They might be feeling their oats lately, but if CPAC doesn’t do more about the fascists within their midsts than just kicking Richard Spencer out of the hall, that will be short-lived.
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – Although White Supremacist Richard Spencer was ejected from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and Dan Schneider of the American Conservative Union denounced the so-called “alt-right” as a “hate-filled left-wing fascist group” that “hijacked” the term, those that identify with that term were still ever present at the conference, be it in the various presentations or in their exhibit hall where sponsors maintained tables and booths. It’s nothing new for the annual event, but in today’s political climate where neo-Fascism has had a very bright spotlight cast on it because of the practices of the Trump Administration and the support it receives from neo-Fascist circles in particular, conservatives have been working to protect themselves from the ever-present blowback.
It was more than obvious even as Spencer was being shown the door after spending 45 minutes in a hallway adjacent to the Potomac Ballroom, CPAC’s main hall. James O’Mailia, who told Spencer that he represented the “alt-right” club at Penn State, invited him to come to the campus and speak. His group which is currently named the Bull-Moose Party, was originally named Students for Trump and received some press for one of their stunts on campus – building a plywood “wall” around a flagpole as a form of protest.
Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party, who was in the forefront of the effort to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union known as Brexit, spoke almost immediately after Donald Trump spoke on Friday. “I always believe we should be free to reach out and make our own deals with our real friends in the world,” He told the crowd. “And it’s funny — our real friends in the world speak English, have common law and stand by us in times of crisis.”
However, even though the White Nationalist-founded ProEnglish did have a booth at this year’s CPAC, not all of Farage’s “real friends” necessarily spoke English. One organization that had set up a booth in the Exhibit Hall was Europe for Nations and Freedom (ENF), a far-right, nationalist organization within the European Parliament that is chaired by Marine LePen of France’s Front National. Beside that party, according to their literature, they were also represented and support nationalist parties such as Geert Wilders’ Dutch Party for Freedom, Italy’s Lega Nord, the Freedom Party of Austria, which was once headed up by neo-Nazi Jorg Haider, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, Poland’s Congress of the New Right (KNP) and former UKIP member Janice Atkinson. The rise of fascist politicians in Europe has prompted some in the European Parliament to speak out and act, even to the point where they passed a rule in a effort to curb hate speech within their body to ban live broadcasts of parliamentary debate in cases of racist speech or acts and to purge offending video or audio material from the online system.
While not maintaining a table or much of a presence for that matter, the Christian Action Network, an Islamophobic organization founded by anti-gay activist Martin Mawyer, was able to ensure that several DVD copies of its documentary Europe’s Last Stand was in the Exhibit Hall as well. The video not only paints Muslims as terroristic rapists who worship a pedophile, it also praised hate groups like the English Defence League and the neo-Nazi Britain First, which was founded by former British National Party members and led by Paul Golding who was kicked out of the BNP after attacking its only member that was a person of color. Golding, who is seen in the DVD harassing Muslim shop owners, was sentenced in December to eight weeks in prison for violating a court order banning him from entering a mosque or encouraging others to do so when nine days after that order was imposed he drove several people to a mosque in Wales and began harassing those inside. In November Golding took a leave of absence from Britain First to attend to what he saw were family matters.
At CPAC there were also those who were attempting to encourage attendees to target leftist protests, particularly antifa. One of those groups was the Capital Research Center, an organization that was started in 1984 to combat liberal non-profit organizations. The group screened a 20-minute conspiracy theory documentary called Civil War 2017 that purported to show how leftists of all stripes were connected, naming several some activists that have been vocal against Donald Trump in particular, accusing them for engaging in violent tactics. The documentary featured Trevor Loudon a New Zealand activist that regularly builds dossiers on left wing activists, and many in the room were receptive to his efforts. One person who said he rode with Bikers for Trump attempted to encourage those in the room to be even more proactive against such protesters. “If they are more than willing to use violence against us, why should be stand by and be helpless victims against this?” Jim Balazek of LaPlata, MD asked, forgetting the anti-Trump protesters that were attacked at beaten at Trump rallies during the campaign with Trump himself supporting it. Loudon however, defused the idea of taking matters into one’s own hands saying to support the police when they deal with protesters.
Ironically, Project Veritas, the James O’Keefe-led organization that paints itself as a right-wing watchdog group against left wing activity and was prominently featured in Civil War 2017, also had a booth at CPAC. At least one person was identified later by antifa as one who attended left wing meetings.
Plans for CPAC 2018 are already being made, with the midterms of that year taking center stage as progressives and liberals hope to reclaim congress and slow down the agenda of the Trump Administration.