White like me

Billed as a celebration of European culture, Euro-Fest 2003 offered Sacramentans the opportunity to get in touch with their inner racist

Fashions on display at Sacramento’s Euro-Fest 2003 ranged from von Trapp-style traditional garb to the ever-popular David Duke T-shirt.

Fashions on display at Sacramento’s Euro-Fest 2003 ranged from von Trapp-style traditional garb to the ever-popular David Duke T-shirt.

Photo By Stephen James

It all seemed so normal at first: Joggers and dog walkers circled the duck pond and tennis courts of McKinley Park, as the community center slowly filled with folks who had come out on a brisk evening last month for Euro-Fest 2003. Several families arrived in quaint, themed costumes, with the kids dressed up in traditional European garb reminiscent of a performance by the singing von Trapp family in The Sound of Music. Many adults were dressed in semi-formal attire, with several men in coats and ties, while others accessorized less formal ensembles with regulation Doc Marten boots.

Inside, the hall furnishings and layout suggested a hybrid event: part Oktoberfest fund-raiser complete with raffle, part elementary school open house and part flea market. The center of the room was occupied by a dozen buffet-sized tables, each seating 12, covered with a white tablecloth and finished with long strings of fall-colored silk flowers laid down the middle. Along one side wall hung the flags and coats of arms from assorted European countries and clans, while classroom-like educational displays were carefully arranged on tables. Colored maps were cut and pasted onto foldout poster board, which also contained clippings about each country’s history, heritage and population.

Along the opposite wall, vendors offered an eclectic selection of wares along a half dozen tables arranged end to end. At one end, the Celtic music band Molly’s Revenge sold compact discs and T-shirts. At the other, folks could purchase lingerie monogrammed with the logo of the National Alliance and other symbols associated with either white-supremacist organizations or modern pagan religions, depending on the customer’s point of reference. At still another table waited copies of The Turner Diaries, a Confederate flag and a T-shirt that said “STOP IMMIGRATION.” One Euro-Fest patron browsing the merchandise wore a shirt with his own message of choice displayed in bold type: “DAVID DUKE U.S. SENATE.”

But it was the center table, the one offering a variety of free one-page leaflets, on which the most extreme viewpoints were found. Each espoused a similar central theme: The Jewish-controlled media is responsible for not informing the American public that, as one leaflet put it, “black savages are flooding in from Africa … and will spread the HIV virus to every corner of America, reproduce like cockroaches and bring murder, rape and robbery to every community in which they are placed.” A Zionist-initiated master plan, the fliers declared, was devised because “the Jews want as many non-Whites as possible mixed in with the white population as quickly as possible. … They believe that once they have done that, it will be too difficult a task for us to un-mix what they have mixed.”

Children take in the sights and sounds of Euro-Fest 2003.

Photo By Stephen James

The recommended solution to this problem was, among other things, to embrace the information age. “Turn off your TV, cancel your newspaper and magazine subscriptions and get on the Internet! The Internet is the only form of mass-communication not under Jewish control,” wrote a nameless author. The reader also was encouraged to take a stand against this state of affairs by joining the National Alliance, “America’s foremost patriotic organization.”

Whether or not the Alliance is America’s foremost patriotic organization is subject to debate. But the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an anti-Semitism, anti-bigotry organization, has called the National Alliance the largest, most organized and most dangerous neo-Nazi organization in the nation. The ADL estimates that the Alliance has 16 active cells in the United States, and the ADL has tracked evidence of Alliance activity in 26 states. The Sacramento Euro-Fest was promoted on the home page of the National Alliance Web site.

On the stage at the far end of the hall, Molly’s Revenge played traditional Celtic music and songs for a crowd of about 100 people. The scent of the advertised “fine European cuisine” being prepared in the facility kitchen wafted through the air, European beers were served, and the first speaker of the evening was introduced. As the band left the stage, Peter Morell gave his lecture titled “The Fruits of Our Labor” and projected PowerPoint slides onto a large screen behind him.

While images of European works of art and ancient aqueducts illuminated the screen, Morell, dressed in a dark suit and tie, read from a prepared script, stiffly reciting the accomplishments of the white race throughout the ages. Many in the crowd, previously attentive yet passive, rose to their feet when the screen lit up with a photo of Henry Ford, whose authorship of The International Jew cemented his place in the annals of anti-Semitism.

Jim Silva followed with a brief lecture on Norse sagas. Silva is an Odinist—a follower of a pre-Christian religion of northern European Germanic peoples. Most National Alliance members and associates reject Judeo-Christian religious doctrines and identify with, or actively practice, the earlier polytheistic religions of Europe. The Alliance logo, which resembles an inverted peace sign without the circle, is derived from the same symbol, known as a Yggdrasil, from Norse mythology. Silva concluded his presentation by summarizing the two most common themes in Norse sagas: Love triangles lead to strife and death, and excessive pride often results in catastrophe. The irony of the latter message was apparently lost on the white-pride advocates in attendance.

National Alliance leaflets like this one were distributed alongside Confederate flags and white-supremacist themed lingerie at the Euro-Fest merchandising tables.

Taunted by the escalating aromas emanating from the back of the room as the buffet was being set up, the group began to grow restless as the final speaker, Dr. Tomislav Sunic, presented the keynote address, “Europe Under Attack: From the Early Islamic Onslaught to Communist Disaster.” Based in Croatia, Sunic was in the states on a speaking tour. Formerly a Croat diplomat and professor of political philosophy at three U.S. colleges, including California State University at Fullerton, Sunic brought the event an air of credibility. And, though it was clear that Sunic didn’t necessarily endorse the bulk of the extremist agenda of the National Alliance, the writer and philosopher did make some parallel observations, claiming the European race was being diluted by excessive immigration and that the terrorism problem in Europe could be traced to immigration. “Those foreign alien hordes have driven a wedge into the European core,” Sunic concluded.

After dinner was served, the crowd cooled off to the music of white-pride folk singer Eric Owens and to a raffle of door prizes that included CDs of German, Irish and French folk songs; a Confederate flag; and a replica of a Viking sword.

The local contact for Euro-Fest 2003, Drahomir Stojkovic, declined to answer questions about the event and referred all queries to National Alliance Western States coordinator Shaun Walker. Walker, who is based in Salt Lake City and has a wife in Sacramento, confirmed that the Alliance coordinated and promoted the event but declined to provide contact information for local participants. Walker explained that Alliance members and affiliates try to protect their privacy and generally are discouraged by the organization from talking with the media.

“No offense,” said Walker, “but we’ve kind of not had the best media in the past.”

In addition to organizing events like Euro-Fest, Walker said that the group also holds meetings and distributes leaflets door to door. “We do thousands of fliers [and] the most efficient way, time-wise, is to go through the neighborhood and throw them on lawns or up on the porch.” Walker expressed concern, however, that free-speech rights in some cities are being constrained by local ordinances prohibiting leafleting in parking lots. Local African-American and Jewish leaders say they generally support the free-speech rights of the National Alliance, even if, as Rabbi Yossi Etz-Hasadeh of the Kenesset Israel Torah Center in Sacramento puts it, their claims are “nonsense.” Likewise, David DeLuz, president of the Sacramento chapter of the NAACP, has no problem with any group assembling and expressing an opinion, though there’s one caveat: “Our concern about groups like the National Alliance is when their ideas cross the boundary from ideas into action.”

The members of Molly’s Revenge packed up their instruments and have since said farewell to what was one of the stranger events in their career. Indeed, the final irony of Sacramento Euro-Fest 2003 is that the event’s organizers never realized the group’s own heritage.

The Santa Cruz-based Celtic band is used to performing on the California Highland Games circuit, including the largest such event in the country, which is held annually at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Band leader Pete Haworth said that when members were hired to play at Euro-Fest, they were told the function would be a “celebration of European culture, and they’d have some dancers and other performers and a philosopher speaking.” They were unaware of the veiled agenda behind the event.

On the day of the function, they arrived at the hall early to set up the sound system. Haworth’s wife was setting up a table to sell band CDs and T-shirts, when she noticed the items being offered by the vendors at other tables. “She realized pretty early on and passed on to me what it was all about,” Haworth explained. “It was quite a shock to us.” Haworth and his wife were especially concerned with how a bandmate would react. “One of the guys in our band is actually Jewish, so it was a little bit awkward for us, but he took it pretty well. We just kept to ourselves, played what we wanted to play and left.” Born and raised in England, Haworth is polite and understated, but he conveyed the impression that it’s unlikely Molly’s Revenge will play at another Alliance event. “I’m all for people having their own beliefs,” said Haworth. “But I don’t particularly want to be associated with them.”