Youth for Western Civilization
Ties with White Supremacists
Posted: May 23, 2011
Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) may have standing in the mainstream conservative world but from its inception, white supremacists have enthusiastically embraced the group.
Racist raises money for YWC
In April 2011, YWC received direct help from white supremacist Jared Taylor, who runs the racist magazine American Renaissance. Taylor and YWC joined forces that month to create a fund-raising packet that Taylor mailed to his supporters on YWC's behalf. Taylor is a strong supporter of YWC because of his own racist convictions. He introduced race as a crucial issue in his fund-raising letter for YWC by writing, "Race is an important aspect of individual and group identity. Of all the fault lines that divide society—language, religion, class, ideology—it is the most prominent and divisive. Race and racial conflict are at the heart of the most serious challenges the western world faces in the 21st century."
In the letter, Taylor claimed that now "is the time to stand up and defend our culture and our heritage against those who seek to destroy what you and I should be proud of." He informed his supporters that he recently learned of the Youth for Western Civilization and that he believes "a group like this comes along once in a generation and it is up to each one of us to ensure its overwhelming success."
Taylor's fund-raising letter then characterized YWC as a group "standing up for our culture on college campuses across the nation." Taylor further identifies the common goals of YWC and American Renaissance by noting that Kevin DeAnna, the founder of YWC "knows how important our cultural identity is" and "has agreed to continue our struggle on college campuses throughout the nation and dedicated himself to reaching our children and grandchildren."
White supremacist is close ally of YWC leaders
Taylor is not the only white supremacist who embraces YWC. Nobody exemplifies the racist nature of some of YWC's fellow travelers more than Richard Spencer. Spencer runs a far-right Web site called Alternative Right, writes for American Renaissance and The Occidental Observer, an anti-Semitic and racist publication, and is the executive director of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank. The NPI TV Web site, run by Spencer, features interviews with Jared Taylor and anti-Semitic professor Kevin MacDonald. Spencer is also a regular speaker at H.L. Mencken Club conferences and is in charge of the group's membership.
Spencer and DeAnna are close allies. Spencer has done a podcast with DeAnna and has called DeAnna his friend. In early February 2011, before the start of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Spencer wrote on a blog on Alternative Right, "My friend Kevin DeAnna...is far too intelligent and cultured to be in the 'conservative movement'; and the Beltway Right would consider itself blessed, if it had any taste, to have such a person in its midst, for Kevin is bringing programming to 'CPAC,' the mainstreamers annual gathering in Washington, DC, that is actually interesting and important." Spencer later featured the YWC panel at CPAC on the NPI TV Internet site.
Spencer also considers Devin Saucier his friend. In another interview two weeks later on the far-right Wermod and Wermod Publishing Group site with Alex Kurtagic, Spencer's co-editor on the Alternative Right, Spencer remarked, "I'm very lucky to be friends with Kevin DeAnna and Devin Saucier of Youth for Western Civilization. I think this group is extremely important for our side."
When Saucier invited Spencer to speak at Vanderbilt in October 2010, Spencer attacked affirmative action as "anti-white discrimination" and claimed that "the primary targets [of affirmative action] are white males in particular - white people in general." Spencer also attacked civil rights legislation and reportedly said that the difference in achievement between races had to do with genetics.
After Spencer's speech at Vanderbilt, James Edwards, who runs The Political Cesspool, a white supremacist Internet radio show, interviewed Spencer on the program's video blog. Spencer commented, "I was invited to talk about diversity and affirmative action by Youth for Western Civilization, which is a fantastic organization. I've been a fan of them since their inception a couple years ago, so I certainly love to do what I can to help their cause." Edwards mentioned that he came to Vanderbilt "to witness [Spencer] in action."
Other YWC members have also given Spencer a platform. In April 2011, he gave a lecture at Providence College at the invitation of Tim Dionisopoulos, the president of the Providence chapter of YWC. Spencer once again focused on affirmative action, and made the claim that poor whites do better on test scores than middle-class blacks, which he argued means that "intelligence is heritable."
In an article on the YWC site, Dionisopoulos demonstrated that YWC is receptive to the ideas of a white supremacist. He wrote that the "intimate gathering of students from the Providence College Republicans and Providence YWC seemed fairly open minded about the ideas Mr. Spencer was presenting."
Students opposed to Spencer's ideas disrupted his speech at Providence by attempting to shout him down. The actions of these students incensed James Edwards, who defended Spencer in a blog post on The Political Cesspool. Edwards asserted, "Richard Spencer is a friend of mine. We've hosted him several times as a featured guest…I've also collaborated with him on other, non-radio projects and we always seem to hammer out something productive."
YWC had problematic ties in early history
Even before YWC itself was formally organized, some of the people who would became key leaders of the group already had ties to problematic and racist groups. Prior to YWC's inauguration, journalist David Weigel reported that he attended a 2006 event hosted by the Robert Taft Club, a currently inactive right–wing group linked to The American Cause (TAC), an organization run by racist and anti-Semite Pat Buchanan. Weigel noted that Marcus Epstein, who was a regular contributor to the racist Web site VDARE, and DeAnna ran the Robert Taft Club at the time and sponsored a controversial panel about race featuring Jared Taylor.
When YWC staged its inaugural reception in February 2009, TAC co-sponsored the event. Epstein initially served as both TAC's executive director and YWC's vice president. (Epstein has kept a low profile since he was charged with assaulting a black woman in Washington, D.C. in 2007. In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to simple assault, apologized to his victim and sent a donation to a charity for black college students.)
DeAnna also has ties to other racists through the HL Mencken Club. Peter Brimelow, who runs the racist Web site VDARE, and Richard Spencer are regular speakers at Mencken Club gatherings. Brimelow, Spencer and DeAnna participated in the H.L. Mencken Club's conferences in 2009 and 2010 and are all scheduled to speak at the group's conference in Baltimore in November 2011.