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Anti-Facist Action: Challenging the National Policy Institute’s 2015 Conference

NPI-Conference-2013

It’s that time of year again.  Richard Spencer has gotten together his gang of misunderstood racist misfits to put on a show.

The National Policy Institute, the most mundanely titles white nationalist organization in the United States, is having their 2015 conference on Halloween at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  The organization has become one of the intellectual centers of a neo-fascist American movement that runs under the auspices of antiquated philosophy, pseudo-science, fringe politics, and big personalities.  The associated website, Radix, has become a who’s who of the “alt right,” which we prefer to identify as “alt fascist.”  This means far right ideas that associate with counter-cultural and intellectual elements, including neo-paganism, radical environmentalism, and other more spiritually and intellectually inclined folks, while also bridging to former paleoconversatives and beltway types.  They cheerfully lament about the “decline” of white civilization, the destructiveness implicit in immigration and queer identity, and about how skin color determines IQ while Judaism implies “world control.”  We used to say these aren’t your father’s neo-Nazis, but they essentially do represent the Klan with a copy of the Norse Eddas and a Thesaurus.

In 2014, Richard Spencer, the now President of the National Policy Institute and Editor of Radix, was imprisoned in Hungary when trying to organize a “pan-European” conference that would bring people together from the U.S. white nationalist movement, the British nationalist community, the French New Right, the Russian Eurasianists and National Bolshevists, and other people who want to “put aside petty nationalisms” and unite along the lines of race.  The prime minister, the normally far-right Viktor Orban declared him a national security threat, and, after the nationalist Jobbik party abandoned him, they arrested and deporting him.  He has previously had a number of popular conferences that attracted everyone with a desire towards anger and separateness, from racial pagans to men’s right’s activists towards conspiratorial anti-Semites, with different themes all covering for the overarching idea that white’s need to band together and “fight back against displacement.”

This year they are continuing the tradition of working with Washington DC’s National Press Club, mainly because they don’t have the same kind of vulnerability to anti-fascists that commercial venues do.  This is a government facility, the National Press Club building no less, and they tend to do what they have to do to defend their tenants, no matter the political position.  This year they are having their regular line of edge speakers, including known people like the fabled anti-Semitic professor Kevin McDonald.  McDonald is the University of California Long Beach professor best known for breaking with his tradition of Evolutionary Psychology to write a series of books defining Judaism as a “group evolutionary strategy” where by they destabilizing western nations so that they can raise up their in group.  He enjoys his Jew hatred with a side of “race realism” where he writes regularly that African descended people’s have lower IQ than whites and Asians, while edited the racist Occidental Quarterly.  Sam Dickson, a common traveler to NPI and the white nationalist American Renaissance, will provide his usual incoherent rambles about white determinism.  He is best known as a past lawyer for the Klan, and currently deals in real estate speculation where he specializes in kicking out and exploiting families of color.

Two of the more interesting speakers will be Jack Donovan and Keith Preston.  Donovan is known for being a gay “anti-gay” author, so to speak, where he writes extensively how queer men should abandon gay identity because it is associated with effeminacy, leftist politics, and feminism.  He instead identifies as an “andriophile” and writes about the important of male tribalism and deeply misogynistic works on the edges of the Men’s Rights movement.  More recently he has been extending an incredible support to white nationalism, leaning more in the direction of folkish Heathenry in the masculanist and tribalist interpretations.  Preston will be known to people as he is a defector from the larger anarchist movements of the 70s and 80s, formerly a member of Workers Solidarity Alliance and was present at the founding convention of the Love and Rage Anarchist Federation.  He now runs the “pan-Secessionist” Attack the System, where he promotes right-wing libertarian ideas and racialist National Anarchism.  Here he will give his usual speech where he sadly attempts to soften anarchism to be compatible with authoritarian racial nationalism, which he sees as having common ground as they are both opposed to the current State.

Guillame Faye and Roman Bernard will bring a French perspective to things, with Faye known best for his neo-fascist Faustian books Why We Fight and Archeofuturism that could be called a sort of Reactionary Dune World Fantasy.  Roman Bernard was with the far-right Generation Identity movement in France, and was brought over to Radix because of his known prowess for fundraising.  Richard Spencer will join them as a speaker, as he usually does, where he will give one of the more congenial presentations as he is quick in the running for the “funny and smart racist” award.  Spencer is a good reminder of what kind of ideas can fuel people who are superficially smart and friendly, or that it can poison people who you might find socially comfortable.

The biggest difference with the 2015 conference, which is called Becoming Who We Are(a phrase Spencer uses to outline that people are often born with their political inclinations innate to their person), is the structure of the conference.  First, there is going to be a sort of “day session” and a “night session.”  The day session will include the regular speakers, while the night session is going to have music, drinks, and a live podcast.  Richard Spencer is an avid podcaster and has been for over a decade, starting with Vanguard Radio at his Alternative Right publication, and now moving it over to Radix Journal.  He has invited other people to join him on this, including the folks from Sweden’s nationalist Red Ice Radio.  Another person who has been asked, and semi-agreed, is Mike Enoch, our fanboy from The Daily Shoah(please give us more airtime).  This is something we find incredibly confusing since we know that it is important to everyone at The Daily Shoah and The Right Stuff to maintain their anonymity.  The conference is obviously going to be attended by journalists and undercover anti-fascist organizers who will see who Mike Enoch actually is on the panel, so it is curious that they would actually expose themselves like that.  It may be simply that having a private identity is really only a temporary solution, though they even recently discussed how difficult it is to receive donations at The Daily Shoah without revealing personal information.

The music will be by the band Changes, which is likely the most interesting part of the conference’s line-up for those who study these movements.  Changes is a well known folk band, though it usually gets attached to neo-folk at this point.  As many people note in the anti-fascist milieu, neo-folk and offshoots have a large nationalist presence who see it as an opportunity to focus on “European revival.” Changes is strongly influenced by Germanic Reconstructionist Heathenry, which again has had that unfortunate association for those who want to identify an ethnic religion for those of Northern European descent.  For much of the existence of NPI and participating organization, there has been little cultural crossover to the neo-folk movement, and really only occasional crossover to Heathenry.  This seems to be a next step for NPI, which will also help to eventually separate the racist from the not in the alt-folk and metal underground.  This could be useful for those who are inclined towards the music yet remain strongly committed to anti-fascist principles, which is a difficult prospect as nationalism poisons the art it touches and often becomes infectious.

The NPI conference has commonly been a focus point for Anti-Fascist Action in the Washington DC area, though the idea of shutting the event down is much more difficult because it is a secure facility.  This may be a useful turn towards more mass movement actions, where by the event could have a counter rally during its opening hour of 10am.  This could mean that instead of focusing on militant action in this particular case, it could be advantageous to bring together anti-racist organizers from the civil rights, broader anti-racism, and #BlackLivesMatter movements.  This could be a meeting point that, first, would confront what is happening inside of the National Press Club building, but also discuss the broader issues of white supremacy, populist nationalism, and anti-black violence that is amplifying in the current U.S.

We are listing a few anti-racist organization in the DC area that people should coordinate with if they want to engage in counter protest.  It has been said that the Southern Poverty Law Center already has operatives with tickets, yet that is unverified and they usually operate independently without coordinating larger movement building.  We encourage anyone who does attend any rallies or actions in response to the NPI conference to send in report backs for us to add to the website.

Anti-Racist Action, Washington DC

One People’s Project

The conference runs 10am to 9pm at the National Press Club on Octobe 31st, 2015

If you want to send your thoughts on this conference to the National Press Club, here is the contact information:

Front Desk: 202-662-7500
Reservations for Events: 202-662-7501
Membership Office: 202-662-7505
Booking Rooms for Your Event (Catering): 202-662-7541

7 thoughts on “Anti-Facist Action: Challenging the National Policy Institute’s 2015 Conference”

  1. * You missed the crucial reference to Nietzsche in the name of the conference. See for example this aphorism in The Gay Science:

    “What does your conscience say?-‘You should become who you are.'”

    Nietzsche’s book Ecce Homo is also subtitled “How One Becomes What One Is.”

    This appropriation of Nietzsche by the far-Right is unsurprising. It has a long history, including the German Nazis praising the name Nietzsche while distorting his philosophy. While Nietzsche’s thought is uncomfortable stuff–Nietzsche was no egalitarian–it is likely that Nietzsche would despise the political base-building, the racial/national pride, the barely-concealed resentment and anti-Semitic ramblings on offer at the NPI conference.

    * It’s a bit strange to call Changes a “well known folk band.” At most, they have a cult following in the neofolk and post-industrial scenes, especially the more right-wing parts of those scenes. According to the NPI website, only one half of Changes–Robert N. Taylor–will be at the conference. Taylor has a very long history on the far-Right, beginning with his involvement in the Minutemen organization in the 60s.

    I agree that the neofolk scene is culturally disputed territory–there are certainly lots of far-Right types found within it, but also apolitical people and even folk with leftist or antiauthoritarian politics. I doubt Taylor appearing at the NPI Conference will help clarify anything in the neofolk scene, unless others who are already involved in that scene make a point of speaking out about it and building their own poles of attraction.

    * I think you’re mistaken when you write “We used to say these aren’t your father’s neo-Nazis, but they essentially do represent the Klan with a copy of the Norse Eddas and a Thesaurus.” Of course, the NPI do have some continuity with older far-Right and racist movements. And some things, like the movement’s cocktail of fear and resentment, have not changed. However, I think with the statement I quoted you’re downplaying the amount of rethinking of old strategies and even principles going on in the North American far-Right at the moment. We need to be careful not to reduce everything to a familiar caricature, which can inhibit the sort of analysis and understanding we need.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts. The Nietzsche reference is one of Spencer’s favorite, he used to call himself a “Nietzsche-con” when he worked at the American Conservative. I think we might disagree that Changes is pretty well known, one of our editors noted how they often appeared at folk gatherings on the West Coast where the politics totally went over the crowd’s heads.

      As for the final point, usually we would absolutely agree with you, but right now I think much of what the line-up at NPI represents is a reclaiming of “old racism.” So, for example, we mentioned The Right Stuff and The Daily Shoah. This sector of “neoreaction” is very much traditional American racialism, the only difference may be the number of student loans. Spencer, however, is somewhat different in rheotric, but the pan-Europeanism that he is calling of rings almost identical to the pan-Aryanism of the past, and there is a growing support for very traditional neo-Nazi rhetoric like Holocaust Denial and post-revolution predictions.

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