As VDARE.com was the first to report, the 2010 American Renaissance Conference was shut down by concerted, sometimes illegal action by people who hate free speech. Thugs who do not want anyone to speak honestly about race or immigration—even if they are not there to hear it—bullied and threatened four successive hotels into canceling contracts to host our conference, with the last pulling out just two days before guests were to arrive. (We were able to hold a much-reduced private meeting).
It is, of course, shameful that anyone in America would deliberately prevent a non-profit educational organization from assembling to discuss matters of importance to white people. It is disturbing that the police did nothing to stop them.
And it is especially shocking that the Main Stream Media showed an almost complete lack of interest in this thuggish, contemptible behavior.
Nothing could more clearly highlight the utter lack of principle of our rulers and elites. If a non-white group—or any other group—had been treated as we were, it would have been a major free speech issue. It would have sparked a media uproar, and perhaps a Congressional investigation. But for us? Dissidents from racial orthodoxy are treated like dissidents in the old Soviet Union.
American Renaissance, the monthly publication of which I am editor, has held conferences every two years since 1994, and in the Northern Virginia area since 1998. They have prompted protests and crank calls, but no hotel had ever canceled its contract.
Pressure began to increase, however, at the time of the 2006 conference. A hotel near Washington Dulles Airport that had hosted three conferences in a row decided it no longer wanted our business because of rising levels of threats and demonstrations, including a trespasser who shoved lurid leaflets about hosting "racists" under guest-room doors.
The hotel that hosted the 2008 conference came under even greater pressure. It was swamped with protest calls and the general manger even got death threats at home. Still, the hotel stuck to its contract. At the time of the conference itself, there were a dozen or so demonstrators, but they stayed off the hotel property and there was no hint of violence.
The real trouble began in the run up to this year's conference. The first hotel we contracted with decided to cancel when its managers learned of the pressures on the hotel in 2008. After that, we revealed the names of the hotels only to people who had registered, but three more hotels buckled under threats and refused to hold the conference.
Our opponents' tactics were designed simply to stop the conference: flood the hotels with protest calls, trespass on hotel property and pass out inflammatory leaflets, promise to hold aggressive demonstrations and, of course, death threats. At one hotel, front office staff wanted to resign after taking calls like this one: "If you hold this conference I will go in there and shoot you." One hotel even reported pressure from its suppliers, who said they might stop doing business with the hotel if it hosted us. There were also rumors that a local high school would be mobilized to demonstrate and leaflet.
A loose collection of groups that call themselves anti-racists, anarchists, and anti-fascists was behind this effort to stifle debate. Some are avowed communists who hate the World Bank and rail against global capitalism. Others worry about animal rights and global warming, while some just seem to hate "bourgeois" society, whatever that is. And they all oppose "racism," whatever that is. Each of these groups runs a web site or a blog, and they often cross-post each others' material.
Some of the groups that claimed responsibility for shutting down the AR conference were:
Indymedia, a network of so-called independent alternative media sites;
Other groups, including a British labor federation and the United Steelworkers, approved putting pressure on the hotels but had little real effect.
The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center ($PLC to VDARE.com) also pay attention to AR conferences. But they probably want them to go forward. Hundreds of "bigots," all together in one room, make good copy for pressuring donors: Fascism is on the march! The SPLC also likes to send a spy who can stagger back to conventional reality and describe the conference in frightening superlatives that will open wallets.
Some of the lefty groups operate under the umbrella of another organization, the Anti-Racist Action Network (ARA), which tries to set out a rationale for its lunatic "anti-racism." Its goal is to "organize a variety of actions to expose, oppose, and confront hate in whatever form threatens the diversity and safety of our communities." It claims to be fighting "white supremacist groups like the KKK and neo-nazis," and intends to "disrupt and ultimately destroy these groups." Its motto is, "Have fun, stay young, smash the fash [fascists]."
ARA has such a well-established reputation for violence that it is compelled to address the subject at some length:
"The problem comes when we confront hate groups that are violent. . . . ARA reserves the right to defend its members and other people against racist violence. . . . We don't advocate violence as a solution to hate, but we also don't tell people what is the 'correct' way to respond to hate group activity."
ARA confuses cause and effect:
"Anti-racism doesn't cause racist violence; it prevents racist violence by making the racists know that a lot of people are prepared to take the steps necessary to prevent them from hurting others. Without strong anti-racist opposition to hate groups, it's not a question of whether a bigot will hurt an innocent person; it's a question of when!"
In 2007, I tried to give a lecture in Halifax, Nova Scotia. ARA-affiliated "anti-racists" destroyed my literature, banged pots and pans, and finally locked arms and pushed me out of the meeting hall. [Video] Did they actually think they were preventing violence? Of course not. They are totalitarians who want, as they say, to "disrupt and ultimately destroy" people they don't like.
The Halifax "anti-racists" also used a typical leftist tactic; they hid behind bandannas. Some of the protesters at the 2008 AR conference also wore masks. They claim that this is so "racists" can't identity them and hunt them down, but the real reason is to prevent police from identifying them when they break the law. I pressed assault charges against the Halifax thugs, but the police did nothing because they claimed they could not identify them.
Why doesn't ARA just ignore "racists," who just want to meet and talk to each other? First, of course, there is the reductio ad Hitlerum:
"When Hitler first appeared on the scene in Germany, people thought the best thing to do was to ignore him, hoping he would just go away. That example alone proves how foolish it is to close our eyes and hope that the racists will just disappear on their own."
Then there is the obsession with violence:
"Ignoring a problem never makes it go away. If hate groups encounter no opposition to their activities in a community, they'll take that to mean that they have no opposition there willing to stand up to them and they will act accordingly. This makes it more likely that hate group activity will increase and they will start hurting people."
Presumably, if an American Renaissance conference were not picketed we would rush out and lynch people. Since ARA members are constantly thinking about violence they seem to think everyone else is, too.
ARA knows its tactics violate "liberal" rules of free speech. But its obsession with violence trumps everything. Its members are convinced that anyone who talks about race and IQ, the legitimate rights of whites, or the disadvantages of "diversity" is on the verge of mayhem and must be stopped:
"Free speech shouldn't endanger people's lives. You can't yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater, because people will probably get hurt trying to get out. We think that hate speech acts in the same way—by trying to make certain kinds of people seem less than human and by glorifying violent acts against them—it's just a matter of time before a follower or supporter of a hate group puts words into action."
Their reasoning is bone-headedly simple. Anyone who says something ARA doesn't like can be denied free speech because anything ARA doesn't like can lead to violence. And it's fine to use violence to stop that kind of speech.
The language these people used on the Internet to mobilize supporters shows how they think. After the first hotel canceled, the Self Described Anarchist Collective (SDAC) wrote:
"Yo, so it's happening: American Renaissance is trying to have their racist, white supremacist conference right here in our own backyard (VA, what up) . . . . [SDAC] launched an oral sneak attack on the mothaf——as . . . . Proving that there's power in the phone lines, the hotel reversed their decision on hosting them and gave them the boot! Power to the People. Next stop: the next skeezy hotel that tries to host these bastards. Try it if you dare."
When we contracted with the second hotel, this call went out from SDAC and allied websites:
"SHUT DOWN THE RACISTS! The white supremacist newsletter American Renaissance (AmRen) is holding their 9th annual [sic] conference . . . . [The hotel] has not made a decision yet on whether or not they are going to allow the conference to continue. There will be a massive phone-in all day on Tuesday, January, 19th, 2010."
The groups suggested callers say this to the hotel:
"I understand that several of the conference speakers have gone to prison for inciting racial violence, and in the interest of the safety of the DC community, and of all people worldwide, I ask that you do not endorse these views."
This was pure invention. No conference speaker had ever gone to prison for any crime. And it gives the impression that the conference, not the thugs, was dangerous.
When the hotel at first held firm, the message changed:
"SHUT DOWN THE RACISTS! . . . IF THEY DON'T CANCEL THEN WE CONVERGE! THEY WILL NOT PASS!"
As the thug sites explained:
"They are apparently alright with Nazis meeting in their hotels. Well . . . if they are going to let that scum stay in their hotels, we aren't. We tried playing nice, we tried asking, but there is no room for compromise when it comes to fascists trying to organize. The time to ask is over, now we take action. . . . If they don't cancel we will converge . . . to confront these white supremacists when they crawl out from under their rocks and try to gather! Save the Date, February 20 . . . . We will not let them pass!"
Several hundred more phone calls, combined with threats and leafleting, and the hotel buckled. As its managers explained, they feared for the safety of their employees—and certainly not from us.
When the conference was moved to its final hotel, in Washington, DC, something called DC Direct Action News spread this message:
"NOW THEY ARE MEETING IN DC ITSELF INSTEAD! . . . You can see what hatemongering a—holes they are by visiting www.amren.com but be sure to have someplace to puke, because this sh-t is nasty."
One People's Project was itching for a fight:
"[A]ntifa is steppin' out to play! We are waiting for the official call from other organizations, and when we get them we will post it here, but in the meantime if you were planning to come out, keep those plans. This is going to be damned interesting!"
Intimidation and threats of violence work. In the end, lefties were able to deny 300 people from three continents the right to assemble, and denied four hotels a piece of profitable business during a slow season.
When the conference finally had to be shut down, I distributed a press release with what I thought was an arresting headline: "Death Threats End Biennial Conference of Controversial Group: Is there freedom of speech and assembly in Virginia?" I also sent notices to hundreds of radio and television programs describing what happened and offered to be a guest. I cleared my schedule and prepared for a media deluge.
Silly me. There was no deluge. The Associated Press and National Public Radio at first showed some interest but then dropped the story.
Aside from two small, racially oriented radio programs, "The Political Cesspool" in Nashville, and "The Derek Black Show" in West Palm Beach, Florida, only one radio station, WGSO New Orleans invited me as a guest. I was also interviewed for a podcast on the new website Alternative Right. I wrote directly to several conservative columnists asking them to write about this suppression of free debate. All I got was silence or regrets. Only John Derbyshire wrote an excellent piece on Secular Right, aptly titled "How Liberty Dies"—which was ignored, too. (Derbyshire also mentioned the conference on his weekly National Review podcast.)
I know of only one liberal who was outraged at what his fellow liberals had done. David Kelsey, who describes himself as having abandoned "fundamentalist Judaism," wrote a column on his blog, The Kvetcher, called "Solidarity With Those We Disagree With". "If we do not allow for free speech for those whom we disagree with and perhaps even scare us just a bit," he asked, "how much do we truly value free speech?" He went on to call what happened to the conference "horrible."
Is Mr. Kelsey the only honest liberal left in America?
I am accustomed to being out of the mainstream. I was long ago hardened to the stony looks that greet any deviation from racial orthodoxy—at least when people know they are being observed. And yet, I have always had some faith in the basic fairness of Americans. I always thought that away from such aggressively narrow-minded places as college campuses, there was still some respect for debate, some recognition that we must protect our liberties if we expect them to protect us.
I am now learning a lesson I did not wish to learn. Our rulers and elites do not want free speech for anyone but their friends and their pets. They are utterly unprincipled, and have no idea what their lack of principle means for American society.
Surprisingly, it is foreigners who understand this. The (British) London correspondent of the Wall Street Journal—not anyone in New York or Washington—interviewed me about the cancellations and quoted me on the lack of liberty in "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Television broadcaster Russia Today invited me to its Washington studio for a very fair news segment on media indifference to the rights of racial dissidents.
But the American media? The people who presumably defend our liberties? They might as well have been the Soviet media under Brezhnev.
Many people have asked: is there no recourse to the authorities in cases like this? Hotel managers said they reported death threats to the authorities, but the police did nothing. We alerted the FBI—which claims to be studying the matter—but it shows no sign it will investigate. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice says it will not investigate because people who attend AR conferences are not a "protected class."
David Yeagley, who has written for VDARE.com and who was one of the speakers prevented from giving his talk, points out there is much irony in the Justice Department's lack of interest. [Open Letter to Eric Holder, February 24, 2010] Not long after he was sworn in, Attorney General Eric Holder complained that Americans are "essentially a nation of cowards" because they do not talk honestly about race. The hallmark, of course, of an AR conference is honest talk about race—and that is precisely why the "anti-racists" don't like them.
If Eric Holder really wanted honesty, he would order the FBI to ensure that our conferences had safe venues. But he doesn't want honesty. All he wants is for whites to apologize and beat their breasts.
The cancellation of the AR conference and the lack of principled opposition to it has other implications. AR has always operated on the assumption that American institutions can respond to the will of the people and that the legitimate interests of whites can be reflected in policy. I have always believed that progress can come through traditional activism, outreach, and politics.
My faith is not lost—but it has been badly shaken.
Those who know their history will remember that even at the height of the McCarthy era, Communists could rent meeting halls and gather freely. Americans understood the need to protect unpopular speech. No longer.
There has always been a segment of the racial right that never shared my faith. Many race-realists believe that American institutions are hopelessly rotten, and that whites will never get justice by conventional means. What happened to AR will encourage this radical rejection of America and its institutions.
Entirely aside from what happens to AR, the United States is moving in an unstable and potentially dangerous direction. From the call-ins I receive when I am on radio programs and the comments sections of even the most liberal mainstream newspapers, it is clear that many whites now understand what is at stake. And yet, aside from a few publications, websites, and radio programs, no-one speaks for them. In the official world of American institutions, everyone speaks loudly and hysterically against them.
In European countries not dominated by two parties, increasingly influential "far right" parties have begun to reflect the aspirations of whites. But in America, there are no such political options. And it now appears that even whites who wish only to meet to discuss what kind of country they are leaving to their grandchildren will find their meetings shut down by thugs—to the complete indifference of elites who prate about democracy, tolerance, and human rights.
Since the cancellation, we are twice as determined. Our voices will be heard.
But when our rulers are indifferent to the suppression of legitimate debate on the most pressing issues we face, they encourage rage and radicalism—the consequences of which no one can predict.
Jared Taylor (email him) is editor of American Renaissance and the author of Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. (For Peter Brimelow's review, click here.)