Richard B. Spencer

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Richard B. Spencer
Richard B. Spencer in 2016.jpg
Spencer in November 2016
Born (1978-05-11) May 11, 1978 (age 42)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Residence Whitefish, Montana, U.S.
Education St. Mark's School of Texas
Alma mater University of Virginia
University of Chicago
Duke University
Occupation Author, publisher
Known for President & Director
The National Policy Institute
Executive Director
Washington Summit Publishers
Spouse(s) Nina Kouprianova (separated)
Children 1

Richard Bertrand Spencer (born May 11, 1978) is an American white nationalist and a noted opponent of immigration and population replacement.[1] He is president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank, as well as Washington Summit Publishers. Spencer has stated that he rejects the label of white supremacist, and prefers to describe himself as an identitarian.[2][3][4] He has advocated for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture.[5]

Spencer and others have said that he created the term "alt-right",[6] which he considers a movement about white identity.[7][8][9] Breitbart News described Spencer's website AlternativeRight.com as "a center of alt-right thought."[10]

Spencer and his organization drew considerable media attention in the weeks following the 2016 presidential election, where, at a National Policy Institute conference, in response to his cry "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!", a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute and chanted in a similar fashion to the Sieg heil chant used at the Nazis' Nuremberg rallies. Spencer has defended their conduct, stating that the Nazi salute was given in a spirit of "irony and exuberance".[11]

He participated in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, during which an alt-right supporter allegedly fleeing a group of antifa attackers drove his car into a group of counter-protesters. An obese left-wing protester subsequently died of a heart attack, and two others were also injured. Spencer was then sued for "inciting" the incident. A right-wing protester fired his gun near a group of left-wing protesters following Spencer's October 2017 speech at the University of Florida. Ohio State and several other universities then cancelled Spencer's appearances, condemning him as a menace to public safety.

Spencer and his message have been banned in Europe, with large police resources dedicated to suppressing his demands for reduced Third World immigration into the continent. He has called for "European unity" through a revival of the Roman Empire. In July 2018, Spencer was detained at Reykjavík airport en route to Sweden under the Schengen agreement.

Early life

Spencer was born in Boston, Massachusetts,[12] the son of ophthalmologist William B. Spencer and Sherry Spencer (née Dickenhorst).[13][14] He grew up in Dallas, Texas. In 1997, he graduated from St. Mark's School of Texas. In 2001, Spencer received a B.A. with High Distinction in English Literature and Music from the University of Virginia and, in 2003, an M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. He spent the summer of 2005 and 2006 at the Vienna International Summer University.[15] From 2005 to 2007, he was a doctoral student at Duke University studying modern European intellectual history, where he was a member of the Duke Conservative Union.[13] His website says he left Duke "to pursue a life of thought-crime."[16]

Activities

From March to December 2007, Spencer was assistant editor at The American Conservative magazine. According to founding editor Scott McConnell, Spencer was fired from The American Conservative because his views were considered too extreme.[13] From January 2008 to December 2009, he was executive editor of Taki's Magazine.[17]

In March 2010, Spencer founded AlternativeRight.com, a website he edited until 2012. He has stated that he created the term alt-right.[9]

In January 2011, Spencer became Executive Director of Washington Summit Publishers.[18] In 2012, Spencer founded Radix Journal as a biannual publication of Washington Summit Publishers.[17] Contributors have included Kevin B. MacDonald, Alex Kurtagić, Samuel T. Francis, and Derek Turner.[19] He also hosts a weekly podcast, Vanguard Radio.

In January 2011, Spencer also became President and Director of The National Policy Institute (NPI), a think tank previously based in Virginia and Montana.[20]

In 2014, Spencer was deported from Budapest, Hungary (and because of the Schengen Agreement, is banned from 26 countries in Europe for three years), after trying to organize the National Policy Institute Conference, a conference for white nationalists.[21][22]

On January 15, 2017 (Martin Luther King. Jr.'s birthday), Spencer launched AltRight.com, another commentary website for alt-right members.[23] According to Spencer, the site is a populist and big tent site for members of the alt-right.[24] The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the common thread among contributors as antisemitism, rather than white nationalism or white supremacism in general.[25][26]

On February 23, 2017, Spencer was removed from the Conservative Political Action Conference where he was giving statements to the press. A CPAC spokesman said he was removed from the event because other members found him "repugnant".[27]

Public speaking

During a speech Spencer gave in mid-November 2016 at an alt-right conference attended by approximately 200 people in Washington, D.C., audience members cheered and made the Nazi salute when he said, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!"[9][5]

Groups and events Spencer has spoken to include the Property and Freedom Society,[28] the American Renaissance conference,[29] and the HL Mencken Club.[30] In November 2016, an online petition to prevent Spencer from speaking at Texas A&M University on December 6, 2016 was signed by thousands of students, employees, and alumni.[31] A protest and a university-organized counter-event were held to coincide with Spencer's event.[32]

On January 20, 2017, Spencer attended the inauguration of Donald Trump. As he was giving an impromptu interview on a nearby street afterwards, a man with his face covered came up, punched Spencer in the face, then ran off.[33][34] A video of the incident was posted online and prompted much comment, with some commentators welcoming the attack and others deploring it.[35] Spencer tweeted in response to the incident that white nationalists should provide themselves with physical protection if police will not.[36]

Montana

In 2013, a dispute at a ski club in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana, drew public attention to Spencer and his political views.[37]

The National Policy Institute think tank, AlternativeRight.com, and Radix Journal all use the same mailing address in Whitefish, Montana.[38]

In 2014, local residents in Missoula, Montana, through the Whitefish City Council, initiated upon a non-discrimination resolution, and an organization called Love Lives Here, which is part of the Montana Human Rights Network, rallied against Richard Spencer's residency there.[39]

In December 2016, Republican Representatives Ryan Zinke and Steve Daines, Democratic Representative Jon Tester, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock and Republican Attorney General Tim Fox condemned a neo-Nazi march planned for January 2017. The march is in support of Spencer's mother, who is being pressured by community members for not disavowing her son's beliefs.[40]

Views

Race

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Spencer has advocated for a white homeland for a "dispossessed white race" and called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture.[17][18][41] To this end he has supported what he has called "the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent", an "ideal" that he has regarded as a "reconstitution of the Roman Empire."[42][43] Prior to Britain's vote to leave the EU, Spencer expressed support for the multi-national bloc "as a potential racial empire" and an alternative to "American hegemony", stating that he has "always been highly skeptical of so-called 'Euro-Skeptics.'"[44]

In 2013, the Anti-Defamation League recognized Spencer as a leader in white supremacist circles, saying that since his time at The American Conservative, he has rejected conservatism, because according to Spencer, its adherents "can't or won't represent explicitly white interests."[45]

Spencer has repeatedly quoted from Nazi propaganda and denounced Jews,[9][46] and has on several occasions refused to denounce Adolf Hitler. In one interview in which he was asked if he would condemn the KKK and Hitler, he refused, saying "I’m not going to play this game," while stating that Hitler had "done things that I think are despicable," without elaborating on which things he was referring to.[47]

In a 2016 interview for Time magazine, Spencer said he rejected white supremacy and the slavery of nonwhites, preferring to establish America as a white ethnostate.[48]

Homosexuality

Spencer opposes same-sex marriage,[49] which he has described as "unnatural" and a "non-issue," commenting that "very few gay men will find the idea of monogamy to their liking".[50]

Spencer barred people with anti-gay views from the NPI's annual conference in 2015.[51]

Donald Trump

Spencer openly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and called Trump's victory "the victory of will", a phrase echoing the title of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, a Nazi-era propaganda film.[9] Upon Trump's appointment of Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist and senior counselor, Spencer said Bannon would be in "the best possible position" to influence policy.[52]

Religion

In an interview with Radix Journal early 2017, Spencer called Islam an "an expansive, domineering ideology, and one that is directed against Europe" and asserted that "large-scale Islamic migration has no place in Europe." He also referenced Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations model, stating the religion posed "a grave danger for European peoples," but that the U.S. and Europe should stop "the ongoing chaos and destruction they have caused in the Middle East."[53]

Personal life

In 2010, Spencer moved to Whitefish, Montana. He says he splits his time between Whitefish and Arlington, Virginia,[42][54] although he has said he has lived in Whitefish for over 10 years, and considers it home.[55]

He was separated from his wife Russian American Nina Kouprianova, a political analyst on modern and contemporary Russia, culture, and U.S. foreign policy.[56] She also goes by the nom de plume, Nina Byzantina.[57] They have one child together, a daughter.[58] The couple separated in October 2016.[13] Spencer is an atheist, though he has said that "state and religion are deeply connected", religion "is fundamentally about community, people, and the state," and a "secular government could never exist."[59]

References

    • Peoples, Steve (July 24, 2016). "Energized white supremacists cheer Trump convention message". Associated Press. Cleveland, OH.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Wines, Michael; Saul, Stephanie (July 5, 2015). "White Supremacists Extend Their Reach Through Websites". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Gelin, Martin (November 13, 2014). "White Flight: America's white supremacists are ignored at home. So they are looking to start over with a little help from Europe's far right". Slate. Budapest, Hungary.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Chris Welch and Sara Ganim, White Supremacist Richard Spencer: 'We reached tens of millions of people' with video, CNN, December 6, 2016. "Now Spencer, a 38-year-old white supremacist and founder of the so-called alt-right movement, is taking his rhetoric on the road..."
    • Mangan, Katherine. "A push to 'expand white privilege': Richard B. Spencer president, National Policy Institute, a white-supremacist group." The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 9, 2016, A6+.
    • Zalman, Jonathan. "Neo-Nazi Website Tells Readers to 'Take Action' Against Jews on Behalf of Richard Spencer's Mother in Montana." Tablet Magazine, December 19, 2016. "Critics of Richard Spencer the white supremacist, alt-right leader who dreams of an "ethno-state"are making their voices heard..."
    • "Campus clashes as US white supremacist gives speech." London Evening Standard [London, England], 7 Dec. 2016, p. 22. "Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with riot police at a protest against a white supremacist's speech at a leading American university. Richard Spencer, who gained notoriety for holding a so-called "alt-right" meeting celebrating Donald Trump's election triumph with Nazi rhetoric, told students attending the speech at the Texas A&M University last night: 'At the end of the day, America belongs to white men.'"
    • Gretel Kauffman, "Donald Trump again disavows so-called alt-right supporters", Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2016. "Richard Spencer, coiner of the term "alt-right" and head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute..."
    • Gretel Kauffman, "White supremacists convene in celebration of Trump victory", Christian Science Monitor, November 20, 2016. The annual conference of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank, experienced a rise in attendance this year... 'It’s been an awakening,' Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, said at the conference."
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External links