Last Friday evening, during opening night of the 2013 American Renaissance conference, a ragtag gaggle of antifa (or “antifascist”) protesters stood outside the Inn at Montgomery Bell park near Burns, Tennessee, attempting to harass and hector attendees of the event. The efforts of this scruffily-attired and olfactorily-challenged group were, admittedly, quite feeble, yet one must at least honor their deep dedication to an exalted and truly important Cause.
After all, it must surely have taken courage and fortitude to drive for miles to a remote location in middle Tennessee, then to stand forlornly for hours holding makeshift signs bearing slogans meant to be viewed as devastatingly clever rejoinders to what Nazi-KKK-white supremacists, et al must be saying within the halls of the plush inn nestled in the Appalachian foothills, where the nefarious conferees were no doubt malevolently plotting world domination, just like Hitler and his minions at their Eagle’s Nest redoubt in the Bavarian Alps.
No, it couldn’t have been easy. But after all… somebody’s gotta oppose all of those wicked, immensely powerful, and staggeringly influential white nationalist types who have the temerity to hold a seminar in the ballroom of a state park hotel. Somebody’s gotta hold up cheaply made signs and chant inane little ditties in the gathering dusk (“1-2-3-4, don’t go in that hotel door/ 5-6-7-8, we don’t need no fascist state!”), cuz otherwise, next thing you know we’ll all be sieg-heiling, sterilizing the mentally ill, and sending poor little Mexican migrant workers and their families to concentration camps to be exterminated. Someone’s gotta DO SOMETHING to stop such an eminently plausible scenario from unfolding! If not the “Anti-Nazi Klan Coalition” and the equally fearsome “Coalition to Shut Down AmRen,” then who?
I was in attendance at the Am Ren shin-dig in question, and when NPI executive director and Alternative Right founder Richard Spencer decided to chat with the ragamuffin radicals perched at the top of the steps outside the chalet, fairly well wallowing in their own flatulent excretions of self-righteousness, I jumped at the chance to tag along.
The group seemed overjoyed to see us, so lonely were they standing there feeling good about themselves, with no one to observe their audacious bravery at standing up to the powers-that-be. This crew of six (four college-age youths, a ZZ-Top bearded man who was apparently a radical rabbi of some sort, and one hippyish older woman) all boldly wielded slabs of cardboard box paper with words scribbled on the front. The magic marker-drawn slogans on their homemade signs ranged from stabs at ironical cleverness (“GO BACK TO EUROPE”—a rejoinder, I suppose, to “racist” whites who advise Tijuana border-jumpers to return to their native country), to vaguely threatening expressions of tough-guy bravado (“THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS,” accompanied by a squiggly drawing of what appears to be a machine gun), to straightforward, if convolutedly-phrased statements of determined anti-intellectualism (“FASCISM IS A THOUGHT NOT WORTH THINKING”) .Yet as we approached, one young man with wild orange James Holmes-esque hair seemed particularly intent on drawing attention to his own indubitable semiotic prowess.
“Here!” he shouted to Richard, who'd brought his camera. “Get a shot of this!” And he whipped out his chunk of cardboard, on which was scrawled his own provocative catchphrase: “REPEAT DRESDEN.”
For the benefit of readers who learned about World War II from public school or The History Channel, a brief primer might be in order regarding the event that this earnest young fellow felt so enthused about “repeating.” In short, the German town of Dresden was the site of a notorious war atrocity, in which RAF bombers strafed the city center for hours, resulting in the direct incineration of tens of thousands-- perhaps hundreds of thousands-- of men, women, and children.
This was the incident that the sniveling lout before me wanted to see “repeated,” or so declared his makeshift banner. When I asked him if he really meant it, he became evasive, asking me if I really believed all the filth I spouted. I reminded him that he in truth had no idea who I was, and had any idea of anything I’d ever said or written, which forced him to demur just a bit. Okay, fine… but did I think that the Holocaust was bad? I told him that I felt that any violence against innocent civilians was thoroughly evil, regardless of who was committing the violence or who was being victimized. This confused him, and he and his elder comrade (the hippy lady) looked at one another and muttered something like, “I guess there’s less ideological unanimity here than we’d thought,” implying that opposing mass murder is, with few exceptions, an exclusive province of left-wingers hoisting red flags and hammers and sickles (as these protesters and their comrades did on other occasions during the weekend), i.e., those pimping the swag of the most murderous regimes in history!
Our exchange finally ended when I told him, “You really need to be careful about promoting a slogan like ‘Repeat Dresden’—even if you are just trying to be provocative, that’s pretty poisonous rhetoric.” Now the fellow really looked flummoxed. It all just made so little sense. Here was I, some random Nazi guy (in his mind anyhow, since no one attending this conference could be anything but a Mein-Kampher ), lecturing him, a good, properly credentialed lefty, on the importance of refraining from promoting human extermination!
I walked back inside, feeling, I’ll admit, just a bit elated at having managed to turn the tables on my interlocutor, wondering if perhaps I’d maybe even managed to plant a seed of doubt in his arrogant mind as to whether he truly knew as much as he thought he did about the nature and identity of his enemies.
This was probably foolish of me, for no diminution of obnoxiousness was evident among the ranks of the antifa at any time afterwards. Reports abounded of these miscreants angrily accosting parents with children who just happened to be staying at the inn, and had no affiliation with the American Renaissance conference. Once, accompanied by a friend and his petite teenage daughter, I passed a slightly larger group of them, and it felt like high school where a bunch of nerds have suddenly, unaccountably launched into a deluded power trip and think that they’re now the jocks who rule the school. “Hi, Nazis!” they shrieked at us, before turning their handheld cameras in our direction, expecting us to feel terribly intimidated by the exposure. My friend grinned and told the world his name, while I archly reproached the main cameraman for the Soviet emblem which adorned the front of his equipment (nothing says integrity like attacking Hitler while pimping for Stalin!), but my friend’s daughter was genuinely frightened and frazzled by the sudden onrush of hostility from a mob of about a dozen or so men.
This, to me, said it all. What kind of little bitches see fit to gather in packs and set out to terrorize parents and children, and intimidate teenage girls? Perhaps the same sort of useless clods who swagger and boast of “killing fascists,” the same cowards who relish the notion of incinerating German civilians at Dresden all over again; which is to say, the same pussies who laughably formed a supposed “Coalition to Shut Down AmRen,” before failing miserably to do anything of the kind.
Good show, guys! Let’s do it again next year.
Andy Nowicki, co-editor of Alternative Right, is a Catholic reactionary writer who loathes all modernist dogmas and superstitions. He is the author of five books, including Heart Killer and The Columbine Pilgrim. He occasionally updates his blog (www.andynowicki.blogspot.com ) when the spirit moves him to do so.