John Tanton ’s Network of Hate: How A Small Group of the Wealthy founded the Contemporary Nativist Wave.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Jun 21 17:13:27 UTC 2008

 Friday, June 20, 2008 John Tanton's Network of Hate: How A Small Group of
the Wealthy founded the Contemporary Nativist

Contrary to Lou Dobbs, and other cable-TV hate-mongers, the current nativist
wave is not an organic movement of Americans "fed up illegal immigration."
The better part of the current nativist movement was orchestrated by a
retired Michigan opthamolagist by the name of John Tanton and a small group
of wealthy donors. Starting in 1979, Tanton orchestrated a series of moves
to establish a network of non-profit groups, advocacy organizations and
media propaganda fronts. The foremost of these groups is the Federation for
Immigration Control ("FAIR") which continues to enjoy legitimacy amongst the
mainstream media despite clear ties to racist and extremist organizations.
The network that Tanton founded continues to function and the fronts that he
established continue to be treated as indepenent
despite their shared kinship.


It was Tanton who founded the anti-immigration movement's most powerful
institution, the Federation for American Immigration
Tanton's interest in immigration was marked in the beginning by an
explicitly racial
"To govern is to populate," Tanton wrote in 1986. "Will the present majority
peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more
fertile? … As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining,
will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?"

Tanton founded FAIR in 1979. Between 1982 and 1994, it received more than
$1.2 million from the Pioneer
A little-known foundation created in 1937, the Pioneer Fund likes to
benignly describe its origins in "the Darwinian-Galtonian evolutionary
tradition, and the eugenics movement." In the late 1930s, though, it frankly
admired Hitler. Today, it still bankrolls groups such as the racist American
Renaissance and the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF) in

[A] single -- but not seamless -- web connects ideological white
supremacists, armed border vigilantes, nativist think tanks, political
action committees, and Republican Party officeholders in an anti-immigrant
movement of growing significance. Formal policy deliberations may include
debates on the fiscal costs of providing social services to undocumented
workers, the supposed downward pressure immigrant labor exerts on the
marketplace, the net costs and benefits of immigration, and the
national-security problems evinced by holes in our borders. But at
gatherings like these, the raw issues are race and national identity.

Differences between legal and illegal immigrants fade into a generalized
belief that a brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking tidal wave is about to swamp
the white-skinned population of the United States. The attempt to stop
undocumented workers at the borders morphs into a campaign to end
immigration altogether, to save our supposedly white nation from demographic
ruin. As Tancredo told interviewer John Hawkins, "[If] we don't control
immigration, legal and illegal, we will eventually reach the point where it
won't be what kind of a nation we are, balkanized or united; we will have to
face the fact that we are no longer a nation at all … .

The New Nativism: The alarming overlap between white nationalists and
mainstream anti-immigrant forces. Leonard Zeskind The American Prospect,|
October 23, 2005. <>

In addition, FAIR's political action committee, the U.S. Immigration Reform
PAC, routinely receives significant contributions from Tanton and his wife.
FAIR's PAC has contributed more than a quarter-million dollars for and
against candidates since 1999. In 2000, it spent more than $30,000 against
Republican Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan, an Arab American, who lost
that general election. Not surprisingly, it has also given the virulently
anti-immigrant, Tom Tancredo $15,000 over the years, according to Federal
Election Commission documents. The PAC had Peter Gemma on its payroll. Gemma
is a denizen of Holocaust-denial meetings and other hardcore anti-Semitic
venues, according to Devin Burghart, the author of numerous reports on
anti-immigrant groups for the Center for New Community in Chicago.

"The New Nativists" <> In
a notorious set of memos from 1986, Tanton set forth the vision and strategy
of what was to become the anti-immigrant enterprise. In the most extensive
memo, Tanton laid out a series of queries to guide the movement:

Is apartheid in Southern California's future? The democraphic picture in
South Africa now is startlingly similar to what we'll see in California in
2030. In Southern Africa, a White minority owns the property, has the best
jobs and education, has the political power, and speaks one language. A
non-White majority has poor education, jobs and income, owns little
property, is on its way to political power and speaks a different language.
(The official language policy in South Africa is bilingualism -- the Blacks
are taught in Zulu and related tongues.)

In California of 2030, the non-Hispanic Whites and Asians will own the
property, have the good jobs and education, speak one language and be mostly
Protestant and "other." The Blacks and Hispanics will have the poor jobs,
will lack education, own little property, speak another language and will be
mainly catholic.

Do ethnic enclaves (Bouvier, p. 18) constitute resegregation? As Whites see
their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go
quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion? Why don't
non-Hispanic Whites have a group identity, as do Blacks, Jews, Hispanics?

[T]he Whites and Asiatics will own and manage, but will not be able to speak
to the Hispanic field workers. They will need bilingual foremen. Does this
sound like social peace? Or like South Africa?

Initially, Tanton's organizations did not meet with much legislative success
but the media treated them as if they were legitimate grass-roots
organizations. FAIR was widely quoted on all questions bearing upon
immigration and they often testified before Congress. Another element of
Tanton's plan was infiltration of Congress and the Judiciary. As set out in
another 1986 strategy

Since launching FAIR [Federation for American Immigration Reform] in January
of 1979, the board has adhered steadfastly to one of the possible models for
changing U.S. immigration law and practice. Our plan emphasized the national
(rather than the state and local) nature of the immigration question, and,
therefore, concentrated on building a national office and staff rather than
working at the grassroots.

In my judgment, grassroots work has not been a major emphasis. On the media
side of this question, I believe we get high marks for good and consistent
effort throughout our existence.

Financially, FAIR grew rapidly its early years. The table shows our total
revenues since its founding:

1979 $216,349
1980 442,916
1981 815,212
1982 1,269,126
1983 1,255,223
1984 1,447,161
1985 1,543,610
1986 1,600,000 (estimated)

GRAND TOTALS: 8 years & $8,500,000

Our financial growth was heavily based on a small number of major donors…**

*[We must] Secure appointments of our friends* to positions on the Board of
Immigration Appeals, to the Commissioner's Post if Mr. Nelson leaves, as he
will eventually, to other advisory boards in the INS and Justice Department.

FAIR and its sister organizations were heavily dependent on a small number
of donors, most of whom had racist motivations for their contributions. The
network of Tanton organization that this small group of wealthy individuals
funded includes the front

*American Immigration Control Foundation*
AICF, 1983, funded

*American Patrol/Voice of Citizens Together*
1992, funded by Tanton

*California** Coalition for Immigration Reform*
CCIR, 1994, funded by Tanton

*Californians for Population Stabilization*
1996, funded (founded separately in 1986) by Tanton

*Center for Immigration Studies*
CIS, 1985, founded and funded by Tanton

*Federation for American Immigration Reform*
FAIR, 1979, founded and funded by Tanton

1996, founded and funded by Tanton

*Population-Environment Balance*
1973, joined board in 1980 by Tanton

*Pro English*
1994, founded and funded by Tanton

1999, funded by Tanton

*The Social Contract Press*
1990, founded and funded by Tanton

*U.S.** English*
1983, founded and funded by Tanton

*U.S. Inc.*
1982, founded and funded by Tanton

Each of these organizations keeps up a front of nominal independence despite
being part of Tanton's web. And each in turn has mingled extremist politics
with its anti-immigrant rhetoric. In subsequent posts we will explore
further the dark elements that make up Tanton's Nativist movement.

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