As part of my ongoing search for the political soul of America, Iâ€™ve started reading up about fringe groups on both right and left. One that really interests me are the far-rightists who go unrecognized by the far right, and there seem to be quite a few of them. This suggests to me that the far right, like other human groups, may be experiencing a rise of groupthink unrelated to its politics.
But for today, hereâ€™s excerpts of one of the more interesting documents from the far-right â€” Interview with a Revolutionary Klansman, an Interview with John Baumgardner:
Please tell us a bit about your background and what led you to join the Klan?
I joined the Ku Klux Klan in 1984. It was one stop in my search for truth. I have always been a radical. In the late 1960’s I became associated, through a friend, with members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) . The SDS was a college campus-based Maoist sect that was heavily influenced by the communist Progressive Labor Party. I was not a member of SDS but I consumed most of their literature and immersed myself in their philosophy, particularly in opposition to the war in Vietnam.
Believing there was no solution to be found in the middle of the road, and not finding the answers I was looking for in the radical left, I began to migrate toward the right. As fate would have it, my interest in history was channeled into an organization called the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). This was about 1982. Through that association I met a race-conscious Christian minister who showed me the connection between political thought and the Bible. The SCV is a historical society and I soon became discouraged with their lack of political activism. I started attending my minister friend’s church and looking for a new outlet for my radical views. Many of the old- time SCV members talked favorably of the Reconstruction Era Klan and the seed was planted in my mind. I began looking for the Klan. It took me about a year to find it. After joining the Invisible Empire I gained access to a wealth of information about the enemies of our race and way of life.
I became immersed in the Klan, giving it all my time and energy. Soon I was placed in charge of the state of Florida and we began to grow. Always maintaining a revolutionary consciousness, I began to attract people of like mind. We became the most active Klan in the country. The Florida Klan was known for taking. unusual positions and addressing odd issues. We made it a point to never do what was expected of us.
After the fall of the Invisible Empire in 1993 the membership diversified and joined with other Klans to form a cartel. Today there are 22 different Klans in Florida and we remain a very active state.
You lead a radical faction of the Klan called the Black Knights. How did you develop such a revolutionary philosophy considering that the Klan has been known to be quite reactionary at times (anti-union activities in the 1930’s, for example)?
First of all, let me make it clear that I do not lead the Black Knights. The Florida Black Knights have no officers or leaders. We have applied Louis Beam’s theory of leaderless resistance in our own way. Each associate is a leader in his own right. We are not an organization in any traditional sense of the word. We are an ad hoc collective of Klan expatriates, many of whom have been rejected from other Klans. I was banished from the Empire even after I had resigned. James Farrands, the Empire’s Imperial Wizard, told me I was too revolutionary for the Klan. I now wear that label as a badge of honor.
I brought my revolutionary philosophy with me to the Klan and simply applied it to this struggle. It’s true that the Klan has been reactionary and some Klans continue to be, but the whole truth about the Klan is not widely known. The Klan in the 1920s was involved, in some parts of the country, with pro-union activities. For example, in Williamson County, Illinois back in 1922, a mixed-race crowd of union coal miners attacked strike-breakers killing 20 of them. This incident was called the Herrin Massacre. Within two years, Herrin and the rest of Williamson County backed one of the nation’s strongest local Klan organizations. Many in the 1920s and 30s shared joint Klan-union membership. The United Auto Workers, the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, and Akron rubber workers were all examples of unions with Klan support.
The Klan has historically tried to organize colored divisions. Klan leaders met with Marcus Mosiah Garvey and gave a monetary gift to Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. The Socialist Party and the Klan formed a 1924 alliance in Milwaukee to elect John Kleist, a socialist and a klansman, to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Klan has at times appealed to militant workers.
I believe to be reactionary is fatal to our goals and I constantly preach against it. I encourage the study of left-wing and right-wing movements. I say we should take what we can from every source.
You are known for your willingness to work with black nationalist groups. Please give us an outline of your history with such groups.
It was back in 1985 when I first met Osiris Akkebala, Chief Elder of the Pan-Afrikan International Movement (PAIN). Chief Akkebala hosted a radio show in an all-black community where we had a scheduled demonstration. PAIN follows a Garvian philosophy, and understanding that Marcus Garvey had met with the Klan in the 1920s, Chief Osiris approached me for a private meeting. We hit it off well and have been good friends ever since.
Sometime in 1990 we began holding joint demonstrations–the Klan in their robes and the Africans in their dashikis. Needless to say it sparked quite a backlash. Many klansmen were angry at me for even considering such a thing. In my view it was a match inspired by God. Why should we have a problem with black men who are strict racial separatists and want to establish a homeland on the continent of Africa? I have even publicly endorsed the payment of reparations to blacks but only for the purpose of repatriation back to Africa.
I believe that all people have a right to self-determination, a right to choose their own government, and their own religion. Clearly, blacks in America have not had those opportunities. As Minister Louis Farrakhan said: “If we can’t get along together, then we need to separate.”
I’m a revolutionary white separatist, not a white supremacist. I don’t feel superior to any man because of the color of my skin but I understand that the Aryan people (making up only about eight percent of the world population) must have a separate land uninfluenced by other races or by the criminal government that occupies Washington D.C. I’m not naive enough to believe we can get it without a very bloody struggle.
More recently, I have established a working relationship with a faction of the Nation of Islam. We have held several meetings with representatives of the Nation and I am learning from them. They have a great deal of truth. Although I am a Christian and don’t agree with every teaching of Islam or the Nation, I do respect them and their faith.
Other than the black separatists, what other movements have you reached out to or had talks with. Have you met with any leftists?
We have attempted to reach out to other diverse movements. While I have not succeeded in pulling a meeting together with left wingers, I have participated in long discussions with them at demonstrations. In these discussions, they have admitted we have some common ground.
Stetson Kennedy, the famous anti-klan activist, author, and historian has corresponded with me and we have talked on the phone. Although I don’t agree with everything he stands for I respect him as a fellow activist. I believe he feels the same about me. You see, I’m not threatened by other philosophies and movements that oppose me. I believe the better cause will win in the end and so I respect anyone who gives 100 percent to their cause. I don’t respect people who waiver on their beliefs or are frightened to stand up for anything. In that regard I have even met with homosexual activists.
I certainly don’t agree with the queer lifestyle but as it turns out, even queers have some common ground with the Klan. They hate the government as well. They approached me about it and requested a meeting. All I can say is when blacks and queers are willing to look past our differences, sit down with the Klan and acknowledge common ground against the government, then the government is in deep shit.
In your publication, the Florida Interklan Report, you speak respectfully of Islam. Do you see Islam as a potential ally in the coming revolution?
Yes. Without question I can see the potential there. I am working with white separatists in Europe who are outreaching to Islam there. We are trying to form a worldwide web against Zionism. We are making some progress.
I think out relationship should be carefully approached because the masses, whether they be Christian or Muslim, are generally reactionary. While our leaders and leaders in other movements may understand the alliance, the majority of people on both sides will not understand. It will take time to develop a degree of trust on both sides but I think what we are trying to do scares the hell out of the Zionist-backed forces of the world, including the United States government.
Some people question how, if we are all separatists, we can stand together in peace and on common ground. well the various separatists don’t have a problem with each other, it’s the rest of the world with the problem. When we stand together and point a collective finger at the governments of the world, and the international financial interests, and expose them, and attack them as one, there is power in that. I will align with almost anyone who truly understands who the real enemy is but I will not bend my principles or beliefs to do it.
We are going to witness a worldwide revolution and if we are strong enough we can come out of it with power and a place of our own, if God is with us. Without God however, we are sure to become the enemy’s footstool. We must be committed to militant Christian action. The time for talk is over.
What do you think of the Unabomber?
How did that question get in here? Well, I haven’t read his manifesto so all I have is a media perspective, which is usually inaccurate.. However, I think the case in general defines some points totally unrelated to Theodore Kaczynski’s anti-technology sentiments.
First of all we see that Bob Marley’s words ring true when he sings “only your friend knows your secret, so only he could reveal it”. It’s usually those close to you who give you up.
This case also points to the hypocrisy of the government and clearly shows how the media is a tool of the government. The Unabomber killed a handful of people to make a political statement and he is held up as Satan incarnate. The government spent millions to find him (if they have indeed found him). If we truly place things in perspective, the Unabomber is a very small problem.
The U.S. government murders thousands of people every year in covert operations and terrorist activities around the world. This government brings crack cocaine into the country to finance foreign revolutions and distributes it in the major cities to break down families and maintain a sort of repressed anarchy in the land. In short, government, through its tool the media, uses these “high profile” cases to divert attention away from their own criminal activities.
I really don’t care about the Unabomber. I think we should stay focused on the real problems we are facing.
Many observers–secular and religious–feel that the year 2000, the new millennium, will usher in an age of chaos and revolution. Do you believe the millennium holds special relevance for your struggle?
I certainly hope the millennium ushers in an age of chaos and revolution because I understand that these things must occur before the cleansing can come. We are living in an age of chaos right now but many are shielded from its effects. As time goes by the chaos will certainly begin to hit home for many who are currently unaffected. This, in turn, may bring about revolution on a grand scale. My friend, Bruce Pierce, says the worse things get the better they look for us. I concur. And so we don’t stand in the way of race-mixing, homosexuality, or the hedonistic direction society has taken. Bring it on.
Our enemies definitely place great significance in the dawn of the new millennium. Because they do, I must also hold it up as a significant event. I’m not sure that I would come to the same conclusion on my own however. There is a new age on the horizon and if we do the right thing, it may well be our age to shine.
Though this interview was conducted with Mr. Baumgardner almost 4 years ago (from its 2006 publication date – Editor), the truths and ideas contained within it are still more then just ‘valid’, they are a way forward for all those who care about their culture and folks best interests. Few are they who are brave enough to admit the truths and step beyond the “right/left” mentality regardless of others reactions.
To read the sister article with Black Nationalist Osiris Akkebala, please click here.