COVER

WHITE MEN WHO HATE

TOM FENNELL May 1 1995
COVER

WHITE MEN WHO HATE

TOM FENNELL May 1 1995

WHITE MEN WHO HATE

Right-wing fanaticism knows no borders. In nearly every major city across Canada, extremist groups are busy recruiting new members. And some of their leaders have links to the white-power movement in the United States, two of whose members last week were blamed for the deadly explosion in Oklahoma. Interestingly, many American supremacists share a fascination with a novel called The Turner Diaries, written by William Pierce—the founder of the ultra-rightist National Alliance in West Virginia—which depicts a right-wing uprising that includes a truck bombing of an FBI headquarters similar to the Oklahoma attack. And according to Warren Kinsella, the Ottawa author of Web of Hate, which traces the rise of such groups in Canada, Pierce launched National Alliance branches in Ottawa and Vancouver last year. Like hundreds of other racist groups, they are dedicated to a single goal: the violent overthrow of the government.

Experts say there are more than 200 white supremacist groups in North America. They include the Ku Klux Klan, first formed to fight newly freed slaves after the American Civil War, and neo-Nazi groups, which believe that the U.S. government is controlled by Zionist bankers. After the arrival in the 1920s of a new wave of immigrants from Europe, politicians and religious leaders began preaching that the newcomers were part of an international Jewish conspiracy to take over America. Those fears led to the revival of the Klan and the birth of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations and Posse Comitatus in the late 1960s.

Both the Posse and the Aryan Nations believe that only a race war can save America. Alan Dutton, chairman of the Vancouver-based Canadian Anti-Racism and Education Research Society, said he believes that the bombers in Oklahoma may have been attempting to start such a conflict. Their theory, he said, is that when the violence starts, the government will try to save nonwhites—causing whites to rise up and topple the government. Often people harboring such motives belong to so-called militias. Dutton said more and more such groups are forming—but are often forced underground by U.S. law enforcement agencies. And last week, when Maclean’s contacted the White Aryan Resistance, which is known as WAR, in Fallbrook, Calif., the group was broadcasting a “war alert.” A stern voice warned activists “to take immediate precautions,” to expect federal agents to launch “raids and no-knock entries,” and to “audioand videotape all federal contacts.”

Canadian links to such groups are numerous. Dutton said that one right-wing organizer who lives near Vancouver is campaigning to become head of the Aryan Nations in British Columbia; he is also a member of the Pennsylvania-based Church of Jesus Christ in Israel—an Aryan Nations subgroup. Other Canadian racists have links to Michigan, where the alleged bombers of the Oklahoma building were apparently based. George Burdi, who was convicted of assault on April 10 in Ottawa on charges stemming from a race riot there in May, 1993, operated the white-power Church of the Creator in Toronto. He is also involved in Detroit-based Resistance Inc.—a major producer of rock music that critics say is both racist and violent. One way or the other, that message is reverberating on both sides of the border.

TOM FENNELL