Jared Taylor, the man behind the racist American Renaissance journal that is at the heart of the white nationalist movement, kicks off his latest annual conference tonight at Montgomery Bell State Park, just outside Nashville, Tenn. This is the second year the event has been held at the park, after several attempts to hold the event at hotels were thwarted by protesters and the occasional bomb threat.
The theme of this year’s conference, which ends on Sunday, is “A Recommitment to Our People.” The lineup of speakers encompasses a wide range of college professors, a European white nationalist, a Holocaust-denying attorney, and various other white nationalist columnists and bloggers.
Returning presenters include Roger McGrath, a professor at Cal State Northridge and Pepperdine University, and Sam Dickson, a Holocaust denier and former Klan attorney who has closed every meeting since the conferences began. New presenters include John Derbyshire, who was fired from the National Review for his racist rants; RamZPaul, who produces videos on YouTube that rail against blacks, Muslims, and gays; and Fabrice Robert, president of the Bloc Identitaire, a French nationalist movement.
One of the more unusual presenters, RamZPaul describes himself as “a sometimes sober guy with a camera who creates videos on YouTube.“ His Internet program has been described as “Pop Culture Meets Nationalism.” In recent blog posts on his site, he has addressed issues like feminism, homosexuality, gay marriage, transgendered people, and anti-white racism. RamZPaul’s topic at the American Renaissance conference will be “Sex and Nationalism.”
Though few in number, Jewish academic racists have been active in American Renaissance right from the start, welcomed by that group's leader, Jared Taylor, who even once arranged for kosher meals. But Taylor has also welcomed as speakers outspoken anti-Semites, including Holocaust denier Sam Dickson and neo-Nazi activist Steven Barry, making for a potentially volatile situation. In 2006, at one of the most memorable American Renaissance conferences ever, that volatile situation exploded with the arrival of former Klan chieftain David Duke.
At that event, Duke made a scene when he attacked Jews publicly. “There is the power in the world that dominates our media, influences our government and that has led to the internal destruction of our will and spirit,” he said, enraging Jewish attendees. One Jewish astrophysicist, Michael Hart, yelled back, "You fucking Nazi, you've disgraced this meeting!" and stormed out. As many as 50 people then began to jeer and point at the rapidly disappearing Hart. The following year, Hart held his own white nationalist conference in Baltimore.
In a statement on his website this year, Duke said he wouldn’t be coming this time. “A number of people have written me and asked me if I am attending the Amren [sic] conference this year,” he wrote. “I won’t be attending. Jared has requested over the last few years that I don’t attend because I am deemed too controversial for the conference. So please know that if I could attend I would, but I certainly respect the wishes Jared Taylor and the others who work hard to put on the conference.”
Another previous attendee has been Don Black, who runs the white nationalist website, Stormfront. Black has attended the conference in the past, but hasn’t been seen lately, apparently due to health problems.
Also on the schedule is a tribute to Arthur Jensen and Phillipe Rushton, described as “two great scientists who died during 2012.” Jensen has long focused on alleged differences in intelligence among the races, and Rushton once described African blacks as “borderline retarded.”