Notably, the biggest waves in the past year were made offline.
I signed contracts with no fewer than three different venues in three different states to host the first-ever VDARE.com Conference—and all three canceled under pressure from Leftist vigilantes.
The first cancellation caught me off guard, not because I was unaware of the risks (I was aware, although I was wrongly advised we were proof in this particular venue) but because hearing about a risk and getting hit with the blunt end of it are very different experiences.
I hope soon to announce a venue for our 2018 conference—hotel professionals continue to believe they live in a free country and are bidding for our business! But I am also happy to report that the broken contracts justly resulted in about $80,000.00 in liquidated damages paid directly to the VDARE Foundation.
PLUS each cancellation is what I suppose I must call a “teachable moment,” resulting in more local publicity that we could ever afford to buy, and introducing us to more friends.
As has been our tradition in the past couple of years, Peter and I made a point of hosting private dinners and receptions around the country as we traveled for family and public appearances. This year we hosted 7 events in locations including Manhattan, DC, Nashville, Akron and Dallas. It’s one of the highlights of my job to be able to meet our readers in person, network with political allies and really encourage the bonds of fraternity at these private events.
2017 saw the first anniversary of the VDARE Quarterly magazine, which continues to be well received. The magazine provides recurring donors with both digital and hardcopy versions of a beautifully-designed quarterly digest of VDARE.com’s most compelling headlines. (Sign up here!)
Before the PayPal Purge (see below), this magazine was spreading our message and was also a nice source of revenue. Unfortunately, PayPal’s sudden and malicious suspension of our account unhitched all the subscriptions and we were forced to start from zero in rebuilding our subscriber list.
If you were subscribed to the magazine before August and have not resubscribed, please do so. EVERY subscription created before August was eliminated– unless you paid by a check in the mail—and we are still missing about a third of you.
VDARE.com Books also published Dr. Byron Roth’s important book, Perils of Diversity: Immigration and Human Nature: Abridged and Revised, available here. John Derbyshire reviewed it here. Other publishing projects include a new book from Michael Hart, author of Restoring America and (we hope!) anthologies from Peter Brimelow and James Kirkpatrick.
As compared to 2016, VDARE.com website traffic was down by close to 10%—in tandem with other Dissident Right sites. Speculation abounds about why this is, ranging from 2016’s traffic being unusually strong due to the presidential election, to increased “shadow banning” by social media and search sites (and the possibility our Twitter and Gab accounts, which have been growing strongly, cannibalize website traffic). The truth is, we don’t really know why our traffic is down, but we’re actively working to push back.
VDARE.com has never much invested in marketing or advertising (either placing or publishing) and that is about to change. There are some very talented individuals in our movement who know how to work around and within the system to get VDARE.com in front of more good readers. We hope to gain traction with these tactics starting in the first quarter.
That said, in absolute terms VDARE.com traffic is very strong: we have about 900,000 pageviews per month. During the course of 2017 we saw one major spike on January 29, when the article “Obama Also Put A Hold On Muslim Immigrants In 2011, And The Countries He Banned Were The Same (But He Didn’t Mean It)” by James Fulford went viral, garnering 119,934 pageviews.
The VDARE.com editors’ Twitter account gained about 12,000 followers ending the year at over 38,000. (We also have about 8,000 on Gab). Our most popular tweet of the year called out Breitbart employees for trash-talking Katie McHugh, the journalist who was fired from Breitbart after tweeting the obviously true statement that "There would be no deadly terror attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn't live there." Our contribution to the tweet storm that ensued racked up about 314k impressions.
"Cucks," "pussies," "losers" - that's how I described Breitbart staffers whining to reporters about what colleagues said re: London attack https://t.co/pHOw5gc9ru— VDARE (@vdare) June 5, 2017
It’s also worth noting that our VDARE.com account survived the Twitter Purge of December 18, 2017, which so much of the Dissident Right anticipated with (justified) trepidation. In the fall, Twitter announced it would begin stricter enforcement of behavior guidelines for users of the platform. This included punishing users with forced tweet removal or permanently banned accounts for “[affiliation] with organizations that — whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform — use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes,” or “behavior that incites fear about a protected group…repeated and/or or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone.” (My emphases).
This broad language was widely perceived as a catch-all license for Twitter to ban and manipulate any users it chose, at any time, and that remains true for users on the platform today. In the end, while lots of twitter users were banned, the list of targets seems to have been random and many of what seemed to be the most vulnerable accounts remain intact.
One purge VDARE.com did not survive, however, was from PayPal.
On the morning of August 15th, two days after the disastrous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA that had nothing to do with VDARE.com, I got an urgent email from American Renaissance’s office. Their PayPal account had been suspended. They recommend we go on the alert and send out an emergency message to our supporters urging them to donate before we lost our payment processing too. By the time I got to the keyboard moments later, this notification was already waiting for me: “Due to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in accordance with PayPal's User Agreement. As a result, we have placed a permanent limitation on your account.”
Luckily, the tech team at VDARE.com had already established a backup plan for this possibility months prior, so disruption was minimal, save for the recurring magazine subscription donations mentioned above.
This endless soft totalitarian persecution—venue cancelations, de-platforming, refusal of services, smearing and libel– has got to stop. 2018 will be characterized by our pushing back across the board.
One small but noteworthy victory in this vein last year: forcing the publication of a Letter to the Editor from VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow and American Renaissance Editor Jared Taylor at the New York Times, rebutting law professors law professors David J. Herzig [Email him] and Samuel D. Brunson's [Email him] amazing argument that the I.R.S. should revoke our tax-exempt status because we are “white supremacist groups.” As Peter Brimelow said at the time, “This [public defense] is important, because the post-Charlottesville Reign Of Terror has been proceeding on the totalitarian assumption that American patriots have no legal rights. They do, and they are beginning to assert them.”
We hope to have further announcements on these lines in the next few days.
Peter and I, and all of the writers and editors at VDARE.com, could not assert our rights or anything else without the loyal and generous support of our donors. We receive no support from grants or government funding. Every single article, book, speech or public appearance you see from VDARE.com is funded directly from the individual donations sent in by our readers. This year, for the third year in a row, our year-end fundraising broke our historical records, bringing in $120,747, more than 20% over our $100,000.00 goal.
I know I speak for Peter and the rest of the VDARE.com team when I say thank you—thank you. We strive every day to secure America “for ourselves and our posterity”—and your support is the fuel that keeps us going.
Onward and upward in 2018!
A native Texan, Lydia [email her] graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2006. She is fundraiser and office manager, lion tamer, fire extinguisher and miscellany handler at VDARE.com. She and Peter married in 2007 and have three daughters together.