Maybe we should call the wildly mis-named “Moms for Liberty” “Moms for White Nationalism.” Or “Proud Girls,” in recognition of their cozy relationship with the Neo-Nazi “Proud Boys.”
The success of Biden’s policies both at home and abroad has pushed the Republican Party into an existential crisis, and that’s where Moms for Liberty fits in. Since the years of the Reagan administration, the Movement Conservatives who wanted to destroy the New Deal state recognized that they only way they could win voters to slash taxes for the wealthy and cut back popular social problems was by whipping up social issues to convince voters that Black Americans, or people of color, or feminists, wanted a handout from the government, undermining America by ushering in “socialism.” The forty years from 1981 to 2021 moved wealth upward dramatically and hollowed out the middle class, creating a disaffected population ripe for an authoritarian figure who promised to return that population to upward mobility…
Richardson attributes the organization’s focus on America’s public schools to the fact that those schools teach democratic values–i.e., engage in“liberal indoctrination.”
As a Moms for Liberty chapter in Indiana put on its first newspaper: “He alone, who OWNS the youth, GAINS the future.” While this quotation is often used by right-wing Christian groups to warn of what they claim liberal groups do, it is attributed to German dictator Adolf Hitler. Using it boomeranged on the Moms for Liberty group not least because it coincided with the popular “Shiny Happy People” documentary about the far-right religious Duggar family that showed the “grooming” and exploitation of children in that brand of evangelicalism.
Moms for Liberty have pushed for banning books that refer to any aspect of modern democracy they find objectionable, focusing primarily on those with LGBTQ+ content or embrace of minority rights… A study by the Washington Post found that two thirds of book challenges came from individuals who filed 10 or more complaints, with the filers often affiliated with Moms for Liberty or similar groups. And in their quest to make education align with their ideology, the Moms for Liberty have joined forces with far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, sovereign citizens groups, and so on, pushing them even further to the right.
Richardson notes that Moms for Liberty is the contemporary version of “a broader and longstanding reactionary movement centered on restoring traditional hierarchies of race, gender and sexuality.” It’s the modern version of “Women of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Given media emphasis on the gender gap, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that not all women are progressive. The Guardian recently considered the history of female rightwing activism.
As a movement, Moms for Liberty draws from the long history of rightwing women’s activism in the US – particularly in such activists’ identity as mothers. Where mothers’ movements are often associated with projects of social welfare, a counter-tradition of women’s activism has politicized motherhood to pursue staunchly conservative aims.
Fueled by anti-communist panic, they fought for the removal of textbooks, teachers and administrators they judged to be tainted by progressive ideals. A defining feature of these groups was how they leveraged cultural beliefs surrounding motherhood for political ends.
White mothers’ organizations were some of the most committed players in the mid-century project of “massive resistance” fought to preserve the Jim Crow order…. And one of its battlegrounds remains central to the mission of Moms for Liberty: textbooks and school curricula. In the south and beyond, mothers’ organizations fought to eliminate books and teachings that highlighted white violence or white supremacy.
Given their goals, I’m sure these “Moms” applauded when the Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction explained that–under that state’s “anti-woke/anti-CRT” rules, schools could teach that the Tulsa massacre happened– but could not attribute it to racism.
Walters is a pro-Trump Republican who was elected to oversee Oklahoma education in November. He has consistently indulged in rightwing talking points including “woke ideology” and has said critical race theory should not be taught in classrooms. Republicans have frequently conflated banning critical race theory with banning any discussion of racial history in classrooms.
At the forum in Norman, Oklahoma, Walters was asked how the massacre could “not fall” under his broad definition of CRT.
Walters responded that the incident should be taught, but not attributed to the race of the victims. That, he said “is where I say that is critical race theory.”
According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the massacre was the single worst incident of racial violence in American history.” White mobs burned down the Black neighborhood of Greenwood, in Tulsa, and killed hundreds of Black people.
Explaining why is now a “CRT no-no.” Moms-for-ridiculous-results must be so proud….