Author: David Williams | Date: April 2006
BNP leader embraced by top US nazis
The seventh two-day conference of American Renaissance took place at the plush Hyatt Dulles Hotel in Herndon, Virginia, just outside Washington DC, on 24-26 February 2006. David Williams reports from inside the event.
For the past 12 years Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, which is published by his New Century Foundation from Oakton, Virginia, has sponsored a series of biennial conferences the first of which took place in 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia with a hundred people. American Renaissance is a pseudo-scientific racist magazine, which uses IQ tests and eugenics to promote the “clear conception of the United States as a nation ruled by and for whites”. Taylor’s dogged determination to “concentrate on what unites” and to “expand the consciousness of race” drew a large crowd, approximately 300, a record number of racists though they preferred the term “white preservationists,” who sat and listened to speeches centred on the theme of “The Global Crisis: Perspectives from Europe, Africa, and Australia”. In keeping with its global perspective this year’s conference had a truly international flavour with speakers including Nick Griffin and Derek Turner from England, Professor Andrew Fraser (Australia), Professor Philippe Rushton (Canada), Dr Dan Roodt (South Africa), Dr Guillaume Faye (France) and Sam Dickson (America).
But it was not only the keynote speakers who were of interest. The list of those attending this year’s conference read like a veritable “who’s who” of American white supremacy. Particularly prominent among the attendees were the contingent from Stormfront.org, the world’s largest white supremacist website – slogan “white pride, world wide” – run by the former Alabama Klansman Don Black, who in 1981 tried to invade the island of Dominica and set up a white supremacist state. The venture failed and Black was jailed for three years.
Black and his son together with Jamie Kelso all flew in from Florida. Many other members of Stormfront were allowed by Taylor to attend using false identities (although, as Searchlight did not exactly advertise its presence it would be rather churlish to dwell on this point). Indeed Stormfront activists accounted for as many as one sixth of the delegates. Stormfront claims to have been instrumental in obtaining Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, as a speaker for the conference.
Several prominent leaders of the rightwing “grassroots” Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) were present including Gordon Baum, chain-smoking throughout, Sam Dickson, a retired attorney and the conference’s closing speaker, and Joel T. LeFevre, editor of Citizens Informer, who played a major role in organising the event. As Taylor himself put it in his opening remarks, the CofCC was a “lynchpin” co-ordinating the activities of a plethora of organisations. He didn’t mention, however, that the organisation is a direct descendent of the White Citizens’ Council which fought a rearguard action against civil rights in the 1950s.
John Brimelow (twin brother of Peter Brimelow, author of the influential anti-immigration tract Alien Nation) who runs the popular VDARE.com website attended and was observed cloistered in the atrium consorting with Black and his cohorts. A controversial figure for some within the American Renaissance milieu, David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (who was succeeded by Black), was there as were the far-right radio talk show host Hal Turner, Mark Weber, director of the California-based Holocaust denial outfit the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), Kevin Strom of National Vanguard and David Pringle, both former members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. There was also a large contingent of Canadians led by Paul Fromm of the Canada First Immigration Reform Committee. Fromm is a friend of the Holocaust deniers Lady Michelle Renouf and Ernst Zündel who, much to Fromm’s annoyance, is currently on trial in Germany.
Although a few independent journalists were present the Hyatt Dulles Hotel officially barred the media from the conference, though Taylor managed eventually to persuade them to overturn this injunction. A technical team from Stormfront.org were producing a DVD of the proceedings while the libertarian filmmaker Curt Warren was filming a documentary for the Public Broadcasting Service on “race and immigration”. Those who did not want to appear or be interviewed were enjoined to move to the top left of the hall out of camera shot.
Outside the conference there was publicity of a less welcome kind in the form of a small picket of anti-fascist protesters from several organisations including the One Nation Project. They were kept at a safe distance by the Fairfax County Sheriff’s office until the Sunday when the protesters managed to make themselves heard outside the conference itself. Many residents were particularly concerned about the conference because of the recent activities of the Minutemen Project, a local offshoot of a national anti-immigration organisation, which is monitoring employers who use immigrant labourers from a government sanctioned centre.
On the first day of the conference delegates assembled in the chandeliered Concord conference room at nine o’clock ready for the opening speech by Griffin, who had flown into Washington with his wife Jackie, Mark Collett, Griffin’s co-defendant at the trial at Leeds Crown Court earlier this year, BNP heavies Raymond Heath and John Powell, and Leeds BNP organiser Martin Reynolds. This was not the first time Griffin had addressed an American Renaissance conference. In 2002 he spoke on “Nationalist Movements and the Crisis of the Liberal Elite”. This time round, fresh from his trial in Leeds, Griffin regaled the packed room with a 45-minute speech entitled “What is left of free speech in Britain”.
In his attack on the “bastardised, mongrelised democracy” of Britain that had tried to deprive him of his “free speech” Griffin told his audience “we have had enough of this ghastly multiracial experiment that has been forced upon us”. His conclusion was stark: “people are going to be killed before we de-Islamify Europe”. Given the publicity surrounding Griffin’s trial one might have expected him to receive a more ecstatic response. However some delegates appeared completely ignorant of the BNP, and despite plenty of polite applause a good proportion of the audience remained seated. During question time Griffin, brazenly courting publicity, claimed that if his speech were shown in Britain, “I could be prosecuted”.
After Griffin’s speech Collett trundled around the room with copies of the glossy brochure of Civil Liberty, the “civil rights” organisation run by the BNP organiser Kevin Scott. Thereafter the Griffins, Collett and company sat throughout the proceedings listening attentively from the front row.
Having fulfilled his speaking engagement Griffin was free to begin networking which, let’s face it, is real the point of almost any conference. Over lunch he stood chatting at the bar, standing a few drinks and inviting members of American Renaissance such as Frank Borzellieri, author of two racist books, The Unspoken Truth and Don’t Take it Personally, to attend the BNP’s “Red White Blue” festival this year and speak to the party’s younger members. Collett for his part was extremely active mingling with the younger element at the conference, most of whom belonged to Stormfront. Over the course of the weekend Griffin also joined the Stormfront leadership headed by Black, and which included Strom and Duke, for a sightseeing tour that took in the National Air and Space Museum, the National Archives, the National Art Gallery, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial.
At seven o’clock on Saturday evening everyone sat down for dinner in the Concord room transformed for the delectation of delegates into a banquet hall. The international guests sat at the top left of the hall. Griffin shared a table with Taylor while Derek Turner and Adrian Davies sat with Duke. Throughout the conference food and wine flowed freely, served largely by black and Hispanic waiters who must have been secretly seething that these diners believed that this subservient role was all they were good for.
The after dinner speech was delivered by Rushton, Professor of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and currently the president of the Pioneer Fund, founded in 1937 for the “racial betterment” of the white race by funding spurious racial science projects dedicated to proving its genetic superiority. The Pioneer Fund has made a series of large financial grants to Taylor’s own New Century Foundation, the company behind American Renaissance. Rushton’s speech, replete with slides, on “New Research on Socio-biology” was dedicated to proving that IQ tests showed blacks to be genetically inferior to whites, though his imputation that on “average” Asians might have a higher IQ than whites left more than one diner at our table with a bitter taste in the mouth after an otherwise pleasant meal.
Derek Turner, editor of the British rightwing conservative magazine Right Now! opened Sunday’s proceedings with a speech entitled: “The Island Race Debate: Britain Since the London Bombings”. It was far better received than Griffin’s effort the previous day, in part because of his less ponderous delivery. Turner was accompanied throughout the proceedings by Davies, the rightwing barrister and leader of the Freedom Party, who remained strangely quiet throughout the weekend. Turner and his wife later departed for a holiday in the Shenandoah Valley.
The conference threw into stark relief the increasing synergy between British and American racists. Those who had tired of the speeches or merely wished to stretch their legs could peruse the stalls at the back of the hall, many of which were giving away mountains of free literature. One of the first we encountered was the Occidental Quarterly stall run by James Russell, a member of its editorial board. Also on Occidental Quarterly’s board are Derek Turner and the controversial Leeds university don Frank Ellis. Coincidentally the stall next to Russell was that of Washington Summit Publishers (WSP) run by yet another Occidental Quarterly editorial board member, Louis Andrews of Augusta, Georgia. It is Andrews who manages the American distribution of Right Now!. WSP publishes Race Differences in Intelligence by Richard Lynn, emeritus professor at the University of Ulster, who like Taylor is a recipient of Pioneer Fund grants. WSP also reprints “classic” Aryan and eugenic tracts including a homily to the antisemitic philosopher Count de Gobineau as a pioneer of genetics.
Other stalls included those run by Joe Sobran, who was fired from his job as senior editor of the National Review in 1993 on account of his antisemitism, and Social Contract Press whose journal Social Contract is edited by Dr Wayne Lutton who sits alongside Taylor, Andrews, Russell and Derek Turner on the editorial board of Occidental Quarterly. Social Contract Press also publishes The Camp of Saints by Jean Raspail, an apocalyptic vision of immigration peddled in this country by Right Now!
Perhaps the largest stall belonged to Light in the Darkness (LID) Publications run by J. Forrest Sharpe. LID is an imprint of the IHS Press founded in September 2001 “to bring back into print the classics of last century on the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church”, many of which are distributed in Britain by the International Third Position organisation. Also present was “Patriotic Flags” based in Charleston, whose catalogue includes numerous Nazi standards and neo-Confederate flags dedicated to Nathan Bedford Forrest, first Grand Wizard of the KKK in 1867. The Canadian stall disseminated mountains of reprints of old racial science and eugenic tracts originally published in the 1960s and, as one might expect at such a conclave, other publications bandied about included Stormfront’s European American, the American Free Press edited by former Liberty Lobby luminary Jim Tucker and The Truth At Last, the hoary old antisemitic rag edited by Dr Edward Fields, chiropodist and unabashed white supremacist, who was guest of honour at a dinner staged by the Friends of Oswald Mosley last time he was in London.
The “Jewish Question” was, noted one attendee, “always present in the thinking of those I met, either at the forefront of our conversation or just below the surface”. Indeed Griffin “made reference to it several times” during the course of dinner with several American activists on Friday night. However, it came very publicly to the fore on Saturday afternoon and has generally dominated discussion of the conference on white nationalist websites since then. Dr Guillaume Faye, one of France’s most prolific nouvelle droite (new right) figures, who was fined 300,000 francs (£30,000) in 2000 for inciting racial hatred, had just finished a speech on “The Threat to the West”, in which he had hailed last year’s French riots as a vital precursor to the explosion of “ethnic civil war” which alone would “wake up white racial consciousness”. After thanking him for a speech which had “stirred our genes” Duke, whose charisma appears to have been surgically enhanced of late, asked Faye if there weren’t a more insidious threat to the West than Islam? “Tell us what it is” came a call from the back of the room. “I’m not going to say,” said a coy Duke to rising laughter.
Martin Hart, a squat right-wing Jewish astrophysicist who has attended all the American Renaissance conferences since 1996, took umbrage to this, not least because he had only just reassured Hershel Elias, a new initiate to the American Renaissance circuit from Philadelphia, that although the conference was “infiltrated by Nazis and Holocaust deniers” this should not detract from his enjoyment of the gathering. “You fucking Nazi, you’ve disgraced this meeting,” Hart shouted at Duke before storming out of the hall followed by boos and catcalls. As one can tell from a glance at the Stormfront forums Hart appears to have woefully misjudged the audience!
The incident underlined a basic tension on the American far right. LeFevre led the chorus of disapproval from the American Renaissance side accusing Duke of “shameless grand-standing” and “leeching off the efforts of others”. A far more vocal barrage of support led by Stormfront was livid that Taylor had allowed a Jew into a white nationalist meeting in the first place let alone let him “insult” Duke. If Duke found the “Nazi” epithet insulting one can only wonder how he felt if he read the recent article by the self-styled BNP “Legal Eagle”, Lee Barnes, which accused him of being a tool of the Jews for visiting Syria. Duke can’t win it would seem.
Sarcasm aside the dispute between Duke and Hart highlights the uneasy alliance between the socially conservative “race realists” such as Taylor and Baum, who believe antisemitism detracts from the real task of opposing immigration, and the hardline antisemites gathered around Stormfront for whom antisemitism is the issue. Indeed Stormfront, although generally supportive, regards American Renaissance as a “soft core” organisation, useful because its broader appeal on race and immigration issues enables it to function as “an entry level portal for those still learning the racial basics” and for that reason “it has value”. The verbal fracas and its fallout reveal just how unstable are the foundations upon which Taylor is trying to build his coalition.
Despite this tumult the conference closed on a quiet note as Dickson delivered a eulogy for his fellow CofCC member Dr Sam Francis, a mainstay of previous American Renaissance conferences, who died unexpectedly in February 2005, aged 57. Francis was a prize winning syndicated columnist fired from his editorship of The Washington Times in 1995 because, in the words of one colleague, through his racist diatribes against immigration he had come to “embody the new white bigotry”. It was noticeable that his admirers raised funds at the conference to publish a collection of his writings. Dickson also praised American Renaissance for providing “therapy” and “leadership” which was responsible for “putting whites in touch with their feelings”. And just what were those feelings? Racial hatred albeit expressed from behind the veneer of pseudo-scientific racist scholarship by portly middle-aged men in suits and ties.
© Searchlight Magazine 2006