Three days after the Budapest conference, the media has noticed the unique circumstances of the event and deemed it worthy of coverage.
We’re now famous…in a way.
The BBC’s write-up is definitely the most sympathetic portrayal and draws a parallel with the circumstances of our event and how dissidents were forced to meet during the days of the Warsaw Pact:
The atmosphere beneath the arches of Budapest South railway station was reminiscent of a 1980s, communist-era protest meeting rather than a far-right European get-together banned by the Hungarian government as a “racist conference”.
Older men with wispy beards, young men in black shirts sporting crew cuts, secret policemen in the shadows, uniformed policemen, and a small huddle of journalists, all wondering what was going to happen next.
In true dissident style, small groups peeled away one by one to the secret meeting place nearby.
But the world has changed.
This was meant to be the European Congress of the National Policy Institute (NPI), based in the US state of Montana, a nationalist think-tank which billed the Budapest event as a “forum in which groups and individuals throughout Europe… can come together to compare notes, discuss ideas, and perhaps prepare the ground for collective action”…
In a traditional Hungarian restaurant just around the corner, about 70 participants from a dozen countries gathered around long tables laden with meat and wine.
The atmosphere was tense.
NPI President Richard Spencer was taken away by police the previous evening from a Budapest bar. He had initially evaded a ban on the eight planned speakers entering the country by arriving by train from Vienna.
Earlier in the week his colleague, William Regnery, was arrested on arrival at Budapest airport from London. After a night in detention, he was expelled the following morning.
They even gave a fair and unbiased account of the views of the participants and the speakers:
Jared Taylor, head of American Renaissance, a webzine which champions “racial difference”, gave the main after-dinner speech. He congratulated those present for the commitment they had shown for reaching the meeting “despite the threats that we have received, despite the oppression”.
He called for “a world brotherhood of Europeans”, of white people around the world, who regard Europe as their motherland, who should defend themselves from the “dilution” which immigration was causing in the European race.
“And the greatest threat to Europe is this poisonous ideology of diversity that my country wants to force upon you,” he added.
“Men of Europe, my brothers, stand together and we will prevail,” he concluded, his voice cracking with emotion. He was rewarded with a standing ovation.
The participants came from many countries of Europe, as well as the United States. Many were supporters of the “identitarian” movement, popular among radical right-wing circles in Europe.
“Identitarian means to stand up for your own identity, against globalisation, against liberalism, and against multiculturalism,” said Jens Derycke of the Flemish NSV student movement in Belgium.
“I don’t think we have anything in common with National Socialism. That was a modernist ideology of the 1930s based on racial supremacy, whereas we don’t consider ourselves superior to other races. We just want to defend our own culture.”
Sitting at the same table, Robert from the Netherlands, a campaigner for an independent Flemish state, also dismissed the neo-Nazi label: “Today there are new, different dangers in Europe.”
While the BBC tried to avoid smears and fear mongering, a correspondent for Die Welt made sure to include those utterances in his report–while still not dispelling the fact that these are persecuted dissidents:
A rustic restaurant in Budapest has been reserved for this meeting, where some 70 mostly male guests sit at long tables. “I’m a little concerned that I might get arrested,” says author and former diplomat Tomislav Sunic, a Croat with an American passport and one of the leading dogmatists of the New Right. He’s about to give a speech warning of the dangers of too many immigrants and multicultural societies.
Others who were scheduled to speak here are instead in police custody, were kicked out of the country, or weren’t admitted in the first place. The original plan was to hold a high-profile congress on Europe’s future and the dangers of mixing races. The reality is a semi-secret private event.
The night before, those attending received a short text message that came across as a little conspirational. It said that participants would meet “at the toy store near Budapest south station and walk to the venue from there.” Although it went deliberately unmentioned in the message, everyone apparently knew where the venue was…
Scheduled speakers were Jobbik politician Márton Gyöngyösi and Russian Eurasia advocate Alexander Dugin, who is said to exercise quite a bit of influence over Russian President Vladimir Putin and his aggressive Ukraine policy. From the U.S., main organizer Richard Spencer and “racial realist” Jared Taylor were also on the program. Expected from Austria was Markus Willinger, the man behind “Generation Identity.”
These are not names that will be familiar to everyone. But on the right-wing scene, these men are superstars. Anybody to the right of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union today would no longer say “I don’t like black people.” Instead they would say they were “interested in the theories of Richard Spencer and Markus Willinger.”
The last two sentences are gold. Classic “you’re just dressing up bigotry with intellectual gobbly-gook” reasoning.
Should a country welcome a gathering of American “racial realists,” European far-right activists, Russia’s top nationalist ideologue, and other self-proclaimed “Identitarians” in its capital? That’s the dilemma Hungary faced when the National Policy Institute, an “independent think-tank and publishing firm dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States and around the world,” announced plans to hold a conference in Budapest over the first weekend of October to “share ideas,” “make new [white] friends,” and do other fun white people stuff. To give you a taste of what they might have talked about, Richard Spencer, NPI president and a former writer for The American Conservative, advocates “a White Ethno-State on the American continent.” Whitefish, Montana, where NPI is based, is apparently not sufficient.
Yet by last Monday, the Hungarian far-right Jobbik Party leader Marton Gyöngyösi had pulled out of the conference, telling The Wall Street Journal, “I can hardly sympathize with the views of some of the speakers—namely those of the U.S. racists; I don’t share their ideologies at all.” You know you’ve hit rock bottom as a professional white nationalist when the guy who made international headlines for standing up in parliament to demand a list of Jews who pose “national security risks” tries to distance himself from you for being too racist.
It gets better:
It’s not a crime in Hungary to hold stupid and bigoted thoughts. But it also shouldn’t be a crime to express them. Many Europeans, given their history, understandably see things differently, but there is no indication that Spencer or his colleagues were planning to incite people to go out and commit hate crimes against specific individuals, the most plausible justification under which someone might be detained for words they express. Spencer spent the weekend shuttling back and forth between various bureaucratic hellholes: an airport detention facility, the central police station in Budapest, an immigration office. His ordeal sitting on “hard benches” under “bright lights” in the dreary confines of a former Warsaw Pact state’s administrative chambers sounds like a combination of The Manchurian Candidate, Midnight Express, and a bad episode of Law & Order.
Spencer was ultimately detained for 72 hours and banned for three years from the visa-free Schengen area of European countries, which includes most of the European Union. “There was a lot of paperwork, unfortunately all of it in Magyar. (This is understandable; we’re in Hungary, after all; however, for me, this gave the process a certain “Kafka-esque quality.),” Spencer wrote me. Franz Kafka lived in Czechoslovakia and wrote in German, facts one would assume to be pertinent to a self-described “Identitarian.” Kafka was also Jewish. But I digress.
But, surpisingly, Kirchick comes out on the side of NPI in relation to the heavy-handed actions of Viktor Orban.
“I find the idea that a politician ordered my capture because he disagrees with things I say to be morally repugnant,” Spencer says. I disagree with Spencer on pretty much everything imaginable, but I concur on this. And I’m troubled by what happened to Spencer for reasons far more important than the discomfort I feel at seeing a white nationalist creep experience satisfaction by posing as a martyr to the cause of free speech.
To the Hungarian and other European liberals cheering on the shoddy treatment afforded to Spencer, I have one question: If an ostensibly democratic state, a member—albeit not in particularly good standing—of the European Union, feels unencumbered in silencing, arresting, and deporting a trivial and not particularly intelligent man like Richard Spencer, then what is to stop it from shutting down and locking up someone with more brain cells and thoughtful criticisms to make, like, say, yourselves? As much as I hate to find common cause with racists at the xenophobic website VDare, we are indeed “all Richard Spencer now,” at least in Budapest. I may loathe what Richard Spencer has to say, but I will defend, unequivocally, his right to say it.
Yes, James Kirchick is on board with “We are all Richard Spencer now.” Is this the real world?
More importantly, who could’ve ever imagined that one gathering of intellectuals could’ve generated so much? Must be our ideas.