Hatewatch

National YAF Leadership Cracks Down On Racist Lecture Series

Kyle Bristow, the former chairman of the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans For Freedom, is no stranger to erratic behavior. But the MSU junior exhibited a particularly strange emotional schism last week, rhapsodizing about bald eagles one minute, and then branding the national leaders of YAF “cowards” the next.

Bristow’s wild mood swings began last Sunday, February 24, when he announced that he was resigning his MSU-YAF post in a rambling and egomaniacal, but generally upbeat letter that concluded with Bristow graciously “passing the torch of freedom to the next generation of YAF leaders.” Then, on Thursday, February 28—the day after YAF founder William F. Buckley died—Bristow published a bitter screed on the website of the racist magazine American Renaissance. It was titled, “Why Jared Taylor Cannot Speak at MSU.”

A bit of background: Taylor, the editor of American Renaissance, was scheduled to address the “perils of multiculturalism” on the MSU campus March 19 in the latest of a YAF-sponsored series of lectures by right-wing extremists, including British National Party chairman and Holocaust denier Nick Griffin, that have drawn skinheads and other white supremacists to the MSU campus. While Bristow disclosed that Taylor’s lecture had been cancelled the same day he published his letter of resignation, he offered scant explanation until his piece appeared on the American Renaissance website.

In it, Bristow revealed that YAF national chairman Erik Johnson “threatened to revoke our YAF charter if the talk went forward.” “National YAF was adamant,” Bristow wrote. “We were not to host Mr. Taylor. If we defied National YAF and sponsored the talk anyway, we would have lost our YAF charter and would no longer have been an official student organization with the right to host events on campus.” Johnson’s “excuse,” Bristow revealed, “was that YAF does not officially recognize multi-culturalism as a threat to the United States.”

While Bristow did not link his abrupt resignation with Johnson’s ultimatum, his disdain was clear, as he blamed the cancellation of Taylor’s lecture equally on liberal activists and “…cowards at the university and in ‘conservative’ organizations.”

Meanwhile, MSU-YAF’s new co-chairs posted a joint statement in which they indicated their plans to shift away from Bristow’s obnoxious race baiting, presumably to rescue the group’s national charter. “While we support Kyle Bristow, we feel that he has had his time to promote conservatism and now it’s our turn to leave an imprint on the movement at MSU,” they wrote. “We will pursue our own course and focus on the issues we feel are vital to the campus and country…We feel that there has been a dearth of attention paid to the protection of civil liberties, and now more than ever we need to protect our constitutional rights from a heavy-handed government…These are issues we plan to promote during our leadership and are the items we believe to be in the most desperate need of addressing.”