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FAIR’s John Tanton Tried to Form Coordinated White Supremacist Group

John Tanton of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)Unbeknownst to many Michiganders, Michigan is home to one of the more influential anti-immigrant racists in the United States: John Tanton. Tanton is the founder of numerous anti-immigration organizations. Tanton’s creations include the well-known Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), as well numerous lesser-known organizations. Moreover, for years he has run the Social Contract Press out of Petoskey, Michigan that publishes a journal featuring writings from the racist movement.


FAIR and John Tanton himself have been tied to racism for years, whether it be in the funding it has received from the Pioneer Fund (which funds eugenics research) to its involvement with the racist movement or Tanton’s own racist statements. Tanton has also kept up an extensive personal correspondence with leading members of the racist movement.


Tanton’s correspondence—which is housed in a university library here in Michigan—has led to many revelations about his beliefs and his anti-immigration work.


Most recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center discovered that Tanton was involved in a project in the 1990s to form a white supremacist organization. They report that Tanton was working with Sam Francis of the Council of Conservative Citizens, Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, and Wayne Lutton of the Council of Conservative Citizens and the New Century Foundation—all of whom are influential in the white supremacist movement. The group was to be called “the League for European American Defense, Education, and Research” and would have been dedicated to defending the interests of the white majority.


Tanton writes:


“[T[here is currently no socially acceptable umbrella organization to which persons of European ancestry can belong to defend and promote their common interests… “Absent such an organization in a highly organized society, European-Americans will continue to see their history rewritten, their character and accomplishments denigrated, and their faults magnified. They will steadily lose ground and position to other groups… . For those not resigned to this gradual or not so gradual decline, a new organization tailored to the needs and interests of European-Americans as a group is essential.”


Moreover, the discussions about this group—which never came into being—firmly indicate that Tanton’s anti-immigration views are rooted in racism.


Tanton’s Michigan Roots

Despite the fact that Tanton has made his home in Michigan, he has made little effort to get involved in local issues. Sure, he’s used his home city of Petoskey as an example of how a majority white city can get along without immigrants:


“When people say, `What about those jobs Americans won’t do?’, my favorite answer is the city of Petoskey… We have virtually no immigrant population around here and the garbage gets picked up, the streets are swept, we have all the functions of any city or urban area and they get taken care of just fine.”


But aside from that, he hasn’t weighed in on local matters much.


However, there are a few instances when Tanton’s FAIR group has gotten involved on the ground in Michigan. During the 2000 election, FAIR ran ads against Arab American Senator Spencer Abraham that associated him with Osama Bin Laden. In 2006, FAIR had a presence at an anti-immigration rally in Grand Rapids organized by the Michigan chapter of white supremacist the Council of Conservative Citizens. Tanton also donated $200 to the anti-affirmative action Proposal 2 in 2006.

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