An old campaign photo of Arthur Jones from his race for Milwaukee mayor.
By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (5/1/17)
When I was in my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, back in 1970, there was a fiery, oddball upperclassman, named Art Jones. He was a tall, gangly kid with limp dirty blonde hair and a nervous energy that made him fidgety and a fast walker and a faster talker. While looking a bit like Ichabod Crane loping across campus he didn’t particularly stand out from other kids on campus except for one thing: he was a Nazi.
I’m not talking some kid with a passing adolescent infatuation with the symbols and gaudy trinkets of the Fourth Reich. Art Jones was a for real Nazi and made sure everyone knew about it. He was known from popping off with loud, quarrelsome Nazi riffs in classes and if you gave him half a minute he’d bore right into you with a Nazi sales pitch full of theory, talking points and quotes from Hitler and Himmler like a high pressure fire hose spewing sewage.
Now I was from a very conservative John Birch Society home and pretty used to the hard right worldview and language. My politics in my freshman year were solidly Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon. I was no Nazi but I wasn’t completely shocked by Art’s racists rants; I had grown up with a more subdued, “politer” suburban version of the same thing. I found Art both repellent and fascinating in a sociological sense at the same time.
One night I was downtown at one of my many favorite bars with a buddy from the dorm and Art was there too. He invited us up to his off-campus den, a cramped little room over some kind of garage or welding shop a few doors down from the bar. The room was typical college guy cluttered except mixed in among the usual chaos of term papers, notebooks, ashtrays, empty beer bottles and dirty dishes were photos of Nazi leaders and a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
What ensued was one of the most bizarre hours of my life as we debated Nazism. I don’t recall a lot of the conversation but I do remember that fire hose intensity of racist, smothering crazy. Art’s voice rose with the words sounding like pistol shots. There was a crazy crackling high voltage that was breathtaking. I doubt we stayed a full hour, managing to extricate ourselves from Art’s cramped little world.
Photos of Art Jones about the time I knew him at UW-Whitewater.
I don’t recall any more attempts at conversation with Art and while I can’t recall my roommate’s name from that year I have always remembered Art Jones. Apparently after college he went into the army and off to Vietnam with a copy of Mein Kampf in his dufflebag. With all the fascist and Nazi dog whistling from the Trumpster I have thought about Art Jones a few times in the past couple months, wondering what had happened to him.
Then on Saturday I stumbled across something on The Raw Story website entitled: ‘Sorry I voted for the son of a b*tch”: Holocaust denying ex-GOP candidate rips Trump for listening to Jewish son-in-law, quoting Art Jones, a featured speaker at a Pikeville, Kentucky Nazi gathering this weekend which was organized to coordinate efforts by various Nazi and fascist alt-right hate groups.
Opposing antifa groups had also gathered to confront the Nazi and fascist forces. Due to lax Kentucky open carry gun laws, both sides arrived in the tiny town armed. (Have you noticed how things are sounding more and more like 1930’s Germany lately?)
I linked over to the Guardian and found Armed neo-Nazis prepare for potential clash in small Kentucky town which included a 3-minute video of Jones railing against Trump, Jews and gays. Follow the link and you can get a taste of the fetid bile I heard forty years ago in that dingy little apartment.
The Guardian notes:
“I’m sorry I spent $180 out of my own pocket to buy three big banners that said, ‘President Trump, build the wall’,” the blazer-clad [Art] Jones said, to a tent full of about 100 men, some of whom wore paramilitary-style uniforms. “Now he says, ‘Eh, what wall?’ I’m embarrassed that I voted for him.
“Jones blamed Trump’s failures on the “Jewish lobby” and the president’s son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner, who is Jewish.
“If I could take the vote back,” he said. “I would.””
A Nazi career
Jones, who has run several times for the Republican nomination in the Illinois 3rd Congressional District and once ran against Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier on a white power platform, has been a hate mongering gadfly pushing various Nazi, fascist and white nationalist causes and events across Illinois for the past 30 years. He has organized celebrations of Hitler’s birthday – complete with cake – and the beginning of the Civil War. In 2009 he picketed the opening of the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Ill. He frequently shows up for events decked out in a Nazi uniform. He campaigned hard for Donald Trump.
His right wing crazy course has led him in and out of various groups but one that he started and apparently gets most of his attention – when he is not selling insurance – is the American First Committee. Hmm, where have you heard that America First label recently?
He says he’s no longer a Nazi, but the rap is the same.
I came across a fairly detailed biography of Jones on the South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action website.
In addition to detailing Jones’ dark political career there was this:
“We do know his father, Art Jones, Sr. was none too happy about it. Confronting his son when the younger Art was a member of George Lincoln Rockwell’s group the National Socialist White People’s Party, the elder Art walked away in tears when his son threatened him. “It ain’t worth a damn,” he said in an interview years ago. “I fought those goose-stepping rascals during World War II. Everybody can have their beliefs, but I don’t believe like he does.”
Once it has burrowed in and built its wiry nest, hate is a hard thing to remove from the head and the heart. Who knows the stories of families but it does sound like Jones’ journey to Nazism and fascist hate was a tragedy for his father. The father apparently helped defeat the Nazis in Germany only to lose his son to Nazi hate at home.
All these years later and Art Jones’ fire hose still spews the sewage of hate.
- Art Jones Pops Off With 14 Racist And/Or Nutty Comments. Link HERE.