As a mass mobilization in East Lansing prepares to confront Richard Spencer and a host of various neo-Nazi groups such as Patriot Front, Identity Evropa, and the Traditionalist Worker Party at Michigan State University, the Alt-Right’s plans for a conference in Detroit are rapidly falling apart.
Spencer saying to email (SpencerScreening@Gmail.com) for tickets, get address for "very secure" location, get ticket, then walk to venue. "Getting to MSU a hour ahead of time" will be important, "We're dealing with serious security concerns, and that is the antifa." #StopSpencer pic.twitter.com/YTvTOdYOy3
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) March 4, 2018
The proposed conference, organized by Alt-Right attorney Kyle Bristow, was intended to bring together many of the same players that helped organize the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesvile, Virginia back in August of 2017. This includes Richard Spencer, Mike “Enoch” Peinovich of The Right Stuff neo-Nazi podcast network, Matthew Heimbach of the Traditonalist Worker Party and Nationalist Front, as well as a variety of neo-Nazi and Alt-Right groups.
Losing Kyle Bristow is devastating. I don't see any other way to put it. A brilliant man. Sucks.
— SwiFT (@SwiFT__1889) March 4, 2018
But even the road to the conference has been a rocky one. First, Elliot “Mosley,” the former leader of Identity Evropa, and once a part of the brand new Alt-Right super group headed by Spencer, ‘Operation Homeland,’ was discovered by The New York Times to have lied about his military service in Iraq. In response, Mosley was thrown under the bus by Spencer and friends and it remains unclear if he will be involved in the conference and associated activities at all.
Then, in a bombshell that has rocked the Alt-Right, Kyle Bristow on March 3rd, published an open letter on the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas website (the same website that advertised the conference) that he was in fact leaving “politics” and would not attend either the very conference he helped organize, nor the speech in East Lansing that he fought in court to have take place. Bristow also stated that he will no longer represent Cameron Padget in his fight to get Spencer to speak on a variety of campuses, however another attorney will take over for him. From his letter:
…[T]oday I deleted my private Twitter profile and now am announcing that I will no longer serve in any capacity with the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, Inc.
I will not be in attendance at the upcoming Michigan State University event–which will happen as a result of the recent successful and high-profile lawsuit I filed on behalf of my client–, nor will I attend FMI’s upcoming Detroit conference…
FMI will be transferred to the control of someone else to manage so its mission can be advanced, or else it will be dissolved.
To try and clear things up with the rank-n-file, Spencer put out two videos today reassuring his fans that everything was going according to plan and that the speaking event was still going to happen. He encouraged people to email SPENCERSCREENING@GMAIL.COM in order to get first get an address of a “secure location” after vetting, after which the person would then be able to get a ticket on Monday before the speech, a move that was supposed to take place at the Sunday night conference. In the videos posted to his Twitter account, Spencer appears tired and solemn.
A somber Richard Spencer attempts to reassure his neo-Nazi fans that despite Alt-Right leadership faultering, the #EastLansing event on March 5th is still on. Says to email SPENCERSCREENING@GMAIL.COM to get a ticket for the speech. pic.twitter.com/WuuXZn8RA0
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) March 4, 2018
But even before Bristow’s bowing out, there were key signs that things were headed in a dark direction. Richard Spencer on a podcast (“The State of the Alt-Right Movement”), uploaded to his website, AltRight.com, spoke to the downward spiral at work. Talking with Greg Conte, Spencer spoke how the Alt-Right was in a dark place and seemed to have lost the fire of 2016 in the lead up to the Trump election, and people were unsure of what to do in a post-Charlottesville world.
But things were about to go from bad to worse, when at first The Metro Times announced that they had found the conference venue by way of informant:
At least one person who is not a neo-Nazi or Nazi-sympathizer (or white nationalist or identitarian or whatever these people are calling themselves), managed to get approved for the conference. And this informant has shared with Metro Times an itinerary he says was sent out this morning by FMI’s disgraced former executive director, Kyle Bristow. (It’s an odd turn of events, as Bristow yesterday said he’d resign from the group and skip the conference — but apparently that doesn’t preclude him from playing ring master).
The Carpathia Club, a German Cultural Organization that had been booked for a 7 to 11 p.m. cocktail party Sunday, and Tipsy McStaggers, a Warren bar that was reserved for a party Monday evening, have both backed out of deals with the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas. The spaces were meant to host the two main events the group had planned for a March 4 – 5 Metro Detroit conference built around a speech white-nationalist leader Richard Spencer is set to give Monday at Michigan State University.
“I was informed by the authorities of the type of group that they were. I was unaware when I booked them. I was informed of their views and I was advised to cancel the event by the Sterling Heights Police Department,” said Carsten Grotloh, Hall Manager of the Carpathia Club.
The Metro Times also reported that brunch venues also appear to be closing their doors on the Alt-Right:
Tomorrow morning, the Nazis appear poised to do brunch at an undetermined location in downtown Royal Oak. Managers or staff at three of the itinerary’s suggested eateries — Lily’s Seafood, Cafe Muse, and the Royal Oak Tap House — all said they had no big reservations scheduled for Monday morning. The manager at Cafe Muse said he planned to warn the manager on duty tomorrow that Spencer and co. could be coming.
And despite Bristow supposedly backing away from the Alt-Right, he was still the one that sent out the emails with the conference itinerary to potential guests, also giving away the fact that the neo-Nazis would be staying in the Holiday Inn in Warren:
On Saturday Bristow sent out the conference agenda, noting that he was only doing so because the new interim executive director “lacks internet access.” The agenda recommended that guests stay at the Holiday Inn in Warren…
Kyle Bristow says he's dropping out of Nazi politics, but for years he's promoted + written about a violent race war. When his ideas came to light, he painted himself as a victim. But as his ex-wife stated: "He's done this for far too long. He's not a victim." #StopSpencer pic.twitter.com/bSS6So4k4P
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) March 4, 2018
The Detroit Free Press also reported that an after party event that was supposed to be held near East Lansing on Monday after Spencer’s speech was also shut down:
The agenda went on to note that following Spencer’s speech Monday the group would be having drinks from 8 to 2 a.m. at Tipsy McStaggers in Warren. Bar owner John Vostoris reached out to the Detroit Free Press this morning to say his bar will “absolutely not” be hosting the group now that he is aware of their background and beliefs.
“As soon as I learned about this I said no this is not happening at our place,” Vostoris said. “I mean we’re a neighborhood bar, it just goes completely against our core values as a business. We are nothing but a place for diversity and enjoyment.”
Vostoris said a man named Killian Glish booked the space for Monday a couple weeks back stating that about 100 people who were part of a “social group” would be attending the gathering.
The bar owner said at the time, as a business owner, it sounded great. Knowing what he does now, however, he had his general manager reach out to Glish this morning to cancel.
“He became pretty vocal, there was some explicit language, but we won’t have them here,” said Vostoris.
Ironically, Cameron Padget, the person that set in motion the speaking event in East Lansing, will not even be attending either the FMI Conference or the talk:
Bristow declined further comment Saturday when contacted by the Free Press by email, but verified he posted the resignation letter. He also said that Padgett would also not be attending the FMI’s conference in Detroit or Spencer’s MSU speech.
Regardless of bars and restaurants closing their doors, it is likely that the Alt-Right will have backup venues lined up, or will simply resort to renting out AirBNBs such as they did in November, when the National Policy Institute was evicted from a barn.
Also, people should be prepared for a large group of violent Alt-Right neo-Nazis out on the streets of Detroit and East Lansing, looking for something to do. In the past, this has led to targeted violence.
Whatever happens in Detroit, mass amounts of people are still gearing up to converge in East Lansing, where Spencer and friends will be attempting to save face under a massive police escort. For more information on the convergence, go here and here.