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The Buffalo Terrorist and the Global Anchorage of Racism

A person looks at a memorial to the victims of the shooting in Buffalo, which occurred on May 14.

Photo: SPENCER PLATT

The recent racist massacre in Buffalo has a global history that precedes it. In fact, the terrorist’s 180-page “manifesto” praises Argentina on its front page, because of its supposed racial situation. The murderer idealizes the South American country through racist and delusional lies, and says that Argentina is the only “white” country with a high birth rate that would defend it from the enemies of the white race. Where does this delusional fantasy of a “white Argentina” come from?

Argentina is a diverse country, often open, tolerant and generous. Also, like many, it has a long history of various fascisms and racisms.

The “great replacement theory”

the terrorist of buffalo adheres to the so-called “great replacement theory”, whose origins go back to the ideas of social degeneration and scientific racism of the late nineteenth century. According to them, Western civilizing superiority had to be maintained biologically and culturally to avoid chaos and social collapse. This ideology was widely accepted by political elites in several countries on both sides of the Atlantic, giving rise to eugenic, segregationist, anti-immigration, and eventually fascist and genocidal policies.

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In the 1930s, the Nazis radicalized the lie of a Jewish conspiracy, whose purpose was to organize the mixture of races, giving rise to an extermination of white populations on a world scale. From then on, the idea of ​​”white genocide” was used by fascist and related organizations during the Cold War to justify political violence in the name of the existential defense of ethnic nationalisms.

In the 1970s, the Latin American Anticommunist Confederation introduced notions of “genocide and white supremacy,” which influenced the doctrines of the agencies responsible for Operation Condor. The dictatorships of Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay were receptive to such ideas, due, in part, to the presence of ex-Nazis and exustaše (Croatian terrorist organization based on religious racism and allied with Nazism) in high positions.

The Latin American military junta perceived itself as warriors in a historic crusade against a global conspiracy and as defenders of Western Christian civilization. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was strong transatlantic cooperation between operatives of the junta, European neo-fascist paramilitary organizations such as the P2, the apartheid governments of Rhodesia and South Africa, and elements of the American far right.

These relationships bore fruit during the genocidal wars and massacres in Central America, in which Argentina had direct participation by sending expert “advisors” in illegal repression. This allows us to understand where the delirium of a Latin America with a central role in the defense of the West comes from.

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Let’s not forget that the Buffalo terrorist also says that this racial struggle could start in countries like Argentina or Venezuela, and even mentions Uruguay as one of the countries “anchored in the white race”, along with Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and the United States. Why does the terrorist put Argentina in a central place? This emphasis on the Latin American nation can only be understood in terms of shared histories and fascist traditions, transnational racist fantasies.

They are the global memories of international fascism. In Internet forums, the extremists of global neo-fascism admire the Argentine dictatorship and also Augusto Pinochet as actors to be emulated.

While one of the founders of Argentine fascism, Leopoldo Lugones, defended Argentine imperialism for its “white” superiority over other Latin American nations, the generals of the last military dictatorship (1976-1983), who killed tens of thousands of citizens in their “dirty war”, launched in the name of the “Christian West”, used a similar logic.

In 1976, General Videla underlined the global nature of the conflict: “The fight against subversion is not exhausted in a purely military dimension. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It has political, economic, social, cultural and psychological dimensions.”

Ideas of replacement and invasion and paranoid fantasies about the expansion and migration of non-white Europeans are central to the Argentine fascist tradition. The infamous statements of General Albano Harguindeguy, Minister of the Interior under the Argentine dictatorship, can only be understood from this historical perspective. In 1978, he spoke of the need to encourage European immigration so that Argentina could “remain one of the three whitest countries in the world.”

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This explicit racism in Argentina took the form of an open acknowledgment of the need to eradicate other “non-European” expressions from the nation. The depth and scope of this desire was manifested, once again, in the concentration camps, which functioned as clandestine detention and torture centers, in which racism and anti-Semitism took center stage.

The fight against the enemy had no limits. International cooperation between fascist and white supremacist organizations continued after the Cold War ended. If before they fought to defeat communism in Angola, Chile or Nicaragua, now the enemy was Islam and multiculturalism, which the anti-Semitic delirium considers is financed by Judaism.

The attacks in Utøya, Munich, Pittsburgh, El Paso, Christchurch and now Buffalo, among others, are the continuation of fascist violence against minorities to whom, in their ideological delirium, they attribute the future destruction of Western civilization and Christian values .

The fascism it is and has always been transnational. You can’t understand this American story with ideas of exceptionalism, because almost nothing is exceptional in American fascist traditions. In any case, it is understandable that much attention has been paid to the local dimensions of the phenomenon, if not so much to American history. But what has been completely ignored until now are the global stories of fascism behind these attacks.

* Federico Finchelstein is professor of history at the New School for Social Research. Emmanuel Guerisoli is a lawyer and is doing a doctorate in sociology and history at the New School for Social Research.

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Source: Elespectador

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