European Far Right Head to Key US Conference

10 05 19

The seventeenth annual conference of white nationalist organisation, American Renaissance, is to run from the 17-19 May at the Montgomery Bell State Park lodge in Tennessee. Though there has been pressure on the event, including resistance from AirBnB to host attendees nearby, it looks set to go ahead.

Alongside Americans James Allsup, Lana Lokteff, Patrick Casey, Sam Dickson, and American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor, the event features the British-born John Derbyshire and Jean-Yves Le Gallou from France. With the invite of Gallou, a member of the French far-right organisation, GRECE, whose ideas heavily influenced the US alt-right and European identitarian movements, the conference once again highlights the importance of transatlantic collaboration to the modern far-right.

This latest example of collaboration between the US and European far right comes at an important moment. On the one hand far-right movements on both sides of the Atlantic are finding themselves operating in a hostile online environment with deplatformings continuing apace. Simultaneously however, this is also a period of optimism with gains being made and all eyes looking towards potential successes in the upcoming European elections in late May.

The French Connection

The aforementioned Gallou is on good terms with Jared Taylor, founder of American Renaissance. In March of this year his website, Polemia, posted Taylor’s preface to the final book from influential French far-right thinker and fellow GRECE associate, Guillaume Faye, Racial Civil War, published just before his death on 7 March 2019.

In it Taylor emphasises the importance of Europe and transatlantic links to the recent wave of the US far right, highlighting that Faye’s ideas were able to have an influence on the US thanks to English translations from the publisher, Arktos Media, itself the creation of an American and a Swede. Taylor closes his preface by declaring that “France and the United States: Same people, same fight!”.

Yet, Taylor’s particular connection to Gallou extends much further back, with Taylor having first interviewed Gallou for American Renaissance in 1998. Significantly, Taylor later appeared alongside Gallou in Paris in 2012 at the ‘France in Danger’ conference organised by Nationalité, Citoyenneté, Identité (Nationality, Citizenship, Identity), ran by Catherine Blein, a former Front National politician and now independent regional counsellor in Brittany, France.

The 2012 event also featured Fabrice Robert, founder of the first major identitarian organisation, Bloc Identitaire, which gave rise in the same year to the first branch of the identitarian youth movement, Generation Identity (GI). GI has since spread abroad, including to Canada, and has been a major influence on the American Identity Movement (AIM), whose leader Patrick Casey is also speaking at the upcoming American Renaissance conference.

It is unclear whether the invite of both Casey and Gallou is an effort by Taylor to help foster a connection between the largest US identitarian street movement (AIM) and one of the movement’s key figures (Gallou’s conference profile is keen to note that he is “an important influence on the identitarian movement”), but doubtless the two will attempt to foster that relationship themselves regardless.

Left to right: Jean-Yves Gallou, Jared Taylor, Catherine Blein, Fabrice Robert in Paris, 2012

Fertile Ground for the International Far Right

As HOPE not hate have written about regularly, far-right activists crossing the Atlantic to collaborate and attend each others events is an important feature of the modern, international far-right scene. However, it is not always trouble free. There have been a number of bans of US far-right figures travelling to Europe, or particular European countries, in recent years, including white nationalist Richard Spencer in 2017 and the anti-Muslim Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer in 2013, as well as Taylor in April of this year until 2021.

Despite this, others in the American far right have been able to continue, notably white nationalist Greg Johnson in the past year, and Taylor’s ban itself came amidst a tour of Europe. Evidently, many key US far-right activists continue to see a value in reaching across the Atlantic to forge alliances and support their activities despite the major risk it poses to their ability to network globally.

Their interest in doing so may increase further with the potential for a new far-right bloc in the European Parliament following the institution’s elections on 23-26 May. It now looks as if the centre-left and centre-right blocs are likely to lose their joint control of the Parliament for the first time in 25 years, as 23 out of 28 European Union member states now have populist radical right, far-right or hard Eurosceptic parties in their national parliaments. Such an environment not only poses further worrying improvements for the situation of domestic far-right groups in Europe, but also may see decisions such as existing bans on the international far right reversed.

Furthermore, just as the European far-right scene was animated by the election of Trump in America, it is likely that a good showing in the European elections by the European far-right will similarly inject renewed energy into the American scene.  

Moreover, such interactions may become more valuable if there continues to be increased pressure from social media companies to remove far-right accounts. The recent rush of far-right activists to the more fringe Russian Telegram messaging app and VKontakte social network has limited their ability to network, propagandise, organise and raise funds, making the establishment of international connections in person all the more vital for their ability to continue.

This month will see CARD and HOPE not hate research more widely focusing heavily on the European Elections, and the potential dangers this poses to Europe. Yet, as the upcoming American Renaissance conference encapsulates, the far right across the globe may be looking on in the hopes that a new far-right wave in Europe will be much more welcoming.

Simon Murdoch


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