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White Nationalists and St. Patrick’s Day: An Unholy Union

Guest Blogger • Mar 15, 2009

By Nora Flanagan

For several years now, we’ve noticed an increasing connection that we find both disturbing and downright ridiculous. White nationalists love St. Patrick’s Day. A lot. Turn It Down supporters and bands have noted an increased presence of overtly white power skinheads at Celt punk shows, and more white power St. Patrick’s Day events spring up every year.


At first we thought this might be our imagination. We thought maybe we were lumping them in with all the green beer and plastic hats. But it’s not the usual superficial attachment to the holiday that many non-Irish Americans enjoy. It’s more than that. While some of the bands are great, it’s not them either.

Here’s a bit of explanation offered in the wake of last year’s St. Patty’s celebration in central Florida, an event which will be repeated this coming weekend, from one of its organizers:

“St. Patty’s Day is one of the few White holidays we have left. Christmas has been watered down into an obligatory commercial capitalist consumer feeding frenzy, flanked by Hannukah for the kikes and Kwanzaa for the toads. Columbus Day is smeared by skraelings whining and crying because our ancestors took this land from them and made it into the greatest country on earth. But you don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. All of us whose ancestors came from Europe feel a rising heat in our blood when we hear the wailing of the bagpipes like the valkyries themselves screaming our names to come and take our places in Valhalla. All of us like a good drink or two to cheer us. And, just like in the holiday’s legend St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, we all would like to do a little driving of snakes out of our country, too. So, we’re all a little Irish, today.” (White Revolution Florida)


So the white nationalists are hijacking a holiday intended to honor a hero of Irish Catholic history and culture, and they are holding multiple events in different parts of the country to mark the day. It wasn’t enough that a number of white power idiots made the Celtic Cross an ambiguous symbol by adopting it as a common tattoo among themselves. Now they’re trying to claim St. Patrick’s Day as their own, for their cause.

Never mind that Daniel O’Connell, another hero of Irish history and culture, argued vehemently to Irish immigrants in America in the mid-19th century that they should fight to abolish slavery. O’Connell maintained that Irish Americans should see American slavery as parallel to the oppression of the Irish at the hands of the British, imploring, “How can the generous, the charitable, the humane, the noble emotions of the Irish heart have become extinct amongst you? …It was not in Ireland you learned this cruelty.” O’Connell goes on to call his ex-countrymen who would support slavery “pseudo Irishmen,” and he painstakingly outlines all the hypocrisies inherent to racism among Irish Americans.

Apparently they haven’t bothered to really learn the history and heritage of the culture they’re trying to steal. Don’t get me wrong; there are, doubtless, racists of every ethnic variety out there. But to lay claim to an ethnic/religious holiday because it allegedly mirrors their own struggles renders them particularly ridiculous, not to mention ignorant. We realize this assessment is nothing new; we just thought we’d point it out in singular regard to this issue.

So while the white nationalists are dancing around to Pogues and Dropkick Murphys cover songs in Baltimore this weekend (yes, that’s what they’re advertising) and doing who-knows-what in Florida, some of us will be scratching our heads, marveling at the mental gymnastics necessary to attach St. Patrick’s Day to racism in America.

Some of us can do more than that. When your Guinness hangover subsides, or you’re done with whatever festivities the holiday may or may not have in store for you, read up on the history of Irish American anti-racism. Remember that the nation’s only Irish Catholic president worked toward Civil Rights. Play a few of the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, Flatfoot 56, Flogging Molly, or Tossers songs that deal directly with the sting of hate and oppression in Irish and Irish American history – because they’ve all recorded these songs. And know that a few misguided, literacy-challenged idiots can’t take a holiday away from a people with a history that stands squarely against the ignorance of racism.

You can read the full text of O’Connell’s famous speech here: http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=mayantislavery&cc=mayantislavery&idno=05836507&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=1

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