Last night on the radio station Impact 89 FM in Lansing, neo-Nazi spokesperson for the National Socialist Movement (NSM), Bill White, appeared on the City Pulse’s weekly radio program to discuss the NSM’s Saturday rally in Lansing. While the appearance was essentially planned to be a debate between White and Chris Alexander, a representative of the Lansing Coalition against Nazis (LCAN), there was little debate because as the representative of LCAN noted, White cares little for discussing any position and instead just repeats his baseless assertions over and over again while interrupting both Alexander and the host of the program.
Among the worst of these assertions was White’s contention that the Holocaust did not happen and that the documented deaths of six million Jewish people were “fabrications” that originated with the Soviets, an argument that is fairly common among Holocaust deniers. He also said that Adolf Hitler, whose birthday the NSM is celebrating and whom they openly admire, was a “peaceful” man that saved the German people from the Bolshevik threat in the 1930s and that for the most part people other than Jewish people “admire” Hitler. He explained that Michigan was chosen because of the large number of “units” (chapters) that the NSM has in the state and the large amount of growth that the NSM has seen over the past year in the state. Of course, as is always the case with Bill White, the appearance feature a variety of character assassinations and outright lies about activists including the laughable claim that the Lansing activist group Direct Action!, a member of LCAN, has “dozens of people in jail” for bombings and arsons, despite the fact that the information is completely untrue. White and the NSM have consistently misrepresented the fact that Direct Action! was labeled as “domestic terrorists” in an FBI document in 2002 and has used the information to attempt to discredit those planning to protest the NSM. He went on to “reveal” information that the Lansing police are aware of specific plans that members of LCAN want to shoot public officials or members of the NSM at Saturday’s rally and that additional intelligence information states many protestors are brining weapons. None of the information was sourced in a way that listeners could verify it and its veracity seemed dubious at best.
Despite the fact that the NSM does have a clear political program, there was almost no discussion of what Alexander called the NSM’s “serious agenda” and the NSM’s efforts to appeal to youth and working class people in Michigan and the United States through a program of radical change. While some of the NSM’s politics were revealed when White stated that the NSM is in favor of “at least” some form of segregation (he cited a recent vote to separate Omaha’s school district along racial lines as a potential example) and described how he believes that each race has distinct skills and characters. White also stated that the group opposes “illegal immigration” and did not comment when Alexander pointed out that the group supports “deportation” by force if necessary of immigrants. Throughout the interview White would briefly mention that the NSM wants to stand up for “white workers,” but specifics were never offered as to what that meant. Alexander agreed with White’s assertions that working people in Michigan are being hit hard and that this offers a context for the NSM and other neo-Nazi groups to appeal, but completely disagreed with the solution being proposed by the NSM and argued that grassroots organizing, such as that done by LCAN in the community, and the people need to come together as a community both to resist Nazis and address the problems facing working people in Michigan as it is clear that that the state will not do so.
Towards the end of the segment, there was a brief discussion of the ongoing debate over how the NSM’s rally will take place and questions regarding the LCAN protest. White explained that the NSM’s plans remain fluid pending the outcome of an injunction filed yesterday in court to prevent Lansing from erecting a massive fence to separate protestors and the NSM and LCAN, responding to questions about the legality of its planned march. This discussion was continued via subsequent guests, including Lansing Mayor Virgil Berneo and Bishop Maxwell, who discussed the planned “diversity” rally which they encouraged people to attend instead of the protests being planned by LCAN. Mayor Berneo explained that while he personally opposes the Nazis’ views that people need to understand that in a Democracy there has to be a “venue for discourse” among conflicting ideas. He also explained that legally the city cannot restrict the NSM from attending the diversity rally and that the Nazis can attend as long as they are “peaceful.” Similarly, Bishop Maxwell, one of the organizers of the diversity rally, stated that if the Nazis show up at the diversity rally they will be “treated with respect and tolerance”—not for their ideas—but as people. Another guest, Kurt Frank of the Toledo Blade, who covered the NSM’s rally last October in Toledo, explained that he thinks the city’s preparations will prevent a repeat of the October riot in Toledo.