White Supremacy in the United States (II)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
The current reality is that right-wing extremism is still relegated to the level of a distant threat and these groups are considered irrelevant to matters of national security because right-wing organizations only intimidate and harass minority ethnic groups that are not Anglo-Saxon. The problems caused by the far-right in the United States are being lost in public debates and in policies that deal withissues such as national identity, immigration, social integration and even national security. Another underlying factor is the response capability of the far-rightwhich uses any violent event to mobilize its supporters and generate messages of rejection, hatred and intolerance for the minority populations of non-Anglo-Saxon ethnicity.
Then there is also the use of the online world and social networks to speak anonymously and with impunity. If the white supremacist threat is not evident, it is due to the general perception of the inability of these groups to have real strength, structure and social support, which is wrong because other similar social phenomena such as jihadism have shown an ability to act even without having financial resources.
To a large extent, the scant attention given to the presence of the far-right is due to the lack of official data and of a recordof crimes and of crimes that can be attributed to them, which is why they are becoming an almost hidden social phenomenon. Political violence, hate crimes and terrorism are different faces of the same problem and should not be treated as if they were independentphenomena. In fact, these movements have close links with international organizations and it is clear that they have cross-border effects.
There is also a cultural component associated with these movements that helps to disseminate political messages, gain social support and enhance the sense of permanence with music, literature, public announcements, manifestos, videos and cultural events, in addition to providing aid and social services.
The US Department of Homeland Security report in 2009 showed how the economic and political situation was fostering the upsurge in radicalization and recruitment by far-right groups. So an analysis of trends in the political, economic, social and technological areas gives a clear idea of how supremacist movements can evolve in the very short term.
Among the main political factors are: 1. The proliferation of low-level local and regional conflicts linked to particular nationalities and religions. 2. The growth of far-right populist movements with racist and white supremacist elements. 3. Links between members of the far-right and the Army or the Police. 4. A world without leadership, unable to resolve conflicts and address the risks and threats of the 21st century. 5. Loss of confidence in institutions, whose ratings are at their lowest levels in many countries, affecting mainly the political class. 6. Anti-government movements are on the increase. 7. Reaction against ‘Salafism’ (Reform of Islam in the nineteenth century to return to the original text of the Quran). 8. International networks that facilitate the imitation effect (copycat). 9. Support from political parties and NGOs. 10. Increasing anti-Semitism. 11. Reaction against Obama and immigration measures and anti-minority social policies. 12. Mounting racial protest against police killings and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
With respect to the most glaring economic factors: 1. Economic crises. 2. Inequality. 3. Youth unemployment. 4. Unemployment of heads of household. The German Institute for Economic Research links this factor to an increase in xenophobia and a loss of democratic values among children. 5. Loss of economic standing of the middle classes. 6. Stories about the jobs filled by foreigners that take work away from nationals.
The most obvious ‘social factors’ are:
1. Ongoing instances of migration that lead to social polarization and make employment difficult. 2. A global urbanization that cannot be stopped, creating urban ghettos that increase inequality, unemployment, racism and xenophobia. 3. People today have access to more knowledge and information due to the internet and social networks that favor individual terrorists and mercenaries. 4. Global population growth, slower aging and longer life expectancy.
Among the technological factors are:
1. Interconnections that provide information and facilitate communication, as well as the creation of international networks. 2. Technologies that can be used in criminal networks, drones, 3D printers and robotics. 3. Use of the Internet and technologies for communication, financing, recruitment, indoctrination and planning.
Finally, the expert Vidhya Ramalingam offers a catalog of actions that could lead to an adequate assessment of the threat of white supremacy. In addition to the classic approaches that measure impact and probability, or those that focus on high–impactphenomena, consideration should be given to how certain actions affect citizens in their domestic lives and the way in which many lives are destroyed through harassment, verbal and psychological violence or social rejection. So has pointed out the importance of this phenomenon that only occasionally elicits a reaction from the media.
Addendum: This phenomenon of white supremacy cannot be perceived by Americans because for centuries it has persisted for centuries and is part of the genetic inheritance of many generations.