Youth for Western Civilization
Exploring CPAC's Acceptance of YWC
Posted: May 23, 2011
Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) tries to immunize itself against labels of "racist" or "white supremacist" by asserting that those labels come from the left or by dismissing the labels altogether.
Strong presence at CPAC
In an interview with a gay activist at the February 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Saucier said that YWC was primarily concerned with "a lot of things that traditional conservatives are behind but they are hesitant to organize on for fear…they're afraid of being labeled 'racists' or 'haters' or something like that which is a pretty standard tactic of the left…."
Another reporter at CPAC asked DeAnna to explain what "Western Civilization" is. DeAnna again used cultural terms to mask the racial emphasis of the group. He asserted, "It is a cultural compound of Christian, classical and then the folk traditions of Europe. We don't define it…as just democracy, rule of law, these universal institutions. We say it's a specific culture that comes from a specific historical experience." A YouTube video of this interview resonated enough with the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens and a member of the white supremacist Internet forum Stormfront that they both posted it on their Web sites.
DeAnna made comments with racial overtones but then rejected any implication that YWC promotes the superiority of whites by elevating "Western Civilization." In a February 2011 article about CPAC and GOProud, he asserted, "I'm also enjoying the casual labeling of us as 'white supremacist' even though no one can seem to point to anything we said that is so offensive."
White supremacists attend YWC panel
However, white supremacists were not shy about their support for YWC at CPAC. Two well-known racists, Jared Taylor, who runs the white supremacist journal American Renaissance and William Johnson, the chairman of the American Third Position, a white supremacist political party, both attended the YWC panel on immigration. Both had a very positive take on DeAnna's comments on immigration, particularly given the fact that he expressed them in a mainstream venue.
Writing in the April 2011 issue of American Renaissance, Taylor commented, "I attended this panel to see how far mainstream, immigration-control conservatives were prepared to go." Taylor supported DeAnna's speech about "the importance of fighting multi-culturalism where it is strongest: at universities."
William Johnson was more explicit in his views about DeAnna. Johnson asserted, "The speakers said all the right things in an edgy, but still mainstream manner. Kevin Deanna did a wonderful job." Johnson also visited the YWC booth, where he claimed that people were receptive to him.
Contrasting YWC with blatant racist at CPAC
YWC's ability to couch its racial views in cultural terms allows it to be accepted in mainstream circles such as CPAC. This fact was illustrated in a YouTube video when Jamie Kelso, a well-known white supremacist with ties to former Klan leader David Duke, tried to talk to a group of young people at CPAC and received a hostile reception.
These young people rebuffed Kelso and his racist views. Kelso asserted, "What I am very surprised at is and what I do find…unbearable, is that white people…many, many of us, are unwilling, are reluctant, are afraid to even realize that we have interests in preserving our race."
A man off camera suggested to Kelso that he has a link to Africa within his genetic code. Kelso claimed that man was saying that there was just one race and then asserted, "It's a scientific question of whether he's factually correct or wrong. Are we different and is our difference worth preserving?... I say yes…because we produced Galileo, Isaac Newton, Kepler…if it's not self-evidently obvious to you that our people have produced things infinitely worth preserving, well then there's nothing I can do about that."
Elements of Kelso's arguments have similarities to those of YWC but the key difference is in the language he used to present those views. Whereas Kelso was shunned at CPAC, YWC was embraced by CPAC organizers and attendees and attracted a large crowd at its panel.