Racism at Vermont Commons gets more overt

The latest from Mr. Class, Rob Williams, and the “racism, what racism?!?” cabal at Vermont Commons takes either real kahunas or a true disassociation from reality. In mocking Barack Obama, he’s taken to embracing the openly racist imagery of the Tea Party that has been roundly criticized by African Americans and, well… decent people of all political persuasions.

The picture on the left has been in circulation for some time, and it’s now Williams’s fave, as seen here and here, where he celebrates it with the comment “Barack Osama –> ain’t Photoshop great?”

It neatly and tidily combines all the scary non-whiteness into one, nice package with the President’s face. The Root, a WaPo publication focused on African American Issues, describes this particular image in its piece entitled “Evolving Images of Obama and Osama” as an “attempt to mobilize bigotry and fears about terrorism, Islam and bin Laden to delegitimize Obama as an American, a patriot and a president.”

This is the latest from the crowd that’s so above racism, they feel free to dub a hate group figure as their “philosophical guru,”, unapologetically publish League of the South leaders online and in print, has never apologized for publishing the writings of a neo-nazi sympathizer who warned Vermonters of the threat of “multiculturalists, feminists, gays, environmentalists, internationalists, secularists, and Holocaust promoters” (get it?) on the pages of their periodical (but quietly scrubbed it from the website when called on it), monthly post rants by a man who has no problem promoting his cause with leading figures in the racist movement or on talk shows affiliated with neo-confederate racists, who casually and routinely collaborate with racist organizations (including for the purposes of sharing and refining propaganda tactics), and who’ve even had the gall to invite them all up here to dirty up our own Vermont Statehouse. Par for the course.

And don’t look for any help from their enablers. Otherwise progressive folks like Will Lindner and Carl Etnier have no problem being associated – even promoting – this stuff. I guess it’s “none of their damn business” if their names could easily appear alongside the likes of neo-nazi sympathizer Robert Griffin, or that their reputations could be being put in the service of legitimizing calls for segregation in a new “Vermont Republic.”

Nor should we expect any worries from organizations like the Vermont Natural Resources Council, Rural Vermont, or businesses like Northshire Books and Marlboro College who allow their ads to appear alongside these pieces in print. What do environmentalists, farmers and… er… readers (I guess) care about racism after all? And Rob is just sooo sweet! Of course, not that they’re paying for those ads – Williams simply hands them out from “anonymous” donors so that mainstream and legitimate businesses and organizations will attach their names to his operation and shield him from criticism.

Yuck. I feel like I need a shower every time this topic comes up.

19 thoughts on “Racism at Vermont Commons gets more overt

  1. Good catch and thanks for sharing, especially with all the links.  These folks have the moral authority of a shit- covered rock (no offense to rocks intended).

  2. this is certainly the way to go about it!  

    I don’t think this stuff plays very well in Vermont.

  3. There’s a reason I was blackballed by SVR, but Rob and I still had open channels of communication.  Add the Truther BS to his admiration for a blatantly racist picture, and I’m pretty sure we don’t have anything to talk about–I don’t even feel like speaking to him about it.

  4. These people never seem to learn. Can’t wait till Chris Ketcham’s book comes out on them. This so-called “journalist” has been drinking Naylor and Williams’ Kool-aid, from what I’ve gathered of my interactions with him, so it’ll be a doozie, I’m sure.

  5. …myself, I worry more about the Vermont Tea Party.  Now, if you see anything on Vt. Commons, SVR site, etc. that shows there are a bunch of Tea Party people in SVR, or ties between the groups, that’s another story (big story).  I had my own problems with Naylor and Williams over the League Of The </i>South shit.  But, to me, that’s old news now.  

    It is curious also to me that Naylor is now a regular on COUNTERPUNCH.  Right along with Castro, Nader, and some other heavy Leftie hitters.  

    I don’t think this debate will ever go away until SVR delineates Vt. secession as having nothing to do with what happened in 1861.  That 1861 secession was about a state’s right to have an ‘evil’ political, economic and social structure.  Much like states’ rights about segregation in the 1950s-60s.  In fact, it would be in their interest to make much of the fact that THE SOUTH started (Ft. Sumter) the Civil War, giving Lincoln and THE NORTH no choice but to fight or say: “Okay, we surrender, and here’s all those Underground Railroad slaves back that those creepy liberals in Vermont helped escape.”  Also a good story on the St. Albans’ Raid in Oct., ’64 should grace their Fall newsletter.

    I think, per capita-wise, Vermont sent the second highest amount of soldiers to fight the South.  History, folks.  And what about Vermonters who went on Freedom Rides in the early 60s?

    And ya know what.  You can’t have ‘peaceful secession’ and break up the American Empire.  Tea Party people would be the first to sign up for the UNION.

    Overall, this is an issue of Mass Distraction.

  6. I don’t respond to his phone calls or letters of correspondence. I’m in the same boat as Todd, I was cordial with them and due to some radical, yet short-lived beliefs I had, now I’d rather forget that I ever associated with them.

    Eugh, what a mistake that was.

  7. and they probably also blackballed you because they thought you were feeding us stuff from the listserv that they were too stupid to make private.

  8. I think in the end it was because I called Dennis Steele batshit insane on the list, though I’m sure my political unreliability before that didn’t help.

  9. SVR made inroads with the teabaggers, appearing at several rallies. Reaching out to them was also discussed on their “private” listserv.

    It’s not an issued of distraction, as the reality really is that most VT’s could give two shits about the sesechers. It’s just calling bullshit when it’s seen, that’s all. What’s it “distracting” from? We’re allowed to talk about more than one thing at a time, right?

  10. ***And due to some radical, yet short-lived beliefs I had, I talked to them quite a bit (Rob, Dennis, Matt, Wagner, etc.)

    When their racism became apparent to me, I retracted any support I had for SVR, VTCommons, and anything related to their movement. I’ll admit, for the sake of reading books, I do have one of Naylor’s books, and the Vermont Papers.

    Two Vermonts is still a better book.

    Adding that on, I forgot a few sentences.

  11. I just think that SVR isn’t the only racist problem Vt. has.  Our own Legislature just tried to pull off a racist coup on not covering ‘undocumented farm workers’ in the health care bill.  The pay, working conditions, housing, and lack of benefits for migrant documented or undocumented farm workers has been one of Vermont’s dirty little secrets (don’t talk about it) for a long time.

    Now, if SVR is courting the Tea Party, that certainly seems to go against all the ‘breaking down the Empire’ shit they have all over their blog.  And constitutes another dumbshit move in the wrong direction.  It’s like the Hitler/Stalin pact in ’39.  Seceding Tea Baggers?  Shit. (as Harry Dean Stanton used to say)  Then they’ll kick all of us ‘socialists’ out of Vermont.

    And then kick out the SVR.  

  12. What moves have VTCommons/SVR done that haven’t been dumbshit moves? It seems part and parcel of their ideology. I can’t believe you’re not writing poems about em.

  13. …is the tolerance of SVR. That the comfortable, all-white Vermont groovy upper-middle class doesn’t have a problem with this stuff. They just chuckle and either ignore them, or pat them on their heads like they’re some cute, quaint silly Vermont thing.

    It’s not cute.

  14. …I should be writing about the SVR/Tea Party conspiracy to move the Montpelier Farmers Market to Vermont College so the yuppie class of Montpelier can have a cushy elitist fest every Saturday while those poor lowlife working folks without cars who have been (HORRORS!) ‘walking’ to the Farmers Market can get all their stuff at Shaw’s.  And, yeah, fuck downtown Montpelier and the downtown stores.  It’s a ghost town after 2pm on Saturdays.  Let’s make it ALL DAY.

    How’s come everybody missed this conspiracy?  God, that SVR is slick.  We better watch out.  Maybe the Legislature is AT THIS VERY MOMENT passing a bill of secession.

    See…there are more important things going on than SVR.   Day to day.  Right here in our own backyard.

  15. SVR seems to have become an issue here like Israel/Gaza is for the Left.  We are the client state of Israel, not the other way around.  When Wisconsin broke, where were all the Lefties and liberals marching in the streets to support collective bargaining?  At home, no doubt, reading long long LONG academic (publish or perish) articles on blogsites about the horrors in Gaza, Columbia, China, Tunisia, Nigeria, etc..

    Justice begins in your own backyard.  First justice, then peace.  But, first of all, TRUTH.

    So…it’s OK for the ‘quality people’ who rave about sustainability and diversity to shit on those people in the Lane Apartments, the Pioneer Apartments, and all us other folks who (HORRORS!) walk into downtown Montpelier on a Saturday morn, get a heap cheap lunch at the Farmers Market, hit some other stores (Woodbury Toys and the bookstores are my favorites), and CONNECT as a COMMUNITY in all its diversity.  I guess maybe they plan to ‘bus’ us–NAH! remember busing in Mass.?

    I really wish people would get their shit together about how things work from the bottom up.  First your neighborhood, your schools, your planning/zoning boards, your town gov, your state legislature, and then maybe Congress will start taking the average voter seriously–cause they’ll fucking HAVE TO!  

    As far as I’m concerned, SVR is the Israel/Gaza issue of Vermont.  Never fucking mind what Israel is doing–what is the U.S doing?  And what are WE going to do about it.  And I don’t give a flying fuck about what 8% (whatever) of Vermonters do to promote “peaceful” (BULLSHIT!) secession.  I care about what the majority of regular decent Vermonters want (and NEED) from their community–REAL DAY TO DAY TRUTH AND JUSTICE that enhances, yes, and sustains, the POWER of THE PEOPLE in the COMMUNITY. Instead of worrying so much about the SVR’s 8% (?), we should make sure that the well-off (and hypocritical) 15% of Vermonters stop committing gentrified elitist betrayals and atrocities upon 67% (I’ve omitted 10% for Tea Party) of Vermonters.  Those Tea Party numbers will only grow until the Left, The Progressives, and the Liberals figure out that, once the Rich have totally disempowered the poor, THEY will be next.  Moving the Farmers Market to Vermont College HELPS make for the day when only the very rich will enjoy all the good things in life while the rest of us work to provide them with it–AND pay their taxes!

    Fuck SVR!  Here’s an economic justice issue right here and NOW.  We need to tell the Montpelier City Council, the Farmers Market Board and the (Duh…) Montpelier Downtown Merchants Association to stop this Yuppietown Crap and work ‘together’ to make the community better.  Not too fucking much to ask, I don’t think.

    Racism in the SVR and Classism in Vermont.  Which one begets the other?  Which one is more insidious?  Which one can we REALLY do something about?

    And gee…maybe some day not to far away (Little Rock-1957, Civil Rights Act-’64, Voting Rights Act-’65…hmmm, 8 years), we’ll be able to tell Israel and the rest of the world:  “Hey, you stop that.  We cleaned up our shit, now it’s your turn.  We’ve got a fucking planet to save, donchaknow!”

    SRV?  Fuck.  bin Laden was a member of SVR, wasn’t he?  They got him.  So, let’s, as the liberals say, move on.

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