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Richard Spencer and the National Policy Institute promised a conference in Budapest on “The Future of Europe” on October 3-5. There would be an evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvre, a big “European Congress,” and a day to walk the streets and see castles or tour a museum, they said.  Spencer, who lives in Montana, published the conference announcement in English, German, French and Russian.  He promised big names speakers like Alex Dugin, the Russian nationalist and anti-Semite.  Jobbik, the Hungarian radical nationalist party that drew 20% of the vote and is the third largest party, would attend and speak, Spencer said.  Other speakers would include American Jared Taylor, from American Renaissance, and others from France, Germany and Great Britain. The European Congress would be a big affair, and certainly enhance Spencer’s stature at home in the USA.

This spring, the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) was the first to notify the larger public about the prospect of this “congress.” An article by Devin Burghart profiled Spencer for IREHR and was also published by Searchlight, a London-based anti-fascist magazine.  If the conference in Budapest was successful, IREHR believed it would hasten the generational shift among white nationalist leaders in the USA.  Certainly it would push 36-year-old Richard Spencer and the National Policy Institute to the top of the white supremacist pile.

It did not happen.

On September 22, the Hungarian Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry issued a statement that found it “unacceptable” that a “racist American organization plans to hold a conference with Russian radicals in Hungary,” according to the Hungarian English-language press. The ministry also claimed that “extremists intend to use the conference to discredit Hungary internationally.”  The article also noted that a Jobbik MP was “scheduled to address the conference.”

Then the Interior Ministry banned the meeting and forced the Larus Event Center to cancel its contract with Spencer and the National Policy Institute.  On September 29, National Policy Institute (NPI) founder William Regnery II was turned away at the Hungarian border and not allowed in the country.  That same day, Jobbik’s MP, Marton Gyongyosi, announced that he would not speak at the event.

On October 1, Richard Spencer apparently believed he was being clever when he managed to slip into Budapest by way of a train from Austria and avoid the fate accorded his board member, William Regnery II. That evening, Spencer was gathered with some of the conference attendees at the Clock Café when police raided their beer-drinking social event. 

Spencer was found to not be carrying his passport, a silly violation for somebody who thought they were being smart when they had sneaked across the border.  A video of the arrest (below) shows an amazed Spencer wondering about the law requiring a passport to be carried.  Spencer was detained for a couple of days and then deported.

On October 3, about 150 activists protested the approaching white-ist meeting by gathering in front of a monument that “remembers the Nazi occupation of Hungary,” according to an October 7 article in Bos News Life.   

With Spencer gone, Jared Taylor took over as manager of the event, which was a private, not public, gathering at a restaurant.  Attendees numbered 76, according to Taylor, about half of those originally registered to attend. They managed to eat a decent meal and hear speeches from Taylor and Tom Sunic, a Croatian-American writer.  Participants were from Britain, Ireland. Sweden, Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Slovakia, Croatia, Spain, Canada, Russia, Mexico, Japan and the United States, according to Taylor. A remarkable international gathering called together by a small white nationalist think-tank headquartered in Montana.  Interestingly, Jared Taylor donned his management responsibilities in the name of Spencer and Regnery’s National Policy Institute, not American Renaissance, his own organization.  Taylor also published his speech that night which called for a “world brotherhood of Europeans.”

The conference-turned-dinner was a grand success for Jared Taylor, a seasoned white nationalist in his early 60s (he graduated from Yale University in 1973). It was a major defeat for all-too-clever 36-year-old Richard Spencer, however.  While Taylor has published a number of articles recounting the event, Spencer’s NPI has not published anything new of note as of Sunday, October 19.  Further, the generational shift in the white nationalist leadership that IREHR had initially watched for has not occurred. 

The event did demonstrate the need for American anti-racists to more closely monitor the international doings of white nationalists, and to work creatively with others overseas.

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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