The Future of the American Nationalist Movements

The Future of the American Nationalist Movements

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5433-2.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter succinctly summarizes the contemporary American nationalist movement and examines the potential for future movements and implications of current movements, both domestically and internationally. The chapter unwraps the policy and political consequences that the global community (particularly the U.S.) faces as a result of a sharp turn inward to nationalist ideologies and political figures. The divisive nature of nationalism (whether it is its purest form in regards to the nation-state, or ethnically/racially motivated) is dangerous to the globalized order in which we reside. This chapter highlights these dangers and leaves the reader to determine the future of the American nationalist movement.
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Introduction

As has been demonstrated there are varying strands of nationalist movements some of which emphasis ethnicity, as well as other identities along with white nationalist or traditional nationalist movements have been on the rise in the Trump era. This inward-focusing, isolationist, and nativist position has been not only a trend in America but has been documented globally in the Brexit vote, and other electoral politics discussed throughout this work. However, there has been a varying degree of success among these nationalist movements worldwide, the most effective campaigns appear to have occurred in the U.K., and of course, within the movements selected for this work. As the masses of majority white voters are realizing the near future is going to be dominated by minorities, the world is witnessing a declaration of white dominance as more movements emerge that focus on the lives of the Other (whether black, Muslims, gay, Hispanic, etc.). These movements seek equality and justice for a marginalized section of the population, while the white nationalist movement seeks to galvanize the status quo, where whites dominate political, cultural, social, and economic life.

After the events of Charlottesville, Thrush and Haberman (2017) slammed President Trump for giving white nationalist movements in the U.S. credence by equating opposition movements (protesting against racism) and neo-Nazis who turned violent on the crowd. Trump noted that there was violence and bad behavior “from many sides”, which led to immediate condemnation from numerous groups and lauding from prominent white nationalist figures. David Duke tweeted, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth”, while Richard Spencer noted that the president’s statement was “fair and down to earth”, legitimizing violence and the harassment of minorities in the streets of America at the hands of neo-Nazis. The danger here is, to reiterate, opposition movements are largely dominated by marginalized voices within the American political community, while the Alt-Right and white nationalist movements seek to continue the systematic oppression of those groups. The president’s statement, which did not outright condemn white nationalism or the violence by the associated groups was in a word, unprecedented (Thrush & Haberman, 2017). Trump stated of the crowd laced with anti-Semitic signs, chanting racist slogans, “You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest” (Thrush & Haberman, 2017). Although Trump did eventually release a statement that would call out neo-Nazis and the KKK by name, it is reported that privately he fumed about having to condemn the groups for “defending their heritage”, and the next day undid much of that condemnation by once again stating that the “alt-left groups were also very, very violent” (Thrush & Haberman, 2017). This demonstrates a chilling turn from former presidents, including and perhaps especially from Republican presidents who have worked very hard to distance themselves from groups that would seek to divide the American population (particularly along unwinnable electoral lines).

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