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D.C.-area activists are rallying against an Arlington-based organization described as “a hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center that’s scheduled to hold a conference on “identity politics” at a federal facility this Saturday night.
The National Policy Institute, which characterizes itself as “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world,” has booked the rotunda of the Ronald Reagan Building, located at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. The itinerary for the evening features a series of speeches about Donald Trump (“The Trump Phenomenon and the Implicit White Revolt,” for one). But the “ad-hoc coalition” opposing the NPI’s activities and use of U.S. property allege the group has links to “racist violence.”
“In a time where a black liberation movement has gained momentum, extremist right-wing backlash is unsurprising,” says organizer Lyndi Borne, in a release. “But we cannot let the white supremacist ‘thought leaders’ quietly advance their agenda of eugenics and forced sterilization in our federal buildings. We cannot wait for a group like this to act on its expressed intentions.” The coalition wants the General Services Administration, which manages the Reagan facility, to “terminate its contract” with the NPI, and is “organizing an onsite protest of the event as necessary on March 5,” too.
The GSA has not returned a request for comment. The NPI’s leader says his group aims to “promote awareness of the heritage and identity of European people.” “We have never been involved in violence of any kind, and we are shocked by the baseless accusations of these protestors,” NPI President Richard B. Spencer writes in an email to City Desk.
Based on past accounts, Spencer has appeared little bothered by critics. In a NPI blog post from September 2013, he wrote:
“Over the past few years, I’ve become inured to ‘hatchet job’ profiles of me and organizations I’m involved with. I actually find many of them rather amusing. And generally, I adhere to the maxim, ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity.’ After all, I first encountered ‘academic racists’ like Louis Andrews, Sam Francis, Kevin MacDonald, and Jared Taylor by reading their SPLC profiles. Whatever the intentions of the authors, hit pieces direct energy and interest towards our movement; and we’d be remiss not to take advantage.”
Still, members of the anti-racist coalition were out canvassing against the NPI at the D.C. streetcar’s grand opening this past Saturday, distributing pamphlets about Spencer’s group to spectators along H Street NE. Says local activist Mike Stark, “We are deeply disturbed a hate group has been allowed to use government resources to spread their message.”
Apparently, the NPI is also being allowed to eat in the Reagan Building this weekend: “beef sirloin, salmon, and pizza” for dinner, and “crème brûlée” for dessert, according to their agenda.
Photo by Mikel Larreategi via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)