Backgrounder: American Third Position
Formation of the American Third Position Party
Formation of the American Third Position Party
At the time of A3P's official launch in January 2010, Vaxmonsky had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court in response to a misdemeanor charge. On March 2, 2010, he pleaded guilty to charges of driving without a valid driver license and failure to appear in court. Vaxmonsky, using the name "Sean Vax," had organized an event in Huntington Beach to publicize the A3P, according to a January 2010 article posted to Stormfront.
Publicly identified leaders of the A3P are its chairman William D. Johnson, a California lawyer who has run for office in Wyoming, Arizona and California; and four directors: Kevin MacDonald, an anti-Semitic professor of psychology at California State University-Long Beach; James Edwards, a Tennessee-based white supremacist who runs the Political Cesspool radio show; Tomislav Sunic, a white supremacist author and radio show host and Don Wassall, a white supremacist who founded the racist and anti-Semitic American Nationalist Union.
1Traditionally, third positionism is a small political movement that claims that there is a "third" alternative to socialism and capitalism that goes beyond traditional right or left political orientations. They are generally against globalization and are pro-environment. In practice, third positionism is nationalistic and infused with racism and anti-Semitism.
Ideology of the American Third Position Party
The mission statement of A3P states that the group "exists to represent the political interests of White Americans."
In the "program" section of their Web site, the A3P gives their position on a number of issues, including the economy, education, immigration, democracy, globalization and crime. In each area, the A3P stresses that white people (they use the term "our people" throughout but the inference is clear) are being cheated out of their cultural heritage and traditions, social freedom, safe living standards and economic opportunity. The group believes that white people should be allowed to "associate freely" and opposes multiculturalism.
The A3P's white supremacist ideology is echoed in its position on immigration, which calls for creating "incentives for recent, legal immigrants to return to their respective lands" in order to protect the "identity and culture of our homeland." The A3P also vehemently states that "If current demographic trends persist, European-Americans will become a minority in America in only a few decades time."
Leaders of the A3P: William Johnson, Chairman
William Johnson, Chairman
William Johnson is a graduate of Columbia Law School, lives on a ranch in La Canada, California, and reportedly works as an international lawyer.
In a February 20, 2010, interview with host James Edwards on the Political Cesspool, a white supremacist radio show, Johnson describes the A3P as being "neither left nor right, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. It basically takes a third position…We took our positions based upon what we thought was right…" Johnson adds, "We want to show that reasoned and good men can support the positions of identity, sovereignty, and liberty that the American Third Position embraces."
Johnson states that the A3P's goal is to run candidates in all 50 states. Johnson adds that because the law is different in each state, the A3P will have to make adjustments but the party plans on setting up state leaders patterned after the national leadership. He stresses that the A3P's national headquarters will oversee state leaders. Johnson describes a centralized party structure which he claims will be streamlined and more effective.
The first thing the party is going to do, according to Johnson, is "qualify in the states most easily achievable, the states that have the easiest ballot access laws." He mentions Florida as an example and adds that A3P will run candidates for federal offices in the state even if those candidates do not live in Florida.
When Political Cesspool co-host Winston Smith asked Johnson from where he would draw his membership, he replied, "The initial basis of our own upstart organization is the racial nationalist movement. It has been in disarray for the last 20 years so there's not as large a base for us to draw on [as compared to the Tea Party movement.]" Johnson adds that founders of the party chose the American Third Position name because "it doesn't carry any negative baggage with it but is more distinctive than using words like the 'Freedom Party'…." He states, "As the situation becomes more and more dire, the everyday rank and file citizen will look for solutions you can't find in the Republicans, the Democrats or the Tea Party movement and we think we can draw up on them."
At the end of the interview Johnson exclaims, "Now we are on the cusp of change, change that will alter the course of the direction of the nation and the world…We'll start to preserve our people again." This idea is brought home in the videos Johnson has posted to the A3P site, in which he sits under a banner that says "for race and nation."
In the 1980s, Johnson, under the pseudonym "James O. Pace," promoted the "Pace Amendment" to a variety of people, including members of the U.S. Congress and state legislatures. The proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution would have eliminated the Fourteenth Amendment (which grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in the United States) and limited citizenship only to "non-Hispanic whites of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro Blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood." Those who did not fit this category, including Jews, would be repatriated to places deemed their countries of origin. The scheme was originally outlined in a 1985 book authored by Pace and entitled Amendment to the Constitution. Pace also wrote a promotional kit for the amendment, which was published by the short-lived League of Pace Amendment Advocates.
After promoting the Pace Amendment, Johnson turned his attention to running for office. He has repeatedly lost elections to public office, including 1989 and 2006 defeats for congressional seats in Wyoming and Arizona, respectively. In 2008, Johnson also lost an election for judge on Los Angeles Country's Superior Court, garnering 25% of the vote.
During this time period, Johnson maintained a number of ties to the Klan. A Ku Klux Klan organizer was the manager of his 1989 Wyoming campaign and Johnson has repeatedly spoken at meetings of Robb's Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Party.
Johnson's use of the name "William D. Johnson" in connection to A3P also appears to be the end of his longstanding attempts to separate that name from "Daniel" or "Bill" Johnson, names he used in previous political campaigns and white supremacist organizing efforts. Although the Los Angeles Times reported in 1989 that he admitted to being James O. Pace (at the time, he also denied being a racist), his use of different names does appear to have been effective to a certain extent. His racist views, for example, were reportedly not an issue during the 2006 race for an Arizona congressional seat, in which he came in last out of a field of five contenders for the Democratic nomination.
Leaders of the A3P: Kevin MacDonald, Director
Kevin MacDonald, Director
Kevin MacDonald initially described his involvement with A3P as minimal, saying "All I'm doing is endorsing a platform essentially, and saying this is a good idea and something that should be done." However, in a December 14, 2009, interview on Radio Free Mississippi, a white supremacist radio show, MacDonald states that he is on the board of A3P and joined other members of the group at a Huntington Beach demonstration against "illegal aliens."
In the interview, MacDonald takes an explicitly white supremacist stance. He says that whites have less and less power and "will be at the mercy of other peoples, many of whom hold historical grudges against us." He includes Jews in this grouping. MacDonald also declares, "What we have to get people to understand is that it's okay to have an explicit white identity." When asked by host Jim Giles if he would be willing to "brainstorm with neo-Nazi Alex Linder to see what steps can be taken to help organize a white civil rights organization, MacDonald answers, "Absolutely," and mentions that the A3P is "out there talking about preserving Western culture and dealing with immigration and that kind of thing."
When asked if he supports the idea of a "white homeland," MacDonald says that he supports the idea of "repatriating" the millions of people who came to the U.S. since 1965.
MacDonald reserves much of his wrath for Jews. He says that "white nationalists should bring up "the Jewish lobby" as a strategic issue. "I would advocate that we be very frank about Jewish influence and very frank about Jewish dual loyalties and pro-Israel activity. MacDonald adds, "Any political rhetoric that comes out of the party has to be very carefully thought out, and has to be very carefully gone over to not be the kind of crude anti-Semitism you see so often."
MacDonald makes clear that A3P wants to reach educated white people using scientific data. "We are trying to develop a rhetoric that would appeal to educated white people in this county that is scientifically based rhetoric, rational rhetoric, rhetoric that is based on facts, that cites facts and data, psychological data…."
MacDonald's leadership role in A3P is his first involvement in electoral politics or explicit endorsement of a white supremacist effort. Johnson likely views MacDonald's participation as granting credibility to the party with a range of white supremacists and anti-Semites who are turned off by the efforts of neo-Nazis and racist skinheads.
MacDonald's participation in A3P also echoes his longstanding view that whites should organize politically to prevent their becoming a minority. He believes that ethnic tension is inevitable and that organizing whites along political lines is likely to be more violent in a few decades than it would be now.
Leaders of the A3P: James Edwards, Director
James Edwards, Director
James Edwards is the most recent public name to be associated with A3P. He hosts the Political Cesspool, a Memphis, Tennessee-based AM and Internet white supremacist radio show. He is also a board member of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. In a February 20, 2010, interview he conducted with William Johnson on the Political Cesspool, Edwards states that A3P "is America's newest and most promising political party and I'm proud to serve a role in its development." Throughout the interview, Edwards encourages his listeners to get involved with A3P. He says, "We need a political party that will stand up and fight for our people…."
Edwards has long held white supremacist views. The Political Cesspool's mission statement says that the show "represent[s] a philosophy that is pro-White… [and seeks] to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races." Edwards has interviewed a variety of anti-Semites, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant leaders. A list of former guests includes anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Willis Carto; Prussian Blue, a neo-Nazi singing duo; anti-Semite Ted Pike; Mark Weber, the director of the Institute for Historical Review; Frank Roman, a founding member of the neo-Nazi European Americans United group and Kevin MacDonald. Show sponsors include the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens and the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial organization.
In addition to hosting the Political Cesspool, Edwards attends and speaks at extremist gatherings. He has appeared at the gatherings of various white supremacist groups, including the Council of Conservative Citizens, American Renaissance and Stormfront, the largest white supremacist Internet forum. In 2004 and 2005, he attended conferences organized by anti-Semite David Duke.
Leaders of the A3P: Tomislav Sunic, Director
Tomislav Sunic, Director
Educated in the
Sunic has long collaborated with white supremacists and Holocaust deniers, although he has not openly accepted the latter's claims. Sunic participated in a notorious 2002 Holocaust denial conference in
Sunic has also spoken at meetings of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group, and has attended a conference sponsored by American Renaissance, a white supremacist publication. Kevin MacDonald wrote introductory essays to two books written by Sunic, Homo Americanus (2007) and Postmortem Report (2010).
Leaders of the A3P: Don Wassall, Director
Don Wassall, Director
Don Wassall is the founder of the American Nationalist Union (ANU) (the successor to a faction of the now-defunct Populist Party), a white supremacist outfit whose main function is publishing The Nationalist Times. The publication has been a vehicle for expressing Wassall's anti-Semitic and racist views. In the summer of 2009, Wassall also launched ANU News, a news Web site.
In addition, Wassall runs another Web site, Caste Football, where he claims to examine the "racial dynamics of football and of sports in general." On the site, Wassall asserts that "white football players, no matter how talented, are directed into a racial Caste System" that limits which position they can play on a team. He also runs a Web site, Northern Voice Bookstore, which sells books that promote a number of New World Order conspiracy theories, as well as anti-immigrant, survival and self-defense materials. In 2008, Wassall moved his operations to
Prior to founding the ANU, Wassall was involved in the far-right Populist Party, founded by long-time anti-Semite Willis Carto in 1983. Promoted as a contemporary incarnation of the late 19th-century Populist movement, its 1984 platform called for "respect for racial and cultural diversity." But the agenda of the party soon became clear when it elaborated on its views through the use of traditional code words that provided camouflage for anti-Semitic or racist positions: "The Populist Party will not permit any racial minority, through control of the media, culture distortion or revolutionary activity, to divide or factionalize the majority of the society-nation in which the minority lives."
Wassall continued to lead the Populist Party until 1995. At its annual convention that year, the Populist Party announced that it would change its name to the American Nationalist Union and that the party's newspaper, The Populist Observer, would now be called The Nationalist Times. In addition, the party announced that it would no longer run political candidates but would support those that held "nationalist" views. Before founding the ANU, Wassall had broken with Carto over issues of financial management and control of the Populist Party.
First national conference.
In June 2010, the American Third Position (A3P) held its first national conference in
Most of the speakers focused on developing the A3P as a political force that could run candidates for office. The explicit white supremacist platform of the group was made clear as speakers focused on the preservation of white European culture. Sunic asserted that the A3P could increase its potential power by reaching millions of white Americans, particularly young people. He told the crowd, "I consider this A3P as the last ditch effort to reboot ourselves, to restore our pride, our dignity in our race…" Sunic added that the group needed to "project [themselves] in the mainstream media as normal, law-abiding citizens."
Other speakers compared the A3P to European far-right nationalist parties, such as the British National Party and the National Fronts of France and Belgium, and expressed hope that the A3P could parallel the success of nationalist parties in Europe that have managed to get candidates elected to the European Parliament.
MacDonald anticipated that whites' fear of losing political power would inspire them to turn to the A3P, especially if the organization is "on the map." He suggested that the A3P infiltrate local politics and drum up publicity in order to get their message out to the white public. MacDonald added that if the A3P got the word out that "intelligent people" are behind the A3P's platform people would feel they could vote for A3P candidates in private even if they did not support the group publicly. MacDonald focused on the term "white advocates" instead of "white nationalists" in an apparent effort to recast the A3P's white supremacist agenda. He also urged the A3P to avoid association with "the failed strategies of the past" such as "holocaust revisionism" and "national socialism." Like other speakers, MacDonald stressed that the party needed to present itself as an organization run by people who would be acceptable to the mainstream white public. He asserted, "We need to have candidates who show self-confidence, are well-spoken and attractive personally."
William Johnson called on attendees to use the A3P as a gathering place to gain political and social solidarity. Mark Weber, who heads the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial organization, also gave a speech that focused on how to make the A3P politically viable.
Expanding outside of
Soon after the group's national conference in June 2010, the A3P announced that a New Jersey-based white supremacist group, the League of American Patriots (LOAP) would be merging with their organization. The merger fits in with the A3P's plans to expand outside of
In early July 2010, at a Tea Party in Morristown, New Jersey and in late June at a mainstream European cultural festival, members of the A3P's Metro New York Chapter claimed to have handed out a number of handbills outlining the group's anti-globalization and anti-immigrant stances.
In keeping with its goal of entering mainstream elections, the
Response to the American Third Position from White Supremacists and A3P's Plans for Expansion
Response to A3P from white supremacists
A3P's emergence has been viewed with cautious optimism by various online white supremacist and anti-Semitic outlets. TOQ Online, the Web site for the "scholarly" racist journal The Occidental Quarterly (to which MacDonald is a regular contributor) deemed it a "hopeful sign." Posts on VNN, the anti-Semitic neo-Nazi forum, and Stormfront wondered if it would become "America's BNP," a reference to the far-right British National Party, which won two seats to the European Parliament in elections in June 2009.
A3P's plans for expansion
Although the group is based in California, that state requires parties to have more than 88,000 registered members or more than 889,000 petition signatures to be listed on the election ballot, obstacles A3P is unlikely to overcome. In addition to Florida, William Johnson, A3P's chairman, has identified Delaware, Mississippi, Connecticut and Vermont as states with "easily surmountable hurdles" for ballot qualification, and says that the party's initial organizing efforts will be directed there.
By February 13, 2010, A3P reported that it had been working to organize leaders in every state and would "soon recognize a state leadership in Georgia, Arizona, Arkansas, and Nevada. A3P also reported that it is working to achieve "ballot access" in a number of other states.
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