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Anti-Immigrant ‘Progressives’ Embrace Hate

Eric Ward • Feb 05, 2010

Back in 1963, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream where . . . “little black boys and black girls” would “be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” I’m fairly sure Dr. King wasn’t envisioning Leah Durant, executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) joining group shots with prominent leaders tied to the American white nationalist movement.

PFIRFor nearly a year Leah Durant has been working overtime in an attempt to convince the public that PFIR is a legitimate progressive organization concerned about the issue of immigration. Recently in a discussion on AlterNet Durant argued that the fact that she was African American should be proof enough of PFIR’s progressive bona fides. Ironically Durant makes this statement after arguing that her organization was not “concerned with race.”

PFIR is the latest front group of the anti-immigrant John Tanton Network. Before assuming her present assignment Durant was a staff attorney for the Tanton Network’s Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). In 2007 FAIR was listed alongside klan and neo-Nazi organizations as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A recent photo of Leah Durant is yet another example highlighting that PFIR politics are progressive in name only. The photo is a group shot of Leah Durant (right) with PeterGemma (center) and Wayne Lutton (left). Durant, Gemma, and Lutton were attending the 33rd Writers Workshop put on by The Social Contract Press (TSCP) an organization founded by John Tanton. TSCP is well known for its peddling of racist publications and writers.

Wayne Lutton is the editor of Social Contract Press. Lutton got his start at the homophobic Summit Ministries based in Colorado. Lutton was also active with the anti-Black magazine American Renaissance and the flagship publication of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The Council of Conservative Citizens is the lineal descendant of the white citizens’ council organization that opposed Dr. King in the South during the 1960s. Lutton now writes for the anti-Semitic journal The Occidental Quarterly.

Peter Gemma, like Lutton, also writes for the anti-Semitic Occidental Quarterly. Gemma who interviewed Durant in the pages of TSCP in the summer of 2009 writes for Middle American News (MAN). MAN’s earliest leadership included white nationalist Samuel Francis (now deceased). Gemma participated with the extremist Council for National Policy and spoke at a white nationalist event alongside the famous neo-Nazi David Duke. In 2003 Gemma spoke at a Council of Conservative Citizens event addressing “The Attack on White Culture.” Other presentations at the event included defending Mississippi symbol of the Southern Confederacy. Gemma regularly posts at the website VDARE named after the first alleged white child born in North America.

Lutton, Gemma, and The Social Contract Press have nothing in common with progressive politics. If one is known by the company they keep the same probably goes for Leah Durant and Progressives for Immigration Reform. PFIR is nothing more than a cheap attempt at dressing up anti-immigrant bigotry in the garb of progressive politics. Durant’s activities don’t resemble The Dream of Dr. King rather the nightmare of racist bigotry that he stood against.

I guess at the end of the day one could still consider Progressives for Immigration Reform “progressive.” If you’re a Nazi that is.

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