Even In The Bay Area, Nationalism Takes Root
BANA follower Parker (who wished for his last name to be withheld) followed up Yeoman’s argument that Judge Walker had engaged in “judicial tyranny.”
“When one person can shoot down a law 7 million people of all races,religions and sexual preferences put into effect by voting for it just proves how idiotic this system has become,” Parker said, “voting has been proven pointless and even a joke to the government and the people need to realize this after this most obvious action regardless of if you were pro prop 8 or against it. Anyone who votes again after this is blind.
Yeoman is the founder of BANA. His anarchism came to him while living in a Detroit housing collective, made up of two dozen other people, called the Trumbullplex Theatre. According to Yeoman, “it was an eye opening experience seeing people grow their own food, share their meals together, and work towards building a world in which coercive acts and money were no longer as important as it is today.”
As he continued his intellectual journey, Yeoman connected with Welf Herfuth, a German-Australian leader of Australia’s “New Right.” The New Right in Australia ominously carries an emblem very similar to the Nazi Iron Cross, and while still in Germany, Herfuth was a member of the National Democratic Party, the political successors to the neo-fascist German Reich Party. Speaking on Herfurth’s views, Yeoman said, “I was impressed enough with Welf’s explanation that I knew I wanted these ideas to reach a wider audience and BANA was what resulted from it.”
Wilson said that the attraction of the organization was “the fact that I felt like this was a movement that was for me and my people that was not filled with hate and ignorance, a group that knew the problems we face today both locally and globally.”
Despite the far right ties of BANA, Yeoman appeals to many issues of sympathy to the left. “My approach has been to keep activism the mainstay for what we are known for and we have been involved in most major street protests on issues against war, humanitarian, and environmental issues.”
Before Proposition 8, his organization had played a role in Bay Area politics. Dara Kerr of Oakland North, a project of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, cited in a July 16 article a statement that BANA had made in the wake of the Oscar Grant protests, urging “restraint on behalf of residents of Oakland,” and adding that “although a tragic situation, causing pain and destruction for those not to blame in the attack is irresponsible and does not bring honor to Oscar Grant or our communities.”
Yeoman is a forum member at the white supremacist website Stormfront, where he has been since 2006. Stormfront users have posted pictures on the forum depicting Barack and Michelle Obama as monkeys and articles with titles like “Mestizo Rapes White Woman in Elevator” and “Negro Man Stabs Elderly Woman, Shoots Detective, Negroes Screaming ‘Police Brutality.’” The website’s logo is an iron cross with the slogan “White Pride World Wide.”
According to their website, Stormfront has reportedly donated over $250,000 to Rand Paul, the son of presidential candidate Ron Paul and the Republican candidate for the US Senate in Kentucky. According to the Washington Post, Rand Paul raised controversy after an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in which he said he believed in “a limited government that should not force private businesses to abide by civil rights law.”
In an interview with SPLC’s Intelligence Report, Andrew Yeoman was quoted as saying, “We are racial separatists for a number of reasons, such as our desire to maintain our cultural continuity, the principle of voluntary association, and as a self-defensive measure to protect each other from being victimized by crime from other races.”
Violence has attracted Yeoman and his group. According to SF Weekly, during a May 1, 2010 demonstration in which thousands came out in support of immigration reform, members of Yeoman’s group and the Golden Gate Minutemen were attacked. The attackers were later booked on felony charges.
“I was flattered that I am assumed to be so dangerous that ten armed thugs feels sufficiently brave to try to kill an unarmed man,” Yeoman said. Yeoman claims that after the attack, four new National Anarchist “collectives” were set up. “When getting involved in street protests there is always the risk of an unruly mob taking a life of its own and people getting swept up in unfortunate circumstances. I have had a lot of time to reflect on the incident and I can say that my respect for the right of freedom of speech, impartial defenders of public safety, and using nonviolence to achieve one’s aims has dramatically increased.”
The San Francisco Police Department refused to comment on the incident.
Parker claimed that in the chaos of the May Day violence, police assaulted him, letting eight attackers get away in the process.
Undetered by the violence, Parker expects more. “I don’t think it will be the last fight they provoke and I am okay with that, these are my views, and no matter how much blood you draw from me I will still be who I am. If anything you will only harden my views and positions.”
Parker’s life experience, growing up in the working class suburb of Hayward, California, played an enormous role in his attraction to an extremist political ideology. Parker spoke to me and said that it was in the best interest of both “Hispanics” and whites to live separate from one another. He relayed an experience of living in a largely white suburb elsewhere in the East Bay, where he felt considerably safer.
Parker stressed the changing demographics of the United States, telling me that by 2050 whites will be a minority and people like him will be saying “I told you so.”
Yeoman refused to connect himself with Glenn Beck, Rand Paul or other political figures that have strong support on Stormfront. Both him and Parker stressed that BANA was a “third position,” outside of the Left and Right and mainstream politics.
As white nationalist groups like the English Defense League target Muslims in the United Kingdom and anti-Muslim rhetoric increases in the United States, BANA has taken the opposite tactic of showing solidarity with Palestinians. Video is available of members of the group protesting outside of the offices of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC in San Francisco:
Further illustrating his eclectic political inspiration, Yeoman spoke to me about how he viewed the Black Panther Party as an influence in ethnic enclaves serving themselves.
Yeoman is very confident in his movement, describing his membership as stretching from San Francisco through the North Bay and well into South Bay suburbs like San Leandro and Hayward. He also claims membership has gone up in recent years, a trend validated among similar groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.