The United Nations urged the United States to restrict free speech and confront white supremacy this week, in an apparent response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Criticism came from both the Secretary General of UN, and the Chairperson of UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Specifically mentioned were the devils of “white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan”. Bear in mind that some thousands of UN staff were involved in these statements, and they have been distributed worldwide. Such an effort seems dis-proportional to a single schizophrenic man allegedly attacking a crowd killing one. In reality, this statement may indicate a willingness to reopen the push for “…condemning the glorification of Nazism”.
The 2016 UN Resolution
In November 2016, the UN General Assembly voted on a UN resolution;
“Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
The resolution passed despite the United States voting against, along with Ukraine and Palau. Forty-eight other states abstained from voting, including many of the United States closest allies. Interestingly, for an anti-racism bill, countries appear to have voted along ethnic lines. “People of Color”, (Arab, African and Asian countries) mainly voted yes to the resolution, while traditionally white countries mainly abstained. Important exceptions to this are Russia, the instigator of the resolution, and the United States, Ukraine, and Palau voting no.
It may seem strange that the United States under Obama, and her allies would be disinclined to “Condemn the glorification of Nazism”, and Trump’s administration would no doubt be mercilessly attacked for such an action. The truth is, however that the resolution was simply an ongoing Russian political smear against the government of Ukraine. Since the Ukrainian revolution of February 2014, Putin has complained of the repression of Russian-speakers by far-right nationalists and Neo-nazis. These “Nazis” were the reason why Russia had to intervene in 2014, seizing the Crimean Peninsula and the Sevastopol port. As the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and the only Europe facing year-round port, the strategic importance of Crimea to Russia is obvious.
The Ukrainian Nazis
While Russia found accusations of Nazism politically useful, they were based on the truth. As volunteer paramilitary groups emerged in 2014 to fight against ethnic Russians, they espoused a variety of nationalist viewpoints. The Azov Battalion, was especially well known as both a fearsome fighting force, and for their national socialist views. As one soldier explained to a western journalist in 2014, “I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia, but Putin’s not even a Russian. Putin’s a Jew.”
These views aren’t isolated, they came right from the top. Wartime Commander, and Social-National Assembly leader Andriy Biletsky, wrote “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival, … a crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”
The Azov Battalion was incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard in November 2014, and then came under control of the Ukrainian government. Andriy Biletsky ran for office in 2014, and is currently serving in the Ukrainian Parliament in the UKROP party, (Ukrainian Association of Patriots). With some undeniable truth to the Ukrainian Nazi allegations, could Russia together with influential European countries push a firmer “anti-Nazi” resolution through the UN security council?
A new UN Resolution?
Of course Anti-Nazi regulations can be applied to almost anyone more nationalist than Angela Merkel. The move could serve establishment political parties in Europe by effectively making their anti-immigrant populist opponents illegal. While such a move sounds dramatic, it could be effected simply by promoting the anti-nazi resolution from the General Assembly to the Security Council.
Two permanent members of the security council voted for it before; China and Russia. Two abstained, France and UK, while the United States voted no, and could veto any security council resolution. The question is whether Donald Trump’s administration would veto a resolution;“Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
Barack Obama’s administration was about to reject the resolution in 2016. Explaining their reasoning, Deputy U.S. Representative Stefanie Amadeo stated;
“We condemn without reservation all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance or hatred at home and around the world. However, due to this resolution’s overly narrow scope and politicized nature, and because it calls for unacceptable limits on the fundamental freedom of expression, the United States cannot support it. This resolution’s recommendations to limit freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to peaceful assembly contravene the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and must be opposed.”
Would Trump be able to veto a similar proposal? He could very quickly find himself in the spotlight, “refusing to condemn Nazis” yet again. He’s lost the most ardent of the free speech supporters from his cabinet, and seems increasingly bound up with neo-con’s, orthodox Jews, and Israel-first evangelical “spiritual advisors”. It’s hard to see where resistance to an “anti-Nazi” resolution could come from. While the US constitution would protect American groups from persections, the same cannot be said for groups across the Atlantic.
Text of Concern
In Europe, new rules against “other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” could well make a variety of Nationalist parties effectively illegal. The general assembly resolution;
“Encourages States to take concrete measures, including legislative and educational ones, in order to prevent the denial of the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Second World War”
“Expresses deep concern about the increased number of seats occupied by representatives of extremist parties of a racist or xenophobic character in a number of national and local parliaments,”
“Deplores the ongoing and resurgent scourges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in many regions of the world, particularly targeting migrants and refugees, as well as people of African descent, expresses concern that political leaders and parties have supported such an environment, and, in this context, expresses its support for migrants and refugees in the context of the severe discrimination that they may face”
“Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, and incitement to racial discrimination”
Clearly these resolutions could be used as justification to repress Nationalist political parties as well as any groups critical of immigration. Greece’s “Golden Dawn” and the Scandinavian “Nordfront” are among the most obvious targets. Before long however, more mainstream anti-immigration parties such as France’s “Front National”, UK’s “UKIP”, and the Netherlands’ “Party for Freedom” could be targeted as well. Regardless of individual feelings about National Socialism, or holocaust denial, anti-Nazi resolutions are anti-free speech. They must be fought at all costs. Our democracies, and western civilization depend on it.