A few eyebrows and a few hackles were raised at Towson University last week when members of the campus Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) chapter chalked messages on university sidewalks that included the words “white pride” at several locations. The messages were left March 3, a Saturday, and discovered the following Monday, angering some students and resulting in a debate days later that was attended by some 400 students.
Matthew Heimbach, president of the Towson YWC chapter and a junior at the Maryland university, told the Baltimore Sun that members were indeed responsible for the sidewalk markings. But he said the group is “only promoting traditional conservative values and is not racist.” He also told that Sun that he is “advocating pride in his culture,” and not “white power.”
Really? YWC members have long-held problematic associations with white nationalist groups and ideologies. Heimbach is no exception.
Heimbach attended the July 2011 gathering of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS), which has advocated a second Southern secession and a society dominated by “European Americans,” run by an “Anglo Celtic” elite. In a video in which Heimbach appeared with another LOS member at the conference, he discussed what he would like to do with YWC at Towson, including bring in guest speakers like Pastor John Weaver of the LOS, who instructs members on how to use firearms, and Maryland LOS chaplain David Whitney, who says churches should help arm and train people in self defense.
In a January 2012 blog at the YWC site, Heimbach decried “white genocide” in South Africa. The original post included an image of a poster that called for the hanging of Nelson Mandela, but the photo was later removed. In that piece, Heimbach extolled the virtues of white South Africans, saying that “they gave years of selfless sacrifice to the world … and gave an honest chance to the black majority to help build a republic that respected all human rights.”
In his end-of-the-semester report at the YWC website in January, Heimbach wrote, “No longer will the homosexual, Muslim, and black supremacist groups be allowed to hijack our campus. … Youth for Western Civilization is preparing to take our campus back, all we need is the help of people like you to make it happen.” He then referred to YWC’s opposition as “disgusting degenerates” and assured his enemies that “we always be [sic] on the attack.” As if that isn’t clear enough, Heimbach’s current profile photo on the YWC site shows him aiming a rifle.
Other YWC members also have ties to white nationalist organizations or ideologies. In April 2011, the group’s founder and then-national president, Kevin DeAnna (who announced this February that he was stepping down), sent out a fundraising appeal accompanied by a cover letter written by Jared Taylor, a racist ideologue who is editor of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance.
In the cover letter, Taylor praised DeAnna and YWC’s work, and reminded backers that “race and race conflict” are at the core of the problems the West faces. DeAnna boasted in his letter to the magazine’s readers that he had “defended western culture” against the “far left” that is trying to “destroy our people and culture.”
DeAnna has also spoken at the H.L. Mencken Club, known for its white nationalist participants, and at a writing conference sponsored by the anti-immigrant Social Contract Press, headed by longtime extremist Wayne Lutton. In addition, YWC chapters at Vanderbilt and Providence College have hosted Richard Spencer for campus talks; Spencer is the director of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank.