Echoes of the Klan

The History of the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon—and the Striking Similarities You May Recognize


Thank you very much for providing the 'news hole' for the useful and timely reporting by your journalist Joe Streckert on some of the historical context and the mechanics of the social engineering that tried to turn the Oregon Territory into a post-Civil War melanin-free zone. Because these aspects of our local socio-economic realities figure in the policy-making boardrooms of the Corporate Caliphate and their enabling government and quasi governmental Portland Business and Development agencies The Mercury is providing a very useful launchpad for further discussion. So sorry to see all the discussion here is quarantined behind FACE BOOK's gated community where there are over 300 reader Comments. While I appear to be posting the first reader comment on the article's web-site.

Journalist Streckert brings even more savvy to his report than did Christina Capatides for CBS News in their 30 minute online broadcast of October 29, 2017 with accompanying narrative (well-sourced with local activists, if too few scholars)…

Among the sterling bullet points Streckert's narrative includes that bear much public discussion in re-framing these persistent Echoes of the Klan in today's Oregon: Sourcing PSU historian emeritus Darrell Millner who allows into the frame the ways in which the Confederate Southern states lost the war yet won the peace. Michelle Alexander's recent book on THE NEW JIM CROW focused on the private and investor profit-maximizing aspect of mass incarceration. Professor Millner and Streckert's other top shelf source NYU history prof Linda Gordon has her macro elements of the Klan 2.0 from her book THE SECOND COMING OF THE KKK that like PSU's noted document scavenger David Horowitz whose book of primary sources INSIDE THE KLAVERN drawing on meeting minutes and other banal marketing tokens from rural Oregon in the early 20th Century.

As Prof Millner notes and Streckert presents as a very useful frame for our necessarily enterprising times, racism as in so much of our pre-consumer consciousness U.S. history began life essentially as a Pyramid Scheme. One more Amway or Snake Oil sales operation with the top of the membership pyramid in each far flung colonizing region (especially the Wild West) doing well by signing up more secret society members in a state and Pacific NW region that barely hosted enough people of color to make for much incentive in joining the Klan. Which directs our attention to the motives of many of the early Klan organizers, undercutting claims of ideology where commerce is concerned. And where commerce is concerned, CORRUPTION TRUMPS IDEOLOGY EVERY TIME.

Not to say that there weren't skilled NW marketing minds creating a religio-romance based on notions of racial purity. But as with the WOMEN OF THE KLAN (focusing on 'wholesome Indiana') by Kathleen Blee and the books studying that early 20th Century midwestern phenomenon, without any kind of external regulation most institutions seek to seal off competition by insulating the leadership which makes corruption of ideals and organizational direction inevitable. Cold comfort for our present Duopoly's Crony Continuity.…

Keep on doing Mercury. Public Events like Town Hall meetings with panels drawn as deeply from our local brain trust as Streckert's article has been well-sourced would make for a good marketing tool to revive some interest in Public Interest journalism. Newspapers keep losing readership and relevance serving their advertisers, however social engagement will only come together in our atomized times when the business model of journalism gets back to that old Journalism School mission to "Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable."

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Shifters
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
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