Written by: Stephen Hsu
Primary Source: Information Processing
What, exactly, is Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s relationship to the Alt-Right? Is he a white nationalist, or merely a nationalist? There is no need to trust secondary media sources when we can go to the primary material.
Over the weekend, the Alt-Right held a conference in Washington DC. The event was live streamed and included a press conference. Richard Spencer, one of the leaders of the Alt-Right and its de facto public face, answered these questions rather directly in the clip below. Neither Trump nor Bannon are part of the Alt-Right as it defines itself, although the Alt-Right certainly supports Trump enthusiastically.
(Should start @4h29min and run for 90 seconds.)
Here is the NYTimes take on the conference and Spencer:
NYTimes: By the time Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement and the final speaker of the night, rose to address a gathering of his followers on Saturday, the crowd was restless.
In 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions in a federal building named after Ronald Reagan a few blocks from the White House, a succession of speakers had laid out a harsh vision for the future, but had denounced violence and said that Hispanic citizens and black Americans had nothing to fear. Earlier in the day, Mr. Spencer himself had urged the group to start acting less like an underground organization and more like the establishment.
But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
… Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said.
The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”
Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests. He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning.
“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.
Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was “the victory of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film. But Mr. Spencer then mentioned, with a smile, Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader who advocated a Jewish homeland in Israel, quoting his famous pronouncement, “If we will it, it is no dream.”
The United States today, Mr. Spencer said, had been turned into “a sick, corrupted society.” But it was not supposed to be that way.
Should start @1h29min. Spencer really gets going after 1h31min on the theme of America as a “normal country”…
Does History repeat? Spencer evokes Nietzsche, Weimar, and the fiery oratory of a young Austrian named Hitler.
See this autobiographical Q&A from 2011 for Spencer on the origins of the Alt-Right.