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A Michigan university got quite a shock when they requested a speaker from an upstate anti-immigration group.

Ferris State University was in the process of planning a debate on immigration policy scheduled for the spring of 2010. They’d already lined up a local immigration attorney, to represent the “liberal” side in the debate. To find a representative of the “conservative” position, a faculty member contacted The Social Contract Press–the anti-immigration publishing house headquartered just up the road in Petoskey—requesting a speaker.

The Social Contract Press (TSCP) is a project of U.S. Inc., a financial umbrella for a number of anti-immigrant groups under the control of movement godfather John Tanton.[1] The Social Contract Press is primarily a vehicle for publishing the journal, The Social Contract (TSC), and reprinting key anti-immigrant texts. Both came about primarily through the efforts of Tanton in response to a perceived need for “literary efforts” to foster ideas and direct the movement. [2]

The university requested one of their staff members for the debate, but The Social Contract pulled a classic bait and switch—a deceptive method of selling one image to the public but replacing it with a substandard version at the last minute. Rather than arranging for a respectable anti-immigration scholar or activist, the editor of The Social Contract tried to use the invitation to provide a platform for a friendly white nationalist.

In a letter dated September 21, 2009, TSC editor Wayne Lutton replied to the Ferris State request made by Dr. Barry Mehler, “I have travel plans for the Spring and can not[sp] commit to any programs at this time. Jared Taylor, of American Renaissance, would be pleased to debate Mr. Kessler or yourself.”

Jared Taylor is the creator of the white nationalist publication, American Renaissance. Started as a modest newsletter in 1990, American Renaissance has grown into an important vehicle for white nationalist ideas. American Renaissance first described itself as a “literate, undeceived journal of race, immigration and the decline of civility.” It claimed that “White people” had lost their voice and that the United States was in danger of losing its “national and cultural core.”[3] Capturing the centrality of anti-immigration activism to white nationalism, Taylor wrote in a 2001 AR piece that,

Undoubtedly the greatest threat to whites today comes from immigration. Racial preferences, guilt-mongering, anti-Western education, even anti-white violence are manageable problems compared to a process that is displacing whites and reducing them to a minority. With a change in thinking at the right levels, anti-white policies and double standards could be done away with practically overnight, but that would still leave us with nearly 100 million non-whites living in the country [4].

Taylor has enjoyed using university events like this to promote American Renaissance, legitimize himself, and bask in the attention created by the campus controversies that ensue when racists have a platform. Looking beyond the gall of trying to arrange a speaking event for a white nationalist like Taylor, Lutton’s debate recommendation turns out to be less than surprising.

Lutton describes himself as a “right-wing green” to camouflage his decades of white nationalist activism [5]. Far from being a conservative environmentalist, Lutton has a long-standing relationship with Jared Taylor and his white nationalist group American Renaissance. For instance, Lutton spoke at the first two conferences of American Renaissance in 1994 and 1996 and is scheduled to speak at the 2010 AR conference next February [6]. He also serves as a trustee of the American Renaissance’s parent organization the New Century Foundation [7].

Lutton and Taylor have also worked together in other white nationalist organizations. Lutton was a senior fellow at the white nationalist think-tank, the National Policy Institute, where Taylor was a board member [8]. They’ve been editorial advisors to the Council of Conservative Citizen’s publication, the Citizen Informer [9]. The two sat together on the editorial advisory board of the racist and anti-Semitic journal, The Occidental Quarterly, while the editor was Lutton’s TSC colleague Kevin Lamb [10].

It’s not just that Lutton is tight with American Renaissance. The relationship between The Social Contract and American Renaissance goes both ways. Jared Taylor has written for The Social Contract, first as a letter-writer, then a full-fledged contributor [11]. Taylor attended TSC founder John Tanton’s exclusive WITAN meetings, the controversial gatherings of hand-picked attendees which took the name from an Old English term, witenagemot, or council of wise men [12]. At Taylor’s request, Tanton even provided early input on the direction of American Renaissance [13].

Several dust-ups over TSC’s involvement with racists led the group try to scrub some of the most obvious odious organizational connections. At the end of 2007, for instance, they removed from their website the link to American Renaissance that had been there since the end of 2000 [14]. They’ve also lashed out at anti-bigotry groups, as Lutton did in a 2009 speech at the National Press Club.

After all their efforts to push back against charges of racism, it’s peculiar to find Wayne Lutton scheduled to speak at the next American Renaissance conference and recommending someone like Jared Taylor.

Wisely, Ferris State University didn’t take the bait. The university chose not to extend an invitation to Taylor. As the immigration issue once again starts working its way to the fore, the experience is a reminder to colleges, universities, and other organizations (including media outlets), to take a much closer look at nativist leaders.


1. US Inc., IRS Forms 990.

2. John F. Rohe, Mary Lou Tanton & John Tanton: A Journey Into American Conservation. FAIR Horizon Press, Washington DC, 2002. p.140.

3. Jared Taylor, “Who Speaks for Us?” American Renaissance (November 1990).

4. Jared Taylor, “Arguments for Our Side” American Renaissance (June 2001), 3.

5. Johnathan Tilove, “John Tanton, the Appleseed of Immigration Restriction Cedes the Floor,”

6. American Renaissance, “Conference Announcement,”

7.New Century Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2008.

8. NPI News Release, September 21, 2005.

9. Council of Conservative Citizens, Citizens Informer, May-June 2002, p.2.

10. The Occidental Quarterly, “Inside Cover,”

11. Samuel (Jared) Taylor, “Letter to the Editor,” The Social Contract, Volume 1, Number 3 (Spring 1991). The Social Contract, Volume 8, Number 4 (Summer 1998).

12. In a 1991 memo to Otis Graham, John Tanton described how he got to know Jared Taylor,

The editor of American Renaissance (and the reviewer of Rieff’s book) is Samuel Jared Taylor, a chap I learned about through Dick Lamm, to whom Taylor had written. I arranged to meet Taylor in San Francisco when I visited there about a year and a half ago. I brought him to a subsequent WITAN. You may recall him; he’s lean and 35ish, dark, intense.

John Tanton. Memo to Otis Graham. November 8, 1991. John Tanton Collection, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

13. In a reply letter to Jared Taylor, Tanton discussed the issues he thought American Renaissance should tackle.

Thanks for sending me the first five pages of the rough typeset of your newsletter. You are saying a lot of things that need to be said, but I anticipate that it will be very tough sledding. As you note in your cover letter, this is not material that people want to hear.

My general observation is that to accomplish something, you need an effector mechanism. By that, I mean some sort of organization that can actually pick a part of the problem and try to change it. This in turn requires that a discrete, and hopefully realizable goal be chosen. It seems to me the abuses of affirmative action are the best and ripest target. One needs a suitable majorative. The one I like is affirmative racism. Then the whole thing must be couched in positive terms: One wants to be for something, rather than against. I would be glad to chat about all this if you would like.

John Tanton. Letter to Jared Taylor. October 10, 1990. John Tanton Collection, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

14. The Social Contract, “Related Sites,” 2001-2007 (Accessed: November 12, 2009 at Internet Archives Collection,

Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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