Friday, September 10, 2010

The American Relgious (FAR) Right's Apocolyptic and Survivalist beginnings

William Pelley was an author, religious tract writer, and the organizer of a combative 1930s religious group “The Silver Shirts”. The Silver Shirts being modeled off Adolf Hitlers "Brown Shirts".  *

Pelley had earlier been a reporter in Russia during WW1 and had claimed to have first witnessed the threat of the Jewish-Communist conspiracy there. In 1930 he moved to Asheville, NC where he started publishing a newspaper, and opened a bible college that taught through correspondence courses. With the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany he became obsessed with these kindred spirits.

Only a few scholars such as John Werly and Michael Barkun have noted that Pelley’s movement was more about evangelical Christianity, namely apocalyptic ideas and millennial beliefs, than any legitimate political quest for power. Pelley concerned himself mostly with the coming of the Last Days and the battle of Armegedeaon and what role he and his organization would have in ushering it in. In his newspaper, Pelley’s Weekly, an article titled “What you Should Do to Prepare for the Christ Commonwealth” echoed this concern. The article urged readers to store food and ammunition and drill in a military fashion, foreshadowing the emergence of surviavlism and apocalyptic ideology which has become central to the culture of the post war right.

from Fascist Apocalypse: William Pelley and Millennial Extremism by David Lobb. link

The wiki article oddly seems to underplay his religious enthusiasm, but they do have a nice picture:

I am aware that the Fascist movements had much in common with our Left Wing organizations, but have decided to go with the common usage. 

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