rights. Although praise for Hitler and the Nazis
persists, The Klansmens songs focus white working-class anger less on
anti-Semitism or even anticommunism and redirect audiences racial
hatred toward Black sharecroppers and Asian immigrants, especially
those from Vietnam. These racialized Others are typically accused of
stealing American farms and jobs from poor whites.
In the songs of White Diamond, Ian Stuarts third and final band,
he articulates this white supremacist message with his greatest urgency.
Foreign immigrants, race-mixers, and corrupt political leaders together

pose an imminent threat to our culture, our identity. A raw, stark

quality marks the lyrics of songs like Politician: Politician, are you
really sane? / Politician, the countrys going down the drain? / Politi-
cian, whos putting money in your hands? / Politician, youre a traitor
to this land.58 The Power and the Glory concludes with the refrain
Never ask you what the people think, they just act on how they think
/ If this is called democracy, I think your system stinks.59 In The
Only One, race-mixers or zebras are bringing our nation down,
and in Refugee immigrants on welfare are impoverishing the people
of our own lands.60 With a sense of impending doomNow its sys-
tem rules here, the warrior seems now dead / Its creed is called decep-
tion, the nation has been bled61White Diamond songs announce
the racial apocalypse when white warriors from northern continents,
who are now scattered across the globe, will rise again together: Take
no Prisoners / This is war / Expect no mercy / Cause you know what
youre fighting for.62
A final example powerfully illustrates the global hybridity of Ian
Stuarts songwriting. The Klansmens song Rock n Roll Patriots
weaves together the US flag, our freedoms, white America, and anti-
gay, anti-red, anti-green transnational politics:

Some play for Lenin, for others its Marx, as long as its red
Some play for Greenpeace, lettuce and cress, I like meat with
my bread
Cos they play for anything, just as long as its financing their
We fight for freedom and pride of our race, were gonna
reclaim that goal.
Cos were Rock n roll Patriots now, red, white and blue
Rock n roll patriots yeah, and were playing for you.63

Like his lyrics, Ian Stuarts rhythms and melodies are also cultur-
ally hybrid. West Indian and African musical traditions as well as Brit-
ish punk influenced what would become skinheads distinctive musical
genre, called Oi! The characteristic rhythm of reggae music evolved
from Jamaican ska; it mimics musically the two-step beat of the human
heart. Amon Saba Saakana describes reggae as a new sensoform and
extols its power to align the body rhythms of an audience.64 Named
after the Cockney pub greeting, Oi! combines this reggae rhythm
Playing w ith H ate 53

with African call and response, a participatory technique for empower-

ing audiences used in both British pub singalongs and the American
civil rights movement. With these influences, Oi! became a global
hybrid sound for working-class rebels.
British skinhead fashion was also a hybrid of West Indian immi-
grant and British working-class styles. The skinheads clean, hard
look combined the Rude-boy fashion that originated in the Kings-
ton ghettos with a caricature of the model worker: cropped hair,
braces, short, wide Levi jeans or functional sta-prest trousers, plain or
striped button-down Ben Sherman shirts and highly polished Doc-
tor Marten boots.65 As Dick Hebdige puts it, in order to express
a more stringent lumpen identity, the skinheads drew on two osten-
sibly incompatible sources: the cultures of the West Indian immi-
grants and the white working class.66 When racist skinhead bands like
Skrewdriver politicized Oi!, they typically deleted these West Indian,
African, and African American influences from the(ir) official stories.
As Timothy Brown attests: With the emergence of Oi!, a skinhead,
could, in theory, completely avoid or negate the question of the sub-
cultures black roots.67 Once Jamaican Rastafarians began to empha-
size African mysticism and Black liberation, the gap between British
skinhead and West Indies immigrant music increased. This increasing
distance also set the stage for Skrewdrivers political affiliation with the
British National Front.
Timothy Brown summarizes succinctly how working-class skin-
heads evolved into white racial warriors: As an attempt to establish a
defensively organized collective around a mythic image of proletarian
masculinity, skinhead involved an embracing, and even an amplifica-
tion of, the prejudices of the parent society. It was very easy for this
stance to dissolve in the words of Dick Hebdige into a concern with
race, with the myth of white ethnicity, the myth, that is, that youve
got to be white to be British.68 According to Arno Michaelis, this
denial of their Black roots continues among racist skinheads today:
According to us, if you werent white power, you werent a skinhead.
Never mind that the first skinheads included black guys and that there
were Jamaican influences. We were told that, of course. And we were
like, Whatever, thats just Jewish propaganda.69 The cultural hybrid
in which the Black man served as a past master in the gentle arts of
escape and subversion for British skinheads was, at best, an unstable
racial compound.70

With his global hybrid music Ian Stuart reframes classical fascist
ideology for listeners with variedneo-Nazi, KKK, and racist skin-
headcultural and political histories of white supremacy. By shifting
languages and codes, his song lyrics position the local, national, and
regional struggles of white listeners within a broader global race war.
As I discuss later, his hybrid rhythms and sounds also foster a strong
sense of racial solidarity among his global audiences. Ian Stuart and
his supporters use multiple mediaconcert promoters, fanzines, party
platforms, record companies, and websitesto carry their music from
Britain to Germany, Eastern and Southern Europe, the United States,
and beyond. In order to convey the global reach of their culturally
hybrid white supremacy, Skrewdriver thanks supporters from Amer-
ica, Australia, Austria, Bavaria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Rhodesia,
Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ulster and Wales on its
White Rider CD jacket.71

Inversion 2. Upside Down: White Supremacy as Cellular Network

In addition to his hybrid lyrics, Ian Stuart uses his performative aes-
thetic to promote a cellular network of racist skinheads across the
globe. Most of Ian Stuarts songs have catchy tunes and simple
refrains. Unlike some skinhead bands whose music is unintelligible
growls, the ideological messages in his lyrics are easily understood.
These features make it easy for listeners to sing or shout along at live
performances. Many Klansmen songs borrow from traditional South-
ern ballads with tunes that are already familiar to their audiences.72 As
the terms catchy and, more recently, going viral suggest, listen-
ers often cannot resist these songs that produce visceral responses in
primal regions of the human brain.73 George Burdi, lead singer for
Rahowa, the band I discuss in chapter 4, confirms that white power
musicians use repetitive choruses to infect their listeners. We hear
the slogan White people awake, save our great race twice per chorus,
eight times per total throughout an entire song, and if they play the
tape five times a week and just listen to that one song, they are listening
to [the slogan] 40 times in one week, which means 160 times a month.
You do the math behind that.74
Playing w ith H ate 55

Ian Stuarts pounding guitar chords, frequent strong modulations,

and thundering drum beats also have a physical impact on audiences.
In Aint Got the Time, he denounces popular musiccabaret, disco,
and even rapand explicitly avows his harder hitting musical aesthetic:
Give me a loud guitar and a thundering bass / And drums that fill
your head / Give me a screaming lead to make your ear-holes bleed /
And a riff that knocks you dead.75 Many listeners echo the experience
Benny described of Ian Stuarts voice sending a shot of adrenalin
through my body. The relatively poor quality of much recorded white
power music seems to be largely irrelevant here. According to Dave,
an Ian Stuart fan, The first time I heard Skrewdriver was it. Every
skinhead can tell you about that. It was a bootleg of a bootleg of a
bootleg and the sound wasnt worth shit, but it was still magical. It was
The magical effects of Skrewdrivers music arguably catalyzed
the spontaneous violence that often accompanied live performances.
Concerts frequently spilled over into the streets and triggered fights
between RAC supporters and RAR protesters, and between the bands
fans and Blacks and gays. Today racist skinhead concerts and videos
usually include circle and slam dances intended to enhance listeners
visceral and often violent responses. Concert crowds often get out of
control and injure participants, bystanders, and even band members.
Recognizing this phenomenon, German government sources have
described racist skinhead music as Gateway Drug #1 to violence.77
Late in his life, and after serving multiple jail sentences, Ian Stuart
started singing more folk and country ballads. He thought these softer
sounds would not only appeal to audiences in the American South but
also prompt less fan violence.
There is a powerful collective aspect to racist skinheads performa-
tive aesthetic. As we have already discussed, white power music pro-
motes muscular bonding, an experience of coordinated group action
that neutralizes individuals sense of physical vulnerability.78 In Musical
Democracy, I examined how nonviolent civil rights activists used this
power of music to meet physical force with soul force. White power
musicians instead use ecstatic experiences to mobilize their audiences
for racist violence. Arno Michaelis describes this musical effect: the
music physically shook me. I let go of my ego, setting aside thoughts
of my past, what I was wearing, how I looked, and everything set in

motion. He sums up: We were all cells in the same organism.79 As

another supporter puts it, Anyone who thinks that this [music] scene is
important primarily on account of the money it can generate has missed the point
completely; what really matters is its power to catch the souls of thousands, and
turn them into racial nationalists.80
The embodied solidarity of racist skinheads is not nationalist in
the classical fascist sense of loyalty to a nation-state. Racist skinheads
challenge the central leadership and hierarchical authority of classical
fascism and, more broadly, state sovereignty. Their inverted fascist aes-
thetic models a new grassroots political formation that best resem-
bles what Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri call swarm intelligence.
Hardt and Negri define a swarm as a mobilization of the common
that takes the form of an open, distributed network, in which no cen-
ter exerts control and all nodes express themselves freely.81 Invok-
ing Rimbauds poetry, they describe the music of the swarm as
the reawakening and reinvention of the senses in the youthful body
. . . [that] takes place in the buzzing and swarming of the flesh.82
To describe how swarms function they extend the musical metaphor:
Such instances of innovation in networks might be thought of as
an orchestra with no conductoran orchestra that through constant
communication determines its own beat and would be thrown off and
silenced only by the imposition of a conductors central authority.83
Scientists who study natural and artificial swarms describe a coordi-
nated process where collective intelligence results from individual
members, none of whom sees the whole picture, each performing
their part. Progressive social and political movements, such as Occupy
Wall Street or earlier the Seattle WTO protests, are known for swarm
behavior. In response to police actions, they often function as a smart
mob. ... [and] disperse and re-form like a school of fish avoiding a
predator.84 As Michaelis attests, racist skinhead swarms exhibit similar
behavior: Skinheads react as a pack in violent situations. The rest of
the guys fed off the fury that had leaped from me to Pat to them like
wildfire. We could all feel the group attack; it was as if a single murder-
ous entity had been formed.85
Hardt and Negri recognize that swarms are not necessarily non-
violent or even democratic. They also contrast the innovative networks
of progressive movements with traditional terrorist groupsfrom
Al-Qaeda to the radical rightthat employ outmoded forms of top-
down authority. Yet racist skinheads cellular networks mirror swarm
Playing w ith H ate 57

intelligence more closely than either these traditional terrorist groups

or classical fascist parties. For this reason, it is a mistake to regard their
inverted political aesthetic as simply a regression to premodern or tra-
ditional structures of authority. A better descriptor would be hyper-,
post-, or ultramodern, even though deeply rooted cultural and political
traditions of white supremacy are also mobilized by the movement.
In Leaderless Resistance, the white nationalist Louis Beam con-
trasts the phantom cells of contemporary right-wing extremists with
the pyramid type groups led by Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. Beam
writes: Let the coming night be filled with a thousand points of resis-
tance. Like the fog which forms when conditions are right and disap-
pears when they are not, so must the resistance to tyranny be.86 In an
analogous passage, Tom Metzger explains how the white supremacist
organization he founded, White Aryan Resistance (WAR), inverts clas-
sical fascist aesthetics: WAR wears no uniform, carries no member-
ship card, takes no secret oath. WAR doesnt require you to march
around a muddy street. WAR works the modern way, with thousands
of friends doing their part behind the scenes, within the system, serv-
ing their race.87 Many racist skinheads are seemingly normal cit-
izens, a point often made by their unwitting neighbors in the wake
of hate crimes. According to Metzger, this appearance of normalcy
keeps the movement secure and strong: The movement will not be
stopped. ... Were too deep! Were embedded now! Dont you under-
stand? Were in your colleges, were in your armies, were in your police
forces, were in your technical areas! Where do you think a lot of the
skinheads disappeared to? They grew their hair out. Went to college.
Theyve got the program. We planted the seeds. Stopping Tom Metzger
is not going to change whats going to happen in this country now.88
Although the metaphors varyrolling fog, swarming flesh, or
embedded seedsall describe the cellular network of house parties,
closed bars, restricted festivals, smart phones, and websites that link
racist skinheads across the globe today. Kathleen Blee labels this politi-
cal aesthetic anarcho-proto-fascist, because it inverts the central-
ized leadership and hierarchical authority of classical totalitarianism.89
According to Elinor Langer, civil rights litigation and even criminal
prosecutions against the top leaders of white supremacist groups have
little effect on a swarm, though these legal measures remain necessary.
She notes that Tom Metzger, who founded WAR, was convicted and
imprisoned for the murder of Mulugeta Seraw in Portland, Oregon,

but the racist skinheadsa hundred little Hitlerswho actually

killed him still swarm the streets.90 Many other white supremacist
elders, including Ian Stuart Donaldson, are now deceased or impris-
oned, and the white supremacist movement continues to thrive on the
spontaneous, visceral hatred fueled by its transnational music scene.


The aesthetic politics of racist skinheads inverted totalitarianism

turns liberal democratic politics inside out (global hybrids) and upside
down (cellular networks), while sustaining an epistemology of igno-
rance (white racial frame). In this troubled relationship between white
supremacy and liberal democracy, both sides are playing with hate.
Liberal democrats may choose to tolerate or simply ignore white power
music as an expression of artistic, political, and, as I discuss in more
detail later, religious freedom. At the same time, many racist skinhead
bands intentionally leave the political questions their racially motivated
hate music poses open.
Although punk musicians often wear swastikas and other Nazi
insignia, some scholars claim their use of these symbols no longer con-
notes fascist politics but merely introduces chaos and disorder into
the normal routines of everyday life.91 Most British punk bands in the
1970s did not support right-wing parties and many denounced fascism
and racism; for them, the swastika may have been nihilistic noise
with little meaning beyond its shock effect.92 In The Last Gang in Town:
The Story and Myth of the Clash, Marcus Gray quotes an interview with
Joe Strummer:

One is never entirely sure just which side [the Clash] is sup-
posed to be taking, wrote Nick Kent in New Musical Express.
The Clash use incidents ... as fodder for songs without
Strummer squints at me for a moment, his thoughtful
mouth hemming his craggy teeth. Were against fascism and
racism, he says. I figure that goes without saying. Id like to
think that were subtle; thats what greatness is, in nit? I cant
stand all these people preaching, like Tom Robinson. Hes just
too direct.
Playing w ith H ate 59

But that ambiguity can be construed as encouraging

Our musics violent, says Strummer. Were not. If any-
thing, songs like Guns on the Roof and Last Gang in Town
are supposed to take the piss out of violence. Its just that
sometimes you have to put yourself in the place of the guy
with the machine gun. I couldnt go to his extreme, but at
the same time, its no good ignoring what hes doing. We sing
about the world that affects us. Were not just another wank
rock group like Boston or Aerosmith.93

The Clashs music, Strummer says, merely mirrors the violence of the
larger society and, in the process, helps defuse that violence by giving
audiences a cathartic experience. When the Clash performs its song
White Riot or Who Shot the Sheriff ?, Strummer suggests, they and
their audiences are having some (serious) fun subverting the system.
Even if one accepts this argument, it strains credulity to think that
the hand-drawn swastikas on the shirts of Skrewdrivers band mem-
bers were merely chosen for their shock value. What of the white-
robed figures, Confederate flag, and rope noose on the covers of The
Klansmens CDs? Or the grim reaper prominently featured on the
White Diamond label? When asked to describe Ian Stuart, Grinny, an
original band member, said, Ian was funny to be around, a piss taker.
Where we lived, even now, people who knew Ian nearly all had nick-
names that have stuck, that were made up by Ian. Grinny also says
that Ian could talk anyone round to his point of view. He was defi-
nitely charismatic and once you met him you didnt forget him.94 For
example, in a letter to Nationalism Today objecting to the BNPs charge
that skinheads sniff glue, Ian Stuart wrote, It does, however, seem
to me that the officials of the B.N.P. occasionally partake in a glue-
bag or two because they always seem to be suffering from double or
treble vision when they describe how many people attend their meet-
ings and marches.95 In addition to their more serious political lyrics,
Skrewdriver songs include (OH NO) Here Comes a Commie with
its refrain Wont you give it a rest? and This Little Piggy, with the
chorus This little piggy says that hes the boss / Listen piggy, we dont
give a toss.96
As Grinny implies, Ian Stuart was not above using the so-called
Punk DefenseIt was a joke. It wasnt serious. We didnt mean

it.while simultaneously advocating global white supremacy. In The

Lonely Crowd, David Riesman discusses how opportunities for rebel-
lion and deviance are built into most cultures, for example, by holding
bawdy festivals on special days or giving their young people and some-
times older women more leeway regarding norms of proper behav-
ior. Traditional myths whose romantic heroes reinforce cultural norms
often also include lesser characters who break the rules, do terrible
things, and survive to be remembered for it. Riesman sees these sto-
ries and tales with their culturally approved fantasies as precursors
to mass media portrayals of good and bad. He claims that the
ambivalence of the stories helps the young to integrate their forbid-
den impulses by recognizing them as part of their legacy as human
beings, making it possible to form an underground connection, via
myth, between repressed sectors of the adults and sectors of the
young.97 From this perspective, the playful hatred that Ian Stuart
and other racist skinhead musicians express in their white power music
performs the repressed racial fantasies of mainstream white society.
According to Keith Harris, such seemingly playful hatred can
protect a racist band by creating a sense of ambiguity about their poli-
tics and its effects. Meanwhile provocative images and songs attract
the critical attention and create the political controversy that helps to
sell their music. Ian Stuart recognizes that controversy can sell music
in his bitter remarks about legal double standards that he claims give
Black rappers, like Ice-T, more room to maneuver politically. However,
this claim ignores the racist reality that keeps commercially successful
Black rappers pandering to white fantasies of the black gangsta, thug,
and pimp, instead of just keeping it real.98 For his part, Ian Stuart
repeatedly denied that money motivated him musically and strongly
defended his musical integrity and racial authenticity. He also arguably
paid a high price, including multiple jail terms, for his white suprema-
cist politics. However, claims to integrity and authenticity are also mar-
keting tools, as a major white power music distributors website appeal
to listeners reveals: You are not merely consumers of a product, and
we are not merely distributors of a product. Together we are fighting
a war to awaken the survival instincts in a dying people [the white
race]. You, our supporters, are our most valuable ally in that war.99 If
nothing else, the authenticity of racist skinheads is a work in progress,
given that their songs lament the demise of an imagined (white) racial
Playing w ith H ate 61

community they have yet to create. I return to this issue of authenticity

in chapter 5.
The Punk Defense also cleverly bypasses the issue that words in
themselves have the power to wound, including words with ambigu-
ous and fluid meanings. When Iris Young stresses the importance of
recognizing the role of rhetoric, including humor and music, in a more
pluralistic concept of democratic discourse, she does not mean jokes
that intentionally offend members of historically oppressed groups.
Nor does she endorse arguments that victims who object to racial
slurs and other fighting words are just too sensitive or lack a sense of
humor. For humor to succeed in promoting cross-cultural understand-
ing everyone involved must understand the joke and think it is funny.
These problems posed by the Punk Defense extend well beyond
legal debates over definitions of hate speech and its protections as free
speech. They raise deeper concerns about where liberal tolerance ends
and mutual respect and genuine understanding begin.100 To address
those concerns a deeper sense of the historical context that continues
to shape mainstream white citizens experience of liberal democracy is
In this context, playing with hate refers to the tendency of
many liberal democrats to overlook the white supremacists organizing
in their midst and to deny the racist history of hegemonic liberalism.
Linking the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the 1995 Oklahoma City bomb-
ing, Timothy Baysinger asks the relevant question here: While our
collective consciousness prioritizes radical Islamists as the preeminent
threat, should individuals and groups that encompass the radical right
be viewed as having a reduced capacity to perform acts of terrorism?
He concludes that to safeguard our nation from future acts of terror-
ism, a constant awareness of right-wing extremist beliefs, activities, and
adherents must be maintained.101 This increased awareness must go
beyond law enforcement, though, and not only because of Constitu-
tional protections in the United States. The racist skinhead music scene
raises deeper problems within liberal democracy: its hate-filled swarms
cannot be effectively managed by political and economic institutions,
including those of the inverted totalitarian order Wolin depicts.
We have already discussed the tendency of liberals to depoliti-
cize the arts and popular culture, a tendency that limits the capacity of
democratic citizens to recognize and respond to racist cultural-political

projects. Another related tendency is important here. According to

Wendy Brown, liberal democrats tend to assume that individuals freely
choose their culture, and less civilized, less reasonable Others, such
as fundamentalists and traditionalists, have a culture or even are their
culture.102 It is their presumed distance from cultural politics that argu-
ably allows liberal democrats to tolerate the diverse cultures in their
midst. As we saw in chapter 1, Jrgen Habermas thinks the translation
of cultural differences, including religious beliefs, into legal-political
discourse offers the promise of democratic inclusion for the citizens
of multicultural, multinational territories. Yet the notion that cultural
and political identities occupy separate spheres may let the seemingly
normal citizens of liberal democracies off the culture hook. This
presumed separation also contributes to mainstream perceptions of
right-wing extremists as abnormal or aberrant, that is, as disturbed or
psychotic, individuals. If, as Sontag suggests, deep longings for the
romantic ideals of fascist aesthetics persist even in liberal democracy,
then perhaps its ordinary citizens can also be had by their cultural-
political history. Racist skinheads inverted totalitarian aesthetic retains
important aspects of the fascist aesthetic Sontag describes, especially
its emphasis on heroic male leadership, political and economic resis-
tance, and racial power, privilege, and solidarity. In an era that purports
to be postracial, this largely unacknowledged cultural politics may
remain attractive on some level to many liberal democratic citizens. If
so, recent rises in hate groups could reflect a sort of heyday or, more
appropriately, nadir of white cultural politics. Liberal tolerance, and
perhaps even liberal democracy itself, do increasingly seem to be com-
ing undone.
The challenge is to create the awareness among committed liberal
democrats that this right-wing cultural politics is an unacknowledged
aspect of their political history and national identity. The cultural-
political roots of liberal democracy include conquest and genocide
along with freedom and equality. In the presence of such systematic
racism, why assume that fugitive movements or youthful swarms will
mobilize on behalf of democratic ideals? Such assumptions move too
quickly past the troubled origins of liberal democracy in white suprem-
acy. When western democracy is seen as a racial project of hegemonic
liberalism that involves exterminating Native Americans, disenfran-
chising women, enslaving Africans, interning Japanese Americans,
deporting Hispanics, and the list continues, the vulnerability of many
Playing w ith H ate 63

liberal democrats to right-wing cultural politics is arguably less surpris-

ing. It is here that the most profound inversion continues to occur.
It is not merely an inversion of classical fascism but an inversion of
racial reality or, what Mills calls, an epistemology of ignorance. From
within their white racial frame, many whites cannot perceive accurately
the hegemonic liberal order they have created. Because their whiteness
is normalized and today offers no guarantees of economic success
or even stability, they struggle to see their racial powers and privileges
and often misperceive themselves as the victims of reverse discrimi-
nation or reverse racism. As we have seen, this white ignorance has
powerful psychological motivations, though for many whites they are
largely unconscious. In this context, merely to call for a more inclu-
sive and participatory democracy is woefully inadequate and potentially
dangerous as recent high-profile hate crimes reveal. All too often white
power music plays a role in the violence.


An unacknowledged investment in whiteness pervades the history of

liberal democracy from Britain to America and beyond.103 Only an
analysis of inverted totalitarianism that reunites aesthetics and politics
can fully recognize this cultural-political history of liberal democracy.
In his recent reflections on late-modern citizenship, Stephen White
takes up the question of cultural politics where Wolin leaves off. He
explores many liberal democrats rush to position otherness as differ-
ence-to-be-controlled-and-dominated.104 White urges greater aware-
ness of our shared human vulnerability to pain, suffering, and death as
the basis for a less hostile and more generous ethos of democratic citi-
zenship. For White, democracy ideally becomes a continual presencing
and absencing of the demoi, an ongoing politics of enactment that is
attuned to democracy and difference. For White, this more inclusive
democratic politics is primarily realized through the processes of delib-
eration. However, the arts and popular culture can also offer citizens
culturally diverse experiences of beauty and creativity, and the opportu-
nity to envision a more democratic political culture. Although Whites
ethos of presumptive generosity does notand cannotprovide
policy responses to the problem of right-wing extremists mobilizing in
western liberal democracies, it does suggest how ordinary citizens can

begin to transform the cultural-political ties between white supremacy

and hegemonic liberalism.105
In The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois begins each chapter
with a sorrow song that hovers over his text and sets its tone. Through
these songs the soul of the black slave spoke to men and expressed
the unspeakable truths of slavery.106 Du Bois also wrote another, lesser
known essay, The Souls of White Folk, that laments many white
Europeans tendency to avoid or deny their responsibility for slavery
and its legacy, even as others unleash their fear and rage on those from
darker nations. In the following passage, Du Bois stresses the perva-
sive power of white culture in Europe and America:

This theory of human culture and its aims has worked itself
through warp and woof of our daily thought with a thorough-
ness that few realize. Everything great, good, efficient, fair and
honorable is white; everything mean, bad, blundering, cheat-
ing, and dishonorable is yellow; a bad taste is brown; and
the devil is black. The changes of this theme are continually
rung in picture and story, in newspaper heading and moving-
picture, in sermon and school book, until of course, the King
can do no wrong,a White man is always right and a Black
man has no rights which a white man is bound to respect.107

This white cultural politics undergirded the imperial wars of European

nations and the American civil war alike. Regarding Belgiums conquest
of the Congo, Du Bois says, This is not Europe gone mad; this is not
aberration nor insanity; this is Europe; this seeming Terrible is the real
soul of white culture ... stripped and visible today.108 Given the far
greater numbers of Black, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples and the
depraved condition of white culture, Du Bois concludes: If the uplift
of mankind must be done by men, then the destinies of this world will
rest ultimately in the hands of darker nations.109
As an American educator and civil rights activist, Du Bois also
expresses empathy for Southern whites defeated in the Civil War, say-
ing, it is a hard thing to live haunted by the ghost of an untrue dream;
to see the wide vision of empire fade into real ashes and dirt.110
For Du Bois, education alone would ultimately prove insufficient in
response to the tangled history of white supremacy and liberal democ-
racy. Economic development funds, reparations payments, and other
Playing w ith H ate 65

less tangible goods, such as gratitude toward the African Americans

who built America and other white nations, and wider recognition
of the Black world were also needed. As Ella Baker, a civil rights
activist from the 1960s who also knew the power of song, said so
powerfully, Even if segregation is gone, we will still need to be free;
we will still have to see that everyone has a job. Even if we all can
vote, if people are still hungry, we will not be free. ... Singing alone is
not enough. We need schools. ... We are fighting for the freedom of
the human spirit, a freedom that encompasses all mankind.111 Seen in
this context, Du Boiss committed empathy is yet another gift to a
white nation still struggling to redeem its past.112 The future of democ-
racy may depend on white Americas willingness gratefully to accept
this gift and to respond with justice, peace, and the truth about white


Neo-Nazi Folk, Family Values, and Prussian Blue

Our people must look like my mom and dad. / They dont now and that
makes me mad. / We dont want to be mongrelized, / We want to be
Natures Finest down deep inside.
Lynx Gaede, What Must Be Done

T he racist skinhead music that emerged from white working-class

struggles against perceived economic and political injustices remains
the best-known genre of white power music. Its notoriety is partly due
to the hard-hitting sounds, visceral emotions, and physical violence
that accompany live performances. The racist skinhead music scene
is also primarily male and typically regarded as patriarchal and misog-
ynist. As with rock music in general, most performers and produc-
ers are men, and media images typically feature male performers who
control women emotionally and sexually.1 Women rock artists, such as
Patti Smith, may be forced to play female machisma, a kind of tom-
boy appropriation of masculine values and subject positions in order
to succeed.2 Some scholars also suggest that the driving rhythms and
strong modulations of rock music mirror an insistent male sexuality.3
The Sex Pistols, a punk band that influenced Ian Stuart Donaldsons
musical style, exemplify this phenomenon, which earned them the
dubious accolade one-chord wonders.4 Because punk music thrives
on ambiguity, it arguably offers more space for ambiguous sexual


identities. Those spaces can and sometimes do include women musi-

cians. Female punk bands, such as The Slits, a British band founded
in the 1970s, have rivaled the Clash in their influence on rock music.5
However, this particular aspect of the punk scene did not transfer to
racist skinhead music, which remains hypermasculine, heteronorma-
tive, and deeply homophobic.
Another white power genre, neo-Nazi folk music, best reveals the
complex intersections of sex/gender, race, class, and nation in the
white supremacist movement today. American folk songs have typi-
cally shaped working-class struggles against systems of domination
and, in the process, forged new individual and collective identities.6
Pete Seeger, whose banjo carried the inscription This machine sur-
rounds hate and forces it to surrender, is the iconic example.7 Among
the many others, Arlo and Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Utah Phil-
lips, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and most recently Ani DiFranco, also use
folk music to organize for progressive causes. Yet folk music is also
thought to express the cultural identities of regionally isolated and,
for that reason, authentic cultural and national groups.8 With its neo-
Nazi folk genre, the white power movement joins, coopts, and shifts
the long-standing social reformist tradition of folk and protest music
in America. It embraces folk music as a racially pure expression of
white culture. Neo-Nazi folk music reinvokes a cultural past rooted in
local practices of racial segregation and recreates it for a transnational,
transtraditional white supremacist movement. The neo-Nazi music of
Prussian Blue, a teen duo comprised of Lamb and Lynx Gaede, and
my focus in this chapter, definitely fits this mold.9 Their songs are usu-
ally characterized as folk, folk-pop, or folk-rock. As one commentator
puts it, their music isnt teen-pop in the Britney Spears/Hilary Duff/
Jessica Simpson sense, but rather, folk-rock.10
Many scholars have argued that music plays a major role in con-
structing the identities of teenage listeners.11 Studies of popular cul-
ture have identified gender differences in how teens consume music,
including a greater tendency for girls to internalize musical mean-
ings and use them to create a distinct and often resistant teen girl cul-
ture.12 The young California skin girl quoted in chapter 1 describes
how music recruited her to white supremacy in terms that apply across
genres: How I really started believing, thinking, in that white separat-
ist sense and then got all white supremacist, it was really through the
Imagining a White N ation 69

music. Theres a whole other genre of music out there that no one
ever hears about and its [sic] real powerful, especially at that awkward
stage where no one exactly knows who they are. It gives you an iden-
tity, it says you are special, you know, because you are white.13 White
supremacist movements consciously promote the softer sounds of
folk music as an initial step in shaping the racial and sexual identities
of white youth, especially teenage girls. White power leaders hope that
teens drawn to the movement by folk music will eventually embrace
its stronger racially motivated messages, including calls for racial vio-
lence.14 As Erich Gliebe of Resistance Records put it: Eleven and 12
years old, ... I think thats the perfect age to start grooming kids and
instill in them a strong racial identity. ... We give them a CD, we give
them something as simple as a stick, they can go to our Web site and
see other music and download some of our music. ... To me, thats
the best propaganda tool for our youth.15 Regarding Prussian Blues
music, Rich Lindstrom, a National Alliance member, predicted that the
Gaede twins would capture the imaginations of young boys and girls
all across the world. The impact could be huge and their influence
will encourage copycats ... creating an entire genre of pro-White
music.16 April Gaede, the teens mother, long recognized their target
audience, saying, I mean what young red blooded American boy isnt
going to find two blonde twins, sixteen years old, singing about white
pride and pride in your race ... very appealing?17
Lamb and Lynx Gaedes folk music also serves a more specific pur-
pose for the white supremacist movement. It reveals how the ideal of
the traditional (white) American family supports white supremacists
attempts to reproduce an imagined white community, most recently
through a transnational network of Pioneer Little Europe communi-
ties.18 Patricia Hill Collinss concept of intersectionality reveals how
the idealized traditional images of family and home in Prussian Blues
music function as social locations marked by intersecting forms of
white power and privilege.19 Prussian Blue and the Gaedes, I argue,
offer a rare public glimpse of the sexual politics of white suprem-
acy and the family values that undergird white transnationalism today.
However, they are not the only such example. Lamb and Lynx have
now retreated from the white power music scene, and another teen
folk duothe Pendergraft sistershas emerged to take their place as
singing recruiters for the movement.20


Prussian Blue consists of the twin teenagers, Lamb and Lynx Gaede,
who were born in June 1992 in Bakersfield, California, to April Gaede
and Kris Lingleser. April Gaede grew up on her fathers cattle ranch
in Fresno, California, surrounded by neo-Nazi symbols, including his
cattle, which were registered and branded with the swastika. April has
described her first husband, Kris Lingleser, the girls father, as good
Aryan breeding stock. However, she divorced Kris in 1996 due to
what she claimed was an increasingly violent relationship. Regarding
their divorce, she expresses regret about the many years that I lost in
which I could have produced four to six more children with that ideal
eugenic quality that [Lynx and Lamb] possess.21 April remarried in
2003 to Mark Harrington, who adopted Lamb and Lynx and fathered
their younger sister, Dresden. The family relocated to Kalispell, Mon-
tana, in 2005 because, according to April, Bakersfield wasnt white
The girls were home-schooled by their mother, who was an activ-
ist and a writer for National Vanguard, a white supremacist magazine
published by the National Alliance. She is widely regarded as having
systematically prepared her twin daughters for their future roles as a
neo-Nazi folk duo. In an infamous ABC Primetime interview, the thir-
teen-year-old girls stated that Adolf Hitler was a great man, who had
a lot of good ideas. Lynx also said that they were proud of being
white and added, We want our people to stay white. ... We dont
want to just be, you know, a big muddle. We just want to preserve our
race.22 Reacting to provocative film footage of the twins with David
Duke, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and Louisiana state leg-
islator, Kris Lingleser tried and failed to regain custody of his daugh-
ters. He continues to insist that their mother instilled their racist ideas
and image, and he laments: Do they know how many people out there
will look at [them] and just goI mean I get angry, just angry. ... And
they dont deserve that anger. They dont deserve that hate. Thats not
them.23 Aprils response to those who claim that she brainwashed the
girls is that they need to have the background to understand why cer-
tain things are happening. ... Im going to give them, give them my
opinion just like any, any parent would.24
April Gaede founded the band, Prussian Blue, and she man-
agedsome say, exploitedher daughters musical careers. Lamb and
Lynx began performing together in 2001 at a white nationalist festival,
Imagining a White N ation 71

Eurofest. They added instrumentsviolin and guitar, respectivelyto

their performances in 2002 and quickly became white-supremacist folk
stars. Many songs on the bands first CD, Fragment of the Future, are
white nationalist folk songs written by others, among them, Ian Stu-
art Donaldson, David Lane, and Ken McLellan.25 Other Prussian Blue
songs are settings of famous poems, for example, Rudyard Kiplings
The Stranger, and some on their second CD, The Path We Chose,
were composed by the teens. In 2006, with support from the National
Democratic Party of Europe (NPD), the band released a compilation
album, For the Fatherland. The girls, who appeared regularly at neo-Nazi
gatherings, have been the subjects of a 2003 BBC documentary, Louis
[Theroux] and the Nazis, and a 2007 James Quinn documentary, Nazi
Pop Twins. They are also prominently featured in a 2001 VH1 special
Inside Hate Rock and multiple YouTube videos. They starred in a hor-
ror movie, Dark Walker, and inspired several spin-offs, among them,
an episode of Boston Legal entitled The Nutcrackers and the Off-
Broadway show White Noise: A Cautionary Musical.26
As they entered adulthood, the teens began to resist their mothers
white supremacist ideology and tried to mainstream their music as bub-
ble-gum pop or soft rock. On Facebook, the eighteen-year-old Lynx,
who was by then a high school graduate, adopted her fathers name,
made no mention of white power, and listed Bob Marley, Pink Floyd,
Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin as her favorite musicians.
Although some initially interpreted the girls increasing tensions with
their mother as an attempt to increase profits by mainstreaming their
music, the girls explain their retreat from the white power music scene
differently. In a 2011 interview for The Daily, their first in five years,
Lamb declared, Im not a white nationalist anymore. ... My sister
and I are pretty liberal now.27 The then nineteen-year-olds, who had
already developed serious stress-related health problems, would later
become supporters of medical marijuana.28 They have spoken out
about the increasingly predatory energy from those guys that they
experienced as they matured sexually, as well as the danger of retalia-
tion against anyone perceived as betraying the movement. April now
also expresses regrets about founding Prussian Blue, if only because
the girls have questioned their musical past. However, as Prussian Blue
retreated from the white power music scene, April opened a white
nationalist Internet dating service that offers racially pure matchmak-
ing. She claims, I have racial contacts throughout the US as well as
the world. ... I am planning to create a more secure and successful

way for WNs (white nationals) to meet.29 Most recently, April has
focused her efforts on developing an intentional white community,
Pioneer Little Europe, in Kalispell, Montana. Among other things,
it is a community where white settlers can meet other WNs with
good eugenics.


Patricia Hill Collinss concept of intersectionality, specifically her

analysis of the idealized traditional family, illuminates how white
supremacists use Prussian Blues music to recruit teenagers, espe-
cially girls, to the movement.30 Hill Collins was among the first Black
feminist theorists to develop the concept of intersectionality. As she
defines it: Intersectional paradigms view race, class, gender, sexu-
ality, ethnicity, and age, among others, as mutually constructing sys-
tems of power. She continues, Because these systems permeate all
social relations, untangling their effects in any given situation or for
any given population remains difficult.31 An intersectional analysis
reveals how these various forms of oppression overlap, even though
they do not necessarily align. For example, working-class whites may
experience racial privilege and class exploitation or middle-class Blacks
may experience economic status and racial inequality. When forms of
oppression do not align, challenges to one form may seem to reinforce
another oppression. Again, as examples, antipoverty programs may be
misperceived as serving urban Blacks at the expense of rural whites or
attempts to stop domestic violence in African American communities
may be misconstrued as threats to Black racial solidarity.32 Although
Hill Collins acknowledges these cross-cutting issues, she emphasizes
the importance of building alliances and working in solidarity against
all oppressions.33 Her intersectional analyses attempt to highlight the
intersections where oppressions meet; these are flashpoints or areas of
intense struggle.
One prominent flashpoint is the idealized traditional family.
According to Hill Collins, the idealized traditional familya father-
head earning an adequate family wage, a stay-at-home wife, and chil-
drenfunctions as a privileged exemplar of intersectionality in the
United States. It is a social location of considerable importance, and a
focal point or privileged social location for the intersecting systems
of gender, race, class, and nation.34 As a result, family provides
Imagining a White N ation 73

an opportunity to explore how these systems mutually construct one

another or articulate with one another.35 Hill Collins analyzes mul-
tiple functions this idealized family performs in mainstream American
politics: it serves as a prominent ideological construct, especially for
conservative public officials and their constituencies; it is codified in
American family law and public policy; and it is supported by state-
structured institutions and organizations. Prussian Blues folk-pop
songs reframe these national family values to reach a global audience
of white supremacists.
In analyzing their music, I stress the first functionfamily as ide-
ologythat Hill Collins identifies for several reasons. Most important,
many scholars now call for further research on how ideological aspects
of class, gender, and race shape unconscious assumptions about white
power and privilege.36 According to Hill Collins, intersectional analyses
can decode white supremacist ideology, that is, the knowledge pro-
duced by members of an elite group and circulated by that group to
justify and obscure unjust power relations.37 As previously discussed,
white power and privilege often manifest themselves in the tendency
of whites not to see race in themselves and to be angry at, condemn,
or even silence those who do and to use their self-perceived sense
of power to define the problem [of racism] solved.38 To counter this
tendency, whites are often urged to become more aware of their white
power and privilege and as a result, presumably more willing to com-
bat racism.39 However, increased racial consciousness can also support
greater efforts to protect white racial power and privilege. This is how
Prussian Blue deploys the ideology of American family; they defend a
system of interlocking privileges deeply rooted in white, heterosexual,
middle- and working-class identity.
Ideology is also an appropriate focus because organized white
supremacists links to American political institutions, such as electoral
campaigns and public policies, remain indirect. I am not suggesting
that American democracy is fully inclusive, or that public policy is
color blind or postracial, only that ideological messages are still white
supremacists primary tools for mobilizing support. Even when white
supremacists attempt to create alternative institutions, such as the Pio-
neer Little Europe network, their recruiting strategies stress the impor-
tance of preserving white culture, for example, through music festivals.
The ideology of the idealized traditional family also reproduces
figuratively and literallythe white nation as normal and normative.
Nation as family here extends beyond the reaffirmation of traditional

sex roles, or what I call white sexual politics. The twin notions that
political community is family writ large and that family values shape
citizens moral character typify liberal republicanism and democratic
politics.40 As a model for community, the idealized traditional fam-
ily presumes that its members can or should resolve their individual
differences on behalf of the (whose?) collective good. Important
continuities emerge here between mainstream democracy and white
supremacy, including the assertion of American democratic ideals as
universal values and the rejection of incommensurate worldviews.
Prussian Blues ideological messages are also arguably the most
interesting feature of their songs, given their amateurish performances
and low-budget recordings. Stated more positively, Prussian Blues role
in popular culture makes them a valuable example of white suprema-
cist ideology, regardless of the artistic quality of their music. Extend-
ing Hill Collinss intersectional approach beyond Black sexual politics
to the family values of white supremacists reveals continuities between
right-wing extremism and mainstream political discourse. Prussian
Blues music, I argue, tells a cautionary tale of how an epistemology of
ignorance shapes the sexual politics of many white Americans today.


Hill Collins identifies six dimensions of the idealized traditional fam-

ily: 1) naturalized hierarchies, 2) home(lands), 3) blood ties, 4) rights
with responsibilities, 5) socioeconomic classes, and 6) family planning.
Prussian Blues music (re)constructs a white supremacist, heterosexist,
middle-class identity politics on each of these dimensions. As I dis-
cuss each dimension, I also consider the impact of white supremacists
family values on the Gaedes lives.

1) Naturalized Hierarchies

According to Hill Collins, the traditional family ideal combines a seem-

ingly natural hierarchy with a sense of unity among its members. As
she puts the point, hierarchies of gender, age, and sexuality that
exist within different racial groups (whose alleged family ties lead to
a commonality of interest) mirrors [sic] the hierarchy characterizing
Imagining a White N ation 75

relationships among groups. In this way, racial inequality becomes com-

prehensible and justified via family rhetoric.41 Within the traditional
family, white men, women, and children share white racial privilege,
yet women as wives and mothers, and their daughters, remain subordi-
nate to men. This hierarchy becomes naturalized when these family
hierarchies are presumed to reflect natural processes or biological
Lamb and Lynx Gaedes songs about a naturalized family hierarchy
invoke a Great Race War fought to protect the patriarchal family bonds
of the Chosen Race. The Road to Valhalla refers to the path of the
Chosen, a path taken by young boys who will become male warriors
and fight for the white race.42 In Aryan Man Awake, the girls espouse
what Angela Davis calls the myth of the black rapist; they describe
unknown Black men who threaten the personal safety of white women
and their children.43 These song lyrics depict a time and place When
a mothers very children belong to her no more / And black masked
men with guns come bashing down the doors. The singers ask, Can
you see how they [liberals and multiculturalists] lie to warp your daugh-
ters minds? / Can you let your sons be trodden down or left behind?
The chorus is a call to action: Aryan man awake / How much more
will you take / Turn that fear to hate / Aryan man awake. The great
and holy war to be foughtand eventually wonby white male war-
riors to protect their women and children, is celebrated in the song
Victory Day. In its chorus, the girls sing of white liberation: And
the women, theyll smile, on Victory Day / And the children, theyll
laugh and theyll sing and theyll play / And the forests will echo our
grace, for the brand new dawn of our Race.44
Family hierarchy is also a major theme in Prussian Blues songs to
fallen heroes, white male patriarchs and martyrs for the race. Gone
with the Breeze, a tribute to Robert Matthews, the leader of The
Order, who was killed in 1984 by federal officers, mourns his early
death and the time he lost with his family and friends.45 Sacrifice
memorializes the efforts of Matthews, as well as Ian Stuart, Rudolph
Hess, and William Pierce, to save our Race and to Open our eyes,
see the future for what it could be: a future for our races eternity.46
In her tribute to David Lane, Hate for Hate: Lamb Near the Lane,
Lamb Gaede sings: If the white man wont battle for life and for race
/ Then women and children, the terror will face. The chorus simply
repeats, I am that lamb / Ill stand beside the Lane.47

These songs echo the stock images of women that Kathleen

Blee has identified in white supremacist movements. White women are
typically portrayed as goddesses/victims, a symbolic role with a long
history in Ku Klux Klan and Nazi ideology.48 This role of wronged
white femininity grants only a dubious protection to white women
and children as the Gaedes and other womens experiences with
domestic violence in the movement reveal. Although the goddess/
victim role embraces white racial privilege, it does not challenge and
even affirms traditional gender hierarchies and, with them, patriar-
chal family structures. Most prominent in Prussian Blues songs is the
role of woman as breeder; young girls are future wives and mothers
who will bear and rear the citizen-soldiers of an ongoing Great Race
War. Young boys are correspondingly positionedand idealized
as future racial warriors, who will fight valiantly to protect the safety
of their mothers, wives, and daughters and the racial identity of their

2) Home(lands)

The concept of a natural(ized) family hierarchy plays out in the meta-

phor of the nation as family and the birth requirements for natu-
ralized citizenship. According to the traditional ideal, a family has a
home, and its home is a privatized, protected space distinct from the
larger and less safe public sphere. Hill Collins argues that the tradi-
tional home is a feminized space, where women are confined, children
are nurtured, and both are ostensibly protected. Home also functions
here as a metaphor for mother country, and efforts to maintain pri-
vate familial and public national racial(lized) spaces often overlap. The
separation of seemingly safe private homes from dangerous public
spaces may, in fact, contribute to a more generalized perception of
the need to maintain other borders. An obvious example is the name
selected for the post-9/11 US government antiterrorist agency dedi-
cated to protecting national borders: the Department of Homeland
Security. The media and politicians typically portray terrorists as for-
eigners and minimize the threat of domestic terrorism in spite of the
increasing number of hate crimes on US soil committed by American
citizens.49 As Hill Collins puts it, In this logic that everything has its
Imagining a White N ation 77

place, maintaining borders of all sorts becomes vitally important. Pre-

serving the logic of segregated home spaces requires strict rules that
distinguish insiders from outsiders.50
When the Gaede family relocated from California to Montana, the
citizens of Kalispell distributed fliers in protest stating that hate and
ignorance were not welcome in their town. Several white supremacist
online discussion forums, including Stormfront and LibertyForum,
responded by identifying on their websites the Gaedes neighbors who
had distributed the fliers, and some Kalispell citizens feared for their
safety.51 However, a statement on the Prussian Blue website denied any
association with white supremacist politics: The music that Prussian
Blue performs is intended for white people. ... They hope to help fel-
low whites come to understand that love for ones race is a beautiful
gift that we should celebrate.52 Lamb and Lynx Gaede have consis-
tently claimed that they are white separatists, not white supremacists.
When asked whether they were attempting to seed hatred and intoler-
ance in the minds of young people, Lynx replied, Nothing could be
further from the truth. This is an example of how white liberal guilt
is weakening America. Lamb concurred, saying, Our music is not
about hating anyone. Its about loving the person who matters most
of all: you.53 April Gaede also explicitly disavows the label white
supremacist: I have NEVER identified myself as a supremacist that
I can EVER remember. It is a label that has been given to me by the
media.54 She argues that white supremacy only makes sense when the
races are already mixed. Instead, she claims, separate races should be
segregated either voluntarily or, if necessary, by the government, so
that each has a separate homeland that is their distinct place in the
In their songs, the girls call their homeland Vinland, the name Leif
Erikson, the Norse explorer credited with discovering North Amer-
ica fifty years before Columbus, gave the northern continent. Vinland
is a Norse term for the Danish island of Sjaelland, which means pas-
ture island. Thorsteinn Thorarinsson, an American neo-Nazi and a
neopagan of Norse descent, writes of Vinland: This country has
been far too focused on Columbus, and he wasnt even here. ... Norse
pagans were here long before that. If any white men should be cred-
ited as founders of America it should be Viking heroes and not a Cath-
olic who lost his way to India.56 Native Americans are conspicuously

absent from these white supremacist stories of discovering and settling

the United States, an issue I discuss further, along with the formation
of Pioneer Little Europe communities. As Prussian Blue describes it,
Vinland is a pastoral land of almost unbearable beauty: Our hearts
are filled with Love and Pride for Vinland is our home / The hills
and dales are in our souls and the forests ours to roam. They com-
pare Vinland with Valhalla, an afterworld where their ancestors live on
to feast with the gods. Calling on the living and the dead to protect
their white homeland, they ask, Will we stand and watch them tak-
ing our freedom away?57 Not surprisingly, their performances include
repeated references to David Lanes famous Fourteen Words, now a
white supremacist credo: We must secure the existence of our peo-
ple and a future for White Children. The credo continues with the
less frequently quoted line, Because the beauty of the White Aryan
Woman must not perish from the earth.58

3) Blood Ties

Genetic links and kinship bonds, that is, blood ties, often determine
the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a racialized nation-state.59
It is the reproductive capacity of womenour biology as destiny
that supposedly secures the family bloodline or alternatively places it
at risk. This reproductive role in nation-building is ultimately why Hill
Collins identifies family as the focal point or privileged social loca-
tion where class, gender, and race intersect. If nation and race are
understood in terms of family blood lines, then control of womens
sexuality through socialization and, if necessary, violence becomes cru-
cial for maintaining the racially pure nation-state. According to Hill
Collins, the US national family arranges its private families, which are
themselves already patriarchal, hierarchically by race:

Representing the epitome of racial purity that is also associ-

ated with US national interests, Whites constitute the most
valuable citizens. In this racialized nation-state, Native Ameri-
cans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Puerto
Ricans become second-class citizens, whereas people of
color from the Caribbean, Asia, Latin America, and Africa
Imagining a White N ation 79

encounter more difficulty becoming naturalized citizens than

immigrants from European nations.60

At worst, the racialized nation-state closes its borders to immigrants,

supports eugenics programs, and engages in genocide.
We have already seen how Prussian Blues explicit references to
family invoke home as a feminized private space where women per-
form traditional gender roles and are protected from external, racial-
ized, and threatening Others. These borders are further developed
in their nationalistic and naturalistic imagery, some of which expresses
neopagan themes. In Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Sep-
aratism, Mattias Gardell discusses how contemporary ethno-, racial-,
and religious nationalists reject a state-sanctioned nationalism and
replace it with a mythic imagined (white) community that transcends
national borders. The racial mythology of this pagan revival repre-
sents neo-Nazism as a spiritual project and, as a result, it tends to
biologize spirituality.61 According to Gardell, This racial mysticism
connects the current revival of racist paganism to the occult roots of
national socialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
with many of the influential heathens of today specifically represent-
ing their projects as extensions of the effort made by philosophers
and mystics of that era.62 William Pierce called this spiritual world-
view of contemporary white supremacists cosmotheism, a term that
stresses the cosmic stakes of the fight for white survival. Along with
the mystical aspects of German National Socialism, he traced its spiri-
tual roots to Friedrich Nietzsches philosophy of the will to power and
George Bernard Shaws Man and Superman. Pierce claimed that these
sources all expressed the necessity for our race to begin ascending ...
the Upward Path once again.63 In the next chapter, I discuss how con-
temporary white supremacy functions as a racialized religion in greater
depth, when I consider the theo-philosophy of Ben Klassen, founder
of the World Church of the Creator.
New communications technology, especially the Internet, provides
opportunities for incorporating more traditional nationalist groups,
such as the KKK, into a culturally hybrid, transnational imagined
community of white supremacists. Their two largest Internet web-
sites, Stormfront and Vanguard News Network, are now joined by
numerous smaller blogs, forums, and websites that promote white

supremacy.64 Like the pan-Aryan race, the online white power music
industry flows with ease today across the territorial borders of existing
nation-states. According to Gardell, Transcending national borders,
music and electronic communication have facilitated a global flow of
ideas, engaging racist radicals across the world in the vision of a future
in which race will define nation in a transatlantic white homeland.65
In her discussion of white supremacists myth of the Great Race War,
Kathleen Blee also stresses that neo-Nazis imagined community of
Nazism includes far more than Germany. It rests on a Pan-Aryanism
that stretches from ancient Viking communities to white Europe and
North America. All Aryans, they insist, have a common history of vic-
timization, from the hardships of Viking explorers and colonial settlers
in the Americas to postwar World War II Zionist assaults on German
In a phenomenon that Gardell calls transtraditionalism, neo-Nazi
folk musicians opportunistically adopt and blend rituals and symbols
from these multiple national traditions. Prussian Blues live perfor-
mances feature powerful images that link current struggles for Aryan
racial unity to ancient Viking legends and create a transtraditional white
supremacist hybrid culture. Dressed in Austrian dirndls, they perform
Nazi salutes, dance on a swastika pattern, and stand before a curtain
decorated with Nordic life runes. Allusions to J. R. R. Tolkiens Lord
of the Rings popularize the white racial warrior, who restores a sense
of bravery, glory, and nobility to besieged and imperiled white work-
ing-class men. Ian Stuart Donaldson also regarded Tolkiens trilogy as
one of his favorite works, and his song White Rider pays tribute to
Tolkiens wizard, Gandolf.67 Prussian Blues songs would reawaken this
warrior spirit in white men by appealing to their racial pride and sexual
prowess. Comparing womens reproductive capacity to mens military
heroism, the twins sing of female breeders who join male warriors in
giving their blood for the race. The chorus of I Will Bleed for You
links male and female blood and nation: To every man who doesnt
dream, I am the Dreamer / To every man who doesnt believe, Im
the Believer / To every man who doesnt Receive / Im the receiver
/ To every man who refuses to bleed, I will bleed for you.68 Blood
spilled in battle is also invoked in Ocean of Warriors when the duo
sings: All I see in the distance / Is an ocean of warriors / Marching
forward to battle / An Ocean of warriors. White warriorsmale and
femaleoffer a blood sacrifice to serve their nations needs.69
Imagining a White N ation 81

4) Rights with Responsibilities

Like family members, citizens have shared rights and responsibilities as

a condition of belonging to their national homeland. Also, like family
members, these responsibilities are accompanied by expectations and
entitlements, again as a function of group membership. However, in a
patriarchal, racialized nation-state with its naturalized hierarchies, some
members of this national community-as-family hold more rights and
accrue greater benefits than others. Legal standing and public policy
are shaped by institutionalized racism and sexism, and they position
members of some subnational groups as second-class citizens.
Prussian Blue seldom refers to rights, except to defend the free-
doms now ostensibly being taken from white people, especially First
Amendment rights to freedom of expression. When asked why her
father branded his cattle with a Nazi swastika, April replied: Because
its provocative ... to him he thinks its important as a symbol of free-
dom of speech that he can use it as his cattle brand.70 The name of
the band, Prussian Blue, also tests the line between free speech and
hate speech, especially regarding Holocaust denial. When asked how
they chose the bands name, the girls replied, Part of our heritage is
Prussian German. Also our eyes are blue, and Prussian Blue is just a
really pretty color. ... There is also the discussion of the lack of Prus-
sian Blue coloring (Zyklon B residue) in the so-called gas chambers
in the concentration camps. We think it might make people question
some of the inaccuracies of the Holocaust myth.71 Prussian Blue is
also an antidote for heavy metal poisoning, and this suggests the possi-
bility that the folk bands name might be a clever musical genre play on
words.72 As we have seen, some antiracists thought that the girls minds
were being poisoned by their mothers white supremacist views. In
addition to claiming her right as a parent to raise her children as she
sees fit, April Gaede has mocked the seriousness of her critics. Com-
menting on the girls infamous Hitler smiley-face T-shirts, she said,
You know, I really, honestly still dont know why people dont find
this hilariously funny. You add a little triangle, and a little rectangle
there and all of a sudden people, ooohhh this is scary, scary, scary. Its
just funny, Its just kind of funny.73
Such statements mirror the Punk Defense, that is, we didnt
mean any harm, we were just having fun, discussed in the last chapter.
Critics argue that this all in good fun stance protects racist bands

from censorship, while allowing them to create the controversy that

sells recordings. However, movement supporters claim the fam-
ily values in Prussian Blues music are to be taken seriously and are
appropriate for their young listeners. They defend Prussian Blues pro-
white family lyrics because they have meaningful content and claim that
their focus on family values distinguishes the band from racist skin-
heads whose concerts often incite racial violence.74 Yet white suprem-
acist leaders want youth recruited by the softer sounds of Prussian
Blue eventually to shift to the harder-hitting music of racist skinhead
bands. Sean Suggs, the lead singer of Max Resist, another racist skin-
head band, similarly defends his First Amendment right to free speech,
claiming, Its just music, its not like youre handing out AK-47s.75
Along with their right to freedom of expression, Prussian Blue
emphasizes white citizens responsibilities to their personal and politi-
cal racial families. The current US government is portrayed in their
songs as the Zionist Occupational Government or the ZOG. In Prus-
sian Blues songs, the ZOG is characterized by corruption, lies, and
propaganda. Like Skrewdriver, they claim that the ZOG practices a
racial double standard: Where freedom exists for only those with
darker skin. / Where lies and propaganda will never let you win.76
This double standard appears in the legal (and extralegal) persecution
of numerous white racial heroes, among them, Rudolf Hess, Ian Stu-
art Donaldson, Robert Matthews, and Matthew Hale, a leader of the
Creativity movement who was imprisoned in 2005 for his role in a
plot to kill a federal judge. The most famous neo-Nazi portrayal of
the Great Revolution against the ZOG is The Turner Diaries by Andrew
Macdonald (aka William Pierce). It tells the story of Earl Turner, a
suicide bomber for the Organization who, like countless other mar-
tyrs, chose death to assure that his race would survive and prosper,
that the Organization would achieve its worldwide political and mili-
tary goals, and that the Order would spread its wise and benevolent
rule over the earth for all time to come.77 The consistent message here
is that whites of conscience must Stand Up, as Prussian Blues song
title suggests, for racial justice and defend their race against an increas-
ingly hostile US government.78 Although their folk music invokes a
transnational racial soul, it also affirms the importance of regaining
political power and protecting the rights of (white) citizens in the
United States.
Imagining a White N ation 83

5) Socioeconomic Classes

Because families pass down their property as well as their values,

the traditional family ideal also works to reproduce divisions between
economic classes. More specifically, Hill Collins argues that much of
the so-called backlash from working-class white men toward affir-
mative action policies stems from their sense that education, employ-
ment, and housing have the same social status as earnings and savings:
these assets are private property to be disposed of as inherited
wealth.79 Prussian Blue makes the clearest connections between class,
family, and race in Aryan Man Awake. Its lyrics vividly portray white
farmers being driven from their lands, white craftsmen being forced to
sell their products, and white families being torn apart by poverty and
violence. On another track whose lyrics were only recently made avail-
able online, Skinhead Boy, the singers suggest that racist skinhead
warriors will save the white nation.80 The imagery is of an embattled
white working class, composed of ageing fathers who can no longer
earn enough to support their families and young rebel sons willing to
fight for racial survival.
Here it seems important to note that not all members of neo-Nazi
hate groups are less affluent, less educated members of society. As I
discuss in the final chapter, these stereotypes of white supremacists as
white trash allow many middle-class whites to avoid acknowledg-
ing their racial power and privilege. Most of the women in Kathleen
Blees study of the white supremacist movement came from relatively
stable families with household incomes that placed them in the middle
class or higher. Almost half had earned undergraduate or postgraduate
degrees. As adults they either had good jobs or married men who did.
In her earlier study of women in the Klan, Blee notes, Many of the
people I interviewed were interesting, intelligent, and well-informed.
Despite my prediction that we would experience each other as com-
pletely foreign, in fact I shared the assumptions and opinions of my
informants on a number of topics (excluding, of course, race, religion,
and most political topics). She describes finding these unexpected
commonalities as deeply disturbing.81 Among movement leaders
already mentioned here, William Pierce, leader of the National Alliance
and owner of Resistance Records, had degrees in physicsa BA from
Rice University and a PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

He was a professor at Oregon State University and later became an

engineer for the aerospace firm Pratt & Whitney. The founder of Cre-
ativity, Ben Klassen had a BA from the University of Saskatchewan,
owned a real estate firm, invented and patented an electric can opener,
and served as a state legislator representing Broward County, Florida.
Matthew Hale had a BA from Bradley University and a JD from South-
ern Illinois University. David Duke, former Louisiana state legislator,
was the son of an engineer for Shell Oil Company and graduated from
Louisiana State University. These are only a few examples.82 Although
the white supremacist movement recruits many of its members from
the urban and rural poor, its leaders are often educated and many were
once affluent. Economic decline is sometimes the price they willingly
pay for their racist activities.83
It remains to be seen whether Lamb and Lynx Gaede will reenter
the folk or another music scene and whether their initial attempts to
mainstream their music reflected a change of political ideology, finan-
cial ambitions, or both. Like their mother, it is clear that they are not
above using the Punk Defense. In the documentary Nazi Pop Twins,
Lynx also disavowed the Hitler T-shirts, saying, We dont care about
Hitler. We wore those t-shirts because we thought they were a joke.
J.O.K.E. A Joke. Yeah, it offended people, but have you seen us wore
[sic] them anywhere else? No, we havent worn them. We threw them
away. They were thrown away.84

6) Family Planning

Last, Hill Collins argues that, because the nation-as-family is biologi-

cally based, family planning becomes important as a way to maintain
its racial purity. Eugenics thinking and, as I discuss in the next chap-
ter on the Creativity movement, eugenics policy, divides people into
clearly marked racial groups, some of whom contribute more than oth-
ers to the racialized national community. This theme plays out in Prus-
sian Blues opposition to immigration and race-mixing, and in their
explicit references to whites with good eugenics. In their rendition
of Kiplings The Stranger, the band sings of an unknown man at
the gate who speaks another language and whose soul follows differ-
ent gods, ideas, and powers.85 A clear preference is expressed for men
Imagining a White N ation 85

of my own stock, who are known racial quantities, however imper-

fect they may otherwise be. The teens 2004 interview in Vice Maga-
zine includes a captioned photo that refers explicitly to their good
eugenics and echoes Aprils comments about her first husbands racial
breeding stock. The photo has the captioned lament: It seems like
smart white girls who have good eugenics are more interested in mak-
ing money in a career or partying than getting married and having a
family.86 Of the twins transition to adulthood, David Lane has said:
When the girls were little they were like daughters or something. ...
Now that they are grown women, and being a natural male, its ... well,
you know what Im trying to say.87
Although explicit images of Blees race traitor are missing in Prus-
sian Blues songs, the girls surely knew her fate. As described in The
Turner Diaries, White women who were married to or living with
Blacks, with Jews, or with other non-white males were hanged with
placards reading I defiled my race around their necks.88 With this
imagery, neo-Nazi organizations follow Hitlers edict that even mar-
riage cannot be an end in itself, but must serve the one higher goal, the
increase and preservation of the species and the race.89 In her early
poem and the epigraph to this chapter, What Must Be Done, Lynx
Gaede refers to our Race as Natures Finest and calls for banish-
ing the mud races or brown people. She writes: our people must
look like my mom and dad. / They dont now and that makes me mad.
/ We dont want to be mongrelized, / We want to be Natures Finest
down deep inside.90 Promotional materials for April Gaedes Pioneer
Little Europe community in Kalispell, Montana, feature white families
at a lakeshore, with the caption: This is how white our beaches are,
and Im not talking about sand. Also featured is a composite photo
of forty-seven babies (all white, but one) recently born at Kalispell
Regional Medical Center with the caption, Wonderful white babies
being born in Kalispell. What do the babies look like being born in
your town?91 Aprils invitation for whites to move to Kalispell reads,
The atmosphere of the area has a distinct Montana feel and atti-
tude. That attitude is to leave others alone and allow them to have
their own beliefs and choices. ... There is a strong pro-gun and pro-
hunting population and one of the strongest Constitution parties that
I have seen yet. Our Christmas parade still goes by that name and we
have a nativity scene in our pubic square with a Baby Jesus ... Come

Home!92 In the next section, I discuss how home and family converge
in white supremacists plans to build a global network of Pioneer Little
Europe communities.



We have already seen how racist skinhead groups are challenging the
traditional nation-state with their culturally hybrid music scene and its
cellular networks. Along with racist skinheads seemingly spontaneous
swarms, white supremacists are developing a more stable network of
intentional communities called Pioneer Little Europes. According to
the Southern Poverty Law Center, these white enclaves represent a
convergence of two separatist ideas that have long fermented in the
brew of Pacific Northwest extremism. ... The antigovernment Patri-
ots ... want to establish a remote base of like-minded allies as a bas-
tion of resistance for the day when, as they believe, the government
will impose martial law. White supremacists are organizing around the
idea of forming a long-desired all-white homeland far away from the
multicultural cities.93 The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus by H. Michael
Barrett serves as the guidebook for Patriot groups and white suprema-
cists involved in forming these communities. Barrett stresses repeat-
edly the importance of cultural politics, especially white power music,
in recruiting residents to PLEs. In response to the question, How
would I go about drawing prospective PLE supporters ... into my
target area within the existing type of White community?, he replies,
Think of cultural events as your magent [sic]. Examining the political/
cultural/lifestyle communities (aka political strongholds) of the past,
what we see are such things as the Summer of Love music concert
which launched the hippie movement in San Franciscos Haight Ash-
bury, and the Irish Literary & Music Renaissance focused in Dublin,
Ireland after the 1890s.94 The prospectus section, PLE & What You
Do for a Living, features the job description: Music Concert Orga-
nizer: This is a person who entices people to TEMPORARILY move
great distances, where they can TEMPORARILY experience a height-
ened sense of camaraderie and power. When the organizer sees the
advantage to having these customers stay and put down roots, thats a
Imagining a White N ation 87

To understand Pioneer Little Europe communities it is important

to begin with what Barrett and their supporters insist they are not.
Like other contemporary white supremacists, Barrett distinguishes
PLEs from German National Socialism, claiming that even Adolf
Hitler recognized that white nativist movements should reflect their
separate national traditions. Although the PLE movement is interna-
tional, the historical origins of PLEs in the United States are distinctly
Anglo-American.96 They originate in populist movements (the political
legionism of the Bonus Expeditionary Force and the social programs
of Franklin Delano Roosevelt); republican traditions invoked by the
Founding Fathers (the Greek polis and the Roman legion); the (white)
civil rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the US
Constitution, especially the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and
Fourteenth Amendments; and, most important for my argument here,
the writings of John Locke, especially his Second Treatise of Government.
Barrett argues that today what Whites urgently need the most
is a restoration of their group or community rights.97 According to
Barrett, those white rights were granted by the original US Constitu-
tion that embodied core republican principles modeled on Athenian
democracy. This ancient Athenian model, which limited citizenship to
freeborn males, defines republicanism for Barrett: it is a view hold-
ing a central principle about avoiding diversity. Thats the observation
that the more people have in common the better they will treat each
other.98 Barrett claims that until the American Civil War, even the
supreme court routinely ruled that the documents of the Founders
were intended only for White people.99 However, white citizens now
have become politically homeless. As Barrett puts it, Todays White
person is an increasingly isolated individual who no longer has the
benefit of a real ethnic community that holds living space.100
According to Barrett, Some of the best material for exploring this
theme has come from philosopher John Locke, who was a key source
for the founding fathers. Locke said that in a state of nature the indi-
vidual was threatened, vulnerable, and selfish.101 The PLE model of
community appeals to such individuals: the culturally homeless, the
berserkers, the greatest misfits, the especially angry, those who refuse
to bow and scrape, the doers rather than passive thinkers, the dogs in
the cellar.102 It enlists these culturally disaffected whites and militants,
... those who have long lacked a community to defend, and trans-
forms them into valued members of a white community. When these

racially conscious individuals move together into a target area, they

begin to displace and DESTROY all the local values that have never
really served Whites.103 Their presence repels potential opponents and
nonwhite outsiders and gradually makes it possible to culturally terra-
form all the rest of the white community. Once white settlers gain
control of local businesses and political offices, they can develop an
Uncontrolled White Nationalist Culture (UCWNC).104
Barrett claims that as a conscious society of Whites determined
to hold and expand their living space, each PLE is correctly organized
for survival and represents the sprouting seeds of a future ethnic soci-
ety (as in race and culture).105 In this and other passages, he describes
PLEs with metaphors that reinvoke the Lockean myth of America as a
white settler nation that was founded on what Carole Pateman calls
the settler contract.106 For Locke and other European social contract
theorists, America was terra nullius, a vacant land awaiting discovery by
its first European settlers, who brought with them their rights to life,
liberty, property, and the principles of civil government. In his Second
Treatise of Government, Locke writes, For, supposing a man or family, in
the state they were at first, peopling the world by the children of Adam
or Noah, let him plant in some inland vacant places of America.107
Of course, Locke knew that the people whom he called Indians
or natives already occupied America.108 They fished, gathered, and
hunted on the land, and by laboring in these ways they appropriated
the spontaneous products of nature. According to Locke, He that
is nourished by the acorns he picked up under an oak, or the apples he
gathered from the trees in the wood, has certainly appropriated them
to himself. Nobody can deny but the nourishment is his. ... And it is
plain, if the first gathering made them not his, nothing else could.109
What made such nourishment his (sic) was the labor he extended
in order to fix a property in the things he appropriated. Locke writes,
That labor put a distinction between them and the common. That
added something to them more than Nature, the common mother of
all, had done, and so they became his private right.110
However, the Indians did not appropriate, that is, enclose, culti-
vate, and improve, the earth or the land itself. They did not establish
private domains or fixed settlements and, in this respect, they seemed
to live more like wild animals than human beings. This nomadic qual-
ity was among the reasons that many European settlers perceived the
Indians as savage creatures. Again, Locke writes:
Imagining a White N ation 89

But the chief matter of property being now not the fruits of
the earth, and the Beasts that subsist on it, but the earth itself; as
that which takes in and carries with it all the rest; I think it is plain,
that property in that too is acquired as the former. As much
land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the
product of, so much is his property. He by his labour does, as
it were, inclose it from the common.111

For Locke, mere occupancy did not create property in land, and
because all property ultimately came from property in land and human
labor upon it, mere occupancy actually created no property at all.
Like the original Europeans who discovered North America, the
new white settlers of PLEs occupy, purchase, and improve what they
regard as vacant land, typically abandoned and foreclosed properties.
They argue that taking over these homes and businesses does not vio-
late property rights and even contributes to the common good. The
Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus uses Lockes metaphors to describe these
white settlers: they are pioneers who are planted in empty lands
and their communities are seeded and sprout up. Appropriate
PLE sites are discovered in a land rush guided by advance scouts.
Forming PLE settlements is very much like bringing relatives from
the old country, and new arrivals reportedly show the same ner-
vous excitement that their ancestors had on their faces, as they headed
west in a covered wagon carrying what little they could.112
Yet much is also new in these white settlers plans, especially their
use of Internet technology to recruit members and link communities.
The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus asks whites to [v]isualize a more
technically advanced White ethnic consciousness than was sufficient
to sustain the old White communities, a synthesis of technology and
cultural integrity sprouting up in every town of North America.113
Online invitations, such as April Gaedes, appear on White Nation-
alist websites and urge whites to come home and settle in PLEs.
Although the Internet is a powerful recruiting tool for white suprem-
acists, Barrett argues that pro-White political activism isnt at max-
imum efficiency in cyberspace, because white people now are also
technologically displaced across the globe. In the following passage, he
describes how technology has mixed effects on relationships between
American PLEs and Europe: The positive one is that we are increas-
ing our contact with the Homeland, returning as the early explorers did

with treasures from the New World. The other effect is negative, for
bringing in even more technology to displace Europes social homoge-
neity, an even lower level of European consciousness is promoted that
saps our heritage at the root.114 He concludes that Internet technology
ultimately increases white peoples need for shared living spaces that
can support their racial traditions.
PLEs also reflect an updated version of what is called settler
colonialism. Settler colonialism is best understood as a subset of tra-
ditional colonialism. Although they often coexist, Lorenzo Veracini has
argued that colonialism is not settler colonialism, because colonis-
ers and settler colonisers want essentially different things.115 The tra-
ditional colonial relationship involves colonists who encounter local
and presumably lesser inhabitants, whose lands they conquer and labor
they exploit. The colonized and the colony remain separate and dis-
tinct from the conquering metropole or homeland. Multiple racialized
dualisms, such as civilized (white) Europeans versus primitive, wild, or
savage (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow) natives, reinforce this separation.116
With settler colonialism these and other racialized dualisms persist, but
with different implications. The settler colonialist constructs a narra-
tive of non-encounter with the conquered that is motivated by a
recurring need to disavow the presence of indigenous others.117 The
enforced disappearance of native peoples often occurs over a period
of many years and can take multiple forms, such as being physically
eliminated or displaced, having ones cultural practices erased, being
absorbed, assimilated or amalgamated in the wider population.118
Settler colonists need indigenous inhabitants to go away in order to
declare themselves permanently settled in their new homeland. Unlike
traditional colonialism that seeks to maintain its rule, settler colonial-
ism needs to supersede itself. By erasing any historical memory of
the(ir) original conquest, settler colonists legitimate their property
rights and political institutions. As Veracini describes it, Colonialism
reproduces itself, and the freedom and equality of the colonised is for-
ever postponed; settler colonialism, by contrast, extinguishes itself.119
For this reason, settler colonialism is typically most evident in its early
phases when it is least developed. Once settler colonialism supersedes
itself, a postcolonial era has seemingly begun.
Many of the analogies white supremacists draw to justify PLEs
are updated versions of settler colonialism. The Pioneer Little Europe
Imagining a White N ation 91

Prospectus praises formal zoning that recognizes our [white] right to

maintain an ethnic community and compares it to what was pro-
posed to save Japantown in San Francisco, and American Indian tribes
[who] have held their own right to hold community living space for a
much longer period of time.120 April Gaede echoes and extends these
analogies when she replies to her critics, Apparently only White people
cannot work for the advancement of their race, while groups like La
Raza are accepted as cultural groups. What if the 14 words said, We
must secure the existence of our race and a future for Native Ameri-
can children instead of We must secure the existence of our race and
a future for White children. Would human rights activists call that rac-
ist?121 This analogy not only ignores the original European settlers
invasion of Native American lands. It also falsely presents Indian reser-
vations as voluntary arrangements, as separate homelands that the US
government created to protect Native Americans and their cultures.122
With these analogies, April Gaede and other white settlers reenact
the disappearance of indigenous inhabitants that typifies settler colonial
nations. Once again the dominant order of white power and privilege
is inverted. Descendants of the original white settlers now must fight
nonwhite immigrants, who are invading their white(ned) American
homeland. These later-generation white settlers have now become the
new victims whose group rights and very lives are endangered. Their
deep fears of racial extinction are now displaced onto Other and
more recent immigrants to American shores. This inverted reality that
white supremacists use to justify their PLE initiative more than satisfies
Charles Millss criteria for an epistemology of ignorance. It also moves
beyond the defensive stance typical of regressive social movements
dedicated to preserving traditional values. Habermass distinction
between resistance movements focused on the defense of traditional
and social rank (based on property) and a defense that already oper-
ates on the basis of a rationalized lifeworld and tries out new ways of
cooperating and living together proves useful for understanding the
PLE initiative.123 Although far from what Habermas envisioned (his
example is environmentally sustainable or green communities), PLEs
are a new and revolutionary way of living together, a global network of
white settlements that forms a transnational imagined community.
As Barrett sums it up in The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, We cant
get to the future through the past.124


At first glance, recent increases in militia groups of white supremacists

carrying loaded guns may seem a far cry from the hateful neo-Nazi
folk songs of two blond-haired, blue-eyed, teenage girls. However, in
Prussian Blues songs, white racial privilege intersects with traditional
understandings of class, gender, and nation to create a volatile rac-
ist mixture. The sense of economic outrage and government betrayal
felt by many lower middle-class and working-class white men today
only adds fuel to the fire.125 Many women become white suprema-
cists in an effort to protect themselves and their children from (mis)
perceived threats of white racial extinction. Some also hope to use
their racial purity and white privilege or, in April Gaedes terms, their
good eugenics. They see their actions as necessary to preserve the
white race and support white revolution. Occasionally women in white
supremacist groups, like April Gaede, achieve a measure of fame and
fortune, if not real power, for themselves and their children. However,
the price of their racismand the links between white privilege and
patriarchybecome clear when women, who ultimately cannot accept
the misogynist violence within the movement, risk everything and flee
with their children to seek safety elsewhere.126 Or, when their children
grow up and, like Lamb and Lynx Gaede, try to put increasing distance
between their adult lives and the white supremacist ideology on which
they were raised.127
Kathleen Blees distinction between the strategic and narrative vio-
lence of white supremacist groups provides a closing perspective on
the sexual politics of Prussian Blues folk music and the Gaedes fam-
ily life. Strategic violence involves the use or threat of force against
not only racialized Others but also subordinated groupswomen
and childrenwithin the movement. Narrative violence is expressed
through a group story that divides an us from a them, the kind
of stories told in the folk songs of Prussian Blue.128 Of course, these
forms of violence are seldom so clearly differentiated in practice. Tra-
ditional stories, like the idealized (white) American family, are cul-
tural and political practices used to draw lines between outsiders and
insiders, and to enforce accepted norms of in-group behavior,
including traditional gender roles. As the Gaedes complex story of
white supremacy, domestic violence, and modest success reveals, race,
Imagining a White N ation 93

gender, and class privileges do not necessarily align when they inter-
sect. A commitment to racial warfare can cost men (and their wives
and children) their middle-class socioeconomic status, and women may
sacrifice their (and their childrens) freedom for the protection prom-
ised by a white imagined community. Ultimately, it is this shared com-
mitment of men, women, and children to racial transnationalism that
defines the white supremacist movement today.
By extending Patricia Hill Collinss intersectional analysis of the
idealized traditional family to the sexual politics expressed in the folk
songs of Prussian Blue, I explored how narrative violence comple-
ments strategic violence in contemporary white supremacy. That this
idealized traditional family is extolled in right-wing extremist and main-
stream politics alike suggests the distance between white supremacists
and ordinary Americans may be less than many assume. Again, the
tendency to pathologize white supremacists may deny and obscure
the intersecting privileges their ideology reveals. Stories that portray
the radical right as lone wolves and wingnuts can normalize class,
gender, and racial hierarchies and, thereby, conceal the inequalities of
power and privilege that persist in a purportedly postracial American
society. In the following passage, Mattias Gardell links the images of
Norse paganismthe earth-based yeoman, the barbarian warrior-mys-
tic, and, I would add, the racially pure goddess/victim or mother/wife/
daughterfound in white supremacist ideology to this longer history
of white supremacy. He writes: The national socialist phenomenon
stands as a warning against dismissing the milieu of racist paganism as
a lunatic fringe of hopeless dreamers: romantic men armed with guns
and religious determination have throughout history been a dangerous
species.129 The next chapter discusses these romantic and religious
roots of white supremacy in greater detail.
The following message posted on a white revolution internet
forum after the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama provides
a graphic reminder that for many white supremacists the Great Race
War has already begun: We are at war, put down your compromises,
stock pile for your family while the men are away, buy up a gun for
yourself and a couple for me and start causing the fight to come to
our door. Make it, dont wait for it.130 I have argued that Prussian Blue
is making the white revolution by singing about the idealized Ameri-
can family as an exemplary site of intersecting privileges. The question

remains whether the American people, especially whites of conscience,

will create a sexual politics of class, gender, and racial equality that can
sustain our democracy for future generations.
In On Intellectual Activism, Patricia Hill Collins discusses the Obama
First Family as a template for this new multi-racial, multi-cultural
American national identity.131 In a self-proclaimed postracial America
where family values still symbolize conservative values and national
homogeneity, she argues that Barack Obamas use of family rhetoric,
primarily through representations of his own family, provides alterna-
tive views of family.132 She writes, Rather than rejecting his mixed-
race, multi-ethnic heritage, Barack Obama proudly claims it. Claiming
his diverse family origins enables Obama to tap into the diversity of
the American national family and to ask others to expand participation
in the American Dream along diverse lines.133 By affirming the racial
diversity of his personal family, Obama has begun to reframe the tradi-
tional story of Americas national family. He has also triggered opposi-
tion from the Right, for example, the so-called birther controversy
over the authenticity of his birth certificate and his status as an Ameri-
can citizen. This continuing controversy reaffirms the importance of
the idealized (white) American family as an ideological construct.
It also exposes the racial hierarchy that persists beneath the superfi-
cial rhetoric of a postracial America and reveals the need for responses
that can transform racial and other binaries. Although it is tempting to
censor the hate music of Prussian Blue and other white power musi-
cians, legal censorship is too easily turned around and used against
African Americans, for example, Black rap musicians and hip hop art-
ists. The more important point is that these Black/white binaries no
longer reflect the global, multicultural reality of American democracy.
Yet in a society where many regard themselves as postracial, even to
speak of race, let alone to claim ones diverse racial identity, can be
perceived and portrayed as racist. The deep fears of racialized Oth-
ers expressed by many white Americans today cannot be transformed
unless these aversive reactions, themselves part of the longer history
and ontological identity of the United States, are addressed. As Hill
Collins puts it, Silencing anyone wont make any of this go away.134
Instead, she holds out some hope that given its importance as an
ideological construct and a fundamental principle of social organiza-
tion, alternative family stories can provide the templates for a new
multi-racial, multi-cultural American national identity. She stresses
Imagining a White N ation 95

how the family stories of the Obama First Family lend valor to the
kinds of families that people actually have, and are likely to have in the
future. In the process, they defend family without proscribing their
point of view as natural, normal, or ideal.135 As this new story unfolds,
the folk songs of Prussian Blue will serve as a powerful reminder that
the agonistic struggle over Americas national identity as a global, mul-
ticultural democracy is as personal as it is political.

Rahowa, Heavy Metal, and Racial Ecology

Hate is a normal healthy emotion with which Nature has endowed all of its
higher species.
Ben Klassen, Natures Eternal Religion

T he imagined community of transnational white supremacy creates

a sense of belonging among its members by invoking religious as
well as family values. In the modern, secular West, white supremacists
have continued to use religion to shape group identity, guide political
actions, and build racial solidarity. In this chapter, I examine the racial
religion of the World Church of the Creator, also known simply as
Creativity, founded by Ben Klassen. Creativity has many of the features
of traditional religionsbible, church, ritual, song, and symbolbut
it rejects belief in the supernatural or, what Klassen calls, spooks in
the sky.1 Rahowa or Racial Holy War, a heavy metal/Goth/electronica
band founded by George Burdi, a Canadian leader of Creativity, con-
veyed the message of Creativity through its music. Burdi, who under-
stood the emotional power of Rahowas music to mobilize followers,
also founded Resistance Records, once the major distributor of white
power music in the United States. In addition to examining the phi-
losophy of Creativity presented in Klassens major writings, I explore
how Rahowas music expresses and enhances the message of white


supremacy as a racial religion.2 Moving beyond Skrewdrivers allegedly

playful hatred and Prussian Blues call for whites to love their racial
family, Rahowas music explicitly affirms and invokes the anger, hatred,
and violence toward racialized Others that fuels white supremacist vio-
lence. For this reason, Creativity provides an excellent opportunity to
study the aesthetic politics of white supremacy, specifically, how white
power music and white supremacist politics work in tandem.



Ben Klassen founded the World Church of the Creator, or what is

commonly called the Creativity movement, in 1973, the same year that
he published his first major work, Natures Eternal Religion.3 Klassen was
born in the Mennonite village of Rudnerweide in Ukraine in 1918.4
He was raised as a Mennonite in the immediate aftermath of the Bol-
shevik revolution and, as a youth, he faced famine, persecution, and
typhoid epidemics. He would later criticize the Mennonites for their
principle of nonresistance and failure to defend their people against
what he came to label Jewish Christianity. In 1924, his family fled
Ukraine for Chihuahua, Mexico, where they and other families formed
a small Mennonite colony. Then in 1925, they again relocated to Her-
schel, Saskatchewan, Canada, to join another Mennonite farming com-
munity of Russian exiles. He describes the Mennonites as a social and
cooperative clan who all practiced racial teamwork and for whom
the church remained the center of their social, religious, and cultural
life.5 Among Klassens early memories are the German hymns and
other songs that kept ties to the Old Country strong in the displaced
Mennonite community.
After a rough start in Canadian public schools, partly because his
English was poor, Klassen eventually enrolled in 1935 at the Univer-
sity of Saskatchewan. Upon graduation, he briefly became a school
teacher. During these years, Klassen first read Hitlers Mein Kampf and
began to formulate the worldview that would later become the phi-
losophy of Creativity. When World War II began, his political views
and German-speaking Mennonite heritage soon led to his dismissal.
Although Klassen had planned eventually to study engineering in Hei-
delberg, Germany, the war also ended these plans. After completing
Building a Church 99

compulsory classes in the Canadian Officers Training Corps and the

Royal Canadian Air Force, he instead enrolled as an electrical engineer-
ing student at the University of Manitoba. Klassen received his engi-
neering degree in 1943 and worked briefly in Montreal for Northern
Electric before moving to the United States in 1945. He settled in Los
Angeles where he codeveloped a profitable real estate business and
formed a small company, Klassen Enterprises, that produced and sold
Canoelectric, the first electric can opener, which he invented and pat-
ented. While living in Los Angeles, he also met his future wife, Henrie
Etta McWilliams.
Klassen and his wife relocated in 1959 to Florida, where he estab-
lished a new real estate business and became actively involved in pol-
itics. Klassen represented Broward County in the Florida House of
Representatives from 1966 to 1967. He campaigned as a middle of
the road conservative who supported limited constitutional govern-
ment as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution
and the Bill of Rightsthe greatest freedom documents ever created
in 6,000 years of recorded history. Klassen argued, The big issue ...
is if the United States will become a collective dictatorship or remain a
constitutional republic.6 His brief experience in legislative office and
failed reelection bid shook his confidence in the two major parties, and
in 1968, he began working for the campaign of George Wallace, the
forty-fifth governor of Alabama, for president.
From 1963 to 1969, Klassen was also a member of the John Birch
Society and the owner of one of its American Opinion bookstores.
For reasons I discuss later, Klassen disagreed with the John Birch Soci-
etys tolerance of Judaism and, in 1969, he resigned. This disagree-
ment, along with his disappointment with mainstream political parties,
motivated him to found the Nationalist White Party in 1970, a quasi-
religious political party for White Christians. As Klassen describes it,
after my experiences and the information I had gathered, I concluded
that whereas the Democratic and the Republican parties were not the
answer to the White Mans dilemma, neither was George Wallace nor
the American Independent Party, and I would not waste my time in
that arena any longer. Back to Square One.7 Klassen regarded his
new Nationalist White Party as analogous to the NAACP, CORE, and
SNCC. He wrote, Our party is based on love for the white race, not
hate, and formed to help protect our people from such outrages as
forced busing, among many others.8

Klassen would later become critical of Christianity as well as

Judaism, seeing the former as part of a Jewish-based conspiracy. His
experience with the John Birch Society transformed his perspec-
tive on religion and politics, and convinced him of the importance
of a racial religion. In his autobiography, Klassen writes, Although
the Birch Society openly declared that it was a non-religious society,
(not unreligious) nevertheless, its espousement of God and country,
the flag and the constitution, had the overwhelming effect of turning
its former non-church going members into church-goers, and I was
one of those.9 Klassen later wrote that the idea that the White Race
needed a completely new religion to promote its own best interests
grew within my mind. Not just a political party such as the NWP, but
a complete, fundamentally new religion that established new moral val-
ues. The moral values we had been accepting and taking for granted
were not oursthey were, as I had said, Jewish shibboleths.10
From the beginning the Creativity movement has differentiated
itself from Judaism, Christianity, and other world religions, and instead
espoused what Klassen describes as a racially-based religion focused
on the idea of racial ecology. Nonetheless, Creativity adopted all of
the basic features of an organized church, including its tax-exempt sta-
tus. As the self-appointed church leader, Klassen held the Roman title
Pontifex Maximus. The church headquarters were built in Otto, North
Carolina, where Klassen also founded a leadership training school for
gifted boys, some of whom later became leaders of Creativity. Because
Klassen was ultimately more interested in writing the philosophy of
Creativity than leading the movement, he searched for many years to
find the future Great Promoter of Creativity. Klassen writes, As
anyone who has read Racial Loyalty, or any of my books knows, we
have been searching for the Great Promoter for the last fifteen years.
As everyone also knows, I am not he, and never pretended to be. I am
merely a philosopher and a writer, and in no way am I the expert pro-
moter that is embodied in an Oral Roberts, or a Jimmy Bakker, or a
dozen other television con-artists.11
In 1992, Klassens wife was diagnosed with cancer and he decided
to retire as Pontifex Maximus. He urged multiple prominent white
supremacist leaders to succeed him, including some mentioned ear-
lier. John Metzger, the son of Tom Metzger, declined, saying that
he wouldnt want to be associated with a church.12 William Pierce
also declined, though he agreed to purchase Klassens North Carolina
Building a Church 101

headquarters.13 This financial transaction allowed Creativity to relo-

cate to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Mark Wilson, a racist skinhead
and Milwaukee church leader, briefly and unsuccessfully became its
leader. Then in 1993, Klassen officially transferred the title of Pontifex
Maximus to Rick McCarty, a Milwaukee telemarketer who was rela-
tively unknown in the movement.14 Klassen worried that the Milwau-
kee membership was mostly skinheads and other young fellows with
little ready cash. In his autobiography, he complains of the Milwau-
kee boys arriving for their free annual vacation at the school in
North Carolina. He names Matt Saladin, Randy Kastner, Arno Michae-
lis (now of Life After Hate), and Mark Wilson among this group. Klas-
sen nonetheless saw them as his best shot for sustaining Creativity
after Metzger and Pierce refused leadership roles.15
Under McCartys leadership, Creativity continued to experience
increasing factionalism and declining membership. In late 1993, Klas-
sen committed suicide, ostensibly from grief over the decline of
his church and the death of his wife. He was buried in Ben Klassen
Memorial Park on private land near the former church headquarters
in Otto, North Carolina. Not until 1995, when Matthew Hale, the
white supremacist martyr honored in Prussian Blues song Sacrifice,
became its leader did the Creativity movement experience a resur-
gence. Hale led the movement through some turbulent years marked
by multiple incidents of racially motivated violence. In 2004, a fed-
eral grand jury in Chicago convicted Hale on two counts of soliciting
crimes of violence and three counts of obstructing justice. Following
Hales conviction and imprisonment, the already fragmented Creativ-
ity movement largely disintegrated. However, many splinter groups
remain active today, and Klassens ideas continue to shape the white
supremacist movement.16
Given Klassens and Pierces doubts about the effects of racist
skinheads on the white supremacist movement, it is ironic that white
power music has played a major role in sustaining Creativity.17 In 1989,
George Burdi, also known as Reverend George Eric Hawthorne,
founded Rahowa. The bands name mirrors the title of Klassens 1987
book, Rahowa: This Planet Is All Ours. Burdi, who was born in 1970 and
grew up in suburban Toronto, first became interested in racism when
he was eighteen and his girlfriends father, who was a white suprema-
cist, gave him White Power by George Lincoln Rockwell, who founded
the American Nazi Party. In an interview, Burdi says of the book, it

shocked the hell out of me. I read it in a day. I didnt start hating
people right away; I was more looking for meaning in life. And here
was this heroic challenge, in which my blood was calling me to rise up
and save my people from destruction. That kind of epic theme really
appealed to me.18 While Burdi was reading Rockwell, a Black friend
loaned him a tape of a speech by the Black Nationalist and Nation
of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Drawing another troubling analogy
between groups, Burdi says, I thought it was great! Heres this guy
doing the same thing as Rockwell. Hes looking after his people and
promoting separation of the races, because higher culture [supposedly]
is produced through homogenous nations.19
Burdi encountered Creativity a few years later when a fellow col-
lege student gave him Klassens book The White Mans Bible. As Burdi
describes it, he was initially astonished and appalled by Klassens hate-
ful arguments. As discussed earlier, conversion stories are common
among white supremacists. Like many others, Burdi ultimately credits
Ian Stuart Donaldson and Skrewdrivers Hail the New Dawn with
converting him to Creativity and inspiring him to form Rahowa. He
describes his conversion experience while listening to the song: It was
Hail The New Dawn by Skrewdriver, and it sent shockwaves through
my body. I mean, here I was, in a movement that surrounded me with
middle-aged and elderly men, and suddenly I heard this voicethis
amazing, soulful, mighty voicethat was from a young man, like
myself. Thirty minutes of listening later, I was hooked on Skrewdriver.
. . . I still remember today how much that first experience impacted
my life.20 Once he accepted his personal responsibility to protect the
white race, the the creators of civilization, Burdi began promot-
ing Creativity across the United States and Canada, and he spent two
months at Klassens North Carolina church headquarters, helping to
produce the Creativity newspaper, Racial Loyalty.
Burdi formed his own band, Rahowa, in 1989, due to his con-
viction that white power music was the most effective recruiting tool
for the movement. It quickly became one of the most popular white
power bands in North America. Rahowa concerts often drew large
crowds of five hundred or more, and its CD, Cult of the Holy War, sold
approximately forty thousand copies, making it a white power music
bestseller. Unlike the bands first CD, Declaration of War, which has a
more typical hard rock sound, Cult of the Holy War is best characterized
as heavy metal mixed with electronica and goth, a postpunk genre that
Building a Church 103

emerged in the late 1980s and remains popular today.21 One reviewer
describes Cult of the Holy War as a stunning mix of hard rock, the
heaviest of metal, and Goth, with strains of neo classicism through-
out.22 Metal and goth are often stereotyped as dark genres, focused
on death, evil, and the occult. However, some participants in the Goth
subculture understand it differently. In What Is Goth? Prez describes
goths as free thinkers, people who do not accept the moral rules of
society because theyre told This is just how it is or This is what
God says! Rather goths tend to listen to what you have to say, and
make up their own mind.23 It is important to recognize that progres-
sive environmental bands, such as Wolves in the Throne Room, which
was founded in 2003 in Olympia, Washington, and seeks to channel
the energies of the Pacific Northwest into musical form, also belong
to the electronica/goth/metal genre.24 Because trance music is often
instrumental, the politics of electronica/goth/metal can be difficult
to determine, an ambiguity Burdi used to good effect with his second
major band, Novacosm. Within this hybrid genre, Rahowas music has
received high praise as the most intelligent lyrics I have ever read and
a complete gem within the far right music scene. One listener writes
of Burdis vocals, every note is gold, it just makes you want to hymn
[sic] along, you almost forget that this guy is a neo-nazi.25
It seems that Klassen may well have found his Great Promoter
where he least expected, in George Burdi and Rahowas music. Some
credit Burdis music with preserving Creativity through the succes-
sion crises that followed Klassens suicide. Burdi, who founded Resis-
tance Records because he saw clearly the power of music to sustain
the movement, later sold the company to Willis Carto, the anti-Semitic
leader of Liberty Lobby, who later passed it on to William Pierce.
In 1997, the Resistance company office, which Burdi had located in
Detroit, Michigan, to avoid Canadas stricter antihate crime laws, was
raided by police. Due to Canadian/US law enforcement collabora-
tion, Burdi was also arrested, charged, and later convicted in Windsor,
Ontario, with promoting hatred. Burdi, who had already served an
earlier prison term, agreed to stop managing Resistance and perform-
ing with Rahowa in exchange for his release. In 1995, he had been
convicted of assault causing bodily harm and had spent a year in
prison for allegedly kicking in the face an Anti-Racist Action protestor
who attended a speech he gave. Burdi describes that prison experience
as life changing and includes it among the reasons he later renounced

white supremacy. In the following interview for Acid Logic, he explains

his transformation:

GB [George Burdi]: My defining moment came while in jail.

I was surrounded by white trash, who were griping and
moaning about the system, trying to appropriate blame
on anyone but themselves for the state of their sorry
lives. Listening to them talk, I could see myself in them. It
dawned on me that they were just skinheads without the
thin veneer of idealism.
AP [Anthony Passonno]: The great mirror of self-revelation
was thrust in front of you, with no means to turn away?
GB: Yes ... and I only wish it stopped there. Suddenly, every-
where I looked, I began to see reflections of myself, in
different moods, at different points in my life. The whole
mass of humanity began to appear as one gross machine,
enslaving the higher self. Does it really matter which delu-
sion I fell for?26

In addition to recognizing that white supremacy was a fundamentally

flawed ideology, Burdi says he left the movement after realizing the
pain I gave my parents, the futility of my cause, and the judgment of
the 12 jurors in the assault case, who were all whites. He claims that
the jurors convicted him for his views not his actions (he still denies
the assault) and did so despite the fact that he was fighting for white
people like them.27 His frustration over what he describes as the
endless bickering and backstabbing and drunken, moronic behavior
within Creativity also influenced his decision to leave the movement.28
Burdi became a member of Life After Hate, a US-based nonprofit
organization, founded by former members of the white power move-
ment. He also founded a new multiracial band, Novacosm, whose
members included a Black bassist/producer, B. Valentine, and a Jewish
guitarist, Sy Sylver.29 Like Rahowa, Novacosm performed electronica/
metal music and the bands repertoire still included Ode to a Dying
People, from Rahowas Cult of the Holy War. According to Burdi, the
song was no longer racist: This version is meant to be enjoyed by
everyone, just think about how the collective modern rush off the cliff
makes this song as relevant and universally applicable as ever. Insist-
ing that he has not merely traded ideologies and that ideologies are
Building a Church 105

prisons for the mind, Burdi now invokes Native American and Far
Eastern teachings about the web of life. He even paraphrases Chief
Seattle, and says: Everything is everything. We are all a reflection of
each other.30 Burdis new ecological perspective continues to confuse
many white power musicians, some of whom think he has betrayed the
white supremacist movement.31


The role of Creativity as a racial religion is best understood in rela-

tion to recent debates over the meaning of secularization in western
liberal democracies. The ongoing resurgence of religious fundamen-
talism across the globe has prompted renewed interest in the relation-
ship between secularization, modernity, and democracy. Many scholars
are now rethinking earlier interpretations that portray religious funda-
mentalism as a premodern reversion to an undifferentiated worldview
at odds with the requirements of modern reason and secular society.
Along with Habermass trenchant question about what is missing in
postsecular societies discussed in chapter 1, scholars are reconsidering
how religious beliefs have shaped the core principles of western liberal
democracy, including whether neoliberal ideology is a secular funda-
mentalism.32 These developments suggest that the distance between
ideological and religious fundamentalisms may be less than some
might assume. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a fundamentalist
as an economic or political doctrinaire. Religious fundamentalism is
specifically defined as strict adherence to ancient or fundamental doc-
trines, with no concessions to modern developments in thought and
customs.33 Yet many religious fundamentalists do not oppose moder-
nity per se, but modernization as Americanization, westernization, or,
more specifically, hegemonic neoliberalism. As opponents of neolib-
eral globalization, some fundamentalists engage in alter-globalization
struggles and defend multiple modernities.34 What these religious fun-
damentalists and neoliberal ideologues share is a tendency to define
their collective identity in opposition to an Other.
The most important point here is that both religion and ideol-
ogy create a sense of meaning, establish cultural and other borders,
and promote communal solidarity among their believers. For many
citizens of western liberal democracies, globalization has increased the

need or, at least, the desire, for clear boundaries that distinguish insid-
ers from outsiders, or us from them. As Nira Yuval-Davis and
Stuart Hall succinctly put it, the multicultural question is the question
that globalization has unconsciously produced.35 Habermas, who
laments the one-sided instrumental development of modern reason,
worries that secular morality is not inherently embedded in commu-
nal practices.36 For him, religious communities with their traditions
exemplify the necessary connections between moral intuitions and col-
lective struggles for meaning, solidarity, and justice.37 What Haber-
mas neglects is how aesthetic as well as religious experiences further
the moral intuitions and communal solidarity he seeks. Religion may
be as much about performativity, that is, shared ritual experiences
of songs, stories, and symbols, as belief in the divine. A narrowand
liberalunderstanding that confines aesthetic experience to the pri-
vate sphere or regards it as merely subjective can miss these aesthetic
features that art, religion, and ideology share. Art and religion express
the unspoken and perhaps unspeakable aspects of collective identity,
including the cultural underpinnings of political judgments.38
Proponents of earlier secular religions, such as nationalism, under-
stood these connections between aesthetics, religion, and ideology
well. As Nira Yuval-Davis writes in The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional
Contestations, Because of their ultimate meaning, religious practices
and beliefs can become some of the most intractable and inflexible
symbolic border guards for belonging to specific collectivity bound-
aries and cultural traditionsso much so that Durkheim (1965) saw
in religion the most basic socially cohesive act, in which symbolically
society worships its own collective conscience.39 Today movements
that are secular and religious, national and transnational, continue to
use religious images and stylistic aesthetics to create holistic senso-
rial experiences and to give a sense of empowerment to people.40
In a prescient passage, Benedict Anderson celebrated the power of
music, in particular, to unify national imagined communities: there
is a special kind of contemporaneous community which language alone
suggestsabove all in the form of poetry and songs. Take national
anthems, for example, sung on national holidays. No matter how banal
the words and mediocre the tunes, there is in this singing an experience
of simultaneity. At precisely such moments, people wholly unknown
to each other utter the same verses to the same melody. The image:
Building a Church 107

Internet technology now allows local-to-global movements to

create imagined online communities that are transnational in scope.
According to Marco Adria, The Internet is itself becoming a kind of
national culture, and this is a potential mitigating factor on the encour-
agement of nationalism.42 Along with the invention of new hybrid
and transnational traditions online, the creation of virtual communi-
ties by diaspora communities is occurring at a rapid rate. ... Diasporic
communities occupy liminal spaces, having left behind one set of laws
and customs and not yet fully finding themselves ensconced within
another such set.43 These online transnational communities reveal the
limits of Habermass constitutional patriotism; it addresses the rights
of citizens within territorial nation-states and new regional organiza-
tions but not the local-to-global spaces of todays virtual nations.44
As Yuval-Davis discusses, globalization is not a new phenomenon
for the traditional world religions. Although they have long sought
global community among their believers, contemporary religious
movements are more multifaceted, multilayered, and complex:

The greatest strengths and causes of the sustainability of reli-

gious movements are that ... they work well on both local
and global bases, in individuals and communities, and in spite
of their de facto exclusionary and hierarchical social relations
regarding women, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities they
can provide discourses of both empowerment and moral
accountability that in times of growing instability under glo-
balized neoliberalism seem for many to be the best anchors to
depend on.45

For racist movements that divide and rank nations and peoples, the
mantle of religion can also provide this anchor. The label religion
continues to convey legitimacy and provide protection in so-called
postracial and postsecular nation-states. In his arguments for Creativ-
ity, Ben Klassen embraces this power of religion to mobilize support
and avoids limiting religious experience to belief in the supernatural or
divine beings. He writes, A powerful movement must be built around
an ideology, a faith, a creed, a belief. Nothing fits this description bet-
ter than a religion. If such a religion is built on the foundation of race,
it is all the more powerful and meaningful.46 An outspoken critic of
religions that worship spooks in the sky, Klassen claims what the

White Race desperately needs is a constructive sensible religion polar-

ized around the survival and supremacy of the White Race.47


Klassen outlines the theo-philosophy of Creativity, his racial religion

intended to save the white race, in three major works. His first book,
Natures Eternal Religion, is a lengthy (two volumes, forty-nine chapters,
six hundred plus pages), rambling work punctuated by bulleted lists of
major points. It covers topics ranging from fundamental natural laws
(biological distinctions between species and the survival of the fittest)
to the five most dangerous Jewish books (the Old and New Testa-
ments, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Das Kapital, and The Communist
Manifesto) to relationships with other political and religious movements
(Christianity, Communism, National Socialism, Mohammedanism, and
more). In style and tone, Natures Eternal Religion resembles Hitlers
Mein Kampf, a work Klassen and his followers, one of whom compares
the two books in a letter to Klassen, knew well.48 According to Klas-
sen, Hitler was the greatest leader of the white race to date. He praises
him for establishing a racially based government rather than a poly-
glot democracy, exposing an international Jewish conspiracy against
whites, and exemplifying the principle of strong leadership. Klassen
also extols Hitlers skilled use of propaganda: The real genius of a
successful politician is to keep hammering away on just a few points
at the most. ... Propaganda should not be like a scattering of buck-
shot, but should carry the wallop of a Magnum high-powered rifle bul-
let.49 Like Hitler, Klassen focuses Creativity on a single enemythe
Jewsto whom he attributes most of the problems that have befallen
the white race. Also, like Hitler, he explicitly advocates hatred: We do
not love our enemies. We hate them. It is our purpose to destroy our
enemies. In arriving at these philosophies we have not invented any-
thing new. We are faithfully following Natures laws, and only by fol-
lowing natures laws can we survive.50 However, Klassen also reframes
the Holocaust as a Jewish-inspired hoax; the Jews were removed
from Germany, but they were not physically mistreated.51
Despite his praise for Hitler, Klassen sharply differentiates Cre-
ativity from German National Socialism. Although the latter bought
time for the White Race, it only offered a partial solution, because
Building a Church 109

its focus was ultimately too narrow and too national. Regarding the
deficiencies of Hitlers program in Mein Kampf, Klassen writes: (a) it
is based on a political rather than a religious approach; (b) it empha-
sizes Pan-Germanism, rather than the White Race as a whole; (c) it
does not come to grips with Jewish Christianity, a most crucial omis-
sion.52 According to Klassen, the current racial situation requires a
much broader program: We ... need, and now have, a more compre-
hensive creed, one that embraces the total White Race, is predicated
on a racial-religious base, and is brought up to date to fit the situation
in todays foremost bastion of potential White PowerAmerica.53
On the future of white supremacy in America, Klassen points to a
prophetic remark of Hitlers shortly before his death: Somewhere
in a faraway place, a Nazi band is playing Dixie and Suwannee River,
the blood will run in the streets of America and Great Britain, then
my spirit will rise from the grave and the world will know that I was
Moving beyond German National Socialism, Klassen presents his
theo-philosophy of Creativity as a racial religion based on natures
eternal laws.55 According to Klassen, the white race is the greatest
achievement of human evolution. Too many whites are duped by the
Jews into following Christianity, a religion that defies the law of sur-
vival of the fittest.56 In passages that echo Nietzsches writings, Klas-
sen presents Christianity as slave morality. It espouses compassion,
equality, generosity, poverty, and sacrificeall of which are life-deny-
ing values. As a result, whites have lost their racial pride and, with it,
their racial loyalty, purity, and unity. For Klassen, The main problem is
to straighten out the White Mans thinking and get him back to sanity.
The teachings of Creativity expose and counter the Jewish media proj-
ect of brain pollution (one of Klassens more memorable phrases)
that has confused many whites.57 According to Klassen, The White
Race needs a new religion polarized around the value of his race, the
greatest value on the face of the earth.58 A racial religion, he argues,
is more powerful than a political ideology as long as religious teachings
are properly matched to racial groups. Unlike political ideologies, racial
religions penetrate all aspects of their members livesmind, body,
spirit (or will), and environment. Echoing Nietzsche on the human
need for horizons, Klassen writes: All people in order to survive and
flourish need a religion, a creed, a life-philosophy. They urgently need
a religion to give them direction, goal, and purpose.59

Ever the pragmatist, Klassen models his new white religion on

Judaism, a religion he claims is known for its great success with tribal
loyalty. For Klassen, the white race must organize across national bor-
ders and overcome any intra-racial divisions, for example, between
Aryan and Nordic peoples. Because Latin is the language of law, medi-
cine, and science, he proposes making it the international language for
the white race. Although Klassen regards race-mixing as the primary
cause for the downfall of past white civilizations, he does not advocate
racial genocide or, from his perspective, even white supremacy. Prop-
erly practiced, separatism could suffice for whites to regain a sense
of their natural instincts, gradually reduce the number of peoples of
color, and eventually regain control of the planet. In passages that echo
The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, Klassen writes, I believe in the spirit
of pioneering America. ... Shrink the colored races, expand the White
Race, until we populate all the worthwhile lands of this Planet Earth
in its entirety.60 He reiterates that the racial stock of white Americans
ultimately matters more for the future of the United States than the
principles enshrined in the Constitution.61 After a long history of race
betrayals, Klassen thinks the stakes for whites are now very high: For
the White Man it is either: White Supremacy or extinction.62
The White Mans Bible, Klassens second book, has a more program-
matic focus and didactic tone than Natures Eternal Religion. It includes
the Sixteen Commandments of Creativity, summarizes the Essence
of a Creator, and provides a Gullibility Quiz for readers. It also
contains lists of organizational goals and member pledges.63 Guided
by his sense of propaganda, Klassen merely repeats many of his earlier
arguments, now in another context. However, he also introduces addi-
tional aspects of his racial religion that merit further discussion. First,
there is a more extensive discussion of evolution, marked by meta-
phors describing black Africans as the black plague, black rot, as
well as cancer and excrement of the racial body. Although Klas-
sen reluctantly recognizes black Africans as human beings, he claims
that they are a lesser species of humanity and that greater genetic dis-
tance exists between whites and Blacks than between Blacks and apes.
Invoking standard popular stereotypes, he presents Black people as
shiftless, lazy, and dumb and prone to crime and violence.64 Klas-
sen also claims that Black people are the means by which the Jews
plan to destroy the White Race, through race-mixing (or mon-
grelization), misplaced Christian compassion, and misguided govern-
ment policies, such as affirmative action, school desegregation, public
Building a Church 111

welfare, and voting rights. Against this vast Jewish plot, he invokes the
Founding Fathers support for racial inequality in the US Constitution.
America, he argues, belongs to the White Race: So why should we be
all tears, blubber and bleeding heart for the shiftless ns in Amer-
ica being sent back to their homeland?65
Second, Klassen elaborates on the importance of emotional
attachments in his racial religion. He argues that love, hate, and
anger play a valuable role in stirring men [sic] into action. How-
ever, he distinguishes real fears based on the need to survive the immi-
nent danger of racial extinction from what he regards as the unreal
fears of punishment for sins fostered by Christian theology. Christian
stories of spooks-in-the-sky, the devil, and hell gradually sicken
and weaken human instincts. In contrast, Creativity energizes people
through healthy, normal emotions, including hatred. The following
passage is worth quoting at length for the psychological attractions and
aversions it reveals:

You cant hate something unless it is a threat to something

you love, and you cant protect that something you love unless
you are aroused to hate and anger towards that threat. How
many times in your own life were things simply at a standstill,
and it wasnt until you got mad (at yourself, or others) that
the fur began to fly and things finally got done? Practically
every important movement in history was engendered by the
Love-Hate, Push-Pull Dynamics of Human Nature. To quote
a few: the American Revolutionhate for the British, love for
America; Hitlers National Socialist movementhate for the
Jews and traitors, love for the German people, and the most
durable of allthe Judaic religionhate for all Gentiles, loy-
alty to the Jewish race.66

With its plan to create a brighter, whiter world, Klassen presents

Creativity as the next important movement in human history. As a
racial religion, Creativity reaches deeper than a political ideology and
appeals to the emotional needs of its members, including the need to
love and hate. As we see in the next section, the music of Rahowa pro-
vides a powerful medium for these emotional appeals.
Third, The White Mans Bible also elaborates on Klassens political
views. Klassen thinks government structure is a minor problem that
can be easily solvedif and when the white race regains its will to

triumph.67 Paralleling racist skinheads, Klassen espouses a collectivist

and cellular organization: in a living racial body each individual takes
care of his specialized duties toward himself and the best interests of
the society as a whole, just as does the individual cell in its relationship
to the body as a whole.68 Like the individual body, the larger racialized
body politic cannot include differentiated races (by analogy, cancer
or parasites) or it will be at war with itself. According to Klassen,
all heterogeneous or polyglot societies are ultimately doomed: The
end result finally is either the suicide of all groups, or the emergence
of the group, or race, or element, that was best prepared to fight and
survive.69 Because nothing less than racial survival is at stake, Klassen
thinks terrorism and violence are justifiable actions. In a now familiar
inversion of the justifications for revolution in Jeffersons Declaration
of Independence and Lockes Second Treatise of Government, Klassen
claims that the US government has violated the constitutional rights of
white citizens and engaged in criminal activity against them. This jus-
tifies white citizens taking the law into their own hands and makes
protecting their Second Amendment rights very important.70 Klassen
says, while we are still in the process of regaining control of our own
destiny, in no case will we ever surrender any of our guns or weap-
ons, under any pretext, ruse or semblance of law whatsoever. Never,
never, never, not even one gun. The Second Amendment gives us the
constitutional right to keep our guns, and we damn well mean to exer-
cise that right at all costs.71 He follows this statement with a chap-
ter entitled Enabling the White Race to Protect Itself from a Hostile
GovernmentArticles for Defense of the White Race. It includes
Klassen frequently reminds his readers of Natures Eternal Religion
and The White Mans Bible that Creativity is a FOUR DIMENSIONAL
RELIGION committed to A Sound Mind, A Sound Body, A Sound
Society and A Sound Environment. All four aspects are necessary
for the survival, expansion and advancement of the White Race.
Although nine chapters of The White Mans Bible address the topic of
salubrious living, Klassen thought it required further discussion in a
separate work. Most of his third major work, Salubrious Living: A Natu-
ral Life Style for Achieving and Maintaining the Ultimate in Superb Health and
Well-Being as Taught and Practiced by the Church of the Creator, was writ-
ten by the natural hygienist Arnold DeVries, author of The Fountain
Building a Church 113

of Youth. Klassen provided an introduction that endorsed DeVriess

views and added a final chapter on Eugenics. In his introduction,
Klassen traces the term salubrious to its Latin root, salubris, which
means healthy; wholesome; sound; useful; vigorous.73 For Klassen,
the principle of racial healthor eugenicsextends salubrious liv-
ing beyond its origins in the philosophy and practice of natural hygiene
to an ecologically sound approach to modern life. Echoing what Anna
Bramwell has identified as a Green streak running through the his-
tory of fascist ideology, Klassens proposals sometimes sound surpris-
ingly New Age.74
Salubrious Living begins with a critique of the myth of medical
progress. Several chapters document failures of medical science rang-
ing from poisonous drugs and unnecessary supplements to unnec-
essary and unsuccessful surgeries. Most important, Klassen claims
medical science studies disease, not health.75 Even alternative medi-
cineKlassen mentions chiropractic, osteopathy, naturopathy, Chris-
tian Science, physical medicinefocuses on treating symptoms rather
the underlying causes of disease, including widespread environmental
pollution. The Hygienic System instead holds that disease is restor-
ative and healing action, not a malevolent force, and works to cre-
ate the conditions under which the body can heal itself.76 According
to Klassen, We need only to adopt our correct human dietary [sic],
expose our bodies to the sun as needed, breathe fresh pure air, get
adequate rest and sleep, ingest only pure water, maintain emotional
equilibriumin short, we must observe the essential influences and
factors of health.77
Successive chapters contrast civilized dietssalt, refined sugar,
pasteurized milk, refined grains, condiments, coffee, tea, cocoa, alco-
hol, soft drinks, gelatin, ice cream, canned foodswith the diets of
primitive tribes. Detailed charts establish the buildup of toxins and
depletion of minerals and vitamins in the bodies of civilized races.
Klassen recommends fasting to cleanse the body of toxins, followed
by an all-raw and fruitarian diet. Only natural, uncooked, unre-
fined, unprocessed, unchanged foods must be used, and these must
be selected from the plant kingdom.78 Klassen recommends buying
a good juicer and even provides recipes for raw foods and healthy
juices. He also worries about soil depletion and pesticide use, and he
endorses organic farming because it provides safer foods and healthier
soil. Other features of salubrious living include: heliotherapy, including

solariums in schools; regular physical exercise, especially team sports;

dental care; exercises to maintain eyesight; foot care; preventing bald-
ness; prenatal and infant care, including breast-feeding instructions;
and natural beauty without cosmetics.
Last, Klassen turns to what he calls genetic health and chas-
tises the white race for its failure to heed natures laws. As he states
those laws, (a) There is a continuous culling out of the misfits in
order to improve the genetic quality of the herd of the flock (survival
of the fittest), and, (b) They do not interbreed with another similar
species, no matter how closely related that species may be.79 Accord-
ing to Klassen, whites have been insanely generous and flagrantly
flouted these natural laws by mixing their genes with inferior spe-
cies or lesser races. Again, he sounds a warning call: If it does not
soon change its course, Nature will exact its final punishment on the
White RaceExtinction. This is as certain as the extinction of the
dodo and the dinosaur and this process is crashing about our ears at an
astounding speed.80


Klassens warnings about the impending extinction of the white race

are echoed in Rahowas famous song Ode to a Dying People, with its
chorus, If this is the way it ends / If this is the way my race ends / If
this is the way it ends / I cant bear to witness.81 Among white power
musicians, Burdi was especially conscious of the power of music, and
he criticized older white supremacists for conveying their message pri-
marily through books. Some books, such as William Pierces Hunter and
The Turner Diaries, or Hitlers Mein Kampf, might reach their readers on
a deeper level.82 However, Burdi thought white power music generally
had a stronger emotional effect than books on younger members of
the movement. Comparing Rahowa songs to Hitlers oratory, he says:

Adolf Hitler is considered one of the best orators in human

history, by people that do not even Understand German. I for
one can understand very little, yet I love to sit and listen to
him speak, because it makes me feel alive.
Our music, especially the best songs, has that effect on
the listener. It operates on an entirely different level than the
Building a Church 115

cold, dry rational approach of our predecessors. Music can

chill you to the bone, raise up your spirit, and make you want
to explode with energy and vibrancy. It has the power to reach
you on the deepest emotional level.83

In this and other passages, Burdi celebrates how the human voicethe
sounds of speech and songcan create emotional bonds among white
supremacists across cultural and linguistic differences. Instead of Klas-
sens cold, dry, rational Latin, Burdi presents white power music as
the universal language that can foster the sense of solidarity that Cre-
ativity needs.
The lyrics Burdi composed for Rahowas songs echo the basic
ideas of Creativity: the struggle for survival of natures fittest, the
imminent danger of white racial extinction, the rise and fall of Ameri-
can empire, the death of God at the hands of Jewish Christianity, the
glorious battles of the racial holy war (World Wars I and II), and the
legendary heroes of the White Race (Viking warriors, Napoleon, Hit-
ler, Matthews). Rahowa songs often combine expressions of impend-
ing doom with calls for valiant struggle against overwhelming odds.84
The combined effect is nihilistic, rebellious, tragic, and hopefulall at
once. Klassen was skilled at creating slogans for the movement, what
he called Sound Bites, Brain Bombs, and Word Grenades. We have
already seen some examples: the Jews are involved in brain pollution,
not brain-washing; the races require separate nations or boating,
not busing; and the battle cry Rahowa. As a songwriter, Burdi also
mastered Creativitys message, and he added the features discussed
earlier that make songs such effective mnemonic devices. His lyrics
include many memorable phrases, such as these lines from God Is
Dead: What you call Christianity, I call Christ-insanity and Our
race is our religion, its our reason and our creed.85 The chorus of
Might Is Right has a memorable singsong quality: Force governs
all organic life, / Inspires all right and wrong / Its natures plan to
weed-out man, / And test who are the strong.86 When America
Goes Down echoes the sexual politics found in songs by Prussian
Blue with the plaintive questions Will we make love tomorrow when
America is dead? and Will your womb receive my worship / When
our sacred land is dead?87 Although Rahowa sings some ballads that
tell longer stories of struggle, including a well-known cover of Skrew-
drivers World War II lament, The Snow Fell, most Rahowa songs

simply chunk the teachings of Creativity into what the Internet age
might call music messages.88
Like other white power musicians, Burdi set his lyrics to simple,
catchy tunes with choruses for audiences to sing along.89 His music
was meant to energize audiences, to evoke raw emotions and visceral
responses, and to empower them to fight for their survival. As Burdi
describes the purpose of the white power music scene,

As primitive a form of culture as it may be, White Power

concerts, and the mechanisms that surround it, are the breed-
ing ground for a new identity. In this age of war, we are not
afforded the luxury of contemplating the cosmos in peace and
security. Instead, we live in a world that bloodlusts for our
annihilation, and our music reflects the aggression and anger
of a generation forced into war by powers beyond our scope
of understanding.90

When he announced the formation of Resistance Records, Burdi reit-

erated this role of music in white supremacy: There is a bold new
force on the horizonand you guessed rightit is Resistance Records.
... the most important emotion that you can feel is not hatred, nor
love. It is empowerment. Empowerment is the feeling of strength that
results from positive influences, be they actions or ideas. The revo-
lutionany revolutionbegins in the hearts and minds of the most
heroic elements of a population: the revolution begins with you.91
These passages leave little doubt that Burdi intended Rahowas music
to mobilize audiences for the white revolution, beginning with the vio-
lence between performers, protestors, and bystanders that often fol-
lowed the bands concerts.


Burdis conscious affirmation in Rahowas music of the anger, hate,

and violence that Klassen also advocates provides an opportunity to
revisit the relationship between music and affect in greater depth.
Musicologists often disagree on the question whether listeners
responses to music reveal authentic emotions (actual feelings of anger,
fear, joy, or sadness), aesthetic emotions (perceptions of the music as
Building a Church 117

angry, fearful, joyous, or sad), musical tastes (preferences for some

sounds over others), or some combination of these three.92 Listeners
emotional responses to music also vary across at least two dimensions:
valence (positive or negative) and arousal (level of intensity). Among
so-called positive emotions, happiness, joy, and excitement have high
levels of arousal, and peace, contentment, and relaxation are lower in
intensity. Fear, anger, distress, and, I would add, hate, are typically per-
ceived as negative emotions and associated with high levels of emo-
tional arousal. Low-arousal negative emotions include depression,
sadness, and boredom.93 White power musicians consciously use these
emotional effects of music to manipulate their audiences and create
their desired responses.
Studies of music and emotion also show that aggressive words
can prime aggressive thoughts, perceptions and behavior even
when listeners do not consciously understand the lyrics of a song.94
Frequent exposure to hateful, violent lyrics can shape listeners per-
ceptions, foster aggressive personalities, and increase hostile social
interactions. The musical genre is also important here: listeners tend
to offer more aggressive interpretations of ambiguous words, such as
rock or stick, when they occur in the lyrics of hard-hitting rock
music.95 Compared to other media, such as film, television, and video
games, the absence of visuals in recorded music encourages listeners
to imagine audio antagonists similar to real-world antagonists.96 One
comparative study of white power rock, mainstream rock, and Top
40 pop music found that genre alone provided a social group cue
that fostered in-group solidarity and racial favoritism.97 Unfortunately,
Black rap musicians, typically, 2 Live Crew and Ice-T, tend to be the
focus of many of these studies rather than white power musicians.
Without defending their misogynist messages, it seems important to
ask whether a racial double standard influences the choice of these
These empirical studies provide additional context for understand-
ing how white power concerts produce the collective phenomena of
muscular bonding and swarm behavior among their listeners.99
Rapid beats, ascending pitches, and loud volumes amp up concert
audiences emotionally and physically.100 Racist skinhead swarms, in
particular, exemplify what some scholars call emotional contagion,
a process whereby a perceived emotion in the music causes a felt
mood that circulates among the audience members. The process of

contagion arguably exemplifies an authentic shared emotional response

to musical experience. I return to the larger issue of authenticity among
white supremacists in the final chapter. As we have seen, racist skin-
head swarms turn structures of authority upside down and aversive
psychologies inside out. Descriptions of their worldview as an inverted
racial frame can be misleading, however. The term inversion might
suggest that subjects and objects are static things or fixed poles that
can be flipped or reversed. The language of contagion could also
mislead if listeners emotions are misperceived as personal feelings or
properties of individuals to be exchanged, shared, or traded.101
By situating white power music in relation to the cultural-political his-
tory of white supremacy and hegemonic liberalism in western democ-
racies, I have already begun to challenge these binary categories and the
dualistic thinking about political subjects and objects that they reflect.
I now want to explore further how e-motions, from the Latin emo-
vere, move or circulate throughout society and sometimes also stick
to particular subjects, marking them as objects that are invested with
specific meanings.102 As Sara Ahmed puts it, emotionality as a claim
about a subject or a collective is clearly dependent on relations of
power, which endow others with meaning and value.103 According to
Ahmed, emotions create the very effect of the surfaces and bound-
aries that allow us to distinguish an inside and an outside in the first
place, and this explains how subjects become invested in particular
structures such that their demise is felt as a kind of living death.104
Although I do not think affective relations fully explain the construc-
tion of individual, group, and national boundaries, an issue I explore
more fully in the next chapter, Ahmeds analysis does help to explain
how white supremacists inverted reality shapes their listeners affec-
tive responses. As she describes it, this emotional reading of others as
hateful aligns the imagined subject with rights and the imagined nation
with ground. This alignment is affected by the representation of the
rights of the subject and the grounds of the nation as under threat,
as failing. It is the emotional reading of hate that works to stick or to bind
the imagined subjects and the white nation together. Psychological processes
of abjection are again relevant here, and they extend beyond failed
nation-states to fears of racial extinction, or the psychic death of white
identity. Ahmed succinctly summarizes the emotional (il)logic articu-
lated by Klassen, Burdi, and other contemporary white supremacists:
Because we love, we hate, and this hate is what brings us together.105
Building a Church 119

From the inverted perspective of their white racial frame, white

supremacists practice racial hatred and violence because nonwhite
Others hate white people and threaten their white nation.106 In another
passage that echoes Klassen, Burdi compares the anger, hatred, and
violence catalyzed by Rahowas music to animals survival instincts:

When a cat is cornered, it does not think about the moral-

ity of its reaction. It will lash out, teeth bared, claws slashing
wildly, and hair standing on end to create an illusion of great
mass. It is concerned only with its survival, not looking nice
or pretty or friendly. Much like that cat, Skinheads are not
elements of conservatism or stability. They are symptoms of
a social disease called egalitarianism, and they react with ven-
geance and extreme dissension.107

As this passage suggests, the aesthetic effects of Rahowas music are

simultaneously biologically primitive and politically sophisticated. Like
other white power bands, their music mobilizes and sustains an affec-
tively charged politics that naturalizes a life-and-death struggle for sur-
vival between the races. It promotes white solidarity by misdirecting
the anger, hate, and violence of poor(er) whites toward racialized Oth-
ers, an issue I discuss further in the next chapter.


Although Burdi has now renounced white supremacy, Rahowas music

continues to mobilize members of the white supremacist movement
today. Today new bands perform Burdis songs at white power music
festivals, and Rahowa CDs, including Cult of the Holy War, remain on
sale. When asked about racism in a recent interview, Burdi replied:

Racism is wrong because ... I should probably say hatred is

wrong, anger is wrong. Hatred and anger are wrong because
they consume what is good in you. They smother your ability
to appreciate love and peace. Another reason that racism is
wrong is that you attach yourself to the accomplishments of
white Europeans, instead of developing yourself and actually
contributing to the society you are in.108

Today Burdi offers the following advice to young white power musi-
cians: Remember that every lyric you ever write will be read by your
children someday, that once its out there you cant take it back, and
that you have to speak out to the kids who listen to your records, keep
them out of jail, and make the concerts more family oriented and cul-
turally uplifting. Focus more on what you love, not what you hate.109
He now describes his personal journey into and out of white suprem-
acy as a search for purpose and meaning in his life that ultimately led
to a spiritual worldview beyond racist politics.110 Burdis new band,
Novacosm, expressed this spiritual understanding of the cosmos and
all creatures as a web of life. As Burdi readily admitted before they
disbanded in 2007, Novacosm was much less successful than Rahowa.
Although white power music may have eventually led Burdi to
spiritual enlightenment, current increases in hate groups and hate
crimes in America and other western democracies suggest that a dif-
ferent path is sorely needed. As we have seen, the mantle of religion,
with its First Amendment protections and tax exemptions, can pro-
vide political cover for white supremacist believers. The association
of modernity with secularism, and the related separation of church
and state, can also obscure the religious origins of political concepts,
including white supremacy.111 To put this point more strongly, there
are political as well as religious reasons that make it difficult to distin-
guish secular white supremacy from religious fundamentalism today.
As Maria Pia Lara puts it, The entire history of Western politics is
riddled with efforts to use religion for politics and to use politics for
religion.112 By founding a racial religion with an affectively charged
political narrative intended to restore an embattled white races sense
of identity and community, Klassen only reignited these efforts.
This suggests that the problem of religion in a secular society
involves far more than the protection of religious freedoms in the
public sphere and the translation of religious convictions into public
discourse. When Habermas turns to religion to recover what is missing
in modern democracy, he seeks a renewed sense of solidarity that can
mobilize citizens to support principles of justice. He recognizes that
collective solidarity involves emotional bonds and that public discourse
requires more than rational arguments, something religious movements
have long understood. Yet Habermas did not seek the social solidarity
fostered by Creativity any more than he sought the communal lifestyle
of Pioneer Little Europes discussed in chapter 3. As he knew all too
Building a Church 121

well, religious regressions to fundamentalist and traditionalist world-

views, including clerico-fascist concepts of the political, are not con-
fined to Muslim extremists or other nonwestern Others.113 Again,
as Maria Pia Lara says, The question for Habermas is whether we
can find better conceptual tools than postmetaphysical reason and an
abstract notion of solidarity to express our concern for solidarity and
social inclusion.114 I think we can, but that religious experience may
not be the best tool for the larger purpose of building a more inclusive
In his early work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere,
Habermas claims that the bourgeois public attained enlightenment
and realized itself as the latters living process through access to art,
for example, concerts, museums, and theater, as well as literature and
philosophy.115 This process was most pronounced with concert-goers,
more so than with the reading public or theater audiences.116 Accord-
ing to Habermas, when music moved beyond church and court, its
purpose changed significantly. Instead of serving the limited function
of social representation in church and court rituals, it became an
object of free choice and of changing preference. This wider pub-
lic access to aesthetic experiences helped produce what Habermas
describes as a saturated and free interiority. It also offered ample
opportunity to practice lay judgment and to learn from expert art crit-
ics. Initially in the arts and later in other areas, good taste became a
matter of public judgment that engaged citizens in a process of criti-
cal reflection, including self-reflection.117 Habermas credits Albrecht
Wellmer with demonstrating how aesthetic experience can exceed the
experts critical judgments of taste and be used democratically to
illuminate a life-historical situation and life problems.118 When ordi-
nary citizens reappropriate expert culture in this way, artworks can
reconstruct how human needs and cultural norms are understood. For
Habermas, this critical reception of art by an engaged public is among
the as-yet-unfulfilled aspects of the modern project.
As Habermas recognizes, the moral intuitions needed to animate
collective struggles for meaning, solidarity, and justice are deeply
embedded in aesthetic as well as religious experience. Unlike religion,
the arts and popular culture can cultivate a public discourse informed
by what many scholars, following Morton Schoolman, have begun
to call processes of aesthetic reason.119 According to Maria Pia Lara,
for Habermas that process involves disclosing previously unseen

territories of injustice, exclusion, and domination and new methods

for envisioning rights of inclusion.120 My final chapter focuses on the
role of aesthetic reason in disclosing, resisting, and transforming white
supremacy. I want to close this discussion of religious-cum-musical
experience, collective solidarity, and public discourse with an example
of such a disclosure.
Klassen and Burdi envision the racial religion of Creativity as an
alternative to the race-destroying beliefs of traditional religions, espe-
cially Judeo-Christianity. Yet Steven T. Newcomb traces the doctrine
of discovery used to justify European conquest of the Americas to
a papal bull issued in May 4, 1493. In this 1493 Inter caetera bull, writ-
ten shortly after Columbus discovered America, Pope Alexander

by the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us in blessed

Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on
earth, do ... give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and
successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with
all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all
rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and main-
lands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered
towards the west and south. ... With this proviso however
that none of the islands or mainlands, found and to be found,
discovered and to be discovered, ... be in the actual posses-
sion of any Christian king or prince.121

When John Locke portrays indigenous lands in North America as terra

nullius and their indigenous inhabitants as politically nullius, he does
not acknowledge this Christian, albeit Catholic, justification for Euro-
pean conquest in which the Pope had already ceded Native American
lands to European settlers.122 Yet in his 1823 Johnson & Grahams Lessee
v. MIntosh opinion, Chief Justice John Marshall used this papal bull
to assert a right to take possession, not-with-standing the occupancy
of the natives, who were heathens, and at the same time, admitting
the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous
discovery.123 Newcombs pathbreaking research discloses the religious
origins of liberal hegemony in the Americas: the doctrine of discovery
used to justify European property and sovereignty refers to Chris-
tian discovery rather than simply discovery or European discovery. As
Building a Church 123

Newcomb sums up the implications of Marshalls Johnson opinion: He

used the Christian religion and Christian nationalism, combined with
the cognitive powers of imagination and assumption, to construct a
subjugating reality for American Indians.124
Newcombs detailed analysis of how the original papal doctrine
of Christian discovery still shapes US government policies toward
Native Americans and their ancestral lands is beyond the scope of my
argument here. Two points are most important for present purposes.
First, Newcomb shows how the Christian European mental activity
of categorizing and conceptualizing is tacitly considered the cause that
has had the effect of making indigenous peoples no longer free and
independent.125 For Newcomb, this disclosure is potentially liberating
for Native Americans, because nothing obligates them to accept the
inverted reality of Christians or Europeans white racial frame. Sec-
ond, his research discloses that Creativity and, more generally, white
supremacy, are more traditionally religious and Christian than Klassen
and many others might choose to admit. In the story of Christian dis-
covery, European conquerors become the Chosen People and North
American is their Promised Landor, as we saw in the last chapter,
the white homeland called Vinland. The Christian doctrine of discov-
ery is a story that white liberal-democratic Europeans once told and
some continue to tell. It is a tale of exclusion that continues to evoke
powerful emotions of anger and hatred toward indigenous and non-
white Others.
In a well-known passage, Audre Lorde writes, Hatred is the
fury of those who do not share our goals, and its object is death and
destruction. Anger is a grief of distortions between peers, and its
object is change.126 When Ben Klassen affirms hatred as a natural,
healthy emotion that motivates the fittest in their struggle to survive,
he conflates it with other emotions, especially anger and fear. Lordes
distinction between anger and hatred may offer a way to rethink the
history of white supremacy on which the racialized American nation-
state was founded. Peace-building often begins by acknowledging
the grain of truth, however small it may be, in the opponents words
and deeds. In Natures Eternal Religion, Klassen writes, our success in
America was not due to our wonderful Constitution. It was due to
the good white racial stock and the wealth and bounty of our land.
The Constitution had little to do with it.127 As Carole Pateman and
Charles Mills have argued so powerfully, the US Constitution may in

fact have had less to do with it than is commonly assumed. Other

more important contractsracial, settler, and sexualundergirded the
social contract enshrined in the official documents of the American
Founding.128 The grain of truth behind white supremacists outrage is
that these other contracts are now arguably already broken or, at least,
rapidly breaking down. Their anger, hatred, and violence toward non-
whites represent desperate efforts to restore these earlier contracts, a
white religious crusade made ever more urgent by ongoing processes
of multicultural globalization.
What angry, violent white supremacists fail to realize is that the
social contract enshrined in the US Constitution was distorted (in
Lordes, Millss, and Newcombs terms) and, hence, unjust from the
start. For this reason, it seems appropriate to ask what might follow
once we distinguish, as Lorde does, white supremacists anger from
the unjustifiedand unjustifiablehatred and violence it so often
fuels? Might other questions arise? For example, if white suprema-
cists calls for racial violence signify that Americas original social con-
tract is finally obsolete, how might their anger be redirected so that its
object is not hatred but change? Are preventing ecological collapse,
protecting constitutional rights, and building global civil society goals
that all Americans, and even all people, might conceivably share? As
Steven Newcomb poses the question: Because of the way that indig-
enous nations and peoples have been ridiculed for centuries as primi-
tive, savage, uncivilized, heathen, and pagan, could it be that the
world has been deprived of a source of spiritual and cultural wisdom
rooted in indigenous values, wisdom very much needed by the planet
at this time?129 Or, as George Burdi, former white power musician
and founding member of Life After Hate, sings in the final chorus of
Ode to a Dying People: Dont let it end this way.130


Aesthetics, Music, and Democracy

They told me all I had to do was look in the mirror and see the truth: I was
white and that was all that mattered.
Frank Meeink, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story

M usic and politics have received too little attention from scholars,
politicians, and citizens, and this includes white power music.
The previous three chapters have explored how contemporary white
supremacists use white power music to convey ideas, fund activities,
recruit members, and promote violence with the ultimate goal of cre-
ating a transnational white supremacist movement. Ian Stuart Donald-
sons racist skinhead music illustrated the cultural hybridity and cellular
networks that characterize white supremacist organized politics today.
The teen folk duo Prussian Blue revealed the sexual politics and fam-
ily values that foster a transnational imagined community of white
supremacy, including its new settlements called Pioneer Little Europes.
Rahowa used music to express the messages of Creativity, a secular
religion dedicated to creating white solidarity against nonwhite Oth-
ers based on the concept of racial ecology. Each chapter discussed a
different facet of white supremacy, a different genre of white power
music, and a different aspect of the white power music scene. Together
they demonstrate how music has replaced more traditional forms of
public discourse to become a primary medium for promoting the cul-
tural politics of white supremacy today.

The white power music scene illustrates historical continuities

between white supremacy, liberal democracy, and the neofascist politi-
cal aesthetic that I call trendy fascism. Although it shares some fea-
tures of classical fascist aesthetics, such as its inverted racial frame,
romanticized violence, heroic individualism, mythic homeland, and
racial solidarity, the trendy fascism white supremacists advocate
today rejects traditional political ideologies, centralized authority, hier-
archical leadership, party politics, and the nation-state system. It also
folds classical fascist images of white muscular working-class men and
blond-haired, blue-eyed girls into a transtraditional collage of color-
ful tattoos, ethnic dress, catchy slogans, hate-filled lyrics, aggressive
sounds, circle and slam dances, and swarm behavior. As this suggests,
contemporary white supremacy is not simply regressive, traditional, or
premodern, though it does defend what it perceives as an endangered
white race and its cultural traditions. It is a decentered, deinstitution-
alized, and deterritorialized movement that exploits Internet technol-
ogy and social media and uses its music scene to mobilize supporters
across the globe.
Habermass postsecular solidarity, Youngs communicative democ-
racy, and Wolins inverted totalitarianism offer valuable interpretive
insights to which I have repeatedly returned in the previous chap-
ters. However, because their democratic theories and many others do
not fully engage the arts and popular culture, they cannot adequately
explain recent increases in white supremacy in western liberal democ-
racies. Nor can they grapple fully with the continuities between the
racist, sexist, and homophobic messages in popular music and white
power music, including how white power musicians capitalizesome-
times literallyon popular genres. T. J. Leyden sums up the broad
phenomenon I have called trendy fascism: Racism and intolerance
have become widespread in the cultures of our youth. Its in the music,
the literature, the movies, the clothingits everywhere. Unfortunately,
racism is made to look glamorous, rather than the cold, numb, and
dark guttural life it really is.1 For the alienated white working class of
former superpowers, especially teenage males, this glamorous culture
combined with a sense of pride and community has proven terribly
Each of the past three chapters closed with a powerful alterna-
tive to the distorted and destructive racial reality of contemporary
white supremacy. W. E. B. Du Boiss committed empathy for Southern
Recycling White T rash 127

whites, Barack and Michelle Obamas First Family, and Steven New-
combs indigenous wisdom are positive exemplars of another way of
being human together. In this final chapter, I discuss in greater depth
the exemplary stories of white supremacists who somehow found
their way out of the movement. Many are founding members of Life
After Hate, a self-described non-profit consultancy and speakers
bureau dedicated to helping organizations gain the knowledge neces-
sary to implement long-term solutions that counter all types of vio-
lent extremism and terrorism. Life After Hate publishes an online
magazine; offers a character-development and anti-bullying program,
Kindness Not Weakness; and recently launched Exit USA, a program
to help violent extremists disengage from hate. Its founders are self-
described early pioneers and former influential members of the radi-
calized American right-wing movement, whose shared purpose is to
counter the hatred and violence that spring from a disconnect from
our common humanity.2
My purpose here is to explore how western liberal democracies
can begin to transform the(ir) legacy of white supremacy and realize
a broader and deeper politics of democratic community. Drawing on
the stories of former white supremacists, I argue that the transforma-
tion of hegemonic liberalism requires renewed attention to the role of
aesthetic reason in public discourse. Former white supremacists fre-
quently describe how mimetic communication led them first into
and later out of white supremacy.3 Unlike the mimetic contagion of
racist skinhead swarms, their personal transformations involved musi-
cal experiences that revealed a human spirit beyond the opposition of
self and Other. Because music and, more generally, the arts and popu-
lar culture touch the daily lives of ordinary citizens, they have signifi-
cant potential for shaping the future of democratic politics. The stories
of these former white supremacists, many former participants in the
white power music scene, reveal how processes of aesthetic reason can
make possible a more inclusive democracy without, as Joel Olson put it
in chapter 1, inviting a lynch mob.


In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno discuss how mass

culture destroys specific identities and produces a pseudo-individuality

in which difference becomes sameness. Culture today is infecting

everything with sameness, they claim.4 The culture industry commod-
ifies the arts and produces gestures, images, sounds, and texts suit-
able for mass consumption. Music and other art forms survive in mass
culture primarily as ideology, and their main purpose as ideology is
to entertain, divert, and please consumers. To achieve these goals, the
consumer products of popular culture must have two characteristics
that are only superficially contradictory. First, cultural products need
to remain relatively conventional so that they do not require too much
sophistication from their audiences. Second, they must be innovative,
that is, fashionable or trendy enough that consumers want to buy them.
Adorno and Horkheimer draw analogies between the mass cul-
ture of Nazi Germany and American popular culture to show how
both promote individuality through conformity. The Nazis used the
newly invented radio to transmit the universalized voice of fascist
propaganda. Comparing Adolf Hitlers political leadership to Arturo
Toscaninis radio performances of Beethoven symphonies, Adorno
writes: At one stroke he provides norm and individualization: the
norm is identified with his person, and the individual tricks which he
perpetrates furnish the general rules.5 American corporate advertis-
ers similarly create hit songs by releasing the music of different artists
apparently spontaneously and almost simultaneously. Music listeners
become passive consumers, who are free to choose among basically
identical Billboard Top 50 songs.6 Regarding humor, the canned laughs
of American sitcom audiences convey a social sickness, a superior-
ity complicit with power, and a barbarous parody of humanity. Even
proper names are identified with iconic stars and their roles on screen;
the personas of blockbuster films and television shows come to repre-
sent lives of romance, heroism, or tragedy.
Although technology makes mass culture possible, it is not the
only factor involved. Radio and television first made it possible to
transmit cultural products across the globe.7 White supremacists trans-
national online communities demonstrate how internet technology
increases these possibilities today. However, Adorno and Horkheimer
think capitalism ultimately drives the technological innovations that
enable mass culture. Capitalist commodity exchange assigns prices to
human interactions and converts aesthetic experiences into standard-
ized products. In his day Adorno claimed, The liquidation of the indi-
vidual is the real signature of the new musical situation.8 Today the
Recycling White T rash 129

MP3, a compression technology that increases the efficiency and por-

tability of sound recordings, has greatly expanded consumer markets
for music listening. At the same time, it sacrifices sound quality, erodes
the human ability to hear the full tonal spectrum, and further isolates
consumers, whose shared musical experiences now involve listening
alone together with their iPods and earbuds, rather than live con-
certs or even dee-jays.9 Adorno, whom critics often accuse of elitism,
refuses to blame the masses for their reduced capacity to appreciate
music-as-art or, what he calls, the regression of listening. He writes:
The blame would not rest on the masses but on the society that has
made masses of them.10 Mass culture produces these pseudo-individ-
uals with their advertised personalities, prescribed affects, and polished
images that fit seamlessly into its false whole.
Although Adorno and Horkheimer are deeply pessimistic, their
colleague, Herbert Marcuse, saw potential sources of resistance to the
one-dimensionality of mass society. Resistance persists among the
outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races
and other colors, the unemployed and unemployable. They exist out-
side the democratic process; their life is the most immediate and the
most real need for ending intolerable conditions and institutions.11
Marcuse offers no guarantees that this resistance will be democratic.
Yet he insists that their opposition is revolutionary even if their con-
sciousness is not. Their opposition hits the system from without and is
therefore not deflected by the system; it is an elementary force which
violates the rules of the game and, in doing so, reveals it as a rigged
game.12 By violating and exposing the rules of the game, contempo-
rary white supremacists also reveal themselves as the products of a
social order that all too often passes as normal. These cultural politi-
cal outcasts and outsiders and the spaces they occupy are the products
of a hegemonic liberalism. It should come as no surprise that Mar-
cuses description sounds eerily similar to the Pioneer Little Europe
settlers that Barrett envisioned.
However revolutionary it may be in Marcuses sense, white power
music still expresses the ideology of the culture industry.13 White
power musicians messages of racial hatred sustain the sameness of
mass culture by positing a unitary white race threatened by non-
whites, another homogenized group. This racialized binary masks
persistent class (and other) differences among whites and divides poor
people along class and racial lines. In the song White Trash, The

Klansmen proudly claim a racial epithet coined in the 1820s by African

Americans (slave and free) in Baltimore, Maryland, to stigmatize poor
whites, many of them indentured servants and Irish immigrants.14
Today the label white trash continues to refer to poor, uneducated,
socially inferior, and morally degraded lower-class whites. Regional
synonyms are cracker, hillbilly, Okie, redneck, and, in more
urban areas, trailer trash. In The Klansmens song, even though
white trash lack the white mansions, live oaks, and perfect lawns of
how the Souths said to be, they can proudly still fly the Confederate
flag and fight for the Southern cause.15 Other Skrewdriver songs, like
Power from Profit, Thunder in the Cities, and This Little Piggy,
feature the urban poor of deindustrialized northern cities as trailer
trash.16 These white working-class un- and underemployed teenage
rebels blame their limited opportunities, deep poverty, and cultural def-
icits on nonwhites (the descendants of enslaved Africans, immigrants,
and indigenous peoples) as well as greedy capitalists and government
corruption. By externalizing blame, so-called white trash can to some
extent deflect the frequent and, I argue, misplaced judgment of more
affluent whites that their poverty reflects personal failures. Such judg-
ments have become even easier to make in todays precarious economic
conditions. Past economic collapses, such as the Great Depression of
the 1930s, more obviously resulted from structural factors. Again, the
clear message in white power music is that whatever else white trash
lack, they have what matters most: they are White.
This message not only redirects the anger, hatred, and violence of
poor(er) whites away from more affluent whites and toward nonwhite
Others. Tragically, it also reinforces a capitalist system that measures
human worth by levels of economic success beyond the reach of most
individuals and then relies on their diminished sense of self-worth
to sustain itself. In the stark words of Roxanne Dunbar, WE [white
DREAM. However, self-blame, a sprinkling of white-skin privilege
with license to violence against minorities, scapegoating, and serving
as cops and in the military (give them a gun and point to the enemy)
conspire to neutralize or redirect our anger.17 Dunbar sums up the
logic white power musicians express in song after song: Someone
or some force has hijacked their country and now controls the gov-
ernmentJews through the supposed Zionist Occupation Govern-
ment, the Federal Reserve, Communists, Liberals, the United Nations,
Recycling White T rash 131

Gays and Feminists, Satan, etc.and, most recently in the United

States, Barack Obama.18 By mistakenly targeting these Others as the(ir)
Enemy, white trash displace class conflicts between rich and poor that
cut across racial identities and participate in, what Joel Olson calls, a
cross-class alliance between white people that limits future prospects
for democratic equality.19
For upper- and middle-class whites in mainstream society, the
label white trash serves as an intra-racial epithet that performs three
important functions. First, it marks the poor white as a bad white
Other and thereby reinforces the liberal capitalist myth of meritoc-
racy, also known as the American Dream. As Dunbar puts it, Their
great shame, like all white trash and colonial dregs, is poverty, that
is failure within a system that purports to favor them.20 To relieve
this sense of shame, working-class individuals often engage in what
Richard Sennett describes as protective alienation of the real person,
that is, a splitting of their real self from their working self.21 This alien-
ation manifests itself in a variety of ways, including sacrifices for fam-
ily, rebellion against authority, refusal to achieve, and hypermasculinity.
The effects are the same, however. Each of these responses to their
injured dignity serves a purpose in maintaining the legitimacy of a
reward system that cannot deliver on its promises.22
Second, the label white trash challenges norms of whiteness,
including whiteness itself as an unmarked race. By associating poor
whites with the already racialized categories of primitive and savage, it
effectively turns white supremacy into an intra-racial affair. In Good
White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism, Shannon
Sullivan discusses the white middle-class abjection of white suprema-
cists and other white people. When upper- and middle-class whites
denigrate poorer whites, they unconsciously reenact the dehuman-
izing and destructive marginalization that white supremacists inflict
on people of color.23 By making white supremacy the problem of
poor(er) whites, they also position themselves as more civilized, more
enlightened, and morally superior individuals. As a result, more afflu-
ent whites can focus on saving the(ir) white poor, while accepting or
bypassing the persistent poverty of nonwhites.
Third, and closely related, good and wealthier whites can now
present themselves as innocent of racially marked whiteness and its
attendant brutality.24 After all, they are not those white monsters
who engage in hate speech and perpetrate hate crimes. So that I am

not misunderstood, let me emphatically state that all white people

share white power and privilege, including so-called white trash. To
recognize class differences among whites is not to deny or excuse the
violence perpetrated by whites through hate music and hate crimes.
Indeed, as Sara Ahmed notes, Given that subjects have an unequal
relation to entitlement, then more privileged subjects will have a greater
recourse to narratives of injury.25 However, the racial contract con-
tinues to benefit some whites more than others, and this intra-racial
inequality helps perpetuate white supremacy.
For many former members, white supremacist groups provided
the sense of acceptance and belonging that mainstream society denied
them as poor(er) whites. According to Arno Michaelis, white suprem-
acy explained [w]hy your people are superior to their people. Never
mind that your way of life is almost indistinguishable from theirs.
Never mind that youre a raging alcoholic and that you work a shitty
minimum-wage job and that you go around and start fights with hon-
est people on the street. Thats all really beside the point, because you
are fighting for your race, and your race is something worth saving
because pretty much anything worth anything was, according to us,
invented by white people.26 Of white power music, T. J. Leyden writes,
It brought me the message I wanted. I believed it was acceptable to
be filled with hate. I believed it was acceptable to be violent. More
important, I felt accepted.27 Leyden, who came from a relatively afflu-
ent family, became adept at selling the movement to teenagers from
less fortunate circumstances. Of recruiting members for the move-
ment, he writes, I found that hatred was an easy thing to sell to con-
fused teenage kids. Like me, so many of them were filled with anger
and hatred already. He suggests repeatedly that white supremacy is
ultimately more about hate than race: the lack of answers made me
realize that the Movement wasnt really about white power. It was sim-
ply about hatred. Once wed annihilated everyone else, once there were
only whites, we would turn on ourselves.28 Or, as Arno Michaelis con-
cluded, race was simply a convenient excuse to brutalize people.29


We have already seen how racist skinhead swarms tap into orga-
nized patterns of affective responses that are deeply rooted in (white)
Recycling White T rash 133

cultural and political history. I now want to situate that discussion in

relation to larger processes of mimetic communication. Anna Gibbs
defines the term as follows: By mimetic communication, or mimesis,
I mean, in the first instance, the corporeally based forms of imitation,
both voluntary and involuntary (and on which literary representation
ultimately depends).30 She elaborates that at their most primitive,
these involve the visceral level of affect contagion, the synchrony of
facial expressions, vocalizations, postures and movements with those
of another person, producing a tendency for those involved to con-
verge emotionally.31 When successful, these processes shape individ-
ual behavior, convey social norms, and create a sense of acceptance
and belonging. Gibbs claims that mimesis can ... be understood as
the primary mode of apprehension utilized by the body, by social tech-
nologies such as cinema, television, and even the Internet, and by the
cultural process involving crowd behavior, fads, celebrity, and pandem-
ics of anorexia or depression, as well as the processes by which rapid
shifts of social and political attitudes may occur.32
The mimetic processes Gibbs describes here are anthropological
and artistic, and she tends to conflate the two phenomena. In anthro-
pological terms, mimetic communication involves mimicry or imitation
that brings difference into identity, to effect similarity in action.33
The phenomenon of artistic mimesis involves a relationship between
an original and its copy, or how art frequently imitates nature. The con-
ceptual distinction is important even though the two forms of mime-
sis may converge in practice. For example, white power musicians
exemplify the roles of racial hero, warrior, or breeder for their audi-
ences, who may mimic them by joining their struggle for an ostensi-
bly endangered white race. When anthropological and artistic mimesis
converge, they produce and reproduce the affective bases of politi-
cal orders.34 In the case of white power music, breaking this mimetic
chain requires different exemplars and different understandings of
nature. Positive change requires the recognition that racial identity is a
social construction.
Mimetic communication is most developed in linguistic represen-
tations, and language is typically regarded as overcoming more primi-
tive forms of mimesis. Yet linguistic expression does not necessarily
leave nonverbal aspects of mimesis behind. Spoken words material-
ize the living sounds of human voices, and the dominant metaphors
found in written texts often allude to the corporeality of language.

In Mimesis and Reason: Habermass Political Philosophy, Gregg Daniel

Miller discusses processes of poetic mimesis that create similarities
through analogy, metaphor, and simile, and involve role-switching or
perspective-taking.35 These mimetic processes ideally bridge cultural,
linguistic, and other gaps by encouraging individuals to imagine issues
or problems from another perspective. Although it prioritizes rational
arguments for validity claims, Habermass ideal speech situation also
involves poetic mimesis. Structurally analogous participants (speakers
and listeners) take turns switching roles (speaking and listening). In the
process, they ideally learn to translate their particular positions into
the universal terms of public discourse. Habermass discourse theory
relies heavily (elsewhere I have argued too heavily) on this structural
symmetry to achieve its ultimate goal of mutual understanding among
participants in public discourse. To avoid rhetorical manipulation
of participants for strategic purposes, Habermas would keep poetic
mimesis, especially figurative language, under tight control. However,
his public discourse necessarily involves other forms of mimesis, such
as affect, gesture, image, and sound. These aesthetic qualities mean that
even the most rational public discourse remains affectively charged
and engages participants often unconscious sense of basic security
and ontological identity.
Political theorists since Plato have worried that political leaders
rhetorical abuses of poetic mimesis would manipulate ordinary citizens
to follow their negative examples.36 The Nazis anti-Semitism and other
identity-based -isms abuse poetic mimesis in this way.37 In Dialectic of
Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno draw an analogy between anti-
Semitism and the culture industry; anti-Semitism is the mirror image
(and inverted reflection) of the sameness of mass culture.38 Like the
identical consumers of the culture industry, including its white trash,
the stereotyped victims of anti-Semitismthe Jewsbecome inter-
changeable objects. Here mimetic sameness involves substitution or
equivalence, that is, the ritual sacrifice of a dehumanized surrogate.
The sacrificial lambor scapegoatcan remain nonspecific; any
available victim can serve as the sacrifice an all-too-human subject
makes to his all-too-powerful God.39 They write: Depending on the
constellation, the victims are interchangeable: vagrants, Jews, Protes-
tants, Catholics, so each of them can replace the murderer, in the same
blind lust for killing, as soon as he feels the power of representing the
norm.40 The Jews, who were the available sacrificial objects in Nazi
Recycling White T rash 135

Germany, did not display or need to display the traits attributed to

them through poetic mimesis. The culture industry would impute the
necessary labels and stereotypescrass, greedy, and materialistic usu-
rersto them or another Other, regardless. According to Adorno and
Horkheimer, Anti-Semitic views always reflected stereotyped think-
ing. Today only that thinking is left. People still vote, but only between
Arno Michaelis understands well how contemporary white suprem-
acists use poetic mimesis to stereotype and scapegoat their victims. He
says, We were ... building massive walls around everything that made
us the same, and preparing war against everyone and everything out-
side.42 He adds, That hate was fueled by what I truly believed was a
love for my race. Oops! Did I say race? I meant a love for my coun-
try. Or was it a love of Christ? Or Allah? It could have been any of a
number of allegiancesany number of ways to identify myselfthat
I built walls around and bristled at those outside, and it was all in the
name of love.43 He also describes the dehumanizing logic that guides
this mimetic process of role-switching: Since we dont care to see
our fellow humans suffer, we consciously take their humanity down a
notch. ... We convince ourselves that it has to be that way if we are
to obtain the comforts and material we think we need. White lives are
more valuable than black lives. American lives are more valuable than
Mexican lives. Christian lives are more valuable than Muslim lives. Or
vice-versa in endless combinations. This is the root process that leads
to slavery, war, and genocide.44 As Michaelis recognizes, this process
defines some people as less than human and then uses their dehuman-
ization to establish the humanityor, more precisely, the inhuman-
ityof those who hate them.45
Although they do so in profoundly different ways, mass culture
and anti-Semitism enact the interchangeability of their dehumanized
victims. Each can only represent difference as samenesswhether for
entertainment or sacrifice. Adorno concludes that, as an autonomous,
artistic language, aesthetic expression barely survives in mass culture.46
Yet the stories of former white supremacists reveal that those who
have been made masses sometimes see through the culture industry.
Their personal transformations often begin with processes of negative
mimesis that expose its (and their own) negative examples. In Narrating
Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory of Reflective Judgment, Maria Pia Lara exam-
ines how human beings canand shouldlearn through exemplary

stories of evil and violence. Negative exemplars, she argues, can shock
us into awareness, opening up the possibility of reflective judgments
and prompting us to imagine new concepts that can disclose new sto-
ries. For Lara, there is no Otherhuman or divinethat is the
proximate cause or ultimate source of evil. When confronted with evil,
human beings must choose to see their own wicked hearts made
manifest, and to change the story. By rewriting the story, we create
new collective memories that can motivate legislation to correct past
evils and prevent future ones. It is the aesthetic-expressive power of
language that engages this moral-practical dimension of human expe-
rience that can foster a more democratic politics.47
The stories of former white supremacists repeatedly reveal how
their experiences of negative mimesis triggered profound personal
changes. We have already seen how George Burdi was shocked into
awareness when he saw himself in his fellow prison inmates, when he
encountered not the stereotyped Others targeted by racist skinheads
but himself as Otheras white trash, the human debris of the
culture industry. This mimetic moment initiated his personal transfor-
mation, a process he conveys powerfully in the phrase: I am not my
DNA.48 Other former white supremacists also recount prison experi-
ences of negative mimesis. Frank Meeink, one of the most notori-
ously violent racist skinheads in America, says prison sports teams
taught him to respect people of other races: I was a Nazi skinhead
playing tackle football in a prison yard with a bunch of black gang-
sters. ... They were going to make me prove myself. I had to run that
ball back.49 His turning point came in 1995 when Timothy McVeigh
bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He
was horrified and contacted first the FBI, then the ADL, and even-
tually became an antiracism advocate. At their initial meeting, a very
puzzled FBI agent repeatedly asked Meeink whether he knew Timo-
thy McVeigh. As Meeink tells it, he replied: I didnt know Timo-
thy McVeigh. I paused for a really long time trying to find the right
words. Then I said, For a really long time, I wanted to be Timothy
Former white supremacists also attest to the importance of family,
especially the mirrors their children provide, in prompting self-reflec-
tion. For T. J. Leyden, a racist comment, Look, Mommy, theres some
niggers, by his young son in a welfare office was a pivotal moment. As
he recounts that incident, I was worried. I wasnt just some redneck
Recycling White T rash 137

punk from the sticks who had taught his kid to say that word out of
ignorance. I knew what that word meant to black people. I knew what
rage and frustration it could inciteI had used it purposefully all the
time. Certain words could quickly cause almost any people to become
violent.51 Concerned about the effects of white supremacy on his
children, he eventually left the movement. He says, It may be one
thing to live in the crap of my own making, but it was quite another
to realize I was forcing it onto my own children and driving them into
a life of hate.52 Leyden later experienced the other side of intoler-
ance, when he joined his wifes Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and was ridiculed as crazy, wrong, stupid, ignorant, and even
delusional for his faith.53 For Arno Michaelis, a single father, the birth
of his daughter was pivotal. He writes: I called off the race war with
the realization that my daughter needed me. ... Being a Racial Holy
Warrior wasnt going to save my daughter; it would take me from her
via death or prison. Of picking her up at daycare, he says: It struck
me that the first thing I noticed was that they were all children; not
black children, or white children, but the sons and daughters of moth-
ers and fathers.54 Frank Meeink relates how his wife, Valerie, refused
to leave him during multiple trips in and out of drug rehabs. When he
was on the brink of committing suicide, Nina, his ex-girlfriend and
mother of his son, was there for him. Of later reconnecting with his
son, he writes, Someday, when hes a lot older, Im going to tell my
son the whole story of the thirty-one-year trip I took to surprise him
at school. That afternoon, though, all my boy needed to hear was the
only thing I wanted to say, I love you.55
Music also helped many white supremacists turn away from the
anger, hatred, and violence of the movement, even though it often was
what initially recruited them into it. For Arno Michaelis, lead singer of
Centurion, a hate-metal band from the 1990s whose songs remain pop-
ular today, the negative exemplar remains his own former self. As he
puts it, Centurion alone implores that I make an effort to counteract
the damage Ive done. People all over the world are inspired to fear one
another by my bellowing voice. ... the Arno of two decades ago is still
busy causing harm.56 He says a rave band actually ended up leading
me out of it [white supremacy], though he was initially skeptical when
a friend described rave as the music that transcended ego to reveal
a universal oneness. He relates his first experience at a rave party as
about 3000 kids of every shade of the rainbow and sexual orientation

and everybody is just rocking out and having the best time ever, and
it just blew my mind. I was stunned, I never thought it could be like
this.57 A Jewish youth counselor and heavy metal musician, David
Lazaar, shocked T. J. Leyden into awareness with the realization that
[t]hey incorporated their teachings with the sound that teens like.58
Christian Picciolini, former lead singer for Final Solution, the first
American racist skinhead band to play in Europe, became a founding
member of Life After Hate and remains active in the music industry
today. He recalls the initial draw of white power music: I also didnt
want to be ordinary. I was sure I was destined for something greater.
I wanted power and recognition. I wanted something that made me
feel my hot blood coursing through my veins. Music had that effect.
Today he urges teens, Make music. But let the song you sing be one
that embraces, not disgraces, humanity.59 George Burdis new multira-
cial, alternative rock band Novacosm, whose music expressed his more
spiritual view of the cosmos and the future of humanity, may be the
most intriguing example.60


Scholars increasingly affirm what these former white supremacists

describe: the arts and popular culture, especially music, can catalyze
either cultural conformity or cultural transformation. Often transfor-
mative processes begin with experiences of what Morton Schoolman
calls aesthetic reason. Drawing on Horkheimers and Adornos Dialectic
of Enlightenment, Schoolman examines how the arts break through the
mimetic sameness of the culture industry and exemplify another mode
of reasoning for their audiences. For Schoolman, the work of the art-
work, its reasoning process and specific claim to reason, is its power
to represent objects and simultaneously to draw attention reflexively to
the inadequacy of the representation.61 Like Adorno and Horkheimer,
Schoolman argues that the extra-linguistic qualities of artworks, the
very features that mean some regard them as nonrepresentational or
even irrational, can evoke the inevitable discrepancy or the noniden-
tity between words and things. As Adorno and Horkheimer put it:
The moment in the work of art by which it transcends reality cannot,
indeed, be severed from style; that moment however, does not consist
in achieved harmony, in the questionable unity of form and content,
Recycling White T rash 139

inner and outer, individual and society, but in those traits in which the
discrepancy emerges, in the necessary failure of the passionate striv-
ing for identity.62 Most relevant here, artworks can reveal how human
beings exceed the linguistic categories used to represent them or, at
worst, to stigmatize and stereotype them.
According to Adorno, music is especially adept at revealing the
inadequacies of linguistic representation precisely because of its
ambiguous, fluid sonic meanings. He describes music [as] a language,
but a language without concepts.63 By expressing the unspoken and
often unspeakable experience of being alive, musical sound powerfully
conveys what is missing in postsecular society. I have written else-
where about the capacity of musical sound to evoke affective, corpo-
real experiences beyond the capacity of spoken words and, even more,
written texts.64 Musical sound does not merely tell a story with lyrics,
melodies, and rhythms. Music-as-sound conveys the life of an object
as a subject located in space-time. It is the moving body/spirit about
which we cannot speak without identifying and stopping it.65
With tragic irony, Adorno and Horkheimer return to the Jews and
Judaism to illustrate this point. In the Hebrew language, there is no
word that can be properly translated simply as thing. The same term,
dabhar or davar, means matter, but also thing and word, that is,
the word in spoken form, as efficacious fact.66 Form and con-
tent, language and substance, are inseparable. What is said cannot be
separated or abstracted from the words spoken of it, because it has
reality only in and through the interlocutors ongoing relationships.67
In this context, it seems important to note that Adorno laments how
for many scholars music also occupies the space of possible chatter.
He writes that to many so-called culture carriers, talking and reading
about music seems to be more important than music itself. Such mal-
formations are symptoms of an ideologically normal condition, to wit,
of music not being perceived as itself at all, in its truth and untruth,
but solely as an indefinite and uncontrollable dispensation from deal-
ing with truth and untruth.68
For Adorno and Horkheimer, Odysseuss encounter with the
Sirens illustrates the necessary failure of identity in linguistic rep-
resentations. Odysseus, the prototype of the bourgeois individual,
individuates himself by renouncing the Sirens and their song.69 He
listens to their singing while bound to the mast of his ship. Adorno
writes that Odysseus recognizes the archaic superior power of the

song even when, as a technically enlightened man, he has himself

bound.70 He adds: The identical I of Homer could be seen as pri-
marily the result of a mastery of nature carried out within the indi-
vidual. This new self trembles within its thing-selfa bodyonce the
heart has been rebuked.71 In response to the Sirens song, Odysseus
cannot but cry out. His cry and their song resound, and together give
voice to the specific identities, the living beings, that words cannot ade-
quately express. Their embodied sounds break through the dominant
order of mimetic sameness. They allow recognition beyond the cat-
egories of identity and express another spirit that flows between and
within the living subjects that language has always already made into
fixed objects. When Odysseus finally returns home, his old dog, Argos,
knows him by his voice and Eurykleia, his childhood nurse, recognizes
his body, voice, and limbs, especially his scarred leg. Although Penel-
ope, the good wife, uses the dominant, cold, calculating rationality to
test Odysseuss memory of their bed that he made, these animal and
female otherslike the Sirensrecognize his basic humanity, and
all-too-human vulnerability.72
This capacity of musical sound to unsettle linguistic categories and
established identities makes it especially valuable in processes of per-
sonal and political transformation. In Youth Peacebuilding: Music, Gender,
and Change, Lesley J. Pruitt finds that music can be a potentially pow-
erful resource for unsettling identities in a way that may offer alter-
native nonviolent responses to conflict and difference.73 For many
participants in the peace organizations that she observed, music and
dance opened up the possibility of dialogue across class, race, sex,
and other differences. She notes that hip hop specifically asks break
dancers to produce their own style and, in this way, lays a founda-
tion for young people around the world to develop indigenous forms
of expression; to construct selves using images, rhythm, sound, and
movement, and to build up knowledge that more accurately reflects
their lived realities.74
Such affirmations of the creative potential found in hip-hop culture
can be problematic, however. We already discussed how the gangsta-
pimp-ho trinity promoted by commercial hip-hop perpetuates racial
stereotypes of Blacks and Black culture.75 Another and different prob-
lem arises when hip-hop becomes a multicultural everyone thing or
a universal artistic space; its origins in Black culture may be denied
and forgotten.76 In Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers,
Recycling White T rash 141

and Wannabes and the New Reality of Race in America, Kitwana Bakari
argues that many white teens turn to hip hop as a way to channel their
increasing sense of alienation in a declining, postindustrial American
economy. While discussing Malibus Most Wanted, he asks the relevant
question: When does Black youth culture end and the packaged imi-
tation of Black youth culture begin?77 He concludes that hip-hop is
not a panacea. It is not a cure-all that will bring the races together in
a We Are The World Fashion. ... Instead, hip-hop is a framework, a
culture that has brought young people together and provides a public
space that they can communicate within unrestricted by the old obsta-
cles.78 For hip-hop to be a positive space for youth peacebuilding,
its origins in Black culture must be recognized and racial (and other)
stereotypes that perpetuate injustices rejected. If these criteria are met,
then hip-hop just may provide a creative space for building coalitions
between Black and white youth.
Life After Hate, an organization Pruitt did not study, uses hip-
hop for these purposes in its community education and antiracism
programs. In the online journal Life After Hate, DaRaven relates how
TRUE Skools annual hip-hop block party in Milwaukee, Wiscon-
sin, counters stereotypes of African American urban youth and fos-
ters interracial solidarity. Although corporate influences, misogynist
messages, and artistic ambitions have tarnished the media image of
hip-hop, DaRaven says this block party revealed its livingand strug-
glingsoul. In language reminiscent of Dave Chappelles Block Party,
he describes an art wall with graffiti: there was almost an aura that the
sun gave off to give these pictures and creative expressions breathing
life. Of the street scene, he says, As you walked around the area, you
were overwhelmed by the people of different races, creeds, and ethnic
origins that came together ... to celebrate the purity that lay within
Hip-Hop. The B-Boys and B-Girls bodies became walking, talking
instruments as each downbeat seemed to sync with their movements
and steps. He asks, Can Hip-Hop regain its original title of being a
social force for impoverished people and a highlight of good times
and brighter days ahead?79
For many participants in Life After Hate programs the answer is:
Yes. They affirm the music and dance of hip-hop as engaging and
empowering and stress that technical ability matters less than build-
ing a unique network of friends and family while developing ones own
style and self-esteem. One participant says, My greatest lesson in

dancing [is] to always be yourself and dont try to pretend to be some-

one else, even though they might be better than you. Another says
of break dancing, My greatest lesson is that anything is possible. The
dynamics in itself shows that what seems impossible is just a persons
imagination. A third states his purpose: to stay positive, to lead by
example, to defy media stereotypes.80
Among those stereotypes is the too narrow association of the hip-
hop scene with urban Black culture, which might be seen as the flip
side of multicultural oneness. The culture bandit typically targeted
by critics of cultural appropriation is the white rapper Eminem. Cul-
tural appropriation is a real danger, given the dominance of white cor-
porate executives in the mainstream music industry and prominence
of white teenagers as hip-hop consumers. However, Bakari notes
that those who accuse Eminem of appropriating Black culture often
ignore the socioeconomic conditionswhat Butler and Athanasiou
call induced precaritythat some white teenagers also experience
today. Without denying the persistent reality of white power and privi-
lege even among poor(er) whites, Bakari writes: How race is lived in
America has shifted. But the charges of racism leveled against Eminem
dont allow for that shifting reality. Eminem is white, yes, but he comes
from a working-class background. This fact, and what it means to be
white and working class in todays America, can never be minimized.
Eminem comes from a socioeconomic background not vastly different
from that of many Black rappers.81 Given the misogynist and vio-
lent messages of his music, Eminem is a troubling example here, but
Bakari nonetheless makes an important point. Hip-hop culture, at least
the noncommercialized hip-hop underground, might provide a space
for interracial coalition politics among a new generation of impover-
ished Black and white youth. For hip-hop to fulfill this promise, white
working-class teenage participants experience of hip-hop culture must
amount to more than racial tourism, though. Genuine white engage-
ment with hip-hop would confront whites fascination with Black devi-
ance, including their often unconscious desires for what appears to be
authentically Black. In The Hip Hop Wars, Tricia Rose discusses the
complicated collusion of white desires for black authenticity and for
stereotypes that are based in white supremacist ideas.82 White privi-
lege here involves access to Black ghetto culture without acknowledg-
ing or addressing the Black suffering from which it has emerged.
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Roses argument also raises larger questions regarding claims to

authenticity in our commercialized and mass-mediated popular culture.
Anthony Kwame Harrison notes the troubling tendency to associate
authenticity with the cultures of marginalized groups:

authenticity is not only an attribute of the music and the peo-

ple who make it, it is also ascribed (or denied) to any social
actor who vies for acceptance. Considerations of authentic-
ity, however, are not limited to music scenes and subcultures
alone; they are also commonly applied to collective social
groups, particularly those who lack the power to define them-
selves as normal, and are therefore objectified or essential-
ized within the societies in which they reside.83

Although the label authentic may convey acceptance and belong-

ing for those society defines as marginal, including rappers and white
trash, the group identity it confers often exacts a high price. For Har-
rison, the problem is that cultural authenticity is too tightly scripted
and, I would add, too often romanticized or exoticized. He writes,
Whereas scripts orient around preset notions of what is thought to be
authentic, sincerity breaks from this dynamic by prioritizing qualities of
character and integrity.84 Another participant in Life After Hate sim-
ply says: When you are doing what you love and living with meaning
and purpose, its hard to hate anything. Life is good. Lets go dance.85


As we have seen, the white power music scene invokes visceral, aver-
sive reactions to bodily and other differences that are deeply rooted
in prediscursive collective memories and political imaginaries. Many
white supremacists consider those who leave the movement inauthen-
tic, and former members are frequently called race traitors in online
forums. A recent post on Stormfront, entitled my thoughts of trai-
tors in white power music, discusses Burdi, Rahowa, and Resistance
Records, and also mentions Michaeliss Centurion. Its author, Odessa,
distinguishes white power musicians like Ian Stuart, who are the truly
driving force of the band from weak-minded people who will turn

and run. Odessa dismisses Burdi as a poster for a lost kid trying to
find an identity and speculates that he formed Rahowa and founded
Resistance Records only to make money.86 In a 2004 interview, a VNN
reporter asked Burdi: Have you accepted any money, goods, or assis-
tance of any kind from individual Jews or Jewish civil rights organiza-
tions? and Have Jews offered you any assistance in obtaining record
deals or production assistance for Novacosm? Burdi answered no
to both questions and added that, since leaving the white suprema-
cist movement and cutting his ties to Resistance Records in 1997, he
has not profited from Rahowa sales. He says, Had the feds not shut
Resistance down, I would have eventually left anyway. Of Ode to a
Dying People, he claims that the original lyrics expressed his frustra-
tion with white supremacy, and that today they have broader implica-
tions. The lines If this is the way it ends and Brother I find it hard
to keep fighting on now convey his sense that [t]he going line in
2004 is right off a cliff. According to Burdi, The best hope for emer-
gence from this Dark Age is a spiritual awakening that begins with
the individual and changes the culture right at its roots. He thinks
[a]rtists will play a tremendous role in the cultural renaissance, and
with increased access to creative tools (especially computer software)
and communication mediums (the Internet), they will be abundant
and unrestrained by the corporate objectives that have contaminated
the artistic/cultural expression for the better part of the last century.
As he describes his transformation: I have been personally able to
indulge in a racialist education, and have emerged from it anti-racist. It
is convenient for those still in the white separatist movement to view
this as cowardice. The truth is, however, that it took more courage to
admit error.87
Although white supremacists now regard George Burdi as inau-
thentic, I want to suggest that he may be quite sincere. In his Theory
of Communicative Action, Habermas argues that sincerity, his criterion
for aesthetic-expressive validity claims, can be learned through com-
municative action. So far sincerity has received far less attention than
Habermass other criteria for validity claims, that is, factual accuracy
and normative rightness. This is partly because he tends to overdraw
the distinction between self and society, and, in the process, reduce the
aesthetic-expressive to the merely subjective.88 However, speech acts
simultaneously convey propositional content and create intersubjective
Recycling White T rash 145

relationships; they always involve participation in a community of act-

ing and speaking subjects.89 For Habermas, Anyone who is so priva-
tistic in his attitudes and evaluations that they cannot be explained and
rendered plausible by appeal to standards of evaluation is not behaving
rationally.90 In Moral Development and Ego Identity, he writes that
inner nature is rendered communicatively fluid and transparent to the
extent that needs can, through aesthetic forms of expression, be kept
articulable. ... But that means that internal nature is not subjected, in
the cultural preformation met with at any given time, to the demands
of ego autonomy; rather through a dependent ego it obtains free access to the
interpretive possibilities of the cultural tradition.91 When aesthetic-expres-
sive experience is recognized as inherently intersubjective and cultural,
the human potential to learn by talking and listening becomes clearer.
Today this potential emerges out of the tensions between an inau-
thentic mass culture and cultural-political resistance to it. In his discus-
sions of sincerity, Habermas acknowledges a gap between cognitive
expressions of beliefs or intentions and effective communication of
our deepest desires and feelings. With cognitive expressions, whether
someone says what he means is clearly a question of truthfulness or
sincerity. With desires and feelings this is not always the case. In situ-
ations in which accuracy of expression is important, it is sometimes
difficult to separate questions of sincerity from those of authentic-
ity. Often we lack the words to say what we feel; and this in turn places the
feelings themselves in a questionable light.92 For Habermas, to be sincere
or truthful involves more than finding the right words to say what
we feel. Because speech acts are affective, corporeal, and figurative as
well as argumentative, denotative, and literal, there is an aesthetic and
promissory quality to communicative action. Truthful words carry the
speakers heartfelt intentions for future action along with their cogni-
tive-rational meanings.
This aspect of Habermass theory fits awkwardly with dominant
ideas of public reason, which are primarily cognitive-rational or more
narrowly strategic-instrumental. Others have noted this discrepancy,
though without embracing aesthetic expression as itself a form of
public reason. For example, in Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and Demo-
cratic Deliberation, Sharon Krause argues that laws can only enforce jus-
tice; they cannot compel the sense of moral accountability necessary
to animate legal orders. Arguing that our minds are changed when

our hearts are engaged, Krause stresses the importance of mutual

perspective-taking in public discourse.93 To avoid misrecognition and
misunderstanding, citizens must sincerely express their emotions and
empathize with others.94 They cannot beand should not aspire to
bePassionless, disengaged deliberators about questions of jus-
tice. Deliberative processes ideally foster more reflective passions,
even civilize the passions in public life.95 For Krause, sincere indi-
viduals can emerge from the self-reflection prompted by public dis-
course because reasonable disagreements increase self-understanding.
These self-reflective processes supported by democratic discourse are
neither purely cognitive/rational nor merely affective/emotional; they
are both.96
With sincerity, the world-disclosive power of aesthetic expression
also reveals new possibilities for coordinating action. Habermas seg-
ues from a critique of the manipulated meanings of mass media and
mass culture to his discussion of new social movements. Among other
things, new social movements attempt to foster the revitalization of
possibilities for expression and communication that have been bur-
ied alive.97 These movements are hard to describe, because they are
not interest groups, political parties, or single-issue groups. Habermass
descriptors highlight their aesthetic qualities: scenes with support
groups and youth sects, politics in the first person, a politics that
is expressive and at the same time has a democratic base, alternative
practices, and counterinstitutions. Ideally, new social movements
create liberated areas that can then be returned to the action-coor-
dinating mechanisms of reaching understanding.98 Unfortunately, that
is not always the case. The arts and popular culture build group soli-
darity across the political spectrum, including white supremacist move-
ments on the radical right.
White supremacists denunciations of George Burdi shed addi-
tional light on why Habermas chooses sincerity over authenticity as
his criterion for aesthetic-expressive validity. Although some critics
and fans still use the label, it is hard to say what authenticity means
for contemporary transnational music scenes, other than not selling
out. In a world of hybrid cultures and global markets, authenticity
seems increasingly obsolete; it is too closely associated with affective
ties to tightly scripted identities grounded in collective memories of
cultural traditions. Some scholars question whether authenticity even
remains relevant, except for those, such as white power musicians, who
Recycling White T rash 147

defend endangered cultural traditions against multiculturalism and glo-

balization. My purpose here is not to resolve continuing controversies
over the meaning of authenticity, but to suggest that sincerity may be
a better criterion for evaluating aesthetic expression.99 Sincerity vali-
dates resistance to the categories of mass culture that represent differ-
ence as sameness and connotes a more expansive, reflective sense of
identity that is open to new experiences of the world. It also conveys
the sense of character or integrity that develops through processes of
aesthetic reasoning, especially the self-reflection prompted by negative
George Burdi claims that Ode to a Dying People, a song his
audiences remember well, has a different meaning now. How is this
possible when the song lyrics, melodies, and rhythms remain the same?
The ambiguous, fluid qualities of musical expression make this trans-
formative process possible. As we have seen, embodied sounds can
break through the culture industrys order of sameness and evoke the
living presence of singular individuals, including their nonidentity with
themselves and one another. According to Burdi, he now performs
Ode to a Dying People with a changed heart and a different inten-
tion, and that makes it a new song. Its purpose now is not to save a
dying white race but to awaken an unreflective humanity.
Other former white supremacists also relate their stories of per-
sonal transformation. Their processes of aesthetic reasoning involve
accepting their own vulnerability, suffering their all-too-human weak-
nesses, and learning to embrace a shared humanity. Arno Michaelis of
Centurion puts it starkly, Its time for everyone who listens to lyrics I
wrote and shouted telling them to hurt innocent people to know that
Ive somehow lived to regret everything I said. Everyone I hurt.100
Frank Meeink writes:

God has taken mercy I dont deserve on me, mercy I never

showed my victims. Their eyes still haunt me. I cant remember
their faces, but I cannot forget the desperation in their eyes. I
pray to God every day to give them peace. And I pray to God
never to erase their pain from my memory. I cant make direct
amends to most of the people I so brutally attacked during my
skinhead years because I never knew their names. But they are
in my heart now when I speak out against hatred. They are the
reason I will never stop speaking out against hatred.101

There is profound suffering in these processes of self-reflection and

self-expression, but its purpose now is to lessen suffering, overcome
injustices, and promote peace.102 Or, to change the story.


In Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, Judith Butler

argues that the 9/11 terrorist attacks dramatically exposed the all-too-
human vulnerability of the United States as a global superpower. The
continuing global economic crisis of 2008 that increased the economic
precarity of many middle- and working-class whites only compounded
this sense of vulnerability. According to Butler, 9/11 offered Ameri-
cans of European ancestry yet another opportunity to confront the(ir)
history of white power and privilege that continues to haunt western
liberal democracies. The British Empire, the American Revolution, the
Constitutional Convention, the Civil War, Jim Crow, Indian removal,
eugenics programs, Japanese internment, the Cold War, urban renewal,
the New Jim Crow, the War on Terror, police brutality, immigration
controlthis list is woefully incomplete and much too long. Butler
asked post-9/11 America, What politically might be made of grief
besides a cry for war?103 Unfortunately, many white Americans once
again responded with anger, fear, hate, and violence toward nonwhite
Others and, as a result, missed yet another opportunity to change the
Butlers larger project is to unsettle the self-possessed, sovereign
subject behind processes of neoliberal globalization. She argues that
both our political and ethical responsibility are rooted in the recogni-
tion that radical forms of self-sufficiency and unbridled sovereignty
are, by definition, disrupted by the larger global processes of which
they are a part, that no final control can be secured, and that final con-
trol is not, cannot be, an ultimate value.104 This idea of self-sufficiency
informs liberal tolerance of different beliefs, opinions, and tastes, and
limits cross-cultural understanding by defining these as private matters.
It also asserts unbridled sovereignty within the territorial borders of
family homes and national homelands alike. Most important, it limits
people marked by ethnic, racial, and sexual stereotypes to identifying
with their marginalized group or assimilating to a false universal. In
Giving an Account of Oneself, Butler also turns to Adorno to challenge
Recycling White T rash 149

the liberal principle of universal rights, because it upholds the self-

sameness of (some) individuals predicated on the construction of an
Other, who is different.105 For Butler, Adorno offers glimpses of what
it might mean to respond to injury by refusing to return it, a process
that she says involves becoming human.
In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer and Adorno wrote that
there are no longer any anti-Semites. The last of them were liberals
who wanted to express their anti-liberal opinions.106 Yet today there
are anti-Semites again and antiliberal opinions abound. Adorno and
Horkheimer also lamented that the violence done to words is no lon-
ger audible in them.107 White power music has made this violence
audible again and turned up the volume of hate. According to Butler,
precarity is performative and its performativity is political: the per-
formative emerges precisely as the specific power of the precarious
unauthorized by existing legal regimes, abandoned by the law itselfto
demand the end to their precarity.108 Like many scholars, her exam-
ples feature visual expressions of embodied resistance, such as Global
Occupy, Women in Black, and Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. She also
discusses self-immolation, hunger strikes, and suicide bombers, who
embody precarity at its most extreme by performing death. Her best
known musical example remains the undocumented Mexican workers
who sang The Star-Spangled Banner in Spanish in the streets of LA
in 2006. In Who Sings the Nation-State?, Butler and Spivak, her coauthor,
say that this protest introduced the interesting problem of the plural-
ity of the nation, of the we and the our: to whom does this anthem
belong? ... For the we to sing and to be asserted in Spanish surely
does something to our notions of the nation and to our notions of
equality.109 With their emphasis here on languageSpanish or Eng-
lishButler and Spivak treat musical lyrics as cultural texts. Language
is important, but it is crucial to recall that the we being asserted in
Spanish is singing. It is the music that allows English-only listeners to
recognize the national anthem, albeit in translation.
Although this performance of The Star Spangled Banner dis-
rupted national unisonality, musical lyrics typically reinforce the
mimetic sameness shared by popular culture and liberal democracy.
Although I distinguish them from white power music, we saw how
the lyrics of pop songs also convey nationalist, racist, and sexist mes-
sages. The sounds of hate music create emotional bondsthe feel-
ings of power, pride, and solidaritythat fuel racist violence. It is the

self-possessed, unbridled sovereign individual and national subject

who can be stereotyped by name-calling or worse forms of violence.
Fortunately, music as sound also points beyond these fixed identities
and engages in what Athena Athanasiou refers to as subversive mime-
sis. It does so precisely at the site of the name.110 This process of
subversion often begins with negative mimesis, and it does not stop
there. Music also offers positive messages that acknowledge difference,
celebrate diversity, and recognize the lived experiences of individuals
and groups. Yet positive messages must do more than complement
the negative ones. Musical sounds must also subvert dominant systems
of representation from within to recover the living spirit of embod-
ied voices. Musical sound is an especially effective tool for this pro-
cess that Butler calls relational performativity, because it involves our
response-ability to other human beings. As extralinguistic representa-
tion, music does not need to assume metaphysical or transcendental
meanings to convey what is missing in postsecular society. By invok-
ing affective, corporeal aspects of communication, it opens up the
vulnerable spaces between self and other where our shared humanity
A fully inclusive democracy requires its citizens to occupy these
unspoken, and perhaps unspeakable, spaces where differences recede
and humanity resides. Unless and until white citizens cultivate such
awareness and openness, calls for greater participation will invite the
lynch mob Olson feared. Of the democratic theorists I discuss, Iris
Youngs vision of communicative democracy comes closest to foster-
ing such relational spaces. She recognizes that a more inclusive democ-
racy requires new modes of communication, including processes of
aesthetic reason based in the arts and popular culture. Olson argues
that Young fails adequately to connect her more inclusive vision of
democratic participation to a critique of white privilege and power. For
Olson, anything short of the abolition of whiteness will likely rein-
scribe white supremacy in the guise of a color-blind democracy that
relegates racial hatred to individual acts. Without denying the prob-
lem Olson identifies, I think Young begins to address it in her posthu-
mously published work, Responsibility for Justice. There she discusses the
difficulty of linking individual consciousness and action to macro-
social processes and challenges standard excuses individuals use to
avoid their personal responsibility for structural injustice.111 Those
excuses include reifying social relations as natural forces, denying
Recycling White T rash 151

connections with distant others, reproducing privilege by prioritizing

immediate and often segregated relationships, and deferring respon-
sibility for structural injustice to abstract entities, such as the govern-
ment, the public, or hegemonic liberalism. Young does not blame
those who offer these excuses. To place blame would be to assert her
moral superiority and she, like all whites, shares responsibility for white
power and privilege. Instead, she calls on whites to act against injustice.
She concludes,

Those who are beneficiaries of racialized structures with

unjust outcomes ... can properly be called to a special moral
and political responsibility to recognize our privilege, to
acknowledge its continuities with historical injustice, and to
act on an obligation to work on transforming the institutions
that offer this privilege, even if this means worsening ones
own conditions and opportunities compared to what they
would have been.112

The process of transforming democratic institutions that Young advo-

cates involves more than cultural-political transformation. My argu-
ment (and I think she would agree) is simply that it cannot succeed
without it. Addressing the cultural politics expressed in white power
music is a crucial aspect of the process of taking moral and politi-
cal responsibility for white supremacy. As Young puts it, The mere
unchangeability of historic injustice ... generates a present responsi-
bility to deal with it as a memory. We are responsible in the present for
how we narrate the past.113 The stories we tell and the songs we sing
either reinforce or transform the cognitive meanings and the embod-
ied experiences of white supremacy.
Unlike Olson, I do not think the answer to white supremacy is
to abolish whiteness altogether, at least not yet. White people have a
lot of work to do on themselves and the democracyor what passes
for democracythey have created first. Olson rightly worries that
attempts to construct a positive white identity often turn well-mean-
ing anti-racism into white narcissism, especially among good mid-
dle-class whites. He reads Malcolm Xs question if whites stopped
acting like devils and started acting like humans, would they still be
white? as suggesting that whites can become human by unbecom-
ing white. Olson understands whiteness as power, rather than culture,

or more precisely as a culture that lacks any human value worth sav-
ing. What else might it mean for whites to become human? In Black
Skin, White Masks, Fanon argues that many Blacks strive to be white
and some whites strive to be human in a racist society. There are no
shortcuts in unraveling this dialectical spiral. Whites must become self-
defining and nonwhites must overcome the internalized whiteness that
defines them as Black. Only then can we live together as singular
individuals within a cosmic humanity.114
For this process to succeed, whites must learn to love themselves
and one another, as well as the rest of humanity. Again, without deny-
ing the real dangers that white self-love poses, I agree with Shannon
Sullivan that [l]ove is too important to racial justice to let it go. Love is
not limited to multicultural assimilation (we are all one) or oppositional
resistance (you are not us). These, again, are the white supremacist cat-
egories of hegemonic liberalism. They do not preclude the possibility
of another kind of white self-love based in an honest account of white
power and privilege, and a deep commitment to racial and social jus-
tice. Neither do institutional successes nor, more recently, their myriad
failures limit the possibility of human love. Unless and until whites can
love ourselves, we will lack the emotional capacity and intelligence to
love others and permanently to transform liberal democracy. As Sul-
livan puts it, As part of a transactional spiral, love for oneself can be
also an important source of love, rather than hatred for other people.
The love that I give myself can build up affective resources that enable
me to be generous and loving with others, which in turn can make it
more likely that they will return my positive emotions in kind. The con-
tagious quality of love can break down sharp boundaries and rigid divi-
sions.115 Such love also creates spaces for the anger that fuels justice
struggles. To return to Audre Lorde, Hatred is the fury of those who
do not share our goals, and its object is death and destruction. Anger is
a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change.116
The former white supremacists, many of them white power musi-
cians, discussed in this chapter exemplify these processes of per-
sonal and political transformation. According to Alessandro Ferrara,
Because a deliberate and authentic pursuit of radical evil is not a
human possibility, when something is recognized as evil it means that
we are already distancing ourselves from it, that the darkness of the
night is over and a new dawn is beginning.117 More research is needed
on how to restore human connections among those whose lives have
Recycling White T rash 153

been distorted and destroyed by anger, hatred, and violence. For now,
what matters most is that suffering the truth can open up the possibil-
ity of becoming sincere. In his autobiography, Frank Meeink discusses
the skepticism he frequently faces about whether he has really changed.
He relates a frustrating interaction with a prominent academic in a
Philadelphia television interview: You didnt change, he [the profes-
sor] said at one point. You cant change. You dont know whats in my
heart, I [Meeink] replied, but no one was listening. As Meeink tells it,
The professors main point was that I was ignorant; my whole life was
nothing more than a reaction to false stereotypes I held about people
I didnt even know. According to the professor, that kind of ignorance
isnt something a person could overcome; it was who I am. Meeink
concludes that white supremacists arent the only people who throw
around stereotypes about people they dont know.118 In the end, it is
ordinary citizens, including recycled white trash, who matter most for
the future of democracy, because their combined voices must bring
forth the music of change. I will be honored to join them.

Hate is not inborn; it has to be constantly cultivated, to be brought into

being . . .
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

Ibegan writing this book shortly after the 2008 election of Barack
Obama, the first African American president of the United States.
I am finishing it in 2015 following multiple high-profile murders of
Black men and boys, among them, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir
Rice, Lennon Lacy, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott. Their murders are
joined by the recent death of Sandra Bland, a Black woman, in a Texas
jail cell; the shooting of three Muslim students, Deah Shaddy Barakat,
Yusor Mohammed Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammed Abu-Salha in
Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and the murders by Dylann Roof of nine
Black parishioners at a prayer meeting in the A.M.E. Emanuel Church
of Charleston. The names of the Emanuel 9 are: Reverend Clem-
enta Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza
Sanders, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson, Daniel L.
Simmons, and Depayne Middleton-Doctor. Mother Emanuels pas-
tor, Clementa Pinckney, had served in the South Carolina legislature
and sponsored a state bill to require police officers to wear body cam-
eras. Public authorities have also been murdered, including two New
York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, and in Chat-
tanooga, Tennessee, at a military recruiting center and a naval training
base, Carson Holmquist, David Wyatt, and Thomas Sullivan. By the
time this book appears in print, the list will likely be much longer.

156 Epilogue

Each of these deaths is tragic in its own way, and I do not want to
suggest otherwise by placing their names on a list. In some of these
cases, investigations are still underway. Some of the killers have been
indicted and others have not. However, it would be a mistake to see
these murders merely as the isolated acts of mentally disturbed indi-
viduals. Together these murders reveal a pattern. One of the shoot-
ers even stated his purpose. Dylann Roof told his victims at Mother
Emanuel that he wanted to start a race war, and that the KKK and rac-
ist skinheads were not doing enough.
Since I began writing this book, some positive developments
have also occurred regarding hate groups and white power music.
These include the dissolution of Resistance Records and the National
Alliance, Apples decision not to sell white power music on iTunes,
Spotifys related decision to decrease its offerings of the music, the
restoration of Homeland Security funding to combat domestic ter-
rorism, and modest declines in hate group numbers, though the latter
are offset by unprecedented gun sales, increased recruitment online,
and increasingly violent hate crimes. More important, these positive
developments arguably focus on the symptoms of racial hatred and
violence rather than its underlying causes. More promising develop-
ments are the protests organized in major American cities over deci-
sions not to indict police officers for using excessive force, multiple
ongoing Department of Justice investigations into hate crimes and
civil rights violations, and efforts by Black Lives Matter to hold 2016
presidential candidates accountable on racial issues. Most recently, fol-
lowing the murders of the Emanuel 9, the Confederate flag was offi-
cially removed from the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse and
other public sites. Although this is a very important symbolic act, it is
no substitute for the legal and policy changes necessary to end racial
White power music clearly played a role in some of the tragedies
I mention, and we may never know whether or not it was a factor in
others. For purposes of this study, I drew a line between white power
music as hate music and popular music that also expresses anger, fear,
and hatred toward racialized and sexualized Others. However, I hope it
has become increasingly clear that the line is a thin one. A continuum
exists between hegemonic liberalism and white supremacy, and the
nationalist, racist, sexist, and homophobic messages found in popular
music illustrate it. The white power music scene is the extreme that
Epilogue 157

illuminates the white supremacist norm in liberal democratic politics;

liberal democratic principles, including what Herbert Marcuse calls
repressive tolerance, help to sustain the political spaces where white
supremacists can mobilize support.1
The question of judgment haunts my argument about white power
music, and rightly so. It is tempting to judge white power music as aes-
thetically bad, ethically wrong, and politically antidemocratic. Although
I condemn white supremacists messages of racial hatred and acts of
racial violence and call out their cultural politics as trendy fascism,
I treaded lightly on the question of judgment in this book for several
reasons. First, the aesthetic value of the arts and popular culture is
a central issue for those who study popular music. As I discussed in
chapter 1, high art is typically valued as autonomous and beautiful,
and those qualities are often thought to inhere in the artistic objects
themselves. In contrast, low art is portrayed as commercial, functional,
ideological, and popular. Those who study the arts and popular cul-
ture have developed their own aesthetic standards for distinguishing
between good and bad examples of so-called low art. Although the
aesthetic criteria used here vary, they extend well beyond mere taste, or
what most people like and dislike. According to Simon Frith, the value
of popular music is established by some combination of musicians
ability and authenticity, performers originality and individuality, and
consumers sense of its appropriateness and meaningfulness.2
Traditional distinctions between the aesthetically high and low,
good and bad, presume yet another distinction between cultural experts
who can discriminate aesthetically and popular audiences who presum-
ably cannot. By developing aesthetic standards for popular music, Frith
challenges claims that the reason different people engage with dif-
ferent art worlds has to do with the amount (and type) of cultural
capital they possess.3 Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu, Frith argues that
the aesthetic interpretation of high art is, in fact, functional: it enables
aesthetes to display their social superiority.4 White power music is cer-
tainly not high art, and I find much of it impossible to defend even as
good popular music. However, to focus on its aesthetic qualities (or
the lack thereof) is to miss its real impact. Former white supremacists
say repeatedly that white power music gave them a sense of acceptance
and belonging. It provided them with an identity and a community
that made them feel proud and powerful or, at least, helped them cope
with their life circumstances and sometimes even overcome them. I
158 Epilogue

do not like or enjoy white power music; it deeply offends and troubles
me. Yet for me to judge it aesthetically bad, even by the criteria of
popular aesthetics, could easily be seen as a claim to cultural superior-
ity. What Frith calls unpopular popular music has important politi-
cal functions in a democratic society, and not onlyas is too often
assumedfor progressive causes. I chose to defer aesthetic judgment
until now to make a more important point: the aesthetics of popular
music is too important to leave to academic experts alone. All citizens
in a democracy should be or become capable critics of the arts and
popular culture.
I also treaded lightly on the question of moral judgment, because
it is tempting to place the blame for hate on the action or inaction of
individuals. There are two problems with this approach. First, with-
out denying the responsibility of individuals for their actions, racial
and other injustices are structural problems that require collective
responses. Second, good middle-class white people, who benefit
from racial power and privilege, are often complicit in the institutional
structures that sustain it. Their structural responsibility for injustice
can all too easily be displaced by blaming the problem on poor and
lower-class whites, who are less successful economically and presum-
ably also less cultured, less educated, or even mentally disturbed. Here
I agree with Iris Young on the importance of distinguishing between
blaming people and holding them responsible. Young writes: Blame
is a backward-looking concept. Calling on agents to take responsibil-
ity for their actions, habits, feelings, attitudes, images, and associations,
on the other hand, is forward-looking; it asks the person from here
on out to submit such unconscious behavior to reflection, to work to
change habits and attitudes.5 If, as Richard Sennett argues, middle-
class whites like me have had the luxury of developing our interior
lives, a privilege denied to working-class whites due to the demands
placed on them by their labor, then we should reflect on our power
and privilege before passing judgment on the racism of those less for-
tunate. Here it seems important to consider how democratic theories
that focus on progressive causes, movements, and values can also rein-
force academic power and privilege, by deflecting scholarly attention
from white middle-class racism and, thereby, sustaining the racially
based cross-class alliance that Olson identified.
Perhaps most important, I treaded lightly on the question of
political judgment here, because my argument ultimately exceeds the
Epilogue 159

parameters of politics as usual, including the traditional right/left

political spectrum. In Event: A Philosophical Journey through a Concept,
Slavoj iek says an event is thus the effect that seems to exceed its causes
and the space of an event is that which opens up by the gap that sepa-
rates an effect from its causes.6 In closing, I would ask what it might
mean to approach the recent rise of the radical right in an eventful
way, to see it in ieks sense as an opportunity to change the very frame
through which we perceive the world and engage in it?7 iek regards the presi-
dential election and reelection of Barack Obama as just such an event.
He writes, President Obama is often accused of dividing the Ameri-
can people instead of bringing them together to find broad bipartisan
solutions. But what if this, precisely, is what is good about him? In
situations of deep crisis, an authentic division is urgently neededa
division between those who want to drag on within the old parameters
and those who are aware of the necessary change. Such a division,
not opportunistic compromises, is the only path to true unity.8 By
embracing the Obama presidency in such an eventful way, might it
be possible to link processes of personal and political transformation
that exemplify another way of being human together? What if, indeed?
During the process of writing this book, I also relocated from
Pennsylvania to North Carolina. I have since told many colleagues that
I could not have written it or, at least, not written it as well, without
living in the rural mountain South. I still remember the moment on
the Interstate when I drove across the MasonDixon line and asked
myself why it was still there. That remains a pressing question today.
For me, the question has personal as well as political significance. My
northern and southern ancestors fought each other in the Civil War.
Some owned slaves and others died to free them. I do not mean to
suggest that white supremacy isor ever wasa regional issue, how-
ever. My travels from north to south have taught me otherwise. As
Alice Walker so eloquently said, The region is the heart and the mind,
not the section.9 My hope is that this book makes a small contribution
to the dialogue on race relations this great nation sorely needs, so that
we can complete the work of postCivil War Reconstruction and the
1960s civil rights movement and stand together on the side of justice.


1. T. J. Leyden with M. Bridget Cook, Skinhead Confessions: From Hate

to Hope (Springville, UT: Sweetwater Books, 2008), 195.


1. Quoted in Kathleen Blee, Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate

Movement (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002), 162.
2. According to the sociologists Ugo Corte and Bob Edwards, this
claim is no exaggeration. Quoted in Ugo Corte and Bob Edwards,
White Power Music and the Mobilization of Racist Social Move-
ments, Music and Arts in Action 1, no. 1 (June 2008), 420; 5.
3. Southern Poverty Law Center, Murder and the Musician, Intel-
ligence Report 148 (Winter 2012), n.p.,
murder-and-the-musician. Also see Marilyn Elias, Sikh Temple
Killer Michael Page Radicalized in Army, Intelligence Report 148
(Winter 2012), n.p.,
wisconsin; Brendan OBrien and Nick Carey, Oak Creek Sikh
Shooting Puts White Power Music Under Scrutiny, August


7, 2012, n.p.,

us-usa-wisconsin-shooting; Lonnie Nasatir, Hate with a Beat:
White Power Music, August 8, 2012, n.p., http://www.cnn.
com/2012/08/08/opinion/nasatir-white-power-bands/; Robert
Futrell and Pete Simi, The Sound of Hate, New York Times, August
9, 2012, n.p.,
the-sikh-temple-killers-music-of-hate.html?_r=0; and Ted Hesson,
Why Arent We More Worried about White Power Extremists?,
August 2012, n.p.,
4. Blake Nicholson, Neo-Nazi Buying Up North Dakota Prop-
erty to Hold White Power Music Festival, Searchlight Magazine,
August 30, 2013, n.p.,
hold-white-power-music-festival. Also see Jamie Grey, Neo-Nazi
Group Plans National Music Festival Near Boise, KTVB.COM,
September 26, 2012, n.p.,
group-plans-Boise; Southern Poverty Law Center, White Power
Music Festival Hammerfest 2000 Draws International Fans to
Atlanta, Intelligence Report 103 (Fall 2001), n.p., http://www.splcen-
fall/white-pride-worldwide; and Robert Downes, Summer White
Power Woodstock Planned, Albion Monitor, April 29, 1997, n.p.,
5. Benjamin R. Teitelbaum, The New Face of Global White
Nationalist Terror: The Charleston Shooter, Like Anders Breivik,
Shows How the Radical Right Has Become Even More Unhinged
and Dangerous, Foreign Policy, June 25, 2015, http://foreignpol-
6. Anti-Defamation League, The Sounds of Hate: The White
Power Music Scene in the US in 2012, n.p., http://chicago.adl.
7. Southern Poverty Law Center, White Pride Worldwide: The White
Power Music Industry Is Helping to Drive the Internationalization

of Neo-Nazism, Intelligence Report 103 (Fall 2001), n.p., http://leg-
8. Quoted in Anti-Defamation League, Deafening Hate: The
Revival of Resistance Records, Anti-Defamation League, 2000,
9. For this broader historical context, see: Leonard Zeskind, Blood and
Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins
to the Mainstream (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009);
Peter H. Merkl and Leonard Weinberg, eds., Right-Wing Extremism
in the Twenty-First Century (London, UK: Frank Cass, 2003); Carol
M. Swain and Russ Nieli, eds., Contemporary Voices of White Nation-
alism in America (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,
2003); Betty A. Dobratz and Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile, The White
Separatist Movement in the United States: White Power, White Pride! (Bal-
timore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).
10. Mark Potok, The Year in Hate and Extremism, Intelligence Report
153 (Spring 2014),
And-Extremism; Mark Potok, The Year in Hate and Extremism,
Intelligence Report 149 (Spring 2013),
home/2013/spring/the-year-in-hate-and-extremism; Mark Potok,
Rage on the Right, Intelligence Report 137 (Spring 2010), http://
11. Ibid. For an empirical analysis of structural factors that predispose
individuals to join hate groups, see Rory McVeigh, Structured
Ignorance and Organized Racism in the United States, Social
Forces 82, no. 3 (March 2004), 895936.
12. Cathy J. Cohen, Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of
American Politics (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010),
13. Richard Cohen, Charleston Shooters Manifesto Reveals Hate
Group Helped to Radicalize Him, June 20, 2015, http://www.
14. Matthew Goodwin, Vidhya Ramalingam, and Rachel Briggs, The
New Radical Right: Violent and Non-Violent Movements in Europe (Lon-
don, UK: Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 2012).

15. Athena Institute, Major Domestic Extremism Incidents: Europe, 1990

2010 (Budapest: Open Society Foundations, 2012).
16. Teitelbaum, The New Face of Global White Nationalist Terror.
17. Joel Olson, The Abolition of White Democracy (Minneapolis, MN:
University of Minnesota Press, 2004), xvii.
18. David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of
the American Working Class (New York, NY: Verso, 1991).
19. Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb, The Hidden Injuries of Class
(New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), 14.
20. Olson, Abolition of White Democracy, 1617.
21. Eliza Kania, Exercising Freedom: Interview with Judith Butler,
R/evolutions 1, 1 (2013): 33.
22. Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, Dispossession: The Performa-
tive in the PoliticalConversations with Athena Athanasiou (Cambridge,
UK: Polity Press, 2013), 143.
23. Ibid., 154.
24. Olson, Abolition of White Democracy, 79.
25. Blee, Inside Organized Racism, 189191.
26. Quoted in Anti-Defamation League, Deafening Hate.
27. Leyden, Skinhead Confessions, 98.
28. Pete Simi and Robert Futrell, American Swastika: Inside the White
Power Movements Hidden Spaces of Hate (New York, NY: Rowman &
Littlefield, 2010).
29. Paul Burney, A Tribute to Ian Stuart, 11 August 197524 Septem-
ber 1993, n.p.,
30. In his Skinhead Confessions, T. J. Leyden writes, I loved Being
American. I could be as hate-filled as I wanted to be, within rea-
son, and I got away with it again and again (90). He notes that
the United States is the only nation in the world that can produce
white power music legallythe only nation in the world (193).
31. The labels White Rock, White Power, or White Noise (the Brit-
ish National Front record label that produced Skrewdrivers music)
typically refer to racist skinhead and heavy metal music. Neo-Nazi
folk music offers softer sounds for younger listeners, whom the
movement hopes will eventually shift to more violent music and
politics. See Anti-Defamation League, Neo-Nazi Hate Music:
A Guide, 2004,

32. Anti-Defamation League, The Consequences of Right-Wing

Extremism on the InternetMaking Money Online: Selling
Goods, n.p.,
html; Southern Poverty Law Center, Neo-Nazi Label Woos Teens
with Hate-Music Sampler, Intelligence Report 116 (Winter 2004),
browse-all-issues/2004/winter/youth-recruitment; Anti-Defama-
tion League, Racist Skinhead Project: A Resurgent Movement, n.p.,
33. Corte and Edwards, White Power Music.
34. Kory Grow, Apple Pulls White Power Music from iTunes,
The Rolling Stone, December 12, 2014, n.p., http://www.roll-
35. On the intellectual history of attempts to define art, see Richard
Shusterman, Pragmatic Aesthetics: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art (New
York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), chap. 2.
36. Stuart Hall, Introduction in Representation, ed. Stuart Hall, Jessica
Evans, and Sean Nixon (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2013), xvii.
37. Theodore Gracyk, I Wanna Be Me: Rock Music and the Politics of Iden-
tity (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2001), 18.
38. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
(New York, NY: New American Library, 1964), viii.
39. Hall, Introduction, xviii.
40. Gracyk, I Wanna Be Me, 18.
41. Ibid., 44.
42. Nancy S. Love and Mark Mattern, Introduction: Art, Culture,
Politics, in Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics, ed.
Nancy S. Love and Mark Mattern (Albany, NY: State University
of New York Press, 2013), 322. For a symposium on the arts and
popular culture in electoral politics, see The Art of Elections,
P.S.: Political Science and Politics, ed. Nancy S. Love, 49, no. 1 (January
2016), 3375.
43. See Pamela Fox and Barbara Ching, eds., Old Roots, New Routes: The
Cultural Politics of Alternative Country Music (Ann Arbor, MI: Univer-
sity of Michigan Press, 2008); Nadine Hubbs, Rednecks, Queers, and
Country Music (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2014);

and the classic by Robert Cantwell, Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making

of That Old Southern Sound (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press,
44. Brad Paisley, Accidental Racist, on Wheelhouse. Arista Records,
2013, CD.
45. Brandon Soderberg, Dissecting Brad Paisley and LL Cool Js
Politely Toxic Dud Accidental Racist, Spin, April 8, 2013,
46. Stephen Colbert and Alan Cumming, Oopsy, Daisy Homo-

phobe, The Colbert Report. April 17, 2013, music video.
47. Heylin, quoted in Gracyk, I Wanna Be Me, 163.
48. Ibid., 172.
49. John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Run for Your Life, on Rubber
Soul. Parlophone, 1965, LP.
50. Quoted in The Beatles Bible, accessed 1/31/16, www.beatlesbible/
songs/run-for-your-life. Also see David Sheff, The Playboy Inter-
views with John Lennon and Yoko Ono (New York, NY: Playboy Press,
51. Dixie Chicks, Goodbye Earl, composed by Dennis Linde, on
Fly. Monument, 2000, CD.
52. Banks of the Ohio, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://
53. Eminem, Kim, composed by Marshall Mathers, Jeff Bass, and
Mark Bass, on The Marshall Mathers LP. Aftermath/Interscope,
54. Cohen, Democracy Remixed.
55. Quoted in ibid., 44.
56. See Tricia Rose, The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk about When We
Talk about Hip HopAnd Why It Matters (New York, NY: Basic
Civitas Books, 2008), 13, and Tricia Rose, Black Noise: Rap Music
and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Middleton, CT: Wesleyan
University Press, 1994).
57. Toby Keith, American Ride, composed by Joe West and David
Pahanish, on American Ride. Showdog Nashville, 2009, CD.
58. Quoted in Bob Paxman and Larry Holden, This American Ride:
Toby Keith Lays It on the Line about His Controversial New Sin-
gle, the Good and Bad of American Life and His Agony over the

Death of a Friend, Country Weekly 16, no. 35 (October 12, 2009),

59. Stendhal, The Twisted Politics of Toby Keiths American Ride,
The Unpersons, October 15, 2009, https://theunpersons.wordpress.
ride/. Also see The Boot Staff, Story Behind the Song, Toby
Keiths American Ride, The Boot, March 25, 2015, http://the-; Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia, s.v. American Ride,
60. Toby Keith, Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue, on Unleashed.
Dreamworks Nashville 450815, 2002, CD.
61. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A., on Born in the U.S.A.
Columbia Records, 1984, LP.
62. Bryan K. Garman, A Race of Singers: Whitmans Working-Class Hero
from Guthrie to Springsteen (Durham, NC: University of North Caro-
lina Press, 2000), 225. Also see Marc Dolan, Bruce Springsteen and the
Promise of Rock n Roll (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company,
63. Kurt Loder, The Rolling Stone Interview with Bruce Springsteen
on Born in the U.S.A., The Rolling Stone 436 (December 6, 1984).
64. Dolan, Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock n Roll, 357, 418.
65. The term comes from Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities:
Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London, UK:
Verso, 2006). On nationalism and music, see John Street, Music and
Politics (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2012), chap. 6.
66. Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison, Music and Social Movements:
Mobilizing Traditions in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, UK: Cam-
bridge University Press, 1998), 10.
67. Ibid., 52.
68. John Connell and Chris Gibson, Soundtracks: Popular Music, Identity,
and Place (London, UK: Routledge, 2003), chap. 2.
69. For a fascinating discussion of how folklorists segregated south-
ern music during Jim Crow, see Karl Hagstrom Miller, Segregating
Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow (Durham,
NC: Duke University Press, 2010).
70. Keith Kahn-Harris, The Aesthetics of Hate Music, Institute for

Jewish Policy Research, 2003, 4,

71. Ibid.
72. Scholars continue to debate whether musical sound is a universal
language, a question I will bypass for now. For an introduction, see
Daniel J. Levitin, The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Cre-
ated Human Nature (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2008).
73. Leyden, Skinhead Confessions, 19.
74. Hall, Introduction, xxxxi.
75. Stuart Hall, The Work of Representation, Representation, ed.
Stuart Hall, Jessica Evans, and Sean Nixon (Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage, 2013), 45. For a more extensive discussion of popu-
lar music and contemporary soundscapes, see Paul du Gay, Stuart
Hall, Linda Janes, Hugh Mackay, and Keith Negus, Doing Cultural
Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage,
1997), 1821.
76. Nancy S. Love, Musical Democracy (Albany, NY: State University
of New York Press, 2006). Also see my Politics and Music, in
The Encyclopedia of Political Thought, ed. Michael T. Gibbons, Diana
Coole, Elisabeth Ellis, and Kennan Ferguson (Cheltenham, UK:
Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).
77. Quoted in Mike Roberts and Ryan Moore, Peace Punks and
Punks Against Racism: Resource Mobilization and Frame Con-
struction in the Punk Movement, Music and Arts in Action 2, no. 1
(2009), 22.
78. Barbara Engh, Loving It: Music and Criticism in Roland Barthes,
in Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship,
ed. Ruth A. Solie (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press,
1993), 73.
79. Ibid., 7374.
80. Robert Jourdain, Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures
Our Imagination (New York, NY: William Morrow & Company,
1998), xii.
81. William H. McNeill, Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in
Human History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995).
82. See Daniel J. Levitin, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a
Human Obsession (New York, NY: Dutton, 2006); Oliver Sacks,
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (New York, NY: Vintage,
2008); Antonio Damasio, Descartes Error: Emotion, Reason, and
the Human Brain (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2005); William

Connolly, Neuropolitics: Thinking, Culture, Speed (Minneapolis, MN:

University of Minnesota Press, 2002).
83. Benjamin S. Schoening and Eric T. Kasper, Dont Stop Thinking
about the Music: The Politics of Songs and Musicians in Presidential Cam-
paigns (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012).
84. Eyerman and Jamison, Music and Social Movements, chap. 2.
85. Jrgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve
Lectures, trans. Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
1987), 185210.
86. Maria Pia Lara, The Disclosure of Politics: Struggles to Discover the
Semantics of Secularization (New York, NY: Columbia University
Press, 2013), 14.
87. Jrgen Habermas, Religion and Rationality: Essays on Reason, God, and
Modernity, ed. Eduardo Mendieta (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
2002), 83.
88. Love, Musical Democracy.
89. Jrgen Habermas, Crisis of the European Union: A Response (Malden,
MA: Polity Press, 2012).
90. Jrgen Habermas, Intolerance and Discrimination, International
Journal of Constitutional Law 1, no. 1 (New York: Oxford Univer-
sity Press and NYU School of Law, 2003), 212. Also see Jrgen
Habermas, Religion in the Public Sphere, lecture with approval
to use on web March 11, 2005, and Leadership and Leitkultur,
New York Times, October 28, 2012.
91. See Eva Biro-Kaszas, Habermas on European Constitution and
European Identity, Journal of Social Research and Policy 1, no. 2
(December 2010), 7992; Gerard Delanty, Habermas and Occi-
dental Rationalism: The Politics of Identity, Social Learning, and
the Cultural Limits of Moral Universalism, Sociological Theory 15,
no.1 (March 1997), 3059.
92. Lara, The Disclosure of Politics, 155.
93. Jrgen Habermas, An Awareness of What Is Missing, in An
Awareness of What Is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age,
trans. Ciaran Cronin (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2010), 1523; 18.
Also see Judith Butler, Jrgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cor-
nel West, The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, ed. and intro.
Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, afterword by
Craig Calhoun (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2011).
94. Habermas, An Awareness of What Is Missing, 18. For example,
political sovereignty continues to carry many traces of theological

powers. As the power of the nation-state system recedes before

a new global order, god-like powers are also assumed by the
invisible hand of capitalist markets. Subnational and transna-
tional movements, many with religious and, in the case of white
supremacy, quasi-religious convictions at their core also make
claims to postcolonial sovereignty. See Wendy Brown, Walled
States, Waning Sovereignty (New York, NY: Zone Books, 2010).
95. Habermas, A Reply, in An Awareness of What Is Missing, 7374.
96. Habermas, An Awareness of What Is Missing, 21. Habermas
describes those limitations and the challenges they pose for reli-
gious and secular citizens alike: Instead of grudging accommo-
dation to externally imposed constraints, the content of religion
must open itself up to the normatively grounded expectation that
it should recognize for reasons of its own the neutrality of the
state towards worldviews, the equal freedom of all religious com-
munities, and the independence of the institutionalized sciences.
... Conversely, however, the secular state. ... must also face
the question of whether it is imposing asymmetrical obligations
on its religious citizens. For the liberal state guarantees the equal
freedom to exercise religion not only as a means of upholding
law and order but also for the normative reason of protecting the
freedom of belief and conscience of everyone. Thus it may not
demand anything of its religious citizens which cannot be recon-
ciled with a life that is led authentically from faith.
97. Habermas, A Reply, 75.
98. Habermas, An Awareness of What Is Missing, 22.
99. Jrgen Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 2, Life-
world and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason, trans. Thomas
McCarthy (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1987), 391396; 392, 395.
100. Ibid., 394. I disagree with those who interpret these so-called
regressive movements merely as defenders of tradition. For
example, see Stephen K. White, The Virtual Patriot Syndrome:
Tea Partyers and Others, in Radical Future Pasts: Untimely Politi-
cal Theory, ed. Rom Coles, Mark Reinhardt, and George Shulman
(Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2014), 149178.
White counters characterizations of the Tea Party and Minute-
men as proto-fascist and claims they instead represent a protec-
tive republican strain in American political history. The lingering
question is what might motivate them to ally with the more radi-
cal right-wing extremists depicted here.

1 01. Habermas, A Reply, 74.

102. See Jrgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public
Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas
Burger with Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
1991), chap. 2.
103. I am indebted to Maria Pia Lara for the suggestion to consider
Habermass analysis of post-secular society in relation to aes-
thetic as well as religious experience.
104. Iris Marion Young, Inclusion and Democracy (Oxford, UK: Oxford
University Press, 2000), 5357.
105. Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), 133.
106. Ibid., chap. 3.
107. Alessandro Ferrara, The Force of the Example: Explorations in the
Paradigm of Judgment (New York, NY: Columbia University Press,
2008), 61.
108. Ibid., 119.
109. Young, Inclusion and Democracy, 16.
110. Schoening and Kasper, Dont Stop Thinking about the Music; Kate
Kenski, Bruce W. Hardy, and Kathleen Hall Jamison, The Obama
Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election
(New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010).
111. Mark Pedelty, EcoMusicology: Rock, Folk, and the Environment (Phila-
delphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2012); Mark Pedelty and
Kristine Weglarz, eds., Political Rock (Burlington, VT: Ashgate,
112. Iris Marion Young, Global Challenges: War, Self-Determination, and
Responsibility for Justice (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2007), 16.
113. Ibid., 17.
114. Ibid., 32.
115. Ibid., 37.
116. Martha C. Nussbaum, Foreword to Responsibility for Justice by Iris
Marion Young (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011),
117. Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the
Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univer-
sity Press, 2010), 45.
118. Ibid., 46.
119. Ibid.
120. Ibid., x.

121. Sheldon Wolin, Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in West-
ern Political Thought. Expanded edition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 2006), 591592.
122. Ibid., 602.
123. Wolin does briefly mention Huey Longs Share-the-Wealth move-
ment, the Townsend movement for old age pensions, and Father
Coughlins National Union for Social Justice. He regards these
as versions of fugitive democracy, because they mobilized
outside the political parties to challenge the legitimacy of main-
stream democracy. Wolin, Democracy Incorporated, 23.
124. Ibid., 111112.
125. Ibid., 3.
126. Arno Michaelis, My Life After Hate (Milwaukee, WI: Authentic
Presence, 2012), 61.
127. Ibid., 103.
128. Carole Pateman and Charles W. Mills, Contract and Domination
(Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2007). Also see Charles W. Mills, The
Racial Contract (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), and
Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract (Malden, MA: Polity Press,
129. I discuss the role of white supremacy in Lockes social contract
theory in more detail in chapter 3 in relation to Pioneer Little
Europe intentional white communities.
130. Brown, Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, 21.
131. Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United
States: From the 1960s to the 1990s (New York, NY: Routledge,
1994), chap. 4. Also see Greg Johnson, White Extinction, North
American New Right: Books Against Time, February 2014, http://
132. See, for example: John Avalon and Tina Brown, Wingnuts: How the
Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America (New York, NY: Beast Books,
2010); Louis Theroux, Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcul-
tures (London, UK: Macmillan, 2005).
133. Wendy Brown, Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and
Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).
134. The Free Dictionary Online, s.vv., hegemon and hegemony.
135. Stuart Hall, Introduction: Who Needs Identity?, in Questions of
Cultural Identity, ed. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (London, UK:
Sage, 1996), 17.
136. Stuart Hall, The Spectacle of the Other, in Representation, ed.

Stuart Hall, Jessica Evans, and Sean Nixon (Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage, 2013), 234, 237.
137. John A. Agnew, Hegemony: The New Shape of Global Power (Philadel-
phia, PA: Temple University Press, 2005).
138. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, in Two Treatises of Gov-
ernment, ed. Peter Laslett (New York, NY: Cambridge University
Press, 1960), chap. 5.
139. Marcel Henaff and Tracy B. Strong, The Conditions of Pub-
lic Space: Vision, Speech, and Theatricality, in Public Space and
Democracy, ed. Marcel Henaff and Tracy B. Strong (Minneapolis,
MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), 140.
140. Marc Redfield, The Politics of Aesthetics: Nationalism, Gender, Roman-
ticism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003).
141. Andrew Hewitt, Fascist Modernism: Aesthetics, Politics, and the Avant-
Garde (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993); Kaja Sil-
verman, The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and
Cinema (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1988).
142. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, ed. Nicholas Walker, trans.
James Creed Meredith (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press,
2007). Also see Sharon R. Krause, Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment
and Democratic Deliberation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, 2008); Arne Johan Vetlesen, Perception, Empathy and Judg-
ment: An Inquiry into the Preconditions of Moral Performance (State Col-
lege, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994); and George
Kateb, Aestheticism and Morality: Their Cooperation and Hos-
tility, Political Theory 28, no. 1 (February 2000), 537.
143. Daniel Fischlin, Take One/Rebel Musics: Human Rights, Resis-
tant Sounds, and the Politics of Music Making, in Rebel Musics:
Human Rights, Resistant Sounds, and the Politics of Music Making, ed.
Daniel Fischlin and Ajay Heble (Montreal, Canada: Black Rose
Books, 2003), 1043. For a more developed discussion, see Love
and Mattern, Introduction: Art, Culture, Democracy, 328.
144. Susan Sontag, Fascinating Fascism, in Under the Sign of Saturn
(New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1980), 9596. On fas-
cist aesthetics today, also see Morton Schoolman, Reason and Hor-
ror: Critical Theory, Democracy, and Aesthetic Individuality (New York,
NY: Routledge, 2001).
145. Sontag, Fascinating Fascism, 96.
146. Ibid.
147. Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Fascinating Fascism, Journal of Contemporary

History, Special Issue: The Aesthetics of Fascism 31, no. 2 (April 1996),
235244; 237.
148. See Neil Gregor, Politics, Culture, Political Culture: Recent Work
on the Third Reich and Its Aftermath, Journal of Modern History
78, no. 3 (September 2006), 643683; Paul Betts, The New Fas-
cination with Fascism: The Case of Nazi Modernism, Journal of
Contemporary History 37, no. 4 (2002), 541558.
149. Linda Schulte-Sasse, Leni Riefenstahls Feature Films and the
Question of a Fascist Aesthetic, Cultural Critique 18 (Spring
1991), 123148; 129.
150. Ibid., 142.
151. Gregor, Politics, Culture, Political Culture, 653.
152. Michael Mackenzie, From Athens to Berlin: The 1936 Olympics
and Leni Riefenstahls Olympia, Critical Inquiry 29, no. 2 (Winter
2003), 302336.
153. Ferdinand Tnnies, Community and Society, trans. and ed. Charles P.
Loomis (Mineola, NY: Dover, 2011).
154. Mackenzie, From Athens to Berlin, 314.
155. Pamela Potter, Dismantling a Dystopia: On the Historiography
of Music in the Third Reich, Central European History 40 (2007),
156. Ibid. Potter uses the phrase musical dystopia.
157. Ibid., 651.
158. Esteban Buch, Beethoven as Fhrer, in Beethovens Ninth: A
Political History (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2003),
chap. 10; Theodor Adorno, Cultural Criticism and Society, in
Prisms, ed. Shierry Weber Nicholsen and Samuel M. Weber (Bos-
ton, MA: MIT Press, 1999), 1734.
159. For more extensive discussions of Nazi music policy, see: Britta
Sweers, The Power to Influence Minds: German Folk Music
during the Nazi Era and After, in Music, Power and Politics, ed.
Annie J. Randall (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005), 6586; Erik
Levi, Music in the Third Reich (New York, NY: St. Martins Press,
1994); Michael Meyer, The Politics of Music in the Third Reich (New
York, NY: Peter Lang, 1991).
160. Quoted in Mark Ludwig, Silenced Voices: Music in the Third
Reich, Religion and the Arts 4, no.1 (2000), 97.
161. Ibid.
162. Jascha Nemtsov and Beate Schroder-Nauenberg, Music in the

Inferno of Nazi Terror: Jewish Composers in the Third Reich,

Dean Bell trans., SHOFAR: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish
Studies 18, no. 4 (Summer 2000), 79100.
163. For these definitions, see, the Urban Dictionary, and
Wikipedia, s.v. trendy,
164. See Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style (New York, NY:
Methuen & Company, 1979); Roger Sabin, I wont let that Dago
by: Rethinking Punk and Racism, in White Riot: Punk Rock and
the Politics of Race, ed. Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay
(London, UK: Verso, 2011), 5768; Timothy S. Brown, Subcul-
tures, Pop Music and Politics: Skinheads and Nazi Rock in Eng-
land and Germany, Journal of Social History 38, no.1 (Autumn
2004), 157178.
165. Will Straw, Communities and Scenes in Popular Music, in The
Subcultures Reader, ed. Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton (New
York, NY: Routledge, 1997), 494505; Keith Harris, Roots?
The Relationship between the Global and the Local within the
Extreme Metal Scene, Popular Music 19, no. 1 (2000), 1330.
166. Harris, Roots?, 14.
167. Roger Eatwell, Ten Theories of the Extreme Right, in Right-
Wing Extremism in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Peter H. Merkl and
Leonard Weinberg (London, UK: Frank Cass, 2003), 4570.
168. For more testimonials to the impact of Skrewdrivers music, see:
Simi and Futrell, American Swastika, 6263. For Ian Stuarts offi-
cial biography, see: Benny, Ian Stuart Donaldson: Diamond in the Dust
(2001), accessed June 26, 2006,
169. The term anarcho-proto-fascist comes from Kathleen Blees
Inside Organized Racism.
170. See Miller, Segregating Sound, chap. 3.
171. See Anderson, Imagined Communities. Also see H. Michael Bar-
rett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus (2011 Edition), accessed
June 17, 2014, http://thepioneerlittleeuropeprospectus.blogspot.
172. See the following works by Patricia Hill Collins: On Intellectual
Activism (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2011); Black
Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (New

York, NY: Routledge, 2004); From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism,
Nationalism, and Feminism (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University
Press, 2006); Fighting Words: Black Women and the Search for Justice
(Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1998); Its All
in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation, Hypa-
tia 13, no. 3 (1998), 6282; and Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge,
Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (New York, NY: Rout-
ledge, 1990).
173. The name of Klassens organization has changed repeatedly,
partly as a result of copyright and trademark litigation. For an
excellent history of Creativity, see George Michael, Theology of
Hate: A History of the World Church of the Creator (Gainesville, FL:
University Press of Florida, 2012).
174. Ben Klassen, Natures Eternal Religion (Lighthouse Point, FL:
Church of the Creator, 1973); The White Mans Bible (Lighthouse
Point, FL: Church of the Creator, 1981); Ben Klassen and Arnold
DeVries, Salubrious Living: A Natural Life Style for Achieving and
Maintaining the Ultimate in Superb Health and Well-Being as Taught and
Practiced by the Church of the Creator (Lighthouse Point, FL: Church
of the Creator, 1982).
175. George Burdi, Former Hate Music Promoter George Burdi
Discusses His Experiences with Racism and the White
Power Music Industry, Intelligence Report 103 (Fall 2001), n.p.,
176. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment,
trans. John Cumming (New York, NY: Seabury Press, 1972).
177. On aesthetic reason, see: Morton Schoolman, The Next Enlight-
enment: Aesthetic Reason in Modern Art and Mass Culture,
Journal for Cultural Research 9, no.1 (January 2005), 4367; Avoid-
ing Embarrassment: Aesthetic Reason and Aporetic Critique in
Dialectic of Enlightenment, Polity 37, no. 3 (July 2005), 143. Also
see Nikolas Kompridis, IntroductionTurning and Returning:
The Aesthetic Turn in Political Thought, in The Aesthetic Turn in
Political Thought, ed. Nikolas Kompridis (New York, NY: Blooms-
bury, 2014), xivxxxvii.; Mary Caputi, Feminism and Power: The
Need for Critical Theory (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013),
chap. 5; Maria Pia Lara, Narrating Evil: A Postmetaphysical Theory
of Reflective Judgment (New York, NY: Columbia University Press,


1. Benny, Ian Stuart Donaldson, 2,

mond.html. For more testimonials to the impact of Skrewdrivers
music, see Simi and Futrell, American Swastika, 6263.
2. Leyden, Skinhead Confessions, 50.
3. Christian Picciolini, Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skin-
head, unpublished manuscript, 10,
4. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 103.
5. Omi and Winant, Racial Formation in the United States, chap. 4. Also
see, Ghassan Hage, White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a
Multicultural Society (New York, NY: Routledge, 1998).
6. Hebdige, Subculture.
7. Brown, Regulating Aversion.
8. Eighteen here refers to Adolf Hitlers initials, the first and eighth
letters of the alphabet.
9. Ian Stuart Donaldson, Interview, Last Chance Skinzine, 1991
1992, accessed June 20, 2006,
10. Gracyk, I Wanna Be Me, 2.
11. Timothy White, Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley (New York, NY:
Henry Holt and Company, 2006), 294.
12. On tensions between racist and antiracist skinheads, see: Sabin,
I wont let that dago by; Simon Frith and John Street, Rock
Against Racism and Red Wedge: From Music to Politics, from Pol-
itics to Music, in Rockin the Boat: Mass Music and Mass Movements,
ed. Reebee Garofalo (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1992), 6780;
Roberts and Moore, Peace Punks and Punks against Racism.
13. Olson, The Abolition of White Democracy, 16.
14. David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of
the American Working Class (New York, NY: Verso, 1999), 6.
15. Quoted in Benny, Ian Stuart Donaldson, 8.
16. Donaldson, Interview, Last Chance Skinzine, 19911992.
17. For a discussion of state music policy that considers informal as
well as formal censorship, see Street, Music and Politics. Street also
discusses the conflict between RAR and RAC in chap. 5, Fight
the Power: Music as Mobilization.
18. Benny, Ian Stuart Donaldson, 30.
19. Donaldson, Interview, Last Chance Skinzine.
20. Ibid.

21. Nancy S. Love, Understanding Dogmas and Dreams: A Text, 2nd ed.
(Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2006), chap. 1.
22. Michael Freeden, Ideology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, UK:
Oxford University Press, 2003), 98.
23. Terrence Ball and Richard Dagger, Political Ideologies and the Demo-
cratic Ideal, 5th ed. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2004), 7.
24. For the classic statement of this view, see Benjamin R. Bar-

ber, Jihad vs. McWorld, Atlantic Monthly, March 1992, n.p.,
25. See Manfred B. Steger, Introduction to Rethinking Globalism, ed.
Manfred Steger (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).
26. Wendy Brown makes this point in Walled States, Waning Sovereignty,
27. Steger, Introduction to Rethinking Globalism, 3.
28. Niza Yanay, The Ideology of Hatred: The Psychic Power of Discourse
(New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2013), 3.
29. For discussions of white supremacy, abjection, and Kristevas

work, see Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (New York,
NY: Routledge, 2004), chap. 4; Shannon Sullivan, Good White Peo-
ple: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism (Albany, NY:
State University of New York Press, 2014), chap. 1; Yanay, Ideology
of Hatred, chap. 1. The classic work by Julia Kristeva is Powers of
Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. L. S. Roudiez (New York, NY:
Columbia University Press, 1982), 3. I discuss how white power
music taps into the emotions associated with abjection in greater
detail in chapter 4.
30. Yanay, The Ideology of Hatred, 1. Yanay also considers the possibil-
ity that Bourdieus broader concept of a field of meaning may
better express the psychological structure of racial hatred that
today exceeds the nation-state system. Regardless of the descrip-
torideology, frame, or fieldwhite supremacy is a less than fully
conscious way of being in the world or, what Yanay calls a com-
munity of unconsciousness. See her chapter 2, The Political
Unconscious, 37.
31. Corte and Edwards, White Power Music, 9.
32. On framing processes, see Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is
Life Grievable? (New York, NY: Verso, 2010). On code shifting, see

Alberto Melucci, Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Internet Age

(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
33. Nikolas Kompridis, IntroductionTurning and Returning: The
Aesthetic Turn in Political Thought, in The Aesthetic Turn in Politi-
cal Thought, ed. Nikolas Kompridis (New York, NY: Bloomsbury,
2014), xivxix.
34. Corte and Edwards, White Power Music, 9.
35. Simon Frith, Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music (Cam-
bridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 74.
36. See Jessie Daniels, Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New
Attack on Civil Rights (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009);
and White Lies: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in White Supremacist
Discourse (New York, NY: Routledge, 1996).
37. Daniels, Cyber Racism, 8.
38. Mills, The Racial Contract. Also see, Pateman and Mills, Contract and
39. Mills, The Racial Contract, 19.
40. W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (New York, NY: Oxford
University Press, 2007). Also see his essay The Souls of White
Folk in Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil (New York, NY:
Oxford University Press, 2007), 1525.
41. Olson, chap. 1.
42. The following discussion is based on an analysis of 120 Skrew-
driver songs from nine LPs or CDs from 19821994, thirty-five
Klansmen songs from three CDs from 19891991, and twenty-
two White Diamond songs from three CDs in 1992. These songs
continue to be released in commemorative compilations. Lyrics
were analyzed for references to anti-Semitism; Odinism; violence;
nature; Nazi names, symbols, and rhetoric; KKK names, sym-
bols, and rhetoric; nationalist rhetoric and symbols; heroes and
martyrs; states rights and the southern cause. These categories
were adapted from Helne Lws White Power Rock n Roll: A
Growing Industry, in Nation and Race: The Developing Euro-American
Racist Subculture, ed. Jeffrey Kaplan and Tore Bjorgo (Boston, MA:
Northeastern University Press, 1998), 126174.
43. Skrewdriver, White Power, White Noise, WN1, 1983, 45 RPM.
44. Skrewdriver, Free My Land, on Hail the New Dawn. Rock-O-
Rama RRR 046, 1984, 33 RPM.

45. Skrewdriver, Hail the New Dawn, on Hail the New Dawn. Rock-
O-Rama RRR 046, 1984, 33 RPM.
46. Skrewdriver, Power from Profit, on Hail the New Dawn. Rock-O-
Rama RRR 046, 1984, 33 RPM.
47. Skrewdriver, Thunder in the Cities, on White Rider. Rock-O-
Rama RRR 66, 1987, 12 track.
48. Skrewdriver, Where Has Justice Gone?, on White Rider. Rock-O-
Rama RRR 66, 1987, 12 track.
49. Quoted in Benny, Ian Stuart Donaldson, 4344.
50. Ibid., 44.
51. Ibid.
52. Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), chap 3. In States
of Injury, Brown chooses not to analyze the racialized aspects of
state power and focuses instead on class and, to a lesser extent,
gender (179). The term ressentiment is often associated with Fried-
rich Nietzsches concept of slave morality. For Nietzsches influ-
ence on contemporary white supremacists, see chapter 4 in the
present volume.
53. Brown, States of Injury, 67.
54. David Lane (19382007), a founding member of The Order, a
neo-Nazi organization, was convicted of racketeering, conspiracy,
and civil rights violations associated with the murder of radio talk
show host Alan Berg and died in federal prison in 2007. Robert
Matthews (19531984) was the leader of The Order, a prominent
white nationalist organization. He died during a gun battle with
federal law enforcement officers who set his home at Whidbey
Island, Washington, on fire. Matthew Hale (1971) was a leader of
the Creativity movement, who in 2005 received a forty-year prison
sentence for his role in a plot to kill a federal judge.
55. The Klansmen, Fetch the Rope, on Fetch the Rope. Klan Records
KLAN 6, 1989, CD; Join the Klan, on Rebel with a Cause. Klan
Records KLAN 7, 1990, CD.
56. The Klansmen, White Trash, on Fetch the Rope. Klan Records
KLAN 6, 1989, CD. I discuss the racial stereotype white trash in
greater detail when I discuss alternatives to hate in chapter 5.
57. The Klansmen, Outlaws, on Fetch the Rope. Klan Records KLAN
6, 1989, CD.
58. White Diamond, Politician, on The Power and the Glory. Glory

Records GLORY CD1, 1992, CD.

59. White Diamond, The Power and the Glory, on The Power and the
Glory. Glory Records GLORY CD1, 1992, CD.
60. White Diamond, The Only One, on The Power and the Glory.
Glory Records GLORY CD1, 1992, CD.
61. White Diamond, To Freedom We Ride, on The Power and the
Glory. Glory Records GLORY CD1, 1992, CD.
62. White Diamond, Take No Prisoners, on The Power and the Glory.
Glory Records GLORY CD1, 1992, CD.
63. The Klansmen, Rock n Roll Patriots, on Rock n Roll Patriots.
Klan Records KLAN8, 1991, CD.
64. Amon Saba Saakana, The Impact of Jamaican Music in Britain,
in Global Reggae, ed. Carolyn Cooper (Kingston, Jamaica: Canoe
Press, 2012), 4968. According to Peter Ashbourne, ska differs
from its predecessor, mento, in ways that increase its appeal: An
important difference between ska and mento is that the former has
a backbeat and the latter does not. Mento tends to feel rural and
gentle whereas ska feels urban, urgent and more aggressive. The
fact of the backbeat may have contributed to the appeal of ska out-
side of Jamaica. Peter Ashbourne, From Mento to Ska and Reg-
gae to Dancehall, in Global Reggae, ed. Carolyn Cooper, 3748, 41.
65. Hebdige, Subculture, and Cohen quoted in Hebdige, 55.
66. Hebdige, Subculture, 55.
67. Brown, Subcultures, Pop Music and Politics, 163.
68. Ibid., and Hebdige quoted in Brown, 162.
69. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 176.
70. Hebdige, Subculture, 54.
71. Quoted in Benny, Ian Stuart Donaldson, 21.
72. Eyerman and Jamison discuss the whiteness even of progres-
sive folk music in chapter 2 of Music and Social Movements. On the
regional divisions of folk music, see Miller, Segregating Sound.
73. For additional information on these and other neurological effects
of music, see Levitin, This Is Your Brain on Music; Sacks, Musicophilia.
74. Quoted in Corte and Edwards, White Power Music, 9.
75. White Diamond, Aint Got the Time, The Power and the Glory.
Glory Discs Label, CD, 1992.
76. Quoted in Simi and Futrell, American Swastika, 62.
77. Brown, Subcultures, 171.
78. McNeill, Keeping Together in Time.

7 9. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 110, 112.

80. Quoted in Nick Lowles and Steve Silver, Turning Down the
Sound of Hate, in White Noise: Inside the International Nazi Skinhead
Scene (London, UK: Searchlight, 1998), 88.
81. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in
the Age of Empire (New York, NY: Penguin, 2004), 218.
82. Ibid., 9293.
83. Ibid., 338.
84. See Peter Miller, Swarm Theory, National Geographic, July 2007,
85. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 40.
86. Louis Beam, Leaderless Resistance, The Seditionist 12 (February
87. Quoted in Elinor Langer, A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a
Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi
Movement in America (New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company,
2003), 181.
88. Ibid., 350.
89. Blee, Inside Organized Racism.
90. Langer, A Hundred Little Hitlers.
91. Hebdige, Subculture, 114116.
92. In this context, it also seems important to mention that Skin-
heads Against Racial Prejudice (S.H.A.R.P.) was founded in New
York City in 1986. S.H.A.R.P. skins professed no political affilia-
tion; they merely insisted that the original skinheads had not been
racists, pointed out that appreciation for Jamaican culture had
been central to the formation of skinhead identity, and argued
that, therefore, no true skinhead could be a racist (Brown, Sub-
cultures, 170). When I began researching this material, one of my
students, who is a S.H.A.R.P. skin, contacted me to make sure that
I knew their story and to offer their assistance.
93. Quoted in Marcus Gray, Last Gang in Town: The Story and Myth of the
Clash (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996), 169.
94. Alex Gottschalk, Better Off Crazy: An Interview with Grinny
from Skrewdriver, Nihilism on THE PROWL, n.p., accessed July 6,

95. Ian Stuart Donaldson, Letter to Nationalism Today, (November

25, 1984), n.p.
96. Skrewdriver, Here Comes a Commie and This Little Piggy,
on Freedom What Freedom. Rock-O-Rama RCD 164, 1992, CD.
97. David Riesman with Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney, The Lonely
Crowd (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1961), 87.
98. Rose, The Hip Hop Wars, 234.
99. Quoted in Corte and Edwards, White Power Music, 11.
100. For an excellent discussion, see Mari J. Matsuda, Public Response
to Racist Speech: Considering the Victims Story, in Words That
Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amend-
ment, ed. Mari J. Matsuda, Charles R. Lawrence III, Richard Del-
gado, and Kimberle Williams Crenshaw (Boulder, CO: Westview
Press, 1993), 1752. Also see Sushmita Chatterjee, Framing
the Obama Political Cartoons: Injury or Democracy? in Doing
Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics, ed. Nancy S. Love and
Mark Mattern (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press,
2013), 5373.
101. Timothy G. Baysinger, Right-Wing Group Characteristics and
Ideology, Homeland Security Affairs 11, no. 2 (July 2006), 1, 15.
At this writing, funding for law enforcement and surveillance
efforts against domestic terrorists has been restored to the
Department of Homeland Security budget reversing an earlier
successful attempt to excise it. An April 7, 2009, Homeland Secu-
rity Department Report, Rightwing Extremism: Current Eco-
nomic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization
and Recruitment, was suppressed and its primary author, Daryl
Johnson, was dismissed,
Johnson speaks about the report and his experience in an August
25, 2014, interview, No one is connecting the dots on right-
wing attacks: Interview with Ricky Camilleri, Huffington Post
102. Brown, Regulating Aversion, chap. 6.
103. Tim Wise, Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat
from Racial Equity (San Francisco, CA: City Lights, 2010); White
Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Berkeley, CA: Soft
Skull Press, 2011); and Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority
(San Francisco, CA: City Lights, 2012).

104. Stephen K. White, The Ethos of a Late-Modern Citizen (Cambridge,

MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), chap. 5.
105. Ibid., 110.
106. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, 264.
107. Du Bois, The Souls of White Folk, 22.
108. Ibid., 19.
109. Ibid., 24.
110. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, 76.
111. Quoted in Pete Seeger and Bob Reiser, Everybody Says Freedom:
A History of the Civil Rights Movement in Songs and Pictures, Including
Many Songs Collected by Guy and Candie Carawan (New York, NY:
W.W. Norton & Company, 1989), 169. For an excellent discussion
of Ella Bakers life and politics, see Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker
and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Chapel
Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), chap. 12.
112. I am indebted to Lawrie Balfour for suggesting this quotation
from Du Bois. See Lawrie Balfour, Democracys Reconstruction:
Thinking Politically with W.E.B. Du Bois (Oxford, UK: Oxford Uni-
versity, 2011), 10, chap. 6.


1. For the classic version of this argument, see Simon Frith and
Angela McRobbie, Rock and Sexuality, in On Record: Rock, Pop,
and the Written Word, ed. Simon Frith and Andrew Goodwin (New
York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1990), 371389. Also see Andi Zeisler,
Feminism and Pop Culture (Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008), chap. 4.
2. Barry Shank, The Political Force of Musical Beauty (Durham, NC:
Duke University Press, 2014), 167. Shank takes the category
female machisma from Simon Reynolds and Joy Press, The Sex
Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock n Roll (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1995).
3. Renee Cox, A History of Music, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art
Criticism 48, no. 4 (Fall 1990), 395411; Sheila Whiteley, Women
and Popular Music: Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity (New York, NY:
Routledge, 2000).
4. Dave Laing and TV Smith, One-Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in
Punk, (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2015).

5. Women musicians in the punk scene have also been limited by

stereotypes of the diminutive punkette or the angry female
singer. For more on the role of women in punk, see Lauraine
Leblanc, Pretty in Punk: Girls Gender Resistance in a Boys Subculture
(Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers, 1999); Anna Feigenbaum, Some guy
designed this room Im standing in: Marking Gender in Press
Coverage of Ani DiFranco, Popular Music 24, no. 1 (January 2005),
3756; and Sara Marcus, Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot
Grrrl Revolution (New York, NY: Harper, 2010).
6. Jose E. Limon, Western Marxism and Folklore: A Critical Intro-
duction, Journal of American Folklore 96 (1983), 3452.
7. For the definitive biography of Pete Seeger, see David King Dun-
away, How Can I Keep from Singing? The Ballad of Pete Seeger (New
York, NY: Villard, 2008). An excellent short biography is Alec
Wilkinsons The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait (New York, NY:
Vintage Books, 2009).
8. Miller, Segregating Sound, chap. 3. For discussions of National
Socialist folk music, see: Sweers, The Power to Influence Minds;
Levi, Music in the Third Reich; Meyer, The Politics of Music in the Third
9. Robert Yager, Young Singers Spread Racist Hate, Duo Consid-
ered the Olsen Twins of the White Nationalist Movement, ABC
News/Primetime (October 20, 2005),
10. Jake Manson, Prussian Blue: The Path We Chose, The Weirdest
Band in the World (blog), August 1, 2012, http://www.weirdestband-; Aaron Gell, Change
of Heart, Former Nazi Teenyboppers Are Singing a New Tune,
The Daily, July 17, 2011,
11. Sanna Inthorn and John Street, Youre an American rapper, so
what do you know?: The Political Uses of British and U.S. Popular
Culture by First-Time Voters in the United Kingdom, in Doing
Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics, ed. Nancy S. Love and
Mark Mattern (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press,
2013), 177200.
12. Whiteley, Women and Popular Music, 2000; Sheila Whiteley, ed., Sex-
ing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender (New York, NY: Routledge,

13. Quoted in Blee, Inside Organized Racism, 162. For more on gender
roles in white supremacist groups, see Abby L. Ferber, ed., Home
Grown Hate: Gender in Organized Racism (New York, NY: Routledge,
14. Michael J. Davis, Was That Racist or Not? I Cant Tell: The Music of
Prussian Blue (PhD dissertation, University of Tennessee, 2009).
15. Quoted in Yager, Young Singers Spread Racist Hate. Erich Gli-
ebe, a neo-Nazi and professional boxer also known as The Aryan
Barbarian, ran Resistance Records for the National Alliance from
1999 to 2002. He was succeeded by Shaun Walker in 2005. William
Pierce, who hired Gliebe, was the leader of the National Alliance,
author of The Turner Diaries (1980, alias Andrew Macdonald), and
founder of Resistance Records.
16. Quoted in Susy Buchanan, Neo-Nazi April Gaede Pushes Twin
Daughters Lynx and Lamb into Spotlight, Intelligence Report 117
(Spring 2005), Southern Poverty Law Center, http://www.splcen-
17. Quoted in ibid.
18. See Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. On the Pioneer Little
Europe movement, see Barrett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus.
19. See the following works by Patricia Hill Collins: On Intellectual
Activism; From Black Power to Hip Hop; Black Sexual Politics; Fighting
Words; Its All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and
Nation; and Black Feminist Thought.
20. Charity and Shelby Pendergraft formed the music group Heritage
Connection and are the daughters of Rachel Pendergraft, a Klan
spokeswoman. Their grandfather was Thomas Robb, a longtime Klan
member. For additional information, see Megan Carpentier, White
Pride Pendergrafts Are the New Prussian Blue, Jezebel, August
6, 2009, n.p., /white-pride-pender-
grafts-are-the-new-prussian-blue/all; and Sonia Scherr, Another
Adorable White-Power Sister Act, Hatewatch August 6, 2009,
21. Quoted in Buchanan, Neo-Nazi April Gaede, 2005.
22. Quoted in Robert Yager, Battle for Two Girls Hearts, Father of
White Separatist Singers Prussian Blue Fought for Custody [of]
Lamb and Lynx Gaede, ABC News/Primetime, August 21, 2006,

23. Quoted in ibid. David Duke is a former Grand Wizard of the

Ku Klux Klan, a self-proclaimed American white nationalist, and a
former Republican representative to the Louisiana House of Rep-
resentatives, who ran several unsuccessful presidential campaigns.
24. Quoted in Yager, Young Singers Spread Racist Hate.
25. Regarding David Lane, see chapter 2, note 54. Ken McLellan con-
tinues to perform with members of Ian Stuart Donaldsons origi-
nal Skrewdriver band.
26. For a brief biography of Lamb and Lynx Gaede, see Alex Hen-
derson, Prussian Blue Biography, All Music Guide, republished
on Artist Direct website,
27. Quoted in Gell, Change of Heart.
28. Nick Enoch, Marijuana changed us from Nazis to peace-lov-
ing hippies: Twin Sisters Who Sparked Outrage with Pop Band
Named after Gas Used on Jews Claim Theyve Grown Up,
Daily Mail, June 27, 2012,
29. Quoted in Sadie Stein, Neo-Nazi Stage Mom Fashions Self as
White-Power Matchmaker, Jezebel (blog), January 26, 2010, http://
30. Hill Collins, Its All in the Family.
31. Hill Collins, Black Sexual Politics, 11. Also see Ange-Marie Hancock,
When Multiplication Doesnt Equal Quick Addition: Examining
Intersectionality as a Research Paradigm. Perspectives on Politics 5,
no. 1 (March 2007), 6379.
32. Kimberle Crenshaw, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality,
Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color, Stanford
Law Review 43 (July 1999), 12411299; Leslie McCall, The Com-
plexity of Intersectionality, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and
Society 30, no. 3 (2005), 17711800; Julie Anne White, The Hol-
low and the Ghetto: Space, Race, and the Politics of Poverty, Poli-
tics and Gender 3, no. 2 (June 2007), 271280.
33. For an insightful discussion of this process, see Ange-Marie Han-
cocks Solidarity Politics for Millennials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression
Olympics (New York, NY: Palgrave, 2011).
34. Hill Collins, Its All in the Family, 62.
35. Ibid., 73.
36. Mary Hawkesworth, Intersectionality, in Feminist Inquiry: From

Political Conviction to Methodological Innovation (Piscataway, NJ: Rut-

gers University Press, 2006). Also see, Mary Hawkesworth, Political
Worlds of Women: Activism, Advocacy, and Governance in the 21st Cen-
tury (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2012). In her 1995 States of Injury,
Wendy Brown wrote, the white supremacist nature of contem-
porary state powerthe specific mores and mechanism through
which state power is systematically rather than incidentally rac-
istare only beginning to be theorized by scholars investigating
the inscription of race and race supremacy in political power, and
these speculations are not further developed here. What can be
argued with some certainty is that while the racialized, gendered,
and class elements of state power are mutually constitutive as well
as contradictory, the specific ways in which the state is racialized
are distinctive (179180).
37. Hill Collins, Fighting Words, 7.
38. Claire M. Renzetti, All Things to All People or Nothing for Some:
Justice, Diversity, and Democracy in Sociological Societies, Social
Problems 54, no. 2 (2007), 161169; 165, 166. On privilege, rights,
and property, also see Alan R. White, Privilege, The Modern Law
Review 41, no. 3 (May 1978), 299311; and Cheryl I. Harris, White-
ness as Property, Harvard Law Review 106 (1993), 17091795.
39. Peggy MacIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible
Knapsack, Independent School 49, no. 2 (Winter 1990), 3135.
40. Kennan Ferguson, All in the Family: On Community and Incommensura-
bility (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012).
41. Hill Collins, Its All in the Family, 66.
42. Prussian Blue, The Road to Valhalla, on Fragment of the Future.
Resistance Records, 2004, CD. This discussion is based on an
analysis of twenty-seven Prussian Blue songs from their two CDs
released in 2004 and 2005 and one single, Stand Up (2006).
These songs continue to be released in commemorative compi-
lations and performed by other white power bands. Again, lyrics
were analyzed for references to anti-Semitism; Odinism; violence;
nature; Nazi names, symbols, and rhetoric; KKK names, symbols,
and rhetoric; nationalist rhetoric and symbols; heroes and mar-
tyrs; states rights and the southern cause. These categories were
adapted from Lws White Power Rock n Roll.
43. Prussian Blue, Aryan Man Awake,on Fragment of the Future.

Resistance Records, 2004, CD; Angela Y. Davis, Rape, Racism,

and the Myth of the Black Rapist, Women, Race, and Class (New
York, NY: Random House, 1983), 172201.
44. Prussian Blue, Victory Day, on Fragment of the Future. Resistance
Records, 2004, CD.
45. Prussian Blue, Gone with the Breeze, on Fragment of the Future.
Resistance Records, 2004, CD.
46. Prussian Blue, Sacrifice, on Fragment of the Future. Resistance
Records, 2004, CD. On Robert Matthews, see chapter 2, note 54.
Rudolph Hess (18941987) was Adolf Hitlers Deputy to the
Fhrer. He was tried and convicted at Nuremberg and served life
in prison at Spandau Prison in Berlin. He died in prison in 1987.
47. Prussian Blue, Hate for Hate: Lamb Near the Lane, on Fragment
of the Future. Resistance Records, 2004, CD.
48. Blee, Inside Organized Racism, chap. 4. According to Blee, in addition
to the goddess/victim, womens roles include the activist wife and
mother, and the race traitor. Although these images of female
racist heroines are used to recruit women, those who join seldom
reach the activist positions promised and most remain subordinate
to men. Some women do become what Blee calls center leaders,
women whose work helps to sustain the social organization of the
larger movement. Blee also notes that more women in racist skin-
head groups have activist roles and engage in violence.
49. Hill Collins draws this analogy in On Intellectual Activism, 204. Janet
Napolitano, then Secretary of Homeland Security, suppressed a
2009 report that warned of the domestic terrorist threat, because
of the outcry from conservative politicians. See the August 2014
interview with Daryl Johnson, primary author of that report.
50. Hill Collins, Its All in the Family, 69.
51. Bill Redeker, Town Tells White Separatist Singers: No Hate

Here, ABC News/ Primetime (September 15, 2006), http://abc-
52. Quoted in ibid.
53. Seth Terrorsaurus Kniseley, Prussian Blue: An Exclusive Inter-
view, Something Awful (October 23, 2005), www.somethingawful.
54. Spurious Identity, correspondence with April Gaede, October 17,
2007, http://www.spuriousidentity/

5 5. Ibid., October 3, 2007.

56. Quoted in Mattias Gardell, Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and
White Separatism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 151.
57. Prussian Blue, Our Vinland, on Fragment of the Future. Resistance
Records, 2004, CD.
58. See David Lanes The Fourteen Words Decoded, accessed
59. Jacqueline Stevens, Reproducing the State (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1999).
60. Hill Collins, Its All in the Family, 70.
61. Gardell, Gods of the Blood, 4, 17.
62. Ibid., 18.
63. Kevin Alfred Strom, I Remember Dr. Pierce, National Vanguard,
August 13, 2012,
ber-dr-pierce/. Pierce also feared that the merger with Resistance
Records would drag down the National Alliance because of its
association with the cultish skinhead music scene, a perspective
I discuss further in the final chapter.
64. Richard Cohen, Charleston Shooters Manifesto Reveals Hate
Group Helped to Radicalize Him, June 20, 2015, http://www.
65. Gardell, Gods of the Blood, 70.
66. Blee, Inside Organized Racism, 172.
67. Lw, White Power Rock n Roll.
68. Prussian Blue, I Will Bleed for You, on Fragment of the Future.
Resistance Records, 2004, CD.
69. Prussian Blue, Ocean of Warriors, on The Path We Chose. Resis-
tance Records, 2005, CD.
70. Quoted in Yager, Young Sisters Spread Racist Hate.
71. Quoted in Jesse Pearson, Hello, White People! Prussian Blue
Look to the Future, Vice Magazine 11, no. 10 (2004), http://www.
72. I am indebted to an anonymous reviewer for this insight. For
information on the medical uses of Prussian Blue, see: http://
73. Quoted from James Quinn, dir., Nazi Pop Twins, television docu-
mentary for UK Channel 4, 2007.

7 4. Davis, Was That Racist or Not?, 87.

75. Quoted in Yager, Young Sisters Spread Racist Hate.
76. Prussian Blue, Aryan Man Awake.
77. Andrew Macdonald (alias for William Pierce), The Turner Diaries,
2nd ed. (Washington, DC: National Alliance, 1980), epilogue. Tim-
othy McVeigh claimed The Turner Diaries provided the blueprint
for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in
Oklahoma City.
78. Prussian Blue, Stand Up, 2006, for a CD produced by Con-
demned Records as part of the campaign to free Matt Hale of the
Creativity Movement.
79. Hill Collins, Its All in the Family, 74.
80. Prussian Blue, Skinhead Boy, on Fragment of the Future. Resis-
tance Records, 2004, CD.
81. Kathleen Blee, Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s
(Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991), 6.
82. For a series of interviews with these and other white nationalists,
separatists, and supremacists, see Swain and Nieli, Contemporary
Voices of White Nationalism in America.
83. Blee, Inside Organized Racism, 9.
84. Quoted in Davis, Was That Racist or Not?, 73.
85. Prussian Blue, The Stranger, on The Path We Chose. Resistance
Records, 2005, CD.
86. Pearson, Hello, White People! Prussian Blue Look to the Future.
87. Quoted in Susy Buchanan, The Gaede Bunch: A is for Aryan.
Hatewatch, August 8, 2007, Southern Poverty Law Center, http://
88. Macdonald, The Turner Diaries, 181.
89. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin,
1971), 252.
90. Gaede, What Must Be Done.
91. David Holthouse, High Country Extremism: Homeland

on the Range, Media Matters for America, part 1, 1, Novem-
ber 15, 2011,
92. Quoted in Holthouse, High Country Extremism, part 1.
93. Quoted in ibid. Many Patriots belong to the Sovereign Citi-
zens, a group made famous recently by Cliven Bundys conflict

with US Bureau of Land Management officials over cattle grazing

rights on federal land. Bundy claimed preemptive rights due
to his beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access
and land improvements. Although he did not purchase his
ranch until 1948, he argued that his forefathers had occupied
the Virgin Valley since 1877. The Sovereign Citizens developed
out of the Posse Comitatus, a branch of white supremacy that
regards the county sheriff as the most powerful law enforce-
ment authority. Their political strategy is to overload the legal
system with court filings based on highly doubtful Posse Comita-
tus legal theories. Although they take a different approach, some
Sovereign Citizens are likely among the independent militants
who join PLEs. See J. J. MacNab, Context Matters: The Cliven
Bundy Stand-Off, Parts 14, Forbes, April 30May 2, 2014,
94. Barrett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, 26.
95. Ibid., 13.
96. The Stormfront website is the most popular online forum for
white supremacists today. It states, Our mission is to provide
information not available in the controlled news media and to
build a community of white activists working for the survival
of our people,
In keeping with this mission, it includes an extensive guide to
Pioneer Little Europes with information about communities in
many US states and other settler colonial nations, Australia, Can-
ada, New Zealand, and South Africa. It reads: PLE is simply a
projection of the kinds of things that would happen wherever
true community and camaraderie are engaged in the interests of
Whites; those who are ethnically Pioneer Europeans, http://
97. Barrett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, 39.
98. Ibid.
99. Ibid.
100. Ibid., 1, 39.
101. Ibid., 40.
102. Ibid., 2.
103. Ibid., 8.
104. Ibid., 2.

105. Ibid., 11.

106. Pateman, The Sexual Contract; Mills, The Racial Contract, 133; Pate-
man, The Settler Contract, in Pateman and Mills, Contract and
Domination, chap. 2.
107. Locke, Second Treatise of Government, par. 36. For a time lapse map
of the loss of Indian land in the United States, see http://www.
108. In The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina: March 1, 1669,
Locke charges the councillors court with handling all state
matters, despatches, and treaties with the neighbor Indians.
This court also handled invasions of the law, of liberty of con-
science, and all invasions to the public peace, upon presence of
religion. All freemen of Carolina were required to acknowl-
edge a god. Although Locke recognized that the natives of
that place, who will be concerned in our plantation, are utterly
strangers to Christianity, whose idolatry, ignorance, or mistake
gives us no right to expel or use them all, he stipulates that only
land claims made under the Lords proprietors will be recognized
and not those made directly with natives. These passages suggest
Locke doubted whether the Indians possessed the same prop-
erty rights as the European settlers. For Locke, human beings had
natural rights to life, liberty, and property because they were the
products of Gods labor. In other words, human rights ultimately
protected Gods property. The larger issue here is whether Native
Americans were human beings created by God. For Lockes text,
see For an
excellent discussion, see Steven T. Newcomb, Pagans in the Promised
Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery (Golden, CO: Ful-
crum, 2008). I return to the issue of Native Americans and other
non-Christians human rights in the next chapter when I discuss
white supremacists attempts to found a racialized religion.
109. Locke, Second Treatise of Government, par. 28.
110. Ibid., par. 31, 28.
111. Ibid., par. 32 (emphasis mine).
112. Barrett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, 18. On opposition to
attempts to found a rural PLE in Leith, North Dakota, see my
You Are Standing on the Indian: The Settler Contract, Terra
Nullius, and White Supremacy, Proceedings of the 2014 American

Political Science Association Convention, Washington, DC, August

2731. Although they are less common, PLEs can form in
urban as well as rural areas. Urban PLEs often begin as cul-
tural centers where white nationals assert their own political
and individual interests, and they are modeled on other political
stronghold communities.
113. Barrett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, 21.
114. Ibid.
115. Lorenzo Veracini, Introducing Settler Colonial Studies, Settler
Colonial Studies 1, no. 1 (February 2013), 12. For an overview
of this literature, see: Lorenzo Veracini, Settler Colonialism:
Career of a Concept, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth
History 41, no. 2 (March 2013), 313333; Lorenzo Veracini, Settler
Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview (New York, NY: Palgrave Mac-
millan, 2010). Also, see: Robert Nichols, Indigeneity and the Set-
tler Contract Today, Philosophy and Social Criticism 39, no. 2 (2013),
165186; Alyosha Goldstein, Where the Nation Takes Place:
Proprietary Regimes, Antistatism, and U.S. Settler Colonialism,
South Atlantic Quarterly 107, no. 4 (Fall 2008), 833861; Patrick
Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,
Journal of Genocide Research 8, no. 4 (December 2006), 387409;
Thomas Biolsi, Imagined Geographies: Sovereignty, Indigenous
Space, and American Indian Struggle, American Ethnologist 32,
no. 2 (2005), 239259.
116. Albert Memmi discusses these dualisms in The Colonizer and the
Colonized (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1967).
117. Veracini, Introducing Settler Colonial Studies, 3.
118. Ibid. Wolfe argues that settler colonialism is inherently elimi-
natory but not invariably genocidal. Emphasizing that settler
colonialism destroys to replace, he notes that sometimes the
process of replacement maintains the refractory imprint of the
native counter-claim. Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Elimi-
nation of the Native, 387389.
119. Veracini, Introducing Settler Colonial Studies, 3.
120. Barrett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, 24.
121. Quoted in Holthouse, High Country Extremism: Pioneering
Hate, part 2, November 16, 2011.
122. See Jacqueline Keeler, On Cliven Bundys Ancestral Rights: If

the Nevada Rancher Is Forced to Pay Taxes or Grazing Fees,

He Should Pay Them to the Shoshone, The Nation, April 29,
ancestral-rights. Although the Sovereign Citizens and Pioneer
Little Europes are distinct groups within the larger white suprem-
acist movement, both draw false analogies to Native American
experience. Keeler writes, Even as many Americans continue to
deny the existence of Native nations ancestral rights to land
and resources, the libertarian right is eager to co-opt our history
to promote their own battles against the federal government.
123. Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 2: Lifeworld and
System, 394.
124. Barrett, The Pioneer Little Europe Prospectus, 51.
125. Jane Mansbridge and Shauna L. Shames, Toward a Theory of
Backlash: Dynamic Resistance and the Central Role of Power,
Politics and Gender 4, no. 4 (December 2008), 623633.
126. In The Abolition of White Democracy, Joel Olson notes, Just as
white mens complicity in the racial order provided privileges that
ultimately undermined their ability to challenge class domination,
white women enjoyed racial standing at the cost of weakening
their position from which to confront gendered and class forms
of power (59). Also see Helen Zia, Women in Hate Groups:
Who Are They? Why Are They There?, Ms. (MarchApril 1991),
127. Sadie Stein, The White-Power Girls of Prussian Blue Are All
Grown Up, Jezebel: Celebrity, Sex, and Fashion for Women, October
14, 2010,
prussian-blue-are-all-grown-up. Also, see Shawn Kay, White
Power Pop Music Duo Has Change of Heart, Lifestyle, Septem-
ber 2012,
128. Blee, Inside Organized Racism, 176177.
129. Gardell, Gods of the Blood, 343.
130. Quoted in Anti-Defamation League, White Supremacists Vent
Rage over Obamas Win: Pushing Whites to Start a Race War,
November 8, 2008,
131. Hill Collins, On Intellectual Activism, 207.
132. Ibid., 205.

1 33. Ibid., 208.

134. Hill Collins, Fighting Words, 94.
135. Hill Collins, On Intellectual Activism, 209.


1. Ben Klassen, The Klassen Letters, Vol. 1, 1969-1976 (,

1988). Accessed 1/31/16.
Letters Vol. 1, 1969-1976.
2. Natures Eternal Religion (1973) is the first of Klassens three main
works that present the philosophy of the World Church of the
Creator or Creativity. The second and third books in the trilogy are
The White Mans Bible (1981) and with Arnold DeVries, Salubrious
Living: A Natural Life Style for Achieving and Maintaining the Ultimate
in Superb Health and Well-Being as Taught and Practiced by the Church of
the Creator (1982). These books have been reprinted multiple times
and remain available online, as do Klassens other writings.
3. The name of the Creativity movement has changed repeatedly,
partly as a result of copyright and trademark litigation. For a
detailed discussion, see: Michael, Theology of Hate, chap. 8. I follow
Michaels practice and use Creativity to refer to the organization
over time.
4. Many of these details come from Klassens two-volume auto-
biography and his collected letters. See Ben Klassen, Against the
Evil Tide: An Autobiography (Otto, NC: Creativity Book Publisher,
1991); Ben Klassen, Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs: A History of
the Church of the Creator during Its 10-year Domicile in the State of North
Carolina, Coordinated with Biographical Details during the Same Period
(Niceville, FL: Creativity Book Publisher, 1993); Klassen, The Klas-
sen Letters, vol. 1 and Ben Klassen, The Klassen Letters, Vol. 2, 1976-
1981 (, 1988). Accessed 1/31/16.
5. Klassen, Against the Evil Tide, Milestone One: My Mennonite Her-
itage and Milestone Two: Personal Memories of Russia, Nostal-
gic and Otherwise, nos. 1, 2, and 5, n.p.
6. Ibid., Milestone Forty-One: A Brief Venture into the Politi-
cal Arena Running as a Conservative Republican for the Florida
House 1966, no. 42, n.p.

7. Ibid., Milestone Forty-Six: The American Independent Party,

1969, no. 47, n.p.
8. Ibid., Milestone Forty-Eight: The Nationalist White Party, 1970
1971, no. 49, n.p.
9. Ibid., Milestone Thirty-Seven: Six Years with the John Birch Soci-
ety, 19631969, no. 38, n.p.
10. Ibid., Milestone Forty-Eight: The Nationalist White Party, 1970
1971, no. 49, n.p.
11. Klassen, Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs, Creativity and the White
Race, Propelling It into Perpetuity, chap. 47, n.p.
12. Southern Poverty Law Center, Church of the Creator Time-
line, Intelligence Report 95 (Summer 1999), http://www.splcenter.
13. Klassen and Pierce exchanged multiple letters about their shared
racial ideology and the differences between Pierces Cosmothe-
ism and Klassens Creativity. In his autobiography, Klassen writes,
Our ideologies regarding race ran on a parallel course, although
as far as religion was concerned, I never did understand the logic
of what he called his Cosmotheism religion, no matter how many
times he tried to explain it in his literature. But it has not been of
any significance as far as our common goal of promoting White
racial solidarity was concerned. I have always admired Dr. Pierce as
a great man and an outstanding intellectual thinker, and as one of
us. Klassen, Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs, Selling the Church
Property, chap. 45, n.p.
14. Anti-Defamation League, Extremism in America: Creativity Movement,
15. Many members, including George Burdi, who founded Rahowa,
visited the North Carolina church headquarters and assisted with
the publication of Racial Loyalty, Klassens newsletter.
16. For discussions of Hales leadership of Creativity and its contin-
ued influence on the radical right, see Michael, Theology of Hate,
chap. 8.
17. In his tribute, I Remember Dr. Pierce, Kevin Alfred Strom
describes Pierces decision to purchase Resistance Records. He
writes, Dr. Pierce told me privately that he found most of the music
unlistenable, even repellent, and that it for the most part embodied
every exaggerated hater stereotype ... National-Socialism-as-cult

(something that Dr. Pierce strongly disliked) was everywhere at

Resistance. ... It was loaded with a substantial percentage of
appallingly ignorant people who had joined it for all the wrong
reasons. I discuss this internal critique of Resistance Records in
greater detail in the final chapter. Kevin Alfred Strom, I Remem-
ber Dr. Pierce, National Vanguard, August 13, 2012, http://
18. Southern Poverty Law Center, Former Hate Music Promoter
George Burdi Discusses His Experiences with Racism and the
White Power Music Industry, Intelligence Report 103 (Fall 2001),
19. Ibid. In this context, it seems important to note that the South-
ern Poverty Law Center regards black separatists as hate groups.
The SPLC definition of black separatism includes the following
statement: Although the Southern Poverty Law Center recognizes
that much black racism in America is, at least in part, a response
to centuries of white racism, it believes racism must be exposed
in all its forms. See
20. Quoted in Michael, Theology of Hate, 110.
21. For an interesting discussion of the Gothic in political theory, see
Connolly, Neuropolitics.
22. Quoted in Michael, Theology of Hate, 111.
23. Prez, What Is Goth?,
24. For more information, see the Wolves in the Throne Room official
website at
25. Norsk Arisk, Review of Rahowa, Cult of the Holy War, Janu-
ary 10, 2014, Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives, http://
26. Anthony Passonno, I am not my DNA! An Interview with

George Burdi, Acid Logic,
27. Southern Poverty Law Center, Former Hate Music Promoter
George Burdi.
28. VNN Staff, Interview: George Burdi, 27 April 2004, www.van-

29. Novacosm never realized the success of Rahowa and the band
dissolved in 2007. The bands music and story are still available on
MySpace at
30. Burdi, I am not my DNA!
31. For an extensive online discussion, see the comments forum on
Burdis VNN interview, Rahowa Band: What Happened?, VNN,
32. See Habermas, An Awareness of What Is Missing and A Reply
in An Awareness of What Is Missing. On the religious roots of key
liberal concepts, see: Lara, The Disclosure of Politics, and Newcomb,
Pagans in the Promised Land.
33. Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.v. Fundamentalism.
34. For a discussion of what might be called fundamentalist or,
at least, doctrinaire, neoliberalism, see Steger, Introduction to
Rethinking Globalism, 112. On alternative local-to-global futures,
see Nira Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contesta-
tions (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011), chap. 7.
35. Quoted in Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging, 26.
36. Habermas, An Awareness of What Is Missing, 75.
37. Ibid., 7374.
38. For a more extensive discussion, see Nancy S. Love, Aesthetic
Reason, Public Reason: Habermas Revisited, paper presented at
the Colloquium on Philosophy and Social Science, Prague, Czech
Republic, May 2014. Also see Lara, Narrating Evil, and David L.
Cloclasure, Habermas and Literary Rationality (New York, NY: Rout-
ledge, 2010), 6.
39. Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging, 117. In his Theology of Hate,
George Michael discusses the Creativity movement as a sociologi-
cal religion in Durkheims sense.
40. Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging, 129.
41. Anderson, Imagined Communities, 145. For an excellent discussion
of the anthem as a religious and national musical genre that draws
on Andersons work, see Shank, The Political Force of Musical Beauty,
chap. 2.
42. Marco Adria, Technology and Nationalism (Montreal, Canada: McGill-
Queens University Press, 2010), 168.
43. Ibid., 171.
44. Ibid., 172. See James Bohmans thoughtful discussion in

Expanding Dialogue: The Internet, Public Sphere, and Transna-

tional Democracy, in After Habermas: New Perspectives on the Public
Sphere, ed. Nick Crossley and John Michael Roberts (Malden, MA:
Blackwell, 2004), 131155.
45. Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging, 144.
46. Ben Klassen, The Time Has Come for the White Race to Estab-
lish Its Own Pole Star, Racial Loyalty, no. 20 (January 1985).
47. Klassen, Letters, vol. 1, 68.
48. In a letter to Reverend William A. Burke, DD, of Westfield, New
Jersey, dated March 24, 1975, Klassen writes, I especially appre-
ciate your comments when you compare my book to MEIN
KAMPF and even infer that I may be a political genius. Klassen,
Letters, vol. 1, 208.
49. Klassen, Natures Eternal Religion, bk. 2, chap. 27.
50. Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 15.
51. Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 5.
52. Ibid. He adds that Hitler made a mistake by allying with the Japa-
nese, a yellow race, in World War II.
53. Ibid.
54. Quoted in ibid.
55. Klassen defines socialism as organized society, striving to pro-
mote its own best interests collectively. Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 6.
56. In successive editions of his newsletter, Racial Loyalty, Klassen
compares the teachings of Creativity with other world religions
and belief systems, including atheism and Norse mythology.
57. Klassen, Natures Eternal Religion, bk. 1, chap. 1.
58. Ibid., bk. 1, chap. 6.
59. Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 1.
60. Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 9.
61. Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 2.
62. Ibid., bk. 2, chap. 5.
63. Klassen, The White Mans Bible, chaps. 66, 72.
64. Ibid., chaps. 29, 31.
65. Ibid., chap. 29.
66. Ibid., chap. 62.
67. Ibid., chap. 69.
68. Ibid., chap. 16.
69. Ibid., chap. 17.
70. Ibid., chap. 64.

7 1. Ibid.
72. Ibid., chap. 65.
73. Klassen, Salubrious Living, chap. 1.
74. Anna Bramwell, Ecology in the Twentieth Century: A History (New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989).
75. Klassen, Salubrious Living, chap. 1.
76. Ibid., chap. 4.
77. Ibid., chap. 3.
78. Ibid., chaps. 7, 8.
79. Ibid., chap. 21.
80. Ibid.
81. Rahowa, Ode to a Dying People, on Cult of the Holy War. Resis-
tance Records CRA 201A, 1995, CD.
82. Macdonald, The Turner Diaries; Andrew Macdonald (aka William
Pierce), Hunter (Hillsboro, WV: National Vanguard Books, 1989).
83. Quoted in Michael, Theology of Hate, 112. In Mein Kampf, Hitler
praised America as a folkish state, writing that by refusing immi-
gration on principle to elements in poor health, by simply exclud-
ing certain races from naturalization, it [the American Union]
professes in slow beginnings a view which is peculiar to the folkish
state concept (339440).
84. This discussion is based on an analysis of fifteen Rahowa songs
from the bands two CDs released from 1993 to 1995. As Burdi
attests, Rahowa songs continue to be performed by other white
power bands and remain available online. Again, lyrics were ana-
lyzed for references using categories adapted from Lws White
Power Rock n Roll.
85. Rahowa, God Is Dead, on Cult of the Holy War. Resistance
Records CRA 201A, 1995, CD.
86. Rahowa, lyrics by Ragnar Redbeard, Might Is Right, on Cult of
the Holy War. Resistance Records CRA-201A, 1995, CD.
87. Rahowa, When America Goes Down, Cult of the Holy War,
Resistance Records, CD, 1995, CRA-201A.
88. Rahowa, arranged by Jon Latvis, lyrics by Skrewdriver, The Snow
Fell, on Cult of the Holy War. Resistance Records CRA-201A,
1995, CD.
89. Rahowa ringtones are available as a free download at http://
90. Quoted in Michael, Theology of Hate, 114.

91. Ibid., 111.

92. For an excellent overview of these distinctions and their implica-
tions, see Patrick G. Hunter and E. Glenn Schellenberg, Music
and Emotion, in Music Perception: Springer Handbook of Auditory
Research 36, ed. Mari Riess Jones, Richard R. Fay, and Arthur Pop-
per (New York, NY: Springer, 2010), 129164.
93. This two-dimensional model for understanding emotions and their
intensity was developed by P. J. Lang, M. M. Bradley, and B. N.
Cuthbert from participants responses to visual images. With some
variations, it has been widely applied to studies of music and emo-
tion. See P.J. Lang, M.M. Bradley, and B.N. Cuthberts NIMH Cen-
ter for the Study of Emotion and Attention, International Affective
Picture System (IAPS): Technical Manual and Affective Ratings (Gaines-
ville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1997).
94. Craig A. Anderson, Nicholas L. Carnagey, and Janie Eubanks,
Exposure to Violent Media: The Effects of Songs with Violent
Lyrics on Aggressive Thoughts and Feelings, Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology 84, no. 5 (2003), 960971; 961.
95. Ibid.
96. Ibid.
97. Heather L. LaMarre, Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, and Gregory J.
Hoplamazian, Does the Music Matter? Examining Differential
Effects of Music Genre on Support for Ethnic Groups, Journal of
Broadcasting and Electronic Media 56, no. 1 (2012), 150167.
98. For examples, see James D. Johnson and Sophie Trawalter,
Converging Interracial Consequences of Exposure to Vio-
lent Rap Music on Stereotypical Attributions of Blacks, Jour-
nal of Experimental Social Psychology 36 (2000), 233251; Laurie
A. Rudman and Matthew R. Lee, Implicit and Explicit Conse-
quences of Exposure to Violent and Misogynous Rap Music,
Group Processes and Intergroup Relations 5, no. 2 (2002), 133150;
Edward G. Armstrong, Gangsta Misogyny: A Content Analy-
sis of the Portrayals of Violence Against Women in Rap Music,
19871993, Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 8, no.
2 (2001), 96126. The aforementioned study by Heather L.
LaMarre et al., which compares responses to radical White
power rock, mainstream rock, and Top 40 pop music, is a notable

99. Burdi now admits that he was involved in at least 15 riot situ-
ations with police and anti-racist groups, the most violent of
which occurred after a 1994 Skrewdriver memorial concert in
London. NS Revolt, George Burdi Interview, NS Revolt (Octo-
ber 8, 2009),
100. Dennis R. Martin, The Music of Murder, William and Mary
Bill of Rights Journal 2, no. 1 (1993), 159163. Judith Pinkerton, a
music therapist and the founder of Music4Life, educates listeners
on how to manage their emotions through music. Her radio pro-
grams and blogs have addressed such difficult topics as Music
and Murder, an important issue in the so-called loud music
trial of Michael Dunn, who was convicted for the murder of Jor-
dan Davis. Echoing Platos earlier arguments in the Republic, she
argues against playing certain genres, lyrics, and styles in public
101. I should note that Ahmed avoids the term contagion as a
descriptor of the creation of affective bonds and group solidar-
ity. She instead refers to processes of articulation that involve
shared perceptions of like and unlike bodies, and the tendency of
like to affiliate with like. For a critique of models of emotion as
contagion, see Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 1011.
102. Ahmed refers to affect as sticky. See especially The Cultural Poli-
tics of Emotion, chap. 2, The Organisation of Hate, 4261.
103. Ibid., 4.
104. Ibid., 12.
105. Ibid., 43.
106. Ibid., 15.
107. Quoted in Michael, Theology of Hate, 114.
108. NS Revolt, George Burdi Interview.
109. VNN Staff, Interview: George Burdi.
110. Ibid.
111. In his Theology of Hate, George Michael argues that Klassen
sought to create a creed that contained the functionalist features
that the French sociologist Emile Durkheim saw as the underpin-
nings of religionthat is, beliefs and rituals that enhance solidar-
ity in the community (24). The larger role of political theology
in postsecular societies exceeds the scope of my study of white
supremacists cultural politics. For overviews of that growing

literature, see Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan, eds., Politi-

cal Theologies: Public Religion in a Post-Secular World (New York, NY:
Fordham University Press, 2006); Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergens-
meyer, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, eds., Rethinking Secularism
(New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011); and the classic
work by Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Con-
cept of Sovereignty, trans. George Schwab (Chicago, IL: University
of Chicago Press, 2006). Although Klassen draws on many Ger-
man philosophers, to the best of my knowledge, Schmitt is not
among them. This may be because, unlike classical fascism, white
supremacist movements today are more anarcho-terrorist than
112. Lara, The Disclosure of Politics, 22.
113. Ibid., 159.
114. Ibid., 163.
115. Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, 42.
116. Habermas writes, This bridging function of art criticism is more
obvious in the cases of music and the plastic arts than in that of
literary works, which are already formulated in the medium of
language, even if it is a poetic, self-referential language. Haber-
mas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 208.
117. Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, 29.
118. Jrgen Habermas, Modernity: An Incomplete Project, in The
Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, ed. Hal Foster (Port
Townsend, WA: Bay Press, 1983), 13.
119. Schoolman, The Next Enlightenment and Avoiding Embar-
rassment. Also see Caputi, Feminism and Power.
120. Lara, The Disclosure of Politics, 164.
121. Quoted in Newcomb, Pagans in the Promised Land, 8384.
122. See chapter 3, note 102, on Lockes discussion of lands belonging
to non-Christian natives in his The Fundamental Constitutions
of Carolina: March 1, 1669.
123. Quoted in Newcomb, 86.
124. Ibid., 102.
125. Ibid., 112.
126. Audre Lorde, The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Rac-
ism, in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Freedom, CA: Crossing
Press, 1984), 129.
127. Klassen, Natures Eternal Religion, bk. 2, chap. 2.

128. Pateman and Mills, Contract and Domination. Regarding Creators

sexual contract, Klassen writes, It is the mans duty and obliga-
tion to provide for the family, and it is a womans privilege to
take care of the home and raise her family. Natures Eternal Reli-
gion, chap. 23. Creativity has a separate organization, the Womens
Frontier, founded by Lisa Turner in the late 1990s. On its history,
see Michael, Theology of Hate, chap. 9.
129. Newcomb, Pagans in the Promised Land, 135.
130. Rahowa, Ode to a Dying People.


1. Leyden, Skinhead Confessions, 187.

2. See
3. Picciolini, Romantic Violence; Leyden, Skinhead Confessions; Frank
Meeink, as told to Jody M. Roy, PhD, Autobiography of a Recover-
ing Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story, introduction by Elizabeth
Wurtzel (Portland, OR: Hawthorne Books, 2009); Michaelis, My
Life After Hate.
4. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 94.
5. Theodor Adorno, On the Fetish Character in Music and the
Regression of Listening, in The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on
Mass Culture, ed. Jim Bernstein (London, UK: Routledge, 1991),
2960, 45.
6. For an excellent discussion of the star system and ratings, see
Street, Music and Politics, chap. 7.
7. The pop music Adorno knew and criticized was big band, jazz,
swing, and Tin Pan Alley. Unlike this popular music, he thought
folk songs retained some semblance of autonomy and authenticity
because they were passed down through oral traditions. This raises
the possibility that he might regard other music of resistance as
performing critical functions, even as disclosing truths. See Giles
Hooper, Nevermind Nirvana: A Post-Adornia Perspective,
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 38, no. 1
(June 2007), 91107.
8. Adorno, On the Fetish Character in Music and the Regression of
Listening, 35.
9. See Jonathan Sterne, MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Durham, NC:

Duke University Press, 2012); and The Audible Past: Cultural Origins
of Sound Reproduction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003).
10. Theodor Adorno, Introduction to the Sociology of Music, trans. E. B.
Ashton (New York, NY: Seabury Press, 1976), 48.
11. Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of
Advanced Industrial Society (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1964), 256.
12. Ibid., 257.
13. In Ten Theories of the Extreme Right, Roger Eatwell argues
that social media access is now more important than party orga-
nizations for recruiting voters. He also stresses the dangers of
assuming that the extreme right challenge can be tamed by main-
stream parties, which are rapidly approaching their sell date (70).
14. Matt Wray, White Trash: The Social Origins of a Stigmatype, The
Society Pages, June 21, 2013,
15. The Klansmen, White Trash, on Fetch the Rope.
16. Allan Berube with Florence Berube, Sunset Trailer Park, in

White Trash: Race and Class in America, ed. Matt Wray and Annalee
Newitz (New York, NY: Routledge, 1997), 1540.
17. Roxanne A. Dunbar, Bloody Footprints: Reflections on Grow-
ing Up Poor White, in White Trash: Race and Class in America, ed.
Matt Wray and Annalee Newitz (New York, NY: Routledge, 1997),
7386, 77. For more extensive ethnographies, see Glenda Eliza-
beth Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White
Supremacy in North Carolina, 18961920 (Chapel Hill, NC: Univer-
sity of North Carolina Press, 1996), and Mark Schultz, The Rural
Face of White Supremacy: Beyond Jim Crow (Urbana, IL: University of
Illinois Press, 2005).
18. Dunbar, Bloody Footprints, 77.
19. As Karl Marx succinctly put it, Labor cannot emancipate itself in
the white skin when in the black it is branded. Karl Marx, Capital,
vol. 1, chap. The Working Day, sec. 7 (New York, NY: Interna-
tional, 1967), 301.
20. Dunbar, Bloody Footprints, 77.
21. Sennett, The Hidden Injuries of Class, 196.
22. Ibid., 155.
23. Sullivan, Good White People, 46.
24. Annalee Newitz, White Savagery and Humiliation, or a New
Racial Consciousness in the Media, in White Trash: Race and Class

in America, ed. Matt Wray and Annalee Newitz (New York, NY:
Routledge, 1997), 131154, 134.
25. Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 33.
26. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 79.
27. Leyden, Skinhead Confessions, 20.
28. Ibid., 131.
29. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 86.
30. Anna Gibbs, After Affect: Sympathy, Synchrony, and Mimetic
Communication, in The Affect Theory Reader, ed. Melissa Gregg
and Gregory J. Seigworth (Durham, NC: Duke University Press,
2010), 186205, 186.
31. Ibid.
32. Ibid., 202.
33. For this distinction between anthropological and artistic mimesis,
see Gregg Daniel Miller, Mimesis and Reason: Habermas and Political
Philosophy (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2011),
34. Gibbs, After Affect, 191.
35. Miller, Mimesis and Reason, chap. 2.
36. For a discussion focused on music, in particular, see John Street,
Music and Politics, chap. 8, Politics as Music: The Sound of Ideas
and Ideology, 140159.
37. As a cultural, economic, political, and psychological project, anti-
Semitism takes multiple forms: bourgeois, nationalist, political,
among others. In the Elements of Anti-Semitism: Limits of
Enlightenment essay from Dialectic of Enlightenment, Horkheimer
and Adorno add Leo Lowenthal as a coauthor. He brings insights
from the Frankfurt Institutes larger project, Studies in Prejudice.
38. I regard Dialectic of Enlightenment as a carefully constructed phi-
losophy in fragments, and the culture industry and anti-Semitism
essays as mirror images of one another. This interpretation dif-
fers from James Schmidt and others who argue that the text is to
at least some degree fragmentary by default rather than design.
See James Schmidt, Language, Mythology, and Enlightenment:
Historical Notes on Horkheimer and Adornos Dialectic of Enlight-
enment, Social Research 65, no. 4 (1998), 6. Some parts of this dis-
cussion of Odysseus and the Sirens are adapted from Nancy S.
Love, Why Do the Sirens Sing? Figuring the Feminine in Dia-
lectic of Enlightenment, in Rethinking the Frankfurt School: Alternative

Legacies of Cultural Critique, ed. Jeffrey T. Nealon and Caren Irr

(Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002), 111122.
39. In his typology, Miller also distinguishes divine mimesis (ecstatic
self-loss) from contagion (prosaic mimesis). He describes prosaic
mimesis as involving connection, infection, repetition, perfor-
mance, formation, and the risk for deformation. Regarding white
power music, I would argue that both the sense of ecstasy and the
contagion it creates are forms of prosaic mimesis. Miller, Mimesis
and Reason, 53.
40. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 140.
41. Ibid., 166.
42. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 108.
43. Ibid.
44. Ibid., 136.
45. See Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence
(London, UK: Verso, 2004), chap. 2.
46. Adorno, Introduction to the Sociology of Music, 40. Even the creation
of a separate sphere for autonomous art is a necessary product
of the culture industry. Horkheimer and Adorno write: Light art
has accompanied autonomous art as its shadow. It is the social bad
conscience of serious art. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of
Enlightenment, 107.
47. In Habermas and Literary Rationality, David Cloclasure emphasizes
the exceptional capacity of literature to articulate ways of con-
sidering matters of generalizable concern. If nothing else (and
sometimes it is much more, for example, when the facts can only
be expressed counterfactually), literary culture educates citizens in
the aesthetic qualities of language, a crucial skill for mutual under-
standing, especially cross-culturally. Cloclasure, Habermas and Liter-
ary Rationality, 6.
48. Burdi, I am not my DNA!
49. Meeink, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, 192.
50. Ibid., 241, 22.
51. Leyden, Skinhead Confessions, 117.
52. Ibid., 133.
53. Ibid., 180.
54. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 98, 100.
55. Meeink, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, 314.

56. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 31.

57. Ibid., 101, 197.
58. Leyden, Skinhead Confessions, 164.
59. Multiple issues of the online magazine Life After Hate include sto-
ries about the role of block parties, B-dancing, and rap music in
their peacemaking activities. Christian Picciolini, Let the Song
You Sing Be One That Embraces, Not Disgraces, Humanity, Life
After Hate, April 2008,
60. See the Novacosm website,
61. Schoolman, The Next Enlightenment, 46. Also see, Schoolman,
Avoiding Embarrassment; and Schoolman, Reason and Horror.
62. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 103.
63. Theodor Adorno, Music and Language, in Quasi Una Fantasia:
Essays on Modern Music, trans. Rodney Livingstone (London, UK:
Verso, 2012).
64. Nancy S. Love, Politics and Voice(s): An Empowerment/Knowl-
edge Regime, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 3, no.
1 (1990), 96. For a more extensive discussion of the relationship
between linguistic and musical sound, see Love, Musical Democracy.
65. Engh, Loving It; and Jennifer Rycenga, Lesbian Compositional
Processes: On Lover-Composers Perspective, in Queering the Pitch:
The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology, ed. Philip Brett, Elizabeth
Wood, and Gary C. Thomas (New York, NY: Routledge, 1994).
66. Thorleif Boman, Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek, trans. Jules L.
Moreau (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1961), 156. Anson
Rabinbach argues that the Jews prohibition on creating graven
images suggests how to break the order of mimesis in the visual
arts. Anson Rabinbach, Why Were the Jews Sacrificed? The Place
of Anti-Semitism in Dialectic of Enlightenment, New German Critique
81 (Autumn 2000), 4964. I have argued elsewhere that the prohi-
bition on speaking Gods name offers another such break. Love,
Why Do the Sirens Sing?, 111122.
67. Karl Marx, himself a German Jew, similarly says in The German
Ideology that from the start the spirit is afflicted with the curse
of being burdened with matter, which here makes its appear-
ance in the form of agitated layers of air, sounds, in short, of lan-
guage. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, ed. C.

J. Arthur (New York, NY: International, 1977), 5051. Marx also

invokes music to illustrate how subjective capacities and human
creations are interrelated and together can counter the alienated
objectivity of abstract categories. He writes, only music can
awaken the musical sense in man and the most beautiful music
has no sense for the unmusical ear, because my object can only be
the confirmation of one of my essential powers. Karl Marx, Eco-
nomic and Philosophical Manuscripts, in Early Writings, trans. Rodney
Livingstone and Gregor Benton (New York, NY: Penguin Books,
1975), 353. For an excellent discussion of Jewish influences on
Marxs thought, see: Dennis Fischman, Political Discourse in Exile:
Karl Marx and the Jewish Question (Amherst, MA: University of Mas-
sachusetts Press, 1991). Terry Eagleton also draws this parallel
between Marx and Adorno, and he describes this sensibility as a
materialist sublime. Terry Eagleton, The Ideology of the Aesthetic
(London, UK: Blackwell, 1990).
68. Adorno, Sociology of Music, 42.
69. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 43. For my
more extensive discussion of Odysseus and the Sirens, see Love,
Why Do the Sirens Sing? Also see Caputi, Feminism and Power,
chap. 5.
70. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 59.
71. Ibid., 48.
72. Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Robert Fitzgerald (Garden City, NY:
Anchor Books, 1963), bk. 19.
73. Lesley J. Pruitt, Youth Peacebuilding: Music, Gender, and Change (Albany,
NY: State University of New York Press, 2013), 181.
74. Ibid., 54. For a fascinating discussion of women in hip-hop, see,
Himanee Gupta-Carlson, Planet B-Girl: Community Building
and Feminism in Hip-Hop, New Political Science: A Journal of Politics
and Culture 32, no. 4 (December 2010), 515529.
75. Rose, The Hip Hop Wars, 7.
76. Kitwana Bakari, Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers,
Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America (New York, NY:
Basic Civitas Books, 2006), chap. 4. Also, see Marcyliena Morgan,
The Real Hip-Hop: Battling for Knowledge, Power, and Respect in the LA
Underground (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009).
77. Ibid., 121.
78. Ibid., 78.

79. DaRaven, True Skool: Block Party Displays Hip-Hop in Its Most
Pure and Honest Form, Life After Hate 32 (August 5, 2012),
80. Quoted in Berni Xiong, Dance Like Theres No Tomorrow,
Life After Hate 13 (January 5, 2011), http://www.lifeafterhate.
81. Bakari, Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop, 154.
82. Rose, The Hip Hop Wars, 229. Rose also sees great promise in hip-
hop culture, but only if it is a vehicle for encouraging creativ-
ity that does not revolve around hurling insults and perpetuating
social injustices (28).
83. Anthony Kwame Harrison, Hip Hop Underground: The Integrity and
Ethics of Racial Identification (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University
Press, 2009), 116117. For a related critique of the concept of
authenticity, see K. Anthony Appiah, Identity, Authenticity, Sur-
vival: Multicultural Societies and Social Reproduction, in Multi-
culturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, ed. Amy Gutmann
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 149164.
84. Harrison, Hip Hop Underground, 117.
85. Xiong, Dance Like Theres No Tomorrow.
86. Odessa, My Thoughts of Traitors in White Power Music, Storm-
front forum, April 4, 2013,
87. VNN Staff, Interview: George Burdi, 27 April 2004, www.van-
88. Maeve Cook, Language and Reason: A Study of Habermass Pragmat-
ics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994). Cook argues that the pur-
pose of aesthetic-expressive validity claims in Habermass theory
is ultimately encompassed by his other validity claims to truth and
89. Jrgen Habermas, What Is Universal Pragmatics?, in Communica-
tion and the Evolution of Society, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston,
MA: Beacon Press, 1979), 168, 3436.
90. Habermas, Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 1: Reason and the
Rationalization of Society, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston, MA:
Beacon Press, 1984), 17.
91. Habermas, Moral Development and Ego Identity, in Communica-
tion and the Evolution of Society, trans. Thomas McCarthy (Boston,

MA: Beacon Press, 1979), 6994, 93. Even avant-garde art, the
epitome of aesthetic autonomy, attempts to strengthen the diver-
gence between the values offered by the socio-cultural system and
those demanded by the political and economic systems. Haber-
mas, Legitimation Crisis, 86.
92. Habermas, Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 1, 93. Italics mine.
93. Sharon R. Krause, Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and Democratic
Deliberation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 201.
94. Ibid., 168.
95. Ibid., 203.
96. David Aram Kaiser refers to this aesthetic process that social-
izes and individuates as a form of cultural-political Bildung. David
Aram Kaiser, Romanticism, Aesthetics, and Nationalism (Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), chap. 7, 137.
97. Habermas, Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 2, 395.
98. Ibid., 391396.
99. Connell and Gibson, Sound Tracks, chap. 2. For classic discus-
sions of authenticity, see Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authentic-
ity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991) and Lionel
Trilling, Sincerity and Authenticity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univer-
sity Press, 1972). Taylor adopts Trillings usage of authenticity to
describe the moral ideal behind self-fulfillment as being true to
oneself in a specifically modern understanding of that term (15).
However, both recognize the close connection between authentic-
ity and the earlier term, sincerity. In a discussion of nineteenth-
century novels, Trilling notes that acceptance of class situation
as a necessary condition means that a character is sincere and
authentic, sincere because authentic (115). However, Trilling argues
that sincerity connotes a contradiction between private self and
public roles endemic to modern democracy; one cannot simulta-
neously be and seem sincere. For this reason, he prefers authen-
ticity to refer to an integrated or unalienated modern self. For
Trilling, The authentic work of art instructs us in our inauthen-
ticity and adjures us to overcome it (100).
The continuing issue here that Anthony Kwame Harrison
highlights is the inauthenticity of civilization and, specifically,
the norm of whiteness in western society. His argument parallels
Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks, who quotes the follow-
ing passage from Jean-Paul Sartres Anti-Semite and Jew: Whose is

the fault? It is our eyes that reflect to him the unacceptable

image that he wishes to dissimulate. It is our words and our ges-
turesall our words and all our gesturesour anti-Semitism, but
equally our condescending liberalism, that have poisoned him.
It is we who constrain him to choose to be Jew whether through
flight from himself or through self-assertion. It is we who force him into
the dilemma of Jewish authenticity or Jewish inauthenticity ...
(Quoted in Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles
Lam Markmann (New York, NY: Grove Press, 1967), 182. ).
By choosing sincerity instead as his criterion for aesthetic-
expressive validity, Habermas (like Harrison) highlights the
continued importance of individual autonomy and personal
reflection for the citizens of modern democracy. Unlike authen-
ticity, sincerity comes from within and cannot be forced by soci-
ety. Habermas fears the loss of individual character in a mass
society that defines people by external markers of group identity,
such as Jewishness or Blackness. Sincerity may also be the bet-
ter term for processes of self-reflection that involve intersecting
identities, because it allows individuals some role in determining
the salience of identity categories in sociohistorical context.
100. Michaelis, My Life After Hate, 31.
101. Meeink, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, 313.
102. See Caputi, Feminism and Power, chap. 6. Caputi discusses the
sometimes painful experiences of her undergraduate students
who encountered unfamiliar and suffering Others during a ser-
vice-learning assignment.
103. Butler, Precarious Life, xii.
104. Ibid., xiii.
105. Judith Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself (New York, NY: Ford-
ham University Press, 2007), chap. 3.
106. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 165.
107. Ibid.
108. Athanasiou and Butler, Dispossession, 121.
109. Judith Butler and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Who Sings the

Nation-State? Language, Politics, Belonging (Chicago, IL: Seagull
Books, 2007), 61.
110. Athanasiou and Butler, Dispossession, 139.
111. Young, Responsibility for Justice, 170.
112. Ibid., 187.

1 13. Ibid.
114. Olson, Abolition of White Democracy, 126. Fanon, Black Skin, White
115. Sullivan, Good White People, 159.
116. Lorde, Sister Outsider, 129.
117. Ferrara, Force of the Example, 98.
118. Meeink, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, 261262.


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8. Ibid., 164.
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abjection, 45, 118, 131, 178n29. See American Ride, This (Keith). See
also Julia Kristeva also Toby Keith
Accidental Racist (Paisley and anarchoprotofascism, 33, 57,
LL Cool J). See LL Cool J, Brad 175n169. See also Kathleen Blee
Paisley AntiDefamation League, 2
Adorno, Theodor, v, 18, 139, anti-Semitism, 103, 149, 213n99;
148149; mass culture, 129, 135; and popular culture, 34, 134
on music, 205n7, 208n46, 210n67. 135, 207n3738; music and, 51,
See also aesthetics, Dialectic of 179n42; 188n42,
Enlightenment Apple iTunes, 6, 32, 156
aesthetic, 2, 24, 27, 96, 98, 116, arts, the, 13, 15, 2731; and popular
136, 212n91; Theodor Adorno culture, 2, 78, 12, 1718, 23, 35,
on, 128, 135; expression, 15, 61, 63, 121, 126128, 138, 146,
144147, 211n88; grounded, 13; 150, 157158, 165n42
Jrgen Habermas on, 1618, 106, Aryanism (Aryan), 30, 48, 70, 80,
121122, 134, 144147, 171n103, 110; beauty and, 29, 78; pan-, 2,
208n47, 212n91, 213n99; politics 48, 51, 80
of, ix, 21, 2728, 33, 45, 63; and Auschwitz, 3031
popular culture, 7, 14, 34, 157 Athanasiou, Athena, 5, 150
158; reason, 3435, 121, 127, 138,
147, 150, 176n177; Sheldon Wolin Barthes, Roland, 13
on, 23. See also anarchoproto Beatles, The, 9, 11
fascism, fascism, Nazism, Morton beauty, 8, 14, 19, 25, 2829, 63, 78,
Schoolman 114. See also Aryanism

248 Inde x

Beethoven, Ludwig van, 30, 128 Christian Identity, x, 5

Benny. See Ian Stuart Donaldson Clash, the, 3940, 5859, 68
Berlin Wall, 2829, 43 code/coding, 78, 45, 54, 73
Bhabha, Homi, 2021 cognitive process, 1214, 1619,
Birth of a Nation (Griffith), 10 123, 145146, 151
bitches, 9, 10 Colbert Report, The, 9
Blee, Kathleen, 5, 80, 85, 92; on Collins, Patricia Hill: on idealized
white supremacist women, family, 7274, 76, 78, 8384, 94;
76, 83, 189 n 48. See also on terrorism, 7677, 189n49. See
anarchoprotofascism also intersectionality
Blood & Honour movement, 33, 43, Combat 18, 39
49. See also Ian Stuart Donaldson, colonialism, 21, 90, 194n118
Skrewdriver communication, 1519, 145146,
Blood & Honour (Skrewdriver), 42 150; mimetic 127, 132133, politi-
Born in the USA (Springsteen). cal, 20, 35. See also Iris Young
See Bruce Springsteen communicative rationality. See Jrgen
Breivik, Anders Behring, 1, 4 Habermas
British National Front Party, 33, 40, communism, 22, 2829, 44, 108
53, 164n31. See also National Front Confederate flag, 8, 43, 51, 130, 156
Brown, Wendy: ressentiment, 50, Corte, Ugo, 4546, 161n2
180n52; Skinhead identity, 62, Council of Conservative Citizens, 3.
182n92; state power, 25, 170n94, See also white supremacy groups
178n26, 188n36 Creativity movement (World
Brown, Timothy, 53 Church of the Creator), found-
Buch, Esteban, 30 ing of, 33, 79, 82, 9798, 101104,
Burdi, George, 97, 103105, 118 120, 176n173, 180n54, 196n3,
120, 124, 136, 143144, 146147, 205n128; and music 115116,125,
203n99; and the Church of the 191n78; texts of, 34, 108, 110,
Creator, 122, 197n15; and Skrew- 112, 196n2; theo-philosophy
driver, 48. See also Novacosm, of, 98, 100, 105107, 111112,
Rahowa, Resistance Records 122123, 196n2, 197n13, 200n56.
Bush, George, W., 1011 See also Ben Klaasen
Butler, Judith, 150, 178n32; and pre- Cross, Frazier Glenn. See Frazier
carity, 45, 142, 148149. Glenn Miller
crossclass alliance, 41, 48, 131, 158.
capitalism, liberal. See neoliberalism See also Joel Olson
Catch a Fire (White). See Timothy Crouch, Stanley, 10
White Cult of the Holy War (Rahowa), 34,
cellular network, 39, 47, 5458, 86, 103104, 113. See also Rahowa
Chiswick Records, 39, 41 Daniels, Jessie, 46
Inde x 249

degenerate music, 2930 Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Charles-

democracy, 2, 5, 2023, 52, 63, 65, ton, South Carolina, 3, 155156
7374, 87, 9495, 108, 153, 158, Eminem, 9, 142
172n123; communicative, 1819, Engh, Barbara, 13
126, 150; discourse on, 20, 61, Enlightenment, the, 17, 120121
146; and framing, 4546; hybrid, Entartete Musik exhibition, 3031
18, 21; inclusive, 1516, 121, 150; epistemology of ignorance, 46, 58,
liberal 14, 1617, 22, 2629, 38, 63, 74, 91. See also Charles Mills
58, 6164, 105, 126, 149, 151152; eugenics, 72, 79, 8485, 92, 113, 148
modern, 120, 212213n99; secu- Europe, and colonialism, 2426,
lar, 16, 18; western, 26, 62. See also 64, 7980, 8891, 119, 122123,
Jrgen Habermas, politics, Iris 193n108; and racial music, 6, 39,
Young 51, 54, 138; racial violence in, 34,
Dialectic of Enlightenment (Horkheimer 37, 42
and Adorno), 207208n3738;
linguistics, 138139, 149; on mass Facebook, 32, 71
culture, 34, 127128, 134135, fad, 3132, 133
208n46, 209n66. See also Theodor fanzine, x, 32, 46, 54. See also white
Adorno power
discourse, 1516, 19, 2021, 62, 74; Farrakhan, Louis, 102
public, 3, 15, 1819, 24, 29, 35, fascism, 34, 6, 2829, 31, 4344,
120122, 125, 127, 134, 146. See 58, 121, 170; aesthetics of, 15,
also democracy 2829, 31, 5758, 62, 173n144;
Dixie Chicks, 9 classical, 2122, 31, 47, 54, 5657,
Dolan, Marc, 11 63, 126, 204n111; ideology, 28,
Donaldson, Ian Stuart, 5, 33, 3744, 47, 54, 113; inverted, 56 (see also
5860, 71, 75, 143, 187n25; and inverted racism); neo-, 18, 3941,
Benny, 37, 43, 55; as hero, 6, 39, 44, 47, 5456, 119, 126; propa-
80, 82; and hybrid lyrics, 4752, ganda of, 128; trendy, 3132, 126,
5455, 125; and punk music, 128, 157. See also anarchoproto
3941, 67; and Skrewdriver, 32, fascism; inverted totalitarianism,
44, 50, 102. See also Blood & Hon- Linda SchulteSasse, Susan Sontag
our, Oi! Ferrara, Alessandro, 1920, 152
double consciousness. See W. E. B. framing, 5, 94, 108, 159, 178n30;
Du Bois framing device, 4447 (see also
Du Bois, W. E. B., 47, 6465, 126 Ugo Corte, Bob Edwards); white
racial frame, 4647, 50, 58, 63,
ecology, racial, 3334, 97, 100, 125 118119, 123, 126
ecstasy, 14, 208n39 Freedom What Freedom (Skrewdriver).
Edwards, Bob, 4546, 161n2 See Skrewdriver
Ekstasis, 14 Frith, Simon, 4546, 157158
250 Inde x

Futrell, Robert, 6 108, 111; music, x, 8, 34, 45, 116

117, 149; oppression and, 4445;
Gaede, Lamb, 33, 6871, 75, 77, 84, racial, ix, 31, 38, 44, 49 119,
92. See also Prussian Blue 129130, 135, 147, 150, 156157,
Gaede, Lynx, 33, 6870, 75, 77, 84, 178n30; speech, 12, 50, 61, 81,
92. See also Prussian Blue 131. See also playing with hate
gangsta, 10, 60, 140, 202n98 Hawthorne, Reverend George Eric.
Garman, Bryan, K., 11 See George Burdi
globalization, 2, 21, 26, 3132, 39; heavy metal, music, 6, 97, 102, 138,
forms of, 44; 105107, 124, 147 164n31
148. See also Steger, Manfred hegemony, 26, 47, 122
Goodbye Earl (Dixie Chicks), hip hop music, 1, 10, 94, 140142,
9. See also Dixie Chicks, Natalie 210n74, 211n8283
Maines Hip Hop Wars, The (Rose). See Tricia
Goth, music, 12, 97, 102103 Rose
Gracyk, Theodore, 79, 39 hoes, 910, 60, 140
Great Britain, 27, 4042, 4851, 54, Horkheimer, Max. See also Dialectic of
63, 109 Enlightenment
Great Race War, 7576, 80, 93 hybrid lyrics. See Ian Stuart
Griffith, D.W. See Birth of a Nation Donaldson
hypermasculine, 9, 11, 68, 131
Habermas, Jrgen, 91, 105107,
120121, 144146, 169170n94, identity, 8, 32, 34, 7374, 116, 133
170n96, 204n116, 211n88, 211 134, 139140, 144, 147; collective,
212n91, 213n99; on democracy, 22, 46, 68, 105106; cultural, 2;
1519, 24, 62, 126; on mimesis, group, 45, 45, 97, 143, 213n99;
134; on musical metaphors, 15, national, 62, 9495; non, 138,
1718, 20; on rationality, 15, 17, 147, 151; ontological, 24, 94, 134;
208n47. See also aesthetics, religion, political, 8, 50; racial 4, 41, 69,
resistance 76, 94, 131, 133; self, x; Skin-
Hail the New Dawn (Skrewdriver), 24, head, 38, 53, 182n92; white, 8, 41,
42. See also Skrewdriver 5052, 69, 118, 120, 151, 157. See
Hail the New Dawn (Skrewdriver), also individualism
38, 48, 102 ideology, 910, 29, 4446, 104107,
Hall, Stuart, 7, 13, 26, 106 128, 157; family as, 7374, 94;
Harris, Keith, 32, 60 political, 13, 4447, 84, 109, 111,
hate, x, 2, 8, 12, 30, 58, 77, 98, 103, 126
123124, 127, 137, 152153; anti-, individualism, 11, 126, 128; Ameri-
103, 127; crimes, 1, 35, 57, 63, can, 29; identity of, 16; liberal, 4;
76, 120, 131132, 156; ideology and the Other, 21, 127, 130, 149
of, 4445, 117119; 148; of Jews, imagined community, 10, 20, 33,
Inde x 251

7980, 9193, 97, 125 Leyden, T.J., x, 6, 1213, 37, 126,

imaginary, the, 13, 22; white racial 132, 136138
frame, 4547. See also Sheldon liberalism, 4445, 213n99; hege-
Wolin monic, ixx, 26, 38, 6162, 64,
intersectionality, 33, 69, 7274, 93. 118, 127, 129, 151152, 156
inverted totalitarianism, 2223, 39, LibertyForum, 77
56, 58, 63, 128. See also inverted Liberty Lobby, 103
fascism, Sheldon Wolin Life After Hate, 34, 38, 101, 104,
iTunes. See Apple iTunes 124, 127, 138, 143
Life After Hate, 141, 209n59
Jewish Cultural Association, the linguistic, 115, 133134, 138141;
(Judische Kulturband, der), 30 nonlinguistic, 13, 15, nonverbal, 45
Live at Waterloo. See Skrewdriver
Keith, Toby, 10, 166n58 LL Cool J, 89
Kim. See Eminem Locke, John, 27, 87, 112; state of
Klansmen, The, 32, 43, 5052, 54, nature, 25, 87; social contract,
59, 130, 179n42 8889, 122, 172n129, 193n107
Klassen, Ben, 3334, 79, 84, 97103; 108, 204n122
107116, 118120, 122123, lone wolf, ix, 26, 93
176n174, 196n2, 197n13, 197n15,
200n48, 200n55, 203204n111, Macdonald, Andrew. See William
205n128. See also Creativity Pierce
movement Mackenzie, Michael, 29
Kristeva, Julia, 45 Maines, Natalie, 9
Ku Klux Klan, 5, 51, 76, 83, 186n20, Marley, Bob, 40, 71
188n42; David Duke and, 70, McLuhan, Marshall, 7
187n23; Dylann Roof and, 156; media, social, 32, 126, 206
as part of transnational imagined memory, collective, 13, 136, 143, 146
community, x, 79; white power Metzger, Tom, 43, 57, 100101
and, 54, 179n42 Michaelis, Arno, 2324, 53, 101,
132, 137; on role of music, 38, 48,
language, 1213, 1516, 19, 50, 5556, 135, 137, 143, 147
54, 110, 115, 118, 209n67; and militia group. See Patriot group
imagined communities, 106; and Miller, Frazier Glenn, 3
music (see also Jrgen Habermas), Mills, Charles, 2425, 4647, 63, 91,
133136, 139141, 149, 168n72, 123124
204n116, 208n47. See also cognitive mimesis. See Jrgen Habermas
process music, 6, 89, 1113, 29, 34; fascist
Lara, Maria Pia, 1516, 120121, experimental, 6, 43 (see also White
135136, 164n30 Diamond); Jewish, 3031; meta-
Lee, Spike, 9 phors of, 1518, 20; Nazi, 2931,
252 Inde x

music (continued) Novacosm (George Burdi), 34,

109; neoNazi folk, 6, 33, 6768, 103104, 120, 138, 144, 199n29
70, 80, 82, 164n31; racist skin-
head, 6, 3233, 38, 40, 44, 47, 49, Obama, Barack, 23, 911, 14,
55, 6061, 6768, 125; rockabilly, 9395, 127, 131, 155, 159
43, 51 Ode to a Dying People (Rahowa).
See Rahowa
nationstate, 21, 26, 44, 4748, 56, Oi!, 33, 5253. See also Ian Stuart
80, 86, 107, 118, 126, 170; racial- Donaldson
ized 33, 7879, 81, 178n30 Olson, Joel, 45, 41, 48, 131, 158,
National Alliance, 6970, 83, 156, 195n126. See also crossclass
186n15, 190n63. See also William alliance
Pierce oppression, 8, 26, 40, 45, 72. See also
National Democratic Party of Niza Yanay
Europe (NPD), 71
National Front, 7, 41. See also British Page, Wade Michael, 1, 34
National Front Party Paisley, Brad, 89
National Socialism. See Nazism panAryanism. See Aryanism
nationalism, x, 5, 31; as ideology, Pateman, Carol, 24, 88, 123
44, and imperialism, 41, 48, 123; patriarchy, 11, 33, 92
racial, 29, 34; trans-, 47, 105107, Patriot group, 3, 86, 191n93
123 patriotism, 1011, 107
Native American, 21, 105, 195n122; Picciolini, Christian, 38, 138. See also
extermination of, 62; imperial- Life after Hate
ism, 2526, 7779, 91, 122123, Pierce, William, 2, 5, 43, 75, 79, 83,
193n108 100101, 103, 190n63, 197n13,
Nazism, 4, 23, 29, 5051, 80, 136, 197198n17. See also The Turner
179n42; aesthetics, 2931; Ameri- Diaries
can, 101; German, 4, 28, 30, 34, pimp, 10, 60, 140
128; ideology of, 76; neo, x, 5; Pioneer Little Europe communities,
politics of, 28; process of de- 78, 85, 110, 129, 193194n112,
Nazification, 30; propaganda 18, 195n122; as transnational network,
58, 81, 128. See also music 33, 69, 72, 8691, 125, 172n129,
neofascism. See fascism 192n93; ideology of, 73
neoliberalism, 26, 41, 44; ideology playing with hate, 3839, 5863,
of, 105. See also globalization 98
9/11, 2, 10, 44, 61, 76, 148 politics, 34, 99100, 103, 119120,
Ninth Symphony. See Ludwig van 126, 142, 159; cultural, 86, 125,
Beethoven 151, 157, 203; democratic, 127,
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 2324, 79, 109, 136, 146, 157; ideologies of,
180n52 4447; parties, 32, 46, 99, 146,
Inde x 253

172n123; sexual 9294, 115, 125. regressive movements, 91

See also aesthetics religion, 12, 16, 44, 83, 100, 106
Potter, Pamela, 2930 107, 115, 120121, 193n108,
Power and the Glory (White Diamond). 200n55, 203204n111; Jrgen
See White Diamond Habermas on, 18, 120, 170n96;
precarity. See Judith Butler racial, 33, 79, 9798, 100, 105,
private sphere, 22, 27, 76, 106 108111, 122123, 125, 197n13,
protest music, 11, 14, 20, 68, 125, 199n39
164, 205n7 republicanism, 3, 11, 74, 87, 99, 170,
Prussian Blue, 33, 6895, 98, 101, 187n23
115, 125, 188n42 resistance, 6, 32, 40, 57, 62, 86, 149,
punk music, 12, 33, 3841, 52, 58, 152; collective 5; Jrgen Haber-
6768, 102, 185n5 mas on, 17; movements, 91; mass
culture and, 129, 145, 147. See also
R/evolutions. See Judith Butler protest music
race, racism, 36, 12, 21, 23, 29, 46, Resistance Records, 12, 6, 43, 69,
73, 81, 92, 101, 119, 126, 142, 83, 97, 103, 116, 143144, 156,
158, 198n19; anti, 136, 141, 186n15, 188n42, 190n63, 197
151, 177n1; ideology of, 197n13, 198n17. See also William Pierce
inverted, 47, 118, 126 ; as Other, Riefenstahl, Leni, 2324, 2829
41, 5051, 79, 9192, 94, 98. See RockoRama, 4243
also framing Rock against Communism (RAC),
race war, 5, 54, 137, 156 42, 55, 177n17
racial contract, 25, 46, 132 Rock against Racism (RAR), 4042,
Racial Contract, The (Mills). See 55, 177n17
Charles Mills Rock & Roll Patriots (The Klansmen).
RadioWhite, 6 See The Klansmen
Rahowa, 111, 125, 143144, 197n15, Rose, Tricia, 10, 142143, 211n82
199n29, 201n84; Burdi, George,
34, 54, 9798, 101104, 114116, scene, music, 3134, 44, 46, 56,
119120; Ode to a Dying Peo- 58, 84, 103, 141, 143, 146; hip
ple, 4, 104, 114, 124, 144, 147 hop, 142; punk, 40, 68, 185n5;
rap music, 9, 10, 49, 60, 142143 skinhead, 38, 40, 47, 61, 67, 86,
rationality. See Jrgen Habermas 190n63; white power, ix, 57, 27,
Reagan, Ronald, 11 50, 69, 71, 116, 125127, 156
Reaper, The (White Diamond). See Schoolman, Morton, 121, 138
White Diamond SchulteSasse, Linda, 2829
Rebel with a Cause (The Klansmen). semiotics, 1314
See The Klansmen Sennett, Richard, 4, 131, 158
Reconstruction Era, 10, 25, 159 S.H.A.R.P. (Skinheads Against Racial
reggae, 33, 40, 52, 181n64 Prejudice), 182n92
254 Inde x

signifiers (signifying works), 25, 45 trendy. See fascism

Simi, Pete, 6 Triumph of the Will. See Leni
Skinheads, x, 24, 32, 38, 42, 47, 51, Riefenstahl
53, 104, 147; American 138; Brit- Turner Diaries, The, 82, 85, 114,
ish, 53; ideology, 2, 54; and the 186n15, 191n77
KKK, 156; movement, 37; Nazi Vanguard News Network, 3, 79
136; and Others, 136; racist 50, Vinland, 25, 7778, 123
5362, 6768, 8283, 86, 101, 112,
117118, 125, 127, 132, 136, 164 White, Timothy, 40
n 31, 177n12. See also identity White Aryan Resistance (WAR), 43,
Skrewdriver, 5, 24, 32, 3744; Live 57. See also Tom Metzger, William
at Waterloo, 44. See also Ian Stuart Pierce
Donaldson White Diamond, 32, 43, 5152, 59,
slavery, 8, 25, 64, 135 179n42
social contract, 2425, 124. See also White Noise Records, 33, 42. See also
John Locke National Front
Soderberg, Brandon (Spin), 9 white power, x, ix, 25, 48, 53, 6869,
Sontag, Susan, 2829, 31, 62 91, 109, 132, 142, 148, 151152,
Southern Poverty Law Center, 23 fanzine, x, 3233, 43, 46, 54; ide-
Sovereign Citizens, 191192n93, ology, ix, 2, 33, 71, 7374, 9293,
195n122 104, 129, 178n30; music, ix, 12,
sovereign states, 21, 31, 33, 47, 56, 48, 1214, 21, 24, 2627, 3134,
122, 148, 150, 169170n94 38, 4647, 4950, 5455, 58, 60,
Spotify, 6, 156 63, 67, 69, 71, 80, 86, 94, 9798,
Springsteen, Bruce, 11 101102, 105, 114120, 124127,
Steger, Manfred, 44, 199n34 129130, 132133, 138, 143, 146,
Stormfront, 3, 6, 77, 143, 192n96, 149, 151152, 156158, 164n30,
website 4, 79. See also white 178n29, 208n39
supremacist groups White Power Music (record label)
Stuart, Ian. See Ian Stuart Donaldson 43, 164n31
subversive mimesis. See Athena White Rider (Skrewdriver), 43. See also
Athanasiou Skrewdriver
white supremacy, ix, 5, 8, 14, 1718,
terrorism, 4, 22, 33, 5657, 112, 127, 21, 2426, 33, 38, 43; group, 2; as
146; anarcho, 204n112; blogger, global hybrid, 39, 4748, 5254,
10; domestic, 1, 26, 156, 183n101, 58; international 42; movement,
189n49. See also Combat 18, lone 48, 5758, 6869, 7172, 76,
wolf, 9/11 8284, 9293, 101105, 114, 119,
Third Reich, 23, 2930 125127, 132133, 137, 140141,
tolerance, liberal, 16, 6162, 148. See 143144, 146, 164n31; politics of,
also Jrgen Habermas 98, 125; Scandinavian, 4. See also
Tnnies, Ferdinand, 29 Kathleen Blee, discourse, identity
Inde x 255

White, Timothy, 40 working class, 4, 11, 53, 68, 131,

White Mans Bible, the (Klassen), 34, 142, 164n18, 177n14; white, 5, 33,
102, 110112 3941, 51, 53, 67, 7273, 80, 83,
white trash, 51, 83, 104, 129132, 92, 126, 130, 142, 148, 158. See also
134, 136, 143, 153, 180 white trash
White Trash, 51, 129. See also The World Church of the Creator. See
Klansmen Creativity movement
whiteness, 45, 41, 47, 63, 131,
150152, 212n99 Yanay, Niza, 4445, 178n30
Willis, Paul, 13 Young, Iris, 61, 158; on democracy,
Winfrey, Oprah, 910 15, 1821, 24, 126, 150151
Wolin, Sheldon, 15, 2224, 29, 39,
61, 63, 126, 172n123. See also ZOG (Zionist Occupational Gov-
imaginary, inverted totalitarianism. ernment), 49, 82