Matt Forney, Right On, May 27, 2016
I’m convinced that despite recent online scuffles, we’re on the up-and-up. For all of the Left’s characterization of us as ignorant, elderly rednecks, AmRen–and the Alt-Right in general–attracts urbane, smart young men who are committed to their beliefs. To put it simply, we are going to win.
While last year’s AmRen saw record turnout, this year’s event managed to break the record again, with Jared Taylor musing during his opening remarks that the conference would have to find a new home soon. Even more strikingly, a significant number of the attendees were recent converts to the Alternative Right. When Taylor asked how many people were attending AmRen for the first time, more than half of the audience raised their hands. And like NPI, most of the new attendees were 30 and younger. There were also significantly more women, though the conference was still overwhelmingly male.
What also stood out about AmRen compared to previous identitarian conferences I’ve been to was the energy. In contrast to last year’s conference, which had the atmosphere of a cocktail party among old friends, this year’s AmRen had the mood of a burgeoning political movement. While there was no overt theme (in contrast to NPI’s March conference being themed around “Identity Politics”), it’s clear that Donald Trump’s success in the presidential race has injected vitality into the movement. As I joked to a few attendees, it won’t be long before we’re running our own campaigns for public office.
Even AmRen’s lineup of speakers seemed to reflect the increasingly youth-driven nature of the Alternative Right. Jared Taylor set the mood for us almost immediately by playing a video by Walt Bismarck/Uncuck the Right, known for his satirical remixes of popular songs, paying homage to the trolling that has propelled the Alt-Right to the center of Western political discourse. Ruuben Kaalep, youth leader of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, delivered a searing speech incorporating Estonian history, contemporary European nationalist politics, and Pepe the Frog memes.
Finally, no report on this year’s AmRen can ignore the massive media presence. While both Red Ice Radio and The Political Cesspool broadcast live from the conference (the latter’s host, James Edwards, was also a speaker), the hotel was swarming with flacks from Buzzfeed, Vice, Talking Points Memo, and more.
While I’d caution the Alt-Right about becoming too self-congratulatory–it’s easy to get overconfident when you’ve had a few successes–AmRen 2016 shows that our movement has legs. Anyone who is on the fence about attending AmRen, NPI, or any other identitarian conference needs to go: as arrogant as this may seem, you’re meeting the potential future leaders of the West.
[Editor’s Note: For a less generous account of our conference, see BuzzFeed’s write-up.]