Despite being the time of year when most choose to wind down, propagators of far right, radical right and divisive, conspiratorial ideas continue to convene in Europe, the US and elsewhere
August saw two spin-offs of major US right-wing activists’ conference, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Australia on 8-11 August – the country’s first such event – and Japan’s third annual J-CPAC on 31 August – 1 September. The former’s speakers included Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, US Congressman Mark Meadows, Britain’s Nigel Farage and former Breitbart London editor, Raheem Kassam. Australian speakers included Mark Latham and Malcolm Roberts of the far-right One Nation party and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who recently praised Hungary’s Viktor Orban and echoed far-right fears of population “replacement”.
J-CPAC, which has previously hosted Steve Bannon, featured Fox News’ Sara A. Carter and US Congressman Bruce Westerman. An upcoming edition of CARD will reveal the shocking extent of the event’s extremist links, but for now we can note that Hidetoshi Ishii, a political strategist, gave a keynote speech and appeared alongside his wife, vlogger Yoko Mada, who has appeared on the English-language alt-right YouTube channel’s Red Ice and Black Pigeon Speaks.
In the same month came the annual gathering of the international Men’s Rights Activism (MRA) movement, the International Conference on Men’s Issues (ICMI) in Chicago on 16-18 August. This year’s event saw speakers including British Conservative Party MP Philip Davies and Carl Benjamin (AKA Sargon of Akkad), the UKIP anti-feminist vlogger who has made rape “jokes” about British Labour party MP Jess Philips and who produced a racial slur-ridden video in 2015. US speakers included leading American MRA Paul Elam, who has repeatedly used violent language towards women, and Alex Baldwin, a former Head Moderator of a subreddit dedicated to Gamergate, the online backlash to perceived feminist encroachment into the gaming community that continues to lead to misogynistic online harassment.
Coincidentally, Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney, who spoke at ICMI 2016, organised a 2007 ‘straight pride’ march, another of which occurred in Boston on 31 August. The event, organised by a group with ties to extremist far-right organisations also featured the increasingly marginalised far-right social media personality, Milo Yiannopoulos.
In Europe, the identitarian youth movement Generation Identity (GI) convened for their annual ‘Summer University’ training camp, featuring activists from across the continent. The movement faces increased pressure, including for its ties to the Christchurch terrorist and its role in spreading the ‘Great Replacement’ narrative (a variation on the far-right ‘White Genocide’ conspiracy theory). The pressure was evident during the camp as three prominent French activists who had been on trial were jailed for a 2018 anti-immigrant action. The British branch recently split from GI amidst an investigation by HOPE not hate as part of a new report into identitarianism which revealed its activists’ extremist links, and they have since languished in their attempt to relaunch.
Despite these cracks in GI’s organisation across the continent, they remain embedded in a wider identitarian-sympathising network. This was exemplified by the Paris-based and France-wide Catholic organisation, Academia Christiana (AC), who held their own training camp in Sées, Normandy on 19-25 August. The group has ties to the identitarian movement and this was emphasised at the camp given the choice of onetime GI member Julian Langella, a founder of AC, to give a talk on ‘Metapolitics or Cultural War’. (Metapolitics is a central identitarian idea that activism should focus on shifting the accepted topics, terms, and positions of public discussion so as to create a social and political environment more open and potentially accepting of identitarianism.)
On the Horizon
This month sees the annual conference of the Property and Freedom Society (PFS), a group set up by by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, an influential German-American right-libertarian academic. The conference, which will be featured in more detail in an upcoming edition of CARD, will be held on 12-17 September in Bodrum, Turkey and will feature speakers from Austria, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Poland and the US and UK. In a speech to the PFS in 2017 on “Libertarianism and the Alt-Right”, Hoppe declared that “restrictive, highly selective and discriminating immigration […] is entirely compatible with libertarianism and its desideratum of freedom of association and opposition to forced integration”.
On 12 October the alt-right Scandza Forum will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Speakers will include US white nationalists Greg Johnson (who has made multiple appearances in Europe this year) and Mike Peinovich (AKA Mike Enoch, whose ‘The Right Stuff’ network was recently tied to a US State Department official), English neo-Nazi Mark Collett, Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (‘Hard Line’), Scottish white nationalist vlogger Colin Robertson (AKA Millenial Woes, who recently appeared at a London conference of Generation Identity) and Norway-based Fródi Midjord, organiser of the Scandza Forum.
At the same time will be the Values Voter Summit, at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington D.C. on 11-13 October. The event, which saw Donald Trump as a keynote speaker in 2017 and featured Vice President Mike Pence and key US anti-Muslim activist Briggitte Gabriel in 2018, is run by the Family Research Council (FRC). A major US anti-LGBT+ organisation, the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) has noted how the FRC has portrayed LGBT people as “sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to children and the nation.” This year will see numerous major US politicians including Donald Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton rubbing shoulders with, again, a range of America’s far right including Brigitte Gabriel as well as anti-LGBT+ groups such as Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
This series of events once again goes to show how international the circles have become for those propagating far right, radical right and divisive, conspiratorial ideas. With so much cross-border collaboration it no longer makes sense to just talk about domestic actors and groups, we have to think bigger. Whether it is the movement of people, money or ideas, driving elements of these movements now think globally, and we have to as well.