The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Editor’s Note: This weekend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that his government would “use all legal means” to prevent the Budapest white nationalist gathering explored below from occurring, presumably by banning foreign visitors from entering the country. According to the Hungarian blog HungarianAmbience.com, officials at the planned venue for the conference also have cancelled their contract with conference organizers, saying they were not aware of the nature of the gathering. Still, chief organizer Richard Spencer is reassuring those planning to attend that the conference will go on as scheduled, even if meeting will be a “little more inconvenient” than it would have been.
One of the most polished American racists of recent years is Richard Bertrand Spencer, a 36-year-old Ph.D. program dropout who, in his khakis and oxfords, looks more like some ambitious young Capitol Hill staffer than a white supremacist. Indeed, with a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s from the University of Virginia, Spencer’s resumé reads a lot like that of a well-heeled, up-and-coming politico.
But several years ago, when he was in his early thirties, Spencer left mainstream conservatism for what he calls “a life of thought crime.” Since then, he has established racist websites and ascended to the top spot at the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist nonprofit he runs from his home in Whitefish, Mont., along with two affiliated publishing outfits. After holding a series of highbrow-racist conferences on such topics as the future of white people, Spencer has now set his sights on bigger things — building bridges to the organized European racist right.
Though past NPI conferences have featured leading European racists, Spencer is moving beyond one-off presentations from these folks in order to connect with two newly important radical-right strains on the continent: the Movement Identitaire, a pro-white, anti-Muslim and anti-globalist movement that started in France in the early 2000s and has been growing rapidly since, and Jobbik, the anti-Semitic and racist organization that became Hungary’s third-largest political party this spring, when it polled more than 1 million votes.
“We hope that our budding society will act as a forum for a number of different traditionalist groups in Europe, including Identitarians,” Spencer told Hatewatch. “We are eager to involve Europeans who seek to connect with community and tradition, and thus preserve true diversity against the flattening of globalism.” His interest, Spencer added, is to reach “any European who seeks to develop racial identity and consciousness.”
A key upcoming moment in this effort comes at a planned Oct. 3-5 conference NPI organized in Budapest, Hungary. Co-hosted by Jobbik, the Inaugural Identitarian Congress is slated to feature prominent European nationalists of various types and several leading American racist ideologues (see biographies below).
Little is known about Spencer’s new allies in the U.S., but across the Atlantic they are seen as serious threats to European democracy. Members of the European Union, the European Jewish Congress and other prominent human rights defenders have warned of the dangers posed by Jobbik, which has been widely described as fascist, is patently anti-Semitic, and yet has grown rapidly. Similarly, the Movement Identitaire, which started small but made a name for itself with the 2012 invasion of a French mosque, is deeply worrying to European officials. ( continue to full post… )
The horrific events that took place in Norway this past Friday— a huge bombing in central Oslo closely followed by a bloody shooting rampage on nearby Utoya island that left 93 dead—are a sobering reminder of what extreme radical-right beliefs can drive some to do. And the threat is not confined to Norway or Europe. Exactly the same ideas that motivated the Oslo shooter to take up arms are popular in radical-right circles on this side of the Atlantic.
Anders Behring Breivik, 32, described by Norwegian police as a right-wing Christian fundamentalist, was apparently driven to act by hatred of Muslims and fears of multiculturalism. Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, equates liberalism and multiculturalism with “cultural Marxism,” something Breivik says is destroying European Christian civilization. Posted online just before the attacks, the manifesto is described in The New York Times as a diary of Breivik’s months of planning.
Writing under the Anglicized name “Andrew Berwick,” Breivik predicted a massive war that would kill or injure more than a million people as he and his small group seize “political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.” Breivik’s manifesto also describes a secret April 2002 meeting in London to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a military order active in the medieval Crusades, that was attended by “representatives” of European countries and one “European-American.” The document does not name the attendees, and authorities are unclear the meeting actually occurred.
Fears of “cultural Marxism” have a long pedigree in this country. It’s a conspiratorial kind of “political correctness” on steroids — a covert assault on the American way of life that allegedly has been developed by the left over the course of the last 70 years. Those who use the term posit that a small group of German philosophers, all Jews who fled Germany and went to Columbia University in the 1930s to found the Frankfurt School, devised a cultural form of “Marxism” aimed at subverting Western civilization. The method involves manipulating the culture into supporting homosexuality, sex education, egalitarianism, and the like, to the point that traditional institutions and culture are ultimately wrecked. ( continue to full post… )
On Friday, 26 June, CNN International broadcast a documentary called “Scars of Racism” (videos here, here and here). It told the story of a young Czech Roma (commonly known in the U.S. as a “gypsy”) named Natálka Kudriková and the neo-Nazis who almost burned her to death in an arson attack committed last year in the Czech town of Vitkov. It was a rare look by the international media into the anti-Roma violence that has plagued Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism two decades ago.
Violence against Roma has emerged as a leading human rights issue not just in the former Soviet bloc, but also across Europe. The perpetrators are often ideologically driven neo-Nazis, sometimes with ties to established political parties. Other times, they are local vigilantes taking the law into their own hands. In the past five years fatal attacks have been reported from Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Russia, Slovakia and Turkey. In Italy, six arsons over the last three years have resulted in multiple fatalities, including children.
Gwendolyn Albert is an American living in Prague who consulted with CNN on “Scars of Racism.” A resident of the Czech Republic since 1990, Albert has been reporting on the human rights situation of the Roma minority in Central and Eastern Europe for the past 15 years. She is currently consulting on research in this area for the Council of Europe’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner and the European Roma Rights Centre. Hatewatch recently spoke with Albert about the rise in far-right violence against Roma, and whether international media attention like CNN’s recent documentary is making a difference.
Anti-Roma violence and racism has been a defining feature of post-communist societies since the early 1990s. Are governments finally getting more serious about tackling it?
No government is doing enough, not in Central and Eastern Europe, and certainly not in Western Europe. This violence is not limited to the former communist bloc. France and Italy are probably the worst places in Western Europe to be Roma right now. Italy has been the most publicized and most discussed case, but France has a number of discriminatory institutions in place that disproportionately impact Roma.
What are the most obnoxious elements of Italian policy?
Starting in 2006, cities across Italy have been adopting “Security Pacts” which give local officials the legal powers to target Roma for removal. These forced evictions of Roma have increased during 2010. The Italian police have been using disproportionate force during their evictions of Roma camps for at least five years. This has all been in response to Bulgaria and Romania acceding to the EU [European Union] in 2007 and the large outflow of Roma from both those countries to the West [migration within the EU is unrestricted].
In 2008, the Italian government declared a “state of emergency with regard to nomad community settlements”—this was a legal action unprecedented in post-WWII Europe, the declaration of a state of emergency with respect to a particular ethnic group. Their presence alone is defined as constituting the emergency and local authorities are empowered to fingerprint and photograph all residents of any “nomad community settlement,” including minors, to expel whom they choose, and to open up new camps and order people to live in them. Freedom of movement — of citizens, human beings, not just money and goods — between EU member states is one of the founding principles of the EU, but not where the Roma are concerned, at least not in Italy or France. ( continue to full post… )