tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 17, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
08/17/17 08/17/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: so this week it is robert ely. i noticed stonewall jackson is coming down. is it george washington next week and thomas jefferson the week after? you really have to ask yourself, where does it stop? amy: as president faces growing outrage over his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in charlottesville, virginia, we will bring you an exclusive -- an interview with two of the great-great-grandson''s of
confederate general stonewall jackson. .> i am warren christitian my brother and i are calling for the removal of his statue on monument i'm n new in richmondn, virginia, because we believe the monument is an ongoing symbol of racism in the united states. amy: you will also speak with the former neo-nazi who founded the group life after hate, an organization that fights white supremacy. it was recently stripped of its fufunding by the trump administration. >> time went on and i became a respectful leader both locally and regionally, and then it grew to nationally and internationally. i started a band that was singing racist music that was used to recrcruit people. it was a powerful topic and it'll for young people to adhere to. amy: after the funding was cut after urging from trump adviser who worksgorka's wife
for r the department of homeland security. then we go to fargo, north dakota, to equip a man whose uncle -- to speak with a man whose uncle marched in charlottesville. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in charlottesville, virginia, mourners gathered wednesday for a memorial service for heather heyer, who was killed saturday when a 20-year-old white supremacist named james alex fields plowed his car into a crowd of anti-fascist demonstrators. heyer was a long-time anti-racist activist who repeatedly championed civil rights issues on social media. this is heather's mother susan bro. >> remember in your heart, if you are not outraged, you're not paying attention. and i want you to pay attention.
find whahat is wrong, don't igne it. don't look the other way. make a point to look at it and said yourself, what can i do to make a difference? and that is how you're going to make my child's death worthwhile. i would rather have my child, but by golly, if i got to give her up, we're going to make it count. [applause] amy: the funeral came after charlottesville anti-racist organizer tyler magill suffered a stroke on tuesday that friends say was brought on by injuries that the 46-year-old sustained when a neo-nazi protester hit him with a burning torch last friday. doctors say the stroke likely resulted from blunt force trauma to magill's neck. meanwhile, two women injured in the terror attack that killed heather heyer filed suit against james alex fields, the driver of the car, along with white supremacist organizers behind the "unite the right" event.
the pair were among 19 injured in the attack. they're seeking nearly $3.5 million in damages. on wednesday night, 1000 people gathered for a candlelight vigil on the university of virginia campus to call for peace, later marching on the same route used by hundreds of neo-nazis and white nationalists in their torchlight march last friday. in philadelphia, thousands of demonstrators marched against last weekend's violence in a rally dubbed "philly is charlottesville." and in berlin, germany, hundreds gathered at the brandenburg gate to protest against neo-nazi groups. this is one of the demonstrators. >> i am here because i'm against nazis. my grandfather fought against nazis and the second world war, and i think it is a disgrace the donald trump is not t against nanazis. amamy: president t trump grew increasingly isolated wednesday
for repeatedly blaming both sides for last weekend's violence in charlottesville, as lawmakers, generals and prominent republicans separated their positions from trump by condemning white nationalists and neo-nazis. in a statement, former presidents george h.w. and george w. bush said -- "america must always reject racial bigotry, anti-semitism, and hatred in all forms." their statement came as president trump disbanded a pair of business advisory councils wednesday as more ceo's exited the groups in protest of trump's failure to fully condemn white nationalists. after the heads of 3m and the campbell soup company became the latest to resign wednesday, trump tweeted -- "rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the manufacturing council & strategy & policy forum, i am ending both. thank you all!"
according to reports, president trump knew at that point that the business leaders w were all quitting the council. u.s. military leaders also condemned white supremacist groups wednesday, with top generals of the air foforce, ar, navy, marines, national guard, and u.s. joint chiefs of staff all issuing statements against racial hatred. the condemnations came a after t emerged that the leader of thehe vanguard amemerica neo-nazi hate group that rallied in charlottesville was a marine corps recruiter. the head of the department of veterans affairs, david shulkin, also spoke out wednesday. out and i'mking giving my personal opinions as an american and as a jewish american. for me in particular, i think in learning history, that we know staying silent on these issues is simply not acceptable.
i am not going to in any way condone the behavior or the believes of the nazis are white supremacists. this is affront t to american ideals. this is an affront to civilization. amy: fallout from president trump's handling of the charlottesville violence came amid revelations that the trump administration recently cut funds to organizations dedicated to fighting right-wing violence. one group, life after hate, which works to help white nationalists and neo-nazis disengage from hate and violent extremism, was set to receive a grant under the dhs's countering violent extremism program, approved by the obama administration. when trump dhs policy adviser katharine gorka released the final list of grantees in june, life after hate had been eliminated. gorka is the wife of trump adviser sebastian gorka, who has been linked to a hungarian
far-right, nazi-allied group. later in the broadcast, we will speak with the group's founder, life after hate founder, christian picciolini. meanwhile, leaders of four congressioional caucuses are demanding the whwhite house fire senior aides sebastitian gorka, steve bannon, and stephen miller over their white supremacist views. in a letetter to president trur, the congressional asiaiapacific-american, spanic, progogressive and blblak caucuses wrotete -- "we are deeply concerned that their continued influence on u.s. policy emboldens and tacitly approves the ideological extremism that leads white supremacists to spread violence and d hatred." the e letter c came as steve ba, president t trump's chief strategist, grgranted an extraordinary interview with robert kuttner of the liberal magazine "the american prospect." in an article titled, "steve bannon, unrepentant," the former breitbart news editor dececlared
there is no military solution to the north korean nuclear crisis. and bannon said the u.s. should engage in an e economic war w wt chinina. bannon said he is looking to neutralize rivals in the departments of defense, state, and treasury, and criticized the white supremacists behind last week and violence in charlottesville, calling them at no nationalists and a collection of clowns. bannon is the former head of breitbart news, the site that is been described as an online haven for white nationalists. it is not their weathervane a new his comments were on the record. the new site reported one unnamed white house staffer said payments, collection infuriated him m as saying "i will put thts in terms he will understand. this is deaf gone one level bad." the city of greensboro, north carolina, has apologized for its role in a 1979 incident that saw american nazis and members of
the ku klux klan open fire on anti-fascist protesters, killing five people and wounding 10 others. tuesday's s 7-1 vote by the greensboro city council acknowledges there were no police officers present to protect demonstrators against white nationalist violence. all of the killers were later acquitted in state and federal criminal trials, though a civil case found some of the klansmen liable for one of the deaths. attorney general jeff sessions joint commendation -- commendation. despite making recess, slot is greater, including reportedly saying he thought the ku klux klan was "ok until i found out they smoked pot." meanwhile, sessions repeated his threats to withhold justice department grant the so-called sanctuary cities whose police officers refused to act ass the
factor immigration enforcement agents. do far broader damage to the country than many understand at its root, at its root it is a rejection of our immigration of open a d declaration borders. amy: in syria, the journalistic monitoring group air wars reports u.s.-led airstrikes on raqqa killed at least 29 civilians and wounded scores of others tuesday and wednenesday. among the dead were three children -- marwa, mariam, and ahmad mazen shehab -- who were killed along with their mother. the e latest civililian deaths e asas displaced residents at a cp north of raqqa said extreme summer heat and a lack of resources was making life unbearable. this is yousef faddawi, who fled raqqa with his family. once aet eight act as month,h, and 90% of the people e
selling the packages in order to survive. in regards to health care, it is really bad. if someone is bit biased they scorpion, a snake or they might die. there's no first eight here at all. amy: in the e gaza strip suicide , a bomber detonated at the border crossing with egypt wednesday, killing a member of hamas and wounding several others. palestinian authorities said the bomber was a member of isis, which would mark the first time the group has targeted hamas inside the israeli-controlled territory. the violence came as gazans continue to suffer under extreme shortages of electricity brought on by israeli cutbacks supported by hamas's rival fateh party in the west bank. this is khan yunis resident muna abu nemr. >> there is no electricity. we barely get it for two hours and barely managed to charge our mobile phones. this is not a way to live. electricity for eight hours, and now it is two hours.s. what can we do i in two hours?
amy: last month, the united nations warned israel's blockade and electricity cuts have made gaza unlivable for its more than 2 million residents. in washington, d.c., trade representatives of the u.s., canada and mexico openened talks wednesesday to regegotiate nafaa ---- the north a american free e agreement. the trump administration is pressing canada and mexico for concessions, claiming nafta is tilted against the united states. meanwhile, thousands of indigenous activists, workers and campesinos marched in mexico city calling for an end to wednesday nafta. this is mexican farmers' representative jose narro cespedes. thentil now, the effects of treaty have been negative for the country's indigenous people and for rural community from a bubblegum for the sector dedicated to small agriculture. amy: after nafta went into effect in 1994, an estimated 2 million agricultural workers left mexico's rural areas for cities, as subsidized u.s. corn and other staples flooded the mexican market.
in the philippines, police killed 26 people in drdrug raids across the capital manila overnight, continuing what h hun rights groups are calling the bloodiest week yet of prpresidet rodrigo duterte's so-called war on drugs. the killings followed d 32 more deaths the previous night during police raids in bulacan province. authorities insisted those killed died in shootouts with police, but human rights groups say most of the dead were summarily executed by police. filipino security foforces and vigilantes have killed m more tn 7000 suspected drug users and dealers since duterte launched his campaign against d drugs lat year.. and in sports news, seattle seahawks star michael bennett sat on the sidelines during the playing of the national anthem sunday ahead of a pre-season game against the los angeles chargers. bennett said last weekend's neo-nazi violence in charlottesville, virginia, inspired him to take a stand. >> i just want to be able to use
the platform to be able to continue to speak on injustices -- first of all, i want people to understand i love the military. my father was in the military. i love hot dogs s like any other american. i love football like any other american. i don't love sergegei shen.. i don't love riots. gender.love i just want pepeople to ve equality that they deserve. amy: to see our extended interview, go to democracynow.org. meanwhile, nba star lebron james took a jab at president trump tuesday during a charitable fundraiser, calling trump the "so-called president of the united states" during a speech calling for r healing after the weekend's violence in charlottesville. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
i'm amy goodman. momentum is growing across the country to remove confederate statues in the wake of saturday's deadly white supremacist and neo-nazi rally in charlottesville, virginia. at least 1500 symbols of the confederacy can be found in public spaces across the country. according to the southern poverty lalaw center, most of tm were built during the early decades of jim crow or in reaction to the civil rights movement. not after the civil war. but now a number of the monuments are coming down. -- underore, the city orders from the mayor -- has just removed all four of itsts confederate statues. in durham, north carolina, protesters toppled a confederate statue after a college student named takiyah thompson climbed up a ladder and looped a rope around the top of the confederate soldiers. she appeared on democracy now! jujust before going to court on
wednesday. thend i did this because statute is a symbol of nationalism. it is a symbol of what nationalism. and the type i'm talking about is the type of white nationalism that is sending me death threats on facebook. the type of white natioionalist that has killed a woman in a protest. amy: meanwhile, on wedndnesday,n brooooklyn, new york, , the vise chururch - -- episcopal church remomoved two plaques s honoring robert e. lee. on monday a monument to confederate soldiers in gainesville, florida, was also removed. and several other confederate monuments are slated to be removed across the country. on wednesday, virginia governor terry mcmcauliffffe encouraged l local governments to removove confederate monuments, saying they have become flashpoinints r hatred, division, and violence. and the calls for the removal of the statues are even coming from
the descendants of the leaders of the confederacy. today, an exclusive interview with two of the great-great-grandsons of confederate general stonewall jackson. jack and warren christian have just written an open letter to the mayor of richmond calling for the e removal of t the stonl jackson statue in richmond. they write -- "our sense of justice leads us to believe that removing the stonewall statue and other monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities that hundreds of years of white supremacy have wrought. we hope other descendants of confederate generals will stand with us." jack christian joins us from warnrn massachusetts, and christian is i in raleigh, north carolina. jack and warren, welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you both with us. talk about why you have decided
to speak out right now. let's begin with jack christian. think, it is a product of something we have been thinking about and feeling for a long while now, but was also very spurred by what we saw in charlottesville, particularly, in durham, pulling down their confederate monument. i toinspired warren and feel like this was the time to write this letter. , in warren christian baltimore, under cover of night two nights ago, the mayor had four confederate monuments pulled down. one of them was a monument of your great-great-grandfather
stonewall jackson. your thoughts today and how you came together with jack to call for the removal of not only monuments to your great-great-grandfather, but all other confederate monuments? >> yes, like jack said, this is something that we felt for a long time. i think it is very clear if you look at the context in which h e monuments were put up, they were celebratingwere not benign war heroes. they were clearly meant to be things that would intimidate black people and further white supremacy in the u.s. where i work at unc, there is a prominent confederate memorial, monument, statue right in the heart of campus. and since i have been at the university of north carolina, i
have wanted for that statue to be removed and felt like speaking out about it. and now, finally, kind of got the courage to do so. i think jack and i, along with our parents, mixed feelings, mixed emotions about being direct descendents of stonewall jackson. it is not something i widely share outside of a very close group of friends. so this is really kind of a coming out in a sort. the -- the other thing is, in some ways, i don't feel like it should matter too much, you know, how we feel about the statues, but i do understand that it does -- it is important to some folks how we feel about it. for example, the statue at the university of north carolina, when it was put up, the speaker julian carr, a prominent local businessman, talk a lot about how the confederate soldiers
were working to save the anglo-saxon race. and then disgustingly, at the end of his speech, he bragged duty having his "pleasant of force whipping a black woman in front of 100 federal soldiers and leaving her clothes in tatters." i think the intent of these monuments is clear. i think it is past time they're all removed from the public squares in this country. amy: you work at the university of north carolina? >> yes. i am somewhat disgusted walking past that statue on campus. i can only imagine how it feels to students of color, in particular am a black students who have to walk by it on their way to class. presidentyou told the
of the university or other students -- you said you have kept pretty quiet about this until now. but about your desires to have that monument to your great-great-grandfather removed? >> not in a public forum, but i would say, i would like that statue, of course, removed. i think the university of north carolina, there are a lot of great people doing great work to students of color and black students. and having ththis monument on campus completely goes against that spirit. amy: jack, and you tell us who stonewall jackson was? >> yes. i will do my best. it is funny, serendipitous almost, that this summer earlier in the summer, i had started reading the biography from a few "ears ago called "rebel yell
that humanizes stonewall inn some new ways. he is famous -- he got his nickname for standing in battle and not being pushed back by federal forces -- if i'm not mistaken -- and the first bull run and other confederate generals observed him standing like that was standing like a stone wall. that is where his neck and comes from. -- nickname comes from. after that, the valley campaign he waged in the western part of virginia in the shenandoah valley where he was a much smaller force, was able to hold off union forces for a long time, which had the effect of greatly extending the civil war in all likelihood.
so that is who he was as a soldier. as a person, he was very complicated. he was an orphan who did well academically and graduated high in his class. in his adult life, he did own slaves. he also was very religious. as part of his religious calling, he taught sunday school to enslaved peoples where he lived in lexington, virginia, which was, in my understanding of it, at least controversial, if not an illegal thing to do. so this is sort of the person that we have, kind of all of our lives, been thinking about, grappling with. that iss my thumbnail sketch of him. amy: we're going to go to break and come back to this discussion, then go to fargo, north dakota comompanies equip a
nephew of f one of the white supremacists who marched in charlottesville this past weekend. the white supremacist's father wrote an open letter on facebook saying thehe family was disownig his son, was disowning his white supremacist son. and we're going to speak with a recovering white supremacist, who is part of an organization called life after hate. this is democracy now!, our exclusive intervrview withth the great-great-grandsons of stonewall jackson. we will also hear after the break, them reading a part of the letter that they have written calling for monuments to their great-great-grandfather to be taken down around the country. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we bring you this exclusive interview with two of the great-great-grandsons of the confederate general stonewall jackson, let's go back to president trump speaking at this fiery, unhinged news conference he had on tuesday in trump tower here in new york. pres. trump: so this week is robert e lee. i noticed stonewall jackson is coming down. i wonder, is a george washington next week and is a thomas severson the week after? yet as herself, where does it stop? amy:y: that was president trumu. weird joined by jack and warren christian two great-great-grandsons stonewall jackson, who have written a letter calling for the removal of the stonewall jackson statue in richmond, virginia. i was wondering if you could both read a part of this open letter you britain.
>> i would be glad to. i'm going to read the first couple of paragraphs and warren is going to read the last couple. mayorwrite -- not "dear members of the commission, we are the great-great-grandsons of stonewall jackson. esther the closest living relatives to stonewall, we are writing today to ask for the removal of his statue as well as the removal of all other confederate statues from monument avenue. they are over racism and white supremacy and a time is long overdue for them to depart from public display. overnight, tonight to go now, baltimore has seen fit to take this action. richmond should, too. in making this request, we wish to express our respect and admiration for mayor stony's leadership, while strongly
disagreeing with his claim that removal of symbols does nothing for telling the actual truth. view, the removal of the jackson statue and others will necessarily for difficult conversations about racial justice. he will begin to tell the truth of all of us coming to our senses." we go on to detail some of our russian now and family history -- rationale and family history. warren is going to read some of the last few paragraphs. >> ongoing racial disparities in incarceration, educational ,ttainment, police brutality hiring practices, access to health care, and perhaps most starkly wealth, make it clear these monuments do not stand somehow outside of history. racism and white supremacy, which undoubtedly continue
today, are neither natural nor inevitable. rather, they were created in order to justify the unjustifiable. in particular, slavery. one thing that bonds our extended family besides our common ancestor is that many have worked often as clergy and educators for justice in their communities. while we do not purport to speak for all of stonewall's kin, arsons of justice leads us to believe that removing the stonewall statue and other monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities the hundreds of years of white supremacy have brought. we hope other descendents of confederate general will stand with us. as cities all over the south are realizing now, we are not in need of added content. we are in need of a new context, when in n which h the statues he been t taken down.
amy: those of the words of jack and warren christian, the great-great-grandsonons the confedererate general stonewall jackson, c calling for thehe rel of his monuments in richmond. you calling for the removal of his monument around the country? calling for the removal of his monument in richmond firstly, but our argument is monumentsonfederate and symbols should be reremoved from public display. amy: you take a different approach than urgent haste davis, the great-great-grandson of the confederate president jefferson davis, who talks about contextualizing monuments. he is not in the dust against moving them into museums, but really emphasizes this issue of contextualizing. warren, your response to that? >> i think the context is that they were put up in support of this muyth of the lost cause of
the confederate soldiers were fighting kind of a noble fight in that doesn't get the full weight to the fact that they were fighting to continue the institution of slavery. and -- amy: that is an interesting point you raise, is that these confederate monuments did not go up right after the civil war, but decadedes later with the rie of the klan and the introduction of jim crow laws. -- id that is why i think don't think any american,, especially black americans, should be forced to pass these symbols of white supremacy on their way to work, church, school. i don't think -- i don't think -- i think it is part of our national healing, we're still clearly, in my eyes, dealing with the affect of slavery, of
jim crow, of segregation, of racist policies like redlining. and i think removing the monument, in my eyes, is just a small step that is necessary for racial healing in the country, along g with many other muchch larger steps that are necessary. amy: speaking about a proposed gettysburg memorial, in 1869, confederate general robert e lee said "i think it wise or not to keep open the source of war, but to follow the example of those nations who enendeavor to obliterate the marks of civil strife to commit to oblivion, the feelings engendered. so even the confederate general who has, i don't know how many monuments of his likeness come saidm around the countryry, there should not be confedererae monuments, jack. i wanted to ask if you would invite talking about whether you have your families support, for
example, your parents. we have not talked directly to our parents, although, we sent the letter to them. but we very much believe that we have their support and know that this works really in the spirit in which they brought us up, working to fight for justice. ups went -- this letter went about midnight eastern time last night, and i have been heartened to see others in our extended family have already reached out and said, "thank you," and that they appreciate what we have said. we certainly have not heard from everyone, but the response from our family -- and i've even got response from other people who have confederates in their ancestry that have said they feel similarly.
so we are very heartened by the response. amy: as you watched what happened in charlottesville, do you feel like there is a kind of new civivil war in this country? >> i certainly hope not. i was sickened by what we saw. i hadn't thought about it in quite so stark of terms, but i have thought about it where we definitely are at incredibly tense in stratified moments. i think that we need to all take steps to have these conversations and to heal ourselves. amy: i wanted to read you a quote from steve bannon, who reportedly is under fire in the white house, who knows if that
is true, but he did an interview with bob kuttner of the american prospect, the magazine, and said -- "president trump, by asking, 'where does this all end' -- washington, jefferson, lincoln -- connects with the american people about their history, culture and traditions. the race-identity politics of the left wants to say it's all racist. just give me more. tear down more statues. say the revolution is coming. i can't get enough of it." jack, your response? >> i wondered if you're going ask about that, and i listened to this on the news on my way in to the tv station this morornin. ironically, part of trump's statement has to do -- i'm choosing my words carefully -- part of trump's statement has to do with a larger conversation that is taking place and that needs to take place, where we recognize that thomas jefferson and george washington were also white
supremacists and slaveowners and we think about that history. for an online magazine had a funny but apt take that says, "leave it to trump to have a woke take thomas jefferson." truth orhere is some dizziness pithiness there. amy: you are both teaeachers? >> yes. amy: what will you be telling or students today? until september 6 to think about what i will tell them. i am in the fortunate position of working with international students, so it is really great -- when they come to the u.s., they very quickly,
if they haven't before they got here, realize that race is a huge issue in the u.s., but they still haven't fully formed their decisions. so what i try to do is always, in contextualizing with the situation surrounding race is in the u.s., is starting with slavery and segregation and making sure they understand that history to see how it has led us where we are today is the and because they don't have so much kind of skin in the game, they're often very receptive to those messages in a way that workrking with american students is having discussions about race can be much more difficult. amamy: warren and jack him as sa he's a much for being g with us. i think you have taught this whole country a lot today. jack and warren christian, the great great-grandsons of stonewall jackson, written a joint letter calling for the removal of the stonewall jackson statue in richmond, virginia will stop we will link to your letter at democracynow.org.
when we come back, we will be joined by y a nephew of one of e white supremacists who marched in charlottesville, virginia. we will talk about his family's reaction t to the extremist acactivism, disavowing him, disowning him. and we will speak with the head of an organization of what's from assists -- what supremacists who have changed their ways. it is called life after hate. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: t this is democracy nowow!, democracynow.org, ththe war and peace report. i'm amy y goodman. on wednesdaday night, hundreds f -- 1000 people gathered for a candlelight vigil on the university of virginia campus to call for peace, later marching on the same route used by neo-nazis and white nationalists
in their torchlight march last friday. earlier in the day, a memorial service was held in charlottesville to remember heather heyer, the 32-year-old woman who died on saturday after she was run down by a neo-nazi named james alex fields. heyer had repeatedly championed civil rights issues on social media. her facebook cover read, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." her favorite color purple, which so many people wore at the memorial serervice yesterday. this is heather's mother susan bro. hearts, if in your you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. and i want you to pay attention. find what is wrong, don't ignore it. don't look the other way. make a point to look at it and said yourself, what can i do to make a difference? and that is how you're going to make my child's death worthwhile. , would rather have my child but by golly, if i had to give
her up, we're going to make it count. [applause] amy: heather heyer is the latest casualty in a number of deaths at the hands of white nationalists. foreign policy has revealed the existence of a recent fbi and department of homeland securitiy bulletin that t concluded white supremacist groups were "responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016. more than any other domestic extremist movement." the fbi and department of homeland security report went on to state "racial minorities have been the primary victims of violence. the second most common victims were other caucasians and other white supremacists perceived as disloyal to the white supremacist extremism movement." despite the fbi and department of homeland security findings, the trump administration recently cut funds to groups dedicated to fighting right-wing violence. one o of the groups, life after hate, which works to help white nationalists and neo-nazis disengage from hate and violent
extremism, was set to receive a grant t under the dhs's counterg violent extremism program, approved by the obama administration. when trump dhs policy adviser katharine gorka released the final list of grantees in june, life after hate had been eliminated. gorka is the wife of trump adviser sebastian gorka, who has been linked to a hungarian far-right, nazi-allied group. for more, we are joined by christian picciolini, cofounder of life after hate. he was a leading neo-nazi skinhead gang member and far right extremist in the 1980's and 1990's. author of "romantic violence: memoirirs of an american skinhead." welcome to democracy now! talk about your response to what happened in charlottesville. >> well, i think i went to bed, amy, on sunday with a sick feeling in my estimate like most americans did. but have to take what i saw last night was a community gathering together was what america means
to me. i saw people of all different races from all different colors, creeds, religions, gathered together to pay homage to a woman who essentially gave her life to fight something that is very un-american. and that gives me hope. that gives me hope for america because i know that we want to be able to l live in a country wherere we can get along, wheree have equal justice, were the systems of racism and the institution are rebooted so that they are fair for everybody. i think this is a turning point for america because i think we can stop sweeping and under the rug and thinking we don't have a problem here. it is time to face it head on and make sure it doesn't happen again. amy: when did you become a white supremacist? >> i was recruited in 1987 at 14 years old. i was in chicacago. that was the homome and birthple of the american neo-nazi skinhead movement.
i was standing in an alley of 14 years old and i man pulled his joint.as i was smoking a he came over to me and said, don't you know that is what the communist and jews what you to do to keep udall style? at 14, i had been bullied. i did not know what a communist "docile"en the word meant. this man gave me an identity and fed my sense of purpose. while it was all misdirected, being marginalized and disaffected and feeling abandoned, i was willing to trade in the feeling of power when i felt the most powerless for something that was evil and eventually swallowed whole. amy: can you talk about the groups you were in and what you did? >> i was a member of the chicago area skinhnhead, whihich was americica's first neo-nazi skinhead groroup. i eventually became the leader when the man who recruited me, who was the firirst skinhead, wt to prison.
i became the leader of this infamous group will stop we were involved in acts of violence. our primary goal was marketing and recruitment. i started a band, a white power band that had violent lyrics that incited people to go out and commit hate crimes. that was a recruiting tool. it was a social movement to get people together, young teenagers who were angry at the world, who felt like they had been pushed aside. and now were given some e of the to blame for thahat. amy: what was it that started you momong away and questioning what you were doing? >> for the eight years i was involved, amy, i had doubts the whole time. an italian immigrant family who came to the u.s. in the 1960's who are often the victims of prejudice. i was not raised with racist beliefs. it was not part of my family dna or fabric. i questioned myself the whole time, but i squashed it because the power and the acceptance
were more important to me. i was scared to lose that. essentially, over those eight years, i started to meet people who i had kept outside of my social circle, who i hated -- african-americanans and jews and gay people. the truth was, i had never had a meaningful i interaction with them. but when i started to, i started to receive compassion from the people i least deserved it from when i least deserved it. they could have attacked me. they could have broken my windows. but they did not.t. ththey knew who i was and they took upon themselves to show me and for the when i deserved it ththe least -- show m me up at e when i deserved it the least. suddenly, i could not my feet anymore. amy: what was the response of the other white supremacists in your group? >> they were not pleased, but luckily, i was a selfish leader and never really groomed anybody to take over locally. when i left the group, a kind of
imploded. however, i was a national and international figure at the time. there were definitely threats of or,ling me a race trait insinuations i started working with police -- which were not true. still to thiss day, i r received death threats almost on a daily basis. amy: i want to tururn to a white supremacist at the charlottesville rally this weekend. this is what's from assist christopher cantwell -- white supremacist christopher cantwell outut -- - talking about ivananka. >> h here to talk i in the hopes thatat some of the more c capae will come e along and do that,t, some of yoyou like donaldd trump who does not give his daughter to a jew. >> donald trump? >> a lot more racicist than dond trump. i dodon'ththink you coululd feel about race the wayay i do and tard walkt krishna bas
around with that beautiful girl. amy: i'm sure you saw clips of him this vice interview. christian, your thoughts, and another part of this, they visit him where he is staying and he after another througughout his waistband thate brings out, and finally brings out a knife and says he is well armed for more violence. insecureentleman is an , has no self-confidence, and is clearly broken. ththere's something broken. i'm a firm believer that ideology is not what radicalize his people. i think it is the search for identity, community, and a sense of purpose. if there's some sort of brokenness, avoid in your life addiction,be trauma, or mental health issues, anything that would hold you back or deviate more path from the intended one you were on, you tend to look fofor acceptane in negative pathways.
it is interesting that we brought up this clip because i have reached out to this man after i saw the videos because he clearly needs help. i want to offer him a compassionate ear to listen to what it is that is broken about him. what we do at life after hate, rather than argue ideologically with people, we try to make the moren more resilient, competitive, more self-confident. we do that by applying services like mental health therapy or life coaching or even ted to removal. when that person feels more confident, they tend to blame the other less. i would follow that up with challenging their doctrine, not by telling them the are wrong, but introducing them to the people they think they hate. , introduce a holocaust in iraq to a holocaust survivor or islamaphobic you spend the day with a muslim family and have dinner. it is though connections -- it is those connections from those people that have never met the people they hate that helps them
humanize these people and dispel the ideas of them being a monster or a parasite. that is been the most effective tactic that we haveve used. amamy: donald trump's toto coununterterrorism advdviser sebastian gorka has faced increasing calls too r resign ar the jewish american newspaper "the forward" reported he is a sworn member of hungarian far right not the allied group. the reported numbers have confirmed that gorka took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group, which the u.s. state department says was under the direction of the nazi government of germany during world war ii. it means he may have lied on his use immigration application which requires people to disclose ties to such organizations. gorka has denied reports of his obama with the nazi allied group , telling tablet magazine "i've never been a member of the attendee rand." i wanted to ask you about the connection of gorka to your loss of funding.
well, sebastian gorka in the white house, counterterrorism adviser come a top advisor to donald trump, but there is also his wife at the department of homeland security. >> you know, i think there are a lot of connections to white supremacist, what nationalism in the alt in the white house at the moment. aside from gorka, we have steve bannon is clearly a manipululive prpropagandist. if stephen miller, has a long-standing history of being a racist, and we have sebastian gorka and his wife katharine gorka him who are very much anti-islam. anti-islam in but general. it does that surprised me we were the only organization that was focused on countering far right extremism that was cut from the program. in fact, we're the only organization in the western hemisphere that focuses on disengaging far right extremists. with views held like the gorkas
have, it does not surprise me at all. it is disheartening because i think it is going to hurt our ability to be able to tackle probably the biggest problem we're facing right now in america, which is white domestic terrorism. amy: another participant in the white supremacist rally in charlottesville was a man named peter tefft, who was outed by yes, you'regroup , racist, which had been posting screenshots of participants in an effort to expose them. the site posted a picture along with the tweet, "this charming nazi is pete tefft of fargo, nd." on monday, pearce tefft publicly denounced his white supremacist son, peter, in an open letter published in the forum, a newspaper in fargo. the letter read in part -- "i, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son's vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. we do not know specifically
where he learned these beliefs. he did not learn them at home." the letter ended -- "peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too. please son, renounce the hate, accept and love all." joining us now is jacob scott, nephew of peter tefft. jacob, your uncle marching in charlottesville. talk about what is happening in your family right now. you, too, live in fargo, north dakota, where we are speaking to you. >> i do. peter had, for a long time, been a bit of a bully and unstable. my cousin and i had long wanted there to be some kind of reaction to this from the family . you know, some kind of repudiation. it was after charlottesville after he was involved in a demonstration that killed a person that we were kind of
finally able to get the rest of the family on board with us. we had been kind of forthcoming to the community. there had been posters that have been put up around fargo by some other people who had encountered him and dealt with his hate, kind of saying -- with his picture on them, saying this is the tefft, a nazi, not welcome in this country. people started talking to me and my cousin and we were like, yeah, he is a nazi, you shohould disassociate with them if you know him. i do think his ideology comes from something deeper than just the fact of the values. he -- i feel like there is something broken about him as a person and he is often very -- he will get very, very emotional very suddenly if you get him flustered. get violent. i mean, ththere was an incident
where he attempted to assault my other cousin. so i definitely do agreeee with the idea that this comes from something more deep-seated. amy: how did his white nationalism happen? did you see it as you're growing up? are you about the same age? >> i'm the oldest of my generation and he is the youngest. we are closer to age than -- amy: what does i it mean to say his father has disowned him? his family disowned him? >>