MANHATTAN, Kan. - In Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, Leonard Zeskind provides a thorough and detailed, 542-page, historical account of the mainstreamers and vanguardists that make up the racist movement. Like Zeskind himself, a Kansas City native, many of the key players in this movement hail from our Midwestern state. Several key events surrounding these movements also happened in Kansas.
The 1982 Self-Reliance and Survival Expo is one of those Kansas events. In this setting, Christian Identity groups and Survivalists came together in Kansas City. Gun and knife shows are a tradition in the Midwest and South. This show welcomed survivalists, as well as a group called the Covenant the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA). What could the CSA offer audiences at the Kansas City Self-Reliance and Survival Expo? "For a fee, white (Christian) men could shoot machine guns at pop-up figures, knock down doors, and battle around mock buildings while tires burned to simulate urban riots" (61). Hardly the self-defense tactics typically touted at gun and knife shows.
Likewise, the Midwestern farm crisis provided fertile ground for The Posse Comitatus in the 1980's. This group was considered mainstream enough to have their own time on Kansas airwaves. "Gale joined Wickstrom in this crusade, and taped 'sermons' by the two Posse leaders were regularly broadcast on a Dodge City, Kansas radio station in 1982" (74). With an audience of listeners, no wonder Kansas was the site for a Posse Comitatus training assembly. "That same year Gale and Wickstrom organized a paramilitary training session on a farm near Weskan, Kansas, just across the border from Colorado" (74).