The small town of Leith, North Dakota recently took center stage on social networking sites, even while most media outlets barely reported on the story getting all the buzz. A network of white supremacist groups had come together to purchase properties in the small town, so as to create a majority, using that to springboard into making a “whites only” town.
Just barely over a week ago a large protest was organized. Native American activists and general anti-fascist groups united to drive the groups out. But almost immediately after the protest, stories began to emerge in the local media that the hate-groups were on their way out because of a lack of plumbing in the condemned houses that they purchased.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, the home of Leith’s white supremacist leader Paul Craig Cobb’s was on the verge of being declared uninhabitable. This, so many hoped, would force him to leave the town and seek shelter elsewhere. If only things were that easy…
We at Political Blind Spot were hesitant to report on the now infamous “Toilet Story” even while we helped break and spread the news of the the Neo-Nazi take-over. Various news outlets credited us as the source of their information on the Nazi take-over and of the Native American and other anti-fascist protests against them.
It became clear to us that with such a small town, we would need information coming from the “inside.” So we did a bit of asking around. The answers that we received were from both Native communities, long-time residents of the area, and even from those on the inside of the Nazi take-over plan. One thing became clear: the white supremacists were not going to let something like a toilet stand in their way of their plans. In fact, one source told us, “the fact that everyone thinks [we're] being driven out by the plumbing [we] knew about when [we] bought the houses is fine by [us].”
So now that there has been one highly successful protest, and an invigorating and inspiring moment of Native American grandmothers playing a sort of impromptu game of “capture the flag” from the Neo-Nazi residents, activists have allowed themselves to believe that the dilapidated state of these houses is going to drive the hate group(s) out of Leith. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The takeover has already happened. The town has 24 residents. The white supremacists own 12 properties already. In their own words, “Looks like a majority rule.”
They knew these houses were not all in the best shape, and they planned from the beginning to update various run-down features of the homes… including the plumbing.
Cobb has advertised the properties to other white supremacists, saying:
“There is water, electricity, satellite internet via Hughes at $50 per month, satellite TV from at least 3 companies, trailers, 5th wheels, campers legal, car insurance as little as $141 for 6 months and most importantly –– a surfeit of very good paying jobs in two different cities within normal commutable distances.”
It is highly unlikely that he would suggest running water, if all of these properties were in irreparable states, with no ability to restore water service. We have, in believing this was the final humiliating blow to the hate group, played into their hands and backed off from protesting the hate group take-over. Cobb insisted that he will not be forced out. “They’re loud, so what? They’re literally not human to me. I feel good.” the white supremacist leader said to reporters.
“How come we go all over the world with B-52s and B-1s in the name of democracy and call it world-building? I’m doing village-building, except I’m not using violence. Here’s this white guy trying to get 17 people together in a democracy who think like he does and they just go bananas, while there’s 50 million Mexicans running around.
Although we all might have envisioned Paul Craig Cobb’s house as a trailer with a toilet in the front yard, used to pot plants, the reality is that he knew the house needed work, and he – like many of the white power property-owners – were staying a nearby hotel because of the work that needed done. Their plan and their vision is a long-term one, and we who oppose them have to have a long-term vision and strategy against them as well. If we delude ourselves into thinking that one protest, one article we forwarded on social media is the end of this fight, then Cobb’s crew of white supremacists have already won. If you don’t want to see that happen, then SPREAD THE WORD and let’s KEEP THE PRESSURE ON. They are hoping that after our single victory over them, just over a week ago, that we back off and get lulled into complacency.