Is Youth for Western Civilization a White Nationalist Group?

The student group advocates for the "defense of the Western homeland" and has become a campus lightning rod.

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Youth for Western Civilization attend Tea Party rally. (Google)

Alex Johnson of MSNBC is reporting that last weekend, several hundred right-wing political activists gathered for a rally in the German city of Cologne to protest the "Islamization" of the West and immigration policies that they contend threaten "Western culture."

They included representatives of Vlaams Belang, a Belgian organization that changed its name and liberalized some of its positions after it was convicted of racism in 2004 by a Belgian court; the Freedom Party of Austria, a right-wing party formerly led by the late Jörg Haider, who was often denounced for seeming to praise some Nazi policies; and the National Democratic Party of Germany, which is classified by the Bavarian government as a right-wing extremist institution.

Also represented was a small but growing nonprofit U.S. organization called Youth for Western Civilization. The group, which bills itself as "America's right-wing youth movement," bannered a photo of the Cologne rally on its website this week, accompanying an account that declared that "we will not falter nor fail in our attempt for the defense of the Western homeland."

YWC "popped up out of nowhere to become pretty important," said Heidi Beirich, research director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal human rights watchdog group. The SPLC, which plans to examine YWC and its positions in a report next month, has previously criticized YWC, documenting what it says are its ties to the white nationalist movement.

YWC's president, Kevin DeAnna, 28, a graduate student in political science at American University in Washington, D.C., vigorously denies that his organization is discriminatory in any way. He said that characterizations of the groups at the Cologne rally as "suspected of extremist activities" had "a faint Orwellian ring that makes me fear the German government far more."

"I am glad we have some contacts with European groups," he said in an email interview. " ... One of the absolutely critical things that separates us from any other conservative groups is that we consider what happens in Europe -- and other Western nations, such as Canada and Australia -- to be just as important as what happens in America."

Initially, YWC was a response to "left-wing indoctrination, multicultural silliness and savage abuse of conservative and moderate students" at American colleges, DeAnna said. Since then it has honed a strategy of provoking debate over three carefully cultivated but politically potent issues: illegal immigration, multiculturalism and preservation of America's European cultural heritage.

Sounds like white nationalism to us. If thats what YWC wants to do, then it should just say so instead of pretending that it isn't aligned with white nationalist groups, while in fact connecting itself with white nationalist or supremacist groups. YWC has used new media to propel the group onto the world's stage. It has a right to assemble and to spread its ideologies about whiteness, some of which are clearly problematic. Here's a colloquialism, if YWC doesn't already know it: Sometimes you've got to call a spade a spade, pun intended. What YWC is doing is called white nationalism. The group should just own it.

Read more at MSNBC.

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