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White Nationalists Seek Inroads to College Campuses

Cloee Cooper • Sep 19, 2011

With an economic recession that isn’t letting up for most people, the average American is dealing will a lot of stress and uncertainty in their daily lives. It’s sometimes difficult to know who or what is to blame. There is a very active white nationalist movement in this country that is using this collective anxiety to blame people of color, immigrants, queers and just about anyone else who doesn’t fit into its very narrow definition of white.

There are several fronts we have seen the white nationalist movement take on more seriously as of late.  One of these fronts is on college campuses and universities. White nationalist leaders believe organizing students will protect “western civilization” aka a white nation. Many of you may have been familiar in the past with Young Americans for Freedom, a campus group tied to the Leadership Institute, active at Michigan State University. MSU junior Kyle Bristow, was the 21-year-old chairman of the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.

MSU-YAF cosponsored a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” contest, held a “Koran Desecration” competition, jokingly threatened to distribute smallpox-infested blankets to Native American students, and posted “Gays Spread AIDS” fliers across campus. They also brought Tom Tancredo and Minuteman spokespeople to MSU. The organization crumbled at MSU, after campus leaders became active in opposition research and exposure.

More recently, a campus group called Youth for Western Civilization was formed in 2009. With funds again from the Leadership Institute, the group’s mission is to ‘further western civilization on campuses.” It hasn’t been so active, but they have and continue to be a conduit for the anti-immigrant movement on campuses, in particular. They were active in bringing Tom Tancredo to American University in DC and to University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Youth for Western Civilization leaders also spoke at the CPAC conference in March of last year.

Lately, YWC was spotted at the National Policy Institute Conference in DC, as well as the Americans for Prosperity’s Michigan Summit in Holt. You can find a video of Kevin Deanna presenting on Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” at the Summit here. YWC was recently caught working with a neo-Confederate organization called League of the South whose main aim is “to advance the cultural, social, economic, and political well-being and independence of the Southern people by all honorable [sic] means.”

Recently, the Michigan Allies Project, which collects data and reports on incidents of hate in Michigan, warned college campuses of a “questionable youth organization”. The article exposes ties between the YWC and Michigan’s own Social Contract, a project of John Tanton, and further elaborates on their recent expansion across campuses nationally “a right-wing extremist college group called the Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) has been growing in chapters.”

The white nationalist movement is attempting to make inroads into college campuses in order to legitimize its politically extreme agenda: reserve resources for whites only. We should continue to support groups like the Michigan Allies Project to stop the hate-fueled rhetoric and look for real solutions to today’s problems.

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