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Feb 23, 17

Turning Point USA: The Alt-Right’s Blackshirts


Turning Point USA has come to Denver, and the local radicals are taking notice.

TPUSA is an organization closely tied with the Alt-Right. Although they claim no affiliation, TPU’s founder, Charlie Kirk, is a contributor at Breitbart and spent two months of the election cycle working alongside the Trump campaign, helping to recruit millennial voters for the right. TPU has partnered with college republican groups to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campuses in Colorado Springs and Boulder, financing his open parade of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia (and encouraging students to attend). Even Charlie Kirk’s father, Robert W. Kirk, is the president of Group A Architects, and was the project manager for Trump Tower in NYC.

TPU’s primary tactic is college recruitment. It wasn’t two weeks ago they were tabling at Denver University, proudly displaying jingoistic merchandise. They appear with a slick corporate image, pamphlets extolling the virtues of American exceptionalism, bearing titles such as “10 Ways America is the Greatest Country in the History of the World!” These pieces of literature contain historically revisionist, pastel portraits of an imaginary country, where “immigrants” came together willingly to pursue total freedom and equality. Features like genocide, slavery, Jim Crow, voting restrictions, brutal union-busting, and internment camps are grouped into long-dead, long-corrected mistakes of the past.

Unsurprisingly, TPUSA is also responsible for the Professor Watchlist, which targets and harasses “leftist” professors for being “anti-American.” Their adulation of free speech, small government, and patriotism just barely veil a neo-fascist organization working hand-in-hand with a “soft white power” movement to recruit 18 to 22-year-olds — a well-worn tactic of early fascists from the Blackshirts to the Hitler Youth.

Unfortunately, Turning Point has already spread rapidly, constructing chapters in many states. However, Denver’s radicals refuse to let this group go unopposed.


TPU is hosting their Western Conference on the 18th and 19th of March, at the Denver Grand Hyatt. Since this event was announced, the community has organized to shut down the conference early, first by making phone calls to the Hyatt’s management (303-295-1234), then by picketing the hotel itself. During the short demonstration, two groups of guests cancelled their reservations and demanded refunds, having learned the hotel was hosting an Alt-Right strategic committee.

The Hyatt’s General Manager – Mark Stiebling – has shown no signs of remorse or willingness to take a stand against white supremacy. While less aggressive tactics continue, such as phone calls, emails, speaking with the staff, and spreading awareness on social media, it seems likely that a large-scale confrontation is inevitable.

We consider TPU to be an unqualified threat to our city. By mainstreaming Alt-Right ideology, TPU has aligned themselves against feminism, internationalism, anti-capitalism, immigrant and refugee solidarity, workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, and ecological responsibility. In short, they have come to OUR neighborhood wearing the colors of white, cishet, male superiority.


It is likely your state has a chapter of TPU already, or is constructing one. If you intend to counter them, do your homework first.

TPU’s chapter handbook provides a good look at their methodology, and their pamphlets are rife with the sort of ahistorical, whitewashed fabrications they spout to prospective members. They almost exclusively target college students, and have a large social media footprint, so following their twitter account can keep you up to date on their movement.

If you are a student, spread awareness; tell your friends, hand out flyers, and make posters decrying this masquerade of “free speech.” Educate yourself, expose misinformation, and demand that your chancellors expunge existing chapters for attempting to silence professors via the watchlist.


Moving forward, opposing Turning Point will be vital for the radical struggle. Although they paint themselves as patriotic, freedom-loving, hard-working Americans concerned with intellectual diversity, their actions and words have demonstrated a troubling pattern of fascist behavior.

Charlie Kirk himself rails against affirmative action because he believes he lost a position in a military academy to a “less qualified, non-white” individual. He has compared welfare to feeding stray animals. Despite being from an affluent white family, he insists there is no reason for anyone in America to be failing financially other than their own laziness and inadequacy. He is scheduled to speak at CPAC, where Milo would have stood beside him, had he not lost his conservative marketability.

This organization is copying classic tactics of “cleaning up” white supremacy, couching their language in meritocracy and liberty, while promoting a culture that has disenfranchised, abused, imprisoned, and killed countless innocent folk of color while elevating whiteness, capitalism, and jingoism as badges of honor. If this rhetoric is not confronted regularly, the Alt-Right will have a new pool of shock troops at their disposal, and Trump will have another foothold in our culture.


To the members and directors of TPUSA, be aware; we see you. From now on, every speaking event, every conference, and every table you set up on college campuses in Denver will be directly opposed. You have no fucking right to suddenly disengage from Milo, having invited him to tell your fellow students that rape culture is a myth, that feminism is a cancer, that trans folk are mentally ill sexual predators, and that Islam must be eradicated. Your insistence that you are not part of the Alt-Right is a brass-fronted lie, considering your co-action with their major players. Your long-winded love letters to capitalism and free speech are insufficient to obfuscate your racist, entitled posturing.

We see you, and we are watching you. You are not welcome in our city.

photo: Gage Skidmore via Flikr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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