Yesterday my colleague and I drove to Washington DC to attend a set of lectures called Beyond Conservatism, organized by the National Policy Institute (NPI) and held at the National Press Club. NPI is described as a think tank, and its primary activities include managing the Radix Journal web site, the publication of some books, and the organization of a conference about once per year. Does this constitute a think tank? I’m not sure. I would describe NPI as pro-white or identitarian, but of course you will find mainstream media outlets and leftist organizations describing it in nastier ways.
Upon arriving at the National Press Club I thought there might be protesters outside as was the case at the last NPI conference held in DC in 2013, but there were none to be seen. It is interesting to note that everybody employed by the National Press Club was non-white, from the receptionist, to the security guard, to the bartender and the wait staff. I wondered if this was deliberate. In researching the conference, I found several web sites urging activists to contact the venue and demand that NPI not be allowed to meet there. But the show went on as planned.
Still, the conspiratorial side of me wondered if the assignment non-white staff to the event was an attempt to be provocative. Or perhaps it is simply that the staff at the National Press Club is entirely non-white, which is provocative for other reasons. In either case, a reporter biased against NPI could easily spin the situation in an unfavorable light. They might say, This was a meeting of old white men being served by people of color; how ironic that they are dependent upon the people they despise. Or another spin could be, Look at this old white men being served by people of color; it harkens back to the days of segregation. Or lastly, How terrible that these people of color are forced to be subjected to the hostile rhetoric of old white men; how oppressive! This is why some types of speech should not be protected.
Describing the event as a meeting of “old white men” would be typical of the media, but would also be inaccurate. The vast majority of attendees were under the age of 40 and a substantial portion of them were in their 20s. Furthermore, these men were not basement-dwelling loser-types (well, some were). There were many smart-looking, and smart-sounding professionals from a variety of fields. But they were mostly men. Of about a hundred people, my guess was that only 5 to 10 attendees were women. I state this fact without judgment, merely to note the demographics.
I had the opportunity to meet one of the women there, or at least shake her hand. I noticed her when she first walked into the room because she seemed out of place. She had a lip-piercing, a sultry gait, and was wearing a jacket that said “Marlboro” on the back. Later, I saw her standing with a group of men that included my colleague. I walked over and realized immediately that she was not one of us when I heard her say to the men, “So are you guys going to try to convert me?” I introduced myself. I heard her say her name was Martha, but my colleague swears that it was Margaret. He probably knows better as he stayed and talked to her, whereas I had other things to do.
My goal was to explain my community organizing strategy and gather some contacts who might assist me. I spoke with some of the big name people, but they were preoccupied with so many others who wanted to speak with them and the conversations weren’t very fruitful. I did meet with some success in speaking to other attendees. It would have been nice to have more time to mingle, but the event began and we all directed our attention to the front of the room.
There were three speeches, one by Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, one by Peter Brimelow of VDare.com, and one by Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute. As the title of the event indicates, the theme of all three speeches was Beyond Conservatism. Jared Taylor spoke about how the issue of race and identity should be one that goes beyond the politics of the right or the left. He argued that conservation is a value promoted by both sides, but that there is a double-standard when it comes to the conservation of the white race. We need to emphasize the uniqueness of our culture and traditions in order to make the case that it deserves to survive.
Peter Brimelow’s speech was about the rise of conservatism as a movement that seemed to be succeeding in the 1980s and 90s, and its subsequent decline in recent years. For example, two decades ago a book like The Bell Curve was a major topic of conversation in all intellectual circles, whereas today such a work would be suppressed by all mainstream outlets and relegated to the dark corners of the “far right.” The implication is that conservatism has failed and something new is needed to save our people from genocide.
Richard Spencer spoke about the mishmash of seemingly contradictory issues that now make up what is called the conservative platform. He critiqued these as a negative form of identity in which we define ourselves by the things were are against. Our people must reclaim a positive identity. He made a somewhat controversial statement that facing the future as a minority may be the galvanizing event that brings about this change in white racial consciousness, and in this way, encountering “the other” may be a good thing even though this is what we are trying to prevent. In the discussion that followed Jared Taylor challenged this assertion as being too defeatist, and expressed hope that white racial consciousness could be rekindled without our people being brought to the brink of extinction. This dilemma of when and how whites will finally wake up and claim their identity is at the heart of our movement.
A question and answer session followed Richard Spencer’s speech. People raised their hands and Richard called on them. The second person to be called upon was the woman named Martha or Margaret. She said she had a question for the entire audience and he said that’s fine. Then she walked to the front and stood right next to Richard facing the audience. She said something like, “So it seems like you guys don’t like sex very much.”
“That’s not true,” said Richard, interrupting her. He went on to say that nobody here had spoken about sex and part of the point of his own speech was implying that conservative views about sexuality need to be abandoned by our movement.
She seemed to be flustered and said, “Well, do you like strippers?” Richard appeared to be taken aback by the question. He began to beckon to the security guard in the back of the room. It seemed clear to me that we were about a witness some kind of FEMEN style activism. Martha or Margaret was fingering the the hem of her relatively short dress as if she were about to rip it off at any moment. The audience seemed to pick up on this and several lecherous comments were made. She was saying something about how there weren’t any good strip clubs in DC and all the best ones were in Baltimore. “Then to Baltimore!” Richard cried in jest while still attempting to get the security guard’s attention.
Someone yelled out, “She’s a troll!” She turned to the voice and said, “No, I’m not but . . .” At this point, Richard took control of the situation and said to her, “Okay, I think we are going to move on, but thank you for having your say.” Then he called on the next person with a raised hand. She continued stand in front of the audience for another ten minutes or so, but you could see that she had lost her nerve. She wasn’t going to strip without making her political point, which was obviously off-base anyway, and she was not going to be given the opportunity to speak again. Eventually, she left the front, and lingered in the back of the room for some time, getting chatted up by one of the lechers.
After a while, she made a final attempt to assert herself by interrupting Jared Taylor as he answered someone’s question. “Okay. I’m leaving. You’re all a bunch of racists!” she yelled before walking out the door. “Okay, sweetheart! Have a good night!” responded Jared with genuine sincerity. I was happy that a serious disruption had been avoided, but I felt very sad for her. She had made her point. Nobody was going to convert her.
The question and answer session conducted informally with many people inclined to give speeches rather than ask question. It seemed that the audience was very much beyond conservatism and a revolutionary spirit was in the air. There were calls for right wing socialism and critics of capitalism. There was also the familiar debate about the merits of ethnonationalism versus imperium. It was interesting, but many of the arguments I had heard before.
One woman asked the question of what we can be doing besides giving money to organizations that champion our cause. Richard’s response was that we must live as authentically as we can. Had I been called on, I would have said it’s more complicated than that, but there are strategies we can take and if people wanted to know more they could come talk to me. But I was never called on. Perhaps the next conference should be entitled Beyond Websites and Conferences, because this is a topic that people really want to know more about. I’m joking of course. It’s too dangerous to discuss such topics in a public forum.
Overall, I’d say the NPI mini-conference was a success. I had a truly wonderful time and wished that I could have gone out to the bar with the many of the others, but my colleague had to work early this morning so we drove back to our home city with much to talk about on the way.