Publisher’s Note: The following is an excerpt from “Enemy Combatants,” a section in Chapter XII of Set the World on Fire, which will be published 12 August 2017.
I issued this letter from Tennessee. I then traveled to Orlando to speak on Muslim immigration at the Anti-Sharia rally; to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to speak on conservative values; and then to Washington, D.C. for a free speech rally. The unfolding of this event would demonstrate clearer than any tirade the hypocrisy and insincerity of the “moderate” right, which at that time was calling itself the “Alt-Lite.”
The event was scheduled to take place at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday the 25th of June. Being a Southerner who was at that time fighting against the removal of Civil War monuments, it was obviously not my first choice. But it was an iconic location, and I was glad to have the opportunity to speak to a crowd I did not often get the chance to address.
A few days before the event, the organizer informed us all that Richard Spencer had been added as a speaker. I was genuinely stoked. I had never spoken with or met Spencer, and I thought it would be great to be able to share a stage with him. It was, after all, a free speech event, and this was one thing on which we agreed without equivocation.
The other speakers did not feel the same way. They felt sandbagged by the organizer, saying that they never would have agreed to speak if they had known that they would be sharing a stage with the likes of Richard Spencer. And so several speakers, including Mike Cernovich, Jack Prosobiec, and Laura Loomer, all quietly dropped from the speaking roster.
That would have been a non-event – had Richard Spencer not been Richard Spencer. He did not allow them to slink off into the shadows, but instead published a livestream calling them all out as hypocrites for dropping out of a free speech rally because they did not agree with the speech of another speaker. This statement by Spencer opened hostilities, turning their quiet self-removal into open protest, which ended ultimately in their own humiliation. Whether he strategized all this beforehand or not, I do not know; but the outcome was an indisputable victory for him.
The Alt-Lite decided to set up their own rally at the White House at the same time as ours. They deliberately sought to divide the audience by drawing a line in the sand and saying, “Choose Richard Spencer or us.” This backfired in a spectacular way.
Irma Hinojosa and I were the only ones left on the speaking roster who were not part of the Alt-Right. We had been given the same lecture as everyone else: “Come speak at our rally, because if you stay with Spencer’s rally, you are implicitly endorsing his speech, and you are ipso facto an anti-Semite.” How these people can be so blind to their own hypocrisy is an absolute mystery to me. They cry day & night about the Antifa trying to shut down speeches, about their “No Platform” agenda, about their position that allowing someone to speak is implicitly endorsing their hatemonger speech. The Alt-Lite literally did to us what the Antifa had been doing to all of us across the board for over a year, and they were so blinded by their hatred of Richard Spencer that they could not see it.
The day before the competing rallies, I visited with Spencer & Co. at the headquarters of the National Policy Institute. It was here that I pitched to Spencer the idea of drafting a document of principles that would unite right-wing libertarians and the Alt-Right. That afternoon we hammered out the basic points of what would later become The Charlottesville Statement.
Our rally was a spectacular affair. With an epic backdrop, hundreds of people, strong speakers, it was one of the best rallies I have ever attended. The White House rally, on the other hand, was attended by a small band of baby boomers holding baby boomer signs. Roger Stone, whom the Reader may recall was suspected of being the mastermind behind the goat sacrifice scandal, was the main draw for the Alt-Lite’s rival rally – and he failed to show. Instead, Jack Prosobiec held his cell phone up to the microphone so that Stone could address the crowd from wherever he was. If the rival rallies were any contest at all, it was an absolute rout in our favor.
After this humiliating misadventure, several persons in the Alt-Lite decided that they needed to rebrand their entire clique. I received a couple phone calls asking me what I thought of renaming their clique the “New Right,” as they still considered me part of their club at that point. Evidently they were, each & every one of them, totally oblivious of the New Right or Nouvelle Droit in Europe that had influenced both me and Richard Spencer at a foundational level. If anyone was going to call themselves the New Right, it would be me.
Last I heard, they were still having a go at this farce. It never mattered much to me what they called themselves: no matter how creative or bland the name they chose, it would never act as a sufficient cover for their mediocrity, their lack of virtue, or their bankrupt ideology. Thankfully these people self-segregated from me after Charlottesville – but I already had one foot out the door of the clubhouse: I was headed toward bigger & better things.
 In fact, this deliberate division caused by the Alt-Lite, along with our refusal to concede to their ultimatum, made Irma and I honorary members of the Alt-Right as of that day. Months later, I would be drafted to write an essay for an Alt-Right publication, at which point it was implicitly understood that I had become a part of the movement. Much like my relationship with the American Front, fighting beside these folks in the trenches formed a bond stronger than any singular ideological point.