[Marxism] The El Paso Screed, and the Racist Doctrine Behind It

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 7 12:51:10 MDT 2019


NY Times, Aug. 7, 2019
The El Paso Screed, and the Racist Doctrine Behind It
By John Eligon

 From Pittsburgh to Christchurch, and now El Paso, white men accused of 
carrying out deadly mass shootings have cited the same paranoid fear: 
the extinction of the white race.

The threat of the “great replacement,” or the idea that white people 
will be replaced by people of color, was cited directly in the four-page 
screed written by the man arrested in the killing of 22 people in El 
Paso over the weekend.

The phrase was coined in 2012 by the French author Renaud Camus, whose 
writing on white genocide echoes at least a century of white supremacist 
views. But some experts now fear the doctrine of replacement is being 
embraced more readily by lone wolf white terrorists and even some 
politicians, producing a particularly dangerous climate.

“These series of shootings all have an element of fear and anxiety 
created by this concept of being replaced,” said Oren Segal, the 
director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. “When you 
think your race is going to go extinct, you will do anything to protect 
that.”

Mr. Camus has sought to distance himself from white supremacists, 
writing in an email to The New York Times that nonviolence was central 
to his philosophy. Yet he did not shy away from saying he believed that 
people of white European descent were at risk of being wiped out by 
immigrants and people of color. If white supremacists held those views, 
“Good for them,” he wrote. “That is indeed my belief.”

The shooting in the immigrant-rich town of El Paso on Saturday was among 
the deadliest attacks in the United States motivated by white extremism 
since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, according 
to the A.D.L. About 56 percent of the extremist murders committed in the 
United States over the past decade were carried out by people espousing 
white supremacist ideology such as the great replacement, A.D.L. 
research shows.

Mr. Camus disputed his role in inspiring the accused El Paso gunman, 
whose screed, posted online minutes before the massacre, said the attack 
was the result of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Mr. Camus also denied 
influencing the man accused of killing 51 people in the mosque shootings 
in Christchurch, New Zealand, who wrote a document using the same title 
as Mr. Camus’s book, “The Great Replacement,” before the vicious attack 
was carried out.

Mr. Camus questioned whether either gunman could have read his book 
because it has not been translated into English, he said. The themes 
however have been repeated on far-right websites and by right-wing pundits.

Analysts say Mr. Camus’s writing — and the idea of a great replacement — 
has undoubtedly influenced the conversation among American white 
nationalists. The ideas espoused in the great replacement build on the 
most popular white supremacist talking point — the false notion that 
white people are at risk of genocide, said Heidi Beirich, the director 
of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

That is a shift in the narrative from 20 years ago, she said, when white 
supremacists mostly talked about their superiority as a race. Now, their 
discussions center on a belief that they are the victims of nonwhite 
invasions, Ms. Beirich said.

“If you’re getting invaded, what do you need to do?” she asked, 
explaining the logic of white supremacists. “You need to repel the 
invaders.”

People who have that mind-set — fueled by the belief that violently 
defending the white race is not only heroic but rational — can be 
particularly lethal in this moment, experts said.

Ms. Beirich added that Mr. Camus’s writings lend an “academic veneer and 
sophisticatedness” to these racist views.

“White nationalism isn’t new, but what we need to recognize is that from 
Charlottesville to Pittsburgh to Poway to El Paso, these aren’t outliers 
on a scatter plot,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the 
Anti-Defamation League. “These are data points on a trend line. And 
that’s a trend line that indicates clearly and unambiguously that white 
supremacy is a global threat.”

Replacement theory also perpetuates the false and anti-Semitic view that 
the end of the white race is part of a Jewish conspiracy.

During a march in Charlottesville two summers ago, white supremacists 
yelled, “Jews will not replace us,” while carrying tiki torches. The 
following day, one of them killed a woman when he rammed his car into a 
crowd of counterprotesters.

In April, a gunman entered a synagogue in Poway, Calif., and began 
shooting. Authorities believe the gunman posted a manifesto riddled with 
anti-Semitic, racist slurs before the attack. Like the El Paso document, 
the screed declared support for the shooting in Christchurch and warned 
of the great replacement.

“It is the conspiracy theory du jour that they use to make sense of the 
world and justify their racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic worldview,” Mr. 
Greenblatt said.

Representative Steve King of Iowa espoused replacement-theory talking 
points in an interview with a far-right Austrian publication last year. 
President Trump has repeatedly referred to an “invasion” of migrants 
into the country. And his idea for a border wall is the kind of thing 
that excites replacement-theory adherents, said Jeff Schoep, a former 
leader of a neo-Nazi organization.

“It’s probably one of the greatest fears that people in the movement 
have, is basically being replaced,” said Mr. Schoep, who says he now 
denounces white supremacist views.

Mr. Camus’s philosophy aligns lock-step with a tradition of white 
supremacist ideology that dates to Madison Grant, “the most influential 
racist in American history,” said Jonathan Spiro, a historian who is the 
chief academic officer at Castleton University.

Grant’s 1916 book, “The Passing of the Great Race,” argued that Nordics 
were the master race and lamented the threat posed by people who were 
not white. His book was a basis for the Immigration Act of 1924 that 
mostly limited immigration into the United States to people from Western 
Europe, and it inspired Adolf Hitler, who used the book as a manual for 
his eugenic practices, said Dr. Spiro, who wrote a biography of Grant.

Mr. Camus’s theory of the great replacement shares the same ideas found 
in Grant’s book, Dr. Spiro said.

Mr. Schoep, who is in his 40s and was the head of the National Socialist 
Movement, joined the white nationalist movement as a teenager. In his 
mind at the time, it was not about hate, he said.

“I was joining something to save my country, to save my race, to save my 
people,” Mr. Schoep said. “Now I feel like that talk and some of that 
hate is coming to a head where it’s more violent, more pronounced and 
people are doing terrible things.”

That rising violence, as well as experiences he has had with people of 
other races, led Mr. Schoep to leave the movement this past winter, he 
said. He now disavows white supremacist beliefs, and he hopes that he 
can steer other white supremacists away from the movement, he said, 
adding that it will not be easy.

The sense of grievance among white nationalists remains deep, and many 
still feel marginalized, which leads to more attacks, Mr. Schoep said.

What happened in El Paso “is exactly the type of thing that concerns me 
and worries me for the future,” he said. “And I don’t think it’s going 
to be the last one.”

For Ibram X. Kendi, a historian and director of the Antiracist Research 
and Policy Center at American University, that might be true, but it is 
not necessarily surprising.

“The United States has always been in the midst of a white nationalist 
terrorist crisis,” said Mr. Kendi.



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