2015 AmRen Conference: Best Ever
AR Staff, American Renaissance, April 20, 2015
The 13th American Renaissance conference — the fourth at Montgomery Bell State Park in Tennessee — was held over a brilliant spring weekend and reflected the growing energy and momentum of our movement. There was record attendance, while the lifeless efforts of a small band of protesters only underlined their impotence in the face of our determination. It was a weekend of camaraderie — old friendships renewed and new ones established — built around a series of informative and inspiring speeches.
The conference began Friday evening with a cocktail reception, followed by welcoming remarks by Jared Taylor. The program on Saturday opened with Matthew Tait of England, who first entered into nationalist politics at the age of 18. He gave a vivid, insider’s account of how the British National Party went from soaring success to irrelevance in just a few years, and tried to draw lessons from its collapse.
2004 was the beginning of the BNP’s “golden era,” with local council representation in all parts of Britain. “The taste of victory was very powerful,” said Mr. Tait, “as was the desire to win more and to win more often.” Mr. Tait, who ran for election several times himself, spoke movingly of what he heard from ordinary Britons during his campaigns: “There is a deep hunger for change, for a return to old values and the sense of national identity that has been eroded.” He was also touched by the willingness of people of modest means to contribute more than they could afford to what they hoped would be the restoration of Britain.
The BNP’s high-water mark was in 2009, when party leader Nick Griffin and long-time activist Andrew Brons were elected to the European Parliament, and the BNP won representation on the London Assembly. What then went wrong?
Mr. Tait explained that the Euro-elections victory was a pyrrhic one, in that the two main figures of the party left to serve in Brussels and were seldom in Britain where they were needed most. At the same time, the rapid growth of the party — its annual budget increased ten-fold in three years — unquestionably resulted in waste and misallocation. There were rumors that Mr. Griffin diverted funds in questionable ways, though Mr. Tait emphasized that this has never been proven.
He did note, however, that Mr. Griffin was unwilling to delegate authority, or that when he did so, he appointed people personally beholden to him rather than the most capable party members. Positions went to loyal nonentities while good people were sidelined and resigned in disgust. Thus, Mr. Griffin bears some blame for the party’s decline, though Mr. Tait praised him as “an absolute stalwart in the face of adversity year after year after year.” An inspiring orator is not necessarily the best party leader, especially when the party grows beyond a certain scale.
Mr. Tait also described other forces that contributed to the party’s decline. Its glory years coincided with Tony Blair’s “new Labour” era — a time of aggressive political correctness and mass non-white immigration. “We used to say that Blair was our best recruiter,” Mr. Taitt explained. The return of the conservatives to power, along with the rise of a new party, UKIP, which opposes mass immigration and EU membership, would have taken some of the wind out of the BNP’s sails no matter how well it had been run.
Mr. Tait concluded with practical advice: “Politics is 70 percent how you look, 20 percent how you talk, and 10 percent what you say.” Quibbling about the ideological purity of the 10 percent is much less important than choosing spokesmen who fit the remaining 90 percent of the profile. “Our message is our messenger,” he said. “We have to lead by example.” Mr. Tait also stressed the importance of creating associations of people who can meet frequently. Political and professional development are worthy goals but even purely social gatherings create vital bonds. We need the equivalent of “a church for our people.”
Mr. Tait emphasized that whatever our chances of success, our work has the potential to ennoble. “There is immense power in being on the side of righteousness in the face of adversity,” he said, “and I have seen ordinary people do great things in the service of our cause.”
Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute gave a talk called “Why They Hate Us.” He noted that enormous numbers of ordinary whites seem to have absorbed the view famously expressed by Susan Sontag that the white race is the cancer of human history, and that whites are uniquely responsible for suffering all around the world.
Mr. Spencer added that it is tempting to focus on white liberals because they personify the concept of white guilt, but it is what the mass of whites have come to believe that is much more important and disturbing. He mentioned the famous case of the authorities of the British town of Rotherham, who refused to investigate Pakistani men who preyed on underage white girls. Elected officials and police were so fearful of being accused of “racism” that they closed their eyes to a sickening pattern of racial/sexual exploitation. Mr. Spencer emphasized that what is most horrifying about this was that the Rotherham authorities were not perverts or foreigners or people who could be expected to hate whites; they were ordinary, respectable people — ordinary people paralyzed by white guilt. Rotherham, Mr. Spencer pointed out, is only an especially prominent example of where guilt leads: “Every day, little things are slowly eating away at our future.”
Mr. Spencer noted that racially conscious whites occupy a strange position in modern society. We hold practically no real power, yet “we are thought to hold all the power.” If one were to believe the mainstream media, “ ‘racism’ holds hegemony over the known world. We somehow sow hatred that destroys what would otherwise be universal multiracial happiness.”
Mr. Spencer noted that his racial activities have provoked outrage in the small Montana town in which he spends part of the year. The city council even met to see whether some legal action could be taken against him, but found it could do nothing more than issue a statement endorsing diversity. “But why does an almost entirely-white community react pathologically to the slightest movement towards white consciousness?” Mr. Spencer asked. Here, he explained, was another Rotherham, an example of people who consider themselves above the narrowness of religion and yet who are, when it comes to race, as benighted as the Puritans were about sex. “Whites,” he said “have a special capacity to become their own worst enemy, a unique ability to inflict guilt on themselves.”
Our opponents, added Mr. Spencer, gleefully imagine a world from which we have disappeared. “It is the mission of our movement to oppose that world and offer alternatives,” he said in conclusion. “We must purge our minds of guilt and rise to greet the dawn with a clear conscience.”
Peter Brimelow of VDARE.com gave a talk called “Immigration: Have We Reached the Tipping Point?” He noted that 40 years ago, there really were Communist cells in some major newspapers making sure that nothing negative about Communism would appear in print. Now, there is a different kind of censorship. Those who look forward to a non-white America “know they are very close to the tipping point, and that is why the new red terror is so intense. They smell victory and that is why it is essential to keep white consciousness suppressed.” Mr. Brimelow added that, if anything, today’s red terror is worse than anything McCarthy could muster: “It’s not a conspiracy; it’s a lynch mob.”
Mr. Brimelow called Republicans a fine example of spinelessness. Congressional votes for amnesty for illegal aliens have been blocked three times by massive outrage from ordinary Americans, but Republicans have not lifted a finger to stop President Obama’s executive amnesty. The obvious course would have been to impeach him or, short of that, to use the power of the purse to starve the agencies that would carry out the amnesty. Instead, it has fallen to “a very brave judge in Texas to hold the line — and who knows for how long?”
Mr. Brimelow still held out hope for strong action on immigration. In Britain, Enoch Powell had a tremendous impact on policy with a single, eloquent warning in 1968: his famous “rivers of blood” speech. “The country is ready for something important,” said Mr. Brimelow. “All it takes is a spark, all it takes is one ambitious politician, someone who is prepared to drop the bomb on this issue despite the advice of the political consultants.”
Unfortunately, we could be at the tipping point in the other sense. We may be finally tipped in the direction of Brazil, and this could ultimately lead to the breakup of the country. “We are in uncharted territory,” explained Mr. Brimelow. “No country has ever decided to abolish itself in this way, but for whites, minority status may not be the end but the beginning.” The “nightmare scenario” would be something like South Africa, but Americans have the time and the power to chart a different course.
Mr. Brimelow ended with a list of measures that could yet be enacted: Abolish birth-right and dual citizenship; expel Puerto Rico from the Union; end racial preferences; end the refugee program “which does nothing but colonize those parts of the country that are not sufficiently diverse;” abolish the King holiday; establish official English; secede at the state and local level. Why do these things not happen? “My favorite explanation,” said Mr. Brimelow, “is stupidity.”
The next speaker was Konstantins Pupurs, a Latvian nationalist who has been fighting for his people since the time of the Soviet occupation. Mr. Pupurs explained that his nation won independence from the Russian empire after a war that lasted from 1918 to 1920, and that grateful Latvians built a Freedom Monument in the center to Riga to commemorate the fallen. The Soviets invaded Latvia in 1940, annexed Latvia, banned any display of the national flag, and came close to demolishing the monument.
Mr. Pupurs explained that his parents and grandparents had fought the Bolsheviks, and that his experience as a draftee in the Soviet army convinced him that it was his duty to fight for Latvian independence. In 1988, Mr. Pupurs carried his nation’s flag through the streets of Riga and brandished it before the Freedom Monument. He was surrounded by thousands of patriotic Latvians that day, and the authorities did not dare stop him, but they arrested him soon after. He was stripped of Soviet citizenship and expelled from the country.
Mr. Pupurs returned to Latvia in 1991, after independence from the Soviet Union, but there were still active KGB elements who warned him to stay out of politics. When he ignored them, he suffered an assassination attempt that left him seriously injured. He left Latvia again, and did not return for good until 2010.
This time, explained Mr. Pupurs, it was safe for him to return to politics, and he became active in the All for Latvia! party, which, together with other nationalist parties, has achieved considerable electoral success. The party organizes youth camps, aid associations for veterans, and a variety of other community organizations.
Mr. Pupurs explained that one of the great achievements of the party has been the establishment of new patriotic traditions. For example, every year it sets up a dramatic “corridor of flags” leading to the Freedom Monument, in commemoration of the men who died fighting the Soviets during the Second World War. On Latvian Independence Day there is now a huge torchlight parade that has so caught the imagination of Latvians that it attracts 30,000 participants. Mr. Pupurs showed a moving video of the parade, accompanied by the stirring strains of the Latvian national anthem.
Mr. Pupurs’s unassuming account of his fight for Latvian pride and independence was a sobering reminder of the heavy sacrifices our European brothers have made for their people, and was deeply inspiring.
The next speaker, Jared Taylor, proposed two ideas that could change the United States from a country that threatens our survival to one that promotes it. The first would be to recognize that races differ in intelligence and temperament. The biology of race solves countless riddles: racial gaps in crime rates, illegitimacy, and school achievement; the lack of black engineers in Silicon Valley; wealth in Europe and poverty in Africa; and why the Marshall Plan worked but today’s foreign aid doesn’t. Mr. Taylor likened the concept of racial differences to that of a heliocentric universe: The solar system falls perfectly into place once you understand that the sun — not the earth — is at its center.
Mr. Taylor also pointed out that accepting race solves the problem of white guilt — there isn’t any. Blacks and Hispanics rise or fall to the level they deserve, with many of them getting a boost from racial preferences. He also argued that it would greatly reduce the hatred blacks feel if they understood that whites are not oppressing them. “If we accepted the facts about race,” Mr. Taylor said, “we would be spared an enormous amount of agony, guilt, hatred, and wasted effort.”
The second idea Mr. Taylor proposed for establishing a racially healthy regime was the recognition that people are tribal. It is obvious that people seek the company of people like themselves, and that diversity is a source of conflict. Mr. Taylor added that even those who praise diversity do not practice it, that “race and tribe define their lives right down to the television program they watched last night, but they would rather die than admit it.” He said he cannot understand why Americans refuse to recognize an aspect of human nature that is not only universal but that they, themselves, practice every day.
Mr. Taylor concluded by quoting George Kennan’s profile of the early Bolsheviks who made the revolution. Kennan hated Communism and all it stood for, but could not help admiring their faithfulness and dedication. Communism, said Mr. Taylor, was a murderous, tyrannical dead end. “How much easier should it not be,” he asked, “for us to throw ourselves into a cause we know is not only right and beautiful but necessary for the preservation of everything we love?”
The next event was a debate on the proposition: “Can the American political system be used to solve the race problem?” A “solution” was narrowly defined as a regime that recognized the two ideas Mr. Taylor had just outlined: racial differences and the tribal nature of man.
For the affirmative were Peter Brimelow and John Derbyshire; opposing were Sam Dickson and Richard Spencer. After a vigorous and entertaining debate, a show of hands by the audience found that although not many minds had been changed by the debate, slightly more had been persuaded to renew their hope in a political solution than had been persuaded to abandon it. The majority, however, did not think a political solution was possible.
The after-dinner speaker was Paul Ramsey, known to his YouTube public as RamZPaul, whose trademark combination of humor and sharp insight have been very popular at previous conferences. He began by noting that many of us are disappointed with the direction in which the country is going, but that things can change quickly. He reminded the audience that in Romania, which he recently visited, dictator Nicolai Ceausescu was giving a public speech one day and was shot to death four days later. Most people just sit on the sidelines waiting to see which way the wind is blowing, so a slight shift can blow over an entire regime.
Mr. Ramsey summarized the famous experiments of John B. Calhoun, in which he released a few pairs of rats into a nourishing but limited environment. The rat population doubled every 55 days until overpopulation led to a complete breakdown in normal behavior. Some rats became aggressive, others withdrew completely from interaction, some became homosexual. Reproduction stopped completely.
Mr. Ramsey likened the modern, globalized world to Calhoun’s rat dystopia. He speculated that diversity crowds the mental space in which people live, and may have the same effect as overpopulation. The result is plummeting reproduction rates, addiction to video games and pornography, and the open practice of degeneracy and homosexuality.
Mr. Ramsey pointed out that liberalism seeks incompatible goals. For example, it promotes both Muslim immigration and love of homosexuals. This can’t work if Muslims want to throw homosexuals from the tops of tall buildings. He argued that members of a species that spent most of the past 50,000 years living in one place, among close relatives, are not adapted to the mental overload of globalism and multiculturalism. Mass immigration means cultural war and cultural death.
Mr. Ramsey stressed the importance of healthy, traditional sex roles as the basic building blocks of society. He said it was hard to imagine a return to good health in a mass, egalitarian democracy based on the idea that “if you can breathe you can vote.” Humans are not equal, and the assumption that they are leads to collapse.
Mr. Ramsey argued that men and women behave in healthy, complimentary ways when they live in the uncluttered conceptual space of small, homogeneous countries. He offered Hungary and Romania as nations that still have an authentic sense of themselves, whereas the United States is vast and chaotic. Mr. Ramsey said that regional breakup is possible, and could come as suddenly as the collapse of the Soviet Union. Only then can we be sure of avoiding the fate of Calhoun’s rats.
The Sunday program began with a memorial and tribute to Sam Francis, one of the most important dissident racialist thinkers of our time, who spoke at every American Renaissance conference until his death in 2005. Jared Taylor gave a brief sketch of his life and then played a video of selections from some of his speeches going back to 1994. Afterwards, Mr. Taylor spoke about his personal recollections of Francis, concluding with these words:
Our generation will not produce another Sam Francis. The few who could have matched him in learning and brilliance will not have his courage; those who have his courage will lack his brilliance. Our work must go on without him, but there is no greater tribute to him than to take inspiration from his words and carry on with all our strength the struggle to which he devoted his life.
Sam Dickson then added his own recollections of Francis, noting how much Francis had sacrificed in his pursuit of the truth, and how much he had contributed to our movement.
Mr. Dickson then closed the meeting as he always has since the first AmRen conference. He began with a reference to Procrustes, from Greek mythology, who invited guests to his home but who then either stretched them on the rack or cut off their legs to make them fit his bed. This, Mr. Dickson explained, is the ideology of equality that governs America: We are all equal, even if it takes violence to make us equal.
Mr. Dickson noted that some liberals admit that “ideology was the scourge of the 20th century,” but do not realize that they are, themselves, prisoners of an ideology that mutilates reality just as Procrustes mutilated people. Their ideology is so powerful that for them, “seeing is not believing, because they live in a fairy tale, the wonderland of their ideology.” Race realists, he added, do not have an ideology; we draw lessons from science and nature.
Mr. Dickson quoted the late Murray Rothbard, who noted that liberals think they are secular people but are “in the mania of a religious excitement the likes of which we have never seen.” They have a fiendish energy for misunderstanding the world. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, claims that anyone who thinks there are differences between groups is a “hater.” Only someone blinded by ideology could look at pygmies and Swedes and claim to see no differences.
We may not be able to change the country, Mr. Dickson said, but we can change ourselves. We must bury the idea that the history of our country is a chronicle of ever-expanding freedom. The story of America is not the history of an idea; it is the history of a real people with a real history. In fact, some of the “freedoms” we now enjoy — for men to marry each other or for women to fight in foxholes — dissolve the ancient bonds of society and reduce us to atoms. Man is a social animal, and society is made of human relations, not abstract ideas like “freedom.”
Mr. Dickson noted that all the great battles of history are for tribe, family, nation, comrades — for people rather than for ideas. Men die for tribe, family, nation, and comrades, and not for abstractions.
We do not hope merely to survive, Mr. Dickson explained, but to carry our civilization to unheralded heights. We should never be discouraged because we have the truth on our side; we need never lie in the service of our cause. It is sufficient that we speak the truth. The forces of Procrustes have damaged our country but they have not destroyed it. Today, said Mr. Dickson, we are planting seeds. They are germinating below the surface and will bloom when we least expect them.
On Saturday afternoon, we were greeted by about a dozen scruffy protesters, waving signs that said “black lives matter” and “racists are buttheads.” Park police, including one mounted on a fine black horse, kept them contained away from the conference site, where they lounged on the grass and sunned themselves. They changed a few of their lefty slogans, but it was a limp effort. Even the employees at the park rolled their eyes. “All you have to do is look at them and look at you,” one said, “to know who’s right and who’s wrong.”
The meeting was adjourned on Sunday, and we bid each other farewell — inspired, reinvigorated, and eager for next year’s conference.