WASHINGTON -- The 150-plus white men who gathered on Halloween to discuss their shared European heritage and identity insisted they don’t think they’re better than other races.
They’re simply different, they said. They’re “white advocates” and “identitarians.” “Racial idealists” or “racial communitarians.” The label “white supremacists,” to them, is a political “scare term” created by liberals and groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to undercut “legitimate” white interests.
The conference, called “Become Who We Are,” invited other white people to gain this race consciousness so their revolution can move off Twitter, blogs and online journals and into the mainstream. Discussion topics included "The Origins of the White Man," "The Tragedy of Southern Identity" and "Why We Will Win."
“There’s something radical about actually being public and talking about these views seriously,” said Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, which organized the conference. “There’s a tendency in our movement to embrace the fringe -- we want to be alienated from society, we want not to be taken seriously."
"We’re trying to make this a sensible position that all white people need to think about," he said.
Nonetheless, conference attendees wore name tags that revealed only their first names.
Spencer referenced the red pill in the movie "The Matrix" to suggest that white people were becoming “red pilled” -- awakened -- by their reality or lived experiences.
“You can’t get away from this general tendency to delegitimize the white man,” he said. “We totally recognize the fact that our views are considered beyond the pale, or awful -- but we’ve got to start this way. The gay movement had to start at some point, Zionism had to start in the 19th century when that was considered a ridiculous, terrible notion.”
Of course, this insistence that their views are based on genuine differences rather than a sense of superiority is undercut by the sort of rhetoric their community uses to describe traits they believe are inherent in other races or ethnicities. Jews are manipulative. African Americans are lazy or violent. Latinos are free-riders who are stealing American jobs. Etcetera.
This reporter, who is Jewish, was one of three journalists who attended a conference session open to the press at the National Press Club in the heart of Washington. A sentiment among the event’s speakers and attendees is that Jews have rigged the American political system to encourage more open immigration policies, so they can bond together with other minorities and subjugate Americans of European ancestry.
But Jews, they said, have maintained a cohesive identity, and there’s much to admire about that.
“The Jews exist precisely because they were apart, precisely because they had, maybe you could say, a bit of paranoia about trying to stay away -- please don’t quote paranoia,” Spencer said.
Most Jews would respond that they were forced into ghettos in Europe because of anti-Semitism. The conference’s participants think it’s the reverse: Anti-Semitism arose because Jews evolved separately and achieved economic and political success that has, understandably, inspired envy. It’s a chicken and egg non-dispute we’re not going to resolve here.
Regardless, conference speakers agreed that white nationalists could learn quite a bit from the Jews.
“The opposition to intermarriage. The creation of their own state. The recreation of their language. This is the greatest triumph of racial idealism in history. All we’re asking for is equality. The same right that Jews claim for themselves,” said Sam Dickson, an attorney who advocates for breaking up the United States to create a white ethno-state. (Dickson has represented the Ku Klux Klan in court.)
Dickson suggested that white people “could give” black people Massachusetts and New York -- “blacks could be given Manhattan” -- while whites would take states like Iowa. He said the white ethno-state of his imagination would be open to all whites, liberals and conservatives alike.
"White people, as we’ve become a minority, will not be able to live in a state of severe repression and discrimination,” he said. “Our ethno-state will not be a meeting of the Tea Party; it’s not going to be the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s going to be a genuine ethno-state with Christians, Catholics, alcoholics, teetotallers, gay people -- it’s not going to be a subset of the right.”
This ethno-state won’t happen without a revolution of thinking among whites, however. And this revolution won’t happen within the bounds of American politics. But having a Republican presidential candidate like businessman Donald Trump talk about deporting millions of immigrants and repealing birthright citizenship is a start.
“He’s certainly saying things on immigration that we haven’t heard from a mainstream candidate in a very long time,” said Kevin MacDonald, a former professor at California State University, Long Beach, who his fellow speakers describe as the preeminent authority on how Jews intentionally cultivated superior intellectual capabilities in order to better compete for resources.
“That’s absolutely a breakthrough -- and he’s been excoriated for it," MacDonald continued. "So I think he is seen by people like us as a possible home" -- though he may not achieve his goals on immigration. "It’s not that we even believe that he will necessarily do it but it’s not like we have other choices, either," MacDonald said.
There were only about 12 or so women at the conference, which is perhaps understandable given that white nationalists on Twitter want to #BringBackThePatriarchy and force women back in the kitchen, 1950s style.
“Any radical movement is mostly staffed by males,” Dickson said. “Women are by nature conformist, they give more obedience to authority, they’re more involved with family and children, they have to be more worried than we are about damage to the family. In any movement for reform, whatever it be, men always dominate.”
Despite its timing, none of the conference’s attendees wore costumes. They were frightening enough dressed as themselves.
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