by William Skink
I got a book in the mail yesterday, one I had been eagerly anticipating. It’s by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke and it’s titled Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity.
Mary Poole and the rest of the moms in her book club, where the inspiration to open a resettlement office in Missoula happened, should read this book. Here’s just a snip from the introduction:
In the 1980s and 1990s, the far right witnessed a dramatic revival in Europe and America, especially among an alienated white youth and lower-income groups increasingly marginalized by new high-tech industries and the advancing integration of ethnic minorities in their communities. The fast increase of Hispanic and Third World immigration in the United States and corresponding immigration from developing countries into Western Europe has fueled fresh fears of racial inundation. The collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia has led to further migrations involving Gypsies and East European nationals to Western Europe. Free-trade agreements, the collapse of traditional manufacturing industries and the export of service jobs abroad through computer communications are stimulating racism and hostility toward liberalism.
Globalization is unleashing a massive flow of capital, information, skills and personnel across national borders. The Western world is now rapidly moving through a period of far-reaching structural transformation. Borders are increasingly permeable. Skilled workers, economic migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are migrating in increasing numbers into the advanced industrial countries. The arrival there of increasing numbers of immigrant peoples confronts traditional national culture with unfamiliar customs, norms and religions. At the beginning of our new century, the very idea of the nation-state is hard-pressed by these cultural trends. A century later, liberalism and laissez-faire capitalism are again seen as the motors of unwelcome and threatening change. And once again, extremist nationalist reaction echoes folkish ideas by concentrating on defensive ideologies of race to counter threats to national and cultural identity.
This books was published in 2003, before the Neocon/Neolib consensus of perpetual war created the worst refugee crisis since WWII. The right-wing response to these conditions have returned Neo-Nazism and other forms of white supremacy to a position of cultural prominence. American politicians don’t seem to have a problem with this when it’s located in countries like Ukraine and directed at Russian speaking citizens, but when it starts bubbling up into mainstream politics via Donald Trump, watch out.
When Mary Poole’s book club is done with that book, they can read this piece by Dave Crisp about how difficult it is in Montana for poor people to get legal help:
An aging population, suicidal and homeless kids, Indian child welfare cases, rising domestic violence—Yellowstone County caregivers and advocates laid out a litany of legal troubles during a forum Wednesday.
In presentations at the Billings Access to Justice Forum at the Mansfield Health Education Center, many witnesses called for more money and more resources. For Montana residents with little money or with disabilities, legal help is too expensive and too hard to find, witnesses said.
“State funding for victims’ access to justice is critical,” said Erin Lambert, director of programs at the YWCA, which hired its own staff attorney to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence. The YWCA has served 30 victims in just the last two months, she said.
Other witnesses said legal help was needed to fight not just abusers but government bureaucrats. One witness, identified only as Vicky, said she fought a two-year battle with Medicare before obtaining a $3,000 scooter that helps her carry on daily life while coping with cerebral palsy.
“I didn’t know where to go or what to do,” she said.
Vicky was among the lucky few Montanans who get legal help through the Montana Legal Services Association, said Alison Paul, director of the association.
“They won the lottery,” she said.
If you’re poor and disabled in Montana, getting legal help is tantamount to winning the lottery. This is coming from people on the front lines in Montana who see the lack of resources and the dire need every day. For some people, especially women fleeing domestic violence, it’s a matter of life and death.
The link above is to a news story from last year reporting that, by September, Montana had already seen a record number of people killed by their domestic partners:
The number of people in Montana killed by their spouses or partners has reached a new record.
“We’re in the middle of a bad year,” Matt Dale, executive director of the Office of Victim Service at the Montana Department of Justice, told the Legislative Law & Justice Interim Committee on Tuesday.
Sixteen people have been killed in 2015 in Montana by their current or former spouses or partners, or were children killed in such incidents.
That’s the highest number since the state started tabulating such “intimate partner homicides” in 2000 — and the year’s not over.
“We still have October, November, December left, and many years it’s the final quarter, those last three months, we see actually a spike,” Dale said.
Undaunted, the do-gooders will continue their efforts. Here’s how a Missoula Current piece concludes:
Other cities in the state have contacted Soft Landing hoping to follow suit, including organizers in Helena and Bozeman. As for Missoula, Poole said, the community has stepped up to help resolve a pressing global challenge, even if the answers don’t come easily.
“We’re not talking about hundreds of refugees being placed here once,” she said. “We’re talking about a few families at a time. We’ll have the flexibility and time to figure out what the needs are, and we definitely have the excitement in our community to do this.”
Good job, ladies. I’m so glad you are helping to resolve this pressing global challenge. Who cares that our state can’t meet the current needs of our poor, our disabled, our mentally ill? Who cares that American foreign policy created this mess, and electing Hillary Clinton will make it worse? Who cares that suicides are rampant and meth is permeating our state? There are refugees to save, and thanks to the insanity of American foreign policy, saving refugees appears to be a growth industry.