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November 13

What You Need To Know About Stephen Miller’s Connection To Richard Spencer, White Nationalism & Why It Matters

On Tuesday, Michael Hayden on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog, dropped a bombshell that exposed further connections between White House policy advisor, Stephen Miller, and white nationalism. Miller, 34, grew from a far-Right activist at Duke University alongside white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, to working under Michele Bachmann and then Jeff Sessions through connections with David Horowtiz, and eventually went all the way to the White House as Trump’s key advisor alongside other reactionary figures such as Breitbart’s Steve Bannon. Miller’s policies, influenced by white nationalist websites and Nativist think-tanks, have gone on to shape the lives of millions of working and poor people – and not for the better.

The SPLC report itself is a treasure trove of leaked email correspondence between Miller and former Breitbart writer Katie McHugh, between 2015 and 2016. McHugh, who herself is a former white nationalist and was fired from Breitbart for racist online comments, was profiled in a May expose by Buzzfeed. The SPLC article features an overview of some 900 emails, which highlight Miller’s ideological propensity towards white nationalist websites such as V-Dare and American Renaissance, and books, like The Camp of the Saints, as well as far-Right conspiracy theory platforms. like InfoWars.

But as McHugh stated:

“What Stephen Miller sent to me in those emails has become policy at the Trump administration.”

As Hayden wrote:

That source material, as laid out in his emails to Breitbart, includes white nationalist websites, a “white genocide”-themed novel in which Indian men rape white women, xenophobic conspiracy theories and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in Mein Kampf.

Miller, born into an upper-middle class liberal household in Southern California, spent most of his adult life promoting a worldview that attacks the Left, immigrants, and multiracial society. In high school, he even broke off a friendship with one young man, because he was “Latino.” During high school, he ran for student government and in a recorded campaign speech proclaimed, “Am I the only one, who is sick and tired, of being told to pick up my trash, when there are plenty of janitors, who are paid to do it for us?” Miller’s written work at the time also attacked Latinx students for “not speaking English.” Ironically, Miller’s 2005 essay, Santa Monica High’s Multicultural Fistfights, was later even re-posted by American Renaissance. 

Speaking of his early years, The Atlantic wrote:

At Santa Monica High, Miller constantly found ways to rile his classmates. He loudly complained about the Spanish-language announcements that came over the PA system, and once jumped into the homestretch of a girls’ track race, evidently to prove male athletic superiority. After 9/11, he emerged as a vociferous defender of the Bush administration, writing op-eds that compared students who opposed U.S. military actions to terrorists and concluding, “Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School.” During his junior year, he agitated for the school to lead regular recitals of the Pledge of Allegiance—and when his demand wasn’t met, he went on local talk radio to kick up some controversy. The tactic worked, and the school eventually acquiesced.

After high school, Miller then attended college at the prestigious Duke University, where he would head a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom, which was founded by the far-Right organizer David Horowitz, and much like Turning Point USA’s current Campus Reform, sought to go after left-wing professors. At Duke, Miller helped organize large events, from “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” to a speaking engagement featuring Horowitz that brought out over 800 people. Miller also became a prolific writer, penning the far-Right campus column, Miller Time, which attacked the “racial left,” the lack of a “unifying national identity” in America, applauded the US’s “unique and glorious history of settlers, pioneers and frontiersman,” and denigrated anyone who continued “to worship at the alter of multiculturalism.” By the time that the infamous Duke Lacross case hit the campus in 2006, Miller had soon found himself on Fox News which “helped launch his career in conservative politics.”

Then in 2007, alongside graduate student and future Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer, Miller and others under the banner of the “Conservative Union,” organized a speaking event with white nationalist, Peter Brimelow. That same year, Brimelow launched a foundation to help fund his website, V-Dare, which became famous for publishing screeds against non-whites, immigrants, and gave a growing space for a multitude of racists and anti-Semites.

After graduation, through his connection to David Horowitz and his fame garnered through Fox News appearances, Miller was soon able to land a job with Michele Bachmann, then a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, and was then connected to none other than Jeff Sessions. During this period, Miller became greatly influenced by Nativist and white nationalist think-tanks like NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which were launched by the eugenicist John Taton.

By 2014. Miller and Sessions had built a dynamic working relationship, and:

…worked tirelessly to defeat a bipartisan immigration bill. The senator spent hours on the floor arguing with his colleagues while Mr. Miller churned out a nonstop flurry of news releases. He cast the fight against immigration in dramatic terms, with the future of the nation at stake.

But soon, Sessions and Miller were looking towards even greater power:

But it was Mr. Trump who pulled Mr. Miller and Mr. Sessions — and their views about immigration — out of the political shadows. In January 2015, when few were watching, Mr. Sessions wrote a 23-page memo that predicted that the next president would most likely be a Republican who spoke to the working class about how immigrants had stolen their jobs.

Most mainstream politicians ignored the memo, but its contents influenced Mr. Trump. At a raucous 2015 rally in Mobile, Ala., he sensed the power of the immigration issue as a crowd of 30,000 supporters roared with approval at his promise to build a wall across the southern border and crack down on illegal immigration.

As a head policy advisor to Trump, specifically on immigration, Miller’s emails show someone ideologically motivated along lines of race. While Miller has pushed back on anyone who has characterized him as a white nationalist or cloaked his views in the language of “Western Civilization,” his ideological core is easy to spot. It’s this drive which has led to policies which have placed around 70,000 children in migrant detention prisons in 2019 alone, ripped apart thousands of families at the border, and led to massive abuse, numerous deaths, rampant disease, sexual assault, and child molestation across a growing network of migrant prisons.

As Hayden wrote:

Miller does not converse along a wide range of topics…His focus is strikingly narrow – more than 80 percent of the emails Hatewatch reviewed relate to or appear on threads relating to the subjects of race or immigration.

Miller’s perspective on race and immigration across the emails is repetitious. When discussing crime, which he does scores of times, Miller focuses on offenses committed by nonwhites. On immigration, he touches solely on the perspective of severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the United States.

The following is an explainer for anyone who needs to be refreshed on both the central role that Miller has played within the Trump administration as well as the white nationalist players who have come to shape his ideology.

Miller Has Been the Central Architect of Trump’s Racist Attacks on Migrants, Immigrants, and Refugees

Trump has long sold himself as someone directly tied to the issue of immigration. Months ago, when he was pushing his aides to investigate his idea of filling hypothetical moats around the US border with snakes and alligators and shooting off the legs of migrants, he declared, “I ran on this. It’s my issue.” Likewise, Trump’s signature policy has long been, “The Wall,” as well as his wildly unpopular attacks on refugees, migrants, and Muslim immigrants. Trump has also branded himself by continuously pushing the line that immigrants are a central threat to the general (white) population and are also “stealing” jobs.

But while Trump has been at center stage, Stephen Miller has in actuality been the grand architect of crafting policies which have come to define the Trump presidency. This includes both the Muslim Ban, which was put into place by the administration through executive order just days after Trump took power and the infamous child separation policy, which continues to tear children away from their parents, often to become the victims of brutal sexual assault and medical neglect.

But beyond attacks on just “illegal” immigration, Miller has also pushed to restrict non-white immigration even through legal means, against refugees, and those fleeing natural disasters. For instance, Miller has worked to deny green cards to those who need government assistance programs upon entering the country. As the Washington Post wrote:

Miller secured tighter immigration rules that can disqualify green-card applicants if they are poor or deemed likely to use public assistance, cutting off a pathway to U.S. citizenship for those immigrants who could become a burden on taxpayers, or “public charges.”

In the wake of hurricanes which displaced over 75,000 people in the Bahamas, as GQ wrote:

Under Trump, Miller convinced the president to reverse TPS for thousands of immigrants from Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa, essentially stripping these people of their legal immigration status.

Moreover, Miller is credited for not only suppressing reports that showed a net positive of allowing refugees into the country, but also worked to lower the cap on how many refugees could enter the country; specifically Syrian refugees fleeing the deadly Syrian Civil War. Along with Jeff Sessions, Miller also helped to craft a list of so-called immigration reforms which were presented in the fall of 2017 which called for more Wall construction, more border guards, attacked sanctuary cities, and called for an end to DACA. Finally, Miller helped push for arrest quotas for ICE agents, attacked guest worker programsworked towards an end to the so-called “diversity lottery,” and made cuts to refugee resettlement programs, all while the Trump administration played up fears of mass raids.

As The Balance wrote, current Trump administration policy is intended to drastically reduce legal immigration while rewarding:

those with high incomes and private health insurance. This follows a May 2019 plan based on a 2017 Senate bill that curbs legal immigration. It would prioritize those who were financially self-sufficient, educated, highly skilled, and spoke English.

While the impact of Miller’s policies on working class, migrant, and immigrant families has been disastrous, these policies have also led to a growth industry for prison contractors, border and prison guard unions, and industries looking to target potential sites of worker organizing and unionization.

Stephen Miller Has “Hand Picked” Appointees from White Nationalist Think-Tanks

According to the Washington Post:

Miller has installed handpicked political appointees across DHS, including several who were staffers at restrictionist groups such as the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR). He will surprise lower-level staffers with phone calls urging them to implement his ideas, telling them “this is the most important thing you will do at your agency.”

FAIR, along with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA – all grow out of the work of white nationalist and eugenicist, John Tanton. As we wrote in September of 2018:

While Donald Trump, Jr might have followed white nationalists like Ricky Vaughn on Twitter, the Trump administration was putting the policy suggestions of FAIR – into practice and into law. Meanwhile, people like Stephen Miller even openly dream of rolling back the racial clock to before 1965, when the ‘algorithms’ of non-white immigration were altered.

But for a group formed by an open white nationalist and Eugenicist, funded in part by literal Nazis at the Pioneer Institute, and long used as a mega-phone by those who would grow to bounce the Alt-Right on their knee: Peter Brimelow, Jared Taylor, and Sam Francis – these groups somehow have escaped all connection to the events in Charlottesville or the growing threat of the far-Right in the minds of millions of Americans.

FAIR and its associates have changed and impacted the lives of millions of people, for the worst. From pushing for SB-1070 in Arizona, to the separation of families at the border, FAIR has been at the center of almost all repressive and racist immigration policy in the last several decades.

Richard Spencer Claimed that He “Clearly Influenced” Miller in College When They Both Worked to Bring a White Nationalist Speaker to Campus

In February 2017, the website Electronic Intifada released emails showing that in 2007, Richard Spencer and Stephen Miller had worked together on organizing a speaking event featuring white nationalist Peter Brimelow on the Duke University campus, under the umbrella of the ‘Conservative Union.’

Speaking with Mother Jones, Richard Spencer would later state:

“It’s funny no one’s picked up on the Stephen Miller connection. I knew him very well when I was at Duke. But I am kind of glad no one’s talked about this because I don’t want to harm Trump.”

Peter Brimelow, a former writer for Forbes and the National Review, is infamous for running the white nationalist website, V-DARE, which Ann Coulter also writes for. V-DARE itself is a reference to Virginia Dare, the supposed name of the first white child born in the Americas. In 2005, Brimelow wrote:

“The other aspect of this rapid population growth is that it’s very rapidly shifting the racial balance in the country.”

Peter Brimelow has also long been a close associate of Richard Spencer and other leading white nationalists, such as Jared Taylor, founder of the American Renaissance. Brimelow attended Trump’s inauguration with Spencer in 2016 and was also present in Washington DC, during the white nationalist National Policy Institute (NPI) conference where famously Nazi salutes were thrown up by the crowd to Spencer’s cries of “Heil Trump!”

Despite these connections, Brimelow has remained deeply tied to right-wing politics in Washington DC, and regularly attends the CPAC conference. During the 2016 RNC convention, white nationalists were elated that the official RNC twitter account shared V-DARE content.

But while Stephen Miller and the White House have downplayed his relationship with Richard Spencer, on white nationalist podcasts, Spencer has presented a different take. According to Right Wing Watch:

On yesterday’s episode of “The Richard Spencer Show,” hosted on a white nationalist YouTube channel called “Heel Turn,” Spencer’s Iowa-based co-host Seth Wallace read a question sent to them via YouTube’s “Super Chat” system, a financial system that viewers can use to donate money to live-streamed content producers. Wallace read a question in which a viewer asked about Spencer’s past relationship with Miller and wondering why other white nationalist podcasters call him “our guy” when Miller is Jewish.

“Stephen Miller and I were friends at Duke when I was a graduate student there in the history department and he was an undergraduate,” Spencer said. “I think I’m four years older than him, or maybe five, so we’re roughly contemporaries although I was in a different position than he was. I actually met him at the Duke Conservative Union and I generally like Stephen. We’re very different, you could say personally speaking, but we did get along.”

“We actually collaborated. We worked on an immigration debate, which we brought Peter Brimelow to campus, which in the context of 2007—and you know, this is totally pre-alt-right and so on—doing such a thing is pretty edgy,” Spencer added.

Spencer recalled telling a journalist before that he did believe he influenced Miller, but said that he believes Miller would have “gotten to where he is today with or without me” and “would have ended up exactly where he is today.”

Clearly, the influence of Brimelow and V-DARE has not been lost on Miller, as nearly 1o years after he first organized for the white nationalist leader to speak on the Duke campus, he was still citing his work in emails to journalists at Breitbart.

Miller Promoted American Renaissance Which Has Long Been Tied to Richard Spencer

In the emails released by the SPLC, Miller promotes the white nationalist publication, American Renaissance, which he refers to as “AmRen,” as do many of those within the broader Alt-Right.

AmRen is both a publication and a yearly conference which has been foundational in mobilizing the Alt-Right movement and creating an intellectual white nationalist culture. Borne out of pseudoscience about racial hierarchies, IQ, and the white supremacist belief that Black people inherently destroy civilization, AmRen has incubated the careers of leading racist and former Miller friend, Richard Spencer, along with the group’s founder, Jared Taylor.

Over the years the American Renaissance conference has grown to embrace even open neo-Nazis, as former KKK leader David Duke, members of the National Socialist Movement, and many of the organizations which marched in Charlottesville have participated in the conference.

Jared Taylor, who helped found American Renaissance, has also worked closely with the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is a modern version of the “uptown Klan” groups such as the White Citizens Councils. The Council of Conservative Citizens is perhaps best known for helping to pen a manifesto which has been credited for inspiring the Alt-Right mass murder, Dylann Roof.

Miller Promoted a Famous White Nationalist Book Which Helped Inspire Mass Shootings

In the emails released by the SPLC, Miller promoted the text, The Camp of the Saints, which has long been heralded by white supremacists, far-Right nationalists, and neo-Nazis as the book which helped set in motion the so-called “white genocide” conspiracy.

As Hayden wrote:

John Tanton, the father of the modern anti-immigration movement and founder of hate groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies, called the book “20 years ahead of its time

Following Tanton’s lead, the white nationalist American Renaissance helped promote the book.

The white nationalist website VDARE even created a searchable tag called “Camp of the Saints,” which highlights stories about nonwhite immigration, repeatedly painting it in a negative light. At the time Miller flagged the book to Breitbart in early September 2015, VDARE had run more than 50 posts under the “Camp of the Saints” tagline.

Neo-Nazis have also promoted “The Camp of the Saints.” Joseph Jordan, who writes for extremist websites under the byline “Eric Striker,” compared the book to “The Turner Diaries.”

Steve Bannon is also a fan of the book as is the white nationalist Iowa Republican, Steve King. Others have credited the book with advancing the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which has inspired such grizzly mass shootings as the ChristChurch and El Paso massacres – both carried out by pro-Trump white nationalists.

Other Trump Appointees Have Been Fired Just for Associating with Spencer and Brimelow

In 2018, Trump speech writer Darren Beattie was fired for attending a white nationalist conference alongside Richard Spencer and Peter Brimelow. Around the same time, a DHS agent was outed as having attended the infamous white nationalist NPI conference in DC, where crowds of Alt-Right followers gave Nazi salutes to a stage which included Richard Spencer and Peter Brimelow.

Around the same time, Larry Kudlow, a Trump advisor, also received criticism for hosting a party that was attended by Peter Brimelow. Numerous staff writers at The Daily Caller, founded by Tucker Carlson, have also been fired after their relationships to Richard Spencer and the Alt-Right have been exposed. All this begs the question: why have these people been fired – and not Stephen Miller?

Breitbart Has a History of Attempting to White Wash White Nationalism

McHugh’s working relationship with Miller would not be the last time that Breitbart would be caught attempting to white wash white nationalist ideas. In emails released by Buzzfeed, it was shown that former Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos worked closely with a variety of white nationalists and Steve Bannon in an attempt to make the Alt-Right into the foot soldiers for the 2016 Trump campaign. Bannon would later describe Breitbart as a platform for the Alt-Right and would even target groups like Incels through Cambridge Analytica, in an attempt to mobilize them for Trump.

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It's Going Down

It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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