It is sad how some people cannot seem to let go of their irrational hatred of other people. In recent months we have seen a faceless outfit called Voice of the Renaissance litter East Greenwich with their flyers calling to preserve the White race, as if people of color who are building themselves up are a threat to White people everywhere (it’s not). Last February the Islamic School of Rhode Island was vandalized by someone who spray-painted Islamophobic messages on their building, one making his intentions very clear: “Now this is a hate crime!” And we all know by now how Donald Trump refused to rebuke a supporter who went on an anti-Muslim rant at his town hall event in Rochester, New Hampshire. Thing is, these things left unchecked may lead to even more extreme actions towards a community in the future, be it acts of violence or legislation that stifles rights. That is why when it happens those communities come out to build a resistance against it.
- [Editor's note: There will be a march against the racist flyers on Sunday, September 20 leaving from the Westminster Unitarian Church (119 Kenyon Ave, East Greenwich) at 12:30 pm. "In response to white supremacists fliers recently distributed in East Greenwich and to ongoing racial injustice in our state and across the county, Westminster Unitarian Church’s Social Responsibility Committee, the White Noise Collective, and concerned East Greenwich residents are organizing a march to mobilize people across RI for racial justice. We are calling on white people in particular to stand up and support the growing Black Lives Matter movement."]
Those that engage in such behavior however are not going to be content with just tagging a school, throwing around flyers or ranting at a presidential candidate. That doesn’t get results. They still have to organize and network with people who can advance their hatred to the point that they see things happen for them, and they are able to reclaim a position they once had over the people they hate just a few short years ago. When they do that, it takes even more vigilance to fight back because this is when they are at their most dangerous.
On Saturday, Oct. 31 (Halloween) a group with a rather benign name called the National Policy Institute (NPI) will hold a conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. While not directly connected to the Voice of the Renaissance, they share the same ideals. NPI is a promoter of eugenics, believing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites, has waged campaigns to make the Republican Party exclusively white, and is trying to build alliances with white supremacists and fascists in Europe. In fact, their leader, Richard Spencer, who has called for a white ethno-state, is not allowed to enter much of Europe for the next two years after he attempted to hold a similar conference in Budapest, Hungary. Undaunted, he continues to hold conferences in the DC area, often during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where he tries to build outreach to attendees, many of them young people, with some success. That means he is attempting to create a new generation of racist legislators who will keep his brand of hatred alive.
The speakers at the NPI conference include anti-Semites, Islamophobes and Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) that will speak to political operatives, academics and others in a setting that unlike the average neo-Nazi rally, will give them the opportunity to network and organize behind closed doors. One of the speakers is part of a group that has the slogan “Ni keffieh, ni kippa”.(“Neither [Palestinian] keffieh, nor yarmulke”). They are only one of several similar conferences happening all around the country. Another one happening just one week later in Baltimore is sponsored by the H.L. Mencken Club, which is, curiously enough, one of the groups co-founded by NPI’s Richard Spencer.
They very seldom get opposition, mostly because they make themselves look like nothing more than your average conservative organization that doesn’t set off any alarms unless someone delves into what they are about, but unfortunately for them, that is what is beginning to happen. There are people mobilizing to oppose the NPI conference by calling the National Press Club – where NPI has held two other events – and sending them letters calling for them to shut this hate conference down. Failing that, they plan to be out there on Halloween, letting the hatemongers know that they are not welcome.
Regardless of what face hate puts on, we need to recognize it for what it is, and once we do keep it from hurting the greater society. We have seen what it has done to generations in this country and abroad, and although it is cliché, there is something to be said for how in this day and age this approach to life is still something palatable to some circles.
Let’s break those circles.
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