Alt Right Moving From Online to Real-World Activity

  • February 13, 2017

For a number of years, the alt right was mostly an online movement, with the exception of a few annual conferences held by American Renaissance and the National Policy Institute, two white supremacist organizations. Now its adherents are trying to meet, network, and plan actions in cities and on campuses around the county. Alt right groups have been plastering universities with fliers, meeting at forums and events in different parts of the country, organizing meet and greet gatherings, and, in the case of alt right leader Richard Spencer, planning a college tour across the country.

During 2016, alt right adherents spent a lot of time on the Internet trolling people they did not like, particularly Jewish journalists and public figures opposed to Donald Trump. They created and circulated racist and anti-Semitic memes and promoted Trump in graphics that were widely distributed online. With the media attention showered on the group due to their support of the Trump campaign, alt right adherents see the current time as ripe for real- world activity.

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Identity Evropa supporters in New York City

During the fall of 2016 up until the present, people associated with alt right groups such as Identity EvropaAmerican Vanguard and The Right Stuff (TRS) have been posting fliers that promote “white heritage” at campuses around the country.  TRS is a website but some of its followers have cohered into something like a real-world group. Recently, alt right leader Jared Taylor of American Renaissance wrote about a campaign to post fliers at universities across the country that focus on freeing one’s self from “white guilt.”

Daniel Dropik, a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, attempted to go further than fliering. He wanted to create a chapter of the American Freedom Party (AFP), a white supremacist organization, at the school. Dropik dropped his plans after opposition from the student body.

In addition, some TRS supporters showed up at a white supremacist rally on January 8, held in Chicago, to protest a recent attack on a local special-needs man by a group of black teens. The people associated with TRS  were joined by members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) as well as by Matthew Heimbach, the leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), a virulently anti-Semitic alt right group. TRS supporters are also organizing meet-ups around the country they call “pool parties.”

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Poster for white supremacist event in Kentucky

TWP, NSM and the Nationalist Front, a white supremacist umbrella group created last year during the NSM’s annual gathering to celebrate Hitler’s birthday, are also planning an April 29 event in Floyd County, Kentucky, “to take a stand on white working families.”

Alt right adherents are organizing other meetings as well. During the weekend of February 2, about ten supporters of Identity Evropa held an anti-immigration rally in Times Square in New York City. Another meeting took place in New York the previous weekend, on January 28, hosted by the alt right online publication Counter-Currents. Greg Johnson, who runs Counter-Currents, reported that 52 people came to the New York Forum, a private event.

There were a number of speakers, including Emily Youcis, a popular figure on the alt right who became known after she was  sprayed with an unknown substance during the National Policy Institute conference. Jason Jorjani, who just launched the altright.com website with Spencer and Paul Kersey, a racist author, also spoke. This was reportedly the fourth meeting of the group, which will meet again in February.  Johnson plans on holding a series of similar events in the Northwest.

At the same time that the New York Forum was taking place, there was a similar group of alt right adherents meeting in Atlanta for the first time at the Atlanta Forum. The two groups apparently exchanged greetings over the phone. People associated with “The Rebel Yell,” a podcast on TRS, as well as Michael Cushman, a Southern white supremacist, planned the Atlanta event.

Speakers included Hunter Wallace, the pseudonym for alt right personality Brad Griffin, who runs the Occidental Dissent blog and writes for altright.com, and Sam Dickson, an attorney and long-time white supremacist.  Wallace claims that he will be hosting similar events in the Southeast.

Spencer is also trying to create momentum on the heels of his NPI conference in November, which reportedly attracted nearly 300 people, and his divisive talk about race at Texas A&M University in December 2016.  He has talked about “professionalizing” the alt right movement and making it more mainstream. He is now trying to raise funds to give talks at campuses across the country.

There is a focus on by alt right leaders and adherents on attracting young people and disaffected whites to the white supremacist movement. Their efforts are an indication that they feel emboldened at this particular time to take action and try to expand their movement.