Tag Archives: Montana human rights network

The World Has Said “No” to Richard Spencer

Richard Spencer has always fought for a seat at the table. At least the edge of the table.

He entered the broad Conservative Movement in the mid-2000s not through the popular Neoconservative and evangelical hangers-on of the Bush Administration, but through the dissident wing to its right. Brought on as an Assistant Editor at the American Conservative after giving a racially charged speech on the case of Duke Lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a black sex worker, Spencer was open that even at Pat Buchanan’s home publication, he was the odd man out. Jokingly calling himself as a Nietzsche-con, he was already a subscriber to the “race realist” publication American Renaissance by the time he took the position and he spent his time fraternizing with dissident rightists like Pau Gottfried and Steve Sailer. He then walked through the fringes of the right, from Taki’s Magazine to his flagship AlternativeRight.com, where he set firmly in the camp of “big tent” neo-fascism. While the website published semi-mainstream paleoconservatives at first, it continued to drift in the direction of the French New Right and pseudo-intellectual strains of white nationalism, all while Spencer desperately held on to any connection to the Conservative Movement he claimed to loathe.

As AlternativeRight.com came into its own and Spencer took over the National Policy Institute, he became one of the most toxic figures on the edges of the Conservative Movement. After Jack Hunter’s past as the Southern Avenger was dredged up, the fact that he co-hosted the Taki’s Magazine podcast with Spencer was another blow to his failing career. When the Heritage Foundation published an erroneous report on the multi-trillion dollar cost of immigration in the U.S., one of their analysts, a new conservative careerist named Jason Richwine, was shown to have published a Harvard dissertation that asserted racial differences in intelligence. A quick Google search found that he also had published at AlternativeRight.com for editor Richard Spencer, which provided the last nail in his coffin.

Though a few renegades from mainstream conservatism would still take his calls, the rest of the world was telling him no. Though he fashioned himself as a bohemian intellectual, the rest of the movement disagreed, and instead put him back firmly in the camp of David Duke, William Pierce, and George Lincoln Rockwell. The narrative he created for himself was rejected by the broader world, and his desire for a “dialogue” was met with a firm “No.”

That was, of course, until a series of blogs, trolls, and trending hashtags took Spencer’s brand of pseudo-intellectual white nationalism into the Chan culture of vulgar abbreviations and he was back in the news. The Alternative Right was shortened to #AltRight and used again as a catch-all for angry white men impressed by race realism, anti-democratic philosophy, the reclamation of vulgar patriarchy, and conspiracy laden anti-Semitism. Now media outlets could not get enough of Richard Spencer, and just about every conference appearance, event, or public disagreement was cause for dozens of articles, and his views and ideas were republished on a daily basis. His whole career was now happening at once as his entire history was being condensed into biographical think pieces and antagonistic retreads of right-wing agitprop, all making his own synthesis of the French New Right and American white nationalism seem as though it was new and fresh.

And he was waiting.

Spencer embraced the attention with open arms, ready to give interview after interview, repeating the same answers to different questions. As the interest swelled, and the press finally showed up for his previously vacant press conference, he got cocky. While most people focused on the leaked video from The Atlantic from the National Policy Institute’s 2016 conference featuring attendees Sieg Heiling, during the lunch-time press conference he berated the gaggle of reporters that crowded in front of the attendants. Weeks later he came to a heavily-contested appearance at Texas A&M, where he was notably off his game, instead mocking and insulting attendants and refusing to answer questions with the pragmatic sincerity that marked his earlier branding.

Spencer signaled this as a point of entry into the culture, that he and his ideas had “arrived.” He called 2016 the “Year of the Alt Right” and jokingly said “We’re the establishment now.” His assent was actually a free fall, one he could not see amidst the glare of the spotlight. While he believed he was mainstreaming his ideas, he instead was becoming a reality star famous for his own eccentricities mixed with a society’s lurid fascination with the trainwrecks of social mood. Spencer’s fame provided him nothing tangible, nothing real.

Now that his antics have been overexposed, the sheen has worn off completely. The world that said “Yes” to him only so briefly has now become a rapid fire series of “Nos,” denying him entry to almost any avenue he has listed. At the recent Students for Liberty conference, a libertarian student organization that skews left on social issues, Spencer arrived at the invitation of a small Alt Right friendly contingent known as the Hoppe Caucus. He wasn’t even allowed in the conference gates before being banned, relegated to the bar, and publicly denounced by Jeffrey Tucker. While the Alt Right made some minor inroads with some chapters of Students for Liberty and, more definitively, with Young Americans for Liberty, that well has dried up.

 

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Richard Spencer being kicked out of CPAC.

Spencer later made his regular trek to the Conservative Political Action Conference, one he does almost yearly as he tries to hold onto this connection with Beltway conservatism. While he thought about getting a press pass, he knew the climate had shifted against him, yet he decided to still attend since he saw multiple panelists there speaking about the dangerous entryism of the Alt Right. Upon entering he was swarmed and banned from attending, though he did end up getting to speak with a few reporters before leaving in a hurry. During one of those exchanges he mentioned that “Depeche Mode was the official band of the Alt Right,” based mainly on his own synth-wave nostalgia that he has used to brand the aesthetics of the Alt Right. Depeche Mode quickly issued as statement decrying both Spencer and the Alt Right, rejecting them entirely. Spencer was short on friends.

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Richard Spencer watching as they pass an anti-hate ordinance in his home town, targeted at him.

In December, an even larger rebellion began happening in his family home of Whitefish, Montana. For several years the Spencer family has been battling against anti-fascist organizations like Love Lives Here and the Montana Human Rights Network, both of which want to stop white nationalist organizing from taking place in their backyard.  The city passed an anti-hate ordinance that Spencer tried to undermine with his own IRL trolling, but it united the town for the years that followed.  After it became apparent that Richard’s mother, Sherry Spencer, had allowed him to use her property as official headquarters for the National Policy Institute, the community turned on her and demanded that she sell her commercial property and leave. The troll army descended at the behest of Richard’s neo-Nazi friend Andrew Anglin, though the community rose up in defense and the Nazis finally retreated back into obscurity.

The battle with Whitefish started in 2014, shortly after he had tried to hold a “Pan-European” conference in Budapest featuring people like American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, the American Freedom Party’s Tomislav Sunic, and Russian Eurasian nationalist Aleksandr Dugin. The entire government of Hungry, including the Prime Minister Viktor Orban, denounced the conference and Spencer was arrested at a pre-event function, deported back to the U.S. and banned from entering the European Union. He was later officially named “persona non grata” in the United Kingdom, further limiting travel to his sacred homeland.

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Spencer’s wife, Nina Kouprianova, also known as Nina Byzantina.  Known for her Russian nationalism and support of people like Aleksandr Dugin, whom she translated a book by for Richard Spencer’s publishing house, Washington Summit Publishers

After separating from his wife, Spencer finally decided to move away from Whitefish to Alexandria, Virginia, where he took up residence with New Jersey Institute of Technology lecturer turned Arktos Publishing editor Jason Reza Jorjani, a brotherhood made in Alt Right heaven. The entire community, led by Alexandria’s Christ’s Church marched against Spencer’s move, and they continue to organize, along with the IWW, for him to move out of the loft he is hiding in.

In a recent Alt Right press conference, the National Press Club had to cancel his reservation citing security concerns over the opposition. This had never happened before to Richard, but it marked a shift in the culture that promised a lot of rejections from venues in the future. Even the private high school he attended, St. Mark’s School of Texas, made a move against him as the “class of 1997” raised money for a refugee charity under the banner that there were “united against Richard Spencer.”

In the world of global politics, and even small town life, Richard Spencer is being told “No” by an increasingly hostile public. Now that he has announced his “Danger Zone” campus tour, one modeled on Milo’s failed “Dangerous Faggot” tour and inspired by his perceived success at Texas A&M. The only problem is that when the entire student body is revolting against the Alt Right at every public university, the only universities he will even attempt because of their neutrality rules, he has yet to announce any such public event.

The leaps that the Alt Right have made, while real and substantial, are dwarfed by the sheer size of the anti-fascist opposition that has skyrocketed in their wake. While Richard Spencer is more famous than ever, with his message most condensed and branded, almost no institution is willing to claim him. His entire strategy, from the hair to the suit to the witty racist retorts, were crafted to give him access to the edge of the culture while maintaining his white nationalist politics. His crossover support has disappeared and he is instead falling into a world of his own extremist base, a choir and no one else. He is all in on his radicalism, but he has lost the only advantage he had for years: his corner of conservatism.

Spencer intends to continue these college tours, focusing on groups like Turning Point and Students for Trump locals. While this has been well promoted, it is unlikely he will have more than one or two dates in the next couple of years. It’s just too hard, too much fighting. Students will have to publicly announce their support for Spencer if they are to use university facilities to bring him over, and who would want to publicly associate with a figure for whom public attacks are a cause for universal celebration?

The left opposition has focused on moving the ‘neutrals’ to an emphatic “No,” robbing the ability for recruitment to happen on the right. Spencer’s conservative appearance, his good looks and fashionable hair, his agreeable personality and penchant for jokes has acted as a mask for the most radical forms of regressive nationalism, and it is that packaging that has stopped some segments of the public from reviling in horror and breaking his access to the culture even further. For organizers this means making the connections between Spencer the icon and Spencer the ideologue, showing the consequences of open fascism and finding allies that are willing to move from apathy to action, from neutral to “No.”

Spencer’s battle to find a small, but effective, group of Yes Men has a shrinking pool to pull from, even if they are louder than ever. Their only benefit is the perception of their power, not their actual effectiveness, and that is something hat the left needs to make explicit if they are going to stave off any of the growth. The purpose of denying Spencer a platform is that access to the culture is a chance to organize, not just to speak, and so the cultural shift against him is a question of power and success, not just words. While the Alt Right may have been celebrating their successful launch as a political movement, it is actually the left that should be clinking its glasses as it moves an entire generation off the fence and directly against their message of racial revenge.

Donate to Montana Antifa to Counter Protest the Nazis Coming to Whitefish

As we have been covering, the small resort town of Whitefish, Montana is under seige by Alt Right trolls after several of their residents decided they no longer wanted to deal with Richard Spencer and his family making money in their town.  The organization Love Lives Here, an affiliate of the Montana Human Rights Network, has been doing broad-based community organizing in the town.  This includes supporting the Jewish residents who have been specifically targeted for threats from the Daily Stormer and their friends by creating a system where by all residents of the town put “Menorah cards” in their window to show solidarity.  They have recently organized a large rally for diversity, showing that residents will be supporting each other and that the racialist narrative of the Alt Right has no draw in the town.

Love Lives Here will not be organizing the counter-demonstration to the Nazis who are planning on “marching against Jews” on January 15th, their strategy is to build the community base of support yet not to actually engage with the Nazis.  On the other side, Montana Antifa, based in the nearby Missoula, are planning on organizing the counter demonstration to show that Montanans are not going to sit back and let their towns be terrorized by armed skinheads.

Right now Montana Antifa are organizing a fundraiser to pay for the basic costs of having the counter-protest, including bussing in folks from surrounding towns that want to raise their voice against the hate.

Donate to the Montana Antifa Fundraiser Here to Stand Against the Nazis Coming to Whitefish, Montana

 

How Montana Anti-Racists Confronted the Alt Right and Neo-Nazis Plan to Terrorize Marginalized Residents In Revenge

The neo-Nazi wing of the Alt Right is planning for a small-town Kristallnacht in 2017.

 

How did we get here? It all derives from a privileged racist who wanted to ski in the most pristine part of the U.S. When enigmatic Alt Right founder Richard Spencer took over the National Policy Institute in 2010, he took the non-profit and reestablished it in the town of Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish, set in the gorgeous Flathead Valley, is a resort town in the shade of Glacier National Park and a number of high-priced, private ski resorts. His parents, who lived and worked in Dallas, Texas, made Whitefish their vacation home given their love for the slaloms. Richard’s father, a well-paid conservative Othmamologist and his mother, a Ron Paul supporter who did GOP fundraisers, did not want to make their presence in Whitefish a political one.

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Richard Spencer’s Parents, Sherry Spencer and Dr. Rand Spencer.

And neither did Richard. Instead, he wanted to live in their $3 million dollar home and use their properties, one that his mother, Sherry Spencer, had purchased to make money renting to retail businesses and vacationers booking through Air BnB. Richard moved his new wife, the Russian photographer and Third Positionist Nina Kouprianova, and started his life in Whitefish. He rented an apartment in Arlington, Virginia for when he needed to do his conferences and network in Washington D.C., and the rest of the time he used a home office to write, edit his books, create podcasts, and so on. Only more recently did he rent out the office space in a strip mall in Whitefish, which likely lends to the complications that started to happen as his wife left him and things became strained with his parents.

Whitefish has not welcomed Richard, to say the least. After Richard harassed a GOP consultant on a chairlift at the expensive ski resort they are both members at, people in town finally had to reckon with the fact that one of the most well funded and loudest white nationalists in the country was sharing their supermarket. Later that year Spencer was banned from entering Hungary by Viktor Orban himself after he had organized a “pan-European” fascist conference with the support of the nationalist party Jobbik and featuring Russian New Rightist and Euraisianist Aleksandr Dugin. Spencer was detained and deported and the conference ended up being a failure, and when he was banned from entering the EU it was a low point for his movement (he was later banned from entering the UK as well).

When Spencer returned, the people of Whitefish had begun to organize with the local anti-racist/anti-fascist organization Love Lives Here, a member organization of the incredible Montana Human Rights Network (MHRN). The MHRN has been a leader of progressive organizing in rural parts of the country, especially by confronting the rise of the Patriot militias and those from the Northwest Imperative of the white nationalist movement who see the “Whitetopia” of Montana as a future “white homeland.” Love Lives Here organized to pass a resolution to stop white nationalist organizations from having conferences and essential operations in Whitefish, which ended up being curtailed in favor of a broader city council declaration of a commitment to diversity.

As Spencer began to gain a huge amount of celebrity in the wave of Trump and the Alt Right that defined 2016, Whitefish became increasingly uncomfortable with their most famous resident. They especially did not like that Sherry Spencer, who was becoming a wealthy property owner and businesswoman in the town, aided and abetted her son by giving him use of her properties (they shared an address at one point). While she said that she didn’t agree with his politics, she became the most essential piece in the Alt Right, allowing Spencer to grow the movement without being forced to think about finances.

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Sherry Spencer’s building.

Love Lives Here began to push the issue with Sherry Spencer, stating that people in town did not appreciate her allowance of her son’s genocidal racist ideas. After the Atlantic video came forward showing Richard Spencer yelling “Hail Trump, Hail Our People, Hail Victory” and many NPI conference goers doing Roman Salutes, the town had enough. Sherry Spencer’s ownership of a new building at 22 Lupfer Avenue is what especially caused the controversy, and Tanya Gersh specifically helped to raise the profile of Sherry as profiting off of the town while giving support to her son’s organization. According to the Virginia’s state corporation commission, her property is still listed as the primary headquarters for the National Policy Institute.

People stopped wanting to do business with her and potential customers were let know about her connections, with Air BnB renters canceling their appointments. Sherry, facing the financial blowback, began considering selling the property, but then railed against Gersh and Love Lives Here saying that she was being extorted into selling the property. This only comes from the fact Gersh said she would list the property if Sherry wanted her to, and suggested she give a donation to the MHRN as a show of good faith. Sherry put together a Medium.com post that outlined her side of the story, yet was mainly blanketing anti-racist groups and activists like Gersh as haters.

While Sherry battled with the community, the Alt Right took things to another level. Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer made Sherry’s situation his new pet cause, and did post upon post about the town, the people in it, and the anti-racist organizations. He then put in the information of local business owners and residents, including young children, putting the yellow Star of David with “Jude” in the middle on top of them, referencing the star that Jews were forced to wear as they were rushed to their death in cattle cars. Alt Right “shitlords” on social media began harassing the Jewish and other residents of Whitefish, calling in, spamming their businesses on Yelp, and creating such a climate of fear in which many were scared for their lives. It became so bad that town council people like Frank Sweeney spoke out against it, which was a strong move since Sweeney had consulted with the Southern Poverty Law Center back in 2014 about how to address the situation with Spencer during the first round. Later, even the Governor spoke out and had planned a visit to Whitefish to show support.

Love Lives Here began a broad-based solidarity project, where they arranged the handouts of “Menorah” cards so that people could put them in their window to show solidarity with the Jewish residents who were the victims of the vicious harassment. This show of support is one that unites the community softly; hoping to secure those bonds if the organization is to do even more involved organizing. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes also joined the admonishment of bigotry, and the entire state has come together in opposition to the Alt Right trolls who are trying to terrorize marginalized groups. This is what effective solidarity organizing looks like as it creates one community in opposition to the divisive nature of the far right, and it meant hat the Alt Right will have dramatically less pull in the state and the media.

The Daily Stormer then began a call to organize a march in Whitefish, one that is specifically meant to target the Jews of the city and calling them the financial and organizational infrastructure. This hails back to the Kristallnacht tragedy in Germany when the SS went and ransacked Jewish businesses, ramping up the cultural pogrom against Jews and blaming them nonsensically for the financial turmoil of the German country since the First World War. While this may seem extreme even for Anglin, he has made a name for the Daily Stormer by naming Trump opponents to kill and trying to get followers to create fake “black” accounts on Twitter to defame people of African origin.

Anglin’s march “against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either” is set to happen on January 15th. Because of Montana’s liberal gun laws, they planned this to be an “armed march” to intimidate locals Jews and progressives, and he is planning to “bus in” skinheads from the Bay Area. This includes Goldenstate Skinheads (Goldenstate United), who were involved in the recent stabbing in Sacramento as well as in the early organizing of the American Freedom Party. This will also include members of the Traditionalist Workers Party, or its adjunct community organization the Traditionalist Youth Network, which often bridges the Blue Collar world of the KKK and skinheads with the Alt Right. This could also include members of Identity Europa, which has a heavy presence in the Bay Area of California.

In opposition, Love Lives Here and anti-racist are planning a January 7th celebration in favor of diversity, again rallying the community together with food, speakers, and music to create unity that will be necessary to combat the onslaught. While Andrew Anglin seems particularly set on bringing 200 armed racists to Whitefish to intimidate locals and possibly instigate bloody vengeance, Richard Spencer is actually saying that Anglin is just joking and that there will be no march.

All of this is bad news for Richard Spencer who has intimated recently that he might run for congress in Montana. As Love Lives Here and the MHRN is rally the community behind anti-racist values, it is unlikely that the majority of Montana is going to get behind armed neo-Nazis attacking Jews and Spencer’s insane bid for Washington. For anti-racists that want to support, it would be good to send money and make contact with Love Lives Here and stay prepared to hear news if the march actually takes place, and you can join in the organizing of counter-protest events.

 

In a master move, Love Lives Here is doing a fundraiser where you can donate a certain amount for every minute that the Nazis protest, so the longer they are there, the more money anti-hate groups will make.  You can commit to donate here.