Nazi imagery on full display at alt-right event in Washington
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Nazi imagery on full display at alt-right event in Washington

At gathering of National Policy Institute, white supremacists give Nazi salute, ‘heil’ Trump’s election as a ‘victory of will’

Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who runs a Washington think tank, the National Policy Institute. (Screenshot from YouTube via JTA)
Richard Spencer, a white supremacist who runs a Washington think tank, the National Policy Institute. (Screenshot from YouTube via JTA)

At an event of the alt-right National Policy Institute on Saturday night, attendees reportedly spouted Nazi propaganda and slogans, yelling “Heil the people! Heil the victory,” and extended their arms in Nazi salutes, showcasing the extremist views of the white nationalist group that has been emboldened by Donald Trump’s presidential run.

Speakers quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German and described Trump’s election victory as “the victory of will,” using the name of a famous Nazi propaganda film that championed Hitler and the Nazis’ rise to power in 1930s Germany, The New York Times reported.

People at the event also referred to the media as the “Lugenpresse,” a term used by Nazis that translates as “lying press.” National Policy Institute head Richard Spencer, who has been described as a forerunner of the alt-right movement, implied that the press’s opposition to Trump derives from a desire to defend Jewish interests.

Spencer, who claims to have coined the term alt-right, said that white identity was the driving factor behind the movement and that since the meteoric rise of Trump, white people have been “awakening to their own identity.”

Calling white people “children of the sun,” Spencer said that “America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” adding, “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

Since Trump’s election, much ink has been spilled over his campaign’s part in the rise of the alt-right, a vague grouping of far-right nationalists who have taken a hard line against immigration and what they see as the cultural degradation of America. Spencer has made clear that in his eyes the alt-right is by no means a mere nationalist movement but one based on a doctrine of white supremacy and hatred toward Jews and non-whites.

Police break up scuffles between protesters and alt-right activists outside the National Policy Institute conference in Washington DC, on November 19, 2016. (screen capture: YouTube)
Police break up scuffles between protesters and alt-right activists outside the National Policy Institute conference in Washington DC, on November 19, 2016. (screen capture: YouTube)

Last week, Spencer’s Twitter account was suspended for violating prohibitions on “violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct,” leading him to lash out at what he called “corporate Stalinism” and saying that “there is a great purge going on,” according to AFP.

Much of the recent focus on the alt-right stems from Trump’s appointment of his campaign CEO and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon as a senior presidential adviser, who earlier this year said that Breitbart News is “the platform for the alt-right.”

In a Wall Street Journal interview on Saturday, Bannon said that “our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.” He added that while there are “some racial and anti-Semitic overtones” on the alt-right, he strongly condemns their views and says they are “a tiny part” of Breitbart readers.

Stephen K. Bannon talking about immigration issues with a caller while hosting Brietbart News Daily on SiriusXM Patriot at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Stephen K. Bannon talking about immigration issues with a caller while hosting Brietbart News Daily on SiriusXM Patriot at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

While some at the National Policy Institute praised Bannon, one attendee said that “Trump and Steve Bannon are not alt-right people,” as they had merely used the issues of immigration and political correctness to rally white voters, without being true believers.

In a Mother Jones profile of Spencer published shortly before the election, he called Bannon and Breitbart News readers “alt-light,” saying that their agenda was to promote “Western values” rather than white supremacy.

With Trump’s election victory, Spencer said, “people will have to recognize us” and the fact that “white identity politics is inevitable.”

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