- The Washington Times - Monday, November 8, 2004

The majority of the American people voted against the “Politics of Hate” and repudiated Michael Moore and his clones. On the other hand, CNN said 70 percent of the Kerry voters were voting not for him but against President Bush.

The “Hate George Bush” slogans we heard so much during the election may be unusual in this day and age, but hate and violence are not unknown in American history. For almost 100 years after the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, the Ku Klux Klan maintained a solid Democrat South through violence and intimidation.

The Klan murdered black people for many reasons: One of the most important was for trying to vote.

The anti-Bush hate culminated in a column in the left-wing British newspaper “The Guardian” on Oct. 23. The newspaper on behalf of its writer Charlie Brooker has now apologized “for any offence caused by his comments relating to President Bush.” After a lengthy anti-Bush screed, Mr. Brooker had said “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr — where are you now that we need you?”

According to the Guardian, this was just “an ironic joke.” What made it less funny was the violent attacks on Bush campaign headquarters in various states by union goons. Shots were fired in some cases and campaign workers assaulted.

On a trip to Europe this past summer, I heard a diatribe by an American anti-Bush crackpot. During his lengthy speech, he claimed President Bush was a tool in the hands of the “neocons.” I wondered whether he knew who the neoconservatives are — 1960s and ‘70s liberals who came to their senses during the Reagan Presidency. Or, I wondered, is that just a code word for Jews. I soon got the answer when the crackpot said that the problem with America was that “the Jews” had too much money and too much power. Of course, hate propaganda often morphs into anti-Semitism, as we have seen on some college campuses.

Every society has a group of people who can only be described by the German word “Lumpenproletariat.” There is no equivalent English word for the brutal louts. The Nazis and the communists in pre-Hitler Germany understood the “Lumpen” can be a political force. In the early 1920s, the communists set up the Red Front Fighters League (the RFB). The Nazis soon established their Storm Troopers (the SA). The SA and RFB had similar uniforms, one with a swastika armband, the other with a hammer and sickle armband. They vied with each other for the title of most brutal and vile.

In the 1932 Berlin Transport Strike, the strike committee consisted of a mixture of communists and Nazis. The enemy was the Social Democrat administration in Berlin and the Trade Unionists who opposed the strike. The communists distributed leaflets showing the names and addresses of those trade unionists. This placed them and their families in danger of attack by the communist and Nazi goon squads the RFB and SA. Before the Nazi regime was defeated, millions of innocent lives were lost.

As we see on some American campuses, the “Lumpen” are not necessarily uneducated. Also many of the “Lumpen,” led by Osama bin Laden, and his brutal allies who have been cutting off heads in Iraq, are highly educated.

In the United States, the power of the Klan was destroyed when conservatives fought back. From 1965 to 1967, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, under the leadership of both Democratic and Republican conservatives investigated the Klan. I was an investigator for the committee at the time, but had only a small part of this investigation. My colleagues penetrated the Deep South gathering evidence on the Klan that was then presented in open hearings. The result was eight Klan leaders went to federal prison for refusing to testify truthfully to the committee. Half of the Klan membership then drifted away.

At the same time the FBI, under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, used newly passed legislation to penetrate the Klan. Their work resulted in the jailing of more Klan officials and soon the Klan was a mere shadow of its former self.

The demagogues who promoted the hate slogans during the election campaign may not even feel the hate they preach. The hate Bush slogans sounded good at their cocktail parties. But they should learn something from history about this dangerous tactic. When the “Lumpen” are awakened, as in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, they commit horrible atrocities. I thought we had learned this from history. Hopefully we will not have to learn it again.

Herbert Romerstein, a long time congressional investigator, during the Reagan administration headed the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the United States Information Agency.

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