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William Horne @wihorne
, 18 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Two reflections from my research on this recent wave of #WhiteSupremacist #terrorism.

1) We have no cultural framework for non-state violence with which to make sense of what's happening right now.
To be sure, there's a recent wave of important work critiquing state-sponsored violence & its relationship to white supremacy. But, these have yet to penetrate the public imagination.
All I've read on the recent attacks frame them as "racial," "gun violence," or at best, "political." These frameworks are totally inaccurate.

We are witnessing a campaign of white supremacist violence grounded in the president's own campaign rhetoric.
This reminds me in many respects of the campaigning of southern conservatives after emancipation. They used phrases like "negro rule" & "Africanization" to frame their project of restoring the "white man's government" of slavery.
As with the current #Republican campaign, the rhetoric was designed both as a voter turnout strategy for aggrieved whites & a voter suppression strategy against Black and radical voters.
One very important difference that puts us at a disadvantage today:

The radicals of the 1860s benefited from liberatory military language and service. They had a prevailing theory of violence in defense of equality.
We have no such framework today. This not only makes it difficult to make sense of this wave of #WhiteSupremacist #terrorism. It also makes it hard to offer a meaningful defense against it.
Which brings me to reflection two:

2) White supremacist terrorism as a political tactic WORKED.
This is in part b/c of the asymmetries of power btwn white supremacists, who had benefited from decades of protected status, & the radical coalition, which had not.
African Americans & white radicals had fewer resources to donate to the cause, having been actively policed & persecuted by the state for over a decade.
The collapse of Reconstruction in a wave of white supremacist vigilante-politics, however, also relied on the connivance of a sympathetic state. Andrew Johnson did everything in his power to resurrect and enshrine #WhiteSupremacy after emancipation.
He also had plenty of help from sympathetic white Northerners from politicians to the privates manning Army outposts. They, too, understood how #WhiteSupremacy functioned to benefit them, & let white southern vigilantes literally get away w/murder.
This state-sponsoring of white supremacy by failing to prosecute crimes against members of the radical coalition was crucial to the suppression of Black rights & the reversal of #Reconstruction reforms.
Or perhaps more accurately, making sure that #Reconstruction reforms like the expanded franchise, the Homestead Act, etc would only benefit white Americans.
In fact, this conservative campaign tactic marrying terrorism to politics & whites-only systems of benefits has *almost always worked.* I'll leave the other examples to scholars of those eras, but they run from the Revolution through the "War on Drugs" & mass incarceration.
The handful of instances where the "white man's banner" has fallen before radical foes, including during early #Reconstruction, has been when radicals had a coherent theory of egalitarian violence (& organizational networks) upon which to draw.
All of which is to say that we need to be honest abt our country's addiction to #WhiteSupremacist #terrorism & create a robust, alternative vision of the future towards which we can work. /end
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