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Ben Klassen in His Own Words, Part I:
Background & Political Activity

2,432 words

Part 1 of 2. Part 2 here.

Ben Klassen
Against the Evil Tide: An Autobiography
Creativity Book Publisher, Otto, NC: Creativity Book Publisher, 1991

Ben Klassen
Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs: A History of the Church of the Creator During Its 10 Year Domicile in the State of North Carolina, Coordinated with Biographical Details During the Same Period
Niceville, FL: Church of the Creator, 1993

Historians will look back at the clashing tides of ideas in the Western World and will point to a time (perhaps between 1912 and 2016) when American whites went mad with a sort of pseudo-religious worship of “others.” Under this religious dispensation, the United States Federal Government enacted expensive programs to uplift blacks that never met their promise, the United States embarked on wars based on the orders of foreign pressure groups, the United States burdened itself with a lunatic immigration policy, and the United States gave away its industry to Asia. These historians will argue over exactly when it started and ended and why it took place. But in the midst of that Kali Yuga, a few lonely pro-white torchbearers will stand out.

One of them is Ben Klassen, who was born on February 20, 1918 in a Mennonite Colony in Ukraine. Klassen developed a religious creed which was specifically designed to promote the white race, and eventually came to be called “The World Church of the Creator” or the “Creativity Movement”.[1] This movement attracted a great deal of attention from the media and hostility from organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. Klassen wrote about his life in his autobiography, Against the Evil Tide, and specifically about his white advocacy in Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs.

To use the victimology language of today, Klassen was a “Holodomor Survivor.” That is to say, he grew up in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic when Soviet Commissars had taken all the grain from Ukraine’s farmers. This led to a massive famine in which millions perished. During that time, Klassen remembers being rationed only one half-slice of dark bread at dinner.[2] Klassen frankly states that the German Mennonite colonists made it through the terror famine much better than the native Ruthenians and Russians.

The Prophet’s Background

Klassen’s experience in the Holodomor as well as his Mennonite background most certainly influenced his world-view and activism in later life. His background has several elements that deserve to be highlighted. First, Klassen was of German[3] ethnic origins but was living outside of Germany. After World War One, these frontier Germans in Eastern Europe got very much caught up in the naked ethnic conflicts of the times. Second, there is no possible way that Klassen and his family could have not noticed the solid Jewish core of leadership in the Bolshevik-controlled Soviet Union of the 1920s. Growing up in this environment, Klassen would have certainly understood through personal experience what Adolph Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf,

“As soon as the Jew is in possession of political power he drops the last few veils which have hitherto helped to conceal his features. Out of the democratic Jew, the Jew of the People, arises the ‘Jew of the Blood,’ the tyrant of the peoples. In the course of a few years he endeavors to exterminate all those who represent the national intelligence. And by thus depriving the peoples of their natural intellectual leaders he fits them for their fate as slaves under a lasting despotism. Russia furnishes the most terrible example of such a slavery. In that country the Jew killed or starved thirty millions of the people, in a bout of savage fanaticism and partly by the employment of inhuman torture. And he did this so that a gang of Jewish literati and financial bandits should dominate over a great people.”[4]

Klassen’s family left the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in June of 1924. They traveled by train, to Moscow and then across Europe to France. Along the way there were many stopovers in various cities to allow for the arrangement of passports, transportation, etc. for the next leg of the journey. Eventually, the Klassens arrived in Mexico. After staying there for some months, they moved to Saskatchewan, where the Klassens became successful farmers.

Unlike their ancestors’ immigration to Ukraine, in arriving in Saskatchewan, the Klassens were immigrating to an extended cultural hearth in North America that is deeply sympathetic to the extreme-Protestant pacifist movements, such as the Mennonites, Quakers, and Amish that developed in Northern Europe during the latter stages of the Protestant reformation. Indeed, this cultural hearth is almost an ethnostate in its own right. [5] Ben Klassen and his family are really not much different than the homesteading settlers of the high plains of North America that can trace their ancestry to the Pennsylvania Dutch[6] settlers of Lancaster and York Counties in Pennsylvania in the 1750s.

Ben Klassen was an immigrant, but like immigrant Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, he fit in right away. He was not culturally out-of-sorts to his new nation whatsoever.[7] This must be contrasted with people such as Paul Wolfowitz, George Takei, and Francis Fukuyama all of whom are born in the United States but are racially and culturally out-of-sort “immigrant stock” people. For example, in Against the Evil Tide, Klassen writes of visiting Wheeler Air Force Base, “… [W]here so many of our planes had been bombed out of existence.”[8] Notice Klassen’s use of the word “our.” I doubt George Takei genuinely has any sympathy for the men bombed at Wheeler AFB by the Japanese in 1941.

Ben Klassen did not like Canada’s severe cold weather and he, along with many of his fellow Canadians, were cold towards Canadian involvement in World War II. Klassen’s only military service, if one can call it that, was as a Canadian Officer Training Corps (C.O.T.C.) Cadet during college. While at college, Klassen got a degree in engineering, worked for a while in a nickel mine in Northern Ontario, and eventually moved to Los Angeles. In California he met and married his wife, Henrie Etta McWilliams, an American “Anglo-Saxon” from Colorado.

Klassen got to California just before the US military demobilized due to the end of WWII. As a result, he had an edge in the job market. Klassen’s pacifist Mennonite background resulted in a similar outcome for him as that of many English Quakers: instead of getting jobs in government or in the military, these Protestant pacifists focused their energies on industry and business. While such endeavors carry risks, they often allow people the opportunity to get wealthy. This happened to Klassen. With his edge of being in Los Angeles before the wave of ex-GI’s arrived, he was able to start his own real estate firm and he eventually developed Silver Springs, Nevada, with a business partner whom Klassen felt was semi-crooked.

After selling out his share of Silver Springs, he had enough money to retire and live off the interest. After a while he became bored and invested in a self-lighting cigarette scheme that went nowhere. With the experience gained in marketing inventions such as a self-lighting cigarette, Klassen hit upon the idea to develop an automatic can opener. His invention became the Canolectric. The Canolectric was a success, but eventually later automatic can openers rendered the Canolectric uncompetitive and he lost market share. During this time Klassen tired of California and moved to Florida. While in Florida, he continued to dabble in real estate, got involved in boating, and got involved in politics.

Klassen’s social success, leading eventually to his career in white advocacy, also matches – exactly – what is written in a booklet issued by The American Immigration Control Foundation regarding ethnic conflict,[9] “…[S]upport for ethnic movements is often stronger among well-educated individuals with high incomes and high status occupations than among those from lower socioeconomic levels.”[10]

Ben Klassen (1918 – 1993)

Political Activity

Through the entire length of his autobiography Against the Evil Tide, Klassen slowly describes what compelled him to get involved in the politics of white advocacy. Although he doesn’t describe a conversation regarding the matter with his wife and daughter about his pro-white epiphany, some sort of convincing must have occurred: unlike the wives and children of George Lincoln Rockwell, Klassen’s family stayed loyal and intact throughout his career. It would be good to know in today’s age of easy-to-dissolve marriages what Klassen did to get his wife and daughter to go along with him.

Klassen became a skeptic of religion when he took a class on ancient religions in college. He realized that his Mennonite faith emerged as a religious ideology in a way often repeated through time. He writes, “…[E]ach movement has its roots in some similar previous movement. It then branches off from its parent movement not unlike a rebellious child from its former family.”[11]

As a religious skeptic, his view of the scene of the American political right in the 1960s was unusual for a rightist, but like his arrival in LA, his insight surpassed his peers’. He was one of the earliest people on the Right to recognize that “Christian” was not synonymous with “white.” He pointed out that many white advocates were distracted defending the religion of Christianity when the religion of Christianity did not reciprocally defend whites.

To emphasize this idea, Klassen points out what he feels were the failings of the Mennonite creed to protect its followers during the Holodomor. Since the Mennonites are merely a more radical version of Western Christianity, his points can easily be applied to all of Christianity. Paraphrased by this reviewer, the failings are:

  1. Mennonites (from Ukraine and Russia) failed to even try to identify or confront the Jewish Bolshevik enemy that destroyed them. Instead, they “praise and eulogize the so-called ‘Israelites’ as ‘God’s Chosen people.’”[12]
  2. Mennonites have an “insane” infatuation with the supernatural aspects of Christianity, which Klassen views as a fraud.
  3. Mennonites adhere to the Sermon on the Mount[13] to a degree that they are unable to take up arms to defend their own people.
  4. The Mennonites are geographically rootless. While not parasites in the way Jews or Gypsies are, they did not create their own state. This, in part, is due to their religious pacifism.[14]

Klassen’s insight into the differing interests of the institution of Christianity and the interests of whites ultimately drove him out of many of the pro-Christian and pro-white movements developing in response to the “civil rights” revolution of the 1960s. He was also a member of the John Birch Society and like Revilo P. Oliver and George Lincoln Rockwell, he came to realize that the Bircher movement was basically a fraud. The John Birch Society did not mention the Jewish aspects of subversion at home and Communism abroad. Klassen felt the John Birch Society was deliberately designed to protect the Jews and misdirect anti-Communist activities towards a dead end.

Ben Klassen was one of the first people to recognize that the Institution of Christianity doesn’t always serve the interests of white Christians.

Klassen was also involved in mainstream politics in Florida. He was one of the first politicians to recognize that in light of problems growing out of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “civil rights” policies, the Democratic Party in the South was falling apart. He became a Republican and ran for Florida State Representative in 1966 on an anti-bussing, pro-John Birch Society platform and won. He lost his seat when the US Supreme Court ordered Florida to re-district its political divisions. He then ran for the Florida State Senate but lost.

He also worked for George Wallace’s (1919 – 1998) presidential campaign in 1968. While on that campaign, Klassen realized that Wallace lacked leadership when he couldn’t even develop a name for the political party forming around his candidacy, which was really only implicitly pro-white. In his assessment of Wallace, Ben Klassen identified that the Republican Party was the political expression of American whites, but it did not have the ability, intellectual platform, or moral courage to carry out an effective defense of American whites.

Notes

[1] The original name of his religion was the Church of the Creator abbreviated as COTC in Klassen’s writings.

[2] Klassen, Ben Against the Evil Tide: An Autobiography, Creativity Book Publisher, Otto, North Carolina, 1991 Page 36

[3] He also mentions that his family could have Dutch (Holland) ancestry. His family’s vernacular language was the eastern dialect of Low German, a tongue spoken in the plains of northern Germany.

[4] Hitler, Adolph, Mein Kampf, Elite Minds Inc. 2013 Page 185

[5] https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/03/new-sweden-the-quakers-the-midlands/

[6] I wish to point out that Ben Klassen and his family were not Pennsylvania Dutch in the strictest sense. He was what is often called a “Russian-German.” His family spoke Low German, which is a different Germanic Dialect from the Pennsylvania Dutch language spoken in North America. However, the English Quaker elite of the Midlands region of the United States has a long history of recruiting and assimilating German Radical Protestant immigrants. From the 1680s to the 1770s, most Germans came from the Rhineland-Palatinate, afterwards Germans were recruited from the rest of Europe. These Germans should be seen as ethnic reinforcements to the Quaker core that makes up Pennsylvania and its Middle Western cultural zone. On another note, Germans from other places in northern Germany, such as Prussia and Schleswig-Holstein who were involved in the revolutions of 1848 and joined Turnvereine clubs tended to sympathize with America’s Yankees in “Greater New England” rather than the Quakers of the Midlands.

[7] Much of English Canada has a Pennsylvanian roots. Colin Woodard writes in his classic, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America that, “Early Midland emigrants wrote their friends at home that in Ontario ‘they will find a second edition of Pennsylvania, as it was before the American War.’” http://amishamerica.com/amish-canada/

[8] Klassen, Ben Against the Evil Tide: An Autobiography, Creativity Book Publisher, Otto, North Carolina, 1991 Page 228

[9] https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/01/a-rival-viking-coalition/

[10] Elmer, Glaister and Evelyn, Ethnic Conflicts Abroad: Clues to America’s Future? The American Immigration Control Foundation, USA 1988 Page 7 https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/01/a-rival-viking-coalition/#more-68328

[11] Prologue (Kindle Location 112)

[12] Klassen, Ben Against the Evil Tide: An Autobiography, Creativity Book Publisher, Otto, North Carolina, 1991 Page 22.

[13] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5&version=KJV

[14] Ben Klassen seems to have not seen that the Mennonites fit quite well into the American Midlands. This region is where a great many former Radical Protestant pacifists, i.e. “fighting Quakers” have formed their own state and taken up arms in its defense. Indeed, Klassen was probably free to leave his Mennonite identity for a white identity because he was in a nation so heavily influenced by its Middle People. I’ve written elsewhere about the American Midlands. In my view, it is its own ethno-region with a New Swedish foundation underpinning a mix of North Midland English and Welsh Quakers (with a small amount New England Yankees thrown in) as well as Germans of various Protestant sects. https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/03/new-sweden-the-quakers-the-midlands/

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9 Comments

  1. Marc
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Very interesting article! Ben KLASSEN’s contribution to the White Movement is essentially his straightforward, direct and “No Nonsense” approach to the entire Racial Problem. Very much like that of Revilo P. OLIVER and William PIERCE. William PIERCE, however, did have also an inclination towards Sprituality: His “Cosmotheism” is markedly more metaphysical in nature than KLASSEN’s “Creativity” creed, or OLIVER’s radical Atheism. Of course, the ideological contributions of these three great men to our Movement are essential, and lay a solid foundation on which to build it up!

  2. Posted August 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Of the ten books Mr. Klassen self published over a 20 year period, it was his first two, Nature’s Eternal Religion (1973) and The White Man’s Bible (1981) that laid out the fundamentals of his Church of the Creator. Klassen’s two hagiographic autobiographies explored by Mr. Robinson here give plenty of facts about BK’s background, but like his two volumes of The Klassen Letters do not provide a critical viewpoint; the letters of people he corresponded with are not published, only his own letters to them. There is no biography of Ben Klassen that is an unpretentious examination of his life as founder of a religion for Whites.

    The Church of the Creator was dissolved by BK’s hand-picked successor in 1993, soon after he committed suicide, but before the Southern Poverty Law Center was awarded a million dollar default judgment against COTC in a convoluted vicarious liability lawsuit against COTC. The World Church of the Creator founded by Matt Hale was not a legitimate successor to COTC, nor is The Creativity Movement (TCM), though they like to claim that they are a direct successor to BK’s COTC. The rival Creativity faction known as the Creativity Alliance, not mentioned in this article, has as much legitimacy as does TCM, and in my view does a better job of promoting Klassen’s religion: https://creativityalliance.com/ More recent history of the Creativity religion found at that site.

    Looking forward to Part II.

  3. nineofclubs
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Very interesting article. Thanks Mr Robinson.

  4. Pietas
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I just want to say thanks again for another great article and for resuming to write!

    AE van Vogt, the sci-fi writer, was also a Canadian of Russian Mennonite extraction around this time period. I have often hawked his book Slan, published circa 1938. While pulpy, it’s a neat allegory which reveals him similar in spirit to Klassen, I think. The allegory and surface story are like concentric roulette wheels spinning that keep you in suspense until the ball comes to rest in a shocking spot…. But few people must get it, I suspect. Leslie Fiedler, the highly perceptive Jewish critic, said of van Vogt “his ignorance is surpassed only by his stupidity!” I guess he “got it.”

    It lends me to think there was some independent but similar historical experience among these Russian mennonites that led them to think in this way.

  5. Brian Thorn
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    An excellent piece. I was curious about the comment on Ontario being similar to Pennsylvania. Was it Amish, Mennonites, and Quakers writing to their kin folk in places like the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario? Just curious.

    • CF Robinson
      Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Referring to footnote 7, it appears the loyalist immigrants to Ontario were both Germans and English. Colin Woodard writes,

      “British records from the period indicate that nearly 90 percent of these immigrants [to Ontario] came from the “middle states” of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and contemporary accounts indicate that vast numbers were from the pacifist sects of the Delaware Valley. Persecuted for their refusal to choose sides or take up arms in the wars of liberation, thousands of English-speaking Quakers and German-speaking Mennonites and Dunkers (Church of the Brethren) decided to find a place where they would be left alone and in peace.”

      • Brian Thorn
        Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Ok, interesting. Thanks for the response.

  6. Jasper
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I must be misunderstanding something. If he left Ukraine in 1924 wasn’t that before the holodomor? How did he experience it? Or were the communists already starving millions in the early 20s?

    • CF Robinson
      Posted August 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      The manmade famine in Ukraine started right after World War I and got worse in the 1930s. Ben Klassen was there for the start but not the end. In his book he DOES NOT use the term Holodomor Survivor.

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