The Slatest

Meet the Neo-Nazi Whom Steve Bannon’s Site Described as a Leading “Intellectual”

Steve Bannon.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Richard Spencer is one of the leading “intellectuals” of the alt-right movement. This was according the website Breitbart when it was being run by incoming White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.

“The media empire of the modern-day alternative right coalesced around Richard Spencer during his editorship of Taki’s Magazine,” the publication glowed in a March piece explaining the alt-right phenomenon. “In 2010, Spencer founded, which would become a center of alt-right thought.”

The intellectual leaders of the alt-right movement like Spencer, the site argued, were “dangerously bright,” which was perhaps why liberals feared them Breitbart suggested.

In August, Bannon proudly described his site as “the platform for the alt-right,” a movement with Spencer as one of its intellectual leaders, again, according to Bannon’s own site.

Despite its new branding, over the weekend Spencer demonstrated the “alt-right” of Bannon for what it really is: neo-Nazis in suits and ties.

The New York Times reported on what Spencer—and by extension the rest of the alt-right media apparatus—is really espousing from his “alt-right conference” in Washington D.C.

Here’s what that is:

He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”

As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back.

And more:

At the conference on Saturday, Mr. Spencer, who said he had coined the term, defined the alt-right as a movement with white identity as its core idea.

And more:

Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said.

The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”

Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests. He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning.

“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.

Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was “the victory of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film. But Mr. Spencer then mentioned, with a smile, Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader who advocated a Jewish homeland in Israel, quoting his famous pronouncement, “If we will it, it is no dream.”

And more:

“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.”

“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.

More members of the audience were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice facing white people as to “conquer or die.”

Of other races, Mr. Spencer said: “We don’t exploit other groups, we don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around.”

Spencer said he didn’t think that Trump should be considered an “alt-right” figure himself, but that the common cause between Trump’s movement and his own movement was obvious.

White identity, he said, is at the core of both the alt-right movement and the Trump movement, even if most voters for Mr. Trump “aren’t willing to articulate it as such.”

The people who voted to put Donald Trump into the White House can call this portion of his popular appeal whatever they want. Richard Spencer has identified it for exactly what it is.