Hatewatch

Anti-Racists Work to Kill American Renaissance Conference

Activists have persuaded two Washington D.C.-area hotels to cancel their bookings for a conference of the racist American Renaissance magazine, raising the ire of the gathering’s white nationalist organizer, Jared Taylor.

So displeased is Taylor that he’s been publicly sparring with the leader of Responsible for Equality and Liberty (R.E.A.L.), an all-volunteer human rights group that’s been campaigning against the American Renaissance conference. “You claim to be motivated by love and to be ‘uncompromising in the defense of universal human rights,’” Taylor wrote Jeffrey Imm in a recent letter posted on the American Renaissance website. “Yet, you have done your best to make it impossible for my publication, American Renaissance, to hold its bienniel [sic] conference.”

Scheduled this year for Feb. 19-21 in Herndon, Va., the jacket-and-tie affair has traditionally featured prominent racists as speakers, including far-right British National Party chairman Nick Griffin, former Klan lawyer Sam Dickson, eugenics advocate J. Philippe Rushton, and Taylor, a Yale graduate who wrote after Hurricane Katrina that “when blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.” Participants have included former Klan leader David Duke and an assortment of neo-Nazis. But the conference recognizes that not all who participate are high-profile white nationalists and gives attendees the option of using a pseudonym to conceal their identities.

The conference hasn’t been so adept at keeping its own true nature under wraps. In November, the Washington Dulles Marriott refused to host the event (which had been booked by Taylor’s New Century Foundation, parent of American Renaissance magazine) after R.E.A.L. founder Imm, who lives in the D.C. area, contacted the hotel with information about the group’s white nationalist ideology.  In January, the Westin Washington Dulles Hotel followed suit after they heard from Imm and other activists. Imm has also called other nearby hotels to let them know about American Renaissance, making it difficult for Taylor to find a conference venue. “Obviously, we hit a nerve,” Imm told Hatewatch. “I think he was counting on the ignorance of other hotels in the area.”

A frustrated Taylor challenged Imm in a Jan. 29 letter to organize a public event at the National Press Club where the two men could debate. In response, Imm invited Taylor to an outdoor public awareness event about racial supremacy that R.E.A.L. has scheduled for noon on Feb. 19, several hours before registration begins for the American Renaissance conference. “The truth is you really don’t have the courage of your convictions,” Imm wrote in a Jan. 30 letter posted on R.E.A.L.’s website. “You claim to seek a public debate even while you doggedly seek to keep your planned location of the AmRen 2010 event a secret. What are you afraid of?”

During the ensuing E-mail exchange, which Imm posted on his website, Taylor rejected Imm’s offer to appear at the R.E.AL. event. “We will be preparing for our conference on Feb. 19, and you know very well that you do not plan to give me equal time to defend my point of view,” Taylor wrote on Jan. 31. “The only fair venue would be one that is a proper public debate with equal time for both sides.”

Imm replied that Taylor was merely making excuses. “The real reason why Jared Taylor cannot meet with us is the same reason why American Renaissance seeks to hide in the shadows,” he replied.

On Feb. 1, Taylor posted a statement on his website concluding,  “I shall waste no more time on Jeffrey Imm.” As for Imm’s final communiqué with Taylor, the subject line read: “Wrong Again, Mr. Taylor.” Taylor’s website now provides general information for an undisclosed hotel near the Washington Dulles International Airport. Imm is trying to confirm the location of the new venue.

Taylor wasn’t the only one upset by Imm’s activism. Craig Bodeker, who’s scheduled to speak at this year’s American Renaissance conference, sent Imm several E-mails this week via Facebook asking him why he was trying to stop the conference. Bodeker made the documentary “A Conversation About Race,” in which he adopts a professional demeanor as he tries to debunk what he sees as the myth of racism. Though Bodeker never uses racial slurs or threatening language in the film, Hatewatch reported earlier that he repeatedly did so when posting comments on YouTube, even referring to blacks as monkeys.

Bodeker abandons restraint once again during his discussion with Imm. In a Feb. 3 E-mail, he accused Imm of anti-white bias, then wrote: “Whites are starting to realize that when someone does declares [sic] war on us, it’s OK to fight back. With any and all means.” The final comment from the filmmaker, who asserts in his website bio that he “love[s] learning about different cultures as well as different viewpoints”: “Jeffery [sic], you are full of shit!”