Not long ago an Advocate staff member found a small flyer in the local public library for the Northwest Front. Brandishing the three bars of their flag, green, white, and blue, the flyer was advertising what turned out to be a political party seeking supporters in our area. The green, they say, is the ground beneath our feet and blue is the sky above. The absence of color in the middle is the white man.
They believe they are the last bailiwick of sanity in a nation rife with capitalist conservative sellouts, liberal homosexuals, and every shade of brown person imaginable.
They are your friendly local Aryan brotherhood, here to help purify the Northwest. Violence is not their instrument, they say, but achieving racial purity – the key to the survival of the white race – is their plan.
But what does it mean to be pure? Is skin color a viable marker of purity or is there something deeper that we all share – like DNA? As I found out from my own genetic test, the complexity of thousands of years of migration and evolution leave the notion of Aryan purity little more than a pipedream.
This Is About Survival
We can’t turn the clock back to the 1950s. Harold Covington, the NWF front man, explained this in a YouTube video titled “Why the Northwest?” Though he has fleeting memories of his youth, the gilded age of the 50s, 60s, and what paradise looked like, that America is gone and is never coming back.
“Time and history moves forward, human events move forward not backward,” he said. “The racial and ethnic mix in this country has changed irrevocably, we are a different nation.”
This understanding has allowed Covington and the NWF some insight that other groups have overlooked – a white America from sea to shining sea is now an unattainable dream. However, what this means to them is very different than what it means to most Americans.
The plan is to pioneer white folks with nationalist leanings into the Northwest where they can focus their efforts. In essence, they would gentrify the collective areas currently comprising Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana through a process coined Pioneering Little Europe (PLE).
It is similar in execution to religious and apocalyptic planned communities in that often people are seeking like-mindedness and an identity that is safe among friends. However the effort is much more focused on integration as a means to ascension rather than safety in seclusion.
“The PLE concept argues instead for white supremacists to gather in already existing communities and form communities within a community so that ‘racially conscious’ whites can survive,” said Anti-Defamation League Director of Research Mark Pitcavage in a 2013 interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Non-whites would theoretically depart, leaving white supremacist enclaves whose members would aid and assist each other.”
According to Covington, of the just over 300 million people living in the US today, over 100 million of them are “undesirable.” Predicting an eminent Soviet-style collapse of the United States, Covington foresees a racial stratification of the Union with ethnic groups carving out their own new nations.
“But, we need to make sure that the white man gets a piece of the pie when this breakup comes,” attests Covington.
Why the Northwest?
As mentioned above, the NWF sees themselves as a political party. However, rather than entering the current political stage, they wait for favorable conditions. The NWF follows a four-phase strategy, the Butler Plan, named after a prominent Aryan Nation founder.
Phase 1 involves the relocation of interested parties to the Northwest. The Northwest is the perfect location, they say, because of the presence of resource-based industries, agricultural infrastructure, and access to trade-worthy coastlines.
In Phase 2, NWF members will engage the public in a massive propaganda campaign, missionary work, and reeducation programs. The idea is that since so many white people live in the Northwest—almost 87% of Oregon’s population, for instance—folks will be easily convinced of their cause.
Their biggest hurdle at this stage will be to overcome the anti-hate movement and the notion that white supremacy is bad. Covington explains in a video titled “Is the Northwest Front Full of Liberals,” “They are very likely, when the time comes, to support the creation of a Homeland, because like all white people everywhere, even they’re getting the shaft.”
Phases 3 and 4 are future-oriented goals. They are the creation of an actual political party that represents their ideals, and the ultimate seizure of their homeland from the cold, dead fingers of the former United States.
So, say these criteria are met, the US government becomes weaker and weaker, a bolstered white nationalist population forms their political party and starts gaining even more supporters—the time has come and militias start picking at the last remnants of the Northwest’s capitalist infrastructure, zeroing in for the kill.
They have a plan for that as well. You can find their constitution, complete with a Bill of Rights, layout for the government, and responsibilities for its citizens on their website. I read all of it. You can too if you want, but a word of warning: bring coffee.
In simple terms, they seek to create an agrarian society under a single-party government. To drive out the undesirables and create a safe environment for their children. Never mind the mandatory military service from age 18 to 50, the reinstatement of single combat as a form of mediation, or the fact that members of their National Convention are immune from arrest or investigation.
Citizenship is based first on race, but is also dependent on services provided. Be an upstanding citizen, serve the military, have lots of kids, make good money, be a man, and you might just land yourself a cozy position in the local government. Fail to do those things, aside from being a man, and it is at the State President’s discretion as to whether or not you belong.
Article 8 of Nationhood and Citizenship reads, “Standards of race and citizenship shall be established by a Bureau of Race and Resettlement, which shall set all racial parameters and codes, establish scientific and cultural standards of racial identity, and which shall make determination in individual cases where applicable.”
That got me thinking…
The point has been made on their website, blog, and also on their podcast, Radio Free Northwest, that non-whites are not welcome. They also say that racial parameters will be established scientifically. In fact, science is to be a priority of the new republic.
“How racially pure needn’t one be and what scientific standards would be used?” I wondered.
My dad told me we are Sicilian, my mom says we are hillbillies. Sounds good so far, but my mom’s mom was adopted, we don’t know where her ancestors came from—and Sicily has been anything but homogeneous over the centuries.
So I signed up for 23andMe, a genetic testing company, and they sent me a little tube in the mail. After filling it with my sweet saliva, I sent it back so they could genotype my DNA.
It’s called 23andMe because you have 23 pairs of chromosomes, the first 22 of which have been inherited from your ancestors. By comparing your genotype with thousands of other people’s, they begin to create a tapestry of migration, evolution, and the genetic exchange that has, over thousands of years, made you uniquely you.
I was not surprised to find a 97% pure European ancestry. Pure European? More specifically, 50% Northwestern European and 44% Southern European. Even more specifically, I am over 40% Italian and nearly 30% British and Irish, with a smear of French and German here, a spat of Scandinavian there, and just a hint of Finnish, Balkan, and Iberian.
Furthermore I am also 0.1% Ashkenazi—a population of Jewish immigrants that settled along the Rhine River in what would become Germany around the time of the Holy Roman Empire. Beyond that I am 3% “Broadly Middle Eastern” and even have a tiny touch of Native American—this ancestor was likely born between 1720 and 1810.
Finding only a story of my ancestors’ movements, I thought perhaps the definition of Aryan could shed light on the notion of purity. Funny story: the etymology of the word Aryan goes way back to the time of the ancient Persians. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Romans and Greeks used words like Arianus, Ariana, Aria, and Areia to describe the ancient Persians.
However, it goes back further to the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, arguably the oldest member of the Indo-European language family. The Vedic Indic people who migrated into the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BCE called themselves árya, or noblemen.
Because of this tiny detail, European philologists applied the term to all Indo-Europeans around the turn of the 20th century. By 1845 in Germany, the term came to contrast with Semitic, less than 100 years before the Nazis began to associate it with pure Nordic ancestry. Thanks to their reputation and the fact it never had anything to do with Nordic people, academic designation of the word returned to Indo-Iranians and has fallen out of use in most other context.
Beyond Semitics and semantics, 23andMe traced the haplogroups of my parents. Haplogroups are basically a single branch on a family tree that traces all the way back to a single ancestor. Unlike all the other genes that get shuffled around and recombined—you know, genetic diversity and such—the haplogroup from your mother’s mitochondrial DNA and your father’s Y chromosome remains intact throughout time.
Genes from my maternal line extend deep into the primordial soup of human history. Originating 45,000 years ago, this line of my ancestors were among those to leave eastern Africa for the first time. It is tied to the rise of agriculture in the Near East and followed the practice into Europe nearly 15,000 years ago. My father’s Y chromosome, R-M269, is present in over half the male population of Western Europe, but spans the Middle East, Asia, Northern Africa, Scandinavia, and Russia.
Whether or not you are primarily European, odds are your genes will tell a similar story. So what exactly is purity? I would say it is simply being human, but with 253 Neanderthal gene variants in my blood, I am not even 100% modern human—and before you laugh, consider that is less variants than 80% of 23andMe’s customers.
The Northwest Front claims that space exploration will be a focus of their new nation. Yet it would seem that rather than enclaves of racial stratification we need cooperation and understanding—to come to grips with our own inner algorithms before reaching for beyond our singular celestial body. Carl Sagan reminds us that we live on a mote of dust in a sunbeam. On it, he said so many years ago, every human being who ever was lived out their lives.
If we truly want to visit new worlds, we need to be brave. We need vision and we need hope. George Washington Carver, a prolific inventor and the founder of Tuskegee University, put it like this: “Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.”
The Northwest Front failed to respond to the Advocate… but do check out their website. Drawing inspiration from the Bernie Sanders campaign, they want to launch their new nation without any super PACs.
By Anthony Vitale