At the Reclaiming “America” conference held at City University of New York yesterday, my friend Chip Berlet presented his paper God Hates Labor Unions: Christian Conservative Anti-Collectivism from the Civil War to the Tea Parties. While unable to attend the gathering, I think I can still say something about Chip’s thesis.
To wit, anti-collectivism in the United States — whether mobilized against indigenous communities, labor unions, or socialists — is rooted in the Christian, white, male privilege that accompanied the founding of the American republic. That privilege — dependent on slavery, genocide and murderous attacks on organized labor — in essence derives from the Golden Age of conservatism. Attempting to re-establish the conditions of that privilege by rolling back civil rights and undermining human rights is the primary motivation for mobilizing resentment under the banner of the Tea Party.
While religious racism plays an important part in this mobilization, the misanthropic objective of crushing all attempts to establish strong communities capable of resisting white, Christian tyranny transcends racism; indeed, it is an apocalyptic vision that dooms all humanity.