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That the American Renaissance 2012 conference took place at all was a cause for minor celebration by the participants. The scientific racists, academics, lawyers and assorted white nationalists who attend these events had been frustrated for the several years by the anti-racists who had successfully protested their events, rendering it nearly impossible for them to fool a private hotel in a big city into booking their confab. So, this time the so-called racial realists retreated to the Tennessee woods. Specifically, American Renaissancers had to drive almost an hour west of the Nashville airport before they got to Montgomery Bell State Park, where they parked over the 16-17 March weekend. They were all pleased with the results: A quiet affair amidst beautiful surroundings with little noise intruding from the outside. By all accounts, the anti-Semites in the mix kept quiet about the “real enemy,” while American Renaissance chief Jared Taylor tried to construct a viable white nationalism without open hatred of “the Jews.” David Duke did not attend and stand up and demand a discussion of the people he loves to hate. Michael Hart did not pull out, insulted that David Duke had been allowed to pull off his unseemly stunt. There was little snarky national socialist sideline banter like that which acolytes of William Pierce had produced in the past.

The main subject at hand is always the problems created by people of color and white liberals who want to live in a society of political and social equality among the races. And Jared Taylor spoke as if this crowd of racists was really a group of Copernicus-like seers into the workings of the universe. Unlike the first Renaissancer conference that took place in 1994 at an Atlanta airport hotel, however, this event focused less on the “problem,” and more on finding a solution. Various forms of eugenics were proposed. Sam Dickson once again proposed the “ethno state,” not mentioning, of course, the Yugo-like bloodshed and horror that would be necessary to institute such a thing. American Third Position (A3P) presidential candidate Merlin Miller, a Hollywood film industry insider turned white nationalist, told the crowd that his was the only party concerned with “white dispossession.” And Robert Weissberg argued that white nationalism itself should be abandoned in favor of finding segregated white enclaves to live in—which is what many white people are already doing.

Several Europeans and Brits are usually present. In the past, BNP boss Nick Griffin has spoken to much acclaim. “France for the French” nationalist Guillaume Faye has also attended several times. Faye was once a founding member of the French New Right associated with Alain de Benoist, but subsequently broke with de Benoist, who now considers Faye an “extremist.” At this year’s event Faye predicted racial mayhem in the century to come. No news there. From the British Isles came Alex Kurtagic, an author and musician of Slovenian and Spanish descent. Kurtagic proposed that attendees stop whining about their fate, and start acting in a positive manner. Positive action, by his account, was cultural action; meaning everybody should start doing what he was doing—or something like that. His was the most impressive contribution, but it was lost on the American Renaissancers, who have essentially become an organization of whiners.

Their usual complaint is about anti-racists who have made their search for a conference venue in big metropolitan area so difficult. They believe that the fact that the only reason their attendance level has fallen from 250 to 150 is because of the anti-racists. But there are other issues that have plagued American Renaissance, beginning with Jared Taylor’s stated desire to create a white nationalist think tank that is free from overt anti-Semitism. Simply put, the anti-Semites which over-populate his movement don’t like such a change in orientation. And in the recent past, a number of new centers of intellectual activity have emerged, like the National Policy Institute, The Occidental Quarterly journal, and American Third Position which do not constantly trip over questions about Jews and anti-Semitism.

The death of Sam Francis has also hurt the Renaissancers, as he was the only person amongst them with a strategic sensibility that could not be duplicated. (His death has similarly put a dent in the Council of Conservative Citizens operation.) And the aging of the average Renaissancer has continued, along with the failure to find young, new blood.

As it turns out, Jared Taylor’s best hopes for success may lie not in the United States, but in France. On 10 March, he gave a talk to 700 French nationalists in Paris, at an event organized by the organization “Nationality, Identity, Citizenship.” Taylor loved it. And it wasn’t in the Tennessee woods.

This article orginally appeared in the April 2012 edition of Searchlight magazine.

Leonard Zeskind

Author Leonard Zeskind

is founder of IREHR. For almost four decades, he has been a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements. He is the author of Blood and Politics: The History of White Nationalism from the Margins to the Mainstream, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in May 2009. [more..]

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