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August 29, 2003

GOP: Repudiate YAF

Where are the calls for Gubernatorial candidate Tom McClintock to repudiate his connections to the racist California Young Americans for Freedom? How racist is YAF? They actually opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and promote states rights against national legislation. In 1964, when Strom Thurmond left the Democratic Party in protest of LBJ's support of the Civil Rights law, Young Americans for Freedom asked him to speak at their convention. Here is how a former YAFFER remembers it:

But I first met Strom in 1964 after he switched from the Democrat to the Republican Party, the first leading Southern politician to do so. I met him in his Washington Senate office and extended him an invitation to speak at the annual convention of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), of which I was then national chairman. I was accompanied by YAF's late executive director, Dave Jones. Both of us badly wanted Thurmond to speak at our gathering since Sen. Barry Goldwater had just declined...

On the appointed night in an open air stadium in Fort Lauderdale, with mist falling, Thurmond, wearing a knee length black cloak, spoke for what seemed an interminable length, denouncing the pending Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which later became law). His penultimate utterance was: "This bill is unconstitutional, illegal, un-American, unfortunate, unacceptable and -- (he paused) -- what's more, I don't like it."

This is an organization that honored Thurmond not in his dotage but in his racist prime. Yet many Republicans remain members of this organization despite its long racist history. Ronald Reagan joined the YAF National Advisory Board in 1962 and continues today, 40 years later, as Honorary Chairman. See here for links on how this insidious group has infiltrated California campuses.

You wonder how conservatives can seriously try to witchhunt Bustamante for being a member of the pro-civil rights MEChA organization, while their rightwing heroes maintain membership in an organization like YAF with its explicitly racist tradition?

Posted by Nathan at August 29, 2003 11:30 AM