Many of you will remember last week's story about 'free speech protesters' at the University of Michigan being harassed by fellow students. If not,
you may wish to take a look at this thread. I don't support university
administration censoring political speech — and this isn't an apology for demands for such — but it was evident to me that the demonstration was
far more about antagonizing fellow students for supporting Mizzou protesters than free speech. The event was put on by conservative student group, YAF
(Young Americans for Freedom), about which I admittedly knew nothing at the time.
I didn't give it much further thought until today when I was looking for the text of Ted Cruz's speech at a recent anti-LGBT conference organized by
extremist hate-preacher Kevin Swanson and made a serendipitous discovery. Turns out that YAF has a well documented and disturbing history,
particularly in the state of Michigan.
In 2006, Kyle Bristow, a then 19 year-old international relations student, was elected chairman of the Michigan State University chapter of YAF
(MSU-YAF). Under his leadership, the YAF launched a campaign of extremist bigotry on the MSU campus that led to the group being the only student group
in the US to be designated a hate group by the SPLC. Some of the many events that occurred in the two years Bristow was at the helm:
September 2006 - The MSU-YAF co-sponsored 'Catch An Illegal Immigrant Day' om the MSU campus.
November 2006 - In response to a proposed ordinance protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination, the MSU-YAF staged a protest outside the Lansing,
Michigan City Hall. About a dozen YAF members and supporters from the Olivet College YAF chapter stood outside with signs on which were scrawled such
freedom-promoting phrases as "Straight Power," "Go Back in the Closet," and "End Fa--otry." (my hyphens).
August 2007 - The MSU-YAF announces a "Koran Desecration Contest."
October 2007 - As part of a nationwide event which apparently included YAF chapters at GWU and Penn State and possible others, MSU-YAF hosted several
speakers and events during what was called "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week." Among the speakers in attendance were
Nick Griffin, Holocaust denier, white nationalist and then chairman of the BNP (British
Nationalist Party) and a mutual friend of Griffin and Bristow's, Texas neo-Nazi Preston Wiginton, who was named "Strongest Skinhead" at the 2005
Hammerfest skinhead convention in Draketown, GA. Wiginton is notorious for having been permitted by Texas A&M (he's an alum) to host numerous white
supremacist speaking engagements and racist events on campus over the years. Some of you may remember when he was
denied entry to the UK in 2009 when
travelling to a BNP conference. This was the man Bristow selected as Master of Ceremonies.
This is far from a comprehensive list of events or attendees. The focus was on So how does the conservative establishment and media treat the likes of
somebody who said the following:
"The early and relatively sophisticated Egyptians understood that their civilization would be threatened if they bred with the Negroes to their south,
so pharaohs went so far as ‘to prevent the mongrelization of the Egyptian race’ by making it a death penalty-eligible offense to bring blacks into
Egypt..." — Kyle Bristow, The Conscience of a Right-Winger, collection of essays, 2012
"Liberalism promotes sexual perversion —especially homosexuality and miscegenation — which debases the White race. Neither homosexuals nor
interracial couples, after all, produce White children." — Kyle Bristow, 'Does white guilt run in the family?' - The Citizens Informer of the
Council of Conservative Citizens Feb. 10, 2011
November 30, 2006 MSU-YAF hosted a lecture from Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) which was attended by protesters. 2 days later he was on The O'Reilly
Factor, pushing a very similar narrative to the one the YAF claims regarding last weeks 'free speech protest' at the University of Michigan:
Kyle Bristow was awarded the Phillips Foundation's Ronald Reagan College Leaders Program Scholarship in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, he won 3rd place in
the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's (like YAF, founded by William F.
Buckley Jr) nationwide essay contest. Three months ago, Bristow won a writing contest put on by the State Bar of Michigan (of which he is now a
member). Following complaints, the award was rescinded, the story was denounced and the
competition was discontinued.
More to the point, extremists like these are nurtured and embraced by some elements within the conservative establishment. Their actions excused,
apologized for, buried and often SIMPLY IGNORED. Speaking of things ignored, let me finish by relating to you the link to Ted Cruz that set me on this
course. As I said, I was looking for a transcript of Ted Cruz's speech at a conference I
posted about in this thread and I came across the following:
This week the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a release asking Cruz not to make his scheduled appearance at the New England
Freedom Conference, an event slated to be this Friday and Saturday by the Young America's Foundation (aka the people who put up posters of President
Ronald Reagan on their dorm room walls because they're that devoted.) So why is CAIR asking Cruz to ditch his scheduled speech? Well, it's because of
a couple different things.
For one thing, back in 2011 the Young Americans for Freedom voted to join the Young America's Foundation so
that with the power of their forces combined they'd have a larger group of super-conservative young GOP enthusiasts. That all sounds fine except that
in 2007 the Young Americans for Freedom held an event at Michigan State University featuring Nick Griffin, the then-chairman of the far right British
National Party. Griffin is also reportedly a Holocaust denier. On top of that, Texas neo-nazi Preston Wiginton (the one currently running around
Russia encouraging "race hate" according to the Southern Poverty Law Center) was also a speaker at the 2007 conference.
The organization's other objection over Cruz speaking is because of who else is on the roster for the conference. Specifically, they have an issue
with Robert Spencer, a co-founder of the group Stop Islamization of America. He's also the guy who runs the Jihad Watch blog.
Right-wing extremists sometimes hide behind facades of noble causes like promoting free speech and religious freedoms but when you dig deeper (not
THAT much deeper mind you), you'll find their true agenda.
edit on 2015-11-19 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)
Thanks! I was really hoping the OP would spark a discussion but at least it's here for future reference. I'm sure this won't be the last time YAF is
in the news and now there's something to refer back to.
It's a good example of how misleading slogans can be. 'Young Americans for Freedom' sounds pretty good and idealistic. Instead it's a cheerful banner
for white supremacy, homophobia and who knows what else they oppose?
The power of words, eh? A force to be reckoned with. The argument against Cruz attending was probably lost when they chose to frame it as being
related to Islam. If they'd argued that he shouldn't attend because it was associated with white supremacists, it might have influenced him. Who
Beyond old fashioned identity politics and proselytizing, I believe that we're witnessing the results of disturbingly more sophisticated techniques
for manipulating public perception to control public opinion.
Combining the lessons of interrelated scientific fields of study and professional disciplines (psychology, sociology, cognitive linguistics,
information theory, public relations, marketing, political activism, etc) and applying them with the aid of advancements in technology and an
explosion of new media, the modern propagandist has drastically more powerful tools in his toolkit than ever before.
A century ago there were no focus groups, campaign management systems, massive databases of voter preferences or networks of media outlets, from blogs
to cable news, broadcasting the same propaganda in unison and in concert with politicians. These days messages are carefully crafted and launched in
campaigns against predetermined targets across the entire media spectrum, the results are analyzed and refinements are made for the next iteration.
Every political movement and organization is employing the above to some extent.
In the case of conservatism, there's been an explosion in a sort of romantic nationalism that I find comparable to the German volkisch movement. It's
evident in such things as the rampant founding father worship, the popular 'take the country back' meme and the creep (back?) into the mainstream of
extreme ideologies that 20-30 years ago were largely confined to fringe groups. I'm not saying that "the Left" doesn't have similarly destructive
ideological trends but at this point in time, there's no comparable threat from something like Communism. Though we still hear it ALL THE TIME in
political rhetoric, most people are well aware of the horrors produced by the various Communist revolutions around the world and far fewer people are
as anxious to make those mistakes again as there are people now marching down a path that similarly leads to destruction.
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