Breaking news: At the last minute, the American Renaissance 2010 conference has found its fourth location—this time far from the Dulles Airport exurbs: the Skyline Hotel in diverse Southwest DC. [You can still register here]
Before I get to my analysis, first let me give a Readers' Digest version of the facts. Jared Taylor and his race realist American Renaissance have held eight biannual conferences since 1994, the last six taking place in the Dulles Corridor exurbs in Northern Virginia. There has not been a single incident of any violence by the attendees at the conference. I don't believe there's even been a hotel staff worker claiming they were called by a bad name.
But the event regularly attracts several to a couple dozen loony left wing protestors who will hold signs like "Nazis [VDARE.COM deleted expletive] off and Die" and will make complaints to the hotels hosting the conference.
Slightly more sophisticated opponents manage to sneak into the conference and try to harm those who attend. The most famous example: at the first AR conference, neoconservative Dinesh D'Souza's smear got speaker Sam Francis fired from his job at the Washington Times.
In 2006, a prosecutor from Buffalo, NY was fired after he told a reporter covering the conference "You can see European Christian Americans are an endangered species" [Promoting 'Preservation' Of Whites in Suit and Tie, By Michael Laris, Washington Post, February 26, 2006] and the Anti-Defamation League complained to his employer.
That year, protestors also began targeting the Dulles Hyatt, which had held the conference since 2000, harassing patrons who were not even attending the conference and stuffing leaflets under the guest room doors.
Because of this harassment, the Hyatt declined to lend its facilities to American Renaissance any more. So the 2008 conference was held at the Dulles Crowne Plaza. Protestors took it up a notch, going as far as threatening the lives of the family of the General Manager of the hotel. Additionally, one left-wing site copied the names and hometowns off the name tags of the attendees in an obvious attempt to cause professional harm and/or vandalism and physical attacks to the attendees.
As a result, the Crowne Plaza declined to host American Renaissance for this year, 2010. The conference was accordingly booked at the Dulles Marriot. This was made public. Marriot dropped the conference, telling Taylor that no one had called them, but they had become aware of all the trouble that occurred at Crowne Plaza, and did not want to repeat it.
The Dulles Westin was fully aware of the controversial nature of American Renaissance and said it had no problem, even calling the American Renaissance website "scientific" (which is actually true). As a precaution, American Renaissance did not report on the location on its website
But the Left began calling up all the hotels in the Dulles Corridor, asking them if the New Century Foundation had booked a conference, and eventually found out. The Westin claimed it was getting 50-60 nasty phone calls a day and, in light of the experience at the Crowne Plaza, feared for the safety of its employees. (Note that it was not concerned about violence by American Renaissance attendees—but by the protestors.)
Next, American Renaissance booked the conference into the Manassas Four Points Sheraton. Neither American Renaissance nor the Sheraton told anyone that the conference would take place there. American Renaissance told its registrants that they would be informed of the location a few days before the conference.
Leftists contacted the Manassas Four Points Sheraton—along with every single hotel anywhere close to Dulles—and asked if the New Century Foundation had booked the event. The Sheraton said no. However, someone also contacted the national booking organization for every major hotel chain including Sheraton, and found out that way.
The Manassas Sheraton got death threats, including one stating "If you hold this conference I will go in there and shoot you". It capitulated and cancelled on Monday, February 15, just four days before the conference was scheduled to begin.
American Renaissance initially announced that its conference would have to be cancelled. But it ended up giving it one more shot, and managed to book the Skyline Hotel in Southwest DC.
Who is behind these attacks on free speech? They are mostly a rag-tag group of self-described radical "anti-fa" activists who organize on e-mail lists and websites like The One Peoples Project, Info-Shop, and Anti Racist Action. They have Orwellian mottos like "Intolerance of Intolerance is the Only Intolerance Tolerated" .
But an interesting addition to the equation in 2010 is Jeffrey Imm, a virtual caricature of a neoconservative. A former Homeland Security and FBI official, he gained some popularity among conservatives for his attacks on various radical Islam groups within the United States. Imm's opposition to these groups is based on left wing principles, such as their opposition to human rights and gender equality. To be sure that he is not perceived as an Islamophobe, his website R.E.A.L. ("Responsible for Equality and Liberty") Courage purports to fight for Human Rights not only against "Islamic Supremacism" but also "Islamophobia", "Christian Supremacism", and "Racial Supremacism".
Imm's priorities are underscored as eight of the twelve top stories on his website revolve around stopping American Renaissance with little gifs asserting "Racism, Never Again" accompanying them. Tucked at the bottom are stories like "Thailand: Buddhist Teacher shot dead, torched by 'Muslim insurgents' in Pattani" with the gif "Challenge Supremacism Against Equality".
Imm justified his opposition to the conference with the usual guilt by association canards from the SPLC and ADL, concluding,
"American Renaissance's leader Jared Taylor has openly stated that the upcoming conference will mock diversity 'It is the idea of 300 of us all in the same room, laughing openly at the idea that diversity is a strength, that is more than the hypocrites who run the country can stand.' We urge other area hotel leaders who might be reading this—don't let your hotel be used to host hate and to mock our very principles of human equality. Tell 'white nationalist' group New Century Foundation / American Renaissance that there is no room for hate in the Washington DC metropolitan area and suburbs.
"We support our unqualified, universal human rights for all. We urge white supremacist and 'white nationalist' supporters to drop the burden of the hate of supremacism from their hearts, and to rejoin the family of humanity in support of our universal human rights [links in original]. ][ Virginia: Westin Stands Up for Human Rights and Diversity – White Nationalist Conference Canceled There, January 26, 2010]
Although the Dulles Marriott claimed to have cancelled before it received a single protest call, Imm took credit on his website: "The Dulles Marriott canceled American Renaissance's planned conference, after we told them what the American Renaissance organization was." His website also details how they called up various hotels both asking the management about the event, and checking for room rates. After the Westin canceled, he heralded "Virginia: Westin Stands Up for Human Rights and Diversity."
As Imm continued to agitate to shut down the conference, Jared Taylor challenged him to a debate on January 29:
"You claim to be motivated by love and to be 'uncompromising in the defense of universal human rights.' Yet, you have done your best to make it impossible for my publication, American Renaissance, to hold its biennial conference. A public conference is the clearest possible exercise of two fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution: the right to freedom of speech and the right to assemble. How do you justify your attempt to deny us these rights?
"You claim to be prepared to meet those with whom you disagree, and that you have arranged many public events, including several at the National Press Club. Let us therefore meet.
"I challenge you to organize a public event at the press club at which you could defend your actions. So long as the meeting takes place before the American Renaissance conference is scheduled to begin—a date with which you are familiar—it can be at a time of your choosing."[ Letter to Jeffrey Imm, Who Is Trying to Shut Down the AR Conference, Jared Taylor, Special to AR News, January 29, 2010]
Imm responded by inviting Taylor to show up to explain his position at a protest he had organized that would take place a day before the Conference was to begin. Of course, at such a venue, Taylor would simply be shouted down by protestors, and if Imm had his way, the conference would already be cancelled by then. When Taylor declined, Imm called him a coward.
Imm continued to try to shut down the conference, and described his efforts with the Sheraton:
"A week ago, R.E.A.L. had learned the location of the NCF/AR conference was to be scheduled at the Four Points by Sheraton Manassas Battlefield Hotel in Manassas, Virginia. R.E.A.L. had learned this from the national reservation desks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts that provides the corporate umbrella to Sheraton franchises. R.E.A.L. contacted the Four Points Sheraton management and also Starwood Hotels on this issue, to inform them about the New Century Foundation's links to American Renaissance, as well as NCF/AR's promotion of 'white nationalist' 'hate', as repeatedly documented by human rights organizations. We urged Four Points to allow R.E.A.L. to offer a counter-message of hope and love to challenge the message from NCF/AR.
"While the location of the NCF/AR event could have been learned by anyone else, R.E.A.L. made an effort to not promote or publicize this information to the general public, while R.E.A.L. talked to Four Points Sheraton and Starwood management. This morning, we were told by the Four Points Sheraton that the NCF/AR event was canceled at that location.
"We have since learned that at least one other organization also learned of the planned Four Points Sheraton location of the NCF/AF event, and that they informed the public about this on February 13." [American Renaissance "Hate Group" Event Canceled Again – at Sheraton Hotel, February 15, 2010]
Whatever actually happened, it is clear that both the Westin and the Sheraton canceled because of fears of violence. At the Westin, someone sneaked into the hotel and pushed inflammatory fliers under guest room doors, and managers said the ultimate issue was the safety of their employees. At the Sheraton, front-office staff threatened to resign because of fear for their lives.
And while in theory "anyone" could find out about the location at the Sheraton, as he details it was incredibly difficult.
Most likely, Imm was feeding this information to these violent protestors—whom he never denounced.
On Tuesday night, February 16, Jared Taylor sent out a release on PR Newswire about the attempts to shut down the conference.
He did not get a single Main Stream Media response.
We might get a few civil libertarians give some clichés about "First they came for the Communists…" or citing the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, IL. But Jared Taylor is not a communist or neo-Nazi. Even if you don't agree with him, everyone freely acknowledges that he is an intelligent and civilized man who addresses concerns that millions of Americans agree with.
"What we have in this country today, then, is both anarchy (the failure of the state to enforce the laws) and, at the same time, tyranny—the enforcement of laws by the state for oppressive purposes; the criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent through exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation, the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions, such as the family and local schools; the imposition of thought control through "sensitivity training" and multiculturalist curricula, "hate crime" laws, gun-control laws that punish or disarm otherwise law-abiding citizens but have no impact on violent criminals who get guns illegally, and a vast labyrinth of other measures. In a word, anarcho-tyranny."[Chronicles Magazine, April 2005, not online]
The criminals who threatened the hotel owners can work side by side with neoconservatives.
And law enforcement officials won't lift a finger.
The state is very concerned, however, with shutting down peaceful opponents of mass immigration and multiculturalism through hate crime laws, the Fairness Doctrine, and hostile environment litigation.
"…current discussions of controversial racial issues often take place in an atmosphere where political correctness dictates that people either remain silent about their true convictions or engage in dissimulation or subterfuge... Herein, I believe, lies a real danger for the future of American race relations. Because few legitimate arenas exist for white Americans to discuss their genuine fears on such racial issues as black-on white crime, their impending minority status, and the continued existence of racial preference programs, white nationalists have stepped to the forefront and are encouraging a divisive form of white identity politics that has ominous implications for the future. White nationalists are providing white Americans with the only forums where they can openly express their anxieties and fears on racial matters among an attentive and sympathetic audience that will not simply dismiss what they say as the rantings of racist bigots.
"What is most needed now, I believe, is for white nationalists to be heard and debated in mainstream forums where there data and ideas can be openly evaluated and subjected to critical assessment." (The New White Nationalism In America pages 34-35)
I couldn't agree more. But what is happening now is even worse than Swain described. American Renaissance's views are not simply dismissed, but are being effectively banned. American Renaissance is not just being shut out of mainstream forums, but also out of its own forum.
If people like Jared Taylor and groups like American Renaissance get effectively shut down, the result will not be a utopia where no-one questions the state dogma of multiculturalism. The questioning will continue, but its only expression will be counter-violence.
Hopefully, the totalitarian agenda of these Left wing protestors, along with the scandalous passivity of the law enforcement authorities, will wake up Americans to take a stronger stand against this anarcho-tyrrany—before it's too late.
Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist.