Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mr. C and The American Fascist Party

Mr. Charleston sometimes earns his living as an independent life insurance agent. We prefer to call ourselves things like, financial advisors, counselors, or even, asset analysts. Whoa! That last one sounds high falootin’ enough for the king. (Richard Petty, that is.)

It’s a hellish, but also rewarding, business. The rewarding part is when you really do help a family protect their assets or retirement savings. Or help them get a settlement from the thieving insurance industry who will screw you out of it given half a chance.

The hellish part is you spend an enormous amount of time on the phone trying to track down and set an appointment with people who have returned something in the mail expressing interest in what it is you are selling. They are called “leads.”

For a couple of years I worked the Georgia coast from St. Mary’s to Savannah and surrounding area. It was while tracking down an appointment in the “surrounding area” that I came across the professed President of the American Fascist Party. He was a “lead.” A sheet of paper. I called, made an appointment, and got directions to his house, which was somewhere between Swainsboro, Georgia and nowhere, as if Swainsboro wasn’t nowhere enough already.

About 25 miles north of town on a narrow county road, the pavement ended. Another 7 miles or so down the dirt road, long out of cell coverage, following sketchy instructions and my nose, past miles of nothing but scraggly woods and an occasional field, I came to a clutch of mobile homes. They looked exactly as you would expect. Dirt yards, clothes lines, cars on blocks, the ubiquitous BBQ grill and yapping dogs. As I pulled up to the one that appeared to be my destination, a run-down mobile home with a shed like room and porch built onto it and a large radio antenna on one side, any hope of a commission evaporated into the Georgia heat.

But what the hell, I was there and it was certain to at least be a change of pace. I paused before getting out of the car as I couldn’t decide which end of the Pit Bull to believe, his head or his tail. The issue was settled when a somewhat disheveled El Presidente came out to greet me and ran the dog off. He was average height and build. A lanky redneck.

On the way into the house, through the car shed past a honker 4x4 truck with no roof and a hound dog lying in a dirt hole, I noticed that EP walked with a limp. (Insurance agents take note of such things.)

The interior of the place was cluttered and grimy. Stuff piled everywhere, sofa and chair covered by dirty sheets... I wondered what the real fabric looked like... filthy carpet, or what was left of it. EP sat in the chair and motioned for me to take the sofa. I cleared enough space on the coffee table for my laptop. He offered me a beer. I thought, why not? I don’t usually drink when doing business but what did I have to lose?

As we talked I learned he had a few health problems and was on disability from the leg injury, but nothing that would totally disqualify him from coverage. He had no wife and family so I asked why he wanted life insurance in the first place. He said he wanted to leave something to a nephew who had helped him once. I wrote him a policy, with little faith it would be issued, and asked how he wanted to pay for it. He said he would pay cash as he didn’t have a bank account or credit card. Said he didn’t trust banks or the government and wouldn’t have a credit card.

Now insurance companies won’t take cash but they will take money orders but will only accept them for something more than monthly payments. So, if you pay in cash, you must pay quarterly. His premium came to something like $160.

After scrounging around for a while, he came up with the cash, a wad of cruddy bills, but I took it and wrote him a receipt. I told him I would get the first money order for him but in the future, he would have to do it himself. He said no problem, he goes into town about once a month and he could do it then.

I noticed a strange flag hanging on the wall and asked about it. He said it was the flag of The American Fascist Party. I said I didn’t know there was such thing and he informed me that he was the president of said party and had, in fact, run for president of the United States this past election. He said it was at an election rally that the FBI beat him up and injured his leg, which also precipitated his move from New York to East Bumfuck, Georgia.

No sooner had I shown an interest in Fascism than he produced pamphlets and flyers and a CD that would tell me all about it. They have a web site which includes a page of Fascist tunes. This is Salute to Benito. Play it while you read the rest of this post, it adds a certain ambiance.

I’m sure when we met he told me he was president of the American Fascist Party. However, now it seems his is the American Fascist Movement and the Party has been taken over by someone else, who also ran for president this past election. Just to add balance, I visited the Party website, or rather, a website about their website, and found the following as part of their credo:

As it is obvious to most, the current government system has become a gang of self-serving crooks who have sold out our great nation and betrayed the trust of the American people.

Most people in this country know that "everything is upside-down." A true Fascist government in America would change all this. The AFP recognizes the "balance factor" in which, individual freedom is balanced with equal responsibility. National strength, military, economic, and political is balanced with the need to use such strength wisely, and with restraint. Productivity is balanced with a need to protect the environment. If you agree with these sentiments, then congratulations, you may already be a Fascist! If you want to work against Communist treason and the U.N. dominated "New World Order," you just might belong in the American Fascist Party.

Crimini! I might be a Fascist! Their credo goes on to say they are not racist and that they don’t care what religion you belong to, etc. The credo is pretty much the same for both the Party and the Movement.

As I was reading through some of the information he gave me, I was gently quizzed about my thoughts concerning guns. I said I have one. In fact, I carry it in my car. He said to follow him, he had something he wanted to show me. He led me down a short, narrow hallway to a back room. The room was full of weapons. Racks of guns, swords and even a pike, lined the walls. Broken rifles and what-not stacked in the corners. A bookshelf loaded with ammunition.

To be fair, nearly all of them were antiques or collectables, but all in working order. WWII M1 rifles and carbines. A WWI Enfield and even a rifle from the Civil War. However, there were also a few modern Rambo looking semi-automatics and two Thompson sub-machine guns in perfect condition. I didn’t see anything more heavy duty like grenades or grenade launchers or the sort.

He was very proud of his collection, and rightly so. As I handled them with genuine interest he would give me the history of the weapon with asides on the corrupt and dictatorial governments of the time. I couldn’t tell that he was a survivalist or anything like that. He struck me as someone who, whether forced to by the government or not, simply lives outside of the system and pretty much doesn’t want anything to do with anyone. I also got no impression that the little mobile home enclave was anything other than an odd collection of outcasts like himself. Not a smoldering nest of fascism or the like.

I have run into many people like him over the years. I suppose it’s just one man’s way of being free.

By the way, his policy wasn’t issued.


  1. Also, it is one man's way to cling to an ideology that puts the world into a nice neat box.

    Fascist heroes often spawn scary imitators. The Columbine murderers loved Hitler.

  2. Being an independent insurance agent as well, luckily I mostly deal with companies, but still this would scare the bejeesus out of me.

    I sometimes worry about going to the wrong place and getting dismembered by a clan of weirdos. Luckily, this guy wasn't a weirdo, but how were you to know? His gun collection sounds amazing.

  3. Indantatia... This guy was a weirdo. One of those you're careful about what you say and how you say it because you know the wrong thing will trip his trigger. I've become pretty good at pretending I agree with them, no matter who, bankers, weirdos, bikers, because I am genuinely interested in what they have to say.
    There's a local guy down here named Stetson Kennedy. Stetson became famous back in the 40s and 50s for infiltrating the Klu Klux Klan, not as a police agent, but as a journalist.
    I have been fortunate to spend some time with Stetson and quizzed him about how he did it and his response was "You have to be a chameleon."
    When I think about it, I've been a chameleon my entire life, whether in a job I disliked or with El Presidente.

  4. Strictly tongue and cheek. I had a student who once told me that Hitler had some good ideas. He would bring Mein Kamph to class just to piss everyone off. Students came to me to tell him to stop. I decided to let him bring his little fascist bible and told them to ignore him, as he wants us to get upset and our job is to disappoint him. No one talked to him except me and that was only because I had to do so. When he mentioned his views, I listened then moved to another topic. One day Mein Kamph was gone and Mr. Nazi wannabe stopped talking. Normally I like class participation, but I made an exception in this case.

    People are wack and they aren't all fascists. There are web sites dedicated to Columbine's murderers, women who proposed marriage to Timothy McVeigh, people who still want to follow Charles Manson. Sheep without a shepard, Jesus called it. People like evil because they think they can control it. They can't.

  5. I heard about stetson on NPR. Is he the same guy? I loved his pictures if he is the one.

  6. Yes, that's him. He's had a lot of press lately. Friends with Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seeger. They used to hang out at his place.
    Stetson is very approachable. A very down to earth guy.

  7. ER... I'm interested in what type of school you teach at. It seems to me the kid was either from a wacko family or, very bright, exploring different ideas without really knowing how these ideas once effected the world.

  8. I too, spent time with Stetson!
    With all the love and kindness and compassion and all like that there.
    I am deeply offended you bring a man of his caliber into a cheap shot like this.
    This is the fame these fucks are after. This dipshit, somewhere in Northernmost Florida, has not the stature of the bastards Stetson rode with. (sorry about the dangling participal)
    I aplogize to all the readers out there, who are saying "what the f**k".
    Mr. Stetson Kennedy was the real McCoy.
    No disrespect meant Mr. C. but when Mr. Kennedy "Rode with the Klan" it was at true risk. These punks are trying to by insurance, for christ sake!
    Keep up the retoric though, it is what keeps us going.

  9. C---nothing to do with dipshit nazi trailer trash, but I did pick up on "pretty good at pretending I agree with them". Hmmmmmm, and who else?

  10. Punch.. You're way off the mark here buddy. Go back and read it again.

    JJ... hey, I said bankers, weirdos and bikers, I suppose I could add a few more.

    EOR... The reason I was curious is I remember during the 60s all kinds of hippie political types would trot out the works of Mao and Marks and proclaim how wonderful the philosophies were, and on the surface they were, and they too were college kids, capable of seeing the promise but incapable of seeing the reality. However, most of them were the brightest students among us.

  11. Why the hell not. everyone needs a hobby and a history. His was collecting guns and spouting an ideology that works on paper until you add power into the equation. So why the hell not, Granny got a gun and gimpy too, one for me and one for you.

    I had a slightly similar experience in North Carolina.

  12. I admit that I tried reading Mein Kamph and just couldn't get through it. And it wasn't the hate filled ramblings--it was so badly written!

    I've seen what you are describing. Here is my thought: yes, some of these students are very bright. Along with that intelligence comes deep unresolved mama/daddy issues. So they bring books like this to act out as a method of transference. I am the parent and the other students are the siblings. This has happened to me a lot.

    I deal with each case as I see it. In another case I had a radical fundamentalist Muslim--he challenged me on everything--everything and I wasn't teaching anything remotely religious or even globally political. The students were uncomfortable. To make matters worse, I had an Israeli in the class (the other was Palestinian) so can you imagine? Finally I took the guy aside for a meeting and said: You are very angry and hostile. If it is because of something I have said, please tell me so that we can talk about it. But I cannot have this spilling into class discussions. This class is not a forum.

    He told me of his life growing up in the occupied PA. He told me some very bizarre things about Jews who he believed were behind 9/11 and did it to discredit Islam. I just listened and kept a poker face. After that, we began to have regular meetings in which I helped him with his writing. He tried working with our tutors, but they all got very nervous around him. I ended up writing a letter of recommendation for him. So sometimes you can get to the bottom of it.

  13. Great story Mark. I'm sure you've got more than a few from the road. I'm with you... live and let live, just remember, your right to swing your arms ends at the tip of my nose.

    EOR... You sound like the teacher I always wanted but never had. When I was in college, late 60s, the anti-war, hippie movement was in full swing and there was a soap box on every corner of the campus (FSU) for any type of political expression. I don't believe this is allowed any longer, free speech on campus, right. It gave them a great outlet, one which is probably now happening in the classroom.

    Thanks for the feedback. I too tried reading Mein Kamph, but like you, found it boring and quit after the first chapter. However Marx' manifesto I found to be a really good read. He was an economist, not a political philosopher and to consider the time and place of his theory makes it even more poignant.

  14. I used to teach the Manifesto. It actually teaches itself, except for the chapter on Utopian Socialism. The critique of capitalism is brilliant and I liked explaining historical materialism to the students--got rid of the great man theory of history and I think Marx is correct on some level. He doesn't scare anyone these days; I work with armchair Marxist academics. They often piss me off because they talk all their oppress the masses bullshit, but try to get them to an anti-war rally or to sign petitions. All talk, no walk.

  15. Most people have a hard time grasping "it's the economy, stupid." Want to change the world, change the economic paradigm. Can't do that sitting in an arm chair.


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