American Renaissance Conference 2015:
Seeking the Spirit of Our People
Last Friday my colleague and I flew down to Nashville, rented a car, and drove out to Montgomery Bell State Park to attend the 2015 American Renaissance (AmRen) conference. My colleague, who went to the conference all four times it was held at this scenic venue, commented that making this journey is starting to feel like a ritual for him. Although, I only attended the last three conferences, I tend to agree, and perhaps having steadfast and reliable rituals is a good thing, but a conference concerning our movement should never become too familiar or repetitious. We need growth and development to show that we are alive and thriving.
There were, in fact, a number of indications of growth and development at this year’s conference. In terms of demographics I noticed several differences. For one thing, I heard a rumor that the venue was sold out, which I don’t recall happening previously. Second, while I saw many familiar faces, there were also many new faces, including quite a few young people in their early 20s. Third, compared to past years there seemed to be more women in attendance, which perhaps portends a change in cultural consciousness. Lastly there seemed to be fewer Jews at the conference than in past years as well as a greater openness to discussing the Jewish Question (not necessarily from the podium, mind you). Granted, I am not a seasoned AmRen conference attendee, so my sample size for comparison is relatively small.
The content of the speaker presentations demonstrated a newly emerging consensus regarding the strategies necessary to secure the survival of the white race in America, namely that there will not be a renaissance of America as it once existed. The American system is like a sinking ship. Some might argue it would be the honorable thing to go down with the ship, but white people have not been the captain for some time. We are the victims of a mutiny. So perhaps it is best to salvage what we can and start building a life raft. This was the attitude that I sensed, and of course there was some push back from more conservative types. However, my purpose in going to the conference was not to argue over possible future scenarios, but rather to realign my compass so as to better search for dry land. In this regard, much of what I heard from both the speakers and the conferees has been educational to say the least.
In terms of oratorical skill, including both thematic organization and clear delivery, I rate the speeches given by Richard Spencer and Sam Dickson as the best. Both were conceptual in nature and dealt with the psychology of our enemy but examined it from different angles. Mr. Spencer was the second speaker on Saturday morning. His talk was entitled “Why Do They Hate Us?” and focused on the guilt complex of our own kindred. “Before we have a leftist problem, a black problem, or a Jewish problem,” he said, “we have a white problem.” Our greatest enemies are those who should be our allies but have a pathological aversion to any declaration of positive white identity.
Mr. Spencer traced this pathology back to the emergence of Christian morality, which subverted the Nietzschean “Master morality” of our ancestors. When pressed on this point by some defenders of Christianity during the question and answer session, he conceded that the current problem we face is a post-Christian one. This post-speech addendum perhaps muddled his point which is that our people cannot overcome this guilt complex without addressing the flaws of Christian morality. Spencer was not arguing for abandonment of Christian morality and a return to Master morality, but rather a reconciliation of the best aspects of the two so that we can “rise and greet the dawn with a clear conscience.”
As always, Sam Dickson was the final speaker at the conference. I heard several people comment that his speech, entitled “A Benediction for Heretics” was the best they had ever heard from him, and I must to concur. Sometimes, Mr. Dickson seems to ramble a bit, but this year he was on point. He demonstrated how our enemies claim to be free from ideology yet filter all information they encounter through an ideology of freedom. While freedom is not necessarily bad, once it becomes tied to an ideology that views it as an unquestionably good thing, other goods things, like truth, tend to diminish. Our movement is considered heretical because we question the notion that freedom is the highest good.
I should note that Jared Taylor’s speech, entitled “What Is Wrong With Our Country?” was also superbly delivered. Yet I felt I had heard this same speech from Mr. Taylor before. It included many of the key points he has made in the past. Essentially this: the correlation between race and IQ explains so much about the racial tensions in our society, and those who disagree with us on this point have such irreconcilable differences in their perception of reality that separation is the only logical solution. While I have heard these points before, I never tire of hearing Mr. Taylor speak, and his ideas are worth repeating, especially considering the number of new people in attendance at the conference.
Without question, video blogger RamZPaul delivered the most entertaining speech of the conference on Saturday night after the banquet. It was entitled “The Red Pill,” a reference to the film The Matrix, but was mainly about rat experiments conducted by John B. Calhoun in the 1950s and 1960s. Calhoun observed erratic behavior among rats given the provisions necessary to survive in overpopulated situations. The rats ceased to behave like rats and eventually lost the will to live. RamZPaul discussed how humans have a greater capacity to adapt to such situations, yet we react similarly to rats when our “conceptual space” becomes overpopulated, which is what happens when diverse groups of people with contradictory life ways are forced to associate with one another. Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, his talk was filled with jokes and was incredibly hilarious. He’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy, except he is a Nationalist Guy. Be sure to watch this talk when it is posted on YouTube.
The centerpiece of the conference was a debate on whether white survival can be secured using the system already in place. John Derbyshire and Peter Brimelow argued that it can be, while Richard Spencer and Sam Dickson argued against this possibility. The two sides seemed to be coming from places that did not really touch upon each other’s arguments. I found myself agreeing with Derbyshire and Brimelow that using the system to preserve white survival is certainly possible in theory, but also agreeing with Spencer and Dickson that it is very unlikely. The flaw in the affirmative argument is not just that it relies upon unforeseen alterations in the current trajectory of the system, but also that if such an unforeseen circumstance were to occur, then it would only provide a brief reprieve while leaving the inherently degrading democratic system intact, which would eventually result in a resurgence of the same problems we are facing today.
Mr. Derbyshire made what seemed to be a false choice argument that the only two options are to reform the system by working within it, or to engage in a revolution, which he characterized as necessarily atrocious, likening it to the bloodiest Communist cultural revolutions of the past. Is there really no middle way, a path that, while not entirely bloodless, would also not be remembered as an atrocity by our descendants? There very well could be. It is fruitless to dwell upon the unforeseen possibilities of the future and instead set goals for the present based upon our understanding of how the American democratic system can never lead to a lasting favorable result.
One useful thing Mr. Derbyshire stated to this end is that politics follows culture and not the other way around. So we must focus our efforts on transforming culture. This is the metapolitical strategy. On Sunday morning, before Sam Dickson gave his talk there was a time of remembrance for the late Sam Francis, who passed away ten years ago. A montage of video clips from his AmRen conference speeches was screened. What stuck out to me from these video clips was a single sentence, Sam Francis’ response to a question on how we proceed: “The first thing we need to do is build white racial consciousness.”
Mr. Pupurs discussed his personal history as a dissident in the Soviet Union, an interesting story, but what was more important was his description of the activities of the All For Latvia party. The party has taken on the task of creating new traditions for the Latvian people. Most notably, they hold a flag rally on Latvian Legion Day, March 16th, when the Soviet assault began against Latvia in 1944. Pupurs stated that this day represents the day when Latvians stood up against their would-be oppressors but is also thought of as the day they lost their independence.
In addition to holidays, All For Latvia educates young people in folkways, specifically song and dance, which have been passed down since before the introduction of Christianity to Latvian culture. These activities are designed to arm young Latvians with a sense of identity to protect them from the introduction of destructive and corrupting globalist influences. As a result, the average age range of the All For Latvia party is between 20 to 40 years old.
Similarly, Mr. Tait, the first speaker of the conference on Saturday morning, described his personal involvement in British politics and the current political scene in the United Kingdom. The story of the BNP’s rise in popularity and steady decline provides important lessons, perhaps the most important of which is that a movement cannot solely be defined by its leader. In this case, Nick Griffin was an irreplaceable figure in the BNP, and because others were kept from flourishing, the party could not sustain itself. At the same time, Tait asserted that “our message is our messenger.” We must have excellent leaders whose skills in conveying the message are appropriately refined.
Mr. Tait has an almost spiritual view of politics. In the beginning of his talk he spoke of how he had seen people inspired by the truth of the nationalist movement become transformed, overcoming obstacles in their personal lives at the behest of a higher sense of purpose. He stated that people are hungry for a national identity and when they feel that it can be rekindled they are willing to give much more than they have. Toward the end of his talk he advised that we reject the complacency of a liberal way of life and think of our movement like we might think of church, meeting at least once a week, twice a week if possible. He advised creating small groups of people who live within an hour from one another to best accomplish this. He likened the spirit of our people to the Holy Spirit that Christians offer themselves to be filled with.
One tradition that has been consistent at all of the AmRen conferences I’ve attended is the Saturday night party held at one of the park villas after the events of the day are over. This is the best time to meet people and gather in a festive kind of fellowship. I went hoping to find out how to make the small localized community groups described by Matthew Tait into a reality. It occurred to me that there were representatives from many well-known nationalist web sites—the primary media outlets of our movement—including American Renaissance, VDare.com, Radix Journal, the Traditionalist Youth Network, The Right Stuff, and I believe there was someone from The Political Cesspool present, although I didn’t speak with him. These media outlets have far larger audiences than those who can make it to an annual conference. Can this larger audience be connected together and formed into groups at the local level?
The answer to this question is still not clear to me. It seems that certain people must act as ambassadors of white identity for their local community. These ambassadors must prove themselves as trustworthy. They must develop systems by which the larger audience of our media outlets can connect to them safely, and as their local community grows they must also find ways to protect the individuals who have joined the cause.
What happens when these local groups meet together? They should explore strategies to expand white racial consciousness, both overtly and covertly. They should create new traditions and bring a sacred seriousness to old traditions. They should support and encourage individuals to surpass their personal flaws. New problems will always arise, but they should find ways to plan for these obstacles and ensure that the group is capable of sustaining itself. They should act according the virtues that we understand as vital in creating a better society, which is to say that they should reject equality and democracy as a part of their procedure and advance aristocratic values to groom their members for leadership.
These are the kinds of ideas that I went to the AmRen conference eager to discuss. For the most part, I do not think my efforts were successful. While I did learn something from the talks and made a number of contacts with people who will be helpful, many other people I spoke with seemed content with their internet-based activism. I spoke to several people involved with web sites who did not seem to understand what I was proposing. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this since I am an unseasoned conferee among those who have been involved in the movement for many more years than me. Still, I sense a yearning to go beyond web sites and conferences. It is only a matter of time before this movement actually does.
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 6, Part 2: Conclusion
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 6, Part 1: Conclusion
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 5, Part 2: Democracy Against the People
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 5, Part 1: Democracy Against the People
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 4, Part 2: The Post-War Consensus
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 4, Part 1: The Post-War Consensus
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 3: The Anti-Political US Constitution
Liberal Anti-Democracy, Chapter 2: The Plutocratic Origins of Representative Government
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“So we must focus our efforts on transforming culture.”
Since our brightest, Francis and Derbyshire, are routinely drummed out as soon as they are discovered. Hollywood is owned by our enemies. How do we proceed? How would we reclaim the culture? Ramzpaul is doing an excellent job from YouTube, but what other lines of attack do we have?
Mark, I’m surprised that you reference Hollywood and YouTube as culture. This isn’t what I mean by culture. I thought I was pretty clear when I said that I thought the way to build a culture of white racial consciousness is by turning off our TVs, computers, and mobile devices and meeting one another face to face. This question is really how to do this in a safe way.
We have a sufficient number of media outlets. We do not need more content, but we do need the people who read the current content to be connected.
Yes local networking something I have mentioned countless times on line but without local conenctions it is a non starter. I think firstly we can for go it a ‘religious’ experience and begin with social and practical gatherings where people work together as teams to work on various tasks to build team work and understanding. Very useful in many ways.
I note that the Britsh National Party then was adverse to any individuals with new ideas and initatives, as was Mr Griffin.
Dr. Faustus. Connecting to people is difficult but necessary. There are ways to do it, but I’m hesitant to spell it out, lest trolls adopt the same tactics. I hope you can find a way.
I was not suggesting that localized white nationalist groups actually be religious, but there is something to be said for the transformation that happens in people once they get involved in a movement they believe in and become secure in their identity. I have experience this myself.
The Political Cesspool representative at the conference and after-party was Keith Alexander. He is James’ co-host for the first hour and serves as TPC’s resident historian and cultural critic. He called in to the radio show from the conference center Saturday night and you can hear his observations of the meeting by going to the TPC website archives and proceeding from there.
Keith travelled to Montgomery Bell with Texans from the Dallas area (i/c me) who had spent the previous night at his house. We are attempting – in fits and starts – to do local networking and increase our numbers. Currently we have anywhere from 6 to 10 people who meet monthly.
We expect to get bigger.
Ah yes! Keith Alexander. Thank you. I had forgotten his name. I haven’t had time to keep up with what’s been going on with the Cesspool. It’s exciting to hear that you’ve got a group of 6-10 meeting regularly. We have that where I’m from as well. Let’s hope this can start happening around the country.
In my opinion, the presence of Derbyshire at these meetings is a disgrace.
To quote Greg:
“Derbyshire, by the way, is not a White Nationalist at all. He is a conservative cognitive elitist who is married to a Chinese woman and has two non-white children. Beyond that, he has attacked White Nationalists in the most scurrilous terms, referring to AmRen attendees as “latrine flies” and attacking Kevin MacDonald on the most swinish possible grounds. It is only when this sucking up to Jews and centrists failed to save him from the charges of racism that he began to associate with White Nationalists, who were all too willing to cross his palm with silver. Frankly it is disgusting that the donations of White Nationalists are being sluiced into the pockets of this opportunist.”
I have a great deal of respect for John Derbyshire. In fact, his writings opened my eyes to racial realities, which eventually led to my becoming a White Nationalist. So whatever differences in opinion I have with him, I still appreciate his contribution to the racial dialogue happening in America. I will never consider his presence a disgrace and will always feel honored by the chance to interact with him.
This is the biggest problem with White Nationalism as it currently exists. No fanaticism, tolerance of outright heretics and admitting them to the front ranks of the “movement.”
Frankly, it is shocking that Amren thought there was even the need for a debate about “working within the system.”
I like some of Derbyshire’s writings too, but that won’t prevent me from sending him to a concentration camp the day we come to power.
I think that “movement” fans of Derbyshire need to read Greg’s comment (reproduced above) and remember some history. When Derbyshire was still part of mainstream conservatism, he would frequently vent his contempt and hostility toward White nationalism. He heaped vile scorn on American Renaissance conferences attendees, he critiqued racial nationalism, he praised Jews and insulted Kevin MacDonald, and he openly promoted miscegenation. However, after National Review cut ties with him over his “the talk” essay, what happened next? Did Jews and Asians come to Derbyshire’s defense? Hardly! Derbyshire turned Right and he turned White, and he was welcomed with open arms by the same WN types that he had previously abused in print. After all, he’s English, he criticizes Negroes, and as regards his wife….well, according to HBD, Chinese are big-brained, high-IQ superhumans, far above lowly Europeans. So, yes, now we have “the Derb” speaking in front of, and being applauded by, the same AR “latrine flies” he previously spewed hatred at. And then people wonder when I shake my head in disgust at the “movement?”
Guess that local gal didn’t have quite the charm of the now-Missus!
Regarding some of the above comments:
1. Hollywood and Youtube, like it or not, do constitute an aspect of American culture. It is best to work with what we have but with full knowledge of the higher metapolitical project. I suspect that Youtube, for example, has been extremely important in creating White racial consciousness among younger people who would not have had much otherwise. We need to work with the tools we are given (as well as develop our own, of course) and adapt, going against and with the grain at the same time. In doing so we must remain ever-vigilant in our message, but to dismiss as un-culture large and powerful segments of American life in the twenty-first century, is to only hurt our cause.
2. I ignore Derbyshire for exactly the reasons Greg points out. Yet that does not make me want to prevent him from getting his hands dirty for us in certain areas. One could say the same thing about RamzPaul. He is Derbyshire in a clown suit. But is he helping our cause? Yes. Clearly. So it would be wise to let it go and use the intellectual openings each of these men provides to hammer home our points to newly receptive audiences, without ever compromising our particular core message.
I enjoyed the description of the AR conference by Mr. Brinker. I look forward to attending these and other meetings in the future when my work and school schedules allow. The population of internet WNs tends to include a lot of fractious iconoclasts, who are not easily satisfied with less-than-perfect individuals and organizing initiatives. My view is that everything that points us in the right direction is helpful. Mr. Derbyshire, in spite of his limitations and shortcomings, is ultimately helpful. The same goes for AmRen and Mr. Taylor, both less-than-perfect but still helping. And the same goes for the difficult-to-please fractious iconoclasts, demanding a more perfect movement and leadership (and good luck pleasing them with any contemporary figure). I find it very comforting and morale-boosting to be able to read the work of kindred spirits here at counter-currents and know that I’m not alone.
John Derbyshire made a fool out everyone there. This isn’t TheRightStuff, so I won’t lower the tone here by bringing the C word into the discussion. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable about 200 times over if the estimates I’ve been seeing are correct. Some people never learn.
I don’t how much Amren made off that event, but if it was more than zero the paid attendees put money in the account of an organization that has always given a loud platform to Jews to insult nationalists.
Whatever John Derbyshire said that influenced you into your current perspective, you could have learned from Greg Johnson 5 years ago, Alex Linder 10 years ago, David Duke 20 years ago, William Pierce 50 years ago or Adolf Hitler 80 years ago.
Lying conservative crooks and charlatans like Derbyshire don’t enlighten; they inhibit enlightenment by steering people away from the actual issues and clear political thinking about them. A lot of good people have been victims of conservative cunning for years.
If many new young people were in attendance, it’s a sad development in some ways. Conservatives now have their hooks in a new generation of potential marks. They’re looking for intellectual leadership but are too young to have any kind of institutional memory about what men like Derbyshire really is.
To Lew and you other Derbyshire haters:
I just want to clarify something that people hear don’t seem to understand. The American Renaissance conference is not a White Nationalist conference. It’s a race realism conference that advocates the bare minimum change necessary to stave back the rising tide of color. The only policy recommendations that AmRen formally endorses are restricting immigration and ending affirmative action. However, Jared Taylor is open to featuring a spectrum of ideas surrounding these issues, ranging from John Derbyshire to Richard Spencer.
While I agree with you that I could have learned a lot from reading Greg Johnson, David Duke, Willliam Pierce, and Adolf Hitler, in the past I would not have even considered reading them if I hadn’t first read the more kosher versions available from Jared Taylor and John Derbyshire. You hardliners have to realize that there is a series of doors that whites, who have been conditioned by society to hate themselves, need to walk through before they can look at the truth objectively. Derbyshire is just one possible gateway. In retrospect, I realize that I basically always thought the way I did, but had been obstructed by certain ideological blocks.
Lastly, Derbyshire’s thinking has been going further to the right in the past few years. I don’t think this is because he’s a craven opportunist (a crook and a charlatan). I believe his transformation is genuine because he is now free to consider ideas that were previously forbidden for him. You can disagree but I’ve actually met the man more than once and corresponded with him. So that’s my opinion. Some people are capable of changing their minds when presented with new information. I think Derbyshire is such a person.
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