Powering the White Revolution
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It's not sweeping the country by storm, heading up the top forty lists, getting videos on MTV or receiving frequent airplay on radio stations across America. Yet, white power music is becoming a political and cultural force that must be reckoned with.
According to "Soundtracks to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subculture," a 108-page book published by the Chicago, IL.-based Center for New Community, "white power music has become the most significant recruiting tool for organized white supremacists." It has also become their number one fundraising tool, generating millions of dollars, outstripping counterfeiting and bank robberies, their previous top-ranked funding sources.
White power music is international in scope; helping forge bonds between white supremacists in the US and Europe. Its anti-black, anti-Semitic, anti-gay messages are aimed at giving an insidious and potent voice to alienated and disaffected young people.
White power music is becoming a highly profitable industry with bands, record companies, fan-zines and distributors. The music often gets placed in smaller record shops without the owners realizing what they're stocking.
In the summer of 1999, Dr. William Pierce, author of the infamous "Turner Diaries," a novel of race war and anti-Semitism that has become a best-seller within white supremacist circles, bought controlling interest in Resistance Records. He's expecting to sell close to a million dollars worth of CDs within the next year or so. Resistance Records is only one, albeit one of the biggest, among the 50 or so white power music labels and distributors now doing business. Pierce, who heads up the National Alliance, recently carted the whole operation from California back to National Alliance headquarters in Hillsboro, West Virginia.
"Soundtracks..." points out that rock & roll hasn't always been the music of choice for "recruiting young people into the white supremacist movement." Back in the day, Ku Klux Klan and neo-nazi leaders complained that the music was the Devil's workshop and a Jewish plot to "indoctrinate whites into the 'jungle rhythms of the Negro.'" Their preferences resided in the bucolic strains of "Dixie," or the marching-band militaristic sounds of German World War II music.
Music has always inspired rebellion and resistance. The pro-union and anti-fascist songs of the thirties and forties, civil rights anthems of the fifties and sixties, anti-war folk songs and kick ass rock & roll of the sixties and seventies, and some of today's hip-hop and rap music all helped build opposition movements. White supremacists have picked up on this tried-and-true organizing vehicle. It might sound incredible but there are even white power folk-singers these days!
White power music supporters have organized their own mini Hate-stocks. Here's a notice from Tom Metzger's organization, White Aryan Resistance (WAR), announcing a benefit concert:
"The Following is a movement service by WAR to promote co-operation. NOTE I warn all concerned that public gatherings are risky both physically and the fact that all such events are infiltrated heavily by Jew law enforcement both locale and federal. Understanding those conditions WAR leaves it up to the individual on what to do. Your effectiveness as a lone wolf is severely restricted by attending public events.
Racial Greetings to All, As most of you know by now, Blood & Honour California is currently working on putting together a WP compilation CD to recruit all whites who are not already part of our great movement. This CD will be sold at cost, which will be only a few bucks. Included with the CD will be a packet of literature and information to get these young white kids on the right track to discovering the truth. We are currently in the process of raising $$ to press the CD and so far we have raised about $250. We still need another $1000-$1100, so we have decided to host a benefit show to raise the additional $$. We invite eveyone to attend this gig, regardless of your affiliations, this is all about raising $$ for our racial cause and to have a good time! No fighting will be tolerated.
The show will be at The Shack in Anaheim, California on Sunday, August 19. The show will start around 1-2pm. Anyone flying in from out of state will fly into either LAX or SNA (Orange County Airport). Anyone needing directions, a street address or the phone # to The Shack can contact us for that info. The band line-up is as follows: Youngblood (first time playing in many years!), Final War, Hate Crime, Warfare88, *possibly one more band -- TBA.
T-shirts for B&H CA will also be sold, all proceeds will go into the CD Fund as well. Please bring your friends and have a good time with us all on August 19, show your support for Blood & Honour and for your race! Tickets will be sold at the door for $15 a head. Any and all questions, please contact B777H_Cali@hotmail.com PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS!!! THANK YOU-- W.A.R."
Some people dismiss this phenomenon as being a marginal distraction at worst and a nuisance at best. However, given the music's popularity and potential impact on young people - many of whom don't realize what they're listening to until it's pretty late in the game - it most assuredly deserves the attention of parents and school administrators.
For white supremacist recruiters, the music is a far more potent weapon than the traditional forms of recruiting like flyers and pamphlets. George Burdi, the founder of Resistance Records, described how it works in the "Hearts of Hate: The Battle for Young Minds" Video: "We hear the slogan 'White people awake, Save our great race' twice per chorus, eight times in total throughout an entire song and if they play that tape five times a week and just listen to that one song, they're listening to... [it] forty times in one week, which means 160 times a month and you do the math beyond that...."
In response to the rising popularity of white power music, the Center for New Community has established the "Turn It Down" campaign. This project is geared towards providing young people, parents, and school officials, as well as those involved with the record industry, with information about the emergence and impact of white power music in their communities.
In early-March, the Center made a presentation to students, parents and educators in Chicago, and at the same time, brought some undesired media attention to Record Breakers, a Hoffman Estates record store selling white power music. In April, Center staff made several appearances including at a high school, a local church and at DePaul University.
(For more information on the Center for New Community's "Turn It Down" campaign or to purchase "Soundtracks to the White Revolution," contact CfNC, PO Box 34606, Chicago, IL. 60634, (708) 848.0319, http://wwww.newcomm.org.)
(Full disclosure: I recently helped edit one of the Center's forthcoming publications.)
Bill Berkowitz is an Oakland-based freelance writer covering the Religious Right and related conservative movements.