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Fascist Chic: Inside American Renaissance 2016

Since 1990, American Renaissance (AmRen) has been a leader in the “suit and tie” racist crowd that was forming during that period. Preferring a congenial conference atmosphere to a cross burning, Jared Taylor created an institution that would use an academic tone to argue for racial differences in biology and intelligence, against diversity, and for white identity. Though it has become slightly more radical over the years, it has generally been a meeting point for a certain segment of the white nationalist movement that wants to see a level of respectability, and even mainstream crossover, for its ideas.

What it is best known for, even within its small subculture, is the particular focus it has given on largely disproven Race and IQ arguments, building on the work of disgraced and marginalized professors like J. Philippe Rushton, Donald Templar, and Richard Lynn to argue that there is a global “Bell Curve” in intelligence. They then tie in qualities like criminality, sexual restraint, and “time-preference” to this, putting whites near the top just below East Asians (Jews are actually at the top, which takes them to a whole other disgraceful set of accusations.). The notion here is that there is a general racial hierarchy, and that it is gene markers that actually drive much of behavior rather than “nurture,” social systems, or culture. This is not where the mainstream of science is, no matter what branch, and the AmRen crowd seems well aware that they are against the tide.

Over the last couple of years, as the Alt Right has formed, the new intellectual internet culture of white nationalism, AmRen has continued to be one of the primary meeting points for a certain department of the movement (the other leader being the National Policy Institute). Here speakers have shifted somewhat from the pseudoacademic prose that has defined most of its history, and instead political nationalism, identitarianism, and crossover social issues have defined its last couple of hears. Human Biological Diversity, the modern term for Race Realism, has gained them quite a following for Internet hate-mongers, but it hasn’t had the organizing results they had hoped for. While they have pivoted the rhetoric a bit, they still return to race and IQ arguments whenever possible.

The most recent AmRen conference that happened on May 27th was held at Montgomery Bell State Park outside Nashville, Tennessee. It has been housed here the last several years after the conference was shut down by organized pressure on hotel managers. Taylor believed that having it at a government venue would provide them a certain level of protection, and this has proven true, as officials have done what they could to protect the racists gathering inside. This track record is one reason that many in the movement are advocating for using government services more as they believe they do not have the same influence from the public, and therefore anti-fascist organizers cannot get the event shut down. The 2010 and 2011 conferences were both shut down when pressure was put on the hotel, and one speaker at the canceled conference even attempted suing the One People’s Project and other activists in an effort to keep them away from the conference.

The 2016 line-up was a mix of known faces and foreign guests, many of which seemed like surprising choices since the growing Alt Right has provided them with enough domestic celebrities that they wouldn’t need to turn to European nationalists. The choice to include them seems like a very clear ideological choice for Taylor, whose vision of politicizing their meta-politics is to follow European nationalist parties and movements. In recent speeches he has discussed returning to the populist model of people like David Duke, and he was an early supporter of the Donald Trump campaign.

James EdwardsJames Edwards

At the Podium

James Edwards made up one of the more well known faces whose toothy-grins make him the kind of “aww schucks” Southern white-nationalist who attempts to “dumb down” AmRen for the more “hometown” racists. He wears his racism on his sleeve, yet, even in this speech, he uses the cover of paleoconservatism to really act as though he simply represents the edge of Old Right traditional American conservatism. Edwards himself is ideologically aligned with the New Right/Alt Right wing that sides with traditionalism, ethno-nationalism, and hard-right anti-equality views. He is on the board for both the American Freedom Party and the Council of Conservative Citizens, which he got a great deal of media heat for after church-shooter Dylan Roof revealed to be a fan of the CofCC. Edwards is not as well traveled on the conference circuit, but he does have more of a reach than many might realize.

While his radio show, the Political Cesspool, has been denounced openly as a white nationalist “go to” spot, he has been able to acquire a number of semi-well known guests from libertarianism and paleoconservatism. This peaked when he welcomed former GOP Presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan, who Edwards volunteered for during his final Presidential run in 1999. Buchanan, for many years, was the furthest edge of the GOP that was still acceptable, and his 1992 campaign was well known for taking many of the strategic points from the David Duke campaign a year before (Duke is also a frequent guest on the Political Cesspool). Buchanan has often argued for a sort of American nationalism, suggesting that America should have stayed out of WWII, postured in favor of segregation, was against affirmative action and about all progressive racial policies, and adamantly opposed to all things queer. The only strange relief from this hard right politic is that he is strangely in favor of animal rights (to a degree), and PETA even awarded his magazine, the American Conservative, an award for an expose they ran on the meat industry. It was Buchanan’s appearance that lent Edwards’ show mainstream credibility, which led Edwards to appearing on major news outlets not only as a speaker for the hard-right, but actually as a commentator in regular debate segments at places like CNN.

hqdefaultJames Edwards speaking on CNN as a regular guest discussing politics, where refrain from mentioning he is a white supremacist.

Edwards got even more attention recently when he hosted Anthony Cumia of the radio show Opie and Anthony after Cumia was fired for racially loaded comments on the air. Edwards and Cumia ranted for an hour about the “problems in the black community,” and the only breaks in this discussion were for advertisements for survivalist companies and racist community groups.

20140804post-topimages

Edwards usually sticks to his regular trough of neo-fascist ideologues, which often includes AmRen founder Jared Taylor. His discussion at AmRen 2016 was a familiar story to AmRen crowds: the sacrifices he has made to be a racist, the times he refused to apologize, and the extensive work he has done that should be respected. His rhetoric was noticeably behind much of the rest of the crowd, which is a testament to the fact that his lack of social media skills and well-read mannerisms is starting to push him out of the center of the Alt Right. While he still may be popular with people like the League of the South, the Daily Shoah and the rest of the vulgar Internet trolls are the ones that are defining the movement that lingers at AmRen.

His most recent act of media buffoonery came when the Donald Trump campaign gave him full press credentials and he was allowed to interview the candidate’s son, Donald Trump Jr. The story was picked up in dozens of publications, listing him as a “pro-slavery” radio host. As he went on discussing how many places the incident was mentioned, it became clear that this was an attempt to impress the crowd and prove his relevance. This included bragging about marrying a model and appearing in a reality show.

1919092_10153378990486770_3931679213245169508_nFernando Cortes(left) standing with John Friend, racialist and anti-Semitic host of the Realist Report.

Fernando Cortes was a prime speaker who was given extra room, used as an example that AmRen wasn’t just vulgar racism for white people: it was racism for everyone. Cortes is a well-known Mexican nationalist who advocates for a far right politic that is friendly to white nationalism over the border. During the questions and answer session Richard Spencer of the Radix Journal and the National Policy Institute asked what the Mexican nationalist movement thought of American fascists, which led Cortes to gush and promise that it is only American Mexicans who want to “take back” the American Southwest.

He went after NAFTA, sharing a certain critique with left-wing anti-globalization advocates, though his prescription and core ideas are the anti-thesis of the anarchist project.

NAFTA was a deathblow for Mexican farming, since without protection from imports; Mexico cannot even grow its own corn and beans.

He thanked white people for being so generous and kind even though they were under “racial attack.”  Cortes is known for his Identitarian Congress that hosted famous anti-Semites and Holocaust Deniers like Ernst Zundel and David Duke.  Cortes even appeared on Duke’s radio show, where he again said that American whites were “under attack.”

We [Mexican nationalists] understand the attack and the genocide that is trying to be done with the European and white Americans and we are against it. … The people in the United States, they believe that we want massive immigration, that we think it’s a good thing, that we’re taking advantage. We understand perfectly that it erodes the fabric of your society, that it’s toxic for your nation. It’s also toxic for our nation.

SPLC-Extremist-Files-Peter-Brimelow-1280x720Peter Brimelow

To those outside of the racialist world, the real superstar would have been Peter Brimelow. That name rings a bell for anyone that has followed anti-immigration politics over the last decade. The author of Alien Nation and the founder of VDare, the anti-immigration web magazine, Brimelow has slowly moved from being a beltway conservative writer to an open racialist. He still has a great deal of pool in those edge areas of mainstream conservatism, with people like Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh often crediting his work for informing their views on immigration.

maxresdefault (1)RamZPaul (Paul Ramsy)

RamZPaul did the dinner speech once again, just as he had at the last couple of AmRen conferences. RamZPaul has made a name for himself doing rambling YouTube videos where he tells racist jokes into the camera. His speeches at AmRen are often to explain a right-wing phenomenon, with the last one being “What is the Dark Enlightenment.” This year’s was “What is the Alt Right,” which outlined the main trajectory for the Alt Right starting with paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran, Samuel Francis and Paul Gottfried. He traced it through the founding of the website Alternative Right by Richard Spencer, who Paul showered with affection. He went through the basic political ideas, the mobilization behind Donald Trump, and the validation by “mainstream” sources like Milo Yiannapoulos and Breitbart. His rendition, which is supposed to be something of a stand-up comedy routine, was mainly old jokes thrown awkwardly to intersect with nationalist themes. He started his speech with the “unveiled” video by Alt Right parody artist UnCuck the Right called “We Didn’t Start the Movement,” which is a cheesy song naming different right wing allies and has Jared Taylor in a brimmed hat and Hawaiian shirt singing along out of key. At the end of Paul’s speech they played an even more embarrassing video, “Dildoween,” which was a voiced over parody of the opening song in The Nightmare Before Christmas. This was even more embarrassing than the first, mainly just mashing together slang from the Daily Shoah into a barely rhyming string of insults and racial slurs. This was a low point even for AmRen, which they have always attempted to brand as an intellectual gathering rather than just an attempt for Nazis and Klansman to wear a bow tie.

large_513300Anke van Dermeesh

Going Euro

Anke van Dermeesh, a Belgian nationalist Senator, came mainly to talk about the “perils” of Muslim immigration and her work doing Islamophobic organizing in Europe. She claimed that “third world immigration” was a battle for the very soul of Europe, comparable to the Greek battle against the Troy invaders. It was Europe’s own materialism and individualism, however, which made it vulnerable, so Europeans needed to reclaim their racial spirit. Her organization, Women Against Islam, is ugly enough on its own, but what is even more frightening is that she has held several major elected offices in Belgium.

The multicultural ideology assumes that different civilization levels can live peacefully with each other on the same territory. However, history has already proven that this leads to bloody clashes. After which one culture, the dominant culture, gets the upper hand over the weakest. Pointing out historical facts, and referring to the theory, like the one of Charles Darwin, is an act of racism in Europe….The multicultural society will never exist. Many human lives have already been destroyed and still people’s races, civilizations, and cultures collide.

Van Dermesh mentions the American cities where she says that these clashes are still happening, where black people with their “lower level” of civilization cannot handle sophisticated white societies. She said that regular “folk” identity has been criminalized, and that the influx of immigrants are undermining a sense of identity, authority, law, order, and moral astuteness that will lead to degeneracy of their great European people. While she attempts to throw these ideas into abstractions, they are the same ideological core that you would find with hard-core neo-Nazi organizations around Europe. Her ideas indicate the notion that there is an essential racial soul to whites that is being destroyed by modern science and logic, and that we need to attack rationality, give in to violent reactions to the “other,” and try to reinstate an anti-democratic order of racial supremacy.

KaalepRuuben Kaalep

Ruuben Kaalep brought a similarly international experience from the Conservative Party of Estonia, a country from which AmRen enjoys pulling its racialists. At only 22, he is a leader in the six-year-old party that is making nationalism a major player in Estonian party politics. Kaalpe seemed to be even radical by their standards, and talked about bringing Europeans, and Estonians specifically, back to their “12,000 years of roots.” Kaalep could not explain these ideas in genetic terms since there is no coherent genetic history that Estonians can trace back 12,000 years as specific people because that is not not how genetic histories work, nor do isolated genes have any real influence on the development of culture. Nationalism is a social construct, not an idea embedded in biology, so the call to the past 12,000 years is just as arbitrary as going back to the reformation or the French Revolution. Neither one brings that back to an era of racial identity and purity because that period did not exist in history. Likewise, most of the AmRen speakers likely would not have joined in with Kaalep’s Estonian nationalism since they prefer a pan-European white nationalism. While the statements are not based in research, science, or historical facts, it does make good rhetoric for a crowd looking to class up their racist impulses.

On the evening plenary before AmRen, Red Ice Radio asked Kaalep what he was going to be talking about at the conference.

I will encourage the young people in America to start a movement, and to act against what they see is happening around the world in white countries. To do it just as we have done it in Estonia with our youth movement. Because it is very important, even as human beings it is very important that we have an identity. A living identity that connects us with the people around us and the places that we live.

This was Kaalep’s first time out of Europe, and he said that it was a culture shock since he was coming from “Europe’s last white country.” He spent some time bragging about how many blondes there were in Estonia.

Filip Dewinter also spoke about his position in the European Parliament for the Vlaams Belang, and did the standard speech about non-white immigration and its threat to a white Europe.

jared_cnn-800x430Jared Taylor

Benediction for Racists

Jared Taylor always speaks at American Renaissance, and this year was no exception. His talk was intended to be on why progressive whites “lie,” to themselves and to others, and he goes down the line: they lie about Black victimization by police, lie about the science proving black intellectual inferiority, and lie about race and crime. He tapped into well-known Alt Right talking points, rehashing the Cologne attacks, which the far right tries to use to “prove” that Islamic refugees are systemically raping white European women. Their idea is then that political correctness is a “religion” so powerful that it makes authorities neglect rape and violence so as to not be called racist. Never mind that the statistics do not support what he says, nor was the Cologne attacks universally Muslim refugees. There is no statistical threat of sexual assault posed uniquely by Muslim immigration, but Taylor’s entire purpose is to twist statistics to drum up a fear narrative. With the same aristocratic drawl that has become a meme on the Alt Right, Jared Taylor states that the “ludicrous” notion of racial equality has no real world basis.

During his Question and Answers section he is asked about the Jews, and he convenes to the idea that some “elite Jews” have been very “destructive” to their interests. He then points out that many Jews have been on the nationalist side of the argument, but that racialists should “have their eyes open” about the Jews. He says that the Jews may have been the “hand pushing at the door” of the ‘Death of the West,’ but “that door was rotting from within” already.

This really marks a change for Jared Taylor on the Jewish Question as he used to be vigorously opposed to anti-Semitism at AmRen. Not only were there Jewish scholars at AmRen conferences like Byron Roth, even David Duke was asked not to return to the conference because of his rabid anti-Semitism. While Taylor was not willing to go fully into blaming Jewish people, he certainly did not admonish anti-Semitism, and seems to be warming up to these ideas. This also shows the persistence that anti-Semitism has had on the Alt Right/New Right and the fact that it is going to continue to play a major role in American racialism.

maxresdefault (2)Sam Dickson

Sam Dickson did his regular “Benediction for Heretics,” which is often a rambling set of remembrances and accolades to racists of the past. As usual, Dickson tempered his language and used a sort of “liberals are the real racist” argument to say that people who do not want racial separation are actually manipulating people of color and attempting to “solve the problem of black people.” For someone who does not immediately appear as being particularly sophisticated, his use of left-wing rhetoric and warm personalities is masterful, which is probably why he has continued to be a staple of the Alt Right while many of the Southern racist organizations have drifted into irrelevance.

Dickson carried on the theme that the left and the media lie about them to put the racist movement in disfavor, mentioning the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report on Dickson that he characterized as saying he was a “financial swindler.” The story, which has been well sourced and proven, shows that Dickson makes his money by manipulating poor homeowners in the South through predatory property purchases.

Since 2001, Dickson, a 59-year-old former Klan attorney and active veteran of numerous extreme-right causes and groups, has built a multi-million dollar business in the niche field of tax lien and title acquisition. His success has depended in no small part on keeping his otherwise well-known racism concealed from his targets, many of which are poor and black. According to those who have observed and worked with Dickson, his profits have been earned through a combination of bullying, stealth, and legal pretzel-making in the arcane world of tax lien purchases, redemptions and foreclosures. When contacted, Dickson declined to comment on the charges.

Many in the story mentioned how Dickson was casually racist, often saying that people on the phone couldn’t be black because they were “too smart” to have that skin tone. Dickson, of course, takes issue with this characterization of him as a predator and low-class racist, especially since he likes to call himself an Identitarian and says that he has the best interests of people of color at heart. Though Dickson went on and on about sacrifice, he has become a millionaire despite being in the racialist movement for almost 50 years.

Dickson recommended that the young racists in the crowd get themselves some degree of financial stability since the “struggle”(their racist struggle) is ongoing, and will not just be victorious with the election of Donald Trump. While he seemed optimistic by the billionaire buffoon’s casual racism, he is still one of the strongest voices against investing in reformist political moves. A couple of years ago, Richard Spencer and Dickson debated John Derbyshire and Peter Brimelow about the possibilities of reform. Brimelow and Derbyshire discussed how they thought that the American political system could be used, even though unlikely, to “fix the race problem.” Spencer and Dickson took the more radical view that America was beyond fixing, largely because it is still an enlightenment, propositional project that has invested in phrases like “all men are created equal.” Dickson was brash in the past, saying, “no man, in the history of the world, was created equal.”

One of the more “unofficial personalities” of AmRen 2016 was Richard Spencer, who could not help but pontificate on the microphone during Question and Answer sessions. Spencer has often been the debatable leader of the intellectual wing of the Alt Right, defining the term itself and bringing together disparate elements of the far right into an intellectual current to build a movement on traditionalist, racialist, and hierarchical lines. Spencer has often been a divisive figure, often finding opponents inside of religious and working-class racist circles. This was made clear when he banned Trad Youth’s Matt Heimbach from NPI’s 2015 conference for his homophobia, which Spencer is offended by because it would leave out masculanist writers like Jack Donovan.

Spencer’s presence was heavy this year as he holds onto the growing Alt Right, and this comes, in part, because he was able to reconcile the intellectual elitism of his publication and non-profit with the vulgar racist populism of places like the Daily Shoah and Fash the Nation. This has given him a new life, and one where he is able to maintain his crown as an aristocrat of racialist philosophy and pseudo-science.

Patting Themselves on the Back

Jared Taylor has declared that this AmRen conference was their largest effort, which he attributes to Donald Trump and the wave of Internet followers.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s candidacy has given our movement a boost, but the continuing slide towards chaos–riots in Ferguson and Baltimore; the immigration invasion of Europe–are rousing unprecedented numbers of whites from complacency.

RedIceRed Ice Radio’s Lana and Henrik interview Jared Taylor in a streaming broadcast.

Both the Political Cesspool and Red Ice Radio made AmRen a streaming media event as well, which helps to circle their own internal media landscape around AmRen as a centerpiece. Nathan Damigo of Identity Europa was Red Ice’s first guest, where he basically acted starstruck by all the celebrity racists and discussed campus activism. A Pakistani-American engineer, a bi-racial man who identified as a “racial realist”, followed him up. He went on about how Pakistanis could do better to maintain their nation’s IQ by avoiding cousin marriage and irrigating water better. He explained race realism in much the same way J. Philippe Rushton did, that white people evolved in “harsher” conditions in Europe, giving them a higher IQ. He basically provided a “we’re different, so what?” perspective, but said that IQ was the important thing and that society needed to stop subsidizing low IQ people or civilization will die. This was an interesting development for a conference like AmRen, but it also shows how HBD and neo-eugenic rhetoric has worked its way into Asian and Middle Eastern communities online as well.

Counter-Currents Publishing, the neo-fascist publishing house from the infamous Greg Johnson, covered the conference in a review from Michael Polignano. He noted the “celebratory mood” in the room and the several “Make America Great Again” hats dotted around the tables. He also noted the “diversity” and young age of the attendants, which is new for a white nationalist movement that was almost universally composed of older white men. As he went down the line he seemed especially drawn to Dan Roodt’s speech, and South Africa is always a topical favorite for this crowd since they have so well embedded the lie of “white genocide” in the country that they use it repeatedly as an example of “what happens” when white relinquish hegemonic control over a country.

Since African IQ is insufficiently high to sustain the civilization that Afrikaners built from scratch and sustained for centuries up until the end of the apartheid era, Pakistanis and Chinese have raced to filled many positions of power and responsibility held by whites. What can be done? In the short run, all white South Africans can do is either flee or try to hold on. to(sic) survive, they need to increase their physical and economic security. Physical security measures include bodyguards, security guards, and private police, neighborhood crime watches and increasing ownership. Economic security measures include networking and mutual aid to keep wealth within the pro-white segment of the white South African community.

South Africa has long been a centerpiece of the “white genocide” narrative, where the rural “farm murders” has given them a rhetorical strategy for conjuring up images of racial revenge. In reality, the rural Boer murders that they cite are statistically lower than the regular murders in South Africa broadly, and are much more a testament to the brutality with which wealthy farm owners have historically treated their farm hands with.

In general, Polignano said that the conference was a “triumph,” that showed the future of the movement. What he still does not seem to grasp is what a “movement” actually means, and what is to happen when they come to grips with the fact that they are vastly outmatched by the anti-fascist left and that they have no concept of what real organizing actually means.

AudiencePhoto from inside AmRen

Anti-Fascism Has Localized

AmRen has always been a strategic meeting point for the racialist movement, and generally has been in a state of flux. When their movement moves towards HBD, it shifts its speakers. When it is looking towards electrical politics, it brings in political nationalists from Europe. What it has always acted as is more of a meeting point than anything else, and while this is larger than in years past, it is also made up of people less willing to be open about their politics. This means that simply by shining a light on who these people are and the reality of what they are saying, we can help to challenge any growth they will have.

There was an organized Antifa presence this year, as there always has been, yet much of the energy has grown locally as organizers challenge Donald Trump appearances instead of focusing on conferences like AmRen. This is a good sign as anti-fascism is becoming a strategic orientation for community defense, and just as Donald Trump has emboldened the Alt Right, it has made anti-fascist organizers a central piece of building intersecting local movements.

The white nationalists in the U.S. need AmRen because they lack the fellowship and community that the left has always built, and they will continue to lack coordination and organizing ability as their focus will always be on their racial idealism. Why they congratulate themselves under the protection of U.S. state authorities, we are building a movement against the rising tide of nationalism.

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