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FTR #1013 Fascism and the Politics of Immigration

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by the fall of 2017. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more.)

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment [5].

[6]

Waffen SS: The GOP’s idea of ideal immigrants.

Introduction: In The Hitler Legacy [7]Peter Levenda noted anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia as part of “The Hitler Legacy.”

Fear of “the other” has been a staple of fascist thought and is dominating much of the political discourse on both sides of the Atlantic.

In FTR #838 [8], Levenda discoursed on how immigration from Europe, both Catholic  and Jewish,  melded with other events in the post-World War I period to mobilize fascist sentiment and activism.

Reacting to the advent of the Soviet Union, abortive Marxist revolutions in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, large scale immigration of Catholics from Ireland and Italy and Jews from Eastern Europe, powerful elements of the U.S. power elite embraced fascism and eugenics ideology.

With the onset of the Great Depression, the potential threat of Communism was magnified in the eyes of many powerful American industrialists, financiers and corporate lawyers. Germany’s success in putting down the Marxist revolutions within its own borders, as well as the business relationships between corporate Germany and its cartel partners in the U.S. business community inclined many influential American reactionaries [9] to support fascism.

By the same token, these same elements came to despise Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his “Jew Deal,” as it was called by his enemies. American Jews were seen as hiring Jewish immigrants and thus denying “real Americans” jobs and economic well-being.

Attacking Roosevelt as a Jew and a Communist, American fascists embraced a cognitive and rhetorical position not unlike the view of Barack Obama as a “Kenyan Muslim,” and, consequently, a “traitor.”

Some key points in Peter’s analysis are explored a section of the book titled the “Origins of 21st Century Conflict.” Highlights of this part of the program include:

In FTR #864 [10], recorded in September of 2015, Peter updated the context of our discussion from March of that year in the context of Donald Trump’s lead in the GOP primary struggle and the reaction sweeping Europe.

Immigration dominated the news that fall and has continued to do so. The flood of refugees from the wars in the Middle East threatened to overwhelm European infrastructure and the phenomenon dominated the political debate in the GOP primary election campaign. Donald Trump capitalized on anti-immigrant xenophobia during the primary and then the presidential campaign.

Of course, he continues to do so today.

In The Hitler Legacy [7]Peter noted anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia as part of “The Hitler Legacy.”

Fear of “the other” has been a staple of fascist thought and has dominated much of the political discourse on both sides of the Atlantic.

“. . . Xenophobia is at an all-time high in Europe and increasingly in America. The Internet has provided new and improved means of communication. . . .

As the political life of every country becomes more and more polarized between “right” and “left,” the men of ODESSA can only laugh at our discomfort. . . .”

Next, we turn to a more recent development.

[11]Melania Trump garnered considerable media attention when she visited a detention center for immigrants, including children, wearing a jacket that said “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?”

Tasteless on its surface, the statement assumes added significance when we factor in the fact that  “I don’t care” (“Me Ne Frego” in Italian) was an important fascist slogan [12].

Furthermore, the Zara company that made Melania’s jacket has a history of marketing garments with fascist/racist overtones. [13] It marketed [14] a shirt that mimicked a concentration camp inmate’s garb and a swastika-enlaid handbag. It also marketed a Pepe The Frog skirt [15].

Recent comments by Trump disparaging Haiti as a “shithole” country and pining for immigration from Norway instead warrant a fresh look at the Crusade For Freedom.

During Trump’s brief tenure as President, the media have consistently lamented his actions as idiosyncrasies. Trump’s policies are not his alone, but follow in a linear path, along which the GOP has traveled for decades.

In this post, we review the Crusade For Freedom–the covert operation that brought Third Reich alumni into the country and also supported their guerrilla warfare in Eastern Europe, conducted up until the early 1950’s. Conceived by Allen Dulles, overseen by Richard Nixon, publicly represented by Ronald Reagan and realized in considerable measure by William Casey, the CFF ultimately evolved [16] into a Nazi [17] wing of the GOP [18].

“. . . . Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Ethnic Division within the Republican National Committee. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon ‘liberation’ policy signed on with the committee. In 1953, when Republicans were in office, the immigration laws were changed to admit Nazis, even members of the SS. They flooded into the country. Nixon himself oversaw the new immigration program. . . .”

1. In FTR #838 [8], Peter Levenda discoursed on how immigration from Europe, both Catholic  and Jewish,  melded with other events in the post-World War I period to mobilize fascist sentiment and activism.

Reacting to the advent of the Soviet Union, abortive Marxist revolutions in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, large scale immigration of Catholics from Ireland and Italy and Jews from Eastern Europe, powerful elements of the U.S. power elite embraced fascism and eugenics ideology.

With the onset of the Great Depression, the potential threat of Communism was magnified in the eyes of many powerful American industrialists, financiers and corporate lawyers. Germany’s success in putting down the Marxist revolutions within its own borders, as well as the business relationships between corporate Germany and its cartel partners in the U.S. business community inclined many influential American reactionaries [9] to support fascism.

[19]By the same token, these same elements came to despise Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his “Jew Deal,” as it was called by his enemies. American Jews were seen as hiring Jewish immigrants and thus denying “real Americans” jobs and economic well-being.

Attacking Roosevelt as a Jew and a Communist, American fascists embraced a cognitive and rhetorical position not unlike the view of Barack Obama as a “Kenyan Muslim,” and, consequently, a “traitor.”

Some key points in Peter’s analysis are explored a section of the book titled the “Origins of 21st Century Conflict.” Highlights of this part of the program include:

2. In FTR #864 [10], recorded in September of 2015, Peter updated the context of our discussion from March of that year in the context of Donald Trump’s lead in the GOP primary struggle and the reaction sweeping Europe.

Immigration dominated the news that fall and has continued to do so. The flood of refugees from the wars in the Middle East threatened to overwhelm European infrastructure and the phenomenon dominated the political debate in the GOP primary election campaign. Donald Trump capitalized on anti-immigrant xenophobia during the primary and then the presidential campaign.

Of course, he continues to do so today.

In The Hitler Legacy [7]Peter noted anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia as part of “The Hitler Legacy.”

Fear of “the other” has been a staple of fascist thought and has dominated much of the political discourse on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Hitler Legacy by Peter Levenda; IBIS Press [HC]; Copyright 2014 by Peter Levenda; ISBN 978-0-89254-210-9; p. 315. [7]

. . . Xenophobia is at an all-time high in Europe and increasingly in America. The Internet has provided new and improved means of communication. . . .

As the political life of every country becomes more and more polarized between “right” and “left,” the men of ODESSA can only laugh at our discomfort. . . .

3. Melania Trump garnered considerable media attention when she visited a detention center for immigrants, including children, wearing a jacket that said “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?”

Tasteless on its surface, the statement assumes added significance when we factor in the fact that  “I don’t care” (“Me Ne Frego” in Italian) was an important fascist slogan [12].

Furthermore, the Zara company that made Melania’s jacket has a history of marketing garments with fascist/racist overtones. [13] It marketed [14] a shirt that mimicked a concentration camp inmate’s garb and a swastika-enlaid handbag. It also marketed a Pepe The Frog skirt [15].

“A Brief (Fascist) History of ‘I Don’t Care’” by Giovanni Tiso; Overland; 06/22/2018 [12]

This article was sparked by the jacket that Melania Trump wore as she travelled to a detention camp for migrant children, but my intent isn’t to argue that she or her staff chose that jacket in order to send a coded message to the president’s far-right followers. It is, rather, to highlight some of the historical echoes of that phrase – ‘I don’t care’.

The echoes of which someone ought to have been aware, especially in an administration that includes – to put it mildly – several far-right sympathizers. And also to show that the attitude, the theatrical ‘not caring’, was an explicit character trait of Fascism. . . . 

. . . . Fascism lay its roots in the campaign for Italy’s late entry in the First World War, of which Mussolini was one of the leaders. It was at this time that the phrase ‘me ne frego’ – which at the time was still considered quite vulgar, along the lines of the English ‘I don’t give a fu ck’ – was sung by members of the special force known as arditi (literally: ‘the daring ones’) who volunteered for the front, to signify that they didn’t care if they should lose their lives.

The arditi were disbanded after the war, but many of them volunteered in 1919 for an expedition led by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio to capture the city of Fiume (Rijeka, in present-day Croatia) and claim it for Italy during the vacuum created by the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At the time of this occupation, former arditi also formed the backbone of the original Black Squads during the terror campaigns that began in 1919 and culminated with the ‘March on Rome’ of 1922, which completed Fascism’s swift rise to power.

This lapel pin worn by an original member of the Black Shirts was recently sold on a website devoted to military memorabilia. It is emblazoned with the words ‘Me ne frego’ underneath the original symbol of the arditi and the acronym FERT (which stands for the motto of the Royal Family). The seller calls it ‘bellissimo’.
[see image of “me ne frego” pin worn by the Black Shirts [20]]

‘Me ne frego’ was the title of one of the most famous songs of the Fascist era.Its original version [21], dating around 1920, hails D’Annunzio and Mussolini as the fathers of the fascist movement, recycling the old war song of the arditi as the third stanza.

Me ne frego I don’t care

me ne frego I don’t care

me ne frego è il nostro motto, I don’t care is our motto

me ne frego di morire I don’t care if I should die

per la santa libertà! … For our sacred freedom! …

Later versions removed mentions of D’Annunzio, who faded fairly quickly into the background. In the meantime, Mussolini made the slogan his own, and explicitly elevated it to the philosophy of the regime.
[See image of Benito Mussolini “me ne frego” quote [22]]

[23]The meaning of ‘Me ne frego’

The proud Black-Shirt motto ‘I don’t care’ written on the bandages that cover a wound isn’t just an act of stoic philosophy or the summary of a political doctrine. It’s an education to fighting, and the acceptance of the risks it implies. It’s a new Italian lifestyle. This is how the Fascist welcomes and loves life, while rejecting and regarding suicide as an act of cowardice; this is how the Fascist understands life as duty, exaltation, conquest. A life that must be lived highly and fully, both for oneself but especially for others, near and far, present and future.

The connotations of altruism at the end of the quote are in direct contrast with the meaning taken on by the word menefreghismo(literally, ‘Idontcareism’), which ever since the regime has meant in common parlance a kind of detached self-reliance, or moral autocracy. Just as Italy broke with its former allies and charted a stubborn path towards the ruin and devastation of the Second World War, so too the Fascist citizen was encouraged to reject the judgement of others and look straight aheadIt should be remembered in this regard that the regime treated ignorance and proclivity to violence as desirable qualities to be rewarded with positions of influence and power. This required a swift redrawing of the old social norms, and of the language used to signify the moral worth of individuals. ‘Me ne frego’ was the perfect slogan for the people in charge of overseeing such a program.

Four years ago, speaking at a First World War commemoration in the small town of Redipuglia, Pope Francis linked ‘me ne frego’ not only with the carnage of that conflict, but also with the horrors of Fascism, recognising its ideological and propaganda value for Mussolini’s project. This is the form in which the slogan has survived until the present day, as a linguistic signifier not of generic indifference, but of ideological nostalgia. And because the attempts in Italy and beyond to stem the spread of such signifiers have been comprehensively abandoned, we readily find those words appearing not just on seemingly ubiquitous Fascist-era memorabilia but also on posters,
[see image of poster [24]]
t-shirts,
[see image of t-shirt [25]]
or this line of stickers that can be purchased for $.193 from Redbubble (motto ‘awesome products designed by independent artists’), where it was uploaded by user ‘fashdivision’.
[see image of stickers [26]]
The international neofascist movement is of course well aware of this lineage. By way of example, if you search for it online you’ll find a long-running English-language podcast called Me ne frego which recycles this imagery in support of arguments against immigration and multiculturalism, or to opine on the subject of ‘the Jewish question’.
 I don’t doubt that people close both to the Trump administration and this world are similarly cognisant of the uses to which those three words have been put. But even for those who aren’t, claims to indifference have a history which we mustn’t allow ourselves to forget.

4.  The Zara company that made Melania’s jacket has a history of marketing garments with fascist/racist overtones. [13] It marketed [14] a shirt that mimicked a concentration camp inmate’s garb and a swastika-enlaid handbag.

“Zara Removes Striped Pyjamas with Yellow Star Following Online Outrage” by Elena Cresci; The Guardian; 08/27/2014 [14]

High street retailer Zara has pulled a striped shirt featuring a yellow star on the front on Wednesday after social media users likened it to the uniform worn by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps during the second world war.

The striped “sheriff” T-shirt, aimed at children aged three months to three years, drew criticism for a design which featured white and blue stripes and a six-pointed yellow star on the front. The star itself had the word “sheriff” written across it, which was not completely clear in the zoomed-out images on the Spanish chain’s website.

But from first glance, many people felt the shirt bore too close a resemblance to the striped uniform and yellow star Jewish prisoners were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

The shirt was available via Zara’s UK homepage as well as in a number of its international outlets, including Israel, France, Denmark, Albania and Sweden. Israeli journalist Dimi Reider was among the first to notice the resemblance.

Writing on 972mag.com [27], he said: “It’s a SHERIFF shirt for your three-year-old. Obviously. What else could it be?

“Why, what else does it remind you of?”

The retailer has since apologised, in several languages on its Twitter feed [28], and confirmed the shirt is no longer on sale.

A spokesperson for Zara’s parent company Inditex said: “The item in question has now been removed from all Zara stores and Zara.com [29].

“The garment was inspired by the classic Western films, but we now recognise that the design could be seen as insensitive and apologise sincerely for any offence caused to our customers.”

This is not the first time Zara has made an unfortunate design choice. In 2007, the retailer withdrew a handbag from its stories after one customer pointed out the design featured swastikas. [30]

5.  Zara’s fascist fashion sense just keeps bubbling up. It turns out Zara made a skirt in 2017 with what appear to be ‘Pepe the Frog’ faces [15]

“Zara Loses Its Skirt Over Pepe the Frog” by Vanessa Friedman; The New York Times; 04/19/2017 [15]

Digital activists have claimed another head. Or, rather, skirt.

On Tuesday, Zara, the Spanish chain owned by Inditex that has more than 2,100 stores in 88 countries around the world and was rated No. 53 on the Forbes 2016 list [31] of the world’s most valuable brands, quietly withdrew a distressed denim miniskirt printed with a cartoon face from its websites and stores in the United States and Britain after it became a subject of social media controversy for the graphic’s resemblance to Pepe the Frog.

You know, the green amphibian that was originally intended [32] as a “peaceful frog-dude,” according to Matt Furie, the man who created him, but that was co-opted by anti-Jewish and bigoted groups and designated an alt-right hate symbol [33] by the Anti-Defamation League last September.

The skirt had been on sale as part of Zara’s limited-edition “oil on denim” offering of spring-fling artist partnerships.

Twitter got on it pretty fast. “Zara is really out there trying to sell a P*pe the frog skirt, apparently unaware (?) of its current implications,” @meaganrosae [34] wrote. Added @ccarella [35], “Hmm Pepe on a Zara skirt.”

There is a lot of “how did this happen?” and “how deluded could they be?” going around the cybersphere, but the answer may come down to a blunt collision of globalism and cultural ignorance.

A spokeswoman for Zara said: “The skirt is part of the limited Oil-on-Denim collection, which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets. The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat [36]. There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.”

Mr. de Santiago is a Spanish artist based in London whose biography on his official web page states, “I like to explore social interactions and gather them into quirky and colourful storytelling compositions.” According to Zara, he said the frog face “came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago.” It is not hard to imagine he was unaware a similar frog face had been used for a somewhat different purpose in the United States.

Unfortunately for Zara, however, the brand has a history with public pressure over a product with potentially offensive implications — especially anti-Semitic implications — which may have exacerbated the reaction. In 2014, it apologized for offering, and then withdrew, a set of children’s striped pajamas [37] with a yellow star on the breast that was widely seen as resembling a concentration camp uniform (the star was supposed to be a sheriff’s badge). In 2007, it withdrew a handbag [38] printed with folkloric designs, one of which happened to look a lot like a swastika.

All of this may add up to something of a teachable moment for the fast-fashion model. Because the business is based on the constant turnover of new products that are effectively “tested” on the shop floor, so that companies can respond quickly to what sells and drop less popular items without much cost, it involves a higher than usual amount of churn. This may mean designs are subject to less stringent vetting than they might be in, say, a traditional fashion brand in which products are created and assessed more than six months ahead of production.

Add to that the recent commercialization [39] of the summer festival circuit, in which corporate giants are leveraging the fashion appeal of sartorial rebellion (always a dangerous game, since it co-opts symbols without really understanding their use), and the pitfalls were potentially pretty big. Just think for a minute of the absurdity implicit in choosing a hate symbol to stick on a garment seemingly meant for a summer-of-love/dancing-in-the-muddy-fields-type event. Oops.

Given the increasing role of the internet in policing brands [40] and companies, it was probably only a matter of time before a company attempting to make hay while the music played made a mistake instead.

Consider it a cautionary tale.

[41]6. Although we have discussed it frequently over the decades, recent comments by Trump disparaging Haiti as a “shithole” country and pining for immigration from Norway instead warrant a fresh look at the Crusade For Freedom.

During Trump’s brief tenure as President, the media have consistently lamented his actions as idiosyncrasies. Trump’s policies are not his alone, but follow in a linear path, along which the GOP has traveled for decades.

In this post, we review the Crusade For Freedom–the covert operation that brought Third Reich alumni into the country and also supported their guerrilla warfare in Eastern Europe, conducted up until the early 1950’s. Conceived by Allen Dulles, overseen by Richard Nixon, publicly represented by Ronald Reagan and realized in considerable measure by William Casey, the CFF ultimately evolved [16] into a Nazi [17] wing of the GOP [18].

“. . . . Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats. . . .

The elder George Bush installed the GOP ethnic outreach organization as a permanent part of the GOP:

“. . . . . . . . . It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘ethnic emigres’ a permanent part of Republican politics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Department spokesman confirmed to his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in several key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Republican National Committee exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor’s 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups Council into the party’s official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush’s campaign allies were the émigré Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United States. . . . “

6a.    The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; pp. 122-123. [42]

. . . . Frustration over Truman’s 1948 election victory over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jewish vote”) impelled Dulles and his protégé Richard Nixon to work toward the realization of the fascist freedom fighter presence in the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach organization. As a young congressman, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s confidant. They both blamed Governor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Truman in the 1948 presidential election on the Jewish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice president in 1952, Nixon was determined to build his own ethnic base. . . .

. . . . Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Ethnic Division within the Republican National Committee. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon ‘liberation’ policy signed on with the committee. In 1953, when Republicans were in office, the immigration laws were changed to admit Nazis, even members of the SS. They flooded into the country. Nixon himself oversaw the new immigration program. AsVice President, he even received Eastern European Fascists in the White House. . . .

6b. More about the composition of the cast of the CFF: Note that the ascension of the Reagan administration was essentially the ascension of the Nazified GOP, embodied in the CFF milieu. Reagan (spokesman for CFF) was President; George H.W. Bush (for whom CIA headquarters is named) was the Vice President; William Casey (who handled the State Department machinations to bring these people into the United States) was Reagan’s campaign manager and later his CIA director.

The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; p. 605. [42]

. . . . As a young movie actor in the early 1950s, Reagan was employed as the public spokesperson for an OPC front named the ‘Crusade for Freedom.’ Reagan may not have known it, but 99 percent for the Crusade’s funds came from clandestine accounts, which were then laundered through the Crusade to various organizations such as Radio Liberty, which employed Dulles’s Fascists. Bill Casey, who later became CIA director under Ronald Reagan, also worked in Germany after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘freedom fighters’ program. When he returned to New York, Casey headed up another OPC front, the International Rescue Committee, which sponsored the immigration of these Fascists to the United States. Casey’s committee replaced the International Red Cross as the sponsor for Dulles’s recruits. Confidential interviews, former members, OPC; former members, British foreign and Commonwealth Office. . . .

6c. While serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee, the elder George Bush shepherded the Nazi émigré community into position as a permanent branch of the Republican Party.

The Secret War Against the Jews by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; pp. 369-370. [42]

 . . . . . It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘ethnic emigres’ a permanent part of Republican politics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Department spokesman confirmed to his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in several key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Republican National Committee exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor’s 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups Council into the party’s official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush’s campaign allies were the émigré Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United States. . . .