Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Return of David Duke

Leonard Zeskind, one of the best right-wing watchers, has an interesting brief report in The Nation on the return of David Duke, who got of federal prison just before Memorial Day.

As a movement, white nationalism is at a turning point. The militias of the 1990s have largely disappeared. Skinheads that once served as street soldiers for the Aryan set currently behave more like a group of music industry entrepreneurs. Moreover, after Pat Buchanan led the Reform Party off a cliff in the 2000 elections, the possibility of a viable third party outlet has disappeared. In its place, a constellation of neo-Confederate and anti-immigrant activists and think-tankers are carving out a twenty-first-century white nationalism--without reference to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that have traditionally animated such enterprises. Into this vortex re-enters David Duke. Target the Jews, he said in New Orleans. While we're at it, let us sign a compact: "no enemies on the right" and "zero tolerance for violence."...

The newest initiative, however, is also the oldest: Go after the Jews. On this point, Duke is the reigning master. In 1998, he self-published a 736-page screed titled My Awakening. Then he sold foreign-language translations of the anti-Jewish chapters--which he relabeled Jewish Supremacism--and spent two years traveling in Italy, Russia, Ukraine, and other points East and Middle East. Duke now claims that over 500,000 copies are circulating in the Russian federation alone. The reprint has already been translated into nine languages, he told his friends in New Orleans, and when it goes into Arabic, sales "will go into the millions." In a strange twist, Duke now believes that Russia might be the "salvation of the white race." The one-time Communist enemy is increasingly "anti-Zionist," he claimed.

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