Thursday, August 16, 2007

Is DailyKos a White Supremacist Group?

"I hate using the word 'diversity.'" --
Jina Cooper, Coordinator of YearlyKos 2007.

During the 2007 DailyKos annual conference in August, Washington Post staff writer Jose Antonio Vargas confirmed that YearlyKos was a "Sea of Middle-Aged White Males." In that article, Democratic activist Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, who is part Latina, said one reason she went to Yearly Kos was to get an answer to this question: "Why is the blogosphere, which is supposed to be more democratic, reinforcing the same white male power structure that exists?"

Alarmed observers within the Democratic Party have observed the statistical anomaly of a group that is 96% white in the Democratic Party where Blacks alone account for 20% of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention. An internal poll at DailyKos revealed that only 2.5% of participants are Black. Why would a group that calls itself "progressive" nonetheless remain virtually all-white in the midst of the Democratic Party?

Whites at DailyKos insist that the lack of Black and Latino members is accidental, and the result of lack of interest by Blacks or lack of broadband access. Yet, one Black lawyer and Democratic activist who was banned from DailyKos was able to set up a group of Black bloggers that now has sixty members after only four months, virtually none of whom is willing to participate at the all-white DailyKos, because of the group's white supremacist reputation among Black blogger. "AfroSpear members tell me that any attempts to participate in DailyKos will be a waste of time," said Francis L. Holland, who participated in the formation of the AfroSpear back in April of this year.

In spite of the constant criticism, MAMZ avoids discussion the problem in public. When a reporter asked if DailyKos led to increased fragmentation within the Democratic Party, MAMZ insisted that the blog brings Democratic constituencies together, but didn't even mention minorities like Blacks and Latinos when naming the constituencies. "You had the environmentalists in one corner, and the women's groups in another, and labor in yet another group . . . we're all at the same table." MAMZ acknowledges that DailyKos is "quite a brutal place," and one kind of brutality practiced there is the constant use of skin-color-associated and gender slurs. Explaining how the group maintains its all-white character without specifically announcing that it is for whites only, Francis L. Holland said,

As soon as [Blacks] learn that people present would EVER use [words like "jigaboo and the "N" word], we know we are not in an environment that will be conducive to our participation. In the last month, the "N" word has been used 112 times in comments at DailyKos, while the "jigaboo" word has been used forty-three times in comments over the last quarter. Francis L. Holland

One AfroSpear blogger compares DailyKos and Yearly Kos to the Klu Klux Klan-connected White Citizens Kouncils that engaged in the lynching of Blacks in the Deep South. The African American Political Pundit (AAPP) calls DailyKos "lilly white" and "a 21st century White Citizens YearlyKouncil."

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Although an obscure reference for many white people, the name "White Citizen's Council" is used among Blacks as a warning that the whites at DailyKos may be akin to supporters of the Klu Klux Klan and other white supremacists groups:

The roots of the CCC rest in white opposition to integration during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The group is a successor to the Citizens' Councils of America (originally configured as the White Citizens' Councils), an overtly racist organization formed in the 1950s in reaction to the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing school segregation. Trumpeting the "Southern way of life," the CCA used a traditionalist rhetoric that appealed to better-mannered, more discreet racists; while the Klan burned crosses, the CCA relied on political and economic pressure.

The first Citizens Council was founded on July 11, 1954, in Indianola, Mississippi, by Robert B. Patterson (a current member of the CCC and former editor of its publication, The Citizens Informer). It formed committees that screened local political candidates to ensure they viewed "the negro vote" with appropriate disapproval, promoted "the advantages of segregation and the dangers of integration" and coordinated the application of economic pressure.

The organization grew quickly, attracting members from across the South and beyond; by August 1955, Patterson's membership list exceeded 60,000 people and included 253 Councils. In August 1956, Citizens' Councils in 30 states came together to form the Citizens' Councils of America. Its goals were to preserve the "natural rights" of racial separation and "the maintenance of our States' Rights to regulate public health, morals, marriage, education, peace and good order in the States, under the Constitution of the United States."

The CCA tried to recruit public and civic leaders for membership. Organizers wanted to demonstrate that their views represented those of the modern and mainstream white South, not those of a rural, uneducated fringe. For the most part, its publicists avoided the coarser formulations of race-hatred associated with such groups as the Klan, but the white supremacy of the Council movement was nonetheless unmistakable and unapologetic. ADL
The Jewish Anti-Defamation League calls the White Citizens Council "considerably more polished than traditional extremist groups," and therefore able to integrate more easily than the Klu Klux Klan could into the nation's political life. Likewise, many DailyKos participants might be surprised to learn that they belong to a white supremacist group, because they don't wear white sheets or ride horses. There are even a handful of Black participants. But, just as the White Citizens Council was a modern iteration of the Klu Klux Klan, sharing the same purposes, the DailyKos may be a modern iteration of the White Citizens Council, online instead of on lawns burning crosses, but still acting on segregation impulses and relying on the "states rights" rhetoric of their political forbears in their public relations pitches.

African American Political Pundit sees some parallels in the modus operandi of DailyKos:
The reality is, The DailyKos, YearlyKos, WhiteKos, really didn’t outreach to the African American blogger community to get Black Bloggers to participate. The AfroSphere/AfroSpear group to my knowledge was not outreached to or contacted, Black bloggers were not really encouraged to attend, so therefore it is what it is. AAPP
Another Black blogger, Field Negro, whose AfroSpear blog is among the Black blogs most popular with Blacks and whites based on number of visitors, said of DailyKos,
For the record, I am of the opinion that white so called progressives in the "blogosphere" are no different than their "wingnut" counterparts on the right. I was reading Daily Kos, but I could have just as easily been reading Ace Of Spades, Wizbang, or any number of the other wingnut [cons]-servative sites. Field Negro
Defenders of DailyKos insist that Markos Moulitsas himself is part Latino, but MAMZ's writings reveal that MAMZ has never considered himself to be a non-white minority. In 1993, after writing a four-part series of articles on "racism" for his campus newspaper, the Northern Illinois University "Northern Star, MAMZ wrote:
[A]s I left the ugly reality of racism behind, it struck me that what was such an easy and trivial exercise for me would be impossible for anyone whose skin color or religious persuassion (sic) made them the target of bigotry and discrimination. THEY would never be able to escape who THEY were.

Today the Star ran the last of my four-part series on racism at NIU. Having been a project that dominated my life for the last couple of weeks, I was more than glad to have it finished and over with ( . . . ) Northern Star, September 2, 1993. (Emphasis added.)[Emphasis added.]

Clearly, for Markos Moulitsas, minorities are a "they" and not an "us." This truth is born out by the fact that fewer than 1.5% of DailyKos members are Latino, and those visible within the organization seem all to be white-skinned, including MAMZ and his Cuban-descendant wife, Elise. They seem to consider themselves to be white and they behave accordingly, with no overt appeals to other Latinos to join DailyKos and no Spanish-language context or focus on issues of interest to Latinos.

When challenged about this, the DailyKos groups responds defensively, but denies any need for change. Before Francis L. Holland was banned from participation at DailyKos, he wrote published an essay there in which he observed that:

Very, very few Blacks are members of the Republican PARTY, but even fewer are participants at DailyKos. Ironically, if Black people want to be in the company of other Blacks, regardless of ideology, we are more likely to find other Blacks in the Republican Party than among the authors of DailyKos stories, diaries and comments." Black Republicans (9.5%) ; Black at DailyKos (2%)
Admitting that he lacked conclusive proof that DailyKos is a white supremacist group, African American Political Pundit said, "It may not be a White Citizens Council, but it sure looks like one - In fact, it mirrored, guess what - The Republican Party. Think About It!"

In fact, MAMZ began his political career as a right-wing Republican, expressing support for Ronald Reagan, voting for George H.W. Bush against Bill Clinton, and opposing all service by gays in the military. Francis L. Holland, a Black lawyer, says he is so sure that MAMZ is a right-wing white male supremacist that he researched and wrote a dossier on MAMZ, exploring every aspect of MAMZ's family history. But, he says he was frustrated when his researched proved instead that MAMZ's clearest connections were to the Central Intelligence Agency and the right-wing oligarchy in El Salvador, and homophobia, connections that Holland summarized in a dossier: "The Indictment of Markos Alberto C. Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA by Justice and History." AAPP

Like the Klu Klux Klan, DailyKos and its brother blogs use code words that identify them as a splinter culture. They call themselves "Kossacks," which is a reference to the name "Kos," but also to the historical Cossacks who, like the Klu Klux Klan, were horseback riding lawless vigilantes.

The Indictment of
Markos Alberto C. Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA
by Justice and History

And then there's the issue of "states rights." MAMZ says he was drawn to the Republican Party because of its support for "states rights." Meanwhile, AfroNetizen, another member of the AfroSpear blogger group, says that support for states' rights has historically been a code-word for support for segregation and opposition to integration. "States rights" is also a rallying cry of David Duke, who founded the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan in 1974 and has been the "highest profile white supremacist of the last two decades."

Francis L. Holland says that use of such code words as "states rights" has enabled DailyKos to achieve its goal of remaining virtually all white without explicitly stating that it is a white supremacist group.

In August 1956, Citizens' Councils in 30 states came together to form the Citizens' Councils of America. Its goals were to preserve the "natural rights" of racial separation and "the maintenance of our States' Rights to regulate public health, morals, marriage, education, peace and good order in the States, under the Constitution of the United States." Anti-Defamation League on the "Council of Conservative Citizens."

Nevertheless, DailyKos and its affiliates have punished Blacks and others who point out that the group is segregated. After AAPP published the article references above at MyDD one of the Kos family of blogs, the author was labeled a "troll," which is the first step taken toward banning Black people from participation at these blogs. MYDD


Anonymous said...

From the Kos post: "Native Hawaiian were originally separated out from the other pre-European native people as a political decision when Hawaii and Alaska came in as State together."

OK, so the "original" reason why Hawaiians are "separated out" from Native Americans as peoples is some backward-ass decision made around 1949 by the United States???

It's not that they have no overlap in culture or history, or anything like that.

Francis Holland said...

Kos isn't much of an intellect, is he?

Howling Latina said...

To which I would add, the blogosphere is also pretty sexist.

I recall before the Dems took over the House, the audience at DailyKos was railing against Nancy Pelosi; and in their internal poll, Harry Reid scored in the 60s while Nancy, who is smart like a fox, in the 30s.

It's the same even in regional blogs.

I called out Harold Ford for having his picture taken in front of a Confederate flag and was accused of lynching poor Uncle Ford by a bunch of whiny DINOs who're so afraid of being called, gasp, liberals.

Anyhow...tomorrow I plan on writing a bunch of progressive nationals to see if I can them to summon their outrage at what's going on in Prince William County Virginia.

Yes, that's the same county that leads Virginia (which is right behind Texas) in executing folks.

Anyhow, they've passed this racist law that allows libraries to refuse people books, schools to refuse teaching, and so on, to the new whipping boys on the blocks, Latinos. It even allows people behind a cash register to refuse service.

Just how they're gonna know they're illegals, one can only guess.

Anyhow, wish me luck; and if you'd like, I'll let you know what happens/

Francis Holland said...

Latina, please DO tell me how it goes with your immigrant advocacy effort. Inevitably, a law like the one they've passed will encourage people to discriminate against Latinos on the basis of ethnicity (language, skin color, hair color and type, first and last name.)

Unfortunately, the United States is a cesspool of discrimination on these basis, and rather than getting consistently better it gets better and worse in turns.