Does the KKK do anything at all

Legal study on the Ku Klux Klan: 150 years self-declared constitutional protector


Research has already been carried out on the role of women or religion in the KKK. So far, there has been no investigation into the constitutional understanding of the traditional terror movement. A US law professor has just published his.

For his bomb attack on the FBI building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, the main perpetrator Timothy McVeigh (1968-2001) gave a number of reasons.

These included the argument that the US federal government had violated the right of Americans to own and carry weapons, as guaranteed by the constitution since 1791.
How far McVeigh's sympathies went for the Ku Klux Klan, whose franchise the assassin who was executed in 2001 had occasionally used, is not entirely clear, but intellectual closeness can be seen.

In his very substantial essay "The Klan's Constitution", the American law professor Jared A. Goldstein proves that in its 150-year history the KKK saw itself almost consistently as an association for the defense of the "true US constitution" - entirely in the spirit of the modern mass murderer.

Private madness like the "Reichsbürgern"?

The fact that an organization that has made a name for itself through physical terror, intimidation of its opponents, at least populist agitation, feels called upon to protect the constitution, of all things, can be dismissed as private madness, similar to the after-belief of "Reichsbürgern" who see themselves as guardians consider an older German state order.

However, Goldstein demonstrates how much the clan's self-image as constitutional protector by its own mercy served in the past 150 years to justify breaking the positive law of the recognized state order and to have considerable political influence on the legal political "mainstream".

Even if the KKK is marginal in the spectrum of right-wing extremist organizations in Germany (PDF), the interplay between constitutional and legal-political ideas between the clan and US society offers a kind of picture puzzle for populist movements of its kind in this country as well.

KKK as guardian of the true, old constitution

In its founding phase and its first marriage, which dates between around 1865 and 1875, the Klan stood in militant opposition to the Republican Party and its policy of enforcing the emancipation of the black population in the military-defeated southern states of the USA.

Specifically, this meant preventing the registration of former slaves as voters and the continued existence or establishment of armed militias of Afro-American citizens. Republican politicians and teachers at the new schools for African American children were among the preferred victims of physical terror. According to Goldstein, this was based on a rather accentuated understanding of a 'true' US constitution.

When they split up, the southern states had already pleaded that the federal government was encroaching on their national prerogatives on the slave issue. The Civil War (1861–65) resolved this question of power externally by temporarily excluding the political class of the southern states from federal legislation - the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the US Constitution came about, i.e. the prohibition of slavery Guarantee equal civil rights (for men) and the prohibition of racial discrimination in the right to vote.

In the south, the 'true constitution' was understood to be a mixture of two main elements. On the one hand, this was the prevailing pre-civil war, used by the U.S. The Supreme Court confirmed the view that only white men, racially and religiously in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, are entitled to democratic self-government and a correct understanding of the legal system (jury). Second, there was a reservation against the three new additional articles.

The Klan declined in importance since the 1870s, when the Democratic Party - the KKK was taken for granted as its militant wing - took over the government in the south and regained influence in the federal government. As is well known, the emancipation of the black population was largely devalued by law, above all in the admission as voters and jury and - this was to be seen as a right of political self-organization - in the elimination of Afro-American citizen militias.

Constitutional patriotic Anglo-Saxons

The KKK experienced its rebirth - roughly speaking - as a franchise for the silent film "The Birth of a Nation" from 1915. In the following ten years the new, popular clan - now represented throughout the USA - reached an organizational strength of around five million Members, on par with the American Federation of Labor, the strongest union.

In terms of social history, the KKK is described as a reaction to immigration to the USA during this period. Between 1880 and 1920, 20 million people came into the country, making up around 15 percent of the population. Due to their Jewish or Catholic denomination, these migrants, who were often southern and eastern Europe, were denied the ability to integrate themselves into the democracy and legal system of the US constitution, whose normative dominant culture was only accessible to people belonging to the Anglo-Saxon "race".

In the southern states, the clan also derived a right to self-defense against attempts at practical emancipation. In 1920, an estimated 50 African American voters were murdered in Florida, for example.

At the federal level, restrictive, racially-based immigration laws were passed in the early 1920s, through which Catholics and Jews in particular - as unconstitutional people - were kept out of the country.
Responsible for the growth of the clan during this era were other questions that divided US society: the struggle for women's suffrage (1920) and the alcohol ban (1919), as well as against the socialist labor movement.

Ethnic-racial constitutional concept

The KKK's constitutional understanding, according to which the American republic was based on a Protestant white elite, was so compatible in this epoch that quite a few suffragettes could be found who advocated women's suffrage in order to strengthen the elitist position through racially qualified female voters.

This KKK-compliant amalgam was dissolved, following Goldstein, in Franklin D. Roosevelt's third presidency. In a 1943 statement, Roosevelt welcomed plans to create military units made up of US citizens of Japanese descent. A year later, such a regiment fought heavily, militarily highly honored, in Europe, while compatriots with Japanese roots remained interned - with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Courts. Up until Barack Obama's presidency, the phrase that membership of the constitutional community on the one hand, and race or ethnicity on the other, should be strictly separated, was part of the almost ceremonial vocabulary.

Regardless of this, the KKK experienced its third marriage in the 1950s to 1970s, again with reference to a peculiar constitutional understanding. Civil rights activists involved in the registration of African American voters in the southern states were attacked as Jewish and / or communist conspirators against whom the traditional amalgam of constitution and white race / ethnicity had to be defended.

The federal prohibition of racial segregation in schools, which was introduced from 1952 to 1954 with the decisions of the U.S. The Supreme Courts in the matter of "Brown v. Board of Education" and the civil rights legislation of the 1960s were understood by the KKK of this epoch - again - as an encroachment on the prerogatives of the individual US states.

This no longer provided the KKK with a mass basis, but the rights of the federal states, for example in the area of ​​electoral law, are still often not modeled in a civil rights-friendly manner. In the aftermath of the "War on Drugs" declared in 1970, significant parts of the US population no longer lost their rights as voters or potential jurors for reasons of race, but because of the drastically tightened criminal justice system.
According to Goldstein, Klan supporters justified their terror, the murder of student suffrage activists or arson attacks on churches and schools of African-American citizens with a right of self-defense against the federal attacks. In the obvious obscenity of this argument, the KKK had lost its ability to connect to prevailing legal, political and practical views - today its terror is what it is.

What to think about

Is the KKK now a picture puzzle for right-wing populist movements everywhere, and if so, does it illustrate reality or does it deceive it? Goldstein's investigation into the constitutional thinking of the KKK encourages us to raise some questions - for example: Shouldn't every secondary school student in this country be able to speak about the twenty most important decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court in their sleep - as a vaccination against crazy parallel constitutional thinking, also so that everyone knows in which republic he lives

Did Woodrow Wilson think of new international law or old Klan demands with the much-quoted "right of peoples to self-determination"?

Finally: How do those German lawyers who - amid the exuberance of dominant culture debates - want to deduce from the Basic Law a duty of the state to maintain a kind of national identity of the state people, actually prevent national terrorists from understanding this construct as a legal asset capable of emergency assistance?

Does history teach anything? Read for yourself.

The author Martin Rath works as a freelance journalist and editor in Ohligs.

Martin Rath, legal study on the Ku Klux Klan: 150 years self-declared constitutional protector. In: Legal Tribune Online, March 18, 2018, (accessed on: 23.05.2021)

Information on the suggested citation
  • "Cologne correct" by Martin Rath. Well, we can see how correctly Cologne has developed over the past ten years. Whether "after-belief" also embodies part of the causes needs to be investigated. Even after the first few sentences you ask yourself whether you made a mistake on the website and ended up with Deniz Yücel by chance. Well then, "Red Front" lto.

  • @ LTO-Redaktion: The last link in the article leads nowhere.

  • "Responsible for the growth of the clan during this epoch were also other questions that divided US society: the struggle for women's suffrage (1920) and the alcohol ban (1919), as well as against the socialist labor movement."

    Today's word about Sunday creates an interesting context: Anyone who defends the Basic Law against its amendment by neo-Marxists can also apply to the KKK to be admitted. He becomes a "citizen of the Reich" almost automatically, even without an application.

    A few questions at this point:
    1. Why are there actually no "women citizens of the Reich"?
    2. The search for the term "Trump" finds 0 hits. WTF?
    3. Can someone explain whether Article 73, Paragraph 1, No. 5a of the Basic Law has an area of ​​application where, due to the lack of German culture, there should also be no German cultural assets? If not, why was the standard added later?

  • Reich citizens are troublemakers who do not recognize laws and the state, it is claimed by the rulers. At one reads: “A racist hate speech has been started that is looking for your own kind. Anyone who insists on compliance with the currently applicable laws and can also prove this is a citizen of the Reich ”, see also According to Internet research, journalists who are not loyal to the line are apparently also considered citizens of the Reich and receive death threats, see Trickery to eliminate critics?
    According to the worldviews that have been prescribed to us for centuries, rulers are always of a noble nature. In our social order, too, abuse of power by rulers would be prevented because they would be obliged to adhere to the constitution, law and justice (cf.
    The big problem is that the rulers' view of being of a noble nature does not correspond to reality, because research results and testimony prove the opposite. As a result, laws work poorly or not at all.
    Everyone who has power is driven to abuse it, says Montesquieu, see Thomas Hobbes made a similar statement, see This is also confirmed according to more recent science, see e.g., = 0901, http: // The subconscious decides, see, the-subconscious-13610 / etc ..
    Lawyers, judges and law seekers also confirm the above:
    Breaches of the law and infractions of the law are system-compliant, see Rule of law only fiction, see “In Germany, instead of going through a process, you can just throw the dice”, see https://volks -Process-to-run-just-well-thrown /. Service supervision complaints (as well as bias requests) are perceived by public officials as a "collective insult to all public officials by a troublemaker", see The basic method of all courts, authorities and petition committees in their decisions on requests from those affected is to falsify and ignore the true facts and to ignore or distort the relevant law, see
    Only those who have a large amount of money can get their rights in Germany .... What use is the best constitutional state on paper if it cannot find its way into the minds and hearts of the people who are supposed to represent it? see It is linked to the traditions and customs of totalitarian states, see and Rulers develop into perverse monsters- see Opinion is also increasingly controlled, as it was before 1945, see and Apparently there is already a state security service with special rights that violate human rights, see
    Social systems should no longer be constructed according to the self-satisfied image of man in rulers, but with the help of behavioral research.

    Human rights activist
  • Could be. But it could also fall dangerously short. The AfD is also celebrating successes in other parts of the republic.

    Xenophobe Ossis?
  • So I think it would be pretty strong if my law firm could advertise having a "great sorcerer" as a lawyer on board: D

    Great sorcerer
  • Paris is now cheaper than Munich, just checked the rents.
    I'm handing me away. D can me. Ciao

  • Very nice. I click on "read for yourself" and where do I end up? Request not found. Seriously ?!?

  • Oops, zefix, too early. Typical and top-notch like Bavaria.

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