Race, Racism, and White Nationalism

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What About Bob?  Robert Vandervoort and White Nationalism
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What About Bob? Robert Vandervoort and White Nationalism

14 February 2012

ProEnglish executive director Robert Vandervoort’s inclusion on two panels was apparently not a matter of controversy inside the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference. Not one word questioning his participation was uttered publicly by any of his co-panelists, and one and all treated him with respect. Indeed, all of his co-panelists, including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Florida Representative David Rivera were glad to shake his hand.

Outside the conference was a different matter, however. After IREHR raised concerns because of Vandervoort’s white nationalist attachments, a significant discussion ensued. It was often coupled with an intersecting debate about the appearance of Peter Brimelow, after People for the American Way noted the author’s white nationalism. The Kansas City Star, the Wichita Eagle and Mother Jones were among the publications to take note of these events. American Spectator, a decidedly conservative periodical weighed in with the comment that “if Vandervoort indeed organized events for an American Renaissance affiliate … he should explicitly and publicly renounce his old associates; that is a crowd that no one should touch with a ten foot pole.”[1]

In the interest of answering these questions raised by American Spectator, among others, IREHR provides the following information about Vandervoort’s relationship to American Renaissance as well as his own re-articulation of white nationalist dogma.

 

Vandervoort and American Renaissance

Starting in 2003, Vandervoort began writing about his admiration for the white nationalist group American Renaissance and its leader Jared Taylor. “Cheers to Jared Taylor and the American Renaissance for continually afflicting the comfortable white liberals!” he posted that February.[2] On several occasions, he also posted announcements of Taylor’s media appearances. On May 24, November 14, and December 25, 2003 he promoted Jared Taylor TV appearances.[3] In another VFR post, he encouraged people to read Taylor’s booklet The Color of Crime.[4]

Vandervoort also confessed that he has “listened to a lot of the AR [American Renaissance] lectures” at that time.[5] And his web posts indicate a high degree of familiarity with American Renaissance conference speeches.

On April 20, 2003, as an Easter greeting, Vandervoort quoted from a speech by from another American Renaissance conference speech.[6] An April 23, 2003, post quotes the AR speech "Toward Renaissance and Renewal" by Fr. James Thornton.[7] He referenced another American Renaissance conference speech on May 1, 2008.[8] He’s also expressed admiration for American Renaissance conference speakers like Taylor, Lawrence Auster, and Sam Francis.
Vandervoort was so enamored with American Renaissance, that he decided to help kickstart Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance—the first official local affinity group of the national organization.

To promote Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, Vandervoort started showing up at local anti-immigrant events in the area. At a November 13, 2004 Federation for American Immigration Reform "Midwest Immigration Reform Summit" in Rosemont, Illinois, Vandervoort passed out leaflets to the crowd announcing a speech by Serge Trifkovic at a Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance event. Trifkovic, an expatriate Serbian activists, was a spokesman for convicted Serbian war criminal Biljana Plavsic, before becoming the foreign affairs editor at the paleo-conservative magazine Chronicles. Notably, at the CPAC 2012 gathering, Vandervoort delivered Trifkovic’s speech.

On March 22, 2005, Vandervoort and several Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance colleagues attended another Federation for American Immigration Reform meeting, this time at the Lincoln Restaurant in Chicago.

Despite recruitment efforts like this, attendance at many of their gatherings was still quite small, so Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance started holding joint meetings with the local chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization that is the lineal descendant of the white Citizens Council which defended Jim Crow and white supremacy in the 1950s and 1960s.

One colleague in his Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance described the ideological composition of the group this way: “All members are in fundamental agreement on the vital necessity for white survival and maintaining white majorities. If we have a litmus test, that is it, and our discussions are enlivened by the variety of perspectives our members bring to them.”[9] In this milieu, white survival and the maintenance of white majority status are considered the prerequisites for maintaining unquestioned white dominance and a “white” nation. There is no way Vandervoort can really deny the white nationalist character of either American Renaissance itself or the Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance. Nor should he want to. Please consider Vandervoort’s own racist writings and as well as admiration for Sam Francis in this regard.

Vandervoort and Sam Francis

Just two days before attending the 2005 FAIR event, Vandervoort hosted a Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance event to remember Sam Francis at an Italian chain restaurant in the Chicago Lakeview neighborhood.

Francis a one-time Heritage Foundation analyst and aide to Senator John East (R. NC), slipped over to the white side in the 1990s. In Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, IREHR President Leonard Zeskind deftly described Francis as the “philosopher general” of the white nationalist movement. Before his death in February 2005, Francis was editor of Council of Conservative Citizens tabloid, The Citizens Informer, book editor of racist and anti-Semitic journal, The Occidental Quarterly, and a board member of the New Century Foundation, the parent company of American Renaissance.

In a 1995 American Renaissance essay entitled, "Prospects for Racial and Cultural Survival," Francis declared, "[W]hites did not descend to their present pitiable condition because their racial purity was somehow diluted but because they conceptually surrendered their will and identity... . The conceptual surrender is leading to a situation where the biological survival of the race is threatened, and if that occurs, then — because race is necessary, because no other race or people seems able to replicate or adopt the concepts on which white civilization is based — the conceptual surrender will not be remedied, and white civilization, the whole conceptual corpus, will die with the race."[10]

Such double-talk in defense of white domination and white nationalism was typical at American Renaissance conferences and in the pages of its monthly newsletter.

Francis was a seminal figure to Vandervoort, who admitted to having met Francis at several conferences and to exchanging emails with him. “He became my intellectual ‘guru’ in many respects,” Vandervoort wrote.[11] “Without Sam Francis leading the way, I wonder if I ever would have changed my views on race, immigration and civilization or discovered such journals as the American Renaissance and the Occidental Quarterly.”[12]

The group followed up in August 2005, by having Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance hosted a presentation by William H. Regnery II, founder both of the parent company of The Occidental Quarterly and the white nationalist think tank, National Policy Institute.

After Vandervoort graduated DePaul law school and started up his own small legal practice, his public presence in the region began to fade. He resurfaced in 2009, however, at the conference of “Preserving Western Civilization,” a white nationalist splinter of American Renaissance.[13]

Bob Vandervoort in his own words

Vandervoort’s attachment to white nationalism extends beyond his organizational affiliation with American Renaissance and his adoration of Sam Francis. He has a record of his own writing on the subjects of race and immigration.

Going back to 2003, Vandervoort has posted items and comments about “the West's very real racial and ethnic components” and his thoughts on how to “halt the cultural and racial dispossession of the West's historic people,” meaning white people. These bits often appeared on the websites of white nationalists Peter Brimelow (VDARE) and Lawrence Auster (View from the Right).

He wrote, “I think the more ‘diplomatic’ term regarding race and civilization is one that both Peter Brimelow and Lawrence Harrison refer to as the ‘ethno-cultural’ component of a nation or civilization. With or without the euphemism, it gets to the same frame of reference. Most, I think, are willing to acknowledge that the races differ, on average, biologically (just as the genders differ from one another biologically). Many will acknowledge that these average group racial differences extend in to areas like intelligence and temperament. So, just as sex differences have a ‘sociobiological’ impact on the culture (and not the other way around, as the feminists would have it) -- the average group differences among the races also has an important impact in shaping cultures and nations.”[14] In a different post Vandervoort complained about the conservative blog RedState not allowing an academic racist conversation about African IQ.[15]

By conflating race, biology, intelligence and culture, Vandervoort expressed the form of biological determinism popular among the academic racists in the American Renaissance orbit.

Of California he wrote: “If California is the first big multiracial state in the Union—and it's the pits—and the rest of America is quickly following suit—then how long will America last?”[16] And his comments about New York went along similar lines.[17]

Immigration, the issue Vandervoort was asked to discuss on the CPAC main stage, is a subject clearly influenced by these views on race and culture. He’s written, for instance, that, “at a certain date the sheer number of non-European immigrants will create a ‘tipping point’ in terms of the altering the culture and nation's[sic] of the West. Unless a more candid acknowledgment of race, civilization, and immigration is allowed for that ‘tipping point’ will become unavoidable.”[18]

Vandervoort also took a directly disparaging view of Mexicans: “Many ‘conservatives’ I debate with tell me that, for example, Mexicans are a ‘Western’ people because they speak a Western language and come from a Christian faith. So they will be a lot easier to assimilate. Well, perhaps when compared to others (e.g. various pygmy tribes, Islamic extremists, etc.). At the same time, by these rather small standards of what is ‘Western,’ we ought to at least allow Haiti in (French speaking and Catholic) as a worthy Western state. Ditto certain parts of Asia and Africa. And yet, I'm sure even the ‘conservative-lite’ group would quickly realize that by their own standards, it doesn't follow that these countries should be considered ‘Western.’”[19]

He’s also written that “We may need to consider how we should live in an increasingly post-Western America. Assuming the cultural and demographic changes to America (and to the West in general) will not change anytime soon, how then do we live?”[20]

Vandervoort’s writings also interweave nativism and Islamophobia. He claimed that there was only a short window in which mainstream conservatives would continue to express anti-Muslim sentiment in a post-911 world, he wrote, “How is it that otherwise intelligent journals fail to see the connection between Islamic growth in the West and the Third World migrations? The religion of Allah these journals like to deconstruct is inexorably tied to the massive Third World immigration to the West. How can they fail to see that?” He’s also touted the incendiary Islamophobic work of his Serge Trifkovic (he presented Trifkovic’s speech at CPAC), and voiced his support for Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones.

Over the years Vandervoort has expressed a considerable amount of distain towards paleo-conservatives like Thomas Fleming of Chronicles, conservatives like those at the National Review, and the Christian Right. For instance, criticizing the Christian Right, he wrote, “while conservative Christians have much to say with regard to the topics of abortion, homosexuality, the pop culture, prayer in school, etc. they have very little to say about the National Question all Western societies now face. To paraphrase Dr. Samuel Francis, even if the Christian Right outlawed abortion, enforced sodomy laws, and restored prayer in school, they would have done nothing at all to stop the growth of the federal government, or halt the cultural and racial dispossession of the West's historic people.”[21]

Not confined to racial criticism alone, Vandervoort has also tried to lay out a vision for white nationalism. He’s repeatedly argued that traditional Christianity “is at the crux of any budding race-conscious and racial-realist movement.”[22] And he’s tried to convince his white nationalist cohorts about the necessity of coming up with arguments to whitewash the stains of slavery and the Holocaust,

… how do we defeat these far-flung arguments that emerge on both the anti-white left and anti-white (or at a minimum race-neutral) right? In the case of JPod [John Podhoretz], he's clearly part of the anti-white right.
Sensible race realists and pro-Western Civ nationalists of good will are always having these arguments thrown back at us: this leads to Hitler! You would have supported slavery! Etc.
You note WWII has been over for more than 60 years, yet it still haunts and limits our perspectives on things. This is not likely to change in the near future. Consider the War Between the States--this war has been over since 1865, and yet it still rages on. The South, and all whites are still put on the defenseive[sic] by the issue of slavery that surrounded it.
Our side still hasn't come up with decent arguments to counter it, or so it seems.[23]

Since IREHR first noted Bob Vandervoort white nationalism, he has been trying to bamboozle the public by claiming “I have never been a member of any group that has advocated hate or violence.”

Please note that no one has accused Vandervoort of advocating violence. But the record clearly shows that Vandervoort not only acted on American Renaissance behalf, but that he shared its white nationalist views. Which as American Spectator aptly noted, should not be touched with a ten-foot pole by CPAC, by Kris Kobach, or anyone else.

NOTES

[1]. John Tabin, “CPAC, Immigration, and Racism Accusations,” The Spectacle Blog, American Spectator website, February 11, 2012, http://spectator.org/blog/2012/02/11/cpac-immigration-and-racism-ac/print.

[2]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, February 8, 2003 1:31 AM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001161.html.

[3]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, May 24, 2003 6:59 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001460.html; Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, November 14, 2003 12:51 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001929.html; Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, December 25, 2003 10:35 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/002026.html.

[4]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, February 11, 2004 10:59 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/002189.html.

[5]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, May 8, 2003 2:24 AM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001420.html.

[6]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, April 20, 2003 3:11 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001377.html.

[7]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, April 23, 2003 3:56 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001388.html.

[8]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, May 1, 2008, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/010499.html

[9]. Reilly Smith, “How to Build Your Own AR Club,” American Renaissance, February 2010, p 3.

[10]. Ibid.

[11]. Bob Vandervoort, “Chicago AR Sam Franci#55D3D” document, attachment to email sent to Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance members, March 13, 2005.

[12]. Ibid.

[13]. Devin Burghart, “Inside the Preserving Western Civilization Conference,” Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights website, http://irehr.org/issue-areas/race-racism-and-white-nationalism/item/262.

[14]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, January 24, 2003 9:13 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001160.html .

[15]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, October 19, 2007, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/009047.html.

[16]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment to VDARE website, August 12, 2003, accessed at http://www.vdare.com/letters/a-reader-is-more-critical-of-mexifornia .

[17]. “What is ironic is that even when whites are placed in a dangerous minority existence (South Africa, Zimbabwe, New York City) they are loathe to state or even consider the obvious racial realities of life.” Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, February 15, 2003 3:58 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001189.html.

[18]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, January 24, 2003 9:13 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001160.html.

[19]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, February 11, 2004 10:59 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/002189.html.

[20]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, February 23, 2004 1:00 PM, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/002228.html.

[21]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, April 23, 2003 3:56 PM http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001388.html.

[22]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, January 16, 2003, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/001140.html.

[23]. Bob Vandervoort, Comment on the View from the Right website, October 19, 2007, accessed at http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/009052.html.

Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

Follow him on twitter: @dburghart

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