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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:03 AM

 

From "Operation Wetback" To Newtown: Tracing The Hick Fascism Of The NRA

Until relatively recently, those types of mass-murder were freakishly rare in America; they only appeared at the end of the Reagan Era. First...in the workplace, concurrent with the destruction of labor unions and the transfer of wealth and workplace power into few hands. Then, by the late 1990s, the workplace massacres had seeped down into the employeesí childrenís schoolyards...itís also no longer possible for me to ignore the National Rifle Association, and its hick fascism politics thatíve been poisoning our culture ever since the NRAís infamous "coup" in 1977, when the NRA was taken over by far-right fanatics led by a convicted murderer and onetime US Border Guards chief named Harlon Carter ó whose previous claim to fame was when he led a massive crackdown on Mexican immigrant laborers called "Operation Wetback..."

Two decades before Harlon Carter led "Operation Wetback" he was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old Mexican American boy, sentenced to a three-year prison term (Harlon was under-age himself), before being inexplicably acquitted of all charges and allowed to walk free as if it had never happened. It probably didnít hurt that Harlon Carterís daddy was himself a ranking Border Guards official... Two decades after murdering a Mexican-American boy and getting off scot-free, here is how the official Mormon newspaper, the Deseret News, described Harlonís "Operation Wetback" scam, in 1954:



The NRA chief whom Harlon Carter overthrew publicly supported the Saturday Night Special handgun ban, telling the Senate in 1972, "On the Saturday Night Special, we are for it (banning) 100 percent. We would like to get rid of these guns." The NRA nearly imploded in civil war over the leadershipís support for the handgun ban. Harlonís fanatics saw it as treason...As soon as Reagan could walk again (after his shooting), he pushed the NRAís agenda...Reagan signed a bill in 1986 rolling back earlier gun regulations passed after JFKís assassination, such as banning mail-order weapons purchases...The cult strategy worked: Membership soared into the millions, and the NRAís budget swelled to one of the largest budgets in DC outside of the federal government...

So whatís really going on here? Why the crazy? Itís not exactly a revelation to learn that the NRA is run by hick fascist nutjobs...But whatís the purpose, what are the deeper ideological politics of that sort of gun-cult fanaticism? Looking back at Big Businessí violent reaction against the New Deal and the political culture that it created: a more "collectivist" political culture, as the libertarians derisively call it, where people were more deeply involved with each other and their communities, and with that involvement in their politics and communities came greater trust in their communities. That political culture ó where people were more involved in their politics and trusted government more than they trusted business ó was a big problem, according to pollsters and PR experts hired by business lobby groups in the postwar era, groups like the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce...

It takes years to cultivate a political mindset that voluntarily neutralizes itself by convincing itself that its contribution to world revolution comes down to purchasing a few guns at K-Mart, then blogging about it. Thatís what reactionary plutocrats like the Koch brothers understood about the deeper politics of gun fanaticism, and why their outfits like the Cato Institute have been at the forefront of overturning gun regulations and promoting "Stand Your Ground" vigilantism as a substitute for political engagement: That by poisoning the political climate, it poisons the minds, which circulates back to the external environment, and back into the minds, until you lock the culture into a pattern in which you always get more and they always get fleeced, which makes them more fanatical and you more powerful...

https://nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/newtown


I thought it was interesting that the NRA 'coup' occurred in the late 70s, when the neo-liberal turn was just picking up speed. i wonder who bankrolled it?

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply From "Operation Wetback" To Newtown: Tracing The Hick Fascism Of The NRA (Original post)
HiPointDem Dec 2012 OP
PADemD Dec 2012 #1
malaise Dec 2012 #2
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #3
PETRUS Dec 2012 #5
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #6
PETRUS Dec 2012 #7
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #9
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #13
Paladin Dec 2012 #4
farminator3000 Dec 2012 #8
UTUSN Dec 2012 #10
UTUSN Dec 2012 #11
WillyT Dec 2012 #12
riderinthestorm Dec 2012 #14

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:14 AM

1. K&R

Very good article, long, but worth reading.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:42 AM

2. MUST READ - farminator3000 posted this link for me that long thread

The only purpose of "assault" weapons is to kill people. It is a most excellent read.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:46 AM

3. K&R

 

I've been looking for something like this.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:19 AM

5. Found it interesting, myself.

Did you see https://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/three-heads-we-lose as well? Same author, same topic, slightly different point.

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:37 AM

6. That one is good too, thanks for linking it.

 

I'll be sharing these around.

The first one caught my eye because I just finished a book called The Peril of Fascism, written in 1938. It talked about those same linkages with the rise of the Liberty League and National Association of Manufactuers, Wall Street money, right to work, racism, anti-Communism, the most reactionary capitalism, etc.

It only has one mention of Merwin Hart (the article in the OP goes into more detail on his doings) in the book, pg. 131. He opposed child labor laws too and was an associate of Nazi sympathizer Gerald L. K. Smith. Together with other nasties, they formed The Congress of Private Enterprise, of which the author describes as "one of those sporadic forays into more obviously fascist pastures that mark the course of American finance capital. "

It didn't have the tie-in to the firearms issue though, that this article highlighted. It gives a lot to chew on, on the social foundation for the right-wing association with eroding gun control laws. I wondered why billionaires and finance capital would swim in the waters of personal firearms. I mean, it's profitable, duh. But what is the philosophical underpinning? An anti-collectivist ideology does sound plausible, since that is a common ruling class feature of capitalism.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:59 PM

7. I've had similar questions.

E.g. why do outfits like ALEC promote stand your ground laws and so on.

Both of these articles raise issues on which I'd like to hear more discussion. I'm curious to hear people's thoughts about how guns/RKBA are (or aren't) pertinent to a conversation about the distribution and exercise of economic and political power (and vice versa).

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:05 PM

9. Do you want to start a thread on it in SP?

 

I'm curious too and don't have a lot of fully formed thoughts on all of this.

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:28 PM

13. yes, it would be interesting to have a discussion rather than a steady stream of 'we must

 

regulate guns for the children & if you don't think so you're a far right creep who wants children to die' posts.

i am for gun registration & regulation -- in the abstract. but there's something in the current political climate that makes me uncomfortable with the directions that 'good in the abstract' gun regulation might take. something about the simple-mindedness of discussion and the absolute focus on gun regulation and 'crazy people' does as well.

i would like to see a wider & less simplistic social conversation.

like mark ames, i think that gun regulation in a climate of increasing inequality & repression will not have the huge effect some think it will.

mark ames' 'going postal' is a good read, btw. written about the first wave of mass shootings, which were mostly workplace shootings -- the events that gave birth to the phrase 'going postal' were shootings in post office workplaces in the first wave of cutbacks at the PO -- in the good old reagan 80s.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:47 AM

4. Incoming Gun Enthusiasts In 3, 2, 1.....

....with the usual "We've always had lots and lots and lots of mass shootings, it's just the evil media's fault for reporting them better" non-explanation.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:33 PM

8. plead the 5th!

each citizen is ensured the right against self- flagellation?

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:14 PM

10. R#16 & K for, *excellent* research, connecting the wingnut dots n/t

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Response to UTUSN (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:55 PM

11. Harlon CARTER pic. Merwin K. HART (attempted).

Apparently eBay graphics can't be copied/posted (the HART), looks like a typical '30s/'40s fatcat. He graduated in FDR's Harvard class and became the bitter enemy.

Harlon CARTER Merwin K. HART
http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Photo-MERWIN-K-HART-Portrait-/00/s/ODY0WDg2NA==/$(KGrHqR,!oQE-yuj4iNQBP+Mbp!ymQ~~60_35.JPG

*************QUOTE*************

http://nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/newtown

From: Mark Ames
TO: The Shootings Desk
Date: Dec 17th, 2012

From "Operation Wetback" To Newtown: Tracing The Hick Fascism Of The NRA

.... ...no longer possible for me to ignore the National Rifle Association, and its hick fascism politics thatíve been poisoning our culture ever since the NRAís infamous "coup" in 1977, when the NRA was taken over by far-right fanatics led by a convicted murderer and onetime US Border Guards (Border Patrol) chief named Harlon Carter ó whose previous claim to fame was when he led a massive crackdown on Mexican immigrant laborers called "Operation Wetback." Thatís not a typo by the way.

Two decades before Harlon Carter led "Operation Wetback" he was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old Mexican American boy, sentenced to a three-year prison term (Harlon was under-age himself), before being inexplicably acquitted of all charges and allowed to walk free as if it had never happened. It probably didnít hurt that Harlon Carterís daddy was himself a ranking Border Guards official, and that his fate was in the hands of the Texas "justice" system. ....

When Harlon Carter seized control of the NRA in 1977 from the more moderate leader, a Mormon named Maxwell Rich, it wasnít so obvious that these resurrected Coelocanth monsters were anything more than a grotesque yet passing curiosity, a stark reminder of how rancid America mightíve been without the cultural revolutions of the 60s and 70s. Little did they know. ....

What the establishment didnít get about Harlonís new souped-up NRA gun-cult until too late ó in fact what most still donít get ó is that the more batshit disconnected from demonstrable reality your message is, the more fanatical and organized-for-war your organization will be. If you can get people to make that leap of faith ówell, then youíve got real power. Reagan understood that sort of power well: Pandering to the far-right John Birch Society cult won him Californiaís governorís seat in 1966, and in 1980, he promised to implement Harlon Carterís radical pro-gun agenda as soon as he took office. Unfortunately that pro-gun push got delayed by an assassination attempt on Reaganís life, but nearly bleeding to death didnít change Reaganís mind (or what passed for Reaganís mind). ....

One of FDRís first and most powerful opponents in the 30s and 40s was a New York lobbyist and public relations heavyweight named Merwin K. Hart. He was the brains and organizing force behind far-right big business groups like the American Liberty League, the isolationist America First Committee, and the far-right National Economic Council, fighting labor unions and waging nonstop war on democracy, which Merwin Hart equated with Communism. He also served as PR flak for Spainís fascist dictator, publishing a fawning book on Franco in 1939 titled "America, Look At Spain" completely whitewashing the hundreds of thousands of Spaniards his client the Generalissimo had just finished slaughtering. ....

And just before he died in 1962, Merwin Hart organized fringe gun groups like the Minutemen -- a Southern California gun-cult that claimed to possess hundreds of automatic weapons and had "information" of an impending invasion by Chinese troops massing on the Mexican border. Together, they successfully killed a bill that would require handgun registration. Hart used language too extreme for that eraís NRA: "Any congressman or senator who votes for the Anfoso bill knowing its real purpose would disqualify himself from ever again expecting to be called an American." ....

*************UNQUOTE*************

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:57 PM

12. K & R !!!


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:37 PM

14. Too important to drop! K&R nt

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