In the final moments of a year marked by disorganization, personal attacks, and dramatics on the white nationalist right, leaders of the movement haven’t failed to disappoint with one last public dispute.
Greg Johnson, editor of Counter-Currents, a white nationalist publishing house, penned an article just days before the New Year, titled “Rethinking the White Nationalist Conference.” In that essay, Johnson claims that national conferences have become exercises in self-congratulation and resource squandering for many on the racist right.
“The days when American White Nationalists could court global media attention by holding public conferences at private facilities are over,” wrote Johnson, lamenting the loss of coverage by “major media” like CSPAN and National Public Radio.
And Johnson has a point. White nationalist conferences have become obsolete. As more news sources appear in the Internet age, the message that was once so incendiary that it would attract the attention of major television and newspaper outlets has been drowned out by Internet static. What Johnson recommends in response is an effort to refocus resources on local events to build the base, instead of massive national conferences.
Predictably, other white nationalist organizers, including some writing for Johnson’s own site, disagree.
Matthew Parrott, co-founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network, immediately took issue with Johnson’s claims that national conferences are an inefficient use of what funds are available to white nationalists.
“Greg’s correct that the political backdrop has changed dramatically in the decades since the first conference,” Parrott wrote. “But the mainstream media is much smaller and much less respected than it was then. The past twenty years have been far more kind to AmRen than it’s been to the media weasels set against it.”
The site’s ability to raise money has allowed Johnson to operate as one of the only full-time white nationalist activists. However, the privileged position from which he peddles his brand of pseudo-intellectual extremism has not stifled his complaints that the sums raised at the American Renaissance conference would be more than enough to hire a several full-time staffers to promote white nationalism.
Johnson doesn’t trumpet his successful fundraising while making these points. Neither do Parrott and Brad Griffin of the white nationalist blog Occidental Dissent, who also published a rebuttal. Instead, he takes issue with Johnson’s focus on intellectualizing and abstracting white nationalism.v
“The inevitable result of retreating from the real world into cyberspace will be to rely even more on anonymity,” Griffin wrote. “[It] will strengthen the taboos, generate more fear, cowardice, and conspiratorial paranoia in our ranks, exacerbate points of disagreement, and further impoverish the already low state of social capital in the movement.”