The Land Stewardship Project’s mission is to create a more just and sustainable food and farming system for everyone, no exceptions. Our organizing is based on shared values of community, democracy, stewardship, health, and justice. Upholding this foundation is the conviction that we believe in the innate value of people and the land. Racist hatred, exclusion, and violence are clear violations of our strongly held belief that every person has value that cannot be earned or taken away.
Based on this set of values, the Land Stewardship Project condemns the activity of white supremacist and other hate groups, many of whom are seeing a resurgence in the upper Midwest.
The rise of white supremacist groups is paralleling the unwillingness of our nation’s leaders to call them out for what they truly are: a threat to our communities and the future of this country. That is why we call on our leaders at the local, state, and federal level to unequivocally condemn not only the actions of white nationalist, white supremacist, and other hate groups, but the racist, bigoted roots that they are based on. To do otherwise is to be part of the problem.
We have seen repeatedly in times of economic desperation that racial scapegoating and divisions rise as people search for someone to blame. Unjust power structures use fear of people who look or sound different from us to keep us from uniting for change and a better future. But the truth is that all of us are harmed by a corporate system that places profits over people. LSP fights corporate control and advocates for elected officials that govern with the people, and not for a business model that seeks maximum profit above all else. LSP believes a democracy is a society in which the people hold the power to govern.
Some white supremacist groups also condemn corporate control of government, but they also propound an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that paints Jews as trying to take over the world through business interests. This baseless viewpoint goes against LSP’s values and mission.
We all are struggling with the economic, COVID-19, and climate crises, but it has become clear these problems disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and people of color. It is imperative that we remain aware of these groups within our communities.
We must all be vigilant in identifying and fighting the misinformation, “coded speech,” and other tactics that white supremacist groups use to get their message across and recruit new followers. White supremacist and other hate groups can masquerade as celebrating Scandinavian heritage, for example, and shared symbols are not always as obvious as a swastika or a white hood. Particularly in this digital age, these groups seek to recruit people through videos, games, and social media posts that might seem innocuous, but after a few click-throughs lead to spaces that distribute toxic propaganda.
We must also be aware that in this age of the internet, nothing happens in a vacuum, and we see extreme movements often cross-pollinating with each other. We can see this in the Boogaloo Bois (a group growing in popularity in Minnesota) and their desire for a second civil war, an agenda that white nationalists have been advancing for many years. We can see this in the anti-Semitic trends within the conspiracy theory QAnon, which repackages centuries-old tropes accusing Jews of kidnapping children.
Farmers who are working to build soil health know that diversity makes the land resilient and healthy. The same is true for our communities — when hate groups promote one race over another, we become susceptible to a monocultural view of society that is neither healthy nor sustainable.
Now, more than ever, we as LSP members and allies must stand together and make it clear that white supremacy has no place in our society. White supremacist movements are built on a cancerous foundation of hate, bigotry, xenophobia, and scapegoating. These movements have nothing to do with creating a sustainable and just society. White people must join with people of color — rural, suburban, and urban — to fight this threat to the land, people, and communities.
Thank you to Land Stewardship Project ally Jewish Community Action for working with LSP staff to develop this statement. For more on the Land Stewardship Project’s racial justice work, see www.landstewardshipproject.org/about/racialjustice.