“We Won’t Die Because We’re Going to Win”AFPAC III, the Real Happy WarriorsCyan Quinn
“It takes courage to come to AFPAC,” Nick Fuentes greeted his cheering crowd. Fuentes has been put on the no-fly list, he’s had $500,000 seized from his bank account, and he has been subpoenaed as part of the investigation into January 6.
This deterred no one. AFPAC — the America First Political Action Conference — II had nearly 600 attendees; AFPAC III boasted 1,200.
One of the keynote speakers, Joe Arpaio, aka “America’s Sheriff,” known for his pragmatic polities at the southern border to stop illegal immigration, began his speech by observing, “We got so many young people.” He paused to scan the audience, and then added, “You might be in prison one day.”
For some of the attendees, this was already true. I spoke to a few who had been detained as part of the January 6 mostly peaceful protest. But they were cheerful, the real happy warriors, led by an example in Nick Fuentes. Arizona Representative Wendy Rogers professed, “I respect Nick Fuentes because he’s the most banned person in the world.”
AFPACIII was the most professionally-produced grassroots political event I’ve ever attended. Others wiser than myself (see the Zman’s review here) have commented on its outstanding production values (a tiny taste here), to which I can add little.
Instead, I’ll focus on three themes that stood out to me: Christianity, Being Normal, and Overcoming Obstacles.
“Jesus Christ is King of Kings. These are the truths we must profess if we are to succeed . . . Jesus didn’t command us to sit around being crushed by Satan waiting to die.” — Andrew Torba
After the enormous room sat down to dinner, a Franciscan monk led the room in prayer. Marjorie Taylor Greene opened with the words, “I am a daughter of God — a forgiven sinner.”
Some fellow attendees were concerned that all this public fervor might be disingenuous, but I don’t think it’s political theater. I’m convinced that Nick Fuentes, while a race realist and a white advocate, is above all else a Catholic. His very first speech at American Renaissance 2018, which I reviewed here, focused almost entirely on the need for a conservative religious revival. At the time, he said that 40% of Generation Z is going to church.
By the way, Nick Fuentes gave a heartwarming tribute to the great Jared Taylor that inspired a standing ovation: “Show me somebody saying these things when it was not popular.” And concerning heroic former Iowa Representative Steve King, he reminded the audience, “If the world hates you, remember it hated Jesus first.”
“When I walk into a room and I think these people are normal, that’s when I know we’re going to win.”
The man who said this was my age; as a now 31-year-old boomer (see my notes from last year’s comments), we were among the oldest attendees. He was commenting on the dramatic evolution of dissident Right-wing political groups from the Roman-saluting The Right Stuff (TRS) “pool parties,” to the more polished Identity Evropa, which in turn became the American Identity Movement (AIM). TRS was vulgar to this man, and AIM had lacked charisma, but America First was almost “normal.”
At AFPAC, except for the occasional strange encounter (I was asked once if I am an “e-girl”), attendees were friendly, engaging, and confident. More than a few young gentlemen recognized me from the year prior and we excitedly exchanged stories of all the interesting things that have happened since last year.
Despite their reputation as “extremely online” gamers, most attendees were pro-social and discussed interesting topics with ease. Our dinner conversation ranged from current events, to memes, to political strategy, to sharing religious conversion experiences.
America First has the characteristics of a vanguard movement — a movement that does not compromise on core principles. America First does not compromise on Christianity, social conservatism, or the white identity of the Historic American Nation.
But American First also understands nuance and accepts the endorsement of well-meaning allies, even if they haven’t totally grasped the movement’s generally accepted precepts. For example, when talk show host Stew Peters made snide comments about Marjorie Taylor Greene’s commitments after she risked her career to appear at AFPAC, Peters was quickly disavowed by the organizers.
And then came this golden moment from Arpaio: “They call me the biggest racist,” he said. When the crowd erupted in applause, he asked, “Why are you clapping at that?”
He then continued, “They say I’m the biggest racist, but I have a Mexican grandchild.” The audience was respectful, but grew quiet and exchanged cringes. Arpaio meant this as a positive illustration to show that he really isn’t racist. But he nevertheless made the Great Replacement personal. According to the 2020 US census, non-Hispanic white Americans still make up 57% of the country, but whites under 18 are already a minority. The Great Replacement is not just over the horizon; it’s already here.
Nick Fuentes has done it. He’s earned enough political clout to get speakers who don’t know that his audience doesn’t care about being called racist. This is a huge win for everyone on the Dissident Right.
“America First is not an ideology. It’s a call to action.” — Nick Fuentes in his closing speech
I know people who are waiting to find and prop up the perfect, blemishless spokesperson. But we can’t wait any longer, and Nick Fuentes’ success shows you can overcome almost any criticisms.
Fuentes boasted, “They said I couldn’t have a career because I refused a free trip to Israel. . . . They said I couldn’t have a career because I’d said the n-word.”
Fuentes follows the number one rule in politics: never apologize. Nor does he have to. They banned him from YouTube, so he built Cozy.tv. They banned him from Twitter, so Andrew Torba built Gab. They banned him from CPAC, so he built AFPAC.
Nothing seems to damage his credibility, and he joyously bothers the Left. He can even play their race card when it’s funny or useful. In response to Jared Holt’s accusation that AFPAC III was a White Nationalist event, his response on Telegram was, “I’m literally Mexican, bro.”
Despite any criticisms that have been raised of Fuentes’ style or some of his goofy compatriots such as Baked Alaska, he’s the Trump-like, energetic populist people want to lead them in the charge against wokeness. Is he naturally abrasive? Is being abrasive a genius political move? Who cares? He’s getting results — 1,200 of them.
In 2018, I thought Fuentes was a bit harsh on the boomer generation. I understand his anger. The boomers, who are afraid to be called racist, fell asleep at the wheel while anti-white, anti-Christian (they literally want to kill you) Democrats — and Republicans — seized power. They did nothing to oppose Martin Luther King Day, and now Ahmaud Arbery Day. But I believe America First is a movement that has the political will to take that power back.
In his closing speech, Fuentes said, “I am willing to die for this cause. But we won’t die. Because we’re going to win.”
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