Filed under: Anti-fascist, Editorials, US
On February 18, 2017, a small group of crypto-fascists calling themselves The Hoppe Caucus [archive] brought Richard Spencer, an open white supremacist, to the International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC). The conference organizers did not allow him inside the conference itself, so the provocateurs put him in a bar at the hotel where the conference was held. They deceptively set up a makeshift sign saying that the event was Richard Spencer’s appearance at ISFLC. Shortly thereafter, they were confronted by conference attendees. After about 45 minutes, the fascists were expelled by the bar’s owner.
Although Spencer was ultimately removed, this show of force should cause concern to any anti-fascist or libertarian. Why do fascists feel emboldened enough to crash a libertarian conference? There are many reasons that we cannot exhaustively address, but one major factor is that libertarians are ignorant to the history and methods of fascism. Unfortunately, by and large, libertarians do not recognize the need to confront fascists when they show their faces in public. This — at best — neutrality has allowed for the proliferation of ideological racism and far-right elements within libertarian ranks. We aim to change that.
Spencer’s attempt to appropriate the auspices of a libertarian conference shouldn’t come as a surprise, and the caucus responsible should be understood as the tip of the iceberg. In this document we provide information on the people immediately responsible for the event. Expelling them from libertarian organizations is the starting point from which we can begin to secure an explicitly anti-fascist libertarianism. Many of the responsible parties have already been banned from Students for Liberty, but continue to operate unchallenged within a more conservative group also focused on organizing libertarian students called Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). We hope that this document will provide some of the tools and evidence that antifascists in both organizations and across the libertarian movement need to identify and resist fascist entryism.
A note to readers on the left: we use “libertarianism” here out of convenience to refer specifically to the movement popularly known by that name in the United States, but please understand that it is an ideologically diverse umbrella. We are ourselves individualist anarchists of various stripes. Despite what some disingenuous demagogues on both the right and left would claim, libertarianism is far from synonymous with fascism, and it would behoove other anti-fascists to recognize how critical it is that the libertarian movement not be ceded to fascists. The libertarian movement is large and fertile ground for radicalization and desperately needs help and solidarity. In fact, the movement is polarizing, with many members moving leftward. This leftward movement has been received hysterically by the few remaining reactionaries.
Lies and Violence
A common misconception among libertarians and liberals is that modern fascists are peaceful. Many take them at their (occasional) claims to support only voluntary means to achieve their decidedly non-libertarian ends. The logic goes that as long as they are polite, fascists should be accepted civilly and allowed to recruit. The events of ISFLC weekend expose the delusion of such an approach, both through the fascists’ words and their actions.
One of the lies continually promoted by the fascists is that The Hoppe Caucus had no intent of disrupting ISFLC and only invited Spencer in the interests of “free speech” (a very peculiar form of free speech that requires everyone to encourage fascists to speak in their hotel). In their own words [archive]:
The Hoppe Caucus hosted Richard Spencer at #ISFLC not because we were trying to start some kind of commotion, but rather an important dialogue. Hans-Hermann Hoppe invited him to his own Property and Freedom Society Conference several years ago for that very reason.
It’s clear from their own words — said off-the-cuff, not typed later to fit their narrative — that this is an outright lie. As Subervi so nicely puts it, they held the event in order to “trigger the fuck out of these faggot libertarians.”
Their denial of agreement with Spencer is selective at best:
Hans-Hermann Hoppe, for that matter, is a primary influence on crypto-fascists within the libertarian movement. He is famous for his assertions, among others, that homosexuals are predisposed toward shortsightedness, and that a libertarian society would necessarily exclude non-white immigrants, queers and other non-traditionalist individuals as threats to its continued existence. Fascists cite him when they wish to wrap immigration restrictions in libertarian language. Spencer is not the first white supremacist that the Property and Freedom Society (ultra-libertarian group) has hosted either. His motivations for doing so are as transparent as those of the Caucus that bears his name.
One of the libertarians in attendance at the conference, John Lindley, was actually attacked twice by someone who claims to be a peaceful “ethno-nationalist”:
Myself, Joey McCauley and Will Cooley went in and immediately began disrupting the event. We called them bigots and Nazis and told them if they wanted to use violence they could start on us.It was our intention get them kicked out.The manager came over and said people need to quiet down. So the Hoppe people said “hey you guys, free speech” so that’s when I said “oh why you might get kicked out? Good fuck you.” So management came and we all dispersed which is when Spencer left.
That night after the social I came back to the hotel.I confronted the hoppe caucus who were all sitting there drinking. I yelled and then debated for a bit but they weren’t even good intellectually. (Obvs) I left to go to a room and had to come back.They confronted me about stealing beer and then Cesar [Subervi] grabbed me from behind.There was a scuffle and I punched him as we were pulled apart.This morning Rocco was on my feed and I let everyone know I was still there and not afraid of them.So I saw some of them and called them out and they walked by and then walked by Cesar because I had ran into one of the girls from the ancap group and we were talking.
Anyway he turned around and came up and said “you don’t just get to talk shit and walk away” and attacked me so I punched him and then we fought for about 30 seconds. We were pulled apart and then I left because we were told the cops were on the way. He tried to confront me again and I just walked away. I don’t regret and would do it again. Anyone who would have the state control lives based on something as arbitrary as race then you are in no way a libertarian.
You are a violent threat and you should expect people you want the state to marginalize to defend themselves. Giving fascists a platform is the same as being a fascist at this point. They are the ones who started this war but we will defend ourselves. And I will defend my friends and family because that’s who is being threatened.
Lindley made us proud by resisting fascists on both fronts – words and fists. He gave Cesar Subervi a hell of a black eye, too. This violence has, of course, been misrepresented [archive] by The Hoppe Caucus as an unprovoked attack by an anti-fascist “thug.”
In the aftermath of the second fight, other students can be heard remarking that Subervi “fights with everybody.” In fact, his entire activist career seems to consist of instigating fights, getting his ass kicked [archive], and then running away [archive] crying [archive] that he was victimized [archive]. More on him below.
This group clearly intends to do physical harm, both immediately and in the future. For all his protestations that the ethnic cleansing he plans will be “peaceful,” when asked directly by a supporter, Spencer admits that it will not be.
The fantasy of a nonviolent white nationalism, put forward by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and his adherents in the Caucus, is so absurd a lie that even Mr. Peaceful Ethnic Cleansing will not play along with it.
Liberals and libertarians are often duped into this notion that we should wait to resist fascism until there are jackboots marching down the street and loading people into train cars. They don’t seem to recognize the connection between fascist organizing and fascist violence. But fascists make themselves perfectly clear. The far-right “libertarians” who invited Spencer admit as much in one video recording of their conversation:
“REV UP THESE HELICOPTERS.”
“GOTTA WALK BEFORE WE CAN RUN.”
The reference to helicopters is an allusion to Augusto Pinochet, a Chilean dictator who murdered dissenters by throwing them from helicopters. They clearly state their intent to commit acts of aggressive violence against those they disagree with as soon as they have obtained the means to do so, yet without a shred of self-awareness they conclude that leftists are the truly intolerant ones. Spencer, you might note, finds the whole idea hilarious.
Despite all of this, some go so far as to deny Richard Spencer is even racist at all, not just that he is a nonviolent racist (aka a unicorn). Belying that notion is this footage of Spencer making the incredible claim that it’s better for a white person to be destitute in a desolate white city in Wyoming than rich in the bustling and eventful Beijing, simply because Beijing has Chinese people:
“YOU WOULD NEVER BE AT HOME.”
This problem didn’t occur for no reason and it can’t be fixed without effort. As noted earlier, a great many of the instigators of this stunt continue to be welcomed into certain libertarian circles, and even perform leadership roles. Websites like The Liberty Conservative serve as de facto mouthpieces of fascist propaganda, whether wittingly or not. Prominent libertarian icons [archive] encourage the use of movement resources to promote fascist speakers.
Besides standing up to extreme expressions of fascism, like John Lindley et al. did at ISFLC, we have to stand up to casual ones. We can’t just condemn Richard Spencer, we have to condemn every helicopter meme and “All Lives Matter.” We can’t just yell at boneheads, we also have to pressure friends who keep silent as their organizations rot from the inside. There is a disturbing volume of collaborators in libertarian and libertarian-adjacent organizations, as evidenced by the number of Young Americans for Liberty members who espouse fascism. These people must be expelled and a firm standard of anti-oppression established. This is libertarianism, people! That comes from the word liberty!
To that end, this section documents what we know about the folks responsible for the Spencer trolling. Most of them are from either the Macomb Community College or Transylvania University chapter of Young Americans for Liberty. The information presented here was obtained easily from their web presence; most of them seem to think that fascism is a harmless game and have taken no precautions with their information.