Respect Washington’s Racist Politics

“Go ahead and try to show an example of RW bigotry. You can’t.” — JoAnne Butzerin

Despite Seattle’s progressive reputation we, along with the rest of America, have a serious problem with rising right-wing populism (alt-lite) and its sibling, fascism (alt-right). Many would mistake the alt-lite as being less dangerous than fascism, but that just isn’t true. Right-wing populists radicalize reactionary conservatives, expanding the pool from which fascists recruit.

In Washington State there is no better example of the alt-lite than Respect Washington. Looking at their website it would be easy to write them off as a fringe joke; but that would be a mistake, because just recently this small group had a profound effect on Western Washington politics via the Seattle suburb of Burien.

I’m not going to rehash all that recent history here; but for a brief explanation, RW ran a failed initiative petition to repeal Burien’s sanctuary city ordinance. During the Burien city council elections, RW mailed out a reprehensible flier doxing immigrants (who they claimed were criminals) to support the alt-lite slate of candidates. The Burien Proud Burien First (I prefer Burien Blood Burien Soil) slate failed to win and were most likely hurt by Respect Washington’s mailer, but the election was close and it has energized fascist organizing in Puget Sound.

All of this activity is racist; but like most alt-lite reactionaries, Respect Washington would prefer to deny this obvious fact. They have trotted out the tried and true law-and-order rhetoric (their next initiative campaign is called Respect for Law) that American racists use to divert attention from the reality of their actions.

They have some serious problems with that cover however, first there is where they get their money from. The Stranger piece is worth the read, and provides ample evidence that Respect Washington gets about 93% of its funding from white nationalists run by “European-American majority” supporting John Tanton and his US Inc. network.

Second are the words on their own web site written by Craig Keller (a failed GOP candidate for Congress in Washington’s 7th CD, and a precinct captain for Washington State’s 34th LD). Terms like “DACA Rapist” “ICE Detainer sex crime felons” abound.

For more evidence that illegal aliens have inflicted huge damage to the peace and dignity of our nation, please refer to the recent quarterly report from Dept. of Justice which documents 42,034 “foreign born” of 187,855 Federal Bureau of Prison population (22.3%).

That is incredibly disingenuous, as according to the report that Mr. Keller cites, the 42,034 are detained because of their immigration status. So they are a threat to “the peace and dignity of our nation” because of their immigration status, and not because of the “rape” and “molestation” charges that Mr. Keller seems fixated with. Mr. Keller then brings race into the discussion by offering false sympathy to the victims of his hyperbolic crimes by saying (without documentation) “Tragic to observe, but most victims are latino children and women.” Classic passive-aggressive, alt-lite racism.

The third rail of Respect Washington’s racism is the person who posts and comments on their Facebook page, JoAnne Butzerin. Ms. Butzerin is even more vocally bigoted than Mr. Keller. Let’s look at screenshots from Ms. Butzerin’s Facebook profile (taken before she recently upped the privacy settings). They speak for themselves:

These are all troubling posts from Ms. Butzerin, and clearly show us someone who is deeply invested in the politics of hate, and is well within the politics of the alt-lite, if not the alt-right.

Her politics fit-in well on Respect Washington’s Facebook page:

“Thug” “Sleazy” “He has no roots in Burien”

I could have satisfied Ms. Butzerin’s challenge on what she has posted alone, but the problem with Respect Washington isn’t just JoAnne. It is the politics that seek to enshrine racial inequality through the politics of law-and-order immigration. That is the reason why the racist John Tanton (who Ms. Butzerin defends as “an elderly man who is quite ill at present and expects nothing in return”) funds Respect Washington.

So stop by their Facebook page and let them know that their politics. Hate has consequences for the people they are targeting, and for themselves; because living a life based bigotry is no way to live.

If these people go unchallenged, it spells disaster for us all. It is up to all of us to organize to stop them now.

UPDATE 12–1–17 : Respect Washington continues its descent into the alt-right, this time with a post from molestation apologist Milo Yiannopoulos.

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