A month or so back, Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer organized a conference on white identity in Hungary. The government of Hungary’s subsequent speech suppression and government harassment of the attendees (and the outright arrest of Spencer) was shocking.
In Slate, Martin Gelin (U.S. correspondent for the Swedish national newspaper Dagens Nyheter) has a typically slanted piece on the affair (“White Flight“). “America’s white supremacists are ignored at home,” the byline ominously reads, “So they are looking to start over with a little help from Europe’s far right.”
Gelin erroneously describes Spencer, Taylor, et al as “white supremacists” and proceeds to regurgitate the usual liberal ad hominems against white identity movements.
But here’s the real reason journalists like Gelin are starting to cover figures like Taylor and Spencer: because their message is gaining traction and making headway. Gelin writes:
In the May elections for the European Parliament, Europe’s far-right parties made extraordinary gains. France’s National Front and Britain’s U.K. Independence Party won 24 seats each in the EU Parliament. UKIP’s win marked the first time in a century that the Labour or Conservative party didn’t become the biggest party in a national election. In Hungary, the extreme-right party Jobbik—best known for its calls for Hungary’s government to register and monitor all Jewish residents—won a third of the country’s youth vote, and nearly 15 percent of the total vote. Overall, the elections showed an incredible rise in support for parties defined by their tough stance on immigration and a general “Euroskepticism”—a scornful pessimism for the entire EU project.
Nevertheless, nationalist groups don’t represent a plurality of the population in any European country. Rather, they are an outspoken white minority who are anxious about their increasing marginalization, which gives them a reason to organize. Their alienation from mainstream society also makes them feel more closely allied to each other. As xenophobic ideas are increasingly frowned upon, Europe’s far right feels as though they are the ones being discriminated against. They see themselves as rebels fighting a corrupt system that has turned against them. Spencer’s arrest, of course, only confirmed this belief. On the websites and Internet chat rooms of Europe’s nationalist groups, Spencer instantly became a martyr and a hero. His arrest may have inadvertently done more to help the American white supremacists connect with Europe’s far-right groups than anything else.
Far-right parties like Jobbik in Hungary, the National Front in France, and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece can no longer be brushed off as irrelevant. They have become a genuine political force in Europe, with voting power in a string of governments. And now the American nationalists want to know how they can join the party. “It’s very difficult to run as a candidate, and not be either a Republican or a Democrat. So in that respect, I think, democracy is far more restricted in the U.S. than in many European countries. I’m convinced that if people who hold my views were part of a proportionally representative system, that we would have 15 percent, 20 percent, maybe 30 percent of the vote,” says Taylor.
So how does Taylor plan to change this? “That’s a good question. I think it might be possible to run as a Republican under certain circumstances, but we are really very far behind our European comrades on this. They’ve been much more successful at expressing themselves politically.” Taylor pointed to several congressional Republicans—Reps. Joe Wilson, Steve King, Louie Gohmert, and Dana Rohrabacher, among them—whose anti-immigrant rhetoric has at times mirrored that of far-right parties in Europe…
Despite the intervention by Hungarian authorities, the conference did go on as planned, even though Taylor insisted on calling it a dîner-débat, rather than a conference, to avoid possible legal repercussions. The day after the meeting, Taylor and his fellow attendees stood in the sunshine in Heroes’ Square, discussing whether they would visit the House of Terror museum, where the violence of communism is documented, or the Museum of Ethnography. He was pleased with the event. Europe gets it, he said. And America? “The left is constantly describing us as either insane, or evil, or ignorant, or all three. That’s simply not the case. They are, frankly, terrified that people who hold positions like mine or Richard Spencer’s will have an opportunity to speak openly and publicly. If Americans had an opportunity to vote for my views, I believe many of them would. But the political system is not set up in a way that makes that possible or practical.”