Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Home Where The White Supremacists Roam

Larry Kurtz, the gadfly of the South Dakota blogosphere, frequently ends his posts or comments with "Rewild the West." Leith, North Dakota is discovering the downside to "rewilding." Paul Craig Cobb, a white supremacist has been buying up land in Leith in an effort to create a white supremacist enclave. The community has fewer that thirty residents including one African-American

According the New York Times, Cobb has given the abandoned creamery that he purchased to the National Socialist Movement. Cobb claims that four other white supremacists have purchased land in the town. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that April Gaede, who had promulgated a similar plan for Kalispell Montana, owns property in the community.

Talking Points Memo reports that Cobb has transferred property to Tom Metzger, former Grand Wizard of Klu Klux Klan and founder of the White Aryan Resistance. Metzger observes that plans like Cobb's don't work and indicates Cobb is taking the wrong approach:
That doesn’t mean he’s any closer to enacting his plan. Metzger said he likes Cobb but that declared plans for white enclaves never work and that he will not be joining Cobb in Leith.
“I think it’s better just to have people move in quietly, have a job, operate a regular daily life and get along with their neighbors,” he said. “I wouldn’t go into a town pushing my weight around.”
The New York Times reports Cobb may not expect his plan to succeed:
It is difficult to tell whether Mr. Cobb wants or expects his vision for Leith to succeed.
Although he said that four fellow white nationalists have bought or acquired some of his plots, he said he did not know if or when they would be moving to the town, nor would he push the issue on them.
The Times report also shows Cobb to be something of a raconteur:
In rapid-fire speech, Mr. Cobb cuts through a vast trove of facts and thoughts in his head, inevitably veering toward racial slurs. But he maintained a soft, calm tone, and was friendly when chatting with a black reporter who knocked on his door this week. He said he admired Louis Farrakhan because “he organizes people and they’re for themselves.”
But in that interview he also said that he hoped his plans in Leith would “excite” white people and “give them confidence because we’re being deracinated in our own country. We’ve been very, very tolerant about these major sociological changes.”
His beliefs began developing at an early age, he said — he read Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” when he was 11. To hear him tell it, he has had a colorful, nomadic life that has brought him face to face with James (Whitey) Bulger (the mob boss piloted the tugboat he rode to boarding school in Boston) and Barack Obama (he claims to have driven the future president in his taxi in Hawaii in the early 1980s). 
It's also entirely likely that Cobb has a perverse sense of humor and hopes to change the name of the town to Hitler so that people traveling from the west will see the road sign for Heil, North Dakota and a few miles later see one for Hitler.

When Kurtz refers to "rewilding," he is of course advocating a form of the buffalo commons. Even if such rewilding is the best option, there will be a return to the Wild West before the West is "rewilded." That period opens the door to people like Cobb. Even if Cobb doesn't succeed, others will certainly try. Both Dakotas have dozens of towns with cheap property that an enterprising white supremacist, drug dealer, or cultist can purchase. They may be successful because they will have patients and not love publicity as Cobb seems to.

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